Shared posts

25 Aug 13:29

Stephen Lang Brings Stephen King’s ‘Batman’ Story To Life [Audio]

by Ben Paddon


Alright, calling this “Stephen King’s Batman story” might be a misnomer – the story, entitled “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation”, is less about the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder sidekick and more about the relationship between a man and his aging father who is suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease.

But it is, at its core, about heroes. It’s about love, and loss, and family. A beautiful, strange, poignant piece that’s also more than slightly shocking. It was recently read by actor Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar) for NPR’s Selected Shorts podcast, and it’s a powerful listen. You’ll want to check it out even if you’ve read the story before.

You can experience it for yourself in the player below. The story itself starts at around the 5:30 mark.

(via CBR)

24 Aug 11:00

watermelon and mint agua fresca

by michelle lopez

As I write this post, the National Weather Service has issued an "Excessive Heat Warning" for New York state. It's 93 degrees in city. With the humidity, the weather reports tell me that it "feels like 106 degrees" outside. I can't tell you personally, because the last time I left the apartment was at around 8:00 AM (when it was still a balmy 88 degrees, ha) to dart around the corner to grab this watermelon and an onion bagel with scallion cream cheese from The Best Bagel Place in the Entire City.

I don't know what it's been like in other parts of the country, but if it's anything as hot as New York, I wouldn't be surprised if everybody's been avoiding their oven like the plague. What have you guys been doing to cool off? I've been eating bowls of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and drinking beverages like this watermelon and mint agua fresca:

I first discovered agua frescas at a Venezuelan restaurant specializing in arepas in my old neighborhood in Portland. However, agua frescas are actually Mexican in origin, and are basically fruit juices mixed with water and sugar (though you can also get a horchata flavored one made from a variety of rice, nuts, or other crazy things).

My favorite flavor has always been a pineapple and lime variation, but since watermelon is in season, I decided to make a watermelon one instead:

And real talk — there is no fruit more quintessentially summer than watermelon. This drink is basically all the good things about summer in a glass! Light, refreshing, and a wonderful vibrant pinkish-red (Seriously, what is that color?! Is that marsala?! It's a touch too red, no?), I'm proud to contribute this recipe to Sherrie's annual #drinkthesummer virtual cocktail party. Check out her blog and the hashtag for more summer recipe ideas!


Some maker's notes:
  • The amount of simple syrup you use will depend on how sweet your watermelon is and how sweet you like your drinks, which is why I've given a range for the amount of simple syrup used in the recipe. Be sure to taste as you go, adding simple syrup in small increments until you find your ideal level of sweetness.

  • So I made mine booze-free, but you can totally spike the shiz out of it like a cool kid. I recommend using it as a mix-in for a relatively mildly flavored booze like vodka, a non-hoppy pilsner, or even champagne.
get the recipe »
17 Aug 02:30

Peanut Butter Chunky Chocolate Cookies

by Bakerella

Peanut Butter Chunky Chocolate Cookies

These jumbo cookies delight with big chunks of chocolate in every bite. They’re simple but oh so good.

Peanut Butter

The cookie dough is kissed with creamy peanut butter …

Chocolate Wafers

…and hugged by giant chocolate wafers. Oh my… thighs.

Cookie Dough

I want to go just dive in.

Cookie Dough Scoop

I used a big scoop for these cookies. ?? inches wide that yields 12-13 cookies from the dough. But feel free to use a smaller scoop for more cookies.

Scooped Dough

Look at these great big balls of cookie dough though.

Cookie Scoops

Before baking sprinkle a little sea salt on top to make them taste extra special.



Oh my … so much melty chocolate.


Melty Chocolate

Speaking of melty. If you can’t wait for these to cool like a certain sweets-loving person I know, then be prepared to enjoy puddles of warm chocolate with a tall glass of cold milk.

Peanut Butter Chunky Chocolate Cookies

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
12-18 oz semisweet chocolate baking wafers (I used these.)
sea salt

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Using a mixer, cream butter, peanut butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add vanilla.
  • Add flour mixture and slowly mix until combined. Stir in chocolate wafers.
  • Scoop dough using a large 2-1/2 inch scoop (yields 12-13 cookies) a few inches apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle the tops lightly with sea salt. Bake 14-16 minutes and let cool.
    Note: For more cookies, use a smaller scoop and bake for a little less time.


25 Jul 17:30

HAIRY Photo Series from Grace Chon

by Capree Kimball

HAIRY Photo Series from Grace Chon

I’m a sucker for a good “before and after”, especially when it comes to style makeovers. So, when I saw photographer Grace Chon‘s most recent series HAIRY, I nearly fell out of my chair from delight! HAIRY showcases doggy makeovers, but not in the “breed standard” cuts many are familiar with here in the United States.

HAIRY Photo Series from Grace Chon

Model: Lana \\\ Groomer: Koko Fukaya

HAIRY Photo Series from Grace Chon

Model: Raider \\\ Groomer: Koko Fukaya

HAIRY Photo Series from Grace Chon

Model: Herman \\\ Groomer: Cindy Reyes

Grace explains:

I’ve always found before and after photos from dog grooming to be really funny. Usually it doesn’t even look like it’s the same dog in each photo! I had the idea of shooting a photo series that highlighted this extreme transformation. Each dog went way beyond their normal grooming schedule to grow their hair long and shaggy for the shoot. There’s something so funny to me about seeing a dog so scruffy that they can’t even see! I wanted the after photos to be really extreme by showing a type of cut that’s uncommon to most of us here in the United States.

