Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ex Libris Collection: Isis

i have kind of forgotten that i've made this shirt during the first half of the year. my closet's been a disaster lately and i didn't realize i had bought clothes which up to this date haven't been worn. anyway, i saw this last week while looking for something to wear for a lunch with my friends (a very sumptuous lunch!) and decided to wear it.

 i take the lousiest photos... this is Isis, wife of Osiris, inspiration from The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series by Michael Scott. she is depicted in full warrior regalia, with ceramic armor to boot. i'm supposed to sell this, but somehow i can't let go of the women's shirts that i make...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

an attempt at Street Photography

i'm at home today, and frustrated with the dismal internet connection i have (and i thought the office has the worst connection). but my day's been made because Yanick posted my favorite street photo which i sent him on his blog. you can check it out here. i know it's not at par with the others' submissions, but to each his/her own. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

a funny Christmas card

my son made this card from school before the holiday break, and i just had to laugh out loud when i read the message inside! since when did we slay white horses on Christmas?

after that was a thorough lecturing on the lyrics of Jingle Bells (with proper spelling of course). i just don't get the angry bird that came with the message. when i asked him why there was an angry bird, he said it was his favorite (everything's his favorite lately). 

Happy Holidays to all of you! hope you all had a grand time! :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Craftpreneur Files: Noemi Manalang of Noomiedoodles

before the year ends, it's time for yet another feature on Craftpreneur Files. let me introduce you to a very talented fashion illustrator, Noemi Manalang and her shop Noomiedoodles.

hullo, Noemi. it's a pleasure to have you here at Craftpreneur Files. do tell us a little about yourself and about your work.

My name is Noemi Manalang and I am an illustrator. I just graduated fashion design in ESMOD Jakarta a year ago and now continuing my passion in fashion illustration. I own an online shop in Etsy where I sell my original illustrations, prints, cards and I also do private freelance commisions.

how did you start going about your craft business?

It started on a long summer break during college. During that time my best friend introduced me to this site called Etsy. I was so fascinated by the creative and crafty things people were selling there that I wanted to start my own thing too. So I convinced my mom to help me out with etsy's credit card thing and just started the shop.

lucky you to have a very supporting mom not to mention being so successful at young age. but where do you draw inspiration from?

For years I enjoyed having painting lessons ever since I was small. Back then I painted more in oil landscapes and still life. Then I got pretty busy with fashion illustration in fashion school. I used to watch clips by this famous fashion designer named Isaac Mizrahi do live fashion sketches in his online site. He was my inspiration and still, to this day in making something out of fashion illustration.

well i can't blame you for loving Isaac Mizrahi, i'm also look up to him for his works and not to mention his humor! you mentioned that you have a shop on Etsy. how's it been doing so far?

It's been a very exciting experience selling my art. But what I love the most is having the opportunity to show my art to a wide audience and making friends in the Etsy community. I actually haven't experienced selling locally since I've spent most of my life in Indonesia. Now that I am currently in the Philippines, I get to see the art scene here and know what's around. I'd love to give it a try.

i could see that your shop's got quite a lot of admirers and sales on Etsy, kudos to that! but were there any drawbacks you encountered especially when you were just starting out?

At first I was pretty skeptical and had issues on shipping original art internationally because it is very far away. Well, it has been going good so far. So researching beforehand about shipping and customs would saved me a lot of time in online selling. There I made sure to let customers know in my policy that shipping would take some time and to plan for some worse case scenarios too. I'm also learning to balance my time in doing different things in my business.

from all the projects you have done, what's the most memorable so far?

Every art project has been memorable to me. One in particular was just recently when someone emailed me to request a custom illustration for her first book cover. The publishing is still ongoing so I may not provide some details here yet. It's new to us both and we're excited for the outcome!

all artwork by Noemi Manalang

we're excited to know more about it too! we hope you'll be able to share it with us through your blog once it's done. any last words for aspiring craftpreneurs?

Always be resourceful. Make the best of what you have and keep improving. I think it brings up the creativity in you.

thank you for the insights you shared with us, Noemi! i'm sure many will be looking up to you someday, as you looked up to Isaac Mizrahi.

for more of Noemi's works, you can visit her wonderful blog Noomiedoodles, and her etsy shop of the same name here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

thrifted: International Arts & Crafts book

the lovely cover
as a predecessor of my favorite art movement, the short-lived yet flamboyant Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts has been close to my heart as well. the femininity and stylized figures are what drew me to this movement, as well as the craftsmanship of each work.

all photos by Bre
what a wonderful treat for me! i bought this copy of International Arts & Crafts and would you believe that i got this for only Php100 ($2.30)? it's not very old either, with a 2005 publishing date. i just love scavenging around bargain carts of practically any store. you never know what you might come across hidden beneath those piles of what-have-yous.   

