Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Banana and Monkey

This year's wrap was quite fun to do. I found a pattern online at Etsy for a banana paper sculpture that seemed like it would be right-sized for four glass monkey ornaments purchased two or three years ago. After cutting and gluing over the 100 seams and panels, the monkeys were snuggled safely inside.

It took Pat about 5 minutes to open with a razor knife along two seams. Now all that remains is to glue it back together!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Year of the Owl

In the spring of 2015, the neighborhood became aware of an owl's nest in the lot just north of the Haack's. It was soon apparent that there was an owlet there as well. Near daily trips with and without binoculars introduced us to many neighbors we had not met. We were told it was a Great Horned Owl; truly a massive bird. It had taken over a hawk's nest. Crows were upset with the predator's tenancy, but crowing and dive bombing made no difference. Owl and owlet were unmoved until the little one finally learned to fly.

It was quite a spectacle and only rivaled by the bridge construction for bringing the neighborhood outdoors.

The 2015 wrap was inspired by the owls. Constructed of wire, stuffed with cotton balls and socks and wrapped with white chenille. Inside was a pouch containing a colorful agate necklace.


I created a small menagerie of origami animals and hung them on the tree. One of them held the secret, a facial certificate for Hand and Stone in Wheaton. Can you guess which creature possessed the secret? Owl, fox, monkey, parakeet?


A few years ago we cut down an old fir tree in the front yard that was not thriving in the shadow of the oaks. We saved some of the trunk portions for firewood, but one was to become a gift box for 2013 (in addition to the "dig").

After stripping the bark, slicing off a portion for the lid and using the drill press to hollow out a cavity in the trunk, an evergreen scented candle was placed inside and the lid glued back on with dowels. Opening was merely a matter of breaking the dowels or prying the lid off.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dig this for Christmas

An "Archeological Dig"

There were two parts to this gift. One was a kit for doing the dig: bandana, sunscreen, brushes, picks, magnifying glass, bandaids, etc. The other was the slab boxed in a crate, shown above. The idea came from an archeology kit we were thinking about getting for the older grandkids. We passed on the kit, but I liked the idea of Nana working with the kids digging into the strata of the sample to find its hidden treasures. There were 10 or so trinkets: a LEGO piece, a token to the Little Popcorn Shop, arrow heads, a balloon, a 'flicker' bulb and (the keeper) a nice pair of artisan earrings.

It was a lot of fun and the cinnamon laced throughout the plaster of paris, dirt and pine needles was definitely a touch of Christmas.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lover's Locks

The inspiration for this giftwrap came from our 2012 trip to Paris for Thanksgiving. Several of the bridges have become the destination for couples pledging their love by fastening a lock to the bridge and presumably throwing the key in the Seine. We didn't have a lock with us at the time, but thought it was a cool idea for the future. Then I read how it's become something of a nuisance to Parisiennes. It is a type of vandalism when performed enmasse, as in the photo below.

To participate in the movement from afar, I created our own section of bridge rail, bought an antique lock and had it engraved. This is what ours looks like:
It's hard to see, but there's a gold necklace locked to the rail. The only way to remove it is to use the key. I hung a couple dozen key locks on the Christmas tree, which Pat had to locate and try. It took about 10 minutes. Pretty easy this year.

When we go back to Paris we have to decide if we're taking our lock with us.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Digital Wrap

The other day Pat told me that one of her goals for 2012 is going to be "catching up with technology." This year's unwrappable may help in that regard.

This unwrappable was a search challenge: find the gift I wrapped online.

Because there was a lot to do on Christmas Day, Pat waited until the morning of the 26th. Starting with Google, Pat quickly found this blog and read all the posts, reliving previous victories and some frustrations. Using the barcode scanner on Kirsten's phone,  Pat read the code above and arrived at the target website, http://tryopening.me, purchased for this occasion.

Pat did have to google the equivalent of the right mouse button to access zoom in Flash Player. I don't think she will soon forget the right mouse button! 

The animated Flash 'card' did prove to be frustrating, mainly because I didn't code it not to un-freeze when re-clicked. Several times Pat got the target package in sight, but it vanished with the next click. Once she even  zoomed in close enough to see the first part of her gift certificate code but the zoom in screen covered the rest. So close! 

I managed to freeze the gift code package so we could copy the gift code and redeem it on Amazon: $50 toward Kindle books for her new Kindle Touch. 

Let's call this unwrappable mostly a success. It took over 30 minutes with the blog, but it is not likely to become a keepsake.

If anyone else wants to try it, tryopening.me will remain online until the domain name expires, sometime next December, however the gift code has been redeemed. Fortunately no one stumbled upon her code first.