Friday, June 24, 2016

Watercolor Demo at CraftCarrot Kapitolyo

I've been using Silver Brush for watercolor for as long as I can remember. These are the brushes that I always include in my workshop kits. This 20/0 spotter brush in particular, is one of my faves. They're perfect for lettering and botanical details!

If you've always wanted to learn watercolor, but have never had the chance to attend a full workshop, then this FREE WATERCOLOR DEMO on Sunday, June 26 is perfect for you. I'll be teaching watercolor mixtures and brush techniques to help get you started on this medium. 
I always tell my students to invest in good materials, especially if you are a beginner, because this lessens the frustration when you are practicing. See that peony above? I apply the details at the very last step using these fine Ultra Mini Silver Brushes.

Hope to see you on Sunday, 26 June, 1-2pm
at CraftCarrot, East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo.

Registration is absolutely FREE. Just send an e-mail to


Instagram Giveaway: FREE Floral Sketching Workshop

When I find art tools that I reeaaaally like, I kinda go crazy :P

My favorite white & bronze pigment pens went on sale in the US, so I ordered a bunch of them, had them shipped to my Shipping Cart address in the US, and they were delivered straight to my doorstep. It really is the easiest and most efficient way of ordering from the US, because you pre-pay for the cost of shipment online, so you're not surprised by any extra customs charges. Also, they minimize the packaging. Some art stores I buy from overpack the boxes with paper stuffers. Paper is heavy! I hate having to pay for packaging weight. :( I was happy to see that Shipping Cart consolidated my packages, which made the shipping free from US to Manila more cost efficient.

You can easily get your own US address so you can easily shop from online stores in the States by creating an account at

Love this broad white pigment pen!

And the best news of the day? :P I'm sharing these pens (and black pads) with you! I've got an Instagram Giveaway going on til tomorrow, Saturday. Head on over to and follow the instructions on the post.

Winners will be drawn and notified on Saturday, June 25. The free workshop is on July 3. :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Leather Crafternoon with LAB x NiQUA

...the things you can do with your creativity and leather scraps! :)

Join me for a new Leather Crafternoon on July 9, Saturday @ Alabang. I've partnerned with NiQUA bags for this workshop, and with a little creative magic, we'll be breathing new life into their locally sourced leather scraps. Workshop fee is only P500, and is inclusive of materials and all the leather you need to create as many keychains, bag charms, and luggage tags as you can.

Click on this link to register: 

Hope to see you then!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Travel Diary: Florence Fonts & Finds

I just got back from a month-long trip to Europe, and Florence was the 6th city on our itinerary. Each member of the family chose a city to visit, and this was my sister's pick. To be honest, all that I planned to do here was shop at the outlet stores. I don't know if it was because of the fact that I had very little expectation of this city that it surprised me the most.

Of course, there is the famous Duomo, that stands out among the city's skyline. The photo above was actually taken at the top of Fiesole, a town right outside Florence.

Marble inlay, marble carvings, built in the 1200's. Commanding both from far away and up close.

Walked by the Arno River near our hotel on our first day, and of course, had to try the gelato! This was one of the best I had, from Gelateria Lungarno.

In Florence, they put the arch in architecture ;P

There's a dude that plays with Florence's street signs: Clet Abraham. He adds stickers and makes stories out of the street signs. Here are a bunch of his vandalised No Entry signs that I came across.

Dotted doors and horse head door handles. Never a lack of texture in this city. I fell in love with all the detail!

While researching for notable craft shops to visit in the city, I first went to a couple of their most popular paper stores: Il Papiro and Johnsons & Relatives. Bought some souvenirs -- I just couldn't resist the metal leaf details on the notecards and wrapping paper!

Initially, I didn't think I would be able to relate to this city. But how could I have not put two and two together?! Of course this would be a country in love with typography--it isn't named a ROMAN typeface for nothing! On our second day, I made it a point to take notice of the city's typography.

I read from some travel guide that the best place to check out the typography in a city is to visit their cemeteries. (Yikes!) But there in Santa Croce, an old church where Michaelangelo, Rossini, Machiavelli, and Galileo Galilei (to name a few) are buried, I spotted some amazing roman & gothic calligraphy, not just written, but carved & laid in marble!!

There's a leather school right next to the church, and you can purchase some of the students' works there. Their products are really well-made and reasonably priced.

We stumbled upon a type-splashed gelateria. I had another scoop of my fave pistachio-flavored gelato. 

At Mercato Centrale, chalkboards are filled up with handwritten letters.
By the way, the truffle veggie burger in this kiosk is a must-try.

Now, if you pay attention to all the details, you'll spot beautiful letters everywhere. A building directory displays its tenants' names in elegant scripts and serifs.

More arches on doorways, with cut glass and flourished letters for the local drugstores.

We went up the natural farmacia of Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte (right across Michaelangelo's point) to buy some oils. The abbey's exterior was covered with white flowers!
You can find more of my #LABtraveldiary on Instagram @lifeafterbreakfastph :)

We spent many hours exploring the city center, and I went inside all the stationery stores that I saw. Paper is what they use to attract the tourists, but sift deeper into the stores, and it's CALLIGRAPHY HEAVEN.

