“Me” Day on a Covid holiday

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AI don’t get to go around much anymore, and everything has changed so much that things just don’t feel like they used to. Manhattan is still there but with a different “flavor”. Although I work there and used to be there five days a week, I only really got to explore and enjoy the city during those days I got to go around leisurely. Those would be the days I went in specifically to go around and do errands or take visiting friends or family to see the sights. Thursday was an errand: a doctor’s appointment.

Untitled

Like most others, I try to get the usual annual appointments done before the end of the year. I should really do better than that and try for earlier, but insurance will usually not take the appointment until after 12 months from the previous one. (It is supposed to be “annual”.). It went rather quickly with an hour’s wait only– I guess the ladies held their babies in and no one went into labor, so my gynecologist sauntered in pretty much on time. Hooray!

I wanted to get the steps in so I walked from 34th and Madison towards Bryant Park on Fifth and 42nd. It was a cold but beautiful day but I dressed for the weather and had my mask on. I was all set.

Untitled

The steps to the New York Public Library are usually full of people seated on them enjoying the sunshine. Famous for movies like “Sex In the City” (venue of Carrie Bradshaw’s non-wedding) and “The Day After” (where Toby McGuire and company holed up until they could be rescued). To me it was an early discovery way back when I had just arrived in New York in 2000. I would pass the time here between exploring the city and heading home. One day when they let us back in, I will write a post taking me back to that time. For now, no visit to this corner of Manhattan is complete without stopping by to take a picture.

Untitled

The rows upon rows of park tables and benches were mostly empty. Used to be abuzz with locals and tourists, any time of day. One would usually have to walk the length and breadth of the park to find an empty table, or wait for those seemingly about to finish their meal and scoot on over when they stood up to leave. Not this day. Or the previous or coming days.

Untitled

I am hoping they will put up a bigger Christmas tree like in previous years. This clump of regular sized Christmas trees are usually replaced at a later date with a beautiful Christmas tree, a mini version of the one in Rockefeller Center, although it’s not exactly a small tree. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if this is all we get this year.

Untitled

To make way for social distancing, only a third of the shops were allowed to sell in this year’s winter village. My favorite cheese house wasn’t there, so I went for my other favorite: the Crepe Cafe. This is one of the original food outlets that has been here every year.

Untitled

I always order the Banana Nutella Almond crepe here, and this was lunch for the day. I found my space on the periphery by the 40th street side, sat down and took off my mask. There were only a handful of food outlets allowed to open, and the pop up indoor restaurant was not put up this time around.

Untitled

Sitting down and looking around, Bryant Park felt more like a Sunday than the Thursday it usually was. People were walking around and there was a smattering of others trying to enjoy lunch like I was doing, but a very thin crowd it was. But I enjoyed the quiet.. and just taking in a beautiful day enjoying a favorite treat.

So much has changed in our lives since the pandemic began. Any semblance of normalcy is a breath of fresh air in our now masked existence. Literally. I have actually gotten used to going around with a mask, being that I actually do my usual hour and a half walk/jog with a mask on.

Untitled

The children’s carousel was still there. At least the kids still get to have their fun, even if at half capacity. When the weather gets too cold, this beauty will be shrouded and covered until things warm up again.

Untitled

The rink is alive with a six foot barrier to keep those watching on the sidelines safely distanced from the railing that some of the skaters hang on to. There are still tables and chairs around the rink, but socially distanced.

Untitled

The temperatures have held to decent “cold” and we really haven’t had snow yet, so my favorite Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain is staying pretty without a load of ice just yet. Truth is, it’s quite a sight when you see it laden with ice and still flowing. They cannot shut the pipes or it might burst, so they keep it flowing even in the cold of winter.

Untitled

We’re all trying our best to cope. The Bryant Park Cafe run by Bryant Park Grill has put up these dining huts and the park has a few available for groups like the one on the right. (not sure that’s the proper term). For the ones provided by the park, a notice is put up after the space has been sanitized. It’s just sad that the Governor has just shut down indoor dining and outdoor dining might follow next. At the very least, it is good to know that there is this option.

