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{{One small change in the world a day}}

As the world turns... green

As the world turns... green
Urban Green
A plant takes up space. Which is fine if you have space but more complicated if you live in a Harry Potter-style broom closet. But plants are even being used as purifiers by Nasa so it might be worth throwing a few pair of shoes away in favour of a green friend. Unless you are as lucky as I am to live near the just opened (and AMAZING) shop Urban Green. If they would serve coffee, I would move there.
In this shop I have discovered something which they call string gardens. Small planets with grass growing all around except at the top where you have a different plant sprouting, like a cherry blossom or an olive tree. Apparently they are all over the web but I am thankful Urban Green showed them to me. Sometimes it's nicer to discover something yourself than have a blogger pointing it to you.

The inspiration for these string gardens can be found in the kokedama, an ancient form of bonsai, and is fairly easy to reproduce:
1. Roll clay-heavy soil into balls;
2. Cover the soil in moss, or stick grass seeds in it;
3. Inserting a plant into the soil;
4. Use some lovely string to keep everything together;
5. Attach one or more strings to the ball and hang them where you want.

But you could also drop by Urban Green and just buy one for 19 euros...

Terra Plana
Walking away from the shop with a wonderful Bergamot plant I was asked a few times where I had bought my shoes from. These were from Terra Plana, a wonderful brand with Dutch origins which tries hard to use a variety of eco-friendly materials and innovative minimal glue constructions. All their shoes are made from recycled materials! So I am walking on other people' stories and it feels so soft...

What I particularly love about the shoes is the box. On it you will find a small instruction: either re-use the box to store the shoes, or turn it inside out which leaves you with a wonderfully printed box or bring it to a paper bin and let others recycle it for you.

There are so many brands which do not understand the difference between really be and mean who you are, and just say it for the sake of marketing and sales.

Luxirare
Another great example of meaning who you say you are, is Luxirare, a weekly webzine dedicated to clothing and cuisine. Luxury to them is not a price, it's a personal experience which depends on the time and amount of thinking it took to create something.

One of the luxury things they have created, has stolen my heart completely: I am a crayons lover. I used to drink sweet ink from my uni-ball pens. I love fruit and am addicted to colors.
Luxirare has shaken all my addictions and created something amazing: edible crayons.

All crayons were made of a variety of edible ingredients from nuts to fruity pebbles to dried blueberries. Most of the ingredients that were used were of the healthy variety, but a few colours, such as blue, achieved better results with more sugar and candy. But who cares if you think of the disgusting things we humans tend to eat?
That being said, each crayon was made with color divisions. So the flavour is based on colours, not actual flavours so I am not sure if eating your red crayon after drawing would taste as good as eating a red apple...

Friday 3 September
On each walk I now make, I take seeds from plants along the path and distribute them elsewhere.

Are you broken? I can fix you


Wednesday 1 September
I had parked my bike next to someone else's when I noticed one thing missing: the other bike only had one pedal. 'How uncomfortable for the riders' right foot!' I thought.

My grocery shop was across the street so I started walking towards it. I can never walk in one straight line so I was sort of zigzagging on the road when I noticed a familiar object lying on the tram rail: a bike pedal! It wasn't the right color nor the right size but it was a bike pedal. So I ran back and carefully pushed the pedal in the metal pin. It fitted! The cinderella bike had found its almost perfectly fitting shoe. I smiled and left. Little things can change the world too.

The End.

Oh. I can change the world

no plastic week
Floods, another oil spill, giant hail, food riots... OK. Yes. I understand. A lot of things are not going very well in the world and there are many reasons to be sad. But at the same time... should I be sad because I can't do much about it?

A week ago I have decided to change the world and I am making one step a day towards my destination. At least.
The great thing is that there are no rules and it's not really important where you start. Which means you could do ANYTHING, ANYTIME. For example, you could make a complete stranger smile, just by saying something nice or sharing a moment ('look at that rainbow'). Or you could make seed bombs and drop them in desolated areas of your city. Or you might embellish the street with a few crayons and the help of some children.
Take a few things into consideration: it's important to stick to your believes as much as possible, to mean what you do and to act impulsively.

Monday 30 August
My boyfriend and I have named this week the 'no plastic week'. This means:
We will not buy anything with a plastic container, if we can avoid it.
We will bring our own bags to the shops.
We will re-use all containers and plastic we already have.
We won't 'take-away' in plastic: either bring your own containter or take the time and sit in.

So far the results have been great. Not only did we both get great reactions from other people, but we got to eat better food, spent less, bought more consciously and we had no left-over food we had to throw away. I was already in love with glass jars but now they have found their way to... practically everywhere, from plant pot to food jar (as we have no plastic ones left).

