Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DIY: Alternative Wedding Wishing Well

I'm back! After more than a year of absence on the blogosphere.  And I sure hope to stay active online for good, especially on this blog.  Anyway, I recently worked on a project for my good friend, Rob.  He's getting married tomorrow and wanted a wishing well at the reception.  This is the final product:

For all of you who have no idea what a wedding wishing well is (I didn't either), apparently, it's a receptacle that you place at the reception to hold the monetary gifts from your guests.  It works exactly like any other wishing well except the proceeds go to the bride and groom afterwards.  I volunteered to take care of this for them but wanted to avoid making my life difficult so I searched for some alternatives online.  Aside from wells, people have also used, mailboxes, suitcases, and birdcages as alternatives.  I decided to go with the latter because I figured it would be easier and, at the same time, would fit the elegant theme that Rob and Pam wanted for their wedding. Here's how I did it:

1.  First, I scoured Dapitan Arcade (small year-round bazaar with mostly decorative items) but could not find a birdcage there.  I found some very nice glass lanterns but they were a bit above the budget.  Next, I visited a nearby pet shop and looked at cages there.  There were limited designs but I was almost about to buy one when I decided to consult Rob first.  When he told me to go with my instinct, I decided to go back to the petshop.  But on the way, I chanced upon a beautiful birdcage about a foot tall. Jackpot!  This set me back by P500 (including transportation).

2. I looked for ideas online and decided to make small floral pom poms out of paper.  Got the instructions from Martha Stewart's site.  I realized that the Napkin ring version was actually big so I decided to go even smaller afterwards. As a result, I have tons of leftover tissue and crepe paper.   Aside from the paper, I used copper wire that I already had, pliers, and scissor.  That's it!  (I spent around P70 on the paper but there was so much left, it probably just cost me P20!)


3. After much rearranging, I finally decided to simply place two bright pink pom poms at the bottom of the birdcage to cushion the envelopes.  Then I took a sheer purple and a light green satin ribbon and tied it on top of the cage to complete the look.   Don't want to over do it!  (Ribbons are free, courtesy of our magpie tendencies)

4.  Something was still missing though.  Wishing wells aren't all that common here in the Philippines, so I knew I had to put some sort of sign or label.  I decided to do some watercolor calligraphy.  I copied the words "Cards & Well Wishes" from a calligraphy font from my laptop to practice first, then proceeded with the watercolor.  (Bought this cheap watercolor set and a pricey calligraphy pen some months ago so it doesn't count).

5. Then I looped some wire, placing a gold butterfly charm at the end, then used the wire to secure the card to the top of the birdcage. Voila!

6.  After that, I decided to go a step further by personalizing a few sheets of paper (just in case the guests want to write a quick note to go with the cash gift.  I used the back of some old brown stationery I found lying in the house, cut off the part with the label, then typed the name of the bride & groom on top of the notepad. (Stationery is practically free! It wasn't mine but nobody was using it haha.)

7.  I also attached the extra pom poms I made to the cap of my pen so that even that would go with the theme. Haha!  (I'm gonna spend a bit to buy more pens.  That'll be around P50.)

8.  I still need to buy some envelopes and figure out how I can organize the paper and the envelopes on the table.  Will need to go to the bookstore today!  But I tried to make a stamp out of old styrofoam to personalize the envelopes.  I'm still not too sure about this because it's not as clean or fancy as i hoped it would be.  What do you think?  My alternative is to just leave them blank.  (Envelopes will probably set me back by a P100 max.)

Yay!  It was so much fun doing.  Total project cost, once I buy the envelopes, will probably be around P700. So it's only P300 less than the wishing well for sale, but this one means a bit more 'coz it's from the heart.  Best wishes to you, Rob and Pam!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Something to further fuel my decorating obsession.
Undecorate by Christiane Lemieux - Excerpt

Friday, March 18, 2011

Project 365: shipwrecked!

sorry for the long overdue post; i've been focusing a bit more on my more public blog (meaning more than 3 people know about it), as well as on some YFC activities, and my 12-week "Artist's Way" journey (i'm in week 7 already)!

anyway, i would like to confess to you that i have somehow abandoned my Project 365 (did a tear just slide down your cheek?).  beyond my allowed Christmas shopping (courtesy of my dad), i bought a National Geographic shirt, and made two mini ukay2 shopping trips. they all probably amounted to less than P1,500 though, and a third of my purchases I gave to my mom.  once you start spending again, it's really difficult to control it! shopping sprees = NO-NO.

now i'm still going to do my best to refrain from unnecessary shopping, but i'm already foreseeing actual needs in the future (i.e. bridesmaid duties, swimming, Pinatubo trekking) so i won't pretend to all of you that i was able to tough it out for 365 days.  but props to whoever can!!! it is INCREDIBLY difficult, but even more rewarding when accomplished.  I did for 32 weeks, and i'm very proud of that (i did have a minor slip though--remember the necklace?).

it's pretty amazing, now that i think of it.  a lot of the things i was tempted to buy during that time frame, i now hardly care for. and that thrill of buying something? it plateaus and dives once you swipe that credit card or hand over that wad of cash. i experienced it when i make especially large purchases, but even with the smaller ones. truly, it isn't what you've got, but what you make of what you have

so let's support each other! who needs fabulous fashion when you've got even more fantastic friends?!!??!

