My Craft Calendar

My dream job is to really be able to schedule time to work on my crafts between trying to keep a presence here, write what I want to write, and stay on top of my almost 12-year-old.  Right now, my days revolve around a day job that pretty much takes up my whole day from 8am when I am usually on the bus to Manhattan, to 7:30pm when I walk in the door.  After that, 80% of what’s left of my moments awake are devoted to motherhood.  The usual chat and hugs between homework and dinner leave me very little time to sit down and unwind and fiddle with my projects.  What happens is that I end up sleeping at or just past midnight, but it doesn’t mean waking up later.  I will get up before 6am to start my day over the following day, no matter what time I slept the night before.

#craft toys just arrived!  Working on some #invitations using my #spellbinders #grandcalibur machine.  Just waiting for my #paperstock to arrive.  #crafthappy. And can't wait to get started!  Love these #dies..I found it rather frustrating that I came up with projects last year which turned out okay, but which would have really been “great” if only I had found the time to work on them way in advance.  So four months into 2016, (late, I know..),  I thought I’d plan ahead for the rest of the year.

So for the most part, only I can really understand what the calendar is about, but the point is for it to remind me of what I plan to do and keep me focused.  And yet again, I’m hoping to start posting here more regularly, not monthly.

Here’s what I hope to focus on in the coming months:

April

  •  Get started on my fabric clutches.  (Something I’m currently working on.)
  • Create more pieces and post in the shop. (Ongoing)
  • Start taking sewing classes at Mood Fabrics. (Free, already enrolled, due to begin end of the month.. Yay!)

May 

  • Get my tour guide license.  (More on this later.)
  • Start making pieces to wear and bring to Fiji.  (Trip planned for end of June  with bestfriend, Donna.)

June

  • Start planning my halloween costume, another paper fairy gown.
  • Design my holiday card for the end of the year.  (Need to determine materials.)
  • Create pieces to bring home to Manila in late July or August.
  • Launch bead tours.

July

  • Work on throw pillows (if the living room renovation has already started, if not, just make designs.)
  • Post a clutch for sale in the etsy shop.
  • Launch first postcard set project.
  • Take photographs and source materials in the Philippines.

August

  • Start creating the halloween costume.  (Will try to actually sew one instead of pinning one together like last year.)
  • Create paper boxes.

September

  • Work on Christmas decor.
  • Produce holiday cards.
  • Create gifts to give for the holidays.
  • Launch second postcard set.
  • Stock up the shop and launch holiday promo.

October

  • Finish holiday card.
  • Handmade gifts.
  • Put up my Christmas tree last week of October.

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)

The calendar is obviously not set in stone and is meant to just be a guide to help me focus.  As crafting is not my number one priority, it usually becomes an afterthought and then a cause for a flood of “should haves” and “if onlys”.  I’ll revisit the list from time to time to report on how I’ve been doing.

“Goldifying” Metal Accents

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I have always been partial to gold as an accent, even when silver tone is what’s preferred for a certain stone or color scheme.  For one thing, gold tone accents age and fade better than silver-tone ones that tend to rust or oxidize into black.  I also love antique brass, but while it lends a rustic look to your creation, it doesn’t quite exude the same kind of elegance gold-tone accents give.  Thankfully, I’m getting comfortable mixing my metals — but I am still careful in pulling combinations.  There are times when you can get away with it, but there are also times when it just won’t work.
Gilders paste
Last year, I discovered Gilders Paste and I have a few shades handy to work into my metal accents.  I’ve experimented with using one shade and combining two different colors.  Depending on the effect you want to achieve, the applications of gilders paste to recolor your findings is endless!

This is most specially helpful when there are so many gorgeous filigree findings in antique brass and which aren’t readily available in gold.  I also like the different quality the gilders paste gives the metal it adheres to which makes the piece look personalized with the artist’s own patina.

Working with Gilders Paste

One thing you have to remember is that like polymer clay, the consistency of the paste differs from container to container.  It is important to keep the tin container sealed tight when you are not working with it.  The following are some tips to help you work better with the medium.

  • Choose an airy workspace because gilders paste gives off fumes which are chemical in nature.  It isn’t something you would choose or want to inhale directly.
  • Try to avoid touching the paste as much as possible. I use gloves when handling “wet” or “just painted” pieces to make sure I don’t get any on my hands, or that I don’t smudge my pieces with unsightly fingerprints.
  • Work on a disposable surface like a paper plate, a paper towel, or some cardboard you are looking to throw away like an old cereal box laid flat on the table, with the cardboard inside surface as your workboard.
  • Experiment on pieces similar if not the same metal as the one you are working on for your project.  Different surfaces react in varied ways — and the color of your gilders paste will come off differently depending again on what it is applied to.  Antique brass is very “receptive” to paste but it’s darker color tends to mute or darken the shade of gilders paste you are using.  Silver tone metals tend to be more difficult to apply on and doesn’t always “take” the gilders paste well.
  • Clean your piece with a dry piece of cloth or paper towel to make sure that you are applying the gilders paste to a clean surface.  If it has a coating of even just skin oil, it will affect the way your gilders paste adheres.
  • Use a disposable brush as cleaning the gilders paste off the bristles is a bit of a challenge and generally not worth the time.  I purchase these hard bristle brushes from the dollar store.  Make sure you choose the harder bristles because this will help you “push” bits of the gilders paste into the crevices of the smaller pieces you are applying the paste on, or on the finer details of the bigger items you are recoloring.
  • Dab the paste on, do not brush it.  Stipple the paste with the brush into rugged or recessed portions of the piece such as in smaller charms.  One thing I try to do is use the inside of the cover of the tin as a work surface for pieces that will fit in it, so that the bits of gilders paste that form into smaller balls or pebble-like granules can go back to the tin for future use.  (You will know what I’m talking about when you work with it.)  I would only do this, though, if you are only applying one shade.  In instances when you are trying to achieve a different tonal quality by combining two or more shades, I’d use a specific work surface for each color so they don’t mix.
  • Depending on the effect you are trying to achieve, you may need to do two or three coatings.  Remember to let the first coating dry before applying the next coating.  In some instances, once is good enough if you are just staining or tinting the piece and not fully recoloring it from one tone to the other, like antique brass to gold.

