I'm trying very hard to not let Valentine's Day cards turn into another Christmas card fiasco, but elementary school is not helping matters much. Store bought Valentines cards range from the latest Disney nonsense to more Disney nonsense and that's pretty much it. I like the idea of kids' valentines parties; I just hate the options for cards. One year I found some Buffy the Vampire Slayer Valentine's Day cards and I think those were my favorite yet... except for maybe the year I sent out World Wrestling Federation Valentine's Day cards... because nothing says "I love you" like the World Wrestler's Federation.

This year, there were no such options so I went with something different.

First I got an appropriate picture of each girl. Shallow depth of field is the key here. I loved this one of The Dormouse, but I was duped into focusing on her cherubic face instead of her hand.

This one's better. You'll see why in a minute.

Getting a decent picture of The Caterpillar was a bit more difficult. You might not be surprised that telling a two year old to hold up her fist and pose for a picture was a difficult set of instructions to follow, but I was. She couldn't not figure out how to make a fist AND hold it out. We got this picture, which was cute.

But the smile was a bit cheesy and she looks like she's attempting an Arsenio Hall fist pump, so we went with this one.

I tried very hard to get a photo of her where the hand was in focus and her face was slightly out like with the above one of The Dormouse, but this girl simply doesn't hold still, and her arm wasn't long enough to push out farther into the camera lens, so I opened up the f-stop a bit and just went with a picture that was mostly all in focus. Because I wasn't into an hour long photo shoot for the sake of one picture. I could not be a professional photographer of children because, as with this one, after five or six shutter clicks, I tend to go "eh, that's enough" whether I've got the shot or not. This pose seemed to work for the concept anyway.

I have a ton and a half of four by six sized photo paper in the house; every time I buy a set of toner cartridges I get a free pack but I never use them. This is how this project became not expensive for me, but might be for most folks who don't have stacks and stacks of photo paper lying around. So I printed twenty (or thirty) or so copies of each. Then we laminated the photos. I'm thinking the laminating step is one that you could forego and just use the photographs, but I knew that The Dormouse was going to have to bring them to school with her and I was pretty sure they wouldn't make it without a little bit of extra help. Also I just bought a laminating machine which I can't stop finding reasons to use and if you haven't been reading along lately, there's the little matter of our being cabin bound for the last week...

The KoH punched holes at the top and bottom of each hand in the cards for us, because after using his special hole punching tool just twice, I had a bruise on my hand that still hasn't faded. A regular hole punch would have been fine, but the tools I own don't have the clearance to punch a single hole in the right spot on the photo. Fortunately, The KoH has every tool known to man and owned one just perfect for this purpose. It also has the ability to punch a hole slightly smaller than a regular hole punch hole. I think that made the effect better.

Add one lollipop, write names on the back, and ta da! Cuter than any card you can buy in the store, not to mention a whole heckuva lot more expensive (oh wait, that's not a good thing). I'm willing to deal with that last fact though, because I get to keep one of these:

Happy Valentine's Day!