Not Martha

iPad games that will keep you warm during the soggy end of winter

Here are the games that I’ve been playing on my iPad which have been keeping me distracted from the cold, wet darkness of winter.

Little Inferno

In this game you burn things. Toys and bricks and food and batteries and planets. For everything you burn you build up credit to buy more things to burn, which you order from catalogs. There is a plot that unfolds as you progress in the form of notes from your neighbor and updates from the weatherman as you cower indoors. This game is a criticism on video games and it skewers the way that modern games get you to obsessively play against odds and (spoiler alert) ultimately chides you for wasting your time playing this game. That said, I enjoyed every moment. The fire sound effects are soothing, each thing you burn has a different aspect or reaction (some scream, some explode) and it remains amusing throughout. The graphics are all lovingly created fun to toss around. You get a bonus when you burn things together from a pun-tastic list you can check off when you guess what “Duck Season” or “Nuclear Shave” means, which adds an extra completionist layer and will have you looking back through old objects to find a match.

This game manages to be simple fun while having you looking extra hard to find a deeper story, and you won’t be disappointed. The humor and a few subjects inside are not for young children. $4.99 in the App Store, see more at the Tomorrow Corporation website. Also for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Year Walk

This is a mysterious and emotionally dark exploration game based on Swedish folk tales. It starts without any guidance on how to play or where you are or what you are doing, all things you’ll uncover as you progress. It’s graphics and spooky atmosphere had me continue to poke around instead of giving up in frustration. The first time I played it I was on a plane and the guy next to me made a point to ask what I was playing, it really is that pretty.

One of the first objects you encounter doesn’t end up being used in the completion of the game but it does tie into the Companion game ,which is easy to simply not know about. The companion game is short but adds some explanation and depth to the original story and it, apparently, wasn’t released for a good long time after the main game which was a very interesting move.

This game deals with murder and ghost horses and dead babies and is really, really not for the young. $3.99 in the App Store, Year Walk Companion is free. Year Walk will also be available on Steam soon, see the Year Walk website.

Tengami

This is a recent addition to the app store but I’d had a preview of it last year at the Seattle Indies Expo. The graphic in this game are all inspired by origami and in the game you actually unfold objects to go deeper, it’s a fresh and intuative and frankly gorgeous form of gameplay. That said the unhappy reviews of this game focus on the fact that it’s short, which is true (but it’s worth the price) and slow, also true but the only aspect I had a problem with. Your character moves from location to location at a fairly slow pace and the first time you run through a new land it’s great to have a chance to look around and admire the origami landscape. When you backtrack to solve a try something it takes a little patience, when you have to go back for the eighth time to move something into another position in the midst of solving a puzzle you get downright impatient. A form of double-click-to-run option would solve all this and in the end it’s a trivial complaint in the midst of a deeply beautiful game. Available in the App Store now, $4.99, pre-order for OS X and Windows is on now. See more at the Nyamyam site.

Inner World

This is a new adventure game in the old school point and click style. Everything is hand drawn in a charming cartoon style and it’s set in a completely different world which is underground and dying out and guess what? That’s right! Your character is unwittingly set on the path to save it. I’ve loved this style of game since King’s Quest 1 and a thoroughly enjoyed this game, the gather-and-combine puzzles aren’t too obvious and aren’t too incomprehensible, the conversations with characters are funny (and skippable if you find yourself asking the same question), the world is quirky and unexpected. It’s a bit of a slower pace than (affect a “kids these days” tone of voice here) games these days but I loved it and played it in short bits as a sort of bedtime story for myself. There isn’t much objectionable in this game (it’s Despicable Me type grown up inside joke humor) but it probably won’t interest younger kids. $0.99 in the App store. Also available, DRM-free, for Windows and Mac on the Studio Fizbin website, it comes in German and English.

