Not Martha

Birthday Treasure Hunt (an idea you should borrow)

This past weekend was my birthday. Scott was in New York for a gig but before he left he set up a little treasure hunt in our own house to keep me amused since I had some work I needed to get done before Monday. He left me a card labeled “1 of 2″, inside was a perfectly normal birthday card and this mysterious piece of vellum offered with no further hints:

a blank sheet of velum marked with nine X-marks the spot points

I knew it was a location map but it didn’t line up to anything I could find. I tried seeing if it fit over the card to mark specific letters that would spell something, or maybe a book or magazine that had recently appeared on the dining room table, or something. I figured perhaps it was locations in the house but it didn’t seem to correspond with the layout. Nothing quite fit. Later that night I had dinner with friends and at the end of the evening they presented me with card #2. Inside that one was the other half of the map, the layout of our house:

a rough layout of both floors of our house, and our car in the driveway

Putting one on top of the other reveals, a ha!, locations:

points in our house

It’s hard to tell from the photo but one spot is located out in the car. I slipped out to there close to midnight in the pouring rain, still wearing my birthday dress, to retrieve the treasure he’d slipped into the glove compartment.

nine toy capsules containing rings

And what did I find hidden in those spots? Like tiny Easter eggs I found colorful capsules containing toy rings. One was in the planter for our huge rubber plant, one tucked behind a picture on a shelf, one in waiting inside a cup in the cabinet, one inside a box of kleenex. All (well, almost all) sat unnoticed by me for two full days.

nine toy capsules containing rings

(Why toy rings? They echo my engagement ring.)

Scott you’re the greatest! And thanks to go my dear friends who were all in on the secret and managed to keep it all the way through dinner.

· comments [27] · 10-11-2010 · categories:things I think are neat ·

three words: Skull Cake Pan

a skull made of cake staring straight at the camera

Ok, look. I know it’s maybe a bit early to be talking about Halloween but I myself think that celebrating Halloween for 1/6th of the year is perfectly reasonable. Also I want you to know about this so you can made as many skull shaped cakes as possible before Halloween because a mid-November skull cake is far less acceptable to take into the office than an early-October skull cake.

(Please excuse the crumbs on his nose, you have to trim the cake after it comes out of the pan and, this being my trial run, things got a little messy.)

This is a 3-D skull cake pan sold by Wilton. You can also find it on Amazon and at the usual suspects of craft stores, at least during the Halloween season.

I went through a serious crush on the 3-D pumpkin cake pan a few years back but never bought it, and I still look fondly at the giant cupcake pan when I see it but again I’ve never inspired to buy. But when I found this skull pan in I immediately grabbed it and carried it around the store with me while looking for all the stuff I came for, just in case all three pans on the shelf were gone by the time I came back around. Even though it was, at the time, August. At first I thought I might be overreacting but when I returned to the store a few days later all the pans were gone. It justified my crazy. A bit.

side of of the skull cake showing how the top and bottom pieces fit together

The back part of the skull is molded so that it sits at just the right angle to stare up at you menacingly from the plate.

butter softening next to my orange mixing bowl, with an orange pumpkin can label and orange logo of my favorite flour

The pan comes with a pumpkin spice cake recipe, and while making it I rediscovered how much I like the color orange.

two containers of cinnamon

Also, thanks to a wonderful girl who happens to be named Cinnamon, I had two types of cinnamon to choose from to use in the cake. The cake was good but too sweet for my preferences. I hope to change it a bit and then maybe add a cream cheese frosting brain surprise inside. Or, oh oh!, cream cheese frosting maggots. Ew.

a view looking inside the pan

The pan is nicely heavy and with a little Baker’s Joy I had no trouble getting the cake to slide out. (A tip from Alton Brown: spray it over the open door of your dishwasher, it won’t leave your floor or countertops slippery and it’s a surface that will be washed anyhow.)

another view of the a skull made of cake staring straight at the camera

I’m in love with this face.

What should I name him?

