Continuation of themes: Valentine’s Day and paper garlands

I am unapologetic about my current enthusiasm for paper garlands and chains.  They are just so visually effective!  For Valentine’s Day I tried out a paper chain instead of garlands (bonus: no lugging out the sewing machine).  I cut a strip of thinnish red craft paper with fibre bits in it that looked like it would be absorbent and fold well, and painted tiny little gold hearts all over it randomly.  When I say ‘painted tiny little hearts’, I mean made little ‘V’ shapes with a small fat paintbrush that would, from a glance, look like hearts.

Then I folded it in a zigzag to make a paper chain, being (mostly) careful to make all the folds the same size.  I cut it into a heart, and voila!

A sweet little paper heart chain, which I then glued into a card.  I glued the right-hand side down, then folded the hearts down onto the card and put glue on the back of the top-most one, then closed the card on the stack to make sure it would open and close properly.

And with that, I will conclude Valentine’s Day for this year.  I think I’ve now properly outed myself as a devotee of all things sweet and pink, as if it wasn’t obvious before!

Makin’ whoopie (pies)

There are a few random things which bring out the ‘American’ in me, and one of them is Valentine’s Day.  I remember getting packs of 20(?) miniature Valentine’s Day cards from Giant, our local grocery store, all pink and red, with cartoon hearts on them that everyone in the class gave out to everyone else in the class, little heart-shaped boxes of chocolates we used to get from our parents, candy hearts with messages on them, and special pink and white bags of M&Ms.  Second only to Halloween in its potential for candy consumption, Valentine’s Day will always have a place in my heart.

Now I’m grown, I don’t go in for presents and gushy romantic stuff; Mark is lucky if he gets a card (and I am super-lucky if I get flowers, as I did this year) and I would never dream of planning a fancy dinner.  I will, however, as in days of old, use Valentine’s Day as a flimsy excuse to ingest even more sugar than I normally do.  Which brings me to… whoopie pies!

I don’t think I’d ever seen a whoopie pie in person until I made them to take into work for Valentine’s Day.  I understand from the photos in my Hummingbird Bakery “Cake Days” cookbook that they are meant to be more rounded and elegant (and less craggy) than these turned out, but they tasted nice, and I will just pretend I was going for the rustic look.  For those who are not acquainted with the whoopie pie, it’s a sponge cake and icing sandwich.  A bit like a wizard-of-oz cupcake that’s been lifted up in a tornado and plopped down again with its roof in the middle of the sponge.  The batter is baked on baking sheets like cookies, but comes out very soft and cakey, and is then sandwiched together with obscene amounts of marshmallow buttercream icing (which I dyed pink, naturally).  Mark, who is not generally a fan of excessive icing, tried one and suggested I put more in. Alarmed by this ‘constructive criticism’, I twisted them apart again and put in about triple the amount of icing recommended in the book.

They were a huge hit in the office, although their American-ness was commented upon more than once!  At least I didn’t hand out little cartoon heart greetings cards…

Golden garlands

In my last post I mentioned some paper garlands I’d sewn for christmas decorations- here they are.

I used up the last of a little pot of Windsor & Newton gold ink which I’ve had for about 10 years by using a big brush to paint rough stripes across some watercolour paper.  I then exercised my scissor-muscles cutting out rough circles from the paper, and fed those through the sewing machine with cream thread.

I think I should probably take them down now, or they won’t look christmassy when I put them up in 10 months time!