U-G-L-Y, You Don’t Have No Alibi!

As the days get short and the weather gets nippy, one article of normcore clothing slays all others and steals their power.

The Highlander.

The Ugly Christmas Sweater.

No longer relegated to grandmothers and elementary-schoolmarms, the sweater has been co-opted by hipsters. They openly mock the older generation’s veneration of this seasonal atrocity.

When the trend began, the sweater had to be thrifted. Fighting other desperate twentysomethings at Goodwill in December was a rite of passage. One needed a heinous example of the Genuine Article.

Now ugly Christmas items are generated by designers, on computers, and screen printed onto tees. Prefabricated ones in different themes are everywhere. You can get ugly Christmas sweaters with robots, dinosaurs, Birthday Jesus, or NFL teams. You can even get one that says “Shitter’s Full.” (It’s from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.)

I’ve spent the last week at work focusing my attention on crafting a Penn State themed one. I took tiny v’s and assembled them, v by v, into designs that looked like snowmen, reindeer, snowflakes, trees, etc. Here’s the resulting hideous baby. I rather love it.

I bought one for my grandmother, and she told me with watery eyes that it was beautiful.

Here are some more things Nana would cry over.


Reindeer earrings, $28; Christmas fascinator, $45; Wine bottle holder, $27; Cat shirt, $12-20; Leggings, $15; Holiday Nikes, $250-300ish; and my Penn State Holiday Crew, $20-24.

I think mostly she would cry over the price of the Nikes. They’ve been discontinued, but still.

As Flight of the Conchords pointed out, Why are we still paying so much for sneakers, when you got them made by little slave kids? What are your overheads?

Shopping at the Goodwill is definitely cheaper.

How To Press Flowers in the Microwave


This project is also known as “flower pressing for impatient assholes.”

It’s shockingly easy — disgustingly, embarrassingly easy — to press your own flowers in under 5 minutes.

Collect the following:

  • Flowers
  • 2 Flat-ish ceramic plates (smooth on bottom)
  • 2 Paper towels (or leftover throw-away napkins from a party)
  • 2 Firm papers (like a Trader Joe’s bag)
  • Something heavy to put on top (like a microwave-safe Pyrex bowl)


Take those things and make a sandwich, like this:

  • Plate
  • Napkin/paper towel
  • Paper
  • Flowers
  • Paper
  • Napkin/paper towel
  • Plate

Then lean your body weight onto the sandwich, smooshing it down. It might crunch a little. That’s satisfying. 

Put the sandwich in the microwave.

Put your additional weighted object on top to help keep everything smooshed flat in there.

Microwave for about a minute. 

Remove & peel everything back. (Watch your hands; sometimes it’s warm.)

Your flowers are ready! 

Ready flowers means…


(Please note: your flowers are very delicate now.)

I pressed some flowers onto a collaged painted background to make a wedding card for some friends. (left)

The leftovers (right) were scanned to make the top graphic. I’ve lovingly “laminated” them in packing tape for their own protection and will probably use them for something else later!

Unexpected scientific delights:

  • Your paper & paper towels will be weirdly soaked. There’s tons of water inside plants for them to keep their structure. Zapping it out is Bizarro Science.
  • Stuff that looks kind of 3D from the front will transform as you twist it around. (see image above)
  • Flowers that were laid on their side when pressed look different than the ones you put face-down with the petals splayed out. Both are pretty in their own way.
  • Some of the flowers will shrink or change color; others will stay about the same. Surprise!

Got leftovers?

Here are a few more craft ideas for pressed flowers:


1. Pressed petal tray. 2. Pressed flower iPhone case. 3. Pressed flower mobile. 4. Pressed flower manicure.

Have fun!

An Open Letter to FunKo

Dear FunKo,

I’ve recently discovered your designer toys of comic book, movie, TV, and Disney characters.

I adore them — but there’s a hole in my heart.


Dare I say… a white hole?

The type that the characters of Space Cases go through in Episode 1?


I’m going to go ahead and put this out there…


… I would pay a lot of money for Space Cases figurines.

A lot.

This could be a very lucrative opportunity.

Thanks for your consideration.

Leah / Super Starling!

The Adventures of the Little Black Rooster

My friends and I go to a bar every Wednesday to play trivia. Our team name is “The Pooty Tang Fun Club,” and we typically place, if not outright win.

The people who ran trivia used to give out prizes for first, second, and third place.

They stopped third place; so the guy who runs our session (Garrett) started buying things at the dollar store to give to the third place teams.

Including a small black rooster statue.

Insert inappropriate jokes here.


The small black rooster is now Garrett’s icon. He’s getting shirts made with them.

Above are the two leading contenders for the shirt design. Most people are leaning toward the shield on the right.