Thursday, March 31, 2011

This 'n That Thursdays: Delightfully Different Decapod Décor

For those who prefer the offbeat and unusual when it comes to interior design, a decapod theme provides infinite possibilities.  I found these crab lights to be very inspirational -- if IKEA could ever be persuaded to give them up, I would promise to give them a good home:

These crab tables (Nicolin & Gublin - no longer available) also got my creative juices flowing:

Based on these fun objects, I came up with two decapod-themed design boards, one subtle and one bold. 

I see the subtle design as being perfect for an open, modern home on the West Coast, 

Clockwise from top left: Nicolin & Gublin crab table; ModernEuroDesign; IKEA crab lights; Strictly Design Lobster Chair; Etsy Coral Set - no longer available; crab lino cut lobster; Fine Art AmericaThe Wall Art StoreCafe PressMomentoitalia; Nicolin & Gublin crab coffee table; Center: Etsy White Coral Pillow CoverDomestic Modern

while the bold decor might suit a New England beach cottage:

Clockwise from left: Beach Decor; IKEA crab lights; Jonathan AdlerBarbara Gails LampsCouture LabBruehltornpaperpaintings.comFish and Ships Coastal Art prawn, lobster, and crabPosh Living crab and lobster pillows; Center:; Nicolin & Gublin crab tables

I can't decided which design I prefer -- I love them both!  If you want to liven up your décor, why not invite a few decapod crustaceans into your home?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wish List Wednesdays: Crazy for Crustaceans

Since my husband is an aquatic ecologist who studies crustaceans, we often find ourselves collecting items featuring shrimp, crabs, lobsters, or crayfish.  Believe it or not, they are not hard to find!  Just take a look at these home goods.  Up first is the Block Island Crab Sheet Set from Tommy Hilfiger:

These colorful blue crabs on a red background would be a fun addition to any bedroom!

In the bathroom, this lobster shower curtain and toilet paper holder would bring the crustacean theme to life:

For the living room, this 5' x 7'  Spiny Lobster Rug would be ideal:

I think that some of these Blue Crab Hooked Pillows and Turquoise She Crab Lamps would complement the rug nicely:

Had enough yet?  If not, here are a few items for your outdoor décor (the teak crab furniture is from Two Palms Casual):

Crabbie Sandbox

Crab table
Crab chair (back)
Crab chair (front)

I'm sure you must have seen enough by now, and I haven't even begun to list all of the crustacean-themed goods available for the kitchen -- that will have to wait for another day.  Suffice it to say that, if you are a crustacean lover, you will be pleased to know that your options are plentiful!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Terrifying Tuesdays: Them! (1954)

"Them!" (1954) is a science fiction classic, and the first and best example of what I call "giant bug movies", films from the 1950s about the adverse effects of nuclear fallout on formerly harmless invertebrates.  Atomic tests in New Mexico cause desert ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters who threaten the safety of the world.  Mysterious disappearances and a young girl found wandering in shock by local police sergeant Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) and his partner lead to the discovery of these terrifying beasts.  With help from the army, FBI agent Robert Graham (James Arness) and two scientists, Dr. Harold Medford (Edmund Gwenn) and his daughter Dr. Patricia Medford (Joan Weldon), the ants' nest is found and destroyed.  However, the discovery is too late to prevent the escape of two young queen ants, who fly off to establish new colonies.  These queens are eventually tracked down and killed, but not before one of them wreaks havoc in the storm drain system of Los Angeles. The movie ends with a grim warning from the senior Dr. Medford, who states, "When man entered the atomic age, he opened the door to a new world.  What we may eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict."  There are a couple of death scenes in this movie, which earns it a "1" on my Gore Guide, but these scenes, while sad, are not at all gory.  This film is highly recommended, especially to those with an interest in science fiction.

Interesting Fact: The distinctive sound that the giant ants make is a recorded chorus of bird-voiced treefrogs (Hyla avivoca) and the occasional grey treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), both native to the southeastern United States.

Gore Guide (0=none to 5=extreme): 1

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mystery Mondays: Krista Davis' Domestic Diva Mystery Series

In Krista Davis' Domestic Diva mystery series, Sophie Winston and Natasha Smith have been rivals since they were children, and nothing has changed now that they are adults.  Natasha is the ambitious one who has become famous as the Domestic Diva with her own local television show, but she still feels the need to compete with Sophie.  She is even married to Sophie's ex-husband, and when she finds out that she cannot have Sophie's historic house in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, she purchases another one in the immediate neighborhood.  In spite of Natasha's presence, Sophie is content with her life as an event planner who writes a column for the local paper -- until murder decides to rear its ugly head.  The two are competing in a local Thanksgiving stuffing competition when Sophie finds a body in a dumpster at the local food market -- and the corpse is carrying her name and picture.  The bodies begin to pile up, and Sophie decides it is up to her to find the real killer if she does not want to be arrested as the murderer herself!  Her sleuthing continues in the next three books of the series, as does her romance with the local police detective.  I really like the entertaining tips that the author provides, alternating with suggestions from Sophie and Natasha.  These tips highlight the style differences between the two, with Natasha preferring elegant and intricate projects while Sophie takes a simpler and more down-to-earth approach.  There are also some delicious recipes in the books.  Sophie is a likable heroine and the series has a humorous undertone, which makes these books a delight to read.  A fifth novel is in the works for September, so get started on the first four now!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Holiday Hits: Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day

Today is Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day -- yeehaw!  There are a number of them out there, but here is one of my childhood favorites:

And here are the lyrics for those who are interested:

May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose (Little Jimmy Dickens)

One fine day as I was a-walkin' down the street,
Spied a beggar man with rags upon his feet.
Took a penny from my pocket,
In his tin cup I did drop it.
I heard him say as I made my retreat,

"May the bird of paradise fly up your nose.
May an elephant caress you with his toes.
May your wife be plagued with runners in her hose.
May the bird of paradise fly up your nose!"

