everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Whistle While You Walk

This isn’t really a book club, I just wanted to show you this excerpt from the book I’m currently reading on how to pack for the Camino de Santiago. I hadn’t expected there to be so much to learn about the topic, but it’s quite a long book. Like a lot of the reading I’ve done about the Camino, it’s super-informative, but parts of it are slightly disturbing.

Sounds like a plan.

Sounds like a plan.

Just look at that dude on the cover, trotting along the Way, with a little bird helping lift the burden of his (already tiny) backpack. Happy days on the Camino, yes? Well, not every day, if page 106 of this book is to be believed. I’m off to buy a whistle. Or a high-tech sound device.

Yikes.

Yikes.

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A real bed head

I noticed these on a recent Fab.com sale and thought they needed to be shared. Strictly speaking, they’re not works of art, they’re beds. But with a difference – these beds are made out of GIANT ANIMALS. Uh huh. According to their website, the people at Incredibeds are trying to encourage children to sleep in their own beds, rather than in with their parents or out on the lounge or up in a treehouse, I guess. I’m just not sure that dressing a little person’s bed in a giant bear or dog or pink cat, complete with giant paws, is the way to go…I mean, I’ve seen Gremlins, I know just what happens when seemingly cute, innocent, furry things go rogue…

The Floppy Dog (and friend)

Pinky Petunia Kitty Cat (yes, really)

Fuzzy Brown Bear “appears sleeping WITH EYES REMOVED”.

T-Rex Dinosaur. With Teeth.

As always, I just put the ideas out there for you to consider. Perhaps you know a little person who would like to sleep in the jaws of a dinosaur every night, or be cradled by a giant brown bear that has had its eyes removed, or a fairly suspicious looking pink cat. Or maybe your inner child is crying out for a bed like this. Whatever, you can check out more about these beds at the Incredibeds website here. Good night & sweet dreams…And good luck…

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Happy Shark Week!

I like to think that I’m a woman of the world and I know what’s going on…which is why I can’t believe that until yesterday I hadn’t heard of Shark Week. You probably already know all about it, but just in case you’re like me and have missed this festival in previous years, here’s a brief update. Shark Week started back in 1988 – it’s a creation of the Discovery Channel and is essentially a week-long series of TV shows about sharks. Apparently, it was developed to help the average person have a greater respect for sharks. And it’s now broadcast in over 72 countries. Uh huh.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Shark Week and the peeps at the Discovery Channel marketing machine have gone all out. In addition to the usual souvenir DVDs, books and t-shirts, you can also buy a heap of other wacky gear to show that you’re a friend of the sharks. Like this hat, for example.

Foam Fin Hat from the Shark Week Store

Or these cupcakes, custom-made in a Georgetown bakery. The toppers show a logo or a shark or A LONE HAND STICKING UP FROM THE OCEAN OF ICING. Not sure that image is helping the sharks’ cause, to be honest.

DC Cupcakes from the Shark Week Store

And then there’s this hoodie t-shirt (for adults and for kids) – if you hold your arms like you’re giving yourself a hug, you can scare the life out of people around you. Nothing says Happy Shark Week like a giant set of chompers headed your way.

Shark Week Hoodie from the Shark Week Store

Finally, here’s the ultimate Shark Week accessory for your canine companion – a Hammerhead Shark Pet Costume. It doesn’t seem quite right to me, but hey, anything goes in Shark Week!

Pet Costume from the Shark Week Store

So, I wish you and yours a very happy Shark Week. If you’d like to learn more about this Week, you can check out the Discovery Channel website here or head straight to the Shark Week Store to stock up on goodies here. A word of warning – when I checked, the website went straight to an auto-play video with a very scary voice over very scary music, “Deep beneath, a pre-dat-or is lurking…” Eeeeek – Happy Shark Week!