I walked uptown to view the Rockefeller Center but I will save that post for a possible part II of this post.. before I headed back to my bus stop, I had to decide which treat I would go home with. The line to Angelina Paris NYC was too long and I just didn’t feel like taking the chance even when social distancing. So I opted to grab some of my other happy food over at Magnolia Bakery.

Untitled

I miss those days when I could just walk down from my perch at work and grab a cup from the branch in the Grand Central food court. I went to the one on Sixth Avenue. These days, the lines that used to snake around the corner are no longer there, but they are still making their special cupcakes, cakes, cookies and yes, their heavenly banana pudding. I walked in before leaving the Rockefeller Center and found that they now have the banana pudding by the cashier. I was lucky to grab some red velvet banana pudding (a specialty flavor), and a second tub of their old time original. (Calories be damned! Lol)

I did the rest of my errands — stopped by Whole Foods near 42nd Street to grab some steaks and ground beef for my big guy, and headed home. Like always, it was nice to be able to spend an afternoon in a leisurely fashion for some “me” time. It’s a different kind of Manhattan now– and a different way of going about the things we had gotten used to before the pandemic broke out. While things have improved from the second quarter when everything shut down, we are far from normal.

Untitled

The threat of things going from bad to worse is hanging over our heads at the moment. It makes it all the more imperative to enjoy life while we can– without forgetting the new limitations and requirements of being socially responsible while we do it. (Masks on, please..). Life goes on, indeed. Even if not in the same way we used to go about it.

Banana Pancake Saturday

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4A

It’s sunny and a cool 68F outside. I’m seriously debating doing the laundry today, but I prefer slow Saturdays — one of only two days when I can wake up whenever I want to. Still, I was roused at 7:30am. It must be the bright sun outside my window, peering through the almost black out but not quite black out curtains. I stayed in bed. Then a call from Manila came — I begged off. I wanted to enjoy more of the morning in bed, just staying under the sheets.

I eventually walked to the kitchen at around 10am or so. I suddenly remembered I had a new batch of bananas arrive with Monday’s grocery delivery. These days, I order them to make them overripe for the next loaf of banana bread. Bad news from the scales notwithstanding, I decided to make banana pancakes for breakfast. The banana bread can wait until later.

I do the complete mix like most everyone else, but I usually jazz it up with Parmesan cheese when I feel like making Pancake House-pretend cheese pancakes. Or I would sandwich slices of Kraft Caramel in between regular pancakes. For banana pancakes, I use the following ratio:

  • 2 portions pancake mix
  • 2 portions water
  • 1 portion banana

For this batch, since it was breakfast for one (the boy sticks to cereal and milk or pretzels when it’s too late in the day), my “portion” was 1/3 cup. So I did

  • 2/3 cup pancake mix
  • diluted with 2/3 cup water,
  • then added 1/3 cup mashed bananas (which is approximately 2/3rds of a good size banana or all of a small one)

Using 1/3 cup batter, I came up with 4 pancakes.

Banana pancakes Saturday

I don’t know about you, but I’m nuts about Banana Nutella Pancakes. I try to sneak in a sliver or two of butter between the first pair of pancakes, then dress up the top pancake with some delicious Nutella. Can’t do without the chopped almonds on top!

Banana pancakes Saturday

For some reason, I love pecans with my banana bread, but almonds for the pancakes. Maybe it’s the texture of the bread or medium the banana is mixed in with.. Others would add whipped cream, but I prefer my pancakes slathered with heavy cream. Sinfully delicious!

Banana pancakes Saturday

I didn’t even put any syrup anymore because the Nutella took care of that, and if you ate this with more banana as pictured, the ripe slices will add enough sweetness. But that’s just me.

Banana pancakes Saturday

Breakfasts like this are a weekend luxury. Back when I was commuting to work in the city, breakfast meant coffee — and an occasional treat of a slice of banana bread or a bread pudding muffin. (Hence, the quest to make both while sheltering in place.). But the fancy pancakes on weekends was a treat I looked forward to these days when I am allowed some “Me” time.

