Sunday, September 30, 2012

I fell in love with Atimonan

     The Stuffed Toy Making Seminar Workshop took place in the activity center  of the Atimonan Church, located in Atimonan, Quezon Province.   About 30 participants, whose ages range from 12 to 71  (believe it or not, this is true! ), men and women from different parishes and barangays, attended the (according to the participants) much awaited workshop.

     The training proper commenced with a welcome remark by Sister Shirley.  Sister Shirley later narrated to me during our lunch break that whenever there is an event such as this, she’s the prime personage responsible for the accommodation of the guests and the preparation of the venue.

     Followed by my short introductory speech with which I welcomed everyone to the wonderful world and  lucrative craft of soft toy making,  the participants later were grouped into fives, with at least 1 to 2 male member ( there are a total of 6 male participants, 5 in  their early 20’s and 1 aged 71) to help facilitate in procuring their raw materials and manuals.

       As expected all expressed their enthusiasm especially when I recounted my early beginnings in soft toy making and the many rewards I received since I started making toys for gifts and souvenirs.

     Our coordinators, Sister Pilita and Sister Wilma joined the class and participated well in creating their projects. 

     The participants became excited when they found out that THEIR FIRST PROJECT is the RED BIRD stuffed toy !  I later announced that whichever group finishes first will receive a free PENGUIN PATTERN!

     Photo shoots occurred while working and during rest periods with Kuya Greg and Kuya Rico as our volunteer photographers.  Candid shots were taken with the participants all-smiled pose with their toys and patterns, giggledly excited about their newly found skill in toy making.

Specific topics were discussed on our last day of training:

1.       Closing Stitch
2.       Face Sculpting
3.       Cleaning & Trimming
4.       Costing and Pricing

     Then, the participants got busy with their last project – the Teddy Bear.  Fun and excitements loomed the entire training room as one by one presents his/her creation topped by Ms. Dolores Durana, again followed by four others, namely:

  • 1.       Jegger Martir
  • 2.       Ricky Almeyda
  • 3.       Marylo Tabi
  • 4.       Ofelia Santidad

           The total number of participants were 28 plus 2 ( Sister Wilma and Sister Pilita, 30 all-in-all) who happily accepted their Certificate of Participation given by Lucena Diocesan Social Action Center, Inc. (LUDISAC)  Director, Rev. Msgr. Melecio V. Verastigue,

           I’m so grateful to Sister Shirley, Father Msgr. Boy, Kuya Rico, Kuya Jason (the Church Chef), Father Dennis, Sister Pilita and Sister Wilma for their combined efforts in making this event successful.  Before we part ways, Msgr. Boy reminded us the important role of Hapag Asa and commended Assisi Development Foundation for coming up with this concept of Livelihood Training.

.     Five promising individuals, namely Jegger Martir, Ricky Almeyda, Dolores Durana, Leonora Veloso and Rufina Bacquial expressed their willingness to pursue this kind of business and share this to their co-parishers and barangay townfolks.  

           Ms. Lucy Quismundo, on the other hand, texted me as I aboard my bus bound to Manila, that she’s practicing all the three projects with alternative fabrics:

       “  Marami pong salamat sa ibinahagi mo sa aming kaalaman.  Naga practice po kami ng anak ko sa paggawa ng teddy bear para maituro ko po dito sa amin.”

      Mr. Ricky Almeyda said:

          “  Pinaliit ko pa po ang pattern ng Angry Bird para mas madali pong gawin, ituturo ko po kasi sa aking inay at sa mga taga rito sa amin upang mayron kaming dagdag kita.”

             Jegger Martir texted:

         “  Ingat ka po sa pag uwi sir.  I te text po kita pag magpapabili ako ng mga materyales.
             Magtuturo din po nito sa amin sa Tayabas.”
             Leonora Veloso texted:

“                     Thank you very much po.  Prayer is my special gift for you.”

      I replied those who texted me with encouragement not to give up if they encounter problems with stuffed toy making.  I promised that I’ll be meeting them again soon to continue to assist them as I gave them additional pattern :  Panda, and promised to give more when I return.

