I am fortunate that my job gives me the opportunity to travel out of the country about three times a year. I don’t get to explore much since I prefer to experience a place when I have my husband and/or other family members with me. And of course, these are after all, still business trips so my free time is limited to the evenings before or after meetings or the time before taking the flight back home.
What I would like to do however, aside from catching up with my journaling and painting, is looking for more art stuff (as if I need more). Part of my creative retreat is my “pilgrimage” to my favorite stores.
I knew I had limited time so I already listed the places I wanted to go to, as well as the stuff I wanted to get (for myself, my kids, my sisters and my friends). See more excerpts from my travel journal (these were actually listed in my Evernote app in my phone)
Day 1: 1st night (left hotel right after I checked in at about 7:45pm)
Only had one destination in mind: TAKASHIMAYA (http://www.takashimaya-sin.com/).
First stop: ART FRIEND (http://www.artfriend.com.sg/). I discovered Art Friend a few years ago by accident. Its art stuff, art stuff and more art stuff for so many crafts. You have rows of notebooks, papers, sketchbooks, journals, some scrapbook stuff, albums, pens, pencils, paints, school and office supplies, stencils, beads, stamps, brushes, felt… the list goes on. But, I’m on limited time, store will be closed by 10pm and I had a list!
Was able to buy these stuff:
1. Panoramic sketchbook – not in my list but decided to try it out. I don’t have sketches yet of what I want to draw / paint in this format but I’m sure it will come to me later.
2. Black notebook – for a friend (I already have one for myself which I have not used yet)
3. Acrylic paper (pad) – Just want to check it out. I’ve been using my acrylic paint on index cards and watercolor paper. Maybe I should try painting on paper actually made for acrylic paints
4. Derwent Journal – Been looking for an art journal I can use for mixed media. Its acid free, 200 gsm, has provision for pen at the back and the cover is made of black velvet material. I’m not sure if I will actually be able to use this – it’s just too nice and precious. hehehe
5. Index cards – I know what you’re going to say, there ARE index cards in the Philippines. But these are thicker and can therefore handle paints and watercolors. Not all of these are for me – some are for my kids and friends. I use these mostly for my filler / journal cards in my Project Life and other scrapbooks
6. Paint brush holders – For a friend. I was surprised they didn’t have a more extensive selection of paint brush holders. But these can hold long brushes
7. Plastic paint brush holder – This is for me. I don’t need it actually but hey, I was in Art Friend!
8. Wink of Stella Brush – This is supposed to be a glitter brush pen. Really?! Oooh… can’t wait to try this out
9. Waterbrushes (different sizes) – For a friend and my sisters. I have several already. You can actually buy these here in the Philippines (Lasting Memories in San Juan) or order from Artmedia Trading (check them out in Facebook) but small ones only
10. Winsor & Newton Drawing Inks (different colors) – For myself, my sisters and my friends. I will be using these for calligraphy. Supposedly, you can use the same for drawing and painting. Let’s see
I didn’t go through the entire store anymore. I was hoping to find calligraphy pens, particularly oblique pen holders. Nada.
Next stop: KINOKUNIYA (http://www.kinokuniya.com.sg/). This is a bookstore but I didn’t go there for the books. I went directly to the stationery section. They didn’t seem to have as much notebooks as I was expecting but then I’m not sure if it’s because they actually had less or I was just getting used to other stationery stores. Still bought some stuff anyway:
1. Washi tapes or Japanese masking tape – I am not a user or a collector of washi tapes (fortunately, since I have way too many collections already) I had some difficulty choosing these. From what I know of washi tapes, aside from being decorative, they’re supposed to be easy to tear. They didn’t have products labelled as Washi tapes, instead, they had Japanese masking tape. Are they the same? I have no idea. So, for my friends who will get these, I’m not sure if I got the right product. Good luck to you. They are cute though.
2. Several A5 notebooks – for the kids’ sketches, drawings, whatever.
Unplanned stop: KIKKI.K (http://www.kikki-k.com/stores/sg) I’ve been here before but I’m not a frequent visitor. I only went inside because I knew that some of my friends would just LOVE this store! All cutesy notebooks, planners, pens, organizers. Expensive for my taste but still bought a few pens for a friend:
By 9:30pm, I was done and on my way back to my hotel.
Day 2: My meeting was not until 2:00 pm. After breakfast, some emails and painting, went out at 10:00 am, this time to go to Ion Orchard Mall to visit some art / stationery stores.
Faber-Castell (http://www.faber-castell.sg/33783/Home/default_ebene2.aspx)- I’m sure you see their products in National Bookstore. This store is a specialized store selling various Faber-Castell pens / pencil collections. I didn’t stay there very long though, I was just feeling bad that there’s a lot of collections I would like but can’t buy. Hope you can see their awesome door handle in the picture.
1. Connector Paint Box – opaque watercolors. It’s supposed to be for the kids but Mama can always borrow, right?
2. CLIC & GO brushes – I bought a couple of these brushes (10 mm flat brush and 4 mm round brush). What’s so awesome is the brush had its own movable protector so you can cover the bristles for protection.
3. Pink fountain pen – For my sister (lucky her). It’s so cute!
Prints (http://www.prints-international.com/) – For notebook and pen lovers, you will absolutely love this store! Notebooks, frames, albums are grouped and displayed by color. They also have an array of pens and pencils to choose from. I typically don’t buy here because their items are quite expensive but I made an exception this time since they were on sale:
1. Steps notebooks – for my sister and I. One notebook with blank, lined and graph paper. How cool is that?
2. Fat colored pencils – I don’t need this but how can I resist – thick colored pencils in black wood?
Daiso Japan – S$2 for each item. Selection is a lot more extensive than what we would see here in the Philippines. Limited myself to what I don’t see here back home:
1. Japanese drawing ink – Really? Can’t wait to try these out! Bought another one for my sister
2. Various Japanese calligraphy paper – Oooh…
Ok, back to the hotel for me. After the meeting, was able to sneak in a short visit to Funan IT Mall (http://www.funan.com.sg/malls/website/) before dinner with our hosts.
Alan Photo Trading (http://www.alanphoto.com.sg/) – I only needed to buy UV filter and lens cap for my (oops, our) beloved Canon EOS-M’s 22mm lens. I had a dinner to go to so no time for comparison across shops. I went to the shop where we previously bought our Canon 60D. While I was there, I allowed myself to be talked into buying an Emolux wide angle lens converter. It also had a macro lens to go with it. Not familiar with the brand, not part of the plan, no consultations whatsoever with the hubby. 100% impulse buy. But look at my pictures!
With my 22mm lens (left) With the wide angle. (right) Salesman was in the same position practically right across me.
Macro lens. Can you imagine the possibilities?!
Look at the picture I was able to take on our way to dinner using the wide angle lens, no flash.
Stationery Superstore – I couldn’t go to Funan without passing by another one of my favorite stationery stores. I bought:
1. Plain white sketchbooks – for me (at the moment)
2. Emmet and President Business key chain / LED lights – for my very own Emmet (Boo) and President Business (Mr. Bananabellieboo) at home. Too bad they didn’t have a Wildstyle / Lucy keychain (Banana is still asking me about that)
Well, that’s about it! I still bought a few more odds and ends on Day 3 of my trip. It has been fun and productive. I got a little worried because my check-in luggage was about 3 kilos over the maximum allowed weight. I was relieved that I wasn’t charged extra. Can’t wait to use all my new stash! Hope you can share with me where I can go next time I’m in Singapore.