Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Alison Hein.
I can’t stop leafing through Janet’s retro cookbooks that we used to plan the menu of her 1960s-themed birthday bash. Some recipes, like Red Tomato Mold, are not all that appealing. And others, namely Tutti-Frutti Tortoni, and Po Po, will make you laugh. But these little party animals are sure to grab your heart.
You only need a couple of hard-boiled eggs, a carrot, a few black olives and a handful of toothpicks. If you have some kids around to help you assemble these adorable little egg penguins, even better. If you need to make more, just throw a few extra eggs in the pot.
Then, use your cute egguins to dress up a party platter, add cheer to a plate of deviled eggs, or become the centerpiece of a breakfast tray for a heart-warming, retro breakfast in bed.
WARNING!: You may come away hungry as some find these little guys too cute to eat.
4 jumbo black olives
Place eggs in small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and cook for one minute or so. Turn off heat, and let eggs remain in hot water for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Immerse in cold water and carefully peel eggs. Allow to cool thoroughly before assembling.
When ready to assemble, cut a thin slice from the large end of each peeled egg, just enough so each egg can stand levelly. Peel carrot, and cut a long ¼-inch thick slice lengthwise. Cut 4 “feet,” each approximately ¾-inch wide in front and tapered to about ½-inch in the back. Use a paring knife to notch some “toes” in the front. Tuck feet under standing eggs. Whittle 2 thin “beaks” from remaining carrot and set aside.
Place an olive “head” on top of each egg and secure with a toothpick. Cut another olive into 4 slices and use as wings, and secure 2 to each penguin with a toothpick (cut toothpicks in half if necessary). Cut 2 lengthwise slivers of olive for each “necktie” and toothpick in place. Push “beaks” into “heads.”
Makes 2 Egguins
Recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Meals with a Foreign Flair, 1963
The Story of Growl by Judy Horacek
Growl is an adorable fuzzy grey monster. She lives in a massive castle on a huge tract of land, all by herself. But she’s happy. She growls all day long and on Sundays sings her growl song. The only problem is, she likes to sneak up on her neighbors and scare the pants off of them at tea-time. Well, naturally they are upset. But their Draconian response is to pull strings and get the police to outlaw growling on Growl’s property! The nerve! Needless to say, Growl is heartbroken. She spends all day and all night fretting, worrying, no knowing what to do with herself. But then, while she sits awake pining, she hears a sound from across the fence. Someone is breaking into the neighbors’ house! Without stopping to think, she lets out an enormous GROWL and frightens the robber away. The neighbors recognize that growling has its place, and Growl recognizes that there is a time and a place for growling. Maybe not while your neighbors are having tea.
This book is kind of cute and kind of disturbing. I’m a little put off by the suggestion that police could create laws to keep one neighbor from being annoying is troubling. Beyond that, Growl is adorable, and in the end that’s what matters, right?
Post by Mark T. Locker.
My kid has been carrying on about this movie for the last year. I have seen the two little shorts that came out after the feature film about a million times. They just released a new line of toys, gearing up for the release of the sequel, which is still a year out. But until the other day, I had never actually seen the movie.
To be honest, I rather enjoy the little shorts, one of which is about all the different kinds of dragons there are, the other about the legendary Boneknapper dragon. So I was kind of looking forward to watching the movie, even though technically it was supposed to be for my son. In the end, I had to keep telling him to be quiet so he wouldn’t give away the ending.
It’s really a great movie for kids/families. There is conflict and action without it being stressful or violent. The characters are interesting, the dialogue is good and the dragon Toothless is just adorable. Based on the kids’ book by Cressida Cowell, it tells the story of a group of Vikings whose way of dealing with dragons has always been through killing. But when young Viking Hiccup discovers how to get through to them and befriends a Night Fury he names toothless (supposedly the scariest dragons of all) he changes the way they view dragons forever. It’s surprisingly well-done and equally engaging for children and adults alike. Go watch it.
