For our Frivolous Friday post, I bring you designer Katerina Kamprani’s “Uncomfortable Project”. It’s all about re-designing common household products into frustratingly unusable objects. One look at them, and you’ll see why….but I bet you’ll also be howling with laughter.

bad design ideasHow about a set of stairs that lead just far enough away from a door to be awkward? Or a pot with two handles….on the same side? Or a pair of rainboots with open toes? Right. Terrible designs, but brilliantly funny. Visit her website to see all of her current project ideas, or join her Facebook page for regular updates and design discussion.

These ideas will make you start looking at regular objects in a brand new way, I guarantee. Any ideas of your own? How about a pair of glasses that aren’t joined at the bridge of the nose? Or a round bar of soap? The possibilities are endless, really.

Adults are Colouring!

As a child, I loved colouring. Even now, I’m a constant crafter and I enjoy creating things. But once in a while, it’s nice to be able to “make” something that doesn’t require a lot of head-space, or effort. Colouring is just that.

More and more adults are getting back into the world of colouring. And one of the latest books to head up the best-seller list is SECRET GARDEN by Johanna Basford, followed up by her most recent, ENCHANTED FOREST. And surprise, they’re both colouring books for adults!

enchantedsecret gardenEach book is filled with page after page of elaborate outlines…so all you have to do is grab those markers or coloured pencils and get creating! Great to do in front of the TV, or during a relaxing afternoon in the park. Her books are so popular, they’ve been translated into over 14 languages. Wow!

You can read all about her story here. But if you’re looking for a great Mother’s Day gift, or a cheer-up present for someone in the hospital, this might be a great choice. Or just grab a copy for yourself and let your creativity shine!

If you write a book, don’t lie!

Turns out another author has been caught lying. While I’m sure authors take a lot of liberties when writing fiction, it’s a different thing entirely, when writing non-fiction. The facts must be true, sources must be checked and content must be authentic. In this case, author Jonah Lehrer had trouble on two different matters. 

Booksellers have pulled his book, IMAGINE : HOW CREATIVITY WORKS, from shelves and even the big sellers like Amazon have done recalls.  Turns out that Lehrer used fake Bob Dylan quotes in the book, and it was only because  a journalist and authority on Bob Dylan, Michael C. Moynihan, realized something was up after reading the book that Lehrer found himself in hot water. Moynihan tried checking the sources listed and couldn’t verify the quotes, only to be told that Lehrer had been given access to an unreleased interview with Dylan by his manager. When pressed, he admitted to lying and piecing together some of the quotes, which in turn led to his resignation from his position at The New Yorker magazine. Similarly, he admitted to recycling some of his own articles, written and published at previous posts (such as the Wall Street Journal), for The New Yorker. Guess he didn’t realize the work belonged to his previous employers?

It’s one thing to be creative, but it seems that Lehrer took the idea a little too far and has now damaged his credibility and future prospects. Sometimes, I guess it is all about the money.


I feel like I read the same things over and over on the internet everyday. I follow a lot of blogs, read news online, catch up on entertainment happenings, find out about books and authors and research crafts, just to name a few.  I often follow links from one blog or page to the next and I find that I’ve already read many of the things being posted. It’s probably like that for everyone who uses the internet on a daily basis, but recently, I found a “fresh” site that has me clicking on link after link after undiscovered link. I feel like there’s this whole other internet world out there that someone’s been keeping a secret, but now that I’ve found it, I’m going to share a few links now and again.

Recently, this post popped up on Facebook. Everyone seemed to be sharing it for a while. The ideas are simple and yet profound, and hopefully some of us will take away a fresh outlook on life and live it better. It’s called the Holstee Manifesto, and was created by people who try to live by their manifesto each day, through creative endeavors. Interesting. It might be a little touchy-feely for some, but the idea behind it is to create the life you want, don’t just let it happen to you. I think more of the younger generation could use a bit of this in their everyday life.

And now there is a video.  Just a nice way to spend a few minutes and maybe it’ll inspire you to create something. Go ahead.  It’s good for you!

Make things

My niece is almost seven and she likes to make things.  Not just your regular seven-year-old items like mud pies or forts out of blankets.  No, she likes to make things like bouncing remote controls (a remote attached with duct tape to a bouncing ball) and ink for your pen in case it dries out. Now, none of these things will probably ever be patented, but it’s in her blood to make things regardless.

