Star Wars Fan Turns Living Room into Large Scale Battle of Hoth Diorama

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What would you do if you had 140 feet available in your living room? You’d probably do something lame, like get a couple of armchairs, a sofa and a coffee table right? But then again you’re not an awesome Star Wars fan like Barry “Zipidi Doodah”. He turned his living room into an awe-inspiring diorama of the Battle of Hoth, from the Empire Strikes Back.

Looking at the photos below, you’re probably thinking something like “wow, this guy has sick Photoshop skills”, but the truth is none of the pics are altered in any way. The special effects you see exist in real life and were built by hand, by Barry himself. It’s unbelievable, I know, and I’m not even that big a Star Wars fan. This guy somehow got his wife to agree to let him use the 140-feet living room space, and went on to recreate the iconic Battle of Hoth with almost perfect detail. Giant AT-ATs, Imperial Probe Droids, tauntauns, gun turrets, stormtroopers, gliding starfighters, he has them all right there in his living room. Sure it’s a bit difficult to maneuver around, especially when you’re in a hurry to get to the bathroom, and there are wires hanging from the ceilings to support some of the decor, but like Barry himself admits, nothing attracts the ladies like having a big Star Wars diorama in your living room.

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Young Artist Creates Portraits from Thousands of Chewed Pieces of Gum

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Anna Sophia Matveeva, from Makiivka, Ukraine creates sticky portraits of celebrities from a very unusual material – used chewing gum. Every one of her artworks numbers over 1,000 pieces of chewed gum.

22-year-old Anna Sophia Mateeva says she came up with the idea of making art with chewing gum by accident. She was traveling with a friend in a car and they were both chewing on the rubbery treat when she realized the elastic texture of the gum made it an ideal art medium. She found a few brands of colored bubble gum and decided to give it a go, only it wasn’t as easy as she thought. Instead of chewing on every piece of gum, Anna tried soaking them in water and then modelling them with her hands, but she noticed the material became crumpled and would not stick to the canvas. The artist later learned it’s an enzyme in our saliva that makes the gum such a great material to work with, so she started chewing away at her provisions, until she realized it was impossible for her to chew all the gum she needed, by herself. And this is where it gets disgusting…

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Eat My Face – 3D Printed Face in Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

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Nothing says “I love you” like your detailed mug rendered in delicious chocolate. At least that’s what the Japanese at 3D-printing firm KS Design Lab and FabCafe, in Tokyo, are hoping you’ll think, as they offer patrons the chance to “chocolatize” their faces as gifts for Valentine’s Day.

Valenntine’s is big business in Japan. As we previously reported, a lot of Japanese chocolate companies record half their annual sales in the days before the romantic holiday. In the Land of the Rising Sun, only women offer gifts to men, usually in the form of chocolate sweets. Trying to stand out from the competition, 3D-printing firm KS Design Lab and Tokyo’s FabCafe, in the Shibuya district, have teamed up to offer a very original service to a group of women attending their workshop – 3D printed models of their faces in chocolate, to be given as presents on Valentine’s Day. Some of you may find them oishii (delicious), but I think they qualify more as kimoi (creepy). “We were brainstorming together about how the 3D-printing technology could appeal to consumers, when we hit on the idea of Valentine’s Day chocolates,” PR rep. Kazue Nakata explained.

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Chocolate High-Heels – Probably the Best Valentine’s Day Gift for Women

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Combining two of women’s favorite things in the world, chocolate and shoes, Texas chocolatier Andrea Pedrazza creates what can only be considered the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the ladies – chocolate high-heels.

The two weeks before Valentine’s Day is the busiest time of the year for Dallas-based chocolate shop CocoAndre. I’m sure there are other great places to buy tasty chocolate in D-Town, but only here can men find the most delicious designer shoes at a fraction of the price. Master chocolatier Andrea Pedrazza pours the brown goodness into plastic high-heel molds and decorates them with gourmet ingredients to make them look as realistic as possible. Unsurprisingly, her most popular creations are chocolate Christian Louboutin shoes which sell for $35. To recreate the designer’s signature red soles, the food artist uses red ganache. Available styles include simple colors, zebra or cheetah print and polka dots, so men wanting to gift their wives with their favorite shoes for cheap are bound to find something they like.

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Josh Bryan’s Triangulations – Captivating Celebrity Portraits Made with Triangles

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I’ve never been a fan of geometry, but I found Josh Bryan’s artistic use of a basic geometric shape simply irresistible. The 20-year-old English artist uses triangles of various sizes to create incredibly detailed portraits of celebrities he calls triangulations.

“The creative process is quite simple,” Bryan told My Modern Metropolis.  “I make sure the image I use as a reference isn’t too well-known, even though the subjects are. I then map triangles over the face drawing, around the different tones on the face. The lines are added in afterwards to determine the amount of tone needed in each triangle.” When I first saw some of his works, I was convinced they were digital renderings made with advanced software like Adobe Illustrator, but it turns out every line is drawn by hand with black fineliner pens. After examining these incredible artworks more carefully, I noticed some of the lines weren’t perfectly straight, proof that the almost computer-like portraits were indeed drawn by a human hand.

