· comments  · 09-30-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·
The above is a terrible picture of our new towels, which I’m unexpectedly in love with. I picked them up in a rushed trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond when we had friends coming to town and I sort of grabbed the first towels that looked good to me. But now I love them because they manage to be fluffy without being too heavy or thick, because they remind me of these from CB2, but most importantly because they don’t have that strip of binding (cuff? flat strip of non-terry cloth stuff?) a few inches in from either end. (What is that called?) Anyhow, I simply don’t like that and find the lack of it delightful. They are nicely inexpensive too, even when you insist on getting extra bath sheets.
· comments  · 09-29-2010 · categories:shopping ·
· comments  · 09-28-2010 · categories:links · the home ·
· comments  · 09-27-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
shelterrific » tested and approved: idye natural fabric dye. I have some of the iDye for synthetics in the hopes of turning some yellow sandals black, I’ll report back if I ever get up the courage to try it.
The Hooded Scarf – Bolt Neighborhood. I think this is the answer to my inability to like rain hats and my shyness over sporting one of those clear plastic rain hoods that little old ladies in Ohio used to wear so they didn’t mess up their perfectly set hair.
Craftzine.com blog : Fabrickit for E-Textiles.
angry chicken: getting ready for cooler weather. With recommendations on books and sources for making your own herbal goods.
angry chicken: toy theater out of a moving box. I came across this yesterday and really love it, it even has three slots for backdrops.
Grosgrain: Poppy Boutonniere Tutorial. Inspired by the fabulous Emersonmade flowers.
betz white: funky chunky. A collection of projects made with huge yarn. “I love how the ordinary becomes extraordinary just by a massive change of scale.” Agreed!
· comments  · 09-24-2010 · categories:craft · links ·
Yesterday was Scott’s birthday. I wanted to use the message paper gift topper (show below) from MSL The Crafts Department blog to decorate but I was lacking a bit in both time and paper length so I settled for just using his name. (Not shown: Scott wearing the gift topper like a party tiara.)
I also wanted him to open the boxes in a certain order so I numbered them, attaching the numbers so that they would fold down. The stacked boxes and the paper ribbon hid the numbers until he started to unwrap the bundle.
I have had this stack of colored paper for years, I bought it when we lived in San Francisco, and I usually pull it out just for gift wrapping. I somehow never seem to have wrapping paper in the house when I need it, but I always have a roll of brown butcher paper around. I buy in huge rolls and use to recover the top of my cutting table. So, I’ve been using the colored paper to decorate packages and I’m nearly out of lime green, oh no!
What was in the boxes? One held a little Tinysaur Display Kit to hold the T-Rex Tinysaur that Scott assembled earlier this summer. (It’s impressively small, smaller than any of the pictures manage to portray.) The other was this awesome T-Rex Belt Buckle, also made by Everything Tiny, which came with a nice black leather belt that just the right size.
Here is the MSL Crafts Department message paper gift topper, so fantastic:
· comments  · 09-23-2010 · categories:craft ·
· comments  · 09-22-2010 · categories:food · links ·
Bar Keepers Friend has been recommended to me a number of times, I recently got a chance to try it out after turning on the wrong burner which just happened to be under a mostly empty pot leaving scorch marks. (This happens to me a lot, but this time I have nice enough cookware that it didn’t outright melt.) And wow people, the most lazy of scrubbing with Bar Keepers Friend and a regular sponge and it nearly completely restored the pot. Thanks for the recommendation, high fives all around.
update: Marielle left a very important note — wear gloves when using this! It is not something you should get on your skin.
· comments  · 09-21-2010 · categories:shopping ·
I have come down with a sneezy sort of cold. I managed to rally enough on Sunday to make this cinnamon swirl cake. It’s from a mix and I added some extra fancy cinnamon which was given to me by Cinnamon (thanks again!). The results: I can report that one boxed mix will make plenty of cake to fill both sides of the skull cake pan. Tastewise, however, you’re better off making a coffee cake from scratch, if you have the energy. And now I’m going back to bed where I can be pitiful and feel sorry for myself while eating cake.
· comments  · 09-20-2010 · categories:food · halloween ·
Earlier this week I took the Theo Chocolate factory tour here in Seattle. The tour was well worth it, nicely paced, packed full of information and with plenty of samples. Shown above is a cacoa pod, about half the size of a usual one, did you know it takes about six of the pods shown to make one chocolate bar?
We were given a thorough tour of the facility, got to see the roast master in action, peeked in the confectionery kitchen, and introduced to their very own Theobroma cacoa tree:
The factory is fairly small and the tours groups are sized accordingly. So, no matter when you go call ahead to make reservations.
(The trays used to mold chocolate bars!)
