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Ham & Pea’s Spell it with Pasta Collection!

5 Jul

Ham & Pea Design & Paperie is the work of Li-Ann Scott, over in Australia. One of the kindest and most open-minded people I know, Li-Ann also has the distinction of being the childhood friend that I’ve known the longest and it’s hard to reconcile the now busy and energetic mother of twin boys and with the Troll doll loving girl who would come to our My Little Pony-themed birthday parties. She’s always been super-creative and talented, sending us these elaborately drawn penpal letters with ribbons and stickers, so it seems only inevitable that she’d capitalize on that talent and launch a successful card and graphic design business!

I recently won a giveaway on Ham & Pea’s Facebook page for a collection of the ‘Spell it with Pasta’ greeting cards and was so excited when they arrived!

Ham & Pea Spell it With Pasta greeting card collection, wrapped

Perfectly packaged!

Ham & Pea Spell it with Pasta collection greeting cards

The collection

Ham & Pea Spell it with Pasta greeting card collection

Back of card detail

I really love this collection as it’s both cute and clever. The attention to detail is amazing, with the design theme of each card continuing on the back of the card, where it’s usually boring.

Ham & Pea Spell it with Pasta greeting card envelope

Even the envelope interiors are designed!

 

Prior to starting Ham & Pea, Li-Ann was also working as an architect in Australia. Architecture is often a thankless field and so it’s amazing to see how my friends in the industry have expanded their interests into other creative avenues.

Ham & Pea is having a sale this week only (July 6th – 12th), so head on over to their Facebook page for details and a sale album!

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On Steve Jobs’s presentation to the Cupertino City Council

8 Jun

Steve Jobs’s recent presentation to the Cupertino City Council on the unveiling of a new, complementary Apple campus was really heartening to see. Not only because of Apple’s reputed choice of architect in Sir Norman Foster, but because it showed that with a lot of practice and memorization, anyone can be a great speaker.

In comparison with his widely broadcast, super slick keynote speeches touting the latest and greatest from Apple, Jobs’s presentation to the city was noticeably less polished and rehearsed. He glanced at his notes, he stammered. He paused to search for words. It was, in every sense, a very real and human presentation. Perhaps the WWDC keynote he delivered on Monday unveiling iCloud, etc. had taken all his energy and left him very little time to prepare for the council address and he was somewhat unfamiliar with the subject matter at hand (architecture and landscape). The slideshow that he presented didn’t seem to be done in-house and contained very little information beyond what the building looked like (a ring), how many trees there were (‘indigenous’) and how many people would be accommodated. While he artfully dodged silly questions and evaded harder ones like a champion, Jobs’s true standout moment was when he related the cutesy tale of his summer job at the Hewlett Packard campus. In that moment, it is clear that he is in his element. The most effective presentations are those that tell a story, and here, Jobs knows everything there is to know about his longstanding relationship with the site and it comes through. He becomes more articulate and more confident. His voice takes on a soothing quality and he doesn’t need to look at his notes. He’s a great communicator and is able to project so much likeability and humility that he can make you believe in him, his silly little ring, and that one day, Apple’s new infinite loop is going to be the Salk Institute of the Silicon Valley.

(I don’t really know if I believe that, but with Foster at helm, it’s certainly possible.)

Carmine Gallo’s slideshow on Jobs’s presentation secrets contends that Jobs is not a natural born speaker, which I agree with. What he is, however, is a manic pursuer of excellence. Gallo notes that the two days prior to each keynote are spent going over his presentation, practicing and practicing, committing every word to memory and finding exactly the right tone and balance. Inasmuch as Apple’s tech gadgets go through refinement and testing, so do his presentations.

It’s not a gift, and it’s not even a secret. I’ve been told that I’m a confident presenter and the last firm I worked with pursued me ferociously and gave me great opportunities because I was able to convince them of that during the interview process. But I’m actually not, never knowing what to say to people. I’m a nervous wreck before and during each presentation, and most of it is an act, for in my heart, I’m a shy little crab who would rather stay home and knit something. But I do think that what I do well is that I am able to convince myself that I DO like the attention and I DO know everything there is to know about ___, and perhaps that comes through to the audience. I try to explain my work in the same way that one would tell a story–with logic, clarity, and cohesiveness that flows easily from one thought to another. I try to lay out my presentation materials in the same manner, so that if I forget, they prompt me to remember the script. I don’t think I’m a great actor, but I suppose that great presenters are by necessity actors, especially if they weren’t fortunate enough to be born with the innate talent of speech. The keys to being a great presenter are then conviction, writing it down (verbatim), memorization, practice, and a little bit of friendly swagger.

Here’s Mr. Jobs’s council presentation and a clip from the WWDC keynote for comparison:

 

we make things.

16 Oct

If Orderly Civilians is to me a beloved child, then architecture (my day job), in many ways, would be my husband.

I had this conversation last night about salaries and how much more I would be able to make if I had chosen to be something more along the lines of a sales manager or even an F1 help-text writer. Ridiculously boring jobs, but ones that pay far more for less effort than my current job. That is not to say that sales and help-text writing are not demanding jobs–some of the most admirable and convincing people I know of are the sales reps who troop into our office and bring us delicious lunches (Bottega Louie!) and miraculously always know what to say and exactly how to say it.

Specify my product!
Specify my product
Now I’m sure that these guys get a special thrill for every dollar of product that winds up in a $$$$$$$$$$ construction project, but there is just something completely indescribable about making things that would be lost forever if I had chosen a different career.
A month or so back, I made a detour to LA Mission College  up in Sylmar on my way back to Clovis, where one of the first buildings that I have ever worked on in a design capacity is being built. It’s a community college building and as a direct result of conservative board members, is not all that adventurous design-wise. But it’s a sturdy sort of building, functional and straightforward, and it was so amazing to see the building parts that I had worked on in 2D drawings becoming physical reality. Silly things, like exit stairs that I had worked out, or the loading dock that I had chosen colors for.
Rebar that will eventually become stairs

Rebar that will eventually become stairs

Almost Ando-esque

Almost Ando-esque

There is just something gorgeous about being able to point to something and say “I conceived of this.”

– ChairmanMHow

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