· comments [5] · 03-3-2014 · categories:technology ·

Freezer Pantry: caramelized onions

Scott and I have schedules that mean during the workweek we only cook dinner together about two times a week. This makes it impractical to keep a lot of fresh food in our fridge (cleaning it out got depressing, so many unidentifiable items) so we tend to pick something up to cook earlier in the same day. To make it even easier I’ve been figuring out what half-prepared foods to keep in the freezer. For whatever reason if I made something complete (say lasagna) and freeze it we never seem to actually eat it, we prefer to make something we are craving so having components that will cut down on dirty dishes and chopping time have been making a big difference. It nearly makes me feel like I’m qualified to be an adult.

I’ve mentioned a few things I keep in the freezer before — kale, bacon layered so it’s easy to just grab a few slices, bolognese sauce — and the latest staple I’ve added is caramelized onions. I use the recipe from Tea and Cookies which mostly calls for “time, patience, and faith” which isn’t an exaggeration. The first time I caramelized onions I had to restrain myself from them off the stove too early. They need to be nice and dark:

Image by Tara Austen Weaver, Tea and Cookies.

Basic technique: two sliced onions in a 10-inch pan, 1/4 cup olive oil, medium high heat, stirring every five minutes and patience. It will take about 30 minutes. For a more detailed description go read the entry at Tea and Cookies and follow her tip about slicing bits a little thicker than others. I let these cool, put them in ziplock bags pressed flat and freeze them. Then I break off a tablespoon or so as I need it.

So far we’ve mostly been using them in egg dishes. For the omlette pictured above I used mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese left over from a salad with some of the caramelized onions to create a way more delicious breakfast than I usually have. Tara describes caramelized onions as the bacon of the vegetarian world, they are smoky and salty and add a hit of flavor whatever you add it to. And people, yum. Also, having them on hand will make you feel like a genius.

· comments [11] · 02-27-2014 · categories:food ·

iPhone games to keep you happy while waiting in line at the bank

So, something in our house sprung a leak last weekend and I found water dripping down into my sewing room. We’ll be spending the week watching our ceiling get ripped out, dried up and rebuilt. We’ve been through this before and yes, it’s the same ceiling but a completely different cause this time. Let’s pretend none of this is happening and talk about video games instead!

Device 6
I’m going to admit I have not finished this yet. I tend to play iPhone games in public situations (on the bus, waiting in line) and this one will require that you either have a keen memory or the ability to take down some visible notes (codes) to enter later on. That said, it’s worth playing with your headphones on as this mostly-text game uses audible as as well as visual cues tell a story, and the game requires you to rotate and tilt the screen to advance. This game is stylish and fun. It’s won a bunch of Best of 2013 awards and I agree. Awesomeness. $3.99 in the app store.

Blackbar
This is a fun combination of fill-in-the-word and future fiction. You are a viewer into a series of digital conversations between an all-seeing dictatorship, a rebel group and a friend caught in the middle. Your only clues are the context of the story you’re reading. It can be frustrating if you just cannot get one of the words and you are prevented from advancing. That said, if you just don’t know the answer it’s easy (too easy?) to Google and find a spoiler in return. This is one of those instances where if you love the story it’s worth engaging a friend to Google the answers and give you more gentle clues. $2.99 in the app store.

PKPKT
This is a simple game that uses Bluetooth to detect other players nearby and whoever reacts first can pick the others virtual pocket. It’s amazingly fun to get a notification of somebody nearby while you’re riding a bus or arriving at a party. But, there aren’t nearly enough players yet which is why I need you all to play. It’s got the potential to be epically fun. Free.

Home Sheep Home 2
I heart everything that Aardman Studios does so I’m a wee bit embarrassed that it took me so long to play their Home Sheep Home 2 puzzle platformer involving Shaun the Sheep and his usual suspects. In each screen you’ve got to solve some puzzles to get three sheep to the exit. Each sheep has a different ability, one jumps high, one pushes heavy things, one fits through small spaces, and you’ll need all three to solve each level. The soundtrack, humor, personalities of the sheep and the crisp sound effects make a very charming game that is balanced with just enough difficulty. As you progress there are new elements presented (gravity!) and as you play there are collectibles for us completionists. That said, if you tend to play casual games in a web browser some of the levels are available online: Underground, Lost In London, as well as the original Home Sheep Home. $.99 in the app store. (Home Sheep Home 1 is also available for $.99 but know that it’s a much shorter game.)

