Stuff I see, which you might not.

Bonjour, stylish kitchen!

They’re not called ‘whitegoods’ for nothing. Kitchen appliances, while practical, can be kinda boring. (Except if you live in my apartment, where the previous owners were so funky that they matched the fridge and dishwasher with the glossy blue laminated cupboards and drawers. That’s a whole lotta blue, I tell you.) Anyways, I say boo to boring kitchen appliances – and hello to these fabulous dishwasher and fridge decals by the clever French folk at ADzif, recently featured on Fab.com.

If you’re looking to expand your cooking space into a serene wonderland with beautiful images of nature, you might like the green leaf fridge decal. Or the tricky pile o’ logs photo. Laugh as visitors to your home try to work out how you’ve managed to turn your humble refrigerator into a portal to the forest.

Or perhaps you’re more of a city person and you want to recreate the hustle and bustle of New York City on your dishwasher or fridge. These decals are big enough to have you sitting on the floor in your kitchen, imagining you were really there. In which case, you might also want to buy a soundtrack of honking taxis, emergency vehicle sirens, shouting people, a subway rapper impersonating Jay Z, and someone yelling, “HOT DOGS”.

Or if you’re fancier than me and prefer to say bonjour to your dishes, you might like this Parisian dishwasher decal. They also have a Parisian fridge decal, but this is my blog and I prefer New York to Paris, so you can check out the website if you’re interested in all things Frenchy. (The default ADzif website is actually written in French, so you’ll love it!)

I think these are a brilliant idea – they can be cut to size with your trusty scissors, they can be removed without leaving marks (but can’t be reused). For less than $70 for a fridge and less than $50 for a dishwasher, a trip to Paris, New York or the forest has never been cheaper. (Unless you actually live in Paris, New York or a forest, I guess.)

My pick? Thanks for asking. It’s this fabulous image of my favourite part of Times Square, where the overwhelming tackiness of all those lights is replaced by street furniture that’s reminiscent of a cobbled European side street. In the middle of such a busy city. Love ya, New York.

If you like these, there are plenty more amazing decals on the French website of ADzif. These images are from Fab.com and I couldn’t find all of them on the ADzif website (the dishwashers and my favourite fridge decal were missing), but maybe I need to brush up on my high school French and have another look. Toute de suite!


Willy Wonka’s World

What a wonderful world that would be, right? With Mr Wonka’s passion for all things sweet and magical, it could be a kid’s dream come true. Not that you’d necessarily want your home or office decorated by Mr Wonka, but if some Wonka-like touches here and there appeal, you might want to check these out…

Ice cream lamps. Sure, why not? They come in a delicious range of colours and are over two feet high. They come with a bulb, but you will need to resist the urge to lick the giant soft-serve (even if the cone is marked ‘Safe-T Cup’) as I don’t want you getting zapped.

Or how about a cupcake cushion? With coloured sprinkles. It looks really cool in this picture, but I should warn you that there was another picture of it on a lounge…where it looked like a squished old piece of cupcake, rather than a fresh and tasty treat. You’ve been warned.

And if you want to listen to some sweet tunes while reclining on your cupcake on a lazy Sunday, you might like these Gummy Bear Earbuds. They’re scented. Uh huh. It does seem a little bit wrong, especially if your Grandma ever told you not to stick jellies in your ears. Although these are attached to a cord, so I guess it’s ok.

This one isn’t in keeping with the dessert theme, but Willy was a fan of messing with people’s heads via distorted sizes and shapes, so I think he’d approve. And I am tipping he liked his caffeine (amongst other things) to keep him so perky. For you, or perhaps to prop up that guy in the office who always seems to be sleeping, I present the giant coffee cup. It can hold 20 cups of coffee. But I am not suggesting that you drink them all at once. (Unless you record it and put it on You Tube.)

Whether you’re looking for a gift or something to make your home a little bit Wonka, you can check out all of these things, and a bzillion more, at fredflare.


Oh deer

I’m not sure where you stand on hunting. I don’t mean hunting for bargains at your favourite shop, I mean chk chk boom – there goes a defenceless deer / duck / clay pigeon. Hunting in the British Royal Family or Sarah Palin style. Hunting that sometimes leads to someone stuffing the head of the dead thing and sticking it on an otherwise perfectly nice piece of wood so that you can put it on display in your lounge room or men’s lodge or wherever. I don’t really get it, I must say, and have never understood the appeal. (NB, hunting for goodies at the post-Christmas sales, however, I understand completely.)

So I’m not sure if I should like this collection on etsy as much as I do. Bree in Los Angeles makes plush faux taxidermy figures and mounts them on wood, ready for displaying as a “creature trophy” in your home or office. Or kid’s bedroom, as long as it wouldn’t freak them out. These hand-stitched felt animals look nice and friendly – clearly they did not meet a horrible end like those other poor taxidermied critters. Bree has given her animals names and they seem to have a real personality. Well, as much as a felt head can.

I especially like her “backwards faux taxidermy” pieces. Whether you see it as a funny little bear trying to get back through the wall, or a stinging attack on hunters everywhere, there is a lot to like about this collection. If you have some space on your wall that could do with an animal friend (well, part of an animal friend), you can check out Bree’s etsy shop here.


