Tuesday, April 19, 2016

100 Days of Calligraphy: Day 5

Day 5 of my 100 Days of Calligraphy Challenge had me laboring over the o-form.  Now, it's my first so-called complete figure that had me writing the entire form in one stroke.  The challenge was to perfectly time when I had to exert pressure on my nib and when to release while making certain that my o's were a series of equal widths.

Not so bad, if I may say so myself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The One About FIDA Sewing and Arts School

I have always declared that the Philippines needs more creative spaces.  With malls and commercial establishments being built one after another, a quaint craft supply store or a small workshop venue always appears to be a breath of fresh air for artistic souls.  Just think of it:  a space when creative juices can freely flow, where untapped potential can redeem itself, where there are no mistakes, just artsy opportunities.

FIDA (Fashion Institute of Design and Arts) Sewing and Arts School is the (relatively) new kid on the creative block.  Founded in 2009 with schools in Davao and Cebu, their new branch is located in Silang, Cavite.   It is owned by Christine Munda who served as the academic director of the School for Fashion and the Arts (SOFA) at its inception.  Armed with her business degree and advanced fashion design education, she put up her own businesses in apparel, arts and crafts, and interior design.  Her vast experience in fashion and the arts ultimately led her to putting up FIDA.

The new FIDA location in Silang, Cavite promises to be a haven for individuals seeking to pursue inspired hobbies and artistic endeavors.  The school will be having its Open House and Soft Launch this week with a bevy of craft classes and sewing workshops.


Check out the classes that are offered this summer!

Naturally, the sewing classes caught my eye!  And hey, they even have workshops for crafty kiddies and young sewing enthusiasts!

As a creative, I cannot stress enough that one should allow herself the gift of inspired creativity.  FIDA Sewing and Arts School sounds like the perfect place for such gift. :)

Follow FIDA Sewing and Arts School on Facebook and Instagram or their website.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Popcorn Bunnies and Cheetos Carrots Craft Tutorial

With Easter just around the corner, establishments like hotels and malls are busy drumming up their respective Easter egg hunts and celebrations.  I don’t really celebrate Easter but I love the fact that it signals the beginning of spring.  While spring isn’t really an apparent season here in my neck of the woods (more like summer all year long), I am amused by the burst of pastel colors that fashion houses release and the vibrant blooms that dot the metro…and my Instagram feed.  If you’d rather spend your money on spring fashion (have you seen all those lovely little white dresses?!?!) and veer away from exorbitant Easter egg hunt fees, you can still spread the same cheer in your home with this lovely little spring craft.

Instead of eggs, how about having kids hunt for popcorn bunnies with matching Cheetos carrots?  I’m sure they will appreciate the adorable twist.

Popcorn bunnies

Since the treat bags are clear and since I’d like to show you very clearly how I adjusted them to look like bunny faces and carrots, I’m using a pink-colored sheet of construction paper to show the folds.

I simply taped the folds using clear sticky tape.

Once the bags were ready, I filled them up with popcorn.  I gathered the opening and used pipe cleaners to seal the bags.  I made sure there was an excess of pipe cleaner about 1 ½” tall on each side.  That’s where I will be attaching the ears.

For the ears, I drew a pair on white construction paper and cut them out.  You can tape or hot glue them onto the pipe cleaners.

For the face, I drew one on matte sticky paper so it was easier to place onto the treat bag.

Cheetos carrots

Cone-shaped plastic treat bags are hard to come by in my country so I settled for rectangular ones, about 5”x6”.

Here are the instructions for the folds.  Again, I simply taped them to keep the cone shape of the bag.

After filling the bags with Cheetos, I gathered the opening and sealed the bag using an elastic band and a green satin ribbon to mimic “carrot tops.”

Easy peasy, right?  In true Easter fashion, it’s like giving the old tired egg hunt a new lease on life. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The One About the Korokke

Korrokke is Japanese deep-fried meat and potato croquettes.  It’s a simple and relatively fast dish to whip up and is good eaten on its own or, as I just did when I served it for dinner recently, with mounds of hot rice.  Carb overload, I know.

Plate them in their golden brown glory and serve with katsu dipping sauce and you’ve got a meal that tastes like heaven!

Makes 6-8 flat patties

3 large potatoes (or 4 medium ones)
2 tablespoons butter (I don’t scrimp on butter!)
salt and pepper
300 grams ground beef (I used lean ground beef)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 egg
Panko breadcrumbs
Tonkatsu sauce


1. Peel potatoes and slice into small chunks.  Place potatoes in a pot of water and bring to a boil or until spuds are fork-tender.

2. Drain the potatoes and mash them with a fork.  While the mashed potatoes are hot, flavor them with butter, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.  Set aside to cool.

3.  Heat up a pan with oil.  Saute the onions and garlic.  When the onions are translucent and the heady aroma of garlic starts to fill the air (do not brown the garlic), add the ground beef and cook until brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside to cool.

4.  When both potatoes and beef are cool enough to handle, add the browned beef to the mashed potatoes and mix well.  At this point, you can add an egg to bind everything together.  I didn’t, though, because I found the mixture good enough to handle as it is.

