On exciting finds at London Design Week ~ my favorite discovery at Designersblock is definitely Masako Sugar and her Mushroom Hooks! I feel like i've been hunting for years for the perfect coat rack or hallway hooks ~ in fact i had a big post during my hunt back in 2007! Well i wish these had existed back then! Even though i'm not exactly sure where they will go when i get home, i couldn't resist buying three of the red ones ~ made of silicon rubber, it is nice to your clothes, far softer aesthetically than many of the harsher powder coated steel options omnipresent these days, and they are all one of a kind mushrooms (slightly different in spots, etc) ~ not to mention they look absolutely adorable on the wall, and i love the packaging! Also brilliant is the simplicity of the metal mount, and you can simply slip the silicon shroom over... or perhaps someday she'll expand the line to different hooks you can swap in? But for now. LOVE the mushroom hooks, take a peek at close ups on the next page!
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Veuve Clicquot was generous enough to bring me to Reims again this year to join their intimate harvest festivities (read: honored they let me come do a day of manual labor with their friends/family). I kid you not. I spent half a day in the beautiful hot champagne region sun from the break of dawn fighting jetlag clipping grapes and working my way through the rows while chatting with friends old and new. So there you have it, my excuse for why posts slowed down and got so quiet. Also minimal wifi. But really, it turns out that the best way to slow me down is tire me out! Because i certainly had no problem running around, drinking late, and still posting before bed on the last trip...
So on the next page you can take a look at my experience from sunrise to learning how to pick grapes, to wine breaks (at 9am!), to crating the grapes away, to seeing them pressed... all the missing steps from last year... it's fascinating really to see what happens between the fresh grapes and the bottling to spend time in les crayeres. And we were back at the Verzy country estate which has some of the finest grapes behind it ~ the grapes we picked will be in the 2019 Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame if we're lucky, so far they are saying it is a phenomenal harvest! And if nothing else, they've at lease guaranteed that i will have to purchase a bottle (or case!) just to see where my grapes went! So see the process first hand on the next page!
I dont think that bear with crazed eyes and spork in hand could sum up how i'm feeling today better... unless maybe he was sipping some Balvenie 21yr Portwood as well... yes, let me level with you, it is most certainly that kind of a tuesday after a long weekend. BUT, on the flipside, it makes for an awesome excuse to share pics of this adorably crazed Rocket World T.A.D. Griz Lee Bear with you. T.A.D. Gear stands for Triple Aught Design ~ and is truly some of the best designed tactical you'll find... not to mention it's the brain child of Patrick Ma alongside with my favorite Rocket World creatures. While i have much more to show you from my latest stop up at their store/studios in SF, lets start with the spork wielding Griz. Check out the fun packaging and details on the next page...
So now you've seen the creatures of the California Academy of Sciences ~ ready to see what the scene was like for NightLife (their Thurs late night party/events ~ with drinks, food, djs, and more)... basically imagine going to an incredibly awesome museum/science center... but no kids! and the scene is like a 25-55 singles/date night! and as the evening progresses, the drunkeness runs a bit rampant... definitely have to feel for the poor museum folks who had to chase a few inebriated folks through the rather steep planetarium... and those starfish in the tidepools where it's one hand in the tank and the other holding your beer with your arm around your girl... Interesting scene. And BEAUTIFUL space! Definitely worth doing the VIP tour if you've never been, since you get some behind the scenes sneak peeks, checking out the roof in a tiny group of about 15, skipping the rainforest queue, a look in the Vault, reserved passes for the planetarium show (and they let you in first!)... oh, and open bar too. Anyhow, take a peek at the experience!
So many pictures i didn't even know where to start ~ while in SF, i finally got to check out the California Academy of Sciences ~ did the Nightlife VIP tour (really, if you can, its perfect! You actually get to have the fun of Nightlife, but without the lines, so you can see everything in the few hours ~ including reserved spots for the planetarium ~ and an open bar)... The space is beautiful! So first, CREATURES! A look at some of the critters encountered... and in the next post you can check out the space... check out the pics on the next page! Everything from (what look like) hummingbird lollipops, frogs galore, living walls, albino gators, dino poop and more...
