Friday, September 30

Crafts/DIY: A White Board Alternative

Here's one for you.

What you will need are the following: an unused photo frame, scrapbook paper and a pair of scissors.

Cut the paper to the size of the photo frame, and put it in the frame.

That's about it. You can even write on the glass with a Sharpie permanent pen, and erase it using a Swiffer refill pad.

It works! See?

PS - I'm not sure if a permanent marker can be erased using the Swiffer refill pad on acrylic or plastic.


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Thursday, September 29

Crafts/DIY: Displaying Kids' Art

My dad’s friend is an artist. His granddaughter is also an artist. I think she’s just 4 or 5 years old. She did this art, had it installed with matting and purple frame, then gave it to my dad. Hmm, maybe my dad bought it from her. Yes, she’s able to sell her art. Amazing right?

You can use your kids’ artwork and put it in a frame with matting. Don’t forget the matting because that makes all the difference in the world. Display it on your walls or on your desk. Look at it and smile.

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Tuesday, September 27

Crafts/DIY: Labeled Gift Box

We were invited to a birthday party of a friend’s son. It’s his first birthday.

I thought I should practice wrapping for Christmas. I saw this idea on Pinterest. It seemed like a fun way to wrap gifts. It kind of reminded me of Crate & Barrel gift boxes. I guess it’s because of the font they used – very similar to the font I used here.

First, I estimated how big the letters should be printed out. The gift box was about the size of a legal bond paper, and here I used Arial Black size 280. Bigger, bolder letters means they’re easier to read and easier to cut. Because I didn’t have any font that uses outline, I used Arial Black in a very light grey color. 

I then used scissors to manually cut each letter. How I wish I had the Silhouette SD. 

Every end of the year, I scour Target for Christmas gift wrappers that can double as gift wrappers for any occasion. Cheapskate, right? Hmm, come to think of it, maybe I should invest on thicker gift wrappers – double sided perhaps? Anyway, one of the cheap wrap buys I’ve had is a navy blue striped wrapper. All 100 sq. ft. of it was only $1.50. 

I wrapped the box, then glued each letter on the wrapped box.

I’m still deciding on whether to put a ribbon or not. I might just get some raffia.

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Monday, September 26

Face: The Best Makeup Remover

Having your makeup done by a professional is amazing... until you need to take it off. I swear it's like goo. They put on so much stuff on your face that removing makeup becomes too much of a chore.

I tried several makeup removers in my lifetime.

When I was in 7th grade, I remember using baby oil. It was the only thing handy. It seemed okay at the time. My makeup was not gooey yet.

I think it was during high school prom that I first had my makeup done by a professional makeup artist. I couldn't handle the thought of having makeup on before going to bed.

I feel like my facial skin couldn't breathe if I keep makeup on.

This time I was using cold cream. I put some on my face, and with circular motion, I felt the foundation melting. Eek. I continued using it though. It was the best one so far.

I wasn't a fan of cold cream when I was using it. It just did the job, but the process was gross.

I moved to the US, and it was when I discovered Body Shop's Camomile Gentle Eye Make-up Remover.

I bought a gift bag for myself - I just liked the makeup kit and the make-up remover just happened to come with it. It was sheer luck.

It really leaves your skin moisturized while taking off the make-up. Yes, it takes off everything even mascara... and it's very gentle on the eyes... and no, I was not paid by Body Shop.

It's hard to beat this one ladies. It's cheap to buy and try it. The mini size (which I love too for traveling) is just 3 for $10, $4 if you buy just one.

Right now, The Body Shop has a Buy 3 Get 2 Free or Buy 2 Get 1 Free promotion for their makeup and skin care products.

So tempting.

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Saturday, September 24

Crafts/DIY: My Own Matera (ish), Finally

Okay, technically, this is NOT a do-it-yourself. I had it made by someone else.

I've been eyeing the Matera bed, designed exclusively for Design Within Reach by Sean Yoo. If I was still living in the US, I might have already bought the king sized Matera without the storage. But I just moved to the other side of the world, and shipping the Matera is out of the question.

