Open Source Paper Alphabet

I’ve already noted how much I delight in online sharing and learning and shared learning. Here is another truly lovely example I came across on Pinterest via Jodi McKee (a #mustfollow). Markus of Digitprop has curated, among many other incredible things, a library of three dimensional papercraft letters he designed complete with free downloads and tutorials. Take a look at his work … it’s truly amazing, an inspiring marriage of whimsy and precision. Bravo – for your skill and your willingness to freely share your talent!

Next stop, the craft store for the correct weight paper and an X-ACTO knife … #pumped.

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The [doll] House that Crowdsourcing Built

To say “I love social media” on a WordPress blog that will be shared via Twitter and Pinterest – is stating the obvious to the point of blushing. Chances are if you’re reading this, you love social media too (though I wonder if your time would be better spent elsewhere online with much better content). In particular I love the “social” part of social media; the collective sharing, learning, working, meeting. I think it’s phenomenal and it’s what I suppose is one of the altruistic aims. When this aim is in symbiosis with a fabulous product, a fail whale gets its wings. Or at the very least, you have a game changing idea.

I really wish I could remember where I first stumbled upon this genius of an idea, but I do know it was through social media. A dollhouse with simple elegant design that didn’t just leave its walls blank for imagination to run free but comes with an online point of creative departure with crowdsourced ideas to personalize and make it your own. They even crowdsourced their funding through Kickstarter.

Alyson Beaton and her Grow Studio team have designed locally made, eco friendly modular houses using baltic birch and easily replaced recycled paperboard (I’ve already mentioned my affinity for cardboard). They pack flat which is welcome news for those of us whose square footage or patience can’t afford clutter (both apply to me).

I love every aspect of this toy, and what it can become as it’s shared within a online community and IRL. It engages kids to be inspired by the designers’ ideas, share their own ideas and see other kids’ featured work, and learn from how-to tutorials by Esty artisans crowdsourced by Grow Studio.

Having spent untold hours hunting online for a dollhouse that didn’t start its life in an injection mold or display a glaring gender bias, I can tell you that wooden dolly domiciles don’t come cheap. I was thrilled to see that Grow Studio starts their pricing at $12 for adorable mini houses and tops out at $60 for their biggest houses not to mention all sorts of fun add ins and replacement parts to prolong the life of this clever house.

Now that my Christmas list for the girls is locked, I can spend more time fiddling about with the downloads and trolling thrift shops for jazzy fabric the girls can use to make soon-enough-to-be-their Lille Houses theirs. It’s going to be a happy crowd happily crowdsourcing *wah wah* this December!

NOTE: Fab added some of these houses to its list of incredible things to buy – discount is 30%. Sale ends in just under 7 days on Oct 9th 2012. Woot!

What’s Pinterest’s Zipcode?

Pinterest makes me nervous. At first, to be honest, I was annoyed by Pinterest. A dear friend of mine had sent me an invitation to join in the early days before its meteoric rise. At the time it was just one too many social media platforms for me to digest. I’ll admit jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon after learning that my husband’s boards were gaining followers (being a twin, my bent towards parity borders on competitiveness). As I grew enamored with pinning and repinning, anxiety started to interrupt my enjoyment.

What worried me is that I realized I want to LIVE inside Pinterest. Specifically the gorgeous well-appointed world of Merche Grosso and her series of boards. Any of these delightful domiciles would do. I’d traipse around stunning vistas, nibble on snacks that are as delicious as they are beautiful, and perhaps learn about how to dress or why packaging sometimes trumps what it contains.

If she wasn’t so talented, if her eye wasn’t so attuned to fabulous innovative and winsome design, I might just be put off by it all. Instead I’m planning my move to her Pinterest boards where I’m sure I won’t need any of my own things but definitely need to forward my mail so I can keep in touch with my family.

Cardboard Chic

One of the traits I aim to foster in my life and my family is good stewardship … simply taking care of the things we’re given, including the environment. One of the ways we’ve tried to achieve this is using cardboard items for the girls – since they outgrow toys or over-love them to the point of destruction in quite short spaces of time.

I wanted to share some of the slickest designs I’ve come across in hunting replacements for the girls’ current cardboard side chairs that are woefully ready to be recycled and replaced. (Note to self: ascertain the best money-making scheme to be able to afford cool new cardboard side chairs).

Designed by Riki Watanabe [1965]
Metropolitan Gallery Inc.

This multiform set just begs to be played with. The stools fit into the table to make a cube to climb, or if you flip the table upside down you have a boat (clearly have spent too much time dwelling on this piece). I love the possibilities here for kids to imagine and play. Comes in stellar colors.

Rip + Tatter designed by Pete Oyler [2010]
Produced by Assembly Design

I adore these clever and comfy looking chairs. Perfect for the girls when winding down after a raucous visit to the kids section in our local library to pour over their literary spoils.

Designed by Manuel Kretzer [2010]
Responsive Design Studio

This last set is entitled Chick ‘n’ Egg Chair – so so so cute. The name is cute, the baby is cute, the shape is cute and artful. I wonder if purchasing this set would necessitate us having a third child to recreate the moment pictured above. Hmm.

Any clever use of recycled materials for kids you’d like to share?