Cancer Survivor Makes Drug Jewelry to Pay off Medical Debt

Susan Braig, a 61-year-old cancer survivor from Altadena, California, began making jewelry from medication as a form of therapy, but now sells her creations to pay her medical bills.

Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer and started chemotherapy in 2004. She remembers she bought her first round of medicine our of her own pocket; it cost her $500 and looking at the little pills she got for that much money, it made her wonder if they were little gems. But the idea of actually using medication as jewelry came to Susan Braig in 2007, when she participated in a medical-themed art exhibition organized by the NewTown Pasadena Foundation. She decided to create a mock Tiffany & Co. jewelry advertisement for the exhibition, using different kinds of pills as diamonds, rubies and emeralds, but she eventually ended up making a princess’ tiara encrusted with her leftover cancer pills, as well as several other pieces. They were a hit, and many show-goers told Susan she should open her own jewelry line.

Now, seven years after starting her treatment, Susan Braig is cancer-free and running her own jewelry line, called designer Drug Jewelry. Friends and fellow cancer survivors donate their own old and leftover medicine, and she uses them to create colorful accessories priced between $15 and $150. She sells them at craft shows, where she wears a white medical robe, and is considering distributing them to hospital gift shops. The pills used for the over 500 pieces she designed so far are coated with a sealant and glued to the costume jewelry, to make them “non-abusable” as she says. The jewels come in an ordinary pill bottle, wrapped in a ribbon and placed in small bags made from surgical face masks.

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Woman Spends $8,000 on Plastic Surgery to Look Like a Drag Queen

21-year-old Collagen Westwood has admired drag queens ever since she was a little girl and is now doing everything she can to look like one.

The aspiring singer, whose childhood idols were Boy George, Lily Savage and Dead or Alive lead singer Pete Burns, says her mother had a lot of drag queen friends, so she grew up admiring them and wishing she was as glamorous as they were. The young woman from London was bullied and made fun of as a child, and from age 12 she’s been dreaming about plastic surgery and changing her appearance.

Now she’s living the dream, dressing up as a drag queen when she goes out at night and spending her savings on collagen injections and nose jobs to make her look more like her idols. ‘I have a couple of different wigs that I wear when I go out, and people are always assuming I’m a transvestite. I love it when people mistake me for a man. It doesn’t offend me – I think drag queens look fantastic,’ she says. When she’s getting ready for a night on the town, Collagen needs at least three hours and the help of a make-up artist friend to put on her huge blonde wig and doll-like make-up.

The drag queen wannabe says she loves looking plastic and can’t wait until she raises enough for more plastic surgery. She intends to have breast augmentation, as well as have some of her ribs removed so she can wear tighter corsets, anything to make her look more like a drag queen. ‘They’re glamorous and beautiful – what woman wouldn’t want to look like that?” Collagen concludes.

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Designer Makes Impressive Gown from Discarded Children’s Books

Boston-based fashion designer Ryan Novelline has created an amazing fairytale dress using only pages from children’s Golden Books.

If you had any doubts regarding human creativity being endless, this unique creation will definitely make you a believer. Now I’m not very big on fashion, but I know impressive when I see it, and Ryan Novelline’s gown made entirely out of recycled and discarded children’s Golden Books is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

The skirt is made entirely of illustrations from the book sewn together with metallic gold thread, while the bodice is made from the books foil spines. Both have tape backing for reinforcement. The total surface area of the skirt is 22,000 square inches.

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Man Uses Donkeys to Tow Faulty Luxury SUV Back to Dealership

A Shenyang businessman made Chinese headlines the other day, after he used two donkeys two tow his faulty Range Rover back to the dealership, in protest.

Just two weeks after another dissatisfied car owner had his Lamborghini Gallardo smashed with jackhammers, in protest of poor quality vehicles that auto companies chose to sell in China, a similar incident took place in front of a Rover dealership. A man sick of having to repair his Range Rover every few months, rented two donkeys and had them tow his broken vehicle back to its manufacturer, and asked for a total refund.

