Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How About Container Gardening?

First of all, what is container gardening? Oh well...I guess it's self explanatory.  Container gardening is growing your own plants with the aid of containers.  I guess this is the answer to the problem of those garden lovers who are city dwellers or those living on apartments and condominiums.  Now, the good news is...the only limit to gardening is your imagination!  Even those little spaces like porch or patios can be transformed into a colorful garden.  What can be use as containers?  Many....the options are endless!  Wooden barrels, plant boxes, hanging baskets, recycled containers, empty tin cans, plastic pots, plant hangers are just a few.  But I think, in order for you to succeed with container gardening, it would be best to do some readings and researches as to what types of containers are suitable for certain locations and certain plants of your choice.  We need to understand clearly what we want to grow in our garden. How many plants we want to grow, how small is the area, what type of plants or vegetables and if the area you are eyeing for is under direct sun light, shady and so on.  This basic information will give us a cue on how to start!

From what I've learned, soil less potting mix  works best!  These mixes can be purchased from your local garden centers or if you're knowledgeable enough, then perhaps you can make your own mixture.

For a start, it would be best to get a book or any reference material that you can consult from time to time.  I think there are so many things that you can find online.  One recommendation is this 32 page booklet which will provide you with all the basics about container gardening.

You may also opt to grow your own vegetable garden through container gardening.  Whether you would like to grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce or any vegetable that you want, container gardening is a good thing to consider.  If you want a readily available mini herb garden, you can purchase one online.  I think, I've covered this topic in one of my recent posts. 

With the growing number of garden enthusiasts who are always ready to give tips and ideas, your love for garden is no longer a dream to consider but a good hobby to push through.  Whether it's flowers, shrubs, herbs or vegetables, container gardening would be an answer to your gardening fancies.

For me, I will always love gardening in whatever form!  You should try one that best suits you! :)

For more tips and ideas, you can click here.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Home Garden!

I never had a chance to post about my pocket garden here but I think I've mentioned this on my other blog.  My pocket garden was actually in place last December 2010 by Regine from Regine's Garden at Castillejos Zambales.  She was recommended to us by my son's classmate as her Garden Center is located near to their house.  Although a bit far from our residential house, Regine made an ocular inspection of the site in Olongapo.  After some inspection of the area, she made a quotation and described briefly how she would do the project.  

You see, the space is just small that's why I use to call it my pocket garden.  I just utilize the free space in front of the yard adjacent to our terrace. I actually have a big space on the right hand side of my lot but I'm reserving it for another project so just to fulfill my simple wish, I just opted to have my mini garden on that little space in front of the house.  My son approved to my idea and have it done right away.  We requested to put a little fish pond with a mini water falls, all made of rocks and stones.  Then we requested to have a small garden table made of cement on the corner which will function as a coffee table, as well.  Then I requested Regine to put some colorful garden accessories.  Well... filling the floor area with pebbles adorned with garden steps is Regine's idea.

I just featured my own garden here to show that even the tiniest spot in your yard can be transformed into a bountiful, refreshing and colorful garden.  It's just a matter of planning and creativity plus a "will power" and you're set to have your own mini garden :)  You see, even this tiny space was able to hold a mini fish pond with a collection of some cute gold fishes and some floating water lilies plus a mini water falls.  We just put on a spot light to shine on the falls at night, and there you have a wonderful sight in your front yard with a relaxing sound of moving water from your mini falls. 

Sometimes, I just opt to have my cup of tea or coffee while seated on my white garden set on my terrace overlooking the mini garden and I'm already feeling relaxed.  Now, we have already fabricated a canopy to serve as protective covering for the fish pond and also for us to have a means to hang my orchids collection. This new canopy was not yet shown on the above photos as this was just "in place" during my last vacation.  Probably, I will just post it next time :)

Living in an apartment or condominium should also not stop you from having your own garden.  The possibilities are endless.... if you're really into plants and gardening, then you can always find some ways to fulfill your fancies.

