Tuesday, November 28, 2006


These "Swiss Mouse" earrings are the work of independent jewelry artist handheadman, from his "Animals" series. Are they not darling?

And if darling isn't your style, how about funky? His "Blender" pin and "Toaster" earring are from handheadman's "Machines" series, and "funky" is their middle name.

The pieces are unique, the prices are affordable, and the craftsmanship appears skillful based on the photos.

Christmas shopping, anyone?


Monday, November 27, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

So Beautiful

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? Okay, okay . . . I'm a bead freak.

From the Artecnica "Beads and Pieces" line, available at de de ce +.

I should probably say something more than "ooooooooooh, pretty!"




In recent posts, a couple of items slipped by that are simply too good to miss.

A recent Double Take post on "boot bags" was clearly incomplete without the Marilyn Monroe Shoe Purse, available at Betty's Attic.

I think the lacing up the side is a nice touch, don't you? I mean, if you're this far over the top to begin with . . .


Next there was a Hello Kitty roundup that was hardly even worth posting, considering I left out the best of the best:

That's right, a Hello Kitty Stratocaster. I find I must say it again. A Hello Kitty Stratocaster.

Together with the rockin' Kitty charm from that post, our feline friend begins to show a wild side we hardly knew was there. What next, Hello Kitty skulls?

Yes, that's right.

Hello Kitty skulls.


Who Knew?

I'm so embarrassed. Nobody told me!

Great tee from Hot Topic.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Presentation Matters

What a cool ring. I love this piece, the "wing ring," from Burcu Buyukunal's "wingy" series. Don't you?

But what was the first thing you noticed in the photo? For me, it was the little piece of putty holding the ring up. I was able to get past it, but I'm not sure I should have to.

Now, I'm not a photographer and I'm not a graphic artist. I'm someone who plays around with Photoshop Elements because it's fun to. Over time I've acquired a few rudimentary skills, and that was all it took to make the problem go away:

It took about five minutes.

Now check out this piece, the "Small Milagro Heart Ring" from Tere Hernández-Bonét of My Precious Studio:

It's a nice ring too, right? Maybe not a great ring, and not my favorite from this artist, whose work I like a lot. Why post it then? The reason is simple: the first time I saw it, I liked it very very much. I wanted to own it. I thought it was grand.

Over time it dawned on me that I was responding to the quality of the photo, perhaps even more than the quality of the ring itself. The reflection is lovely.

Well done.

Presentation matters. In marketing our work, the image must be at least as high-quality as the piece itself. It wouldn't hurt if it was even better.

Commercial photography is an art in its own right. It can be expensive, and artists are often living on a shoestring. They have to cut corners sometimes, even when they'd rather not.

Here's my advice: eat Ramen noodles. And pay for the very best commercial photographer your money can buy.

Or at least the best photo editor.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Speaking of Scooters. . .

Some kids have all the luck. When I was a kid, they didn't even have cool stuff like this. Even if they had, it wouldn't have found its way under our Christmas tree. Too pricey. And would have been regarded as too dangerous. "You'll put your eye out!"

Now that I could splurge on something like this for a favorite child, we don't seem to have one in this age range.

I may have to adopt.

Incidentally, I have to mention how thrilled I am that the photo has a girl riding the scooter.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Hello Kitty Blog Day

Apparently it's Hello Kitty Day here in the blogosphere, with a post on Hello Kitty cellphones (left) on Popgadget, and one on a Hello Kitty digital camera (right) on Shiny Shiny. As it happens, I've been waiting for just such an opportunity to post some of my own Kitty sightings on the web.

Starting at the low-tech end, we have Hello Kitty Uno cards at Fred Flare. A cute, age-appropriate use of the character; can't object.

And, of course, we've become accustomed to seeing the ubiquitous feline on electronic gadgetry, so we're not surprised by a Kitty usb drive,

and our surprise at the Wacom Favo Hello Kitty Edition is perhaps better described as dismay. Oh, Wacom. To think of the high regard and respect we once held for you. So fragile, so easily dashed . . .

