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 SparklePawThompson 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.

Know of a cool shop or seller? Email our Urban Scout blogger Alex Zaragoza at alexz@sdcitybeat.com. You can also read her rants on Twitter



Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28