I Made a Giraffe for My Mother-In-Law!

The first time I met my mother-in-law, I had no idea who she was. I was walking into church and she waved and gave me a smile, and I thought, “Who is this stranger smiling at me?”. Of course, I waved and smiled back. I had already met wife (then just a cute girl I had talked to a few times and was very interested in), and I can only assume that she pointed me out to her mom.

I can’t talk about my mother-in-law without telling the cookie story. One of the first times I went to her house, she wanted me to try her cookies. Of course, if you’re trying to be nice, you already know that you’re going to tell her that they are the best cookies you’ve ever had in your entire life. The problem was, when I tried the cookies, they genuinely were one of the best cookies that I’ve tasted in my entire life, and I had no idea what to say. You’re expected to say that they’re delicious, even if they taste awful, but now I had to convince her that I was being one hundred percent honest and that they really, really were some of the cookies I’ve ever had. She later went on to win several awards in some local competitions.

It didn’t take me long to find out that my mother-in-law is in love with giraffes. I once asked her why she loves them so much, and she told me that it reminds her that God must have a sense of humor. Judging by their long necks and awkward walk, I have to agree with her.

We once went to a smaller local zoo called the Indian Creek Zoo. If you want a unique experience, I highly recommend it. You can get up-close to a lot of the animals.

While we were at the giraffe exhibit, we actually met the owner of the zoo. He gave us some carrots to feed the giraffes, and of course my mother-in-law was one of the first in line to do it. I have to tell you, I never realized how long giraffe tongues are. After we fed them, we took a picture with the giraffe’s heads directly above us. During the picture, one of the giraffe’s reached its neck (it’s very long neck, as I previously mentioned) down and put his tongue on my mother-in-laws hair. If you don’t already know, Giraffe saliva is pretty nasty stuff. I’m not sure if she minded it though.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this giraffe carving. One thing I’ve been learning is how much study should go into your subject before you start carving. I often just print a drawing from my computer, glue it to the wood, and start carving, just assuming that “things will work out”. It generally doesn’t. If you don’t know exactly what you’re going to do before you start carving, it will seldom work out in your favor.

For this giraffe, I wanted to make the base so that it could easily stand on a desk or table. I tried to think of something for the base besides just a block of wood, and my idea was to carve it so it looks like a rock. I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to shape the legs, since you have very little room to navigate between the body of the giraffe and the base.

I don’t think you can tell, but I actually messed up quite a bit on this. I’d forgotten how far the giraffe ears stick out, and I didn’t have enough wood left on the sides of the head to make the ears look natural, so I sawed the head off the giraffe half-way through and glued a new piece of wood on top. I also accidental ripped the tail off (twice, in fact), so I had to glue a new wood piece on the back.

I mention these things to encourage you, my dear reader. You don’t have to get everything right. Sometimes the best thing is just to go for it. I have a friend who’s not quite sure if he wants to start certain projects because unsure if they’re going to work out right. My response is: a completed project, even if done poorly, is better than no project at all. In this case, one of two things will happen. Either a) the project will work out far better than you had thought, and you are quite happy with it, or b) the project won’t work out how you wanted, but you will have learned a lot of things that you can apply to your next project. Either way, you win.

Like my friend Bob Ross says, there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents.

Oh, and by the way, to my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving.

Turkey On.

By Steve Bongiorno

I write about gaming, books, faith, and family.

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