The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Gifts for men.

This week I hope we can collectively tackle the subject of presents for men. I just find this slightly more difficult as I naturally lean to pink and pretty so I have to seriously concentrate on making mens gifts!

My number one "go to" present is food.  This seems to work for teenage boys to grown men. The trick is knowing what they like. I take notes so have a list in my present book.

Andy loves anything with dark chocolate or dried apricot . The addition of dried apricot works a treat.  So things can easily be customised to someones tastes.
His fruit cake has a whole packet of dried apricots into the mix and if I am making something like rocky road then it goes in there too. Success! He thinks it's lovely as you can't buy such inventions and it is especially made for him.

My Dad likes Whiskey. So if I make him a fruit cake I use whiskey in it. Another success!  And he loves tins. Literally, anything in a tin is better.  So I am set as Sue gave me beautiful old tins and I have these lined up for cooking gifts for Dad.

At Christmas I make multiple small fruit cakes for the men. I give these as thank you gifts too.

Making fudge, toffee, truffles, spiced nuts, Nuts and Bolts and such things are all great gifts as long as you know what they like and also can eat.

Things look good made in a large slab. Like a tray of peanut brittle looks amazing on a baking tray. Wrapped with cellophane the addition of a little hammer makes it fun to break up!

If someone has dietary restrictions or allergies then making them something they can eat, just for them, is going to be a huge hit.  A diabetic fruit cake, for instance, shows you really thought of how to give them a treat that they can actually eat! It is easy to find a recipe for anything, gluten free, egg free etc and that is a really personal gift with effort and consideration.

For a young boy making a giant chocolate freckle by filling a pizza pan with chocolate and covering that with hundreds and thousands is a pretty cool gift. As is a chocolate cake or tray of brownies! Teenagers seem to be ever starving and their favourite food is a great gift. Or an entertainment kit i.e. a movie and a big container of caramel popcorn or some other kind of snack to munch on.

A beautiful Birthday cake is a great gift. You don't have to be a good cake decorator, pile chocolates on top or something simple. A birthday cake makes someone feel special. No matter what age. I never cease to be surprised by how much people appreciate a cake!

Someone older who lives alone is easy to cater for.  Many times a series of little meals they can use and freeze is a beautiful gift.  Portions of soup, individual pies, and serves of casserole etc that they can heat and have an instant diner is a really thoughtful gift.  Think neat title containers with labels all packed into a basket.

If you know someone's favourite recipe arriving with a chicken pie (insert favourite item here!) is going to make you pretty popular.

For a cook produce from your garden could be a great present. I include benches of herbs. Or make up some spice mixes, dried herbs, marinades, rubs, mixes in a jar etc.

I love to put together a hamper. Sometimes it is some baking, some jam, herbs etc. I give homemade jam to my Dad as he really likes it. He is big on his own pantry so items he might like go down well.

Interesting containers for hamper and food gifts are a help. I look for things like an old fishing basket, tool boxes, fishing tackle boxes and compartment organisers from the cheap stores. Also for the gardener a planter box, terracotta pot or watering can etc could work.
The carry all's that tradesmen use and tradesman buckets make great containers. They are useful afterwards.

My Nan spun her own wool and knitted vests and jumpers. You can tell if someone actually likes a gift like this if they actually wear it and the boys all did so they must have!

Rachel had made her husband the knitted hat shown in last Wednesdays post. She has knitted socks for him since.

This is a much better level of knitting them I am currently capable of!  If you are a good knitter then you have lots of options!

My blue, grey and cream rug I am working on just now is for a young man who actually needs a blanket. So this is a male gift.  Jane made her son a full sized blanket for a gift and it was stunning.

A treat of some kind is a lovely gift. A special birthday dinner, a fabulous packed lunch full of treats or a care package of cooking.  If it is for someone who works in an office then a kit of lovely things for the weeks lunches and morning teas is really nice. For someone like Andy who drives a van for hours a day then he loves packed drinks and has a lunchbox wiht him. Anything that is special makes his day much nicer. My daughter gave him a kit of hand towels, spray bottle plus ice packs etc to use on the really hot days. This was a great gift!

Then there is the gift of some kind of effort and surprise. Recently Andy worked all weekend and while he was busy I cleaned out his van. He was so thrilled with this that I realised overhauling someones van, car, office or something else could be a gift if it's done as a surprise. A card added that says "Happy Birthday! We wanted to make your day special!" and you have a gift that is probably going to be really appreciated.

