She Said It Was The Best Christmas Present Ever (So I Guess That’s Pretty Good)

Saturday, I finished Elise’s present. Then I couldn’t wait to give it to her, so I talked her into letting me give it to her right away.

Wasn’t very hard.

This is what I gave her. It’s a jewelry cabinet that will eventually go on top of a dresser that I intend on building next. Elise has a lot of jewelry that has been sitting in cardboard boxes for the last several years, and deserves a nicer home. So this is it.

Look, you can see the bed I built as Elise's wedding present in the mirror.

Once I convinced Elise to let me bring in her Christmas present a week early, I went out to the garage and realized that I had forgotten to finish putting on the door hardware. So I had to do that really quick. I wrapped the thing up in a black garbage bag and tied a red ribbon haphazardly around it, and brought it into the house. She loved it.

I covered parts of the inside with black cloth to highlight the jewelry as much as possible.

I learned a few things while working on this project:

  • Glue doesn’t dry well in sub-freezing temperatures.
  • Acrylic paints on wood are fun and can look really, really cool.
  • No matter how carefully I plan out a project, I will invariably overlook a key factor that causes me to have to tear something apart and rebuild it, wasting time,  materials, or (usually) a combination thereof.

I was drawing blank after blank trying to think of what to put up here. After talking to a very artistic friend and getting lots of ideas, I came up with this...which is probably substantially worse-looking than any of his ideas would have been, but I'm happy with it nonetheless!

This project will hopefully be the beginning of me being able to complete one of my life goals (#29, to be specific)–that is, to completely furnish our house with furniture that I (or Elise) have built/made. Like I said, the dresser is next on my list. Then a new computer desk, then a cabinet for our living room, and eventually a couch.

Earrings and bracelets on the back of the door.

Making things feels really good. I always played with Legos as a kid, maybe that’s why I like this so much, even though I am always too ambitious and have to have my expectations kicked back down to earth by my limited skill. The challenge of taking an idea and cutting, hammering, and clamping it into a very solid reality that looks and works just as well as it did in my imagination, is enticing. So far, I’ve never quite reached the goal of making something as perfect as I imagined it would be, but I’ve come closer and closer with each project, and that makes me want to keep working.



  1. Chris

    I think it is beautiful! She is a lucky lady for many many reasons! Looking forward to seeing you soon, Chris

  2. Deborah Meiss

    Beautiful, Zach! To have accomplished the best Christmas present ever so early in your marriage… Impressive! : )

  3. Aunt Lynn

    Wow..What a beautiful and thoughtful gift. I am so happy for Elise that you want to make her happy. What an awesome nephew you are.

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