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

Art tags and handmade envelopes

My view at lunch 13March2013

I took my lunch in one of the smaller conference rooms with this as my view. 

Notice how, in the distance, the new tower is almost finished.  We’ve been watching the building “grow” and “take shape” in the skyline, and while it will take a while yet before the building is fully operational, it is great to see this icon of recovery rising in downtown Manhattan.

Sometimes we just need to take a break, get some quiet time, and recharge.  It’s been a good day, but it’s been busy and a little stressful.  I usually try to do a little something during the lunch break, be that at noon or much later at 3pm.

I lugged some swaps for mailing to work today: postcards in handmade envelopes (from magazines) and two sets of tags for a mini-journal.   The idea was to create a mini-journal made up of 3 tags with quotes in them to serve as journaling inspiration. This is round 2, so we’re supposed to pull the tags together into a compilation — hence, a mini-journal.  With two partners each time, we’re getting 6 tags for the 6 tags we swap out.

My first tags were rather simplistic and done with not as much effort or thought as this new batch, but I found it more difficult to come up with that trio. This time around, I attacked the project with a sense of adventure as I tried to come up with something more inspiring and worthy of a heart (I hope).

I’m a cheapskate as far as tags are concerned, so rather than purchase them, I actually make them.  I cut out 6 tags out of repurposed chipboard cartons.  I had an idea that I wanted to put on some flat embellishment (or as it turned out, almost flat — I used lace.)  I hope to do a full-tutorial in GothamChick before the week is out.  I’m keeping the tags themselves under wraps for a bit because I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

 Quote Prompt Mini Journal #2

Meanwhile, I am way behind in responding to postcards from Manila.  That one merits a post in itself because I always find it special to send out and receive postcards from collectors from home.  I don’t even really care if I get repeat postcards.  I find great joy in encouraging the hobby and have found some penfriends along the way.  And the exchange via snail mail has been very heartwarming indeed.  (I want to take pictures of the postcards to post.)  Soon.

Some envelopes went out, though, for three swaps I joined because I had postcards that suited that category without having to buy any more.  I thought I’d add a little spark to the swap by making envelopes out of magazine pages.

Handmade envelopes from Magazine Pages

And I’m saving the best for last — an advanced present from a most unexpected source.  Thank you, Rita (a.k.a. Eurocat), for the beautiful mail art envelope, and better yet, for all the goodies within.  Sometimes you get these little surprises from way out there from people you hardly know but who share the same passion as you.  I take a lot of inspiration from these “friends out there” — and Rita totally took me by surprise and left me smiling from ear to ear.  (Even as I write this..)

 MailArt Gift from Eurocat (Rita) - Front

MailArt Gift from Eurocat (Rita) - Back