10 Everyday Items That Deserve Our Appreciation

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, diminish the possibility of pitfalls and minimize the overall required effort.

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 lessons in time and effort. Sewing a collared shirt really drove home the point when I was studying fashion in college. 

 

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

Ironand 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.

Everyday Ingenuity


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

1) Pasta

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 really 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.

3) Lipstick

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?

7) Glass

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

I heard a rumor once that page margins were originally created to prevent pests from eating through precious information while nibbling on the edges of journals. I can't confirm this, but I do know that back in the day paper was ruled by hand (ugh). This tedious task was made easier by pricking through the paper to create the beginning and end of the desired line. I think we're all glad we don't have to do that anymore.


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