March 3, 2012

Hacking Together a Gift

I'm not that big into buying presents for people.  Don't get me wrong, I love giving presents to people, I just don't like shopping for them.  That whole saying about it being the thought that counts....BS.  I think about stuff all the time and I can tell you from experience that you really don't get credit for those thoughts until you get off your duff and turn them into reality.

My preferred gift is usually something I've made.  Often my gifts end up being more expensive than if I'd bought one, but I have a lot of fun putting sometimes figuring them out and then putting them together.  Right now I have several presents in the works that I cannot blog about 'cause I don't want to ruin the surprise....that and if they don't work out the recipient isn't wise to what he didn't get when he turned 53.

I thought this was a relatively recent phenomena for me, but I guess not.  Today I was going through some files and I found pictures of a gift I made for my father in 1991.  Twenty Christmases ago I was broke as all get-out.  My enlistment in the Air Force didn't start until February and I had moved home to save money and kill time until I was off to boot camp.  The local hotel/restaurant did give me a small part-time job but money was tight for me that year.  I remember I made my Step-Mother an adjustable quilting rack and I made my father a scratch-built model of a tipi.

I remember looking up what size an average buffalo skin was and cutting out small pieces of leather to scale and then stitching them together with sinew.  Using a small array of rulers and calipers I tried my best to keep it all to scale.  A scrap of wood from the garage was cut, sanded, and stained for base and then I put some green fabric over the top to simulate grass.  The inside is actually furnished and the center was a small fake firepit that was wired with a small bulb and battery pack.  With a flip of the switch you could see the furnishings once you flipped back the door flap.

My father still has it in his office.  It is the only gift I've given him that I'm aware he's kept. Not bad for a hacked together gift from a 20 year old.

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