Speculiars x The Chocolate Kiss Cake Shop

Our craft group Speculiars made super special handmade cake toppers  for the new The Chocolate Kiss Cake Shop. Hooray! As if we needed more reasons to buy cake, right? 

Here is a closer look at the party animals I made. Because sometimes you can have your cake and it eat too, but you don’t have to do it alone~

Check out more designs on Facebook, or better yet, drop by the shop! The new Chocolate Kiss Cake Shop is located at The Courtyard Bldg., Sgt. Esguerra St., QC.

Thank you Liza and The Chocolate Kiss for having us!


Long distances

On other people’s photographs
It must be said that I actually do enjoy Instagram because generally I am a very visual person, and I like looking at photos. It’s one of the most convenient places on the internet where people purposefully makes all (well, almost) of their photos presentable and well-curated. We all prepare for our Instagram photos, in one way or another. La la la. Sometimes, when I can’t sleep at night but am too tired to get out of bed, I run through my Instagram feed until I doze off (and my phone falls on my face).

Here are some of my favorite people on Instagram!

1. Sabine Timm is a recent find, and she has the loveliest posts. Her photos mostly feature arrangements of color-coordinated found objects, which I find refreshing and just nice to stare at. Find more of her work on her Flickr.

2. I’ve been following Geninne on Blogspot for a while, and at one point in my life she became one of my life pegs haha. I’m happy she’s also on Instagram because aside from her art, her house and her dog and all her house plants look so beautiful, too. Her husband made their house and he also makes furniture and basically they are both awesome at what they do.

3. Studio Arhoj is a ceramic studio (among other things) in Copenhagen. They’re one of the first ceramic groups that I started following when I first got interested in ceramics and pottery. I love how they glaze their work, it’s so fun. Also, they post some of their studio mishaps and I like that, because I am the kind of person who secretly finds it noble when people post about their mistakes, and the lessons that they learn, on the amazonian jungle which is the internet.

4. Jem Magbanua is an illustrator based in Singapore. I love her artworks! She doesn’t post frequently but when she does it’s always lovely. You can also see her work on her website.

5. I first found out about Louise Fili from reading Jessica Hische’s profile, because Jessica had previously worked at Louise Fili Ltd. That must have been such a thrill, to be young and in love with letters, and have such a great mentor to work with. Louise’s posts are consistently typographic in nature: street signage, restaurant lights, subway tiles, and other found letterforms.

6. JR is a street artist and I’m not sure how to introduce him properly, so please watch his TED talk instead, and then you will see why I admire him. I saw a photo of one of his works hanging in the lobby of the hotel we stayed at in Phnom Penh a few years ago. I thought it was visually moving but I didn’t know what it was and what it stood for, or that it was actually set in Cambodia. Well now I know~

This list was inspired by Yuko Shimizu’s blog post 15 influences that stick with you, FOREVER. I tried to come up with my own list, but I figured that  I haven’t been around long yet to say that my influences have stuck with me, especially now that I’m in a phase where I’m trying a lot of different things all at the same time and just playing around. I made a shortlist anyway, of the people who I’ve admired for a significant period of time already, even up to now. My list includes Candy Chang for design (I drew a lot of inspiration from her works and her methods while I was doing my college thesis), Brecht Evens for art and illustration (whose works had such an impact on me that I really strived to teach myself how to use watercolors), and Jean-Pierre Jeunet and his wonderful films.

On staying home
Because being a girl means having hurty feelings sometimes, and because deadlines need to be beaten without losing sleep, I’ve just been at home for the past couple of days. I am pleased to report that I have indeed been productive, so far. The quietness has also been very nice, and all the girly pains aside, I’ve been rather content with the arrangement.

Last night, after cleaning my room, I came upon my extra clay from my past pottery classes. Although I’ve kept them in plastic bags, they still hardened up over the months. I’ve had them for some time now and last night I finally decided to push through with learning how to recycle them. It took a lot of time and energy because I had to hammer the big chunks down to little pieces first before I could rehydrate the clay; my right hand wrist really hurt afterwards. But it worked and my clay is usable again! Thank you, Google, for being such a beacon of knowledge and empowerment.

Before calling it a night (which turned out to be really late because I couldn’t sleep), I had managed to make a mug and a pendant.

It’s the size of a soup bowl right now but ceramic pieces really do shrink considerably when they get fired, and I’m hoping this’ll end up the right size when it’s finished. It’s also my first time to use the coil technique (again, thank you to the internet for the free walkthrough). I hope this piece pulls through! Because I really like it.

And here is the pendant. It’s about the height of the palm of my hand.

I have been working on some cake topper studies also, and tonight I made a prototype of one of my ideas. Behold.

“Oh hey guys! I made a study prototype of a cake topper…”

“..you know, for cakes to celebrate wilted love, uncertain futures, and break-ups of all kinds.”

It didn’t occur to me at all that my plan needed armature to work. I’m still figuring out how to go about it because although I can use air dry clay which dries much sturdier, I really like how white and kind of translucent polymer clay is.

Here is another attempt on a variation of the same topper idea.

Let’s see how things work out!

In other cake news, The Chocolate Kiss Cake Shop is now open! Drop by for some dayap cake and brownies at The Courtyard Building, Sgt. Esguerra, QC.

Aaand back to regular programming! I need to figure out that cake topper…

Happy birthday, Tove Jansson!

