Here is what I’m snarky about: single people who are snarky about Valentine’s Day.

In case you forgot, this Friday is Friday.  Also it’s Valentine’s Day, which, actually I kind of did  forget until I saw a post for maple glazed bacon hearts on Pinterest.

Here is what is annoying about Valentine’s Day: All the people who hate Valentine’s Day. 

I mean, ok, I get it, I’m a single gal, doing my thing, and God knows I can be a little snarky from time to time, but for the love! What is with all the insecure people proclaiming that Valentine’s day is the absolute worst thing ever? News flash, I am also single on February 13th, and July 27th (well, I can’t predict the future, but you get the point) I don’t need an entire day designated to “single’s awareness” because, let’s face it, I’m aware of my single status pretty much all the time… I don’t need a day to revel in it.  Every day is Single’s Awareness day… I get up, I’m single, I brush my teeth, I’m still single. Making the French press coffee… yup, nothing has changed here. Go to work, samesies. See people I love, do things I’m passionate about… come home and snuggle the dog,  Single… My day-to-day life is stagnant with my singleness.  But it’s not like I’m getting up and proclaiming “It’s a new day. I’m still alone in this world. Woe is me. I’m now getting out of bed, and I’m still single. My like sucks. Everyone around me is holding hands and happy, Why? Universe Why?!?!”  And it’s not like I’m going to wake up on Friday and suddenly be more aware of the fact that I’m not celebrating with a significant other this year. Yes, I am a single lady, but just because that is an adjective that might be used to describe me  “oh yeah Tayler is fun, she teaches yoga, has a bulldog, is single.” it certainly isn’t a term that defines me, and it certainly doesn’t need to. Being single is part of my routine… just like getting dressed or watering my house plants… but it’s not WHO I am.  And quite frankly, I’m really annoyed with all the people who are spending the week leading up to February 14th moping around in a state of relationship status insecurity. If being single on Valentine’s day is your biggest problem, then you’ve got it made my friend.  Buy yourself some gumdrops and get over it. (I did actually buy myself  some amazing locally crafted gumdrops for Valentines day… I would highly recommend it.)

For me, Valentine’s Day is about wearing red lipstick, eating more chocolate than normal, and an excuse to do fun craft projects. What is not to love?

A few weeks ago I was unpacking a box of Valentines candy at works. Cute little pink boxes of assorted truffles with pigs dressed like Cupid, chocolates shaped like frogs,  little signs that say things like “You are the Shake to my Bake” and I was totally loving it. What’s not to love about little pink boxes? And I look over to see one of my  24 year old male co-workers totally moping around being like “ugh, Valentine’s Day again? I hate Valentine’s Day, it totally sucks when you are single.”  Me “Well what’s so bad about it?”  Him “well everyone is just in love, and all mushy, and it sucks being alone and reminded that you are alone…” Me, rolling my eyes “Um… its not that bad. I’ve been single for pretty much all of my Valentine’s days, its just a day… with adorable pink Cupid pig boxes!” turning back to the unpacking and getting excited to eat a frog shaped truffle. Meanwhile he exclaims “That is A LOT of Valentine’s Days to be single! I mean, A LOT!” Me “um yeah… I’m totally fine with it… OMG we got another I heart you more than pickles sign!” … It’s moment’s like that that I am reminded that a) 24 year old boys do not have life figured out even a little bit, and b) that there are a lot of people out there who are dreading this Friday… and I just don’t understand.

I mean, I get it in theory.  Being single isn’t always fun. I’ve had the nights where the loneliness feels like it is going to eat you alive, and its almost hard to breathe… it sucks. It really does.  But why is it worse on February 14th?  Maybe I was just programmed differently, or maybe I’m just jaded since I have been single for all 28 of my Valentine’s Days… I was homeschooled through elementary school so I never had the shoebox full of valentines, I never had to go through the agonizing of “Does the extra heart sticker on this valentine mean that he likes me, or did he just give me a valentines because he was required to give one to every single person in the class?”    Once in high school the foreign exchange student sent me and a few other single girls flowers on valentines day because he knew we wouldn’t get them from anyone else, and he was trying to be nice… and it WAS super nice, and we all appreciated it… But somehow along the way, the whole societal view of Valentine’s Day never really had an impact on my self worth… Thank god.

