Earlier this year, I fell in love with a cat tipi. But I wasn’t so in love with the price.
I am seriously considering spending $50 on a cat tipi. I know My cat literally won’t care. What’s wrong with me?— Elizabeth Giorgi (@lizgiorgi) August 16, 2014
And so I did what any crafty person would do, I started thinking about alternative ways to make it for considerably cheaper. I figured if I could make it for less than $30 it would be worth the effort. And surprisingly, the home garden department was the answer to my quest.
With the help of a few garden trellis parts, a yard of fabric and about 30 minutes, I made my kitty love a little house. Full disclosure: she loved it way more while it was just three pieces of wood leaning together and a piece of fabric thrown over it. But I have caught her in there a couple times since. These are cats we are talking about after all. She couldn’t possibly want me to actually see her enjoying anything.
The basic idea is this:
1. Go to your local garden store and look for a 2 foot to 3 foot long garden trellis. They often come in triangular shapes because it’s easier to attach plants in that configuration. Buy 3 of these. Then, tie them together using some leather cording in a triangle.
2. Wrap a large piece of fabric around your tipi and figure out where the opening will be. The opening is going to be on the flat side of one trellis. You will need to either cut out or saw out a triangular opening, depending on the toughness of your trellis.
3. Pin back the corners of the fabric so that the kitty can come and go as she pleases and pin the corners so the fabric doesn’t come off.
I suppose the most important step is to put a treat inside so she’ll be compelled to check it out. Or her favorite blanket… as Miss Alice would demand.
Thrift shopping is something of a family tradition. My mom always took us to the local thrift before taking us to the mall at the beginning of each school year - I hated it as a child but now I appreciate it so much. This long-time tradition has made me a pseudo expert on finding awesome stuff at the thrift store. Like, fun fact: did you know that Target donates all its un-purchased clearance to Goodwill?
However, as much as I like a deeply discounted Target find, it’s actually vintage books that I’ve become more recently obsessed with. Most Goodwills sell hardcovers for about $2.99 and most other thrift stores will go even lower than that. And while you may expect to find a million copies of Chicken Soup for some such soul (and indeed, you will likely find at least 100 per store) - you are also likely to find some serious gems if you know how to look.
Those three right there? A 1970s National Geographic book on planetary lifeforms (left), a book on the real lives of Gypsies from the 1980s (center) and a Random House picture book on Astronomy from the 1970s (right). Found all of them in ONE stop. Here’s how I did it:
1. Peel back those dust covers: Oftentimes dust covers are pretty elaborate and focused on trends, because it’s cheaper to print on paper than on the actual book binding. There can be some seriously brilliant stuff behind those covers. There was possibly the ugliest illustration of the sun I have ever seen on the cover of that Astronomy book. That got tossed in the trash heap and its amazing binding is now on display.
2. Look behind the neatly organized rows: The thing about a lot of thrift stores is that they are wickedly disorganized. Don’t fret - this is to your advantage. Books are a popular donation item because they are heavy and take up a lot of space, so what most thrift stores do is they create deep rows of books per shelf. Behind the first row there is usually another row or just a general heap of books. That’s your treasure zone.
3. Don’t be afraid of a stink: Unless you can SEE the damage, whether that be water or dust or dirt, don’t put something down because it has a bit of a smell. My foolproof way for getting rid of a strange smell in books? Putting dryer sheets between the covers and between every 40 to 50 pages. Close it up and leave it be for a few weeks and then remove the dryer sheets. So simple.
4. Make the reference section your friend: A common organizational method at thrift stores and used book stores is: fiction, non-fiction, reference. Why? Because Encyclopedias were a ridiculously common gift pre-internet and now every widow, divorcee and retired librarian is donating those hulking books. However, often times a lot of other great hardcover books that are about that same size get thrown into that mix. It’s because they either don’t seem to have a logical location OR they have a binding that looks suspiciously like a reference book.
5. The children’s book section is full of awesome: Ok, so this is a weird one, but it’s a fact I’ve found to be true over and over again. A lot of illustration books are thrown into the children’s section because: no words = for kids, I guess. At least that has been a consistent theme in my experience. Photo books usually don’t end up here, but if you like illustrated books or compilation books with lots of random artist’s illustrations - then you are likely to find them here.
