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.


Valentine’s Day Giveaway: The Winner Is…

Special thanks to everyone who entered my Valentine’s Day Giveaway last week.

I wrote the entrants names on pink hearts, then tossed them into my world globe. It seemed like the perfect vessel given the number of countries represented from around the world.

Global Hearts

Global Hearts

pink hearts

Pink Hearts: There’s a winner here

Representing the pink hearts were:




♥New Zealand

♥United States

Congratulations Mary Elizabeth! You won the random drawing for the“exploding circle book” featuring Pink Paislee’s Secret Crush.

winning heart

Congratulations Mary Elizabeth!

I’ll confirm your address, and then I’ll pop it into the mail to you this week.

exploding circle book

The winner receives this pop up scrapbook

Fairy Garden Valentine

cake and flowers

Cake and flowers await

brick wall

“Brick Wall” ribbon

tiny fountain

Tiny fountain made from small colored pebbles and candle holders

tiny deer

Darling Deer from Boomdee

While pulling weeds in the garden, I bent my ear to the earth. I heard the faintest whisper.  Garden fairy voices carry with the wind. You have to listen intently to hear what they are saying.

“We love Valentine’s Day,” they breathed.

You don’t have to tell me twice.  I got to work on the fairy garden with little time to spare.  The day of whimsy is in one week. February 14th is also a full snow moon so I’m expecting magical happenings in the world of imagination.

I’ve dedicated one of my kitchen drawers to fairy garden building materials. To the uneducated eye, it looks like a drawer full of junk. Look again and you’ll see tiny fencing material, tables and chairs, a small fountain and a dance floor.  Magical trees, hearts and flowers live in that drawer, too.  When time and inspiration strike, I forage through plastic lids, discarded wrappers and pieces of ribbon and then I get to work.

I challenge myself to use materials on hand, pulling together a bit of this and that. I’m never sure how things will turn out, but always have a great time with the process.

valentine fairy garden

Fairy’s eye view

Fairy Garden Frivolity

I’ve dedicated a page on my blog to fairy gardens.  You can see seasonal versions by clicking here.

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

There is still time to enter the Valentine’s Day Giveway. Simply follow this link and leave a comment there including the word ENTER. Deadline is midnight Sunday, February 9th.

Valentine's Day Giveaway

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Who doesn’t like a bit of pink on Valentine’s Day?

If you agree, please enter for a chance to win this “exploding circle book” featuring Pink Paislee’s Secret Crush.

Scrapbook Island offered these kits last year, but when I went back to buy one they were sold-out. No surprises there, but guess what?  They special ordered one for me.
exploding circle book

I loved putting this together. It will be even more fun giving it away.

Entering is easy: simply leave the word ENTER in the comment section below.  All names will go into a random drawing.  I’ll announce the winner on Monday, February 10th.

Circle book cover

Circle book cover

Open book

Open book

Here is the boring fine print: eligible to anyone entering a comment on this post, excluding family members. Deadline for comments is midnight, February 9th based on this blog’s date stamp. The winner will be selected by random drawing on February 10th.

Craft it Forward: Secret Garden in the Round

This month’s  Craft it Forward creation will soon be flying over the pond to The Pyjama Gardener.  PJ’s always witty and entertaining blog features ‘simple organic gardening and seasonal living.’  No need to take my word for it.  You can go have a look here.  According to PJ:

A Pyjama Gardener is anyone who is too impatient to get dressed before venturing outside to check the plants… it was only meant to be a quick look (honestly)… but before you know it an hour or more has passed and you’re still wearing your pyjamas!

What a thrill it was to find this beautiful paper on the shelf of Scrapbook Island!  Graphic 45 has an entire line of Secret Garden paper, featuring a PJ-clad girl on the cover!  Kismet.

This tiny ‘album’ pops open to reveal several panels. I’ve added photo mats and stickers inside, with bits of ribbon here and there.  The circular book is now ready for small photos and memorabilia.

mini scrapbook

Cover (and view of closed album)

Clam Shell Folds

Clam Shell Folds

top view

Album, top view

Inside Pages

Inside pages featuring Secret Garden

Panel View 1 of 4

Panel View 1 of 4

Panel View 2 of 4

Panel View 2 of 4

I made a similar version of this album in early March. It has a Valentine’s Day theme, so I plan to feature it in a give-away closer to the time.

I hope PJ loves this little pop-up book as much as I loved making it.

