bibingka and other foodie business


i woke up this morning thinking about this…  it brings many happy, fond memories.  my mother makes the best, then my sis jo & i have been known to make it pretty nicely too.   i was wracking my brain for the recipe… i believe i have all the ingredients to make a batch… i know i have my mom’s recipe somewhere.  but aaack, just can’t find it.  so i googled for the recipes.  a ton of different versions of this quintessential filipino cake popped up & i searched and searched until i found one (aka see above link) that closely resembled my mom’s version.  my mom’s version is simple but oh so delectable.  no lie.  i ❤ this cake.  🙂

i think i will whip up a batch using the above recipe just to make sure that it tastes like my mom’s, hehehe. 🙂 

& if it works out, then i will make another batch & send it to my mom… her birthday is coming up (shhh, don’t tell!) & i know that my mom (& my dad too) will LOVE getting this surprise 🙂

next to making art, cooking has become another passion these days.  idk how i became a “foodie” all of a sudden, hehehe… but i’ve been totally diggin’ cooking things from scratch lately…PLUS  also using the freshest ingredients where at all possible. 

speaking of which, “cooking fresh” also makes me want to grow my own food this gardening season!  i used to when we lived in maine… i tried in vain to replicate my old veg and herb garden beds when we first moved here.  but i soon got discouraged because of the very rude & quite brazen deer population that also reside out here in the wooded boonies. 😦 

 the deer around here simply have no respect and  have treated my garden beds in those early days like their own personal smorgasbord.  i couldn’t plant or grow anything without seeing nibbled remains of plants, shrubs and trees!  once one fall weekend,  i planted about 200 tulip bulbs in the front yard, envisioning a glorious spring display…but instead, i found a field of bitten off tulip heads come that following spring!  OMG, was i ever so pissed.  you. have. no. idea.    the deer have been so CHEEKY that in the last few years, i sorta just threw up my hands & gave up on trying to grow our own food like i had before in maine.  i was going to be damned before i grew a whole crop of veggies just exclusively for the entire deer population!!!!

last summer, i had frequented a number of various farmer’s markets in the area… so much so,  that a part of me felt a bit sad (& rather mad) that i had to buy other peeps’ food when i knew full well that i could grow my own tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, fresh herbs, etc, etc if it weren’t for those gosh-darned DEER!  when we lived in maine, i never had the deer problem there as  i do here.  OMG.  we had a virtual grocery store in our back yard when we lived in maine.  homegrown gardens were the norm where we had lived.  i SO miss that.

this year, however, especially after receiving countless seed and garden catalogues, i am determined to grow our own food again.  but this time, i think i will grow them in containers & place them all on the huge back deck.  i figure that at the very least, those darn DEER could not possibly get into the second floor deck!!!  the sun exposure is westerly so that should be plenty enough to grow a small crop of assorted veg, herbs and of course flowers.  you gotta have flowers to pretty up the joint and bring the bees and hummingbirds by 🙂

so that’s what i’m plotting… literally and figuratively. as soon as the weather warms and i can work in my garden, i plan to clean up  my lower garden beds and then i think – NO! i must! – plant some thorny (make that EXTRA thorny!) rose bushes and other deer repellent plants and shrubs.  ha!  take that you pesky DEER!!    who knew that i was going to have this on-going WAR with the DEER (aka “the enemy”)? 

as for my plan of ATTACK, so to speak, the upper back deck, which btw runs the entire span of the house, i will start planning my container garden. that is where i will basically grow our food. hopefully, this plan will work.  i cannot wait to get my hands in the dirt and play!  back in the good ol’, deer-free days, i was (& will be again!) a voracious gardener.  i am looking forward to getting back into gardening saddle again.  it’s been too long.  & back to self-sustenance & reliance is what i say!


oh yes, nearly forgot… last 2/26 was my BLOGOVERSARY.  i totally FORGOT…oopsie!  it’s been SIX years -OMG- since i started art blogging.  oh well, no biggie… LIFE happens and i have had a lot going on these days.  well, happy belated blogoversary to me then, hehehe 🙂

i’ve said what i’ve wanted to say today… so now, BIBINGKA time!  gotta get crack-a-lacking…if you have never had it… idk what to say other than that you are in for a real treat if you can try it. 🙂

you won’t be disappointed.  trust me on that one!

xoxo mary ann

(ps., pardon all the 🙂 …today is one of those rare days that i am actually not feeling stressed, like i usually am… i think it’s because i’m at home & not at school!!!)


