Scrappy, Happy Valentines

Making and sending Valentines reminds me of my school days. The adult version of Valentine’s Day is a massive industry promoting over-priced roses, chocolates (though I wouldn’t say no) and other consumer goods. It’s more fun looking back fondly on a certain Valentine’s Day in grade 3.

Millbrae Elementary School, 1968

Millbrae Elementary School, Grade 3, 1968 I’m the only redhead in the class

Our teacher walked us into the cafeteria toward the end of the school day where we sat facing each other. She stood at the head of the row and handed out Valentines down the line from our fellow classmates. She called each name, and one by one passed the cards down the line. What fun! In those days, boys and girls gave everyone a Valentine. It was about sharing and caring, not romantic love. I adored that tradition.

I’ve had such a good time making Valentine’s Day cards this year as I reminiscence about that day in school so many years ago. Isn’t it funny what stays with you?


Pretty pink paper from The Island

My card making goes something like this. I head to my favorite local paper store (The Island’s Creative Escape) and start crafting in my head. I plan and discard ideas, until inspiration strikes. Then I make my purchases and head home. Once home I start with the plan in my head, but quickly tire of the idea and move off into different directions.

Now that I have a handy-dandy, low-tech, die-cutting gadget called a Big Shot, I wanted to try some heart-shaped dies.

Sizzix Big Shot

Sizzix Big Shot die cutting machine

Lawn Fawn heart dies

Assorted Lawn Fawn heart dies

I bought two sets of heart dies, straight out of the box. They’re designed by a company called Lawn Fawn. The shipment had just arrived in the store but they let me grab a set before they put them out for display. They’re sold in a packet with three sizes. The ruffled edge is larger and meant to nest with the stitched-styled heart.

DIY Valentine's Day cards

Playing around with techniques including folder embossing, powder embossing, die cuts, and stick-on gems.

I came home with pink paper and the heart-shaped dies and proceeded to make all sorts of mistakes. I used the rubber stamp upside down. I double stamped an image rendering it useless, then I used the rubber stamp upside down (again), which made me utter, as I might have in grade 3: Oh brother! At this rate, no one would get a Valentine.

Eventually I hit my stride and started having fun. After initially using the supplies from The Island, I pulled out my red, pink and white scraps and punched a bunch of hearts. My friend Mary Ann gave me several paper sample booklets years ago, and I continue to put them to use. I tore out the samples in my preferred colors and die cut even more hearts.

I saved this beautiful, floral lining from a Papyrus greeting card last year. It was just the right size for the flip-it card. I’m not sure why I get such pleasure out of using scraps but I do.

envelope lining reused in card

Envelope lining reused in card

Here’s one more. I cut small strips from some of my tiniest scraps, then arranged them like a strip quilt. I’ve since used this technique on a few other cards. I’ll share them in a future post.

In addition to making cards for friends, I put together simple card-making kits for my Little Free Library.

Valentine's Day Card kit

I made the sign using scraps and a vintage playing card

A couple of weeks earlier, my sister Sharon gave me a packet of cellophane envelopes that she no longer wanted. They’re the perfect size for the card kits and they seal. Serendipity!

Card making kits for Valentine's Day

A dozen card kits, offered in our Little Free Library

I used the left-over paper and stickers to make a dozen card kits. It was fun watching them disappear one by one.  Someone else is enjoying card-making, too. A week or so later when I had a bit of spare time I put together another dozen kits. It was a terrific way to use my scraps, and fun to think of someone crafting their own Valentine from one of the kits. I’ll definitely offer them again next year.

Wishing you and your inner child a Happy Valentine’s Day.


50 thoughts on “Scrappy, Happy Valentines

  1. They are beautiful and it looks like you had fun making them! It’s a great idea to share the kits in your Little Free Library!
    And I picked you out of the 3rd grade group even before reading the hint. 🙂


    • You didn’t need a hint, eh? ;-). Thanks for your kind words. I did have fun once I relaxed and got into the zone. I watch a lot of card-making techniques, which are fun on the one hand, but they can also be intimidating. The kits were great fun.


