Goodbye, Google Reader

It’s been awhile since I updated! How embarrassing. I was so busy that I didn’t even get to post a freebie for Father’s Day. I’ll do my best to post something very soon!

Anyway, I’m writing a quick post re. RSS feeds and this blog. As most people know, Google Reader is disappearing very soon. I follow a ton of sites and blogs, so you can imagine my dismay when the announcement was made to kill Google Reader.

I’ve since chosen to use Feedly as my Google Reader replacement, but Bloglovin’ also looks good and I’ve signed up there as well.

So, if anyone (anyone? *crickets*) wants to follow me, they can still add my RSS to Feedly, or follow my blog with Bloglovin.

I’m a lot more active on Tumblr and Pinterest, though, so feel free to follow me there if you’ve got an account at either site.

Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂

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Mother’s Day Cards: Free Printables

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Mother’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re in need of a last-minute card to send to your mom, here are a couple of designs I made.

I have available three sizes:
1) US size (7″ x 5″), which can fit inside Lee baronial envelopes or A7 announcement envelopes
2) International size (171 x 120 mm), which can fit inside B6 envelopes
3) Ph size (6.75″ x 5.25″), which will fit in No. 7 Baronial envelopes. These are for those living in the Philippines, which for some bizarre reason refuses to conform to US or ISO standards when it comes to non-commercial envelopes. You can always use either the US or International size cards if you happen to have the correct size envelopes on hand.

Right-click on the link to save the PDF file of your choice to your computer:

MOM, YOU’RE A GEM! Card
International size
US size
Ph size

BEST MOM EVER Card
International size
US size
Ph size

HOW TO USE THIS PRINTABLE
• PRINT the card of your choice onto any paper stock of your choosing. The card will fit on either Letter or A4 size paper.
• SCORE: if using cardstock or any kind of heavy paper stock, score the sheet of paper with a bone folder before folding. Use the dashed lines as your guide.
• CUT: Use the cutting marks (the solid lines) to guide you when cutting out the card.
• FOLD card in half, and you’re done.

If you don’t have a bone folder, an Xacto knife or cutter works in a pinch. To score, carefully create shallow cuts (avoid cutting through the paper), then fold.

I hope these cards will come in handy!

Things I like: Space motifs

I admit that I was never really interested in anything sci-fi, much less space travel, when I was little. It’s really thanks to Col. Chris Hadfield and his wonderful photos, and to an anime called Space Brothers, that I’ve become fascinated with space itself.

On the other hand, I’ve always found space motifs (particularly stars or moons) appealing, so long as they’re not presented in a new age-y way (not really my style).

Here are a few items I’ve spotted that I would actually wear, or use in my home.

Space

1. Wendy Nichol Gold Half Moon Mid-Digit Ring || 2. Graduated Star Blue Scarf by Becksondergaard || 3. Comme des Garcons Bright Star Half Zip-Around Wallet || 4. Joel Mills’ “Space is the Place” Graphic Poster || 5. Doradus Nebula Pillow Cover by geographyhandmade

Vintage packaging finds

Unimart photo by Ramon FVelasquez
(Photo: Unimart by Ramon F Velasquez, courtesy of Wikipedia)

Anyone who is from the Ortigas or San Juan area (or anyone who has visited Greenhills Shopping Center) should be familiar with Unimart. It’s been around for ages—I have fond memories of going grocery shopping there with my paternal grandmother and my cousins whenever we’d spend weekends at our grandparents’ house in New Manila.

These days, stepping into Unimart feels like going back to the 1980s, complete with sappy 80s one-hit wonders currently being bossa nova-fied to death in this decade. To give you an idea, the section where they sell school supplies, books, and toys looks like it ought to be covered in a layer of dust (it isn’t), and the sales staff should all be in their 70’s by now (far from it). It’s not so bad if you’re the nostalgic type…until you realize that the cash machines also seem to be from the 1980s, and you’re standing in line waiting forever for your turn.

This is not to say that Unimart sells really old things, by the way. Not at all (otherwise no one would do their grocery shopping there). I did notice, however, that there are quite a few things they sell that really add to the feeling of being in a time warp.

Like these funny-looking dog and…I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a bear (or a racoon) benches. Seriously, what mind came up with this idea. Each costs close to US$850.00. Who on earth would buy these? 2013-03-30 15.19.53

What did catch my eye were a couple of items that use vintage (or vintage style?) packaging. I spotted three brands of floor wax—”the original since 1953″ and all from the same manufacturer. It’s safe to assume that the packaging also hasn’t changed since.wax vintage packaging

And these lemon drops! In spite of the weird meshing of font choices (not really liking what they used for “Lemon Drops”), I like it a lot if only for the vintage style illustration. It’s certainly not something you see every day. I didn’t buy it (trying to cut down on sweets) but I’d like to try them one day.lemon drops vintage style packaging

I swear I don’t see these things in any other grocery except Unimart. It’s crazy, and even though I want this place to undergo a renovation, stat, a part of me hopes they won’t ever change.

Happy Easter!

So much for maintaining this blog on a regular basis.

Holy Week means a long weekend for us here in the Philippines. This has no bearing on me since I work at home anyway…and vacation was, well, spent at home. Which sounds crazy to some of you, who are probably thinking that, given the opportunity, I ought to be hitting the beach. Thing is, I’m really not a beach person—much less a summer person. Summer is my least favorite season. I tend to get sick during this time of year, and even grumpier than usual.

