Work in Progress: Philippine Map Postcard with Lupang Hinirang in the background

Work in progress: Philippine Map Postcard

I’ve been trying to do this during breaks and when I can find a quiet moment to sit.  Even in the water park, I sat on a deck chair and scribbled.  It took three tries before I got the whole anthem to fit on the sheet, and now I know how big (or how small) the lettering should be on my postcard.  It’s not quite finished though, yet.  I have to fill in some ‘unpainted’ gaps on the paper and again apply the distress ink on the edges.  Or not.

I went back to work today and had to rush through a book I had to pull together for the boss.  I literally had to tell people to call tomorrow or next week to follow up on other requests because I had no energy to tackle anything else besides focus on the boss.  We had a few good laughs — and laughter on a busy day is always good. 

I wanted to try my hand on the daily prompt but it would’ve taken my 100 % concentration to muster a coherent post given the task.  So I just let it go. 

I’m busy trying to make my mind up about going on a personal field trip (again) to see a craft fair show, this time in West Springfield, MA on Sunday.  I can do it by bus but it would mean getting to the city before 8AM.  The trip will take around 3 1/2 hours, which is good — because it means I don’t have the whole day to browse and do damage to my bank account. LOL  I’m just a little reluctant because the boy has a project due on Monday.  I guess it all depends on how much we get to accomplish this Saturday.

I wanted to be able to get more dies (to use with my die-cutter) and spray inks, etc.  I wanted to see more demos and more stores… (I’m starting to feel giddy happy just thinking about it.)

The thing is I’m on solo duty until Saturday evening.  I would’ve gone Saturday, but I have to stay home.  Oh, well.. at least it’s Friday — finally!



Daily Prompt: Say Your Name

Today’s Daily Prompt:  Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

I’m trying to figure out how to write this post without revealing my full name. (So much for preserving a semblance of privacy.)

My mom always made it known that she was not the source of my name.  My paternal grandmother had “dictated” the name and she was powerless to do anything about it.  Because it was a non-Christian name, too, (not of any saint), I was forced to take on “Maria” before the “Dinna” to make it “Catholicized”.  (Such was the rule back in the Philippines in the 60s.  My son, luckily was named “Salvador Angelo”, and while I am not aware of a Saint Salvatorre — ?– I guess “Angelo” did it for us.)

So Maria Dinna I became.  But we’re getting ahead of the story.

“Dinna” was the name of choice because there was a popular singer at the time with this name in Manila.  (So why are we surprised that there are a ton of Britney’s who are now in their teens?)

Except for the fact that many would mispell my name with one “N” (which a friend of mine has such a fascination for), or that they would later have a problem pronouncing it when I moved to the US (they couldn’t quite figure if they were to pronounce it as  short “1” or a short “e”), I kind of grew into it and owned it.  So no, I would not choose another name for myself.

I never really had any problems with the name personally, but my story about the name took on a twist when I got married.

It didn’t occur to me until before I was to take on my husband’s name that my grandmother’s wish had come to fruition.  She not only got the “Dinna” from the popular singer then, but she got the full name of this lady I was named after with my married surname.  Talk about a twist, and of wishes coming true.

Memorial Day, a Family Trip and Revolution

In my attempts to try and keep posting every day, I’ve decided to just scribble randomly when the inspiration or the energy escapes me.

Memorial Day in the US today.  Even if I am an immigrant here, I am grateful.

We went on an overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Pocono Mountains, and the boy is totally exhausted.

I am, too.

What better way to end the day but with Revolution?  If they turn on the power, it’s the end of the show.

I’m tired, but a happy kind of tired.  We have another day at the water park tomorrow and I’m treating myself to the spa in the morning.  My hands and feet can’t wait. =)

My Journey back from black

Today’s daily prompt from The Daily Post:   Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.

This post is vague and cryptic in many places but I know that those who are undergoing a kind of healing, whether physical, emotional or going through a process of grieving will be able to relate.  This was rather difficult to write but I am glad I wrote it as part of my own journey.

