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Articles Written by Simon


About Simon: Simon has worked in the fields of graphic design, multimedia and production. He has an obsession with objects and their relationships with people. He enjoys making things and sketching in notebooks. Simon is currently studying Industrial Design and rides his bike everywhere in Portland, Oregon. (View Profile)


Pocket Piano

If you’re on the go and don’t want to put up with an iPhone-based synthesizer, or perhaps you’re an ultralight musician, the Pocket Piano from Critter & Guitari just might be your fix. A handmade pocket synthesizer that packs a vibrato synth, harmonic sweeper, two-octave arpeggiator, octave cascade, mono FM synth, and FM arpeggiator is housed in a sturdy aluminum and hardwood case with built in speaker and a 1/4” output jack. Round wooden keys give it a unique and tactile playing experience. Describing it in words isn’t exactly doing it justice, so I highly advise watching this accompanying video to see and hear some of crazy noise making abilities of this miniature machine.

Purchase Information:

Price: $175.00
Available from:

Wipe T-Shirt

With its three broad stripes, the Wipe T-Shirt has an eye-catching appeal to begin with, but there’s also a secret to the design. One of the stripes is actually a strip of microfiber cloth, the go-to remedy for wiping down dirty, finger-printed glasses and gadgets. You may get some strange looks wiping your phone on your chest, but the convenience makes it all worth it.

Purchase Information:

Price: $89.00
Available from: gnr8

Full Windsor Quickfix Bicycle Mudguards

These origami-inspired rain fenders keeps your backside dry and are easily removable as the weather drifts between sunny and clear, to dreary and wet, perfect for you fixies and single speeders who want the minimal stream-lined look. For a clearer illustration of how they work, check out their accompanying video.

Purchase Information:

Price: £14.99
Available from:

Cork Planter Bookend Set

Like anyone else, I’m completely charmed by a full and well-organized bookcase. However, having a second stash of go-to or display books has an equally important role in a well decorated home. Finding just-the-right bookends may be a daunting task, but I can’t see too many rooms where these won’t fit it perfectly. The Cork Planter Bookends are made to accommodate small houseplants such as succulents and miniature cacti. The high-density natural cork also serves as a place to pin up notes, making it a perfect desk companion.

Purchase Information:

Price: $48.00
Available from: Canoe

Punkt AC01 Alarm Clock

United Kingdom-based designer Jasper Morrison presents a modern spin on the traditional analog alarm clock that’s so striking in its simplicity and aesthetics that it’ll make you want to ditch your cell phone as your alarm clock. A clever manual switch activates the alarm and the status will be clearly displayed on the dial. A gentle squeeze of the clock illuminates the face. Glow-in-the-dark hands displays the time in any light setting. These very user-friendly features coupled with a solid aluminum casing and scratch-resistant glass lens makes for a properly designed and lust-worthy object.

Purchase Information:

Price: $125.00
Available from: Canoe online

Booklets Wooden Notebook

With a laser cutter and some clever design, wood is made flexible as illustrated by these new Booklets by Snijlab. A hinge is carved into birch plywood to create these beautiful and reusable note-takers. Available in either horizonal or vertical (shown) format. Holds a standard A7 writing block. These notebooks might even be too nice to leave the house!

Purchase Information:

Price: €25.00
Availability: Buy Booklets Wooden Notebook here

Cut Out Number Calendar

It wouldn’t be the end of year without thinking about the next one coming up. Stationery experts Present & Correct present a 2012 minimalist desk calendar that simply lets the numbers do the talking. Measures 6×3.5′ and available in neutral or bright colors.

Purchase Information:

Price: £17.50
Available from: Present & Correct

Simon Yuen Gift Ideas

The next installment of gift ideas is from our very own Simon Yuen, contributing writer and product developer extraordinaire.

