Tutorial Tuesday – Manly Gifts

Ryan and my anniversary is a few months away, but I always like to start the hunt for a gift early.  And this year, I might have more of a chance to make something for him covertly because he’s going to be working out of town for the next few weeks.  Don’t get any ideas, “break-in love makers”™ (my brother-in-law’s coined phrase from when he couldn’t quite remember the word “rapist”).  I’ve got two VERY feral and ferocious cats roving about and protecting the property.  You don’t even want to think about it.

Anyway, I’ve stumbled upon quite a few tutorials to choose from, so here’s a sampling of some of the awesome stuff.  Spoiler alert – none of these things involve a drawn mustache in any way.  I’m so over that trend.  Blerg.

leather journal

Leather journal cover.  I’ve been dying to make one of these for a very long time.  I found a very detailed tutorial a long time ago that shows you how to make a journal from scratch and I thought I was going to buckle down and give it a go.  So…that’s still on my wish scroll. Honestly, it was the list of materials that made me the most nervous.  But this is a tutorial for covering an existing notebook, so I’m going to assume it’s easier.  No awl and clamps needed.


Black and tan brownies.  This is an idea for groomsman thank you gifts, but I love this idea SO MUCH!  The only down side to me is that 1) Ryan would just drink the little bottle of liquor and be done with it (although he’d be very happy), and 2) I’d have to make the brownies.  Oh, and 3) I’d end up eating them all.  Actually, this is a terrible gift idea, I guess?


Rosemary mint shaving cream. On our first anniversary, I got Ryan a really great shaving kit from Etsy.  He totally loves it and every year since I’ve been supplementing it with new things.  This year, maybe I’ll try to make this!  Doesn’t rosemary mint sound heavenly?!  Actually, could I use it to shave my legs because that seriously does sound great.  And here’s another recipe for bay rum aftershave (which I don’t think anyone uses after shaving their legs, right?)!


Boxy dopp kit. I made Ryan one of these a while ago and he uses it all the time.  But I love that this one uses some manly fabric and a great stainless steel (or whatever it is – plastic painted silver for all I know) zipper.  I let Ryan pick the fabric for his and it has owls all over it.  I mean, they’re not girly owls, but they’re no pinstripes.

I’ve been weeding through MANY more, but this is a good start.  I’ll let you know what I decide to do.  MAYBE ALL OF THEM!!

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Glass Tiles

After reading Ryan’s post the other day, I’m sure you can understand why I dream about one day having an awesome kitchen.  OK.  Just not an ugly kitchen.  I’m not a big cook, so I don’t care about [insert whatever a cook would care about].  I just want pretty backsplash, a sink I can comfortably wash pots and pans in and nice wooden cupboards.  Of course, I want them all to be extremely nice and modern looking, but I’ll glaze over that fact to make myself look simple (no, not dumb, the other meaning for simple).

SO.  I stumbled upon these neat-o glass tiles on Apartment Therapy the other day and immediately wanted them.

Subway tiles

You’re going to literally DIE (wink) when you see what they’re made out of.

broken crt tv

If you guessed old TVs and computer screens, you were amazingly right (and maybe you should go on Jeopardy because you’re probably very smart).  You guys, for once in my life, I actually would ENJOY helping our environment instead of rolling my eyes and silently shushing the hippies talking about it’s importance.  (I know it’s important, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.)  And for all you hippies out there, here’s a great infographic.


To learn even more, you can visit Fireclay Tile’s website.  And then you can buy me some!!

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Guest Post: Making an Outstanding Space in Your Home on a Small Budget

Outstanding Space

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OK, we all sit and daydream about the beautiful home that we will have someday: the massive ocean front property with more bathrooms than you have friends, the chic loft apartment in New York with your own private roof-top meditation garden (maintained by hired help, of course, and not you). Yes, we all have that dream space that only celebrities can afford. Unfortunately, many of us will never obtain a place quite like this, sorry everyone.

Before you give up on all your hopes and dreams to go live in a cardboard box somewhere, maybe you could consider a different way to achieve your dream home. There are a lot of ways that you can create shock and awe in your home, even if you do not have a multi-million dollar budget to work with. Here are a few ideas you can use to make your living space outstanding on a small budget.

Pick a room to focus your attention on

It is easy to get carried away and make plans to revamp your entire home, but when you are working with a small budget, that usually turns into a few unfinished projects in each room, not classy. Instead, focus your attention on one room at a time. If you are looking to make the biggest “wow” factor happen in your home, start with the room that your guests usually spend the most time in, your loving room or dining room for example.

Once you have decided on the room, pick the elements of that room that make it look less expensive and start improving. Maybe your entryway would look more sophisticated with spiral stairs instead of the traditional staircase. Maybe your dining room table would look brand new with a new finish or paint job. This focus will keep your rooms looking great and finished.

Upgrade your furniture to get a more expensive look

Furniture is extremely expensive, so up until this point you have purchased everything from Ikea or rummage sales. Although this furniture may be completely functional still, it could always use a face lift to look a little fresher.

Paint or refinish any hard furniture yourself. For fabric-covered furniture, it can be super simple for you to reupholster or make a cover for it on your own. Pick a fresh, even slightly expensive fabric and embellish your furniture to make the old look new.

Add DIY embellishments for a unique look

Get your crafty pants on and start creating. Handmade elements for your home design will make your space look unique and put together without you spending a lot of money on home accessories. For your parties, decorate your glasses with painted-on letters and designs. Hang your memorabilia, like an old scarf or a great piece of jewelry to add interest and style to your room. Even better, these pieces will be great conversation starters, so have your stories prepared!

Use color to your advantage

Nothing says, “I’m poor and I have no fashion sense”, like bare walls and mismatching color schemes. Try to stick with one color palette in each room. This will make everything look more put together and polished.

Again, painting remains the easiest and cheapest way to improve anything in your home. If your walls or furniture don’t match, just paint them until they do. Paint accessories, like light fixtures, as well. Now you have a grand space that you will be proud to show off, and you have more money to save for your future home.

Author Bio:

Tina Hamilton is an established journalist, blogger and DIY project addict. You can usually find her scouring Pinterest for new project ideas or outside with her dog in Southern California. You can follow her on Twitter.

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