art heals

the sadness of letting go our beloved TJ still lingers… but, as they say, life (must) goes on.  we have to take comfort knowing that we did the right,  most loving and kind thing for him.  he’s not suffering any longer now and i’d like to think that he is still with us in spirit.  it will take some time getting used to not seeing him around… but time heals…

and for me, art does too.  i have been more than ever wanting to draw and paint what i am feeling/ experiencing.  i just have to make a more concerted effort to do so.  otherwise, i will continue to be the stressed out, uber cranky yiatch that i’ve been lately.  & omg, i so do not want to live my life like that.  no friggin way.

lately, i’ve been admiring the fabulous works of teesha moore and tessa mcsorley.  i revisited teesha moore’s work when i recently stumbled upon many of her youtube vids on art journaling.  i had forgotten that she really pioneered many techniques/trends that you often see (& perhaps take for granted) now in the world of art journalling.  i have an even better appreciation for her work after viewing her videos.  

i came across tessa mcsorley’s work also by accident.  and her wonderful sketches of girls and forest animals really struck a chord with me.  i really love that she takes her artwork straight from her sketchbooks & then turns them into functional art via  silkprinting onto tee-shirts, bags, small posters, etc.  i totally LOVE that.

another bit of news that is lighting a spark under me to create more  is that i just learned that my sketchbook for the sketchbook project is being viewed! wow, how’s that for a boost to the ol’ morale, eh? 

so, i am hoping that in the days to come, i will be more diligent in my art-making & i’ll be sharing more of creations here… & i am really loving the idea of functional art… so who knows, i might dream up something along those lines 🙂

slowly but surely, i will get out of this funk i’m finding myself in and make the art that i know is within me…

& is waiting ever so patiently to come out.

OWOH winners and sad farewell

(a digi-collage that i made a while ago for a challenge in a flickr group i’m in)

sorry for the huge delay but it’s been a ROUGH week  both at school and at home. 

(this snap was taken in spring 2008)

my hub & i have made the very painful decision to put down our beloved TJ.  he is our “patriarch” of our kitty tribe.  He is 18 years old and for feline years, that is pretty old.   and for the past year or two,  we have seen TJ deteriorate.   it’s been tortuous to see our TJ, who was once a big, strong, bear of a cat, become so weak, frail and senile.  we have put down two beloved cats before and both the hub & i have decided “no heoric measures”…TJ has lost his appetite, lost so much weight, barely gets out of his cat bed and sleeps all the time, and he even has stopped purring.  the last week has been brutal trying to put off the inevitable… the vet will be paying us a housecall (as we want to spare TJ any further trauma with taking him in the pet carrier & go for a bumpy car ride to the vet’s)  this weekend and we’re both a wreck over this whole business.  but we have to keep telling ourselves that  we are doing the right thing for TJ, and that he has had a beautiful, full life with us and the other cats and that he won’t be suffering any longer.   TJ has to know that he has received unconditional love from us and that he gave us his, plus so much joy & more as well.   

while i still have the composure, i thought i’d better announce the winners of the OWOH giveaway NOW… because LORD knows, i will not be any shape soon…

sorry that i had to combine a happy event like OWOH with the extreme sadness that is happening with us right now, but i am forcing myself to do this because i don’t want to disappoint anybody or keep anyone waiting…

so without further ado, here are the randomly picked winners:

#1.  micki butler, #33, wins the secret garden itty bitty book.

#2.  carmen, #110, wins the atc block.

#3. gale varland, #58, wins the 4×4 mixed media canvas.

#4. pat, #6, wins recipe book w/ polka dots.

#5.  sylvia smiser, #48, wins the recipe book w/ wavy stripes.

#6.  holly j., #88, wins the set of magnets.

#7. michelle remy, #78, wins the set of pin-back buttons.

#8.  gracie, #54, wins the crotcheted cuff.

#9.  wendy w., #90, wins the owl brooch.

and last but not least,

#10.  carolyn knight, #66, wins the handbound mini-zine book.