  2. Just lovely, Alys! What a happy flurry of activity in your craft space. Your valentine cards turned out so delightful! I love the creative ways you recycle pretty papers and piece your scraps into tiny paper quilts. With an inexpensive rubber Embossing Pad from Sizzix, you will be able to emboss using your steel dies, too! It’s a great way to make your dies even more versatile.
    What fun to see your third grade photo and hear those sweet memories! Valentine celebrations were always my favorite in my primary classroom. Heartfelt thanks for sharing your joys today. Happy Valentine’s Day, dear Alys!💗


    • Dawn, you inspire me with your own love of card-making and the special links you’ve shared over time. Jennifer McGuire shares so many wonderful tips and tricks and explains them well. Your cards are gorgeous and I know your love and care infuse every one of them. Such a gift. I’m glad you share my enthusiasm for school-aged Valentine’s Day. Sending you a big hug across the miles, and an extra hug from Marlene. We’re about to have a lovely dinner here in her home after a fun day together. Xo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had so hoped to make my own this year but it just didn’t happen thanks to a tough January. But I have the one you made for me. 🙂 I love that you put out those kits in your LFL. What fun those borrowers must be having. Hope you have a happy valentines day in spite of the fact that it will be a bit different this year. Hugs soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They are lovely cards Alys! And you have a Big Shot! I’ve been told Big Shots are the best and you deserve the best! I love what you do with the scraps and making those kits for tLFL – genius!! I’ll bet there are some happy new card makers out there now! I have heart dies and never think to use them. I’ve recently sorted all my dies and stamps and am going to be getting rid of a lot – you should have a rifle through when here – we might send you home with more card making paraphernalia 🙂 I forgot it was Valentines Day today – it’s not big here. We are so boring! 🙂 I spent the day doing things like tidying the garden and washing windows and puppies – I suppose that’s love 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pauline, what a dear thing to say! Thank you. I’m really having fun with that big shot, and I’m getting a nice little arm workout in the process. I have such a small crafting area, that I sometimes put it on the floor or I take it into the kitchen and use the counter. I would love to look through the dies you are ready to release into the world. Thank you for thinking of me.

      Washing windows and puppies sounds like love to me. Clear glass for unobstructed views, and sweet smelling puppies make the world go ‘round.

      Sending a big hug from Marlene. We’re having such a good time.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How lovely! Great that you used so many scraps too – you could have participated in Kate’s Scraphappy day tomorrow – she doesn’t limit it to fabric! I think it’s such a nice idea to put those little kits in your LFL – now that’s really spreading the love on Valentine’s Day.
    I picked you out in the school photo straight away – you have hardly changed at all 🙂


    • I really had fun assembling those kits, and perhaps even more the second time once I knew they were popular with the readers that stop by. Thanks for the tip on the Scraphappy posts. I’ll ask Kate for details for next month. I always enjoy seeing what you and others post. I guess any chance of going under cover is out of the question since my appearance ages but never changes. Ha! That’s okay. The life of a spy never appealed to me anyway. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • If it’s just a one-off, you simply post on the 15th and mention ScrapHappy Day. You can add a link to my blog or not, as you wish. If you think you’d like to do it more often, I’ll add you to the email reminder list, and you’ll get an email around 12th of the month so you have time to prepare something, and I’ll put a link to your blog at the bottom of my post. Just let me know…


  6. That school photo sure does bring back memories of my Mom sewing dresses with bric a brac adorning the yoke! I adore all your cards but those card kits are an amazing idea; you are nurturing the crafters of tomorrow and bringing joy to both the makers and receivers!


    • Hi Sara! Yes, those home-sewn dresses with bric a brac were all the rage. I had fun sewing for myself in middle school and high school as well. I’m currently sewing a simple dress for my sister. It’s been fun. I’m visiting Marlene in Oregon this week and today we visited an amazing fabric store filled with gorgeous fabric and trim. We don’t have anything like it at home. Thank you for your kind words and for all your good cheer.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I know quite a few people who hate Valentine’s day because all the emphasis on couples makes them sad (or feeling like a failure), so your memories of it being about sharing out love to everyone have really struck home. Generally we just ignore the whole thing, but I think that next year I will take a leaf out of your (scrap) book and make lots of cards to send to friends. Your cards are lovely and how wonderful to spread the creativity with the little kits – that is what it should all be about!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jan, thank you so much. I remember my single days and how their was so much emphasis on couples. What a shame, too, that we’re judged (especially women I’ve noticed) on whether or not we have a partner. It’s as if to say we’re unlovable if Valentine’s Day arrives and we’re not in a relationship. How crazy society can become. I love dialing it back to childhood joys and sharing with good friends. I love my husband dearly, but life would not be the same without all the amazing women in my life. I’m looking forward to seeing or hearing about your cards next year.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Happy Valentines Alys!!
    I could pick you out of that class photo in a heartbeat! You really do look very similar still.

    We”ve actually already celebrated Valentines here. Well, I guess our whole trip is one continuous celebration. So we didn’t exchange anything extra, just a kiss and a wish.

    I love that you use your scraps. You’re my re-purpose/re-use guru. I think I might have told you once, I have to cut my scraps into squares or rectangle (some kind of weird OCD thing). I just don’t like ragged, odd shapes I guess. Anywho, I store each colour in a clear zippered envelope to easily see and grab what I need.

