MY FIRST CHRISTMAS D.I.Y. PROJECT: TABLE TOP TREES

I have always wanted to have those table-top Christmas trees that I can place on our console table but I was faced with these challenges:

1)   It was only November and there weren’t much available Christmas décor on sale in Jakarta on that month. (I am a Pinoy  and we’re licensed to start Christmas in November, woohoo!)

2)    Everything is so expensive in Jakarta. (I am a housewife and I find everything expensive, haha!)

Naturally, a do-it-yourself (DIY) project is the most practical solution to this décor dilemma.

It was so unlikely that I, who barely had good marks in my Practical Arts projects in school and  I, who have never used a glue gun before, have finally decided to make my own table-top trees.  Yes! After a few hot glue burns and glitters all over me,  I was able to create something with my bare hands.  I still can’t believe I did it, but there’s always hope for everybody!

For those of you who are interested with this Christmas project, I’m sharing the procedure with you below.  It just looks complicated but it’s really easy.  Enjoy yourself and happy decorating!  By the way, don’t forget to play your favorite Christmas tunes while making this this project.

MATERIALS:

MATERIALS

– Large sized ribbon of your choice

– Glue gun (with glue sticks)

– Popsicle stick (or anything you can use to press hot glue)

– Scissors

– Cardboard cone

*TIP:  There are ready-made styrofoam cones in some stores but I suggest that you just make your own out of poster cardboard to save yourself some bucks.

HOW TO DO IT:

  1. Measure out your ribbon to cover out the bottom part of your cone and glue it.  Let an inch dangle out around it, cut some slits  all the way to the edge of the cardboard and glue them back in the cone.                                                       TIP:  Cover your working table with a mantle cloth or newspaper to protect it from the falling glitters and melted glue later on.

STEP 1

2.  Cut your ribbons into about 3.5 inch rectangular sheets.  If you have wire on your ribbon, you may remove the wire for easy folding.

STEP 2

3.  Make little triangles out of these rectangular sheets using the glue gun to secure them.  This is where you’ll use the popsicle stick, don’t use your fingers to fold and press the glued ribbon because it would be too hot.

The back part where the crease is may appear to be a little messy but don’t worry about it, the only visible part would be the front part.  Make sure that the pointed part of the triangle is clean too.

TRIANGLE 2

I can’t tell exactly how much you should make because it depends on the size of your cone.  I suggest that you make about 2 dozens first and then  just make another bunch when you run out.

TRIANGLE 3

4.  Stick you first triangle over the seam so you’ll cover it right away.  Put glue on the bottom part of the triangle and stick it upside down such that the pointed tip is facing down.

LAYER 1

5.  Your next triangle should slightly overlap the one next to it.  Make sure that the triangle tip ends at the edge of the cone.  Continue doing this until you fully cover the bottom layer of your cone.

6.  For your second layer, put your triangle in the middle of two bottom triangles and slightly higher.  Repeat this process until you cover the entire cone.

LAYER 2

7.  For your finishing touches, take your favorite tree ornament to serve as your tree topper.  You may also opt to embellish your tree with little rhinestones or other ornaments, I just went for a simpler and cleaner look.

My green and blue table-top trees together with our store-bought decor.  Not bad for a first-timer eh? :)

My green and blue table-top trees together with our store-bought decor we’ve collected since our first Christmas in Jakarta. Not bad for a first-timer eh? 🙂

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TRAVEL DIARIES: Free Fun & Cheap Thrills In Santa Monica

Body clocks adjusted, suitcases unpacked, routines revisited.  Much as I didn’t want our long holiday to end, everything gets back to (crazy, fun) normal. And before my blog site gets stale from being away for too long, let me share with you my travel diary of our first U.S. trip as a family. Heck, MY first U.S. trip!

