Preparing for Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to create some free papers that you can download and use to wrap small gifts. I’m including five so you're covered for your partner, your in-laws and your mom! These are printable on regular paper: 8.5 by 11 inch size.

These were fun to make and I used three different techniques:

·      Sketched motifs using iPad pro and Apple pencil

·      Sketched motifs by hand and then digitized in Illustrator

·      Painted motif and then digitized in Illustrator

Here’s a short behind the scenes video of how I made the one I’m calling Valentine Hearts. Wow, that’s a really original title, NOT!

Personally, in my family we don’t go totally overboard for this Hallmark Holiday but it is nice to find something to give to those special people in our lives. In Japan, the tradition is reversed and women give gifts to their husbands or boyfriends. I've adopted that tradition and still frequently struggle to figure out what to give to my husband.  However, here are a few ideas that have been big hits in the past that don’t require buying anything!

·      A handmade card with a love note inside

·      Dinner at home with his favorite main dish

·      Time together to watch a sweet movie like “You’ve Got Mail”

Here is the recipe for one of our favorite dinners adapted from Martha Stewart’s Real Food magazine (now defunct) from years past. It’s super easy to make which is key in my book!

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Reduction Sauce


1 lb pork tenderloin

1 tablespoon dry oregano

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon salt

½ tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

2/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

How to Make It

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Prepare a cookie sheet, one with sides – line it with aluminum foil and spread about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom to coat it

Rinse the pork tenderloin and dry it completely with paper towels

Lay it inside the pan (cookie sheet)

Combine the oregano, coriander, salt and pepper and coat the tenderloin with this mixture

Combine the balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar in a small pan and heat over medium flame until it simmers. Let simmer for about 2 minutes to reduce it slightly.

Cook the tenderloin for 7 minutes and then spoon some of the reduced balsamic over it. Add 1-2 more minutes if your tenderloin is larger.

Cook the tenderloin for another 7 minutes and spoon more of the balsamic over it. Again add a few minutes here if your tenderloin is larger.

Cook for final 7 minutes and check internal temperature. Once internal temperature reaches 155 degrees, it’s done.

Take it out and let it rest, covered with foil for about another 7 minutes.

Slice thinly and drizzle remaining balsamic vinegar over the top.

We generally serve it with steamed asparagus or a simple green salad and some fresh bread.

I hope you try it and enjoy it. Here is a link to a PDF of the recipe so you can print it out at home.

Click inside this box to get the PDF

Click inside this box to get the PDF

I’m so happy to have you in this warm, supportive and creative community. May these little gifts and ideas help you prepare for Valentine's Day next week.

And remember: It’s Never too Late to Create!

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I’ve included an audio version of last week’s blog in case you missed it. I sometimes go off-script so you might want to listen to it both to hear my voice and find out what I added. :)