Monday, August 1, 2022

The Right Tool for the Fun

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: One of the things I learned after my dear husband passed away was the importance of The Right Tool. Ross, God bless him, wasn’t much of a home handyman, but he at least knew how to use ratchet wrenches and was tall enough to put things away in the top cupboards of the kitchen. 


I was introduced to the Right Tool concept by my cousin Ron Tucker (who does, yes, appear in my novels in case the  name rang a bell.) Ron came to stay for a few days and work his D-I-Y magic. At one point I was standing looking up at the high shelf where I kept tablecloths. “How the heck am I ever going to reach anything again?” I asked.


“You need the Right Tool,” Ron said, and went to the local hardware store and bought me a collapsible step stool, which, I swear, changed my life.


So I became a convert to the Right Tool for getting a job done, and have, in the past years, bought myself a variety of objects that made my life easier. (This spring? I got a spark plug thing-a-ma-bob and replaced my own lawnmower spark plug!) But it was just last week I discovered the same principle hold true for fun.


 

I was at one of our lovely Maine beaches with a couple of friends, one of whom made the rest of us goggle at her oh-so-handy screw-in beach umbrella. This is a two-piece affair, and the lower half screws right into the sand like a corkscrew going into the world’s biggest bottle of wine. (Hmm. Maybe Homer was on to something.) Then the top of the shaft fits in, clicks into place, and voila, an adjustable umbrella that even a stiff offshore wind can’t topple.


It made me think of other possible tools that would make having fun easier and more accessible. I don’t know if I have anything! I have a good writer friend who keeps one of those small Green Egg smokers within steps of her kitchen door, she she can grill any time (and it’s SO much simpler than our open Coleman grill. The same friend with the marvelous beach umbrella also has silicon molds that create large ice balls, perfect for cocktails and just so much fun!


So how about you, Reds? Do you have tools for fun? What would you suggest I keep an eye out for?

 

 

 


DEBORAH CROMBIE:  I have just the thing–this cool little battery operated fan. We bought a couple as emergency fans if we lose our power, but have found them great for all kinds of things. Perfect for a picnic, I should think.


 

RHYS BOWEN:  I am married to Mr. Gadget.  He’s not a handyman in any sense of the word but he can’t resist strange tools that will only be used once and then discarded. The sausage maker. The coffee roaster. The microwave bacon cooker (disaster), The strawberry huller. The boiled egg timer. If you need any kind of weird tool, ask me. I have them all. I’m trying to think of one that is super useful and my best shot is the two dollar bamboo tongs for taking toast out of toaster. Invaluable.

 


HALLIE EPHRON: My favorite gadget, though not so much for fun but because it’s SO useful, is my immersion blender. With that and a bullet blender for smoothies, I no longer needed my leaky old Waring blender and I rarely need my food processor. For old time’s sake I keep my grandmother’s meat grinder and my mother-in-law’s candy thermometer. 


My favorite for-fun tool is a cherry pitter which I have yet to use. I *love* fresh cherries and in my mind’s eye I am making a cherry tart. It just hasn’t happened yet.


What I’d like are some super duper easy folding lightweight sturdy beach chairs. That umbrella sounds great.

 


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: At the beginning of the pandemic, I got a milk frother, like a  tiny little immersion blender, battery powered. (Grace Koshida, did I get the idea from you?) I LOVE it! And I realized I can also use it for two egg whites, which is SO convenient. I also got a sealer for food storage, which sucks the air out and seals the food in plastic for freeing or sous vide. IT IS GREAT. And I pit strawberries with a plastic straw, which I know I have told you about, but which makes me so happy  every time.


JENN McKINLAY: I have a cherry pitter, Hallie, and I LOVE it! I am a firm

believer in the right tool for the right job, for sure. That being said, I can't think

of anything that is fun specific so I will take note of all of yours!

JULIA: What would you like to nominate for must-have recreation tools, dear readers? Fancy drink accessories? Kayaks? Something in between? Oh, and I checked several gear recommendation sites, and the consensus is that the Tommy Bahama Backpack beach chair is one of the best around. So if you're shopping for Hallie's birthday...



116 comments:

  1. Well, we have several of the already-mentioned handy-dandy kitchen tools, but the spinning whisk is a favorite around here. You simply push the handle down and the whisk spins around . . . it’s kind of like a blender in your hand . . . .

