my best effort : to gift peace of mind

Posted: August 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, calligraphy, design, handmade, paper | 96 Comments »

Last November, I was faced with the challenge of choosing a birthday present for my man. Since he’s been mine for a long time, I’ve tried most of the possible gift categories on him before. What would make him truly happy?

I thought of all the little to-do’s, house annoyances, tasks and errands that pile up and nag him every time they come to mind. I decided to make a list of all those things — and do them. Thereby giving him: Peace Of Mind.

It was a ton of work and tricky to conceal during the weeks and days leading up to his birthday – but the reward was great.

To convey it all, I created a stack of cards in a paper box. The images that follow take you through the entire gift.

Some of the items will mean nothing to you — but you know how it is, that random photo that you keep meaning to frame or that annoying bump in the rug that you see every time you come home.




























96 Comments on “my best effort : to gift peace of mind”

  1. 1 Klaus said at 10:56 am on August 17th, 2009:

    What a great gift! That is so awesome.

  2. 2 Raphael said at 11:20 am on August 17th, 2009:

    Great feelings & great work! I’m deeply impressed.

  3. 3 Radu said at 11:39 am on August 17th, 2009:

    He’d better be greatful for having you :) Great idea. Now I’m gonna go find me a woman to do all this for.

  4. 4 Cate said at 12:47 pm on August 17th, 2009:

    So, so inspired. You really outdid yourself with the Obama part.

  5. 5 plastiQ said at 12:51 pm on August 17th, 2009:

    Please ask your husband if I may marry you…you are awesome. Such a wonderful gift. I gotta send this link to my girlfriend, just in case.


  6. 6 SofaDesign said at 1:33 pm on August 17th, 2009:

    Maybe you guys should do the same for your girlfriend instead of hoping these things are done for you… 😉

  7. 7 liz said at 1:39 pm on August 17th, 2009:

    Really sweet, Bryn.

  8. 8 Myf said at 2:36 pm on August 17th, 2009:

    Now we need to see his sock drawer, I feel.

  9. 9 sunny said at 3:57 pm on August 17th, 2009:

    What a great gift!!!
    What was his reaction?

    Such a good idea. Who doesn’t want peace of mind?!

  10. 10 cleamoi said at 12:24 am on August 18th, 2009:

    such a sweet idea from the heart! like a breath of fresh air. I hope he liked it!

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  12. 12 Henriette said at 4:53 am on August 18th, 2009:

    This is absolutely wonderful. Thank you for this great inspiration!

  13. 13 joanna of simple blueprint said at 9:43 am on August 18th, 2009:

    THis is amazing! i love it!

  14. 14 madge said at 11:42 pm on August 18th, 2009:

    your handwriting is as lovely as your gift!

  15. 15 Lee said at 2:06 am on August 19th, 2009:

    A truly wonderful collection of gifts and delivered in such a beautiful way!

  16. 16 Jenny & Bernard said at 10:34 pm on August 19th, 2009:

    We LOVE this, Bryn. You are so sweet and so clever, and best of all, you’ve inspired us … in fact, Bernard is online now ordering that dimmer for the light over our kitchen table!

  17. 17 Jeshicurr said at 11:45 am on August 20th, 2009:

    Absolutely brilliant. I bet giving this gift felt just as good as receiving it.

    Solid Gold.

  18. 18 Matthew said at 2:36 pm on August 20th, 2009:

    cutest thing ever!

  19. 19 Kyleigh said at 9:22 am on August 21st, 2009:

    AWESOME… absolutely love it!

  20. 20 Happy Weekend! | said at 10:48 am on August 21st, 2009:

    […] The gift of peace of mind. […]

  21. 21 NineThirtyThree » Blog Archive » KGOR’s Weekly Round UP said at 8:35 pm on August 21st, 2009:

    […] Perhaps the most creative present for a loved one that I have ever come across…absolutely brilliant. […]

  22. 22 Saint Luc said at 3:47 am on August 22nd, 2009:

    You rock !!!

    It’s so cute, so creative and so dainty…

  23. 23 Alessandra said at 7:44 pm on August 23rd, 2009:

    Bryn. Will you marry me?

  24. 24 Natalie said at 11:21 pm on August 23rd, 2009:

    Ahh what an amazing idea!!! I would absolutely love to receive this kind of thing, and it would be so much fun to give. Cute illustrations and great idea!

  25. 25 Erin said at 3:00 pm on August 25th, 2009:

    so incredibly awesome – and a ton of work – both the cards and the life organizing. But what great motivation. I’m in awe :)

  26. 26 davy » Blog Archive » Turning point said at 5:13 pm on August 25th, 2009:

    […] need to change. Niemand die me peace of mind als geschenk geeft […]

  27. 27 Alice Marshall said at 6:13 pm on September 3rd, 2009:

    I am in love. Going home to sort my socks.

