everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Edible Art

I’m not an artist, so I’m frequently left in awe of people with artistic talent. And when an artist uses some wacky materials in their work, so much the better, I say. Which is why I was so excited to discover the work of Malaysian artist-architect Hong Yi (nickname Red) via one of my favourite sites: designboom. One of Red’s latest projects is ’31 Days Of Creativity With Food’. Sounds good. Looks AMAHZING! Here are some of my favourites…

Hong Yi's foodie version of 'The Scream', via designboom.com

Hong Yi’s foodie version of ‘The Scream’, via designboom.com

Hong Yi's chickens, via designboom.com

Hong Yi’s chickens, via designboom.com

Now these are the kind of balloons that I like, along with Hong Yi's soy sauce people, via designboom.com

Now these are the kind of balloons that I like, along with Hong Yi’s soy sauce people, via designboom.com

Grrrr - eat your radish, carrots and prunes, says Hong Yi's tiger, via designboom.com

Grrrr – eat your radish, carrots and prunes, says Hong Yi’s tiger, via designboom.com

Incredible Oreo art by Hong Yi, via designboom.com

Incredible Oreo art by Hong Yi, via designboom.com

You can check out more great pics on the designboom site here and there are more amazing projects on Red’s official website here. Such incredible talent and imagination, I’m truly in awe.

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Bag lady designs

I like bags. And if they’re cute and clever and good for the environment, then so much the better, I say. And I’ve found these very cool canvas shopping totes on etsy, made by Pamela Fugate Designs, and I reckon they fit the bill.

Like this slightly more highbrow version of that famous Sir Mix-a-Lot quote…

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Or this, for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey. Yep, really.

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And for the bakin’ homeboy or homegirl in your life, there’s this bag.

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There’s this classic Mom/Mum bag, which I’m guessing is meant to stop any pesky children asking too many questions. But I wouldn’t recommend bringing it along to your local farmer’s market as it feels in conflict with the relaxed, organic, herbal kinda vibe. Unless of course you are the organic farmer selling your produce. In which case, you might want to sell these bags in answer to questions like, “Why does that organic clove of garlic cost $32?” or “How do you know that heirloom tomatoes are worth 500% more than regular tomatoes?” or that sort of thing.

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There’s also a range of customised wedding totes – I’m not really sure how they work though, to be honest. As a bridesmaid, I’ve never received a show bag of treats from the bride (not complaining, I have been lucky to receive much nicer gifts from the lovely brides I’ve maided for). And I’ve not been to a wedding that gave away a goodie bag instead of a small memento that you could take home in your handbag. But each to their own on their big day!

You can check out the range of bags (and shirts and baby outfits) at Pamela’s etsy shop 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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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.

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Carving up incr(edible) art.

Chef Jimmy Zhang is a genius. The founder of Art Chef Inc. graduated from the Culinary Arts Institute in China in 1989 and it’s fair to say he’s slightly obsessed with the ancient art of fruit and vegetable carving. After winning many championship titles in fruit carving competitions in China, in the late ’90s, Jimmy took his show on the road and brought his talents to California.

You can choose from private classes with Jimmy (by yourself, or with a group of knife wielding mates), a special intensive week-long course, or a general public course. Dinner parties and school lunch boxes will never be the same again as you learn how to carve up your own fruit and vegies at home.

There are different levels of classes and, to be honest, I expected the Level 1 class to maybe feature some of those apple spirals that are really tricky to cut (without using a machine). Or maybe a star cut into a potato. But no, this bouquet of flowers in a melon bowl is apparently what you can do in the Level 1 class. Uh huh.

The pics from the Level 2 class move to the animal kingdom, featuring a lot of birds and fish (and an incredible giant bloom in half a watermelon). Interestingly, the seahorses seem to be made of a fruit or vegetable that looks very much like cookies & cream icecream, which is something I’ve always dreamed of, but never managed to find. Hats off to you, Chef Jimmy!

And then there are the Level 3 classes, which, quite frankly, make the other classes look as though children had been mucking around on a primary school excursion. The slightly scary bright orange bird on a branch is surely made from the world’s largest carrot. And then there’s the intricately carved dragon. They should really just call the Level 3 classes the ShowOff classes and be done with it. Incredible stuff.

If you are inspired to start hacking into your own groceries, or if you’d like an awesome display for your next family dinner or client function, you might want to have a look at the amazing website of Art Chef Inc for more ideas. Bon appetit!

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Body of work

Wow. Wow. Wow. Gesine Marwedel is a German artist who specialises in using the human body as a canvas for her paintings. (I don’t know if that’s her in the gold frame in this photo – her website seems to suggest that it is, but it also suggests that a woman is a flamingo and a man is a tiger, so I can’t be sure.)

When I first saw these on the Laughing Squid site, I couldn’t quite believe it. I had a look at Gesine’s website, and it does seem that she also paints some more conventional pieces that would be easier to hang on a wall. But it’s her incredible bodypaintings that I wanted to show you.

Whether it’s a swan or a flamingo or a tiger or a city, I think these are just amazing. Not being even remotely artistic myself, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to paint on a canvas – nevermind on the lumps and bumps of the human body as you try to recreate a clear image like these.

And props to these poor models, who have been covered in paint and contorted into awkward shapes for the sake of art.

You can check out Gesine’s website here. And good luck if you decide to get out some paints and give it a go this weekend. Just remember that the Avatar blue of that cityscape mightn’t wash off by Monday morning…(Although if your hand was painted like a flamingo or swan head? That would be very cool.)

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Shoot the light(s) out

Even if, like me, you don’t like guns or shooting, I think you’ll agree that this is pretty cool. And you’ll like it even more if you’re cranky about electricity prices or you think desk lamps are pathetic or you enjoy threatening inanimate objects.

This lamp was recently featured on Fab.com – it’s made by the clever folk at bitplay, who apparently like to add the element of surprise to the every day. Which sounds good to me!

This is the BANG! Remote Lamp – a desk lamp with a gun shaped remote control. In a nutshell: Fire the gun to turn the light off and as the light goes out, the lampshade knocks to the side, showing that it’s been hit. To turn it back on, shoot it again and watch as the lampshade slowly rises up and turns the light back on at the same time.

But if that’s not clear enough for you, the website helpfully provides a graphic to explain further…

Aha! The lamp retails for around $300, but is not widely available at this stage.  If you’re in the market for a lamp or a gun, why not combine the two with a BANG! (Remote lamp).  You can check it out here.

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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!

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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!

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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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