All the dogs have been groomed in a Japanese grooming style, which doesn’t follow the usual breed standard cuts and rules for grooming that we’re used to seeing. Rather, the emphasis is on making the dog look as adorable as possible — cute on steroids — by highlighting the unique characteristics of each dog. These cuts are works of art; each haircut takes hours as the majority of the styling is all done with hand scissoring. All the dogs in the series were groomed by the incredibly talented groomers from Healthy Spot in Los Angeles, CA. Many of the groomers there specialize in this style of cut and have been trained by masters from Japan.

HAIRY Photo Series from Grace Chon

Model: Teddy \\\ Groomer: Donna Owens

HAIRY Photo Series from Grace Chon

Model: Yuki \\\ Groomer: Alyson Ogimachi

HAIRY Photo Series from Grace Chon

Model: Rocco \\\ Groomer: Patricia Sugihara

See more images from this ongoing series by following Grace on Instagram. Also check out more of her awesome animal photography at

Share This: Twitter | Facebook | Don't forget that you can follow Dog Milk on Twitter and Facebook.
© 2016 Dog Milk | Posted by capree in Grooming + Hygiene, Other | Permalink | No comments
22 Jul 18:01

The First ‘Wonder Woman’ Poster Is Wonderfully Colorful

by Sean Fallon


If you weren’t thrilled with Wonder Woman’s muted color scheme in BvS, you’ll love this new poster for her upcoming film. The tagline isn’t bad either. Check out the full poster below.


08 Jul 15:44

Single Serving Size Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Amanda
Single Serving Size Chocolate Chip Cookies

These XL bakery style chocolate chip cookies make a single serving batch for when you only want 2-3 cookies. They are extra chocolatey, chewy, and so quick to make!

See it HERE!

Single Serving Size Chocolate Chip Cookies submitted by Chelsea’s Messy Apron

The post Single Serving Size Chocolate Chip Cookies appeared first on i am baker.

08 Jul 20:16

31 Garage Organization Ideas…to whip yours into SHAPE!!

by Ashley
31 Garage Organization whip yours into SHAPE!! | via

As much as we try, our garage is always a mess.

It’s a 3-car garage but we only have 2 cars, so the 3rd bay is used for tools and lawn stuff and DIY projects!  We tend to accumulate more than we have the storage space for in that 3rd bay and once we get excited about working on a project, we tend to overlook the mess from the last project.  We have been needing to get creative with our garage space for some time now……because there is DEFINITELY a better way than what we have going on. Ack! But I feel like everything just needs a designated spot…..and then everyone will know where that item goes, instead of dumping it on the tool bench.  Or the garage floor.  Or even worse, leaving it on the step by the garage door, hoping someone else will put it away.  Agggghhh….drives me nuts!  But I’m pretty excited just looking at all of these garage organization ideas, because I’m ready to whip our garage into shape!

Do you have some tips that you love??  Please do share them below! :)

31 Garage Organization whip yours into SHAPE!! | via


Hook and Chain Cord Hanger via Family Handyman



PVC pipe holders via Newly Woodwards



Amazing bin system via A Bowl Full of Lemons

Garage organize 2

Lifting garage storage via Amazon

Garage organize 18

Multipanel Pegboard Storage via Woodsmith Tips


Wall panel with hooks and hanging bins via A Beautiful Mess

Garage organize 3


Magnetic Tool Storage via Amazon


Garage Ceiling Storage System via Family Handyman



Bike storage via I Heart Organizing

Garage organize 4

Sports accessories storage via Amazon

Garage organize 14


Hooks and bench via Sypsie



Cord Hangers from Plastic Pipe via Family Handyman



Pallet shoe shelf via Hometalk

Garage organize 6

Pallet rake storage via Fix Lovely



Stowaway Work Bench via Build Something



Scooter storage via Digs Digs



PVP Pipe Storage Rack via Family Handyman



Fishing pole storage via Photobucket

Garage organize 9

Fishing pole pool noodle storage via Pinterest

Garage organize 10

Garage build in lockers via Dixie Delights

Garage organize 11

Ladder Hooks (to hang from garage door hardware) via Amazon



School lockers garage organization via Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss



DIY garage shelves via Ana White

Garage organize 13

DIY ball storage via Family Handyman

Garage organize 15

Soda bottle storage via Popular Woodworking

Garage organize 16

Kids’ toys storage via Domestic Charm

Garage organize 17

Garage multi-organizer via Amazon

Garage organize 19

Basket organization via Make It & Love It

Garage organize 20


Rain Gutter Shelving via Flickr

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 4.42.22 PM

Steel Pegboard via Amazon



DIY Jumbo Tape Dispenser via Popular Woodworking



. . . . .

Looking for a few more ways to spruce up your home?? 

Check out these great ideas!

20 Cheap Way to Improve Curb Appeal

20 Cheap ways to IMPROVE CURB APPEAL...(whether you're selling or not) | via Make It and Love It

38 Inspiring Ideas to Organize and Declutter Your Home









The post 31 Garage Organization Ideas…to whip yours into SHAPE!! appeared first on Make It and Love It.

04 Jul 18:00

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

20 May 14:55

Miso Roasted Brussels Sprouts

by Ali

Miso Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe -- this side dish is quick and easy to make, and kicked up a notch with this easy miso vinaigrette! | (Gluten Free / Vegan / Vegetarian)

I am on a mission to clean out the fridge this week.

Because after hosting a handful of happy hours this month, and testing a few dozen recipes for the blog in between, my fridge is literally overflowing right now with ingredients and leftovers galore.  I’d say that this is probably par for the course for any food blogger.  But even my friends — who by now are used to coming over and taking it upon themselves to shift stuff around for a minute to find a little spot for their bottle of white wine to chill — remarked at a happy hour this week that it was a freaking miracle that the fridge doors were even able to close.  Ha, oops.