     God bless the Diocese of Lucena and more power to LUDISAC, INC.!!!  Being with Quezonians certainly is another wonderful and an unforgettable experience!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Reason To Share This Skill - Part 1

     The long journey from Marikina to Las Piñas covered almost four hours (waiting time included due to heavy flow of traffic in EDSA and Makati) but the long wait to arrive at the training venue proved to be worthy as I was greeted warmly by women representing different parishes who convened at the Good Shepherd Parish for the Stuffed Toy Making Seminar Workshop.

     Ladies aged between 20 to 55, seated accordingly, patiently listened to my lecture on the Basics of Toy Making.  All exhibited enthusiasm especially when I recounted my early beginnings in soft toy making and the many rewards I received since I started making toys for gifts and souvenirs.


     Our host, Sister Violy, a very affectionate and thoughtful woman, who kindly fetched me from the subdivision entrance on the first day of our training, together with Sister Debbie, joined the class all throughout the course. 


     Day One, went smoothly as participants enjoyed their first hands-on exercise in Pattern Making.  Pattern templates for dolphin stuffed toy produced from chip boards formed the core of the pattern making process.  As soon as their first exercise were finished, the class was divided into three groups and assigned a specific task – that each group, with their combined skills in cutting and sewing must produce one dolphin stuffed toy, which will later serve as their guide when it’s their turn to create their individual projects.


                                            Swannie Mae, a participant, proudly shows her dolphin!!!
     Day Two, considered as their most challenging day, the participants got busy making Ellie, the Elephant.  Due to its many puzzle-pieced templates, it took them so long to finish joining the toy’s body parts.  Nevertheless, two groups finished first with their prototypes and won a free cupid boy stuffed toy patterns!!!

     Meals and photo shoots occurred while working and during rest periods.  With Sister Debbie and Sister Lea volunteering as “official photographers”, candid shots were taken with the participants all-smiles posed with their toys and patterns, giggledly excited about their newly found skill in toy making.

     The rest of the topics were discussed on our last day of training:

Closing Stitch
Face Sculpting
Cleaning & Trimming
Costing and Pricing

     All the participants were given 2 additional patterns (Swan and Panda)


        This batch of trainees learned fast.  They neatly joined fabric pieces together and finished the toys with less supervision.  Three promising individuals, namely Josie Llarenas, Rhonilyn Vargas and Jelyn Dumapig always finish first followed by Ate Helenita Cedilla, Emalyn Lozada and Angela Merendad.  

     Before we part ways, Mrs. Cedilla and Mrs. Llarenas deeply expressed their interest to continue in enhancing their craft.  While others stated that they would want to start making toys in anticipation for Christmas season.

     I also expressed my gratitude and reminded them that Assissi Development Foundation will always be here to help them acquire new knowledge and skills and I promised to continuously support them with the technical and marketing aspects.

     God bless the Diocese of Parañaque.  Meeting them, teaching them, having fun with them, is certainly a wonderful and an unforgettable experience, a reason enough why I share this craft!!!

Understanding Patterns

     I have always been fascinated with soft animal toys and often wonder how they were constructed in such a way that they resemble real animals.  When I took my Basic Course in Soft Toy Making I learned from my mentor, Mrs. Dimatulac that assembling a soft toy is like solving a jigsaw puzzle and that this 'game' starts with a set of patterns.  Here are some important tips and trivia, all about patterns.

  • Patterns are usually made of card board, hard enough to withstand wear and tear.
  • An average-size soft animal toy would have a set of patterns consisting of  7 to 12 pattern pieces or templates.
  • One can normally see markings, letters of the alphabet and instructions written on one side of each template.
  • A 1/4 inch seam allowance is already included on each template.

     More on understanding patterns on my next blog - Understand Patterns Part 2.    

A Reason To Share This Skill - Primer

I believe there are lots of reasons why I need to share this skill in soft toy making.  In a community where kids are a plenty, it's pretty obvious that spreading the news about the seminars I conduct create certain sparks and smiles, just what I imagine in each mom's caricature.  Read my latest blog, A Reason To Share This Skill and see mompreneurs sewing their way to make beautiful toys.