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Posts in “DIY”

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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Cute Valentine’s Gift Wrap (Tutorial)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

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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:

Glitter

Invisible Tape

Scissor

Kraft wrapping paper

Pencil

Twine

White Paper

Small piece of cardboard
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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.

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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.

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

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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 :-)

CATEGORY Design, DIY
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How to be creative on your Christmas gift wrap

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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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!

Materials:

Kraft Wrapping Paper

Invisible Tape

Artificial Christmas Pine Leaf

White Acrylic

Sponge Brush

Paint Palette (or you may use a simple plate)

Twine

Scissor

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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! :-)

 

 

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Our Christmas Greeting Cards

Monday, December 19, 2016

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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!

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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)

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Homemade Christmas Photo Ornament

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

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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.

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

½ salt

½ water

 

Materials:

Rolling Pin

Photo print on a paper

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

Twine

Scissor

Chopstick or straw
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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!

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How To Make Christmas Gift Wrapping Paper

Monday, December 12, 2016

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Step 8 Repeat Step 6

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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? :)

CATEGORY Christmas, DIY
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DIY Christmas Tree Skirt (No Sewing Needed!)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

 

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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!

Materials:

2 yards of Burlap (I got it at Walmart)

Ruler

Pencil

String

Natural Rope

Glue Gun and Stick

Velcro

Scissor

Printed Text of Your Family Name

White Acrylic

Paint Brush

Water

Paint Palette (or small cup)

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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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