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Neighborhood news

Valentines get Victorian touch

Learn to say "I love you" with paper lace, ribbons and roses at a Saturday workshop.

Published February 9, 2007



Cherubs and cupids, hearts and arrows, roses and lace say "Be mine" as sweetly today as they did more than 100 years ago.

Cultural historian Maureen Patrick will explain how to make Victorian-style valentines at a workshop Saturday at the Henry B. Plant Museum, on the University of Tampa campus.

Patrick will also turn the craft class into a history lesson. The Tampa native and president of the Tampa Historical Society will trace the popularity of the sentimental love notes from mostly handmade to mass production.

"The early 1900s were the golden age of valentines, due to advancements in printing technology and materials," she said.

Patrick also is an actor, singer and dancer known for her local portrayals of Tampa Bay Hotel-era characters such as telegraph operator Pauline Smith in Upstairs, Downstairs and South Tampa socialite Mrs. Carlton Darby in Dinner with the Darbys. She also plays Mrs. George Bergner in Victorians Undressed, another museum production.

At Saturday's workshop, paper lace doilies, ribbons, stickers, decorative papers, envelopes and scraps will be provided.

Scraps were high-colored, embossed pictures of flowers, cupids, butterflies and such, printed seven or eight to a page. They were carefully cut out like papers dolls and collected in books, Patrick said.

"Hence the name, scrapbook," she said.

Sweethearts hand-delivered their valentines until the last years of the 19th century, when the postal system improved and postcards came along.

"They were cheap, so you could bombard someone," she said.

Workshop participants may bring photos, lace, fabrics, dried flowers or whatever they choose to personalize their versions of vintage valentines. They can also visit the museum's collection of antique valentines, on display through Feb. 28, for ideas.

"Some were donated over the years," said museum director Cynthia Gandee. "Others were found by curators or board members as we realized the popularity of the timeless theme."

The workshop runs from 10 a.m. till noon in the music room off the University of Tampa main lobby. The cost is $15 for museum members, $20 for nonmembers. For reservations, e-mail or call 258-7304.

Amy Scherzer can be reached at or 813 226-3332.

. if you go

Victorian valentine workshop

When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday

Where: University of Tampa music room

Cost: $15 for members, $20 for nonmembers

RSVP: For reservations, call 258-7304

[Last modified February 8, 2007, 10:57:21]

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