Posted in Fashion Sparks, Home sparks

Slipper-y slope

It’s winter here in the southern hemisphere and, although the Sydney sunshine can sometimes lull you into a false sense of security, the colder nights definitely call for blankets and candles and Snuggies and slippers. Or just central heating, I guess, if you’re a bit more sensible. Anyways, slippers can often be a bit boring or make you look old before your time. So, I have searched high and low for some slippers that will keep your feet warm and your street cred intact. You’re welcome.

These “Men with Mustache” wool/felt slippers are hand made in Lithuania by the clever Egle at Felting By Eglut. And they don’t just look cool, they are built to last: “the soles of these felted slippers are coated with ecologic natural latex (liquid rubber)”. Which apparently means the Men with Mustaches won’t go slipping and sliding all over your floors. You can check out these Men and other great designs at Egle’s etsy shop here.

Or perhaps you prefer your slippers with a pun. In which case, it’s difficult to go past these Freudian Slippers (get it?!) at Find Me A Gift. And there’s a creepy surprise as you “slip your feet in and wiggle your toes to move the bright red tongue.” Uh huh. You can find them here.

And from the fantastic range at Monster Slippers in the UK (“for the animal in you”), these Brightfeet Slippers are pure genius. Gone are the sore toes from walking into walls when you’re roaming around the house in the middle of the night – these clever slippers feature lights in their soles, activated when your foot is in the slipper and the room is dark. These cool slippers and many more are available here.

If you or a lady friend are into hand made goodness, crochet, or just swept up in the current owl craze, you might prefer like these custom made Owl Mary Janes from Erin in Florida. They’re for sale at her Sweet Cheeks Gift Store on etsy. They’re bright and colourful and those beady eyes will no doubt see well in the dark (though they probably won’t be quite as helpful as the light-up slippers mentioned above). You can check out Erin’s fabulous wares here.

And now I’ve convinced myself that I need to upgrade my stripey slipper boots – though I never realised there were so many options…

Posted in Arty sparks, Sparky gifts

Puppet People

Puppets aren’t for everyone – some people are a little suspicious of their hollow centres, beady eyes and lack of a voice. And, you know, the fact that there’s a human hand inside. But I think there’s a lot to love about these puppets, made by Erica in Florida and sold at her etsy shop Sublimations. Erica’s specialty is customising puppets to look like their owners – so you can get a pair of lookalike puppets as a wedding gift, or a mini-me puppet for a friend. Erica reminds shoppers that she makes puppets, not photographs – she encourages people to ‘close their eyes and imagine they’re a puppet on Sesame Street’ to get an idea of what to expect.

Erica’s website features lots of pics of puppets & their people, so you can see just how closely they match. But since we don’t know those people, I thought I’d stick with some of the more famous faces (and half bodies) that Erica makes. Like Jimi Hendrix here. Down to the detail of making outfits for the puppet that match famous photos of the singer from back in the day. Brilliant.

And I’ve written before about the love that some people (not me) have for bacon. From toothpaste to bandages to wallets and everything in between. We can now add finger puppets to the list, as Erica includes a rasher of bacon in her range. Six inches tall, Erica says it’s the perfect gift for anyone who loves bacon so much they want to “BE bacon”. And I have no doubt that those people exist.

Here’s an example of a puppet couple. All you have to do is send a photo and a description of the couple in question (to get a sense of wardrobe, jewellery etc, I guess) and Erica will turn a couple of people into a couple of puppets. Such a great gift idea, especially for people who seem to have everything. Bet they don’t have small versions of themselves made from felt and wool and stuff. Yet.

Your furry friends are not forgotten – Erica is happy to turn your beloved pet into a puppet too. If you’re not into taxidermy, this could be a more fun and slightly less creepy way to ensure that the memory of Fido or Kitty lives on…

These are just a sample of the fantastic puppets available at Erica’s shop – you can check out Sublimations here. You’re welcome!

Posted in Arty sparks

Oi, Picassohead!

Ever looked at a Picasso and thought, huh, I could do waaaay better than that? Ok, me neither, but I kinda like the idea of painting Mr-Potato-Head-style, popping an eye over there, an ear up top, a cheesy smile next to eyebrows and finishing with a flourish of colours and abstract lines. But I’m not really an artist. Or, at least, I wasn’t an artist…until I discovered the excellent Picassohead site, where everyone can have a go at unleashing their inner Pablo. You can even add your new portrait to the online gallery.

The site is actually quite a fun time-waster. And now, without further ado, I present Blue by EverydaySparks. (Oh, and two other pics that were in the screen shot that I took – unfortunately, I couldn’t save my masterpiece to file.) I know you will find it hard to believe, but this is my first Picassohead work and it took me approximately two minutes. Totes professional, hey?

You can check out the work of far more talented peeps on the Picassohead website, where you can also create your own magic and add it to the virtual gallery. Enjoy, Picassohead.

Posted in Arty sparks, Home sparks

Cardboard Cutouts

When you first think of cardboard, you probably think of big boxes, childhood craft projects and high fibre cereal. You probably don’t think about fancy sculptures that arrive as a flat pack and click together (without an allen key). Based in Virginia in the USA, Chris and Luis from Cardboard Safari make “neat stuff for your home”. The boys are committed to designing “fun and fascinating products for your enjoyment” as they draw inspiration from nature, using sustainable materials.

Here’s Jack – a laser cut sort of guy for your home or office. Or, as Chris and Luis describe him far better than I can: in the tradition of art masks, Jack is a dramatic wall art piece with a stunning visual appearance. Not bad for a guy who was delivered to your house in something that looks like a pizza box.

Or you might prefer Vince, who is apparently the most detailed design that Cardboard Safari have ever made. I’m not a big fan of skulls, but find this one pretty impressive. Friendly, even.

According to the website, you can keep your cardboard in its natural colour, or you can pimp your sculpture with “paint, glitter, wrapping paper or other craft materials”. Alternatively, you could paint a wall in your house a really bright colour, add some cardboard deer heads and create a fancy-hunting-lodge-meets-Night-at-the-Museum kinda vibe.

And last but not least, here are a couple of cardboard rhinos, grazing on the living room floor. And confusing that poor dog, who is wondering why his companions are not even remotely interested in playing.

For more info and to shop online for a new flat pack friend, you can check out the cool range of designs at Cardboard Safari here.

Posted in Arty sparks, Sparks in the wild

Way to play, crochet

Frame magazine recently featured some amazing playground designs by Japanese artist Toshiko Horiuchi-McAdam. What’s so special about them? Oh, just that they’re made of crocheted yarn. Uh huh. Like giant brightly coloured spider webs that you can climb on and swing from.

Apparently Toshiko first came up with the crocheted playground idea back in the 1990s: ‘she was installing a piece made of crocheted yarn, when children asked if they could use it as a hammock’. Nothing like a live experiment to test the strength of the yarn – and it seems that the piece was actually stronger than expected.

Since then, Toshiko has turned her focus to creating public playgrounds and founded a company with her husband, ‘aimed at developing the concept of the play structure’.

The whole point of their work is ‘public art for kids’ – to design an artful experience that responds to the joyful engagement of children. Love it. For more info and pics of this fantastic idea, you can check out the Frame mag feature here.