I’ve always been a paper crafter, for as long as I can remember. 
Oh, I have lots of proof too. My mom saved gads of artsy little things I brought home for her, from Kindergarten on through my elementary years.  
And almost every single one of my elementary report cards has something written on it by my teachers, mentioning creativity as a strength (though… these comments are sometimes accompanied by remarks that I mustn’t rush through my work to do artwork…or that I was distractable…or that my desk was not orderly.  Amazingly, they had me nailed all the way back then, and not much has changed). 

I love so many different forms of creating, but paper crafts are what I’ve always loved most in the arts-and-crafts world.  And instead of growing out of this love of crafting, I grew into it. 

In part, I have my mom to blame thank for this.

My mom is a special lady.  She rather enjoys creating too (she can pencil draw, sew, knit and crochet, she cooks like crazy, gardens, and she’s also a bit of a writer)!

All through our school years, I can remember that my mom always took time to work with me and my siblings on our projects…which included, of course, helping us with our 
Valentine’s Day Boxes.

Mom would sit with me and any number of my 5 siblings around our large dining room table, and together, with little more than glue, scissors and construction paper, we’d transform our boxes into something wonderful.
Mom showed us how to fold our paper to cut out perfect hearts, how to leave one side uncut to create a heart “door” that could open and close, and how to accordion-fold paper to create little springs behind the doors to allow something else to pop out when it was opened. 
And ya know? She didn’t seem to be bothered by doing all this with us…in fact, I’d say she seemed to rather enjoy it.

As an adult who has little ones of my own now, I continue to look back with appreciation for a mom who took time out from her “more important” things to do, to sit with me as a little girl, and craft.  I don’t remember our conversations or anything specific, but obviously mom knew it was important to us, so selflessly, she helped. 
And while I probably could have done it myself, I am grateful that Mom did it with me. 

So, while I fully realize that Valentine’s Day is little more than an overly-commercialized Hallmark holiday, I can’t help but be full of love and gratitude as we approach another February 14th. 

When I sat with my own kids to help them make their first Valentine’s Day boxes this week, I was inspired by my mom’s love and how she took time out of her busy life to help me and my siblings create all those silly little boxes to hold our love notes…

And I think: Yup. That was LOVE.
So thanks, Mama.  You were (and still are) the best, and I love you dearly.

Here are our Homemade Boxes:
Joshua (naturally) decided to make a truck box.

Though he is not quite 4 years old yet, I do believe he was probably the most excited kid to ever have made a Valentine’s Day box. 
Honestly, I didn’t think he’d stick around to finish it up, but he was amazingly persistent! 
To start, we glued an empty 48-count crayon box onto another larger box. 
Then I cut out paper to fit each part of the truck (he picked blue of course), and my preschooler did ALL the gluing himself.
His favorite part was adding the wheels.
He loves painting so much that I decided to let him paint them black instead of covering them with black paper. He did this ever so carefully, and got mad when I tried to butt in to help. 🙂
I was impressed how he continually made suggestions along the way (Can we add wipers, mom? How ’bout we put a siren on top and make it a police truck, Mom?).

I think it turned out great, don’t you?
It was really cute to see how PROUD he was of all his hard work.  He now has his police truck displayed on his dresser, filled with all his Valentine’s Day cards from his little friends (our party was yesterday).
Next, here is Eden’s box.
We saw a cute picture online of a birdhouse Valentine’s Box, and after scouring the garage, we found the perfectly-shaped box for the job (it was originally a Christmas-y cookie box).
Once we got started, Eden was able to work more independently on her birdhouse box.  She covered it with paper herself (it happened to be the exact height of a piece of construction paper, which made things very easy). Then she decorated it with hearts, hearts, and more hearts. 
I had to come alongside her to cut the hole in the box with my exacto knife, figure out how to create a cone-shaped roof, and put the little birdie perch in place for her with hot glue.
Isn’t the roof just adorable with all those upside down hearts?
We also thought it was very fairy-ish.
Here’s a peek at the inside.
The perch is just a wooden dowel rod from our art supplies, which we wrapped in red ribbon.

Once our party was over, and all the children had gone home, both kids really enjoyed opening up their boxes again and looking through all of the special cards, candies, pencils, and bookmarks given.

I am sure there are many crafty boxes being made right now by schoolchildren everywhere, and if your kiddos happen to come to you wanting you to sit awhile with them to create one, I hope you can see it as a special way to take time out from the other “more important” things and make a few lasting memories with your sweeties.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us!