Sometimes I don't have the time, and even if I do, I get all stressed out about whether or not the recipient is going to be pleased.
So I usually save myself the grief.
I couldn't resist, however, signing up for the Hanging Hearts Swap.
I was really lucky too, and got Cindy is Crafty as my partner!
The valentine could be made with anything, and it didn't even have to be heart-shaped.
The only real requirements were it had to be smaller than 8" x 10", and it had to be able to hang.
I threw this together far too quickly before deadline, but I think it turned out okay.
It involved a lot of prep work (finding images) that took time to come together.
But I tend to wait until the last moment regardless...
I knew right away that I wanted to make a heart-shaped container.
I didn't want to use fabric, because Cindy often works with paper and collage.
I wanted to make something inspired by her style.
But the question was paper collage under glass?
Ultimately, I decided it made the most sense to use gel medium on posterboard (similar to what I did for the art doll hat).
As a side note here, I prefer gel medium (available at stamping stores, among other places) over Modge Podge.
Modge Podge, though less expensive, tends to leave too many brush lines.
And it stays sticky sometimes.
I don't use it at all.
Okay, but as I was saying, I chose poster board, even though the end result wouldn't be much of a container unless you just want to stash something light like a love letter.
I was going to cut two heart shapes and blanket-stitch the edges with a fun yarn, then it dawned on me that lacing versus stitching would be corset-like and thereby more in keeping with
a va va va voom theme.
I found some red chenille at Tuesday Morning (there went my pink and yellow idea...oh well), so it worked beautifully.
I considered leaving the lacing at the front, but no one wants a broken heart on Valentine's Day, so I put it off to the right side only.
I formed the two hearts into almost a cone shape (a shape I love), and attached a tail of German game tiles spelling out LOVE, as well as some wired buttons as a nod to Cindy's love of Button Fairies, and a symbolic key to one's heart (the latter a gift from a fellow blogger to use in an instance just like this one).
I started browsing magazines and clipping words applicable to love.
I found images that felt like a Valentine (candies, heart-shaped things, red roses...), then added more stuff from my stash--a copy of a vintage Valentine I received as a child, sheet music with a hearts theme, a copy of an illustration from Alice in Wonderland (a rabbit wearing a cloak with hearts all over it), a Queen of Hearts card from a foreign deck, and a newspaper article about symbolism of the holiday.
There is also a paper doily, a Tootsie Pop wrapper, a Love postage stamp, the paper from a Hershey's Kiss candy, gold paper, silver paint, heart-shaped jewels, and who knows what all else.
The great thing about collage is that you can layer and layer.
You can combine thicknesses of ephemera, build up glue to add texture, then go over it with paint to bring out the detail.
You can pull parts of the paper away, or sand it to give an aged effect or for added interest (the funny part here is that Cindy though one part got damaged in transport and 'fixed' it. Oops, lol).
You can add wax to areas, add thread and yarn and cement them with glue like resin.
You can embed charms, sequins, mushed up tissue paper...
The beauty of collage is flaws can look intentional, and mistakes can turn into work well done.
It's forgiving, and it's fun.
Of course I had to add a necktie daisy, since Cindy has been inspired by my love of sewing with neckties, and makes her own necktie chokers and daisies now.
I left the 'petals' longer than normal to show off the fun tie fabrics, three of which are hearts themed.
I didn't intend to collage the interior, though my first step of the process was to line it in a silver mesh for added interest.
I ended up having so many good images that I figured, what the heck!, and I added some to the interior.
My favorite is the cupcake with the I Love You candles.
Also Louise Brooks, a vintage bird paper (the actual envelope that my 60's apron came in. Yes, sometimes I don't use copies), and
I had other ideas for ephemera but ran out of room--like copies of a love spell, and a recipe for heart-shaped cookies.
I was not able to take my own photos of the valentine, so thanks to Cindy for letting me use the ones on her Flickr page and her blog.
You can read her blog post here.