I've been trying to up my host game lately, especially in the drinks department. Solid glassware, proper bar tools, and better presentation go a long way towards concocting a quality experience. That's why I was excited to come up with a great gift project for those that want to ditch the cheap plastic in their classy mixed drinks. These simple straws are hefty enough to really stand out as a stocking stuffer, or on their own as a solid holiday gift.
This is the week. This is when we get to take a break, surround ourselves with friends and family, and eat plenty of great food. There really isn't much about this season I don't look forward to, and that's partly because I've learned to take a few steps to make sure it's a time we'll file away as a great memory for years to come.
At this point in the season, the big gifts have already been decided. And if you're on your game, they're boxed, wrapped, and under the tree. But this week is all about the little bits: the practical things, the accessories, and the stocking stuffers. If you or someone on your list is a maker, DIYer, woodworker, tinkerer, or just a general creative type who likes to build and fix things, here's our list of quality stocking stuffers that are just as good as whatever's in that huge box with the bow on it.
I have gone on record, in this publication and elsewhere, about why the hot toddy is the perfect cocktail to be sipping in December. It's warm. It's spiced. And at least according to folk wisdom, it's good for your health, and can help to heal a nasty wintertime sore throat. But, to be honest, until last Tuesday evening, I didn't actually like a hot toddy.
They were fine, but not delicious, and not really an improvement over a simple glass of neat whiskey. (You could make a hot toddy with rum, brandy, or tequila, but why would you?)
Hot toddys (toddies?) always disappointed: never quite hot enough to truly enjoy, and somewhat ... harsh. There was something I never liked about adding acidic lemon juice to a healthy glug of bourbon, then heating the whole thing up. It seemed to bring out all the rough, grain-y flavors, and hide the tastier warm and spicy barrel-aged notes that make whiskey, well, whiskey.
Giving gifts? It's the best, right? Not cheap plastic things, and certainly not gift cards. But thoughtful custom - and most of the time handmade gifts - that I know someone will enjoy for years to come. Take a look at our list of 50 gifts for men here, and gifts for women here.
Of course, the gift has to be wrapped in something special as well. So, why would I want to use lame paper gift tags from the discount store after all that work? Here is a simple project to make some name tags that are as thoughtful as the gift.
If you're on the hunt for last-minute DIY gift ideas - it's definitely not too late to take a whack at these gorgeous wooden rings. They look great and the good news is you can make them without the need for a lathe, drill press or bandsaw!
There are lots of ways to give gifts for the holidays. You can give in a way that simply checks a person off the list; acknowledges that it's expected and therefore here's your Amazon giftcard... (Not recommended.) You can can give gifts that are elaborate, expensive, and make everything that also helped create that pile or wrapping paper look negligible. (Also not recommended.) Or you can source something that person didn't know existed, and legitimately surprise them. (Solid.) You could give them something you know they want, but wouldn't spend the money on for themselves. (Nice one.) Or, for many a practical-minded recipient, you can
Everyone loves pizza and brick oven pizza is about as good as it gets. The whole point of the brick oven is to bake pizzas between 800 and 1000 degrees giving you that crispy layer of thin char over an airy breaded crust. Much better than the paltry results you can get with a conventional oven that only runs about half that heat.
It's well known that what you focus on grows. That's why it's so important to keep the things that inspire us most close at hand. I have a few favorite words that I scatter throughout my office, journals, and walls, but this centralized space is perfect to keep that daily inspiration right where you need it.
I've recently been doing a bunch of woodworking and lamp-making for Luke Hobbs Design here in Los Angeles, so it wasn't long before I found myself looking at what else is out there in the DIY lighting universe. Instructables user darbinovar didn't seem to have too much of a plan when she started in on this industrial-looking copper and leather lamp, but the final result really is beautiful.
The best part of investing in quality leather goods is how well they age. But how your leather ages really depends on how well you treat it. Treat them poorly and they’ll fall apart, but if you’re sure to take care of them and give them a quick clean up about every 6 months, not only will they age beautifully, they’ll also last you a life time.
But before we jump in and talk about the right way to care for your leather goods, it’s important to know a few basic things about leather.
This post was sponsored by KILZ, a brand that believes in makers and dream-shop builders everywhere. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ManMade.
A few years ago, if you'd asked me which tool I thought was the most important, I'd probably have punted, wavered a bit, and never decided on a single item. There are too many cool tools, and too many essential ones I use on every project. But if you'd asked me the same question last month, my answer would have been decidedly clear, and much more informed by a different kind of personal experience:
This holiday season, I wanted to give my friends and family a customized gift with some personality. So, using nothing but our own photos and a few crafty tools, I came up with this coaster project which is super fun, super inexpensive, plenty easy, and you can dial it in perfectly for each person on your list - just raid their Instagram or social media accounts!
Let's get to it!
Instructables.com user IDEAforWOOD really earns his title with this unique stainless steel plum wood knife. Plum heartwood is known for its cornucopia of beautiful internal colors and IDEAforWOOD found a way to highlight them all just right by extending the wood grain to cover the majority of the blade in a truly elegant way. Take a look.
Hi ManMakers - I shared this pic of the scrap pile from my current project on Instagram last night, accompanied by this little meditation.