In the middle of…

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I have spent the better part of a half hour trying to fix these photos and I know when it’s time to give up.  More so after I had written a whole post which disappeared on me without saving on the same topic.  Let it be, I tell myself.

I created these pieces between the weekend and the past couple of nights — and although I haven’t gotten back to them to give them a more definite form, “beginning a piece” is a welcome development.  Beginning something means having something to finish.

The top most piece is a necklace which I will probably do lariat length — to be worn double looped around the neck. It’s simply a random rosary-style stringing of 8 types of blue beads from agate to dyed jade. I left it with around a third undone. So almost there.

The second is a design I am trying to follow from Bead Magazine and I’m just so thrilled to be able to finally use these serpentine beads I had bought a while back. I had around 3 strands because they were on sale, and although they’re not flashy nor colorful, I like the muted green and how earthy it feels when I look at them. Still in progress as I try to decide what I will put in the middle as a suitable focal.

The earrings above, believe it or not, came upon me half an hour before midnight — and no, I didn’t hesitate to go back to my work station and try to do what I thought up in my already sleepy head.  It’s an initial idea — not quite the finished product.  I have quite a few of these top-drilled faceted tear drop beads which I had purchased in the hopes of pulling them together into colorful dainty pieces.  These are the earth-tones.  I have a few pastel colored beads to play around with as well.

And I’ve been art journaling again. Or simply journaling, actually. Too many things to write about and I want to seriously catch up after slacking off the past couple of weeks. I really felt bad about not being able to touch my altered book that I had foregone my Friday Five the last week (or is two?) but it will be back tomorrow — promise.

Another weekend is here and school’s over. And after Monday, half the year is gone. Has it been that long since we greeted 2014?

I feel like I’ve been stuck — but time continues to fly. Next year, Angelo will be in Fifth grade.. can you believe that? Sometimes I watch him and look at him from afar and I actually say it out loud — please don’t grow up too fast.

Unfortunately, that is something we parents have no control over. My little guy is growing up so fast. I am grateful for that and also wistful at the thought that my baby is no longer the helpless little child he used to be.

Another weekend and he has been saying no to half the things we propose to make it an interesting weekend for all of us. He said no to the waterpark… which means no outlet for me. And I don’t really mind that. I am happy to see him developing his preferences. It shows that he has a mind of his own now.

I will hopefully be able to finish a necklace or two and photograph it for the shop. I am craving to photograph the pieces on a live model, but that’s a little tricky to negotiate. My necklace display stand is upstairs, or I can stick to a simpler studio set up just to show how it hangs. Maybe.

Sleep beckons. That’s it for me. Or else I might yet get another half-hour-before-midnight flash of inspiration and get creating. Happy (almost) Friday to all!
 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

My Friday Five (on a Saturday)

I wanted to write this last night but I spent the better part of my evening (way past midnight) creating new postings in the shop — Finally!  I’m working two ways, doing the posts straight from the iPhone via the Etsy Sellers Ap and on the laptop where it was easier to do final tweaks.   And after finishing a post, I had to do digital marketing via Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr.

But let’s get to the business of my Friday Five last week and this weekend’s.  So how did I do against last week’s list?

1. Send more postcards out (and maybe a letter).. Yes, I did manage to send one and have another half dozen in the works.  Getting there, Mr. Postman!

2. Re-list at least 2 items in the shop.  No, I didn’t get to relist anything, but I did list three items!

3. Continue to wire wrap crochet undrilled gemstone nuggets.  This is where I didn’t fare too well but it was only because I concentrated on finishing pieces for the shop throughout the week. Beyond the 3 already listed, I actually have 9 more already done and photographed, just needing to be formally listed and posted.

4. Write a post over at GothamChick.  YES!!!! Read it here.

5. Go back to my Art Journal Every Day entries this weekend and hopefully do some journaling.  Another YES!  (See below.)

So as you can see, I did pretty well against my list of “doable and achievable” things to make progress through the weekend.  And now for this week’s Friday Five:

1.  Create more pieces for the shop and list more items.  I actually have some interesting pieces in my head which I need to execute.  I’m also all excited about some guage 34 gold wire I found (!) which I hope to experiment with.  (I know I’m talking Greek to you folks out there who don’t have any idea what I’m talking about..)

2.  Start reorganizing my supplies according to component type instead of material.  Instead of “Antique brass”, “Gold”, or “Silver-plated”, I am going to try doing “chains”, “ear findings”, “components”.

3. Write a letter.  This is one task which should be pretty easy but which is not going anywhere.  I’m trying.  It’s just that when I write longhand, I REALLY write, so it takes a bit of time to get the task done.

