Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Download: April 2013 Printable Calendar

Inspiration is everywhere, and my favorite way to search for it is simply by looking up at the sky. It's no secret: I love clouds. In creativity class back in college, I once proposed that the heart sign for love should be replaced by a cloud. "Because being in love is a heavenly fluffy feeling." I remember my teacher's note on the corner of my homework, where he wrote "You're pushing it. :P" Haha!
I left all my crafty things at home today, in hopes of forcing myself to work on the computer, so I only have a pen, a notebook, and my canvas totebag with me right now. But that doesn't stop me from coming up with a printable calendar on the last work day of the month (especially for those of you in the office)! So many last minute things to be done today, I know. Pretty skies and a blank slate for April might just be the thing to help you think clearly and plan for the next month.
Download the April 2013 Printable Calendar here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Week of Making (and Learning)

It all started with HeyKessy's (Mansy's) papercutting workshop. Until I got there, I didn't realize how excited I was to be a student again. After over 12 crafternoons from January to March this year (and over 220 students!!), this was a welcome break for me. The workshop was held at Sweet Ecstasy in CubaoX, and after the workshop, Mansy, Paul, Mikko and I had early dinner at Bellini's, where I finished this lace-y papercut below.
The next day, the three M's (Mansy, Macy and Mikko) and I met up for breakfast + crafting + exciting new projects. I brought out my felting wool and needles and started to make letters. Now, this is my first felting project, and probably my last because I think I inhaled too much fiber, and felt like it was up my throat for a few days (and I don't even have asthma). I don't think I'm felting ever again. Haha. Who wants my felting wool?
In the afternoon, we had a Rubber-cut Workshop, and 30 participants joined us at Pino Malingap. This was a new kind of workshop because we stamped on totebags and scarves, and each participant got a VersaCraft stamp pad for fabric.
The scarves are a gauzy type of fabric from Vigan, which I sourced from ANTHILL.We're having another Rubber-cut Stamps + Fabric workshop on May 4, and there are a few slots left! Click on this link to sign up.

Then, using my tools for stamp-making, I carved on some wooden boards. It's tricky, but I had fun experimenting with a new material. Maybe I'll try carving a pattern for print next time.
I also made an envelope template for my friends E&E's wedding invitations. They're only printing 40 invites for their intimate destination wedding, so hand-cutting everything is the most economical solution. I made a pattern using the graphics that Em's friend made for the invitation (which are the shapes of the islands in Batanes), and used it to line the envelopes. On the upper right side of the photo is my cutting diagram for both the envelope and the liner.
PJ and I collaborate on the wall art of Pino, and for the function room, I made these mix-and-match robot stamps for the wall.
(The robot character is consistent in the Pino doodles.)
Stamped on large canvas with drip neon paint.
PJ did his signature doodle work on canvas. "Under-drawn" are his comic strip characters Rugby & JR, topped with a quote dedicated to me! :P Other girls have songs and poems written for them...I get jokes! Follow PJ and his funny instagram thread: @PJLanot
The Crafts and Creativity Workshop is another husband & wife collaboration of ours. This time, we went corporate and taught the packaging creatives at San Miguel Yamamura. They were such a fun bunch, and we really enjoyed spending our day with them. PJ gave his motivational talks and life planning workshop, while I taught crafts and talked about how to be creative anytime, anywhere.
Saturday lunch consisted of this child on the table. Haha, I'm kidding! This is my niece Winter, and some quick lettering of her name in pencil while waiting for our food to arrive.After lunch, we headed to Cornerstone Pottery Farm to play with clay, and plan for the Crafty Field Trip! March is about to end, and I'm glad that I'm still living out my 2013 promises to myself to LEARN new things and to MAKE something creative every day. :)

Hope you all have a blessed holy week!

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Favorite Breakfasts

Once I realized that my most productive work hours are in the morning, I became obsessed about waking up early.  I've always been an early sleeper since I was a kid (my family and closest friends know that bedtime for me is at 10pm, or earlier if I can help it!:P). In result, I wake up super early, as some of you who have received 5am emails from me may have noticed. The thing is, I can wake up early, but can't really function without breakfast. This is basically the reason why my blog is called Life After Breakfast -- my life really only begins after the most important meal of the day.

