Friday, March 16, 2018

How to make a pillowcase with an inner flap

Remember this cake?

This was the cake I made for my grandson's first birthday, remember?  I made it to look like his much loved teddy bear (which we fondly call "Bearie"). At 2 years and 7 months old now, he still sleeps with Bearie, along with a whole lot of other cuddly creatures.

This post is not about the teddy bear or cake though.  It is about pillowcases! I've been making lots of them lately. 

I've never bought licensed beddings before as they are really expensive. Licensed fabrics are too, so I only buy them when they are on sale. Now my grandson has lots of pillowcases with his favourite characters on them 😍!

I thought you might like to learn how to make these pillowcases. They are great for any level of sewer, even beginners. Simple straight stitches and no serger required. They are fun and super easy to make! Here goes...


For a pair of pillowcases, you will need:

1 meter (or yard) printed quilting weight cotton fabric (for the pillowcase front)
1 meter (or yard) coordinating plain quilting weight cotton fabric (for the pillowcase back)
coordinating thread
sewing machine
other sewing essentials like ruler, fabric markers, pins, scissors. etc.

Before you begin this project, find a pillowcase that you already have that suits the size of your pillows. You need to base your measurements on your pillowcase because "standard" sizes vary.

Measure the length (longer side) and the width (shorter side) of your pillowcase. (I will be using inches in the tutorial.) Take note of these dimensions as your Length (L) and your Width (L).

1. From your printed fabric, cut two pieces with dimensions: L plus 2" by W plus 2".  From your plain fabric, cut two pieces with dimensions: L plus 7" by W plus 2".

2. With wrong side facing up and shorter side on the top, fold the top of your printed fabric 1/2" in.  Press. Then fold another 1/2" in. Press again.

2. Do the same thing with your plain fabric. After the two 1/2" folds, fold again 5" down. Press.

3. Stitch the 1/2" folds on both printed and plain fabrics.

4.  With wrong sides facing, place the front and back of the pillowcase together. Pin in place.

5. Using a 1/2" seam allowance, stitch down one long side, then along the bottom, then up the other long side.  Do not stitch the top of the pillowcase!

6. Trim the seam allowance to about 1/8". Clip the bottom corners as well. Be careful not to cut into the stitches!

7. Turn the pillowcase wrong side out. Push the seams and corners out well.

8. Turn the flap over to the front side. Doing so will enclose the opening at the top. Make sure the top edges of the two fabrics are aligned well, especially the corners. Pin in place.

9. Sew the bottom and sides as in step 5.

10.  Turn the flap over to the back side (revealing the pillowcase opening), then turn the pillowcase right side out. That's it! Too easy, right? Now go make the other one!

And then some more!

Hope you find that helpful! Next time, I will show you one way you can make use of the excess pillowcase fabrics.

Have a good weekend ahead!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

One last backpack (and some printed books for sale!)

{If you aren't interested to read about the backpack (again) then feel free to scroll down to the bottom for some news on the printed "Cakes from the Heart" book I am selling.}

So...I'm back again with one last backpack.  As I've mentioned the other day, I was going to make another bag, this time, for an adult.  I am actually giving this to my soon-to-be 22 years old niece for her birthday in March.  I noticed she was more into fabric drawstring and/or tote bags than leather bags so I thought this would be a perfect present for her πŸ˜„.

The fabric is again a Japanese cotton duck.  The skulls are actually shiny, metallic gold in person.  When I first saw this fabric at Spotlight, I knew straightaway that this would make a great bag for my niece.

The lining is again a pre-quilted fabric, this time in black.  

Unfortunately, I made a mistake in cutting the fabric pieces for the side pockets, so instead of them being elasticized, I had to make do with simple slip pockets 😭.  They're alright, I guess, but I was a little disappointed nonetheless.

I ran out of polyester webbing so I just made the fabric straps.  They turned out well and coordinated with the black plastic sliders.

I am so pleased with the three backpacks that I made and I certainly loved the time I spent sewing them, even it meant late nights for me! I probably will pack up my sewing machine for now (or if I can be bothered, I might just make small zippered bags and/or wristlets out of the excess fabrics before doing so!).

