Writing on the Wall: Cover your wall with QWERTY keys

Ever wondered how to make your  wall more 3D and solid, AND still feel like you’re in front of a computer? Well now you can practice your touch-typing even while you’re half asleep in bed – with the wall next to you. Artist Sarah Frost has decided to take a few blank walls that were missing a few thousand keys, and fill the spaces in. Yet it makes for an interesting look, and has proved quite popular, especially when you think about how ugly these broken buttons are on their own, and when combined make for a spectactular look on the wall.

Next time you think of redecorating the living room, try something a bit more radical, no?

Images belong to Sarah Frost

Fairy Tales and Long Tails: Middle Eastern & Arab Romances #1

We’ve all heard the classic, archetypal story of Romeo and Juliet (and it’s various versions) and how their romance ends in legendary tragedy. I thought it would be appropriate to write about similar legends which have been carried down through the centuries, but from different cultures, and which are still spoken about today. Some of these stories are pretty passionate (compare Edward and Belle’s pangs of the heart-strings to this lot, for example), and most of them are quite tragic stories, which is probably one reason they have resounded over the years. Here are a couple which are probably the most well known stories in the Middle East, being sung today in stories, being portrayed in paintings and being slipped into popular references and films.

Heer Ranjha
Firstly is the most famous Punjabi romanctic legend which comes to mind, and one that is still depicted in story-telling and pictures today. Heer is a beautiful young woman of the prestigious Jat caste, and from a wealthy family, while Ranjha is the youngest of the four brothers (also from the same caste), who spends his time playing the flute and basically skiving away from working the lands. After an argument with his brothers (presumably about him being a lazy sod), he storms away from his village and travels around until he reaches the village where Heer resides. Offering to look after her father’s cattle, Heer becomes mesmerised by his flute-playing (a olden day Justin Beiber fan, perhaps), and they begin to meet secretly for years. Eventually they are caught by Heer’s uncle, and she is married off to another man (which was always the best answer in those days). A heartbroken Ranjha wanders the Punjabi hills as a jogi until he again finds the place where Heer is living, and manages to convince her parents to let them get married. Mr Meddling-Uncle again interferes, however, and poisons Heer on the wedding day, leaving a heartbroken Ranjha to follow suit and poison himself too.

Layla and Majnun
This is a similar love story, this time of Arab/Middle Eastern descent, and has several (often embellished) versions. The version more familiar to me is one in which the lovers meet as young children in school, where ‘Majnun’ (which means mad-man, his real name was actually Qais) used to get beated by the schoolmaster for not paying attention to schoolwork. Yet wherever he was beaten, Layla would be the one who bled his wounds. Sounds Stigmata-type creepy, but it’s meant to be romantic. This led to a lot of uproar about devilry and a whole lot of scaremongering, and the children were seperated until they met in their youth (so they were teenagers really) and carried on their love affair. Along came another meddling relative, this time in the form of Layla’s brother Tabrez, who refused to let them get married, leading to a fight in which Tabrez is murdered by the crazed-with-love Majnun. The standard punishment is, of course, a good stoning or two, which Majnun is subjected to until Layla agrees to marry another man to save him. See a pattern here? Layla is married off (cattle again) while the boyfriend is exiled to the deserts. Layla’s hubby, however, got fed up of Layla pining after Majnun like an emo, and, with his men, went to hunt him down and kill him. The climax of this story is that when Hubby kills Majnun, at the exact same miment, Layla also dies.
The less dramatic version of this story is pretty much the same except for the mystic bleedings and the lovers both dying after writing a lot of poetry.

There’s a few more stories (to come soon!) which follow a similar theme of unreconciled, noble love and a lot of wandering around/soul-searching/tending sheep which is often the results in tragic endings.

Can any of you think of any more popular romances from non-Western cultures?

Advice for Women #3: Cry for your new toaster

Poster says it all really. How to emotionally blackmail your husband into buying household appliances that you’ve always desired. If there’s one thing those darn men don’t know how to handle, it’s a weeping woman, and what better way to shut them up than to buy them something spanking new and shiny for the kitchen? I think you should print out several of these for every occaison of the year. Don’t forget to circle the stuff you want with a strawberry-scented pen!

Presents from the Motherland…

…and I don’t mean the grocery shop selling mangoes down the road! I love the smell of new things wrapped in foreign newspapers, bringing up old memories of visits to Pakistan from years ago, bringing up images of bazaars, luxurious fabrics, street-food (roasted peanuts! mmmm) and running around on rooftops in the sun.

A kind friend of mine visited Pakistan recently and bought me a few sparkly trinkets, bangles and some seriously yummy smelling sweets and coco-bean packets (‘Ding Dong‘ is a well-known bubble gum which my sisters and I used to steal years ago from my uncle’s shop in Pakistan and eat by the handful).

Some pictures of the wonderful treats I have, making for a very pretty, colourful stash!

Weekly Power Rangers Links

Hectic weekendings this week, with plenty of babysitting, tidying up and generally just, y’know, Googling stuff. Here’s some links that I found.

It’s been a more interesting week for some – one man proposed to his girlfriend with a dress made from 9,999 real red roses – it would have been a real pity if she had said no, imagine all the jokes that could have been made about thorns being placed in a certain place…

Do you see pictures in dice? No, really, do you? This clever chap has made some interesting images and portraits using only dice. I keep having to look at it to make sure there’s no extra dots being inserted in!

Sick of looking at the same boring mouse mat (I don’t use one cos I’ve moved beyond the old rolling-ball-mouse), but if you DID want something that looks pretty, have a look at these. Advisory note – these may not be so appropriate for small rodents or furry pets.

Remember that Barclays advert where that guy rides a rollacoaster to get to work? Well apparently it’s not a fantasy for everyone after all, there’s some lucky folks out there who have some seriously crazy office spaces to work in – from slides, merry-go-rounds to even an underground office built into a mountain. Yep. Makes Monday mornings feel that much more depressing, doesn’t it?

This just made me laugh. That little kid looks so cute : )

Kids these days. Sesame Street just isn’t the same as how it used to do – as this song titled ‘There’s an App for that‘ shows – you think they were trying to outdo The Muppets?

That’s all for now, I’m off to watch some quality television. Anyone want to watch Power Rangers with me?

The Imaginations of a Postage Stamp

Molly Rausch is an artist from New York who creates these beautiful, miniature paintings which are created beyond the borders of a postage stamp. Extending the scenes in the postage stamps using only her paintbrush and her imagination, Molly creates beautiful stories from the potential scenes each postage stamp offers, and adds to their unique-ness, using beautiful colours, incredibly fine detail and flawless lines which allow the stamps to fill in beautifully with the rest of the paintings.

I love the way one writer reviewing her work summed up these lovely pieces:

It’s fun to think how many stories a single postage stamp has, the story of the image printed on it, the story of its physical journey through the postal system, and now a third story told though Rausch’s brush strokes.

All images belong to Molly Rausch

You can contact Molly via her website to request a custom order, or otherwise view her other paintings and projects if you want to buy anything as well.

I’d love to try out something like this (probably wouldn’t manage much more than a few scribbles on the Queen’s face though), and I love how imagination and interpretation really comes into this. There’s a real classic quality to these miniatures, and no doubt we will  be seeing Molly’s work appearing more often in the Art World.