Shared posts

08 Apr 14:03

Wisdom Panel 3.0- the next gen DNA test has arrived

by Dr. V

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Mars Veterinary Wisdom 3.0 Panel. Opinions are those of the author.


So, if I showed you a picture of a dog, you may be able to tell me a little about him or her.


You would often be able to make some generalizations about temperament-


Or adult size-

Or medical concerns, such as whether or not a dog can tolerate ivermectin.

But what about when it’s not entirely obvious, as is the case with my friend Karen’s adorable dog Ramone?


He’s been labelled everything from shar-pei to Bernese Mountain Dog to pit bull. Karen doesn’t care, because she evaluated him on an individual basis before deciding he was just perfect, which is what groups with extensive adoption experience like the ASPCA recommend anyway.

On the other hand, there are some good reasons to know the genetic history of a dog beyond the simple novelty of it all. Shelters who have used DNA testing such as the Wisdom panel have found potential adopters really like having a bit of extra information in front of them. For example, my friend adopted a pup about a year ago with a projected weight of 30 pounds who looked pretty similar to these guys:


As of his first birthday, he just topped 50 strapping pounds and still growing.

Or what if you have a dog who might be part Australian shepherd but you’re not sure and he has Demodex? It would be nice to know if he has the MDR1 mutation before taking your chances on a course of ivermectin treatment.




When Mars Veterinary Wisdom panels first came out a while back, people (myself included) had mixed reactions. What started out as a novelty has grown to have some real use. As our knowledge of the canine genome has evolved, so too has the role of DNA testing in dogs, everything from keeping dogs in homes when a misinformed landlord says, “but he LOOKS like a pit bull!” to increasing shelter adoption rates to helping HOAs bust the person who isn’t picking up after their dog’s business in the common area.

The latest version, Wisdom Panel 3.0, has the added benefit of screening for the MDR1 mutation, a test licensed for home use for the first time to Mars Veterinary  by Washington State University. The MDR1 mutation is known to affect particular breeds and results in some very specific drug sensitivities.


Over the next six months, the Wisdom Panel Swab-a-thon Tour will be partnering with communities and shelters to swab the DNA of a number of their dogs, with the reports showcased to help match the pets to compatible homes. (I am really excited about the way this is helping shelter pets!) They will also be offering the product to consumers at the events.

The regular test runs $84.99, but the Swab-a-thons will offer discounts to pet owners during the events. On April 10, 11, & 12th Wisdom Panel will be hosting the first Swab-a-thon at the America’s Family Pet Expo in Costa Mesa, California. Visitors to the Wisdom Panel booth can take home a discounted kit for $49.99. 3 weeks later, you get a report and the results of the MDR1 test for you to discuss with your vet.

For more information about the Wisdom Panel or to see if there’s a Swab-a-thon coming to your area, you can check them out at: Wisdom Panel,  Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest, and on Instagram.

Happy sleuthing! Isn’t science neat?



31 Mar 16:02

wild mushroom pâté

by deb

wild mushroom pâté

Every spring, I promise I’m going to share a recipe for chopped liver. And every year I lose steam, perhaps because there are probably few more divisive foods than organs, or maybe because my instructions on the matter are quite short: just make Ina Garten’s. Ina can do no wrong, and I like to amuse myself by imagining that I’m only eight bestselling cookbooks and three homes in two countries away from basically being her when I grow up. (Sure Deb. Okay.)

... Read the rest of wild mushroom pâté on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to wild mushroom pâté | 111 comments to date | see more: Appetizer, Passover, Photo, Vegetarian

16 Mar 17:00

Training Your Dogs, According to Tumblr


Submitted by: (via Mandylost)

Tagged: dogs , pets , tumblr , training
14 Mar 14:30

Watch The First Teaser For The Con Man Webseries From Alan Tudyk And Nathan Fillion

by Sean Fallon

con man top

I don’t think there was a doubt in anyone’s mind that an Indiegogo campaign for a webseries featuring Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion would be successful.

They’ve already quadrupled their funding goal with 28 days left to go.

Yes, Browncoats are the best—and these guys know it. As thank you to their fans, Alan and Nathan unveiled a teaser for Con Man. I think you’ll agree that this is money well spent.

Check out the video after the break…

Here’s a refresher on what Con Man is all about:

“It’s about the convention world,” says Tudyk, who is also the show’s creator, writer, and director. “My character, Wray Nerely, was on a science fiction show called Spectrum, that was canceled too soon, and now he goes to conventions, to sign head shots, and meet fans, and do panels. Nathan’s character, Jack Moore, who was the captain of the spaceship on Spectrum, has gone on to incredible action-hero stardom, like Matt Damon. My character is frustrated with his situation and frustrated by Jack’s stardom. We follow Wray’s story as he goes to the conventions and does video game voiceovers and we are going to populate it with sci-fi actors and people that you will find at conventions. Zany hi-jinks ensue!”