So I had someone craft it for me.

Here are the before photos:

And here's the Matera-ish bed in the room. Yes, it has a dark stain. *smile*

Here's a closer shot of the headboard.

I wasn't able to take pictures of the drawers in the process, so these would have to do. Our bedroom is super super tiny, and I don't have a wide angle lens with me so pardon the photos.

The drawers are not built-in. They are removable so I can clean under the bed easily with a Swiffer (I love it on wooden floors). I can take them out and put them in another room if I wanted to.

There are two drawers on each side of the bed (so that's a total of 4), equipped with swivel casters (those that can rotate a complete 360). Thank you Martha Stewart for the inspiration.

There you go. Short and sweet. I will post other bedroom updates soon.

PS - Ivory sheets from Simply Vera. Coverlet from Dwell Studio for Target. Grey pillowcases from Target Home.


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Friday, September 23

Shopping: Etsy 2012 Calendars


It's less than a hundred days until Christmas. That means the year is about to end already.

Etsy is now full of 2012 calendars, can you believe it? I think they make great gifts.

Here are some of my favorites.

1 - Wild Animal by loopzart

2 - Modern Silhouette by silhouetteblue

3 - squarepaisleydesign

4 - Cute Animal by loopzart

5 - Cute Superhero by loopzart

Most of them are printable (read CHEAPER), and you can print multiple times.

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Thursday, September 22

Freebie: Font Love #6


It's a free font from The League of Moveable Type. Download it from their website here. They have other open source fonts too.

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Tuesday, September 20

Freebie: Merengue Merci Favor Cards

Oops. I totally slacked on this post. I was meaning to teach myself how to do forms in Acrobat. I only learned last night. Oh well. As I promised on the post about the DIY merengue favors here, I am sharing the template for the merci favor cards that I designed.

I printed them on white heavy cardstock, then cut them to squares. Don't worry, I provided guidelines on the template.

At first, I used a ribbon puncher so I can tie a ribbon on it with the gift bag. You know... the one with the elongated shaped hole.

I broke my ribbon puncher after just a couple of punches through the cellophane gift bag. Enter sad face.

Using a cutter to slit a tad bit more than 1/2" on both the cardstock and the cellophane works best (and personally, I think it looks more professional).

You can't even tell there's a hole.

Download the template from here. Yes, I now discovered mediafire. Love, love, love free file hosting.

The pdf file is 4MB. If you know how to make it smaller, do tell. Have fun!

PS - I was told that you can use a straightening iron to quickly seal the cellophane bag. I haven't tried it yet, but it's worth a try if you can't get your hands on a plastic sealer.

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Friday, September 16

Design: A Matera Confession

I live in Manila and I am a cheapskate.

I am drooling over the Matera bed for weeks and weeks now. I want it so badly but I don't know where to get it in Manila. I searched tons of furniture stores here but no one has it. Shipping it from the US is out of the question. It's about 5 large, in USD, and I am not going to cough up cash just like that... add to that the shipping + tax that would probably reach around 1 grand.

Then I had the brilliant idea of having a similar design made by awesome craftsmen in the Philippines.

Here's the Matera-ish in the making.

The bed was made from reused yakal hardwood. My dad offered to give me some of the pieces of hardwood he bought, and I am a sucker for free stuff. The craftsmen/carpenter also works for him. After days of sanding the hardwood, and multiple coats of wood stain...

See here, the color is darker than DWR's original Matera, which is made from oak. I like the dark wood stain better.

Photo from DWR

Matera: Solid oak and veneer. Matera-ish: Solid yakal all the way.

The slats are a tad fewer than the original, 12 compared to 20, but they're also made from yakal. The original Matera used ash slats, which is just a medium density wood.

It's coming together, and I'm uber excited.

As for the drawers, it's not similar to the Matera at all. I hate built-in drawers in beds. Besides, without the built-ins, I can clean under the bed much easier.

Here's the inspiration for the drawers from Martha Stewart.