What blows me away, though, is the Kitty home appliances. The thought, Let's make a Hello Kitty fire extinguisher, or a humidifier, where does that come from? Ok, ok, we all have bizaare thoughts, but putting them into action? How does that get past the board of directors?

Frankly I tend to think the Kitty has become far overexposed, that the Hello Kitty market is beyond saturated. But then I'll see something like this scooter, or this awesome Kitty pendant (wish list! wish list!) and it's "Kitty, you go girl! You rock!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Double Take

Above, the "shoe-bag" from Azumi and David, circa autumn/winter 2006 (left) and 2000 (right).

Below, the "Sole Bag" from +-0's Second Collection, circa 2004.

Last but not least, a variation on the theme: the Boot Bag, designed by Saskia Marcotti for Vlaemsch, circa 2004.

I like them all. Wonderful tongue-in-cheek combination of form and function. My favorite is probably the 2000 version by Azumi and David. The stiletto heel really accentuates the unexpected shoe element. I'd like it even more if the shape of the bag was more like their 2006 version.

But they all have a distinct advantage over traditional bags: you can set them on the ground, no worries.



Candy Photographs

Way cool photos of candy by Craig Kanarick at RockMade. Here's another one.

via Things of Random Coolness.


Sunday, November 12, 2006


We haven't seen any skulls in a while, and I don't know about you, but I miss them. They're a tiny but integral part of this wonderful charm bracelet by Jodi Bloom of So Charmed, which I love. Ok, I love all of her stuff.

The charm bracelets are extraordinary, and many are custom-made to represent the life (or lifestyle) of the buyer. They start at $165.00, which is quite reasonable for what it is. Can I hear ya say Wish List?

More within my price range are her Poison Pen Salutations, which feature a removable pin or patch. My heart is set on the "Heartbreaker" card. I won't send it, though. I want to wear the pin on my motorcycle jacket. Want to? More like have to.

Check out the interview with Jodi on StyleMaven. She seems like someone I'd like to know: down-to-earth, authentic, genuine. Completely devoted to her vision. Jodi says she has found her medium, and I'm sure anyone who has seen her work would agree.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

For Lazy People. I'll Take Two.

The stylish, functional and laziness-enabling Laundry Rug. Available at Gadget Hub. Described as follows:
It's a rug, bag and laundry basket in one! After wearing, clothes are chucked on the stylish Laundry Rug, where they will stay until wash-day comes around. At this point chords around the edge of the rug are pulled together to form a handy carry bag for transporting the lot to the washing machine. It's a bedroom must have for lazy people everywhere! The perfect gift for teenagers, students and the lazy other half.
"Other" half?


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Design for All

The concept "design for all" goes a step beyond making design affordable with "Big Foot," a prototype by Wai Lam.

From the designer:
I designed this as part of a study of having a wheelchair contain more personality; in this case, it has a pair of hollow cartoon-like legs, making it somewhat humorous and comical. The 'legs' also function to shelter the users' legs. Visually, I wanted it to function and look like a natural extension of the human body rather a chaos of metal clinging to the body.
The concept is great, and the execution . . . well, it's a start. I love that it protects the legs, and humor is certainly a good thing. It's also a great way to engage others: "Wow, cool chair!"

Let's see more along these lines!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Funky Functionality

Sometimes all you really need is to get a foot in the door. . .

Another great product from Fred.

Available at Firebox for only $9.95.

via popgadget


Monday, November 06, 2006

Chihuly Glass

I remember the first time I saw Dale Chihuly's work. It was a full-color spread in a Chicago newspaper, announcing the opening of his 2001 exhibit in Garfield Park. It took my breath away. I'd never seen anything like it.

Chihuly does with glass what Stevie Ray Vaughn did with a guitar. "Virtuoso" is the word that comes to mind. Descriptive, accurate, it will do for the artist--but does nothing to convey the art itself. For that, only experience will do.

I never did see the Garfield Park exhibit: a job offer took me waaay out of town (upper peninsula of Michigan) before I had a chance. And if you're in New York, you've just missed his exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden.

I'll also never get to hear Stevie Ray play live. But at some point Chahuly has got to exhibit in Toledo, Ohio. He's got to.



