COOL THING WE WANT #441 | Rain Boots That Can Reduce To 20% Their Original Size

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(via) After getting caught in two of today’s three torrential downpours wearing the same pair of slip on Vans, we’re liking the idea of Sardines. Not the fish, mind. It’s the name of these Wellington-style boots made of “injection moulded thermoplastic polyurethane” (ie. plastic). They reduce to one fifth their original size, which is an improvement on the original considering a standard pair of Hunter Wellies take up as much closet space as a Boeing 747. Imagined and developed Spanish designer Estel Alcaraz, these puppies are pretty much perfect for Vancouverites. Bonus: canary yellow FTW.

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COOL THING WE WANT #440 | This Wood-Handled Mushroom Foraging Folding Knife

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(via) This purpose-built Mushroom Foraging Knife was designed for foragers with a sharp, sickle-like folding blade (with serrated top) for harvesting, tweezers for removing thorns, and a wild boar hair brush for cleaning the mushrooms before they bless the buttered pan. The cost is actually pretty reasonable at $32.99, which is about the price of an entry-level Swiss Army knife.

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COOL THING WE WANT #439 | A Camera Insert For A Fjallraven “Kanken” Backpack

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Full disclosure: we’re cheating on this one. We no longer want this awesome camera insert for a Fjallraven “Kanken” backpack because we went out and bought it as soon as we saw it on Still Life’s Instagram feed today. The shot above is ours – taken after the purchase – with some our gear. It demonstrates how the insert easily fits a bulky Canon 5D MkII with a long lens attached plus four other lenses (4omm and 50mm below the fold), a battery charger, extra batteries, filters, memory cards, and spare caps (the kit comes with a small zipped pouch for these smaller bits and bobs). The kit is entirely modular with dividers that easily velcro in and out of a padded frame; very simple to put together, modify, and remove. Still Life on Main St. has plenty of ‘em, not to mention a whole bunch of Kanken bags to plug them into (bags sold separately for $80).

Camera Insert $40 | Still Life | 2315 Main St. | 604-876-5659 | www.stilllifeboutique.com

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COOL THING WE WANT #438 | An Escapist Retreat High Up In A Gnarled Brace Of Oaks

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(via) This modern, minimalist treehouse was built high above ground around two old oak trees as a family retreat in Northern Germany…

It was constructed by tree house designer Baumraum and features an eye-catching, egg-shaped silhouette book-ended by two oval windows and a glossy white facade. The rest of its modern exterior is a combination of wood and zinc metal, which gives this small structure a minimalist feel as its supported by four steel rods. The cozy and inviting interior space includes sleeping benches covered in gray felt set against medium-colored wood planks. In addition, there are plenty of windows that provide gorgeous, unobstructed views of the treetops and bathes you in natural light. To access this getaway, you climb two ship ladders that are separated by upper and lower wooden decks. The trees pierce the terraces and bear their weight, which sits as high as 18 feet.

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COOL THING WE WANT #437 | Swell Sweats From Mt. Pleasant AC’s Spring/Summer Line

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The new Spring/Summer line from Mt.Pleasant Athletic Club line has just hit the shelves at Gravity Pope, Nouvelle Nouvelle, Walrus, and Corner Store, and we wouldn’t mind snagging the lot…

“Inspired by vintage athletic wear from the 50′s and 60′s is what sets the tempo for Mt.Pleasant Athletic Club. With a simplistic approach the brand focuses on a classic collegiate style while paying homage to the Mt.Pleasant neighbourhood. It’s namesake comes from it’s co-founder and creative director (Carlo Brito) who was born and raised in Mt.Pleasant during the late 70′s and early 80′s.”

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COOL THING WE WANT #436 | This Wood Fired, Octagonal Picnic Bench Masterpiece

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The multi-level, octagonal Jag Grill table seats 8 (duh) and comes apart easily for cleaning and storage. The only problem is the price. The beast weighs in at an obscene $2,499. But as the Jag PR verbiage says, “There are some things that money can’t buy, and one of those things are memories…” Nice try, Jag PR. Nice try.

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COOL THING WE WANT #435 | First Edition Copy Of “The New York Pizza Project” Book

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This recent Kickstarter to fund The New York Pizza Project coffee table book reached its goal of $25,000 a few days ago. Hardly a shocker. The first edition is being put together by five New Yorkers whose friendships were cemented by a common love of pizza. There’s a lot of crap on Kickstarter, but every once in a while there’s something worth sending dollars in for. This was definitely one of them!

“Our wish is to create a beautifully designed and professionally printed coffee table book that celebrates the New York in New York Pizza. A few years ago, the five of us were sitting around eating pizza and talking about the pizza shops we grew up in. Aside from the always heated debate about the best slice in New York, we found ourselves reminiscing about the little things — the Icees, the orange booths, the pizza guy who never smiles — stuff like that.

We started discussing the idea of a book that encapsulates all of those little things we love about New York City pizza. Before long, we were spending our nights and weekends visiting local shops, talking with the owners and customers, taking photos, and having fun.