· comments [70] · 09-7-2010 · categories:food · halloween · things I think are neat ·

Melba Toast has a surprisingly romantic history

melba toast crackers (because I did not have melba toast, forgive me)

Over breakfast last week Scott and I found ourselves wondering about the origins of Melba Toast. Why Melba Toast? I have no idea, I think we were eating pancakes at the time. Turns out Melba Toast has a very romantic origin, romance! fame! scandal! all play a part, at least from it’s originators. Wikipedia take it away:

It is named after Dame Nellie Melba, the stage name of Australian opera singer Helen Porter Mitchell. Its name is thought to date from 1897, when the singer was very ill and it became a staple of her diet. The toast was created for her by chef and fan Auguste Escoffier, who also created the Peach Melba dessert for her. The hotel proprietor César Ritz supposedly named it in a conversation with Escoffier.

This part of history isn’t something I studied so I was delighted to read about these huge personalities. Dame Nellie Melba was a soprano and a major diva and gained a lot of scorn from her friends and colleges with her acerbic personality. She toured the world to sing, she made recordings and was on the radio in the very early days when almost nobody had a radio to listen to, she had affairs, caught a fever in Egypt, had a facelift (I did not know they existed in the 20s), gave farewell tours for nearly a decade and her face is on the Australian 100 dollar bill. What a lady.

Escoffier and Ritz have fascinating stories too, well, more fascinating than I suspected. They worked together at the Savoy until they were implicated in the disappearance of £3400 worth of wine and spirits. They then opened the Ritz hotels in Paris and London and attracted all the rich and famous as clientele, they went on to open hotels and cook for royalty and, it appears, generally lead fabulous lives. Escoffier established the system by which all our restaurant kitchens run. I love this anecdote from The Times, found on Wikipedia: “Colour meant so much to Escoffier, and a memory arises of a feast at the Carlton for which the table decorations were white and pink roses, with silvery leaves – the background for a dinner all white and pink, Borscht striking the deepest note, Filets de poulet à la Paprika coming next, and the Agneau de lait forming the high note.”

Alright, history lesson concluded.

· comments [7] · 08-10-2010 · categories:food · things I think are neat ·

Pie Lollipops

pie lollipops!

I’m losing my mind a bit over these brilliant pie lollipops from Luxirare.

pie lollipops!

Thanks go out to Wendy who emailed me the link, and I also spotted it over at Cakespy.

· comments [11] · 07-31-2009 · categories:food · things I think are neat ·

Starbucks VIA ReadyBrew instant coffee

Earlier today I had the luck to attend a brunch held by Starbucks where they were going to present a Big New Thing. News of the thing, a new form of instant, or soluble, coffee called VIA Ready Brew, broke a little early so there wasn’t much surprise to what the news would be. The brunch was held at the Boat Street Cafe and of course the food was outstanding (reminder to self: make that kale gratin). I was so happy to have Mary T. from Shelterrific there with me.

update: Mary is holding a gift bag giveaway over here at Shelterrific and has more pictures from the brunch, some featuring my hands.

So here’s what I learned. The process of extracing the coffee took 20 years to perfect and was done by Don Valencia, who wanted to be able to drink good coffee on camping trips. The VIA name is in honor of him. It comes as a fine powder in the familiar skinny packet, you dump it into a mug and pour hot or cold water on top and stir. It’s 100% coffee, no additives. VIA will be available in Starbucks stores in Seattle, Chicago and the UK on March 3rd, and afterward everywhere. You can purchase it online at Starbucksvia.com, it will ship starting March 3rd. A pack of three will be $2.95 and a pack of 12 will be $9.95. Apparently samples were available at Fashion Week and will be included in the Oscars gift bags. There were free samples and those who heard about them early from Starbucks on Twitter grabbed them very quickly. They have not yet cracked the code on making a decaf version. The pack of three comes in this tidy package, which opens like a matchbook:

During the meal we got to try two varieties of VIA, the Italian Roast and the Colombian. I’m not a coffee snob but I did spend a summer working in a coffee shop (the critical early morning shift) and I can honestly tell you the coffee was delicious. There was no hint of bitterness or off taste to me and I was instantly thinking of all the ways having a few packets of this around would be ideal, mostly traveling. I was also thinking back to all the unfortunate past trips where we stayed with non-coffee drinkers and the touchy mornings because these people just didn’t understand and no peppermint tea won’t stave off my need for caffeine. Having a few of these would have solved all those problems. Anyhow, Ad Age reporters tried the coffee (note: video) alongside coffee brewed in the store and called it “virtually indistinguishable”. (That link is via The Food Section.)

