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Coast to Coast Cycle St Bees Head Robin Hoods Bay Route

Coast to Coast Cycle St Bees

The Coast to Coast Cycle St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay Route you take might not exactly reflect the classic Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walking route using the same start and finish points but it will be pretty close. This is largely due to the use of cycleways, roads, tracks and bridleways rather than footpaths but it’s still your choice whether you dip your toes in the sea at both ends.

For example Trailbrakes have a route starting at Ravenglass on the West coast just 16 miles to the south of St Bees itself rather than St Bees to take advantage of different trails. Just remember that all roads out of St Bees are uphill!

Anyway – the fact is that there are loads of different routes so hanging my hat on a particular map is difficult. So I will base this information on the well known Tim Woodcocks version called the Wheelwright’s Coast to Coast. Whilst being an excellent route it does come with a word of warning as it does go over Black Sail Pass, Wasdale Head and Walna Scar Road. Other options could be to go via Scarth Gap Pass, into Honister Pass for example.

Insider Information

The route through the Lakes is very hard going, the North Pennines are moderate, Vale of Mowbray is very easy and the North Yorkshire Moors is moderate.

One option is to follow the Sustrans C2C route to Keswick, then do the Old Coach Road and drop south to Pooley Bridge, then pick up the Wheelwright’s route from there. The Wheelwright’s uses the Tan Hill road from Barra’s, instead of the Nine Standards which after a period of heavy rain is very hard going underfoot and is not impossible on a bike.  Tan Hill Inn is the highest Inn in England and a great spot for a pint. Then the descent into Swaledale exciting to say the least.

How to recognise your achievement

Coast to Coast Cycle St Bees Mountain BikeThe Coast to Coast Cycle St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay Route is a great challenge. I have found all the information in this blog whilst researching the maps and data to enable me to create a picture for a customer. He had completed this route more than 20 years ago and it is still a strong memory for him. He chose the colour of the cycle frame to match the bike he used. My previous bike picture for Coast to Coast Cycle used the Sustrans C2C route which is very popular although the start and finish points are always in some doubt given the multiple variations. I have also produced this using my Tandem Design and the Road Bike Design.

Useful Links

http://www.mbr.co.uk/news/trail_news/mountain-bike-coast-to-coast-365206

https://www.gpsies.com/map.do;jsessionid=7A8A3CF08FA3819097651C26C8EFC1AF.fe1?fileId=ccnsuzselpzfqoyn

https://www.routeyou.com/en-gb/route/view/145385/cycle-route/st-bees-to-robin-hoods-bay

http://www.trailbrakes.co.uk/mtb-holidays/wainwrights-c2c-ravenglass-robin-hoods-bay

https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/sea-to-sea-c2c

http://www.mapmyride.com/sc/victoria-english-river/wainwright-coast-to-coast-cycle-route-3428847

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South Downs Way Cycle Route

south downs way cycleReally useful maps, routes and information for the South Downs Way Cycle Route plus some great ideas. Whilst researching I found lots of references, maps, links and information that would be really useful to anyone looking at having a go at cycling the South Downs Way. These include a South Downs Way Map as well as information about a hardcore 1 day planned charity south downs way cycle challenge for 2018 from The BHF British Heart Foundation. Additional links for this are at the bottom of the page.

South Downs Way Mountain Bike AchievementI was looking for maps I could use for a personalised mountain bike picture for a friend who was planning an adventure to complete the South Downs Way cycle route on a mountain bike. Many people walk it but doing it on a mountain bike is also an option. Most cyclists take 2-4 days to cover the 100 or so miles from Winchester to Eastbourne (you can do it the other way around but many agree that cycling towards the sea rather than away is the better option.) There are other nutters though that aim to do it in just one day. If this is of interest look at this review of how tough the BHF one day challenge really is.

The mainly off-road mountain bike route follows the escarpments and ridges of the South Downs through Hampshire and Sussex with some breathtaking views along the way. The south Downs Way cycle route follows the ancient chalk ridge of the South Downs from Winchester to Eastbourne and the elevated position makes for some stunning views over the Weald to the North and the English Channel to the south. Ancient monuments, nature reserves, sites of special scientific interest and picturesque towns and villages are all there for you to see. The route is shown by blue, plum and red arrows.

Useful Links:

https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/sdw_mtb-guide_2015a.pdf

https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/south-downs-way

https://www.cyclinguk.org/cycle/great-rides-chalk

http://www.bikedowns.co.uk/

https://www.bhf.org.uk/get-involved/events/bike-rides/south-downs-way-off-road-bike-ride

http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/bhf-south-downs-way-100-how-tough/

http://www.trailbreak.co.uk/south-downs-century/

http://www.cxsportive.com/cx-century-the-south-downs-way/

 

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A Personalised Picture makes the Perfect Christmas Gift

personalised christmas gifts

Looking for the Perfect Christmas Gift for him or for her? Go beyond just adding their name to something and be really creative. Use our 5 Pecage steps to produce a personalised handmade picture that will make the perfect Christmas gift for him or for her.

What is a Personalised Perfect Christmas Gift?

perfect christmas giftMost personalised gift offerings just add a name to an existing product, for example, but if you really want to find the perfect Christmas gift idea for someone really important to you then you have to think on another level to create something that reflects deep thought and attention.

If you really want to impress you have to be more creative and think of a personalised Christmas gift idea that no-one else will have thought of. It should convey love, attention and consideration and then it will spark a strong positive emotional reaction in the lucky person receiving their perfect present. It should not be mass produced or a readily available commodity but original, individual and unique. This is why we have created Pecage just in time for Christmas to help your own creative juices do their work.

Simply, Pecage stands for Personalised Elemental Creation (…age is an arty sort of word ending!) and it offers multiple elements that can be personalised in your picture to produce the perfect Christmas gift or a gift for any other occasion such as Birthdays, Anniversaries and beyond. You might choose to just use a few elements or you could go the whole hog!

I am assuming that the person you are choosing the Christmas gift for is very close to you and that you really need to find something that sincerely shows them how you feel.  In all honesty the perfect personalised gift is one that makes both you and the recipient as happy as possible and you will not feel this emotional tie with someone you don’t love very much.

How do I become creative with my personalised Christmas gifts?

To start with; rather than think what you would like to buy you need to think about what they would like to receive. Being creative is not that difficult when you have a set of guidelines to help as we outline below. And don’t worry you don’t have to make anything, we can do all that for you, all you need to do is come up with some creative ideas, using our help, to produce that perfect personalised Christmas gift for him or her.

So forget about spending hours browsing shops this Christmas looking for that perfect gift that you know is not there. I appreciate a lot of people like shopping but nothing is more stressful and frustrating than spending hours looking and finding nothing.

We have all done it, I know I have, spent hours on end and lots of shoe leather traipsing around the shops desperately hoping something is going to jump out at me and shout ‘Perfect Christmas Present’!

It ain’t going to happen. OK you might get lucky but how long is it going to take and there is still no guarantee you will be successful and what do you do then because the special day is approaching? Do you go to another town? Go Online? Ask them what they want?!

No. What you need is a reliable plan.

Not the final idea of course but a reliable set of guidelines to help you completely nail the absolutely perfect personalised Pecage gift for him or her.

 Why 5 Secrets of finding the perfect Christmas gift?

Well, when I thought about it, there are five key things to consider when creating the idea for the perfect personalised Christmas gift. What is important though is that you need to know the recipient well, have inside knowledge or at least be able to get it, have had mutual experiences perhaps or at a stretch can ask subtle questions about what they like without alerting their suspicions.

Clearly this process will require thought, care, effort, knowledge and love.

Pecage Secret#1 – Interests

Perfect Gifts - InterestsSounds obvious I guess but most people have at least one key area of interest that is often very close to their hearts.

This interest might be an animal like their pet dog or cat.  People become very attached to their pets and if, say they have a Labrador, they love Labrador stuff.  This might be particularly appropriate for slightly older friends or relatives but with the trend in toy or small dogs nowadays, for example, people are becoming fanatical about their little pooch and this will lead to considerable interest in anything related to that specific breed.

Or maybe it’s horses for example if they like riding. What about their car or a favourite sport? They might be mad supporters of football or rugby or something else or members of a club for something specific.

