everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

David Mach is amazing.

I was going to make a pun out of his name, but I wasn’t sure if you pronounce it like ‘Mark’ or like ‘Match’, so thought that it could get lost in translation and become confusing. So I’ll just stick to the fact – David Mach is amazing. He’s a Scottish artist and I first saw his work on designboom. Incredible sculptures made from everyday items (things like matchsticks, coathangers, playing cards and dominoes). David says, “When I have ideas I want to make them, and not just some of them, but all of them”. David loves to work with as many different materials as possible and calls himself “a materials junkie”. Ok, enough about what David says, have a look what David does.

Charlie Chaplin, Matchead.
(c) David Mach

 

Stag, made of wire coat hangers.
(c) David Mach

 

“Layed Back” – Snoopy, made of playing cards.
(c) David Mach

And that barely even scratches the surface – it’s well worth checking out David’s website and Facebook page for more of his incredibly creative and quirky works of art. There are some brilliant public art installations, mindblowing Matcheads, pretty scary coat hanger gorillas and an image of the Queen made from greeting cards. I’ll finish as I began – DAVID MACH IS AMAZING! You can check out his website here and his Facebook page here and the designboom post here.

Advertisements
3 Comments »

Anthropomorphise!

Think Geek promises to sell “stuff for smart masses”. But not all of their stuff is especially geeky or designed for techos – today’s find made me giggle and I think it has a huge potential for adding a spark to the everyday items that we have around our homes and workplaces. Customers who have bought the kit have even sent in their own photos (which are then added to the product page) to show how they’ve used the stickers to add a bit of personality to things that would otherwise look pretty boring. See what you think…

In case you’re not familiar with the term ‘anthropomorphise’ (I wasn’t either), I’ll let the good people at Think Geek explain it far better than I can: We do it every day, though mostly without thinking about it – we get angry at the stapler that mangled our presentation, or the phone when it can’t get a signal. We say we “love this coffee mug,” and sometimes we even imagine a face on the clock on the wall. It’s called anthropomorphizing, and it’s where we imbue human characteristics to inanimate objects.

So they’ve taken this one step further and sell “Inanimate Character Stickers” – over 100 stickers of “eyes and mouths in various shapes, sizes and expressions, waiting for you to give life to the lifeless.” This idea is right up my street – I love it! From fruit to office products to shoes, people have submitted photos of what they’ve managed to achieve with just some kooky looking eyes and a toothy grin.

And the possibilities are endless. If others keep borrowing your stapler and forgetting to give it back, a scary face might be just what you need. Or if you want to encourage people to eat the orange cream biscuits that no one else wants, maybe stick on a nice little friendly face and watch them win people over. I’m thinking that doctors could take medical implements to a whole other level with a well chosen pair of eyes and a smile – except the only thing worse than a needle coming at you is surely a needle with a maniacal face coming at you…

I think these stickers could change our lives. Or, at least, they could help make us smile as we go about our business every day. And that’s a step in the right direction. If you’d like to check them out, they are available from Think Geek here.

 

 

12 Comments »

Fashion buzz

The Ecouterre website is all about ‘eco fashion’ and ‘sustainable style’ – I think it’s always an interesting virtual place to visit as some of the ideas are very clever. Of course, some of the ideas are very wacky, which is ok with me too. Like these Pollinator Frocks designed by British artist Karen Ingham. Apparently the population of bees and other pollinating insects is shrinking, which causes all sorts of problems for the global food system.

So why not create a dress that features “electron-microscopy images of pollen”, treat them with “a nectar-like sugar solution that attracts and nourishes bees”? Sure. Now I know exactly what you’re thinking – what about all those other insects that come out at night? Well, Karen has thought of that too – the day-wear frocks are designed to attract bees and butterflies, while the evening-wear frocks are for “nocturnal critters such as moths”. So it seems that moths aren’t just attracted to nice woolly jumpers, or the wallets of stingy people who keep a tight reign on their spending.

Karen worked with a range of scientists and engineers to develop her so-called “wearable gardens”, which closely mimic the aromas and materials of the flowers that attract insects.

I have visions of people wearing their garden frocks to work and being swarmed by bees as they wait at the bus stop. And on the way home in the evenings, moths gather around the fashionista like flies at a picnic. But then I read that Karen encourages people to hang the frocks on their washing line to attract bees, and I am confused. Are they meant to be worn as moving feasts for our insect friends, or are they so powerful that it’s safest to just hang them on the line and leave it at that?

I guess the choice is yours – but I wish you all the best if you decide to buy one and prance around like Mother Nature. Please let me know how it works out. In the meantime, you can read more about the Pollinator Frocks on the Ecouterre website here.

