Amazing Fantasy Creatures Brought to Life by Talented Artist

It doesn’t happen every day, but I sometime get the chance to write about something truly special. This is definitely one of those rare occasions. Ever wondered what the creatures of your imagination would look like in real life? I’m sure you have, but just like me, you probably lack the talent and patience to actually take them out of your dreams and into reality. Luckily, artist Wood Splitter Lee is both incredibly talented and patient-enough to do it. Plus, her imagination is so much better than mine…

Do you know what a Tundra Stag looks like? How about a Moondust Wolf? Relax, you’re knowledge of zoology is probably not that bad. The only way you could have know about these fantastic creatures is if you lived inside Wood Splitter Lee’s head. The young Virginia-based artist breathes life into the figments of her imagination by sculpting them in clay and covering them with vividly-colored fur. Horned wolves, fire foxes, ice dragons, forest guardians, they’re all real in Lee’s astonishing art collection and she makes them all look so incredibly life-like you’re tempted to think these stills from an awesome fantasy film you somehow missed, and not just really good photos of hand-made sculptures. As a huge fan of mystical creatures, I am in awe!

wood-splitter-lee-tundra-stag

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Golden Baba – Indian Holy Man Tells Followers to Live Frugally But Drapes Himself in Gold

His real name is Bittu Bhagat, but his fascination with gold earned him the nickname “Golden Baba”. Claiming to be a living saint, this Indian holy man tells his followers to live in poverty, while he covers himself in gold clothes and accessories worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Golden Baba has apparently been in the sights of Indian tax officials for some time, but he also attracted the attention of the press when he made an appearance at the sacred Kumbh Mela pilgrimage with two young European beauties hanging on his arms and wearing dozens of solid gold accessories around his neck and on his hands. He looked more like a middle-aged playboy than a holy man preaching about the rewards of a simple life free of worldly possessions. But reports claim Bittu Bhagat tells his disciples they mush shun their material wealth, even their clothes, if they want to follow him, and investigators say he only accepts donations in solid gold. Formerly a simple tailor, this Golden Baba now allegedly has a fortune of several millions of dollars and travels around in a fleet of chauffeur-driven Mercedes, Bentleys and BMWs.

Golden-Baba-India

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Sleep as a Hobo at Sweden’s Homeless Experience Hotel

It costs money to be homeless in Sweden. Well, only for a night though, at the Faktum Hotels. Located in Gothenburg, the hotel has no rooms but instead offers the complete homeless experience. Once you make a booking online, the hotel will lead you to a pre-determined place where the real homeless might spend their nights, one of 10 extraordinary locations they’ve handpicked for their guests.

A ‘room’ at the Faktum Hotels costs $10 a night and customers are free to choose their location from 10 options, including a spot under a bridge, in a derelict factory, a park bench, in forests, or even under seats at a football stadium. High quality images of all these places are available on the hotel website that actually make the experience look tempting. The descriptions accompanying the images are quite enticing and entertaining to read as well. Where else would you find an underpass described as: “Feel the city’s pulse from dawn to dusk at Gullbergsvass. This delightful dwelling is just a stroll from the romantic Dreamer’s Quay: a source of inspiration to musicians and artists alike. And all under the noble eye of the Skansen Lion from his centuries old fortress.”

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Artist Turns Adorable Teddy Bears into Creepy Zombies

Nothing seems to escape the zombie epidemic sweeping the planet; not even fluffy teddy-bears. English artist Phillip Blackman uses zombie-flick special effects makeup to turn the lovable toys into creepy undead that will keep you awake at night.

45-year-old Phillip Blackman, from Suffolk, England, says the idea for his zombified teddy-bears was born from a silly joke between him and his partner. “She had a terrible cold at the time and we’d been talking about a gift for a friend’s baby. With a very stuffy nose ‘teddy-bear’ kept coming out as ‘deady-bear’, and we joked about zombie teddies that creep from under your bed at night to feast on your brains while you sleep,” the artist remembers. He eventually became quite intrigued by the idea of making undead toys, so he bought a bunch of teddy-bears from eBay. But it was during that time that his girlfriend became pregnant, and in the chaos of moving to a new house and starting a family, Phillip forgot all about his creepy projects. Years later, while sorting his son’s soft toys, he came across the teddy-bears he had bought, and decided to put the his old idea into practice. And that’s how the wonderfully-creepy Undead Teds came to be.