So when my friends over at Rocket World reached out asking for some design help they thought it would be nice to ask you all for some help as well! The Creature Hoodies have been such a hit ~ and they are adorably cozy (fleece as fine as you'll find from folks like Patagonia ~ but less branding and even cooler little details you never even dreamed of, but can't live without once trying it!)... You can see lots of pics of the latest one (with removable ears - and swappable horns - with no face) from the giveaway post from the holidays... and for a chance to win one of the 2010 Creature Hoodies (that you will help decide the fate of) plus a Rocket World Gift Bag ~ and two runners up will also get gift bags! Anyhow, if you're feeling nice, please check out the possibilities for the 2010 Creature Hoodie on the next page and more details on how to share your opinion!
not to bias you, but i'm all about 3b or 4a... can't decide between the black or grey yet...
On NOTCOT favorites, SDCC highlights always including visiting the Rocketworld booth to see what Patrick/Otter X and his crew have been up to. Just as it was really fun to see how many unexpected product offerings were popping up at Dumbrella's booth ~ Rocketworld is also expanding and evolving through collaboration in some great new directions... incredibly cozy floppy plush toys (with velcro hands and skull - and a little belly button!)... super limited edition silver jewelry pieces (only 5 of some of them! i couldn't help myself)... stickers!... 2 series of new toys... mini exact replica T.A.D. Gear backpacks for the IWG... letterpressed cards... and even a peek at a *possible* animated IWG to be! In a time where many companies (esp some of the toy guys it seems) are hurting a bit, and it certainly felt like less new launches this year... the Rocketworld booth was almost all brand new products, and really expanding the line by bringing in friends who are masters at plushes and jewelry. See lots of pics on the next page!
Found these adorable wooden kids pull toys the other day, and the simplicity of the design, and the appeal of the adorable glossy turtles. From Maya Organic Toys in India ~ made from a sustainable wood source and hand crafted with natural dyes, it even has nice simple eco-friendly recyclable packaging! My favorite part are the details like... it looks as if they lacquered the whole sphere, THEN cut the stripes into them... and they spin simply from the friction of the little sphere "legs" rolling along! Check out the video and more close ups on the next page!
As promised in the last post about the Arta Barware goodies ~ while making lemonade we cut open one of the largest (nearly softball sized?) lemons from the top of my tree ~ and we were surprised to find that the seeds had started sprouting! Not knowing this was possible, i immediately started rethinking those old wives' tales about how swallowing a seed would make a tree grow out of your head.... and while talking to someone else, i started thinking of the plant based villains from Darkwing Duck too (embedded videos on the next page if you need to catch up on Dr. Bushroot and Spike)... Anyhow, the seeds have now been planted, will see what happens to them, but not before taking some pics to share with you!
I'm no botanist. Is this normal?
On awesome 4th of July presents from afar ~ my sister just bought me and then installed to photograph ~ this awesome Beasties Lamp Shade from Habitat! (It's waiting for me out in London, so the unbox will hold me over till i get there on my next trip!) If it looks familiar, i posted it as #22491... These Beasties are "Acid etched metal shade featuring animal-shaped silhouettes etched around the shade." Take a peek at more shots of it, the cool shadows it makes, and the packaging on the next page!
It was a gorgeous day in NY to take the VIP ferry out to Governor's Island for my first official polo match/picnic. Granted this was no ordinary day in the park ~ since there was much buzz with Prince Harry playing, Marc Jacobs and Madonna wandering around, and never ending Veuve Clicquot flowing at the second annual Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic. The views were absolutely stunning ~ the manhattan skyline peeking out from behind the game, endless smatterings Pantone 137c between the lush green grass and perfectly clouded blue skies, and amusing people watching with lots of "daring hats" as requested. Take a peek at the experience on the next page...
