Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Planners: The Black Planner Story

I have been using planners for a really long time... since high school, really. When you are a neat freak with a sort-of mission to control almost everything in your life, the planner can be your best friend. Not to mention I keep forgetting a lot of stuff and schedules.

My family, on the other hand, is quite spontaneous and by spontaneous, I do not mean "Hey-let's-eat-out-tonight" spontaneous. Nosiree.

Our then family of five (my youngest sister was born when I was already eighteen) was the kind to randomly trek to the other side of our island province just for a swim. Or even hop off to another island for a day by the beach. When you live in an archipelago blessed by some of God's loveliest beaches, this is very, very possible.

Sad to say, these spontaneous and wonderful trips would clash with the carefully penned and color-coded plans on the planner. I soon got tired of just crushing out notes and lists and whatnot so the planner decided to take up residence in the darkest reaches of my cabinets.

More than three years ago, I got married and the Little Bear came into our lives. I had to juggle medical school with doctor's appointments and eventually, school functions. I became so frazzled that I was quite certain I would explode at some point.

Luckily, I found this little guy waiting patiently for me.

It was very old. The weekly and monthly inserts have 199_ on them still and the paper was yellowed in some places. It was love at first sight all over again.

I brought it out and threw away the calendars and contacts list. I printed a new calendar for 2013 and a few other inserts. I spruced up the Personal Information page, made my own contacts pages, and added a list of birthdays to remember. Using my meager craft skills, I made a charm using a tag they gave out during graduation and some shiny beads. 

I could not throw out the weekly inserts, though. They were the lifeblood of the planner. Luckily, I had some Rilakkuma and Hello Kitty deco tapes that covered the dates pretty well. With the addition of washi tapes to my collection, the weeks became a little brighter.

I learned soon enough that plans do not have to be so rigid. To strictly adhere to a rigid plan would stifle all those wonderful moments I spent with my family. It is important to be on schedule for appointments and events and such but it also pays to enjoy life and love as well.

Now, my ancient planner proudly chronicles the journey of our small family in brilliant colors. The back pages, which hold blank and lined pages for notes are filled with childish scribbles from Little Bear's learning hands. For an oldie, my nondescript black planner has certainly found a way into our lives.♥

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Crafts: Christmas Came Early!

With all the confusion caused by the massive destruction wrought by the super typhoon in our country, this post was put on hold for more than a week but here it is now.

Looks lovely, doesn't it? These are gifts from one of my dearest friends, Alex (check out her blog!). Even with the paper bag, it was already love at first sight. This girl gets my love of all things crafty and shabby chic ALL. THE. TIME.

Inside the bag were two washi tapes, some baker's twine, and a sealing wax with my very own seal, which can be worn as a necklace. I couldn't thank Alex enough for her generosity. It certainly made my entire evening when she handed over these goodies the last time she came over.

These are the baker's twine she gave me, a deep pink and yellow. They are oh-so girly and so pretty I couldn't stop taking them out and just admiring them.

These are the washi tapes. One has a pink and red cherry blossom pattern all over it and the other one has some red tribal pattern all over it. Unlike the other washi tapes in my collection, these two have an almost waxy feel to them so I used them to decorate the top tabs I just made for my planner. There is something about red that just calls your attention, hmm?

And this is the sealing wax and stamp set she gave me. I have no idea how to use these as I have never tried sealing my envelopes before but they sure made me pretty excited to start on my Christmas cards!

And this one below is a closer look of the seal stamp. It is sooo pretty and can be worn as a necklace. The seal itself is an image of a crown. 

These little things make me really happy not only because I love crafting and all sorts of cute stationery but the thought behind every little gift makes me light up like a Philippine Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and that's really saying something.

Thanks, Alex!♥

Monday, November 11, 2013

Social Awareness: A Cry for Help from Haiyan/Yolanda Victims

A few days ago, strong winds of up to 314 kph slammed into the Philippines. Yolanda, or Haiyan, as it is known internationally, is probably the greatest storm in history to hit landfall. At its peak, it covered approximately two-thirds of the archipelago. It devastated most of the Visayan Islands of the Philippines in its wake, two of which are still recovering from a magnitude 7 earthquake and its aftershocks in late October. Roads have been blocked, towns rendered inaccessible... There is no electricity, not even network coverage. Food and clean water have run out.

