The unveiling

So for about 5 weeks, I struggled with ideas and execution on Eric’s birthday present. I knew I wanted to make him a board game because he loves board games, but I wasn’t sure how to create game play that could capture all of the facets of his personality, his life, and our life together. I toyed with the idea of a card game, a board game similar to Monopoly, and I got frustrated enough to stop thinking about it for a while, which was a bit unfortunate.

Finally I realized that I had an old copy of Trivial Pursuit that we never play, and the format was clear. I would create a trivia game with questions about Eric!

The only problem was that I wanted to unveil the game at his dad’s war gaming club, and not everyone there knows enough about Eric to do well, and I didn’t want it to be boring for people. In answer, I made one category about Eric specifically, and the others would be about things he likes, so I ended up with one category about Eric, one for entertainment (music, games, etc), one for general history, one for arts and literature, one for the Packers, and one for war history.

The biggest challenge was the trivia part. I spent weeks coming up from work and scouring the interwebs for good trivia. It was exhausting. I managed to put together 50 cards with each of the categories, which amounts to 300 questions. I hand wrote all of them, too, in tiny letters, so they would fit on the playing-card sized paper.

The code card and trivia cards. A 6 hour labor of love.

I spent so much time on the cards that I almost ran out of time to decorate the box. Even that has a great story. I had decided to do minimal changes, so I called the game “The Trivial Pursuits of Eric”; I simply added the letters and words I needed to the box.

After I had changed the title and put a picture of Eric on the cover, it seemed a little empty on top, so I decided to name it the “30th Anniversary Edition.” Easy! I used the same Sharpie I had used on the rest of it, but sometimes when you’ve been awake since 4am, things kind of run together, and I ended up with “30th Anniverary” instead.

No problem! I cut out a star burst of yellow construction paper and wrote it on there, then used Mod Podge to decoupage it onto the box.

Oh wait, though. When the construction paper got wet, it began to bend, and I ended up with a lump in the center where it hadn’t stuck to the box. I discovered this before the adhesive dried, luckily, and I attempted to flatten it. But in doing so, the ink of the marker smudged.

I took the whole star burst off, but the outline was still there.

My final answer (geez, this is even longer typed out than I thought…this is good, though. It gives a great feeling for what I went through) was to paint the star burst shape with the same bronze metallic paint I used on my dad’s clock and re-write the title. I retitled it “30th Anniversary Bronze Edition”, and it was done!

And I finished it all with literally one minute to spare. I completed the last card and put the cover on the game just before Eric got home from work last Friday. We left that afternoon for Grayling to visit the folks up north and attend GWC, where I would unveil the game!

Alas, we did not get to play the game at club, but I did give it to Eric, and he was a fan. Since we didn’t get to play, I asked him all the trivia questions on the drive home on Sunday. He actually missed some of the ones about himself, which I thought was great.

Eric’s displayed the box on his game shelf! Hooray!

To be honest, I feel a little crappy that we didn’t get to play it, like somehow it’s not as cool a gift since we skipped the whole game play part, which was sort of the point. But I’ll make it up to him. Next week, on the actual day, I don’t have to work, and he has an early day, so I’m thinking I’ll set up a board game to play for when he gets home. Of course, we also have an appointment with the bank that day to start talking about home loans and all that jazz.

Regardless, it all worked out, and I have a lot of crafting ahead of me! But for today, I’m just going to watch the Avengers again.

Zoe is going to watch it, too!

 

Birthday time

Fall is a busy birthday season for me. I have my bff/college roommate’s birthday, dad, Eric, mom, grandma, and a few others interspersed. There goes my Christmas crafting time, no? Especially with November’s focus being writing fantastic fiction stories.

Hopefully I’ll have birthday gifts done completely soon.

Today is dad’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Dad!), so I am showcasing his handmade goodie today.

I struggled and awful lot with this one. My initial idea has been something along the lines of Atlanta Braves memorabilia…that I made. Then I thought about some sort of music-themed gift. I had a really hard time coming up with a fun way to use that theme, though, so I went back to the drawing board. The drawing board, of course, is mom.

She had a brilliant idea, as usual, and I took that as a spring board and went forward. She suggested a clock, and I ended up with this:

Time for idioms!

I went through a few prototypes in my mind. The first was a clock with various song titles with numbers, but I couldn’t find enough good ones that would translate well. Then I thought perhaps a family clock, where each number was a family member, but the numbers didn’t add up. Besides, I really liked the idea of using “One ring to rule them all.”

The clock face was pretty easy. I bought a pre-cut one at work, painted it with a metallic (copper) acrylic paint, and then wrote the words with Sharpie. I went with paint first, so that the marker wouldn’t bleed into the wood and get all blobby (that’s a technical term).

The hardware is sold separately in little kits. I bought one of those, and thanks to Eric’s finagling, we got it to fit and work. Fun story! It didn’t fit correctly initially, so I took a trip to the store for a Plan B. Good news: I have a Christmas present idea already!

Here are the parts that, well, make it tick.

I was so worried about getting it there on time, and it ended up arriving on Monday! Ha! It was a surprisingly easy process, all things told. I mean, once I had the idea. I would like to play with it a little bit more, but this was a great start.

I also sent a time-themed card.

I believe it was a success. Hooray! I was pleased with the outcome. And now dad has a very unique and fun clock! Time will never be the same…

πŸ™‚

P.S. Avengers got here yesterday! Hooray!

 

It’s Friday; I’m in love!

I have been working diligently on a new project, but I hit a bit of snag, and I’m having to rethink the finished product. Therefore, I am not posting yet.

I am also baking brownies. Or was. The timer just went off. Mmmm! Brownies!

So in lieu of showcasing my own crafts today, I wanted to share some ideas. I have been starting to plan Eric’s birthday gift for this year; I want to do something really cool and meaningful, so I need to start sooner rather than later.

He loves board games, and I love crafts, so I am thinking of a few board game-inspired gifts. NOT Scrabble tiles; we already have scrabble tile names, and he’s more into war games. Here are some things I’ve found:

A journal with a board game cover, courtesy of Etsy seller 366thday.

Coasters made from old board games

A box made from a game board

*A table made with a game board, though I can’t find it again. 😦

But I’m also thinking something more along the lines of an original creation that would compliment games he has now. We’ve talked about playing one of our favorite tactical war games with miniatures, instead of the wooden blocks that it comes with, but to do so, we would have to have a larger playing field. The game board is a hexagonal board; I would essentially be making a mat that we could play on instead. I am not good enough to do that yet, which is why I’m thinking about it now, when his birthday isn’t until October.

*sighs* The difficulties of a crafting gift-giver.

I am looking forward to whatever I come up with and the actual project itself.

In the meantime, sorry for the lack of substance. πŸ™‚