Category Archives: Valentine’s Day

a pretty Valentine’s memento

Or, if you got really lucky and received roses for Valentine’s Day consider preserving them without chemicals and without expense.

cropped rose

Simply strip the leaves from the stalks and using string or even a rubber band, wrap the string around the flower stalk and then hang upside down in a cool, dark, dry, out of the way spot. Colorado has a dry climate and the roses dry within days. In a more humid climate, check them every few days.

The color will fade and the roses are brittle and must be handled with care but they are good for creating dried flower arrangements, bouquets, tussie-mussies, or wreathes. Or just lay a single one on a dressing table, dresser, or shelf. Or place one or two in a bud vase or container

cropped rosesThey can also be used, especially smaller ones and buds, in various craft projects.

To use in an arrangement, use just the roses, or add baby’s breath, German statice, heather, lavender, or other dried flowers or herbs, or add silk ferns or silk greens. Dried roses can last a long time if handled gently; a pretty reminder of a special someone or a special moment. 


from chocolate box to gift box: transforming Valentine candy boxes

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If you were lucky enough to receive a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, consider transforming the empty box into a gift box, trinket box, or Valentine’s Day decoration.


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Ideas for use:

Cut out white batting to fit the inside of the box and place a bracelet, a pair of earrings, or a ring inside and use as a gift box for next Valentine’s Day or any other romantic occasion.

Use as a trinket box on top of a dresser or dressing table to hold earrings, bracelets, or chains.

 Use as Valentine decorations, as the recently featured paper fans were used, scattered around the house in unexpected places. You can even team them up with the Valentine fans.

Consider transforming the candy box using Christmas fabric and use as a gift box(s) under the tree or as Christmas decorations…especially if you use hearts as a motif at Christmas time. Or fill with home-made candies and use again as a candy box. Home-made candy in a heart-shaped box would make a fun gift.

Use your imagination, be creative, and have fun with this inexpensive and easy craft project.

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Heart-shaped candy box
White batting
Fabric (inexpensive cotton works well)
Eyelet trim or lace
Scissors & small scissors for trimming
Hot glue gun
Embellishments-(optional) silk ribbon, small bows made of ribbon, crafting pearls, miniature silk roses or flowers, dimensional fabric paint to paint an initial or name across the top of the box,
1)  cut out a heart shape from the batting, the same size as the lid of the box
2)  cut out a heart shape from the fabric, larger than the lid of the box by ½ -1 inch all the way around the edges
3) glue batting to top of lid
4) place fabric heart over batting so there is ½ – 1 inch of fabric extending beyond the edges of the lid, cut a slit at the top of the heart where the two halves meet and at the bottom of the heart at the point. Cut the slits to the edge of the lid.
5) starting with one long side of the heart, glue fabric to the 1) underside of the top of the lid  and 2) side of the box where it joins with the lid. Work in short segments of 1-2 inches. Glue fabric around the entire heart, stretching the fabric and keeping it taut as you glue.
6) the bottom of the heart at the point will have a small amount of excess fabric, trim excess before gluing. Fabric should be stretched tightly across top of lid. Trim excess fabric from sides of lid with small scissors.
7) glue eyelet trim or lace to top edge of sides all around the box. To finish overlap eyelet or lace by 1 inch, and fold raw end underneath before gluing.
8)  leave plain or embellish 
Be aware if the candy box is made of plastic,  the hot glue can actually melt the plastic especially if you touch it with the tip of the glue gun. It is doable, just be cautious. Once the fabric is glued to the box it is permanently glued, as though the plastic and fabric have fused.


Under the Tuscan Sun: a film for those without a romantic partner on Valentines Day

Don’t have a romantic partner pink and lavender heart cascadeto share Stupid Cupid Day?
Then this is the movie for you. It could be sub-titled: be careful what you wish for… The film begins with an unexpected and painful divorce by a cheating spouse that leaves Frances, writer, critic, and literature professor, literally flat on the floor. When she is offered a free vacation tour of Tuscany with a gay couples group she accepts, and no, she’s not gay. While there, she sees and impulsively buys a centuries-old, decaying Tuscan villa. As cleaning, repairs, and renovations begin, Frances expresses her life’s desires: a wedding, a family, and someone to cook for (she’s an amazing cook, the damn movie makes me hungry every time I watch it). Her wishes are all
fulfilled but in unexpected and unforeseen ways. That’s what makes the story so fabulous. The only thing that would make it even better is if she didn’t end up at the very end, also finding romance. Hollywood strikes again, trying to give the story a “happy ending”. Didn’t they realize, Frances had already found her happiness, her romantic partner was just icing on an already tasty, and enormously satisfying cake.

Diane Lane is terrific as Frances and so is Sandra Oh, as her gay, pregnant, and recently-dumped best friend. In fact the entire cast is terrific including Lindsay Duncan, Italian stud-muffins cannoli’s Vincent Riotta and Raoul Bova, and damn he’s cute, Pawel Szajda. 2003, rated PG-13, 113 minutes.

