Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Roundup: Skulls Everywhere

What better way to celebrate Halloween than to look at some of the great skull objects out there? What better excuse for looking at skull objects than Halloween?

Above is my most recent find: skull wrapping paper. (Skull wrapping paper?) Yes, skull wrapping paper. The store is Whimsy Press, a great place to find designer giftwrap whatever your tastes. This wrap is "Gritty in Pink," from the Femme Fatale line. If pink is not your style, be sure to check out "Sticks and Bones" over in the Dude Wrap aisle.

Next up, wrap your feet in these Tossed Skulls rainboots from Diane's Little Lambs Rainwear. Guaranteed to make you look forward to rainy days.

I love the way skulls are showing up in places you'd never expect them. Another example is in the delicate designs of Smallthings Jewelry:

Don't you love the contrast between the tough image and the delicacy of the necklace--and of the neck? It would probably be too much, though, to wear it together with these Felix Linder skull earrings, right?

Right. Even if you were just wearing them around the house--for instance, while washing this Douglas Little skull plate with this skull sponge from Scandinavian Details . . .

. . . while wearing this hostess apron from wishingfish.

I could go on and on. (I often do.) But it's getting close to not being Halloween any more, and tomorrow is another work day. So I'll end with love, with a variation on the theme, from tokidoki:


Quick Halloweeny Post

Just time for a quick halloweeny post before I'm off to work. "Little Joseph," a candleholder designed by Maxim Velcovsky for Qubus.

More great Halloweeny stuff after work--stay tuned!


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ten Free Halloween Fonts

Don't you just love fonts? I don't need a special occasion to go font-shopping, but recently some Halloween fonts have caught my eye, and some of them are pretty cool. I thought I'd share the best of them with you.

As far as I know, these are all freeware or trialware or linkware fonts that can be downloaded free of cost. Make sure you read the terms of use, usually included with the download as a "readme" file, before using them yourself. The designers typically don't want them used to make money, and would often like a link back.

I've done my best to give credit where it's due, and each has a link to where it can be downloaded.

Here they are:

1. Calaveras was created by Harold Lohner, and can be downloaded from the Harold's Fonts site. While you're there, be sure to take a look at his other art.

2. Dancing Dead was created by Mike Larson of Mr. Fisk Fonts. If that link doesn't work, it can also be downloaded from Urbanfonts.

3. DemBones can be downloaded here. It does not come with a "readme" file, and I have not seen it credited to anyone, though I've looked. If anyone knows who created this font, please let me know via "comments."

4. SF Gushing Meadow was designed by ShyFonts Type Foundry. Their "readme" file contains a link, but it's to an advertising site and you can't find the font there. I downloaded it from here.

5. Halloween Kiddy Font was designed by Lime of House of Lime. He or she has designed loads of fonts--be sure to check them out! Lime accepts donations via PayPal.

6. Halloween Match is offered by Fontmenu as an evaluation version of the font, which costs only $3.95. Fontmenu also has a great range of fonts, many available for free as an evaluation or "trial" version. The full versions of the fonts have a wide range of prices, all of which are, in my opinion, quite reasonable.

7. Halloween Spider was designed by Claude, aka Chloe, and is available for free on her site, which is mostly in French. (I love using Babel Fish to translate; the translations are hysterical.)

8. Spider was designed by Renny Murray and is available on her site, Rennys Niche. I love this font! She has designed a bunch of fun, free fonts to download.

9. Groovy Ghosties was designed by Ray Larabie and is available for download at My Fonts. Donations are accepted via PayPal at Larabie Fonts. (Larabie Fonts distributes its free fonts through My Fonts.)

10. Ghost is another font from Renny Murray at Rennys Niche.

Well, that's the lot of them. Enjoy! And if you use them, let me know--I'd love to see what you've done.

Lamp: "E.T.A. baby"

I had to post about this lamp, because I'm crazy about it. It isn't a new design, just a beautiful one. While the insides are metal (and removable, for changing the bulb), the outside of the lamp is handmade from fiberglass.

Designed by Guglielmo Berchicci for Kundalini.

Review: Cigg Water Bottle

Well, I've had my Cigg water bottle for about two weeks now. I love it. I did end up getting the one called "summer bird" (above), and it is truly lovely. (I still want the skull one.)