If you have a good man who works hard or someone that you love that has been amazing to you then a letter of appreciation is a beautiful gift. Many guys give their all and never really get thanked. They are just good guys. A letter thats tells them how much you appreciate all they do and what it means to you and the family will probably melt his heart and build him up.

On my current list of things to make is a leather cover for a book or computer.  Men seem to love leather.  These are easy and on my radar as I continually see very good quality leather going so cheaply in the form of really out of fashion leather jackets, skirts etc. They have enough leather that when cut up I think i could do covered diaries. And they look really stylish! So this is hopefully my next op shop purchase. 17 Gorgeous DIY leather projects.

Jen mentioned the issue of what to send when a gift has to be posted. The gardener is an easy one as you can post him packets of seeds, even collected from your own garden, plus labels. A bundle of seeds is a great gift.  They are flat and light.

Mum suggested that I embroider mens hankies with a deer silllouette or antlers. I love this idea! So that is now on my list.

Now over to you all!  What are your ideas, success stories and plans for gifts for men?  Feel free to include recipes!  Hopefully we can all add to our Christmas challenge so that we have plenty of presents for both men and women.

I am actually op shopping this afternoon and going to Aldi! Maybe I will find a leather jacket or skirt to cut up for my leather wrapped diaries? I am hoping so!

I hope your week is going well! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel, I agree this is always a challenge. Catering to an interest is always a great idea. I've done baseball, basketball, football, movie themed cushions, throws, and food hampers in the past. So a Baseball one might be the makings of hot dogs, a six pack of their favourite imported beer, and a baseball themed DVD, a movie one might be DVD's, microwave popcorn, and the makings of banana splits, and so on. I once did a gift basket with the makings of an Indian style banquet containing the ingredients for Butter Chicken, yellow rice, Naan bread mix and Chai tea, and that was very well received. Pinterest is a great source of instructions on how to transfer images to wood, glass, and fabric so making personalised gifts is a far easier task than it once was too. A first aid kit or emergency kit for the car is always good. We get storms and have flooded roads several times a year and at least once or twice, people are stranded on the roads for hours on end. A recycled cookie tin, with muesli bars, a long life milk or juice drink, or one of those odd tins of coffee that heat upon opening (truly there is such a thing!), and an emergency recharge kit for their mobile phone, is a good idea for those circumstances. A blanket and pillow to keep in the car is another useful thing to have for just this scenario. My husband loves preserved ginger pieces coated in dark chocolate so that's an easy one to replicate, and my three ingredient fruit cake, soaked in brandy or Cointreau is another, so that's a perennial, much like your fruit cakes are. A collage of favourite photos is another, and I've often gifted the men in my life (sons, brothers and so on), a list of potential gifts for their own loved ones along with wrapping paper and cards, so that they are never lost for an idea either! I hope these are helpful. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      Ooh I really like the Indian feast basket! I like all your ideas!
      Also I think first aid kit is extremely good... and the mergence items in the car. Love these thank you Mimi! These are extremely helpful.
      Together everyone has come up with the most fantastic list. Have a wonderful weekend Mimi! With love, Annabel.xxxx

