Monday, December 30, 2013

Repurposing Leftover Wrapping Paper

Although I has been a while since I used gift wrappers, gift-giving time we still end up with heaps of left over wrapping paper. Check out Yahoo! She for ways on how to reuse them.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Repurposed Everyday Stuff for Storing Holiday Decor

I have to admit that we have not yet taken our Christmas lights down since the year before Alonzo was born. The old Christmas cards that I so enthusiastically framed on to our photo divider have even been there for far longer than that (gasp!). Last year's appreciation wreath (a tradition that I started three years ago) have also been on display the entire year, albeit unintentionally at first (will talk about that some other time).

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gift Wrapping with Brown Paper Bags (again)

Brown paper bags are probably one of the easiest ways to wrap gifts. And, just like pattern paper it can potentially bring out the artsy, creative side in anyone. (Check out last year's gift wrapping craze).


You could be minimal by simply securing the seam with washi tape or you could go to the extreme by adding whatever embellishment you have at hand. 
We have accumulated quite a number of brown paper bags this year.
I actually tried to save all the plain ones and reuse them to wrap presents for the holidays.

Peace. Joy. Love. Hope. 
Have a blessed Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Repurposing Old Floppy Disks

I really had fun with this project. Last semester I needed to refer to my old files stored in shoebox full of floppy disks(you can imagine how old those files are). Unfortunately, the floppies were all damaged! In consolation, I turned those old and "useless" disks into something else... as in luggage tags! Check out Yahoo! She for more.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cornstarch Clay Ornaments

I made a lot of salt dough crafts in grade school. I remember how excited I got when I read a tutorial about it in a craft magazine at our school library. The recipe required some baking but at that time using the oven was out of the question -- it must have been either because I wasn't yet allowed to use it or I must have presumed our oven wasn't working because nobody ever used it at all. Anyway, I was absolutely thrilled to know that I could just leave the dough out under the sun to dry.
For my first project, I molded the dough into whatever odd shape I could think of (I remember I made a pair of little tsinelas) but a light bulb moment came and I realized that I could use the dough to make mini picture frames. Trust me, I made a lot of dough frames! Hmmm...I just might make a couple of dough frames one of these days for old times sake.
I am, however, now more drawn to use cornstarch instead of flour. I searched the internet for a flour recipe and discovered that cornstarch could actually give better results. By the way, these dough ornaments are for my son's friends from playhouse.
 I used a star-shaped cookie cutter at first but realized that the tips might be too sharp and "pointy" for the little kids. I also realized that rolling it out into small balls and flattening them down with my hand was a lot easier for me than having to use a rolling pin for the entire batch of dough. 
Here's the recipe for cornstarch clay recipe:
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup baking soda
1 1/8 cups water
Combine all the ingredients together and mix thoroughly in a sauce pan over low heat. Constantly stir until the mixture becomes really thick (kind of like mashed potatoes). Turn of heat and transfer mixture into a flat surface to cool. Knead and mold into shape. Set them aside to dry. These babies were left overnight on a baking sheet. They were also left out accidentally for a few hours inside the car!   
I also created little sachets made of parchment paper to hold each ornament and attached a basic label sticker.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Christmas Light Garland

Next to Christmas songs and carols nothing else could set the mood for the holiday season than the delightful glow brought about by the twinkling of Christmas lights. Make a garland of Christmas lights out of colored paper to hang along a window or decorate around your tree. These lights don’t twinkle but they are definitely just as bright and festive!

Materials needed:
Colored board paper
Green art paper
Black marker pen
Ribbon or yarn
Step 1: Fold and cut board paper in to desired size.
Step 2: Stack several pieces together and cut into the shape of a “bulb”.
Step 3: Stack green colored paper and cut into rectangles to make “bulb nozzles” or boquilla.
Step 4: Fold green paper in half.

Step 5: Glue the ends of the “nozzle” to attach the “bulb”.
Step 6: With a black marker draw “bulb wire and filament.
Step 7: Repeat steps 1-6 to make several pieces of different colors.

Step 8: Thread twirling ribbon through “nozzle” in alternating colors and glue in place. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Grilled Vegetable Pasta with Kesong Puti

 I love grilling vegetables. Asparagus...mushrooms...squash... name it! My sister-in-law and her best friend loved the grilled vegetables on ciabatta bread drizzled with pesto sauce that I made for them during a vacation in the province a few years ago. At that time they were both into the business of kesong puti making. They had a variety of kesong puti products: bottled kesong puti in olive oil with different herb combinations (my favorite is garlic and basil), spreadable kesong puti and even "Parmesan" kesong puti, which they labeled as "Promdi-sano Cheese" (get it?).


Anyway, the kesong puti went so well together with the grilled vegetables! Y-U-M-M-Y-! Here's another take on the vegetable-cheese combination.   
Spaghetti, 1 package 
Garlic, about 1 head, minced
White onion, 1 large, cut into thin rings
Olive oil
Eggplant, cut in half then into about 1/4 inch slices
Zucchini, cut in half then into about 1/4 inch slices
Red bell pepper
Kesong puti, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Boil noodles and set aside.
Heat up grill and brush with olive oil.
Lay eggplants and zucchini over grill and brush with olive oil.
Sprinkle salt and pepper.
In the meantime, place bell pepper over an open gas burner and char  skin. Once charred  on all sides, set aside on a shallow bowl and cover to cool. Peel off skins and slice into bite sized-squares.
In a medium-sized pan over medium to low heat, pour olive oil.
Add onions and caramelize.
Add in garlic. Set heat on low and stir.
Add grilled eggplant, zucchini, peppers, capers and anchovy fillets.
Pour cooked pasta, season with salt and pepper as needed and stir well. 
Sprinkle kesong puti.
Serve hot.


Monday, December 2, 2013

DIY Hanging Christmas Tree

If not having enough floor space for a Christmas tree is a problem you might want to consider creating one that you can hang. Use ordinary wire, such as the ones used to make a clothesline or “sampayan”, and bend zigzag patterns to resemble a tree.
Make sure that your wire has a large enough gauge to be strong and stiff enough to hold its weight and whatever you want to hang on it. Suspend it on a door, by a window or any available wall space and use clothes pins to attach Christmas cards. You may also hang or attach small-sized envelopes or sachets containing little goodies and surprises. Label or number the envelopes so your hanging tree will also double as an Advent calendar.

Materials needed:
Wire cutter
Utility gloves

Step 1: Use pliers to make a small loop on one end of the wire
Step 2: Make a larger loop, about the same size of a clothes hanger

Step 3: Make successive zigzag bends of increasing width so that the outline resembles a triangle 

Step 4: Round off the end of the wire by make another small loop
Step 5: Hang and adorn  


Sunday, December 1, 2013

DIY Star Twig Ornament

This project reminds me of the straw parols I made last year. The steps are essentially the same but you might want to check Yahoo!She for the directions. 
 Twenty four day to go till Christmas! Yipeee!!!