  28. 28 sandraraven15 said at 8:35 am on September 9th, 2009:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

  29. 29 Myriam said at 4:10 pm on September 17th, 2009:

    Incredible!! Inspiring…

  30. 30 pootpoot1999 said at 4:35 pm on September 17th, 2009:

    Glad you shared this. I’ve done the “coupon present” before, but this is more proactive, creative, and caring.

  31. 31 scotti said at 5:49 pm on September 17th, 2009:

    Whoever the person is that the gift is for: sure needs a LOT of stuff for peace of mind.

    High maintenance.

  32. 32 spaceface said at 10:36 pm on September 17th, 2009:

    Very sweet.. but I have to ask.. What’s with the Obama thing?

  33. 33 Troy said at 12:38 am on September 18th, 2009:

    Man… all that great stuff and you go and ruin it by giving him the most inexperienced person possible as the leader of the free world. That negates all the goodness you had done up to that point. Too bad. -1000 points for you.

  34. 34 c said at 6:54 am on September 18th, 2009:

    One thought – where WAS he while you were doing all these things? Was he sat there watching you doing them (and therefore it would hardly have been a surprise to see them written down) or did you give him the pressie before he got home and saw the jobs done? I need to know these things for MY peace of mind!

  35. 35 randle said at 11:27 am on September 18th, 2009:

    was good until the obama thing, what do you think hes the messiah? no, hes the ACORN poster child that has no experience in what hes doing, freaking dumbasses, and i suppose someone will call me racist for these comments too huh?

  36. 36 STail said at 1:48 am on September 19th, 2009:

    Wow. Divorce plz?

    Oh, and randle, you’re a racist.

  37. 37 steelfrog said at 11:38 pm on September 19th, 2009:

    I can die a happy man if I can find a woman who’ll do this for me. 😉

  38. 38 Milena said at 2:25 pm on September 22nd, 2009:

    That has to be about the best gift ever!

  39. 39 Daniel said at 5:17 pm on September 22nd, 2009:

    truly amazing =)
    Pretty much the best gift ever

  40. 40 bef said at 8:09 pm on September 22nd, 2009:


    Obviously he thinks having Obama in office is better than the previous eight years of Constitution-burning, Bill of Rights-destroying, human-torturing, neo-con fascist fundies. This is about his perspective on Obama being in office. Not yours, or mine.

    Oh, and you’re a racist.

  41. 41 Sean said at 2:47 am on September 23rd, 2009:


    Obama! Yay!

  42. 42 Matt said at 9:34 pm on September 23rd, 2009:

    Stumbled on your post. That’s a hell of a lot of work. I hope he appreciates it.

    But I do have one question: why would you hang a table lamp from the ceiling?

  43. 43 obama spooge said at 1:52 am on September 24th, 2009:

    I hate obama and i’m black… does that make me racist too???

  44. 44 Katie said at 5:45 am on September 24th, 2009:

    Awesome gift. Also, I love the Obama listed under peace of mind. I totally agree.

  45. 45 Juan said at 3:10 pm on September 24th, 2009:


    Your idol worship will come to bite you in the ass. Bunch of idiotic sheep.

    The gift was a cool idea though.

  46. 46 Pablo said at 6:31 am on September 25th, 2009:

    Stumbled this, freakin adorable! 😀

    And Troy, randle, Juan, you’re all racists.

    “obama spooge”, you’re a self-hating african american (and i’m only doubtful on the latter description).

  47. 47 dras said at 12:13 am on September 27th, 2009:

    ok… amazing gift… hopefully he does help around the house… if my husband were to just sit around or just wait for things to be done… well, he would not be my husband any more…
    and obama… yes!! peace of mind!! i had nightmares everytime the former president would address the nation or just opened his mouth… anyway… not a political blog… but if everyone was to find time to do something like this for a loved one… the world would be a better place!!!

  48. 48 paper tastebuds » Blog Archive » peace of mind : the faq said at 7:01 am on September 30th, 2009:

    […] was thrilling to see the response from my earlier post about the gift “peace of mind” that I gave to my man last November. Thank you to […]

  49. 49 marchino said at 4:09 am on October 1st, 2009:

    wonderful set, I’ll take inspiration for my wife’s birthday gift (on 28 october)

  50. 50 eva truffaut said at 4:34 am on October 1st, 2009:

    such a beautiful and inspiring gift
    obviously the most generous one
    so lovely i allowed myself to quote it on one of my blogs (of course, i linked it to yours)
    congratulations and thanks

  51. 51 Chris said at 1:59 pm on October 2nd, 2009:

    Sounds like a list of things people in a relationship should be doing for each other anyway. What a gyp.

