Friday Five — We’re making progress

I know it’s a Saturday but I wanted to enjoy yesterday’s Fourth of July holiday.  (THAT felt like a real Saturday to me!)  Long weekends are precious when you work the weekdays.. even more so now that school’s out and Angelo is trying to enjoy the rest of summer.

I did manage to move on with last week’s Friday Five and I’m hopeful that next week will even show more progress.  So how did I do?

1. Finish the letters I had started and mail them off.. – This one will hopefully get ticked off the list or reported on with some amount of progress next week. I have my stationery!  (Created by yours truly.)

2. Create a new ‘Thank You’ card for the Etsy shop. Done!
Thank you cards for the etsy shopSelling on Etsy is a whole production even if it’s on a one-woman-business-scale like mine. You have to put the extra effort to create a full customer experience, and as a buyer on Etsy myself, I’ve found great satisfaction in receiving a proper thank you even if it’s just a short hand-written note scribbled on the receipt printed off of the system.  I chose 6 of my own photographs and produced a 3×4 print out on one side and a blank back with a paper background for me to write on.  It’s going to serve as my calling card cum thank you card until this batch runs out.

3. Continue art journaling and finish at least an additional layout at the end of the book for future posts.… As you can see it’s partially done — and I think the more important thing is that I’ve picked up my art journal again.

4. Finish the items already started and keep creating!   I have been sidetracked by a new method I’m trying to learn — hammering wire.  But I have continued creating during the week.

5.  Start doing mail art again.  This one got off to a good start, actually, and I’m trying to kick off a postcard project that will use the mail art I’m creating.  For now, I’m dealing mostly with backgrounds but hope to show what I’ve been doing in a short film to show maybe in a week or two.  (No promises.)

The coming week will hopefully give me more time to continue the creating.  I hate to admit that the creative juices have been flowing to distract myself from other pressing issues.  I don’t want to think that it is escapism, but rather my own means of coping.  I am thinking.. I am praying.. I am trying to work out the things that are crowding my head and my heart.

Art — even my own — has proven to be quite the balm my soul needs in times like this.  We all have our coping mechanisms.  These are mine.

I want to keep growing as a  person no matter what obstacles there may be.  I want to continue to be optimistic about life.  I am trying very hard to keep moving forward no matter how that may prove to be quite the struggle.

Here goes this week’s Friday Five:

1.  Write the letters and mail them.  Before I left for home Friday, I made sure to pack my stationery in my tote.  I have those letters to write!

2.  Keep posting in the Etsy Shop and keep the Etsy Group going!  I had been designated by the Etsy system as team captain for being one of the more senior members of the Fil-Am Etsy group.  That means creating treasuries (lists of products/stores you might like given a theme) and trying to get more Pinoys whether here or in Manila interested.

3.  Destash my supplies and magazines.  I want to be able to get rid of the things I o longer needed and to oroganize what I have and need.  I continue to do that with my jewelry making supplies and am making progress on that front.  Every week, I want to be able to feel like something had indeed moved.

4.  Box the clothes that Angelo is no longer using.  I have the box, I have the clothes, and hoping to put them away this weekend.

5.  Kick off my Thank You Project.  I wrote about this earlier here and have been trying to get the project started, although not officially off the ground.  It ties up many of the other things I’m trying to do like doing more mail art and going on about postcards — but I’m trying to do it in an organized fashion.  (I even have a blog ready to kick off with separate from this one.)  It’s one of those “pay-it-forward” kind of projects which involves doing something simple and hoping it starts a bit of good going.

That’s it for my Friday Five.  I have a headache that’s been bugging me since breakfast and I am getting ready to do lunch.  I don’t think I’m going to go anywhere.  My bed beckons.  (Yes, in the middle of the day.)  I don’t really feel like heading off anywhere either.

But lunch must be taken cared of.  (Spaghetti for the mother-in-law… I don’t know what the boys are up for.  They’re out doing errands.)  I hope to try some more hammering during this afternoon.. and maybe boxing (number 4 up on this week’s list.)

Moving on with the list…


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.


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.


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.


Yet a little colder

Snow today againYesterday, we woke up to around an inch of snow which only meant continuing cold temperatures in an already very cold New York.  I snapped this picture up on the way out to the bus stop.  The sun was already peeking out but it was cold..

