Create Something Right Now

Last night, I saw a couple of colored pencil artworks while browsing the internet. I stopped and thought, ‘I have not colored for months now.’

Ever since quarantine started, I kept creating monochromatic drawings. But, I thought that I don’t possess any colored pencils so I might not create any at all.

That’s when I immediately recognized my thoughts– I am teaching myself that I can only create an artwork when I have “this” or “that”. I remembered what David and Tom Kelley wrote in their book, Creative Confidence, “All the overplanning, all the procrastinating, all the talking are signs that we are afraid, that we just don’t feel ready. You want everything to be “just right” before you commit further or share something with others. That tendency leads us to wait rather than act.”

If I waited to have colored pencils before I draw and color, then I would have this belief that ‘good art depends on the material used’. I may not have colored pencils now, yet I have other coloring materials that I bought for a cheap price but objectively, it is still a coloring material; so I can use them to create art. Moreover, the time that I will waste in waiting, will now be a seed for the future.

I did this using a watercolor. Yay.

 

I enjoyed making the first one but was not satisfied with the result, so I did another. The difference is, I used oil pastels for this.


While I was doing the second picture, what Mr. Rogers said came to my mind and made me smile. He said, “Do you like to draw with crayons? I’m not very good at it. But it doesn’t matter. It’s the fun of doing it that’s important. Now, I wouldn’t have made this if I just thought about it. No matter how anybody says it is, it feels good to have made something. The best thing is that each person’s would be different. In a way, you’ve already won in this world because you’re the only one who can be you. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

I feel at ease knowing that I was able to create something for today. “Every time we make a thing, it’s a tiny triumph.”— found this in one of Austin Kleon‘s blog post.

Likhaan Workshop: Paglalala ng Sombrerong Buntal

71501831_668548023553430_2978426658609954816_n
Likhaan Workshop: Paglalala ng Baliuag Buntal Hats. Source: Baliwag Buntal Enterprises Facebook page

Last September 2019, I had the privilege of meeting Tita Rosie Bautista, the owner of Baliuag Buntal Enterprises. Through a workshop held at Likhaan, center for the traditional arts and culture of the Philippines, I experienced firsthand how to create or lala a baliuag buntal hat.

A quote that is popular to Filipinos, “Habang buhay, may pag-asa. (As long as you are alive, there is hope.)” is the opposite of what Tita Rosie shared to us, “Kapag may pag-asa, may buhay. (When there is hope, there is life.)” 

When she shared her journey to us, I realized that the quote is her. The quote represented her journey.

Tita Rosie took over the Baliuag Buntal Hats Enterprise despite “not being good at numbers”. Years later, she joined a contest and won one hundred thousand pesos as a cash prize which she used to fund the materials that will be used by the inmates in Bulacan. She helped the inmates to earn and gain a new skill. The inmates were trained for a a few days on how to lala a buntal hat and started to create hats which earned them 500 pesos for each hat made. The program for the inmates ended after four years “with no reasons why”.

One thing that Tita Rosie emphasized is that the market for Buntal Hats is huge. The only problem that she has is the lack of workforce, especially young people on the workforce. She hopes that young people would be interested in creating Buntal Hals. Moreover, a lot of undergraduate students from University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas visit her in Bulacan for their theses. She mentioned that there were several times when she took leave of absences from work because students from Manila are coming over to see her. Tita Rosie firmly believes that she had to give time to the youth, “Dahil ang mga kabataan ay ang mga pag-asa ng bayan. (Because the youth are the hope of the country.)” She said.

She expressed her gratefulness towards Intramuros Administration and Likhaan for organizing the workshop and to us, for taking the time to come and learn. The workshop became an opportunity for all of us to recognize and discover Buntal Hats and experience making one.

Also, I am grateful to Intramuros Administration and Likhaan for organizing workshops that showcases the Philippine Arts and Crafts Industry. Everyone was so happy to learn something new and to learn about this craft that possesses the intricate skill of Filipinos. Everyone was proactive in learning and asking questions. For that moment with a sea of strangers, I felt that we became a community.

Currently, the Intramuros Administration offers live webinars about Philippine culture and history.

Notebooks #9-#28 Made Out of Used Papers

I am giving away these notebooks for free! If anyone is interested, please contact me on my email: hernandezanaclaire@gmail.com. Thank you!

