Workshop Weekend in Singapore

I was so tempted to make this another En Route post BUT I realized I’ve been to Singapore way too many times, so…maybe no. Lol. Also, this weekend was strictly for work and we didn’t have lots of things planned (aka the gap time was really intended for sleeping/resting. Like true titas.)

Tippy has been my officemate for quite some time now. We laugh at this “officemate” thing because we don’t really work beside each other — sometimes we talk over the phone about work/collabs or meet up for coffee (and bonding with le godson Riley). But I realized we never actually got to travel (because we became close during her pregnancy last year). Anyhoo, it was nice to travel to SG with a kindred soul who is equally as passionate with art & design (or maybe more) with me…

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because the moment we stepped out of the hotel on our first day, we ended up in Basheer Graphic Books. *laughs hysterically*

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Anyway, apart from that, we conducted our first overseas Letters & Colors workshop at The Untitled Space. Still amazed at how this random collaboration ended up branching out to 3 workshops + one in Singapore. 😀

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Saturday went by so fast; we spent a whole afternoon geeking out on letters and colors. I had so much fun meeting all these lovely students!

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Above is a proper photo w/ Tippeh…after several attempts of having a proper photo (we almost always meet up looking like zombies because of deadlines tbh). Lol.

On Sunday, I spent the morning teaching a batch of students my basic lettering class. It was refreshing to be teaching again and most especially expounding on the technical side of type — most of which really is the core of what I teach. Everyone was so skilled! 🙂

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Lol after my shift, I ended up shopping at Art Friend and…napping in the hotel…*no shame*

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We also met up with Jo of The Letter J Supply. Always lovely chatting with her!

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We were rushing to the airport on Monday so the quickest thing we did was visit the National Gallery Shop. Below is our attempt to take a decent photo. (told ya. Lol) It was raining the whole day so that made things a bit more stressful.

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You can check out more of our workshop weekend with the video below (I swear, I took more footage than actual photos. For a change? Haha)

I’m slowly updating my YouTube channel, so hope you can hop on there and check it out as well: youtube.com/abbeysy 🙂

Rolling out a few announcements in the coming days in time for the holidays, so keep posted for updates 😀

Abbey

En Route: Scandinavia

This post has been on queue for almost a year. I don’t know why — maybe it was because this was a very unexpected trip that was both good and bad for me.

Let’s not talk too much about the bad part…long story short, I had a lot of pending work here in Manila at the time I left, my laptop broke, I had the toughest time clearing my mind off a lot of things, and the jetlag / timezone change totally didn’t help with that — even the cold weather. So consider it an unlucky experience for me; but in a nutshell, I *did* find a bit of refuge and reconnected with my innermost thoughts at this time.

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Last year’s holiday was spent touring around Scandinavia (northern Europe). While I wasn’t really fond of this part (I really want to go to Spain…maybe soon), I have to say, I enjoyed it. I don’t recall most of the things we did (we were also on tour so…not really my type of vacation), but I’ll share a few notes here and there as you go through the little photo diary below. I regret not bringing a proper camera; these were all just from my phone. But nevertheless, enjoy reading 😀40Sweden_OldTown

My favorite out of all the places we visited was Stockholm, Sweden. *cue Stockholm Syndrome by 1D hehe*

I spent the last day of 2015 walking alone towards Gamla Stan (Old Town), and chanced upon a row of really pretty indie stores, all decorated with holiday ornaments.

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Above is a shop called E. Torndahl. I may have spent an hour checking out the quirky items inside.

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Also dropped by a record store in the area. It was huge 😮

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First time to try Glögg (hot wine) to combat the 0 degree weather. (Yep, zero!)

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View outside our hotel.

I sent out a few postcards in Sweden — you can easily purchase stamps at the souvenir store and drop them in the yellow mailbox (blue is for local postage). These can be found on every corner.

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My low EQ self entered a department store…and well, would you look at that bookstore display?!

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Finland was another favorite. I discovered a lot of their postcards were vintage themed (like the ones below)…and so I ended up getting myself a few to collect. 😀

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Visited this quaint town called Porvoo and it is all sorts of amazing. Case in point: handpainted home decor (above) and pretty architecture (below).

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Stationery and paper goods everywhere.

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Stopover at this picture-worthy location a few kms from Porvoo!

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Drooled over their wet market…which was very pretty, by the way. It doesn’t look dirty / wet at all. I wanted to buy all the canned goods because #packaging, tbh.

