Weighty issues: Valentine’s gifts

No jibber jabber from me today, just a few pictures.

I revisited the paperweights I made for Christmas and used Valentine’s Day images to create some nice, weighty, non-cheesy Valentine’s Day presents.

For a detailed step-by-step for making these (and a lot more jibber jabber), see my post on how to make your own paperweights. Today, I’m just sharing a few more options for images to put inside…

Heart paperweights

Give your loved one your heart this year. Captured and encased in a glass dome paperweight, ha ha…

Two different options here. I can’t quite decide which one I prefer at the moment.

Both images were from the Graphics Fairy blog: black and white heart and colourful heart.

heart paperweight DIY
From aorta to vena cava, I love you with all my heart.
valentines heart paperweight DIY
Another heart, this one with colours. Which is nicer d’you reckon?

A relief from business

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.

Make your own Valentine's paperweights
“Quite a relief from business” indeed

Map paperweight

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.

map paperweight DIY
Wouldn’t it be romantic if your first date was a long walk along the South Bank and you gave this paperweight of that location? (Sadly, not where my first date was, so for me it’s just a nice image…)

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.

Map paperweight from Wolves in London blog
Yup, I really am showing you a second photo just so you can see this from the side. Lucky you, eh?

So, tell me, what would you put inside a paperweight for your Valentine?

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This post is linked at the following link parties. Do go and visit and see what others have been up to this week…

Katie’s Nesting Spot, Creative Juice at Momnivore’s Dilemma, Transformation Thursday at the Shabby Creek Cottage, Glued to my Crafts, Serenity Now.

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Moustache mugs, a perfect man present

Moustache mug set tutorial from Wolves in London

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.

And then, I came across this homemade moustache mug on The Tortoise and the Hare blog. Bingo!

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.

Make your own moustache mugs
The full set; another view so you can see each mug in all its hairy gloriousness

Here’s what I did.

Supplies:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Either print out the image, or draw your own moustache ideas onto paper
  3. Cut them out and position them on the mugs with a small bit of blu-tack
  4. 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)
  5. Draw round the templates in pencil (this will show up faintly on the mug, but is easily erased if you want to make changes)
  6. Use the porcelain pen to draw the pencil outline and then colour in the inside
  7. 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.

Make your own moustache mugs
The plastic catapult alien at the front was a particular hit

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.

Related articles:

This post is linked up from the following link parties. Do go and check out what others have been up to this week! Easy Living Mom, Katie’s Nesting Spot, Glued to my Crafts, Skip to my Lou, Project Inspire, The Shabby Nest.

10 gift ideas for cooks

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.

Culinary classics

Round up of the best cooking presents from Wolves in London
Some of the greatest cooking presents

Clockwise from top left:

1. Blackbird pie bird, a classic for all those homebaked pies

2. Penguin pie bird, a hugely appealing little chum to go with the blackbird.

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.

6. Black and blum bento box: for the non stew-type work lunches…

7. Pizza slicer, this one is by Jamie Oliver again

8. Fish kettle from John Lewis, which is incredibly huge and perhaps too big for our oven, but beautiful-looking nonetheless

9. Oxo salad spinner, one of those things that make your life just a little bit easier every time you use it…

10.  Anthropologie octopus plates. Really quite amazing, these plates!

His birthday scarf

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.

Purple knitted scarf
The completed scarf: lovely detailed pattern and the actual wool colour is a little richer than it seems in this picture

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…

Knitted scarf
Lovely intricate geometric pattern. Best of all, you only need to know how to knit and purl to make it

There is more info on my Ravelry page and the pattern, by Monika Steinbauer, is here: “His scarf” the cashmere one.

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…