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The Not-Quite Romantic handmade and vintage goods


Does anyone, except new lovers, actually enjoy Saint Valentine’s Day? Some years I should have celebrated Saint Jude, Patron Saint of Fools and Lost Causes, instead. I first fell in love when I was six with a playmate’s older brother. He had a massive comic book collection and sometimes picked me to be on his capture-the-flag team. My first heartbreak came in high school when I was dropped because my boyfriend thought I might distract him from getting into Harvard. Now, looking back at past loves, I see that many were lust disguised as love, some were like, some were fiction, and a rare few were true.

[Clockwise from top left: Man and woman trivet from Gilgool; Turned maple box  from Clavico; Original seaweed pressing from AlgaNet; Valentine heart die cuts from UniquesStashNStuff; Stitched moleskin notebook from Elizabethrosemond]

I once came home to paper hearts strewn about the house. We left them on the floor for years, only picking them up to sweep.


[Clockwise from top left: Button ceramic tile from Misterrob; Windy day painting from Kikiandpolly; Handmade St. Jude statue from Inthecompanyofsaints; Vintage loves me not hanky from BobetsyWe were so close print from Jensandwich]

Unrequited love has been a painful teacher. I had to learn the lesson of letting go.

[Nice to have around card from Littlethingsstudio; Pomegranate shortbread cookies from Butterblossoms; Valentine art block from Sushipot; Swallow temporary tattoo from Esterkneen; Quote magnet from Chicalookate]

My mother was my most faithful valentine. She found many ways to tell me how much she loved me.

[Clockwise from top left: Vintage bee condiment dish from ThevintageapartmentHoney bee block print from Littlebeanprints; Bee necklace from Designoptions; Bee’s knees print from Theblackapple;Bees in the valley mezzotint from Whitedeerhorn]

Did you know that Valentine is also the Patron Saint of Beekeepers?

These days my life is filled with love, not the romantic love I longed for when I was younger, but the deep and rich love for friends and family who know me well. With them there is no need to set a day aside to celebrate because each ordinary day is its own Valentine’s.

Cate Fitt, a.k.a. knitfitt, has been a member of Etsy since 2007 and is an experienced critic, curator and juror. She earned her MFA in fiber in 1978, later receiving an artist’s fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Through the years, she’s been a maker of one-of-a-kind hand-painted clothing, pottery, jewelry, and linocut and monotype prints. She lives in a little house close to the James River with two whippets named Moose and Peach.

  • BiloxiHousewife

    BiloxiHousewife says:

    Lovely, didn't know about the Patron Saint of Beekeepers! Oh and the Pomegranate Shortbread cookies look yummy!

    3 years ago

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime says:

    Interesting spin on love :)

    3 years ago

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!

    3 years ago

  • TaraJacksonJewelry

    TaraJacksonJewelry says:

    Very interesting.

    3 years ago

  • WingedWorld

    WingedWorld says:

    This reminds me to make a Valentine's Day card for my daughter. I love the little love notes she writes to me. I'm soaking it up until her teen years hit...

    3 years ago

  • LorisJewelryBox

    LorisJewelryBox says:

    Patron saint of bees?? Could that be why loved ones call each other "honey"?? :-)

    3 years ago

  • MyEverAfter

    MyEverAfter says:

    I've always loved Valentine's Day, even when I was single. I'm a hopeless romantic and so for me it's a day of fixing a tube of popcorn and an assortment of my favorite snacks (chocolate being at the top of that list of course!) and playing back to back a selection of my favorite romantic movies!

    3 years ago

  • goingplaces2

    goingplaces2 says:

    Well done, Cate. A beautiful tribute to LOVE.

    3 years ago

  • elleestpetite

    elleestpetite says:

    So true and well said. :D

    3 years ago

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy says:

    St. Valentine's Day is indeed a strange little 'holiday''s wonderfully romantic to attribute a full Day of Love & Appreciation for our mates, but I always seem to think that it should spring forth in a natural way rather than by prompting! Haha, oh well....I'll take it. Yes, when it all comes down to it, I cannot criticize a holiday about Love. ♥ Heidi ♥

    3 years ago

  • vitamini

    vitamini says:

    I never knew about the bee reference. Sweet.

