materialist australia

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

... Or Be Square

A deviation from the 'beautiful' to the 'bizarre'... found while trying to find a link to the 'clack'.

I can safely say that at no stage of my life have I thought 'geez, I like eggs... I just wish they weren't so round!'.  But in case you have, here is where you can find the Egg Squarer.

More Eggciting Egg Cup Developments

Is this the most beautiful way to present a boiled egg?  Admittedly, it would be quite the uphill battle decapitating and eating an egg with the provided fork, but lets not punish the designer for the sins of the photographer/stylist.

Perhaps a better companion piece to this 'birds nest egg cup' by Studio Gijs would be the 'Clack', a simple, beautiful, yet somewhat useless device that I stumbled across in a snobby culinary megastore recently that essentially performs a neat circumcision for your boiled egg.  Now THAT would make for a picture perfect breakfast product shot.

Verdict: Fork It or Spoon Me?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Make A Wish

I've recently joined Etsy, both because it seems like an online community I'd like to be part of and to help Materialist Australia with a little online visibility in the craft realm.  There are some real treasures to be found, such as this beautiful letterpress Dandelion card from sweetharvey, and I am very touched to have already been included in a 'Partridge in a Pear Tree' related 'treasury' with my funny little pears.

I'm not sure about stocking cards in the store... but then again, I do have a 'Stationery' section already...?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Grand Designs

My love of papery things goes beyond my ever increasing collection of pop-up books for adults, and as a result my new favourite blog is Upon a Fold, an Australian blog/shop/designer that worships at the alter of Origami Architecture (an expression i only read for the first time ten minutes ago, but that I intend to drop into conversation gratuitously throughout the Christmas season). 

I've made my fair share of paper cranes in my time, but the pictured work by Ingrid Siliakus is one of many on this site that makes me go hmm... and ahh.  And 'Add to Cart'.

Verdict: Paper or Plastic?

Bananas for Bananas

I am in deep smit.  Along with the above ceramic interpretation of lolly bananas, I've seen artist Katie Jacobs' lolly teeth and jelly babies and I would quite like to own a whole set... perhaps based on Allens 'Classic' Party Mix currently taking the nation's confectionery aisles by storm (not to be confused with the 'Retro' mix that contains sub-standard gummi coke bottles).

Verdict: Sweet Tooth or Salty Snack?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Like It Like a Motifo

I think I might have been one of the early-comers to fridge words - before they diversified into 'Shakespearean' and 'Poetic' types, I had one of the early versions that I was given as a housewarming gift when I moved into my first share house in 1999.  The problem(s) with fridge words are that they are rarely (if ever) played with the by the house occupant and they give your fridge a look not dissimilar to how it would look in the instance of a nasty ant infestation.  It has taken ten plus years, but there is evolution in the fridge magnet world that has the potential to beautify a kitchen for a fraction of the price tag of stainless steel appliances.  Via Funfurde comes Motifo, available in 'warm colours' or monochrome with a range of iconic images rendered into pixel form.

Verdict: Pixel This or Pixel Something Else?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Plasticine Horror - Advertising

A little aside.  It's not a fancy Scandinavian product or anything... it's just an ad that I first saw in the UK in 2003 and that I still love.  Arguably my favourite ad ever, for Dulux Paint colour matching 'technology'.  Unfortunately, can't embed it, but here is... enjoy.

Hands Off My Pop-Up Book, Kid

This is my second post on the topic of complex, non-kid friendly pop-up books, but I really really like them.  Growing up, we had a Wind In The Willows pop-up book, and we loved it even though ultimately all the tabs were ripped and there were seams in places the publisher hadn't intended.  'Popville' may only be appropriate for children under the age of six months (with their hands tightly bound to their sides) and over ten... or sixteen, but the colours, the execution, the idea... all beautiful.  Here is a video that proves it.

Hopefully, I have more luck navigating the complexities of international publishing rights this time, but either way, it's in my Amazon cart and with the exchange rate the way it is... this little gem WILL be mine.