It’s almost noon and the boy is still asleep. No surprise there. And wonder of wonders, I’m about to publish my second post of the day.

I have two boxes to assemble heading home. Then there’s the sewing and hopefully some jewelry making. I am ready to take a stab at stringing this fancy labradorite necklace I had bought stones for a year ago. Not that I can wear them anywhere right now — but crafting has always been a very good form of relaxation for me.

Here’s to a quiet and relaxing weekend for everyone.. try some banana pancakes when you can.

Banana pancakes Saturday

Another shelter in place Sunday

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AI see the sun shining outside but I’m trying to make the most of my Sunday morning in bed. I slept at probably around 2am, yet I woke up at 6:30am. I got up and answered the call of nature and went back under the sheets. Sleepcast to try and help me get back to sleep from my meditation app didn’t help. I thought an Etsy webinar would, but even as I was proven correct it was not really free and just a pitch for another course, I managed to stay awake all throughout.

Now I have a headache.

I’m already planning my nap. I am still trying to make my mind up about breakfast. My tummy is arguing with my head because my headache is telling me to go for the banana bread I baked last week, and my tummy is reminding me I got some asparagus for my Sunday brunch omelette. Or I can even go for a ham omelette ..Hmmm..
My Sunday

Not exactly a picture perfect asparagus and cheese omelette, but my tummy was happy

Pending the decision about what sustenance I will take before drinking my headache drug of choice, I have at least made up my mind the laundry will have to wait. (Maybe tomorrow or Tuesday.). Or maybe not. I think the lack of sleep is making me jump from one idea to the next. No, the body wins. I’m taking it easy this Sunday.

I guess that’s one reason I decided to write here, just to help sort the fuzziness in my head. Writing has always been a source of clarity.

I’ve been working on several mask patterns from various sources. I’ve donated my sewingforlives masks and now I want to make masks for myself. I went out yesterday wearing one as I walked to the corner to do errands in 70 degree temps. It was a beautiful day but the mask was hot.

It took some adjusting like always, and I needed to vent the mask by giving it more space between the cloth and my face every once in a while, but I managed. For all the different patterns I’m trying, it all comes down to comfort. Breathability is important or your mask will do you more harm than good. It has to be something you can stand wearing for an extended period of time. I’n writing a separate series of posts on the masks and will share the resources I’ve found, along with tweaks to the pattens I have done.

One of those patterns actually kept me up last night, but I am happy I finished it. While one might think a mask is a mask, I’ve found that there are different nuances in each pattern that can be used together to tweak certain features of a face covering.  This particular pattern looked a little wonky to me when I saw it online, but working on the actual mask showed me a new way to sew the front and back pieces together.

Post coming soon on this mask

So I stitched and unstitched and stitched again, and came up with my first prototype of this pattern, and it might yet turn out to be one of my favorites.

I’m trying to steer clear of the sewing for portions of my day when there is some free time to do the things I want to do. “Me time” has been confined to mostly sewing the past couple of weeks. My art journal has been set aside for the whole month of April, and I will try to do an entry today before May totally slips by. My beads and tools are also waiting for me. I know I had promised to create some pieces in the last week or so, but there was work, and the masks.

So as you can see, I’ve been very focused on creating face coverings and finding one (or two or three) actual mask that I like, and producing enough for me to use when I get back to work. Whenever that may be. Still experimenting..

I realize now that I have to stop stressing about returning to work, and part of that is easing up on my focus on the face coverings. This whole business of sheltering in place and the presence of the threat of corona hanging over my head has been a heavy burden. We try to cope as best we can, and I think I have been doing well for the most part, but I am only human. There’s always that part of us that suffers through the stress no matter how good we get at coping from day to day.

This Sunday, I’m going to work on at least one jewelry piece, and maybe even come up with one item or two for the shop. I already know which section of my art journal I will work on. I don’t really want to plan beyond that, because all I can think of right now he’s wanting to go back to sleep. And after everything I have written here, I still haven’t made up my mind about breakfast.

