Kickstarter, one of my favourite places to waste time these days, can throw up many a surprising, terrifying and face-slappingly worrying idea from would-be entrepreneurs. Often though, you'll find a little invention that is close enough to what already exists to make you wonder if some mad scientist hasn't already light-bulbed it and clever enough to be demand support and encouragement because it turns out, smarty pants, that it's the first of its kind. Window Pods are one of those inventions. Interior designers are going nuts for all things indoor gardening of late but add some super-hip vertical gardening to the mix and you've got an Elle Decor wet-dream. Create by California-based green finger Ben Shope, the Window Pods are a clever solution for those of you who don't have the space or light for plant pots. Using a suction pad, the pods stick to the window (let there be light) without taking up any valuable real-estate on your window sill. Having already raised his financial goal, there's still a month left to back Ben and get on his good side before he turns into the Bill Gates of shrubbery. So far, no word on shipping outside of the U.S. but with the pods coming in at $39 for three (including herbs seeds), you can probably offer some kind of bribe.Visit www.windowpods.org for more.
In my day, a plastic scissors and a piece of paper was a month spent off the streets. Sure, it kills me that spoilt little snots have way better toys than I did (the closest I came to a computer before the age of 15 was a plastic cash register that never asked for weird pictures of me), but way really cuts me up is that the internet has made the toys of yore way better. I had, for example, all the necessary supplies to make all of the super cool crafts below, but I didn't have the imagination or access to those who did. Sure, I'm probably better off for not having had access to grown ups who make kids' treats, but now that I'm an adult, I'm the one who's going to be taking advantage. I made this subject matter way darker than it needed to be. Sorry. Just enjoy these super-wacky-crazy papercraft tutorials and pretend like I'm normal.
Custom made paper people. This isn't a freebie but for a measly $5 you can have a ready-to-assemble paper-person of yourself. Aaah, Fiverr. You know what this means, right? make paper-persons out of all those people you have arguements in your head with and live out all the awesome comebacks that never were. Or give one as a gift to someone you love. That would be nice too. Visit the imaginatively named Dani7770's Fiverr gig to get yours for €4.
Paper letter animals. All those days spent learning the alphabet and never once did I think to make a zebra Z. This changes now. Follow the link for a whole alphabet of letters (including a ninja N that I'm thinking of whipping up). Just print off the templates and get folding. Visit Digit Prop for this and loads more super cool papercraft tutorials.
DIY Paper Taxidermy The clever folks over at Paper Wolf have come up with a way to save on animals and postage; self-assembly papercraft animal heads. You buy the pre-cut cardboard pieces and put it together yourself, basking in the glow of your cleverness. There are many other paper beasts on sale...including a unicorn. Visit Paper Wolfs Shop, paper heads come in at around €42.
Paper Skull with articulated jaw. Paper skull....With. Articulated. Jaw...Need I say more? Get the free tutorial at Skull A Day.
Paper pinwheels. I possibly did make paper pinwheels but I never made pretty displays out of them like this. My dream is to have a wall of Shady and the Lamp's Tweed Pinwheels, until then I might just think about considering maybe making these. Maybe. Get the tutorial for paper pinwheels from Petit PouLou
Paper geoball bowls If I had bowls like this all over the apartment, it would be pristine. Basically, it's these little bowls' fault that I can never find my keys. Get your life together with the (Finnish) tutorial from Tuulahdus
Paper craft alphabet wall art Another example of how terribly unstylish my alphabet-learning days were. If only my stupid teachers had Pinterest. Get the tutorial for the awesomest alphabet from Weekday Carnival
Working paper camera Okay, so you need a few other components, but this is a functioning film camera made from paper. Practical? No. But such a cool idea for weddings. Get the tutorial for the paper camera from Wonder How To's inspiring Paper Craft section.
Papercraft flowers. Who needs s man who brings fresh flowers every Saturday morning with the papers and a croissant when you can make your...paper flowers? These are all kinds of gorgeous though and when Spring hits and the Winter blues lift, spending an hour making flowers for yourself will feel like a much more positive endeavour. Get the tutorial from 100 Layer Cake.
Political paper pigs. These aren't just cute little paper pigs. No, no, that would be childish. These are political paper pigs. You can dowload the template for free but the politico who created these is hoping for a donation to his cause. I didn't really pick up on what the cause is, I was too busy looking at the cutesy-wootsy piggies. Get the tutorial from Toxic Paper Factory.