4.  Go back to reading the Bible.  We aim to read so many things but it is rare for anyone to be able to say they’ve read the Bible from cover to cover.  I have been trying to catch up with my Kerygma e-mails but I’m still behind.  I had started reading the New Testament and had finished the Book of Matthew but have stalled.  My Bible is waiting in my Nook reader and I was hoping to have progressed beyond Mark by now.  This week, I will go back!

5.  Finish my Art Journal Every Day post on Mother’s Day. — which was last week, yes, but I had already started it.

It’s nice out today after days of muggy, foggy and rainy weather.  (It poured last night!)  I’m glad I might not need to wear my fall boots out today — I hope.  It’s still cold.  Some people are saying we will not really have a real spring but will instead jump from Winter to a scorching summer.  I sure hope not..

I have so much more to write about the previous week but I don’t have the time or luxury to do it right now.  Need to get ready for the boy’s dentist appointment and there are the usual Saturday errands.

Meanwhile, check out the shop where the following items are now available for sale:

Rosary Bracelet in a Caramel Dyed Jade
Rosary Bracelet in Caramel Dyed Jade
“You are my Sunshine” Bracelet
“Prayer in my Heart” Rosary Bracelet in Red Jasper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

I love, love long weekends

My bistek was still simmering on the stove when I started writing this.  I began the post while waiting for the onions to cook and the meat to tenderize just a tad bit more.  We had a relaxing dinner in front of the TV, all warm and toasty at home.  It’s been crazy windy outside — I could hear the gusts hitting the walls violently.  I’m also looking forward to writing letters tonight before turning in.  We’re off tomorrow because it’s President’s Day.  More three day weekends, please.

It’s been a rather productive Sunday as I took out a bunch of thunder polish glass crystal and other earrings I had crafted months back for a craft fair.  They never really made it onto the etsy storefront, but I decided to pull them out of the box today and embellish them further.  Two years ago, I was very strict with myself in ensuring that I used the same color crystals in my pieces, but today, I was bold and daring and mixed them up.  A lot of them were rather short so I extended them for more drama by adding a bead or two.  Not quite shoulder dusters, but long enough to present some sexy swagger when you turn your head or when you walk.

GothamChick on ETSY: Mocha bitsI also wanted to take advantage of the sunlight and took photos.  I’m hoping to post them in the shop tomorrow.. or starting tomorrow.   These days I’m going either ‘tiny’ or ‘long’.  When I watch my favorite shows, my eyes tend to focus on the earpieces worn by the ladies — and I noticed that tiny simple earrings looked as fab as the long and elaborate pieces.  I’m still keeping away from the ‘big and bold’, though.  Just not my style.  This freshwater pearl and aventurine cutesy is a current favorite of mine.  I am going to make one for myself one of these days.

I also finished a batch of my glass domed pendants featuring Marian images.  (Thanks to bebs1 aka Lou for the idea and the inspiration.)  I’m trying to create a necklace based on a design she showed me, and while it is not an exact replica, the idea is similar.

 Marian Images as glass dome pendants

I currently have four images in three sizes, and I’m working on getting an additional two in this same format.  The idea is to use one of the larger pendants as the focal point in a 5-pendant charm necklace, using other religious metal charms.   I am still trying to see if it will work to have five of the smaller pendants in the same fashion.  Might be a bit too much, so I’m sticking to the original idea.

Mary: Four Images

I did get my LIFE 4×6 in the sleeves (!) and am now in the process of completing as much of the journaling as I can.  I am hoping to photograph and finally post about it before the week is out.  First month done!  And here we are in the middle of the second month of the year.  Where did the last couple of weeks go, right?  Time flies by so fast..

It would have been nice to have gotten away to somewhere — but work beckons.  New York State had reduced the winter break to two days instead of the usual week-long stretch to make up for the days lost during Hurricane Sandy’s onslaught and after, so he goes back to school on Wednesday.  Add to that the fact that Angelo had been afflicted with the flu the previous week, so we’re just resting and recharging on a “staycation”.  Besides, it’s back to work for us on Tuesday.

Long weekends are precious for working moms like me.  Work and motherhood equals a double job, literally.    Even now, in the middle of my long weekend, I’m here in front of the TV watching a favorite show, The Mentalist, and I’m also thinking of the leftover bistek I need to put away.  At least I get another day to “rest” tomorrow.  They let me sleep til closer to 9am today, then we all remembered the boy had a haircut appointment at 10am.  (Even I forgot and I set it up…)  More time to just sit and hug my boy.. and laugh.. and just be mother and son.

