Monday, December 11, 2006

Bazaar Bizarre + Etsy Contest

You could be a winner! Bazaar Bizarre has teamed up with our wonderful sponsor Etsy to bring you this amazing contest which will bestow upon the winner a free booth at Bazaar Bizarre San Francisco, which is held inside the Maker Faire, along with airfare and hotel accommodations. (Well, up to $1,000 anyway.) The theme of the contest is "upcycling" a term coined by William McDonaugh and Michael Braugart in their book on ecologically intelligent design, Cradle to Cradle. Here's an excerpt from the Etsy contest page:
In the simplest terms, upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value. In this contest we challenge all Etsy users to create an object to sell on Etsy that is comprised of materials that would have otherwise ended up in the trash heap.
Take a look at all the great entries that have been submitted already. You can find more details about the contest and submission guidelines here. Go ahead and open your own Etsy store while you're at it. You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Everybody's Working for the Wiikend

We picked up our new Nintendo game system a couple of weeks ago, the Wii, and let me tell you, this thing is a work of pure genius. We're not hardcore gamers by any means, so I hesitated to even blog about it, but then I realized that's the true beauty of the Wii; its accessibility to anyone! I'm lefthanded and have always had issues with "normal" handheld controllers. Computer games were fine as long as I could use the mouse and keyboard, but even joysticks presented a problem if there was a "fire" button on the side. Our most recent console purchase was the GameCube and I hardly ever played it because it was backwards. I thought I would be able to find a left-handed controller for it but alas, there is no such thing. So you can imagine how excited I was when my husband told me about this new thing called Wii. (I agree, they missed the mark on the name, but the controllers and the functionality make up for it.) The main controller is about the size of a tennis racket handle, which is very convenient for playing the Wii Sports tennis game, and an additional joystick controller attaches to the remote with a cord. Having these two components separate makes a lot of ergonomic sense and makes me wonder why it hasn't been done before now. Even for rightys it's an easier, more comfortable position for your hands and arms. The Wii controllers are sensitive to motion and position in relation to a sensor bar you set on top of your television. You get to move as if you were the game character. This is what makes the sports games so fun and also what has already led to cases of tennis elbow. I can vouch for the fact that even though you know it's a virtual game, and you know you don't really have to swing it that hard, it's difficult not to when you're trying to slam the ball over the net. And this is also why the remote comes with a wrist strap! We're still figuring out all of the Wii's bells and whistles so stay tuned for more updates.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Will It Blend?

Robin has discovered the Holy Grail of blenders! Does everyone else already know about these blenders? You've got to go to this site and check out the videos. They're divided into two categories, Don't Try This at Home, and Try This at Home. I haven't even looked at the Try This at Home videos yet because the Don't videos are so much fun. I think it's the cheesy 70's music that adds the perfect touch. Check out the Thanksgiving dinner blend and the Movie blend. Oh, and you have to see the Marbles! I can barely get my blender to chunk up a couple of ice cubes and this thing is turning marbles into dust. They're not cheap, but the ability to make every single meal into a milkshake would be well worth it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Quirky Collectors Unite!

Angelica over at Swapatorium is compiling a list of people interested in helping each other with additions to their quirky collections. And by quirky she means things that might seem "worthless" to the uninitiated. Things like business cards, worn photos, gum wrappers, buttons, you get the idea. I signed up for ticket stubs! hooray! Members send stuff (for free) to other members on the list to help them build their collections. She's only allowing one collection item per person, and she won't list duplicates. So once she has someone down for take-out menus, which she does, she won't add anyone else who collects those. Sounds fun, huh? If you wanna play hop on over to the site and sign up. And take a few minutes to visit the rest of the site, there are some really great finds!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Open Call for Swap-O-Rama-Rama

You may have already heard that Bazaar Bizarre is presenting Swap-O-Rama-Rama this year but did you know it marks the Swap's debut in Southern California? SORR is a huge clothing swap and DIY event where folks bring in bags of unwanted clothes, sort throught the piles that everyone else brought and pick as many new things as they'd like, and then hit the various DIY sewing, embroidery and silkscreening stations to create wonderful new things. It's going to be a lot of fun and of course the best part is we're helping people express their creativity through clothing while keeping textile waste out of the landfills.
Right now we're having an Open Call for designers, silkscreeners, seamstresses, and DIY types of all kinds to participate in this event. We also need people to help sort as we're anticipating approximately 10,000 lbs. of free clothes! More details are in this PDF, or you can email Lori from Hip Line Media to volunteer now.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fly the Coop to Giant Robot

