Maraming salamat sa inyong pagtangkilik (Thank you for your patronage)

For the past couple of days, views from readers in the Philippines have exceeded views from this side of the world and elsewhere which I find heartening for many reasons.  However, I find it sad that I have yet to hear a peep from these kababayans who have honored my humble space here a visit.

Magsalita naman kayo at paunlakan ang aking paanyaya na kayo’y magparamdam sa pamamagitan ng pagsulat ng ilang kataga dito sa tahanan ni Pinay New Yorker.  (Please speak up and accept my invitation to have your presence known by writing a comment here in Pinay New Yorker’s home.)  And of course, the invitation is being extended to everyone else.. I’d love to hear from Saudia Arabia, Germany, Ireland (who is probably my fellow-Pinay, Mara)… I love all visitors, but fellow Filipinos — no matter wherever you may be — will always be special.  (Right, Lou and Mara?)

The new Michael's at Fresh MeadowsI’ve had a pretty productive weekend so far, but of course, I wish I could do more.    For starters, I visited the brand new Michael’s over at the corner of 187th Street and Horace Harding Expressway.  It is a rather huge store, but maybe because it’s newly opened, it didn’t feel quite as “fully stocked” as the bigger stores I go to in Long Island or in Manhattan.  Both were a trek for me (yes, even the one in Manhattan, considering it meant a commute from 42nd to 100th street!), and this is a welcome addition to the stores in the area where I live.

I’m hoping they eventually get fully stocked in the months to come, because I missed a lot of the usual items in the different departments.  (No ATC sleeves or cards, no Ranger DYC-33943 Dyan Reaveley’s Dylusions Collection Ink Spray, in Vibrant Turquoise that I was hoping to add to my set of ink sprays, very limited selection of rubber and acrylic stamps, etc.)  Let’s give the store a few more weeks to stock its shelves sufficiently.  All the same, I’m overjoyed!  I might finally get to take classes onsite like I had always hoped to,  but the Long Island branch was a 20-30 minute drive.  I did manage to grab some paper packs and polymer clay which were on sale for $1 each.  (Can’t beat THAT bargain.)

Happiness!  Can’t wait to get crafting again.  I’ve posted about the pressed flower experiment I did Friday which I can’t wait to “uncover” on Monday.  It’s not so much the actual pressing of the rose and hydrangea petals (which most crafters can do with their eyes closed), but rather the timing in the cut flower’s life that it is being done to produce a desired effect.  I pressed the rose petals while they were nowhere near dry to fully flatten them.  Do visit my craft blog, GOTHAM CHICK to read more about the craft projects in more detail.  (You can also keep track of new posts  there through the Gotham Chick widget on the right hand side of this space.)

I’ve just been sidetracked by a project / business my sister and I are getting into.  I’m helping her pull together a website to sell some items back home in Manila.  I hope to start work on a series of Mega (Big) Artist Trading Swaps that will be due end of the month.  I don’t want to be late, so I’m going to start on the backgrounds at least tomorrow.  I tend to do multi-process collage ATCs and the one I’m thinking of doing for this swap is something just like that.  It’s still a long ways away, but I don’t want to be late.

I had kept away from the ATC swaps because my two poor ratings on Swap-bot.com were a result of delays with ATC swaps.  That’s why I’m trying to get a headstart on the whole swap.  Click here to view some of the ATCs I’ve created.

I have two more posts here on draft mode so let me get going so I can get them published here eventually instead of languishing in draft mode.  I hope everyone’s having a good weekend… mine has been good so far. =)

Five things I hope to accomplish this weekend

One reason I like Fridays: Saturday is really the only day I can sleep in and I like waking up just a little later than usual — closer to 9am.  I’m not going to stretch it to that late tomorrow because we need to start doing errands early, but I’m going to try and NOT wake up til after 7am.

Setting goals to keep my focus straight over the weekend.  So what do I hope to accomplish?

ATC: Zentangled Q with watercolor background1.  Send out my only ATC due this weekend – Zentangled “A”.  I do my zentangled Artist Trading Cards a certain way which I guess is meant to give it my own signature.  I use a pre-painted watercolor background, zentangle the background and then do the actual letter in plain black and white.  I don’t render the actual letter in tangle patterns but instead use the “shell” of a font in outline form and draw within.  I’m almost done with the background, so it’s just the alpha.  The one pictured here was submitted to a similar swap last year.  I’m hoping to do the whole alphabet with this group so soon as I’m done with the “A”, I’m starting the “B”.

2.  Finish the cards I hope to send and at least one letter to write.

3.  Close the box of Christmas Ornaments and tape it up for next year.

4.  Post a new item for sale in my Etsy shop.

5.  Work on my Art Journal Every Day cover.

I’m keeping it short and sweet to make it more doable and achievable.  Can’t wait for my weekend to begin!