They might be enthusiastic cyclists, motor bikers, caravanners or sailors for example. They might walk for pleasure, run, do marathons, triathlons, go to the gym, play tennis,

I can’t list everything of course, but hopefully you get where I am going with this. Basically you will need to get inside the options for the perfect present for your friends or family. Try and focus on a key interest, rather than a ‘sort of’ interest as this will have more impact.

Pecage Secret#2 – Memories & Experiences

Perfect Gifts - Memorable ExperiencesSince running Gecko Designs I have become awakened to just how much impact memories and experiences have on people’s happiness across the age range. For your older relative, have there been stories of cherished memories and experiences? Perhaps they have children who now live away and they don’t see them as often as they would like. Maybe they met at a concert in the 60s and stayed in a VW Camper van on their honeymoon. Anything like that is great fuel for your perfect present workshop.

With younger people though experiences and shared experiences are very powerful images that warrant serious inclusion in the perfect gift thought process. Today life is driven by achievement whether that is having a first child, running a marathon together, the wedding day, going up in a hot air balloon or even buying their first house. These achievements are solid experiences that mean a lot to the person or people involved and are typical ideas that need to be put into the perfect gift melting pot.

Pecage Secret#3 – Preferences

Perfect Gifts - PreferencesThis is where you need to have some pretty good knowledge of the person you are planning the perfect gift for. It can be pretty simple to establish though.  For example if you have visited their house you will see how their home décor is. Is it minimalist, black & white for example. Or homely, country colours like green and brown. Do they love bright colours, pastel or paisley colours and is there a colour theme you can establish?

If this person is your Mum or Dad, for example, you will know all this stuff as you will have been brought up with it but if it is for your Grandparents you might want to ask your parents for some sort of advice about their parents preferences.

Visiting someone’s home is a good way to get ideas for memories and experiences too. Look for photos or pictures that can give you some indications.

Pecage Secret#4 – Locations

Perfect Gifts - LocationsThis is an often forgotten secret pecage element to nailing the perfect gift.  All you have discovered about memories and experiences above had to happen somewhere. It could be that the person you are planning the present for was born in Cape Town, South Africa, or Sherborne in Dorset.  They might have had a memorable holiday with the ‘Girls’ or ‘Lads’ in Ibiza perhaps. They might have taken a year out and travelled around Asia or Australia.

Their most important memory might have been going to and graduating from University, but which one? They might have cycled from Lands’ End to John O’Groats, bungee jumped off a bridge in New Zealand, or run the New York Marathon.

When you think about it everything has to happen SOMEWHERE, and that ‘somewhere’ becomes very important to people and the location becomes a massive part of the visualisation of any memory or experience.

Nearly all the personalised and customised Pecage gifts we create for people have some indication of location, mostly using maps but sometimes words and often the picture image portrays a location too. So don’t forget this crucial pecage element of finding the perfect gift for someone.

Pecage Secret#5 – Unique, Individual & Original

Work with UsThis is where you start to put it all together and your Pecage creation becomes the final product but the main aim is to make sure that your gift is Unique, Individual and Original.  You might be thinking how the hell can I do that?  But never fear there is a way you can create the perfect present and someone can make it for you.

What you need to do now is to bring together all the information you have assembled above, look at the options available and you could be giving a handmade, One-off or limited edition, attractive and extremely poignant gift to your loved one or close friend for their special day.

This is where you have to become a little creative so to help you out I will give you some real examples of actual commissions our customers have asked for to enable them to give that perfect gift.

Examples of actual Personalised Pecage Gifts we have helped our customers create

Josie has five people in her family.

Her, her partner and three children. She also loves elephants and likes the colour red. This was a gift for herself and her partner to decorate their home so she knew what she wanted. At the time we only had designs for 2, 3 and 4 elephants so we created this one to signify the Family of 5 just for her. However, there are more families of five people out there and we have put this unique design on our website.

A couple had a close family friend.

All of them were into skiing and their friend was famous within their group of skiing buddies for skiing down a mountain wrapped in a Union Jack. His birthday was in a few days and they were struggling to decide what to get him as a present. They saw our skier cut out and our Union Jack fabric and their perfect gift search was over.

Honeymoon Memories

perfect christmast giftThis isn’t the actual picture we created but Ben and Amy had their honeymoon in Egypt and their most memorable experience was flying in a Hot Air Balloon over the resort of Hurghada by the Red Sea. So we took our exclusive Hot Air Balloon cut out and put a map of the area they flew over behind it. They asked us to put it in their choice of solid wood antique pine frame.  Example of shared experience, memories and location.

Jenny’s father was going to attempt the famous Dragon Devil cycle ride in Wales.

perfect christmas giftAn enormous challenge with more than 6 massive climbs. This is an annual event and one that mad cyclists fight to get accepted to take part in. She asked us to use one of our Bicycle cut outs and use maps to signify important segments of the ride. This was the perfect gift for her Dad.

John was visiting an old friend in France.

perfect christmas giftThis old friend had once owned a Mark 1 Ford Capri that had been a lasting memory for him and all their friends. John put together the two key items, Ford Capri Mk1 and France and so we created a cut out design of a Mk1 Capri and put a French Flag behind it. Delighted.

 

Missing the Children

perfect christmast giftIt was coming up to last Christmas and a lady came to our stall wondering if we could help. She was one of three children all grown up and living away. In some cases a long way away like New Zealand. She wanted a creative gift for her mother for Christmas that would mean something very special to her. We took our triple heart cut out and put maps of the current locations of each of the three siblings behind them. The old lady was delighted.

An old sailor was retiring and having a presentation at the sailing club.

perfect christmas giftHis daughter came to us, saw our single Yacht cut out and had an idea. Could we take some fabrics that she had at home, that had special meaning to her father, and make a picture for the presentation? Well we would give it a go. It took some work getting the fabrics in the right place but she was delighted and straightaway asked us to do another using the left over fabric. Gave us a tip both times. Very Nice!

perfect christmas giftThese are just some examples of how to take your hard creative work and come up with an idea for the perfect personalised gift. In a lot of cases we might be one jump ahead of you. Based on customer feedback and sales we have identified 3-4 fabric choices for each of our designs that are most popular. This does not mean that your perfect picture is not unique because the fabric placement within the picture is never the same twice.

But this does not take away your ability to make your own choices so you always have access to our wide fabric swatches and of course for that absolutely personal picture you can send us your own fabric. Clearly any map based perfect gifts are also unique to you.

So by following the 5 personalisation tips above you should now have an idea distilled in your head of colours, locations, designs etc and anything that will make it special.  We take your own creativity, add some of our magic and then we put it all together for you to produce a truly personal picture that will make the perfect gift.

This is the way to do it:

  1. Choose the cut out design from our online shop that will match your ideas – or contact us for new options
  2. Select your choice of size (if available) and select your frame preference from the dropdowns
  3. Select your choice of popular fabric – or select the ‘Custom’ option and then
  4. Select from our wider swatch of available fabrics – or
  5. Send us your own fabric
  6. Make a map choice if this is part of the design (we will be in touch directly to confirm the exact locations)
  7. For all custom choices complete ‘order notes’ at checkout and we will contact you
  8. All online prices include delivery.
  9. Pay via Paypal, Debit or Credit Card
  10. Then it’s over to us

So go to our online shop – Gecko Designs Shop – and get started. Need some more reassurance – have a look at what our delighted customers say. 

Please don’t forget to tell everyone you know how easy this is. Use our sharing options to tell everyone you know. We do run competitions and offer seasonal discounts so everyone can benefit from knowing a little more about Gecko Designs.

Thanks for reading and happy gift creating

Tim R Floyd

Gecko Designs / #pecage

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Pecage and Pecage Art

What is Pecage and Pecage Art?

Whenever customers visit my market stall they have the benefit of seeing my pictures first hand, inspecting the precision bevel cut mount designs, the quilted fabrics, quality solid wood frames and generally ‘getting it’!  See my tips below on how to use Pecage to create that perfect gift. 

The most common comments are “simple but effective”, “I’ve not seen this before”, “this is completely new and unique”. A regular question then is “What do you call it?”

Although certain techniques I use have been used before they have not been combined in the unique way I do it and to be honest I did not know how to answer the question “What do you call it?” So I racked my brains, considered all the elements involved in making my pictures and all the benefits they offer, options available, personalisation, and feedback from regular customers and I now have an answer to the question.

It is called Pecage.

Now the …age bit on the end you will recognise from words like collage and decollage,  French arty farty stuff, – but the Pec… bit nominally stands for Personalised Elemental Creation.  Hence Pecage or Pecage Art.  The hashtag is just #pecage.

