Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pie Story

Some decades back, an American couple were on a teaching program at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna.  One of the members of their staff was a Filipina who worked as their secretary.

When it was almost time for their term at the university to end, the couple, thinking that their loyal and efficient secretary would need something to fall back on should she lose her post when they left, thought of paying for her to get classes in cooking and baking.

Well, a few months after she finished the course, the couple's teaching term did end and she lost her secretarial post at the university.  Putting her newfound baking skills to task, this creative woman took an ingredient that was easy to find in her town -- buko or very young coconut meat.  She came up with a recipe to turn the sweet, soft, white coconut meat into a pie.  Emboldened by encouragement she got from family and friends who tasted her sweet concoction, she decided to set up a small shop selling only buko pies.

What she did not realize when she first put those pies up for sale was that she would be spawning a whole industry that has put their little province of Los Banos, Laguna in the consciousness of every Filipino (and even a few foreign) gourmands.  She also did not expect that years after she first opened her little bakery, a hundred or so other bakeries selling buko pies would mushroom all over Los Banos and even invade some of the malls in the city.

As a child, we would take the hour and half drive to Pansol, Laguna to swim in the crystal clear hot springs and our mini-vacations would always be capped with a visit to the little bakery where this province-wide industry started.  It remains simple -- people say it is the same structure that was put up when the business was started many, many years ago.  Yet long lines of cars and people indicate just how popular this place is.  To this day, despite the hundreds of bakeries just like it selling buko pie, D'Original Buko Pie remains the Queen of All Buko Pies.  The original owner's children have managed to maintain the lightness and crispiness of its golden crust and the buko filling is still made out of the sweetest, most tender morsels of young coconut.  It is so good I could eat a whole pie all by myself.  My relatives in the United States always schedule a trip to Los Banos just to get another taste of these pies.

What makes this story remarkable for me are two things: first, the woman who created the recipe for the pie had no idea just how big it would be.  She simply needed to make some money for her family -- and she just put her new skills and creativity to task. To date, hundreds of households earn their income from selling buko pie and it is, as I mentioned earlier, a huge money-maker for the town.    Second, you never know what a random act of kindness and concern for someone in your circle can start.  The American couple's concern for their Filipina secretary was, in a manner of speaking, the flint that lighted that fire.  They just wanted to make sure she would be alright in case she lost her job when they left.  Well, to my estimate, she did more than be "alright".

How about you? How brave are you when it comes to putting your skills and creativity to task? Have you helped someone out just because you felt they needed it, without thinking too far ahead of how they would pay you back or if they would even make use of the help provided?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Harshest Critic

She turns up her nose when it's not pretty enough for her and stalks right out of the room shaking her head, uttering several loud NO NO NOs.  She picks up beads and stones and insists that I pair this with that -- if I don't she'll pick up my tools and try to do it herself.

Drape a necklace she likes around her and she grins from ear to ear and walks around the house like someone on America's Next Top Model.  I once said she looked pretty and she gave a me a disdainful look -- and pointed out with an emphatic shake of her head that she was NOT pretty, she's "Gohjus".

When I look at her I keep thinking - Be afraid. She'll be two soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Four Letter Words: SALE (Part 3)

It's still Christmas in July on Artfire, so let's go

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Nine vintage shops!

Artfire has great vintage shops and they are in  full swing participating in the Christmas in July sale.  Here's nine offerings from nine lovely shops:

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Ten sales for these shops

There's a fab guild on Artfire called Shops with Less than Ten Sales and they run a blog that features fantastic, undiscovered artisan shops.  They just don't write features on those shops mind you, but each week, blog readers get a chance to win a lovely item from any of the artisans who are members of that guild.  Check out the guild blog here -- who knows, you may be the lucky winner of this week's giveaway!

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eleven more days of Christmas

That's right.  It has been said that the Artfire Christmas in July sale ends on July 25.  But not for Spiral.  I'm extending the sale for another eleven days or until July 30, 2010.  Was thinking that maybe you had not gotten around to starting your shopping this year and giving you more time to do so will be my pleasure.  Check out some of the latest listed items:

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve months of promos!

Who says Christmas should be celebrated only once a year? It's my favorite holiday and I thought I'd celebrate it year round with monthly promos and special offers for all those who drop by at my shop on Artfire, Spiral.  Promo announcements, games and giveaways will be announced here at my Artfire blog so be sure to visit often and see what's new! Christmas season starts in August!

Whew! That's twelve days -- and it doesn't stop there.  Artfire and its members are open year round and the sales and promos never stop.  Please don't forget to visit any of the shops featured here for the best deals and the finest handmade items around.

