Make homemade gifts from the heart

Columnist Nicole Welk breaks down the craft of creative Valentines with this holiday how-to.

Columnist Nicole Welk breaks down the craft of creative Valentines with this holiday how-to.

Oh, Valentine’s Day. I can honestly say, I’ve never been a big fan of the holiday, but there is something special about a day during which people can show their love and appreciation for friends, family and, perhaps, a special someone.nicole welk

I’m sure some of you have already gone out and purchased the fancy jewelry, the obnoxious stuffed animals and the big boxes of chocolate. And I’m sure you will buy a cute card to go with the gifts, if you haven’t already. No matter how much you care, that’s a lot of money to dish out for someone. I’m an advocate of helping artists who make a living by designing and creating greeting cards, but they can get expensive.

There is nothing more genuinely special, though, than receiving a Valentine made with its receiver in mind. It can be the corniest design or the most poorly constructed card on the planet, but if your friend or date finds it amusing, he or she will get a kick out of it. Your friends and lovers will appreciate the time it took to make something just for them, instead of letting Hallmark do all the talking.

I find it interesting that mass-produced cards have replaced handwritten ones since the 19th century. Valentine’s Day is the second biggest greeting-card-sending holiday in the U.S., just behind Christmas. It’s not that buying greeting cards is a bad thing; they’re easier and take less time and effort. But what ever happened to people expressing themselves creatively? It seems mass production, instant gratification and commercialism has taken over another holiday.

I have a challenge for you this week. If you have an extra hour somewhere between your favorite TV show and a five-page paper, make a card for a friend, family member or special person in your life. If you feel the spirit of St. Valentine taking hold of you, give a homemade Valentine to a stranger or someone you may want to get to know better. I guarantee you will surprise the person. If you’re smooth enough, you may even walk away with a date.

If you don’t feel creative or artistic enough, have faith not fear. I’ve included one creative design that is quick, fairly easy and will catch that special person’s eye.

Nicole Welk can be reached at

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