Just What I Wanted!

Daily gift ideas for the inspiration-challenged. Simplify your shopping!

Saturday, December 31, 2005


Brian Andreas' Storypeople are beautifully simple, abstract paintings accompanied by short and poignant bits of writing. Each piece is delightful and emotionally evocative, like this one for one's child, which reads "For a long time there were only your footprints & laughter in our dreams & even from such small things, we knew we could not wait to love you forever." Dozens of different prints are available, framed or just matted. (Go here for a list of all the prints available on the site.) $30 USD.

Kill A Watt

With energy prices skyrocketing and gas costs soaring, why not resolve to conserve energy next year? Turn off a light here, unplug an appliance there... it adds up, and the Kill A Watt can help you figure out exactly how much. Just plug it into the wall and then plug something into it, and it'll tell you the energy consumption in kilowatt-hours and the cost of using the appliance per day, week, month, and year. Bit by bit you can whittle your energy bill down until you're saving as much as possible. Die, watt, die! $37.50 USD.

Friday, December 30, 2005

VIOlight Toothbrush Sanitizer

After eating those chocolate-covered potato chips, you'll probably want to brush your teeth. But when was the last time you cleaned your toothbrush? You're always sticking it in that germ-filled mess that is your mouth, and then, what? Rinsing it with water? That just won't cut it. This VIOlight Toothbrush Sanitizer uses ultraviolet radiation to kill all the harmful germs and bacteria in your toothbrush in just a few seconds, keeping it fresh and clean for much longer. Plus, it provides a handy and attractive stainless steel carrying case. $29.85 USD. (Via MobileWhack)

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips

Here in America, we can't resist covering everything in chocolate. Fruit? You betcha. Nuts? Of course. Fried bits of potato? Why not! This collection of Chocolate Covered Potato Chips sounds like a coronary waiting to happen, but is undoubtedly delicious. Each chip is coated in luscious Belgian chocolate, and the package comes with a selection of chips coated in various toppings, including nuts, non-pareils, toffee and rainbow sprinkles. $21.95 USD.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cletus Fetus and Pals

Nothing is cuter and more able to rub people the wrong way than a tiny polymer clay fetus hanging from your zipper pull or your cellphone. Cletus Fetus and Pals are dozens of variations on the theme, each tiny fetus-shaped sculpture whimsically designed and beautifully painted. Choose from the classic Cletus Fetus to feti with striking hairdos, fun accessories (ninja fetus!), to off-the-wall robotic, alien, or even garden gnome feti. Cute, and sure to make people wonder. $0.50 and up.

Patchfairy Bags

Patchfairy makes some of the prettiest bags I've ever seen. These Patchfairy Bags are little collages of gorgeous fabrics stitched together around a common theme, from movies like the fantasy classic The Dark Crystal (shown here) to books like Alice in Wonderland to common fantasy elements like fairies, mermaids, and Björk. Each bag is carefully handcrafted and quite sturdy, and completely unique. Around $25 USD.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Veggies T-Shirt

Show your love for our fiber-full friends from the garden, vegetables, with this ultra-cute Veggies T-Shirt. Nothing says, "I'm healthier than you are!" than wearing a shirt like this that proclaims your love of the vegetable kingdom. $29 USD.

Speed Laces

When I was a kid, I didn't like having to take the time to tie my shoes. Usually, I'd just leave the laces loose so I could slip the shoes on and off easily, but this would occasionally make me stumble and fall. Now that I'm older, I realize the folly of this, and just wear mocs. However, if you still want that sport-sneaker look without the hassle of tying up your shoelaces, these Speed Laces will help you out. Once you've placed the plastic hooks into the regular lace-holes, you just wind a shoelace around them and add a tightener, and voilá — simple, quick, and comfortable laced shoes. $8.95 USD.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Freudian Slippers

Much of Freud's psychological theory has been debunked, but the idea that one's mis-statements can reveal deeper insights into one's character still remains. Do you know anyone who is constantly letting things slip? Maybe they could use a pair of these Freudian Slippers. There's nothing like stuffing your foot in Freud's mouth to comfort you after you let it slip that you really like the look of that tall, oblong object. $24.95 USD.

