around here

around here, i wake up to the sound of nature. a welcome change. except for that one crazy turkey that starts before 6 and goes on and on like an energizer rabbit. i will find it one day.

around here, i have yet to find my place. i still live off my suitcase and lug around my bag where my essentials are.

around here, folklore is imbued in the mundane. i cannot, for instance, take a nap as the sun begins to set (i know. but I am tired.).

around here, there is no way to go but start fresh. eat healthy. stay fit (er, let’s just say i don’t have a choice but to do the latter).

around here, one can get wonderfully lost in one’s own thoughts amidst the steady hum of inflections and glottal stops.

around here, there is a quiet flurry during the day. there are things that need to be done yet there is nary a need to rush.

around here, i still worry about the future, by the ghosts of the past.

but around here, there is finally an us and not just me and the little one. and that, for me, is enough.

inspiration blog hop

discovered project lifers philippines and was glad to see individuals who shared my interest in project life in my country where PL products aren’t exactly readily available (and yet we manage!).

allowed to be tagged by Ing of first time to do something like this so bear with me. it actually feels like an interview for a magazine. haha.

what are you working on?

i am attempting to complete my first ever project life album. i started at week 14 of 2014 and have partially completed several pages until week 26. when i discovered project life in 2011, i felt it was a perfect way to document my travels. but because my family is relocating to the province, i decided to give it a try so i can document our last few months in manila.


how does your work differ from others?

it seems i have more pictures of people than objects as i find it hard to take good photos of food, ordinary everyday items, or a new place as is common in PL albums that i see online. have been trying to work on composition at the very least.


i also adhere embellishments on transparencies rather than sew on the page protectors.



why do you create what you do?

it reminds me to be grateful of the little things, of ordinary things. that in life, what matters is not what you have or what you have achieved but rather the moments that you’ve spent with those who are dear to you or what you have experienced, no matter how mundane these may be.


how does your creating process work?

i keep a journal where i write down what transpired during the day, whether i have a pic or not, and how i plan to lay out my page. i try to keep one week in one spread (2 pages).


from there, i select the pictures that would work given the lay out and post process as my printer tends to print dark. what has worked best for me is printing pictures on unlined index cards rather than on photo paper. i then add filler and journal cards. so far, i have partially completed pages until week 26 although my journal entries are up to date. partially completed as i have yet to add journalling and embellishments to all these pages (er, i haven’t exactly decided on how my week card will look like to this day!).


all done!

will not be tagging any one but anybody who would like to write something similar is more than welcome to do so.

keep creating memories, project lifers! (oh that virtual cheer. hear, hear ;-))

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 ;-)