So, yes, I know that Valentine’s Day was over a week ago, but but but there were literally FEET of snow on the ground on the actual mostromanticredrosebannerdayoftheyear so, I wasn’t allowed to actually break out my valentine until just this weekend, when the temperatures inexplicably were in the low 70’s. Let me just say: after an incredibly long winter of incessant snow-fall, shin-deep city sidewalk slush, and muddy-pawed squirrels tirelessly breaking into my birdseed, 70 degrees on the naked skin feels totally, utterly, soul-rising-in-the-body-like-sap-in-a-maple incredible. But, I have to say… it doesn’t feel as incredible as the revving and rumbling motor horsetremble of my very own gorgeous gas powered lady sized Stihl chainsaw. Which is what I got for Valentine’s Day this year. To be fair, Sweetheart and I actually got it for each other (and we’ve decided this is how we’re going to roll on Valentine’s Day from here on out: an excuse to buy the big-ticket-thing we’ve both been jonesing for together), but, per usual, even though it’s “ours”, he’s letting me take the reins, letting me wear the orange-kevlar-pants, only yelling from the side (he has to yell since I’m wearing safety ear-muffs) “PLANT YOUR FEET! DON’T SWITCH YOUR HANDS WHEN YOU TAKE OFF THE CHAIN BRAKE! DON’T LET THE CHAIN HIT THE GROUND”. Bellows which, honestly, are sweeter than any sweet nothing whispered into a naked ear by a moon-eyed-cassanova. Be still my beating heart, it’s revving at 2.3 HP, fully oiled up, and ready to take on the world.
My grandfather carried a handkerchief, and I think it’s a special, sweet, old-fashioned, and useful little thing- harkening back to an age of simple and elegant manliness. You can give it to a crying woman on a bench somewhere, entertain a small child, mop your brow, smooth the neck of a guitar, pick up a handgun at a crime scene like it’s 1939, wrap up a sweet treat to go, put it up your sleeve or suit pocket, perform sleight of hand, or (obviously) blow your nose. This Valentine’s Day, I gave Sweetheart a parcel of plain white cotton handkerchiefs that I clumsily embroidered- three with hearts and three each with funny squashed A’s on them (his initial), because I think he’s all of these things- sweet, old fashioned, simple, and manly. This little project was easy and fun- I knocked out the embroidery drinking beer and watching Downton Abbey (reveling in both my emancipation and my needlepoint). If you’re a crewel mistress, you could make these pretty fancy, but you really only need a simple running stitch to keep it manly. Get 100% cotton hankies, wash them and iron them first, double the thread, and just freehand the hearts. And, hey, it’s not 1800, if they turn out a little crookedy, that’s ok.
I’ll let you in on my (small, useful) Valentine’s surprise for Sweetheart tomorrow… I don’t want to blow it. In the meantime, I stumbled across this new video by The Shins, September (I found it on a site promoting “Record Store Day 2012“, so this song will actually be the real-live B-Side to their new single). I never fell head over heels for them in the Garden State days, but the more I play it, the more I love it. A love letter to analog and reverb and sweet/silly words, it seems a good heart-day discovery for those who love all of those things and maybe want to rub a little vaseline around the edges of their lenses today. Happy day to you all!
Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s the time of mind, but- for whatever reason- it feels like this Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be one of extravagant luxuries. Now, Valentine’s Day is a freighted holiday to begin with ( it’s a hallmark holiday/it’s arbitrary/shouldn’t every day be Valentine’s day, bla bla bla), but I’ll just go ahead and put it out there: I like Valentine’s Day. I’m a romantic at heart, and I’ll take any excuse for small gestures: I like getting fresh flowers delivered, I like surprises, I like love notes, I like champagne. But this year, I’m feeling like I’m in a place where I’m putting more and more value on small, simple pleasures and focusing on things done rather than things bought…I’m pining after objects of use AND beauty. Like the scissors above. Or a sharp little knife. Or a reciprocating saw (just kidding. sort of.). Here are my favorite little objects of love, for any Valentine:#8 Opinel Knife, with Arrow Design, from Spartan (or without, from Gravel and Gold)Mixtape dispenser, from ModCloth.
Flashman Hudson Bay Axe, from Best Made.Map Tacks, or really, anything, from KioskANY design Custom Stamp from the amazing Casey Rubber Stamps in the East Village.Compass Necklace, from Redtruckdesigns.A picnic blanket to recreate this (image from here)
And that’s just off the top of my head. Happy Valentine’s Day, loves.