At the end of the meal waiters brought around carafes of hot water and we were able to make our own coffee, but I had already taken the opportunity to dump a packet into my glass of ice water:

It dissolved (mixed?) quickly and didn’t have any bitter or sourness. I am completely taken with how easy this will make having a glass of iced coffee in the summer.

We were sent home with a swag bag with a few samples and this amazing I Am Not A Paper Cup from the MoMA store. Thanks Starbucks!

(I suspect, or like to think, that had the news of VIA not been so thoroughly leaked early the brunch would have included a reveal at the end of the meal that we’d been drinking instant coffee all along. As in, “we’ve secretly replaced their coffee with…”. That would have been awesome, no?)

I also wanted to say hello to the people I bumped into or met for the first time: Melody from Crave Party, Keren from Frantic Foodie, Ronald from Cornichon and Orangette‘s own Brandon, who reports his restaurant Delancey is set to open in April. Delancey is located in the neighborhood that Scott and I lived in for a year and a half and I really wish our time there had overlapped. Excellent pizza made by excellent people within walking distance? That would have been great.

· comments [27] · 02-19-2009 · categories:drink · food · things I think are neat ·

Christmas movie: Bernard and The Genie

I’m very excited, this year my favorite Christmas movie finally came out on DVD! Bernard and The Genie was a movie stumbled across by accident one year when I’d come home from college for the Christmas break and my college sleeping schedule meant I wasn’t going to fall asleep until 1 a.m. at the earliest. Bravo (I think) was showing this strange movie and I only watched because Rowan Atkinson is in it. I knew I’d like the movie when the main character, played by Alan Cumming, is dumped by his girlfriend and fired from his job in the first five minutes.

The movie was made in 1992 and is a particular brand of good/bad that I’m sure is tempered by my feelings that this film has become my very own tradition. According to the Amazon reviews the quality of the movie, which was originally made for television, in 1992 remember, is not so great on DVD (I have not opened mine yet) so you might want to look for a copy in a mom and pop video store if you’re curious, I don’t think it’s worth splurging on. But it certainly is making me happy.

· comments [10] · 12-16-2008 · categories:christmas · things I think are neat ·

Holiday Gift Ideas

I’ve assembled a list of stuff that has appeared on Not Martha over the last year or so in the hopes that it might help you with the great gift search for the holidays. If you’d like more informaiton about any given thing I’ve put at link to the [post] where it originally appeared.

jump to:

gadets and electronics

Garmin Nuvi

We were given one of these as a gift and we find it so outstandingly useful we don’t know why we didn’t get one for ourselves earlier. This on fits firmly in the “gift that keeps on giving” category. [post]

Canon Rebel XSi

I bought myself the Canon XSi after my point and shoot simply stopped working. I couldn’t be happier with it, and the price is very fair at $635. The model that is on step down (and the one I originally wanted), the Canon XS, is currently a why-didn’t-I-wait-for-it $475. [post]

Canon DSLR accessories

These came highly recommended by commenters (thank you!) and which I have on my own wish list. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens came highly recommended as an inexpensive lens that is good for taking low light pictures in doors. The Crumpler 3 Million Dollar Home bag is recommended as able to hold a lot without looking conspicuously like a camera bag. I’m also eyeing the Crumpler 4 Million Dollar Home bag, which will hold a few extra lenses.

