Framin’ for the Man

Do you know how impossibly impossible it is to inexpensively decorate a man’s apartment? It’s impossibly impossible. Really. For us ladies, adorn the ceilings and walls with bunting, giant paper flowers, twinkle lights, cut outs from magazines arranged in a framed collage, and you’ve got wall-art for pennies. But a guy? Nope. To be masculine is really rather expensive. You have to have real wood, and metal, and other horrid things that make lots and lots of dollar signs…Untilllll I found this fabulous fabric that looks like architectural plans. I decided once framed it would look so sleek, classy, and masculine and I could deck a sad, blank, white wall in inexpensive  fabulous, manly glory. I didn’t have a chance to hang all the frames up because I was anxiously wanting to do this post, but you get the idea from this single guy, and I promise to send an update this way once they’re gracing the wall in full splendor:

vintage framed fabric

Goodwill is a mecca for inexpensive frames, I bought 12, 8″ by 10″ wooden frames at $2.00 each. With matting cut from $0.69 a sheet scrapbook paper, spray-paint, spray-adhesive, and half a yard of my fabric, I’m going to end up spending $3.90 per frame ($47 total) for each of the 12 frames andddd I get an entire wall of super chic, masculine wall art. diy wall art

diy framing

Framing is so absurdly expensive and it’s so easy to do it yourself I don’t know why more people don’t. I’m really happy with how they turned out. You’d never guess they had some rather humble beginnings in the fabric store and Goodwill. Now, they just look simply vintage and manly chic. That’s some pretty great framin’ for the man:
diy vintage framing

DSC_0343

– <3 A. 

Other Manly Vintage Things: 

 DSC_0598  DSC_0521   bingley style

   DIY Cohiba Cigar Tray     Mr. Darcy Gunfire Cocktail      Vintage Muse: For Him

Plain Jane

ardentlyPlain Jane: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

-Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice

Perhaps one of the most famous first lines of a novel, this “universal truth” has indeed continued to be quite universal: I think the producers of the “Bachelor” could be accused of copying Jane’s idea. Although, I’m sure Jane never saw that result of her “universal truth” coming.

Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes have not changed, but one word from you will silence me forever. If, however, your feelings have changed, I would have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love… I love… I love you. And I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.”

Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice 

Jane sure knew what a good proposal sounded like, perhaps that’s why she never married, she could always top the proposals of the men proposing to her, and, lets face it, what woman wants that? Mr. Darcy has not one but two knee-melting propositions to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice and at last, number two did the trick.

Men of Austen Week: Knightley’s DIY Cigar Tray

diy masculine coffee table tray

George Knightley, the hero of Austen’s most humorous novel, Emma, is the perfect mixture of wisdom, maturity, kindness, and fun-loving cheerfulness. For anyone who said love cannot spring from friendship, look no further than Emma’s relationship with Mr. Knightley and you will see enough evidence to prove otherwise. Knightley is often considered to be Jane’s most obvious spokesperson in her novels, often making social commentary on, and acting as a sort of moral compass for, the small town of Highbury, a village that represents a microcosm of the flaws and failings that Jane saw in the British class system. I decided my DIY Cohiba Cigar tray was a perfect match for Mr. Knightley. He is far more approachable than Darcy, yet not as jolly as Bingley, and I could definitely see him finding some humor in using otherwise unusable, empty cigar boxes in an unexpected, sophisticated, yet fun, way.