(Con Man Indiegogo via Nerdist)

13 Mar 20:22

Divers Capture Gorgeous Footage of Galápagos Sea Lions in Their Natural Environment

by Lori Dorn

They cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.

Divers Florian Fischer and Patricio Garcés have captured gorgeous GoPro footage of friendly Galápagos sea lions in their natural environment as they swam together, played around, teased each other, and lolled about lazily on the white sand beaches of South Plaza Island.

13 Mar 20:39

New Dissected Character Murals by Nychos

by E.D.W. Lynch

New Dissected Character Murals by Nychos

In his fantastic mural art, Austrian artist Nychos depicts animals, pop culture figures, and people in cartoonish yet gruesome exploded diagrams. We’ve previously posted about his murals–most recently in 2014. In the intervening months he has produced a wondrous array of new works, and has posted a sizable gallery of Nychos’ recent work.

Nychos is also a contributor to the 10-year anniversary show at Rabbit Eye Movement gallery in Vienna, March 14 to April 15, 2015. He can also be followed on Instagram.

New Dissected Character Murals by Nychos

New Dissected Character Murals by Nychos

New Dissected Character Murals by Nychos

New Dissected Character Murals by Nychos

photos via

via, DesignTAXI, Bored Panda

13 Mar 12:00

High Jump in Kenya

by coach Rick

With something like a hurdle technique. Pretty incredible.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

via Vadim Golub.

13 Mar 16:52

My Retro Game Box, A Monthly Subscription Service for Receiving Random Retro Video Games

by Rollin Bishop

Retro Game Box

My Retro Game Box is a monthly subscription service by Katy and Stu in Scotland that sends out a random assortment of retro video games to subscribers. Games are chosen based on cost and which consoles subscribers have, but the process is a little more complicated than that.

We have developed a system with full, emotional artificial intelligence, and named it Katy.* She will strike up a conversation with you via email after you subscribe, to find out what consoles you have, what games you already have in your collection, and what kind of games you detest. We want you to help us make good choices for you, but we draw the line at giving us a wish-list, otherwise it just isn’t a surprise.

image via Retro Game Box

via Scott Nichols

12 Mar 19:04

First ‘Star Wars’ Standalone Film to be Titled ‘Rogue One’, Rian Johnson to Write & Direct ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’

by Justin Page

Star Wars
photo of Gareth Edwards, Felicity Jones, and Rian Johnson

During a recent shareholders meeting at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced that Rogue One will be the title for a new Star Wars standalone film directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) and written by Chris Weitz (American Pie, Cinderella). Actress Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) has already been cast for the unique adventure film. According to the Star Wars blog, Rogue One will begin shooting this summer in London and is due to release on December 16, 2016.

‘Rogue One’ is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core ‘Star Wars’ saga. The idea for the story of ‘Rogue One’ came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic.

Iger also stated that Rian Johnson, the talented filmmaker who directed Looper as well as a few episodes of Breaking Bad, will be writing and directing Star Wars: Episode VIII. The film, which is currently set to release on May 26, 2017, will continue the events that take place during Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Star Wars

images via Star Wars

via Star Wars

04 Mar 19:04

The New Trailer For Avengers: Age Of Ultron Gives Us A First Look At Vision

by Geek Girl Diva


The newest trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron is here and giving us a lot more information on just how Ultron came to be and what that means for the team. There is also a hint at romance between Bruce and Natasha, and your first look at Paul Bettany as Vision.

Check it out after the break.

(via Twitter)

28 Feb 16:00

A Timey Wimey LEGO TARDIS Console Room

by Rielly


The madman behind this incredible LEGO TARDIS interior is Thorsten Bonsch. To commemorate Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, he built a replica of the TARDIS interior as it existed for most of the 11th Doctor’s run.

The project was so ambitious it took him nearly 3 years to complete. And none of the LEGO pieces have been modified, save for parts that are “officially” meant to be cut—like hoses and strings.

The level of detail is just incredible. You can check out more jaw dropping views after the break.



Bonsch also has other Doctor Who related builds including the interior of the ninth Doctor’s TARDIS.


I mean, just look at this little LEGO Dalek. This definitely needs to be a part of the upcoming officially licensed LEGO Doctor Who sets.

(Brothers Brick and Xenomurphy’s tiny World of Bricks)

02 Mar 13:30

Groot Would Approve Of This Solar-Powered, Dancing Baby Groot Bobble Head

by Geek Girl Diva


Do I need to say more than “solar-powered, dancing baby Groot bobblehead” for you to immediately want this?

Y’know how the newer VW Beetles have a vase? I really think people who own a Beetle or a Mini Copper who don’t get this and put it in their cars are really missing the boat.

It’s scheduled to arrive in June, but you can pre-order now.

Product Page ($12.99)

03 Mar 13:00

Movie Posters Need To Be More Like This

by Geek Girl Diva


Sometimes, you just have to stop and appreciate really amazing art, so take a minute and soak in these pieces by Orlando Arocena.