  2. Dear Annabel,
    How nice to be back on Bluebirds! As you know we have been moving, so in the evenings I'm just too tired to do anything, but in a good way as I am happy with each day's accomplishments. We are loving it here at the ranch, at home!
    I did not comment on Monday's post but I would like to say here that this little community is one of the biggest sources of encouragement to me. Everyone's kindness and encouragement has meant a lot to me. I missed y'all last week! I have two in the flesh friends (besides my husband) that are like-minded as well. It is nice to know there are others out there that are on the same page and see the value in keeping a home and taking care of loved ones. You would think something like that should be obvious, but so many people attack it. That is why we need encouragement and, like you said, to keep our goal and purpose in mind. For me, I look to the Bible as my guide and there are many wonderful passages that show the value and influence a woman may have within the realm of her home.
    Ok, men's gifts. I agree (and so does my husband) that you can't go wrong with food if you know what the recipient likes.
    Another food idea is something to take on a hunting trip. I know many hunters, so something like jerky or trail mix (chocolate covered even) would be good if the gift is near hunting season. It is in the colder months for us (for deer), so a packet of hand warmers and/or gloves would be a nice addition to a basket. Possibly a good thermos.
    I have seen recipes on Pinterest for homemade shaving cream. Done in a masculine scent, something like that could be a hit. Or if the man has facial hair, there are recipes out there for beard care also.
    Crafts done with dear antlers are another idea.
    I think a personalized sign would be nice, too, for the garage, shop, man cave etc. "(insert name)'s Garage" This could be made by painting free pallet boards, and the other day I saw a cute saying painted on a hand saw.
    Teenagers are a bit harder. If the boy is into sports, maybe something homemade with his favorite team's colors. Or if he plays sports, something with his number and team colors would be nice, such as a pillow, wall art for his room (again, think painting a sign using pallet wood), etc. A drawstring athletic bag would be simple to make.
    If the boy (or man) enjoys coffee, an assortment pack with a personalized mug would be a good gift. I have seen tutorials for writing/drawing on a mug with a permanent marker and baking it to set the design.
    Another idea I thought might be nice, but it depends on the recipient's personality, is a photo album with pictures of them throughout their life. A real, physical photo album (not digital) would be special and fun to look through. For a family member, mapping out the family tree with bits of interesting history would be a keepsake, for sure.
    I can't wait to see what the other ladies come up with! I will have to take notes. I hope everyone is having a lovely week!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. *deer antlers, not dear
      It was late and I was tired, sorry, lol!

    2. Dear Kelsey, I have been thinking of you with your big job of moving. Thank you for still managing to comment. I am so glad you have good friends and having a supportive husband is the best thing of all. then you are a team in an agreement with what is valuable to your family.
      Thank you for all your wonderful ideas! My Dad and brothers are hunters too. Stuff to take with them i.e. portable snacks is a great idea. In packaging that doesn't make a noise too!
      All your ideas are excellent. Thanks so much!
      I hope your week has been going really well. It is a big and exciting time for you! I can't wait to hear how you are setting up your kitchen and pantry! With lots of love,

  3. This is a great post. The men are harder than women when it comes to gift. Since Rick and Coty hunt I made them quilts with materials that had deer and leaves and camo one year. Coty's is so worn out maybe I will make him a new one this year. My step dad's favorite gift was the big box of baked goodies I made him. The brownies were his favorite. My nephews I always give big gift bags of their favorite snack foods cookies, chips, candies, whatever they like. I am hoping to come up with a few creative things this year, but as of yet have nothing up my sleeve for the men.
    Rachel I love your socks! You are so talented!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I love the quilts! Deer and camouflage both would be massive hits with my family. You have given me an idea here.
      I agree about Brownies. A whole tray of something like that is an amazing gift.
      Now you have the deer coasters we were talking about up your sleeve! They will be beautiful. Many thanks love

  4. Hi Annabel, I think food gifts are a fantastic idea. However as we used to live so far away, and in the tropics, food parcels through the post were not a practical idea. After you mentioned that this week was to be about male present ideas, I sat and thought about what I had sent off to the son and nephews as well as the brothers and the father. I'm just going to list what worked from what I have made. The gifts that nose dived, and there have been quite a few, I wont mention.
    A car rubbish bag that hooks over the gear stick.
    Spiced Bay Rum Aftershave. This was so delicious I wanted to bathe in it. Have several male requests for this again.
    Stuffed door stoppers-usually animal or car shaped
    Messenger/Laptop bag
    Covered journals/notebooks
    European Pillow with homemade quilted pillow case
    bucket hat in sports team colours
    Quillow- A little quilt that folds up into a pillow- great for travelling and camping
    Covered folders with matching pencil case
    golf club covers
    Shaving soap with brush and razor
    cooking apron and man sized pot holders
    Shower wet bags with crocheted back scrubbies
    chilly willy- neck coolers
    roll up quilted placemat with pocket for cutlery. This is in the sons camping box.
    fabric, quilted or crocheted coasters
    Heat pads for the kitchen. I made quilted ones and hubby made wooden ones for young men just moved out of home.
    Edged or appliqued towels
    Quilted floor mats
    Bluey made wooden bath mats
    Christmas decorations
    Christmas bunting
    card holders/wallets.
    crocheted blankets/rugs

