Wednesday, February 20

New Workshops in Tokyo - 28 FEB & 07 MAR 2013

Hello friends,

I am glad to announce you that I will hold two workshops in Tokyo on Thursday, February 28 and March, 07 at my home in Tokyo.

As mentioned in the newsletter I have just sent out this morning:

I am longing for the arrival of Spring - a delightful feeling if you ask me and one that I hadn't experienced for 8 years! 
Experiencing the cherry blossom in Japan as been one of my most unforgettable experience back in 2005, and I am very much looking forward to celebrate it once again with my Japanese friends and my family.

With these happy feelings in my mind and heart, I prepared a sewing workshop celebrating sakura: participants will create their own passport holder and decorate it with delicate blossom and beads. 

Although I have designed this workshop mainly for beginners who have never worked with felt before, more skillful participants will enjoy creating a more intricate embroidery if they want some challenge.
We will use beads to decorate the flowers, and learn how to assemble two pieces of felt with the blanket stitch.

Dates: Thursday, 28 FEB & 07 MAR 2013
Time: 9:30 to 11:30am
Location: my home in Tokyo (Tamagawa Den-enchofu)
Cost: only ¥2,300*

*All materials included. Refreshments will be available throughout the workshop.
(for all information and how to sign up, click here)

Why should you sign up?

- If you have always wanted to create something with your own two hands, but learning from the book all alone is too boring, this is for you! This project will give you the confidence to start other projects, and you will crave for more in no time!

- If you like creating things with your own two hands, this workshop is a great opportunity to continue doing so while mingling with like-minded, fun people. You will also learn from them!

- If you have never worked with felt before, you will discover a whole new world and will explore new ways to create pretty things.

- If you want to make a gift for a loved one to celebrate Spring, you will learn the necessary skills to create your very own project at home later on: a book cover? a hand-phone pouch? ... Ask me for advices and reach me for help if you are stuck later on!

Sign up now, there are only 5 spots available for each workshop!

Thank you for reading till the end of this rather long post!

The story behind the photo...


I am thinking about a new column (yes, another one) that would be very fun to write... I like writing stories, and I think you like reading stories, am I right?

Well, I am thinking to post a picture I took and tell you the story behind it. How does it sound?

© Etincelle Creative STUDIO - The Philippines trip

I took this picture in The Philippines, where we spent our recent Christmas break. As you may know, my husband is originally form there, and the kids spent a couple of days in the country side where my mother-in-law comes from. It isn't very far from Manila, but oh man, it's completely different! Very green, fresh air, small towns and villages... and kids and animals all over the place.

My kids loved it, and mingled effortlessly with their relatives, and their "cousins" even though they couldn't communicate very well - they couldn't speak English, and my kids can't speak Tagalog.

We arrived one day early morning from Manila to pick them up. They were not home, and we were greeted by all the family members and we played with the kids while waiting for our own to be back (I took many pics of these kids, I'll have to show you soon).

Refreshments were served, coconuts freshly picked from the trees and ripped open in front of us. It was delicious! I was seating on a bench opposite the table, and I suddenly saw this "still life" image that was awaiting to be photographed. In no time I had cleared out the table and waited until no one was around it and snapped my shot.

I mostly like the contrast of the green table against the rough cement wall. Add a sprinkle of neon (the straws) and this is fun!

What do you like about this shot (and the story)?

Monday, February 18

A Beach Holiday, The Philippines {Part 3}

Hello friends,

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, we certainly did! There was a Bingo at school on Saturday, and ice skating on Sunday. And a sleepover was involved as well with a friend of my daughter coming over on Friday night. 

I started writing this post last Friday evening when it was raining and super cold outside - brrr! Thinking about our winter holidays in The Philippines helped me get through this weather... This is my last post about our trip {catch up Part 1 and 2 here & here} and I will cover our short escape to the island of Boracay.

Sand art created every night by the local children - they charge you to take pictures, or can even customize it to your request. Amazing!

We spent less than a week in Boracay but it was the right amount of time to discover all what the island has to offer. Traveling with young children involves a lot of time spent either at the beach or at the hotel's pool, and we like some peace and quiet so we booked a hotel in the more secluded area (north). The Strand Hotel was perfect for us as it's nestled in the tropical forest at only 2 mins walk from the beach. Excellent service, spacious room and delicious breakfast (no buffet though). 

The Strand, peaceful and quiet and just the right amount of luxury needed...

The Strand Hotel isn't located nearby all the restaurants and the main shopping street, which is a busy and noisy area even late at night - so keep this in mind. I must also add that it is very near to a {small } local cemetery, which we didn't know at the time of booking. It could be an issue for some people I think {not for us though}.

Ah, the vibrant colors!