I have to admit this up front because i felt so silly about it ~ when i was trying to start catching up on what ICFF goodness to share, i couldn't get this insane reflective jellyfish-like icelandic lamps out of my head, so i start photoshopping pictures, and then researching online, only to find that it had already been on NOTCOT.org #20302... So yes, even I can't keep up with absolutely everything anymore, and truthfully, it was even cooler in person!
Now for those who don't know, these lights are Illuminant by Kristin Birna Bjarnadottir out of Iceland ~ and there is no actual LIGHT in the light! It is like a jellyfish of reflective fabric ~ reflective strands hanging down and bundled above the more classically shaped lamp shade ~ and on the floor is a high powered LED light, simply shooting light up inside of it, and the result is this ethereal glowing free flowing creature... and to change colors, you simple put glass filters on the lights. (Literally just put a glass disc on the top of the light source) Now, imagine a forest of jellyfish in the ocean... can you imagine these installed in an array of sizes and heights hanging from trees in a garden party?
Take a look at the various pictures on the next page!
i could also totally see these installed in a rave/burning man type situation evolved into a visual/sound installation where the lights pulsate with the music and possibly even push bursts of air upwards to create perfectly timed motion in the tentacles of a forest of these... how fun would that be to watch?
I love the work of Sanna Annukka. I also grew up loving Marimekko before i even knew what it was (i have the very beat up kids stuff to prove it somewhere). And when Sanna Annukka designed an animal themed print for Marimekko... yes, i pretty much got super excited. And then today... while exploring the meatpacking districts design week happenings and wandering into the Playful New Finnish Design Shipping Container (regulars will already know my fascination with shipping containers for anything other than shipping)... and then getting to see the Sanna Annukka's Marimekko Kaneleen kutsu pattern in person... and being handed a press kit IN A BLACK AND WHITE TOTE OF THE FABRIC... yea. I was pretty much on cloud 9. I'm totally making that tote into a throw pillow. A throw pillow with handles. That can be hung on the wall when not in use?
BUT back to the point at hand ~ Sanna Annukka's Marimekko Kaneleen kutsu pattern is stunning ~ and i'm so thrilled to have access to the press photos to get to see all the products and patterns up close! And to share them with you! (as well as photos of the totes that the lady was kind enough to let me photograph and pick through in the shipping container) But also, the story behind this pattern is quite lovely as well...
So here's the story from the press release:
Sanna Annukka has created for Marimekko a series of expressive designs full of meaning, telling stories from the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. The Kanteleen kutsu fabric depicts forest animals that have, enchanted, gathered to hear the joyful tunes played on the kantele, a plucked string instrument, by Väinämöinen, the main character of the Kalevala. Väinämöinen, a shamanistic hero, had made his instrument from the jawbone of a giant pike. Mugs, tea towels and other ready-made products feature individual animals ñ birds, squirrels, bears ñ picked from the Kanteleen kutsu fabric. The Sampo, a wealth grinding magic mill with a multi-coloured lid, is featured in the impressive Taikamylly fabric and matching cushion covers, plates and trays. The Ihmemaa art print, sold by the repeat, shows the landscape of Kaleva, the Land of Heroes, and Lake Alue. In the depths of the lake, a whitefish has swallowed fire fallen from the heavens. The series also includes the Onnen helmet duvet cover design, which tells of how Väinämöinen, moved as he played the kantele, cried big tears that flowed into the sea and there changed into pearls.
See all the many many pics on the next page!
Coming in June from IWG Sleepy Bear Series. WITH SPORK!!! "They love eating with a spork; its a very handy eating utensil. This new IWG Series includes a sleeping bear, spork, combat knife, and a human skull trophy. Price to TBA." See more pics of these new guys on the next page...
