Crafting St. Valentine's


I made this one for V last year 

I feel really really sorry for kids today. The valentines I see in the stores are all tied to some TV show or movie character. Dora the explorer valentines? Are you kidding me? Gone are those charming old-fashioned valentines with dopey puns and silly rhymes. I loved the ones that had the flocked (furry) red hearts and the ones with the moving parts. When I was in elementary school, we spent a week making valentines during our art time. We would also decorate plain paper bags with our names on them and they would be affixed to the back of our seats. Then on Valentines day, there would be a party with cupcakes and red heart tarts. All the kids would deliver their valentines to the decorated bags. Back then, there was no ministry of political correctness so it was not guaranteed that you would receive a valentine from each of your classmates. So there was some suspense and anxiety involved, just like real life.

My mom would help me craft valentines. Sometimes we would just doctor up store bought ones with glitter. Some years we made cookies and piped on the names with icing and packaged them in tissue for delivery. My mom never made me give a valentine to everyone, but she did use the opportunity to discuss levels of expression. For instance, I was very disturbed by the notion of giving a lovey dovey valentine to a boy I didnt particularly like. She would look through the cards and find one with a monkey or a walrus or something relatively benign and reassure me that it expressed nothing more than friendship. And I remember even going to the trouble of cutting red hearts off a card just to be sure.

The Love Bug Ornament

I still enjoy crafting Valentine's day gifts. Its a bright and cheerful, if commercially imposed, holiday in the middle of freezing gray days. And it's right about the time people peter out on their new year's diets and go ahead and enjoy some chocolates.  I've been celebrating the holiday by making these LoveBugs for a few years, a logical addition to my Christmas ornament designs. And I make valentine garlands too.
I haven't put them together yet, I am still creating all of the elements.

Today I got out some of my materials and made a valentine or two before I leave town for a week. I was inspired by Susan at 29 Black Street who is way ahead on making hers. I have painted many valentine themed illustrations over the years but I tend to not use them to make my own valentines. Instead I try to craft the whole thing by cutting and layering paper. Here are my favorite tools for the job:

Lots of paper; you need heavier stock to build the card on and lots of other papers for cutting designs. You need solids and patterns. Heart shaped doilies, glitter ( I like "Art Glitter" brand the best ), great scissors like the "cutter bee" shown; a white pen and a fine point glue pen. I also use those tiny pieces of pre-fab sticky foam squares to lift certain parts of the card. I used a paper punch to make that frilly edge at the bottom of the card. Here's the finished card:

I'll be blogging from the road this week. Im going to see about my Mom. I believe the valentine I made for her today is the last one I will ever give her. I hope to have some good pictures from my travels and look forward to visiting your blogs while I am traveling.

Anybody have some cool corny valentine rhymes they want to share with me? 


  1. Sadly, no rhymes, but your post evoked a lot of fond memories, especially the little boxes with the abundance of small valentines in them~~I miss those!
    I remember making valentines in school and I still buy heart shaped paper doilies almost every year.
    I can honestly say the commercial stuff available to kids now has nothing to do with the day; it just sells a product. *sign*
    Love your creations!


  2. "want to share with me?"


  3. ahhhh hmmmm ..
    reading the end just made me feel so very, very sad.
    i do hope you have a good trip down to florida.
    i remember those unpc valentine days from early in my childhood. i remember the anxiety. then i forgot about valentine's day for several years since at the time it was not so big in germany when we moved there.
    frankly, when my sons entered elementary school, i was glad for the pcness of the holiday. i quickly realized though that handcrafting 24 valentines cards was really not a lot of fun, especially since the teacher wanted the children to write the names of their fellow students on the cards themselves. so, i went the route of cheap cards ideally non movie or tv show related.

    anyway, a valentine's rhyme ... hmmmm ..

    oh! time to go. can't think of one right now. i'm on my way to a chocolate martini. ciao!!

  4. I adore these cards, Chickie, as well as those childhood memories you shared. We had to decorate shoeboxes rather than paper bags for our V-Day cards to be deposited into. But you SO reminded me of my grade-school agonizing at selecting cards for my classmates. Your mother counseled you sensibly indeed, and I wish you both the best on your visit to see her. Wish I could think of a cool, corny rhyme. But I just hope you enjoy your time :)


  5. Hey chickory! We used to decorate shoe boxes at school (during art). I remember making lots of the Valentines from red and white paper. I think I always gave everyone in my class a card, because I hated to think there might be someone who didn't have any in their box. I did, however, make darn sure that the kids I didn't like as much didn't get the best cards - lol! I hope you have a good visit with your Mom. xox

  6. sending you a hug, sugar! i've been thinking about my mama all day, bless her heart, so give your mama a kiss for me, ok? take care and revel in love when you're there. xoxoxo