Because people go on dates all the time, they make romantic gestures all the time, they have totally over the top PDA 364 other days a year… so why does everyone get all bent out of shape when February rolls around? Do all the snarky single people just put blinders on until the end of January, and then suddenly start letting out all their snide comments and complaints about being alone when the heart decorations come out? And call me crazy, but am I the only one who lets out a tiny sigh of relief when I realize that I’m not obligated to celebrate Valentine’s Day with anyone?  I mean, think about it… You don’t have to stress about finding a gift (or getting the wrong gift, or forgetting to get a gift, or maybe getting a gift that doesn’t say what you mean) you don’t have to make reservations, you don’t have to feel guilty if you have to work, you don’t feel guilty if you volunteer to work,  you get to eat more of the chocolate… its kind of a win win.

And when did Valentine’s Day become this black and white thing where you have the lovey dovey ooey gooey jewelry buying consumer driven love birds on one side, and the totally snarky, love hating insecure single people on the other side? Please follow me over to the happy grey area of “I’m single, and fine with it,  lets celebrate with bacon hearts and quirky cards, red and pink outfits and heart nail decals”

Sure… the holiday can get a little cheesy… There are the constant clichés and the people who love them, and frankly, it does get a little annoying to be around people who feel like they need to broadcast their romantic gestures to the world… especially when they are unimaginative and generic… I mean come on. I know there are the girls out there who love their long stemmed roses, boxes of chocolate, fancy dinners, jewelry etc. And sure, I probably wouldn’t go so far as to cause a scene if someone chose me as his valentine and presented me with long stemmed roses and a heart shaped box of chocolates, BUT I might seriously have doubts about his creativity and how well he knew me. (FOR REALS, if my future boyfriend ever proposes on valentines day, I will make him read this blog post, and then maybe beat him over the head with the long stemmed roses, and say  “You should F’ing know me better than this! All I wanted was a terrarium and a quirky letterpress card! Try again tomorrow  when this will not be a gag reflex cliché!”   Ok… maybe I won’t say all those things, but I will indeed think them loudly in my head… and maybe say them. Fella’s don’t propose on Valentine’s Day. Just don’t. Trust me, it’s not what we want.)

But what we do want is this ridiculously adorable card, and maybe some pickled beets to go with it...

But what we do want is this ridiculously adorable card, and maybe some pickled beets to go with it…

Don’t get me wrong, I like going out to fancy dinners, and dressing up, and valentine’s candy, as much as the next girl, and seeing all that kind of stuff doesn’t get me bent out of shape…But at this point in my life the idea of going out for a “romantic” dinner with the 8 million other people who are celebrating  sounds a little bit exhausting. You know what is romantic? Take out. Not being around hundreds of people and stressing about reservations. Amazingly quirky greeting cards. Having someone clean your kitchen.  Lingerie is fun, Champagne is great, and I like chocolate quite a bit… but when did unimaginative become romantic?  Why not just grab a greeting card that says “lets celebrate our unique love story the same way everyone else on the planet does.”

All that being said, here are a few of the great things I’ve found that I love about V-day.   Go out, be happy, make a heart wreath , embrace the grey area of the holiday, and don’t let the snarky single people or the overly gross couples get you down!

2014 NPR Valentines

2014 NPR Valentines

Huffington Post: 21 Awkward Valentine's Day Cards

Huffington Post: 21 Awkward Valentine’s Day Cards

2013 NPR Valentines

2013 NPR Valentines

Maybe the vest vintage valentine of all time.

Maybe the vest vintage valentine of all time.

2012 NPR Valentines

2012 NPR Valentines

SomebodyLovedShop

SomebodyLovedShop

Marisa Seguin Arrested Development Valentines.

Marisa Seguin Arrested Development Valentines.

DIY rustic heart wreath in 10 easy steps

This time last year I was newly unemployed, and there was a lot of extra free time for things like cooking, yard work, and some amazing craft projects (of course there were other moments filled with resume tweaking, job searching, panic, anxiety, and lots and lots of yoga)   After trimming most of the fruit trees in my yard, I was looking for something creative to do with the branches… I made a few arrangements, gave some away to people to use in weddings, and then finally settled into making these super simple heart wreaths.

