Stuff I see, which you might not.

Baby love

I love New York – pretty much everything about it, in it, from it, around it. But I don’t know that I really love these Porcelain Baby doll head planter / candy dishes from Brooklyn designer, Danielle. They’re kind of creepy, in fact. And I don’t know that I could be friends with someone who has a garden full of these little baby heads. Although – and yes, I know I can be shallow – if they had a house full of these stuffed with candy, I would probably be ok with that.

And as much as I love fake pets, I’m not sure that fake babies hold quite the same appeal, although Danielle tries to tempt visitors to her site: Always wanted twins or triplets, or more?… You can be an “Octo-mom” (or octo-dad) too – get multiples!

If you’d like to stock up on baby heads, check out Danielle’s etsy store, reshapestudio.

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Konnichiwa, teeny burgers!

I think I would fit in well in Japan. From the fashion to the technology to the kitschy toys to answering the phone with ‘moshi moshi’ – so much about it seems to be my kind of kooky. Then I remember that I am one of those uncool weirdos who doesn’t actually like sushi or sashimi, so maybe I wouldn’t be such a good fit after all. And then I see a product like this and think: honey, I’m home.

The perfect gift, the perfect cooking class, the perfect snack – all in one little brightly coloured box from the good people at Kracie. It’s from their Happy Kitchen range, which also offers donut, cupcake and cookie kits. But this one is special – teeny tiny burgers (including cheese and ketchup), fries and cola. Apparently, it tastes “just like the real thing”, but with only 96 calories… Our friends at Jbox suggest that you ‘pick up a few sets and start your own hamburger stand at the next school festival or birthday party’, though after looking into it, I reckon you’d need to import a few thousand cases if you’re catering for more than two of your closest pals.

You really need to watch the You Tube clip to get the full Happy Kitchen experience – there’s no celebrity chef, no annoying background music, just the crinkle and snap of the Happy Kitchen hamburger kit coming to life before your very eyes.

Whether you love the kookiness of Happy Kitchen or you’re just the laziest cook in town, buy up big from Jbox and host your own teeny tiny McDinner parties!

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Wild and woolly

When I first saw this photo, I was curious. Why is a guy dressed like Santa asleep against a tree, with a snake crawling over him? And what kind of product is this actually trying to sell? But the clever marketing ploy worked and I clicked through to find out more. I’m still not sure what to make of it. I don’t live in a particularly cold climate, so maybe this scarf is actually a really good idea and I just can’t see it. (Now that I know it definitely is a scarf, and not some sort of snake.)

The design is based on the story of Rip Van Winkle – a story that I probably should know, but am afraid that I do not. Something about a man falling asleep for 100 years, but I’m not sure who he was or why he did it or what the message for kids would be (get enough rest?) so I hope you are better informed than I am.

Anyways, this scarf beard is knitted with a wool/acrylic blend yarn and changes colours from black to grey to oatmeal to white. I take it that Rip Van Winkle wasn’t a particularly colourful chap. The designer claims that it can be worn at full length or wrapped around the neck for extra warmth. Um, I don’t mean to be picky, but this scarf beard IS 8.5 METERES LONG. I am not sure how you could wear that at full length, but if you do, please don’t catch a train. Or ride a bike. Or go through one of those revolving doors. Or get in an elevator. Look, if you are wearing the scarf beard at full length, best you just stay at home, weirdo.

The designer says this is a great gift “for the man who has everything or for the lady who complains of a cold face.” And presumably a great gift for people who like the challenge of carrying woollen tyres around their necks. If you know someone who fits any of those categories, you should check out Alexa’s shop on etsy.

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Who cares, bears?

Care Bears first appeared when I was little and, although I never had one (don’t feel bad, I had my beloved Cabbage Patch Kid – Vita Lillian), they seemed to represent all that was good and sweet in the world. With names like Tenderheart Bear, Funshine Bear and Love-a-lot Bear, they were a wholesome bunch. And, like all good things from the olden days, the Care Bears are back. Along with Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony, those recycling marketeers have decided that the kiddies of today would benefit from some old school playtime.

