March 27, 2011

Proud Partner

Here is a link featuring my business partner and our Davao commissary. Although he is a newcomer to the business, he has proven to be a crucial part of it and my savior. Please check it out:

WHERE WENCY WENT - The Hannahlyst

Up, Up, and Away!!!

This is our latest cupcake set-up for a little boy's party.. Theme was Disney Pixar's movie UP. 
This was a bit of a fail set-up-wise because our original plan was to have a flat rectangular table. Imagine this: The chimney of the house was supposed to be spewing ribbons going towards a tightly-packed cupcake ensemble (balloons ready for inflation). With a Carl standing up and a Russell sitting on the edge of the table with a sign between them: ALL LEFT-OVER BALLOONS SHALL BE BLOWN UP FOR TOMORROW'S FLIGHT!

Instead, we had to improvise because with a round table and a cake pedestal the original plan wasn't going to work. 

Did we tell you how this UP house was built? Let's not go into that, lest we shed even more tears. Hehehe!

Deciding to just cut up the ribbons as individual "balloon strings".

Despite the setback, we think it turned out pretty anyway! 

'Til next cupcake project!

A Graduation and A Debut

So you've got two celebrants.. What do you do? Don't have two parties. Don't spend twice as much. Don't get two cakes. 

Join the party. Save 50%. Split the cake in half.

At least that's what we did.

Our client had a daughter celebrating her 18th birthday and a son graduating that same month. It took us a while to figure out what to do, separating the cupcakes was the easy part. Dividing the cake was a challenge. 

Here is Corinne's pink&green left side... Twist 180 degrees and wah-lah!!

You come up with Jules' blue&yellow right side...

Little handbags and flipflops for the ladies.

Graduation cap and diplomas for the boys.

'Til the next cake project!

TY's Happy BugDay

Tybalt wanted a buggy birthday, so a buggy birthday he shall have...

Chocolate ants attacking Orange Swits (my favorite candy from childhood, after M-Egg)!

 Chocolate bees on butterball honeycomb. Yummy... I think I ate all the left over fondant hahah! 

Awww... Nikka told me to limit the cutie stuff, I figured a lil butterfly wouldn't hurt. 
Loooove luster dust!

I think this was my favorite, the little caterpillars that I patterned over the worms our houseplants use to have. Don't think the hairy ones would look real with fondant anyway.

Aaaah... the dragonfly with his edible wings.

This beehive theme was an adaptation from a cupcake book cover (I forget which one). I daresay mine look more real!

Happy birthday Ty! Please don't ask for dinosaurs next year. =) *gulp!*

March 16, 2011

Gumpaste Ladies' Bags and Cupcakes


Disclaimer: This project was not intended to violate or pirate any copyright, patent, or trademark.

Anybody who works for Chanel, please tell your bosses this was meant to be a personal project. Besides, I doubt any of your designer bags are edible anyway! Hahaha...

So here I am again, now with a new challenge in my hands. A surprise party for a 60-year old lady who's into bags and purses. The request was for mini-handbags of vibrant color schemes and a main bag cake topper.

Not much of a bag person (I think I swtich between 2 bags every year, depending how often I can be bothered to throw it into the laundry.), much less a designer bag person (Don't ask me to how to tell the difference between a Divisoria copy and the real thing.), I had to take some time finding bag designs.


 I finally made a yellow hand bag, 

a pink tote,


an orange satchel,


a blue and white purse,

                                                                              a green pouch,

and for fun, a purple laptop case/clutch bag. 

It made such a pretty collection, the aching back and long sleepless hours made it all worth it!


pretty bags all in a row...

The client wanted to have a fuchsia (Spell fuchsia? sige na na, PINK na lang!) so I made a few heart/flower frills to fuse the color scheme and this is how it turned out:

For the main bag, I put black accents for contrast. I wanted to be playful and added a "signature" touch. It turned out to be a Chanel fuchsia hand bag with a fuchsia/black braided handle and silver accents.