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I sent out my first batch of postcards at the Finnish post office called Posti. Look it up; I loooove their branding. The people were so nice and accommodating too – gladly, this was a 5-minute walk from our hotel. The challenge? 5-minute walk in negative 3 degrees…with slippery roads and almost no sunshine at 7am. 😮

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More sights in Helsinki, Finland’s capital~ (feels like I came out of a vintage movie)

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First time experiencing a snowy flight~ I was practically struggling to not slip while taking photos non-stop lololol

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Norway was our first experience of snow. Most of the 2-week trip involved…plane rides. Which I totally didn’t mind, but when you have 3 layers of clothing and a heavy handcarry to boot, it gets more complicated. 11Norway_Airport

Spotted this cutie Starbucks truck at the airport! 😮

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SNOOOOOOOW (my hands froze after this photo)

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Y’all my happiness there is incomparable~

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The sun comes out at 9AM and ends at 3PM during wintertime. Here’s a view from the Vigeland park.

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Me in my attempt to not wear a jacket because it ruins my outfit (I can be very stubborn sometimes)

Hello from the fam! Classic geekery featuring our very chinky eyes and glasses~

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Denmark was very pretty. The weather was the best among all 4 – not too cold. Also, I had the best beer at Carlsberg factory…considering I’m not a huge beer fan. 😀

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The only thing I am familiar with from the shelf above is Cocio, lol

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Painting in transit at the start of the trip…

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Last glance of the Frederiksborg castle, one of the iconic tourist spots in Copenhagen.

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So…that ends my En Route post. Hope this inspires you to explore new places…and if you’re heading to Scandinavia, do make a stop to Iceland as well, maybe you’ll get to catch the Northern Lights! 🙂

What are your dream destinations? Let me know in the comments below!

Abbey

 

Stationery Shopping in Korea

Hello! How have you guys been? 😀

As most of you know (well, if you’ve been following my updates elsewhere), I recently went to Korea for a quick vacation last month. Little did I know that I’d end up visiting a couple of stationery & craft stores while I was there. A lot of you requested I write about it so here you go!

To be honest, I’d still say Japan has a more complete range of art/craft tools (this includes paint, mostly, which I always look for!) BUT I will definitely say that Korea did not disappoint. In fact, I was super impressed with the lineup in Seoul, considering the items I wanted to buy were mostly stationery items for this trip. I only got to visit 3 stores due to time scarcity though.

Related post: Art Hoarding in Tokyo

텐바이텐 10X10

The first store I visited was 10×10, which was a few blocks away from Hyehwa Station. My sister (who currently studies there) suggested this ’cause she bought her planner here recently. I wanted to panic when I first entered the place (lol because I didn’t make a list of things I needed to buy) but instead I checked each counter to make sure I’d find something that would spark my interest (to purchase, lol)

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The first thing that greeted me was the diary & planner selection. Wow. They really have everything – from daily, weekly, monthly, undated, weekly view, monthly view, hardbound, softcover, spiral, perfectly bound…EVERYTHING. And all price points at that (mostly less than PHP 1,000!). Amazing. I spent a good 30 minutes here picking out a planner. I have low EQ, I know. LOL.

Most of the stores in Korea not only sell stationery — there are also lifestyle items, appliances, and other tools (similar to Tokyu Hands in Japan/Singapore). Pretty cool if you ask me, because these are efficient materials to complement paper goods anyway (such as: pouches, polaroid cameras, phone cases, etc).

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Of course, there’s an area full of kawaii stickers and a corner full of washi tapes in different designs. I got a Korea-themed one because #journalingpriorities. 😛10x10-washi

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Near the counter there’s a shelf full of pens to choose from. I was eyeing on the Pentel touch (one of my fave pens) but it’s much cheaper in Singapore so I’ll get it there instead when I visit. There were sooo many brands available, it’s relatively accessible for those in Korea.

I particularly loved the display area of the gift package section. So organized! Love those column-like shelves.

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There are also popular brands available in 10×10, such as Midori. I got my TN here, there’s quite a good selection of the notebooks available. Must-visit in Seoul!


ARTBOX

Artbox has been around the Philippines for a while now, but it originated in Korea. In fact, it’s pretty much accessible from wherever in Korea — almost every station has a designated nearby Artbox store (I went to the Hongdae branch; but there is also one in Myeongdong, and other areas). Apart from stationery items, Artbox has a lot of quirky home decor and fun things to add to your space — exactly one of the reasons why I love this store.

