Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Feels like Christmas!

Today is a beautiful day! I feel like a kid on Christmas eve.

Here's the story: The other day, on a whim, I entered one of my favorite craft haunts and was excited to find new crafting materials. You know the feeling you get when you finally see that elusive pair of cutie shoes in your size? I tell you, what shoes are to Imelda Marcos, craft thingies are to me. So I quickly grabbed the items before they got snatched up by someone else. (Silly, because the store was deserted, so a tug of war for the said items was unlikely.)

But as most of you know, crafting materials are mucho expensivo! So even if they were all calling out to me, I could only adopt one. I left the store with a new "toy", mentally kicking myself for yet another guilty splurge.

Back home, I couldn't stop thinking about the other babies I left behind. That's when I turned into schizo mode.

They're surely not in your budget, said good me.

But you would be braindead to pass up such great finds, said evil me. It's a wise investment, because they're uncommon. Sige ka, maubusan ka.

Dang. Evil me wins the argument.

So today, I trooped back to the shop and found the saleslady smiling knowingly. "Kunin niyo na po ma'am?"

I left the shop carrying four new babies.

With the money I just spent, I could've bought a new cellphone!

Bakit, ang cellphone ba pwedeng pang crafts?

Evil me wins again.

P.S. When I arrived home, my latest issue of BeadStyle magazine was waiting for me. Told you it felt like Christmas!

An Apple a Day Project

Most days, my mind is filled to the brim with ideas for my jewelry. But there are nasty dry spells, days when I can't seem to find the inspiration to pick up my clay and create. When a dry spell hits, I spend the whole day napping. I can sleep for 24 hours straight! Talk about unproductive.

Since crafting is my livelihood, I simply can't have dry spells, or else I'll starve!

So today, I resolve to start my Apple project. As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. In my case, one project a day will keep the nap monster away. So everyday, I need to force myself to create at least one thing to sell. One apple. And not just any apple - it should be something new, something I've never made before.

Let's hope my Apple Project helps my dry spells.

Here was my Apple of the Day yesterday:

I've never made an all-black piece before, so this is a refreshing addition to my collection. The pendant is made of black clay with an intricate gold pattern. The "chain" is made of rough acrylic beads linked together by eyepins, and is finished with a simple black cord.

I need to make another Apple today, because that one's for yesterday.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Early entrepreneurship

All entrepreneurs had to start from somewhere. Before the big players became big, before the tycoons had their empires, before the malls became chains, they had to start from scratch. For National Bookstore, it was Nanay Coring’s small home-based sari-sari store. For Bench, it was Ben Chan’s tiny rack inside SM Department Store. For SM, it was a small shoe store in Cubao.

For me, everyting started in school.

I made my first 25 centavos when I was in elementary. Stationery were all the rage when I was young, so mini me thought it would be a good idea to sell some to a classmate when I was in grade one or two. But it wasn’t your ordinary sheet of “statio”, as we called it. It was merely a photocopy of one of my favorite sheets. Funny, because the copy was of course a black and white version of the original, but I managed to sell it to a classmate! Even funnier, because the cost of having the piece of statio copied was exactly 25 cents, so I never made any profit.

Oh yes, stationery was the “in” thing when I was in grade school. There was something about those sheets of colorful, scented paper that made little girls hoard like crazy. I remember having a drawer-full of statio in every shape and color, and I treasured them like they were endangered species. The way I was saving each piece, DENR would have been proud. I never used them to write letters (except maybe for the very special occasions, such as thanking a tita for a new set of stationery). Heck, I even considered doctor’s prescription pads as precious!

I wasn’t the only one crazy over those cute little pieces of paper, my cousins were too. During the summer when school was over, we’d usually while away the hours in the family compound in Pasig. And what else would keep little girls busy but play tinde-tindera?

We’d “display” our stash of stationery in my cousins’ second-floor living room where we had our own little patches of real estate. We’d sit cross-legged on the floor, with our “stocks” spread out in front of us. Little pieces of folded paper which looked like little rooftops proudly announced “5c each”. There were only three of us girl cousins that time and everyone wanted to be tindera. So that inconveniently left us with no customers, except for my poor little brother, who had to be bullied to join us.

Twelve years later, I am still playing tinde-tindera. I still sit cross legged on the floor in front of my stocks, to secure them inside tiny Ziploc bags before a bazaar. I still write the prices on little pieces of paper, but now stylish enough for posh boutiques. I still display my stocks in little patches of real estate, but they are now called booths, and they cost a hell lot of money. My cousins still become tindera at some of my bazaars, but most of the time they are now my customers.

A few days ago, my cousin Kristine helped me man my booth during the Lifestyle Network Bazaar. Para lang tayong naglalaro no?,” she said. I only laughed.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The little things

It's not hard to make me smile - I'm very mababaw so even the littlest things can make me happy.

It was a delight to find one of my craft projects (made for Real Living Magazine) pictured in an ad in It flashes on the screen every once in a while. Wootwoot!