CONGRANTULATIONS you lucky winners!!  i sincerely hope you will enjoy your goodies 🙂

and many thanks to lisa swifka for organizing and hosting OWOH as well as EVERYONE who has kindly dropped by and visited my humble blog!!! xoxo

to the 10 lucky winners:  i will be in touch shortly via your blog or private email to notify you that you have won!  i will need to get your particulars, so if you would kindly drop me an email of your full name & address to that would be greatly appreciated!   i will plan to mail out your goodies tuesday 2/22 (as 2/21/11 is a holiday and so no mail service)… 

to everyone else, have a good day and please send us some wishes of  peace, healing and strength.

thank you for your patience and kind understanding,  mary ann xoxo


are you in?

this is an excerpt of a newsletter that i get from life coach extraodinare, cheryl richdardson… i thought it was worth reposting on the blog, especially as it pertains to valentine’s day 🙂


(& btw, i am so in!! 🙂 )

Topic of the Week :Valentine Love

 Earlier this week, a Facebook pal, Karen, shared a great idea with me on my Facebook Page. She wrote, “I’ll be spending the day on Monday giving Valentine’s Day cards to strangers with hand-written messages and affirmations (some I borrowed from you!), telling them they matter and are loved.” Karen invited me to join her (I’m in!) and this week I’m passing her invitation on to you. How about making this whole week a celebration of love?

Remember the little packages of Valentine’s you used to get as a kid? The ones you’d fill out and bring to school? Well, go out some time today, pick up a package or two, open it up, and write the words “You are loved!” on each card (and any additional message you feel inclined to share). Then, put each Valentine in an envelope, draw a heart on the outside, and put them in your purse, in your car, or in your briefcase, and get ready for fun!

Throughout the day, you can leave a Valentine on the windshield of a car, in the shopping cart of a stranger at the grocery store, on the desk of someone at work, in a book at the bookstore, or on a table in your local coffee shop. Each time you leave one, silently bless the person with love, and keep going until all of your Valentine’s have been given away. I can’t wait to get started and I hope you’ll join me.

We have so many people in our global community who will do this, that I’m sure we’re bound to create a groundswell of love. Who knows, maybe we’ll tip the scales and suddenly inspire world peace? Now that’s an intention I can wrap my arms around !

 Have fun and Happy Valentine’s Day!

little miss darling

i was inspired by seeing the shirley temple dvd commercials recently. & it brought back fond memories of watching her old flicks growing up.  while i created this yesterday, this song kept playing in my head 🙂

“The Good Ship Lollipop”
music by R. Whiting and words by S. Clare

  I’ve thrown away my toys
Even my drum and train.
I wanna make some noise
With real live aeroplanes.
Some day I’m going to fly.
I’ll be a pilot too.
And when I do, how would you
Like to be my crew…

On the good ship lollipop.
Its a sweet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.

Lemonade stands everywhere.
Crackerjack bands fill the air.
And there you are
Happy landing on a chocolate bar.

See the sugar bowl do the tootsie roll
With the big bad devils food cake.
If you eat too much ooh ooh
You’ll awake with a tummy ache.

On the good ship lollipop
Its a night trip into bed you hop
And dream away
On the good ship lollipop.

i found a vid of shirley temple actually singing this tune in the old flick, bright eyes… & was a bit disturbed to read people’s comments saying how “perverted” this was…  OMG.  people need to get their heads out of the gutter.  that flick came out in 1934 and times were different back then.  a WHOLE lot different.  it kinda makes me mad that peeps would taint that sweet & innocent film with their ludicrous comments & jaded, perverted 2011 eyes.  oy vay… 


anyway, i had fun drawing this & then digitally coloring it… i am planning on making some postcards with this for a valentine swap i’m in (hosted by my pal, lisa kettell)  as well as creating atcs and incorporating it in an up-coming mini-zine i’m working on.  since having participated in the sketchbook project,  i have been enjoying drawing again, especially of these little girls that i’ve been fond of creating lately.  

last summer i experiemented on drawing figures just for fun.  it was just a little break from drawing “realistically”, which is what i tend to do when it comes to drawing.  i had never really tried to “illustrate” before.  but one summer day, while i waited for the hub in the car, i got my lil moleskine out & my micron pen and started doodling away.  & before i knew it, i started drawing these little girls in different outfits.  i didn’t show anyone, not even the hub. mainly bec. they were a bit rough and really studies to my way of thinking.  last thanskgiving time, though,  when i visited my bff, i showed my crude illustrations to her and she liked them instantly.  well, i didn’t do anymore with them until i got in gear for completing my sketchbook project during christmas break.  i decided to incorporate them in my book & found it quite fun to add my own drawings to the book.  so since then i have continued to draw these little girlies 🙂  i am loving how i’ve gotten to draw them more and more lately.  pretty soon, i will have a small army of these little darlings, hehehe…  i’m thinking a series of drawings, paintings or zines may be in order… hmmmmm, will see how it goes, especially with my wonky *ugh* work schedule….        