Time to essentialize that fridge!!

My first priority, of course, is always using up that time-sensitive produce.  So yesterday, I made a smoothie with random leftover fruit, a big green salad with smoked salmon, and my third batch (in one week!) of these miso-roasted Brussels sprouts that I can’t seem to stop making.  They’re so easy that I hadn’t even thought of posting them on the blog.  But after eating the leftovers all week for literally breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it occurred to me that some of you might need these in your life too.

And the best part?  All you need are 5 easy ingredients to make them!


22 Jun 10:02

Garlic Lovers’ Spaghetti

by Ali

This Garlic Lovers’ Spaghetti is quick and easy to make, it’s packed with simple and ultra-garlicky Italian flavors, and it’s absolutely delicious.

This Garlic Lovers' Spaghetti is quick and easy to make, packed with ultra-garlicky buttery Italian flavors, and SO delicious!! |

Ok, after sharing my favorite chicken parmesan recipe with you on Monday, I couldn’t resist following it up with my all-time favorite spaghetti recipe.  ♥

Guys, I’ve got to be honest with you.  I know pasta seems to get a bad rap nowadays, and I try to make veggies and salads and whole-grain-y foods the star of my meals most of the time.  But I’ve made my (happy) peace with the fact that pasta will forever and always be my favorite comfort food.  And when the craving strikes, this is my tried-and-true recipe that I always turn to.

It’s quick and easy to make.  It’s made with ingredients that I literally always have on hand.  It’s ready to go in the time it takes to boil your pasta water and cook the spaghetti.  It pairs well with just about any protein or veggies on the side.  It is wonderfully chocked full of SO MUCH GARLIC.  And it is simply my favorite.

So grab some peppermints for afterwards, and let’s make some!


30 Jun 05:01

Andrew’s Star Wars Birthday Party

by Annie

A couple of months ago we were talking and Andrew mentioned that he would be eight on his next birthday. I laughed SO hard, truly believing it was a joke because there was no way that my baby would be eight soon. But then, stunned, I realized he was right!

Initially he was set on the idea of having a laser tag party and to be honest, I was all for it.  I baked my brother’s wedding cake and cupcakes and our whole family was in the wedding the week before Andrew’s party so I knew I would be exhausted. But right before I finalized the date, location and invitations, he decided he would rather have a Star Wars party at home. So be it. Thankfully the force was with me and I was able to pull a party together pretty quickly.

For the cake, Andrew requested chocolate raspberry. I ended up making my favorite chocolate cake recipe for the cake layers, filled them with fresh whipped cream folded with fresh raspberries, and frosted with my favorite chocolate frosting. The combination was so, so delicious! Because of the extreme softness of both the cake and the filling, the cake settled overnight and left the fondant slightly wrinkled but it was okay. It still tasted fabulous!

You know I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make some Star Wars sugar cookies with royal icing for the occasion! Even though I know next to nothing about Star Wars, these are still some of my favorite cookies to make.

The Death Star watermelon was a veeeerrrry last minute detail (as in, I made it minutes before the party started) but it was such a hit! I must admit even I love it, and I don’t even know what the Death Star is. (Don’t judge!)

This light saber snack mix was fun and easy to make, although a bit tedious. I made the little sabers by dipping pretzel rods into red, blue and green candy melts. The kids loved it!

These forks were clearly a party essential.

Isn’t this free printable banner adorable? I love it so much.

Since planning this was SO last minute, I didn’t have a lot together in the way of activities. I was confident that a bunch of seven- and eight-year-olds would be able to entertain themselves pretty well with a few props. We made light sabers from pool noodles and duct tape and they had a BLAST with those running around and battling. We also had them draw on balloons to make storm troopers or whatever they wanted, taped them to the wall and then let them shoot nerf darts at them.

I also had a couple sets of these masks around which made for extra fun for kids and grown ups alike. This is me with my best friend since kindergarten, because real best friends take Chewbacca selfies.

I simply couldn’t resist the tank top. Also can we just talk about how awesome the storm trooper balloons are for a minute? SO AWESOME. The guy at the party store didn’t think so, since each part is filled individually. HA!

Happy birthday, my amazing Andrew!



29 Jun 11:16

Interact With A ‘Calvin And Hobbes’ Strip In 3D

by Sean Fallon


I’ve never seen anything like this, but now I want all my comic strips to be in interactive 3D.

This Calvin and Hobbes strip was reimagined using Blender by artist Gabriel de Laubier.

Experience C&H in a whole new way in the widget below. You can even view it in Google Cardboard.

(Prosthetic Knowledge via The Verge)

27 Jun 00:19

Maple Bacon Cake

by Kristan

This maple bacon cake is perfect for sweet and salty lovers! Enjoy it for dessert, or breakfast — I’m not judging!

Maple Bacon Cake PictureLast week it ended up that I had two work-related phone calls scheduled for the same day.

I had to schedule them back-to-back, because Lucy’s nap time is my only good window of time to talk to a human being in peace. Obviously I’m just sitting at home in my pajamas, but when I talk to brands about doing work for them I try to pretend that I’m a real professional who works in an office and most likely wears pantyhose. And unfortunately, my child screaming, “I got a little bit of poop in my pants!!” is not at all conducive to that whole illusion.

Needless to say, these phone calls loomed over me all day. Honestly, I never understand why people need to talk with real voices when email is a perfectly acceptable form of communication. I mean, this isn’t a break-up or a death in the family. It’s cupcakes. Please just let me type my words.

maple bacon layer cake image

The worst thing about phone calls is that the people who request them do so with such nonchalance. “Let’s hop on a call,” they say.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS HOPPING ON A CALL. What there IS such a thing as is me dying a slow and painful death while I treat my red-hot burning ear (why do phones make my ear so hot?) and cringe while I replay every inappropriate thing I accidentally blurted out during our call.

