I am so lucky to have four amazing guys in my life; my father, my fella, my step-brother and, of course, my son. They have each given me love, encouragement, respect and support, so when it comes time to give them gifts, the least that I can do is make thoughtful choices to show them that I really do appreciate everything that they do for me. It’s next to impossible, though, to find things like that at the local mall or big-box store. That is why I have decided this year to make a pledge to give only handmade or repurposed gifts. Luckily for me, there are literally thousands of talented artisans offering up handmade goods; locally at craft sales and globally via the internet, which is where I turned to find something perfect for everyone on my list.
When I was young, I loved “helping” my parents get themselves ready to go out to holiday parties. I would watch my mom choose her outfit and apply her make up in the bedroom, but the real fun for me was sitting at the end of the bathroom counter watching my dad shave.
There was something so fascinating about the whole ritual of it – the impossibly thick lather of the shaving soap, the sink filled with steaming-hot water to rinse the razor and, finally the funny grimace that my dad would make when slapping on a handful of astringent after-shave. It’s something that will stick in my memory forever.
That must be why I was instantly drawn to this shaving set by Funktional Spa (above). The set comes complete with a wood-handled brush for swirling on the rich (and aptly named) Lather. My only challenge will be choosing a scent from the five offered. They all sound so good! Other manly goods offered in the Funktional Spa shop include Beer Soap, solid cologne and Hunter’s Camo Soap – perfect for your “deer old dad”. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) All items are made by hand in Michigan by a husband-wife team who, judging by their profile, could be the cutest couple ever.
And, speaking of cute, my boyfriend is next on my shopping list. A self-professed Geek, my fella is going to love this pin/tie tack made by my good friend Ruth of PeriwinkleDzyns. Upcycled from a precision oscillator (whatever that is), it’s the perfect gift for my foxy, electronics-loving ‘net guy.
If you’ve got a geek in your life, too, you will want to check out Ruth’s Etsy shop for an awesome assortment of “geekery”, including pins, tie tacks and lanyards. All pieces are made from industrial waste, which Ruth has cleverly diverted from the landfill. (If it sounds familiar, Ruth’s shop was previously featured in this column.)
On the other side of the world is my step brother, Curtis. Currently living and working in Africa, Curtis gets my two thumbs-up for his humanitarian work and overall coolness. That’s why I’ll be wrapping up this t-shirt (below) by Paired Hearts and shipping it off to Curt. Printed on 100% organic cotton in the wonderfully weird city of Austin, TX, this tee will let my little bro know just how awesome I think he is.
He is smart, confident and funny. At age 12 my son, Jake, is getting his first taste of independence and loving every second of it. I shouldn’t have been surprised when he announced the other day that he was already starting to save up to buy a fully-restored 1960s-vintage convertible when he turns 16. Hanging on his bedroom wall, this upcycled clock by 8 Mile Creek Designs will be a terrific accent piece and a fun reminder of Jake’s goal to own the rest of the car in four years time.
Made by a father-daughter team, these fabulously retro clocks are made from hubcaps found at salvage yards, auctions, antique stores, swap meets and online. All are one-of-a-kind and tell the tale of an era when things were made to last. You can read more about 8 Mile Creek Designs in their Etsy “Featured Seller” article.