For sale, P16K lang, orig, unused! For indoor use only, DO NOT WET!

Till the next cupcake project!

March 15, 2011

Of Butterflies and Giraffes

'Twas my nieces' beach birthday party. I had the honor of making the "Cupcake Cake".
Happy Birthday Madi and Bree!!!

Tootsie Roll Palm Trees
These are yummy candy palm trees made of fondant trunks and royal icing leaves.

These giraffe cupcake toppers were made from scratch. It was hard to remember what a giraffe looks like  in actuality hahah...

Madi's 9 and Bree's 8.

My cutie cross-eyed giraffe.

green and yellow cupcakes with fondant giraffes and royal icing butterflies

The entire cake is actually made up of just cupcakes with a solid icing on top.

The celebrants Madi and Bree, with my brother's daughter Maxine.

Till next cupcake project! 

EVERYTHING na Ma-SaYa: A SaYa Baby Carrier Guide

Maiba naman ako... Let's take a break from the sweet things in life.

Hello curious and confused hot mommas out there!

Being a first-time mom, I sympathize will all the new / rusty moms out there who are caught in the middle of the baby-carrier-quest and find themselves at a shopping crossroad.

Baby Carriers

There are ring slings, and pouches, and wraps, and bags, and so many other hybrid forms of the same thing going by a different name. Let me make it simple. For babywearing, I personally believe in only 3. Ring Slings, Pouches, and the SaYa Carrier.

Yes the SaYa Carrier. For me the greatest invention since the onesie (I hate it when my son's shirt rides up to his kili-kili). So that makes me one of Buding Aquino Dee's greatest fans (Though she doesn't know it and she doesn't know me.). Right now I think she is one of God's greatest gifts to Pinoy mothers. And I am also one of Eliza Ypon's (The Painter's Wife) most grateful followers. Here is an introductory vid if you've never heard of a SaYa Baby Carrier before.

There is much information on Ring Slings and Pouches on the net so I need not go into that. Go to Jen of Next9/RJellybean's video tutorial on how to use our local ring slings (mabuhay ang gawang Pinoy!). If you want to purchase one from her, visit the Next9/RJellybean site.

The SaYa Carrier, however, is a unique product which doesn't have much tutorials yet. So when I bought my SaYa Carrier, I was at a loss as to how to use this seemingly simple sling. The pictures of the models were great, but getting to copy it was a tad bit hard with no step-by-step manual. I had to rely on a wonderful blog which reviews and teaches you how it's used. Visit The Painter's Wife's SaYa Carrier instructional blog to help you out with this great invention. (Eliza, you're an angel!)

So seeing all the questions being thrown over and over again to those poor online sellers and SaYa bloggers, I figured why not make my own SaYa FAQ since I've asked them all these questions before as well?


It is important to note before I begin that the SaYa's I am using in this FAQ are as follows:
Versatekk in plain brown Size 0.
Versatekk in plain teal Size 0.
Semi-Stretch Knit in printed teal/brown floral Size Small.
I am slender, 5'3" tall with a 4-month old son who is very tall for his age.
My better half is 5'8", big build but not fat.
Oh!... And my shoe size is 6 and a half. (wala lang...)

ALL pictures are in hi-res. Simply click any one to enlarge for fine detail.

 What is the SaYa Baby Carrier?  
The SaYa Baby Carrier is a proudly Philippine-made baby sling made of stretch knit fabric. It is meant to have the functionality of any/all other baby slings in the market. It's a clever hybrid of all the baby carriers you have heard of or seen.

 What does it look like?  
The dual slings of the SaYa are made of stretch knit fabrics that are sewn interlocked, like a chain link.  It has nothing but fabric: no buttons, clasps, velcros, hooks, rings, snaps, or buckles.

 How does it work? 
There are two slings, the lead sling and the support sling that are worn in a criss-cross fashion, to distribute the weight on both your shoulders and to provide double support for the weight of your baby. The part where your baby sits/lies is the part where the two slings overlap.

