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On Break

>> Saturday, September 09, 2017

A few months ago, Photobucket killed third party hosting and is requiring its users to pay $400 to access third party hosting. I've been using photobucket for years now in hosting all my pictures on this blog. All my photos have now been replaced with a fugly notice from Photobucket.

I don't profit from this blog so paying that subscription fee is not worth it.

For now, this blog will be on hiatus until I figure out how to fix my archive -- or find the time to manually host all the photos on Blogger. I still post photos on my Instagram or on Tumblr. I still have two posts for posting but I guess that's on hold too since I already uploaded all the photos on photobucket.


Hoot! Hoot!

>> Saturday, March 11, 2017

What do you do when your friend requests a DIY owl for a Christmas gift?

You DIY an owl to the best you can because it's your first time DIY-ing an owl.

Also, wing it as you go along.

Jason requested that I make him an owl as a Christmas present, after showing him this link from tumblr. It seemed possible for me to do. Besides, I would not turn down an opportunity to DIY something.

I got my supplies ready, and off I flew to Diagon Alley to get an owl.

In the instructions I got off from Tumblr, the body of the owl was made from foam that can be reshaped. Since foam was difficult to find here, I had to adjust and used the closest option -- styrofoam balls. It had 'foam' in the name, so it'll do.

A portion of the ball forming the body was hallowed out so that the smaller ball (which would be the head) would sit perfectly.

Crepe paper was used as the feathers. I could not find broze and gold crepe paper in the local craft stores (I visited so many branches of National Book Store and they had the fugly kiddie art colors that didn't fit the colors of the owl). I switched from the original plan of a barn owl to Hedwig from Harry Potter. I had silver crepe paper stashed at home and I just crumpled regular white paper to give an illusion that it's crepe paper too.

I cut the paper in tear drop shapes and one by one layered them on the owl's body and head.

The eyes were also made with the tear drop shapes on white and gold painted paper, fanning them out to form a circle. I glued on black beads for the eyeballs. The beak was made from a black paper cut into a cone.

The head was secured to the body with toothpicks.

I also cut two huge tear drops, folded it in the middle and attached it to the body to form the wings.

As final touches, the tips of the feathers were painted with black, just like Hedwig. I also included a DIY envelope with the Hogwarts seal, so Hedwig can bring the acceptance letter.

Time to fly, Hedwig! It'll take magic for a DIY owl to fly.


Project Planner 2017: Hemp Leaf Binding

>> Sunday, January 01, 2017

The yearly planner tradition lives on. It's back to the arts and crafts table for 2017's #projectplanner.

I still have two travel posts pending, but because 2016 has been so busy and crazy, I still don't have the time to sort and edit a bajillion photos.

Also, because of my busy work schedule, photos were rushed too. I only took one or two shots while working on the planner in the wee hours of the night, that's why most of them have bad lighting. My new year's resolution: have better photos for the 2018 planner.

*sings* Let's get it onnnn...

One. I still have a box filled with prints from years back. I took the ones with patterns and cut out circles from it.

Then using a paper cutter, I cut out the letters of the abbreviated months.

The year has finally come when I was able to buy letter stamps. During a trip to Hong Kong a month ago, I was able to go arts and crafts crazy at Log-On. Besides a BB-8 washi tape, I was able to buy mini letter stamps, which was the perfect size in stamping the days of the week.

As for the months, I bought an uppercase stamp set from National Bookstore. I know, I know, it's way cheaper in Divisoria. I didn't have the time, remember? Next time, I will go back there and buy more stamps of different sizes.

I didn't have small fonts for the numbers so I went for plan b: write them down using watercolor.

I still had old illustration board from the previous planner projects. I cut it to the desired size and covered it up with a page from an adult coloring book. I originally filled in the spaces with watercolor, but scrapped it because it had too many colors for my taste. So I took inspiration from Pinterest and the fad of single-colored shapes. I painted half of the page with gold paint.

For the cover page, I had saved some board paper from things given and bought in the past. One board paper had a crease that was perfect for me because I could use that as a flap for the cover of the planner. I just covered it up with a paperbag that I found in the trash can. Horrah for recycling!

Here came the challenging part. I wanted to try a different kind of binding for this year's project. I had already tried metal binding from outside services, copic binding, and regular back threading.

Then I discovered the Japanese stab binding.

I didn't want to do an ordinary style of stab binding (I'm ambitious and stubborn like that). I decided on the Hemp Leaf Binding because the number of holes were just right for my planner.

I found this very helpful site by amphian that showed a step-by-step diagram of how to do the hemp leaf binding. It also provided an option where you will just input the length of the binding area, and the site will automatically compute the distance between the holes. Awesome.

This part gave me a headache because I came across a couple of problems. I initially used a pushpin to create holes on the paper. However, when I was trying to thread in a twine, I could not pull the twine through the holes because it was too small. THEEEEEN, the needle broke.

