Posts in “DIY”

Cute Valentine’s Gift Wrap (Tutorial)

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Another Valentines is coming! Brent and I are actually will not be together on Valentines since I’m in the Philippines for visit. I think this will be our first time that won’t be together after we married. Anyway, I thought to share with you a cute Valentine’s gift wrap that was inspired from Pinterest. As you know, I love kraft wrapping paper which you can see from my old gift wrap tutorials like “How to create a bow using ribbon”, and Christmas gift wrapping paper like here / here. So here’s how I made this Valentines gift wrap:


Materials to use:


Invisible Tape


Kraft wrapping paper



White Paper

Small piece of cardboard


Step 1 Sprinkle glitter on   a flat surface and use invisible tape (measured how long needs to use for the gift wrap box) and let glitter stick all the sticky side of  invisible tape.

Step 2 Wrap your box with kraft paper as you normally do and start to wrap the first strip and secure it with invisible tape.

Step 3 Finish the other glittered tape on the opposite direction and sealed again with tape at the back.

Step 4 Use twine to wrap as how the glittered tape shows in the photo. Leave 5 inches on both end of the twine.


Step 5 To create the paper heart shape, I sketch it on a piece of cardstock and use it to trace six (6) heart shapes. Cut the heart drawing and punch a hole on lower part using a puncher.


Step 6 Insert 3 heart shapes on each end of twine and secured the end by knotting it.


And that’s it! Here’s a simple yet cute gift wrap you can try for Valentines whether for your boyfriend, husband, family or even to your friends!:-) I hope you enjoy this tutorial!
Have a great week everyone! Follow my Philippine trip journey at Snapchat and Instastories :-)


How to be creative on your Christmas gift wrap

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Here’s another fun way to be creative with your Christmas gift wrap. By experimenting with the texture of Christmas decors, you can get a modern, stylish gift wrap perfect for Christmas! Here’s how I made it!


Kraft Wrapping Paper

Invisible Tape

Artificial Christmas Pine Leaf

White Acrylic

Sponge Brush

Paint Palette (or you may use a simple plate)




Step 1: Start wrapping your gift box with kraft wrapping paper and secure it with invisible tape


Step 2: Apply white acrylic on the flat surface of your palette. Then, flatten it using a sponge brush.

how-to-creative-christmas-gift-wrap-8 Step 3: Press one side of the pine leaf down onto the paint. Make sure you are covering most of the area of the side you are using.



Step 4: Dab the painted side of the pine leaf on the kraft wrapping paper. Try different angles for variation. Be sure sure to cover each side of the gift box. Let it dry.


Step 5: When it’s dry, wrap twine around the box. Make sure there are at least 5 inches of slack remaining at each end of the twine.


Step 6: To make the small wreath, cut two other artificial pine leaves and curve them into a circular shape. Attach them together using hot glue.


Step 7: Put the small wreath on the top of your gift wrap, and center it. You may simply glue the wreath on top, or use any leftover twine to wrap around the wreath to decorate it.


You may also attach a name tag with the twine you wrap around the wreath (as shown in the picture above). I recycled a cereal box to create my own tag for this Christmas gift. :-)

Any other creative gift wrapping ideas that you love to do for Christmas? Don’t forget to check my other gift wrap tutorial for a DIY Christmas tree stencil!

Merry Christmas to all! :-)




Our Christmas Greeting Cards

Monday, December 19, 2016


Yipee! We survived having our Christmas greeting card photos taken, although it was a rollercoaster! 😉  If you have seen my posts on Snapchat and Instagram Stories a few weeks ago, I shared a couple behind-the-scenes looks during our shoot with these two adorable, yet active toddlers. They were running around and didn’t want to stay in one place! But thank God, my mom was there to entertain the kids with the help of their best friends Owl and Froggie (their stuffed animals). Another important thing that we brought were snacks. Oh boy, do they love to eat all the time. It was helpful to use a tripod and clicker as well while my mom entertained her grandkids.