Still, I figured this was a good time to be productive. I got some reading done (I am currently rereading Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear), did some drawing (ugh, so rusty!)…and even a teeny bit of painting.

I do know what Easter really is about, but what with all the wonderful Easter egg decorating ideas floating around on the internet, I figured I’d do something that features eggs, only in 2D. And anyway I wanted an excuse to paint something—anything.

It’s been awhile since I’ve cracked open my watercolor paints. I don’t know why I keep putting it off (apart from the obvious, which is: work). Admittedly, I am just really bad at prep work. It’s a necessary thing but I find it so depressingly tedious and a time suck.

Then I realize how the act of painting really lifts my mood. Never mind if I’m not a pro at it (this is really just a hobby), or if I don’t do a neat job, or if it’s not the most outstanding thing I’ve ever done. I just like doing it. 🙂

At first I was using a transparent watercolor set but got really impatient when I saw how the colors just weren’t bright enough. The thought of applying more layers drove me to grab this tiny set of Sakura Koi watercolors, which was given to me by a friend. Worked like a charm. I think I like pan watercolors more and more.

I revisited some painting techniques for creating textures: using a sponge, a liner (rigger) brush, and a flat brush (though this was more of a happy accident). The blue egg is a mess…I had no idea what I wanted to do there and ended up doodling on it. I tried using the salt technique on one egg, and the alcohol technique on another, but it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted. Not sure if it’s because the air was too dry (less water to create a reaction) or because the artwork is really small—the resulting effect was just too subtle.

So here you are, a humble greeting from this neglectful wannabe blogger. Whether or not you’re religious, I hope Easter will bring you joy and peace in your lives.

Cheers!

Attempts at Hand Lettering # 1

A lovely friend of mine is getting married this year and she kindly allowed me to work on the wedding invitations for her big day. The design has already been approved and I’m just waiting for the printer’s quotation before we proceed.

Yesterday was her bridal shower. For her gift, I created some stamps out of the monogram she and her fiancĂ© chose for their invitation. The irony is that I couldn’t find appropriate stamp pads! I wanted a gold metallic one since we’re using gold foil on the wedding invitation. There’s no shortage of office stamp pads, but it’s really hard to find the kind for crafting*. The local bookstore used to sell those wonderful ones from ColorBox and Ancient Page. Now, all that’s left are locally made stamp pads, which is great, but there was no gold—not even a lovely black. There used to be some craft shops but they’re all gone or dying (the only one I know of that still exists doesn’t even have any stamp pads—what kind of craft store is that?).

Anyway, I wrapped the items in a handmade drawstring bag (I used this very easy to follow tutorial and plan to make more). Stupid me, I forgot to take a photo! I’m really not in the habit of taking photos of craftsy things I’ve made. I need to fix that.

I did, however, take a picture of the tag that went with it (apologies for the picture quality; my phone camera-shooting skills are terrible).

I’ve always been fascinated with hand lettering and would really love to learn how it’s done. Alas, there are no classes on this (as far as I know) in the city—not even on basic calligraphy! I just settle for studying other peoples’ work and doodling in my sketchbook when I have the time.

It all started with a quick, tiny doodle of my friend’s initial:

Which became this:

I’m kind of a slob at inking/outlining stuff with pens, so it’s not very neat. You can see I also deviated quite a bit from the original sketch (which I still like a lot). Somehow I felt the original sketch didn’t work as well when I made the capital much wider and taller (the tag is quite large), so I embellished it further.

When I was done inking, I decided that some gold would work really well with the black ink and that perhaps I could use some of the gold leaf sheets I’ve hoarded over the years. Unfortunately, I had no gold leaf size. Oops. I must have thrown it out when I moved house a couple of years ago. I think it was already dried up so there really was no point in keeping it.

Thank goodness for gel medium, though! Since I was too chicken to use that as my gold leaf size, I decided to just mix it with some gold powder paint (proving to myself that it’s not a bad idea to hold onto some of my old art supplies). Note to self: I really should get some cheapo tiny brushes for this purpose.

So it’s not very neat, but I thought it wasn’t too terrible.

And then I had to ruin it by writing on the tag (at the back). There was some show through, and I also wasn’t happy with what I wrote (I am not the type who writes drafts on a piece of scrap paper). Thankfully I wrote in one small portion of the tag and I wisely didn’t write behind the letter T. I ended up writing a much longer note in a proper notecard, then cut out the letter from the tag and glued it to the accompanying envelope. I think it worked out in the end. ;p

Perhaps one day I’ll create a digital version…

*People must be wondering why I don’t buy online. Thing is, I avoid online shopping whenever possible because I don’t want to be tempted into buying more than what I need (books in particular are a major weakness of mine). I also don’t trust the local postal service and I hate the extra expense of international shipping, customs fees, etc…

On hiatus. Maybe.

I just wanted to apologize to anyone who might still be trying to follow this blog. Real life got in the way and I found myself unable to devote enough time to create things. It’s one thing to have ideas, it’s another to actually attempt them. 

I also found that several people had left comments on my envelope freebie post. I completely missed them—all comments are moderated—and so didn’t publish them. I am truly sorry about that and, if those of you who commented are reading this, I would like to say thank you for commenting. The positive feedback is truly heartwarming and, honestly, I wasn’t expecting anyone to comment at all.

I suppose one could say that because it’s a brand new year, I should really include “make and do” to my list of resolutions. As it is, these first few weeks of the year have already been quite busy! So all I can say is, if possible, please keep watching this space. I hope that by the next month I will have something more substantial about which to blog.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone for their patience.

Happy new year!