begin with the end in mind

best scrapbooking tip. ever.

taking this statement to heart, i decided to start with a memory keeping project roughly 7 months before i have to leave what has been my home for the past 35 years. i figured i should document how our last few weeks in manila would be like.

welcome to Project Life!

when i explain this to my friends, i say that this is scrapbooking version 2.0. and somehow they get it (or so i think. perhaps they have been simply indulging me). this wonderful system was created by Becky Higgins and i love how it can be anything you want it to be.

here’s a look at my title page:


and here’s my “prologue” page:


the pages are largely inspired by Erin Stewart‘s title page for 2014 (the use of exactly the same squared card at the exact same spot was largely unintentional. if i can show you the algorithm in my head, i would you know). i used a mix of the just add color, turquoise, and clementine editions of project life (except for the first edition which is sold out, the other two are available in Becky Higgins’ website as well as in Amazon).

instead of sewing the pockets where the bubble stickers (from Colorbok) and wood veneers (from Studio Calico ordered through the Which Craft Shop) are, i simply attached them to a transparency film (using thin double sided tape for the latter).



sewing would have driven me nuts. when you have obsessive-compulsive tendencies but do not have the luxury of time, you tend to find ways to come up with acceptable results. or a page or two for this matter.

i worked on these pages in june, a few months after i started with this project. i am on week 29 and it looks like i can keep this going until the end of the year. or, at the very least, by the time we move.

here’s hoping i can share more project life pages here!

practice makes perfect

or so i hope.

in the hallowed halls of a certain college lie the very first painting i have ever completed, that is, if they haven’t brushed primer on the canvass and re-used it yet. this painting was the only one i was able to make in a three-hour, 8 week class (didn’t i tell you i could be obsessive-compulsive?).  self-doubt got the the better of me and i passed up on the exhibit (only my brother was able to see it on display) which is why i wasn’t able to bring it home.

there are two other paintings in my drawer that remain unfinished to this day.

a few weeks back, i reached a creative slump so to speak. and i figured, if i tried my hand (literally) at painting again, i might discover more about the process.


i completed this painting on the first of july. it took me about 4 hours in total, done on two separate days. a far cry from my previous record.

i’ve been dusting off cobwebs from canvasses and painting materials i have stocked all these years.

perhaps it’s time i fully re-acquaint myself with an old friend.

celebrations. more fun in the philippines.

birthdays are particularly important to me. however, i haven’t felt like myself the past few months (blaming the low carb diet). so my birthday week was one of my worst and i had to skip my usual traditions for my best bud’s.

yet i still managed to create a themed party for my son’s first birthday, reminding me that as a mother, my child’s needs are at the top of the list. that, and of course, i couldn’t pass up the chance of preparing for my son’s celebration. i live for moments like this after all ;-)

the theme choice was largely based on my son’s name, Dakila, a Filipino term which means great. as Filipino names are rare as well as truly Filipino celebrations (in the city at least), i decided to come up with a modern take on the Filipino fiesta.

i made postcard invitations for the occasion (had to download bunting clip art for this project. everything else was formatted using MS Word 2010 program and saved as a PDF file), with wording in the local language, and had them printed at printcity invitations.

aqil bday invite cover

aqil bday invite back

the stamp on the postcard is from team manila, which i also printed and used to seal the loot bags. i also placed stickers at the back of a salakot and an abanico to separate the loot bags for the boys from the girls.



inside the loot bags are games from my youth – lastiko (rubber band), text (mini trading cards), plastic balloon, and jackstones – as well as a colored pencil with “i heart manila” and locally-available sweets (please ignore the roll-ups and hello kitty candies).


i put together buntings or banderitas out of colored paper with the now iconic Philippine map printed on it as part of the decor.


(the banderitas with the pabitin, a typical Filipino party game – courtesy of my mother-in-law who added the trimmings – which was flown in all the way from cagayan de oro in mindanao)


i arranged locally-made snacks (boy bawang, yema, curly tops, and chocnut) on a bilao along with pictures of my son the past 12 months as centerpiece for the tables.  i also placed a toy jeepney that was stuffed with balloons beside it (not in picture, unfortunately).  all the tables were covered with banana leaves which we purchased from the wet market or palengke.IMG_1333


guests were requested to come in red or blue or in any attire that had the Philippine map or the word Philippines on it.  the birthday boy was in bahag  (click the link! click the link!) or loin cloth.

in place of a tarpaulin, i attached a picture of my son on a bilao instead and this became the main backdrop.


i had cake made too! (and, yes, this was my concept.)


to complete the theme, the merienda included puto, calamares, pancit canton, chicken barbecue, and the-now-world-famous-courtesy-of-Anthony-Bourdain halo-halo at the Filipino classic Aristocrat Restaurant.

in a few years, my son’s birthday themes would most probably be the usual cartoon character of choice, much to the disdain of the right side of my brain.

savoring this moment in the meantime ;-)

keep calm and scrap on

didn’t quite make it to national scrapbooking day. was having internet issues only to realize that i was simply out of load. the perks of broadband connection.

nevertheless,  in keeping with the occasion, here is a scrapbooking tip from a newbie (technically):

do not overanalyze.

(if you think about it of course, this applies to everything else in life.)

before my only completed scrapbook album to date, i attempted to make one by compiling the letters my best bud and i exchanged through the years. the inspiration was nick bantock‘s griffin and sabine (as this has always been my dream), which, in my opinion, elevated scrapbooking to an art form. i spent sleepless nights putting pages together, only to tear up all seven i had made as i felt it  had no style, no character, no framework, no format, blah, blah, blah….(oh, you get what i mean).

and then i took it easy. kept it simple. and came up with pages (well, around 3) which i did not attempt to destroy (but, er, i might change soon given the new scrapbook system i discovered).


lesson definitely learned (or so i think).

so to all the scrappers out there,  just keep at it! happy, happy!


p.s. here’s a peek at ana’s first letter to me.  this was sometime 1990 or 1991.


product credits (click on the image to view product details)

White Out Collection - Promenade - Parasol Paper

we r memory keepers white out collection paper kits promenade