Snail Bob
This is similar to Shaun the Sheep, you have to get the snail to the exit on each screen. You click to move things out of the way, manipulate gravity and the like and in each level there are three stars hiding. It’s not as stylized as Home Sheep Home but it makes my problem solving pleasure centers happy. You can play a bunch of Snail Bob games online for free and if you’d like to try it out Snail Bob 5, A Love Story is a good representation of what is in the iPhone game. $.99 in the app store.

· comments [8] · 02-24-2014 · categories:iphone · technology ·

A new home for the DIY Mother’s Day Corsage: Felt Dahlia Flower Brooch

felt dahlia flower pin for mothers day

Just a quick note to say that I’ve reposted my Felt Dahlia Flower Brooch tutorial here on Not Martha. It was originally posted over at a website called Holidash that shut down earlier this year and the project page disappeared with it. I pulled together the original tutorial as well as a bunch of additional notes all in one spot: Felt Dahlia Flower Brooch.

· comments [5] · 02-20-2014 · categories:craft ·

links: food

is this STILL the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, ever? At Shelterrific.

Orangette: A good person to know. A good steel cut oatmeal recipe, and she reports that it reheats well.

Check It Out: Ernest Hemingway’s Personal Burger Recipe | Man Made DIY.

How to: Make Edible Spoons – The Perfect Holiday Treat! | Man Made DIY.

Gin Gin Cocktail, at The Ginger People website. I’m a wee bit obsessed with their Ginger Juice and all the things it can do (ginger/lemon/bourbon toddy has been a regular this winter).

11 Healthy Kale Recipes – Health.com. I would eat every one of these, who wants to do the dishes for me? Via Swiss Miss.

Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To, and the follow up “Black Rust” and Cast Iron Seasoning. This is fantastic, the how and why and what for seasoning cast iron. Via Kottke.

Valentine’s Day Treat: Cupid’s Creme Brulee // Hostess with the Mostess®. She makes caramelized hearts inside a silicone mold, what a great use for it.

Perfect Soft Boiled Egg | Eat the Love. My only regret from getting to visit America’s Test Kitchen is not forcing them to answer their best technique for soft boiled eggs. Mine is still the Egg-Perfect Timer.

Tom’s Supermarket Picks: quality oils at good prices | Truth in Olive Oil. Great information when you want a good olive oil but are only headed to your local grocery store. The notes on inequality among lines at places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are interesting. Via Kottke.

5 More Great Cocktail Blogs You Should Read | Serious Eats.

Sprizee :: A simple girl replete with complications: Roasted Vegetable Lemon Tahini Salad. This looks delicious and it’s so simple.

· comments [3] · 02-18-2014 · categories:food · links ·

last minute Valentine’s Day

I’m not very focused on Valentine’s Day this year, we usually cook a fancy meal and stay in but this year we’re feeling a bit of cabin fever so we’re headed out to see the Lego movie and get cocktails at our favorite local bar. I might still get a little creative, here are some last minute Valentine’s ideas that have caught my attention.

Printable pop culture valentines over at Mighty Girl. See also: her roundup of nerdy valentines.

Valentine’s Day cocktails at Serious Eats. I’m also looking at their bitter anti-Valentines cocktails.

A simple paper heart garland that can be whipped up with office supplies, at Just Bella.

Last minute Valentine’s Day party at Oh Happy Day, a few simple things you can probably grab at Target to make staying in a celebration.

Bake a heart (or a broken heart) into a cupcake from Bake It In A Cake. (I’m still in love with all her ideas.)

I’m not a huge fan of cut flowers (because I’m thinking ahead to when I inevitably leave them too long and end up with dead flowers and a moldy vase) but my favorite Valentine’s gift remains this String Of Pearls plant (even though we’re on version #3) which Scott admits he bought me on the way home from work.

I hope you have a romantic Valentine’s Day, unless you’re dreading Valentine’s Day in which case I hope you have a really amazing Friday.

