Stuff I see, which you might not.

Faux Fashion

Another fab.com find today – this time, one for the fashionistas. Well, not quite. They’re clothes, sure, but they’re a little bit different and most certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Faux Real make ‘photorealistic apparel’. Uh huh. According to their website, Faux Real shirts are for people who ‘want to stand out from the everyday fashion crowd’. When a normal t-shirt just doesn’t cut it anymore, you might need to upgrade to a Faux Real ‘outfit’ t-shirt instead. I can’t really tell you any more, I need to show you some of the pics from the website for you to see for yourself…

Look out, little ladies. It's the Faux Real 70's vest for toddlers.

Look out, little ladies. It’s the Faux Real 70’s vest for toddlers.

From the bassinet to the boardroom, this Faux Real romper suit shows that your baby means business.

From the bassinet to the boardroom, this romper suit shows that your baby means business.

Surely every man needs a faux bacon suit. Surely.

Surely every man needs a faux bacon suit. Surely.

And here's the 'Beauty Queen' shirt for the ladies. BYO kooky glasses.

And here’s the ‘Beauty Queen’ shirt for the ladies. BYO kooky glasses.

But this one really baffles me - a faux camping shirt. Should be perfect for the Camino.

But this one really baffles me – a faux camping shirt. I’m getting one for the Camino.

You can check out these and other very quirky shirts at the Faux Real website here.


Willing Andable

Launched in Sydney earlier this month, Andable is a new online marketplace to buy and sell unique products. But that’s not all. Their motto is: When you buy, we share – and they donate 10% of each purchase price to help fund a Kiva micro loan. (If you’re not familiar with Kiva’s ‘loans that change lives’, you can check out their website here.) But that’s not all. The Andable site uses a classification system – FRESH – for sellers to mark their products as Fair Trade (or better business practises); Reborn (recycled, upcycled, found objects); Eco-friendly; Supports local business; and/or Handmade. And they sell some cool stuff – from art to clothing to beauty products to accessories to homewares to baby toys.

If you or someone you know has a sweet tooth, but is trying to kick the sugar habit, this might be just the thing – the Strawberry ‘n’ Cream Pendant by Minnette. Handmade in Adelaide, Australia, Minnette’s range also includes jelly babies, raspberries and milk bottles. Just make sure that everyone understands that they’re not real – they’re resin.

Still on the sweet theme, Sophie Farquhar of Bed Toppings in Byron Bay makes amazing sheet sets for kids (little and big). Apparently, Sophie created her range in response to the boring and predictable bed linens that were available in most stores. As a child, Sophie dreamt of sleeping on a giant piece of toast with tin spaghetti doona and buttered sheets. I love this chocolate block sheet set – very Willy Wonka.

And in keeping with the FRESH principles, Marlandia doesn’t sell ordinary footwear – these items have been made in Brazil, from recycled materials, by local women in the slums (favela). Teaching women sewing skills and empowering them to make a living from their craft, this is an inspiring business model. And these shoes will help you to run like a cheetah. (I just made that bit up – it’s not actually specified in the product blurb.)

So, although it’s early days for this new online venture, I have high hopes for Andable. As someone who is always on the lookout for different and interesting gifts, these are made even better by the focus on FRESH and the support of microfinance projects through Kiva. Win-win. Or, as that wise manager Jerry Maguire once said: Help me help you. You can check out the range of gifts at the new Andable site here.


Dress to impress

There are times when a normal dress just won’t cut it. When you want to stand out from the crowd and need an outfit that tells a story. Or, in the case of these frocks, an outfit that yells LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME.

Take this dress, recently featured on Design Taxi. It’s made out of 50,000 gummy bears and apparently takes the strength of three adults to move it. By the looks of her, that model wouldn’t be much help with moving the gown – in fact, she should probably sneak a few rows of bears from around the hem line.

Or perhaps this bread suit from Lux Fashion Style would be just the ticket to make a strong impression in your workplace. As long as your workplace isn’t somewhere with a lot of hungry birds flying around. And please exercise caution if you sit very close to someone who is gluten intolerant. Or on the Atkins diet.

Speaking of carbs, here’s a pretty delicious frock featured on the Delish site – it’s made of spaghetti, set off with a dazzling necklace of meatballs. Perfect for a dinner party or night out on the town.

And not to forget the boys – here’s another outfit featured on Lux Fashion Style. The top looks as though someone threw a compost bin on the poor model, but the waffle pants are fashion gold. Practicality doesn’t matter a jot when you look this good.

