World’s Most Expensive and Amazing Children’s Beds

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Every parent wants the best for his child, but would you pay the price of a luxury car to get them the fantasy bed they’ve always dreamed of?

Posh Tots, a company that makes “the most extraordinary children’s furnishings in the world”, is offering you the chance to buy your little princess a real palace bed, complete with a fiberglass slide, staircase and enchanted balcony, for the modest price of $47,000. No, I didn’t add an extra zero by mistake, that really is the price of a children’s bed. It looks perfect, and I’m sure any little girl would be happy to have it (if not, the company’s also makes a Fantasy Coach bed, for the same price), but you’d need to be shoveling cash to pay almost fifty grand for it.

If the beds mentioned above are a little out of your league, Posh Tots offers a few cheaper alternatives, like the $22,605 Woodland Princess Castle Bunk Bed. Still way too rich for my blood, but after reading about the world’s ultimate children’s playhouse, I’m sure some people consider this a bargain. Still, if you can’t afford to buy one of this furnishing masterpieces, you could try building one, like this guy.

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Man Lives in Real Life Adams Family House

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Steve’s Weird House is a Victorian home decorated with all kinds of oddities and unusual artifacts one would expect to find in the Adams Family mansion.

Steve Bard, also known as “Weird Steve” is just an average guy from Seattle who has dedicated his life to decorating his humble abode in the most unusual way possible. Every inch of his house is covered with curiosities, circus sideshow exhibits, antique medical instruments and all kinds of other weird junk. The items in Steve’s collection include the world’s smallest mummy, Siamese twin calves, wreaths woven from human hair, skeletons, and various two-faced animals.

Apart from all the creepy decorations he collected over the years, Steve has also put together a veritable Toaster Museum with over 150 antique toasters, a Funky Future Room decorated in the style of “The Jetsons” and “Barbarella”, and a Minotaur Garden set up in his back yard. The latter features a 13-foot-tall bust of a minotaur, a 25-foot-tall Rapunzel Castle Tower and a sinister cemetery.

Unfortunately, Steve’s Weird House isn’t an attraction open to the general public. He likes to keep all his precious esoteric collections to himself, although he could probably make loads of money if he turned his house into a tourist spot. Still, you can check out the inside of this real life Adams Family mansion through a virtual tour and two Youtube videos, at the bottom.

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Size Does Matter at Controversial Pigs of God Festival

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Pigs of God is a controversial Taiwanese festival and contest where pigs that have been force-fed for years are publicly slaughtered, then put on floats and paraded through the city streets.

The origins of this gruesome event aren’t very clear, but while some say it’s part of the religious beliefs of the Hakkas, an ethnic group with a population of over four million in Taiwan, animal rights activists claim that in the last few decades it has become a simple meaningless contest used by families to show off their wealth and power. They are currently fighting for the banning of a clear form of animal cruelty, and the substitution of real pigs with ones made of dough, rice or flowers.

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The Microscopic Marvels of Vladimir Aniskin

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Vladimir Aniskin is one of the few people in the world who can create microscopic artworks so tiny they fit on half a poppy seed.

The 33-year-old scientist, who works at the Syberian branch of the Russian Academy of Science, in Tyumen, has been practicing microminiature art since 1998, and devotes several months to completing a single piece. Over the years, he has learned to work in between heartbeats, which gives him about half a second to do a controlled movement before his hand shakes. “While working I hold my creation in my fingers. Even one’s heartbeat disturbs such minute work, so particularly delicate work has to be done between heartbeats.” Vladimir says.

His miniature masterpieces are created using powerful microscopes and a set of tools he himself designed, and to fully appreciate the fine detail of his art, one also needs a microscope. That’s because some of his works are measured in microns. Aniskin’s amazing portfolio includes a grain of rice inscribed with 2,027 letters, which took three months to complete, a caravan of camels in the eye of a needle, and a Christmas scene on a thin horse hair.

The following photos don’t do Vladimir Aniskin’s work justice, but if you’re ever in St. Petersburg, you can admire 80 of his microscopic wonders at the first Russian museum of micro-miniatures – The Russian Lefty.