Merry Christmas - in July!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Four Letter Words: SALE (Part 2)

Alright everyone, here we go

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

That's right -- get $5.00 off your total purchase of $25.00 or more!  Get the coupon now - its marked DAY5OF12! And hey, this applies even to items on the lay-away plan.  I told you it's Christmas already!

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Six works of art

 Six stunning pieces of art to hang, frame and display around your home or office.  These are by Designing Rose, Melphoto and Primgal -- three of the talented artisans you will meet on Artfire.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Seven pens to write with

I love to write in longhand.  And I love beautiful pens.  These well-made handcrafted pens are by On Pens and Needles   and Madmoravian.  Check out their shops for their Christmas in July sales offerings!

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eight necklaces

Eight of the one-of-a-kind necklaces you will find on my Artfire shop.  From elegant to boho to just plain pretty -- there are a lot more to choose from.  Have a look!

Now, watch out for part three -- where we go from day 9 to 12 with an offer that goes all year round (whether it's Christmas or not).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Four Letter Words: SALE (Part 1)

It's Christmas in July on Artfire and there is a lot going on there.  Early Christmas shoppers will get the benefit of having first dibs at all the wonderful handmade items being sold on the site -- as well as get a chance to benefit from all the sales and promos that the talented artisans on Artfire have cooked up for this event.

To get everyone in the mood for an early Christmas (They always said we should celebrate it year round right?), how about a little Christmas carol?

Come on -- you know this. Sing along with me!

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave me to me
A spankin' new lay away plan!

Is there an item in my shop that you really, really like? Well, stop adding it to your "like" list and go purchase it.  I just started my lay-away plan and it makes shopping for that piece of jewelry you want (or would like to give to someone special) so much more easier on your budget.  You can get more info on the new plan here -- but I like getting email so just go ahead and email me and ask for details.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Two candlesticks

These two cute candlesticks were handmade by KraftyLady at KG Crafts, another one of Artfire's talented shop owners.  These would look lovely sitting in your country inspired home and are made with such love that I am certain it will be a delight to have them.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Three cocktail rings!

What else says "Holiday" and "Party" more than a sparkly ring on your finger?  These three copper rings are all one-of-a-kind and will surely fetch those compliments.  They also make lovely gifts for a fashionista teen.  Very versatile pieces, they can be worn with almost any outfit!

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Four pretty bracelets!

 A special lady deserves to wear something pretty. And any of these four lovelies would make her smile.  Made out of array of materials (from bamboo, to semi-precious gemstones, glass crystals, copper wire), any of these four would certainly be appreciated by that sweet, sweet girl.  And if you decide you want to keep it for yourself, well go ahead -- a pretty trinket for a pretty woman.

Were you singing? I didn't hear you. But there's more to this song -- it actually goes to twelve.  So get ready to sing a little louder -- check back and be ready for more announcements, gift peeks and promos in Part Two!

For details on the pretty items seen here, do visit Spiral at Artfire
(I was going for Deck the Halls but it had too much "falalalala lalala" LOL)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Four Letter Words: GOOD

(All the images in this blog post are from Blackbird72's shop on Artfire.)

You know you are.  You feel it.  Then it MUST be true.

Then the dream should happen -- soon.

Inside you it lives, despite the many, many, many times it's been knocked out. A little bruised, a little sore, it gets back up and insists on being born.

And yet sometimes you wonder, and many times you are afraid that what you are good at isn't good enough.

It is. Believe me.  You would never be given a talent, a skill, a passion, if you were not meant to live it.  It takes time though.  And many, many, many, buckets of tears.  And although sometimes you feel that you have cried it all out, you surprise yourself  by squeezing out a few buckets more each time disappointment and frustration blindside you.  And blindsiding you seems to be a pastime these little devils enjoy.

Sometimes, it just needs a little tilt of  the head, a slight squint of the eye, to discover how we are supposed to live it.  That's the way the Universe plays with us I guess -- it always answers our questions but never in the most obvious of ways.

But you are good at what you do.  Whatever it is.  And there will be no one like you who can paint that scene, snap this photo, raise your baby, bake that yummy cake, cook the best soup ever (yes, the kind with magickal powers that drives away fevers and colds), create this piece, hold his hand, walk your path.

You ARE good enough. Maybe even better than you think you are.  I'm saying this because I know.  I'm saying this because I feel what you feel - too often for my own comfort.  I'm saying this because maybe, by saying it, it will send out a ripple of hope and tiny sliver of strength to get you through those days when the sun just refuses to come up.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...