I forgot to take photos of the drawers in process. The finished product will just do. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, September 13

Design: Matera Bed

I am in love with the Matera bed by Sean Yoo, an industrial designer who exclusively designed the bed for Design Within Reach. It's so simple yet it says a lot.

The Matera bed frame is made from solid walnut, and the slats from ash.

I am not usually into wood grains, but it's growing on me. The Matera has two variations. One with storage as in the first photo, and one without.

Without the storage drawers -

With storage -

Here's DWR's description.
"I don't have pictures of sexy models on my walls," says designer Sean Yoo, "I have pictures of sexy chairs from DWR catalogs." The fact that this young designer credits DWR with helping him get his education in design makes having his Matera Collection in our assortment even more special. Created exclusively for DWR, the Matera Bed with Storage (2007) doesn't scream ”storage.” To accomplish this, Yoo left space between the floor and bed to give it breathing room, not to mention plenty of space so knuckles needn't drag on the floor when accessing the drawers. Made in Malaysia. 

  • Six full-extension drawers open by pulling from underneath. Drawers have soft-closing vacuum glides, so they refuse to slam shut.
  • A box spring is unnecessary: the traditional 15 bed slats are increased to a more stable 20.
  • Finished with beveled edges, running match walnut grain, exposed slot mortise and tenon corner joints.

The ash slats in detail -

Look at the joint and detail of the carving. So simple no?

Simple but the price is through the roof for me. The king-size Matera without storage costs $2,940 and the one with storage is $5,040. Hmmm.

*All photos are from Design Within Reach
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Sunday, September 11

Food: Crepes (Part 2)


Yesterday's lunch-out reminded me how much I miss cooking.

See, we just moved, and the stove needs to be repaired and cleaned. The house is being renovated - the kitchen still unusable.

When I was still living in Atlanta, I tried different crepe recipes. I found this to be the easiest.

Basic Crepes
via allrecipes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Whisk the flour and the eggs together in a bowl. Gradually add the milk and water while stirring. Add the salt and butter. Beat until smooth.
2. Heat a lightly oiled pan over medium-high heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the pan. Tilt the pan with a circulat motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
3. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, then turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.

I always turn to this crepe recipe for my base. I just mix and match the filling or topping depending on my mood. 

Berries and ricotta are good. Mangoes and nutella too are yummy. You can even try ham and cheese, or chicken and spinach.

Have fun!



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Saturday, September 10

Food: Crepes


It was just another day.

We had lunch at one of our favorite places, Cafe Breton. It's a not-so-fancy French cafe that serves crepes and galettes.

I think they have the best crepes in town.

Here is their colorful interior, which frankly, I don't get.

My crepe cooking on their griddle.

Up close.

E ordered his Galette Don Quixote, another savory crepe that had tomatoes, chorizo, onions, and cheese. It is also my favorite but I ordered a Galette Breton that day - a savory crepe filled with emmental cheese, spinach, crab, and shrimp. Well, I must say it was just okay. The chorizo galette faired better on my scale. 

We had Fantastic Pinay for dessert, but I forgot to take a picture because we dove right in. It was so yummy. It's a dessert crepe filled with ripe mangoes, then covered with a spread of nutella and whipped cream on top. It's not on their menu but it's definitely a must-try.

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Monday, September 5

Party: Mini cakes and other desserts

Among the things I loved about my daughter's christening celebration were the mini cakes that my cousin's friend designed and created.

Gorgeousness, I tell you.

We commissioned him to create three designs for Alyssa. Those are what he came up with. They were made from gum paste, making them uber yummy as compared to fondant.

The 'Alyssa' - Coconut Sesame cake.

Inside was more gorgeousness - layers of yellow and orange goodness separated by sesame sheets.

The Daffodil festival - Chocolate Tableau.

The Faberge - Lemon Ginger cake.

Surprise! More rainbow layers.

The venue was in Chef Jessie at Rockwell Club, and they served amazing food. They had yummy pannacotta and chocolate mousse served in shotglasses.

Mango, strawberry, coffee and pistachio pannacotta!

Chocolate mousse

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