I have the Elon Musk disease where I think everything is going to take one-tenth the time it actually does. Fantasies of a finished product inflate my optimism and diminish the possibility of pitfalls.
But making jewelry has opened my eyes to production realities and has given me a greater appreciation of product design and manufacturing.
The Lesson of the Collared Shirt
Jewelry wasn't the first pursuit that taught me this kind of lesson. Sewing a collared shirt back in college really drove home the point.
The amount of work blew my mind...
Cut out the pattern
Pin the pattern to the fabric
Cut out the fabric
Pin the cut pieces together
Sew, sew, sew
Do a bunch of stuff to make the collar
Sew some more
Make button holes
Open button holes
Sew on buttons
Serge raw edges
Iron — and then decide not to be a fashion major.
To this day, you won't hear me groan over a pricey piece of apparel — all I have to do is imagine sewing it myself and the price is instantly justified.
We all take for granted the effort that goes into designing and producing everyday products. It's a luxury of our time — and I'm fine with everyone enjoying that.
But every once in a while, we should stop to appreciate the immense ingenuity and expertise that surrounds us — the compounded years of research, testing and production that make our lives so much better.
10 Everyday Items That Deserve Appreciation
Thomas Jefferson is credited with bringing the first macaroni machine to the U.S. after serving as ambassador to France. This video shows how pasta machines have evolved into an ingenious technology that takes the Play-dough Squeeze Machine to the next level.
2) Post-It Notes
After failing to make a super strong adhesive, Dr. Spencer Silver struggled to find a use for his semi-sticky invention until a fellow 3M scientist, Art Fry, needed a temporary bookmark for church choir hymnals.
The pristine edges of a brand new lipstick are created by pouring the tinted lipstick goop into a bullet-shaped mold. The shape of the mold differs among brands and offers unique opportunities for branding like debossed logos, candy striping and sculpted shapes.
4) Toothbrush bristles
They never fall out and that's amazing.
5) EOS lip balm
Thoughtful packaging design allowed EOS lip balm to create its own niche among a staid product lineup, elevating the classic Chapstick experience with improved ergonomics, a more comfortable application and a delightful appearance.
6) The Aluminum Can
Who knew so much thought went into the design of the everyday soda can?
The first glass object is believed to have been created in Egypt around 3500BC. I still marvel at the fact that clear glass is made of sand.
8) Scored bread
The expert technique of slashing bread with a knife or "lame" allows the bread to expand without bursting — and looks beautiful!
9) Food-shaped Fridge Keepers
The instant visual cue of these brightly-colored containers brings me a surprising amount of joy. Why did it take so long for these to hit shelves?
10) Ruled Paper