In the end, I’m happy with how the photos came out. I think it’s best to take  A LOT of pictures so you have many options to choose from. We tried to take photos one hour before sunset so that our pictures would have golden light. It was beautiful!!  Printing tip: Always make sure to send JPEG files (which I mostly use) to your favorite printing company in CMYK mode. It makes a difference with the colors and brightness!


Have you seen our Christmas photo cards from last year? It’s like the behind-the-scenes images from this shoot, except for the reflux baby. 😉

P.S. I forgot to ask Brent to proofread the text for our cards. I missed “s” in “The Smiths.” 😉

(Similar items below)


Homemade Christmas Photo Ornament

Wednesday, December 14, 2016



Making these homemade Christmas photo ornaments have been one of my kids’ favorite things to do from our Christmas countdown activities. (Check out my post about the countdown here). They were so excited to feel the dough and play with it. On the other hand, maybe they were excited because they love making a mess… 😉 Here’s the complete recipe and tutorial on how to create these fun ornaments. They are also a perfect gift idea for loved ones and friends.


1 cup flour

½ salt

½ water



Rolling Pin

Photo print on a paper

Cookie cutter, a small lid, or your child’s sippy cup (something to make a circle with)



Chopstick or straw

In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Pour water into the flour, and mix. Keep on kneading the dough with the help of your little one’s hands. This may take a while if your kids are like mine and love playing with the dough.


To start creating the ornament shape, sprinkle flour on the dough’s surface. Roll the dough, then use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to at least a ¼ inch. Next, use your preferred cookie shape cutter. I have a star cookie cutter, and I also used a sippy cup to make circles.

As shown in the picture above, use a chopstick or straw to make a small hole where you will put string through later.  Use a small round cover (I used a laundry detergent and ketchup cap/lid) to carefully press onto the center dough. This is where the photos will be placed. TIP: Sprinkle some flour on the cap/lid you use so it doesn’t stick onto the dough when you press it.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Arrange all the shaped dough on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven for 2 hours. If you don’t have an oven, you may let the dough air dry over a few days. Once dry, use sandpaper to smoothen out the edges.

To prepare the photo, measure the diameter of the inner circle of the ornament. I used Photoshop to get the right diameter of the photo. Print out your photo on paper or you can get your photos printed at a photo center. Cut out the circular photo. Use hot glue to attach the photo into the inner circle. Make sure you distribute the hot glue evenly so that there will be no bumps on the photo. Use any string, like ribbon or twine, to insert into the small hole for hanging.


Done! I love how it looks on our Christmas tree right now. This is also good gift idea for other moms or grandparents too! You can add beads or other Christmas decor to the string of the ornament as well.

Any favorite arts and crafts activity you like to do for Christmas?

I’d love to hear about them!


How To Make Christmas Gift Wrapping Paper

Monday, December 12, 2016


As Christmas celebrations approach, some of you are probably looking for Christmas gift wrapping ideas that will make your gifts look more presentable to your loved ones. Maybe you want the presents under the tree to just look pretty.  Today’s post is about how to wrap and make your Christmas gifts look beautiful. It can be done on your own without spending on expensive materials. Keep scrolling down for the step-by-step tutorial!



Step 1 Use a standard piece of paper and fold it in half horizontally. Then, fold the paper again, this time into quarters. 

Step 2 Use pencil to draw a Christmas tree or other Christmas symbol that you like, onto one side of the folded paper. Make it simple so it’s easy to cut out.

Step 3 Use a cutter to cut out the Christmas tree outline. When you’re done, open the folded paper and you should have a stencil.

Step 4 Cut it in half and save the other half just in case you need it. If you have a long box, you may attach these two panels of stencils together.


Step 5 After you have wrapped a gift box (I used kraft paper, it’s cheap!), place the Christmas tree stencil on top of where you want it.


Step 6 Hold the stencil down and dampen it using a sponge with white acrylic. Tip: Dampen the sponge with water, but make sure you squeeze as much of the water out as you can. Damp sponges allow the paint to apply itself more easily on the paper.


