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Posts in “DIY”

Succulent Thank You Gift Idea With Free Printable Tag

Monday, July 10, 2017

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Today, I’m sharing with you all a tutorial on how to wrap a succulent plant, as a thank you gift idea. It’s so easy to do with only a few materials needed. I also want to share a free printable “Thank You” tag that you can print and use, to finish your gift wrapping. This succulent plant thank you gift idea is perfect for baby shower hosts, teacher’s appreciation, or to anyone else you appreciate.

 

Materials:

Succulent Plant

Kraft Paper

Pencil

Scissors

Ruler

Natural Burlap Fabric

Clothespin

Thank you tag

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The way you cut your paper will depend on the size of your succulent. For my plant, I measured and cut a 14”x 14” kraft paper using scissors, and put the pot in the center. Then, I wrapped it around the plant container as seen in the image above. Try to cut your paper so that it can wrap around your plant container like that. succulent thank you gift with printable 2 succulent thank you gift with printable 9

I used a natural burlap fabric (leftover from my DIY Christmas Tree Skirt) to use as a ribbon or bandana styling to help seal the kraft paper around the plant container. succulent thank you gift with printable 7 succulent thank you gift with printable 10

Print the “Thank You” tag (Here’s a FREE printable you may use and print) and use a clothespin or something similar, to attach it to the gift wrapping or burlap fabric. I printed my tag on standard paper and glued it onto kraft paper to make it look nicer. That’s it!

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Who do you want to give this succulent thank you gift to?

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Fish Themed Birthday Party + Birthday Banner Tutorial

Thursday, June 22, 2017

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My second son turned two this month! I can describe him as a brave and strong toddler. He loves to swim (using his floaties of course) and even jumps into the water on his own. I am proud of him in many ways, especially when he copies us when we pray before eating meals and going to bed. He is such a sweet boy with lots of energy. 😉 We had a great day with his grandparents and a few friends, celebrating his birthday with swimming and splashing.

Since he is fascinated with fish I thought to make his two-year-old birthday celebration into a fish theme. To make this party more “fishy”,my mother-in-law and I worked together to create a fish birthday cake for him! My little boy loved it, and so did my eldest son!

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I made a birthday banner that is different this time, since it says “two” not “happy birthday”. Here are the materials that I used. Most of them came from Hobby Lobby.

Cardstock Paper

Twine

Scissors

Tape

Glue

Pencil

*Round sized pattern (see details below)

Cardboard

White Paint (optional)

 

First, I sketched the word “two” on blue cardstock paper. The bigger, the better. I used one that was 12” x 12” in size from Hobby Lobby. You can make the sketch easier by printing out the word “two” from a computer, and  then tracing it onto the blue paper. Font styles depend on your preference, but I suggest to use a wider/bold font style. Finally, simply cut out the word “two”.

For the fish, I drew a big oval as the body and added a tail that would fit on an 8” x 11” yellow paper. You can use this first sketch to trace the second fish pattern. Use another paper for the stripes and tail color. I used the color orange for this style. Glue the orange pattern onto the fish body and trim the excess (as seen in the picture above).* Add the fish eyes by using small and medium round-shaped container lids. Use then to trace on black and white paper. Glue the white rounded paper, then the black circle for the eyes.

This is optional but you can create a fish rod to add onto the birthday fish banner. I used cardboard to draw a fish rod then cut it out with scissors​. I also painted it white and used yellow paper for the handle and twine for the fishing line. You can also add some fun details like small circles on the side. I used twine to put these designs together along with tape at the back of the designs.

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Anyone else​ have kids turning two this summer?

I hope you all enjoy this tutorial! Have a great weekend ahead!

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My little son. Mama and Dada love you!

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DIY Cardboard Playhouse (Inspired by Nipa huts)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

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We got some big boxes from an IKEA dresser a few weeks ago and I thought to make something out of them before they were thrown in the garbage bin. I think I’ve turned into a cardboard hoarder since I became a mom 😉  It’s just that there are so many things to create out of cardboard, instead of just throwing them away. I like to save cardboard or diaper boxes, not only to use for moving, but as a scratch board for painting or crayon activities for my kids, and other random crafts.

This is a modern playhouse that was inspired by the “bahay kubo” or nipa hut. It is a traditional house from the old times in the Philippines. When I think of “bahay kubo,” I remember my grandma who lived in the Island of Marinduque. I miss her and her nipa hut that we used to stay in whenever we visited her. I mentioned to my husband that my ideal house in Marinduque (which is where I used to live too) is just a simple nipa hut-inspired home. Maybe that will be our retirement house someday. 😉  

Here are the materials I used to create this fun playhouse:

  • Cardboard
  • Small paper clips (I used these clips to attach cardboards together)
  • Acrylic paints and brushes
  • Fabrics (I had leftovers from my DIY Kitchen project)
  • Natural rope twine
  • Glue gun (to stick the fabric for window)
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Box Cutter
  • Ruler and pencil (to draw the windows and door design)

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It’s fun to have this area for the kids can hang out in, or hide in for hide-and-seek. However, I’m pretty sure this playhouse might be demolished in the next few weeks since my boys are like the Hulk. 😉

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see my IG stories. I always share about my daily life with my kids, including fun activities we like to do!

