Boo!

I’m getting ready for Halloween.  I actually got a witch’s hat last weekend with matching oversized and violet groovy black shades.  I have a ton of all-black outfits to complete the whole attire so I guess I’m all set.  I’m thinking about black lipstick, but I have enough red to take care of that.

Meanwhile, the boy is donning an Optimus Prime costume this year.  (Last year, it was Bumble Bee.) 

It seems that the weather will remain stubbornly cold this Sunday so I’m taking the boy’s thermals out.  At least I’m lucky that he likes giving candy away as much as going around parading in his costume, so I know he’ll be warm in the house after a few minutes of going trick or treating.

Can’t wait!

Relaxing in the midst of folding laundry

Alan did a load of  laundry last night and I told him to leave the bag next to the sofa so I can fold them all.  I sat in the middle and folded at leisure, smoothing out the shirts on a throw pillow and then laying them in piles to my left and right.  There wasn’t much but it wasn’t exactly a small batch.  Mostly Angelo’s clothes.  Alan and I have always made a joke of how good I am at folding — so much so that a career in clothing retail would suit me just fine.  (And why not?  I’d go for the discounts!)

I caressed his jeans flat and folded them into four, marveling at how much he has grown.  He fills up a regular size 6 pair nicely making him look like a little guy — literally.  His current favorites are his new GAP jeans which, kudos to their design team, have switched from actual button fly to buttons with hooks under them.  Since we got his new dresser in IKEA a few weeks back, I’ve had more room for his shirts so I don’t have to fold them differently to make them fit into the drawers.  I paired his socks and folded them flat with one enveloping the other but not in a bulky or awkward clump.

CSI New York was on.  I took my time and just pulled batches out of the bag until I was done.  Then I sat back and just rested.  It was “me” time.

I haven’t had the chance to create any new pieces of late.  Too many things have been happening at home.  Alan has been a source of strength and comfort.  Angelo, with his tiny hands, has provided me much solace by tapping my back as he hugged me to comfort me.  I don’t even have to think hard to be reminded how blessed I have been.

There are many things that we do on an everyday basis that provide great comfort if we only recognize them for the relaxation they bring.  There’s a cadence even to washing dishes on the sink which I find calming.  Perhaps it’s the sound and feel of warm water on my hands.  Or seeing the sink emptied into an orderly pile on the dish rack.

I’m trying to get used to preparing for the next morning the night before beyond making sure the coffeemaker is ready.  I pack away Angelo’s snack and his things.

I’m in the midst of researching alternative care arrangements for Angelo, and it is turning out to be an emotional time for me as I gear up for possibly a major change in routines to make the schedules work.  But that’s motherhood.  For starters, I’ve started setting my alarm clock to 5am, although I still end up getting up at past 6am — our usual time.

It’s going to be an adjustment.

But my boy is growing up.  Adjustments are part of life.  We’ll make it.

Tonight I will do some handwashing.  Another therapeutic chore.  I just have some clothes which need to be handwashed and not tortured by the pulling and tugging of the washing machine.  I even imported some bars of PERLA detergent.  (When I’m out, there’s good old Ivory Soap or one of the more fragrant bath soaps I can use.)

I am trying to adjust the time I end my day as well.  Again, just getting ready.

Bead and Resin Experiments

I have a favorite wholesaler, Firemountain Gems and Beads, who offers assortable pricing, meaning discounts are offered depending on the volume of your purchase.  The pricing tiers change from 1-14 items, 15-50 and 51-200.  They have some fantastic sales which make me wish I had more flexibility to purchase as much as I want because when they have a sale, it is a true sale in every sense of the word.

During one of their more recent sales, I had gotten these giant yellow turquoise beads in blue and green because I was thinking of doing something with them like I was doing with the large flat oval agate beads I had brought home from Manila.  But when I received the beads, I was a little disappointed with the lack of sheen, then I reminded myself these were “chalk” turquoise, so I guess it was the “chalk” in the bead.

This afternoon, I mixed up  a small glob of my resin and “painted” one surface, with the intention of repainting the other side tomorrow.  The beads are still drying but the change in the sheen is promising.  I just think that I forgot to properly prep the work surface the beads are resting on right now, so that might mean more work tomorrow when I work on the other side.  Using paper plates to hold the beads wasn’t a good idea when I usually use wax paper which the resin doesn’t adhere to.