 What are the kinds of SaYa Baby Carriers? 
There are 3 kinds so far. The Semi-Stretch Knit Dual Sling (SSK), the VersaTekk Blend Dual Sling (VTB), the VersaTekk Blend Pouch/Single Sling.

VTB in solid teal and SSK in floral teal/brown

 What's the difference between the Semi-Stretch Knit and VersaTekk? 
a) The stretch. As the name implies, the SSK has less stretch than the VersaTekk. I find the SSK to have more resistance, therefore less "bounce". It's nice to use with a younger baby because he doesn't drop into the pouch as much. It is sturdier, more rigid. VersaTekk has more stretch, therefore more "lundo". It's nice with a bigger baby because the weight is easily accommodated but a squirmy, restless baby might be a headache. There is no "better choice", it's a matter of preference. There is another review by The Painter's Wife for SSK vs VTB.

Note that in the picture in the question above shows the two SaYas side by side in a laid out position. The SSK appears to be longer by a few inches. However, in the pictures directly above where I used the weight of my laptop you can see that they end up at the exact same level of the doorstep. Ergo, the SSK does have just half the stretch.

b) The design. The SSK comes in solid/solid and solid/print choices. VTB Dual Sling only has solid/solid for now. VTB Pouch has reversible design. The seams are also different. The SSK has more of an evident seam because the material is not as flexible. It has that accordion-type of bunching. The VTB's seam is just like its hem, more discreet.

seam of SSK
seam of VTB
stitch and hem of SSK
stitch and hem of VTB

seam of SSK close-up 
If you ask me, I don't really know what the accordion seam is for, since the stretch it provides is negligible. For my purposes I use it as a marker, the accordion hems must be dead center of my back. If you know it's real purpose, give me a heads-up. -- UPDATE: Ok, I was right. According to Buding Aquino-Dee, creator of the SaYa, it's for aesthetic purposes only. It's simply a marker directly across the deepest part of the pouch to use as a guide depending on what position you're using.

c) The fabric. The SSK is made with a more cottony material. It is 95% Cotton 5% Spandex. The VTB is made with a more elastic material, like exercise leotards. It is 80% Nylon 20% Spandex.

SSK brown (close-up)
VTB brown (close-up

d) Wearability. I love wearing the VTB because it's so easy to put on. The fabric is more slippery so it's a breeze to adjust and sort out when bunched up. However, exactly because it's slippery, it tends to readjust more requiring you to fiddle with it more frequently. The SSK is more fixed in place ergo less hassle because the fabric doesn't slide as much. But you really HAVE to prepare it before putting in your baby because once he's in it's frustrating to fix.

 Is the Semi-Stretch Knit as versatile and durable as the VersaTekk Blend? 

 What's the difference between the dual slings and the VTB pouch? 
The SSK and VTB dual slings have 2 separate fabrics inter-locked. The VersaTekk pouch is a single sling, much more similiar to the traditional pouch carrier where you fit your baby in the pocket and use one shoulder as an anchor or support. There are positions that are easier to achieve with just the single pouch because there's less to manipulate and it's more advisable to use with older babies or babies who can support their neck/sit up. Ideal for dads who feel conscious wearing dual slings.

 Are the materials breathable/suitable for warm climate? 
Definitely YES. But here comes the tricky part. Both are actually breathable, only in a different sense. I find the VTB to be actually more breathable, meaning, more air passes through the fabric to keep baby cool. HOWEVER, the VTB is less absorbent, meaning it's not as effective in wicking perspiration from the baby and because it's more stretchy, it conforms to baby's body, making him more snug and warm. So once he's wet, he's wet.

SSK brown
VTB brown

The SSK, although less breathable, has the advantage of the absorbent cotton fabric keeping the baby dry and comfy, which, in effect, keeps him cool. But it's the cotton which might make him perspire in the first place. (Hahaha.. chicken or the egg ba?) Again, there is no "better choice", it's a matter of preference. And it also depends if your baby is more "pawisin" or "lamigin". Personally, I use SSK outside, and in warmer weather. VTB in airconditioned places like malls. Another mom might prefer it the other way around. But anyway, either one would generally do well all-around.