Dear Hubby was scheduled to do a photo shoot in L.A.  and since it was Christmas season and December is a special month for us (it’s our wedding anniversary and Dear Hubby’s birthday month), Little Boy and I tagged along on this trip and later on headed to two other cities for some more adventure.

SANTA MONICA (LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA)

At the risk of sounding overly emphatic, I have to say this… I absolutely looove this part of L.A.!!!  I like the relaxed vibe in Santa Monica, it makes you feel that you’re in a REAL vacation.  I don’t know about you but I have this thing about scheduled tours that stress me out, the crowds, the long queue, high ticket prices, etc.  We never felt that in Santa Monica at all! No crowds, no tourist traps,   and best of all, it’s FREE FUN! This is such a big deal for us cheapskates :).

PALISADES PARK
You can just chill around the famous PALISADES PARK which is right across our hotel… It is a laid-back beach community within a major city attracting both families and single people.  While Dear Hubby was working on location,  the Little Boy and I explored this area and fell in love with it instantly.  It would’ve been a shame if Dear Hubby didn’t get to see this gorgeous site, I’m glad he extended his stay for a couple of days after his official business to get around Santa Monica with us.

PALISADES PARK.FAMILYPALISADES PARK.FAMILY2PALISADES.FATHER&SON

This is a great walking path on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the ocean.  Great view of the Santa Monica pier.

This is a great walking path on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the ocean. Great view of the Santa Monica pier!

Amazing view, gorgeous path, and fresh and crisp air. What’s not to love?

santa monica viewpalisades.tree-lined path

You’ll see many locals running, walking, biking, working out, or simply just hanging around enjoying the sun and the view. Lots of people stroll along this park with their dogs too. In my case, I had a grand time people-watching :).

palisades park.bikerpalisades park.relax on the grasspalisades.frolic

Little Boy never hesitated making friends with the dogs' owners just so he could play with them.

Little Boy never hesitated making friends with the dogs’ owners just so he could play with them. He did this the whole time and this “trick” never failed!

Palisades Park is also a perfect place for picnics. It has table sets around the park that give you a breathtaking view of the beach and the ocean.

Palisades Park is also a perfect place for picnics. It has table sets around the park that give you a breathtaking view of the beach and the ocean while enjoying your packed lunch.

palisades street sign

SANTA MONICA BEACH
On days that we’re in for some more walking, we would take the steep trail going down the Pacific Coast Highway to get to Santa Monica Beach.

sta monica trailSince going up and down this trail is quite a workout (think 4kms on an inclined treadmill), we made this stroll at the beach part of our regular morning routine.

But you wouldn't mind the long walk if you have this as your view, would you? Eye on the prize!

But you wouldn’t mind the long walk if you have this as your view, would you? Eye on the prize!

Finally, ze Beach!

sta monica beach.birds

A few more steps and you'll reach the famous Sta. Monica Pier.

A few more steps and you’ll reach the famous Sta. Monica Pier.

sta monica beach

 Although California doesn’t exactly have a freezing winter in December, the temperature at that time was at 16°C.  To any Asian who comes from the tropics, you would be crazy to be at the beach in this weather.  But I guess we’d be more crazy if we miss the California beach experience. Besides, 16°C was to be the warmest temperature we would face in this entire U.S. trip so we might as well.

Little Boy had been nagging us for a swim, he backed out because of the freezing water.

Little Boy had been nagging us for a swim, he backed out because of the freezing water.

If you're not into walking, there's the famous Perry's bike rental shop to help you get around the stretch of Santa Monica Beach.

If you’re not into walking, there’s the famous Perry’s bike rental shop to help you get around the stretch of Santa Monica Beach.

This beach is a perfect spot for frolics, packed breakfast and even making out.  See? Free fun and cheap thrills!

sta monica beach.frolickssta monica beach.picnicsta monica beach.kissing

‘Til my next post, see ya!

Hello World!

Image by inferno.freedom-uplink.net

Hello, I’m back from a three-week holiday from Manila, Philippines.  Translation: I haven’t been blogging for the past three weeks.

