Tag Archives: Christmas

Food & How To: Puto Bumbong (Filipino)

As a kid, I always wondered how this Filipino delicacy is made, or what is it really made of? You know, those bamboo pipes are pretty interesting to look at; and it seems like they are just playing, so..

Anyhow, we are talking about no other than the Puto Bumbong — a recipe that is traditionally made during the Christmas season. Okay, let’s now see how it is actually done.

First. For those who know how ‘puto bumbong’ really looks like on the streets during December — this ‘puto bumbong’ appears shiny instead of rough — that’s because she didn’t use a bamboo steamer.

Other than appearance, the ingredients in the video are generally what are used to prepare for this recipe. So, it’s okay.

Anyway, it is important that you protect yourself from the hot steam which is also one reason why those bamboo pipes that are used has a cloth wrapped around it — not to mention the need to also put some cloth inside the steamer to absorb some of the heat when done.

Now, t’is how it’s done near churches! Ingredients are held together and poured inside the bamboo pipe as we wait for it to cook.

While using violet food coloring is okay, the use of ‘real’ purple yam is obviously much better as it blends well with your sticky rice. Yep, just try not to substitute its 3 other main ingredients: butter, grated coconut and panocha (brown concentrated sugar) — for this would not be ‘puto bumbong’ anymore if you do. Hah!

Simple ingredients as they may seem but the finished product is one thing you’d truly enjoy. We did. And now, it’s your turn — Enjoy!

Consumer Video: DIY Weird Christmas Presents

Gift ideas all over! We just can’t help it.. And we just love it! After all, it’s a time of giving, bonding and sharing. Now, how about a some ‘weird’ DIY Christmas presents this time around? You know, just to make the holidays more fun.

Who knows, your folks might love ’em, too! Let’s see..

So, which one did you like most? Hmm… the ‘microphone sponge’ was a little impractical. Oh my, you just made your bathing sponge smaller! Hah! Same goes with the ‘phone hologram’ — it may be interesting but it needs more improvement.

The ‘iPhone battery transferer’? Well.. do you still have lots of usable phones and no charger nor a ‘powerbank’??

Tell ya what, the nice thing ’bout these DIYs though is that materials are cheaper and easier to secure — making it really worth trying.

Yup. And the ‘hoodie pillow’ was a good one especially if you can’t live without your hoodie. Hah! But the cutest and most useful is the drink dispensing purse. Makes bottle-carrying a thing of the past.. Just be careful with that beverage plastic though, or everything inside your bag could have a drink as well. Great!

Gift Ideas: 3 DIY Christmas Gifts Set 2

So, here’s another set of ‘Do-It-Yourself’ Christmas gifts your loved ones would treasure, and of course save you money for the holidays. And they are the sweater totes, the handmande candles, and the button rings. How are they done? Let’s read through it..

Sweater Tote 

Sweater Totes
Sweater Totes

The main material? Stretched out or shrunken sweaters! It happens to everyone at least once — a wool sweater finds its way into the washer and dryer by mistake, and the result is a garment so shrunken it will fit only the cat. The reason? Wool fibers have microscopic hooks that when wet, warm, and agitated grab onto one another, making the fabric denser and smaller. this process is called ‘felting’, and it works best if a sweater is made of 100 percent wool. When choosing sweaters, remember that a thicker sweater makes a stronger tote, and that patterns really liven up things. And how to make a ‘sweater tote’?

First, you gotta secure the materials you’ll need:

  • 100 percent wool sweater (L and XL are good for totes)
  • Washer and dryer
  • Laundry detergent
  • Large needle
  • Strong thread (carpet, quilting, or embroidery)
  • Scissors
  • Additional sweater for pockets (optional)

Then, transform your sweater. Wash and dry it on regular heat in the dryer. repeat if necessary. Cut off the sleeves and neckline of the sweater. refold so the seams of the sweater and the strap openings face front. Turn the sweater inside out and sew across the bottom, 1/2″ in from the edge. Fold straps, slightly overlapping, in thirds and sew to secure. stitch around the bag’s opening to keep the tote’s top from stretching.

