Fabric Hunting (How to get FREE crafting supplies)

Once upon a time, after I got my own sewing machine and had started taking actual courses in sewing at Mood University, I went fabric hunting.

I wanted to practice sewing but didn’t want to waste fabric I bought. I did purchase some pieces but found that there were occasional freebies on Craigslist and I have put together quite a stash.

From scraps to cut up bolts to boxes of spools of thread, I have managed to build quite a stockpile and all for free.

Well, save for the effort of lugging huge bags home, and the occasional cost of transportation (One was a pick up at a storage facility in Brooklyn which would have been too difficult and long a commute), they have literally been free.

So during this time when I’m sewing mask covers which I hope to contribute to some facilities in need here in New York, the free fabric has been a blessing. This has literally been a labor of love, but that’s for another post.

For those who know how Craigslist works, the freebies are strangely under “FOR SALE”. Because I don’t drive and largely because those giving them away were located in Manhattan, I limited my search to the area. (Yes, we do have a Fashion District.)

The first ad I answered seemed to be straightforward, as someone was giving away fabric scraps and notions somewhere in Chelsea. “Bring your own bag”, the ad said, so I brought a wheeled expandable tote. It turned out to be a small bag manufacturing operation owned by an old lady. She had reduced her operations drastically because of declining sales, and was thinking of liquidating her stocks. She had a writer who rented the small space for her factory for now and she wanted to prepare for an onsite sale. There were boxes of bag fabric scraps and samples.

In exchange, she requested me to help her do some heavy lifting to move some sewing machines and a table aside for the sale she was having in a day or two. I couldn’t say no to the old lady, so I lifted, and carried my very full and heavy bag home.

Much of the fabric from that stash needed washing because the sharp stench of glue reeked from some pieces that I left behind. It was an interesting haul, and a learning experience. The old lady wanted to go into online selling but knew very little about it, but she had a lot to share about pricing and merchandising. So besides the free scraps and samples, I got one on one mentoring on price points and her production method.

The second ad I responded to was from an independent designer who sold her own clothing label. She was into dyeing and had specified a pick up in Brooklyn. Her address was easy to commute to, so I ventured on my merry way.

She advertised for scraps and unused cut fabric, and again, a request to bring my own bags and totes. When I arrived at her apartment building, she had garbage bags full of the items she was giving away by her door. She even brought out more as she saw I had enough totes. I didn’t have the chance to pick and choose and took everything that would fit in my one giant tote and a giant roller luggage.

When I went through the stash upon arriving home, I was so surprised to see that she had given me cuts of fabric ranging from cotton to jacquard, in pieces as small as a quarter of a yard to 5 yards. I found the scraps of her dyed fabric very interesting, more so since I was experimenting with fabric beads and embellishments like roses at the time.

Last I checked on her, her label seems to be growing and she is now affiliated with a non profit that collects excess fabrics from designers to sell at a warehouse outside Manhattan.

Free Fabric hunting

The third ad advertised for scraps and fabric samples. This time, it was a Manhattan based clothing label sold on its own website and carried by certain high end department stores. I walked up to their office which also housed their manufacturing studio. I didn’t get to see that because I found boxes of satin and silk fabric samples by thei receiving room. Her fabric samples usually meant a half yard cut. Some had multiples, so I was actually able to use two coordinating designs for my first attempt at a collared shirt. While that particular project didn’t result in something I could wear, it allowed me to learn and practice how to sew a standing collar.

There were “scraps” that were as big as two yards long cuts of satin fabric in different shades and colors. Material I can actually use for linings for skirts or the purses that I had started researching how to sew.

One of the treasures I unearthed from this pick up was a twill drape that must’ve been used as a curtain for a wall or a section divider. The fabric was double width at 60 inches and around 4 yards, and from this I was able to practice on cutting and sewing an overcoat or topper. It became a practice run and I stitched and unstitched parts of the pattern until I got the hang of sewing armholes and sleeves and sections of the front and back of a coat.

