Posted in Food sparks, Home sparks

Pass the salt

Most of us have salt and pepper shakers stashed away somewhere in our cupboards, which we bring out for special occasions or visits from in-laws. Some are pretty fancy – motorised pepper grinders made by car manufacturers, expensive salt shakers that light up (in case you were dining in the dark), hand carved wooden pairs, or stainless steel pieces that could be mistaken for modern art sculptures. But I say boo to your fancy salt and pepper shakers that are too good to use every day. Here are some inspiring salt and pepper shakers that will have you seasoning everything from your breakfast to your milkshakes, just to give you an excuse to get out these beauties…

First, baby legs. Yes, that’s right – these ceramic baby legs are actually salt and pepper shakers. Apparently, they are guaranteed to be the talk of your baby shower party table, but I say don’t stop there – these babies should be out and about at every opportunity. Sprinkle salt on your potatoes with the baby’s left foot, and a little pepper for your steak with the baby’s right foot. And when the legs are running low, just remove the stoppers in the baby’s thighs and fill ’em up! Or if you’d prefer, there are ceramic baby hands salt and pepper shakers in the collection. Maybe just buy both and complete the set with a ceramic doll to store your dried herbs? Creepy.

Continuing on the baby theme, here are Baby Puddin’ heads, which also take care of your salt and pepper needs. I am not sure that you could keep any of these on the table during dinner without scaring your guests. But then, I don’t really know your friends that well, perhaps they already have these in their kitchen! These are all from the Modern fx store on etsy, along with some other perculiar salt and pepper shakers – featuring Colonel Sanders of KFC fame, JFK and Jesus. But I’ll leave you to look for those if they sound like your thing.

These two ladies are apparently a darling set of vintage Holt Howard salt and pepper shakers from the “Daisy ‘Dorables” line. They are a pair of blonde pony-tailed girls holding large daisy flowers in front of their faces. Maybe it’s just me, but I think they’re a bit shifty looking. And I would be worried that they’re sitting on the table, listening to all the conversations and gossiping about us behind their giant daisies. You can check them out at Gizmo & HooHa, the vintage emporium.

I prefer these cute little guys from SuperRetroChic – they look like something out of Super Mario Bros and would definitely brighten up the table, without freaking out your dinner companions. Unless, of course, you are dining with Super Mario and Luigi, in which case, they will probably try to smash these with a hammer or something.

But now, to finish with my favourites – vintage Mr Peanut salt and pepper shakers. They’re not in perfect condition, but they make me laugh. And if they can still dispense salt and pepper after all this time, with their top hats and canes, I say these will add a touch of class to any home. Ye olde peanuts are available from Olde Tyme Memories on etsy.

Who knew there could be so much variety in the world of salt and pepper shakers? Not me. But I may well start collectin’. And with 110 pages of them on etsy, you mightn’t have heard the last of these table toppers…

Posted in Beauty Sparks, Sparky gifts

What’s that smell?

They say that our sense of smell is a powerful thing. That one whiff of something can take us back to a place in our memory – good or bad – and make us feel as though we are there again, living it. But if that’s all too deep and meaningful for you, then I’m sure you will at least agree that nice smells are good.

If you like nice smells, you’ll like this collection from the Long Winter Soap Co. Amanda sells her collection of lip balms and perfume oils on etsy. And they’re not your usual run-of-the-mill fragrances – I’d call these perfumes with personality. They’re a little bit different. Like Beach Day, which Amanda says is “a crazy delicious blend of sea breezes (the clean, blue-green kind, not the fishy kind) and sweet buttery coconut.”

And there’s Sunset. For Amanda, that “comes after a hot late summer day, and is accompanied by the cooling of baked earth, the frantic buzz of bees collecting newly released nectar before nightfall, the dampness of moisture settling on soil, and that cup of chai I instinctively reach for. In scent terms, a blend of hay, white musk, beeswax, patchouli, and spiced chai.” Is it just me, or are Amanda’s product descriptions like poetry?

But in case it is just me and you’re not into this at all – here’s what first caught my eye: Unicorn Farts lip gloss. Yes, that’s right – “smells just exactly like real imaginary unicorn farts! Which smell like spearmint and pink cotton candy, everybody knows that.”

One more for the road – just because it sounds too lovely to leave out: the Blue Skies hand and body cream. Blue skies? “The result is super fresh, like running under a clothesline on a sunny day.” Love your work, Amanda of Long Winter Farm!

For all these beauties and more, you can check out Amanda’s fabulous etsy shop here.

Posted in Arty sparks, Fashion Sparks, Food sparks

Just add sprinkles

I am not embarrassed to say that I like sprinkles. I am not sure of the chemical process involved, but somehow, adding brightly coloured bits of sugar to your ice cream, cake, cappucino froth, or even just a piece of bread and butter turns it from ho-hum into an exciting party.

