My special place

I don’t know if it’s all the spam comments I’ve had to clean up from my inbox here, but I haven’t really had the chance to write.  I had already shut down the laptop and was getting ready to turn in when I felt a compelling urge to reboot and log in.

I know most people are writing about the holidays and the coming year but my heart and mind are not really into writing about that right now.  Not that the holiday spirit has not been “here”, but just because there are things that I can bear to think about but not write about.  So instead, I dwell on other things when it comes to writing.

I had stopped creating pieces over the holiday weekend but have done quite a bit in the last two days.  I just posted three bracelets today and am slated to add around 4 pieces at least tomorrow.  That is, if I can manage to actually take pictures and post them.

The snow is far from gone and this afternoon, I took a trek down to the local grocery, but not without dealing with the treacherous ice along the half-plowed walkways, and the streets still awash with mushy and dangerous ice.  The sun in its full splendor got tired early and sunset took a while but the grey skies eventually overtook us.

I had errands to do.  Ran out of rice, for one.  Thankfully, Goya now has a jasmine rice variety which should tide me over until I can get my usual milagrosa variety from the Asian store. So off I went with a shopping tote in tow, and little did I know there was a very treacherous obstacle course ahead of me.  But I made it.

Dinner was FreshDirect’s Meatballs and slow cooked Tomato sauce.  Yum for me.  Good enough for the hubby.  Without having to cook a full meal, I had time to deal with the paper punching and that’s the reason why I have pieces for posting.

Just before turning in, I grabbed the kindle and  I came upon this article in the New York Times.  A picture on the “frontpage” led me to a piece on Chris Cooley of the Washington Redskins 2who is better known as being the tight end of this football team but who has a passion for pottery.  I found his story inspiring, reaffirming why I bother to sit through my crafts day in and day out and late into the night or early morning.  It gives you something different to focus on and relieve the everyday stress and pressures of your otherwise “real” life.   (So he is into crafts and he blogs, too!)

I find myself constantly evolving and developing as an artist.  (I am suddenly forced to take pause and re-evaluate if I can indeed call myself an artisan?)  My creative process keeps changing.  Whenever I go back to the pieces I had created from when I started out a year ago, I find such a big difference in terms of what I had come up with then and what I am creating now.  That in itself is a journey.

My journey for the day has ended.  I must rest now and get ready for another day in the real world, punctuated by visits to my special place where I sit and create things.

Thoughts over lunch

I keep hearing the opening lines of “Merry Christmas, Darling” in my head and the late Karen Carpenter ‘s image floating above the music but I haven’t sent my Christmas cards — yet.   (I haven’t actually made them as yet.) 

My tree IS up with all the lights but I am in the midst of trying to decide which ornaments will go up this year and how much I will actually put up.  I kind of like the way the tree is all lit up and “sparkly” as Angelo would say.  I haven’t even  gone beyond my Christmas card dilemma and my tree decorating decision and my brain is not working this way or that.  It would’ve been nice to stay home but there is work.  (So I’m doing this in the midst of enjoying my arroz caldo leftovers for lunch.)

It just hit me as I started writing this that it’s my first christmas without Dad.

{pause}

{sigh}

I thought I’d write about it as part of my way of coping with the new reality of having one parent less around.  At least I did get to see him last year, even if it was in the midst of another health crisis.  I got to stay in Manila a month and spend my first ever real Christmas and New Years with my family after 10 years… or almost. 

There’s really not much to miss physically as our family has always spent Christmas without him there during the customary noche buena.  It’s just that knot that never goes away — that part of you that aches and throbs within.

I miss him.  But I am glad that we got the chance to spend this much time with him, no matter how trying our circumstances as a family were.  Some of the pain he caused lingers — and there are the unanswered questions in my mind and heart.  He still makes me cry.  I think of him and I think of his girlfriend.  I remember the woman who brought so much pain into our lives.  Even now as I write, I struggle with that thought and try not to give in to the anger.

If anything, Dad’s passing brought my siblings and I closer to my half-sister.  Dad would be so happy wherever he is seeing that finally happen.  I am not angry with my father.  The Daddy’s Girl that I always will be just can’t make me get to that point where my pain turns to anger.  I do miss him dearly.

“Merry Christmas, Dad.. We’re apart, that’s true.  But I can dream, and in my dreams, I’m Christmasing with you…”

Ending my weekend

(THIS POST WAS WRITTEN LAST SUNDAY BUT WAS NOT PUBLISHED UNTIL TODAY, WEDNESDAY.)

It’s been a rather productive weekend but one which I wish had an extra twenty-four hours more.  I’m whining again — but this time, doing it with a smile.  I think it’s been a good weekend work-wise.  I managed to spend much of my Sunday “punching away” after getting a Marvy Uchida Mega circle puncher from my favorite Michael’s, but I broke the sweet little gadget within my first two hours of using it.  (Dang!)  So what I did was to disassemble it and find what was wrong in an attempt to repair it.  No luck.  Now I know that the puncher, big as it may seem, can actually only handle one cardstock sheet at a time.  I tried to do two.  Something broke inside which was not repairable.

Now I’m punching away with a slight difficulty, but the important thing is that the puncher IS working.  And the valuable lesson learned will hopefully not lead to another broken puncher next time.

I’ve taken to collecting those paint swatch chips at Home Depot or Lowes whenever we are there, and I managed to create these two-color circle gift tags with recycled (or for some, “up cycled”) kraft paper from those brown shopping bags.  I’m might proud of the result.  (Picture coming as I don’t have my single hole puncher here at home, and I am trying to get the glue to set.)

I know I’m making my gift tags for sale a little late, but these experiments will hopefully lead to more lessons learned and better products.

In search of…

I am searching for a 1″ square punch which should be relatively easy to find but which is proving to be quite a challenge.  (audible sigh)  For something so simple and non-fussy, it seems to be so hard to nail it down.  Even Michael’s in Garden City (MY Michael’s store) didn’t have it in stock.  So I went off to my last resort: Online.

Amazon.com has it and can give me free shipping with it’s usual $25 minimum, but for some reason, even the big and might cyber retailer cannot commit to next day shipping as “item might need 1-2 days to process”.  No good. Toys R’ Us offers scrapbooking supplies but alas, no square punch in the right size, and no, the product is NOT offered in store.  And even FAO Schwartz, our esteemed NY toy store to visit offers the line, but again, NOT in store.  And what’s worse, it takes 2-3 days for the item to leave the store, so it looks like there’s no way I will get this in time.  (Another audible sigh.)

I am thinking of braving the Michael’s store in Manhattan but it’s in the 90s, and then there’s the one in Woodside, but I’m stuck commuting so I am not too sure I want to brave that kind of an adventure on a flurry-laiden day like today.  (Twiddling fingers on the table..)

Google, though, brought something totally unexpected my way which, in turn, brought me here.  It was THAT good a find.

I stumbled across Balzer Designs which is just a treasure trove of ideas and creative inspiration.  While I don’t consider myself anything or anywhere near this artistic genius, I thought it was worth sharing to those who might look to this space for ideas.

Go visit when you have the chance.  I have to keep this short because I need to do my own browsing and try to get to know Julie!

Creative Inspiration Stop: Balzer Designs