The famous White Sand Beach of Boracay is a 4-km long piece of paradise with powder-like white sand and crystal clear waters - that is, when they are not polluted by seaweed (yuk!). I have been to quite a few beautiful beaches in South East Asia over the past 8 years, but the sand here was just A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. No rocks or jelly fish or anything in the water - apart from the seaweed in some areas - what a delight!

The weather was mostly cloudy while we were there, 
which explains that the color of the water doesn't appear very turquoise on my photos.

We weren't lucky enough (or organized enough) to catch every sunset, but the one pictured below was spectacular. There is nothing quite as romantic as watching a sunset with a loved one...

Another option that I would consider next time if I travel with friends or family: renting a whole house located right on the beach! The one above is called the Robinson Beach House and it looked fantastic - a side note: you will lack some privacy.

We took the usual snorkeling tour, and I highly recommend the one that offers a bottom glass boat if you have kids. It was much more entertaining for our young kids who can't really snorkel. They had the chance to touch the starfishes above - it's so stiff, I couldn't believe it!

It looks like we all had a good time, doesn't it?

Friday, February 15

{Interview with} Starlet of Meridian110

Hello friends,

I am back with an {Interview with} post, the first one for 2013. I have invited my friend Starlet, a creative individual living in San Francisco whom I have met through the Blogging Your Way e-course I took back in 2010. Starlet runs a lovely blog called Can you come home that covers everything from fashion to gardening. 

Oh, and she's also a serial entrepreneur which is one extra reason why she's here today... Let's find out more about Starlet and her handbag LABEL, Meridian110!

Meridian110 - online shop

ECS: Hello Starlet, please kindly introduce yourself, your work and how you ended up living in the US... What is your background?
Hi everyone. My name is Starlet - I am a web consultant (with a focus of User Experience) and fashion preener. I came in the US for school (I am from Indonesia), fell in love with the Bay Area, its people & innovations, and well... with my now husband... So I decided to stick around a little longer =)
I am a creative and visual person by nature. When I bought my first house, I inherited this gorgeous edible garden - which really makes me an accidental gardener. As I spent a lot of time outside, I started connecting elements in the nature with those stylish design details over the runway - like this fashionable passion fruit and wisteria.

Starlet starring a Meridian110 bag

ECS: How did you get the idea to start your very own handbag collection? Share the story behind Meridian110!
I have been drawing since I was able to hold a pen - my mother said. You will always  find my sketches and doodles on any of my notebooks. Although I had a phase of being a total tomboy with an I-don't-care-what-I'm-wearing attitude, I've quickly overgrown it and ended up designing my friends' prom dresses and my own wedding dress - I am now often to go-to stylist for my friend.

When my brother and I talked about batik and how my grand-mother was making and selling it for a living, we were inspired to "continue" her journey. So the idea of doing a derivative of a family business was invented. Since I have an unhealthy relationship with fashion accessories, we decided to take handbags as a pilot line.

I did take a wonderful shoe-making class by Prescott Mackay in Berkeley and the class really injected new perspective about shoe and accessory design in general - it challenged me to think further about translating a 2D design into a 3D product.

ECS: What is your source of inspiration for designing each collection? Where do you source for your materials?
All the materials are handpicked and sourced in Java, Indonesia - my home and the home of batik. And yes, since we want to continue our grandmother's heritage - we also happen to be a huge fan of batik, it is the main focus for each collection. The design inspiration itself comes from everywhere - nature, people, colors and batik themselves!

ECS: You mentioned that the bags were made in Indonesia, and that you are teaming up with your brother. I assume you are doing the design, and your brother is looking after the production and business side. How is it to work with a business partner? Would you qualify it as "liberating" not to have to worry about the business side? Are you more of a creative person?
It's great having a "business partner" because we are social creatures by nature and I love having someone to bounce ideas back and forth. We always discuss everything together. The cool thing is that we can split up some of the responsibilities - it makes us work in a more economical and efficient wy based on our strengths.

Lovely interior and accessories!

ECS: You have collaborated with Kaho of Chuzai Living for all of your products shoots. Tell us how it happened! (by the way Kaho, you did a great job!)
YES!! Oh my, I LOVE Kaho. She is extremely talented. We both attended BYW (Blogging Your Way) e-course and started exchanging emails. When she found out about my project, she offered her support by styling and taking a few pictures of the bags. The result is an incredibly gorgeous shot of the purses! Definitely go check out her other amazing projects on her blog.

Champagne-mango front packet bag {here
 Photograph by Kaho of Chuzai Living

ECS: What are your plans for Meridian110? Are you attending markets and international fairs, or are you keeping the size of your business small at first?
I'd definitely love to take Meridian110 to the next level - but scaling up also means more money involved - so we are doing the best we can within our budget while having fun doing it. Go with the flow, breathe and be grateful!