Arocena’s Vector Art Alien tribute poster was part of a recent collection celebrating the 35th anniversary of the film. It’s nice to see his take on some of our other favorite movies.

Head after the break to see some of his incredible work.


winter soldier


star wars



big hero 6


You can check out more of his work over on Behance or on his Facebook page.

(via Teepublic)

25 Feb 15:00

Disney XD Is Rebooting DuckTales For A 2017 Premiere

by Sean Fallon


Can Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck be far behind? We hope not.

Major nostalgia alert for people in their thirties. Disney XD is bringing back DuckTales for a 2017 launch! From Deadline:

The new series will follow Scrooge McDuck, his curious and mischief-making grandnephews — Huey, Dewey and Louie — and the optimistic yet temperamental Donald Duck as they embark on high-flying adventures worldwide. Other beloved characters slated to be in the new stories are: Duckworth, Gyro Gearloose, Launchpad McQuack, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica DeSpell & Poe, Ma Beagle and the Beagle Boys (Burger Beagle, Bouncer Beagle), Mrs. Beakley and Webbigail Vanderquack.

That’s awesome and everything, but seriously. We need more Gadget Hackwrench and Darkwing Duck.

24 Feb 15:30

Harry Potter Chapter One Dress

by Sean Fallon

harry potter dress

This unique dress features the text of Harry Potter in a very, very easy to read font size. Plus there’s a matching bag!

Check out the bag after the break…


Product Pages: Dress / Bag ($277.51 and $34.89)

23 Feb 16:00

Everything You Need To Turn A Bedroom Into A Batcave

by Stefan A. Slater


Etsy seller ShortysCreations01 is selling everything you need to turn your bedroom into a Batcave. The beds and dressers can be customized to any size and, as you will see after the break, he even makes tiny Batbeds for pets too.


Product Page: (Prices Vary)

20 Feb 09:13

I Love You, New Orleans

by joythebaker

Mardi Gras
New Orleans, you beast.  You wild, unpredictable, crazy fun, wholly overwhelming place.  New Orleans isn’t just a city… it’s a spirit and culture.  It’s a lady and a trouble-maker.  It’s palpable and  irresistible, and will not be ignored.  New Orleans, you excite me.  New Orleans, I’m hungry.  New Orleans, I love you.  

I’ve lived for the past year as a new New Orleanian.  Fresh in this world.  Wide eyes.  Lost in the streets.  Enamored by the sights and sounds.  And sometimes… well, I’m a little overwhelmed by new city.  There’s a lot for this California girl to learn about the Deep South.  A lot to learn about Southern hospitality, being a neighborly neighbor, oyster eating, and brunch.  Those are all the easy things to learn.  

I’ve spent the past year living smack-dab in the middle of the French Quarter.  It’s been nutty:  filled with music and art and always new tourist friends.  I’m saying goodbye to the French Quarter and moving my kitchen, all my cookbooks, and TronCat… Uptown.  Let’s go cook in a new kitchen!  I can’t wait to share my new space with you.  It’s quaint and you’re invited over for cookies, always.  

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far in New Orleans:  

Grilled Oysters

•  When passing strangers on the street: Say hello / Say good morning / Say good day / Nod and smile / Smile and wave.  Always acknowledge.  There’s no such thing as ignoring a stranger.  They will not be a stranger for long.  

•  The summer months are hotter than blue blazes.  If you’ve don’t know how hop blue blazes are, ask my mom… she gave me that expression.  Also steamy. So incredibly steamy.  Keep telling yourself it’s good for your skin.  

•  The ladies at (the grocery store) Rouses don’t play.  Come correct or don’t come.  They do not play.  

•  Wear a bike helmet.  People drive crazy for real and the cracks and bumps in the road can jump up and bite you.  Whomever it was in Los Angeles that told you bike helmets are uncool doesn’t respect their own head and brain.  

•  Don’t wear headphones.  Listen to the music and feel the pulse.  It’s everywhere. 

New Orleans friends

•  It’s important to find your people.  Moving to a new city is hard and, for me, finding my footing is linked to finding my people.  Because New Orleans is the South… amazingly enough, your people will find you, email you, invite you over for coffee and pie… and because you’re in the South, you say yes to coffee and pie with strangers and you make new friends.  It’s very good. 

•  Drink a lot of water because you never know when one glass of champagne at happy hour will turn into one bottle of champagne.. on a Tuesday. There’s always a reason to celebrate. 

•  In New Orleans you can be who you are… and why not throw on a wig while you’re at it. 

•  It’s important to know the best:  

Coffee: Hi-Volt  /  Oysters: Peche (also get a sazerac!) for fresh oysters and Cochon for grilled oysters  /  Daiquiris: Cane and Table  /  Beignets: Cafe du Monde  /  Wine and bites:  Bacchanal 

More of my New Orleans suggestions here

Come visit wouldya?  I’ve got more to learn and a house full of cookies. 

