I found these two gorgeous heart designs in a French cross-stitch design book Coeurs : Broderie traditionnelle et au point de croix by Agnès Delage-Calvet & Anne Sohier-Fournel, http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/250107761X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_am_it_ws_gb?ie=UTF8 and adapted them as the centre panels for two cushions (as you may have noticed, I love cushions!)
The first design is worked in one colour on a contrasting background, and is a large heart made of other tiny hearts, no two are the same. One features a dove, another has roses and the centre, another has a bow, some have beading incorporated into them, but they are all gorgeous, and the overall effect is stunning. I designed my own 'lace heart' border to frame the main heart, frayed the edges of the Aida, and then appliqued it on to a toning gingham cushion cover, adding a wooden button in each corner of the panel...and yes, even the buttons were heart-shaped!
The back of the cushion cover simply overlaps, and is secured with metal poppers, covered over with more heart shaped buttons, so there was no fiddling around trying to fit a zip (because although I know how to do it in theory, it never quite seems to work out as it should!)
And this is the same basic design, in a different colour.
The second cushion I call my 'Love Letters' cushion. The heart on this one is comprised of every letter of the alphabet, in a different font style. I chose a range of eight or nine colours of a similar palette - in this case, browns, coppers, and spicy ginger colours, on a cream background, and worked 2 or 3 letter in each shade.
This design ends up more rectangular than the previous one, which is pretty much square, so I decided to make it look like an actual letter, and added the outline of an envelope in a colour slightly darker than the aida I was using, so the effect was quite subtle and didn't overpower the heart. I made the cover from some recycled cotton fabric, which gave it a rustic look, made the opening in the same way as the first cushion, and then just sewed the cross-stitched panel into the centre - and I ♥ it!
These designs can be worked in any combination of colours to suit your decor, and once you've stitched the panels, you can turn them into almost anything, bags, wall-hangings, anything you like. So why not make yourself a Valentine's gift this year as well?