How to Make a Valentine from an Onioncomments (60) January 25th, 2013
I used to hate Valentine's Day; I still do in some respects. Of course, I love the "idea" of Valentine's Day-the romance of celebrating romance-but somewhere along the way the holiday seems to have been transformed into a hyper-magnification of the "trappings" of love instead of being a time to contemplate-and be grateful for-love itself. For one day each year, everything (everything!) is suddenly and ONLY about couples: being in a couple, dining out as a couple, exchanging candy and flowers as a token to prove one's devotion to the coupling one happens to be in at the moment. It can all seem a little shrill when viewed from the vantage of someone who is single.
At least this is how it appeared to me back in the early '90s when I was single-and lonely-and living in New York City. With my meager romantic prospects and with February 14th fast approaching, I decided on a whim, to send myself a Valentine. Admittedly, not a particularly original idea, but I found it was empowering to sit down and write myself a love note. I wrote something that I'd read somewhere: "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end." I folded up my note, sealed it in a bright red envelope, dropped it in the mailbox, and awaited its return to me.
To prove that the universe really does have a sense of humor, that card never made it back to me. Since I was mailing it to myself, I had been too embarrassed to put my own return address on it, so it didn't even make it home via "Return to Sender." The irony of that first year aside, I have made it a habit every year since to send myself a note (regardless of whatever romantic entanglement I might be enjoying). Depending on your own relation to romance, this will strike you as either sad and slightly pathetic, or weirdly charming (and maybe a little awkward). Either way, it is the action of a man who clearly has too much time on his hands. In my own defense, I think it's completely acceptable to set aside client work, set aside design briefs, set aside other people's expectations, for one day a year and just make something pretty for my own enjoyment. Nearly 17 years later, I would venture that I have learned as much about romance and love from treating myself well as I've learned from Hollywood movies, romance novels, and Lifetime television dramas combined.
So, to all the single people out there (and even to the craftier married people), I would like to share with you the Valentine I have made for myself this year. In keeping with CraftStylish.com's focus on all things "green" this month, I've again limited myself to using scraps and found materials for this project. In this case, I decided to try using onion skins. Not only are they paperlike, but they also have the most incredibly vibrant color. I wanted to see if I could make something marvelous out of something modest.
Once I had the onion as my raw material, I turned my attention to crafting the Valentine, proper. I chose for my theme, "Go Ahead and Cry," which speaks to both the stereotype of the someone all alone and weeping on Valentine's Day and, of course, the tears caused by onions. A quick trip to the Internet provided a slew of quotations about crying (you can see the ones I selected at the end of this post). Despite the seemingly sad title of the piece, the message it conveys is, I hope, one of affirmation and love.
Please let me know if you like what you see. It is enormously rewarding and inspiring to read the comments that other members leave. As for the onion skins, I feel certain they would make a handy material for all sorts of other projects and I hope all of you incredibly creative readers will let me know what creative uses you find for this beautiful material. And, thank you in advance to all who post pictures of your work here in the gallery for others to enjoy.
I thought I'd begin this post with some pictures of my inspiration. I had these onions sitting in a bowl in my kitchen. One afternoon, as the sun was streaming in, I was struck by how absolutely gorgeous the colors were. I grabbed my camera and a few sheets of colored paper and snapped these shots. As happens again and again, I was drawn to a material-and spent some time just "playing" with it-long before the idea of how to use it came to mind.
The quotations I used on the cards pictured above were the following:
"If someone you love hurts you, cry a river, build a bridge, and get over it." -Unknown
"Life is an onion and one peels it crying." -French Proverb
"To weep is to make less the depth of grief." -William Shakespeare
"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." -Mother Teresa
"Go ahead and cry" -Jeffery Rudell
"Statistically speaking, happiness accounts for 21% of all tears." -Dr. William Frey, Director, The Dry Eye and Tear Research Center, MN
"Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones." -Oscar Wilde
"Jesus wept." -John, 11:35 (So, you're in good company.)
"The cure for anything is salt water-sweat, tears, or the sea." -Isak Dinesen
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