And just like that, 2014 is coming to a close and we'll be ushering in a new year before the weekend. It definitely was a fast year for us as we have been busiest this year! As new parents (for the second time), I think we are awake most of the time and as cliché as it may sound, we really need more time to do the things that we needed to do.
Before I go on and rant about the bittersweet journey of parenting, let me round up our 2014, our joys, this year's highs and lows and a whole lot more. Here it goes!
This year we hosted 5 dinners! Jane's Birthday, Ashrie's 5th Birthday, Lia Ahryn's Welcome Party and another one for her Dedication, and a Christmas Dinner just last weekend. By the way, below are some photos from the last party:
We went home to the Philippines on the earlier half of this year and visited Malaysia on the latter part. We had one staycation in Singapore too.
We had relatives who stayed with us for three months. And I can't thank them enough for their help and support. It was also during our lowest point this year when Jane was on bedrest and even confined in the hospital for weeks. And with the lowest point came our greatest joy when the family welcomes the arrival of Baby Lia.
What a colorful year indeed. Life has been full of adventures, trials, simple joys and pleasures. The important thing is to end the year, start another year and go through the year with thankfulness in our hearts to God who brought us through.
With this, I greet you a Joyous New Year that is full of hope, love and gratitude. See you next year!
I was shopping for new dinnerware but bought a pair of food domes instead. I told myself I will definitely use it for this year's Christmas dinner. It is German-made, stainless steel, heavy, and the small acorn handles were made of brass. The contrast between their colors and textures makes them more interesting. They are beautiful and inspiring indeed.
It was my inspiration for a Woodland-themed Christmas tablescape. After the white and gold tablecloth was laid out, the sets of four white plates, flatware, napkins, and glasses were placed on the table, the setting then needed a tall centerpiece.
As I do not have fresh flowers at that time, I utilized what we have at home. I took these rustic-looking hurricane lamps from the living room (these are from Dimensione which we flew in from our most recent trip to the Philippines) and layered it with an antique marble artichoke bookend, a pinecone in a small glass cloche, and extra christmas tree ornaments. I also added a pair of votives with red candles for a punch of color and glow.
As final touches, we made a wreath of fresh willow leaves, tucked small branches in the centerpiece and slip a single branch tip on every napkin ring. This was then accessorized with a red holly berry each. And it's all done!
Now a beautiful table deserves good food to be served. And Jane as usual did not disappoint. Her Christmas menu is a delight to the senses, in sight, in scent and in taste. (The following images were grabbed from my Instagram feed.)
She served a three-course meal starting off with a delicious, homemade Creamy Mushroom Soup and Garlic Bread as appetizer.
Main course was Pan-Seared Porkchop and Mashed Potates with Red Wine Reduction Gravy.
And lastly for dessert, we had a helping of a Crisp Apple Strudel and Ice Cream.
Drinks include Red Wine, Spiced Apple Drink and Iced Lemon Water. The meal was sumptuous and definitely satisfying.
As a final hurrah for 2014, we will be hosting a dinner for a few friends later tonight. We are also celebrating Baby Lia's 7 months!
Then it's the New Year next week and schoolyear opening. And yes, it falls on a Friday! Why not make it Monday instead? Anyway, what a busy year it has been! Should I make a yearender post? I'll think about it.
So now as our "Feliz Navidad" is done let me greet you with the remaining half of the song, "Prospero Año y Felicidad"!
We've waited patiently for Christmas 2014 and now it's history. But the happy memories we've created will remain even when we're long gone.
How lovely it is (and how convenient it has become) to see families gather for this special occasion. Homes were decorated, tables brimming with festive food and families taking "groufies" in matching outfits! Although each family has a unique tradition for their celebration, the important thing is that we know the Reason for the season. With that in mind, everything will be meaningful and worthwhile.
Traditionally, Filipinos celebrate the Noche Buena feast with a lavish serving of festive food on the table to be shared by the whole family. For us however, due to lack of preparation as I still need to report for work on Christmas Eve, we decided to have a Junk Food Extravaganza. We had pizza, fried chicken lollipops, donuts, soda and chips! Jane cannot wait to give her presents and we opened them all even before Christmas! She gave toys to the kids, and I got another G-Shock and a bottle of Bulgari perfume. It was great fun indeed!