It’s a shoe-in

I like shoes. Not as much as Imelda Marcos and Carrie Bradshaw, to be sure, but I do appreciate a nice pair of kicks. I’m not fancy – they don’t need to cost a bzillion designer dollars or elevate me to dizzy heights. And the quirkier the better, I say. Well, that’s what I used to say, ’til I stumbled across Robert Tabor’s shoes on trendhunter.com. Like this cherry pie shoe with a forked heel.

I dug a little deeper and it turns out that Mr Tabor doesn’t really design shoes – he designs “fantasy shoe creations” or “shoe sculptures”. I think that’s code for shoes-so-crazy-not-even-Lady-Gaga-would-wear-them.

From the sandwich thongs (or jandals or flip flops, if you prefer), to the shoe made with hair (relax, it’s synthetic), to the Chinese dragon, to the aqua fish, these shoes scream Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Well, that or Important Meeting at Work. Or Parent-Teacher Night at School.

Granted, most of these boots aren’t really made for walkin’, more for decorating the hall table, but I do think that hair shoe looks kinda comfortable. And I have a red handbag that I think could work well with the dragon heels (it’s the Dragon’s year in 2012, after all). With a plain black dress or suit, of course.

If you would like to brighten up your shoe collection or just marvel at the many shoes of Robert Tabor, you can view the Trendhunter post here or the designer’s website here.


Tree of Life

I like trees. Especially at this time of year in Australia, when the leaves are turning red or gold and falling to the ground. So we can jump around and crunch through piles of them. Or slip on them when it’s raining, trying to look cool while struggling to stay upright. Yes, good times indeed.

I also like this tree, which I noticed recently on etsy. Designed by Maria in Amsterdam, this tree looks pretty funky just as it is. But, like a lot of things in Amsterdam – don’t be fooled by appearances. This tree is a photo album. Uh huh.

You can add photos of the family for a cute present to welcome a new baby. Or perhaps pics of the kids in the class for a nice end-of-year gift for the teacher. Or snaps of your smiling face for your beloved (or ex-beloved, if you want to make them feel bad). Or faces of workmates for a departing colleague. Or maybe a tree full of happy images – like, say, chocolate, red wine, Liam Neeson, freesias, homegrown tomatoes, sunset, cherry pie, popcorn – to give you a lift on those days that you’re not feeling so chirpy.

Endless possibilities for your little tree of life. And I think I’ll finish on that profound note, so that you can ponder that thought. (While you’re checking out the range of trees at the FemkeMaria etsy shop.)


Aye aye, Captain

This isn’t a political post – I’m not flying the feminist flag and trying to rally the sisterhood or anything like that. But I recently bought a print by Amanda Visell and just got it back from the framing shop. And now it’s on the wall, with its shiny silver frame and its cute drawing and its awesome message. I am my own captain. I reckon it makes sense whether you’re happily coupled, or a single gal, or a self-doubting chap, or an indecisive kid, or a black cat in a sailor hat. Or anyone in between. Since I can’t seem to take a photo of it without some strange reflection of my head or the lights or the ghost of Granny May, I thought I’d go back to the source for a photo. Then I was reminded of how amazing Amanda Visell’s work is, so thought I should share some of it with you.

I also like I am a maverick, from the same print series, but since I am really more of a goose than a maverick, I didn’t think it was quite right for me. There is also a chick in chain mail on a horse, with the message I can save myself. And then a crazy looking hairy monster that says I am wild. I’m happy with my choice because I like what it says (to me, anyways) – essentially, you’re in charge of you.

But Amanda doesn’t just paint quirky stuff, she also makes quirky stuff, out of metal or vinyl or wood. Like this incredible sea horse (with passenger), which I love. Or everyone’s favourite pet, the pterodactyl (flying a kite). Or limited edition elephants or crocodiles, each with a BIG  personality and a story to tell.

Amanda has a website and a blog, but she sells her stuff on Switcheroo – it’s well worth a look!


Whale of a time

Struggling to find a gift for that man or woman who has everything? Searched all the usual gift shops and online retailers? Want something unique, that will impress and make you stand out from the crowd? Then allow me to introduce The Killer Whale Submarine. For a lazy $100k, your friends (well, two of them at a time) can hop on board this “watercraft that breaches and submerges just like the Orcinus orca after which it is designed”.

The pilot (let’s call him Cap’n Ahab) pulls the levers to roll and dive, apparently “enabling realistic behaviors such as porpoising or skyhopping”. This “whale” can hydroplane up to 50 miles per hour over the water’s surface and cruise up to 25 miles per hour while submerged. The “dorsal fin” includes a snorkel that ensures air supply (to a limited depth) and also features a built-in camera, whose images are displayed on the LSD screen in Cap’n Ahab’s cockpit.

I am still not sure that this isn’t a cruel April Fool’s joke from the good people at Hammacher Schlemmer, but if you have $100k spare and have always wanted either a whale or a submarine, you can investigate further here.


