"Vickipedia": Excerpts from the 1888 Chambers's Encyclopedia of Universal Knowledge - Just what it looks like... oldtimey encyclopedia excerpts. For some reason, this somehow has a more authentic period flavor than the incredibly useful and well-written 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which has been available online for a while. (The 1911 Encyclopaedia is partly noted for having some very famous writers do the work on their topics... with the addition of some supplemental volumes in the 1920s, they wound up with contributors like Freud, Marie Curie, Einstein, Houdini, and W.E.B. DuBois.) Both are lots of fun to check out.

Fore-Edge Painting - I think this is one of the coolest things you can do with a book... I first came across the concept in the late 90s or in 2000, maybe, in a book on bookmaking. It must be done with thinned gouache and not much can be applied at the time... you have to avoid sticking the pages together and warping the page edges. You can paint so that the design is only distinguishable when the book is fanned open from a certain page, or only visible when it's closed (some people do this to their textbooks by writing their names on the fore-edge with permanent marker while the book is held closed). The only commonly-available book I've seen that uses the technique is the hardcover edition of The Cheese Monkeys by book-designer-extraordinaire Chip Kidd, who presumably designed it as well as writing it, and got Chris Ware to help. This set of examples is by UK artist Martin Frost.

"The Thunder, Perfect Mind" - ancient "Gnostic" poem, which seems to be mostly about duality and accepting contradiction. Yes, it's where the title of the Current 93 record came from. I just thought it was interesting.

Cockeyed - It seems like I see a link from this site every few days, because the guy who runs it is an active prankster and discoverer. My favorite areas are "How Much Is Inside?" (a tube of lipstick, a printer cartridge, etc) and "Pranks!"

Jack Handey's "Ideas for Paintings" - Oh, come on, you know who Jack Handey is. (Or do you? It turns out he's ostensibly a real person, a comedy writer for Steve Martin for many years, and the Marta referenced in some of his quips is his wife. I don't know if that's true or if it's just a smokescreen for Martin himself.) Here, in a humor piece for the New Yorker, he passes on some Deep Thoughts on the subject of fine art. (See also: "What I'd Say to the Martians" and "This Is No Game".)

Sewing Stars - a really adorable crafts-for-sale site, with lots of accessories and stuffed animals. The bunny pouches, when they're back in stock, may even be the solution to my annoying change-purse search! (Yes, [livejournal.com profile] zoloft, it's full of bunnies.)
Yeah, so, I've been meaning to do a public post about figure skating, which is definitely NOT the Winter Olympics of Cute. But who can concentrate on that when there are these adorable things floating around on the internet, looking for homes?

Deer Figurine Wall Art - OK, you shouldn't buy things from Urban Outfitters unless the owner's support of Rick Santorum (potentially the weirdest right-wing politician going) doesn't bother you. It does bother me and I try not to shop there. That said, this is darling and I really want one. (Not as much as I've been wanting a Nara PupCup for like 18 months now, but enough.)

Happy Dolls - there's a whole website attached to this page, but this is the shop page with a good selection of stuff. You can buy tiny felt hand puppets and "pocket bunnies" and shoulder bags for Blythe and Pullip dolls, as well as puppies, comically "injured kitties" (they're wearing bandages but don't really look too perturbed by it), and other small animals made of felt. I want at least one of everything on this page! :D

Nintendogs Capsule Toys - tiny mascots of various characters from the Nintendogs game series; these will clip onto a cellphone or whatever else you choose. I am mostly entranced by the fact that they actually have the Sheltie - it's rare to find a Sheltie in stuff like this, because they aren't one of the most popular breeds. Though they seem reasonably popular in Japan: this year's Eukanuba Tournament of Champions Sheltie was actually a Japanese dog. (As I was saying to Nathalie a bit ago, I can't actually own Nintendogs because I'm pretty sure that I would ignore my actual live Sheltie to play with my Nintendog Sheltie, which only interested me to begin with because I also have a real one. Vicious circle!)

