Friday, December 2, 2011

Only 22 shopping days until Christmas!

Internet Debris

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Homemade Christmas

Okay, before you start rolling your eyes, I agree most homemade Christmas gifts are lame or they take way too long to make. Am I really going to sit and knit pairs of fingerless gloves for 200 of my closest friends? I think not. Still there are a few things you can make with relative ease that definitely fall into the "I wouldn't mind getting this myself" category. Here are two of them...

Photo Bottles

great idea for displaying photos
Image via Kitschy Living
This is a tailor-made yet easy present for family members. Scan and print some vintage family photos and slip them into faux vintage bottles. Two or three bottles of varying sizes make a nice set and a truly thoughtful gift. 

Succulent Book Planters

I am a firm believer that it doesn't take deep pockets to come up with unusual, not to mention charming, gifts for Christmas. However, it does take some imagination. With that in mind, here is a step by step lesson in how to create homemade book planters. Guaranteed, whoever gets one as a gift will love it.
Now, I know some of you will screech "sacrilege" because this project calls for cutting a big hole in a book but hey, this is all about artistic expression. Think of it as recycling coupled with the design aesthetic of re-purposing and re-imagining  taking something and turning it into something else  beautiful but also unusual. Besides, there are a lot of schlock books out there in those second hand book stores. Take my word for it, most of them would be put to better use if they were turned into planters. The best part is there's an endless supply and it's really cheap gifting! – Nealbo

Okay, here is what you'll need...

1 old book that has nicely aged binding.
2-3 small succulent plants. Any more than that will make it all really heavy. Succulents can be found in florist shops and garden supply stores and they're inexpensive. But be wary of big "top-heavy" succulents since most books your are going to find will result in a relatively shallow pot. And stay away from all forms of miniature cactus  they flop over easily and they'll jab you. Trust me! "Wider and flatter" work infinitely better than "tall and prickly."
A little bit of potting soil
1 exacto knife
Parchment paper or plastic bag
White glue
Dry moss or ground cover.


1. The night before, rub a very thin layer of white glue against the loose paper binding, just enough to make some of the pages stick. It doesn't need to be precise. 
It just helps when starting to cut into the book that the pages stay in place.
2. Cutting the square in the book is the most time-consuming part. Decide how big a square you want to have for planting. I find that the smaller patches tend to look better. I like to leave some of the text of the book visible. Using your metal ruler you will measure out your square and cut through a few pages at a time, pull them out (you
will need to break the glued seal you made to get them out), and then do a few more pages, pull them out, and work your way down the book. You will need a hole that is at least 4 centimetres deep.
The hole does not need to be clean or pretty because the only page that will be visible is the top one, so don't worry if it tears badly or seems jagged. You won't be able to see any of it and its going to be filled with dirt. I also recommend you start with the page under the Title Page and save the Title Page for last. By the time the rest of the hole is made, you will have a better sense of how to make the cutout for the Title Page the most centred and clean. Remember this is the only page where the look of the cut out matters.

3. Line the hole with parchment paper or plastic. This prevents any water from damaging the rest of the book.
4. If your book is very, very deep, you can put a layer of gravel at the bottom of the hole. This will provide some drainage your succulents would appreciate. Succulents don't need much water and they prefer not having their roots sitting in moisture so the gravel provides a place for the water to drain into. But, in a regular-sized book, you won't have room for gravel but don't worry. Succulents will still live even without the drainage but they will be cranky. 
– No not really; they'll just be a little miffed.
5. Start with the main succulent and separate it from the soil its packed in. Place it in the hole where you like. Then repack the soil around it so it can stand on its own. For the larger plants, you will need to wedge them into the corners so they stand up until they start to grow on their own. You will need to pack the soil tightly around the roots to make them stand. A little water in the soil will also help.
6. Once you have the succulents where you want them, cover the soil in dry
moss. You can leave the soil exposed if you like, but I think it looks nicer with the moss because that will cover the hole in the book, and the moss will also help support the plants.

