Archive of ‘Arts & Culture’ category

Great Finds At L’Indochine

Last Saturday, my daughter and I spent some QT strolling along BGC. Since we’re from the South, we seldom go to this place so we really make the most of our day when we’re here. Of course trip to BGC will never be completely without checking some of our favorite shops in SM Aura. One of the novelty stores I’ve been meaning to go to here is L’Indochine since I’ve read and heard so much about this place. And what can I say, it’s definitely a shopper’s paradise if you happen to love art, fashion, and culture since the store is a beautiful fusion of the three.

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L’ Indochine sells unique, handmade and handcrafted items from Indo China. The store owners travel around the Indo China region and other places to seek inspiration. They personally handpick the items that they would like to sell in their store and get them from the artisans themselves so you can say that, every piece really has its own story to tell.

Here are some of my top picks. These are perfect christmas gifts to friends and relatives who are into handmade and handcrafted items. They are unique, affordable, and made of excellent quality.

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My daughter absolutely love the place too. She found a lot of artsy and crafty things she liked from the store.

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Do check out L’Indochine when you happen to be in SM Aura, they have great finds that you will surely love.

Sulit.com.ph: Enriching Lives Through Technology and Innovation

Back in 2010, I wrote about how I discovered Sulit.com.ph (CLICK HERE TO READ).  At that time, it has already made a name for itself as the leading local online classified ads where you can score great deals. And since then, I have been an avid fan and follower, most especially of their promos and contests.   I have always been impressed by the bold and innovative ideas that the young and dynamic Sulit team always come up with. From its easy to managed and  easy to maneuver interface, efficient buy and sell mechanism, strong security features, and its aggressive marketing strategies, I say it has clearly  gone a long way from being an experimental project  meant  to gather data and test the feasibility of an idea to where it is today.

photo source:http://sulit.com.ph

Sulit was founded by boyfriend-girlfriend turned husband and wife team of RJ and Arianne David.  It was a product of both their dream and vision of creating an online classified ads that would provide earning opportunities to Filipinos.

Backed by Arianne and RJ’s self acquired skills through years of experience in the IT industry particularly in web development and design as well as RJ’s know how in software/product testing, plus fueled by their desire to create a place where people will have the opportunity to offer their service, talents and skills, Sulit.com.ph was finally launched in September 2006 at RJ’s bedroom.   For the complete story of RJ and Arianne’s Sulit journey,  listen to this audio presentation.

Sulit’s rise to fame in the field of online classified ads was clearly not just a product of  sheer luck.  It might have started as a stroke of genius but since its inception, it has worked within the parameter of  sound technical expertise.  Sulit is  managed by a team of technical experts, with RJ at the helm, who has broad knowledge in search engine optimization and has a good pulse of the how the “netosphere” works. The many citations and awards that Sulit received are testaments to its successful climb to the top.

Sulit’s success can also be attributed to it’s goal of providing only the best service to both its online buyers and sellers.  Their quick customer response to queries and concerns have earned for them the trust and loyalty of their customers.  It is this service oriented nature that has made them enjoy  excellent rating in terms of page views and rank consistently.

 

Every aspect of it may it be buying, selling, and marketing has always been conceptualized and designed with the whole Sulit community in mind. PLDT SME Nation acknowledged this when they awarded the founders RJ and Arianne David the 2012 PLDT MVP Bossing Award.  This award is given to outstanding individuals who have shown exemplary leadership in the field of entreprenuership by creating jobs and livelihood opportunities for many people.

RJ and Arianne’s mantra of  “paying it forward” has continuously provided Filipino netreprenuers  more opportunities to improve their lives. The many fun contests and promos that they launch with amazing prizes also show how serious the company is in sharing the blessings that it enjoys with the whole Sulit community.  And part of its goal of maintaining good interrelationship within community, it also hosts gatherings and parties where all Sulit staff, sulitizens and media partners get to know each other.

At present, sulit.com.ph is continuously reinventing and improving itself in order to provide its users  a safe and efficient system where they can do their business, may it be selling or buying . As it updates itself to keep up with the changing times, it still continues to uphold the very same values of teamwork, respect, integrity, social responsibility, and innovation that helped them reach the top. It also continues to build and maintain an online community that breeds on honesty, mutual trust, and perseverance. With the rate things are going, we can expect Sulit in the future continuing  if not exceeding its current self in its deep desire to enrich lives through technology and innovation.

 

 

Random Giveaway: Pretty Stuffs from Fab Manila’s Kismet Collection

I have only few obsessions in life and these are flowers & vintage prints, pastels, polka dots, and stripes. Call me old fashion and girly but I like my things all nice and pretty. They’re my source of happiness and inspiration. Carrying my favorite bag in dainty floral prints or drinking water from my pretty glass cup puts me in a super good mood. When I feel out of sorts, I only have to rummage through my boxful of coin purses (believe me I have a lot) and choose the one I find prettiest at the moment, and everything will be right in my world again. Pretty stuffs transform me, they turn me into a gentle, caring, nurturing, happy individual. For me the adage, happiness can be found even in simple things rings so true that I make it a point to surround myself with pretty little stuffs at home and at work. They need not be expensive so long as they are too cute to resist and too pretty not to use, then they will make my happiness cut. As they say Happy people make for productive people.

