Make it a Handmade Valentine's Day!



Every February 14, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones in several countries, all in the name of St. Valentine. The history of Valentine’s Day contains remnants of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions.  The patron saint himself is shrouded in mystery.  Who is this mysterious Valentine?  Where did traditions associated with Valentine’s Day come from?  Being of inquiring mind, I did some research and decided to share my findings, along with a whole host of artisan handmade items, each one a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for a loved one:




Red Valentines Earrings for Women Handmade by Sharon of BlondePeachJewelry



The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. In one third century Roman legend, Valentine was a priest.  At that time Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families so he outlawed marriage for young men. Thinking that the decree was unjust, Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform secret marriages.  He also ministered to Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire.  When he was eventually found out, Valentine was imprisoned.  During his imprisonment, Valentine is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer, and before his execution, he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.


Although the truth behind the legends of Valentine is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.




Pink Flower Motif Crocheted Maryjanes, Newborn, 0 - 3 months, Handmade by Pamela of MagdaleneKnits



Some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death, which probably occurred around A.D. 270.  Some historians, however, believe that the Christian church decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated on the ides of February (February 15), Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.




Lotus Flower Necklace and Earrings Set Handmade by Mary of PrettyGonzo



To begin the festival of Lupercalia, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf (lupa). The priests would sacrifice a goat and a dog, the first for fertility and the second for purification. Then the goat’s hide would be cut into strips and dipped in the sacrificial blood.  The priests would take the strips into the streets to gently slap both women and crop fields with them.  Roman women welcomed the touch of the bloody goat hide strips because they believed it would make them more fertile in the coming year.




Copper Wire Wrapped Black and White Ebony Orchid Exotic Wood Pendant Handmade by Roxanne of ExoticWoodJewelryAnd



Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity.  However, it was deemed “un-Christian” and outlawed at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.  In 1382 in the Parlement of Foules, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote:   “For this was on seynt Volantynys day, Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.” (For this was on St. Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate)




Ruby Red Knitted Valentine's Day Hearts Dish Cloth or Wash Cloth Handmade by Sharon of HollyknitterCreation



Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages (5th - 14th centuries), athough written valentines didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today is a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.  The poem is now a part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.  Several years later, King Henry V is said to have hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.




Red Heart Kitchen Magnets / Refrigerator Magnets, Set of 4, Handmade by Julie of Polymr Clay Beads by Blue Morning Expressions



Valentine’s Day is celebrated primarily in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popular around the 17th century.  By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes.  By 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters.  




Crocheted Pink Double Butterfly Applique / Hair Accessory Handmade by Jacki of Christie Cottage



Americans probably began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” Howland made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures.  Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year - an estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.  Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.


I hope you enjoyed this brief history fo Valentine's Day.   Here are some more beautiful artisan handmade creations for Valentine's Day gift giving:




Love and Hearts Valentines Dog Bandana, Collar Slipcover or Scrunchie-style, Handmade by Donna of SewAmazin




Red Swirl Heart Earrings Handmade by Linda of Linor Store Jewelry



Vintage Valentine Greeting Girl Watering Potted Red Roses Offered by Collen of postcardsintheattic



Aquamarine Wild Heart Swarovski Crystal Dangle Earrings Handmade by Kathy of KatsAllThat



"My Sweetheart" Dichroic Textured Fused Glass Heart Brooch Handmade by Jo of Umeboshi Jewelry Designs



Abstract Flowers Art Print from Original Watercolor Batik Art Painting Handmade by Marica of MarciaMcKinzieArt



Pale Pink Heart Beaded with 3D Roses, Irish Crochet, Handmade by Ruth of RSSDesignsInFiber



Perfect Pair Gift Tags - Valentine’s Day Tags - Set of 24 - Handmade by Natalie of AdoreByNat



Copper Love Charms and Ruby Red Czech Glass Valentines Earrings Handmade by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs



Valentine's Day Diamond Heart Earrings Handmade by Sharon of BlondePeachJewelry



Ruby Red Swarovski Crystal Valentines Earrings Handmade by Pamela of MagdaleneJewels



Honey Jasper and Lotus Charm Stretch Bracelet Handmade by Mary of PrettyGonzo



Long Norfolk Island Pine Repurposed Exotic Wood Earrings Handmade by Roxanne of ExoticWoodJewelryAnd



"Love is in the Air" Valentines Hanging Hand Towel With Hand Knit Topper and Ties Handmade by Sharon of HollyknitterCreation



Hummingbird Stainless Steel Glass Dome Charms, 20mm, Handmade by Julie of Polymer Clay Beads by Blue Morning Expressions



"Key to Unlock My Heart" Stretch Charm Bracelet Handmade by Jacki of Christie Cottage