“I’d LOVE to make cookies using your product!! In fact, I make cookies using your product ALL THE TIME!! I should be paying YOU, if we are being honest! I mean, here — just give me your address. I’m popping a check in the mail now.” <—insert awkward silences, forced laughter, and references to wine, tequila, or some inappropriate combination of the two.

I’m so sorry, world.

Maple Bacon Layer Cake Pic

I have learned to just stick with what I am good at — baking in my house, with walls that separate me from the rest of the world. I have been loving the maple bacon combo I’ve been seeing everywhere, and I decided that it definitely needed to be a layer cake.

Layers of dense, velvety maple cake, maple buttercream, crispy bacon, and a sweet maple glaze — it’s giving me life and I’m not sorry.

Maple bacon layer cake, anyone? I saved you a slice!

Maple Bacon Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Yield: 20 slices


  • Maple Cake:
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons maple extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • Maple Buttercream:
  • 3 sticks salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 12 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled, and blotted of grease
  • Maple Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour 3 (8 inch) cake pans.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt. Pour in the water, sour cream, vegetable oil, maple extract, and eggs, and beat with your electric mixer on low until all the ingredients are mixed and moistened but some lumps still remain, 4 minutes.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake until tops are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  4. Prepare buttercream: In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, cream, and maple extract on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar until combined. Add maple syrup. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for one minute. Using a serrated knife, level cooled cake layers, then stack and fill and frost the outside.
  5. Cut bacon slices in half and press into the outside of the cake, reserving two halves for the top. Chill cake for one hour.
  6. Prepare glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, water, extract, and syrup until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake, spreading to the edges so that it drips down the cake.


**cake batter heavily adapted from Allrecipes almond wedding cake


Enjoy, friends! Have a great day!

The post Maple Bacon Cake appeared first on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

23 Jun 13:00

Impractical Bookshelves For Superheroes

by Ben Paddon


Like books? Like shelves? Like putting books on shelves?

You would? Weirdo.

Alright then, how about shelves that look like the logos for your favorite comic book characters? What a coincidence! Istanbul-based designer Burak Dogan has created that exact thing.

Clearly, superheroes value style over functionality when it comes to storage.

Sadly, these are only artist renderings at the moment. Impractical or not, they do look pretty cool.

Check out more designs below.




(On The Bookshelf via Neatorama)

03 Jun 12:00

These ‘Star Wars’ Bookends Are Extremely Shelfworthy

by Geek Girl Diva


I’ve seen a lot of Star Wars bookends in my day, but I think I’ve just found my new favorites. Etsy seller MokuShop uses wood to create Star Wars bookends based on the Death Star and AT-ATs.

He also did a Deadpool versoin. You bet I put it in this post because, Deadpool.









Star Wars Bookends ($59 – $78)

(Thanks to Katie Elhoffer for bringing these to my attention!)

25 May 19:00

Give Him A Dollar Thrill

by BD
Retail | TX, USA

(I am scanning up the order of a customer, who is rather elderly, and we are at the end when this happens:)

Customer: “For that $100 cash back, I don’t want a $100 bill.”

Me: *jokingly* “Okay, I’ll give you 100 ones.”

Customer: “Oh, no! That’s even worse. A man like me doesn’t need THAT much money. I’m too old to go to the strip clubs!”

The post Give Him A Dollar Thrill appeared first on Funny & Stupid Customer Stories - Not Always Right.

05 Apr 17:05

Mother’s Day Cake – Open Star Tip Cake

by Amanda
A beautiful cake that is easy to do but Mom will never know you didn't spend hours and hours on it!

Finally! A Mother’s Day Cake that anyone can do! Using an open star tip helps to create a beautiful technique but is easy enough for anyone to d0!

I recently make a Rainbow Open Star Tip Cake that people really seemed to like! One of the most common emails I got about this cake was, “How can I make this for Mother’s Day?” I thought I would do a softer version of my original cake that would be a little more appropriate for a Mother’s Day celebration!

To make this cake you will need:

Cake to decorate (I adore this Perfect White Cake recipe)

Buttercream recipe (I prefer Decorator’ Buttercream for piping, but Crusting Buttercream also works quite well)

Food coloring – I used McCormick food coloring and loosely followed this chart that details how to achieve certain colors.

Decorator’s tips: 16, 18, 22, 32, 172, 195, 2C, 4B, 8B, 9FT (this is simply a wide variety of the same style of tip- see how to store all of these tips HERE)

I also use a #4 tip to write “mom”.

One difference with this cake and the original cake is I added a few larger open star tips like the 2C, 4B, and 8B. I wanted to add a few more colors and thought that the larger star tips would be better than the smaller tips.

One thing that makes a BIG difference in the overall time spent on this cake is how I use my tips. What I mean by that is, how I bag and how I clean up after using frosting in disposable pastry bags.

I like to “double bag” my frostings. Why do I do this?

  1. If I run out of frosting I can easily drop in a bag of fresh frosting.
  2. Clean up is easier.
  3. If using a coupler set I can easily change tips. If not using a couple set I can easily create a new bag with the new tip and drop my frosting right in.

Here’s how simple it is:

I fill a disposable pastry bag with my frosting.

In a separate bag, I add a coupler set with tip OR just the tip. (depending on the size of the tip)

I then cut the tip off the bag with frosting. Make sure you cut an opening the is slightly bigger than the size of the tip. If the opening is not large enough the pastry bag could interfere with how to frosting comes out of the tip. (I hope that makes sense!)

