Wednesday, March 31, 2010

i, night person

Artwork mine.

It's not that I can't function well during the day, and not even that I don't have the discipline (because I'm quite certain that I do) - it's just a matter of preference.

I've been told it's a health hazard to habitually stay up late, but i.m.h.o., it's only bad if you deprive yourself of sleep. In my case, I don't really have to wake up early for anything so I can sleep in a bit (I am totally enjoying that right now, because sleeping in is not likely a privilege that I will have forever, so I might as well take advantage of it).

I appreciate the silence and the cool of the night and find it more conducive for thinking. There isn't much ambient noise to shut out, no one trying to get my attention, no schedule to hurry for, no annoying videoke-ing neighbors. Besides all that, I have the laptop to myself and enjoy a better connection speed.

I've often found myself more creative at night time, particularly after midnight. I still am creative during the day, but after it gets dark and everyone else has quieted down, my thought processes are unobstructed and my mind is thus granted more freedom to explore. Which is why - though most of my activities are done in the day - I sometimes (just sometimes) prefer to write, pray, make accessories, read or do stuff that requires thinking after everyone has gone to bed (Like what I am doing right now).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

two happy thawts in the same minute

My dad came home yesterday and provided me with two happy thawts within the same minute:

(1) My dad has just been promoted.

I think that's really cool, considering his age. I'm just a bit worried about his blood pressure and stress levels, but he assures us that there will be less stress in this job because he will have a lot of people working for him. Besides that, he gets to do less but will be paid more.

(2) He came home with something for me, from my ninong

The last time I saw my ninong was on my wedding day almost nine years ago, and the last time before that I was still a kid. Well, yesterday he handed his camera to my dad and said to give it to me, and now its mine. :) It's not a DSLR or anything, but it's a 12-megapixel idiot-friendly point-and-shoot. In a lot of ways it's more convenient than always having to borrow my sister's bulky 8-megapixel semi-DSLR.

Papa says my ninong must have been feeling guilty for not being around all these years, but I don't really mind. I don't mind either that he gives me a second-hand camera; I'm happy that he thought of me, and that I have a convenient "new" cam.

girls talk: a picture i'd rather hide

It's been a while since I last joined Girls Talk (I think my last entry was months ago); since the Hubby has had to do a lot of work at home, I didn't have chunks of time to have the computer to myself.

Well, anyway, today's fun topic is a picture you'd rather hide. And this is mine:

This was taken in the late '80s, when I was nine years old. I was actually looking for my graduation picture with the super-teased hair courtesy of Aqua Net, but I couldn't find it anymore.

First of all, the hair. Spikes were really in those days, okay? And it was a really bad haircut. My mom cut our hair herself to save money, so it's not exactly a parlor-finished look.

Secondly, the teeth. This was before I had braces.

Thirdly, the bushy eyebrows. Thank goodness I learned how to use tweezers in high school.

And fourth, that bug-eyed look I have.

So there! :D

Another cute topic by
Girls Talk

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"blog accessories"

I finally made some buttons (or badges) for this blog. I recently had a burst of creativity that had to go somewhere, so I made three - a good round number - and placed them here.

Design for one of three buttons.

I never thought of them useful before, but now that I've made blogging as my official pasttime, I might as well make myself a few, hopefully to get some traffic.

I was partially inspired to make my own graphics when I saw these sites. As I looked at the buttons and backgrounds and stuff, I thought to myself, I can totally do this myself - why haven't I thought of this before? I mean, make "blog accessories". It's not often that I find a design I like in the colors I prefer, so why not custom-make everything? This morning, for example, I was looking for a twitter button, but couldn't find one that matched the color scheme of my blog, so I decided to make my own:
I mean I'm pretty artistic myself, and I've taken a lot of photos that I could use as stock images, so I can totally make my own graphics.

And then I thought it would be cute if I could share some of the backgrounds and headers I made before and no longer use -- So here goes.