20 notebooks!!!

What started as a project to make something of the used papers scattered around our home ended with the thought of giving something to others.

I made notebooks last year using kettle stitch binding and Japanese bookbinding. For these notebooks, I used Coptic stitch variation to book bind the papers.


PROBLEMS I ENCOUNTERED IN NOTEBOOKS

“In my opinion, the most ordinary things, the most common and familiar, if we could see them in their true light, would turn out to be the grandest miracles…. and the most marvelous examples.” – Michael de Montaigne

I used the problems that I encountered in notebooks as a basis to the final products that I will be creating.

  • The ink of the ball pen seeps through the back part of the paper.

Personally, I think that the masses deserve better things that they can use. Notebooks that are sold publicly for 8-10 pesos have really thin paper thus, whenever they are writing, what they write imprints at the back as well as on the next page. I solved this problem by folding the used papers in half. The used papers are in size A4; folding it in half turns it into a school notebook size. With it being folded, the paper to write on is thicker and will not seep in. I learned this from Project Nowtbuks. They gave free notebooks out of used papers to every participant during the YSEALI IgniteMNL: Leaders’ Track 2019.

Used A4 Pages folded in half

  • The notebook doesn’t fall flat on the desk and it cannot be folded while writing on the left side and right side.

In my past projects, I mostly used japanese bookbinding and in the notebooks that I bought, they are bounded by a single string/ rope at the left side of the paper. What these notebooks have in common is that they cannot be fully folded when you are writing on the right or left side. At the same time, those notebooks don’t lay flat on the desk. After several trials (Notebooks #1-#8), I found Coptic sewing variation bookbinding technique that allows the succeeding notebooks to solve these problems.

  • Obstructions in the middle.

A common problem experienced by both left-handed and right-handed people. Some notebooks lie flat on the desk and can be folded in half with the help of a spring. But while it solves a problem, the spring itself became the problem. It became an inconvenience to users as it blocks the hand to be in ‘free flow’ while writing or drawing.

With only DMC threads used for binding, Notebooks #9-#28 completely solves this problem. Users are expected to experience free-flowing writing or drawing activity without worrying about the notebook itself.


Notebooks #9-#28 are the notebooks that I created using Coptic sewing variation and is ready to be used. This can be used for journaling, drawing, writing, scrapbooking, etc. In total, I upcycled 200 used A4 papers, each notebook is composed of 10 folded-in-half used A4 papers. I am grateful to Sea Lemon for sharing various bookbinding techniques and methods!

In Interior Design Masters S1:E6, the contestants were tasked to design the interiors of different retail stores. The guest judge for that episode, Thomasina Miers was asked ‘what makes a good restaurant?’. She answered, “It’s so important that the interior reflects what’s on the menu. In our restaurant, we really wanted to bring Mexico in our restaurant space, the customers are paying not just for the food, but for the whole experience.”

What Thomasina Miers said summarizes why designing is important. Designing is not about technical specifications, its all about the overall experience of the user while using the product.

I am giving away these notebooks for free! If anyone is interested, please contact me on my email: hernandezanaclaire@gmail.com. Thank you!

The Work Behind the Artwork: Traveler’s Sewing Kit

Last year, I created a desk organizer crafts out of cardboard. Unfortunately, those crafts did not last long. I used glue gun & glue stick in assembling the parts. Speaking from experience, they do not last long enough to savor the function of the craft.

The Traveler’s Sewing Kit is a product of everything that I have learned from crafting and a mashup of objects I have seen in my life. I made everything suited to my needs- someone who does sewing, bookbinding, and cross-stitching.

I drew what my sewing kit would look like. Once I took account of the items that I need to place inside and their dimensions, I added the general dimensions of the kit.

As displayed in my drawing, I had a lot of erasures in the dimensions because I did not take note of the thickness of the cardboard. I became strict with myself and went back into cutting another piece if the previously cut piece did not fit in with the product. Moreover, I covered the sides of the cardboard with used papers so I can paint it later on.

Instead of the usual glue stick & glue gun, I used wood glue- a glue with a longer curing time than the former but definitely lasts longer.

