notes from maggie's farm
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur
There are two special memories I recall when Valentine's Day comes around.
The first is the year my mother set out construction paper, scissors, old Christmas cards, paste, doilies, and pipe cleaners and she sat around the table with my brother and I, the three of us creating valentines to send in the mail to my grandparents, and to give to one another. It is noteworthy because, although my mother was not a fan of doing anything that was untidy, she was a fan of creative expression, inheriting her mother's artistic abilities. It was a very special treat when she shared those skills with the two of us: we knew we'd have the best looking whatever in school when Mom gave us a hand. Naturally, she kept our handiwork, and all these years later, I have one tucked away, perfectly preserved, in her hope chest.
Not surprisingly, the second memory is a time that I was the mother and it was my two young daughters who shared the valentine-making with me. I, being not nearly as tidy, pulled out everything imaginable, including glitter in shades of pink, gold, silver, and red, sequins, markers, paints, fabric, papers, old french newspapers....I had boxes full of art supplies, having spent time as an art instructor during teacher training. Glitter, upon occasion, was the only reason I kept going back for more (abuse), on the darker of school days. (It was a particularly difficult time in my life, that first year of teaching.) All three of us skipped school (oh, I mean, we all came down with something dreadful) and spent a cold, blustery afternoon with hot chocolate, glitter on our face, dancing like monkeys, and rolling with raucous laughter. It was before they hit the teen years, when all such merriment would be nothing more than a quaint relic of the past, so forgive me as I indulge fully in the moment.
I have to admit there actually is a third memory. The year that I had two flower deliveries, from two suitors, on the same day. My boss looked at me suspiciously and said something somewhat unsavory (being quite a pig, himself, he had piggish thoughts that couldn't stay in his piggish mouth.) My sassy reply likely secured my status as receptionist-most-likely-to-be-gone-within-the-year, (in fact I quit a week later, bound for a much better job), saved my self-respect and, really, who wants to be a receptionist for a pig, anyway? But that has nothing to do with gift wrap, so I'll leave that for another day.
Back to the packages at hand. I share those first two memories so that you'll know how delighted I was as I pulled out my very most special art supplies to package my little treasures, created for those people that are my special valentines, for whom no ordinary store-bought packaging would do.
As my fellow blogger, writing group leader, food swapper, and all around cool friend, Kate Payne, of Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking fame does also, I stock my coffers with several sizes of quite inexpensive glassine bags. The one's you see, below, are pretty, shiny, faintly rose-colored, and one type of many I keep on hand. Grab some at your local bakery supply and you'll be ready for any last minute gifts from your kitchen, hearts, and hands to their's.
I have a collection of scrapbook papers...well, I have a small obsession, actually. A small obsession of scrapbook papers is more like it. I mean, they are like fabric that you can GLUE. I come naturally to this, being from a long line of seamstresses. I have a tiny obsession with textiles, a small obsession with papers, a larger obsession with ephemera, and an unhealthy desire for projects involving textiles and papers. So it probably won't surprise you to know that I have one of these, and one of these, and many of these.
I layered a few prints of similar colors, but unique patterns, and hand-lettered the tag. For a more 'professional' delivery (this one was for my sweetheart, so personal trumped professional), perhaps employ the use of your word processing program and a printer. Fold down the top of the bag a few times, smoothing out wrinkles and affixing the topper of your making. I used these little clothespins, which I found in the doll section of a local craft store, but you could as easily use binder clips, glue, or a stapler to attach your topper. I stuffed some bags with a little filler, some without. Just remember that as cool as newsprint looks, you'll not want it against food items, so be careful what you use in packaging. These are just the beginnings....take these ideas, improve upon them, make them your own, but mostly, have FUN.
Happy Valentine's Day, Friends!