Among all the shops I visited, here are the best ones for me -- a.k.a. where I went shopping :P

Cartiglio sells handmade leather journals and unique wooden fountain pens.
Cartiglio - Via del Proconsolo, 63/R, 50122 Firenze, Italy

Signum carries a wide range of wax seals, calligraphy ink, glass pens, and nib sets.
Signum - Lungarno Archibusieri, 14r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

My favorite shop was Lo Scrittoio. Got a bunch of vintage nibs from here. Very nice and helpful owner, as well!
Lo Scrittoio - Via Nazionale, 126, 50123 Firenze, Italy

Here's part of my calligraphy loot: Fabriano lettering pad, vintage nibs, glass ink well, wooden calligraphy pen, pen stand, and a practice book.
Can't wait to play with these nibs!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunny Sunday Workshop

How nice would it be to always have this wooden backdrop with 'floating' florals whenever I teach workshops? :P This beautiful set-up was prepared by Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay, where I taught a mini calligraphy workshop on a sunny Sunday morning.

I prepared a Gold Calligraphy kit for the hotel guests :) Thanks to my Mom for helping me set-up the workshop materials!

Loved that families came to join today. Participants perfected their movement drills and everyone was able to write in calligraphy successfully!

We were served these yummy sandwiches for snacks, and then later on, my family was treated to an awesome lunch at Restaurant Verbena!

Finally checked into our humongous room! 

All this space is such a treat for condo-dwellers like me and Peej. :P And there is absolutely no chance to be hungry here. In-room, we were served a cheese platter in the afternoon, and had milk & cookies + cake for dessert at night! 

Love how it's so relaxing and quiet here. A perfect place to paint and take photos. For some reason, I love the harsh light & shadows of the noontime sun (even though our photography teacher back in college warned us to never shoot at lunch). 

Excited to paint more motifs at the garden tomorrow!

I'm teaching Botanical Illustration (morning) and Botanical Watercolor (afternoon) workshops at Discovery Suites Ortigas (across Podium) on May 8, Sunday. To join, you can sign up at :)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ampersand April

Random challenge: chose 4 of my fave ampersands, and did this no-pencil watercolor lettering exercise. Used gray ecoline ink and a 20/0 brush. :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Notes To Self at DesignWeekPH

I'm looking at my photo stream, to try to prepare a new blog post, and I'm so overwhelmed with how the photos jump from one theme/event to another. So many things are happening all at once, and I'm reminded exactly why I need this "filing" time. Yes, as in a photo filing system, because one minute I am painting, and the next moment I am taking photos of food at the restos, and then later on, speaking at an event. Conversation last night with one of my best friends Muffin last night (thank you to you and your baby bump for staying up late with me, and allowing me to share my "freelancer" thoughts :P)  made me realize that I mustn't complain, because this pace, this life, is what I chose--and things are actually working in my favor (so far). And that every job, no matter what it is, always comes with challenges.

This wall is a part of my pop-up exhibit in Casa Manila Intramuros for Design Week Philippines :)

If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's.

I love that quote. It makes every stumbling block that you have faced/are experiencing totally valid and worth it. It makes you realize that if things are going too easy and working too much in your favor, then it's probably not revolutionary. It's so convenient to just go with the flow. To do things because everyone is already doing it.

Last week, my friends Abbey, Tippy, Mansy and I gave talks at Design Week Philippines. It was such a fun afternoon, and so many people came, even if we had it on a random Tuesday afternoon!

Tippy, Abbey, Me and PJ (thank your for hosting, love!) So grateful for these ladies aka my occasional officemates. Sometimes, we have to get out of our shells and connect with other creatives :P (photo from Abbey)

I gave a talk on creativity entitled Notes To Self because the creativity tips that I shared are actually things I write to remind myself to stay on the creative path. Again, being a freelancer can sometimes get lonely, and as a designer, you're always thinking, "Is this where I am supposed to be???" (Wassup with all the existentialism, right?! Does staring at the computer screen too much cause that?:P) So these Notes to Self are some little reminders to guide you on your creative path.

A couple of my slides covered that topic about (not) going with the flow. Are you carving your own path? What we see on Instagram and Pinterest can easily influence us. When it comes to finding inspiration, don't get it online! Do your own thing. Find inspiration from your own real experiences.

If it's online, it's already been done.

When you aren't sure if what you're doing is right, remember to have the courage to be yourself. Honor your own experiences. Unique ideas spring from unique connections.

I turned my slides into a zine so that participants at the talk could take them home. I still have some extras. E-mail me at if you want one. Selling them for P150 each. :)

Been living in these super comfy Zoe sandals by Toms. Absolutely love how comfy they are. Wearing my chambray & tan leather uniform even on my feet. :P

These creative talks were in partnership with Design Week Philippines, where we also held a bunch of workshops. I gave a Floral Sketching workshop while Mikko taught Weaving Basics.

My kits included Pitt Artist Pens and Watercolour Pencils from Faber Castell, a Waterbrush from Craftdoodle, and paper from IFEX Ph. We made floral doodles & patterns!

On the second day, I conducted a Botanical Watercolor workshop, also at Barbara's in Casa Manila Intramuros.

We also made stamps for all the partners of Design Week.

And I joined in on the Slab Pottery + Stamp Design workshop of Mansy and Nica. I'm in love with slab pottery! Can't wait to paint on the pieces that I made.

Here's an example of a plate I painted before--which is now on current use in the kitchen, and here topped with some ricotta ensaymada from Breakfast and Pies. A happy note to end an awesome week.