Monday, February 7, 2011

pastry chef

found a cute website! Ming Makes Cupcakes makes making cupcakes look like serious (-ly delicious) business! i want!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

reading the fine print

I think i've mentioned something about insurance on this blog before.  recently though, i received an offer to invest in a life insurance policy that will also invest mutual funds on my behalf.  anyway, i knew enough about pre-need industries to refrain from signing the policy on the spot.  here's what i learned after i took home the papers and did a bit of reading, as well as questioning my dad:

1. the life insurance individuals usually get is for accidental death.  so guess what? if you die from some sort of cancer, from giving birth, etc--you're not protected!!!  depending on the details of your policy, you might not even be covered if you were murdered! i currently hold an accident and hospitalization insurance; at least they offer something like 2.5% of the premium if i do get murdered, provided that it is proven that i didn't provoke my being so. good to know, huh?

2. the hospitalization that your insurance policy covers doesn't include pregnancies or psych illnesses, among others.  so if i have risky pregnancies, i won't be covered.  well, at least they do cover cancers and other illnesses in this part.
3.  take a look at the asterisks! the first one notes that even if you agreed to pay a certain amount for, say, 10 years, there is a possibility you would be required to keep contributing for longer, should the funds not perform well at the time.  so right now, i'm computing in my head that i will contribute a little under Php 200,000 for this certain offer that i got. but in truth, i could end up paying more!  my dad has availed of many insurance policies--he got one which he supposedly had to pay over 20 years but because the funds didn't mature or something enough, it was extended to 30 years :S  of course, let's hope that this won't happen.  because if it doesn't then you would have availed of a bargain. see, my annual accident and hospitalization insurance costs me around P 2,400.  but if i pay, say, P110,000 for life insurance with pension and live up to the age of 88, i would've been paying P1,700 a year for the same coverage. that means you saved P700 a year for 65 years.  and they would give you a little bit monthly when you retire (although it won't amount to the contributions you made)

4.  regarding the mutual funds and other stock thingies (sorry, i'm not familiar with the technical jargon), there is ABSOLUTELY NO guarantee.  so even if the proposal illustrates the 4%, 8%, 10% interest, there is a chance that your investment could go up--but it can also go down, really really low.  however, if providence is on your side, things could also go really well for you.  when a certain insurance company became public here in the country, they offered the clients the chance to become stockholders.  they did really well at the time, and my dad ended up earning a lot!  but if you haven't been living a rock in the last 5 years, you will also have heard of the recession and how many insurance companies have gone broke, leaving their clients broke-r.

5. investing in an insurance policy is exactly like investing in the stock market--only put out what you're willing to lose. 'cause baby, it might not come back to you.  however, sometimes calculated risks really do pay off big time.  

6.  think about your financial goals.  that P 20,000 a year could be used for insurance and mutual fund investments, yes.  but giving up that portion of your salary could also prevent you from attaining your other goals which would have otherwise helped you move up.  also, when you avail of these packages, you're also paying for agents to manage your money.  but if you think you can do a better job of it and make it grow more, then why put it there?  i have an uncle who is an incredibly savvy businessman.  he doesn't have insurance--he channels the money towards his businesses instead, and that's why he gets richer every day.

7.  live within your means.  sure, you can pay for insurance.  but remember, they won't cover you if you die of starvation from trying to save up for that annual fee.