Therefore I have decided to continue with a no plastic month. My next project involves a lunch bag made from coffee bean bags and I have contacted my local authorities and requested a plastic container bin for my neighboorhood.

Have a lovely day,

MM

A poodle under my bed: a post about monsters

At exactly 02.47 PM on 3rd October 2007 in Central Park, New York, I discovered poodles scare me.

At that moment in time a perfectly trimmed, white poodle was walking majestically towards me and I swear the pavement cracked underneath his paws: he was so big, he was able to look me in the eye.
I used to beg my parents to get me a poodle when I was a little girl, but from that day on, my conception of a 'poodle' had changed. All information in our mind is stored in little boxes, which we then label with a name and fill with a memory, a rough concept and an emotion. My poodle box said 'cuddly; small and fluffy; happiness' but when I saw the poodle mentioned previously, my mind and my senses conflicted with what I thought a poodle to be and I was forced to renew my information box. I changed that into 'scary; BIG and fluffy; fear'. Then I realized there was another box which information was very similar to the giant poodle's, its label read 'monster'.
Monster? Was this experience enough to turn a poodle into a monster???

There I was, standing in the middle of New York City in my most glamorous dress, trying to define the difference between a poodle and a monster. Our conception of what we consider to be a monster, has its roots somewhere in our babyhood and rarely gets an update in adult life. Meaning we end up dying with the same concept of what a monster is, as we used to have as a kid.

Some monsters are furry, others have shiny scales, most of them are blessed with a long row of pointy teeth - which have usually all sorts of disgusting things sticking between them - and practically all of our monsters are BIG. Really BIG. That's the thing about monsters: although we all have very different ideas on how he is supposed to look like, we all recognize a monster when we see one. But do they still scare us when we are grown-up?

As monsters are such a big part of our childhood, we tend to loose our fear over the years. We put them in a perspective ('You are just one of the ten thousand things I should be scared of') and they get smaller. Sometimes, we even start loving them.
monsters
I do. Many other grown-ups obviously do too...

Ray Harryhausen is an American film producer and a special effects creator most famous for his stop-motion monster animation. You might have never heard of him but does King Kong or the amazing fight between a man and seven skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts ring a bell? He is responsible for almost every monster you have seen in a 50s, 60s and 70s movies. Nice: The Pixar film Monsters Inc. pays homage to Harryhausen in a scene where Mike and Celia visit a restaurant named "Harryhausen's".


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Twenty years after he had drawn them, Italian illustrator Ericailcane’s parents showed him his first childhood drawings featuring monsters and fantastic creatures. He then simply redrew them and published them side by side in the wonderful book Potente di fuoco.

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Matteo GubelliniIsn't this the most accurate definition of a monster? I love this illustration, no words could ever achieve this image. Visual artist and writer Matteo Gubellini has just become a dad and I am slightly jealous of the fantastic world he will create for his child. But I am sure this experience will sparkle his own imagination even more.

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Relleno de Mono, a talented illustrator from Chile, literally proves that monsters are not evil creatures. They are actually quite friendly as of all of his wonderfully manipulated Polaroids show. Wouldn't you love having a monster in your pool?



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The hand of amazing, wonderful Canadian illustrator Carson Ellis is
easy to discern: a subtle color palette, gentle line work and silent storytelling. Her monsters seem to have stepped out of a Brueghel's painting, with their mix matched bodies but how could someone with such elegant feet harm anyone?


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Italian Camilla Falsini's favourite subjects for artworks and illustrations are fantastic creatures and mean human like figures, usually represented with big heads and tiny bodies. Or simply with sharp eyes and pointy teeth...


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This book is a small collection of some of the work visual artist Geoff McFetridge has done for Spike Jonze’s film adaptation of the book Where the Wild Things Are. Like with all of his work, Geoff's attempts to manipulate with irony and imagination the way people look at things. You can see this is a monster but when you look at him closely, it becomes hard to see any monstrosity in him. So is he a monster?

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Joshua Ben LongoJoshua Ben Longo has an obsession with monsters and comic book heroes. That is a good thing: have a look at its portfolio and although sometimes slightly disconcerting, his work is so much fun! I want a house full of monster furniture too.


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Nobody could have said it better than Picasso: All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

Just keep checking under your bed every once in a while, ok?

MM

The importance of looking carefully

It was rush hour at the Amsterdam railway station and I was on my way to Brussels. The train was running late and as a consequence everybody was walking up and down the platform impatiently, moving in coordinated blocks. white ladyThat's how I saw her: at one point the mass left a huge gap right where she was standing. At first she seemed motionless like a statue: an elderly lade, somewhere in her eighties, with wavy hair, a soft suede coat, a mohair turtleneck sweater, wonderfully cut pants and lovely flats. All of which was in the purest shade of white. She looked as if she had stepped right out of a Vogue winter fairytale. But the lady was conscious of everybody staring at her: young girls with their mocking smiles, young boys rolling their eyes in disbelief. The white lady's hands clutched more and more to the bag she had pushed in front of her like a shield.
I thought she looked amazing. I went up to her and said 'Madame, you look beautiful'.
A lovely smile broke her face in thousand wrinkles. She lowered her arms and thanked me.