    I had others on my list but these have been mentioned. I also make a lot of clothing for various males. Dad likes cotton long sleeved shirts. He doesn't like polyester as it makes him overheat. He has sun cancers so cant wear the short sleeved varieties. My brother who bakes, loves and has come to expect a new apron and man sized pot holders each year. The little nephews all look forward to their one pair of satin boxer shorts that I make them. So easy and relatively cheap to post
    When my son was on overseas deployment I sent him a movie package. I made a fabric pocket for the dvd to slip in and and in a second pocket a packet of microwave popcorn and some mini mars bars. He loved this and requested this 'Care Package', his words, more than once.
    An uncle has had an extended hospital stay. I sent him several bookmarks. These were old maps I pasted onto card, cut out and added a bit of ribbon to. He loves them.
    I crocheted some slipper socks for Dad when he had a hospital visit last year. I so wish I could knit the lovely socks Rachel has made. Still Dad likes the slippers as he could wear them in bed and didn't have to take them on and off all the time.
    This is getting too long. Looking for ward to lots of ideas.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Now with postage being really high food gifts are not much good for posting so distances are out.
      I love your list and I laughed that you left out the nose divers!
      I really love the man sized pot holders. Pot holder are often shrimpy and girly. So bloke ones is a GREAT idea for a man that cooks. Love this!
      Everyone will get at least an idea from your list.
      Ok you make Spiced Rum Aftershave... and it smells good so please, if you have time, post the recipe if you still have it. This is really interesting! And considering these can be super expensive this would be amazing. PLUS I am thinking maybe it could go in a really rustic bottle i.e. an actual rum or whiskey bottle and be re labelled? (insert begging and 10x please)
      The microwave popcorn is another I am loving.
      Thanks so much. Loved all of this!
      With love

  5. Annabel your posts are always full to the brim with good ideas. I would be happy to receive a giant freckle. Such a clever, fun idea. I agree with your point on good guys. There are so many out their that we could show our appreciation for... and gifts of food usually go down really well with men. Thanks.

    1. Dear Sherri,
      Thank you! The giant freckle is super easy. You can do milk, dark chic or mix and marble it. Looks great. I get cheap pizza pans so I can leave that in the gift to support it then wrap in lots of cellophane and a bow. When its still soft you can insert candles too!
      Thank you Sherri! With love

  6. Thank you, Vicky!! We love the socks, too!! Actually, I'm learning my husband's style of confidence, which really becomes him!

    The sock knitting is, simply, a long term interest. I had my first introduction some sixteen years ago - from a lady at the Queensland Country Women's Association craft days. This lady could knit like lightening, so I was left to try to match up her actions with the pattern (from a war comforts project of yesteryear) in my own time! In the past, my husband wore out a pair of my socks, that were too small, in about a day, working vigorously. I suppose that's funny!!

    I say people can be encouraged. If someone has an interest, it CAN develop. Who would think socks could be so riveting? Well, they're not. They're just satisfying in the making!
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, Well from that day your knitting has come a long way. I believe it is very satisfying and good to have something to work on. It is in between a rest and something constructive to be doing!
      And yes, our skills develop and so does our speed. No one is brilliant instantly at something we need to keep at things. Now I just have to apply this to my own knitting!
      We have so much rain here! It is pouring again! I hope you are having a lovely week! With love

  7. Hi Annabel!

    GIFTS FOR MEN remains a challenging topic! This just goes to show how unique men really are!

    I loved your post, but it is the response of men that we're interested in!!

    I asked my husband for his ideas on gifts for men. I got some interesting responses. He says that a good gift, if purchasing, is something that the man may be holding back on buying for himself. It may be the little extra allowing a planned purchase to be upgraded in quality. For a home made gift, he mentioned a scarf, since the cold can kill a man! (I had thought that a woollen blanketing scarf, covered with flannelette or other fabric, would be something quick and practical, since the outer fabric would keep sawdust out of the wool. This would be a way I would recycle blankets!) My husband also mentioned fruit cake. The old brown toolbag that he requested years ago is a winner. It uses fabric from worn cotton work trousers, and holds his basic car tools which, he explains, he can use to pull down the engine of the car. It has handles supporting the weight all the way around, and stays in the car. That was a great gift in his eyes!