I feel like I accomplished a lot.  At the end of it all, I might even have an art journal entry in..

Starting Over at Etsy

This is cross posted in my crafting blog: Gothamchick.com

I just renewed two listings for my Etsy shop, Gotham Chick, so I have reopened the store officially.  I have two new products to post but the natural light around me is too low because of the glum weather outside, so I’ll save that for later.

Meanwhile, here are two items I already had which were ready for relisting as is.

Dancing Queen Large Dark Copper Freshwater Pearl and Tear Drop Oval Earrings, $65.00



Brown Flirty Braided Cord Hoops, $15.00

ETSY TIP:   Timing as far as posting items is concerned has to be taken into consideration as new posts make your shop “current” and visible to those shopping or browsing at any given time.   So I try to post an item in the morning and an item later in the day when the other side of the world is starting to wake up.

I hope to post my two new earrings later.  I was trying to do an inventory of the stocks I can relist when I chanced upon a pair of my rather “plain” antique brass leaf filigree earrings which I decided to spruce up with some czech press flower beads.  The creative juices started flowing and I ended up doing two pairs in different styles, and I would have gone on and on through the night but my eyes were giving in.  I’m rather excited by that new idea, so watch out for it.

Embracing Fall

It’s officially Saturday, minutes after midnight.  I didn’t get to do much this Friday evening, choosing instead to tuck Angelo in and read him a story.  Then I let him sleep soundly with his head resting on my arm.  Bliss.

I just re-uploaded one of Angelo’s older videos which I put together after his first trip to Disney MGM (now known as Disney Hollywood Studios) way back in 2007.  Seeing him all grown up now at 7 years old in comparison to that toddler is such a revelation.

I’ve started this flower collage I’m creating using some colorful pages from an industry publication we get at work.  (Such artwork laid to waste considering it mostly ends up in the recycling bin.)  Call it my annual homage to fall.  I’ve decided to use it as my graphic for the next posts until it is completed and I complete the card I hope to make with it.

I’m using different sheets per layer, super-imposing the top layer on the page and drawing around it.  I am now on the next layer, drawing it zentangling style.

I hope that the weather improves enough in the coming days to afford me a chance to photograph the colors of fall like I did in 2008 and 2009.  My camera is falling apart and is making me seriously consider purchasing a similar point-and-shoot SLR-like (but not quite SLR) digital cam, but I’m sort of attached to all the memories this camera has captured for me.  Besides, it’s one of those “nice-to-have-but-can-do-without” kind of things, so I am going to take a lot of convincing to get a new cam.

I put my pliers down and gave it a rest tonight, although I’m raring to create more pieces even if one pair of earrings last night took me the good part of what was left of my evening.  I’m quite happy with the result, just that it took forever.   I’m in no hurry.  I liked what I created last night so much I will be creating a second pair to keep for myself. =)

Sales at the shop (gothamchick.etsy.com) have been pretty slow.  I should be drumming up sales considering it’s my second year anniversary being on Etsy, but I’ve been very busy at work.

It’s our second anniversary, and if you “LIKE” our page, you’ll be entered to win an I HEART NY shirt in your size.. come on over!

Of blogs, friends, and snail mail.. oh, and yes, my Fourth of July weekend

I will try NOT to make this a rambling list, but coming off of a three-day weekend and continuing to be in holiday mode is a little dangerous.  Still, I didn’t want to miss out on the chance to update my corner of the blogsphere.  Happy fourth, everyone!

I was just visiting my favorite artist’s corner, Balzer Designs by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, where I stop by for some bit of inspiration every now and then and what do you know — she was writing about blogging (Some Thoughts on Blogging) which I could truly relate to.  I guess you can say this particular post is part of THAT inspiration.  I feel bad that I haven’t yet started my journey in art journaling just yet, but I might get on with it this July.  (Promises, promises…)  It helps that I am actually seriously considering creating cards for some friends I want to bug all summer long (and beyond) just so we can keep the USPS (United States Postal Service) relevant.