Back from BlackThere are many journeys I can write about but they don’t speak to me as the topic for this post.    It just seems apt that I pick  one I am on right now.  One that I have been on for the last year.

“The last year” ..  I realize now it’s been THAT long.. the journey “TO” took all of a half year before that.  It was long, painful and heart-breaking.  To move on meant starting the journey back instead of letting my heart wither away in shame and pain. 

Being human, we make mistakes.   And when we come to that monumental mistake where others get hurt, and when others hurt us for the wrong choice we made, not even our remorse and our own pain helps ease the burden of trying to pick up the pieces again when we find ourselves all alone, despite the promise that we would never be.

I had always thought I was a very strong person.  That no matter what came my way, I would find the strength within to pick up the pieces and move on.  I didn’t know that my own folly would be my undoing.  I didn’t realize that my heart was not unbreakable and that in truth, it shattered like anyone else’s.  And that I was not immune to the heartbreak that saw my soul broken into a million pieces and it would probably take a lifetime to put it back together again — if that were even possible. 

My journey took me to a searing blackness.  A darkness that could’ve swallowed me if I had let it.

But I could not let myself just disappear into nothingness.  I had a reason to keep going and because of that, I focused what strength I had left to put one foot in front of the other, a step at a time.  The world goes on, I kept telling myself.  My sins notwithstanding, even with my head bowed down in shame, I found the will to move forward from day to day to day. 

A year has passed.  I am where I was last year that I am not.  My view of the world and the future has changed.  I no longer look too far ahead.  It’s day to day.  I am still trying to find the wisdom to find forgiveness — so that I may be able to forgive myself.  Throughout the journey and even as I trudge on now, I have become my most scathing critic, my worst enemy.  I blame myself for the pain and all that had been lost.

I am no longer the same person.  I’d like to think I’m wiser now, but wiser does not equate to “better”.  

I have retreated into my shell and I find myself bowing my head in resignation.  I no longer ask questions.  I have lost that right.  I have stopped trying to bridge what lines may have been broken —  I have realized no effort on my part would make that happen, and I have no more energy left to keep trying.  Where I would usually raise a ruckus, I just tune out and tell myself I should let it go.  I should just take the blows.

I haven’t quite given up on on my journey back — back to myself.  Hoping that one day I will find forgiveness, and I will no longer be so angry at myself for the wrong choices I had made.  I find the fuel to keep my engine running in a conscious effort to keep myself immersed in happy thoughts where I can find them, while shoving memories that bring me from happy to miserable in a snap deeper into the closets of my mind.  I have tried to focus my energy on undertakings that take me closer to doing things that have meaning to me, hoping to put together what I can from the shards of the me that I lost then.

Even if I am broken, the world goes on.  I marvel at how time has flown by.  One year and then some… I have laughed, lived and breathed — I somehow made it to now.  Yet in those moment of silence when I am alone with my own thoughts —  my anger surfaces again, and I feel a rock where my heart used to be. I curse, I blame, I give in to anger.  And I snap out of it and I am back to the reality of my world.  No matter what state I may be in, I tell myself, the world goes on.

I’m beginning to see the light.  It’s no longer as dark as it used to be.  There is a glimmer in the distance which gives me hope that I will find myself in a better place someday.  Perhaps even better enough to finally forgive myself, and better even if not whole again.  I know many of the things I had lost, I will never get back again.  I am no longer as trusting and as quick to laugh.  When I do laugh, I don’t laugh with as much energy and not long after, I sink into a half-smile as if realizing I shouldn’t be fooling myself into thinking all is well.

Where I used to see myself celebrating in a crowd, now I see a desolate island, with only the sound of the waves breaking the unbearable silence.

So I go on with the journey…  I don’t know where the road leads to or where the end of the journey is.  But with all that’s happened, I think what’s more important is that I’m still on this journey somehow.  And I still find myself smiling from time to time, even if only a wan smile.   I may have had the door shut in my face, but not all those doors stayed shut forever.  One opened again and let me in, even if only to keep myself warm through the night.  There is tomorrow’s sunrise to look forward to — as I go through the journey another day, as I continue my journey back from black.

