February seems to have come round quickly, and it’s time to re-decorate our seasonal tree. If it’s February, then it has to be Valentine-themed, which, as everyone knows, means hearts.
But before embarking on our tree, I made a paper heart garland. There are plenty of tutorials online for how to do this, so I won’t bore you with a step-by-step guide. (If you want to try one yourself, click over to my valentine Pinterest board, where you’ll find links to several different online tutorials.)
I used origami paper, cut into strips, and finished off with fabric washi tape to hide the staples, then threaded the hearts onto bakers’ twine (left over from Christmas wrapping!).
And so to the tree…
At Christmas we had jumped enthusiastically onto the salt-dough bandwagon to make tree decorations. But I found the whole salt-dough thing a bit disappointing. It’s not a great colour, it always takes longer to bake than you think it should, and it’s very difficult to get a flat, even, smooth finish. You feel like you spend half the time telling children not to eat it; and then they cry when it comes out of the oven and, despite all attempts carefully to manage their expectations, they discover that they haven’t just made a batch of biscuits. And it has an annoying tendency to go mouldy after a while.
But there’s a better way! Air-dry modelling clay. It looks ‘cleaner’ than salt dough, is easier to handle, doesn’t use up lots of energy drying out in the oven, and you get a neater finish. It also has better staying power, and even under-threes realise that it’s not food.
Simply roll out, cut your shapes with a cookie cutter and leave to dry. Our pack didn’t have instructions for how long that would take, but it seemed to be ready after leaving it overnight. When dry, we decorated the hearts with permanent markers (me) or just washable felt tips (the under-5s!). Bird Girl was so proud of her effort, that she insisted on giving it to Mr Letstrythisathome, and wouldn’t let me put it on the tree. Chief Stick Collector’s efforts made it onto the tree, (one is even visible on the picture below).
No rules with the decorations, just make it up as you go along. If you know morse code, you may be able to decipher our secret message!