Friday Five – Three out of Five off the list

I had actually written and finished this Friday, but I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I slept without hitting publish.. so here it goes..

I am proud to report that I am ticking off three of the five on my list last week.

1.  Write on the postcards I meant to send out to friends in Manila.

2.  Work on the hem of at least one pair of pants.  

3.  Report on my progress with the THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT.

4.  Create a pair or two of earrings from my polymer clay discs.  

5.  Create a non-polymer clay piece.

Save for the pants, I might even be able to belatedly take no. 3 off soon, too.

Not bad.

This week’s Friday Five:

1.  Finish the pieces for posting to the shop.  The polymer clay disc pieces and the non-polymer clay ones are just up for finishing, photographing and posting.  Target for the weekend: at least one.

2.  Work on the hem of at least one pair of pants.  Still trying to get this done before the fall is fully present in NYC!

3.  Write a post in the other blog, THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT.  I’ve been working on this and there is much to report.  If only I could find the time to sit down and write.

4.  Begin the next multi-page layout I started planning last weekend.  I love doing multi-page layouts which I fill in as I go on with my art journal

5.  Create one of my Marian necklaces.  About time, considering the request from Lou came a while back.

Let’s see how far I get this time…

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!

Friday Five Take 3

I could’ve written this post yesterday but I sort of felt bad that I had not much progress to report.

Here’s my list for the previous week:

1.  Write the letters and mail them.  The funny thing is I keep making the stationery.  Time to write!

2.  Keep posting in the Etsy Shop and keep the Etsy Group going!  I’ve put this in the backburner the previous week but hope to do at least one post this weekend.  You can read more about my creative pursuits in this post from my craft blog, Gotham Chick.

3.  Deal with Angelo’s leftover school supplies from the previous year and get rid of what I am not keeping.  This is something I enjoy doing every year.  Unlike other moms, I don’t throw away his composition notebooks.  I actually cut out the seam and take the cover off, and I cut the sheets that have not been written on.  I use it for scratch paper and shopping lists.  The ones I can’t use I’ve already thrown away.  I always keep his old crayons and marker sets for use at home working with next year’s school homeowork.

4.  Box the clothes that Angelo is no longer using.  While there are a ton of charities here in the US, I keep Angelo’s old clothes and send them with the balikbayan box I send home periodically for my mom to distribute to the poor families in her community in Bulan, Sorsogon.  I don’t send it right away but box them when I can so that they can “compress” and become easier to pack when the bigger box is being assembled.

5.  Write the introductory post about my Thank You Project.  I’ve created the video channel on YouTube and have actually created a separate blog which is still private, but I want to do this right so I’m taking it slow.  Over 100 + postcard backgrounds, 50+ flower embellishments cut and drawn, and other embellishments coming.  I haven’t quite decided the tiers for the group funding project that will accompany it but I’m getting there.  If you’re on Instagram or Twitter, this one will be #thethankyoupostcardproject .

So I guess I was wrong to think that I hadn’t actually accomplished much against last week’s list.  Here’s this week’s list:

1.  Write those letters.  I must confess that one reason this is taking a while to get off the ground is that I like to write spontaneously but I feel like there is so much I’d like to keep out of those letters.  I have never been one to edit myself but at this point, there is so much about what I think and feel that I need to keep close to my chest.  I will still try.

2.  Post those earrings!  I do have three to four ready for posting — after attaching the earwires and photographing them.  I also have two to three necklaces.  The sun’s been shy this Saturday so I will wait for it to come out a little more just so I can have better lighting.  I like the way that natural light plays with the pieces I have been creating.

3.  Work on the Thank You Postcard Project page.  One thing that I have found helpful is writing things longhand instead of waiting to be in front of my laptop or finding time to draft a post on the iPhone.  And it helps me organize things better visually.

4.  Send some test postcards out.  I’m wondering if this should be part of #1.  I have printed some of my own photos and treated the front with mod podge but I’m afraid of how the pieces will “travel” or deal with the wear and tear of handling in the mail.

