March 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Was It Worth It is an iPhone app that lets you quickly assess whether projects you’ve done were worth doing or not according to how much Fun, Knowledge or Money you’ve gained from them. It’s always a good idea to reflect on projects, not sure if you need an app for it, but I definitely like the idea.
March 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Have you ever decided to make something, rushed into it without doing your research, and had your project fail miserably wasting the only day of sunshine and warmish weather in a week necessary to do it again? I set out to make a geometric planter out of cement after having seen some darling ones from Martha Stewart and others floating around Pinterest. When Brett and I were first married he worked at a cement plant making decorative pieces from rubber molds. So I knew I could probably come up with something slightly more interesting than a milk carton shape—if I could figure out the rubber problem.I made a mold out of cardboard, used some spray rubber to seal it, and then filled it with cement. Even though I asked the employees at the hardware store if this was the best kind of cement to use, it was too chunky and broke off at the corners. I know there are finer cements available, but I didn’t want to go searching all over town and buy the wrong kind again. So I switched gears and found some plaster at a hobby store. It was cheaper and didn’t require as much drying time. And I didn’t need to use the rubber spray, because plaster is easy to sand for smoother edges after it’s dry. Sometimes trying something new means learning what to do better next time!1. Supplies: cardboard panels, plaster, a ruler, duct tape, a pen, scissors or an X-acto knife, spray cooking oil (not shown), water, plastic bottle for the negative space, a bucket to mix your plaster in, sandpaper, and whatever paint you’d like to use to finish it. 2. For the planter I used a 12″ long and 6″ wide diamond shape for my template. Then I cut out two more and then a regular triangle measuring 6″ on each side. For the smaller shape I used a 3″ x 6″ diamond template. 3. I taped the three diamond shapes together with their bottom points aligned and then taped the triangle shape to the outer top edge of one of the diamonds as shown. 4. I folded them all together and taped my edges making sure to align all of my points. 5. Spray the inside of the mold with cooking oil and mix your plaster as directed. Fill the mold with plaster about 3/4 full, spray a plastic bottle that isn’t touching the edges of your mold with cooking spray and insert until the plaster fills the mold. Add extra if you need to, but do it quickly as plaster sets really fast. 6. If you’re not making a planter just fill your mold to the top but don’t over fill. Follow directions for dry times but remove your plastic insert after you can tell your plaster has firmed up nicely. I waited too long and had to break my glass with a hammer and chip away at the inside. It’s still a little messy, but you can’t see it if there’s plant in it. 7. Sand your plaster piece and paint it. I used white paint and gloss for my planter. But due to freezing temps outside, I had to resort to Plan B for my decorative piece. 8. Since I wanted a metallic piece and couldn’t use my spray paint I resorted to my Essie metallic nail polish. It dried quickly and has a rich metallic hue. Note: This planter doesn’t have holes through to the bottom but you could make them by placing a straw or two under the bottle.I’m so happy these pieces turned out well in the end! It’s so fun to start exploring with a new medium and thinking about options for future projects. -Rachel
via A Beautiful Mess http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/02/geometric-planter-diy.html
March 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
PHHHOTO is a social photobooth that makes animated GIFs. Uhm, yes, studiomates would sure enjoy the presence of one of these booths at an upcoming beerfriday!
March 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
True story: On my kitchen counter is a giant container of table salt. You know, that giant navy blue cylinder with the little metal spout that’s not exactly a decor statement. Yeah. And really, that’s totally fine. It’s great for cooking and measuring out larger amounts of salt.Right now my kitchen is undergoing a little cosmetic surgery. I’ve been using my sister’s kitchen and making huge messes to bring you random creations like peanut butter sticky buns. There is something about being away from your home base that makes you sort of long for it. And then, if you’re weird like me, start dreaming up now projects or changes you want to make the minute you can! Through this process I realized that I don’t have proper salt and pepper shakers. It was time to remedy that.I decided I wanted to do something simple and modern. I was not looking to make salt + pepper shakers that would be a big statement piece or scream DIY necessarily. I just wanted something cute that I liked. I made these in about 15 minutes with supplies I already had (except the salt + pepper shakers-I bought those at good ol’ Wal-mart). If you’ve never done glass etching before check out this project and this one too for instructions and tips.I really love how these turned out. You could make your own stickers from contact paper and create any shape, like letters, if you’re into that sort of thing. xo. Emma
P.S. Can you spot me in some of the above photos. Gotta love reflective surfaces as you photograph. Especially if you look particularly pretty at the moment.
via A Beautiful Mess http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/02/nesting-salt-pepper-shakers.html
March 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
“No speech was ever too short.”
“Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times,” David Ogilvy famously commanded in the first of his 10 uncompromising tips on writing. Indeed, more than thirty years after its original publication in 1981, Writing That Works: How to Communicate Effectively In Business (UK; public library) by former Ogilvy & Mather CEO Kenneth Roman and legendary adman Joel Raphaelson offers some timelessly practical tips on the art, science, and psychology of successful communication, in business and beyond. Because even if you’ve happily bid the corporate world adieu and figured out a way to avoid work by doing what you love, there are certain skills and techniques you’ll find yourself resorting to again and again in order to communicate your ideas with impact, whatever your discipline.
Take, for instance, the art of a great presentation. Roman and Raphaelson offer a concise, precise plan:
How to Organize a Presentation
Organizing a presentation is a combination of clear thinking (the pyramid principle, for example) and clear communications (points that follow here).
The setting is most likely a conference room. It’s a business environment. Everything you say, everything you show, every device you use, must move you toward your objectives in a businesslike fashion.
- Keep things simple — keep them on target
Start with specific, written objectives — and a strategy. You need a theme to give your presentation unity and direction, and to fix your purpose in your audience’s mind. Make it a simple theme, easy to remember, and open with it, using a headline to state it.
Tie every element in your presentation to the theme. If you’re using charts, put your theme all by itself on one chart and place it where it will be visible throughout the presentation. This keeps the people in your audience — sometimes sleepy, often distracted, always with lots on their minds — focused on your theme (and message).
- Tell your audience where you’re going
Show an agenda that lists the points you are going to cover. Describe the structure of your presentation, and say how long it will take. Estimate time conservatively — err on the long side rather than the short side. A presentation that is promised for twenty minutes and goes twenty-five seems like an eternity. The same thing promised for thirty minutes seems short in twenty-five, crisp and businesslike.
Throughout the meeting, refer to the agenda to keep your audience on track. Prepare a presentation book the audience can keep, and tell them at the start that you’ll give them copies after the meeting. This will relieve them from taking voluminous notes (instead of listening), so you’ll get their full attention. Do everything that’s been asked — and a little more. Be precise and complete in covering what was requested. If you cannot cover some point or other, say so and say why.
- Think headlines, not labels
Presenters often have impressive data on their charts, but fail to extract what the data shows, so the audience doesn’t understand what the numbers prove. What does your data say? Headings on charts should tell the audience how to think about the numbers. … Use headings to establish your main points. Guide the audience by numbering them on charts or slides, telling people how many you have.
- Involve the audience
Look for interesting visual devices to present dry, routine materials. A little creativity goes a long way. New computer programs make it easy to do colorful things with pie charts and bar charts. Newsmagazines hire top artists to make their charts interesting and clear. USA Today is particularly adept at charts, and runs at least one every day in the lower left-hand corner of the front page. Study the techniques of these publications — and borrow from them.
Think of ways to involve your audience. Play games with them. Invite people to guess the answers to questions, or to predict the results of research — before you reveal them.
Try to add something extra, something unexpected. It demonstrates more than routine interest. You might play tape recordings of customers describing your audience’s product, or quote a relevant passage from a speech your audience’s chief executive made years ago, or show an excerpt from yesterday’s TV news that illuminates or reinforces an important point.
- Finish strong
‘Oh, give me something to remember you by’ goes the song. As soon as you’ve gone, your audience is likely to turn its attention to other things — perhaps to presentations competitive to yours. Leave something to remember you by.
Don’t let a meeting drift off into trivia. Close with a summary and a strong restatement of your proposition or recommendation. For major presentations, look for a memorable, dramatic close — something visual, perhaps a small gift that symbolizes your main point.
Keep your promise about how much time you’ll take. Running longer than you said you would at the outset shows a lack of discipline.
Presenters often sprout wings and fly when confronted with an audience. They expand, tell anecdotes — and hate to sit down. If what you’ve written is exactly on time in rehearsal, you’ll probably run over in performance. If you’ve been allotted twenty minutes, write for fifteen.
An additional section explores “speeches that make a point” with several tips:
- Frame the subject with a point of view
Some cynics maintain that the subliminal title of every speech is ‘How to Be More Like Me.’ While your audience might not look forward to a speech that actually had such a title, good speeches nearly always express a strongly held personal point of view.
Ideas that you believe in make good speeches. Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence, advises not to accept any topic that you don’t feel strongly about: ‘Stick to topics you care deeply about, and don’t keep your passion buttoned inside your vest. An audience’s biggest turn-on is the speaker’s obvious enthusiasm.’
- Start fast
It may be ‘an honor and a privilege’ to have been invited to speak, but that is not what people came to hear. Plunge into what you want to say. The occasion may require some pro forma opening courtesies, but keep them as short as possible.
Start with that single point you want your audience to take away, then conclude with a memorable way for them to do so. Don’t just repeat it (‘As I said at the beginning of this talk …’) but find a vivid image to register the point.
