Posts Tagged ‘creatures’

Percival the Pig

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

My friend, sewing-and-cooking inspiration, and ex-boss, Claire, recommended I read a book she had recently read with her children. Yes, at the wee-ages of two and four they are slightly younger than me but I feel we have similar interests when it comes to well-written and beautiful illustrated children’s books. The ABC Menagerie by M.H. Clark and Elena V. Targioni is a book for everyone – it is so beautiful, funny and heartwarming that even robots would feel emotions while reading it.

ABC Menagerie

ABC Menagerie - image from LiveInspired

Each page of the book introduces a new animal and their particular habits and the rhyming text is accompanied by a photograph of a felt/material version of the creature. Similar to my sock creatures, these guys are slightly odd and always have something ‘different’ about them. There are many amazing personalities and the creatures themselves are so wonderfully crafted that you feel like you could reach into the page and pat them.

abc menagerie

Jesenia the Jaguar – image from LiveInspired

I thought I would share the text from one of the pages as I currently feel like this animal. Last night I went for dinner with friends at Le Jardin D’en Face and ate far too much and therefore wish I had the same release mechanisms as this guy:

Percival the Pig

Percival’s dinners are rich and gourmet,
with plenty of chocolate éclairs.
Whenever he’s had one too many that day,
his safety valves let out the air.

Buy and read this book. No matter what age you are, it will make you smile. Thanks for the recommendation, Claire.

A Beaut Birthday Present

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

I can finally reveal to the world a project that I was working on over the last couple of weeks. It was a birthday present for my Dad and it finally arrived in Australia, just 2 days late! Not bad considering the French postal service was involved.

Meet Chuck.

Chuck

Hello.

Never will you meet a more helpful man than Chuck. No task is too big, too hard, too heavy, too tough. Chuck will find a way to do it and without a complaint, without a sigh, he will get down to work (except electrical and plumbing work.) Chuck loves helping people but he doesn’t do it for the reward or the thanks – he does it because he knows it is the right thing to do. If he has the skills, knowledge or strength that a person needs in order to complete a task, all they have to do is ask.

Chuck

He's handy.

Chuck loves working with his hands and when he isn’t helping someone you will find him in his shed. He dreams of having a big workshop in his backyard where he can keep his tools and have enough space to make things. Wood is his product of choice and he would love to spend all of his time building things such as surfboards, kayaks and fruit bowls.

The problem is, Chuck also spends a lot of his time fighting crime. He doesn’t go searching for trouble – trouble finds him. Luckily Chuck has a black belt in karate and is best friends with the local Chief of Police. Every time he encounters a baddies – BAM! Chuck roundhouse kicks him to the ground and sends him straight to the lock-up. Chuck was awarded a Citizenship award recently be he honourably declined, saying that he is just trying to keep the streets safe and he just gotta do what he gotta do.

Chuck

Nice beard.

Chuck is a family man – he has a wife, three kids and a dog. He goes home every night at 6pm, just in time for dinner. Chuck thinks his wife is the best cook in the whole wide world and tells her that every night as he licks his plate clean. Chuck likes to encourage his kids to go out and follow their dreams and see the world. He’s full of great advice and he has really big muscles.

Chuck is NOT for sale because he now lives with my Dad and drives around in a white van in the western suburbs of Perth.

Je Suis Français!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Meet Adrian.

Adrian the Frenchman

Bonjour.

What can we say about Adrian…? He is French. He is 56 years old. He owns a brasserie in Paris that he works at day and night. He hates anything that isn’t French. He has a moustache.

Adrian

What a moustache!

Adrian is very proud of his nationality and rightly so – France has many good features including good food, good wine, lots of holidays. He took over the brasserie from his father, Jean, who also hated anything that wasn’t French. The brasserie is mostly frequented by old French men who have been going there all their lives, tagging along with their fathers back when they were children. Adrian spends most of his day talking to his clientele, smoking, and wiping the counter.

Whenever tourists accidentally enter his café in search of refreshment, Adrian sighs, rolls his eyes and marches over to the unsuspecting guests. “Eeye do not speek Eenglish,” he will say, hoping they leave. But some will insist on staying, so he will slam a menu down on the table and storm off behind the bar. Adrian’s problem with tourists is that they always want to change something in their order – they are never happy with how a dish is served. They want chips instead of potatoes, or even worse they ask for their steak tartare to be cooked. Cooked! Imagine that! No one understands steak tartare like the French.

