Young Entrepreneur Makes Shoes from Recycled Billboards

Jimmy Tomczak, a young entrepreneur from Michigan, is taking the footwear world by storm, with his original line of shoes made from recycled billboards, Paper Feet.

Jimmy says he’s an outdoors guy who likes to walk barefoot as much as possible, but he always felt like he needed something to protect his soles from the hot asphalt. So, one day, he decided to create some sort of revolutionary footwear that had to be tear resistant, waterproof and light enough to make people feel like they were actually barefoot.

The first thing he tried was Tyvek, a material mostly used on FedEx envelopes, but even though it was puncture-proof and waterproof, it was way too thin for footwear. But when someone suggested he use an old billboard as tarp for his leaky roof, Mr. Tomczak knew he had found the material he was looking for. Billboards are five times as thick as shower curtains, and just light enough for his revolutionary “foot condoms”

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The Edible Masterpieces of Confectioner Jean Zaun

They might look like common oil paintings, to the untrained eye, but these are actually edible masterpieces created with chocolate and food coloring, by artist Jean Zaun.

57-year-old Jean Zaun has always had a passion for oil painting, but working in her family’s chocolate shop, in downtown Lebanon, Pensylvania, she started getting bored and started experimenting with chocolate as an art medium. “I was literally ‘stuck’ in a puddle of chocolate eight hours a day. This was a coping mechanism to alleviate the boredom of being a candy coater and also remind myself that I was an artist” Jean says about her beginnings as a chocolate painter.

After 22 years of working in a chocolate shop, Jean Zaun has now dedicated herself completely to painting in oil, pastels and chocolate. Using white, dark and milk chocolate, food coloring, sugars and confectionery glaze, she is able to reproduce famous paintings like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait, or Edvard Munch’s The Scream, as well as create her own original works. Mrs  Zaun works up to five days on a single painting, after which she encases it in a chocolate frame and covers it with a special glaze.

Although they are made from the world’s most popular sweet, Jean Zaun says her chocolate paintings are to be consumed by the eye, not the stomach. “They are works of art in their own right and are to be kept and cherished as keepsakes”, she adds. That’s easier said than done, especially when you have a sweet tooth and a chocolate painting is the only sugary delight in the house.

Her works have sold for up to $1,440, and they can be found in the private collections of people like Sharon Osbourne or Al Roker, as well as in museums across America.

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A Farewell to the Nevada Shoe Tree

One of Nevada’s most popular roadside attractions, the Old Shoe Tree, near Middlegate has been cut down by vandals.

The Old Shoe Tree on highway 50 (known as the loneliest road in America) was one of the quirkiest tourist spots in Nevada, featuring hundreds of old shoes hanging from its branches. Its origins aren’t exactly clear, but locals say people started throwing their shoes in it, in the early 1990s.

According to a local legend, the first people ti throw their shoes in the Nevada Shoe Tree were a couple of newlyweds passing through the desert on their way to California. They began to argue, so the groom pulled over near a big cottontree and left his wife there to cool down, and he went to the Middlegate Station Bar, to get a beer. When he came back, his bride was still in a fighting mood, so he took her shoes and tossed them into the tree, than left t get another beer. This time, when he returned, they were able to patch things up, but the shoes remained stuck in the tree, so they just left them there.  Over time, people who stopped to cool off under the cotton tree saw the shoes and threw their own, thus transforming it into a roadside tourist attraction.

Unfortunately, no one will have the opportunity to throw shoes in the Nevada Shoe Tree, or even take photos of it, as it was cut down by vandals, right on New Year’s Eve 2011. Locals are outraged, since the 70-foot cottonwood wasn’t just a symbol of the area, but a big help for local businesses which relied on the tourists it brought in.

The Churchill County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the matter, but sadly, nothing is going to bring back the Old Shoe Tree of Nevada. Check out the photos below, if you’ve never seen it before.

