All that snow

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AWe had quite the nor’easter Monday which saw New York City buried in over 12 inches of snow. I stopped counting at 12 inches. When I went out Tuesday afternoon to pick up a prescription from the local pharmacy, it was still windy and snowing. The walkways had been plowed but the whole area was still blanketed with thick snow. I cannot imagine how it was in Central Park.

My thoughts about winter haven’t quite changed. I am a warm weather person. Humid, hot, warm.. bring me back home.

It is very pretty when the snow is freshly fallen — when everything is a pure white.. then it melts and turns to slush and then we have to deal with it as we go about our daily business. Then it’s no longer cute.

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The sad news is that after a streak of 169 days of walking over 10,000 steps a day, I got stuck at home and there was no getting around to even attempting any portion of my daily walk. Today was a struggle with thick snow even on the plowed walkways, and it had started to snow again, so I had to head home after just under 4,000 steps. I feel like I need to recalibrate and restart.

I was initially disappointed but I’ve tried not to be too hard on myself. Covid has taught me to be more flexible and to be more forgiving. And forgiveness should really start with ourselves. So I forgive me.. and yes, I will get started on my next streak of 10,000 steps minimum a day soon enough.

I woke up to a cool and grey morning, and I finally got to make my tsamporado or cocoa porridge. Yes, we Filipinos like our sticky rice porridge with cocoa. I tried to do a smaller portion, but still ended up with two servings. Gone in one sitting. LOL. It was one of those mornings when I weighed myself but refused to stick to my calorie limits for breakfast.. just this once.. so I indulged. (I am almost fearful to see how much I ended up gaining tomorrow.). It brings me back to memories of home — even if the last time I had this, I actually made it even I was supposed to be the visiting daughter waiting on Mom’s home cooking! I didn’t mind.. it was all part of the full experience of being home with family. I remembered to use a ratio of 1 portion sticky rice to 5 portions water, and 1/2 portion cocoa. I would normally have put sugar but I opted for sweeteners so I completely omitted that.

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January just bid us goodbye and we are on the second month of the year already. Things seem to be moving faster somehow. And here I am looking at a stack of magazines that came in last month which I need to skim through and make a quick decision to keep or toss. I plead guilty to letting my subscriptions get the better of me — I don’t get to open to read and scan them when they get here, and they end up in a phantom pile which remains untouched for weeks on end. This year, I promised myself I will set aside time to scan, read, and discard what I don’t need. January magazines, you will be scanned this weekend.

I have been busy sorting my beads — again. I’ve made a concerted effort to eliminate the mini-bins I have all over the place containing pieces I had used to work on previous projects. Metal findings, crystals and glass, and gemstones. It’s been slow but I’m proud to have consolidated more than 12 mini containers. I’ve already washed them for use later. (I use dishwashing liquid but don’t use the sponge I used with the dishes and pots and pans. The oil residue tends to be left on plastic surfaces, so I use a half sheet paper towel to apply detergent to the plastic cups.)

The excess Christmas cards are all in one bag, ready to be put away in a special closet where I keep it for the following year. I was fortunate to have caught the after-holiday sale of Papyrus last year, and the subsequent clearance that followed before they closed for good just before Valentine’s Day. I am actually all good for next Christmas, but I’m thinking I might work on making my holiday cards again. Maybe.

It was a very different Christmas this year. I am hopeful that we will have an even more different Christmas come the end of the year — something closer to what we were used to. I’m trying to keep my expectations reasonable, though. We all thought the lockdown would end sooner, and that we would be going back to something akin to normal like back to the office by this time.. We were thinking that in October, but now, it looks like the projected return in May is still up in the air.

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I am patiently waiting my turn to be eligible to be vaccinated. At almost 55 and not being a frontliner, I think mid year or the fall is pretty optimistic given how the rollout has gone. So I’m taking care of the other vaccinations a golden girl like myself needs — like the shingles vaccine. I almost got it this weekend but the pharmacist told me I needed a prescription because I was under 60. (Something they could’ve told me when I called to inquire… they said, come on over and so I did.)

