Posts in “Design”

Gift Wrap Idea: How To Create A Bow Using Ribbon

Wednesday, August 24, 2016



What you need:

A gift wrapped with brown wrapping paper

Thick Ribbon

Glue Gun

Glue Stick


Pencil and markers


After wrapping up your gift with brown wrapping paper. Start by placing ribbon around the gift. Make sure it is able to wrap all the way around. Then, stick it to the back with the glue gun.


To start the bow, use a length of around 12 to 13 inches.


Fold at the back and seal it with a glue gun.


The bow should be like this when pressed this way.

Apply glue gun inside the center and hold for a few seconds until it’s glued together and dry. Clean up the excess strands of glue if there are any.

Cut off a ¾ inch strap of ribbon

Wrap the ¾ inch ribbon over the center of the bow. Glue it to the bow with the glue gun.

Finally, stick it on the top of the ribbon, wrapped on the gift box. gift-wrap-idea-how-tocreate-a-perfect-easy-bow-using-ribbon-brown-wrapping-ideas-wedding-anniversary-birthday-present-hello-island-mama-tutorial-12

Brent and I celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary this month, so I wrote “Fifth Year” on the top of the gift wrap. You may try writing your husband’s name, anniversary date, or inspiring words instead of your anniversary year. If you are not comfortable doing handwritten words like this, you may find a font that you like. Then, simply print the word/s and trace it by shading at the back of it with a pencil.
Brown wrapping paper or kraft paper is my favorite option for gift wrapping, whether it’s for holiday gifts, birthdays, or anniversaries. By adding some accents, it makes the gift wrap more interesting and exciting. gift-wrap-idea-how-tocreate-a-perfect-easy-bow-using-ribbon-brown-wrapping-ideas-wedding-anniversary-birthday-present-hello-island-mama-tutorial-9

Any favorite gift wrap ideas you have?

If you like this tutorial, share the image below to your Pinterest board 🙂



Whale Themed Baby Shower Ideas

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Whale themed baby shower ideas also perfect for birthday parties! This theme will inspire you to create summer vibes for your baby shower or child’s party.

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Baby showers are always fun to attend; meeting new people, food, desserts, games, and opening of gifts. One of things that also make me excited are seeing themed decor. A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law Suki, had her baby shower and I was in charge of decorating. The theme was inspired by whales, which Suki chose. The first thing I always do when planning for decorations is going to my favorite site Pinterest.  It’s where I love to pin different ideas.

I made this balloon banner a couple of days before the shower because I was afraid that it would take lot of work and time. But it wasn’t actually that hard. Blowing the balloons was much more difficult than making the actual balloon banner! If you’d like to know how to create this, check out YouTube. There are plenty of tutorials there. 🙂

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This whale themed was mostly used with balloons and some DIY art work such as the painted whale hanging from the ceiling. This whale was made in an old cardboard and used acrylic. Here are the photos I snap during the baby shower.

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Baby Shower Favors/Giveaways. These were Hershey chocolates covered with blue paper. The center of the blue wrapping paper was cut out to show the word “He” to show the baby’s gender.

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A Bible verse about children.

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Guess the Size of Mom’s Waist. I was really surprised by some of the guesses for Suki’s waistline size… She is not having triplets or quadruplets. 😉

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Messages to the couple where guests wrote a note of advice or encouragement, for their new journey of parenthood.


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Cupcakes made by my sister-in-law Alia. Delicious! Am I the only one who feels excited about desserts in baby showers??!


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The couple opening the gifts for their baby boy.

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Balloons to add accents on the other side of the living room. I used thread to attach the balloons together. On the bottom right is one of the guest’s baby girl. She is sooooo cute!!! My kids love her!

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Another dessert made by my mother-in-law. I love how she made the waves so nice and neat.

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Meet the mom-to-be, Suki! If you have seen my blog post about “Smokey eyes for Asian Eyes”? That’s her! You can also check out  behind the scene photos of her wedding where I did her makeup. I can’t believe she’ll be having her first child next month!!

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Me and Suki! 🙂

If you’re having a baby shower, what theme would you like to have? For pinterest ideas and inspirations, check out my boards HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14


Wedding Anniversary: Gift Ideas for Him

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A guide of ideas for wedding anniversary gifts to help wives get cool gifts for their husbands. This guide is also great ideas for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and any other celebrations for HIM!


