Sunday, October 26, 2014

Alonzo's 2014 Halloween Costume

Hello, everyone! I know it's been a while. The past semester has been really tough and hectic. Needless to say, I missed crafting and blogging about my crafts. Don't get me wrong. I've still been into crafting small projects here and there. Nothing major.
All set for trick or treat!
But Halloween is a different story. Alonzo looks forward to his yearly trick or treat activity (the only time of the year he is allowed to eat candy!) while I also find the holiday as an excuse to prioritize crafting over work. Semester-enders can be quite busy for professors (final exams, grade submission, etc.) But how can I pass on one of my favorite holidays (and Alonzo's, too!) for some crafting
I started working on Alonzo's costume 3 weeks ago. He's been so much into his Lego toys lately that to dress him as a Lego man seemed so spot on. I had my hesitations, however. His past Halloween costumes have all been so fuss-free and easy to put together and wear. We never had problems about him refusing to wear his costume at the last minute or anything like that at all. But, as I said, he is so crazy about Lego that he is truly excited about his costume!  
Believe it or not, this year's costume is probably the most hassle-free of all (alright, probably because I had a 3 week head start) and it didn't cost me a thing! All the materials are recycled or made out of stuff we already had in the house.  
The first thing that I worked on was the "body". This is made of an electric fan box which I cut and re-structured to form a trapezoid. The dimensions were measured and cut according to Alonzo's size (shoulder width, neck and arm hole circumference, etc.). I spray painted the outer surface and left it to dry over night. A computer printed Lego logo on sticker paper gives it a more distinct look.   
As for the Lego hair, the technique was the same as for creating Alonzo's  paper mache egg. I just made sure that the balloon used is slightly larger than the widest circumference of Alonzo's head. After it has completely set, pop the balloon and cut to resemble a Lego snap-on hair. I made a couple of zig zag cuts to create fringed bangs. We didn't have black paint around so I used gray spray paint instead. This turned out to be a better idea because it allowed me to draw "hair waves" with a black marker pen. 
To top off the look, I made his treat bag to resemble an over-sized Lego block. I took on empty medium-sized box and spray painted it with red and glued soda bottle caps. I also punched holes on each side to tie strings for the handle.  



Alonzo giving me his "orc face" expression when I asked him to smile for the photo

Friday, June 13, 2014

Alonzo's Fist Day at School

It's official. Alonzo is now a school boy! Unlike when he started daycare at playhouse last year, I didn't feel apprehensive at all about him getting anxious being left in school. 

Of course, we had to do the 1st day of school photo-op tradition!

 Here's my little preschooler -- smiling and excited -- just before entering his new classroom. 

Speaking of traditions here's another one that I intend to follow through. Thanks to Pinterest for giving me the idea of asking Alonzo's playhouse nurturers to write messages for him on a favorite story book. After each school level I will be asking his teachers to do the same thing.

All of these (books, messages, first day of school photos) will be compiled and presented to him on his college graduation day. It's a looooong way from that but I really love this idea! 

Reading all those messages made me miss Alonzo's playhouse days. He joined playhouse at age 1 year and 4 months. We began with the one-day per week, parent-child program until last year when he started the 3-day, half-day, day care program.  Alonzo has come a long way and it's time to move on. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Frugal Finds at Merriam and Webster

Thank God it's June! I never thought that I'd actually hope for June to come. Normally I'd wish for summer to last forever and really hope that the month of June (er... back-to-school dread) never to come. Needless to say, we had a busy month of May.   

Anyway, I had a "blast from the past" moment when I stepped in Merriam and Webster Bookstore along Morayta Avenue a few days ago. Flashbacks of my college days at the U-belt area came to me as the sight and scent old books, intermediate pad paper as well as whiffs of dust greeted me on the first floor of the building. 

Holy time warp! I haven't seen watercolor like this (not even in National Bookstore -- or maybe I wasn't just looking) since grade school.

The old lady standing beside me probably thought I was crazy for almost knocking over a basket of rolled wrapping paper as I rushed towards the far end of the 2nd floor. Lo and behold -- shelves and shelves of Stryrofoam letters! I got a little carried away, and yes, even a little tachcardic. I have been planning on creating an alphabet wall since the day I bought ceramic letters from Uniwide. These styro letters come in either upper or lower case sets, script or print. The price essentially depends on its size, between P4.00 to P19.00.   