So there you have it. Pecage is your personalised creation made up of elements that you can choose. As an engineer by trade I like #pecage because it is short, simple and easy to understand. Remember the most regular comment I get is “simple but effective”? Well any engineer will tell you that it takes a lot of design, development, work and effort to make something look and work simply whilst the ducks in the background are peddling furiously!

Pecage gives you a series of options. I try my best to create great matches of design, adding character with vibrant fabrics, and mounted in simple but true solid wood frames and lots of customers love the mixes I produce. However, if I don’t quite get it right for you simply invoke the #pecage philosophy and create your own mix of design, fabric, maps, personalisation and framing options.

Here are some tips and some blogs that might help you find that perfect gift:

5 Secrets to finding the perfect gift for someone special

A Personalised Picture makes the Perfect Gift

Birthday Presents for Her – Gift Ideas for her Birthday

Birthday Presents for Men – Unusual gifts he will love

Mens Gift Ideas

Presents for Men

Presents for Mum

Engagement Present Ideas

 

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Presents for Men

presents for menMy wife Elaine is always telling me that finding presents for men is always a challenge.  I never thought I was that challenging but I think women are over thinking mens gifts to be honest! Nevertheless, our 5 step guide to finding unique, personal and excellent presents for men will help you.

presents for menWe hear it every day when people visit our stall. My wife has a chat and at some point she will be discussing the worldwide difficulty in finding unique presents for men that their husband, dad, uncle, boyfriend, fiancee or brother will appreciate. Especially since many men love sport so lots of mens gifts are sport related, but sometimes this becomes somewhat boring. I mean how many items with their football team logo or name on it can you find.

Your mission is to find presents for men that are different, unusual and something that shows you put a lot of thought into it. Let’s face it you love them right? It pays to put in a little more effort so that your mens gift reflects some of your character and knowledge, and of course affection, as well.

Thankfully we have laid out some options below for you. 5 steps to creating a unique presents for the men in your life to ensure you buy that unique present that no one else will have thought of. Don’t worry this won’t take long, just follow the steps and you will create a picture gift, with our help, that he will appreciate and love forever.

Presents for Men Tip #1 – What are their Interests

Presents for Men InterestsAll men have an interest in something and most have a number of key areas of interest that we can use as the first step in the search for presents for men. If I were you I would start by listing up to 5 areas of interest, and remember there might be latent interests that your loved male might not spend much time on but you know deep down that it is still close to their heart.

For example, I don’t make a big thing of it but I used to play a lot of rugby, I was never a real fan of football, and out of the blue my wife came up with the idea of getting me a ticket to Twickenham for the Aviva Premiership Final. Absolutely loved it and it brought back an area of interest that I am keen to rejuvenate.

So, areas of interest that we can use to come up with great ideas for presents for men. Obviously we need to look at sports of many kinds, perhaps driving, animals, reading, watching films, music – it could be anything. Don’t hold back as we will filter these down later on as we add more ‘Ideas’!

Presents for Men Tip #2 – Memories & Experiences

We find that this is onPresents for Men Tip experiencese of the most powerful emotional drivers when trying to find the perfect mens gifts. Since we have been running Gecko Designs we have become awakened to just how much impact memories and experiences have on people’s happiness across the age range.

For example my late father in law sometimes mentioned the time he drove down to the south of France in the 1940s with a mate of his. It was a long time ago but you could tell that it was still a strong emotional memory for him despite it being suppressed in the following 60+ years.

Perhaps a very strong memory is associated with a vehicle. It could be a first car, mine was a mini that was close to my heart but also many people meet and go out in a car and relationships started in cars and the cars themselves have become a poignant element of the memory that lead to a happy marriage for example.  Perhaps your man’s children now live away and he does not see them as often as he would like. Maybe he was a hippy or mod in the 60s and rode a Vespa or drove a VW Camper van to music concerts. Anything like that is great stuff to consider when looking for presents for men.

With younger people though experiences and shared experiences are very powerful images that warrant serious inclusion in mens gifts thought process. Today life is driven by achievement and often joint achievement whether that be having a first child, running a marathon together, the wedding day, going up in a hot air balloon or even buying their first house. These achievements are solid experiences that mean a lot to the person or people involved and are typical ideas that need to be put into the presents for men options pot.

So when you are creating your presents for men ideas you might like to remember that there were experiences that mean a great deal to him that did not involve you like a classic bike ride or challenge he did with a friend, playing footy with Mike down the road, restoring an old car with mates from the car club, camping in Cornwall, waterskiing in the south of France, the list can be endless.

Presents for Men Tip #3 – Preferences

Presents for Men Tip preferencesOne of the other things that helps to come up with mens gift ideas is understanding their preferences. For example there is no point getting him something that is wine related if he is a beer lover and remember if you live with this bloke your preferences might have to get involved too.

Chances are that you have shared preferences when it comes to your home, although this is not guaranteed, for example liking wooden frames for pictures rather than white. Or knowing that your house is more black and white than red and blue in terms of home décor. Is there a preference for homely, country colours like greens and browns or do they love bright colours, stripes, or is there a generic colour that comes through via their love of a certain football club.

This reminds me of a story here on the south coast. You might or might not be aware of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. In fact some of my bio photos are taken in the coffee shop at the top.  Well, not long after Elaine and I visited the tower, which was all white at the time by the way, it was announced that Emirates were planning a sponsorship deal with Portsmouth Football Club. Now one of the key colours of Emirates is red and the plan was to re-paint the Spinnaker Tower partially red.

Supporters of the football club went bonkers because the main colour of Portsmouth Football Club is blue and to make it absolutely unbearable is that the red Emirates had chosen is the main colour of their arch south coast football rival Southampton. Needless to say the colour scheme was redesigned and it is now blue and white. So this is a clue on preferences.

Presents for Men Tip #4 – Locations

Presents for Men Tip locationLocation Location Location. Don’t forget this when trying to nail the perfect presents for men gift ideas.   All the work you have done above thinking about memories and experiences had to happen somewhere. My wife and I got engaged in Paris and married on the Greek island of Zante for example which would be good information for someone wanting to buy me a great gift, but the location does not have to be  abroad of course unless something special happened on holiday or on your honeymoon.

The bike ride they did might have just been London to Brighton for example, or your man might have been born in Cape Town, South Africa, or Sherborne in Dorset.  Perhaps they  had a memorable holiday with the ‘Lads’ in Ibiza . They might have taken a year out and traveled around Asia or Australia. They might have gone to the World Cup, chased the Ashes to Australia or something like that.

Their most important memory might have been going to and graduating from University, but which one? They might have cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats, bungee jumped off a bridge in New Zealand, or run the New York Marathon.

When you think about it everything has to happen SOMEWHERE, and that ‘somewhere’ becomes very important to people and the location becomes a massive part of the visualization of any memory or experience.

Pretty much all of the custom gifts we create for people have some indication of location, mostly using maps but often words and sometimes the picture image portrays a location too, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris for example. So don’t forget this crucial location element of finding mens gifts.

Presents for Men Tip #5 – Unique, Individual & Original

Presents for MenThis is where you start to put it all together to come up with an unusual presents for men in your life.  If you want the best present for him then the main aim is to make sure that your man gift is Unique, Individual and Original.  You might be thinking how the hell can I do that?  But never fear there is a way you can create the perfect present and someone can make it for you.

What you need to do now is to bring together all the information you have assembled above, look at the options available and you could be giving a handmade, One-off or limited edition, attractive and extremely poignant gift to your man on their special day.

This is where you have to become a little creative so to help you out I will give you some real examples of actual commissions our customers have asked for to enable them to give that perfect gift.

Presents for men – Real Examples

mens gift ideasA couple had a close family friend.  All of them were into skiing and their friend was famous within their group of skiing buddies for skiing down a mountain wrapped in a Union Jack. His birthday was in a few days and they were struggling to decide what to get him as a present. They saw our skier cut out and our Union Jack fabric and their perfect gift search was over.

DragonDevilJenny’s father was going to attempt the famous Dragon Devil cycle ride in Wales and it was his 70th birthday  coming up. An enormous challenge with more than 6 massive climbs. This is an annual event and one that mad cyclists fight to get accepted to take part in. She asked us to use one of our Bicycle cut outs and use maps to signify important segments of the ride. This was the perfect birthday gift for her Dad.