Earlier in the day, I also stopped by for an update on a friend from way back who is doing a great job chronicling her personal journey against the big C in The Evil Crab.  I have known Anna Lisa German-Thomson or Annalee as we called her then and then Chinot as her close friends know her, since our elementary days in St. Paul Pasig — and thanks to Facebook, we reconnected even if we went our separate ways from high school on.  We have popped in and out of each others blogs every now and then, but I must say her new blog has made such a big impact on me.  I hate that I had not been current with my blog hopping nor FB status checking (which, I now realize, is the curse of having too many people on my friend list), and it took me a while to catch on with what Chinot has been up against.  So a few days ago, I sent a card her way (yes, via snail mail) after sending her younger sister who I had know way back when, too, a note requesting for her mailing address.  I know that most people will swear by electronic mail — it’s just that I’m rather old fashioned when it comes to correspondence, more so when I feel a need to have my thoughts travel the distance in a tangible form.  I know it can make a difference and it has made a difference — so I have added another destination for my cards, letters and clippings.  (Someone in Horseshoe Village gets a regular dose.. or is getting a regular dose, too, again.)

The three-day weekend was a good chance to recharge, create, and spend some time with friends doing the winery route in the North Fork of Long Island.  I like picnics because they’re casual and relaxing, but I didn’t come prepared for the sun beyond wearing an almost full-length long sleeve tunic.  End result was sun burn on my neck, and I saved my face from over exposure to the sun by sitting on the side of the picnic table which had my back to it.  Some of Alan’s friends from high school had gathered for a reunion and some fun.

Cheese from Murrays, a small tray of dried fruit, some pepperoni and Saucisson Sec from Freshdirect, ample seedless grapes and fresh strawberries, crackers galore, packed the picnic bag with enough utensils (slicing board, serrated knives for the meats and spreaders for the cheese), ziploc bags, and take out lunch from Panera’s catering menu — and the lovely setting: Martha Clara Vineyards — and we were all set.  The wine was good, the company even better.

We went to Palmer Vineyards for a quick stop, then to Tanger Outlets, and finally dinner at Boulder Creek.  (I was too tired by then that I could only tackle a bowl of french onion soup.)  It was tiring but a lot of fun, and it is always good to reconnect with friends doing the things you like doing.  It was also refreshing to see my seven-year-old interacting with children from Manila — and with fellow Fil-Am children here in New York.

The weekend saw me creating quite a number of pieces for posting in my Etsy shop which should be up soon.  (Will I ever hit 300 items for sale?)  And yes, the button repairs were done quite successfully.  =)  For all the things I consider done over the last three days, I still feel I didn’t quite accomplish everything I wanted to.  I did inch forward slightly reading the latest installment I’m trying to catch up on.  You’d think that spending an afternoon lazing away under the sun in a vineyard would’ve given me time to read.  Nope.

It’s a Tuesday that feels like a Monday.  This is the downside of a long weekend… but there’s work and the rest of life to get on with.  Getting there, getting there…

Coming soon on GothamChick (ETSY)

Thinking about garlands and winter in the summer

I was cleaning up some “working folders” in my hard drive when I came across a bunch of pictures which, if I recall, I had edited precisely to put on this blog, but which for some reason, never got published.  (I could be wrong..)  So as I do when I want to post a picture or pictures here, I uploaded to my flickr account and picked it up from there.  Gorgeous, don’t you agree?

This was sometime in the winter late 2010, when the skies take on a different hue depending on whether snow was coming.  I don’t know if it is just me or if the skies indeed become luminous when they are heavy with snow.  And this is that part of the year when the days are shorter.  Sunset before 5pm, and complete darkness by then.

It’s almost July and I’m already thinking about Christmas.  Yes, December.  I’m thinking about holiday cards, gift tags, and maybe gifts.. handmade.. or at least partially.  Now is the best time to work with my paper baskets and woven paper frames.  I’d love to get into papermaking but I am in no position to purchase more materials to experiment with, so any projects requiring “capital investment” in any shape or form, no matter how small, will just have to wait.  Besides, there are enough new projects to get started with.

Last night I sat down way past midnight (again) and started to create these fabulous garland earrings which I ultimately finished this morning — something I’ve been meaning to do but which technique I was having a tough time with.  The bunch of beads would look too bulky, seemingly out of synch, and the long and short of it was I just wasn’t happy with the way it came out.  This time around, though, I think I nailed it.  One single strand of chain forms the base, but the depth of the beads attached to every other chain link was what made the difference.

I’m going to create a couple more pairs in different shades/combinations using the same technique so watch out for additional new pieces.  Coming soon!

Free form crochet project: Flowers (Work in progress)

I learned to crochet when I was in Grade V (or fifth grade as they would say here in the US), thanks to the private school I went to which made it a point to introduce me to various crafts as part of my Work Education class.  I didn’t do too well with the sewing machine, but I did pretty good in other needle craft.

