I like to think I'm a unique spirit when it comes to my things. Whatever the mundane accessory, be it a kitchen timer or a box to stash my tampons, I like it with a heaping spoonful of whimsy. That's how I ended up with a cooking-utensil holder shaped like a cowboy boot. But if there's something the clearance section of Urban Outfitters has taught me, it's that I'm not unique, at least in this respect. If it's shaped like an owl, everyone loves it.
That's why I can't get enough of the adorables made by Leslie Thompson, who runs the Etsy shop SparklePaw. Thompson takes simple things and adds the cute factor by stamping them with her original graphic designs featuring funny animals giving words of encouragement. A happy little whale says, "Go ahead. Make a splash!" on the opposite side of a handy pocket mirror; crabs and octopuses exclaim "Yum!" on recipe cards and all sorts of other creatures bring messages of congratulations and well wishes on greeting cards.
Greeting cards go for $3.50 to $4, a pack of recipe cards is $10 and pocket mirrors are $7. Not a bad price to pay for a dose of happy.
I own one of her pocket mirrors, which features an owl saying, "You're such a hoot!" What's awesome about the mirror is that it's big enough so I can see myself when re-applying my lipstick when out-and-about, but it's thin so I can keep it in my jacket or jeans. That comes in handy when I don't want to carry a purse at night. My SparklePaw mirror has been known to sit in my boot along with my I.D., lip gloss and a wad of sweaty cash while I'm shaking my moneymaker on the dance floor. I also like that it pays me a compliment. Compliments are the best.
Thompson, who lives in the Golden Hill area, works locally as a graphic designer. SparklePaw is her fun side project. She draws upon her childhood in Japan—where candy, stationary and knick-knacks are usually covered with cutesy characters—as inspiration for her designs. And Thompson herself is a beam of golden sunshine, so it's no surprise that her wares have that same quality.
"SparklePaw was born from my love of bright colors, sweet-faced animals and cute things—especially Japanese things," she says. "Times are tough, and happy, prancing animals just make things a tiny bit better, don't they?"
They sure do! Check out the SparklePaw shop here.