The protester bought his luxury SUV in 2010, for 2 million yuan ($304,000), and it reportedly broke down six times before he eventually had to replace the entire engine. When the car died on him for the seventh time, the angry owner felt he had to do something to send a clear message to car makers about the shady quality of their products. So he rented the donkeys, glued a protest banner to the SUV and towed it back to the dealership.

Although his actions grabbed a lot of media attention, they weren’t enough to convince Rover to give him the total refund he asked for. They’ll probably just fix it for him, again.

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Clock Collector Has Plenty of Time on His Hands

With over 1,500 different clocks covering every wall in his house, Jack Schoff holds the Guinness Record for the largest collection of clocks.

A clock placed above the door to Jack Schoff’s home, in North Berwick, Maine, is meant to prepare every visitor for what awaits them inside, but the sight of 1,509 clocks adorning every square inch of a small studio apartment isn’t easy to take in, especially if it’s your first time visiting. Everyone lets out a “Wow”, but Jack Schoff isn’t impressed anymore because “everyone says the same thing.”

Unlike most other quirky collectors, Jack hasn’t always been fascinated by clocks. In fact, he only began collecting them seven or eight years ago, when health issues forced the former Portsmouth Naval Shipyard pipefitter to take some time off. With so much time on his hands, sitting idly at home, there was only one way to go – clocks. “I was going stir crazy, so I started taking clocks apart and putting them back together, you know, just for something to keep busy,” he says. He and a friend would drive throughout the Seacoast region, from one yard sale to another, buying all kinds of clocks. Then, people started hearing about his crazy hobby and began leaving old or broken clocks on his doorstep, so he doesn’t even know where some of the items in his collection came from.

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Indian Woodcarvers Give the Skateboard an Oriental Twist

What do you get if you combine the old fashioned skateboard with the talent of a dozen Indian woodcarvers? The answer can be admired in the photos below.

All commercially-available skateboards are artistically designed, but companies usually opt for spray paint, abstract graphics and prints to personalize the board. German curator Tobias Megerle teamed up with a dozen traditional woodcarvers from Mumbai to give the skateboard a brand new make-over inspired by traditional Indian patterns.

Megerle remembers “The very first time I drove past I was magically attracted to the carved wooden objects in Mahim, all the open workshops, the woodcarvers sitting on the floor with their traditional tools, working on their items, the whole atmosphere”. As an artist he wanted to do something with their work, and after several visits studying their craft, he picked the good old skateboard to undergo the carvers’ artistic treatment.

Tobias Megerle’s art project was named Final Cut, and its main goal was to keep the skateboards functional even after Mumbai’s carvers were done with them. The results are truly amazing, and the German curator hopes his project will lift India’s woodcarvers from the state of craftsmen to that of artists.

These traditionally carved Indian skateboards are currently on exhibit at The LOFT at Lower Parel, in Mumbai, where they will remain until April 12.

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Marcus Levine’s Hammered Nail Art

Using up to 50,000 rigid steel nails to recreate something as fragile and curvy as the human body isn’t the easiest of tasks, but artist Marcus Levine manages to to it without as much as a sketch.

The British artist’s road to his brilliant career has been anything but predictable. Born in Yorkshire, Levine attended the Jacob Kramer Art College, but instead of pursuing his dream of making nail art, he opted for career as a TV graphic designer, and later joined the family business. It wasn’t until 2004 that he finally decided he wanted to make art for a living, and moved to Budapest. He began hammering nails into composite wood boards and completed his first real nail artwork in 2005. He continued to perfect his technique, creating increasingly dynamic interpretations of his subjects and pushing the boundaries with each new art piece.

Marcus Levine takes between three days and two months to complete one of his hammered masterpieces and uses anywhere between 15,000 and upwards of 50,000 nails. By placing them at various heights and distances, he can create various distinct tones and manipulate the intensity of the contours. He masters several techniques, like undulating the height of a nail or rotating its head round, but Marcus admits that light has  a big part to play in his art, as “from morning sun to evening sun the shadows across the sculptures change and affect the contrast, and by altering artificial lighting, the sculptures can appear as light as a pencil sketch or as dark as a charcoal life drawing.”