I will confess that my initial reaction to the vaccine was one of skepticism. I kept telling myself I don’t know what the side effects are — and is it worth the risk? Since the rollout started, the waiting has given me time to reflect and think. I’ve seen friends who are qualified to be with the initial batch of recipients get theirs, and I have to admit that I am green with envy. I wish I could get mine.. and shortly after, I wish my boy could get his. But the way they are going by age and risk factor, there are millions ahead of us.

I used to jokingly remind friends about the premise of “I am Legend” — the remake of “Omega Man” — and how a vaccine gone wrong started a mutation in humans that led to catastrophic results. And that was something that was supposedly vetted — even in the realm of cinematic fiction — and science failed miserably to foresee the consequences. What more this vaccine which was rushed through the usual years of trials and tests — not without reason, but still, it makes one wonder if we are taking a bigger risk putting our faith on the vaccine.

I don’t want to dwell too much on it lest it change my willingness to be vaccinated before I actually qualify to get my shot. That’s for another post altogether.

Speaking of other posts, I’ve actually started to trade postcards again — in baby steps, primarily because so much has changed about collecting. And of course there’s the usual burden of postage costs, and the added delays thanks to travel and cargo restrictions across international lines. I paused there and suddenly thought about whether or not it would be better to sit things out in the meantime. But I have the postcards to trade. Again, a product of my efforts to get organized. I’ve actually been going through my spares and have identified the postcards that need a new home. One postcard at a time. It’s given me ideas about writing a post on things I have learned about collecting postcards which the younger postcard collectors might want to read about. I’ve been drafting that post in my head. Next one in all likelihood.

We’re still looking at colder days ahead. And then rain. (Never good when it snows a ton and then it rains. That can only mean ice which no one likes.). I am just grateful the week is halfway done. Work has been busy but an okay kind of busy. I’m dealing with it. No fires to put out just yet. (Fingers crossed.)

I’m trying to wind down now so I can get to dreamland faster. The weekend was a struggle, and I am trying to be optimistic about tonight being easier. There’s the sleep cast.. and a little help.

Goodnight, world. I’m hoping the universe carries me through to a restful sleep tonight.

Friday Five – Shifting gears

When I started writing this post, I didn’t feel good at all that I thought I didn’t have much progress to report this week.  But then I am here proofing the post and I realize I didn’t do so bad after all.  Last week, I aimed to:

1.  Write more letters.  Yes and no.  One of the letters I had hoped to mail got stuck with me, so I did write an addition.  Does that count?

2.  List new items. Not quite there but I am working on it.  Photographing and editing the pictures for posting can take a while.  I’ve photographed them and am halfway through editing.  Maybe this weekend?

3.  Create more polymer clay beads and additional pieces for posting.  I have another batch that has been baked and another set ready for baking.  I’m experimenting with the transluscent variety and am really liking the end product.

Polymer clay discs- experimenting

4.  Sort and store away the postcards that are “out” in the open.  They are still out in the open.  (Obviously didn’t get to this one.)

5.  Work on a THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT blog post and continue on with the project.   I feel like this should actually be struck out in bold because I did manage to make substantial progress as far as creating the postcards, but writing has been difficult to make time for.  Did you see my badge on the widget bar to the right?  So proud of that!  Again, more this weekend.  (I am hopeful.)

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Should I be worried that I keep repeating the list and not being able to tick off what’s enumerated there?  I might have to rethink what I list down.  Where it was supposed to make accomplishing my tasks during the weekend easier to accomplish, I haven’t been making much progress.

So let’s try another tack this week.  I’m making the list very specific.  Measurable, as they say.  Here’s my new Friday Five:

1.  Write on the postcards I meant to send out to friends in Manila.  I have the postcards on my desk, just have to find my stamps and the addresses.

2.  Work on the hem of at least one pair of pants.  What can I say — I’m cheap.  I don’t see the rationale behind paying someone close to $10 per pair of pants when the nuns taught me how to sew well.  (Plus, I just bought some pins to help me keep it together — “aspile” as we used to call it back home.)