5.  Bake some polymer clay pieces this week.  I’ve been trying to get back to polymer clay a while now but it’s always taken a back seat to everything else.  Yesterday I started “conditioning” clay in the pasta machine and even worked on creating molds.  One of two came out well which inspires me to keep going.  The thing is working with clay and actually producing a baked piece can be quite a production, but I’m hoping to get moving with this this week.

A bit of the old and some new ones.. keeping it at five so that it’s not too overwhelming.  Have a great weekend everyone!

 

 

Purple Hearts and Vintage Books

I spent part of the weekend sitting at my little craft corner. I think I managed to move a few things, find my pasta machine (for the polymer clay), gather up my polymer clay stash, even tried to run some scraps through the machine. I attempted a stroppel cane but didn’t quite get anywhere and I think what I came up with was nowhere near what a stroppel cane should look like. (So I guess I’ll try again.)

I didn’t quite get to the jewelry making although most of my supplies are within arm’s reach. I need to reorganize the bits and pieces that are out in the open and get them in the proper organizer box. (Might try tonight.)

Purple HeartMeanwhile, over my lunch break, I managed to condition and mold these two polymer clay hearts in purple. Pretty. =) I have had this project brewing in my little brain to create hearts to be made into pendants and pins to raise funds for Tacloban. They are trying to get up on their feet but are nowhere near it, and this is going to be a long-term effort. I’m inspired by the efforts of Dr. Ron Lehocky with the Heart Pin Project he’s been running for years for the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies. For now, it’s a thought.

Over the weekend I was at Strand Bookstore where I managed to grab five antique books in their outdoor bargain book shelves while waiting for my stylist.  I wanted to stay longer and browse some  more but time was up.  I will write about this separately and just wanted to pique your interest by showing you this haul:

My Vintage Book Haul from Strand Bookstore

My original intention really was to pick up books whose pages I can use for crafting since vintage book pages are all the rage.  I picked up one in French (which is so brittle that its pages are crumbling in my hands) and two in German.  The first appealed to me because of the language, the second because of the typeface.  There was another interesting book in German which, again, appealed to me because of the typeface.  Then I saw a 1915 print of “The New Poems of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning”.  And then there was a book of Irish Love stories that had a pretty border on each page.  That plus the fact that love stories would mean words I might be able to use for blackout poetry.  Five books, $10.00 for the entire haul.  Book heaven!

So my week has begun.  How has yours been so far?

It’s been very cold in New York although I’m biting my tongue on whining about the weather since I’m sure other parts, like Lou’s, are probably getting hit with more snow and even colder temperatures.  Can you believe we’re halfway through February?  Well, almost. 

February 14, 2014.  That can be written as 2/14/2014  — double pairs of 2s and 14s.. Hmmmm… My brain stops there.  Let me leave you with that.

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.

Sansa's Bouquet and my long weekend

Antique Gold Polymer Clay on Antique BrassThe greatest fulfillment I get from crafting my own accessories is when I come up with something I can wear and I get complimented for it.  I had stopped working for quite a bit since the start of the year but have started fixing my supplies and trying to get organized again.

I’ve been concentrating on creating pieces I can wear and sort of “experimenting” on new designs for the shop (for whenever I will open it again.).  Here’s my first antique brass and polymer clay necklace completed last week.  The pendant has been with me for quite a while, having been completed earlier this year.  A polymer clay cabochon was set over an ornate antique brass pendant, and the outline of the inner setting was lined with glass bugle beads.  (Crafter tip: I line the base of the cabochon with polymer clay to have the cabochon and any embellishments a medium to attach to.)

Filigree connector: Antique Gold Polymer Clay on Antique BrassFor polymer clay embellishments put atop the antique brass filigree, I press slightly to let the filigree’s pattern sink into the base of the clay, then I glue it from the back by painting superglue over the holes in the pattern to secure it.  I used a double-sided rose bead to connect the filigree.

