Personalized Gifts

Occasionally Greg and I run into situations where a Bath & Body gift set or restaurant gift card just isn’t enough to show our loved ones we care (ha!). In those cases, we’ve been known to make gifts — sometimes silly, sometimes over-the-top, but always highly tailored to their preferences. (In our opinion, anyway.) Knowing that few, if any, readers will want to recreate these projects, I decided just to do a round-up of some of the latest and greatest.

Starcraft II Protoss cupcakeStarcraft II Protoss cupcake

Let’s start with these cupcakes. Recognize the symbol? Probably not. It represents the Protoss race in the computer game Starcraft II. It was my brother-in-law’s latest obsession when his birthday rolled around. I used candy melts and a piping bag to draw the shapes on wax paper, added blue m&ms and then peeled them off when hardened.

Fruit Ninja ornament

Next up in computer games gifts, my friend Angela has a teensy-tiny obsession with the iPhone/iPad game Fruit Ninja. You basically slice pieces of fruit with your finger, rapid fire. To make an ornament, Greg cut up a butter knife and added electrical tape to make a ninja sword, and we stuck it in a faux apple.

Homemade Double-Double

My brother has it in his head that Greg and I will attempt any crazy food challenge, and maybe he’s right. When he asked for homemade In-N-Out burgers for Christmas and even had the recipe, we couldn’t pass it up. We saved our burger wrappers and got employee hats from the restaurant, just for the occasion.

Foo dog book end

Another gift for my brother was an imitation of some book ends he’d been eyeing. (I have mixed feelings about knocking off the work of another, but don’t feel bad when something is priced way over its worth.) A bright orange set of foo dogs was selling for $50 at CB2, but my brother wasn’t crazy about the price. After seeing several inexpensive less-than-$15 sets in traditional colors (jade, gold, dark red) in Chinatown, we decided to buy a pair and used lacquer spray paint plus a top coat to finish them off. We went with a blue instead of orange because it was sure to match my brother’s previous, current and all future apartments!

Greg’s parents are nutcracker collectors of sorts (each of their three boys received one each year for decades), and so he couldn’t pass up the unfinished-wood nutcracker on sale at Michaels. His parents are also doctors, so Greg went to town with the details, from the name on the jacket to the clipboard and buttons.

This one isn’t exactly a gift, but it is highly personalized! We were making sushi with Greg’s brother when we realized that you could really fill it with anything. That’s when things got crazy! I don’t like seafood, so we decided to make a peanut butter and jelly roll, just for me. Ewww! I don’t recommend it. Nori (the sheet of seaweed that, with the rice, surrounded the roll) and PB&J just don’t mix!

Fly trap

I almost forgot! The gift that inspired this post in the first place: a fly trap. Greg’s parents’ (four) dogs attract a ton of biting flies, and they end up with their ears chewed raw. As a gift for Greg’s dad (who sympathetically walks around outside with a flyswatter), Greg built a crazy fly trap. Set it over a pile of dog poop (the bait) and watch as the flies go up into the box, but can’t find their way back out.

Ornament photo: Jason Stoff
Foo dog photo: Jason Kenning

6 thoughts on “Personalized Gifts”

  1. My boyfriends loves SCII and he plays the Protoss race so I thought it’d be a great idea to make him cupcakes with the symbol for this Valentines. I googled it, and found your blog. PERFECT! Yours look great! I haven’t decided if I want to attempt your way (looks a little advanced for me), or just icing the symbol right on top. Or even a different type of baked good. Any thoughts? I bet your brother-in-law loved them! Congrats on such a great, novel idea!

  2. If you’re considering icing the symbol at all, I would definitely recommend this method over doing it directly on the cupcake — by making the symbol on wax paper, you don’t have to worry about messing some of them up! I just stuck a paper printout of the shape underneath the wax paper and traced it with Wilton Candy Melts (from Michaels). I have a few process shots; let me know if you’d like to see them!

  3. Oh good point! Sure, I’d love to see the process shots. That’d be really helpful! Thanks so much!

  4. Jennifer,
    I love the Fruit Ninja ornament! (mostly because I love playing Fruit Ninja) You two are so creative.

  5. Hey Jennifer!
    My boyfriend also is obsessed with sc2 and I was thinking of using the protoss symbol as well since it’s also his favorite race. I was just wondering how exactly you made them. I’ve never tried anything like that before so any help would be amazing! I know in your earlier post you said that you used candy melts from Michael’s? Do those taste good? Thanks!

  6. Hi Andrea! I hope this response isn’t too late. Yes, the candy melts taste good. I wouldn’t eat a whole bag of them, but it’s not like sticking cardboard into your cupcakes! I also did a follow-up post on how to make the symbol, with a few more photos and instructions!

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