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Posts Tagged ‘arts and crafts’


I was inspired by Wilma’s photo on giraffes and I thought of the cross stitch I did years ago on the same subject. Back in the nineties, one of the Asst. Vice-Presidents (my boss) of the bank taught some of us to do cross stitching. I was hooked making so many projects some of which I gifted to my close friends. I even joined exhibits before. My eyesight is no longer that good for those small stitches. Here’ s a frame of my own giraffe Wilma. It’s still has pride of place in one corner of our wall.

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I spent my grade school years in our province then transferred later here in Manila to pursue high school studies.

We used to have this subject Home Economics (for girls) when I was in Grade V and Grade VI.  There was a small building separate from the classrooms with a porch, a small sala, dining room, a bedroom, toilet and a kitchen with installed wood stove.  That’s where I learned a lot of the practical tips on maintaining a clean house, table setting, the proper use of different plates and utensils and all the accoutrements  that goes with housekeeping. I  learned to cook rice when I was around seven years old, and I learned further during my grade school years.

We held lectures at the dining room sitting on the table and some chairs while listening to our teacher. she taught us how to do simple embroidery and my first project was a handkerchief, the design was traced on a tracing paper with small holes in it so the blue color of the design would appear at one end of the cloth.  Our teacher also taught us simple pattern for a night-gown and embroider the edges  of the gown once we finished sewing it.  Crocheting is another thing that I learned and we made center table pieces before the school year ended.

What I like best were the times we spent in the kitchen. I learned my first menu there.  You  might laugh, it was an omelette. Next came fruit preserving and simple task like frying meat and fish.

When I was in high school we also had  Home Economics, We were taught how to make bags, decor and other things. I made my first dress during my first year but a part of it was done by mom 🙂 By the way, I bought my first  sewing machine when I got married, a manual Singer but the casing was destroyed by the flood back in 2009 so I gave it to one of my cousins.  I mend clothes nowadays, those shirts  and shorts we use every day that need mending  but it’s by hand.

While I was working at Bank of the Phil. Islands, our big boss taught us how to do cross-stitching. I still have four frames hanging as wall decor and several Aida cloth and finished  unframed cross-stitch projects. I find it hard now to use Aida and thread a needle.  I’ve saved my  first Christmas project but the cloth has turned a bit yellowish.

I miss cross-stitching and doing embroidery and crochet but  I no longer have a 20/20 vision so I just concentrate on our small garden.

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I think it was a few months ago when I reviewed a book and recommended it to book lovers like me. Like I’ve always said before, I don’t make a review by parroting a synopsis or summary of a book like other people do. You can find those lovely summaries online.  I’d rather think of how I enjoyed reading it or how it affected me. Believe me, reading one always affects me, be it a good story or not.

I’ve set aside one or two books that I have recently started when I found this lovely book by Helen J. Rolfe.  It is my first time to encounter a book by this author and I just love it.  The title made me smile and it was not just because the story obviously was about Christmas which is my favorite season of the year. Christmas At The Little Knitting Box – this reminds me of those long ago days when doing crafts were in vogue.

My mum has this sturdy Singer sewing machine which has been  with her since I was in grade school. At her age now (she’s 88) she still can sew and  repair her dresses with it.  You won’t believe this but she still has those pillow cases  which she sewed and embroidered  a long, long time ago.  There was  even this center table runner with my name embroidered on it.  I learned embroidery  and crochet  when I was in grade school in our Home Economics class. That was followed by simple projects that I learned during high school. Back in the nineties, my former boss at Bank of the Philippine Islands had set up a craft store  in one of the malls here in Metro Manila.  She taught us crafts like  paper quilling, candle making and cross-stitching.  There was a time I got so engrossed in cross-stitching  that I even brought my projects to the office and did them  during lunch breaks. Some of my office mates were in it too and we exchanged designs, sourced materials. Until now I still have those  skein threads in almost all shades and colors.

The book I have just read  reminds me of those days. I’ve never done knitting though. Those colorful yarns featured in the book made me remember those nights my  eyes would grow heavy with fatigue to finish a corner of a particular cross-stitch design.  It’s a beautifully written book that was a joy to read, an uplifting saga about families and beating the odds. It is a story about celebrating Christmas – the snow on the front porch, the Christmas lights and parols, the beautifully decorated Christmas tree, the food, gifts and everything that spells Christmas. It is a feel-good book that I would recommend to everyone to read during the season. I am giving it five stars.