speaking of zines… i had a few comments on my OWOH post below (which btw i am just now getting to read them all… & wowza!! i am super overwhelmed with all the wonderful, kind words… i know i keep saying this, but  i will take an hour or two later today to get back to as many bloggers that i can!  it’s just that i am so easily sidetracked by about 101 kajillion other things around here…never a dull moment, let me tell ya!)… basically, zines are short for “fanzine or magazine” and are  usually handmade and self-published works on any given topic imaginable…  a couple years ago, i started a zine project that i called “follow your bliss” (surprise, surprise :)) but i have yet to see that off the ground… but i am hoping that one day i will get that out there.  anyway, i got back into making mini-zines last summer when i got involved in some swap fun on swap-bot.  mini-zines, as opposed to a full-size zine (which my follow your bliss zine was to be) are typically made out of one sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper.  they are referred to as “1/8th” sized zines.  so long story short, i joined a few mini-zine swaps on swap-bot and pretty much was hooked.  i find mini-zines so very  quick and easy to crank out.  i think to date, i have somewhere in the range of 10-12…& currently, two more are in the works, which i may (or may not) include in the OWOH giveaway… hope this answered some of your questions about zines. 

the other question i wanted to address is why my blog is called “firstborn” and also why you might see that  i often refer to myself as such is really because of my parents.  they still call me that to this day. LOL no joke.  so being a cheeky little daughter, i dubbed my blog name that, all in the honor of my parents. 

alright,  i think i haven’t written a long blog post such as this one in a very long time.  well, i suppose i was in a blog-chatty mood.  but now, i have chores and other such things to do before the day is over!  but this afternoon, i hope to go blog-hopping & return all the kindness to as many of as i can!  xo mary ann   


happy chinese new year

they say the year of the hare (or if you prefer, rabbit) is supposed to be better, less tenacious than last year, which was the year of the tiger…

well, i hope that is true because i can do without the drama and chaos of 2010!  omg!!

also, i hope that we won’t be experiencing anymore monster blizzards anytime soon, like the one that just happened a couple of days ago!  it was nuts n bolts here &  whenever we get hit with some sort of storm, our internet and cell phone reception tank & we are lucky if we can get online or don’t drop a call!  whew, things are starting to go back to usual… well, not counting the frigid temps.  that we could def do without.  

i have to go into work tomorrow, as i wasn’t able to do earlier in the week on account of the blizzard…  i hope it will be a good day, free of stress and drama.  just like the folks say who come up with the chinese new year stuff 🙂 

wow! btw for all the lovely words people have left on my OWOH post below.  now that the blizzard business is behind us, i’ll be able to access the internet more readily and will def make a point to return your kindness by visiting your blogs this weekend. 🙂

alright, it’s a school night… thought i’d post the illio above that i did, which i then added some digital doodads … the chinese symbol supposedly means LOVE.  i hope that is true!  wouldn’t want to offend anybody…

have a good night! xoxo mary ann


(disclaimer:  lengthy post follows, read at your discretion 🙂 )

2/18/11 UPDATE:  please bear with me… having a rough time offline with some work-related stuff.  haven’t been able to get to picking the 10 lucky winners yet.  have another hectic day at work today, but i plan to let you know who has selected very soon!  have a good day.  i am hoping for that too 🙂

2/17/11 UPDATE:  i can hardly believe that the magic OWOH ride has come to an end.  many thanks to YOU all for visiting my humble lil blog & for your lovely comments.  i have a day filled with meetings at school today, but i promise i will announce the winners of my OWOH giveaway once i get home this afternoon (cst).  so please bear with me & if luck will have it, perhaps i will be contacting  YOU later with the good news of WINNING!  have a super day! xo mary ann 🙂

it’s that time of year again… & it’s the last year too….OWOH ! (allons-y, btw means “let’s go” & it is from the doctor who series, specifically, the tenth doctor…)as  i mentioned in last post, i decided to participate as it is after all  the last chance to partake in this wonderful blog event, which was/is created & superbly organized by lisa swifka.  she is the amazing mastermind behind this incredible blog event since its inception 5 years ago. 