Lesson learned.

Well, we’ll see tomorrow.  Although resin cannot essentially be “undone”, there is always hope of adding another layer or two to “correct” what needs correcting.

Hopefully, I can post pictures of the work in progress tomorrow before I apply resin to the other side.

Gotham Chick's Birthday Giveaways

Last call for sign ups on Gotham Chick’s Facebook Fan Page.  We’re celebrating our first year on Etsy with free shipping to the US, Canada and Manila (ending soon!), and giveaways to Facebook users who “LIKE” the GothamChick page we’ve set up.  You don’t even have to be a “friend” — just hit the “LIKE” button on the top of the page next to the title.

We’re giving away a necklace, some bracelets, earrings and all for just putting us among your “”LIKES”.

Click on the picture to the left while you are logged on to FB:

Sewing buttons tonight

I love to raid the clearance racks at upscale boutiques and jump up and down for joy when I find a literal steal at 80-90% off.  I don’t know if that’s more of being “cheap” (!) or just being practical.  As the lotto prize has continued to elude me, I have to be a reasonable shopper.  (Or at least I try.)

Do you ever find yourself wading through tons of gorgeous outfits on the clearance floor, only to find out that you are running out of time because the hubby and the son have called to say they’re waiting for you outside?   (Sounding patient, but trying very hard to be.)  I had grabbed this gorgeous cardigan (again.. I told you it was a favorite..) only to realize later at home that it was lacking a button.  * SIGH *  Alas, it was one of those sweaters which had a fancy button the same color as the fancy yarn the knit was spooled from.  So I had to go looking for a suitable button to replace ALL THE BUTTONS with.  (Makes me miss Carolina’s in MegaMall which was my favorite “go-to” place for those buttons before.)  Couldn’t find the teal, but you can never go wrong with gold.

I did find a fancy set in, of all places, one of my bead suppliers here on Sixth Avenue.  (It is, after all, the fashion center.. supposedly.)  Tonight’s the night I’m putting those buttons on.  Tomorrow, I wear the cardigan!

Buttons have always had an appeal to me like candy in a candy store.  I always seem to gravitate towards the notions section of most dollar stores I visit — looking for fancy colored plastic buttons of the regular type.  I put them in a tiny ziploc bag in my sewing case, ever ready for that all important different colored button I cannot find the spare button for.

Incidentally, I keep all my spare buttons and threads (from the sweaters) in a specific box to make it easier for me to find when the need arises.  One of these days I will make something different with those buttons I have — maybe a fancy headband or what not.  One of these days.

Re-embellishing a favorite cardigan

I love cardigans.. don’t you?  I must have over a dozen of them — acquired through the years from the tiangges (marketplace) of Greenhills to Landmark and the other Glorietta stores, to Tan Gan (of which I’ve been a fan for over 2 decades!), to GAP, Ann Taylor to name a few.  They don’t get too much wear because of the changing of the seasons, so I can have a cardigan that’s years old in my closet but still look like I had just bought it.

It was maybe three summers ago that I had picked up a nice Joseph A cardigan from the sale rack at Macy’s which was a quarter sleeve piece with a button pattern on the front in place of the regular buttons and buttonholes.  It was a good way to use otherwise plain black buttons and pretty up a black cardigan.  The problem was that around a year after I had it, one of the buttons came off in the middle of the pattern, and a few others got loose.  I put the cardigan away with a mental note to repair the buttons, but seasons have come and gone and I forgot about it.

I was going through our winter stuff to get ready for the colder days when I found it in a pile and finally decided what I wanted to do.  “Off with the buttons!”.  The cardigan was of a very good sweater material and I didn’t want to just put it away.  I have decided to make this a project.  I’m thinking now if I should bead the cardigan with pearls or perhaps embellish it with fabric flowers or both.  Hmmmm… I’m sure the idea will hit me soon enough.

For now, I’m letting the thread holes “heal” by letting the cardigan “rest”.  That’s a project for another day.

CARDIGAN PROJECT: THEN

To be a Christian is not an easy task…

I remember my bestfriend, Fe, had related to me a comment by one of her dear friends, Roy, who had once said “It’s hard to be a Christian.”  I agree.  Sometimes, we know what is right and what we must do to be a good Christian, but it is a difficult choice to make because it is not easy.