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Upcycled Action Figures Made by a Soldier in Afghanistan

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This wonderful collection of junk action figures was put together by Private First Class Rupert Valero, who is stationed at a forward operating base in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

A former oil rig engineer, Valero has been collecting and customizing action figures for years, but ever since he was sent to Afghanistan, he had to create his own action figures from recycled materials like bottle caps, soda cans and fabric. The artists/soldier says he has the mind of an engineer and never stops thinking about building things, whether they be robots, buildings, or anything else for that matter. It’s just his way of staying sane in a dangerous place like Afghanistan.

Because toys are universal, people react to them the same whether they are in the middle of the desert or in America, and Private Valero says they have allowed him to interact with the locals. By giving a child one of his upcycled action figures he puts a smile on his face and maybe takes his mind off doing something that he shouldn’t do.

You can buy Rupert’s upcycled action figures at reasonable prices, on his Etsy shop, and you can find an extended interview with him, here.

 

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The Tree of Life – A Mysterious Natural Phenomenon

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Standing alone in the heart of the desert, miles away from any water source and other vegetation , the Tree of Life, in Bahrain, is one of the world’s most remarkable phenomena.

The Tree of Life is located 2 kilometers away from Jebel Dukhan, atop a 25-meter-high sandy hill, overlooking a golden sea of sand. The mystery of its survival in such harsh conditions has made it a legend among the people of Bahrain, and has attracted people from all around the world curious to see it first hand. The 400-year-old natural wonder has baffled biologists and scientists for years, and even though they’ve come up with several theories, it remains an enigma. Seeing this is a mesquite tree, some say its roots spread very deep and wide, reaching unknown sources of water, but no one has been able to prove it.

Locals have their own explanations when it comes to the secret of the Tree of Life, but theirs have little to do with science. Many of them believe this is the actual location of the Garden of Eden, while Bedouins are convinced the tree has been blessed by Enki, the mythical God of water. Whatever the explanation, it’s amazing how Sharajat-al-Hayat, as the Arabs call it, has kept growing continuously for around 4 centuries.

While the Tree of Life is one of the most famous attractions of Bahrain, visitors are instructed to double check their gear and make sure their car doesn’t get stuck in the sand, as we are talking about the middle of a desert.

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Arthrobots – Steampunk Insects by Tom Hardwidge

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Using nuts and bolts to connect various bits of metal, English artist Tom Hardwidge creates beautiful steampunk insects he calls Arthrobots.

They may look like metal toys, but Tom’s arthrobots are actually intricate steampunk sculptures inspired by real insects and built from various recycled metallic parts. The Manchester-based artist starts by drawing up a series of sketches, then starts looking for parts on sites like eBay, and local small shops. The assembling happens on the dinning-room table, to make sure no actual dinning takes place there.

In case you’re wondering what arthrobots are made of, Tom says most of them start off as pieces of deactivated ammunition, that are later covered with sheets of copper, brass or aluminum. Limbs, wings and antennae  are then attached, and no respectable steampunk creation would be complete without some old pocket watch gears and springs.

Arthrobots come in a cool-looking wooden box, together with a small leaflet which includes a series of details like the sculpture’s name, the phylum, order and class it belongs to and some of the early sketches. If you’re a fan of steampunk, head over to the arthrobots official site, for more details.

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Wayne Kusy and His Impressive Toothpick Fleet

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Chicago-based artist Wayne Kusy uses thousands of ordinary toothpicks and gallons of glue to create impressive-looking models of famous sea vessels.

50-year-old Kusy remembers he built his first toothpick model when he was just a child in the fifth grade. It was an Indian tepee and it got him a B+ in class, but toothpicks were to play a much bigger part in his life. He moved on to build a house out pf toothpicks, then a year later he started working on a ship that didn’t come out perfectly, but wasn’t far off the mark either, so he decided to build another one. And, before he knew it, he was pretty much obsessed with toothpicks.

Wayne Kusy’s amazing toothpick fleet began to take shape when he bought a plastic Revell model of the Titanic, studied the blueprints and deck plans, and spent the next three years recreating it with 75,000 flat and square toothpicks. It was impressive to look at, but it was so big that his small Chicago apartment could barely accommodate it, and there was no way to move it out without hitting the corners of his home and damaging the ship. The Titanic lost a lot of toothpicks on its maiden voyage out of Wayne’s apartment, but it taught the artist a valuable lesson – from there on he designed his ships so they could be reassembled from multiple segments.