beginning at the stroke of midnight on january 31st, creative bloggers everywhere  the world over will discover, connect and share their heART with other bloggers.  i, along with others, will welcome fellow bloggers into our creative world, share glimpses of what we do & who we’re all about and offer a little complimentary giftie or two, all in the name of this beautiful blogwide event.     

if you have just stumbled upon my blog or never heard of OWOH, just click on the links highlighted to get the full scoop.  lisa swifka spells it all out for those new to OWOH.   

also, for those who may be a new visitor to my bloggy, i’m mary ann 🙂 and i have been blogging since 2006…in fact, my blogoversary is february 26.  back then,  i was a rather cranky, overworked speech therapist working in a hectic hospital setting. and i turned to blogging to try to get ART (aka my sanity) back into my life again.  i’ve always been a crafty sort since i was a  lil girl.  but over the years, ART sort of took a backseat and non-ART priorities took precedence during much, if not all, my waking hours.  that all changed, (thank goodness!!)  when i got into blogging.  those early blogging days really were the impetus that made me realize how essential having art be an integral part of my daily life is AND also helped shaped me into the artist who i’ve become today.   it was thru blogging where i happily & gratefully came into contact with the amazing online art community  and connect with countless kindred creative souls, many of whom i call my art circle of friends.   to borrow a quote, art is not a thing.  it is a way. 

i enjoy most forms of art: watercolor, painting, drawing, collaging, mixed media, sculpture/art assemblage, making zines & handmade books & my latest passion, welding 🙂

i also love to sew, especially hand-stitching & embroidering, dabbling in crude jewelry-making and crocheting. oh yeh, did i mention, yoga?  that is something i’m into too (though, i must confess that my yoga practice has been sporadic of late with what my current work schedule is… but hopefully, i will get back into a more regular routine again very soon)…    anyone who (really, truly) knows me, knows that i am always making something, be it for a swap, art class or just because.  art, simply said, is without question, as vital as breathing to me.  when i get cut off from “art-ing”  for some length of time, i start to get the “shakes” & feel stifled as well as uber CRANKY.  my art time is precious to me…sacred and highly prized. 

alright… that’s enough yadda yadda about me. i really appreciate anyone who takes the time to stop by my bloggy.  thank you so much!!  i will make every effort, time/schedule permitting, during OWOH to return the kindness & pay a visit to as many of your bloggies as i can.    

as in previous years, i have been known to offer up a number of goodies.  this year, the final OWOH, will be no different.  so without further ado, here are the fab goodies up for grab:


an extra copy of an itty bitty book collaborative that i had hosted last spring with some art pals in the paper whimsy ning group.  this was submitted to cloth paper scissors for their call for handmade books… sadly, ours did not make the cut… so i decided to let this one go.  the slideshow below will show you the pages inside…


chunky atc block w/ hanger


4×4 mixed media collage on stretched canvas.


handmade recipe book with pockets and blank recipe cards…

plus bonus atc on front cover 🙂


another handmade recipe book (like #4 above)… this & the one above were extra favor books i made last christmas time when my sister and i had hosted a cookie swap party.  this was a big hit with our guests.


a set of six 1-inch magnets that i made using my button maker machine.


a set of six 1-inch pin-back buttons (or badges), also made from my button maker machine 🙂


a crotched cuff i made last summer, using two different fibers (super soft cotton yarn made in italy, i believe, and rayon crochet thread… i cannot find the labels of either fibre rolls but i believe that that’s what i used… also, my wrist size is on the small size, so  i made this cuff bigger, maybe 7 or 7.5 inches long with a button clasp in the hopes of accomodating most people ) 


an owl brooch/pin made from felt… 


a handbound copy of my mini-zines, approximately 10-12 issues… the cover may be different, as this one was actually given away… but rest assured, i have my originals 🙂

a peek inside…

i chose these mainly because i have these on hand and also, they are all on the lighter side…which will be a good thing come time to mailing…

so if there is anything here that i’ve posted of interest to you, please let me know in the comments.  and also, please don’t forget to include your name and contact info, in case you end up being one of the lucky winners!  at the end of OWOH on february 17th, i plan on using the random number generator to select my 10 lucky peeps…

oh yes, almost forgot, this is open to any blogger with a current & active blog… that is OWOH rules 🙂

again, many thanks for stopping by! & a thousand thanks to lisa swifka for making this all possible!   happy OWOH!! & bonne chance 🙂 mary ann xo