You can check out the gummy bear dress on Design Taxi here. And the Lux Fashion Style post is here. And the edible outfits from Delish are here. EverydaySparks takes no responsibility for any accidents or incidents or broken relationships caused by you getting inspired and creating your own culinary couture. I’m planning a three-course outfit: a layered lasagne dress with a little bruschetta jacket, accessorised with some tiramisu shoes. What about you?


The Cat in the Hat(s)

A while back, I reported on the interesting range of knitted hats for pug dogs, available from an etsy shop (the post is here, if you missed it). The photos made me laugh, mostly because of the expressions on the poor dog model’s little face. I think he felt embarrassed, but soldiered on like a true professional. I now think I have found his feline equivalent – modelling for the etsy shop To Scarborough Fair. Here are some of the highlights…

This Native American inspired costume features a wig made of yarn, traditional headband and a real feather. Attached with a “comfortable elastic cord”, this costume is sure to impress even the coolest cats in the neighbourhood. And perhaps it will encourage a dialogue on the history of the Native American people (and cats) and promote a deeper understanding of their culture. Or perhaps it will just look totally awesome, and that will be enough.

Or you might like this artistic and slightly mysterious looking cat beret. For the sophisti-cat who enjoys a cafe au lait and croissant every now and again, whilst reading sad poetry and staring longingly into the distance. Ooh la la.

If your cat is more of a rule-following, early-rising, bossy-boots control freak, this Marine Captain hat might be just the ticket. Lesser cats (and possibly humans) will fall into line under the command of Cap’n Cat – just look at the expression of the cat in the photo: she means business. Aye aye, kitty.

And for the final image, I couldn’t decide between the Halloween themed witch’s hat or the beautiful spring hat. So here they are – whether your cat needs a scary costume for a party (or to stand up to that neighbourhood bullying dog) or a pretty spring hat to wear to the races or a garden party, this etsy shop will have a cap that fits.

If you now realise your cat is underdressed and needs to step it up a notch in the fashion stakes, or if you just want to look at more funny pictures of cats in hats, then you should definitely check out To Scarborough Fair here.


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.


Green sleeves

The Ecouterre website is all devoted to the future of sustainable fashion design. And there are some very interesting things there. I tend to use the word ‘interesting’ a lot when I am not sure of the right word to use to properly articulate my thoughts. And so I present to you this interesting fashion innovation: Egle Cekanaviciute’s Plant-Filled Couture Doubles As Wearable Planters. Uh huh. There are so many puns that I could insert here, but I’ll limit it to one true thought: I wasn’t sure at first, but the idea is growing on me.

I have previously written about wearable planters as necklaces in the early days of this blog, here. So I’m not opposed to the idea. I mean, why shouldn’t we use our empty pockets and otherwise pointless jacket sleeves to grow plants?

Peckish on the bus? Break off some basil from the herb garden at your elbow, whip out the tomato slices in your shoe & the mozarella in your handbag – hello, Caprese salad on the go! Or if the person next to you in a meeting has not-so-fresh breath, you could offer them a mint leave from the patch at the back of your frock.

And every bride wants to look her best from all angles – why not have a bouquet at the front and an ivy plant climbing up your back? Not sure how you’d sit down or avoid birds and bugs getting up close and personal with you on your special day, but I just put the ideas out there – you can work out the details.

You can see more of the Lithuanian designer’s wares here. Just in time for planting bulbs if you’re in the southern hemisphere…keep an eye out for me around Sydney in a few months in my daffodil jacket and hyacinth trousers…


Let’s ear it for cuffs

There’s a lot about fashion that I don’t understand. The whole concept of ‘ear cuffs’ would be an example of something that I just don’t get. They sound painful, like you’re punishing your ears for doing something wrong. But they must be popular, as there are 159 pages of them on etsy. (And, no, they’re not all made by the same person.)

In case you’re not familiar with ear cuffs either, they are different to conventional earrings, as they wrap around bits of your ear without piercings. So you can easily swap to a different ear cuff to suit your mood. I have provided a selection for you to consider here. And may I say, it has been kinda creepy to look at so many photos of ears – not our prettiest feature, that’s for sure.

I call the first cuff, “Wait, can you hear a peacock?” and it is made by Anna in London. For $31 you can buy your own and freak people out as you wait at the bus stop. Or you might prefer the spiky cuff that Anna has for sale for $18 – this one would come in handy if you are trying to tone down your punk rocker look at work (or if you are trying to convince people you are actually part-human, part-machine).

And then there is this gold number, apparently inspired by the movie Labyrinth and made by ravenevejewelry in Detroit. To my uncultured eye, it appears that a fancy bird has taken up residence on this lady’s ear. Either that, or the aliens have vistied and are using her ear to transmit messages back to the mothership.

