Not Martha

experimenting with pancakes

I’ve been playing around with pancakes. A few weeks ago I wanted to use some apple slices in a pancake so I put some on top then sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar and slid it under the broiler so it had a crunchy top. Last weekend I did the same thing but with a pear and just sugar. I think I’m on to something.

I made some basic pancake batter from How To Cook Everything, and added a little vanilla to the batter because I was feeling fancy. I poured a thick pancake into a small pan, put thin pear slices on top and covered it with some foil. After the bubbles had risen and the pancake had cooked to the point the top surface looked almost done. I sprinkled it with sugar and put it under the broiler. (If I had thought ahead I would have used my small cast iron pan so I could have just moved it from stove to oven.)

We had plenty of pancake batter left over so we made a cinnamon sugar pancake the same way.

This one had a satisfyingly crunchy top but I didn’t think it was cinnamon-y enough.

Next I have an idea that involves gathering a few special ingredients together.

· comments [36] · 10-15-2008 · categories:food ·

shoe rack in FamilyFun magazine

Hey look, FamilyFun magazine has a version of my shoe rack in their November 2008 magazine. I’m flattered they found the idea print worthy, thank you Family Fun.

This isn’t a magazine I’d normally pick up so I found myself pleasantly surprised by all the good ideas inside. Aut-yum Leaves:

Pumpkin Pie-sicles:

and Pop! Corn, a Thanksgiving version of a Christmas Cracker:

Also, this issue has the Toy of the Year Awards, which will come in very handy as Scott and I navigate our way through two birthdays and Christmas for a niece and nephew.

· comments [13] · 10-14-2008 · categories:mumbling ·

links: tech

Bootleg Demakes, this is the competition that Lively Ivy’s Little Girl in Underland game, which I mentioned previously, came from

micro bug spy cam at Product Dose

a font question at Ask Metafilter pointed me towards Vector Magic, a site which came in very handy last night

400+ Time Saving Photoshop Actions via Swiss Miss

I’m on the hunt for some new podcasts to keep me entertained at Ask Metafilter

Nintendo DSi at Uncrate, it has a built-in web browser

AirCurve iPhone speaker, nicely inexpensive, at Charles & Marie

Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User by David Pogue via Swiss Miss

A Simple Paper Clip Becomes An iPhone Stand at iSmashPhone

· comments [3] · 10-13-2008 · categories:iphone · technology ·

two good iPhone games that happen to be free right now

Space Monkey and Aqua Forest — and a few more found over at Finger Gaming.

· comments [1] · 10-10-2008 · categories:iphone · technology ·

how much is a pound of coins worth?

Scott and I keep a big jar of loose change. We usually let it fill up and just take it to a Coinstar machine and accept the 10% charge. But this time we ignored the jar until it was overflowing and we’d moved on to just adding to the pile of change next to the jar. I suspected we had over $200 and didn’t really want to give Coinstar $20. So we counted and rolled it ourselves. I discovered that some banks (First Tech Credit Union here in Seattle) will let you hand over a big bag of coins and they’ll run through a sorting machine. But not our bank, of course. Our bank did give us as many free coin rolls as we could possibly want.

Lauren (thanks Lauren!) pointed me towards this page on the distribution of coin types in a jar that estimates mixed coins would average out to $12.96 a pound. I wanted to know how our jar compared so I kept notes. One thing, we regularly took quarters out of the jar to use for parking meters.

Total weight before sorting: about 22 pounds and 3 ounces

Number of rolled tubes (all had a few coins left over):
Quarters: 13 tubes
Dimes: 14 tubes
Nickels: 10 tubes
Pennies: 24 tubes

Number of one dollar coins: 7
Number of fifty cent pieces: 1

Canadian coins: $1.98 cents (one dollar coin, two quarters, four dimes, one nickel, three pennies)

Number of wheat pennies: 4
Oldest penny: 1936

Non-monetary: two guitar picks, two rubber bands, one small washer

Too disgusting to touch: approximately twenty pennies and one very beat up dime

Amount per pound: just over $11.27

Worth the time spent rolling the coins? Yes. A partner and a glass of wine and the exercise of counting out pennies is very satisfying.

Total bankable amount: $248.02

This will go into our sofa fund (I secretly think of it as half the cost of the matching ottoman). Our coins averaged to just a little over $11.27 per pound, less than the $12.96 average and probably the result of our poaching quarters out of the jar to use for parking. So there we go, next time we are eyeing our pile of change and trying to decide if the fee for the Coinstar is worth the convenience we can weigh things out and have a good idea.

Note: Coinstar doesn’t take the 10% if you exchange your coins for a gift certificate to a number of places, including Amazon, Starbucks and iTunes.

· comments [40] · 10-10-2008 · categories:mumbling ·

Canon XSi vs. XS, I’m being a bit obsessive now

Well damn, maybe I should have waited to choose a camera because since I bought one the price for the Canon XS has dropped to $550 $475! That is with the lens and everything! The price of the XSi, the one I bought, has dropped to $640 $655.

Right. I have a camera and now I must stop paying attention to the falling prices.

