14 December 2015

Holiday Gifts

This holiday season is the busiest just because we take time to make and prepare gifts for our loved ones. Yet, I would like to squeeze my blog time just to share some last minute Christmas gift ideas. Here are a few things I have prepared.

Framed Hand-lettered Quotes
For couples, a framed decor would be lovely so I decided to hand-letter a few quotes. I used a small round brush with the watercolors on thick white mix-media paper. The frame is in pale wood which is easy to complement white home interiors or even rustic ones.

Crochet Baby Bonnet
There is nothing easier to give to a new-born baby than cute crochet items so I decided to make this ivory bonnet for a friend's child. The thread is unbleached pure cotton which is the reason for the natural ivory color. Babies are innocent so it is safe to choose white or ivory if you are not a fan of blues or pinks.

Crochet Kid's Purse
For the little girls, a tiny purse would be a good idea since they love to have their own bags just like their mommas. I created this round crochet purse with an optional sling and decorated it with crochet flowers on both sides. Then I sewed on a zipper just to keep the little girls' stuff from falling off the bag.

I hope these ideas are useful for you. Have a great holiday season everyone!

03 December 2015

Yarn label revamp

My yarn life still exists for sure. I actually have a ton in my stash. I gifted some of them to a friend but decided to innovate. The labels on the cotton yarns were too "industrial" so I decided to make some out of scrap brown paper and hand lettered some words. No, I am not changing the yarn brands but just putting some personality into it. But who knows someday we will find my own yarn brand on the store shelves. That is one of those beautiful dreams.

01 December 2015

Hand Lettered Christmas Cards

Finally, December breeze is here. That also means that the spirit of giving is in the air. But everyday must be about giving and kindness. I managed to make some cards and postcards for my loved ones and sent them through post. In this time where most things are reduced to pixels, I would like to be one of the few people who still prefers to write and draw with the pen and stick stamps on my love letters.

With these cards, I used Japanese brush pens from Akashiya and my trusted Sakura field sketch watercolor set. Tiny details are made using some fineliner pens and sticker sets I have bought from China some time ago.

15 November 2015

Cheap Watercolor for Painting and Hand Lettering

Apparently, in the world of art there is such thing as cheap and expensive. But technically they are called student grade and artist grade. I've spent a few days justifying that this very affordable 36-color watercolor cake set can make good art.

Like most artists do, I did a sampling of this watercolor cake. The packaging says "Flamingo" and is made in China.  It seems to me that the paints are WYSIWYG. The colors show on the paper as they do on the palettes and are very chalky probably due to having more filler than that of higher quality paints.

Handlettering and Painting
I did some hand lettering practice with the brush. Erasing the pencil lines needed much care since the dried watercolors smudged so easily. I've digitized the artwork and created a postcard out of my older travel photos from 2012. I couldn't pick a better photo than that of the tropical beach. Then I tried reproducing one of my instagram photos of the Burj Khalifa. This watercolor cake seemed to fail at blending and layering. The colors did not mix very well on the paper.

Nonetheless this watercolor set is good enough for art journaling and practice. Even simple for simple illustrations I would still use it especially if the original artwork will be digitized so there is no worry about lightfastness. At less than PHP200 or USD5 you can't go wrong with it.

07 November 2015

"Hello World" of Modern Calligraphy

When you code, most begin with the phrase "hello world" to print on the screen. For the purpose of simplifying my blog post, I opted to write the simple word "hello" to demonstrate how different tools can be used for fancy handwriting. I am not an expert of calligraphy nor hand lettering but my discovery of such art has led me to experiment with various tools that most modern calligraphers use today. Where I am at it is a bit challenging to find resources for the art but after hard work and research, I have compromised with several tools that are very much alike to other more famous brands being advertised. I hope you enjoy this post!

The Tools

Below is a list of tools used for this post. I have skipped the inks for now.
  • card stock paper
  • paint brush size 0
  • dipping pen
  • watercolor cake set
  • white and silver gouache paints in tubes
  • pigment ink drawing pen size 0.8
  • felt-tip brush pen
  • Japanese brush pen

Drawing pen with pigment ink
Your ordinary Sakura or Artline pigment ink drawing pen will do wonders. If you love to sketch, this pen is useful for hand lettering as well.

Felt-tip brush pen
Your ordinary felt-tip brush pens that are used for manga drawing can be used. However, not all tips are designed to be flexible enough for calligraphy works so it can damage the tip. This one in particular is an Edding brush pen that is just a little over a PHP100 for a set of 10.

Japanese brush pen
I have used a SAI Akishiya brush pen from Japan. It has real brush bristles so it mimics the behaviour of watercolor and brush but gives you more pigment control. This is very similar to the Kuretake Zig real brush pens.

Watercolor and brush
If you paint then there is no need to purchase additional tools to start practicing modern calligraphy. A tiny brush and any kind of watercolor paint will do. In this case, I have used a liner brush since I already have one at my disposal and a chalky watercolor cake that looks strikingly similar to the Simbalion watercolor cake but surprisingly cheaper.

Watercolor and dipping pen
In a happy accident, I found a nameless dipping pen sold at one of the book stores here. The nib is not replaceable. Nonetheless, it is able to serve its purpose.

Gouache and brush 
Gouache is an opaque water-soluble paint which means it can be hydrated after it is dried. Technically, it is different from opaque watercolors. In this case, I have used silver gouache from Pebeo.