SO. MANY. PENS!

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There’s a larger selection of stickers in Artbox than other stores I’ve visited (pro tip: I got some stickers from Daiso also!). The designs range from kawaii to vintage and I was able to get a few sheets to add to my collection. Funny though, I’m REALLY picky with stickers. I only purchase cheap ones (there was a set for P1000 and I couldn’t get myself to buy it even if it was so pretty HUHU) and I make sure they’re fit for my journaling style (aka mostly vintage / muted colors / indie stuff). 😀

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KYOBO Bookstore

I always make sure to drop by a bookstore at EVERY country I visit (if the one in the airport counts; I’ll add that too, lol) so I found Kyobo online and it was apparently one of the biggest bookstores in Korea. The vibe inside is similar to Eslite / Kinokuniya / Fully Booked: huge, but easily segregated per area. To commute here is pretty easy: it’s located directly at an exit in Gwanghwamun station (aka when you get off the station this bookstore is one of the exits, I think it’s Exit 5).

Of course I went to the English Arts & Design section. 😀

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Love the selection! They have a lot, from coloring books to postcards (see the Pantone set there on the lower left? AHH) to self-help design books. There was this shelf full of classic artists (I wanted to get the Van Gogh one but maybe next time) and it was half off. Gah, take all my money!
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I wandered around the whole floor and found the art tools section! Yay! They had a lot of brands and sketch pads as well. So in case you’re looking for art materials, you can pop by Kyobo to get your fix.

The art section is stationed near an Artbox inside Kyobo. The selection is wider here, and there are more brands present here (also lots of Korean ones!). Super love the set-up, and the tools are easily accessible. Price point is pretty reasonable.

Bewks! Most of the books are in Korean. So obviously I did not bother to look. Haha.

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Before I forget, other stores you should totally check out: Daiso (the stickers are only 1000won aka PHP40!), Butter Shop (in Hongdae), Kosney (which I sadly didn’t visit!) and go around the different Artbox branches (maybe the stocks are not all the same) 🙂

MINI STATIONERY HAUL

I started daily journaling again earlier this year (a few years back it was always an on and off thing, and eventually I kept more travel journals than daily ones) so I’ve been keen on looking for more materials to add to my stash here at home. I don’t hoard, because I’m super stingy with spending. So yes, I’m that girl who always ponders over the items in my basket before proceeding to the cashier (also I calculate everything before going to checkout LOL).

Related Post: Journal Roundup Volume 1 / Journal Roundup Volume 2

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On the photo above: Midori Travelers Notebook (Regular in Camel) + inserts from 10×10 / Stickers from ARTBOX / Tag from Korean Air (at the check-in counter lol) / Airmail sticky notes from Kyobo / Coffee Cup Sleeve from Nami Island Cafe / Postcard from Bukchon Village souvenir shop / Vintage Label Stickers from Artbox / Washi Tape from 10×10 / Undated planner from 10×10 / Ticket-it sticky notes from Artbox / Charmander freebie from Tony Moly (I just had to put it here, so cute lol) / Airline stickers from Korean Air

Okay, so I really wanted a regular-sized Travelers Notebook because I told myself it would organize my life more (okay, working on that). I have so much notebooks here for work, making art, writing etc and I hope that keeps things more intact since I bought 3 notebook inserts (blank, grid, kraft) and a plastic pouch for keepsakes and stuff. The undated planner (which was around P600) was definitely on impulse, but here’s to hoping I get to use it soon and not rely on blank notebooks for daily work tasks.

Here’s a pro tip: You can always get whatever ephemera you find from your trip — the Korean Air tags were at the counter (lol), the stickers were at the airplane seat (admit it, they’re pretty cute!), coffee cup sleeves are also great for collecting. I got a few maple leaves too and kept it in a Ziploc! 😀

I have this habit of collecting everything from the travels and eventually I store them in an envelope (per country) or if the others (like, for example, tickets or stubs) are easy to insert into journals, I’d stick them there. Easy as that.

Anyway, thanks for reading about my geekery on stationery. I’ve been an avid fan of collecting stationery and writing letters and well, journaling, too since elementary but little did I know I’d still have that same fascination for it x years later. I feel so old. LOL.

