Instagram inspiration - stumbled into @ontwerpduo - with description: “A bird cage in which you can swing freely, lamps that branch out like a tree. Visit the fantastic world of design duo Tineke Beunders & Nathan Wierink” So much lovely work in progress from their studio, Ontwerpduo, documented on their instagram, including this beautiful cutting board that is launching soon! Love the holes of various depths - perfect to catch bread crumbs, or store your marbles… that will make more sense when you see more of the pictures on the next page!
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Dove down an internet rabbit hole of small ceramic planters inspired by all the recent succulent propagating projects… and discovered Cumbuca Chic - the shop of ceramicist Priscilla Ramos out of São Paulo, Brazil! Her naturally inspired small ceramics pieces are adorable! There are CAPYBARAS! And ANTEATERS! As well as adorable foxes, and the cutest, tiniest birds on mini pots. But seriously, i didn’t even know i wanted (or could find) ceramic capybara planters… and now i can’t get them out of my head. She sells through her website and Cumbuca Chic Etsy Shop - and you get a peek behind the scenes on the Cumbuca Chic Facebook Page. I can’t wait to see more of the Sloth she’s working on. Take a peek at my favorites on the next page…
Conical glass cloches! Perfect for succulents and toys! This is one of the best late night impulse buys i’ve had in a while… they just arrived from Anthropologie, and are even lovelier in person! They are actually Capri Blue Cloche Candles - in small (white - Marine), medium (robin’s egg - Orchid Mint), and large (blue - Volcano). While they do smell lovely, in all honesty, i’m excited to burn through the candles to use them for succulents! They have such lovely details - from the lasered bamboo tags on leather… to the way the bases are cast (the bottom is surprising!) Take a peek at them on the next page.
It’s here!!! I’m so giddy to get to present our latest NOTlabs experiment, Plant Experiment #1 - and we’ve decided to make an extremely limited edition of them since friends have already been asking for some!
Plant Experiment #1 is a limited edition trio of walnut planters. Shawn and I designed them right here in NOTlabs, Los Angeles. Every piece is CNC milled (on the Roland Modela Pro II 540s we recently unboxed) from a single block of walnut and hand finished (by Shawn and I!) Inspired by our love of succulents, Lego®, a surprising Target sponsorship and the need for projects to get to know the CNC better - these square planters are Lego®-compatible and the perfect size for small and medium succulents, seedlings, and other plants. Each piece has drainage holes to keep your plants happy. You can also get creative and build up, down, and all around them turning them into mini worlds on your desk, pen/paintbrush holders, candy dishes… a little bit of each… and more.
The trio contains one 12x12, 8x8, and 6x6. Only 10 sets will be made. Each set will laser numbered on the base of each piece. Take a detailed look at Plant Experiment #1 on the next page - and pop over to the store if you’d like a set.
There’s a CNC mill in NOTlabs! While Shawn has been playing with (and missing) the full shop of 6-axis robots, huge CNCs, Objet 3D printers and more in his grad school days - i’ve been catching up and getting my hands dirty with it all through our NOTlabs projects! So when the awesome folks at Roland offered to lend us their Roland MODELA Pro II MDX-540S desktop mill, we were ecstatic! While we’ve been doing a lot of 3D printing (remember the Nescafe Alarm Caps and Free Universal Construction Kit?) - as crazy as you can get with additive processes, there’s a lot that subtractive can do (and in some cases, do better!)
We’ve been in the getting-to-know-you phase with this “desktop” beast of a CNC recently, but to catch you up - here’s the unboxing of what two shipping palettes in the driveway is like. We definitely needed to bring in an extra pair of hands to help move the machine itself. In addition to the Roland MODELA Pro II MDX-540S main mill, there is the case, the automatic tool changer, the rotary (4th axis!) and then a starter set of various bits… and of course, Roland’s software to get to know. Ooh and then there’s also various materials to try!
First impression? SO MESMERIZING! We’ve been spending hours and hours working alongside the machine to keep an eye on things, and experimenting with a few models to test out how it handles various types of curves, materials, and details. See the full unboxing and a peek at our experiments so far on the next page!
There’s GLAMPING (Glam-camping) and ATHLEISURE (Athletic looking leisure wear)… and there’s been a fascinating, growing space of what we’ve been referring to as GATEWAY CAMPING Gear… that bright, happy, playful, hipsterific, instagram-ready camping gear that transitions easily from apartment/patio to mountain top… it works just as well for a picnic/hike as it does for extra party seating… and it all folds right up to pop into your car or pack. Don’t get me wrong - i’m a fan. (In fact, my fascination with the space may be part of how Shawn convinced me into building the NOTFZJ Project!) It’s fun, colorful, and i love seeing more well designed, efficient, multipurpose products as well as more technical materials making their way into our everyday lives. It’s been mesmerizing to watch it all unfold! These are the products that are easier to justify to a “once in a while” camper - because you’ll probably end up using it at home and in the yard and it won’t look too out of place. It’s the perfect ‘off to college’ gift genre since it works for your dorm room and outdoor adventures.
If you’re still trying to picture the brands that embody this - think of Poler, Alite, Nomadix, and Rumpl - maybe even aspects of Snowpeak, Biolite, Treeline Outdoors, Best Made Co, and Camp Brand Goods. It is all about the lifestyle! The perfect lovely, tranquil, mosquito-free, lakeside, tree-surrounded campsite - curled up with your closest friends around the camp fire with no one else in sight… as the birds tweet around you and a gourmet meal is being prepared. You know - that ideal postcard/instagram moment! Where all is perfect with the world - and maybe you have cell signal/wifi and proper bathrooms nearby. Another example? That resurgence of enamelware mugs and more permeating our kitchens… as well as our camping kits.
I know, it may sound cynical, and i certainly don’t mean it that way - it has just been fascinating to watch the emergence of this Gateway Camping Gear that helps ease the transition from city kid to the outdoor adventurer - just like Glamping took camping to the luxurious extreme, and Athleisure made it ok to run around in workout clothes (without working out) - Gateway Camping Gear is helping made the slide from urban living into woods easier! And you’ll notice more and more traditional outdoor/adventure brands leaning towards less hardcore, more playful, lifestyle products to pull people in. The latest is definitely REI’s evrgrn collection (yes, fashionably named with arbitrary vowels dropped even). Take a peek on the next page at REI’s new evrgrn collection - it’s not hard to see where their inspiration comes from!
A magical thing happens when plants get legs. They take on a whole new character! While dividing up some overgrown succulent pots, i was hunting for just about any vessel that could be a new home for the little guys… and when i came across some Android Rainbow Minis that had been rescued/adopted after some casualties at comic-con long ago, drilling a quick drainage hole or two made them the perfect bodies for these little succulents! They even get posable arms! And would probably be pretty fun as a desktop/planter army. This got me researching what other clean, simple, little vessels give plants legs - so take a peek at some of my other favorites found on the next page!
I haven’t been able to get these Lotus Belle Tents out of my head since i ran into one while exploring Mercado Sagrado. They feel part “normal” tent + part yurt + part awesome inflatable structure looking shape… that all fits in a duffle bag (or two! depending on size) - and it’s SO spacious! They come in 16ft and 13ft sizes - and “The 16ft Lotus is 56% bigger in size than the 13ft and fits everything but the kitchen sink!”
Of course the part that was intriguing me next - HOW do you assemble it? And of course they have an adorable instructional video… and the cutest hand drawn pdf instructions! It’s also surprisingly simple to assemble, even alone (though i’m sure help would speed things along nicely.) Basically you lay the waterproof floor down, pop the walls up, pop the roof up, poke the pole up to hold the center up, and velcro wall and roof together… and you’re done! Depending on your needs, they have a few variations - adding various doors, screens, and other luxuries. Take a peek at it all on the next page - i’m so tempted to pop one up in the yard, or for our next adventure!
Loopholes designed by Fermetti & Oskar Vermeylen for Atelier Belge - currently smitten with this clean, simple, modular wall panel system! Starting with a rectangular grid system, you have a range of options to mix in - wood, metal, acrylic shelves, boxes, lights and more. Take a peek at the lovely details on the next page - and the full pdf cataog here.
