Tag Archives: for men

Ask Thriftfulness: Show Me Love

9 Feb

Q: Dear Annie, what’s a sentimental crafty little gift I can give my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day?

Smitten in the Mitten,


A: Hiya Jordan. Ain’t love grand? You’re probably so twitterpated you can’t stop staring into Mr. Wonderful’s eyes (aka: SOUL) long enough to get out to the store and buy tokens of affection. This is a good thing for two reasons: 1. You shouldn’t drive and stare at your lover at the same time, it’s dangerous. 2. Who needs storebought crappy pap like M&Ms with pictures of your face on them (creepy) and pink bubble bath (that in the words of my sister, “will make your butt itch”) when you’ve got ME to come up with swell homespun ideas for you?

So here’s some gift advice for all you lovers out there:


 A cute n’easy way to say “I love you” or “I really like you” or “You’re ok” is to personalize a children’s book that is about love or Valentine’s Day– just a short little cute one that relates to you guys as a couple. Purchase it (this step is important because you’re going to vandalize it) and then write personal notes on some of the pages. I’ve done this with several boyfriends, and only most of them ended up dumping me. And almost none of them hated the gift because it revealed them to be illiterate.

2. Another take on this is to make a  Have You Seen My Heart Valentine. Take a kid’s/coloring/sticker book (preferably one that is Valentine’s themed) and “hide” heart stickers in different places on the pages: like under a table, in a tree, etc. Throughout the book, you can write “Have you seen my heart?” “Is it inside the stove?” “Is it…” and on the last page, “Oh! YOU have my heart!”  It’s cheesy, but, c’mon, it’s Valentines Day. And it’s a great way to let someone in a new relationship know you’ve fallen for them without actually working up the nerve to tell them you’ve fallen for them.


What about DIY scratch-off lottery tickets? You can make them with silver paint and dish soap (I’ve never done it but I want to) and write little love notes that your lovah can scratch off. Dollar Store Crafts has a great tutorial. Make the notes he/she/he-she reveals sweet (“You’ve won 5 million KISSES Schmoopy!”) or saucy (“I’m wearing scratch off underwear too”) or political (“Stop buying lottery tickets, it’s a ploy by the government to get you to believe in false hopes, ask Kanye”).


 If you want to go more on the naughty side of Valentine’s Day, you could make a Do Not Disturb doorknob sign…You could even set your house up like a hotel and make your sweetheart leave money on the dresser. Just for kicks.


 Chocolates have “been done” on Valentine’s Day, but I found a post on Nifty Thrifty Things for how to make your own Baileys, which would be delicious! Find a roaring fireplace or television that’s warm from being on so long and cuddle up with your homemade brew and your sweetheart. Sounds delightful.

Well, Jordan, I wish you and yours a lovely V-day. Let me know what you end up doing, unless it’s dirty.

Here’s a video for those of you who read the title of this post and got excited about seeing the “Show Me Love” video by Robyn and just scrolled to the end. I don’t dissappoint.


Ask Thriftfulness: Is there such a thing as Comic-Con Chic?

26 Feb

Carrie with a query:

Q: I am a crafty design-lover in need of a creative and diplomatic home solution on the cheap!  I am excited to be moving in with my boyfriend of one and a half years and as we prepare to merge our respective apartments I have run into a tricky dilemma.  I have a deep love of antique thrifted furniture, books, hand-drawn illustrated art, and bright colors.  The focal point of my sweet, geeky, Mac IT specialist boyfriend’s apartment is a hunter green microsuede couch that he proudly purchased at a contemporary furniture emporium.

I fell head over heels for him the day we met, so you could see why I want to make room for both of us in this new home we are creating together.  How can I display his quirky collection of Comic-Con worthy knick knacks that include a few small Japanese-inspired stuffed animals, action figures, a toy rocket, Star Wars Lego ships, and a couple of other things I can’t even put a name to.  Rather than demand he pitch his goofy collection I’m trying to be a good girlfriend and find a creative, delicious design solution.  Any thoughts?

Fell for a Nerd

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Ask Thriftfulness: Minimalist BF Maximizes Frustration

8 Feb

Angie from Detroit wrote in with this little quandry:

Q: Dear Thriftfulness,
I am a crafty, thrifty, saves everything chica like yourself and like to give handmade gifts. But my boyfriend is a total minimalist. He doesn’t like accumulating “stuff” and pretty much considers everything but the clothes on his back and his iPhone clutter. The only thing he really collects is gadgets, but I can’t afford any of the stuff he likes. Boys have such expensive taste! Now his birthday is coming up and I have no idea what to get him. Help!

Dumbfounded in Detroit

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Chin Up: Remembering Jack LaLanne’s Achievements by: the Laziest Jack LaLanne Fan Ever

25 Jan

Despite the fact that I almost never exercise, don’t know how to swim, and had a 2-year craving for french fries which I ALWAYS satisfied, I somehow managed to become a fan of bodybuilder, tv host, and power-juicer Jack LaLanne, who passed yesterday at 96 years of age.

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The 12 Relatives of Christmas (and what to give them)

22 Dec

Robert Downey Jr. described families best in one of my favorite movies, Home For The Holidays:

“You’re a pain in my ass. You have bad hair. But I like you a lot.”

Our relatives are “eccentric”, but we love them and we’d like to make them happy this holiday season. Here’s a list of quick and cheap (and last minute!)  gift ideas for that bat s@%! crazy group of people we call family:

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Paper Bag Writer: TV Lunches

16 Sep

When I was wee, I usually spent my early autumn evenings getting kicked out of the various rooms in my home for various annoying-little-sister atrocities like singing, whining, “I’m telling”, etc. I’d be exiled from both bedrooms where my three older sisters were practicing their marching band instruments, talking on the phone, or dying each other’s hair. Banned from the back porch where my brother constructed intricate Lego metropolises. And shooed out of the dining room so that my father could pay bills without being serenaded with a Patti LaBelle medley or a scene from Gypsy (because it’s weird to have your daughter sing to you in the voice of a vaudeville stripper).

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Man Gift Series: Sam Malone’s Bar Tray

29 Dec

Holiday parties are wrapping up and your bank account and creativity brain cells have all been emptied coming up with awesome family gift ideas and a new spin on chip dip for the Office Holiday Potluck (don’t worry, their standards are low since you’ve been bringing cups and napkins the past two years). Then, just as you’re sitting down to relax and reflect on your year, it creeps up on you: you forgot to get someone a present. Maybe you accidentally skipped your brother-in-law, forgot about your hairdresser, or received an unexpected gift from the guy that lives across the hall and feel obligated to reciprocate. But your joyful giving spirit has departed and now you’re scrambling through your closet trying to find a board game without missing pieces that you can wrap up. This is where I come in.

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“Those Aren’t Pillows”: Holiday Traveling

25 Nov

Planes, trains, and automobiles. Hotels, fold-out couches, and old childhood bedrooms. The packing. The traffic. The forgetting of really really important things. And the preparation for questions about just what exactly it is you’re doing with your life. Home is where the heart is but getting back there is a pain in the ass. Did I just make that up? Well, color me Dorothy Parker!

Anyone who finds themselves muttering, “Six bucks and my right nut says we’re not landing in Chicago” or “We’d have more luck playing pick-up sticks with our butt cheeks than getting a flight out of here” knows the pain of holiday travel. That’s why this year, I’m going to make things a little easier on my loved ones far away by sending along homemade packing checklists and mixed CDs. It may not make the flight less expensive or the trucker that’s riding their ass less ass-riderly, but I’m hoping that after some stress free packing and holiday tune jamming, they’ll be a bit more jolly by the time they make it to me. I don’t put up with party poopers.

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Man Gift Series: Jack Arnold’s Journal

9 Nov

For Man ThoughtsHalf the time I’m asked advice about gift giving (and by half I mean 1 of the 2 times I was asked advice about gift giving before I decided I was an expert on it and started a blog) the question is, What can I give to the men in my life? There just aren’t as many ideas out there for the fellas: Ties? Dress socks? BBQ equipment? And making a craft to give to a man only makes things more difficult: Bedazzled tie clip? Fuzzy knitted dress socks? Beaded BBQ tong charms?

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B & E is for Lovers

8 Sep

So, the CD player for my car is in the trunk which stinks because I don’t remember to put new music in and then I have to listen to same Beyonce mix or the same Dolly Parton song or the same “sad bastard” music I was in the mood to listen to last week but now find annoying.

Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, if I had someone to carry out this task for me? Wouldn’t it feel lovely to rush out of the house all flustered and tired and out of coffee and late and then to start my car and have “Rise and Shine” by the Cardigans playing? Or better yet, after work, even more tired and flustered and coffee-maxed and getting in and hearing “Obvious Child” by Paul Simon? This is what got me thinking that leaving a great song for someone to hear while they drive would be a stupendous way to show you care.

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