On amazing projects at ICFF this year, i’m smitten by metaproject 03 - between RIT School of Design and Areaware. As they describe, “Each student will be required to explore the properties of wood and its use as a primary material in object construction. They will be required to research examples of cuturally specific historical and contemporary toys and to define the meaning of Universal Toy. Ultimately each student will select and research a specific object typology in the domestic sphere and a specific cultural / situational context and respond with an inventive proposal that explores the meaning and notion of how toys integrate into contemporary cultures and lifestyles.” It was hard to ignore the pull of the MANY playful/modern wooden toys on pedestals in the center of the floor… the students did an incredible job bringing the “universal toy” motif to life, and i hope some of them have the chance to become real products! Take a peek at some of my favorites on the next page.
Remember the upcoming Squadt Assembly show at Rotofugi I told you about earlier? Well, while i couldn’t make it out to Chicago for it… got lucky with the online lottery and got to build my own! Also Ferg posted a bunch of amazing pictures of the show! So take a peek on the next page of my unboxing of my latest Squadt and his arsenal… as well as the incredible show at Rotofugi!
Wow. Ferg is taking Project Squadt to the next level with Squadt Assembly, which he has been teasing us with on his instagram for some time now… This exhibition/pop-up-shop at Rotofugi in Chicago opens April 5th, and those who attend have the chance to build their own Squadt characters with lots of special creatures and accessories - from various eye colors, hoodies, tees, sniper rifles, knives, rocket launchers, packs, vests, and more… as well as exclusives that aren’t even available on the preview). Additionally there will be fun Squadt merch for humans like pint glasses, clothing, stickers, etc! Take a peek at some of the epic options and the promo video on the next page… and for those unavailable to make it to Chicago for the opening, there’s a lottery to build one online depending on what is left.
p.s. Yes, the top pic is totally what i’d build… only maybe with the skull parka instead if it’s one of the specials…
Our little NOTpuppy, Bucky, has been jumping like crazy learning to catch things in mid air. In that photoshoot, there’s an awesome little fox toy that has a squeaky ball for a body a knot to start its tail with a squeaker in it! And being a labrador retriever (they are quite the obsessive chewers!) with his adult teeth now, he’s obliterating stuffed toys in minutes already (even the so called “tough/chew guards” don’t stand a chance with their weak points), yet somehow this cheap (3$), adorably distressed looking little fox from Target’s fun Boots & Barkley dog product line keeps surviving the last few weeks! Impressed, i had to go find more! There’s the fox, beaver, and platypus in a few different colors… and they all have amusing distressed eyes that are too cute while being whipped about by Bucky. Take a peek at all the details on the next page!
It has been such an adventure watching our friends at Baggu grow and evolve from their colorful, reusable shopping bag roots to luxurious leathers, and now to more and more SURF inspired goodness! From their Surf Board Slings - now to the most adorable polka dotted Rack Pads… and a lustworthy, Wetsuit Bag, a black vinyl tote with welded seams and a water resistant zipper keep water contained! I suppose this evolution to surfing is no surprise with their San Diego roots (and their current NY surfing adventures!)… take a peek at the Surf goods on the next page, i can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
Last year we spent Valentine’s Day over at Wieden + Kennedy in NY, this year, an adorable Valentine’s surprise just showed up! A fun little red hanky showing a match and log reading “Let’s Cozy Up” seems like a playfully explosive duo - where no one survives! There’s also a chocolatey Cocoagraph version as well! Take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page… Happy Valentine’s Day + Thanks, Wieden + Kennedy!
On fun birthday presents, i got a HHA TWI01… HHA stands for Hardcore Hardware Australia and TWI stands for TACTICAL WRITING INSTRUMENT! Yup, this is more than an awesome matte black pen that takes Parker and Fisher Space Pen cartridges… it can be used to break glass in cases of emergency, etc. The entire shaft of the pen is constructed from 6000 series, non-reflective; black anodized aluminum, and a dome shaped crown constructed from high-grade stainless steel. There are also O-rings keeping the pen completely waterproof! See more pictures of it on the next page…
p.s. Between this and my Triple Aught Design Titanium Rescue Ring i should have no excuse getting stuck behind glass…
There seems to be a trend in iconic packaging being creatively repurposed for treats in the canine space… Thanks to Bucky, the NOTpuppy, we’ve been getting caught up fast in the space, and have come across some strange products… Firstly, picture perfume/lipgloss rollers… and deodorant roller balls? Well imagine that - only it’s a low cal liquid treat that your dog (or cat) can lick, and only 1 calorie in every 10 licks! That is PetSafe’s Lickety Stik! Now imagine those large gluesticks or sunblock sticks… some even have a string attached to go around your neck? Only instead of smearing it on… you let your dog lick it? That is Leanlix! The big form anyhow… the mini Littlelix - look just like Lip Smackers in their multi-flavored packs… the same packaging as the usual lip balms. These say 3 licks are 0 calories! And then there’s also the HumanGear GoToob (my favorite travel toiletry container) which doubles as a Paww Treat Toob…
Strange as they are, we were far too curious… so take a peek for more packaging details on the next page, as well as Bucky’s responses!
