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How to Wrap a Gift For a Legend: For Natalie Cole’s 60th Birthday, the Box is the Gift!

How to Wrap a Gift For a Legend: For Natalie Cole’s 60th Birthday, the Box is the Gift!


“Natalie Cole.”  The name is as synonymous with class, sophistication and good taste, which only made it harder to think of what I could possibly get the legendary entertainer and a close friend, on the occasion of her 60th birthday, last February.  Mind you, I began pondering this challenge sometime in late 2009.  My first thought—and the easiest solution—was to throw money at the question, which is what most people would do, except I didn’t have any money, so that wasn’t an option.  More affordable ideas, liking sending her flowers, or buying her a bottle of her favorite fragrance, just seemed rather impersonal, especially for a milestone birthday.

natalie cole birthday

It was then that I remembered the “Liza Box,” a crazy decoupaged collage that I had made about ten years ago when I was unemployed and had way too much time on my hands.  Basically I just artfully curated and glued hundreds of pictures of Liza Minnelli to an inexpensive wooden box.  It took several months but the results were pretty cool.  I decided to do the same thing and started sifting through thousands of images on the internet.  Ritchie had bought me a very fancy photo printer the year before so for the cost of photo paper I was able to procure a first-class collection of images.  And Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what you can find on the internet nowadays.


Liza Minnelli gift
The Li’l Box O’Minnelli, completely restored in 2013

Natalie had her first major hit in 1975, and thirty-five years in the public eye provided me with a vast array of images. Album covers, ticket stubs, magazine covers, back-stage passes, screen captures from music videos, pictures I took in the studio and on and on. Because of her lineage, I was even able to find images dating back to her childhood.  The problem was, I bought a very large box and the work was labor intensive.  I made a decision to give the gift to her late, but perfect.

celebrity gift


Side view
Side view
Natalie Cole career
The finished box, inside view


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    September 9, 2012 at 3:57 am

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