Recently Fab Manila, yes the Fab Manila that we have grown to love since multiply days and yes the Fab Manila where pretty stuffs are made of, launched its newest collection, Kismet. And I must say I was one of the girls who can’t seem to stop gushing for days over the sheer prettiness of the whole collection.

As we all know, Fab Manila is known to produce well crafted bags, travel accessories and organizers. Each design is a celebration of all things feminine and beautiful. They always manage to artistically combine pretty fabrics, unique textures, and fresh unexpected colors in their products. And because of this they never fail to add a touch of whimsy, a dash of fancy, a smidgen of cheer and a good dose of fun to an otherwise plain and ordinary piece of bag or accessory.

 

http://fabmanilabags.com

With Fab Manila, it is easy to express one’s uniqueness and individuality. With their wide range of products, you will always find one that would fit your personality. They only produce limited stocks of the same style and design, and make these available only in select boutiques so you won’t have to worry about bumping into another girl with the same Fab Manila bag or stuff. They always aim to provide their customers with one-of-a- kind products that they would definitely be proud of owning.


Fab Manila is the brain child of sisters and travel buddies, Jen and Shiela. Their love and passion for all things pretty and colourful extend to their newest line Kismet. This collection boasts of homewares, papergoods, organizers, and travel accessories that are just too too pretty to resist. They have personally handpicked these products themselves with only one purpose in mind, to bring a little bright spot to our otherwise boring day at work. Let Kismet’s products work their magic on you like the Turkish word they stand for which is fate/destiny.

I guess what endears Fab Manila to its loyal customers is the way they have managed to stir the love for pretty things in us. Somehow they have constantly inspired girls to celebrate their uniqueness, femininity and creativity, and to express themselves in the most fun way with their products. They have manage to seamlessly fuse their love and passion for travel and art to create products that are functional yet fashionable, and practical yet pretty. And what’s more, they have managed to showcase Filipino talent at its finest by producing products of excellent taste and quality, truly worthy of the tag Proudly Philippine Made.

And now the best part! As a way of sharing the love for all things fab and pretty, Fab Manila and Blancnotes are giving away these pretty Fab Manila and Kismet products to 2 lucky fans and followers of both Fab Manila and Blancnotes.

Winner 1: Reversible Tote (blue bird cage)

 

Winner 2: desk organizer, notebook journal, sticker roll, melamine side plate

Winners will be chosen via random.org. To join this giveaway, follow this simple mechanics below (you need to follow all steps to qualify for the raffle).

  1. Like Fab Manila in facebook
  2. Follow Fab Manila in twitter
  3. Like Blancnotes in facebook.
  4. Follow Blancnotes in Twitter
  5. Share this post on your facebook wall with the line: “@Fab Manila and @Blancnotes are giving away pretty stuffs from Fab Manila’s KISMET collection. Join now @friend1, @friend2, @friend3. Giveaway ends on June 15!” (don’t forget to properly tag @Fab Manila and @Blancnotes)
  6. Tweet about this giveaway by sharing on twitter: “@fabmanila and @blancnotes are giving away pretty KISMET stuffs. Join now @friend1 @friend2 http://goo.gl/Mcxvm #fabmanila.” (don’t forget to properly tag Fab Manila and Blancnotes)
  7. Complete this sentence using the comment box and include the details below: I love Fab Manila products because_____________________

Name:
Email add:
Facebook name:
Twitter name:
URL of your facebook post:
URL of your twitter post

Goodluck! To view the complete product listing of Fab Manila, check out their websites: http://fabmanilabags.com or http://fabmanila.multiply.com

Cath Kidston’s In Print

Last Mother’s Day, my husband and daughter gifted me with a Cath Kidston book. To say that I am fan of hers is an understatement. I love flowers, pastel, and all things pretty. Cath Kidston’s flower print designs fit me to a T. I was thrilled when I opened my gift as I didn’t know that she had a book. I later learned that there are only few copies around now as the book was released way back in 2005. Luckily my husband and daughter were able to snag one of the two stocks left at National Bookstore ATC.

As a child, Cath Kidson already had intense fascination for prints. Her compulsion to buy vintage prints started when she was a teenager. She would hunt flea markets and country town fairs for them. But then it was only when she became an interior designer that she seriously started to build her vintage prints collection. She has always been drawn to old floral prints since they exude a certain kind of freshness. She had these vintage prints documented and had reworked them into contemporary floral prints in new, fresh designs. She started her business selling pretty ironboard covers, it was well received and her prints became a hit so soon after, she started selling a wide range of products such as dog beds, towels, hair ties, and handbags as well. To date, she has several flagship stores in the world, three of which are in Asia, one in Japan and 2 in Thailand.

The book, Cath Kidston’s In Print has page spreads full of pictures of her trademark prints. It features some of her DIY projects such as pillowcases, upholstered sofa, lampshades, kneelers etc. It is sort like a tutorial book for moms and ladies who are fond of sewing and DIY projects. The sewing instructions she provided in the book are simple and easy to follow. There are also lots of suggestion on how to perfectly combine colors and prints to give for example a sofa or lampshade a fresh new look.