Also, this fairly inexpensive ($85) Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens has been recommended by a number of people who love it in the comments of my previous camera post with the explanation that it will help me take good pictures indoors in low light, which sounds so very appealing with the rainy winter setting in. It’s going on my Wishlist, maybe I’ll get it for Christmas. Maybe?

· comments [26] · 10-9-2008 · categories:shopping · technology ·

links: beauty and shopping

Star Wars Boba Fett For Real Hoodie, despite the price and the fact that it would look terrible on me, I want

Nike Mary Jane NM Shoes at Outblush, kinda nice

How does Dr Bronner soap work? What are the 18 uses that they claim on the bottle? at Ask Metafilter

Why do Crest, Colgate, etc. no longer display the ADA seal of approval? at Ask Metafilter

What can I do now, as a young woman, to ensure I have beautiful skin when I’m older? at Ask Metafilter

· comments [6] · 10-9-2008 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

links: misc

Halloween Gaming, Part I: Zombies at Defective Yeti

Have flu. Need game. at Ask Metafilter

Blindfold Chess at Kottke. Well, there is one thing that is already so well done I don’t even have to bother thinking about trying.

California Academy of Sciences Reopens in an Orgy of Ecotechture at io9

procrastination visualized at Swiss Miss

Creepy children’s book question at Ask Metafilter

What other consumer goods have “premium” versions that are identical to the budget version? at Ask Metafilter

· comments [2] · 10-8-2008 · categories:misc ·

links: Seattle

northwest native plant landscape guide: did you know this existed? I did not! Thank you! At Straight From The Container.

Columbia Center Observation Deck at Yelp. I must get to this someday very soon.

The Salvage Studio in Edmonds, story in The Seattle Times.

· comments [3] · 10-8-2008 · categories:seattle ·

links: the home

Are there some specific CFL models that will light just like my old soft incandescent light bulbs? at Ask Metafilter

Ah! Spider Plates! at Home By Sunset

Tidy little bedside table at Mighty Goods

How can I get this awful, musty smell out of my towels? at Ask Metafilter

The truth about thread count. at Kottke. The sheets you’re looking for are percale, good ones are harder to find that you might expect.

How do I stop at futon mattress from slipping? at Ask Metafilter. The answer, those grippy things you put under rugs. It works!

· comments [6] · 10-7-2008 · categories:the home ·

links: food

Yellow Cake to end all Yellow Cakes at Bake and Shake

What’s a Good Fall Drink? at Seattlest

What are some tricks from moving from teflon/non-stick to stainless steel on a gas range? at Ask Metafilter

Pork Princess Tiara OH MY GOSH have you seen this yet? Amazing. She made it using Activa TG-RM which bonds proteins an you need to be very careful so you don’t glue the insides of your lungs together.

beef, leek and barley soup at Smitten Kitchen

· comments [4] · 10-6-2008 · categories:food · recipes ·

Plush You! is coming up

The Plush You! show at Schmancy is going to be Friday, Oct. 10th from 5 – 8 p.m. Past shows have been fantastic and I’m really looking forward to this one, and maybe a little dinner at one of the nearby Tom Douglas restaurants.

I’ve written a post for Kristen on crafty shopping destinations in Seattle for those who are here from out of town. If you’ve got places to add please let me know, I must have left off something really obvious.

· comments [2] · 10-3-2008 · categories:events · seattle ·

Canon Rebel XSi

I bought a camera! An actual DSLR camera, like a grown up might have. I decided on the Canon Rebel XSi (known to the rest of the world as the Canon EOS 450D). I had been wanting a new camera for a while but couldn’t really justify the purchase until last week, when my point and shoot camera just stopped working. Poor little thing.

Previously I’d been looking at the recently released Canon XS, which is their entry level DSLR. Despite getting good expert reviews it doesn’t seem to have generated much excitement, as you can see from the very few user reviews at Amazon. Many places suggesting the XSi (which is the slightly older brother than the XS and came out in January of 2008) is worth the money for the few slightly better features. So I took a look and discovered that Amazon was selling the XSi for only slightly more than the XS.

update: from the time I started writing this the XS price has gone from $640 to $600, and the XSi price dropped from $660 to $655. A lot of the research I did suggested the price for the XS would drop even further in coming months, and if I didn’t need a camera now I would have waited it out to see how low the XS price might get.

I did a lot of research and what I turned up is that the XS is very much the same camera as the XSi but with a few features that aren’t quite as good. I can say with some confidence that in moving up from a point and shoot I never would have noticed the difference in the features except for one thing, the LCD screen in the XSi is 3 inches whereas it’s 2.5 inches in the XS. I don’t even consider that a deal breaker but while the price difference was so small I went for the XSi. I found two articles that compare the models in a helpfully concise way: Gizmodo and Digicamhelp. The other thing my reading turn up is that when compared to the older entry level model XTi it appears both the XS and the XSi are well-worth-it steps up.

Annoyingly specific notes and a few of my first pictures follow. [Read more →]

· comments [59] · 10-1-2008 · categories:shopping · technology ·