A Nautical and Whimsical Spin on Valentine’s Day

I’m really not big on Valentine’s Day BUT it’s as good an excuse as any to decorate. So I am on board! I wanted to add a few homemade touches in my home that were bright and cheery (come on, spring!) but with a fresh look did not make me think of my long-packed-away Christmas decorations.

The first thing I made for my Valentine’s Day spread is by far and away my favorite because I put a nautical spin on it:

VDayWreathAs I have done many times in the past, I started this project with a dollar store purchase. Yes, for $1, this beautiful tinsel wreath could be yours!

VDayTinselI bought this because I needed a heart-shaped form. Yes, I could make it myself with wire but why reinvent the wheel? For $1, it was beyond worth it (albeit a tad misshapen). I began by giving the wreath a much needed haircut with my favorite scissors: my Husky titaniums. I received a set of 3 from my husband for Christmas a few years ago and I am hooked! Once the tinsel was closely cropped to the wire, I fired up the glue gun and got to work attaching some red polypropylene rope. I began at the crux of the heart (er, the top part … is that what it’s called?) because I figured it would be a good place to hide the seams of the rope. I attached the end and began tightly winding the rope around the form until I returned to the start. By a sheer act of coincidence, I had guesstimated the length of the rope pretty accurately and just needed to trim a few inches. Before gluing the rope end to the back of the form, I took a grill lighter and ran the rope quickly over the flame to prevent it from unraveling. I repeated the whole process with one more layer of rope. And there we have it, people! It’s that easy.

Next, I broke out the good ole birch logs because well, they just make me happy. My sister in law recently added a few skinnier logs to my collection so I was anxious to put them to good use. One of them had a handy little “hook” on it so the wheel’s started turning … what could I hang on it? I cut a piece of cardboard from the large box Tillie’s dog food had just arrived in and sloppily painted one layer of basic white paint and primer in one. I intentionally did not cover every square inch of the piece of cardboard. Once dry, I traced a heart pattern (that I had sketched on some paper) with a pencil directly on to the cardboard. I took an artist brush and some red paint left from another project and filled in the heart with a subtle, chevron-esque pattern. Again, this was intentionally sloppy. I am not one for taping off lines and measuring/planning (though I truly admire others who have the patience for this approach), I like to dive right in.

And finally, I punched some holes in the cardboard with a hole puncher and then strung some jute to hang my new creation.

VDayHeartFor the final component of my mantle, I felt I needed some flowers. But because I wanted to set it and forget it, fresh flowers were not going to cut it. I read a few tutorials on making paper flowers out of coffee filters and merged the concepts together to make these:

VDayFlowersI used a combination of white and natural coffee filters (from the dollar store!), wooden skewers, and again, more jute (slightly obsessed). I began by pinching the coffee filters in the center of the bottom so that they formed a “V.” Once I gathered 4-5 together all pinched at the base, I used a hot glue gun to gather them together. Be very careful with this step! Admittedly, I burnt my fingers a few times. After allowing the glue to cool down slightly (but not set), stick the pointed end of the skewer up through the bottom so that it goes between the pinched ends of the filters. Squeeze to set the glue around the filters and the skewer (add a dab more glue, if needed). Finally, I tied the jute around the gathered points of the filters and let the ends hang down.

Here’s our mantle (complete with lanterns from our wedding reception which are a mainstay on our mantle). I’m kind of surprised at how much I embraced Valentine’s Day this year:

VDayMantleFBCoverAs for actually celebrating the holiday, I’m kind of the Valentine Grinch. I have banned my husband from buying me flowers on Valentine’s Day because I’d rather him surprise me on a completely random day (which he has done!), when the prices are not obscenely high. Plus, red roses just really aren’t my thing. I much prefer a plant that lasts and has the potential to eventually be planted in our yard. I believe that love is expressed in small gestures and thoughtfulness that are not tied to money. But what girl doesn’t like a little surprise gift every now and then. Am I right?!




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