16 Feb 16:52

The MeDesign Human Health Book

by Vanessa Ruiz

MeDesign Human Health Book

As part of the fascinating MeDesign program at the Vignelli Center for Design Studies at the Rochester Intitute of Technology, a group of MFA Graphic Design students were presented with this challenge,

design a book section (4 to 6 pages on a part of the human body); conduct research, write content and design largely non-verbal visual explanations through highly stylized graphic diagrammatic components.

Through a 10-week process, the students collaborated and tackled different parts of the body and design. Their goal was to clearly communicate and illustrate medical topics to the general public. The group’s effort resulted in the MeDesign Human Health Book, a stunning 64-page atlas with simple anatomical diagrams, iconography, and Bodoni and Neutraface typefaces.

MeDesign Human Health Book pages
Rui Ma MeDesign Health Book
Scott Howard MeDesign Health Book Eyes

As a designer by day, I appreciate the blending of anatomy and design—there’s not enough of it out there. The clean lines, simplification of form, and use of grid draw clear inspiration from Swiss design. Actually, it reminds me a lot of the incredible mid-20th century designs from Swiss chemical company, Geigy.

View the entire MeDesign Human Health e-Book at Flipsnack!

Learn more about the project and the designers behind it at the The Vignelli Center for Design Studies at RIT.



07 Feb 00:23

A Dog Nose Story: Gucci Finds a New Career

by (Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB))
By GDB Canine Welfare Training Manager Jeannine May (with contributions by Marilyn Richen and Tammy Jackson)

I would like to share this story of Gucci. A career change lab that is spending a lot of time nosing around….

Gucci, an adorable female yellow lab, was born on June 25, 2012. She was raised in GDB fashion by Marilyn Richen and Tammy Jackson in the Pups With Vision puppy raising club. She was a somewhat challenging pup as she wanted to eat everything she could get her mouth on and always had her nose to the ground. I first met Marilyn and Tammy on September 7th when these first-time puppy raisers anxiously awaited the GDB Puppy Truck for the dog that would change their lives. I happened to be working Isis, my Lagotto Romagnolo puppy, during lunch to recognize the scent of truffle (underground fungus that is considered a culinary delicacy). We got into a conversation about my curly haired little dog being an Italian Truffle dog. It somehow came up that I teach truffle dog classes—training people to train their own dogs how to find truffles. We exchanged some information as they had potential truffle land, and life went on.

A very young Gucci puppy (yellow Lab) is held by her smiling new raising at the Puppy Truck delivery

I encountered Gucci again when she came to the Oregon campus to board when she was in season and another time for an overnight for her spay surgery (incidentally she was the first laparoscopic spay dog done on the OR campus). What a cutie she was!

At 14 months, Gucci was dropped from the puppy program. Part of her drop notice states:“Gucci is an intelligent and opportunistic dog requiring active handling. She demonstrates above average interest in things on the ground and may grab and ingest an item even when closely monitored.” Tammy and Marilyn decided to keep Gucci, but knew they needed to do something to keep her busy.
They have forested land; forests have truffles. Why not see if she can be a Truffle Dog? After all, she always had her nose to the ground anyway! They started taking Truffle Dog training classes with me at Pacific Truffle Dogs in November 2013 not long after she was career changed.  

Gucci was a quick study! She learned to find the odor of truffle and really liked the game of using her nose, finding the correct odor source and getting a treat for it. ‘Wow, how cool’ she must have thought. Being rewarded for what she has always wanted to do…use her nose! Tammy and Marilyn soon decided they wanted to expand her repertoire of odor recognition and we began to teach the odors used in K9 Nose Work competitions.

Gucci (yellow Lab) stands very attentively with her ears up and orange harness on in the forest.

Gucci was taught three additional odors simultaneously; birch, anise and clove. She passed her Odor Recognition Test (ORT) for all three odors on the first try! She was now ready for Nosework competitions. In the meantime, she was also working in the woods with Marilyn learning by experience how to find the buried treasures. When truffles are ripe they produce an aroma that is very attractive to some species of mammals, including squirrels, voles, dogs, and yes—pigs! Isolating and locating the specific source of fungi that grows underground, out in the middle of a forest, with all the various scents that a forest emits, takes talent and focus!

Throughout 2014 Gucci continued weekly training with Tammy and Marilyn. Tammy and Gucci began competing in K9 Nosework trials. Gucci earned her NW I title on her first try, and it only took two tries to get her NW II Title!  At the NWII trial in which she qualified she took a 1st place in Interior searching, 3rd place in Vehicle searching and a 3rd place Overall (for all search areas combined)! Awesome! To get to this level in only three trials is a BIG accomplishment!!  

Gucci (yellow Lab) wearing her orange harness sniffs low to the ground in the forest.

