When I was in elementary school, students brought small store-bought valentines to school and distributed to our classmates and teachers during our annual classroom Valentines Day parties.
But of course this stopped after sixth grade.
When I was in college, however, I started making and sending my own valentines.
I don't remember exactly why--in retrospect, I think I saw valentines as being both whimsical and sort of retro cool.
My first efforts have since vanished in the mists of time, but at some point early on I began saving one each year for my own collection. This gallery includes valentines from 1976 to the present. Each one is a collage of paper, stamps, stickers, historical photos, book illustrations, and quotes from various writers' works; I now make approximately 120 each year. Most--but not all--of the artists and writers are women.