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Chinese Animal Lover Adopts 140 Stray Dogs

Li Zongwen, a former chef from Wuhan, has made online headlines after Chinese media discovered he has taken in 140 stray dogs from the outskirts of the city.

The 59-year-old man began adopting strays from the streets of Wuhan in 2009, and in just two years time he has taken-in an impressive 140 hungry dogs. He put a roof over their heads, but admits he couldn’t afford to feed all of them, without donations from other local animal lovers. Food and rent for Mr. Li and his big family of canines cost around 5,000 yuan ($760) which is way more than he could pay on his own.

Although sharing a home with 140 animals isn’t exactly an easy task, considering the noise he has to put up with at night, and the considerable mess he has to clean up after them, Li Zongwen doesn’t complain. On the contrary, he likes having them around as he prepares a big bowl of dog chow, using a garden shovel, and even eats his own meals in their company. Maybe he should get in touch with Ha Wenjin, the woman who looks after 1,500 stray dogs and 200 cats, I’m sure they have a lot to learn from each other.

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The Unique Burial Customs of Tana Toraja

The Toraja Tribe of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, is known for the cheerful way of treating death, and its unique burial grounds carved in sheer rock.

One of the most beautiful tourist destinations of Indonesia, the green hills of South Sulawesi are home to the Toraja, a tribe that still honors the old Austronesian lifestyle, similar to Nias culture. Most tribe members are Christians, converted during Dutch colonization, but traces of their old beliefs still remain and are most visible during funeral festivities and burial customs. The Toraja are obsessed with death, but not in a tragic sense; to them funerals are a lot like going-away parties celebrated by sacrificing dozens of buffaloes and pigs for a feast enjoyed by the entire community.

The main concern of a Toraja tribe member is to make sure he raises enough money so his family can throw the best party in town, when he leaves this world. Their bodies are stored under the family home for years after their death. During this time the remaining relatives refer to that person not as “the deceased” but as “the sick”, and raise money for the actual funeral, which is usually attended by hundreds of guests. Tourists are welcome to attend the festivities, as long as they don’t wear black or red.

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Maine Chefs Make World’s Largest Whoopie Pie

In an attempt to raise money for charity and claim the title for the world’s largest whoopie pie, a team of Maine confectioners have created a frosted dessert weighing over 1,000 pounds.

They say the Amish invented the simple but delicious whoopie pie, but that didn’t stop the state of Maine from trying to claim it as its official dessert. Back in September 2010, at the annual festival of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania confectioners made a 250 pound whoopie pie, but that record was practically pulverized last Saturday, when Maine managed to top it with their own giant whoopie treat, weighing 1,062 pounds.

Local pie makers Wicked Whoopies provided the necessary ingredients for creating the giant calorie bomb, and assembly began around 8 am. After hours of work, which included lifting the baked top and bottom with a forklift, the drooling crowd gathered in front of Coast 93.1 radio station could finally stuff their face with frosted goodness. The event was also used as an opportunity to raise money for Maine troops serving abroad, so whoever wanted a slice of the world’s largest whoopie pie had to make a small donation. The raised funds will be used by Wicked Whoopies to pay shipping costs for the whoopie pies they plan to send to soldiers serving far from home.

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Metro Surfing – Russia’s Deadly Extreme Sport

Moscow’s metro system has recently become the scene of a new and deadly extreme sport – metro surfing. Teenagers jump on the back of trains and try to cling on for their lives as they video-tape the whole experience.

Believe it or not, metro surfing began as a desperate way of catching a ride during rush hour. The Moscow subway system is very crowded at this time and it’s close to impossible to get into the train, so young people started clinging to the back of it to reach their destination in time. Unfortunately, this desperate way of traveling somehow turned into a popular pass-time for teenagers looking for cheap thrills and internet fame. Metro surfers have now become such a common site that normal commuters hardly notice the crazy kids hanging on for their lives at the back of the train.

Wearing distinctive gloves, and sometimes clothes the same color as the metro to blend-in better, surfers wait on the platform the same as everyone else. Then, as the train leaves the station, they jump on the back of it and ride into the narrow tunnels, trying not to fall off. Most of them have cameras attached to their headgear to record the entire thing. They then post them on popular social media sites like Youtube or vkontakte (Russian version of Facebook), and brag among their friends. Even more alarming is that there are now groups of up to 2,000 members posting and commenting their metro surfing adventures online, and their numbers seems to be ever growing.

