Hey Gang, welcome back! I hope 2023 is going well for you so far after making it through the hustle and bustle of another holiday season. As you know, I spent a big portion of last week laying low and trying to stay away from work so I could recharge a little before the new year took over. Aside from stopping into the studio for a few things here and there, I managed to give myself a little bit of a much-needed break from the grind by spending a few days hanging out with my favorite grandsons, Jace and Owen. We had all the usual traditional holiday fun decorating, making candy, baking cookies, wrapping presents, and just being together, but we also got out and about to see some of the local attractions put on by the community. One event in particular that we really loved was visiting the Green Bay Botanical Gardens for their annual showing of the Wisconsin Public Service Garden of Lights display. The show includes 37 botanically-themed light displays featuring more than 325,000 twinkling lights – it’s really something to see!
While you’re there you can enjoy a fresh cookie or hot beverage, shop for gifts in the WPS Trellis Gift Shop, enjoy the Green Bay Area Model Railroaders Club display, and even send a letter to Santa! It was super beautiful and really a lot of fun. If you’re from the area or anywhere close, I highly recommend making the trip to Green Bay to see it. Even Papa had fun!
Spending time with these guys is the absolute best and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! It’s so very important that we take a minute to slow down from our busy lives once in a while – just to smell the flowers. But of course, even when I’m not physically AT work and totally immersed in doing what I love the most, my mind often defies me by wandering back to it when I least expect it. Yesterday, after seeing some heart-shaped candies on display in a gas station, it was the sudden thought of Valentine’s day that nudged my brain back into work mode this time – because it sort of slipped my mind… Not the fact that it exists, but more like that it’s coming up so fast. It’s crazy to think that there is only just over a month to finish up any Valentine décor you might be working on, or even more importantly – hand-made Valentine’s gifts that you plan to give to your sweetheart.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this to you, but Valentine’s Day happens to be one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. Each year I look forward to it just as much as I did when I was a little kid. One of my most cherished memories from childhood is that my dad always gave me a small, heart-shaped box of chocolates every year for Valentine’s day. He started this tradition when I was a young girl, and kept it going long after I was grown. Now, because of him there will always be a special place in my heart for Valentine’s Day.
These days I still find a lot of joy in celebrating Valentine’s Day because I love creating things by hand for the special people in my life. I don’t know about you but I always feel honored when someone gives me something they made especially for me with their own hands. I mean think about that – they took the time and energy to create something uniquely for me rather than taking the easy route and just buying something. On the same hand, I think it’s great to GIVE gifts I’ve made myself as well. Something about it just FEELS good. I think you probably know what I mean.
That being said, if you happen to be in need of ideas for Valentine’s day hand-made gifts this year, you’re in luck! Over the years I have designed and collected a ton of cute things that make perfect hand-made Valentines. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites! First up are these adorable bowl fillers that I call Valentine Sweethearts. These little cuties are fun, easy, and a quick weekend project! To make things even easier for you, in addition to the pattern, we also have kits for these ready to go!These charming stuffed conversation hearts are also offered in more neutral, earth-tone colors that work great if you want to keep them out a little bit longer after the holiday. Display them in the center of your dining room table in a bowl, or individually around the house. Whatever you decide to do with them will be adorable!
Another great idea for those of you looking for a smaller project that can be done without a huge time commitment is hanging décor. Not only are they typically smaller projects, but they also make swapping seasonal and holiday themes out lighting fast. “Love Each Other“ is made using our hand-dyed wools and beautiful flannels. It features wool appliqué and some fancy stitching, sure to win the heart of whoever you decide to give it to. Finished, “Love Each Other” measures 11 1/4″ x 11 1/4″ making it perfect to display on one of Scotty’s custom clipboards, or simply hanging on the wall.Like the idea of hanging décor but need something a bit smaller? Another fun project that I really enjoy is my, “Love is All You Need“ Valentine Hangers. These can also be hung on a clipboard, wooden stand, or bulletin board to add a little love to any room of the house! This pattern offers both a light or dark version, so if you have two Valentines in your life this dual color option is the perfect solution!
No table space for standing décor but still want to give your pad a little bit of Valentine flare? This sounds like a job for – pillows! Everyone knows that I think pillows are just about as slick as it gets when it comes to switching out themed décor because unless you still need to MAKE them, they’re about as quick of a change-up as anyone could hope for! And even if you do have some work to do before the big day, no worries! I have a few pillow projects ready for you that will go lighting quick. First up we have my “Candy Hearts Pillow.” Everyone loves candy conversation hearts around this time of year – they’ve definitely been a nostalgic staple of the holiday for as long as I can remember! For this reason I thought they deserved a tribute all their own, so I came up with this cool embroidered design to pay homage to the Valentine’s Candy everyone remembers.I love how the brightly colored wool really pops off the black background on this “lovely” festive pillow. It will go together quickly so you can have it ready to show off long before Valentine’s day on the 14th. Finished, “Candy Hearts Pillow“ measures 16″ x 16″.
Looking for something a little bit larger to snuggle up with? My “Linked with Love“ pattern is the perfect solution for someone who could use a few extra cuddles in their life without the commitment – LOL! It’s a longer body length pillow with a finished size of 13 1/2″ x 40″, which makes it a great fit for your bed, couch, or day bed.
I did my Linked with Love pillow with five different wool colors but you could easily do it with just one by using the pattern for my next project, which is a table runner I call “Love Chain.“ As you can see, this one is simply done with just red. Finished, “Love Chain” is 9 1/2″ x 37 1/2″. Another easy, fun, and most importantly, FAST project!Feeling inspired? If not, don’t panic quite yet – we still have some time. I will be doing another post or two in the next couple of weeks with some more pillow ideas and some larger Valentine projects including another table runner and some full sized quilts I really think you’re going to enjoy, so stay tuned for that.
Speaking of seasonal project ideas, don’t forget that tomorrow we return to our regular LIVE schedule with STITCH with Lisa Bongean at 1:00 p.m. CST on YouTube! I’ll be covering any news that surfaced over the Christmas break, upcoming events and classes, a few things I’ve been working on, some new releases, and more! Have your Valentine’s day decorating under control and looking for something a bit more neutral for the season? You’re in luck! I’ll also be talking about some of my past and current winter projects that are great for displaying all season long. Tune it by hitting the STITCH icon below and I will see you there! Have a great night everyone. ~Lisa