Doggie Dog World T-Shirt

For a no-nonsense, strong and beautiful woman in your life, Dreamgrrl offers a bunch of clever, interesting, and fun t-shirt designs, such as this Doggie Dog World T-Shirt. Unique and amusing, and sure to please any grrls on your list. $20 USD.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Easy Book Clip

This useful little gizmo is a dead simple solution to a common problem: how do you keep a book open to the page you want when both your hands are busy? The Easy Book Clip simply slides onto any book, hardcover or paperback, and keeps it wide open to the page you want. To turn a page, simply slide the clip up a bit, turn the page, and slide it back down. Whether you need your hands free for cooking, exercising, eating, whatever, this'll do the trick. $5.95 USD.

(Edit: Old link was inexplicably password-protected. I've updated the link to point to a site where you can actually buy the product!)

Micro Spy Kit

There's nothing a parent likes more than having a kid who is able to effectively spy on them, discovering all their deepest, darkest secrets. This Micro Spy Kit, which includes a utility belt, a mini scope, a voice diguiser, a motion alarm and a long-distance microphone, will allow any kid to do just that. Trying to sneak up on your kid in the dark? Too bad, they'll be able to see you and their alarm will go off. Why are you trying to sneak up on your kid in the dark anyway? $24.95 USD.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Jolly Boat Model

Nothing, I'm sure you'll agree, is more festive than pirates. This Jolly Boat Model is an accurate scale model of the lifeboat into which Captain Bligh and 18 other sailors were forced when the crew mutinied and took control of the HMS Bounty. The model includes all the parts necessary to build the Jolly Boat, including rigging and cotton sails. $64.50 USD.

Penguin Pile Up

Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah, or ... good day! Despite today being one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year, it's not the only one. Birthdays and anniversaries can come at any time, and who doesn't like getting a nice present any time during the year? I plan to keep posting gift ideas here as long as you all plan to keep reading.

Kids stuck in the frozen north can while away the chilly hours playing Penguin Pile Up, a game of skill, logic, and steady hands. Kids (ages 5 and up) must take turns attempting to balance tipsy penguins on a quivering iceberg without tipping it over. With "Penguin Fever" (no, not a variant of the bird flu) gripping the nation, this game is sure to be a hit. $19.95 USD.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Twist & Spout

When I was a kid, attempting to pour liquid from large bottles was always difficult. My tiny arms, weakened from years of doing nothing but sitting gazing into a computer monitor, could hardly lift a two-liter bottle, and my puny, bony fingers could only barely maintain their grip on its plastic neck. These Twist & Spout bottle pourer devices will simplify the process, making pouring simple for kids (and everyone else, too). $4.99 USD.

Perfume-Holding Imp Statues

Back in November, I posted about the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, a little perfumerie in California with a huge number of fantastic and quirky scents available. Now, they're offering these great Perfume-Holding Imp Statues, beautifully sculpted limited edition creations designed to cradle a bottle of perfume oil for you. Gorgeous and unique. $50 USD (includes a 10mL bottle of perfume oil).

Friday, December 23, 2005

Flying Fish Toothbrush Holder

When I think about dental hygiene, I think about fish. (Have you ever seen a fish with dirty teeth?) This Flying Fish Toothbrush Holder not only looks really cool and stylish, with its little, cute fish leaping out of the water leaving behind a sparkling silver trail, but also constantly reminds you of that fish-cleanliness connection, so you never forget to brush your teeth. $12.95 USD.

Dragon Tote Bag

Having a good handbag is important. Having a good handbag with a really cute design, though, is quite possibly one of the most important things ever. Let me make the handbag-selection process simple for you: this Dragon Tote Bag is perfect for you. Believe me. Just get it. $16 USD. (Thanks, Sarah!)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Salubrion Chair

Sitting on the ground for any extended period can get pretty harsh on one's back and butt, especially once one is an old fogey like me. The Salubrion Chair decreases that harshness by correctly supporting the back and spine, making floor-sitting much more pleasant. For anyone who meditates or spends a lot of time playing with small kids, this chair would make a great and thoughtful gift. $40 USD on sale. (Via BoingBoing)

Apple Peeling Gizmo

When you're making apple pies, cobbler, sauce, or other apple-based foods, peeling, coring, and slicing the apples is inevitably a time-consuming and wearisome task. This Apple Peeling Gizmo takes all the difficulty out of that chore. You just stick the apple onto the gizmo and turn the crank, and it handles all three steps for you, and you're left with a naked, hollow, sliced-up apple all ready for inclusion in whatever delicious food you're preparing. Mmm! $29 USD.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Answer

Question: What's a simple, pleasant, ergonomic way to give yourself a quick back massage? The answer is The Answer. This is a straightforward little tool that does one thing and does it well: lets you rub the sore spots on your own back without tiring your arms out. A good gift for anyone on your list who doesn't have a live-in masseuse, or for anyone who wants to try and catch a really big fish. $29.95 USD.