The Philippines is a nation of extremely resilient people. We have weathered many hardships in the past and survived with a cheerful attitude despite bleak situations. However, the people are in desperate need of help right now.

I feel myself uplifted whenever I see pictures of my friends and family all over the nation and even across the globe repacking donations to send over to the victims of the calamity. Many other nations have since then sent help our way. This, despite the depressing news of rampant looting and political squabbling, is enough to spur me onward to gather more for our brothers and sisters in need.

So, I am knocking on your kind and generous hearts, to give a little to the victims of Haiyan/Yolanda. These are people with dead to bury and children to clothe and feed. They may not even be able to celebrate Christmas this year due to the utter devastation this natural calamity has wrought upon the land. A little portion of your blessings will be enough to tide over a family even for a day.

I am not asking for much. Just a little. Clothes you have not worn for more than a year. Some canned goods and instant noodles. A bottle of clean water. If you are a bit generous, you can even donate much needed medical supplies like bandages and antibiotics because a disaster of this magnitude will leave behind not only destruction but contagious diseases and infections in its wake.

Little by little, we can all make a difference.

God bless you all!♥

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Child Crafts: Rosie the Elf

I was looking for a Christmas themed craft I could do with my three-year-old daughter since I was getting a little antsy inside the house with very little to do. In my honest opinion, hours of television is not a very fun occupation and I didn't want my Little Bear to think it was so. Luckily, we finished off a roll of toilet paper earlier this morning (due to a round of sniffles around the house), which sent my crafty senses abuzz.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Rosie, our new elf.

Rosie, I told the Little Bear, is an elf from North Pole. Because of the magic of Christmas, she possesses the power to carry messages to and from Santa Claus himself. Just put a letter underneath her recycled body and she'll send it to him the moment you fall asleep. Rosie may also carry messages from Santa himself so it is a good idea to check with her every once in a while.

Rosie was made using these materials:

  1. First, cut out a strip of your desired colored paper around three inches wide and with enough length to go around the body of the toilet paper tube. Glue one end of the paper to the tube and carefully wrap the rest of the strip around the tube and glue the other end to keep it in place.
  2. Next, cut a semicircle out of some colored paper. Fashion a cone out of this by gluing the two ends of the semicircle together. Make sure you make a cone large enough to fit over the head of the toilet paper tube.
  3. Take a bit of cotton and decorate the hat and clothes of your elf. We used a little cotton ball for the tippy top of the hat and bits of cotton to line the hat and the "dress" of the elf.
  4. Finish off the entire project by drawing a face and buttons down the "dress" with a black marker.
And there you have it! Rosie the Elf!

I have always enjoyed cutting and gluing and folding and crafting overall but the projects I have always enjoyed the most are those with the active participation of my Little Bear. Even the simplest things can become magical in the eyes of a child and it is the greatest pleasure of a mother's heart to encourage that very magic.♥

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review: Hey Kessy Washi Tapes

"It's here! It's finally here!"

My mind literally screamed when I found that little package sitting on the table with my name on it. I have always been leery of ordering online because I have this fear that I might be scammed or something. The only other time I ever remember purchasing something online were a couple of the most adorable book bags for our insanely huge medical textbooks. Even then, I ordered them from my friend's burgeoning business so...

Anyway, I finally caved in and ordered several rolls of washi tape from an online shop called Hey Kessy last Tuesday.

I have been stalking their shop for a little over a month and dreaming about those super cute washi tapes in between. I was rather happy when Hey Kessy responded immediately and confirmed my order, giving me payment details and such. Since last Tuesday was a national holiday, I wasn't able to pay right away and had to wait on Wednesday to drop the money off at the bank.

I sent the shop an email right after I made the payment (I was just that excited) and they responded almost immediately, saying they will check with the bank. A little over an hour or so, they confirmed my payment and promised to drop my package over at the courier's on Thursday. That meant my washi tapes would arrive on Friday and arrive they did on Friday morning!

I was ecstatic! They even sent me their October postcard, pictured below. Sadly, it was a bit wrinkled from the journey.

