Friday, March 27, 2015

Wedding-themed Papercuts

A wedding proposal papercut.
 My 8th wedding papercut.

Hello friends!

Today I'd like to talk about my most in-demand papercuts a.k.a. my wedding-themed papercuts.
'Wedding papercut' is basically a personalized papercut design that is composed of an illustration of the lovely couple, usually in their wedding attire, their names, details of the wedding, like date and venue plus a sweet note or the couple's wedding tagline (ex. 'to have & to hold', 'happily ever after'). 

The papercuts that I do are mostly typographic - usually name papercuts,  affirmations and famous quotes that I strongly resonate with, but really, the most requested are the wedding-themed ones. The first ever papercut I gifted to a relative is actually a wedding papercut! As of this writing, I've already made 10 wedding-themed papercuts.

A wedding proposal papercut (unframed version of the photo above).
 My 8th wedding papercut.

I'm happy when people show love and appreciation to their loved ones by giving valuable presents. I love it that most people now are giving importance on gift-giving. I noticed that many people these days are more inclined to gifting personalized, well-thought-out and handmade presents, especially as a wedding gift. I think these 3 key factors in gift giving in general, are important. I believe that in order for a gift to be really special, it must be given an extra thought. It must be tailored to the recipient. And it has to have warmth, which is best provided by handmade creations.

The impact is greater because there is meaning.

People love things with meanings.

People appreciate things that are meaningful to them. 

People love things that give joy to their heart and spirit.

The intangible value that papercuts or, in this case, wedding papercuts give to the newly-wedded couple is priceless.

'Sigfred & Yami'
My 5th wedding papercut.

A Save the Date papercut I made for my cousin who got married this March 2015. This is my 7th wedding papercut.

'Jason & Myra'
My 9th wedding papercut.

It captures a very special and memorable moment in their life and it will serve as a reminder of their joyful union. And everyday, when they look at it, it will serve as a precious memento that will make their love and bond stronger. 

Leeanne ;-)

Friday, March 20, 2015

31 Things I've Learned From 2014 (the year I gave importance on self love and pursued my passion at the same time)

My handmade papercut birthday cake for my 31st. :)

I'm turning 31 on Monday, 23rd of March (yay!). 
I'd like to share with you 31 things I've learned from 2014, a.k.a. the year I gave importance on self love and at the same time, pursued my passion.

*This entry is greatly inspired by Sean McCabe's (one of my idols in design, business and life in general) '26 Things I've Learned' ( blog post in seanwes blog, in a sense that it inspired me to take note and be grateful of the lessons we learned as we go through our own life experiences and use it to make ourselves better. This also inspired me to enumerate my own, based on my journey on self love and pursuing my passion.

Okay, here goes:

1. Feel alive (again) by restoring your spirituality. There was a time in my life that I felt so lost and empty, even though I've accomplished a lot and seemed successful externally.  It is only when I prayed to God again very often and allowed Him to carry and surprise me again that I found peace, restoration and a sense of purpose. 

2. Have perfect trust on Him. It's hard sometimes, but aim not to loosen your grip. Believe in His promise that you'll receive abundance when you use your gifts to serve others.

3. Giving is the simplest way to feel abundance in your life. 

4. Be humble and willing to receive. Learn how to accept blessings from others. We all need a little help, sometimes. 

5. Being grateful equates to being happy. Open your eyes and heart to see how blessed you are. Be appreciative.

6. Being happy starts in your own heart. Don't look for it somewhere else.

7. In decision making, listen to your own intuition/gut feel. It often knows the answer.

8. Treat your body with love and respect. Feed it well, give it the right amount of rest it deserves and do mindful exercises like yoga. It is our major instrument in doing what we are born to do. It is the temple of our soul.

9. Discover your passion. I strongly believe that this is a MUST in life. Discovering your passion is like step 1 in accomplishing your life's purpose, as it is the key to the many opportunities for yourself and for others, through you.

10. Once you've discovered your passion, pursue it. Just do it. Make time for it and make it flourish.

11. Never give up on your passion. Be assured that you are being guided by a divine source to continue doing what you love and producing great work of value. 

12. Sometimes, the way to figure out what you want or what you want to become is to eliminate what you don't want in your life. In those times that I felt so lost, I honestly don't know what I want and I felt so frustrated because people say that you need to know what you want in order to claim it and be happy. Then it struck me, that I'm only certain of the things that I don't want so I started eliminating it one by one, and little by little, I felt lighter, relieved and  alive again. 

13. Be good and patient with yourself. Allow yourself to commit mistakes. It's okay to fail, but make sure to fail forward. It's all part of the process and progress.

14. Be present in every situation you're in. Be open. Don't go through life acting like a zombie. Be engaged and live fully.

15. Be authentic - in your thoughts, words and actions. You are your most beautiful when you are honoring your true self. Embrace your own crazy.

16. Define your own success. Really define it and commit to make it happen.

17. Your WHYs and WHY NOTs are important. 

18. Be an eternal student. Be humble and enthusiastic to learn something new at every opportunity. Don't be stagnant.

19. If you want to consistently improve on anything, READ. Process new thoughts in your mind and put it into PRACTICE. Practice as much as you can, and enjoy the process.

