Monday, January 31, 2011


There is always a big discussion and some passive aggressive tension about what to do with the offcuts from the wood shop. Should the wood be kept in case we need to make packaging? Should it be burned to provide warmth and entertainment? Or should it be used to make something new?


What normally happens in our shop is that it sits around for long enough for everybody to get sick of tripping over it, then it's hauled out and ceremoniously burned around a campfire. This time however, we decided to do a little upcycling.


This wood was fashioned in this manner so that a light could be placed inside them. The veneer offcuts become solid pieces of wood during the day, and then lights at night.


Toronto Design Festival!

I just realized that it may be too late, but I wanted to share my favourite part of the Toronto Design Festival that didn't seem to get enough exposure:

"Tools" at The Department on Dundas:

I could try, but it may be a better idea to let the show speak for itself:

"Well made tools have an efficient beauty to those who know how to use them. They empower and allow functions to be carried out. Tools can be culturally specific, and even descriptive of lifestyle, values, and skills. Tools evolve, change, and update; some tools fall into obsolescence, while others function until physical failure and wear by use."

This stuff has to be shown somewhere else, so if I find out, I'll post it here.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Arbutus Tealight Holders

Over the holidays we spent some time with family on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. While we were there, we were able to fit a few pieces of arbutus wood in our luggage to take back to frigid ol' Toronto. Arbutus can be found in abundance all over the Vancouver region, but unfortunately for Southern Ontario-ians, our cold weather climate doesn't allow for this extremely dense and golden coloured tree to grow here.

While digging through the firewood pile for manageable pieces to bring back, I was particularly drawn to this 'perfect' arbutus branch. Inspired by some birch tea light holders that we saw, but regretfully didn't get, while Christmas shopping in Vancouver, I decided to make our indoor workspace more forest-cozy by making arbutus candle holders.

We also found a whole small deer skeleton!
He was nice enough to let us borrow its antlers!


Two chops and three holes.

If you ever get the chance to go out West, you'll be able to pinpoint arbutus trees by it's peeling orange bark and exposed smooth and green-ish brown wood.

- Heather

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I kinda like it... where?

Thanks to everyone who purchased our coasters! We have finally finished packaging our second production run and for those who live in our beloved city Toronto, you can now purchase them at 3 different locations (that we kinda like) for your convenience. For those who live outside of Toronto, please purchase online. Online shipping is now free!

the Ministry approves.

Russet & Empire @ the Junction
390 Keele St. (Map)

Ministry of Interiors @ Queen West + Ossington
80 Ossington Ave. (Map)

Thor Espresso Bar @ King West + Bathurst
35 Bathurst St (Map)

Coaster & Thor Coffee

Science & Son's Phonofone III in the background. Hey Tristan!

Side note: Russet & Empire, The Ministry of Interior, Thor Espresso Bar, and we are the National Design Collective... Do we have an obsession for strong and rigid and official sounding names?

- Jess

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Toronto Coasters featured in DesignLines!

The Toronto edition of our I Kinda Like it Here coasters got End Note treatment in the latest spring edition of DesignLines. Special thanks to Todd Harrison from Spacing for the write-up! You can pick up a copy of these babies for free all around Toronto and there's also a pretty helpful and in depth guide to IDS2011 and the Toronto International Design Festival in this edition too.

For out of towners, you can read the online version of the article here!

For those that weren't able to get their hand on the sold-out coasters before Christmas, we just received our second production run this week and they are now available again through our website and at Russet & Empire (who made #2 on BlogTo's Best Design Stores of 2010! Congrats R&E!). We had to do a bit of a price adjustment to the coaster sets on our online store (we're new at this), but are now offering free shipping to make up for it!

- Heather

Friday, January 7, 2011

Flexible Wood v.2

Alright, here it is! It kind of sits in the corner, so this was the best picture I could get of the table. Usually a box sits in the bottom that holds records.

Once I got the wood back from the CNC cutter, I was a little disappointed that I used such mellow curves on the back of the table. I would like to try using this method of cutting out wood again, but need access to a big machine! I guess the only way to learn is to experiment...


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Flexible Wood

I am not really sure if it would actually be more comfortable than a regular stool, or if it would create 1000 pinch points, but I like the concept behind this stool, the "Spring Wood" by Carolien Laro.


Reminds me of a side table I worked on years ago where a single piece of plywood was CNC routed to create a zig-zag of wood that would flex to wrap around a frame. The 1/2" plywood became much more flexible that I needed, so much so that I could roll it up into a 6 inch diameter roll by hand.

Bent plywood in Table Form

Oh, to have access to a CNC table...