CapriMk1-FrenchFlagJohn was visiting an old friend in France. This old friend had owned a Mark 1 Ford Capri and it had been a lasting memory for him and all their friends. John put together the two key items, Ford Capri Mk1 and France and so we created a cut out design of a Mk1 Capri and put a French Flag behind it. Delighted.

These are just some examples of how to take your hard work and come up with mens gift ideas. In a lot of cases we might be one jump ahead of you. Based on customer feedback and sales we have identified 3-4 fabric choices for each of our designs that are most popular. This does not mean that your perfect picture is not unique because the fabric placement within the picture is never the same twice.

But this does not take away your ability to make your own choices so you always have access to our wide fabric swatches and of course for that absolutely personal picture you can send us your own fabric. Clearly any map based perfect gifts are also unique to you.

So you have the idea distilled in your head, an idea of colours, locations, designs etc.  The next stage is pulling it all together and producing your perfect gift. This includes your own creativity, add some of our magic and you can create the perfect gift. This is the way to do it:

  1. Choose the cut out design from our online shop
  2. Select your choice of size (if available) and select your frame preference from the dropdowns
  3. Select your choice of popular fabric – or select the ‘Custom’ option and then
  4. Select from our wider swatch of available fabrics – or
  5. Send us your own fabric
  6. Make a map choice if this is part of the design (we will be in touch directly to confirm the exact locations)
  7. For all custom choices complete ‘order notes’ at checkout and we will contact you
  8. Select your delivery/collection option (only select local collection if you will be collecting from us in Dorchester)
  9. Pay via Paypal, Debit or Credit Card
  10. Then it’s over to us

So go to our online shop – Gecko Designs Shop – and get started. Need some more reassurance – have a look at what our delighted customers say. 

Please don’t forget to tell everyone you know how easy this is. Use our sharing options to tell everyone you know. We do run competitions and offer seasonal discounts so everyone can benefit from knowing a little more about Gecko Designs.

 

We hope our guide has helped you come up with some unique and great mens gift ideas

If there is a design that you feel you need to complete the picture just get in touch  we will do all we can to help.

All the best

Tim & Elaine

 

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Engagement Presents

engagement-764364_640Buying Engagement Presents is sometimes tricky. It is an important event for the “engagees” (is that a word?!) and you need that perfect balance of thoughtfulness, uniqueness and something they will treasure.  Use our 5 steps to produce Engagement Presents that hit the spot.

What we need for Engagement Presents?

It has to be something that involves both of the excited engaged parties. Likelihood is that you know one of them well but not necessarily both of them and if you want your engagement present to be a surprise then you can’t start drilling them too much for informatio you can use to select and customise the engagement present.

Because this is a very specific event that uniquely involves two people (a bit like a wedding or anniversary to be honest) then our customers usually select particular designs that will suit. The theme must be the loving couple and their intention to spend a lifetime together but you can add a few personalisation twists to make it really special. Here you can read more information.

How do I become creative with  my Engagement Presents?

engagement-ring-traditionBecause there are two people involved we usually recommend one of our designs that include two or more cut out apertures to signify the two people. However, if there is a common interest then a single cut out might be OK. It really depends on how well you know them. If it’s your sister for example you will know her well and chances are you know the lucky guy as well and have done for a while so you can use the 5 steps below to come up with something special. Being creative is not that difficult when you have a set of guidelines to help as we outline below. And don’t worry you don’t have to make anything, we can do all that for you, all you need to do is come up with some creative ideas, using our help to produce that perfect engagement present idea.

Why 5 Secrets of finding the perfect gift?

Well when I thought about trying to come up with a unique, exclusive and personalised engagement gift I realised there were five key things to consider. Run through these five things an surely you will end up with the answer.

Engagement Presents Tip#1 – Interests

Personalised Gifts - InterestsHopefully one of the reasons the loved ups are together is that they have or had a common interest.

This might be an animal like their pet dog or cat.  Or maybe it’s a horse for example, maybe they met at a riding club. What about their car or a sport for example. We find that a lot of young couples nowadays have a sport interest in common. We have just designed our Triathlon Sign for a customer whose daughter and prospective son-in law are both mad triathletes so this had to be a major part of a special gift for them.

They might enjoy cycling for example, or skiing or sailing.

I can’t list everything of course, but you will need to if you want to get inside the options for the perfect engagement present. Try and focus on a key interest, rather than a ‘sort of’ interest as this will have more impact.

Engagement Presents Tip#2 – Memories & Experiences

Personalised Gifts - Memorable ExperiencesYoung couples seem to be driven by shared experiences and achievement today. Such shared experiences are very powerful images that warrant serious inclusion in the thinking process for engagement gifts. Achievement, memories and experiences might include having a first child, running a marathon together, a memorable holiday – even the one they met on for example, going up in a hot air balloon or even buying their first house. These achievements are solid experiences that mean a lot to the people involved and are typical ideas that need to be put into the engagement gift melting pot.

Engagement Presents Tip#3 – Preferences

Personalised Gifts - PreferencesThis is where you need to have some pretty good knowledge of the prospective engagees you are planning the perfect gift for. It can be pretty simple to establish though.  For example if you have visited their house you will see how their home décor is. Is it minimalist, black & white for example. Or homely, country colours like green and brown. Do they love bright colours, pastel or paisley colours and is there a colour theme you can establish?

Visiting someone’s home is a good way to get ideas for memories and experiences too. Look for photos or pictures that can give you some indications.

If you don’t know them that well then I would suggest going for a fairly neutral set of colours and a standard engagement style cut out design like the double offset hearts or the lovebirds.

Engagement Presents Tip#4 – Locations

Personalised Gifts - LocationsThis is an often forgotten secret to nailing the perfect gift.  All you have discovered about memories and experiences above had to happen somewhere. My wife and I got engaged in Paris and married on the Greek island of Zante for example. Your happy couple might have met on a holiday in a certain place, or it the deed had already been done they might have got engaged in a specific location. These little details show you have put some good thought into this engagement present.

They might have met at University, for example or whilst doing something in a certain place, bungee jumping in New Zealand, or running the New York Marathon.

When you think about it everything has to happen SOMEWHERE, and that ‘somewhere’ becomes very important to people and the location becomes a massive part of the visualisation of any memory or experience.

Nearly all the custom gifts we create for people have some indication of location, mostly using maps but sometimes words and often the picture image portrays a location too. So don’t forget this crucial element of finding the perfect gift for someone.

Engagement Presents Tip#5 – Unique, Individual & Original

This is where you start to put it all together but the main aim is to make sure that your engagement gift is Unique, Individual and Original.  You might be thinking how the hell can I do that?  But never fear there is a way you can create the perfect present and someone can make it for you.

What you need to do now is to bring together all the information you have assembled above, look at the options available and you could be giving a handmade, One-off or limited edition, attractive and extremely poignant gift to your loved one or close friend for their special day.

This is where you have to become a little creative so to help you out I will give you some real examples of actual commissions our customers have asked for to enable them to give that perfect gift. GOT TO HERE

Examples of actual Engagement Presents we have helped our customers create

Engagement PresentsJames and Emma met at a VW Camper convention.

With a shared love of VW camper vans it was inevitable that when James and Emma got together the trusty, or is it rusty, old VW Campervan would feature strongly in their lives for ever. There is nothing quite as iconic as the traditional Split Screen VW Camper and we are very pleased with our design as it was a struggle to design it so that our cutting machine would cut it and the design would still look right. Proud to be British was another theme so our Split Screen camper with a Union Jack material is perfect for them. We wrote their engagement details on the bottom of the picture too.

 OurEngagement Presents Double Heart Cutout.

 

A popular choice for engagements, anniversaries and weddings. The hearts can either be side by side or offset but the idea is (and you can play around with this as well) is that one heart map signifies where one partner comes from and the other heart map shows where their loved one comes from. Simple but effective. Engagement Presents

 

engagement presentsOur classic Lovebirds cut out design. Often customers choose this as it is but you can apply the same customisation techniques as before. Why not use the two lovebirds to house the map locations of where the two lovebirds came from and the heart can either stay as it is, have another map of where they live now, will love, or where they met. The variations are endless. Love Hedgehogs Cut Out Art - PurpleCord

Or if you prefer, try our Love Hedgehogs instead.

engagement presentsDid they get engaged in the romantic city of Paris for example. Don’t miss this opportunity.

tripleheartmaps600x600

These are just some examples of how to take your hard creative work and come up with an idea for the perfect engagement gift. In a lot of cases we might be one jump ahead of you. Based on customer feedback and sales we have identified 3-4 fabric choices for each of our designs that are most popular. This does not mean that your perfect picture is not unique because the fabric placement within the picture is never the same twice.