I did three each of the filigree connector but it came up too close to the nape, so I am going to reduce this to two filigree connectors per side.  It’s an elegant yet understated piece perfect to wear over a turtleneck or a low cut blouse.

I’m thinking of calling this Sansa’s Bouquet, from a favorite series now playing on HBO entitled “Game of Thrones.”  (For more pictures, click here.  How-tos on the beads and filigree to follow in my GothamChick blog in the coming days…)

Why do I even work with polymer clay and all these?  I like creating.  I like doing something productive.  Some people bake.  I craft.

I like learning about new things.  I really got into polymer clay because of my sister, Ofie.  They have yet to work with the clay I brought home and all the tools I brought her last December, but I’m hoping that she can start experimenting, too, to create the souvenirs they were hoping to create and maybe start a business with.

I make my own molds from actual cabochons and assorted findings.  Buttons are a good source for shapes and textures, too.  Some pieces I create freeform by molding the clay by hand.  I’m hoping to one day create a collage pendant made from different elements instead of a singular cab.  Getting there.

For now, I’m feeling all pretty wearing my latest creation.  I still have to get back to practicing stringing beads, and I have been pooling my rose quartz beads together.  Rose quartz has been said to be a “soothing and very happy stone.”  Crystals and Jewelry further says:

Emotionally rose quartz brings gentleness, forgiveness, compassion, kindness and tolerance. It raises one’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth. It helps balance emotions and heal emotional wounds and traumas, even grief, bringing peace and calm. Rose quartz removes fears, resentments and anger. It can also heal and release childhood traumas, neglect, and lack of love, in part by enhancing inner awareness. It can help with reconciliation with family and others. Overwhelming or unreasonable guilt is eased by rose quartz.

In the psychic and spiritual realms, rose quartz is often used to attract love, and for love spells. It is also used to ease the process of transition in dying. Rose quartz can be helpful for dream recall and dream work.

Physically rose quartz is used in crystal healing to benefit the heart, the circulatory system, fertility, headaches, kidney disease, migraines, sexual dysfunction, sinus problems, throat problems, depression, addictions, ear aches, slowing signs of aging, reducing wrinkles, spleen problems, fibromyalgia, and reaching one’s ideal weight / weight loss. Rose quartz is also helpful and protective during pregnancy and with childbirth. It is also sometimes said that rose quartz is helpful for supporting brain functions and increasing intellect.

So in the meantime I keep a stone or two always in my tote.  Need to keep my brain cells and my heart healthy.  (Ha!)  I’ve always liked it because it was pink.  Just hate that it reacts to silver-plated findings, so I cannot use silver plated pins to string it with.  (Again, taking care of me.)

Monday… I liked the long weekend but sometimes staying home is even more tiring.  I’ve whipped up a bistek dinner, ginisang chayote (sayote) for lunch the next day, a lobster dinner yesterday, and negamaki for lunch today, so after three and a half days of cooking, it’s time to do leftovers.  (Thank God!)

Time to get dinner ready.

Google and Polymer Clay

The idea of getting into polymer clay has been in my head for a while now but it wasn’t until my sister, Ofie, who is based in Manila broached the subject matter of her getting started with it that put polyclay front and center in my “crafty” thoughts.

With my personal mantra “Anything can be learned” echoing in my ear, I set out to study about Polymer clay basics, and of course, I turned to old reliable Google.  My eye always scans the results page for Wikipedia when I am seeking basic information,  more so since I am not looking to buy anything yet — I just need to learn about it.

And so I found out that Polymer Clay (or polyclay for short) “is a sculptable material based on the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It usually contains no clay minerals, and is only called “clay” because its texture and working properties resemble those of mineral clay. It is sold in craft, hobby, and art stores, and is used by artists, hobbyists, and children.”

The next thing I did was to browse Polymer Clay Images (still on Google) to actually visualize the material.  What I saw totally swept me away and made me want to learn more about polymer clay.