The train arrived and we lost each other in the mass. I found an empty seat, took off my coat and waited for the train to leave. Suddenly I saw her bony hand holding a carefully wrapped sweet before my eyes. The lady was towering over me. 'Take this, please, and enjoy. I am sure it has been a long time since someone has offered you a sweet. Just as long as someone has said to me I looked beautiful.'
She smiled again and left.

That moment was magical to me. I think of her words very often and while many people were there at that exact moment, none of them carries this memory with him or her. Not just beauty is in the eye of the beholder, life is as well.

My Italian grandmother had a special way of dressing up: on important occasions she applied a hint of deep red Chanel lipstick with her index finger and sprayed a hint of No5 on her wrists. After that she was ready to be taken out by grandfather and indeed, although the changes remained unnoticed for the untrained eye, I could see her metamorphosis: she had shed her worker's coat and felt like a woman.

It's important to train our heart to see things as they are, not as they look.

Ed YourdonFlickr is a endless source of poignant tales for people like me. Some are speculative, others aren't. Like this old lady sitting on a bench from Ed Yourdon. She is wearing a nice blue dress and pearls, which shows she has carefully dressed up for shopping. But she is holding her groceries and bag so close to her body, that it's clear she is not feeling entirely safe in the world. Her gaze isn't very trusty either. Her hand is resting next to her, obviously reserving that seat for no-one. In the comment the photographer notes that he bumped into the lady one week later, wearing the exact same clothes and pearls and carrying the exact same plastic bag...

Most of us have heard of Jonathan Harris. To me he was the pioneer of online story collectors. He is perhaps best known for We feel fine, a website which measures emotions through blog analysis. Another great project he did is I want you to want me, which gathers its data from online dating websites. The data is presented as an interactive installation showing a sky whose weather (sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy, etc.) can be controlled by the viewer. Hundreds of blue and pink balloons float through the sky, each representing a single dating profile.


Larry SultanLarry Sultan spent a decade photographing his mother and father, both retired, in a series of colour-rich and hyper-realistic portraits. Nearly all images were staged. Sultan was fascinated with fiction and suggested narrative. He depicted his parents as if they were lost in life, dressed up for no reason, waiting for things not to come. An example of how you shouldn't always trust what you see through the eyes of someone else.

FOUND MagazineFOUND Magazine is a wonderful collection of found objects, love letters, birthday cards, kids' homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, telephone bills, doodles. Memento's of someone else's life which sparkle the imagination of its finder.
In this case, the finder is juist as intriguing. The photo shows an unsettling image of a laughing girl with a horrible fire in the background. The founder was a guy working at a photo lab who made copies of all the pictures he liked.

Flip through the pictures of William Eggleston and you will see mailboxes, fast food restaurants, convenience stores. But however common these places seem to be, in every picture he manages to capture a glimpse of a beautiful and colourful story everybody seems to overlook. This old lady sitting on the swing bench embodies fifties coolness: cigarette in one hand, her striking patterned dress trying not to blend in with the background. Her legs are elegantly aligned which reminds me of Audrey Hepburn. When I look at her I see someone who would give everything to escape her own life.

Rob from the.found.object is someone who started collecting found photos after finding a run over camera and developing its film. Why don't we all do this? Imaging having a photo album full of people you don't know: you could invent everything about them. Ted, 37, toothpaste tester. Mia, 25, hates flies and loves saying hello to people in the street.






Mark ClarkeMark Clarke’s Cabinets of Cures is a series of mismatched cabinets enriched with fascinating stories about its character. Each cabinet is created from found fabrics and everyday objects, and represents a series of surreal moments in medical history. This lady is the Countess of Chinchon, the wife of the Spanish Viceroy of Peru. When court physicians were unable to treat her malarial fever, she turned to an alternative native remedy: Cinchona bark.





Juliana BeasleyAnother photographer, another picture I love, from Juliana Beasley. In the obviously staggering heat, three dressed up ladies in their golden age are having a snack-moment. At least one lady is wearing a bra underneath her bathing suit and at least one other has curlers in her hair, but they all have perfectly manicured hands and are wearing make-up. Isn't it wonderfully obvious that these ladies love being themselves?




mobileI tend to collect little broken objects. Or other things with no purpose. At one point a flatmate lost his coolness about this and commanded me to throw all the useless crap out of the house. But I didn't wanted to. So I started making hanging mobiles with all the little bits I had. The objects were still useless but by being part of something bigger, they had turned into pages of a wonderful book.