· comments [4] · 02-13-2014 · categories:holidays ·

thing I like: Merrell Captiva boots

These Captiva Strap boots from Merrell are waterproof and as comfortable as slippers. No really, the footbed is made of something slightly squishy so they feel really lovely. They are knee high, zip all the way up and the calf was more generously sized than a few other boots I compared it to. The soles are grippy rubber and there is plenty of support for my fussy feet. The shape of the toe box means there is lots of room for movement.

I brought these with me on a month long trip to England, Scotland and Ireland in November and I tempted fate by getting them at the last minute and not having a chance to break them in before we left. Yeah, a potentially stupid move on my part. But they were amazing, I didn’t get blisters or achey feet and I was warm and dry even after a few walks through very damp fields. The heel support did hit me a little higher than I would have liked and I was afraid they would rub but I was fine.

Here is the thing though, I wish they looked a little nicer. They are undeniably comfort boots, they will work with a cute outfit but these aren’t boots that can be dressed up. (Not that my own opinion on this point has stopped me from trying.) Still, there a few touches that bug me. There is a faux strap wrap around the ankle with a decorative buckle which I like but halfway up there is a rivet and a few inches over that there is a metal tag that says, very small, “waterproof”. Why thanks, but I don’t think I need to be reminded of that every time I put them on. There is an elastic panel at the top but it’s on the outsides of the boot, I’m sure it’s located just there for a reason but not knowing what that reason is I wonder if they couldn’t have tucked it away on the inside to hide it away a bit. There is a small logo embossed as well, just below the ankle. All these little things add up to make the boot look a little less tidy than it could.

All of that said, the other day I was waiting in line at an airport and I was admiring the pair of boots worn by a woman walking by. Turns out she was wearing these very same boots. Which I had on my feet at the time. So, maybe I’m being a little nitpicky about how I perceive that they appear.

Overall they get incredibly high marks for comfort and utility (like, Pry Them From My Cold Dead Feet high marks, or maybe just Get Another Pair In Brown high marks). They will work nicely for tromping around in muddy fields, looking cute with dresses and warm leggings as well as walking for many more hours than you anticipated in an unfamiliar city in an attempt to find that specialty beer shop you read about.

The Merrell Captiva Strap boots are available at Zappos and Amazon (affiliate link) in black and brown. I hover between a size 7 and 7.5 in shoes and I bought a size 7.5 in these, though the fit across the top of the foot has stretched and I occasionally wonder if the size 7 would have worked out as well.

(One quick note: I usually look for shoes over at Zappos and use the “You May Also Like” suggestions to browse out further, which can take a while and lead to scores of open tabs. Just now over at Amazon I typed Merrell Captiva into the search and it showed me 25 results for boots of various brands, many of them had been contenders in my search last Autumn. If I’d know Amazon was so good at laying down focused options like that it would have saved me a bunch of time. This is something I’ll have to remember and test out next time I’m looking for shoes.)

· comments [18] · 02-11-2014 · categories:shopping ·

links: technology

Announcing The Walk Game — Andrea Phillips.

GameFace headset offers wireless, Android-powered Oculus Rift alternative | Joystiq.

The OUYA Doesn’t Actually Suck: How to Make the Indie Console Great. Emulators? PS3 controllers? Yes.

State of the Blog Union: How The Blogging World Has Changed | Design*Sponge. All these things are true, and I really like her optimistic conclusion. Still, RIP blogs as we knew them.

Cool Tools – Ulmon Offline Mobile Maps at Cool Tools. I use an app called Offmaps to save data usage and look forward to comparing these two against each other.

SteelSeries Stratus iOS 7 gamepad launches for $20 less than its pre-order price | Joystiq. Oh boy, I’d like one of these.

Size Matters | Slog. Two games to keep an eye out for.

Indie Shows Join Forces For Radiotopia | Public Radio Exchange. I seem to continuously be finding ways to seek out the best corners of public radio and so I’m thrilled that PRX has gathered them together here. Podcast lovers, this is a list you should take note of.