No snow this morning but still below freezing temperatures so I’m all layered and bundled up. It doesn’t help that I seem to be coming down with something although I’m self-medicating as always.  (Not quite there yet — but so far my meds are holding up.)  “Meds + tea” seem to be working.

Meanwhile, I’ve been journaling on my Altered book. Showing the actual spreads as done here is a bit of a challenge because I’m trying to keep the journal entries private. Much of what I had written there were very personal. So instead I’ve been posting additions and add-ons I’ve been working on over at Gothamchick. One of my more recent posts is about some Filofax pages and Rolodex blanks I spray painted which you can read about here.

These days I’ve been thinking a lot about polymer clay, my Etsy store and getting that store going again. And yet jump starting things has taken a backseat to life in general. Thinking about it, I guess, is a start

I try to condition the clay when I can but actually setting aside time to work on them has been difficult. I keep going to Polymer Clay Daily for inspiration and ideas. Getting there.

Muggy Friday in New York

The Empire State Building and the equally imposing Chrysler Building are both hiding beneath a thick cover of fog this muggy Friday in New York.  Describing the weather is a little tricky because we don’t have “mist” back in Manila.  But it is just that: a mist or a spray.  Not quite the type you’d pull an umbrella out for, but for the likes  me who starts sneezing at a drizzle, it can be quite a dilemma.  So I think I will stay indoors for lunch and go down to the cafeteria.

My weekend hasn’t officially begun and here I am whining I wish it could be longer.  Most mornings I wake up wishing I could linger in bed, then I come to grips with the reality that the boy has school and I have to get the whole gang going.  These days the coffeemaker has been given a rest thanks to an espresso machine that Alan received as a gift.  I actually enjoy it more than regular brewed coffee.  Makes me wish my mom, a coffee lover like Alan, was here so she could enjoy it, too.

I am getting more active in terms of posting in the shop again and hope to put in more items over the weekend.  Sales that have come in in the last couple of days have been encouraging and have stirred my creative juices to flow again.   Even creating packaging for the mail has me challenged, but I welcome them all!

Sadly, there are just not enough hours in a day and I usually succumb to fatigue before I can even get half of what I wanted to do done.   Thinking about it now, I can’t help but wonder if my sense of frustration flows from the fact that I am putting too much on my plate.  List too long?  I think I have to simplify it to one doable task that will make me feel like I did accomplish something.

Oops, minutes ticking by and my super express bus will be leaving it’s corner post soon.  Have to go and head home!  Later…

Art Journal Every Day

It’s Julie Fie-Fan Balzer’s fault that I’m even attempting this.  Although I am by no means anything or anywhere near the artist that she is, stumbling upon her blog/website and reading up on her “Art Journal Everyday” challenge has inspired me to make an attempt at actually coming up with some idea or other and see what I can produce h at the end of the year.

I can already “hear” the unbelievers asking where will I get the time to do what I intend to do… With very simple ideas and in small steps, I can come up with something.

My first dilemma is what “journal” shall I use?  Do I get a composition notebook and paste my works there?  Do I use a moleskin?  Do I create a scrapbook and if so, what size?  I want to get this right.

Should I take it as a sign that I cannot find the watercolor set I had been saving and caressing all this time, so afraid to actually open the tubes and start using them?  And where did that craypass (oil pastels) set actually end up in after I fished them out of the treasures I had bought in my dear, dear National Bookstore during my last visit in July 2010?  (I will find them.)  I do have my 96-piece Crayola set in my little “locker” in the kitchen.  Plus, there’s the multi-set markers that I keep stashed away in a plastic container.

As of today, I’m leaning towards creating postcard size art journals which I can easily keep handy in my purse to write and doodle on wherever I may be.  The “canvass” would be manageable and not too daunting a size to fill up and complete.  That’s an idea.  But then there’s that question about whether that might actually be too small.  Hmmmm…

I am trying to write and talk a headache away.  My two Aleve tablets need a little help, I think, as my eye is still throbbing.  I am typing away in the dark with my laptop screen blazing in the almost pitch black darkness here in the room.  The little boy is sleeping beside me.

I remember he saw one of my “sun” doodles which he admired and couldn’t quite seem to believe was a work of art by Mom.  He seemed to be incredulous when he asked, “Is that your Art, Mama?”  And the look on his face said it all.

