Trying something new

One of my preferred ways to take a break during the day is to browse images of crafts that are currently in my line of sight . So I go to Polymer Clay Daily to see what new designs are up, browse Pinterest and occasionally find something new from the various artists I follow on Instagram.

Earlier this year, I bought scarves that were on sale for a future project. I had this idea of crocheting small pieces that I could put on the scarf as embellishment. I started crocheting and I put the little bits away, same with the scarf.

I had been browsing some gorgeous handmade crochet scarves and hand embroidered items by Sophie Digard, and I was suddenly struck by an itch to do hand embroidery. I already had the scarf, the yarn, and even the tapestry needle needed to make it work, so I thought I’d try freeform embroidery.

No sketches, no design.. I chose an initial pair of balls and a third skein. I didn’t even think about getting an embroidery hoop. I felt confident enough to fall back on my doodling repetitive designs that eventually came out to be my paper flower garden. I pulled the thread carefully and I was mindful of how the thread went this way or that at the back as well. I had to undo stitches a couple of times, but for the most part, I’ve just been going off and on and I must say I’ve been enjoying myself.

I am working both ends of a Calvin Klein wool blend scarf. I made sure it was made of hand washable fabric and I washed it before putting it away to make it craft ready for whatever it is I am going to do with it. I work the design on each end as I go, just so I don’t forget the stitch or the design I have in mind. I’m still a long way off to finishing it, but it’s been easy enough that I am actually seeing major progress.

The challenge is really thinking of the design elements, more than the actual stitching.  I’ve outgrown the tendency to stitch too tightly, and the stitches I’ve been using enable me to “correct” the tension as I move along.

Freeform Yarn Embroidery

But generally, I like how I’ve done so far, so much so that I am already thinking of the next scarf I will be embroidering.  No pressure on finishing this anytime soon as the temperatures in New York have actually gone up again.  Autumn can’t seem to make up its mind, and while we have experienced some “jacket weather”, we’re keeping it to the lighter scarves for now, so I have time.

Advertisements

Getting organized

Getting organized: headpinsI came back from Sydney midnight Saturday, so this weekend is my first full weekend home.  I jumped back into work the Monday after and tried my best to cope with the jetlag, surviving it by sheer will and a judicious use of caffeine.  Not too much, not too little.  

Despite the stopover in Manila before and after Sydney, I didn’t bring a ton of supplies back — just three bags of headpins I had requested my sister-in-law to grab for me last minute, because I didn’t really have time to do any shopping.  

Friday night, I psyched myself up that I would just stay home this weekend and allow my body to rest and recover.  I stopped short of making plans to go this way and that and instead allowed myself the chance to just chill.  I decided to organize my head pins and eye pins and I am almost done with the two bins I focused on.  That was my idea of relaxing.

I am focusing on two bins knowing I have at least two more still stashed away somewhere.  I have not had the chance to really get down to organizing them until now, and I think I should’ve dealt with this sooner.  This is what happens when your supplies accumulate through the years, more so when I end up bringing new bins home each time I travel from Manila, and the stash usually stays on those bins instead of landing with like findings.

At the start, I organized them simply as they came.  I love the 1000 pin packs I get from Wellmanson’s in Quiapo (back in Manila), but the packs usually come bent and misshapen, so storing them means taking the time to actually flatten out the pin  Then there are the packs I buy from Firemountain Gems which usually come in smaller batches because they are pricier.  I stash those in a bin with their tags so I know what gauge and size the pins are.  It also makes for easier reordering when I find my stocks running low.  

This time around, I think I have enough of each to actually classify them into gold plated, silver plated, antique bronze and “others”.  (The latter being copper and gun metal.). I keep the sterling silver and vermeil tucked away with some gemstones I have and I don’t have enough of those  to collect into a bin.  Strangely, just going through the two bins has inspired new creative ideas which I will hopefully get to do soon.  And like my bead bins, I actually have a few cups of headpins of all shapes and sizes to go through.   I don’t always get to put them back where they belong when I’m working on projects, so they tend to accumulate in other spaces.

