Tuesday, 18 December 2012

It's starting to feel like Christmas!

It snowed today in Vancouver. And on a totally unrelated note, my car grew a mustache last night. 
I just had to snap this photo on my way out this morning... how cute! 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Celebrating with Color of the Year 2013!

And... the color is Pantone 17-5641 Emerald

"Lively, radiant, lush... a color of elegance and beauty that enhances
our sense of well-being, balance and harmony." 

They always have such amazing description of colors. Naturally, we made this special Bubble to welcome 2013 and celebrate the holidays. Let bringing joy to each other be one of our new year resolutions! 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

HOW TO: Get on the big screens at Times Square

Thanks to Google, now you can do that in just two simples steps! 
1) Go to For Everyone and submit the photo of your choice.
 2) Ta-Dah, indeed! And Google will send you a snapshot of it as proof.
Image straight from the 43rd Street on Nov. 24, 2012 between 3-4 pm. Try it out!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

TRY TO: Make Bubbles Float

My first ever craft fair is coming up, and busy preparation is underway. When I am not wondering about what it will be like and feeling slightly nervous, I am scheming about how to display the Bubbles in the 8' x 5' space provided at the event. There will be nothing to hang from or hook to in the ceiling, so I'd have to bring my own free-standing structure to showcase my products. 

I am playing with the following ideas.

Simple and elegant coat rack by Vytautas Gecas. Just brilliant.
Another one by Weekday Carnival. Love the pop of color!
Or, just trust the design sense of IKEA
It might be fun to have a cute A Beautiful Mess tent.

Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Are you feeling crafty?

How about making your own Fiber Lab bracelets? I think they would also be cute as Christmas tree ornaments, gift tags, and napkin holders. Or make it bigger and wear it like a crown? The possibilities are endless! Explore and see where your creativity brings you! What will you do? 
It's easy and fun, I promise!

You can also follow the step-by-step version below.
1. Print out the template and instruction on letter size cardstock with no scaling. Here is the template without instruction, if you've got this.
 2. Follow the grey line and cut out the bracelet strip.
 3. Score all creases with the dull side of the blade. This makes it much easier to fold.
 4. Fold the strip in half along the long axis.
 5. Starting at the end marked by (grey dot), bend the ends up like this, creating the first set of "valley" folds.
 6. Make the next set of "mountain" folds. In this photo, I am pushing down and squeezing the grey-dot end with my right hand, and squeezing the rest of the strip to maintain the V shape with my left hand.
 7. Make the next set of "valley" folds. I find it easier to flip the strip over and push down the centerline with the index finger, while squeezing the strip with the thumb and middle finger.
 8. Flip the strip over again, and make the next set of "mountain" folds with the same technique.
 9. Repeat until all the folds are made. The strip should begin to curve as you go along.
10. Almost there!
 11. Now you just need to glue the ends together. See instruction for detail.
 12. While the glue dries, admire how immensely useful these tiny clips are. And adorable. Or just use your trusty fingers to press down.
13. A little crown. PS it also folds flat, try pushing it down with your palm.

HOW TO: Build a Flower

I am in love with these images by Macoto Murayama, an architecture-student-turned-artist. According to TheScientist, he applies computer graphics techniques to illustrate the anatomy of flowers, in meticulous detail. The flower is carefully dissected, sketched, photographed, and finally modeled and perfected in the virtual world. His muse is the Commelina Communis, commonly known as the Asiatic dayflower.

Now, will someone please build a large scaled version of this?

Monday, 1 October 2012

Just a little paper MAGIC!

