Saturday, September 28, 2013

Recycled T-Shirt Journal - with Donkey Kong, Harry Potter, and other Nerdy Things

My husband loves to wear witty, ironic, awesome t-shirts, but he tends to go through them pretty quickly. Once the armpits get all weird and crunchy the thrift store won't take the shirts, so the clothing is destined for the trash.

There are hundreds of ways to reuse t-shirts all over the interent, but if you are a never-ending DIY-er like me, you have a vast collection of refashioned t-shirts dresses, t-shirt quilts, and t-shirt shopping bags.

I wanted to figure out another way to reuse the cool graphics of the shirts that could be replicated quickly and would appeal to the masses. 

I also kept seeing Star Wars and Nintendo shirts at the thrift shop that were fifty cents and size XXL, so I grabbed as many nerdy shirts as I could and started selling the finished journals at a local coffee shop. Maybe you can do the same.

We all have piles of shirts that we don't wear anymore, but for sentimental or hoarder reasons we are unable to get rid of a single tee. I'll show you how to use an old shirt to make a cool fabric-covered journal, and BONUS! These make great presents!

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How to Decode "Menuspeak" and Navigate Any Restaurant Menu

Eating healthy is particularly tricky at restaurants, since even healthy sounding dishes can harbor ingredients that add hundreds more calories than you'd expect. This effect is known as the health halo. Of course, if you want to splurge every now and then I more than encourage it. The trick is making sure you know when you are or aren’t making healthy choices, and doing so intentionally.

Below is an excerpt from my new book, Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting, on how to decode the secret language of restaurant menus to avoid unnecessary healthstyle pitfalls.

Deciphering what is healthy on a menu is not always straightforward. Restaurants have made an art of luring you in with their words and making dishes sound absolutely irresistible, regardless of how they actually taste. Another problem is that dishes that should be healthy, for instance, a Thai chicken salad, are often loaded with secret ingredients (usually extra sugar, salt, and processed oils) that actually cause them to clock in at way over the number of calories you’d expect (according to the nutrition facts, the Thai chicken salad at California Pizza Kitchen has 1,160 calories). To avoid these traps you need to first learn to decipher menuspeak, and then tailor your ordering and special requests to remove the worst offenders.

You already know to avoid foods that are obviously very processed, focus on whole foods, and make sure there is something green on your plate. Once you’ve gotten that far, the biggest issues are usually sauces and toppings. Sugar, oil, and salt make foods taste better, and when restaurants use low-quality (i.e., bad-tasting) ingredients, they aren’t shy about compensating for this by using as many sweet or creamy sauces as possible. Think of these ingredients—the flavor trifecta of sugar, fat, and salt—as makeup for your food. A small amount of the good stuff (e.g., butter or cheese), used tastefully and with restraint, can enhance and beautify a dish. But too much of it is a sign that people are covering up something they don’t want you to see.

How do you know if a restaurant is trying to mask its food with shameless flavor enhancers? Several code words and descriptions can tip you off to this sort of culinary cover-up. Sugar, for example, tends to be sticky, so words like “glaze” and even “sticky” itself are a good sign there is extra sweetener around. Similarly, anything that’s “crispy” or “crusted” has likely been covered in a batter made from processed wheat or corn and soaked in oil at high temperatures. Fortunately, there are also words that signify more healthily prepared dishes. “Roasted,” “grilled,” or “spiced” foods have extra flavor without extra calories.

How to Decode "Menuspeak" and Navigate Any Restaurant Menu

Sometimes it’s hard to find something on a menu that isn’t smothered in sugar or dredged in bread crumbs. At this point try to simply find the dish that sounds the best and ask your server to leave off the crispy wontons and bring you a side of spinach instead. Once you know what to look for, making the right call will start to come naturally.

Decoding Menuspeak: Navigating the Perilous World of Restaurant Menus | Summer Tomato

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How to make a Turk's head engagement ring

1. A print out of the knot we're going to tie. I'll show you how to get this in the next step.

2. Any kind of clear tape.

3. 3/64" drill bit. The hardware stores I checked only stocked bits down to 1/8". You can find these on amazon:

4. Wire cutters.

5. Jewelry pliers. These are needle nose pliers with round tips.

6. Ring sizer. Any local craft store should have one of these. This actually isn't absolutely necessary, but it can be handy.