Saturday, November 04, 2006

Jewelry by Erin Dolman

I promised (ok, threatened) that there would be more skulls, and here's an exquisite example. This piece, titled "Envy Brooch," is by Canadian jewelry designer/artisan Erin Dolman. Each of her pieces is unique, and not all are so Gothic. For example, her "Green Bird Brooch," below, has a different style altogether. I'm crazy about them both.

One element that appears in many of her works is the use of text, which I love, as in her "Bean Ring:"

I'll be sending warm thoughts to this artist's little studio in the woods, and waiting eagerly to see what will emerge.


Jessica Joslin's Creepy Creatures

Jessica Joslin is a Chicago sculptor who makes fantastical creatures from antique hardware and findings, bone, beads, fur, painted wood, satin and velvet, glove leather, glass eyes, chain, snakeskin, shells, umbrella tips, cicada wings, backscratchers, silver bottle stoppers, antique ivory, cast pewter, ball finials. . .

The results are surreal, macabre, and totally appealing.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Review: Creative TECHniques Magazine

Creative TECHniques is a new magazine for the techy crafter. I bought the Fall, 2006 edition--the magazine's second--while rushing through WalMart on the way out of town. What grabbed me was, of course, the visually delightful cover image. I might not wear these shoes, but they'd make a lovely objet d'art (or do you say tchotzke?) to display on top of my TV--the only level surface in our house the cats leave untouched.

Creative TECHniques focuses on crafts that use computer-based text and graphics for embellishment--but it goes far beyond scrapbooking and card making. Projects in this issue include a wood-burned tray, a diaper bag, a fabric vase, and many more in addition to the shoe featured on the cover.

The magazine is organized under the headings "Make Stuff," "Learn Stuff," and "Every-Issue Stuff." The craft projects fall under "Make Stuff;" they are abundant in number, and have a hip, funky style I find appealing.

"Learn Stuff" includes, in this edition, topics ranging from copyright issues to the ins and outs of image resolution to the use of fonts in design. I found them to be, on the whole, relevant, useful and well-written. I did 'learn stuff' about each of these topics, despite more than superficial prior knowledge of each of them.

"Every-Issue Stuff" is a grab-bag containing a letter from the editor, product and book reviews, and a "tech support" section providing a mini-glossary of technical terms. In this issue, the terms unsharp mask, CMYK, and Bluetooth were among those defined.

While I enjoyed the magazine overall, it does run the risk of visual stimulus overload. As a lover of fonts, I enjoyed the "typeface galore" design of the magazine, but some might find it a bit much: each article sports its own title font, and the choices are anything but conservative. And while some spreads were crisply, beautifully designed (this scanned image fails to do justice),

others were rather jarring.

My final concern is with the "materials needed" section of the projects. For some, the materials were far too brand-specific. For example, one calls for the use of "Prism Prismatics Intense Orange cardstock," where "orange cardstock" would suffice. In others, a little specificity would be welcome: when one must start with a "6 1/2 inch tall paper-mache torso," one wishes to know where one can be obtained.

Would I buy this magazine again? Well, let me say this: while I love crafts, I'm a total clutz, and should probably stick to beadwork, which is far more forgiving. But I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone whose skills would do these projects justice.

They deserve it.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

And for good measure. . .

After posting about free Halloween fonts and then about skulls, how could I not point you toward this free skulls dingbat I found over at ScrapVillage? (I know Halloween is over, but don't forget about Day of the Dead, which falls on November 1st and 2nd. Besides, who needs a special occasion to use a skull?)

Also, I forgot to add to my skulls tirade this amazing example, which will also heal your wounds (if not your inner child):

I found it first at Urban Outfitters, but why pay $6.00 plus $5.95 shipping when you can get it at perpetual kid for $3.99--and shipping is free if you buy $99.00 worth of stuff (which is easy to do there)?

My, that was a long sentence. By the way, I have no affiliation with either store. I'm just sayin'.

I should warn you: I still may not be done with skulls. In fact, I may perseverate on skulls for quite some time. We'll have to wait and see.