Have a great weekend friends!

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Living Room: DIY Painting For A Blank Wall

Friday, May 26, 2017

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It’s been almost a year now since we moved into our apartment. I realized it was time to do something with the blank wall behind our couch, to make our living space more inviting. I had thought of two options on how to add decors to the wall: frames or a painting that I would make. My husband surprised me with an art store gift card for my birthday last month, and I thought this would be the perfect time to do something that I enjoy. That’s why I chose to make a painting for our living room wall.

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I used two pieces of canvas for this wall art. Since I’m pregnant and I painted inside the house, where my children are always present, I chose to use acrylic paint over oil. It doesn’t smell and it dries easily. living-room-diy-painting-blank-wall-6

There are different styles of painting and I chose an abstract style inspired by the ocean’s blues and whites. My husband loves going to the beach and the color blue, so I tried to get inspiration from there. When it comes to using acrylic paint on a big surface like this canvas, I like to have a spray bottle of water beside me. This makes it easy to spray some water on my palette (or even directly onto the canvas) to create smoother brush strokes with the paint. Art sponges and palette knives are great tools as well to create texture on the canvas.

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How do you style your living room wall? Happy weekend!

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Floral Watercolor Art + Tips About Graphic Design

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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I did a watercolor painting session last week for a friend of mine. She needed a logo for her new business Christian Grace Embroidery. Since she wanted the elements in the design to include florals, I thought it would be easier to do it hand-painted first. When I used to work as a full-time graphic designer, I always tried to make my work simple and clean.  I like choosing simple fonts and avoid using more than 3 font styles. You can see my old commercial designs and advertisement layouts here. Today, I wanted to share some basic steps on creating graphic designs like this.

RESEARCH

Most of my clients give samples of what designs they like in terms of look, color schemes etc. I also do my own research for inspiration before I start putting the composition together.

 

SKETCH

Start to sketch what the composition could look like. I like to make a few studies (definition) to see which design will work great for the product/service.

 

COLORING

Watercolor is a great option to use for creating floral artwork. I wish I brought my good paint brushes that I used in the Philippines. Investing in good brushes makes a big difference in your brushstrokes when it comes to painting.

 

SCAN

After I’m done painting, I use a scanner to transfer it to my computer. Then, I start polishing it up in Photoshop.

 

LAYOUT

I always make sure that I have a good resolution size of my design in Photoshop, so the quality of the image will be good when printing, uploading, etc. Try to explore different styles coming from the original artwork. For example, for the Facebook header, I repeated​ the floral artwork three times to create artwork on the top. You may try to remove some elements or try to copy some areas, according to what you need.

 

I hope this helps those who want to make their own logo for their business, or those who are beginners in graphic design. If you are fan of embroidery, don’t forget to check out Christian Grace Embroidery and their products. Support local moms and their business in Houston!

CATEGORY Design, DIY
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DIY Animal Silhouette Painting (For Mom & Kids to Make Together!)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

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I’m always excited whenever my kids and I do a painting activity together. As you may know, I graduated from a fine arts college and I used to do a lot of paintings before. There is quite a difference between my paintings now and the ones from college. The ones I paint today are colorful, fun and happy artworks compared to my college ones, which you can see some examples of here. My husband loves to tease me and says the reason for my darker art was that I was empty and depressed, until I met him. It is true. ; )

I saw cheaper canvases at Walmart and found 2 for just under $4. I thought were the perfect size to have for our first canvas painting activity. The challenging part of these activities for parents is cutting out the masking tape and following the animal shapes, but it is worth doing!

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First, cover the top of the canvas with masking tape. Leave only the center area clear where you think the sketch’s outlines won’t be. It’s better not to overlap the masking tape too much, so it won’t be too thick to cut. Start to sketch the animal shape of your choice for your child. I suggest to make the sketch simple to have a simple outline for cutting. Next, gently cut and follow the outline of the animal sketch. I used a box cutter to do this. Canvasses have a layer of primer paint, so it acted as a little bit of protection when I used the cutter to remove the masking tape. It helped when I put my other hand underneath to gauge if I was pressing too hard with the cutter on the canvas. If you have another technique on how to do this part, feel free to share in the comment box! :-)

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Once you are done with your animal sketch, prepare acrylic paint colors that you want to use for your kids. I let my kids explore by using different kinds of brushes and tools to paint.

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Let the artwork dry before peeling the masking tape. Once you are done, you can retouch the edges by using white acrylic paint. Use a thin paint brush (similar to a pointed eyeliner brush) to create a white outline like as shown in the pictures here.