In the old sewing kit that I bought, they were no dividers. Every time I open it, everything is a mess no matter how hard I arrange it every time because I always carry it everywhere so the contents inside are splattered.

In the Traveler’s Sewing Kit, I created three drawers:

● The lowermost drawer and also the biggest is for my unused DMC threads.

● The left uppermost drawer is where the tomato and measuring tape is located. Both are separated by a divider.

● The right uppermost drawer is where the single piece used threads are located.

Overall, keeping everything segregated with each other saves time because I do not have to arrange it every time.

I took special attention to the handle of the kit because I plan to take this every now and then outside of my home. Also, this handle is easy to grab when you are in a hurry or will be carrying it for a long time.

The handles of the drawers are another feature that I pondered a lot on. Instead of the usual circular handles, I opted for this design. From my experience with various furniture handles, this type works best for me. Its easier to push and pull.

In the book Steal Like An Artist, author Austin Klein wrote, “In my experience, it’s in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who are.” And I wholeheartedly agree.

In creating Traveller’s Sewing Kit, I discovered how I am uncomfortable in starting again. There were times where the pieces that I cut had incorrect dimensions. Therefore, I had to cut another one. In these times, I had this thinking of just leaving it be even if the dimensions are lacking. I discovered that I was just uncomfortable with starting all over again. Once I identified this thinking that I had, I decided that I had to teach myself to be comfortable in starting again. Rebuild rather than settle.

All throughout this project, I am grateful that I got some dimensions incorrectly because I get to teach myself a lesson. I suddenly had greater respect for Thomas Edison. He was not afraid of starting all over again once an experiment failed. Because you do not fail, you learn. He did it. He invented the light bulb!

As I observed people, I discovered in people while they are picking out drawers/kits that they will use, they usually only took account of the objects that they will be placed inside, and most of the time, they left out something important: the user.

The Traveller’s Sewing Kit is perfect for me because it suited my behavior and my needs. This craft would be designed differently if the user is a kid or a senior citizen. I pointed this out because if you look everywhere starting in your home and observe how your family members interact with an item, you would discover a bug in one or two objects.

Real-life example:
Recently, I observed that my grandmother is struggled in opening and closing her clothes kit. It takes a great amount of energy for her to close and open this type of lock.

Thus, she mostly leaves it open. Now, this is a bug. When my family members bought this for her, the only thought of the items that will be placed inside and not how my grandmother interacts with it. There I discovered that this type of lock is not senior citizen-friendly.

Museum Site Visit: National Museum of Fine Arts or Pambansang Museo

Note: I visited the museum last February 2020.

File:The Philippine National Museum (of Fine Arts).jpg - Wikimedia ...
National Museum of Fine Arts. Source: https://images.app.goo.gl/69MEJSdZmDgtnJ3H7

A former legislative building now a museum that houses culturally relevant and world-renowned artworks, classified in galleries, created by Filipino artists. There are a total of 12 galleries containing artworks ranging from the 17th-20th centuries to modern and contemporary Philippine Art. This museum type is called an art museum.

Once you enter, you would immediately notice one of the largest paintings in Philippine History and one of the most popular, Juan Luna’s Spoliarium. Only seen by most in history books, one cannot appreciate its true value and existence without seeing it in person. One would be mesmerized by how large it is and at the same time, how the painting could provoke a lot of emotions to visitors.

An example of a gallery was the one that contained Juan Luna’s paintings. We all know that Juan Luna is a world-class painter but we had very little knowledge of his paintings. In entering the gallery, the visitor would come to answer why Juan Luna became one of the best painters in history: because he painted a lot. It was his vocation and that translated to all his paintings. 

National Art Gallery
a retablo (altar piece) from the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Dimiao, Bohol. Source: National Museum

A gallery made an impression on the people who enter because of its smell. Once entered the Gallery I, one would smell antique coming from an altarpiece from the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Dimiao, Bohol. This retablo is considered as a National Cultural Treasure. Utilizing the olfactory sense is a great idea to use in a museum space. As Maria Lehman (n.d.) wrote, “Through deliberately integrating the sense of smell into the encounters of your inhabitants, you will push your architecture to unprecedented poetic heights— because through your design you will be drawing from multi-sensory methods to communicate with the occupants. And this will give rise to deeper architectural interactions which not only promote brain development but also learning and emotional response.” Moreover, this is the only gallery on the whole museum that uses a checkerboard floor. The black and white checker floor is used on temples and churches as early as the Egyptian Period. It is an old symbol of order, it symbolizes humans in general. This is used as a direct contrast to the ceiling as the ceiling symbolizes the heavens.

