posted on April 7, 2013 in Odds and Ends, Sunday Snippets | 6 comments
With temperatures here in Manila hitting 34-35 degrees Celsius, I can’t help but have summer on my mind. Last year, I missed out entirely on summer in the Philippines as I was away on a two-month trip elsewhere, but I’m home and languishing in the heat this year. It’s the kind of heat and humidity where you’re literally already sweating before you’ve even toweled off from taking a shower. No joke.
Here are a few summery illustration snippets from recent/ongoing projects :)
And of course, when it’s summer and you live in a tropical country with 7,107 islands, you hit the beach.
Blog entry/article about the virgin beach of Calaguas, Camarines Norte to come, soon :D
I’m still carving rubber stamps in my spare time and whenever the mood strikes, usually when I feel like I need to take a break from the computer (which I spend too much time on!). I’m trying to work using a new technique that, unlike in my DIY eraser stamp carving tutorial, doesn’t involve a Speedball cutter. Just an X-acto knife and a different way of angling the blade to make stamps that are sturdier and more resistant to wear and tear.
I’m still getting the hang of this new technique, and I’ll try to upload more stamps carved using this method when successful, heh.
This blog’s been quiet lately, and I don’t really have an excuse except that I’m lazy (and I partially blame the heat for making me extra unproductive), but I have a few illustration, craft, and work-related posts lined up in the coming weeks, so hang tight :)
Sunday Snippets is a new, semi-regular Sunday column on my blog, a disjointed, catch-all entry for the little random snippets of art, random thoughts, interesting links, and whatever’s catching my fancy at the moment.
posted on February 6, 2013 in Arts & Crafts, Singapore, Travel | 3 comments
As you may have noticed (or not) from my last Wordless Wednesday, I was in Singapore recently. I was there together with my brother and parents for my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary.
I don’t have a travel journal for Singapore and probably won’t be making one (at least not for this trip). Singapore is nice. REALLY nice. But that’s all it was to me– nice. Singapore is a destination a lot of Filipinos have been to due to its proximity to our country (3 1/2 hours by air), the abundance of cheap airfare from Manila, and the lack of need for a tourist visa. A lot of people, tourists and Singapore locals like, say there’s not a lot to see and do there except eat. And walk. And ride the MRT. I found that to be very true. I skipped the touristy stuff (wasn’t interested in botanical gardens, theme parks, and museums) and checked out a few stationery and arts and crafts-related stores instead.
The first one I came across was kikki.K, and quite unexpectedly. My family and I were meeting some of my brother’s friends in ION Orchard mall for dinner and we got off the Orchard Road MRT. kikki.K was right there at the turnstile exit and I think I may have taken off and made a beeline for the store as soon as I saw it.
kikki.K is a Swedish home and office lifestyle store selling stationery and gifts. I believe it started in Australia, and I remember my Australian-based friend giving me the link to their website a few years ago. I was looking forward to checking out their Singapore branch. It didn’t disappoint! Everything was so chic, pretty, well-designed, and minimalist… and also pretty pricey, as the rest of Singapore is. I didn’t take pictures in the store as coming from Manila where photography in retail stores isn’t allowed (why, nobody knows– not even the store attendants), I wasn’t sure if I could.
I had my eye on a blank, hardbound 365 journal, which I saw on their website prior to flying to Singapore.
I ended up buying two! What appealed to me are the numbered pages, one page for every day of the year. Perfect for daily drawings/journals/photos/recipes/whatever. I’m still thinking of what to do with these.
Shop 44-46, 2 Orchard Turn
A week before the trip, I went over to Lorra’s blog and dug through her archives for her post on Singapore’s fun, crafty places. It was through her blog that I learned about The Little Happyshop in Holland Village. And so it was where I found myself a week later, browsing through a little happy shop of colorful merchandise, journals too pretty to write on, and stationery made just for hoarding. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures (this time, I forgot).
I bought a few rolls of MT washi tape (my favorite washi tape brand!).
I also bought some Japanese rubber carving blocks for rubber stamp carving as my carving block supply is down to a small square and I also wanted to try other kinds.
