When your iPod, Zune, CueCat, HP printer, DVD player, or game console goes on the fritz, you no longer have to put it in that closet where you store all the stuff that doesn’t work but that you don’t think you should throw away. There’s now a whole world of self-help forums and repair advice websites online where you can trade tips with other owners of consumer electronics—weird things companies would never tell you, like using a piece of folded paper as a shim to get a failed hard drive working again in your iPod.
It’s your kid—you should get to decide what kinds of choking and lead poisoning hazards make up its playthings. One woman clearly didn’t need any Fisher-Price plastic toy kitchen ruining her white-on-white aesthetic, so she made her own entirely out of found corrugated cardboard, contact paper, and a few household items. And if you don’t feel you have the skills to replicate it by looking at the photographs, then she’ll sell you a copy of the plans for $7.
Let’s face it, you are probably smarter than your last Comcast technician—at least, you probably think you are.
Craft magazine has put together a round-up of safe toys that you can make for your kids. The downside is that you have to stop being lazy and learn to do something yourself. (Awful, we know.) The upside is that unless you’re buying the cloth from New Zealand, the odds of you poisoning your own child are low.