The iBRIDGE from Leef just arrived! Mobile memory for your iphone/ipad! This little gadget ranges from 16-256GB, and has a USB 2.0 on one side and an Apple Lightning connector on the other. Think of it as a super USB key.
Just like the Mophie Space Pack we tried out before, you need to download an iOS app to be able to interface with iOS 8. This basically means you can transfer photos between the iBRIDGE and iOS device with ease, take photos straight to the iBRIDGE, and even play music and videos off the iBRIDGE!
There’s a very specific use i’m most interested in the iBRIDGE for… transferring a few photos between my phone and laptop for posts! Currently my options are… Airdrop (it works once in a while, but not consistently enough not to be a pain), syncing all photos into iPhoto/iCloud (but i like Lightroom to manage photos - and if i plug in and import from lightroom, it takes forever to scan 10,000 photos), emailing myself (ugh), dropbox/google drive (slow), and ultimately i end up messaging myself (which still needs wifi/data! not always possible traveling or on a plane)… so ideally, i’d use the iBRIDGE to choose travel photos to transfer on to the stick to my laptop! So far for that - it is AWESOME. Also as a USB key to fill with movies/music for travel and sharing across iOS devices, it’s perfect!
My one problem so far… my phone had ~11,000 photos on it. So testing out their backup took quite some time! (Make sure your phone is fully charged, since you can’t charge and transfer simultaneously.) Also now when i try to load up the photos in their app to see the photos in the backup - it takes quite a bit of time (likewise to load up the photo preview of the ones on my iphone). The backup function doesn’t currently copy videos over, though select/transfer does move videos. I assume i need to either not use the backup function, or if i backup and move the file off the iBRIDGE, then it loads up pretty fast. It’s also nice that you can ‘move’ files from iOS to iBRIDGE and have it delete them… so maybe it’s really time for me to clear off a few years of photos from my iPhone?
Take a look at all the details on the next page!
I’ve been researching far too many decks, patios, gazebos, hammock structures, mesh pavilions, building codes and more as of late… i guess i’m itching for a new LARGER design project to toy with, as well as an excuse to spend more time lounging in the yard. On fun inspiration, currently loving this new KETTAL Cottage by Patricia Urquiola! In some ways it feels like an old school platform tent you can rent at some camp sites, in other ways it’s like a mini house/cabana to chill poolside. What’s especially nice is how versatile your options for the side panels and roll down covers are! Also thinking that Bucky would totally try to hop in and splay out taking over the whole thing… perhaps a mini or a platform attachment for the dog would be a fun add on. Take a peek at far more pictures on the next page.
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
Last week we made our way out to the new London Bridge showroom of Buster and Punch for the launch of their new designer LED Buster Bulb. We first met Massimo and the team at Clerkenwell Design Week where we loved their heavy metal light switches. This time, they have announced a stunning designer LED bulb that is 2 years in the making, and designed to look as attractive off as it does on thanks to the metallic sheen! In addition to mood lighting, it also shoots a brighter spot down making it restaurant/desk perfect. Take a look at the stunning display and our first look at the LED Buster Bulbs up close on the next page.
We’re excited to launch our latest NOTlabs Experiment - the NOTCOT In Plain Sight Collection of blacked out leather retroflectors! These subtle black on black striped leather accessories turn into unmissable high visibility items when flashed (be it with a camera flash or the lights from a car). Whether you use them as a decorative accessory, safety add on, a prop to liven up flash photos… or all of the above, is up to you! The collection contains a small and large keychain and bag tag - all handmade (by us!) in Los Angeles at NOTlabs from vegetable tanned leather.
Ok launching a collection sounds far more serious than it is - what actually happened was I wanted to make something fun to celebrate 10 YEARS OF NOTCOT! … and we have been experimenting with lasers + leather (+ reflective materials)… and Shawn and I wanted new keychains and a bag tag, so we started there and ended up with designer leather retroflectors! We’ve been using them the last few weeks, meaning inevitable design tweaks leading to the final designs. I adore mine, as does Shawn, so we decided to make more to share with our friends and family! Which of course includes all of you!!!
