post-GRE giveaway!

8 03 2010

i meant to post this a few days ago, but i think i’ve been so caught up in my own social life (after a 2-week period of having NO life) that i completely forgot about it.  anyway, WOO HOO again for me being done with this evil test!  in celebration, i wanted to do a quick giveaway.

there were four words that stumped me on my GRE: lugubrious, toothsome, disembarrass, and desultory.  i don’t want to ever forget the meanings of those words again!  the rules for this contest are simple:  in the comments, make up a sentence (or two) using those words in relation to bento.  be creative — there are no right or wrong sentences, as long as the actual meaning of the word is being used correctly.  only one entry per day, you can’t repeat your previous entries, and i’ll take entries through this sunday night, march 14, at 11:59PM EST.

now onto the prizes!  here’s what the prize package contains:

  • a highly-coveted MS4B!!  i know that hapa bento’s contests are always eagerly-anticipated, not only because they are fun and creative (and because her site is consistently fantastic), but because this box is so great and somewhat hard to find.  well, i finally found one, and i grabbed an extra so that debra wouldn’t have to bear the sole responsibility of distributing these amongst our bento community!  (by the way, yours will come in the packaging; i photographed mine to reduce the glare from the plastic wrapping.)
  • another highly-coveted item, one of the hand-crafted double cutters!  this one is in the shape of a pretty flower with a stem.
  • a package of cute animal mayo cups (the faces and arms fold over the top so the mayo stays put).
  • a package of cute animal soy sauce bottles.
  • a package of cute animal baran.
  • a box of regular green “grass” baran.
  • one of the “paper shapers” punches, in a pretty flower shape.
  • a package of yummy strawberry-flavored panda biscuits!  i used the chocolate variety in a recent panda bento and can attest to their deliciousness.
  • the always-useful and fun multi-pick package, containing rings, bones, umbrella handles, flower stems, and balloon strings.  i received my own set of these from a bento pal once and often daydream about neat ways of using them — they can be anything from christmas ornament “hooks,” to reindeer antlers, to cute tiger cub tails!  so now i’m giving away another set; they really are very handy and versatile.
  • ten colorful “veggie” fork-style food picks, and four colorful “clown” picks (i can’t find the exact same clowns online, but the ones i’m giving away look a lot like these).  these are not in the packaging because they are from my personal stash, but they have never been used, are from a clean and smoke-free home, and will be tucked safely in a fresh zip-loc bag.  if you aren’t comfortable receiving something that’s not professionally packaged, just let me know and i won’t include these — i just thought they were fun.

that’s it — this should be a nice assortment for a beginner bento-er, or it might include some of the things a veteran bento-maker has been searching out for her collection.  good luck to everyone, and i can’t wait to read your GRE vocabulary sentences!

oh, and if you like what you see here but don’t want to enter the contest, check out napa japan — i have really been enjoying their extensive japanese candy selection (as well as their currently-expanding bento accessories selection), and a lot of the items i’m giving away are from my last box from that site.

washi tape food picks

20 02 2010

way back when i first started bentoing, i took note of the extremely cute leaf-like and gingham flag picks used by gifted bentoist akinoichigo-san… they always looked so homey and bright and sometimes even vintage, really adding a special touch to her already-absurdly-amazing bento creations.  (by the way, i don’t read japanese, but i think akinoichigo-san recently posted about a book she has coming out… you better believe that will be going straight in my cart!!)

anyway, i think i assumed she was buying these picks from some super-secret, cool-japanese-ladies only bento supply store, or something… but then i started seeing american craft and design blogs going crazy over washi tape.  washi tape is a pretty fabulous product — it’s made of japanese paper that comes in tons of beautiful patterns and colors, and the “sticky” side is actually not too sticky, so that it will adhere to a surface but can also be easily removed (without ripping your paper or leaving tacky residue behind).  a hot trend in crafting now is using washi tape to edge bookshelves, to decorate big wooden letters for kids’ rooms, and to spice up collages.  if you want to take a look at some good suppliers, i recommend the etsy store pretty tape, as well as the online craft store tinted mint.

another use for washi tape, as it turns out, is for making fun food picks for bento!  it’s really easy to do:

  1. buy some plain old, grocery store wooden toothpicks.  rip approx. 2″-long sections of washi tape off rolls of your choosing.
  2. in the center of each section, place the end of a toothpick on the sticky side of the tape.  neatly stick both sides of the tape together (i find it easiest to work from the toothpick outwards to the end of the tape, and i use my fingernail to “seal” the tape closest to the barrel of the pick).
  3. using small scissors (i like these manicure scissors i grabbed at an H-mart a few months ago), cut the end of the tape “flag” in a design of your choosing (i have demonstrated a “pinking shears”-type effect, a traditional pennant, and a leaf shape).
  4. voila, you’re done!  stick ’em in something small and pop ’em in a bento!

UPDATE:  maki, of the always-informative-and-interesting websites just bento and just hungry, recently posted a comment noting that washi tape is not meant to be used on or around food (it may contain chemicals and artificial, non-edible dyes), and recommending that bentoists be careful not to allow the tape part of these home-made picks to touch the food when the bento box is closed (or when the contents get shaken up in a backpack or purse).  adults can probably manage this when including in their bento lunches, but to be safe, i would probably not use this kind of pick in a child’s lunch, as a child might be more likely to put the actual pick in his/her mouth!