Project #3: Carrier for my eBook Reader


PB251788

Here’s something I worked on several weeks ago. It’s a leather pouch for my ebook reader. I named it my Kobo Karrier haha. I consider it a practice piece because the texture and thickness of the leather isn’t what I really wanted to use for it, but I haven’t found the time to go to Marikina yet to shop for leather hides.

PB251789

I had difficulties sewing the seams for this piece, and mostly because I made measurement mistakes when I started the project. If there’s one thing I really need to get a handle on, it’s that. I need to be patient, measure twice, cut once. In any case, it worked out okay in the end.

PB251791

I’m thinking of a smart cover as project #4, but perhaps I’m just going to redo this piece using the kind of leather I really like. The reader (together with its current smart cover)fits comfortably inside the pouch. I made a pen loop for it and an external pocket too.

PB251794

It holds my mobile phone securely, but I wanted to use it to carry around a little notebook and my pen, for when I want to take notes while reading. 🙂 Overall, I enjoyed making this and I really learned a lot from it. I’m already looking forward to my next project.

Handmade Leather Pen Holders


I’m always on the lookout for leatherworking workshops here in the south. It’s always somewhere in Quezon City, and I’ve never had the chance to join one because of how far the workshop venue usually are. So I was really excited when @beatnikmnl announced a basic leatherworking workshop at @commonroomph Alabang Town Center last October 14. I signed up right away.

I really enjoyed the workshop, and I did learn the  basic skills that I needed in order to complete the personal projects that I had in mind. I wanted to make my own pen cases that are specifically tailor-made for the kinds of pens that I use. I am a fan of bespoke pen cases, though it’s always a challenge to have something made that fits your pens like a glove unless I decide to send my pens to the person who’s making my cases. I thought that this would be a fun skill to learn. We took home some extra materials that we could use to make our own projects. I picked a square piece of dark brown, full-grain leather. After the workshop, I went home and made my first pen slip for my two Kaweco Liliput pens.

PA151609

I liked the pen slip that I made for my Kawecos, though I did modify this after a few days to make the pens easier to pull out. Today, I made another pen case for my other pocket pens; Kaweco Sport cappuccino and cognac, and a Sailor Progear Mini.

PA201665

Here’s what it looks like with the flap open. Beside it is the modified pen slip for my Kaweco Liliput pens, I carved a half-circle so that the pens are easier to pull out. The fit was just right, but since the pens were so slim, I needed some space for my fingers to grip on the edge and pull them out comfortably. The half-circle I carved was just right for that.

PA201684

It was a challenge to get the size of the flap right so that it fits through the loop, I wish I didn’t run out of leather so that I could have made the flap longer. I like the finished case, though.

PA201677

The pens fit perfectly and are easy to slip in and pull out. I think the fit will be much better after a few days, when the leather becomes more molded to the shape of the pens.

PA201686

I didn’t burnish the sides of the case too much, I like the finish to be a little raw and rustic-looking. For my next pen case project, I think I’ll pick a thicker/stiffer leather and try burnishing the edges.

P_20171020_174118

I attached my little Kaweco medallion from my old leather pen case as a finishing touch. I wanted to add decorative stitches to the flaps but I decided against it. There’s a lot of room for improvement,  but for a first attempt, I think I like it just fine.

I enjoyed BeatnikMNL’s workshop a lot because it gave me an insight on how much effort is involved in making handcrafted leather goods. From picking the kind of leather and threads, sourcing good supplies, making patterns, measuring out the seams and stitches, punching holes, stitching, etcetera, etcetera… A lot of time and skill is needed in order to produce a good piece. I need to develop the patience it takes to measure (and measure again) before I cut because I wasted a lot of leather due to taking shortcuts in measurements. It was really therapeutic, though. I felt so calm and serene as I worked with my hands.

I definitely have a deeper appreciation and respect for leathercrafters now, and I think that these artisans that hold workshops for people who want to learn how to make their own leather goods are investing wisely on educating others about handmade items. I’m definitely going to support local artisans this upcoming holiday season.

Dream Catchin’


Dream catcher

I made this little painting a few weeks ago. I’ve made other dream catchers before but this is the first I’m actually happy with, despite the simplicity of the design of the strings. It’s kinda hard to make them all line up exactly as they should. It’s a slow month for watercolors, considering it’s World Watercolor Month. I wish I had more time to play, but I guess we just squeeze in as much fun as we can manage. ^_^

Coffea Arabica


Coffea Arabica

I managed to squeeze in a bit of practice today, and somehow I ended up making a painting of a coffee plant. It’s probably because I’ve been reading Coffeehouse Mysteries non-stop these past few days, haha. It’s a cozy mystery series that’s very easy to read and has decent plots. I think the first book was published back in 2002, and you can really see how things change through the years. Palm pilots were all the rage during the publication of the first book. Social media wasn’t what it is now. The treatment of female characters have also changed a lot from book 1 to book 11.