Adrian spends a lot of time looking at himself in the reflection on the beer taps. Over the years he has grown an impressive moustache which he likes to keep well defined. Grooming is an important part of the Parisian lifestyle and Adrian always want to look his best. He also likes to wear a beret, highlighting his love for his country. Despite his moustache, Adrian has never married, despite proposing to at least three women and hitting on many more. Perhaps it is his slight lack of height – at just 140cm Adrian is not tall. However, he doesn’t let that get to him. Whenever he sees an attractive female, he makes sure she knows it.

Adrian

He's a short man.

Adrian closes his brasserie for the entire month of August every year and heads south to Nice. He enjoys spending his time by the seaside, looking at the beautiful women and floating lazily in the ocean. Usually his entire family joins him in Nice – he has three brothers, two sisters and nine nieces and nephews. He is the grumpy uncle and the children usually stay away from, avoiding long discussions about the importance of school and how great France is.

Adrian is on sale at my Etsy Store. Take him far, far away from France! He needs to see the world.

It’s All About the Hair

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Meet Angelique.

Angelique

Hello.

Angelique is half Parisian, half Algerian, and the proud owner of an amazing head of hair. She works as a sales assistant at Le Chic hair and nail salon on Boulevard de Sébastopol, one of the busiest African beauty streets in Paris. She has been voted “Best Sales Assistant” via customer reviews every month since she started there. Angelique loves her work and puts every effort into her own appearance in order to set a good example for the store. All the ladies come to get their hair braided and their nails varnished by Angelique and they keep telling her she should set up her own store. Unfortunately, the guy she works for barely pays her a cent and threatens to cut off her beautiful long locks if she dares leave. It’s a tough world in the beauty scene.

Angelique

So pretty.

Angelique has always been interested in fashion and beauty – her mother likes to tell the story about how when Angelique was just six months old, she managed to apply some lipstick she had found on the floor. These days, Angelique gets up at 5am every day in order to start getting ready for the day. It takes a long time to look this good. Her hair is her favourite personal attribute – every day she cleans and styles her hair, forming it into a different shape depending on her mood and the theme of her outfit. She loves to add a bit of bling to her attire – today she is wearing a lovely yellow bow (given to her by one of her favourite clients) and a gold necklace she saved up to buy.

Angelique dreams of opening her own store one day. Not only would she offer hair and nail services, but there would be a designated space for the husbands and boyfriends to wait with televisions and magazines, as well as free coffee for all customers. She would also offer beauty consultation services for those ladies who just don’t know what to do with their hair. When she lies in bed at night time, she thinks about the design of her store, what colours she would use and what the name would be. She would really like to call her store So Angelique but she is worried she might appear too arrogant.

Angelique

How does she do that with her hair?

When Angelique is working and talking to her clients she is vibrant, fun and vivacious. However, it is a much different story when she is talking to boys. She is shy and would never dream of asking a boy out. She would love to have a boyfriend but whenever a guy shows interest in her, she turns away and hides. Lots of boys have tried – she is so beautiful! There is one boy in particular who keeps walking past her store, trying to catch her eye. He is a strange looking fellow with zebra stripes and he is always wearing reindeer antlers. Maybe one day they will meet and fall in love. Angelique certainly hopes so.

Angelique is on sale at my Etsy Store. Take her home today!

Doug is Depressed.

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Everyone meet Doug.

Doug the sock creature

Meet Doug

Doug is the Senior Complaints Manager at Bargains R Us and he hates his job. Who wouldn’t? All day he deals with the hundreds of disgruntled customers who discover that sometimes it is best to pay a little bit more to get a better quality product. Not only this, but Doug is in charge of the incompetent teenage staff that the shop employs to answer phone calls and handle returned goods. From 8 ’til 5 everyday, Doug waits for the next attack from a bitter old lady or an unimpressed business man who aren’t happy with Bargains R Us. Meanwhile, Doug’s managers sit in the office at the top of the store, hidden away from grumpy customers, enjoying life and watching the big bucks roll in.

