Felt Heart Decorations from South Africa

Heartfelt- heart decorationsSimple, elegant, bright and cheerful these heart decorations are exactly what I’d make myself for a friend’s Christmas present. Hand-made by the ladies of the Heartfelt project, they are full of love, just as if you’d made them yourself  – giving the extra the joy of a hand-made gift.

To tell the truth, I’m a little nose out of joint here, as Heartfelt was the name I’d picked in the unlikely event that I actually got around to creating a business out of my own felt sewing projects. I never did and they have, so I wish them very well with their initiative and am glad that they have so many lovely products to be worthy of such a brilliant name!

Heartfelt are a community initiative in South Africa, creating employment in a poor rural area and bringing new skills to the community. They create all sorts of felt products besides these (think magnets, keyrings, toys and mobiles) so go and browse for inspiration if you are looking for a special and individual gift. The website has a proper shopping cart and converts prices into several international currencies, so makes online shopping very easy – a welcome change from so many small sites and a sign of an efficient business!

These felt heart decorations cost R29 (about $3.50)

African Beaded Heart Greeting Cards

Bead Heart greeting card from Rootz CreationsRootz Creations makes these wonderful greetings cards with a little beaded symbol in the front, framed by traditional iShweshwe African fabrics. They come in a huge range of designs including African animals and flowers.

This little pink beaded heart  on a red background, isn’t really my favourite colour combination, but a batch of these could be made to order in any colour combo you like, so browse the rest of the page and order a customised set.

Rootz is a work creation project for women in the Thousand Hills area of KwaZulu Natal and makes a real difference to the lives of families in the area. They sell through various upmarket gift and craft shops including the Shop at the Top of Table Mountain in Cape Town. Their website isn’t strictly an online shopping site and doesn’t display the prices, but you can put in an order or an enquiry from the site and I’d hate to let you miss out on their gorgeous productsrootz-greetings-cards

Heart Fabrics

On an impulse I searched for heart fabrics today and turned up an inspiring selection of very different patterns, all at Hawthorne Threads. There’s something for everyone.

Heart fabric - Sweet Hearts in BloomA very sweet and delicate heart design called Sweet Hearts in Bloom designed by Michael Miller.

Heart fabrics Hearts in chocolateThe warm and bright Hearts in Chocolate from Robert Kaufman.

Heart fabrics-Turquoise-HeartsElegant and curvy Scroll hearts in Turquoise designed by Sarah Watts

Heart fabrics - Lonely HeartsOr the completely offbeat and funky Lonely Hearts Ads from Timeless Treasures. What would you make with this?

They all retail at between $8.95 and $9.95 per yard and there are a whole lot more patterns besides, almost too much to choose from.

Vintage Glass Heart Beads

Japanese glass heart beadsThere is something about these vintage glass heart beads that you just don’t get from brand new ones however beautiful. They have a soft presence, a patina that speaks a little of their history.

They are Japanese in white glass with dots of colour and a metal loop to make them into pendants.

The glass heart beads cost $4 for two from The Sample Room on Etsy.

Hand-Painted Metal Heart Decoration

painted metal heart from IndiaI love finding unusual hand-made heart decorations and this one is a definite for my collection: bright colours, delicate detail and a lovely design that looks almost like embroidery. It measures 10cm (approx 4inches) across and is available in assorted colours and designs .

The painted heart comes from India, supplied by Fairtrade organisation The Little Feet Company. They donate 30% of their profits to social projects and orphanages in Central Vietnam and have strong links with that country. They are a UK-based website but have very reasonable postage rates worldwide.

This painted metal heart costs £5.00 (approx $8) from The Little Feet Company.

Heart Stepping Stone in Cast Iron

Heart stepping stone in cast ironI’d never thought of using cast iron for stepping stones before I saw this gorgeous heart one from Sunset Vista, but I have to say I love the textured rust red finish and the curvy shape.

I can imagine using this for all sorts of other things besides a stepping stone, perhaps as a rustic centrepiece to an outdoor dining table, or even just as a decoration propped against a wall.

It measures 12 inches across and weighs 7 pounds and surprisingly is eligible for free shipping on Amazon, as long as your order is $25 or more.

Heart Cast Iron Stepping Stone, 12-Inch costs $20.99 from Sunset Vista on Amazon.

Hand-painted Kenyan Soapstone Hearts

Orange soapstone heart from KenyaThese funky soapstone hearts comes in several cheerful colours and designs.Sizes range from 1″ for the minis to 4″ for the large paperweights.

They are carved and painted by Kenyan men and women in a Fairtrade project that creates employment for around 800 families in rural Kenya. Soapstone is an amazing renewable resource when properly managed. It is hand-dug from pits where it naturally occurs. The pits are refilled after excavation and then left for 5-10 years when the soapstone reforms itself. The land is owned by the local people who work the soapstone and manage the land so that it stays in good condition. Mini soapstone hearts

And from all that sustainable care come these beautiful hearts: great gifts for the eco-conscious romantic in your life.

These soapstone  hearts are sold through One World Projects and cost from $6 to$12 according to size.

Darth Vader Heart Chocolate Box

darth vader heart chocolate boxI had to include this heart chocolate box just because it is so bizarre. Hearts are all about romance, so how on earth does Darth Vader get to be cover boy on a box of Valentine’s day chocs?!

Darth Vader and romance are about as diametrically opposite as you can get – big scary bloke in black armor with a serious breathing problem, endangering all the good guys in the galaxy… not my first choice in romantic icons!

So if you are into major irony and/or your guy or gal is a huge Star Wars fan this could be the perfect gift, but otherwise I’d run a mile!

If you are tempted though, the Star Wars Darth Vader Collector Valentines Day Heart Box Caramel Chocolate costs $9.95 from Amazon.

Updated for Valentine’s Day 2014:

This is the latest Darth Vader chocolate offering this year – I don’t like it as much as the previous version, but for an ardent Star Wars fan, you might as well go for it!!

Sugar Heart Cake and Cookie Decorations

Sugar Heart Cake DecorationsFor some reason these rainbow sugar hearts appeal to the child in me. My kids adore decorating home-baked cakes with all sorts of frosting and sprinkles and I’m sure they’d go for these in a big way. I’d love to decorate birthday cakes, cupcakes and cookies with these myself – the colors are so pretty.

It’s hard to tell how big they are from the picture, but I would hope that they are a fair amount bigger than your average sprinkles, as they are not cheap at $18 for 144 shapes. These are the type of decoration to arrange carefully, one per cookie or cupcake. Or use a circle of them for a spring themed cake at Easter.

Rainbow Hearts Sugar Shapes – 144 Shapescost $18 from Crispie Sweets via Amazon.

Fairy Heart Chime

fairy heart chimeSimple heart shape and smooth stainless steel, this looks like one of those feel good toys that would appeal to adults as well as kids. It’s aimed at little girls who believe in fairies I think, perhaps to emulate Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, but I could imagine it going down well with bigger girls too just as a beautiful toy.

There are no reviews that describe the sound of the chime, which makes it difficult to assess on sound appeal, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a little gift to please a young daughter or niece, or a special stocking filler.fairy heart chime

Fairy Heart Chime costs $9.98 from HearthSong via Amazon.

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