Ok, so now for some news on the printed book.  I recently ordered three more softcover copies from Blurb as they were discounted again.  I have now listed them on my Etsy shop.  The price is still much lower than the selling price over at Blurb but higher than the first time I listed printed books on Etsy because my price depends on how much I got them for (meaning how much discount I received). If you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can do so here.

Have a good week!

Saturday, February 24, 2018


I wanted to veer away from cakes for a short bit and talk about one of my other loves..........sewing!

I am guessing that most of you weren't here from the very start.  Way back before the cakes started, I was so into sewing and those following me were more into crafting than baking.  Not long after I learned how to sew simple tote bags from the internet, I started making bag tutorials myself.  Two of the most visited (non-cake) posts here are, in fact, my messenger bag and city backpack tutorials.  I was and still am, very proud of those bags, because I created them at a time when I was still very inexperienced in sewing.

Shortly before my grandson was born, I sewed lots and lots of things for him - quilts, blankets, rompers, bibs, nappy stacker, jacket, small pillowcases, etc. but one thing I didn't get to make was a bag! Now that he is two and a half years old and going to daycare once a week, I thought of making him a small backpack πŸ˜„. I used the same pattern for the city backpack but I changed it a bit to make it more kiddie-friendly.  I turned the slip front pocket into a zippered one and I also added elasticized side pockets.

Here is the first bag I came up with.  The fabric is a heavy Japanese cotton duck with dinosaur prints (Lachie's fixation nowadays is dinosaurs!).

Isn't that so adorable?
I reinforced the fabric straps with polyester webbing.  They turned out very sturdy but was quite thick to sew into and I had to force them into the metal sliders.

Instead of sewing a drawstring from fabric (as with the original city backpack), I used a nylon cord and a coordinating cord stopper.

The bag lining is a pre-quilted fabric.  I have used this kind of fabric with many of the bags I have made in the past.  I like not only the look of it but also it's thickness and softness.

After I finished the bag, I realized that the side pockets were a little short.  It was ok for a small drink bottle but taller bottles might fall out 😞.

For a final touch, I ironed on a label. Everything I make for my little one is made with love, of course!

Although I was very happy with the dinosaur backpack, I decided to make another one because I wasn't satisfied with the side pockets.  Here is the second one, now with a similar Japanese cotton duck, this time with doggy prints πŸ˜‰!

The side pockets are now taller.

It holds Lachie's bigger drink bottle more securely.

The straps are much simpler with just polyester webbing.

The lining is still the same pre-quilted fabric!

And of course, still with the "Made with love by Grandma" label πŸ’“.

Overall, having made these bags, I'm one happy grandma!

I still have one more backpack lined up.  My fabric this time is for an adult.  I will do the backpack the same way.  Let's see how it will turn out!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Thank you (and some good news!)

Just dropping in really quickly to say a huge 'Thank You!" to everyone who bought the Cakes from the Heart eBook in the last couple of weeks! It has been heartwarming (and a bit overwhelming) to know that many of you really believe in what I do and want to continue baking with me and learning from me. I hope you will have loads of fun baking all the cakes in the book! As much as you say I inspire you, I am also, in return, inspired by you, to continue creating and I am now really pushing myself further so I can deliver a Book 3 in the near future πŸ˜‰. I hope my cakes will remain a part of all your family occasions for years to come!

Some of you have been asking if you can buy a printed copy of the book. As I've mentioned in my last post, I've checked the prices over at Blurb and they are really high! This book is even more pricey than the first book because it has more pages. Anyway, Blurb offers discounts quite often and if you sign up for an account, you will get notifications when these discounts are available. You don't really have to buy it at full price.

Recently, Blurb offered a 40% off if you buy at least 4 books so I took advantage and ordered my very first hard copies. After much anticipation, my books finally arrived today!

Just like the Frosted Heaven book, the cover came out a little bit dark. I don't blame the printer though.  To be honest, my cake photos aren't very professional and were all just taken from my old iPhone. I don't do any styling or what not. I take photos not really for the intention of putting them in a book.  It just so happens that they end up in one! The photos are not too bad though.  They just look better in their digital form!