My headache has also not abated. It seems to be intent on keeping me company today. I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet, and I’m already planning my nap.

Sundays should not be so complicated. So let’s begin with my asparagus Omelette. Progress. At least breakfast is taken care of, and that’s one less decision to make today.

Dinner saw me baking a small batch of Pao de Quiejo using a different recipe from my first attempt a couple of weeks back. Simple enough. Headache crept away midday but I just didn’t have the energy for much.

My Sunday

I hope your Sunday went as well as mine. I hope that like me, you will take time to do something that you like doing, and find the time to just pause and breathe.

Another weekend sheltering in place– grateful to be safe at home and getting ready for the week ahead.

In my corner

Grand Central

For days on end, I’ve been trying to get myself to write a post here and in my craft blog, but the truth of the matter is, life had me sidelined by more pressing matters that needed immediate attention, and we sometimes have to pause other portions of our lives to deal with it.

I love how this multi-frame pic came out, achieving overlaps and shadows of the typically busy scene at the grand concourse of Grand Central Station. I picked a corner and tried to hold the camera still. I wanted to capture the movement of the people but keep the building itself as a steady backdrop to the action. It captures what I sometimes feel going through my head or my heart or both.

I’ve been trying to sit with unsettling feelings instead of wasting time fighting them off. It works for me. So yes, I’ve been listening to my meditation guide and trying to imbibe what he is urging me to do, although it has been days since I took the time to meditate. (NOTE TO SELF: meditate.). I never quite realized that avoidance takes more effort that just acknowledging the feeling and letting yourself settle with it. I try.

Meanwhile, I have set a few goals for the weekend, but mostly putting my house in order— literally. I have projects waiting which I will write about in my other blog, and I look forward to just resting and recharging. To me that means going through my magazines, maybe reading a chapter or two and creating. We all have our means of coping, and fortunately for me, I had long ago identified what takes me to that place of calm.

It’s quiet. This weekend is mine. And while I enjoy weekends spent with my boy, I like the silence and the space to just think and worry about me. I don’t need to worry about taking care of anyone, just this weekend and days like this. I can venture out and go to the city, or do something different and maybe visit a museum or just go window shopping, but the gusts blowing outside make me yearn for the coziness of home. And more and more, I find that the quiet moments help me to deal with the noise when I return to the world come Monday.

I have also just returned to posting on social media again — and I am many posts behind. I’m getting there. Sometimes I think I should just post the pictures, no hashtags, no blurb. But just as I blog more for myself than for anything at else, I need those tags to remind me what that moment was all about. Even when I post about a meal I may have had, its more than just that food that was instagram-worthy. It’s more about the feeling of the moment and the company and the conversations and the memories that were made. My boy and I have started a new tradition when his weekends are mine. We now go on a Fridate. He and I are liking the new routine and then we head home together. I take a picture of the food and yet that encapsulates that one evening and the joy it brought. Happy thoughts.

I like quiet weekends when I can be alone with my thoughts and just be still. I used to think that I needed to keep myself busy outside to explore and enjoy and experience life. Then I discovered I could do the same without leaving my home. Of course, there are days when I feel the urge to just go out.. I might, tomorrow. Or I might just stay home.. and keep busy. Or maybe I will just rest and recharge. I kind of like it here – me in my corner.

Monday Musings: A Long Weekend kind of Monday

Monday musingsIf last week was cold, today, New York is freezing! I am almost sure my favorite fountain in Bryant Park will be heavy with ice. Just when I thought this year would be warmer and easier. The morning began with single digits today and it didn’t really go up by much.

True enough, when I got to Bryant Park, this is what greeted me:

Winter2019
Bryant Park, 21 January 2019

Blogging consistently. While it seems like I’ve been a Monday and Friday blogger, I think that is quite a feat considering I haven’t been writing this much for the longest time. It takes a conscious effort to begin a post — but writing has never really been an issue to me. So it’s more about making time. I am trying and happy to be at this pace, yet hoping to write more in the coming weeks.