I’m getting ready to start creating again in time for the holidays.  And I’m thinking of new items not just for the shop, but also to give as gifts.  Organizing my current supplies is a step towards a more efficient production line for the coming weeks.  Before you know it, the holidays will be here again.

Craft Calendar Update

My Paper Flower GardenI had written about my craft calendar a while back in the hopes of planning my projects for the year.  It wasn’t really a strict calendar, but mostly just something to work through as the year went on.  I had often been caught “unprepared” or lacking time to do the projects I had wanted to devote my attention to, so I started in April.  Below is a quick update, followed by a revised calendar.  This is mostly for my own personal list so that I can keep track, but it also shows how my crafting has gone to date.

April

• Get started on my fabric clutches. (Something I’m currently working on.) – I am proud to say I actually started working on this and managed to complete one tiny purse which I now use as a jewelry caddy in my bag.  It’s been a continuing learning process from me, and I’m hoping to get back to experimenting and trying to work things around in the fall.

•Create more pieces and post in the shop. (Ongoing)  – My personal trips to Fiji and Manila which meant preparing pieces to give away have greatly hampered posting in the shop, but I will keep on.

•Start taking sewing classes at Mood Fabrics.  – Enrolled, attended, and I am happy to report that I have a working tote courtesy of the class and can now operate a sewing machine without hurting myself.

May

•Get my tour guide license. (More on this later.) – I had hoped to work on this so that I can eventually offer “bead tours” in the stores here in my area.  To be able to operate legitimately, I have to pass an exam and acquire a tour guide license which I hope to work on before the year is over.  (That’s a more reasonable target for completion.)

•Start making pieces to wear and bring to Fiji. (Trip planned for end of June with bestfriend, Donna.)  – Done!

June

•Start planning my halloween costume, another paper fairy gown. – It’s August now and while I know I will be sewing part of the costume, I haven’t really sat down to sketch how my gown will look like.  I do intend to do a fairy or a queen costume again, and like last year, I intend to make it out of paper.  Son.

•Design my holiday card for the end of the year. (Need to determine materials.) – For years and years I made holiday cards until life caught up with me, and things became a bit tumultuous that I didn’t have the time to worry about making my own.  This year will be different.  I am hoping to come up with my preliminary ideas soon.

•Create pieces to bring home to Manila in late July or August. – Doing as in right now, and I’m leaving on Saturday.

•Launch bead tours. – Not until I get my tourguide license.

July

•Work on throw pillows (if the living room renovation has already started, if not, just make designs.)  – The living room renovation is hinged on several other things that haven’t yet come to pass so no, this hasn’t happened.

•Post a clutch for sale in the etsy shop. – It appears that I had greatly overestimated my abilities at making a purse so I will humbly admit that I am unable to peg a timetable as to when I will eventually get to sell one.  For now, I’m learning, creating, learning and trying to get better at this along the way.

•Launch first postcard set project. – I tried to do even just one postcard, but it appears that though it is advertised as being “easy,” getting my postcards printed is proving to be a little more difficult to do.  I am starting to work on it and will hopefully have my (first) set by the end of the year.

•Take photographs and source materials in the Philippines. – I’m due to be in Manila this August, so I will report on this upon my return towards the end of the month.  (Hope to feature some of my suppliers as well.)

With August here, following is my revised calendar taking the above into consideration.

August

  • Plan and start creating the halloween costume.  (I had made a plan to try to actually sew one instead of pinning one together like last year, even if it will be made of paper.)
  • Create paper boxes.
  • Rescheduled: Work on holiday card ideas.
  • New: Enroll in the next sewing class at Mood University. – I am so excited by this as the next class will see us working on a garment piece of our choice.  I had to forego the summer session because of the trip to Fiji but can’t wait until the fall when the next set of classes begin.

September

  • Work on Christmas decor.
  • Produce holiday cards.
  • Create gifts to give for the holidays.
  • Launch second first postcard set.
  • Stock up the shop and launch holiday promo.
  • Rescheduled: Get tourist guide license.
  • Continue working on purses.
  • Start working on halloween costume.