His favorite gifts to give or get, all under $100:

1. Muji Touch Screen Gloves, $24.95 —  So useful!

2. Schoolhouse Electric Ion Lamp, $85.00 — Adds a warm inviting glow to any room in your house.

3. Makedo Freeplay Kit, $50.00 — Creative fun for kids.

4. Leather Seat Wood Stool, $42.00 — I tried this out at the store, pretty comfy. And convenient.

5. Safe at Home Braided Bike Lock, 4,500 yen (tax included) — Just saw these at a craft fair. Can’t speak for the security rating, but wow, gorgeous.

6. Worthy Shorty Mechanical Pencil, $14.00 — Nothing like writing with a big fat piece of  lead.

7. Cut Out Number Calendar, £17.50 — New year’s coming up!

8. Mini-thermin, $29.99 — Minature musical fun.

9. Murrays Art Print, $16.00 — The most memorable Bill Murrays.

10. Topo Bags Daypack, $98.00 — Good ol’ camp-inspired backpack.

Thanks Simon!

One Point One Leather Pen Case

I’ll add this to the list of seriously awesome-office-products-that-I-really-don’t-need-but-desperately-want. The devil is in the details, and well, it’s the extremely clever and unique elastic closure that makes this product really stand out.

Purchase Information:

Price: $118.00
Available from: miljö shop

Bandit Ruler

Respond to your work mates’ office antics with a well aimed, cross-the-room rubber band shot. The Bandit is a rubber band shooting ruler made that’s 100 percent designed to be a work distraction. Okay, you can measure with it too, but what’s the fun in that?

Purchase Information:

Price: £18.00
Available from:

Filson Cover Cloth Umbrella

I’ve always thought of the umbrella as a good example of our throw-away culture. After every rainstorm in the city, you’ll be sure to find a blown-out, discarded umbrella on the street. A properly built umbrella is an investment in a product that won’t fall apart and will guarantee to keep you dry for years to come, not just through the next rainy day. Bulletproof and hard-wearing workwear manufacturer Filson applies their rugged and practical design standards to the Cover Cloth Umbrella. It’s made with heavy-duty construction and water repellant Cover Cloth material which will only look better with age. Available in Tan at Blackbird and Otter Green directly from Filson.

Purchase Information:

Price: $100.00
Availability: Buy Filson Cover Cloth Umbrella here

Source: Hypebeast

Scrabble Letter Mugs

AMAZING. 19, double word score, 38 points. Delight your favorite wordsmith or board games player with these Scrabble-inspired mugs. Game on!

Purchase Information:

Price: $11.95
Available from: Spoon Sisters

PHX-1 Artist Tool

Here at BLTD we love sharing products with you that are readily available to buy. Occasionally though, we’ll come across a product in development that is just too exciting not to post. The PHX-1 is an artist/designer tool that combines the Hi-Tec-C and Signo DX pens, a hobby knife and a designer ruler with 7 measurements into a stainless steel body and a sustainable bamboo case. Hooray for more dorky design tools! I’m also quite excited to see a hobby knife with a proper safety cap to it. The plastic caps that fall off are a real pet peeve of mine.

Purchase Information:

Price: $40.00
Available from: Kickstarter

Source: The Awesomer

Poketo Color Dipped Mug

How’s this for a beautiful and classy mug? It may not replace your “Best Mom/Dad Ever mug”, but if you’re in the market for a new coffee-sipper this could do the trick. It has a similar charm to the Pantone mugs, but a closer inspection will reveal handmade qualities such as the glaze being hand dipped. Made in Japan and microwave and dishwasher safe.

Purchase Information:

Price: $28.00
Available from: Poketo

Grove Bamboo Back

Grove, best known for their beautifully crafted iPhone cases, recently released a new product to cozy-up our Macbooks. The Bamboo Backs are thin self-adhering bamboo veneers that stick to your laptop lid. Nothing particularly ground breaking or innovative in that regard, but what really does it for me is the custom cutouts that uses Apple’s glowing logo to create an extra accent piece. Check out their gallery for currently available cut-out graphics, or for a minimum order of ten, you can customize your own. Designed and made of sustainable bamboo in Portland Oregon.

Purchase Information:

Price: $29.00
Available from: Grove

Source: Design Milk