Finally, make the pocket. It can be any shape you like, but mitten-shaped ones are a charming nod to the tote’s knitted origin.

Handmade Candles 

Handmade Candles
Handmade Candles

Teacups offer elegant vessels for hand-poured candles. Repurpose china from old place settings, mixing and matching pieces. Or single out a favorite new find, such as this one from Anthropologie. But how do you make candles?

Well, you’ll need wax, wicks, putty, a pencil, and a candy thermometer, all of which can be found at a craft store. Wax can be sold in blocks, sheets, and shavings, which is to be melted on a stove or in a microwave.

Now, for pouring the wax. Wrap one end of the wick around a pencil. Set pencil on egg cup, suspending the wick. With putty, secure wick’s metal clip to bottom of cup. In a double boiler, melt wax according to package directions; use a candy thermometer to gauge temperature. Pour wax in a cup; allow to fully cool. Trim wick to 1/4 inch.

Button Rings 

Button Rings
Button Rings

Emily Peters sells these baubles at the Country Living fairs, but she’s also generous enough to tell you how to craft your own. If you become so carried away that you need more buttons, etsy.com  has a killer selection of vintage ones — or of course, you could look for good ones in your local store.

Step 1: Start with an adjustable brass ‘ring blank’, the band that wraps around your finger ($6.50 for 10; filigree findings.etsy.com).

Step 2: If your button has a shank on the back, snip it off with wire-cutting pliers and sand down the back surface with a rotary tool (dremel 4.8-volt, $24.97; homedepot.com).

Step 3: Apply a thin layer of metal-bonding glue (beacon’s glass, metal & more glue, $6.99 for two ounces; createforless.com) to the back of your button, then adhere it to the top of the ring blank. If you’d like to add a second button, apply a thin layer of the glue to its back side, then adhere it atop the first button. Let it dry for 24 hours. Done.

Don’t you just love these DIYs? You not only make your loved ones happy but you also save some cash — with a bonus — you even learn something! Wow! Just a little care with the sweaters and candles..

Gift Ideas: 3 DIY Christmas Gifts

Well, December has set in and the countdown begins; but does that mean our wallets has to suffer in gift giving? Uh oh.. Not so much, hah, if we could only be a little more creative. Yes, surely the effort would greatly be appreciated by our real friends and loved ones.

Here are some of our choices and courtesy of Country Living..

Mason Jar Lid Coasters
Mason Jar Lid Coasters

Mason Jar Lid Coasters 

For once, the ubiquitous mason jar isn’t the star of a DIY hack — we focused on its cap instead. First, gather four lids: We used weathered zinc ones ($1.65 each; 3 1/4″ diam.; candlesoylutions.com). Place your lids upside down on top of adhesive cork shelf liner ($7.99; 12″W x 4’L; containerstore.com). Trace around the lids with a pen, then cut out the circles. Next, stamp an image into the center of each cork circle — ours references the classic Ball jar — using solvent-based ink, which won’t smear when wet (stamp, $8.75; 1″W x 2″L; dragonflybuzz.etsy.com. StazOn solvent ink pad, $7.99; hobbylobby.com). Let the ink dry at least one minute, then peel the backing off the cork circles, affix within the lids, and crack open a cold one. (Alison Gootee)

Marigold, Honey, and Oatmeal Soap

These creamy cleansers aren’t just beautiful, they also pamper your skin: Marigold soothes, honey moisturizes, and oatmeal gently exfoliates. A pound of melt-and-pour Castile base ($4.46; bulkapothecary.com) yields about six 3-ounce soaps. After drying your marigolds, follow these steps:

Marigold, Honey, and Oatmeal Soap
Marigold, Honey, and Oatmeal Soap

Step 1: In a large pot, melt the soap base according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, in a small, microwave three tablespoons honey for 15 seconds on low until the honey is slightly runny. Stir into the melted soap base.