Of course I could not NOT search for polymer clay on Etsy, where I was further blown away by all the creative applications of polyclay.  From miniature food items to gorgeous jewelry, I couldn’t wait to get my hands kneading!

My next search string on Google was “polymer clay tutorial” which brought me to Jewelry and Polymer Clay Heaven where there was a ton of information for newbies like me.  (Pinay New Yorker HIGHLY RECOMMENDS this site!)  Start off with the basics and you will find yourself navigating through other crucial information like the different brands of polyclay, conditioning polyclay, and polyclay safety among other information.

Another website you should visit is Polymer Clay Central where you will see challenges, helpful tips, and a community of polymer clay artisans.  Their Polymer Clay FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) (Pinay New Yorker HIGHLY RECOMMENDS you read this section.) organizes the information with all the links on the front page.  Most important is the list of tools and things you will need to start working with polyclay.

But what and where to get polyclay?  I know that my favorite craft supplier, Fire Mountain Gems offered tools and a specific brand of polyclay, but I had a ton of jewelry findings and supplies in my shopping cart that I was torn about buying.  Also, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to plop that much into something I was just learning.

I could’ve waited for the weekend trip to Michael’s, but we were going to be busy that weekend so I knew it would have to be a longer wait.

And while I cannot now remember how I got there, I bought my first polyclay from Polymer Clay Superstore which not only sells quite a selection of polymer clays in two brands, but they have a free clay coupon for new sign ups.  (Is it any wonder then that they are now one of my favorite online stores?)  They also have a well-organized and very helpful section on Polymer Clay for Beginners which, I think now, is the reason why I found the store in the first place.  Although the questions asked in the various FAQs are the same, I recommend you read through the information as there are bits and pieces which are added with every FAQ you come across.

Armed with my elementary knowledge about polymer clay, I then ventured out to YouTube where you can get a wealth of information on how to work with polymer clay.  Canes? Designs? Pasta Machine conditioning?  I even watched some which were in Italian (sans translations or subtitles!) which, surprisingly, were very informative despite the language gap.  (So check them out even if you have to turn the audio off.)

I’ll share my first attempts at creating something with polymer clay in my next post.

Starting my PolyClay Notes

The past few days have seen me doing research on Polymer Clay or polyclay upon the suggestion of my sister, Ofie.  It was something I had long thought of trying to learn more about, but which had taken a back seat to freshwater pearls and gemstones.  I was sort of daunted by the fact that it requires a raw material (the clay) that needs processing and certain equipment which I was afraid to procure lest I end up not doing this after all is said and done.  Ofie’s interest, though, gave me an “out”.  If it doesn’t work out for me, I can pass on to her the  things I get to pull together in this new experiment.

I have always held on to the mantra that anything can be learned.  I can do this if I take the time to learn how to do it.  Case in point: I didn’t know I could cook until I had to cook for Alan.  I would scan magazines at the Barnes and Noble behind our apartment in Bayside when I first moved to New York and actually surprised myself when I discovered I COULD do it.  I researched about substitutions and methods.  I must say that in my quest not to poison my better half, I can actually say I not only cook to survive, but I cook to enjoy food.

After two weeks of research, I have come across quite a wealth of information that I have read, watched, printed out and actually tried.  The problem with online technology is that bookmarking is not always a good option to keep track of all the information because of the various hardware used to access it.  What I have bookmarked on my PC would not be bookmarked on my laptop.  Although I found similar listings where people who had undertaken Polymer clay research had provided links, there are those that I have no use for and some which I believe would be very helpful to novices like myself.  Hence my PolyClay notes page.

While my polyclay notes will find its main home here in my personal  blog, I am creating a page for it in my other blog dedicated to my exploits as a crafting entrepreneur, GothamChick.  I want to be able to provide a forum for other like crafters who are also into polyclay, more so those who are just starting out like me.  There is a ton of information out there and a lot of ideas to spur on the novices.  The possibilities are endless.