Here are some of the pages from the book that I like:

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Someday, I wish to have portions of our house decorated this way:

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I love all things pretty and nice that is why I am a sucker for Cath Kidston stuffs. I like how her floral prints add a touch of gentleness and girliness to things. Seeing her prints makes me happy. One of these days I will start redoing some portions of our house or follow some of the DIY projects in the book to make it cosy, pretty, and nice too just like these Cath Kidston inspired rooms. I want that when friends come to visit our house, they will leave with a smile on their faces and bring home with them a warm happy glow, much like what happens to me when I see Cath Kidston prints around.

The Villar Foundation: 20 Years of Transforming The Community Through Its Various Green Social Enterprises

Yesterday, I had the chance to revisit my old hometown, Las Pinas. I now live in Molino, Bacoor Cavite, literally a stone’s throw away or should I say a river’s throw away from neighboring Las Pinas but it has been years since I last explored the place and took notice of the many changes that happened here.

I grew up in Baranggay Manuyo, the first district of Las Pinas that would welcome you if you are coming from Paranaque. It is the home of the famous Bamboo Organ Church. I had a memorable childhood in Las Pinas.  My lolo used to take us to the “beach” near Villa Manila every morning when I was a child. This was actually a portion of Manila Bay before it was reclaimed and made into Coastal Road. I remember that we used to gather clams and swim there. I also have a good recollection of afternoons spent playing at our family’s Irasan (salt bed) which had been the primary source of living of my dad’s family. The river back then was healthy and teeming with aquatic life. My family even owned  a small fishpond too where fresh supply of sugpo and tilapia can be harvested.

Everything changed though when development came and they started reclaiming the “beach” to construct  Coastal Road. Flooding grew worst in Manuyo. Businesses started cropping up everywhere and people started setting up homes there as well. Uncontrolled dumping of garbage in the river eventually caused it to die and down came with it our Irasan and our fishpond.  As much as we hate leaving the place that we love so much, we knew that moving to a less crowded place like Molino was inevitable. Summer of 1995, after graduating high school from St. Joseph’s Academy, we made the move to Cavite but I guess you could say that I left my heart in Las Pinas. Six years after we left the place, I came back to march and meet my groom at the altar  of St. Joseph’s Church while the sweet melody of the Bamboo Organ was playing in the background.  Yes, I got married in the church where I was baptized and confirmed. In my hometown that I love so much.

But then life happened. Though I can say that I never totally forgot about Las Pinas, it was easy to take for granted this place especially when you need not pass the route leading to Old Town Las Pinas where I grew up and just conveniently head straight to Coastal Road to go to Manila or to Daang Hari and SLEX to go to Makati.  I was aware of the developments and changes happening in the city but I wasn’t too keen on learning more about it until the other day.

In line with The Villar Foundation’s 20th Anniversary, I was invited by the group of Mrs. Cynthia Villar  to visit the sites of the different Green Social Enterprises of the foundation as well as learn more about the different Solid Waste Management Practices that the city has been conducting.  The Villar Foundation’s Social Enterprises aimed to: (a) reduce proverty, (b) manage the city’s garbage problem, and (c) preserve and conserve the community’s natural resources.

It all started with Mrs. Cynthia Villar’s fond recollection of a clean and healthy river from her childhood too. When she won the 2001 election as the lone congressional representative of Las Pinas, she vowed to clean up the Las Pinas-Zapote  River.  Amidst negative predictions and speculations that the project won’t see its completion, she bravely took the plunged and launched the Sagip Ilog Program under The Villar Foundation. Supported by a team of engineering experts headed by Engr. Dexter Gonzales and strong financial backing from Senator Manny Villar, Sagip Ilog was set into action. Mrs. Cythia Villar recalled that, “Nung umpisa kinausap ko ang mga tao ko, sabi ko kaya ba natin to, ayaw ko naman na sa bandang huli magiging ningas-cogon lang kami. Kaya tinutukan ko talaga ito hanggang matapos. Iba  iba ang standard ng tao e kung minsan yung sinasabi nilang okay na, ayos na, sa akin hindi pa kaya ako mismo binantayan ko ito.”

10 years after, the historical Las Pinas-Zapote River whom others considered dead and beyond hope, lives again. Through the concerted efforts of concerned residents and through viable engineering solutions, the clean up was completed. Up until now the residents continue to live up to the challenge of  preserving  and conserving the river long after after the clean up ended for they have successfully shed the uncaring attitude and have taken it upon themselves to look after this community resource.

Dam in Las Pinas Zapote River constructed by St.Ezekiel Moreno, former parish pries of Las Pinas

Just like how the river served as the backbone of early communities before, the birth of The Villar Foundation’s Green Social Enterprises and Solid Waste Management can also be traced back to their efforts to revive and sustain the Las Pinas-Zapote River while at the same time providing livelihood assistance to the marginally poor sectors in their district.

The Coconut Coir and Peat Enterprise

Engr. Dexter Gonzales shared that, “Nung nililinis namin yung ilog natuklasan namin na isa sa  duming naipon sa baba ng ilog  ay ito mga coconut husks na ito.” Coconut fruit has been popular among city dwellers and these accounts for the pile of coconut husks that inevitably found its way to the river bed and later became garbage that clogged the river.

