My Best Friend’s Wedding Present

Last April one of my oldest friends tied the knot marrying her perfect partner and I was amazingly happy to be standing beside her. Kristine and I met in middle school when she was friends with my next-door neighbor. In high school we both played in the pit orchestra of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” and became inseparable. We spent days at the beach, weekends camped out in each other’s rooms, went to prom, and shared all our secrets. Definitely textbook best friend business.

Somehow that was twelve years ago and we’ve grown up, but not apart. We’ve seen one another through graduations, family changes, moves, new careers and the other milestones of our 20’s. Through all of this we’ve laughed at how we’re total opposites. She loves Disney, I loathe it, we don’t share any favorite foods or music, she falls asleep in my movies and we’ve never had vaguely similar taste in men.

When she started dating TJ, he and I got along right away. He treated her well and she laughed so much with him. The more I got to know him and call him a friend the more I was sure that he would always be good to my sister. When they got engaged I was thrilled for her but not one bit surprised, because they are a perfect pair. When she asked me to be her maid of honor I didn’t think twice, but when it came to the gift I needed more time.

She and TJ were planning a move from Hawaii to Los Angeles and didn’t want too many gifts to carry with them, which was helpful for me since I would be travelling from Oakland to the wedding in Kaneohe. I knew I wanted to make her something for their home when they got settled but I wasn’t sure just what would be right. When I saw the beautiful photos from the wedding I knew I wanted to make a mosaic that incorporated some of them as well. I wanted a gift that was functional as well as artistic, so I decided on a mosaic serving tray. After all, newlyweds should have lots of nice desserts and breakfast in bed!

First I had to find an unfinished tray to work on, which turned out to be an easy task. Then I went shopping for glass that would match her wedding palette as closely as possible.

I painted the tray in Lavender Brown and coated the inside with mosaic primer. Normally my mosaics are not overly calculated but since this was a special gift I took extra care cutting the glass to the right measurements and being sure to balance the colors. Resizing and editing the photos to be 1 inch by 1 inch was the most tedious part of the work, until I tried to print them out. I hadn’t used my printer since November so of course it insisted that the cartridges be cleaned and aligned several times before it would cooperate.

A few years ago I made a mosaic planter and created floral tiles by adhering photos of flowers to clear glass, so I used the same approach and began to work on placement. Once I had the pattern just how I wanted it I glued the pieces down and prepared to grout. I’d found grout in a new color called Latte and it complimented the Lavender Brown paint and brought out the navy and salmon color pallet.

After the grout began to harden I cleaned the glass and left it to cure overnight. The next morning I did paint touch ups and then there was only one step left: to protect the wood. Polyurethane is very popular for sealing wood projects and it’s helpful for anything like a table that gets a lot of heavy use, but for pieces like this I prefer a natural wood conditioner. I’m sensitive to fumes and prefer to go nontoxic whenever possible so I used a conditioner with beeswax and orange oil. (Yes, I used a sock to buff the wood. It’s best to use cotton and socks make handy buffing gloves!)

WP_20160313_14_40_34_ProFor twelve years I’ve had a sister in Kristine and that’s meant more to me than I think I’ve ever explained. I’m so happy for her that she and TJ found each other, fell in love, had a beautiful wedding, and are creating their new life together in LA. I’m selfishly happy that we live in the same state again and my boyfriend and her husband get along and are Broncos fans. It’s an honor to be in a wedding and it’s another one to have my art in someone’s home. I wanted to commemorate that special day and our friendship in a piece that they’d enjoy and would make them smile, I hope this mosaic does just that. True friends are rare and the older we get the more I appreciate the ones I have. I absolutely love these two and wish them an incredibly happy life!

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