|Project by Mark A. DeCou||posted 02-18-2009 10:45 PM||2327 views||1 time favorited||12 comments|
After many years of giving my wife woodworking gifts for presents for days like Valentine’s Day, she’s sort of tired of them. I can tell in the first “look” when she opens something whether it’s a hit, or not. I have almost given up, to be honest, and between you and me.
This year, on the evening of the 13th, I was worrying over what to do.
The options were getting pretty slim, with an 80 mile round trip to Walmart, or a 40 mile round trip to the Convenience Store/Gas Station. I can get some great gifts at those two stores, all made in China, and I have over the years. But, I’m always questioned pretty hard during the “opening” about, ”...what did you do, just go to the Gas Station again this year…?”
So, with 16 previous years of unappreciated gifts, and out of time this year, I sort of painted myself into a pickle spot, so to speak.
I try to be romantic, really I do, and I have made quite a few things that I thought she would really like. My mom has sort of a “Mark’s Shrine” in her house of all the things that I’ve made for her over years, but most of the things I’ve given my wife, she couldn’t even find these days.
One of those previous year’s attempts resulted in a carved Welsh-Style Love Spoon, and after posting it on Lumberjocks, I actually got mention in a book on romantic expressions of love in 2008, called “The Best Sex Ever.” I haven’t talked much about that book inclusion, for obvious reasons, and for the fact that my wife says I don’t have a romantic bone in my body. Needless to say, despite the book’s title, the Love Spoon didn’t produce what I hoped it would.
But, I do try, really I do.
Ok, what to do this Year?
I took some silversmithing classes in 2008, so I decided that a custom made piece of Jewelry was the key for this year’s gift. Silversmithing Jewelry is really quite a fun process to do, and in a couple of hours, you can walk in the house with a completed gift. Which is something I can’t do with wood. Nothing I make in wood can be started and completed in two hours.
I made her a Ring last year for Mother’s Day, which got another big “yawn”, and so I was hoping maybe a heart necklace would work this time. Afterall, I’m a guy, and I guess I don’t know what a woman likes.
So, this year I decided to try again, and use a piece of burled walnut with an unusual open Knot that I have been saving for a special occasion. I crushed up a turquoise stone, and inlayed them in the open Knot, thus the strange natural looking shape of the inlay. Then I cut the heart to shape, filed and sanded it smooth, and prepped it for insertion in a piece of silver jewelry.
To make the jewelry piece, I used a fancy bezel in Fine Silver, and hand peened a base plate out of Sterling Silver. I set up and soldered the pieces, adding a Hoop on the back for a chain, and polished it with my Dremel and some polishing compound.
I really thought that a Necklace would be the “trick this year, since I bought the Wife a piece of Jai Johnson's Jewelry off of Etsy for my wife’s Birthday. She just loves the necklace from Jai, and wear’s it all the time, and really appreciated the gift for once. But, as I was reminded, one success doesn’t equal a “romantic guy.”
I was pretty proud of my work actually, and wrote up a long dripping-with-love Poem and created my own special Valentine’s Day card on the computer. After her response upon opening, I’m headed back to the Gas Station for a gift next year, or will just buy another item from Jai.
I’ve learned my lesson now.
thanks for reading along,
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com