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Speaking of journaling, my new book The ABCs of Journaling is now a best-seller! CONFETTI! 😀

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Inside the book I share tips on documenting your own life creatively, and gathering inspiration from different types of people on how to journal. There’s also a sticker sheet included 🙂

Related post: The ABCs of Journaling Book Launch

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By the way, above are some of the stickers I illustrated for Stick ‘Em Up!, a collaborative sticker book with fellow artists Googly Gooeys & June Digan.
journal_sbRecently I have also produced a journal called The ABC Daily Journal. This is my version of daily journaling in a hassle-free way — no dates, just numbers. And the pages are free for you to draw, write, and enjoy the art of journaling.

All of the products above are available at major bookstores / stationery stores  nationwide in the Philippines. If you’d like to order a copy online, click here. Pre-orders for international customers are accessible via Rainbowholic Shop.

Thanks for reading this post! 🙂 Hope you enjoy your stationery shopping when you visit Korea!

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Oh and ICYMI, linking some helpful posts about journaling below!

BLOG POSTS ON JOURNALING:

Tips on Daily Journaling

Tips on Travel Journaling

 

Tips on Travel Journaling

Contrary to what most people think, travel journaling was an accidental hobby I discovered. It was during a cold morning in France three years ago—while lining up for the Louvre museum, that I decided to flip open a notebook and start drawing. Years later, I went backpacking around Southeast Asia and managed to chronicle 30 days’ worth of adventures inside a journal, one of which has been my all-time favourite adventures to date.

Ever since those encounters, I’ve never traveled without at least a little notebook to record my activities while in transit. And it’s always been the most precious keepsake I can hold on to from my adventures away from home.

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(my first ever travel journal from a few years back)

Today, I’ll be sharing some tips on travel journaling based on my own experiences from documenting in transit. Whether you’re just about to start, have been doing it regularly, or want to know more about it—read on, and I hope these tips help!

Tools To Bring

Every time I travel, my number one concern is always which set of tools to bring. But over time, I’ve learned to sort out which ones I really need and will use.

Faber-Castell Pens & Pencils

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I have a set of 60 Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens at home, but I find that bringing around 8-10 colors really help filter out my color choices (the less, the easier to decide, in my opinion). I usually get a gray, 2 shades of brown, indian red, pine green, yellow, and navy as I like to sketch a lot of sceneries & nature elements that require these basic colors.

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(coloring in a page from Googly Gooeys’ coloring book)

Apart from Faber-Castell’s Pitt Artist Pens, I’ve been keen on using my Albrecht Dürer watercolor pencils, which are highly pigmented and are great for traveling (especially if you’re one who’s iffy about packing paint).

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I also use fineliner pens (round tip) on a regular basis as it’s easy to achieve a sketchy effect with just one pen (I used only one pen illustrating the pages at the photo below).

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Snippets from my Southeast Asia travel journal

Watercolors

I always bring just one tiny tin can of watercolors, which I did myself. I used an old candy tin, filled it up with empty pans, and squeezed out watercolor tubes with my color choices (again, mostly dull and desaturated). It’s a no-frills way of taking your paint along without having to bring the whole set.

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My habit when it comes to travel journaling involves me really drawing whenever and wherever I am. One time, I got lost while commuting in Tokyo, so I spent the 2-hr subway ride painting. No tables, just my hands. So as much as possible, I try to be flexible with the materials I bring.

IMG_0026Craft stash

People assume I carry all my washi tapes when I travel…no. Definitely not, lol. I bring around 2-3 little rolls and then tape some on tags / plastic covers so I can reuse them. I like having wooden clips on hand for 1) painting and 2) props. Then I also have a few ~ephemera~ and a little case where I store them (just in case I get more tickets / keepsakes as I travel).

Travel Journaling Style

Over the years, I’ve kept numerous photo-filled books, journals, envelopes of keepsakes, and so much more. They have never been consistent, and I guess that’s what I like most about this activity—the more variety, the better. One day I could be drawing non-stop; and the other, I could be writing endless paragraphs of what I’ve seen and what I’ve done or have printed out hundreds of photos for a scrapbookish journal page.

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One thing I’ve kept consistent though is my work would always have a mix of drawing and writing. They almost never separate (except on very rare occasions).

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Lately, though, I’ve been finding myself writing more. I like articulating my thoughts by observing what I see. It’s pretty ironic considering I haven’t really honed my writing skills to its maximum (yet) but…it’ll get there. Hehe.