Those designs aren't my most favorite ones of course, those are just the ones "for sharing". I didn't include the too-personalized stuff either, because I was thinking in generic terms of what other people would like. I didn't include the grungy ones either.

Eventually I want to make some grabbable generic buttons too. I'm thinking of setting up an entirely separate site for all these.

I was thinking maybe I could "sell" my designs online, but thought what for? I mean, nobody would download my stuff if they can easily get better designs elsewhere for free, right? (And even if I put watermarks, professional "grabbers" can easily Photoshop them out) As of now I'm content with just sharing the love.

I seemed like a true starving artist just there, hahaha. =D

Maybe someday when I get arrogant a bit more confident, I could set up a site of sorts where I can sell "blog makeover packages" or something. I could team up with a tech-savvy friend or two who can do the codes and stuff really well, while I take care of the design end. Hmmm.. that seems workable. Just a thought. That excites me. Maybe someday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

when life gives you lemons ...

I am feeling hunk-dory, peachy keen, fine and dandy, and I have this sense that something hugely good is on its way. I can't say everything is perfect right now, but let's just say I am hopeful, am looking forward to better things and I am taking advantage of this high.

Just recently, the Hubby and I have been gossiped about, betrayed, misled, lied to, rejected, accused and treated unfairly - by people we trusted (past tense) nonetheless. And a big change was forced on our lives against our will, and we're expected to just take it. But then how does that saying go about what to do when life gives you lemons? Well, I say, don't just make lemonade - make margaritas and par-tay!

Uh, yeah, But I don't drink (I haven't for more than a decade now :p ). But you get the point. ;)

Besides, if things won't work for you, you can always find a way to work around them. ;) And I guess that's what I'm doing.

I know I have every reason to be glum and bummed right now, but I'm really not. I guess it's because I can see the big picture: the initially bad things are eventually good things. I can see them now ... and it's all good.

These past few days I recalled a few Bible stories with principles that speak directly to our predicament. I flipped open to those particular parts and it just felt so great to know that aside from the fact that we are in God's hands, we have His approval. It may not be mainstream opinion, but I've checked my Bible and it says it can happen.

Anyway, the Hubby and I decided to juice our lemons by looking at options that may not have been available to us before. And that's kinda exciting for me.

The best part of it is that we get more time to spend with each other. We've been able to spend a bit more time with family too, now that he doesn't have to work on Sundays. We're even planning to go catch up with old friends and maybe make some new ones.

So hope is the honey for the lemon juice. And since I've got a lot of hope, life is sweet, mes chers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

saturn in the night sky

So that planet I spotted somewhere around the hind legs of Leo (I mean the constellation) isn't Mercury after all. After some good clicking in astronomical events sites, it's pretty clear that it's Saturn.

This is an actual photo taken by myself. Sloppy identifying markings photoshopped in.

I've also read that right about now is the best time to view the ringed planet, because it's right now in opposition this month- that means it's directly opposite the sun and therefore at it's most reflective. It's going to be around Leo / Virgo for a few years , but that part of the night sky is only visible in the first half of the year.

Leo is quite easy to spot - it's almost directly overhead from 10pm to midnight at this time of the year (at least in this part of the globe) . The sickle-shaped formation is the lion's head (see right side of photo). A line of stars leads to a right triangle made by three brighter stars (see left) - that "triangle" is the lion's rear end.

Image from here.

Just in case you live in the city (like I do), it would be kinda hard to spot the fainter stars that form the crescent shape. There's another easy way to spot Saturn though:

Three of Leo's brightest stars are very visible --
  • Regulus [alpha leonis, or the brightest star in Leo] - that's the lion's heart, found at the "base" of the sickle shape.
  • Denebola [beta leonis, the second brightest] - the "rearmost" end of the lion.
  • and Zosma [delta leonis] - the lion's tailbone... or the arch of his spine, depending on the artist's interpretation.

These three bright ones form a cross with Saturn, like so:

Normally, where Saturn is, there should be a fainter star there. The planet's brightness eclipses the star. You can tell it's a planet because the light is steady; stars flicker.