A little music with your romance? Movies for Valentine’s Day

heart notes

If you prefer a little music with your romance try:

Shall We Dance

This is not a typical “boy meets girl and falls in love” kind of movie. In this film the boy already has the girl and they’ve been married for twenty years. Life is good and the marriage is strong but something is still missing. The restless hero, attorney John Clark, played by Richard Gere, impulsively signs up for ballroom dance lessons, prompted by a glimpse of the brooding and beautiful face of a dance instructor played by Jennifer Lopez. Oh, no; another film about a middle-aged husband and his infidelities. Not so! Never happens! Whatever his original motivation for signing up, John falls in love…with ballroom dancing. Watching the actors playing the characters who are learning to dance is just too much fun. This is a wonderful cast and includes Susan Sarandon as John’s wife, Beverly, Anita Gillette as the dance school owner, and Bobby Cannavale, and Omar Benson Miller as John’s fellow dance students. My favorites though have to be Lisa Ann Walter as Bobby, a brassy, sometimes obnoxious but funny advance student, and the great Stanley Tucci as Link, fellow attorney and lover of dance. I mean, a straight man who likes to dance around in sequins walks a very lonely road…” Stanley Tucci has no fear and brings amazing energy and humor to the role. You go, guy!

Shall We Dance is not your typical romantic love story but it is a love story and not about the love of dancing. The romance between John and Beverly survives the kids, the jobs, and the mundane day-to-day un-romances of daily living. One of my favorite movie quotes is from Beverly who comments on why people marry:

“We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

People who have no witness will understand how profoundly moving that statement is.

I won’t lie, Shall We Dance is not highly rated, which truly puzzles me. The characters, the humor, the dancing, and the music are upbeat and fun to watch. It’s a come-out-of-the-theater-humming kind of movie. Watch it for yourself and see if you agree. 2004, rated PG-13, 106 minutes.

 Dirty Dancing

Ahh, young love! And young love with a great soundtrack, wonderful dancing, and a strong cast. You can’t go wrong. Hard to believe the movie is over 25 years old, but then again, it’s timeless and will doubtless be watched and appreciated by countless generations to come. And there is no higher tribute to Patrick Swayze who played the yummy Johnny Castle. Released in 1887 and also starring Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, and Cynthia Rhodes this is a movie that can be watched over and over again. After the last memorable dance of the film, I’ll bet Baby never got put in a corner again. Rated PG-13, 100 minutes.  

Family films for Valentine’s Day: True Love

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For a family film that any age can enjoy, try:


A love story between a green ogre and a red-headed princess, Shrek is fun and entertaining and not just for the kids. With the voices of Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow, the 2001 film is computer-generated animation filled with story-book, fairy-tale characters. Eddie Murphy is at his best as the annoying, funny, cute, never-stops-talking Donkey. The film won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. And did you know, Shrek has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Rated PG for mild language and occasional crude humor, 90 minutes.


The Princess Bride

Rob Reiner, “Meathead” from All in the Family, went on to become a director as well as an actor, directing such memorable films as Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally, The Bucket List, and the Princess Bride. Based on the novel by William Goldman, Princess Bride is charming, a love story within a story. The cast is great and includes Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Peter Falk, and drum roll…..Billy Crystal and Carol Kane as Miracle Max and Valerie. The movie has romance, humor, a kidnapping, intrigue, sword-fights, chases, rescues, poisoned goblets, a giant, thieves, pirates, a beautiful Princess, a not-so charming Prince, super-big rodents, deadly fire-swamps, torture, true love, miracles, and a hero who answers his true love’s every request with “as you wish”. Sigh! Rated PG, 98 minutes

Try a little action with your romance: films for Valentine’s Day

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If you like a little action with your romance try:

Romancing the Stone:

This 1984 romance-action-comedy stars Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, and Danny DeVito. I especially love how Kathleen Turner’s character evolves in the film from the timid, mousy, up-tight romance writer to the confident, self-assured, sexy, romance participant. This has to be my favorite Michael Douglas role as the mostly-good guy and delectable, Jack Coulter. It’s just a fun, entertaining film. Rated PG, 106 minutes.


This 1963 film features the classiest guy and gal in the world, Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. It’s a romance-thriller-comedy that also stars a young Walter Matthau as the bad guy and James Coburn, George Kennedy, and Ned Glass as the supporting bad boys. The director, Stanley Donen, also directed Singing in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Funny Face, and Two for the Road. Charade was mostly filmed in Paris and you just can’t get any classier than that!  Not rated, 113 minutes.

Humorous quips for the cynic on Valentine’s Day

Humorous quips and quotes for the cynical romantic, or the romantic cynic. Just in time for Stupid Cupid Day.

chanpagne heartssWhen there’s marriage without love,
there will be love without marriage.
                                                                                                   Benjamin Franklin


Love is the star men look up to as they walk along,
and marriage is the coal-hole they fall into.


When love was strong, we could have made
our bed on a sword’s blade:
now, when it has become weak,
a bed of sixty cubits is not large enough for us.
                                                                                                     the  Talmud
What a strange arithmetic is marriage that
can make of two loving people
one unloving couple.


Love never dies of starvation, but often of indigestion.
                                                                                                      N. de l’Enclos


First love is only a little foolishness
and a lot of curiosity.
                                                                                                    G.B. Shaw


Women are made to be loved; not to be understood.
                                                                                                   Oscar Wilde


Marriage is a romance in which
the hero dies in the first chapter.


Love is the most fun you can have
without laughing.


I am a lover and have not found my thing to love.       
                                                                                                    Sherwood Anderson


Love is like the measles; we all have to go through it.
                                                                                                     J.K. Jerome


You gave me the key to your heart, my love,
then why did you make me knock?


Women in love consist of a little sighing,
a little crying, a little dying—and a
great deal of lying.