But this does not take away your ability to make your own choices so you always have access to our wide fabric swatches and of course for that absolutely personal picture you can send us your own fabric. Clearly any map based engagement gifts are also unique to you.

So by following the 5 personalisation tips above you should now have an idea distilled in your head of colours, locations, designs etc and anything that will make it special.  We take your own creativity, add some of our magic and then we put it all together for you to produce a truly personal picture that will make the perfect engagement gift.

This is the way to do it:

  1. Choose the cut out design from our online shop that will match your ideas – or contact us for new options
  2. Select your choice of size (if available) and select your frame preference from the dropdowns
  3. Select your choice of popular fabric – or select the ‘Custom’ option and then
  4. Select from our wider swatch of available fabrics – or
  5. Send us your own fabric
  6. Make a map choice if this is part of the design (we will be in touch directly to confirm the exact locations)
  7. For all custom choices complete ‘order notes’ at checkout and we will contact you
  8. Select your delivery/collection option (only select local collection if you will be collecting from us in Dorchester)
  9. Pay via Paypal, Debit or Credit Card
  10. Then it’s over to us

So go to our online shop – Gecko Designs Shop – and get started. Need some more reassurance – have a look at what our delighted customers say. 

Please don’t forget to tell everyone you know how easy this is. Use our sharing options to tell everyone you know. We do run competitions and offer seasonal discounts so everyone can benefit from knowing a little more about Gecko Designs.

Thanks for reading and happy gift creating

Tim & Elaine

 

 

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Birthday Presents for Her – Gift Ideas for her Birthday

 

birthday-gifts-for-herBirthday Presents for Her? Whether it’s your mum, wife, girlfriend, fiancee, sister, aunt, grandma – here are some unique birthday gift ideas for the women in your life. Use our 5 steps below to help us produce you a special picture that will show her that you have really thought about this and that something she will really appreciate.

What makes a perfect Birthday Present for Her?

Birthday Presents for HerThey say giving is better than receiving and this is sometimes difficult to get our heads around. But when you give a present that you know she will really appreciate and be able to cherish for a lifetime. You can feel really smug and satisfied that you have done the absolute best you can.  When you are looking for gifts for her birthday it is easy to go down the same old routes as before. Flowers always work of course but they only last a few days. If I am honest you should be buying flowers AND a present to do the job properly.

When I am looking for birthday presents for her I find that thinking more creatively is the key. I am not saying that you don’t put any thought into what you give at the moment. But to help the thought process I decided to write down some tips on how to really think about coming up with that perfect gift idea for your mum.

Birthday Presents for HerSo finding the ideal gift for her birthday involves bringing together four or five key elements that reflect her interests, preferences, memories, experiences and locations and then making it very personal. You might be thinking ‘How do I do that?” but don’t worry, just bear with me on this. All you need to do is fill in the blanks and we will do the rest for you and what you will end up with is something magical.

The blanks that need to be filled in are outlined in the 5 tips below. I am assuming you know the particular lady you are looking for gift ideas for so hopefully this process will be easy, but if you have, for example, not seen them for a while you might need to do a bit of digging to get the right information to work with.

Remember, if something is worth doing it is worth doing well and that is what you are going to do here. So get started with the 5 tips below.

5 Tips for creating Birthday Presents for Her

Birthday Presents for HerI had to make it is easy for myself to be honest as I am a simple soul. It took me a while but it all comes down to 5 things. Give these five things your attention and you will not only find brilliant presents for her but you will have a blueprint for finding the perfect gift for anyone you know.

I have a sort of present or gift toolkit so you plug in the answers to these questions and between us we will come up with ideas for those presents for her that will blow her away.

Birthday Presents for Her Tip#1 – Interests

Birthday Presents for Her-interestsSounds obvious I guess but most people have at least one key area of interest and often it is very close to their hearts.

This might be an animal like their pet dog or cat.  People become very attached to their pets and if, say they have a Labrador, they love Labrador stuff.  This might be particularly appropriate for slightly older friends or relatives but with the trend in toy or small dogs nowadays people are becoming fanatical about their little pooch and this will lead to considerable interest in anything related to that specific breed.

Or maybe it’s a horse for example if they like riding. What about their car or sport. They might be mad supporters of football or rugby or something else or members of a club for something specific.

They might be mad cyclists, motor bikers, caravanners or sailers for example. They might walk for pleasure, run, do marathons, triathalons, go to the gym, play tennis,

I can’t list everything of course, but you will need to if you want to get inside the options for the perfect present for her. Try and focus on a key interest, rather than a ‘sort of’ interest as this will have more impact.

Birthday Presents for Her  Tip#2 – Memories & Experiences

Birthday Presents for Her - Memorable ExperiencesI used to think that this was just for old people, but since running Gecko Designs I have become awakened to just how much impact memories and experiences have on people’s happiness across the age range. I guess the word ‘memories’ is more appropriate for the older person but they have had experiences, and shared experiences with loved ones so don’t forget that. Often they have not mentioned it to many people and of course be careful of picking the wrong memory.

For example, if Aunty always goes on about the time she went to Paris and how much she loved it, just check it was with Uncle that she went because that might cause some issues! Perhaps she has children who now live away and they don’t see them as often as they would like. Maybe they met at a concert in the 60s and stayed in a VW Camper van on their honeymoon. Anything like that is great fuel for your perfect present workshop.

With younger people though experiences and shared experiences are very powerful images that warrant serious inclusion in the perfect gift thought process. Today life is driven by achievement whether that be having a first child, running a marathon together, the wedding day, going up in a hot air balloon or even buying their first house. These achievements are solid experiences that mean a lot to the person or people involved and are typical ideas that need to be put into the perfect gift melting pot.

Birthday Presents for Her Tip#3 – Preferences

Birthday Presents for Her - preferencesThis is where you need to have some pretty good knowledge of what she likes. It can be pretty simple to establish though if you think whether she prefers black & white for example. Or homely, country colours like green and brown. Does she love bright colours, pastel or paisley colours and is there a colour theme you can establish?

Notwithstanding this of course, try to mix it up. We often find that combinations that shouldn’t work do work so if her interest is elephants and her preference is for the colour red, don’t be shy and think – well a red elephant isn’t going to work, but believe me it can. I can tell you, using this example, that one our most popular fabric choices for our range of elephant and elephant family pictures is a red background with gold flowers. Who would ever have thought it!

Birthday Presents for Her Tip#4 – Locations

Birthday Presents for Her - LocationsThis is an often forgotten secret to nailing the perfect gift.  All you have discovered about memories and experiences above had to happen somewhere. For example my wife and I got engaged in Paris and married on the Greek island of Zante so these are particular locations that mean something to us. Perhaps your female friend or family member was born in Scotland and is very proud of her Scottish heritage, she still has family in Newcastle or Birmingham for example. She might have had a memorable experience bungee jumping in New Zealand, or walking the South Coast way. Or perhaps you are the key, where were you born or conceived. Her most important memory might have been going to and graduating from University, but which one? Did she cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats, or run the New York Marathon or did she meet someone famous or special at a concert in a town or city.

You can go a little mad here but most people have one or more very special locations in their lives and it is your talk to find out what they are and how best to match that with the other tips here.

When you think about it everything has to happen SOMEWHERE, and that ‘somewhere’ becomes very important to people and the location becomes a massive part of the visualisation of any memory or experience.

Nearly all the custom gifts we create for people have some indication of location, mostly using maps but sometimes words and often the picture image portrays a location too. So don’t forget this crucial element of finding the perfect gift for someone.

Birthday Presents for Her Tip#5 – Unique, Individual & Original

Birthday Presents for HerThis is where you start to put it all together but the main aim is to make sure that your gift is Unique, Individual and Original.  You might be thinking how the hell can I do that?  But never fear there is a way you can create the perfect present and someone can make it for you.

What you need to do now is to bring together all the information you have assembled above. Look at the options available and you could be giving a handmade, one-off or limited edition, attractive and extremely relevant gift to your loved one or close friend for their special day.

