Posts in “DIY”

Making Good, Messy Memories!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

This post is sponsored by all® laundry detergent. #allLaundryPartner

I learned to paint when I was in college getting my BA in Fine Arts. I’ve always enjoyed painting – it’s fun and there are always new techniques and styles to learn. But as a mom of small three boys, it can be challenging and stressful to paint with kids. Messy hands, messy house, messy clothes…oh boy lol. When I think about the mess, it holds me back from  enjoying art time with my kids. But as my husband once told me, it’s important to let kids try new things – even messy things! –  in order for them to explore and learn about art. 

I’m thrilled that I teamed up with all® laundry detergent to bring you a fun and messy painting activity for the family that helps children explore art and makes good memories for the kids. all®  laundry detergent is the detergent our family has used ever since we started our family. I love how this brand focuses on putting family first and encourages parents to create messy moments without fear. Parents don’t need to worry: it’s “all good”, because all® laundry detergent is there to help clean up our messy kids’ clothes!

For today’s art time, we did a yarn painting activity where I covered the canvas using painter’s tape and let the kids use yarn instead of paint brushes to paint the canvas with water based paint. I had the kids dip their yarn into the paint (we used washable paints), then sling it or drag on it the canvas. As if this wasn’t messy enough, I also let them use their hands 😉 

This was a really messy activity, but I had confidence that all® stainlifter® OXI liquid detergent would keep my laundry bright and fresh since it fights 100% of stain types (*bleachable, oily/waxy, enzymatic, particulate). This detergent works effectively even in cold water, and can also be used for pre-treating by rubbing a small amount on a stain before washing.

My kids love activities that create a mess… My eldest son told me “I love this messy painting mom!”. Messy activities are okay sometimes because they can help kids learn about art while also making good memories for them. 

I love how all® laundry detergent allows me to put life before laundry™ and enjoy these kinds of moments as times to treasure for the future and worry about the mess later.

Art projects or activities with the kids are not the time to be perfectionists. Instead, enjoy the moment you and your kids are building. Go and try all® stainlifter® OXI liquid detergent available in Amazon for your next messy activity with your kids.

 What kind of messy kid projects do you have in mind?


Kitchen Organization on a budget

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

I love organizing our home. I think that is something that I got from my mama. Last month, I finally organized our kitchen on a very budget-friendly basis. I always like to try DIY first and see if it works before buying. I used some upcycled material (jars, juice containers, oats containers) and made DIY containers that ended up working well for the pantry and our kitchen.

Here are repurposed glass jars and re-used juice containers. Most ground or small food goes into a juice container since the opening is smaller, such as grits, popcorn, small pasta, and Cream of Wheat. Other foods such as nuts, cereals, raisins are inside the glass jars. I spray painted the lids white just to look nice.

In my childhood days, I watched my mama soaking the label stickers on glass jars in warm water with dish soap to remove the labels easily.  You can find some residue afterwards, but a mix of baking soda and cooking oil easily removes it with a little rubbing. Using steel wool helps.

To separate and store other foods in the pantry, I used DIY containers made of small boxes and covered them with scrap fabrics. You can find a tutorial here and free downloadable labels.

Some of the containers in our pantry came from a thrift store hunt. You can definitely save $$ if you stop on your nearest consignment or thrift store! The couple of containers we bought new are for flour, rice and sugar. We keep these items in containers with wheels (we found them here),  so they’re easy to pull out if we need them. These containers are actually for pet food…but it’s just a container, right? 😉

We keep our plastic wraps, foil, and parchment paper in a recycled cardboard box.

Seasoning packets, baking stuff,etc. are in a small plastic organizer.

Another way I organized our kitchen is using cardboard/ cereal boxes for plastic food lids. I started this a couple years ago and it has always worked well in our kitchen! I made these with  strong cardboard covered with fabric. You can also use cereal boxes and cover with thin fabric so it won’t add extra weight when you attach them on the cabinet doors. I used velcro and hot glue. You could also use small hooks with double sided tape.

