It feels like it’s been summer here since february or so… and when we were checking out at the supermarket, had a nostalgic moment when i spotted Smashball - that beachy wooden paddle ball game thats been around since the 70s with such an adorably iconic logo. It also seemed like a fun one to experiment with in the Laser Cutter! Remember the hexagon experiment from the laser challenge? Well we threw some of those patterns together and played with painting and etching it into the paddles and toying with some custom colored plastidip. Take a peek at more details of the experiment on the next page!
So excited to announce that The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.
On NOTFZJ80 updates - the truck is currently in the shop at TLC and we have put in an order for some OEM parts over at AutoNation Toyota Irvine - so big updates to come in the following weeks! Currently the biggest update is the addition of our ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent we received, installed, and climbed around in… (No, i haven’t spent the night in it yet!) I’m still in awe of it - so fun, so BIG, and i love the way it opens and closes. While rooftop tents have long been the norm in places like Australia and Africa (keeps you up above the creepy crawlies and such) - they are starting to pop up more and more in the US lately. It took Shawn a bit to convince me it was the way to go - until our adventures at Overland Expo where i got to climb in and around a few models to fully understand how this was so different from camping in a regular tent… and picked this one!
So what’s so different? Firstly, THE VIEW! Everything looks so different peeking out from the windows up above the car. And they say a shift in perspective can do wonders - i’ve even heard that taller beds often changing the way you dream! There’s also something treehouse like about being perched up there. Secondly, the nearly queen sized foam mattress! Yup, this isn’t just sleeping on a sleeping pad in a sleeping bag. You can even close it up with your bedding in there. And thirdly, the way it opens and closes with ease - just pull off the cover, slide out the ladder, and pull it open! With a little practice, we’re getting faster and faster with it!
Oh, and yes the cantilever is super secure - and no the ladder is not structural. (First thing everyone asks as they climb up in there!) Ready to see all the details of it up close? To the next page!
I’ve been noticing a lot of shifting and balancing in my life recently - as NOTCOT closes in on turning the big 1-0 - we’ve been trying new projects, larger experiments, and still constantly collecting/sharing what inspires us on our digital studio inspiration board of sorts that has always been NOTCOT.org… but the biggest thing i’ve realized is having to shift my priorities time wise! So as i’ve focused on more PHYSICAL projects - time spent writing feature posts definitely definitely wavers more - BUT for those of you who want a peek into what we’re playing with and working on before they turn into features, we’ve been sharing more and more of that on our NOTlabs Instagram! From products we’re in the midst of trying out (Like the new Formlabs Form 1+ 3D Printer and Ignoble Bags), to the continued adventures of Bucky, the NOTpuppy, to the NOTFZJ80 Project and more… feel free to join + chat with us there!
More of what inspires us daily over at NOTCOT.org and Tasteologie! The busier i get in real life - the quieter features can get (often we’re working on slower larger features and projects!) - but our daily inspiration is always stored and powering us over on the grid sites! Click the pics to find out more…
I’m a sucker for smart/fun uses of reflective materials… and often the are far more satisfying to play with in person than any picture. Such is the case with these JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that just showed up from the nice folks at JBL Audio! These work out headphones come in a Bluetooth and Wired version in iOS and Android versions - and while i loved the design, but was iffy about the sound quality of the JBL J46BTs - i’m curious whether the sound quality of the Synchros BTs will be better. As for the JBL Audio Synchros Reflect Headphones that are wired - i’m loving them! The design details - from the flat cables with double sided reflective coatings to magnetic earbuds, the way the remote buttons FEEL to the sound quality… to the thoughtfulness of a shorter cable for use with armbands, and an extension cable (also reflective!) for use in normal situations. And the nicest touch - even the packaging has a shimmering foil to denote the reflective nature of the cables. Oooh and i almost forgot, the earbuds! Surprisingly comfortable and they lock in nicely, so they aren’t going anywhere. Ready to see all the details? Head to the next page…
We are long overdue for an update on The NOTFZJ80 Project - though, i also can’t believe that we’ve had it a mere 2 months! We have mostly been in a holding pattern waiting for parts to arrive at this point… and a big palette just showed up from Australia thanks to ARB! Since the last update, we have debadged the Full Tine 4WD, blacked spray painted the T, fully detailed the car (the paint pops again!), powder coated the 5th wheel, removed the running boards, took it on a little roadtrip to Oakley, received Rotopax, picked up the snorkel, front bumper, winch, rooftop tent, and awning, installed the tent… and even got gifted quite the US Army Survival Manual! Phew. We’ve been busy - but there’s still a bit to go. Check out the progress on the next page…
So the last few weeks has been quite the learning experience for me - decades of over computer usage seem to have caught up with me and my occasional eyeglasses for late night driving/etc are being used a bit more frequently. So when i got my new prescription and needed new lenses, an email from long time NOTCOT reader, Dave Barton of David Kind, seemed perfectly timed! Beyond the stunning cork packaging (swoon) and the high quality, luxury frames, what has been most exciting is learning about the advances in eyeglass lens technology! When i got new lenses in my old glasses updated to the new prescription, there was no question about what type of lens i wanted besides anti glare, transitions, etc… I didn’t even know what to ask about! Shawn on the other hand, has been in pretty thick glasses since he was 4, and is never without his glasses/contacts. While in Nashville we even found his stash of old glasses and how the lenses have been slowly evolving and getting thinner/lighter, from glass to polycarbonate and now on to High Definition and Trivex.
