Valentine’s Day season is a wonderful juxtaposition of opposites. Cold snow and hot colors. Like an early romance. Hopefully much longer. I’m an eternal optimist. Life is good and getting better. Each year I discover new tidbits about the origins of the day celebrated on February 14th.

Of course there are always the martyrdom stories, a saint by the name of Valentine put to death for marrying Roman soldiers forbidden to do so. (Makes sense to me- where else did the phrase a “fool for love” come from? Who needs fools on the front line?) Valentine also gave Christians a pass-which was frowned upon. The best I think, is the story of the man who would become a saint, restoring eyesight to his judge’s daughter and signing his last letter, ”Your Valentine.”

Valentine'sI’m crazy about Valentine’s and I hope you will at least get cards, red flowers, chocolates or whatever your honey, children or friends need in their day. You know we all thrive on special attention.


Seeds in moistened paper towel (left) and then bagged for refrigeration.( Stratification). Seeds slightly “scarified” on sandpaper for dropping into a glass of tepid water.


Scarified seeds in water, waiting for sprouting.

The same is also true about moving a garden along in the dead of winter. I started daylily seeds that haven’t yet appeared. I was sure this was extreme until I noted that the seeds were planted around January 15. (oops) Not even one month. Impatient again, I came up with two more methods to run down, just in case. Luckily I have a plethora of seeds.

More about scarification and stratification. Both methods are intended to fool winter hardy seeds into thinking that winter has come and gone and it’s time to sprout. We’ll just see which one wins. It’s a contest!


      Papa was a lover not a fighter.



My father was still a sculptor/university professor at 94. Working on clay in his nursing home room, on Valentine’s Day. See the Valentine’s card in the background.

Growing up with crazy artist parents meant that Valentine’s was just another occasion to haul out the supplies and create wild cards all over the dining room table. Seven girls and MANY fancy cards to be made. We never wanted for red things, glue and glitter.

Things changed when I had three little boys. Unfortunately I had to decorate the house and bake red cupcakes. (Bliss)They got cards and chocolate too. As advertised, real passion never fades.

Could Paola Pillows today be anything BUT red? Yes, or some variation of it-pink!



Valentine'sGreat song. Great movie. Great fun. The Man in Me. Bob Dylan – The Big Lebowski. Tell me it doesn’t bring a smile to your face.

And romance updated. A Canadian couple called Whitehorse. Bruce Springsteen’s I’m on Fire.

In honor of St. Valentine’s, reach out to me direct here during the month of February (ONLY) and I’ll sell you any one of my four rose design pillows for $50.00 each.( Half price) Buy three and they ship free, ground, in the US only. Or, you can buy them full price in March!

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