What I love most about the book series, though, is all the information about coffee and the food that goes well with or are cooked with it. It’s a nice read, especially if you’re a coffee lover. I just started book 11 today (A Brew to a Kill), and it’s interesting that there are elements of Filipino culture inserted in the story.

Autumn Leaves


P6241199

I took a short break from my Coffeehouse Mystery binge yesterday to practice a bit of watercolor. I realize I haven’t really sat down to paint for several weeks already, things have been quite busy. I’ve always found the color of autumn to be quite beautiful, so I made autumn leaves.

P6241202

This uses Sennelier 300gsm, 100% cotton watercolor block. I really love this paper. It has a way of making the color pop, the paint remains brilliant and vivid on it after it dries. I also love the texture of the paper, it makes creating textured paintings a lot easier. My watercolor block’s a bit small, though. After finishing this, I wanted to practice more kinds of leaves, so I opted for a slightly bigger watercolor block, my Hahnemühle 200gsm rough paper.

P6251219

I do like the texture too, although it looks more like lines of little squares. Sennelier’s texture feels more organic, somehow. It takes a bit more work to make the color pop. After the watercolor dried on it, the colors looked dull so I had to apply more layers to brighten it up. It was pretty difficult to achieve a result close to what I got with the Sennelier WC Block.

I still had fun with it, though, and I learned a lot in the process. Mostly about being patient and working on values.

Colors used for these paintings are all by Sennelier:

  • Indian Yellow
  • Venetian Red
  • Raw Umber
  • Warm Sepia
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Payne’s Grey
  • Ivory Black
  • Pthalo Green Light

My First Calligraphy Spot Meet


Calligraphy Spot Meet (6-17-2017)

Last Saturday, my husband and I ventured out of the South to  brave the (infamous) EDSA traffic and attend a Calligraphy Spot meet. I’ve been an admin for this wonderful FB group for a while, but I have not been able to attend any of the meets until last Saturday. We made quite a happy mess at La Creperie Shangri La, spreading out our papers, writing implements, watercolors, and other fun art stuff over their tables, in between delicious bites of crepes, salads, and pasta.

It was a wonderful experience, hanging out with people who so obviously have fallen in love with the written word and all the different kinds of art forms that celebrate it. I conducted an informal sit-down class about Baybayin (oftentimes incorrectly referred to as Alibata), a pre-colonial way of writing from the Philippines. It was an interesting experience, teaching the basic principles, but the group was eager to learn, and so they were Baybayin-literate by the end of it. The basic principle is quite easy to learn. Recognizing the characters will come with time and practice.

What’s more interesting for me was how each person’s creativity shone through in any kind of calligraphy they do. After teaching them how to read and write in Baybayin, we each applied it through writing using our own styles and preferred tools. We used brush pens, quills, parallel pens, automatic pens, brush pens, watercolor brushes, and more.

After the class, we puttered around and talked about art. Some were doing watercolor paintings, sharing artworks to take home afterwards. I enjoyed looked at other people’s output. I especially enjoyed looking through one of the members’ visual journals. It’s an A6-sized Hobonichi that contains little drawings and paintings and small notes of what went on each day, including what meals he ate. It was so cute, and each page seems so alive and vibrant.

I’m usually quite shy in social situations, but in any meet that involves a common love for art and art tools (such as calligraphy meets, pen meets, artambays), I feel quite at home. You’re not pressured to be anybody you’re not. You can be as socially awkward as you are, nobody minds. The common love for artistic expression is like a supersized welcome mat that invites you in and makes you want to stay.

I’m hoping to join the next Calligraphy Spot meet, and I’m especially looking forward to a meet in the South area soon. 🙂

Kobo eReader! What Fun!


Traveler's Notebook Olive

I’ve always been curious about Kindle, Kobo, and other e-readers, though not enough to actually try any of them. I figured that I could read ebooks anyway on my tablet if I wanted to, and I didn’t really like ebooks that much. I liked the feel of real books, the smell of real paper. I loved making notes on borders and highlighting with different colored inks. It’s a bit difficult to lug my books around, though. So for the first time in years, I actually seriously considered getting an eReader. My husband bought me one as an early anniversary gift a couple of weeks ago, and I must say, I am enjoying it a lot. Nobody’s more surprised than I am. I opted for a Kobo Glo HD rather than a Kindle as I was originally planning.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

As a super-duper late adopter, I’m surprised at how different the reading experience is on an eBook reader compared with my tablet. I can read for hours without suffering from a headache after because of the screen’s glare. It’s still no substitute for paper, of course, but it’s the closest approximation to an actual page that I have ever seen. I was like a kid, delighted that when the sales lady showed me the unit, I thought the Welcome screen she was showing me was printed on paper. Ooooh, so this is what e-ink looks like.