Artist Trading Card: Vintage Geisha 1

ATC: Asian-Oriental LadiesSo I initially wanted something like an origami geisha which I had seen in different websites, but finding the diagram to work with proved to be a bit of a challenge despite a nice small pack of origami paper.  I decided not to push it instead of risking not meeting the deadline.

For the background, I used Japanese calligraphy on a vintage postcard which I printed as is and then painted over (again) with gold acrylic paint.  I chose the photo from online pictures of vintage geishas and cut it out, decorating the card first with cutouts from chiyogami paper.  Ta-da!

Not much, I know, but I’m trying to develop better techniques.  For this swap, I had to create two of the same or similar cards — so the floral accents differed, but the lady and the background stayed the same.

I’m looking to create those origami geishas one of these days.  I haven’t stopped researching for diagrams and/or instructions.

This ATC is so titled because I have three different images of vintage geishas I want to work with.  There will be another two sets coming, swap or no swap.

Artist Trading Card: LONDON

A Famous City ATC #2 - LondonI’m pretty proud of this particular ATC and I’m hoping to duplicate it except for the stamp of which I had only one, although I have a 5p denomination.  Traded at swap.bot for the “A FAMOUS ATC #2 – London”.

We were given instructions to create an artist trading card of a specified famous city, and while I missed the first go-around, I’m hoping to complete all. I’m putting together a “how I did it” post in the other blog.  Watch out for that.

Meanwhile, I’m already working on the next one: Tokyo!  Of course it helps that I had just finished a swap of an “Oriental-Asian” ATC so I have the materials.  I might even venture out to doing a mini-origami.

Bitten by the creative bug

I’ve been busy the last 48 hours just creating.  I wish the next phase could be for the store for a change.  (Need to make money on that investment!)

ATC: Collage backgrounds

I’m making more Artist Trading Card (ATC) collage backgrounds.  Been tearing up colorful layouts in the magazines and creating a linear collage, then painting the whole canvas a single pearlized color. (I’m going nuts about metallic paints and glazes!)  It’s been pretty enjoyable and not much effort.  I had the finished backgrounds sit beneath three reams of paper today at the office to “flatten” them out and “air out” any bubbles underneath.  Now I can continue to work on them.

Water color Paper Tags

I’ve also been painting paper tags with various shades of watercolor and trying to go for more sombre and darker tones.  The top one with the doodle art was a single attempt at drawing and scribbling on a tag.  I ended the day with around 40 tags.  (4 sets of 10 tags in 4 different color schemes.)

My Altered Book has also progressed nicely, with this cut out layout pictured below:
My Altered Book: Cut out Word Art: HAPPY MEMORIES

This is actually a multi-page layout I did the alpha for freehand, then I cut them out yesterday.  I will retouch the fuschia pink page which shows some “scratches” from the scissors I used, but I like the over-all effect pretty much.

I’ve had a pretty productive day work-wise, too, even if I’m tired and sleepy from staying up an extra hour last night to do the collage backgrounds on the ATCs.  It’s also been quiet.  (No negative energy or difficult conversations today.  I know it was prayer that did wonders!)

I’m wrapping this up because I want to get on the bus earlier tonight.  It’s one of those few nights when I can actually do it.  =)

Artist Trading Card: Pinay New Yorker 1

I haven’t quite been able to create Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) except as needed for a swap. I just sent off my second ATC for the “Book Page & a Stamp” swap at Swap-Bot.com. I entitled it “Pinay New Yorker I” because I want to create a series of ATCs relating to my being a “Filipina living in New York”. I’ve already gathered relevant clipart for the New York part of the ATC and will be concentrating on the Filipino side.

I used my favorite subway map clipart for the main background and painted a gold coating over it. The book page came as a freebie from the store I bought my ATC sleeves and album sheets from. (Came in handy!) I singed the edge on the stove although that is hardly visible in the final work.

ATC: Book Page & A Stamp ATC SwapThe building I used is personally relevant to me because I had worked on the floor of the clock on this tower my first few years here in New York. The building still exists and remains to be one of the more elegant older landmarks here in the big apple.

More ATCs coming soon. I have some alphabet swaps due by the end of the week and I will render a “D” in the style the letters I send out will be rendered.

ATC swaps can be direct, meaning send to a designated partner assigned by a coordinator, or ran by a swap coordinator who receives all the cards and sends them out. My first two ATC swaps through Swap-bot were assigned partners so I sent them directly. The upcoming ones through ATCsforall.com will be through a coordinator. We have been requested to send three ATCs and we will receive three ATCs in return from three different participants.

My ATC Swap album only has 2 ATCs for now but I’m waiting on some from other fellow traders. I haven’t quite ventured on direct trades because I really don’t have the confidence to offer any. Not yet anyway.