Step 7 This is optional, but you can try using a cereal box and make small circles using a hole-cutter.


Step 8 Repeat Step 6


To finish the look, I used twine (similar on here) and an artificial Christmas pine leaf that I cut out of garland.

That’s it! Now you have simple, yet beautiful gift wrapping paper to use this Christmas!

Anyone here love wrapping presents for Christmas too? :)


DIY Christmas Tree Skirt (No Sewing Needed!)

Thursday, December 8, 2016


diy-christmas-tree-skirt-no-sewing-11 diy-christmas-tree-skirt-no-sewing-2

I’m excited to share this DIY Christmas tree skirt since I usually don’t do these kind of projects. Our Christmas tree has been in our living room since the end of Halloween… I know that might be early for most people here in America, but I actually wanted to have it around earlier in October… (a sign that there’s a Filipino at home) However, my husband and I ended up agreeing to put up a tree after Halloween. You know, marriage is about compromise. 😉 Today, I’m sharing a fun tutorial on how to create your own Christmas tree skirt, using burlap, and without any sewing.  Here’s how I made it!


2 yards of Burlap (I got it at Walmart)




Natural Rope

Glue Gun and Stick



Printed Text of Your Family Name

White Acrylic

Paint Brush


Paint Palette (or small cup)


Step 1: Fold the whole burlap in half and measure out 45 inches in the horizontal direction.

Step 2: Mark the center of the 45-inch line with a pencil. Make sure to mark it on the opposite side of the burlap opening (see image).

Step 3: Use a string with a pencil attached to one end of it. Try to cut the string so that the tip of the pencil extends to 22.5 inches with the string. Place the other end of string on the mark you made earlier with pencil, on the burlap. Create a semicircle using the pencil. I tried to use a pin to hold the string down, but it kept moving. Good thing my mom was there to hold it for me.


Step 4: Cut the semicircle by following the line you made with the string and pencil. diy-christmas-tree-skirt-no-sewing-7

Step 5: Depending on the thickness of the tree stand, draw a semicircle on the center of the burlap large enough so that it can wrap around the stand. Cut out the semicircle you drew to create a hole. diy-christmas-tree-skirt-no-sewing-8

Step 6: Unfold the burlap and cut out a narrow section of the burlap to the right side.

Step 7: Cut out 3-4 strips of velcro. Using hot glue, attach the strips to the bottom of one of the sections you had cut. Attach the other velcro strips to the top of the other section. This way, you can velcro together the burlap after wrapping it around the Christmas tree.

Step 8: To create the round edge design. Use the remaining burlap, measure 2 inches of width and length is depending how the burlap is. It will look like a wide burlap ribbon.

Step 9: Remove string on the burlap ribbon one by one until you have at least 1 to 1.5 inches fringe.

Step 10: Use hot glue to stick the end of the burlap ribbon to the edge of the skirt. Start to  create pleats and use hot glue again to secure. Do this until you cover all edges of the burlap skirt. I think I used 4-5 burlap ribbons around this skirt.


Step 11: Grab the natural rope and use hot glue to stick it around the upper part of the burlap ribbon. Using the rope is also a good way to hide the dried glue from the pleats.


To paint a family name, print out your family name with your preferred font and cut it out. Trace around the letters with a pen (Pencil can be hard to see). You can also write out the words free-hand if you know calligraphy. Paint the inside of the text with white acrylic. You can paint over the pen later so it doesn’t show. Let it dry. You may also use a fabric protector like I did. I used Scotchgard.


That’s it! I’m so happy with how it turned out! It is also much cheaper than buying a new one. Since I had already had the materials, I only had to spend less than $5 for the burlap.


My youngest singing his favorite Christmas carol, “La la la.” Ukulele made in the Philippines. If you’re wondering why there aren’t any ornaments on the bottom of the tree and somewhere else, that’s what happens when you have toddlers. 😉

Similar products:

Christmas Tree with Clear Lights

Icicle Ornament

Red Glitter Ribbon

Christmas Ornament Set

Quick question for my readers: When is the earliest date you’ve put up a Christmas tree?


