2014 Can Only be Better

For most of us, particularly here in the Philippines, 2013 has been a rough year. This was the year that brought us face-to-face with the most devastating tragedy as of yet — the destruction brought about by typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan). The entire country is still coping, and it might take a while before we can actually get back on our feet. But while some may think that 2013 has been nothing but good, I beg to disagree. This has also been a year of good-naturedness, generosity and camarederie. All of these we witnessed when nations came together and put disputes aside to help those affected by the typhoon. Their acts of kindness, whether small or big, are treasured and we’ll be forever grateful for them.

As 2014 unfolds, we can only wish for better things for us. We have proven the world that we remained strong in the aftermath of the storm, it’s now time to prove to ourselves that we can go back to what we’ve once been — or better yet, be a better version of ourselves.

With that, I wish all of you a ridiculously amazing 2014!

Love,
Wendy 😉

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The Moon and the Stars

I’ve been locked up in my room all day today. Being a Saturday and the start of a long weekend, I had the liberty to wake up late, lay on my bed lazily while watching a movie, and organize my washi and paper tape collection. 20131228-165727.jpg I figured since I’ve been making my projects for two days straight, I needed some time off. Even just for today. Speaking of projects, I think I may have framed my favorite project as of yet. This is a commissioned artwork for a friend whom I’ve done plenty of papercuts for before. 20131228-170301.jpg I just love the effect the double-glass frame makes on the papercut, don’t you agree? I think I’m gonna buy more from where it came from. 20131228-170316.jpg I love the message too! Sending everyone an early New Year’s greeting! Here’s another one who’d also like to send her well wishes 🙂 20131228-170635.jpg

Christmas and Me are Through

Before the festivities are over and gifts are unwrapped, allow me to greet you a Merry Christmas!!!! I do hope you are where you want to be right now, that is, with your family and loved ones.

Now, back to business 🙂 This is a project I’ve been meaning to share in my blog but couldn’t because my client requested not to have this posted before Christmas (the papercut will be given as a gift to her friend). And since I couldn’t wait a day after Christmas to post this, here it is:

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“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”

Here’s a much clearer photo (but with a cream background which I replaced later on):

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I don’t know if it can be seen through the photo, but if you look closely, I’ve framed it in a way that the papercut is embossed over the background. Here’s how I did it:
(Top) Glass – Papercut – Acetate – Mounting material – Background.

If you have your own frame-maker (which I don’t), it doesn’t have to be this complicated. You can just have him customize a frame and mount it for you. I substituted acetate for glass as I needed a thin material that the frame could hold. I couldn’t find a thick enough double-sided tape at home so I folded strips of black paper instead as my mounting material. Besides, the dark paper helped in concealing the mount since the papercut is also black. For the background, I used a semi-hologram board paper in lilac with astral print. It just so happened that I have this paper lying around in my room and thought it was perfect in creating that “holding hands in the twilight” feel to the artwork. 🙂

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You might wonder why the title of this blog entry is so far off from the papercut. Well, it is. It’s just my way of getting all emo in bidding goodbye to the Christmas season. 😛 And it’s also the title of a song I like which I first heard on Chuck. The song doesn’t have an official video so the one below shows clips from the TV series instead (which I certainly do not mind). Hope you’ll like it as much as I do.

Merry Christmas once again, craft geeks! 🙂

Tips and Tricks in Papercutting

I know I’ve only been cutting for a good five months, but in that length of time, I’ve had my share of discoveries and mistakes in papercutting. And while I am still continuously making these (discoveries and mistakes alike), I just thought I could share them with my followers who might be interested in the hobby as well. Here are my ten tips and tricks that will be handy when you get into papercutting:

1. Buy your frame beforehand.

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This first tip might seem odd to some, but this is what I’ve learned in my few months of papercutting. When I first got into the hobby, I was too excited to make papercuts that I made a lot of them in all shapes and odd sizes. By the time I realized I wanted to frame some of my best works, I had a difficult time looking for the perfect frame to fit them in. So yes. If you can, and if you can already picture your finished product, buy the frame first. Frame shops are very limited in Manila. And if you want to have a customized frame, it can really be expensive.

2. Make standard-sized papercuts.

If you would still prefer to choose a frame after making your project, make sure that the length and width of your project are the standards. By “standards”, I mean 8×10, 8.5×11, 8.5×13, 5×7, 6×8, and 4×6 dimensions (all in inches). These are the usual frame sizes that you can find in the mall or a bookstore. Others carry 9×12 and A4 sizes, but these are hard to find. And even if you find frames in an unusual size, chances are the color or design may not go well with your papercut.