I was asked to do a review on Instagram and here’s what I can say, in a nutshell: these rubber blocks carve LIKE BUTTER. Literally like butter. I noticed the difference as soon as I sank in my X-acto knife to carve my outlines. They carved so smoothly– too smoothly, in fact, that you have to be extra careful so that your knife doesn’t slip and you don’t over-carve your lines by accident.
I carved out a crafty set of scissors and dashed lines to try out the blocks. I also turned some of the leftover triangle ends into stamps as I didn’t want them to go to waste.
In the end, though, I think I still prefer using my cheap, Faber-Castell erasers to carve my smaller-sized stamps as they’re more readily available and the carving quality is firmer and just as good.
The Little Happyshop
Holland V Shopping Mall
My directions: Get off at the Holland Village MRT station on the Circle line (orange). Take exit C, turn left and walk straight until you reach a little street (Lor Liput) then turn right. Keep your eye out for the Holland V Shopping Mall on the left side of the street. Enter the mall (it’s more of a small shopping complex with little stores and not really a proper mall), go up the escalator. The Little Happyshop will be at the end of the left corridor.
I wasn’t able to go around Singapore as much as I would’ve liked as I was traveling with my family, but on one afternoon, I did get to venture out on my own and it was then that I discovered the Asian equivalent of Michael’s (the arts and crafts store) in the US. But that’s another blog entry, for another day. Stay tuned :)
EDIT: Click here to read part 2 of this blog post.
posted on December 29, 2012 in Arts & Crafts | 26 comments
When I first started carving eraser stamps early this year (2012), I knew only ONE other person locally (Lorra of Stars For Dreams), who was also doing the same thing. In the last few months though, crafting, and stamp carving especially, has been the trendy thing to do among twenty- and thirty-somethings in Manila (along with calligraphy and washi tape!). The DIY/handmade/crafting movement has been going strong for the last few years internationally, thanks to Etsy, and Manila has started to catch on. Crafting is not just for kids and little old lolas anymore!
I’ve sporadically been posting my eraser stamps on Instagram over the past few months and I’ve always gotten questions about where I get my tools and materials, so I thought of writing a post to answer all these. Then I thought, why not throw in a tutorial as well? Eraser stamp carving is pretty straightforward and I see people plunging into it immediately without a need for a tutorial, but in the course of carving my stamps, I’ve discovered some tips and tricks to make stamp-carving a little easier and more enjoyable, and I thought I’d share them with you.
This coffee cup stamp is the stamp I’ll be demonstrating in this tutorial.
posted on September 21, 2012 in Arts & Crafts | 6 comments
I live on the Internet.
Screenshot of my old online digs, courtesy of the Internet Wayback Machine.
I’ve been online and making websites since 1998, in various places on the web. I am grateful to have been an impressionable teenager then, quick to embrace new technology and media at the time the Internet went mainstream. I blogged my life online, along with a regular circle of local blogger friends and we all kept updated on each others’ lives via Livejournal. Some of them I’ve known for about ten years now– some I’ve met in real life, or bumped into randomly in school/at work, and there are others I haven’t met in person yet. Even now, ten years or so later, most of us still keep updated on each others’ lives via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks.
The Internet is a great way to connect with people with similar interests, so when I learned via Instagram that Lorra from Stars for Dreams was also into carving rubber stamps (at that time, she was the only other local person I knew who was into it), I tweeted her to set a date to meet up for a rubber stamp crafternoon. We met on a Saturday in August in Cafe Mary Grace, one of my favorite restaurants whose table decor always makes for pretty, gratuitous Instagrammed food photos.
Mary Grace’s table setting (from a previous visit)
The table setting was lost on us when we brought out our stamping tools and materials, though :P We turned Mary Grace’s table into a crafts table. The middle-aged ladies sitting at the table next to us got curious and asked what we were doing. Carving rubber stamps, we said. One of them exclaimed that she used to do that, too, and would buy her materials in Michaels (the arts and crafts store) in the US.
I shared my Speedball Linocutter with Lorra while she shared with me places on where to shop for arts and crafts in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Manila. The Singapore shopping tips were especially of interest to me as I have an upcoming trip there. My wallet is scared.