Which is why I was so pleased to find these sprinkle covered heels on etsy. Made by the clever people at MerloDesigns in the USA, these sweet shoes will liven up any outfit. But you probably shouldn’t wear them out on the town in the rain, just to be on the safe side. Although apparently, “the candy is 100% real, but 100% inedible! That’s right, these little guys have been glued and sealed to keep ants, mice, and other curious critters off your toes!” See, pretty and practical! You can check them out here.

Or there’s this fabulous rainbow resin bangle made by Nicola Williams in the UK – available from her etsy shop Made By Daisy here. Handmade to order, this beauty would make a great gift for any lass – although it will probably prove endlessly frustrating to hungry toddlers.

For summertime fun, you might like this 100s and 1000s giant inflatable Havaianas thong. Once you’ve blown it up, it’s 1.65m long and 65cm wide. Apparently it comes with a matching carry case. Surely it’s gotta be worth buying a pair, if only to scare other people at the beach or pool into thinking there are giants around. They are available at the Havaianas website.

Or for a slightly different take on art, here’s a piece by Joel Brochu – a recreation of a photograph of a dog getting washed. A recreation MADE OF SPRINKLES. Yep, for a Fine Arts project at university, Joel used jewellery tweezers to place each of the 221,184 sprinkles to form the image. Incredible. You can read more about this amazing artwork at My Modern Met.

And now, I’m off to make some fairy bread, with extra sprinkles.

Posted in Home sparks, Sparky gifts

Something Fishy

Have you ever had a fish as a pet and thought, gee, you’re lazy? Or have you imagined your fish being capable of so much more than just swimming ’round and ’round the bowl, with the occasional detour through the fake castle or the fake volcano? Well, check this out. I first saw it on Fab.com – it’s the R2 Fish School: the complete kit to teach your fish amazing tricks. Uh huh.

Your Fish School kit comes with an instructional DVD, over 20 training bits, feeding wand and an instructional manual. Crikey, sounds complicated. But it would be worth it to see your fish performing cool feats to impress your family and friends. Wouldn’t it?

Apparently Dr Dean and his son Kyle developed this idea while they pursued their peculiar hobby of training fish to perform tricks. Yes, really. They found out that fish are smarter than we think, so they got in cahoots with the good people of R2 Solutions and – hey presto, the Fish School was born.

According to the Fish School website, “it is easy and fun to teach your pet fish to swim through hoops and tunnels, do the limbo, eat from your hand – even play soccer!” And if you want proof, the website has video footage of “Fish School graduates” doing their thing. Just don’t expect them to be wearing little fish caps and gowns.

They also have a web cam on poor Comet, a goldfish that is currently in training. Not for the fish Olympics, but to beat the current world champ of fishy tricks (yes, there’s a Guinness World Record for it) – Albert the goldfish, who has even appeared in a TV commercial.

For more info, you can check out Dr Dean’s Fish School website, or buy the kit for your fishy friend from R2 Solutions here.

Posted in Fashion Sparks

Gimme shelter

I had thought that the Samurai umbrella that I wrote about a while back (here, if you missed it) was the last word in umbrellas. Little did I know, there is a large umbrella industry across the globe, innovating and improving on what I would have mistakenly presumed to be a pretty standard design. At the risk of making a mockery of your humble floral number with its slightly bent spokes and unpredictable function, I present to you some whiz bang umbrellas from the good people at Hammacher Schlemmer.

Firstly, the English Umbrella Seat. Because we all know that English people like to sit on their umbrellas. No, really, it is allegedly modelled on “the ‘seat sticks’ traditionally used in England for watching cricket matches”. Quite. But why sit on a boring old stick when you can sit on an umbrella? My thoughts exactly – though I am sure you will agree it would look much funnier if this lady had a longer coat covering the seat. I am not sure that Lady Shrimp-Cattington and the croquet crowd are quite ready for the sight of ladies who appear to be staked in the ground…

Or perhaps you prefer to use your umbrella as a parasol to protect you from the sun’s wrinkling rays. If only there were such a thing as an umbrella that could shield you from the UV attack and keep you cool, without the hassle of having to wave a delicate paper fan…Fear not, delicate petal, here is an umbrella WITH AN IN-BUILT FAN. Battery operated, the fan is captured in a net, so there’s no need to worry about it going rogue and whipping your hair into a beehive.

Then there’s this tribute to Manhattan, in umbrella form. The outside is plain black, so to the world you might just appear to be another drone with a business umbrella – but on the inside, your secret New York cityscape reminds you that you’re really Carrie Bradshaw or Frank Sinatra or someone from Law & Order. Just don’t get so carried away belting out “Start spreading the news…” that you forget where you are and crash into other pedestrians. Or a bus.

And lastly, but not leastly, here’s a familiar image of an old lady under a plastic dome. The umbrella itself is of course old news, but I include it because I want to support this lady, who seemingly makes money by frocking up in brightly coloured suits and matching hats, donning some pearls and impersonating the Queen. Even if it is only to advertise an umbrella. Looking good, ma’am.

You can stay out of the rain while checking out these umbrellas and lots of other cool things online at Hammecher Schlemmer.