Or maybe you’d prefer a bronze octopus crawling on your ear, from martymagic in Santa Cruz. I’m just not sure how comfortable it would be to have those tentacles tickling your ear all day and am sure your Granny would try to bat it away as with any other eight legged creature crawling on your ear. Eeeeek.

But I think my favourite would have to be this black & white feathered number by Mariya in Russia. It’s pricey at $90, but will surely keep you cool in summer and if anyone wants to start an impromptu badminton game, unclip the cuff and away you go.

With Mother’s Day coming up in many parts of the world, I’m sure it goes without saying that any of these would make a great gift for the mothers and grandmothers in your life. And I reckon you shouldn’t limit the cuff’s potential by explaining where it is meant to go – hours of fun as Mum and Granny Mac smile politely and try to work out if they’ve been given a brooch or a duster or some sort of new ipod accessory… You’re welcome!


It’s a shoe-in

I like shoes. Not as much as Imelda Marcos and Carrie Bradshaw, to be sure, but I do appreciate a nice pair of kicks. I’m not fancy – they don’t need to cost a bzillion designer dollars or elevate me to dizzy heights. And the quirkier the better, I say. Well, that’s what I used to say, ’til I stumbled across Robert Tabor’s shoes on trendhunter.com. Like this cherry pie shoe with a forked heel.

I dug a little deeper and it turns out that Mr Tabor doesn’t really design shoes – he designs “fantasy shoe creations” or “shoe sculptures”. I think that’s code for shoes-so-crazy-not-even-Lady-Gaga-would-wear-them.

From the sandwich thongs (or jandals or flip flops, if you prefer), to the shoe made with hair (relax, it’s synthetic), to the Chinese dragon, to the aqua fish, these shoes scream Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Well, that or Important Meeting at Work. Or Parent-Teacher Night at School.

Granted, most of these boots aren’t really made for walkin’, more for decorating the hall table, but I do think that hair shoe looks kinda comfortable. And I have a red handbag that I think could work well with the dragon heels (it’s the Dragon’s year in 2012, after all). With a plain black dress or suit, of course.

If you would like to brighten up your shoe collection or just marvel at the many shoes of Robert Tabor, you can view the Trendhunter post here or the designer’s website here.


The Family That Crochets Together…

…stays together? Amen to that, Daddy-o.

I am very fortunate to have had a really happy childhood. And I remember that crocheted garments were definitely a part of that childhood. Lately though, I have been wondering how much better my childhood could have been if someone had bought the Patons Crystal Family Crochet patterns and got to work on the Jumpers, Cardigans, Suit, Vest and Singlets. (Uh huh, a crocheted Suit.)

But maybe it’s not too late! For less than $4 on etsy, you can get your hands on these patterns and make sure your family is the best dressed in town. People won’t be able to tell if you’re being retro or ironic or, like, totally hip, groovy and fashion forward. And I really want to wear that crocheted suit to work (although am guessing it wouldn’t be quite the thing for a rainy day). If only to get the look of appreciation that Crochet Daughter is giving Crochet Mom in the black and white photo here…

With seven different patterns for men, women and children, you can crochet your way to family happiness in no time. But don’t limit it to your family – this crocheted goodness should surely be shared with colleagues, neighbours and random strangers on the bus. Stitch it up with this collection, or one of the many other foxy patterns from SparrowFinds.


Geek Chic

I first saw a version of these amazing Keyboard Slippers on the Inventor Spot site and thought they were pretty cool. Well, cool mightn’t be quite the right word. The original slippers are made by Kito in Thailand and you can get lots of different coloured foot straps: black, yellow, red, orange, brown or dark blue (depending on which of your geek chic outfits you want to match). Launched early last year, the Kito originals cost about $30 and are shipped worldwide from Thailand.

But, as with most good ideas, there is another version of keyboard sandals that are, no surprise, made in China (by a company with a very cool name: A-Yaya). They are priced at under $2 per pair. Which I guess might mean that the Enter key will stick and Ctrl-Alt-Delete won’t actually work. But I’m sure that you can still lose crumbs and eyelashes and cups of coffee between the keys, just like the real thing.

I don’t know your politics on global markets, so whether you want to check out the pricier (but original and brighter coloured) Kito shoes or the Chinese knock-offs, I’m sure that both types will massage your feet as you walk around. Which is more than you can say for your keyboard at work. If you are after the perfect gift for the nerd in your life (especially if that nerd is you), the Kito retailer is here.