This is where you have to become a little creative so to help you out I will give you some real examples of actual commissions our customers have asked for to enable them to give that perfect gift.

Examples of actual Birthday Presents for Her we have helped our customers create

 Birthday Presents for Her tripleheartmaps600x600It was her Mum’s Birthday

and a lady came to our stall wondering if we could help. She was one of three children all grown up and living away. In some cases a long way away like New Zealand. She wanted a creative gift for her mother that would mean something very special to her. We took our triple heart cut 0ut and put maps of the current locations of each of the three siblings behind them. Mum was delighted.

Birthday Presents for Her Smart Horse cut out art -presents for mum
A customer’s sister loves horses and the colour red.

It was a no brainer for this customer. It was his sister’s birthday and he was stressing about what he could get her that was different but something that showed a good level of thought and attention. Our Smart Horse in red with white hearts just hit the spot. 

Tennis Wall Art -Birthday Presents for Her
What to get a tennis mad wife in the run up to Wimbledon?

A completely unique tennis racquet and ball cut out backed by padded fabric in Wimbledon colours and with furry green balls. Not something that had initially come to mind for this customer but when he saw it he realised this was the perfect present for his wife. 

These are just some examples of how to take your hard creative work and come up with an idea for the perfect personalised gift. In a lot of cases we might be one jump ahead of you. Based on customer feedback and sales we have identified 3-4 fabric choices for each of our designs that are most popular. This does not mean that your perfect picture is not unique because the fabric placement within each picture is never the same twice.

But this does not take away your ability to make your own choices. So you always have access to our wide fabric swatches and of course for that absolutely personal picture you can send us your own fabric. Clearly any map based perfect gifts are also unique to you.

Birthday Presents for Her checklistSo by following the 5 personalisation tips above you should now have an idea distilled in your head. This will include colours, locations, designs etc and anything that will make it special.  We take your own creativity, add some of our magic. Then we put it all together for you to produce a truly personal picture that will make the perfect gift.

This is the way to do it:

  1. Choose the cut out design from our online shop that will match your ideas – or contact us for new options
  2. Select your choice of size (if available) and select your frame preference from the dropdowns
  3. Select your choice of popular fabric – or select the ‘Custom’ option and then
  4. Select from our wider swatch of available fabrics – or
  5. Send us your own fabric
  6. Make a map choice if this is part of the design (we will be in touch directly to confirm the exact locations)
  7. For all custom choices complete ‘order notes’ at checkout and we will contact you
  8. Select your delivery/collection option (only select local collection if you will be collecting from us in Dorchester)
  9. Pay via Paypal, Debit or Credit Card
  10. Then it’s over to us

So go to our online shop – Gecko Designs Shop – and get started. Need some more reassurance – have a look at what our delighted customers say. 

Please don’t forget to tell everyone you know how easy this is. Use our sharing options to tell everyone you know. We do run competitions and offer seasonal discounts so everyone can benefit from knowing a little more about Gecko Designs.

Thanks for reading and happy gift creating

Tim & Elaine

 

 

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Mens Gift Ideas

Mens gift ideasWomen are always looking for Mens Gift Ideas. My wife Elaine tells me that women are easy to buy for and that finding unusual gifts for men is a challenge. And they DO have to be unusual apparently. I never thought of myself as that demanding but it is the buyer that feels the pressure it seems. Personally a bottle of JD and a meal out does it for me!

mens gift ideasWe hear it every day when people visit our stall. My wife has a chat and at some point she will be discussing the worldwide difficulty in finding unique mens gift ideas that their husband, dad, uncle, boyfriend, fiancee or brother will appreciate. Especially since many men love sport so lots of mens gift ideas are sport related, but sometimes this becomes somewhat boring. I mean how many items with their football team logo or name on it can you find.

Your mission is to find something different, something unusual and something that shows you put a lot of thought into it. Let’s face it you love them right? It pays to put in a little more effort so that your mens gift reflects some of your character and knowledge, and of course affection, as well.

Thankfully we have laid out some options below for you. 5 steps to creating a unique gift idea for the man in your life to ensure you buy that unique present that no one else will have thought of. Don’t worry this won’t take long, just follow the steps and you will create a picture gift, with our help, that he will appreciate and love forever.

Mens Gift Ideas #1 – What are their Interests

mens gift ideas InterestsAll men have an interest in something and most have a number of key areas of interest that we can use as the first keystone of this birthday present search. If I were you I would start by listing up to 5 areas of interest, and remember there might be latent interests that your loved male might not spend much time on but you know deep down that it is still close to their heart.

For example, I don’t make a big thing of it but I used to play a lot of rugby, I was never a real fan of football, and out of the blue my wife came up with the idea of getting me a ticket to Twickenham for the Aviva Premiership Final. Absolutely loved it and it brought back an area of interest that I am keen to rejuvenate.

So, areas of interest that we can use to come up with mens gift ideas. Obviously we need to look at sports of many kinds, perhaps driving, animals, reading, watching films, music – it could be anything. Don’t hold back as we will filter these down later on as we add more ‘Ideas’!

Mens Gift Ideas #2 – Memories & Experiences

We find that this is onmens gift ideas heading_experiencese of the most powerful emotional drivers when trying to find the perfect gift for men. Since we have been running Gecko Designs we have become awakened to just how much impact memories and experiences have on people’s happiness across the age range. I guess we often associate the word ‘memories’ more with older people but they have had experiences, and shared experiences with loved ones in the past – so was there something they often talk about that is close to their hearts.

For example my late father in law sometimes mentioned the time he drove down to the south of France in the 1940s with a mate of his. It was a long time ago but you could tell that it was still a strong emotional memory for him despite it being suppressed in the following 60+ years.

Perhaps a very strong memory is associated with a vehicle. It could be a first car, mine was a mini that was close to my heart but also many people meet and go out in a car and relationships started in cars and the cars themselves have become a poignant element of the memory that lead to a happy marriage for example.  Perhaps your man’s children now live away and he does not see them as often as he would like. Maybe he was a hippy or mod in the 60s and rode a Vespa or drove a VW Camper van to music concerts. Anything like that is great stuff to consider when looking for birthday presents for men.

With younger people though experiences and shared experiences are very powerful images that warrant serious inclusion in the perfect gift thought process. Today life is driven by achievement and often joint achievement whether that be having a first child, running a marathon together, the wedding day, going up in a hot air balloon or even buying their first house. These achievements are solid experiences that mean a lot to the person or people involved and are typical ideas that need to be put into the perfect gift melting pot.

So when you are creating your mens gift idea you might like to remember that there were experiences that mean a great deal to him that did not involve you like a classic bike ride or challenge he did with a friend, playing footy with Mike down the road, restoring an old car with mates from the car club, camping in Cornwall, waterskiing in the south of France, the list can be endless.

Mens Gift Ideas #3 – Preferences

mens gift ideas preferencesOne of the other things that helps to come up with mens gift ideas is understanding their preferences. For example there is no point getting him something that is wine related if he is a beer lover and remember if you live with this bloke your preferences might have to get involved too.

Chances are that you have shared preferences when it comes to your home, although this is not guaranteed, for example liking wooden frames for pictures rather than white. Or knowing that your house is more black and white than red and blue in terms of home décor. Is there a preference for homely, country colours like greens and browns or do they love bright colours, stripes, or is there a generic colour that comes through via their love of a certain football club.

This reminds me of a story here on the south coast. You might or might not be aware of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. In fact some of my bio photos are taken in the coffee shop at the top.  Well, not long after Elaine and I visited the tower, which was all white at the time by the way, it was announced that Emirates were planning a sponsorship deal with Portsmouth Football Club. Now one of the key colours of Emirates is red and the plan was to re-paint the Spinnaker Tower partially red.

Supporters of the football club went bonkers because the main colour of Portsmouth Football Club is blue and to make it absolutely unbearable is that the red Emiraes had chosen is the main colour of their arch south coast football rival Southampton. Needless to say the colour scheme was redesigned and it is now blue and white. So this is a clue on preferences.

Mens Gift Ideas #4 – Locations

mens gift ideas map_locationLocation Location Location. Don’t forget this when trying to nail the perfect mens gift ideas.   All the work you have done above thinking about memories and experiences had to happen somewhere. My wife and I got engaged in Paris and married on the Greek island of Zante for example which would be good information for someone wanting to buy me a great gift, but the location does not have to be  abroad of course unless something special happened on holiday or on your honeymoon.

