Measuring up!

Black is beautiful, but too much black is charcoal” — that was the tongue-in-cheek saying I immediately thought of upon receiving the Porter by Yoshida Company bag on the mail yesterday. I already have eight black bags but it did not prevent me from getting this briefcase/messenger bag. I was really happy because the bag was lightweight and both the straps and rolled handles are comfortable on my shoulders. The coated canvas gives off a leathery finish on pictures, but I guess it will hold up really well under the heavy rains.

Porter by Yoshida Company briefcase messenger bag

Porter by Yoshida Company briefcase messenger bag and Red Wing 8875 boots

Anyway, on my way to work today, I dropped by the Handyman store in Farmers Plaza to buy locks and bolts for the apartment we will be renting starting in June. I found the aisle dedicated to these items and I had a great time choosing what should be used to secure our apartment. At first, I was just looking for a traditional door knob but I remember Mon describing an alternative. He was not able to give its exact name but when I saw the ‘deadbolt lock’, I immediately sent him a photo to ask if it was what he had described.  I subsequently bought approximately Php 900-worth of items, which we would be giving to the landlady so that they will be installed during the repainting of the unit.

Locks and bolts from the Handyman storeSpeaking of repainting, I wanted to have the unit’s paint changed from yellow to at least off-white, just like what I’ve mentioned in my previous post. The unit is due to be repaired/renovated for occupation this weekend, so I also asked the landlady if she could have it repainted and I will just pay for the extra cost. I wanted off-white because that is the color of our walls in our house, so the color scheme is a piece of home away from home. Our extremely yellow roomSo during dinner break, Faye accompanied Mon and me to the apartment . We needed to give out the locks to the landlady, and I also had to measure the floor area so we can proceed in deciding what pieces of furniture to purchase/bring. I know that I should have brought a retractable measuring tape, instead of the one made for human/fabric measurements because my hands were a bit dirty as the place was still quite dusty. It was an oddly-shaped studio apartment (well, at least the area excluding the bathroom), so I have drawn a rough sketch on paper of the floor area to facilitate measurement.

Floor plan of the studio apartmentWhen I got there, my immediate decision was to use inches instead of centimeter. I normally use inch-foot when measuring bags and clothing, but I usually resort to centimeter-meter when measuring space or floor area. SO I had no idea why I immediately jumped the gun on inches, when centimeters could have given me a more accurate measurement, especially I needed every single space I could measure. Well, no good crying over spilled milk so I would just have to live with the measurement I have made.

From the sketch, I have generated this floor plan of the unit with approximate measurements of every single side of the polygon. The total floor area is 115.50 ft²! It was not much but I see it as a challenge.  I’m not big in interior decoration as I never had the chance to foray into tinkering whatever it is that we have in our house. But honestly, I see the limited as an opportunity and I was greatly inspired by this “IKEA Small Spaces – Small ideas” video.

I love the idea of maximizing every bit of space available, and having items with multiple functions. What worries me the most is the amount of clothing, shoes and bag I have. I’ve been doing a mental inventory and selection of what items I will be bringing with me; and as much as I have pared down that list, I still could not think of how I will manage to properly fit them in the unit. We will be going to the Makati malls on weekend, and I look forward to seeing possible options for the bed and closet (if we will be getting one). I think our work would be easier because we have the floor plan with us. I just  hope we’ll find a decently-price sofa bed because that is the whole point of moving from Marikina to Makati —to have a decent sleep!

DIY alteration project on a rainy Saturday

Two weeks ago, Faye sent a Reddit link to me about a guy who became quite adept in altering his old and/or thrifted clothes. I’ve been wanting to try this project out, given that I have recently bought a sewing machine for my mother, but the busy graduation week last week prevented me from doing so. But as it rained so hard this Saturday afternoon and as I had no plans to go out, I had all the time I needed to experiment on some of my clothes that needed some revamping. The first two things I thought of working on was this retro-looking longsleeves and a pair of navy blue pants.

A 'before' shot of the MEXX longsleeves shirt

Before the drastic chop and alteration

The longsleeves was in a stretchable fabric, and I was quite worried over what kind of stitch to use. It  would only be the second time to sit in front of my mother’s sewing machine and I only used the basic, running stitch over a minor alteration on that previous occasion. Should I use the zigzag stitch or just stick to the running one? I have also tried using the tailor’s chalk to mark where I needed to cut and stitch the new seams together, but the fabric did not seem to have the slightest orange stain on it. I resorted to using a black ballpen and good thing that the marks were placed inside because I had mistakenly drawn a lot of stray ones.

