This online shop makes the most beautiful paper flowers–and they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day

NOTE: This is a human interest story and not a paid, branded post. This means the author DOES NOT receive any money from the publication and clicks made on this article.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, a lot of people are rushing to malls and online stores to purchase their loved ones a present. Whether they would buy something simple like chocolates or something lavish like diamond encrusted jewelry, gift-giving on the day of love is a tradition that has been present since time immemorial. And one gift that will always be available during this holiday season is flowers. 

From roses to orchids, many have chosen to show their love and appreciation for their friend, family member, or significant other by buying bouquets of these colorful floras. Although these gifts are beautiful in themselves, one downside to them is that they don’t last forever. After a week or so, these flowers will wilt and you will only be reminded of their beauty through pictures. 

But what if there was a way to give a flower that will never wilt? Would you be open to that? 

Well, now there is. Local online store Alaya Paper Blooms offers shoppers the chance to give their loved ones flowers that are not only beautiful, but will also last far longer than a week. 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Created with quality colored paper, these flowers are the ideal presents to give come Valentine’s Day. And to help you better understand more about the shop and its products, I got to chat with its owner and designer Kevyn Tapnio. Here’s what I learned during my interview with her: 

There is an ‘everlasting’ beauty in paper flowers 

Typically, when people think of flowers, they don’t relate it to paper. But there is a sweet and genuine kind of beauty to receiving paper flowers–a sentiment that Tapnio realized when she decided to make these floral creations.

“Some people think flowers are overrated, myself being one of them up until recently,” she explained. “As I started to learn more about them, flowers started to become dear to me. Paper flowers take the fleeting nature of flowers out of the equation, so you wouldn’t have to throw them away.” 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Tapnio first started making paper flowers in 2017 when she helped create a bouquet for her aunt’s wedding. Then fast forward to 2020, she decided to return to paper flower-making while waiting to start her new job. 

“My start date was moved back due to the community quarantine that was put in place. With nothing much to do at home, I ended up making paper flowers, learning more about the craft, and falling for a different flower every day,” she shared. “I didn’t intend to make a business out of it at first, but then I thought, why not?” 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Today, the shop has over 300 followers on its Facebook page and continues to produce intricate paper flowers. 

The flowers are each a tedious yet rewarding work of art 

Much like any masterpiece ever made, a lot of time and effort go into creating them. The same principle applies to each of Tapnio’s flower creations, which take multiple hours to make. 

According to her, a “single, long-stemmed Ecuadorian rose can take 2 to 3 hours to make” and a  “sunflower can take around 3 to 4 hours.” Boxed flowers and bouquets–on the other hand– take even longer to create because there are many elements that go into them.

“One full arrangement of our heart-shaped boxed blooms takes me a whole day of non-stop work. [And] Bouquets with stems take longer, since I have to add the leaves and several fillers as well.”

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Also, crafting these floral arrangements isn’t always easy. Tapnio admits that there are times she has faced difficulty in making them. 

“It can be frustrating when you’re unable to get the look that you’re going for. Paper does have its limitations, and it could take hours and hours of experimenting to really achieve the likeness of certain flowers. Even the tiniest of details can affect the look of the whole flower–the curl of a petal, the length of the stamens, the ridges in the leaves.”

Despite the complications she has faced, she still finds the end result worth it and she is always elated when her customers find delight in her products.

“Made to last forever, our paper flowers are created with utmost love and care, and with only one goal in mind: To make you smile,” she added. 

Shoppers have variety of flowers to choose from  

The online shop offers a variety of products to choose from and the prices differ depending on the item ordered. 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

Though for Valentine’s Day, Tapnio highly recommends their boxed creations. 

“Our heart-shaped boxed blooms are a crowd favorite, though all slots for those have already been reserved as of writing,” she said. “I do recommend our Mini Gift Boxes though. Many people go for roses and hydrangeas, but we also make them with different flowers by request.” 

Photo Credit: Kevyn Tapnio via Facebook.com/alayapaperblooms

If you’re interested in ordering any one of her paper flower sets, visit their Facebook page and send a message. You and your loved ones will definitely not regret purchasing any of these gorgeous paper flowers! 

Via Giphy

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Inside the art of making hand-painted cookies

Back in May of this year, I got the opportunity to feature the pop culture-themed treats of Korean-American baker Judy Kim in a POP! article. Since that time, Kim has continued to hone her skill in baking, making more jaw-droppingly beautiful works of art in the form of cookies.

Just take a look at her recent baked goods featuring US President-elect Joe Biden and US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

She even made one in honor of the late Ruth Bader-Ginsburg.

Because of this, I caught up with Kim regarding her process for making the cookies, the inspiration behind some of her designs, and her advice for aspiring bakers worldwide. Here’s what she had to say about it. 

Making custom-designed cookies can be tedious but it’s an activity she enjoys

Just by looking at the detail put into each cookie, you would know that Kim devotes a lot of time and effort into making each one look perfect. And working full-time in the medical field, it can definitely be very time-consuming and tiring–but it’s one activity she seems to enjoy. 

“The hardest part about creating cookies is probably all the time-involved. Custom cookies are very labor-intensive! Personally, I am a full-time practicing physician, so I make cookies on the side, and I can definitely lose some sleep over them!” she explained. 

She also shared how many of her hand-painted cookies can take two or more hours to make, depending on the level of detail. And among her most tedious creations would have to be her Mandalorian-inspired cookies. 

“The Mandalorian was probably 4 hours or more in total: [this includes] baking, creating multiple layers, piping royal icing, and hand-painting.”

But through it all, she seems to find fulfillment in baking and continues to put out great designs, as evidenced by her Instagram posts. 

She was very inspired when she made her Parasite-themed cookies

Kim admits that many of her pop culture-themed cookies were made upon the requests of family members and friends. But the Parasite cookies were something special for her as it was made to celebrate the film’s momentous win in the 2020 Academy Awards (also known as The Oscars). 

Moreover, she was very happy to know that her friends also appreciated her movie-themed baked goods. 

“I definitely found the Parasite cookies really resonated with my Korean friends, and it’s great to celebrate special moments like this!” she exclaimed.

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Woooooo @parasitemovie !!!

A post shared by Judy (@judyscookies) on

Indeed, her Parasite-inspired cookies seem to be the perfect treat to celebrate the special occasion. And I’m pretty sure even Director Bong Joon Ho would be proud of this specially-designed creation.

Her advice to aspiring bakers: “Be as creative as possible!” 

Kim surprised many of her loved ones when she started making these custom-designed cookies. 

“I think many of them were surprised because I started making cookies only about a year ago as a hobby and most of them do not [even] know that I have an artistic background,” she recalled.  

Despite their initial response to her baking, Kim continued to hone her skills and now, she has made a countless number of beautifully-designed cookies. 

Through her experience in making these hand-painted baked goods, she shares this piece of advice for aspiring bakers worldwide: 

“My advice for people who would like to make custom cookies is to start with the basics (such as finding a good sugar cookie and royal icing recipe) and feel free to be as creative as possible! The cookie-making community on social media is incredibly gracious and that is how I learned myself, by asking questions and practicing.” 


You can see Judy Kim’s full set of creations on her Instagram