So I kinda cheated. I asked my dad to drill a hole. Heh. The hole should be big enough to fit at least 3 times the thickness of the thread. The thread will go through each hold at least three times so the hole should be big enough.

Oh boy, threading was so much easier after my dad drilled a bigger hole. I still had some difficulty threading, but it was very much manageable afterwards.

The big reveal!

The first page has my name stamped on it. Still thinking on where to place in my blog and twitter url.

The holidays and the birthdays are penned in already.

The card slot will always be present.

I also used the excess thread from the binding (I didn't cut it off) and some beads to make a bookmark.

So 2017, let's be nice and organized, yeah? I'm ready for you.


Concluding Cambodia (Part 4)

>> Monday, September 12, 2016

[Part 1 - City Tour] [Part 2 - Angkor Wat] [Part 3 - Angkor Thom]

Two months after the trip, I finally found the time to write this last part and the concluding entry to my Cambodia trip.


Whenever I visit other countries or places, I like to observe. Observe how people live, what works in their countries, how it differs from where I live, and lessons I could bring home.

Here are 5 things I've learned and love about Cambodia (besides the rich history that they have):

1. The people are hella nice. I told Cerz and Edlyn, "They're so nice, it's annoying."

I just realized I don't have photos of people. lol Here's a random lamppost instead.

All throughout our stay, I was waiting for just one moment where I would have a bad experience with a local. We were there for 5 days and every single one of them was polite, courteous, respectful, and nice. You would know that it is in their culture to be chill and nice because they're not just nice to the tourists, but to their fellow Cambodians as well. They were patient with us when they could not understand us sometimes, and would go lengths to ask around to help us find our way around the city.

One time we were looking for a KFC store (I know, we wanted to try how KFC tasted like in other countries okay), one staff member of an ice cream shop really went out of her way to look for a map, run after us and tell us where to go. If I could grade their customer service from 1-10 with 10 being the highest, I'd give a 100.

2. They value the silence. Besides the occasional prayers by the Buddists (which I find very calming), Siem Reap was quiet. People didn't talk loudly, the motorcycles (which is their regular mode of transport) had their silencers working, and there were no street parties (aka the drunk karaoke nights). It was like they respected each other by giving them the space to be quiet.

Our hotel: Kiri Botique Hotel

We spent one whole morning lounging and chilling by the pool (also because we were tired from the two-day tour). It was relaxing because everything was quiet except for the gentle breeze of the wind, the birds chirping and hopping on the roof tops, and the swishy waves of the pool.

3. Feel free to splurge. Spending in Cambodia is cheap. They prefer to transact in US Dollars, which makes it easy for tourists. We didn't have to mentally convert prices and check if fees were cheap or not. This is a rough breakdown of what I spent, except for food. We shared our food expenses so I don't really know how much I spent per person. All I remember is that food prices range from $1 to $9. The $9 dish can be shared by 3 people.

Expenses for the whole trip. Does not include food.

Oh, beware of the Happy Pizza if you don't want to be detained in immigration for looking high. hahaha They have a pizza dish that has marijuana leaves in them, instead of basil and green bell peppers. We ordered an all-meat pizza to be sure that we won't be tricked in getting a Happy Pizza. haha But to be fair, they have restaurants that specifically serve happy pizza so don't fret.

The night market is the biggest and most famous (and probably only) food and shopping area in Siem Reap. There are not that many malls in the city, so if you want to do your shopping and experience different cuisines, then go to the night market. The night market is also open during the day, but it transforms into one happy party place when the sun sets.

4. Riding the tuktuk is fun. It was a good choice for us to take the tuktuk instead of a private taxi for our day tour and temple tour. The air in Siem Reap is clean so you don't have to worry about air pollution and riding in an open vehicle. Riding a tuktuk from one place to another is around $2-3 dollars, depending on how far two places are from each other. You can haggle, but the most they'll charge you is $3. They'll still do it politely and give you the best service possible.

5. Siem Reap is tourist-friendly. Before the trip, my mom was concerned that three girls were going to Cambodia for the first time. Not once did I feel unsafe while walking around. Friends who have visited Cambodia would say the same thing and they all had positive comments about their stay.

I saved this guide I found on Pinterest which also served as my checklist.