Engr. Dexter Gonzales, Project Coordinator of The Villar Foundation

 
At around that time also, soil erosion along the river banks has alarmed The Villar Foundation. Mrs. Cynthia Villar fortunately learned about former dean of Bicol University, Dr. Justino Arboleda’s work on coco nets, a low cost biodegradable netting material that arrest soil erosion. After seeking him out and getting his commitment to share his knowledge, The Villar Foundation set the motion for the establishment of The Las Pinas Coco Coir Enterprise. Instead of utilizing it only as a means to deload the river from coco nut husks garbage and to build coco nets that would address the problem of soil erosion in the river, they decided to make it  a livelihood project as well.  They made it a venue where underpriviledged families in the community can have the opportunity to earn money.

The Villar Foundation trained families in the branggay with the skills necessary to twine and weave coco nets. To date, there is one Coconet Weaving Center in each of Las Pinas’ 20 baranggays where housewives and their family members can go to and weave nets. The Coconet Weaving Centers are strategically placed in the heart of each baranggay so mothers who want to work can simply walk going there anytime it is convenient for them. A family can earn a minimum of 3, 300 pesos per week by twining and weaving coconets alone. When we were there, several mothers with their children in tow were working. I asked one mother how she felt about working there and she shared that, “Gusto ko po dito kasi malapit at tsaka di ko na poproblemahin yung magaaalaga sa anak ko kasi open naman sila dito sa mga bata, puede din sila tumulong dito.” The coco nets are preventive measures against soil erosion. They are used to hold the soil down. Plants are  grown on the eyelet spaces to establish a root system that would hold the soil further.

Coconut Husk Decorticating Machine

a mother preparing coconut fiber for twining

twining coconut fiber

weaving twines in the coco fiber loom

The Villar Foundation’s Coconut Coir and Peat Enterprise has successfully woven the perfect economic and ecological solution that would provide livelihood opportunities to housewives and their families. At the same time, it presents the perfect rehabilitation solution that would sustain the river in the years to come.

The Water Hyacinth Fiber Enterprise

One of the problems that the group encountered while cleaning up the river was the presence of water hyacinths there.  These have impeded the clean up efforts as they have prevented barges from moving and collecting trash easily. Though a beautiful sight, these water hyacinths, which are commonly known as water lilies, have long been considered a pest. Since they are virtually indestructible, they trapped garbage and clogged the river. They also served as breeding places for the dreaded dengue mosquitoes.

The idea of using water hyacinths to make baskets and other things came from Mrs. Ophelia So, an exporter of hand woven baskets. When Mrs. Cynthia Villar learned that there is a market for hand woven baskets made of water hyacinth, she set out to form a skills training program  in weaving dried water hyacinth stalks for women who live near the center and didn’t have a steady source of income. Townfolks who concentrated their efforts in harvesting and drying the water hyacinths to supply the Las Pinas Basket Weaving Center were also paid for their efforts. To date the women and men who chose to stay in the program cite water hyacinth weaving as their families’ main source of income.

housewives weaving baskets

world class products

water hyacinth products

christmas tree made of dried water hyacinth stalks

 
Though there are no water hyacinth to harvest anymore since the river has long been cleared out of these pests, The Villar Foundation’s Water Hyacinth Weaving Enterprise still sourced out water hyacinths from the nearby Laguna Lake to sustain this thriving livelihood.  This has manged to turn  what once was considered an environmental pest into a medium where housewives’ excellent  artistry and craftsmanship and love for their community resources come together.

The Handloom Blanket Weaving Enterprise

To revive the dying Filipino tradition of weaving fabrics and to help out a group of women who were earnest in their desire to learn the handloom weaving skill in order to earn a living that would augment their families’ expenses, The Villar Foundation, put up the Handloom Blanket Weaving Enterprise. Currently the blankets are not for sale and are distributed  as part of relief operations for people rendered homeless by a typhoon. The money that is supposed to be used by the office of Senator Villar to purchase mats for relief operations is being used to buy the thread that will make these handloom blankets. The surplus income from the Coco Coir Enterprise is used to pay for the blankets made. Mrs. Roda Rodronio, project coordinator of the Handloom Blanket Weaving Enterprise shared that, “A weaver can make 3 handloom blankets a day and she is paid 165 pesos for every handloom blanket she makes.”

Through the Handloom Blanket Weaving Enterprises, The Villar Foudation has not only given these women a chance to earn money but the satisfaction in knowing that they can be productive members of the community as well. It has managed to uplift the quality of life of these women by arming them with the necessary skills needed to succeed in this enterprise. These women clearly are hanging on a thread where their futures seem to be pretty much laid down like a blanket of big possibilities. They have indeed proven that with their perseverance and diligence, they can  weave a bright future for their families.

 Solid Waste Management City Wide Practices

As part of their desire to come up with sustainable solution to the mounting garbage problem of Las Pinas, Mrs. Cynthia Villar through The Villar Foundation during her term as Congresswoman of Las Pinas, enjoined households to segregate their trash properly. Undaunted by the strong resistance from the people, she continued to mobilize this project with the help of priests, baranggay captains, and other concerned groups who set out to educate the residents of their moral and civic responsibilities to the environment.  House to house education campaigns by different association were done.  The plan was to turn the biodegradable into compost.

