Progress Report #6: Tri's not-so-lil eles

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Added a lil extra special touch :)

Ready, Steady, GO!

I'm packed up for my week in Japan. Yep. That's all I'm bringing :) And yes, that's American Idol in the background, haha. And look what my tea leaves (in a bag) told me:

I'll be back in a week with a sketchbook filled with sakura & sake stains :) PEACE!

Tree a Day #25

made before / right before / after a lovely talk with b

Tree a Day #24

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Corals, trees, target logos... I have no idea. haha. I drew it while listening to "Never Had Nobody Like You" by M. Ward. Love that song!

I hope this is enough...

to keep me warm!! It's 30 degrees colder in Japan and needless to say, I have no warm clothes in the Philippines, except for the bomber jacket I bought in the name of retail therapy (yay! I finally get to use it!) and a hoodie. Hahaha. I thought I'd test out the outfit on this 79 degree evening. I just may freeze a lil. Or drink sake :)

Number Crunch

Monday, March 29, 2010

6 weeks since I've been on the backpacking road, and in that time I've been astoundingly productive:

(1) painting to the elephant nature park
(5) additional paintings
(15) stuffed creations (8 were custom orders :)
(23) trees painted/drawn
(1.5) sketchbooks filled
(4) menus designed
(2) logos
(81) blog posts

I think I've earned my visit here:
where I will drink this:
and hang out with lino & this guy:

Progress Report #3: Skunk

he's starting to come together :) woo!

Tree a Day #23

Just taking the previous tree a step further :)

Progress Report #2: Skunk

Sunday, March 28, 2010

He has a head! Looks kind of eerie but so far so good :)

Tree a Day #22

It has been a while since I've done a tree so here ya go! It's a lil different than my usual but I like it :)

Progress Report #5: Tri's not-so-lil eles

I finished 'em a while ago but haven't had a chance to edit & upload the pics until now. I actually added extra stuffing in ms. pinky to iron out those wrinkles and give her a lil more squeeze, so these photos are pre-polyfil-botox. I had fun shooting at my yoga studio :)

Progress Report #1: Skunk

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I think we have a winner! Thanks to Amanda for the new challenge. I can't wait to see how he turns out with his fuzzy tail! :)

Bow Tie!

Friday, March 26, 2010

And I'm done for the night. That's 4 stuffed creations today. Phew!

A Very Productive Day

Three elephants, cut & glued a bow tie, added some ears... YEAH! I can't decide what kind of ears to give mr. sparkly-gold. I love love love the velvet elephants though. So soft & squishy my goodness. I also had a very lovely & long phone conversation with my dear Hyosun. I miss her energy and I loved catching up on our cha-cha-changes. Mmmm... A+ for today!

My Adventure to the US Embassy

Thursday, March 25, 2010

As Lino put it, I had a pretty sweet problem: I needed additional pages in my passport. But o dear me... what a voyage! 3rd time's a charm I guess because I failed twice before. First time, I went on some US holiday like President's Day. Second time (this past Monday), I learned that the US passport services window is only open between the hours of 730am-830am. what. the. f. So, this morning, I woke up at 630am, took the usual jeepney & LRT to get there and 3 hours later, I left. And 5 hours later, I went back to pick it up. Gahhhhh.... I don't understand how taping a book of pages can be an 8 hour process... oh brother what a world!

Since I waited for a while, I sketched the restless folk around me. They're not very good sketches, but in my defense, it was suuuper early :). I was still sleepy! Still am!

Twinkle Fingers

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh man! I sure had fun today :)

Traveling can have its lonely moments, but living abroad and away from friends definitely has 'em. I've missed people my age, relating to fellow travelers & sharing the life I'm living with others. And all that resolved itself today with a lovely visit by Fabian :)

We met in Saigon on the roof of our hostel, on that ridiculous night of "never have I ever." Can I just say it's amazing how much more willing you are to open up to a fellow wanderluster than any other sort of stranger. There's a mutual understanding and connection that we all come from the same place, looking for a temporary shelter as we explore the world. We want to help each other realize whatever goals we've set for ourselves on the road. Ah, lovely!!

Anyway, of all the connections and common interests between people, I think this hunger for living through traveling is the strongest bond. That being said, the day was awesome. Swimming, cooking, downing vitamins with beer, checking all the fish to see if they're fresh... so fun! I've missed singing & jiving while cooking with someone, and having good conversations with full stomachs. And all the while listening to good tunes... O, to have someone enjoy the new jonsi album and "gaaaaaww" over the deliciously beautiful melodies...!

We talked about the goodness of having someone there with you to experience moments, especially when you travel. It's a way of confirming that what happened actually happened, and you're not alone in feeling what you're feeling. In a way, he being there confirmed the goodness of this life I'm living. Kristen, I can't wait for you get here! And Lino! I'll be seeing you in a little more than a week! Then Ishan & Harriet... and Akmal, I better see you soon, too! And after all that sharing & being with friends... I'll be two weeks from the day I fly home. Wow, time flies.

Fabian workin' the rice cooker. Yeah that's right. I posted it. That's what you get for making fun of my doggy paddle :)

lil miss MONKEY!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

silly silly lady :)

three hours into today and already it's lovely. i got a picture of monkey in my inbox. a delightfully long conversation with a recent 26 year old. harold now has 5 toes (and not 2!). obama is awesome. yoga in 4 hours (can i make it?!). phone date with a lovely kindred soul. touring a boy around my hood who i met on the backpacking road (oh no, im prob gonna look like one of those girls with the blond guy). potential storybook collaborations. mailing a cigarette to make a boy in scotland happy on his birthday... the world is great today!

