Monday Musings

MondayMusingsLogoSo much for breaking the silence as two months passed before I could return with a blog post. Determined to break the streak, I’m back with one of my staples which has me randomly ranting here and there about anything and everything under the sun. No particular theme or flow– just anything that comes to mind.

Talk about being spontaneous.

Autumn is here. Stating the obvious, I know. I love autumn– more than the colors of spring. Definitely more than the black and white of winter. I think I stepped out of the house overdressed in a winter coat. I am going to try and get off the bus with just my sweater and a wrap.. or maybe I will walk out with my coat and wear it open. The changing of the seasons always brings me more than my share of major wardrobe dilemmas. But what to do? You just go with the flow.
Manhattan at Dusk 10.25.18
Geo chunky earrings for me. I have been feverishly trying to create and at least in that respect, I’ve been rather productive. Right now, I have around 20 pieces I have worked on the past couple of days, and I’m hoping to get the write ups and photos done so I can sell them in my Etsy shop. Onyx in black and white, agates in various colors, different types of jasper and magnesite… I’ve also gotten bolder with creating single dangles instead of having a dangle dangling from a dangle.

Pending photographing this new series, I had produced (and continue to work on) earrings using ceramic beads like those shown below.

Earrings by GothamChick
Earrings by Gotham Chick / Available at Gothamchick.etsy.com

I love you, Billy Joel.I finally got to watch my forever idol at Madison Square Garden over the weekend. Well worth the price and the wait! I was fortunate to have caught new dates announced in April, bought tickets and October is here — so off I went. I was just soooo happy to have finally been able to do this. For me. It was so good I’m actually thinking of watching again next year. THAT good!

Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden 10.27.18
Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden on 10.27.18

Sometimes the hardest thing is to try to be consistent at life.  I try.  And so here’s one more attempt at being here more often and more consistently.

Happy Monday, everyone!

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Monday musing: Creative frenzy

I started writing this at half past six and the sun hadn’t quite awakened just yet. I had tried to wake up my brain with my usual cup of Joe and my quarter of a cup of oat bran. And I started writing.

Creating for the #GiftOf50.  I’ve had a productive  weekend with my tools. I’ve been busy sorting my beads (Saturday) and creating (Sunday and most of the nights preceding it). I usually string the beads onto headpins before assembling the actual earring dangle then I finish this as a second step in a batch. I only put the ear wires when I’m sure I’m done, with no other finding or component or additional gemstone or bead to add. Last night, I did the last step.

Here’s the thing.. I had started creating basically with the idea of making a batch of earrings to give away as part of my #GiftOf50 push. After assembling the earrings, I am now torn about actually giving them away and posting them in the shop. Did I just create a problem for myself here?
I’ve also been busy with my Marian necklaces which deserves a post altogether.  Three (make that 4) pendants and necklaces in production.  I have the pendants done (finally), but I am in a design quandary.  (again, have to write about this separately.)

Giving in to the challah bread craving. I love bread but I’m trying so hard to stay away from it.  The week prior has been good in the area of trying to keep my weight in check, so I thought I’d give myself a break over the weekend with a “bread run”,  even if only for one loaf of challah bread from my challah bread source in my area, Le Pain Quotidien.  I meant to make some French toast, but congratulate me for resisting the urge.  I did eat it throughout the weekend..  grilled cheese dinner on Saturday, and this simple yet hearty breakfast of tomato scrambled eggs for Sunday breakfast.

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Sunday breakfast of tomato scrambled eggs and challah bread.. brings me back home to breakfasts in Manila with the “tasty” sliced bread or better yet, pandesal. .

I’m not worried about the scale tipping a tad higher because I know saying goodbye to my carbs beginning today will correct that.  For me personally, I have learned that weight loss is best managed by weight control– and at my age, I am not killing myself over a slight weight gain (nothing over a pound), more so when I’ve succeeded in keeping my weight down.  I am at my usual plateau and the only goal now is to break it and even go lower.  Soon!

My happy mailbox..I have never stopped collecting postcards even if I haven’t been actively trading them, and it always brings a smile to my face when I find a postcard in the daily mail when I sort them at the end of the day.. what more when I get 3!! Thanks to my friends from Postcrossing Philippines who continue to keep my collection growing with their postcards from home.  Keep them coming!

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#HappyMailbox: Thank you for the postcards, @mumwrites and @skyorange … for the mail smiles you brought my way with these cards from the Philippines. 🇵🇭 Such wonderful additions to my collection! Mail coming your way.. 💌

More lawyer wannabe questions.  I haven’t forgotten and I am not ignoring them.  Thanks for reaching out via email — I always appreciate hearing from the people who stumble into my corner of the web.  Again, I am getting to the questions soon.  Keep dreaming..

Gotham chick recommends.  Sometime in 2015, I thought I’d create a specific account for Gothamchickshopper for product and service recommendations.  I created an Instagram and twitter account, and yes, a blog.  I’ve always had the account on my smartphone but haven’t really been writing about it.  (I hardly get to keep up with this one!).

So I’ve started being more focused with the new hashtag #GothamChickRecommends and hope to keep the social media accounts more active as well.  I am even thinking of doing a weekly roundup here.  My restaurant posts have become short blurbs that can be an entire blogpost and I really should focus on some of that.  (That’s me talking to myself.)