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Federer and Nadal Face Off on Floating Tennis Court

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the two top seated tennis players in the world, kicked off the tournament in Doha with an exhibition match on a floating tennis court. I never thought I’d get the chance to write a post about my favorite athlete of all times, Roger Federer, on a blog about oddities, but I guess you really never can say never.

Usually, there’s nothing a tennis player hates more than a flooded court, but in this case both Nadal and Federer were more than happy to get their feet wet, in order to promote the upcoming ATP Tour. They were brought in by boat, to a tennis court floating in a lagoon, on the coast of Doha, Qatar. The two exchanged a few friendly balls, but avoided sprints, as neither seemed to fancy a bath.

Nadal said: “For the past three years we have done a few different things, and this one was a very nice experience.” and Federer added “”It was good fun. It was so different. You’re always excited and nervous to see how it will turn out. It is always nice promoting an event and an entire tour with Rafa.”

What’s even more impressive is how these two tennis legends leave their rivalry on the court, where it belongs, and works so well on promoting different events, and tennis itself.

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Space Battleship Yamato Built Out of Zen Magnets

The anime icon that inspired franchises like Star Wars and Battleship Galactica has just been recreated out of hundreds of Zen Magnets.

To celebrate the launch of the “Space Battleship Yamato” movie, in December of 2010, a fan of the anime classic created a replica of the famous battleship out of Zen magnets and a few nails. It’s not exactly clear how many  of them tend2it used, but I’m sure it was a pretty tough job, considering the limitations of magnetic balls. He admits this is his toughest work yet, and that he had to improvise in order to give his creation a more realistic look. For example, he couldn’t get the Zen magnets to look like turrets and tower spines, so he used various sized nails and paper clips.

Check out more photos of the Zen magnet Space Battleship Yamato, on tend2it’s Flickr stream.

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Artists Build House Out of Recycled Egg Cartons

Goldenhen, and Australian art studio, used hundreds of recycled egg cartons to build a colorful house called ” The Original Dream”.

If you liked Eggcubism and are looking for other cool ways of recycling egg cartons, you’re going to love Goldenhen’s project. They built a simple wooden frame, painted the egg cartons in different colors and then simply stacked them in the shape of a house. But it’s not just any house, it’s modeled after Howard Arkley’s famous painting, “Family Home Suburban Exterior 1993″ – a symbol of the Australian dream of suburban living.

Apart from the actual house, Goldenhen also built a brick yard fence, an outdoor clothes drying rack and lots of grass, all made of egg trays.

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Python Wedding Held in Cambodian Village

Over 1,000 people gathered in the Cambodian village of Sit Bow, to witness the wedding of two pythons, believed to bring prosperity and good fortune to the settlement.

Early 2008, I wrote a post about a Cambodian boy who had an unusually friendly relationship with a full grown python. Villagers believed he was the son of a dragon, and had supernatural powers. Fast forward to present day, Chamerun, the boy’s female pet snake is getting married to male Krong Pich, and the whole village has gathered for the big ceremony.

While most Camodians are Buddhists, they also believe in animism – a belief that spirits inhabit the bodies of animals – so whenever a bizarre animal makes an appearance, there are always speculations about it being housing some important spirit. Fortunetellers told the two snake owner their reptiles were soul mates blessed by the gods, and that they needed to be married and live together, otherwise the village will be struck by bad luck.

The marriage ceremony lasted two hours and was attended by people from all around the village area. Two Buddhist monks  blessed the snake couple, while villagers showered them with flowers and sang traditional wedding music. It must have been pretty creepy, for the pythons, of course.

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M. Lavinashree – World’s Youngest Computer Wiz

After passing the Microsoft Certified Professional test, when she was just eight years old, young M. Lavinashree has now become the world’s youngest Red Hat Certified Engineer.