Man, I really wish I own a telescope. I must go to an observatory sometime soon. The hubby was able to view Saturn some years ago, from an observatory in L.A., and he says the view is just spectacular.

I have never been to an observatory - not even in those elementary school field trips. Grade school kids have trips to one every year, but I have always had the misfortune of being in the section that is scheduled to go on a day the observatory is closed (the ceiling is being painted, the projector is broken, whatever). I tried going with my cousins when I was ten years old, but I had the same luck. And then I have no idea why I never took advantage of our university observatory when I was a college student. So now that I am planning a visit to an observatory, I don't know how to go about it, haha.

Hey, I just learned that Jupiter was around the same spot in 2004. :) Hee hee. Geek trivia.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

delightfully lovely blog things at shabby blogs

I went on a random blog-hop yesterday while waiting for the Hubby to get ready, and in one crafter-lady's site I chanced upon a badge to

Shabby Blogs has a lot of charming stuff for bloggers - backgrounds, headers, dividers, badges. I was so amused by the cuteness that I just had to give the designs a try that night (You could ask the Hubby - I was gushing in excitement). I ended up refurnishing my happy thawts blog entirely(the previous template was kinda wonky anyway).

The designs are delightfully shabby-chic, perfect for my happy thawts. Now that I found that treasury, I won't have to go through the (often disappointing) task of hunting for the perfect Blogger template. Elements can even be mixed and matched to customize - and installing is simple, I wouldn't have to do a massive HTML overhaul the next time I want a costume change for my site.

I especially love the buttons and blinkies portion - they're not only sweet, they're witty too. As I was viewing the page, I kept going, "I'll take this ... and this ... and this ... and ..." I'd use them all if it wouldn't clutter my layout so much! I'm thinking maybe I should change buttons every month. Or week.

And a bonus: At the bottom of the home page is a link to the blog, where the blogger, Megan, presents some simple, not-necessarily-blog-related creative ideas.

It was such a happy find, I'd love to share Shabby Blogs with my girl-friends. ^_^

EDIT: March 15

After chancing upon Shabby Blogs, i seem to have bumped into a series of sites of cute blog things one after the other:

The Cutest Blog on the Block has a gallery of cutiful backgrounds, banners, blinkees and extras.

The Background Fairy has a collection of free girly backgrounds.

She has another site where she shares images and crafting ideas:

The Graphics Fairy

And speaking of fairies, here's another one:

The Blog Fairy

:* :* :*

Friday, March 5, 2010

home-grown greens

I really appreciate my Dad's little herb-and-vegetable garden. I kinda thought that was just his thing, something he does for his recreation -- it was only until recently that I realized I was harvesting its benefits as well.

First of all,
growing herbs saves a bit of money. If they were grocery-bought, they would have been a bit pricey and i would have had to use them sparingly.

I love Italian-esque recipes, and I love that I can go crazy on the herbs. I'm free to experiment and it doesn't hurt to use as much as a cup of basil in one preparation of pasta sauce.

Secondly, the obvious: When I need them, i can just pick them fresh.

So many times I've had sudden cravings for pesto, or tinola with malunggay, or soup, and I love that I don't have to drive to a store to buy the greens. It saves me a lot of time.

Thirdly, my rabbit-friends benefit from the garden too. Every now and then I serve them a treat of a fragrant herb salad. (The bunnies are not allowed to stroll in the garden though, because they will attack everything in sight). When we're out of pellets or the staple kangkong, it's refreshing to know that I don't have to run out and buy some because I can give them some garden greens.

Davey and Pepper know how to give back to the garden of course; they provide a daily supply of natural fertilizer. ^_^

Fourth, because they're home-grown, I am assured that the greens I eat are pesticide-free. They even have the holes to prove it.

Fifth, some of the other plants have medicinal or have some other practical use aside from being pretty. The tea trees, for example, ward off mosquitoes.