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Fun things I do on the side

Hack Day Project: A La La Mode

Combining a love of musicals and a 24 hour hack day project

At Mode, Hack Day is one event I always look forward to. I really appreciate that Mode has an emphasis on creating anything data related to encourage all sorts of projects (not just appealing to those with technical skills, such as engineering or design). In the past there's been sticker packs, tattoos and even a 3D pancake printer that brought you "fresh charts every morning."

I had seen La La Land not too long before and needless to say, I was obsessed. For my project, I wanted to created something that would:

 1) Let me foster my La La Land obsession and;
2) Be a project that everyone could take part of.

Thus, A La La Mode (a play on one of our Products, A Là Mode) was born.

I will admit, we cheated a little.

Writing, recording, filming and producing a musical in 24 hours is a really big task. To help us, we did rewrite the lyrics the night before Hack Day. An idea to parody La La Land's intro song "Another day of Sun" was something that had been stuck in my head. My version would be "Another Day of Mode." After talking to Sam Novak, a talented wordsmith (and star performer) about this concept, she wrote the entire song... 💯 💯 💯 !!

With that in hand, our hack day started at 9am. With my assembled team of choreographers and camera man, we storyboarded the shots and immediately set out to work. I got them to start working on the opening scenes whilst I started working on the vocals with the main actors. 

Throughout the day, I was present at every scene to direct, whilst producing the song in the downtime (on garage band of all things). None of this would have been possible without the team behind me. I'm so happy that one of the senior designers, Mike Neff, offered to help with film editing. He basically did all of it, whilst I sat in awe. I learned so much about After Effects and film producing in general from him. 

The day ended around 2am (after about 7 hours of editing). But it was worth it. We were the only team to win two awards (Judges choice and Voter's Choice) and I'm so ecstatic that we could pull this off. Without a do, here is the final result!
 

Shirley WongComment
Boys Review.

I get three boys to review girls products. Why? Why not.

For more insightful commentary and cats, check out the rest of their videos here.


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Alice Ferrow

I’m supposed to be doing design work but instead I’m procrastinating. But look what I tumblr’d along… these cute illustrations by Alice Ferrow.

She’s a UK-based illustrator and I’m in love with her watercolours. I’m a big fan of this medium, particularly the use of layering and messy brush strokes.  Combine this with her subject matter and you get a gentle, nostalgic feel, comparable to a wonderful child’s imagination.  

Shirley WongComment
Delicious Type

Check out this playful type by Sydney-based studio, MaricorMaricar, created for Hong Kong Airport.

The word “DELICIOUS” is embroidered in 6 different languages, each one spelled out using the food from the various regions. I love the macaron’s in “Bon cout” – the detail is impressive and just so sweet!

MaricorMaricar specialises in hand-crafted illustration and lettering using hand embroidered and paper cut techniques (Someone get me a job here, please?).

You can check out some of their work here.

Shirley WongComment
Who loves doodles? Ilovedoodle

This is possibly the best thing to wake up to: doodles by Lim Heng Swee aka ilovedoodle *swoon*

He’s an illustrator and graphic designer who’s doing a swell job at keeping up his “Doodling A Smile” mantra.

His fancy-ful depictions of everyday things are as adorable as a sleeping kitten. I’m particularly in love with the first image below, aptly named “Coffee and Donuts.”

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Who will rice to the challenge?

Learning Chinese is hard. Most of the time it feels like this: ASASLSK*&^%$LSJDLKSJD@#S

But when you finally get it, it's pretty neat! (I'm still waiting for this moment)

When I was studying, I came up with this to aid my learning adventures... it was a bit of a fail though as I still wrote the main message wrong (doh).

If only I had found Chineasy sooner!

Chineasy is a super awesome website that really explores the pictorial nature of chinese. It's a visual-based learning system which teaches chinese characters through stories and illustration. Not only does it help us understand and remember words and phrases, but it's just fun to look at!

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Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 5.55.46 PM
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Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 5.20.54 PM
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Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 5.21.03 PM
Christmas Gifts. Pt 2.
Nom nom nom
I love Christmas.
I love Christmas.

Here are a few Christmas gifts I have made and they are things you can make too.

The first thing I did was bake a lemony-special load of cookies using this recipe (FYI, I halved the amount of chocolate chips - trust me, it's better this way). I couldn't find a jar big enough to hold my treats, so I brought some paper CD sleeves (inspired by this) and twine instead then wrapped-up each individual cookie. I also made some tags to attach. Woo!

Take a look at the finished product:

Cookies and Card - My favourite
Cookies and Card - My favourite

The second thing I did was make lots of cards. (Ok, it was only three).

I made tiny paper buntings which I threaded onto each card. For each cover, I took pretty paper and then cut out letters using a stanley knife (see above pictures). I also made pop-out 'ornaments' for the interior. I can't really explain what I mean, so I posted pictures instead:

Tiny Paper Bunting. "Pop-out" decorations. Weird, sad-looking animals adorned with Christmas gear.
Tiny Paper Bunting. "Pop-out" decorations. Weird, sad-looking animals adorned with Christmas gear.
More bunting. More pop-out things. More sad looking animals.
More bunting. More pop-out things. More sad looking animals.

You might have seen my Reddit post (or not) but I decided to take part again this year - not the Secret Santa again, but a card exchange. One of these cards goes out to someone in the US, woo! (UPDATE: My card giftee received my present. You can read her response here).

... And that was basically my weekend. I wish you luck on your christmas crafting.

I leave you with two pieces of advice:

  • Eating too much cookie batter makes you want to vomit.
  • There's no such thing as too much tinsel.

OK BYE.

BYE
BYE
A Christmas gift. Pt 1:

reddit

Last year I took part in the Reddit Secret Santa, a global gift giving bonanza. Reddit is pretty cool and they do all types of exchanges (snacks, books, mugs, you name it). In 2011, they were awarded a Guiness World Record for the largest online Secret Santa! That means that I have an official Guiness World Record for participating. I can even receive the certificate if I want. Woo, life goal #39 complete!

If you haven't heard of Reddit check it out, it's really neat.

Anyway, for my secret santa last year, I made this:

http://cavekeepersadventure.weebly.com/index.html

I wanted to do something I would have loved to receive - I have seen many cool gifts on Reddit, so wanted to join the bandwagon (and secretly hope that someone would give me an equally cool present - sadly this was not the case).

I'm really pleased that he enjoyed it! You can read his reaction here.

Just wanted to share some cool DIY gifts. More to come (probably posted after the holidays.. don't want to give any clues away to friends :))