The bike ride they did might have just been London to Brighton for example, or your man might have been born in Cape Town, South Africa, or Sherborne in Dorset.  Perhaps they  had a memorable holiday with the ‘Lads’ in Ibiza . They might have taken a year out and traveled around Asia or Australia. They might have gone to the World Cup, chased the Ashes to Australia or something like that.

Their most important memory might have been going to and graduating from University, but which one? They might have cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats, bungee jumped off a bridge in New Zealand, or run the New York Marathon.

When you think about it everything has to happen SOMEWHERE, and that ‘somewhere’ becomes very important to people and the location becomes a massive part of the visualization of any memory or experience.

Pretty much all of the custom gifts we create for people have some indication of location, mostly using maps but often words and sometimes the picture image portrays a location too, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris for example. So don’t forget this crucial location element of finding mens gift ideas.

Mens Gift Ideas #5 – Unique, Individual & Original

mens gift ideasThis is where you start to put it all together to come up with an unusual gift for the man in your life.  If you want the best present for him then the main aim is to make sure that your man gift is Unique, Individual and Original.  You might be thinking how the hell can I do that?  But never fear there is a way you can create the perfect present and someone can make it for you.

What you need to do now is to bring together all the information you have assembled above, look at the options available and you could be giving a handmade, One-off or limited edition, attractive and extremely poignant gift to your man on their special day.

This is where you have to become a little creative so to help you out I will give you some real examples of actual commissions our customers have asked for to enable them to give that perfect gift.

Mens Gift Ideas – Real Examples

 

mens gift ideasA couple had a close family friend.  All of them were into skiing and their friend was famous within their group of skiing buddies for skiing down a mountain wrapped in a Union Jack. His birthday was in a few days and they were struggling to decide what to get him as a present. They saw our skier cut out and our Union Jack fabric and their perfect gift search was over.

DragonDevilJenny’s father was going to attempt the famous Dragon Devil cycle ride in Wales and it was his 70th birthday  coming up. An enormous challenge with more than 6 massive climbs. This is an annual event and one that mad cyclists fight to get accepted to take part in. She asked us to use one of our Bicycle cut outs and use maps to signify important segments of the ride. This was the perfect birthday gift for her Dad.

CapriMk1-FrenchFlagJohn was visiting an old friend in France. This old friend had owned a Mark 1 Ford Capri and it had been a lasting memory for him and all their friends. John put together the two key items, Ford Capri Mk1 and France and so we created a cut out design of a Mk1 Capri and put a French Flag behind it. Delighted.

These are just some examples of how to take your hard work and come up with mens gift ideas. In a lot of cases we might be one jump ahead of you. Based on customer feedback and sales we have identified 3-4 fabric choices for each of our designs that are most popular. This does not mean that your perfect picture is not unique because the fabric placement within the picture is never the same twice.

But this does not take away your ability to make your own choices so you always have access to our wide fabric swatches and of course for that absolutely personal picture you can send us your own fabric. Clearly any map based perfect gifts are also unique to you.

So you have the idea distilled in your head, an idea of colours, locations, designs etc.  The next stage is pulling it all together and producing your perfect gift. This includes your own creativity, add some of our magic and you can create the perfect gift. This is the way to do it:

  1. Choose the cut out design from our online shop
  2. Select your choice of size (if available) and select your frame preference from the dropdowns
  3. Select your choice of popular fabric – or select the ‘Custom’ option and then
  4. Select from our wider swatch of available fabrics – or
  5. Send us your own fabric
  6. Make a map choice if this is part of the design (we will be in touch directly to confirm the exact locations)
  7. For all custom choices complete ‘order notes’ at checkout and we will contact you
  8. Select your delivery/collection option (only select local collection if you will be collecting from us in Dorchester)
  9. Pay via Paypal, Debit or Credit Card
  10. Then it’s over to us

So go to our online shop – Gecko Designs Shop – and get started. Need some more reassurance – have a look at what our delighted customers say. 

Please don’t forget to tell everyone you know how easy this is. Use our sharing options to tell everyone you know. We do run competitions and offer seasonal discounts so everyone can benefit from knowing a little more about Gecko Designs.

 

We hope our guide has helped you come up with some unique and great mens gift ideas

If there is a design that you feel you need to complete the picture just get in touch  we will do all we can to help.

All the best

Tim & Elaine

 

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Pictures of Dogs

picture of dogs labrador-Golden-AP10Looking for pictures of dogs as a gift or for your own home? You are not alone! We have found that people are fanatical about their four legged best friends and if they have a favourite breed then a dog picture of that breed makes the perfect gift. If this is you we are talking about then you simply don’t have enough picture of dogs in your home!

A completely different type of Dog Picture

pictures of dogs Dachshund Cut Out Art

There a loads of pictures of dogs around but they are often a little samey of you know what I mean. Let me give you an example. I was talking with the owner of a Dachshund the other day and, in the words of her boyfriend, she has everything Dachsy there is to have. I mean Dachshund pictures, coasters, doormat, bed covers, curtains – I mean everything!

So it had become a hell of a challenge for her family to find new presents for her because all she craved was more Dachshund stuff. Then they visited our market stall.

It became a bit of a Dachshund fest then. We have two cut outs for the dachshund pictures the standard shaped one as you can see on the right here and our stretched sausage dog as shown below:

pictures of dogs sausagedog

We got a bit carried away when we designed this stretched sausage dog picture but it has become very popular with the Dachsy fraternity and gives a unique twist on the pictures of these dogs. The point I am trying to make is that these pictures are nothing like anything this young lady had seen before and the great thing about them is that as they are a deep mount cutout we can back them with any padded fabric the customer chooses. We have a standard set of fabric choices that are most popular but you can choose anything.

This now gives her family and friends an almost unlimited set of choices for new Dachshund pictures. So pictures of dogs will never be the same again.

Pictures of other Dog Breeds

We currently have exclusive and original Gecko Designs pictures of dogs for Staffies, Pugs, Dachshunds, Retrievers, Labradors and Chihuahua Art and we are adding more all the time. We are working on a Greyhound, Dalmation and Poodle for customers at the moment and because we work closely with a number of dog charities including Dogs Trust we are under pressure to add more and more.

So if you can’t find a picture of the dog breed you are looking for just give us a call or send us a message and we will look into it.

To give me some set of guidelines I researched the top 10 breeds of dog in the UK.  I am not sure what the criteria are for the lists that appear on Google, I guess it is dogs registered in that year or something, but it does not bear any relation to what we are asked for.

A recent poll for the Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/pets/Britain-dog-breed-pets-animals/  shows a top 25 dog breeds as voted for but this bears little relation to the figures highlighted by other top 10s so I am not sure which is the best way to do this.  For example the Staffy features highly in some recent figures for dog registrations but does not even get a showing in the Telegraph’s poll.

You can help us make our own list – use the Twitter hashtags #2016Top10 #DogBreeds and look at our tweets on dog breeds.

More Dog Breeds from Gecko Designs

At the time or writing we have Staffy Cut Out Art, Dachshund Cut Out Art, Chihuahua Cut Out Art. Labrador Cut out Art and Pug Cut Out Art as wall art pictures and you can follow the links above to these pages. We have also just added our Dachshund Cut Out art picture in tan check to Etsy – Brows our Etsy Shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/GeckoDesignsUK

 

#WeLoveDogs

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Presents for Mum

present for mumPresents for Mum? Whether it’s for a Birthday, Christmas, Mothers’ Day or just because she is special, finding the perfect gift for your mum is an important task and one you need to spend some time on. Use our 5 steps to help us to produce a special picture that will show your mum how much you love her and that she will cherish forever.

What makes a brilliant Present for Mum?

presents for mumThey say giving is better than receiving and this is sometimes difficult to get our heads around. But when you give a present that you know the recipient, in this case your mum, you will really appreciate and be able to cherish for a lifetime you can feel really smug and satisfied that you have done the absolute best you can. There is no doubt that Mums are special and if we are honest with ourselves we have to admit to not taking enough time or care to let her know how special we feel she is. When you are looking for presents for mum it is easy to go down the same old routes as before. Flowers always work of course but they only last a few days, and if I am honest you should be buying flowers AND a present to do the job properly.