3.  Create my first THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT teaser video.   I have over a hundred slides to play with but I am being too meticulous with the timing and in picking the slides to actually use.  (Too much going on with this project!)

4.  Create a pair or two of earrings from my polymer clay discs.  I actually can’t wait to do this for myself!

5.  Go back to reading and praying with my daily Kerygma literature.  At the end of the day, this one is ready to be ticked off the list.

Not bad, after all.

Art Journaling and Chunky Agate Beads

Art journaling onTrying to keep a steady pace of output can be a challenge but I’m pushing myself to the limit.  The point is not to aim to finish a piece or to complete the work. You do it a little at a time.

How I envy those who can finish one whole layout in one sitting.  I’m not quite there yet.  There are days when I get swept up with all that’s happening around me and I don’t even open my altered book or pick up my tools.  So I’m grateful when I do get the chance and I begin a new project or continue something already started — because there are many days when I just end up not accomplishing anything related to the things I’m passionate about.

Chunky Agate Bead PendantI fell in love with these beads a while back and had them in my stash but they were tucked away in their leopard print brown bag. I finally figured out a way to pull them together the way I wanted them instead of the way it was strung together originally from the bead store. I’m not quite happy with the wire wrapping but I’m wearing this pendant around my neck just to give me an idea about how it actually feels when it’s worn. I think I will re-do or add more wire this evening, but I like it just as it is for now.

It’s rough on one side and smooth on the other, but the rough side has a whole lot of oomph and character.  I just need to refine the wire wrapping and the bead placement.  I’m all excited by the possibilities but even more excited by the thought that I’m creating again.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I can get these done by the weekend so I can post one or two in the store as new offerings.

I dream of the day when I can set aside time to do only the things I want to do and not the things I need to do to be able to do the things I want to do.  That statement is meant to make sense only to me. (Reminder to self: Buy lotto.)

One of these days, I’ll set aside a whole day and do just that: do the things I want to do.  So maybe I’ll spend the day in the city or just hop on a long distance train ride to somewhere and come back — just like that.  It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing once every say — two months or so… Just me time by myself not too far away from where I actually am.  It’s a thought.

 

 

 

Beads and postcards on a lazy Sunday

While most of my part of the world is all agog about SuperBowl Sunday, we slept through the afternoon lazily, just enjoying the time to relax.  My back is giving me problems — and I always welcome the chance to recharge which I cannot do as leisurely as I can on weekdays.  Lunch was at almost 4pm — thanks to Pizza Hut.

I had a most disturbing dream, though, about a favorite “niece” (although she is the daughter of a friend and not a blood relative).  Stranger still, I was in Manila.  Well, thinking of Manila is nothing new.  Dreaming of it is.  So I’m making a mental note to write my dear Evita later and ask how she’s doing.

I am also trying to get my creations going, so I sorted through a shoe-box full of odds and ends I had dumped together while cleaning up my work space.  Sorting through the various head and eyepins (that little pin-like metal object that you string beads with) took the early afternoon.  I tried to set aside the half-finished rosary bracelets I had as well which I hope to post in the shop after finishing them and photographing the pieces.  By the time I finished, the sandman was calling.  At my age, I’ve learned that it’s easier to just give in rather than fight it — and it’s more beneficial to me when I let myself take a moment to recharge by closing my eyes for a nap..

I’ve learned to embrace aging gracefully by acepting my limitations while trying to continue to live a productive life.  While I have done rather poorly in terms of managing my weight, I console myself with the thought that that has been a life-long struggle for me. I’ll get to it yet, if only to try and prevent the onset of diseases relating to aging and weight gain.  Something tells me my back problem is, in part, the result of the weight my spine has been punished with.

It’s getting dark outside as the sun is getting ready to set.  The thin layer of snow on the ground is beginning to melt.  It’s still freezing cold, and I just hope that’s all the snow we’re getting.  I have never stopped to marvel how nature maintains a balance and the creatures outside seem to go on unaffected by the brutal cold, being that I can hear birds chirping outside as if it was just any other day.