So I came across a site today called Make, which is based on a magazine of the same name.  They have all kinds of great things to make, most of which are technology based, but not all. And they even have a kids site, with fun things to make for the younger set, such as chalkboard paint! Maybe I’ll dig up a few ideas and try them out with her some weekend.

There are plenty of ideas here for people who just like to make things, and also some great gift ideas for people you might know who like to make things.

What do you like to make?

In a rut?


Writers often go through times of inactivity called “writer’s block”.  Just how they manage to get themselves past a time without being able to write is a very personal thing.  Sometimes, authors choose to move to a different location to write, or they change their writing schedule in order to spark creativity. Now, creativity booster Andrew Bosley has come up with a unique application to help artists (and writers, or whoever else might need a little inspiration) generate those creative sparks.  His Brainstormer application allows you to spin the wheel and land on a random combination of words, or spin only one section at a time.  Try it out and see if your creativity is sparked!

Is there another way?

In the past, whenever we’ve had power outages at the library, or our computer system has been down, we’ve resorted to the tried and true method of checking books in and out on paper. Somewhere along the way, long legal size papers were made up with rows and columns of boxes where we could fill in patron’s library card numbers as well as the bar codes that were in the books they they were returning or checking out. We could potentially have sheets and sheets of these numbers that would all have to be entered into the computer once we were back up and running. This would often take lots of time, even with all of us working at it, but there was really no other way. Or so we thought.

Last week, Lillian, who previously worked in a library in Newfoundland, told us about a great method to record barcodes and library card numbers when our library system was down but the computers were working. She showed us how we could use our barcode readers to scan the barcodes as usual, right into a Microsoft word document! Voila! There they were, lines and lines of little numbers that we could simply cut and then paste back into our system once it was active again (they were performing updates, so our program was hit and miss that day). We had never considered that we could use the barcode readers this way, but what a great discovery! Although it won’t help if we have a power outage, it sure will make a difference at other times.

This got me to thinking about how we think and discover new ways of doing things out of necessity or just creativity. Which brings me to a very interesting idea by Japanese grocers who were in need of extra space in their stores. They found it hard to stack watermelons which were so large and rolled easily, so they created square watermelons!

Lessons of the square watermelon is a creative thinking list that was spawned out of the idea that these Japanese grocers created. You can read the whole article here, but this is a summary of the list:

Here are a few of them:
Don’t assume: The major problem was that most people had always seen round watermelons so they automatically assumed that square watermelons were impossible before even thinking about the question. Things that you have been doing a certain way your entire life have taken on the aura of the round watermelon and you likely don’t even take the time to consider if there is another way to do it. Breaking yourself from assuming this way can greatly improve your overall life as you are constantly looking for new and better ways to do things.
Question habits: The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way that you live your life. Forming habits when they have been well thought out is usually a positive thing, but most of us have adopted our habits from various people and places without even thinking about them.
Be creative: When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking outside the box. Most people who viewed this question likely thought they were being asked how they could genetically alter water melons to grow square which would be a much more difficult process to accomplish. By looking at the question from an alternative perspective, however, the solution was quite simple. Being creative and looking at things in different ways in all portions of your live will help you find solutions to many problems where others can’t see them.
Look for a better way: The square watermelon question was simply seeking a better and more convenient way to do something. The stores had flagged a problem they were having and asked if a solution was possible. It’s impossible to find a better way if you are never asking the question in the first place . Always ask if there is a better way of doing the things that you do and constantly write down the things you wish you could do (but currently can’t) since these are usually hints about steps you need to change. Get into the habit of asking yourself, “Is there a better way I could be doing this?” and you will find there often is.
Impossibilities often aren’t: If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be for you. If, on the other hand, you decide to see if something is possible or not, you will find out through trial and error.
There are some great books in the library to help you boost your creative thinking, such as:
A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech
Thinking Games to Play with your Child by Cheryl Gerson Tuttle
Or try this selection, which we could order through interlibrary loan:
The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell
Get more information on this book at :
And if you are looking for a great read regarding the square watermelons, this is a really fun website:

Have fun thinking creatively!