DIY Tools of the Trade

As you may well know, if you have been following me for at least four months, I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself. I love making things myself, especially things that have something to do with traveler’s notebooks. Of course, there are some basic tools that one needs when doing DIY, and I’d like to share a list of the most-used tools I use when I DIY. Most of these are bought at National Bookstore (NBS), unless otherwise stated.



A good pair of sharp scissors will come in handy with almost any crafting project. I usually have two pairs – a larger one for cutting bigger pieces of paper or elastic, and a smaller one for more finicky cutting such as fussy cutting around my daughter’s drawings to put in my journals. The smaller one can even fit in my traveling craft case, so I will always have a pair of scissors with me when I know I will have time to do some crafting. Fortunately, various sizes and types of scissors are available in NBS.

Box Cutter and Cutting Mat


When I need to cut through several layers of paper or thick cardstock, I usually go with my box cutter and cutting mat (not pictured). This, I found, gives me a good clean edge especially for projects such as TN inserts. I invested in a relatively expensive box cutter, which is made with metal instead of the much cheaper plastic versions. I find that this gives me a good grip and helps me bear down on the paper much better. Replacement blades are widely available as well. The cutting mats come in different sizes and can either be rubber or plastic. I like the rubber ones much better, especially the self-healing ones (although of course those are more expensive). The rubber has a better grip and will not let the paper that you are cutting slide all over the mat.

Metal Ruler


This actually goes with the box cutter and cutting mat setup, since I will need a straight edge to guide my blade. I find that metal rulers are much better with this function since there will be no chance that the blade will cut through the metal (unlike plastic). I would really have preferred a heavier kind of metal ruler, but this one I bought at NBS is a very light metal ruler.

Swivel Stapler


This swivel stapler is primarily used (exclusively, even!) for insert-making. With enough practice, I am now able to accurately place the head of the stapler so that the staple will go into the crease perfectly aligned. This particular stapler can handle up to 20 sheets of regular weight paper (80gsm) or 25 sheets of thin paper (Tomoe River). I like this stapler because it has a good weight to it, and has been dependable enough to give me quite a bit of inserts by this time. I found this at NBS (brand is D’Expertise), but I find that the stocks are quite spotty. There are news of another brand of swivel stapler being seen in NBS as an alternative.

Eyelet Setter


In the making of actual traveler’s notebooks, eyelets are usually used to protect the holes that the elastics are looped in. This particular eyelet setter also has its own built in hole punch, which I use to punch in the holes first before setting the eyelets. I don’t know where to buy this particular tool as this was borrowed from my sister-in-law, but I have seen similar ones at NBS. Gold or copper colored eyelets are also available at NBS.

Jewelry Pliers


Most of my TN charms are self-assembled; basically I buy the charms, the o-rings, and the lobster clasps separately and assemble them myself in the manner that I like. The assembly can be done by hand, but having jewelry pliers makes the process a lot less finicky and physically painful (I’ve broken many nails prior to my getting the pliers!). This particular pair of pliers were bought at a hardware store which I unfortunately have forgotten exactly where. You can get one of any brand pliers at any hardware store and just choose the smallest one which will fit comfortably in your hand. The “blade” of this one is about five centimeters long.

I’m sure there are other tools that I use that I’ve overlooked, but I will make sure to either update this post or do a follow up once I find the other tools that I use for crafts related to traveler’s notebooks. Are you an insert or traveler’s notebook maker? What other tools do you use?

Craft Case Update + Companion

About a month and a half ago I shared my the contents of my craft case. I want to update you on what changed.


Actually not a lot. Mostly just the pens (I switched out my blue body Coleto for the clear body, and added the Pilot Petit1 FP) and added a new set of washi samples.


The main change is in the additions to the outer pocket. I put the older washi sample card here, and replaced my single magnetic cat bookmark with two other magnetic bookmarks and two metallic paperclips. Not a lot of changes, really. But what I really wanted to show you is my newest acquisition: this companion craft case of the same pattern! I now have matching craft cases!


This bigger craft case is of the A5 size, and has a velcro closure instead of a zipper.


It’s a trifold, and has four zipped clear pockets inside. As it’s a velcro-closure case, it has some leeway to insert some things outside of the actual clear pockets.


I have decided on this very nondescript A5 notebook by Ilycraft, which is thin and has nice cream paper. I use it as an art notebook of sorts, where I practice my lettering, brush calligraphy, and watercolor. Prior to this I actually had a small coloring book (and the accompanying plain colored pencils) but this piece by Liz made me realize that I can make my own, so here we are!


The contents of the actual pockets vary, but this is a good representation of what’s usually in there. On the rightmost biggest pocket I have a handpicked selection of my Faber-Castelle watercolor pencils. In the three smaller ones I have a pack of Target page flags, three Stabilo fineliners, a small paintbrush, a Sakura Micron marker, a small craft scissors, a paperclip, a pack of sticker flakes, and a strip of leather that goes with my Macata traveler’s notebooks.


