This is what I gave to Ed the last time I saw him: it’s his own one-of-a-kind custom version of Monopoly! It took many months to design and create from scratch, but it was a fun project to work on, and he really liked it. :D
I did all the art and design work myself, and my sister who is a professional book artist built the box and gameboard using my designs. I’m so lucky she agreed to help me! We were both so pleased with how it turned out.
Ed literally said, “I’m so excited!” when I gave it to him, and then we sat down on the floor and looked at all the pieces together. (That middle photo is him telling me I should be designing things for a living, which is just so flattering considering I didn’t even know I could do this stuff until I started doing it for him.)
He went around the board and read all the names of the properties out loud, haha. It was so cute! He was particularly amused by the “Stuart’s Couch” space and called Stuart over to see it. The whole time, he kept going, “This is sick! This is so amazing!” <3
The little backpacks and sofas take the place of houses and hotels in the game. (So, technically you could build a sofa on Stuart’s sofa, which I think is funny.) The backpacks are jewelry charms I ordered from China and painted green with nail polish. And I sculpted each of the sofas from polymer clay and baked them in my oven, which made my house smell funny. The orange and green dice came from a specialty gaming vendor at Dragon*Con this year, and the Simpsons, Hobbit, Shrek, and Pokemon player tokens were all eBay purchases. At first Ed said he would always choose to be Blinky, the three-eyed fish from the Simpsons, but then he discovered the Pikachu token and, like, simultaneously burst into tears and orgasmed, so I figure his face was worth the stress of that eBay bidding war. Fact: A well-placed Pikachu will always make Ed Sheeran cry. ;)
If I could change anything about the game now, it would be to redo the money. When I first designed it, Murray was still part of the tour, Graham and the Sing puppet seemed more relevant, and Kevin hadn’t been hired yet. But Ed was still amused by it, I think. He even called Mark over to show him that he was on the 50. Mark laughed, but then he was like, “Only 50?” Each person has a quote on their bill, and Ed read those out loud too, but he stopped and just sort of giggled when he got to his own and didn’t read that one out loud. I’d probably change it to something about being pregnant with steak. Right now it says, “You don’t even look at me when we make love anymore,” which made me laugh at the time that I put it on there, but now I sort of wonder if he even remembers saying it. He might just think I’m weird.
Ed thought the radio stations instead of train stations was a clever idea, yay. And I was so glad to see that he seemed really entertained by the Chance and Community Chest cards! (In his game, they’re called Plus and Multiply cards. For reasons.) They’re all things that have really happened to him, like doing that icecream eating contest or being one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive. When he read the one about a bottle of Nandos peri-peri sauce shattering in his backpack, he was like, “Do you know that story?!” which I thought was funny because… it would sure be a hell of a coincidence if I put it on one of the cards and didn’t know it… but it was so cute that he asked and then shook his head mournfully like he still has regrets about it to this very day. Oh, Ed. You’re my favorite. :)
Giving this gift to Ed was one of my favorite things I have ever done in my life. He was so happy! I’ve always said my ideal job would be Santa Claus because I love giving people presents, but honestly I don’t think I have ever enjoyed it more than that night. Look at his face! That smile! It makes my heart grow three sizes! It’s probably a good thing I don’t see him more often because I’m sure I’d spoil the boy absolutely rotten if given the opportunity.
Sorry for such a long post. I’ll stop with the pictures now… after this one.