Artist Trading Card: You Are Beautiful

Swap-Bot: You Are Beautiful (Collage)Swap-Bot: You Are Beautiful (backtag) I’m still rather shy sending out Artist Trading Cards but I finally signed up for a swap at Swap-bot.com  and came up with the ATC on the left and sent it on its way to Australia.  I’m just hoping that the recipient doesn’t feel short-changed when she gets mine.  I tried — I’m still learning.

It was supposed to be a motivational ATC about being beautiful and believing you are, so rather than put in some profound quote, I just went for a straight-forward admonition.  Ta-da!

I used some handmade paper from Manila, a heart from a wallpaper trim roll (bought from the dollar store), and I just put that “button” of sorts there with some scrap handmade paper and abacca twine.  That button actually proved to be the real challenge, but I got it together and I think it filled up what I thought was too much blank space somehow.  (Read more about how I did it here .  The link takes you to gothamchick.com)

I’m trying to go slow for now but I am enjoying learning the basics of ATCs and as I have always loved to create, I am truly having a ball making the cards.  I am thankful for the generosity of many experienced artists who are very open to helping me through my learning process.  Some are already sending me cards.  I can’t wait.

Special thanks go to Raine, a friend from a Filipino postcard trading group who draws her own ATCs, and to Katherine of the same group who urged me to join  Swap-bot.  Raine and her ATCs are another post altogether.  She also introduced me to ATCsforall.  (Another blog post on that coming.)

Ten-minute blog post on "Happy"

It’s 11:30PM and I’m tired, but I thought I’d blog before hitting the sack because it has been a day full of “happy”.

Happy that I’ve arranged my jewelry making supplies organizers into a neat stack in one of the closets — and keeping my fingers crossed that I can get creating again.. soon!

Happy to have had lunch with my cousin, Mia, who has moved to New York.  It always feels good to be with family — even if among her three sisters, Mia, being the youngest, must have the foggiest memories of me.  That’s the advantage of being older, though — I remember more.  Lunch at Bryant Park Grill — and a date in the works.

Happy to have finished my first ever artist trading card.  I’m still pretty nervous about sending this off for my first ever ATC swap, but I figured waiting and not doing anything is not going to make me better at it.  (More on this at a later time..)   Creating I go.

Happy to continue to be creating new layouts in my happiness journal.  How much happier can you get than a pink rose bouquet on a two-page spread?  (Now trying to think of a graphic to use in the next spread which is an almost teal or teal blue.)

Ten minutes are up.. More tomorrow.

My Altered Book: HAPPY - Multi-leaf layout

Artist Trading Cards, etc.

I’ve been cutting up extra freecards (of which I have quite a lot!) into the denominated size of 3.5 x 2.5 inches with my paper trimmer, and have been creating sets of backgrounds, much like I did with my mail art postcards.

I have a few that have been gessoed over, some have been pasted with used brown paper bags and book pages, and tonight, I tried to do watercolor and acrylic paint backgrounds straight on the matte side which is the side you are supposed to address and write your message on. Those pieces are currently drying. I did them in between cooking the rice, frying the petite fillet and heating the roasted potatoes on the stove. Ha! I’m just happy to have had the chance to put together a home-cooked meal for the family which even my usually picky mother-in-law liked.  It’s not that easy to serve her up savory dishes when she has her diabetes and heart condition. We try.  I’d have done more if I wasn’t feeling under the weather. I’m ready to do my first batch of Artist Trading Cards.

And I have my altered book resting on my lap right now. I just can’t stopp myself from going page to page even as I have yet to start with the dedication which I will work on tomorrow.

Except for photographing and sorting postcards in my collection, I did manage to keep away from trading or dealing with the trade like I had promised myself yesterday. I had dropped off quite a bunch of postcards at the post office Saturday with the majority of the cards heading for the Philippines.

I’ve found it very heartening that people are now into postcard trading even if it feels different because of the preference for cards being sent postmarked. Back in the day when I was actively collecting, I preferred to get my cards in an envelope.

With new online projects like Postcrossing where postcard trades are randomly assigned on a pay-it-forward basis (it is not an exchange but rather, participating means you will get a postcard from someone else you don’ t know), I see more and more people participating more for the experience of the exchange rather than seriously collecting postcards. As for me, I am happy to have received noteworthy additions to my maps, lighthouses and Philippine postcard collection. (I am still eagerly awaiting the postcards from the Philippines, which, given the literal snail’s pace that the postal office moves at, should be arriving in my mailbox any day now.)

I’m still trying to learn the basics and rudiments of ATC trading.  Unlike postcards which can be bought to add to your collection,  ATCs are traded.  Postcards are usually chosen, too, by the intended recipient and traded for something the sender prefers.  ATCs may be traded blind, meaning with no agreement as to which piece or pieces will be exchanged.  Swaps can also be of multiples and are sent to and then sent out by the swap host.

Well, I’m still a long way away from trading — give me a couple of days more.  For now, it’s cutting and creating…cutting and creating.