Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Hearts -n- Flowers

Valentines Past
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
February is here. Is it just me, my age, or is this year flying by already? Damn. Anyway, in my NY life, the beginning of February always signaled one thing: my annual Valentine Making Party.

After living in New York for a few years, I had collected friends from work, school, and friends who had also migrated to the greatest city on earth that I had known from schooling in California and Florida. I had so many wonderful friends, I reasoned--why don't I try to introduce them to each other? And since I despise parties, I decided I would center the gathering around a crafty activity--specifically, making valentines--to help break the ice.

The events were always very festive--I provided snacks and a few crafty supplies, and guests brought other "eatables or artables" as my invitations requested. Sometimes I tried to have a theme, like costumes, or only red, white, or pink food, but the gals were just there for one thing--to make valentines. Some amazing art came out of those parties. My apartment had a long hallway, and at the end of the party, we'd group our cards down the hall so we could all see what everyone else had done.

My idea of what constituted a valentine certainly expanded. One friend brought black photo album paper one year, which I privately scorned, but turned out to be the hit of the party. Something similar happened the following year, when another friend brought cardboard she'd picked up on the street on her way to my apartment. One year, we all wanted to actually be the recipients of valentines rather than giving them all away, so we devised progressive valentines: We each had a minute to start a valentine, then pass it to the left for one minute, and so on until a completed card returned to us.

There were a few snags. My apartment in NY was tiny, really, REALLY small, not like on TV. I had to work through AHAS, Acute Hostess Anxiety Syndrome. It was months before I could vacuum up all the glitter out of my hideous gray office-y carpeting. It didn't really achieve my initial goal--my circles only overlapped at the party. But it was always worth it--for me, and I think for the other attendees and the valentine recipients.

The parties were finally a victim of their own success. Friends wanted to bring their friends, and it became awkward and crowded. The last year, I had to have a two-day party--on the first party day, I had so many guests I didn't have a place at the table for myself. Moving three thousand miles away later that year provided a graceful exit, but that would've been the final year regardless. Knowing that some of the other gals took up the cause and began hostessing parties of their own was adequate satisfaction.

So here I am, living in twice the square feet (not that that means much), and more craft-savvy than ever--why don't I resurrect my V-Day Party? Hm. Maybe next year.


It was me vs. the rose bushes today, and I won, though they got in some good licks. I stripped all their leaves and sprayed their bethorned branches with sulphur-lime fungicide to hopefully knock down the blackspot and rust this year. The breeze kept changing, so I collected quite a coating myself--as M pointed out snickeringly, thanks to the sulphur I smelled as though I had been passing wind, not downwind.

After a visit to a local print shop and discovering that the people down the street can do letterpress invitations for less than half what I've been quoted by those high-falutin' Bay Area presses (but I still have to convince myself that spending $500 on 50 invitations is worth the price), I did it: I tried on a white wedding dress. Really close, but still no cigar--right price, enough pretty beading, but the cut made my rear end look ENORMOUS (thanks, Nancy, for the courage to cap today, and btw Salt may change your life, as it has mine--it's not just an SNL skit!). Well, my tuchus is the size that it is, but I figure that since people attending our ceremony will be seated--meaning, eyes at butt level--I need to minimize, not enhance, with my choice of garb. The search continues.


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