Monday, July 26, 2010

Baubles, bangles & beads

Ever since college, I've always loved big, chunky beaded jewelry. I'm kind of limited to necklaces nowadays because I've developed allergies to earrings that aren't real gold or silver, and keyboarding is tough while wearing big bracelets, but whether they're earrings, bracelets or necklaces, one thing is certain: they're always difficult to organize neatly. Traditional jewelry boxes are made for fine pieces; their necklace hooks are small and fragile, and the compartments for bracelets are too shallow. I've tried using plastic boxes with multiple layers, laying down necklaces flat in them, but no matter how carefully they're laid down, they eventually end up getting all tangled up.

I finally found a good solution with the My Closet brand of closet organizers sold in one of our local department stores. Made specifically for clothes, they come in different styles, from coat bags and shoe pockets to under-bed storage bags. The ones I use for my chunky bracelets and necklaces are those advertised as hosiery bags. The twelve-pocket design is perfect for most of my baubles. The pockets are flat and are 3 x 4 inches in size. But for my chunkier-than-usual pieces, only the organizer with six expandable pockets will do—it can accommodate my favorite and very thick multi-strand wooden bead necklace. I also love the fact that the pockets are made of clear plastic; one glance and I know what to reach for.

closet organizers for chunky, beaded jewelry

I like how they keep everything neatly organized, so much so that I've started using them for other things, like brushes and hair accessories. I may never use them for hosiery, but who knows.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Universal Prayer

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
and call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,
correct me with your justice,
comfort me with your mercy,
protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
my words: to have you for their theme;
my actions: to reflect my love for you;
my sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

I want to do what you ask of me:
in the way you ask,
for as long as you ask,
because you ask it.

Lord, enlighten my understanding,
strengthen my will,
purify my heart,
and make me holy.

Help me to repent of my past sins
and to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
and to grow stronger as a Christian.

Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
and see myself as I really am:
a pilgrim in this world,
a Christian called to respect and love
all whose lives I touch,
those in authority over me
or those under my authority,
my friends and my enemies.

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
greed by generosity,
apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
and reach out toward others.

Make me prudent in planning,
courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering,
unassuming in prosperity.

Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
temperate in food and drink,
diligent in my work,
firm in my good intentions.

Let my conscience be clear,
my conduct without fault,
my speech blameless,
my life well-ordered.

Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
keep your law,
and come at last to your salvation.

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
that my true future is the happiness of heaven,
that life on earth is short,
and the life to come eternal.

Help me to prepare for death
with a proper fear of judgment,
but a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death
to the endless joy of heaven.

Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Attributed to Pope Clement XI (23 July 1649 – 19 March 1721)

a Marinduque fisherman during sunsetA Marinduque fisherman begins his night fishing as the sun starts to set.
Marinduque, 17 April 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hanging on for dear life

When I saw the Cupmen in a Japanese website, I just had to ask my sister in Tokyo to buy some for me. If there ever was a most useful useless gadget, this has got to be it. A plastic man whose job is to keep the paper-foil cover of instant ramen noodles down. He turns white when the noodles are heating up and goes back to his original color when it cools down. Isn't he just too cute?

The Cupman in my office gets a workout every now and then during emergencies, but the one at home is probably bored out of his skull. Maybe I should just hang him on my computer monitor.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Win a Boracay vacation package!

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Read More Information:

Monday, March 8, 2010

I don't know whether to scream or cry

I just saw a video prepared by the Ateneo School of Government about its many projects. It was a public relations tool, but never mind about that. What hit me hard—very hard—was a segment of the video showing one of their faculty during a lecture. He said that it is estimated that 30% of the annual Philippine national budget is lost to corruption.

Right now, that's 300 billion pesos!!!

The agricultural and infrastructure damage of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng combined was 15 billion, a measly 5% of the money that ended up in the pockets of our corrupt politicians.

