Christmas this year should have been called Craftmas. I gave several homemade gifts, including but not limited to, etched beer glasses, screen-printed t-shirts, and the worlds ugliest-but-comfiest holiday sweater. But my biggest endeavor was my gift for my high school girlfriends’ annual gift exchange, which involved elaborate papercutting, multiple canvases, and very special paint.
This year was the 8th anniversary of one of my favorite holiday traditions, the Christmas Eve Eve party with my friends from high school. Each year, on the night before Christmas Eve, six of us gather together to exchange gifts and watch Love Actually. The event has evolved over the years; we quickly realized that our gift exchange would be a lot cheaper if we did Secret Santa, and where we all used to crowd into mine or A’s bedroom for a slumber party, old age has crippled our ability to have fun and everyone starts to crawl back home by the end of the night. I don’t think anyone has paid attention to Love Actually since about 2007. As we’ve gotten older and moved away–even gotten married in some cases–there are fewer and fewer of us home for Christmas each year. But the one thing that hasn’t changed: everyone knows that Christmas Eve Eve is sacred.
Come hell or high water, the six of us know we had better be near a computer with a web cam, a reliable internet connection, and a copy of Love Actually on the night of the 23rd. Technology is a glorious thing. There was even the year that I skyped in from an effing airplane.
|Somewhere over Oklahoma|
This year, only three of us were in Charleston, so we piled onto my bed and crowded around the computer. Gifts had to be mailed out in advance, so Secret Santa turned out to be not-so-secret. Happily, we’d decided to change up the gift swap and only give homemade gifts, so even if you knew ahead of time who your Santa was, there remained an element of surprise as to whether she had managed to make something not completely terrible.
To everyone’s amazement, all six gifts were pretty awesome! AS made F some coasters featuring photographs of her friends, family and fiancé, F made E sparkly champagne flutes with chalkboard paint on the base, E sewed B some thematic throw pillows in anticipation of her upcoming marriage, B, after failing to make the same coasters as AS, made a wooden wall-hanging for A, and A framed photographs she’d taken for me.
I had AS, and after much internal reflection, decided that I would paint her a picture of the Cooper River Bridge:
To do this, I first drew the bridge onto freezer paper using a really large carpentry square (the man at the hardware store was very intrigued by my project). Then, I spent about a million hours carefully cutting away all of the negative space with an Xacto knife (this part SUCKED). I then ironed the bridge onto three canvas panels. This… didn’t work very well. I think if in the next step, I’d used spray paint, it would have been ok. But because the cables of the bridge were so fine, they were easily disturbed by the brushes. It smudged pretty significantly, and I had to touch up the white, and as a result, the lines were not as crisp as I envisioned. Alas, it was a necessary evil for the special paint that I wanted to use:
That’s right, this GLOWS IN THE DARK, BITCHES! And really, a photograph cannot adequately capture how creepy cool it is to walk into a dark room and have this glowing at you. I was sad to give the painting away, but happy to know it is much appreciated in its new home:
|Mocha the dog admires her new artwork.|