The truth about St Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m sure all of us at some time in our lives have sent Valentine cards, or longed to receive one… As a teenager, I can remember it being terribly, terribly important! It is really more of a young person’s event but some people are very good at keeping the romantic flame alive as they get older and go out for a nice meal, or buy flowers, Richard is a real sweetie and often presents me with a huge bouquet – but it depends how busy we are at work!

As ever, when one of these special days comes round on the calendar, I like to do a bit of sleuthing and find out the truth and more often, the myths behind it all…

Saint Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries A Valentine card from 1862.around the world. It began as a celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus and there are all sorts of martyrdom stories and myths about this era. But the day was first associated with romance by Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion for lovers to express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards known as ‘valentines’. Printers had already begun producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called ‘mechanical valentines,’ and a reduction in postal rates in the next century ushered in the less personal, but much easier, practice of posting Valentines.

Paper Valentines became so popular in England in the early 19th century that they were assembled in factories. Fancy cards were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid-19th century. In 1835, an amazing 60,000 Valentine cards were sent by post in Britain, despite postage being expensive. 

I think it’s lovely that we crafters still make our own and put real time, effort and love into producing our Valentine cards, rather than just buying a mass-produced effort which today are so often rather cheap and a bit vulgar – I know, I know, I’m showing my age!!

Have a lovely day, whether you are celebrating or not!

 

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Valentine card with an unusual message…!

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day and for inspiration I turned to the Jayne Netley Mayhew decoupage collections. This particular design is part of her Summer collection but doubles brilliantly as a Valentine card.

The design is pretty simple to cut out with very few difficult details and red roses always appeal! The backing paper can be picked from any CD you have handy or ready printed papers. The shaped card is made using a Nestability set – but if you want to take a short cut you could perhaps use a shaped corner punch on the four corners of the card instead.

The embellishments are all from the collection that Pam, who made this card, has collected over the years but there are loads of little charms to be found online.

How about making your other half a card and then inside adding an IOU for a little treat once the weather gets a bit warmer, like a picnic or a day at the zoo!?

 

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Flowery bookends

These bookends are huge sentimental favourites of mine. I made them as a sample to teach on one of my courses ten or fifteen years ago. Everyone who made them that morning made something slightly different and I bet many are still treasured by their makers!

You need to collect together some wood pieces to make the base – hopefully you might know a handy person with a saw and some screws to make you a plan and simple L-shape. You will also need a small terracotta flowerpot, a micro mini terracotta flowerpot, some dry flower Oasis, some gingham, silk or dried flowers and some tiny embellishments.

Paint effect the basic L shape of wood with crackle finish. Then wrap the terracotta in the gingham and wedge some oasis inside the pot to hold the material fast. Now using a glue gun, stick the large pot onto the L shape, add the embellishments and then finally arrange some flowers in the oasis and voila!

Obviously you can make dozens of variations on this – I did a lovely pair with gold leaf on the terracotta and others with fabric to match the bedroom I intended to put them in. Kept me quiet for hours!

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An ‘anyday’ card!

I have lots of friends that I share tea with – in fact coming round for a coffee, or a tea, is an enjoyable way to spend time. This card would be perfect for a friend as a birthday or ‘anyday’ card.

I am a huge fan of anyday cards, sometimes I feel they can carry more love and cheerfulness than a birthday or specific occasion card. It’s great to have a handmade birthday card but you are probably going to receive quite a few cards on that day. Whereas an anyday card can arrive when you are least expecting it and will cast a huge ray of sunshine onto your day!

This card was made using the Gruffies CD which is so useful for all ages and both sexes. The aperture containing tea was made by attaching two suitably sized pieces of backing paper onto a piece of acetate, leaving a gap between the two. Then pour some tea leaves onto the acetate central panel and edge around the tea panel with 2mm foam tape. Finally stick a sheet of white card over the top to seal the tea panel. This can now be added to your card. Decorate the cut edges of the tea panel with cut out pieces of frame from a topper like the one used as the main focal point. Any tea bag will do but if you know they have a favourite… choice is easy!

 

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Looking forward in 2014…

I always love the first few days of any New Year as there’s so much promise in what could happen in the next twelve months. If I look back over the past year many things have happened that I didn’t have a clue about this time last year, so there is always the excitement of what could be round the corner.

I know we have to take the bad times  as well as the good but I am going to try harder this year to make more good things happen. So often it’s the little things that make me feel good rather than the big things – I tidied my craft room over the Christmas holiday and that’s making me feel really good.

I’m going to give myself some ‘me’ time regularly this year, and I invested in some more scented candles and I’m going to enjoy nice perfume and maybe a book, a game or just some time cuddled up on the sofa with Wellington, whose days I know are numbered but while he is here, he is lovely to cuddle!

I’m also looking forward to finishing my second novel with my ‘partner in crime writing’, Julia. It should be finished in April or May, we are about a third of the way through at the moment. Although there’s a lot of head-scratching and plotting, it’s also exciting as the plots starts to unfold as you are never 100% sure how it is going to turn out!

Sometimes the things that make you feel good can take you by surprise, doing something that benefits someone else can be really uplifting.

On a more down to earth note I am aiming to declutter a room in my house each month this year, I don’t have twelve rooms that need decluttering but I am building in a ‘fail’ for some of the months when work gets too busy or other things grab my time and attention.

I would love to tell you that I intend to succeed spectacularly with my diet this year, but all I can do is try and be kind to myself if I falter and then fail as I have so many times before – but the trying is always the thing that counts. So my resolution for this year and the thing uppermost in my mind is going to be just that saying – the trying is always the thing that counts and who knows what will have happened by January 2015!

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