Ever since I saw Between the Folds and discovered the genius that is Dr. Erik Demaine (hey, a fellow Waterloo grad!), I've wanted to try out this cool paper trick. The fold-and-cut theorem says that any shape with straight edges can be cut from a single sheet of paper by folding it flat and making a single straight complete cut. These shapes can be polygons, which may be concave, shapes with holes, and collections of such shapes (i.e. the regions do not need to be connected). This means that we can cut out this swan with a single cut! But of course, first, we have to fold it up the right way.
 Print this out.
Score the crease pattern with the dull end of the blade. This makes it much easier to fold.
Start folding it up.
With all the creases folded, it doesn't look like much.
Except for its many many layers inside.
Now, the critical step. Make one straight complete cut.
What will it look like? Unfold them to find out...
Gasp! It's a swan (and a swan cut-out). 
It's like magic! That was pretty fun.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Dreaming in Infrared

Have you ever seen (near-) infrared photographs?
It’s like looking into someone else’s dream! So quiet and eerily tranquil, you can only whisper in this strange world.
One way to capture images like these is to convert your regular digital cameras to do so, because they are inherently capable of detecting infrared. In fact, their sensors are so sensitive to infrared that manufacturers have to insert a blocker so that normal photography will not be interfered. Essentially, the conversion replaces that blocker with a filter that does the exact opposite: only lets in infrared and blocks out all other lights.
I was up for a little convert-it-yourself. First, I managed to get a used Nikon D70 on Craigslist at a bargain price. The seller was a photographer upgrading her equipment. Plus, the D70 is supposedly one of the simplest cameras to convert. Then carefully, I followed the conversion steps outlined here. It has much better photos and detailed instructions.
1. The first step was the most intimidating. I was about to open up a camera! 2. Ooh, the inside looked high-tech and complicated. Is it too late to abort? 3. Snapped out of my hesitation, I kept going. 4. A view deeper inside the camera. 5. The infamous blocker that needs to be taken out. 6. The pretty little red filter that needs to go in. 7. Ta-da! 8. Now, just reverse the steps and put the camera back together…
Can you imagine my relief when the camera turned back on again?! And working? It was a glorious moment. Here are my infrared photos. I am pretty happy with the result.

Breathtaking Images from a Computer Science Assignment

It’s true. I found these from Dr. Vincent Pegoraro’s Assignment no. 4 for CS 7966. They are called Hough Transforms.

Ethereal, I know. Not only do they look absolutely gorgeous, they are also an useful feature extraction technique for identifying lines or curves in an image. It works like this:  imagine all the pixels in an original image (a) are sorted by a sift (b) such that only pixels that lie on a certain line can pass through. These pixels are then collected in a designated spot on the transformed image(c). Repeat this for all the lines you can possibly draw in this 2D space – every direction and every position. What you get at the end is a Hough Transform (c).
Fact: Hough Transform sorts image pixels into a gorgeous picture.

In case you were wondering, here are the original images for the beauties above.
Bright spots (intersections of curves) on the transformed image indicate how many prominent lines there are in the original image. For example, there are 7 bright spots in the 2nd transformed image, for the 7 edges forming the T shaped object (two of them lie on the same line).
Math is fun, and pretty.

Paris, decomposed

Believe it or not, one of the prettiest things I’ve seen, I learned about it in a civil engineering class.  It is called the Fourier analysis.  It is basically a way to break up any arbitrary pattern into a set of simple and easily understood parts – an extremely useful tool in many fields. Why? Imagine trying to describe or remember the paint color on your bedroom walls:  yes, yes, it’s definitely warmer than “Light French Gray”, but not as dark as “Plum Granite”, with a slight hint of indigo. And you are still not sure. The Fourier analysis is the paint mixing gadget at Home Depot that tells you just exactly how many drops of the basic red, blue, or yellow you’ll need to get the perfect color.
This analysis is also known as the harmonic analysis, because oscillating waves of different frequencies and sizes are used as these simple parts. The theory says that by adding enough of the right kinds of waves together, you can match any pattern. Here is a classic example of how curvy waves can approximate a square zigzag. I was a little skeptical until I saw how it worked.
Ever since I first learned about this in class (oh, so many years ago), these waves lingered in my mind. I’ve always wanted to use this concept to create something beautiful. To me, the combination of waves resembles buildings and city skylines.  They are the unique signature and blend of characteristics that make up each city or landmark. That’s why, as an homage to Joseph Fourier who taught in Paris in the 1790s, I chose to do a composition (or decomposition) of the romantic Paris skyline.
Also, just because, Paris is Paris.
A few days ago, I came across this excerpt from the book “A Year in the Merde” by Stephen Clarke.
What a delightful way to live! Happy New Year, Paris.