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The best part of getting to document memories from travels & adventures is being able to immortalize where you were at a specific point and place in time. For me, there’s a unique takeaway from illustrating or writing about your travels rather than just taking photos, or breezing through your trip.

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After all, the main goal of travel journaling is for you to remember your travel experience in the way you want it. Capturing a moment can be as simple as observing your surroundings, the food you’ve consumed, and the sights you’ve seen. Interpret them in any way that speaks to you the most.

Making Time to Document

While it’s okay to chronicle everything when you get back from your trip, making time to document in transit helps preserve the moment more while it’s happening.

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Most of the time I like to draw while in transit (literally), especially during long bus or train rides. I also like to stay at cafes or use idle time at the airport to draw or sketch. It keeps my hands busy, and at the same time, gives me motivation to narrate my experiences and take it all in.

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Speaking of, sharing with you a video diary of how I document my travels using Faber-Castell Pitt Pens, my go-to materials for journaling.

Getting to combine your love for art and travel and keeping them in a tangible notebook makes it a memorable personal keepsake that you can always look back on. Here’s hoping you can create your own on your future travels!

You can purchase Faber-Castell products at National Book Store branches nationwide, as well as Scribe & Craft Carrot. Check out their online shop at http://www.manilaatelier.com/.

[EDITED: November 2016]

By the way, have you gotten a copy of my new book The ABCs of Journaling?

journaling_bk

Inside the book I share tips on documenting your own life creatively, and gathering inspiration from different types of people on how to journal. There’s also a sticker sheet included 🙂 Copies are available at bookstores nationwide in the Philippines, as well as online on Shop Abbey Sy. Limited stocks are available for pre-order (internationally) at Rainbowholic Shop.

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Related post: The ABCs of Journaling Book Launch

Photos by Tippy Go & Christie Lim

Singapore Roundup: Art, Books, Crafts & Coffee

Hello!

Picking up where I left off at my recent trip to Singapore last June, here’s a roundup of my favourites and new discoveries from one of my go-to countries. Most of you have requested this post so here it is, summarized in Art, Books, Crafts, and Coffee. Enjoy! 🙂

Art Materials & Books

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Art Friend

Bras Basah Complex

A staple amongst art students & professionals, Art Friend carries almost all types of materials for specific mediums – from paper, paint, pens, to other DIY tools. (Website)

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Straits Art Co Pte Ltd

North Bridge Road

A small shop along North Bridge Road, Straits Art carries a good quantity of painting materials (e.g. I get my Holbein paints here as it is not available in Art Friend) as well as paper and other drawing tools. (Facebook page)


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Basheer Graphic Books

Bras Basah Complex

Located at the top floor of Bras Basah, Basheer has the best selection of art books and magazines in Singapore. (Facebook Page)

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Other bookstores to check out:

  • BooksActually (Yong Siak Street)
  • Wood in the Books (Yong Siak Street)
  • Littered with Books (Duxton Rd)
  • Kinokuniya (Orchard Rd)

Library_Out(this is not a book store, but I’m putting it here so you can visit)

Library @ Orchard

Orchard Gateway

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This library houses a good selection of books from various categories. I was surprised to see a big shelf of type books at the 4th floor – something I rarely encounter at libraries. Architecture is beautiful, as well as the interior design layout of the place, making it a conducive reading spot. (Directory)


Stationery & Lifestyle Goods

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BYND Artisan

Holland Village

Specialising in custom notebooks, binding, and leather goods, BYND Artisan store has been running for quite a long time now, with conserving the art of handmade goods at the forefront of their vision. (Website)
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Monocle Shop

Holland Village

A homage to all things Monocle – their magazines, books, march and apparel. Oh, and they serve coffee too!

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Cat Socrates

Bras Basah Complex

Quaint Zakka-Style shop you shouldn’t miss in Bras Basah Complex. (Facebook Page)

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Gallery & Co

National Gallery of SG

Beautifully curated books, clothing & stationery items inside the National Gallery of Singapore. They also have a cafeteria (which looks like a lovely work-friendly area) and cafe run by Plain Vanilla.

