Sunday, April 11, 2010

How the Fire Started: Toasting Waffles

Last month, Mr. and Mrs. Tota of Florida began their morning with a craving for waffles but received a kitchen fire instead.

According to this article, Elizabeth and Nicholas Tota's toaster caught fire and caused smoke damage to their condominium. Thankfully, the Totas suffered only minor injuries.

I traveled back in time and space to take these photos of the Tota toaster:

Minutes later—even though the toaster's lever had popped back up—the waffles remained stuck inside:

Then this happened:

Poor toaster. Ah well, it's gone to a better place and lives on as a familiar-looking screensaver:

Downloadable wallpaper:  1680x1050  1024x640  iPhone

On March 9, 2010, the Totas made waffles in a defective toaster...

And that's how the fire started.

Here's a behind-the-scenes video of how I started the fire:


  1. Love it - that fire was getting pretty scary for a moment there! So good seeing how you take the pics etc. Mmmmm... burnt woolen waffles!

  2. I really enjoyed this! Now I can go off to work this Sunday morning with this toaster on my mind...and waffles.

  3. 'Oh no! All that work and now it's all burnt! How could you???'

    Great story, great pics, great making of... I love it. :-))))

  4. Howie, I'm so glad you and Mary Jane are part of the universe. You are always brightening my day and making me smile. Brighton and I watched your video, but I had to add a "do not try this at home, Howie is a trained professional" (though I didn't tell him trained in what) hee hee! :)

  5. whoa, a REAL fire! that's awesome. love the wallpaper too!

  6. Those poor tasty looking waffles. What was it like setting alight to one of your crochet creations?

  7. SO FUNNY!!!

    Although I don't think I could have brought myself to light my handmade toaster on fire. :) But I did love your stunt waffles. That was seriously creative!

  8. Wow! This is fantastic! Thanks for the iPhone wallpaper!

  9. I can't believe you actually burned it! *L*

  10. Flying toasters!! I remember them. I felt so cool with them as my wallpaper.
    :( But so sad you had to burn your woowork for this post.
    You are so creative!!

  11. You're a brave man to sacrifice one of your creations for art's sake. Great behind-the-scenes video, that was a hoot! I loved MJ's exclamation "It smells like barbecue!"

    Poor stuntwaffles, though. RIP stuntwaffles.

  12. aaaaarrrhhhhhh!! how could you have set your beautifully hand-crafted crocheted toaster on fire!!?????

    Seriously, I love it particularly the metalic yarn you used.

  13. Those waffles look delish. I don't know if I could burn something I crocheted! But what a cute little toaster!

    RIP little stuntwaffles. :C

    LOL: "Don't breathe in the fumes." "Actually, it smells good!"

  14. Was your toaster ok after the shoot? I love the sound of camera clicking while the fire is burning! Great team work as usual!!

  15. PaisleyJade: haha When the fire kept burning under the pot, it was tempting to use the fire extinguisher. I was relieved the flames could be blown out! Oh, and burnt wollen waffles are even tastier with syrup! ;)

    Christine: A good hearty breakfast of burning waffles makes every working weekend worthwhile! ;) I hope you had productive fun!

    die kleene: Thanks! Yes, some of that work got burnt to a crisp, but waffles are a delicious treat when they're crispy! I wish they weren't so toxic though :D

    Marcy: You're so nice, thank you! With your good guidance, Brighton will surely steer clear of my junior-pyromaniac how-to! :) Ironically, I learned the rubber cement trick while working on a high school project!

    genuine mudpie: I'm glad you like the wallpaper, I hope it's not too cluttered :) My own computer desktop is beyond hope haha

    Jessica: Thanks for the super question! Just like the Cat & Dog Raindrops, I would remind myself that I'd be letting go of what I was crocheting. But when it neared completion, I kinda hoped the toaster would survive the fire. Thankfully, it did! Still, it's strangely cathartic to make something that isn't intended to last? :)

    JelliDonut: Thanks, you super fan of pastry ;)

    Amy Lynn: hehe Those stunt waffles sacrificed themselves for the cause, yes :D However—for the photos—I was supposed to pull down the toaster lever when the stunt waffles were in place! I must have been distracted by the mini-pyrotechnics. Next time: written checklist! Thanks, Amy :)

    Rose: If you get an iPad, let me know ;) I'll make a new wallpaper for you!