Luckily for us, David Kind is based right here in Venice, CA! With years in the eyewear industry, Dave Barton spent a lot of time at Spy+ and Oliver Peoples/Luxotica as well as starting another eyewear company before launching, David Kind - so it’s been great getting caught up on the options. From first touch - it’s easy to see and feel the quality of the frames and the attention to detail on designing and perfecting every little thing. But it wasn’t until i just got my glasses in my prescription that i understood the clarity i’d been missing with my old lenses. While the frames and process may feel like other online ‘try at home, then buy’ eyewear stores - what has surprised me the most is how much attention to detail and how knowledgable the team at David Kind has been along the whole process. They work with you to find the right pair, make sure to find the best lens for your prescription, get everything aligned and adjusted and customized as needed… and the packaging is just awesome too. Take a peek at what i’ve learned and all the details on the next page!
What happens when a professional chef (Jennifer Scism of Annisa and more) has to spend a lot of time in the backcountry? Good To-Go gourmet dehydrated meals! I’ll admit i was first drawn in by the bright, bold, playful packaging - especially that background pattern! But when it comes to dehydrated meals it’s all about the taste - and the ease of rehydration. Think of it as fancy cup o’noodles? They say “Each recipe was developed with one goal: to elevate your expectations of what trail food can taste like.” Currently there is Thai Curry (Spicy yellow coconut curry with vegetables and jasmine rice), Smoke Three Bean Chili (Traditional chili with corn and caramelized onions), and Herbed Mushroom Risotto (Classic risotto with sautéed mushrooms and basil pesto). We received one of each to try and had a little faux-backpacking dinner out in the yard last night to try it out. Basically just tear it open, add boiling water, zip it back up, let it sit for 20 minutes - then bon appetit! See all the close ups on the next page!
Design inspiration comes from all over the place - regardless of price - and this time i was inspired/intrigued while at CVS needing to grab a disposable razor. It’s been hard to miss the ridiculously annoying tongue in cheek (literally) Gillette Shave Face ad during the World Cup but on product design weirdness - have you seen the Gilette Venus Snap? I had to poke at it… and honestly, in a world of Harry’s, Dollar Shave Club, etc - i get curious and poke at a bunch, but i’m finding all these strange product design innovations/solutions far more interesting (and functional). So take a peek at the design details of this little clamshell compact holding a tiny razor handle (that fits all their blades, thought not all blades on the handle will fit in the case) and a single blade. How this compact takes up less space than a traditional, simple disposable I don’t understand - but from an ID stand point it is intriguing. The center of the handle is even like a bouncy, rubbery trampoline of sorts. See more (and vids!) on the next page…
Justine reported back with so much gardening inspiration in her post about Grow London… and i have been fixatedly curious about those giant tea bags!
So it turns out the giant tea bags are Old Mucker Fertilizer Tea Bags - the hessian bags (most of which “are sourced from a coffee supplier and recycled”) are filled with various chemical free solutions to make magical muck to feed your plants. You steep the giant tea bags over night and feed your plants! There is Triple N: Nourishing Nettle Nectar - since Nettles are packed with naturally occurring nitrogen. Triple C: Classic Comfrey Cultivator - Comfrey is packed with potassium, the essential plant nutrient needed by flowers, seeds and fruit. Triple T: Trusty Tomato Tonic - Sheep muck is packed with potash, the very thing tomatoes, beans and root crops love. Triple M: Mighty Muck Marvel - Horse muck is packed with nitrogen and potassium, the very things that help roses to thrive. Yes. It’s basically manure in a bag… Manure Tea! Fun idea, lovely packaging concept, and great booth display - check out more pics on the next page!
p.s. I wish i had some to try for my avocado tree - it’s finally bearing fruit for the first time, they are nearly golf ball sized!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.
Last week we attended the garden party preview of Grow London, the contemporary garden fair at Hampstead Heath. While we love the tradition of Chelsea, Grow promised contemporary new solutions for urban gardeners and we were excited to see what it was all about! The preview supported the Garden Museum and offered a fun mix of installations, contemporary garden products and more unusual items like fertilising tea!
I don’t know why this is so amusing today. Apparently Kellogg’s has created “Limited Edition Packaging” for some of their cereals - having them go dark. They actually have the night sky filled with stars instead of their brighter usual boxes… I thought my mom was joking - so she scanned over a coupon as proof. My first thought was - are there glow in the dark marshmallow stars inside? Second thought - are there really people out there who didn’t know they can eat cereal at ANY hour? Third thought - what’s going on with the cereal industry to need to change ONLY the packaging to tell people they can eat cereal at night?!?!?!
But maybe it worked - when we noticed the box of twilight Mini Wheats - we bought it. And i had to take pics of how absurd the packaging is to share with you. And now i’m totally having some at night… See it all on the next page!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw as she visits the London graduate showcases. This post is from Central Saint Martins Degree Shows, including work from both Degree Show One and Degree Show Two.