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Craft Assembly

Haji Lane

Inside Craft Assembly you’ll be able to check out SG finds made by local indie shops. Got a local-designed washi tape here! (Instagram)

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Tokyu Hands

Orchard Central

Japanese goods from art materials, notebooks, stationery, to home and lifestyle goods and beauty needs. Always a must-visit both in SG and Japan. (Website)

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Supermama

Bali Lane

Handmade goods and selected SG-themed souvenirs are in this little shop brimming with beautiful designs along Bali Lane. (Website)

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Orchard Central

A selection of curated brands, SG souvenirs, clothing, and other lifestyle goods inside Orchard Central. There’s a separate one containing homeware, children’s toys, and a selection of delicacies. (Website)

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IKEA

Alexandra Rd

The mothership! I always go here to buy boxes or organising tools, apart from having their meatballs and checking out their showrooms. (Website)


Craft Tools & Materials

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Made With Love

313@somerset

A must-visit for craft lovers, this store houses a multitude of scrapbooking products, art tools, ephemera and itsy bitsy craft tools. I get most of my scrapbook paper here. (Website)

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Paper Market

Plaza Singapura

Another scrapbook store containing stationery, tapes, and a wide selection of craft materials for scrapbooking and memory-keeping. (Website)

Monoyono

Other craft shops to visit:

  • Kikki.K (ION Orchard)
  • Monoyono (Plaza Singapura)
  • Typo (313@somerset or Wisma Atria)
  • Spotlight (Plaza Singapura)

Coffee & Desserts

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Sunday Folks

Holland Village

Known for its long lines on peak hours, this coffee and ice cream establishment serves one of the best waffles + ice cream desserts in Singapore. (Facebook page)

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Chye Seng Huat Hardware

Tyrwhitt Road

A hidden gem a few meters from Lavender station, this is one of the meccas of coffee lovers in SG. Must-try: earl grey cheesecake & mocha. (Website)

Oriole_Out Oriole_Taisho

Oriole Coffee

Somerset

Best cold brew I’ve tried so far! I got the Taisho White – although my friend Mikka says the Taisho M.A.D. Milk is the best. I have yet to try that. (Website)

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Stateland

Bali Lane

A small cafe along Bali Lane, Stateland serves quality coffee paired with a really conducive space for meeting and catching up with friends. Plus: their truffle fries are really good. (Facebook page)

GT

Other cafes to check out:

  • Shop Wonderland (Haji Lane)
  • Forty Hands (Yong Sick St)
  • Tiong Bahru Bakery (Tiong Bahru)
  • Group Therapy (Duxton Rd)

Related posts:

I hope these helped in case you’ll be visiting Singapore anytime soon. I got a request to do a Manila version (ironic because I’m from the Philippines), so that’s probably up on my sleeve for my future roundup posts!

Always be creating,

Abbey 🙂

En Route: Singapore 2016 Photo Diary

June 27, Monday, 6:14PM | Starbucks Coffee, Changi Airport Terminal 2

If you’ve known me (virtually) for a long time now, you’d know that I love Singapore very, very much. The art, food, efficient transportation – I fell in love with it the first time I visited and spent a week exploring on my own, two years ago.

I always wished I would get to live in SG or maybe settle there for a good few months (for experience), but it looks like that’s never happening anytime soon. And as I grew older I may have realized that I’d rather stay in Manila and call the PH my home. 🙂 So for the meantime, here’s a visual diary of my recent “work” trip – squeezing in three classes in a weekend plus a few sidetrips here and there at some old favorites and new discoveries. Enjoy!

Basheer

First stop: Basheer Graphic Books, Bras Basah Complex. The damage? New copies of B & Flow magazine. No regrets.

Also: discovered Cat Socrates in the same building. So much artsy finds!

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Carinderia hits in SG. Chin Chin was geeeewd.

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Revisited National Gallery for a quick art fix. The museum shop is very promising – with complete lineups of books, stationery, and merch.

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This girl was reading her Penguin Classic book before the museum opened.

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Something my future child would definitely wear. Not that I’m thinking of motherhood already. Bring that up to me in 10 years. HAHA.

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It just so happened that this exhibition explaining the Gallery & Co branding can pass up as Tippy‘s room. Hmm.IMG_0153

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Balanced diet? Work life balance?
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First time to visit Holland Village. We found a lot of nice stores and cafes. Funny that it’s located inside a real neighborhood – with houses, and nice letterboxes such as that one on the photo.

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Hello from me and Tin!

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THE MOTHERSHIP.

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Spent some me-time window shopping at craft stores near Bras Basah.
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CSHH_Coffee2Saturday morning coffee fix at Chye Seng Huat Hardware, a hidden gem in Tyrwhitt Road.
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Craft Assembly‘s selection of Singapore-inspired souvenirs. I swear, those pillowcases are haunting me. Easily one of my favorite stores in Haji Lane.