Destash ongoing. This should really be in my next Friday Five but it’s a Monday and it’s work in progress. And my weekend is still technically on because we have a long weekend this time around. (It’s Martin Luther King Day so I got Monday off.).

I started going over my magazine pile for destashing. The first one was a Food & Wine magazine from 2003. Older than my little guy!

Now, I’m one for keeping food magazines for the recipes, and right now I just can’t part with this. So of the three I’ve gone through so far, only 1 is heading out the door. I should do better than this, I know. I am trying!!! (Does it help that I’m planning to do a second pass when the pile has dwindled?..). There is more that I need to get rid of and I have vowed to do this in earnest. The goal is to go through at least a dozen this weekend, and I’m a quarter of the way through.

Fabric haul. From time to time, I browse Craig’s list for free fabric and craft supplies listings. I will write about this another day, but I got lucky when I hit it Friday evening and saw a giveaway in Brooklyn. I emailed and got an address for a storage place.

After trying to figure out the best way to get there, I settled on uber pool and packed my expanding luggage and shopping totes. Saturday, I thought getting there at 2:55 for a 2-5:30pm slot would be plenty of time, but I arrived just as the entire haul was almost totally gone! Still, I managed to grab some nice African prints and other fabric and yarn. There were also several patterns, some uncut and complete with instructions — in total making up for the cost of the trip back and forth. I figured it was more or less the cost of a trip to Michael’s and I think I got that much and more. I am craft happy!

Fabric happy

Taking time to go to my quiet space. It seems that I am needing to reflect more and more these days, with so many things happening around me, and not happening at the same time. I know it is a time for prayer — and a time for reflection. Someone told me I’m stressing too much about so many things that I should be easier on myself. Today, I tried.

Winter Restaurant Week in NYC. Yes, it’s this week!! I will write about this more next time but this is the Branzino I had at Ortzi by Jose Garces at the Luma Hotel NYC. Definitely recommending you try this!

Restaurant week NYC, winter 2019, Ortzi by Jose Garces

It’s called LUBINA on their Restaurant Week menu ($26.00++) for a two course meal. It’s Branzino with Gigante Bean Stew, Spiced cauliflower, Hazenut sofrito and Pequillo peppers.

Am I glad I braved the cold and went to the city and had a relaxing and filling lunch. Nothing beats good food and good company. That’s another post altogether.

Here’s to a good and not so cold week ahead for all of us here on this side of the world. And a good one for the rest of you!

It can only get better

I tried starting a blog post before the week began, talking about how I was trying to pump a lot of optimism into my upcoming week. It had been a rather chaotic one. I like “busy,” but sometimes it doesn’t work too well with other distractions. Still, I capped the previous week with some much needed “me” time last Friday which was the best part of those 7 days. (Note to self: you should do this more often.)

And we’re at Wednesday. I try to write more but I really need a major push forward there.

Work was hectic as can be, and while I don’t think we’re getting a reprieve for what’s left of the week. I hit the ground running and energized. Maybe it was the quiet weekend with my not so little guy. I took the time to breathe, stayed up late on Saturday with a new earring design I couldn’t stop making (!), and slept til noon the following day to give my body a chance to bounce back.

And Friday came again.

There are times when you really just need to pull away from the fray and sit quietly in a corner.  It was one of those days, and I focused on happy and positive thoughts, and some happy time over lunch.  I needed to recharge. I needed to lift my spirits up and find those feel good moments to make up for the bad ones. I had dessert. Without guilt.

Dessert from Ortzi
Gone are the days when I would be chided for even considering one. Part of me hasn’t quite gotten used to the idea that it IS okay to indulge once in a while…I still ask if I can get dessert. (And I’m trying to get rid of that habit..)

Focus on the good things and then tuck the negative away, and embrace the thought that it can only get better. Take care of you!

Friday Five – A Bit of Progress

A note from Pinay New Yorker: I could’ve sworn I had published this post but when I went to the blog, I didn’t see it there. Instead there was its original draft in my draft folder, but I knew I had completed it. I found it in one of the tabs on the iPad and cut and paste it here. Weird, I know. So take 2…

I would rather count my blessings than dwell on my burdens.  #blessed #floral #flowers #movingforward #feelingblessedIt’s starting to get busy because of an upcoming event we have during the third week of June at work, so there is even less time to do any of my “me” stuff. In fact, I’m had taken some work home this weekend just to get a head start on the work this coming week.

