Posted in Home sparks, Sparky gifts

Living large

I first came across Living Royal when they were on sale at Fab.com. Apparently, they started an online quirky gift shop in a Chicago basement and have now grown to sell clothes and other stuff (and they have moved out of the basement). Here are some of their wackier products, in case you are looking to add a little spark to your home or workplace, or you need a gift for a peculiar friend…

Love the smell of freshly toasted bread and wish you could take it everywhere with you? Well, you’re in luck – forget your old citrus or alpine scented air fresheners, here is one that smells like toast. Hang it up in your car, home or office and smell the toasty goodness. We all know it’s a fine line between ‘toasted’ and ‘burnt’, but I’m guessing the toast-chemicals in this product make it smell just right. Please note: EverydaySparks takes no responsibility for weight gain associated with the permanent state of hunger that you may encounter whilst smelling toast all day, every day.

Some people don’t like getting older or enjoying birthdays. Me, I say it’s infinitely better than the alternative (and by that, I mean either death or becoming Benjamin Button), so bring on the celebrations. But if someone in your life is sensitive to the number of candles on the cake, or wants to keep their age a bit more mysterious, or is a mad Latin scholar, then you might need these. Roman numeral birthday candles. Uh huh.

Cool kids made the phrase, “Talk to the hand’ popular a while ago – but what if the hand talked back? Sure, in this case it doesn’t say some witty retort like, “You ain’t all that” (is that even an appropriate response? It was in my memory bank somewhere from a Ricki Lake episode, I think). These hands just say YES or NO. Think of how much easier they could make your life – if you have children, or if you have annoying co-workers who keep interrupting, or if you have lost your voice, or if you need to subtly give direction in a meeting but you don’t want to speak up. If you’re cranky, you could just wear the NO glove and leave it at that. Or pick one at random as a social experiment to see how it shapes your day. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea – probably enough to get you a reality tv show, actually.

And this last one? Well, because it’s a unicorn mask, that’s why. And not even just a lame paper-fronted, elastic-tied kind of mask. This unicorn requires commitment, as you replace your human head with that of a mythical beast to delight your family and friends. The pose of the model in this pic makes me think of the fun you could have wearing this mask around town just doing everyday things – waiting in line at the supermarket, watching a football game, sitting at the bus stop, having a picnic in a park. And like those ‘experiments’ that the dodgy current affairs shows sometimes conduct (where they dress a foxy chick as a homeless person, or in a fat suit, or in dark glasses, to see if they get treated differently by passers-by), I wonder if people would be kind to UnicornMan?

Have you seen something here for yourself or someone you like? Or maybe something for someone you dislike? Whatever your motivation, you can find all this wacky goodness and more at the Living Royal online store here.

Posted in Arty sparks, Musical sparks

Hip Hop Hooray

A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I love hip hop music. I am whiter than most white people (thanks to my Irish genes), can’t really dance, don’t like a lotta bling, and I’m not really very street-wise, but for some reason I love hip hop. Not all of it, but a lot of it. Maybe it’s because I love words and people who are clever with words (and by that I don’t mean people who can only rhyme ‘ho’ with ‘blow’, or ‘cop’ with ‘pop’). There are some brilliant hip hop lyrics, aside from the trashy sexist, racist, violent stuff that you often hear about. And a very cool design studio in Chicago – Orange Beautiful – has produced a series of prints based on some famous lyrics. This first series features an ‘Ice’ connection. I found them via Fab.com and I like them alot…

All right, stop – collaborate and listen. Vanilla Ice, or Robert Van Winkle as he was known to his family, is credited with releasing the first single that brought hip hop into the mainstream (entering the Billboard music charts when it was released in 1989/90). It was Ice Ice Baby and it was a massive hit (and a guilty pleasure for many people who were too embarrassed to admit that they were hooked by Vanilla Ice and his catchy tune). So many memorable lines, but Orange Beautiful have chosen to immortalise: Anything less than the best is a felony. Words to live by, for sure.

Then there’s Ice Cube – a giant of hip hop who has also had success in film and tv (production and acting). Ice Cube should not be confused with Ice T, another hip hop legend who now plays a detective Law and Order: SVU. Orange Beautiful have picked the only lyrics that I think are fit for framing from Ice Cube’s Check Yo Self – sound advice for anyone you know who is maybe hitting life a little too hard: You better check yo self before you wreck yo self.

And to finish on a more deep and meaningful note, here is a print of Ice T’s lyrics from Don’t Hate the Playa, a graphically worded song that’s a twist on the footballing/life expression, ‘play the ball, not the man’: Don’t hate the playa, hate the game. They could also have used another classic line from that song, some financial advice from Ice T: If you out for mega cheddar, you got to go high risk. Maybe next series. (As an aside, the styling of this photo from the Fab website makes me laugh.)

You can check out these limited edition prints from Orange Beautiful on sale at Fab.com here as they’re not yet on the Orange Beautiful website (or their etsy shop) here. Peace out.

Posted in WWWhat?

