Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dad's 80th birthday: What To Give the Man Who Wants (and Wants For) Nothing?

Memories, that's what. (And Dad, if you happen to be reading this.. stop right here!)

My dad and Lou recently moved to a new house, and in doing so, they freed themselves of unnecessary stuff -- both figurative and literal. (They'd been living in the house that my dad and mom shared, and although Lou knew and liked my mom, I think that house was probably a bit too full of her spirit.) So when Lou invited my brothers and me to come to Ashland, Oregon to celebrate Dad's 80th birthday next weekend, I had no idea what to give him that wouldn't end up being just another thing.

My dad is fastidiously organized (I come by it honestly) and is a firm believer in everything having its place -- especially paperwork. So I spent the weekend making him something that's both functional and sentimental.

I started by scanning and otherwise collecting photos from my family's past -- pictures of my three brothers and me from our early childhood through now. I also gathered photos of group shots of my parents and brothers and me. Then I gathered photos of my dad's eleven grandchildren and printed black and white versions of all the photos on regular printer paper. (Cheap and easy!)

I had bought an unfinished letter sorter at the local crafts store and "assigned," by way of photographs, each of my three brothers and me a slot, so Dad can organize letters and articles that he sends to each of us.

I then brushed Modge Podge over the photos to provide both glue and a shiny coating.

It only dries to a shine though; it's nerve-wracking to put this white glop on photos because it seems like it will never dry clear and smooth!

After finishing adhering the the individual photos to the "mail slots," I added group photos of my birth family to the sides of the box.

At the very, very tippy-top of the box, I added a tiny silhouette of Mom... just sort of my quiet tribute to her. There are a few photos of her with the rest of the family, but I just like the silhouette of her and wanted to find a place for it. Lou wouldn't mind; Lou knew and liked my mom.Then I added photos of Dad's grandchildren to the front of the letter holder -- individual shots, group shots, cousins, siblings... every which way!

Then I added black velvet ribbon to the edges and borders and voila! I hope he likes it!

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emily said...

That is so, so cool. What a great gift!

Margaret said...

Amazing! My dad's 80th birthday party is this weekend and I have no idea what to get for him. I usually buy him chocolate or a book, but this year he's getting a party--with Costco carrot and chocolate cakes. That might just have to be enough. Your gift is very personal and I think he'll love it!

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a labor of love.

Anonymous said...

Way cool; I love it.

Betsy said...

What a great gift! It turned out gorgeous, Carol!

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