Simply drop the frosting bag into the bag with the coupler set. When the frosting runs out, simply remove the frosting bag and drop in a new bag. I often store my frosting right in the pastry bag to save time.

Ok! So now that we have the supplies ready how do you actually make this adorable cake? Spoiler: It’s SO EASY!!

Another difference in this cake from the original Rainbow Open Star Tip Cake is the addition of the white frosting ring around the top that you see at the beginning of the video. I did this to create some varying height on the cake. (You can definitely leave this ring of frosting out if you prefer)

I think you can really tell on this image how dramatic and lovely the extra height is:

Ok, so the process for this cake is fairly easy!

Bake cake, cover in crumb coat, (here is a video of me adding a crumb coat) then go back and do your final “beauty” layer. Try and get the frosting as smooth as possible! I found that the contrast of the crisp, clean lines of the cake with the whimsical multi-colored buttercream “stars” is really quite impressive.

Color frosting and add it to pastry bags with open star tips in varying sizes.

Pipe dollops (stars) around the cake. Be sure to stop and look at the cake from different angle’s to see if it looks even and symmetrical.

PRO TIP: Try using ODD (not even) bunches of dollops. If you look at the image below you will see that I used FIVE big blue star dollops. Research shows that odd (like 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) groupings are more visually appealing. 

You can use as little as 3 different decorating tips as well as add other varieties and styles. I would recommend a small, a medium, and a large tip. Instead of rainbow colors consider pink, yellow, and blue or even red, dark pink and a light pink. You could also add some round tips in for detail or a leaf tip for extra added fun.

I share more about decorator’s tips and storage here.

As I mentioned above, I just piped out “mom” using a #4 tip. I removed the star tip from my coupler set on the dark pink frosting bag and added the #4 tip.

This is a great way to make a Mother’s Day Cake personalized for mom!!

The post Mother’s Day Cake – Open Star Tip Cake appeared first on i am baker.

21 May 17:39

New Super-Secret Project Reveal: Bringing The Labyrinth's "Junk Lady" To Life

by Jen
I generally hate sharing process photos before a cosplay is finished, since I'm semi-convinced it jinxes my ability to ever finish the thing, BUT... I think the time has come.

So let me walk you through the life-consuming project John and I began about three weeks ago, on the very day we learned there was going to be a Labyrinth Ball during Dragon Con this year. (A moment of sadness, however: the Ball tickets went on sale a few hours ago, sold out in less than 2 minutes, and we didn't get one. S'ok, though; this has been way too fun to let that get us down.)

As with all our previous cosplays, John and I wanted to do a character that's never - or very rarely - been done before. We also wanted a challenge we could both work on, which meant both structural elements for John and more creative, free-form elements for me. Plus it had to be something really over the top.

I think you'll agree this lovely lady fits all those criteria:

So. Let's begin.

First, a quick PVC frame:

With mandatory "head" jokes GALORE. (Just look at that grin.)
John continued work on the junk pile while I took over for the head. It's a big a Styrofoam ball, so I covered it with masking tape before re-attaching it to John's ingenious neck pivot:

She won't be a puppet, but she WILL move. Hopefully enough to seriously startle some unsuspecting con-goers. ;)

Then I sketched in features:

It's Balloony from Phineas & Ferb!

Adding crumpled tissue paper and more tape to rough out the more prominent features:

The eyes are a ping-pong ball, cut in half. 

A coat of paper maché for strength:

Which we placed outside to dry and/or scare the neighbors:

 Now on to sculpting with paper clay, since weight is a concern:


My only sculpting tools are from a $2 plastic cake decorating kit: a small spatula and a few pointy sticks. I think I'm ready to spring for something nicer now.

I only covered the visible areas with clay: her face and a little of her neck.

Next, paint!

I base-coated her with a sickly pale flesh tone, then stippled on areas of pink and lime green. (All of my paints are the 89 cent acrylics from the craft store.) At this point she's looking pretty zombie-like, but we're not done yet! Next, aging:

 A watered-down wash of brown really brings those wrinkles to life.

At this point I'd been literally nose-to-nose with this lady for maybe a week, and wasn't particularly phased by her nightmarish visage.

Then I added the eyes.
» Read More
24 May 20:05

Our Labyrinth Junk Lady... IS ALIVE!

by Jen
After a panicky sprint toward the finish line, John and I have managed to get our Junk Lady about 95% done  - which is good enough for some pictures, right?

Let's start with a quick video of this "poultry in motion:' [snerk]

(See the chicken?)

Now some still shots:

(Taken with my phone, sorry for the not-great quality.)

I'm sure you've already spotted my most obvious Easter Egg on the back, right? ('ELLO!) Closeups of that to come, further down.

Now let's break down some of these prop components, because you NEED to see John's workmanship on this stuff.
» Read More
18 Apr 14:33

Dino Lamps Are Bright Bedside Beasts

by Sean Fallon

dino lamps

Dinosaurs roam the earth once more thanks to a controversial cloning method that involves blending dinosaur DNA with origami and a bag of Skittles. After a heavy blast of radiation, this is the surprising and unholy result.

Seriously though—colorful dinosaur lamps. I want them all. Then I’ll get a giant unicorn light, put them all together and see what happens.

Check out more pics below.




