my first ojo de dios

I’ve been wanting to make a ojo de dios for such a long time but I’ve never gotten around to it. I’ve seen some large amazing ones but I’ve always felt a bit daunted; where do I start to be able to make something magnificent?

So this year I decided to set a 2016 new years resolution that I would make at least one ojo de dios, but it can be as simple as you can possibly make, so that the bar is so low I can’t possibly not achieve it. 

So today on the 3rd of September I completed my 2016 new years resolution by making my very first ojo de dios:


I chose to use just two sticks (which are wooden chopsticks from an Asian restaurant) and a few basic colours as a starting point. It was very enjoyable and much easier than I imagined; even though it’s a very simple design. 

My goal now is to slowly introduce more complexity until I make my way towards creating something like this:


I’m hoping I’ll get there one day. 

bentley flying spur

I would happily sell my soul to the mammon for this car.

It’s a 1966 Bentley Continental S3 ‘Flying Spur’ saloon, one of only 68 ever made. It’s up for auction in Melbourne on April 18. I know I am being materialistic but seriously, what a beautiful looking car.

unhappy hipsters

I’ve got a new favourite blog… unhappy hipsters: it’s lonely in the modern world, modern images collected from hip magazines with dark, ominous and often bizarre captions.

At the art opening, he’d been convinced the blank canvas symbolized endless possibilities. Back at home, it was just one more reminder of his own desperation.

(Photo: Raimund Koch; Dwell, April 2009)

Flipping the pages hurriedly, he sensed that the potted plants were advancing.

(Photo: Dean Kaufman; Dwell, Dec/Jan 2007)

the high line nyc

The NYC High Line, an abandoned 2.3km elevated railroad, was across the road from our accommodation in NYC. Since it was abandoned in the 1980’s  it has mainly grown weeds, as has attracted graffiti and street art. In 2004 it nearly got demolished, but a group called Friends of the High Line (including actor Edward Norton) managed to save it and it’s currently being transformed into an urban parkland.

The first section opens next month (June 2009), so while we couldn’t explore it (bummer), I managed to climb some stairs and take a few snaps of the progress of the transformation.

Awesomeness.

plumeria pudica

I fell in love with this plumeria pudica that I saw recently at a nursery. It is commonly called the ‘hammerhead frangipani’ as it has long, hammerhead like, evergreen leaves. It apparently flowers year round in warm climates so I guess we’ll see how it goes in Brisbane!

plumeria-pudica

new wordpress monotone photoblogger theme

I am absolutely blown away by how cool the new wordpress.com monotone theme is. I haven’t seen anything like it before. Each page displays a single post (a photo and some prose) and the page automatically changes the background colour and width to suit the photograph creating a truly elegant photoblog.

monotone

It makes me want to learn photography, buy a digital SLR and start a photoblog.

If you do photography and don’t have a free wordpress.com blog then now is the time to start one!

digital photo frame shaped like a polaroid photo

Polaroid will soon cease production of Polaroid film. According to David Friedman, the last product that polaroid should make is ‘a digital picture frame that makes sure the familiar look of a Polaroid photo lives on‘.

He even creates some very cool mock images of it both standing up and pinned to a cork board. I love that you can write on it by hand because ‘sometimes it’s nice to preserve at least a little bit of the old way of doing things‘.

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I love one of the comments on the post also:

The icing on the cake would be adding in an aging filter
 as the photos get older, they fade slightly and turn brownish green.

updated home design scrapbook

The storage limit increase at wordpress.com couldn’t have come at a better time!

I have just added over twenty more images to my home design scrapbook. All the images are thumb nailed to increase the page loading time. You can click on each image to view its full size. I do wish wordpress.com had an option for thumb nail size. The thumb nails would look better slightly larger than they are.

Polished Concrete

courtyard centric sunshine coast home

Yesterday’s Courier Mail had an article about a recently designed home at Tewantin on the Sunshine Coast.

I love the courtyard centric design, use of polished concrete and timber, raised lap pool (no need for fencing), high ceilings with mezzanine level, and the overall soft colour scheme. I personally would add lots of soft, rounded leaf plants, such as money trees, either in pots or surrounded by a garden bed of soft pebbles. Also, I would incorporate a large rain tank in the overall design.

The architecture was designed by Stephen Guthrie & Lindy Atkin of Bark Design.

Tewantin One  Tewantin Two

(Click images for larger versions).

