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)

Valentine’s Day

I have a more serious blog (or two….or three….) brewing right now, but in the meantime, here’s a bit of our valentine’s day celebration….

I generally don’t get too caught up in the commercial Valentine’s Day hype. When I was younger, though, I used to spend the weeks leading up to Valentine’s day, making stacks of valentines for my family and friends. Being so far from my family (and many friends) this year, though, I decided to revive that tradition. I like the idea of taking that time to make something to show my family in particular that I’m thinking about them and care about them.

So I made and sent out a stack of Valentine’s:

I also made one for each of my housemates:

And some Valentine’s Day cookies for my kids at school (who were a little hyped up on sugar that day already :-P), as well as for Derek and Shelby, who like sweet stuff (I made vegetable risotto with organic vegetable broth, spinach, and brown rice for Lindsay and Myles, who like healthier stuff):

As for celebrating with Derek, Mondays he has class most of the day (except for a couple hours in the afternoon while I’m at work), so our options were limited. I wanted to let him know how much I love spending every day with him, though, and left him small cards throughout the day: with his coffee in the morning, in his backpack, and with lunch (including some cookies).

And finally, a blanket tent in our room to surprise Derek when he got home, inspired by this post (a bit cheesy, perhaps, but I thought it might be a fun and creative way to relax with Derek when he got home).

The next morning Derek took me out for breakfast, which was a treat (my dad used to take us out for breakfast on our birthday and I think I still prefer it to going out to lunch or dinner):