I love the challenge of making things with nothing more than a picture in my head. The way this particular gift came to be was pretty awesome. It was a family effort. First, I asked Deus Ex Machina to cut some pieces of wood for me. We had some discussions about the size of the pieces, and finally settled on some small birch rounds.
Then, we had some more discussions about how to decorate the game pieces. Deus Ex Machina researched "toy" appropriate paints and stains, and we ended up with pre-mixed tempura paint. We decided the painted sides would be a checkers game and the other side would be a memory game. The girls hand drew pictures - two of each picture.
My task was to create a game board/carrying case. I decided I wanted to make it out of cloth. Using material I had on hand - scraps for the checkerboard and a piece of recipient appropriate cloth for the back, pocket and handles - I cut and designed and sewed all at the same time.
It's not perfect, and my grandmother's friends would have thrown me out of the quilting Bee, but it was a lot of fun to make.
I sincerely hope the person who gets this gift enjoys it as much as I enjoyed creating it.