Post by Mark T. Locker
Okay, first thing I need to make abundantly clear: this is not the 1997 Nicolas Cage/John Travolta movie Face/Off. That little slash makes all the difference here.
No, what I’d like to discuss today is the Syfy Channel’s reality competition series, whose fifth season just launched. No, I am not normally one to go for the reality show format, with confessional cameras and everyone living in a big house together. But I love this show. The premise is this: a bunch of amateur special-effects geeks come to California to show off their makeup and prosthetics and latex caking prowess. Each week they are given a theme, such as alien werewolf or demon king of a particular geographic region. They have three days to go from concept to execution. The final day includes models who will wear these crazy rubber getups. They are then judged, fairly but sometimes harshly, by a panel of judges who take themselves WAY too seriously, especially given they are analyzing alien werewolves (I’m looking at you, Glenn Hetrick!). As you can guess, contestants are eliminated one at a time until a big theatrical finale.
Now here’s what I like about the show: these people are, by and large, really nice. There is no manipulation, no back-stabbing. They’ll even rush over and help each other out when they are struggling! It’s just so sweet. The first four seasons are available here and there online; we actually bought season 4 because it was a bargain. I recommend you watch it tonight and dream of mutant giants.
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
A French term that loosely translates as “Chinese-esque,” chinoiserie (pronounced: shen’wäz-re’) describes a European style of art and design dating back to the seventeenth century when early traders first started brining art, fabrics, and silks back from Asia.
Characterized by its use of fanciful imagery of China, asymmetrical balance, whimsical contrast, Chinese porcelain and lacquer like materials, chinoiserie has long been a popular style of interior design — particularly amongst the Chinese, French, and English aristocracy. Notably, Louis XV of France favored chinoiserie design, and decorated entire rooms at the Château de Chantilly in the chinoiserie style. Other prominent people who have incorporated chinoiserie in their homes include: Tory Burch, Ann Getty, Pauline de Rothschild, and Yves Saint Laurent.
If you want a bedroom that is colorful, vibrant and exotic, chinoiserie may be a style to consider. When done right, it exudes a sense of sophistication, worldliness, and high-class that you simply cannot get from any other style. Chinoiserie design also provides ample opportunity for collectors to incorporate antique and vintage pieces into their décor. While authentic chinoiserie pieces can be quite expensive, reproductions offer the same look at a fraction of the cost.
Some common elements of chinoiserie design include:
- Vibrant silk wall coverings patterned with flowers, birds, bamboo, or butterflies.
- Colorful Chinese statues of exotic animals, pagodas, and historical figures;
- Glossy table lamps, vases, and plates painted with scenes of Chinese life;
- Lacquered furniture with classic chinoiserie curves; and
- Decorative throw pillows.
Many of the elements that make chinoiserie so great for some, also makes it unsuitable for others. It is often said that you either love the style or hate it, but I think there is a middle ground that can be achieved. So, don’t discount chinoiserie entirely if the bold colors and whimsical imagery are too energetic for your bedroom; you can still incorporate elements of chinoiserie design without losing too much of the tranquility you’ve come to expect from a bedroom.
For example, instead of covering your entire room with fanciful wall coverings, you could frame smaller pieces of silk wallpaper and use it as paneling to create an accent wall behind your bed. You can also incorporate a couple carefully selected chinoiserie lamps, ceiling fixtures, and small decorative statues and vases. While the most easily recognizable chinoiserie lacquered furnishings are painted with fanciful scenes, a simple curved black or brown glossy piece can be a more subtle way to make your space a little more chinoiserie. You may also opt for more muted color palette using colors like dark teal, and flat gold, instead of vibrant pink, gold, and silver colors.
If you’d like to learn more about chinoiserie design, be sure to check out the Chinoiserie Chic blog. For more inspiration, Houzz also has a channel with striking examples of how people have created fabulous chinoiserie bedrooms.