Other than the darkness of the cover, everything else is great! I do feel ecstatic to see my hard work come to life.  I know it's a simple, little book but I am nevertheless proud. 😊

Anyway, I don't really need four copies of this book. I bought one hardbound book and three softcovers. The good news is....I have decided to sell the two softcovers on Etsy! If you really want to have a printed copy, here is your chance to get it at a much lower price! And whoever will buy these two copies will be the first two people (aside from me, of course) to own one!

Want it? Go get it from Etsy now!

UPDATE: The two copies are already SOLD. I am listing my THIRD and LAST softcover.  You can grab it here.

UPDATE: Third copy is SOLD as well.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cakes from the Heart

It's finally here.

Book Two.


In a way, I am thankful for how things had happened.  If I hadn't known that someone out there was claiming to have developed a recipe that they had actually copied from here, I wouldn't have pushed myself into finishing this book. It's been a long time coming.

It's a lot of hard work.  I don't think I've slept for more than 4 hours a night for the last two weeks.  And that's just the writing, editing, lay-outing and proofreading part. The work that went to create the cakes is another story. Some people do not realize that, I guess.  Especially when what they like doing is simply 'copying and pasting' stuff into their own Facebook pages or websites.  Sad.

But that's water under the bridge.  My hope is that whoever wants to have a copy of this book, wants it for the right reason.  And the only reason.  To bake!

So here it is. A bit of a preview for you... (click to view on full screen)

I titled this book, Cakes from the Heart, because all of the cakes within, are cakes I made for my family and friends.  Majority of the pictured cakes here are my actual first attempts at making them! Although I thought much about what I could offer in this blog, my foremost goal was always to create something special and new for my loved ones.   After all, they are the ones who get to eat and enjoy them!

You are familiar with some of these cakes.  There are 34 in total, 12 of which have never been featured here. It is a great mix of cakes, if I may say so myself!  You will definitely have a blast baking them for every occasion there is!

The new cakes on the block are: the taisan, chocolate roll, Malacanang roll (do you know this one?), creme brulee, white forest (the cover), ube (different version), cookie butter, chocolate mousse (most requested!), chocolate pistachio, rocky road, chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate salted caramel pretzel.  The yema icing for the yema cake is not the same as was posted here before.  The new one is more true to the Spanish yema cream of eggyolks and sugar syrup. Easier to make too. I also have a slightly different way/recipe of making marshmallow frosting.  I've never been consistently happy with the one I was using before but I had an epiphany one day, and lo and behold, a marshmallow frosting that is super stiff and stable, finally.

I dedicated this book to my auntie who passed away very recently. I went home to Manila to say my goodbyes because I was quite close to her. I have a lot of her handwritten recipes (including the ensaymada). She wrote them in a little notebook so we (her family) can learn to make them ourselves. I have shared her lemon squares, food for the gods, lengua de gato, arrowroot cookies and sansrival recipes here as well. I will never be able to thank her enough for inspiring me to bake.

For a very long time, I have really been unmotivated. And knowing that a lot of people are just disrespecting my work by copying and distributing them, posting them on baking group websites, even making PDFs out of them, did not help. 😭 But today I am feeling really good about what I have accomplished. I am much prouder of the cakes in this book than I am with the first because with the first book, my concentration was to just make copycat cakes (since that was what the readers really wanted). Lately though, I have been trying to think more outside the box and doing my own thing.

I am looking forward to making more cakes and more books!  One day, I will hopefully muster enough courage to actually go to a real publisher. Maybe someday I will even get to see my book at National Bookstore. 😏Someday.

To anyone interested in having a copy, the eBook is now available in my Etsy shop. Be the first to own it! Your support will be greatly appreciated.

PS.  I have also made a listing for the two eBooks together at a discounted price.

One more thing - I am not listing this book yet on Blurb (to be printed as a physical book).  The prices are just outrageous, even for a softcover.  I won't even order a copy for myself yet.  I will wait for when they have big discounts.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why I did what I did

Let me be honest with you all and tell you what's going on.