Verdict: Pop or Flop?

Say It With Alanis Morrisette

I worked with a guy once who used to make annual mix tapes and label them 'Stu's Hits' in thick black permanent marker, adding the year at the end ... just like 'Hits of 1990' or 'Summer 88' (which are real titles from my real one-time music collection).  While we all have the technology, it's like we haven't thought about continuing the 'mix tape' tradition with the thoughtful exchange of USB flash drives to mark an occasion, such as a birthday or a road trip, but for the love of all things retro, somebody HAS come up with a way to bring the mix tape love back.  I for one would be happy to start the ball rolling with a little gift to someone like you that today would feature 'Sunny Afternoon' by The Kinks, 'Little Birdhouse In Your Soul' by They Might Be Giants' and 'Phantom Limb' by The Shins... just becoz.

Verdict: Open Folder to View Files or Safely Remove Hardware?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Something Eggciting...

I've recently rediscovered the deliciousness of a boiled egg, toast and salt and pepper.  Thus I have also recently discovered the relatively average design of your average egg cup.  Average.  And then there are these delightful things from somewhere cool and Scandinavian.  While any biped would agree that that is WAY too much salt for one egg, great to have three grooves for eggs, shells or salt and pepper... whatever your wish... though buttery soldiers still need their own plate.

Verdict: Idea Omelette or Perfectly Poached?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shame But Don't Name

In my travels, I have been trying to suss out the above picture book (and associated titles) because I own it and love it and I would like to have it in my shop.  This first of all led me to a very helpful woman at one publisher who seemed, if anything, a little too bubbly and enthusiastic.  She advised that they no longer had it in their range, but told me where it had gone.  Following is the exchange with THAT publisher's representative.

Monday, 13 September - Me to Unnamed Publisher

To Whom It May Concern:
I am in the process of launching an online store and am interested in stocking ‘One Red Dot’ and other titles by David Carter. Can you please let me know your minimum order requirements and wholesale rates?


Straightforward?  Clear?  Let's see what happened next (formatting has been retained):
Thursday, 16 September - Unnamed Customer Service Representative to Me

Dear You,
Our minimum order requirement is $110.00 AUD net. If order is under this a small order surcharge of $11.00 applies. A 40% discount applies. A Proforma Invoice is raised if you do not hold an account with us. Proforma is sent and once payment is received books are despatched. Only in stock books can be processed, if a book is out of stock or not yet published it cannot be backordered. Full street delivery address needs to be provided as we do not deliver to P.O. Boxes. When sending an order 13 digit ISBN's and quantities of books must be clearly provided. I hope this answers your query.
One Red Dot is no longer available as it went out of print in September 2009.
Kind regards,
Unnamed Customer Service Representative

Am I crazy, or is that the weirdest delivery of information ever?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Porcelain? More Like Richelain!

My sister-in-law apparently hates the little porcelain cups based on dented disposable plastic cups because as a ceramics student they were a simple first year assignment.  As a result, she finds them unoriginal and basic (to which my response is: 'okay, so if it is so easy make me a set'... only like many of my wittiest responses, it never made it to my lips).  But that leads me to think that creating a porcelain piece from an existing texture, such as knitwear, was maybe a later year assignment, but Alyssa Ettinger has created some beautiful things using that principle.  I know a keen knitter, and I know a one time ceramicist... or perhaps I should just place an order on Big Cartel.

Verdict: Pottery or Potty?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

I really like these cup/mugs from Danish designer Anna Olivia Kristiansen (has there ever in the history of Danish names been a more Danish sounding name than that?).  It's a very cute idea, I reckon, but at around AU$50 a pair, it'd want to be.

Verdict: Yum Yum Pig's Bum or Put The Horse Head in Ya Bed?

Getting Your Endy In

It's hard to tell from this site whether these chairs really exist or whether they are just an idea (like the Staple City is just an idea), but I would quite like somebody to make me one.  If only I knew somebody with a little woodworking know-how and a decent set of tools.... you know... like a boat builder or someink.