My first month of Life 4×6 is done, but I’m pulling together the photos with captions and labels.  I still haven’t quite decided how I will pull it into an album.  The 12-photo spread of the regular albums really seems too big, but to go any smaller would mean doing more albums.

I had drafted an extensive post on this the last few days, but since I’m not quite done yet, I’ve held off.  In due time.

ATC: Heart ATC 1Meanwhile, I’ve successfully slowed down on the ATC swaps.  My friend CuriosaKat whom I had bumped into at a Postcrossing Philippines group on Facebook had suggested I join the group.  It’s been a most interesting ride through the last 6 months and quite a learning experience.  Postcard collecting and exchanges have changed radically in the past few years, and I’ve had my bumps and scrapes in returning to active trading but I think I’ve managed to get into a manageable rhythm now.

I gave Postcrossing a try, but to those used to the more defined method of collecting postcards, it can get tiring and costly without the satisfaction of acquiring that which you collect.  It’s good if you are after volume, but I’ve been there, done that.   It would have been something I would’ve embraced enthusiastically when I started collecting almost 30 years ago, but at this point, I want to confine myself to the particular collecting interests I have identified.

Volume is one way to find satisfaction in trades, and if the idea is for you to collect from every possible postmark or country, then Postcrossing is for you.  But if you prefer to receive your postcards unstamped and “naked” in an envelope, then you’re better off with the private swaps or in swap forums like Swap-bot.com .

I participate in the swaps mostly to help me find a new home for the postcards I don’t need.  New York is such a tourist haven that we can never have enough supplies of the so-called touristy postcards, but when you’re sending out to a select group, it makes it imperative that you get a little creative sourcing your postcards.  It also gives me a chance to check out the different offerings for my own collection of “anything New York,” be it modern or vintage.

Postcards from Philippines, The: Map 3So what do I collect?  Maps have always been of special interest to me, although even that particular collecting interest has been “refined”.  Some postcard map collectors will accept street views as “map postcards”, and I used to include that in my collection.  In fine tuning my “wants”, though, I have decided actual state or city or country maps which shows a land formation or routes instead of those implied by streets on a postcard were what I wanted.

To date, I have at least one map from each state (yes, even the more elusive ones), but I have come to discover that there are multiple variations to each state, not only terms of design, but also in size.  So there are states which I have a half dozen different designs for.  Even the Philippines where I come from has produced several map postcards, beyond the very first ones we used to trade in the 80s.  I am still trying to find the time to photograph (as against scanning) the collection, but I’ve managed to upload a few in this album on my Flickr account.

If I were to identify which part of postcard collecting I find most fulfilling, I would have to say it’s going through my vintage postcard collection.  Browsing the prices on Ebay makes me think of putting up my postcards on the auction site, but that is also what makes me want to keep them all the more.

Although my vintage postcard collecting interest is confined to Maps, Lighthouses, New York, The Philippines, Paris and the places we have visited (like Bruge and Brussels in Belgium and Chartres in France), I have somehow amassed a pile of other vintage postcards I need to find a home for.  Soon enough.  I just sent one I successful dated to a fellow postcard collector in Pampanga in the Philippines, something printed in the 30s. (!)

Collecting?  Drop me an e-mail at my postcard collecting account aptly named postcardmailbox@gmail.com

Divisoria and Quiapo, anyone?

I started writing this post originally on March 18, 2012

It was a real adventure for me as I returned to a familiar place which is now so different and still the same.  I decided to take the jeepney like I used to, hailing one right at the corner of our street.  I was the only passenger at the beginning of the ride.  I didn’t know how much the fare was so I handed the driver a P50.00 bill and he returned a change of P30 something.  P14 apparently.  I had brought my old camera and snapped a few pics for the length of the trip covering San Juan, as I thought it was more prudent to keep it in my tote the rest of the ride.

