I had a small chunk of wood that had really nice grain pattern. A friend of mine asked for Christmas that I make her a pendent of some kind from said piece of wood. After thinking about it a bit I decided to make a Hei Matau symbol.
I jigsawed the basic shape and drilled the necklace hole, and then set about sanding. Grit by grit getting finer and finer till I got it nice and smooth. I sprayed on a semi-gloss lacquer, but the finish didn't quite look right. I used steel wool on it to bring back the grain and re-lacquered. I did this several times till it finally looked right. To finish it, I took two different colored jute cords and round braided them together (to nice effect).
I know I've done good work when I have the hardest time parting with something. I kept this in my pocket for 3 weeks as a "worry stone" till I finally had to wrap it and put it under the tree.