If finding a gift for your husband is quite challenging, don’t worry, you are not alone. I also having a challenging time guessing what my husband Brent likes. Most of the time, I actually end up getting him more of what I like, such as facial wash and moisturizer for men, hipster sunglasses, or a nice watch. He then usually ends up asking, “Why are you trying to change me?” Haha!

Brent and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary as husband and wife this week! This time, I decided to do some homework to find cool stuff that he will be excited about. These are 7 great ideas you might consider as a gift for your husband as well. 🙂

1.  Silicone Rubber Wedding Ring Band 

This silicone wedding ring is perfect for a husband that is always active, goes outdoors often, or loves to swim. Wives would love to have these too, especially if you’re also active and outdoors often.

2.  Leather Full Flap Messenger Handmade Bag

This is a genuine leather bag that has padding for a laptop. I love how it looks vintage and can easily be matched with men’s wear.

3. Clarks Men’s  Slip-On Loafer

I think these slip-ons are perfect for everyday use. Brent loves Clarks. He has one pair for work, and it looks professional and has classic styling. Clarks are well-known for their well-made materials and great tastes in style.

4. Portable Power Bank with Smart Charge for iPhones, Galaxy and More

If your husband is a fan of Pokemon Go, this might be the best gift ever. 😉

P.S. I don’t play Pokemon Go nor do I love anime, contrary to my husband’s Facebook posts which try to convince his friends otherwise. However, I do love Brent, so I support his Pokemon activities…

5. C. S. Lewis Signature Classics: Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, A Grief Observed, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and The Great Divorce (Boxed Set)

My husband admires C.S. Lewis’ books. I haven’t read any yet, but I do know that they discuss Christianity and have very inspiring words from the Bible. If your husband is looking for a great Christian book, my husband highly recommends this!

6. Custom Comic Book

I got this idea from an episode on the TV show, The Office. I searched on Etsy for someone making personalized comic books about couples’ stories. I was glad to find that someone does offer this idea for couples. Even though I’m not a fan of comics, I think it’s a sweet idea! 

7. DoubleNest Hammock

A hammock that is good for camping, hiking, boating, or just back-yarding. The good thing about this is that it is good for tall people, like Brent. It even has enough space for two people! It’s perfect for couples.

If you are sweeter than a honeycomb, here are some fun ideas as sweet as you are.

DIY that you can make:






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P.S Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for the chance to win an Amazon or Paypal gift card! Details here


P.S. This post has affiliate links that I can earn a profit or commission from. This occurs via the number of clicks and purchases made through the link on my site. Thank you for supporting the brands and companies that allow me to continue devoting my passion and time into this blog.


Sailboat First Birthday Theme Ideas

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


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We celebrated our youngest son’s 1st birthday over the weekend. I can’t believe that he is 1-year-old now! I also can’t believe that he has no reflux anymore! Hallelujah! My son is such a happy boy, he is such a sweet baby boy and patient too. For his 1st birthday, I thought of using a sailboat theme for his party, since his second name “Alon” means “(Sea) Wave” in Tagalog. We had a small gathering with my husband’s family and I made lasagna rolls (love this recipe, but I tweaked the sauce and added ground beef), Filipino BBQ on a stick (my mom’s recipe! YUM!), and some desserts. Below are the D-I-Y decors I made for my son’s birthday party. They are simple ideas perfect for small gatherings, like the one we had. Most of the decor is made of old boxes and construction paper. You can find the materials at most arts-and-crafts stores. Personally, I love going to Hobby Lobby to grab these art materials. It’s like heaven for an artist like me!


I found this first birthday cake idea from Pinterest while looking for a cake recipe without egg whites. His cake is easy and fun to make. I found the frosting recipe from

What’s great about these ideas is that they are not only for birthdays! They can also be used for baby showers too! Share and pin your favorite sailboat decor idea 🙂

Have a great weekend and enjoy your 4th of July!!

