I Simply Remember My Favorite Things

This past Christmas, I spent the holiday week with my husband, daughter, mother, sister, brother-in-law and nephews. As we ate breakfast on Christmas morning, I went around the table and asked each person to recall their all-time favorite Christmas present.

Without a doubt, mine was the year Santa left some gifts at my house, but dropped off a 12-speed bike at my Granny and Pop Pop’s house. The whole ride there, I lamented (in my head of course, I couldn’t let my parents know my disappointment!) about the fact that I didn’t get the “one thing” I wanted. I loved hearing how answers ranged from a record player (remember those?) to an art set, and why they were the favorite.

I got to thinking about other “favorites” in my life, not just gifts, but people, gestures and yes, even work projects. One that immediately sprang to mind was a book I created a few years ago for a customer who presented a moving eulogy at his best friend’s funeral. He came to me with a print out of the eulogy and a few photographs. I designed 20 pages including the words from his eulogy and photos. We bound them in leather books with engraved silver plates. The customer gave these books to the family members for Christmas that year. Although I didn’t know any of these people, it brought a smile to my face knowing how touched they would all be with this gift.

Another favorite was a husband’s idea for a Mother’s Day gift to his wife. They had a baby born with several health problems a few months before Mother’s Day. He had saved all the emails that they had sent over those first trying weeks when the baby was in NICU, updating friends and family with progress. This project was not work at all for me…I tackled it like I was making my OWN baby book. The pictures were all so adorable and the story had a happy ending. His wife called me the day after Mother’s Day, with tears in her voice, to thank me and I felt that we were already friends.
One time, a customer came in with stacks of old letters written to her mother from her father during World War II. She wanted me to create a poster that she could have framed for her sisters and brothers. After carefully scanning them each in, I got to work (if you want to call it that!) and created a 24 x 36 poster that reflected the time period and included her favorite letters.

My neighbor is a mentor at her church, and a few months ago, she asked me to make a life-size cut-out of Justin Bieber for her mentee’s completion of confirmation requirements. She sent me pictures from the event with the look of pure joy on her face, and the girl’s mother has since called me to say the “Justin” traveled everywhere her daughter went that whole weekend.

As I was writing this article, I got a phone call from a client I hadn’t heard from in a few years. She is working on a major fund-raising event to be held this spring and said she wanted customized lampshades. We are going to create a story through pictures that will be illuminated with a battery operated candle. They will be placed on the tables as centerpieces.

This one has been the topic of discussion for several years…an event planner wanted 50 unique, customized invitations for an event held at Red Coconut Club. I tossed out the idea of sending actual coconuts painted red. Thankfully, we didn’t get THAT crazy, but we DID send coconut cups with pina colada mix and personalized invitations packaged in boxes full of red crinkle paper and labels on all four sides of the box. As the days went by, the client kept adding invitees, to the point that we had over 200 coconut boxes strewn all over the office!

I love being given the opportunity to be creative, so if you have an idea that could use some artistic polishing, please consider Blue Dog to get the ball rolling!


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