Thursday, February 28, 2008

Part III: Ready, Aim ...

Our video's out. Check it out :)

Feel free to leave comments. Thanks!

For the story behind this video, please see my previous post:
Entrepreneurship week: The Rubber band

Sunday, February 24, 2008

So what's up?

So what's up?
So what's up?, originally uploaded by desireux.

* The story continues from here.*

Here's a little teaser for y'all.

We'll be at the Quad tomorrow (Monday, Feb 25) at noon doing our thing. Stop by to find out :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Entrepreneurship week: The Rubber band

I'm taking part in the 2008 Innovation Tournament organized by Stanford University in conjunction with Entrepreneurship Week. The challenge is to create as much value as possible using rubber bands! The challenge is open to all students over the world. It's also InnovationWeek at my school, so this is one of the activities. We have 5 days to come up with an idea, implement it, and show it to the world in a 3 minute video on Youtube, this coming Thursday.

So I decided to join. The secret item was revealed Friday evening. Before I went to sleep last night, I thought about it and woke up with quite a few ideas. I could remember dreaming about rubber bands. It was weird because in my dream, buying a packet of rubber bands came with a free gift - a pair of Reebok sneakers! But no, that's not my grand idea :)

Anyway, I went to Staples, got my rubber bands, and spent today tossing around ideas with my team mate, writing, doodling, scribbling, but something just didn't seem right. Suddenly after dinner, I had an 'aha' moment, shared my idea, and instantly we knew it was the idea.

Tomorrow, I'll be trying to recruit at least one more team member and get ready to execute our plan on Monday.

Stay tuned for more updates! Meanwhile you can visit Stanford's eWeek website to learn more about this tournament, watch the Imagine It YouTube trailer and also see last year's winners for the secret item Post-It notes.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Green Beer for St. Patrick's Day

Green Beer for St. Patrick's Day
Originally uploaded by desireux.

I haven't actually drank any green beer on St. Patrick's Day, but last Sunday I was driving, on my way paper hunting, when the image of green beer popped into my mind. So I bought the most 'Irish' green and came home and did this card.

I'm very happy with this card for two reasons. The first is that the whole card was designed in Illustrator. Since the end of 2007, I have been learning how to design in Illustrator and have been doing mostly straight lines so far. In this card, I managed to do nice curves and there were a few 'aha' moments that were very satisfying. This card took less than an hour to plot out in Illustrator, so things are definitely going in the right direction.

I tried to get a guide at the library but they only had Illustrator 9 (Visual Quickstart Guide) but I don't find it particularly useful, I've been learning just through trial and error. If anyone has a particularly good experience with a user guide for Illustrator CS2, I would really appreciate a recommendation.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Special for February

Colorful :)
Originally uploaded by desireux.

* How do customers find my pop-up cards? *

That's one question I would love to know the answer to. I have profiles on several different sites like Trunkt, DeviantArt, TalentDatabase and IndiePublic plus this blog and Flickr, but what would really help would be knowing where to focus my marketing efforts on.

So, what I'm doing from now until March 10th would be to give a free set of gift tags for each purchase when a customer tells me where they stumbled upon Pop-Ups by tracychong.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Homemade caramel popcorn

Homemade caramel popcorn
Originally uploaded by desireux.

I love my popcorn sweet. Popcorn in the US, especially the cinema ones and those that you pop yourself in the microwave come salty/buttery. It tastes so bland compared to the thick caramel ones I used to eat back home.

I've seen my mom make it when I was small. Tonight, after a phone chit-chat with her, I decided to go ahead and make my own with some tips on how to clean up from her. No regrets. It tastes so good.

So, to all you "I hate salty popcorn" people, here's my simple version of caramel corn.

1) Buy a packet of microwavable popcorn (mine was butter flavor) and pop according to instructions.

2) Pour about 1/3 cups of white sugar into a saucepan. I used a saucepan about 6 inches in diameter and 5 inches high.

3) Heat on the stove (medium-high heat) and stir. After a few minutes, the sugar will start to melt. Continue stirring to melt evenly.

4) Once the sugar has melted, quickly lift the pan off the stove and put in ~ 1/3 of the packet of popcorn and stir around to coat the popcorn with your caramel (melted sugar).

* I do the coating off the stove because there is a great tendency for the sugar to burn and you'll get bitter popcorn instead. Not nice.

* After coating, remove popcorn and fill pan with water and put on stove to boil. The residual sugar will melt into the water. This way you don't have to scape off the dried melted sugar. Pour away water, dry pan and repeat till you've finished coating all the popcorn.

*Estimated time of 1 packet: 20 minutes.

Share your popcorn. Tastes better that way =)

Saving the boxes

Weekly routine
Originally uploaded by desireux.

I love grocery shopping. I usually do my shopping at Meijer. It's now my routine to go through all the groceries and anything that comes in a box will be opened. I'll just pack away the contents (they all have their inner bag, the food doesn't touch the box), and then flatten out the box, which will then be recycled as packaging for my pop-up cards. I'm happy to find a good use for all the cardboard, and I enjoy cutting them into the correct sizes, putting them into a ziplock baggie, with a name card, all ready to put a pop-up card in to ship out.