Robo-Gloomy! - I didn't like Gloomy Bears when they first came out - not the ones with the claws and the blood, anyway. Some of the models that I've seen since then are really cute, this one among them. See more at KidRobot. (See the cuteness that is the Babyhood bear?)

(I've linked a few things from Unica Home, and I'd also like to point out that they have Yoshitomo Nara's illustrated edition of Banana Yoshimoto's Argentine Hag, something which has been otherwise-difficult to get in the US for the last few years - this is the only work of Yoshimoto's that's been published in English that I haven't read yet, but I'm skeptical about it being worth $50. I saw it last at the old Wexner Center annex gift shop, but that place has closed down - maybe the actual Wexner Center gift shop still has it, I dunno. I think they sell Pup Cup as well.*)

* One of the topics of much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Columbus area is how the Wexner Center had to be renovated when it had only been around since 1989, and the renovation took several years. IIRC this was because the construction was lousy the first time around: the official reason for the renovation was "structural improvements", but to my knowledge that had a lot to do with leaks, ventilation, blah blah blah.
Amusingly, but maybe a little TOO fluffy for me: Slave To Target.

Seriously, people, aside from my well-documented "luv&devotion"* to the place, as much as I'm ever going to have for any huge retail chain, I mostly go there weekly because they have some of the cheapest groceries in town. When everyone else had gone to $.66 per Yoplait yogurt, they held fast at around $.53. They sell the Tyson frozen chicken breasts that I use constantly (recommended by Cook's Illustrated!) for $9/bag, as opposed to the $11 that Kroger charges. (Giant Eagle charges as much as Kroger and doesn't carry anything but their store brand.)

Also: boleros** were not really friend to many in 1988 or whenever they were last popular. They are unlikely to have improved their disposition with time. Hark! (Admittedly, they do flatter a few very specific figure types.)

* That may be overstating it. I just prefer it to WalMart or Kmart, and I've gotta buy mascara and Mucinex somewhere....
** Is this the year when they just randomly revive old trends that have Spanish-language-inspired names? Bolero? Gaucho? That does means that sombreros are going to be this winter's indispensible hat... right?

ETA - speaking of which, I totally want THIS. Too awesome.
I would never, ever buy THIS, but I know people who would, and I have to admit that at one point I might have been one of them.*

Nonetheless, I thought those of you so inclined might prefer to be alerted to it as a crafting idea. Stencil it? Embroider it? Up to you, of course. One good thing here, aside from your money not going to Rick Santorum's career (hopefully) is being able to choose the kind of sheets you use - organic? high thread count? etc.

It's kind of similar to some ideas in some books I've been looking at lately. There's a wonderful book by Paige Gilchrist that came out a few years ago and is called Decorating Your First Apartment. One of the projects is a stencilled or transfer-printed sheer curtain hung behind a bed, with a dictionary definition page including "love" printed on it. It's hard to explain but it has great visual impact, especially for anyone who loves words and typefaces.

Also try Wall Words, although I have to say that I think many of their quotes are on the simpy side.

* On the other hand, despite my general resistance to buying from UO, I really like THIS LAMPSHADE... wish I could afford one or two of them.
Cat and Girl would like you to consider them for all your trophy-purchasing needs.
OK, there is a style of bag that is really trendy right now. It's sort of like a net shopping bag, but the thread pattern is closer together, and it's fabric-lined. There are either sequins or paillettes crocheted into the net outer layer of the bag. I've seen these with large sequins, small paillettes on strings with beads, and large paillettes. Each style is slightly different. The shape is sort of like a "hobo" tote (the kind where the sides of the bag come up to form the handle).

But I'm looking for a particular one. It is done in dark grey thread and fabric, with sequins (not paillettes). The sequins are iridescent. The joke we have about it is "somebody skinned a mermaid!" But seriously, I can't find which store sells this particular style; I've already checked Nordstrom, Target, Forever XXI, The Gap, and Wet Seal. If you know what I'm talking about and have seen one in this particular style (grey with iridescent sequins) please let me know where! Thanks!



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