I do not make things for Paul very often because it is hard to fashion iTunes Gift Certificates or bike pumps by hand. I have tried to buy him handmade things-- like very sweet resin belt buckles that Cathy used to (still?) make or awesome art from Sarah. Still, it is not the same and since I do not knit (which is a skill treasure trove for man things) I have had to think long and hard about things that he loves and that he will use. Take lunch for instance. That boy looooves lunch. At his old job he used to spend the entire first half of the shift thinking about eating it and the entire second half thinking about what he was going to make to bring the next day.
So I bough him a Tiffin and made him a bag with a pocket for utensils and enough room in the top for whatever else he might like to take. It has a loop on the side for a caribeener to attach it to the outside of his bike bag and it is lined with terry towelling so the stainless doesn't get banged around. The black and grey skull fabric is an Alexander Henry medium weight cotton. Everything is cotton actually-- I thought I pushed it into girlie territory with the dots, but he has assured me that he's just fine with it.
To make such a bag, I drew a circle an inch bigger around than the actual carrier. Then I measured around the circumference of the circle with my measuring tape adding extra for seam allowances. I sewed the outer tube and marked it off in quarters to be able to pin it on evenly to the circle. The nice thing about attaching things to circles is that you can ease in bits that are too short or too long and you'll end up fine in the end.
The innards were exactly the same except that I made the tube shorter so that when I attached the two together (sewing right sides together around the top, leaving a hole for which to turn it right back out) the outer fabric got pushed down inside making it easy to sew a channel for the drawstring. The drawstring is made out of skinny elastic so that the top of the carrier is always a little closed.
You cannot microwave the lunch carrier, but he keeps a washed bowl at work in case he needs to nuke anything. For the most part, he has to eat in 10 minutes or less, so it's not much of an issues.
I think he is happy and I'm pretty sure he's started mapping out his dream lunches for next week or he's at least been thinking about how cool he's going to look in the Teacher's lounge. It's the little things, People.