All this week, ManMade is excited to be teaming up with America's Test Kitchen to share lots of cool, DIY food crafts and ideas, any which would make an excellent weekend project or a great handmade holiday gift for your family and friends.
I'm not advocating for spiking your morning coffee every weekday, but if you have a bottle
My friend Ez is straight fantastic. Her site, Creature Comforts, is among the best of the girl-y lifestyle/craft/food/beautiful photography/things the internet was made for blogs out there. And, it turns out, her fantastic taste can be applied to manly things too.
There's not much help out there for poor souls seeking advice for Father's Day gifts. Stores and advertisers haven't really gotten over the golf and/or grilling card, the necktie, the crummy multi-tool set, or the everpresent aftershave.
Your dad does not want these for Father's Day. I promise.
Unless your seven years old, and presenting a gift to that classmate you have a crush on, you not gonna get away with a generic box o' candy this year. (If you are seven years old and giving candy to a crush, you're a total stud, and thanks for reading ManMade).
But playing with the classic treat and getting a personalized message with a handmade custom set of conversation hearts? It can get no better.
It's full on February, which means it's time for Nerd Valentine, the best curated V-Day site on the internet.
Over the next week, every blog and their brother will post a roundup of Valentine's Day gift ideas, and they'll likely not include a single thing you'd be proud enough to give, or interested in recieving, or buying for yourself cause that's what you do on Valentine's Day, cause why should only the partnered people get to have all the fun.
I don't care how old you get...you're never too old for a Nerf gun. Or a squirt gun, but that's different post.
The appeal, of course, is not that it's a gun, where you can work out aggression or make a statement on the person you're shooting, but that it's simply a way to engage your friends or family from across the room. It's like tossing a ball at them, or throwing a grape high in the air for them to catch in their mouth.
And when you're older, then you can do all kinds of fun stuff with 'em, like make this crazy beast.
This is the year I vowed to buy no gift wrap, no ribbon, and no tape, and promised myself I'd use up the scraps from previous years, and make the rest.
I ran out of tape yesterday, but have kept my promise so far, though I'm running low. Perhaps I'll hit the closet and check out this fascinating "furoshiki" - a gift wrap satchel.
My friend Brittni maintains an amazing handmade marketplace and blog called papernstitch, and while I regularly appreciate her updates and the amazing artisinal objects, the picks are unabashedly, well, girly.
Except for this week, where Brittni's prepared a great collection of handmade and independently produce gifts for guys.
Last year, my favorite Christmas stocking gift (besides the candy) was a set of stainless steel drinking straws. I'm a committed straw user, and I love that I can simply wash these and use them indefinitely...plus the experience of drinking a cold beverage though a chilled, heavy straw is...I dunno, pleasant.
Many of my straw-hating friends and family even took to them, preferring the experience over the sensation of thin plastic in their mouths, so I looked into buying some more...and they're like $7.00 a piece.
Design überblog Core77 are sharing their holiday shopping recommendations, featuring, not what else?, seventy-seven creative tools and design gifts for makers and artists.
There's nothing like giving somebody something awesome that also helps streamline their life, help them be more productive, or enjoy what they have just a little bit more...and those, friends, are (say it with me) tech gifts!
Of course, most standard issue popular technology - your smartphones, laptops, iPods, Xboxes, etc - are often pricey, and more than you want to spend on the average gift recipient.
Enter this great roundup - thirty tech gifts under $50!
For me, summer is that most creative and productive of seasons. It's a good 10° in my basement workspace, so it's not tough to head down there and start making stuff. Plus, the long days, good light, and warm weather means you can work outside more, paint dries faster, and everything's just a bit more inspiring.
I've gone on record before about my general distrust of gender-based gift guides. I find them to be mostly biased, reinforcing the norms that led me to start ManMade in the first place. But, more importantly, and more offensively, they're unimaginative. Yes, men wear t-shirts and have wallets, and play video games, and tend to like gadgets. We know this. Please take it to the next step.
But this fine Father's Day gift guide from Brittany and Jacob at Wantist avoids all the traps. Its inclusive for all types of guys, and provides unique, solid stuff, that anyone might want, including dads. Plus, it's beautifully designed and full of care.
Check it out.
While I always advocate making gifts for your loved ones, especially for B-side holidays like Valentine's Day, it's not always the most feasible option: the timing's bad, a lack of original ideas, or perhaps you're DIY skills aren't quite up to snuff.
In those cases, of course it's okay to buy something; just don't head to the card store at the mall.
Instead check out some of these cool card and gift options for guys.
I decided to make all of my Christmas gifts last year. It’s really cool and personal, and, of course, saves money.
The only hole in my plan was my dad. He doesn’t do all of those traditional dad-ish things that you find in gift guides: He doesn’t hunt or fish or watch sports or even wear ties. To make things much harder, he’s an amazing craftsman and the best designer that I know, so I put off making a decision for a long time. (You know, fiddle-dee-dee and all.) One week before Christmas, I sat down to brainstorm. While browsing ManMade, I came across the Hierarchy of Beards. My dad has an awesome beard; I would probably classify it as a kitchen shelf.
I’ve never seen him without it, and I don’t really want to. I decided to pay homage to the greatness of his beard this Christmas, and create a bearded box to store all his goodies.
As much respect as I have for the handmade traditions of the past, old fashioned holiday candies don't do much for me. My family is famous among their friends for their peanut brittle, but I can't stand the stuff.
But these bright blue glittery twisties!? No, this is candy making I can get excited about! And even, better it's made in the microwave, so no fancy thermometers or dropping stuff in water needed.
It's true - it isn't easy to find cool gifts for guys. Roundups and wish lists are generally reduced to practical clothing items (the standard tie), video games and media (which are cool, but expected) or tools and gadgets. And handmade items? Even more difficult.
But, if you know where to look, there are lots of cool items out there, all of which can still show up at your house before Christmas Eve. Tomorrow's free shipping day for plenty of places, so make those decisions quickly!