    3 years ago

  • ButterBlossoms

    ButterBlossoms says:

    Thank you so much Cate! ♥ We loved reminiscing with you and really enjoyed all of your fabulous finds!! ♥ ♥

    3 years ago

  • coolranchstudio

    coolranchstudio says:

    i loved this. :)

    3 years ago

  • ButterBlossoms

    ButterBlossoms says:

    Bee Mine :) Hehehe! ♥

    3 years ago

  • glusk

    glusk says:

    I didn't you know that Valentine is also the Patron Saint of Beekeepers. Maybe that is why love can sting so much sometimes.

    3 years ago

  • fantasygarden

    fantasygarden says:

    it's reminds me i realy need to make some present for special one

    3 years ago

  • MarthyMay

    MarthyMay says:

    Valentine's Day... When my brother in second grade came home from school, sobbing, without any valentines, my mom retraced his steps in the deep snow and found them all. True love. Thanks for the article.

    3 years ago

  • HeatherLucille

    HeatherLucille says:

    The idea of paper hearts strewn about is so charming! Sweet article - I am a sappy, ole romantic so I l-o-v-e all of your picks!

    3 years ago

  • Talula

    Talula says:

    Oh my! Love this article! Even I, talula bourdon (bourdon is french for bumblebee), did not know that Saint Valentine was the Patron Saint of beekeepers! So informative and special indeed! Thank you!

    3 years ago

  • estheraguirre

    estheraguirre says:

    Super nice pics!!! :D

    3 years ago

  • VoleedeMoineaux

    VoleedeMoineaux says:

    Oh yum! Im gonna go pig out now.

    3 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush says:

    Love.. I came here for the cookies..

    3 years ago

  • volkerwandering

    volkerwandering says:


    3 years ago

  • Craftelina

    Craftelina says:

    very well put. agree with all you said. and the photos are very beautiful. Thanks!

    3 years ago

  • RossLab

    RossLab says:

    Love it!

    3 years ago

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop says:

    I love that your mother was your most faithful Valentine. That is the sweetest thing I have heard in a long time.

    3 years ago

  • djcjlw

    djcjlw says:


    3 years ago

  • ProfessorTiny

    ProfessorTiny says:

    Delightful quirky finds, and a lovely post.

    3 years ago

  • SaraChana

    SaraChana says:

    What a wonderful, dear piece. Glad to be among those who say, I love you.

    3 years ago

  • WindlessMeadow

    WindlessMeadow says:

    I think you can experience deep, true, unconditional love and still enjoy some sappiness on Valentine's Day. My husband and I have been through some rough times together and love each other much more because of it ... and yet I'll still give him a homemade card and a sappy gift this year :-)

    3 years ago

  • PaperAltar

    PaperAltar says:

    Happy Valentines Day, Cate !

    3 years ago

  • ovationstudio1

    ovationstudio1 says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart felt story. Love your collection of goodies and new information about Valentine's and bees. By the way, the cookies look delicious and are making me hungry.

    3 years ago

  • WildRoseHerbs

    WildRoseHerbs says:

    Love this, so sweet!

    3 years ago

  • fbstudiovt

    fbstudiovt says:

    We should make February 13th a holiday for St. Jude! I know I whole-heartedly caucus with fools and lost causes personally :)

    3 years ago

  • thevicagirl

    thevicagirl says:

    Ah, Valentines Day, not sure what to say about it.

    3 years ago

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas says:

    cute read...

    3 years ago

  • shabbydreams

    shabbydreams says:

    I am with MyEverAfter all the way. Even though I'm single, I love celebrating Valentines Day. I love all things pink, romantic, and girly. For me, there's nothing like my favorite snacks and movies on February 14th. Looking back, my mom was my favorite valentine as well :)

    3 years ago

  • katydidit416

    katydidit416 says:

    Being someone's Valentine is a gift. Period.

    3 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie says:

    Great post!

    3 years ago

  • genisepark

    genisepark says:

    No wonder I love bees....great article.

    3 years ago

  • CrochetByBrenda

    CrochetByBrenda says:

    after around 20 years, my decidedly UNromantic and terribly practical significant other (i.e. a vacuum cleaner on my 21st bday stands out) decided to surprise me one Valentine's Day. On February 13th when I got ready for bed he asked me to please not wear socks to bed (it's a quirk, shut up). So the next morning when I blearily rose from the bed my bare feet stepped on what I THOUGHT was cat puke. I immediately began spewing forth profanities aimed directly toward the hapless and innocent feline only to discover that my sweetheart had strewn rose petals everywhere in a path... first to the bathroom (cuz Mama has to tinkle first thing in the morning, or else) then to the cat food closet, then to the coffee machine. Despite the fact that I ruined the moment (or maybe because of it lol) it's still my fondest memory of the day :)

    3 years ago

  • yummiesmummy

    yummiesmummy says:

    Awwww so lovely. I thought the comment about your mother was beautiful and sweet. We all should be so lucky to have such a mother.

