Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Know What Boys Want

Thank you all so much for the anniversary wishes. We did the traditional anniversary things--hung around the house and then drove two hours to see friends and watch baseball. You can read about it here and here.

I'm happy that people found the list of man gifts useful, if even just for a laugh. I can’t believe I forgot the link to the daddy caddy in the list, however. These are those things that you give to your brother-in-law to put over his favorite armchair to hold the remote and his reading glasses. You know, if your sister-in-law will let you…

When I was looking for boy items, I found directions to decorate a shot glass with polymer clay.

And this link to a list of man-gifts at getcrafty got left out somehow.
I know! How could that list have been incomplete!

Searching around for crafts to make for boys had its highs and lows.

Here’s a high point: a little video of “boys” using a glue gun. Why are they so dumb? Is it genetic, linked to the Y chromosome? I’m pretty sure this is one of those times when the phrase “alcohol may have been a contributing factor” is appropriate.

So this question that we are asking is one that plagues us all. It is asked at Whip Up, SuperNaturale, and a flickr group. (Visit the latter and you will see some very adorable things for infants and younger boys, mostly sewing—appliqué, aprons, clothes, and bags. They yearn for the gifts for teenagers, and I know someday I shall too.)

So, while you're sewing, how about costumes? Very young ones love dressing up. I love how they like to go out of doors dressed in their Spider Man pajamas, or, you know like my nieces who once wore their rain coats, rain boots, and carried their umbrellas to the movies when it was 85 and gloriously sunny. My nephews are totally into pirates. I was thinking, what better thing to do than arm them? I wonder if you can get a wooden sword in the wood section at AC Moore. Paint the blade metallic silver and add jewels to the handle. How cool would that be?! But my sil’s will probably kill me. You could get a “pirate hat” and attach Captain Jack-style braids made from doll hair that you have beaded. Yay! A beading project you can make for boys.
Or, to hell with it all, I can just get them some 18th C handcuffs and let them have at it. (Did I ever tell you that my oldest niece use to call them “handcups” and she would make them out of rubber bands? “Let me put my handcups on you.” When you are so adorable, how do you even know what handcuffs are?)

But back to the costumes: It’s a known fact that every superhero needs a cape. That can’t be that hard to sew. And you could add a monogram to make it special. With the recent release of the Harry Potter movie and the anticipated last book, I think you could sew robes or knit the scarf. Just find out what house is appropriate. I’m also going to recommend looking at the pattern catalogs to see what reminds you of your favorite little boy.

Appliqués: there were a lot of appliquéd onesies, t-shirts, and sweatshirts in my research--especially on the flickr site. You could do this with all kinds of fabric, but I’ve got pirates on the brain. You can find pirate fabric: here, here, here, and here. Here’s another set of appliques just because they’re so cute.

I also saw pajama style pants for day and night. Tie-dye t-shirts are another easy and fun craft project.

We know from Barbara that her boys dig the bags. (Okay, am I making that up? I can't find it on her blog now that I need it!) I wonder what age boys have to be before they stop carrying things in handmade bags? (I’ll never forget the time, very early in our relationship, when the dude was going to carry his shit on an airplane in a plastic grocery sack. The horror, the shame! Fortunately, my dad is always getting swag in small duffle bags. And the break-up crisis was narrowly averted. But I digress.)

Encourage savings.
A hacky sack!
Hand puppets, more puppets, and more.

Flipping through some of my craft books led me to decorating a cork board. You could use one of those pirate fabrics to do something like this. Or you could glue on a foam or felt design--sports, dinosaur, dragon, whatever he's into (I saw this recommendation in a book; unfortunately no link).

We don’t normally think of giving boys bath soaps, but how could these cookies not entice them into the tub? Or soap with spiders, because boys are the dirtiest things on the planet.

Make a scrapbook, a day in the life of [your relationship to the kid] [your name]. I’m pretty sure that Uncle Dude is much more interesting to them than I am. So we could take a photo of him leaving for work, getting on the bus, getting on the el, walking around campus, etc. so they can connect with their uncle who lives 3000 miles away. Sorry, no link—I just thought of that!

I also once had to write a story book for a friend’s baby shower. I based it on “Good Night Moon” and had the little one saying good night to different landmarks in San Francisco (where she was born). You could write a little storybook and illustrate it with stickers, photos, recycled magazines, or your own drawings. I know, a lot of this is for little kids, but my favorite boys are all under six.

I also found some really cute things that cost way too much: this travel art set, this checker set, and this tent. All would be easy enough to replicate with scrap fabric and your own contents for way less than those prices! I did have trouble finding instructions for a tent.

Also, looking at some stuffed "monsters" gave me inspiration: you could recycle felted sweaters (felt is easier to sew) but add another dimension—a la Mr. Potato Head or Dapper Dan. Make them interactive by adding things you can Velcro on (easy to do because you only need the hook side—the felted sweater will be the loop) or add zippers, strings, buckles, etc. Man I am just on fire today!

Use fleece to make things—blankets, scarves, hats, or pillows. Check out the selection of fleece here; great stuff for boys and men: camo, plaid, John Deere (which is my youngest niece’s favorite thing, so I’ll have to make something with this!), sports, animals, and happy dogs.

If all else fails, buy them a gift card and stick it in one of these.

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