7. Wire. I used 28 gauge, 18K dead soft gold wire. To practice you'll want to pick up some beading wire from your local craft store. I experimented with many different gauges ranging from 20 down to 32. 32 was a bit too tiny for my taste, and 24 and above makes for pretty rings without needing any reinforcement (you'll notice a gold band reinforcing the ring I made). Make sure to get plenty of practice before moving to gold wire, which you can find on etsy. Many of pictures I'll show will be of the beading wire. I was pretty focused when I was using real gold wire and didn't take many pictures.

8. T-pins. You can pick these up at any office supply store or steal them from work like I did. 

9. A drill or dremel. If you use a drill you may need a chuck to fit your 3/64" bit. I got mine on amazon:

10. A hammer, this is only necessary if you get the ring stretcher that requires it (see #9).

11. A small diameter dowel. Anything 1/8" diameter or below. A skewer or strong toothpick would work. We'll use it to tie the basket around. 

12. A ring stretcher. Again, amazon is great:

13. A pool cue. Get the cheapest one you can find. I went to a local billiards store and asked the owner for a cheap cue that I wouldn't even be using to play pool and he went in the back and came out with this. He didn't even charge me.

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Paiute Deadfall Trap

100_0323.JPGWe all need to eat, but the problem is getting it. Sure, we can survive on pine needle tea, but for how long before we need meat? Here's the answer: a deadfall trap made from mostly natural materials. It was invented and made by the Paiute tribe, and I'm carrying on their tradition here. Please note, the legality of making traps with natural materials may vary from place to place. In fact, it may be illegal in most states except for a desperate survival situation. So please, please, check with your local laws. Don't say I didn't warn you, and I'm not responsible for any injuries or trouble you may get in. However, I don't think it's illegal to just make one for fun, as long as you don't catch anything in it.100_0324.JPGChoose or cut a relatively straight, strong stick. The height will vary depending on what animal you're trying to catch. Mine ended up about eight inches in the end. Using your knife, make a dovetail in one end, which is when you widdle one side of the top of the stick down, and the other side, to make a point.

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Bendy Straw Statement Necklace

139 copy.jpg I love this necklace because it's bold and trendy, yet it can be made from things around the house! Sure, you could just buy gold beads. But walking around knowing that you're secretly sporting expensive looking bendy straws is just too amusing to miss out on!068.JPGYou're going to need about 10 straws, scissors, toothpicks, a piece of cardboard, gold spray paint, long shoestrings (or long black nylon string), and gold hex nuts.

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NES Coin Purse, 3.0 (Yet Another, revisited and improved)

DSCF9512.jpgThe first time I stumbled upon a NES purse instructable, (here) I made one of myself right away. In the process, and in the daily usage, I found many glitches that I tried to overcome. Such as: coinage make the case rattle too much, and the purse can be opened halfways wide open, dropping all the content. So, this is my third NES purse (v 1.0 was stolen (too cool to let in my backpack unnatended), v2.0 was rendered as a gift to my girlfriend (also stolen from his backpack, thievemagnet this thing is)), so in v 3.0 I managed to backup the whole construction process, to end up with a fully capable and wearable object.

I just worked on a borrowed idea. Credit given where credit's due.


...and keep it safe. It's a wonder how the regular people feel impelled to steal this little gizmo.

DSCF9480.jpgYou will need the following:

- an old NES controller. Prefferably not-working. I still have my NES console with a pair of working controllers. Do not use those kind. Go to a flea market or something.
- a jacket zipper, 35 cm (13.8 in) long. To match the NEs scheme, I selected one in red.
- phillips n°1 screwdriver
- nose-end pliers
- vinilic glue (like the one used in plastic water pipings, or acrylic scale models).
- Instant glue.
- EVA foam sheet for insulation.
- book paper binders (many of 'em)

Later on I ended needing the following

- X-acto or tip-top crafts knife
- Red sewing thread
- Sewing Needle

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