DIY Christmas Glittery Greetings on Canvas With Scotch-Brite®

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ScrubSeason #CollectiveBias


Today is the last day of November, and that means the next month is December when we celebrate Christmas! (Insert Jingle Bells dance). Is anyone else excited for this celebration? I’ve always loved Christmas so much, and it is even more exciting now that I have my own family. This year we are celebrating Christmas together with my mom,  who flew from the Philippines to celebrate Christmas for the first time with her grandchildren. She can also help me cook, since I love to prepare meals and bake for the holidays., Our kitchen will be pretty busy!

Now that I’m older, I better understand the true meaning of Christmas. Since Jesus Christ is the reason for this season, I decided to add an inspiring canvas Christmas decoration in our kitchen. This decoration can be used anywhere in your home to remind you and your family that a Savior was sent to bring joy to the world :-)


Materials needed:

Canvas (I used a 16×20  burlap ” canvas, but feel free to use white canvas)

Red Glitter

Transparent Glue

Small Paint Brush

Printable Text (Here’s what I made: Big text for bigger canvas / Small text if you have at least 8.5” x 11” Canvas) )




Hair Spray


Hair Dryer

Pine branches or other natural decorations

Glue Gun


Step 1 Ready your printable text. Cut out the letters, arrange the words on the canvas, and secure them with tape.

Step 2 Trace around the letters with a pencil. Or feel free to do the words by free hand if you know calligraphy. It’s up to you! (Hint: If you’re using a white canvas, you can use a pencil to shade the back of the paper after you’ve printed it. Then just place the paper shaded-side down on the canvas and trace the letters with a ballpoint pen. Much easier! This technique doesn’t work as well on brown canvas, however).

Step 3 Make sure you can see the lines so it’s easy to apply the glue to the outline.

Step 4 Apply clear glue on the inside of the text and use a small paint brush to distribute all over.

Step 5 Now begin to sprinkle the red glitter over the glue. Make sure you cover every glued part of the text.


Step 6 After you finished covering the text with glitter you may stand up the canvas and remove the excess glitter by tapping the canvas gently on a hard surface like a table or counter.

Step 7 Use a clean brush or hair dryer to remove excess glitter around the text. I used Scotch Tape around my brush to make it easier to clean up the edges.


Step 8 Grab your hair spray and spray it all over the glittered text. This helps to lock in the glitter and stop it from flaking off.


Step 9 This is optional, but if you have an old Christmas tree or wreath, you can use branches and twigs to decorate the edge of the canvas to make your decor even more Christmassy!  Now you’re done!


Cleaning-up is also much easier with my all-time favorite Scotch-Brite® Brand. They have a new product called the Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloth, which comes two to a pack. I use one for the kitchen, while the other one I use around the house, such as for cleaning my work desk. I like that this dish cloth is washable, reusable, and available in a wide variety of colors: Navy and Coral available in Walmart,  and Mint and Gray online. It’s only $4.97! Save $1 on any two Scotch-Brite® Products (Scrub Sponges, Lint Rollers and Scrubbing Dish Cloths).



There are things I usually wash it by hand, such as my youngest son’s food tray, chopping boards, pans, or other big and bulky kitchen items. I’m excited that there is something like Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloth in Walmart that helps make my kitchen routine easier and more convenient, especially during the busy holiday season. I also love how it makes the dish soap create more lather. And a thick, rich lather makes me feel that my dishes are cleaner!


Here are two sides of the Scrubbing Dish Cloth. One side has small dots to scrub tough messes without leaving a scratch on the surface. It worked so well that my mom also wanted to buy some of her own Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths before flying back home!  The other side is smooth, and can be used for wiping and drying.


diy-christmas-glittery-greetings-on-canvas-with-scotch-brite-8 diy-christmas-glittery-greetings-on-canvas-with-scotch-brite-3 diy-christmas-glittery-greetings-on-canvas-with-scotch-brite-16

Any tips how you remove tough messes from pans or baking dish? And how do you decorate your kitchen area for Christmas?

