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Something’s Fishy

If you have already penciled Legos or other plastic building kits into your kids’ Christmas list this year, I dare you to reconsider as you ponder this peculiar play set instead:


Photo courtesy of artist Roshildur Jonsdottir via

“What on earth are they?” you gasp.


Image courtesy of Weird Tales (September 1941, vol. 36, no. 1) via Wikimedia Commons

But it might be more appropriate to ask, “What in the sea … ?”

Something’s fishy around here!


Photo by CPSH via Wikimedia Commons


The curiously creepy-looking toys (yes, they are toys!) in the photo above are components of Something Fishy, a genuine fish-bone modeling kit created by Icelandic artist Roshildur Jonsdottir.


Photo courtesy of artist Roshildur Jonsdottir via

Each kit consists of over 50 completely clean, sterile, and scentless bones from haddock and cod, plus the jagged jawbone of a wolf fish. Creative kids can assemble the surprisingly strong and flexible bones to fashion frightful and fun monsters, spaceships, angels, aliens, and more. Younger kids can enlist the help of a grownup to glue the bones together before painting their creations (glue and paint are included in each kit).

“I call [the kit] the ‘Icelandic Lego,'” says Jonsdottir. “I created this product when I was researching the use of Icelandic animal products in design through the ages. My ancestors used to use every part of the animal for food, clothing, household items, farming tools, toys, and even building material. Each of these products took a lot of imagination, time, and nurturing and was thus used to the fullest and even passed from generation to generation.”


Photo courtesy of artist Roshildur Jonsdottir via

She goes on to say, “Today, we throw away tons of bones, hides, horns, and other side products of fish and meat. Now, most of our everyday imported objects have very little sentimental value to us and, in general, we have far too many of these items. This is very true of toys, most of which are plastic imitations of everyday items which leave very little to the child’s imagination or creativity. This means that they don’t appreciate each toy for very long, and we buy even more. As soon as we create our own things, which takes time and nurturing, we immediately feel differently about them. We don’t throw them in a box with all the other goods, we display them and feel proud of them. I hope I have created something which will help us to remember that we can create our own products from local materials and that we might be happier with fewer but better objects in our lives.”

Jonsdottir says that her own son is quite proud of his fish bone models—his “most cherished toy” is a space shuttle that he made himself, and the family even uses some of his sculptures as ornaments.

You can order a Something Fishy kit online from Iceland’s web-based Reykjavik Corner Store for about $65 (including international shipping).

Of course, if you’re an intrepid fisherwoman, you might just decide to make your own from the bones of your locally harvested quarry. In that case, do show and tell!


Photo by Robert Baade, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Wikimedia Commons


She’s 100!

That’s right, the little cutie we all know as the Morton Salt Girl—yellow dress, umbrella, and spilling salt carton—has been with us for a century. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Why, she doesn’t look a day over eight.

1968-cmyk [Converted]

Needless to say, Morton’s advertising campaign has been nothing short of genius, varying only seven times over the decades, just enough to keep our favorite rainy-day doll in fashion. The girl above has been used since 1968, and was just updated this year in honor of her 100th birthday. “Ever since the introduction of anti-caking salt in 1911, the Morton Salt Company had been trying to develop a concept that properly illustrated this innovative feature,” explains the company’s website. “While several plans were proposed, an originally disregarded concept was noticed by Sterling Morton, the son of founder Joy Morton. This idea was that of a young, umbrella-toting 8-year-old, who was accidentally pouring salt while walking in the rain.”

“She is so much a part of the daily lives of Americans that many people see a resemblance to a sister, cousin, or niece, and they often write us to ask the name of the real person who was the model for the Umbrella Girl (in fact, there never was a real model).”



There’s no doubt that the graphic was a winner, staking a claim in our national consciousness, but did you know that Morton’s slogan is every bit as iconic? The company’s original idea for a catch phrase was too wordy: “Even In Rainy Weather It Flows Freely.” They tried others (“Flows Freely,” “Runs Freely,” and “Pours”). At last, they fell back on the old proverb, “It Never Rains But It Pours.” The company put a more positive spin on the saying and coined the now famous slogan, “When It Rains It Pours.”

The Morton Salt Girl’s first ad debuted in Good Housekeeping in 1914, introducing her to the world. Here’s one from 1952:



Interesting to note that the early ads all seem to feature illustrations that are different from the logos.

One hundred years later, she celebrated her 2014 centennial by landing a permanent spot on the Advertising Week Walk of Fame on Madison Avenue in New York City. “This honor is the icing on the Morton Salt Girl’s birthday cake,” said Shayn Wallace, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Morton Salt’s Consumer and Industrial Businesses.

In honor of her 100th birthday, the company donated $100,000 to fund Morton Salt Girl Centennial Scholarships that benefit select fine arts and culinary arts students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts.






Be a greatist! is a health website for people who “like making healthier choices because it makes them feel good.” What is a greatest? “Our belief that is you don’t have to be the greatest all the time, but instead, just be a greatist: Someone who chooses to fit small healthier choices into their everyday life.”

They cover the gamut of health-related topics with categories like: move, eat, grow, play, discover, connect.

And, they keep up with new trends. Like food trucks. Healthy food trucks. Check out their list of “The 26 Healthiest Food Trucks in America” and see if you can find one in your area.


The Food Farm truck, San Diego



School Daze

Mom and I were chuckling this week about the morning routine at my house. Getting the kids off to school is so stereotypical, it’s comical. Since I still have a kindergartner, the school requires that I walk her in each morning, and then I often find myself standing around until the bell rings. I clearly don’t mind the requirement. In the hustle of the morning, it’s wonderful to pause and watch both girls cheerfully run off with their friends to the monkey bars.

Here’s the confession part (kind of like what my couch really looks like). As I stood by this week, I leaned over to another mom-friend of mine and said, “I’m wearing the shirt I slept in.”

Her response, “Me, too.”