In the Mail: Postcards, Artist Trading Cards and a whole lot of artsy love

I felt triumphant when I handed our mailroom clerk what must’ve been a dozen items to mail yesterday — packed, addressed and stamped over the weekend.. A smattering of postcards and artist trading cards, headed in various directions, covering swaps due from before the weekend to the middle of this week. (The snow storm threw me off schedule, and the boys caught the flu bug — the Dad gave it to the son. Sigh.. Thankfully, they’re feeling better..)

With that done, I am being very selective about joining any more Artist Trading Card swaps. I kind of like the calm of knowing that I am not trying to catch a swap deadline. Plus, not all swaps turn out to be “happy trades” because I’ve received Artist Trading Cards that my almost 9-year-old can produce. When I get those types of ATCs, I just tell myself “THAT is their personal art,” which I respect — and that’s that. What has made it worthwhile, though, are the many real works of art I’ve received in this tiny canvas of 2.5″ x 3.5″.

In the mail went these “Maria Clara” ATCs for a swap entitled “My Favorite Country” which is, of course, “home” for me: The Philippines. This was a challenge to pull together given that while I modelled it after paper dolls I found online, I didn’t exactly have a template to work with. I will try and produce a template based on this, giving credit where credit is due, of course, and post it in my craft blog, Gotham Chick. (And I’m starting a fresh blog here on wordpress — so please do visit.). To identify the country, I added a used Pilipinas postage stamp.

Then there was the Crafty ATC series which, for this round, did a “Stamp it!” Theme.  “Stamp” being a graphic stamping on the ATC and not a postage stamp.  (I’ve participated in that, too.). This one’s another project I hope to make a tutorial of  as I produced the background by “double printing” on repurposed brown grocery bags, sealed with a double coating of gloss mod podge.   

And finally, a gory “My Bloody Valentine” which didn’t necessarily need to involve blood but which, per the swap’s description, had to be a ” creepy Valentine.”  So I did a black heart, tore it up into three, stapled, fastened with a safety pin and sewed down the middle with twine.  Aptly titled “Broken Heart”.

ATC: Group: Paper Kutz - My bloody Valentine 3ATC: Group: Paper Kutz - My bloody Valentine 2ATC: Group: Paper Kutz - My bloody Valentine 1

No, I didn’t stay up all night producing these cards.  They were completed over a period of a week, but I can’t be doing this every night.  Hence, the resolve to slow down with the Artist Trading Card swaps.

I’ve been busy creating for the Etsy Shop and my first batch of “Faith” series necklaces should be up by next week.  More on that later… after I’m sure my glass dome pendants are holding up well.

Five things to do this (stormy) weekend (2/9-10)

The storm has hit a momentary lull — I’m not being fooled, though.  I know these things come and go, but the forecast is all night — and there is already a lot of snow on the ground as it is.

I only went to work in the morning but I feel exhausted and I had a splitting headache by the time I got home before 2pm.  Still, I managed to do some crafting creating Marian pendants, and I’m halfway through — just have to attach the glass domes into its metal settings.

Here’s my to-do list for this week:

1.  LIFE 4×6: Organize, date, journal (where necessary) and photograph the entries.

2.  Create more handmade cards (I have more brown paper bags that I’ve cut up and printed on).

3.  List more items in THE SHOP: Gothamchick on Etsy.

4.  Organize my swaps for mailing.

5.  Paint my nails.

I want to write here about my newfound friend, Kayenderes, a retired native American crafter from Canada, about what I do on Swap-bot, an interesting lunch with a work colleague..

Can we jump to summer please?

DIY: Handmade card printed on a brown bag and tag embellishments (+Lunch)

The last two days have been very hectic and busy — but today, I just took a step back and let myself recharge.  Here’s another handmade card with words of inspiration I picked up online:

Handmade Card: Brown Bag print: LIVE LIFE

Handmade card: Dedication within


Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peek into what I had for lunch today, courtesy of the Thai food cart on 43rd close to the corner of 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas.)  I thought I’d eat something light.. Care for some?

LUNCH: Thai Style Dumplings
LUNCH: Uber spicy Green Papaya Salad

Beads and postcards on a lazy Sunday

While most of my part of the world is all agog about SuperBowl Sunday, we slept through the afternoon lazily, just enjoying the time to relax.  My back is giving me problems — and I always welcome the chance to recharge which I cannot do as leisurely as I can on weekdays.  Lunch was at almost 4pm — thanks to Pizza Hut.

I had a most disturbing dream, though, about a favorite “niece” (although she is the daughter of a friend and not a blood relative).  Stranger still, I was in Manila.  Well, thinking of Manila is nothing new.  Dreaming of it is.  So I’m making a mental note to write my dear Evita later and ask how she’s doing.

I am also trying to get my creations going, so I sorted through a shoe-box full of odds and ends I had dumped together while cleaning up my work space.  Sorting through the various head and eyepins (that little pin-like metal object that you string beads with) took the early afternoon.  I tried to set aside the half-finished rosary bracelets I had as well which I hope to post in the shop after finishing them and photographing the pieces.  By the time I finished, the sandman was calling.  At my age, I’ve learned that it’s easier to just give in rather than fight it — and it’s more beneficial to me when I let myself take a moment to recharge by closing my eyes for a nap..

I’ve learned to embrace aging gracefully by acepting my limitations while trying to continue to live a productive life.  While I have done rather poorly in terms of managing my weight, I console myself with the thought that that has been a life-long struggle for me. I’ll get to it yet, if only to try and prevent the onset of diseases relating to aging and weight gain.  Something tells me my back problem is, in part, the result of the weight my spine has been punished with.