Flip video recorder

We have a tiny Flip video recorder and it’s fabulous. It does on thing, take good web quality video, and it has the simplest of controls. It has a pop-out USB connector right on the side so you can plug it right into your computer or laptop to get the videos off easily. They come out in Quicktime format, perfect for YouTube. A more recent model, the Mino, is even tinier. [post]

Eton Emergency Radio

We have a hand crank emergency radio and I feel prepared for the next time the power goes out in our neighborhood and I have no idea what is going on or, more importantly, where I need to head to find a hot cup of coffee. [post]

pampering

Product Body bath goods

I was very lucky to get to try some Prodcut Body products out and think they are outstanding. Everything is natural and made fresh to order, the line was created to be safe to new moms and kids. Any one of these scrubs, lotions or bath goods would be very welcomed under my tree. [post]

Eau de Yosh perfume

Unfortunately alcohol based perfumes make my nose itch so I was very happy to receive a sample set of Yosh perfumes last Christmas. All of her perfumes are oil based and I’ve become a big fan. U4EAHHH! is my favorite and I’ll be buying a full sized bottle knowing I’ll be using all of it. [post]

Babyliss 1/2″ hair straightening iron

I know it seems a bit strange to include this is a possible gift, but I’m so in love with my tiny Babyliss hair straightening iron I just had to include it here. It’s perfect for just straightening my bangs each morning, it heats up quickly and I can get close to my scalp without any trouble. I consider it essential for the smaller jobs. [post]

guys

DB Clay wallets

DB Clay makes very cool wallets out of durable eco-friendly fabrics. I go to inspect the one we gave away on this site and I was very impressed with the quality, and fell in love with the pattern. [post]

Doane Paper notebooks and notepads

Doane Paper combines lines and grids so each page is good for sketches and notes, I find it insanely useful. It’s availble in full sized note pads and 3.5″x5.5″ notebooks, each come in packs of three. [post]

art

Matte Stephens

I was lucky enough to win a Matte Stephens print at on of The Lab events here in Seattle and I love it. I want one of the monster prints next. [post]

boygirlparty

boygirlparty has a whole array of goods with her characters on them. You can buy small prints, original artwork, and notepads that Susie has designed. Also take a look at the boygirlparty goods currently offered by Chronicle Books – notecards, sticky notes and a journal. [post]

food

Tiny Jar Pies

If you’re feeling ambitious these tiny pies baked in a jar were received as a unique treat, and so cute if you’ll allow me to say so. Also consider the cakes baked in a jar that inspired these pies. [post]

kitchen stuff

KitchenAid food processor

This KitchenAid food processor is one of the models recommended by Cook’s Illustrated magazine and I love having it. Chopping things? Making pie dough in mere seconds? All things I couldn’t do without anymore. And it’s easier to clean that I thought it might be. [post]

Simple Human no-touch soap dispenser

Wanna make somebody’s year? The Simple Human no-touch foam soap dispenser is giving somebody a bit of luxury every time they go to wash thier hands. Not to mention how useful this would be for all those times you have hands covered in butter or flour or raw meat juice of some kind and just need to get your hands clean. I don’t own this, but I really wish I did. [post]

OXO kitchen scale

I bought the OXO kitchen scale because of the little pull-out display. I love it and it makes me feel like an expert baker. Also, the whole thing fits neatly inside a gallon sized zip top platic bag, which allows you to keep it clean when you’re flinging flour around. I flirted seriously with the small-but-mighty Escali Primo digital scale, just look at all those colors. [post]

Breville electric kettle

I use my kettle at least twice a day so I wanted one that would look great sitting on the counter. This Breville one has a simple design, a nice grippy handle, and a pleasant little ding when it’s ready. The large top opening makes it very easy to fill. I’m very pleased with it. [post]

Baker’s Edge brownie pan

I think this Baker’s Edge pan is the neatest thing I’ve seen for a long time. It’s squared off squiggle chamber allows you to cook brownies so that each piece has at least two edges. It’s brilliantly designed. While you can make lasagna in it (it’s easy to cut and put out in portions!) they do have a lasagna sized pan coming out in March. [post]

dutch oven

I love my dutch oven, a four-quart sized one, and am just hoping somebody will buy me a larger one next. The pot cooks better than I expected, and cleans up easier than I expected. It’s true love. Next I’m eyeing the Mario Batali 6 quart pot, it even has a stainless steel handle so you don’t have to worry when you put it in a hot oven. [post]