Have you started with your own garden already?  If not, please do! You'll be missing a lot! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Consumer And Safety Tips From Meralco

Since it's rainy season again in the Philippines, I just have that growing concern over the safety of my family as our village is a flood prone area and I guess it pays to be knowleadgeable and prepared rather than regret later.  One of my primary considerations is the general safety especially when concerning the electrical hazards.  I'm away from home so I couldn't do much to educate my children.  This thing in mind led me to browse through the Meralco website and read through their consumer and safety tips.  My kids are regularly reading my posts so I guess, it would be good to post some of the Meralco tips here for their awareness and for the benefit of the other readers, as well: 
General Safety
  • When not in use, unplug all small appliances.
  • Use the correct fuse size. Over or under-sized fuses could start a fire.
  • Never replace a busted fuse with other materials. Wires and other conductors used in place of the fuses may not be able to isolate the electric circuit in case of a short circuit
  • Avoid octopus connections. Overloading might occur if multiple cords are connected to outlets designed only for one or two plugs.
  • Secure loose electrical cords. Family members might trip over wires that are hanging loose along pathways.
  • If light switches or outlets feel warm when turned on or in use, turn them off. Call a qualified electrician to immediately check the wiring.
  • If plugs seem to fit loosely in a wall outlet, check the plugs or the outlet. A loose or poor electrical connection between plug and the outlet may cause overheating.
  • Pull the plug, not the wire. Pulling the wire itself might make the insulation and wires snap or twist.
  • Use outlet covers and outlet plates to help prevent electrocution. These can help prevent electric shock and possible electrocution.
  • Never try to repair electrical products yourself unless you are a qualified electrician

General Appliances
  • Keep your appliances well maintained. They operate more efficiently and use less energy when in good working order.
  • When shopping for appliances, you can think of two price tags. The first one covers the purchase price—think of it as a down payment. The second price tag is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. You'll be paying for that second price tag every month with your utility bill for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the appliance. Refrigerators last an average of 20 years; room air conditioners and dishwashers, about 10 years each; and washing machines, about 14 years
  • Unplug all electronic equipment when not in use. Transformers or voltage regulators need to be unplugged when not in use as they can heat up and consume more electricity
For other safety concerns, you may want to visit here.

Just sharing!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Simple And Unique Plant Box Designs For Your Garden!

I just got fascinated with these simple but uniquely designed plant boxes at Damsen Theme Park at HCMC!  Materials used were simple and cheap but created an impact in the overall garden design.

The second photo shows a 3 layered plant box with different variety of plants planted on each layer.  However, this design I think would only suit those with large garden areas.  

But overall, I think it's cute and attractive! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Good Way to Showcase Your Jar Collection

We were dining in at Mon Hue Restaurant around Ben Thanh Market area at Hoh Chih Min City when I captured these photos.  I just love the interiors of this small but elegantly decorated restaurant.  In fact, this is the primary reason why we were attracted to enter and try this resto!

I just love how their jar collection were put on display!  I have ceramic jars in my house, too but I just placed them on the floor which I think is not really secure.  In fact, two were already accidentally broken by my daughter : ( 

I think this is a good idea.  Putting them on display on a wall cabinet makes these lovely jar collection safe.  It can also be easily viewed and appreciated by your house visitors.  Not only that! I think it looks more elegant on a cabinet display with all those lights!

Do you think so?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Great Ways To Organize Those Precious Bags And Purses

Next to organizing my accessories, one thing that keeps me bothered is how to organize those bags and purses within my closet.  I love to shop and whenever I do, bags and purses are always on my list.  Whether it's for myself or to be given as gifts and "pasalubong", bags and purses are always "a thing" to consider in my shop list.

I'm guilty of having my bags and purses disorganized in my closet! That is why I'm always on a look for it everytime I need to use one. Fortunately, there is a way to organize those stuff and it's not that difficult nor expensive.

Here are some ways to organize those stuff courtesy of www.organize.com:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Want A Bedroom For Your Kids? Maximize That Space!

Well.. I just thought of sharing this bedroom design which caught my attention.  Designed by Erica Islas, this unique bedroom style combines beauty and function.  Space was maximized in such a way that every floor area has it's function.  I love her idea of combining play area and sleeping area.  There were also lots of drawers to keep those toys and kids stuff. The space below the bed is a play area and outside floor space decorated with carpets is a free area for reading, playing and doing some recreational activities.  Even the steps going up to the bed functions as shelves for books, as well.   


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Own A Green House!

I actually never knew what a green house is until I saw it from one of the Korean series that I'm watching on my DVD.  What is a "Green House" then?