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“Don’t mess with my teh tarik & roti prata” face

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National Library

Our hotel faces the National Library. I wasn’t able to go in but it was a beaut on the outside!

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Workshop snippets. The Letter J Supply studio was beautiful – look at all that light!

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It’s Mikka Weeeeeee!

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Coffee + adulting conversations with a long time high school friend at Stateland Coffee. It feels great to find home outside Manila. (Thanks, Peter!)IMG_0309

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Library @ Orchard. I was glued to my seat for a good thirty minutes browsing every type book in the typography section.

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Surprisingly discovered an array of indie shops at Orchard Central & Orchard Gateway. I’m rounding up a comprehensive list soon on the blog!IMG_0351

A little present for Jo of The Letter J Supply, who helped organize the workshops. 🙂
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Last train ride back to Bras Basah.
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Airport sightings: a sunflower garden. Changi is really something.

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Peace out, Singapore. It’s been real. You’ll always be a favorite. I can’t wait to be back soon!

PS: Thanks to everyone who attended the workshops. I’ll share about it soon. For PH classes, sign up here.

PPS: Whipping up a comprehensive list of places to go for art, books, crafts and coffee! Coming soon 🙂

En Route: Japan 2016

First thing’s first: I missed writing about my travels!

For a change, I’m sharing a few things I did differently this year during my 2-week trip to Japan – instead of writing about how this trip went (let’s leave that for another post). You all know I left for the reason that I needed a break – well, that, and I actually spent half of the trip researching for a project I’m currently working on.

I’ve been to Japan six times – possibly the most I’ve been to every country (Singapore loses this round, lol). Call it coincidence, call it extra funds – I think in general, Japan has always been a safe choice. Each prefecture has its own uniqueness (I’ve been to Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Tokyo already) that gets me every time I travel.

Here’s a roundup of Japan 2016: highlights, whatnots, adventures (+ misadventures), and memorable experiences.

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I survived commuting alone

I know how to commute in general but I stayed in Saitama (Kita Urawa area) so it was a challenge to commute to Tokyo and other cities. Actually took the wrong train on my first day alone. Geez! I also got lost going back to Kaila’s place. I’m so grateful for Google Maps and Hyperdia (access this when you’re commuting in Japan!) because I found my way eventually. Also, do be aware of local / rapid trains as well as subways that aren’t part of the JR line (main line). Everything gets confusing but you really have to read all the signs. It helps. (Verdict: I survived!)

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Painted by the park

Sakura? check. Sketch pad? check. I went to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden on an extra windy day (I got sick after, huu) to sit down and paint. A good scenery always makes painting a fun activity. I plugged in my earphones and painted for a few hours in the midst of tourists and the beautiful view of cherry blossoms in full bloom.

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Went planner + craft shopping

This happens a lot but for this trip, it was really on my agenda. I’m researching on a project that requires me to scout craft materials (win-win!) so I went planner + craft shopping at LoFT, Tokyu Hands, and 100Yen stores (Seria is my favorite!). I’ve written this post previously on where to get your arts + crafts fix in Japan (to be updated soon!). 🙂

One of the highlights was getting myself a Hobonichi planner. Talk about commitment: this is a daily planner, so I have to chronicle my days 24/7. Gets things a bit organized, if you ask me! Kaila also got one – check out some of her work here. 🙂

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For me…I’ll show you a roundup on my next post. Currently experimenting every 2 weeks to see how long I’ll last and how efficient I get to write on my journal.

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Hanami during Sakura season

Spent a Saturday with Kaila at Omiya park – less commercial but still beautiful. Hanami / picnic during spring is a traditional thing here in Japan; and it was great to experience it for the first time. We spent the afternoon writing on our Hobonichi planners and trading washi tapes (such responsible adults, lolz).

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Met up with artists

I braved my soul to contact some of the artists I look up to who are based in Tokyo – and I don’t regret it. I met both Adrian Hogan and Mariya Suzuki in Shibuya for lunch and coffee. It was surreal! The meet-ups left me inspired and I was able to gather a few insights from them (oh, and a few post-it doodles!).

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Speaking of post-its, I attended a monthly event called PauseDraw. You should check it out if you’re in Tokyo during the first week of every month. They hold drawing meet-ups and basically you get to meet with other people and…draw. It was fun. I hope this can be implemented in Manila as well.