Our recent Manila vacation was packed with the Christmas rush, holiday traffic, last-minute shopping, reunions, get-together dinners, etc.  The schedule was crazy fun that I never found time to even write a single post on this blog… Well, it didn’t help that we had erratic internet signal and a very low battery life for the camera as well (we left the charger in Jakarta 🙂 ).  I guess that’s the universe’s way of telling me to just have FUN, enjoy the company of my loved ones, and just document these wonderful moments from the heart… teeheee!

And what great fun it was!  I couldn’t believe I was actually having lengthy adult conversations, laughing so I hard ’til my ribs hurt, getting a haircut-mani-pedi package without worrying how much it’ll cost me, and best of all, satisfying our pork (and Pinoy food) cravings! 🙂

I shall be sharing some of our Manila adventures here.  Meanwhile, I’d like to thank our family and friends back in Manila for scheduling the meet-ups despite their equally crazy holiday schedule.  ‘Twas great to once again see friends from the neighborhood, school and work.

Now that the fam is back in our second home,  this means my laptop is once again my bestfriend *sigh*.  Brighter side:  I now have more free time to write and update this blog.  But before that, please excuse me as I organize my cupboard with my Manila loots… 🙂

FROM GLOOM TO GLAM

I’ve been busy lately that’s why I’ve been remiss from sprucing up our house with Christmas décor.  Last week, I finally had the time to bring out the  dusted décor box  and prepared myself  for the Martha Stewart task.  I excitedly ran down the drill on my mind:  set up the tree,  put on the lights, then the ornaments, then the star.   Easy peasy.

I recalled fond memories as I was taking the parts of our one year-old Christmas tree out from its box.  We got the tree last year along with a complete set of bling  as we were to spend our first Christmas season here in Indonesia.  You see, we used to live in  my mom’s house in Manila so the tree and the ornaments in that house were hers.  This one is something we can call our very own.  It was so special to us that we documented every step as we decorated our very first family Christmas tree in our very own (well, rented) home.

My sweet flashback went to a halt when I noticed that there’s a missing part on this tree.  A very important part.  You know that part on the tree base where you insert all the branches into?  It’s NOT IN THE BOX.  Imagine a tree with its upper portion intact  and just a metal pole on its lower portion.  See Exhibit-A for reference.   Apparently,  our  previous helper took care of dismantling and re-packing the tree while I took care of re-packing and labeling the decor last year.  I never noticed that there was a missing part.  And since she’s no longer with us, there’s no way to find out where it has gone :(.

Exhibit-A: Ooohh Christmas Tree…

My stint in the Marketing field trained me to solve ANY crisis.  I was wired to make things happen.  So even when Dear Hubby decided that it’s already useless and just put everything back to the closet, I gave myself a couple of more days until I avert this Christmas tree crisis.  Okay,  I never had any home decorating experience but I watched a lot of Lifestyle Network, Urban Zone and Special Agent Oso so I think I can rock this.

The apartment owner has two home pieces that we never used.  A bronze bowl of sort that’s filled with dried cut flowers and potpourri.  It never served its air freshening purpose but it succeeded in collecting dust.  Another one is a glass vase with plastic flowers.  No offense but, except for Christmas ornaments, Dear Hubby and I were never fans of  artificial plants.  See Exhibit-B.

Exhibit-B: The potpourri bowl that we hide in a dark corner shelf and the artificial flowers that we place on top of the fridge.

A little mixin’ and matchin’ did the trick.  Our home now has a more Christmasy atmosphere! I was happy with the outcome and Dear Hubby was impressed.  As they say, the show must go on and our home is all glammed up for the holidays.  I’m taking back the Martha Stewart influence, Gwyneth Paltrow is more like it! 🙂  By the way, I’d appreciate suggestions as to how I can recycle our poor tree.   Enjoy the holidays everyone!!!