A few comments:

It comes with the red cap shown above, which does not match any of the colors in the design. Yes, it matters. My suggestion would be that it come with a black cap, which I know they make as they show it for sale. I should think this would be a no-brainer.

This does not affect me much, though, as I ordered and consistently use the "sport cap"(above), which comes only in black. This is a very nice cap: it goes easily from open to closed and, when closed, does not leak at all.

There is a third, locked position, which I guess you could use if the bottle was going to be bounced around, but the cap stays closed so well I'm not sure it's necessary. If I did use it, though, I'd be frustrated by how difficult it is to move the cap into this position. It may improve with use. (Tip: Remove cap, grasp nipple with a piece of cloth--I use my shirttail--and twist.)

Regarding taste, the bottle seems to be perfect. Water in the bottle for hours tastes just like it did when it went in. The bottle also seems to have something of an insulating effect, as the water stays cold longer than in plastic.

The best thing about the bottle, for me, is that I haven't had any soreness in my mouth since I started using it. This proves to my satisfaction that the plastic was, indeed, toxic, and I'm very happy to have made the switch.

One other shortcoming, though: the bottle does not fit into the cup holder in my Subaru. I suppose one could argue that this is a shortcoming of the Subaru as much as the bottle. I have, however been able to solve that problem. All it took was a small "absolute necessary innovation":

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Skeleton Suit

Also in the Halloween spirit I must post this painting by Amy Earles. Delightful!

via Via Alley


I'm totally digging this photo from the "Duplication" series by Xing Danwen. Could be it's the Halloween sort of mood I've got going.

via ruguru.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Double Take

Above, zebrawood, leather and stainless steel "hips" handbag by tivi.

Below, resin-filled teardrop vase by Derek Chen of urbana design.

I would have them sit side by side on the table in my entryway. No--I'd separate them, one in the entryway and one in the livingroom, and see if anyone noticed.

Das Parkhotel

Das Parkhotel is, incredibly, a set of hotel rooms built inside of drain pipes. The "hotel" is located in a public park, where bathrooms and cafeteria are close at hand. Reservations are made online, and payment is described as "pay as you wish": guests leave an amount they can afford inside the room when they leave.

It was conceived and designed by Andreas Strauss, and is located in Ottensheim, Austria.

I will stay there one day.

via neatorama.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Absolute Sane Innovation

While this looks like an abstract painting of cell phone cases, in fact it's a sheet of recycled plastic made from them. SmilePlastics takes pieces of plastic that would otherwise wind up in a landfill and makes them into versatile sheets that are "used extensively all over the world as furniture, shop fittings, work surfaces, bath panels, and screens, etc., in domestic, commercial and office environments."

Other materials used in making the sheets include wellie boots as well as plastic bottles and pipes.

I'd love to use their cell phone sheets for my kitchen counters. They'd look great, and would always remind me to recycle. But unfortunately they're a little out of my price range.

Maybe I could make a patchwork with their sample set. . .

Monday, October 23, 2006

Double Take

On the left, Black Marquis Ring by Spragwerks. "A hand-tooled corset ring. Sexy and wholly unique. Sterling Silver." $155.00 at Stars and Infinite Darkness.

Below, corset ring by Marcia Moran in gold vermeil, $80.00 at Jennifer Miller, NYC (212-734-8199). Spotted in the November, 2006 issue of Lucky Magazine (p. 189).

I like the Spragwerks one best, both because I prefer silver and because the wire weaving in and out of the metal holes really says "corset."

But they're both pretty cool. Great design minds think alike, I guess.

Match Made in Heaven

This is what happens when tokidoki teams up with LeSportsac. I approve! There isn't a single bag in the whole line that I wouldn't put on my wish list. Well, maybe not the diaper bag.

I especially like this wrist cuff, both as a look and as a concept. Just right for carrying a few bucks, your license and car key when you don't feel like bunching up your pockets or dragging a purse.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Kids! All of 'em.

The above is an excerpt from a "report" written in response to an "assignment" given by the folks at Learning to Love You More .
Learning to Love You More is an amazing, unique site, unlike any I've seen before on the Web--and I've seen many. The premise, as described by its authors, is as follows:
Learning to Love You More is both a web site and series of non-web presentations comprised of work made by the general public in response to assignments given by artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher. Yuri Ono designs and manages the web site.