Week old doodles

can't focus... need to let out some ideas. 
the holidays are almost upon me!

oops, spilled some tea on my unicorn horn

Friday, December 2, 2011

the deal with Trese

thanks to Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo for reviving Phil folklore/myth in a Filipino graphic novel Trese (thirteen in Spanish). i bought my first copy last week. after reading it, i instantly knew i had to grab a copy of the next 4 issues. so i bought the 2nd issue yesterday. i didn't want to buy the other 2 issues yet for fear of having to wait so long for the new one (aside from the fact that i had a tight budget).

what i really like about Trese is that it is set in the present, with all-too familiar locations, and current events that does not take us too far away from present Manila. the mix of the supernatural and contemporary times blends in seamlessly, you'd think you'll come across a tikbalang when you go to work. or in my case, when i turn off my cellphone after reading (yes i read in the dark!) i'll meet a duwende in my bathroom before going to bed. Kajo's illustrations are also astounding, using chiaroscuro, no greys mind you, to depict the very dynamic scenes of Trese. of course, there's also the story line that does not mean to make every issue connect, yet the cohenrence is there. though some issues require a little background/research on Philippine monsters/artifacts. having a heroine with a murky past also helps in becoming attached to the series.

Alexandra Trese conversing with a Tikbalang

Alexandra Trese with her Kambal lackeys
what's not to love about the series? well, be honest the fact that there are only 4 issues to date! to quote Kirsten Dunst in the Interview with a Vampire, i want some more. but i hope the Kambal (twins) are with me when the other issues get released.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ExLibris: SPQR kids

like an angry Roman child of Camp Jupiter
here's the latest addition to my shirts: SPQR: Fulminata, white on black.

my son and his big tummy

Monday, November 28, 2011

it's the most wonderful time of the year

yes the most wonderful, not to mention busiest, time of the year is here. it started in our house last week, but since our christmas lights were busted, i only got to don the new ones on our tree this weekend. and here are the results.

our christmas tree has been with us for over a decade already, with the same tree and decors. i only added ribbons to border the tree and as a topper as we lost the angel topper last year.

my son is also excited for Christmas, as much as other kids are. it is. after all their season. so yesterday we went to the toy store to look at probable gifts for him. so far, these are on his wish list:

  • Hot Wheels Wall Tracks - i find these interesting also
  • Scan2Go race car -  intriguing, but do we really need a card to make the car go faster?
  • Bumblebee MechTech action figure -  ok maybe not this one as it's super expensive
  • Bakugan action figure -  absolutely no! i don't like this toy/series
he'll get just one out of these from us (his parents), and probably a book or two of his choice. :) honestly, the prices of toys these days can make a parent's eyebrows go at the top of their heads. whatever happened to the simple marbles and tops?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

mini schnauzer

this week i have been obssessing about mini schnauzers. yes, those bearded dogs that look like hermits. they have this sagely charm, makes them look wise and benevolent. they actually look like Yoshitaka Amano's Merlin.
Yoshitaka Amano's Merlin from

i want one! but that would have to wait until i get a place of my own. or Tintin's Milou (a wire-haired fox terrier) would be good also. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Madonna and Child

a bit cliche, but i haven't really done a Madonna and Child before. here it is, just in time for Christmas. i'm thinking of making this into a card/ gift tag.

on another note, up and coming artist Valerie Chua will be having her first solo exhibit entitled Backyard of the Universe next week on the 23rd. she was one of the first etsy sellers i featured here at PopkinGarb, and i really admire her work. i wish i could go to the opening, but my son forbade me to go out on evenings recently (haha!). you can check out her blog for more details regarding the exhibit.

Friday, November 11, 2011

new artwork

kiss me and be mine
i love long weekends as it gives me more time to draw/paint. and here is one of my finished works. i got the inspriation of a winged mermaid from manta rays and sea slugs. plain old mermaids tend to be boring, even if you get to kiss one. this artwork is all done in pencils and watercolor.

possibly a new collection

here's a shirt a designed for my husband during the long weekend. we both like reading the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and thoroughly enjoyed the new series Heroes of Olympus, with Son of Neptune being the latest and the inspiration of this shirt. i used white fabric pastels on a plain black shirt.