Photo: Lorra Elena Angbue-Te
We also talked a lot about crafting, freelance illustration, the local crafts and design scene, and all other things I don’t/can’t talk about with my “regular” friends. Working from home, as I do, can get very isolated and it was nice to connect with someone in the same industry who shares the same interests.
I made these that afternoon:
Scary panda and a whale
While Lorra made this, which she turned into cards later that night.
Photo: Lorra Elena Angbue-Te
Photo: Lorra Elena Angbue-Te
It was a great afternoon of hot chocolate, lemon bars, and stamps! Lorra said she was nervous about meeting me (Why? Do I have three heads or something? :P) but it wasn’t obvious at all. On the contrary, I found her very nice, natural, and chatty! Thanks Lorra! We’ll be doing this again soon! :D
Some of the stamps I’ve made so far.
Read part 1 of this post here.
posted on August 13, 2012 in Arts & Crafts | 14 comments
A relatively new hobby I’ve taken up recently is rubber stamp carving. It started when I stumbled upon some handmade rubber stamps being sold on Etsy some years ago. At the time, I was running my own Etsy shop (which I’ve since “retired” since work got in the way) and was looking to speed up the process and reduce the cost of packaging my products by having a custom rubber stamp logo made for my shop. The price of these custom stamps turned me off, though– they were about $25 USD for a small stamp. Yes, I know it’s a custom piece and it’s handmade but it was, for me, a ridiculous price especially when converted to Philippine Pesos. I can buy roundtrip domestic promo plane tickets for that price.
Fast forward to last year. After coming across Geninne’s handmade stamps tutorial using erasers and this photo of a heart-shaped pencil eraser stamp on Pinterest, I experimented with making eraser stamps myself, documenting my progress on my Instagram (username: @wedgienet).
“I made a simple heart-shaped eraser stamp a few days ago using an X-acto knife. Hopefully, with proper carving tools, I’ll be able to make more complicated stamps someday :)” (March 2012)
Second attempt at carving eraser stamps… This time with proper carving tools. Not as clean and perfect as I wanted them to be but it’s a start, yes? Pretty pleased with how they turned out” (March 2012)
Then I left for a 2-month vacation and had to leave my stamp-making stuff behind. I considered bringing them with me but I knew I would barely have time to craft and I knew I was going to pick up new stamping tools and materials during my trip anyway :P
Back in Manila two months later, I started using rubber blocks I purchased during my trip instead of erasers.
“Made a quick #rubberstamp while waiting to leave for Saturday lunch. Happy to be back at my crafts table with my tools, paints, brushes, etc.” (June 2012)
“Some rubber stamps I made recently. Gray one is cheap, unbranded rubber block (and it shows). Pink stamps are carved from Speedball Speedy-Carve” (June 2012)
In addition to the woodcarving tools I had been using previously, I also started using a Speedball linoleum cutter I bought abroad to carve my stamps.
“Outdoor weekend plans = cancelled T__T was supposed to trek to Taal Volcano (you know, make the most out of living along the Pacific Ring of Fire) :(” (July 2012)”
“Super lazy #Sunday— I un-RSVPd to an event I RSVPd to in favor of staying in, rolling around in bed, and making a #rubberstamp #selfportrait. I am hermit-y.” (August 2012)
Those are most of the stamps I’ve made so far. Carving rubber stamps is just a little something I do before I start real work (illustration/design projects) or after spending XX hours on the computer. It’s a way for me to unwind and make something with my hands and not with a mouse. There’s something relaxing and satisfying about sitting idly and quietly, carving rubber. Weird.
I didn’t really know anyone local who was also into carving stamps until I got to connect with fellow illustrator Lorra on Instagram earlier this year. Thank you, Internet, for bringing people with similar interests together. I wonder how people from Internet-less generations before ours managed. Lorra and I met up for an afternoon of hot chocolate, lemon squares, and stamp carving, but that’s part 2 of a blog entry that shall come at a later time as this entry is too long already :P Cliffhanger much? :P
EDIT: Read part 2 of this post here.