20. Hangout with people who inspires you to be better. Have mentors. 

21. Be intentional in everything that you do. Don't do things without thought. Every action is better when you put your heart and soul in it.

22. It pays to be persistent and consistent.

23. Be calm. Most (if not all) great inventions, compositions, creations, etc., are products of a focused and worry free mind. I've observed this to be very true in my own practice. I realized that I produce great work when I'm relaxed.

24. Improve your financial wisdom. Learn how to make money work for you and not the other way around.

25. Don't be wasteful. Take only what you need. Understand the value of every little thing. 

26. Be kind to animals. They make the world a lot happier. :)

27. Make a plan and plan to make. 

28. Loosen up a bit and have fun. Don't be too serious.

29. Smile the smile that reaches your eyes. Do this often. It's the simplest way to lighten things up. 

30. Believe that you are valuable and that the world needs you. God loves you so much.

31. Love yourself. Love others. Love to live. Live to love.

- Leeanne ;-)

Friday, March 13, 2015

How I Started Serving Others with My Gifts

Serve others to find joy. ;-)

Hello friends! Today, I'd like to share with you how I started serving others with my gifts (not to mention finding joy  every single time I do it). :-)

As mentioned in my previous post, in my early years of paper cutting (doing it as a hobby), I only make papercuts for myself. Mainly because I find delight in doing it and partly because I'm not sure if other people would like it and see or appreciate it the way that I do.

In 2011, I made my first wedding-themed papercut and gave it to my aunt as a wedding present. It was a couple kissing under a church bell. She and her husband liked it so much. As of this writing, I had made 10 wedding papercuts (7 of them are client work) and I'll be making my 11th wedding papercut (commission piece) this month.

It was only in late 2013 that I decided to monetize my papercut crafts. It was when I was convinced by my good friend and business mentor, Jen Ombania of ListLab ( She is also my co-founder at .

CraftLab shop cover photo in Facebook
We bumped into each other at a Christmas Bazaar where I participated to sell my handmade fashion accessories. She mentioned that she, and another crafty friend are putting up an online craft store and invited me to join in to showcase my handmade fashion accessories. When we were brainstorming on what other products we could sell in the shop, I mentioned that I also make handmade papercuts. I'm not sure if she knows what papercuts are so I showed it to her and I remember her saying something like; "Why are you not selling these?" and "These are totally sellable!". So I agreed and made a few pieces and launched it (Craftlab Shop) in Mother's day of 2014 . It was well received - we got a lot of page views, page likes, inquiries and compliments, but I didn't get a sell until August 2014, when I joined in Art's Night Outa one night arts and crafts fair at The Collective, Malugay Makati. It was my first participation in an arts and crafts fair as a papercut artist (yey!). I sold a few framed papercuts and again, I got lots of inquiries and compliments. 

It is an amazing feeling when people find a connection with the creative work that I do. I'm happy when somebody resonates with the message I convey in my artworks. And that translates my purpose in doing what I do - to give people joy, inspiration and value that they deserve.

Art's Night Out poster
My participation in Art's Night Out made me realize that in order for people to appreciate my craft better, they must see it physically. To experience it's charm, one has to view it up close. It has to be personally introduced to it's audience. Behind the scenes stories must be told . The craft of paper cutting is not as popular as hand-lettering and calligraphy in the Philippines these days. I think participating in arts and crafts fair and exhibits are the best opportunities to make people aware of this interesting craft.

Fortunately, in Art's Night Out, my papercut craft and I were spotted by the Agsalud sisters of Type Kita Academy ( and I was invited to participate in the 2nd Type Kita Exhibit that was held last October 2014 at 10A Alabama Arts and Crafts ( in Quezon City, Philippines. There I met a community of happy and awesome creatives who are living their passions. Seeing their works + the joy, passion and fulfillment in their eyes, I was more inspired to share my gifts and create more papercuts, an encouragement to continue doing what I do! I felt like I found my tribe :).  However, there were only 2 more papercut artists in the said event. Very few, compared to hand-letterers and calligraphers who participated.

The 2nd Type Kita Exhibit poster.
There I am, last row, 2nd column. :)

'C' One of papercuts I sold (in the 2nd Type Kita exhibit) to Camy and Patrick Cabral.
'I do what I love. I love what I do.' Also one of the papercuts I sold in the 2nd Type Kita exhibit.
As of this writing, I have made a total of  61 papercuts  and provided (intangible) value to the people who requested for it (as well as to those who've seen it) And I will create more, because I love utilizing my gifts well, in order to serve others. I want to continue to bring joy to many people through my papercut artworks. 

I hope you too, are finding joy in providing value to people with the work that you love to do. 

- Leeanne ;-)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My (favorite) Paper Cutting Tools

One of the many things I like about paper cutting  is that you don't need too many tools or materials to start this craft. Basically, you'll only need 3 things: a pattern to cut, a craft knife with sharp blade(s) #11 and a cutting mat. I'll explain each, in depth below.

