Thursday, January 30, 2014

Valentine's Day Swoonery

I really love Valentine's Day.
There's no rhyme or reason.

My history with V-Day hasn't even been particularly note-worthy or positive.

My foil-wrapped cassette recorder Valentine box in 3rd grade wasn't honored as the true piece of art it was.

Rob Bendenbaugh gave me a plastic ring when I was in 4th grade and I ran off the bus and straight to the barn, where I threw it to the bottom of the garbage can, so sure I would be in trouble if my parents found out.

I never had secret admirers sending me carnations during the dreaded sale the cheerleaders ran every year in high school.
When we were in between engagements, Cory gave me a V-day card covered in neon smiley faces and took great pains to not use the word "love" in his salutation.

Still, somewhere along the way, Cupid snagged me.

If I'm being honest, I probably just like an excuse to string paper garlands up everywhere. (Though it does beg the question, Which came first? The obsession or the heart-shaped paper punch?)

Despite Robert telling me he thinks it's "stupid" to celebrate holidays, I went ahead and draped every upright surface with strands of magazine hearts and melted crayon wax.

Obviously, I'm not showing you this stuff because we're so top-notch and fancy around here, or even because I've stumbled upon some kind of great craft wizardry.

I'm just a big believer in letting my home reflect who I am, what I love, what gives me joy and even what entertains me. I like to keep switching things up around here, especially since that usually only means draping a different piece of garage sale fabric over a tension rod and hanging other pictures from the same, old nails.

I made some of this stuff years ago and all I needed was to string it up with a few pieces of tape, begged and borrowed from Silas Park, THE KEEPER OF THE TAPE.

I didn't pay a red cent for my "Valentine's Decorations". I  just did what I do best and scrounged around a little. It's not rocket science. I'm sure it's not even close to the look most people want. And yes, sometimes I feel like I'm one short breath away from becoming the old lady who strings plastic toys from her fruit trees.

But this stuff has cheered me up over 8 snow days in January alone and that's not nothing.

It's okay if you don't get all willy-nilly over every podunk holiday.

But if you do, work it, Sisters.
No apologies.

Your husband might think it's strange at first, but over time, he'll start to notice and then he'll start to tell you he really likes the plastic birds on the wall and then he'll start spending all his time in jail and he'll grow a ridiculous beard but now I'm just projecting.

I feel like we've done this before, but do you have any good Valentine's stories?
Happy one? Hilarious ones? Neon Smiley Face ones?

Lay it on us.


  1. do you connect the hearts for the garland using your sewing machine? how does that work, exactly ? :)

    i made 2 subway art canvases, one with places we like to travel to, and by travel i mean drive to and get a hotel on priceline- so one has places/names from chicago, the other is for our town, fairmount, i guess i did it as sort of a joke, and my family just rolled their eyes at me and asked where i planned to hang THAT THING. it says fairtucky instead of fairmount, has the initials DG for dollar general... anyway it's a lot funnier in my head than in real life. both pieces found a spot on our dining room wall, and one day i came home from work only to see that both were off the wall and some nice matted, framed print of a University bldg. hung in their places... the story gets worse and more ridiculous, but fairtucky and chicago are up 2-1.

    1. This is my favorite story OF THE WEEK.
      Just persist, Sister. Don't let them have this one.

      And yes, I sewed the hearts up on my sewing machine. I even had to refill the bobbin, which is always traumatic, but this was THAT important. Just feed them through! Super easy. I just kept my foot on the pedal and by the time I grabbed another paper heart to feed through it left nice gaps in between them. I'm sure it's not great for the needle? A worthy sacrifice.

  2. Your Valentine history and mine sound so similar. Except my best friend bought me one of those carnations so I wouldn't have to walk around school empty handed that day. (She's still my best friend to this day!).

    My one short high school flame bought me a tub of Costco bubble gum. I'm so glad I married a man who at least buys me chocolate.

