The Gift Guide for Guys

comments (4) November 3rd, 2008     

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Jen_W Jennifer Worick, contributor
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Back away from themed ornaments and other store-bought gifts. You CAN make your own gifts for the most difficult of men!
I made this little guy for my mom when I was 15. It still sits on the windowsill of her back porch.
Back away from themed ornaments and other store-bought gifts. You CAN make your own gifts for the most difficult of men!

Back away from themed ornaments and other store-bought gifts. You CAN make your own gifts for the most difficult of men!

Photo: Jennifer Worick

After mulling it over for a week, I have to conclude that making all your holiday gifts can be a challenge, particularly when it comes to crafting for dudes.

It’s a pickle, to be sure, but not impossible. With a bit of creative planning, you can make a variety of inventive crafts for the manliest of men.

Off the top of my head, here are a few gift suggestions for the guys in your life.

For the culture vulture:
Picture this: Is your guy an amazing photographer? Create a photo album, complete with captions, of his best photographs. He’ll appreciate it, particularly if he digs taking photos but never seems to do anything with them. See Jeffrey Rudell’s post on how to customize photos with a bit of Photoshop magic.
The coffee date: If he loves his bevvies, consider knitting or crocheting a coffee cozy, sewing a beer cozy, or making some wine markers with beads and wire.

For the traditionalist:

Carve a bird: I’m not talking about a Thanksgiving turkey. If you’re game, get a pocket knife or some wood-carving tools and whittle a sandpiper. Sound hard? Check out the photo of the sandpiper I carved for my mom when I was a teenager.
Firestarter kit: Fill a box or wood crate with pinecones, fragrant kindling, and those sections of the newspaper you never got around to reading. Just make sure your man has a fireplace or wood-burning stove.

For the hipster:
Share some warmth:
Knit a scarf or ribbed fisherman’s hat for just about any guy. To zest it up, make a vertically striped scarf by casting on a boatload of stitches (like 250 or 300) and knitting in garter stitch. You’ll get a few rows out of a ball of yarn and then you can change colors. No matter what you knit up, just make sure the fiber is not scratchy in any way and that it’s in a color he actually likes, not what you think would be a good color on him.
The hand cuff: Make a pleather or leather wrist band with grommets and stitching for a rockin’ accessory.
Bowl him over: If your dude is into music, dig up some vintage vinyl and make a bowl. Here’s a video on just how to do it.
Now you’re cookin’: For the bachelor, put together a recipe book with step-by-step instructions. Do not assume anything, and add any helpful tips that may aid him in his culinary adventures.

For the green guy:
Market bag:
Knit a canvas market bag in a manly color. There are loads of tutorials out there. Here’s a site that lists 35 different market bag ideas.
Smooth things over: Guys get dry skin, too! Whip up a natural cuticle cream or lotion and scent it with something more pleasing to the male olfactory sense, such as sandalwood.

If all else fails:
The way to his heart: Cook his favorite treat and tell him that he doesn’t have to share. If you don’t have a recipe, try my favorite: my grandmother’s Cowboy Cookies. They have never let me down.

Cowboy Cookies

2 sticks margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
1 package bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Beat together margarine, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and add to the mixture. Fold in oatmeal and chocolate chips. Grease and sprinkle flour over a cookie sheet. Place balls of dough (think the size of small ping-pong balls) about 2 inches apart from each other and bake for 8 minutes. Since many oven temperatures vary, keep an eye on your first batch. At the first hint of browning, take them out. They should be soft and doughy. Carefully remove cookies with a spatula and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container to keep them soft.

Yield: About 50 to 60 cookies.

In the future, you can find me at my website or blogs, Things I Want to Punch in the Face and Prairie Tales. My new book, Backcountry Betty: Crafting with Style, is in stores now.

posted in: wearable, gifts, men, cooking, crocheting, cookies

Comments (4)

Jen1964 writes: Don't forget the aprons, with his favorite saying or quip on it! We did those one year, and you never saw prouder cooks. My husband always said he was a "logical procrastinator," so that's what I put on his. Had a boat collection, so that's what inspired the "logo" I painted on it. Love the baking idea: but also, what guy doesn't want the favorite family recipes? Cooking lessons -no criticism or nagging guaranteed- are also a good one for the hungry fellows. Our no-fail pie crust (from our high school cooking teacher) is a winner for everyone: 3 c. flour, 1/2 tsp salt... 1 c. margarine or butter, cut in. ... a mixture of 1 egg (slightly beaten), 1 tsp vinegar, and 5 Tablespoons icey cold water... Just use enough of that in the butter-flour mixture to make a dough that holds together. You can't overstir this recipe, and you can roll it out as many times as you like, without it turning into sidewalk cement toughness. That means you can make the crust out of leaves or cookie cutter shapes, or whatever suits your fancy... or just get used to pie crusts without the failures. Guys like that. If they still don't have the pie crust knack, set them on to the bread - they're like opposites, and if they're terrible at one, they'll probably soar at the other. Guys and kitchens are a natural! Who knows, the cooking lessons could be couched in a gift basket of all the ingredients & tools for his favorite pie, or dessert of main dish... With the promise of hotline help or in person guidance. The thing is, if you're going to welcome someone into your kitchen, make sure you really mean it, and MAKE it a welcoming experience. We want to foster their enthusiasm, not kill it.
Posted: 7:02 am on November 4th
Jen_W writes: Hurray for Cowboy Cookies! I bet my grandma got the recipe off a bag of chocolate chips. :)
Posted: 2:36 am on November 4th
howardavenue writes: Hey, I've got something for guys!!! Try an automobile "carbage" bag. Biodegradable bags surrounded by his favorite team, logo, or just some great fabrics!
Check em out:
Posted: 11:50 pm on November 3rd
cirone writes: Cowboy cookies are my favorite! How fun to see them listed on here. My husband does enjoy them =)
Posted: 8:53 pm on November 3rd
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