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November 01, 2016

Look for the Weird Stuff & Make It Yours

Have you ever seen a tool or utensil in a pile at Goodwill and thought, “What is that?”

We’re not at Williams-Sonoma anymore, are we? Where everything is neatly labeled, and priced just high enough to make us feel a little sad. It’s hard to justify a one-use gadget for $12.95 (plus tax), but what if it was only $1? Even if you don’t know what it is, you don’t have much to lose. And it might become the thing that makes a kitchen task you hate bearable.


I bought a butter curler for no good reason. There’s no room in my life for artfully curled butter and I honestly can’t think of a single situation in which not being able to curl butter would stress me out. What’s curled butter even for? But I bought the butter curler. And it sat in the kitchen drawer for several months.

Then Halloween rolled around and I forgot all about the butter curler. Every year on Halloween, I make a ton of pumpkin chili, buy a ton of candy, and invite people over. We eat chili, the kids trick-or-treat, and I engage in my favorite Halloween pastime: handing out all the candy. The pumpkin chili is a little bit labor intensive, especially on years I make a double recipe. (The chili has gained a bit of a reputation over the years. And it reheats really well, so there’s no such thing as making too much.)

But what about the butter curler? And maybe you’re wondering why it’s pictured with the roasted pumpkin seeds. Y’all, that butter curler has changed my life. Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious. To get to them, you have to remove them from the pumpkin, which is a slimy hassle. That butter curler scrapes them all out in seconds flat.


As for separating the seeds from the goo, I usually try to get someone who really wants roasted pumpkin seeds to do that for me. And it takes a little finesse, because I have to imply that I’ll just throw the seeds away if I have to deal with the goo because I, you know, don’t really care that much about pumpkin seeds. LIES. I love them. I love them so much that Halloween wouldn’t be the same without them. Pumpkin seeds over candy corn forever. But I’m not alone in my adoration for the humble roasted seeds so it’s usually pretty easy to find a sucker.

My butter curler may never be used to curl butter. (Because, seriously? Why? If I really, really need curled butter, I’ll stop what I’m doing and go in a different direction, one that doesn’t require curled butter.) But I love that thing. It’s changed my whole attitude toward pumpkins.

So the next time you see a pile of gadgets at Goodwill, do a little digging. If you see something cool, even if you don’t know what it is, go for it. And when you get it home, make it your own. What do you have to lose?