Okay--it didn't turn out to be my favorite, but it is done and I am satisfied with it. Some crafts work out better than others. I'll show you what I did and you can decide what you want to change. Right off the bat, I will say that I think this would have worked a lot better with a 2x4 cut down to about 12 inches rather than a block-y shape.
I started off with a block that was 9x6 and about 1 inch thick so it could stand up on its own. I painted it cream and then added the checkerboard pattern with a stencil.
I added the checkboard pattern up the right side when I was trying to dress it up a bit so it doesn't appear in the first pictures. If you are using it, you will want to put it in at the same time you do the first one. Be sure to keep the stencil horizontal for this even though you are making a vertical line. Otherwise, it will change the pattern.
Next glue on your lettering. I turned all of mine into stickers so I could just pat them on. I also used masking tape to make a straight line to line my lettering up evenly. This was particularly helpful since the font for my lettering was crazy and the letters didn't naturally line up.
The rest is vague because I changed so many times! For the final result, I painted the edges and around the block about 18 times with red paint. It takes a lot to make a nice smooth red! I didn't worry about being exactly even on the edges because I didn't want it to look exactly even. When that was done, I went back with watered-down brown paint and painted a thick section around the edge as well to give a little depth to the whole thing. Then Mod Podge the whole thing. I used two coats, but probably should have done two more!
Next, I drilled a tiny hole into the top of my block and through my heart (which was also painted red about 6 times).
Using 18 gauge wire, I threaded it through the heart and then used a marker to make the twists and turns in the heart. I made a few loose coils under the heart just to hold it up.
I also made a few coils above the heart and then squished them flat together. These can hold a picture, a note, a card, or just look decorative.
The wire bends really easily so you can turn it every which way until you like the way it looks. I added a bow to finish it off.
As you know because of a previous post (here, if you missed it), I'm not sure this is what I had in mind. When I decided it was done, this is how it all ended up: