Nolichucky West


Snail Mail Project- Valentines

I love this quote from JRR Tolkien . His books are on my list of titles to read next, although I am holding out for the day I discover an older thrift-store copy.

I continue to look back fondly on Valentines’ Day from when I was teaching. It was always one of my favorite days. All year long I would save big coffee cans we could transform into mailboxes. The children could decorate them with paint or stickers or both. I would look forward to circle time where we would sign and sing ,”Skid-A-Ma-Rink.” and read stories about friendship. We would pass out Valentines to each other and there would be chaos for a bit, followed by flurries of tiny envelopes and cards. What a great literacy opportunity!

I have saved this Valentine from a wonderful student. It was made with scraps, sequins, paint, and love. It hangs on my bulletin board above my sewing machine.

I know this little family had fun making this Valentine for me. I wonder if they would have believed that ten years later I still cherish it. It’s one of those joyful reminders of the reasons I spent my career teaching the littlest ones.

This year in realizing I didn’t need to make Valentines for a classroom full of students, colleagues, family, and friends I plan to make several that are unique. I assembled a box of lovely little snippets of lace, ribbon, appliqués, buttons, fabric flowers, and paper hearts to use to make Valentines for the grandchildren, family, and special friends.

A wooden cigar box was just the right size for all of this treasure. My favorite part is the white box full of tiny embellishments. I recently discovered the big box liquor store near me sells empty cigar boxes for a dollar or so.


I tied the box closed with a scrap of black and white trim, selected some books to repurpose along with colored card stock and pages from an old music book. I also included my envelope punch board and scissors. These were all packed into a bag that I carried around with me for a few weeks.

I took the bag of supplies on a weekend away in the mountains thinking of late, calm, cozy, quiet, evenings crafting by the fire. Instead I raked a lot of pine needles and assisted in replacing a storm door so evenings were cozy, quiet, with crafting replaced with snoozing. So I had grand intentions of having my Valentines complete in plenty of time, but instead I’m rushing to get them into the mailbox.


Here is a closer look at the magazines I will be repurposing for this project. Vintage Ideals magazines are a frequent thrift store find. There are lots of colored photographs, illustrations, and sentimental poetry.


This vintage children’s school book is also a thrift store find. The illustrations are charming, however its former owner put a green checkmark on almost every picture along with lots of writing and scribbles.


Here is the inside cover.  There are lots of scribbles and discolorations, but look at the adorable bird family up at the top. You can see this book is destined to be repurposed.


On this page every picture of the fox family has that green check mark. I think I can wisely place my appliqués and fabric flowers to disguise some of the scribbles and turn this poor old book into some cheery greetings.

As I looked through the book and magazines I began cutting out pictures, words, and poems that I could imagine becoming a Valentine. I also began make note of little jokes, puns, and poems that would fit with each picture.


The first Valentine will be featuring this little bunny. It has one green check mark I will need to hide. I thought about adding some paper grass made from one of the pages out of Ideals and my Martha Stewart fringe scissors. I’m going to choose an appliqué or sticker, and add some lace.


I cut out the bunny’s picture and glued it to a folded piece of card stock. The grass, the heart sticker, and the lace decorate the little bunny and cover up his flaws. The tacky glue seems to be working well to glue down the heavier appliqués and the paper pieces.


“Some bunny is here to say, ” Have a happy Valentine’s day!” is written on a contrasting shade of card stock and glued inside the folded card.

There is space on the inside of the card for a little message. I used suggestions from Naomi Loves on writing platonic love notes for Valentines day.


I sat down after supper one evening at about seven o’clock and then suddenly looked up to discover it was eleven. I had become lost in creating this batch of Valentines.

I do have to rush and get these in the mail right away. They will be mailed across town and across the country. I am making some other cards as well for the special former colleagues and forever friends I will be meeting for breakfast this week.


Now I plan on making some envelopes I can stuff with a note, a bookmark made from a vintage postcard, and some candy.


The envelope punch board has proven to be a fun and useful tool. I used paper from the Ideals magazine and the old school book and made several colorful envelopes. Sometimes aging paper is brittle and if the lines are scored with too much force they will tear.


Here are the vintage floral postcards I laminated and added a ribbon to the top so they can now function beautifully as a bookmark.


I tucked the bookmark inside the envelope and then created a little card for a message. The card is made from a card stock scrap, vintage music paper, and a poem cut from Ideals magazine.


The last step is adding a few pieces of my favorite See’s candy to the envelope. I chose this kind of candy because first of all it is delicious, but it is also wrapped and flat enough to fit nicely in an envelope.


This one is finished. I bet I could get a few more pieces of candy in there. I’ll try.

I am hearing that it is important for aging adults to maintain positive social contacts in order to stay healthy. That’s a great excuse for occasionally hanging out at the local coffee shop with my teaching buddies for breakfast, coffee, and just a bit of Valentines’ candy. Staying connected and busy with the grandchildren is important too. This year instead of sending a treat I’m promising ice cream sundaes on my next visit. I can’t wait.

Thanks for listening. Take care.












Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *