Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Testers & Oddballs fundraiser follow-up for the Sparrow Club

You might know that we always hold our Testers & Oddballs sale/fundraiser at the beginning of every year. We put out all manner of sale goodies, including samples and testers we've collected over the months, and let everyone pay what they wish into an honor jar... and all of it goes to charity. We just finished up our 2010 sale, and this year's recipient, The Sparrow Club, is going to get $185, thanks to all our lovely clientele who ponied up and went home with some nifty stuff. On behalf of Sparrow Club, we thank all of you for being so generous! We'll deliver this in the next day or so... (and if you wrote a check to the Sparrow Club, keep in mind that it's just now going to be processed).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Random tools, sharp things, and stuff we love

I have strong attachments to certain tools and objects in our life (and get crabby when they are misplaced or lost in the miasma of our garage).

My pencil sharpener, for instance. Don't ever remove my pencil sharpener. In fact, don't even touch it if you know what's good for you. I love a good sharp pencil: my current favorite is the Mirado Black Warrior No. 2.5. The sharpener is a beautifully engineered steel cylinder style, made in Germany (by Kum). Not wussie-electric. This little puppy is supposed to retail for $60, and no one in their right mind would pay that much (it's worth that much, but where does it fall on most people's priority lists?). I luckily got a great deal on it, but it was still a splurge... that I use and appreciate every day!

We have two Macintoshes. Oh, I mean three. We have a laptop, very useful, but I'm just not that comfortable with it. We have a G5 that I use endlessly, and we have my sweet little baby purple iMac that is I don't know how many years old, but we still use it, and it is still a workhorse. Knock on wood, not ONE DAY in the computer hospital, all these years. I still have an older version of PageMaker on it that I use for certain stuff. Can't even upgrade the system, so we just keep it as is.

And maybe our best purchase this year: the Dyson "Animal" hand vac. Now, we've wasted money on hand vacs before. Those little weasely gray numbers with a meager air intake and about 30 seconds of battery power. They suck, but not in the way you'd wish. The Dyson rocks. We now own two: one at home and one for the shop. Don't know what we did pre-Animal. If you're plagued with dust bunnies and clumps of dog hair that just appear out of nowhere (right after you've vacuumed, usually), this one's for you.

And I love my paper cutter, a vintage guillotine-style chopper that gets a daily workout. It's the old-fashioned kind you might have seen in a classroom years ago, and it still works wonderfully. We had it in the shop for sale (for a long time). I forgot about it and went out and bought a new plastic version. Horrible! Dumb! Then I realized that we had that little gem sitting in a corner, took it home, got the blades sharpened, and voilĂ : a hard-working, sturdy paper cutter. I make all of our business cards, signage, tags, etc., so I really make good use of it, and will never sell it. That little gizmo behind it in the photo is an old bus ticket punch, also really well made.

You have to love a good pair of scissors. For fabrics and ribbon, I adore our Ginghers: they just feel great in your hand and make such a clean cut with that satisfying snip sound. If it looks like someone is about to cut paper with the good scissors, they get the stink eye.

Hmmm, didn't realize I was going with a theme of sharp steel, but might as well throw in a hurrah for our favorite kitchen tool: a Shun 8" chef's knife. The first time you slice into a tomato with that baby, you're hooked.

What odd implements are crucial to your life? This could be fun...