M. Lavinashree was born in rural Tamilnadu, India, but her parents noticed her incredible mind, when she was just a baby. At just 1 and a half, her mother taught her the English alphabet by playing with colored letters. She would dictate the alphabet letters and Lavinashree pointed at them accurately. Then she began learning national symbols, songs, Indian personalities, shapes, fruits, and many other things. When her older sister started studying Thirukural (a Tamil poem written by a sage, over 2,000 years ago), Lavinashree begged her mother to teach her the kurals, and at the tender age of three, she won her place in the Limca Book of Records (Indian equivalent to the Guinness Book of Records) for her photographic memory. She managed to recite 1,330 couplets of Thirukural…

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Chinese Icemen Take World’s Longest Ice Bath

Jin Songhao and Chen Kecai, two of China’s most seasoned icemen, managed to beat the previous world record for the longest ice bath.

Wim Hof, the Dutch known as “Ice-Man” spent New-Year’s Eve covered with ice cubes, and claimed the title of the longest ice bath, with 115 minutes. But the previous record holder, Chen Kecai, wasn’t about to just sit by and watch his title get snatched right from under him. Together with fellow iceman Jin Songhao, they staged their own cold-enduring event, on January 3rd, in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province.

The two daredevils immersed themselves in plastic boxes and were covered with ice cubes, up to their necks. Kecai started shivering after “just” 40 minutes, but he insisted the doctors let him see his challenge through to the end. Eventually, he managed to stay in the box for 118 minutes, thus beating his Dutch rival’s record. Unfortunately for him, Jin Songhao lasted 120 minutes and is the new holder of the record for the world’s longest ice bath. Well, at least Chen Kecai can take comfort in the fact that he lost to a fellow Chinaman.

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Brass Van – Probably the World’s Heaviest Art Car

The Brass Van is a unique art car completely covered with various brass items. Also known as the “California Fantasy Van”, this artwork on four wheels took 22 years to complete.

Hunter Mann is the present owner of the Brass Van, but it was actually his late godfather, Ernie Steingold, who crated it. A vacuum-cleaner repairman, Steingold first started adding brass to his 1975 GMC van, in the early 1980s and continued doing so for the next 20 years or so. It all started one day, when he decided to attach three brass elephants to the hood, as ornaments. Then he got it into his head to cover the vehicle with brass coins, and he did just that – around $15,000 worth of coins, at the time he finished the job. From there on in, he just kept adding brass.

Mann, the current owner of the Brass van, says there are around 5,000 pieces of brass presently attached to his vehicle, weighing about 10,000 pounds. In fact, this car is so heavy, its tires have to be changed every 4,000 miles, and I don’t even want to think about the mileage…

As you would expect, Hunter Mann gets pulled over by police, about once every five days. Most of the officers just want to ask him about his Brass van and take photos with it. Even though he gets asked the same questions every time, Mann never gets tired of answering them.

When it’s not on tour, the Brass Van can be found at ArtCar World, a museum for art cars, in Douglas, Arizona. Just in case you were wondering about how much such a unique vehicle costs, the Brass van was appraised at $350,000.

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Store Tells Its Clients “Come in Underwear, Leave Dressed”

Spanish clothing brand Desigual kicked off its sales season in a truly original way  that made people show up at its store in nothing but their underwear.

Would you brave the cold weather for the chance to pick out top and lower garments, free of charge? Well, thousands of people around the world did just that – they spent hours outside Desigual stores, hoping to be among he 100 lucky ones that would enjoy the brand’s offer. Featuring the slogan “Come in underwear, leave dressed”, Desigual challenged its customers to show up outside its branch stores, and leave with whatever items they wanted, for free. Unfortunately, only the first 100 people got to enjoy this ridiculous sale…

Some people actually showed up outside the stores at 3 pm the previous day, to make sure they are among the chosen few, but those that didn’t make the cut also had something to be cheerful about. Desigual decided to give them half-price discounts on all the items in the shop.

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The Giant Sand Drawings of Jamie Wardley

Sand sculptor Jamie Wardley transforms beaches into canvases for his art, as he tries to send important messages through his giant sand drawings.