  52. 52 lol said at 2:47 pm on October 4th, 2009:

    Obama is peace of mind? I lol’d

  53. 53 Ed said at 9:53 pm on October 6th, 2009:

    Obama? This gift must have been given before the election, when there was still hope, and change was still anticipated.

  54. 54 Korinthian said at 7:52 am on October 7th, 2009:

    …or you could have just stopped nagging.

  55. 55 jsfryjtmkkdgh said at 4:24 pm on October 12th, 2009:

    WTF?! obama!? this was so good until that! gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! you ruined it! >:O

  56. 56 Rachael, Pistachio Press said at 11:08 pm on October 13th, 2009:

    This is just the most amazing gift ever! I have a list that seems to be a mile long that nags at me and my husband. I would love to have time to do this for him, or better yet, that he would do it for me :)

    I’m surprised by all of the negative Obama comments on such a heartfelt post, especially since I’m sure your husband was happy to see Obama on the list. I guess the anonymity of the internet will always bring out the pessimism in people.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!

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  59. 59 love said at 2:02 am on October 16th, 2009:

    really amazing. Thank you very much. I wish you peace and respect.

    just let love be

  60. 60 eekageek said at 4:00 am on October 21st, 2009:

    I love the “obama” one 😀

    But really, I loved everything. This was an amazingly thought through gift! And all the cards were absolutely beautiful. So simple, yet so well designed.

  61. 61 Dennis said at 2:47 pm on October 28th, 2009:

    just gave me a goosebump. Thanks so much. My girlfriend doesnt cook, clean or help with anything at all at the moment -.- what the hell.
    Such a beautiful Idea

  62. 62 Beth said at 9:11 pm on November 2nd, 2009:

    What an inspired, thoughtful gift! Phoebe told me about it and I had to check it out. Now I keep thinking about my bags of saved clippings that I really should tackle… It would be a gift to Bill and me both if I would get around to it.

    So aptly named: peace of mind.

  63. 63 Cora said at 2:22 am on November 14th, 2009:

    Brilliant idea – excellent execution!
    I’ve been married for nearly 3 decades and have always struggled to find the perfect gift for my non-materialistic husband. Removing a dozen daily annoyances and unfinished tasks is a gift that keeps on giving and one a man can really appreciate. I’m on it!

  64. 64 Phil Campbell said at 9:02 am on November 25th, 2009:

    you have inspired me to do something similar but on a different scale! – thank you. i’ll make sure you get indirect credit for it! :)

  65. 65 Doughboy said at 9:11 am on December 14th, 2009:

    While a sweet gesture, if my girlfriend or wife did something like this, especially the reorganization, I would probably freak.
    Bottom line is that if it was discussed prior to the act, or if a pattern of being my being annoyed at something was present, then it would be appreciated to no end whatsoever and would probably result in a wonderful romantic dinner and gifts galore. But if those were not true, there would definitely be tension. So ladies, be wary and careful.

  66. 66 Cari said at 8:13 pm on December 22nd, 2009:

    To the Nay-Sayers: It doesn’t matter what YOU think, the only thing that matters is what the person who receives the gift thinks. Obviously, these are important things to him.

    Bryn: Excellent idea. Finding such a personal gift is always a wonderful thing!

  67. 67 bryn said at 2:52 pm on December 23rd, 2009:

    Cari, thanks so much for the support! I totally agree. :)

  68. 68 Jerome said at 3:59 am on December 23rd, 2009:

    So lovely !
    What a wonderful idea !
    I m jealous of your man ! :)
    Congrats !!!

  69. 69 Philip said at 10:33 pm on December 23rd, 2009:

    Brilliance I plan on doing this exact same thing someday. Brilliance

  70. 70 Photoshop said at 6:53 am on January 12th, 2010:

    Thanks for it. Its great.

  71. 71 Syed Shabbir said at 9:43 am on January 22nd, 2010:

    It is very special gift for who love one….

  72. 72 Tess@WeddingThemes said at 4:25 pm on January 25th, 2010:

    Seriously Awesome! I have a very hard time finding things for my hubby as we too have been together a long time!
    thanks for sharing! what a FABULOUS idea!!!!
    Tess :)

  73. 73 Abdurrehman said at 5:07 am on May 10th, 2010:

    Simply Brilliant, … Awesome …

  74. 74 Frank said at 9:26 pm on May 10th, 2010:

    It was all good right up to the end. Obama?

  75. 75 Whose present? said at 12:35 pm on May 23rd, 2010:

    Hoovering, moving random pictures, organising mail, moving a rug, moving some plants, new light switch, sharpened knifes…

    It’s a lot of effort, but who is most happy about it all being one? Whose present was this?