Celebrating 100 sparks

Well, today marks the 100th post on EverydaySparks. I must confess to being pleasantly surprised that I am still going, and still as fond of blogging as I was when I began back in February. I started writing a blog because I wanted to force myself to write – after being to a number of writing classes over the years and secretly dreaming of a life as a freelance writer, I thought it was time to see if I could actually commit to writing on a regular basis. Albeit writing only a few hundred words about something nonsensical that I had discovered on my virtual travels and thought was worth sharing…

I didn’t want to write long, thoughtful and introspective posts about my life – other people do that and I applaud them for their honesty and ability to write about their daily lives. That kind of writing is not what I was interested in, though – probably due to a combo of wanting to maintain my privacy and also not having a particularly dramatic life story! And if I may go a bit herbal for a minute, I have also been trying to move further away from the negativity of news media and politics (and reality tv), which is all doom and gloom and fighting and complaining. With all that in our faces, I just wanted this blog to be a place of silliness and lighthearted fun – a chance to share things that have made me smile (or furrow my brow in confusion) in the hope that other people might appreciate them too.

Originally, those ‘other people’ were people I know in the real world – and I thank them so much for their encouragement and support. I know how lucky I am to have such an awesome cheer squad, full of so many smart, funny, kind, thoughtful and downright cuckoo personalities. And gradually, these ‘other people’ included new friends, who I’m yet to meet in the real world, who dropped in and commented when they liked posts (and when they didn’t like posts!) and made me laugh. From here in Sydney to the USA, the UK and Europe and lots of places in between, I still find it amazing that there is this incredible virtual community of people – we wouldn’t know if we sat next to them on the bus, but we feel like we know them from their blogs. Inspiring artists, clever wordsmiths, amazing cooks, funky designers. Thank you all for making this so much fun.

A confession – I wasn’t sure how long I’d last as a blogger because I tend to get inspired by something and then get bored and move on to some new passion (sometimes before I even actually start the first thing). Like today, when I borrowed my Mum’s sewing machine (because that’s the new thing I want to do) and she casually said, “Oh, as I got it out, I found that bag of wool and needles from when you wanted to learn how to knit”. Mum, that was soooo three years ago, now I’m all about the sewing. Except when I’m all about the card making. Or the bag making. Or the chocolate making. You get the idea. So, I’m surprised and kinda pleased that I still find blogging fun and enjoyable. And other people seem to like EverydaySparks, which is a nice cherry on top of the sundae. (I also went through an ice cream making phase last year.)

Anyways, thanks for indulging this ramble as EverydaySparks hits 100. Special thanks to those of you who have commented and liked my posts, or provided ideas and inspiration, or who write blogs that keep me coming back. My Dad still asks a question that I can’t really answer, “But, HOW DID THEY FIND YOU?” I don’t know, but I’m glad that they did. (For the record, my Dad also still asks “But, WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY DO?” in relation to my career. But that is probably another post for another time.) Thank you to etsy and fab.com for hosting the main sources of inspiration for this blog – there are some incredibly talented people around the world, as well as some incredibly strange people around the world, which keeps EverydaySparks ticking over with new finds.

Here’s to the next 100!

Posted in Home sparks, Sparky gifts

There’s a creature in my cup

I first saw these Creature Cups, made by Yumi Yumi in Brooklyn, on etsy a few months ago. I wanted to write about them, because they are a little bit different to your standard mug. But then the etsy shop disappeared and I could find no trace of Yumi Yumi or her Creatures.

Until they appeared on sale recently at Fab.com and I realised that Yumi Yumi (I’ll keep using both Yumis as I’m not actually sure if it’s a person’s name or a shop) has become bigger than etsy (imagine that!) and started a website to share these cool mugs with the world.

Whether you need a unique housewarming gift, have a friend who’s a vet or a zookeeper, or just want to scare your visitors by serving their coffee in cups filled with creatures, this may be the collection for you. Featuring an alligator, octopus, sea otter and lobster, these Creature Cups are sure to liven up your morning coffee. And I’d keep my eye on that lobster – he looks like he’s planning an escape…

You can check out the Creature Cups here.

Posted in Arty sparks, Home sparks

Treasures from Italy

Ah, Italy. It’s easy to love everything about it – the language, the food, the beautiful country, the fashion, the people, the history. Not to mention the design, which is world-famous for good reason. And thanks to Fab.com, I’ve discovered Antartidee – an Italian company designing and making zany homewares that are both practical and quirky. And brightly coloured. What’s not to love?

Here’s The Rock Coat-Stand, part of a series of coat stands featuring different coloured hands making different kinds of gestures. I think this would look very cool just affixed to a plain wall in your home (especially if you added some of the other hands to create a slightly creepy gallery), but I understand if you want to use it as an actual hook on which you hang coats or hats or bags. Their coat stand range also features a banana, gelato in a cone, gun, tap or fairly lifelike human ear. Uh huh.

If you find yourself reaching for the lolly jar a little too often and want something to scare you away, this might be just the thing: Chameleon-Glutton sits on top of the jar as a sign of where you’re headed if you over-indulge. Genius.

Or if you’re looking for some innovative lighting solutions, then be sure to check out their lamps. The Frame Hand Lamp Clouds is part light, part artwork and part fortune teller. Love it.

And this Fall Lamp looks almost magical and is sure to keep you calm. Unless you live in a country that is prone to drought, in which case it might just make you feel guilty all the time.

Speaking of time, here’s a cute clock – Valentina – from their extensive range of wall and table clocks. I’m sure it’s an insightful commentary on how we all want time to slow down, or something like that. But really, I just like the snail.

And I’ll finish with this vase – Pablo – because I could honestly find another 30 pieces on the site that I would like to show you. But instead, you might want to check out the Antartidee magic for yourself here.