Free Fabric hunting

The fourth was another designer who had her own clothing line, again, carried by online consignment groups and in her own online store. She had two bins of scraps I could pick through. She dabbled in knit fabric and while there were no huge cuts, the scraps from her cuttings were big enough to work with. She also had a interesting variety of knit and novelty fabric I wouldn’t even look for in a fabric store, but which I would take a second look at, displayed in a store.

My next haul wasn’t at another designer but rather an established service provider to the apparel industry. I didn’t know it until I was at the workshop, because the advertisement was for bolts of cut fabric and assorted supplies.

They appear to have cut through bolts of 60inch jersey, leaving approximately 14 inches which was a lot — given that it was a bolt. There wasn’t much left when I came — but I still managed to get around 6 bolts in black and white.

The bigger haul was the boxes of spools of thread and other notions — there for the taking. I must’ve gotten around 50 spools of thread, and bunches of 9 inch zipper, along with a hodgepodge of assorted spools and reels of trim. I came home with a giant spool of what appeared to be quarter inch cording, a giant roll of half inch interface ribbon among a host of other finds. I actually had to pick what I would take because I could carry only so much in my totes and rolling luggage.

Free Fabric hunting

I envisioned the bolts of jersey woven into necklaces, and the guy who gave me the fabric sort of looked disappointed, as he told me this was high quality fabric! I haven’t had the chance to work with the jersey but now look at creating a hand knitted chunky jacket out of the bolts I have. (Maybe for next fall..)

The last one was an ad from a craft store in Brooklyn that was closing shop and had to vacate one of their storage rentals. The call was for 4pm and I though I’d arrive by 3, but apparently people had come early and started arriving at 2pm. There was still a lot to pick from and I grabbed a 6 yard cut of an African print fabric, for one, and several cotton yard long cuts for quilting. There were scraps of spandex in different colors and a dozen or so unfinished projects, ranging from fabric diapers to African American traditional skirts. Well worth the transportation cost back and forth.

Free Fabric hunting

I haven’t been fabric hunting for a while now, largely because I don’t have any more space for it. I also want to start using what I have before I go and try to grab more. I’ve organized most o the items I’ve gotten, washing the scraps even, more so when they were full of loose thread and fiber. I’m asthmatic and I cannot work with that kind of extra.

I know, it’s about time I made good use of these freebies I have acquired in the last 4 years. I also know I cannot go out looking for more, specially at this time that we are all social distancing. But I’m taking stock.

I have joined Sewingforlives.com and have started sewing mask covers per their specified template. All the materials I have used so far, have been from these fabric hauls. I am well stocked to do dozens and dozens more. I am not setting a goal but just plan to keep sewing during my free time. As I work full time during the week (even if from home), my progress has been slow. The point is, I’m getting there, and my fabric haul is being put to good use.

This, plus the project to create face covers for my personal use for when we return to work. My goal is to have enough to use one daily for a 2-3 week laundry cycle. I haven’t quite found the fit and pattern that works for me so that is a work in progress. I’m concentrating on my donation of mask covers first — and that’s taking up all my free time for now.

I am slowly honing my sewing skills with this freebies, and for a good cause at that.

So I’ve been very busy..

Inspired! Worked on this last night!!!
I can’t believe my last post was over the weekend yet. I usually would have said something here somehow in the middle of the week but work has been crazy (short week and all with the long weekend..) — and I guess my focus has been elsewhere.  I’ve been creating.. and creating.. sometimes sitting in my little corner well into 1am and dragging myself to bed just because I know I needed to sleep somehow before the next work day.  I would go on and on and on if there wasn’t work to worry about the following day.

Maybe it helped that I’ve been having some bad dreams.  So there’s that part of me that dreads lying down and maybe being visited again in my dream by those dark thoughts and evil persona that I don’t want to see.  Don’t you hate it when you see the last person you want to pop out in person in your dream and you wake up feeling all agitated and there’s a heaviness in your heart that you cannot shake.  Even now as I write about it, it’s tough.  So I distract myself — and creating takes me to another place.

Fotor_20140530202429149

It’s funny how I had started working on these agate beads in another way — and now I’m deep into creating pieces using the beads differently.  And I love how it has come out.  I have to literally make a conscious effort to stop myself from getting more of the beads –at least until I make a sale  (None yet!) or I finish all the beads up and get them posted in the shop.