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    1. Joan, I definitely need this, because I have no patience for pulling out and assembling the hand blender, but I give myself a cramp every time I try to whisk whipped cream!

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    2. The grandbabies love using the spinnng whisk to help make scrambled eggs for breakfast . . . .

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  2. Being those rare creatures, native Floridians, we have a couple of the umbrella corkscrews. They do work really well. We have quite a collection of tools and gadgets which are mostly used by the 3 females of the family. My dad is not a handyman...at all. Surprising no one, my favorites are kitchen appliances, tools and gadgets. We have a clever little strawberry huller and a bigger one for tomatoes. Cloth "bowls" that you set a bowl or plate in to microwave it and then you don't burn your fingers. My Good Grips dishwashing brush that has a little stand that holds it upright and catches drips is a work of genius. Of course my Kitchenaid mixer is my most beloved tool of all and I have some great attachments for it. The shredder kit is fantastic for shredding carrots for cake.
    In our workshop, a rolling magnet "sweeper" with a long handle has proven invaluable.

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    1. Jennifer, Ross had a terrific Kitchenaid blender, and because he had been the one to do all the baking, I foolishly gave it away. Now, almost 5 years later, I am actually baking myself, and also kicking myself, cause I could use it now!

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  3. my gripper to reach items on a high shelf.

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    1. Dru, I have a telescoping hook and a gripper, and I love them both.

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  4. I am the handyman for our family. I have a garage wall that I fitted with discarded kitchen cabinets and pegboard to hold all my tools, accumulated slowly over the decades. I built myself a toolshed to hold the garden tools. From kits I built a small cabin, a 24x32' barn for my cattle and sheep, plus a garage and mudroom for our eventual house (by the time we'd saved for the house, I was out of gas and we hired someone to build it). One of the joys of my 40s and 50s (I'm now 63) was learning basic competence with tools. As I have little spatial awareness, it's all been an uphill fight! However, my father taught me when I was a child that anyone with brains and, above all, patience could learn to do most small household repairs. I've found that to be true. And it really helps to have the right tool. Nothing is going to get that plug of hair deep in the walls behind the shower except a plumber's snake.

    Probably my single favorite tool is my 18v Dewalt screw gun. Fifteen years ago I could swing a hammer to drive big 16d framing nails but now my knees are shot and my hands too arthritic.

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    1. My youngest daughter taught herself some carpentry, and she's made a couple of cool picnic tables that have wells for either flowers or ice for drinks. Her favorite took was the Kreg jig. Why should the guys have all the fun?

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    2. Very impressive, adkmilkmaid! I am stunned that you did all of that by yourself. Did you hire helpers for any of the bigger jobs? Do you have pictures? Very cool!!

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    3. Many years ago I bought myself a rotary saw on a Father's Day special. I designed and built a cedar chest for blankets and sweaters. Still use the box today! I love building things, but now I live with a builder, so he does most of it and I build stories, instead.

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    4. Edith, now Robbie Jordan is building for you! Such symmetry!

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    5. Milkmaid, can you come to my house and help me out :-)

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  5. Julia, what a fun post!
    Hallie, my cherry pitter pits 7 at a time. Olives too! Genius! I have made many delicious fresh cherry desserts with the aid of that device! My immersion blender is one of my favorite kitchen tools. No more pouring hot soup into a blender and then into a second pot. Easy peasy! I'll be writing down everyone's suggestions!

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    1. I also love my immersion blender.
      Judy, do you know if I could use a cherry pitter to pit my little blue plums ? I love plum’s jam but pitting them by hand is long and messy
      Danielle

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    2. Danielle, I just saw a pitter somewhere that could pit peaches, which might work for plums, too. Cherry pitters are pretty small, especially in the opening between the parts.

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    3. Would this work? It says it can be used for plums, too. https://www.oxo.com/oxo-good-grips-peach-pitter.html

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    4. But Danielle and Karen, those little plums are very small and I can use my pitter for big olives. So, some houseware stores might have several different types to choose from and Danielle can find a size that works for her.. pitting cherries is the pits! LOL

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    5. Thank you Karen and Judy for your suggestions. I’ve never thought before to use something to pit my plums. I’ll check what I could find in stores, I’m not sure enough to buy this on the Net.
      Danielle

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    6. Celia swears by her immersion blender, and I see that is a widespread sentiment. I actually asked for one for last Christmas; I'll have to move it to the top of my list this year.