I know this organizer doesn’t look classy, but again, it really works for our kitchen. I love how these repurposed oats containers help to organize our stuff in the kitchen. It makes it so much easier to find and grab things, like my husband’s lunch bags or dishcloths. You only need a few large rubber bands to attach the containers together and keep them in place.

I hope this post gives you ideas for solutions to keep your kitchen and pantry organized in a budget-friendly way!

Which parts of your kitchen do you need to organize?

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April Recap: family, our first garden and my kid’s favorite learning activities

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Tomorrow is the last day of April. I thought to share for today’s post on what we’ve done this month during the time of quarantine, how we celebrated a couple of special events like Easter and my birthday and a few personal DIY projects that I did. I rarely share personal posts about me and my family here on my blog, maybe because I prefer to share them on my Instagram and/or in person. So here’s our month of April recap!

Easter Sunday, my youngest son’s first official egg hunting in the backyard. We used our backyard to hide plastic eggs (with raisins and Cheerios inside) for the boys. Our garden was a great place to hide eggs as well.


Easter activity, it’s all about Jesus. After we worshiped via online, the kids have coloring activities that focus on Jesus.

We do schooling in the morning. Here’s my daily routine schedule with my three boys if you’d like to try to set up a schedule with your kids.

My 4 year old son is learning how to write numbers. He enjoys math, like Dada.

Finding letters/words. We use Duplo lego blocks.

I made a chart for “days of the week” and a “weather chart”. Every morning, I ask each of my eldest kids to update these charts.

Little Archaeologists.  My boys tried this for the first time. All you have to do is to put random toys in a large bowl and cover them with water and freeze it. They love doing it but as a mom, I’m a little worried because they have to use pointed metal like screwdrivers to break the ice..imagine there are three little hands :/

Watercolor painting. I asked them if they want to follow a tutorial or paint on their own. Guess what they chose? Hint: Abstract

“Spring” painting using acrylic and fork

Here’s our first garden. Brent planted okra, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, green beans, watermelon, snap peas, peppers, cilantro and four kinds of tomatoes. Brent loves tomatoes so much! And of course, all plants are taken care of by my husband.. Me and my kids are just here to water the garden 😉

Bedtime story with Dada.

Cardboard DIY hot wheels, tutorial here

I’ve been doing a lot of hobbies and DIY projects to try. I think the West Elm Inspired area rug for my boy’s bedroom is my favorite project.

And my second favorite DIY for my boys is the cardboard playhouse.

I don’t remember if I posted here this oil painting that I’ve been working on since the beginning of last year 😉 Not all done… but we will get there 🙂 You can watch this painting process on my Instagram story highlights called “painting”, you will see how I started it.

April is my birthday month and this is how I celebrated my birthday; folding little clothes 😉 Since my birthday month is during COVID-19 pandemic, we are all at home except for Brent who needs to go to work. And hey, I had Pad Thai and chocolate cake. That’s all I want for my birthday 😉 


See you next month!




Fun Cardboard Playhouse for Kids

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A cardboard playhouse is always a big hit for my children. If you have followed my blog, I made my first cardboard playhouse a couple years ago when I only had two kids. And now that I have three kids, I wanted the older boys to experience a playhouse again with their youngest brother.

Cardboard is great when I want to create something new, fun and playful for my children. It is a cheap and effective way to entertain my kids,  especially during this COVID-19 quarantine.

I used 4-5 large moving boxes from past years of moving. I also used old twists/wires from buying bread at the grocery store,, legos with holes to keep the wire in place, a glue gun and glue sticks, and packaging tape.

I decorated the front using a black marker for easy decoration. You can draw nature pictures like trees, sun, flowers, grass, clouds, or neighborhood sites such as fences, cars, or neighbors. For the door, I used glued red construction paper to the cardboard, and created a four glass-like design on the door using white construction paper. I finished up the door using cotton rope as a door knob so kids can easily pull open the door.

Building cardboard toys can be a lot of work, but seeing your kids’  excited faces is always priceless. I love how imaginative they become as they use their stuffed toys for pretend play. They also learn to share and build good relationships with each other.