Circle Explosion Album

Craft it Forward:

Here’s how it works. The first five people to comment on the original post receive a handmade item with the gardening nirvana touch. In return, they agree to pay it forward, crafting their own unique item for the first five people on their list. Craft it Forward encourages community, creative spirit and camaraderie. It also encourages flexibility, so I expanded my list from five to seven based on interest in the project. Isn’t it fun making your own rules?

craft it forward button

Grab the button for your own Craft it Forward

Further, in the era of the internet, who doesn’t like ‘real’ mail? If you haven’t started your own Craft it Forward, today is a good day to get one going.

Sweetheart Celebrations in the Fairy Garden

Button flowers on a ribbon-wrapped spool

Button flowers on a ribbon-wrapped spool.

St. Valentine’s Day is just ten days away.  Is your fairy garden ready?

I’ve been busy with mine all afternoon.  First up, the fescue needed a haircut.  Once the ends where neatly trimmed, I tied them together with a red bow. I cut the top in the shape of a heart, but you’ll need to squint your eyes and conjure up lots of imagination to see it properly.

Next up, dead-heading the miniature cyclamen. These jobs take seconds when working in a tiny garden.The baby tears are healthy but given the cool weather, they’re holding their growth. No extra work there.

I scraped up the remaining ‘snow’ and glitter from New Year’s Eve, then turned my sights to decorating. I challenge myself to use materials on hand, pulling together a bit of this and that. I’m never sure how things will turn out, but always have a great time with the process.


Martha Stewart’s Pomegranate Red Glitter paint makes yet another appearance.  I’ve used the same 10 OZ/295 ML jar for four different projects and I’ve barely put a dent in my supply.  I freshened up the chairs with a coat of red, then painted the legs of the chair with Craft Smart silver acrylic paint.  While I was at it, I painted the patio and dance floor silver, too.

Valentine's Day Fairy Garden

Fruit tree branch fence
Painted chair
Button flowers
A lantern lights the way

The table is set


When I pruned the fruit cocktail tree last month, I saved several small branches. They’d make a perfect fence. Today I fashioned open-style posts,dipped in a bit of Martha paint.

Beeswax hearts and bunting

Beeswax hearts and bunting, red fence posts


At last, I could hang the bunting fashioned from last year’s garden calendar.  I made tiny triangles from one of the pages, glued them back-to-back, then passed them through a piece of baker’s twine.  A small ‘floral’ arrangement made from crafting buttons provides a focal point. Heart-shaped ‘plates’ complete the setting.

The ‘oil cloth’ table cover is a piece of beeswax, left over from a candle-making class.  Additional hearts, tucked here and there, provide cover for a fairy game of hide and seek.

Heart shaped bench shows the long view

Heart shaped bench shows the long view

Fescue Heart

Fescue cut in the shape of a heart


We’re all set.  Garden fairies welcome!  Please help spread the word.

Blooming Thursday: Hidden Cyclamen

Many years ago, my friend, Leslie, gave me a gorgeous cyclamen for Valentine’s Day. I was between relationships and probably feeling sorry for myself. It was a sweet gesture and a stunning specimen of a plant.

pink cyclamen

Brilliant Fuchsia

The cyclamen sat on my coffee table for many weeks, producing bloom after bloom. Then, with little warning, the leaves began to drop. I’m not one to give up easily on plants, so I tried the usual things: more water, then less water, different light. Nothing. Eventually I was out of ideas. I upended the contents of the pot into the small strip of dirt near my apartment door. Imagine my surprise a year later when the cyclamen “came back to life.” Turns out cyclamens are tubers, also known as corms. The plant had simply gone dormant.

cyclamen corm

Cyclamen corm with emerging heart-shaped leaves

Cyclamens remain one of my favorite winter plants. I planted three in colorful pots on the deck last winter so I could watch them bloom from my kitchen window. When spring rolled around, I transplanted them to larger pots and paired them with spring annuals.

As my potted darlings closed up shop in the late spring, I scooped them out of the soil and moved them to the lower garden. I found a small patch of dirt under some tall grass next to the Magnolia tree. They would be in good company and would stay cool all summer long.

It was a sweet surprise to see them back in bloom this week, refreshed from the recent rains and ready to flourish.

white cyclamen

Shaded by the grass

What’s blooming in your garden?

Cyclamen Care. I especially like the beautiful drawing at the end of this link.

Halloween Countdown

Collector Pumpkin

Collector Pumpkin