Monday, July 16, 2007
Mom's birthday present
Here's the thing I made for my Mom's birthday. It's my first attempt at découpage, and it might be my last. It was time consuming, frustrating, sticky work, and I can't believe it took as long as it did to complete. Mom likes the box though, so it has that going for it.
This was a landmark birthday for my mother--one of those ending with a zero or a five. When my dad turned this age, we gave him a ride in a race car (I believe I've mentioned he's a huge NASCAR fan), so the bar was set kind of high for Mom. We had no idea what to do there for a while, and then in May the perfect gift presented itself: Cirque du Soleil is coming here at the end of September. Mom loves them. Whenever Bravo airs one of CdS's shows, Mom is right there for it, camped out in front of the TV. It doesn't matter if she's already seen it or not.
I thought we should do more than just hand her a few tickets, so I went to a local craft store and bought an unfinished wooden box, along with glue, paint, sealer, rubber stamps, ink pads, and assorted equipment to turn it all into the box you see above. I also wound up buying a little fold-up patio table to working outside with the the paints and sealer. Not really interested in knocking myself out with paint fumes. The cut-outs are from greeting cards by an artist named Patience Brewster. I liked the whimsical feel of them. A lot of them looked to me like costumes you'd see in Cirque du Soleil, though my favorite one doesn't really. I put that one on the inside top of the box.
I wasn't able to be there on her birthday, so I went up on the 4th of July and stayed until the following Sunday. I was going to make her birthday dinner on Saturday, but my parents' reflexologist called and asked if she could reschedule their Friday afternoon appointments for Saturday. Small family emergency. Her grandson was visiting and he was horribly homesick. She'd decided to take him back home. That's a six hour drive. So we flipped Friday and Saturday's activities.
I made dinner--chili, though it's more like a goulash than what everyone else thinks of as chili. It's what I grew up knowing chili to be. When I ordered it in a restaurant and there were no egg noodles in it, I was disappointed. This is some sort of Depression-era recipe of Grandmom's. I think the noodles are thrown in to make it feed more people. I got what I consider to be a great compliment on that from mom: "It tastes just like my mother's did." Then there was a devil's food cake I made from a Weight Watcher's recipe, topped with strawberries and a low-fat Cool Whip. She and Dad went out onto the porch while I did the dishes, then I called my sister on my cell phone, handed the phone to Mom, and we sang happy birthday to her on the porch and over the phone as I gave her the box.
First she was just excited that it was Cirque du Soleil. Then she got a good look at the tickets: "Floor seating ?!? Row eleven!! Oooooh, I have to call your aunt."
She told me later on that weekend that more she thought about the present, the more excited she was getting. And she's relieved that she doesn't have to go ride in a race car.