These are my own methods for working with gilders paste.  There are other crafters with more experience in it who use sealants or thinners depending on the application.  Try it with one tub and see if you like the way it comes off of your project.  Some crafters like the antique greenish shade to show a faux antique effect on the metal.  It has a million potential uses to enhance your projects once you get the hang of it.

De-stashing and upcycling

Promises should be kept, I know. I had promised to post more regularly but everything has been moving rather simultaneously in the different facets of my world. It has been a struggle but I haven’t quite given up yet on reviving this space.

Spring is gone, and summer is here.

While I have successfully gone back to creating and selling on Etsy, I need to step up the posting and the creating, while indulging my continuing experimentation and organizing.

Work in Progress: learning my way around a hammerThe good news is, I’m beginning to use up my stash and I’ve found a new way of creating findings by using my hammered wire. I’m also working on being braver with stringing and I’m looking to do more of that in the coming weeks. So while I haven’t posted much here, I have been doing a lot of experimentation and crafting as far as the shop is concerned. There are nights when I don’t realize how I’ve let the time pass me by as I sit working in my craft corner, and before I know it, it’s past midnight already!

Crafting has always calmed me and has helped me to bring myself to a quiet place where I can think more clearly.  Maybe that’s why I get so absorbed in the creating process and I lose myself in it.

I’m also trying to upcycle this ton of freecards (advertising postcards) that have been stocked in my attic forever.  I’m doing a “Thank You” project that will utilize them but I’d like to leave it at that for now.  That should help me move my supplies which have been sitting untouched here and in the office.  I’m trying to sort what I need and what I don’t, and trying to find new uses for what I have.

I have always had a love affair with paper and it has never been easy for me to throw it away. But things can’t stay as “supplies” forever! Yesterday, I fished out some color photocopies of some watercolor backgrounds I did maybe two years ago and pasted and cut them as postcard backgrounds. The originals had gone into my first art journal. I have also printed off some choice photos from my portfolio and I do a mod podge process which turns them into a canvas-like texture print. (To do or not do a tutorial on that…. It’s not really rocket science!)

So there.. I hope to post more but let me hit publish on this one so I can get the blog rolling…

 

 

GothamChick is now on WordPress

Moving my domain to a wordpress blog has taken me forever and a day to decide because I’ve had one on another blog server.

From the very start, I had hoped to devote this blog to the “crafty” side of me, showing the crafts I have been working on and hoping to make personal notes about my crafty exploits.  I also wanted to be able to provide tutorials, mainly to demonstrate that there is much one can do “the ordinary way”, even if you consider yourself artistically challenge.  As a crafter, I take pride in being able to produce work using the simplest materials.

I haven’t had much luck maintaining consistency in posting in my original Gotham Chick blog mostly because I try to do my posts with accompanying photographs.  I am even thinking of doing video eventually as well, but I’m trying to start fresh here.

So instead of migrating the old blog, I’m starting fresh.

This is a crafter’s blog. While there are times when I get lucky and what I eventually produce can be likened to art, I am by no means pretending to be an artist.  I have an array of artists that I am a fan of, and I take much inspiration from their works, even if I can only hope to do anything close to what they create.

Creating is a good means of expression and something I encourage in my friends.  I hope this blog helps other fellow crafters as similar blogs have helped me in my own craft journey.  Many of the things I have created are the result of hours and hours of internet research and countless experiments.  One of my personal mantras is “I learn something new everyday.”  Opening ourselves to “new things” helps us grow, no matter how young or old we may be.  I’d like to think that it helps us go through the challenges of daily life and become better persons.

I blog here, and I sell on Etsy.  My etsy shop, Gotham Chick — what else? — has been in existence for three years now.  A lot had happened in 2012 that had forced me to put the shop in the backburner or in semi-hibernation, but I’ve put the shop back online and I’m repopulating the shop with existing stock.  I am also starting to experiment and create again, and hopefully, these new ventures will find their way into the shop soon.  The first three years have seen some sales, but they can be better.  And I know I can do better if only I can focus more on the “creating” part.  This is my challenge for 2013.

So welcome to the new home of GothamChick on the web.  Join me on this never-ending crafter’s journey.