It’s my friend’s daughter’s birthday today and I was having a devil of a time picking up a gift for her. She’s a really sweet kid, never asking for much, even on her birthday. Amazing as that is, it left me with the same tired things, a visit to Hallmark and then a gift card for some store or other. Bleah.
There are things she wants, no doubt, so I couldn’t let her reluctance to name anything impose limits on her. That meant I needed to give her freedom to spend her gift anywhere she wanted. Today, that’s not so tough, since you can just buy “general” gift cards (VISA, MasterCard, etc.). But I still didn’t like the same old, same old. Then I hit on the idea to give her cash.
What? Not too original there? That’s where you’re wrong, bunky! It’s all in the delivery.
I grabbed a couple of sheets of copy paper and started scribbling. Shortly, an idea “fleshed” (or sketched, if you prefer) itself out. A batch of balloons and each balloon would contain a bill inside (denomination immaterial for this blog…move along, please). The balloons couldn’t just be floating there, so I sketched in me holding them and waving (with the other hand, otherwise the balloons would have floated away).
That left a lot of room on the page for the birthday message and the signature. Too much room. So, in comes a bunny, a pond, a couple of frogs on lily pads (holding a banner with my “Love, Mr. Jeffrey”) and some grass and stones strewn about.
After the sketch was transferred to bristol board (a superb surface for pencil or ink), it was time to make the “balloons”. I don’t know if you do this, but I keep left over pieces of wrapping paper, big enough to use but not big enough to wrap a full box. You never know when you’ll be wrapping a book or DVD and that little piece is just what you needed. Taking a piece of birthday wrap (coincidentally with balloons all over), I folded it over and cut balloon shapes from it (like the old paper doll concept).
I folded up five bills and slipped them inside the gift wrap balloons, taping them shut and then back-taping them onto the balloons I had drawn on the bristol board. Voila, a cool and totally original way to give a youngster some spending money for her birthday.
Sadly, the party was postponed, as a couple of relatives got sick. We’ll try to regroup this weekend. Hopefully, she’ll have as much fun opening it as I had creating it!