Love Yourself: The Art of the Daily Top Ten List

On this day devoted to romance and couples, it's easy to get down on life if you're unhappily single. Several years ago when one of us was in that state on Valentine's day, my college roommate and I picked up a ritual we'd abandoned after moving out of our dorm room: making a daily list of ten things that surprised, delighted or comforted us. She lives across the country, and we've kept it up ever since via email.

Once I accidentally sent a list to another far-away friend, and he happily replied with a list too.

The Daily Top Ten LIst a wonderful way to reconnect with an old friend, and to realize that even the worst day offers up a list-worth of entries.

A few examples:
1. Woke up in a yurt near Coos Bay, OR.
2. Made oatmeal on the camp stove. Added almonds, brown sugar, dried
3. Made a cup of tea.
4. Packed up our gear and cleaned up the yurt.
5. Wore jeans (unfortunately unaware of National Corduroy Day)
6. Hiked all day long.
7. Spent an afternoon watching stormy waves break against cliffs. Saw
many varieties of beautiful mushrooms. Watched hundreds of sea lions
and seals lounging and barking.
8. K said I was making her heart grow too big for her chest.
9. Got a medium veggie pizza for dinner on the drive home.
10. A triple latte for dessert to keep my eyes open.

1. Made an agreement with myself not to get stressed and stuck to it.
2. Rain felt good.
3. IT guy was able to fix my crashed computer.
4. With things from last week being resolved, I now feel like I have time to do my other work again.
5. Co-worker stopped by to say goodbye before leaving for holidays.
6. Played Santa and dropped off a birthday gift at T's.
7. L and I were both home before 6.
8. We took a long walk and looked at Christmas lights.
9. Good phone conversation w/my mom.
10. Paid off student loan.

1. Slept in.
2. Finished Persepolis.
3. Waffles and raspberries for breakfast.
4. Did not leave the house after the gym.
5. There was a special section in the paper all about the Oscars.
6. Napped with the cat, who is an excellent napper.
7. Post-nap snack of hot and sour noodle soup.
8. Assembled the 35 pairs of earrings I started on Friday.
9. Got some eggplant caponata that my mom made.
10. Watched the first episode of the last season of the Wire.

Some things bear repeating:


Valentine How-To: "Mad Love" Game Book

My partner and I love to do Mad Libs together, and we have gone through many of their books, including the romance one that inspired this Valentine's project.

This "Mad Love" book will be 5.5" x 8.5," so plan your paper accordingly. I made my inner pages in Photoshop, but would have been a little bit easier in a word processing program. For content, I drew from romantic things we both enjoy, such as movie plots with quotes, song lyrics, book passages and old blog posts. Here is an example page:

I found for movies it was straightforward to use plot synopsis from IMDB, and then include your favorite quote at the end. For song lyrics, don't forget the helpful word type of "rhymes with ...," since non-rhyming lyrics aren't as fun. In addition to your standard parts of speech (e.g. noun, verb, adverb), throw in some that are more specific such as "occupation," "silly word," "place," or "famous people." The ever classic "person in room" should not be overlooked.

For my book I did about 10 pages, but more or less would be cool considering how much time or interest you have.

Next the cover:
Day 5:  "Mad Love" Valentine

This is a blank template for you to fill in as a cover. You can download it directly from my Flickr site here. For the Photoshop savvy, go ahead and use a close-up image (camera phone style super close-ups work great for this) into the green square. For the less computer inclined, try printing out a photo or photocopying one and cutting it to fit in the square and gluing it in place.

Day 5:  "Mad Love" Valentine

Cover your eyeballs with the classic style googly eyes to make it look like the original store bought versions. You can download them on my Flickr, again. If you're only semi-experience with Photoshop, note that once you select the eyeballs and paste them into the image, EDIT > FREE TRANSFORM, is useful in this situation. Again, for the non-computer option, scale your eyeballs up or down and glue onto the faces.

Day 5:  "Mad Love" Valentine

Here is my finished cover. I printed it out on card stock, but if you don't have any, print on regular paper and then glue to something stiffer. At this point I also got all of my interior pages cut down to 5.5" x 8.5," and cut a backing piece of cardboard the same dimensions.


You've done all of the hard parts already, now we just staple the pieces together, like so.


And I covered the staples and top edge with fabric tape to give it a more polished feel.

"Mad Love" game book

I'm really excited to give this to my Valentine, and I hope that you have fun making some too.


Love is Kind :: A Valentine's Pillow How-To

Beat the February Blues by doing a quick project to get in the love spirit. This Valentine pillow can be finished in one evening, which leaves you the rest of the month to fill the heart pocket with fun things to Be Your Own Valentine.

Pillow fabric - 2 pieces of 15x9 inch fabric
Heart pocket fabric: 2 small pieces of fabric, enough for the size of your pocket (can be different patterns)
Fabric scissors
Fabric pencil
Thread for embroidery
Pillow Stuffing
** I used a sewing machine for this project, but you can just as easily sew by hand.**

1. Layer the heart fabric together with right sides facing out and fold in half. Draw half a heart against the folded edge with your fabric pencil and cut out.

2. Using your sewing machine, finish the ends (I used a blanket stitch).

3. Take the finished heart pocket and embroider or embellish as you desire.

4. Pin the heart pocket to the right side of front pillow fabric and sew the heart on. You want to make the heart a pocket, so sew from a quarter along the curve down to the point and back up to a quarter up the curve. This way the top of the heart doesn't flop down yet the top forms a pocket.
5. Take the two pieces of pillow fabric and with right sides facing together, sew a quarter inch from the edge all around the pillow, leaving 3 inches open at the end.

6. Turn the pillow inside out so the right sides face out. Press the seams down with an iron, and sew one eighth of an inch along the edges, making sure to leave those three inches open at the end.
7. Fill the pillow with the stuffing and sew closed.

8. And now is the fun part! Fill the pocket with things to brighten your day and to remind yourself to Be Your Own Valentine. I chose an organic chocolate bar and an adorable charm necklace from {NewNew} member p*Charming.

Have a fantastic day!