I'm not quite sure if today really is National Breakfast Day, or if a certain fastfood chain just invented it. But who cares?! Any reason to celebrate my most favorite meal sounds good to me! Since Posterous is shutting down, I thought of re-posting my first blog entry for the BDJ blog circle here. In honor of "National Breakfast Day", here are my favorite morning meals, doodled and watercolored.
I start the day with a glass of warm water with lemon. I don't drink coffee, but this wakes me up and gets my energy running just as well. We all know lemon to be sour, but when absorbed by the body, it has alkalizing properties. You can even add a dash of cayenne pepper to this drink to boost metabolism.
The more color you have on your plate, the more balanced nutrition you get. Keep this in mind when you create your own meals. This tofu scramble is an alternative to an omelette: instead of eggs, you've got tofu with turmeric and dark leafy greens for your protein. Sautée them with some garlic, onions, and tomatoes, and you're good to go! 

Who doesn't love pancakes? I mash in some fresh fruit like bananas, strawberries, or mangoes into the batter, and top the rest with fruit. To make healthier syrup, dilute some coconut sugar with a drop of hot water.
Now before you say anything, let me just tell you that drinking green smoothies is the easiest way to incorporate raw greens into your diet. And trust me, they taste wonderful! Start by pulse-blending the greens with some coconut water (less water = thicker smoothie), and then add a banana, some fresh pineapple, berries, prunes or dates to sweeten the shake naturally.
I love papayas! Lucky for me, we have a papaya tree in our backyard. I like eating this fresh, or sometimes, drizzling some yogurt over it.
Check your Asian food section in the supermarket, and next time, grab some somen noodles. These are super thin, and made from wheat. I first tried this at a hotel buffet for breakfast, and fell in love with the milky taste. I toss it in some sesame-ginger sauce and top it off with spring onions and dried seaweed. You can also add fresh tofu to go with it!
The perfect breakfast for rainy mornings: Champorado! I use brown or red rice for this, with locally made 100% cacao tablea, and add a shot of almond or hazelnut milk when it's done.
When I eat on my work desk (on hectic work days), this is my favorite thing to make for breakfast: a bowl of hot oats, sprinkled with chia seeds and cinnamon powder.
When I'm in a hurry to leave for early morning errands, I usually just toast some bread and fill it with soynut butter. Of course you can use peanut butter for this as well. Bananas are loaded with potassium, which helps the body retain less of the sodium in salty-sweet combinations such as this.

I love breakfast so much that our wedding was a morning wedding, with an overflowing breakfast buffet! (Thanks to my non-morning person husband for making that breakfast wedding dream come true.) I sometimes wish we could do an early bird craft workshop with yummy breakfast for morning people! Are there any other morning people out there who love to make crafts? ...Hello??? ...Anybody there? ....*crickets*.... (hahaha okay that was stupid :P) Anyway, if you think this is a good idea, drop me an e-mail, and maybe I can organize something for fellow crafty morning peeps! :P

Friday, March 15, 2013

Watercolored Wedding Invitations: Marty & Ana

Yay, another watercolored wedding invitation suite! I just sent these invitations to the couple, and I can't get over their beautiful navy+mustard+silver color palette. Envelope liners are LOVE. I am never designing a wedding invitation again without an envelope liner. Haha :P 

Ana wanted a chevron print, so I watercolored a couple of designs.
I ended up using the one on the right.
And then I went on to watercolor their names and the date (which was initially used for the save-the-date). I am lazy, and don't use pencils when I do watercolor, and this is one method that I will teach at the coming watercolor level2 crafternoon ;)
For the monogram, I experimented with liquid mask and used an old rigger paintbrush to do paint the m+a. And then I washed over it using a wet-on-wet technique (my fave!)

I'm happy the couple decided to go for an accordion style invitation because it really goes well with the chevron theme.
I incorporated the tiny chevron pattern into the Bridal Party page,
and used one of my watercolored fonts (Officine Sans) for the headers.
And the one thing I always look forward to when designing invitations is the map! This one was a simple watercolor sketch with more of the watercolored type.

Finished the invites off with simple calligraphy
using mustard acrylic ink on the navy envelopes.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Watercolored Succulents

I usually have a list of things I want and plan to watercolor. Succulents have been part of the list for a long time now, and I only really needed to sit down and actually do it.
I used a rigger brush for a relatively large succulent so it took me a while to finish the first one (I should've use a bigger brush). Then, over lunch with Gin, I finished a few more drawings.
And then I scanned the paintings and made patterns with them. Now I want to turn it into wallpaper! Or bedsheets! Or notebook covers! I think the pattern turned out real pretty, don't you think? ;)
And because this was an exercise in color for me, I painted them in these actual colors, and didn't alter it in Photoshop. All I did digitally was layer the succulents on top of each other.
Last Sunday, I realized that watercolor is still my favorite thing to teach, so I've opened a new crafternoon specially for those who have already taken the first watercolor workshop with me.