But in case you find them a bit too sugary, here are the Don’t Care Bears – a bad ass collective from the clever folk at Threadless. You can get them on a t-shirt or a hoodie, perfect for when you and your gang are cruising around your ‘hood like BMX bandits. For these and more unique designs (you can even submit your own designs), check out Threadless Tees.

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Sea change

I am still not sure if this is true or an elaborate hoax left over from the 1980s (which appears to be when the photos on their website were last updated), but I present to you: Jules’ Undersea Lodge. It is apparently the world’s only underwater hotel, based in Key Largo, Florida. You enter the Lodge via a 21 feet scuba dive and the owners say that the lodge can accommodate up to six friends. Close friends, presumably, as it looks like a pretty small living area.

Whether you’re after a unique sort of venue for your wedding (or perhaps not many people approve of the match, so you’re happy to have just the celebrant and some fishy guests?) or you are one of the handful of people who loved Kevin Costner’s Waterworld and want an underwater holiday, this could be the place for you. They offer wedding packages (with too many great photos to include here) and a range of overnight stays – choose from the Luxury, European or Ultimate Romantic getaway.

Food is an important part of any holiday and don’t think that Jules has forgotten. On arrival, you are greeted with shrimp cocktail (of course!), fresh fruit and snacks. The European Package “comes with a generous portion of grilled chicken breast”. Ooh la la. And despite being surrounded by a seafood smorgasbord, they begrudgingly cater for you wacky vegetarians, who “may substitute your shrimp cocktail with humus and crackers or cheese and crackers.”  And it gets better – late night snacks can even include the underwater delivery of a pizza from a local shop.

I was confused about how you got in and out of the Lodge, but Jules explains all: A five by seven foot “moon pool” entrance in the floor of the building makes entering the hotel much like surfacing through a small swimming pool. Divers find themselves in the wet room, the center of three compartments that make up the underwater living quarters. Aha. And in case you’re interested, each of the bedrooms and the common room is equipped with telephone, intercom, VCR/DVD. Seriously? Surely you can do without technology for one night and LOOK OUT YOUR GIANT BEDROOM WINDOW AT THE WONDERS OF THE OCEAN. And one more thing, given the size of the cabin – WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO ON THE INTERCOM? Mysterious indeed, Jules.

The home page of the website asks Have you slept underwater lately? In the unlikely event that your answer is ‘no’ (but you answer ‘yes’ to the question, Do you even actually want to sleep underwater?) then check out Jules’ Undersea Lodge. And you too could be having as much fun as the couple in this photo.



If you’ve read my post Walk on By, then you’ll know that I don’t have a problem with fake dogs. In fact, my Ikea dog Goldie is one of my best mates. Which may say more about me and my life than it does about Goldie, but I’ll save that analysis for another time. Anyways, I think that fake animals are great and there should be more of them – whether you’re after fake company, fake walking pals, or fake protectors to guard your home, fake it up, I say.

Which is why I was delighted to find a very talented fake animal maker (NB, that’s not her official job title) on the etsy website. Excited at the thought of adding to my fake pet collection and providing a fake pal for Goldie, I thought these amazing, life-like dogs were too good to be true. I could put these two out as guard dogs and they would definitely keep the possums away. And if I wire up an MP3 player with a growling dog soundtrack on repeat play, then seeya, annoying neighbourhood kids! My mind started to wander, full of possibilities for these “I can’t believe it’s not butter” canine equivalents. Perfect looking and no maintenance – surely the recipe for any great relationship… I would call them Snowy and Snowi and we would go on walks, relax in the sun, read the Saturday paper and generally pal around like an episode of Lassie. (Or Neighbours, before the untimely end of dear old Bouncer.)

And the product title on etsy specifically says LARGE Size Pet Sculpture. Yes, with large written in capital letters, wouldn’t you think that would mean life-size pups and all of the good times I dreamed of in the above paragraph? Well, hold your LARGE horses, people. Contain your shock as you look at this next photo. And see why my vision for a life with Snowy and Snowi vanished in an instant.

If you are more forgiving than me, other LARGE size pet sculptures are made by FeltedFuzzies.

