For Christmas this year (or I should say this past year) Jon and I decided to exchange gifts that wouldn't cost anything. It was an exciting and delightful creative journey of suspense, surprise and serendipity.
We are going for an old school scientific/ecological environment in our living room and I've been obsessed with all things entomology as of late. Jon (who has always been an entomologist at heart) picked up on this and decided to create an insect showcase complete with butterflies, a dragonfly and a beetle. He did this by carefully selecting decorative/textured papers and then printing black insect drawings onto them. I was completely enamored when I opened the gift and from far away they actually look real (everyone thinks they are!). One of my favorite things about this gift is the story behind the shadow box frame. Because this exchange was not supposed to cost anything, Jon got creative. He found some old Euros from our 2007 Paris trip and took them in to be exchanged into US dollars. The total ended up being just the right amount for the frame. So technically it wasn't zero dollars, but I think his ingenuity makes up for it.
Jon has been asking for a painted family portrait for a little while now so I thought I'd better start working on it for his Christmas gift. I was originally going to have us all together on one canvas but I thought it might be more fun to have individual portraits scattered about the wall (which will also make it easier to add any new additions down the road).
I only managed to get Jon's completed by Christmas but I'm excited to finish up with the rest of our family. I am happy with how this turned out and really feel like I captured what I see and feel when I look him. When I walk by this painting I think, "that's my Jon". He likes it too. Win, win.
I think I like this zero dollar gift idea. Might just be doing it again next year...