I’ve been having a bit of a problem with my other blog (Painting Words). I can’t access the dashboard so I haven’t been able to update the progress on my bags. It seems as if my procrastinating reached the Universe’s limit and it was decided that something needed to be done.

What am I talking about? Well, for a while now, I’ve been thinking of merging my blogs. I have one about motherhood, one about my art and writing, and this one that’s supposed to be mostly about paper. What possessed me to have three blogs? I’m 56, memory challenged, and if I’m not painting or writing, I’m sewing. Half the time, the bedroom which also functions as my studio is in a state of disarray. Let me mention here though, that the Virgo in me steps in to put things in order once a project is finished. It’s hard to think in a messy space.

Anyway, it occurred to that it was time to simplify. The blogs would simply have to be merged. My website also needs quite a bit of paring down. I announced on my Facebook page that I’d be doing this and changed my profile picture to a quick BRB (Be Right Back) doodle.

BRBI’m thinking of a new blog name that won’t limit my content to just motherhood or just art or just writing or even just paper (even if it does say paper with everything!). If you have suggestions, please send them over!

Meanwhile, in between everything else, I shall also be happily working on some orders for the hand painted bags and journal covers. I also just ordered fabric from Zazzle and promised them a blog post about it so that’s coming up in the next post.

Here’s to the start of an interesting and productive week!


New Year New Project

December came and went just like that.

Well, maybe not really since I was in a frenzy trying to finish handmade gifts that I said I wasn’t making. However, when funds are tight, it’s amazing how it becomes possible to shift the minutes so that there are pockets of it for keeping on track with the business of the day-to-day (read: eat regular meals and such) and still finish up gifts in time for handing over on Christmas Day.

I’ve been asked about the why of this craziness that comes when there are special occasions. Standard answer is that even if the giftee might not like the gift, there is, at least for me, the idea that when I made it, I put a bit of myself in whatever it was I made. The other more obvious one is that the gift will be unique to that person because it’s not something that will be found in any shop or bazaar. The third reason is that I really just like making things so I figure I’m sharing the joy of that in some way.

Something came out of making those four bags. I decided that 2015 will be the year I make bags. Here’s a little back story.

I’m normally a very calm person–ask my sisters. Most disastrous events in my life have come and gone without very much public drama from my end. I came to the conclusion that since I can have the attention span of a hummingbird, it may happen that I move on instead of dwelling.

But I had something happen to me that occupied my thoughts most of my waking hours. It got so bad that one day, I found myself talking to a picture I have on my cork board of the Divine Mercy. One of the things I do is to stop whatever I’m doing at 3:00 and say the short chaplet followed by a short novena. That particular day, I didn’t stop with the novena. I did what might horrify some staunch Catholics. I started berating God.

Yup, there I was, blubbering and sniffling and accusing Him of not paying attention. I went on and on about how He promised this and that and what more does He want–the usual rants of someone who won’t listen to reason because no answer will do.

Then I started answering my own questions. This happened very spontaneously–there was no lull in between the ranting and the answering where I could have thought things through. I just segued from demanding answers to giving them.

When I paused to blow my nose, my eyes shifted from the picture of the Divine Mercy to a large note I had pinned above it months before. I had written it because a friend suggested the idea sometime in the Spring. In large letters, I wrote: CAN YOU START THINKING ABOUT MAKING BAGS?

So I sat there, holding my tissue, and I said, “Oh.”

The Christmas gifts post printing and just before sewing.

My Facebook post showing the pieces I had painted.

The half-finished bag that I decided would be for my own use.

The finished bag with outer pockets that I love but proved to be more work than I intended!
Poetry by Virginia Lichauco de Leon that’s always been one of my favorites because I need more bouquets, I think.
The inside of the bag that I customized to suit my preferences.

A new bag in the making.

A close up of what the other side of the bag and handles will have.
I also began listening to Kari Chapin’s podcast just to keep the fire going. On Facebook, I told one of my friends that my project for 2015 is to be a geriatric Kate Spade. I should  have said middle-aged. I don’t think I’m geriatric quite yet.
As for the Divine Mercy, He was probably shaking His head and smiling, thinking I deserved to have a good cry anyway. 

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Sweet November

I haven’t decided what November really is for me. The words “Sweet November” have been imprinted in my mind ever since I saw the movie on TV–the original one with Anthony Newley and Sandy Dennis. I think it’s during the ending when credits begin rolling in that you hear Anthony Newley singing the song. I even remember the lyrics!

Sweet November,
they say you’re wintry and gray
and yet this love that you bring
is sweeter than Spring and warmer than May

I can’t remember November’s sunshine
more beautiful than today
fleeting, it’s true, but what can I do
to make sweet November stay?

Come December, 
when our November is through
I’ll face the Winter and smile
for I know that I’ll be thinking of you

When I remember November’s sunshine
I won’t mind December’s rain.
For me it’ll be like sweet November again.

I could be wrong but I think Mr. Newley wrote the song as well. I may have missed out on some of the lyrics, too, but those are the ones I remember.
November seems like a month where you’re holding your breath in anticipation of December 25th. You might be tempted to remind me about Thanksgiving but that’s a tradition that’s still new to me. I grew up with Christmas and New Year’s Day and that’s how it was for about 50 years for me.
November is when I tell myself I’ve begun to plan my gift-giving strategies too late. 
November used to be the time when my friend Cindy and I would brave the bazaars. She didn’t mind driving through Manila traffic and I didn’t mind that she drove like a Jeepney driver (to understand that, you might have to travel to the Philippines and ride on one of the Jeepneys). I miss those days. Cindy and I often think back to those days when we do get to talk.
November is when I pick up a couple of items for just-in-case gifts and am always thankful for when it’s crunch time on Christmas Eve and I realize I had unchecked names on my list.
November is also the name of a former student of mine who used to fill her journal with all sorts of angsty doodles which I genuinely enjoyed. Should I have been alarmed? Umm, no. She went on to be an amazing artist who loves cats and enjoys snail mail as I do.
And speaking of snail mail, November is when I try to get Christmas cards that have to get sent overseas out. I can see the pile I have to address from the corner of my eye. Maybe I’ll tackle them tonight. 
This year’s November began with unusually cold weather and lots of rain. They say it’ll be snowing which could make traveling for Thanksgiving a challenge. As I’m typing this entry up, the skies outside are gray but the cold has eased up and I’m able to put on one of my favorite made-in-India dresses and a light cardigan. That’s always good.
I doubt if I’ll ever think of November as sweet. I’d say it’s quite eventful specially since in these past few years, November has meant getting together with family and friends, some of whom drive all the way from Virginia! Even more recently, November now marks the birthdays of three very special little people–my first grandchild, Sophie, and my sister’s first grandchildren, Cole and Nate.
Maybe instead of sweet, November for me will always be frenzied and joyful and in some ways, bittersweet.
And in my usual Johnny-come-lately mode, here’s something I just put up on my Zazzle shop. Shameless advertising but hey, I’m my own marketing manager!
Playground Pony
Playground Pony by MopStudio
Browse Ponies Aprons online at Zazzle.com