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    7. Julia, I love mine and use it all the time. We've had it for years.

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    8. You might want to buy an Immersion blender now, if so there are several nice and reliable for under $40. Some people find they don’t like them, but if you do then you can put the nicer Immersion blender in your list. Personally, the appliance I bought on sale for $20, works for me.

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    9. Liz, Ocean County, NJAugust 2, 2022 at 6:32 PM

      Julia, I have an immersion blender made by Hamilton Beach that also has a whisk attachment so I purée my split pea soup and then whip cream for dessert by swapping the attachments. I think I paid $25 or $30 for it. I used to have a more expensive one that only blended and didn’t come apart so it was harder to wash.

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  6. What a fun topic! I also have one of those toast grabbers and use it frequently. Speaking of bamboo, several years ago I bought a dozen back scratches for $5. They are scattered around the house more than one in each room. Invaluable!

    In the kitchen I love my mini food processor. I think it holds two cups. I can whir up a batch of pesto, I can grind nuts, Even make a smoothie. So many uses. I also love my backpack beach chair. It's been a game changer.

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    1. I make hummus all the time in my mini food processor. And it does a great job on parsley for vinaigrette, or on cilantro and jalapeños for salsa.

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    2. I haven't thought about a mini food processor, Edith, and I think I could really use one. I hardly ever get out my big Cuisinart now it's just me and my lodger / honorary goddaughter at home. Maybe I could put the big one in the back of the pantry and replace it with a mini that I will actually use regularly.

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  7. I received some useful author swags over the years. The best gadgets I use are rubber jar openers from Daryl Wood Gerber (round) & Kellye Garrett (heart-shaped).

    HANK: Nope, it wasn't me who suggested the battery-powered milk frother. Using them to beat egg whites sounds like a great idea!

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    1. Rubber jar openers are the best, Grace! My grandmother Greuling always had several in her drawer; as I recall lots of them were promotional giveaways, like your author swag.

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    2. Yep, love those things. They have a special spot in the drawer.

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    3. My friend calls those jar openers "husbands" - which always makes me laugh!

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    4. Oh, okay! I thought it was you--and yes, it works!

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  8. Mini food processor. Yes, dressings and all kinds of sauces. Mine is really mini, about a cup or so but perfect. An excellent potato peeler, absolutely necessary. And we bought a beach umbrella with sides that drop down to afford wind protection and a bit of privacy. I saw them on the beach in Florida and thought, now that’s perfect, but we could never find them for sale. Then strangely, in Toronto, we found one in a little convenience/dollar store. We bought it with high hopes. When we opened it, it was under two feet high. In order to use it you would have to crawl in tummy first, flip over and then drag your beach chair after you, or something like that, so not such a fabulous beach buy after all. The dog likes it though although she sort of has to hunker down a bit to get in too. We’re still looking for a grown-up one. Joyce W. :-)

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    1. Joyce, that made me laugh out loud. It reminds me of the time we were staying at a friend's beach house and had forgotten chairs. I was thrilled to find a bunch at a dollar store and snatched up five. All of them broke within the course of that week!

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  9. My absolute favorite of all time new “tool” is my fifty buck Gourmia air fryer! I cook everything in it from asparagus to zucchini. Chicken and pork chops are amazing. French fries omg! Reheating that fish fry I picked up on the way home? Perfection. Burgers and hot dogs, so easy. Bacon? Crisp and no spattering Clean up is easiest ever, just a quick swish of soap and water. I haven’t had the oven on since I can’t remember.

    I even baked a cake in it last week.

    Gourmia should pay me to promote this!

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    1. I need to look for one of these! You baked a cake in it? Wowee kazowee! One question, can you warm taco shells in it? If you can, I'm getting one!!

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    2. Ann, there are several available. Could you post a link to the one you love? The price has increased, so it's hard to tell which model you have. Thank you!!

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    3. I think I would have to see an air fryer in action before committing to it. As you all know, I have an old house, which means a kitchen with a wood stove and a table, but not a whole lot of counter or cupboard space. So I'm reluctant to add any gadgets to my limited storage unless I know they are really going to be worth my while.

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    4. It is the Gourmia 4 quart digital air fryer, now $69.95 at Walmart. Footprint is about 10 in x 10 in, a little bigger than my toaster. Fits nicely in the corner. Almost no heat escapes when operating so I don’t have to move it out from under the cabinet when I use it. It does dehydrate but haven’t tried that yet.