I also found more books to add to my children's dentist book collection. Alonzo favors the "Maisy, Charley and the Wobbly Tooth" over "Titus's Troublesome Tooth". He didn't particularly like how Titus' tooth fell off when he hit his head on a gate. While the former book gave me a chance to introduce to him the concept of how a baby tooth will eventually fall off and be replaced by a big tooth when he gets older. Understandably, he was excited about the concept of the tooth fairy. "Mama, the tooth fairy is a santa who is a dentist", he told me after explaining the story to him. 

I've been back to the bookstore two times after my first visit and got 2 more books for Alonzo. Too bad, they don't re-stock that often. I should remind myself to lengthen the time between visits.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Refashioned No Sew Bikini for Toddlers

Refashion an old t-shirt into bikini top and bottom for your little toddler. All you’ll need is an old t-shirt and a pair of scissors. This project is so easy that you could put everything together in less than 10 minutes. Sewing skills are absolutely not required. Trust me; all it takes are a few cuts and knots!

Step 1: Lay t-shirt on a flat surface.

Step 2: Fold the middle part of the front and back of the shirt towards the sides, positioning the side seams at the center.

Step 3: Position scissors at the corner of the neckline and cut downwards at an angle, leaving around 3-4 inches from the bottom hem 

Step 4: From the shoulder area cut downward, using the side seams as a guide. Direct the scissors horizontally to leave about 2-3 inches from the bottom. You will end up with 3 separate pieces. The bikini top will be made from the larger center piece while rectangular piece will form the bikini bottom. Discard the third scrap of fabric.   

Step 5: Cut the back portion all the way through and unfold fabric.  


Step 6: Make 2 vertical cuts along upper portion of each of the “triangles” and braid to make the straps.

Step 7: Make a simple knot at the center.

Step 8: To form the bikini bottom, get the other piece of fabric that formed the back of the shirt and fold in half. Fold in half again.

Step 9: Trim off the top portion (open ends) to form a straight line.
Step 10: Measure about 1 ½ inches from the center fold and cut at an angle. Direct scissors horizontally to leave about 1 ½ inches from the open ends.

Step 11: Unfold and tie to straps together.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

No Sew DIY Bikini for Toddlers

I really had fun with this project. The editors from Yahoo! She asked me to write an article on how to make swimsuits for kids. I think I came up with something better. 

These bikini top and bottoms are refashioned from old shirts and best of all, these are so easy to make even for those with absolutely zero sewing skills. 

My adorable twin nieces eagerly modeled for me while my cousins, Bless and Paolo helped with the photos. The "photo shoot" also gave me a chance to bond and spend time with my cousins despite our hectic schedules (O, diba, Penny?). It was also a perfect excuse to munch on tacos and lechon manok

Will post a step by step tutorial soon! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Questions from a 4 Year Old

While counting his dominoes

Alonzo: 1,2,3,....10,11,12,13....19,20,...27,28,29.......(long pause, as if he was thinking really hard) Mama, why isn't there a twenty-ten?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Best Mother's Day Gift -- Ever!

This afternoon while Alonzo was in a super playful, harot mood. As he seemed to bounce from one sofa to another he all of the sudden said, "Thank you, Mama." I asked what for. He answered, "Mama, thank you, for YOU!" and gave me a kiss. 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Pink Lemonade

It was a big surprise to know that hubby hasn't heard of how the juice of boiled kamote leaves will turn pink when calamansi juice is added to it. My sisters and I had this kind of juice all the time as kids. I also remember a segment about this in Batibot with Ate Sienna (okay, this kind of gives off my age -- if you don't know who ate Sienna is or if you don't know what Batibot is I'd be a little hurt).  Also, we often use those 2 ingredients together in sinigang and now I wonder why hubby hasn't bothered to ask why our sinigang soup is pink. My recent post on "sophisticated" ice-candy flavors also kind of got the attention of some of the faculty members at work. They were quite intrigued. Hmm... I assumed all along that everybody knows how to make "pink lemonade".   

Alonzo loved the calamansi and basil flavored ice candy that I made. To be honest, he didn't care much about the 2 other flavors (he didn't like the ginger taste with the pineapple, while the chopped mint leaves with the mango and cucumber kind of threw him off). Anyway, here's a simple step by step tutorial on how to make pink "lemonade".

Step 1: Boil a few kamote leaves in water


Step 2: Squeeze the juice of calamansi

Step 3: Pour kamote juice on to a pitcher and add cold water
Step 4: Add calamansi juice (watch closely as the liquid transforms into a lovely pink color)   

 (I took a video of this but it is taking forever to upload!)