It’s getting dark outside as the sun is getting ready to set.  The thin layer of snow on the ground is beginning to melt.  It’s still freezing cold, and I just hope that’s all the snow we’re getting.  I have never stopped to marvel how nature maintains a balance and the creatures outside seem to go on unaffected by the brutal cold, being that I can hear birds chirping outside as if it was just any other day.

My first month of Life 4×6 is done, but I’m pulling together the photos with captions and labels.  I still haven’t quite decided how I will pull it into an album.  The 12-photo spread of the regular albums really seems too big, but to go any smaller would mean doing more albums.

I had drafted an extensive post on this the last few days, but since I’m not quite done yet, I’ve held off.  In due time.

ATC: Heart ATC 1Meanwhile, I’ve successfully slowed down on the ATC swaps.  My friend CuriosaKat whom I had bumped into at a Postcrossing Philippines group on Facebook had suggested I join the group.  It’s been a most interesting ride through the last 6 months and quite a learning experience.  Postcard collecting and exchanges have changed radically in the past few years, and I’ve had my bumps and scrapes in returning to active trading but I think I’ve managed to get into a manageable rhythm now.

I gave Postcrossing a try, but to those used to the more defined method of collecting postcards, it can get tiring and costly without the satisfaction of acquiring that which you collect.  It’s good if you are after volume, but I’ve been there, done that.   It would have been something I would’ve embraced enthusiastically when I started collecting almost 30 years ago, but at this point, I want to confine myself to the particular collecting interests I have identified.

Volume is one way to find satisfaction in trades, and if the idea is for you to collect from every possible postmark or country, then Postcrossing is for you.  But if you prefer to receive your postcards unstamped and “naked” in an envelope, then you’re better off with the private swaps or in swap forums like .

I participate in the swaps mostly to help me find a new home for the postcards I don’t need.  New York is such a tourist haven that we can never have enough supplies of the so-called touristy postcards, but when you’re sending out to a select group, it makes it imperative that you get a little creative sourcing your postcards.  It also gives me a chance to check out the different offerings for my own collection of “anything New York,” be it modern or vintage.

Postcards from Philippines, The: Map 3So what do I collect?  Maps have always been of special interest to me, although even that particular collecting interest has been “refined”.  Some postcard map collectors will accept street views as “map postcards”, and I used to include that in my collection.  In fine tuning my “wants”, though, I have decided actual state or city or country maps which shows a land formation or routes instead of those implied by streets on a postcard were what I wanted.

To date, I have at least one map from each state (yes, even the more elusive ones), but I have come to discover that there are multiple variations to each state, not only terms of design, but also in size.  So there are states which I have a half dozen different designs for.  Even the Philippines where I come from has produced several map postcards, beyond the very first ones we used to trade in the 80s.  I am still trying to find the time to photograph (as against scanning) the collection, but I’ve managed to upload a few in this album on my Flickr account.

If I were to identify which part of postcard collecting I find most fulfilling, I would have to say it’s going through my vintage postcard collection.  Browsing the prices on Ebay makes me think of putting up my postcards on the auction site, but that is also what makes me want to keep them all the more.

Although my vintage postcard collecting interest is confined to Maps, Lighthouses, New York, The Philippines, Paris and the places we have visited (like Bruge and Brussels in Belgium and Chartres in France), I have somehow amassed a pile of other vintage postcards I need to find a home for.  Soon enough.  I just sent one I successful dated to a fellow postcard collector in Pampanga in the Philippines, something printed in the 30s. (!)

Collecting?  Drop me an e-mail at my postcard collecting account aptly named

Friday to Friday… A belated list of five things to do this weekend (Feb 2/3)

I had meant to do this list yesterday but work overtook me.  I had taken the morning off to attend a workshop in Angelo’s school meant to give guidance on statewide tests coming up this April.  (Our first year as the tests are administered from third grade onwards.)

I ended up in the city noonish, lost my blackberry between the bus to Manhattan and settling down at my desk (which was replaced before I left for the day) and got home in time for my usual Friday dinner date with my favorite guy.  I also got busy sorting some crafting supplies and raring to start creating!

Here’s my progress report from the previous week’s list segueing to this weekend’s list:

1.  Yes, I successfully started the multi-page Art Journal Every Day entry which I am going to be working on more this weekend.

2.  I didn’t get to create that piece of jewelry nor post anything in the Etsy shop but I am going to do a listing before the night is out.  And I finally found the correct crystal configuration to fit this gorgeous cross setting I’ve been working hard on completing the last couple of months (!), so who knows?  I might actually get to create something for me.. and maybe for the shop.

3. I have been doing the writing and hope to keep at it.  At least one handmade card in the works, and I really need to get those birthday cards out.

4. I am into Chapter IV of Grisham’s The Associate and progressing rather well.  (Big hooray for that!)

5. I sorted a heap of vintage postcards and have identified almost a dozen vintage cards I might offer to swap in the postcard groups — antiques from Mexico, Bermuda, Miami, etc.  I’ve set aside the ones from New York or about New York, and will put them in the with rest.  (Getting there, getting there.)

I’ve been lounging on the sofa trying to watch Season 1 of “Homeland” which is all the craze these days because of the buzz and awards the show has gotten.  The thing is that it’s on cable for pay and we don’t have the channel so we’re doing a catch -up a season late and I’ve so far gone through five episodes.  I’m hooked.

I’ve always liked Damian Lewis and was sad when “Life” didn’t make it beyond its two season run, and sad that he returned via Showtime which I didn’t have easy access to.  (We prefer to pay for the Filipino channels extra. =)  But this is quite the come back.

Dinner time for me and the boy for now… and creating later!