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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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Snappy dressin’ cats (and dogs)

I do like a portrait of an animal in clothes. There’s something about a cleverly matched animal head with a human’s outfit that makes me giggle every time. So, I was delighted to find Heather Mattoon Art on etsy – any shop whose promise is simply, “CATS AND DOGS IN CLOTHES” is alright by me. Here are some of my favourites…

This is George. Apparently, George is quiet, loves science, especially quantum theory, and feels that doctors should be more forthcoming with health advice despite the influence of the pharmaceutical companies.

And Cooper. Cooper is a deep thinker, his thoughts are profound. He walks alone from coffee shop to coffee shop carrying his journal.

Or Henry. Henry is not yet a teenager but likes to hang around the older crowd to feel a little bit cooler. He is wearing his favorite onesie pajamas.

But if dogs are more your thing… Stewart, oh Stewart, such a good natured boy. He enjoys very much organizing community meetings to raise awareness of societal issues. He provides all of the snacks as well.

Then there’s Theo. Theo lives in North Carolina in a newly remodeled home. He confuses people with his ironic sense of humor…he is what some people call a hipster.

And Sven. Sven spends his days looking after his grandmother. She lets him take her scooter to the shops. He is saving up for a motorcycle but right now he enjoys the Vespa.

Love your work, Heather Mattoon. If you’d like to check out more of Heather’s fabulous prints and originals, they are here.

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Puppy love

When you live in an apartment, it’s not always possible to have a dog or cat. A real, live dog or cat, at least. But that leaves plenty of options for fake furry friends – they’re low maintenance, cuddly and look cool on your lounge or bed (without leaving any hair behind). If you’re in the market for a new pretend pet, then consider Cuore (it’s Italian for ‘heart’) your online pet shop. Made by Mika in California, these cute dogs with a quirky back story could be your new best friends…

Here’s Boris, the English Bulldog. Apparently, Boris lives in Tacoma, Washington. His favorite activity is eating – especially molasses doggie treats, and he loves to chase plastic balls with his buddy, Oliver the Cat!

And then there’s Lola, the Boston Terrier. According to the website, Lola is deaf, loves to eat apples and likes to head-butt guests. You’ve been warned.

I know he’s not a dog, but Grayson the Fox needs to be part of this post too. A nomad who travels the world, Grayson loves to munch on pretzels and peanut butter, and dance to soul music. He has an amazing sixth sense for good people, and loves to study astrology and universal law.

Billie Jean the Chihuahua is a performing dog from Indiana. Billie Jean travels the world in her one-dog show, performing everything from the moonwalk to singing Michael Jackson covers. On her down time, she loves to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, and relax with doggie yoga.

And then there’s my favourite – Barbeque the Dachshund. Barbeque lives in Chicago and is a stand-up comedi-dog. Apparently, his favorite foods are corn dogs, and he loves to play Uno with his other dog buddies.

For these and lots more cute felt pets, you can check out the Cuore shop on etsy here.

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Hats off, dogs

Look, I’m no Dr Doolittle or Cesar Milan (I think that is the Dog Whisperer guy’s name), and yes, my own dog Goldie is in fact made of synthetic fibres. But even I can work out what the pug dog in this picture is saying. He is saying SAVE ME. This ‘custom snuggly dog hat’ is knitted by a lady in America, who has a shop on etsy dedicated to dog hats of various styles, colours and levels of humiliation.

From the mildly disturbing football-fan look on the left to the Parisienne style modelled on the right, this shop has a fabulous collection of photos that are just waiting to be made into a coffee table book. (Honestly, I found it hard to choose the pics for this post – there is an aviator hat complete with knitted goggles, a piglet hat and a flower child hat, to name just a few.) I know that people love their dogs (or ‘fur children’ as they are sometimes called), but I’m not sure that this is the way to show your affection for your pooch. Although maybe I’m totally wrong and there are fierce walk-offs at dog parks all over the world, with fashionista pups strutting down the (ahem) catwalks, vying for the attention and approval of other dogs and their ‘fur-less parents’. Maybe dogs love fashion as much as some humans and maybe they also like to look glamorous while keeping their heads warm. Maybe.

