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 Fashion Sparks, Home sparks, Sparky gifts

Well hello, kitty

I was trying to avoid another Valentine’s Day post, but then I came across this shop in a Valentine’s Day gift collection on etsy and thought it was just kooky enough to share with you. Who knows, but your Valentine may even have four legs – no judgement here, my friend. Or perhaps your furry pal has been invited to a fancy dress party, or has a job interview or an X-Factor audition coming up. Whatever the case may be, I am tipping that this place will be able to help.

Notso Kitty is the shop, stocked with accessories created by Wendy in Boston, USA. Wendy makes a range of festive hats, glasses and headbands. For cats. In case you don’t believe me, here are some photos – the models are Wendy’s cats, Fluffy and Notso Fluffy.

And even if you’re not in the market for cat-wear, it’s always a good idea to start the week with pictures of funny looking animals, right?

Glasses for your furry Valentine.
Glasses for your furry Valentine.
O'Kitty all ready for St Patrick's Day.
O’Kitty all ready for St Patrick’s Day.
Good ol' pumpkin head, ready for Halloween.
Good ol’ pumpkin head, ready for Halloween.
The cat in the (royal) hat.
The cat in the (royal) hat.

And I have nothing more to add. Inspired? You can check out Notso Kitty on etsy here.

Posted in Sparky gifts

Special gift ideas for your Valentine

Now that the festive season is out of the way, it’s time to move on to the next exploitable holiday in the calendar – Valentine’s Day. Now let me just state for the record that, even though I don’t have a Valentine (waaa waaa), I still think that the idea of celebrating love and giving thoughtful trinkets is a fabulous thing. But, I fear that many poor saps get trapped by savvy marketers and become convinced that if you love someone, then this is the day you must step up and show them. Preferably on a grand scale and the more public the declaration of love, the better.

I do worry about those romantic fools, hoodwinked into spending too much money on questionable jewellery, giant I WUV U bears, scent-less roses that have magically tripled in price, dinner accompanied by the soothing sounds of the piano accordion. That sort of thing. Never fear though, I have scoured etsy and come up with some great gift ideas for your Valentine – gifts that won’t break the bank, cause offence or mis-spell love. You’re welcome.

Firstly, from Crafted Cookies, a pair of very cute sweet treats for Valentines. Or for police to give to criminals out on parole. Or for teachers to give the naughtiest kid in the class. Or for creepy Valentines-from-a-distance (I think the technical name is ‘peeping toms’) to give the object of their affection. It just works on so many levels.

I love you. So look out.
I love you. So look out.

I actually really like this next one, a cool necklace from A Charmed Impression. But I do have to question their chosen model in the promo pic, given its inclusion in the Valentine’s Day collection…(To be fair, Katie’s necklace does appear to feature an ‘S’ for Suri (I presume it’s not for Scientology, anyways) rather than a ‘T’ for Tom.)

Valentine Schmalentine says Joey from Dawson's Creek.
Valentine Schmalentine says Joey from Dawson’s Creek.

And another idea that I like, but question their photo choice for the Valentine’s Day collection, comes from Jubile Jewel. They are sterling silver initial earrings, which make a lovely romantic gift for your special someone. But could result in some mis-communication or a fight if your beloved happens to be called Fred Ulrich. Or Fanny Underwood.

Not quite the romantic sentiment you were after...
Maybe not quite the romantic sentiment you were after…

Another interesting gift for your sweetheart comes from Plantables & Paper. It’s a love letter kit, which apparently provides you with 50 small cards with a typed intro on each, to get your romantic sonnets flowing. Although this one in the picture does feel more like it’s leading you to put an expiry date on it. If that’s something that you want to convey, maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t quite the time to do it. But when the time is right, if you use this card, it will definitely seem like a smoother delivery of a much nicer message. Of course, I take no responsibility if that presumption turns out to be false and you sustain an injury.

15 February 2013. At least.
15 February 2013. At least.

And I couldn’t resist sharing this personalised ceramic mug from 39 Cups. Perfect for a Valentine who’s a bit of a geek or a word-nerd. And we all know there’s nothing AT ALL wrong with that. It’s a word search, hand-painted onto a mug, with four words circled – your Valentine’s name, plus three words that describe them. Please note that each of the three descriptive words has to be 10 letters or less though, so it’s too bad if your man is really multi-faceted, or your lady is simply extraordinary. 

This mug appears to be for Ashley - a sexy & stylish skater. Uh huh.
This mug appears to be for Ashley – a sexy & stylish skater. Uh huh.

