Tuesday Tunes: Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

In the same vein as last week’s Tuesday Tunes post, I’d like to introduce another group from New Zealand that has caught my attention [and my heart]: the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.

What’s so cool about a ukulele orchestra, you say? Well, the incredibly creative and inventive group of artists who form this ensemble (including one of its founding members, Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame – do you see a trend here?) have a knack for taking retro tunes and giving them a beautiful, new life. They also have a wicked sense of style and humour. And they love Canadians (well, Canadian ukulele virtuoso James Hill).

Take Bonnie Tyler’s classic It’s a Heartache, for instance. Just when you thought this song couldn’t be any more melancholy…

We can never have too much Prince in our lives, can we? Especially a ukulele version of I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man:

Close your eyes, and imagine you’re on a safari, beside a beautiful waterfall. This tune immediately comes to mind, doesn’t it? (please excuse the video quality and simply focus on the voices and the ukes):

And finally, this is for all us vertically challenged people (aka Short People, a cover of Randy Newman’s classic):

And because I just can’t stop, here are a few more awesome covers, should you wish to further your discovery of the WIUO:
Hey Ya – yes, the Outkast version!
The Bucket – Kings of Leon cover
Dreaming of You – The Coral cover


Craft Fair Prepping

Now that the madness has FINALLY subdued at my pesky day job [at least for a few months], I’m super excited about focusing on Papermuse Designs activities and other personal projects (i.e. my upcoming art retreat in Italy!) over the spring and summer.

I’ve been busy making lots of items for the Movies and Makers show next weekend. Head over to the Movies and Makers blog to read an interview with me! If you’re planning to attend the show, you can expect lots of movie and musical soundtrack LP journals, in addition to the usual fare (70’s & 80’s LP journals, LP coasters). I also plan to introduce one or two new products, if I can make enough in time for the show!

There’s still so much left to do for the show, and so little time left to get it done:

    – Design, print and deliver coupons for the grab bags
    – Pick up small change at the bank [for the float]
    – Make a few more of each item
    – Prepare inventory and pricing list
    – Make a special business card holder
    – Wash and iron the table covers

…and that’s just for THIS show. I have several other projects on the go right now [including some very BIG news – an announcement will be made very soon!).

Cool New Product: LP Folios

Once in a while I’ll receive an inquiry from someone asking if I accept custom orders. About two months ago, I received such a message from Hunter Residential Developments in Calgary. They were preparing to launch Coventry Station, a condominium development in North Central Calgary and were looking for unique packaging to hold official documents going to new buyers. They asked if I could create a prototype to their specifications, while somehow integrating a vinyl record in the design.

Now, I love creative challenges and was thrilled to be given this great opportunity! After a few trials and errors, I came up with the following design for an LP folio:

The folio can hold up to 1″ of documentation, and because I use the actual album sleeve, it’s quite sturdy. I covered the front cover LP label with a Coventry Station sticker, but the one on the inside cover was left intact, so you can see which album was actually used! What makes these folios most exciting [to me, at least] is that each and every one of them is one-of-a-kind!

The client also commissioned me to create a binder for their showroom [keeping a similar look]. It proved to be a much greater challenge figuring out how to keep the “essence” of the vinyl record while shaping it into a book/binder that would be sturdy enough for lots of handling. This is what I finally came up with – I used post binding so that the client could add extra pages, if needed:

I thoroughly enjoyed the creative problem-solving process for both these items. Back when I used to teach classes at my local scrapbooking store, I’d have to come up with new projects every month. I now realize how much I miss finding innovative and creative solutions to issues or problems!

Tuesday Tunes: The Phoenix Foundation

I’ve had an obsession with all things Kiwi for some time now. It started with Flight of the Conchords, then progressed to the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, Neil Finn, Taika Waititi, Age Pryor, and most recently, The Phoenix Foundation. New Zealand has produced some pretty kick-ass, creative types, all of which seem to have an awesome, quirky sense of humour.

The Phoenix Foundation has numerous connections to writer/director/artist Taika Waititi. Several of the band’s songs can be found on soundtracks for Waititi’s two feature-length films, Eagle vs. Shark and Boy. I love the dream-like quality of many of their pop melodies – they remind me of happier versions of Great Lake Swimmers or Arcade Fire songs.

The video for Going Fishing [from the band’s debut album, Horsepower] contains hilarious clips from Eagle vs. Shark [which stars Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame, in case you hadn’t recognized him]:

40 Years was directed by and also stars Taika Waititi. I love how it was filmed in one long, single shot:

And finally, a video for Pot, from The Phoenix Foundation’s most recent album, Buffalo:


Movies and Makers Art + Craft Show

I’m super excited about being a vendor in the upcoming Movies and Makers Art + Craft Show on May 14 – hurray! The show takes place at the Fox Theatre in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood. I love the idea of spending a day selling my wares in a movie theatre – what a great concept!

In preparation for the show, I’ve been making a number of LP journals from movie and musical soundtracks – including these lovely gems from Back From The Future and Annie:

Check out the Movies and Makers blog for a full list and profiles on the other show vendors. You can also join their Facebook fan page for the latest news and photos.

I hope to see you there!