To top off Gucci’s amazing year of competition, Marilyn entered her in the first-ever North American Truffle Dog Competition called the “Joriad.” Gucci continued practicing real life truffle hunting on the family property as well as other locations in preparation for the event. On the day of the Joriad all 26 dogs entered had to pass two qualifying rounds in order to continue to the finals round. Many of the dogs she was competing with were of the famed Lagotto Romagnolo breed—the Italian Truffle Dog. The qualifying runs were held in a horse arena; this offered some special challenges to the dogs as they not only had to sniff out the truffle odor, but also they had to pay no attention to the crowd, the smell and sight of horses, the odd environment, cameras looking down their noses, nor horse manure.

Gucci was one of the 16 dogs that passed the first qualifying run. Woo hoo! And she passed with flying colors; no faults and well under time. Sadly, 10 dogs did not go through to the next round.
The next test was a bit more challenging. The truffle scented targets were hidden in a large area of the horse arena. There were two such areas and two dogs were competing at the same time adding to the ‘trial nerves’ of the handlers!  The teams each had five minutes to search the area and find five truffles. There were trees in pots, large rocks and logs placed in each search area to give it a bit of doggy interest, but it was definitely not the same as a real search in the woods.

Gucci (yellow Lab) sits while looking at her handler Marilyn in the horse arena during the competition.

Of the first four dogs competing in Round Two—none of them passed the requirements within the amount of time given. It was seemingly a bit more difficult than it sounded! Gucci was up next. I’m not sure who was more nervous; the students, Marilyn and Gucci, or me the teacher? I think it was me!

Team Gucci approached the start line and she saw the dog across the way. From my view point in the bleachers I thought Gucci was looking a bit distracted, which added to MY nerves.  Marilyn gave her the search cue to look for truffles and Gucci quickly headed in the direction of the dog!  Aaah!  Marilyn kept her cool though and did a good job in getting Gucci’s focus back. She quickly put her nose down and went to work. Not long after Gucci found her first truffle!  About a minute later her second, and then third, and the fourth followed quickly. We spectators were feeling excited but a bit anxious too. After all, none of the other dogs had found five. The clock was ticking…come on Gucci only one more. At 4 minutes 41 seconds Gucci started pawing and truffle number five was uncovered. She had qualified for the Championship round the following day! Of course she did, I knew she would…whew.

She was the first dog to make it to this point so far. The remaining dogs completed their runs with the result that only one other dog met the original five truffles in five minutes requirements!!  The event organizers had a pow-wow and decided to allow all dogs that found at least four truffles within the five minutes to compete as well. This brought the total Championship competitor number up from two to six. It proved to be a tough competition day in which 20 dogs had been eliminated!

Now the world of mushroom hunters and truffle hunters can be a bit on the secretive and unique side. In keeping with this theory, the organizers would not allow any spectators at the event. The only people privy to the sight location was the competitors, judges, organizers and volunteers. No friends, no relatives, no instructors. So Marilyn and Gucci went off on their own to compete for the top honors in the Field Championships of the Joriad. Go Team Gucci!

Gucci (yellow Lab) sits very upright waiting to begin the competition round with her handler Marilyn by her side.

This round was ‘for real.’ They were in an overgrown Christmas tree parcel of land in the undisclosed location somewhere around Eugene, Oregon. All the dogs and handlers were going to be competing at the same time on the same piece of land.  The rules said they had to keep at least 20 feet away from each other. They were given one hour to find as many truffles as they could. Each dog/handler team was assigned a volunteer that would keep the truffles the team found in a bucket with that dog’s name on it. At the end of the competition the truffles in each bucket would be counted only by the officials. Whichever dog found the most truffles would be the winner. If there was a tie for the same number of truffles, they would weigh them (they come in a variety of sizes) and the highest weight would win.

Since I couldn't go and watch, my knowledge of the details of the actual hunt are slim, but I know that Gucci went right to work and quickly started locating the naturally grown truffles deep in the soil. When Gucci locates a truffle she paws at the ground and Marilyn will then kneel down and finish digging it out. The majority of the truffles located this day were Oregon White Truffles – their scientific name is ‘tuber oregonense.’ This is one of about three or four native Pacific Northwest culinary varieties of truffle. The PNW truffle market is in the early stages of developing, but they can sell for anywhere from $30-$80 per ounce at the retail level.

At the end of the hour Marilyn was feeling tired, but good. Gucci had done her job well! They had located and dug up many truffles, but didn’t really know well how all the other dogs had done. Were they better/faster than Gucci? Had they found more than she? No one would know until the award ceremony that night.

The awards dinner was held at Willamette Vineyards just south of Salem, Oregon. There was wine, good food, and lots of interesting conversation. Finally they announced the winners—and YES!  Gucci had won the first ever North American Truffle Dog Joriad Championship!! The number of truffles the dogs had found was not announced, but rumor has it that Gucci was double the number of the second place dog.