P.S Check out other fun tutorial and food recipes that you might consider this season!









DIY Painted Canvas With Inspiring Text

Monday, November 14, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OREOThinSide #CollectiveBias


I’m finally done organizing my work station, AKA my “me time station.” Having this area gives me a space to relax, blog, work, and reflect.. I’ve always believed that it is healthy for moms to have time for themselves. It’s important to have the time to keep yourself healthy, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. I love my kids and I try to stay active with them during the first part of the day, but once it’s naptime… yahooo! Mama Time starts! (Insert dance move.) 😉 Instead of napping, which I rarely do, I chose to go back to do something I used to love before I became a mother. I’ve been going back to the days when I was an artist and have started painting. It makes me feel like I’m in college again! 


I thought about what I wanted to paint and decided on an abstract painting, with inspiring words from Colossians 3:2. I love the message of this verse: “Set your mind on things above.” It actually cut right through my heart when I read it for the first time. I knew this would be a perfect reminder for me, especially around my work station, to balance life, work, and family and to focus on the things God wants for me. Today’s partnership is with OREO, one of my favorite snacks ever since I was younger.  Keep scrolling to learn to easily make your own inspirational painting. diy-abstract-painting-with-text3

Materials I used:

  • Canvas (I used 11.5″ x 15.5″)
  • Printed Text (Here’s a FREE Printable that I made)
  • Blue and White Acrylic Paints
  • Small Paint Brushes
  • Small Foam Brush
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Masking tape
  • Paint Palette (Optional) or you can use any kind of lid cap
  • Water


Step 1: Begin applying the blue acrylic paint on the canvas.

Step 2: Use a small foam brush to even out the blue paint all over the canvas.

Step 3: Next, squeeze white acrylic paint on top of the blue paint as shown in the picture above.

Step 4: Use a small, flat brush to brush off the white paint in a horizontal motion. Do this to create a blend/blur effect between the blue and white paints.


Step 5: I added more white paint to the bottom of the canvas to create a transition from light to darker blue across the canvas. I dampened a small foam brush with water, then squeezed the foam to remove excess water., I then used downward brushstrokes, followed by leftward brushstrokes, to create texture (see image below). Do this in a fast motion. Also, don’t forget to paint the side of the canvas.  After you’re done painting, let the paint dry


Here’s a close-up of the brushstrokes and the texture. The stroke I used was inspired by the texture of a “banig,” which is a handwoven mat in the Philippines. You can follow this brushing style if you’d like, but since it’s an abstract painting, I think it’s more fun to follow your own feelings on what kind of brushstroke to use for your painting :)


Step 6: While waiting for the paint to dry, write or print the text you would like to use on a piece of paper. Then start shading the back of the paper you’re using with a  pencil. Make sure you press hard with the pencil so the graphite will transfer onto the painting.

Step 7: Center the paper on the canvas and tape it on all four corners. Start tracing the text with a pen or pencil. Remember to trace firmly so that the pencil transfers onto the canvas. You may touch-up the text drawing to make it more visible if needed.


Step 8: Start to fill the traced text using white acrylic paint. I used a small detail brush for small areas and a flat brush for wider areas. Tip: I like to mix a little bit of water with the acrylic in the palette for smoother application on the canvas. I put 2 coatings of white paint to make the color more opaque and brighter.


Step 9: You’re done! Hang on a wall or lean on a shelf or desk to add inspiration and good vibes for your home. :-)

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Thanks to OREO for keeping me company while doing this painting. I enjoyed eating their thin and crispy cookies, which I grabbed from my nearest Kroger grocery store.
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How do you enjoy your “me time” moments?

Be sure to check out other fellow bloggers’ fun and inspiring stories here!


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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