But at least my focus remains and there is the sense of moving forward even if it seems like I can’t even keep the “Friday” part consistent. (Writing this on a Sunday.. =(..)

This weekend was all about “taking care of ME” and I made time to make an appointment for the nail salon (which I have a hard time making because it’s just not on top of my list), and I even got some waxing done (face only) which I’m trying to be good with. I’ll say it again, we have to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others well. I have not created a single piece but have been organizing my supplies — and I can’t wait to create some pieces from semi-precious gemstones I bought for myself. (It might sound strange but I usually go economical on pieces for sale — but when it’s a piece for myself, I indulge. My favorite acquisitions are grade A freshwater pearls and labradorites, and I treasure the strands from BFF Ces who had gotten them from trips to the South back home in connection with her work for a real estate/hotel conglomerate in the Philippines..)

What happened to last week’s Friday Five?

1. Write a letter. Uhmmm.. top on my list for the coming week.

2. Go back to reading the Bible. Still struggling to carve out time but today I’m catching up.

3. Finish my Art Journal Every Day post on Mother’s Day.. Did an entry in it but didn’t quite get anywhere near finishing it, so I’m not going to cross this out just yet.

4. Sort the clothes that Angelo has outgrown. Got a good pile going so in a sense, I have begun.

5. Start reading again. Will try again.

Should I call this post My Sunday Five? (Maybe just for this week.)

1. Write a letter. Might even get one done before the night is over.

2. Create a new ‘Thank You’ card for the Etsy shop. Selling on Etsy is a whole production which goes beyond the piece for sale. There’s the packaging and the other notes that go with it beyond the receipt. I remember days before when shipping was stalled because of the fact that I didn’t have it in stock, so I had to create it all before shipping. Not again.

3. Finish my Art Journal Every Day post on Mother’s Day.. An entry at a time… getting there.

4. Throw away the old, old magazines that I have no use for. What can I say, I love paper. It’s hard to for me throw anything away related to paper, but I’ve started with my printed paper so I’m getting there.

5. Concenrate on Necklaces and Earrings this week – production wise. I’ve been posting bracelets right and left but I have a ton of ideas for necklaces that I need to start working on. I already have 3 produced and ready for posting, but I should keep working on it.

It was a good weekend and the weather was fantastic, and we’re hoping it holds for the coming week. We might get lucky yet. Here’s to a good week for everyone!

Memorial Day, a Family Trip and Revolution

In my attempts to try and keep posting every day, I’ve decided to just scribble randomly when the inspiration or the energy escapes me.

Memorial Day in the US today.  Even if I am an immigrant here, I am grateful.

We went on an overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Pocono Mountains, and the boy is totally exhausted.

I am, too.

What better way to end the day but with Revolution?  If they turn on the power, it’s the end of the show.

I’m tired, but a happy kind of tired.  We have another day at the water park tomorrow and I’m treating myself to the spa in the morning.  My hands and feet can’t wait. =)

Time out for me

The bus was crowded this morning so I already had a seatmate when I boarded.  That meant less wiggle room to paint my face so I settled down and decided I’d blog instead.

I’m trying to get into the habit of writing my blogpost during the commute to work so that I don’t end up scurrying to post at the end of the day.  It sure beats the urge to succumb to the urge to nap.  I know it gives me a chance to catch up on some shut-eye, but it doesn’t necessarily help at a time so close to when I just got out of bed.  Instead of being up and about when I step off the bus, there are times when I find myself yawning from the deep sleep that the rocking of the bus brings me to.

No rain today but still cold.  I’m lugging two umbrellas back to the office because I’ve managed to take all of them home the various days I came to the city unprepared for rain.  That’s the girl scout in me: “Laging handa” (or “always ready”) as they say.  (I try to be.)