Wikipedia defined "Green House" (also called a glasshouse) as a building where plants are grown. These structures range in size from small sheds to very large buildings. A miniature greenhouse is known as a cold frame.

Green houses come in different sizes and designs.  You can have one depending on your preference, amount of space in your back yard and your personal needs. Above photo can be ordered online for $449.95 at  www.minigreenhousekits.com.

Photo below is another design of green house from gothic art green houses.  This is somewhat similar from what I've seen from the Korean series that I watched few months ago.  This is more classy but more pricey at $100 per square foot.

With the price associated for having a "Green House", one can probably think that it is a "luxury".  But now a days, the advantages of having a green house is becoming so popular to garden lovers and many are lured to having one.  Basic advantages are getting fresh vegetables to your table, having a fun way to bond with your family, having a supply of plants or potted herbs that you can give away as gifts to friends and families all year round and last but not the least, the "fresh feeling" that you can experience every time you enter your "green house".  There's a feeling of calmness and you suddenly would feel free from any worries and troubles while being connected to nature.

I don't see any problem for having one if you really can afford it. 

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are mine.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Having A Party? Make That Lovely Centerpiece!

Photo credit : http://www.hgtv.com

Who says that cake pedestals are just for cakes?  

This unique and colorful design would definitely be an "eye catcher" during your home parties.  They actually make use of glass cake pedestals to hold those ceramic pitchers and clear vases adorned with colorful flowers.  You can add any other decorative piece depending on what is the theme of your party.  The options are endless, just make your creative juices flowing :)

It is best to use the cake pedestals of various heights to create an impact.  I think we can make use of other cake stands even not the glass ones.  We can modify this design and create our own centerpiece that will match our table set up or buffet table.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Growing Your Own Herb Garden!

I've made a post months ago on my other blog site about herbs.  I'm really new to this and I would admit not having a thorough knowledge about it's varieties, medicinal use and health benefits.  But since I came to Cambodia and witnessed how the Khmers love veggies and herbs, I suddenly had that growing concern to get myself familiarized with herbs.  Another thing that triggers me is that I'm beginning to love drinking herbal tea a lot.  I don't know how many cups of hot tea I can consume in one day.

When I was at home last April, I also thought of growing my own herbs in my garden but I don't know how to start.  After seeing this indoor herbal tea herb garden set kit, I suddenly got the idea how to start one.  This kit is complete by itself and one thing good...it never occupies a large space in your garden or even inside your house.  This kit includes all the accessory needed to start your own mini herb garden.  It includes the seed starter pellets, too.  You can order it from  www.overstock.com.  It costs about $78.30.

Growing your own herb garden is no longer a challenge with the help of this tea herb garden kit.

How would you love to enjoy tea made from your own home grown herbs? :) 

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

SSS Offers Housing Loans For Repairs And Improvement

I am actually considering a quite major repair for my first house which I am currently renting out and because the cost of the construction materials and labor are getting higher these days, I'm scared that my cash on hand will not be enough for the much needed repair.  I am actually thinking of two options:  1.)  Have the repair works done on stages so I can use readily available cash or 2.) do the repair at one time and secure a loan.  Whatever it is, I am not yet decided at this point in time.  It requires careful study and planning.  I have to lay down all options and seek advise and ideas from family members.  It's a good thing to plan ahead and make the right move rather than do things abruptly and regret. Life now is not so easy and earning money requires hard work, so we have to be careful in all our decisions especially when it concerns our finances.

Anyway, everything is still on planning stage.  In preparation, I browse through the SSS website and I give particular attention on the section covering  SSS Housing Loans for repairs and improvements.

The following are extracted from the SSS website for your easy reference in case you are also considering repairs and improvements in your house like I do.

What is the Housing Loan for Repairs and/or Improvement?
The Housing Loan for Repairs and/or Improvements is a lending program of the Social Security System (SSS) available either directly from the SSS or thru its accredited participating financial institutions (PFIs).

For what purpose may the loan be used?