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved — you and all the people in your house….then he and all his people were baptized immediately.” Acts 16:31-34


P.S. If you’d like to get a glimpse of my daily life with my boys (and of course some things about makeup too), follow me on Snapchat: ememist


Do-It-Yourself Play Kitchen

Monday, May 23, 2016


My eldest son started to love playing cook when he saw his cousin’s play kitchen. It all started whenever we would visit her. So that he could have his own, I tried to look for a second hand play kitchen online, but I didn’t see any designs or prices that I liked. Before I started to create this, I did some research on Pinterest to get more details and ideas on how to create one. Unfortunately, I do not have a step-by-step tutorial to create this, but here are some tips I’d like to share for creating your own play kitchen.  It took me 2 weeks on and off, since I had the kids around. I mostly used diaper boxes, with the oven being made out of a box I got from Walmart. I used construction paper to cover-up all the boxes entirely. To seal the edges, I used blue-colored duct tape from Hobby Lobby. In my opinion, this is very important to protect the paper from tearing, especially from those little hands.

Here’s the oven, stove and microwave:


I used an old thick insulation foam board as the wall for the microwave and oven. I made holes in the foam board and the microwave and oven boxes. Through those holes, I used a strong, tight rope to tie them all together.


For the right side of the “oven” I used the Philippine flag as the design. I was born and raised in the Philippines and my kids have Filipino blood too, so I wanted to pay tribute to my homeland. Am I proud of my country? Oo naman! Syempre! (Of course!)  🙂


And of course, I am also proud to live in Texas! So on the left side of the “oven,” I used the Texas flag as the design. “Howdy, y’all!” Nope, I don’t really talk like that. (Not yet…)

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I used boxes again to cut out the stove top ranges. Underneath each range, I laid down orange construction paper as a base to add some pop and color. This was inspired by Pinterest. Using a glue gun, I made sure it was totally secured so that the kids wouldn’t be able to remove or peel it off easily.


I wish I could have made twistable stove knobs, but I didn’t have any ideas on how to create them, so I created non-movable ones. Haha. Well, at least there are knobs. For the oven, I created a magnetic closure so that the oven door could easily open and close. I made sure the magnet was embossed inside the box and really secured with the glue gun. Again, this is important so that it will be safe for the kids.


Here’s my son, ready to eat some sweets.


This is the microwave. My son love this! It has also a magnetic closure, so it allows easy opening and closing as well.

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I experimented with the microwave top design by using duct tape, for a more interesting and fun look.


This is one of the good things about this part of the play kitchen; the numbers. I can teach my son about numbers in either English or Tagalog. If I say, “Okay son, Pindutin mo na yong ‘Lima.’” (Translation: Okay son, Press the 5 now.”) He’ll look for the number and press it!


Here’s the other part of the play kitchen. It is a counter top and a sink. It is also made from diaper boxes. I found a cheap steel bowl from a thrift store and used it for the sink basin. I went to Hobby Lobby to grab this fabric, as a cover for the sink bottom. This cover was inspired by my grandmother’s Philippine kitchen. When my grandmother used to live in a nipa (palm) hut she had fabric to cover the bottom of the sink.

For the faucet, I used paper towel roll tubes covered with duct tape. It wasn’t that smoothly done, but I like how simple and colorful it is.

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My son making coffee for his Dada.

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Well, I guess this is good way to expose my kids to cooking, so that someday they will be the ones to cook and prepare their own meals. 😉

I hope you all find some inspiration from this post! 🙂

Have a great week!




Change Your Mood With Music + DIY Sharpie Mug

Monday, May 9, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #SongsToShare #CollectiveBias DIY_do_it_yourself_sharpie_mug_music_song_inspired_coca-cola_sing_for_joy_em_smith_2



I’m thankful that I learned how to play some basic chords to play on the guitar. My brother taught them to me when I was in middle school. There is something about strumming a guitar and singing that makes my day relaxing and calming, especially with the kids. One time, my toddler was being fussy and suddenly my youngest son started to cry too (it’s like a domino effect, isn’t it?). I grabbed my guitar and started to play while singing a random song. Suddenly, the room was filled with silence. It was amazing! It is so wonderful how music can positively affect someone’s mood.


