Friday Five Take 3

I could’ve written this post yesterday but I sort of felt bad that I had not much progress to report.

Here’s my list for the previous week:

1.  Write the letters and mail them.  The funny thing is I keep making the stationery.  Time to write!

2.  Keep posting in the Etsy Shop and keep the Etsy Group going!  I’ve put this in the backburner the previous week but hope to do at least one post this weekend.  You can read more about my creative pursuits in this post from my craft blog, Gotham Chick.

3.  Deal with Angelo’s leftover school supplies from the previous year and get rid of what I am not keeping.  This is something I enjoy doing every year.  Unlike other moms, I don’t throw away his composition notebooks.  I actually cut out the seam and take the cover off, and I cut the sheets that have not been written on.  I use it for scratch paper and shopping lists.  The ones I can’t use I’ve already thrown away.  I always keep his old crayons and marker sets for use at home working with next year’s school homeowork.

4.  Box the clothes that Angelo is no longer using.  While there are a ton of charities here in the US, I keep Angelo’s old clothes and send them with the balikbayan box I send home periodically for my mom to distribute to the poor families in her community in Bulan, Sorsogon.  I don’t send it right away but box them when I can so that they can “compress” and become easier to pack when the bigger box is being assembled.

5.  Write the introductory post about my Thank You Project.  I’ve created the video channel on YouTube and have actually created a separate blog which is still private, but I want to do this right so I’m taking it slow.  Over 100 + postcard backgrounds, 50+ flower embellishments cut and drawn, and other embellishments coming.  I haven’t quite decided the tiers for the group funding project that will accompany it but I’m getting there.  If you’re on Instagram or Twitter, this one will be #thethankyoupostcardproject .

So I guess I was wrong to think that I hadn’t actually accomplished much against last week’s list.  Here’s this week’s list:

1.  Write those letters.  I must confess that one reason this is taking a while to get off the ground is that I like to write spontaneously but I feel like there is so much I’d like to keep out of those letters.  I have never been one to edit myself but at this point, there is so much about what I think and feel that I need to keep close to my chest.  I will still try.

2.  Post those earrings!  I do have three to four ready for posting — after attaching the earwires and photographing them.  I also have two to three necklaces.  The sun’s been shy this Saturday so I will wait for it to come out a little more just so I can have better lighting.  I like the way that natural light plays with the pieces I have been creating.

3.  Work on the Thank You Postcard Project page.  One thing that I have found helpful is writing things longhand instead of waiting to be in front of my laptop or finding time to draft a post on the iPhone.  And it helps me organize things better visually.

4.  Send some test postcards out.  I’m wondering if this should be part of #1.  I have printed some of my own photos and treated the front with mod podge but I’m afraid of how the pieces will “travel” or deal with the wear and tear of handling in the mail.

5.  Bake some polymer clay pieces this week.  I’ve been trying to get back to polymer clay a while now but it’s always taken a back seat to everything else.  Yesterday I started “conditioning” clay in the pasta machine and even worked on creating molds.  One of two came out well which inspires me to keep going.  The thing is working with clay and actually producing a baked piece can be quite a production, but I’m hoping to get moving with this this week.

A bit of the old and some new ones.. keeping it at five so that it’s not too overwhelming.  Have a great weekend everyone!



Mail Happy

I have long been wondering where some of the people who have sent me swaps got their older US stamps. Then I ventured into eBay and lo and behold, there they were. I managed to snag a lot with a $5 discount to boot, and I am going to start using them for the postcards I hope to send back from Lake George.


This is actually one of my favorites. I refuse to believe that snail mail, or writing longhand, is a lost art. I try to do my part by writing letters and cards when I can, instead of relying on Facebook, e-mails and text messages. At the same time, I cherish the experience of holding something in my hand as I hear from someone I may not even know but who shares the same interest in postcards and/or Artist Trading Cards like I do.

The occasional letter never fails to make me smile.  And even when the contents of the envelope is something I’m actually expecting, I always look at the stamps affixed to the envelope which are, in themselves, a gift from the postman.

I’m getting ready for the weekend.  And like most of our previous vacations, I’m all set with my address labels, stamps, and I’m even taking along some long-delayed postcards I had meant to mail awhile back.  (This happens a lot when you’re always mailing stuff out — sheer volume sometimes causes these lapses.)  I’m going to seriously work on catching up during the vacation where I know I’ll have enough down time to actually write leisurely. 

I didn’t realize until around a week ago that I never uploaded the postcards I had sent home during our first trip to Lake George during the Fourth of July weekend of 2010.  I sent home a total of 14 postcards.  I like the fact that Lake George has quite a tourist draw, so anything tourist-related gets a lot of attention.  They had more than enough postcard racks to pick from, and I’m hoping that three years hence, they have new ones I can add to my collection.  Although this is our third trip to Lake George, we went during the winter for our second trip and the town was literally closed for the season.  We had stayed at an indoor waterpark then so it didn’t matter that it was freezing out.

It’s a small and quaint town, but there is a lot to do.  Whether you go as a group of friends, a couple or as a family, they have many things to keep everyone entertained and busy.  I hope to find some antique shops this time around.

We’ll be on the road on Wednesday, and we’re returning by Saturday.  I’m hoping my asthma abates by the time we get there.  Today was a bit of a struggle but I’m coughing with more ease.  Still, the whole exercise of trying to cope with the difficulty in breathing leaves me feeling exhausted.  I’m going to give the polymer clay a break tonight.  I have to try and store them away for when I return.  (I do hope to do an update on the craft blog here.)

I can’t wait to send off my stamps affixed on postcards and letters heading here, there, and everywhere.

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.


