By Josette Keelor
Heat up your home this Valentine's Day with décor to drive out the cold and welcome thoughts of warmer weather.
Valentine's Day isn't as showy as other holidays, but it still has more to offer than shades of pink and red. Think orange, think black and white -- but most importantly, think creatively.
At Buggy B's in Strasburg, floral designer and manager Barbara Plitt prefers to defy tradition.
"One of my things is you can get roses to last a really long time," she said.
Order them with short stems. The longer stems cost more and they don't last as long, she said.
"It's not as dramatic, but it lasts 10 times longer."
Carnations are another top seller because they last awhile, but "to be fair, I can get other flowers to last just as long as carnations," she said.
Don't be afraid to go in another direction, Plitt said, recalling a customer who bought red roses for Valentine's even though his wife loves orange roses.
"If they go with red roses, they think they're safe," Plitt said.
Because Valentine's Day is short, Paul Miller of MakeNest Interiors in Winchester recommended vibrant colors in small doses.
"People are really getting restless for some color in their homes," he said. "Vivid, bright colors to hint at spring."
Try mixing orange flowers in with pink, using rosy purple in your decorating or even colored green glass that he said gives off a beach vibe his customers have eyed more since Christmas ended.
It helps people find "that spring vibe in the middle of winter, and there's something romantic about that," he said.
For decorative gifts that will last, Plitt suggested mixing fresh flowers with silk ones in a vase or replacing fresh with artificial later.
Men's and women's gift baskets can include wine bottles, corkscrews, candles, lotion, heart-shaped napkin holders, candy, teddy bears or even red and white aprons dressed up with hearts.
"We sell quite a few aprons," Plitt said. "'Cause this is something you can keep and use all year round."
Just make sure the gift will find its home with someone who will appreciate it.
Plitt said she looks for decorating ideas on the website Pinterest.com, where a search for Valentine's Day decorations brings up wooden wall hearts, heart mobiles, candles in heart-encased jars and door wreathes proclaiming "love."
The theme of love also currently brightens the walls and shelves at OASIS Fine Art & Craft through clay pots and wind chimes by Kathryn Kavanagh of Methias, W.Va., and work by other artists.
Kavanagh's heart-themed bowls are subtly romantic with black and white exteriors and red interiors, and wind chimes made using driftwood from the Chesapeake Bay are hand-crafted with clay hearts from her kiln.
She also molded Valentine's envelopes from clay stoneware.
"They're kind of cute," she said. One includes hearts and the word 'love' down the side -- the other dragons, she said.
"You just kind of keep playing."
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org