I adore Valentine’s Day. Not so much in the past. Maybe lots of people feel this way, but I’m pretty sure I was Valentine’s Day cursed up till several years ago (and even after being happily married, I still ended up in the ER in the middle of Valentine’s Night after a botched root canal. Ug- cursed!). But once I had kids (who could eat cookies and cupcakes!), I realized Valentine’s Day was a perfect excuse to have fun and celebrate as a laugh in the face of the Great gray beast February (in the words of Clive Barker). I have been making Valentine’s Day a really big deal in our house for about 3 years now. It’s not only near the end of the long stretch of cold, stuck-in-doors January and February, but it’s also quite the holiday dry spell after New Year’s without Valentine’s Day (unless you go all out for Groundhogs Day, I guess). So we do a party, and decorate, do crafts, fun breakfast, lunch and dinner – kind of make a couple days of it (and if I’m lucky, the romance part gets stuck in there, too!).
So this year I decided that along with our celebrating, I would start a new tradition of giving each of my children a gift I made for them. I felt like it was:
a) a perfect excuse to make them a thing I was already hoping/planning to make (deadlines always help me get motivated!) and
b) a great way to show my love, by putting some time and attention into making them something I knew they would love that came from my hands. Every time I work on a project for one of my children, I feel like I am imbuing that thing for them with my love, and there is something extremely satisfying about that. Yet with all the busyness that fills every single day, it is often so much easier to plunk down some money for something and save myself hours when gift time creeps up quickly. Handmade just feels a bit more connecting to me (and hopefully the kids).
Well, one of the gifts was a no-brainer for me. I absolutely fell in love with this Wee Wanderer Michael Miller fabric designed by Sarah Jane. I get mine at my favorite online fabric shop, Hawthorne Threads. I had a large pillow form waiting around from some bedroom redecorating I’ve been up to. When I saw the fabric, I knew I’d found a perfect match! I cheated and gave it to my daughter a bit early to get some pictures. She loved it almost as much as I did. I think I love this fabric so much because of the innocent whimsy that brings me back to childhood, but I also feel pretty partial to the two girls and one boy (just like mine) in the panel print. This was a favorite for my little girl, too.
I used another firefly fabric in the Wee Wanderer collection to border the pillow, since the panel in half was a bit small for the 24 inch floor pillow. I’m glad for that though, I think it is even more fun with the border. I finished it off with an invisible zipper closure, since I figure it will definitely need some washing at some point!
So, my new Valentine’s tradition – make their gifts! There is just something about giving a gift you made yourself that makes you feel even closer to that person you made if for, and I believe that it is the same for receiving one. Those gifts that someone has taken the time to make for me or one of my children has had something especially magical about it. One extremely thoughtful and talented lady I know knitted a beautiful blanket for each of my three children before they were born. All of my children (who can talk) still know her name and who made their blanket even though they very rarely see her.
There are tons of ideas out there on the web. This link is to one of my plans for next Valentine’s (if I hold out ’till then. These are so cute!):
This clothespin wrap doll tutorial from the This Heart of Mine blog is awesome (and p.s. her latest post is about a Valentine’s Day party- check it out).
So, a little challenge to myself and maybe others – to think about maybe putting a little extra love into your Valentine’s Day this year by thinking about making something with your own hands. I realize not everyone is so inclined, but I have noticed that almost everyone has some kind of talent that would make for a great Valentine’s gift. You could write a song or a poem, paint a picture or take a photograph to frame, you could make a great dinner (trust me, being married to a gourmet, I can tell you, this is ALWAYS appreciated!), make something out of wood, or fabric, or clay, or metal, make a sugar scrub in a great package, or jewelry – there are endless ideas of things that can be made and talents that can be shared. Show your love by sharing yourself!!
We would love to hear Valentine’s ideas you have, or inspiration you’ve found! There are many more to come!