Trader Joe’s French POP-UP SPONGES

” INSTRUCTIONS: Dip in water before use” (pretty funny, huh?!)

Made From Natural Vegetable Cellulose. Product of France. A pack contains 12 thick natural sponges squished completely flat. They blow up in water in two seconds and watching them pop up is like magic!

When I first saw these and looked at the price I immediately thought “wow that’s expensive”. A pack is $7.99. However I then “did the math” on them. Since there are 12., the cost of a sponge works out to about 67 cents each, right? A sponge may last a month. I thought if a sponge lasts a month (or hopefully, even more) the pack contains about a year’s supply or more, in which case they don’t seem quite as expensive over the long run. I decided to buy them and guess what? They turn out to be FANTASTIC sponges. They are high quality “natural” sponges. These blow up from a thin little sliver to a big sponge an inch thick almost magically the instant you put them in water. The sponge make tons of bubbles and quick work of dirty dishes. My wife thanked me for finally buying good sponges (as opposed to my dollar store ones) and made me promise to buy them again, hopefully in a year we think. End result is these are actually quite worth the 8 bucks (but really 67 cents each) and are a decent value for this quality. BTW every other week, I give a sponge a rinse in very diluted bleach (1:10) and soap. I squeeze it over and over and sponge gets a almost brand new refresh (the filthy water is shocking even when your sponge seems clean). Be sure to rinse it really really thoroughly after this with lots of water to get out all the bleach if you want it to last.

When you’re ready to use, soak one in water and watch it pop up before your very eyes into a Sponge about 4 inches wide, three inches long, and an inch high!


Trader Joe’s Washable Paper Placemats

Wait up, what….?!!! Trader Joe’s sells place mats? Yeah you read that right. These place mats recently appeared in the New Products “home goods” area at my TJ. Looking at them they so totally say “IKEA” cool to me. These intrigued me, then reading the label about how they’re made from “Supernatural Paper” (!) that really got me interested. Honestly I’m always intrigued that TJ’s has any home goods type things at all. They seem to especially appear around the holidays (I slightly regret not getting some olive wood bowls and cutting boards I saw last Xmas but they were a bit pricey even for TJ’s, but they looked beautiful and handmade). Anyway since we needed to replace some old place mats and these were just $10 bucks for a set of 4, I just grabbed them in kind of an impulse buy. I picked a darkish color out of the 4-5 colors on offer as I thought this darker grey / green color would hide dirt best. These mats are on the thin side meaning when you pick up a glass that was on them you may see a little ring depression where it was, but it brushed out easily by just swiping it with my fingers. They have what I might call all kind of faux leather texture. Feels a little like thick waxed rubbery paper? I believe there are two pieces sown together. “MADE WITH SUPERNATURAL PAPER (cellulose and latex). Latex = rubber. They say “CAN BE WASHED” (hand wash separately). I think I will avoid that if possible, and just wipe/wash them daily. Wiping them clean with a soapy sponge seems to work fine. I had a little stain from some food and just wiped the mat with a damp rag with a little soap and that took off the stain as I hoped. So the rubbery, waxy covering seems to work. I like them for a change from our textile place mats. My wife complained about the white stitching they have on the edges but that doesn’t bother me at all, I kind of like it. They have a funky feel going on…in a good Ikea way. The more I have used them and lived with them I have grown to like them more and really dig the funky Ikea-ness of these.

If you see them, check them out at least with a feel and see what you think. They are $10 for set of 4 mats ($2.50 each) and come in about 5 or 6 colors. Personally I would lean to the dark / earthy colors for hiding stains.

I found this online. Are they the makers of “Supernatural Paper”?