While i’ve seldom had the traditional “family vacation” as a kid ~ talking to NOTlabs director, Shawn, i found out that he knows HomeAway well! Apparently his mom’s been booking everything from houses in the Rockies, French Quarter in New Orleans, and Utah Ski trips on the site ~ and they often associate family vacations with insane jigsaw puzzles and toys… so when HomeAway asked us to share some awesomeness around family travel… adventures at the NY International Toy Fair seemed like a perfect fit! There were SO many random toys in every genre you can imagine, so to narrow it down, here’s a selection of our favorites that are perfect to keep kids (both actually young and young at heart) occupied in the car/plane en route or curled up by the fireplace/dining table when just hanging out! Ready to see some crazy puzzles, fun magnetic building toys, turtles, mazes, paper animals, electronic experiments and more? To the next page!
This season Areaware is launching this series of adorable new beech wood animals by Karl Zahn (who was also behind Areaware’s animal boxes. The new selections include a set of dovetail animals as well as stackable crocodiles! Each of the dovetail animals is composed of three segments, so you can mix and match parts from the five styles: dog, llama, elephant, horse and crocodile. More photos and a video of the new wooden animals on the next page.
Super cute concept ~ Busy Beaver Buttons (maker of NOTCOT buttons!) sent over their playful new year’s card ~ love that they give you a fill-in-the-blank button and mini sharpie! Take a peek at the details and fun beaver graphic inside the card on the next page… as well as my resolution for 2012!
Theses beautiful Fulton’s Clip Joint Playing Cards designed by Brad Fulton arrived from Dan and Dave’s. Take a peek at this video to get into the mood and world they evoke… The details on the box are stunning ~ and the joker cats will mesmerize you.
“Fulton’s Clip Joint Playing Cards celebrate our fascination with cinema, history, and the art of the grift. Taking inspiration from vintage Los Angeles and Film Noir, Fulton’s captures a time and place where men were men, women were dames, and the next deal could be your last. These limited edition playing cards feature original artwork by Dan Phillips and are beautifully encased in a linen box with embossed ornaments and foil stamping.”
See close-ups on the next page! (As well as a peek at the uncut sheet!)
Remember those fun wooden magnetic blocks you can build “anything” with? Well, now Tegu has WHEELS! Their new mobility set includes wheel sets, silhouettes, and blocks with special car styling pieces. The wheels themselves are wooden (in varying shades) and magnetic… so they too are just as fun to use as fridge/cube/bulletin board magnets you can spin and play with at your desk/studio/etc as well as in a kid’s pile of toys! Take a peek at the packaging and a few sets from the new line on the next page!
p.s. There’s a Tegu Coupon in the Holiday Coupons!
Bronze Bones! I don’t think dominoes have ever made me swoon… until now. Leave it to The World’s Best Ever’s Dave to dream up something so spectacularly lust worthy! “The first collaboration between The Principals and The World’s Best Ever looks to redefine the domino as a unique geometry, crafted from a more substantial material: bronze. The weight, shape and numbering have been refined, resulting in an original design that retains the spirit of the domino while capitalizing on its serial potential as an artistic object.” From the naming (Bronze Bones!) to the packaging (who doesn’t love anything hidden away in a BOOK?) to the material choice (bronze!) to the thoughtful inclusion of a pencil, sharpener, and paper to keep score (white pencil + black paper of course)… it’s all incredible. Take a look at the details on the next page!
Animals. Cars. Amazing illustrations. Ok i’m pretty much swooning already. Just in the inbox, Zoom Zoo from Mike Yamada, a designer/illustrator, artist at Dreamworks Animation, and an Art Center Graduate. These flashcards are his take on the classic Richard Scarry’s animals piloting retro 60’s type vehicles. (Anyone else picturing that worm driving an apple?) While sure these could be for kids to learn the alphabet, what adult wouldn’t have fun dreaming up the stories and worlds behind these creatures in their fantastic automobiles while teaching kids the alphabet? As adorable little works of art ~ they are playfully inspiring! I can’t wait to see the full alphabet… You can buy the Zoom Zoo Flashcards here. Take a peek at more details on the next page!
There’s something fun about when art and function come together. Take a look at these DEMONBELLS i found on Uncrate! Will these sculptural alternatives to your standard (pretty ugly) kettlebells make your work out better? Probably not. Will it make me more likely to be amused while working out? Possibly. But it will definitely make it less of something that begs to be hidden, and instead will become an intriguing conversation piece… even as a doorstop. Created by former Navy SEAL, Ryan Williams, these DemonBells were commissioned art pieces brought to life by a local San Diego Master Sculptor. They are made in China from 100% recycled steel, not iron, and injection molded for a smooth finish which is then black powder coated. From their site, “Each piece in the DemonBell line started individually with an ornamental design inspired from various global and cultural influences. Through extensive testing and evaluation of working prototypes, we have finally produced the fully functional works of art you see here. Each directional weight carries its own unique modifications, from anatomically designed handle grips and specific weight distribution for balance, to specially angled backs to match forearm angles during snatch movements. We designed each DemonBell while paying as much attention to function as we did form.” Take a peek at the whole collection of 4 on the next page!