So THANK YOU for all of your incredible support and inspiration over the last decade. You’re so awesome, we’ve discounted the price for Friends & Family (like you!) for a few days over in the STORE!. For the discount, select the Friends & Family price in the drop down before you add to cart. [UPDATE: Friends & Family deal ended 2/9/2015]
No joke these are handmade by us at NOTlabs (yes, i’m sewing them!) and will be a limited edition (of not very many, or until we move on to another exciting project!) Hope you like them! See lots of fun detail shots and animated gifs on the next page…
On more Instagram inspiration (yes, i’ve been finding a lot of that lately) - the @GoRumpl #BeerBlanket made me wish a tiny bit that i went to Outdoor Retailer. So, Rumpl is a “high performance blanket” company - that started making blankets and throws out of sleeping bag type materials. They remind me of the unzipped rectangular sleeping bags… but without the zipper! (You may have seen then before on NOTCOT.org.) And on unique, adorable tradeshow swag - their Beer Blankets are mini versions (stuff sack and all) for your beer!
In early November, Shawn and i decided to try a challenge: for 30 days could we go carb free (yup, no rice, pasta, tortillas, etc!), no processed, minimal sugar (minimal! not none - we were trying to be realistic and set ourselves up for success), and no alcohol? We were curious how it would make us feel, how our bodies would react… of course a week into it, i’m already going stir crazy (i get bored easily!) and need to figure out how to mix things up a bit. Thank goodness for his self control (enough for both of us!) or i clearly never would have made it.
To keep it intellectually interesting i also needed different missions weekly to learn some new skills, acquire some new tools… which kind of turned into a cookbook reading mania and kitchen upgrade. I wanted to find ways to essentially short cut to having an understanding and intuition about what i’m cooking and how things work - not simply follow directions. So with this approach to learning while experimenting for our nutritional lifestyle change - i began exploring a different side of cooking reference books. Amazingly, after the 30 days, we’ve been feeling energized, lighter, and healthier - so we’re going to try to keep it going! Surprising side effect - i’ve dropped about a dozen pounds, and he’s dropped 20 something. Crazy, right? Anyhow, rounding up some of what NOTlabs instagram followers have been seeing peeks of - see the deliciousness, tools, and cookbooks that have i wish i had long ago!
Ok, so by now, it’s pretty well known that BioLite with its “Energy Everywhere” tagline - has everything you need to not only survive, but charge your gadgets whether you’re camping or weathering inclement weather. With their first product, the CampStove you can get things heating with twigs - no fuel needed! AND the energy can be used to power your devices via USB. The Portable Grill is the perfect add on to expand its capabilities… and my favorite, the KettlePot is a brilliant multipurpose piece that not only serves as a pot and kettle, but also a brilliant case/space saver for the CampStove itself! As they keep expending the line - there is now also a Base Camp stove, as well as the KettleCharge for those times when your power goes out, but you can still light the stove - simply boil and charge!
So yes, they are all incredibly functional for a multitude of situations. And our NOTFZJ80 Land Cruiser feels just a bit safer with them packed - just in case! But what i love even MORE than that about the line - is the packaging and design details! Everything is so thoughtfully created… from the minimal recycled packaging that just pops off the shelf (making them extra awesome holiday gifts!) to the playfully elegant color choices, and smart details that make them intuitive to use. They were kind enough to send over the CampStove and Portable Grill before our epic Alberta Adventures, and we had to add the KettlePot into the mix too! Check out all the packaging and design details on the next page!
For those who love fun surprises in the mail - you’ll love The Original Grab Bag. They just sent a fun box filled with goodies I both knew about (but hadn’t yet indulged myself with) and things i’ve never seen! Which is basically the perfect combo of surprise gifting… I believe the perfect gift to be things that the recipient wants (or will want) but wouldn’t buy themselves. Also fun, i totally forget what options i checked when they asked what i was interested in, although i have a suspicion that they know more about what i’m into than most having reached out as NOTCOT fans…
None the less - the box is filled with awesomeness… from Omnivore Salt that i’ve been dying to try, to Herb Lester awesomeness… a map of how to find old LA (where i was surprised how many of our usual favorites are listed) to Secret Audio Club Wax Packs and more! Take a peek inside this super curated grab bag on the next page.