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The Fascinating Wooden World of Livio De Marchi

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Venetian artist Livio De Marchi is like a real-life Gepetto. Except, he doesn’t need a fairy god mother for his works to come alive. De Marchi’s works of art are so life-like, sometimes it’s hard to tell they’re made of wood.

The tools that De Marchi works with are fairly simple – a hundred varieties of chisel dated back to 1964, an old hammer and a steady hand – but the stuff he produces is nothing short of spectacular. A wooden replica of a leather jacket he made looks so real, you’d actually reach out to try it on if you didn’t know better. The only distinguishing factor between real and wood is that he doesn’t paint any of his creations, because he believes that the grain and knots of the plain wood are very intriguing. He spends hours at his workbench every single day, producing masterpiece after masterpiece.

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Talented Artist Tattoos Celebrity Portraits on Bananas

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Honey is a talented graphic artist and designer from the Philippines, who occupies her free time by turning bananas into organic works of art. Her only tool – a common safety pin.

Even when she’s not working with big names like Mercedes Benz, Seiko, Yamaha, Takamine, Carrows, or Volvo, Honey likes to be creative. Constantly trying to expand her range of abilities, she came up with a way of making art from household fruit. “When I’m not sitting in front of a computer, I’m always looking for something creative to do,” she says on her blog. “We always have bananas in the house so then, I thought maybe I could draw on them but it wasn’t easy as I thought it would be. I kept puncturing the skin with my pen.” After noticing that the  peel turned brown after being exposed to air, she decided to use this oxidation process to her advantage, and replaced the pen with a the first sharp and pointy thing she could get her hands on – a safety pin. Using the same technique as tattoo artists, Honey pierces the skin of the banana peel hundreds of times, in specific patterns, creating beautiful ephemeral portraits of celebrities.

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Self-Taught Amateur Artist Paints with Ground Coffee and a Pinch of Sand

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Alexander Wald works as a plumber in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, but in his spare time he likes to exercise his artistic talents by painting with unusual mediums like ground coffee and sand.

Painting with coffee is not exactly unheard of. Artists like Karen Eland and Steven Mikel have been doing it for years, and even coffee beans have been used as an artistic material in an impressive mosaic by Saimir Strati. But until I came across Alexander Wald’s works, I had never heard of anyone using ground coffee. The Ukrainian amateur artist makes a living working as a plumber at the Lviv Circus, but most of his free time is spent creating unique works of art from dried coffee residue and sand. He drinks 2-3 cups of coffee a day, and instead of throwing away the coffee grounds on the bottom of his cup, he dries them and uses them as an art medium. His colleagues pitch in as well, otherwise Alexander would actually have to buy fresh ground coffee. This way, he enjoys his morning cups of java and has plenty of free material to work with. The self-taught artist says any kind of coffee will do, except for instant coffee, which doesn’t produce any leftover grounds.

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Extreme Mountain Unicycling Is as Crazy as It Sounds

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As if coming down the side of a mountain on two wheels wasn’t hard enough, thrill-seekers have come up with an even crazier sport – extreme mountain unicycling. Saying this sport is dangerous and difficult is probably a huge understatement.

If you though unicycling was just a goofy pastime, and out previous posts on Cycle Ball and other interesting unicycle sports haven’t changed your mind, this one definitely will. Extreme mountain Unicycling is all about climbing dangerous peaks and then sliding and bunny-hopping all the way down without falling into seemingly-bottomless chasms. Not really my idea of a fun time to be honest, but I have to admit watching the likes of Lutz Eichholz cycling their way down the Dolomite Mountains, in Italy, on one wheel is pretty cool. The young German and his friend Stephanie Dietze garnered the support of Adidas sportswear, who sponsored their trip and provided a professional cameraman to record their unbelievably dangerous feats.

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Catalan Artist Folds Table Napkins into Awe-Inspiring Masterpieces

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You might have seen napkins folded into impressive shapes at some fancy dinner, but they probably look like child’s play compared to the masterpieces created by Catalan artist Joan Sallas.

48-year-old Joan Sallas is considered the world’s best virtuoso napkin folder, and is credited with almost singlehandedly reviving the Baroque-style art that appeared in Renaissance Italy and reached its peak during the 17th century, in German speaking countries. Believe it or not, the Catalan master has managed to take the classic art to new heights with only old engravings and documents describing royal banquets as his inspiration. He learned the secrets to folding paper from his grandfather, when he was only a child, but the passion stayed with him through adulthood, when he discovered the lost art of folding linen. After spending years researching old documents and trying to copy napkin works of art created for the opulent events of 17th century Europe. He has mastered eight folding techniques, including fans, rolls and lilies, that allow him to recreate some truly awe-inspiring decorations.

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Living with Wolves – The Amazing Story of Werner Freund

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79-year-old Werner Freund has a unique gift. The ex-paratrooper and now wolf-researcher from Germany can get along with wolves so well, it’s almost like he’s a member of their pack. In fact, it’s been 40 long years since he started living among wolves and rearing them from pups at his ‘Wolfspark’ sanctuary , located in Merzig,  in the German province of Saarland. The close relationship between Werner and his wolves is quite obvious from pictures of him leaning back on his haunches and howling, and of the wild beasts eating meat straight from his mouth.

