The first mixed-medium collage I made inside a shadow box was a custom birthday gift that featured a pineapple. When that fruity-goodness was delivered, I was commissioned to make another -- word of mouth at its finest. The second piece would be a Christmas gift featuring a parachuter.
"Sometime ago, I heard a story of this military young man from the war who was assigned to this soldier who [flew] airplanes during WWII. His life was saved when he had to jump from his airplane during an air raid and his parachute saved him. So years later, he found this young man and personally thanked him for packing his parachute all those times and saving his life. I told my husband this story and told him that’s how I felt about him after 25 years of marriage, and I wanted to thank him for always packing my parachute. My husband is not a very emotional man and this brought tears to his eyes. I was so moved by that that I decided that one day I was going to do some sort of art and frame it as a gift to him."
After approving the digital mock-up on the left, the client asked to add a couple more details: she and her husband's initials and their wedding date. Absolutely.
It only took one Google search to track down the story that moved my client; it's this story from Captain J. Charles Plumb.