Two weeks ago, I got an email from one reader saying that she had just attended a workshop on ensaymada-making, for which she paid P2,800.  She later discovered that the recipe she paid for, can in fact be found on this blog. She said that the "teacher" claimed she had developed that recipe for years and that they shouldn't share it outside the workshop. To verify her story, I asked her to email me a copy.  To cut the long story short, it was indeed the recipe I shared here.

I have long accepted the fact that anything I post online will forever be out there.  I know that I will never be in control of what people will choose to do.  There is a line to draw though when it comes to what is ethical or not. If you found a cake recipe here, for instance, then you baked a cake using that recipe, sold the cake and made money, that's perfectly fine because you made the cake yourself. However, if you copy a recipe, openly claim that it is yours and ask people money for it, then that's a different story.

What got me more upset was the fact that it was the ensaymada recipe involved.  A FAMILY RECIPE.  Something handed down to me by my aunties.  I now regret that I even shared that here.  I really shouldn't have.

I made the blog private so I could just stop for the meantime and think of what I should do next. I wasn't aware that when I did that, people trying to access the blog will be getting the message that they needed to get "invited".  That was never my intention.  I have been getting one email after another asking to be added to the list.  People have been sending messages on my Flickr account, as well through my Etsy.  I must apologize for not responding to most of the messages. It is just too much to handle at the moment.

I am making my blog public again but you will certainly notice that there are a lot of posts missing.  I have deleted most of the cake recipes that came after I made my Frosted Heaven book.  If you cannot find a recipe, PLEASE do not email me asking for it.  I especially will no longer be sharing the ensaymada recipe. If you do have copies of the missing recipes or find them somewhere online, I ask that you please treat them with respect. This is the least you could do for me.  Please stop re-posting them on other websites.

Anyway, I do have one good news to say before I go. In the last week or so, I have been working really hard on that second book that many of you have been waiting for.  I can now confidently say that I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! It is almost done!

The book will include the chiffon cake recipes that I have deleted from here PLUS a lot more new ones.  There are more than 30 cakes in total. This might be my last hurrah as far as this blog is concerned so I am hoping for your support.

Stay tuned.  I will have that book for you very, very soon.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sneak peek (or not)

Where has all the time gone? In just 5 months, my grandson Lachlan will already be 2 years old!  It hasn't even been that long since I shared about his existence here! He is my world these days and everything I do seems to revolve around him. When he is with me (which is a LOT), I can't do anything much that doesn't involve him and I have had to adjust my own life according to his schedule. It is much like being a first time mother all over again! It has been a great challenge but I am not complaining.  I am happy!

When Lachlan is not with me, that is when I squeeze in my baking. I try to finish cake orders first. If by some miracle, I still have the time (and will) to do some experimenting then that is a huge bonus! Today, for instance, Lachlan is at daycare.  Guess what I am having for lunch? Cake πŸ™…!!  I made a Rocky Road cake this morning,  the recipe of which I intend to include in my "I don't know if it's ever going to get finished" second book.

It's another copycat of a Red Ribbon bakeshop cake.
Truth is, I have been making new cakes for the past several months with the same intention of putting all of them in the book. Sometimes I have to time it when there's an occasion, like this Chocolate Pistachio cake which I made for my husband's birthday last November...

Or this Biscoff (or Speculoos) cake for my sister in-law's birthday in December.

Other times I make cakes just because it makes me feel guilty not to exert more effort...

Mocha crumble cake
Coconut almond (Rafaello) cake
Chocolate mousse cake
There are still more but I am going ever so slowly with the writing and drafting 😒 And I still have this whole list of ideas for cakes to do!

I know I have been real unfaithful to this blog. But I do hope you are all still out there.  And I hope you are still willing to wait patiently for me. Motivate me, please πŸ™ If you have any request for cakes that you want me to "copy", let me know! Make my list even longer πŸ˜„!

Ok that's it for now!  I have to go and clean up everything I used to make my Rocky Road cake.  I just dumped them in the sink so I can update this blog while I still can.  Till next!