Happy Birfday!

I actually don't have a stuffed cake (or a real one) for you, Mr. Varnum, so I drew it. Hope that's acceptable. Hello to ms. monkey for me (& david :)

Progress Report #2: Harold

Twinkle toes!! And no, that's not an ice cream cone (yum!). It's his horn! :)

Tree a Day #21

heeeee! I really like this one! I have no idea where it came from but I just started toying with colors and whatever and walla! She's so cute! I can imagine her thinking, TREEEEEES!!

My Zoo

I arranged all my current creations on the couch the other day and my aunt sat in the middle & said, "Pretty soon, it'll be a zoo!" Haha. So, I present you with my growing zoo. Cigarette counts as a mammal or reptile?

Choosing Presence

Monday, March 22, 2010

I actually started writing this post a week ago, but haven't found a moment to finish my thoughts on it. Now I find myself in a state where I'm struggling to choose presence or being damn frustrated with a situation out of my control. So here's to self-healing!

My latest podcast binge has on the topic of time... ranging from spiritual, theoretical, scientific perspectives to simple personal narratives (two different links there). And from spending hours listening, I can only conclude that the present is a choice, one that you need to make over and over again throughout your life. And the more you choose it, the better off you'll be. The effects of surrendering to presence varies from person to person but overall, I think we can all agree on its healing abilities.

They did a study exploring Einstein's idea that time is relative... that it speeds up or slows depending on how fast something is moving relative to another:

Atomic clocks are extremely accurate clocks that can measure tiny amounts of time—billionths of a second. In 1971, scientists used these clocks to test Einstein's ideas. One atomic clock was set up on the ground, while another was sent around the world on a jet traveling at 600 mph. At the start, both clocks showed exactly the same time.

What happened when the clock flown around the world returned to the spot where the other clock was? As Einstein had predicted in a general way, the clocks no longer showed the same time—the clock on the jet was behind by a few billionths of a second. Why such a small difference? Well, 600 mph is fast but still just the tiniest fraction of the speed of light. To see any significant differences in time, you'd have to be traveling many millions of miles an hour faster.

Isn't that crazy?! That time is relative. We try so hard to quantify and build our lives around it, while it's actually our lives that control how it passes. So science & math can explain how our bodies move through time. How do you explain & quantify the mind & the imagination? I believe the imagination can leap to other worlds and dimensions, possibilities and times, so when we find ourselves lost in thoughts about the future, I believe we lose time. The world around us is a blur and we aren't aware of how we're moving from point A to point B. We miss what’s happening around us. And when we think back to the past and dwell in regret, we stop moving, almost to a halt, and the world speeds past us. We miss it.

Choosing presence creates more space for love. It slows us down and lets us be in the here & now. It gives us the time to observe every leaf on the ground, the details of every face we pass, the delicious smell of a ben & jerry's ice cream shop (teehee). To keep up with the world and all its loveliness, we have to be present. It's the key to living and enjoying life to its fullest.

I love that moment of stillness & completeness when you give yourself the gift of presence. The other day, I paused in the middle of the street on my way to yoga to do that. I was completely aware of the sounds of cars, the cold air that tickled my skin, and how dry my mouth was. And as I closed my eyes, I could feel my third eye swell, my heart grow light and my eyes flood with light in the darkness of the backs of my eye lids. It was beautiful. It is beautiful.

Progress Report #1: Harold (!!!!!!!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mmmmm!!! This one just makes me grin mostly because I haven't made a plush toy for myself since, um, since........... my first elephant in 2008? Everything else I've made with the intent of selling or have sold without meaning to. I used to have a problem with letting go of the things I create. Paintings, first prototypes of stuffed animals, sketches, etc. There are a few things that I'll never sell like the aforementioned elephant (she started it all!), my moon mobile and cabinet of curiosities. I've let go of my first tree branch (to Victo :), my first pair of headphones (a gift to its inspiration, Rich), first letter (to Bruce), first plush meets hollowed out book (to Kevin), muji pillowcase (to James), dinosaur (sitting sweetly in Majestical Roof), what I consider to be my greatest painting (on its way to the Elephant Nature Park) and ice cream painting (now sitting in a 2 year old girl's room in Maryland). I forget who but someone assured me that the more you make, the easier it is to let go. And I've found it to be true.

I remember watching Mary Poppins for the first time and one scene struck a nerve (no, not the waiter-penguins but they are awesome!). The sudden downpour causes Mary, Bert & the kids to escape from the world within Bert's drawings. The girl frowns as the rain washes away the chalk, and says, "Oh Bert! All your beautiful drawings!" Bert assures her not to worry because they're all in his head. And as the family scurries out of the rain, Bert stays to skip, dance & help the rain wash away his drawings. He even spins, watching the chalk smear under his feet.

Something about that scene just tugs at my heartstrings... I can see why I hold it dear to my heart. It's the mentality that the things you create and make exist to be shared even if they'll disappear, be ruined or run the risk of being un(der)appreciated. The outcome can't hurt you if you created it with love. So, about that piece of advice regarding making more & letting go... I'd like to change it a little: the more you make & create with love, the easier it is to give.
Here's the O.G. Harold. I changed the color scheme for the plush but damn, golden belly to rub can't be anything but super.

Please Don't Throw Your Cigarette Buds Here

The last picture is awesome. That crook in his mustache looks like a sneer at the sign, haha. And props to Casey for the excellent modeling skills :)
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