The loan may be used to finance:
1. Major repairs, particularly for dilapidated and structurally unsafe    housing units;
2. Improvements which shall apply to:
·  Extension or expansion and enhancement of economic and aesthetic value of an existing housing unit. Said improvements shall be permanently attached to the house
·   Completion of an occupied bare house
·   Construction of concrete fence and steel gate
·   Installation of deep well and motor pump

Who are qualified to borrow?
The principal applicant must have the following qualifications:

·  Active SSS member and has paid at least 12 months continuous contributions or at least 24 months total contributions.
·   Not more than 65 years old
·   Has not been previously granted a repair and improvement loan by the SSS or NHMFC
·   If with an existing member loan, must be up-to-date in amortization payments in all member loans including housing loan with the SSS at the time of filing of application for repair and/or improvement. If existing housing loan is restructured, a copy of the Supplemental Mortgage Contract shall be submitted.

For an employed applicant, employer must be up-to-date in the payment of monthly contributions and loan remittances and must signify willingness to effect the mandatory payroll deduction system of repayment for SSS housing loan.

How much is the loanable amount?
The maximum loanable amount is P300,000.00.

What is the interest rate for the loan?

The interest rate for the loan is 13 percent per annum. The gross receipt tax is shouldered by the borrower.

What is the term of the loan?

The loan is payable up to 20 years, but, it should not exceed the economic life of the house after repairs and/or improvements are introduced as determined by the SSS or PFI, nor, the difference between the age of the applicant and 70.
For employee-borrowers, the Mandatory Payroll Deduction System shall be adopted as mode of repayment for loans filed directly at the SSS.
For self-employed/voluntary members, issuance of minimum of twelve (12) post dated checks which shall be repeated every year thereafter until said loan shall be fully paid.

What are the acceptable collaterals for the loan? 

The loan is secured by a first mortgage on the lot and house proposed to be repaired and/or improved.

In case of loans thru the PFIs, a joint first mortgage for the SSS and the PFI is required.

The lot must have a clean title and registered under the Torrens System in the name of the borrower and/or his spouse.

A property that is mortgaged to the SSS or the National Home Mortgage and Financing Corporation (NHMFC) is acceptable if the repair or improvement loan is filed directly at SSS.

Who will appraise the property?

For loans availed from PFIs, the PFI will appraise the property. If availed from SSS, SSS will appraise the property.

What are the insurance coverage requirement?

The loan should be covered by a Mortgage Redemption Insurance and Property Insurance.

What are the required documents for the loan? 

The following documents should be submitted upon application:

  • ·     Mortgagor’s Application for housing loan, Credit Information Sheet and 1” x 1” ID pictures of Principal Applicant and Spouse
  • ·     Latest Income tax return together with Form W-2 and Confirmation Receipt. If Self-employed, Employer or Professional, last 3 years ITRs with corresponding Form W-2, Confirmation Receipts and Financing Statement
  • ·     SSS Form E-1 (and E-4, if any). If Self-employed, Form RS-1; Employer Membership Certificate & Business License; Professionals and others, PTR.
  • ·     Certification of Employment, Compensation & SSS Premium Contributions duly signed by the employer’s SSS authorized signatory. Certified true copy of two (2) latest monthly pay-slips. If Employer, Voluntary member or self employed, Premium Receipts (Payment Return Form RS-5); Overseas worker, Certification and Contract of Employment and form RS-5
  • ·     If has availed of SSS housing loan, Housing Loan Certification to be secured from the Real Estate Loan Accounting Department, 9th Floor,  SSS (RELAD)
  • ·     Owner’s copy of the Original/Transfer Certificate of Title*
  • ·     Latest Property Tax Declaration and Realty Tax receipt
  • ·     Lot plan with vicinity map duly signed and sealed by registered Surveyor or Geodetic Engineer *
  • ·    Itemized scope of work with corresponding sketch plan or old building plans for the proposed repair
  • ·     Building plans and working drawings of the proposed improvement  duly signed and sealed by a Civil Engineer or Architect
  • ·     Building and construction specifications duly signed and sealed by a Civil Engineer or Architect
  • ·     Pictures of existing house and all portions to be repaired and/or improved
  • ·     If existing housing loan with the SSS is a Joint Application, written conformity of the other applicant
  • ·    Affidavit of undertaking to continue paying monthly SSS premium contributions for the duration of loan (Voluntary and Self-employed member only)
  •      Authority to Deduct/Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for 
  •       Mandatory Payroll Deduction
  • ·     Certified True Copy of the Original TCT issued by the Registry of Deeds.
* Not required if presently mortgaged with SSS.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Create A Style With Colorful Slip Ons

Add life to your living room by using colorful slip ons to your sofa set with matching colorful carpet.  This design by Helen Richardson  is definitely an "eye catcher".  I love the bold colors!