6 Comments »

Word up

I always love to hear new words or expressions and, although I don’t catch on too quickly to the YOLO, OMG, ROFLMAO kinda acronyms used by the kids of today, it’s interesting to hear another language and try to appreciate what it all means. Even more so when it is actually a real language, with culture and history attached. And although the English language seems to have quite a lot of words to choose from, sometimes you’ll hear a word or expression from another land and think: bingo! That really captures it perfectly – I wish we had a word like that. 

In honour of some of those types of words, artist Fuchsia Macaree put together an alphabet of expressive words that are missing from the English language. Here are some examples…

By Fuchsia Macaree

By Fuchsia Macaree

By Fuchsia Macaree

By Fuchsia Macaree

You can check out the rest of this clever collection at the Fast Company magazine Co. Create site here. While you’re enhancing your vocabulary, just remember that you can’t use these words in Scrabble, no matter how tempted you may be…

12 Comments »

Using big words

I love word games. Yes, I’m a dork like that. And of course Scrabble is the daddy (or mummy, in the case of my family) of all word games. It gives you the chance to trot out all of those strange words you’ve read over the years and not really understood, while you try and block your opponent from getting their tiles anywhere near a triple word opportunity. And now there’s Words with Friends, which is sort of like Scrabble with a much higher tolerance for fake words, and you can play on your iphone as you sit on the bus or wait for the Doctor or pretend to work.

But whether you’re playing on the board or on the screen, there comes a time when you’re just staring vacantly, with no clue about what to do with the tiles in your rack. You need a different perspective – a fresh view of your options. Though I don’t think you’d have that same problem with this particular version of Scrabble that I found for sale at Hammacher Schlemmer.

For only $12,000 you could own this giant Scrabble set that’s sure to both impress and frighten your friends. According to the website, it’s the world’s largest wall-mounted Scrabble game – one of only nine that was handmade by artist John Kahn. It even comes with giant racks for your tiles. The product blurb says that it’s “nearly 5x the size of the original” – now, I’m not sure if that man in the photo is a pixie, but it seems a lot bigger than 5x the original to me!   

Anyways, you can read more about this interactive work of art at the Hammacher Schlemmer website here. Although if you’re like me – closer to the floor than the ceiling – then you might need to consider a step-ladder to make sure that those triple word scores are still within reach. Cos I reckon it’d be so much sweeter to beat your opponent with a giant triple word than a normal triple word. Game on.

11 Comments »

Really short films

I love movies. From the classics, to quirky arthouse films, to those sort of pathetic teeny flicks where the smart, funny girl gets the dream guy when she removes her spectacles and takes down her ponytail and OMG SHE’S STUNNING. Yep, those ones. So I really like these prints, which I found on Fab.com. Here’s the story: Cooper Blacula, named for the great typeface and even greater movie, is a print series of classic films summed up in one brief and broken sentence and typeset in Cooper Black. These posters, sold exclusively through Fab.com, are museum quality prints on enhanced matte cover stock and printed with archival inks. All posters float in a quarter inch white border. Like so…

So much more than a handyman, Mr Miyagi.

And nobody puts baby in a corner.

Who ya gonna call?

Save Ferris.

And little Drew Barrymore screams.

Oh Maverick, you’re a goose.

You can check out the range of prints at the Cooper Blacula site here. And the collection makes me realise how many more dodgy films I have yet to see!

4 Comments »

Run, Pinkies, Run

I mentioned a little a while ago that I bought some ridiculously bright pink running shoes in an attempt to run faster. After a reasonable testing period, I am thinking of writing to the manufacturer to tell them that THEIR SHOES AREN’T WORKING PROPERLY.

As a bit of background, I am not what you’d call a natural athlete. It is not a genetic gift with which the children in my family were blessed. I mean, you know, we can all walk without bumping into stuff, but we weren’t really runners or netballers or footballers or gymnasts or swimmers. My younger brother and I were t-ball players (and I don’t even know if that version of junior baseball exists anymore) and I played volleyball and a teeny bit of tennis in high school. Where the coach was the same creepy old dude that had coached my mother when she attended the same school some decades earlier, so it wasn’t exactly Wimbledon.

The Bay Run, Canada Bay in Sydney.
[Image from NSW Govt Planning & Infrastructure]

Anyways, a few years ago I started to run a bit because it seemed like the thing to do. I felt like I was still too young and too dog-less to be going for walks, and running always looked pretty cool. When I watched other people doing it, that is. I was running a few times a week for a while there (the Bay Run in Sydney was my stomping / slumping ground) and my fitness improved and I remember feeling fairly self-righteous after I exercised. But then I fell off the wagon. And the cruel thing about a long break in exercise is that it’s not like riding a bike – your body (well, at least, my body) doesn’t pick up right where it left off and say, ‘oh yeah, we’re running again – I remember this, let’s go’. Not even close.