 

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Nate was here yesterday and we had the whole day playing together and laughing out loud.  Being crazy with Nate was  a priceless bonding together.  Today is Father’s Day.  Greetings to all my thoughtful  and loving  daddy friends here on WordPress.

We’re back to making bead works and rosaries. Josef bought additional materials last week. There was a time when my days were consumed by rosary making. I give the rosaries to friends who come over for a visit.  I like working on Swarovski crystals, Hematite beads and fake pearls.  I’d like to try something using Tiger’s Eye. Love the shade of golden-yellow and deep red.  Tiger’s Eye is a very protective stone.

I  collect rosaries too, mostly gift from friends from abroad. I have Rose rosaries from Italy and Siena, rosaries from the Vatican and   one from Israel. Some are locally made.  I found a lovely bracelet which Nissa made when she was still with us a few years ago.  It would be nice to pair it with my rosary bracelet which comes with me everywhere I go. It is nice to be able to pray the rosary while waiting, in traffic and in a doctor’s office.

Do you like working on beads? Are you fond of it?

 

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There is nothing much to do in this rainy Wednesday morning.  Sometimes, you just get bored with so much time in your hands. Waking up early really has its advantage because you get to finish daily household chores early too. This morning, I decided to tackle the contents of Nissa’s cabinet  which was left as it was since she got married November of 2011. We have floor-to-ceiling cabinets in our bedrooms so you can just imagine the amount of things left there most of which are old clothes which she didn’t bring with her, personal effects, stationeries,  arts and crafts kits, and various  toiletries some of which were not opened yet. I disposed all of the facial creams, lotions, shampoo bottles and some used make-up which she left behind.  Despite all these junks I found some treasures though while cleaning. IMG_6162

One is  a cellphone holder still in its original box in purple color. I always call Nissa a purple girl since it is her favorite color. When she got married, all her accessories were done in three shades of purple.  Now I have a nice holder for my cellphones. I am sure she would just smile when she sees this. She is a hoarder of sentimental things like I am. Would you believe that I still have two shoe boxes of letters from friends from way back?  I am digressing again. To make the story short, I found another item that I’ve been looking for since  typhoon Ondoy and that was four years ago.  It’s a candle thermometer which my brother sent me when I was into candle-making.

This candle book is a gift from Josef and I learned so much from it.

This candle book is a gift from Josef and I learned so much from it.

When I left the bank (I availed of an early optional retirement) fourteen years ago, I was in a quandary on what to do. I had so much time in my hands so I enrolled in some arts and crafts course  including candle-making. I sourced raw materials from as far as Divisoria market and bought lots of shut glasses for my jelly candle.  Back in those days,  you can make  candles in any scent you want. I was thrilled to try chocolate, bubblegum, vanilla  and peppermint scents to name a few. I  ended up giving them as gifts to friends and relatives. Nissa’s art kit consists of several crimping scissors, paper-cutter, stamp pads for designing stationeries, beads in different colors (for making bracelets, earrings, rosaries etc.), cutters, beading wires, pens in different colors,  and ribbons. She said she misses doing crafts and she has no time now.

I remember those cross-stitches  I did  before but was not able to have them framed.  I am into rosary-making now and give them as gifts to friends. Maybe one of these days,  I will try candle-making again. It would be nice to prime wicks, find lovely molders and wax fragrance and wax dyes too.  Maybe when I’m done with my fascination for baking cookies, bars and simple cakes, when I am done reading all those books on my TBR list, I will try other crafts.

How’s your morning? Is it also rainy in your area?

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Can't get enough so I made two Dragon Scale bracelets last night.

Can’t get enough so I made two Dragon Scale bracelets last night.

A reversible Sailor's Pinstripe bracelet. It was a challenge doing this.

A reversible Sailor’s Pinstripe bracelet. It was a challenge doing this.

 

My kids are really spoiling me. Josef bought more rubber bands in pastel and assorted colors while Nissa gave me this bracelet organizer to display the things I made. I feel like a child given her new set of toys. Some designs are really challenging to make and it is lots of fun to decide on color combinations.

Sorry, this is a bit too short, just to let you all know I am still alive and kicking and   enjoying looming.

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I think I am getting addicted looming my way to this supposed to be for kids of eight and up.  I have given away around four earlier works to my niece and to a friend. But wait, after a week of surfing the net for instructional videos, I am now in the intermediate stage…hahaha! I am just frustrated that there are no available colors that I like  where my son buys our supplies.

Yeay, making one is really a stress buster....

Yeay, making one is really a stress buster….

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The box is labeled 8 and up. So I say I am 8 going 50 plus plus.

