everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

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…

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Pet Confessions

Do you sometimes wonder what your little dog and cat friends are thinking? Well, Christopher Rozzi can tell you. Mr Rozzi is an artist, a writer, and comedian living in NYC. And his tiny confessions range combines comedy with art. He asks dogs, cats and even monsters and robots the big questions and paints their answers…

Confession of a French Bulldog
[Christopher Rozzi]

Confession of a Cat
[Christopher Rozzi]

Confession of a Wolfman
[Christopher Rozzi]

Confession of a German Shepherd
[Christopher Rozzi]

Confession of a Labrador
[Christopher Rozzi]

And even…

Confession of Darth Vader
[Christopher Rozzi]

These are just a sample of the very funny tiny confessions range, which you can check out on etsy.

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Some Sydney Sunshine (and a turkey)

Looking back to Manly Beach [EverydaySparks]

Today was a lovely day in Sydney – sunny and pretty warm for the middle of winter. The clouds were hanging around but not really getting in the way of the sun. This is probably my favourite kind of weather – and it’s even better if you are lucky enough to spend time out and about soaking up the sunshine, as I was today. So, for something different for this blog, here’s my morning in  words and pictures.

Winter sun at Manly [EverydaySparks]

First, I met my lovely friend Stef at Manly beach for coffee. We went to a cosy cafe next door to the legendary Adriano Zumbo Patisserie. It’s closed on Mondays, by the way – so it’s the safest day to be in the neighbourhood if you can’t resist the famous ‘Zumbarons’ (a range of very interesting macaron flavours) or other amazing cakes. If you’re not familiar with this Sydney icon, you can check out the website here. (I especially like Mr Zumbo because he has a Willy Wonka tattoo on his arm. Uh huh.)

Ocean pool, Manly [EverydaySparks]

On the rocks [EverydaySparks]

We went for a walk around the ocean path, which was full of mums pushing their babies in sporty looking prams – what a great way to exercise, chatting to your mates while you power walk around the beach on a sunny day, pushing around 15kg (of pram and baby).

We weren’t power walking though – just normal walking – and it was such a nice day that I couldn’t resist some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream on the way back. They had no customers, so really it was more about lending my support to the struggling retail sector. And charity never tasted so delicious.

Brush Turkey taking the high road [EverydaySparks]

Shortly after I arrived home, I went out for a walk/run (I’d be lying if I said I ran the whole way) in my new hot pink shoes that make me go faster. As I was running around the bush path to Mosman Bay, I noticed something on the path ahead. For a minute, I worried that I was hallucinating (maybe due to my pre-run ice cream). Then this brush turkey jumped out of the way and scurried into the bushes.

On the road again [EverydaySparks]

I’m sure I wasn’t running that fast – maybe it was the shoes that put him off. Whatever, he politely jumped up from the path, through the bushes and back down on to the path behind me. And then went on his way to do whatever it is that a brush turkey does with his day.

And that was my Monday morning.

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Home sweet home

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a house a real home. Those little touches that give you a real sense of the person or people that live there. As I look around my apartment at the various quirky bits and pieces that I have collected over the years and wonder what my home says about me. That I’m a little bit nuts, probably – and I can’t argue with that! Anyways, in case you’re looking for some statement pieces for your home, I have found some interesting things at Karma Kiss. I think they make a variety of statements – from, ‘I am trying my best to avoid acting like an adult’, to, ‘I am trying to scare you away, never to return’, to, ‘Yes, I really am too cool for school’.

Whether you have little people living in or visiting your home, or if you just want to level the playing field and watch as grownups try to sit down on a tiny (toad)stool, this could be the dining set for you. Apparently, it’s suitable for indoors and outdoors, so if you’ve ever dreamed of creating a fairy grotto in your backyard, this could be a great place to start.

Or perhaps you’re trying to create more of a hunting lodge feel. Or you have really competitive friends, who are always skiting about their success and telling tall tales about their achievements. Yeah, they might be impressive, but do any of them have the head of a ferocious dinosaur mounted on their wall? Didn’t think so.