Talented illustrator/artist Susie Ghahremani of BoyGirlParty fame has a solo show opening at Giant Robot in Los Angeles this weekend. Here's an excerpt from GR's site:
"For Bird Call, Ghahremani is creating an expanded collection of animals, invented creatures, patterns, and color studies. There will be about 150 gouache paintings on wood, board, and paper. Dimensions range from “mini” to “not so mini.”
The opening reception will be held Saturday, November 11, 2006 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at GR2 which is located at 2062 Sawtelle Blvd.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dia de los Muertos

I've been reading up on Day of the Dead and it's very interesting. Apparently it goes from October 31 through November 2nd, which I did not know. We were throwing around some ideas for a contest, or promo, or a related product launch, but the fall is so busy for us we just ran out of time. Let me point out these skull jingle bell earrings though. They're the newest item in our growing collection of skull jewelry products.

Here are some other awesome skeleton products we found on Etsy:
-cute skeleton holiday cards from catboxartstudio

-adorable little amigurumi skeleton from NeedleNoodles

-cutest skeleton plush ever from blacklilypie

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sneak Peak

What is this you ask? We've got something big brewing here at the casa de cuatro manos ociosas. (Any spanish speakers out there feel free to correct my junior high spanish.) This is but a glimpse of a super-terrific top-secret project we're working on....keep checking back and we'll spill the beans as soon as we can.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Trick or Treat

This is what halloween costumes looked like in the early 1970s in Trenton, New Jersey. They were homemade and they were FABULOUS! Thanks to our very crafty parents of course. That's me on the left as a cigar/cigarette girl.....uh what? I know, I know, sounds weird to me too but Robin pointed out that maybe it was more "kitschy" back then. All I know is I got to stock that cigarette tray with bubble gum cigars and candy cigarettes and a nice little sugar buzz trumps all when you're a kid. (Actually it still does.) That's our brother Steven in the middle (yes, *that* Steven) and he's dressed up as a boat-racer, complete with cardboard boat. Boat racing was very popular back east at that time and our Dad was really into it. He even built his own wooden boat completely from scratch. Hence, the boat-racer costume. That's Robin on the right and trust me when I tell you this is the only time we will ever see her as a blonde. And it's a little weird. Cute, but not "her" at all. I'm not sure why she couldn't have been a brunette Little Red but I guess donning the wig made it seem more like a costume. I always loved that little red cape.
So the ulterior motive for this post is Craft's Halloween Trick or Treat contest. You should check it out, there's still time to enter. Have I mentioned how much I love that magazine?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The New Phone Books Are Here!

Craft magazine is out and it's bee-you-tee-ful! It's jam-packed with cool projects and interesting articles, all wrapped up in a nice clean design. It is a little pricey from the newstand ($14.99) so it's a much better deal to subscribe. (Don't forget, if you're an Etsy seller you can get 5 issues for the price of 4.) And, if you think about it, since it's quarterly the cost-per-month price is about the same as other magazines. I scanned in some pages showing the great coverage for Etsy and Etsy sellers, just in case you haven't seen it yet. And, for fellow SoCal locals, you won't want to miss the launch party this Saturday, October 28, 11 am to 3 pm.

Things are going to start happening to me now.
-Navin R. Johnson

Chlorophyll Printing

Found the artwork of Binh Danh over at Boing Boing this morning. Simply amazing! I'm actually surprised someone hasn't thought of this before. He uses the process of photosynthesis in leaves to create photographic prints. I will definitely need to try this for myself because the possibilities are mind boggling. (I love anything that involves photography and have a great collection of old family negatives. Being able to "print" photos onto leaves would be so cool!) He puts the leaf into a little bag of water to keep it alive, lays it flat onto a board with a negative and a piece of glass on top and "bakes" it in the sun. Here is the link to a gallery of his work, an article with him from two years ago, and an article about a similar process. All of these links are from Boing Boing.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Have You Seen the Wonder That is Posy Press?

