Scraping the bottom of the barrel

Back when Jeff and I were first dating/engaged/married, I really shouldn’t have set the gift-giving bar so very high – an engraved pocketwatch, hand-knitted gloves, a framed print of his favorite painting – those are all brilliant ideas.  And boom-boom-boom right in succession, I used them up.

I’m screwed for the next 50-some years.

But not quite yet.  For our anniversary (which was in May but we just celebrated it a couple weeks ago and yes that’s a whole ‘nuther story), I found a cool product through Neil Gaiman’s blog:  a Royal Mail stamp set featuring illustrations/design by Dave McKean and descriptions by Mr. Gaiman himself.  Jeff is a *huge* Neil Gaiman fan, and a huge-er fantasy literature fan, so I thought it was right up his alley.

So I ordered a presentation pack (and ultimately received two, actually – but once again that’s another story) and set about finding the perfect way to display it.

With a  little lot of  help from a graphic-design-inclined coworker, we came up with the idea to lay it all out, collage style, on a large frame.  6 stamps, and a card with Gaiman’s text on one side and a massive, beautiful illustration on the other (this is where having that extra set ultimately came in handy).  After a Saturday morning in Michael’s and an afternoon toiling over my Exact-o knife and self healing mat (with the layout sketch by coworker in hand), I came up with this:

That’s an 18×24 frame.  The background (lighter paper) is acid-free archival stuff, and the darker brown matting paper is richly-textured and I found in the scrapbooking section.

Perfectionist that I am, the layout is looking really crooked to me in the photos above, but (honestly!) when you see it in person there’s no crookedness to be found.

This glare-filled image of the illustration really doesn’t do it justice:

(So why am I showing it?)

Gaiman’s text is, of course, absolutely brilliant.  Jeff loved reading it 🙂

So even though it was two months late, I hope it was worth waiting for.  He sure seems to like it, at least, and that’s all that matters.

But for the next 50 years, I’ll be giving him underwear and t-shirts for every event.


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