In the meantime:

  • 30% of Filipinos live below the poverty line.
  • We are experiencing rotating brownouts now because our power generating capability is too low. So low that when one power plant gives up, we're incapacitated.
  • An average of 20 typhoons enter the Philippines every year. Yet we are never prepared for the damages that they cause.
  • Every three years or so, we experience the El NiƱo phenomenon, but again, we are never prepared for its effects. The water in Luzon's dams have already reached critical levels and summer has just begun.
  • It's impossible to make an actual count, but a study which gathered data from charity organizations and the Department of Social Welfare and Development estimates that there are more than 100,000 street homeless in Metro Manila alone. And I don't think that figure includes those who live in makeshift shanties all over the metro.
I can go on forever with a list of problems that 300 billion pesos annually can alleviate or solve outright.

Suddenly, I am inarticulate. I do not have enough strong swear words to say how I feel about this government.

Gloria Arroyo unexplained wealth cartoon from

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Make it pretty

I prefer using liquid hand soap for several reasons. One, there's nothing to get soft and mushy with frequent use. Two, I can dispense just the right amount of soap I need so there's no waste. And three, I don't have to worry about the person before me not rinsing the bar of gunk and stuff that can get stuck on it.

reused soap dispenser decorated with flower and insect stickersThe only problem with liquid soap is the dispenser that they come in. It's such a waste to throw them away when they're empty. Aside from being still perfectly usable (unless it gets broken for some reason), they're usually made of plastic which isn't biodegradable. So I've taken to reusing them.

But first, I try to make them a little prettier. I remove the labels then use scrapbooking plastic and foil stickers to decorate the body all around. Unlike paper stickers, these won't rub off when they get wet, which makes them ideal for the project.

But now, I have a different kind of problem. Unless our stores begin selling liquid soap refills, I'm going to have more dispensers than I know what to do with.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Art marks

As I promised in my previous post, here's an idea for how to recycle the artwork and photographs of smaller desk calendars.

old desk calendars
The easiest is to turn them into bookmarks. The handiest width for bookmarks is about two inches so that usually means having to crop the artwork first. In cropping, try to follow the photographer's Rule of Thirds (click the link for a tutorial). Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule; in cropping my 2008 desk calendar (these photos are from the middle of last year), I was limited by the height of the images. This is how I decided to crop two of the paintings; many of the sheets gave me two bookmarks rather than one.

cropping the images of old desk calendars
After cutting all of the sheets, I punch a single hole near the top and add a ribbon (or yarn). As much as I can, I try to match the colors in the images, but since I only work with what I have on hand (and many of these ribbons are scraps from the packaging of gifts given to us), it's not always possible. My all-purpose ribbon for those instances is a narrow, gold gauze ribbon.

bookmarks made out of old desk calendars
If you have no need for so many bookmarks, then just give them away to family, friends and colleagues who you know to be avid readers. Even consider giving them to your local library, with instructions to give one each to the next several people who take out books. You'll be making some people happy and you would have done a small part in helping reduce environmental waste.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Artsy drawers

It's the first day of the new year and if you're like me, you have several 2009 calendars to dispose of. Before chucking them all in the garbage or recycling bins, first see if you can re-use them.

Calendars of all sizes made of paper stock (not cardboard), as long as one side is blank and the paper is not too thin that the print shows through, can be used as note/memo paper. Just cut them into squares or rectangles in the size of your choice. This is best done with a paper cutter or an X-acto knife with a steel ruler and cutting mat; but lacking either, scissors will do, though it will take longer.

The bigger wall calendars that are made of card stock, especially the ones with paintings, photographs and illustrations, make for great drawer and cabinet liners. I use them everywhere, from clothes drawers and the closet we use to store toiletry products to our kitchen cabinets.

old calendars used as drawer liners
Lay the loose sheets down on the drawer bottom, making sure that each piece overlaps with the others. When you are satisfied with both the coverage and the placement of your favorite designs, keep the sheets together with adhesive tape. Pay special attention to the corners—you don't want to accidentally tear the sheet out while getting something near the bottom of the drawer.

These liners may not be as pretty as the big drawer liners you can buy at home centers, but they're more eco-friendly and much sturdier, being able to withstand several years' use as long as there are no accidental spills from food and bath products. And chances are, you will always have replacement sheets every year at no extra cost.

Next, how to re-use smaller card stock desk calendars.