The first cut was difficult. The length of the shirt was about five inches longer than what I would normally want it to be, so I had to cut it. From the tutorial, he went straight away sewing the marks, without putting on pins. However, I wasn’t that comfortable in doing the same thing, so I had to put on a lot of pins before sewing. I started with the armpit to the sleeves, then back to the armpit all the way to the newly-unfinished hem. I had a hard time sewing the sleeves, though, because I can barely fit the hole beneath the machine’s feet. I eventually got there somehow, and after several runs with the acting-up bobbin, I was able to hem the sleeves.
Holding the fabric with pins before sewingAs for the pants, I only got to wear the pair once on a Valentine’s night since buying it, but it stayed inside the closet since then. The fit was just weird, and even if it has been already altered by my beloved tailor, I still did not like how it sits on my behind. Frankly, I had no idea what to do with it while altering, but I just ran a half-inch adjustment from the crotch up to the hem. The sewing machine is not a heavy-duty/industrial type, so I was careful not to push it too hard and break a needle. Most of the time, I just manually move the wheel just to lock the stitches.I even altered this pair of L.O.G.G. pants for a better fitEt voilà! I think I have made a fairly good job with the alteration of this longsleeves to a short sleeves,  and changing a straight cut pants to a slim fit one. It was not as tasking nor difficult than I had expected. What was first a guinea pig garment for experimentation, actually turned out to be something I will definitely wear in the coming days. As for the pants, I am very sure that they will look nice with every pair of boots that I have. I might try altering two longsleeves tomorrow, that is if Mama will not use the sewing machine, as she was so inspired by my DIY work and will most probably alter a few garments of her own.

Altered MEXX Shortsleeves polo and altered L.O.G.G. by H&M navy blue pants

Friday, Friday!

On Fridays, we are allowed to wear jeans but I still opted to wear black pants because my beloved pair of jeans is still yet to be laundered. However, I was more keen to use this printed shirt with the robot bag because they both have the capacity to make me look, errrr, younger. LOL

1017 printed shirt, black skinny pants, Yves Saint Laurent patent sneakers and green Prada tessuto robot 2 tote

I’ve been using a lot of canvas and nylon bags lately, and even if I hate to admit it, I’m also kind of getting over my love of heavy leather bags. Under the summer heat, I prefer not to lug around a heavy luggage and anything non-leather makes my life easier. But in a month or so, summer will be up soon, and rainy season won’t be too kind as well. I have been looking at a functional bag on Ebay, from a brand I have never owned before. And that was when I saw this Porter by Yoshida Freestyle 2 Way briefcase bag.

The Porter by Yoshida briefcase bag on Ebay

(Photo from the Ebay seller)

Technically, I’ve been seeing this bag listed on Ebay since last year, and I kept on having tentative decisions whether I should just go for it or not. The first thing that put me off was the color. It it were on a happier color (i.e. red or even blue) or anything neutral other than black (preferably camel), I would have definitely gotten it in a snap. But as I already have a lot of black bags, common sense tells me that I don’t need another bag in black. Frankly, I’ve been trying to get rid of some of my bags by selling them online, but things are not going as fast as I’ve originally hoped. I’m really determined to downsize my stuff this year, given that I will be working in another sector where I need more discreet and less recognizable items to use. This Porter by Yoshida bag perfectly fits the bill. Discreet – check, functional – check, weatherproof – check; so what am I waiting for? The seller.

Porter by Yoshida Freestyle briefcase bag from BLACKBIRD

I’m still waiting for the seller’s reply. I remember haggling for the price way back in February but I have completely forgotten about asking. And then I thought of checking if the bag is still available, and saw that the seller had actually answered my request. It has been almost three months since that reply, and I’m still hoping that the offer still stands. I think i’m getting an extremely good deal over it at Php 1,500 total, especially the same bag is sold for US$ 500 on BLACKBIRD, and for US$ 603.25 of Ebay.com! The item looks leather-y but it is actually polyurethane-coated canvas, making it  really durable against the elements. Of course, I’m just justifying this purchase again with all my reasoning might. =D

