Gingerbread is one of those deliciously international foods that appears in many countries around the holidays. It is rumored to have been introduced to Europe in 992 by a monk named Gregoire de Nikopolis, and today different variations can be found in Germany, Sweden, England, France, Poland, and many other countries.
The award for gingerbread enthusiasm, however, must go to the town of Bergen in Norway. Every year they build Pepperkakebyen, a town built entirely of gingerbread. It is tradition for every child under the age of 12 to contribute towards the event, and is believed to be the biggest gingerbread town in the world.
For a great compilation of 15 Gingerbread cities around the world, check out MightyGirl’s recent post.
Although I love gingerbread my skills are not quite that advanced, so I think I’ll be sticking with this simple gingerbread house interpretations this year:
Want to make your own? You can find instructions for these here.
Illustrated by Lizzy Stewart, this little 16-page book is filled with intriguing and detailed drawings of animals, half in color, half in black and white. Some of the images resemble beautiful children’s book illustrations with little villages in the background, and others are more surreal:
Want a copy of your own? I do too! But they won’t last long – there were only 1000 copies made. You can find them here.
Check out this amazing project started by Candy Chang, called “I Wish This Was“. Candy lives in New Orleans, and saw so much potential in vacant store fronts and buildings around the city. She designed and distributed stickers in stores around New Orleans that people could take (for free) and use to label buildings and spaces with their ideas and hopes for the structure’s future.
The project really took off, and participants were encouraged to photograph and share their stickers here. I love this project – it can be funny or serious, and encourages us all to re-imagine our surroundings and articulate what we wish the world was.
For a curated look at more stickers and locations in Candy’s project, visit her site here.
We love these dolls from the Happy Town Menagerie, now for sale at one of our favorite local San Francisco stores – Curiosity Shoppe! Lorena Siminovich is the artist– you may recognize from her company Petit Collage.
At Tea we love coming across interesting manhole covers while on our travels. Many of our circular designs on our boy’s clothes originate from manhole covers we’ve discovered on our journeys, such as as our Nanaos Dragon Pullover, which we blogged about here. Our latest inspiration from manhole covers came from the manhole image on the left, which we used on our Side Stripe Pants.
For more manhole covers in Budapest check out some photos here.
Frederika was depressed. 91 years old and a native Hungarian from Budapest, she was forced to flee her country during World War II, and now lives in France. Knowing his grandmother had a fierce sense of humor, her grandson Sacha Goldberger had the idea of creating a photographic series portraying her as a superhero, to give her something to do.
The project cheered up Frederika enormously. Now she has a huge following, including her own Myspace Page, where she receives messages saying things like: “You’re the grandmother that I have dreamed of, would you adopt me?” and ” You made my day, I hope to be like you at your age.” You can find more photos here.
Who are the superheros (real or figurative) in your life?
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest spans the Danube river, connecting the Western and Eastern parts of the city. Opened in 1849, the bridge is named after Count István Széchenyi, who financially and politically supported its construction. Made of beautifully intricate wrought iron, the bridge was greatly damaged during the Siege of Budapest during World War II , and was partly rebuilt.
While exploring Budapest our designers came across a magnificent lion gracing the abutments at the end of the bridge.
He is a smaller stone replica of the famous bronze Trafalgar lions, guarding Nelson’s Column in London. and was installed on the bridge in 1852. Inspired by his noble features, our designers created this stylish shirt:
Know any little lions in your life? You can find this shirt here.
Emerik Fejes was a Serbo-Croatian painter well known for his simplistic depictions of architecture and cities. Part of the “naive art” movement, Fejes’s work is almost childish in nature, using bold colors and thick solid lines. Unconventional in his techniques, he chose to use matchsticks to paint instead of paintbrushes.
A button and comb maker, Fejes didn’t start painting until later in life, and drew much of his inspiration from postcards. When visiting Hungary you can apparently find many of his works in miniature, on postcards themselves! I really enjoy his work, and his use of cheerful colors and warped depths of field. Obviously slightly eccentric, he is also rumored to paint with a cat under one arm. I love that when researching him, the only biographical photo I could find of the artist is this one below :
Our neighbors in San Francisco, Mod Cloth, featured a great interview on their blog recently with Stephanie Baum on her company Steff Bomb. Her handcrafted plush food characters contain so much personality, and I love how she can take something as abstract as a giro and give it a face and persona.
Everybody looks a little worried…perhaps because they’re about to be eaten?
Check out some really fun interviews with Stephanie about her creative process here and here.