Dino Lamps ($42.49)

08 Apr 20:09

How to Make Crispy Hash Browns

by Beth M

I totally don’t utilize potatoes enough in my kitchen. They’re cheap and can be used about a bazillion different ways. So, when someone asked me for a tutorial on how to make crispy hash browns, I was on it! Besides, I like making an indulgent breakfast on the weekend to celebrate the time off and these crispy hash browns made the perfect base for what I like to call my “ultimate hash browns”. Scroll to the bottom of the post to check out what I topped my hash browns with that made them so ultimate. ;)

I’m sure everyone makes their hash browns differently, but there are three things that I have found to be key to making really great, golden brown hash browns:

  • Rinsing the starch off the potatoes
  • Drying the potatoes
  • Using an adequate amount of oil

Yes, that’s right, OIL. Hash browns are fried and there’s just no way around that, aside from not eating them. If you don’t use enough oil the potatoes will be dry and tend to go from white to burnt. Use enough oil and you’ll get crispy yet moist potatoes with a beautiful spectrum of golden brown color.

Also on that note, you’ll want to use an oil with a high smoke point, so something like canola, corn, peanut, or sunflower oil. Butter obviously gives amazing flavor to hash browns, but the butter solids tend to burn, so you’ll want to use clarified butter or ghee instead. I didn’t have patience to clarify any butter, so I just used canola oil. #lazybutt

I used my 10″ cast iron skillet because it offers non-stick protection while giving really even heat and a nice surface for crisping. While stainless steel is also great for crisping, starchy foods (like potatoes) tend to stick a lot more on stainless, so it can be tricky. If you’re not well practiced with keeping food from sticking on stainless steel, I’d suggest either cast iron or a non-stick skillet.

How to Make Crispy Hash Browns at home -

4.9 from 8 reviews
How to Make Crispy Hash Browns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $1.25
Cost Per Serving: $0.31
Serves: 4 (1 cup each)
  • 2 large russet potatoes (about 2 lbs.) $1.00
  • 4 Tbsp cooking oil, or as needed $0.20
  • Seasoning salt to taste $0.05
  1. Peel the potatoes, if desired. Use a large-holed cheese grater or food processor to shred the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a colander and rinse well, or until the water runs clear. Let the potatoes drain.
  2. Squeeze the potatoes of their excess water by pressing against the side of the colander or squeezing in your fist. Or, place the potatoes in a clean, lint-free dish towel, roll them up, then press to remove excess moisture.
  3. Heat a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a tablespoon of cooking oil. Tilt the skillet to spread the oil over the surface. Add about ⅓ of the shredded potatoes or enough to cover the surface of the skillet in a solid, yet thin layer (1/2 inch thick or so). Let the potatoes fry, without disturbing, until deeply golden brown on the bottom (3-5 minutes). Season lightly with seasoning salt.
  4. Flip the potatoes, and drizzle with additional oil if needed. Let the potatoes cook on the second side without disturbing until golden brown and crispy again. Season lightly on the second side.
  5. If needed, flip and cook one more time to achieve the ratio of brown to white that you like. Repeat the process until all of the potatoes are cooked. Serve hot.

How to Make Crispy Hash Browns at home -

How to Make Crispy Hash Browns:

Russet PotatoesStart with two russet potatoes, or about 2 lbs. You can either scrub them clean and leave the skin on, or peel them. 

Shred PotatoesUse a large-holed cheese grater or a food processor to shred the potatoes. I found that the potatoes shredded fairly easily with the cheese grater, so it wasn’t worth cleaning out the food processor.

Rinse PotatoesPlace the shredded potatoes in a colander and rinse them really, really, really well. The water running from the colander should be clear. Then, let them drain.

Dry PotatoesMaking sure the potatoes are as dry as possible is key to keeping them crispy. If they have too much water on them that water will turn to steam while they cook and basically steam the potatoes and make them soft. So, you can either let them drain a long time in the colander, squeeze them dry with your hands, or roll them up in a clean, lint-free towel and press them dry. I chose the towel method.

Potatoes in Hot SkilletHeat a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add about a tablespoon of oil. Spread the oil over the surface of the skillet, then add about 1/3 of the shredded potatoes, or enough to cover the bottom of the skillet in a solid but thin layer (only about 1/2 inch thick). You’re shooting for maximum surface contact here, so if they’re packed in there too thick, some won’t touch the skillet… and they’ll generate steam again and make everything mushy.

Seasoning SaltWhile the potatoes are cooking, sprinkle on a little seasoning salt. This is the kind I like because I live in Louisiana and we put it on EVERYTHING, but you can use whatever brand you like. I love the little bit of extra flavor and kick that seasoning salt adds to the crispy hash browns compared to just plain salt and pepper.

How to Make Crispy Hash Browns at home - BudgetBytes.comNow, the key here is to not touch them long enough for them to get really nice and brown and crispy. If you mess around with them, stirring or flipping too often, they won’t form a nice crust and the long strands will kind of break down. So, LEAVE THEM BE. :) Then, once they’re very golden, flip them. You might need to drizzle on a little more oil at this point to help the second side crisp up. Then, LET THE SECOND SIDE BE until it’s also golden and crispy. Now, depending on how many potatoes you have in the skillet, you may want to flip and cook one last time to get most of the potatoes crispy, but that’s up to you. Some people like a 50/50 ratio of crispy to soft, some people like almost all crispy.

How to Make Crispy Hash Browns at home - BudgetBytes.comOnce you get the ratio of crispy/soft that you like, it’s time to move on to the second batch. Remove the cooked crispy hash browns to a plate, then repeat the process a couple more times, or until you’ve cooked all the potatoes.

How to Make Crispy Hash Browns at home - BudgetBytes.comHash browns are great on their own and all, but why not make them ULTIMATE by adding lots of yummy toppings? I did a fried egg, some avocado slices, diced tomato, sliced jalapeño, green onion, and a dollop of sour cream. Waffle House ain’t got nuthin’ on my hash browns. 😎

How to Make Crispy Hash Browns at home -

The post How to Make Crispy Hash Browns appeared first on Budget Bytes.