UP Diliman University Graduation v2.0

Yesterday afternoon was foreboding. After the sunny day during the early morning college graduation, it rained really hard that it made me worried about the fate of today’s weather. There was even a report of tornado and hail stones and somebody also sent me a message that there was a Low Pressure Area forming in Luzon. As the University-wide graduation would happen in an open area, the prospect of a bad weather will literally dampen our spirits. Looking back at my first University Graduation, I remember that it was so hot that I had been sweating a lot both from the influence of the direct sunlight and the uncomfortable barong that I was wearing. But for today, leaving our house at exactly 2:00 PM, the sky was gray and I was eagerly  praying for another chance with the sun. LOL The sunflowers were not-so-perky that I had to hold a couple of them upright   Our first itinerary upon reaching UP was to take pictures with the sunflowers along the University Avenue. My family was particularly excited about this as they kept on seeing news feature this entire week about the graduation in UP Diliman, and how the sunflowers were finally in full bloom just in time for the event. But frankly, I was disappointed to see that the sunflowers were no longer that perky because of the bad weather yesterday. The petals were no longer as nice-looking as the ones I’ve seen last Friday. =/ Anyway, that did not prevent my family, along with Mon, Lot and Lay to take lots of photos with the sunflowers. But the photo-op was cut short — it sporadically rained and we had to run for cover.

Mandatory picture with Oble   So proud of the three UP Pep captains   I was carefully evaluating the weather and I thought that it would eventually stop, with an overcast sky  as the worst that could happen. I was right. Around fifteen minutes before the start of the program, the weather had sort of ‘stabilized’ and I was confident that it will no longer rain. When Erin and I went looking for the designated meeting place for our college, I chanced upon this small group of people: the UP Pep Squad captains for the school year. I was really happy to see them and who would have thought I would be finishing my graduate degree, the same time as these kids finished their undergrads. I suddenly felt old. I even remember my very last halftime (as an alumnus, because I was one of the ‘babysitters’) with Irish in 2007, when she was still a freshman.

Goofing around before the university graduation

I still have mad skills in taking a picture of a group with me as the 'photographer'

Finding our line, I was happy to know that we were situated at the back, giving us more freedom to move and just budge when we were to finally go inside the Amphitheater. We even managed to buy a cone of ice cream each!

Quezon Hall in varying degrees of daylight - UP Diliman, 2013 Commencement Exercises

Quezon Hall in varying degrees of daylight

Mon and I in the University Graduation

Our Sablay now officially transferred from right to left

To be honest, it was tedious hearing the speech of the Guest Speaker. Apart from the low volume, it did not help that the speech he was delivering was written exactly on the pamphlets distributed on top of our chairs prior to occupying our seats. Why listen when I can always read it later? Just kidding. There was also, I think, a slight error in the sequence of the program. By the time we have already transferred our Sablay from right to left, majority of the graduates were no longer paying attention to the valedictory address. Poor kid. I could not even remember a lot of the things he said, apart from comparisons with national heroes and jokes that took me a moment to digest.  But I’m happy to remember him saying about his advocacy to give back to the community by teaching along with a couple of students. I’m extremely happy to hear that. Gomz, though, asked me about my experience with my previous university graduation, and whether it was this unruly (he did not attend his university graduation in 2008).  From what I can recall, everybody was quiet and intently listening to the valedictory address of Mikaela Fudolig, the Wunderkind who finished summa cum laude at 16 years old (Yikes!). I still remember about the “take not the road less traveled” from her speech. The whole event was festive but not unruly as the one we just had last Sunday. Oh well.

I did not know that I brought along UP Pep fans with me!

Yihee!

Family picture after graduation

After the graduation — time to take photos! I have taken lots of photos with friends, classmates, family, etc. But I did not realize that I brought along UP Pep fans with me! Same as yesterday, some UP Pep drummers were present and I dropped by to take a picture of the drummers playing. I saw Kiko and Irish again, and the next thing I knew, Lot and Lay were begging me to ask the captains if it was okay to take a picture with them. LOL Same as the afternoon, I had little chance taking a photo with Oble. There was a very long queue of people waiting for their few seconds to have their picture taken, that I did not bother having one at all, except fpr a quick shot with Mon. I was too hungry for dinner.

Famished in A VenetoA Veneto dinner in Trinoma - chicken, pizza and pasta galore

Already well-fed --- family picture after dinner

I was really worried about getting a decent place to eat in. We did not have any reservation placed and when we reached Trinoma after rushing away from Diliman, we still did not know where to eat. We first thought of A Veneto but there were groups waiting outside, so we transferred to the seafood resto next to it (I forgot the name, was it Seafood Island?). But ‘lo and behold, we had to wait longer as we were the third in line, so we went back to A Veneto. By the time we finally made up our mind, we were seated within five minutes! =D Chicken, pizza and pasta galore, all of us were hungry that it took us less than thirty minutes as soon as all the dishes arrived to get our fill. Monday awaits all of us, and Mon, Lay, Lot, Kuya and Ate Ja had to leave to go home to Cavite and Makati. I can’t be thankful enough that they shared that special day with me.

My official graduation 'self-portrait' LOL - UP Diliman Sablay and CSSP master's degree token/medal