Verdict: Sit Down or Stand Up?

Friday, September 3, 2010

'Things' On Way

Yep... the Puzzleboard from Oooms Design... in transit as I write.  Makes one feel like a big wine glass full of Ribena and more than one proscuito canape, in my opinion.  Boxmates with the Puzzleboard are the Glassbulb Light and Solar Birdhouse, pictured below.  Why does a birdhouse need to be solar-ed, you ask?  To power it's little perch that attracts insects at night, that's why.  Clev-ahhh.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Launch Imminent... Panic Setting In

There's only one thing cooler than an email address with JUST your first name and domain name ... and that is a custom made stamp.

This means I am ready to sell... because I am ready to package, and after packaging comes postage and postage plus handling equals mail order business.  The shame is that the new product 'research' has had to take a back seat, but I will be back.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Too Expensive, Even For Gifted Children

This one is a direct steal from Swiss Miss.

At US$158, it will be a while before I can afford to even look longingly at these Playshapes.

Verdict: build me up buttercup or knock me down?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is Cross Stitch Cool Yet?

Cross stitch is in my blood.  My mother once ran a business that made cross stitch kits and it was a real family affair: my father painted some designs for it and graphed others, my sister's and I cut lengths of thread in our school holidays, both my mum's sister's worked with her for all distribution, sales, manufacturing tasks, and it grew to be (at one stage) the biggest of it's kind in Australia. 

So I found this site 'Submersive Cross Stitch' with associated book, and I realised that there is an opening here to capitalise on my family experience and potentially to put my retired parents in my employ.  I could find iconic images and get my dad to graph them and my mum to cross stitch them.  Hmmm... this one requires a lot more thinking.

Verdict: new world fashion or olde worlde crafte?

Primary Shakers

Pepper and salt shakers can be very nice things.  Unfortunately, I prefer my pepper freshly ground.

Verdict: shake shake shake or bump and grind?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ironic or Iconic?

And I suppose you thought I was only interested in mugs and bowls for the home, hmmm?

Not so.  Imagine how the ladies in the data entry bay would laugh when they stumbled across your new pen lid organiser on your desk, right alongside your framed Dilbert cartoon!  I'm just going to pop a reminder in the diary for the last Wednesday in April in 2011 so that I can prepare for the rush orders for Secretary's Day.

Only shame is that it can't get stuck on your tongue like the conventionally sized bic pen lid.

Verdict: tick beside or red pen through?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lose Yourself Daily

I wonder if I could import these coffee cups and saucers to sell to funky urban cafes with blackboard painted walls and haughty baristas... because I find a saucer is almost as useless in domestic life as a coaster.

Verdict: find it or lose it?

Insides Illuminated

My body is the host for a bit of a medical miracle* in the form of a double kidney.  I kind of like that I could put it on show for all to admire in the form of an x-ray lampshade.  The ovarian cysts on the other hand...

*not actually a medical miracle... quite common

Verdict: gross or fascinating or fascinatingly gross?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bedtime Fun

You may not be able to see this from the widdle photo, but these sheets are marked with measurements that start at '0' in the centre and increase as the numbers get closer to the sides of the bed.  Could this be the end to the eternal question of who is on who's side?

They don't seem to come in queen size, which is unfortunate, but luckily I have very good spacial awareness and can pretty confidently say that 'he' is always on MY side.

Verdict: my side or your side?

Smell My Finger

Flying the flag for the Kingdom of Novelty is the Fingerstache... but this blog is in need of some silliness.  

I struggle a little with 'single use' items: I hang on to them forever and ever because I want to wait until the perfect occasion, but then three years later I realise that I've been clinging on to something that is essentially worthless and burn them on a 30 second prank, sometimes to an audience of none.

That said, I can imagine a particular three year old I am rather fond of throwing her curly haired head back in full throated giggle should I surprise her with a sneaky fingerstache attack.