    My felt heart garland went up last night and I crafted paper arrows. I'm a happy girl. :)

  3. I love Valentine's day and I get all cranky when people refuse to celebrate it because "you shouldn't need to set a side a day to show someone you love them" And I say, "Of course you shouldn't - but isn't it fun!" When I was in Kindergarten through 5th grade I had a "boyfriend" that would deliver a box of chocolates or a small gift (think precious moments ceramic plate kind of stuff...) every Valentine's Day. No matter we never talked otherwise, I could always count on a Valentine gift from him. One year I decided to reciprocate and picked out a small heart shaped box of chocolates and when I showed my dad I could tell he didn't really approve so I pretended they were really for my dad all along and gave them to him. Haha! Your garlands are lovely and just right. Sometimes I get tired looking at so many perfect things on pinterest and feel like there is this contest to who can have the best/most perfect creations. I love that your home and everything about it are so REAL. (And I think REAL is lovely)

    1. Oh my word. Your candy story is both heart-wrenching AND hilarious!

  4. I love all your festive holiday decorating! It just shouts of who you are. You've inspired me this morning to scatter a bit of Valentine's Day love around here, too!

  5. plastic animals in the trees - lol. yikes!
    i finally snagged a heart punch while shopping for christmas craft supplies. seemed so indulgent at the time but for 3 years i've waited till before valentines and couldn't find one ;) mid january i made a garland and put it on our mantle. the kids were saying it was a bit early but it makes me smile every time i look at it! thanks for the inspiration. xoxo ellie

  6. Have you listened to Steve Martin's album Love Has Come? That one canvas even looks like it with the black and the gold. Such a good album!
    Also my husband just trimmed his huge beard for an interview, which made for a very sad day for me. I'm not even sure who that guy is that's living with me.
    Love your decorations!

  7. I once got broken up with when asking my boyfriend what he wanted to do for Valentine's day. Boy, I had some teenage rage after that. Ha!

    My husband and I eloped on Valentine's Day so it has since been redeemed and is my favorite.

  8. I was anticipating our first Valentines Day before we were married with completely unrealistic expectations which were appropriately squelched. I spent way too much time planning what to get him which only set me up for an epic disappointment. Which I received. He gave me a nicely wrapped box and inside was a used down vest from Goodwill, complete with STAINS on it. At the time I knew that he truly thought I would love it - it was a name-brand vest, full of quality down and he got it for a steal of a price. Bless his heart. I choked back tears - couldn't even say thank you. Needless to say he hasn't given me anything used (for a gift) since. I look back on that 30 years ago with a grin - because it tells me how far we've come, both in terms of his gift-giving and my tendency to ruin holidays with unrealistic expectations.
    Love your garlands!!!

    1. That made me laugh out loud--so funny! The year we were engaged, my husband gave me a book on dog training, a subject in which I have zero interest. It was hard to know how to react, because he did not mean it as a joke!

  9. We keep it real hood at my casa - I salvaged (aka snagged from a burn pile in the dead of night) a big old tree limb, hung it on the wall behind the tv. My kid's comments? "whaatttt?" and "isn't that too big for this tiny house?". my response: "word" and "yes, but that hasn't stopped us before". It became the Christmas Stick and I hung twinkly lights and felt stockings on it. For Valentine's Day I just put up a felt banner that says "Love you this much" (it stretches the entire length of the too big stick) added teeny glitter hearts, and a pink and red Nepalese paper banner of birds and butterflies. I guess we keep it hood, and festive, and multi-culti.

  10. Last year my dear, dear husband bought me a heart shaped tin of cherry suckers. I hate cherry candy, but I big puffy heart Star Wars, and it was a Darth Vader tin, so he scored major points! Fun tin, no fattening sugary candy!!!!