I really like the combination of this and the smaller craft case. I don’t, however, bring both of them along everywhere I go as they can be heavy and bulky. If I knew I would just be doing planning and/or journaling, I would bring only the smaller case. If I knew I would have time to practice, I would bring the bigger case. If I knew I would have a good amount of time and the space to spread my stuff (such as my office) I would bring both!

For my local readers, I found both of these in National Bookstore. For everyone, I will be giving out one of the smaller craft case through my Instagram soon, so watch out for that!

My traveling craft supplies storage box

The very first question is, do I carry a craft box every day? Prior to my getting this storage box, no, but I did carry with me a crap ton of craft supplies in various pouches and envelopes that clatter around in my work bag. It is for this reason that I went around looking for a box to begin with.


This is the box I’ve been talking about. It’s a three-tier plastic box measuring 15cm x 15cm x 13 cm. Each tier is customizable, up to six compartments if you use all dividers, and connects to the tier above (or to the cover) by two clasps on the sides. You can actually extend the levels of this if you buy more, just attach more tiers since all the tiers are constructed exactly the same. This was originally intended for loom bands and their components, and that’s in fact where I found it, in the loom band section of Toys R Us!


For size comparison, here is the box compared to a single Daiso washi tape. (Note my really cute wallpaper. No, that’s not my cat.) Let me show you what I currently have in this box.


The first tier holds a few of my smaller washi tapes. In particular I really love the slim MT washi tapes in the lower right corner. I was able to squeeze in a couple of wooden stamps in two of the top compartments.


The second tier is my stamping supply storage. I have two Artline stamp pads in the lower left corner and four smaller Love Qiao Shou stamp pads squeezed in everywhere. There’s a roller phrase stamp on the bottom right and a Muji rectangular label stamp in the upper right. Those things in the upper left, when spread out, are these:


That’s a square acrylic block for mounting clear stamps, and the lid of a Muji puncher container to protect my acrylic block. Below are a few of my clear stamps. A Hello Kitty set and a couple of bunches of clear stamps that I am currently liking. I just cut out those clear folders from card cases.


Lastly, the third tier is my stickers storage. I keep all my loose stickers here, which basically means all stickers that don’t come in a sheet. This includes sticker flakes (stored here separately in small plastic bags), my own DIY stickers, and random other stickers that I got from kits and boxes. There’s a lot of room in here, which means I probably will move these stickers around or something, or put in even more stickers!

I really love this storage box! To be honest I don’t bring this around with me everyday. I just bring this to work on Mondays, and bring it back home on Fridays. One of the perks of this box is it keeps my stuff in one place instead of several pouches, it’s fairly light, and it’s easy to just bring in and out of bags. The best part? I paid only Php100 for it, as it was on sale!

Review: Pink Paper Box Spring Summer Fling (April)

Heads up, there’s a new subscription box in town! This is Pink Paper Box, a planner and crafting oriented monthly subscription box, and it’s very new. This month’s box titled Spring Summer Fling is only the second, but I’m already quite hooked!


How does Pink Paper Box work? Sign ups happen over at the Pink Paper Box website (Facebook) and submitted through a google form. The subscriptions cost Php500 (1 month), Php1450 (3 months) or Php2850 (6 months), and this fee already includes the shipping. Owner and main girl Marrien is very hands-on and personal, and will keep in touch with you regarding your subscription.


Want to know what’s in this intriguing April box? Read on ahead! (Warning, a LOT of images ahead!)

Read More

Tuscany at McKinley Hill’s Summer Art Sessions

Summer is the time for workshops and not just for kids! Tuscany at McKinley Hill’s Summer Art Sessions, in partnership with Manila Workshops, is a weekend arts and crafts workshop series happening every Sunday beginning April 19 (this weekend!) and will run until May 10. Sessions are 1PM to 5PM. These workshops are for anyone who’s into arts and crafts, or who’d like to get started on them. They will be conducted by some of Manila’s finest artists, and will be held at several restaurants at Tuscany, the awesome strip of dining establishments at Upper McKinley Road.

One of the things you can learn is basic brush calligraphy, conducted by Mimai Cabugnason (check out her work at IG @chrrrmaine) at Marciano’s.


Other workshops available include:

  • basics of doodling: Nelz Yumul of WeeWillDoodle, at Lucky’s Burger Bar
  • basic paper cutting: Hey Kessy, at Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes
  • rubber stamping: Manila Workshops, at Sophie’s Mom
  • acrylic and oil: The Artologist, at Sauceria
  • DIY tote bag designing: Nica Cosio, at Sophie’s Mom

Interested? Register for the Tuscany at McKinley Hill’s Summer Art Sessions at or 09266167720. For Basic Paper Cutting, contact Hey Kessy at For those taking part in the Acrylic and Oil Sessions, register by emailing or by calling 09165673351.

Workshops are Php2000 per session inclusive of food, art kits, and materials. Only 10 slots are available per workshop, so register now!

This is the press kit I received. It may or may not be the same kit you will receive in your brush calligraphy workshop.


Disclaimer: I was invited to the press launch of Summer Art Sessions, which included samplings of selected workshops mentioned above plus press kits.