Bio-digesters were placed in each barangay. To provide livelihood assistance, each baranggay hired “bio-men” who will collect kitchen wastes from Monday to Saturday, starting at 7 o’clock in the morning. The wet garbage collected are then brought to the Bio-digester where they are processed and mixed with coco peat (coconut dust gathered from the coconut husk) and trichoderma enzymes to create organic fertilizers that condition the soil to become healthy. Part of the compost generated is used for the regreening and tree-planting programs in Las Pinas while the rest are bought by farmers from far provinces like Nueva Ecija to produce organic vegetables. The income derived from the sale of the composts are awarded to the barangay or subdivision housing association to support their environmental activities. Residual wastes such as those that cannot be recycled, reused or composted are manufactured and turned into construction materials like hollow blocks and pavers that the city government itself uses to beautify the whole of Las Pinas.

composting machines

the by products

composting process

Vermi Composting

tiles made from shreded plastics

hollow blocks from residual wastes

Pamplona 1 Baranggay Capt. Roberto Rodronio

 
As what Barangay Captain Robert Villalon said, “Dito sa Las Pinas we use ecologically sound practices to manage our garbage.  All our projects are designed to protect the environment.” From the looks of it, the residents of Las Pinas through the efforts of The Villar Foundation have indeed mastered the art of segregating sound environmental practices from those that are not thereby making Las Pinas not only a clean and green city but an Environmentally Friendly one at that too.

The Villar Foundation has indeed come a long way since its establishment in 1992 but for Mrs. Cynthia Villar, the work is far from over, she still has big dreams for Las Pinas and the Zapote River, “Pangarap ko magkaron ng sort of like River Cruise ang Zapote River. We plan make it a top tourist attraction. We will create a road along the river and eventually restaurants para maging river park sya. This would also generate more income opportunities for people. Gusto ko magkaron ng mga cultural presentations din like the one in Loboc River but something different something unique, something that we would really call our own.” As for advice on how to make a project a success, she has this to say, “Kailangan pasensyosa ka. Projects take time to complete, hindi mo dapat madaliin. You should have a clear vision and a plan on how to go about it and kailangan ikaw mismo tumututok sa project mo.”

The Villar Foundation, now on its 20th year, has successfully managed to transform the community and the lives of its people by creating various interpendent social enterprises that are specifically designed to empower them to live a life of economic independence while striking a balance between successful urban development and strong ecological management. Through the sound leadership of its Managing Director, Cynthia Villar, it has indeed proven that sustainable living right in the middle of the city is possible and that sustainable development can be achieved through the concerted efforts of each individual.

Bedazzle Accessories’ Pinwheel Party

I like today because I had fun. I went to the Press Launch of iButterfly Asia this morning at SM North Edsa, The Block (will blog about it soon) and then attended my friend Cathy of Bedazzle Accessories’ Pinwheel Party in the afternoon. It wasn’t really a big party but more like an intimate gathering of some of her blogger friends to celebrate Bedazzle Accessories’ success for the past five years and Cathy’s upcoming birthday!

havin' fun

The Pinwheel Party was held at Cerealicious, University Mall in Taft Ave. It was my first time to dine in a Cerealicous restaurant that is why I was surprised to learn that they serve good pasta dishes as well.

yummy food

What made the Pinwheel Party super fun were the DIY stations that Cathy set up so we can try our hand in beading. It got all of us super engaged and excited. Now I understand why Cathy find happiness in creating wonderful bead accessories, it can be quite addicting.

bloggers at one of the DIY stations

beads!

Cathy's angels

my daughter Bianca beading

our arm candies from Bedazzle

Cathy is the type of person who likes to do something with her hands and her creativity is endless the way she always come up with new collections and designs.

handmade with love

Aside from creating fab accessories, she also conducts workshops. She is after all a teacher by heart. She will be having a felt workshop entitled, Felt Unlimited, on May 20 at Fully Booked BGC. The workshop promises to offer participants the chance to learn how to create fab accessories using felt cloths. To register, email Cathy at cat_limson@ yahoo.com or call her at 09213574735.

Cathy has come a long way from selling her stuffs online to having her own Bedazzle store at University Mall. And from the looks of it, there’s no stopping her. Like a Pinwheel that keeps on turning as the wind blows, she sure will continue to string happiness as long as there’s beads and girls who love all things beautiful.:)

Clayvorite Craft + A Mini-Giveaway

I always admire people who make a living out of their passion. Especially those artists who started out as simply loving the thought of creating something beautiful with their hands, and then finding themselves earning extra because people just absolutely love their artwork.

Such is the case of Mary Grace Coquia, the artist behind Clayvorite Craft. I learned about Clayvorite Craft when I attended my friend Jenie’s wedding last year. She had her wedding giveaway customized by Clayvorite Craft, a pair of yellow slippers and a silver home.

Grace was on her first year at medical school in San Beda College when she had to stop due to medical reasons. For lack of something worthwhile to do, she turned to claying and soon enough, it became a hobby. She finds happiness in creating miniature versions of things she loves in clay. She did not take any formal lessons or attended any workshops in claying. She learned the techniques and the skill on her own by watching youtube tutorial videos and downloading ebooks. She also joined a group of clay enthusiasts in facebook, Clay Friends Society of the Philippines, in order to gain and learn new tips and tricks in claying.

