This image really made me smile: a little Bob Cratchit type man, sitting and reading a Valentine’s letter instead of a financial report (or, at least, that’s what I imagine he normally reads). Image found from Clip Art Etc: Valentine’s day.
Finally, I think this is my favourite (and most romantic) idea: a paperweight with a significant location displayed. You could use the place you first met, went on your first date, got married etc.
I used a vintage London map here, but you could always just use an ordnance survey map, or whatever’s easier to lay your hands on.
And just because I particularly like this idea, here’s the side view as well. Graphic for this found on the Graphics Fairy blog: vintage London map.
So, tell me, what would you put inside a paperweight for your Valentine?
When I embarked on the whole homemade Christmas plan last year, the one person I was really worried about making something for was my brother.
I find him hard enough to buy for every single birthday and Christmas as it is. With all of the products available to buy in all of the shops that exist in all of London all of the time, I still struggle to find a present to buy him when the gift-giving seasons roll round.
So how on earth was I going to choose what to make for him, when my options suddenly became limited to something I was actually capable of producing?
I read through hundreds of lists on craft blogs outlining the top homemade presents for men, I scoured Pinterest, I made my eyes square checking endless pages of Google listings and couldn’t come up with a single thing that might appeal to him.
I really dig this mug. It’s funny and oh, as Grazia would say, totally OTM, dahlings (that’s “of the moment” for those who don’t devour women’s weeklies with quite the zest I have for reading celeb gossip and looking at expensive clothes on super-skinny people who haven’t had babies. Unless they’re Miranda Kerr, of course, who has had a baby and is yet still unbelievably skinny. And frequently featured in Grazia).
But, back to the moustache mugs. This was the perfect present for my brother and, even better, looked really easy to make. It didn’t take much brainpower on my part to decide to take it to the next level and create a whole set.
Here’s what I did.
Not much needed for this at all:
Mugs, bought from my local pound shop for £1.25 each. (Is that misleading advertising that they didn’t come in at under a quid???)
Porcelain painter pen. (I bought mine from eBay for £2.75 plus postage costs.)
What to do:
Find some moustache images you like the look of on Google images, or if you’re a bit more arty than I am, just imagine some in your head.
Either print out the image, or draw your own moustache ideas onto paper
Cut them out and position them on the mugs with a small bit of blu-tack
Check you’re happy with the position (you probably want to hold the mug up to your face at this point, to make sure you’ve got the maximum amusement factor when drinking)
Draw round the templates in pencil (this will show up faintly on the mug, but is easily erased if you want to make changes)
Use the porcelain pen to draw the pencil outline and then colour in the inside
Leave it to dry and then repeat as many times as needed to get a good thick colour. (I did mine three times each.)
I also filled each mug in the set with smaller presents.
Two had little toy shop toys (he’s 30 next June, but still loved the racing bug, some exploding caps and a balloon car), one had some bergamot and coconut skin salve that I made following this tutorial, packaged as “Manly skin barrier cream,” and one had a T-shirt printed with a motorbike design (I followed my own tutorial for transferring prints to fabric).
Perfect! A quick, easy and amusing present, that you can customize in hundreds of different ways.
So tell me, what moustaches would you use on your mugs? And what other presents would you fill them with?
I’m thinking this could work well for Valentine’s Day too, with the mugs filled with love hearts, or Herschey’s kisses, or the fabulous Italian equivalent, Baci…
Do post a comment if you’ve been inspired and let me know what you made.
This is going to be my last post about my partner’s birthday, I promise… But, I realised that, though I’ve already posted about the things I made, I haven’t yet said anything about the other 25 presents that made up the box of his 30 presents for his 30th birthday.
Some of these were a bit random but I thought that, with Christmas round the corner, some of the cooking items I bought him might provide inspiration for anyone racking their brains about what to buy the domestic god in their life…
Read on, dear follower, for my selection of the perfect presents for a gastronome.
3. Jamie Oliver recipe tin, which comes with blank recipe cards inside and a pencil, so you can store all your best culinary creations.
4. Brabantia pot scraper (Not, I’m ready and willing to admit, the world’s sexiest present, but my other half is a fanatical cake maker, and sometimes I think it’s really nice to be given a luxury version of a basic utilitarian object that you wouldn’t necessarily buy yourself…)
5. Black and Blum lunch box, this is a fabulous stew pot, with a smaller container underneath perfect for rice or mash or whatever accompanies your steaming hot stew. Also comes with a spork. Don’t you love that word? Spork.
It was an uphill slog at times, but I did manage to finish the birthday scarf on time for my partner’s birthday, hooray. (See my original post, Three secret projects, for the very beginning of this project…) Of course, almost every day I regretted having chosen a moss stitch pattern. A moss stitch pattern, I ask you, from someone who has limited amounts of time and is far from the world’s quickest knitter.
I tried to put in a pattern repeat a day, once the baby was in bed and before Jamie got back from work. This meant I didn’t do anything useful like clean the house, do the washing up, move the baby toys off the floor. Nope, I just sat there, furiously knitting knitting knitting, stuffing the scarf under a sofa cushion to hide it as soon as I heard the door opening.
But as I sewed in the last end yesterday, I knew it had been worthwhile, for this is one beautiful, luxurious, heavenly-detailed scarf.
The Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran is absolutely gorgeous too, so soft and warm. I can’t speak enough praise of the pattern by Monika Steinbauer, it really looks elegant and yet somehow a bit manly too.
I think if I made it again, I would be tempted to lengthen it, as it is quite short. In fact, I was tempted to lengthen it this time, but ran out of yarn and time, so left it as the pattern instructed.
It’s about to get wrapped up in time for his birthday on Saturday. Fingers very tightly crossed that it will be a hit…
Of the other two secret planned projects, the lunch bag has been a no-go. In fact, I have to admit, I had even forgotten I was planning on making it until I read back on the original post before writing this tonight. The best laid plans of mice and men, eh?
But the T-shirts are still in the pipeline: I’ve bought three cheap T-shirts from Primark, ordered myself some transfer paper and, ahem, am currently awaiting delivery of a printer from Amazon since I didn’t actually have one in the house before. Yes, that’s the sort of level of optimism I have when I set out planning these projects: aim to make something you don’t have the basic equipment in place for.
Still, the printer is due to arrive tomorrow (Friday) and his birthday is the following day, so I am hoping I can master everything I need to know in time. Watch this space…