· comments [0] · 02-6-2014 · categories:links · technology ·

the state of my state

We started this year with a bit of fixing up. We had a new bumper put on our car from a little accident (we were stopped at a red light and were tapped from behind by giant pickup truck which appeared to suffer no damage whatsoever), we had our bathroom floor tiled and had a heated floor (luxurious!) put in at the same time. And just when we were settling in to having things back in order our clothes washer started leaking. Sad trombone. So we’re looking at having it fixed (do people still do this?) or getting a new one. We’re also saying goodbye to any money we had hoped to putting towards a sunshiny winter getaway. Ah well. We got to ease our disappointment while sitting at a local bar with neighbors watching our football team win the Super Bowl, which was pretty darn great.

Last month I went to the Altitude Design Summit to speak on a panel and part of that was to talk about how blogging has changed drastically over the last few years. What we talked about was put much better by Grace of Design Sponge in her State of the Blog Union post last week. I also like what Jean Aw wrote in her Restart: 2014 post for NOTCOT. Both of them come to the conclusion that though it feels like things have spread so far apart with all the social media channels there is plenty of room for more fun to be had in the upcoming year. I like that.

As for me I have a few things I want to recommend to you, I need to talk about our big trip last November and I’d like to redesign this site (it’s been far too long). I had a few small projects in mind but both failed during the proof of concept stages. (Though, those involved getting to eat cake. Even failed cake tastes good.) How has your year been going so far?

· comments [14] · 02-4-2014 · categories:mumbling ·

links: misc

How to make a fake bag, at Kottke. The CEO of Saddleback Leather giving a crash course in leatherwork and how you can make a cheap ripoff of one of his bags.

Fall DIY Project: How to Re-Wax Your Clothing and Gear | Man Made DIY.

Cool Tools – Waterpik Water Flosser. It’s not really for flossing, it’s designed to work on “the bacterial biofilm that perpetually forms on the surface of teeth and that never quite gets cleaned away by toothbrushes, dental floss, and various gum-recess cleaning gizmos.” Good to know.

craigslistmirrors. Endlessly fascinating. For real. Via Waxy.

The Radiating Beauty of Wheel Icicles, at Visual News. This is crazy. Via Girls of a Certain Age.

From Hummingbird Heads to Poison Rings: Indulging Our Antique Jewelry Obsession | Collectors Weekly. An interview with Monica McLaughlin who writes the fascinating column on estate jewelry over at The Hairpin. One of the things shown are coach covers, hollow hinged spheres women used to cover the diamond in a drop earring to hide it from view during the day, so clever. Also, taxidermy jewelry! Via Girls of a Certain Age.

The Story Behind The Gilmore Girls Music tol by Sam Phillips. At Refinery 29. Amy Sherman-Palladino is a former professional dancer? That makes Bunheads a bit clearer.

· comments [0] · 01-30-2014 · categories:links · misc ·

links: shopping

Side sleepers: give your pillow reviews. | Ask MetaFilter. Recommendations for firm pillows that aren’t necessarily the too-warm memory foam sort.

Cool Tools – Trauma Shears. Strong enough to cut through a penny, these look great for crafters to have around.

I want the absolute best, most bombproof compact umbrella available. | Ask MetaFilter. This is a timely question for me, we managed to misplace all of our umbrellas this year.

The Best Pen | The Wirecutter. My favorite pen was given out as a freebie at a conference I attended earlier this year and I have no idea what sort it was other than it was branded Bic. None of the Wirecutter favorites are the one I love so my search goes on. This Wirecutter post shows that there are a surprising number websites dedicated to reviews of pens.

Haute High Tech: 20 Must-Have Pieces of 3D Printed Jewelry | Brit + Co..

