Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fun Project Idea: Literary Lamp

I was surfing through the Etsy blog, and found this interesting How-To listed. It was in this blogpost that listed several of the top entries for the ReadyMade contest, which some of the top choices are now published in the April/May 2011 magazine that you can pick up at your local magazine stand, or checkout their website. Here are a few of the ones that struck my eye and inspiration:

I love the idea of turning an old slide carousel into a grow lamp for a small plant!

I also like the geeky bar table covered in old keyboard letter keys. Maybe if I can gather all my computer-science-teaching parents old keyboards, I could have enough to make this too!

I also like this fun bright wooden block table made out of old children's wooden play blocks.

These all seem like cool, ambitious projects, but perhaps I'll try out the book lamp idea first, hopefully i can find most of the supplies that is!

All of the directions for the other items can easily be found by clicking the hyperlinks... feel free to start these projects and let me know how it goes! As for the book lamp, here is the directions on their website: Step-by-Step Directions

For instant gratification, the directions are also copy/pasted below:


Measure the circumference of the shaft leading up to the bulb, and look for books (with quality binding) of approximately this thickness.


Find the middle of one of the books and lay it open. Take the upper corner of the left-hand page and fold it inward to the spine. Repeat with right-hand page to create an arrow-shape. Continue with all the rest of the pages.


Trace the folded page onto the inside front and back covers.


Use a table saw (or strong scissors) to cut away the parts of the cover that are sticking out.


Create the other forms, varying the folding as you like (and dotting with glue for security); roll the pages inward as teardrops or cut half circles.


Wrap book around shaft and glue the covers together. Clamp with clothespins while drying. Add a book base, if desired, a bulb, and a shade (paint a plain shade for a custom color).

Interesting Article: How to Sell Yourself In An Interview

I was reading this article on (i.e., the online version of the Boston Globe), and saw this article about interviewing tips. Its not really related to what I normally post on this blog, which generally is related to arts, handmade, or creative inspiration, but thought it was helpful to think about so I wanted to share it.

The article can be found directly here: How to Sell Yourself in an Interview

For instant gratification, I copy/pasted it below:

We've heard some career experts say that an interview is a "conversation" between you and the interviewer. Don't believe it.

To us, a great interview is a sales pitch. It may be cleverly disguised as a conversation, but make no mistake: your goal is to convince the interviewer that you're the right person for the job. In our book, that's selling. The more effective you are at doing it, the clearer your message, the more likely you are to land the job. It's that simple, and that complicated.

Next time you have an interview, try using some of these tried and true sales strategies. They really work:

1. Think like an interviewer

Before you answer an interviewer's question, think about your answer from their point of view. If your interviewer says, "Tell me about your college education," ask yourself, "Is he really interested in what I did in college, or does he want to know what I learned from the experience?" If you're questioned about your work history - and you will be - is it important to talk in detail about every summer job or internship you ever had, or is it more meaningful to focus on the skills you developed while doing them?

Spend a little time thinking about what the interviewer is really looking for by asking a given question, and then critique your answers from the other side of the desk. It will make you a much more effective, and memorable, interviewee.

2. Use key messages to help you sell

A resume is really just a laundry list. It tells an interviewer where you went to college, what jobs you've had, and when, and what activities and hobbies you enjoy in your spare time. What it cannot do is communicate who you are and what you know that might be of value to an employer. That's your job in an interview, and that's where key messages come in. Make them part of every answer.

Think of a key message as a headline in an ad. An effective headline communicates the benefits of the product or service in a meaningful and memorable way. A good answer does the same thing.

The next time you're asked about your college experience, don't tell your interviewer about every detail of your college years, the courses you took, the friends you made, your extracurricular activities, and your favorite professor. For one thing, it's boring; for another, he's heard it all before. Instead, talk about what you learned, how college taught you to live on your own, to work under pressure, to function as part of a team, to manage your workload. These are your key messages. And this is the kind of information your interviewer is waiting to hear.

3. Demonstrate by example

If you make a statement about your abilities, such as "I'm a good problem solver" or "I can handle high pressure situations," be prepared to have an example ready to support the claim. Nothing is quite as embarrassing as not being able to come up with an occasion in which you demonstrated a quality you say you possess. Remember, it's the example that makes your claim credible. Without it, it's just boasting.

4. Avoid the "Tell me about yourself" trap

This is the interview question candidates fear the most because, they think, an interviewer is asking them for a summary of their entire life, delivered in a single answer. Not so. What it really means is, "I haven't bothered to read your resume, so why don't you do it for me." That why we call it the "lazy man question." Unfortunately, it has also become an increasingly popular method of beginning an interview, so it's best to be prepared for it.

First, avoid the temptation to launch into a synopsis of your resume. It's a big mistake. For one thing, you'll lose your interviewer. For another, you'll leave yourself nothing to talk about for the rest of the interview.

Second, understand that, by asking this question, the interviewer is really saying, "Why are you here and what do you want?" Looked at from that perspective, the right answer is less daunting. Let's say you're interviewing with a large publishing firm. A good answer might be, "I've recently graduated from XYZ College with a major in English Literature, and I'm looking for a position as an editor's assistant. I think the experience I've gained while interning with a number of smaller publishing firms, combined with my passion for writing, could be of interest to your company."