Be amazing,

MM

Background image train station: Claudio.ar

Imaginary safari chasing art

I was born on an island shaped like a three-legged monster and rugged like an old fisherman's forehead. me in a zooThe sea has always been renowned for its abundance in marine life, especially sword fish and tuna. But the land was poor of animals, except from the usual fauna you can see anywhere: mice, swallows, pigeons, sparrows, lizards and many insects.

When I hit the magical age of eight, a zoo opened its gates on our island. I loved animals and could spend hours reading my Animal Kingdom encyclopedia, so my parents took me there on a lovely Sunday morning. We were the first people entering. Trembling with excitement I walked around its cages. Unfortunately the zoo hadn't managed the funding to get enough animals to fill them so most of the structures were empty. Outside the cages mice, swallows, pigeons, sparrows and lizards seemed to prosper, just like on the rest of the island.

The largest cage of all was situated next to the play area (one slider and two see-saws). At first glance it appeared to be sort of empty too. Then I noticed one animal I had only seen in my Animal Kingdom encyclopedia so far: a praying mantis. I didn't dare to breathe or move and sat there motionlessly on my knees observing the little creature observing me. Suddenly she started moving towards the bars. Gently and elegantly she hopped out of the iron cage and hid under a waste basket. There I was, standing in a zoo, surrounded by free animals and empty cages. Had the world itself become a zoo?

Context changes meaning. A chair looks weird in the middle of the street but normal at home. And how can you call a zoo a 'zoo' when it has more animals outside than inside his cages? Let's say we let art run free of context. What will we find when we go on an imaginary safari chasing art?

1. Reuben Margolin grew up making things with his father's tools. One day he saw a caterpillar move and spent months researching how he could emulate its crawling movement with wood. This was the beginning of something special: Reuben creates extraordinarily complex kinetic sculptures. A fusions of technology and high art inspired by simple movements he found while observing nature. Please watch this video and feel the same enchantment I felt when discovering his work:



2. Jarbas Agnelli is a wonderful filmmaker from Brazil and the creator of Birds on the Wires. On a magical life-changing day he spotted a picture of birds on electric wires in a newspaper and noticed they were arranged like notes on a musical score: 'I cut out the photo and decided to make a song, using the exact location of the birds as notes (no Photoshop edit). I knew it wasn't the most original idea in the universe. I was just curious to hear what melody the birds were creating.'
He then sent the music to the photographer, Paulo Pinto, who he had Googled. Pinto told his editor, who told a reporter and the story ended up as an interview in the very same newspaper. I can assure you will end up telling everyone you know about it too.



3. Walking along the windy Dutch coast, you might find many things on your way like wiggly jellyfish, thousands of grey-coloured shells and beautifully washed wood. But chances are you could also find yourself staring at a herd of enormous plastic animals. These 'strandbeesten', beach animals, are given life by Theo Jansen.
Jansen is a physicist who once invented a painting machine after which he dedicated himself to creating a new species: giant skeletons resembling dream animals and are able to walk on the wind, their life source. Some of these creatures can capture and store the wind. Others have the ability to anchor themselves in the sand when the wind threatens to blow them away. All of the animals are set free.
Strandbeesten is a wonderful example of engineering being kissed by art.



4. Have you ever watched Jim Henson's Labyrinth? Ron Mueck was one of its model and puppet makers. This Australian hyperrealist sculptor works in London creating perfect human figures using fiberglass resin or silicone. The only unreal aspect of his work is its scale, all his figures are either oversized or undersized giving YOU the feeling of being undersized or oversized.
The first time I saw his work I simply stopped blinking. Afraid I would miss a furtive, tiny movement from the sculpture I was looking at.
Image of Ron Mueck courtesy of Photobucket.com


5. It's not just humans who can create art based nature, engineering and imagination. A rare species of solitary bees found in the Middle East, called Osmia avoseta, constructs its beautiful nests from petals, creating pink, yellow, blue, and purple chambers for its larvae.
Image from http://scienceblogs.com


6. Our imaginary safari ends on the shores of Zadar, in Croatia. Simple and elegant steps, carved in white stone, were built here on the quayside: underneath you will find thirty-five organ pipes. Day and night sea waves push air through them, playing strange and unworldly musical chords, resembling a whale cry.


Isn't the world amazing?

