Sifting through the pile of Valentine’s Day gifts being offered on local buy and sell websites, it’s obvious many people are looking to cash in on this commercialized ‘holiday.’
What about a BBQ tank level monitor for your barbecue-loving sweetheart? Or a Valentine’s Day couples special on teeth whitening services?
Let’s not forget all the Valentine’s Day-themed stuffed animals. Many of them find their way into the bins at second hand clothing shops like Frenchy’s, where we found a bumper crop looking for a second chance at lasting love last week.
For those who want to scale back and express a more personal sentiment straight from the heart, a visit to Inkwell Boutique could prove fruitful.
Described as a purveyor of specialty paper goods and goodies handmade with love, the unique downtown Halifax business also offers custom letterpress printed personal stationary. The focus here is on graphic printed matter, whether it’s a card, a tote or a tea towel.
The boutique is also popular for its selection of limited edition and affordable art prints.
Owner/curator/designer Andrea Rahal opened the store in 2011. The NSCAD graduate wanted a venue for her own work and the work of other students and grads.
At Inkwell, Valentine’s Day is a very busy time of year.
“Oh, there’s a definite increase... Quite a few of the cards we have relate to people and relationships,” she said.
More than one third of the Valentine cards in her shop are local, and all are blank inside. This forces folks to think about and personalize their offerings with something more intimate and personal than what you’d find in a standard greeting card.
The unique cards range from a drawing of a narwhal with the inscription ‘I think you’re narly,’ to one that boldy proclaims ‘You’re the milk to my cookies.’
The most popular card designs so far this year?
One portrays a dog in a crouched position ‘pooping’ out a cloud of hearts. Another big hit (a popular carry over from last year) looks just like a library card in its pocket and says ‘I’ve been checking you out all day.’
“Some people who come in are just sick of the options they see everywhere, and they stumble upon Inkwell and find something just right,” Rahal said. “They (the cards) can be sweet, quirky, funny, or racy but tasteful.”
The shop is also one of more than 40 businesses taking part in the Local Love Notes initiative being run by ‘I Love Local HFX’.
Until Feb. 14, customers visiting participating shops or restaurants can declare their love for almost anything for just $1. That donation goes to a local charity selected by each individual business.
Rahal chose to support Bide Awhile Animal Shelter, and as of last week had raised more than $100 for the charity. One of her favourite ‘love notes’ was from someone who declared something along the lines of ‘Halifax, I love you because your hills make my butt look good.”
For more about the Local Love Notes initiative, go to www.ilovelocalhfx.ca . More information about Inkwell Boutique can be found on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/InkwellBoutique .