Tuesday, February 9, 2016

"Jack Valentine"...and a Few Valentine's Treats!

Punch-out Valentines were my favorite!

I loved Valentine's Day as a child.  In school we would spend a day decorating old shoe boxes with construction paper hearts and stickers.  We struggled cutting out hearts with those blunt scissors and usually got more paste in our hair than on our boxes.  There were usually a few kids who enjoyed the sweet minty taste of the school paste...myself included!  In my mind my finished box was a work of art...but probably looked something like this...

I liked to wander around the room admiring...critiquing...all the other boxes.  I imagined that there would be a special card left in my box by a secret admirer.

Typical Grade School Party.
The 60's were my era.

The party above was probably a lot more fun than the ones I remember.  The last hour of school was set aside for us to line up and "deliver the mail."  We all seemed to get an equal amount of cards and teacher made sure no one was left out.  I worried about that...there were usually a few quiet and shy children in the class.  I wasn't quiet, but I was a bit shy.  We usually got a heart-shaped cookie that someone's mom had made, then we gathered up our boxes and went home.  It was fun to sit on the floor and open the cards.  Some had a few conversation hearts sealed inside the envelope, but I don't remember a lot of candy in the stores, except for the heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.  I eagerly read each card with Mickey Mouse, Fred Flintstone and others seeking a secret message from my admirer, but "I Choo-Choo-Choose You" wasn't exactly a confession of undying love!

Jack Valentine...
Who is Jack?  

Until this morning I had never heard of a character called "Jack Valentine."  I was online looking for Valentine's trivia as a possible blog topic, when I came across several mentions of Jack. Jack is a folk character from Norfolk in eastern England.  He is sometimes known as Old Father Valentine. In Victorian times in Norfolk, Valentine's Eve was almost as important to children (and hopeful lovers) as Christmas with anonymous gifts from secret admirers or parents.

Dressed in a top hat and tails, Jack Valentine would knock upon the door and leave presents for the expectant child.  Sometimes Jack would play tricks upon the children and tie string to the gift, so when the child reached for it, he would jerk it away.  After the children were thoroughly frustrated, Jack would let go of the string and let them have the gift.  But they must never look for him.  Some children found the idea of Jack a bit frightening.

This story of Jack brought back a few Valentine's memories from my own childhood.  As much as I enjoyed the school party...it was the evening that I liked most.  When I got home from school, my mom would be putting sugar cookies on paper plates for our friends. In my old neighborhood in American Fork, it was popular to leave cards or cookies on a neighbor's porch, ring the doorbell and run.  This was also when we gave cards to children that were not in our classes.  Some tricksters would tie a string to a card and jerk it away when you tried to pick it up.  Does this sound familiar?  I had never heard of Jack Valentine...yet it seems his spirit crossed the ocean with the British pioneers who settled my home town.  What do you know?  I learn something new every day!

My Funny (Random) Valentines....

Snowmen for Valentine's.
Bethany Lowe tall snowman hat was changed with glittery red hearts.

I had so many creative intentions for Valentine's this year.  But some time in January the road got a little bumpy.  First, my father fell and broke his hip, which required surgery.  On the same day his wife, Geri, suffered a stroke that in a few weeks would take her away.  It was hard for my dad to be in a rehab center in one Chicago suburb while his wife was in ICU in another.  I am so thankful that Geri's family was on hand to help him.  When Geri passed away on the 26th, we made our plans to fly to Chicago for the funeral and to support Dad.  There are a lot of plans still to be made.  Dad will be in the center for a couple of months until he can get around, then he will be coming home to stay with us.  I'll be glad to get him here...Chicago is a whole world away from here.

In the meantime...here are the few Valentine's I was able to make this year...

Snow White Mini Fairy Garden

Alice and Bambi Mini Fairy Gardens.
I discovered that I could get miniature trees and such at Hobby Lobby in the train miniatures aisle.  Alice's tree has red "roses" added. The Queen likes them red.

Glitter Snowman Hat Ornament.

Framed Valentine's Card.
Print a vintage card 8"x 10'' on printable fabric
Paint the edge of an 8"x 10"canvas frame.
Glue the fabric to the frame and add glitter hearts and letters.
Walmart sold the frames in a 2 pack.

In the hall and on the wall...
A fast, easy project that would be a great gift!

Happy Valentine's!

Meri Wiley's Darling Valentine House!
Saw it in my file and had to share!


~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love those sweet fairy gardens. I always think of making Valentines but not of crafting something special like these. You are so creative and talented! Hugs, Diane

Patti said...

I love to see what you come up with! Yes - you are so super creative. I love your Disney Valentine creations. So, so cute.
Have a wonderful love day with those you love!


Sorry to hear about your dad. You make awesome treasures and the Disney ones are very sweet. Take care.
Happy Valentine's day!

Lil Raggedy Angie said...

What a great blog ...I'm a new follower and looking forward to future posts .I love your creations just darling. Am sorry to hear of your fathers health and his wife's passing ...prayers for you all during these trying times~Blessings Angela

Musings from Kim K. said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your father's loss and recent health issues. Lots of life changes in store for you both. Please know that I'll be thinking of you. I'm glad you were able to find some time for crafting and holiday decorating. It's good for the soul! XOXO

vivian said...

oh dear.. life does often lead us down a different road then we planned. I hope your father is able to leave the rehab center and come home to you soon. Im sure he has a broken heart. that is so sad.. sorry for his and your loss.
Im glad you were still able to decorate and create some anyways and your house is adorable.
take care!
I hope you have a great week ahead
ps.. I have never heard of valentine Jack! thanks for sharing. we always get a little lesson when we visit you. love that!

Sandy McClay said...

A little late to the party that is your blog Shirley! I SO remember Grade school Valentine Day's! I actually have a partial bag of the cards that my Mom saved me.....how did she know that I would cherish them always????

I have that book of Valentines, I don't think it is that old though....but it could be! In perfect shape.....


Jann Olson said...

Love your darling Valentine fairy gardens Shirley! What a creative gal you are!!