No matter how many of us snub or sleep through it, there's always love in the air come Valentine's Day. We'll be the first however to admit that the holiday's intention of being a humble and honest vestigial to express one's true feelings has been somewhat marred by high-price buyout presents, and an increasingly low bar for acts of true romance. We feel the most thoughtful gesture is still the handmade effort, and, as a website abundant in cross stitch kits and other crafting goodies, we've compiled our five favourite types of project to pour your heart and soul into:
Cross Stitch CardsWhy would you hurriedly pick an overpriced card from the corner shop, when embroidery has illuminated the possibilities of what can be done with a simple message? Now a heartfelt well-wish can be a sign of painstaking detail and crafting perfection, and no single company has a better choice of blank-word-canvasses then The Nutmeg Company. Their latest additions to our site feature perhaps one of the most extravagant heart-themed cards we've laid eyes upon, along with beautiful floral patterns and one piece that lets you endlessly tie the knot (should there be a wedding near or on Valentine's Day). Each is made in the company's unique 3D style, letting you create wonderful surprises for the lucky receiver to unveil again and again.
Jewellery/Make-Up BoxesAnother set of lovely goods from The Nutmeg Company, these 3D cross stitch kit fabric boxes are a much better alternative to carry cases hastily picked out on the high street. Whilst some make wonderful holding places for shiny and treasured items, others can be wonderful storage spaces for make-up, or can be turned into your own handmade guilty chocolate box. Each features a unique pattern, ranging from shapes to imprints of the orient. Whichever one you think would suit your beloved (made for them or given fresh), the result is guaranteed to be a beautiful addition to their nightstand.
Hand Knitted Clothing & AnimalsOnce upon a time, the idea of knitting together a gift for someone on Valentine's Day (or any day for that matter) was something reserved for the old and the boring. A lazy stereotype, and one why has been thankfully illuminated as silly by the trendy uptake of wonderful gestures generated by a couple of knitting needles and a good idea. Recent additions to our growing library of textiles literature include guidebooks for making all sorts of goodies, such as trendy hats and beanies to adorable animal friends (the latter being a nice idea for little ones to try making to really make a good impression on their first Valentine).
A 'Love-Filled' Cross Stitch KitIf you want love infused cross stitch, plain and simple, then Past Impressions wants to be the knight in shining armour with designs and patterns that come at their most alive come Valentine's Day. Face it: you're never too old for Tatty Teddy, but if you do want something a little more involved, beautiful renditions of the heart - the Universal symbol for love - and an international display of all the ways love can be expressed means you have no shortage of options.
A Cross Stitch PortraitIf after a gift that's as unique as can possibly be, then the DMC Stitch-A-Photo Chart Pack will let you turn a favoured photo of your Valentine into a one of a kind cross stitch made to impeccable detail. By sending off the treasured photograph, it'll be returned as a fully colour-coded chart, letting you embroider your beloved into a gift that truly shows how much meticulous time and effort you're willing to put into the ultimate Valentine's gift.
We'd love to know how you're celebrating Valentine's day this year, or perhaps memorable ways you've celebrated it in the past. Let us know in the comments, and if you're making any gifts for your beloved, share your progress with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, particularly our Cross Stitch Community. Don't worry, your surprise will be safe with us...