October

  • Finish holiday card.
  • Handmade gifts.
  • Put up my Christmas tree last week of October.
  • Launch bead tours.
  • Finish up halloween costume.

November

  • Mail out holiday cards.
  • Decorate tree first week, deck out the house.
  • Create wrappers for the holiday gifts.

December

  • Create and make gift packaging.  (Wrapper, embellishments, tags)

It is always good to see progress when we are working towards achieving a goal or set of goals as listed in my craft calendar.  I have long stopped trying to beat myself up over not being able to do more — the point is to be able to do something, no matter how small it may be.  Crafting is a passion that rides on my every day routine which is made up of being a mother, making a living and trying to go from day to day.  So I try not to be too rigid when it comes to this part of my world which has been a source of relaxation and a channel for the creative side of me.

I like that I was able to actually do some major projects like finishing a beginner sewing class and getting my shop going again.  Thanks to Etsy’s autorenewal for listings in my shop, I am able to make sure that my listings stay, instead of having to check on them manually when they expire like I used to.

I am getting more focused and organized now and hope to even be more focused and organized in the coming months and into the following year.

Getting there..

Craft bits

Please note that this post has links which will open in another window to help you find the products that I use and endorse.  GothamChick might earn a commission if you decide to purchase any of these products.

I was cleaning up my desk at work (because yes, I do have a day job!) when I stumbled upon some craft projects I chose to do over a period of time, but which I had set aside for later.  Okay, I confess, I sort of forgot about them.  They’re the long term projects which were really more about stocking up for something bigger rather than being the project itself.  Like my pressed rose petals.

I had forgotten about my #PaperGarden of #doodledflowers until I stumbled upon them while cleaning up the other day. These #flowers are perfect for #spring #papercrafts. #crafts #craftproject #creating #personalart #embellishments #gothamhicksays #gothMy Paper Flower Garden.  Two years ago, I had thought to start a postcard project that would have meant sending out hand made postcards.  I am still seriously considering redoing this but there are a lot of things in the way.  I had created backgrounds or “blanks” to work on which had been piled together.  Part of the design were this doodled flowers which I have a ton of, both at work and at home– a bunch of colorful layered and doodled flowers I need to cut and draw further.  I am almost afraid to pick up a pen and start drawing again or even a pair of scissors to cut the ones that need cutting.I had found the whole exercise very calming way back when and I long for the repetitive and no-pressure doodling.  Then I remembered, I had cards to make which maybe I will make using these as embellishments.  That’s a new purpose for a project I had started with different intentions.

The only thing is that’s can get deeply engrossed and distracted by the project when I’m into it, but I’m trying to use my time wisely.

Bag idea book. I have always loved bags and a current interest is making fabric clutches.  I actually joined the sewing class at Mood University hoping to be able to sew one together using an electric sewing machine.  The idea has been brewing in my head for almost a year now but has been slow getting to fruition.  I stumbled upon a year old edition of Harper’s Bazaar (click here to subscribe) which was almost half riddled with bag ads.  I had actually started tearing off the pages when I realized that the whole magazine was seemingly dedicated to bags.  So I cut the pages clean with a xacto knife and put them aside to ringbind as a glossy idea bag of sorts.

The idea is to make this a notebook of sorts.  I haven’t quite gotten past the first few pages and am still trying to write around the blank spaces in the ads.  I have always found it helpful to have my ideas in writing.  It might and it might not work.  I might yet transfer selected clipped images into a real notebook in the end, but it’s something I’m working on.

Finally, my first attempt at a purse!  This actually came from a failed attempt at wrapping a plastic canvas “mold” with fabric and fleece interfacing.  It didn’t quite work, so I started to undo it and I was left with a cut piece of fabric with interfacing I couldn’t remove.  In the midst of experimenting and fiddling with my sewing machine (which is pictured on the left), I decided I would try to work on creating a mock purse, or a model, or prototype and just see if I can work this contraption the way I want to.  And voila!  It did work… but that’s another post altogether.