I try to post one item a day, following that up with posts on my other social media channels like Pinterest and Twitter.  Nothing beats seeing a heart (or two) pop up when I post a piece — or when I find a new follower or a retweet.

But back to the project at hand.  I’ve had a busy night and day making the bracelet above and disassembling it because the stopper on the huge fuschia pink slice (see the picture lower right hand corner), so it was whole and now it isn’t.

Fotor_20140530211235049

The six bracelets in the next photo have been posted, and I have around a half dozen others to be listed in the next couple of days.  I must say I like the sense of accomplishment — and more importantly, the feeling that I’m actually finally seriously putting the shop up again.  It helps that there are now apps that enable me to work on the store even when I’m on the bus.  Beyond the photos that I need to shoot and edit to help sell the item, one of the things that gets me stumped is naming it.  (Yes, I do get stumped.)  I’ve also put my “stamp” on the photos now, instead of just uploading them.  (Thank you, Fotor!)

A day at a time.. have to get back to work.  Waiting for dinner and my dinner date.  (Japanese delivery and someone’s still on the bus.)   While the prospect of a good night’s sleep is actually something I look forward to, there’s a sense of dread about unwanted visitors in my dream.  But it’s the weekend.  And maybe I’ll be too tired to even dream or remember it when I do.

 

Work in Progress: Wire Wrapped Earrings

Work in progress: wire wrapped agate earringsI’ve been trying to stir up the creative juices again.  It hasn’t been easy even if I’ve made it a point to sit at my craft corner a few minutes each night.  And then there are nights when I’m just too tired to do even just that. 

I’ve been trying to create polymer clay canes which have proven to be quite the learning experience for me, which I guess, translates to it being a hit or miss kind of thing right now.  Fortunately, it’s a very cheap medium and I have stocked up on it the last 12 months. 

The past two nights, I turned my attention to some wires I had bought before the weekend (which remained untouched because other things preoccupied me), and I started trying to manipulate the gauge 18, 22 and 24 wires just to get a feel for it with respect to what I wanted to do.

The picture you see is one of my more successful attempts at creating a wire-wrapped dangle for an earring which I am trying to get the hang of, and which I want to “execute” as a tighter and cleaner wrapping eventually.  (Like most things, this takes practice.)

You might think the earring above which is the size of a nickel (roughly) is heavy, but it was surprisingly light, using a 10mm round agate bead.  I made the earring hook from the same wire I used to wrap the gemstone. It’s pretty rough but I liked the way it felt as I wore it today. I always make it a point to “test run” my wares, more so if it’s not your ordinary beadwork piece.  My ears are rather sensitive these days but this was comfy and light and didn’t even irritate my skin one bit.  I’m looking forward to doing more of this over the weekend, while at the same time trying to continue to organize my jewelry crafting supplies.

New York is cold again.  I think Mother Nature didn’t get the memo about the forecast for temps up to 51 today so it’s a gloomy Friday that holds no promise for warmer temps.  We’re going up to 39 which is just 7 degrees above freezing so it’s not very promising.  Still, it’s Friday, so I’m going to stop the whining with that.

I have my work cut out for me over the weekend with test prep for the state tests on Angelo’s calendar and mine.  I have the organizing and cleaning up to do over the weekend and maybe I’ll try and get some serious reading done.

Day 3 into Lent and I’ve kept myself clear of red meat.  It was  a bit of a challenge last night as I cooked some spicy skirt steak for Alan, but I stuck to my grilled cheese.  By the way, did you ever try grilled cheese with an ever so thin swipe of mayo (light mayo for me) on the outside in lieu of butter?  I read about this in one of my older mags and boy, did it taste more delicious, indeed!  I’m now a convert.  Don’t overdo the mayo, though — do it as you would butter, but maybe just a smidge less.

Hope everyone is having a good start of the weekend.  Happy Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

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. =)

With these stained hands, I type

Angelo saw my hands this morning as I handed him his daily allergy dose.  “What happened, Mommy?”  He looked on curiously as he saw my hands, stained with pink ink. 