I love the fractal nature of succulents. And continuing from yesterday's post... while the plumber was working on the kitchen (Kohler goodies nearly installed), i ended up getting some cactus soil (and juice) and a few more succulents ~ and my mom donated some of her overgrown succulents that were spewing out of their pots to break up ~ soooooo, more fun pics of some inspiring patterns and colors! How crazy does that gummy one look? See more pics on the next page...
UPDATED!!!! Just add more at the bottom of this post since i just ran out to the japanese nurseries to see what i could find... (jump directly to the new pics here)
So many puns. Must resist the puns. Let's just say its been a sucky day and leave it at that? Soooooo anyhow, on friday inspirations/distractions/obsessions... finally made it over to Rolling Greens Nursery in culver city, and it is TRULY mind blowing. So much beautiful stuff ~ not to mention the layout of the 4 tiered huge sections set into this pretty steep hillside ~ and the big sale (50% 1000$ pots and such)... i was like a kid in a candy store, oooohing and ahhhhhing over all the incredible plants, and then gave in and bought a bunch of succulents that i couldn't take my eyes off of... and before i planted them (slowly working on the back yard now) took a bunch of pics. The details are just so fascinating!!! Also found a really cool flower you'll see at the end of the pics on the next page as well...
Singapore's landscape is this crazy juxtaposition of incredibly lush green rain forest with a fascinatingly modern/urban shopaholics dream mixed throughout... for some reason, this latest trip i've been completely drawn in by the beautiful color palettes - staring upwards out of the car windows into the trees on every drive... and while taking a breather between things, i started noticing the tiny details like the incredible textures and colors of the MANY types of moss found in just one part of the yard... so here are some close up looks at some of my favorite mossy details (and my grandmother's tiny orchids) on the next page!
Solar Birdhouse!!! Finally! Well, kind of. Here's the latest from Oooms ~ they describe their Solar BIrdhouse: "Why would only humans make use of eco-friendly technology? Studio OOOMS designed a birdhouse with a solar panel on it's roof. During the day sunlight feeds the solar panel, charging a small battery inside. At nighttime the transparent stick will light up and shed a tiny light on your garden. This light attracts an easy nighttime snack for the bird; all she has to do is stick her beak out of the hole and wait for the buzz."
As a slight side note ~ firstly, i'm super excited to hear this idea in production ~ i've been doodling and ranting with friends about the possibilities with solar power and bird feeders for some time now ~ my idea was more 24-hour-diner of feeders (less house like) ~ where in the day birds could get their usual munchies taken care of, and at night the light would attract bugs... but then most discussions got shot down by some of our resident biologists saying how it may turn into more of a bat feeder at night since they'd be the nocturnal residents most interested in the bugs... but that could also be pretty interesting! I also played with the ideas of bird feeders by day, lanterns at night... it would be so fun to have a playful project seeing what fun, functional, unexpected uses for solar energy in small scale products we could come up with!
Another fun noteworthy aspect of the Natural History Museum First Fridays is the graphic motifs of animal/instrument hybrids used on the flyers and stickers distributed around the museum... there are even silk screened prints available! So far only two, but the artist was saying how he is planning on completing the set throughout the course of the First Fridays! Take a peek at some of the stickers we found, as well as the gorgeous colorful prints! Since 2009 is the year of darwin's 200th bday (next week!) and the 150th anniversary of the Origin of Species, this year of First Fridays are dedicated to him... and the Darwin sticker even has his motto "e conchis omnia" which means "everything from shells"...
Wow. There is something so magical about having the Natural History Museum as the backdrop for a friday night filled with science, food/wine, live music and exploration... especially when in between all of that you add some wild lighting and simple glowing modern furniture... As part of the Los Angeles Natural History Museums First Fridays, tonight we got to see The Bird and The Bee with a bison diorama as the backdrop! Listened to DJs spin in front of elephants... learned about "Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters" from Dr. Don Prothero in front of some moose. Got wine from in front of some apes... Saw projections on and around the skeletons of a t-rex and triceratops... All in all it was a hell of a night, and a fascinating multisensoral experience. Check out images of some of the very surreal situations encountered on the next page!