I once painted my rented living room apartment's walls red. People I know still shiftily comment on it. When you enter a room made for relaxation you don't want to see red walls, just like when you go into someone's bathroom you don't want to see brown walls. I have found myself living in Amsterdam lately in an apartment of white walls. It's better than red. And it means I don't have to actually paint (yet).
I've been in the apartment coming up on three months now and I have learned two things about white walls. 1. they make all my stuff look nice; 2. the temptation to paint them is almost unbearable at times. I'm not going to scratch that itch and to steel my pre-Lentent resolve here is some white-wall-porn* to enjoy together. Ahhhh....
*My apologies to those of you who found this page searching for "white wall porn". Perverts.
A Francis Bacon painting sold recently for €50-million. It was not, despite the rumours, one of my latest acquisitions. While art prints are something I'm reasonably willing to splurge on, I've moved apartments recently and my bare walls are not nearly as whingey as my bare bank account. As soon as my cash-flow problems are rectified, I'll find whoever bought that Francis Bacon and outbid the shit out of them. Until then, I'm going to have to do it my bloody self. Ranging from mind-blowingly easy to very mildly taxing, here's my pick of some none-too-spendy wall art tutorials even a lazy, lazy blogger like I might manage.
1. Cut out lyric art. If you've got a sharp knife, a piece of paper and waaaaaay more patience than I, this DIY couldn't be easier. The only real task is figuring what lyrics to use. Personally, I'd go for Three 6 Mafia's Ass and Titties because it's my boyfriend and my song. For a less romantic option, anything from Rammstein. Get the tutorial from How About Orange.
2. Nerdy postcard wall art. Why read books when you can hang them on the wall? Wait, that's not right. Why hang books when you can read them on your wall. Nope. Whatever, don't nail things you might need to your wall. Though Penguin books are truly delicious to look at, they are also pretty damn tasty to read, so make like this clever blogger and use postcards mounted on varying sizes of foam to create this lovely wall art. Get the tutorial from How About Orange.
3. Typography art with Hubble imagery. As Shakespeare once said, "Space, the final frontier". If you're too pecious to get your hands dirty and want to force your computer to make your art, then this could be the one for you. Using images from taken by NASA's Hubble Telescope (oh, the joyous nerdiness) and some Photoshoppery, you can create a pretty awesome piece of art. Get the tutorial from My Cakies.
4. DIY sketched photo wall art. This is not a Photoshopped photo of a cranky baby, it's a drawing. By breaking down the drawing steps to tiny degrees, the poster is drawn by hand. Now, I'm not saying this is an easy one but if you're baby can give bitch face at such a young age, it deserves it's own hand-drawn portrait. That's just good parenting. Get the surprisingly do-able tutorial from Poppy Talk.
5. Typography art with Bob Ross imagery. Okay, so this isn't a real Bob Ross cruelly defaced by hipster bloggers. No one is that hip. But if you possess one of those slightly cheesy, slightly wonderful landscape drawings and don't have the heart to dump it, why not upgrade it? A little patience with the sharp knife (ugh, again!) and some diligent placement and you've got this rad typography art print. Mine's going to say something like, "A happy little cloud". Because Bob Ross is a goddam legend.