The washi tapes were all bundled up in blue paper and pink tape. At first, I thought it was a bit tiny and wondered if they sent in all the orders.

They did, apparently. These are all the tapes I ordered.

This is their color set. It consists of five thin washi tapes of a single color each. All in all, this set costs a little over Php. 100.00.

The one pictured below is their Light Pink with White Dots. I've had a crush on this since I laid eyes on it! Really. You can see the shop's logo in the inside of the roll.

The one pictured below, I planned to give to my little sister. I've offered to give her some of my Rilakkuma deco tapes but she wanted to have something a little more flowery. So, I ordered this Flowering Mint washi tape for her and guess what? She loved it! I hope she still finds it in her heart to share...

The one below is the Purple with White Dots washi tape. I thought it would compliment the pink one. And pink and purple go together like ice cream and warm brownies. Of course, I had to throw this one into my cart, too.

I just used the Purple with White Dots and found it lovely. The thing I love about washi tapes is that you can move them about, unlike with most deco tapes wherein they stay stuck on the paper FOREVER. At least my OCD can rest easy if I make a mistake with these because I can simply lift them up and stick them back and they won't deface my works a bit. 

I think they would look lovely on planners and calendars, too. You can write something on the tapes, like "Dentist Appointment", stick them on your calendar and if you have to postpone for one reason or another, you can simply move it to another date. Just wonderful!

Hey Kessy has really lived up to my expectations. My brothers have been urging me to buy my arts and crafts supplies online instead of calling them up all the time with all my wants and needs and having them send the packages over to my side of the world. I would definitely be ordering from Hey Kessy again. Not only were they so quick to respond to orders, they also responded to my thank-you email.

Thanks again, Hey Kessy!♥

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Organization: Keeping Your Bag Organized

I love big bags.

Ever since grade school, I have been lugging around larger bags than the rest of the school population. I just needed to have everything I need on hand and the thought of going without my extensive list of "essentials" makes me feel a little vulnerable. Of course, I also have to have a complete array of pens, pencils, erasers, scissors, etc. with me all the time because I color code almost everything.

When mommahood came, the "essentials" only grew in number. My three-year-old daughter eventually realized that my bag was a treasure trove of doodling materials on those long trips.

All that stuff jumbled up in my bag is enough to make my neat-freakiness go crazy, which is why I am oh-so grateful to the wonderful person who created the bag organizer. You must have had our best interests in mind when you designed this little darling.

Below is a picture of my bag organizer from the front part. Most bag organizers available back then were black. I came across this one with a pink strip to satisfy my feminine little heart. A little.

This picture below shows how my some of the "basics" are neatly arranged inside the organizer. That's my planner in the larger pocket with one of my favorite pens, a black Pilot Hi-Tec in 0.3 (they call them G-Tec here in the Philippines), tucked into the pen holder. Beside it (shown with the pink zipper) is a pouch, which houses my pens, highlighters, etc., because I'm not a big fan of pens sloshing around in my bag either. The smaller pockets hold my pink Tinkerbell journal (which is mostly filled with doodles by a three-year-old who just loves to draw caricatures of our family) and a couple of Post-Its and in the adjacent pocket, my pink purse, which holds any loose change in place.

And this is how it looks like from the bag. That green pouch to the left holds my toiletries. I absolutely cannot go on without some wet wipes, facial tissues, my Hair Doctor, and my favorite VMV Armada lip balm (I am a huge fan of VMV Hypoallergenics!). The red stuff peeking out from one of the pockets of the bag organizer is a huge shopping bag I got free from one of my splurging sprees in Gift Gate. I think I am bound for a lifelong addiction to the utter cuteness that is Sanrio.

This is how I manage to keep my sanity on the move. Another big plus for the bag organizer is that I really don't have to take its contents apart when I change bags and believe me, I change bags a lot to match either my clothes, my mood, or what really works best for the activities of the day. I can just take the whole thing out and transfer the organizer to another bag. Easy-peasy.

I recently surprised my mom with a pink-and-gray bag organizer with zippers. She absolutely adores the thing. It's a perfect fit inside her pink Lacoste bag. I think my love for all things pink and organized is a genetic trait I inherited from her.

How do you keep your bags organized?♥