It was only when her neighbors started ordering clay accessories from her after seeing her creations that she seriously considered the thought of turning her hobby into a business. With the help of her mom, Clayvorite (Clay+favorite) Craft was created. At first business did not pick up right away, selling online did not seem to work. But since she was determined and persistent to sell her creations, she joined Christmas Bazaar and accepted made to order jobs. When she had enough pictures in her clay portfolio, she posted them on facebook and soon enough word spread about her fantastic clay creations and orders started pouring in. Clayvorite Craft finally took off.

Clayvorite Craft is a one man team. Grace personally do the clay creations herself from design, conditioning and baking down to packaging and shipping. She shared that she started her business with a capital of only 900 pesos. She listed polymer clay, oven, metal findings (for accessories), creativity and patience as the main ingredients that you need if you want to engage in this kind of craft. She explained the steps in making one as follows:

  1. Knead or condition the clay (to make it softer if the clay is too hard or to remove air if it is too soft)
  2. Mold or create anything you want. (In her case, she just imagines how she would want say a donut to look like and then start creating details)
  3.  Bake it in the oven following the baking instructions at the back of the pack.
  4. Put a gloss or leave it as it is.

    Sound simple and easy as a pie right? But I’m sure it is not (hahaha). I still believe it takes a lot of patience, creativity, and talent to do that.

Clayvorite Craft does accessories such as earring studs, danglings, hair clips, necklace, bracelets, phone charms, keychains, compact mirrors etc.) as well as made-to-order souvenirs/giveaways (photo/card/pen holder, paper clips, ref magnet, miniature frames etc.)

sample bracelet

bracelets galore

earrings

cake pendants

donut pendants

converse necklace

chibi phone charms

name plates

paper clips

Grace also conducts clay workshops in Marilao, Bulacan and Caloocan. And soon she will venture into event organizing and will offer packages that include glitter tattoo, souvenirs, cakes and cupcakes.

I can definitely see a bright future ahead for Clayvorite Craft for it has seamlessly molded creativity and excellent craftsmanship in all of its clay creations. Grace’s attention to details, her incessant desire to improve herself in her craft, her sheer determination to succeed and her passion for her art have been the driving forces behind Clayvorite Crafts’ success. I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of life’s little pleasures immortalized in Clayvorite Crafts’ clay creations.

To order one of Clayvorite Crafts’ amazing clay creations, you can visit its facebook page or contact Grace at 0915-501-3127.

As a treat to Blancnotes readers, Clayvorite Craft is giving away one chibi (little person) phone charm and a compact mirror with clay design on the cover.

All you have to do is follow these simple steps using the rafflecopter below:

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Gewang Gewang

We spent Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday at my mom’s hometown in Pila-Pila, Binangonan, Rizal. This is one of the many towns of Rizal that hasn’t fully succumbed to urbanization yet. It isn’t that far from Manila, in fact we reached this place an hour after we left Cavite last Thursday since there’s hardly any traffic. As we were entering Pila-pila, I remembered the times when we would go here to visit my Lola. Pila-pila is at the foot of a mountain. When I was a kid, we used to travel here at dawn in our owner-type jeep. My sister and I used to marvel at how big and scary the mountain was with its big boulders and bamboos. My dad often regale us with stories about how they chased an aswang in that same mountain and how he saw a Kapre smoking a pipe on one of the big trees along the road. Of course all those stories were designed to tickle our imagination but I have to admit, we ate them up.:)

I was surprised to learn that Lenten traditions like pabasa, senakulo, penitensya and prusisyon are still practiced in this place. Whereas religious traditions have slowly faded into the distant memories of people in urban towns, they are still very much alive here. Last Friday night, we trooped to the Bayan to watch the prusisyon (procession) and witness the Gewang-Gewang. I heard so much about Gewang-Gewang from my mom. It is the highlight of their Good Friday procession. It is called Gewang Gewang because devotees of the Santo Sepulcro (Jesus Christ in his coffin) try to squeeze themselves closer to the Santo Sepulcro so they can help carry it. They believe that all their prayer intentions and petitions will be granted if they will be able to touch or carry the Santo Sepulcro. Because of the surge of devotees trying to get near the Santo Seplucro, it moves in a gewang-gewang (topsy-turvy) motion. It takes hours before the Santo Sepulcro enters the church again. There is a story going around that the Santo Seplucro will not leave a certain place if it stops in front of a house where the owner planted his anting-anting (amulet). It is believed that it is one way of testing if it is still working and unless the owner digs and removes it from the ground, the Santo Sepulcro and the procession will not proceed even if the carriers willed it to move forward. For some reasons, it will just move back and forth as if a magnet is forcing it to stay. The procession that night started at 6 am and the Santo Sepulcro was brought back to the church a little over 3 am because it kept on moving at such slow pace.

We had a good view from where we were. We saw how the devotees fought their way closer to the Santo Sepulcro. In the course of their struggle, they get hurt. One devotee shared that they don’t mind getting wounded and crushed since to them these are all part of their sacrifice. We saw how others stepped on other men’s arms, legs, shoulders and even faces in their desire to reach the Santo Sepulcro. Some men that night were seen being fished out and carried by others to safety. And most of them were gasping for breath as they try to push the Santo Sepulcro. One man even suffered heart attack that night. It was very much like the Feast of the Black Nazarene. My cousin who has been a devotee of the Santo Sepulcro since he was a teenager shared that all his prayer intentions are granted whenever he joins the “buhat” (carrying of the Santo Sepulcro). Most of the devotees I have spoken to share the same sentiments that is why it has become every man’s panata in this town to join the Gewang-Gewang every Good Friday. To others, it has even become their initiation to manhood.