The lovely Amy from Posy Press was our very first commenter to the blog! Thanks Amy! If you haven't heard of Posy Press yet, or seen Amy's work you don't know what you've been missing. She is a dedicated blogger (my role model for frequency and quality of postings!) and has the most beautiful designs in her shop.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bazaar Bizarre Blogger

The BazBizBlog has officially launched! Greg Der Ananian, founder of everyone's favorite multi-city punk rock craft show, and author of the book by the same name, is blogging about all kinds of interesting stuff. You really need to go check it out for yourself.

Don't forget to mark your calendars for Bazaar Bizarre Los Angeles which is being held on Saturday, December 16, 2006 at the Shrine Expo Center. And if you're local, and can help us put on this really big show, we can always use volunteers. Email me if you're interested! You'll be our BFF.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Halloween or Day of the Dead Accoutrements

Two of our idle hands have been busy in the mad scientist lab cooking up some scary stuff just in time for Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations. These little cuties are jingle bells!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Print-y Goodness

Just in case there are other printmakers reading, here are some interesting sites:

Woodblock Dreams - printmaking blog by illustrator and printmaker Annie Bissett of Massachusets. She is working in the traditional Japanese style of woodblock printing, called moku hanga and shows lots of good pics of her work in progress.

Printing press made from a folding chair - This one already made the rounds last year but it's so clever I just have to point it out again.

Block printing with styrofoam and a dremel tool - Illustrator Sam Hundley shares a step-by-step tutorial for this unique process. Check out this link too for info on a workshop he conducted. He also showcases some very cool Halloween projects!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Prepare to Be Impressed

Words cannot express how much I *love* these illustrations by Courtney Reagor! So quirky, so perfect, and drawn/painted on reused materials to-boot. Something about the people she draws seems familiar, like they're someone I know. I'm really enamored with her style and aesthetic. Check it out and see what you think.

Found via five and a half, which is where you will find some absolutely out-of-this-world journals made from recollected papers. Her blog is really interesting too, filled with tons of other art and design gems.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Credit Where Credit is Due

Short on time today kids, so check out this link for some great info and galleries on Saul Bass designed movie credits.

And then have a wonderful weekend!

Image from used under a Creative Commons License

Thursday, September 21, 2006

iCry, uCry, We All Cry for iFri!

Have you heard of Illustration Friday? Started by extremely talented illustrator Penelope Dullaghan, Illustration Friday is a wonderful site for exercising your creative muscles without the pressure of meeting client expectations. It's such a smart thing to have a weekly "assignment". They're one-word topics and completely open to interpretation, which is what makes seeing the results so much fun, but it's just enough to give you the structure needed to get some personal work done. When I was in art school those early assignments seemed so restrictive and we all complained about the constraints and the stifling of our creativity. Then one day we got an assignment to do anything we wanted. what the....? Anything at all. We were to decide on the project specs, ANY project, and produce the design. That's when we all figured out that it's actually easier to design with some guidelines in place than to not.

iFri also has artist interviews and a forum seciton for connecting with other illustrators. I've been meaning to participate since it started, and as these things usually go, haven't done it yet. So I'm publicly stating my goal of completing at least 26 iFri assignments over the next year, in the hopes that I'll be more likely to stick to it since I put it out there for everyone and their dog to see. (yikes, what am I thinking!?!)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Got Craft:?

So you all remember the Maker Faire, right? Put on by Make Magazine? (We were there as part of Bazaar Bizarre within the Maker Faire; it was so much fun!) If so, then you've probably heard of O'Reilly Media's new magazine launching on October 17th called Craft. It sounds so great! (We're advertising in the inaugural issue! hooray!) They have a blog too. Check out My Paper Crane to see the very cool robots that Heidi made for their press kits. (hmmmm, how to get press credentials pronto?) If you decide to subscribe use code MAKE4CRAFT to get a Craft t-shirt. Or, if you have an Etsy store you can get 5 issues for the price of 4.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The First Time Ever

Hey, we have a blog! We're keeping the scrolling news box on the home page to alert you to sales, shows and other tidbits, but the blog will allow us to elaborate on a few things. We felt like we needed a place to tell you about all of the great products/arts/crafts we run across, and we'll be introducing you to other artists and designers, fun web sites, and anything else that tickles our fancy. There may be a small bit of redundancy with the news box, but this is where you'll find all the nitty gritty details. Please bear with us while we figure out this blogging software and feel free to say hi!