For those who can't be bothered with a DIY kitchen timer tripod (and I'm one of you), now you can just go ahead and buy one: the Camalapse, from Camarush, does the trick with an adorable egg timer. Updated with video!
The Camalapse really is simple, just an egg timer modified to have a tripod mount on the bottom and camera mount on the top:
Just attach your gear, set it, and forget it. It'll set you back $25—which includes just the timer itself, not the tripod, etc—which is at least as much as all of the butchered egg timers would cost if you added up all my failed DIY attempts. [Camarush via Crave via CrunchGear, Thanks Adrian!]