Food · Handcrapted · Stichin' Post

10 Ultimate Crappy Hosting Tips

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This is an actual item crafted by your esteemed Handcrapted authors.

Being crappy is a way of life, and like all ways of life, it has seasons.  Sometimes, being crappy means holing up in your lair while the rains of winter dribble around.  Sometimes, being crappy means it’s summer and so you decide you’re having social engagements.  Webster’s dictionary probably defines hosting as “letting gross bugs nibble your skin flaps,” but we can define it as “having people over and wanting them to think you are 25% less crappy than you actually are.”  When that pressure strikes, I clean furiously, decide to make 5 new recipes, and end up yelling at the victims who live with me.  That makes everyone feel GREAT by the time guests arrive!

Really though, the heart of crappy hosting is understanding that being not-so-great at it should NEVER be an impediment to your socializing.  Your friends want to hang out with you.  They don’t really care about your house. At the same time, the level of squalor you can tolerate may necessitate finding a balance.  These tips are about where that point really resides. Continue reading “10 Ultimate Crappy Hosting Tips”

Faves · Handcrapted · Stichin' Post

“The Office Fridge Smells Bad”: a new short story by Cormac McCarthy

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The kid eyes the coffee urn. The crust around its edge is a vestige of more profligate times, before the glass carafe shattered. That morning, the hiss of continued drips on the hot plate had punctuated his musings on grammar, an exorcism of squeals amid the spurts of dark, arterial fluid.

His eyes dart left. Another misbegotten has entered.

Did you bring your lunch today?

The question carried a threat, borne on the winds underpinning the fattened rain clouds that drifted in yesterday, and stayed. They were there Monday, too. The coursing rains swelled the sewer pipes and threatened to overspill their bounds.

Naw. I’m going out. Continue reading ““The Office Fridge Smells Bad”: a new short story by Cormac McCarthy”

Food · Handcrapted

Ultimate Freezer Pizza Hacks

You clicked on this because the word “hack” was in the title, thinking that I’d be giving you some clever tips and ingredient add-ons to freshen up the most estimable quiescently frozen confection: pizza.

Joke’s on you though, because the only “hack” here is the author.

This list is actually far more important than some poorly advised toppings.  It’s a guide to achieving transcendent happiness for about $4.99.  Regardless of your feelings about Malcolm Gladwell, I’ve definitely gotten my 10,000 freezer pizzas, which makes me uniquely qualified to dispense some practical tips.  In other words: trust me, I’m a professional. Continue reading “Ultimate Freezer Pizza Hacks”

Crafts · Farts and Craps · Handcrapted · Style

DIY Anthropologie, Spring Edition

Spring is springing and Anthropologie is attempting to harvest your paycheck with some new offerings.  While my personal style tends more to “hobo” than “boho,” there’s an occasional piece that catches my eye.  Lots of these items would be pretty easy to DIY, saving you a trip to the mall-hole.  Additionally, you can save a bunch of cash and get your style fix without buying more chiffon landfill fodder.  Do it for the earth.

Perusing the offerings, I can’t help but wonder.  Maybe I’m projecting, but something about the long, dark winter has unraveled the minimal ties to reality that our friendly Anthro designers usually have.  Hold on to your butts, people.  It’s gonna get weird.

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Should we…brooch the subject?  $158.  (image via anthropologie.com)

Look at these jeans.  They have Nana’s brooches!  You can go to Value Village and find LOTS of Nana brooches for $.99.  Then you can put them on any pants your heart desires. You could change them every day, or move the brooches from pant to pant, creating different looks for different occasions.  Do not cross your legs or the pin from a brooch will go in your thigh and you will get tetanus.  When that happens, you will have to go to the doctor and confess that you can’t remember your last shot because it was four insurance companies and seven primary care providers ago.

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Rocky is gonna be pissed when he sees what Adrian did to his sweatshirt.  $78.  (image via anthropologie.com)

This one takes a little more effort.  It’s still less than $78 worth of effort, though, so you’ll come out ahead.  Find a sweatshirt and cut a u-shape in the neck.  Hem it in a haphazard fashion.  Cut the hood off, and sew the hood to the inside of the u-shape.  Lace with an old shoestring.  Choose your own sleeve adventure.  Maybe you want to cut off the sleeves all the way, instead of half way.  Sun’s out, guns out, amirite?

