Trying to live naturally…

A quest for simple living in a complex world

The greatest of gifts

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My father in law turned 70 this weekend. He is the youngest, funniest, generous, most loving 70 year old that I know and he is best father in law ever. He is also the most annoying person in the world to buy presents for. Now that he is tech savvy, any book he wants, he orders it off of the internet, any albums he likes the sound of, he downloads them and puts them on his ipod. He’s just bought himself a nice new pair of Camper shoes and a lovely pink polo shirt for golf. In short, he has everything he wants.

So what then do you buy a man who has everything already? In short, nothing! So, I decided to make him a gift. I don’t know how the idea came to me. I guess in desperation of not knowing what to buy him and also a bit of inspiration from the hundreds of handicraft blogs that I follow, and I’m glad it did.

To save you the disappoint, I will tell you now that my gift is nothing fancy and nothing overly creative (in case you were expecting a knitted jumper or a handmade golf bag!) and also, I have no photos of it. The writer in me, selfishly overshadows the photographer in me!! You’ll just have to use your imagination, I’m afraid.

I decided to make him a memory board. A collection of memorabilia, facts, figures, photos from the year of his birth.

I bought two big sheets of card and some smaller sheets of coloured card in his favourite colours (yellow and blue), lots of glitter (some ’70’ glitter pieces too!), lots of colouring pens and lots of glue. And here’s what I did.

  • My father in law was born in 1943, so we stencilled the numbers out and stuck them onto the card, with some more lettering which said ‘A Star is Born’. We then cut out a long list of famous people also born in this year, people who he would know of, and at the very bottom of the list we added his name! We added glitter to the lettering, too.
  •  I also googled lots of interesting and quirky facts about 1943. I typed them out and printed them in a newspaper-like font and stuck them in some sort of creative fashion on the memory board, as though they were newspaper headlines. And added some more glitter.
  • Luckily for me, my father in law used to be in a famous band in the 60s, so I was able to find lots of images on the internet, many that he had never seen before, and I printed them out and stuck a few photo collages onto the card. I added more glitter.
  • I found a Chinese passage about what type of year 1943 was. The year of the water sheep by the way, with some interesting characteristics about people born in this year. It was hilarious because half of it was nothing like my father in law and the other half was him down to a tee, which made it even funnier!
  • Because music is such a big part of his life, on the 1943 lettering, we made some musical notes that we placed on top of each number. It’s a bit difficult to describe (hence why I need to remember to take photos!) but a lovely result overall. And of course we added more glitter.

At his party, we placed the memory board on the wall and watched as he and his friends laughed and joked about all the funny facts we found and enjoyed seeing the wonderful 60s images of my father in law in his band, with his bowl hair cut and sharp suits.

Yesterday, post celebrations and during a quieter family dinner, my slightly tearful father in law said that our memory board was the best present ever. Oh how nice it felt to hear. Of course, we did not set out to make it with that intention, but it was so lovely to hear, nonetheless.  He said the thought and the effort and the love that went into making it was so heart-warming, along with treasure trove of facts and photos that we found, that it made it all the more special. And equally for us, there was so much joy in making it.

So that’s it for me. Home-made presents here I come. I can’t promise not to spend a penny again on a gift but I can promise that from now on the majority of presents I will be giving will be made by myself. I will definitely make a memory board again but perhaps next time with more refinement and on a canvas that can be framed, to give it a classier look. Yup, I’ve got big ideas!

Now, I am thinking Christmas, I thinking jars of jams and chutneys and pickles, I’m thinking cakes and wines. How blimming exciting!

Have you been far quicker than me to get on the home-made gift bandwagon? Probably! I would love to hear what you’ve made and how you did it!


One thought on “The greatest of gifts

  1. Pingback: Making and doing | Trying to live naturally...

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