7. Cut the parchment paper just below the surface of the moss so that its adequately hidden. Seeing the parchment totally ruins the illusion. Blow off any loose dirt that's on the book. Relax. There will be dirt everywhere.
8. About once a week I spray a little bit of water into the roots with a squirt bottle. Like I said, succulents need very little water but they do need a lot of sunlight so if you are keeping them inside, make sure they are by a window or put them outside as much as possible. When you water them, try to avoid getting water on the Title Page. That's it!

Text & images sourced via Apartment Therapy

Just in time for Christmas!

Hairy Chest Tie Makes For Furry Formal Wear.

Here’s one Christmas tie we wouldn’t mind getting. This necktie from Opus has a hairy chest and stomach printed on it. So when you wear it around your neck with a dress shirt, the effect is quite fur-licious!
Now you can keep your hairy bear image going in the boardroom, at your next business meeting or during your next date night at the opera with the husbear.

If you're celebrating Chanukah, 

what are YOU eating?

Chanukah may not be the holiest of days on the Jewish calendar, but we don't think eating pork products is allowed. Still, Nancy Kay Shapiro found that Balducci's, a premium food retailer in New York City, is touting the deliciousness of various hams for the Festival of Lights. She writes that the gesture seems to be from the "the Monumental Cluelessness, Well-Meaning Division."

If it's Time for Chanukah, 

it's Time for Ham! 

Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm...!


Image via The Daily Fork

Nando’s withdraws Mugabe ad

                                by Tobias Manyuchi - Friday 02 December 2011
HARARE, Zimbabwe 
South Africa’s Nando’s fast food outlet on Thursday said it was withdrawing an advert mocking President Robert Mugabe as the last dictator standing following threats made against senior management at the chicken and chips seller’s Zimbabwe franchise.

"We've noted with concern the political reaction emanating out of Zimbabwe, including perceived threats against Nando's Zimbabwe's management, staff and customers," the company said in a statement Thursday.
The statement that did not give details of the threats against Nando’s Zimbabwe officials came two days after militant youths from Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party called for a boycott of the food outlet’s shops in retaliation for the advert.
Nando’s South Africa said discontinuing the commercial was the most prudent step to take under the circumstances.
"We feel strongly that this is the prudent step to take in a volatile climate and believe that no TV commercial is worth risking the safety of Nando's staff and customers," it said.
The advert that drew the ire of ZANU-PF youths shows the 87-year old Mugabe dining alone at a table where there are also seats reserved for former Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Idi Amin of Uganda and apartheid South Africa’s Pieter Botha.
Mugabe, who critics say has used violence and murder to crush opposition to his long rule, is also shown singing with the late founder of communist China, Mao Zedong.
Nando's Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of Innscor Africa, distanced itself from the commercial saying it was a subsidiary of Nando's International and operated as an autonomous entity.
It is an offence under Zimbabwe’s tough security laws to undermine or insult Mugabe, the only ruler Zimbabweans have ever known since the country’s independence from Britain 31 years ago.
A number of Zimbabweans have been arrested over the past few years for insulting Mugabe whom they blame for ruining what was once one of Africa’s success stories.  
Text via ZimOnline
Nando's is well known for its innovative and often politically tongue-in-cheek ads. This is not the first of their commercials to be withdrawn but it doesn't matter. People will continue to talk and laugh about this TV spot – and remember to stop by for some chicken. Better yet, it will live on in perpetuity on YouTube and elsewhere on THE NET. To the Nando's marketing department, I say: well done, boys.  Nealbo

This too, is long overdue...

Image via CESA
Julius Malema is just as fast on the road as he is to open his mouth – and he does not believe in paying his speeding fines. The president of the ANC Youth League, renowned for his hard-partying, love of fast cars and glib comments – has notched up thousands of rands in unpaid speeding fines in the Johannesburg metro alone.
Text & image via South Africa Pig

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Spooooky Reading...

It's not too early to think about Christmas gifting. 
Evil Little Stories: A Collection

What lies beneath...

Wooo Hooo! Beefcake!!

Only 20 more shopping days until Christmas! I'll have one of these, please.

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