07 Apr 15:38

Dogs Playing Games by Lili Chin

by Katherine Becker

Dogs Playing Games by Lili Chin

We’re big fans of artist Lili Chin, and we love checking in on what she’s up to. Recently Lili released a collection of drawings of dogs playing games — an adorable spinoff of the classic dogs playing poker — as part of the Cute Every Day Art Show. The series features drawings of American dogs playing Twister, Asian dogs playing Mahjong, German dogs playing Wurstschnappen, and French dogs playing Baccarat (a nod to her Dogs of the World project), and they’re available as limited edition prints here.




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© 2016 Dog Milk | Posted by Katherine in For Humans, Other | Permalink | No comments
02 Apr 13:38

Did Bill Watterson Have Something To Do With This New ‘Calvin And Hobbes’ Strip?

by Sean Fallon


Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed, creator of Bloom County, won April Fool’s Day when he “revealed” that he has taken over ownership of Calvin and Hobbes, noting that his Facebook page would host to the first brand-new strips since Bill Watterson’s retirement. Not only that, there were promises of “new merch”.

As you probably know, Watterson is legendary for his refusal to license Calvin and Hobbes despite the oodles of cash that would come with such a deal. Breathed, however, isn’t burdened by integrity. As you’ll see below, C&H fans will get what they want under his new management.

From Breathed’s Facebook page:


March 11 — A big day for C&H fans: Bill Watterson and myself in Tuscany signing the franchise over to my “administration.” Watterson’s in great shape — he’s out of the Arizona facility, continent and looking forward to some well-earned financial security. You rock, Bill. –bb

The new strip (click to enlarge):

ch 2016

So the big question here is did Watterson have something to do with this joke?

Seems unlikely, but let’s not forget that this wouldn’t be the first time the notoriously private Watterson has come out of retirement. He resurfaced very briefly to “secretly” contribute to Pearls Before Swine back in 2014. He was also involved in the Stripped documentary.

Odds are that this is just Breathed pulling a very brilliant and ballsy joke, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up for a return of C&H. If that’s the case, at least something genuinely amusing came out of April Fools’ Day besides phony ThinkGeek products.

(via Comic Book Resources)

22 Mar 10:00

Super Simple Barn Door Tutorial

by Sara
Super Simple Barn Door Tutorial

Today’s contributor is Sara from The Aqua House. All posts written by Sara for Make It and Love It can be found HERE

. . . . .

Hello Everyone! It’s Sara from The Aqua House and I’m so excited to share with you my super simple barn door! I don’t know about you, but I am loving the barn door trend! Its a fabulous way to add some function and visual interest to a room.

Super Simple Barn Door Tutorial | via Make It and Love It


When we did our bedroom makeover I just knew that I wanted to add a barn door into our bathroom/closet area. Although I love the chippy look, I didn’t really want my door to be that way.  I wanted the look of a barn door but with a smooth, finished appearance. With a little bit of research and several drawings, my husband and I came up with this idea for a simple barn door.

Super Simple Barn Door Tutorial | via Make It and Love It


Why simple?  Because it is made out of only TWO pieces of wood! Yep, two! And out of those two pieces of wood you only cut one of the pieces! Simple, quick and no butt joints on the front of your door so it looks elegant and finished.

Super Simple Barn Door Tutorial | via Make It and Love It

super simple barn door tutorial (7)

(Still loving my Darling, I Love You Sign!)


Super Simple Barn Door Tutorial | via Make It and Love It


Are you ready to make your own Simple Barn Door?

For this project you will need:

  • 1 sheet 3/4 inch cabinet grade plywood
  • 1 sheet 3/4 inch MDF
  • table saw
  • construction adhesive
  • caulk
  • paint and brush or sprayer
  • jig saw
  • router with straight bit
  • chalk line with blue chalk
  • tape measure
  • long pull handle
  • clamps
  • drill with drill bit
  • wood putty

*All measurements are for a 33 inch by 84 inch door.  You may need to adjust your measurements to fit your own space.*


To start out, you will cut the cabinet grade plywood and MDF sheets down to 33 inches wide by 84 inches tall on a table saw or have your local hardware store cut it for you.

super simple barn door tutorial (11)


Set the plywood piece aside. We will be using the MDF piece as the front of the door and this is the piece that will be cut.  Place the MDF piece either on saw horses or the ground and measure to the center of the width which is 16 1/2 inches.  Make a tic mark on the top and bottom of the door front and flip a chalk line so you have a line running down the center of your board.(Make sure to use blue chalk because it’s non permanent.) We will use this line to make sure everything lines up when we do our X.

barn door chalk outline center line


Now we are going to lay out the outer border of the door. On my door the bottom border is 6 inches (to match my trim height) and the other three sides are laid out to 4 inches thick. Measure in from the edge four inches and flip a chalk line on the top and sides. Measure up 6 inches from the bottom and flip a chalk line.

barn door chalk outline border


Next we will  make a giant X on the door by taking our chalk line going from one top corner down to the bottom corner on the opposite side of the door.  Measure from the inside of the square (border) you just made and flip your chalk line. The X should cross on the center line. This X will be our “Center X”, and is a guide to help us make the bigger “Outside X”.

barn door chalk outline X


We are now going to make the “Outside X” which will be the edges of X on your barn door.  To do this you measure 2 inches away in each direction from the “center X” and flip a chalk line. Make sure your lines intersect at the center line.

barn door chalk outline outside X


When you are finished your door front should look like this.

super simple barn door tutorial (12)