Happy 2009!!! I must say i'm extra giddy about this year starting ~ it feels like a good one! To kick it off we decided to do some of the things we're hoping to do more of this year! So Dan, Linhchi and i started it off by sleeping in... waaaaaay in... then cooking fluffy delicious waffles, eggs, and veggie sausages that we enjoyed out on the deck... and then off to an adventure wandering on a trail in Topanga for a few hours... with our cameras, random ideas, and not much else... So now as we relax (they are playing Little Big World + i'm posting this!) ~ i think we're ready to do 2009 right! Basically my resolution is to do more of what i love, and less of what i don't. What are yours?
And as for adventures ~ check out the massive number of pics to see what we found on our wander ~ amazing sunset and fun crazy darkness pictures playing with our led flashlights... as well as closeups of teeny tiny flowers and moss... and more!
Ok, so you've seen the warning signs, and here are the animals of the LA Zoo! We brought the 40D and the 5D Mark II ~ so these are a mix of pics that both dan and i took while wandering around... hilarious the expressions some of these guys make... and the eyes! And the crazy shenanigans some of them try to get up to... like the orangutan that threads the swing rope through the fence to whip more plants towards itself... and the giraffe with its tongue!!! Anyhow, check out a bunch (ok, 25!) pics on the next page!
Vacation time is finally setting in ~ at least in my head! Freshly back from spending the day at the LA Zoo with old friends, seriously haven't been there since i was a little kid, and from what i saw, doesn't look like its changed all that much... seems a bit dated, and perhaps because it was so cold (but luckily SUNNY! and not rainy!) was pretty quiet, but we did get to see quite a few animal feedings and packs of little kids...
First post from there ~ i was so amused by the old warning signage! So here's a look at signage at the LA Zoo! See the pics on the next page!
I think i've found the perfect stocking stuffer for kids!!! Or it's what i'll be resorting to when i need random little gifts, that are not only really fun and amusing but educational and awesomely packaged! Copernicus Toys is a wondrous playground of all the fun sciencey toys and gizmos and puzzles i loved as a kid, and they've recently launched this great line of Compact Curiosities! Adorable packaging ~ nice clean fonts/graphics/colored labels on the translucent 4x6" pouches... definite points for the shiny object factor...
And it gets better! Inside these packets are old favorites from Monster Balloons and Vortex devices (you know, the ones you put between two 1L soda bottles!) to dissectable Owl Pellets and Geodes to crack open! Also incredibly affordable ranging from 3$-12$ (most are 3$-6$)! See closeups of the whole line on the next page!
Ok, Marcia, you win. Best birthday surprise ever ~ mysterious creepy flower guy tapping on the glass door ~ card in handwriting i can't recognize with just a "Happy Birthday Jean. Here's to another year of fun!"... signed Marcia? But it looked strangely more like Maria? (Florists! You need better handwriting!) And then there's the flowers ~ awesomest mix of orchids, roses, moss, and.... WTF is that really awesome hairy ball? Do i have to feed it?
Sooooo that turns into an adventure calling the florist, who of course says they know nothing and got the order through the internet... but does say that those hairy green balls of awesome are... MONKEY BALLS! And then a few more back and forth emails, Marcia confirms it's her, but the florists calls her to confirm she can tell me her name, and then calls me back as Marcia emails me to say the florist called... in between all of that i shot a bunch of pictures of this incredible bundle on my desk to share with you.
I'm also currently googling Monkey Balls, which is not coming up with many things that look at all like this... anyone got a scientific name for these things for me? Enjoy the pics on the next page! And Marcia, thanks again!!! SO awesome, best way to get me to stop working and get totally giddy... hehe. THANKS!
UPDATE: Jump to pics of the opened up balls!