Verdict: pass the moustache wax or the razor?

Roller Coaster

I tend towards the opinion that there is nothing less useful in the world than a coaster, but if all coasters were this beautiful I could learn to live with them occupying two millimetres of space under my water glass.

And who knew Israel was the mecca of design (I just had to Google 'Where is Mecca?' and the answer is Saudi Arabia, just in case you were wondering if that was a pun).

Verdict: protect my table or bring on the moisture rings?

Nice Way To Stack Plates

I love good ideas. 

Thanks to PC for pointing me in the direction of ChicTip, but thanks to the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design for instructing Inon Retting.

This one goes in the category of things that may never be available... but imagine a world where they were!

Verdict: stack 'em up or knock 'em down?

Tea For Three

This.  Is.  Clever.

I hate carrying mugs at the best of times, but multiples of mugs is by far the most challenging everyday activity an officeworker encounters.

I also like that the links also would force all the mugs handles to be perfectly parallel in the cupboard.... I'm sorry, is my OCD showing?

Verdict: hot beverage or cold beverage?

Wrapped Around Your Finger

For the literary nerd and book destroyer alike... rings made from the pages of your favourite book. 

Already written about them elsewhere, so this one is short but sweeeeet.

Verdict: 'if you want it then you oughtta put a ring on it' or 'oh oh no oh oh oh oh'

Every Day's A School Day

I spent my formative years carrying around half-chewed, second hand pencils gold embossed with my older sister's name.  I assume somebody somewhere is still making personalised pencils for Australian school children, but even so, these are an even better idea.

Can't help thinking, though, that the test that involves the questions that go with these answers is a test I would be only too pleased to sit!

Verdict: write it down or rub it out?

Green for Go, Red for Stop

I've always loved coloured pencils.  When I was a kid I wanted one of those tins of Derwent Pencils with two layers of fully leaded potential, just waiting to be shuffled and rearranged by eye.  My favourite pencil shades where 'Scarlet Lake' and 'Gun Metal Grey', though these days I'd be more in the 'Juniper Green' camp.

This bowl is beautiful.  It's design is an invitation to an order junkie like me to arrange and rearrange at will: one day a near facsimile of the colour wheel, the next a very deliberate (and no doubt much laboured) random.  Could almost be coupled with this product.

Verdict: does it change the colour of your day or is it a yawning shade of grey?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Apple A Day

A memo pad's a memo pad's a memo pad, right?  Hells NO! 

Sometimes a memo pad is just like a piece of fruit, and even comes individually wrapped in one of those funny little foam mesh tube things they put around nashi pears to protect them from the mean streets of Woolworths.  Each sheet is printed to look like a slice of fruit too, and personally I would really appreciate the post modernism of writing 'fruit memo pad' on a shopping list written on one of those slices.

Verdict: 'Cut me a slice' or 'I'd prefer juice'?

Colour Me Happy

Would kind of be a shame to walk on it... but lying on this beautiful rug from Anthropologie would be like when Bastian woke up on Falcor in The Neverending Story: cosy, bumpy, woolly and warm... but with fewer dodgy eighties animatronics. 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about creating a new bathmat right now by upending the bathroom drawer and stitching together every last cotton ball I find.

Verdict: sell all possessions at a garage sale and buy bulk, or continue with the cotton ball project?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everything's Rosey

People would like these, wouldn't they?  Australian people specifically, I mean.

I bought a set of these 'Rose Nesting Bowls' for my friend's daughter Rosie for her third birthday (get it? Rose bowl... for Rosie) and the gift was gratefully received for it's function as well as it's form: anything that assists parents getting green stuff into the mouths of toddlers can't be bad, can it?   

I can imagine that they would get a good workout at a picnic or a kid's party, or even for everyday use in Australian backyards...and the big one also looks capable of comfortably containing a laksa, if picnics and children aren't your thing.

Verdict - putting out the welcome mat or turning off the lights and pretending not to be home?