After witnessing Gewang Gewang for myself, I can’t help but admire these people for they truly were never afraid to show just how far they can take their faith in God. I admire how they have kept this tradition very much alive until now. How through their deep faith in the divine, they have managed to preserved this part of our culture. I am glad that I brought my 10 year old daughter to witness this with me. In the event that this tradition die a natural death like the others, at least my daughter has it engraved in her memory.

Bedazzle by Cathy Limson + A Giveaway

Cathy Limson is the artist/designer behind Bedazzle, a successful accessory brand that has grown a strong and steady following among collegialas and yuppies alike for its affordable and fabulous accessory pieces. She retired from her post as assistant directress in a local pre-school about two years ago to chase her dream of becoming a successful fashion accessory designer and to start building her own empire full of beads.:)

For three years we shared hearty lunch and laughs together. I never would have thought that the same hands that held the spoon and fork that scooped morcon and sisig from my plate would be the same hands that would later create fantastic accessory pieces. I knew she had an eye for fashion because she would often come to work in her most stylish clothes. But back then, I didn’t have even the slightest clue that she would turn out to be a successful accessory designer. It was because she hardly puts on earrings, let alone string her neck with jewelries. But then life as we know it has a mind of its own, it will lead us right to where our heart chooses to go. In her case, it led her to Bedazzle.

It was her mom who first showed her what beading was all about. Unlike others who attend workshops to learn the art and the skill of beading, she studied on her own by watching tutorial videos. It was only later when orders started pouring in that she decided to seriously enroll herself in a beading class to further improve her craft. Her knack for knowing what clicks, what sells, what people like comes from her natural ability to tune in to people. She likes to observe the buying behavior and fashion preference of her customers. She tries to update herself on new fashion trends by reading fashion blogs. But then, she is not one who is a slave to fashion, she shies away from fashion trends that obviously are a bit too much and makes it a point to stamp her own creative style in trendy pieces to make them stand out from the rest. She confessed that though she gets inspirations for her creations from the blogging world, most of the time she just follows her gut-feeling and so far, it has never failed her.

For Cathy, there’s no hard and fast rule for success. Good relationship with her clients has given her an edge in this business. Orders pour in for the simple reason that they get a very good value for their money and in her shop, they are treated like princesses. She had her fair share of bad days though, days when she couldn’t face her beads due to tiredness, days when her stocks run low and days when she had over-demanding clients to deal with. But what keeps her going during days like these is her immense love for her craft. She sees these problems as opportunities to test how far her creativity can take her. And oftentimes, she even amazes herself when she would be able to produce accessory pieces for her collection and for her clients even under deep pressure. For her, this is when fulfillment comes. Love for fashion and her passion is her key to success.

Here are some of my favorite Bedazzle pieces from her earlier collection. I so love wearing them because they are the perfect accessories to my otherwise boring wardrobe.

classic pieces from Bedazzle

I love how she can pick the right materials that would go perfectly well together. She usually gets her materials from divisoria. She would make do of what is available in the market and just let her hands do their magic on them.

my arm candy fom Bedazzle

It never occurred to me until this moment why somebody like Cathy, who clearly doesn’t like putting on accessories, will turn out to be a successful fashion accessory designer. I guess it is really because to be good in your art, you have to go beyond the limits and trappings of your own self and start creating for others. It is only when your art becomes a source of joy to others that you can truly say that you are successful in your craft and worthy of all accolade. Cathy clearly knows that and from the looks of it, she will continue to dazzle the world of her customers with her artsy accessory pieces in the years to come.:)

Now we’ve come to the best part, in our desire to give back to others, Bedazzle Acessories and Blancnotes will be giving away these fabulous accessory pieces from Bedazzle Accessories to one lucky follower.

To join the raffle, simply follow these instructions (all steps are required):

1. Subscribe to Blancnotes (subscribe tab is on the upper right hand corner of this post as well as below this post). Note that you have to click the confirmation link that will be sent to you via email in order for your subscription to be successful.

2. Like Blancnotes and Bedazzle Accessories on facebook.

3. Share this on your facebook status:

@Bedazzle Accessories and @Blancnotes are giving away fabulous accessory pieces. Join now @Friend 1 and @Friend 2. Giveaway ends on Feb. 29!

How to Tag: When you are writing your status update, just include the “@” symbol beforehand. As you type the name, for example Blancnotes, a drop-down menu will appear that would allow you to choose from your list of friends and other connections. Just choose Blancnotes. The “@” symbol will not be displayed in the published status update or post after you’ve added your tags.

4. Answer the question. (silly and funny answers are welcome here!)

“”If you were a piece of accessory, what would you be (an earring, necklace, ring, bracelet) and why?”

5. Comment below using this format:

Answer:
Example: “If I were a piece of accessory, I’ll be a necklace so that I’ll be the first thing that people will see when they look at the girl wearing me.”
Name:
Email add used to subscribe:
Facebook URL of my post:

6. Giveaway ends on Feb. 29. Winner will be chosen thru random.org.

To know more about Bedazzle’s fabulous collection, visit Cathy’s pages here: multiply and facebook. You can also drop by her shop at University Mall in La Salle Taft, 3rd floor just across the LRT station.