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Life lessons from Words With Friends #17

Occasionally, Words With Friends is truly educational. Of course, it always helps to expand your vocabulary (sometimes even with words that do actually appear in a common dictionary), but I like to think that from time to time there are hidden messages that offer broader life lessons. And when I find them, I’ll share them. Sometimes, the tip is in the arrangement of words on the board, other times it is via the tiles allocated to your virtual rack. The spelling is not always perfect – today’s is a case in point. I imagine the seemingly random allocation of tiles was driven by some religious zealot at Words With Friends HQ (with the limitations of not enough letters and no apostrophes). We’ve been warned, friends.

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This Jumping Brain is one of a series designed by Emilio Garcia at the “secret Lapo laboratories”, wherever they are. And they might be secret, but presumably they’re paved with gold – an extra large Jumping Brain costs 1500 euros. But imagine how handy one could be…

When you’re in a meeting and Sucky Suckinson is trying to impress the boss with a jargon-filled speech, the brain jumps across the table as a very subtle sign that he’s not as smart as he thinks he is. Or when the 12 year old boy running the McDonald’s drive-thru gives you the wrong order, ol’ Brainy could jump up to the window as a reminder to stop chatting up the chick making the sundaes and actually serve the customer. Or at extended family gatherings, the brain could sit in the middle of the table as a warning to Great Uncle Charlie and Second Cousin Babs – no one wants to hear dumbhead rants about how much better things were in the olden days. Or if you see a Kardashian or a Snooki or pretty much any reality tv star…

Honestly, think of all the people you’ve met and discounted as idiots – and if you’ve worked in the corporate world in particular, I’m tipping you’ve met plenty – or the people that you suspect are either off their heads or heavily medicated when you speak with them. Maybe, just maybe – like a weird twist on old Pavlov’s dogs – when the Jumping Brain appears, everyone in the room gets a little bit smarter. If so, 1500 euros is looking like a great investment!

Check out Emilio Garcia’s brain(s) here.

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On fire

I like fire. Not in a call-the-police, lock-up-your-matches kind of way, but I do like being around fireplaces, especially in winter. The problem is that I live in an apartment, so any fire here is probably not going to be a relaxing, toasting marshmallows kind of affair. More like a mad dash to grab the photos, grab the icecream-maker, grab some chocolate and run. So I was excited to see these bizarre looking fire bowls on Fab.com – they’re made by Lumacast and they cost around $3,000 for a 32 inch ‘fire wok’. I like the idea of carrying the bowl over to the dining table to scare guests who think that you’ve overdone the Masterchef flambe and burnt their dinner, but apparently these handcrafted concrete bowls are meant for patio use only. Though since my balcony isn’t gigantic and already features one gas-powered fire machine (which also cooks delicious food), I think this will have to wait til I’m grown up and living in my dream house. With a hi-tech sprinkler system installed, just in case.

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Fit for the birds

If you’re up for a different kind of holiday, or at least a different kind of holiday accommodation, you might want to check out this bizarro ‘bird’s nest sphere’ accommodation in Canada (Vancouver Island, to be precise). I saw it on Trip Advisor and it sounds like all kinds of wacky. According to the owner: Once one breaks contact with the ground, energy shifts. The magical environment of the forest canopy conjures up thoughts of elves and fairies. One can feel the presence of the forest. That presence seems to dwell in the canopy where it can watch the meanderings below. Like, totally.

For under $200 per night, you could be tucked away in this spaceage Spherical Tree House, which apparently ‘rocks with the breeze’. And rolls with the stronger winds, presumably. They say it’s a marriage of tree house and sailboat technology. Yep, that’s really what they say. There are a whole lot of details on the website and it certainly sounds complicated – the sphere is “accessed by a spiral stairway and short suspension bridge”, which to me sounds like the way to get to heaven (or at least a neighbouring village), rather than your room, but whatevs.

A word of warning – choose your travel season carefully, as a hazard of life in the forest is trees and branches falling in a strong wind or ice storm. A sphere distributes any impact stress throughout the skin and resists puncture or cracking. But when the company that owns them is called Free Spirit Spheres Inc, could you really be sure?

Safe travels, to the Spherical Tree House and beyond.

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