A month or so ago, I decided that my Valentine's Day gift for my man would be a book safe.
A book safe is really just a hollowed-out book. It's a secret hiding spot disguised to look like every other book on the shelf. I don't know why I thought my partner-in-crime needed one. I figured that he liked books and, while I've never proven it, I think he might also like hiding things. Besides all that, it sounded like a challenge.
I'll admit right now that I was kind of making things up as I went along. If I'd taken the time to do some research, I probably could have found some shortcuts, but instead, I just plowed right into it.
I started with a copy of The Discourses by Epictetus. I didn't choose the text for its significance--it's not that I'm a big fan of Stoic philosophers. It just happened to be a good-looking book. It was also on its way into the dustbin, which made it easier for me to take the difficult next step.
Before I go any further, I should say that I cannot stand a person who abuses a book. Highlighted college textbooks, dog-eared pages, and books left face down on a coffee table all rank high on my list of offenses. So I'm still a little ashamed to point out that in order to turn a book into a book safe, I had to cut a hole in the book.
To do this, I used my handy little Exacto knife with a #11 blade, a self-healing cutting mat, and a piece of cardboard that I cut into a template. I put the template on top of page one, put the mat underneath page one, and then used the knife to cut around the inside of the template. The end result was a rectangle-shaped hole in the middle of the page.
I repeated this process another one hundred and thirty times. Okay, not really. But almost. My knife was plenty sharp, but the pages of the book were pretty old and were inclined to tear when I tried to cut too many of them at once. In the end, I resigned myself to cutting one page at a time. It wasn't as bad as it might sound. The only challenging part was lining up the template every time. Once I got into a rhythm, though, the whole thing was kind of calm and meditative. Except for the times that the cat jumped up onto my worktable and started batting the knife around.
It came out pretty well, and my man seemed pleasantly surprised by the gift. I'm don't know what he's going to put inside it, but I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to look.
If you're too lazy to make your own book safe, or you'd like something that looks a little more polished, you have plenty of options on Etsy. This one, for instance, really puts my little project to shame. Still, there's something about doing it yourself that turns a good gift into a great one. If you're as enamored with the book safe idea as I was, I hope you'll consider giving this a try.
P.S.- I'd like to thank Peggy Sturdivant for featuring our upcoming Salvage Bride workshop in the current edition of The Ballard News-Tribune. It was great talking with you, Peggy. Best wishes for all your wedding planning!