Today, I’m so excited to share how Coca-Cola™ products from Brookshire’s inspired me with their new campaign, “Share a Coke and a Song.” It gave me the idea of creating an inspirational mug that can be made at home. Coca-Cola has always come up with great ways to inspire people to be creative, and connect with loved ones.

Here are the things you’ll need to create a DIY Sharpie Mug,

Design for your mug (Here’s a FREE printable one I made for you to use!)

Plain Mug


Oil-based Sharpie

Masking or Cellophane Tape



Oven and Tray

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  1. After you print your design (or the one I shared above), cut it out to fit on the mug.
  2. Start using the pencil to shade the back of the paper with the design.
  3. Put the design on the face of the mug, and use clear tape so it won’t move.
  4. Using a pencil, start to trace the design over the paper while applying a good amount of pressure. This will help the pencil marks be more visible. The pencil from the shade will stick to the mug better and It will give you a more visible guide to follow for Step 5.
  5. Remove the paper and check to make sure the pencil markings are visible. Begin to draw by tracing over the marks left by the pencil. I used an oil-based Sharpie.
  6. If you need to fix up some mistakes, don’t worry. Just use Q-tips with alcohol to clean the areas you want to fix.
  7. Put your mug in a tray and bake it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Make sure to put the mug in the oven before it’s hot, so that it won’t get cracks.
  8. Remove the mug from the oven. Let it cool, and it is done!


I love the lyrics written on this Coke can that reads, “Lean on me.” The song reminded me that I can lean on someone like my husband whenever my day is challenging. In addition to saying a prayer, finding something to do like playing guitar, singing, or walking outside with the kids, help to make my day better. They refresh my mind and thoughts. In fact, my husband and I were discussing how sometimes it’s difficult to control our feelings. However, we can find ways to control our behavior.

Here are few of the songs from these special Coca-Cola cans that you can check out!



By the way, Brookshire’s has a program called “YourPoints” that helps you save on fuel and groceries. Just sign up and use your registered Thank You Card every time you shop. You can earn one YourPoint with every dollar spent. I also got a new app called “Shazam” on my phone to play songs from the Coca-Cola’s Share A Song. This app is available on most mobile devices for iOS and Android.


What song from Coca-Cola products will you get inspiration from and to whom will you share it with?



DIY Mother’s Day Card (+ Mess-free painting for kids)

Monday, May 2, 2016


As we celebrate Mother’s Day in a week. I wanted to share this simple, but elegant and fun idea for a Mother’s Day card you can make on your own. This is perfect to give for your children’s grandmothers too, so that they can be involved with the design. My mom has always liked keeping cards that I made for her when I was a kid.  I started to do DIY cards again last year when I found more time and was more motivated, after browsing through Pinterest. Since I have children now, I wanted them to participate in creating this card for Mother’s Day.  Speaking of kids, this painting technique is mess-free! It is also good as it serves as a sensory activity. Here is what you will need to create this abstract painting, with some help from those little hands! Quick note, I bought the paints and paper from Hobby Lobby.


Paints (I used acrylic paints)

Poster paper

Ziplock or re-sealable plastic bag


Tape or glue



First, cut the white poster paper. You can either cut it to be larger than the body of your card so that you have some leeway, or you can just cut it to be an exact fit. However, keep in mind that it must also fit inside the re-sealable plastic bag. Then, start to apply your chosen paints in random patterns.  I picked white, green, yellow, and some red. I created different drip styles of paints, in more of an abstract fashion. The more paints you use, the more time it will take to dry. If you use less paint, you’ll also get less of a smudge/swirl effect. So try to make it balanced by finding a medium between the two. Tip: Don’t put too many dark colors, since it will blend with the other colors and create a muddy look. Unless, that is the color you would like.



Carefully place the paper inside the re-sealable plastic bag, securely locking it. Make sure to try to get as much air out of the bag as possible.


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SMASH! TAP! PRESS! Or whatever your child wants to do, it is up to them! You can also try this on the table, securing the edges with tape, so that the re-sealable bag won’t move. That way you can let your child sit and have fun!


When pulling the painted poster paper out of the bag, the plastic pulls off some of the paint creating some texture. I think it’s neat and beautiful. I like how it turned out with mine! After you remove it from the re-sealable plastic bag, let it dry in a safe area where the kids won’t grab it.



