Gift-giving is an essential part of Korean culture. Business associates exchange gifts as a sign of respect for one another, house guests offer gifts to express their gratitude, and friends buy each other small presents as tokens of appreciation. A gift tells the receiver that they are valued, and allows them to feel supported and cared for. Big or small, gifts bind people together and help forge lasting relationships based on reciprocal kindness.
In this article, we will learn how to make some gifts inspired by our favourite k-dramas, as well as reflecting on their meaning both within the stories they represent and beyond. A gift, especially a hand-made one, always speaks of affection, but what makes these DIYs extra special is the fact that behind the careful preparation and appealing presentation lies the desire to make a loved one’s life just a little bit brighter. Who wouldn’t treasure that?
So, without further ado, let’s get started:
Memory wall – I Hear Your Voice (너의목소리가들려)
Park Soo-Ha has had a crush on Jang Hye-Sung since he was a little boy. But Jang Hye-Soon, who is several years Soo-Ha’s senior and a lawyer in desperate search of success, feels reluctant to encourage the boy’s feelings. When Soo-Ha loses his memory, however, Hye-Soon cannot help feeling concerned. Still struggling with her own feelings, she writes a series of sticky notes to help Soo-Ha get his life back on track. A simple gesture, but one that creates an unbreakable bond.
“아르바이트 알아올젓!!!” (Get a part-time job!!!)
What you’ll need:
- Sticky notes
- Blank wall/surface or A3 piece of card
- Sellotape, washi tape(s) or white tack
- Jot down a list of things that you feel your loved one needs to be reminded of. These could be related to a specific project (for example, the different steps they’ll need to complete to write a school assignment), or they could be general reminders about life and how to take care of themselves (such as drinking plenty of water, exercising, meditating, etc,).
- Pick a spot for your installation. This could be the door, a fridge, a blank stretch of wall, or a desk. Any smooth and straight surface will do, but make sure you won’t be causing any inconvenience with your choice (i.e. it is not advisable to use adhesive on the walls of rented properties).
- If you can’t find an appropriate surface, you can use a large (A3) piece of card to stick your notes onto.
- Write each item on your list on a different sticky note, being careful to keep your handwriting legible.
- Roughly arrange the sticky notes onto your chosen surface. Do not press them down just yet as this will allow you to change your layout and re-arrange the order if needed. Symmetrical layouts usually work well, but your could arrange the sticky notes to create a specific shape or even to form a word. Be creative.
- Now, secure the sticky notes in their place. you may want to add some sellotape, washi tape or white tack to give the installation extra adhesion.
Smiling onion – She Was Pretty (그녀는예뻤다)
Kim Hye-Jin is suffering from a cold. While everyone at the office tries to keep their distance, someone secretly places an onion on her desk, leaving no explanation. Perplexed by the unusual gift, Hye-Jin cannot figure out what to make of it. That is, until she spots on Ji Sung-Joon’s screen an open webpage detailing the medical uses of onions. Might it be that her aloof, sometimes rude boss is in fact beginning to show signs of affection toward her? As the characters become closer, their feelings for each other are exposed, and the onion becomes a symbol of the tenderness, warmth, and care that make their relationship stronger.
“When you contract a cold, keeping an onion nearby supposedly weakens the virus.”
What you’ll need:
- A large white onion
- Permanent marker
- Glass cup
- Pick a glass cup. It should be transparent so that the light can get through the glass and hit the roots that will sprout from the bottom of the onion.
- Now, pick an onion. It should be as symmetrical as possible and should be wide enough to sit steadily on the rim of the glass without falling in. This is very important as the onion should not be covered in water.
- Fill the glass with water so that the bottom of the onion (where the roots sprout) just about touches the surface of the water. Be careful not to immerse the onion in water as this will cause it to rot.
- Once you’ve positioned your onion onto the glass, draw a smiley face on one side of the onion with a permanent marker. Now, you’re all set with a smiling cold remedy.
Recipe book – My First First Love (첫사랑은처음이라서)
Han Song-I and Yun Tae-O have been friends since they were little. They grew up together and supported each other through thick and thin. But recently, their feelings for each other have started to change, though neither of them seems quite ready to admit it. Then, while rummaging through Tae-O’s attic, Song-I finds a notebook with recipes she had handwritten for him, prompting her to re-evaluate her feelings and to understand how much she cares for him.
“Home-cooked meals for Tae-O! A nutritious and low-sodium diet!”
What you’ll need:
- New notebook
- Some printed recipe pictures
- Glue stick
- Some coloured pens or pencils
- Washi tape(s)
- Select the recipes you’d like to write down. You don’t have to fill the whole notebook (you can leave space for new recipes to be added), but it would be good to have at least 10 recipes to begin with. You can work around a specific theme or split the recipes into different categories, focus on a particular ingredient or make it as varied as possible. It’s completely up to you.
- Make sure you have tested the recipes yourself and are happy with the results. You can take a few snaps of your own dishes or find photographs on the web. Print these out to stick into your notebook.
- Begin with placing the printed photographs on the page. This way, you’ll know that you have enough space for visuals, and you can arrange the written recipe around them.
- Pencil the ingredients and instructions onto the page. This way, you can make sure you have a layout you are happy with, and you can make changes before you write the final version.
- Once you’re happy with the look of your recipe, rewrite the text, this time using a pen. Wait a couple of minutes and then erase the pencil marks with a rubber.
- Now, it’s time to decorate your recipe! You can use washi tape, stickers or even doodles to give character to your page and personalise your gift. Repeat steps 2-6 for all of your recipes.
Featured Image Source: ©Memory wall, Francesca Vavotici, 24.08.2019, inspiremekorea.com
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