Monday, February 14, 2011

Secret Valentines revealed

Several years ago, it became a tradition in my quilt guild, Squanicook Colonial Quilt Guild (and yes, do feel free to discuss what a weird name that is), to have a biannual Secret Valentine program. The rules are simple - create or purchase a quilty-themed valentine gift valued around $20 and secretly deliver it to you assigned valentine before the February meeting. Members tend to get very creative both with the gift creations and the delivery options; it isn't unheard of to drive several towns away from your own to mail a package with a misleading postmark - this year one member even sent her gift from Connecticut! I myself one year hired my babysitters, Molly and Katie Callbeck, to ding dong ditch the door of my Secret Valentine figuring if they were seen my SV would either not recognize them or assume their mother, Angie Callbeck and member of our guild, was their SV. We're so sneaky, we quilters.
I've participated every year, and this year I was chosen to run the program. And by "chosen" I do of course mean "volunteered to do it because it seemed like an easy thing to do for the guild and if I signed up for that and Refreshments no one could ask me to be president". As it turned out, I did do all of the assigning of secret valentines and mailing out names of their giftee to participants, but I was unable to go to the actual reveal meeting due to a prior commitment. I thank my friend Kathie Beltz for stepping in and taking over on my behalf that evening. Half the members probably didn't even notice I wasn 't there because everyone gets Kathie and I confused most of the time anyway. A compliment to both of us in the looks department, but truly, no one could ever confuse our quilting styles!

In honor of this Midwinter Celebration of Love, Romance, and a Long Dead Saint, I'm going to share some of the Secret Valentines I have received over the years. Enjoy!
2011 - "Bake some cupcakes with your sweeties"

I was in charge of setting up the Secret Valentine list and was in the unique position of being able to choose my own valentine. I could have stacked the deck and gone with someone with whose talents and style I was familiar, but I decided to go crazy and choose a new member, Linda Panny, about whom I knew absolutely nothing. What did I learn? Linda apparently knows I have three little girls and that they love to make cupcakes. Linda shops and finds very cute things for cupcakes, like some adorable boxes to put said cupcakes in for taking in lunchboxes. Not being much of a shopper, that was quite fascinating and very new to me. But most importantly, Linda makes her own homemade vanilla and enclosed a bottle in my gift. I could bathe in vanilla and not get enough of the heady aroma, so I will have to admit that was my favorite part of the gift. The girls and I are going to have lots of fun cupcaking soon!

2009 - "Sweet Valentine Dreams"

I wish I could remember the name of the SV who created these fabulous pillowcases for me two years ago. I honestly think she may have left the guild since then, but if anyone knows, please feel free to speak up. These are some of the most nicely constructed pillowcases I have ever seen - and I've made lots of these because for a while they were my go-to birthday party gift for my girls to bring to parties. We were that family who gave bedding, but in our defense, the friends AND the moms loved it. I love that in showing this gift I also sneak in a little of the quilt on my bed and the paint on my accent wall behind my bed which matches one of the fabrics so perfectly it was a true decorating moment for me.

2007 - "The Love in my Family is not so Secret"

As much as I don't really want to play favorites, I'm going to have to here. This valentine arrived on my front step bearing a postmark from another town that was immediately upon opening the box proved to be a fake. I knew in a second that a good friend of mine (and mother of my former sitters/espionage artists who are now adults), Angie Callbeck, had created it for me and I cried because it was so perfect. The note enclosed said something like "This quilt represents the love in your family"
and you can see that it does - two adult hearts on the outsides, two same sized medium-ish hearts for my twins, and baby heart Greta (who was at the time I received this was not even a year old) in the middle. It is beautifully quilted, which was one tip-off as to who made it for me, but the border was the true clue. Angie had recently tested one of my first designs, and that border is my own creation and I absolutely love that she used it in another setting on this quilt. Have I mentioned I love it?

As for 2005, I received a packet of 5 half yards of reds and pinks and a whole lot of chocolate. The fabrics have gone on to become other items, none of which I seem to have in the house, and the chocolate was likely consumed immediately upon opening.

I highly recommend this program for any guild. It's a great way to flex creativity in an otherwise sometimes dull season!


Tina said...

How much will I have to pay Angie Callbeck to make one of those for me?? I'm wiping tears from my face, it's so perfect.

Beth at Quilting Hottie Haven said...

Angie? Meet Tina. She's me 6 months ahead of my life and lives in KY. Tina, meet Angie. She's got twin girls who are 19. It's a twin mom thing and I knew it was from her the second I opened it because of the twin thing!

Angie said...

WOW. Great to see that wallhanging again! Thanks Beth, AND Tina! I can't even remember if I used a pattern for those hearts, but it looks pretty nice, even all these years later. I'm so glad to be your friend, and hey, now that I'm mentioned in a blog, I must be on my way to being semi-world famous! :-)

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