    I am realising that a Dad loves gifts from a daughter. My Dad has a beanie/hat I knitted years ago. He really likes it. A brother, however, is a different kettle of fish. Many, many years ago, I covered tin cans to make nice pencil tins. My parents still have one I made - with a fluffy sheep on gingham, bordered with lace, & a tiny bell tied loosely around the neck of the sheep. A brother was given a pencil tin featuring his car, and what I had thought was pretty, curly boucle wool coming from the exhaust. A smoking exhaust is not wonderful in a fella's eyes! Oh dear! What I am saying is that I think a Dad is easier in terms of making gifts that work!!

    These days, I think some wool wash mix would be good with a woollen gift. It makes the woollens so much better! For outdoor work, or picnics, a fabric cup bag keeps dust out of the cup. We use these. For a musician, an instrument care kit is an idea. Cloths for cleaning timber, metal &/or other relevant surfaces - combined with homemade timber nourisher &, maybe, an anti-tarnish element for metal surfaces - can be made into a small, portable kit.

    I have some other thoughts that I first need to test. These are more men's concepts which I had thought to apply to a lady's work!

    (Kelsey, you've got some nice ideas!!)

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, I should have replied to you all in one spot! You are right about Dads and daughters!
      I really love the musicians cleaning kit. I am doing this! Thank you! I have two musicians to give to. Cleaning cloths etc would be brilliant!
      Thanks so much for your ideas they are fantastic! With love

  8. Now Annabel, you will just have to learn how to knit socks as I have knitted ONE pair! :-) Mind you, it did take me a while. LOL! Just look up Silvers Sock Class online and you will find a step by step tutorial for beginners. Go brave!

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, Well done! Thank you for this link. I will have a look.
      Mum can knit socks too so I could get her to help me also.
      I hope you are having a good week. We are having a lot of rain and storms. With love

  9. Hello Annabel, great thought provoking post as usual. It seems everyone agrees that one of the ways to a mans heart is via the stomach. Kelsey the move to the ranch sounds good, bet that lovely pantry cupboard has a new spot already. Rachel the socks look beautiful and classy. Vicky love the sound of the manly quilts and Jane there are loads of great ideas there. My man really can't stomach wearing a scarf, he says he hates it dangling around and I thought today, I could make him a particular type, i'm sure it has a name and I've seen them at skiing shops. Basically it's a ring, no loose ends, you just pop it over the head and it nestles around the neck. I'll give it a go in soft fleecy.
    Some food for thought here. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona, I think this version of a scarf could be a success. I like them and think they look good too!
      Thank you for commenting on the suggestions so far. We are really building an amazing list! With lots of love

  10. A lovely gift for Daddies and Grandpas is a picture frame that the kids decorated, of course with a special picture inside. I would purchase a simple wooden or cardboard frame at the craft store and paint it an appropriate solid color. Then I'd help the children dip ONE fingertip in coordinating paint to make dots on the frame, perhaps using a different color of dot for each (grand)child. The resulting frame looked nice but was also special and personalized from the children, who were terribly proud to have helped.
    But I agree that food is a winner if you know what the recipient likes!
    Blessings, Leigh

  11. I make flannel sleep pants for my sons each year. I have done this since they were about 4 and 8 years old. they are now 30 and 34. If they don't have new ones under the tree, they ask what happened? Also, for Christmas, I have given my boys a Christmas ornament each year. sometimes hand made, sometimes not. The theory, was when they left home they would take their ornaments with them, and then have the decorations for a nice tree.

    1. Dear Nancy, I love your sleep pants idea. Also I could do that as I have made ones for the girls and it is sewing I can manage. We have a brand here that sells sleep pants in lovely prints and patterns. They are expensive! So this is a really good gift for any age! Thank you! With love

  12. Dear Annabel,

    -- Golf towels are simple to embellish or monogram. Add a grommet to a hand towel and presto! A golf towel! Choose dark colors of terricloth. My husband likes black and brown. Easy to wash up.
    -- Like you said, my husband loves his own blanket to nap under on the sofa. What a treat! He feels loved under it!
    -- Don't forget book-loving men! Some titles he's been wanting might be found at the thrift store in excellent condition. Make an appropriate bookmark ("THE GREATEST HUSBAND ON EARTH") and something yummy to eat and you've got a fabulous gift.
    -- My husband loves plain white handkerchiefs with his initials monogrammed small in one corner. Save the old ones and make Christmas heart-shaped ornaments out of them for the children. My girls love their daddy's hanky ornaments.
    -- Ornaments and baby boy quilts can be lovingly constructed from Dad's old shirts, too. When the collar and underarms are too far gone, I butcher the shirts for other uses.
    -- For the man who polishes his shoes often, supplies for his kit are thoughtful.
    -- Favorite writing pens are nice. My husband just replaced his the other day. Refills for them are a great gift.
    -- My girls made a gift for their dad that he loves. They wrote on slips of colorful paper all the reasons why they love and appreciate him. This is a husband, grandfather, father, pastor, teacher, etc. gift idea that keeps on giving. Put the slips in a recycled jar you decorated somehow. There's not enough money that could purchase such a wonderful gift as this.