    This next comment is just sexist (and possibly the last one), but I imagine most of this stuff to be the sort of non-problem stuff that really pisses women off and that men live with.

    I wouldn’t say this if the internet didn’t anonimify me. What a coward.

    It’s still cute though. And I wouldn’t complain if all this stuff was done, if only so the missus stopped nagging me to do it.

  76. 76 Kendal said at 12:53 pm on May 23rd, 2010:

    Can people get off the Obama bit? That is their personal opinions. Who cares. The point of this post was the sweet gesture she made by going through the time and energy to prepare this gift for him and to inspire other people to do the same. It is their bit if they like Obama and she feels that gives him peace of mind. Everyone’s gift, if made by their significant other would be DIFFERENT. Get over it.

    Beautiful gift idea, very sweet. :)

  77. 77 Lettersalad said at 1:45 pm on May 23rd, 2010:

    …just tell me, how long has he been away??????

    in awe!

  78. 78 Geoff said at 4:20 am on May 24th, 2010:

    Or the other way to read it is that you finally worked out that you can do these things yourself and now expect credit for not nagging him anymore. And he doesn’t get a birthday present. Seriously, if you know things need to be done just do them, what’s with all the nagging? If your partner isn’t doing his fair share talk to him about it. Nagging just sounds whiney and pretty much always creates negative tension.

  79. 79 shane said at 2:20 am on May 29th, 2010:

    the best part has got to be Obama at the end

  80. 80 Bill in Detroit said at 12:55 am on July 13th, 2010:

    My wife and I do not exchange birthday (or other holiday) gifts, but if I were to come home and find a similar list, I know one thing for certain … she wouldn’t be cooking that night and she wouldn’t be sleeping in her own bed, either.

    Actually, if she’d just be the one to clean out the refrigerator once in a while, I’d be pretty happy.

  81. 81 chuck said at 7:28 am on July 14th, 2010:

    The age people stop making a big deal about your birthday: 11

    And I agree with Geoff above….

    One thing…,Cleaning the fridge part…..You keep your fridge in the kitchen, right? Then it’s your job to clean it to begin with….

    Now get in the kitchen and make him a sandwich….

    Haha..just kidding…great gift.

  82. 82 Brittney said at 4:29 pm on July 16th, 2010:

    That’s so cute. :)
    Except for the Obama part. Boo. 😛
    He sucks as a President.

  83. 83 Jennifer said at 4:59 pm on July 17th, 2010:

    I just love this!!!

    It’s a gift that will make anyone sooo happy and feeling loved!

  84. 84 jessmarie said at 2:23 am on July 24th, 2010:

    are you kicking yourself in the ass for the Obama part yet?

    Otherwise it’s a great heartfelt idea.

  85. 85 Katherine said at 12:59 am on September 24th, 2010:

    Beautiful presentation; wonderfully done. Love the Obama part…you are good people.

  86. 86 wedding invitation kits said at 8:43 pm on October 3rd, 2010:

    Keeping my personal political opinion out of it, this was a beautiful presentation. Well done.

  87. 87 epiq said at 9:46 pm on October 5th, 2010:

    I liked it until the obama part. Why did you have to go and do that? I’d rather have a spouse with a brain than one that knows to to perform household duties. Good work anyways though.

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  89. 89 ashbaid said at 8:07 pm on January 24th, 2011:

    all this shows – you truly possess-
    a)- a clean heart !
    b)-a clean mind !
    c)-a clean attitude!
    your man’s a winner to have you by his side.
    must congratulate you too-
    shud i say bryn- a clean sweep mate’

  90. 90 Electricians Minnesota said at 5:53 pm on January 27th, 2011:

    Youre so amazing, man! I cant think I missed this blog for so long. Its just great stuff all round. Your design, man…too incredible! I cant wait to study what youve acquired next. I adore everything that youre saying and want more, more, Much more! Keep this up, man! Its just too great.

  91. 91 SinNombre said at 7:36 pm on February 4th, 2011:

    Obama ruined it

  92. 92 Thomas said at 8:31 pm on February 10th, 2011:

    A PS3 would have been better.

  93. 93 Alex said at 3:31 pm on December 7th, 2011:

    tbh, a burger would’ve done better.

  94. 94 Inexpensive Christmas Gifts for Husband {Marriage on Mondays} said at 9:47 am on December 3rd, 2012:

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  96. 96 Sue Keffalos said at 4:09 pm on July 15th, 2015:

    I am starting a business teaching mindfulness. I am planning on calling it Peace of Mind. Do you mind if I use your lettering as my emblem? It is simple yet beautiful.

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