when good ideas go bad

As I’ve mentioned a few thousand times, my brothers and I only exchange homemade gifts. One brother has liqueurs fermenting all year for our gift exchange. The other brother’s wife works magic on a sewing machine. Lacking any discernible talents, I prefer to defer to Doug’s woodworking skills. This year, Doug has been too physically and mentally consumed by other things for me to add gift making to his to-do list. So, I did what all the other Internet junkies do. I mined Pinterest for ideas.

Several years ago, my parents were doing some garage cleaning and gave us a box of old hardcover books to trade at McKay’s. Knowing how few old books Mckay’s actually takes since they moved from their cozy building with the creaky floor to the sterile warehouse, I sifted through the books for anything of sentimental value. The box contained a John D. MacDonald book that I reference even though nobody ever gets the joke. I kept it. I found a pile of detective with a heart of gold books and sent them all to McKay’s. A dozen of the books from my grandmother’s Home Ec classroom? I had to keep them. Call it hoarding, but I just couldn’t let those old books go… yet.

When normal people see decoupage on Pinterest, they laugh and submit it to Pinterest fail. I see my tween years. ModPodge and upcycling are all it takes for me to fail compassion 101. I dug out those old textbooks and attacked them with an exacto knife.

iron your socks

Reading the books as I went may have added hours and hours of time to the project, but I’m still glad that I did. They were Pleasantville handbooks. Filled with extremely clear directions for sewing, cleaning and cooking, they were also gender construction (skip to page eight) rule books. I kept a few out-of-context lines to add to the top of each ornament. One word of advice: Do not mix books. Each book has a unique page color, paper weight and aging damage.

I glued the book cover to the top of a photograph storage box and glued the first page on the inside of the box lid.

book cover glued to box lidglued first page inside box lid

While the glue is still wet, sprinkle the clear glitter of your choice on the ornament. I used Diamond Dust.

More Home Ec wisdom

After it dries, replace the ornament ‘cap’ and add the ribbon or mesh of your choice.

first ball

Box them up and wrap them.

box of balls

Then, your mother will recognize the book cover, open the box and burst into giant sorrowful tears that make you realize you were supposed to make those books go away and not bring them back in a mutilated state.

Next year, I’m making whoopee cushions.

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