1. Pattern to cut.
'Abundance' Hand-lettered on tracing paper.
- Hand-sketched or digitized / your own design or a free printable pattern.
- Preferably drawn/printed on acid free paper for preservation purposes. Non acid free paper gets brittle and yellow over time, and you wouldn't want that to happen to your precious papercut eventually. You'll always want to preserve the beauty of an art piece you had exerted so much effort on to produce, and this you could do by using the right kind of paper. I normally use a 90 gsm acid free paper for my projects which I get from Crown Supply Corporation ( The thickness is just right for cutting.


I normally draw and cut from the back side of the paper to keep the front side clean. The pattern to be cut must be a mirror view of the design. I usually draw the initial sketch on a tracing paper using a pencil (especially if it is typographic in nature), and once I'm happy with the sketch, I transfer the design to acid free paper. To do this, place the tracing paper (sketch is facing downward, touching the acid free paper) on top of the acid free paper and trace or rub the design using a pencil.

Pattern on tracing paper was transfered to acid free paper.

Acid free paper with a mirror view of the pattern to be cut.

2. Craft knife + blade #11 + spare blades (use X-ACTO brand, it is the best! ;-) )
X-ACTO knife + X-ACTO blades #11

You can get this from National Bookstores nationwide if you are from the Philippines or from your local craft stores if you live abroad. Craft knife usually comes with spare blades (1-2 pcs.), but I suggest that you still buy extra blades. (X-ACTO brand has this and usually comes in sets of 5). Always, always use sharp blades in paper cutting (and take extra care!) to prevent boo boos. If the blade is not sharp enough, you'll have to exert extra effort in cutting accurately. Smooth cutting is an indicator of a sharp blade, which is appropriate for this craft.

This photo shows a blade with broken tip. If this happens, change the blade into a new one as the broken blade won't be as sharp.

3. Cutting mat

- Use a cutting mat to protect your working table.
- It comes in different sizes but it is always best to use big ones. 
- It is also available in National Bookstores nationwide if you are from the Philippines or from your local craft stores if you live abroad. 


General rule is, your cutting mat must be bigger than the pattern you are cutting for ease of use. In the process of paper cutting, you'll often rotate the paper with pattern in order to get a right angle for you to cut certain parts of the design effectively and easily. Also, you would want to covermuch of your work table to protect it from cuts.

An option (my favorite!) is to get a cutting mat that is the same size as the pattern you are cutting (ex. get an A4 size cutting mat to use for an A4 pattern), and secure the edges of the paper to the cutting mat with tape to keep it in place so that whenever you need to rotate it to get a good angle for easy cutting, the paper and cutting mat will rotate as one, protecting your working table from blade cuts/scratches. Smart huh? ;-)

That's it! Few and simple tools that can create amazing works of art.

Happy cutting! :)



Thursday, March 5, 2015

How My Fascination with Everything Cutouts Began

My white cutout leather bag

It was only very recent that I realized when my fascination with cutting and paper began. I was always interested in everything cutouts, may it be jewelry, fabric, furniture and paper, especially.

I always wonder how it began... And then one day I remember, when I was about 7 or 8 years old, my father made me my first ever paperdoll (!), complete with a stand and 2 sets of clothes. (Yes, I got my creativity from my father and my love of creating or working with my hands, from my dear mother! It was hand-sketched and hand-cut. He used colored markers in rendering. I can still remember how it looked like - the girl he drew is simple and yet very charming. I remember it having blunt bangs and wore a plain tank top and shorts as it's 'default clothes'. He explained what the flaps in the paper clothes are for and taught me how to attach it to my paperdoll. And since he only made 2 sets of clothes, he encouraged me to make more. And so I grabbed my pencil, colored markers, scissors and papers and started creating more, to my heart's content! I always enjoyed drawing when I was a kid and that incident with my father introduced me to another potential interest - c u t t i n g !  Yey! Since then, I look forward to doing school projects and other activities with cutting involved.

When I was in college, my grandmother's brother (also an artist, yes, it runs in the family) gave me my first ever craft knife set, complete with a cute case and spare blades, but I don't know how and where to use it back then.

Fast forward to 2011, I googled a papercut art piece and I instantly fell in love with it. I immediately tried my hand at paper cutting. My early creations were nature-inspired - always flowers and foliage. I like making organic and biomorphic designs. I enjoyed every bit of the cutting process - from tracing my hand-sketches using a craft knife, to carefully taking out the negative spaces and slowly revealing the cut paper. The contrasting play of light and shadow brought by the positive and negative spaces is visually i n t e r e s t i n g.
So whenever I have free time, I make papercuts for myself. For my own delight. It's fun and liberating to make art for yourself - you are your own boss, you own critique.

3D leaves papercut
I made this in 2011 and in 2014, I gifted it to Mrs. Emma Palo, my grade school teacher.

Whenever I'm paper cutting, weird as it may sound, I feel that the blade of my craft knife is an extension of my fingers. Cutting and slicing through paper is like endorphins shots for me. I feel like I'm in my element every time I do this craft. It makes me feel so alive and I'm beyond happy that I've found my flow. :)

'Find Your Flow' available at Craftlab Shop, our online craft store: