As random as it gets

I was sitting here ready to write anything that comes to mind — yes, after waking up again at 4:30am — but then I got pinged on Facebook by an old, old, old friend from more than 20 years ago.  (Kristhel, it HAS been that long.)

Back then, she was interning at the advertising agency I was working at while I was in law school, and we had developed a special bond and I took her under my wing.  I am always blown away by how some people who have slipped out of our lives suddenly pop back up from out of the blue, thanks to all the technology and social media today.  For that, I am happy.

I try not to troll FB too much these days.  I’m usually online to upload something, respond to a message (rarely) or to send one.  The friend list needs to be trimmed, but how do you choose who to follow or unfollow?  So I miss most of the updates except when they come up on my feed just as I log on.  (Millet, did my pony get there yet? LOL)  There are only a number of people whose feeds I actually seek out apart from my siblings who usually tag me to alert me to what’s newly uploaded.  But when a message from friends like Kristhel pop up, I find myself grateful that there’s Facebook.  (Don’t forget to click on those “other” messages from people not on your friend list!)

Even on Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest, I rarely click the “Follow” button.  I’m not being a snob… my presence online, more so here, is for very selfish reasons.  I’m keeping an online journal for my own benefit. =)

Someone I met yesterday asked me what I blog about.. myself, I said. LOL.. some might term that as being “self-absorbed” but that’s the whole truth.  Some people write for an audience. I write for me, myself and I.  And maybe someone stumbling into my corner of the web might find something amusing or entertaining, or maybe once in a blue moon, even helpful.

For Kristhel, read up and get caught up on what’s been happening in my life.. but please, please drop the “Ma’am.”  Your son is older than mine!

We were both so excited to have found each other — and I am grateful to the universe for bringing her my way again.  These days, I’m grateful for every reason the world gives me to smile.  And I do smile — happy thoughts are supposed to be indulged in and savored and relived over and over again, given the heartbreak and the disenchantment around us.  It doesn’t have to be a giddy-happy smile — even an ever so slight curve of the lip will do.

So Kristhel is this morning’s happy thought.  I’m so glad I went online on FB to send BFF Fe a message.  (My iPhone is still on order so no viber, just yet.)  She goes into that bucket in my heart that has my happy thoughts about elevators, my red nails, my favorite pair of heels, my little tyke, and all those things that bring me to a happy place.

 

 

Flowers & butterflies in Williamsburg

DSCF8008

I finally uploaded the pictures to my Flicker account and you are welcome to browse anytime as all the photos are public.  I haven’t quite had the time to organize them under an album yet but they are there for sharing.

I got lucky with most of these shots although for every one you see, I probably discarded or deleted another one or two.  This is what I don’t get from the iPhone — a real tight macro shot and crisp photos even when the subject is in motion.  I guess you can say my camera and I are back together again.  I’m trying to plan a trip to Central Park one of these days, or before the summer is over.  Unfortunately for me, I just discovered that the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History finished it’s run this June.

Flowers and Butterflies

There were so many butterflies that I manages some doubles — and there were quite a few.  The two shots here were taken at Busch Gardens (somewhere by France).

Flowers and Butterflies

The most striking, though, were the close ups of the beautiful butterflies.  The one above, though, was at the North Garden of the Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg.

I even spied one or two which had damaged wings but which flew about from flower to flower with no worries or cares.  A simple reminder that no matter how your wings may get clipped or damaged, life goes on.
Flowers and Butterflies

I hope you enjoyed my photos.  I am going to use these in my ongoing Thank You Postcard Project (which, by the way, has it’s own blog.  Click on the link and it’ll take you to “The Project” page.)  And of course, a couple will land on my Instagram feed.

Just trying to spread the love and the wonders of nature… More about our vacation in Williamsburg coming soon.

FAITH: Words and Pictures

There are things that I do online via Instagram, Twitter and Flickr which deserve a mention here but aren’t exactly front and center of my day.  Or sometimes there just isn’t more to say beyond the photo and whatever I had “scribbled” on to it.  For the most part, I do this only in prayer form, hence you will find a section on the above entitled WORDS & PICTURES as a page under a sub-category FAITH.

Below is my second entry.  I’m not going to do this regularly so I am just posting each graphic as they are created onto the page.   Please feel free to pin or share but please give credit.

 

Sunset over the Poconos and reflections this Holy Week: Lord, help me to welcome YOU into my life. #sunset #reflection #prayer #lentenreflection #HolyWeek #poconos #pennsylvania #Faith #religion

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

Weekend at Great Wolf Lodge

We spent the weekend at Great Wolf Lodge Poconos and we’re heading back to New York this evening. The boy had a lot of fun which is the whole point of the trip, and while we wish we could’ve stayed an extra day, work awaits. We are planning to take a day or two off again (like Tuesday) and maybe catch The Bourne Legacy..
At Great Wolf Lodge Poconos, 19Aug2012
With summer almost over, we’re tryring to enjoy the warm weather. School begins first week of September and after that, we would have to rely on school breaks for any long vacations. This one proved to be quite an enjoyable one, with us finally getting to a Great Wolf Lodge resort between planning on their Poconos and Virginia locations. The food was great — fantastic seafood buffet — and their burger passed the “Angelo test”. The boy is getting to be the burger connoiseur between the burgers of Bobby Flay, The Counter and Pat LaFrieda’s gourmet burgers on Fresh Direct. And this one actually has a real Starbucks store in contrast with the regular hotel cafes which just “brew” Starbucks coffee.

While I have not completed any newspaper collage postcards, I haven’t forgotten them. I will catch up this coming week with Friday’s postcards and the weekend edition of The Wall Sreet Journal
which I’ll be getting tomorrow at work.

I am continuing to catalogue my postcard collection on Flickr, but the progress is slow. That is going to be one long-term project but I am in no rush. The good thing is that it’s helping me to put my postcards in order and get rid of the ones that aren’t really part of the collection.

And still on the postcards — like our previous trips, I’m sending home postcards for our travel diary, and I even got Angelo to write the dedication on one of them. Great Wolf Lodge Poconos had four postcards available but no local postcards, though. At least I’m sending out something which Angelo can look forward to receiving in the coming days.

I decided to sit out the swimming today and I’ve been relaxing on one of the pool deck chairs, standing guard. Did one “FACES” piece for my IUOMA group, and I learned that signpen ink doesn’t dry quickly when used on Gesso. So it got kind of messy, but I’m happy with the way it turned out all in all. (Chalking that up as one of those “I learn something new everyday” bits.)

I had worked over a color photocopy of a favorite face and had painted gesso on the background. This gives me another bright idea for using my own photographs for mail art and my Art Journal.

The water looks very inviting but I am staying put here and just enjoying the rest of the afternoon.

More Newspaper Collage Postcards

[09] Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - The Wall Street Journal 03Aug2012 #4
Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - The Wall Street Journal 03Aug2012 #4

I’m really enjoying creating my Newspaper Collage postcards.  I have around 6 works in progress in the hopes of stocking up on items to trade — but with the weekend edition papers in, I think I’ll have to limit myself to 4-6 postcards per edition.  The good news is that I finally got the hang of modpodging the collage to flatten and “seal” it, and I did the “pressing” correctly this time by inserting the collage postcard between a “card” of parchment paper.

They also don’t take a lot of time.  I can quickly go through one complete edition with all the sections intact, pick out backgrounds, headlines and then assemble it in a matter of minutes.  The finishing takes less than half an hour which I would have to do at home.  (Still owe on the “how-to”, I know.)

So for the latest four I posted on my Flickr account set Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcards, I used a Mod Podge  Glue, Matte Finish and applied it with a make up sponge I got from the dollar store as a set.  Very fine application which was just perfect.  I used approximately 3-4 coats on each postcard and it came out nicely, except that the matte finish seems to have muted the intensity of the print on the original clipping.  But the upside was, it looked flattened and sealed the edges of the clippings.   Unfortunately I’ve run out of the Mod Podge Gloss Finish so I can’t experiment right now, but I plan to get more over the weekend and be able to compare the finish I will want to use.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing uploading my postcards a few at a time to my Flickr Collection, although I haven’t quite gotten to the section of duplicates available for trade.  I’m also trying to apply to postcard groups for future exchanges.  Sorting through them has also given me a chance to start taking stock of what I have in the collection, and the duplicates I have for trade.

