Say you're having a dinner party and more people show up than expected. Suddenly, you're ransacking your apartment to find extra plates and cups. No luck. Wouldn't it be great if you could make dishes magically appear?
With Maaike Seegers's clever tableware, you can. Meltware has three stoneware pieces -- a spoon, a bowl, and a carafe -- that double as molds for extending your set. You make the rest of the collection using Carnauba wax, a super-hard, waterproof wax that comes from palm trees. All you do is melt the wax in a pan, then pour it into the molds, and voila! You've got brand new spoons, cups, and bowls.
You can vary the size of the pieces by modulating the amount of wax you use and how you pour it.
Then, when the party's over, you can melt everything into balls of wax for easy storage. "With Meltware," Seegers says in prepared text, "you will make exactly as many as you need, so your kitchen cabinets will never be crammed with stacks of unused tableware."
Clearly, you can't use the bowls for piping hot liquids, unless you want shards of wax in your beef consommé. And generally speaking, the wax is fragile; drop the dishes or even squeeze them too hard, and they'll crack in a twinkling. So maybe they aren't such a good idea at a party. Then again, as Seegers points out, if they break, you can always just melt them into something new.