DIY cohiba cigar tray

diy masculine coffee table tray

You will need:

  1. Clear resin or apoxy. The amount really depends on the size of your tray, read the bottle to see how much volume the bottles will fill. The tray I used was 16X9 and I needed two, 32 oz. bottles. 
  2. Tray: the style and type is totally up to you. I do recommend getting a tray without handles, otherwise you will have to stop the resin from rising up to the level of the handle-holes and pouring out of them. I didn’t realize this (duh) until I started pouring the resin and I had quite the mess on my hands! **pier one has a lot of online sales for some great trays** If you can’t find one without handles, stuff some styrofoam into the holes while you’re pouring the resin in.
  3. Cohiba, metal cigar boxes. The number of boxes will depend on how big your tray is. I needed six for mine.

diy cohiba coffee table tray

  1. Super-glue the cigar boxes to the bottom of the tray. If you don’t, once you pour the resin in, the boxes will start to float.
  2. Mix clear resin according to the directions and pour over the boxes. **when I poured the resin in, I didn’t anticipate the resin seeping into the empty boxes and I had to go get more resin in order to have enough to completely cover the boxes. Over-estimate a little bit how much resin you’ll need**

And that’s it! Let it dry over-night and you’ll have a tray fit for even the best men of Highbury.

diy coffee table tray

diy coffee table tray

It’s so easy, and it looks so masculine on a coffee table, a table centerpiece, or as a bedside, catch-all tray. Also, the resin makes a very cleanable surface that’s easy to keep clean no matter where, or how, you’re using it. Perhaps if Emma had thought of a Cohiba cigar tray, Mr. Knightley never would have uttered his famous, and painful line, “badly done, Emma!” But then, I guess we’ll never know about that. 

– <3 A.

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Plain Jane

jane austen sketch via mollands.netPlain Jane: “There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do if he chooses, and that is his duty; not by manoeuvring and finessing, but by vigour and resolution.”

-Jane Austen’s Mr. Knightley in Emma

Second only to Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley is probably Jane’s most beloved gentleman. And, if her heroines are meant to be a guide for the do’s and don’ts of being a lady, then Mr. Knightley is chock full of wisdom about the do’s and don’ts of being a man.

Men of Austen Week: Bingley Stylin’

Sadly, poor Charles Bingley of Pride and Prejudice can’t get out of his wing-man label to the overpowering personality of Mr. Darcy. Often said to be too yielding, Bingley is forever playing second fiddle to the wealthier, more mysterious, and more attractive Mr. Darcy. Take Darcy out of the equation though, and you suddenly see quite the stylish guy. Bingley, though a very eligible bachelor, never gets the celeb-status like the other Men of Austen. Perhaps because he is too agreeable, too charming, and too good, Austen leaves him be. Since he never gets the credit I think he deserves, I decided a post dedicated to him would be just the thing to say, “Bingley, you’ve got some serious style.” 

bingley style pride and prejudice

Chesterfield men’s coat from uniqlo | Monogram tie clip and cufflink | Florsheim Boots | darcy and bingley print

Besides giving him a little more publicity, I was too intimidated to figure out a modern view on Darcy, Knightley, or Colonel Brandon’s style. Those guys can take care of themselves. Getting man-gifts is one of the most difficult things in the world. Surprisingly, they’re extremely picky, and whether their style is a good one or not, they’re loathe to give it up. When I near the birthday/Christmas seasons for my guy, I always teeter paralyzed between “he would love this, or, he would hate this,” and I’m never completely assured of its success. Bingley is so content and jolly though, I think shopping for this guy would be a breeze.

When I am in the country, I never wish to leave it; and when I am in town, it is pretty much the same. They have each their advantages, and I can be equally happy in either! -Charles Bingley, Pride and Prejudice

**Want to know more about the Chesterfield coat I picked? Check out this article for lots of great info on men’s outerwear.**

shaving supplies edwin jagger black PORCELAIN shave bowl | Parker chrome and enamel vintage safety razor | Col. cronk shave soap in bay rum

There’s nothing vintage or modern about a good shave. Universally, no matter what the era, a good shave is a good thing. Recently though, there’s been a resurgence of men wanting to shave away their stubble the old-fashioned way. If your guy isn’t quite ready for the Sweeney Todd-esque straight razor, the safety razor is a good second option. Plus, you still get to use the old fashioned shaving bowl and frothy soap without the worry of  scary, too-close-for-comfort-cuts. If you’re already suffering from those cuts, check out this article for some tips on healing or this one  for tips on how to get a better close neck-shave without the ouchies.