“I was  busy last night.”

Busy, indeed.  Thankfully, after more washing and a shower, the stain is hardly visible.  And wonder of wonders, my nail enamel was totally unaffected.  (Vanity again. LOL)

I finally worked on a new set of stained map backgrounds and now have an additional 22 backgrounds to work with.  (Happiness..)  I also did something different by purposely “saving” the paper towels I used to wipe off the spray ink from my work mat (which is a plastic surface) and I came up with some rather interesting tie-dye like napkins.  I am scanning these and putting them up at my craft blog, Gotham Chick, as soon as I can make up my mind about the theme for the site. 

I need to rev up traffic to Gotham Chick, and what better way to do it than to offer digital files of the backgrounds as downloads for the digital and hybrid scrapbookers out there?  (I always like freebies!)  Soon.
Digital Paper Pack: Stained Paper Towels

Meanwhile, I made an effort to step out and actually HAVE a lunchbreak, and I went to my favorite Thai food street cart over at 43rd Street and Avenue of the Americas called “Bangkok Thai Street Food by Tuk Tukk Boy.”

Lunch: Thai food c/o Bangkok by Tuk Tukk Boy on 43rd and 6th Ave

I’ve been craving their Thai Shrimp Dumplings which I had already featured here before, but this time, I tried their Chicken Basil without the rice.  (Yes, I’m starting my diet unofficially, in baby steps.)

It was yummy as is, but would have been even yummier with rice.  I loved that it was spicy and yet not overpowering.  I got a little extra chicken because I didn’t get any rice to go with it.  (Thanks, Boy!)

 Thai Street Food on 43rd and 6th

I wanted to disappear into a corner in the airconditioned public area across from my building, but all seats were taken by people who were lounging around after the lunch hour rush. I didn’t want to go into the park, so I went instead to the open seating behind my building where I ate my lunch under the sun. It was pleasantly cool — and the sun wasn’t scorching. I really should do this more often.

 

Staying put this Sunday

By late last night, I had decided NOT to go to Springfield, MA for Heirloom’s West Springfield Rubber Stamp and Paper Arts Festival this Sunday — this, despite the fact that I had been “dreaming” of being in craft heaven today.  I just hated the fact that I’d have to wake up earlier than I even do during the work week.  Saturdays and Sundays are precious for the extra hour or so to just vegetate and catch up on sleep.

There is always a next time, and there’s Amazon.com.  I received three products I ordered in the mail yesterday, and seeing my new dies convinced me I had enough to keep me busy over the weekend.   I got the Spellbinders S5-154 Shapeabilities Expandable Patterns Botanical Swirls Die Templates (on the left below) and the Spellbinders S5-148 Nestabilities Decorative Labels Eight Die Templates (picture on the right).

In addition, I got another one of my Ranger DYC-33882 Dyan Reaveley’s Dylusions Collection Ink Spray, Lemon Zest which should make for a good addition to my current stash of spray inks.

I figured I could always order online and just wait for it to arrive at my doorstep.  That way, I control the expense better and I don’t get carried away with all the fantastic demos I see in the craft fair!

I am going to color some plain white envelopes for a zentangle envelope swap over at Swap-bot.  I am just postponing “staining” my nails which is a natural consequence of using these inks.  I also want to do more of my Philippine Map postcards to make room for spoilage.  (My most recent attempt in writing the lyrics of the Philippine National Anthem as background cost me two prepped backgrounds.) 

Sometimes we really just have to take the time to slow down and recharge.  Yesterday was a good day to do that because of the scorching heat in New York. (And summer isn’t even here yet!)  Plus, I had to help the little tyke do a project for school which, I’m happy to say, turned out quite well.

I’m looking forward to the week ahead.  So you might actually see samples of projects done with my new “tools” — and I might even get to post in the shop again over at Gotham Chick (on Etsy).  I’m inspired because of a recent sale.  Time to get crafting again!

That’s that

I’m nocturnal. I’ve always functioned best at night. My best works have been produced in the evening. For some reason, my brain seems to be wired to work better when the sun is shining on the other side of the world.