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The Crocheted Portraits of Jo Hamilton

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Portland-based artist Jo Hamilton has a house full of balls of yarn,which she uses to create amazing crocheted portraits and landscapes.

Jo remembers she was only six when her grandmother taught her to to crochet, but it wasn’t until ten years later that she really dedicated herself to the old craft and started crocheting in a crafty way. She attended the Glasgow School of Art, where she experimented with both painting and drawing, but she felt that she needed an original medium to help her express her talent.

She was inspired to use crocheting as an art form after seeing an exhibition at the Portland Craft Museum that inspired artists to use techniques that are originally considered to be art. Happy that she had finally found a means of expression that she was comfortable with, Jo immediately started crocheting a cityscape made of six blocks, named “I Crochet Portland”. She now spends anywhere from forty five hours on a portrait, up to three years on one of her cityscapes, but the most important thing  is she never gets bored of crocheting.

The portraits Jo creates are incredibly detailed, and many people have speculated about the techniques and stitches she uses, but the artist claims her pieces come alive from the inside – it’s an organic process that implies no graphs, plans or charts. Of course, this means she doesn’t know the exact outcome of her effort, but Ms. Hamilton says she has learned to trust her way of working.

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Aokigahara Forest – The Suicide Woods of Mount Fuji

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Referred to as “the perfect place to die” in Wataru Tsurumui’s bestselling book – The Complete Manual of Suicide – Aokigahara is a thick, dark forest located at the base of Mount Fuji, famous as a popular suicide spot.

No one knows exactly how many bodies go undiscovered among the trees of Aokigahara forest, but the ones uncovered so far have already earned this place an eerie reputation. In 2002 alone, 78 bodies were located in Aokigahara, and by 2006, another 16 suicides were reported. Some of the victims even carried copies of Tsurumui’s book with them, which makes this even creepier. The whole place is dotted with signs that read “please reconsider!” or “please consult the police before you decide to die!” but these have little power on those determined to die here.

“We’ve got everything here that points to us being a death spot. Perhaps we should just promote ourselves as ‘Suicide City’ and encourage people to come here,” says the mayor of Aokigahara exasperated by the high number of suicides registered in the area. Locals claim they can always tell who is going into the forest to admire its natural beauty, and who isn’t planning on ever coming back. They say part of the reason people decide to commit suicide in Aokigahara forest is because they want to die at the foot of the sacred Mt. Fuji and because it’s so dense and thick that sounds from just a few kilometers inside can’t be heard outside the woods.

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Pixelated Self-Portrait Is Made from Over 10,000 Nails and Screws

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Inspired by the work of mosaic art masters like Saimir Strati, artist Shannon Larratt has created a unique self-portrait from thousands of different nails and screws.

Shannon used a four foot sheet of heavy 3/4″ plywood as canvas and six different kinds of nails and screws space roughly 5/16″ apart. He estimates there are around 20,000 pixels in his project, and over 10,000 nails. The whole thing weighs around two hundred pounds, and the artist plans to hoist it up from an I-beam, in his studio.

The first thing Shannon did was take a photo of himself, which he then manipulated in Photoshop, so the colors would match the general range of the nails, and then converted it into an indexed color image using a custom palette that matched his nail set. He stacked up all these conversions as layers, and then started the manual labour, occasionally changing or shifting the nails slightly, to improve translation.

The result of his work is just incredible, although the artist says he has learned a lot from this project and he will do a lot better next time. But, because the process of creating one of these pixelated portraits is so time-consuming, Larrat doesn’t know exactly when he will start work on another one.

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Artist Builds One-of-a-Kind Imperfect Boats from Discarded Materials

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John Taylor is a self-taught artists who uses scrap wood, computer parts, hockey sticks and various other discarded materials to create unique replicas of famous sea vessels.