Electric Spinning Marshmallow Stick

When I was a kid, toasting marshmallows over a campfire was seriously hard work. It took a huge amount of patience, incredibly steady hands, and intense concentration to end up with a nicely toasted blob of sugary goo on the end of your stick. Now, though, kids have handy gadgets like these Electric Spinning Marshmallow Sticks that allow them to make three evenly-toasted marshmallows at once. I feel like John Henry when the steam drill showed up. Curse you, technological progress!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Transforming Werewolf Plush

When you're a lumberjack, leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia, you've got to watch out for the wild animals. One bite from the wrong dog on a moonlit night, and you could become infected with lycanthropy, and turn into a werewolf just like this Transforming Werewolf Plush. He starts out as a rough-and-ready flannel-wearing lumberjack, doing all the things that lumberjacks do (chop down trees, eat lunch, have buttered scones for tea on Wednesdays). Then, with a quick twist and pull, raar! He's a werewolf! The plush toys I had when I was a kid never did anything this cool. $29.99 USD. (Via BoingBoing)

Spears of Influence

True pickle connoisseurs are rarely willing to settle for the commonplace. Vlasic? Ugh. So bourgeois. I'd much rather have a jar of Rick's Spears of Influence, handmade pickle spears in a brine infused with lime and cumin flavors. Delicious and certainly out of the ordinary. $10.99 USD.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Magnetic Tool Tray

When I'm upgrading my computer, at some point during the process I inevitably lose track of one of the hundreds of thousands of teeny-tiny screws I've removed from the case in order to take things apart. If only I had a handy Magnetic Tool Tray to put them in, where they'd all cling fiercely to each other and to the tray bottom, that just wouldn't happen. Then again, I'd probably set the magnetic tray directly on my hard drive at some point, erasing all my data. Maybe this is a better gift idea for woodworkers. $6.99 USD.

Avenging Unicorn

When someone really gets on my nerve, I often want to get back at them somehow. But those cubicle voodoo dolls just aren't as satisfying any more, and if I get any more misdemeanors on my record, mom says I can't come to Christmas at her house. The only thing I can do is wish for a beautiful mythical beast to deal with the annoying person. Luckily for me, this Avenging Unicorn will do just that. Nagging boss? Impale! Idiotic salesperson? Impale! Mime? Impale! $12.95 USD.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Magnetic Putty

Here at Just What I Wanted, we can never get enough magnetic stuff. Eventually, the magnetic force exerted by the various items spread throughout our apartment will cause the entire building to implode, reducing yours truly to a tiny yet incredibly massive black hole. Anyway, this Magnetic Putty is full of ultrafine iron powder, which means you can do cool things like make it deform by placing magnets near it. Combine this with some Rare Earth Magnets and you'll have a gooey magnetic mess in no time! $8.95 USD.

Chrome Menorah

Look, I know how wild and crazy those Hanukkah celebrations can get, what with cousin Moshe spinning his dreidels constantly and uncle Pesach's out-of-control horahs. I understand completely when you say that sometimes, you just need to replace the old menorah. I recommend this Chrome Menorah with its simple yet elegant style and beautiful carved wooden storage box. May your candles burn for eight days and nights! $23.95 USD.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dr. Seuss Goes To War

Everyone knows Dr. Seuss as the author and illustrator of a huge number of beloved children's picture books, but before that career was paying the bills, he also drew hundreds of political cartoons for the New York liberal newspaper PM in the 1940s as World War II raged. Now, for the first time, these cartoons are collected in book form as Dr. Seuss Goes To War. Some funny, some disturbing, and all insightful, these cartoons are sure to make a unique and interesting gift to anyone politcally-minded on your list. $12.21 USD.

Flying Pig

Last year, the Red Sox won the World Series, which is pretty good evidence that hell has frozen over. Now, there's a Flying Pig. Pretty soon, there won't be any more ways to indicate that you'll never do something. $7.99 USD.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tetran Headphone Winders

Earbud headphones are notoriously tangle-prone. When you want to listen to your music, you don't want to have to spend precious minutes first getting your headphones into a usable configuration. These adorable Tetran Headphone Winders let you wind your earbud cables around them any way you please, and then keep the actual earbuds snugly in their mouths, simplifying the whole process. They come in four different colors and, when not engaged in devouring your headphones, can be used as a stress toy or even a massager. $12.95 USD.