Tonight, though, even that part of my nature can’t beat the physical exhaustion I feel. It’s something health-related — and I’m hoping it goes soon, but it’s one of those things you have to ride out. I’d like to write more here — I’d like to stay up later to keep editing my Book of Treasures Video, but I figure I can postpone publishing that until the end of the week.

My first priority is sending out my DECORATE A JOURNAL book tomorrow. (VERY, VERY LATE!) I had taken pictures as I created the cover, but I don’t have the energy to correct the photos, upload, and do the post. I’ll do it another time. I did, however, manage to touch up the photo of a postcard I sent out today. It was a doodled PC that made its way to the post office this afternoon.

I enjoy the swaps but I am almost afraid to admit I’m hitting a swap burnout. Then Maricar stops by (THANK YOU!) who is from the same swap group. =) It is always heartening to read comments.  (Hint, hint, people!)  I know people are stopping by, but no one is saying anything and that’s like talking to the wind, or talking to myself. (Of course, there’s Lou!) So maybe I won’t quit swapping even if only temporarily at all.. I’ll slow down to a crawl instead.

I’ve tried to cut down on most things.  I’m hardly on Facebook these days (so if you actually need to reach me urgently, e-mail is best please.)  I haven’ t browsed my usuall web haunts because I’ve come to the realization that I have to start looking to other places for my daily fix.  Again, letting it go.  Even when you get used to talking to the wind, it gets tiring when even the wind refuses to blow and answer back.  Even when I think I understand, it still tires the heart to wait and not hear a thing.  That’s more than a hint to go bark up another tree.

There have been a few things I’ve come across, too, which have made me realize that some things have been set in ways which I cannot fight or question, try as I might.  It’s one of those questions you ask the universe and then you find the answer in a totally unrelated development which, by itself, has nothing to do with the question you asked.  But it answered the question.  It’s something that makes one say, “so that’s that.”

Is it human nature that makes us keep chasing that which hurts us in the hope that holding it again will make the pain go away?  Or is it just plain stupidity?  I don’t know.  It might just be my colds, the fact that not enough oxygen seems to be making it up to my brain tonight, or the pain I’m feeling in my body which I must just ride out.  Some things are better just left alone.  Better to let it go.  What is it that they say?  This, too, shall pass.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that — because there are pains that never go away.  You just get better at living with them.  You learn to live with your mistakes and you just walk with your head bowed down.   You learn to accept the blows that life has dealt you, and you say again, that’s that.

People seem to like that I write with such honesty and brutal frankness here.  Yet I have to admit I censor myself heavily most times.  I have cautioned my younger blog friends to be careful with what and how they write because anything you put out there will always be there — forever.  Notwithstanding hitting the delete and permanently delete button.  In that sense, the web is like the human heart — it will find forgiveness, but it will not always have the blessing of forgetting.

I save much of my anger and hate, frustration and pain in a private place — although sometimes, some of it creeps out.  I’m only human.  And that’s that.

PS. If you read this far into this latest post, it would really mean a lot to me if you left me a quick comment — who is reading me from Greece? The UK? Who’s in Manila? (Definitely not my siblings who wouldn’t even know my URL if you asked them.)
Swap-bot Doodled PC No. 2: Spring 2013

Saturday Update: Trying to ignore my body

I already had an inkling I was coming down with something last night when I lay down to sleep. My throat felt funny.  So I put one of my tubao handkerchiefs around my neck and crossed my fingers.  All the handkerchiefs I use are tubaos which my sister, Ofie, had given to me years ago upon my request.  They are very colorful handwoven local fabric from the far south of the Philippines.  Around 2 trips home ago a friend had gifted me with two scarves of the same material which I wear in the spring and fall seasons.  I just needed something to keep my neck warm even as I slept.  True enough, I awoke with my throat hurting.  I’ve managed to control it thanks to throat spray, but I’m feeling weak and still not sure I’ve managed to conquer what seems to be an allergy or infection.  It hasn’t quite progressed from bad to worse, so I’m optimistic Monday will see me feeling a whole lot better.