Party people (on a bus)

I’m not sure about posting this as I don’t want you to think less of me. But I found this in a very innocent way, I assure you. I was looking for a design collection called Funbus and that brought me to the FunBus service offered in Sydney and Melbourne and that brought me to Butlers in the Buff – the male order company. And there I stopped.

Now, back to the Sydney and Melbourne FunBus(es). Apparently, the owners have converted Mercedes vans into an alternate universe, which can seat up to 14 people and accommodate people standing. And poledancing, if you choose to have the removable dance pole mounted in the centre of the disco floor. Some other inclusions that I just can’t fathom are: silver top bars with built in eskies and laser and LED lighting plus a smoke machine. Seriously? Laser and LED lighting and a smoke machine in the back of a van? Somebody call Shaggy and Scooby, THIS is a van.

In the ‘packages’ page on the FunBus site is the link to Butlers in the Buff. Yes, really. Apparently, whether you are looking for naked butlers to greet your guests or a discreet cocktail waiter to gently enhance the ambience of your event, a group of hunky waiters to raise the roof, or a topless butler to spice up your birthday, we have the perfect solution for any occasion. Well, any occasion except, I’m guessing, wakes after funerals or bah mitzvahs. The website provides further information on the company and its Australian franchises (yes, the Butlers are global) under the heading “The brains behind the bums”. Then there is a photo of a naked man checking on something wrapped in foil in a BBQ (fear not, he is wearing a short apron around his waist, so that should resolve any health & safety concerns).

All of the material on the website (photos and copy) is protected, so I can’t share it with you here, but you should have a look if you have any further questions. (NB, don’t be fooled – the butler in this photo is clearly not a Butler in the Buff.) Perhaps the section entitled “Using your butler” will assist with some ideas, or “Butler Outfits”, which explains the “trademark outfit” and suggests boxer shorts or trousers (for the Butlers, that is) if you’re after a more modest catering experience. Or perhaps you’re looking for some casual work – in which case, a career as a Butler or Butlerette might be just the thing.

You can check out the FunBus here and Butlers in the Buff here. Or perhaps this glimpse has already been more than enough for you!


Say cheese!

If, like me, you’ve ever looked at Maxwell Smart or James Bond or Inspector Gadget and envied their clever spy toys. Or if, like me, you’ve ever suspected that someone is actually stealing the choc chip cookies from that jar at work. Or if, like me, you’ve ever wanted to expose a fraudulent worker’s compensation claim. (Actually, that last one may just be me?) Anyways, if those, then this: The High Definition Video Pen. Tucked into your jacket pocket or left lying on the desk or bench, this clever device looks just like a run-of-the-mill stationery item. But prepare to be dazzled: the ball-point pen actually has an in-built video camera, “capturing HD videos or still images with a click of its button.”

Whatever kind of creeping you’re planning, this trusty “pen” captures up to five hours of video. In colour. With sound. Uh huh. And, according to the experts, the lens and microphone are “inconspicuous enough to avoid detection”. Unless of course there is some malfunction and your pen starts beeping or flashing – in which case, ABANDON THE MISSION. I REPEAT, ABANDON THE MISSION. Be aware that the battery life is two hours, so you’ll need to recharge for your tougher investigations. And of course, you may also want to flick through the relevant privacy legislation for your jurisdiction. EverydaySparks just puts these ideas out there – I take no responsibility for where your “pen” leads you…

Or maybe you’re a jaded gumshoe and think the “pen” is nothing to (ahem) write home about? Then I challenge you not to be amazed by this: The World’s Smallest Camera. Measuring just over one inch in all dimensions, this camera is apparently “reminiscent of devices employed by Cold War-era operatives for intelligence gathering”. Uh huh. With the click of a button, the auto focus provides you with a great shot on your teeny tiny camera. Priced at under $40, this wee camera will make a great (if slightly creepy) addition to your collection. Collection of what? I don’t want to know.

If you would like to find out more about these magical recording devices, you might like to have a look at Hammacher Schlemmer.

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The Family That Crochets Together…

…stays together? Amen to that, Daddy-o.

I am very fortunate to have had a really happy childhood. And I remember that crocheted garments were definitely a part of that childhood. Lately though, I have been wondering how much better my childhood could have been if someone had bought the Patons Crystal Family Crochet patterns and got to work on the Jumpers, Cardigans, Suit, Vest and Singlets. (Uh huh, a crocheted Suit.)

But maybe it’s not too late! For less than $4 on etsy, you can get your hands on these patterns and make sure your family is the best dressed in town. People won’t be able to tell if you’re being retro or ironic or, like, totally hip, groovy and fashion forward. And I really want to wear that crocheted suit to work (although am guessing it wouldn’t be quite the thing for a rainy day). If only to get the look of appreciation that Crochet Daughter is giving Crochet Mom in the black and white photo here…

With seven different patterns for men, women and children, you can crochet your way to family happiness in no time. But don’t limit it to your family – this crocheted goodness should surely be shared with colleagues, neighbours and random strangers on the bus. Stitch it up with this collection, or one of the many other foxy patterns from SparrowFinds.