 Do I have to buy one for every stage of my baby's growth? 
The SaYa was meant to grow with your baby. It's stretchability makes it ideal for a newborn until he no longer wants to be carried. What starts off as a tight, snug SaYa, will naturally stretch as your baby gets bigger, heavier. I find my current SaYas to be more loose now than when I first bought them. But always stay just as snug and secure. Imagine your hair ponytail/elastic band. The more frequently you use it, the wider it gets. One SaYa is all you'll need.

 How do I know what size I need? 
The SaYa is meant to fit YOU, not your baby. Like most of you, I thought my first SaYa started out to be too small, despite getting the right size according to the chart. I later on realized, it was just right. It is NOT meant to fit you the way the non-stretch folded baby pouches look in pictures. If it hangs from your shoulder to your waist, it's too loose! For the SSK, Eliza said it right when she mentioned that the right SaYa should loosely hang just under your armpits when worn without the baby. I am 5'3", slender and am comfy with an M.

For the VTB, I suggest to down-size. I got a size 0. There are mothers who initially said they had the "perfect" fit, only to realize when the baby got bigger and heavier and the fabric got laundered over and over that the sling would sag really low because the fabric could still stretch a lot. Remember, babies actually like "masikip". It's how they were in our tummies. I say, TRUST IN THE SIZING CHARTS. It's easier to stretch a tight SaYa in time with use, rather than get a loose one you can't tighten. The only time I'd be a little more critical is for plus-sized wearers or SaYa sharers. Sizing charts available from all your sellers.

 I have a big/heavy baby, what size should I get? 
Again, size is dependent on the wearer, not the baby.

 What positions can I carry my baby in? 
Practically all the positions other baby carriers offer.
Cradle Carry (Duyan)
Nursing Position (Duyan)
Hug Carry/Tummy to Tummy (Yakap) - both feet in and feet out
Buddha/Kangaroo Carry/Front-facing (Tangan) - both feet in and feet out
Hip Carry/Side Carry (Sakay)
Back Carry (Lakbay)
Nursing Cover (Takip)

 Can I share the sling with my husband? 
Yes, for as long as your height and frame difference aren't too extreme, a size 1(medium/large) should be manageable for both of you. If you're 4'8" and petite while he's 6'1" with a big stomach, I suggest you get a size 0 (small) and 2 (extra large). However, I don't recommend sharing with the VTB, there will always be a certain level of stretching that will occur because of the nylon/spandex material and since the carrier is measured to fit the wearer, it will not always comfortably fit different sized spouses. In time, a VTB SaYa that your husband uses might and most probably will become loose on you and your baby. Don't compromise baby's safety to save a few pesos. Two separate SaYas are honestly a worthy investment for a 2-3 year period.

Click on the photo above to see a high-res version. Notice the fabric of the teal VTB, the one I've shared with my bitter better half, it seems more flexible now. The brown VTB below has been used by just me and the fabric appears to be more stiff and less "foldy". (Isn't my baby's knee cute? Hahaha!)

Unshared VTB

Shared VTB 
At 4 months old, my son is now riding the brown VTB with his bum level with my 1st hip. In the teal VTB his bum reaches my 2nd hip. Proof is seen with the teal VTB reaching closer to the floor carrying the same weight, a significant 2-inch difference.

Is there a maximum weight capacity? 
SaYas are made to be very durable and sturdy. Some SaYa loyalists are still using their slings for their 32 month old babies, even 3 year olds! By the time you reach the SaYa's maximum capacity, either your child has preferred to walk, or you yourself will refuse to carry his weight. As much as it's sweet to want to carry your child 'til such time, realistically your back's not made of steel.