Riedel O tumblers

We’ve got a set of these Reidel O stemless wine glasses and use them often. They are Ridel quality at a significantly lower price and, we’ve tried this, can make an inexpensive wine taste better. [post]

Vacu Vin rapid ice chillers

These Vacu Vin rapid ice chillers are simply gel packs that you keep in your freezer and when you have a bottle of wine, a beer, some champagne you need to cool down quickly you just slide it over the bottle. It seems cheezy but it works really well. We use ours often enough that I’m considering buying the far better looking Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Cooling Carafe. [post]

cook books

Gluten-Free Girl

I know a startling number of people who have celiac and I recommend the book Gluten-free Girl to all of them. This book is Shauna’s story of how she came to be diagnosed, and there are lots of delicous recipes throughout the book. [post]

Delicious Days

I’ve been reading the Delicious Days site for a long time, and her book is filled with gorgeous photographs of the food and the inspiration for the recipes, it’s fantastic. [post]

stuff for the home

Apartment Therapy Presents

This book of apartment interiors is full of inspiration, and great ideas to steal. [post]

Grobal Baby

The Grobal Baby is a cute little self watering pot that comes in cheerful colors. The box comes with soil and plant food as well. [post]

reusable shopping bags

reusable shopping bags

I’m a huge fan of reusable bags that fold up really small, I carry a handful with me and keep a bundle in my car and I’m never caught needing to use a plastic bag, it’s fantastic. I’ve tried out a few and here a short summary. My favorites are the Envirosax becuase they fold up the smallest, but I have heard some complaints about their quality. My next favorite are the RuMe bags because they are very large and sturdy.

Envirosax: fold up nice and small, don’t drag on ground when held as a tote (I’m 5’2″ and they come close to dragging, so beware), come in patterns and solid colors, able to be hiked over your shoulder using one arm (again, I’m short so this might not be the case for taller people).

RuMe: Fold up to size only slightly larger than Envirosax, very sturdy construction, almost hit ground when I hold them as a tote, patterns and solid colors, able to be hiked over your shoulder using one arm. These come in a smaller size I find perfect for holding knitting projects and books from the library.

Baggu: Made of ripstop nylon it folds into a tidy flat, square pouch that is not attached to the bag. Lots of great solid colors and nice big stripes, but the handle is too short to hike over your shoulder using one arm. There is no danger of it dragging on the ground when I’m holding at a tote though, so if you’re short you might take a close look at this one.

Flip and Tumble: You scrunch it back into it’s attached container, which is a lot of fun and faster than folding up the others. Otherwise I find the handle to be too long, it drags if I hold it as a tote, and the single handle doesn’t distribute weight as well and bites into my shoulder. They have a new Loopt bag which I have not tried out yet but looks like it’s a bit shorter and has two handles.

posts: Envirosax, RuMe, Flip and Tumble, Baggu, Envirosax

for knitters and crafters

Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm CSA

Know a knitter who has everything? I suggest buying her a share in a some actual fleecy animals. Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm is a Yarn CSA and shareholders get to follow along with the animals, it’s really cool. [post]

Felt Flower kit

These needle felting kits by Made By Moxie have everything you need to make a flower pin and include enough wool to make quite a few. The foam included is eco-foam so when you’re done with it you just dissolve it in a bowl of warm water. Also take a look at the Mega Kit of Ultimate Felting Enjoyment. [post]

craft books

Stitched In Time

This is Alicia’s book, I don’t own it yet but I adore her website Posie Gets Cozy and have really loved reading about the process of writing the book. [post]

Bead Simple

A book with clear instructions on how to get started beading, and detailed instructions for a whole bunch of great projects. [post]

Complete Embellishing

A book with projects for adding decoration to clothing and things in your home, with a really great eye. [post]

Plush You!

Full of fantastic creatures for you to make, complete instructions. [post]

The Boss of You

Lauren and Emira have put together a step by step and encouraging book for women who want to start, or already own, their own businesses. Personal experiences, real life interviews and examples throughout. I’ve been reading their advice since they first started their Raised Eyebrow Web Studio. [post]

Craft, Inc.

