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 Food sparks, Home sparks

Pass the salt

Most of us have salt and pepper shakers stashed away somewhere in our cupboards, which we bring out for special occasions or visits from in-laws. Some are pretty fancy – motorised pepper grinders made by car manufacturers, expensive salt shakers that light up (in case you were dining in the dark), hand carved wooden pairs, or stainless steel pieces that could be mistaken for modern art sculptures. But I say boo to your fancy salt and pepper shakers that are too good to use every day. Here are some inspiring salt and pepper shakers that will have you seasoning everything from your breakfast to your milkshakes, just to give you an excuse to get out these beauties…

First, baby legs. Yes, that’s right – these ceramic baby legs are actually salt and pepper shakers. Apparently, they are guaranteed to be the talk of your baby shower party table, but I say don’t stop there – these babies should be out and about at every opportunity. Sprinkle salt on your potatoes with the baby’s left foot, and a little pepper for your steak with the baby’s right foot. And when the legs are running low, just remove the stoppers in the baby’s thighs and fill ’em up! Or if you’d prefer, there are ceramic baby hands salt and pepper shakers in the collection. Maybe just buy both and complete the set with a ceramic doll to store your dried herbs? Creepy.

Continuing on the baby theme, here are Baby Puddin’ heads, which also take care of your salt and pepper needs. I am not sure that you could keep any of these on the table during dinner without scaring your guests. But then, I don’t really know your friends that well, perhaps they already have these in their kitchen! These are all from the Modern fx store on etsy, along with some other perculiar salt and pepper shakers – featuring Colonel Sanders of KFC fame, JFK and Jesus. But I’ll leave you to look for those if they sound like your thing.

These two ladies are apparently a darling set of vintage Holt Howard salt and pepper shakers from the “Daisy ‘Dorables” line. They are a pair of blonde pony-tailed girls holding large daisy flowers in front of their faces. Maybe it’s just me, but I think they’re a bit shifty looking. And I would be worried that they’re sitting on the table, listening to all the conversations and gossiping about us behind their giant daisies. You can check them out at Gizmo & HooHa, the vintage emporium.

I prefer these cute little guys from SuperRetroChic – they look like something out of Super Mario Bros and would definitely brighten up the table, without freaking out your dinner companions. Unless, of course, you are dining with Super Mario and Luigi, in which case, they will probably try to smash these with a hammer or something.

But now, to finish with my favourites – vintage Mr Peanut salt and pepper shakers. They’re not in perfect condition, but they make me laugh. And if they can still dispense salt and pepper after all this time, with their top hats and canes, I say these will add a touch of class to any home. Ye olde peanuts are available from Olde Tyme Memories on etsy.

Who knew there could be so much variety in the world of salt and pepper shakers? Not me. But I may well start collectin’. And with 110 pages of them on etsy, you mightn’t have heard the last of these table toppers…

Posted in TV sparks

Love thy Neighbour(s)

So, a confession.  I love Neighbours. (The show, not the 90+ year old couple that live next door to me.) I know it’s not cool, especially not for kids now in their 30s. But there’s something about it that’s addictive, like a can of sour cream & onion Pringles. Maybe it’s because our mum wouldn’t let us watch it 20+ years ago when it started – in a case of bad timing (as it used to be a pretty wholesome show), she came into the room when the characters were at a disco and some kids were doing drugs while taking a break from dancing to Locomotion. And that was the end of that. But I’m allowed to watch it now and it’s come a loooong way from the innocent hijinx of Ramsay Street of old. No more do people just ‘move to Queensland’ to exit the show – now there are teenage mums getting run over by cars; streetfuls of divorces; high flying jobs in New York; family reunions in Italy; and recently someone did actually go to Queensland, but only for a holiday in Port Douglas. The artistic quality of the camera work is, like, waaaay cinematic now, with strange angles aplenty, random shots of buildings and scenery, split screens and even a magic phone feature: a little pop up to show you the creepy text message the teacher just received or the jilted lover’s call being ignored. Heavy stuff. Add to that the teachers having affairs with students; old people faking injuries to scam insurance claims; a gay teenage mechanic; high schoolers cheating on final exams; a pirate radio station (as in underground, not arrr arrr me hearties).  And then there are high schoolers organising raves & selling drugs. Hang on a minute, that rings a bell. The haircuts and fashion might be better, but methinks they’re recycling ideas from the early days…like that old crank Paul Robinson, who has been on the show since 1985. Crikey.