In lieu of the nativity (no Baby Jesus here in Indo) I'm making do with this. I know someone is out of place but Humpty Dumpty is better than the dinosaur my Little Boy previously wanted.

Probably the BIGGEST CHALLENGE in Santa's gift-giving career!

RAISE YOUR HANDS IF YOU THINK SANTA CLAUS IS REAL

With THE guy... in the flesh!

Like many kids, I was a Santa Claus believer.  We would wake up on Christmas mornings and find candies in our stockings.  Gifts were already under the tree waiting to be opened.  Never mind if I saw the same wrapping papers on my Mom’s dresser, maybe Santa and Mom just happened to shop in the same stores in Anson’s Cubao or SM Escolta.  Hey, maybe my mom knew the guy!  After all, didn’t Michael Jackson have a song about his own mom tickling Santa Claus?  After interrogating her about it, my mom said she hasn’t seen him and I believed her, she further said that Santa Claus NEVER shows himself to anyone.  That became a challenge to me.  Nights before Christmas, I would fall asleep waiting for him on the couch beside our Christmas tree.  I’d tell everyone to leave the front door unlocked, we didn’t have a chimney and the poor guy’s too old to climb on windows.   I just gotta see him!  I wanted to speak to him and find out if he really was multi-lingual.  How did he understand my letters written in Tagalog?  Okay, if he wouldn’t show himself and wanted to be mysterious, fine.  Maybe I could just catch a glimpse of the reindeers?  Yes, reindeers would be fine.  I wanted to see if Rudolph’s nose really glowed in the dark.   I always made sure that our garage was clear from any mess for the sleigh’s parking.  This would be my mission impossible year after year.

Then the horror of horrors happened one Christmas season when our helper got possessed by the combined spirits of Mr. Scrooge and The Grinch and decided to tell me that “Santa Claus is your Dad.”.  Huwaaaattt??!?! I felt sorry for my Dad… How could she squeal my Dad’s little secret!  He worked so hard to grow that belly…  I didn’t want to hurt Dad’s feelings so I never told him what I just found out.  I told our helper “Wag mong sabihin sa kanya na alam ko na ha”  (Don’t tell him I already knew).

Things became clearer to me as this development unfolded.  For example, this could be the reason why we had a garage but never had a car.  It’s for the sleigh! There were times I’d be curious and would sneak to my parents’ bedroom and look for that red suit inside my dad’s closet.  One time I asked him, “Daddy, can you say ‘Ho-ho-ho!’?”  but he gave me a puzzled look so I just dropped it.  Besides, no one should hear him do the Santa laugh while he’s wearing his favorite puruntong shorts. I just gave him my reassuring look and in my mind I was  saying “Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.”  The more he looked puzzled.  My gosh, he is good!  Knowing “the secret” felt like being in the CIA or something.  I enjoyed being part of the “connivance team” so much that I would have this all-knowing look over my playmates. “Hah, you better be good or I will tell my Dad not to give you gifts!”   I just had some questions though…  Where did he keep the reindeers?  He knew I always wanted to see Rudolph!  Who were his elves?

photo by: thefunnyblog.org

Fast forward to 2011 and I now have a 5-year old boy who believes in Santa Claus.  He gets a small treat in his stocking everyday with Santa’s little note reminding him to study hard, always be polite, eat his vegetables, etc.  This routine has been encouraging the Little Boy to get up every morning without any prodding from me.  I’m aware of this argument among parents and experts that this “myth” glorifies lying, deception, materialism, etc.  My take is, kids should be sat down by the parents and be told about the truth when parents feel that their kids are ready to handle it.  Kids can keep on believing as long as they know the REAL reason for the Christmas celebration.  After all, Jesus’ birthday is a great, interesting and inspiring story by itself.  Meanwhile, let kids be kids.  I don’t think this will make a traumatic impact on them when they become adults.  I turned out well… I think. 🙂

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