The day was pleasantly warm and traffic was still good as I left the house early enough in the morning.  I couldn’t help but remember someone promising to drive me, but that was a while back.  I sat at the end of the row, by the “estribo”.  It has been ages since I rode the jeepney for any length of time.  If my brother os some other friend wasn’t driving me, I always took the cab.

It felt liberating and good and it made me feel nostalgic, bringing me home as in “home”.  I had taken this route many times almost 27 years ago when I had gone back and forth and up and down the streets of Tabora and Ylaya way back when I had gone into crafting hand-made ribbon hair accessories.  I did the jeepney route both ways back then.

Today was a lot different in that the landscape in that part of Manila has changed drastically.  You now have Tutuban Mall (which used to be a major train station) and 168.  I knew what I needed so I headed straight in.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I can walk blindfolded into Divisoria and find my way out.  Through the years, I’ve gone in through Abad Santos at the back by car, via jeep, via taxi and pedicab.  I know the way the streets were mapped so well that I could determine which side I was on just by seeing which street came before which.  I know where to find the tapioca (sago) and the spices and condiments, as well as the towels and white sandos we used to wear under our Paulinian uniforms.

Divisoria is like any wet market in any town — the streets are grimy and slippery, stagnant mud in the street smell, and you see the different wares spread out in the streets.  People sleep and live where they do their business.  I would have loved to have taken out my camera, but I felt that would’ve been intrusive.  To just snap away would have meant invading their home, their world.  So I went about my business instead and left the cam in the tote.

I try to dress as nondescriptly although it is sometimes difficult to stay inconspicuous despite the t-shirt and cropped pants and lipstick only get up.  I don’t even wear any jewelry or accessories.  I somehow feel like I stick out like a sore thumb in the crowd but I try to blend in as best as I can.  So I walked towards Tabora where the main wares sold were notions.  Wellmanson’s was closed but Morning Glory was open.  I walked in and loved that the airconditioner was on full blast.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything interesting to buy.  I looked for a building with a clearly lit alleyway and walked in.

Most of the stalls between Ilaya and Tabora sell textiles and ready made formal wear.  I chanced upon a roll of canvas and picked up two meters.  The sales clerk asked me if I painted — I told him I was going to use it for jet ink printing.  (Yet another experiment.)  You have to be patient and navigate the alleys indoors, keeping in mind that most of the alleys are constructed in grids, and if you keep your head about you, you can head forward and find yourself out in the succeeding street.  So out I went into Ilaya.  I came out through the alley leading to the cotton textiles and saw some Angry Birds which I thought would make great pillowcases for Angelo.  Two yards each please.

Deep into Ilaya is a native supplies alley where I pick up wooden beads and assorted paper and handicraft supplies.  I wasn’t too keen about buying beads here, reserving my budget for that for when I hit Quiapo, so I simply picked up some round, oval and square coconut discs I am hoping to use  polymer clay on.  On the way back, I found a notions store and bought two metal crochet hooks, not really planning on buying any thread at this point.

I lugged my loot down to the nearest Chow King where I had a breakfast of buchi (sesame balls) which continues to appall me for being so outrageously expensive but which I just truly love!  The sesame balls here at my New York Mart, one of the bigger Asian groceries in my area are twice as large yet cost as much but don’t taste quite as good.  After breakfast, I walked back to the main street where a jeep for Quiapo happened to be slowly cruising by picking up passengers, and I jumped on as it was slowly moving forward.  (Yes, I can still do that despite my age and girth and the plastic bags with loot in tow.)

Next stop was Quiapo.  The jeep turned around two blocks from Quiapo Church.  The last time I was here two trips back, Abril had driven me over and we parked in Isetann then we took a pedicab to Church.  This time, I walked.  I stopped by the church first to pray.  I am not a Nazarene devotee like Abril and how Papa was when he was still alive, but I have always been moved by the faith of the people who worship here.  And any church of Christ is a place of prayer for me where I can just stand in one corner, close my eyes and just be.

