Thanks to coronavirus lockdowns around the world, many of us are spending almost all of our time at home – whether your country is officially in full lockdown, or you’re merely trying to distance yourself from others in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
Whilst we’re all stuck at home, we’re also taking on the ‘new normal’. Whether you’re working just as much as you’re used to or the complete opposite (or somewhere in between), you may also be trying to entertain or homeschool a gaggle of kids. I’m not in the homeschooling category, but definitely so in the ‘entertaining’ one – and whilst my child has been incredibly taken with my pretend nursery set up each day (involving her and some of her most favourite soft toys), there’s only so many different voices and times I can pretend to be the different soft toys (bunny, penguin, unicorn, assorted Paw Patrol characters) before I feel my brain heading towards mush.
So what’s a parent to do? Craft! I have dabbled in my own crafting over the years – knitting and beading jewellery to name a couple of hobbies. Not overly successfully, I have to add, but at least it stops me from sitting on my phone for hours at a time!
Many kids (and even adults) are displaying pictures and drawings in their windows (rainbows may be popular where you live – we’ve done a few!). Posters with thanks to health workers or other key workers are also very popular, for good reason. All of this got me thinking that displaying paper versions of licitar hearts (licitarsko srce in Croatian, or sometimes also referred to as gingerbread hearts) would also be a cheerful (and sweet) thing to display, as well as fun to make!
Licitar hearts are generally from the central part of Croatia – you may well have seen them for sale if you’ve visited Zagreb. These pretty, delicately decorated red hearts are traditionally given as gifts to loved ones, and can also often be seen (the smaller versions, that is) as decorations on Christmas trees. You can find out more about licitar hearts on the official website.
Now, obviously as we’re on lockdown it’s not like I have access to a fully-stocked craft cupboard. But you may…or be able to order some suitable supplies on the internet.
What I had as materials were:
- bright red card
- sequins of different colours
- I thought beads might work somewhere in there (I told you I did beading!)
- glitter (which you’ll of course have if you have kids)
- shiny card
- white chalk
- a printer
- kitchen foil
Making paper licitar hearts
I first downloaded a heart shape from the internet and printed it out both A4 and A5 sizes to make differently sized paper hearts. This is the one I actually used; there are of course other variations available online. Or you may be more talented than me and can just draw your own freehand version!
Having printed and cut out the heart, I then held it down onto a piece of red card to draw an outline. Anything would work for drawing the outline; I randomly decided to used chalk and realised I really liked the effect.
Having cut out the hearts, I discovered the chalk would also really work really well for some of the decoration too – in particular the white edges and swirls.
Now it’s decorating time! Use whatever you have to hand…paints of course work really well. And what kid doesn’t like a bit of painting? My random collection of sequins and beads came in handy too, and I used them to recreate the flower decoration, sticking them on with a tiniest dab of glue.
Glitter can be used to recreate the middle mirrored element, as could kitchen foil or any shiny card you might have to hand.
And once you’ve finished, stick them in your window. And then head out on your daily exercise to walk past and admire your handy work!
Or, why not use them in a way that’s similar to their intended purpose? Pop your paper licitar hearts in the post to send to a loved one that’s stuck at home under quarantine.
For those with lots of space and some more unusual store cupboard items may be tempted to try making proper licitarsko srce. There are some highly detailed instructions here from Uppermoda or the Licitar website.