I have hidden my surprise for Jane but since I received mine, I also handed my presents to her. It was a number of accessories and a pair of Tiffany earrings! I'm glad that she loves it. Seems like the "when in doubt, give jewelry" thing really works.
On Christmas morn, Ashrie opened the rest of her presents, this time from me. I gave her books, an Aurora doll which is her favorite Disney Princess and a Princess Aurora costume to match. She liked it, but I think for now, she likes her alien-looking Furby more.
And to cap off the night, we had a special dinner prepared by Jane. And I'll tell you more about it in a separate blog post.
For now, let me greet all of you a very Merry Christmas!
She can now carry her body on all fours and mastering the art of creeping, which simply means crawling with her belly flat on the mat inching her way closer to where she wants to go.
She loves peekaboos especially the ones with different wacky voices. She also loves eating and can finish her meal in a jiffy.
At this point, we noticed that she is now deciding whether she wants you to carry her when she's with one parent. She would either turn away or throw herself closer to your open arms. So depending on her mood, it's either she missed me the whole day or she didn't know me as I am away the whole day. Well, you know what I mean.
But man, what a milestone! She's now half-a-year-old! Thank God and her Mom for all her hard work the past (not just months but) year.
Looking forward to next month and her First Birthday.
One of our closest friends and his family are moving to a
new three-bedroom unit in Yishun and they asked me to help them in their
interiors. Of course, I concurred!
By far this is the second time someone asked for my design
services for their homes. The first was for our property agent’s condominium
unit which I did using manual drafting and rendering. This time, I did SketchUp
for their Living and Dining Areas, the Master Bedroom, the Kids’ Room and the
Take a look at the photos, BEFORE their move in:
My concept is to create a space to serve a family with 3 young boys. So the theme was a little bit of industrial, contemporary with splashes of bold colors. I tried to have a good mix of masculine and feminine elements so that it will not look like a bachelor's pad or worse, a frat house.
And here are my design plans:
THE FLOOR PLAN
THE LIVING AREA. The house has a lot of small walls creating small corners and I used this to zone the spaces. So although the areas are not completely closed, there are visible enclosures to each.
When one enters to the flat, he will be greeted directly by this handsome console table, colored vases, a metal globe and a huge rustic clock. It also set the mood and gives you a synopsis of the design for the rest of the house. Seating is fairly straightforward with an L-shaped sofa, a glass coffee table, a stunning arm chair, a cool floor lamp and a vibrant rug to anchor them all together.
THE DINING AREA. There is a niche on the dining area which is perfect for a console or a buffet. On top, I placed colorful glass vases. There is a textured wall on one side which can also be seen from the front door and living room. I chose a wooden table paired with all-white leather chairs. All this is to be accented with a pendant light (not in the drawing) hanging over the dining table.
THE KIDS' ROOM.Here, I wanted to create a space that the kids can
lounge, put their feet up, play with their iPads and even “vandalize” the
walls. The idea is like a player’s
locker room. The bedroom is to be equipped with metal lockers, a bunk bed with
a pull-out bed below for the third brother, a chalkboard wall, a metal bench,
some comfy bean bags, and a huge poster of their choice. No dartboard behind
the door please!
THE STUDY. The home office is a place of calm and order as opposed to the Kids' Room. There is a study table where the boys can study or where mom can pay the bills. There is a tall étagère where they can put all their books or display their crafts and a storage cabinet to keep all their other stuff.
THE MASTER BEDROOM. Lastly, the homeowner's little haven. I kept the bedroom simple with contemporary bedding, a gorgeous mirror wall and a stylish armchair. I suggest pendant lights above this seat to be both admired as one enter and from the outside.
In other news, a living room makeover is coming your way as a friend commissioned me to reinvent their living space. So watch out for that!
Christmas is coming soon and it's time to decorate for the holidays!
For Christmas 2014, our second in Woodlands, we went for a "Black, White and Gold theme" as previously mentioned on my Christmas Banner DIY post. We changed the sofa slipcovers to black (or on a closer look is actually dark charcoal gray) and shuffled our furniture pieces and the wall art.
I have always wanted a fireplace. I told my wife that my dream home would definitely have one. Be it in our home country or abroad. So for our living room we wanted to create the cozy feel and look of a family gathering together by the hearth on Christmas eve.
To pull this off, we placed the bureau where the sofa used to be and anchored everything with regards to it. We used its top as a mantel for books, candle holders and ornaments. We also put my original artwork back in the living room.