Josef bought this for me yesterday from Toys Are Us. We saw it when we had lunch on Mother’s Day and I told him, “I wonder if I could make something like that” and he said, “If an eight-year old can do it, why can’t you?” But then it is so pricey for a DIY starter kit. I had fun sorting the colors last night and starting on my first Rainbow Loom bracelet.

I was pleasantly surprised when he came home with this lovely box and he said it is for me.  Hey, anyone could start another craft which is, I understand, the craze for the last few months. I told him it looks complicated but when I read the manual, one can visit YouTube and take it from there.  We spent the night sorting the different colors included in the kit and attempted my first fishtail bracelet using the enclosed shorter hook.  A perfect stress buster if you ask me.

The starter kit is priced at P987.75

The starter kit is priced at P987.75

Rainbow Loom was created by Cheong Choon Ng, a Malaysian immigrant of Chinese descent who came to the United States in 1991.

Rainbow Loom was created by Cheong Choon Ng, a Malaysian immigrant of Chinese descent who came to the United States in 1991.

Always look for the embossed loom and hook. There are so many imitations in the market.

Always look for the embossed loom and hook. There are so many imitations in the market.

Our first projects - two fishtail bracelets and a single band done in one color.

Our first projects – two fishtail bracelets and a single band done in one color.

Try it for size - that's Josef's arm...hahaha!

Try it for size – that’s Josef’s arm…hahaha!

Josef bought an additional plastic pack of rubber bands  in purple color. My daughter is a purple girl – she loves everything purple. I showed her what we did last night and she said she is excited to try to make one.

 

 

 

 

 

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For quite some time now, Josef and I were toying with the idea of repainting the house (retouches would be more like it). I asked him,  “Will we be  able to do that?” and he said, “Sure, why not?” 

Easier said than done.  About two weeks ago, Nissa sent me several pictures of Nate and I  was of course excited to have them printed  and had three of them enlarged and framed. They’re now occupying pride of place between our sala and dining area. And since our house is a free open plan, it’s quite easy to get them painted in the same color all over to maximize space and make it look larger than it really is. We have an accent wall though where our family pictures are displayed. And when son suggested that we retouch it, I readily agreed and went to the paint center to have the color mixed  in the original tomato red. It’s complimentary to the almost peach look of the walls and the off-white ceiling and dark peach color on the cornices and base boards.

IMG_5328See, the framed pics are almost all of our baby Nate, some family pics and the Papal Blessing from Rome which Nissa applied for when she got married two years ago and a cross stitch I did several years ago.

Last Friday, Josef and I visited Wilcon Home Depot  to buy paints for our project. I had written the exact shade and paint colors that we have to buy. Four years ago, I blogged about our house renovation after typhoon Ondoy destroyed most of our cabinets and furnitures,  so I took note of the colors that we used in the painting job. Davies’ Bio-fresh paints are odorless and easy to apply. Almost Peach for the walls and True Blue for the bedrooms but we didn’t touch the ceiling though because it is hard to paint the cornices and the ladder is not long enough for the job.  We have finished one bedroom, done with the comfort room and I did retouches on the kitchen walls including the dirty kitchen adjoining it.  It’s quite fun when you get engrossed in a project and you finally see the big difference once it’s done. Last summer, we did the same with the concrete fence and our two gates outside.  My only frustration is I still have to hire a painter to do our roof. It’s a difficult job if you ask me because you are at the mercy of the heat of the sun.  Josef  suggested we’ll  have it done after Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I have put up some decor that I recently bought at National Bookstore, four  small stockings for the family, and a Merry Christmas wall decor in silver.  I am not so keen in putting up our seven-foot Christmas tree, it’s hard to remove all the trimmings when the season is over. I have my favorite Nativity set inside a large water globe which has been with us for a number of years but I still dream of buying the real thing which is the Belen, which I think is more symbolic of Christmas than the tree itself.

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Last year, I was so excited to make these Christmas decor.  Let’s see how I could fashion something else with old  Christmas decorations  which we  have plenty of. Recycling is the key and a simple DIY project won’t hurt, my wise son says.

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Much as I love collecting and reading books, I also enjoy collecting book markers and embellishing them with cute buttons, plastic shells,  and other craft materials randomly chosen from our various craft boxes.  And  when I give a book as gift, there is always an attached book mark. Come to think of it, I hate having books dog-eared and the crazy thing is, I can’t stand holding a book without plastic cover.  It’s like a sacrilege holding one without its original dust cover or without a plastic cover to protect it from normal wear and tear. Come again, did you just say OC?

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