My “me” time at night has shrunk considerably because my little guy is now on a later bedtime.  It means tucking him in later as well.  For my part, I’m trying not to go beyond the midnight hour if I can help it so that my body doesn’t end up protesting too much when the alarm rings.  Gone are the days when I’d slip under the sheets before 4am and get up at 6:30 to beat the traffic from San Juan to Makati.  Age has caught up with me.  I can still make do with 5 hours of sleep, but anything less than that and I stop operating at 100%.

Still, I try to make my evenings productive by zeroing in on a single task to complete, and if there is extra time (and I still have the energy), I add a thing or two.  I cook dinner most nights and do homework if not check what’s been done by the tyke on his own, and then I take charge of scrubbing him clean before bed time.  There are days when the Dad gives him a bath, but most days, it’s me and the kid.  By the time I’m done, it’s past 10pm. 

That’s when I try to check my mail, prepare swaps, gather art supplies, maybe paint a background or two, or when I can, write a letter longhand.  I owe some penfriends a reply which I will have to schedule now because the list is getting long.  I hate responding curtly because it negates the whole purpose of taking pen and paper to write.   Sometimes there are letters I’m raring to write but somehow the words just won’t come.  Unlike blogging which comes spontaneously, letter writing to me is a more deliberate effort but something I cherish because I know my words physically make it to the hands of the recipient.  (That thought made me smile.)

I was busy cutting up owl parts from paint chips while watching reruns of Criminal Minds.  Something I’m doing for some handmade cards I am assembling. 

Owls — they grow on you.  I had googled for templates because of a Partner Name ATC swap at Swap-bot.com (render the name of the participants in an ATC relevant to their profile), and one of the participants was into the Grateful Dead and owls.  I didn’t know how I would render the Grateful Dead in an ATC but I sure could try an owl collage.  And was I surprised to find a ton of resources and patterns to choose from, although most of them were meant for patchwork or appliques.  I picked two patterns and came up with these:  ATC: Partner Name ATC
One is rendered via software and another was clearly drawn.  I have a preference for the drawn template and have printed (and sometimes traced) the pieces on the back of paint chips – the kind you find at hardware stores displaying paint swatches, etc.  I love working with paint chips when I can because first of all, they’re FREE, and second, the paper quality is good cardstock although some surfaces don’t lend themselves well to laser printing. 

I just cut, I didn’t assemble any.  I tucked them away in a spare envelope and will work on a card later.  (I might even try using this template with polymer clay another time as a souvenir idea just hit me for the first birthday of my precious niece, Andreanna Lux, or “My Andeng” as I call her affectionately.)   And of course a tutorial will follow in the craft blog if and when that piece is done.

Please click HERE to see my Flickr album of ATCs by GothamChick (my handle over at swap-bot.com).

"Me" time in the city

Late autumn morning on Park Ave

I meant to hop on the Third Avenue bus but ended up instead on the 6th, so I ended up taking the “scenic route”, getting off on 34th and Park Avenue and walked down to Grand Central.

Park Avenue is always a nice walk — and I had enough time to stop by a favorite church on 38th to say a little prayer, and snap this picture as I spied some trees still displaying the colors of autumn closer to my destination.

I had lunch with my friend, E.  No agenda — just to spend some “me” time, and help her get some ampalaya if she hadn’t yet.  I had fun.  It was a good way to spend a day to unwind, even if I have a long list of  “to-do”s.  Sometimes we just have to pause a while to just do something spontaneous, like deciding on the fly to have pad thai for lunch, and share a pint of banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery.

Day two of my week with the tyke.  (Conference in Vegas for his Dad.)  I am mentally getting to that point where I hope to put up the tree.  I had finally sent out my latest Artist Trading Card swaps.  Like I told E, I am withdrawing for the season from ATC swaps, as I try to get back to the shop.

I skipped a craft fair over the weekend because preparing for a craft fair would mean adding to the stuff I need to clear out for the holidays.  I figure I will get to it in the spring.

Meanwhile, I’ve to space to clear for the tree, Christmas cards to pull together and project to finish.  Soon.