I found a good cardboard tutorial and inspiration – check it out if you’d like to build something out of cardboard for your kids.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be grateful if you share it on your page so other parents with little ones can see it too 🙂 Thank you! Follow me on Instagram and Facebook and don’t forget to subscribe on my blog for the latest DIY or motherhood related topics. See you on the next post!



Do-It-Yourself Desk Organizer for Kids

Monday, April 20, 2020

I made this desk organizer for my kids to make their pens, pencils, markers etc. be organized and stored in one container. It’s helpful and easy to carry around when we need them for homeschooling, doodling and doing other arts & crafts. It saves a lot of space in our bookshelf as well, since I used to separate these things in different containers. Here’s how I made it and materials that I used to create this cute and functional desk organizer for kids.


Beer Carton Carrier


Glue Gun and Sticks

Cotton Rope

Elmer’s Glue


Small brush (optional)

Thread and needle or sewing machine (optional)

Brent cooked sausage bratwurst a few weeks ago so we had beer to marinate the sausages. I used the beer carton carrier as the main material and just added a few cardboard inside to make the bottom and sides strong.

I used scrap fabric that I already have and started to cover the cardboard. I start from the outside and the holder as pictured. I use a glue gun to stick the fabric onto the cardboard.

Finish the both sides and inside divider by covering them with fabric. To seal the edges of the fabric, I fold it in a small seam and sew it or you can simply apply glue gun instead.

I used cotton rope to add detail on the handle. For the front, this is optional, you can make letters on the front by using the same cotton rope. Write the word you like for the front and start to trace it using cotton rope. I chose the word “create”.

I think creating letters using cotton rope can be tricky and requires patience.. I had to seal all the ends of each cut rope with a glue gun so it won’t fridge. Tip: after I apply the glue gun on the end, I wait for a few seconds and when it’s about to cool off,  I pressed it with two fingers to seal the end.

Once you are done making all the letters using cotton rope and glue gun. Mix part Elmer’s glue and part water in a small bowl and use a small brush to give a coat on the top surface of the rope. This helps to add stiffness and put the cotton rope in place.

(shop bookcase here)

Again, the front design is optional. You can simply add rope around the container as a stripe decoration or maybe add fake small flowers if you’re making it for your daughter. Or use felt fabric to create letters or just leave the front as it is.

I hope you enjoy this another DIY for kids! Hope to see you again on my next post. Be sure to follow me on Instagram or subscribe on my blog to see my newest post 🙂


DIY West Elm Inspired Rug

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I’ve been eyeing a gorgeous area rug from West Elm for the past few weeks; the colors and design print is just perfect for my children’s bedroom. But since area rugs are one of the last things that my husband wants to purchase in our house. I have to be creative on how to meet my design needs in decorating our children’s room. That is why I tried to do a DIY West Elm Inspired Rug instead. I found an old canvas type of fabric rug from our church garage sale a couple years ago. And here’s the original design…

I’m not a fan of the design of the rug (it’s a bit strange don’t you think? 😉 ) so I just wanted to use the back surface to paint it in the future.

Here are some of the images from the process and materials that I used to create this West Elm inspired rug. 

Old area rug 

Acrylic paints

White latex paint



Cardboard as stencils

Mixing containers

It’s my first time to paint on rug material. The blending was challenging for me since the fabric absorbs the paint easily, not like when I paint acrylic medium on canvas. I used tons of water to mix the color and with quick brushstrokes.

I found a fabric paint on my tools so I also used it to color the lighter blue part of the rug.

I cover the fringe tassels with tape on each side to protect from the paint.

I’m not satisfied with the color of white acrylic paint so I opt for an exterior white latex paint to keep it visible.

bunk bed from Bel Furniture / teepee crate & kids  (similar)/ floating shelves /

This is the original rug from West Elm called Sunkissed Landscape Rug: If you have the budget for this rug, go for it, it’s on sale! I think it’s cute for nursery room, kid’s bedroom, playroom and even living room!

What do you guys think of this DIY? 

I haven’t washed the rug yet, so I’ll update you all if something changes with the look. 

If you’ll try to paint your rug like this, don’t forget to tag me @helloislandmama so I can see it 🙂 

See you in the next blog post! Stay safe and God bless!