So I’ve been trying to do my own bit of crafting the last couple of weeks, but as always, there just aren’t enough hours in a day to do as much as I would want.  The sewing classes in Mood Fabrics have helped me to refocus on crafting and have sparked a new interest in exploring other channels of creativity. I try to do it a day at a time.  Like trying to keep this corner of my web presence going.. baby steps, I say.

 

Midnight thoughts

Its past midnight and this is one Friday I am particularly exhausted but feeling fabulously good.  I had awoken from a semi-sleep remembering I still had my make up on. I was so deep into slumber that it took me a good half hour to finally open my eyes and get moving on the freshening-up-before-bed routine.  

Finally done.

Yet again, I am so deeply disappointed that my space here has lain dormant.  And every time I find the time to stop by here and write, I make another promise to rouse this corner of the web from its deep slumber.  Still trying.

Perhaps this time will be different. 

I just came back from a two-week trip to Manila, and although I purposely took it easy and tried my darnedest not to stress out about “seeing the sights,” I think I managed to make productive use of my time.  I had come armed with an arsenal of my own creations to give away as gifts.  My only regret is that I didn’t get to take pictures of all the pieces I created before they found a new home.

Like before, I wore my own creations and was flattered pink by the comments that were thrown my way.  It only convinced me all the more that I should continue to create and hopefully start selling again.  Well, that’s the plan.

Welcoming 2015

Sunset over Manhattan 02Jan2015

Three months after an attempt to jump start this corner, I’m back.  And hopefully, REALLY back.

It seems that that has been such a struggle the past couple of months.  And yes, the creativity has somehow ebbed and I haven’t been as good with keeping up with my goals.  But the new year is here, and with it, a chance for a new beginning finds me again.

2014 has been quite a challenging year in many ways.  Personally, it was a time of discernment and struggle, but I think I managed to regain my footing the second half of the year.  The challenges continue to come, but I think I have come back to my old form and are now in better shape to face them head on.  It’s not a “new” me — but rather a “better me” — like reacquainting myself with the old self I had somehow tucked in deep under the layers of conformity and compromise.  No more.

I guess you can say “I am back” in many ways.  And hopefully I will be able to finally get things up and running on this side of my web presence.

Here’s to Gotham Chick this 2015..

Here we go again..I’m back!

Antique book pages, spray ink and postcards.. #papercrafts  #postcards #sprayink #inkspray #papercrafts #color #personalartI didn’t realize that the months had slipped by (yet again) and my last post here was July.  It hits me harder just as I had vowed a couple of months back to be more vigilant about posting here and keeping this blog alive.

I’ve been busy, but I have not really had the chance to post much to report on the things I’ve been up to.  There is THE THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT  that has required a lot of background creation, lettering and paper crafting in general which has been taking shape as I work on it.  I haven’t gone too far in documenting my progress there either.

I have been enjoying experimenting and working with Polymer Clay.  I’m halfway through assembling pieces and hope to complete something this weekend.

The summer has come and gone and I feel like I’ve had a good start trying to get back into the swing of things.  The shop is officially open again and I’m not just relisting but creating pieces to sell.  I’m trying to work with the supplies I have and explore new methods like working with wire and creating more than assembling components.

The graphic above is a set of vintage paper collage postcards I sprayed with ink.  My papercrafting has been confined mainly to these postcards and my altered book.  It has taken a life of its own as my diary / journal and it’s progressing quite nicely.  It keeps me tethered to an evolving project.  I’m continuing to make background pages and here’s the latest update on my Art Journal.

Creating has always been a means of coping for me.  It goads me to move where sometimes just being or vegetating is a very tempting option.  I can’t give in.  I am reminded that there is so much more going on in life.

This year, I plan to start pulling together Bead Store Tours but I am saddened that one of the stores I like in Manhattan has just closed shop.  (As of this writing, they are currently trying to get rid of what’s left of their inventory.)  I had taken a friend around one time and she said I would do well to make money of doing this for people who are visiting NYC.  It gives me an excuse to go around my favorite shops beyond shopping or browsing.

But first I must start my store reviews here.  That is yet another plan no the drawing board.

I am back.