Another gallery aroused emotions to the guests because of its disturbing paintings. Gallery VIII contained paintings from World War II; where Filipinos experienced the Japanese Occupation and the fall of Manila (1945). The paintings depicted violence- a theme that is different from other galleries in the museum. 

Steering away from the usual colors of a museum, the National Museum of Fine Arts displays colorful interiors like purple and green. Also, almost invisible to the human eye due to where it is placed, the entablature located on the Old Senate Session Hall contained sculptures of outstanding lawmakers and moralists of history by Isabelo Tampinco and his sons, Angel and Vidal Tampinco. These little things add to the visual quality of the whole museum. Moreover, the color of the hallways is light beige. According to the conclusion of the study conducted at the Spooner Thayer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, visitors move faster in a dark-brown environment than on a light beige environment. Thus light beige is used in museums as they can affect the mood of the visitor to carefully observe each of the displayed objects.

Without the knowledge of its history as a former legislative building, an observant one could notice how the building is not designed with the purpose of building a museum in mind. It felt rather that the museum was an art exhibit. Nevertheless, the culturally relevant artworks made up for its lacking architectural experience. 

Similarly to the two museums located in the National Museum Complex, the National Museum of Fine Arts is elevated to define it as an honorific place.

I Entered Architecture Without Knowing How To Draw

Most students who apply for an architecture degree have a drawing and coloring background. Most people also have this belief that if you are an architecture student, you are a ‘skilled’ artist before you even get into college. But, architecture is more than just drawing and color rendering. Its an interdisciplinary field- it mostly integrates history, science, mathematics, design, and psychology together. That is why if you researched some masters in architecture, they would encourage you to study other fields first before taking architecture.

Anyways, I am here to prove you that you can apply for a degree in architecture even without a background or even just a foundational knowledge in drawing or coloring. I met people who wanted to take up architecture but are hesitating just because they do not know how to draw and color. Well, its scary especially if you grew up with a belief (like I) that the world is divided into two: the creative ones and the non-creatives. Nope. Everyone can be creative.

Let me tell you my story…

Back in 8th grade, I had a classmate who told me that the poster that Iwas working on was ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’. For the following years, that remark made me believe that I just can’t draw and I wasn’t just the creative type. It also made me doubt a lot about the works I produce and would rather hide it in a place where I can only see it than making it visible to others.

Four years later, I encountered the growth mindset research by Carol Dweck. I learned that the brain is like a muscle- the more you use it, the more it expands and gets stronger. One way to exercise your brain is to learn new things. When you learn something new, connections are constantly developed in your brain. So you cannot tell babies that they are dumb just because they cannot do things when they had not even experienced doing it or actually tried learning it.

I made a decision that this is the mindset that I want to equip in my life.

Since making crafts is something that I always do before college, I chose a path related to design. I applied for a degree in Architecture even with my non-existent drawing and coloring skills. I was optimistic the whole time that I was applying and I kept repeating to myself, “Drawing is a skill. I can learn it.”

Alongside with this, I also have a friend who is an architect now and assured me that its okay to take architecture without knowledge in drawing yet but I have to make sure that I practice drawing and coloring A LOT. I am beyond grateful to have a stable support system aaahhh ♥.

I failed the aptitude test. The 30-items test is composed of an essay question, two math problems, still-life drawing, color rendering, and identifying front, side, rear and plan views. I scored less than 10. Ar. Ted Inocencio, a professor from PUP-College of Architecture and Fine Arts, checked my paper, gave me 4 points on the essay question and minimal points on my drawing.When I stepped in inside his office, he asked whether I was the one who owns the test paper he checked. I answered yes and his next words were like this, (non-verbatim) “Bakit ka nandito? Eh ang panget ng drawing mo oh! (Your drawing is ugly! Why are you even here?)”. I answered, “Sir, gusto ko po kasing magdesign in the future. Alam ko naman po na hindi po ako marunong pang magdrawing pero matututunan ko din po ‘yan kasi drawing is a skill po.” And what’s supposed to be an interview became a mini-lecture of how to draw.