DIY Hot Wheels Car Parking With Lift

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Before I throw cardboards, I asked myself first.. “Do I need this for something?” and I always said “Yes!” haha My husband knows how I’m a cardboard hoarder. But.. I do inspect the cardboard first before I keep them. I make sure it’s a good quality cardboard that will be good for making diy toy for my kids and even for a storage bins just like the ones I made for my children’s playroom. I think it’s fun to make something out of the cardboard before I tossed it in the trash 🙂

Last week, my sister shown me a doll house toy for her daughter, and because I have three boys, I searched for a playhouse for boys and I ended up watching a DIY cardboard hot wheels with lift in Youtube. Here’s the Youtube video if you’d like to see the tutorial. I copied the main concept of the car parking with lift except for the tracks since my kid’s already have hot wheels tracks. If you already have your own tracks and connectors, this concept will work! The idea of this DIY is that to allow the kid to choose a car from the parking lot and use the lift to pull up the car and have a fun car race competition.  My boys really enjoy it! And yes, I’m not expecting that this diy toy would stay for a long time. My husband already warned me about it 😉


This is the place where you will connect the two connectors of the tracks. I used a glue gun to stick the long pieces of cardboard on each sides. Make sure the connectors will fit in the empty space.

Apply the top with same width but extend the length around 2 cm so there will be no gap between the connector and the cardboard.


I use different colored papers on each tracks just for fun. I also made a stopper using Popsicle stick (see below image)


The lift is fun to play! Not as perfect as you move them but it still works. I used couple of milk lids to attached a wooden stick inside with hot glue.


I hope this post inspire you to make something out of cardboard box too! You can check some of my old cardboard works that I made for my kids: DIY cardboard Playhouse / DIY carboard Play Kitchen / DIY School Bus Costume

Follow me on Instagram where I post other DIY projects for my kids and other motherhood related topics 😉


Family Halloween Costume: The Hobbit

Friday, November 1, 2019

This year my husband was the one in charge to pick what theme we’ll do for Halloween since I chose the costume from last year . He was always keen to do The Hobbit since he wants to be Gandalf (Hello Lord of the Rings fans!). It was such a fun, messy, and challenging experience to prepare our costumes. I tried my best not to spend for the materials as much as possible. I mainly had to buy the wig and ears since I don’t know how to make them from scratch.

Here are some behind-the-scene images I took from weeks of preparation. I hope you enjoy, get inspired, and learn something from it! 🙂

I’m thankful that there was a week when my mother-in-law was in town so she taught me how to sew the kids’ cloak and Gandalf costumes. I found all the fabrics in a thrift store. The cloak is  mostly made from window curtains.

DIY Gandalf costumes using an old bed sheet.

DIY Gandalf Hat. I used cereal boxes and wrapped an old pillowcase with a different fabric.

Testing the Gandalf hat.

My husband loves Halloween…

Gandalf Beard. It was made of wool which means it can be pretty messy….it shredded a lot, so beware.😉

Brent told me to use my hairspray to lessen the shredding. I used a mix of water and Elmer’s glue instead. I don’t want to use my nice hairspray you know? 😉

For the hobbit feet, I used their own shoes to mold to create the hobbit feet. These are made of paper and I finished it with a brush of  mixed water and Elmer’s glue.

Fun part! Painting! To add some hair, I used black threads and trimmed it into small pieces.

Our friend Clint of @boyd.woodshop helped us create these cool wooden swords for our kids!

The cute vest was from old button shirts.

The only DIY for myself is the headpiece of Galadriel.

My husband told me that I’m the dark elf version, so I did my makeup in a lighter way 😉 My dress was given by Susan from our church. I found the shawl in thrift store and used an accessory that came from my wedding dress. Thanks to Photoshop for my colored eyes 😉

So thankful for thrift stores! There are many things that I found that made these Halloween costumes less expensive, yet creative. 


These are the links if you’d like to see where we found these items:

Elf ears

Galadriel Wig

Light Ball for Gandalf Staff


Happy Halloween! Stay warm in this cold weather!



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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