Ellie’s Christmas Gift 2019

Blog, Gardening, Living Room, Woodworking / Thursday, April 30th, 2020

In the Rocky Mountains, on a clear September day that I had a moment of clarity–I knew exactly what I was going to make Ellie for Christmas that year. In my mind, I had a perfect visual and wished I had brought along a notebook so I could quickly sketch it out. But really, there was no need because it was so clear and it stuck with me so well that once I was connected to humanity once more it was still as fresh in my mind as it was in the thinner air at 12,000 ft.

Clear head at 15,000 feet

My wife, in search for her hobby, discovered house plants and all the wonders they can bring. It was the kind of hobby where it started out slowly and then suddenly it felt like a tidal wave of plants had landed in our home. The only issue was that we didn’t have a good place to put them. Our house has a southern facing wall, but half of that wall is shaded by the godawful sun porch on the back of our house, blocking the much needed sunlight from warming our faces while we sit at the kitchen table in the mornings.

What’s worse is that the remaining window candidates in the house are relatively high up, or behind various pieces of furniture. The biggest offender, of our biggest windows in the living room (nearly floor to ceiling) was the sectional we had bought used. All part of my plan, to both improve our access to windows and get Ellie a Christmas gift she’ll love and use, we decided to get a new couch and sofa set to replace the sectional which in turn led to a reorganization of the living room.

Everything was in place to enact my grand scheme of the perfect Christmas gift for 2019.

Ellie needed a plant stand that could sit prominently in the windows in the living room. I had a design in mind, something you could find in the 70s or 80s. For the life of me, I couldn’t find a good reference image. I settled on an improved version of what I could find. I even drew up some plans for it.

Plant stand, in progress of applying slats.

No joke, this was the most prepared I had ever been for a Christmas present build. I had all of my material purchased in early November. I started chopping the pieces down to size and keeping them organized. I’d steal a evening here or a weekend there and just progress through the steps. It wasn’t until the last week before Christmas that I told Ellie I needed a solid day to work on finishing up her gift. I didn’t want a repeat of 2018.

Plant stand, before applying finish

I had a hunch that Ellie knew what she was getting and was all the more encouraged to let me put my head down and finish it up. She wanted the plant stand even more than I wanted to finish the plant stand in time for Christmas. At least I knew she didn’t know what it would look like so even if she knew what it was, I’d still have that surprise.

Lo and behold, Christmas came and I was able to wrap (in a blanket) a gift for Ellie to open and know what it was. I was up against the clock and didn’t have time to put a protective finish on it before it was gifted, but considering that was all that was left, I’m quite proud of myself.

Plant stand in the window

Long story short, one removed application of polyurethane later, one properly applied coat of polyurethane, and a week later the finished product is delivered to a very happy wife.

Ellie's plant stand with plants

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