Looking back, I realized that I was fortunate to even been given a chance to be interviewed. There were around 4-5 professors who are checking papers and conducting interviews. There were a lot of prospective students that were not given a chance to even be interviewed. They failed the test and were told to look for another program to apply to. Two months after the interview, I found out from an alumni of the university, who is now an architect, that his paper was also checked by Ar. Ted Inocencio during the aptitude test which he also failed and regarded his drawings then as ‘kid drawings’. He also shared that Ar. Ted criticized his drawings during the interview. Then, I realized that Ar. Ted is a really good person. He gives prospective students a chance during the interview to prove themselves that they still want to study architecture regardless of the outcome of the test. And I was (again) fortunate that my paper ended up with him because if it did not, I might be in an another path right now and Imight not be writing this down.

Months preceeding the first day of school, I was in rock bottom. I do not know how to draw and color so basically I have to start from no knowledge. I am beyond grateful that I was surrounded by classmates who are better than I so I got to learn a lot from their works and at the same time, I have a community who are ready to mentor me in any way so even though I was in rock bottom, all alone but I never felt lonely. I am filled with hope because when you are in rock bottom, the only way is up.But it was not easy.

Although I had equipped a growth mindset, I still have a lot of self-doubt and sometimes I can even see some of my blocmates giving me weird looks whenever I (totally) refuse to let them see my plates. It took a lot of courage in me to pass my plates and let it be shown to other people. My heart was pumping so hard whenever my blocmates look at my works and I was afraid of what they will think.


I experienced a series of failed plates. I did not put my worth in the grades that I received although I used them as markers to know if I am indeed improving. If I want to learn how to draw, then I should draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. And by drawing, I started noticing details- details that never occured to me before if I had not draw that specific place or object. I started looking at things with more interest and admiration. Is this how an artist see the world?

Fast forward to my finals plates, I received an 82! AN 82! I was really happy because this grade was given to me by Ar. Ted, the professor who let me in this program despite my lack of skills, who constantly gave my plates a failing grade, and who always told me “Ano ‘to? Ayusin mo nga ‘to!” (What is this? Fix this!) whenever I received my plate. In that moment, I truly felt that I was in a better place than where I was before.

Having that #smallsuccess made me eager to create better works. The following semester, I had better grades in my drawing plates and we had more major subjects than the previous semester so we focused more on technicalities in archi than drawing and coloring. Again, architect is more than just drawing buildings.

A year has passed. I realized that those obstacles made me much better- I know now how to draw, I started posting my works in public, and I am venturing on other creative paths! Whenever I want to learn something new, I look back at those moments when I hesitate infront of a blank white paper and now I can pick up a pencil right away and just start drawing.

What can I learn today?

The Work Behind The Artwork: Im-possible Dream

I got an idea for this artwork after I read the book, Gravity by Tess Gerritsen. One line from the book resonated with me, “I won’t ever touch the stars, but I can be here to see the others do.”

I am fond of space. When I was kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. That dream was shattered when in highschool freshman, I researched how to become an astronaut and found out that I was not qualified because of my vision. Although now it is possible to have a 20/20 vision through surgery, I realize that designing experiences is what I wanted to do. Things do happen for a reason because if I had a perfect eye vision, I would had been taking up a science degree now.

I read Gravity when I was a senior in highschool. And when I read that line, suddenly a wave of nostalgic-ness splashed over me. I remembered my childhood dream and why I did not pursue it. And that led me to create an artwork.

As shown, the artwork is composed of two elements: eyeglasses & a rocket. I am looking at a rocket before it blasts off to the sky. I titled it as “Im-possible Dream” (yes, the dash is intentional). I previously thought that it was an impossible dream so, I did not pursue it at all but I figured that if I still want it so much then whatever the circumstances are, I will pursue it. I will make my dream possible.

Thoughts on Itaewon Class

[If you have not watched Itaewon Class yet, I recommend for you to watch it first before reading this. If you have, then read this and share your thoughts as well.]

I learned through my community- how important it is to have a sharing activity every after watching a movie together. What the person shares after watching the movie reveals a lot about who they are.