I tried to ignore my body’s plea for rest, but I ended up taking some short naps.  I had to take care of lunch but hardly ate any.  I didn’t get to do anything much beyond organizing my papers.  Not good considering I haven’t quite finished my DECORATE A JOURNAL swap, but I’m practically there. 

I had planned to do a photo tutorial on using distress stains and inks, but by the time I had enough energy to do anything creative, it was already dark.  Here are the tags I had produced last week for sending to a swap partner for the Quote Prompt Mini-Journal #3 swap over at Swap-bot

Swap-bot: Quote Prompt Mini Journal #3 (b)
 While the more colorful side was distress stained manila folder, I used one side of a fancy decorated paper napkin for the back to make the three tags cohesive as a set.  I know you can’t see from the pictures that the back was made from paper nakpins, and it’s because of the “wrinkling” effect of having used mod podge to glue it onto the backside of the tag, along with an additional layer of gold acrylic paint, sealed with a final layer of lustre or glossy mod podge.  As always, I painted the sides on both the back and the front with a gold border.

Swap-bot: Quote Prompt Mini Journal #3 (a)
 I’ve fallen greatly behind on my card making but have ramped things up tonight by creating some interesting stenciled backgrounds.  (Finally experimented with some stencils bought over the last couple of weeks.)  Here’s an interesting take on using paper scraps to create a basket-weave effect.  This was my first attempt at this idea and I simply tucked a heart paper clip on the lower right hand side for accent.  What do you think? Handmade card: Basket weave paper scraps & heart paperclip

I attached the basket-weave paper piece onto an existing card and sent it on it’s way to P.  (Which, I hope, has made it to the other side of the world.)

The speed of the postal service sometimes catches me totally off guard which is a pleasant surprise.  It used to be that I automatically presumed it would take two to three weeks to get to Manila, but these days, I get an acknowledgment after 7 days.  At a time when people think the post office is slowly rendering itself obsolete, it is heartening to see that it has tried to keep up with the demands of the times in competition with technology.

I have so much of these paper scraps that I can make a whole book out of them if I wanted to.  I hate throwing away paper.  (Which, to the chagrin of my housemates, means piles and piles of them.  I am trying to organize..!)  I intend to use more of them in my future projects just to make sure that they are put to good use. 


I am also all excited about my new “toy”, a birthday gift of sorts to myself.  I got this Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine which I found to be cheapest at Amazon.  I have used it only a bit since I got it but the possibilities are endless.  I’m almost tempted to take it out of the box again tonight (and it’s almost 1am) and try my hand at creating a few flowers.  (My dies are basically of flowers at this point.. that will change in time.)  I am already excitedly planning my niece, Andreanna Lux’s invitation for her first birthday, and that’s not until September!  Ha!

This just as I’m reaching a swap burnout point which I”m trying to avoid.  I think I’ll go back to creating for myself and creating for the store again, hopefully.

With Cousin M’s wedding just two weeks away, Angelo and I are excited.  (He’s flying using his Dad’s 50,000 miles which is a real treat.  He was so excited to attend his first “wedding” ever.  I can’t wait.)  I really have to create the necklace I had meant to wear with the dress I have yet to get.  I zeroed in on this simple yet very elegant three-fourth sleeve lace dress but no one seems to have it in the color/size I wanted… sigh…still searching.  I’m just excited to be with family.  I am more excited about being escorted by my littled guy in his dapper suit.  What I am really looking forward to is dancing with him as he is my favorite slow dance partner. 

In a few weeks, my little guy is turning a year older.. and another very special guy to me who prefers to be referred to as my special gay — Nikky — is turning another year older.  28.. 28 years ago a family friend knocked on our door and handed him to me.  And we were bound for life.

Birthdays and weddings.. I love them for the pillars they provide to our existence as human beings.  They help us measure time in a more personal way beyond calendars and dates.  Those dates take on a different meaning when attached to something or someone who means something to us. 

Time for me to head on to bed.  I hope my throat doesn’t torture me tomorrow when I wake up.