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    5. It is super for warming taco shells!

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    6. Bless you. I think I NEED one!! Thanks, Ann!!

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    7. Ann, is it also a toaster oven? I use a toaster oven for toast rather than a toaster, and I don't have room for another appliance.

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    8. Debs, mine isn’t a toaster oven per se but does much of the same things. You might find a combo air fryer toaster oven for a bit more money. I got the one that was a Consumer Reports Best Buy. I do toast burger buns in it so I might try toasting bread

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  10. Felcro rose pruners and folding tree saw (which is so sharp it could be a lethal weapon). I could use something lighter than the monster collapsible soccer sidelines chairs we have. The backpack beach chair looks ideal.

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    1. I love my Felco pruners, and they are the small size for women's hands. Perfect.

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    2. I am writing this down, because I have been getting more into gardening, and I really need an upgrade from the rusty old tools that I found in the barn!

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  11. Julie and Hallie : Just FYI, my daughter has the Tommy Bahama beach chair and loves it. It's lightweight, can be carried on your back like a backpack (hands free!), and last forever.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that! Really, it looks great online, and is not very expensive. I remember when we upgraded to the lightweight folding camp chairs that came in their own stuff sacks with straps. Such a huge improvement in getting to where we were going, and then sitting comfortably.

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  12. Rhys, I suspect John and I would have a grand time comparing gadgets. Those toast tongs are brilliant, aren't they? I bought mine from the same place I bought the folding salad tongs, the Berea Arts Center in Kentucky. Both make great gifts.

    We are on our third microwave bacon cooker. I can't imagine why it was a disaster. They get lots of use here at this time of year, with all the fresh tomatoes ripening. A paper towel over top keeps the meat from spattering.

    Vacuum sealer for freezing. Indispensable for a gardener. Dehydrator. I'm hoping to dry a bunch of tomatoes again this year for "sundried" ones. I keep them in the freezer and rehydrate with boiling water for a tasty addition to pasta, along with pesto. One year I had a bounty of onions, so I dehydrated dozens (after finally learning to wear swim goggles while slicing them.) They keep in the freezer for ages, and thirty onions, dried, can almost fit into a quart-sized bag.

    Did someone mention ice balls? How about in the shape of skulls for Halloween? (The idea is cooler than the execution, by the way.)

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    1. I haven't used my dehydrator in a few years. Must dust it off this year!

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    2. I didn't see any skull shaped ones while researching them, Karen, but I did see one that had little spikes in it, like a floating bomb. Unfortunately, it also reminded me of a covid virus, so maybe not the cool thing to serve at your drinks party...

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  13. My sister has one of those bamboo toaster tongs, but I have never seen one in a store. Then I got rid of the toaster (it died, and as my parents had, too, I took their toaster oven. Much better.)

    And I love my immersion blender. And, Hallie, I have a full height chair that is very sturdy but very lightweight, and slips into its own tubular carrying case. It goes to parades as well as the beach, and, believe it or not, I got it at the grocery store for about $10 (this was before inflation). Of course, you look like you're carrying a rifle. But around here, everyone has at least one of these, and recognizes it for what it is.

    But my favorite tool is the electric drill and a set of drill bits. Hang a picture, hang a shelf, put hooks in the bathroom wall near the shower, drill a pilot hole before you put in a nail-- don't ask me how I designed and built a set of stacking cubes before I stole my father's electric drill (still with a splotch of coral paint on it from the fifties). When it gave up the ghost, I bought another from Sears. It still uses a cord. Someday I'll get a battery powered one so I won't be tethered. (You can even mix paint with it. Just insert a bent wire hanger into the socket where a drill bit should go)!

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    1. I absolutely need to get an electric drill. I am doing enough repairs, etc, that I've decided it's a necessity. Another one to put on my Christmas list!

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    2. Julia, do yourself a favor and get a battery drill. A modern 14v-18v is strong enough for almost anything (except drilling through steel or mixing mortar, for which I pull out a 60s electric one I inherited). My first battery drill/driver was an inexpensive 12v under $75 and that wasn't tough enough for my bigger projects -- it started to smoke under the strain of driving lags -- but might be for yours. You will LOVE not needing to deal with cords. Just don't leave the battery on the charger, as that kills them. The battery is the most expensive part of a drill/driver purchase.