Path to Mosman Bay.
[Image from Sydney Diary Star]

So now I’m starting again. Along a beautiful track, with my new shoes, the Pinkies, for motivation. And since I’m a bit older, I don’t want to risk getting injured or collapsing on the side of the road, so I’m following a training program called Couch to 10k. I had started with a Couch to 5k program a few years ago and I liked the gradual increase in intervals, so that the running kind of snuck up on you. And I also liked the way they encouraged you to take a day off every other day.

I found an app called 10K for Pink – it’s a free app that someone somewhere had recommended and it’s pretty good – I’m up to Week 6 of the 14 week program now. It’s great because I can just concentrate on breathing while I play my music and a lady in an upbeat voice interrupts at intervals to tell me what to do – “start running”, “start walking”, “you have one minute left” and my favourite: “start your cool down”.

If the Pinkies aren’t exactly making me faster, at least they’re super-light, which must surely mean that it’s a little easier to lift my feet. And it also means that I have no excuses when I go on a couple of trips later this year – the Pinkies will be coming with me, tucked into my suitcase and ready to run in the northern hemisphere. Since the first trip is in a few weeks, I thought I should introduce the Pinkies as (a) it will help to keep me running, now that you know and (b) they may post from their travels if they run across any everyday sparks. And if you’re thinking of running, you can check out the Couch to 10k program that I’m using here. It did seem like a good idea at the time!

15 Comments »

Nail it

I’m not really a mani-pedi kinda gal. But sometimes I see people with perfectly groomed nails and I wish I could be so dedicated. And if I were so inclined, there are certainly many ways to bring some personality to the tips of your digits through polish or decals or, you know, metallic caviar beads.

Hail the Nails in the UK sells this bizarre look, which would appear equally at home sprinkled on top of cupcakes (though these ones aren’t edible). There are a few steps to the process – painting the nails, then coating the nails, then sprinkling on the beads. This ‘metallic caviar’ is interesting, but I think I’d prefer 100s and 1000s. Maybe there’s a market for a new look: Fairy Bread Fingers. Maybe…

Or perhaps this poodle decal is more your scene. The Fog Shoppe (and yes, I do always pronounce that “Shop-ee” in my head), feature a few different breeds, so you can wear your favourite. And in case you’re a fickle kinda person whose favourite breed changes regularly, I recommend a nail decal instead of a tattoo.

Then there are these fairly creepy black spider and spider web nails from Inspired Nails. I like to think that somewhere there’s a serious, conservative corporate type prepared to don these for a Board meeting, just to see the reaction. Or the coolest paediatrician in town could impress Spiderman fans with this set.

There’s also a huge collection of Hello Kitty nail decals, if they’re your thing. And lots of moustaches, which is a craze that I still don’t quite get. And chess pieces and sporting team logos and South Park characters and spots and stripes and checks. It’s like a whole other world of fashion out there – and they’re cheap and disposable, so you can change your mind daily.

You can check out Hail the Nails here, The Fog Shoppe here and Inspired Nails here. Or just google ‘nail decals’ and prepare to be amazed. And a little bit scared.

8 Comments »

The Doctor is in…

Today I’m struggling a little for motivation and inspiration. Just a little bit blah. At such times, some people look to Tony Robbins to guide them. Or perhaps the Dalai Lama. Or even Oprah Winfrey. Not me. Dr Seuss is my go-to guy for motivation and inspiration.

And this morning I remembered a great You Tube clip that my friend Naomi showed me earlier this year. It’s a short film of my favourite book, recorded with a cast of colourful characters from the Burning Man festival in the USA last year.

I often think that I’d love to experience Burning Man just once, but am pretty sure I’d stick out like a sore thumb amongst these very cool cats…

Hope you have a great day today, on your way to the places you’ll go!

9 Comments »

Making a scene

The aim of the good folk at BluScenes is to turn your screen into a scene. Uh huh. No longer is it good enough to use your screen to, you know, watch TV and movies and stuff. Now your screen can transport you to other worlds, or create a different ambience, or add to your art collection.

For example, you purchase a Blu-ray disc of, say, a fireplace. And you play it. So a fireplace appears on the screen. And you watch it. It makes crackly noises just like a real fire, but according to the BluScenes, it avoids a “common pet peeve that we’ve experienced with some other fireplaces — the flames go “off the top of the screen.”  We designed our scenes feature the full fire.” Because if you want to watch a fake fire, then you’d better make it a full fake fire. And it’s only $19.95 and you’ll never need to chop firewood.

Or perhaps an aquarium is more your thing. Except you’re allergic to fish or you don’t like all the cleaning or you don’t have a great track record in caring for living things. Then you can choose from the Scenic or Coral Reef aquariums from BluScenes and hey presto, instant fish tank. And accompanying soothing music.

You can find more products at the BluScenes website here. And I take no responsibility if you never ever leave your house again!

2 Comments »