Have a lovely day,

Miss Moussetache

{Background image Zoo: Life.com}

Urban Storytellers: the world as a drawing sheet


When we are little, grown-ups are always telling us off when we extend our drawing surface to anything that isn't paper: walls, human legs and let's not forget the living room's antique table. So we learn how to not use walls, human legs and antique tables as drawing paper.
By the time we have restricted ourselves to a paper sheet, grown-ups our telling us off for coloring outside the 'lines'. Only a face should be pink and not its surrounding sky, dress, house, etc... So we learn how to stick our colored crayon in between the pre-drawn lines.
But then WE become a grown-up too. And sometimes we go back to our instinct of coloring outside lines and using the world as a drawing sheet. When that happens... the world becomes a wonderful storyteller who we never want to stop telling its stories.

knitgraffitiHave you ever heard about knitgraffiti? Small, usually rectangular, pieces from leftover yarns are knitted together and sawn around trees, abandoned gas stations, light poles, doorhandles and even buses... Just type knitgraffiti, yarn bombing, urban embroidery and you will find thousands of amazing images. Isn't this the best way to brighten up everyone's day?
{image: Maskerade}

Well, it definitely isn't the only way. Walls is a really cool art gallery in Amsterdam, which offers artists the opportunity to rent a strip of their wall for two months on one of the city's best locations. This is where I discovered the work of José van Tilburg. She uses words from old love letters, lyrics, poems and picked-up dialogues which she then translates into images made out of fabric or paper, stitched together with thread. Like three-dimensional memories. Just imagine how it would be to wander around the city surrounded by beautiful and touching sentences sawn and stitched across grubby walls.
{image: Walls}

Another way of decorating the urban landscape has been coined by UK artist filthyluker. He creates filthyluker's octopuslarge scale inflatable limbs, like the tentacles of a giant octopus, which emerge from buildings, making it appear as if the whole building has been devoured by a massive creature. Have a look at his work: it's like walking into a real life horror B-movie...
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the eyes. He dots urban nature with peering eyes as if they are wondering themselves what on earth they are doing in between all the concrete. Do try this at home, the effect is strangely eerie and surreal.
{image: filthyluker}

The other day my Love and I were walking in our neighborhood when suddenly I noticed our feet were surrounded by birds. Literally, as they happened to be drawn on to the pavement tiles. After inspecting the area, we noticed more floor graffiti like the ones with the birds and it didn't turn out to be just art: by placing stencils on the floor and turning a high-pressure sprayer on, it's possible to clean selectively thus making this a very cheap option for advertising. But as long as you have a high-pressure sprayer at hand, you could turn every square in the world into a giant canvas. Or why not use this to show off your portfolio?
{image: Croasters}

When photography meets urban coloring meets an amazing creative personality, you get Katie Sokoler. This freelance photographer and street artist from Brooklyn isn't just someone we would secretly all want to be. She is an inspiration volcano of urban intervention. What about giant pacmans trying to eat humans? Or small hearts coming out of pipes? Her biggest invention (largely copied but nobody does it better than Color Me Katie) is the thought bubble. Katie sticks large thought bubbles on a wall and waits around the corner just till the moment someone walks by... creating a life-size cartoon. Wouldn't you ever wish to know what other people were thinking? Her latest project involves miniature, playing silhouettes which she places on 'shadows' creating a playground of the world.
{image: Color Me Katie}

Today I have bought an old box of crayons...
my new crayons
... and no paper.


Have a lovely day,

Miss Moussetache

Excuse me, there is a pigeon in my living room

pigeon
Something interrupted me while listening to music and writing away this morning. That something was flapping vigorously in my living room, making it impossible for me to go in. It was a lovely morning so I had opened all the windows and somehow a very fat pigeon had flown into the house.

From the glass doors I saw this pompous pigeon flying around and sitting on almost every item of the room: the couch, the vintage piano, my collection of staplers, my boyfriend's selfmade lamps. The beast was also leaving a trace of its body dust on everything. You could easily trace its contours with a pencil and get featured in a biology book.

After half an hour I knew something had to happen, it was me or the bird. So I went into the kitchen and broke off a delicious piece of bread. Things went really quickly afterwards. The pigeon immediately saw the bread and started flying in my direction but I was very quick and threw that piece of scrumptious bread outside the window. The pigeon u-turned and grabbed the bread while flying into the sunny sky.

pigeon

What did I learn from this?
A. Never open your window on a sunny day.
B. Never run out of bread just in case you forget you weren't supposed to open the window.
C. We need fountains in a city to make sure birds get a bath every now and then.

Have a lovely day,

Miss Moussetache

Music for your moods

stereomood

How are you feeling today? I woke up insanely happy and after my first coffee the melancholy swept me off my feet. Undoubtedly some other mood will knock me down soon.

You know what I hate most about mood swings? I have to walk to my iPod and change the tracks every time. I simply can't listen to happy music when I am feeling sad.