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Artist Creates Dog Portraits from Recycled Magazine Photos

San Francisco-based Samuel Price uses pieces of photographs he finds in old, discarded magazines to create intricate portraits of man’s best friend.

Sam Price’s career as a collage artist began when he was too young to afford paints and would tear up magazine and newspaper pages and glue them to a canvas. He did it out of necessity and because he has “always believed in the use of accessible materials as part of the instinctive process of creating art”. Stepping in the footsteps of artists like Pablo Picasso – a pioneer of collage art – Price uses recycled photographs as the medium for his artworks.

Unlike other collage makers, Price doesn’t use a computer as a guide when he creates his masterpieces. He spends several hours looking through discarded magazines, in the search for just the right color and shape that would fit his needs, and then glues every strip of paper himself.

Samuel Price takes great joy from creating something new and special from materials other people simply throw away, and says his work has helped him create a strong connection with many dog lovers. Through his collage portraits he tries to capture the special relationship between a dog and his owner.

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Incredible Miniatures Carved from Matchsticks

Artists have been using matchsticks as a medium for their art for a while now. Some use thousands of matches to create amazing wooden models, others use them to create colorful sculptures, or decorate their homes in a unique way, but I’ve never seen detailed matchstick miniature sculptures before.

I saw some interesting photos of carved matchsticks last week, while surfing the interwebs for unique art to share with you guys, but I couldn’t find any info on the artist who made them. Unfortunately, the research I conducted following my find didn’t prove very successful. All I learned is they are created using fine tools like scalpels and other specialized instruments, and that they’re mostly made by artists from South American countries like Chile, Argentina and Brazil. A miniature matchstick sculpture takes around three hours to complete and it’s then placed inside a small glass cover, for protection.

Among the most famous matchstick sculptors, I’ve found Christian Hernandez, who focuses of Greek mythology themes, and Argentinian Javier Gobai, whose detailed works you can admire in the photos below:

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Mother Gives 8-Year-Old Daughter Regular Botox Shots

Keri Campbell, a beautician from San Francisco, gives her 8-year-old daughter Britney Botox shots every three months, to make her “popular” and “famous”.

According to British tabloid The Sun, the beauty-pageant-obsessed-mom is proud her daughter is probably the youngest child in the world to receive Botox injections and claims the treatment will help her become famous as a teenager. “I wish that I’d had the same advantages when I was younger. She is a lucky little girl and is going to be famous because of the benefits I am giving her so early,” Kerry says, adding that she just wants Britney to have the best start in life so she can become a superstar, easier.

What’s even more disturbing is the eight-year-old now asks to be given Botox shots, claiming she can see wrinkles: “I check every night for wrinkles, when I see some I want more injections. They used to hurt, but now I don’t cry that much.” She says her friends think it’s cool she gets this kind of treatment, and want to be just like her.

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Gary LeMaster – The Incredible Eggshell Sculptor

Gary LeMaster has to be one of the world’s most gifted sculptors. After all, how many people can take an egg and turn it into an intricate and detailed work of art?

Born in New Zealand, where his father, a US soldier, was stationed at the time, Gary showed a passion for the arts, at a very young age. After the family moved to the States, he grew up learning how to use tools, and do woodworking alongside his father, while, at the same time, learning to appreciate fine arts, from his mother, a talented ballet dancer. It was his mother’s guidance that got him a scholarship in music at the University of Iowa, which he turned down to pursue a teaching degree in history and English. Although he practiced drawing with pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, the fact that he was color-blind made Gary LeMaster think his visual art was limited, and that he wasn’t good enough for art school.

After enrolling in several school programs and obtaining numerous degrees, he decided it was time he took some art courses at the University of Iowa, where he enjoyed every class he took. Although Gary regretted not turning to the arts to begin with, his graduate art courses helped take his drawing skills to a whole other level, which proved to be very important in his career as a professional eggshell sculptor.

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