Mail Art Postcard Series: Philippine Map 1 (Zentangled Background)

I’m trying to be more focused about what personal art I indulge in.  One of the things that I have decided to keep doing is make my own postcards for trading.  It’s just that I had decided to confine the effort to drawing Philippine Map postcards, the first of which is pictured below.

Mail Art Postcard: Philippine Map 1

I have 10 templates ready for drawing and one uncolored print out for reference. You can read about the process I followed to create this and the materials I used at Gotham Chick.  It’s something anyone can come up with given enough imagination and the patience to draw in the zentangle patterns which I went to Tangle Patterns to for reference.

I have a short list of people to send the first 5 to 6 postcards but if you’re interested to be put on the distribution list, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox at  I’m sending out the actual artwork and keeping a digital copy for my own files.  This is a long-term project and it takes me anywhere from one hour to one day or more to complete one piece, but I’m going to try to send out at least two a week.  This plus the JOURNAL ON A JOURNEY should keep me creatively busy. 

I want to start sending the out by the middle of the month and keep going from there.  The means by which the Philippine map is shown might change in time, but being a map postcard collector, this is of special significance to me.  I had meant to be actively trading postcards again, but that has slowed down because of other swaps.  That is why I’ve made a decision to confine my swaps to minimal effort undertakings so that I veer away from the pressure.

I’ve greatly enjoyed exchanging postcards with the fellow-Pinoy postcard collectors over at the Facebook Postcrossing Philippines group.  I don’t really care much what is sent to me, but I enjoy sending back postcards to help their individual collections grow.

Postcard collecting has changed through the years — be it my own collecting method and interests to what is the norm these days.  Postcrossing has become rather popular in recent years, although this would work for those collectors who are trying to grow their collection in terms of size of postcards received or countries received from.  My collection was initially geared that way, but I had long since confined my collection to anything Philippines (meaning vintage, new, unused and stamped), anything New York, Maps, lighthouses and anything Paris.  (That’s the francophile in me.)

This is but another “variation” of my collecting method — sending out my own map postcards of the country where I was born and raised it.

Raine Sarmiento: I Paint the Roses Blue

Apologies to Raine Sarmiento for mixing her up with Raine Tobias, but I got an e-mail invite to the event below.  Apologies to Raine  whom I bumped ito  at a local Philippine Postcrossing Facebook group and with whom I  have been corresponding with  via postcards.  I realize now my connection to Ms. Sarmiento is probably through Etsy. Apologies but still endorsing!

Raine Sarmiento at the LittleLitFest

She’s a lady of many talents — our local artists need our support and I encourage you to go and meet her and see her body of work at this event sponsored by the National Book Development Board on May 31, 2013 at the Museo Pambata.  I have already contacted her to get a set of her postcards and at least one autographed one.  I am truly honored to know this young lady… good luck, Raine!

Journal on a Journey: A Progress Report

If you’re reading about my Journal on a Journey project for the the first time and you’re interested to find out what it’s all about, please go to this page where I have the mechanics and will regularly post updates.

I have realized that my composition notebook is not going to go very far or will not hold up too well through the wear and tear that this journal(s) is(/are) supposed to go through.  So I have scrapped the idea of using composition notebooks.  The paper was also too thin that writing with a regular fine point signpen caused some blotting to bleed through to the back page.  I’m not a fan of that.

As an alternative, I’m actually creating several decorated pages I will reproduce randomly in the different journals I’m creating for this project, printed/drawn on good paper stock legal sized paper which I will sew into a journal of around 100 pages.  (Ambitious, yeah!)  I guess the stitch piercer tool I bought two weekends ago has inspired me to be brave and makes me think it’s going to be easy.  (We’ll soon find out, won’t we?)

I’m cutting magazines and doing collages.  There are some catch phrases, quotes and others I will literally draw.  This will make each journal unique and different from the next.  It also gives me a chance to use some of my stock art work like previous letterings, doodles, ATCs, etc. and it will also give me a new excuse to create more — not that I need one.