When I am looking for perfect presents for mum I find that thinking more creatively is the key. I am not saying that you don’t put any thought into what you give at the moment but to help the thought process I decided to write down some tips on how to really think about coming up with that perfect gift idea for your mum.

So finding the ideal gift for your mum involves bringing together four or five key elements that reflect mum’s interests, preferences, memories, experiences and locations and then making it very personal. You might be thinking ‘How do I do that?” but don’t worry, just bear with me on this. All you need to do is fill in the blanks and we will do the rest for you and what you will end up with is something magical.

The blanks that need to be filled in are outlined in the 5 tips below. If you know your mum well this will be easy, but if you have, for example, lived away from home for a while you might need to do a bit of digging to get the right information to work with.

Remember, if something is worth doing it is worth doing well and that is what you are going to do here. So get started with the 5 tips below.

5 Tips for creating Presents for Mum

presents for mumI had to make it is easy for myself to be honest as I am a simple soul. It took me a while but it all comes down to 5 things. Give these five things your attention and you will not only find brilliant presents for mum but you will have a blueprint for finding the perfect gift for anyone you know.

I have a sort of present or gift toolkit so you plug in the answers to these questions and between us we will come up with ideas for those presents for mum that will blow here away.

Presents for Mum Tip#1 – Interests

presents for mum-interestsSounds obvious I guess but most people have at least one key area of interest and often it is very close to their hearts.

This might be an animal like their pet dog or cat.  People become very attached to their pets and if, say they have a Labrador, they love Labrador stuff.  This might be particularly appropriate for slightly older friends or relatives but with the trend in toy or small dogs nowadays people are becoming fanatical about their little pooch and this will lead to considerable interest in anything related to that specific breed.

Or maybe it’s a horse for example if they like riding. What about their car or sport. They might be mad supporters of football or rugby or something else or members of a club for something specific.

They might be mad cyclists, motor bikers, caravanners or sailers for example. They might walk for pleasure, run, do marathons, triathalons, go to the gym, play tennis,

I can’t list everything of course, but you will need to if you want to get inside the options for the perfect present for your friends or family. Try and focus on a key interest, rather than a ‘sort of’ interest as this will have more impact.

Presents for Mum Tip#2 – Memories & Experiences

Personalised Gifts - Memorable ExperiencesI used to think that this was just for old people, but since running Gecko Designs I have become awakened to just how much impact memories and experiences have on people’s happiness across the age range. I guess the word ‘memories’ is more appropriate for the older person but they have had experiences, and shared experiences with loved ones so don’t forget that. Often they have not mentioned it to many people and of course be careful of picking the wrong memory.

For example, if Aunty always goes on about the time she went to Paris and how much she loved it, just check it was with Uncle that she went because that might cause some issues! Perhaps your older relative or friend has children who now live away and they don’t see them as often as they would like. Maybe they met at a concert in the 60s and stayed in a VW Camper van on their honeymoon. Anything like that is great fuel for your perfect present workshop.

With younger people though experiences and shared experiences are very powerful images that warrant serious inclusion in the perfect gift thought process. Today life is driven by achievement whether that be having a first child, running a marathon together, the wedding day, going up in a hot air balloon or even buying their first house. These achievements are solid experiences that mean a lot to the person or people involved and are typical ideas that need to be put into the perfect gift melting pot.

Presents for Mum  Tip#3 – Preferences

presents for mum - preferencesThis is where you need to have some pretty good knowledge of what your mum likes. It can be pretty simple to establish though if you think whether she prefers black & white for example. Or homely, country colours like green and brown. Does she love bright colours, pastel or paisley colours and is there a colour theme you can establish?

Notwithstanding this of course, try to mix it up. We often find that combinations that shouldn’t work do work so if your mum’s interest is elephants and her preference is for the colour red, don’t be shy and think – well a red elephant isn’t going to work, but believe me it can. I can tell you, using this example, that one our most popular fabric choices for our range of elephant and elephant family pictures is a red background with gold flowers. Who would ever have thought it!

Presents for Mum Tip#4 – Locations

Personalised Gifts - LocationsThis is an often forgotten secret to nailing the perfect gift.  All you have discovered about memories and experiences above had to happen somewhere. For example my wife and I got engaged in Paris and married on the Greek island of Zante so these are particular locations that mean something to us. Perhaps your mum was born in Scotland and is very proud of her Scottish heritage, she still has family in Newcastle or Birmingham for example. She might have had a memorable experience bungee jumping in New Zealand, or walking the South Coast way. Or perhaps you are the key, where were you born or conceived. Her most important memory might have been going to and graduating from University, but which one? Did she cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats, or run the New York Marathon or did she meet someone famous or special at a concert in a town or city.

You can go a little mad here but most people have one or more very special locations in their lives and it is your talk to find out what they are and how best to match that with the other tips here.

When you think about it everything has to happen SOMEWHERE, and that ‘somewhere’ becomes very important to people and the location becomes a massive part of the visualisation of any memory or experience.

Nearly all the custom gifts we create for people have some indication of location, mostly using maps but sometimes words and often the picture image portrays a location too. So don’t forget this crucial element of finding the perfect gift for someone.

Presents for Mum Tip#5 – Unique, Individual & Original

presents for mumThis is where you start to put it all together but the main aim is to make sure that your gift is Unique, Individual and Original.  You might be thinking how the hell can I do that?  But never fear there is a way you can create the perfect present and someone can make it for you.

What you need to do now is to bring together all the information you have assembled above, look at the options available and you could be giving a handmade, One-off or limited edition, attractive and extremely poignant gift to your loved one or close friend for their special day.

This is where you have to become a little creative so to help you out I will give you some real examples of actual commissions our customers have asked for to enable them to give that perfect gift.

Examples of actual Presents for Mum we have helped our customers create

 tripleheartmaps600x600It was coming up to last Christmas

and a lady came to our stall wondering if we could help. She was one of three children all grown up and living away. In some cases a long way away like New Zealand. She wanted a creative gift for her mother for Christmas that would mean something very special to her. We took our triple heart cut 0ut and put maps of the current locations of each of the three siblings behind them. The old lady was delighted.

Smart Horse cut out art -presents for mum
A customer’s mum loves horses and the colour red.

It was a no brainer for this customer. It was his mum’s birthday and he was stressing about what he could get her that was different but something that showed a good level of thought and also would illustrate how much he loved his mum. Our Smart Horse in red with white hearts just hit the spot. 

Tennis Wall Art -presents for mum
What to get a tennis mad mum in the run up to Wimbledon?

A completely unique tennis racquet and ball cut out backed by padded fabric in Wimbledon colours and with furry green balls. Not something that had initially come to mind for this customer but when he saw it he realised this was the perfect present for his mum. 

These are just some examples of how to take your hard creative work and come up with an idea for the perfect personalised gift. In a lot of cases we might be one jump ahead of you. Based on customer feedback and sales we have identified 3-4 fabric choices for each of our designs that are most popular. This does not mean that your perfect picture is not unique because the fabric placement within the picture is never the same twice.

But this does not take away your ability to make your own choices so you always have access to our wide fabric swatches and of course for that absolutely personal picture you can send us your own fabric. Clearly any map based perfect gifts are also unique to you.

presents for mum checklistSo by following the 5 personalisation tips above you should now have an idea distilled in your head of colours, locations, designs etc and anything that will make it special.  We take your own creativity, add some of our magic and then we put it all together for you to produce a truly personal picture that will make the perfect gift.

This is the way to do it:

  1. Choose the cut out design from our online shop that will match your ideas – or contact us for new options
  2. Select your choice of size (if available) and select your frame preference from the dropdowns
  3. Select your choice of popular fabric – or select the ‘Custom’ option and then
  4. Select from our wider swatch of available fabrics – or
  5. Send us your own fabric
  6. Make a map choice if this is part of the design (we will be in touch directly to confirm the exact locations)
  7. For all custom choices complete ‘order notes’ at checkout and we will contact you
  8. Select your delivery/collection option (only select local collection if you will be collecting from us in Dorchester)
  9. Pay via Paypal, Debit or Credit Card
  10. Then it’s over to us

So go to our online shop – Gecko Designs Shop – and get started. Need some more reassurance – have a look at what our delighted customers say. 

Please don’t forget to tell everyone you know how easy this is. Use our sharing options to tell everyone you know. We do run competitions and offer seasonal discounts so everyone can benefit from knowing a little more about Gecko Designs.

Thanks for reading and happy gift creating

Tim & Elaine