I hate to admit that I adore these mystical marimo moss balls, but I do. They are equivalent to pet rock, essentially, but the story behind them makes them much more compelling (along with the fact that they roll around on their own like sentient creatures*).

I found this little guy in a vial, amongst many others, at the Palm Room in Ballard. I blame the apothecary-like setup for making the baby moss balls too cute not to buy. Egad. I picked up the chemistry glassware at Goodwill a few months ago–it’s the perfect home for baby marimo.

Fun facts: Marimo means “algae ball” in Japanese. They are a rare form of green algae native to lakes in Japan, Iceland, Scotland, and Estonia. The algal filaments can break apart and form new moss balls! Marimo regulates algal growth in fish tanks since they out-compete other algae species for nutrients. And my favorite: *marimo float, sink, and roll around as a result of photosynthetic processes (but I just pretend they are magical).


This year’s wrap-up: bakers twine, washi tape, and label maker.

Happy holidays!

My newest terrarium baby. I don’t have a fruitful history with terrariums so we’ll see how long this one survives…

I found a patch of moss growing in an abandoned pot on my porch which worked nicely. Then I shaped it into ball-form.

Insert mini plant and position neatly on jar lid. I only had to use 1/3 of a tiny fern I bought from Ravenna Gardens so I foresee more terrariums in my future.

I would have used a recycled jar but I usually throw away the non-recyclable lids so, in my eager haste, I bought a cheap pickled item that I thought had a good jar shape.

Ta-da! It now has a nice home sitting atop my grandfather’s hydrometer.

I’m always in the mood for Thom Yorke dancing. Also appearing on The Colbert Report tonight, huzzah.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely enamored by Feist’s creative process (see documentary: Look at What the Light Did Now). And how lovely are these video vignettes — a delightful precursor to her upcoming album, Metals (Oct. 3). Four years since her last album, it’s about time!

If Feist’s Nov. 17 show at the Moore is anything like the concert footage in her documentary, it’s bound to be an absolutely stunning mix of narrative art and music. I’m prepared to be blown away.

And not to be missed is this little nugget of gold that appeared in her documentary last year: Gonazales and young Feist. I especially like the neon-leotard, tap dance bit.


Syrian artist, Omar Souleyman, remixes Bjork’s “Crystalline.”
Full track

The song will be an extension of Bjork’s 8th musical brainchild, Biophilia (Oct. 10 release), which has been described as the world’s “first app album” in that each song has an interactive iPad app counterpart. I suspect this is only just the beginning of touch-based music videos (Pop Up Video app, anyone?). I admire that Bjork’s art is transformative and a reflection of the tools and trends of the times. This lady’s creative endeavors never fail to disappoint.

I look forward to more multimedia integration from the artists I adore.

I think package and product design could be enhanced by thinking about how the behavior of an object changes through time. Shampoo bottles, for example.

The picture above is a typical shower scene: some shampoo bottles flipped upside down to maximize shampoo access. It became apparent that shampoo bottles have a beginning state and an end state (true for all products that get used up.) The beginning state is upright, or ‘half full’. The end state is face-down, ‘half empty.’ Some design solutions have already catered to this design problem, as seen by the conditioner bottle. It stays “upright” the whole time because they positioned the cap on bottom. The overall shape and branding are affordances that let us know how it should stand, and bonus! shampoo access is always maximized.

But what I wish is that designers embraced the shampoo-bottle-flip so that the design would be just as interesting upright as it is upside down. And think of the novelty and surprise the user will have when they flip it upside down instinctually and find that it is just as beautiful that way too! Maybe I should do a search on The Dieline before making such snobby requests…this kind of thing might already exist. And to those designers, bravo.