Head shot of a "smiling" Gucci (yellow lab) looking straight at the camera.

I was certainly proud of my students and friends; Tammy, Marilyn and Gucci! Gucci won out over several dogs of the infamous Lagotto Romagnolo and has shown everyone what a great career-change dog she is.  Her new career is just beginning! Gucci will continue in both Nose Work competitions and will be looking at going pro in the truffle dog world.

GREAT JOB,Team Gucci!

12 Feb 12:30

This Castle Treehouse Is Fit For A King

by Nicole Wakelin


Treehouses are generally things reserved for kids. They’re also usually small and not very fancy, but this one in Hertfordshire, England is cooler than the average house (mansion even). It’s got a game room and a kitchen and a bathroom and there are even separate treehouses for the adults and kids. According to builder Blue Forest:

The fairytale children’s tree house features a secret trapdoor leading to a games room. Inside, the room is fully equipped, complete with a plasma television and games console, meaning that the complex is also a great place for the kids to hang out and relax with their friends… and not that bad for the ‘adults’ either!

The adults’ treehouse is fully furnished to be a spectacular venue for treetop dinner parties and a large and comfortable living area for entertaining. The adults’ retreat also features a kitchen and a toilet, giving the owners the ability to host their guests from start to finish in their impressive treetop venue.

The two treehouses are connected by a dramatic canopy walkway which takes the form of several interconnecting rope bridges that weave between the trees and look out over the beautiful surrounding scenery.

As well as gazing out over the dramatic vistas of the garden, the decks also lead to a raised assault course. An eighty-yard zip wire descends from a crow’s nest that sits above a balcony and leads down to an exciting adventure trail.

No word on how much this cost, but I’m sure it was worth it.

See more pictures after the break.









(Earthporm via Geekologie)

12 Feb 14:39


20 Jan 20:00

Not Linked To Reality

Writer | Europe

Client: “This is not what we requested at all. This [document] looks exactly the same as we provided a week ago. The deadline is tomorrow, we need this ASAP! When can you apply the edits?”

Me: “[Client], there seems to be a misunderstanding. I click the link and see the entirely new document. Have you checked this [link]?”

Client: “Found it. This should have been sent sooner.”

Me: “There were three versions sent earlier during the week to your email. Did you not receive them? Just to show, I’ve attached screenshots of the timestamps and emails sent.”

Client: “I did not scroll down to see the emails in Gmail. Please notify us earlier if I haven’t seemed to have noticed the link in your opinion.”

Me: “…”

12 Jan 02:36

BIG acrobats

by coach Rick

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Thank George Thomas for the link. As he says, you can’t unsee it. :-)

09 Jan 18:42

Hedi Xandt’s Bodilisk II

by Vanessa Ruiz
Bodilisk II – Acheron, 2015 Hedi Xandt Gods & Monsters

Bodilisk II – Acheron / 2015 /  Gods & Monsters / Hedi Xandt

Bodilisk II – Acheron, 2015 Hedi Xandt Gods & Monsters Bodilisk II – Acheron, 2015 Hedi Xandt Gods & Monsters

We’ve been following the stunning sculptures of Hedi Xandt since last year when we posted an overview of his work. His latest sculpture, titled “Bodilisk II – Acheron,” is an écorché style creature clutching a gold heart. Hedi states that his classical sculptures, “show the dark side of a beauty that is considered perfect and divine, literally set in stone.”

Hedi is a self-taught conceptual artist and professional graphic/multimedia designer. His work is dark, well crafted, and carries with it a deadly boldness that we absolutely love.

Has Hedi Xandt’s work piqued your interest? View more of his incredible sculptures and design at!



09 Jan 13:30

Bailey’s Hot Fudge Sauce

by Meghan B.

Bailey's Hot Fudge Sauce |

Hello, my name is Meghan and I am… a chocoholic.

Hi Meghan!

Some of you may already be aware of my chocolate addiction, particularly if you follow me on Pinterest because I have a whole board dedicated to it, for goodness sake. A piece of chocolate a day makes me a sane woman, that’s all I can say (there was a little rhyme there, huh? I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it! You can stop rolling your eyes at me now…). 

Bailey's Hot Fudge Sauce |

Chocolate is so dreamy (oh let’s just say – it’s SEXY) when it’s spilling off a spoon like this isn’t it? Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor…

Bailey's Hot Fudge Sauce |

Hot fudge sauce is one of the rare chocolate indulgences I give into. Usually it’s a piece of chocolate or a small brownie that ties me over. But when I really want chocolate, like reallllllllly want it, I go for a hot fudge smothered sundae.

This hot fudge sauce is even more sinful with dark chocolate and Bailey’s Irish Cream. The best way to describe it is a glorious combination of chocolate and booze, which will have you swooning. GAH it’s sooooooo good!