5.  Prepare flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls.  Form beef-potato mixture into flat patties.  Dredge the patties in the flour, dip in the egg, and cover with breadcrumbs.

6.  Deep-fry the korroke.

7.  Serve hot with tonkatsu sauce (easiest recipe:  3 parts ketchup and 1 part Worcestershire sauce).

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

100 Days of Calligraphy: Day 4

On Day 4 of my #100DaysofCalligraphy, I worked on the second variation of the pressure-and-release stroke.  It is actually a combination of the two previous strokes but it still can be tricky because of all the curving around needed and knowing when to put pressure and when to release.  Not to mention that the spaces between the three parallel lines need to be of the same amount.

I decided to practice the previous strokes prior to doing the new one as seen in the photos.  Doing so made the new stroke easier to do.

If you're new to this series, I'm challenging myself to master calligraphy.  Being a leftie has made this fine art seem difficult, frustrating, and overwhelming (although numerous sources in the internet say otherwise with some even declaring that lefties have all the advantage!) so I have decided to devote 100 days (probably even more) to practice, practice, practice until I attain proficiency.

If you'd like to take part in the challenge (open to non-lefties as well), here are links to previous drills:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

On IG, use the hashtag #100daysofcalligraphy so I can see who's with me on this creative journey!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#LMPCEats: Makati Diamond Residences' Champagne Everyday Brunch

When you are unofficially dubbed as “The Girl Who Can Eat Anything,” lavish buffet spreads tend to be your jam.  Standing in the middle of a myriad of culinary stations, each one enticing all of your senses to devour morsel after morsel of what it offers, gives you a thrill that usually comes when in a candy store.  Or a bookstore, in my case.  In fact, buffets have become your thing that planning to eat your way through one is something you have down to science – which explains the X number of plates you have had to ask to be dished out.  And at times, you resist the urge to smirk and shout “Hell, no!” when people say there is no way one can eat each and every dish in a buffet spread.

Anyway, when I sat down to plan on refocusing the purpose and intention of this blog, I decided to do away with food posts because 1) I wasn’t a food blogger; and 2) I wasn’t a food blogger.  But last weekend, I conquered yet another buffet that is too good not to write about.

I admit that while I have tried a good number of buffet spreads in the metro, it hardly makes me an expert but Makati Diamond Residences’ Champagne Everyday Brunch is truly one for the books.  While the spread is comparatively small, it offers all the good stuff in a brunch buffet.  And when I say, all the good stuff, think US Angus Rib Eye Steak, Rack of Lamb, Conchinillo, Raclette… And overflowing champagne!

The brunch has an inviting array of starters:  quiches, fried eggplant with a tartare-like topping, and creamy shrimp balls are just some of them.  There is a small salad station with fix-ins to dress up your greens but the salad is amazingly flavorful because the greens are tossed with the Caesar dressing in a hollowed out Parmesan wheel.  The cheese is scraped as the greens are tossed.

After that, I got to the good parts:

US Angus Rib Eye Steak with all its accoutrements:  roasted vegetables, roasted heads of garlic (great for spreading onto the steak!).  There is a creamy sauce for drowning all these greatness in!

Australian rack of lamb cooked superbly it rids itself of the funny aftertaste lamb is known for.

Grilled prawns.  Which I couldn’t stop myself from having seconds.

I had a "surf" plate with the prawn and crusted baked fish.

Smoothest mashed potatoes.  Ever.

Bagnet Paella.  Who would’ve thought?!?!  It was yummy!

Conchinillo.  It’s like pork bliss.

Fresh ravioli 

A true blue cheese enthusiast, I went weak in my knees at the Raclette Station.  Devouring the gooey melted cheese sprinkled with fresh black pepper, I thought I’d died and gone to cheese heaven.

And then in between bites, there are the drinks.  Apart from the bubbles, one can knock himself/herself out with coffee (they brew Toby’s Estate coffee) , soda, juice, red and white wine, and cocktails.

Raclette and caprinha

For dessert, their options include Limoncello Tiramisu, Bouchon, and homemade ice cream.  I am not big on desserts but I chose to try their ice cream.  Asked to choose among Super Moist Chocolate, Raspberry, and Cheesecake, my husband went “All three,” so I followed suit.  I was thankful I did because they were all creamy and tasty.  If freshness was a taste, I’d say it was so because one can really tell it was freshly made and tastes unlike commercially-made frozen treats.

It’s true that not all buffets are created equal (ly).  The Makati Diamond Residences’ Champagne Everyday Brunch is a relative David among the bigger and well-known buffets in the city.  The enticing spread, however, along with the intimate ambience and soothing piano melodies, manages to slay the Goliaths and it’s largely credited to its premium and inspired selections that were prepared JUST.  DARN.  WELL.   As far as my appetite’s concerned, it has emerged gastronomically victorious.  The old adage “Less is more” cannot be truer.

Same with “The early bird catches the worm” because this delightful brunch offering won’t last long!

And if that doesn’t convince you yet, we were also served foie gras macarons (which I did not manage to take a picture of) which tasted a lot like heaven so if you’re still reading this, run!  Don’t walk!  Or think.  Just eat.  And toast.  And thank me afterward. :)