Monday, February 23, 2015

The One About Joujoux

When I first started teaching preschool, there weren't a lot of instructional materials available that were of good quality.  I remember the first teaching material I made then was a felt jacket with a letter "J" patch (J for jacket).  I had sewn it using our old sewing machine (it was de-padyak pa!  I still love that oldie, though, and had my mom swear never to dispose of it.) and I punched holes on it so it could be a lacing activity tool.

When I developed a deep love for making beautiful things, I would find myself browsing websites for toy and learning materials projects.  I had a long list of To-Makes which is still long, by the way, but I would always promise myself to getting around to making them.  

It could be the serendipitous marriage of my job as a teacher and my passion for crafting that led to the preference for toys and learning materials that are well-created and of great value.  Toys that are open-ended and provide hours of endless entertainment.  Toys that children love so much that they treasure them until they reach adulthood and pass them onto their offspring.

Hence, the birth a new "baby" for me and my husband -- Joujoux Playthings & Teachables.  Joujoux is French for toys and it is a very lean startup born out of love for well-crafted toys and educational materials.  We are starting off with the felt food sets that were sold last November at the Cebu International School Bazaar but we already have a lost of ideas brewing in mind for the next products.

Manila-based people can finally get their hands on these lovelies on February 28, 2015 at 3rd Mom Pop Up at Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street.  Apart from the playthings, we'll also have our tunic dresses, kimonos, and a few wrap skirts to sell (our next clothing collection is in production!!!).  The clothes are still under the Little Miss Pinay Crafter label.

And so, here's to love for teaching and the handmade goodness that transpires from it.  Here's to Joujoux, to the old-school kind of entertainment it brings, to its educational value, and to treasured memories that it will bring forth to the young.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The One About the Valentine Candy Huggers

It's Valentine's Day!  Yesterday in school when my students and I were gathered for Meeting Time and updating the calendar, we talked a bit about this celebration.  Not a lot of them had plans because as one of them put it, "There really aren't a lot of stuff for kids to do on Valentine's.  It's really more for adults."  While there is a grain of truth to that, there's no reason for any of them not to feel the love!

A few days ago, I managed to carve out some time to make these Valentine candy huggers for my students.  Oh, how I missed crafting with paper!  I got the idea from Lia Griffith and it was so easy to put together!

What can be more perfect than candies hugged by sweet animal paws?  Enjoy this lovely day and be kind, lovelies. :)

Monday, February 2, 2015

LMPC Reads: The Forest Feast

Perhaps nothing can be more calming, alluring, and relaxing than finding a pocket of free time, curling up with a good book, and sipping a steaming cup of tea or coffee (well, except for the occasional massage).  For a hobby crafter like me (I still cringe with embarrassment when I come across people who think I'm sort of expert), craft and recipe tomes make up a large part of my literary repertoire.  For as much as reading can be exhilarating on its own especially for an introvert like me, it is also amazingly rewarding to make something as a takeaway from an inspiring book.

I thought it'd be lovely to start a new series on this little virtual bubble of mine where I would share my current and not-so-current reading selections and the craft project or recipe that I made and tried from them.  :)

To kick off this series, enter The Forest Feast.  I purchased the book several months ago.  Admittedly, I have never heard of the blog until I came across pictures of the cookbook that flooded my Instagram feed.  At first, I was attracted to the visual imagery:  beautiful watercolored recipes and typography.  Then I saw snippets of the cookbook recipes and fell in love with the four-to-five-at-most-ingredients recipes.  Not only that, the recipes were vegetarian which was especially convenient since I have recently begun implementing a Meatless Dinner Night once a week in our household.  So the cookbook was literally a treasure trove of ideas for that.

I was meaning to make this Asparagus Tart from the book but the night I was supposed to make it, I realized I did not have asparagus on hand so I used plump tomato slices instead.  The layers of Brie cheese, pesto, and tomatoes made it seem like eating a healthy pizza!

On another night, I made the Accordion Zucchini.  So easy to make and yet it wowed my husband on how fresh and tasty it was.

 Baked but still juicy zucchini with paper-thin garlic slices and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese

The book is filled with 100 simple vegetarian recipes and is divided into categories:  Appetizers, Cocktails, Salads, Vegetable Dishes, and Sweets.  Soon enough, I shall make the Garlic Knots, Strawberry Salsa, Polka Dot Foccacia, Eggplant Tacos, Corn & Caulifower Tacos, and (hopefully) the Challah.  And with the beautiful layout, I don't think I'll ever get tired referring to this cookbook again and again and again.  It is, after, a feast for the eyes as well.