Thoughts

The reason why I loved Itaewon Class is that no character is perfect. Every leading character has undergo a character development (all great except for Jang Geun-won, who got more courageously bad). The one who went through a great character development was Jo Yiseo. During the first part of the drama, she spoke about the high possibility of her becoming a psychopath, which somehow justified her unethical actions and judgements, but through listening to their stories and learning how to treat people around her, not as objects in which she could use but as humans that should be listened to, loved, and cared for. She began to improve slowly.

The character who I feel for the most is Soo Ah. Soo Ah is the definition of strong and independent woman. It is really hard to do things that you do not love and to even work for the Chairman Jang, the person who became the primary reason why it took so long to give justice to Mr. Park’s death. For more than 10 years, she worked for Jangga Pub to repay for the money that Mr. Park gave for her to study in college. And when Yiseo went to Soo Ah’s restaurant and told her that she and Saeroyi is dating, Soo Ah was neither shocked nor even sad about it (ofc she knew that they will eventually date), she genuinely told her to take care of him. We stan a strong independent woman. Also, she truly knows what friends are for. Even though she worked for Jangga Pub, she never let Saeroyi down. Honestly I am so happy that she is now doing something what she truly wanted.

My favorite scene is when Ma Hyun Yi walked in the set of The Best Pub and the look of pride on Saeroyi’s face. I repeat, he was not shocked. He was proud. Saeroyi’s right, why would Hyunyi run away when she had not even done anything wrong? and Hyunyi does not have to prove herself to other people. But ofc being Hyunyi, she got up and continue to the competition even though she still did not feel great. Hyunyi continued to compete not because she had to prove something, but for the people who are counting on her. Noticed how in the whole scene Saeroyi neither looked down nor looked anywhere else. Like indirectly saying, “I do not care what all of you think about Hyunyi. I know her and I do not need your opinions.”

Ma Hyun-Yi’s line, “I worked at the best pub in Korea..” triggered a lot of thoughts in my head. I immediately remembered the One Piece crew, how they tell all pirates and marines that they encounter that, Luffy will become the Pirate King. They believed more than anyone else that Luffy will be the Pirate King, similar to the Danbam Pub crew, they believe that they work at the best pub in Korea. In order to achieve your dream, get people who believe in your dream.

One of the practical ways that you could take in the show is how Saeroyi indulge in resources about Jang Dae Hee. Even though they had opposing values, Saeroyi respected him so much. He studied his ways on how to operate a restaurant and how to cook, and turn those into something better, something Saeroyi style.

Moreover, the poem stated in the drama is so good to be left unnoticed and unshared. The poem is in Korean but translated ofc

I’m a rock.
Go ahead and sear me.
I won’t budge an inch
because I’m a rock.
Go ahead and beat me up.
I’m a solid rock.
Go ahead and leave me in the darkness.
I’m a rock that will shine all alone.
I don’t break, I don’t burn,
nor do I decay, as I go
against nature’s way.
I survived.
I’m a diamond.

Saeroyi has left a lot of notable lines that made an impact to me and here they are:

“I want to live a life where I don’t have to be penalized for sticking to my convictions.”

“Studying? Doing physical labor or going deep-sea fishing? I’ll do all of them one by one. I’ll do what is necessary. Don’t judge my worth! This is only the beginning of my life!”

“Life may seem repetitive. But no one really knows what could happen tomorrow.”

I recommend Itaewon Class for everyone. It shows you that life is very very unpredictable and you had to be comfortable with uncertainty. For this day, you might be worrying about getting to a university but the next day, you might become a manager of a restaurant! Or you might be studying today in a university you do not feel to be in but tomorrow you might get an acceptance letter to the university you had always wanted to be in (this is me lol I hope I will get in). Itaewon Class is close to what reality is and I think that is what makes it loved by a lot of people (even to non-KDrama fans).

Walking Outside For The First Time In Months

I had been inside my home for more than 60 days. A few days ago, I walked outside for the first time. I lived in a little suburban area so I was able to walk around without police seizing me at any moment (I maintained proper social distancing measures and wore a face mask so don’t worry).