The Long Tail of Threadless

I recently finished reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. To quote the back cover:

…Chris Anderson shows that the future of business does not lie in hits – the high volume end of the traditional demand curve – but in what used to be regarded as misses – the endlessly long tail of that same curve.

Whilst reading the book I immediately thought about the business model of Threadless.

Threadless is a community-centered online t-shirt store run by skinnyCorp of Chicago, Illinois since 2000.

This is my rough understanding of how Threadless works:

  • People submit ideas/designs for a t-shirt
  • Others then score these designs*
  • Some of the higher scored designs get made into t-shirts.** The designer gets US$2000 cash and some other cool stuff.
  • An initial limited batch (about 1500) of a t-shirt is made and is published as for sale
  • People buy t-shirts until they sell out. Real time stock levels are shown on the site.
  • People can vote for reprints of a particular sold out design.
  • Some designs are reprinted (sometimes slightly differently such as a different colour fabric).

I buy a lot of shirts from Threadless. The reasons I do so are such:

  • The number of designs available is larger and more varied than traditional clothes retailers near me.
  • The variety of designs available is larger than if I buy a single particular brand of t-shirt (because of the numerous contributors/designers).
  • When I vote on a design and I see that it is printed I feel like my wish has been met and I buy it.
  • I don’t have to vote on designs to buy designs. My participation is optional.
  • I am much less likely to see other people with the same t-shirt on as me when I walk down the street (in Australia at least). To me they are niche.
  • Threadless is known to have $10 sales where every t-shirt is US$10. This is when I ‘order up’.
  • If I take a photo of myself wearing my Threadless shirt I get US$1.50 credit towards buying another shirt. I can do this again for the next shirt, and the next, and the next…

When reading my book, my intial reaction was that Threadless are the Long Tail of t-shirts. I have since started to do some research and found that there are some people who don’t think they are. The book ends with some rules for successful Long Tail aggregators. To determine whether Threadless is Long Tail or not, I thought I would see how Threadless rates:

  • Rule 1: Move inventory way in… or way out. I don’t know exactly how many shirts threadless have in store at one time but many t-shirts seem to sell out quickly. They apparently only do 1500 of one design. Also, t-shirts are not instantly re-printed, so inventory definitely is a factor. PASS
  • Rule 2: Let customers do the work. There really is no question about this one. Threadless uses crowdsourcing. PASS
  • Rule 3: One distribution method doesn’t fit all. Originally, Threadless only had one distribution method: online ordering and delivery. Things have changed recently though. Tradtional retailers can now apply to be a vendor (although there is no guarantee of success). Threadless itself is opening its first own retail store next month in Chicago. Threadless obviously are thinking that one distribution method doesn’t fit all, even though they may have thought this in the past.*** PASS
  • Rule 4: One price doesn’t fit all. Although a majority of t’s cost the same amount ($15 for mens), Threadless has recently been introducing different priced products (see Rule 5). For example, Threadless Select T’s use premium fabric and printing and cost US$25. And occasionally there are sales where all standard t’s are US$10, but stock seems to disappear really quickly as the price appeals to different people. One price certainly doesn’t fit all. PASS
  • Rule 5: One product doesn’t fit all. Threadless has many t-shirt designs for sale, and the range is continually changing. They have also recently introduced additional lines including long sleeve, hoodies, kids, ‘select’ and slogan t-shirts. PASS
  • Rule 6: Share Information. Information about the store is shared in numerous ways: blogs, RSS feeds, email newsletters, comments, recommendations, the Street Team…. PASS
  • Rule 7: Think “and” not “or”. This is where Threadless isn’t necessarily Long Tail. They do not allow every design ever submitted to be made into a t-shirt. They do limit the size of batches of shirts. They do not automatically re-print popular designs. There is no abundance. Some people even go as far as to say Threadless “cuts its own tail” to create “artificial scarcity”. FAIL
  • Rule 8: Trust the market to do your job. As designs are voted before they are printed, Threadless reduces the risk of printing a crap t-shirt, and doesn’t have to ‘guess’ what will sell. I think this rule could be renamed to ‘Trust the community to do your job’. PASS
  • Rule 9: Understand the power of free. I don’t think it is realistic for Threadless to give away T’s as Yahoo! gives away (advertisement sponsored) free email. None of the t-shirts have Threadless advertising on them.**** People often ask me where I get my T’s from because of this. Threadless instead have the Street Team where you can get US$1.50 credit for submitting a photo of yourself wearing a Threadless t-shirt and US$3 credit for referring a friend to buy a t. These credits soon add up to a free t-shirt. PASS

So that’s 8 Passes, and 1 Fail.