  7. Sadly Valentine's Day was not a big thing when I was in school, later on in my High school years it caught on here but as I went to an all girls strict school it was not encouraged or allowed at school.
    We bought or made our cards and posted them or popped them in the mail box, it was quite exciting to receive and give cards.
    The card that you made for V is lovely and I think this Kitten card is adorable and very sweet.
    It made me sad when I read about your Mom, she certainly is a great Mom, I enjoyed reading about the help and advice she has given to you regarding your valentines, no doubt every aspect of your life. Have a lovely visit with her and enjoy your travels.

    xoxoxo ♡

  8. anne huskey: I know! I used to love those boxes of little valentines with those cheap little envelopes. I found a cache of them at a junk shop years ago. I scanned and printed them for my young ...ahem...great nieces to give out. How rare and wonderful it must have been for them too see an image not related to some corporation!

    xl: er, no thanks, I'll pass. grherha ...nothing about the pink cat? scary smart would love her.

    foamy: are these chocotinis becoming a problem? LOL. dont start snorting bath salts too. (have you seen this? people taking bath salts to get high?) im just kidding.

    thanks about my mom. this is the longest most dreadful process. and yet its my sister that deals wit it day in and out. I cant wait to see my mom, but i feel kind of sick and apprehensive too. The drive will give me time to get it together.

  9. dont make me hafta beggy
    be my valentine, purple eggy

    My mom was a is counselor. in fact, she was a professional. thanks for the good not sure enjoy is likely but good is possible.

    yoborobo: yeah - i dont know if on VD I received a valentine from everyone - but i think there were years i only gave out valentines to people i really wanted to. but you - you can make this schizz in your sleep. how many plush did you sew today? 15?

    savannah: i will giver her a kiss from you. you are so sweet and nurturing. you could be a waffle house waitress. and i mean that as sincere high praise. you dont know what a comfort their "hons" and "sweeties" are at 3 a.m.

    dianne: no - i think in an all girls school its kind of pointless. but now - its my girlfriends that get the labors of my love. I make one for V and my dad every year, but thats about it for the menfolk.

  10. Yes indeed, Pink Cat appears to have an attitude that would fit in nicely with my crew.

  11. I love the valintine which I got from you one year ....

    so sorry to hear about your mum.

  12. I'm not terribly into Valentines Day, but I adore your Love Bugs and your cards.

    Oh honey, I'm so sorry to hear about your mum. If ever you want to pop round for a cup of coffee and a warm hug. I'll be there.

    Many hugs and warm thoughts to keep you company on the long trip ahead.

  13. utterly charmin'!

    ............oh no, Yore Mama is ailin'? Sweet pup, blessin's on yore travel--jes' so sorry.

  14. Enjoy the time with your Mom and I'm sure she will love her card. They're awesome! ((hugs))

  15. Oh, sweetie, I'm sorry about your mom. Hugs and prayers sent your way.

    Thank you, though, for reminding me just how fun Valentine's Day was when we were kids. My mom insisted I make a card for every kid in class, even the weirdos. Maybe I'll be inspired to make a couple this year; the ones you've sent me these past couple have a permanent place on my fridge. They whisper to me daily: "Slacker." :o)

    Here's my poem:

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    You make my heart race . . .
    Because I just spent fifteen minutes chasing you down on the playground specifically to headlock you and smother you with my cooties.

    (Yeah, I was that kind of girl.)

  16. Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    She prefers kenga
    but I wrote her haiku

  17. I love this card. And this post. I remember clearly the kind of V-day projects at school. Also, the valentines cards in MY DAY all came in various sizes, and so you gave the little cards to the kids who weren't your friends, the medium size ones to the kids who were; but the 1-2 extra large ones? Those went to the boy you really liked and your total BFF. Or maybe to the teacher. Everything is merchandising and marketing in today's world, sadly. I bet there are some enterprising moms out there, though, who are doing craft projects with the kids for V-day cards. I sure hope so.

    I hope you have a wonderful visit with your mom. There is not much that is tougher to go through ... and I hope that your family is strong and pulls together through it all. Peace be with you.

  18. Love me with chocolate!
    Love me with milk!
    I'll cherish those lips,
    Offering your sweet kiss!

    There you are,
    My personal history in print.

    I so appreciate your view of a needed cheery holiday in the midpoint of the Winter glooms. Really adore the process of making an artful statement of love is something you still do for your Mom. So dear. Have a wonderful visit. Godspeed.


    Another contest for you to win!

  20. Safe travels, Pal. I'm sorry for the journey you're beginning but I love that Valentine you made for you Mom and she will too. xoxo.

    I have the Valentine you made for me last year on my bulletin board at work and on Friday made a photocopy of it for a project I did yesterday with my Nephew.... it will be up later.

    I love making Valentines and one year I made red acrylic ones that looked like real hearts.... I put a clear transfer of the outline of the heart on top of it. They were fun to make.

    Thanks for the reminder that it's time to start thinking about them now.