I have always been drawn to yarn, and while I have made a vow not to acquire any new spools, seeing a ball of yarn going for dirt cheap in the discount store is just irresistible, more so when it’s in my favorite color.  (What else?  Pink.)  I was tempted to pick up a ball of each of the 5 colors available, but I didn’t want them ending in my yarn bin (or yarn “coffin” considering they usually end up untouched and unused).  So I stuck with the pink and I thought I’d grab a beige ball, too.

While I can read both written and diagram crochet patterns, I wanted to experiment with doing my own rosette or flower, hoping to create pieces for a bib necklace and/or a brooch.  It has been a struggle trying to find the right crochet pattern so I thought I’d give it a go just winging it.

I actually came up with three different versions, but I am happiest with the one shown above which solved my dilemma about having multi-row petals to give the flower volume and make it “pop out” so to speak.  Voila!

So over the weekend, I will be decorating them with pearls, beads and maybe even  buttons.  Watch out for the pictures of the finished products which I hope to post in my GothamChick shop on Etsy.  It looks like the brooches will make it to the shop sooner than the bib necklace because the pieces I’ve managed to create right now are a tad too big and bulky to use as a bouquet to adorn your neck.  Pricing will also make it very affordable because the yarn and the effort put into it have been modest.   These would be perfect to use on your coats or jackets, or even a hat.

I am still moving at a snail’s pace as far as the shop(s) is/are concerned, but I managed to post a new bracelet using a variety of czech pressed glass and czech fire polish beads in coffee-tones. (Hence, the name “Coffee medley”.) I used a new technique to “string” the beads on antique brass headpins, creating my own chain in the process which is a little trickier, but it surely saves me the cost of the chain and the hassle of worrying about beads falling through the open links.  Check it out at the shop before someone grabs it!

Craft Fair Exploits: Lessons Learned

It was on April 16th that I had participated at this craft fair at a private school upon the invitation of a co-worker of mine which was a very good learning experience for me as a small business owner.  I consider it a fair success considering I did earn the fee back, and there were a couple of  sales which made the effort worth it.  But after all was said and done, I chalked it up to experience  and am now seriously thinking about participating in another craft fair.

Here goes my list of lessons learned from my first ever craft fair:

1.  Items for sale should be packaged and more importantly, PRICED, way ahead of the event date. I had 4 trays of earrings already strung up and ready to hang.  My first dilemma was although I had spent hours putting them on the display tray, I failed to price them.  Also, I failed to plan the placement of my display trays, so I ended up displaying only 2 trays at a time.  I know… that was a loss… but the alternative was to display everything, and price them uniformly on the low end.

2.  You need to plan the placement of your display before the event date. While a 3 feet by 6 feet space can seem big, it actually wasn’t and I needed to crowd things together to make them fit.  I didn’t purchase any special sales paraphernalia except for one bust which I hope to “duplicate” using paper mache before the next event.

3.  Packaging and other sales paraphernalia should be organized in one box to make it easy and faster once a sale is made. Although I had managed to create my own paper bags, there were times when successive sales made it difficult and I ended up panicking.  Buyers were in a hurry, too, so it didn’t help when I was scrounging around for the correct-sized envelope or sticker.

4.  Calling cards must be designed and cut ahead of time. I had designed the calling cards, but cutting them proved to be quite a struggle so I ended up not using them. (I know, not good.)  I am hoping, though, that I will be able to do them in time for the next event.

5.  What you think will sell will not always be the hot items on your rack. So I thought (mistakenly,) that my domino pendants would sell like hotcakes.  Not.  Alan made a point of ribbing me about this no end, so I think I will concentrate more on the bracelets which sold better, as well as creating displays for my necklaces.  (Only the ones that were actually displayed hanging instead of laying flat on the table really sold.)

6.  You should hand-make what you can instead of spending for the display trays. I actually created around 3 of them using heavy-duty shoe box tops and unused large picture frames.  (I will post how-to’s) next.  This saved me a lot of money and allowed me to concentrate my expenditures on materials for more wares to sell.

7.  Do not ignore browsers, but do not be overly solicitous either. In this instance, I try to place myself as a shopper and try to accord the browser the same kind of attention I can tolerate without being intimidated.  It is good to say hello but not good to be too pushy.  I know I hate being ignored when I walk into a stall, so I try to be welcoming without being too cheesy.

All in all, it was a fun experience.  I did not exactly get anywhere close to selling out, but I think the sales for the day made it worth it.  They certainly exceeded any one-day sales I’ve had online, and seeing people actually purchasing what I made really made it worthwhile.

Although I did not feel confident enough even closer to the date of the actual fair that I had what it took to actually put up a store, having been able to do just that now gives me confidence about doing it again and trying to do it better this time around.