 What is the stabilizer for? 
There are certain positions that are much better with a stabilizer, such as the back carry. It is simply an option for added security and stability especially for a restless child, a very heavy child or a position where it is harder to access or balance your child (like when his feet are free to kick and wriggle). It helps distribute the babies weight evenly between your shoulders and hips.

 Will wearing the SaYa leave marks on my baby's skin? 
It depends on how you wear your baby and if you get the right size. It is important not to bunch up the material. Spread it across the baby's bum and back, wear the appropriate size for you. That way, I never got red welts on my baby's skin. Of course you can never avoid the "bagong-gising" lines that are common when they're cooped up.

 When I wear my baby with the SaYa, am I really hands-free? 
Yes. Especially if you get the right size, the baby is riding high at a kissable height, and you wear it properly, you can literally let go and let your baby be. Except when nursing, you can pretty much let him go. Just take extra precautions with newborns to make sure air passages are clear and they don't curl up. I instinctively still support with my arms.

 Is the SaYa better than the pouches or ring slings? 
It is a matter of preference. There are pros and cons to any product. However, I can say that there is nothing that the pouch/ring sling can do that the SaYa can't. Truth is I switch between a SaYa and a ring sling depending on the weather, where I'm going and how long I'll be wearing the baby.

 What does the package contain? 
Standard package includes the SaYa carrier, Introduction to Saya Pamphlet, Instructional Guide and Eco Bag (only with the VTB?) in a cylindrical recycled paper/carton box. Stabilizer sold separately.

 Is the price for the two slings already? 
Yes. Indicated price is for both the lead and support slings already, as they are inseparable from each other. I would assume any of the sellers would agree.

Why get the SaYa?

I personally like the SaYa Baby Carrier because
1) No hooks, rings, velcros, straps, buckles to complicate things.
2) Material is either semi-stretch or stretch which keeps my baby snug and high-riding on my body
3) The dual sling design gives it more security and stability than usual pouches, even without the stabilizer wrap.
4) The material is soft and comfortable, whether you get SSK or VTB.
5) It can be used from newborn stage and then indefinitely from then on. It grows with your child.
6) It has all the positions that the very versatile ring slings have to offer.
7) I can reach that compromise between "wag mo masyado buhatin si baby at baka masanay" and attachment parenting's "carry your child as often as he needs it, it's for his security and confidence-building" mentalities. I'm not carrying him in the strictest sense of the word anyway!
8) It's comfortable for me too and my back doesn't hurt!
9) It fits in my bags easily or is comfy just hanging around my body when baby's not in it.
10) Go hands-free with confidence.
11) Fashionable. I can wear just spaghetti straps and still look like I'm wearing a shirt. The slings double as sleeves for my upper arms or a shawl-wrap for the evening when I'm wearing my baby.
12) Most importantly, it makes me feel like a good mom.

Where to buy?
I'm an online buyer so I only know the internet stores, they have the catalog pictures and minimal shipping fees so it's really more convenient to order online. Here are some of the sites I frequently visit: - where I bought my SaYa VersaTekk pouch and stabilizer wrap, among other things (Jen is a very accommodating and reliable online seller - thanks Jen!) - where I bought my SaYa Semi-Stretch Knit sling and RJellyBean ring sling - Haven't bought from them kasi I have 3 na. Haha! (Di naman ako die hard no?) - Haven't bought from them kasi I have 3 na.

My SaYa Versatekk Teal was a gift from my Baby Taz's Ninang.

So there. I hope I was able to clear your mind and help you somewhat in your SaYa decision-making. If you have any questions, feel free to leave it in the comments section and I'll do what I can to help.

Happy BabyWearing! Ma-SaYa 'yan!!!

Love, Cats

P.S. I received a request from Jen of Next9 for pictures. I'll try to post some soon. Let me just get over my camera-shyness. Hahaha..Seriously, I'll try to update this with visuals as soon as I can. Stand by...    If there are any more pictures you would like me to post, please leave a note in the comments section. I'll add a few of the pouch soon.