General thoughts on life and woodworking #5: The most important project of my life

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Jack_T posted 05-11-2011 09:00 PM 6700 reads 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Skeletons of the past, present and future Part 5 of General thoughts on life and woodworking series no next part

The project is not made of exotic wood. It is not a complicated piece of furniture. It does not have sophisticated joinery. It is finished only with house paint. Normally, I would consider a project like this to be a simple throw away project made for the fun of it but not very important at all. This time was very different though. It would be turn out to be the most important project of my life.

The project was commissioned by my six year old daughter, Jacqueline. She came to me about a month before Mother’s Day. She asked me if I could help her make a Mother’s Day gift for Mommy. I had no idea what she had in mind, but I quickly said yes.

When I asked what she wanted to make, she told me four hearts on a piece of wood. She then began to describe it to me and half an hour later she stopped talking. I was amazed by how much thought she had already given it. Then she told me that she wanted to go down stairs (where the shop is) and pick out some wood. So we did, she looked at every piece of scrap that I had to see if it was the right size.

Every day for a week and a half a drawing came home from kindergarten of the project design. Every day it was more refined and more detailed. At first it was just the four hearts; one for Mommy, one for Daddy, one for her, and one for Bailey (her Golden Retriever). Then the flowers were added, monotone at first. Then color and stems were added. Finally, the leafs on the stem were added. The colors were changed as were the proportions of the hearts and the flowers. The hearts and flowers went from horizontal on the base to vertical.

At the end of the week and a half, she presented me with a picture and said “this is what I want to make”. It was very detailed, but of course not to scale. So I began to try and convert the picture into a plan. Every night she would sit with me while I tried to sketch full size plans. She was very particular. The base isn’t big enough, the hearts are two small, the bud is the wrong size on the flower etc. It just doesn’t look right. surprisingly, she never got frustrated or bored. She just wanted to get it right. She was determined.

When the plans were completed, Jacqueline announced that she wanted to help make it. She stated “You can use the really dangerous saw Daddy [the tablesaw], but I want to help with everything else” and she did. She didn’t complain about the hearing protectors, the dust mask or the face shield. Each night when we entered the shop she would remind me to give her the ear thingy and her mask and face, as she called them. It took us a while to cut the shapes on the scrollsaw; of course, there were several pieces that had to be scraped but she stayed with it and got them all done. When she was done she took each piece to the disk sander to smooth and remove any rough edges. _*It seemed to take forever. It didn’t matter though, my daughter was working the wood, and liking it

Jacqueline and I went to Home Depot to pick up some paint. I thought it would be a quick in and out trip. I should have known better. It wasn’t good enough to pick a purple, pink, yellow and green. They had to be just the right shades. She looked at every color swatch they had, in each of the racks. She even compared each of the selected colors to the others to make sure the color palette would not clash. I was amazed.

We painted each piece, with three coats, prior to final assembly. Throughout the project she was very concerned that we would be finished on time. She constantly asked “are we going to make it Daddy.” One night she stayed up an extra hour past her bed to finish the painting.

On Mother’s Day morning she was so excited and proud. It was all she could do to wait until after breakfast in bed was was done to give her gift to Mommy. Of course Mommy loved it. Jacqueline insisted on telling Mommy exactly how she made. My wife had known we were working on a surprise for her, but she had no idea what or how much effort Jacqueline was putting into it. She was amazed. Then she told Mommy what the symbolism was “the hearts are the four of us and the flowers are flowers that will always bloom like the love in our hearts for each other.” I almost cried when I heard that. Needless to say it was a great success.

I think I have a new LumberJock in the family. I had better move up the purchase of my SawStop!

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

18 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3742 days

#1 posted 05-11-2011 09:04 PM

Lovely. Simply lovely. No SawStop fights allowed, this thread is for happy thoughts only:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4281 days

#2 posted 05-11-2011 09:47 PM

That is a lovely story. I am sure your wife will treasure that for decades to come!

For such a young child, your daughter has a very well developed eye for color. You might just have a little artist on your hands…

And to top it all off, you got to spend some great shop time with your daughter making something unique and meaningful for your wife. Long standing family relationships and traditions get born that way…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4164 days

#3 posted 05-11-2011 10:03 PM

I knew there was a good story behind the projet post
but you realy gave me tears in my eyes with this ….. I must have turned soft latly :-)
you are a great story teller
and Jacqueline are more than welcome to the woodworld
not many in her age wuold be tuned so long into the process of designing
and building a project
Jacqueline I look forward to see more from your hands
and father making blogs on how you made it
but don´t tell him you will take over the shop before he knows it …lol

thank´s Jack
take care both of you

View patron's profile


13717 posts in 4390 days

#4 posted 05-12-2011 02:14 AM

“the hearts are the four of us and the flowers are flowers that will always bloom like the love in our hearts for each other.”

now you have me with tears of joy

thank you jacqueline

this is the best gift you could give
to your family
right from your heart

thanks dad
for letting us share in this wonderful story

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3739 days

#5 posted 05-12-2011 03:26 AM

What a great story! What a GREAT girl! Brought tears to my eyes also.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 4418 days

#6 posted 05-12-2011 04:21 PM

That is cool!!!!!!!! Your daughter is tremendous. Well done and thanks for the post.

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View Occie gilliam's profile

Occie gilliam

505 posts in 4345 days

#7 posted 05-12-2011 04:46 PM

she is what life is about, one pretty little angels.

-- OC down in Costa Rica. come down and see me some time. I'll keep the light on for you [email protected]

View David LaBolle's profile

David LaBolle

216 posts in 3720 days

#8 posted 05-12-2011 04:51 PM

What a great story!!! I just posted this story link to my Facebook.

That gift is a treasure!

-- When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for

View Hayabusa's profile


173 posts in 3929 days

#9 posted 05-12-2011 04:59 PM

Thanks a lot for sharing this story that will turn into history on lumberjocks

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 4080 days

#10 posted 05-13-2011 04:07 PM

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and words. Jacqueline has read (with my help) all of your posts. She is very happy.
She asked me to give you a message: ‘Thank you for all of your messages!”

If she continues to show an interest in woodworking maybe I will give her her own LumberJocks account. I think she needs to learn how to spell a few more words first though;-).

Again, thank you, you made a little girl very happy.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View VillageWood's profile


44 posts in 4369 days

#11 posted 05-14-2011 02:01 AM

Truly amazing. That, my friend, is what makes life worthwhile. Thank you ever so much for sharing.

Jacqueline: you do beautiful work filled with love. Please keep it up.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5210 days

#12 posted 05-15-2011 04:53 PM

pass the tissues!!!!!
what a beautiful story and I look forward to hearing what Jacqueline does in the future. She is an artist, a poet, a designer, a woodworker… and the list goes on.

Jacqueline: Well done. A great design, well thought out; a great project – simple yet complicated, beautiful to look at and inspiring!
Thank you for letting us see this and learn from the story.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View MrWoodworker's profile


65 posts in 3644 days

#13 posted 05-19-2011 05:27 PM

+1 for the tears welling in the eyes business. :) Got me.


View Betty's profile


3 posts in 3839 days

#14 posted 05-20-2011 03:08 AM

What a lovely story! I’m writing through tears of joy. Little did you both know that gift has greatly pleased more than just Mommy! And it seems you and Mommy have also given a great gift to the world. God Bless you all.

-- Betty, Cordal Woodworking and Crafts, Maryland

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4762 days

#15 posted 06-10-2011 02:42 AM

You are a very fortunate fellow! She sounds like a well loved little girl, congratulations! I know from my little girl how special these times are, I suspect you will hold this in your heart for a long long time.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics