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Posts Tagged ‘Gifts’

A new year and a new “improved” calendar

12 Jan

Gentleman bearJust like last year, I chose a $1 calendar to revamp for my brother’s Christmas present. This is a great personalized gift for anyone who shares your sense of humor.

All you need is a calendar, a few Sharpies, and enough free time to do justice to your concepts. As you’ll see, talent for drawing is truly optional.

For 2012, I chose a “Baby Animals” calendar, which will be hard to top in the future for sickly sappiness and satirical potential. I don’t know the precise target market for “Baby Animals,” but it’s somewhere between childless spinsters and tasteless grandmoms.

I still paid only $1, and yet this year’s calendar was thick enough that my Sharpie marks did not bleed through to the other side, saving me the trouble of resurfacing the monthly pages like last year. Perhaps the Dollar Tree’s $1 calendars are superior to Target’s $1 calendars. Should I do a side-by-side test next year?

Polar-bears-slainRaccoon Rampage

If your calendar does bleed through, double down on your $1 investment and paste over your calendar pages with the duplicates from the new, untouched copy. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

“Improve” and personalize your new calendar

18 Jan

Improving a Calendar - cover

It’s the start of a new year, so chances are you have put up a new calendar somewhere in your home that has a different picture for each month. Cheapskates like me may have noticed that classy-looking calendars often cost $12 or more, which can translate to $1 or more per page. Sure, there are calendars at Dollar Tree or Target that are as cheap as a buck, but let’s be fair: these are awful, ugly, and cheaply-made. Inexpensive calendars usually aim for the lamentably narrow range between “landscapes” and “cute animals” (leading also to the obvious combination of “animals in landscapes”). They tell you the days of the month, of course, but they don’t make any statement or add much to the room.

Here’s my suggestion: Buy a cheap calendar and a pack of markers and doodle your way through the pages until you’ve produced something entertaining (no art skills required).  I’ve “improved” a calendar as a Christmas gift for my brother two years running now. These make hilarious gifts for anyone who shares your sense of humor. I’ve included a few months from this year’s evil calendar below. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

A lifetime supply of vanilla extract

02 Jan

Vanilla extract finished bottlesReal vanilla extract usually comes in small bottles at surprisingly hefty prices. I assume the scheming vanilla barons of the world can’t trust us with too much of their delicious extract at one time. I use vanilla extract casually in lots of things (in sodas, ciders, and smoothies, just for starters) and thought it would be a good exercise to make my own. It turns out that you can make a self-replenishing bottle of vanilla extract with just vodka, vanilla beans, and patience.

Vanilla beans may seem exotic, but the magic of the internet puts them right at your fingertips. A quick search finds many online vendors, including Amazon. Vanilla beans can be fairly inexpensive in bulk (under a dollar each), so I bought a large bunch and made a massive batch of vanilla extract for holiday gifts (I didn’t want to post about it before and give away any surprises). Along the way, I’ve ended up with plenty of vanilla extract for my own evil purposes. Read the rest of this entry »