Wolves are generally a feared species; come into close quarters and your chances of making it out alive are quite slim. But things are different in the case of Werner. It’s like they’ve accepted him as one of their own. When Werner is around, his wolves are actually playful, docile and submissive towards him. Perhaps it’s because he’s successfully asserted his dominance as the alpha male in the pack. The park is inhabited by wolves from six different packs around the world, including Siberian, Arctic, Canadian, European and Mongolian ones. They were mostly acquired as cubs from animal parks or zoos and hand-reared by Werner.

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Fearless Artist Photographs Herself in the Most Precarious Positions

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It’s hard to believe the photos bellow are real, but South-Korean artist Ahn Jun insists she does not photoshop any of her works. Although she will sometimes use measures of protection like a harness, the young daredevil really is dangling on the side of buildings or leaning out skyscraper windows, all in the nae of art.

Remember Natsumi Hayashi, Tokyo’s levitating girl, who used to post photos of herself jumping at just the right time to make it seem like she was floating through the city? I loved her work, and today I get to write about an equally talented and creative Asian photo artist, Ahn Jun. Her project titled Self-Portrait, for which she photographs herself in precarious positions on high-rise buildings around the world, has taken the art world by storm. Many have claimed that the photos are digitally altered to create the death-defying portraits, but the young South-Korean photographer insists it’s all real. She just sets the timer on her camera to take as many pictures as possible until the memory card is full, and then gets into position, either leaning dangerously over the edge of a skyscraper, climbing out the window or just staring at her feet into the abyss below. She then goes through the thousands of photos, picking just one or two in which her body looks “peaceful or aggressive, rather than fearful”.

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Kids Toughen Up at Brutal South Korean Winter Boot Camp

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When the South Korean Army announces its biannual boot camp for civilians above the age of 13, there are lots of people who are more than happy to attend. Held at the command base in western Seoul, the 4 to 14 day camp offers basic military training to anyone able to pay the entry fee of 40,000 won (that’s about $36). Teenage boys and young women are seen attending the camp, sometimes along with their families. This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, given that military culture is quite deeply ingrained in South Korea, a country ruled by army-backed regimes till the mid 1980s.

Apart from the ones run by the army, there are privately-run boot camps as well, which have become quite popular in recent times. People from various walks of life, ranging from school kids to nostalgic war veterans, company employees to families on vacation attend this kind of events. The army says the boot camp is an opportunity to test your limits, enhance your physical ability and learn to adopt the strong spirit of ‘making the impossible, possible.’ Major Lee Joo-Ho, a boot camp spokesperson says: “Boys obviously make up the biggest part because they have the mandatory service coming up.” What he’s referring to is the two years of mandatory conscription that all able-bodied South Korean men have to attend, in order to  train themselves in case of an attack from North Korea. “But more young women are showing an interest, since they were allowed to join a college-based officer commissioning program last year.”

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The Floating Man-Made Islands of Lake Titicaca

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The people of Uros, a small South American tribe in Peru, have made living arrangements for themselves that are so unique, they’re not found anywhere else in the world. These people live most of their lives on man-made floating islands? The islands were created on Lake Titicaca in Peru, for the protection against other stronger tribes. The lake is the largest by volume in South America, and provides ample protection by itself since it is completely isolated and located about 3000 m above sea level.

But the Uros people were apparently not satisfied with the protection of the lake alone. They went one step further to ensure their safety, making good use of the reeds that grow in abundance along the banks of the lake. The reeds proved to be a malleable material, so they were dried out, bundled and shaped into boats that float very well. This natural material also made it possible for the ancient Uros to create a system of floating domiciles that could be quickly moved away from the mainland in case of any emergency, called the tortora islands. Today, about half the population of the Uros about 500 individuals), still prefer to live in this age-old manner. Of course, they’ve renovated their floating islands to include some modern amenities as well.

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World’s First Official Barbie Cafe Is as Pink as You’d Expect

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As if Asians didn’t have enough pink in their lives, from all those crazy Hello-Kitty-themed venues, now there’s an official Barbie Cafe in Taipei, Taiwan. And yes, it has dolls, themed foods and more pink than most men can bare.

January 30th witnessed the inauguration of the world’s first official Barbie Cafe, in one of the busiest shopping districts in Taipei. The iconic doll’s maker, Mattel, licensed Taiwanese restaurant chain Sinlaku to open the themed cafe in hopes that it will promote Barbie as a fashion brand. Iggy Yip, senior manager of Mattel’s Greater China division, commented: “We picked Taiwan because theme restaurants are very popular and successful here. We are very confident that the Barbie Cafe can promote our brand image.” Indeed, the island is home to a number of unique restaurants and cafes, including one modeled after an A380 airplane, a cardboard restaurant, and even a popular toilet restaurant. But there is a special relationship between Taiwan and Barbie, as this was where the popular doll was originally manufactured, before production lines were moved to mainland China and other parts, to lower costs. In 2009, another Barbie restaurant was opened in Shanghai, China, but it closed down two years later, after it proved unsuccessful.

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