With Valentines day right around the corner, and tree trimming season in full swing, it’s the perfect time to have a crafternoon and make a rustic heart wreath or two. Last year I handed these out as my valentines, and this year I’m actually selling them at Red Hills Market in Dundee. If you don’t feel like making one yourself, you know where to go.

rustic heart duo

rustic heart duo

 Rustic Home Made Heart Wreath in 10 Easy Steps.

What you will need:

  • Twine wrapped wire
  • Floral wire
  • Hot glue gun/ hot glue
  • Spanish moss
  • Approximately 6 branches/twigs
  • Wire cutters
  • Optional: brown floral tape

phonto

I recommend using fresh cuttings as they tend to be a little more bendy/ pliable. However, trimmed branches that are left out in the elements/ rain for a few days will probably work just as well. This year I’ve been using apple and Red Twig Dogwood.  Other suggestions would be cherry, plumb, crab apple or forsythia.

Prep.  Take a handful of reindeer moss out of the package and place it in a bowl.  Lay out branches in a neat pile.  Turn on some music, and if you are over 21, pour yourself a glass of wine.  Crafting is so much better with a glass of wine.

Step 1) Decide what size wreath you want to make.  (this may depend on the size of your cuttings etc.)   Cut the twine wrapped wire to desired size and make a circle, wrapping the ends together.

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Step 2) Form the wire circle into a heart shape (does not have to be exactly the shape you want the wreath, its just a guideline)   Then measure the distance between the dip of the heart and the bottom point of the heart.  Cut another piece of the twine wrapped wire and anchor the dip and the point together.   *This step is actually pretty important, because the branches have a lot of spring to them, and without the anchoring of the two points, the branches will start to pull the wreath back into a circle.

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Step 3) take the floral wire, and one of the branches, and start wrapping the wire around the branch, attaching the base of the branch to the base of the heart frame.  Make 4-6 loops (this depends on how thick of a branch or twig you are using… it doesn’t need to be perfectly secure, as we will reinforce a little later with hot glue) Cut the wire, and smooth the edges down as much as possible. You will be working on one side of the wreath with this branch, and then starting to build the second side with the next branch.

attaching the branch to the frame

attaching the branch to the frame

Step 4) Repeat step 3 higher up on the frame, securing the branch to the heart frame fairly close to where the frame begins to curve.

Step 5) being to bend the branch to make a half heart. At this point the branch doesn’t need to follow the lay-out of the heart frame. Secure the branch to the frame close to the dip of the top of the heart. And once more on the center anchoring wire close to the base of the heart.  (Since you need the anchoring wire, I like to make the branches come all the way through the middle of the heart)

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Step 6) Repeat steps 3-5 on the second side.  Keep in mind, you will be covering the wire with moss when the wreath is finished. You should decide if you want the mossy patches to be symmetrical from side to side or if you want them to be a little more random. This will dictate where on the wreath you secure the branches to the frame.

Step 7) Take the next branch and begin to repeat steps 3-5 on the first side. Trying to wrap the wire in the same places on each side. This will get a little bulky as you keep adding branches, but keep wrapping and pulling the wire tight to secure the branches. Repeat on the second side.

Step 8) Keep repeating until the wreath has reached the desired size.  I recommend using 3 branches on each side, but this depends on the side and width of the branches, how big the wreath is, and the effect you are going for.  After you have finished assembling the wreath, plug in the hot glue gun.

terrible shadow... oops

terrible shadow… oops

Step 9 ) If you would like to further camouflage the floral wire, you can wrap the wired sections of the wreath with brown floral tape.  This step is optional.

Step 10)  Take the hot glue gun, and begin attaching small clumps of moss to hide the wire.  The glue will also help reinforce the wire and keep everything  together. A little moss goes a long way, and since the Spanish moss is fairly long, you can let some of it dangle, or even weave some of the moss up the branches.  Start by hiding the wire on the front and side of the wreath, and if so desired you can also put moss on the back side of the wreath. If you used the floral tape, this probably isn’t necessary.

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Voila! You now have a rustic heart wreath, and its pretty charming.  And now you probably want to make at least seven more because you realized how easy it was, and how stinking cute they actually are.   Hang one on your front door, in your kitchen, on your back porch, give one to a friend, give five to different friends, or maybe even sell them on ETSY, because earlier when I was trying to figure out how much to sell them for I did a search for comparable items, and apparently no one is actually making  rustic heart wreaths these days. You are welcome.

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