Saturday, December 28, 2013

Does Your House Need a Repair?

Building materials will always wear off as the years go by. Roofs would leak, paints would peel, cement will crumble, foundations will weaken. Which is why it is important to have a sort of "maintenance fund" if you want to build a house or a building. More so if you buy an old house or a building. This is because when repairs need to be done, it will definitely cost something. And you wouldn't want to repair only when something bad already happens, right?

Just like most people, I would want to save on the maintenance works as much as I can and would opt to make it a DIY project. But when doing major repairs or renovations, it would be smarter to have professionals do it since it would be more efficient that way. No back jobs so to speak. To my friends in Canada, let the pros do the foundation repair in Ottawa or anywhere else. I would also recommend to do waterproofing ottawa works on the roof and walls so that your homes are safe from mold growths especially in the cold winter time. The minor repair works like changing hinges or repainting, that you could DIY.

So there... Happy saving! :)

How Was Your Christmas?

It has been a while since my last post and I know it has been quite quiet around here. I hope to end that in 2014 and try to keep this blog more up to date so you will come back more often too. So how was our Christmas? It was a good one. We spent a quiet Christmas Eve at home. I actually spent the entire day finishing the laundry and cleaning the house but thankfully still had some time to prepare for a simple Noche Buena of lumpia shanghai (rolls made of ground meat, carrots and cheese), pansit canton (stir-fried vegetables with canton noodles) and pork steak. My daughter also enjoyed crafting some more Christmas lanterns which we hung on our windows to make the mood more festive. 

Paper lantern made of colorful origami papers and paper table napkin for the tail. 
On the first Christmas day (first, because they have two Christmas Days here), my daughter received her gift from Santa and how her eyes just glowed to see that Santa gave her what she wished for. I also received a gift from Santa which was indeed a surprise. Thank you Santa, and of course Hanhan and Sam for conspiring :). Then we attended the Christmas Mass held at the chapel of Marien-Hospital in the afternoon. It was well-attended by the Filipino Catholic community in Stuttgart. Then we proceeded to the Asia World Restaurant in Fellbach for a Christmas dinner buffet together with our friends from the community. It was a good evening to spend with friends.

The family at the Christmas dinner buffet.
Dining with good friends a good way to spend Christmas. :)
It was a blessed and happy Christmas altogether but celebrated in a more quiet way. We miss our loved ones in the Philippines and we know that they miss us too but Christ in our hearts, we will never fall apart. And for as long as we have the faith, Christmas will always be here to stay, no matter where we are in the world and no matter how we celebrate it.

How was your Christmas? I hope you also had a beautiful celebration together with your family and friends.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gift Ideas For Musically Inclined People

It's Christmas and I know that you are searching for that ideal gift for your loved ones. If you have friends or family who are musically inclined, why not give them something that they will really appreciate? Here are some gift ideas that will be very appreciated by musical people:

1. "Klangwunder" for the music room. Well, if your friend has a "recording studio", they would of course need a room that is sound-proof to keep noise to the minimum and some really good speakers. Take into consideration the size of the room for example or the instruments that the speaker will be hooked into. There is a good selection of celestion speakers available online that you can choose from.

2. Pocket DJ Mixer. For those who love to mix music, this will just be what they need. Then they can easily mix music wherever they may be. Inspiration can strike anytime and anywhere you know and a pocket DJ mixer will allow for the spontaneity. 

3. Guitar Accessories. You need not buy your guitarist friend a brand new guitar to make them happy this Christmas. Small items like a guitar care kit, guitar strap, capo, or a tuner will be very much appreciated.

These are just a few gift ideas that will suit everyone's budget. Have you any gift ideas for musically inclined people? I would love to hear all about them! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Preparing Your Spring Garden

If there is a perfect time to prepare your spring garden, that would be now... when there is still some bit of warmth in the air and lots of sunshine, at least according to the weather forecast for the week. It doesn't matter how large your garden may be, if you have a backyard or just a balcony with pots. You can still create a spring garden bursting with the wonderful colors of tulips, crocusses, and hyacinths if you put your heart and mind into it.

So what should you take note of when preparing for your spring garden?

Good soil. Make sure you are planting on good soil. It must be loose and rich with nutrients. You can fertilize the soil yourself, compost is the best fertilizer there is. If you have a balcony garden, just make sure you replace the soil in your pots with fresh, garden soil. Most of the garden soil sold in garden centers are already with compost. 

Good seed. You need not be a gardener to grow your own spring garden. You just need good seed, ones that are easy to grow and easy to maintain, like the ones sold at YouGarden. If you are looking to buy seeds, look for those that have instructions in them, or better yet the "Tried and Tested" logo or something like that.

Good nutrition. Just like any other living organisms, seeds and plants need the proper nutrition to grow. They need water, carbon dioxide, and NPK (elementary nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) among others. Be sure to water the pots or your garden beds on a regular basis and follow instructions on whether they should be placed in the shade or exposed to sunlight. Now that you are preparing for your spring garden, watering need not be as frequent since seeds at this time are also in the "hibernating" period. Once a week will do. Be sure that you are not soaking the soil in water.

So there it is. Just be patient and come spring, your little bulbs of narcissi, tulips, crocusses and hyacinths will be blooming and bursting with colors.

Simple Christmas Home Decors

For me, Christmas officially started on the first Sunday of advent so last Sunday after church and lunching with friends, we decorated our home. This year we decided it will just be a simple Christmas for us. That would mean no tree and just simple table and wall decors.

Advent wreath: a simple symbol of our anticipation for Christmas.
One of the things that I can never go without during Advent is the advent wreath. The one in the photo is from our previous Christmases and I just added some little reds from our Christmas tree trimmings. The white candles are from the Christmas market.

They light up in the evening... just make sure you have extra tea candles
for when the light burns out.
I also made a tray with Santa Claus and moose figures adorned with cinnamon stalks, pine cones, walnuts, etc. The figures are like tea light candle holders so you can also light the candles up in the evening for a warmer Christmassy feel.  They now grace the table that was meant for the Christmas tree.

A bowl of Christmas balls and native materials give it a festive look.
The Christmas tree balls I placed on a bowl and arranged them with native materials to make it look more festive. It would have been better if it was a clear glass bowl though.

My little girl is one excited Christmas helper. She hung the socks up!
Then of course the Christmas socks. Nikolaustag is coming... on Friday to be exact and they are supposed to be filled with Christmas gifts. I wanted to add a more personal touch to the socks by sewing in our names. I just didn't the time to do it yet though. Perhaps this weekend. Crossing fingers!

So that's it! What's missing is the little manger... I just haven't found the pieces yet... I have yet to search them out. I have always wanted a manger set made of wood or hand-painted ceramics. Let's see what the Christmas market has to offer... :D

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