Chocolate Truffles Valentines Dog Bandana Handmade by Donna of Sew Amazin




Red Heart Earrings Handmade by Linda of Linor Store Jewelry



Vintage 1900s Valentine Postcard with Violets and Basket Offered by Collen of postcardsintheattic



Cherry Red Czech Tile and Creme Superduo Beadwoven Bracelet Handmade by Kathy of KatsAllThat



"Jo's Bevel" 6" Stained Glass Quilt Square in Burgundy Red and Clear Glass Bevels Handmade by Jo of 2GlassThumbs



Red Pepper Painting Original Watercolor Batik on Japanese Rice Paper, 13x17 inches, Handmade by Marcia of MarciaMcKinzieArt 



Garnet Red Irish Crochet Heart with Beaded 3D Red Roses Handmade by Ruth of RSSDesignsInFiber



You and Me Go Together Like Love Stickers - Valentine’s Day Sticker Labels - Set of 30 - Handmade by Natalie of AdoreByNat



Crown of Thorns and Sacred Fire Milagro Heart Earrings with Pink Czech Glass Handmade by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs



I hope you enjoyed each and every one of these unique, artisan handmade Valentine's Day creations, amny of which are one of a kind.  If you would like to make my day and the day of the talented artists featured, please leave a comment.  And any promotion you can do will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!



My contact information:


Indiemade shop:  ShadowDogDesigns

Indiemade blog:  ShadowDogDesigns’ Blog

Artfire studio:  ShadowDogDesigns

ArtFire Blog:  ShadowDogDesigns' Blog

Google+:  Catherine ShadowDog

Facebook:  ShadowDogDesigns - Jewelry

Twitter:  ShadowDogDesign

Pinterest:  Shadow Dog Designs

Wanelo:  ShadowDog

Rebelmouse:  ShadowDogDesigns

Flickr:  Shadow Dog Designs' Photostream



Beautifully Unique Handmade Jewelry

for the Discerning Woman


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Love Love Love

Such an interesting and informative story. I never really knew where this holiday came from! I will be sharing the post and all of the individual items.
Happy Valentine's Day to you and to all the posters here!!!


Tweeted and pinned all but one shop whose double pop ups would not clear

Here is my Pinterest board

Here is my Pinterest board and everyone has been tweeted.

This is wonderful!

Wow, this is wonderful post, Catherine! I had no idea there was any sort of continuity from Roman times to our times when it comes to Valentine's Day. :) I guess in the High Middle Ages, St. Valentine seemed the perfect saint for the culture of Courtly Love. So interesting about Lupercalia too!

Thanks for sharing all the wonderful gift ideas too, and for including my lotus jewelry set and lotus yoga bracelet with them. Will be sure to share your blog at the usual places and to pin all the beauties to my Valentine's Day section of my board Handmade Favorites.

Loving Valentine's treats to the handsome Moosie from the sweet wee Gonze! :)

Always a favorite day!

I so love the day of love! Valentine's Day is one of my favorite days of the year. It is simply a day that love gets some attention. There is such sweetness in this. She sentiments, the hearts, the candy and cards! And then there other sweet gifts like the artisan works shown here, something special and handmade, one -of-a-kind for some one special!


Thanks for including my exotic wood jewelry.

Valentine info - interesting.

Pinned and tweeted.
pinterest: artnmore
twitter: @waterrox

Thank you!

Thank you, Catherine, for including my paintings in your lovely collection! Tweeted all items.

Blog post

Thank you very much Catherine for including my earrings in your lovely post. Promoted each item and your post. Wishing sales for all!

Handmade Valentines

What a nice surprise! Thank you for including my Valentine dog bandanas in this blog post!
Pinned each item:
Scheduled tweets and shared the blog post.


Thank you Catherine for including my Baby Pink Maryjanes, as well as my Valentine Heart Earrings among your beautiful collection of Valentine Gifts.
Definitely will promote on all my Social Media sites!!!

Awesome Post

Had no idea the history behind Valentine's Day, so this is really fascinating to read. I am glad that we have evolved to flowers, jewelry and chocolates rather than the goat thingy. :) Thank you so much for including my valentine's heart magnets and hummingbird charms. Shared everyone everywhere! Treats to my fuzzy friends and chocolate to my 2-legged friends :)

Thank you!

Your posts are so interesting. Thanks for including my heart earrings and so many other wonderful gift ideas for Valentine's Day.

Pinned to my Valentine's Day board on Pinterest and shared on G+.

Thank you

Thank you for featuring my postcards in this wonderful Valentine's day postcard

Thank you

Interesting history about Valentine's Day! Thank you for including my Valentine's Day gift tags and stickers. Shared on Twitter and pinned your post and every beautiful item here.

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