Click Don't Scratch

When I was little, every day that the weather was nice in the Spring, Summer, and Autumn, I'd be outside. This meant that I was generally covered head to toe in itchy, irritating mosquito bites. My mom had topical treatments that would relieve the itching, but the "relief" actually stung like the dickens. This Click Don't Scratch device uses piezoelectricity (that's electricity generated by the force you use to click the button) to magically get rid of the itchiness from bug bites. Ah, relief without nasty chemicals or intense stings. $5.69 USD.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hangout Frame

There's only so many things you can do to make picture frames innovative. When it comes down to it, if it's rectangular with a transparent section in the middle, it's probably not going to really stand out. That's why this Hangout Frame is so nifty: it's not only a set of picture frames, it's also a hanging mobile, and it's not something you see every day. The frames are free to rotate, and so are the photos inside them. Put three nice photos into it and give it to someone you love, and they'll definitely be pleased. $23 USD.

Folding Travel Hanger and Lint Brush

I love handy little problem-solving gadgets, so this Folding Travel Hanger and Lint Brush really appeals to me. The hanger folds up and fits snugly inside the compact lint brush, and the pair can sit quietly in your glove compartment until the day you arrive at an important function wearing a lint-covered shirt, or need to carry a nicely-pressed jacket from place to place without wrinkling it. Now that's cool. $9.99 USD.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Magnetic Paint

If your refrigerator is anything like ours, it's covered with scraps of paper, fast food menus, appointment cards, and incriminating photos of our enemies all fastened to it with magnets. There's hardly any room for anything new! A couple pints of this Magnetic Paint can turn any surface into a new magnet-friendly surface, though, so any refrigerator can become less cluttered in no time. $24.99 USD for a pint, $92.99 USD for a gallon.

Marshmallow Shooter

When it comes to launching soft, squishy projectiles at friends and coworkers, Nerf ain't got nothin' on this Marshmallow Shooter. Its hopper can hold up to 20 miniature marshmallows, and the pump-action barrel will launch them over 30 feet. All you need is a ring of fire and a chocolate and graham cracker landing pad, and you've got the most exciting s'mores ever! $19.99 USD.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Thermo-Pad Hand Warmers

I don't know about you, but my hands are constantly chilly, especially when I have to spend time outdoors in the winter. Mittens and gloves just don't cut it sometimes, but these Thermo-Pad Hand Warmers would definitely do the trick. To activate, just squeeze the tiny plastic disc, and the pad will quickly warm to a nice toasty temperature. After the pad cools off, just place the pad in boiling water for five to ten minutes to recharge it, and it's ready for use again. Each pad can be used many hundreds of times. $40 CDN (about $32 USD).

Fuzzy 20-Sided Dice

Fuzzy dice hanging from one's rear-view mirror have long been a symbol of manliness, meant to symbolize a different pair of fuzzy objects (cough). Unfortunately, they tend to actually evoke images of Hawaiian shirts bursting with thick chest hair, gradient aviator sunglasses, gold cigarette holders, and hideously tanned middle-aged skin. These Fuzzy 20-Sided Dice, however, have a completely different effect. People who see them hanging from your rear-view mirror will think of Dwarves with Hawaiian shirts and chest hair, Elves wearing gradient aviator sunglasses, and hideously tanned Orcs. That's much better. $9.99 USD.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monster T-Shirt

Pastafarianism, the belief that the world was created by a giant Flying Spaghetti Monster, is the newest theology sweeping the nation. Who, other than those who think it's blasphemous, wouldn't want to embrace a religion that involves both delicious Italian food and full pirate regalia? Show your Pastafarian colors by wearing this Flying Spaghetti Monster T-Shirt, and the world will know that you have truly been touched by His Noodly Appendage. $21.90 USD.

Munny White Vinyl Figure

Munny is a solid white vinyl figure. You can draw on Munny, paint Munny, pierce Munny, clothe Munny, whatever. Munny comes with various accessories. Munny does not judge, nor does Munny get annoyed or embarassed. Munny loves you. Love Munny back, okay? $24.95 USD.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Under The Sea Calendar

Some people think that nothing says "I had no idea what to get for you" like a calendar. Those people, however, have never received a truly beautiful calendar as a gift. This 2006 Under The Sea Calendar handcrafted by Jill Bliss and Saelee Oh, two Californian artists, has a different gorgeous aquatic-themed illustration for every month, and is responsibly created from soy-based inks and recycled card stock. $16 USD.