A Watercolor Crafternoon

Last Sunday, I hosted another watercolor crafternoon for beginners.
Watercolored stickers for name tags

Each participant was given their own Sakura Koi watercolor palettes. We painted flowers!
There were some kiddos who joined in with their mommies.
Tatin's blooms
And the rest of the class' works. Everyone did a wonderful job!
Class photo!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday7: The Most Perfect Oatmeal Berry Cookies Evahhhh

Today's Sunday7 is a recipe for the best Oatmeal Berry Cookies
that you can make in 7 easy steps.
I was inspired by this delicious FruittiNutti berry mix sent to me by TasteCentral. While waiting for PJ to come home from Saturday work, I decided to whip up some cookies. Haha, so stepford! :P

Below are some of the ingredients I used. The cookies are made with organic ingredients, with dairy and egg substitutes. This recipe is suuuper easy. I think I made them in 20 minutes, tops, and that's already including baking time!

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
For vegan desserts, I like using a convection oven.

Get two bowls and mix wet and dry ingredients separately.
Wet bowl: 1 cup coco sugar + 1 cup olive or canola oil + 1/2 tsp vanilla + 4 tbls chia gel
(Chia gel is made by soaking 1 part chia seeds to 7 parts water. 
Chia is the egg-replacer, while the oil is the butter replacer.)

Dry bowl: 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1 1/4 cup instant oats + 1/2 tsp baking soda +
3/4 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp salt
(You could substitute the whole wheat flour and oats with gluten-free options)

Add dry ingredients to wet, 1 cup at a time.
(Make sure you mix all ingredients in each bowl before combining bowls!)

Add 1/4 cup of chopped dried berries. You can also add nuts into the mix.

Roll into balls and flatten them out a bit.
Remember that these cookies are dairy and egg free,
meaning they won't expand too much when baked.

Bake for 8 minutes, rotating the pan/baking sheet at the halfway mark.
Bake for 8 minutes, no more, no less!!!
As tempting as they are to eat at once, you need to let the cookies cool down to room temperature, because otherwise, they'll just crumble in your hands. I like refrigerating the cookies once they've cooled down because they'll keep their form, but still be chewy once you bite into them.

Enjoy your Sunday! :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Kapok Craft

Since I posted a photo of the kapok tree on instagram a couple of days ago, I learned that a lot of people have fond memories of using the cotton fiber from the kapok fruit for crafts. It was, however, my first encounter with the tree and its fruit the other day when I visited the GK Enchanted Farm with my cousins and Bea Gomez of GK. She randomly pointed out the tree, and even climbed up the tree, but the fruit was too high. My cousin Ralph and I took turns throwing his sneaker, trying to hit the dried up fruit, and finally, one fell down. Bea cracked it open, and I ooh-ed and aah-ed for a good 5 minutes on the ground. So amazing!
The Kapok Tree
It may look skinny, but this long thing packs A LOT of fiber inside! I filled almost 4 cups (loosely) with the fiber from just one fruit.
Kapok is tropical silk cotton. The cotton fiber is traditionally used to fill pillows, mattresses, and maybe even plush toys.

At first, I tried felting the kapok fiber, but I learned (the hard and prickly way) that felting works best with synthetic fibers. Natural strands like kapok break easily and don't stay together even when poked with the felting needle from all the angles. I slept on it, and the next morning, decided to do this:

Handmade Paper from Kapok Fiber!

This was a trial recipe, and I think it can still be improved. It worked, though, which is why I'm posting it. First thing I did was separate the fibers from the seeds. That takes quite a while, and it is best done while watching no-brainer shows on tv.
1. Soak the fibers in water. Get your hand in there and ruffle the fibers with your fingers. Some unwanted dark plant fibers may come loose during this process, and remove them when you can. Remove 90% of the water from the bowl, leaving behind just enough water to cover the fibers.
2. Add starch, one tablespoon at a time until the fibers feel paste-y. Mix it in with your fingers.
3. You need a screen with bigger holes for faster results, but this silkscreen frame was all I had. I squeezed out the excess water and flattened it using a rolling pin.
4. You can air dry it overnight, but if you're impatient like me, you can also bake the paper. Haha! I stuffed it in the oven for 15 minutes at 190 degrees C.

And here's the finished product!
I trimmed off the ends to clean up the uneven edges, and the little hand-carved birdie (purchased from Silahis store) seems to like it! The paper turned out thick, but light, and can probably be used to make notebook covers. Will try to make more next time, and add some dried flowers leaves from the backyard. Yay, paper-making success! :)