Good luck finding your new book porn. Before I let you go shopping though, here’s a fact about these books: I actually do buy books I am interested in - not just because they have a rad cover - although it can be tempting. But I also see books as art, which is why I probably will never read every page of these books. Some people may find this wasteful. I think it’s smart. So find something you like, buy it, page through it and then find it a great spot in your home. It’s like any coffee table book - it’s for conversation and appreciation.
She’s Wolverine’s self-proclaimed number one fan; we’re her self-proclaimed number one fan. Lady Geek of the Week Andrea Fort is a 24-year-old comic book know-it-all with a special penchant for characters with retractable claws and blue and gold suits.
Fort is a regular contributor to Geekpr0n, an international go-to aggregate blog for nerdy news. Check out Fort’s posts and get your fill of Fan Expo Canada 2014 recaps (here’s one for the scrapbook: she met Arthur Darvill! Photo here.), Marvel film speculations, the latest comic book reviews, and more.
In the meantime, check out Fort’s interview with Being Geek Chic!
Q: How did you discover your passion?
A: I bought my first comic book at a lawn sale, it was called “What If Wolverine Was Lord Of The Vampires?” I fell in love! I read and re-read that book until it completely fell apart—the spine disintegrated and the pages fell away. I was 7 years-old. I read every comic I could get my hands on after that, but because I didn’t know anyone else who enjoyed comics, I didn’t know that anything other than superhero comics existed. Then I discovered Neil Gaiman and his Sandman series which showed me an entirely different side of comics from the books I had been reading. Neil Gaiman wove mythological and literary characters into a world where Morpheus, the god of dreams learns that even the gods do not have complete control over their fates. I was enamoured with the richness of the world Gaiman created. It ignited my passion.
Q: Proudest accomplishment?
A: I’m going to be very after-school-special and say that I’m generally proud of me; growing up it was difficult to stay true to myself. I am proud that I have learned how to fearlessly be myself. I am especially proud every time I get someone hooked on comics just by sharing my passion. There is an amazing feeling when someone reads a comic I recommend and then asks me to recommend another title. If I have to chose a single event to take pride in, I would say joining Geekpr0n. I am really proud to be part of such an amazing team of geeks and share my hard-earned pop culture knowledge.
Q: When did you discover you were “geeky”?
A: I think I always knew a was a nerd. Growing up I always liked different things from the other kids, and as a teenager I had a small clique of friends who accepted me but I was a bit of a loner. I became a proud geek when I started university and I became comfortable with myself.
Q: If you could take any fictional character for a drink, who would you choose and what would you drink?
A: That is such a tough question, I can’t chose one character! The obvious answer is a pint of beer with Wolverine, but I would also love to share some ale with Gandalf at the Green Dragon or even some mead with Morpheus. All three are such rich and complex characters, I
would love to sit down with any and all of them to find out what makes them tick.
Q: What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
A: I would tell my 13 year-old self to hang in there. Keep reading those comics, keep watching those movies, just keep on going. It’s going to be worth the trip.
Emma Bauer is a Being Geek Chic Contributor. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, dog lover, tea drinker, art appreciator, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic. Follow her on Twitter: @emmalynnbauer
I am a total wannabe foodie. But then I get in the kitchen and I get overwhelmed almost immediately. My grandmothers were both masterful in the kitchen. One was Italian and taught me everything there is to know about basil and noodles. The other was Scandinavian and had a real talent for meats, potatoes and breads. Yum, breads.
If I have one of their recipes in hand or in my mind, I’m set. But as soon as it gets beyond that, well, I start to feel OVER IT. And so I set out on a mission to make my kitchen conquests more geeky and therefore, more my speed. After all, if you make it high tech and dorky, it’s bound to be at least a little bit fun along the way.
1. Start with the Nerdy Recipes Archive on Being Geek Chic!
I don’t know if you know this, but Emma Carew Grovum, our resident food writer is a freaking genius. Like honestly, she makes food so much more approachable, because she tackles all my favorite things. Some of my personal favorite recipes she’s dreamed up for us: Veronica Mars Marshmallows, Death Star Popcorn Balls and Iron Man’s Arc Reactor Cookies.
