While I wasn’t sure if I could pull off another holiday gift idea guide, here we are, a little late into the season but I found a few nice things none the less. I do my best to find things that are not already posted in every other holiday gift guide online. Like last years list these are things that I personally enjoy or would enjoy having around myself based on my own random standards. I have written up a little bit about each thing on the list and included links to either the company that makes the item, or a nice webshop that sells it. No affiliate links here, just sharing the joy.

My previous two guides are still just as fun and relevant as ever and can be found here and here. Follow the link below for this years ideas.


Fiftyfootshadows Print

Yep, you read that right. I now have prints available here on the site. It has been long overdue but at long last I am ready to start shipping. Being the stubborn photographer I am, I more or less refused to use an outside service to handle prints. While they may be quick and cheap and mostly quite high in quality I really wanted to have more control over the process. While my desktop wallpapers have been handed out more or less free of charge for years now I have always wanted to treat prints in a more personalized way that was the antithesis of their digitally available counterparts.

At any rate, I have setup a page filling you in on all the details. The short version being they are all printed and handled by me at home using a fantastic, quality paper stock and archival inks. They are signed, numbered, and shipped out with care. They are available in two sizes and each image available has a limited number of prints per size so you know your print will only be one of a handful ever created. The prints I have made up to this pint in my testing have been really beautiful and I am excited to be able to offer this service after so long.

Gift cards are available for either size of print.

Click here for more information on ordering. I handle each order individually through email, nothing automated about it. I like the idea of communicating with those buying prints directly rather than hiding behind a shopping cart system.

round and round

Audio Technica AT-LP60

Still haven’t caught the vinyl bug? A modest collection of your favorite music on vinyl is nothing but a joy to have around the house. I went looking for a nice entry level turntable that anyone interested could afford and came back with this nice desk by Audio Technica which has a history in the phono field. With its built in preamp you can connect it to a pair of speakers of your choosing pretty easily.

sit down already

Best Made Waxed Canvas Camp Stool

Surely everyone knows of Best made these days, they have an incredible collection of simple, useful tools and supplies for camping and life. I have long loved a good campstool but they are so hard to find these days. I love the one they sell, folds up flat and gives you a great seat by the fire when a dry log is nowhere to be found.

head north

Tru Nord Compass

I have read nothing but great things about these tiny compasses and think they would make for a brilliantly understated gift for any friend or family member that likes to get out and explore. Also available are keychain and pin-on models.


Apple Beer

Nothing beer about this beer, its a non-alcoholic soda but its easily my favorite soda. Bet you didn’t know I have a thing for soda did you? I’m not particularly sure when it started, most likely from the book ‘The Solitaire Mystery’ and the Rainbow Soda (fizz) in the plot that I read when I was younger. At any rate, I do love a good, well crafted soda, not to sweet or full of junk. While traveling I constantly try new sodas and am always on the lookout for something I have never tried before. Any time I meet someone who secretly takes pride in “not drinking coke or soda” I feel bad for them because they have no idea what they are missing. So, back to Apple Soda, its simply great, I discovered it on one of many trips to Utah and always end up getting a few boxes while I’m out there. You can’t go wrong here, subtle and delicious.


Marble Machine

I love simple toys and objects. I came across these wonderful marble machine kits while poking around for ideas and I really love them. This is the most simplified one I could find and comes in a kit to be built. This same shop also has a few more elaborate machines including ones which are battery powered though I like the hand cranking nature of this. A fun project for christmas day for sure. Note, it ships from the UK so no last minute gift for U.S. readers here.


Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen

The pen geeks of the world are already well familiar with these but for those of you not in the know these are fantastic portable fountain pens. Timeless design and a joy to write with in my opinion. Would be great if given as a gift with a nice notebook. Don’t forget an extra pack of ink!


Kenfu Airframe iPhone holder

I have long wished for a nice car mount for my iPhone but only a few over the years have not been overly complicated or bulky. I came across this at the Apple store and immediately knew it was just what I had been looking for. It’s simple and well made enough for me not to worry about it breaking. The tension on the adjustable mount is perfect and I always feel safe having it there within reach. When I don’t have a need for it I can easily toss it in the glove box.


