dELiA*s, Pen Pals, and No Cell Phone: It’s the 1990s!

Yesterday I mailed a letter to Germany that had ink on it and embroidery inside. I also forgot my phone at home.

mail art pen pal calligraphy letter to germany

“No cell phone? And a pen pal? What is this — the 1990s?” a friend asked incredulously.

“I wish,” I replied wistfully.

That evening, I noticed a Delia*s tag on my friend’s jacket.

“I’ve had this for about 10 years,” she said.

I miss the Delia*s catalog.

So does Buzzfeed, as is evidenced by articles like 31 Things You Desperately Needed From The Delia*s Summer ‘96 Catalog and 19 Reasons Why You Miss Getting the Delia*s Catalog.

There’s still a dELiA*s site, but it sucks. Don’t go there. You’ll be depressed by the modern age.

Mother CLUCKER! : My Deli-Style Wall Menu

Check out this old-fashioned deli-style menu I drew!


This lovely list of grub lives at the Red Rooster On The Go, in Bellefonte, PA.


The main menu is on the side wall, and the sandwiches/appetizers are above the employees.


It’s a great place to visit. I recommend the pulled pork sandwich!

Life Advice from Donatello the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

I made Donatello for a friend’s baby (free crochet pattern here). I’ve always known I was giving him away… but I’m still heartbroken to say goodbye.

It’s okay: I know Donatello will be a great pal to young Alex. He has a lot of love and wisdom to give. (He is, after all, the smart Turtle.)

Life Advice From A Ninja Turtle

“Dear Alex,
Welcome to Earth. Here, you’ll discover cute red-headed reporters, sewers, and, best of all, pizza (once you’re done with the breast milk thing). Try to obey your senseis (parents). And remember, your aunt Leah & uncle Rick love you very much.

Save travels through the mail, buddy!

Our Zany Universe: Spider Derby Is A Thing That Exists

Duck and cover, because I’m about to drop a truth bomb.

“Spider Derby,” or spider fighting, is a “sport” that actually exists.


Depending on the spider species, two males or two females fight until:

  • one dies,
  • one falls off the leaf or stick they’re battling on,
  • or an obviously failing one is rescued by its handler.

When “off duty,” the spiders are kept in matchboxes.

Maybe you’re saying “that’s barbaric.”

It’s banned in some areas, but not because it’s mean. It’s because “[children] could spend so much time hunting and training spiders that lessons and homework are missed.” Oh, and because the practice encourages gambling. (In derbies, bets go up to $1k.)

Maybe you’re saying “this has to be happening internationally.”

Yes, it does. Mostly in Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines.

And also… jails in Florida.

Because… Florida.

“In 2002, a fight between three inmates over the theft of a pet spider resulted in life-threatening skull injuries to one inmate.”

Sounds like Florida to me. (To see Florida Man’s most impressive accomplishments of 2014, click here.)

As usual, I suggest you try nothing you see on this blog at home.

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!