Rock Hudson and Me

January 26, 2012

by Margaret Cabaniss

I get a little excited about gift-giving (in case you hadn’t guessed) — particularly when I feel like I’ve stumbled on a Really Great Idea. And that killer print up there? My best idea of 2012. (Well, so far.)

It…probably makes no sense unless you’re the intended recipient, I know. I could try explaining it, but I imagine something would get lost in translation. The short version: It’s a silly joke we have about the movie Magnificent Obsession, wherein Rock Hudson goes from drunk playboy to world-renowned brain surgeon who saves lives and wins the girl. Clearly, Rock Hudson Gets Things Done. (Seriously, how could you not, with that perfect hair?)

…ok, still makes no sense. But that’s the beauty of a gift like this: My friend, who is currently slogging through a tough stretch in grad school, will know exactly what it means — and hopefully will smile and feel inspired to keep up the hard work every time he sees it. (Not to mention that I’m pretty sure he’ll be the only person in the world who has this particular sentiment hanging on his wall, and exclusivity is always fun.)

For me, the beauty of this gift was in seeing it come together — from silly idea to awesome product. That’s where Sara Harding’s A Vintage Poster came in. I first stumbled across Sara’s fantastic work on Young House Love, where John Petersik had a custom poster designed for his wife, Sherry, as a Christmas present. I loved the thought of making something one-of-a-kind like that, so I shot Sara an e-mail with my random idea: Could she make me a print of an obscure phrase and somehow work Rock Hudson’s hair into it, maybe?

To Sara’s great credit, she took the request in stride, and the next thing I knew, I had six gorgeous proofs in my inbox to choose from — but she nailed it on her first try. I love the manly, Western-inspired fonts she chose — and, of course, that silhouette of The Hair. It was perfect. Soon after that, I got my print in the mail, and the packaging was almost as much fun as the contents. I want to cut out that custom mailing label and hang it on my wall:

Sara is a college student working on a BFA in graphic design; she started A Vintage Poster on a whim as a way to earn a little extra money while finishing her degree. It’s grown by leaps and bounds since then — and it’s not hard to see why. I love her attention to detail and her simple, cheerful designs (and the fact that they’re so dang affordable doesn’t hurt, either). A lot of her prints strike me as particularly SlowMama-appropriate, too — like these:

I loved being able to support her great business and get such a perfect, personalized gift in the process. I highly recommend checking out the rest of her great designs at her site — or contacting her directly if you, too, have an obscure quote that you want memorialized for all time. Then again, if you’d rather, you could check back in here tomorrow for a fun announcement…but more about that later.

I can’t wait to give this guy away. What’s the most random present idea you’ve ever pulled off?

Images: Margaret Cabaniss. Full disclosure: I was not paid in Rock Hudson prints to say any of this; I just like Sara’s work and thought SlowMama readers would, too.

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1 Alissa January 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I do love it. You are right- that packaging is fantastic. I am such a sucker for packaging.


2 John January 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

Given that Rock Hudson was gay, his performance in Magnificent Obsession was not the first thing that came to mind when I saw that poster. Perhaps “Do It Like Bob Merrick” would have bypassed that point of confusion.


3 Jen January 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Awesome. Another completely original, knock-it-out-of-the-park gift! (I still want to try those homemade canvas prints!) He’s going to love it.


4 Jamie January 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I am obsessed with Rock Hudson! Pillow Talk…if you haven’t seen it, you must. So fun! Plus, Doris Day is in it!

I think it is slightly metaphorical for his life- yep, I’m getting deep.


Margaret Cabaniss 5 Margaret Cabaniss January 30, 2012 at 10:50 am

Jamie, I love Pillow Talk! That’s the quintessential Rock Hudson role to me — and probably why I think of him as “Rock Hudson” in every movie, and not whatever character he happens to be playing (which may explain John’s confusion above!).


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