Probably you feel the same about this. But our sighs and moans have been heard... and inspired someone to create Stereomood, an extremely accurate playlist based on your moods. It's perfect and works amazingly well. My next wish? A genius playlist which automatically tags the moods on my iPod too...

PS Talking about mood swings, did you ever hear about emotionally-activated lip gloss? Yes, it does exist, it's called Mood Swing (really?) and it's an easy way to show the world whether you are feeling sassy, sexy or deliriously happy. Gosh, didn't we all need that?
And if the gloss doesn't work - there is always the mood swing pin...

Soon we will all love him. Or are we already?

I never thought I would end up liking this song. He doesn't need weird clothes, sexy moves and a million dollar budget: all Greyson Chance has is his talent and isn't that the only thing you are supposed to need?

The art of the self-help book title: it's all about confuzzlement

self-help book covers
'Confuzzled' is what happens to you when you are somewhere in the middle between confused and puzzled, I learnt from Max in the lovely claymation Mary & Max (without a doubt my favourite movie of all times).

I have a friend who devours every self-help book written on this planet. Well, actually most of my friends read them. What I find most intriguing about these paper psychiatrists are their titles. They ignite my imagination beyond their actual content as I just don't get what they could possibly be about. Though somehow they always manage to leave me confuzzled: every aspect of my life seems to be utterly abnormal and in desperate need of change.

Ok, take a sip of your coffee and get ready...

Oceans, impressive new Disneynature movie

Disneynature Oceans
Shot at 50 different locations, it needed seven years to complete, including four years of photography, using a great team of adventurers and the latest high-tech camera equipment to capture state-of-the-art images. It is Disneynature's new movie Oceans.

Iranian photography


Accessibilty of a world that used to be invisible, that is for me the greatest thing about the web. Like the launch of an Iranian online magazine for contemporary Iranian photographers: Dide Photography Magazine. The Persian word 'Dide' means eye, glance, being seen.

Each issue of Dide will focus on displaying one project, along with words and texts by photographers and critics. This month' photographer is thirty-years old Mohammad Gazali and what I have seen so far has a Lomo feeling, with that typical yellow, orange, brown spectrum. I can see him wandering around Teheran with a Leica around his neck, capturing the quite life around him. Really interesting work and I can't wait till next month' issue.

Big smile,
MM

I hate pristine looking walls: DIY wallpaper

wallpaper diy
I am restless. The walls of my house are so pristine looking, every time I am drawing or cooking tomato sauce I am drawn to accidentally drop some color on them. Am I the only one who can't resist a white wall? No, not all. And you don't need to get yourself dirty with paint or buy expensive wallpaper to achieve the coolest interior in the world. There are tons of ideas how to DIY walls.

It's great to be different

different ways of being an artist
Each of us can do something the usual way or his own way. Arent't we different beings after all? Maybe we all have one name for the thing we do best, which could be kissing, fixing cars, drawing just as well as dancing, taking pictures or animating. But it's up to ourselves to look at what we do from a different angle and do it from that same different angle. Just like...

Ode to the Bus Stop

bus stop
I once read a very sad story: in Germany, some nursing homes build imitation bus stops for patients who are suffering from dementia. The patients will sit at the bus stop waiting for a bus to take them to their imagined destination. After some time the nursing staff comes to escort them back into the nursing home.

Every time I think of this story, the Hollies' Bus stop starts singing in my head. It's a slightly gloomy melody just as waiting for a bus usually is.

Surprisingly something as ordinary as a bus stop has inspired many creative minds - just as those tiny plants sprouting from the arid sidewalk.

Travel diary of an imaginary day

travel diary
Today feels slightly boring, although I know the world is packed full with amazing things to do and see. If only I knew how to bake a take-me-anywhere-I-want cookie, all I would have to do is take a small bite each time I want to go somewhere. Today would then have looked something like this:

1} mmm, wake up after a long and lovely sleep in my soft bed of the cooler than cool Story Hotel in Stockholm. I have already taken a million pictures of its amazing interior before having...

2}... a 'kaffi' in Kaffismiðja Íslands, a small and cozy coffeeshop in the city center of Reykjavík. The Giesen coffee roaster they have in the shop (yes, inside!) is bright, Barbie pink. And the coffee is supposed to be really really good. To make...

3}... sure I won't get lost during my travel day, I have taken along my crumpled city map from designer Emanuele Pizzalorusso. How could I have ever lived without? It's printed on tyvek and designed to fit into the smallest of my bags. No more origami maps which never fold back!

4} Can you ever have enough photo booth pictures? No. Uhm, let me have a look at the worldwide photo booth locator... Ah, yes, my love, let's go to enchanting Paris. There we can find the first black and white photochemical booth to return to Paris after the replacement of all photobooths by digital booths in the last decade. I should not forget to take along my fake mustache. You need one on a photo booth picture. A carousel is singing its old-time automatic music in the distance and it...

