Saturday, December 31, 2011

How's your 2011?

Post analyzing 2011, I can't put a solid verdict on how it was.  So, let me just piece apart the highlights of the year.  Naturally, there are also frustrations.  I'm typing those down in the hope that putting it out online means putting it out of my body system.  Hehe!  Anyway, here goes:

January -  My January was spent studying for my MA comprehensive exam.  I remember being so hermit-ish at work, just so I could concentrate on reviewing.  This was such a big deal for me, 'cause it's been so long since I've had such a big pressure on my shoulders (even my job hasn't pressured me that much).  When I think of this exam, I remember studying in Katipunan with my two other classmates, looking for places to eat with a good wi-fi service.  I remember sneaking and taking a break to watch American Idol and listening to The Man Who Can't be Moved (The Script) over and over during reviews.  I remember the smell of that semi-cold January air, and the feel of my fingers on my then kinda-new laptop.  :)

February - I took my exam on the first two weeks of this month.  I remember not bringing a car on that early Saturday morning because I felt too tensed to drive.  I took a cab, looking outside while praying, and trying to be nice and polite to the cab driver while he talked to me (when I didn't want to talk).  Alam niyo na, for good karma.  Hehe!  When I reached the room, I was feeling all sorts of physiological bad signs - I was nauseous, I wanted to pee, to poop, to throw up.  My tummy's turning, and everything!  Ibang klase!  I only calmed down when the examinees started coming in and my phone started beeping with good luck messages from friends.  Phew!

You see, for January and February, I don't even remember anything about work!  Haha!  That's how much MA consumed me.

March - I always remember March as being a light month in terms of work.  Well, and in MA, too.  This was mostly spent on cleaning up my stuff and preparing for my summer vacation.  This was also the time when I discovered the website of a a great UP professor, the late FG David.  I've read the entries on his site from cover to cover, and my teacher friends were surprised that I've traded playing Taboo and Cranium with reading.   Hehe!

April - April... Oh, April... I wish April 2011 didn't have to end (or my money didn't have to run out).  My trip sealed 2011's guaranteed awesomeness early on.  It was an unbelievable experience I couldn't even start to recount or end.  I saw so many places and experienced lots of things I wouldn't have experienced if I didn't leave.  Until now, I feel touched by God's and my friends' blessings for letting me and helping me see that other side of the world.  For a regular person like me- who earns a teacher salary, drives her dad's car, and whose major purchase in life is a netbook- a month-long trip sounds almost impossible.  But God has his ways of showing me that rewards come after hard work and persistence.  Kung gusto pala talaga, kaya. :)  Also because of this trip, I got to know my family and friends there more.  And like what I've always believed- and this much holds true 'til today - people just become nicer and nicer as you get to know them better.  What a blessing, that trip. :)

May - May started out with a celebration of my best friend's wedding.  Seeing my friend and his bride, and my HS friends all dressed up has reminded me how much we've grown through the years. Chronologically and maturity-wise. ;)  And I'm glad that we're still together.  :)  Work was pretty much ok.  And when I say ok, that includes me toppling in questions and complaints here and there.  Ooh, lots and lots of them!  Sometimes, I complain to the right people.  But more often than not, I complain to my poor friend who had to endure all my issues.  Haha!  May has also rejuvenated the idealistic in me when it comes to our country.  Fresh from experiencing a fraction of the life in the States, I found myself comparing and thinking that if they can do it there (clean streets, no traffic, fast service, etc.), maybe we can also do it here, too.  Can't we?

June - For the past years, I've always anticipated June.  I like being with the kids (even if that means work) so much more than preparing to teach them.  But for 2011, June to me was something else.  It meant start of a serious thesis work.  You could tell that this whole MA thing really eats me up.  Especially now that I have less enthusiasm for my work, my world actually just revolves around my studies.

July - July added fuel to the fire of my love for paper crafting.  If only I have half the energy of what I put into crafting in my studies, I may just well be the best student in Ateneo.  Hahaha!  I started buying more crafting stuff and less clothes and food.  That's proper allocation, people.  Hehe!

August - I got on with my thesis business  - it was a roller coaster ride.  Many times I felt energized, then discouraged, then hopeful, then losing, then smart, then dumb.  Haha!

September - Worked on thesis.  Surprise!

October - Worked yet again on thesis.  Surprised?