At first, the photography was our primary goal. We were focused on the quirks and charms that gave each space its character. We’d photograph the pizza boxes, the packs of sodas stacked to the ceiling, the walls decorated with movie posters, and the neon signs calling in customers from the street. After a few months of playing back our interviews, we began to develop a deeper connection to the subject. As we became more comfortable talking to people in the pizzerias we visited, they started opening up to us a bit more. Their stories became the highlight of each trip.

The portraits and anecdotes we were gathering began to paint a picture of everyday New Yorkers, through the places where they work and eat. These mom-and-pop pizzerias are special precisely because they are so ordinary. In our eyes, they are the backbone of what makes New York so great. There are no gimmicks — just a solid slice and soda for a few dollars. Many of them continue to thrive despite the 99 cent pizza next door and the booming cost of rent. In a city where tastes and trends are constantly shifting, these places endure. The employees work hard, they put out good product, and in return, they have loyal customers. If they were to disappear, the city would lose part of what makes it unique, part of its DNA.

We wanted to make a book for all of these reasons. At this point, we’ve been to over 100 neighborhood pizza shops, taken thousands of photos, and captured hundreds of hours of interviews. We’re ready to share our experience with the world, and showcase the people and places that make New York pizza so unique. We hope you’ll join us.”

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COOL THING WE WANT #434 | A Gorgeous, Instructional Bible For Lovers Of Barbecue

A brilliant piece of deliciously useful marketing by JWT Brazil:

Barbecue is a Brazilian passion, and Tramontina is the leader brand of kitchen supplies in Brazil. It has the most complete line of barbecue accessories. But the brand needed to prove just how seriously they took barbecuing in order to gain the respect and loyalty of their most important clients: barbecue restaurant owners. We developed a limited edition book: “The Bible of BBQ”. This book shows Tramontina’s vision of how to make a perfect barbecue. Literally. Each page of the book was made to be used in a real barbecue. For instance: a page that you can actually use to sharpen your knife; a page (made entirely of salt) to salt your meat, a page printed on coal and a inflammable page to start the fire.

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COOL THING WE WANT #433 | Beautiful Porcelain Plates Decorated With Calamities

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(via) Pittsburgh-based artist Don Moyer has designed a collection of traditional-looking blue/white porcelain dinner plates that depict all manner of terrible things (everything from flying monkeys and sea monsters to UFO invasions and dinosaurs). He calls the line “Calamityware” and has turned to Kickstarter (see the video above) to finance production.

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COOL THING WE WANT #432 | A Beautiful ‘Bibliochaise’ To Keep 300 Books In Comfort

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The “Bibliochaise” is made with materials adapted from high performance yacht technologies by Alisée Matta and Giovanni Gennari of Milan design studio Nobody & Co. It comes in several colours, has space for over 300 books, and sports a set of hidden wheels so it can easily be moved even when heavily laden with the write stuff. A couch version next, if you please.

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COOL THING WE WANT #431 | This Mighty Clever Gardening System For City Dwellers

April 28, 2014 

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(via) Vancouverites are, for the most part, largely bereft of backyards, so yearning for a little garden of one’s own is rife. This window contraption – dubbed Volet Végétal – by French designers Nicolas Barreau and Jules Charbonnet employs a pulley system that lowers plants out and away from the window so as to provide them with direct sunlight.

When vertical, the unit sits directly within a window frame and provides plenty of space for three large planters. When it’s time for some sunshine, the plant-owner pulls the cord system, the bottoms of the planters rotate slightly, and the device lowers into a horizontal position outside of the window. Additionally, the product can be a freestanding, tiered plant holder inside the apartment but the concept is the most space-saving when mounted in the window. The designers say, “Our desire was to make a clever solution to the lack of space for a small garden.

Despite not being NIMBY-proof (“The damn thing violates my view corridor and thus lowers my property value, mwaaaah”), it’s pretty brilliant. Watch the video below to see how it’s made…

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COOL THING WE WANT #430 | This Lovely Three-Storey Treehouse In Rural Wisconsin

April 18, 2014 

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(via) This three-storey treehouse at Camp Wandawega in Wisconsin was built around a tree as a tribute to the camp owners’ father, who had built a swing on the tree before he died (and the tree had fallen ill with Dutch Elm disease).

The tree comes through the house’s deck near the ground level, and it breaks through the upper floor in three spots. At two of those points, the arms of the tree are sawed even with the floor, while the third pierces it and extends out the window. Reclaimed wood was used for much of the construction and the interior features nearly all vintage and repurposed items. Stumps of the trees were fashioned as side tables, and a hanging antler chandelier was made from old shed found at the camp.

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COOL THING WE WANT #429 | This Bird Flipbook Machine By Artist Juan Fontanive

April 17, 2014 

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(via) Beyond being transfixingly pretty, this machine flipbook by artist Juan Fontanive also makes a mesmerizing racket, of a sort similar to that of the old flip machines that would list arrival times at airports before life went digital. And if you dig butterflies more than hummingbirds, you’re in luck

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