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

on a rainy day


was supposed to run errands yesterday but it started to rain. so instead, i looked for one of my unfinished craft projects and decided to finally tick it off my things-i-will-finish-someday list.

had to re-orient myself to this project since it has been years since i last made one. to the uninitiated, this instruction sheet (if you can call it that), does not make sense. for a few seconds, i couldn’t figure it out either.


my “craft-y” sense finally kicked in and i started cutting the sheets like i should. halfway through though i noticed that: (1) two parts are missing (i’ve cut some of it ages ago) and (2) this is not the best project to get into when i am expected to take care of my 9 month old son every so often, given how tedious it can get.

in less than an hour, i completed my third paper tole.


this should have been number three in a series of prints i have made. except that the first two were all in landscape (epic fail).



good thing i had one set left as i needed it to practice for an idea i have been toying with for some time now. you see, i plan to make paper tole gift cards for christmas.

wish me luck!