Sometimes, giving in to anger is easier than holding it all in.  Or perhaps it’s simply because we just don’t have the strength to hold it in anymore.

I know it sounds cliche-ish to say “We are only human”.  But isn’t that the truth?

I don’t like getting angry because at my age, it drains me and saps me of energy.  It’s beyond emotional because it now manifests itself physically.  I shake, my head throbs, and when I calm down, I feel exhausted.

I remember when we were children, anger usually  meant tears.  It was a little girl’s frustration at not being able to do what she wanted, or at not getting what she needs.  Remember that commercial where a boy hears the jingling bell of the ice cream vendor, as the mamang sorbetero passes in front of his house, and he tries in vain to run after him but alas fails to catch him for a favorite treat.  You see the tears streaming down the boy’s face and the sheer anguish of it all — all because of the ice cream he was craving.

Now that we are grown up, we no longer cry when frustration creeps in.  We keep it in or we lash out.

I don’t like doing that anymore.  But again, I am not always successful in “keeping  it in”.

So I’m flushed, my temperature — and probably my blood pressure — are up.  I seek comfort in the familiar and in things I can do without further aggravating the situation.  That’s why I’m here at this unusual hour.

When the chest pains come, I back down.  Thank God there’s Angelo, there’s Alan.. and Fe and and friends like Roy who said that line totally unrelated to me that bring me back to calm.

As dusk creeps in..

Fall.

I think of the rich colors of autumn with anticipation.  (It literally made me smile as  I typed that line.)  It’s getting dark outside now, and the sun is getting ready to set.  So gone are the past 8pm sunsets that were characteristic of summer.

I keep thinking of wanting to walk in Central Park and take pictures to document the changing landscape.  It’s just a bus ride away, but it’s cold and there’s work and there’s just no time.

Our tree-lined streets at home are also changing colors.  Glorious hues of yellow and orange and red are beginning to show.  Two years ago, I amassed quite a portfolio of photographs of autumn.  I never got the chance to follow through with the succeeding year, but I am keeping my fingers crossed I will have better luck this time around.

It is the most dramatic of the seasons as you see a colorful and very physical change in the landscape — what with the trees shedding its leaves to prepare for the winter.

I arrived in New York ten years ago in the middle of summer, and saw how glorious fall can be in a tree-lined area where the grass was perpetually blanketed by oranges and yellows.  I collected leaves and pressed them between pages of my heavier books.  I still have some of them.  I also did collages of almost-dry leaves onto picture frames which I still have, although much of their color has faded.  I am hoping to experiment with preserving the color by using some resin coating on the surface once they are done.  Ambitious, I know.

I’m all “crafty” again, hoping to find the time to actually do some of these projects.

I had hoped to work on paper basket weaving during the summer, but fall is here and I have been unable to do that.  My scrapbook project is on hold, but I am at least gathering existing layouts and mementos.  Too many things on the planning board.

Halloween is just around the corner and I already have some fall decals on my windows.  This weekend, Alan is hoping to do some painting in the living room which means another major production.  Our home continues to take shape 8 years after we settled in — and we have many other projects lined up as we have made up our minds we’re staying put.

In the meantime, I’m keeping busy with the bracelet creations.. hoping to move on to necklaces soon.  Earrings are on hold (as I have a lot of them up for sale for now.)  There just aren’t enough hours in a day, but I am making do with what I can get.

When life throws you a curve ball

That expression comes to mind given the panic I had just been engulfed in the last hour or so after Angelo got home to an empty house.  My mother-in-law (I surmised,) had stepped out and probably forgot the time.   Our “sitter” who picks Angelo  up daily and drives him home was adamant about not leaving him unattended.  So I spoke with the downstairs neighbors and after some back and forth, we agreed they would “watch” over him.  He sat in their living room, our phone in hand.  So Alan rushed home, missing an important meeting he had specifically gone to work for today.  What can we do?

Angelo just called me to say Lola finally got home.  I figured she had gone out to buy Alan a present since it was his birthday.  So that’s a relief, considering I was actually imagining Alan might have to go looking for her if he got home and she was nowhere to be found.  You cannot fault the old lady for wanting to buy her son a present.  I know Alan is simmering inside, but I kept reminding him to keep his cool.

We’re supposed to go out and celebrate his birthday this evening with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.

At least my mother-in-law got home in one piece, and the drive will hopefully give Alan time to calm down as my own panic subsides.