Kokeshi Dolls from Handmade by Khristine + A Giveaway

Khristine Pact is the artist behind Handmade by Khristine whose products and services include crafting and designing party/event invitations, personalized gifts and giveaways for any occasion.

Khristine and I have known each other from way back since she is a good friend of my sister. When she decided to bank on her talent and started her arts and crafts business about 7 years ago, I instantly became one of her fan girls devoted clients. It was Khristine who made the personalized cartoon invitation of my daughter for her 7th birthday as well as my nephews’ cartoons for their 1st birthday invitations. My cousin from the States was so impressed with her cartooning that she even gifted her friends and family with cartoons of themselves done by Khristine.

my daughter's cartoon

Teng's parents (our family friend)

Her passion for creative arts started as early as kindergarten where she would spend hours drawing. From a small box of crayons, she has gone a long way in terms of the medium that she uses in her creations. She credits this from the years she spent studying Architecture in UST which has honed her artistic skills and broadened her knowledge in creative arts.

She loves Japanese art, so it was no wonder then that her newest creation would be Japanese inspired also. About 5 years ago, she fell in love with Kokeshi Dolls. She started collecting pictures and books of these dolls. She even built a small collection of her own. The idea of making her own version of Kokeshi Dolls just hit her one day. After doing some research from craft books and other internet resources, and finding it do-able, she went full blast with her plan. Something about transforming an ordinary piece of wood into a work of art and incorporating it to a wedding theme as cake toppers both challenged and excited her. She figured by making a mini symbolic representation of the wedding couple, they would not only have a beautiful concept cake but a special keepsake of their special day to take home with them as well. Thus, Kokeshi Dolls Cake Toppers was added to her line of products.

She has to date made a lot of couples happy on their wedding day with her customized Kokeshi Dolls. She personally handles everything from conceptualization which includes planning and making rough sketches of how the dolls will look like with her clients, painting, packaging, and shipping/pick-up. She cites drawing and painting the general parts of the doll (ex. facial features, skin and the base color of the dolls) as the most difficult. This to her would “break and make” the overall look of the doll. She enjoys the detailing though where she gets to “bling” up the dolls by putting props. And of course, she finds seeing the smiles on her clients’ faces after opening the box and hearing the words “Honey, it’s us” as the highlight of the whole process.

Passion and love for her art are the driving forces behind Handmade by Khristine. Each of her cartoons and Kokeshi dolls are excellently crafted because there’s so much love and passion involved during its creation. The way she thoughtfully gives close attention to details and the way she seamlessly incorporates her clients’ inputs and ideas with her own creative concept has made her product an instant delight to anyone who sees it. And because of this, her clients often walk away happy and satisfied like they have just been given an excellent piece of art collection that is hard to find.

And now we’ve come to the best part. As a way of giving back, Khristine will be giving away a pair of customized Kokeshi Dolls to one lucky follower of both Handmade by Khristine and Blancnotes. If chosen, you can have the dolls customized for you and your husband/partner/special someone as keepsakes OR give them as gifts to your loved ones who are getting married or celebrating a milestone. Here’s how you can win the customized Kokeshi Dolls from Handmade by Khristine:

1. Like Handmade by Khristine in facebook.
2. Like Blancnotes in facebook.
3. Share this giveaway and tag two of your friends on your facebook wall with the following message:

“@Handmade by Khristine and @Blancnotes are giving away a pair of customized Kokeshi Dolls. Join now! @Friend1 and @Friend 2. Giveaway ends on January 31st”

Note: Make sure to set your account to public and tag Blancnotes, Handmade by Khristine and your two friends properly.

How to Tag: When you are writing your status update, just include the “@” symbol beforehand. As you type the name, for example Blancnotes, a drop-down menu will appear that would allow you to choose from your list of friends and other connections. Just choose Blancnotes. The “@” symbol will not be displayed in the published status update or post after you’ve added your tags.

4. Leave a comment on this blogpost using the format below:

“I want to win the pair of customized Kokeshi Dolls for me and my______(husband/boyfriend/partner/child) OR for my _______(parents/friends/children) because________________”

Your Name:
Facebook URL of your post:
Your Email address:

Important Reminders:

* This contest is open to Philippine residents only.
* This will start on January 17 and end at 11:59 of January 31st.
* For your entry to be valid, you have to follow all four steps
* Winner will be picked randomly using random.org.
* Winner will be required to submit pictures and other infos that would be needed in making the dolls.
* Winner will have to wait at least 3-4 weeks for the dolls to be shipped since the whole process in making one takes time.

Goodluck !

Handmade by Khristine’s customized Kokeshi Dolls are priced as follows:

For single doll – Php1,800 (with a small base) excluding shipping fee
For couples – Php3,500-Php4,000 (depending on difficulty –with a choice of personalized base or a max. of 3 props either painted on the doll or displayed beside them) excluding shipping fee
Lead time is 2~4 weeks (upon approval of sketch and depending on the difficulty of design)
50% down payment thru RCBC Bank is required. The remaining balance upon pick up or before shipping.

If you wish to order, you may visit Handmade by Khristine’s official website here.

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