PS. Almost forgot that I got a most pleasant surprise from Cousin M.  A belated birthday gift which would have been timely had not my own schedule at work prevented me from meeting up with her sooner — some chocolate cheesecake which were totally to-die-for!

 
Chocolate Cheesecake from Cousin M
 
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Gorgeous Day In New York City and Other Happy Thoughts

It was a little chilly and grey when I walked out the door, but I left without a coat or a jacket. 70 degrees by the end of the day with the sun up high, and 70 degrees is what I got when I walked out of the office late this afternoon. Just gorgeous! I like it just this cool because a sweater will keep you toasty and a light scarf will do the job nicely.

I’ve been working on some quotes for a journal swap I’m sending out over the weekend using freehand lettering over watercolor backgrounds. While I’m using the originals for the journal, I’m photocopying the finished work on cardstock and high-quality paper for other uses. (Cards, my “Font Love” folio, and maybe as embellishment for future journals.).

Watercolor and Ink: Quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne on Happiness

I enjoyed painting the backgrounds ahead and then writing freehand, then drawing the letters as I shaded in and defined the alpha individually.  It’s part of a “Happiness” ensemble I’m creating for the “Decorate a Journal” swap over at Swap-bot.com.

Yesterday was a rather interesting day, but I was too tired to write about it.  I’ve been fortunate to have had a nice past couple of days, and I have to start writing about it before the news gets old and I get lazy again.

The Ink PadWell, for starters, I went on a “craft-day-for-me” field trip last Saturday to Allentown, Pennsylvania.  (Typing that actually literally made me smile.)  Angelo and I had taken a trek to The Ink Pad over at 7th Ave and 13th Street on our birthday date last April 2, and not only did I finally lay eyes on stamping/papercrafting heaven this side of town, but I found out about the bus trip being organized by the store to join “Heirloom’s Allentown Rubber Stamp and Paper Arts Festival“.

It took me a while to make up my mind about going, and when I finally called to reserve my seat ($69 for a round trip ticket on the bus including fair tickets, raffle drawing both on the bus and at the event, and a goodie bag..!), I ended up grabbing the LAST ONE before the trip closed out.  It was on the 13th, Saturday, and my biggest problem was hauling myself downtown to meet the 8am bus departure.  It meant waking up at the crack of dawn and getting to the bus stop in time for the first weekend bus run at 6:30am.   To make sure I made it to the store on time, I hailed a cab right by the Empire State Building on 34th and Fifth Avenue.  I made it to the bus with enough time to spare.

It was a bus full of ladies and a man.  (Mickey, who goes by Scrapamale on Youtube was quite a breath of fresh air and humor — and now, inspiration.  Check out his Youtube Channel here.)  I sat next to Pam who was a retired housewife from whom I learned a lot about classes and offerings, including a craft retreat she is suggesting I attend.  We all went our separate ways when we finally got to Allentown — and we didn’t meet up again until we returned to the bus.

Allentown Rubber Stamp and Paper Arts Festival, April 13

There was much to see and learn about at the craft fair — and it was such an experience watching products and techniques being demonstrated live by the various vendors who were participating.  I ‘oohed’ and ‘aaahed’ over the art tools, many of which I had seen for the first time.  (I am still a craft novice at this point!)

I’m not a heavy stamper, really.  I’m just starting in that department.  I have always tried to get interesting clear stamps but I left much of them with my sister, Ofie, when I went home in December 2011.  I’m just beginning to see their use as far as paper crafts are concerned, and I’ve incorporated them into my artist trading cards and handmade postcards.  I am trying to use more of them in my journaling as well.

I browsed the stores from one end of the hall to another.  There weren’t that many, and the “experts” were saying it was a smaller venue and less vendors — but it took me close to an  hour to do my initial “ocular”.  Then I went into each store to see what was of interest.  Each store seemed to offer something different, so you had something to buy in each one.  Stores from as far as Ohio were participating.  (Little wonder there was a mini-RV section in the parking lot.)

There were samples galore showing what you could do with all the tools around.  I was too busy learning about the products to pay attention to many of the works of art displayed, and I had taken most of my photos really to document what I was putting on my mental wishlist.  It was crafting heaven!

