Love is in the Air.....

Well, Valentine's Day is right around the corner and lately my eyes have been drawn to my most prized possession.

A painting by Jack Vettriano entitled Dance Me to the End of Love.
This painting captures the essence of my best Valentine's Day memory.

Because I've not been able to divert my thoughts from the subject of love lately I've decided to host a
centered around it! Hooray for all of you!

Here's how you play:
1. To enter, you must visit my shop on etsy and pick a favorite item then come back here and leave a comment on this post telling me what you've chosen (make sure to include a way to contact you should you win).

2. You can earn a bonus entry if you become a follower of my blog. You'll find the link on the right side bar.

3. You can earn another bonus entry if you share me your most creative Valentine's Day memory. You can read the rest of the story about my best Valentine's Day below.

That's it! You're in. So, what am I giving away, you ask?
How about one of these?

The contest will be open to entries until midnight on February 12th, 2009. The winner will be announced right here on February 14th.

Now, here's my favorite V day memory:

February of 2004 (I think...?), I was inspired to create a special Valentine's Day for my husband. Ideas began to stir in my head and I wrote furiously in my notebook until I'd settled on a plan. I began to pour over my cookbook collection in search of relatively simple gourmet dishes I would be able to pull off with confidence. After a few rounds of elimination, I had assembled a menu for the evening and sat down with some tea at the computer and created my own menu for the evening. When that was done, I opened my CreateACard software and designed an invitation for my husband. Here's the actual card I made him:

I placed the card on the front seat of his truck after he went to bed the night before V day. The next morning after getting everyone out the door to school and work I got down to business myself.

I had searched the house earlier for what I would need to transform our humble little home into the quaint Cafe Rustica. I found an old curtain rod in the garage and found two matching twin sized flat sheets from our linen closet which I used along with a swag from a previous curtain set that I wasn't using at the time to create the curtains separating the entryway from the living room. I moved almost all of the living room furniture out of the living room and set up our dining room table (minus the leaf) with more lovely sheets as tablecloths. The red velvet napkins were a find at an after Christmas sale that I had tucked away for the next year. I pulled out our china and set the scene.

I purged all the shoes, coats, backpacks and bench from the entryway and brought in my outdoor fountain for ambiance. I had created a Cafe Rustica sign on the computer earlier which I hung beneath the painting on the wall. It was really beautiful.

Now it was off to the kitchen to whip up the recipes I had found.
The menu for Cafe Rustica was as follows:

Baked Brie with Cranberry Wine Sauce
Fresh Bread with Olivada and Basil Garlic Oil

Raspberry Turkey Roast

Tuscan Marinated Steak

Verdure (side dishes):
Pear Walnut Salad
Barley Pilaf
Asparagus with Roasted Peppers and Olives

Bevande (drinks):
Sparkling Juice
Lemon-Rose Water

Dolci (dessert):
Cappuchino Teardrop Mousse
Chocolate Marbled Cups with Fresh Fruit

My kids got home from school and I could tell by their amazed looks that my hard work was going to pay off. My mother arrived shortly, as we had arranged, to whisk them all away for a special Grandma's Valentine's Day party at her house and I quickly showered and changed.

A call from my husband saying he had "an errand" to run told me he was out looking for something for me and gave me a few extra minutes to put the finishing touches on the food, put on one of my Andrea Bocelli cds to set the mood, and light the candles.

When the time finally came, he rang the doorbell. Amused, I answered it with "Welcome to Cafe Rustica, how may I help you?" Without missing a beat, he replied "I have a 7 o'clock reservation." Giggling, I let him in and will never forget the look on his face. He was completely thrilled. He made me get the camera so he could take pictures of everything.

I finally got him to sit after taking pictures of every little detail (at the time we didn't realize that I had black and white film in the camera and after developing the film we were sad to see that most of the pictures turned out too blurry), only to have him jump back up and say "I'll be right back!" He came back in carrying that beautiful painting and I cried when he gave it to me.

We finally sat down and enjoyed a wonderful evening together with fabulous food, conversation and even dancing right in the middle of our very own living room. It was the best Valentine's Day we've ever far :)

Here are a few pictures I can share with you:

(the beautiful table)

(a shot of the entryway)

(the Vettriano painting took the place of the other)


glassidentities said...

Beautiful :) I dont have any good valentines storys.. never been something we have done a lot for around here... everyday is valentines for us, little love notes in hiding places and suprise sweet emails or voicemails. Bringing a treat home for the other one. Everyday something happens special.

I love the earrings in your shop.. the bleeding hearts are my favorite.

Anonymous said...

your story was beautiful and actually made me tear up...we don't do much in the way of valentines day either - but one story I can think of was just last year - we knew that we needed a break away from kids, life, everyday stress and I had found a place down in Sisters, OR called the Suttle Lake Lodge - well in the winter it is absolutely beautiful there - snow, lights, you get dinner and breakfast included and both were fabulous - we spent our time just talking and reconnecting - as after 15 years that can sometimes be hard to do. We came back rejuvenated and 'in-love' again...the feeling never goes away.

As for your shop - love the Heart necklace - gorgeous...always looking for jewelry that isn't 'too much' and that fits the bill! Good luck with your shop Melody!

Tammy Beckwith (McIntyre)

lemonade sun productions said...

Thank you Tammy! I've been to the Suttle Lake Lodge. It IS beautiful both in summer and winter. We live about an hour from there. I'm so glad you got to share that special time together.

Rhett and Alicia said...

These are my favorite - Sterling Silver Bali Forest Green Brown Boro Lampwork Glass Drop Earrings

Anonymous said...

What a great Valentine's day story. I usually wait for Matt to plan've challenged me to plan something for him! :)

I love all your favorite is the birthday whimsy set.

Angie Riopelle

Katrin said...

My favorite is: Lime Ice earrings. Your story is beautiful.

Audrey said...

WOW!! You have so many nice items in your shop! I choose these because I love earrings and green is my favorite color:


Mike said...

My favorite is your Blue Lagoon Scarf. My fav color is blue and that scarf just looks cozy. And I am now following your blog!

N + S said...

Love the birthday whimsy cake stamp, and the scarves, of course!

Anita said...

I love the sweetheart earrings, but there were about 5 other things I could have put down! I loved your story and I think I was with you that day. . . waiting to pick up my mother in law. It was a truly amazing thing to see. And Adam let me see your present! What fun to get a sneak preview of the thing you most highly prize. It is such a beautiful picture. I think my favorite Valentines stories are the ones where I get to just spend a special evening with my honey. One doesn't really stand out. . .they are all wonderful. And now, spending them with our two children and seeing the precious things they make for us. . . well, there simply are no words to describe the joy my husband and two children bring to my life both on Valentine's Day and every day. --Love, Anita G.

michelle said...

I am so proud of you Melody! I don't think i tell you that nearly enough! I think it is pretty amazing everything you have done here :) I really like the jewlery that you have made and the scarfs are super cute! (however i cant believe how old the model looks in those pictures!) Where have all the years gone??? :)Anyways, keep up the good work and i will try to spread the word to your site :)
Love you sis, ttyl :D