November - November kept me busy with the wedding invitations I blogged about earlier.  I'm thinking, if ever I jump into making that a business, I'm sure I won't earn a lot because I like pretty and expensive materials!  I don't wanna settle with an 'almost similar' product, hehe.  Blame it to my non-creativity - I need beautiful materials to make beautiful projects.  I also got more crafting supplies this month, and so I felt like a more legitimate crafter.  Hehe!  Hey, I turned 27 this year.  Bummer.  Haha!  I'm not one who's afraid of age and of getting old in general, but man, it still gets into you, you know?

December - The thesis is becoming clearer, and I'm scheduled for a proposal defense in January (wish me all the luck!).  I'm also loving this Christmas break!  This must be my most productive break yet - I can't imagine working on the thesis without this time-out from work.  I also had a couple of get-together's, and those always keep me happy and recharged. :)

My 2011 in a nutshell.  Save for my April trip, 2011 sounded like a very nerdy year.  Hahaha!  I won't disagree with that, hehe.  I love being a studious and academic person from time to time, but that's not really who I am  (who I really am is a junk food-eating, sitcom-watching, board game-playing person who just wants to be rich without moving my butt).  I hope 2012 will have more adventures and surprises.  :)

2012, I dare you to break the monotony! :)

Happy New Year, everybody!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Break 2011

Despite the holiday rush and the traffic madness
Despite the money spent over money earned
Despite the anticipated additional pounds
Despite the thesis that is begging for attention
Despite the work that is waiting
Despite the bonus that is na-dah (Huhuhu!)
Despite the very subtle Christmas spirit

It's still with joy, and a hopeful heart, that I greet and wish you a very merry Christmas!  

Happy holidays, everybody! :) 

Friday, December 09, 2011

Christmas Gift Tags

This year, with my "crafting hobby" at its height, I decided to make gift tags for some dear parents I've had the chance to work with in the previous years.  I know this could come out a little weird, because some of these parents I haven't talked to or seen in three years!  But, I took particular note of those parents who were extremely nice and cooperative, those who made an impact on me, and those who continue to inspire me until today. :)

I have some leftover red papers, ran it through my bigshot with the tag die cut.  I glued some stickles and tied a short ribbon.  I used chalk ink over the letters for them to be more visible.
I made about 150+ of this, 10 for each parent   

I also handmade small cards. I stamped a Christmas tree and a star in front, and adhered a "designer" ribbon (the packaging says so, hehe!).

This may be the best thought out card I've ever made.  Haha!  Lame me!
I initially thought of just printing a letter, and just changing it a little bit for each parent.  I basically wanted to say the same things, and given that I don't have much time nor the diligence to write nicely, printing is actually the better way to go.  But I decided against it later on - handwritten letters still send out the nicest and most genuine of thoughts, I feel.

I then put the tags inside.  Turned out my card was a bit small for 10 tags to fit.  Hihi!  But I managed to put them all in just the same. :)

I already got a couple of thank you's for this and that made me sooooo happy!  :) 

Merry Christmas, everyone! :)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

How to Make Wedding Invites in ___ Days (Day 9, Day 10, and Day 11)

Day 9 - December 4, 2011

Like what I said, I've printed the remaining pages of the invitations.  Thank God I found the papers I need in another National Bookstore (Quezon Ave. branch).  I just gotta say this - Don't you love telephones?!?  Haha!  I called up several branches which are on my home, and only Q. Ave has the brand of the papers.  Imagine if there were no phones and I had to personally go to each branch only to find out they don't carry what I need!  Thank you, Mr. Bell.  :)  Hehe!

My cousin also finished putting the red stickers, thank you very much! :D

Day 10 - December 5, 2011

After office hours, I've started cutting the pages.  This time it's easier because I know the technique already. ;)  Plus, this time, I've printed in such a way that one side doesn't have a border anymore. That's minus one times seventy, baby!

However, I didn't get to finish or even manage to take a photo 'cause my sister texted me and we're gonna have dinner.  It's my mom's birthday, and I there was no initial plan that we'll eat out.  Anyway...

I finished cutting the remaining part at home.  Good thing the paper is already small so it fit my mini cutter.

After that, there's the exciting part of putting the three papers in the pocket fold!

You see here, only one invitation on the left is done.
I should have taken a photo when that corner was all piled up with 70 invites!! 
 Almost done!  Almost done!  Almost done!

Day 11 - December 6, 2011

This is monogram day.  I have the monograms ready, but I have yet to cut small yellowish papers for the borders.  This was kinda hard to do, 'cause everything really has to be totally straight.  And I am no straight cutter, I tell  you.  So this required triple effort.  Hehe!

I cut the yellow papers
Then paste the red one on it, using my good old glue stick
Afterwards, we started adhering the monogram on the invitation card.  The FINAL step!