John has been fascinated with ships ever since he saw a photo of his great-grandfather standing on the deck of a vessel, during the Spanish-American War. He was only a child, but the obsession stuck with him throughout the years, and, as an adult, he began creating these unique models of ships he saw in old photos. Working from his garage in San Juan Capistrano, he turns buckets of junk (computers chips, nails, copper wire, lawn chairs, drift wood, staples and more) into imperfect interpretations of old sea vessels.

A landscape architect by trade, John Taylor will use any materials he can find that will give him the old, tattered results he aims for. “If it’s an exact replica, there’s no room for you to really wonder about it,” he says, trying to explain why he creates models that look like they’ve been fished from the bottom of the ocean, instead of making perfect replicas of the ships that inspire him.

The 3 to 5 feet long models are based on real boats, from Civil War river boats to World War II battle ships, John finds in old photographs.They are an authentic rendition of memory, rather than accurate historical replicas.

 

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Andrew Myers – An Artist Who Literally Screws His Artworks

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Laguna Beach based Andrew Myers is the only artist in the world who uses screws as the main medium to create three-dimensional artworks. Simply put – he screws art.

The young artist didn’t always work with screws, the idea just came to him one day, while working on a church’s bronze relief depicting the life of Saint Catherine. And, like most artists, once he got it into his head to work with a certain medium, he just had to find out if he could actually make it happen. It sounds like a screwy concept, but it turned out to be brilliant.

Unlike other artists who create similar art, Myers doesn’t rely on a computer to pixelate his works, he just makes a grid and drills in screws at certain key points (like the tip of the nose) to establish the depth of the artwork. “For me, I consider this a traditional sculpture and all my screws are at different depths. There’s nothing planned out. I draw out a figure on the board and figure out the depths,” the artist says. The screw holes have to be drilled beforehand, to make sure the screws go in straight, and the background of the portrait is made up of phone book pages, usually with listings from the area of the subject.

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Incredible Key Art ay the Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York

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Greenwich Locksmiths, one of the oldest locksmith shops in New York City, stands out with its unusual facade art made of thousands of used keys.

The incredible facade was designed and executed by Phil Mortillaro, owner of Greenwich Locksmith and an expert when it comes to cracking safes. He opened up shop in the West Village back in 1968, and as his shop became famous, he once considered redesigning his common-looking headquarters to look like an impressive classic American building. He got all the approvals he needed, but decided not to go through with the idea, for fear his locksmith shop would have looked more like a Disney World attraction. Instead, he decided to make his workplace unique by decorating it with discarded keys.

Seen from a distance, the patterns on the Greenwich Locksmiths facade look like a bunch of spirals and squiggles, but as soon as you get a little closer and notice the whole thing is covered with tens of thousands of keys, you realize just how impressive it really is. Mr. Mortlillaro created this unique work of art by himself, last October, and his shop – reputed as one of the best in the business – is getting a lot more attention.

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The Mind Blowing Pull Tab Sculptures of Herman Divers

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Herman Divers, also known as the master of pull-tab engineering, is known for creating impressive sculptures exclusively out of aluminum pull tabs.

Environmentalists have always preached about the need to recycle metals like aluminum, and Topeka based Herman Divers is one of the few people who listened and decided to do something about it. Using old-fashioned pull tabs that were found on beer and soda cans in the 1970s, he created impressive artworks that are now on display at the Grassroot Art Center, in Kansas.

A retired hospital handyman, Divers developed a unique affinity for pull tabs in the early 1980s, when he asked the hospital’s  snack bar attendant to save them for him. “I told her I was going to make a beadspread and she thought I was crazy” Divers remembers about his early days as a pull-tab artist. But he was on to something, because unlike the modern pull tab, the old-fashioned one had a extension that could be wrapped/bent to secure it to another one. Using this process and without any glue or steel reinforcement, Herman Divers spent many of his nights working on some of the most incredible pull-tab artworks I have ever seen.

His unique collection of pull-tab sculptures include replicas of a Harley Davidson motorcycle (made from 179, 200 pull-tabs) and a classic automobile, a set of costumes for him and his wife, as well as pieces of pull-tab furniture. When old pull-tabs became obsolete, Divers started working with bottle caps and buttons creating more beautiful creations, but his aluminum wonders remained his signature works.

And to think it all began with his simple credo “I just figure you can’t get into too much trouble when you’re working”.

 

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