And then there are these Raven Bookends. At least, they’re meant to be bookends. But I would rather set them up somewhere high, so they’re glaring down like a sort of winged home security system. I can also see their benefit at work – I could set them up on my desk and whenever someone comes to ask me something, turn to the ravens and say, “Hmmm…I don’t know…what do you guys think?” See, the fun you can have working in HR!

And I know this one isn’t really for your home, but this just seems like such a good idea to ensure adequate personal space when you’re in a crowd – or to put off other travellers from claiming your luggage on the carousel. They also sell backpacks in a very cool bubble design, similar to that amazing furniture I posted about a while back – kinda like carrying a science experiment on your back.

Oh, and one last thing in case you can’t get your hands on the thumb costumes from earlier this week. This product takes the thumb war to a whole new level. You’ve been warned.

If you’d like to check out these and other ‘unique gifts and novelties’, the Karma Kiss store is here.

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Bonjour, monsieur

Yann is a professional photographer based in Paris. Yann claims to specialise in many things: portraits, products, landscapes, reportages… But today, I wanted to share some of Yann’s prints that are for sale on etsy. Because I really like what he’s done here and I really LOVE the thought that there might be a teeny tiny chap in a top hat doing his thing without us even knowing.

The Threader
(c) Yann Pendaries

The Macaroons Hatter
(c) Yann Pendaries

The Seed Gatherer
(c) Yann Pendaries

The Snail Tamer
(c) Yann Pendaries

The Morning Ringer
(c) Yann Pendaries

The Shell Renter
(c) Yann Pendaries

The Coffee Stirrer
(c) Yann Pendaries

These are just a selection of Yann’s amazing work for sale in his etsy shop Photography Dream. I can’t decide between The Seed Gatherer, The Snail Tamer and The Shell Renter. Now if only Yann could find the guy who hides the socks in the washing machine, or the car keys when you’re in a hurry to leave, or your ringing mobile phone buried in your bag…

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Wax on, wax off

A candle can make a lovely gift – but some people think they’re a little ho hum. Unless, of course, it’s a Man Candle. Or maybe one of these candles – something tells me you won’t find these in every homewares store in the village…

This ‘Thing’ hand candle is eerily life-like. Yes, yes, you can apparently ‘see every wrinkle and vein’, but even better (or worse, depending on your feelings about burning hands), as the candle burns, red wax oozes from the wrist. Uh huh. How’s that for a conversation stopper at your next dinner party? It’s made by JohnnyBWilde in the UK and you can check it out on etsy here.

And here’s another candle I don’t quite understand – it’s a wedding dress. Presumably, if you’ve had a lovely wedding day, you wouldn’t want to set fire to a pretty white wedding dress (even if it is made of wax)? Perhaps it’s for a runaway bride to light to celebrate her escape. Or for bachelors everywhere to send a subliminal message to their lady of the moment that there will be no trip down the aisle. It was featured in a candle post a while back on urlesque here.

I love this Lego candle best of all. It looks as though it’d be long-lasting, although in fairness I’m not sure about the scale. I love it,as long as the people can be removed before you light the eight wicks on the brick – I don’t fancy seeing those three little people melting down as they can’t handle the heat. That’s not right at all. This was shown on Smashing Lists here.

Last, but not least, is the candle range from Hotwicks. Made in the USA, the range includes delicate scents such as Beer, Campfire, Leather, Sawdust and Whiskey. Oh, and Stripper and Urinal Cake. Uh huh. Somewhat tame in comparison, but still just as baffling, here is the Bacon flavoured candle. You can check out the range here.

This collection of bizarro candles just proves my theory that there really is a market for everything. And with that, I’m off to make my own range of candles – That’s My Boy, a stinky aroma of socks, wet towels & other signature scents, to soothe empty nesters who are missing their sons; Dry July, a treat for anyone giving up alcohol, it releases vapours of vino into the air (after all, the rules don’t say anything about inhaling alcohol); and Kardashian, a sickly sweet candle, with a combination of over the top scents competing for your attention – a minute after lighting this, you’ll be forced to switch off reality tv, blow out the candle and get out into the real world for a breath of fresh air. If you’d like to contribute to the EverydaySparks Candle Collection, please get in touch to share your ideas…

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