    3 years ago

  • vynsimplicity

    vynsimplicity says:

    Be completely humble and gentle: be patient, bearing with one another in love. When I deserve your love the least is when I need your love the most May we find Valentines day every day <3

    3 years ago

  • OhSoEnchanting

    OhSoEnchanting says:

    (also wears socks to bed) What a great article! Thank you for sharing

    3 years ago

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    What a heart felt article! Thanks for sharing! :)

    3 years ago

  • auldlangsyne1

    auldlangsyne1 says:

    So true about having to let go! My mother is wonderful...~KK~

    3 years ago

  • muffintopdesigns

    muffintopdesigns says:

    valentine's day is definitely my most favorite holiday ever. a day to celebrate love and only love? right up my alley! thank you for this beautiful post! xoxoxo

    3 years ago

  • LittleBeanPrints

    LittleBeanPrints says:

    I really loved reading this- so thoughtful and moving. I wish I could go back to the days of my mom being my valentine and paper hearts. I still buy the candy hearts with messages every year and think of her. And thank you - I'm honored to have my work included with this piece.

    3 years ago

  • mimicox

    mimicox says:

    lovely & well said- thank you cate.

    3 years ago

  • TheVintageApartment

    TheVintageApartment says:

    I love that Valentine is also the Patron Saint of Beekeepers! That is so delightful, as is this wonderful gathering you've composed. Thanks so much for including my vintage bee (he's happy to be here!). with joy, Caren

    3 years ago

  • BirdEnergy

    BirdEnergy says:

    Fun post love the bees.

    3 years ago

  • LilSoulja

    LilSoulja says:

    it's sooo close. I had no idea that Valentine is also the Patron Saint of Beekeepers. :)

    3 years ago

  • rozstein

    rozstein says:

    You are so awesome!

    3 years ago

  • kiranofindaly

    kiranofindaly says:

    Happy valentine's!

    3 years ago

  • GracefullyGirly

    GracefullyGirly says:

    I knew I loved bees! Funny connection. Truly love can/should be celebrated all the time; not just on one set-aside day of the year. Loved the paper hearts story!

    3 years ago

  • Pepz

    Pepz says:

    Happy Valentines

    3 years ago

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle says:

    Love this!

    3 years ago

  • 2boysandagirlmama

    2boysandagirlmama says:

    You are inspirational! Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts. Happy Valentine's Day and Every day!

    3 years ago

  • LizardSkins

    LizardSkins says:

    yes, we all need to remember love comes in many forms...and is everywhere. thanks for a lovely, thoughtful post!

    3 years ago

  • designbyaimee

    designbyaimee says:

    I really enjoyed this! Love can be very bittersweet, and I enjoyed reading your honest thoughts about your experiences Cate.

    3 years ago

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage says:

    Love is fickle!

    3 years ago

  • mirabellamorello

    mirabellamorello says:

    I agree that everyday can be its own Valentine's Day, but it is still so nice to have a special hearts-and-flowers day!! I had the same experience about my mother being my most faithful valentine too. Until recently, she did not miss a year, starting when I was a very small child. Every year, no matter where I was (even one year when I was on vacation at the time!), I could expect to get a Valentine from her. A couple of years ago, I stopped getting them from her. She was no longer able to keep track of the days or simple everyday tasks. This year will be My Mommy's first Valentine's Day in Heaven and I have to assume she will be busy handing them out there. But I know she will be sending one to my heart and I will be sending one back.

    3 years ago

  • littlethingsstudio

    littlethingsstudio says:

    Thank you so much for including one of my valentine cards! Lovely curation as always, Cate! I hope you have a lovely valentine's day! -kate

    3 years ago

  • zelaya

    zelaya says:

    I have also grown to reside more and more in the support and love of friends and family, beautiful thing to remember as Valentine's day approaches!

    3 years ago

  • Iammie

    Iammie says:


    3 years ago

  • IceCreamCandy

    IceCreamCandy says:

    the 1st photo is so sweet and makes me smile:)

    3 years ago

  • rn101

    rn101 says:

    As a socially awkward, chubby-when-no-one-else-was kid, poor and sometimes homeless kid, Valentines day was a day of misery for me. My truest valentine was my 3rd grade teacher who put a big, beautiful valentine, "from a secret pal" in my otherwise empty shoebox. Valentines day isn't necessarily about sex; it's about love.