  21. You are again inspiring me. Thank you chickory, for 18 years we did the heart doilies interweaving red ribbon where holes could be punched, filling the envelopes with candy hearts and gave to everyone because Mother was concerned no one have hurt feelings.

    Meanwhile, you are on a great mission. Squeeze out every bit of beauty from it and treasure the moment. On this mission, you are not making valentines, you are making memories.

    >Jah Guide<

  22. I love love LOVE the Sterling pic! If someone doesn't want it, I know someone who does. ME! Or rather, Sterling wants it! He needs more attention!

  23. Chickie,

    I have no clever or corny Valentine's Day poetry to offer. But, my memories of VD at school, are very similar to yours. There were times we decorated white paper sacks to accept the cards from the classmates. It eventually evolved into decorating shoe boxes. We'd cut a slit in the center of the lid, as an opening to slip the card into the box. I'm pretty sure we made personalized cards in art class, but as I got a little older, I (along with other kids in my class) fell to the marketing exploitation of what ever popular cartoon was the hottest of the moment. :/

    I know you will, but please love on your mom and make this one, an extra special Valentine's Day.

    As for your generous offer of a Sterling kitty portrait, I graciously accept! He's purrfect, and I'm honored to receive something from your wonderful collection!


  24. I do remember the flocked cards and they bring back wonderful memories. And I hope I made great memories with my daughters when we made valentines together, Wishing all the best for your sweet mother.


  25. I don't have a hokey saying but I've always made my valentines. Over the years I used to make a special card with a cookie. My valentine habit has now become just making the cookies. They are a beautiful heart shaped sandwich cookie with a pink creme filling. I'm sure I'll be posting about them so stop over in the next few weeks.

    Hope you enjoy your special time with your mom.

  26. I'll be making valentine muffins for all my 'loves'. Your blog is so wonderful. My French Country Home introduced you and I'm glad she did. Hugs from Canada Deb=^..^=x5

  27. Visiting from "My French Country Home". Love your chickens in the snow photos! What fun!!

  28. Glad that your family is still making homemade Valentines.


  29. I remember a Valentine I got in third grade from a boy I liked. It had a picture of a seal balancing a ball on his nose, with the caption, "let's seal it with a kiss." We never did, but I treasured that Valentine for years.

  30. Good afternoon Chickory,

    I'm not real good at these things, but here's one:

    On this special day
    I have but one wish
    Go out with me my dear
    You smell better than fish

    Oh come on now, that made you smiled didn't it.

    All the best to you and your mother. Safe travels.

  31. HI Ande
    Thank you so much for joining in my giveaway week, and for being really generous by putting up one of your wonderful paintings to win. Lucky person who wins that draw!!
    My French Country Home

  32. Oh my goodness, you have just brought back the most fantastic Valentines day card making memories from school! It was such a big thing - and a huge surprise when we opened our mail!
    'I'm not Kitten, I'm Smitten' is priceless!!!
    Do Koby and Trout do Valentines day pictures as well as Hallowe'en poses?? That would surely be a sight to behold!
    What a fantastic post!!

  33. Ande, sorry just read the lines underneath the smitten kitten - every good wish to you and your mum!

  34. No rhymes, but enjoy every moment with your Mom.

    Charming cards!

  35. Hi, I'm coming over from My French Country Home, and I am so happy to have found you. I must say that I always helped my children make their own valentines for their schoolmates--it was truly a labor of love. My hubby and I still make them for each other, and kids do too even though they are in college now. I enjoyed scrolling through your blog and am looking forward to seeing more! Linda

  36. Hi, Sharon sent me over too! Love your artwork . . .thanks for reminding me of the fun I use to have making Valentine's with my children. Not sure why we stopped? I think I will get out my supplies and make them again with my youngest!

  37. New to your site and love it! I couldn't agree with you more about the sad valentine's day cards they have now. You've inspired me to attempt making my own with my kidlet this year. Thanks!

  38. Hi I'm brand new to your blog after reading about you on Sharon's. I love the Valentine card you've made. I'd love to see more of the artwork from the cute Valentines of the 50's and 60's too. Your photographs and art are just beautiful. Thanks for giving us a peek into your world.

    Hugs...Tracy :)

  39. Thank you ALL for your kind words of support. Things are relatively quiet and stable this morning.

    I am happy to read how many people have remembered childhood valentines days and are inspired to make their own this year.

    I want to extend a very warm welcome to all the visitors from My French Country Home blog and I hope you will return to CHickory. Good Luck on the French Hen under FLowering QUince painting drawing!

  40. we LOVE homemade valentines !!
    and we're smitten with your kitten
    xoxoxo les Gang

    sunshine + warm = mom = rejuvenating

  41. What a cute card!!! I miss helping my kids make their valentine cards. In our school district, valentine parties end at third grade (which I think is a shame). Kids are made to grow up so fast.

  42. you are dead right about the kids. even if they do get to make their own, it's all stickers and glue guns.

    nice post.


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