I think I’m pretty much settled on postcard sized art which I can just put on another sheet to complete it if I need more space to work on.  Of course it can never be really final until I see myself actually producing something in this size.  The notebook idea would be appealing were it not constricting in terms of how the journal would look if I did mixed art which is what I think I will be producing more of.  The composition notebook and all those lines would be such a distraction and may eventually become a source of frustration.  Decisions, decisions!

At a few minutes past 10, I would normally get up and grab my blank sheets of paper and make my first attempt, but the headache is killing me.  I think I will call it a night and make up for lost time tomorrow.

Let the journey begin!

My special place

I don’t know if it’s all the spam comments I’ve had to clean up from my inbox here, but I haven’t really had the chance to write.  I had already shut down the laptop and was getting ready to turn in when I felt a compelling urge to reboot and log in.

I know most people are writing about the holidays and the coming year but my heart and mind are not really into writing about that right now.  Not that the holiday spirit has not been “here”, but just because there are things that I can bear to think about but not write about.  So instead, I dwell on other things when it comes to writing.

I had stopped creating pieces over the holiday weekend but have done quite a bit in the last two days.  I just posted three bracelets today and am slated to add around 4 pieces at least tomorrow.  That is, if I can manage to actually take pictures and post them.

The snow is far from gone and this afternoon, I took a trek down to the local grocery, but not without dealing with the treacherous ice along the half-plowed walkways, and the streets still awash with mushy and dangerous ice.  The sun in its full splendor got tired early and sunset took a while but the grey skies eventually overtook us.

I had errands to do.  Ran out of rice, for one.  Thankfully, Goya now has a jasmine rice variety which should tide me over until I can get my usual milagrosa variety from the Asian store. So off I went with a shopping tote in tow, and little did I know there was a very treacherous obstacle course ahead of me.  But I made it.

Dinner was FreshDirect’s Meatballs and slow cooked Tomato sauce.  Yum for me.  Good enough for the hubby.  Without having to cook a full meal, I had time to deal with the paper punching and that’s the reason why I have pieces for posting.

Just before turning in, I grabbed the kindle and  I came upon this article in the New York Times.  A picture on the “frontpage” led me to a piece on Chris Cooley of the Washington Redskins 2who is better known as being the tight end of this football team but who has a passion for pottery.  I found his story inspiring, reaffirming why I bother to sit through my crafts day in and day out and late into the night or early morning.  It gives you something different to focus on and relieve the everyday stress and pressures of your otherwise “real” life.   (So he is into crafts and he blogs, too!)

I find myself constantly evolving and developing as an artist.  (I am suddenly forced to take pause and re-evaluate if I can indeed call myself an artisan?)  My creative process keeps changing.  Whenever I go back to the pieces I had created from when I started out a year ago, I find such a big difference in terms of what I had come up with then and what I am creating now.  That in itself is a journey.

My journey for the day has ended.  I must rest now and get ready for another day in the real world, punctuated by visits to my special place where I sit and create things.

In search of…

I am searching for a 1″ square punch which should be relatively easy to find but which is proving to be quite a challenge.  (audible sigh)  For something so simple and non-fussy, it seems to be so hard to nail it down.  Even Michael’s in Garden City (MY Michael’s store) didn’t have it in stock.  So I went off to my last resort: Online. has it and can give me free shipping with it’s usual $25 minimum, but for some reason, even the big and might cyber retailer cannot commit to next day shipping as “item might need 1-2 days to process”.  No good. Toys R’ Us offers scrapbooking supplies but alas, no square punch in the right size, and no, the product is NOT offered in store.  And even FAO Schwartz, our esteemed NY toy store to visit offers the line, but again, NOT in store.  And what’s worse, it takes 2-3 days for the item to leave the store, so it looks like there’s no way I will get this in time.  (Another audible sigh.)

I am thinking of braving the Michael’s store in Manhattan but it’s in the 90s, and then there’s the one in Woodside, but I’m stuck commuting so I am not too sure I want to brave that kind of an adventure on a flurry-laiden day like today.  (Twiddling fingers on the table..)

Google, though, brought something totally unexpected my way which, in turn, brought me here.  It was THAT good a find.

I stumbled across Balzer Designs which is just a treasure trove of ideas and creative inspiration.  While I don’t consider myself anything or anywhere near this artistic genius, I thought it was worth sharing to those who might look to this space for ideas.

Go visit when you have the chance.  I have to keep this short because I need to do my own browsing and try to get to know Julie!

Creative Inspiration Stop: Balzer Designs