Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just a couple weeks away and I will be sharing some quick, pretty Valentine projects and ideas in the next few posts. The history of exchanging cards, small gifts of chocolates and candy began centuries ago. The exact origins of the day are a blend of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. Who was Saint Valentine?

According to the Catholic Church, there were at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. Their stories are ones of defending the innocent leading to their ordered deaths and emphasizing their appeal as romantic heroic figures. One figure was alleged to have written before his death “From your Valentine”. By the Middle Ages Valentine was one of the most popularly known saints in England and France.

As for the date of Valentine’s Day in mid February, it is believed to commemorate the anniversary of St. Valentine’s death or the Church attempts to “Christianize” the pagan fertility celebration of Lupercalia. Whatever the legends mixed with history surmise, the tradition of Valentine greetings and tokens of affection have been exchanged since the 1400’s!

The oldest preserved valentine was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Today Valentine’s Day is celebrated in several countries, the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In North America we probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, an enterprising woman, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines. Howland a very creative lady, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with lace, ribbons and pictures known as “scrap.”

With Esther as inspiration I took out my “scrap” box of felt and ribbons, started cutting heart shapes with different scissors edges, pinking shears make a nice decorative edge. The hearts are layered, ribbon loops for hanging and buttons, pearls for embellishments. This would be a fun group activity for any age, assemble the supplies, some snacks and enjoy making valentine creations!

What you will need:
9″ x 12″ pieces of Red, Pink, White, Fuchsia felt
Felt, scraps
Ribbons, buttons, charms, flowers
Beacon Fabri-tac glue
Scissors, decorative scissors, pencil, ruler

How to:
1. Fold felt  pieces to cut out different sized hearts from 2″ to 6″ in contrasting colors of felt. Begin with the smallest heart shape using that as your guide to cut the larger ones.

2. Arrange hearts in layers of two or three, glue together. Glue ribbon loop for hanging in at back.
3. Embellish with ribbons, buttons and flowers.

Keep creating! Debra