If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there's a million ways to be, you know that there are.
--Cat Stevens

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sweet Love Letters from Grandma

Valentine's Day has never been a big deal in my family.  Mom always bought us valentines for school and gave us a little candy.  Once or twice I think we had special Valentine's dinners.  I have never bought a card or chocolates. I've only received one Valentine's gift --from my first serious boyfriend, and I believe that is the only time I've ever gone out for dinner on V-Day, as well.  V-day just isn't all that important to me, it's nice to have a reminder to take time for yourself or loved ones, but I've never thought it was a big deal.

But there is one big deal thing that happened every year on Valentine's Day when I was a kid.  My maternal grandma wrote us letters!!!!  We lived about 2000 miles from both sets of grandparents, so occasional visits, phone calls, and letters were huge.  And since it was Valentine's Day these weren't just any letters--they were conversation heart letters.   We were like kids on Christmas, when the envelopes arrived.  I remember ripping open the envelopes reading the letters and then pulling off the conversion hearts and eating them.  The candy was cool, but what was special about it was the letter.  Everyone loves getting mail/packages and love letters are probably about the best kind of mail you can get.  Grandma also typed a real letter to each of us and included with our conversation heart letters.  I love Valentine's Day.   Grandma died the fall of 1999 and the conversation heart letters stopped.   I have missed the love letters from Grandma,  and I missed the tradition.
So this year I wrote the love letters.
I bought a ton a conversation hearts and wrote letters to each of my 3 sisters and 1 brother and my 1 niece ( even though she is only 6 months old).  And it was a pain in the neck I don't know how grandma did it for more than twenty years for 30+ grand kids, but I plan to do it again next year and for as many years as I can in the future.  It didn't bring my grandma back, but for a little while I felt closer to her.

Conversation Heart letters are pretty easy they just require some time.

You will Need:
Cardstock for each letter you want to write ( paper work but cardstock is better)
A pen or pencil
Large and small conversation hearts  ( get at least twice as many as you think you'll need)
Powdered sugar

Step one:  Dump conversation hearts out on kitchen table.  Sort them based on the words and put all the ones that are too weird to use aside--or eat them.

Step 2:  Mix up you "glue".  I didn't measure so I don't know exactly how much sugar and water you need but you'll need to mix it until it is about the consistency of thick white glue.

Step 3.  Lay out the hearts you want to us for the letter in the order you want them on your cardstock and fill in the rest of the letter with a pen or pencil.

Step 4:  Glue down the hearts with frosting glue.

It took me about an hour a letter to get a short coherent love letter.

You won't be able to say anything too profound but you can write a short mushy letter expressing your undying affection or adoration.  And kids love them or at least I know we did.

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