I know that many people think Valentine's Day is just a Hallmark holiday, but really, what's not to love about a holiday that celebrates love?

In my family, the tradition of handmade, homemade Valentines runs deep. I have, and treasure, many Valentines made for me over the years by my mother and my sister, each reflecting its maker's particular artistic proclivities. I have made Valentines for my loved ones almost every year for as long as I can remember, and though sometimes years ago I drew them or made layered paper and lace hearts, I often opted to stitch my love.

This year, alas, my hands have been busy making other things, but here are a few Valentines I've made for my mother, my sister, my husband, and my sons. Some of these are fairly recent, others reach back three or four decades...