· comments [10] · 01-23-2014 · categories:links · shopping ·

What I’ve Been Reading

I read almost exclusively on the Kindle app on my iPhone these days which makes it much more difficult to insert the photograph of a stack of these books:

Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries
By Jon Ronson, obviously. I’m a fan of Ronson’s from hearing his stories on NPR but this is the first book of his that I’ve read, the sample chapter on Juggalos pulled me right in.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
By Mary Roach. This is a nonfiction book about the human digestive tract, it’s entertaining and so fascinating.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
By Allie Brosh. I read this one on my iPad because it’s full of her signature illustrations. Her stories about childhood and depression and things in general are hilarious and touching.

Parasite
By Seanan McGuire writing as Mira Grant. It’s about a future where engineered parasites are used to keep us thin an healthy, what could possibly go wrong? I’m a fan of Seanan McGuire’s Feed trilogy (Feed, Deadline and Blackout) which is about bloggers and zombies and government conspiracy and I really love the novellas she’s released that are set in the same world (see: San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats and Apocalypse Scenario #683 among more). I’m also really enjoying her Indexing serial about fairy tales invading the modern world and her book about what superheros might really be like, Velveteen vs. The Junior Super-Patriots. Can you tell I’m a fan? I’m a fan.

Someday, Someday, Maybe
This was written by Lauren Graham, yes Loreli Gilmore, and it has the sparkling, funny, bumbling character that you would hope for. It’s about a struggling actress living in New York in the 90s when a show called Friends was just starting to air. Utterly enjoyed it.

The Cuckoo’s Calling
By Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling. I liked the first part so much I saved it for travel reading.

Knight School
By Andrew Mayne. A YA novel about a secret society of battling teens between two high schools. Does love get in the way? Yes, of course. I also really liked Mayne’s two The Chronological Man novels (it’s steampunk Dr. Who, The Monster in the Mist and The Martian Emperor) and his spin on zombies called Public Enemy Zero. (His books are also nicely inexpensive.)

Daring Adventures of Lucy Smokeheart
By Andrea Phillips. This is a year-long monthly serial and each new addition contains a puzzle, the answer to which unlocks a page on the Lucy Smokeheart site. At the end of series there will be a real treasure hunt (!!!). I saved these for some serious puzzle solving time on trains while on our trip. Each part is available to download and she’s also collected parts 1-3 and parts 4-6. Here are links to each she’s published so far (and she’s not done yet!): Book of Secrets, The Mermaid’s Crown, Port St. Never, Lizards of Skull Island, Ice Storm, The Governor’s Ball. These are all short and very fun.

Wool
By Hugh Howey. This is a series of books about an apocalyptic society living inside a bunker for generations and the first set, Wool, kept me really engaged but I don’t find myself quite wanting to revisit the story in the follow up books called Shift and Dust. Still, I didn’t know how the original story ended and it was one of those times when I was glad to be free of spoilers, it was fun. Has anybody read Shift and Dust? Should I keep going?

Fiend
By Peter Stenson. I feel like I’ve read my way through all the zombie novels and am quick to abandon any that don’t keep me. This one I read and enjoyed. It mixes drug addiction and zombies and, well, the end isn’t the happy sort.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette
By Maria Semple. I don’t know if I’d have liked this book as much if it wasn’t set in Seattle and I didn’t recognize some of the character types. That said, it started in Seattle and ended up very far away and I liked the journey.

And Another Thing
By Eoin Colfer. I was a huge fan of Douglas Adams (I listened to the original Hitchhiker’s radio series on road trips over and over again) and I’m also a fan of Eoin Colfer but for some reason I cannot bring myself to read past the first few pages of this book that is an extension of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I feel like I am cheating on my celebrity crush with an imposter, even though I know that Adams’ widow chose Colfer to write this. Give me encouragement? Did you read it and love it? What am I so afraid of?

Your turn – what are you reading? What have you really enjoyed lately? Tell me because I’ve completely run out and my eyes need more words to consume!

· comments [33] · 01-21-2014 · categories:books · shopping ·

thing I like: Scanpan

Years ago I received a Scanpan 8-inch frying pan as part of some conference* schwag**. Sometime after that our regular small nonstick frying pan finally went to the cookware grave and we pulled out the Scanpan. We were pretty darn impressed with it’s nonstickablility and how easy it made it to cook an over-easy egg just right every time so we continued to use it. For four years. I’m just now taking note of how awesome it is. The pan is easy to use, it’s easy to clean, nothing ever sticks, it holds up to my clumsy handling and stacking beneath dirty dishes and, despite four years of near daily egg cooking, you have to look really close to see any scratches. Thumbs up.