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Became a wizard for a day

I’ve visited the Harry Potter film set in London a few years back BUT when I found out that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened here in Universal Studios Japan, I had to put it on my bucket list. Got to become a wizard for a day and sported my Gryffindor scarf with some Butterbeer on hand. I love Harry Potter and I always will (if you’re a big HP fan, you’d totes get my reference).

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Stayed at an airbnb

Believe it or not, I haven’t stayed in an airbnb…not until I visited Osaka with Kaila. We loved our unit! The beds were extra comfy and the host was thoughtful enough to prepare toiletries and other amenities to make sure our stay was comfortable. Yay!

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Wore a kimono 

The biggest challenge was not getting my matcha soft serve on the kimono I rented out. LOL. That, and try to not look like an idiot and fall while wearing these slippers that came with the kimono.

We went to the Philosopher’s Walk in our kimonos (it was amazing!) and spent the afternoon visiting temples and eating in Kyoto. Such a fun and memorable day-trip with Kaila! Every location we went to was postcard-worthy.

PS: Check out more tips on where to go in Kyoto on Kaila’s blog here.

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Visited a Railway Museum

ABC x Rainbowholic x Reeseypeasy day consisted of visiting the Omiya Railway Museum (must go! I loved it) and geeking out on trains, tickets and old labels, and…the museum shop (how can you not get yourself a train pin?), as well as life-planning, journaling, and taking Purikura photos after. Omiya Railway Museum is a must-visit if you’re in Omiya. Loved reading about the history of train lines in Japan and how modernized it has become over the years.

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Aside from watching Reese’s gig in Omiya (congrats!) and spending some days together in Japan (we all lived under Kaila’s roof!), we had our own version of sleepovers by way of creative breakout sessions. It was fun! It’s always nice to share insights with fellow creatives…at way past midnight. That, and impromptu jam sessions definitely made it feel like home.

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Sent out 52 postcards

There was a nearby mailbox along Kita Urawa and the post office was a few blocks away from the station, so I decided to send out 52 Letters from ABC postcards to some of my readers. Wew, that was a lot! I had fun decorating each postcard and writing, though. Nothing beats analog. 🙂

PS: Letters from ABC postcards are still available at major bookstores nationwide for P350 (also on my shop!)

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Konbini runs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snacking

Thanks to the universe for FamilyMart and 7-Eleven for satisfying our cravings. I won’t forget running to FamilyMart at 1AM (in matching pajamas HAHA) with Reese because we wanted milk for our cereal. That, and our FamilyMart dinners in Osaka (which cured my sickness – thank you miso soup!) were definitely for the books.

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Sketched every day

I started sketching every day when I was in Japan. Just a no frills, no pressure kind of exercise for me to draw every day. I’m enjoying so far! My fave subjects are signages and buildings (for obvious reasons). I’ve also started writing for some of my projects – which I will reveal very soon. Every opportunity that I got to sit down and have a makeshift workspace, I always wrote and/or drew. Call it weird, but I guess it’s always been part of what I loved doing ever since.

Also: My last afternoon was spent writing…at the food court. LOL.

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Had no fixed plans

This was hard – but doable. Only fixed plans were visiting Daikanyama T-site (Tsutaya Books – photo above), Sekaido (art materials shopping) and Uniqlo Ginza (because 12 floors of shopping). The other days were based off a list of places I made. I was supposed to go to museums but time did not permit – no regrets though, I got to spend more time writing and doing other creative things – like shooting with the Saitama crew for JapanLoverMe Store, and visiting the Edo Open Air Museum.

PS: Check out more photos from our shoot here (from Justin’s blog). Sukajan jackets (the ones we’re all wearing) are available for purchase here.
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Also, stumbled upon this gem of a store in the airport – Traveler’s Factory. Don’t miss it if you’re in Narita Terminal 1! And prepare your wallet for some serious notebook & stationery shopping.

Last

Definitely the shortest two weeks I’ve had in the longest time – I still miss the Rainbowholic HQ and all the other routinal things back in Japan. Hopefully I get to revisit sometime again soon if my schedule permits!

Hope this helps if ever you’re planning a trip to Japan. Rounding up a few more photos soon for personal documentation and journaling. 🙂 Have you been to these parts of Japan? Let me know in the comments below!

Abbey