I have a really good friend. I'll call her Horatio. That's not her name, of course, but mutual friends know why I call her Horatio. She sent me an email about rarefied today and said that she wished I could talk her through sloyd just as I do Pamela. Since she lives over a long day's journey away, I cannot drop by to visit Horatio. So, I'm going to pretend I'm chatting with her and showing her how to make the Valentine card.

I ask Horatio to pick out thread: I have two colors on hand, gold and silver. Then, she picks out a lovely color of cardstock. I give her a mechanical pencil, ruler, and scissors and transparent ruler. I also pick out materials for myself because modeling is a great way to teach. Besides, I could surprise Steve with a handmade valentine.

We reluctantly flip over the cardstock to show the plain white side, where we'll draw points and lines lightly. Lightly because we'll erase them later.

We reluctantly flip over the cardstock to show the plain white side, where we'll draw points and lines lightly. Lightly because we'll erase them later.

First, we make a 6″ by 6″ square — the first step of many paper sloyd projects. The paper is 12″ by 12″. Drawing and cutting carefully won't leave any scraps. Using a ruler and pencil, we make three points exactly 6″ from the left edge.

Three points? But, the handbook says two points. Why on earth do we need three?

Technically, as Euclid states, you really only need two points to draw a line segment. However, Alexander Pope states, “To err is human," and we must anticipate errors.

Three points? But, the handbook says two points. Why on earth do we need three?

Technically, as Euclid states, you really only need two points to draw a line segment. However, Alexander Pope states, “To err is human," and we must anticipate errors.

If we draw three points that fail to line up perfectly, we can start looking for mistakes. Perhaps, we forgot to line up 0″ with the left edge or marked a point at 5″ and not 6″.

We make a point at 6″ at the top of the paper, in the middle, and at the bottom. We rotate the ruler and draw a line through three points (or fix errors if a point is out of line).

This time, we rotate the paper to make another line. Technically, we are drawing line segments. A true line goes to infinity and beyond a mere six inches.

We make a point at 6″ at the top of the paper, in the middle, and at the bottom. We rotate the ruler and draw a line through three points (or fix errors if a point is out of line).

This time, we rotate the paper to make another line. Technically, we are drawing line segments. A true line goes to infinity and beyond a mere six inches.

You can see the first line segment, but not the three points that form the next one. I'm trying to draw lightly so I can completely erase them. Again, we draw three points, one at the top, then middle, and bottom because of our tendency to err. We rotate the ruler and draw a second line.

Since the paper is 12″ by 12″, the line segments cross in the center. Cutting along the two lines yields four 6″ by 6″ squares. Now, we can make envelopes, wall pockets, picture frames, or Valentines!

Since the paper is 12″ by 12″, the line segments cross in the center. Cutting along the two lines yields four 6″ by 6″ squares. Now, we can make envelopes, wall pockets, picture frames, or Valentines!

We pick a square and draw the diagonals. We align the ruler's edge with the upper left vertex and the lower right vertex and draw a line segment. Then, we rotate the paper and make the other diagonal. The diagonals meet at the exact center of the square if carefully drawn.

Then, we take one vertex (mathese for corner) and pull it towards the center. When the tip touches the center, we carefully fold and make a crease. We do the same for each vertex until all vertices kiss in the center. This makes an envelope, which is the very first project in the paper sloyd handbook.

Then, we take one vertex (mathese for corner) and pull it towards the center. When the tip touches the center, we carefully fold and make a crease. We do the same for each vertex until all vertices kiss in the center. This makes an envelope, which is the very first project in the paper sloyd handbook.

The next step converts the envelop into a picture frame. In the original lesson from the book, holes are punched and tied with yarn to hold the frame together. We aren't making holes because curve stitching will sew it together.

The final step of folding is to pull a vertex toward the edge of the frame. When it's lined up perfectly, we make a crease. We do the same for all vertices and the frame is complete. The valentine looks a little plain and curve stitching will dress it up nicely.

The final step of folding is to pull a vertex toward the edge of the frame. When it's lined up perfectly, we make a crease. We do the same for all vertices and the frame is complete. The valentine looks a little plain and curve stitching will dress it up nicely.

This Valentine requires many, many tiny holes pricked with a push pin: 15 holes per side plus 7 more down the middle for the top of the heart as well as 10 for the V that forms the lower half. V in the heart — valentine — I never noticed that before. We must make 15 x 4 plus 7 plus 10. That's 60 plus 17, or 77 pin pricks.

I warn Horatio of the task ahead, and her dogs are begging for a walk. We head outdoors and swap stories of the big snow that blanketed the heart of the south recently.

Taking a break sounds like a waste of time. The secret to a lovely homeschool day and an active life is short lessons. Research shows that our brains function better when we take a short break after fifteen to twenty minutes on one task.

In fact, take the whole evening off. Odds are, you're watching Downton and Sherlock or the Superbowl. I suspect Horatio is watching the former as am I.

I warn Horatio of the task ahead, and her dogs are begging for a walk. We head outdoors and swap stories of the big snow that blanketed the heart of the south recently.

Taking a break sounds like a waste of time. The secret to a lovely homeschool day and an active life is short lessons. Research shows that our brains function better when we take a short break after fifteen to twenty minutes on one task.

In fact, take the whole evening off. Odds are, you're watching Downton and Sherlock or the Superbowl. I suspect Horatio is watching the former as am I.