Posted in WWWhat?

Cloning around

Imagine if there was another you – same face, same body shape, same hair colour and maybe even the same outfit and accessories that are your favourites. Oh the fun that You and OtherYou could have, swapping stories about what it’s like to be you, giggling at the same jokes and revelling in your shared view of the world. And look, if that OtherYou can’t actually speak, well, perhaps that’s even better. Which is where a Japanese cloning factory (the ‘Clone Factory’) comes to the party.

Say hello, ladies.  [Image from DesignTaxi]
Say hello, clone ladies.
[Image from DesignTaxi, original from culturejapan.jp]
I read about this in the DesignTaxi newsletter – apparently the Factory takes lots of photos from many different angles and then uses 3D printing technology to create OtherYou. And OtherPet, if you don’t find that too close to taxidermy. As you can see from these pics, the result is a little creepy, with an eerily lifelike face. Apparently, lots of women are using the Factory to clone themselves on their wedding day or some other foxy looking day, to preserve it for eternity. But I reckon when you’re a wrinkly old lady, riddled with arthritis and with your best years in the rear vision mirror, the last thing you’d want to see all day is the smug looking OtherYou On Your Wedding Day and her perfect young face.

Lookin' good, OtherYou.
Lookin’ good, OtherYou.
[Image from DesignTaxi, original from culturejapan.jp]
Of course, the possibilities are endless – you could dress up OtherYou to find out what styles suit you, whether your bum really does look big in those jeans, or what you would look like as a Star Wars Stormtrooper.

Boys will be boys... [Image from DesignTaxi, original from japanculture.jp]
Boys will be boys…
[Image from DesignTaxi, original from japanculture.jp]
You could also put OtherYou in the car so that you could drive in those pesky T2 lanes that require a passenger, or perhaps send OtherYou along to an event that you’re not really keen to attend, or even set OtherYou up to take Skype calls that you’d rather avoid (pretending you’ve lost your voice). Now that I think of it, this version of personal cloning is starting to sound pretty appealing…

Posted in Sparky gifts

Hello, Dolly

Sometimes I get lost in the great online marketplace that is etsy. An email link here leads to something else there and before you know it, I’ve found this shop called Josmund from Oregon in the US of A. Josmund’s tag line is ‘miniature madness and funky finds‘ – I’d also add disturbing dollies and possibly crazy crap, but I appreciate that doesn’t necessarily have the same broad marketing appeal. Nonetheless, I wanted to share some of the madness and finds from this little etsy treasure trove with you here. And the arrangement of the pieces in these photos has a definite artistic quality, I reckon.

"Set of 7 Barbie and same size doll heads"...I do not like the way that one in the middle is looking at us...
“Set of 7 Barbie and same size doll heads”…I really do not like the way that one in the middle is looking at us…
"Doll parts"...just look at those jazz hands...
“Doll parts”…just look at those jazz hands…
"8 individual Kelly and Tommy size doll shoes"...I don't know who Kelly and Tommy are, but presume they are one legged dolls...
“8 individual Kelly and Tommy size doll shoes”…I don’t know who Kelly and Tommy are, am only guessing that they are one legged dolls…

Uh huh. You can check out the Josmund shop on etsy here, if you dare.

Posted in Sparky gifts

Beware of the Trolls

Do you remember troll dolls? Those faces that were a bit Benjamin Button-like on a small plastic body, with a crazy mop of brightly coloured hair on the top. Sort of cute, sort of scary. They popped into my head this week, so I thought I’d check out the range of trolls available on my beloved etsy. Look out…

Ah, the Troll Ballerina. Never has there been such a contradiction – the grace and beauty of ballet teamed with the slightly hideous old-troll-ness of “Belle” (a 1960s doll with pink lambswool hair). For sale at Maggie’s Klosets, along with some old army boots, jewellery and a fairly disturbing cat brooch.

This troll looks like a surfer dude (with creepy hands that look like he’s often up to no good), but he is apparently an original DAM troll doll from Denmark, made in 1980. I think that DAM is the name of the toy company, rather than a mean term for this little fella. Ah yes, a bit of troll trivia for you from the good people at Jolly Wollytrolls were originally created in 1959 by Danish fisherman and woodcutter Thomas Dam. The dolls became popular in several European countries during the early 1960s, shortly before they were introduced in the United States. I haven’t checked these facts, so please don’t complain to me if you lose points at a pub trivia night…

Now, if you’re afraid of clowns, then this could well be your worst nightmare. As if trolls weren’t scary enough, this guy has been frocked up and his vacant stare and rosy cheeks are enough to make anyone think he’s more of a Stephen King clown than a roll-up, roll-up fun sort of clown. On sale at Snap Vintage, he is another DAM troll from 1986. I know that because there is a photo of a stamp on his clubbed foot that says so.