ECS: What are you favorite pieces in the collection? and why?
It is SO hard to say because I love each and every one of them so dearly. All of them were designed with the focus on giving the traditional batik a modern and refined twist - hence the pop of neon, colors and clean silhouette.

Find your own match online {here}!

ECS: Feel free to share any of your ongoing projects and dreams!
We have an exciting roadmap ahead - smaller items like wallets are coming. For now, I am so thrilled to share with you that we have launched the winter collection called the "Silver Sage" line. They look beautiful with any outfit and are precious gifts as well.

Grey and silver mini satchel by Meridian110 {here}
Photograph by Kaho of Chuzai Living

I also just launched a more affordable collection of bags, called A.M. (Ante Meridiem), which is basically the Meridan110's little sister. If M110 is crafted from genuine leather and hand-painted batik, A.M. offers the same gorgeousness with more affordable materials: remnant vegan leather and printed batik (all the bags are at US$80 and below). They are sold in my Etsy shop {here} and make perfect gifts!

Boho Eclectic Round Satchel by A.M. {here}

Lastly I am also working on another creative project called BonBon Paper with a dear friend of mine in the US. As the name suggest, we are doing luxury paper goods, with a sweet twist. Stay tuned!

Merci Starlet for sharing so many insights of your business! I had to share with you all my favorite bag: I am loving the Neon Club line, and the handbag below looks awesome...

Find this baby {here}!

Exciting news! Starlet is offering to all my readers*:
- a 15% discount on her A.M. line sold on Etsy with coupon code ecs15 {click here}
- US$100 off the Meridian110 collection with coupon code GALTIME {click here}

* Valid for 14 days from today 15.02.13

Thank you Starlet!!

Meridian110 {Shop} {Facebook} {Twitter}

Read all the {Interview with} posts and discover how my creative friends run their small businesses!

Wednesday, February 13

Happy Valentine's Day!

I wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day! 

I have a couple more pictures from the Valentine brunch table I styled and photographed for Beautiful Revelry - it was unveiled last week, check it out {here}. If you can't do brunch tomorrow morning (it's a weekday after all), you can however create a wonderful table this coming weekend... Love should be celebrated everyday!

Hoping to keep you inspired always with beautiful pictures...

© All photographs by Marie M. for Etincelle Creative STUDIO

Ann of Beautiful Revelry has made the paper goodies available for FREE on her blog recently, so go download yours, it's not too late! {click here}

These ideas are easy to replicate by yourself at home, as long as you have some fancy paper, glue, skewers and thread. With Ann we fancied this color palette, but feel free to come up with your own :-)
Also make sure you check Beautiful Revelry's online shop, she got you covered when it comes to party goods! {here}

Last you can share the link to your own blogpost or your pictures in the comment section - if you have created a lovely table for your Valentine, or came up with a cute idea!

Tuesday, February 12

Design & Food, The Philippines {Part 2}

It's probably time for me to wrap up my series about The Philippines... If you have missed with {Part 1}, you can catch up and read it here. In this post I will highlight a couple of shops and restaurant I really liked during my trip. If you like eating, there is no doubt you would enjoy exploring the extensive range of Filipino dishes!

I don't have pictures for most of the dishes however, they seem to disappear before I could even get my camera out!

When we went to Tagaytay, my husband surprised me as he had booked a table for lunch at a gorgeous restaurant called Antonio's, nestled in a luxurious garden lost on the country side. The setting was wonderful and quite romantic, and I can only imagine how a great venue it would be for a wedding! We chose the menu, which had very generous servings - each of them very tasty and artfully presented (menu includes a starter, soup, main and dessert).

My main dish at Antonio's - fish filet and gratin dauphinois

I liked the interior design of the bungalow the most, with its saturated and bold colors - not everyone's cup of tea but totally suitable to this atmosphere!

Views of the interior at Antonio's

After our short escapade at Lake Tagaytay we spent the entire weekend in Makati, the business district of Manila. We tasted local food at various food joints, including the famous chain Max's Restaurant. The food wasn't amazing, but the story behind it is worth telling. Max's Restaurants started in 1945 at the end of WWII, when Maximo Gimenez befriedend the American occupation troops stationed at Quezon City. The GIs were often coming to his home to have a drink, and quickly insisted to pay for their drinks. Gimenez then opened a cafe that was serving some finger food such as a delicious fried chicken. The first restaurant was born when the food started gathering enough interest from the local people as well! The tagline says: "Max's Restaurants, the house that fried chicken built". They even have restaurants in the US!