Participants accept an assignment, complete it by following the simple but specific instructions, send in the required report (photograph, text, video, etc), and see their work posted on-line. Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments is intended to guide people towards their own experience.
I'm impressed. Check it out; you might be, too.

Absolute Crazy Innovations

Ever found a site that made you laugh out loud? So loud your spouse comes in from the next room to see what's so funny? That was my reaction to the "absolute crazy innovations" from the folks at Funny Town.

If you don't have a use for the whisk-as-cotton-ball-holder, perhaps you'd like the ice cream shield,

which is made from--can you tell? Yes, that's right,

a vacuum cleaner bag!


Saturday, October 21, 2006


Letterpress cards from the "Bittersweet" collection at Paper Stories. Other cards from this collection include "Thanks for nothing," "you suck the life out of me," and "What did I ever see in you?"

As well as the short, simple, "Suck it."

via NOTCOT, via design*sponge.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Vegetable Cutlery

All it takes to make use of these wonderful objects is a couple of fresh vegetables or pieces of fruit. Voila:

I suppose you could use it with a hot dog. . .

Vegetable Cutlery is designed by Peter Marigold.

via swissmiss.

Beta Female Fairy by Stikfas

I had to order this last night from myplasticheart. I'm glad I did: I got the last one.

That's one kick-ass fairy.

Animal Horse

Lamp by moooi. Soon to come: pig and rabbit.
Who wouldn’t want a horse to lighten up your home and a pig to serve your guests? Furniture to fall in love with at first sight or hate forever.
says the designer.

moooi has 10 rules to guide their work, and here they are:
* Show who you are.
* Show results.
* Cool product.
* Be proud and selfconfident.
* Make me smile.
* Keep added value simple.
* Love your client.
* Create new connections.
* Educate.
* Communicate.
* Always give more than they expect.
If you look closely, you'll find that these 10 rules are 11 in number. That's ok. They're good rules. It's all good. This one goes to 11.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Buff Humpty

This is hysterical! And only $525.00!

It's designed and produced by J. Schatz. From their "about us" page:

All products are created to fit in harmony with the environment, allowing room for space, light and air. Jim lives with the products he creates to ensure that what looks good on a computer monitor feels right in practice.

Inspired by all things, J Schatz creates objects that make everyday life special.

Other products by J Schatz are less "out there," (not that "out there" is a bad thing), and some are lovely. I think my favorite is the Egg Star Nightlight (left); the Cilindro Pendant Lamp (right) is also quite nice.

Gothic Torrent

I'm loving this silver ring from the Gothic Torrent collection, designed by Catherine Bysheim. It's fresh; it's stunning; it's eyecatching without being gaudy.

I found it at an online shop called (appropriately) Love2Have, which features "handmade designer jewellery – supporting our UK based jewellery designers and modern jewellery makers." The site has a lot of really great jewelry--I could make a wish list from that site alone!

My one wish is that they displayed the designers' names with the listings. If the mission statement includes supporting designers and jewelry makers, credit should be given where due. However, they were happy to provide me the designer's name when I asked for it, so it's not like they're keeping it a secret.

I should note that the photo is used by permission, as they politely request on the site. And speaking of credit where it's due, I wish I could remember how I wound up on the site so I could give a "via" credit. My very best guess is that I found it via StumbleUpon.

I should probably do a post on StumbleUpon. Soon.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The People's Choice

We have until October 16th to cast our votes for the Cooper-Hewitt People's Design Award, an impossible task if ever a task there was. "What constitutes good design?" asks the sponsor. "Is it form? Is it function?"

The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution, presents the yearly National Design Award, which is juried by experts in the field of design. But that jury's task is far easier: they cast their votes in each of ten categories, such as Fashion Design, Architectural Design, and Product Design. At least they've narrowed the field.

For the People's Design Award, anyone can nominate any design in any category from any time in history!

How does one vote in a competition where nominees include both the Slinky and the United States Constitution? The Fender Stratocaster, the Pez Dispenser and the printing press?

The task is impossible. Yet I've voted, and am pleased with my choice. And the exercize of choosing had surprising value: it forced me to think about design as a general concept, rather than design as associated with fashion or products or buildings.

I will reveal my vote, as well as my nominee(s), on October 18th, after the winner has been announced at the National Design Awards ceremony in New York City. I would love to hear what you voted for, and why!

Stay tuned.