I didn’t stay long.  I walked out to Villalobos street and headed for my two favorite stores:  Pot of Gold on the left and Wellmanson’s on the right.  There are a smattering of other stores in the area that I visited but which I wasn’t able to note the names of, but there is now more variety in this row of streets with a more diverse offering of gemstones and findings.

Pricing and product offerings can be confusing to the uninitiated, so it pays to know what you need and want when you walk into the stores, otherwise you will get overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed can mean grabbing more things than what you actually need which translates to going over budget, or just being paralyzed into not grabbing anything at all.  I knew what I needed — just a few findings from Wellmanson’s, some pliers, and their handy bead organizer.  I was going to help Ces make a full length rosary, so I picked up a suitable crucific and center joiner, but their silver plated headpins were not shiny enough.  I decided to pick the headpins from the store across the street.  I walked over to Pot of Gold where I got the right sized glass crystals and some dyed agate beads.  I went to two more stores on this side and picked up more beads and findings before deciding I was done.

I wasn’t able to head to either Divisoria nor Quiapo last December for lack of the opportunity to go there — since the family stayed in Pasay at one of the hotels there.  Besides, Christmas would’ve been a crazy time to brave the crowds doing their own holiday shopping.  I had made up my mind I would make sure to stop by this time around.  You just can’t beat the prices here — and while my crafting has been put on hold since I got back from Manila over the holidays, I had to take something home.  So when my brother Abril couldn’t take me, I vowed I would go on my own before the weekend was over.

I wasn’t about to take another jeepney ride with everything I was lugging, so I hailed a cab and took the easier way home.  When I got inside the house with everything I was holding, my siblings and my mom were aghast to find out I had gone to Divisoria and Quiapo unaccompanied.  (I told you they think I’m a walking target for every snatcher and other thug in those parts.)  But I managed to accomplish what I had set out to do in record time and all in one morning.  We had lunch and I retreated back upstairs.

I was exhausted by the time I brought everything up to the room.  Jetlag eventually caught up with me.  I skipped dinner and by the time I woke up, it was midnight.  Time to get ready for the sojourn North to a place I had visited many times through the years — where I prayed and my prayers were answered.

Craft Experiment: Paper Beads from old newspapers

I’ve always wanted to experiment with making beads from recycled paper but didn’t want to end up doing the usual rolled paper beads most crafters used.  I also in the process of experimenting with doing hand-crafted paper but I need to go through the stuff in the attic to find my old and discarded blender because I can’t use my working one which we still use for the kitchen and for food.  (Number one rule in crafting: do not use any equipment used in crafts to cook or handle food.)

A few days ago, I chanced upon a post which pointed me here: A Storybook Life where there was a different way to create paper beads and which I have done in two batches over the weekend.  Below you will find photos of my beads after drying:

Paperbeads from newspapers All dry: Paperbead from newspapers

I expected the beads to be darker but the procedure where boiling water is poured over the torn bits of newspaper and allowed to sit for an hour or so causes much of the ink residue to separate (literally) from the paper.  The two batches were necessary only because the first was a means for me to gauge how big I want the shreds of paper to be and how big a size of lumped wet paper makes how much of a size of a bead.  I added my own variations to the method, particularly in mixing in the glue.  Instead of mixing it in with the paper as a whole batch, I added liquid glue per bead I rolled into a round between my fingers.

I used two full spreads of a section of the New York Times, and I found that the smaller bits are necessary for smaller size clumps or beads.  (I wanted to produce smaller than 10mm so I tried to rip the paper into 1-2cm bits.  Ripping or tearing them apart as against cutting them allows the paper to be more maleable and adheres to other paper more smoothly.  I used two cups of water to fully submerge the bits of paper and let it sit.  I poked the clumps of torn paper in my metal pan and saw the ink particles separating from the paper.

I grabbed the paper by hand and squeezed the water out before putting it in a wire sifter.   The two full spreads come up to around a cup of clumped wet newspaper bits.

