These dainty and novel designs are suitable for luncheon or dinner parties on St. Valentine's Day.
Write the invitations on ordinary cards or notepaper, but for the left-hand corner cut out two tiny paper hearts, gild them, and attach them to the paper with a tiny bow of ribbon, placing the hearts so that they just overlap each other.
There are many ways in which the table can be made a thing of beauty. One that is particularly charming is to mark each guest's place by a large heart composed of tiny blossoms placed in design upon the cloth. For luncheon parties violet blossoms or forget-me-nots are excellent, but in artificial light red, pink, or yellow flowers, such as geraniums, rambler roses, African marigolds, daisies, or the small pink begonias should be used.
The easiest way to design these hearts direct on to the cloth is to place a piece of stick down the centre of the place where you wish a heart to lie, and work from either side, using exactly the same number of little blossoms for each half. If you can get an artist friend to draw a heart of a suitable size as a pattern, so much the better.
For a centre for this table two quaint white china vases are used. One has the figure of a courtly gentleman, his hand to his hat; and the other, a sweet-faced lady in an old-world gown and bonnet. The vases cost but a shilling each, and are large enough to hold in their bowls a small growing plant or bulbs. In this case they are filled with clusters of daffodils and their grey-green, sword-shaped leaves. A lead support is used in each vase, so that the flowers may appear to be growing therein.
For sweets, cover heart-shaped souffle-cases with paper to match the flowers you are using, and fill them with heart-shaped sweets.
A graceful vase of carnations would look well as a centre-piece, placed upon a heart made of carnation blossoms massed together on the table. Edge the carnation heart with two narrow frills of crinkled paper, and decorate the top with a satin ribbon bow.
As another idea for name cards, use little cupids, each holding a card with the guest's name upon it. At the top of each menu write an appropriate valentine verse, and provide a miniature bouquet for each guest.
" Earth's valentines, so fresh and fair of hue, The buds her valleys bring To woo reluctant spring. I bring to one more sweet than spring - to you."
This verse could be written in gold on cards of the same colour as the flowers used.
Another heart design for a table is shown, in which a candelabrum is used as a centre. The candle-shades are an important feature of this table. They are made of blush-pink crinkled paper, closely pleated on to asbestos foundations, and pulled out with the fingers top and bottom to form a ruche. On the pleating, between the ruches, paper hearts, cut out in glossy paper of a deep pink shade, are placed at intervals. A fringe of cut strips of paper is arranged round the edge, and on every point of the fringe a tiny joy bell is gummed.
From the base of the candelabrum small hearts, cut out in the glossy paper, are placed on the cloth to branch out in all directions, making these lines of various lengths, so that the effect is not too formal, and on either side put a tall vase filled with long graceful sprays of almond blossom.
Another pretty design for a St. Valentine's table is wrought with narcissi and blue forget-me-nots, flowers "that grow for happy lovers." The figure vase illustrated is a very charming one, and is filled with fragrant narcissi and sprays. of asparagus fern. The heart formed on the cloth is composed of forget-me-.nots. The designing of this should be left as late as possible, as forget-me-nots soon fade out of water.
Form also a smaller heart at each corner of the table around the cruets.
Round the edge of the candle-shades hang a fringe of tiny silver paper hearts, suspending them with very fine white cotton.
A novel St. Valentine table, in which the decorations form boutonnieres for the guests, could be arranged as follows: Take as many carnations as there will be gentlemen at the table, and make them into buttonholes by cutting the stalks of a suitable length and arranging a few sprigs of carnation foliage with each. Then make the same number of wee bouquets of lilies of the valley. To each buttonhole tie a length of narrow ribbon, using scarlet for the carnations and white for the lilies. Mass the flowers together in the centre of the table, and edge them with fringe of asparagus fern. Trail a length of the ribbon to the front of each guest's place, and fasten the name card on to it, attaching the ladies' cards to the ribbons of the lilies and those for gentlemen to the carnations.