I was recently asked about my thoughts on Valentine's Day. So I spent some time reminiscing... I think some of my fondest memories were from childhood. When I was a child, we used to buy Valentine cards that resembled cutouts. They may not have even had envelopes. Nevertheless, I remember being so excited to write messages on them and hand them out to my friends! We had such love and pure joy for our young friendships. Some of my classmates were challenged trying to spell my name, so they spelled it out phonetically: Antwonet. I used to get a kick out of it. We also exchanged heart-shaped candies.

What did you do for Valentine's Day in your childhood at school? What about at home? Did you eat anything special? My mom used to make my siblings and me heart-shaped sugar cookies with sprinkles on them. We came home for lunch every day and it was always a fun treat to enjoy her freshly baked goods.

Since Valentine's Day has been around a long time, there are many traditions and vintage collectibles related to this holiday. I enjoy looking up retro paper valentines from the 1960s. They can be nostalgic to see. Several of them include images of astronauts and other space-related motifs, since it was a decade full of breathtaking achievements in space travel.

In this sense, paper valentines can really mark a period of time, and its culture. This comes through in our Reverie video from the Victoria and Albert Museum below.

It can be fun to incorporate some of these vintage elements in our modern day. Packages of ephemera, like the ones made by Harry and Ida, are wonderful for creating a nostalgic mood at your dining table, in a card, or to decorate a notebook, among other things.

Of course, you can also create your own vintage look using filters and software. In this way, you can use images of specific people in your life and yourself.

It's funny to think that one day, our current items will be vintage. What will age well? Special leathergood items will develop a beautiful patina. Textured papers will always bring tactile delight. Scented inks may bring back specific memories.

If you'd like to give your loved one something they can enjoy looking back on, year after year, consider a notebook. It can be of any size. Think about how you'd like to use it. You can fill it with handwritten poems - written by yourself if you're poetic, or taken from the greats, if you're not (just be sure to credit them). You can write out quotes that your reader will enjoy. You can chronicle a favourite experience or memory you've shared. Perhaps something romantic?

You can document the reasons why you love them. Record wishes for the two of you. Tape, paste or staple in photos, pressed flowers, postcards, ticket stubs or other relevant cutouts and items. Or buy a big, thick notebook and fill in only the first couple of pages or so, with the promise to add to it each year. As you grow, so will your book. It will evolve and change and capture moments, a year apart. How much fun would that be to look back through?

One of the things I love about paper products is that they don't require repeated upgrades every few weeks or months, like my software. They can be displayed on my wall or put away in a book or box. No matter how much time has lapsed, poof! Picking up an old card or note or journal and looking and reading through it immediately transports me to that special time and place. The feel of the paper, its smell... is it just me? Tell me if you've had this experience.

However you choose to spend this Valentine's Day, we wish you joy in your day and plenty of love in your life!

February 13, 2024 — Antoinette D'Angelo

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