    1. Dear Kelley,
      Thank you for your fantastic suggestions. I think the handkerchiefs are in my future. After Mum suggested deers I thought yes Im doing that!
      I hope your move has gone well! Thank you so much for all these ideas they are really good.
      And I love that little children are so proud to have "helped" and that itself is so sweet and important. With love

  13. There are lots of ideas coming forward from everyone thank you one and all.

    I think the fabrics used in anything for a male need to be rugged type ones - thing denim and tartan and as Annabel mentioned leather.

    One thing I have seen for women is a pretty vintage fabric I pad cover, it was made from patchwork pieces and had some lace as well.

    For men a denim patchwork one would work great - you could include some leather as binding or just leave it plain but top stitched along the patchwork pieces to make it more personalised.

    I think food is always a winner - my mother in law taught me how to do sugar coated peanuts but I have seen flavoured ones on pinterest and then there is always 'nuts and bolts'.

    Jane can you please share the recipe and ingredients for the Bay Rum aftershave?

    I have some tartan fabric calling to me to make Christmas Stockings - the one I saw had fur fabric around the top but I think denim, leather or another plain fabric would work just as well and not be as expensive.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      I agree about the fabric needing to be right. And personal. My Dad for instance pretty much only wears green or brown. And that is it. Andy pretty much only wears black, blue or burgundy. That is it! lol But also pattern. Neither would wear anything even slightly girlie in a fit. Tartan might be acceptable. Maybe. Where as for little boys trucks, trains, etc might be nice according to their interests.
      Sugar coated peanuts sound good. I am following up some I saw on pinterest done in a crockpot.
      I have asked Jane also about that recipe! I think it sounds fantastic! I am thinking to save rustic looking bottles.
      Thanks for your ideas Lynette. We have all built quite a list and I now have some new ideas up my sleeve. It has been so helpful! With lots of love

  14. Apologies as I have not read the comments because I can't hold the laptop up that long. If this is repeated just don't publish it, Annabel.

    Flat easily posted things:

    Magnetic bookmarks that fold in half, clamping around the page. Pictures and patterns personalised to the recipient.

    Leather mug holders. Like the more 'girlie' knitted ones so that your hand can be warmed without being burnt. Super easy to make a leather version of these for men. Or can/bottle holders.

    1. Dear Lorax,
      Thank you as I know its not so easy for you just now. I am liking the leather cup covers as often I wrap a paper towel around the mug that goes full of coffee with Andy in the morning. It gets really hot. Plus this would keep the contents warmer even longer! And all going well I could use left over bits of leather from my notebooks.
      Many thanks! With love

  15. Jane sent me the recipe for the aftershave:
    Hi Annabel,
    The aftershave is a recipe I got from Pinterest and then modified to use up what I had on hand. I'll send the Pinterest link to you later.
    8oz vodka or witch hazel. I used vodka
    8oz Jamaican Spiced Rum. I had home made rum and used that instead.
    20-40 drops Bay West Indian essential oil. I got as many of my bay leaves as I could get into the container, I used a large Marcona coffee jar.
    1/4 teaspoon allspice
    1 stick cinnamon
    3 dried whole cloves. I used more because when I tipped the jar up I wasn't being very careful
    zest of 1 orange or 2 limes. I used green lemons as this is what I had
    1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns. Same thing occurred as the cloves.
    1 teaspoon glycerine.1/4-1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract- optional. I loved how it added to the perfume notes.
    All of the above goes into a jar and gets a good shake. It stays in a dark cupboard, minimum 4 weeks, with an occasional shake. Take out strain and bottle.
    I love the smell of bay leaves. I have no idea how they are different from the West Indian Bay, but I loved the smell I ended up with. I didn't have the spiced rum only home distilled variety. My aftershave was in the cupboard for six weeks. It ended up smelling divine.
    Thank you so much Jane! This sounds fantastic! I am going to look for interesting bottles and try and come up with a nice label. thank you! xxx

    All the above goes into a jar and gets a good shake. It stays in a dark cupboard, minimum 4 weeks, with an occasional shake. Take out, strain and bottle.