Even though Theo is here in Seattle I didn’t know this: It’s the only certified organic and fair trade bean to bar chocolate factory in the US. They take great care with their products starting with the growers so you can feel ultra virtuous while eating a Big Daddy (peanut butter, caramel and graham cracker, more delicious than you’d even hope for):
Between the tour and the samples in their lobby we got to sample most everything they offer. My other favorites were among the fantasy flavor bars: the Chocolate Vanilla bar, the Fig Fennel & Almond, Coconut Curry and Chai. All delicious. I think my favorite plain chocolate bar was the 45% Milk Chocolate bar from the Jane Goodall collection, a super extra virtuous treat.
They have a few limited release flavors and this Ghost Chili flavor is my favorite from all their bars. It’s spicy, but not so hot that it obscures the chocolate. Around Halloween these will sport Jack-o-lantern labels.
They even sell frozen molten chocolate cakes, in jars! (See my pies in jars and cobbler in jars to get an idea on why I’m so excited just here.)
Note: You will wear a hair net on the tour, and if you are a guy with a beard you will be asked to wear a beard net as well. It’s hilarious, just go with it.
Samples from the tour (among lots of the chocolate we got to sample). The burnt sugar ganache was my favorite.
· comments  · 09-17-2010 · categories:food ·
Why is my ability to visualize so unbounded when I am drifting off to sleep (but not yet dreaming)? Is this a state I can reproduce in waking life? | Ask MetaFilter. Really interesting response involving Salvado Dali’s technique for capturing this.
I found a secret room in my apartment. How do I decorate it? | Ask MetaFilter. It’s like every New Yorkers space anxiety dream come to reality. They have pictures and video to prove it’s real.
Some friends mentioned the Dear Sugar advice column to me and ever since I’ve seen it recommended everywhere. So, in case you have not heard about it yet, the Dear Sugar advice column is amazing and I look forward to it each week. Start with this one.
Live Shifter is a choose your own adventure on Twitter. Here is the author’s take on how he did it: How to write Interactive Fiction for Twitter « total cruft. Via Waxy.
· comments  · 09-16-2010 · categories:links · misc ·
Scott cooked breakfast the other day and accidentally found the way to the perfect soft boiled (well, steamed) egg. Here is what he did: Place a little water and steamer and eggs in a saucepan, cover with a lid, turn on heat, set timer for 11 minutes. The eggs come out with cooked whites and still soft yolks that are just starting to firm up. (The original instructions were to steam the eggs for 11 minutes, which produce a nearly solid yolk, like this one.)
Why steamed eggs instead of boiled? This was originally something I saw on Alton Brown’s Good Eats. On a practical level it takes less time to heat up the water to steam a pot as opposed to boil enough water to cover eggs. On a subjective level I think the whites turn out more tender when steamed, though this could just be the power of suggestion. In any case it’s officially a lazy persons approved method, at least from this household.
Let’s hear it for sweeties who make breakfast and stumble upon perfection!
· comments  · 09-15-2010 · categories:food · recipes ·
· comments  · 09-14-2010 · categories:craft · links ·
Hey! The photograph I contributed to the BlogHer/Kirtsy Voices of the Year Gulf Auction open for bidding among the Geek/Nerd category this week. All the money raised will be donated to The Nature Conservancy to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico. See more here and bid over at Ebay right here, mine is this one.
The photograph was made to go with this hilarious post at Average Jane called How Average Jane’s Brain Works, and the cappuccino itself was created by a barista at my local Caffe Vita here in Seattle who was game and whom I happened to catch on a quiet afternoon.
· comments  · 09-13-2010 · categories:events ·
This past spring I was sitting at my desk thinking up things to make. I was staring at my blocks of sticky notes designed by Snow & Graham and figured that maybe I could make something similar using rubber stamps and Post-it notes. I found out that it’s possible, probably, just not by me. Trouble was that I decided to do a woodgrain, meaning I’d stamp a solid light brown first and then use a large woodgrain stamp in a darker brown on top. Easy right? Not so much. First I forgot to take into account that Post-it notes don’t come in cubes, they come in pads. After some searching I did find some white almost-cube Post-its at OfficeMax, yay.
Then when I was doing research I discovered that Martha Stewart Crafts had done this already, and quite recently! They used this blank memo cube from the Oriental Trading Company. I also found plain paper memo cube at Impress here in Seattle. But I don’t use memos the way I use sticky notes, so I was determined to stick with them.
The result? Tragically unevenly stamped sticky notes. Oh well. That said, I think if you can track down the white Post-its (they were at OfficeMax in a separate section for the In Place organizational goods) and use smaller stamps you could create some very good looking things for your desk. Just learn from my mistake and use small stamps, you’ll be happier.
· comments  · 09-10-2010 · categories:craft · links ·