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    3. I would definitely go for a battery operated - there aren't enough outlets in This Old House to begin with, and I don't want to go hunting for extension cords every time I want to put up a picture.

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  14. This is a fun one. Today is my birthday and I am celebrating with a major gadget. My first ever stand mixer with an ice cream attachment. Then I am going to make butter. And start looking for a cherry pitter

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    1. C D, happy birthday! My cherry pitter is from Williams Sonoma. It pits 7 at a time...oh remember the fairy tale "Seven in one Blow?"

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    2. DEAUN: Happy birthday! Enjoy your stand mixer. My Kitchen Aid stand mixer is great but thank goodness I don't have an ice cream attachment. Too much temptation, lol.

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    3. Happy Birthday C D, Danielle

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    4. Happy birthday! The mixer sounds like a perfect self-gift.

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    5. Happy birthday! I've made butter in a KitchenAid stand mixer, and it makes a huge mess. But there's a gadget for that! It's a silicone lid that slips over the top of the bowl. I hate to link to Amazon, but: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08G8T3D5V/ref=as_li_ss_tl?SubscriptionId=AKIAJO7E5OLQ67NVPFZA&ascsubtag=339438899-315-332284193.1659365290&tag=roucb_b_4-20

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    6. Judy: I had to google "Seven in one Blow." Almost embarrassing to say that I haven't read The Brothers Grimm. :) There was a Williams Sonoma retail store in Denver when I lived there. A very dangerous place to go on payday.

      Grace, Danielle and Edith: Thank you. I'm quite excited to get started but I have to clean the kitchen first so I can find a place to store the monster.

      Karen: Thanks for the warning. I watched a video that makes just this point before I bought the mixer, so I bought the cover with the machine. In the video, she still uses a towel to cover the opening in the cover!

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    7. Happy Birthday, CD! Once you get your cherry pitter, you can make homemade cherry ice cream. I'm drooling just thinking about it.

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    8. My KA mixer came with a lid like you are talking about, Karen, but I still manage to make a huge mess when doing things like adding flour as it is mixing. Very awkward because there is not enough room to sift as I add, which I like to do. Truly, I prefer my 30+-year-old Sunbeam but I don't have counter space for both. As a result, I seldom do any mixing.

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  15. I've found my tribe! Yes, the RIGHT TOOL for the job works wonders! If I have a task to do, the first thing I ask myself is, what tool(s) do I need? So, bathroom grout removal? Go online and find out what tools I need. Tiny wire brushes to clean the feeding tubes in my hummingbird feeders. Various sized ladders/stepladders. An assortment of wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers. (This tendency also made my field crews happy--they were each kitted out with a toolkit to do everything from measuring surveying units to excavating delicate objects (bone, pottery) from archaeological features).

    But my current favorite tool are the toast tongs--my dear sister-in-law had amassed several kitchens' worth of gadgets. My brother and nephew were prepping for a series of garage sales and invited family to come by and choose whatever they wanted in remembrance. Shelly gave me my very first toast tongs, and I was delighted to find a replacement. Every time I use them, I think of Shelly bustling around in her kitchen, feeding the hungry masses.

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    1. That's even better, Flora - a tool that also comes with fond memories!

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  16. PS: I didn't think I'd ever replace my little green Hermes war correspondent's typewriter, which is the size of a ream of paper, and went everywhere with me for years. And then my first laptop happened....

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    1. Ellen, I've seen some of those correspondents typewriters and have always coveted one. If I ever have enough space, I'm going to start collecting old typewriters. (Not, however, using them to write novels...)

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    2. Julia, a character in A KILLING OF INNOCENTS (Melody's father,) collects old typewriters. I had a lot of fun looking at them online, but the prices!! Ouch. I have a really old Underwood that a friend gave me when I was first published. I must weigh fifty pounds!

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    3. I actually do have one on a shelf in the library with some other mystery author-ish items. It's a portable Royal that must weigh 20 pounds - they made those things to last.

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  17. Absolutely yes, the right tool is essential. I don't have anything fun to add, but I'll contribute my remote light switch as my life-changing gadget. Plug the gizmo into the wall socket, plug your bedside (or any) light into that gizmo, and then operate the light with the remote switch. Oh boy, the joy I get EVERY night when I switch on, and then off, my bedside light without having to rutch and stretch and contort myself to reach the light's actual on/off button is immense. For less than $30, it's priceless.