Misc. Goods Playing Cards

While I can never remember the rules to many card games I do love shuffling cards to clear my mind and the occasional game of solitaire. This is a beautiful deck that was originally funded through kickstarted but has now been tweaked and re-released in a second edition.


Spyderco Squeak

Last year I recommended spyderco’s great Dragonfly as a wonderful small pocketknife for every day use, only problem with it is that many cities around the world do not allow locking blades. Enter the non locking Squeak which I have been carrying around for a while now and really love its rugged simplicity. While there is no lock on this small knife the design of the handle allows the finger grip to help protect your finger from any accidents. While longer knives are fun they are not always practical from day to day and this is a great compromise if you ask me. I use it for everything from cutting fruit to opening boxes to stripping cable. Nothing like a good solid knife.


Winter Season Tool Rollup

In my line of work it seems you alway need a few basic tools around and while I have moved up into dragging around a yellow pelican case around with me I still love the idea of an easy to carry set of tools that I can toss in my day to day backpack for those times when I don’t have all of my tools with me. These rollup kits from Winter Season are beautiful, as is most any of their products, and would make a great gift for anyone with a mess of tools in need of a good home.



After trying one of these out at the Kiosk shop in NYC I totally fell in love with its charm. Oddly enough, I have wanted a xylophone for quite a while now and this one has a beautiful, simple resonance. Would make a perfect gift for anyone who enjoyed simple joys such as these as I do.


FujiFilm Instax Mini 90

While these are not all that easy to come by they sure are handy and I would love to pick up one for myself eventually. I have read great things about these and I’m sure it would make a fun gift for anyone. If you go through B&H film isn’t even THAT bad cost wise. Its a fun take on a pop culture phenomenon that just won’t let go.

Photo 13 lg

Bill Daniel’s Mostly True

I love this book, it’s a compendium of rail road graffiti and hobo life. Full of stories, photos and legends of the train hopping community. I bought this on a whim the last time I was in San Francisco and read it cover to cover on the flight home. Now any time I get stuck at a set of tracks waiting for a freight train to go by I look for chalk tags left behind by wandering artists, easily recommended for any curious mind.


London Undercover Gent Lifesaver Umbrella (Or here  for US shoppers)

I am of the persuasion that when you buy something seemingly common yet essential to every day life that you should buy a product that not only works well but will hold up in the long run. In a world dominated by a yearly shedding of fashions and gadgets I find it comforting to have a few everyday tools that I know are in it for the long haul.

Tumblr mvvsliJTuL1s51fnso1 1280

FourSevens Mini Flashlight

While I used to carry a larger flashlight and still do on occasion I recently started carrying around this amazing little light made by FourSevens. As close to a perfect little EDC flashlight thats rugged, bright, and dependable as you can get. Highly recommended to anyone in need.


Korg Volca Series Synthesizer or Drum Machine

I once made music with a friend of mine and in the process really fell in love with tinkering with sound, drum machines, and synthesizers. When I saw these pop up on the market I knew I would love to have one of the Rhythm models for myself at some point. Simple and fun way to make music. I love that Korg is keeping this kind of hardware alive and well in developing products like this. Any fellow fan of tinkering with electronic music would surely have fun messing about with any of these.


Useless Machine

I’m not sure why exactly but I really love the idea of these so called useless machines. While I prefer home made wooden ones This company has a fun looking kit to make your own at home. For those unfamiliar its a simple box with a switch and up on flipping said switch a stick, or in this case finger, pops out of the box and turns off the switch. Would make a great gift for a young curious mind I think.


Oversized Planner by JStory

I rather love the idea of this oversized monthly planner. In the midst of our lives being run by the devices we drag around everywhere, a simple place to keep up with things from week to week could be really handy.


Paper Craft Birdcage 

Remember this photo from way back in 2010? You can still buy these delightful paper craft bird cages and I found them for sale online. It was one of my favorite things until it recently did not survive my last move. I just may have to get another one of these days.