Well, that’s plenty of Valentine’s Day fodder for you right there, so I’ll stop now. But I do reserve the right to publish some more pre-Valentine’s Day posts if I discover other gifts for your consideration. Or if you find any true gems that I can share, please email me!

Posted in Home sparks, Sparky gifts, Travel sparks

Countdown to Thanksgiving

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m very lucky to be heading over to New York this week to catch up with our American family. I’m especially excited about this trip because I’m also visiting Boston (where I’ve never been before) and I’ll be with our family for Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving – we celebrate it with our family here and it’s got all the trimmings of Christmas, but with none of the pressure of gifts or rushing to join other families. Just a great excuse to get together and eat too much turkey and stuffing and desserts. Brilliant. Although it’s generally pretty warm in Sydney in November, so I’m really looking forward to a northern hemisphere Thanksgiving – hopefully the turkey/stuffing/desserts program is the same, just with an open fire crackling instead of the hum of air conditioning.

And even though it’s not about gifts, I’ve bought some festive treats from Etsy – they’re little polymer reminders that we need to count our blessings and give thanks for the great things in our lives. Made by Amy Giacomelli of SkyeArt in Colorado, these are pumpkins with a message.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day crappy stuff – bills to pay, people getting sick, jobs wearing us down, people being freaking annoying, rainy days, late buses, difficult homework, shoe sales where size 7.5 always sells out too fast, neighbours who spy through the windows, cholesterol, car troubles, money troubles, boy/girl troubles…

So I’m hoping that these little pumpkins will sit there all year ’round as a reminder to stop and notice the good stuff. Like Sour Cherry Slurpees, family and friends, magpies who nest near your apartment but don’t attack you, solving cryptic crossword clues, funny work mates, ice cream on a hot day, smiles from strangers as you pass them on the street, gardenias blooming in the garden. Things like that.

Hope you can look around and find many things to give thanks for too – with or without the little pumpkins as reminders.

Posted in Sparky gifts, WWWhat?

EverydaySparks. Gangnam style.

I’m always amazed by how quickly the market can respond to trends. Not the stock market, but the market for clothing and accessories that are quickly produced and often sold cheaply to take advantage of something that’s very now. And since now can be so fleeting – yesterday’s “Team Aniston” t-shirt is tomorrow’s rag for dusting – I am in awe of people and companies who can produce trend-based products, getting in and out of the market before people move onto the next big thing.

And the current ‘big thing’ seems to be that South Korean rapper/dancer/jockey PSY and his song Gangnam Style. The song was released in July this year and it seems to be spreading around the world. And, like a fluffy koala that bites you, or a delicious apple with a worm in it, this song seems cute and innocent at first, but progresses quickly to SUPER ANNOYING on the richter scale. Yes, that is a measure on the richter scale.

I knew it had gone too far when I saw Australia’s Today show this morning – they crossed to a school playground full of little kids dancing around to Gangnam Style. On the face of it, I say good on them for dancing – getting away from their ipods and high sugar cereals and torturing passengers on public buses. But there’s something kinda creepy about 6 year olds shouting along to the song, “HEEEEY, SEX-Y LAY-DEEEEE” and making strange moves that must be mimicking the video clip. Still, I think most of the other words are in Korean, so I guess they can’t be blamed for going with what they know. Although I do like that one of the kids at my niece’s school has changed those words to, “Heeeey, steak and gra-vy”. Much more age appropriate, sonny.

Anyways, if you want to impress your friends and family with your very own Gangnam style, check out these finds from etsy – I couldn’t believe the range of options. But you’d better get in quick, as there’s probably an obscure rapper/dancer/jockey from a tiny village in Botswana putting the finishing touches on his latest dance hit and getting ready to launch it to the world…

Only $9.99 for this Gangnam Style bow tie from TessaROXX.
I feel like there is a giant “Keep Calm” factory out there somewhere, cranking the handle day & night to produce more “Keep Calm And…” products. This one is from appleholic.
For a trendy baby. Not sure what the deal is with the pearls though, but whatevs. This is from Sassy Kat Boutique.

And I just found this shop – Impressive Steps. You can customise flip flops with your own message, so that you can leave a trail of advertising, or messages of love, or just plain nonsense across the beach.

Taking it to the beach. Gangnam Style. From iStep.

And if you have no idea what this Gangnam Style is all about, here’s the You Tube clip that started all the madness. And fuelled an industry producing heaps of stuff with a very short shelf life. Which is surely another topic for another day…