This year we’re doing gift guides as we feel inspired to round up products we either have or would be extremely tempted to buy or gift. Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping online this year ended up being all about the NOTpuppy, Bucky, and i’ve been learning a ton as we shop through the world and internet to catch up on what awesome dog goodies are out there. While the roundup of rugged toys/brands have been growing here, this Dog Gift Guide is all about fun products we’re loving and wanting for Bucky! And while he is only a 10 week old Lab pup, he’s already getting pretty strong - so for this gift guide, we’re really shopping for the rugged, fun, BIG dog toys that will last… not so much cutesiness, clothes, or things that accessorize your dog like they are an accessory. Ready to dive in to the goodness? Head to the next page!
From kickstarter to my mail box! My Seed Money by Leafcutter Designs just showed up today, and they are even cuter than expected. Lovely attention to detail with the packaging and coin faces. Basically, they had custom pressed paper filled with seeds, then letterpressed and cut out as coins! So you can tip with them, share them with friends, pop them in pots and poof! Plants!
As they describe it, “Seed Money looks like the real thing - pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters - but is far more valuable. Use it to solicit surprise and smiles from friends and strangers alike, and then tuck these paper coins in soil to grow colorful flowers and delicious vegetables. It’s tender for tending! Seed Money is hand-illustrated and letterpress printed in Nebraska on thick custom papers embedded with seeds. Available in rolls for sharing and spreading the wealth, these lightweight, whimsical - and practical - coins will slide easily into a purse or pocket.”
As for what grows from them - Pennies: Mix of wildflowers including Black-Eyed Susan, Spurred Snapdragon, Shirley Poppy, White Tarrow, and Sweet Alyssum. Nickels: Herbs including oregano, dill, parsley, basil, chive, thyme, and sage Dimes: Root crops including carrot, parsnip, and turnip. Quarters: Salad greens including bibb, Black Simpson, Salad Bowl Red, radicchio, and endive. And the special Buffalo Nickels: Bee Balm (aka Lemon Mint).
See all the fun details (including some “special” pennies) on the next page!
We’ve been following and loving the paper craft characters of Shin Tanaka for some time now… So, while at the LA Auto Show, i was delighted to find scattered around the Scion booth were Shin Tanaka DIY Collabos with Scion… fun Paper Shapers of Scion FR-S, iQ, xB, xC, and xD complete with little speaker sneakers, arms, and more. Too adorable to pass up - i just sat and made them all to share with you! Supposedly there is an app available where you can customize, print, and build your own - but i can’t find it in any app store yet (let me know if you have more luck?) See details as well as an animated teaser video on the next page!
Remember when we showed you our first pack of AJ’s Original Toy Boarders? Think little green army men - only skaters? Well he’s back with Toy Boarders Series 2!!! And this time there’s even a girl cruising along… and a filmer with video camera… as well as a Bomber, Front Lipslide, Backside Boardslide, Switch, 50/50m and Tailgrab. For 5$ a pack of 24… these are perfect for stocking stuffers or even decorating cupcakes!Take a peek at everything in the new series on the next page up close!
p.s. This is also a sneak preview of one of the goodies you can win during the annual NOTCOT Holiday Giveaways starting black friday! Stellar line up this year!!!
Phew* what a few days it has been! On Tuesday, we added a new addition to our NOTCOT family - Bucky (short for Buckminster, naturally) the 8 week old black labrador retriever puppy! (My first puppy!) This awesome little guy is a ball of non stop energy, and we’ve been lucky that he’s magically house broken, sleeping through the night, and great with other people, dogs, machines and more… but it also means he learns crazy fast, can get sneaky, and can’t get enough play time sprinting throughout the house and yard when not sleeping or eating! It has also become clear that this little guy is going to get HUGE! And since Shawn has a big, older, 120 pound lab back home in TN - i’ve been getting caught up on what toys will and will not stand up to the hardcore, persistent chewing of a lab in full force…
So we’re starting Bucky off right - and trying to find the most fun, chew-proof toys that will last (besides the usuals we already have at home that he’s loving - tennis balls, hockey sticks, etc) - and aren’t too hard on the eyes (it’s been mind numbing seeing how much terrible stuff there is out there - both in aesthetics and quality!)… On the next page you can see some of the things we’ve bought, as well as some i’m curious about…
P.S. Do you have a dog? What are his/her favorite toys that have been exciting and lasted well?
They’re here!!! For those following on twitter/instagram, you’ve been seeing peeks of NOTlabs turning into a laser cutting puzzle factory… cutting 50 limited edition Chris Yates Studios’ Bafflers in the first CLEAR editions! The first 25 will be kept in “Total Clarity” and the second 25 will be hand painted on both sides for the “First Frost” versions… with his signature hand sprayed paint splatter (only in a translucent and opaque mix this time!) on both sides, each “First Frost” will be truly unique.
If you’re unfamiliar with Chris Yates’ puzzles, the name “Bafflers” makes complete sense as soon as you dump the pieces out and start to try to reassemble. Each and every insane (sometimes multilayer) puzzle is hand cut out of wood on a scroll saw, hand painted, and “made to last generations”… they are truly maddening works of art. (See his traditional creation process here.) Turning these into clear acrylic has in no way made his Bafflers any easier… having accidentally dumped out the clear puzzle while first working on the prototype, it certainly took a bit of time (but not TOO much) to get it back together… and perhaps the most mind twisting part of cutting the batch of 50 has been transferring the cut pieces from the laser bed to the stacks of finished puzzles, and every time they come apart slightly, if a piece flips over, etc., it takes a few to piece them all back together! We’ve cut and inspected each and every puzzle, and are so excited to help Chris bring these “Aperture” limited edition clear Bafflers into the world! Take a peek at more details and a peek at the making of on the next page!