Friday Favorites–Gifts for Guys

Thanksgiving is over, and the Christmas season has officially begun.  If you’re not out shopping the Black Friday sales, you might be considering handmade gifts.  Actually, if you are out shopping, you might be standing in a LONG line contemplating the same thing, along with “What was I thinking?!?”

For the next few weeks, my Friday Favorites will be full of gift ideas and we’re going to start with the most difficult of all – guys.

I have a couple of bicyclists in my house who might appreciate this Cycling Cap from Dude Craft.

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With all the holiday events coming up, maybe your guy could use this Bow Tie and Pocket Square from Craft.

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My son has been working on this Paracord Belt from Instructables user Jake22 for months.  I should say he started it, made a mistake, then couldn’t decide whether to continue or fix it.  Still waiting on a decision.

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I’m sure this Rubberband Gun from Sugar Bee Crafts was intended for a little boy, but I can totally picture my husband keeping one of these on his desk at work.

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This Pocket Knife Key Wallet from OnlyKnives just says “guy” all over it.

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, these Salted Chocolate “Twix” Bars from Crepes of Wrath are the expressway.

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He might not know it yet, but your guy definitely needs a holiday tie, whipped up using this Father’s Day Tie tutorial from The Purl Bee.

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If he’s less tie and more hoodie, try this Men’s Fleece Hoodie from Craftstylish instead.

I don’t know which would be more fun – to make this Bike Tube Wallet by Instructables user Captain Molo and give it to your guy, or give him a bike tube and the instructions to do it himself.

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If you don’t want to make him something yourself, but still like the idea of handmade, check out this Shaving Kit from Etsy seller orangefuzz.  It includes beer shaving soap and comes in a cigar box.  It doesn’t get much more manly than that.

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Friday Favorites–Gifts for Guys

June.  Father’s Day, graduations and anniversaries of all those weddings from previous Junes provide the perfect opportunity to show that guy you care with a homemade gift.  I know, some of them are nearly impossible to shop for, much less make crafts for.  But I’ve come across a few things that might make your life a little easier.

I’d love to see the tools that would fit in these super-tiny Altoid Tin Mini Toolboxes from AlphaMom.

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Some rope, two wooden rods, some duct tape and the appropriate tools and you can make him a Duct Tape Hammock like this one from sitzikbs on Instructables.

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Stormdrane and his paracord creations are always a favorite around my house.  This Snake Belly Bar Bracelet is next on our list to try.

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My brother-in-law likes to play chess with his boys and one of these days I’m making him this Hardware Chess Set from Dollar Store Crafts.

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Chess isn’t his thing?  How about a Custom Tile Checkerboard like this one from Aly & Ash?

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This Popsicle Picture Puzzle from Impress Your Kids would be a fun project to make with the little ones.

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Before you decide he’s not a bouquet kind of guy, check out this Beef Bouquet from Moms of All Trades.

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Sometimes, no matter how many great ideas come your way, a gift card is just the right thing to give.  That doesn’t mean you can’t craft it up.  Try a Shirt Pocket Card from Holiday Crafts and Creations.

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So, you’ve completely given up on making something?   It’s ok, this Magic Wand Programmable TV Remote from ThinkGeek is just awesome enough to make up for it.

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Before you give up the crafty idea completely, you have to see my favorite Favorite this week.  TSJ Photography made this fantastic sign using her kids to make the letters.  I seriously should have had more than two kids.

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Paracord Bracelets

I grew up in the 70's.  Stop doing the math.  Back then, macramé was a popular craft and we had lots of it around our house.  I have many of my mom's old macramé books on my craft bookshelf, and I recognize some of the wall hangings, necklaces, plant hangers and seasonal decorations.  Some of the things I remember:

I'm not trying to bring macramé back, although I don't think it ever completely left.  Check out the jewelry aimed at teens for the past few years and you'll find some there.  It really isn't anything more than a series of well-placed knots and we've been tying knots since we've had rope.  I learned a couple of knots when I was a kid and they've served me well over the years.

Which brings me to a blog I discovered recently.  The blog itself is by Stormdrane, but I discovered him through his entry on Instructables.  This blogger creates bracelets, watch bands, belts, key chains, almost anything you can imagine made out of a bunch of knots, using something called paracord.  The bracelets can be used as survival gear, the idea being you untie the knots if you need to use the cord.

Personally, I had never heard of paracord, but I've never had a reason to jump out of a perfectly good plane either.  Apparently, it's the cord used on parachutes, and is also known as 550 cord, because it will support 550 pounds.  I won't be testing that anytime soon, but I was intrigued by it as a craft medium.  I ordered some cord (you can get almost any color you can imagine) from Supply Captain and buckles from Creative DesignWorks and then let it sit around for a month or so while I worked up the courage to give it a try.

My son was fascinated with these bracelets, so I finally broke down and cut into the cord.  I can't even begin to describe how to make these as well as Stormdrane, but I did learn a few things in the process that I can share.

First of all, this will make sense once you've read the tutorial, but don't try to start by feeding the loop through the end of the buckle - it's too thick.  Try the ends instead and pull them through until you have a loop.    

His estimate of one foot of cord for each inch of finished bracelet length worked out well for me. 

I didn't have much luck melted the ends to hold them in place, but pulling them through the back with a pair of needle-nose pliers worked fine.  It just takes a while - longer than it took me to knot it.  You do want to run the ends of the cord over a lighter flame first so they don't unravel. 

I made Tucker's bracelet using the "king cobra stitch", which is essentially knots in one direction and knots over the top of those going back in the other direction.  He wanted me to use a lot of cord.  He got his wish.  Good thing that boy has giant hands.

Codi wanted a version we had seen in several places called The Thin Blue Line bracelet.  It's meant to show support for law enforcement.  I couldn't find instructions on how to make that one specifically, so I just laid two blue cords down the center while I knotted over them.  To make hers less bulky, I used the  stitch known as cobra, Solomon bar or Portuguese sinnet.  It's the single version of the one I made for Tucker.

These weren't very difficult and the materials were pretty low cost.  Tucker is planning a belt, a watch band and a dog collar.  My son is going to save the world with paracord.