    3 years ago

  • envydesignsjewelry

    envydesignsjewelry says:

    Great spin on love. I love the bees as well, so cool to learn something new, thanks!

    3 years ago

  • fulltiltboo

    fulltiltboo says:

    Has always confounded me when single others who have a healthy family dynamic and/or nourishing friendship proclaim that they are "looking for love". I know they mean some concept of romantic fellowship but I always think - though rarely(if ever) say: Look all around you; you are luckier in love than many lovers who need one singular, conventional bond to qualify their worthiness. Love is love is love with no true relationship inferior or superior to the depth of love we might be brave enough to experience. If we are having and giving such love freely, we are rich indeed. Romantic love is a treasure but should not trump key connections that sustain and inspire us. Perhaps the most valuable Valentine is one that tells the recipient they matter. Thank you so for this thoughtful post - makes one of my most private thoughts public.

    3 years ago

  • Clavico

    Clavico says:

    Wow, very nice Cate

    3 years ago

  • peshka

    peshka says:

    Love it ! great article!

    3 years ago

  • dahlilafound

    dahlilafound says:

    That was lovely. Thank you for sharing & reminding us of the important loves in our lives. :-)

    3 years ago

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField says:

    Nice article. And I didn't know about the bees either :0)

    3 years ago

  • PolClary

    PolClary says:

    Lovely article. We don't really celebrate Valentine's day in Holland much (though the shops are stocking more heart-y items and gifts and such in an effort to get people to buy). I like the idea of celebrating the beekeeper thing. Hurray, it's Valentine's Day, let's put honey in our tea. ;)

    3 years ago

  • cottonbirddesigns

    cottonbirddesigns says:

    Great article!

    3 years ago

  • mattyhandmadecrafts
  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery says:

    I agree with PolClary, Valentines is such a funny holiday I used to dread it as a kid thats for sure.

    3 years ago

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies says:

    I love what you wrote. Your words were right on point.

    3 years ago

  • Tessarj

    Tessarj says:

    My Mom has always been my most faithful valentine too. Thanks for reminding me to let her know this Valentine`s Day!

    3 years ago

  • Shoequeen1961

    Shoequeen1961 says:

    Oh Cate... You are truly a wonder! I love what you say about your Mom-- My Mom has always been my most faithful valentine as well. But my Dad [God rest his soul] taught me what to look for in a true valentine. The cookies... The information about the Patron Saint of Bumble Bees [I just love Bumble Bees!!!] You are a vessel of information. And yes! Love comes in many forms-- Godspeed in all of your endeavors!

    3 years ago

  • Enlincia

    Enlincia says:

    I've always loved Valentine's Day... even when it brought horrible disappointment because nothing can quite match a hopeless romantic's dreams. We're still struggling through school and put an ex-nay on any gifts for any occasion to each other. Instead we treat ourselves to a date that *gasp* actually cost us some money. The creativity to keep it all cheap but exciting is one of the challenges that keeps our love alive.

    3 years ago

  • HibouCards

    HibouCards says:

    well said!

    3 years ago

  • ZenBrush

    ZenBrush says:

    Thanks for presenting the shadow side of valentines day.

    3 years ago

  • perebags

    perebags says:

    Patron Saint of Beekeepers! Never knew that. Great Finds!

    3 years ago

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy says:

    wonderful article. love the turns, moving definitions and realizations. i never knew st. valentine watched out for beekeepers, too.

    3 years ago

  • TouchTheMoon

    TouchTheMoon says:

    Ehm... I thought that St Valentine's is about sexual love, so I was a bit surprised to see mothers mentioned. Unless we also give gifts to bf on father's day now etc. ;)

    3 years ago

  • ruchla

    ruchla says:

    love it!!!

    3 years ago

  • edguardodeevinchsski

    edguardodeevinchsski says:

    This is so sweet!

    3 years ago

  • abigailfulbrook

    abigailfulbrook says:

    Very honest and inspiring blog, thank you!

    3 years ago

  • thevelvetheart

    thevelvetheart says:

    I didn't know St Valentine was the patron saint of beekeepers! I love Valentine's Day, but not just to celebrate romantic love. To celebrate all the loves in our lives!