Gouache and dipping pen
Just like watercolor, gouache can be be diluted enough to be used with a dipping pen. White gouache is a good alternative if white calligraphy inks are not available to you. Daler-Rowney zinc white was used in this case.

Here's a peak into my calligraphy diary which I have organized from my gazillion practice sheets. There are so many stuff in it that I would like to talk about but I am still very traditional when it comes to blogging and taking photographs so it takes time. I code a lot and process photos from RAW format. But these are the pains we take for doing what we love.

27 October 2015

Craft ni Kim Shop Now Open at Little Majlis

My tiny online shop in the Middle East is now open! I am glad to finally have been able to list a few of my crochet creations at the Little Majlis which is like Etsy but in a more refined manner since they review the products and only makers from the GCC countries are allowed to sell.

So hurray to my first online store! Come on over and give me a pat on the shoulder. To visit, click the image below or the word "SHOP" from my site menu. This journey is definitely interesting so don't get left behind.

25 October 2015

A new logo and paper tags

Finally I have a new site logo which I have been meaning to work on since time immemorial. I did some handlettering and photoshopping until I arrived with the "stamped" look. A real rubber stamp is not available yet and for now the printer can do the work. Logo tags sounded great and would be beautiful to include with my handmade items such as this crochet purse which I am gifting to a friend.

Yes I am back in my artistic groove. And there is a lot to talk about.

05 September 2015

Meeting the Knitting Amiras and some crochet talk

I am reposting a picture from my Instagram account which doesn't make sense but simply because I want to attach a memory to it. I met with the Knitting Amiras which is a group of Dubai-based fiber artists - knitters, crocheters, indie yarn dyers. Getting there was a long story which I decided to talk about in my other personal blog.

Nonetheless, I got to listen to them talk about knit patterns and designers. My craft is crochet which is a slightly different art though both can be combined together beautifully. I've knitted a few times before but only succeeded at basic stitches such as knit and purl. For now crochet will be my language and I am loving it more than ever.

Crocheting runs in the family. Some of my cousins crochet too or at least interested to learn further. Some old clothes of my mom's and aunts' were handmade by them. I still do not have that kind of patience though I have finished a bolero before. Crochet is quite common where I am from and there is a slight disadvantage to that because people now tend to ignore it and think it is a grandma's craft. When I was younger, it was taught in the schools to provide skill and help small communities have a way of living. Nowadays, handicraft skills are replaced by computer skills in schools which can come in handy but not in all cases.

The dream to revive the love for crochet in my community is still melting in the hot pot. And I share that with at least one friend who has the same passion as mine. But for now, I find myself thousand of miles away from home though I have a good feeling that the love for this craft will flourish eventually.

On another note, my blog URL is so eccentric. The blog title "Craft ni Kim" is a Filipino phrase that simply translates to "Kim's craft." Yes, it does sound eccentric but I simply just want to talk about my love for fiber, the arts and other crafty things. Changing my social media handle can be a challenge so I want to keep it this way for now. Probably, a few network icons will make it livelier and friendly.

26 August 2015

Hand lettering practice

They say dreams do come true. I dreamed of gold and blue and so here they are on my postcards during my hand lettering practice. They also say practice makes perfect. But I do not aim for perfection because there is no such thing as perfect.

I wish you all a lovely day. And yes, continue doing what you love.

25 August 2015

The day I said goodbye to the tiniest things

I used to day dream a lot with my miniatures. At one time, one of my 11.5 inch dolls was having a picnic with my handmade clay croissants and crocheted bread linens. Before I shipped them all back to my hometown, I took a few photos just to relieve me. Now those tiny things are all over my niece's toy "store" which is how she calls it.

I don't know if it makes sense to start collecting and making miniatures again. But it did bring me joy whenever I give life into tiny things from my imagination. Sometimes I think I am too childish but then you'd be surprise that those who are most serious with the tiniest things are those with a thumb bigger than my toe.

24 August 2015


Apparently I have found new love in painting and writing. I cannot quite call it calligraphy yet because I do not the rules. Doodling is probably a safer word to call it at this point. Nonetheless, I love how I can control the brush now in a way so different than I used to.

I am currently spending more time with brushes, paints and inks, and giving more appreciation to my current stock of student quality art materials. I do not need very expensive stuff right now. As long as I see the colors bleed and blend, I am happy.

23 August 2015

Blue granny square bag

I have to admit that one Instagram photo of a project can be enough but why am I still blogging about it here? It's because it can be so easy to get lost in a feed. I am obviously resharing that photo of the blue bag I made. The project started on a plane en route from Singapore to Dubai. There were obviously so many other things to do on a Singapore Airlines flight like logging on to the Internet though not for free or watching movies on the digital box but I still could not resist the hook.

For this project I've used different types of leftover yarns such as combed cotton and acrylic blend. The bag string is made of vintage style cotton lace then I lined it with muslin and handsewn a zipper for the closure. The pattern is a modified granny square since the yarn weights were different and original pattern pattern only had three rows so adjustments had to be made.

The pattern on the other side of the bag is different. I like asymmetry a lot because it makes handmade pieces unique. I usually give away bags I crochet but this is too pretty to give up. It can carry my passport and wallet so that comes in quite handy.