The photo below of the crab was taken at a restaurant called The Red Crab Seafood & Steaks in Greenbelt 3 (2F) - a famous shopping mall in Makati. We picked that one without checking out any review first - it was a late dinner and all we wanted was a pleasant meal. We weren't disappointed by our choices: a Thai chili crab (photo below) and Adobong Pusit 3 ways, served with rice. The service was fast and it was also reasonably priced, a good choice if you are in the area for lunch or dinner.

While in Makati, I couldn't wait to pay a visit to Heima Store, which I had been following for a while on Facebook and Twitter. I was already a fan of their designs, and I wasn't disappointed once I reached the store: it looked exactly as I had imagined! It's located in Design Plaza and worth a visit to my opinion. I purchased an old issue of Uppercase magazine - the one with the interview of Irene of Bloesem Blogs which also featured the cloud plush toy by The Cookie Cutter. I am also the proud owner of two new plushies in felt and a 2013 calendar by Riffle Paper & co. Too much shopping, huh?

Heima Store at Design Plaza

While at Design Plaza, you should take a tour and see if the other shops may have something in store for you. We liked Living Space (2F) where you can purchase replica pieces of furniture, and we LOVED Triboa Bay Living featured below. We fell for the light (right picture, light on the right) but as we couldn't find a suitable and easy way to bring it back home, we quickly abandoned the idea of making our purchase. They are using a lot of wood in their designs, and the pieces I liked had an industrial feel... Oh, well next time then!

Triboa Bay Living at Design Plaza

I shall end up this post with a picture of my favorite Filipino dessert - at time of writing, the leche flan! I tasted many many leche flans during my stay at various outlets, and the best I had was at the Crisostomo restaurant located in Ayala Alabang shopping mall... Bon appétit!

Leche flan

Dishes you must try while in The Philippines - my personal recommendation:
- Lumpiang sariwa: vegetable dish composed of different veggies in a soft wrapper and served with a sweet sauce and crushed peanuts. 
- Adobo (chicken, pork... you will love it!)
- Lechon manok: Filipino roast chicken
- Lechon baboy: roasted suckling pig 
- Sinigang: sour and savoury soup, traditionally tamarind based
- Pinakbet: popular Ilokano dish from the northern part of The Philippines
- Boneless bangus fish: eaten fried with rice 
- Kaldereta: a stew made of goat shoulder, tomato paste, potatoes and liver spread. It may not sound good, but it certainly tastes awesome!
- ... 

Desserts: leche flan, Halo-Halo (my husband said the best one he had was from Chowking restaurant chain), the macaroons from Goldilocks, the doughnuts from Krispy Kreme.

There is so much more to talk about, but I need to study further the Filipino cuisine! I promise to take notes and pictures the next time. I can only wish I had pictures for each & every dish I mentioned above! Please bear with me and check out the links to have a better idea...

Saturday, February 9

Cook'N Sew Workshop in Tokyo! {Photos}

Hello friends,

I am finally able to share with you the photos of the first workshop held in Tokyo! Ruth Tan of The Little Happy Shop was my guest instructor and she conducted a brilliant workshop last Thursday at my home. Participants were introduced to the Peranakan culture, they learnt how to cook babi pongteh - a traditional nyonya dish, and decorated a tote bag with batik fabrics. As time went by the entire room started to smell heavenly and it got more difficult to concentrate on the hand-sewing... At last we shared a delicious lunch, tasting for the first time the flavorful babi pongteh dish!

Each participant came up with her own color/ fabric combination, it was beautiful!

I hope everyone enjoyed the experience, it was certainly memorable to have a guest instructor from Singapore share part of her cultural background with all of us.

Thank you so much Ruth, it's always a pleasure to work with you!

PS: Registration will soon be open for the next workshop. This time we will play with beads and felt... Stay tuned and save the date: February 26, 2013.

PPS: If you are based in Singapore, Ruth is organizing many workshops so please go check out this page {here} if you are interested in participating.

The Little Happy Shop {Shop}{Facebook}

Tuesday, February 5

Linsiwolsie {Introduction}

It's about time I introduce you to a new favorite blog covering everything about kids and travels with an eye to art, independent design, creative people and pretty things. Curated by my dear friend Pooja, who is also behind popular blog Notabilia in Singapore, Linsiwolsie will never fail to inspire you.

As an example, the little dolls on the wooden ice cream sticks are a fantastic craft to do with your little one! All you need is a pen + some masking tapes and you are all set. I will get my 6-year-old daughter starting a collection of min dolls as soon as possible, and will help my 3-year-old son create his current obsession: pirates!

Etincelle Creative STUDIO will be a sponsor for the coming three months, perfect fit don't you think?
Thank you Pooja for creating such a fantastic platform, so beautifully curated!

Linsiwolsie {Blog} {Facebook}

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