    Anna: My sister & niece couldn't believe I was going to burn it either :) They were also convinced that the whole toaster would be destroyed! *...phew*

    manchurina: I would be mesmerized by that flying toaster screensaver when I was young :) I'm glad you remember them too!

    KelleBelle: Yes, MJ was inhaling the whole time I was trying to hold my breath haha But she's right: the burning yarn/rubber cement smelled oddly delicious!

    Elaine: hehe It's okay, the toaster still survives to this day, just with a few char marks! Every time I look at it, I'll think about the lucky Totas ;)

    Though the Lollipop Silver yarn doesn't seem to be available right now, this might be a close match :)

    Jills: Yes, those stunt waffles were examples of the famous Blade Runner quote: "A candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long." RIP

    Yes, MJ boldly follows her nose's lead, not mine haha

    TADA's Revolution: The toaster is okay now, sitting in a safe, flame-free display case :D

    Yes, MJ is a great teammate, especially since she never signed up for this nutty gig!

    (By the way, would you like Woomi's orange&white eggs? Woomi told me he'd be more than happy to give them to you! Email if you'd like? :) Thanks!

  16. Stunt waffles!!! I love that you made stunt waffles. This is going to be my word for the day... yes it will confuse everyone I meet, but that's ok.. I like them confused!

    I'm assuming that good ol' red heart was NOT used in this project... as we have discussed before, Red heart and glue guns are not to be taken lightly, I'm guessing Red Heart and rubber cement... similar results!
    Gotta love you Howie!

  17. Love it! I'm glad you practice fire safety when playing with fire!

  18. LOVED it! Reminds me of home cooking at my house.

  19. You make waffles with rubber cement? Um, I don't wanna eat waffles at your house...


  20. W is for the many Ways that you're served
    A is for the Admiration you deserve
    F is 'cause you're Fluffy, you're Flaky and Fun
    F is for the Flavor that is second to none
    L is for how Light you are, you melt in my mouth and
    E is for Eggs
    Put them all together with a how-do-ya-do
    Lovely waffles we love you!

  21. So awesome! Love the little knit-? (or crocheted?) waffles! Incredible!

  22. Wow! Wow for the toaster and Wow for burning it

  23. Amethyst: I hope your word-of-the-day use of "stunt waffles" went over well haha
    No Red Heart was harmed during the filming of this blog post, no ;)

    Jersey Knitting Mama: Yes, the fire extinguisher would've been a last resort, though probably not enough if the background cardboard caught fire too! I'll bring along a bucket of water next time too ;D

    Miss Julep: I'd love to try your ultra-crispy home cookin'! Cajun-style?

    The Litter Box House: Hey, waffles made from rubber cement are delicious! Toxic but delicious ;)
    ... Smells like BBQ!

    Kate Halleron: That's my new favourite waffle song from now on! Thank you :D I will recite it loudly at the local IHOP.

    tapmouse: I'm glad you like the wee waffles :) I guess they're a combo of crochet and embroidery? I just know they taste good with painted-on syrup!

    zuperdzigh: Thanks for your Wows! Wow to your amigurumi&animation blog too! :)

  24. I just saw this today and loved it! I'm so glad no waffles were harmed in the making of this film. What a relief that you used stunt waffles.
    Amazingly enough I'm really craving Eggos now!

  25. Maria: Yes, the stunt waffles were brave to perform the fire stunt! When you eat your Eggos, I hope you remember heir sacrifice. But don't cry too much because tears will dilute the maple syrup ;)

  26. Wish I could take credit for the Waffle Song, but it's from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 'Viking Women vs. the Sea Serpent.'

    Glad you liked it, though.

  27. Oh Wowie Howie!!!!! Unbelievable! I go away for a little while and come back to you burning the toaster down! I can't leave you kids alone for a minute! LOL!!! :-D

    I love how you did a reenactment of the "scene of the crime". I think you will be getting a call soon to assist on CSI shows!!!

    I am going to forward this to an old friend who is notorious for setting fire to every toaster oven he's ever owned.

    I am so happy to be back here to view your latest antics.


  28. "happy birthday"

    bahahahaahaha!! you crack me up.

  29. I realize that this blog post is old, Old, OLD, but images of your crocheted toaster came up on a recent google search, and I cannot tell you how in Love with them I am. I just had to scroll through pages and pages of your blog to find the original post. Well worth the journey! I love your art and your obvious sense of humor! Thank you for using both to make this world a much better place.


Share this blog post