What the frickin’ frack are letterpress drawers? Oh, only the awesomest way to store your unstorables. Back in the Stone Age it was some poor sucker’s job to line up every letter of every word that was going to be printed in a newspaper. The letterpress types (the letters) were numerous and what this poor guy lacked in job satisfaction was more than made up for with vintage-industrial furniture, although it would have been modern-industrial at the time or, as it was know back then, ‘just some crap to make my tedious job less lucrative’. Obviously this guy is pretty much unemployed these days but letterpress drawers (or trays) have found a whole new role. Placed upright on a wall the drawers make perfect little shelves, like tiny Billy Bookcases, for all the trinkets we could possible want on show. Not convinced? Here are five pretty good reasons to love them. 1. AWESOME, AWESOME STORAGE There are certain things in the world that just don’t want to be arranged neatly and aromatherapy bottles are one of those things. Little bastards that they are, they’re too finicky to stack, too leaky for horizontal positions and used too regularly to be chucked in a storage box. Even apothecary cabinets are pretty useless because the small wooden drawers don’t allow you to see what’s inside them and you’re left lifting every single bloody one to check the label. This is where letterpress drawers come into their own. They were, after all, originally made for storing tiny and finicky objects while keeping them visible and close to hand and off the newsroom floors they continue to do a damn fine job of displaying your knickknacks that are in everyday use. Spools of thread, makeup and nail polishes are but a few of the similarly tricky objects a letterpress drawer can spank into line. 2. THEY LOOK REALLY GOOD Really, really good. Pretending our grandparents had wicked ass taste in homewares by kitting our gaffs out with antique trunks and side tables is one thing, but letterpress drawers take the whole heirloom thing to fantastic new levels. Nothing says “Nanny used to print a radical literature for the Black Panthers in the sixties” quite like some letterpress parts hanging in the living room. So not only are they quite useful, they’re quite decorative. 3. YOU CAN DECORATE THEM If you find a good example and choose to paint it you could well be set alight from the collective bad karma you’ll get from the Pinterest-atti but if you happen to find a pretty crap version, its fair game. A lick of paint is one thing but you could go all Billy Bookcase on your drawer by decorating the cubbies individually with maps and wallpaper and the like. 4. THEY COME IN DIFFERENT SHAPES AND SIZES For the most part letterpress drawers are suitable for smaller whosits and whatsits galore but if you’ve got larger thingabobs (I’ve got twenty) you might want moooore. Now to say that in a way that isn’t a bastardisation of The Little Mermaid’s Part of Your World; it’s worth keeping an eye out for pieces with larger spaces that would house CDs, DVDs and maybe even some paperbacks. Letterpress cabinets, as pictured, are particularly roomy and stand on their own. They mightn’t be as easy to source as the drawers and trays, but they do exist. 5. They’re cheap A thorough investigation (quick search on Etsy) reveals that letterpress drawers are available for as little as €11 before postage, although expect to spend at least €50 all in. The one pictured is €32 from Cupola Vintage. Keep an eye out on eBay and you’ll probably find something cheaper. I’m guessing that the aforementioned (p)interest in letterpress trays will start raising the price pretty soon so get in early before the bandwagon late check-in fees kick in.Images via; 1. This Vintage Thing. 2. Little Red Chair. 3. Things Bright. 4. I Adore It. 5. Cupola Vintage.
I include 'dipping strawberries into chocolate' both as a hobby on my C.V. and a skill. It just sends the right message. Strawberries and chocolate go together like, well, lies and C.V.s and when you booze up proceedings with the strawberry vodka we've been brewing, your reward centre goes into overdrive. I quite like creamy cocktails, particularly when it's warm out, but this Chocolate Dipped Strawberry cocktail is my new favourite. Virtuously fruity and with enough vodka to help you forget the cream, this is what the ice-cream trucks serve in heaven.
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When Tamara Maynes isn't contributing to Inside Out Magazine and a making her own special designs she's helping the less crafty among us get in on the home-made action. Her store, The Six Week Boutique, offers some of the best DIY kits that allow the even the most buttery fingered crafters create home-made homewares that will inspire squeals of I-made-it-myselfs every time someone calls. The Paradise Motel box light ($10) is case in point; once you have the materials, the easy to follow instructions will talk you through each step to help you make your very own light installation that, all going well, you can proudly hang on your walls. If the thought of having to use a drill is a crafty step too far, perhaps the DIY Quilt Light Kit ($20) would be a better option. Again, the instructions are downloadable and once you have the right paper and tape, you're all set to start seriously impressing your mates. And probably making them think you're a damn liar. Should your friends start doubting your new-found skills, the best way to respond would be with a beautifully embroidered death threat, and Tamara has just the thing. These Ransom Note cross-stitch templates ($8 for the whole creepy alphabet) are just the thing for making the most passive aggressive embroidery hoops around. After all, "I Know Where You Live" is totes the new "Hope Sweet Home". Of course, if all else fails, cheat. The Six Week Boutique also offers some products that are already made, like these gorgeously oversized Macrame Wall Hangings ($495). Crafty enough to hint that you made it yourself but, you know, completed by another person for you in exchange for money (mere semantics), if I sew my finger to another embroidery hoop, this is the route I'm taking. Well, I did make the money myself, surely that's a plausible form of DIY.
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Though generally not the happiest campers on the planet, Eels do know how to make a catchy tune that sounds quite breezily chipper on the surface (listen harder and you'll probably end up sobbing into a bottle of bourbon, wondering where it all went wrong and how the hell you got a bottle of bourbon). I Need Some Sleep is one of my favourites so I decided to make a printable poster with the lyrics for your printing pleasure. Just click and print or email it to your local printers. And try not to get tears in your whiskey.