Bailey's Hot Fudge Sauce |

The consistency is what wins me over with this sauce, even more so than the flavor. It’s thick, rich, and once it’s poured onto ice cream it starts to thicken even more. It’s the happy medium between Hershey’s chocolate syrup and that magic shell stuff that only tasted good if you got the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup flavor (remember that?!).

Bailey's Hot Fudge Sauce |

Ready for dessert yet?

Bailey's Hot Fudge Sauce
Hot fudge sauce has never tasted as good as this dark chocolate and Bailey's homemade sauce!
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 7 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt and half of the dark chocolate chips to a boil. Reduce the mixture to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Remove from heat and add the rest of the chocolate, butter, vanilla extract and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Stir together until the mixture is smooth. Let cool for approximately 20 to 30 minutes to thicken.
  3. Store in an airtight container. To reheat, warm in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute.

*Recipe slightly adapted from Brown-Eyed Baker

The post Bailey’s Hot Fudge Sauce appeared first on Cake 'n' Knife.

07 Jan 20:34

Mushroom Inoculation Day

by Daisy


Sometimes when bloggers don’t post it’s because they haven’t been doing anything worth blogging about. Sometimes it’s because they’ve been doing so much they don’t have time to blog about it; things happen faster than they can photograph them and there isn’t time in-between tasks to sit down and write down what they’ve been doing.

Then sometimes bloggers don’t post because they just don’t.

I’ve been in the last category. I’ve been doing things, taking pictures even, but the sitting down and collecting it all in a post hasn’t been happening much. Maybe it’s the seven year blogger blahs. Who knows? I’m going to try to be better this year.  Call it a resolution, call it a well-meaning attempt, just don’t call me late for mushroom inoculating.

Which I was, actually. That is, I inoculated my mushrooms logs too late this year. Ideally mushroom inoculation should be done some time before prolonged periods of temperatures below 18 degrees F. (according to Tradd Cotter’s advice in his book Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation).  Hopefully, though, since we seldom stay below freezing around here for more than a few days at a time, I’ll be okay.

I inoculate like I blog: after a nice long bout of procrastination.

I inoculated about 25 logs with shiitake and oyster mushroom spawn, both different strains than the shiitake and oyster mushroom spawn I successfully grew last year.  I also used the totem method to treat some log sections with nameko and lion’s mane mushroom spawn.

I’ve never tasted nameko OR lion’s mane or seen them in real life, but I’m taking a chance I’m going to like them. That is my brand of living on the edge.

In the above photo you can see my set-up; the sawbuck on the left holding the log, a handy stump table for the corded drill, and a thrift store slow cooker to melt the cheese wax to seal the logs.

I drill holes in a diamond pattern all up and down and all around the logs. They are spaced about 6 inches apart for shiitake. There are recommended spacings for the holes depending on the type of mushroom spawn (shiitake, oyster, etc.) you are using. I don’t always adhere strictly to these rules so if you see some variation, that’s my creative license at work. I use a stop collar on my drill bit so my creativity is stifled regarding the depth of the hole; too deep and the spawn may dry out, too shallow the amount of spawn in the inoculation tool won’t all go in.


Here I jam the inoculation tool into the bag of spawn to fill it with the right amount of the sawdust spawn.  Once it’s filled up, it’s the correct, premeasured amount to fill the hole I drilled.


Then I position the inoculation tool over the hole and wham! hit it with a hammer. My tool sticks and won’t work with thumb or palm pressure. I have to wham it in. Even if it didn’t stick, my hand would be swollen and sore for days if I whammed that many logs without the help of a hammer. My hands aren’t as young and resilient as they used to be.


This is how it looks with the sawdust spawn.


The next step is to brush melted wax over the filled holes to seal in the moisture. I use cheese wax I get from the mushroom spawn supplier. I put chunks of it in a heatsafe bowl which I set inside the crock pot. If you are doing this for the first time, here’s a tip: Make sure to turn on the pot at least an hour before you start to drill because it takes quite a long time to melt in the crock pot. Other ways to melt include a camp stove or an electric burner. I like the slow, steady, and safe pace of the crock pot, but plan ahead because you don’t want to be waiting around for your wax to melt once the holes are drilled and the spawn is waiting to be sealed under its nice warm coating of wax.


Careful with the hot wax. And consider an apron; my wool coat now has a nice patch of wax right in the front with sawdust embedded in it.


If you are on the fence about the aluminum labels to tack onto your logs for identification, get them. They’re cheap and they make the logs look very official. (Plus they identify which is which).


Inoculating these 25 logs took me two (almost) full days of pretty tiring work by myself. Next time I work with this much timber I need to have a mushroom inoculation party, invite some people over, serve some good food, and knock this out in one day.

05 Jan 15:05

Healthy Avocado Egg Salad and Salmon Sandwich

by Skinnytaste Gina
Under 300 calories, protein packed, and loaded with good fats!