Almost there!!
Extra: Do you notice that I change my sheets?!  Haha!

My cousin immediately tucks what I finish inside the envelope.  And after several days of brainstorming, trials, scouting for materials, trying out different techniques and finally deciding on what to do, and after 11 days of mechanical labor, look at all these babies sleeping soundly:

I wanna cry!!!!!!
I can't believe I was trusted to do something as big as this!  When I offered help to my friend, I was expecting to do some souvenir tags.  You know, those almost inconspicuous small papers attached to wedding souvenirs.  I didn't know I'd be given such a major role.  Hello, the invitation is only like the star of all the papers in a wedding!  Hahaha!

About DIY wedding invites, I could tell you that it's so much cheaper.  I could also attest for its bonding prowess.  My cousin and I bonded like whoa.  Haha!  This could be a good bonding experience for the groom and the bride, I meant. ;)  I hope they'll like the finished product! :)  The bride will get the invites by December 15, when she comes to Manila.  Until then, I might get a semi-pro photographer to take a picture of the invitation.  And by semi-pro photographer, I mean my cousin with a DSLR.  Hehe!  You know, everything looks lovelier when it's taken by a good camera.  And everything is played down with a camera phone.  Hehe!

There!  I had fun doing it (and blogging about it)!  I was challenged, excited, pressured, satisfied at different times - many times, simultaneously.

I'll never forget this time - when I made wedding invitations for my friend's sister, to escape writing my thesis... Hahaha!

PS.  When I apply for a new job, can I add "Did wedding invitations for 11 days" in my special skills?  I wonder if that will make or break my resume... Haha!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

How to Make Wedding Invites in ___ Days (Day 7 and Day 8)

Day 7

Last Thursday, my meeting with my thesis adviser did not push through, and that meant I can stay in school late.  I took advantage again and went ahead with cutting the first pages I have printed.

I cut and I cut and I cut like I've never cut before!  Hahaha!  I thought it was just gonna be easy (just like when I cut the red papers), but it really wasn't.  I had to cut each page five times (four times to remove border), so that's 70 x 5 for you!  Plus, this one really has to be straight and perfect and everything.  Many points during pushing down the guillotine cutter that I've thought of alternative ways to cut - scissors or a simple cutter and a healing mat.  But a guillotine cutter would give the best results.  And with the help of some teacher friends working beside me and chatting me up, I managed to finish it!!!!  After two hours!  That's victory right there, people.

After that, look what happened again:
I didn't really mind the glittery gold stain on my fingers,
I was worried about the papers losing all the shimmery effect!

That night, while I still had the energy to, I chomped the corners. This I did while sitting down and watching TV, so this wasn't really a task at all.

Day 8 (12/2/2011)

My cousin has finally gotten the extra lace we needed and the red stickers for the front.  She did the sticking, thank God!  I don't really know if I have the persistence to do that!  She (I mean, we!) didn't finish it yet - but she has to come over to our house today to get it done.  Hahaha, bossy me.

She has finished a pack of red stickers.  Each pack has more than 500 beads!
And it didn't help that the stickers didn't stick so much.
We had to put on glue first, then stick it.
So I guess I  owe her some "hands spa" after this.  Hehe!
After and before, hehe!
Please tell me the red stickers make a nice difference
Or else I'm gonna start punching random people on the streets.

EDIT:  I forgot to add that this was also the day when I glued the primary page on the card, just like so:

There!  Can I make the invites in 10 days??  I think so!  Haha, that's the challenge!  Here's the plan:

Day 9 (today): printing the remaining pages (done!), finish adhering the red thingy
Day 10: cut the pages in the office

Oh wait, there's still the matter of the monogram, and I don't think that can fit on Day 10... Oh, no... Simula palang ng challenge, talo na!  Haha!  

Oh well, let this therefore be How to Make Wedding Invites in 11 days!!  :D  'til later!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

How to Make Wedding Invites in ___ Days (Day 6)

Said I won't work on the invites on my midweek break, but I couldn't help it.  Hehe!  And working with my laptop placed on my crafting table didn't really give me a chance to concentrate on thesis!

Anyway, I worked on the monograms this time.  I used my mini trimmer I got from SM Department Store.  At 300 pesos, I was so hesitant to buy it at first.  Little did I know that this would be the cheapest thing I'll buy for this hobby. ;)

Cut 70 small rectangles

Stamped BS (the couple's initials) with black ink

Then over it, I stamped again, with gold ink this time
I'd have to paste these red rectangles over a bigger yellowish paper soon. :)