Butler County Times Gazette
  • Through the Front Door: Romance is in the air!

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  • Good morning sweethearts of Butler County!
    I hope this Saturday finds you well and looking forward to a day of romance! Well, I bet you now know the topic of today! That’s right: Valentine’s Day. This year we are so lucky that this day dedicated to love is on a Friday. How great! So make plans and reservations soon, my friends.
    Remember when decorating a shoebox to hold the Valentine's cards your received from your schoolmates was just the best fun? It was right up there with the Christmas party and the Halloween parade! And isn’t it great that these exuberant childhood holidays still hold special magic for adults? First let’s take a look at the typical tradition—cards—and then move on to bringing a little of that magic into your home.
    The Card Tradition
    While people have exchanged Valentine’s greetings since the Middle Ages, printed Valentines were invented in the early 1800s in Europe. Valentine’s Day card production started in the United States in the 1850s after a Massachusetts woman received a Valentine from England. Well you know women: When we see something that we think is a good idea—and will make money—we hop on the opportunity. That is exactly what Esther Howland did. As a student at Mount Holyoke College, she saw the potential and began producing cards similar to the one she received from England. It did not hurt that her father was a stationer and owned his own shop, which is where she sold her cards! As her business blossomed friends joined to assist with making the cards. Her hometown of Worcester, Mass., became the heart of American Valentine manufacturing.
    Not everyone was a fan of the printed card, as you can see in this interesting tidbit printed in The New York Times on Feb. 14, 1856.
    “Our beaux and belles are satisfied with a few miserable lines, neatly written upon fine paper, or else they purchase a printed Valentine with verses readymade, some of which are costly, and many of which are cheap and indecent.
    “In any case, whether decent or indecent, they only please the silly and give the vicious an opportunity to develop their propensities, and place them, anonymously, before the comparatively virtuous. The custom with us has no useful feature, and the sooner it is abolished the better.”
    In 1865, New Yorkers mailed 66,000 Valentines, but in 1866 the number jumped to 86,000! Apart from Valentine’s Day cards, however, there are oodles of ways to bring the spirit of Valentine’s Day into your home in February.
    Show Your Love
    Page 2 of 3 - Here we are in the month of romance with its candy-filled heart-shaped boxes, lovely gifts that woo our loves, and cupids hanging out with their bow and arrows. Fortunately, it’s also cold out, making it the perfect time of year for a little cuddling. Toss in a crackling fireplace and a candlelit room and you have pure romance in the air.
    My Mom used to make such a huge deal about Valentine’s Day. With Christmas over, it helped brighten up the depths of winter with a wonderful bit of magic. I remember one year, maybe in the eighth grade, she dazzled me with a pair of wonderful red lacey tights from Calvert’s. I remember putting them together with a gray skirt—oh, I was just too fashionable for words! Searching for the perfect something for your perfect someone—from your spouse to your grandson—is just so darn fun!
    In this cold and sometimes dreary month, bringing into your home a much-need blast of Valentine’s Day red is just what the doctor ordered. Red is the most emotional color, making your heart beat faster and your breathing quicker. Plus, splashes of red add volume and depth to a room—this is a color that will not be ignored. Using some shade of red in your interiors will generally brighten areas that need some energy. In a quiet color palette, red will be the dominant element, so be intelligent with its use and distribution.
    So, with all that said, here’s my top 10 list of ideas for decorating your home for the day of hearts.
    Cashmere Throw: Nothing is as delicious as a cashmere throw, and one in red for Valentine’s Day is the perfect item to wrap up in for a quiet evening at home. Frontgate, Williams Sonoma and Overstock.com have some gorgeous ones that will last for years!
    Red Sheets and Towels: For a sizzling bed, scope out some red sheets! Oh my, Target has some great-looking red cotton percale sheets on sale, so hurry! Also, take advantage of all white sales and pick up a couple sets of new red towels to brighten up your bathroom. Consider having them monogrammed as well; L.L. Bean has luscious towels for monogramming and shipping is free!
    Red Hurricanes: Red hurricane lamps are brilliant and wonderful for Christmas, the Fourth of July and, of course, a smoldering Valentine’s Day! I found some lovely ones at Hobby Lobby, but if you like to sit in your PJs and shop, try Wayfair (www.wayfair.com) for some stunning red hurricanes as well as red candlesticks, what a way to warm your world!
    A Red Pillow: Need something for your male honey? Take a peek at Red Envelope (www.redenvelope.com) for some very special ideas. I fell in love with the red decorative state pillow ($39.95) that can be personalized. (I also spotted the Geneva XS portable music player in red for $249.95.)
    Page 3 of 3 - A Red Tray: You all know what a crazy fool I am for a good tray, which can help you organize so many things in your life. I found a showstopper on the Kirkland’s website (www.kirklands.com). Look for red embossed faux crocodile with sleek silver handles (item #126573, $17.99). Perfect for the evening’s indulgence of chocolates and some wonderful Champagne!
    A Red Lamp: To add a striking bit of light to your bedroom, family room or even your sleek kitchen island, take a look at Elegant Designs Modern Red Leather Table Lamp (LT1025-red). I found the best price of $41.99 at Biz Chair (www.bizchair.com) with no charge for shipping and no taxes! Or, on the “trusted store” list, try Wayfair (www.wayfair.com) for $44.98!
    Red Love Tokens: Another little goodie you’ll find at Red Envelope in a red satin bag “The Reasons I Love You”. The bag contains brushed nickel tokens with sayings such as “for always getting my jokes” and “because you have a great smile.” How charming and fun for $29.95!
    A Red Hot Fragrance: One of my favorite luxuries of all time is an elegant bottle of a Jo Malone fragrance. Sorry, no stores in Kansas sell this exquisite line, but you can buy them from www.jomalone.com (which offers complimentary standard delivery). The bottles are just stunning—clean clear glass with an elegant label-topped with a silver cap—and the scents…oh my! Try the Red Rose cologne and you will feel like you are standing in a florist cooler. The beautiful thing about these fragrances is that they are meant to be layered, so buying two or three gives you many, many options. You’ll also find home fragrances in the same scents, so you and your home can have a signature scent—very chic!
    A Red Scented Candle: Glade, that's right, Glade. The jubilant rose, lavender and peach blossom candle is wonderful! Just remember to remove all the Glade information from the glass container and tie a wide red satin ribbon around the container—so pretty. (In fact, when you bring these types of candles into your home, always put some type of band around them for a personal touch.)
    A Red Rose Potpourri: As you know, I’m a pushover for a scented home! Potpourris are such a pleasing way to add a fragrance to your home. Fill an open mason jar, crystal bowl, silver bowl or even a teacup and saucer with this olfactory enchantment to make your home distinctive. I searched for a recipe for making your own rose potpourri! Lots of recipes are available, but the easiest recipe was on Save-On-Crafts website. Take a look at www.save-on-crafts.com for the recipe, the site has all of the items needed to create your own potpourri! If you are not up to putting together your own potpourri then try Clair Burkes Original fragrance that combines, pink roses, purple larkspur, and creamy white blossoms. Being engulfed in a scent can simulate so many wonderful memories, like grandma’s garden, your wedding bouquet or the first time you received a dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day! Have a lovely loved filled Valentine’s Day! I’ll be here next week, but for now I leave you with a classic quote from Eva Gabor: “Love is a game that two can play and both win by losing their heart!”

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