There’s not much option for sharing on social media, but I guess that’s part of the charm. It’s an electronic device that’s designed to mimic the analog experience as much as possible. Sure you can import ebooks, make annotations, review your annotations, make dog-ears (bookmarks) on pages, sort your books by collection, but it has limited sharing capabilities, only linking to Facebook. You can’t copy texts either, just like you can’t hold down and press “copy” on a page in an actual book. So it does connect to the internet, but it also doesn’t distract you with too much “connectedness”.

I love that it has Pocket integration. I can save articles in Pocket (which is something I already use via Chrome plugin and on my mobile phone) then manually sync my Kobo or schedule a sync at a certain time of the day so I can read the articles later. It’s quite fun. I’m re-reading some of my favorite books lately, and discovering new ones too. I haven’t been able to figure out how to convert the books I bought from Google Play Store through Caliber, but I’ll look into it soon. So fun. Much wow. ^_^

Travelers Notebook Olive


Traveler's Notebook Olive

I knew I wanted one the moment I heard that Traveler’s Company is coming out with an olive green TN. I got this from Everything Calligraphy last month, and decided that I would use it as my calligraphy and watercolor journal.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

The color is a little hard to photograph. It always comes across darker than it actually is in person. The color is a dusky green, more like the camo green in my opinion, rather than olive green. It’s a deep color that I think will become more interesting as it ages. In photographs, it looks more like black than green. In person, the color is a bit ambiguous, depending on the light. I’ll post more photos of it in the future as it develops a patina. I’m curious how the texture and color will change once I start applying leather balm on it (maybe next month). My brown TN became shinier and the brown color became deeper and richer.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I decided to keep it thin with only two inserts so that it won’t be so heavy. I use my brown TN as my primary journal anyway. I made those monkey fist charms and bookmarks with the elastic bands from an old TN repair kit that I haven’t used yet because I only used the dark-colored bands. I thought the bright colors popped pretty nicely against the color of the leather. If you want to know how to make your own monkey fist knots, this is the tutorial I used.

I made my own watercolor insert from 200gsm Canson paper. Here’s the cover I DIY’ed for my first insert.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I didn’t realize that it had a rough side and a smooth side, so some pages have the textured side on the left, some on the right. It’s alright, though, it can handle light washes on both sides, albeit with a lot of warping.

Travelers Notebook Olive

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I enjoy bringing it around with me. It’s comfortable to hold and gosh, it’s so pretty in person. Next time I’ll try and find watercolor paper that’s textured on both sides, though. Overall, I’m pretty much in love with this TN. It’s a great addition to my EDC.

Coloring Pages


P_20170425_130610

I made these coloring pages for my friend’s daughter who celebrated her 5th birthday this week. This little girl already shows an interest for art, and she has recently discovered the joy of watercolors. So I made these line drawings on watercolor paper for her to use. I think it’s a great way to encourage children to paint and get comfortable with the medium. It’s also a great way to spend time enjoying art with kids. I should make some for my nephews and nieces too.

Look at that little fishy. Isn’t that cute? ^_^

hannah1

Review: Sennelier 24-Watercolor Half Pan Walnut Set


Something awesome came in the mail last week. My husband’s Christmas gift came early and I was so over the moon with it.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

I’ve been coveting this watercolor set from ArtNebulaPH for quite some time now. I agonized for months about buying it but always ended up buying a half pan refill here and there just to try out the colors. I’ve tried a few brands but I really like Sennelier best. I just remembered that he was even the one who encouraged me to try out the Aqua Mini set, because I’m always a bit slow on pulling the trigger on some things that I want for myself.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

The watercolor set came in a gorgeous walnut box. It’s got some weight to it, most probably because of what’s inside. It feels solid and the box looks and feels well-crafted. There’s nothing shoddy about it, even the steel clasp.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

The hinge opens easily, all the way to the back, so you can lie the set flat. Inside is a whole assortment of gorgeous colors, all wrapped up like candy treats.  The colors included in the set are Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Deep, Phthalo Blue, Cinereous Blue, Warm Sepia, Lemon Yellow, Indian Yellow, Naples Yellow Deep, Bright Red, Venetian Red, Carmine, Opera Rose, French Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Alizarin Crimson, Payne’s Grey, Ivory Black, Phthalo Green Light, Viridian, Forest Green, Cobalt Violet Light Hue, and Dioxazine Purple. There are two brushes inside (A #2 Raphael mop brush and a tiny Sennelier #3 detail brush). I know the Raphael mop brush is made of squirrel hair, I’m not sure if the detail brush is synthetic or natural, but it’s also quite a nice brush. I decided to keep using it.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

Unwrapping all the pretty half pans is quite the thrill. It’s my first artist-grade watercolor set, so I was so excited to see all of them lined up and unwrapped, pretty as a picture.