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    1. https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/noma-wireless-remote-switch-0529205p.html

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    2. I have smart bulbs that Alexa controls Can’t imagine life without them’

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    3. Amanda, my lodger Samantha got one of those for her bedroom, which is in the extension and gets very cold in the winter. We've always used a portable electric heater in there, but of course, when you wake up, it's c-h-i-l-l-y! She got a remote and hey, presto, turns on the heat from bed in the morning. I can't believe I never thought of looking into something like that, but that's the advantage of hearing about other people's gadgets - it may stimulate you to think, "I could use that!"

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  18. The gadget I have most relied on for the past week as temperatures were near 100 each day (no AC here) was the tower fan that my son suggested I buy a couple of years back. It's tall, light weight, and very quiet. Definitely the best fan I have ever had.

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    1. Gillian, I am the queen of fans at my house. I don't have a tower one, but that's because I bought and gave away two to my kids.

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  19. Julia, your comment about the folding stepstool made me smile. While my house was being built I bought a pack of 2 stepstools, in different sizes. I would keep one upstairs, behind a door, and the other downstairs. The house was almost ready for me to move in, so I was in a lot doing this and that. I remember a point where the electrician was fiddling with something and couldn't quite reach. He asked if he could use my little ladder. I was so proud of myself that I owned it. Of course he had a real ladder of his own but that was downstairs and he was up. Since I am short, I really couldn't manage without them.

    Something I bought recently was a pack of hemostats, otherwise known to me a forceps. They are different sizes and much handier than tweezers for little jobs like getting the lint out from around the filter. When I take the filter out there is a lot of packed lint in tight little areas. The nozzle on my vac is too big to reach in there. When I take the power head of my vac off to clear out the pet hair and such, again there is a lot of packed fur and dust to pull out.

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    1. Judi, that is a tool I never would have considered, but as soon as you mentioned it, I could think of a half dozen uses. Putting hemostats on my list!

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    2. I have a 12 inch long pair of good tweezers in the kitchen and use them for so many things.

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  20. The problem with beach chairs like that one is that I need a hook lift to get me out of it. Well not really but almost. And that would be a bit large to qualify as a "fun tool" - want some of those hemostats

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    1. Try searching "camp chair." Coleman (among others) makes them. Full chair height. Shoulder strap. Weighs almost nothing. When in its tube, looks like it might be an AR-15.

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    2. Ellen's right, Hallie - you want a camp chair if you like to sit upright. We have several of those that are easy to tote and store in the trunk - and they come with cup rests in the arms, which is nice.

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  21. While cleaning the fridge at the new house this weekend, I found little cubes in the freezer. I can only assume they are reusable ice cubes. Now, the fridge makes ice, so it's not like I'm going to run out of ice cubes, but the upside of the frozen thingies is they don't melt so they don't add water and dilute the drink.

    Or that's my thought anyway.

    On our list of "things to buy for fun" is one of the newish Solo smokeless outdoor firepits. We love a fire in the summer evenings, but the smoke can really put the damper on things. But if this gadget really works...

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    1. Liz, my daughter bought me those ice cubes a couple of years ago. They are perfect for me because I don’t use ice cubes very often and when I needed some (for the visitors), the cubes in the freezer were too old and shrivelled, not good to use.
      Danielle

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    2. Liz, my friend with the Green Egg has some of those - we used them to cool white wine and they were perfect for the job. They come in fun colors and shapes, and make a nice summertime hostess gift.

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  22. Loving the stories, so when I look back I see my father who never saw a tool, garage, car or kitchen that he didn’t buy. However we are in Ghana, I am 16 and have been teaching myself to bake for my mothers coffee mornings; a popular happening for the wives of the University faculty. Electric Kitchen gadgets were in short supply as this was the ‘50’s, so my father decided to make me an electric whisk so that I could whip cream (tinned or canned). He attached the balloon whisk to his electric drill. Gave it to me, I upended it into the bowl of cream and he plugged it in. Thirty seconds of whisking joy then the two tools parted company and we had a kitchen covered in cream. That was the end of my electric whisk. - Celia

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    1. "Thirty seconds of whisking joy..." Celia, that's one reason everyone here loves your stories. LOL

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    2. I'm envisioning this and laughing, Celia. Your father sounds like the dad in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, who was always engineering crackpot inventions.

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    3. Hilarious story Celia... I can just picture it.