If you’re stuck on man-gift ideas, don’t forget Bingley! He’s got some great stylin’ that still works in 2013. Classy men are always classy, regardless of the century.

– <3 A. 

quote source: Pride and Prejudice, Austen, publ. by penguin books

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Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “I am sure I never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time, without being informed that she was very accomplished.”

-Jane Austen’s Mr. Bingley in Pride and Prejudice

Wouldn’t knowing Charles Bingley be such an ego-trip for us ladies? Though never thought of as a leading man, Bingley holds a special place in my love for the Men of Austen. I think Jane may have been particularly fond of this character too, why else would she make her namesake, Jane Bennet, fall in love with him?

Men of Austen Week: The Darcy Cocktail

Mr Darcy inspired cocktail

I don’t know a thing that could kick me out of my Monday blues like a little Darcy-talk can, so, I’m starting the “Men of Austen Week” off with my favorite of the Austen guys: Fitzwilliam Darcy. Arguably one of the most-beloved male literary personalities of all time that only gained the adoration of more female hearts when Colin Firth stepped into the role for the 1995 film version of the novel, Mr. Darcy is unsurpassed for his feminine adoration. When I was brainstorming for this week, I was trying to figure out what post to attach to which Austen man. When I came across Angel Adoree’s “manly” cocktail in my Vintage Tea Party Book, called “Gunfire,” I knew I had to give it a try just in case Mr. Darcy ever came for drinks:

cocktail recipe

Dark rum, breakfast tea, and orange zest, Angel Adoree is a genius! Like I said in the directions, caster sugar is what the British call fine, baking sugar, so don’t go searching for something that says “caster sugar,” just pop in a little fine sugar and you’re good. When I served the drink, I decided I steeped the tea a tad too long because it had a slight bitter taste to it. Besides that though, I had this recipe man-tested and man-approved so you’re safe to serve this to the Darcy’s in your own life!

Jane Austen is said to be a “parlor-room” novelist because many of her crucial scenes where characters exchange conversations that alter the course of the novel are spoken in a parlor room. What is more appropriate then, for the King of the parlor rooms himself, Mr. Darcy? A little tea mixed with a little dark rum and you’re well on your way to entertaining even the manliest men at your tea-party.

rum and tea cocktail

mr darcy inspired cocktail

rum and tea cocktail

I think this drink does even the ultimate sophisticate, Darcy, enough credit. I think he would find it more than tolerable, and just handsome enough to tempt even he into a sip. Stick around for the rest of the Men of Austen week, I started out with my favorite Austen man, but there’s still lots to come that I’m excited to share. Happy new week!

– <3 A. 

original recipe source via

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vintage new years drink recipe nytimes article men of austen

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Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.”

-Jane Austen’s ‘Mr. Darcy’ in Pride and Prejudice

It’s the first day of the Men of Austen Week! I couldn’t resist beginning it with this quote, and this man: Mr. Darcy. A character who perhaps possesses the most romantic lines in all of literature, Mr. Darcy stops short of being an empty, “too-good-to-be-true” character by also being characterized by real, human failings that make him both lovable and real. Jane, despite never giving her heart to anyone, definitely knew what the female heart was tender for.

Plain Jane

jane austen sketchPlain Jane: “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

-Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice 

It is of course Jane’s character Mr. Darcy who says these words about his love for Elizabeth. I think the best sorts of love are the ones you find yourself in the middle of without seeking out the beginning of it. Darcy and Elizabeth didn’t try and make anything work, it suddenly just did when they both recognized their own failings were so much greater than the flaws they thought they saw in each other, and they loved each other all the more for having been loved through their own shortcomings. I think modern love could learn quite a bit from Jane Austen, despite her romance and fiction, there’s a whole lot of real emotion and real character flaws that her characters learn to love, and live, very happily with.