5} ... makes me want to listen to some nostalgic live music now. Babylon Circus is having a gig in London and these ten guys do this ska-ish, reggae-ish, folk thing I adore listening to.

6} Gosh, is it that late? I have read about an old building in the old town of Zug, Switzerland, which has been renovated, filled with art, fireplaces and piles of books and named Vorstadt 14. It rooms can be let for special occasions and all look majestic...

Oh, I can't wait to dream about tomorrow! Or shall I make a move and simply go out on my pink bike?

Love,
MM

Domestic meets industrial: a delicate shovel

Cal Lane
Lace is an openwork fabric, patterned with open holes. It's an ancient craft which probably originated in Belgium, just around the corner from Holland. The materials used for lace-making are usually just as fragile as its patterns: linen, silk, gold. Think of lace and you immediately think of underwear, napkins, curtains and religious ceremonies such as in weddings, christenings and funerals.

What would happen if you could combine its feminine, domestic element with something masculine and industrial? Just look at Cal Lane's work and you will see how this marriage would look. This gifted artist uses her torch to cut baroque, lace-like patterns into ordinary things such as shovels, old oil drums, wheelbarrows, car doors, and other pieces of scrap metal.

I own you - art made with paper and glue

As a child, I loved drawing little worlds inhabited by critters. It usually started with one creature living in a house made out of leaves and broken glass but this soon developed into a whole world on its own, with cableways between flowers for transporting honey and squirrels wearing glasses against the flying wood chips of a woodpecker. If my world didn't fit on the page anymore, I simply glued a new one on top and began building another layer on it, like in a pop-up book.

Somehow that memory hit me while watching the amazing “I Own You”, a clip for Wax Tailor featuring Charlie Winston. French studio SoLab seems to have created a little world out of paper and glue just as I did. Uhm, oh, well, they might have done a better work than I have ever... but still!

Wax Tailor feat. Charlie Winston " I Own You" from SoLab on Vimeo.

Have you ever heard about Russian stray dogs?


'Have you ever heard about Russian stray dogs?', asked my boyfriend the other day. No, I hadn't. So he began a unbelievable story about 35,000 stray dogs that roam Russia’s capital, especially its metro. These animals have evolved into a new and very intelligent breed. They are all medium-sized with thick fur, wedge-shaped heads and almond eyes. And they all behave in a strangely human way...

If they need to be somewhere, they hop in the metro and when it's time to get out, they simply get out. They recognize their stop by smell and their sense of time. They always sit in the first or last wagons, as it's always less busy there. Oh, and when it's dinner time, they look at all the people with food in their hands and asses who is going to jump and drop their sandwich if they start barking madly.

Most Muscovites love the street pack: there is even a website dedicated to them on which passengers post photos and video clips taken with their mobile phones. Everyone has its favorite and most stations have their regulars.

Where did they come from? Well, they are the 3 procent of animals that survive being dumped on the steet by his 'owners'. They are the fittest survivors. They are somewhere in the middle between domesticated and wild, living among humans without being owned.

have a lovely day,
MM

(image from English Russia)

Matchbox card

One of my best friends is pregnant. We were supposed to meet for a lovely lunch so I had bought her and her love two small gifts: a vintage pinnard horn to listen to the baby's heart and a huge set of old-fashioned baby clothes hangers (like the one featured in Heather Bailey's blog) with deer shapes. After wrapping everything carefully in some kraft paper I realized I was still missing something. A card to wish the future mum and dad all the smiles in the world!

matchbox card

As I happen to be an Etsy card seller, this wasn't such a big thing to miss BUT I wanted to give them a bit more than just a card. So I wrapped one of my Ballerina designs around a matchbox cover, draw smiley faces on a bunch of matches, wrapped these smiling matches together with some japanese paper tape and addes a little note inside... et voilà! So easy and such a sweet result!

Have a lovely weekend,
MM

Coffee, bikes & beards

A zillion things happened today in the world. Out of this zillion, there were a few I happened to stumble upon:

stumbled upon

{1} A striking image about prejudice, by French studio La Souris sur le Gateau (Didier Rossigneux and Knapik Bridenne). It screams at you without words.

{2} A fox got into the Helsinki zoo and killed 16 flamingos. Would this have been a news item if the flamingos had been roaming in the wild? I am still unsure about zoo's. Are they the good guy or the bad guy?

{3} This love filled latte made by my boyfriend in one my greatgrandmother's tea cups. With home roasted beans!

{4} The Porteur, A mostly handmade gentleman's bike, designed by Nicolas Yvars. The blue-gray color scheme, the leather details, the vintage liquor flask under the saddle... Nicolas found many components thanks to the help he got from the French bike community. I love craftmanship, people who want to deliver perfection by putting their soul in it, AND everyone who encourages that.