The single Fail is a significant point though. Threadless isn’t about abundance, but the Long Tail definitely is.

One way Threadless could adjust to meet this rule would be to have zero inventory and print any submitted design, on demand, on your choice of fabric. I very much doubt that Threadless would be what it is today if it did it this way.

Threadless VS

So I’m not any closer to answering my question of whether Threadless is Long Tail or not. But maybe it doesn’t matter. I ♄ the t’s, I ♄ the site and I ♄ the community. Maybe that is all that matters.

I heart Threadless

Further Information

* Some designs don’t make it through to scoring, mostly because they violate copyright, format rules etc.
** Not necessarily the highest scored
*** I love this quote, but maybe things have changed as now Threadless has ‘vendors’ and it’s now opening its own retail store next month.

“We turned down Urban Outfitters, because if we put our shirts there, then we’d just be one more cool shirt on a rack of other cool shirts. There would be no story and no community. Then our work becomes just cloth and ink, and that’s not why we did it.” – the guys from skinnyCorp – SXSW 2006

**** Except this one, but that doesn’t really count.

matchbox computer

after i posted pictures of my ‘heat wave‘ mural made out of ‘red heads’ match boxes, i started to google match boxes to see if i could find other creative items people had made.

my favourite find was on makezine. it is a personal computer case made to look like a giant matchbox. it would be better if it actually wasn’t made out of cardboard (i think it is kinda dangerous), but i ♄ the fact that it slides open just like a real match box, and even has the gray area on the side to strike the matches.

Matchbox PC

nice two storey addition to a hundred year old cottage

I enjoyed reading about this cottage extension in today’s Courier Mail. Designed by owner/architect Stephen de Jersey, it is a two storey addition to a 100 year cottage. It has been cleverly designed to suit the Townsville heat without constant use of air conditioning.

Some of the key features are:

  • Lightweight tin and timber construction (corrugated mini-orb outside, plywood inside)
  • Huge overhang of roof to shade interior
  • Sliding doors for cross ventilation
  • Cool polished concrete floors
  • Toy storage under the stairs to maximise use of the living area

nice two storey addition to a hundred year old cottage

(Click photo to see inside as well)

urban forest project

i am still really enjoying looking online at the banners submitted for the urban forest project. they were on display in New York’s Times Square for three months late last year.

Each banner uses the form of the tree, or a metaphor for the tree, to make a powerful visual statement. Together they create a forest of thought-provoking images at one of the world’s busiest, most energetic, and emphatically urban intersections.

there is an interesting story available for each banner by each artist (see links to each below)

some of my faves are:

“Aloha from Hell’s Kitchen, NYC”
by Marc Alt

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“Street signs are already full of trees if you look at them the right way.”
by Michael Bierut

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“We are one nature, let’s hold it together, together” by Futurefarmers

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“I Love NY (knot)” by Kent Hunter

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“Scattered Seeds” by Edwina White

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… my all time favourite (after all, it does feature my favourite flower!) :
Ram Rahman

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i ♄ pre-fabricated modular living goodness

as demonstrated in a previous post, i ♄ the concept of pre-fabricated modular living. here i will provide some developments in this field, sourced via the interweb.

loftcube project

this new German concept is about prefab cubes that are designed to sit upon existing flat rooved buildings (of which there are many in Berlin). the 40 sq. meter loftcubes have been designed to be light enough to be delivered by helicopter or crane. According to the official website, the loftcubes are now a reality. they look great inside, with an emphasis on minimalism, and are ‘adjustably translucent’. I believe they sell for about 55,000 euro (or about $AUD 90,000), and more designs will be continue to be built. Link

loft cube

kitHaus

“true modular, site constructed, pre-fabricated housing systems”, built in California (despite the Germaneque name). these can be built on site in a matter of days, and are v. ascetically pleasing. not sure of the price, because i think they are very much custom order jobs. Link

Kithaus 1

Kithaus 2

Kithaus 3

Kithaus 4

floating homes

these floating homes don’t actually float, but are rather designed to sit next to water (giving the impression of floating using lots of clear glass). the floating homes are still are in a concept phase as i don’t believe any have been produced. Link

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