I have to say though, when I went to find our pan over at Amazon I was a little aghast at the price ($120, on sale for $90). And then I thought a little bit about the psychology of how we value things, or fail to value them if they’ve been handed to us. And then I thought about all the nonstick pans we’ve owned that came before it, inexpensive numbers that scratched easily and flaked horrifyingly after only a few years. Each of those was $10 to $20 and, had we been more responsible, we’d have replaced after a year of use. (And then I thought about the Great Toxic Teflon Freakout of 2008ish and did a bunch of reading which made me conclude that I am not qualified to defend nonstick but I am confident that I’m not poisoning myself.) Added up the Scanpan has nearly already been worth the price tag and I anticipate it going strong for another four years. So if you know you’re going to use it well and you have the cash, Scanpan is worth it.

* It was a hefty bag of free items that has since become the stuff of legend. I am pretty sure it was the first International Food Bloggers Conference, but not absolutely certain. I do know that I paid to attend said conference so this wasn’t a case of a blogger getting free stuff just because.

** Let’s discuss swag vs. schwag. I have a personal preference to use the word schwag because one of my theater professors in college was known to have occasional emotional outbursts over off-topic irrational things while teaching class and one of those that I had the privilege of being present for was a rant over the use of the word swag. He said: swag is used to describe the way that one drapes a curtain, schwag is the free stuff you get at a conference. The end. And so, because I believe he can still see into my very thoughts, I use the word schwag.

· comments [23] · 01-15-2014 · categories:food · shopping ·

links: the home

Gold Leaf Lampshade | MAKE.

Light it Up! | Manhattan Nest. The recommendation for good, dimmable, not ugly CFL here is good to keep around.

You’ll Never Guess What We Used to Make This Colorful File Organizer | Brit + Co. Spoiler: they used Plasti Dip, which I’ve attempted to find in stores before but failed. I’ll have to try again, I have something in mind.

How To: Make a DIY Hanging Glass Bottle Vase » Curbly | DIY Design Community.

How To: Make a Super Simple DIY Wood Shelving Unit | Man Made DIY.

The Treehouse: Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial, at Design Mom.

DIY Project: Mini Chandelier | Design*Sponge. Simple and modern.

· comments [12] · 01-14-2014 · categories:links · the home ·

links: misc

Er Wang Dong cave in China so huge it has its own weather system | Mail Online. I love caves, it’s been far too long since I’ve been in one.

Three Panel Soul » On Discovery. Yup, that’d be me too.

What things cannot be made by machine? | Ask MetaFilter. “For example knitting can be duplicated by machine, but crocheted items can only be made by hand.” As a knitter who has avoided learning crochet because it seems to involve too much counting and too much paying attention at all times, this comparison is riveting. Will we eventually foil the robot takeover by communicating via crochet and macrame?

Family Outfitted in Awesome ‘Labyrinth’ Costume Ensemble. Via Laughing Squid. This is amazing all around.

Podcast Thing, short interviews with interesting people offering up their favorite podcasts. Via Swissmiss.

Dopp Kit Essentials. “Dopp kits gained their namesake from a German immigrant leatherworker named Charles Doppelt.” Tell me more.

Art of the Shim. Shims are serious, low-alcohol cocktails that are fun and delicious but won’t knock you out with booze. My friend Dinah just happens to be the author of this book and I know for certain that she has great taste in cocktails.

Damn, Gina, dramaticstart: Vacation rentals for viewing The Northern Lights. What?! I am doing this.

Testing 30 Life Hacks We Found on the Internet | Mental Floss. (Video.) I adore how delighted he is when something actually works.

How Has “Bust” Magazine Survived? – The Awl. I’m glad it has.

· comments [4] · 01-9-2014 · categories:links · misc ·