Ever wonder why doves are sometimes called “love birds” or why Cupid uses an arrow to unite lovers? Here’s the history of a few common symbols of this lovely holiday.
Sometimes I just need to paint something, glue something, and make something cute, ya know? Life can get so hectic but there is something about taking 30 minutes (or less) and doing a craft project that calms me down. So every once in a while I will stop what I’m doing and pull out some supplies and see what happens.
That’s the story behind this quick, easy and totally cute Valentine’s Day craft – a “conversation heart” door hanger that is perfect for any door or small wall space in your home. Paint the hearts any color you like, write a few sayings, glue on some ribbon and voila! Instant gratification.
And then you can resume your busy schedule.
3 Wooden hearts from the craft store (4″ across)
1 Spool of red & white polka dot ribbon (1.5″ wide)
Acrylic craft paint (I used yellow, pink and lavender)
Foam paint brushes
Red paint pen
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Sand paper or sanding block
1. Lightly sand each wooden heart with the sanding block or sand paper. Just enough to smooth out any rough edges. Remove any dust with a barely damp paper towel.
2. Paint each heart a different color. Apply at least 2 coats for complete coverage, allowing to dry between coats.
3. When the paint is completely dry, write conversation heart sayings on each heart with the red paint pen. (You could use a red Sharpie marker if you don’t have a paint pen.) For inspiration on what to say, click here for a recap of the newest sayings from the maker of the Sweethearts candy.
4. Lay out the hearts, spacing them evenly apart. Measure a length of ribbon – you want it long enough to fit all the hearts plus at least 6 inches above and below the hearts.
5. Glue the hearts in place with hot glue. (Use more than you think you need.)
6. Fold down the top inch of the ribbon and secure with a dot of hot glue (you want a double thickness of ribbon to be tied into the bow). Measure another length of ribbon to create a bow – about 2 yards if you want the streamers to be as long as middle ribbon. Use this ribbon to tie a bow around the top of the ribbon with the hearts, making sure the knot is nice and tight.
7. Cut the bottom edge of the ribbons in an inverse “V” shape if desired. Hang the doorhanger from the knot in the bow from a nail or hook.
Who can believe that January is nearly over, and our next holiday is just two weeks away? Never fear … with just one task or two a day beginning February 1, you’ll sail through Valentine’s Day on Cupid’s wings.
Here’s your day-by-day countdown to keep on track over the next two weeks. Be sure to add the tasks to your planner.
1 – Add a few touches of Valentine’s Day around the house: a wreath on front door, a collection of red and pink and white candles on a sideboard, or a heart-shaped dish full of fragrant potpourri on your night stand are just a few ideas. The “LOVE” votives shown above are surprisingly easy and oh-so-affordable.
2 – Make a list of the Valentines you wish to send. Purchase greeting cards and children’s Valentines to hand out at school, or use an online service like hallmark.com or Plaxo to send your cards for you.
3 – Not sending greeting cards this year? Schedule e-cards today for delivery on the 14th.
4 – Read Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, each a perfectly crafted romance. No time to read? Download an audiobook on sites like iTunes and audible.com and listen during your commute or on the treadmill.
5 – Make heart-smart snack mix. Combine 1/3 c. each of three kinds of dried fruits (dried cranberries, diced dried apricots, raisins, or dried cherries, etc.) and 2/3 c. each of roasted nuts and seeds (try a mix of almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds). Package 1/3 c. portions in snack-sized zipper bags and stash in your desk, your tote and the kids’ backpacks.
6 – Plan your Valentine’s Day menu and make your shopping list. Purchase non-perishable items today, and the perishables on the 13th. Dining out on the big day? Finalize plans and make reservations.
7 – Plan the table decorations for your Valentine’s Day dinner. Layer red table runners or placemats with silver charger plates, your favorite china, red roses grouped in a small silver bowl and plenty of candles. (Tip: Tie clear votive cups with pink or red organza ribbons and use unscented candles so the scent of your delicious dinner won’t be overpowered.)