Clear directions on how to take that thing you make and start a business, lots of real life interviews and encouragement. [post]

cards

Eloise R. Designs

It’s not too late to get a set of adorable Eloise R. Designs Christmas cards, or stock up for the upcoming year. Take a look at some of the collections and you might never be at loss for a card again. [post]

sewing books

Simple Sewing

I love the Lotta Jandotter line of goods and this book is full of simple but stylish projects for you and your home. Also take a look at Lotta Prints, which shows you how to print patterns on fabric and surfaces in your home. [post]

Bend-the-Rules Sewing

A book full of great projects that encourage you to not be so worried about folling strict rules or patterns, I love everything in this book. [post]

Sew U and Sew U Home Stretch

Built By Wendy brings two books to the person who wants to make their own clothes. These are thick books that talk you through the process of making your own patterns to your own measurments. Sew U Home Stretch teaches you how to work with stretchy knit fabrics.

Amy Butler In Stitches and Little Stitches

Amy Butler’s Little Stitches book full of projects for children, very clearn instructions and patterns tucked into a pocket in the inside cover. In Stitches is full of projects for yourself and your home, simple clear instructions and pattern storage in the inside cover. [post and another]

other places to browse

Here are a few of the first places I look when I need inspiration:

Delight.com has offerings for everybody and collects fantastic sets of items.

Chronicle Books always has dozens of books I need rightnowrightnow. They also carry a bunch of fabulous gift items.

Mighty Goods, Might Junior and Mighty Haus are three shopping sites I find essential, and they all have fantastic gift lists up for the holidays.

in defense of gift cards

Each year stories come out about the evils of gift cards and etiquette stories telling us they are tacky. Me? I love getting gift cards. I just cannot find any fault with somebody admitting they have no idea what I might want and therefore giving me a gift that I get to pick out myself. I especially love getting gift cards for a store I don’t have to drive so gift cards for Amazon.com are ideal.

· comments [19] · 11-18-2008 · categories:christmas · shopping · things I think are neat ·

iPhone apps

Since getting my iPhone I have downloaded a lot of applications. Here are the ones I find I use regularly:

Stitcher Radio – This streams radio and podcasts straight to your phone, no need to download it in iTunes. The downside is that in order to comply with copyright the controls available to you are restricted. Still, it’s nice to have when you’ve listened to everything in your iPod, and it’s an easy way to get the NPR top of the hour news updates.

Pandora – I don’t listen to a lot of music and as a result when I do want to find some I’m overwhelmed. Pandora lets you plug in an artist (or artists) you like and it will play songs by that person and similar artists that other Pandora listeners liked. You can vote songs up or down as you go along. Like Stitcher, in order to comply with copyright the controls are limited and occasionally a song will just stop playing, but for somebody like me who just doesn’t have all that much mental space to devote to music it’s perfectly great.

Stanza – A nice ebook reader. The controls are simple and the free library is huge. Right now I’m reading Grimm’s Fairytales. I have to remember to load more books next time I find myself without a signal, rare but it happens.

Twitterrific – Easy to use Twitter thingy. Free and paid version.

Instapaper – Installing this on the iPhone was a little tricky, but the developer was a charming mixture of apologetic/exasperated/detailed. Simply, when you find an article in Safari you’d like to save for later you hit the Instapaper bookmark and it saves it in a text format which you download to the Instapaper app. It’s not perfect, but it is a space to keep things I want to read later on without filling up my Safari bookmarks. Also, it’s fun to rediscover that thing I wanted to read.

Jott – It takes recorded messages and sends them back to you as text. Easy way to save that thought you want to remember without having to type. Good for when you’re walking.

Toy Bot Diaries – This is an adorable little game and, like the reviews state, was the first time I played a game and forgot I was holding an iPhone. This is the first episode, $3.99, also has a free version.

TentsManiak Lite – A basic deduction game that I was glad to have while sitting in a waiting room where I couldn’t get a signal. Free version.

