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How to Ace Valentine’s Day (Let Etsy’s Love Experts Help)

Jan 29, 2015

by Karen Brown handmade and vintage goods

Whether you’re looking for a treasure to celebrate the love of a lifetime or the perfect note asking for a first date, Etsy’s love experts can hit the target truer than Cupid’s arrows. Intimate, original, and profoundly personal, these talented artists will express your heartfelt emotions in unique and unforgettable ways. Choose paper and ink, paint, or thread, and Etsy makers will work secretly on your behalf to deliver a gift that just might make your intended swoon. The best part? You still get to take all the credit. So pucker up and get ready for the sweetest Valentine’s Day ever.

Custom Love Letters (From a Questionnaire!)


Tongue-tied when it comes to romance? Too shy to pop the question? Not to worry. Allison Mermelstein of Aliza’s Inklings has a special service for the passionate but timid soul. She will write an original custom love letter or marriage proposal for you to help you woo the lover of your dreams. Just complete her questionnaire, and this gifted writer — currently at work on two books of her own — becomes your personal Cyrano de Bergerac. “I know that many people have true affections but not the right words. That’s where I come in,” she says. “I work together with my client to find the right words for their significant other. I’m a bit of a romantic myself, and every love story I encounter makes me smile.” When your message is complete, Allison will ink it for you with custom calligraphy or type it up on her vintage Remington typewriter.

Embroidered Kisses


Romance literally fell into Mary Elise’s lap the day she opened a vintage diary from the 1940s and a cascade of love notes poured out. “Inside were envelopes covered in lipstick blots and kisses from women that the diary’s owner had met when he was a pilot,” she says. The diary inspired her to design keepsake handkerchiefs for lovers, each with a perfect embroidered kiss. “I love the idea of having your sweetheart’s kiss tucked into your pocket and having a piece of them with you when they are far away.” Mary Elise’s kisses are intimate and exact, each one uniquely designed for the person who commissions it. “I create the embroidery by first having the purchaser blot their lips on a piece of paper several times so I have a few examples to choose from,” she says. Initials and a wedding date can be added for the ultimate love note.

Hand-Written Notes (Sealed With Wax!)


In a digital world, Mandy Holt of myrtleandlloyd is turning back the clock to a more tactile time by hand lettering her customers’ most loving thoughts and sealing the sentimental missives with a wax emblem. “We need things we can touch,” she says. “I know firsthand. I met my husband online and our earliest ‘love letters’ traveled wirelessly and lived in data files. I love to think back to a time when letters came from unfamiliar places — great adventures, wars, and uncertain moments — to be read, and re-read.” One of her greatest rewards is to be included in her clients’ celebrations of love, even if it’s from the sidelines. “Some letters are filled with pet names and inside jokes,” she relates, “others may include quotes or love sonnets from favorite writers. I even had the privilege of writing a wedding proposal once. She said ‘Yes’!”

Lover’s Eye Portraits


Amy Abshier-Reyes of the Brilliant Magpie follows a tradition enjoyed by lovers for centuries, painting tiny, personal portraits called “lover’s eyes.” Dating to the 1700s, these portraits once served the needs of an elite who needed discreet keepsakes that protected the identities of their secret paramours. “Lovers eyes” were often worked into jewelry or tucked under the lapel of a jacket. “Eyes express so much personality and emotion that I truly consider these pieces to be portraits,” says Amy. ”I love seeing the incredible variety of colors and shapes and details.” Her customers might commission eye portraits of people they love, or request a portrait of their own eye to give to a loved one. “Often I get emails and messages about the reactions the paintings have gotten,” she says. “It’s so gratifying to know that something I’ve made will be treasured and loved.”

Calligraphed Wedding Vows


As she hand letters her clients’ wedding vows, Hope Scott enjoys a glimpse into real-life love stories, which sometimes take an unconventional twist. “The first set of vows I wrote for a bride started with, ‘I never dreamed of my wedding day, and I could never imagine spending the rest of my life with someone.’ It was so unabashedly honest, and surely a testament to love’s power in moving even the most unconvinced of hearts,” she says. Although Hope appreciates the beauty of all kinds of hand lettering, she feels wedding vows deserve a special status. “Whether beautifully framed and set atop your dresser or tucked into a book, they serve as a tangible reminder of the commitment made to your spouse — long after the cake-cutting and first dance. I’m so moved by these declarations of love and commitment,” she says, “And reminded of the beautiful union that is marriage.”

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2 Featured Comments

  • WildRoseAndSparrow

    Liana from WildRoseAndSparrow said 4 years ago Featured

    I love how nostalgic these choices are. It seems to me the more digitalized we are, the more we long for these slower times, when saying "je t'aime" came through something more than a text message. I love the care that was put in all of these choices, from the personalized embroidered kiss handkerchiefs to the lovers' eye portraits. J'adore!!

  • muchandquick

    Kalisa L. from MuchandQuick said 4 years ago Featured

    With beautiful gifts like this it is so clear to see why artist and creators still hold real value in our world. There is no store where you can rush in, buy a wilting bouquet and go, "Oh, and throw a custom love note in as well, eh?" The time, dedication, and skill put into gifts like the ones featured here echo the time, dedication, and skill it takes to make a relationship work.


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