Doug the sock creature

Doug isn't a happy man

Doug never wanted to work in retail – from a young age Doug dreamed of being an artist, travelling the world painting scenes in Paris, Venice, New York… Unfortunately Doug never really had any artistic skill and everyone laughed at his artwork. This made Doug feel very insecure and he never went to art school and chose to study a Bachelor in Business instead.

When it came to finding a job, Doug had difficulties. Despite being a genuinely nice guy when you get to know him, everyone assumed his wild hair and less-than-impressive university scores meant he was lazy and a risky person to employ. Only Bargains R Us paid any interest in him because they don’t care who they employ and barely even looked at him in the interview. Doug is a hard worker and despite hating his job he tries his best to deliver the best possible customer service, but he still dreams of a different life.

Doug the sock creature

Nice tie.

Doug’s brother, Jeff, is a much cooler and more relaxed guy, although no one can take him seriously either. The two of them get together sometimes for a beer but don’t say much to each other. There’s not much to say, really. Doug and Jeff’s parents are tough characters and don’t think their two sons have made enough of their lives and one day Doug would like to do something that really impresses them. Until he works out what that would be, he will keep resolving complaints at Bargains R Us.

Doug is the latest edition of the Zaum sock menagerie and is on sale at my Etsy Store.

Out of the Blue

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

I love random people meeting. I want to be instant friends with every lovely person I meet and I have another to add to my list. I spent today having lunch with Tom and Josh as it was Tuesday Lunch Club Day (we almost changed the name to Fancy Food Club because it sounds better) and then we wandered around the shops in the Marais looking for shoes. On my return home I discovered an email from a random German (yes, that’s right. A random German.) who was on a plane to Paris and had decided to send me an email! How GREAT is that! Anyhoo, she is also a sock creature maker (in other words, my competition) and the best thing about it is that her sock creatures all speak German, have German names AND probably eat wurst. Check out Bob der biber. Haha… Love it.

So, my sincere thanks to my new random German reader – this morning I was depressed about my lack of readership, so your decision to send me an email has made my day.

Farewell Jacob!

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

I come to you on this glorious Thursday morn in sunny Paris bringing news that is both good and bad. Jacob, my cute and squishy mudwalking sock creature, has just been sold so I must wrap him up and send him on his way. He is heading to Tasmania of all places. I think he will fit in well.

Jacob the mudwalker

I'm going to miss those eyes.

Jacob is Ready to Discover New Muds

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Jacob, my mudwalking sock creature, is for sale on my Etsy store and is looking for new lands to discover and new muds to walk. He’s the perfect gift for mudwalkers, Dutch family members or that grubby person in your life. Buy him now.

Mudwalker

Love me.

Walk This Way

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Introducing the latest edition to the Zaum menagerie – everyone, meet Jacob. Jacob, meet everyone.

Jacob the mud walker
Hello…

Jacob was born near the Zuidplaspolder – the lowest point of the Netherlands and has always felt a strong affinity to all things ‘marshy’. This is potentially because his mother gave birth to him in a swamp (it’s a long story involving flat bike tyres, a windmill and lots of herring) and the fact he spent a lot of time playing in canals and soggy ground throughout his childhood. Whatever the case, Jacob has never shied away from getting a bit dirty.

Jacob the mudwalker

Jacob is ready for any muddy situation

Unfortunately for Jacob, this backfired slightly in that he was constantly teased and getting into trouble at school for the muck under his finger nails and the general stench that wafted off his skin. But no matter how many times he was tripped up by bullies, he couldn’t stay away from the ooey-gooey goodness that mud provided. In his opinion, all humans should live in mud, be constantly coated in mud, and live off the creatures and fungus that grow in and around mud. There is nothing better.

This is why when it came time for Jacob to leave home and find himself a job, he headed to the north of the Netherlands and took up mudwalking. He couldn’t believe his luck when he found out that he could make a living taking tourists on treks across the North sea sea-bed when the tide was out. Suddenly people were interested in his passion – people wanted to become with mud, just like him!