Marco drew the template, i painted it on the wall.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Cebu, finally!

After years of desperate longing, I have finally been to Cebu on a business trip. Though this wasn’t my first time to set foot on Lapu-lapu’s turf, it was the first time I actually had the chance to do what I had always wanted to do: go bead shopping!

While most of you call Cebu the Queen City of the South, I call it the Ultimate Beader’s Paradise. Being the export capital for wearables, Cebu has a wealth of export-quality beads and components that are hard to find in Manila. In short, it’s Bead Heaven.

Last week, armed with only a list of addresses I got from the internet and tidbits of information I gathered from friends, off to Cebu Marco and I went. I felt like an adventurous little devil, for neither of us has been to the city before (I only stayed inside the resort the first time I was there). Bahala na became sort of our motto. The whole thing felt very Amazing Race-ish. Haha!

Day 1

After checking into the resort a few hours earlier than scheduled, we decided to head straight to one of the tourist spots for lunch. If bead shopping was the primary reason for the trip, food tripping was a close second. So off we went searching for authentic Cebuano fare: Sutukil. Though I knew what the coined word meant, I thought all along that Sutukil was the name of a famous restaurant, just like Gerry’s Grill or Razon’s. So there we were at the Mactan shrine, looking for the resto called Sutukil. It turned out to be a general term, like manukan or tapsilog-an. Geesh.

After a very filling meal of sinugbang tanigue, pork chop and calamares (forgot to take pics!), I browsed through the small stalls selling souvenirs and was delighted to find out that they were selling beads by the strand there too.

I don’t know what got into me though, because I only bought a few strands! I guess I was thinking that I could easily go back for more if I wanted to. After all, we would be in Cebu for three days. It turned out to be a stupid decision – we never did go back to Mactan Shrine because we ran out of time.

Day 2
We'd decided the day before that the second day would be spent doing the nitty-gritty of Cebu bead shopping. So despite the lure of the sea, we left the resort at around 10am (because I woke up late, as usual) and headed for Mandaue City. Marco was determined to skimp on transpo expenses so that we could buy more beads. So we roughed it out and took the jeep instead of hiring a cab.

Next thing I know, we were lost in the middle of busy Mandaue. It was completely my fault of course. Stupid me kept pointing at a blank spot on the map (we got this WOW Philippines map at the airport for free). “Jan tayo pupunta,” pointing to a huge area on the map. Eheh.

After finally finding the supplier in Mandaue, we headed to SM for the much-awaited part of the trip: getting a taste of authentic lechon Cebu. C&T in front of SM was one of the popular lechonans, so that’s where we had lunch. The price was unbelievable – we spent less than P300 for half a kilo of lechon, 3 servings of rice, and softdrinks. We weren’t particularly impressed with the lechon though. There was something amiss with the flavor. Tsktsk. But the black sambo (cocoa and milk jell-o) saved the day for me. Panalo. (Not according to Marco though.)

Next stop was Sto. Nino Church, where there were supposedly some nice beads for sale. Another Amazing Race-ish blooper there, this time kagagawan ni Marco. We got off the jeep biyaheng Mandaue-Sto. Nino when we saw what appeared to be a huge church in downtown cebu.

“Di pa yata eto yun,” I told him.
“Yan na yun, simbahan o,” he said.

So there we were taking pictures of the beautiful church. When we went inside, I thought to myself, “Yey, walang masyadong tao.” We started looking around and took pictures of the interiors. We were standing near the entrance, far from the altar, and the place was a bit dim. So when I couldn’t see the Sto. Nino, I blamed my poor eyesight. I can be as blind as a bat when the place is dark. So I approached the tanod sitting in one of the pews (of course I made sure he wasn’t praying muna, I’m not a complete ditz), “Saan po yung Sto. Nino jan?”

Duh. Turned out we were in the wrong church. We got off the jeep one block early and ended up in Cebu’s Cathedral. After getting directions from the tanod, we walked to another church a block away, which, unlike the cathedral, was teeming with tourists and pilgrims. This was the right one for sure.

The Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino, as its name suggests, is quite small. But the altar was overwhelming, what with the many statues of various saints propped up in front. It gave me the creeps.

I have this thing against statues. I am terrified of rebultos – even the tiniest ones, or even those of Jesus Christ. Especially those. But that deserves another blog entry.

Back to the bead shopping. After a quick peek inside the church, I excitedly searched for the small stalls selling beads. In my mind, I was about to come upon a vast bead market, where I could find the most wonderful shell, coco, and wood beads.

But I was disappointed to find out that there were only a few stalls around the church – and they didn’t have any loose beads to sell. All they had were ready-made trinkets which didn’t catch my fancy. Perhaps it was the wrong season to be bead shopping in Cebu after all. I did see one stall selling beads, but they weren’t what I was expecting to find. I still ended up buying four plastic bags full of beads– they were pretty, but not exceptional. Not at all what I came to Cebu for.

Up next: what saved the day plus the trip back to Manila


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