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Let’s put the “ass” in “tassel.”  $228.  (image via anthropologie.com)

Does your overhead lighting produce shadows that look like the Wicker Man?  If it doesn’t, you’re really missing out.  This chandelier looks impossible to clean and impossible to resist DIY-ing.  Spiders will love it!  If you want to make this, knock yourself out.  There are hella tassel tutorials out there.  Google it.  (I’m not gonna find you a link.  This is a crappy blog, remember?)

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Did you get that at Pier One?  More like Pier NONE.  $38 (image via anthropologie.com)

This is a “sailboat decorative object.”  The price seems sort of reasonable compared to the other “decorative objects” in its cohort.  This is a technique Anthropologie employs to trick you into buying something extra stupid, by lowering its price relative to its stupid peers.  So! Let’s look a little closer.  $38 fat benjis gets you a boat apparently assembled with barbecue skewers, a table napkin, and some garden twine.  You could make this out of scraps collected after a barbeque, and then you could name your boat the H.M.S. GrillMarque.

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Hair claw.  $148.  (image via anthropologie.com)

You’ve got one of these lurking in your bathroom cabinet, left over from 1998.  Admittedly, they make you scalp hurt, but when you really want to turn your look up to 11, there’s just no substitute for a Hair Claw.  Counting tiny butterflies, I probably had at least twenty of these at one point.  The description of the item includes the phrases “sublime elegance” and “modern touches,” which is…generous.  For 1/100th of the price, you can glue some rhinestones on a scalp mangler of your choice.  Instead of such a measly sprinkling, you can bedazzle it on every visible surface.

The only question left:  Which of these are you going to try first?

Faves · Food · Handcrapted

10 New Flavors of Dessert Hummus

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Over the last six months, I’ve encountered several dismal entries into the dessert hummus market.  They usually inhabit the organic section of the refrigerator case, and include “Snickerdoodle,” “Brownie Batter,” “Vanilla Bean,” and “Orange Dreamsicle.”  Here are some suggested flavors for 2017:

  1.  Pineapple Coconut Barfait:  The acidity of the pineapple gives it a pleasant tingle reminiscent of vomit.  The coconut is there to remind you that you’re not on vacation and you used up all your personal days earlier in the year.
  2.  Spewmoni:  Three layers, each inspired by a ring of Dante’s hell.  According to Dante, the third ring of hell involves lying in “vile slush,” which seems like a pretty good descriptor of this flavor.
  3.  Cookie Doughn’t: Low risk of salmonella from raw eggs, high risk of PTSD.
  4.  Triple Fudge Blowing Chunks:  A ripple of chocolate, and a ripple of fear down your spine.
  5.  Pecan’t Pie:  You’d be nuts to eat this.
  6.  Blackberry Panna Squatta: A delicate custard flecked with seeds.  The seeds of your own destruction.
  7.  Yule (regret this) Log: Roll this hummus up in your traditional holiday dessert instead of whipped buttercream. Serve it to your relatives.  Guaranteed to revoke your hosting privileges.
  8.  Butt-erscotch Pudding:  This is pretty cool!  It looks the same coming AND going!
  9.  Unholy Cannoli:  A traditional Italian dessert that involves a crispy cookie shell filled with semi-solid ghost farts.
  10.  Caramel Crapple:  A fun seasonal flavor to serve on the 31st of never.
Handcrapted · Sew-sew

Perfect Pattern Weights

Stop squandering the waning moments of your life.  Stop pinning.

Why have I spent so much time pinning patterns to fabric?  I guess it’s how I learned when I was a clumsy little beast and prone to knocking my patterns askew all the time.  It takes time and bloodshed to use pins, which is pretty metal, but not really great for whacking out a stack of garments in one go.  To solve this problem, a cottage industry has emerged.  I’ve read tutorials on the internet for making your own pattern weights; some people even sell them.  They’re often stacks of metal washers wrapped perplexingly in ribbon or bias tape. Do you have time to beribbon the humble washer? No, no you don’t.

Continue reading “Perfect Pattern Weights”

Food · Reviews

Trader Joe’s Crackers, Ranked

A Definitive Ranking of Trader Joe’s Rosemary Raisin Cracker Variations

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We here at Handcrapted HQ have been known to partake in a cracker or two.  They’re basically a cheese delivery vehicle, so they need to be sturdy enough to stand up to whatever puck of Grocery Outlet Bargain Market goodness I decide to splash my $3.99 on.  Or $2.99.  Or $.99.  (Trust that the cheese acquired for less than a dollar is worthy of its own post.)  Anyway!  That extra dollar savings can best be put to use on an upgraded Carb Shovel.

Continue reading “Trader Joe’s Crackers, Ranked”