8 – Mail Valentine cards. (Remember that first class postage went up a penny on January 28, 2013.)
9 – Purchase chocolates to surprise your co-workers or friends. Indulge in a piece or two of dark chocolate yourself!
10 – Enjoy a bubble bath surrounded by candlelight, perhaps with a glass of wine or Champagne (pink of course!). Or, add an ounce of Chambord® raspberry liqueur to a flute before topping off with bubbly.
11 – Have kids sign their Valentines for distribution at school.
12 – Make heart-shaped mini cakes or Valentine’s Day cookies. Or, try these crisped rice heart treats!
13 – Shop for perishable food items for tomorrow’s meal.
14 – Spend time with your Valentine or host a chocolate tasting party with your girlfriends. A viewing of Pride and Prejudice is likewise in order!Read More
National Handwriting Day is coming up on January 23, but get out those pens now to write a note of thanks or send a Valentine’s Day wish to U.S. troops. The non-profit group amillionthanks.org forwards cards, notes, letters and even emails to military personnel serving at home and abroad, or who may be injured in hospitals.
The deadline for Valentine messages is January 15.
Founded in 2004 by a high school freshman, A Million Thanks quickly reached its goal of sending a million cards to military service members, and to date has sent more than 5 million messages.
Anyone can write a message of thanks and appreciation for the troops’ military service. There are a few rules, though, such as no confetti or glitter, and no negative messages. A complete list of guidelines, as well as sample messages, may be found on the organization’s website.
Take your completed notes to a local drop-off center (click here for locations), or bundle your cards and notes in stacks of 50 and mail them to:
A Million Thanks
17853 Santiago Blvd. #107-355
Villa Park, CA 92861
The group accepts cards, notes and letters all year, but there are deadlines for holidays. Here’s a complete list:
This is a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation for our military personnel, and is a good activity for schools, church groups, families and individuals alike. If you know a service member who would like to receive mail, submit his or her address to AMillionThanks@aol.comRead More
Love may not cost a thing, but consumers this year are set to spoil their friends, family and loved ones this Valentine’s Day in a very big way. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGinsight, the average person celebrating the holiday will shell out $126.03, up 8.5 percent over last year’s $116.21 and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history. Total spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion.
Ladies, get ready to open your gifts! And we’re not just talking candy. The survey found the average male is expected to spend $168.74 on clothing, jewelry, greeting cards and more this year – nearly twice as much as women who are expected to spend an average of $85.76.
Additionally, consumers will spend an average of $25.25 on their children, parents or other family members and $6.92 on friends. Valentine’s Day is a great day for pet owners to show their furry friends just how much they mean: the average person will spend about $4.52 on their pets.
Total spending on jewelry is expected to reach $4.1 billion, up from $3.5 billion last year. Second to jewelry, those with a case of the love bug will spend more than $3.5 billion on a special evening out. Consumers will also spend $1.8 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy, $1.4 billion on clothing and $1.1 billion on gift cards.
And just where are people shopping this year? Discount stores (37.0%) and department stores (33.6%) top the list, so be sure to plan your shopping trip early for the best selections. (Remember, Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday, so the weekend before – February 11 and 12 – will like be peak shopping times.) Others will shop at specialty stores (20.2%), floral shop (17.8%), jewelry stores (10.6%) and specialty clothing stores (6.6%).
Online retailers will see a slight boost this year, as 19.3% of gift givers will shop online. (Hint: Do it now to allow for shipping time!) And, after honing their mobile and tablet shopping skills this past holiday season, Valentine’s Day celebrants are looking to hit their smartphones and tablets once again to research and purchase gifts. According to the survey, more than half of all tablet owners (53.8%) will use their device to research products, compare prices, redeem coupons, look up retailer information or purchase products. Four in 10 (40.4%) smartphone owners will use their mobile device to do the same.Read More