Senatus Populesque Romanus
he liked the shirt (of course he would!) but my husband told me that the shirt wasn't complete, it needed Fulminata (armed with lightning) as the mark of the Roman camp. shoot, how can i forget! while that might have been a slight folly, i need to experiment more on using white fabric pastel as i kind of melts in the fabric when pressed with an iron, giving the print a rather dull rendering. apart from that, i was spurred into making new prints on shirts based on books that i read. how does Ex Libris Collection sound?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

thrifted: totes with Parisian maps

just looted these totes last week. i don't know why i bought both with road maps, but i just couldn't resist them! they have opposite vibes, so that's a check for me. and i'm loving Paris more now because of Yanidel's photo blog. what's more, i got these for only Php298 (that's approximately $7) in total. now you know why i couldn't resist them.

nostalgic and feminine at its best

the devil  is in the details

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Goat's Milk

image from

as a parent of a child who has allergy towards cow's milk, i've been thoroughly researching for alternatives so that my son can meet his dairy needs. i came across Alaminos Goat Farm  in Laguna during my research and immediately looked for a distributor in Manila. They make Milk Star brand of goat's milk, which comes farm fresh from Laguna. so one Saturday morning, i puchased my first bottle of goat's milk, and i kept coming after that.

my son is a very opinionated little boy, and when he first tasted goat's milk he immediately said it doesn't taste good. he was drinking soy milk before switching to goat's milk and he found the taste is so very far from each other. i tasted it before giving it to him, and realized it tasted like carabao's milk with a hint of lamb meat after-taste. my nephew, however, loved it. and my son now does too. it just took a little nudging and cajoling for him to like the milk, and it worked! i'm so happy he took a liking to it since goat's milk has more benefits than cow's milk. it's rather sad that cow's milk got center stage in the world market.

now, we're anticipating the upcoming goat cheese and goat's milk ice cream from Milk Star! i can't wait!

Friday, October 28, 2011

a treat on Philippine folklore

it's Trick-or-Treat season again, and a long weekend in the Philippines (yay!). we don't really celebrate Halloween in the family, but my son and i will be trick-or-treating this weekend. and just to share with you, there is more to Philippine folklore than encantadas (fairies) and higantes (giants). most creatures from Philippine myths are actually evil, and they plagued my childhood. here are some of the creatures which were used by our parents to scare the wits out of us.

Aswang - they are entrail eating creatures that disguise themselves as humans, but can shape-shift into a big raven or bear-like dog. they have long tongues and like to feast on unborn fetuses (ewww). i remember during the peak season of the aswangs was in the '90s where tabloids were even spreading news that there was a captured manananggal (see below) in Manila. but it was never proven. my lola (grandmother) has often said to encounter an aswang close to their house when my aunt was pregnant. a huge dog was standing near their house but when she scared it away, it leapt on a high wall which was impossible for an ordinary dog to leap for. then when my lola looked at the other side of the wall, the dog was no more and a man was walking away from where the dog could have landed.

Manananggal - this is like a variant of aswang, usually a lady who can separate her torso from her lower portions and sprout big bat-like wings. they were also in vogue during the '90s and favorite meals also include fetuses.

Tikbalang - if Greeks had centaurs, the Philippines has tikbalang, a man with a horse's head. they are also said to be entrail eaters. my great grandfather once saw a tikbalang while going ome from the rice fields, though the creature did not harm him.

Dwende - we also had elves, and they were called dwende. black and red meant evil dwende, and white meant good. evil ones often meant harm and/or bad luck to humans, while whites were said to bring good fortune.

Syokoy - a humanoid fish, or fish-like human, whichever you prefer to describe it, the ugly male counterparts of mermaids, they drag men to the sea to eat them.

all illustrations by Ea of Popkingarb

Kapre - hairy giants who reside in balete (indian rubber tree) or other big trees and smoke tobacco. they sometimes kidnap maidens to wed them or play pranks on people, but are generally shy creatures. a wife of a friend was once introduced to a kapre, and she said he was indeed tall, and that he made and recited poems.

these are just some of the creatures of stories i have grown up with. i'm proud that i got to know them, though only from afar (i don't think i'm ready to mingle with them), and i will also pass the stories to my son because it's part of our rich yet endangered culture.

Monday, October 24, 2011

now loving: couture by Michael Cinco

the Philippines has been home to talented and creative artists and artisans. i'm glad that more and more Filipinos are being well-known internationally for their unique crafts and artistry. take Michael Cinco (of America's Next Top Model fame), for example. you only have to see his collection during his debut fashion show in the Philippines to agree with me. and the warrior-like godess is just right up my alley.

all images from
i love the Ifugao-inspired number (last photo). c'est chic!
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