These past weeks inside our home, I devoured books about creativity and design. I came to a sudden realization that I was not observant as I thought I was. In the book Creative Confidence, Tom Kelley and David Kelley wrote, “Too often, we go through day-to-day life on cruise control, oblivious to huge swaths of our surroundings. To notice friction points- and therefore opportunities to do things better- it helps to see the world with fresh eyes. …. By adapting the eyes of a traveler and a beginner’s mindset, you will notice a lot of details that ypu normally might have overlooked. You put aside assumptions and are fully immersed in the world around you. In this receptive mode, you’re ready to start actively searching out inspiration.”

I decided that I do not want to be on cruise control. By fully activating receptive mode, I was able to notice subtle details that I had never saw before in our neighborhood.

● I noticed that one family used cute little glasses with geometric patterns and painted with bright colors as a plant box. They placed those on the shelves out on their porch.

● Two houses facing towards each other had gardens and they each had already grew a mini-tree that it sprouted towards the road, both forming an half arch that in hindsight, it looked like an arch made by a single tree.

● Our street appears as the least appealing among other streets. Other streets had families with gardens which made the street looked vibrant but if you had walked into our street, you would only see a couple of plants and one tree. But our street is the only one who has a vegetable garden courtesy of my dad. People are going to our house and asking if they could get edible leaves as well as a few vegetables.

● Our street has the flattest concrete pavement. It was easier to walk on because you would not suddenly trip off. #clearerandflatterpavements

● By giving people space outside of their homes, they are able to create a space that was not included in the common spaces that are inside a house. All houses in our area looked the same when people first bought it. Eventually, they renovated, repainted or added rooms in their houses to suit their needs. We all had a 3 meter setback in front of our homes. Some people used it for a livelihood (e.g. opening up a sari-sari store or a computer shop), some used it as a storage area, others used it as a garage, some had used it as a porch, others used it as a laundry area, some leave it unattended, and some extended the front room of their houses towards the end of the lot.

● There is also this one home that had a flower garden and I am so amazed. The people who created this must have really took great care of the garden to be able to grew various species of flowers in such a small space. And there were lots of them. Their home appeared really homey due to the bright colors that the flowers exhibited.

● I discovered a neighbor that makes and sells different kinds of ricecakes!!! AAAHHHH! #supportlocalproducts

Walking had never been this fun. I feel like I was an explorer (Dora ka, ghurl?). I never had the problem of always on a lookout for cars because its early in the morning plus, we are still in quarantine. So I was able to explore fully. Since we had all been given the same type of houses, one could say that exploring might be boring but if you looked around, most of the people here contains clues of what types of people lived inside their houses.

An example is the laundry area. Most people placed their washing machines outside of their houses (on the 3 meter setback). However, in our home, my father designed an area inside our house where the mashing machine can be placed. He made that area a little lower, put an inch barrier around it and placed a water drain in order for the water, that will be coming out of the washing machine, to not overflow into the main floor area. This gives a clue that my father is a designer and an observant one as well.

This post serves as an encouragement for people to walk even just a few meters outside of their homes. No adventure is the same. We just need to have a traveler’s eyes and a beginner’s mind and we can make extraordinary discoveries out of the ordinary things.

Ordinary + Extra Attention = Extraordinary
*Stealed from Austin Kleon

The Work Behind The Artwork: Keep The Grit

Originally posted last August 2019 from my previous domain

Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals (Duckworth et al., 2007). With the continuous advancement of technology, most people are struggling to commit to something for a long time.

Finishing this cross-stitch was more than hard. It takes a great deal of patience and strenuous effort to complete this. I first started this thinking that, “I would never even finish this, so why start it?” But having read Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Perseverance, I look back to this then, unfinished cross stitch artwork, I told myself that, “I want to finish everything that I started. Even if it takes a long time. I will start commiting to everything I do.” And so, everyday I try to make small goals to complete this art. For example, this day, I’ll complete this leaf. Next day, another leaf. In that way, I’ll still have time for other commitments and at the end of the day, I can say that, “I accomplish something for today. I made a progress.”

Throughout the whole process, I realize that commitment has a lot to say about a person’s strength of character. The japanese has a term for it, Kaizen. It is a japanese term for continuously improving by making small improvements.

We always think about doing a one big action but it’s actually doing small actions constantly that matters the most.

I got the The Work Behind The Artwork idea from the book, Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. Check out his works at austinkleon.com