I confess, entirely and without shame, to being a romantic. My husband and I eloped. What's more romantic than that? However, despite being the sort of person who loves to be in love, I'm inherently suspicious of any gesture that seems pre-packaged, mass-manufactured, or trite.
Unless it's widely thought to be cheap/tacky, in which case I am all for it.
My youngest kid is not in pre-school or daycare and my oldest are in high school, so the above valentines are leftover stock from when I would pick them up at yard sales and thrift stores. I'm surprised at how few are left! I remember having so many good ones (and by 'good' I mean, of course, 'cheesy').
Al and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, but when we were at the record sale, all alone without our kids, we exclaimed that that was pretty much like being on a date. A Valentine's date, even, since it was less than a week to the day.
And yesterday, I saw an online tutorial that I recognized - immediately! - as the perfect gift for Al.
I repaired his winter coat.
I know, I know, this isn't a perfect gift the way that making him a new shirt or buying him a really nice album would be, but it is a romantic gesture. Al wears his clothes until they fall apart, but his definition of "falling apart" is sometimes a little lax, especially if he really likes the item.
He has this nice, tweedy (but somehow also houndstooth?) vintage coat that he's worn for the past five or six winters. I mended a tear on the outside bottom edge of the pocket this fall, but I noticed at the time that the pockets themselves weren't exactly functional. It wasn't so much that they had a hole in them, but that they were holes, surrounded by pocket outlines. The lining (which is some kind of lovely, thick, slippery stuff, was stitched down everywhere and I didn't think I could get to the wrong side of the pocket.
Until yesterday, when I saw this amazing tutorial by Lynette at Running with Scissors. She patiently explains (with pictures!) how to get to the pocket by opening a hole in the sleeve lining and turning everything inside out. This morning, I had a go at it and successfully created two functioning pockets.
I used a thick knit material, which I assume is not strictly a good idea because it stretches and might not hold up to wear and tear. I didn't have a lot of plain material in my stash though and I figured I could always replace them again if it was a real problem. (I shortened the pocket bag to make up for the stretchiness - hopefully that will help heavy items like keys from sinking all the way to the bottom of the coat.) It turned out great, though!
The knit, though probably a bad idea, is cozy on the hands and I do love the colour.
While I had everything out, I also repaired this little coat hook hanger made of cording (one end had come out).
And I sewed up a hole in the underarm.
Though I started this post a little tongue-in-cheek, in a society where it seems we replace things rather than repair them, mending loved clothing really is a great Valentine's gift.
Thanks again to Lynette, whose tutorial instructions were spot on and who, very kindly, quickly answered a question I had. Running with Scissors underwent a revamp a little while ago and, though always a favourite, I think it's better than ever.