Using a drill and a 1 1/4 inch paddle bit, drill a hole near the edge of the “Outside X”.  This hole is to help you start the jig saw.

super simple barn door tutorial (14)


Carefully and slowly start cutting out the triangle shaped pieces between the border and “Outside X”.

super simple barn door tutorial (15)

super simple barn door tutorial (16)


Once the front of the door is cut out apply construction adhesive to one side of it.

super simple barn door tutorial (19)


Flip the door top over onto the cabinet grade plywood and make sure all edges line up. Clamp it into place using as many clamps as you can.

super simple barn door tutorial (21)

super simple barn door tutorial (23)


Let the door sit for 24 hours so the construction adhesive can dry. To smooth out the edges use a router with a  straight bit and use a straight board as a guide along all the inside edges. Clamp the guide board to your door so it doesn’t move.

super simple barn door tutorial (24)


Once your edges are straightened up, caulk along the joints between the door front and door back. Take the wood putty and putty in the seam between the door front and back on all four outside edges.

super simple barn door tutorial (25)


Paint your door.  I used a paint sprayer to get a smooth finish.

super simple barn door tutorial (28)


Determine where you want your door handle and drill holes to attach. I put my handle 2 inches in from the outside edge and the top of the handle is 4 foot from the bottom of the door.  My handle is 12 inches long and was from Lowe’s.

super simple barn door tutorial (32)

super simple barn door tutorial (1)


You will need to purchase a barn door hanging kit (I got mine from Home Depot) and follow the directions to hang your door.

super simple barn door tutorial (5)


Now step back and enjoy your beautiful new simple barn door!

super simple barn door tutorial (2)

super simple barn door tutorial (4)




. . . . .

Making little improvements and updates to your home doesn’t have to be difficult or break the bank. We love sharing our ideas for simple updates to your home that we just know you’ll love. Check out a few of our past favorites:

DIY Laundry Basket Organizer (…Built In)

DIY Laundry Basket Organizer (...Built In) | Make It and Love It

Home Improvement: Custom Couch (or Arm Chair) Legs

DIY Custom Couch (or Arm Chair) Legs --- Make It and Love It

Home Improvement: DIY Board and Batten


The post Super Simple Barn Door Tutorial appeared first on Make It and Love It.

19 Mar 14:58

chicken and waffles

by michelle lopez

Guys, when did chicken and waffles become a thing? I feel like I first heard about it in college when a former acquaintance was singing praise for Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles in LA.

So I've always thought about it as Just Another Millennial Thing, but then I looked it up (FYI — chicken and waffles has its own dedicated Wikipedia page; I love the internet!) and, as I'm sure all you Southerners know, it turns out that it's been a THING since freaking 1917!

Oops. I hope you don't think I'm too much of an idiot. My bad.

In any case, I'm glad chicken and waffles have been around for a while since it is actually one of the most unexpected-but-freaking-delicious combos out there. The only bummer is that because it's become culturally appropriated by millennials for some time, lines at all the good places can get crazy.

But there's no need to put yourself through those two hour waits for brunch. Because I've got a recipe for chicken and waffles over on West Elm's blog, where I'm sharing a new brunch recipe every Friday this month:
get the recipe »
19 Mar 13:45

Summery Death Star And R2-D2 Maxi Skirts

by Sean Fallon

star-wars-skirtsFrom Fashionably Geek: These comfy, summery Star Wars maxi skirts feature Death Star and R2-D2 prints. They’re sheer, so a slip is recommended.

Otherwise…it will be a moon.

Product Pages: Death Star Skirt / R2D2 Skirt: ($49.99)

19 Mar 14:45

The Perfect Jurassic Bathroom Accessory To Pair With That 3D Printed T-Rex Showerhead

by Sean Fallon

trex tp

Remember the 3D printed T-Rex showerhead? Well, now’s your chance to complete that Jurassic Park-themed bathroom makeover you’ve been working on.

Product Page ($23)

(via GOA)

22 Feb 16:17

Oreo Peanut Butter Pie Cups

by (Heather Baird)

Much as I love involved, intricate cake decorating and classical pastry with lots of elements (and you know I do), there are times when I just want a delicious sweet bite without a lot of work involved. I concoct desserts like this on the fly, usually about an hour before I cook dinner, with whatever ingredients I have on hand.

I've decided to start a new series on this blog called 'Five or Fewer'. These recipes will contain limited ingredients (five or less, of course) and they won't have you monitoring a candy thermometer or stressing over correctly tempering crème anglaise.

These peanut butter pie cups are my first in this series. They are rich and decadent and the Oreos provide a nice crunchy contrast to the smooth filling.
Continued, click to
26 Feb 15:26

Black Forest Cake

by (Heather Baird)

Friday is a good day for something chocolaty, wouldn't you agree?

This easy Black Forest Cake is my final post for Better Homes and Gardens' Month of Chocolate, and what a sweet month it has been! Here's a little recap in case you missed any of the previous posts.
Continued, click to
11 Mar 16:44

chocolate peanut butter tart

by deb

peanut butter chocolate tart, tagalongs-style

Definitely one of the best things about having a 6.5 year old is that he now has classmates that can bestow upon us The Annual Gift of the Thin Mint Cookies. If there were any other Girl Scout Cookies worth celebrating, I knew nothing about them until pickup earlier this week when I saw other parents scurrying off with boxes of curiosities like Samoas and Tagalongs and launched a full investigation. Seriously, why did nobody tell me about those crispy chewy rings of caramel, coconut and stripes of chocolate? Was there always a cookie with both peanut butter and chocolate in it or is this some millennium baby voodoo? Making up for time lost to Thin Mint blinders begins here and now.

... Read the rest of chocolate peanut butter tart on

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