The London Design Festival provided some great opportunities to see some of the great designs we’ve heard about! I was thrilled to find Poligon exhibiting at Designjunction and have a chance to see their incredible flat-sheet foldable metal sculptures in person and to meet RCA grads Rodrigo Solorzano/N&R Foldings and Matthew White. The first series included a gorilla, elephant, whale and penguin. In addition to those, they were showing off the new insect series following a successful Kickstarter campaign. Production is currently underway for supporters and will hopefully be available to the wider public soon!
How easy is assembly? “The metal sculptures arrive in flat sheet form. The individual components are chemically etched to produce perfectly cut parts. We have also etched in fold lines which makes it very easy to fold and to achieve great results. Magnets are already fixed onto the sheet so that the individual elements of the sculpture are rapidly assembled into the final piece. We have developed the process into something that can be achieved by hand, with no additional tools.” Take a look at the details (pre and post assembly) as well as a video on the next page.
Just home and jetlagging after my first completely work free vacation in some time to Tokyo! Arrived to this adorable orange wooden mini crate from Nomadix, a local Southern California based startup that has created the ultimate versatile, stylish pack towel that can be used for everything from camping to yoga to beach adventures and more! I’m used to the usual boring single color pack towels - lightweight, absorbent, quick drying towels for camping/backpacking… i even used to leave one in the car for beach and other spontaneous adventures. The dimensions however were never quite right to lay out on. So far, beyond the stylish designs (even the bottom has a lovely print!) these Nomadix towels are 100% recycled and rigorously tested to hold up for years. Love their motto - “Own less. Do More. Buy one towel that does it all, instead of three that don’t.” They had a successful Kickstarter funding, and now you can purchase Nomadix Towels on Indigogo! Take a peek at details of the unboxing on the next page, and you can be assured that this towel will be packed for our NOTFZJ80 adventures!
Bucky is now 2! Here’s hoping that everyone’s right that 2 is the magic number where labs chill out a bit. Then again, the 2.5 week road trip all over the US and Canada seems to have helped him learn a lot and relax a bit too. Lucky dog just came home to some surprises, including the hardcore, super stealthy Otis Dog Collar from the nice folks at Defy Bags based and made in Chicago, IL. Throughout their bags and accessories, their signature is definitely the AustriAlpin Cobra Load Bearing Quick-Release Buckle, “which can support 2,000 lbs. These are the same solid steel & brass imported buckles used by U.S. Special Forces. There is no finer buckle on earth,” says the tag. Excessive for a dog collar? Most definitely. Awesome looking and feeling? Indeed. As they say, “Life’s too short for cheap buckles.” Ready to see the details? (I’m also a fan of their branding and tape!) To the next page…
This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!
It’s been a while since i’ve popped into a store and found myself wanting things from almost every shelf! Well it happened! When in Calgary, you have to go see The Uncommons in Inglewood for awesome giftiness and designer goodies! While there were many of my friends and favorites on the shelves, what made me even more giddy was the amount i hadn’t seen! Amazing way to discover some local Alberta goodness. Sadly much of what is there isn’t on their website… yet! So it’s a store definitely worth popping into in real life. Take a peek on the next page for a look inside the store as well as the taste of Alberta they gifted us!
So it all began with the adorable Mexican Loteria espresso/shot enamelware set our friends gave us… combined with the NOTFZJ80 progress and camp gear shopping… which lead to Shawn admitting his nostalgic side wanted some old school enamelware… which lead me down an internet rabbit hole of all things enamelware… so since i fell all the way down there ~ what i found was everything from gaudy to adorable, hipster to classic, and even the Polish manufacturer that seems to be behind many of the recent ones popping up now! Is enamelware the new mason jar? Take a peek at some of the best ones i found on the next page… they come in all shapes and sizes, with printing around the exterior, interior, handle, and even base!
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…
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!