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  • Every year on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar, on a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated. Families come together in China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines... all over the world. Food is shared under the Harvest Moon, a symbol of abundance and prosperity in many cultures.

    To celebrate the abundance of food and good fortune, I whipped up a quick stir fry dish with the vegetables and beef strips I had on hand. One of the easiest dishes to put together, a good stir fry never fails to remind us that food is the one thing that unites the world, and will continue to do so, for many moons to come.

  • Bedbugs, the latest novel from Ben H. Winters (New York Times best-selling author of Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters), came out this past Tuesday... and well, it wouldn't be a Quirk fiction release without a proper book trailer, right?

    That being said, I'd like to welcome you all to 56 Cranberry Street.

    For this trailer, we worked with Epic Image Entertainment, the same folks behind the hilarious Meowmorphosis and Night of the Living Trekkies trailers. As always, we were thrilled with the results. Enjoy the trailer, and be sure to share it with all your friends.

    Sleep tight.

  • Yes, you read that subject right.

    Back in March, Margaret McGuire and Katie Hatz asked the Internet's cat lovers to send them their cat hair for their Crafting with Cat Hair in-house projects. The entire Quirk office was shocked by the amount of fur that rolled in. We even featured three adorable donors, Buster, Shadow and Fuzz, here on the Quirk blog.

    Well, Summer is wrapping up and our supplies of cat hair are running low. So we need you, Quirk fans, to once again brush your feline friends and send us your cat hair. We're specifically looking for more white cat hair. See the sleepy kitten pictured above? Use him as a reference point. Or just look at him. Because he's omgsocutesquee!

    Ahem.

    Note, that this batch of cat hair is for a TOP SECRET Crafting with Cat Hair project. The first three people to send us their cat hair will get a free advance copy of the craftbook, as well as a copy of The Meowmorphosis (for obvious reasons). Send your packets to...

    Quirk Books
    c/o Margaret & Katie
    215 Church Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19106

    Questions? Email me at eric[at]quirkbooks.com. Thanks!

  • I admit it. I grew up playing "guns" with my friends. And, honestly, I loved it! We would run around in our neighborhoods for hours having epic battles of cops and robbers. We each had our favorite toy gun. Mine was the mini-pistol that could be concealed in my tube sock. That baby was perfect for any prison escape I attempted (prison was behind the air conditioner - I often played the robber role!).

    This video brought me back. Here we see a playful dad waking up his son with a squirt gun, singing the theme to Doom. Everything is done with total fun in mind. The kid is laughing and giggling throughout!

    The topic of toy guns is a controversial one in parenting, especially when it comes to boys - who traditionally show the most interest. My slant is keep things playful. Remember just like in roughhousing, toy guns can go too far (i.e. if they are used to hit one another or if they are facilitating aggressive or violent behavior instead of playful fun). Most often kids know just how far to take their battles and it's rare that adults need to step in. I also don't know of any data that shows a casual relationship between toy guns and violence later in life.

    Overall, I think if your kid wants to have a good game of cops and robbers or a classic squirt gun battle, my two cents would be let it ride.

  • My office at the Quirk HQ tends to get rather dungeon-esque (not to be confused with dungeness, which are delicious), what with the fact that it is largely lit by the natural light pouring down from the ceiling. Alas, my current desk lamp is not nearly as cool as this custom lamp, crafted with care by Etsy seller Czechpub.

    When the lamp is turned off during the day, there’s a lovely original black and white photograph printed on the front, a picture taken by Monica (Czechpub) in a little town outside of Oregon. But when the lamp is turned on, a secret message pops up on the typewriter’s paper… and you can customize the message! Awesome!

  • Yesterday was More Herbs Less Salt Day and it made me run to the pantry and clear the shelves of anything with high sodium content. I was resolved to use more herbs and natural ingredients to flavor the foods I made that day. So with rosemary, thyme, garlic, fresh tomatoes, cheeses and produce in-hand, I whipped up with delightfully easy pizza.

    In fact, I made so much, I ended up inviting friends over for an impromptu pizza gathering.

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