But I suggest that the Punk Rock Mohawk Hat is a step too far. Although, I shouldn’t judge – maybe dogs love robbing banks and starting fires and punching on in riots as much as some humans. In which case, when you stock up on this balaclava-esque hat for your fur child, you might want to check out the range of doggie suits for the Court date that surely awaits…

Jessica’s knitted hats for pugs (how’s that for a niche market?!) are on etsy and her shop is definitely worth a look. Even if you don’t have a (real) dog.

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Doggone

If you’ve read my post Walk on By, then you’ll know that I don’t have a problem with fake dogs. In fact, my Ikea dog Goldie is one of my best mates. Which may say more about me and my life than it does about Goldie, but I’ll save that analysis for another time. Anyways, I think that fake animals are great and there should be more of them – whether you’re after fake company, fake walking pals, or fake protectors to guard your home, fake it up, I say.

Which is why I was delighted to find a very talented fake animal maker (NB, that’s not her official job title) on the etsy website. Excited at the thought of adding to my fake pet collection and providing a fake pal for Goldie, I thought these amazing, life-like dogs were too good to be true. I could put these two out as guard dogs and they would definitely keep the possums away. And if I wire up an MP3 player with a growling dog soundtrack on repeat play, then seeya, annoying neighbourhood kids! My mind started to wander, full of possibilities for these “I can’t believe it’s not butter” canine equivalents. Perfect looking and no maintenance – surely the recipe for any great relationship… I would call them Snowy and Snowi and we would go on walks, relax in the sun, read the Saturday paper and generally pal around like an episode of Lassie. (Or Neighbours, before the untimely end of dear old Bouncer.)

And the product title on etsy specifically says LARGE Size Pet Sculpture. Yes, with large written in capital letters, wouldn’t you think that would mean life-size pups and all of the good times I dreamed of in the above paragraph? Well, hold your LARGE horses, people. Contain your shock as you look at this next photo. And see why my vision for a life with Snowy and Snowi vanished in an instant.

If you are more forgiving than me, other LARGE size pet sculptures are made by FeltedFuzzies.

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Walk on by

I like to walk (and run, on a good day) around my neighbourhood. It’s a nice part of town, near the water and lots of trees, so there is a lot to be happy about when out and about here. But you wouldn’t know it, judging from the faces of my fellow walkers and runners. In 40 minutes, I can pass around 50 people on this well-walked path and I reckon about 3 of them will respond to my smile or greeting. (NB, this doesn’t include tourists, who are often so jet-lagged that they will say hello to a tree.) Granted, I may look a little bit like a beetroot in a hat and activewear, but surely it wouldn’t kill people to smile back and keep walking? I mean, it’s not like I ask open-ended questions as we pass, in the hopes of building a lifelong friendship. No needy cries of, “Good morning! How ’bout that Greek economy, hey?” or, “Can I just tell you a bit about Joseph Kony?” or even, “Nice day, isn’t it? ISN’T IT?” Just a smile and a sort of nod and maybe a ‘hello’ if eye contact is made.

But then I realised what I need to get conversation flowing – a dog. Size doesn’t matter, as there are little dogs and big dogs making friends on behalf of their owners everywhere I look. Whether it’s the polite, “ooohhh, isn’t she cute?” to one of those tiny designer dogs in a little corduroy vest (it’s that kind of area – I swear some of the dogs smoke pipes too) or, “wow! hello! look at you!” to a very ugly but large dog with sharp teeth (or a very ugly but large owner with sharp teeth). Dog people talking to dog people, while the dogless just walk on by – smiling goofishly into the breeze.

So, tomorrow, I’m bringing my dog with me. It should be interesting – his name is Goldie and he cost $13.95 from Ikea a few years ago. But he’s cute and furry and as long as the other dogs don’t get too close, I think it’s a foolproof plan…

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