3. Dont forget to leave an allowance for borders.

I hate to break this to you but while a 6×8″ frame may fit all of your 6×8″ papercut, not every detail will be seen, specifically the sides. Remember that some frames have wide borders which may cover the outer parts of your project, so take note of this before cutting. 

4. Change blades as often as needed.
Dull blades are the worst. They ruin the paper and make your project untidy. So when you feel like your blade is no longer cutting deeply into the paper, it’s time to change. I normally use a minimum of 2 blades per project, depending on the intricacy of the design. So buy spare blades. Lots of them. I hate it when I’d have to put off a project just because l ran out of blades. Trust me, you’d hate it too.

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5. Cut diagonally.

Avoid pointing your craft knife vertically. There may be designs which are so intricate that you’d point your knife in a close-to-90-degree angle to make sure you cut right through small holes or lines. Don’t. This is the usual culprit for breaking the tip of your blade. When this happens, your blade is just as good as breaking the entire thing altogether.

6. Take a break.

Whenever I’m making a project, I make sure that I take a break from time to time — usually after an hour of cutting. Check your e-mail, drink a cup of coffee, open your facebook, whatever floats your boat. This will give your fingers a chance to rest for a bit and will prevent you from getting backaches after a project.

7. Cut to the music!

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I can’t remember a time not ever listening to music while doing a project. Music – apart from coffee- is my fuel; it just keeps me going. Papercutting goes hand in hand with sound tripping (at least for me) so always be ready with your favorite playlist.

8. Sometimes, a “so-what” attitude helps.

You will, from time-to-time, commit mistakes. You’d accidentally cut a part you shouldn’t, realize you’ve misspelled a word after finishing an entire project, etc. When you do, try to repair the damage if you can. If not, so what? You’re only human. Mistakes, you gotta make them.

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Notice how there’s a space between “always” and “be” at the last line. That’s because I mistakenly put “the” in between, so that it would’ve looked like “will always the be the same”. I just removed the extra “the” to remedy the error. Fortunately, the space is in the middle of the phrase so it kinda looks intentional.

9. Never, ever, pull a loose papercut.

You’ve finished cutting a project and found a part you haven’t cut completely. Whatever you do, do NOT pull! It’s tempting, yes, but doing so might tear the surrounding paper. Stop being lazy and grab your cutting knife so can cut through the loose part completely.

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10. Take your time.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when doing a project. Instead, take your time and focus on the end product you want in mind. A project doesn’t have to be done in one sitting. Sometimes it can take days, weeks or months to finish a papercut. Remember, papercutting is a hobby. Hobbies are there to be enjoyed. So just relax and enjoy what you’re doing 🙂

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I could think of more than 10 tips, actually, but these should do for now. I hope you find these 10 tips helpful in your next project.

Capture the Good Times!

A couple of weeks ago, our family went for a vacation in Baguio, a tourist destination north of Manila. This is the go-to place for people who would like to take a break from their busy urban lives and enjoy cool weather and a laidback atmosphere. Now Baguio is a city,  but it has this suburban feel to it where you wouldn’t have to keep track of time and everyone’s nice to everybody. I was just there earlier this year but I cannot possibly get tired of visiting this city with its beautiful parks and sites to see. There is just something about this place that makes me want to, as cliche as it may sound,  stop and smell the flowers.

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Taken at the Baguio Botanical Gardens

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La Trinidad, a city just outside Baguio, is famous for its Strawberry Farm. Too bad strawberries were out of season when we visited, though they also have rows and rows of fresh lettuces to get lost in!

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This was taken at The Good Shepherd Convent. The convent sells products made by the Good Shepherd nuns. They carry items such as fruit preserves, strawberry and ube jams, cashew and peanut brittle, and coco jam. According to the City of Pines website, the money generated from the sale of their products is used for the different charities sponsored by the Good Shepherd nuns and also for the maintenance and upkeep of the convent. Cool, huh?

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They don’t call Baguio the City of Pines for nothing. 😉

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This post may have been generally about my latest travel but of course I could not possibly forget to insert a papercut project, could I? This was a papercut I made a few months back, which my brother promised to photograph for me. I figured this would fit nicely in a blog post about spending quality time with your family.

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