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Ideas for Valentine’s Day Procrastinators (or Those Who Otherwise Failed to Impress)

Sunday, February 19th, 2012 by Chris Kent

Valentine’s Day has already passed, but if that Whitman’s Sampler or bouquet of red roses didn’t win the affection of your sweetheart, it might be because your gift lacked creativity. (Consider that the aforementioned “gifts” can be purchased at the same place where you gas up your car.) But thanks to the Internet, you can use someone else’s creative powers to make things right with your dearest one … or at least, get a jump on next year’s highly commercialized holiday of love.

I am speaking here of Etsy, the online craft marketplace where knit coffee-cup cozies, herbal soaps, and things made from vintage spoons run rampant. (For a look at Etsy’s dark side, become a regular reader of the Regretsy blog.) However, the big advantage of ordering instant Valentine’s Day presents from Etsy is that they won’t look like every other Hallmark card in the world.

Many of Etsy’s crafting elves offer cards or prints that can be bought as PDFs, allowing you to print them up at home on high-quality paper and make a good showing during the V-Day gift presentation. (Bonus points if you have time to run to Ikea for a picture frame.)

I very much like this “I’m filled with love for you” 8×10 PDF print, which Etsy artist Missus D will customize in different colors for just $5 (she also helpfully notes that it looks good in the black Ikea “RIBBA” frame):

For Jane Austen fans and the people who love them, you can order a print from Etsy seller JaneAndCompany Design with a typography theme, featuring Mr. Darcy’s outburst of love highlighted in red: “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (For the moment, we’ll ignore the fact that Elizabeth Bennet stopped just short of bitch-slapping Darcy after this announcement. Anyway, it all ended well.)

I love maps, so this PDF card with a map and the phrase “Home is wherever I’m with you” popped out as a keeper. Etsy seller Jb Artistry will let you pick from five different vintage map backgrounds, like this one:

There’s one other do-it-yourself option if you’re really caught unprepared for Valentine’s-Day gift-giving next year – or in dire need of making amends with your loved one now. Check out Wordle.net, a neat little web tool that creates word clouds out of text and makes them look all prettified. (For details, check out our previous Content Bureau blog post on Wordle.) I dropped in the text from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”), chose some Valentine’s Day colors, and got this:

Create your own V-Day Wordle cloud, print it out nicely, and voilà – another last-minute save for Valentine’s Day, without the rush for gas-station roses or less-than-luxury chocolate. Or indeed, for any day throughout the year when you need to spread a little love, and you’re pressed for time.

is a member of the Content Bureau editorial team.

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