Tuesday, February 08, 2011

February 2011 Activity -- Victorian Valentine Making

Make your own Victorian Valentine
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Drop-in any time between 1:00-4:00pm
Cost: $5/person
Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden
614 Oronoco Street
Alexandria, VA  22314

The Dilettantes are nothing if not proper Victorian ladies, so this activity seemed like a perfect fit.

We met at the Lee-Fendall House at 2:00pm and were the only three people participating in the card making at that time. We got a bit of information from a woman who worked there on the Victorian style and which elements we might want to include in the cards to make them more authentic -- such as lace and flowers. And chamber pots.

Supposedly, different flowers meant different things in Victorian times, so your Valentine could include many different messages based on the floral element you chose to include:

Acacia = secret love
Bachelor Button = celibacy
Baby's Breath = everlasting love
Candytuft = indifference
Yellow Carnation = rejection
Grass = submission

There was also a flower whose meaning translated into "spleen." Which is pretty great, really, as that is a message we've all wanted to send to someone on Valentine's at some point, but were never really sure how to work that in.

Then, we had free reign of a huge amount of craft supplies -- glue, decorative paper, lace, googly eyes (WTF?), feathers, ribbon and stamps. From this, we each came up with a unique Valentine.

Dilettante Amy created a card with a not-quite-as-authentic googly eye, a heart and a letter "U" stamp. (Get it? Eye Love You). Cute. Except her googly eye was a little on the lazy side, so the sentiment just got weird.

Dilettante Amanda went with an over-the-top Victorian lace-fest. And stamped on an "L", a heart, and an "A". (Her husband's name is Leon, so it stood for oh my god you two are totally going to make me vomit Leon loves Amanda.) At one point, she was adding yet another layer of lace and claimed she was going to further "gaudify" her Valentine. (That should totally be a word.)

Dilettante Kathleen went with a "more is more" theme -- adding paper, a doily, ribbon, flowers, lace and a feather -- and almost knocking over the two small children of the activity leader in her quest to get at the good supplies first.

After we finished our cards (the activity took a total of about half an hour), we looked for a place to eat some lunch and saw what we thought was a restaurant in the distance called "La Moustache" that had a French flag outside. As we got closer, we realized it was not a restaurant at all, but a moustache grooming place. We kidded about needing our moustaches trimmed...but honestly, that's not as funny as it would be if we were a little younger.

We ended up at Bilbo Baggins, where Dilettante Kathleen was the only one of the three Dilettantes enjoying the great beer menu. (Dilettante Amy went and got herself knocked up again and Dilettante Amanda is in training for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.)

Happy Valentine's Day from the Temperance Society!