I cut out bits of the paper clump and squeezed the excess water out, and I found that although the water got squeezed out, it sometimes stuck to your fingers and it was more efficient to actually squeeze and rest your fingers squeezing the clump of wet water on a paper towel.  If your clump is too wet, it will be very difficult to mold it into a bead, glue or no glue.  Some of the moisture will continue to be “squeezed out” as you roll the beads.

I then spread open the tiny clump of wet paper and put enough glue on it to cover the surface and then squeezed and mashed the clump together.  The glue actually helped to smoothen out the outside.  I used my fingertips rather than my palm to roll the ball to as close to a round bead as I can.  After it had dried, the shrinkage was approximately 5-10%.

The original instructions gave instructions to “sand” the bead to a smooth finish, but my next project is to try to decoupage the round base BEFORE putting a beadhole into it.  (More to come…)

The beads came out rather solidly and are very light.  I’m already excited by the different possibilities!  Part II soon!

Bead and Resin Experiments

I have a favorite wholesaler, Firemountain Gems and Beads, who offers assortable pricing, meaning discounts are offered depending on the volume of your purchase.  The pricing tiers change from 1-14 items, 15-50 and 51-200.  They have some fantastic sales which make me wish I had more flexibility to purchase as much as I want because when they have a sale, it is a true sale in every sense of the word.

During one of their more recent sales, I had gotten these giant yellow turquoise beads in blue and green because I was thinking of doing something with them like I was doing with the large flat oval agate beads I had brought home from Manila.  But when I received the beads, I was a little disappointed with the lack of sheen, then I reminded myself these were “chalk” turquoise, so I guess it was the “chalk” in the bead.

This afternoon, I mixed up  a small glob of my resin and “painted” one surface, with the intention of repainting the other side tomorrow.  The beads are still drying but the change in the sheen is promising.  I just think that I forgot to properly prep the work surface the beads are resting on right now, so that might mean more work tomorrow when I work on the other side.  Using paper plates to hold the beads wasn’t a good idea when I usually use wax paper which the resin doesn’t adhere to.

Lesson learned.

Well, we’ll see tomorrow.  Although resin cannot essentially be “undone”, there is always hope of adding another layer or two to “correct” what needs correcting.

Hopefully, I can post pictures of the work in progress tomorrow before I apply resin to the other side.

Craft experiments

My favorite past time of late is to virtually shop for beads and other craft goodies, research on materieals and think of new ways to create.  While I haven’t bought anything lately (since I am still stocked up on materials I have yet to turn into jewelry pieces), it gives me an idea about possible combinations.  It’s like reading a book, but browsing things virtually.

I am in the middle of creating a baroque pearl lariat necklace for someone who has everything — or practically everything — that the only meaningful present I can think of would be something I made.  I have a few other pieces I’m putting together to give as gifts.  (Forget the store and selling! LOL)  It doesn’t help that I haven’t actually had time to create much.  I did manage to post new earrings but I haven’t added to my stocks.  I really have to work on this soon because pretty as the pearls and the beads may be in their organizers, they are no good to me if they are not ready to sell.

Dried rose petals I'm trying to fashion into beads

I am even experimenting on rose beads.  I had dried these pretty two-tone roses a month or two ago, and I had tried working on creating beads out of the petals before they were completely dry  based on some online resources, but they ended up losing their pretty colors that I decided I would let them dry instead.  I never quite got to them because they were so pretty on my desk, but today, I fashioned 7 beads (approximately 10-12mm each) which, I am drying for 24 hours before applying another coating of craft glue or resin.  (I haven’t quite made up my mind yet.)  The point is to see how much the beads will shrink or contract once the glue dries out.  If they work and they are usable to make a necklace or bracelet, I will post the how-to here.  (More to follow..)

I am hoping for the day when I’ll be writing here complaining about how I cannot cope with the demands of the store.  It’s been pretty quiet there, but hey, it’s the recession.  And I always say it’s a numbers game — I have to populate the store to offer more choices.  And then maybe one day soon, I’ll see that number of sales in three digits instead of the two that it still is.  =(  In time…