Posts in “Home Design”

Our shared room with baby + organic baby mattress

Sunday, October 22, 2017

This post is sponsored by My Green Mattress, but all opinions are honest and my own. shared room with baby organic crib mattress (8) shared room with baby organic crib mattress (3) shared room with baby organic crib mattress (4)

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Brent and I always wanted to sleep close to the new baby, before he turned one year old. Our first two sons slept in a bassinet as babies, during the first few weeks after I gave birth to them. I found it easier to get up and feed them, most especially when they were still waking up at night frequently. When I gave birth to my third son, I really didn’t expect that he would be the biggest baby I have ever had. He weighed ten pounds at birth! See my birth story here. Just imagine how much he weighs now, after a couple of months… He’s a big baby indeed, and cute!

We are thankful to have found a place in Galveston that has much more space for us. It has bigger rooms that work perfectly for our shared room with a baby crib. We are using an Emily Natural Crib Mattress from My Green Mattress for our son’s crib, which fits perfectly. I wish I knew about this baby crib mattress back when my two eldest boys were babies. They have sensitive skin and one of them has eczema and allergies, so this would have been great. My Green Mattress is a family business located in LaGrange, Illinois. They use organic cotton and 100% natural eco-wool quilted covers. You can tell that the quality of this mattress is astounding since it is hand-crafted. I like how this company prioritizes offering all-natural mattresses that are non-toxic, soft, and comfortable for babies.

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I can’t wait for our little son to use this mattress, all the way until we transform his crib into a toddler bed! shared room with baby organic crib mattress (11)

Are you also sharing your room with the baby? How does your little one sleep?



My Workspace + DIY Post-It Board

Sunday, October 8, 2017

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I made an easy and affordable DIY Post-it board for my new workspace. Since we just moved here last month, I only now got a chance to organize and clean this area. This is something that I’ve been excited to do. The area serves as my quiet place to unwind when all the boys are napping. I put less stuff on the shelf so it doesn’t look cluttered. On it, you can find a couple of frames, the Bible, and a gift from a friend. I decided to add a couple of items to my workspace that are inspired by my home country: the Philippines. These items include a Philippine flag and a Bingo container, which my siblings, cousins, and I played with when we were young. If you have noticed, the DIY leaf painting on the wall has been moved a couple of times.  You may have previously seen it in the bathroom or master bedroom. I think this painting will stay awhile in my work station, since it symbolizes my blog’s logo. I love how the Post-It board helps me with important reminders, so I don’t forget about things. Even though I have my own planner, I always find it easy to remember things if I write them down on a Post-It and stick it up somewhere. If you’d like to create this kind of Post-It board, here are the materials and steps. So easy!

  • Cardboard frame (less than $2 from IKEA)
  • Twine
  • Glue stick and glue gun
  • Scissor
  • standard paper

Start by gluing the twine in layers around the cardboard frame. I ended up with about 4 layers of twine. When you get to that layer, simply cut the excess twine off.Once you’ve done this, you can cut out more pieces of twine and glue them to the corners to make corners for the frame. Then, use a piece of standard white paper (or any type of design that you’d like to use) as the frame’s background. That’s it! You have a simple, easy, and affordable Post-It board. You can also use a dry erase marker if you’d like to write directly on the board instead of using Post-Its. You could also use both ways!

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Chair from a garage sale of Impact Church. They have an annual garage sale every March, so follow their page for announcements! work-space-diy-post-it-board (1)

Do you find it more effective to put your reminders on Post-Its, in a planner, or a cellphone calendar?



Minimal Bathroom Summer Refresh (+ Win $1000 or $250 Target Gift Card!)

Monday, June 26, 2017

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

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Our guest bathroom is used mostly by the kids, and has been decorated with them in mind. However, since it’s summer, visitors like family and friends are visiting more often, and I wanted to give our guest bathroom a more clean, adult look (sorry kids!).. I found these lovely items at Target, where Quilted Northern offered an exciting and fun challenge for a bathroom refresh. I’m pretty excited to join this challenge to transform our guest bathroom into a clean, minimal, and classy look which requires only few simple steps!



First, I focused on changing the shower curtain. I used window panels to give an airy, spacious illusion in the bath. This not only gives a nice, clean  style to the bathroom, but it also hides my kids’ toys and the clear shower curtain in back of the window panels, keeping the shower area clean and simple.

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Extend this clean and simple look to the walls  by adding a floating shelf. This is a striking way to add dimension and color to the wall! Since I wanted the guest bathroom to look clean and minimal, I chose a small, sturdy white finish floating shelf.

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Target offers some beautiful artificial plants – which means no watering required! I found this faux succulent plant in a muted gray square cement pot, which added a lovely greenery look to the bathroom. I also added Quilted Northern® Mega Rolls on top of the toilet bowl for simple storage. Even though we won’t change the tissue roll often (Quilted Northern Mega Rolls have 4 regular rolls in one) the stack of tissue adds a richer, fuller feeling to the bathroom!

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By the way, you can save 10% off Quilted Northern Mega Toilet Paper on Cartwheel from 6/20- 7/8, and they also offer $5 Target Gift Card when you buy 3 packs of Quilted Northern Mega Toilet Paper. This deal is only available from June 6 to June 24 only, so be sure to check it out!

Here’s a before and after of our guest bathroom, which obviously been hanging out with the little ones. If you are wondering what’s that green bucket is, we call it a “Tabo” in Tagalog (Filipino). It’s what my mom gave to my kids to use for taking bath, as most Filipino kids use a big bucket of water and tabo, rather than a bathtub, to bathe 😉

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I know most of you love winning prizes! Good news! Vote on your favorite Quilted Northern character-inspired bathroom [Daddy Gator, Little Miss Puffy Tail, or Sir Froggy] for a chance to win a $1,000 Grand Prize or a $250 Target GiftCard! Sweepstakes run from 6/19-8/1.

#MegaSummerRefresh #Sweepstakes (6/19 to 7/31)

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I hope this post inspires you to give a little refresh to your bath this summer! Any tips on how you make your bathroom look clean and nice for visitors?


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.


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.


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


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 :-)


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!


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.


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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!









A Simple Autumn Dining Home Tour

Sunday, November 6, 2016


The first few weeks after we moved here, we didn’t have a complete dining table set. We had sold most our stuff when we left LA. Thankfully, I found a second-hand dining table online that Brent and I liked, which only cost $150. Its original color was black, and though I preferred white, the main top wood is what made us choose it! One of my good friends, Denise, has been repainting her own furniture lately. She inspired me to paint my own dining table since I like the color white. I think the color white makes our home feel more spacious and look brighter. It was my first time painting furniture, so it was a good thing that my friend recommended chalk paint. It’s really easy to use. Since it’s fall and Thanksgiving is coming, I wanted to make a simple fall-themed centerpiece for our dining table. Here’s what I came up with.
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My kids and I were walking outside and we saw these big, wide leaves that I thought I could use to style our centerpiece. I wrote words that inspire me on them saying: “Family,” “Thankful,” “Blessed,” and “Gather.” I added small pumpkins and used a tall rounded glass vase to place them in. I love the simplicity of it, especially since it doesn’t take up a lot of space on the table. I also added a wooden table runner that my mom brought from the Philippines. Below are a few similar products that I thought you might like to check out!

Natural Table Runner

Simple Farm House Dining Set

Glass Vase

Sleek Bench

Modern Square Canapé Plates

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Anyone else like styling their table centerpiece? What kind of style do you like to do for autumn? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.



Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, photography, motherhood and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of three boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Based in Houston, Texas. Originally from the Philippines.

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

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