  11. My man & I were/are each other's first everything. We started courting on a January 1st, so we hadn't got super close by the time Valentine's came around, & he was still so fired up & wanted so badly to impress me. He got us reservations (something it took 5.5 years before he did it again) at The Melting Pot. He was a little bit late to pick me up, which only really frustrated me because I knew my mom was JUDGING him, because I'm her "baby girl" & here I was going on a fancy date with some boy. When we made it to the restaurant, they asked to see his id to confirm the reservation, & that was the moment that he realized that he forgot his wallet. They were really nice & held our table for us, but oh, the poor boyfriend was sooooo embarrassed. & then there was the part where they had a special menu just for that night which was even MORE expensive than their normal fare, & I knew he was broke. We openly agreed to cut corners wherever we could. It was very memorable, I'll tell you that. But not as bad the NYE that followed! Heh heh heh...

  12. Oh carnation day -- so horrible every year. Except the one year that this boy I grew up with since kindergarten bought all of his girl friends who never ever got carnations a flower.
    Not a fan of the holiday, but I am excited about the Valentine's tea at my son's preschool. Last year I was given a paper where all of the kids listed why they loved their mom, and my sweet boy wrote "because she loves me." Swoon.

  13. LOVE the hearts!!! I think that's going to be my project for this weekend! The wonky always wins in my book and is charming to boot! I am a huuuge fan of use what ya got- preach on sista!
    My favorite Valentines Day: 2010
    My boyfriend, his son and I had spent all day together watching the Daytona 500, eating popcorn with snow caps and playing debit card Monopoly. Much later that night after the loooong red flagged race restarted and finally finished, I was presented with a box of chocolate pecan turtles and written on the box was "will you marry me?" This was followed up swiftly with the presentation of the ring- a family heirloom that needed sizing and was way too big, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. We've been Mr and Mrs for almost 4 years now. ♥

  14. The hearts and birds are such a sweet combination. February is "love month" around our house since we started dating in February (many moons ago) and got married on Valentine's day itself. It's my excuse to get a bit sappy even : )

  15. Never been a big fan of Valentine's Day, but THIS year will be my favorite. My wonderful hubby of almost 28 years and I will be in Africa meeting 2 of our Compassion kids. It will be hard to EVER top that, in my book! (This is our empty nest celebratory trip! :-) We loved 'em. We raised 'em. Now we are enjoying a new season!)

    1. What country?????? That is awesome and amazing!

    2. We are going with Compassion to Burkina Faso and then leaving the group and going on our own to Ghana! Headed out "kid" shopping right now! WOO HOO!

  16. Well, darn it. I have never not once had a romantic Valentine's day. It seems boyfriends and I always break up soon before or soon after, leaving the day not so joyful. This is particularly sad because I'm a crafty gal. I love to send friends cards and usually whip up at least 100 to drop in the mail the week before with a square of chocolate pressed between the card and envelope.
    This year: nada. In the midst of another transition of life and trying to just figure out how to love me better. And, perhaps most importantly, how to remember that God always loves me and that his consistent, never ending grace will see me through this rough, lonely time too.

  17. You should know that your 'fancy' decorating has inspired my whole house =). It reminded me to be less concerned about making things look perfect, and more concerned about making things reflect me. It's way more homey (is that a word?) that way.

  18. oh a heart punch. what wonders of valentines creativeness i could display, if only i had a heart punch!

  19. I love, love, love it! And I have to say as a Mommy of a Poppy Jane, I super love the fabric on your tv thingie! Maybe you shared about this before, but do you mind telling me where on earth you found it?
    Thanks so much!

  20. Not a bit, but you did make me laugh, so there's that. Thanks anyway, and when you decide to hate it, holler at me. ;)

  21. Oh I always have high expectations for Valentine's Day and my hubby (being the very practical, logical, right-brained man I married) never quite "gets it". He laughs at all my lovey dovey stuff... hearts and glitter and candles and such... but now we have a little girl and she LOVES it all! Heeheehee! :-)


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