August, I’m on your side

On new projects
Earlier this year, I got to work on another collaboration with Punchdrunk Panda for their newest product line: duffle bags! I got a peek of the product shots this week and I’m so excited. This was easily one of the projects of the first part of the year that I enjoyed working on the most. I posted a work-in-progress preview a while back, and it makes me kind of giddy knowing that it has materialized already.

My pattern is called Midnight Spring.

Read more about Punchdrunk Panda’s duffle bags and get to see the other designs as well on the Punchdrunk Panda blog. I’ll post more about them and the launch later this month.

Other goings-on
Because August also wants to be on our side! By keeping us busy and productive!


Nominations are now open for the 2014 Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards! Time to give some love back to the books that made us happy the past year. There’s a list of published titles on the website for reference, so you don’t forget to nominate all your favorites. (Hating Kapatid is on the list, just saying *nudge wink*)


On the Monday after next, there will be a tribute exhibit for Larry Alcala, and the PBBY-Alcala Prize winners for the past 31 years at the Corredor Gallery at the UP CFA. I believe most, if not all awardees, are from Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, so you will most likely see my face there that afternoon for support and for general fangirling.


Also starting this month are the pottery classes at UP CFA. I learned a lot from the workshop when I signed up earlier this year, and I have been yearning to practice again. Sadly I haven’t been able to make time for it yet, and every time I drop by the studio it’s always closed (maybe because it was summer?). Pottery is a very interesting art form (a big understatement!) and I enjoyed the workshop very much.


And lastly, because Adarna House is super efficient, we already have book signing schedules for September’s Manila International Book Fair! I’ll be there on September 21 at the Adarna House booth at 1 PM for book signing with Ms. May Tobias-Papa, author of my latest book Can We Live Without Trees? . But. You will probably find me at the event most of that day, scouring for books as far as my wallet will permit haha, so say hello if you will (and if you can find me amongst the wilderness). Adarna is also giving away free tickets to the book fair, and they have a raffle going on at their blog. Check it out!

And there you have it. So much to do. I hope everyone’s having an a-ok August so far!

Speculiars in Real Living

I’m happy to share with you that Speculiars has been featured in this month’s Real Living issue! It’s their anniversary issue, and it very nicely coincides with our own 1st birthday as a group which happens this first week of July.


Thank you for not making us look as awkward as we felt that day~ Haha.

The list also includes Celina de Guzman,  Plus63 Design Co., Hocus Bicycles and Screen Printing, and Arlene Sy, along with a lot more Filipino creatives. Get your copy now or visit the Real Living website to check out the whole list!

It hasn’t sunk in properly yet but I am kind of over my head that we’re part of this. It’s really encouraging and exciting to know that our work makes other people as happy as we are when we make them. Thank you Real Living for having us!

summer shower

HELLO ALL. First of all, welcome to the awkward in-between state of this blog. I’m taking my time with figuring out the new design. Obviously! But anyway.

I am quite surprised and very thankful for how good 2013 is treating me so far. Let us count the ways.

I made this month’s YStyle logo

I thought they only published the interview online! Nahiya ako bigla haha.
But do check out my touristy face and the whole interview on the YStyle page.

Here is the original artwork in gouache and pencils.

I got carried away with the small details knowing they won’t register properly on newsprint.

I made another one mainly because I wanted to try out my new art supply treat: Derwent Ink Blocks! Here is a more colorful and season-appropriate logo, heh.

I therefore conclude that I love the ink blocks so very much! I like how vivid the colors dry out no matter how watered down they are. I also love the color accidents produced when layering colors.

I also have the spot for this week’s Ang INK Corner in Manila Bulletin. It’s a groggy froggy!

In other non-newspaper related news, I am also working on my first children’s book ever. It has me on my toes every time but I’m learning a lot along the way (mostly with time management and nap time control). It’s cliche and probably an understatement to say that it’s fun but I’m going to say it anyway. It’s fun! I would also like say that it’s fulfilling but that would be counting the chickens before the eggs hatch.

Other places I have been to besides the office and locked up in my room include Calatagan, Batangas. Studio Dialogo and Rubbertree had a little field trip to the Enrique Zobel Museum for its inauguration.

Roxas-De Ayala-Zobel family tree by Studio Dialogo

And the wooden cut-out map of Calatagan by Rubbertree

What a prolific man!

Merienda afterwards was at the beautiful Hacienda Bigaa. I love how the driveway was lined with neatly trimmed bougainvilla shrubs.

Obligatory bathroom shot because it was pretty. Also I wanted to show you that I am the kind of girl who refuses to listen to her body telling her she’s sick, and wears a turtleneck in summer just so she could go on the trip haha.

Also obligatory, picture of pretty food. Breakfast for dinner at Breakfast at Antonio’s on the way home. Smoked New Zealand King Chinook on whole wheat bread~

So there! That is where I have been. As for more adventures, I am leaving for Somewhere Very Far, Very Soon. A vacation, hooray! I’m not ready for it just yet so I don’t want to talk about it extensively haha. Right now I’m still anxious about organizing the work I may have to bring along but I am looking forward to the hour that the anxiety turns into excitement and utter joy.

Do you have any book and/or music recommendations for long trips and lots of waiting at airports? :)


I haven’t been around, I know. :( But I’ve been busy! Just not on the internet.

AKA what happens when I down energy drink along with my dinner. I was awake until 5AM today. Never doing that EVER again.
I got to draw but wow, that was one long night.

Oh and I only saw last night that I got a little feature on The Hoard a few weeks ago. Thank you! :)

I promised a giveaway, too, and I haven’t forgotten about that yet OK? I’ll be posting about it in a week. It involves some of my favorite things in life: books, temporary tattoos, and music!