- Write your speech to be spoken
Don’t think of it as an oration. Think of it as a conversation with a friend.
Read aloud the draft of your speech, and edit it until it sounds like you talking naturally. Ghostwriters can help, but your speech must ultimately reflect you. Never deliver a speech drafted by someone else before you have revised it to sound like you.
- Leave them thinking
A great speech is one that inspires the audience to think about a subject from a fresh perspective. It helps a lot if you have the credibility, if the audience perceives that you are speaking from personal knowledge.
- No speech was ever too short
On your way out after a speech, do you remember ever thinking it was good — but a little too short? Most good talks take less than twenty minutes. Consider what you have so often had to sit through, and how much better it could have been said in few words.
One final piece of advice addresses how to make it sound easy:
The most effective speeches and presentations sound as if they have been spoken, ad-lib, and not written down at all. Great presenters and speakers make it all sound so easy and so natural that one assumes it just pours out of them. It almost never does.
Complement Writing That Works with these 5 things every presenter should know about people, animated.
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March 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Whenever the conversation turns to marriage proposals, I have to share the story of my friends Lori and Matthew which entails a Kinder Surprise Egg. Matthew painstakingly took apart the chocolate egg and replaced the toy inside with a small robot figure and illustrated instructions on how to assemble him into a tiny MatthewBot on bended knee. Also inside was the ring! He then reassembled and rewrapped the egg to look virtually untouched. Fabulous, right?
March 4, 2011 § Leave a Comment
A little late but last week’s adventures included studio visits to Sharp Motion, Big Fish Design and Whitespace. I’ll do a separate post on each of them later on in the week. So you’ll just have to settle for the other little discoveries that i found this week. First was Homeless on 29 Gough Street in Central/Sheung Wan area, a little serendipity where i was able to find this awesome quirky shop. It was actually in the Hong Kong Creative City Guide (which was one of the elements that Whitespace along with Lancashire Road designed that’s packed full of thing to see, do and of course eat for people like me and you.) This week i also went back to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum yet again. This time i took my time going through the Poster Triennial exhibition here’s two of my favorites:
Hand-scape by Japan’s Tomoya Kaishi in 2009, the photos were taken by an old friend and collaborator Hirotsugu Hoshikawa and none of them were digitally composed which makes it more impressive i think. The positioning of the hands are used to evoke mountains and i love how the series suggests the different depths and ranges of the mountains whilst still conveying different connotations. A very simplistic and elegant piece, makes you think what you can achieve with the simplest of things. This piece received not only a gold award but the judges award.
Another piece that i really liked was Chairligraphy 2009 by Lau Siu Hong Freeman. The chairs that was used were Ming styled by merging this with Calligraphy it was “…the hope that audience could sense and feel the smoothness and strength of the calligraphic stroke.” This piece received the Bronze and Judges award.
For a bit more of culture i also went to the Cantonese Opera Appreciation Class, i’m not really a fan of the music but i like the visual costumes and i’m willing to learn about it so maybe i can appreciate it more hence the appreciation class. This was also at the Heritage Museum and is on a Saturday, you can find out tour information on their site and the best thing is that it’s usually included in the entrance fee.
Back to the Appreciation class, the guide was a man called Paris and as you can guess he was rather on the camp side but that’s alright since it’s normal for men to act out women roles. He was actually quite impressive as whilst he was telling us background information, character types, and specific movements to each person he also provided a demonstration on both male and female roles (at the same time.) So whilst i’m still not a fan i can understand it a little better, maybe i can be converted but don’t get your hopes up.
Another exhibition that was on was the Creative Ecologies which included Danny Yung’s Tian Tian. (Unfortunately this was a no photography zone so i only got photos of display outside which incorporated Yung’s Tian Tian and other creatives to design and play with the figurine.Here’s a picture of the 1881 Heritage Display in Tsim Sha Tsui while i was passing, nice typography can anyone guess what it is?
Another little treasure that i found was the DNA Galleria in the Tsim Sha Tsui area. The bright vibrant neo lights on the walls and escalator are alluring just like how a fly is attracted to the light i was captivated and got curious so went up and had a look, had the usual quirky shops, a few clothes shop and some shops dedicated to local artist’s craft such as jewellery and t-shirts. (Yes i bought alot of stuff here, got a very nice bag hehehe)
Ended the week with Wing wah’s cake making class where a group of us learnt how to make wife cakes. This was within the shop and if you’ve ever been shopping in Hong Kong space is pretty small so it was fun trying to learn in this environment and the class was slightly overbooked with having 12 people when it was only suppose to be 8-10 but all is good and as they say the more the merrier. The class itself was pretty good and whilst the cakes were being baked they served tea and cookies and we also got a little goodie bag. Well that’s it for the week.