Why is this a good answer? Because it clearly answers the interviewer's real question, hints at some of your most saleable strengths, passion, and experience, and leaves

a lot left to talk about during the remainder of your interview.

5. Make your key messages relevant

Any great salesman will tell you that the most persuasive sales pitch is the one that speaks directly to the personal needs of the buyer. A great interview works the same way. Let's say you're applying for an associate producer position at a TV station and you're asked to talk about your strengths. Which is more effective? To mention your ability to work well under pressure? Or, to say, "I understand that the production people at this station have to work against some pretty tough deadlines. It's the reality of the business. I think that my experience at college, where I carried six courses per semester, combined with the time I spent working as a page at one of the major networks, suggests I could thrive in a production environment like yours." Remember, by making it meaningful, you make it memorable.

6. Don't talk yourself out of a job

What's the most common interviewing mistake made by inexperienced candidates? Answer: they stop thinking long before they stop talking. Too often, what should be a simple response to a straightforward question gets turned into an aimless, directionless ramble. Maybe it's nerves. But whatever the cause, no interviewer responds positively to a casserole of unconnected thoughts, with no message and no end.

The five steps of a well-constructed interview answer are:
1. Pause
2. Take a deep breath
3. Think about what you want to say
4. Say it
5. When you're finished, stop.

One last piece of advice. The secret to effectively selling yourself is practice. Stand in front of the mirror, talk to yourself in the car, rehearse with your friends. Whatever works. But keep this in mind: an interview is no place to try these strategies out for the first time.

Most importantly, don't forget that interviewing is about selling. The better you are at weaving your key sales messages into your answers, the more likely you are to stand out in the interviewer's mind. And setting yourself apart from the crowd is what interviewing is all about.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Big Black Horse & a Cherry Tree Treasury

I'm excited to now be able to share some of the gorgeous Etsy treasuries that our MaJenta Designs items have been featured in. Here is one of my keychain bottle openers featured in this fun treasury.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MIT's Annual Festival of Arts & Science & Technology (FAST)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) celebrates their 150 year anniversary this year, and as part of the celebration the had very exciting installations as part of their annual Festival of Arts, Science, and Technology (FAST). FAST is an interesting intersection of creativity, ingenuity, and innovation.

It was a mild spring evening, so my family decided to go out and scope my sister's alma mater's campus.

This "VoltaDOM" installation was reminiscent of the vaulted cathedral ceilings of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia.

This "Unflat Pavilion" is the formation of something 3D from using only 2D flat plywood.

This "String Tunnel" is supposed to guide the way to MIT's Infinite Corridor. Looking up at them, it created almost a 3D view.

The "MIT Mood Meter" have these sensors throughout campus, to measure the level of "happiness" around campus. Apparently it cant tell if our little Maltese is smiling or not though.

"Liquid Archive" is a piece that's actually in the middle of the Charles River, which has an interactive moving projection that kept moving and changing across the inflated "MIT". In the background you can see the Mass Ave bridge (and if you see the glowing square behind that, there is the "citgo sign" near Fenway Park). The "Light Bridge" also was an interactive stream of lights symbolizing the connection of Boston and Cambridge.

Even though FAST were only temporary installations, they still have several pieces and architecture around campus to still be in awe of, such as their "Stata Center", where the building looks almost surreal with its sidings/walls appearing as if they are collapsing and defying gravity.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thank You for your Contribution towards Our Donation Efforts!

Thank you everybody who purchased either our handmade pocket mirrors or keychain bottle openers during this past month of April, as 50% of all the profit from those items were collected to donate towards relief aid to the Japanese disaster relief efforts.

We are excited to report that we raised over $190 to donate towards Japanese Disaster Relief efforts!

To continue in your support of Japanese relief, here is a Facebook page that is dedicated to all the Etsy shops that are donating a portion of their proceeds/profit to various Japanese aid organizations as well. What Can You Do To Help Japan Page
Collectively, the Etsy shops on this page have raised over $8,000 for disaster relief!

Here we are given special mention: MaJenta Designs Donation

We also would like to extend our contribution - so if you make a purchase of any of our pocket mirrors of keychain bottle openers through the month of May 2011 - please mention "Japanese aid" in the "message to seller" and I will happily donate 50% of the proceeds from your sale towards disaster relief! :) Peruse all of our choices here: Pocket Mirrors/Bottle Openers Etsy Section.

If you'd like to order a larger amount for wedding or party favors, feel free to contact me and I can set up a custom listing as well!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Animals Left Behind Need Your Help

Saw this post on from the original blogpost

If this speaks to you, please repost it and spread the word as much as possible. Animals are dying every day and need to be gotten out of there.

Animals left alone in the 20 kilometer exclusion zone in Japan need your help now.
We are asking people to send a comment to this government link:
Please remind the government that the pets in the 20 kilometer zone are loved and wanted. They should not stay there to starve, nor should they be removed to go to animal control facilities. Rescue groups are being asked to help rescue pets for guardians that cannot get back to the area to retrieve their pets themselves. Please let animal rescue groups back into the zone now, to be part of the process of getting animals to safety.
You might also write your nearest Japanese embassy with the above request.