Cubicman Lite – It plays like Bloxorz. Free version.

Labyrinth LE – This is a metal ball in a wooden maze but the controls are superb, you get the illusion of real weight. Free version.

The two sites I use to keep up with iPhone news are iSmashPhone and Touch Arcade.

· comments [8] · 10-22-2008 · categories:iphone · technology · things I think are neat ·

bacon curls

Last week I was flipping through a small notebook and found some notes for the idea of making a bacon straw. Finding ourselves with bacon in the house last weekend we decided to try it.

We cooked them on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet to allow the fat to drain. 325 for about 15 minutes.

The original idea was to make an accordianed tin foil tube to wrap the bacon around (think: fast food drinking straw wrapper). I made a few of these formed around the handle of a spoon. Unfortunately when pulled to release the diameter of the foil grew just enough to break the bacon.

Scott discovered the best way to remove the foil was to grasp both ends and twist, like you are wringing out a wet towel. The diameter of the foil got smaller and was easy to slip out of the bacon after that.

Unfortunately, the tubed bacon did not cook evenly, leaving the middle and underside chewy while the ends were crisp, we found the textures unappetizing (let along the appearance of a worm (thanks, Scott) to be kinda gross). The one bacon straw I made barely made it through foil removal, but was fun to eat. Scott looked at that one and declared it made him think of the book How To Eat Fried Worms, so I had it all to myself.

The bacon curls worked quite nicely though! They cooked pretty evenly and made the foil removal a bit easier. I made curls from both standard slices of bacon and one I had cut lengthwise to create very narrow bacon strips. They were fun to eat, and would look lovely next to some waffles.

Also see the bacon curl garnish at How Stuff Works.

· comments [33] · 02-18-2008 · categories:food · things I think are neat ·

it’s Repeal Day!

Today is Repeal Day, so pop out and have a drink tonight to celebrate the anniversary of the day the United States repealed the Eighteenth Amendment and gave Americans the constitutional ability to consume alcohol.

· comments [3] · 12-5-2007 · categories:drink · things I think are neat ·

sun jar

Today’s deal at Delight.com is the real, actual Sun Jar. I made one of my own which is undoubtedly not as pretty, instructions are here if you’re interested.

· comments [2] · 04-17-2007 · categories:craft · things I think are neat ·

games

When I’m sick I sip orange juice with sparkling water or Shirley Temples out of a cocktail glass, gather my tissues and warm but ugly sweater and play computer games. The game play keeps my mind off my leaking nose and overall achiness really nicely. Also, being zoned out on cold medicine gives me a focus I normally don’t have, when I’m feeling just fine I can rarely sit still long enough to get through a level or two of a computer game.
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· comments [15] · 01-8-2007 · categories:things I think are neat ·

success!

We made homemade sun jars as gifts this year, and it took a little trial and error to find the right solar lights to go inside. So much so that I kept notes so, should you want to make one, you don’t have the same troubles I did. Go see: homemade sun jar.

· comments [2] · 12-26-2006 · categories:craft · things I think are neat ·

what to do if your kids are more interested in the box the toy came in

I posted this over at Readymade but I like it a lot so I’m going to post it here too. Mr. McGroovy’s Box Rivets allow you to construct sturdy play structures from large appliance boxes and he offers really great plans for castles, fire engines, trains, a princess carriage and even Santa’s sleigh. Take a look at these examples sent in by happy customers and tell me your inner third grader isn’t jealous you didn’t have that. Found via Cool Tools.

· comments [6] · 12-13-2006 · categories:things I think are neat ·

I failed to capture the sun in a jar

Yesterday I attempted to make a DIY sun jar using these teriffic instructions by Cre8tor at Instructables. Go read those and come back here. Ok? So, I went out and found some reasonably priced solar garden lights and when I opened the box I was pleased to find they were unassembled, which allowed me to get to the wire bits more easily.


The parts came unassembled.


All I have to do is unscrew the bottom panel.

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· comments [13] · 12-6-2006 · categories:the home · things I think are neat ·