Jacob the mud walker

Everywhere he goes, he takes his mudwalking stick

While he did manage to get a job as a mudwalk tour guide, it wasn’t easy. People get scared by his odd looks and obsession with the slimy stuff. Due to decades of contact with mud, Jacob’s pasty-white skin has turned into a dark, mouldy-black. His blonde hair has permanently stuck to the top of his head and you can’t tell the difference between hair and skin. The only part of his face that is easily decipherable are his eyes that bulge out in a mole-like appearance. The only part of him that makes him clearly a Dutch-man are his limbs – long and gangly compared to the rest of his body. His legs are excellent tools for getting out of tricky mud-situations and his arms can pull out stuck tourists in an instant.

Every time he heads out on an expedition into the great mud, Jacob will always wear his lucky green hat. It is the only colourful item that he will wear – he never washes his mudwalking outfits as he has broken too many washing machines and he hates doing it by hand. His hat, however, is his pride and joy and he will do anything to avoid it getting muddy. In addition, he attached a small bell to the back of it in case of emergencies – should he ever get completely stuck in the mud he will ring the bell to call for help. Now that’s a pro-mudwalker.

Jacob the mud walker

Lindt Bunnies aren't the only ones who need bells

Jacob will be available for purchase from my Etsy Store soon! I just need to go to the post office and work out postage costs… That’ll be fun. Not. Also, Jacob is made from a sock that had a one in three chance of being used by me when I went mudwalking in Holland. The socks I actually used were beyond repair so this is as good as I could do. I don’t think any quarantine departments would have been too happy about me sending mud-filled socks across their borders.

Madrid Part 6

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The Bulls

The reason we had to leave the art gallery was because we had bought tickets to see a bull fight. As I write this I know there will be people tut-tutting under their breath and preparing a speech about animal rights and how I shouldn’t actively support bull fighting as a sport. I wasn’t sure how I felt about watching the spectacle but was curious to see why the Spanish have been so passionate about it. For centuries they have dedicated themselves to bull fighting and matadors are highly regarded within the culture. On one hand it is the deliberate killing of an animal for the enjoyment of spectators, and on the other it has been deeply embedded in Spanish culture and is part of their way of life.

Plaza de Toros

Plaza de Toros

We bought cheap seats in the top section of the stadium but could easily see the show. The stadium is a beautiful building in itself and it was worth the ticket price just to see inside. However, as soon as the first bull was released into the right and the matadors started their thing, I wished our seats were a lot further back.

Stadium

Nice stadium

I was able to form a very definite opinion of bull fighting within the first 15 minutes. Here’s what happens: A bull is released into the ring and three or four guys wave pink capes at it to get it fired up. This is apparently to test how aggressive the bull is and how it is going to behave. After a few minutes, trumpets sound, and two guys on horses come into the ring. The bull charges at a horse (since the 1930s the horses wear protective armour but I still don’t see how they don’t get hurt) and the guy sitting on the horse stabs a sharp pole into the back of the bull, making it bleed. This was when I stopped enjoying myself.

Bull fight

Annoying the bull

The bull is stabbed twice before the horses are taken off and the main matador comes out with colourful spears which he waves at the bull before stabbing them into the bull’s back. This is probably the only time that I could see any element of danger for the human as it is just the matador versus the bull and not a lot of space between the two creatures.

Once the bull has four or more spears in his back, the matador gets a red cape and a sword and waves the cape at the bull for a while, getting the animal really annoyed. Plus he has spears in his back and is bleeding so if I were the bull, I’d be pretty damn annoyed. Eventually the matador gets another, bigger sword which he eventually attempts to stab into the bull. Apparently he is aiming to get between the bull’s shoulder blade and through its heart. He generally missed and had to try again, basically making the bull bleed more and get generally more disgruntled. Once the bull eventually falls over, another guy shoves a small knife into the bull’s spine, apparently killing him instantly, and everyone cheers and the matador bows.

Bull fight

Out goes the red cape of death

It was awful. It was a display of man’s ability to control, tease, hurt and kill defenceless animals. At no point did the bull have a chance. The humans were always in control and unless the matador did something really stupid or the bull made a sudden, unexpected move, the matador is never really in danger. I was shocked by the pointlessness of it and will never watch it again. I’m not even sure I am pleased I saw it once – I felt sad for the animals and hoped they would charge into the audience and maul all of the stupid cheering spectators. Well, not really. No death of anything or anyone would have been nice. And it wasn’t just one bull who was killed – we stayed for 1.5 hours and watched four bulls being killed. I suggested we leave when the fifth arrived.