Recycled Light Bulb Ornaments

Most Christmas trees have light bulbs all over them, glowing serenely. But when bulbs burn out, what can you do with them? Either toss them in the trash, or, if you're 3R Living, turn them into gorgeous handpainted Recycled Light Bulb Ornaments, perfect for adding that unique and eco-friendly touch to your, uh, dead tree. $18 USD. (Via TreeHugger)

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Eliminating tangled cords is a favorite pasttime of mine. I've become an expert at various wrapping methods, all intended to keep cords in neat little bundles. Unfortunately, it often seems like a hopeless task: I still have numerous tangled cords lying around my desk and stuffed into pockets in my laptop bag. Well, no longer: the Smartwrap gizmo makes wrapping up cords into neat little bundles a breeze. They come in nine bright colors and are tiny and lightweight, so they won't weigh down your bag. $7.99 USD. (Thanks, Paul!)

Pirates Are Cooler Than Ninjas T-Shirt

The debate over the comparative coolness of pirates and ninjas will rage eternally, but those of us in the know understand which side has already won. Demonstrate your staunch belief in the supreme coolness of swashbuckling scurvy dogs with this Pirates Are Cooler Than Ninjas T-Shirt. Arr, matey! Now if only we could settle the question of caveman versus astronaut... $22.95 USD.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Fair Wear

Buying t-shirts and other clothing made in sweatshops is just plain stupid. That's why I try to feature only clothing sold by stores who engage in responsible purchasing and manufacturing. Fair Wear is a tiny shop that offers a small (but growing!) selection of fair trade t-shirts like the Treehugger Tee shown here. What does fair trade mean? Fair Wear charges a bit more and passes the profits directly on to the workers who make the clothing in Bangladesh, helping bring their wages up to a decent level. Any other profits beyond that level are used to support various social and ecological aid programs in Bangladesh, which helps raise the standard of living for everyone there. So buying this ultra-cute tee won't just look good, it'll feel good too. $18 USD. (Thanks, Sarah!)

Kai Dental Floss Holder

I've told you and told you, daily flossing is very important to your dental health! Do you want to keep getting those cavities? Dental work isn't cheap, you know! You're going to need dentures when you get older, unless you buy this Kai Dental Floss Holder, which looks like a cute little piranha. His razor-sharp teeth sever the dental floss at exactly the point you want, and he comes in four different colors. As a bonus: if you don't floss, he'll come to life and devour you in the night. $14.95 USD. (Via BoingBoing)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Slang Flashcards

My mom loves to try and sound hip, so she likes it when my siblings and I alert her to the latest slang that the cool kids are using. Unfortunately, there are just so many terms that it's hard to really keep her updated. I bought her these Slang Flashcards a while back to help her get up to speed, and boy, have they ever helped. Now she is tizzotally down wid da dope slang, dawg. It's funny and somewhat disturbing. $13.95 USD. (Thanks, Christy!)

Hourglass Cufflinks

When you're dressing up to attend a special function or go on a date, it's the little touches that really count. Anyone can buy a nice suit, but only the truly classy will have a pair of these Hourglass Cufflinks sparkling on their wrists, looking both sophisticated and unique. Plus, now when your date disappears to "powder her (or his) nose," you can time them. More than ten minutes and, sorry pal, they ain't coming back. $30 USD. Hourglasses not your thing? Try these Compass Cufflinks ($90 USD) or these Level Cufflinks ($80 USD). (Thanks, Vito!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

USB Powered Air Darts

Marks & Spencer are offering one of the coolest computer accessories I've seen in a while: USB Powered Air Darts. The three-missile launcher plugs into your computer's USB port, and comes with a program (for Mac or Windows) that lets you aim and launch the missiles with just a click of your mouse. You know that coworker who occasionally annoys you? Now you can send screaming projectiles of soft foamy pain flying into his cubicle any time he gets on your nerves. £19.95 UKP.

(Via Gizmodo)

Timesphere Clock

I'm very fond of technological gadgets that appear to run on the principle of "ooh, magic!" That's why this Timesphere Clock intrigues me. It looks almost like a regular clock, except it has no hands! Instead, a little black marble rolls around the clock at the same rate as an hour hand, indicating the time. Why doesn't the marble tumble off the clock face? Why does it move? How does this thing work? Ooh, magic. $48 USD. (Thanks, Paul.)