I don’t care if it IS a holiday invented by greeting card companies to get us to spend money, I LOVE Valentine’s Day! Those of you who know me know that I really love any occasion that gives me an excuse to make gifts for people (even if they don’t often get done in a timely manner) and Valentines Day is perfect in this way, and because I get to make sweets and use lots of girly red and pink hearts, lace, and glitter! Naturally, in elementary school, we were required to bring Valentines to school for everyone in our class, which I think makes for a wonderful celebration, much more fun than what developed in middle school when hormones and pop culture suddenly instruct us to pick favorites among the opposite sex and Valentines Day suddenly became a dreaded showdown—who would get one and who wouldn’t? would the “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” in question even remember? Ugh, what a nightmare! I’m very happy to be past that and getting back to the days of just having fun and creating lovely things to say “I love you.”
My mother always had us make the Valentines for our class which I think really instilled in us the beauty in doing something special for someone else, even if we didn’t exactly love all our classmates. We would come up with a design, head to the craft store to get all the goods, then come home and spread our glittery red and pink mess all over the dining room table. It was a blast and we made some beautiful ones! Naturally, at school we made boxes (shoe boxes covered in all manner of red and pink with a slot cut in the top) to receive all our Valentines, and what joy to bring them all home and open them up one by one! The best ones, of course, had some kind of sweet included.
Being so far away from home, I thought it would be especially fun to send British themed Valentines all the way back to the States. In true Emily style, I still have about 5 or so that got finished late and won’t get sent until at least tomorrow, oops! But here’s what I came up with:
This version came closest to my original idea–a Union Jack in machine stitching on some blue fabric glued behind a heart shaped window and sewn around the outside. The original fabric I had in mind was a blue and white striped silk but it was too flimsy for the project, and I abandoned sewing around the outside of the heart after doing about 2 because I just couldn’t do it precisely enough quickly enough and I decided it looked just fine without it:
Together with many of these I sent some garlands I made by just cutting hearts at random (using the tried-and-true elementary school method of folding in half first) from both cheap London post cards and the boxes from some of my favorite UK brands of cereal bars and granola (Dorset Cereals and Jordans), then running them through the sewing machine. Here they are before I sent them out all hung up in our flat’s front window:
I only made a few of these so they got sent mostly to friends with kids and those I thought would particularly enjoy them (I wanted to make more but ran out of post cards and cereal boxes!) And I put them inside these little envelopes I found at the stationers (I don’t think I wrote on all of them, but I honestly can’t remember):
This was another design for when I ran out of red thread:
The blue hearts are felt and I used pink thread on top. And this is my desk in the middle of all this–we actually moved my “studio” into our room by moving the desk and a drop leaf table out of what is now the nursery–there will be pictures of this soon as we got a new crib (cot) and I made a bumper for it!