Uncharted

Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Summer Garden Spruce-up July 23, 2013

My dad is a horrible present-receiver.  Instead of just accepting the fact that people love him and want him to feel special on days that honor him, he usually argues that we all spent too much money and “shouldn’t have” (unlike people we all know who say that but don’t really mean it, he’s in the 1% that means it).  So for the past few holidays and birthdays I’ve tried to get creative.  Either we get him a piece of technology that he can’t argue with because he likes it so darn much and was (not so) secretly coveting it (re: the iPad we all knew he wanted because he kept stealing my mom’s to play with it), or I make him something.  If you make someone something, they can’t argue that you “shouldn’t have,” because it really can’t have cost TOO much and it was more a loving use of your time.

For Father’s Day this year, I went with a garden stone.  My parents truly enjoy the time they spend on the deck and reading the newspaper or having a glass of wine and a burger in the backyard, so I thought this would be an appreciated homemade gift.  Here are my tips if you want to make a stone of your own:

-pick up some neat tiles from a home resale or thrift shop…I was able to get some for $0.50 a tile, and they make some really neat color and design switchups to the regular glass you usually see.  You could also get neat patterned and colored plates from a thrift shop to make it uniquely your design.

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-make sure you have PLENTY of time to let your garden stone set and dry before the occasion on which you wish to gift your stone.  This will ensure that your stone is sturdy and won’t get damaged.

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-Cut a piece of contact paper the shape and size of your garden stone, and use this to lay your plate, tile, or glass pieces on to create your design. This way, you can simply place the contact sheet on top of or underneath your poured concrete (this is up to you, I did mine on top so I could insure the placement of my tile pieces and my design wouldn’t get disturbed by the heavy concrete mixture, but you can really do it either way).

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The garden stone was a great gift for my gift-dissing dad.  He could tell I love him, but couldn’t complain that I spent too much.  All told, between the tiles (thrift shop), mold (on sale at Hobby Lobby), concrete (small bag $3.99 at Home Depot), and contact paper (Dollar Tree for the roll), the stone cost less than $10 to create!  A pretty, thrifty gift if you ask me!

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