An open-faced egg salad sandwich with wild Nova salmon and cucumber slices – under 300 calories, protein packed, and loaded with good fats.

Easiest tip to make a sandwich lighter is to make it open-faced. To make a lighter egg salad, I use half the yolks so I am still getting the health benefits from using some of the yolks, plus I add some mashed avocado which makes it creamy and full of healthy fats.

This is great for breakfast or lunch. If you're only making one serving, you can refrigerate the egg salad in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Click Here To See The Full Recipe...
04 Jan 10:05

Tim Cunningham – “Fatima”

by pfmhcolumbia

Tim Cunningham – Sierra Leone – December 2014

My Christmas present this year came in the form of an amazing patient called Fatima. Fatima is not her real name so I will use it to honor her privacy in light of both the relentless stigma towards Ebola patients here in Sierra Leone right now and also in to respect her rights as a patient. She is around 10 years old and spent nearly a week with us in our confirmed ward at our ETU. Although she tested positive for Ebola, she never got sick. This disease is strange — it kills many people and others have a fever and perhaps some diarrhea for a day or two, then they rapidly recover. Some show no symptoms at all even though they cared for and lived with parents, brothers and sisters who succumbed to the disease. (I don’t know the sensitivity and specificity of our Ebola PCR test; maybe that plays a part in this mystery of the symptomatic and non-symptomatic cases too.)

Fatima witnessed much suffering and countless deaths at home and during the nights at the ETU when there were no nurses in the wards to provide comfort.

She mixed innocent compassion with a dark sense of humor. At times, the most healthy patient in the pediatric ward, she would ask for a lappa from us (a traditional cloth/covering), collect it, and then hide it so that when the next team came through a few hours later, she would ask for another. She played this game daily with much success. And in the evening time, during our last shift of the day, we could come into the pediatric ward and each sleeping child would have a lappa covering them, keeping them warm.

We also use the lappas to cover bodies of patients who die. It is not uncommon to walk into a room and see multiple patients covered completely. All of us on our team have laid too many lappas across our deceased patients. Fatima saw this everyday too.

One day her “gallows humor” came out full force. I walked into the pediatric ward to do one last check on some malnourished children before doffing my PPE and leaving for the day. When I entered the room Fatima said something to me and pointed at a covered body on the bed next to her. I jumped, startled because just earlier this child was alive and well. She saw my reaction and started laughing, quickly pulling back the sheet revealing a well child and her twisted prank.

She was “queen of the ward.” I asked her one day if she was the ward’s doctor and she said “no.” I then asked if she was the ward’s nurse, “no” again. So then I asked if she was more of the queen of the ward and her eyes and smile lit up. She would collect soap and cups for the younger kids, lead the healthy kids in card games and other activities out in the sunshine by the wards… and most importantly, make her friends drink. At one point a few days ago 1/3 of the patients in our ETU were younger than 18 years old. Fatima was their matron, supporting them and keeping the energy positive and playful. 

The pediatric ward is right near the doffing area, so while we were waiting in line to doff, she would dance with us. Her dancing soon became fits of laughter at me and my colleagues showcasing our lack of rhythm and finesse as we moved around like goofballs in our white “space suits.”

Four days ago Fatima tested negative for Ebola and we discharged her home!

We said goodbye to her in front of our ETU by our tree of hope. On the tree of hope each survivor is given a piece of lappa that they tie around.  Recently we topped 100 survivors; we are sending survivors home now almost daily. Fatima sat with the largest smile I think I’ve ever seen after tying her ribbon. Then she sat and waited for her ride home from the Red Cross. Fatima beat this disease.  Many have, and many more will.


The tree of hope.

26 Dec 06:00

Hospital Puts Newborn Babies in Christmas Stockings

by John Farrier

(Photo: Magee-Women's Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)

Babies born on December 25th are the best Christmas gifts of all! When they're born at the Magee-Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, nurses put them in Christmas stockings. They're not hung over fireplaces. That would probably be carrying the theme too far. But this is a nice gift to the tired and anxious parents of newborns.

-via Popehat

18 Dec 13:30

The New Baby Groot From Hot Toys Is Predictably Amazing

by Geek Girl Diva

hot toys little groot

We still can’t get enough of Baby Groot, especially when the Baby Groot in question is this adorable (and super accurate) version by Hot Toys.

While this version doesn’t actually dance, it is a fantastic replica. The 1/4 Scale Little Groot Collectible features 3 interchangeable head sculpts, movable arms, and a moveable body.

Head after the break to see more of this super cute collectible.

hot toys little groot 2

hot toys little groot 3

hot toys little groot 4

hot toys little groot 5

hot toys little groot 6

hot toys little groot 7

If you’re in Hong Kong or plan to be there for Toy Soul 2014, you can buy Groot at the Hot Toys’ booth (F01-12) from Dec 19 – 21. Otherwise, you can pre-order the figure for $44.99. It’s set to ship in January 2015.