Or, What To Get the Pirate Queen Who Has Everything.
You might not know this, but my best friend is a kraken’s daughter. Yep. If this were Westeros, she’d be rocking her own longboat under the Greyjoy banner. If this were an alt-early 19th century Caribbean, she’d be tossing hogtied passenger treats to her best kraken brother. Aquaman wrings his hands next to his mailbox awaiting her soirée invitations, and King Triton’s daughters always call her up for fashion advice.
When it’s her birthday, you kinda have to step up. And as I am a kraken’s bestie, you bet that’s what I did. With flair and flourish, and maybe a boarding party or two.
I made a pirate’s chest. BEHOLD!
I found the small, round-topped wooden chest at Michaels, the arts and crafts store. It was perfect for a keepsake box and held plenty of potential to be turned into something seaworthy. I made off with it – okay, fine, I paid the gold price, not the iron – and set to sanding it smooth with very fine sandpaper. Once it was smooth to the touch, I pried open a can of Minwax’s Gel Stain in (Rich) Mahogany and got down and dirty with an old roughed-up paint brush.
The staining process is a bit finicky, but nothing worth doing is easy – or maybe that’s just what pragmatist’s say. Once you apply the stain, you need to follow the can’s directions and wipe it off again or you’ll get a tacky mess that won’t ever quite dry. Also, the smell of this stuff is horrendous – I made sure to start my project on a sunny day, perfect for sailing the ocean blue and also sticking smelly projects out on the porch to dry.
It took a few coats to get the color I wanted, and I didn’t worry much about getting all the stain off the brass fittings. It helped along the weathered look. I made a few mistakes, not allotting enough time in my actual project manufacturing phase to get the stain perfect across the inner lip of the box or the bottom. Learn from my DIY woe and give yourself at least a week as a newbie to prep the perfect box.
The next step, of course, was to fill the chest with all the shiny booty I’d been… collecting… in the meanwhile. First, of course, there had to be chocolate coins. And when did chocolate coins become so hard to find? For that matter, why the hell aren’t there a selection of Spanish doubloon chocolate coins? The best I could do was acquire some Fort Knox gold foil-wrapped US half dollar coins. I’m not sure why a bunch of JFK half dollars would be rolling around a pirate’s chest, but let’s go with it. The chocolate was pretty damn tasty too.
(Of course I ate a few. Some. Several. Not a lot. What do you take me for, some chocolate-abstaining wretch?)
I found a Greyjoy pendant in LavishMotif’s Etsy shop. Olivia & Dylan did quality work – a beautiful image of the house sigil is mounted on a bezel pendant and covered in glass. It gives the necklace real weight and presence. I buried the pendant in all the other treasures – no pirate’s chest is complete without the ubiquitous strand of pearls and mysterious iron key.
Then there was the pièce de résistance, at least IMHO: the teeny fancy gentleman octopus. He has a MUSTACHE. And he is TEAL.
I found him in Paige Briana’s Etsy shop, along with a maroon fellow I also snapped up and immediately named Egbert. (You can see Egbert helping me keep my lunch hour productive over at Instagram.) Paige was an absolute joy to work with, and we corresponded as I selected companion gentleman octopuses. I told her about my pirate box plan and she threw in some of her own personal “gold” to fill out my box. BUY FROM HER, WORLD. On pain of planking. Er, plank. Walking it, that is.
And there I finished the chest fit for a kraken’s daughter, that I hoped would shiver her timbers. In a good way.
Cuz this is what happens when you don’t please Her Krakenness: