Valentine’s Card 2015: Ideas and Inspiration

This guy is my Valentine:

Cane in the living room

Even though we’d do cartwheels for each other (for reals, see below), we aren’t really fans of Valentine’s Day. Too much of what goes on for that holiday feels phony and contrived. We prefer to generally mock and/or ignore the pressure to make grand romantic gestures on February 14th. Nonetheless, I always make him a valentine card each year.

Last year's card, made from the discarded pages of old books.

Last year’s card, made from the discarded pages of old books. Just a bit of mocking going on here.

This year, I’m feeling inspired by an article in the February issue of Better Homes & Gardens. In it, Natalie Chanin shared handmade cards with hand-stitching on them.

BHS Natalie Chanin valentines

This sent me on a search for tutorials and inspiration online.The tutorial I like best is this one from Leigh Ann at Freckled Nest:

freckled nest hand stitching

Although many of the images above show hand-stitching on fabric, Leigh Ann’s tutorial addresses hand-stitching on paper, too.

Some years I’ve incorporated poetry, and I think I’d like to do that this year, too. One of my favorite sources for Valentine poems is Ted Kooser’s Valentines.

Ted Kooser's Valentine

University of Nebraska Press, 2008

I love the story of this book almost as much as I love the poems. In 1986, Kooser (former US poet laureate) wrote the first poem in the book and sent it to 50 women friends. That began a tradition that continued for 21 years, and the list of recipients eventually grew to 2,500. (Full story on NPR here.)

Ted Kooser's "A Map of the World"

One of my favorite poems in this favorite book.

If I get really ambitious, I might try writing my own poem. Or, I might write a collage poem–one in which I pull lines and phrases from other writer’s poems and combine them into my own. A good source for poems about love is the Academy of American Poets site, where you can browse poems by occasion. You can see quite a selection of poems on love here.

I’m looking forward to learning a new technique, exploring some poetry, and messing around with paper and fabric and embroidery floss. Hopefully I’ll have a project to share soon.

If you’ve got any great inspiration/ideas for making your own valentines, please share in the comments.

Cane cartwheeling

6 thoughts on “Valentine’s Card 2015: Ideas and Inspiration

  1. Marian says:

    Rita!!! So absolutely, unequivocally, overjoyed to see you back at blogging! That probably sounds excessive — but I feel like a friend who’s been away on a long journey has just returned (and now we’re going to get to discuss words and all-things-creative to boot! My favourite things!) 🙂

    My husband and I don’t *do* Valentine’s Day either – for the exact reasons you mentioned. As well, I’ve always been slightly uncomfortable with grand, romantic gestures. My husband attempted a few, back in our dating days – red roses, romantic dinners – which always made me slightly nervous for some reason, almost as though my rather precarious self-esteem was half expecting a camera crew to jump out and say, “just kidding!” (which is rather sad, but there it is…)

    The needlework (above) is gorgeous! My mom had me stitching before pre-school, and up to a few years ago (when I switched to knitting) I always had some needlework project on the go.
    Marian recently posted…Processed Food is a Slippery SlopeMy Profile

    • admin says:

      Ah, thanks, Marian. I’m happy to be back. It’s good to be writing from a place that feels good again. To be honest, we’ve had kind of a hard time finding a comfortable way through Valentine’s Day. I don’t think Cane has ever fully believed me when I’ve said that I just don’t care much about it. Flowers and chocolates and lingerie and expensive dinners don’t feel romantic to me.

      As for needlework, I’ve got a knitting post to get up next…

  2. Lisa says:

    YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!! Oh, I am so excited you are back!

    The Mister and I don’t get much into Valentine’s Day usually either. This year, however, we agreed to defer our Christmas gifts till Valentine’s Day because we had a number of really large bills due in December. So apparently we are going all out this time. But normally we don’t even go out to dinner–I hate crowds. I like the idea of embroidering on paper. That looks lovely.

    • Rita says:

      I’m not a fan of crowds, either–but we eat out far more than we should because I hate cooking even more than I hate crowds. I’m hoping to find a way to approach food from a stance of play. We’ll see. And have to say, I could rally around the idea of deferring Christmas gifts to Valentine’s day. You might be on to something.

  3. Jen says:

    For Valentine’s Day this year we will be in New Orleans with friends enjoying King Cake, King Cake vodka, po’boys and Mardi Gras parades.

    Matt is quite the romantic, so I’m sure that there will be something there – he has a good relationship with the ladies at the florist around the corner from our house. I’m not much of a poet, but I think I’d like to write him a love letter for Valentine’s. I think that would be good for him. 😉
    Jen recently posted…Photo Friday – Coastal PelicansMy Profile

    • Rita says:

      I wish we were going to be in New Orleans for Valentine’s day. Cane is from Opelousas, and shrimp po’boys are his favorite food in the world (I think). I went home with him once a few years ago, and I loved all the food. Hope you and Matt have a fabulous time. Hmmm…maybe I need to find some prompts for writing love letters? 🙂

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