Step 5: Sweeten with honey or sugar


Step 6: Add ice


Friday, May 2, 2014

Sophisticated Ice Candy

Now that summer’s heat is in full swing cool down with a favorite and classic Filipino treat -- ice candy! The addition of herbs and yes, even some veggies gives more depth and a sophisticated twist to the fruity flavors. Here are 3 unique and refreshing flavors that you won’t find at your neighbors ice candy stand. 

Pink calamansi and basil ice candy
Step 1: Make a basic sugar syrup by combining 1/3 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Flavor syrup with a few basil leaves. Spoon out the basil leaves. Set aside and let it cool.

Step 2: Boil 3 cups water with about a handful of camote tops (talbos ng kamote). Set aside and let it cool.
Step 3: Squeeze out the juice of 20 calamansi. Strain into a pitcher.

Step 4: Pour cooled camote tops-infused water on to pitcher with calamansi (the liquid will turn pink!) and sweeten with syrup.
Step 5: With a funnel pour into ice candy plastic bags and freeze overnight.

Mango, mint and cucumber ice candy
Step 1: Peel, seed and cut 2 medium cucumbers into chunks. .

Step 2: Scoop out the flesh of 2 medium ripe mangoes.

Step 3: Place mangoes and cucumbers together in a blender. Add ¼ cup of fresh mint leaves and 3 cups mango juice.

Step 4: Blend to desired consistency and pour mixture into a pitcher.
Step 5: With a funnel pour into ice candy plastic bags and freeze overnight.

Spiced pineapple and lemongrass ice candy
Step 1: Combine 1 cup water, 1/3 cup sugar, 3-5 sprigs of lemongrass and about a thumb size piece of peeled ginger in a saucepan over medium heat. Turn off heat when it slightly thickens into a syrup. Set aside and let it cool.

Step 2: Pour 3 cups of unsweetened pineapple juice into a pitcher and add syrup.

Step 3: With a funnel pour into ice candy plastic bags and freeze overnight.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

DIY Street Chalk

Imagine all the empty eggshells leftover after Easter egg hunting. Keep them all next time! Here’s a fun, creative and eco-friendly way to recycle them. You can create street chalk out of eggshells.  These chalks are good to draw on concrete, asphalt and stones. Use them to draw patterns for playing piko, patintero, tic-tac-toe and for creating your own sidewalk art.

Materials needed:
12 eggshells
6 teaspoons flour
Warm water
Food color
Mortar and pestle
Moulds such as ice cube trays, cookie cutters, polvoron shaper

Step 1: Wash and dry the eggshells. Peel off the inner membrane.

Step 2: Use a mortar and pestle to grind eggshells into fine powder. Transfer into a bowl.

Step 3: Add flour and water to form a very thick paste.
Step 4: Divide mixture into separate containers and add drops of food color on each container. Mix well until the color is evenly distributed.

Step 5: Roll to form cylinders or place eggshell mixture into moulds. Place on a flat surface and let them dry for 2 days. 

Note:A dozen eggshells will yield about 10 discs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DIY Doll Table and Chair Set

Here's another amazing way to recycle toilet paper rolls into toys.   Turn those tubes into an easy-to-assemble set of miniature chairs and table that your kids (and dolls) would love. 

Material s needed:
Toilet paper tubes
Old gift wrapper or any paper with a pretty print

Step 1: Cut tissue paper roll to make a “back rest” 

Step 2: Trace the end of the tube on a piece of cardboard to make a circle

Step 3: Cut to make a “seat”
Step 4: Use a small piece of gift wrapper to cover the “seat”
Step 5: Attach “seat” with tape
Step 6: Cut cardboard to form the top of the table
Step 7: Attach to toilet paper tube with tape 

I hope that this would inspire some DIY projects of your own!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Summer salad with bagoong vinaigrette

To any Filipino, nothing says summer more than a heaping bowl of sliced green mangoes and bagoong. A light and refreshing salad of typical greens with manggang hilaw and singkamas drizzled with a basic vinaigrette with shrimp paste gives this sweet, tangy and mildly spicy fare a uniquely Pinoy flavor. Wouldn't this be great for Easter brunch?

Olive oil, ¾ cup
Apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup
Bagoong, ¼ cup
Honey, 2 tbsp

Salad greens
Green mangoes, sliced into long, thin strips
Turnips, sliced into long thin strips
Prawn crackers or kropek (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously to emulsify. Pour over salad greens, mangoes and turnips. Top with prawn crackers.  

Enjoy! Happy Easter, you guys!