SNK818 1

Sakuma Drops

Know someone with a sweet tooth? These hard candies from Japan are easily among my favorite. Sweet and bursting with flavor they come in a million or so different varieties but these common mixed tins are a good place to start. I love the tins, classic and handy, nice to see in a world of over marketed junk.

Paper Pusher Risograph Calendar

Paper Pusher Risograph Calendar

Came across this and thought it was worth pointing out here. I think its nice having a simple calendar around to keep track of the days through the year and the beautiful printing and design makes this a perfect option to do so.


Shoyeido Moss Garden Incense 

I know there are a lot of people who for some reason don’t like incense and whenever I come across someone who makes this claim I wonder if they have had the pleasure of good quality incense. This is my favorite, its clean, slightly sweet and makes any morning a pleasant one. I usually buy the larger boxes which end up lasting me a year or more because I don’t constantly burn them but there are plenty to choose from. They offer all manner of other scents and accessories as well so have a look around.


  1. Alex - December 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I feel this video would be a very fitting addition to your Apple Beer comments.

  2. Hal Render - December 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Brilliant list! Thank you for the suggestions.

  3. Norbert Congard - December 15, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Always very good ideas! Thank you!

  4. Britzy - December 16, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Thanks to you, I just ordered my Kenfu Airframe iPhone holder :)

    Thank you

  5. Greg Nichols - December 16, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Many thanks for mentioning us in your lovely gift guide this year! – Greg N., Shoyeido Incense

  6. Tim Sondrup - May 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    You should make another “Things” posts. I do enjoy them!

Leave A Reply

To whom it may concern,



• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
• Share with friends.
• Send me a quick mail if you are interested in using an image for commercial or personal use other than wallpaper.


• Post desktops elsewhere online.
• Share links directly to images.
• Pass them around in mass.
• Make prints.
• Use images for web banners or graphics. (send a quick email to ask, I’m pretty easy going about this with permission.)
• Use them in commercial work.

If you help me out with these I will be able to keep doing what I love to do. Thanks again, really, for your support and understanding. -J


By downloading any content from you agree to the following terms:

All of the images contained within this website,, are property of, John Carey unless otherwise posted. The images are distributed as freeware but they are available for personal use only on your personal computer, tablet, or smartphone as your wallpaper image. Any use of these images for any purpose other than this is a violation of these terms and anyone found using said images will be asked to either compensate the creator for doing so or be asked to stop using them immediately.

I ask that you refrain from using any images found on to create physically printed material of any kind. This includes posters, photographic prints, fliers, etc. Under no circumstances may you make a physical reproduction without written permission.

These rules also apply for any artwork or imagery submitted and shown within this site which was created by an artist aside from myself. Any images submitted and shared as wallpapers are the property of the artist who created them and in the same manner as my images, you are asked to receive permission before using them in any way aside from their intended use. Any use of these images outside of for your own personal use as a desktop wallpaper image is prohibited without permission from the author of the image. Commercial licensing is available upon request. Please write with any inquiries.

When sharing images via your personal blogs I kindly ask that you link back directly to either the post the image was taken from or the base of the website at and give a credit to Do not re-post full resolution desktop images anywhere without permission. If you would like to use an image for your blog background or something of the sort simply write to ask first. Support the artwork you admire! Also, it is greatly appreciated if you do NOT link directly to the zip files. This is more or less the same as re-posting them as it circumvents the tiny bit of support I ask of you which is to simply link back to the original post for others to enjoy the site.

It’s not fair to artists if you do not credit their work and link back to the original content creator. It is theft plain and simple and blogs that attempt to somehow be mysterious by not giving credit to the creators are simply hurting the artistic community as a whole. If you love it so much then please, support it! The artistic community on the Internet is based on trust. Without trust then what do we have? are you going to be one of the responsible users out there or will you be among the bottom feeders, stealing content and passing it off as your own to make a quick buck in ad sales.

Use your best judgement and we will get along just fine.

Thank you for your understanding and support!

John Carey (curator, owner)