The craft fair experience itself deserves a separate post with all the photos I took — hopefully posted here by the weekend.  Lunch was out in the parking lot where I had earlier seen a cheese steak, hotdogs and burgers concessioe.  I picked through the meat and the fries with a fork and had quite a meal.

Italian Cheese Steak and Cheese Fries in Allentown, PA

There was a Farmer’s Market across from the hall where the craft fair was, but I had to restrain myself from walking in, saving that for the end of the day just before I went back to the bus.  (Grabbed a whole gourmet pecan pie that was totally worth dragging my aching feet through the huge indoor market for… yum!)

I was exhausted by the time I settled down.  I drifted in and out of sleep and was pleasantly awakened in the middle of a snooze because I won a prize.  (I have a video I will post later of the goodies I won.)

I am actually seriously considering doing the next one near me which will be in West Springfield, MA on June 1 and 2.  I need to plan my logistics because it won’t be worth staying over, but there are buses that head to Boston.  Hmmm..  I am keeping my fingers crossed that The Ink Pad will organize another trip.  Maybe.. We’ll see.

The boys went around the city and picked me up in Midtown at the end of the day, saving me the longer commute home.  My feet were almost numb from all the walking.  (Craft shopaholic!)  But it was SO WORTH IT.  I’m glad I spent the money I did to get there.  The things I saw and learned are worth so much more.

I haven’t really had the chance to unpack the stuff I bought because I’ve been working earnestly on my journal.  I can’t wait to try the new materials I haven’t tried yet.  In time.

Down at work, things have been pretty light because the boss is on holiday.  Still, it only meant a lighter work load, but not the absence of workload.  I have been trying to catch up with the filing.  The meeting requests never end.  I’m already scheduling into June.

Meanwhile, I have a trip to plan in May for Cousin M’s wedding.  Do I really want to fly out and get dressed?  YES!  =)   I wish I could shave off the fat and lose the equivalent of my two thighs but that is not happening in the next couple of weeks.  LOL.   I fly out on the 17th, back on the 19th.  I haven’t even picked out my dress.  But — I have the dress shoes and bag and shawl to go with it, and I already have the pearls I will string into a necklace as my main accessory.  =)  I’m going solo so that’s another “me” trip.  Never been there… that should be interesting.  Oh, and I guess I should book the flight and the hotel this week.  (Panic time!)

In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, the universe asked a question, I answered, and I got an answer back.  Someone once told me that “everything will eventually fall into place.”  (My friend failed to tell me, though, that they won’t always fall where I want them to.  Ha!)   Sometimes, things work out in the strangest of ways.  Sometimes little acts of kindness can be so precious.

I have e-mails to write but I was given a new blackberry today, so I have to reconfigure my e-mail settings again tomorrow.  The e-mails will have to wait.  I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday.  It feels as if the weekend was already here.  Not quite, I know.  Maybe it’s the exhaustion talking.

Watch out for my craft fair post.  I have a couple of videos for editing so watch out for that, too.  I just need to figure out a way to shoot my tutorials from above my hands.  I finally found my video cam (tucked in one of the drawers of my credenza at work — forgotten for non-use.) — I’d need to be able to snap it onto something to do the tutorial, though, and it will need to be plugged into my laptop or PC.  Dilemma there — I can’t do the video at my desk.  I usually sneak away into an empty office or conference room to do my videos.  Plus, it’s quite a production to lug my laptop to work.  (I can, though, if I want to.)  Ipad?  Still have to figure out how to suspend it above me to take an overhead shot.

Midnight creeping up on me in 6 minutes.  Almost there yet my stomach is debating on whether or not to go for a slice of pie — and maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream?  (Hungry tummy, simmer down!  LOL)  A yawn just slipped out and there goes my answer.  Time to tuck in.  The pie can wait until tomorrow.  Maybe for breakfast?  (Oops.. just remembered, I have to grind some coffee beans for tomorrow’s breakfast.  I guess I’ll just have to do it right before brewing.)

Watercolor and Ink: Quote from Fyodor on Happiness