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Any fun art activities that you and your kids love to do on Mother’s Day?

 

I hope all of my readers who are moms have a great time celebrating Mother’s Day. Motherhood is such a blessing from God. I am thankful that He gave me the role of being a mom!

 

Have a great week!

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Ninja Turtle Inspired Birthday + Filipino Skewered Barbecue Recipe

Thursday, April 6, 2017

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My eldest son has been liking “ninjas” a lot.  I think he’s been a fan of them ever since he was an infant. My husband would lift him up and have him pretend to jump all over the house (walls, sofas, etc). This year for his birthday, he was the one who kept telling me that he would like ninjas for his birthday. That’s why I planned to use a touch of Ninja Turtles and a colorful theme for his special day. I saw some ninja turtle birthday ideas when it came to food. I tried to make the fruit tray and saw Ninja Turtle cookies in a grocery store. We also played “Pin the Mask” on the ninja, thanks to my friend Karla who led the game. We had a great time with our friends and their kids, who are close to my son’s heart. I thought to prepare Filipino dishes like lumpia and skewered pork barbecue, so our friends could taste some FIlipino dishes that we love. Here’s a recipe of Filipino skewered pork barbeque in case you guys want to try it. It’s actually a street food in the Philippines, which I loved to buy often when I lived there. It’s perfect if you dip it with spicy vinegar and eat it with rice!! YUM!

 

(Special thanks to my sister-in-law Suki for the birthday decor!)

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Filipino Skewered Pork Barbecue

 

2 lbs pork, sliced

½ cup soy sauce

½ ketchup

8-10 cloves garlic, minced (I used garlic pressed, similar to this)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1-2 teaspoons sriracha (optional, but it’s good!)

2 teaspoons of lemon juice (fresh or it can be from the bottle of concentrate)

1 cup (or more) of Sprite (Yep!)

Bamboo skewers – Soak a night or at least 20 minutes before you use it. It keeps the skewers from getting burnt during grilling.

 

Instructions:

Combine soy sauce, ketchup, minced garlic, brown sugar, pepper and salt, sriracha, and lemon into a flat container (I like to use a glass baking dish), stir it well with a fork. Place sliced pork onto the dish and mix together with the sauce. Pour the Sprite evenly over the pork. Cover it and refrigerate it to marinate overnight.

After it’s marinated, skewer the pork with the bamboo sticks. Keep the sauce aside. Ready the grill at medium heat. While waiting for the grill to be hot, cook the sauce from the marinated pork with a low heat and stir. Wait for it to bubble while cooking. When it’s cooked, I taste it and add some sprite, ketchup and brown sugar depending on how I want it to come out. For my son’s party, I found it a little spicy for our visitors who were kids, so I added these ingredients to adjust it. This cooked sauce will be used to brush onto the barbecue while on the grill so it’s juicy and moist. Put the barbeque pork on the preheated grill and start to brush the cooked sauce on each side of the pork. Grill 10-12 minutes per side. Keep rotating it and brushing the pork with the sauce keep it moist. Cooking takes about 25-30 minutes. I used a charcoal grill to cook this, but you may use a gas grill too.

 

Try serving it with spicy vinegar and rice! It’s totally delicious!

 

Anyone here tasted this skewered barbecued pork before?

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Bathroom Update on a $20 Budget

Monday, April 3, 2017

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When we moved back to Houston last year, we were excited to move into our new apartment with our kids. The first thing that I fell in love with at our new place was the bathroom. Overall, our new apartment is more spacious than our apartment in LA, has a big tub, and has a walk-in closet too. Texas has bigger spaces, but guess what, it has lower costs of living too, especially compared to LA. You can see my post about our bathroom makeover here, where I added curtains and some plants too. This time, I decided to remove the plants and add artwork I made, inspired by a coconut tree. I bought this affordable poster frame (around $15) a few months ago, but never had time to start painting. I finally found some time to paint during my kids’ bedtime. It’s a good way to relax after a long day. I used watercolor for this painting which i was actually hesitant to use, as it had been a long time since I last use that medium. But hey, it turned out okay, right?  I guess my artist friends will be like, “Umm, you need more blending.” Haha

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I went to one of the biggest garage sales in Houston held by Impact Church of Christ last month. That’s where I got this native basket that I turned into magazine container. What was the price? Only $2!! This is what I always love about going to this garage sale of Impact Church, I always find cool stuff in a very affordable cost. You can find stuff for babies and kids, furnitures, kitchenwares (found gorgeous pieces!) and many more. You should definitely won’t miss this garage sale that happens every year (around March). Better follow them in Facebook to get updated for upcoming events. And guess what, all the money you spent will be 100% donated to this church who helps people who are less fortunate. bathroom-update-on-a-budget (5)

Here’s a haggard photo of me and my fresh artwork made by time and effort of a mom 😉

Happy weekday to all! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram :-)

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Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, design, and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of two boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Originally from the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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