There have been years, when my children were young and grandchildren not so much as a glimmer in the distant future, that I’ve pulled an all-nighter on Christmas Eve, getting ‘homemade’ gifts finished for Santa to deliver. I’m sure the Red Man’s elves were far more organised! Perhaps it’s age-related, or merely being worn out at the end of a busy year, but this season I’ve put less pressure on myself. There were plans. Of course, there were. Hopefully, they will come to fruition next year.
In a quandary over a gift for one granddaughter, I quizzed my son. A glitch in family cohesion, with a blossoming adult travelling a separate path, meant I’d largely lost touch for a while with her likes and dislikes. “She loves unicorns,” my son told me. Ah, myth and magic, I thought. Appropriate for this time of year.
I considered doing a print or painting, but with my granddaughter’s living arrangements soon to again change, wall art might be a bugbear rather than a blessing. So…what else? Something decorative but portable, easily stored if need be, and also useful.
An avid collector of boxes, ones to use and others to do something with, sometime, there are always potentially useful receptacles on hand. Why? Perhaps because I so often am unsure where I fit in the world? Trying to find the right box for a good fit? Trying to avoid getting into the box? Striving to be a this-millennium woman and get out of the box? Mr Freud would no doubt explain it succinctly. There was no need to dwell on the foible, or hunt through my stash – I’d recently picked up a promising item.
I was on my way, gesso, paint, music from the tape player (I’ve already admitted to being old-fashioned) and in the zone. Having had a week or so away from printing, the lino sat like an itch I needed to scratch. Two small stamps resulted. The effect on the painted surface was imperfect – live with it, Jenn – but added a bit of otherworldly-ness to a fantasy effect and subject.
The painting and decorating complete, I wanted the lid hinged. A rebated lid added a new challenge – hinges attached, this way, or that? By far the most frustrating part of the project was adding those piss-farty hinges, for which I needed to use a screwdriver as skinny as a skewer.
Repeatedly struggling with the tiny screws while positioning the box and lid, with arthritic hands that some days can barely grasp the morning’s magnesium tablet – a size suitable for a horse pill – I railed against the upside-down nature of being human. Now, finally, when I have the time and freedom to indulge my heart’s delights, my body is turning traitor. Ah, well, there was nothing for it but to persist, while swearing alternately at my fumbling, dropped minuscule screws amongst the lino chips, and be grateful that I’m still here to finish the box. Just hope the recipient likes it!