The laundry man is really on his toes.
Found a hundred-dollar bill among my clothes.
When he called me I came a-runnin',
Gave him back his dime for phonin'.
I heard him sayin' as I turned to go,


I was way behind one day to catch the train.
Taxi driver said "We'll make it just the same."
The speed cop made it with us
And as he wrote out the ticket,
I stood politely by a-waitin' for my change.


Now just try getting that song out of your head today!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weekend Wonders: Lobster Couture, Part 2

By dalmatianlover

I'll bet you were hoping that we were done with wearable lobster design.  No such luck -- not when there are so many options available out there!

From outerwear (top left: lobster merino wool cardigan; top right: lobster merino wool sweater; bottom left: fullback lobster sweater; bottom right: Primp lobster hoodie - no longer available),

to underwear (top left: Primp lobster thermal crew - no longer available; top right: Primp lobster thermal leggings - no longer available; bottom left: Jolene's Originals lobster boxers; bottom right: Sprout Commerce lobster boxers),

and from beachwear (top left: Letarte lobster print bikini; top right: OndadeMar reef lobster halter bikini; bottom left: Castaway Nobadeer lobster swim trunks; bottom right: J. Crew lobster board shorts - no longer available),

to headgear (left; knit lobster hat; right: Rorschach lobster baseball cap),

lobsterwear can liven up your wardrobe in so many ways!

And if you want to enhance your ensemble with some lobster bling, check out these items (top left: red enamel and rhinestone lobster pin; top right: J. Crew lobster enamel bracelet - no longer available; middle left: Betsey Johnson Under the Sea lobster necklace; middle right: Sheppard Hill Designs lobster ring; bottom left: Seawear lobster cufflinks; bottom right: 14K gold fishermans lobster claw tie bar):

So don your lobster garb, pick up your lobster phone,

By Nicky Castle

call your lobster-fanatic friends,

Lobster people by tacogirl

hop into the lobster-mobile,

From Tension Not

and head for the nearest lobster hot spot for a crustaceous good time!

The Lobster Pot Bistro

Who knows -- you may even get a glimpse of celebrities who share your decapod obsession!

Lady Gaga
Alton Brown

Friday, March 25, 2011

Holiday Hits: National Lobster Newburg Day

Today is National Lobster Newburg Day, which is quite fitting for my week of lobster posts!  I have only cooked live lobster a couple of times in my life, and spiny lobster only once.  When I lived in the Caribbean, I became good friends with my nearest neighbor, a wonderful old local man whose family had lived on the island for generations.  I would occasionally prepare soup or baked goods for him, and even made him his favorite pineapple upside-down cake for his birthday.  Many of the local fishermen were good friends of his, and once he gave me a spiny lobster they had caught as a gift.  Those critters are huge!  It took me a while to figure out how to cook it, but once I did, Lobster Newburg was the dish I made -- here is the easy recipe I used from an old Pillsbury cookbook of mine:

Lobster Newburg

1/4 C. butter
1 1/2 T. flour
1 lb. (2 C.) cooked lobster meat, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
dash paprika
1/4 C. dry sherry or white wine
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/2 C. light cream

Melt butter in a medium pan or double boiler.  Stir in flour and let cook one minute.  Add the next four ingredients.  In a small bowl, combine egg yolks and cream.  Gradually add to lobster mixture and blend well.  Cook over very low heat or hot water until thickened, stirring frequently.  Serve with toasted bread or patty shells.  Serves 4.

Foodie Fridays: Cream Biscuits

By food network

Cream Biscuits are the cheater's method for making biscuits.  There is no butter to cut or rub in -- the fat needed comes from the heavy cream.  As long as you remember not to over-mix or over-knead, these biscuits will come out light and airy every time.  They are quick to make and would be delicious with the Lobster Stew recipe from this week's Mystery Monday post.

Cream Biscuits

2 C. flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 T. baking powder
1 cup heavy cream (approximate)

Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Gradually add enough cream to form a soft dough.  Knead lightly on a floured surface (handle gently to retain air pockets in dough needed for biscuits to rise).  Roll out 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick.  Cut into 2-inch rounds.  Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving a 1/2-inch space between each round.  Bake at 425 degrees 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Makes 8 biscuits.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This 'n That Thursdays: Lobster Couture

For some reason the lobster seems to be very popular when it comes to clothing design.  Women's dresses with a lobster theme keep making an appearance, from the world of haute couture (from left: Elsa Schiaparelli/Salvador Dali; Les Heal; B Rude; The Rodnik Band):

to the everyday casual (top left: Betsey Johnson; top right: lobster-print dress from J. Crewbottom left: Vested Gentress Lobster and Anchor Dressbottom right: Salty Seas dress from Anthropologie):

While women's fashions tend to be quite ephemeral (most of these dresses are no longer available), fashions for men tend to be more enduring, and lobsters show up on everything from pants (from left: Bermuda Styles; Castaway Clothing Corduroy Pants; Castaway Clothing Harbor Pants:

to shirts (top left: Apparel Pizzazz; top right: Kahala; bottom left: Pagong lobster aloha shirt; bottom right: seersucker lobster sport shirt from Brooks Brothers):

My favorite lobster clothing items are the David Szeto women's silk top and Alynn Bowties lobster tie:

Is it crazy to love a crustacean so much that one is willing to wear it?  Maybe so, but what fun it is!