UndeadTeds zombie Teddy bears by Phillip Blackman, Ipswich, Suffolk, Britain - 01 Feb 2013

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Ultimate Freedom – The Unlikely Story of a Man Who Chooses to Be Homeless

It’s not the first time we’re hearing about someone who is homeless by choice. A while ago, we wrote about a man who lives with only 15 possessions and a college student who chooses not to live in a house. Minimalism is a concept that several people around the world are embracing, and Richard from England is one of them. What makes Richard’s story unique is how happy his homelessness has made him, in a world that sees it as a pitiable condition.

I found out about Richard from a video on Vimeo. Although it’s only about 4 minutes long, the video tells quite a powerful story, depicting Richard’s life in his own words. The young piano tuner says he used to live in an apartment with all the modern comforts, and yet that didn’t really make him happy. He had student loans and other debts that he hadn’t been able to clear for several years. And then one day, he realized how pointless it all was. “I remember specifically one afternoon I looked around my flat, looked at my LCD TV and I thought, ‘When was the last time I had time to watch that?’ And then I looked at my Playstation I had never even played. I still had this mountain of student debt, of bank loan debt which I was still scratching the surface of. And in the end, I just thought that the only thing I really value in the flat is the hot shower. Everything else, I can do without.”

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Portland Dog Kissing Contest Will Leave a Bad Taste in Your Mouth

They say a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s but is that any reason to actually kiss your canine, even if it’s on Valentine’s Day? The answer is “YES”, at least according to participants at a dog kissing contest in Portland, Maine.

The 9th Annual Valentine’s Day Dog Kissing Contest took place yesterday, at the Planet Dog Company Store in Portland, and yes, there was a lot of face licking going on. The rules of the adorable/disgusting competition are pretty simple. Owners let their canine pets lick their faces – yes, that includes their lips – and the longest cross-species kiss is declared the winner. The big prize for first place? A $75 gift certificate to the Planet Dog store. So it’s safe to say people who enter the dog kissing contest don’t do it for the money, considering everyone actually has to pay a $5 entrance fee. It’s probably just a great opportunity to show off their dog’s affection or maybe it’s to be part of a charity event (all the proceeds go to the Planet Dog Foundation). If you’re easily grossed out about mouth-to-snout smooching, I recommend you don’t watch the video at the bottom.

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

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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The Guinea Pig Festival of Huacho Has Rodents on the Menu

It’s funny how a cute and furry pet in one part of the world can be considered a delicacy in another. But that’s exactly what guinea pigs are in the small town of Huacho in Peru. In fact, they have a whole festival dedicated to dressing up and cooking the hairy rodents – The Festival of the Guinea Pig, or as the Peruvians call it, the Cavies.

As a part of the festival that has been around since the mid-2000s, guinea pigs are dressed up as kings, miners, peasants, traditional folk singers and also in modern costume for fashion shows. There are prizes for best costume, so every effort is made to impress judges during the show. As cute as they may look in their little outfits, it’s disturbing to know that sometimes, in an effort to make the costumes stay on the guinea pigs, the people of Huacho do not hesitate to use staples. Prizes are handed out for the biggest, fastest, best-dressed and even the tastiest animal of all. Because once the parade is over, it’s time to eat the models! The guinea pigs are taken out of their costumes and cooked in various ways, like baking, frying, or roasting on an open flame. The locals love their cavies served whole on a plate – complete with the heads, guts, paws and even claws. Garnishes include tomatoes, cucumbers, Andean potatoes, and large Peruvian corn calledchoclo. And the best way to eat the animal, according to the Peruvian folk, is to pick up the entire guinea pig and simply suck the meat off the bones. A single dish of whole fried or baked guinea pig with all the garnishes costs approximately $7. According to festival visitor, Juan Rojas, “Guinea pig meat is very nourishing and contains lots of vitamins and other things.” Native to the high Andes, the meat of guinea pigs is considered to be low in fat and an important source of protein.

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Homeless Man Has Been Living in a Grave for the Last 15 Years

Bratislav Stojanovic, a 43-year-old homeless man from Serbia, has been living with the dead in a cemetery in Nis. He has made a grave his home and says he is more scared of starving and of the living than of his dead neighbors.