Step 2: Add five tablespoons dried marigold petals, four tablespoons coarse oatmeal, and 10 drops mandarin essential oil ($2.36 for 1/2 oz; bulkapothecary.com). Stir to combine, then remove from heat.

Step 3: Grease a six-cavity metal tartlet tin with sweet almond oil (for similar tin, Bakers Select, $14.37; amazon.com. Oil, $4.81 for 16 oz; bulkapothecary.com). Evenly divide the soap mixture among the cavities, then gently tap the tin against your work surface to release any air bubbles. Let the soaps set at room temperature for four hours; carefully run a knife around the edges to release. (Yuki Sugiura)

Homemade Trivet
Homemade Trivet

A Homemade Trivet

Whip up a Scandinavian-style table protector from–get this–wooden clothespins and floral wire. Oslo-born crafter Paul Lowe shares his easy how-to in ‘Sweet Paul Eat and Make’ ($30; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Simply disassemble 40 clothespins, lay them flat side down, and drill a hole in each, about ½ inch from the tapered end. Thread the pins onto the wire with the double-notched sides facing right, as shown. Then, pull the wire into a circle and twist the ends to secure. You’ll be done before the kettle boils. (Alexandra Grablewski)

So?? Cheap.. or kinda expensive? Com’ on! The coasters? The trivet? Maybe a little more effort that is, especially with the soap. Got to be careful indeed. But if you could really finish well, surely they’ll be awed and thankful. After all, these are something from the heart..

Gift Ideas: Marc Fisher Hold Me Tote

As we get closer to the holidays, here’s another gift idea, this time for moms out there..

A beautifully designed Marc Fisher tote bag or, the hold me tote. This bag actually comes in black and red colors, and you can find them at Macy’s.

image
Marc Fisher Hold Me Tote

The bag is made of pebbled faux leather measuring 13 1/2″ W x 11″ H x 6″ D while having a double over the shoulder strap with a 10″ drop – stylishly strong enough to carry all those little stuffs. Also, it has a magnetic snap closure, and a slip pocket inside.

On the other hand, the most notable exterior feature of this tote bag are obviously the detachable wristlet and the front zip pocket – things that mom’s would appreciate much especially on a hectic schedule.

And speaking of rush.. This tote bag comes with a regular price of $98 but since it’s on sale – it’s just $49.99 .. So better hurry, the sale is only until November 19.

YouTube Review: Uncle Henry gets surprised on Christmas

With over 1.7M views.. “Uncle Henry…” is by far the most popular video on YouTube this week, that is after the first week of the year 2014.

The video is just all about Uncle Henry receiving a Chistmas present, and sure, what a joy to watch. Being speech and hearing impaired, who would not want to be part of his simple joys?! And as MiamiRedSkin puts it, “He has a heart of gold and everyone who meets Henry absolutely loves him…”

Here, Henry taught us that by just taking the world as it is and appreciating life… it is all that we really need to be happy.

Yes, in many cases, more than what an iPad can do.

Last Day of 2013

Here’s a look at what’s going on in the lives of those who look forward to a better year ahead…

Inside malls…

Grocery rush for the New Year...
Grocery rush for the New Year…
Loading cellphones for midnight greetings...
Loading cellphones for midnight greetings…
Footwear... one of the most sought after items
Footwear… one of the most sought after items

Outside malls, or in wet markets…

More people lining up for tonight's lottery... who knows?
More people lining up for tonight’s lottery… who knows?
Gearing up for local delicacies...
Gearing up for local delicacies…
Baggage counter: Red seems to be the color of the day... well, tradition
Baggage counter: Well, tradition, Red is the color of the day…

At the end of the day, the ‘new year’ is all about family; about being together and celebrating while looking at the same direction..