Arranging the rest of the furniture flowed smoothly once we had the focal point figured out. We also positioned the armchairs at an inclined angle for a more conducive seating area. And finally, we layered the look using accessories for the coffee table and throw pillows for the sofa.
What can look better than a pile of presents underneath the Christmas tree? Well, a stack of beautifully-wrapped, color or theme-coordinated presents. So for now we have started buying presents and I have already wrapped a few in a black, white and gold wrapper, tied with a black string and labelled with a gold gift tag.
Here's the casa "almost ready" for the Christmas:
Busy but exciting days are surely coming, and we can't wait!
And if you are on a last minute decorating, here’s a very
quick mantel decor idea you can do in no time. Just make sure to put the tealights in a glass or something so that the paper will not catch
I matched the paper luminarias with red vases of varying heights, a couple of red glass lampshades and Ashrie's large Belle and Boo paper doll in a witch costume.
Wow! Lia's five months old now and what a month it has been.
There are a lot of hurrahs the previous month, lots of major milestones to celebrate.
Lia liked her first meal, it was mashed organic Japanese pumpkin. She also started to roll over and doesn't want to be carried horizontally unless she's very sleepy. She also started to crawl and reach for her favorite toys. She also loves touching your face when you talk to her.
What I like the most? Her giggles! Her laughs during peekaboos are contagious to say the very least.
Looking forward to more fun times as she turns 6 next month! We love you Lia!
We have seen a lot of geometric designs this year, in architecture and in interiors. We can see it in furniture, textiles, glassware, pottery, basically it's almost everywhere. So this Christmas, I would like to merge our holiday color theme with this trend.
I'm adding accents of these geometric gemstones on the mantel and coffee table perhaps. You can actually make more as these can also be used as a Christmas Tree ornament and so versatile that you can also use it even long after the Christmas season is over, during parties or simply to decorate a bookshelf.
Unlike the banner/bunting tutorial which is very easy to do, this will need craftier hands to execute. It took me at least 30 minutes to finish my first gemstone. I hope I'll get a little bit faster on the next templates. Also, I think those who have thinner fingers will find it easier to assemble and close the gems. (And that's me saying I'm not one of them.) If you want to try it out, here's a list of what you will need.
Printed Paper Gem Templates
A4 Card Stock
Scoring Tool (optional, I just used a regular ballpen to do the work)
*Choose a card stock that is neither too thick nor too thin. It'll be easier to fold and fasten it together when you have just the right thickness.
1. If your card stock has a shiny texture (like mine), you might want
to print the template on a piece of A4 paper first, and then tape it
temporarily on the underside of the card stock before cutting. If not, you can
directly print on the underside of your card stock and cut along the template
2. Once it is cut, score the lines so that it will be easier to
fold the card stock. If you do not have a scoring tool, you can use a regular
ballpen to trace the lines, leaving a groove for easy folding.
3. Assemble the gemstone by pasting the flaps together. I used
double-adhesive tape so that it will have an instant bond.
4. If you are going to use it as a Christmas Tree ornament or if
you wish to hang it somewhere, make sure to add a string at the center top
portion before closing it.
Here's the finished piece!
Now, I'm going to try the other shapes as well. Let's do this!
This year we have decided to go with a Black and White Theme with touches of Gold. I have started off by changing the slipcover of our sofa in the living room from Beige to Black and following that with this simple and easy Christmas Banner in the same color theme. You can download the free printable here, and follow on with the materials and procedures below.
Downloaded PDF of the Gold Banner/Bunting
Card Stock for printing
Ribbon or String
1. Print the letters that you will be needing. I scaled it down to 45% because the original PDF is way too large for my wall. I went for the classic MERRY CHRISTMAS greeting.
2. Cut your letters. I suggest using a cutter rather than scissors to make your lines straight.
3. Measure the amount of ribbon or string that you will be using and how high or low you want its curve to be on the wall while hanging. Add a few more inches for allowance.
4. Fasten the letters onto the string. I used masking tape at the back to secure the letters to create a cleaner look rather than using a puncher to slip the ribbon through. Start from the center letter of your word or phrase and don't forget to include the spaces in counting.
4. And lastly, hang your personalized DIY banner.
I have yet to update the bureau top with Christmas decorations. So stay tuned for more!