This is definitely an easier alternative to having your tired furniture set a "new look".  I know it's quite costly to have those living room sets re upholstered.  The advantage of having a slip on cover is that it can easily be washed.  You can also opt to have two sets of slip on to be used alternately.  Not only will it give you a time to wash and dry those slip on covers but it will also allow you to have a different color and design everytime you changed it for laundry.

I love how the colors are mixed and matched in this design by Helen Richardson.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Want To Earn Extra Bucks? Have A Garage Sale!

Well...this post is a bit different from my usual posts.  It's because this time, I want to talk on how to earn extra bucks from anything that can be found within the confines of your homes.  You see, there are so many things that we acquired throughout the years and most of these are no longer being use and just collecting dusts inside our storage cabinets.

Actually, I've been thinking and planning to have a "garage sale".  I've mentioned this to my kids long before but thay are a bit reluctant about his idea.  Thay said, who would want to buy used stuff?

But I'm pretty sure that some people within the neighborhood will still be interested to get these especially if those on sale are still of good quality.   Majority of people are practical now and I'm pretty sure that this will be a good idea.

Like for example, my daughter has so many pretty Sunday dresses which are already outgrown and most of these were only worn 2 times the most, and it's quite pricey when I bought these.  Selling these Sunday dresses for about $2 per piece would be a good deal.  She also has lots of stuffed toys and toy bags which are securely kept in her cabinet.  Some were not even touched for a couple of years.  We also have some home stuff that were no longer being used and occupy a large space in our storage cabinets.  I'm also thinking of replacing some of my wall decors and so the replaced ones will also be included on the garage sale.  Oh yes, and the proceeds of this will go to the kids savings account.  It's been 3 yrs since I opened one for each of them and I'm happy to say that it's growing as a result of their own efforts, saving from their school allowances and excess money from their yearly tuition fees. 

I wanted to engage them in an activity like this so they would appreciate the value of earning and saving money.  This way, this would be a habit until they're fully grown up.

So, I definitely wanted to push through with this plan on my next vacation.  This way, I can teach my kids the value of money and at the same time, I can create more available spaces in the house.

This is what they call, "killing two birds in one stone".  :)

Just sharing!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Want Your Space To Look Big? Decorate With Mirrors!

There is one more thing that I still never mentioned in this blog...that is my love for mirrors.  Yes, I love to decorate my house with mirrors!  Why not?  Mirrors create an illusion of a bigger space.  Not only that, it makes your area whether it's the living room, bedroom or dining room looks more elegant.  I had large mirrors on the walls of my living room and this extends until our dining room area.  As I've mentioned before, the size of my house is just the standard size, so I wanted to create an illusion of a bigger space. 

The photo below shows how to decorate your dining room with mirror.  If you want more tips and ideas. 

Photo by hgtv:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Decorative Garden Hose Holder!

Are you addicted to gardening just like me?  If yes, perhaps you have lots and lots of greens in your garden waiting to be watered daily.  As our plants are scattered everywhere around our house yard, watering them on a regular basis is not that easy.  We are using both garden hose and the "old style" plastic pail and dipper (lol).  But seeing this decorative hose holder made me smile!  It's cute, stylish and functional!  Your garden hose will be well protected and will also keep your floor space free of clutter.

This decorative hose holder costs $59 but now, they are giving it out for $39 (sale price). 

Interested?  You can check it out at  www.rushgideon.com.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ribbon Dispenser To Organize Your Crafting Materials!

This 2 tier ribbon dispenser by snap ware can be purchased online through www.organize.com.  This can help you get organized with your crafting needs.  Hmmm... I'm thinking that it would be useful for kids in keeping their ribbons, scissors and other crafting materials all in one place so they won't mess up with their things when making their school projects.

Well...I think it pays to be organized.  Not only will it save your time finding the right thing at the right time but also helps you declutter your house.  It's also best to train our kids at an early age how to get organized so they can adapt this habit until they grow up.

Remember a clean, organized and clutter free house attracts positive energy around the house.  Well..this is what I've got from reading feng shui books, and somehow, it's true!

Just sharing!

What A Responsible Dog Owner Should Know

Owning a dog is not easy at is seems. We do not buy dogs simply because we want to be entertained and we want something or someone to pla...