Valentine’s Day is the season for romance, that’s certain. But the tradition of valentine giving goes back to the dawn of Christianity to a time of intrigue, danger, and secret societies. In Rome just after the death of Jesus and before Constantine took up the cross as the first Christian Roman empire, followers of the sect of Christianity came under great persecution by the pagan Roman leaders like Diocletian, Nero, and others.
To avoid the bloodthirsty Romans and death at the Circus Maximus, in the jaws of lions and bears, Christians took to the catacombs. This was an underground series of tunnels which ran the length of the city and served as a morgue for the remains of dead Romans.
In this twilight existence, entire Christian communities survived literally under the city overhead. Needless to say, procuring food and other necessities was extremely difficult. Many citizens who lived by day as Romans, smuggled supplies to these refugee Christians. One of them was Valentine (or Valentinius) a Roman priest and physician who brought supplies and ministered to the sick.
When the Roman command discovered Valentine’s mission, he was jailed. He suffered great torture himself for his kindness. But through tout his imprisonment, he continued to send secret messages to the faithful, encouraging them with such words as ‘be of stout heart’ ‘do not fear’ and ‘God is with us’. These he signed fondly as ‘your Valentine’.
Valentine was eventually put to death. And in his memory and spirit Christians continued to send each other little notes of encouragement and endearment. Many thousands perished in these tunnels. But many lived and lovingly remembered the good deeds of those who died.
The Holy Roman Catholic Church canonized Valentine and he has been referred to as Saint Valentine ever since. When we send kind notes to one another, we do it, albeit unknowingly, in memory of a gentle, courageous physician who empowered many souls with his kind words.
Based upon this prologue, I offer this craft for Valentine’s Day. It is very popular to scrapbook just now; it’s a wonderful way to preserve memories. My craft is similar, but it is designed to contain larger of three-dimensional objects of memorabilia. I will describe how to design a lovely treasure or memory box, inexpensively or even free.
You will need a shoebox, a low-melt glue gun or fabric glue, a pencil a marker and scissors for each person. You will need ;ieces of sturdy wrapping paper or several wallpaper sample books available from home furnishing stores or departments. Stores give these away frequently.
If you do this as a group project, ask for donations. Look for wrapping paper, stickers, feathers, fabric, lace, ribbon, buttons, sequins, silk flowers, faux gems, beads, little pieces of artificial fruit, bits of costume jewelry, of all sorts, sizes and colors and any other decorations you may have.
You can gather these from many places, most older women have a stash of this sort of thing that they have collected and saved. You can find them at secondhand stores or sales. You can have as many as you like for choice; it’s optional.
Use scissors with a variety of cutting edge if you have them. Choose a several pieces of wallpaper in patterns you like. They don’t need to match. Take your shoebox and cover both the box and the lid with wrapping paper. Seal the edges or tuck them under.
Design a label for your box from a piece of paper and fabric. Print with a nice computer font or write in pretty lettering a label for your box ‘Mom’s Special Box’ ‘Memorabilia’ etc.
Decorate your box with any of the decorations you like. Older kids and adults can plan theirs, but young children often just like to put what strikes their fancy.
The beauty of this project is it’s flexibility for lots of ages. By doing the covering with or for a litte child, with paper he has chosen, he can select the decorations. If you gather donations, it is also next to free to make. And you have lots of options for decorating. Each box is a work of art in itself. They look lovely on a shelf holding your treasures.
They make beautiful gifts for weddings, new babies, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, as well as Valentine’s Day.