Dreaming of Spring and Love

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This past week February arrived in a flurry of ice and snow. While I appreciated the snow days the blizzard brought, I have reached the point in winter where I start dreaming wistfully of spring and looking for ways to add some bright colors (yellow in particular) to the house.

Valentine’s Day is also coming up this week. While I understand that some people really hate Valentine’s Day, complaining that it was created by Hallmark for the sake of consumerism, or that it highlights some people’s loneliness in painful ways, or that it tries to cram romance into a single day rather than spreading it out throughout the year like good relationships should, I have always loved the idea of taking a day to intentionally celebrate those you love (including friends and family as much as significant others). Every year I try to find little ways to celebrate the day, whether with special treats in the morning or handmade cards for friends and family.

So last night, wrapped in a sweater with snow piled high outside, I made this simple, cheerful heart garland to hang above our front window.

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I began by cutting a whole stack of hearts out of old magazine pages, specifically choosing pages that featured warm yellows, oranges, and pinks, as well as bright florals. I interspersed these with hearts cut from the old hymnal I bought at the thrift store two Christmases ago, arranging them in a long line on the table to alternate the colors and patterns the way I wanted.

Then I sewed them all together, adding hearts from the stack as I went along.

It was so easy! Once the hearts were cut out, the sewing part took less than ten minutes. I foresee more sewn garlands coming up in my future…

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(P.S. It looks pretty great with my homemade curtains — which I still love)

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Deck the Halls with Strings of Paper

This is by no means a recent project, but it’s simple and pretty enough to post now anyway.

I made this Christmas anytime garland over Thanksgiving break when I found myself with a whole week without classes and a craving something creative. I’ve recently become enamored with garlands as a way to add simple color and interest to a room. So I cranked up the Christmas carols and followed a tutorial from education.com. All you need is paper (any kind will do), scissors, a stapler, tape, and a needle and thread. The tutorial gives a very specific size of paper to start with, but I decided that mine didn’t need to be so exact so I started with various sized rectangles cut from magazine papers (by far my favorite colorful medium to use for crafts). It meant that my stars did not end up uniform in size, but I liked that.

After I had finished making the stars, I threaded them together and hung them on our mantle. With all the busyness from school, work, changing jobs, and traveling home for Christmas, this ended up being the only Christmas decorations I put up this year, other than our collection of Christmas cards. I liked the color it added to our mantle, though, and left it up even after Christmas was over. Because stars aren’t strictly for Christmas, right? That’s what I thought :-).