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

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

Mail Art Postcard: Philippine Map 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project night

So I managed to make it to the 5:30 Super Express bus.  One single pick up in the city and it headed for home.  I was at my doorstep in an hour, and I started cooking dinner.  Fried chicken wings for the boy (current fave dinner of choice) and T-bone steak for us grownups with a side of asparagus. 

I fell asleep as we entered the tunnel and occasionally woke up when the burly man beside me snored a single burst extra loud every now and again.  Just my luck — not even my exhaustion was deep enough to shield me from the noise.  It would have been blissful to just slide off to dreamland uninterrupted.

I have major writing to do as my 30 days of blogging prompts deadline is fast approaching.  (April 6 is the last day to send out.)  I have so far successfully laid out around 5 of the 30 prompts.  Not much, I know.. but the longer ones are already in the works, even if I haven’t published it here yet.  I’m really getting into some serious writing, but I’m wary to publish it in full in such a public space like here.  I am producing two copies of the book, and I’m working in earnest because I’m keeping one copy. 

My Book of Treasures is also progressing very well — my swap partner is also into Nicoletta Ceccoli, and I’ve found a nice way to incorporate the graphics into something I wanted to put into the book.  I’m being vague because I don’t want to give anything away. =)  It’s that kind of satisfaction when one is creating from scratch and things come together spontaneously.

I’m doing a spring envelope collage for a mail art swap due tomorrow.  I like this pace.  I’m not constantly running after deadlines although I kind of miss getting mail constantly.  (That’s the trade off of the slowdown, I guess.)

Midnight now and heading off to dreamland.  I’m watching a performance of Angelo’s in school tomorrow before going to work.  My boy’s dancing… =)  Can’t wait.

Mail Art: Travel and other swaps

 I’m getting to like Mail Art swapping at Swap-bot.  Here’s one of the swaps I sent out a few days ago over to Tara — the theme was TRAVEL.

So Iprinted a vintage world map as background and added elements relevant to me personally.  A print out of my Philippine passport, a Schengen visa and I added several immigration stamps in and out of the Philippines and New York.  It wouldn’t be complete without a subway map print out which I pasted front to back.

Mail Art: Travel (Decorated envelope - Front)

Mail Art: Travel (Decorated envelope - Back)

This second set of photos shows three tags I had created for the second round of Quote Prompt Mini-Journal swap. The idea was to choose three quotes and put them on individual tags. We’re supposed to compile the tags we receive into a mini-journal by binding them through the single tage hole on each one and be able to flip through the album for inspiration.

Quote Prompt Mini-Journal #2 (Side A)

I chose three women in variosu paintings of Botticelli and then put in quotes about “self”. 

I felt more challenged to come up with something very crafty for this tag set and I tried to add embellishments that I could “laminate” with mod podge onto the chipboard collaged tag I had hand made.  Two sets went out to two partners.
Quote Prompt Mini-Journal #2 (Side B)

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

Mail Art for Swap-bot by GothamChick

I use repurposed brown shopping bags into envelopes for mail art swaps at Swap-bot.  The first four images were for two items I created for “Mail Art – Sender’s Choice” which saw me doing a collage using Nicoletta Ceccoli prints over newspaper sheets.  (I’m hooked thanks to Eurocat aka. Rita!)  The envelope itself was made of kraft paper which I painted and collaged with other elements.

Mail Art - Sender's Choice 1A (Front)Mail Art - Sender's Choice 1B (Back)

 (I always put in a “New York” element which is the mini-print of a vintage postcard here.)

 This one’s a personal favorite of mine!

Mail Art - Sender's Choice 2A (Front)

Mail Art - Sender's Choice 2B (Back)

 (See the Grand Central Vintaeg Postcard to the left?…)

A week later, I did another mail art swap for a Spring-themed envelope, and this time, I added horses which the lady I had as my send-to partner was so into. 

Mail Art - Spring 1b (Front)

Mail Art - Spring 1a (Back)

 These two horses at the back were from a perfume ad, and all the flowers, boquets and solos were from magazine pages.  The fancy tape was something I made out of masking tape.  (I’m a cheapskate… don’t want to succumb to buying the popular washi tape.)

These swaps made some mailboxes happy the last two weeks.  I try to post a ways after so that I don’t spoil the fun of the surprise.  Tomorrow, I have a travel themed swap going out… Haven’t quite finished it but I’m halfway done.



Mail Art by Gotham Chick

I’ve been a member of for a half year now and I’m still learning.

I principally joined upon the urging of Kat (of CuriosaKat) who I had bumped into in the Postcrossing  Philippines group on Facebook.  I initially resisted the urge to do Artist Trading Cards or ATCs but I eventually gave in and have enjoyed it.  Mail art, however, is something new.  I did try to join a decorated envie (or envelope)  swap at the start, but I got scolded for not understanding the instructions.  I had made the envelope, decorated it, and sent it in another envelope.  I didn’t realize (stupid me) that I was supposed to decorate the envelope, stamp it and send it on its merry way.  (Lesson learned..)  I had to resend, and I got my rating of 5.

Sometime in December, though, I had gotten overwhelmed, overcommitting myself — and I ended up with delays that caused two ratings of 3.  (Ratings are important to join other swaps.. it’s the equivalent of street cred in the swap community.)

The two below were mail art I created for a recent swap.  I’m going at it again with another swap this weekend, and I think I”m getting the hang of it. Some very interesting mail art have maid it to my box and if my pictures come out okay, I will be posting them here soon.

These were made by printing over repurposed brown bags… they came up very grungy which was the effect I wanted to produce, and some printed stickers I picked from the web.
Mail Art by Gothamchick

Mail Art by Gothamchick

Mail Art by Gotham Chick