Posted in Home sparks

A festive farewell

I love Christmas. I love everything about it – the lead-up (yep, even the crazy shopping times), the traditions, the family time, the thoughtful gifts and the eating and the drinking. But I don’t like the post-Christmas slump that inevitably follows – washing up, putting away decorations, taking down the tree, trying to fit the lights back into their box without strangling myself, watching what I’m eating and drinking. All that stuff.

If it were socially acceptable to keep my tree up as a standard home decoration all year round, I would do it. I have a bizarro collection of ornaments that I have picked up on my travels (whether those travels be to Prague or Florence or just a dodgy shop in North Sydney) – it’s a tree with personality, I tell you. From the disco balls to the glittering butterflies to the razzle dazzle stars, and everything in between. Some Waterford crystal, some precious metals, some felt and some Chinese plastic. Come to think of it, the tree is probably a pretty good reflection of me in many ways. A mish-mash of different styles and moods and ideas and a lot of quirky stuff that is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it makes me smile every time I unpack the Christmas collection.

So, this post is a festive farewell to some of my faves – ’til next year, my Christmas crackers.

 

Decoratin' my door no more.
Decoratin’ my door no more.
Fly away, spongey faced fairy (who appears to need a comfort break).
Fly away, marzipan faced fairy (who appears to need a comfort break).
No more lies, man.
No more lies, man.
Auf Wiedersehen, golden sheen pickle.
Auf Wiedersehen, golden sheen pickle.
Quackers.
Quackers.
Hit the slopes, crazy monkey  trapped in an Australian summer Christmas.
Hit the slopes, crazy monkey trapped in an Australian summertime Christmas.
Sayonara, Christmas glitter sushi from my sister Jo. Every tree should have one.
Sayonara, Christmas glitter sushi from my sister Jo. Every tree should have one.
Posted in Home sparks, Sparky gifts

EverydaySparks Gift Idea #374 – Hey, Pillow Face

Now this is a gift I really like. At the risk of spoiling this year’s Christmas present surprises, I can think of so many faces for so many cushions for so many of my family and friends – I reckon it would be a real hit. And they deliver all around the world, so it’s a far cheaper way of sending the kids to stay with Granny in Iceland. I first saw PillowMob¬†featured on a Fab.com sale. Their tag line is “All your face are belong to us”, which sounds like the kind of slightly dodgy translation more commonly found on a Hello Kitty pencil case. Although these ‘pillow faces’ are made in Seattle, Washington.

You can choose from the range of cushions featuring animals, food items or random strangers – or you can upload your own photo and the clever folk at PillowMob will turn the face (or whatever) into a cushion. Like so…

 

 

Copyright issues permitting, I’m thinking of furnishing my apartment with a Liam Neeson, a Don Draper, a cupcake, a bowl of gelato and maybe a Sharpei puppy, because they’re funny. The possibilities are endless – and imagine the fright you could give someone by sending them a giant cushion of your face in the post…I’m off to write my list – if you’re on that list and you read this blog, please act surprised when you receive your pillow face! You can check out the Pillow Mob website here.

Posted in Home sparks

Light it up

Sarah Turner in the UK makes incredible works of art. The fact that they’re also functional lights to hang from your wall or ceiling is just a bonus. And then they’re made from recycled materials, which is pretty much the cherry on top of the icing on the cake.

Here is Ella – over 1 metre wide, this amazing chandelier is made from 310 plastic drink bottles. Sarah says that she collected the bottles from local cafes and homes, cleaned them and sandblasted them to turn white. Ella got her name from her umbrella-like shape. Isn’t she pretty?

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And here’s Sprite 10, a table lamp made from ten old Sprite bottles. Morphed into an unrecognisable beautiful floral design. The lamp comes in traditional green, or the sugar-free blueness of Sprite Zero bottles.

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Daisy is another one of my favourites – again, made from sandblasted drink bottles and available in a wide range of colours.

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And another stunner – Cola 30 is made out of 30 recycled 1.25 litre Coke bottles. I try not to think too much about the sugar that was consumed to create this sweeeeet design. At least the people who drank the contents of the bottles were technically contributing to the greater good of Sarah’s amazing upcycling into art. And it’s almost impossible to tell at a glance what this ceiling light is made from, which makes it easier to forget about the source!

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You can check out more of Sarah Turner’s amazing work on her website here and these and many others are available for purchase (wherever you are in the world) in her etsy shop here. Love your work, Sarah!

Posted in Sparky gifts

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.

Posted in Home sparks, Sparky gifts

Home sweet home

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a house a real home. Those little touches that give you a real sense of the person or people that live there. As I look around my apartment at the various quirky bits and pieces that I have collected over the years and wonder what my home says about me. That I’m a little bit nuts, probably – and I can’t argue with that! Anyways, in case you’re looking for some statement pieces for your home, I have found some interesting things at Karma Kiss. I think they make a variety of statements – from, ‘I am trying my best to avoid acting like an adult’, to, ‘I am trying to scare you away, never to return’, to, ‘Yes, I really am too cool for school’.

Whether you have little people living in or visiting your home, or if you just want to level the playing field and watch as grownups try to sit down on a tiny (toad)stool, this could be the dining set for you. Apparently, it’s suitable for indoors and outdoors, so if you’ve ever dreamed of creating a fairy grotto in your backyard, this could be a great place to start.

Or perhaps you’re trying to create more of a hunting lodge feel. Or you have really competitive friends, who are always skiting about their success and telling tall tales about their achievements. Yeah, they might be impressive, but do any of them have the head of a ferocious dinosaur mounted on their wall? Didn’t think so.

And then there are these Raven Bookends. At least, they’re meant to be bookends. But I would rather set them up somewhere high, so they’re glaring down like a sort of winged home security system. I can also see their benefit at work – I could set them up on my desk and whenever someone comes to ask me something, turn to the ravens and say, “Hmmm…I don’t know…what do you guys think?” See, the fun you can have working in HR!

And I know this one isn’t really for your home, but this just seems like such a good idea to ensure adequate personal space when you’re in a crowd – or to put off other travellers from claiming your luggage on the carousel. They also sell backpacks in a very cool bubble design, similar to that amazing furniture I posted about a while back – kinda like carrying a science experiment on your back.

Oh, and one last thing in case you can’t get your hands on the thumb costumes from earlier this week. This product takes the thumb war to a whole new level. You’ve been warned.

If you’d like to check out these and other ‘unique gifts and novelties’, the Karma Kiss store is here.