December 30, 2008

Tuesday Tips 12/30/08 - Another idea for ceramic paint pens

My family had our big Christmas party last weekend. There was a "no gifts" rule between all the grown ups, but as usual, everyone broke the rule. (I hate that rule, anyway. I love giving gifts.) This year I made all home-made items - and had so much fun watching everyone open them that I think I'll do that every year from now on.

One of the gifts was a clay garden pot with a phrase written on it.
I used one of the PIOP (Pass It On Plates) special paint pens on the pot to write:
It's not a houseplant; it's a botanical masterpiece.
There are stars drawn around the outside rim on the saucer.

The pot is in the oven, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

These paint pens are designed for writing on ceramic, pottery, glass, and metal. When the paint is dry, you just pop it in a cold oven, turn the temp to 300F (150C) and once the oven comes up to that temp, set the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, shut off the oven and let the piece cool down with the oven. At this point, the paint is permanent a food safe.

It may be silly that I baked a garden pot
, but I figured if it was going to be outside in the weather, I didn't want the painted words to be permanent and not wear off from rain or other weather.

For more info about this special paint pen
, you can check out our Paint Pen FAQ.


I originally planned this post before the family party
, but now there's more to the story that touched everyone. It's a little long, but I just have to tell you what happened from that simple little pot.

This clay garden pot was part of the gift for Friedel
, my Dad's 'friend,' (he never refers to her as his girlfriend but...) Friedel has been a part of our family since she and Dad became an item. We all love her, she loves all of us, and she fits right in. Even my mom, halfway across the country, chats with her on the phone and sends Christmas cards to her. We couldn't be more lucky.

In the pot I added two pairs of leather gardening gloves, a little bottle of Jägermeister (her hometown is Wolfenbüttel, Germany, where they make it, and she loves the flavor - and probably the hallucinogenic qualities?? LOL.) I also included a large river rock upon which I wrote "You Rock!" with an enamel paint pen. We also included a pretty desktop rotating picture frame. Everything was wrapped up into the clay pot and ready for her to open.

It was to be a simple gift for a family member.

It turned out to hold a lot more meaning than originally intended.

When we got to the family gathering, everyone learned that Friedel's daughter didn't send a Christmas gift, card, or make a phone call to wish her a Merry Christmas. Nothing. She said she was crushed for several days then decided that was enough moping and tried to forget about it.

At gift opening time, she opened the pot first. She loved the gloves, she screamed with delight as she saw the Jäger (she didn't know I remembered,) laughed at the rock, and marveled over the pot. Then she started to cry. I don't remember much else about what happened because I got all choked up myself and we hugged each other for a long time. I just remember feeling good about giving her the gift, and helping to make up for what was turning out to be a lousy Christmas for one of my favorite people.

This simple little clay pot and a collection of items for someone who likes gardening (and Jägermeister shots) made the biggest impact I'd ever seen. To me, that's the spirit of Christmas: Giving for the sheer joy of giving. And in return, I got so much more back.


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