Jamie first came into contact with the world of sand sculpting, as a young boy, on a trip in Norway. He met a sand sculptor who managed to turn two sand blocks into The Queen and Mr. Bean, in just a few hours, and Jamie was amazed by his talent, so he started asking the master all kinds of questions about his art. One thing led to another and before he knew it, the young boy had sand carving tools in each of his hands and was working on his very first sculpture. The sand sculptor was very impressed with his work, and told Jamie he could attend some of his classes, if ever returned to Norway.

It was years before Jamie Wardley contacted the talented sculptor, but when he did, he was welcomed back to the land of fjords, to start his apprenticeship as a sand sculptor. Along the way, the young Brit started making ice sculptures as well as impressive sand drawings, and now he’s one of the world’s most famous beach artists in the world.

Basically, Jamie and his team create these spectacular sand drawings by raking the sand while coordinating themselves perfectly, but he admits there are some trade secrets he only reveals during workshops. He and his team at “Sand in Your Eyes” create incredibly detailed sand drawings, up to 800 meters large. While they only last a few hours, before the tide sweeps over them, Jamie’s works can clearly be seen from the air and on the ground, during this short period of time.

Jamie Wardley’s company creates commercial sand drawings, like for companies who want to promote their products, but also takes interest in preserving the environment, and honoring history. Over the years they’ve created various sand drawings in protest to global warming and pollution.

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The Wonderful Kinetic Sculptures of Casey Curran

Seattle based artist Casey Curran creates some of the most interesting artworks I’ve ever seen – kinetic installations that look like they belong in a fantasy world. Feathers, artificial flowers and wire-made shapes are all controlled by a simple crank, located at the bottom, and it takes just a few strokes of the hand to set in motion a small unique world.

Truth is words and photos just don’t do these artworks justice, so make sure you see them in action in the videos, after the jump.

 

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French Aristocrats Launch Luxury Condoms

The ingenious idea of creating luxury condoms belongs to French aristocrats Prince Charles Emmanuel de Burbon Parme and Count Gil de Bizmont.

Inspired by a trip through the French town of Condom the pair decided to create a sophisticated, chic, useful and  eco-friendly product that wouldn’t make its users embarrassed to carry it around or leave it on the nightstand. Considering the success of luxury brands in our society, luxury condoms might just be the next big thing.

Count Gil de Bizmont says: “There [is] always a need for quality, good taste and beautiful objects. It is sexy to care about yourself and to want to pamper and provide yourself with the very best.”

While the condoms themselves are said to be more upscale than the competition, it’s the packaging that makes them special, as they have replaced the ordinary foil paper with an elegant little black box, similar to those used for jewelry. Count de Bizmont explains: “The luxurious presentation of our product removes any negative stigma associated with a woman who cares enough about herself to be sure to carry along an Original Condom box in her purse, or for a male to leave it on the nightstand without perceptions shifting about expectations, as they definitely should not nowadays.” I must say the that the price tag reflects all this, as a box with three prophylactics costs $13,50, one with six $20, and refills can be bought for  $2 a piece.

Part of the earning will be shared with non-profits that fight AIDS and HIV and their commitment to an eco-friendly environment was demonstrated through the development of new rubber tree forests and the placement of their condom factories on a plantation to reduce carbon emissions.

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The Photorealistic Paintings of Denis Peterson

Denis Peterson is a New York based artist of Armenian descent known around the world for his incredible photorealist artworks.

A few weeks back, I posted some incredible artworks by Tom Martin, and I started looking up more hyper-realist artist. That’s how I first found out about Denis Peterson and his mind-blowing paintings. Widely regraded as the father of hyperrealism, Peterson has exhibited his creations in galleries across the world, from the US, to Italy or France.

Denis Peterson starts the creation process by taking a photo of his subject or scenery, magnifies it up 1 – 2000 times, to capture every small detail, and begins painting. As you can imagine, this kind of painting takes a while to complete – around a month, to be exact – but the artist’s efforts are well compensated, as he receives around $46,000 for each of his artworks.

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