  • Countries who are part of the ASEAN don't have to bother on the VISA. Upon landing, we went straight to immigration and didn't have to fill out a visa form and pay a fee. For non-ASEAN residents, I think the visa fee is $25.
  • According to our tour guide, the first quarter of the year is the best weather to visit Cambodia. However, that is the bulk of visitors so he does not recommend if you don't want to experience a people-filled Angkor Wat. June is a good time too because it's in the middle of summer and rainy season. There's not that many people but the weather is still hot. You'll never win. lol
  • Tips are required. With the cheap prices, a 10% tip isn't too heavy on the pocket. Sometimes we give more than the 10% because how can you give a 10-cent tip for a $1 bill?
  • Out of the 8 food dishes listed on the guide, I was able to try the Noodle Soup, Pork and rice, Curry and Iced Coffee. I enjoyed the iced coffee the most because it's tastes so much better than the iced coffee drinks I get here in Manila. I'm not too sure what they meant by sour fruits because there are a lot of sour fruits. If that means pineapple, mango, then I guess I ate that too. Not too different than the fruits here in the Philippines. I didn't get a chance to eat insects because my companions weren't that adventurous (lol I love you still), and I could not find a vendor who sold it.

While waiting for boarding

I want to come back some day, and explore the other sights in Siem Reap. There's still the Flying Gibbon tour, which is more of a nature tour. We skipped the Kulen Mountain for a chillax day in the pool, but I still want to check that out. I also need to get my biking skills back so I can rent a bike and go around the city liesurely and hang out in different places like a local.

Wait for me Cambodia okay? I'll visit you again.


Tiring but Thrilling Temple Tour (Part 3)

>> Wednesday, July 06, 2016

[Part 1 - City Tour] [Part 2 - Angkor Wat]

According to our guide, Mr. Chai, 50% of Cambodia's income relies on tourism. And with all the temples to visit, tourists will sure not run out of places to check out.

The essentials: Day Pass and Map

After our Angkor Wat extravaganza, we headed out to the walled city of Angkor Thom. It was built by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century and it became the last capital of the Khmer empire. It basically translates to "great city" and the structures within the walled city showed how great it is.

We were greeted by the bridge that goes over a moat at the south gate, with a row of god heads -- 54 demons on the right and 54 gods on the right. The gate itself gives a preview of the city: the four faces of Avalokiteshvara and elephants.

Bayon Temple is a Buddhist Temple right smack in the middle of the walled city. Bayon Temple is famous for the numerous towers with the smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara, which faces in all four directions. It's like saying that no matter what you do, there will be a god watching the north, south, east, and west areas of the land. While it is a Buddhist Temple, there are still Hindu elements to some of the carvings on the wall.

Count the faces

Photo tip: Ask your tour guide for a nose-to-nose photo with one of the sides of Avalokiteshvara.

At this point we were already getting tired from all the walking (and it wasn't even 10 AM!) so there were some temples that we breezed through. In other words, we skipped climbing and entering most of them.

Skipped Temple #1: Baphuon Temple is the state temple of Udayadityavarman II that was dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. According to our guide, the main attraction in the temple is the huge sleeping Buddha. I wanted to go in and check it out but our feet were complaining already, knowing that we were going to climb stairs again like what we did in Angkor Wat. We just walked around it to get to the next temple.

I'm not sure if people can enter Phimeanakas Temple, but we just passed by it. This temple was created by Rajendravarman but completed by Suryavarman I. There's a legend behind it where apparently a nagini (no, no the snake in Harry Potter lol) that the King should wed every night or else misfortune will come his way. Weird, but fascinating.

We emerged at the Terrace of the Elephants, which is a huge stage fronting a massive open area. The King would sit in the middle of the tall podium and hold celebrations there. Entertainers would perform in the open area. It was also where the King would make his announcements. We felt like royals standing on it. I may or may have not waved to the imaginary citizens of my kingdom.

Spot the queen tourists

Just a few meters from the Terrace of the Elephants was the Terrace of Leper King. The detail to the carvings are impressive.

Skipped temple #2

Skipped temple #3

Skipped temple #4

We took a break for lunch before giving it one last push in Ta Prohm.

For the non-Cambodians like us, Ta Prohm is famously known for the location of the movie Tomb Raider. But really, this temple is known for its nature vs. man (or the harmony of nature and man, if you look at it differently) structure.

The trees grow with the temple, which was built by King Jayavarman VII and dedicated to his mother. Roots crawl over every roof and wall, and through openings, as if nature spilled over the temple. Because the trees were flexible in nature, it found its way around every nook and cranny of the temple throughout the centuries. At the end of the day, no matter what structure man builds, mother nature will always win.

Peek-a-boo, says the god.

Trees grow overtime, which means that the temple is in danger of collapsing. Just like other temples, there are measures to preserve what is left of the temple and restore what has been damaged.

Ta Prohm probably is my favorite of all the temples we visited. Even if I was tired already from all the walking, I felt like Ta Prohm spoke to me the most, that we don't have to destroy nature in building structures. The interaction and harmony of nature and man-made buildings produces something beautiful and could be a testament to years and years of stories.

I feel like someone's in the shot

We ended the day at 2 PM, but we felt like the day lasted forever. As soon as we went back to the hotel and had a refreshing shower, we zonked out and slept the rest of the day away. Despite the heat and the tons of sweat we let out, I still enjoyed it with the information overload and breathtaking views. [Read Part 4]


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