It also had a porcelain palette included in the box, which is the thing that added to the weight of the whole package. It’s my first time to use a porcelain palette and I must say that I find it easier to unload water and pigment from my brush instead of in my regular plastic palette which has more surface tension, I think. It just feels like the porcelain palette takes water easier than my plastic one. It’s easier to clean too, and doesn’t stain.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

Here’s the color chart for the set. 🙂 I don’t usually keep a color chart of my little watercolor palettes, but I realized it’s helpful because some colors tend to dry differently from what you expect. You can’t really judge a color just by looking at what’s in the pan.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

I like Sennelier watercolors because the ones that I have tried have very vibrant hues and the consistency is like butter. It’s easy to lift up with a brush, easy to mix, and apply on paper.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

The colors I tried so far have a nice transparency to them. It’s great with layering colors and building up values.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

This flower painting was done on a Strathmore watercolor journal. The paper was okay, though I prefer Arches and Khadi paper better because it shows off the vibrancy of the pigment very well. The painting below is on Khadi paper.

Sennelier 24-Color Walnut Set

Overall, it’s a very beautiful, well-presented set. I wish there were more kinds of green, though. It may not be portable compared to pocket watercolor sets, but it’s a nice set to have at home or if you don’t mind bringing it around with you. The pigments are beautifully vibrant and varied. The brushes included are also pretty good, they’re a lot of fun to use. This set will probably last me a long time, since I mostly do small watercolor paintings in my journal, anyway. Any color that I use up, I can easily order a refill of online.

It’s awesome that there are online stores like ArtNebulaPH and others that already sell these wonderful, premium watercolor brands. I’m very happy with it.

Also, cheers to my wonderful, supportive husband. 🙂

A Party and a Departure


IMG_4994

Yesterday was the Christmas party for our bible study at Las Pinas City Jail. It was an incredible feeling, to walk into the corridor and stand in the middle of it, realizing how much we’ve grown from about 12 members to 60. We can’t fit into the corridor anymore so many of them set up chairs inside their cells instead. We couldn’t really play our usual Christmas games anymore because there’s a lot of them and I didn’t want to cause any undue commotion that will put them in trouble with the new warden (a very nice and gracious young lady). They requested if they can group themselves into 6 and make their own Christmas presentations.

I was so touched by the preparations they’ve made for us. From the hand-calligraphed sign on the whiteboard to preparing the sound system and all of their group presentations. The effort they’ve made is precious to us.

All the song and dance numbers were great! I especially loved that song one of the groups sang, Ako’y Binago Niya. The song was about repentance and hope, and how God can really change people. Everybody sang it, like an anthem, and it was such a profound experience for me to observe them singing together and with many of them crying quietly because they’ve made the song their own.

We distributed the prizes and our little tokens to them, and as usual I separated some items for a sick inmate. She had been sick since the first day that I joined the ministry, and some of the other inmates always made it a point to tell me if she needed anything. I couldn’t visit her inside her cell and she was too sick to visit us, but we always sent our love and made sure she heard about Jesus too. Last Monday, as I was handing the gifts that I had packed specially for her, the inmates quietly told me that she had died. Her colon cancer had taken its toll and she was taken away.

I just stood there for a moment, feeling like I could not catch my breath. It was astonishing, how my heart ached so much for her. One would think that she had died alone in jail, but though her family had all but forgotten her, she was surrounded with friends who ministered to her needs until the very end.

These moments with inmates, I treasure them in my heart. They’re golden. With the death of one of the inmates, I think God gave me a very real glimpse of His love and how very precious every single soul is to Him. I grieve for my lost sister in Christ, but I understand how it’s the end of a long and painful journey for her. Now she’s truly free.

Of Other Hobbies


PC229446

I noticed something recently. Many of my fountain pen collector friends, and other members of the fountain pen community that I am a member of, are also knife collectors or at least insist on carrying a knife on them everyday. Other popular secondary hobbies are cycling (which I don’t share), painting, and photography.

PC229443

I find it interesting that a group of people gravitate towards similar hobbies. My tools for today are a Faber Castell Emotion and a Browning Scrimshaw Labrador. I think they fit perfectly together. 🙂

The knife is a gift from my  husband. I used to have a larger knife collection when I was in high school, but my parents did not approve of me carrying them around. So I had to give my collection up. Now I am just starting to rebuild it, and this one is a favorite. The workmanship is just beautiful. I like this knife because it has an old-timey feel to it. It’s kinda dressy (for a knife) and not too rugged. Perhaps not something you’d carry in a camping trip, but just perfect as an everyday pocket knife.

PC229415

I don’t know why I’ve always had this fascination with knives, even when I was in my elementary school days. My favorite were balisong knives or fan knives. I grew quite adept in handling knives at an early age. Like I always say, better have it and not need it than need it and not have it. 🙂