    I love the smell of bay leaves. I have no idea how they are different to west indian bay, but I loved the smell I ended up with. I didn't have the spiced rum only home distilled variety. My aftershave was in the cupboard for 6 weeks. It ended up smelling divine!

    1. Update: printable labels for this aftershave are available at "Bay Rum Aftershave Recipe"

  16. Our men love heat bags. Made from rice or wheat in suitable men's coloured fabric. Always goes down well with either hot chocolate or coffee sachets and a nice mug. We fight over heat bags here.
    Love your foodie ideas

    1. Dear Mel, Thank you! Good suggestion! I love heat bags so much myself. And also... coffee or hot chocolate kits would be amazing and especially in this current weather! I think we are going to float away pretty soon at this rate!
      Thanks so much! With love

  17. There are so many good ideas on here for presents. I love the presentation of your gifts. You always present so beautifully, Annabel. They are gorgeous and I bet the men love them. I did a photo collage for my DH this year,and wrote reasons why he is such a great dad and husband. He loved it. My grandmother crocheted a little bear for my son that wears the football guernsey of the team my husband follows. It's very cute. We are looking at making him a town mat next out of calico and felt. My Dad loved his beach towel that had a sewn in velcro pocket in the corner for his glasses etc. And for Dad's birthday this year I surprised him with a beach bbq breakfast (the table was all set) and a thermos full of hot coffee. He loved it. Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Thank you for your ideas! They are all really thoughtful. I love the little bears footie jumper and your beach BBQ for your Dad!
      The reasons your husband is a good Dad would have blessed his heart. I think that is beautiful.
      Have a great weekend Bridge! with love

  18. Dear Annabel, I apologise for being late to comment, I have tried a couple of times but gave been too tired and or sore to finish my comment and publish it!.
    I love all the ideas so far and I have a few I have used.
    I made Rob ( my late partner ) a huge disk of dark chocolate ( done in a cake tin ) with glacé cherries and nuts on top one year for Valentine's Day or his birthday ( sorry cannot remember which as they are/ were close together. He loved it, I wrapped n cellophane tied with ribbons , it really was appreciated.
    Also , I gave my dad a football shaped money box one year it was a rugby league one based on our favourite footy team and came as an Easter pack. I bought it on special after Easter and saved the money box until dad loved it as he saves his change. Another idea is the covered/ decorated notebooks ( sorry if these have been mentioned) . I gave one to a man recently and he loved it ( Annabel has a photo I think) .
    Homemade vouchers also went down well with Rob, things like , a coffee at the shops bought by barb valid until.... , unlimited hugs was another voucher I made. Other voucher ideas could be , your favourite meal cooked and cleaned up by me , especially if the man loves your cooking. This idea is almost limitless, for a single dad ( or mum for ladies) you could give them a voucher for two hours of free baby sitting or cleaning etc ( done by you) . Anyway these are just a few things I thought of. Have a great weekend Annabel and everyone. I look forward to trying out some of the ideas for my Dad and brother in law. With love Barb W

    1. Dear Barb,
      I love your idea of the chocolate and cherries! This would have looked spectacular!
      Thank you for your ideas Barb. I saw your notebook and it looked really good.
      Have a very good and warm weekend! It is the weather for staying in! With lots of love

  19. Dear Annabel,

    A while ago I asked my hubby to make a list of yummy homemade treats he liked, so I use this a a go-to when making gifts for him! Some things on the list are caramel popcorn, fudge, hot chocolate mix and anything chocolate really because he has a sweet tooth. I have made up slabs of fudge with condensed milk, topped it with chopped nuts and cut it into squares and wrapped in cellophane for my FIL. I've also made beard oil which can be quite expensive to buy but there are lots of recipes for online and hubbys fave hand made gift was a heat pack I made with textured black fabric from my stash. Funny you mentioned the giant freckle, someone on my IG made one recently and used a plastic plate as a mould which I thought was ingenius! I'll make some for Xmas gifts, I think. A friend of mine makes notebook covers from fabric and one had this foam cover which looked just like leather, she said it was from the craft section from Kmart xx


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