When I buy postcards, I usually buy at least one extra postcard (or two) of the same more so when I know of a particular trading partner who collects that type of postcard specifically.  (For example, I have quite a stash of stadium postcards but I don’t personally collect them.)

I also do duplicates of maps.  I have a New York map which, unfortunately, is drawn and not photographic.

You’ll have to pardon the quality of the photos of my postcards.  As they are meant to represent the collection and are not really “the collection”, I’ve tried my best to take decent pictures, but definitely not printable or enlargeable.  The idea is to create a body of photos showing what I have.

The captions for each photo in Flickr are the captions at the back of the postcards.

Again, if you are interested to receive one of my newspaper collage postcards, art postcards, viewcards of New York, or just want to start a general trade, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox@gmail.com.  I will do postmarked exchanges or sets in an envelope.



			
					

Postcards and Mail Art: Newspaper Collage

I’m not feeling too well today.  I don’t know if it’s the heat or just my present medical condition, but I am really feeling weak.  I did manage to do errands with the boys and get home in one piece — and even pull together a decent dinner for all of us, but I’ve mostly done everything tonight while in bed.  (Like right now.)

So yes, I’ve started putting up some of my postcards in my Flickr account which you can view by going to this collection which, as of tonight, contains 5 sets: Lighthouses, Maps, Modern New York, Americana and Mail Art.   I have a subpage on Mail Art Backgrounds which I just uploaded but I am not including that in the collection for now.   I haven’t quite figured out how I will identify the postcards that I have duplicates to trade with — but that can wait for next time.  I have a long, long way to go, but at least I got it started.  (FINALLY!)

I’ve also put up a Postcard Exchange page (see link on the sections corner up on the left or on top of the page) which is still a work in progress.

Three days ago, during the course of my bloghopping, I chanced upon some art blogs which mentioned art postcard swaps which totally piqued my curiosity.  (One particular postcard swap I would’ve loved to participate in would have been Liberate Your Art 2012 from Kat Eye Studio but sign ups are already closed. )   End result was I found myself toying with the idea of creating newspaper collages on old postcards or just about any other paper I can cut into a 4.25″ x 6″ piece.

I was so inspired I created four pieces right away during my lunch hour but which I totally ruined by applying mod podge to later at night, then trying to flatten them by pressing them between the pages of a book I weighted down with something heavy.  End result was that the mod podge caused some of the “white” of the book page to adhere to the postcard, ruining it.

Newspaper Collage on Postcard gone wrong
Newspaper Collage on Postcard Gone Wrong

Well, it’s a learning experience for me.  As you can see, I’m Michael Phelps crazy (again).. just as I was 4 years ago.

As a postcard collector, I think it’s a novel idea to pull together part of the newspaper edition of the day in one postcard or several, then keeping them for posterity or to trade.  I make sure, though, to include the newspaper banner or part of it (which, in the case of my first batch, came from the August 1, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal.)  You will see a full “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL” and the full day and date in the piece.  These are all headlines and graphics and part caption.

My next set of collages done yesterday were more photo-centered, and this time, I made sure the photo credits were likewise included.  Or at least those that I can pull.  (I seem to have forgotten to clip the credits for the photo background but I will try to remedy that if I can still find a spare copy of this issue.  I managed to make a set of four from the August 1, 2012 edition of the New York Times this time around.)    Still Michael Phelps crazy but he’s the big news in the papers these days.

[4]  Mail Art: Newspaper Collage Postcard - NYTimes 01Aug2012 #4

Right now I’m still trying to decide if I will still try and do modpodge on this one, add other embellishments or elements to it, or maybe paint in some color?  If I do add some form of sealant or glaze on top, I will make sure to flatten it between sheets of parchment paper to avoid any part of the book page from adhering to the piece.  (Lesson learned!)

When the collages are ready, I intend to offer them for trade or just to send out to anyone interested.  Or I might just keep them and instead offer up photo print postcards instead to trade.

How-tos to follow via GothamChick.com.  I brought home three copies of Friday’s Wall Street Journal but had gotten busy with the watercolor backgrounds I did instead.  (More on that in another post.)

Art Postcards: Watercolor Backgrounds