    3 years ago

  • brainfart

    brainfart says:

    Thank you ! Happy Valentine' s Day ! Lovely blog my mom was my Special Valentine too. Remember making home made valentine cards ? Such sweet memories!! Her smile , her home made fudge she would make ! But she is gone now . And I have sweet memories with my children and grandchildren and of course with Bear my valentine for 34 years. Hey everyone at Etsy HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

    3 years ago

  • PoisonApplePotions

    PoisonApplePotions says:

    Clicked for the cookies and stayed for the bees, love it!

    3 years ago

  • PinesVintageClothing

    PinesVintageClothing says:

    Beekeepers..who new?! Great read

    3 years ago

  • PinesVintageClothing

    PinesVintageClothing says:

    who Knew (I meant)...hahaha oops

    3 years ago

  • MishaGirl

    MishaGirl says:

    Lovely finds and fabulously written. Ah, Valentine's Day....everyone interprets it so differently- gotta LOVE that! Happy Valentine's all!

    3 years ago

  • TamRasha

    TamRasha says:

    I need MORE LOVE in my I AM NOT looking forward to "V" Day...but happy for all those that are...I am nOt gonna I am NOT gonna

    3 years ago

  • bobetsy

    bobetsy says:

    cate! thanks so much for having my hanky here! i'm afraid i "celebrated" the holiday so often in black, that even though i'm thoroughly in love now - the unrequited, melancholy valentine's day is the one i know best. :)

    3 years ago

  • TamRasha

    TamRasha says:

    Ok Im sorry...Im not really so unloved:) Lovely piece by the way and the COOKIES...what a GREAT idea:)

    3 years ago

  • TamRasha

    TamRasha says:

    AND I LOVED the

    3 years ago

  • NDMStudios

    NDMStudios says:

    Those cookies look delicious!

    3 years ago

  • nicoahsmeem

    nicoahsmeem says:

    Thanks for the touching story. I loved it.

    3 years ago

  • somsstudiosupplies

    somsstudiosupplies says:

    I am here for the cookies!! Yum!

    3 years ago

  • greendesertart

    greendesertart says:

    What a fantastic tribute to Valentine's Day! Thanks for new lessons...

    3 years ago

  • metalicious

    metalicious says:

    Wonderfully curated article! I love the part about your mom, how sweet!

    3 years ago

  • apresti

    apresti says:

    A fresh perspective on a great holiday!

    3 years ago

  • ionesAttic

    ionesAttic says:

    lovely sentiments...there is an untapped abundance of love and energy all around us...tap in!

    3 years ago

  • jmdyoung

    jmdyoung says:

    Thank you for this lovely post. Valentine's Day has always been a favorite holiday of mine and I think that is the case because of my mother. It is a day you can bring a smile to someone's face because you've thought of them - it doesn't need to be romance, it can be an elderly neighbor or the school bus driver. I lost my mom in October and this will be my first Valentine's Day without her. I love this line and will repeat it to myself as this Feb 14th approaches, "My mother was my most faithful valentine. She found many ways to tell me how much she loved me." Thank you!

    3 years ago

  • VeloNoir

    VeloNoir says:

    Thank you for this perspective on Valentine's Day and for reminding many of us that it is not only for lovers but singletons too. Instead of feeling too single this Valentine's Day, I'm going to put a smile on someone's face. Love is not just for one day.

    3 years ago

  • NicoleNicoletta2

    NicoleNicoletta2 says:

    such a nice article!

    3 years ago

  • studio2355

    studio2355 says:

    Good read thanks. I don't need a day on the calendar either but I will take it.101 made me cry, things do get better. I think I will treat myself and those who are special to me starting now.

    3 years ago

  • SomethinPretty

    SomethinPretty says:

    beautiful article :)

    3 years ago

  • FatCatDesignStudio

    FatCatDesignStudio says:

    I love the bee stuff--my name means "bee" in Hebrew!

    3 years ago

  • thesoapqueen

    thesoapqueen says:

    Wow the things you learn just surfing around! I must give my bees more LOVE on Valentines, nice article!

    3 years ago

  • xZOUix

    xZOUix says:

    Valentine's..... -e-v-e-r-y seller loves this day...... :)

    3 years ago

  • LiseVintageLighting

    LiseVintageLighting says:

    Bee-utifully, delightful choices! Love the carved St. Jude statue!

    3 years ago

  • girliepains

    girliepains says:


    3 years ago

  • pinksnakejewelry

    pinksnakejewelry says:

    Great Post!!! Did not know about the Bees!!!

    3 years ago

  • NaturalandVintage

    NaturalandVintage says:

    love it! my mom still sends me valentine's day cards in the mail

    3 years ago