Non-Consumer Photo Essay — Linus Pauling, Softened Butter & A Sphinx Named “Herb”

by Katy on January 30, 2014 · 14 comments

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Photo Essay, because my Instagram account is chock full of non-consumer-y goodness.

Yesterday was a beautiful day to run errands on foot.

Sunny day

I walk past this Alpha Helix sculpture almost every day. It’s in front the house where chemist and peace activist Linus Pauling grew up.

Linus Pauling

A Non-Consumer Advocate reader recently recommended cutting S.O.S. pads in half. After all, you get twice as much of a product when you use half as much! Plus, it sharpens your scissors to cut through steel wool. (Don’t forget to put the pad into the freezer between uses to ward off rust.)

s.o.s. pads

I picked up this 1956 copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book at the Goodwill Outlet for a buck. It’s Mad Men-tastic, and very on trend for 2014.

1956 Decorating Book

Because some things never go out of style.

Eames Lounger

I fell in love with these gorgeous antique sewing machine drawers, although not enough to cough up $40 for the whole machine and weathered console. These would be so cute used as storage!

sewing machine drawer

I loved the gilded graphic of a sphinx on the machine itself. So pretty. Even though the face of the sphinx looks like some guy who would be named “Herb” or “Norman” or “Steve.”

What would you name the sphinx?


I was all out of my homemade spreadable butter. Unfortunately, my house is too cold to soften butter, but this trick works perfectly. Place the butter in a bowl, which is then in another larger bowl filled with hot water. Place a plate on the butter bowl, (which I then weigh down with my Pyrex measuring cup.)

Ten minutes or so and you have perfectly softened butter.

warming butter

The spreadable butter itself is simply two sticks of butter, 1/2 cup of cooking oil (I used half canola and half olive oil as that’s what I had) and 1/4 cup of water. Mix thoroughly and then scrape into a lidded container. It will be goopy, but it will firm up perfectly in your refrigerator.

Tip: mix slowly at first to minimize splashing.

spreadable butter

There are always extra sesame seeds at the bottom of the bagel bags which we buy for school lunches. I save the seeds in a jar to sprinkle on homemade bread. And yes, that’s a small artichoke heart jar, which is the perfect size for bulk spices and other small needs. I’ll spray paint the lid black next time I’m doing a project.

Sesame seeds

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

JaneUlness January 30, 2014 at 11:36 am

Katy, you might want to check the prices of sewing machine drawers in your area. We sell them for big bucks when we can find them.


Katy January 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

I just did a completed listings search on eBay. It’s mostly that the machine and console were complete otherwise, and it’s kind of lousy to strip it for the good stuff.


gabrielle January 31, 2014 at 5:30 am

Thank you for that – sewing machine cabinets from that era are hard to find complete & in decent shape.


Lesley Parent January 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Yes, I always cut my green scrubby pads into 4 pieces … they fit much better into my hands and I can bend them more easily to fit into corner of pans, etc. Great tip!


kathleen January 30, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Wow, those are some pecs on the Sphinx. Are you sure you wouldn’t name him Stephanie?

Very timely advice for the softened butter. I’m wintering in a much colder climate than I’m used to, and can’t get butter soft here.


Loretta January 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Even better then the steel wool pads: get a stainless steel scrubber. Lasts forever, and doesn’t rust. I got that tip from Zero Waste Home blog.


tna January 31, 2014 at 7:50 am

Yes to this. I rinse mine and stick it in the silverware holder of the dishwasher to clean, just stick a knife on top of it to hold it there.


Trish January 30, 2014 at 3:11 pm

You guys WOULD be able to claim Linus Pauling. Is EVERYTHING cool from/in Portland?


marie January 30, 2014 at 3:30 pm

I sooo want a Pyrex butter dish. They are cute round dishes with a lid.
I’ve checked e-bay but I’m not willing to spend $8- $14 , just so I can save on cheap butter 🙁


Roberta January 31, 2014 at 6:59 am

I always blend up my butter in the blender. It can splatter, I can whip it up quickly, and I usually don’t have to clean my cabinets after.


J. Pario February 1, 2014 at 8:45 am

I think the Sphinx looks like an Arnold. Maybe it’s the pecs that Kathleen pointed out!


amym February 1, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Do you leave your butter out (not in the refrigerator). Is it regular butter or something different. What temperature do you keep your house? Have you thought of whipping it- that can help.


Katy February 1, 2014 at 7:25 pm

I keep my butter in the refrigerator. I just use regular butter for this recipe. I keep the house at 65 degrees and I had not thought of whipping the butter, as it would just reharden when put back in the fridge.


Paula in the UP February 5, 2014 at 6:12 am

Roger, I think the Sphinx looks like a Roger!!

Butter does not get soft in our house either in the winter, which in my neck of the woods can last 8 month out of a year!!!


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