I know there are a lot of text journalers out there who would welcome the chance to participate in this project.  Our goal is to see how far the journals can travel before being filled and what kinds of entries find their way into its pages.  I will write one journal entry somewhere in each journal, not necessarily as a starter entry.  Art journalers are also welcome, or even photojournalers.  It’s very free form with only a few rules, the most important of which is that you are committing to write an entry and return the journal to me. 

Any ideas on what you would want to see in this journal?  Email me at or leave a comment here.  Let’s see what we can come up with together.

Daily Prompt: Goals

When you started your blog, did you set any goals?  Have you achieved them? Have they changed at all?

I started this blog in August 2004 although I already had an online journal in my private domain, sans the blog interface.  I did the page layouts via longhand html and tried to write on focused topics revolving around my life and interests here in New York.

As I’ve repeated time and time again, I blog for the selfish reason of wanting to keep an online diary of my life.  This blog is and has always been for my own benefit.  I am happy to see others find something amusing, educational, or helpful in what I share in my little corner of the blogsphere here, but I speak in my own voice, and I speak about my own thoughts and feelings.

In August 2004, my son was months old and part of my fascination with motherhood was my desire (bordering on obsession) to document everything about him and me.  In many ways, his coming into my life inspired me to be more diligent about writing, because there was suddenly so much to write about.

I write very spontaneously and let the words come freely.  I censor myself only to maintain a semblance of privacy, but as those w ho have read me regularly say, there’s a brutal honesty in the posts.  From time to time I find myself going back to something I had written about and I feel as though I’m pulling a book out of a shelf and reliving the feeing as I read the words I had once read.

I had tried to write to bring in more readers  or to write for remuneration, but in the end I gave it up to return to the spontaneity that I am used to.  I am part of affiliate networks, but I hardly, if ever, utilize the membership to try and bring in some revenue.  Good if I do, okay if I don’t.  I have long ago realized that to continue doing what I’m doing — writing for and about me — going commercial was  not an option.

After almost a decade, I’ve stopped writing “other” blogs, focusing only on this site and my craft blog, Gotham Chick, which is actually slipping into limbo for inactivity.  (I keep promising to revive it and post more regularly there.)  The only reason I’m keeping that separate is I want to have a blog dedicated to my crafts and provide a springboard for advertising for my Etsy store with the same name.

Almost ten years now to the day that I started blogging, I am proud to say I’ve stayed true to form, growing as a blogger but always keeping my personal goal of being able to document my life and to write about the things that matter to me.  My blog continues to be the embodiment of who I am — here, you become a part of my life.  You see where I’ve been, what I do, and what silly or profound thoughts are running through my head.  You see the things I see in the photographs I post.  If you are a regular reader, then in many ways, you know me very well by now.

I just wanted to write.  And here I am still doing that.  The recent move to wordpress has helped me to want to be better at writing and blogging in general — but my goal remains the same: to write for and about myself.  I have enjoyed the freedom of being able to express myself — and I can say that I have achieved the goal, and nothing has changed.  I am proud to say that my blog has kept its focus through the years, and I don’t see myself veering away from that towards another .  When that happens, I will probably close the doors of my tiny place and bid the blogsphere farewell to start a new journey under a new banner.

Another “almost midnight” post

I just got back from Chicago and have been busy uploading pictures the last two hours.  (Reviewed the pics on the memory card, edited and “doctored” what needed to be doctored and uploaded, tagged and captioned what I had the energy to write one for.)  I thought I’d be asleep an hour ago but I wanted to upload the pictures of Cousin M’s wedding.

The weekend in Chicago was much too short.  We arrived Friday noon, went around Chicago, got back to our hotel, had to nurse the boy’s fever, went to brunch with Lou, (THANK YOU!!!) and then had the wedding.  The next day (today), it was back to New York for me and the tyke.

I have a ton to write about family, trips with my little guy, the wedding, spanks and cleavage, Chicago’s fabulous Magnificent Mile, the architectural cruise, and my upcoming week with family coming to NYC.  But I have work tomorrow.   And I forgot — postcards.. I have to write about postcards.

I loved the windy city! 

Chicago Skyline while on the architectural cruise