8.  assess your needs and responsibilities.  does your work put you at risk of accidents more than the average person?  are you responsible for supporting anyone?  if you answered yes, then i think investing in a good life insurance policy would be advantageous.  if no, well, maybe faith is enough of an insurance/assurance.

so, it's completely up to you whatever you decide.  i only hope this serves to enlighten you a little bit more, as it did me, and i hope that whatever you choose does work out great for you in the end :D toodles!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

an end and a beginning

so the year is about to end and i figured we had better give it a proper tribute on this site as well. hmm, i'm not sure if this will be a worthy end-of-the-year post but here goes!

i did my financial accounting voodoo yesterday. mind you, i never took an accounting subject so i kept it pretty simple and just added and subtracted a few digits.  the verdict?

i went overbudget!!! by around 3k. considering all my expenses and my income (sidelines included), i saved just a little little less than half of my salary.  oh well, i'm still learning, you know? and some people might say that i was unnecessarily generous at several occasions, which isn't entirely a terrible thing, right? i'll just need to compensate for that.

this coming year, my contract will end at my current place of employment.  i have 2 months of (somewhat) predictably stable income before i have to get a new job, a better one!  and having decided that the compensation does not solely determine what constitutes as a great job, i am facing the possibility of earning even less (read: minimum wage), especially should i choose to work for an NGO or the like.  and what does this mean, exactly? new New Year financial resolutions!

now, i'm not doing this to try to compensate for some guilt of overspending.  i admit that i did overspend a bit during the past year but, guess what, it was worth it in one way or another.  i either helped someone or learned a lesson as a result.  money well-spent, if you ask me.  but for this year, it's time to apply what i've learned and what i believe in.  i believe it is possible to live contentedly, even with very little.  and i also believe that you are never too poor to help someone out. 

this year, after having analyzed my every expense, i'm resolving to:
1. buy less clothes and shoes.  and if i do buy, they have to be practical needs.
2. reuse and recycle even more.  that means more DIYs too, and more garage sales.
3. lessen my dependency on material objects.  even more garage sales then! and i'll be giving away "presents" to friends who want them, i guess :)
4. make my money work for me.  i'll be spending (both time and money), albeit still wisely, on three things: fostering relationships and helping those in need, further learning, pursuing my dream/mission

i'm really excited for the new year!!!! the possibilities will be even more exiting than they were in 2010, i just know it :D

btw, i made my first New Year/Bday/Dream purchase (yes, this will be placed in the 2011 report :P ) i sure hope to make the most out of this one.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Happy New Year to you all!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DIY: inspired by Alexander McQueen

(yet another overdue DIY post)

i receive a ton of email every day, maybe half of which are all related to fashion.  anyway, i remember receiving one about nail polish trends sometime in June.  one of the girls featured there was Drew Barrymore.  anyway, the nail color article was interesting enough, but what really caught my attention was Drew's Alexander McQueen dress:

i don't really go anywhere so I'd never really get a chance to wear something like this.  and even if i did have an event to attend, chances are that the McQueen brand people wouldn't be willing to just lend me this dress.  but i loved it so much that i knew i had just one option: DIY!!!

i've had this lace dress lying around for months.  one of my last purchases before i started Project 365.  i bought it at an ukay-ukay near BIR Intramuros for Php 50.  Btw, the owner of the place was Ilocano and they played Ilocano music in the store.  the ukay was also very decent--spacious, clean, well-ventilated. aaanyway, i bought it because i saw some potential in it.  i especially loved the crochet detail on the neckline.

however i try to pretend not to care what everyone else thinks about me, i'm still an insecure girl.  and whenever i'd try the dress on (after washing in boiling water and detergent, mind you), my ate cla would always say "yuck" or something along that line of thought.  so i knew i needed to do something to try to elicit a more favorable or at least neutral response from the people who would be seen with me while wearing it.

i decided to try to make my version of the McQueen dress.  first I carefully cut out the lining (too lazy to rip the seams), making sure not to snip the stitches so the dress would remain intact.

then i prepared a dye bath--using 4 packets of black Venus dye this time.  i figured it wouldn't matter so much if it was in a small basin. in the event that there would be unevenness in the color, it would look like the intended result, much like the intricately designed lace of the original dress.

unfortunately, i learned through this experience that color fastness is something better achieved, not just with quality dye, but also with a proper process.  but since i had neither, i ended up with gray lace.  the only thing that did turn black enough was the crochet trim on the neckline and at the hem of the dress.

i tried to see what it would look like with yellow fabric underneath, but gray doesn't make the color pop out as much.  so i decided to just use the crochet trim instead.  i had 1 1/4 yards yellow cotton voile lying around at home (i often have fabric-buying urges)--also one of my last purchases before Project 365--so i didn't even need to buy that.  i cut out a simple pattern for the bodice using a hybrid of the lining (which was more loose) and my bias dress pattern from FIP (more fit).  since cotton voile is pretty sheer, i used up all my fabric to make two layers (i'd suggest at least 1 1/2 yards next time, especially since bias uses up more fabric).  

with the help of my trusty portable Brother sewing machine (which we got several years ago from credit card points), i was able to make this top:

it's definitely one of my favorites :) it's dressy but i can also wear it with jeans.  i can belt it, tuck it in, or leave it as is. DIY rules!!!