Saturday, December 22, 2012

our little green CHRISTMAS tree

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hills

Finals are over (yay!), hubby's off from work for a week (hurrah!), Christmas music is filling the room (yes!) We just need a tree! But I wasn't going to buy a tree. I was determined to be "green" altho' I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to pull it off, and if the kids will like it. I had something else in mind but that didn't work out. So bummed. So I had to think fast. For some reason, I only get ideas in the spur of the moment. It drives me crazy. It drives other people crazi--er!

I've been in the process of purging, storing, giving away, etc. It's a long process...especially for a pack rat who thinks she can upcycle everything. Well, books are all over the place...the hallway, the living room, the bedroom, even the restroom. Aiya! 

Yes, a solution came to mind (I've seen it before but keep forgetting.) A Christmas tree made out of books. Yes! That's it. Why not? Still not sure if it'll work.

First I stacked them by size. We have this old 3-inch dictionary and a 2-inch concordance. They are actually very good but nobody uses them anymore. Thanks to technology! So why am I still holding on to these? For this very purpose! Stack them books up to desired height but not too high. Wrapping the lights around it sort of helps stabilized it.
Oh look, I spy a Surfing book =.) A lot of these books are illustration and photo books.
We kept wrapping the lights around it, found the old star the kids made many years ago made out of cereal box with assorted strings painted with gold. Placed it in a photo holder stand. So far so good. Here's Mary & Joseph & baby Jesus right on top of the tree.
 Found our favorite ornaments!
 Did more wrapping around the tree with whatever we can find in our Christmas bins of ornaments & garlands.
 TaDa! Done in less than an hour! You can't tell from afar that it's a stack of books, can you?
We didn't spend a cent! And it looks great. Even I'm so proud of this improntu tree. And the kids actually like it. Just perfect for our cozy living room.


Later than evening...

tomato: Mom, I can't find my Civil War book. Did you put away things in our room? (This is before she saw the tree--she was busy herself working on a Christmas project in her room.) 
me: (thinking what is she doing with a Civil War book---later she said it's a surprise. hmmm.)
tomato: (after seeing the green tree, she was a little worried) I hope you didn't it put in there! 
(no, it wasn't in there =.)


son: this is our Tree of Knowledge.


Merry Christmas, everyone!
Let's make it more meaningful and purposeful.

Check out this CLIP.
This is how Christmas should be $pent.

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman...into our hearts, prompting us to call out, "Abba, Father." ~Galatians 4:4,6

Monday, November 5, 2012

iPad case cover

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. ~Lewis Grizzard

The extra hour gave me extra energy to make an iPad case cover for my Tomato. I asked her to draw her signature icon so I can add it onto her case. Oops, I forgot the "highlight" =.)
  I used old jeans to make the case, fabric scraps (from an old Spiderman tee) and green felt for the tomato itself.
  At first, I only used batting (the ones quilters use) for padding but it's so flimsy that I have to rip it open to add bubble envelope to make the case stiff. It works!
 I've had this tomato print forever. I've made her a pair of pajamas that she's LONG outgrown and a pillowcase which she still loves. There was just enough scrap to use as lining for this simple project. I covered the button with it, too. Really cute!
  I didn't do anything fancy to finish up the edges because that will take way too long. I simply serged it for a clean finish. Sturdiness is my main concern with this project.
I LOVE SEWING. I just don't like the mess I make when I'm sewing, and the time it takes!
 But my homegrown Tomato is so worth it all.

Here's some iPad case DIY projects you can make, too. I'm sure there's more out there. If and when you make one, please share, ok?

Top 10 DIY iPad projects
DIY iPad case project from a bubble mailer envelope

Have a fun day with your homegrown fruits of labor =.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Coffee Cozy Wreath

Conscience keeps more people awake than coffee. ~Author Unknown

My attempt to make an ultra eco-wreath made out of coffee cup holders I've collected over the months. I was just waiting for summer when those pool noodles became available. I wasn't even sure if it was even gonna work out. Time will only tell.
 The rosettes are made out of used fabric softener (can you see? it's a bad photo. oh well.) Yes, I collect them, too. I hope to make something very useful out of them. As soon as I find the time!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Upcycled Necklace 1

Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity. ~Plato

Finally posting this project made with Kiwi's ballet head-dress she only used ONCE and a used tee.
 Simply cut several strips of the tshirt, and sew to make long tubes. You have to get a chopstick, or something of the like, to turn in inside out.
Then add "pearls" to the petals I picked from the headdress and attach it to a small piece of ribbon then sew it around the tubes of tee.
Just add a button and a makeshift buttonhole (just fold one of the tubes to create a hole). And VIOLA! 
You can wear it with a plain tee or a dress-up outfit. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Each day comes bearing its own gifts. 
Untie the ribbons. 
~Ruth Ann Schabacker

I LOVE gift-wrapping! Each fold must be perfect and taped precisely. Sloppy Joe-job is not going to fly with me. But I have to throw my OCD tendencies when it comes to letting my kids wrap their own gifts if I want them to learn to do things on their own so I'm not doing it for them.

So I gave my son some recycled paper from Ikea (the ones you wrap your breakables with), scissors, tape, construction paper and glue. No cent spent. Everything was recycled. Except for the gift itself which he bought with his own hard-earned money. 

So the wrapping ain't perfect but everything about it came straight from his heart.
Next time let your kid(s) do their own wrapping with things you already have at home. Try to let them do it themselves, and see how creative they can get. After all, they inherited their creativity from you so you don't have to worry about a thing ; . )) All you need to do is watch and enjoy.

It isn't the size of the gift that matters, 
but the size of the heart that gives it.
~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

E is for Extra-Special

A baby is born with a need to be loved -- and never outgrows it. ~Frank A. Clark

Had a day to work on some baby crafts out of materials I already have. 'Twas fun making them for a sweet little girl. Easy projects but time is always an issue. So glad I had some time to make them. All made out of fabric scraps except for the onesie itself, the headband & the stuffing which I already have.

Did the onesie with the E first.
 Then the headband with rosettes.
 Then the toy heart that crackles when you press it. It's because it has a plastic/cellophane material inside with stuffing =.)
Viola! All done in an afternoon when my daughter accidentally took my car keys where I couldn't get to them. Good things happen in the midst of any crisis.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Something Old, Something New

The purpose - where I start - is the idea of use. It is not recycling, it's reuse. ~Issey Miyake

Wow, it's been a long while since I've been in here. I have done several projects but haven't had the chance to post anything. I hope to catch up as soon as summer is here. Hopefully earlier.

However, my good friend & fellow-blogger, writer Running Girl, posted about the scarf I made for her from her old running tees from last year! I thought it deserves to be highlighted here. And you can go to her blog to read all about it.

In the meantime, here's some of images. I wish I took more.
Here's the final product on the runner herself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Project: Kindle Cover

To READ is to FLY; it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries. ~A.C.Grayling

My friend's daughter (also, my daughter's friend) just got a new Kindle and would like to have a cover for it. So I made one using an old book. 
 As soon as I "gutted" the inside, my son said, Wait, I haven't read that book. Aiya! This book was not for reading. I picked it up for projects. Anyway, I gave him the text to read.
I scanned covers of her favorite books (Percy Jackson Series), made a collage out of it, added a quote, and printed it out. I'm using another old book here because the other one wasn't thick enough. I'll use those book pages for other projects later.
Before doing anything, I secured the inside spine with duct tape. Did I mention Duct Tape is your friend here?
After doing so, I scored the printed collage lightly with an exact-o knife so it'll fold over neatly.
Next, I wrapped the cover page as if I'm covering a book and tape the inside. Easy, yeah?  
Do the same for the back cover. Before I secure the outside spine with more duct tape, I covered both front & back with clear contact sheets for protection from getting ripped and dirt.
This is how it looks like when spread out. 
Now for the inside. I cut a cardboard to fit inside the "book" and covered it with fabric. Drilled holes to put elastics through (duct tape the inside) that will eventually hold the Kindle. I have a mock-up of the Kindle to make sure it fits.
Before attaching this fabric-covered cardboard into the "book," I drilled a couple more holes in the back of the book itself to put a wider elastic. Again, duck tape the inside.
 I generously & very quickly used glue gun to adhere the fabric-covered cardboard into the book.
 It's practically done!
 This is how it looks like when it's closed.
 My daughter drew a picture of Artemis and we attached it on the other side of the page. I also put a see-through pocket for important papers/reminders/pictures to slip in.
And here she was opening her gift. On her 13th birthday.
We're so pleased that she liked it. It makes "creating gifts" more fun and worh it.
Here's a link with other ideas how to make Kindle or iPad cases. Have fun and share them with me.