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  23. Coralee the tool lessAugust 1, 2022 at 9:48 AM

    I was all set to share about my cherry pitter, Hallie got here first. I love it, even though I only use it once a year. Going out on a limb, my favorite tool is my Kindle. You see, it is not just an e- reader. On Nome Street we use it as a communication device when I am not wearing my hearing aides. I use it in large groups too, when the meeting is being zoomed. Back to tools. my all time favorite is a pair of embroidery scissors that are top of the line. Made by Gingher, they have a beautiful balance, and have stayed razor sharp for over 12 years. They even came in a lovely tin. They call them 'knife edge sewing scissors'. I call them a lovely part of my hobby life.

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    1. Looking up those scissors right now, Coralee. Wow!

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    2. I have a pair of those, a gift from my mom, which she always called "snippy scissors." Never dull! Same with the sewing scissors she gave my sisters and me, and the haircutting scissors. Her quilt group did a bulk order one year! As long as I never use any of them on paper, they stay sharp.

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    3. Gingher makes the best scissors. I have a pair of their shears, now 25 years old, still so sharp that I am super careful with them.

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    4. Having good quality tools for your hobbies is a must. Back when I was doing lots of needlepoint (before my toddlers became mobile) I had a stand, a stretcher, difference sized hoops, etc. The right tool keeps your focus on the fun part, and not on getting frustrated.

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  24. DH bought one of those pineapple corers from Amazon. You cut off the top of the pineapple, screw it down into the fruit and when you lift it out you have a nice spiral of fresh pineapple. I thought it would be used once and forgotten, but no, it actually works quite well! Fresh pineapple tastes much nicer than canned, and if you buy the pineapples at Costco it's also cheaper. As a bonus, you can save the shell and make a tiki drink in it and feel like you're on vacation even when you're not.

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    1. Cathy, one of my daughters asked me if I wanted this since I love pineapple and I said no. Your description is making me reconsider!

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  25. chopsticks-I have one in a pencil holder, I put my key ring over it and don’t have a problem finding my
    keys. I also use one for pushing food through the sink disposal safely. Clips with a magnet can be attached to a cabinet hinge to hold several papers, recipe cards, etc

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    1. I keep a set of chopsticks in the pen cup on the kitchen island. Useful for all sorts of things.

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    2. I have a pack of wooden skewers I use for a million different issues, including as hair sticks to keep my bun in place!

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  26. So many gizmos and gadgets to make life better! Woo hoo!

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  27. Sorry I am late to the party today. I am still recovering from the sinus infection. So many gadgets. I LOVE my bamboo tongs for taking the toast out of the toaster. I am the gadget gal in my family. I took to computers like a duck to water. I have been thinking about buying a MIni sized Kitchen Aid. I love my Nurtri Blender which is light and small. My Mom received a beautiful blender that was too big and heavy. It was a challenge for her to use!

    Seriously thinking about buying an automatic grinder/coffeemaker. Still persuing Consumer Reports for the best kind to buy. Still waiting...

    Has anyone bought an automatic grinder/coffeemaker? I do not want Keuring cups or anything that will add to the landfill.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, I'm not a coffee person, but I've gotten good recommendations for kitchen tools from Taste of Home before. Here's their page for best coffeemaker with grinder:
      https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/best-coffeemaker-with-grinder/

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    2. Diana: We used to have an electric coffee grinder, but have switched to a hand grinder like this one. We love it. A nice morning ritual to grind the beans...
      https://www.amazon.ca/Collection-Stainless-Adjustable-Portable-Travelling/dp/B0778H4K4X/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=1N3JB1IGGLJ1&keywords=hand+coffee+grinder&qid=1659385990&sprefix=hand+coffee%2Caps%2C183&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExUEs3MVZNNjUzSFhDJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUExMDAzMDI0MVBQUkYxN09XQ1VSWSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMTU0NTgxMjI3TDlQMDRYSDlZQyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

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    3. JULIA: Thank you. As I get older, I notice that I prefer tea to coffee, though I like a good cup of Italian coffee once in a while.

      Diana

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  28. Julia, perfect use of an ellipse!

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  29. I just ordered an air fryer. Will give a full report next week. XXOOXXOO

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    1. We could do our own version of Consumer Reports, Judy!

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  30. When our daughter was a toddler we bought her a children's set of rakes, shovel, etc so she could "help". Years and years later we still use the snow shovel as a long handled dustpan.

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