Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'll show you mine if you show me yours...

Five of my favorite less-common household tools:

1. A comb-style manual binding machine

binding machine

I bought this ten years ago I had a large project for the school. The copy center wanted to charge blood and teeth to bind booklets. It paid for itself with that project, but I expected it to sit in the basement afterwards, unused, collecting guilt and dust.

Instead, it has become so useful that it sits in a place of honor in our laundry room, on its own pedestal. (Okay, it's a heavy duty rolling cart that has pedestal-like aspirations.)

I bind the text of speeches, for fumble-free public page turning. I bind calendars. I bind cut-up pocket folders with scrap paper in the middle, making impromptu notebooks. I bind pages landscape format to make children's journals. I bind the results of internet printing sprees. I bind booklets of activities for the kids, to take on long car rides. I bind piano practice journals.

Before I switched to my current system, I bound my own planner, printing 2-up for the data, using half-sheets of paper, often recycled from the scrap pile. Those years of $1 planners, alone were worth the price of the machine. (The planner used larger combs, which cost a bit more. I'm including the costs of printing the planner pages, too

Half inch diameter binding combs (holds about 25 pages) cost 6 cents each (in bulk).

2. EasyChopper

My sister took a knife skills class at CIA. I don't live in New York, I'm lazy busy, and I can't afford the acquisition of a developed knife appreciation. Instead, I took the easy way out. I bought and EasyChopper.

The EasyChopper is a manual tool made for the restaurant supply industry. It has a knife grid and a pusher-majig. Similar items are sold for retail suckers home use, but this is a heavy duty chopper, meant for daily abuse.

This is the greatest thing since sliced diced bread vegetables This device is great! I can dice a 10-lb bag into perfect 1/4 inch bits in 15 minutes, 12 of which are devoted to peeling the skins. Tiny multi-colored pepper cubes adorn the humblest of dishes; garnishing for the masses.

We cook for crowds and shop at warehouse stores. Before the EasyChopper, there were times I'd come home laden with vegetables and good intentions. Now, I really do chop everything and freeze.

I love this so much I've given two as gifts! Who knows? Maybe that restaurant supply company will start offering gift wrap.

3. The second bread machine

There are people who argue the necessity of one bread machine. Why do I have two?

I cook weekly, for lots of company, with deadlines.

4. A spaetzle maker

Here is my spaetzle recipe. This is a frugal and fast way to make homemade pasta without patchking much.

5. A grommet setter

I'm a grommet-setting fiend. (Did I really say that?) A picture of modified backpack. A tutorial on making a car console. pictures of our sukkah

Okay. I showed you mine. Your turn! What are some of your favorite-but-uncommon tools?

Note: This post is part of the Top 5 group writing project

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