I think I’m off to a good start and will hopefully get at least one of these blurbs into an actual post here during the week.. plus one or two or three.

Happy Monday!

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.)

zentangledthankyoupostcardcolored
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.

Friday Five Progress

I’m seriously thinking of renaming this the Saturday Five because I always end up doing them on a Saturday.  But it doesn’t sound quite right.

Some progress this week:

1.  Write those letters.  will still try.

2.  Post those earrings!    I actually managed to post five items and these are now available in the shop.

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Available at Gothamchick.etsy.com

3.  Work on the Thank You Postcard Project page.  Been working on it but not the the site itself iwhich s private for now and I have it as a separate blog from this, but I have started uploading to its Instagram Account.  Below is one of the first few I’ve uploaded and you can search for it via hashtag. (#thethankyoupostcardproject)  These are also available on my Pinterest account.

The Thank You Postcard Project - #theyhankyoupostcardproje ct

4.  Send some test postcards out.  I’m pulling back on this for now because I want to make some specifically to test with.  I don’t want to touch what I already have in the 200+ postcards with backgrounds ready to be worked on.

5.  Bake some polymer clay pieces this week.  I’ve been pouring a lot of work into polymer clay and so far I’ve managed to make maybe half a dozen beads and molds, but my major polymer clay experiment fell flat.  But that’s what experiments are for, so I’m glad to report that I am at least working on it.

So here goes this week’s Friday’s Five:

1.  Write those letters.  will still try.  I am working on some handmade cards and might even come out with a tutorial in Gotham Chick (my craft blog),  so at least one card, I think will go out.

2.  Post the almost finished bracelets and necklaces in the shop.  I have some mother of pearl bead bangles that are ready for posting but need some finishing because of the extender chain with charm I wanted to add.  That should be done this weekend, and he posts up before next Friday.

3.  Finish at least one more background at the end of my altered book.  I’ve gone back to art journaling and was just finishing one layout for an entry, but I have around 20 spreads in the book that are still plain book pages.  The idea is to create journal ready spreads as I go along.  One or two more entries in the back of the bok would be nice.

4.  Destash more magazine by going through them and getting what I need.  I have been cutting out letters connected to the Thank You Postcard Project and hope to do that with the other magazines I mean to throw out.

5.  Create more polymer clay beads.  I worked on some molds last night meant to help with textures and I hope to create more this weekend.  (Has to be this weekend.)

It might seem like I’m rehashing the previous week’s list but that’s the whole point of this.  I created this list to help me focus on deliverables that are achievable, and I like that it’s kept me committed to ticking off something each week.

It was beautiful yesterday but the clouds are back.  Not a happy morning outside but I’m not complaining because the sun is going to be tolerable.  Hope everyone is having a good Saturday!

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..

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!

Happy Valentine's Day

I don’t know if it’s all the snow but people are suddenly all into feeling warm and fuzzy and greeting everyone Happy Valentine’s Day.  This is news to me only because I used to be the only one heralding this day of hearts.  Not today.  And happiness and cheer is always cause to smile. 

Although it’s a little difficult being all cheerful given the fact that I’m feeling a bit under the weather still (although showing signs of getting to being fully recovered soon), I feel a marked improvement.  So I’m trying to hydrate with more lemon tea with honey, and I’m weaning myself from the medication.  One thing that I’ve had to live with all my life is an allergy-type asthma which is not as cumbersome a condition as those who require an inhaler on hand, but which can still sap me of my energy when an attack comes upon me like now. 

My valentine dinner last Saturday turned into a take home dinner part 1 followed by another take home dinner part 2 last night.  So it’s our typical more than one-day celebration, and from all indications, there’s part 3 to look forward to tonight.  The tyke is demanding a valentine’s day card which I tried to shirk away from by insisting his Dad was my valentine, but I have a feeling I won’t get off that easily.

Moonstone and Silver Dangle EarringsI picked up my plyers over the weekend and managed to come up with a few pieces — some half finished from ages ago.  Others were long-forgotten ideas I had to set aside due to some other projects.  I had come across this prertty hand-cut faceted moonstone ovals that I had tried working with along with some amethyst roundels, but this one came out quite nicely, so much so that I might actually make a pair for myself!  (The curse of creativity and trying to make a business out of it is the struggle to resist the urge to keep the pieces that might actually successfully sell!)

My discount promo codes expire tonight, so I’m holding off putting this pair up in the shop until tomorrow.

I have thus far successfully resisted the urge to get any more new supplies and instead have been working around what I have.  No sense in amassing more raw materials when there is enough to work with as it is.    It has worked to my advantage, forcing me to be more “creative” and “imaginative” as far as pulling together the materials I already have. 

We’re supposed to get more sunshine in the coming days which I guess is a good sign that we will indeed have an early spring.  At this point, any signs of improving weather are most welcome given all the snow we’ve been buried under the previous weeks.  There are still clumps of snow where we live, although there are hardly any visible leftover mounds in the city.  (Enough snow already!)

So here’s to a warm valentine’s day celebration for all those celebrating with someone special and by themselves, remembering someone special.  Remember, Happiness is a choice..