2. Use a Giant Tablet for Referencing Recipes and Images
I’ve been using the AOC My Smart All in One Tablet to get access to all my favorite recipes on my family’s shared Google Drive, check out Emma’s awesome images on the blog and watch some really great cooking shows on YouTube so I can follow along with some of the funnest shows on the web. Not only does it feel super high tech, it makes my time in the kitchen feel like play time, which is both shocking and delightful. It’s also kind of shocking to me how affordable it was to add this tech to any kitchen. For under $400, you’ve got a touch screen tablet that can stream movies if you get bored, give you access to a ton of tutorials via YouTube and even let you Skype with your aunt so she can help you with the perfect onion slicing.
3. Subscribe to Bitchin’ Kitchen and other great YouTube cooking shows
I am perfectly willing to admit this: Bitchin’ Kitchen is silly as hell and I love it. Nadia G, the internet cooking show host turned Food Network host, is Italian so I feel a certain kindred spiritness with her food tendencies. Also, she is 100% who she is and I respect that. AND, she did the thing so many internet people dream of: she turned a web show into a television series. Gotta respect that. Other shows you might like to check out: Bon Appetempts is hilarious because it’s all about trying to make fancy foods and failing. And then hopefully succeeding through learning new stuff. Kitchen Vignettes from PBS Digital is just absolutely beautiful and aspirational. To put it simply: it’s food porn. It feels weird to call something PBS distributes porn, but people, it is. Blueberry Lime Cake. It’s on my list to try and make it. No promises it will look quite this beautiful. In fact, let’s just admit right now that it just won’t be that beautiful.
4. Holy geek kitchen gear. You win.
Spatulas don’t have to be boring. How about a spatula shaped like the Enterprise? Who says mixing bowls can’t be beakers? I refuse to subscribe to the idea that a Spock oven mitt is impractical. No, no my friends. It’s a winning solution to not burning your hands.
I may not be a master chef anytime soon, but by making my kitchen a bit more tech savvy and a lot more geeky, suddenly cooking feels like a game I can win.
Thursday seems like a perfect day for a giveaway. And while many of you are headed back to class, I always find that autumn is the perfect time to pick up a new book. Or how about 12 books in the case of this giveaway?
If you like emotional thrillers, than you are probably no stranger to Ellen Hopkins’ books. Since the release of her New York Times Bestseller Crank 10 years ago, Ellen Hopkins has continued to write powerful verse fiction that has been impacting readers for the last decade. And Rumble promises to be just as amazing.
Here’s what you’ll WIN:
A copy of Rumble PLUS the back-catalog of Ellen Hopkins books, including:
*The fine print: Giveaway only open to US readers. All prizing is provided by Simon & Schuster and Being Geek Chic. The total value of the prize is $75 plus shipping and handling. The giveaway also includes the cost of shipping to one address in the continental United States. Please follow the rules and be kind to one another.
When we think about ass kicking women in media, we don’t often consider the world of animation. And it’s easy to see why. Women in animation have been princesses and tea pots (well, one was…) for decades and never really the leader or the protagonist. But not right now. Now there are a host of incredible options.
1. Burka Avenger: this show is not in the US, but I hope it will be soon, because I’m so impressed by the message. Think Malala as a TV show for youngins’.
2. Bee And PuppyCat: This amazing series was recently successfully funded on Kickstarter for a bunch more episodes. And we are all the awesome recipients.
3. Gravity Falls: I love me some Kirsten Schaal. How can you not? Well, this kids show pairs her with her brother as they deal with growing up in a rather weird place with their creepy uncle. There is some potential for this to be weird, but I appreciate what The Mary Sue had to say about it.
4. Ametheyst: Princess of Gemworld: And here’s a blast from the past I just love and you can watch online… can you say ladies saving the prince?! Hell yeah, 80s comics!
What shows am I missing? Is there an animated web series or TV series with lady leads that you love? Clue me in, friends!