Thursday, January 19, 2017

The One About the Rainbow Baps

The first crafty post to usher in the new year is ironically a project I made when I bid farewell to my colleagues when I moved to Japan last year.  I wanted to leave the portals of my former school in my usual artsy, crafty demeanor and give something to my friends that they, hopefully, will look back with fondness to.

I had just been bitten by the bread-making bug back then.  At the prodding of my husband, I had bought a cookbook from a gold mine of a secondhand bookstore and began my love affair with floury baps and whatnot.  In between kneading this glorious hunk of dough, I thought of my student days when my classmates and I would munch on peanut butter or cheese pimiento or ham sandwiched between two slices of rainbow bread. 

And so I thought, if I wanted to give a gift with an air of delightful nostalgia, what can be better by taking my friends down a trip on memory lane and gift them with rainbow bread?

And so I got to work.

I used a floury baps recipe and tinted batches of dough with rainbow hues.  They turned out lovely.  Baps has a chewy and somewhat tough artisanal texture so it was nothing like the light and airy pan de sal we are used to.

I packaged each rainbow bun with my virtual identity.  Along with each bun was a card I designed and a handwritten note (Can I just say that I looove writing notes by hand!) inside next to what I’d like to think was a witty and clever typed message.

Everything went so well together beautifully.  When saying goodbye is difficult, doing it in an artful way somehow makes it so easy.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The One About Purposeful Pursuit in 2017

When 2016 rolled in, I had every intention to follow a grace-filled life.  Glorifying busyness in the previous year resulted to neither productivity nor progress as far as my goals were concerned.  I was exhausted and burnt out.  Allowing God’s grace to flow freely into my life provided serenity, peace of mind, and a sense of fulfillment even from – curiously – not being able to accomplish everything in my to-do list.

This year, I plan to continue relishing in the gift of grace everyday.  However, I want my theme for the year to have an element of action too.  A word that will have a graceful undertone but embodies determination and strength as well as a sense of progress toward my goals.

I cannot think of a better theme for 2017 than this:  PURSUE.

Pursue a grace-filled life:  to be intentional and purposeful in every action I take and to focus on God’s direction at all times.

Pursue progress, not perfection.

Pursue what is meaningful even if it means not having more.

Scrolling through my social media feed, I cannot help but feel pressured with all the posts on hitting the ground running at the onset of the new year.  It’s quite okay to start slow, isn’t it?  In fact, there is really no need to rush when I know that the dreams and goals that I’m pursuing are the ones that really matter.

So here’s to a purposeful pursuit in 2017. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

The One About Creative Contemplation (Or What Will Happen to LMPC and Joujoux)

Recently, my husband and I said “yes” to an adventure.

An adventure quite awfully big and of it-wasn’t-even-in-our-bucket-list proportions.

Last summer I was feeling quite unsure in my teaching job.  To make the long story short, on one lazy summer day, I sent an application to teach in another school.  The next thing I knew, I was being interviewed, hired on the spot, and was sorting out all the visa and paperwork required in order for me to make the transfer to my new job.

It’s amazing how things can fall serendipitously into place when you let God take the reins.  One moment your nerves are shackled by uncertainty and restlessness and the next moment, by God’s grace, your soul is filled with strength, purpose, and calmness.  If you recall, my word for 2016 is GRACE and how I was intentional about allowing a lot of it to thrive in my life.  Last summer, I was only praying for enough strength and patience to endure the big changes taking place in my workplace.  But through grace, I was blessed with more than an answered prayer.

Two months since the lazy summer day, here I am.  In Japan.  With my husband.  Where a new adventure awaits.

This is where we will be based while I teach here.  We’re hoping to become very happy here.  To give you an idea, we’ve just found an apartment that we are absolutely in love with, are slowly purchasing items to fill our home, opening bank accounts, applying for a phone line, etc.  It’s been delightfully crazy and the past week has had our heads in a whirl.  We miss our families and the Philippines terribly but we are happy, nonetheless.  For the sake of designing the kind of life that we love, we know we are where we need to be for now.

I am not certain how long the adjustment will take before I can sew a new play food set or a new skirt again.  Or knit.  Or cook.  Or continue with my calligraphy drills.  It might take months or a year.  So here’s a little announcement - two, actually:

What will happen to the blog?  The blog will be quiet for now.  The graceful thing to do for now is to cut myself some slack and allow time to do its thing as far as adjustment is concerned.  I want my blog content to be purposeful and intentional and while it is gratifying to be able to post regularly, I don’t want to post only for the sake of doing so.

When I am fully adjusted, I shall post more regularly, possibly with expat living undertones in my post (Don’t you want to see snippets of living in Japan?).  Don’t worry, it will still be crafty!

Now, what will happen to Joujoux Playthings & Teachables?  The fascinating thing about doing business nowadays is that it is possible to run one from anywhere in the world — well, as far as online businesses are concerned.  Our lean start-up has been gaining a following and we are over-the-moon delighted with the way people have been responding to it.  So, your toysmiths will continue to create playthings and teachables and ship it to anywhere in the world where someone can give a child the gift of meaningful play…

…after the adjustment period, of course.  :)  C’mon, give us time.  Give us grace.  Give me a sewing machine manual in English, please.  Haha.  They’re all in Japanese!  We still have so many product ideas in our heads and we simply cannot wait to get started on making.  When we do, Joujoux Playthings & Teachables will have more handmade product offerings. 

I like to think of this time off from the blog and the startup as “creative contemplation" until I cross over to a better and bright Little Miss Pinay Crafter and Joujoux.

And so for now, I shall “trust the wait.  Embrace the uncertainty.  Enjoy the beauty of becoming.  When nothing is certain, anything is possible.” (Beautifully penned by Mandy Hale)


Monday, September 12, 2016

The One About Pinto Art Museum

One bright, sunny day in June, my friends and I took on a long drive to Antipolo.  Antipolo is quite far from my residence but I have been wanting to go there for the longest time.

You see, Pinto Art Museum beckons.

Whether or not one lives nearby, Pinto Art Museum feels like it’s worlds away.  You’d feel transported to another realm with its white-washed walls, lush greenery, abundance of natural light, and fresh air.  The entire place is peaceful and inviting.

Nestled in a huge property in the mountains of Antipolo, the place is divided into several galleries, gardens, and a lovely café, with sculptures ranging from pretty to cute to bizarre dotting the greenery.  The galleries are home to works by various artists.  I have noticed that the artists use every medium imaginable to create their masterpieces – yes, there ‘s every kind of paint, clay, and textile but there is also x-ray film, wire, and other found objects.  A visual treat awaits at every nook and cranny of the place.


It’s not everyday that I come across a thing of beauty.  Pinto Art Museum has an abundance of beautiful things – and it’s not just the art.  The wooden doors, the flowers that sweep the staircase, the inviting outdoor couch, the al fresco dining sets…everything just comes so beautifully put together, making Pinto Art Museum truly a place for creativity and inspiration.