A former construction worker, Stojanovic has never had a regular job, and lost his home many years ago, after running up debts. For the last 15 years he has been sharing a tomb with the ashes of a family who died over 100 years ago, in Nis. He tried to make the place as cozy as possible, and claims he feels at home in it. “It is dry and it is warm,” Bratislav says. It isn’t a palace but it is more comfortable than the street.” He admits life in the cemetery was hard in the beginning, but now he’s more afraid of the living than he is of the dead. Most of Bratislav’s time is spent foraging for candles and cigarette buts around the cemetery grounds, but things have been pretty tough since the burial place went out of use and hardly anyone goes there anymore.

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Young Artist Creates Portraits from Thousands of Chewed Pieces of Gum

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

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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Die-Hard Fan Covers Her Body in Twilight-Related Tattoos

Remember Cathy Ward, the woman who made the news back in 2011 for getting a full-back Twilight tattoo honoring the popular vampire movie which had helped her lose weight? Well, the avid fan of the Twilight trilogy didn’t stop there, and now her upper body is almost completely covered with Twilight tattoos.

51-year-old Cathy Ward, from Reading, England, got her first Twilight tattoo as a way to show her appreciation for the movie that helped her lose six dress sizes, in 2008. The supermarket worker says she started watching the movies and reading the books, which provided a distraction from eating. Then she started exercising on her cross trainer while watching the vampire flick, and soon she was back in shape. But the tattoos didn’t stop with the weight loss. After the full-back tattoo featuring Bella, Edward and Jacob, the woman moved on to her arms, which are now covered with portraits of Carlisle Cullen, Jasper Hale and Renesmee Cullen, as well as a quote from Taylor Lautner’s werewolf character, Jacob, from Eclipse: “it would be as easy as breathing with me”. She also has the Cullen crest tattooed across her chest. So far, Cathy has spent around 83 hours and £7,000 ($10,900) on tattoos, and doesn’t plan on stopping until she is covered head to toe in Twilight ink, except for her face and hands.

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

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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Women-Only Sleeping Cafe Opens in Tokyo

Power naps – those short periods of sleep during the day – have been known to boost brain activity and increase productivity at the work place. Now a sleeping cafe in Tokyo’s Akasaka business district is offering hard-working Japanese women the chance to enjoy the benefits of the power nap, for a fee.

Stress and fatigue at the office are real issues in Japan, but for the women workaholics of the Asakara business district, in Tokyo there is a place where they can go relax and restore their energy – the Quska Sleeping Cafe. This ingenious concept offers patrons the chance to get a quick shut-eye either during their lunch breaks or in between their constant hours of overtime. It charges ¥150 ($1.60) for ten minutes of sleep in their comfortable facilities, but have even more affordable rates for clients looking to buy four-hour slots (¥3,120, around $33) or more. Now, you may think 10 minutes makes no difference if you’re ready to drop to the floor from fatigue, but various studies have shown that brief naps (10 -15 minutes) improve a person’s alertness and overall performance without the negative effects of sleep inertia associated with longer sleeping periods. Japanese companies are well-known for their productivity, and one of the reasons for this may be the power nap. For years, they’ve actually been encouraging their employees to take naps during work hours, and sleeping cafes like Quska provide the perfect environment.

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Colomares Castle – An Enchanting Masterpiece Dedicated to Christopher Columbus

Boasting a combination of Byzantine, Roman, Gothic and Mudejar architectural styles, Colomares Castle, in the Spanish town of Benalmadena is a unique monument that pays homage to explorer Christopher Columbus.

Looking at this fairy-tale castle with all its exquisite details, you could never guess it was built by a doctor with no architectural background, and two local brick layers. Esteban Martin, M.D., spent seven years working on Colombares Castle, from 1987 to 1994, trying to create a marvelous monument honoring Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America. For the good doctor building the castle was a labor of love, undertaken in his spare time. He tried to combine all these different architectural styles and at the same time include various elements relating to Christopher Columbus and his historic journey, like finely carved representations of the three ships that made the trip to America. In the end, he manged to construct the largest monument dedicated to the Genovese explorer, covering an area of 1,500 square meters. At the same time, Colomares Castle made into the Guinness Book of Records for hosting the world’s tiniest chapel, just 1.96 square meters in size.

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