{5} Apparently worms are able to make group decisions like travelling in the same direction. They do that by touching each other. Just like when you are in love - the more you hug each other, the more you want to be close to one another and never ever let go.

{6} An article about beards. This made me realize that despite of it being a perfectly normal thing for men to grow facial hair, if you don't shave it off after an inch or so, the world around you will think of you as Roald Dahl's Mr Twit. I must admit that I am intrigued by moustaches (hence the name) but I like them more when they are fake, when made with cream or toothpaste (hence the mispelling)... PS The image is from Erin, the best fake beard maker in the world!

Have a lovely day,

MM

The many faces of Little Red Riding Hood

The fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood is a well known one. But did you know that there are many versions of this story? It's not just storytellers and writers who have adapted the story about the little girl who, on her way to her Grandmother, is attacked by a wolf. Illustrators have depicted her in many different ways as well. She can be...



... childish and angry, Andrea Zuill
... unaware and bubbly, Raquel Aparicio (have a look at her site, this artist is amazing!)
... graphical like a twenties Vogue model, Kenneth Whitley (is that wolf wearing glasses like mine?)
...dark and sinister, Tyler Garrisson (his work is really really good)
... surprisingly complicated after the first sight, Noma Bar (if you ever get the chance to see an exposition, go)
... cheerful and unafraid, SkoLzki

Very inspiring for every artist to see it's the hand that makes something unique, even when you are using a zillion times told tale. It's all about finding your own thing and describing it with your inner voice.

x,
MM

Who is Mr Bunk?

Well, as a boy, people called him Jeff and apparently he was born on a lake inhabited by a giant mythical serpent, somewhere in Canada. And then one day, he had become a world acclaimed shadow puppeteer and people called him Mr Bunk. Mr Bunk creates amazing creatures with wigged buckets, giant puppets, a screen, a lamp and of course his hands. Oh, and he can sing. Oh, yes, he can sing. I love Mr Bunk’s 'handmade' version of Ne Me Quitte Pas even more than Jacques Brel’s:



Have a happy day,
MM

(via It's Nice That)

Do you want these as much as I do? Retro camera's

Camera's are synonymous for traveling, success, creativity. They symbolize your lifestyle. Well, at least if you own the right one.
How does the perfect camera look? Retro, cool and classy. Oh, and easy to use...


{1} Polaroid SX70 original, legendary camera packed with style. Picture this: a Paris cafe', you dressed for success with huge glasses, a leather bag from hardgraft and coffee. On the table this camera and a french newspaper...
{2} Blackbird Fly 35mm, beautiful 35mm toy twin-lens reflex
{3} Ricoh 500 G, adorable camera - just imagine walking around with her wrapped around your neck!
{4} Lomograpy Fisheye Print Ryan Camera, Rob Ryan has that gift of making people happy instantly, like a polaroid. I saw a girl a few weeks ago with this camera and I couldn't keep my eyes off it!
{5} MINOX DCC Leica M3 5MP Digital Camera, everything miniaturized makes me want to want it. I just can't resist mini-things.
{6} Olympus E-P1, gosh, she is pretty, isn't she?

Have a lovely day,
MM

Back to Back - Wolf Gang

Make yourself a coffee and listen to this wonderful acoustic version of Back to Back by British artist Wolf Gang.

Seven ways to celebrate Love Day


The sun is shining, the weather is nice and you are feeling happy, right? Great, then it's time to say I love you 100 times to the love of your life. It's Love Day! But there are at least six other ways to celebrate Love Day...

{1} A personalized love letter on a pillow, by Olive
{2} Good Time Ring for your cutest kissing picture, by Yellowgoat
{3} Mr and Mrs Scatter Pillows, by Idotakeu
{4} Not a paper cup + a black marker for porcelain and just diy that love note yourself, by ThinkGeek
{5} Custom silhouette prints of both of you (and your pet), by Ellothere
{6} My favourite: a personalized and handmade lunch bag for your sweetheart, tutorial by DesignSponge

Or you could cook his or her favourite meal tonight... put up a love note under his or her pillow... buy a bright yellow balloon and attach it to his or her bike/car... or... or...

...Happy love Day!

PS: Each of these gifts would make a lovely wedding present as well.

Happiness in bed: warm arms when reading



Don't you find it extremely annoying to get cold arms when you are reading (or browsing) in bed? I HATE IT. Every time I end up with blue arms full of goose bumps. Not a nice sight. A few seconds ago I was looking for a solution online and there it was. The Solution. A blanket with sleeves.

They named this slightly weird invention 'Happiness in bed'. I haven't tried it yet as it will be on sale soon but I think the name is totally appropriate. Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite...
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