If there’s a gym junkie in your life, or an old aerobics tragic, or someone with a withered face who likes leg warmers and leotards, this may be the troll for them. It’s a vintage Russ troll doll and it’s scary. Not sure that the face matches the body, but I think anything goes in troll world, so whatevs. This great shop Plush 26 also features this frightening troll baby. But I don’t think you should give it to any new mothers, just in case they think you’re being mean.

And the same shop sells a few other beauties that I wanted to share: the limited edition Russ “Troll around the world” from Scotland, a bonnie wee chap that makes me wonder what other nations’ trolls looked like in that collection…Or the Troll Artist (presumably from the “Career Trolls” collection to inspire kiddies to live their dreams, just like the trolls). He looks suspiciously like the Scottish troll with a different jacket, but I’m sure that there’s more to it than that.

Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to turn a little person into a troll. In that case, you can buy a knitting pattern for this troll hat from Petal Knits and whip up a creation that’s sure to scare little people and big people alike.

Whatever your style, no doubt there is a troll doll just for you. With big beady eyes, a mop of bright hair and a giant fixed smile, what’s not to love?

Posted in Arty sparks, Sparky gifts

Sock it to ’em

Sock monkeys seem to be everywhere at the moment. Well, not wandering the streets or catching buses or seeing movies, but everywhere in shops that sell cool toys. I like them a lot and think they’re a great gift for young and old alike, but they can be a bit same-same looking, without a distinct personality or style. Enter the clever people at You Make Me…Me, who sell their ‘handmade sock softies and baby books’ on my beloved Australian handmade market site MadeIt.

These are more than sock monkeys. These are movie stars. Whether you’re a fan of Star Wars, Harry Potter or a whole heap of other films, you’ll find your match here. It was this Yoda who first caught my eye – firstly, because he is a favourite beacon of wisdom in an often dreary world, and secondly, because in this incarnation he looks a little bit like a dodgy gremlin or an old man you might see in the park…

Or if Wookiees are more your thing, then here is Chewbacca in sock form. I find him almost as scary in this form as on the big screen, but since he means no harm (at least, that’s how I remember it), he’s probably a safe addition to your home security detail. 

Then there is that pesky boy wizard Harry Potter, complete with dorky glasses, scar from that failed homicide and a little wand to cast a spell on those around you. As always, I take no responsibility for whatever happens if you bring Harry into your life – that kid did get into quite a lot of trouble…

You can also get custom-made supporter sock monkeys in your team’s colours, along with a range of more traditional looking sock friends. If you’d like to brighten your life with the company of these ‘sock softies’, then check out the collection in the MadeIt shop here.

Posted in Home sparks, Sparky gifts

Great Danes

I first read about Danish label LuckyBoySunday in Frankie magazine, alongside a photo of three very cool looking chairs. So I looked at the website (yes, even though they were apparently only for children) and I was hooked. I don’t know if Danish children are more melancholic (if that’s a word) than other children, but the collections of accessories on the website would scare the crap out of most kids I know.

The creation story of LuckyBoySunday is a cute one. The idea was born “on a Sunday in August 2007” as Camilla & Camilla (yes, really) sat by a lake in Copenhagen and “shaking hands, promising each other to create our very own version of a child’s reality”. And so they did. With their focus on “silly, seriously, joyful, graphics, dreams. Yes!” they are surely on the right track. As long as your children aren’t prone to nightmares as they see their toys coming to life at night…

The collection is made of “very soft 100% baby alpaca”, which sounds a bit cruel to me. (They haven’t specified, but I presume they mean the baby alpaca’s wool.)

Anyways, the peculiar hand cushion is called Fancy Finger, for obvious reasons. And the little girl is holding Dead Buddy. Uh huh. Then there is Balthazar, the shirtless guy with the blue balaclava and his bestie Sailor Jack, who look like they’ve had a rough night at sea. Or somewhere. And then there’s the Uffie cushion – part-robber, part-anxiety and all charm. Then there are the fabulous Mr Bells, with their green and blue moustaches.

The collection is for children? Do you really think so? Either way, they have some very cool and kooky accessories and their website is well worth a visit. You can check it out here.