    I really love the embossed cards. I have so many of those folders and forget to use them. Thanks for the inspiration ! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Alys, I too have fond memories of Valentine’s Day from grade school. Other than Christmas, it was the only time of year we had a party. We would each design our own “mailbox” for the valentines to be distributed, and then each of us got to play mail carrier at the party. Fun! And I think it’s wonderful that you made those kits for the LFL. Hmmm…maybe this kit-making for the LFL could be extended for other occasions at future crafting sessions? You might get lots of donations for that, too. And what fun for those who drop by the LFL to see what’s new.

    As one who also loves to use scraps, I’m going to make a guess at why you love it. It’s because you would rather not waste anything that, with a bit of effort and imagination, could be put to good use. Where others see limitations, you see possibilities. Where one person might see something as worthless, you see hidden potential. Your willingness to think creatively gives you the power to redeem something that someone else might toss away, and instead, you make something beautiful with it. In the words of a favorite childhood picture book title, imagine what this world would be like “if everybody did.” Happy Valentine’s Day to a TRUE “sweet heart.” ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You always inspire me with the creativity and artistry you bring to all aspects of your life, Alys — but this post takes the cake! Your cards are flat-out gorgeous. Just like the sentiment behind them. Happy Valentine’s Day to you! xx


  11. Love your cards Alys! What patience you must have, making frustrating mistakes and yet persevering. The results are gorgeous. And putting the sets in your little library is such a lovely idea. Have a wonderful rest of Valentine’s Day and a great week! 🙂


    • Hi Cathy. I’m glad I stuck with it and got to a place where I really enjoyed the process. I also love choosing the perfect postage stamp and of course writing a note inside. I wish I had time to send one to everyone I love. Perhaps I’ll start a rotation. I hope your hearts day saw a bit of sunshine. Xo

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I saw you right away in the picture! You look like you. And I saw a card I recognized!! I really can’t believe you make these. Mine would not look nearly so professional. But creating things and having certain tools to enable that is such a pleasure, isn’t it? And you passed that on to the Little Free Library patrons! Good for you. And happiest of happy Valentine’s Days!


    • Lisa, for some reason your comment “you look like you” made me smile. Some people change quite a bit as they move from adolescence to adulthood, but I’ve heard others say that I look the same so it must be true. Even my inability to keep my mop of hair combed has followed me all my life. LOL It has been a real pleasure buying and using the tools for cards. I used to have one or two stamps, a couple of stamp pads and it wasn’t as satisfying. Now, with a fairly small investment, I feel like I can pull together a variety of cards and it’s been great fun.

      As for the library kits, I loved putting them together. When I volunteered in the boys classrooms many moons ago, I would often design a card for the class to make during the end of year party or at Christmas. The kids always had a good time. I hope your hearts day sparkled.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Alys. I was talking with my mother tonight and I told her about your cards and card kits in your little free library and she thought it was really neat. As for your picture, I think some people have faces that remain recognizable from childhood. You could see a picture of my brother today and as a child and know him and you have that same thing. I do think having the right tools can make a project a pleasure and you and Kelly have some of the coolest tools on earth. Die cutters and stampers and crimpers and fascinating stuff you’ve shown in your blogs. It’s pretty cool. I hope your V-day was sparkly as well.


  13. How fun you’ve made Valentine’s for others while also entertaining your own creative soul! And to think of putting the little packets in your Little Free Library is just the best! Your classroom photo brings back memories for me, as well. And by the way, I will be in Millbrae on Saturday. 🙂


    • Oh my gosh…you’re going to be in Millbrae? I would have made an effort to meet you, but here I am visiting Marlene in Oregon. Next time you pass through I would love to meet, Debra. I loved making these cards, and as I make more and more, I gain the confidence to continue. My sister makes cards, as do many of my friends. It’s a fairly new hobby, but a beloved one. I hope you had a happy heart day.


  14. I love the story behind your love of Valentine’s Day; it sounds a great way to spread the love in a non-romantic way. My experience at school was quite different. All those who didn’t get a card ended up feeling inferior to those that did get one, or even several. I love that you made up kits to give away in your Little Free Library! It must have been wonderful to watch them being snapped up by grateful folk in the neighbourhood.


    • Oh Sheila, that makes me so sad. All those tender little hearts full of hope. It was all or nothing up until 5th grade. You could opt out of giving anyone a card, or you had to give one to everyone. It has been great fun making kits for the library. I saved my sign for next year.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It was so easy to spot you that photo! Valentine’s Day was a big deal when we were in school, wasn’t it? Your cards blow my mind–I could never imagine putting such energy into cards but, when I see yours, I’m so amazed. And my favorite part is that you made kits for your LFL . . .


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