After it dries up. Start measuring your artwork with the inside of the card, so that you can cut off the excess, and place it inside. Secure it with tape or glue at the back.


I also thought of having my kids place their hand prints on top of the painting, after it had dried. It actually wasn’t hard and it didn’t make much mess. I just had them do it one at a time. I had wipes prepared beside me, so that I could quickly and easily wipe off the paint from their hands.



For the card’s cover, I used a cut-out style so that the inside of the card would be visible. This is optional, but if you want to try this and make it easier, you can simplify it by cutting out “MOM” in a bold font.  You can then start to cut it out, or whichever you think is easier for you. There’s also the option of using your kids hand prints for the front cover, and you can make that into a cool design too. It was actually my first time trying this cut-out paper style. I won’t lie, it was really difficult, especially since mine was a bit more detailed. I tried using a swivel blade for the details, but I found it difficult to use. In the end, I switched back to a normal blade knife. But it was worth the effort to create this kind of art! Cool, huh? 🙂


I hope this post gives you the inspiration to create something for Mother’s Day! How will you celebrate Mother’s Day this year?


My mother and me on Mother’s Day 2013. I miss you Mama!

“All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” John 13:35


Tutorial: Baby Yoda Birthday Hat

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Last weekend, we celebrated my husband’s birthday! It was just a simple gathering with his side of the family and the kids. My husband Brent LOVES Star Wars, which is the opposite of how I feel about it… Haha, kidding… Maybe not… 😉 It was his special day, so I thought of creating something Star Wars related. That’s how I thought of making  a Yoda ear hat for our kids to wear. In fact, I made this last year on Brent’s birthday for our first born. I thought it would be fun to do it again so that our two kids could say “Happy Birthday!” with the hats. My youngest son actually didn’t get the chance to wear it because he fell asleep early after dinner last weekend. Instead, his cousin wore it for the night as a proxy. 🙂 I got the idea for the Yoda ear hat from Pinterest (credit for the artist), but there was no tutorial on how to make it. That’s why I decided to share how I created mine. 

What you need:

Green Cartolina Paper

Black Pen


Scissor and Cutter




A. Measure and cut a strip of the paper  to have have a width of 2.5 inches and keep the length of the cartolina paper.

B. Find the center of the paper lengthwise, and mark it with a pencil.

C. Measure at least 8 inches from the center to the left and to the right, marking each of these spots with a pencil as well. These marks will be where the cuts will be made to insert the two ears into.



Create  inserts by slicing into the two pencil marks you made from STEP 1c.  The size of the inserts will depend on the size of the Yoda ears’ tabs, but which we will go over in Step 3. To be safe,you can start with  smaller insert sizes and then adjust them later, as needed.



To create the ears, I used a pencil to sketch one ear, but left a rectangular tab on the end. This tab will be placed inside one of the inserts we made earlier. Cut  out the ear sketch with a scissor. I recommend first making the right ear, then flipping it over, to trace it to create the left ear.. I also used a black marker to draw lines inside the ears to add a little detail. In case you need help with the ear shape, here’s a FREE traceable Yoda ear that I made for you. I hope it helps!



Insert the rectangular tabs of each ear into the inserts. You can now make the inserts larger if the tabs do not fit inside your original cuts.



Secure it with tape or glue, whichever you prefer. I found  it better to fold the tabs outward, instead of inward, to better keep the ears steady.



Now, write your greeting on it! Since I have two kids, I made two hats. One hat that  said, “Happy” and one hat that said “Birthday!” Moms can also wear a hat, if you only have one child, to spell out a phrase. If you have two or more children, you could maybe add the celebrant’s name, or write funny or silly words to make a longer phrase that matches the number of people wearing the hats.:)


Adjust the strip of paper to fit securely, and comfortably around your child’s head using tape. Baby_Yoda_Hat_Birthday_Celebration_DIY_do_it_yourself_Pinterest_inspired_blogger_9

It’s nothing fancy, but it’s fun to do! Hope this helps!:)


“Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:19



Welcome to Hello Island Mama! I love to share about motherhood, makeup, DIYs, home styling and faith. Based in Houston, Texas. Originally from Philippines. Thank you for your time to read and don't forget to subscribe above! - Em

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

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