Tara McPherson’s Lilitu (2010) painting is going 3D ~ here’s a sneak peek at the new Kidrobot Black piece by Tara McPherson… rising up out of a pool of black with fiery red hair… This 8” vinyl will have a limited run of 200 pieces.
Who is she? “This painting is based on the Sumerian myth of the demon Lilitu. Representing chaos, seduction and ungodliness. She is a sexually charged yet infertile succubus who behaves aggressively toward men and children killing them at her every whim, her breasts are filled with poison not milk. In her every guise, Lilitu has cast an evil spell on humankind.” See a full spin around of the new vinyl on the next page… (perhaps slightly nsfw).
I couldn’t resist buying German toys at the Munich airport on the way home. Even if they are for toddlers and up… i was fascinated by the way the connectors work on the Mic-O-Mic building systems and when i couldn’t decide which to get to try it out, i bought four - a little boat, car, helicopter, and seaplane. And they are awesome! Solid plastic. Ok to toss in the water. They are connected by little plastic pegs that perfectly fit and rubbery eye mask like pieces that allow a nice flexibility to connections. They even come with a tweezer like tool made of the pieces themselves to pinch-remove or push-hammer in the pegs with. Nice simple graphical pictures to diagram how to assemble each as well, and for the more creative ones, they have extra pieces and are all modular enough to mix and match. Take a peek at the sets on the next page!
p.s. yes, i built these on the bed in my jetlaggedness…
Luxury (and some non) automotive brands make some strange an unexpected lifestyle products to complement their cars. While cars were everywhere today at IAA ~ i found myself drawn to the shopping side of the show, exploring the spaces and booth designs and constantly gravitating towards the style shops that most luxury booths had… the products found within were often to be expected ~ jackets, golf balls, model cars, USB keys, keychains, mugs/espresso sets… the less unusual i’ve rounded up for you on the next page! Everything from that Mercedes bobble head of a dog above ~ to SLK Red Nail polish, Lotus Backgammon, Citroen weights, Maserati Ethernet cords, Bugatti Deodorant, Smart Ice Cubes, Bentley jewelry boxes, and more…. including this strange trend of USB keys that look like car keys!
IAA is one of the biggest auto shows in the world ~ quite fascinating besides the car are the luxury automakers “style” stores ~ filled with goods they are selling outside to complement their cars. Increasing trend? Toddler Cars! A great way for junior to be just like mommy and daddy? Nice way to start the brand loyalty young? And some really are SO cute. So take a peek at ones i found wandering the show floor over at Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Hyundai on the next page.
p.s. While many others have variations of these push/walk cars as well, these are the ones i actually saw today on the show floor!
Adorable little package came ~ in that perfectly cute “brown paper packages tied up with string” way ~ from Pocket Dept! They are quite simply, as their tagline states, “A notebook for every pocket” ~ from back pocket to shirt pocket to messenger bag pocket, they have you covered. “Pocket Dept is a line of handy notebooks inspired by vintage stationery and designed to suit every pocket. Each Pocket Dept book is made from the finest writing papers and perfect bound for strength and durability. Designed and manufactured with recycled materials by Art House Co-op in Brooklyn, NY - from our workshop to your pocket.” And they are quite lovely! Take a peek at their simple functional goodness on the next page.
p.s. I love that they have blank pages.
After quite the day running around lusting after a time when cars were so so so much more than just cars… and before getting to the most incredible dinner at Cassanova in Carmel ~ when parking on Ocean Ave, we ended up right next to these windows! And as hungry as i was, simply had to stop and take pics! Adorable window display celebrating “Concours on the Avenue” in Carmel with kids’ outfits made of maps! Very well done, and quite the contrast to what you’d find actually IN the store… and of the all the windows we wandered past, it was certainly the most interesting. Others simply added ferrari posters to their jewelry displays and such, whereas these guys went all out! Take a look at the details on the next page ~ the pockets, the shoes, so cute ~ and so much attention to the details!
STENCILS! So NOTlabs is the newest division of NOTCOT that is handling all things MAKING/Fabricating/Experimenting related… as it grows and evolves over the next few months, i can’t help but to share some of the silliness we will be exploring here! First up ~ i was curious about the world of laser cutters ~ and in need of an updated stencil (my old one from years ago was hand cut and has soaked up so many layers of spray paint by now!)… so Shawn pulled me into the lab, grabbed the NOTCOT logo eps, and before i knew it i was staring at the laser cutting through acrylic sheets that were lying around. Take a peek at it all on the next page!
p.s. i SO need a laser cutter. If you (or anyone you know) happen to be selling/upgrading any of your machinery you think NOTlabs may need ~ drop me a line!!!