Friday, January 29, 2010

Tools of the Trade

About five or six years ago, I learned about valentines made in the late 1700s and early 1800s called puzzle purses. According to Frank Staff who wrote The Valentine and Its Origins, "So called 'puzzle purses' were skilfully made so that the recipient had always to spend some time trying to decipher the message or verses, and to get the design in the right folds and the right order."

After several attempts at making my own, I finally figured out the folds and now make them each year to sell on my website, Honeysuckle Lane.

I mix a homemade stain concoction in an ironstone bowl and brush it on the parchment paper. This staining process is one of the most important steps making the paper look old.

Once the paper has been dried and cut to size, I measure and fold and crease several times.
This antique tool is what I have always used for that step. I found it in a junk shop years ago but I have no idea what it was used for. Is it bone or ivory? No matter its original purpose, it works very well for me as a folding and creasing tool. I have panicked more than a few times when I have misplaced it. Thankfully, it always turns up again.

I have all my papers folded and will be adding the artwork to each puzzle purse tomorrow and tomorrow night. I'll be back Sunday with another post of the rest of the tools used in finishing the valentines.

I might even have photos of the *s*n*o*w* that we are getting as I type this. I just looked outside it's coming down pretty good!

Stay safe and warm this weekend ~
Take Care and God Bless,


  1. Hi Lana! Thanks so much for sharing! I love your tools of the trade ~ they're beautiful!

    Can't wait to see your Valentine's this year :) I plan on pulling out mine this weekend so that my home is decorated by Feb. 1.

    Enjoy your snow! We just have an inch or two, but are in the midst of a deep freeze with windchills well below zero.

    Blessings, Patti

  2. I love that antique tool! Thanks for sharing these behind the scene secrets! I am at a loss for an inexpensive double-sided tape. I go through that stuff like crazy, LOL.

    We've got slushy snow & a wee bit of ice here. Hope you are warm and safe from the winter storm!

  3. Hello Lana, I love your puzzle purses, can't wait to see this years. thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog. Glad you like the coffee filter wreath! I tried making some rolled paper ones like you do, but I am not as neat as you are, so the crumpled coffee filters are more up my alley! Have a great rest of the weekend! I'm off to the Gift Fair to start shopping for my shoppe! hugs,Kim

  4. Lana, Nice posting of your tools of the trade. I'm looking forward to seeing the puzzle purses finished. Your work tickles me no end. Thanks for visiting me too!
    Love, Sherry

  5. Hi Lana,

    Thank you so very much for the lovely message you left me!! Sweet girl, I was so happy :)
    I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and not too cold. Here it was snowing again, I am longing for warmer days. Can`t wait until spring is here.

    I love your artwork, they look fantastic!! I wonderf how you are able to puzzle paper, it looks very difficult.

    Have a great new week,
    friendly Aina

  6. Lana~
    Your sight is very lovely. I am so enjoying going through and reading and seeing. Your special tool is an old 'bone folder/letter opener' I just love it so much. What a neat treasure to find.