Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Missing Home

We immigrated to Australia in January of 2001. I can still remember very vividly the eve of our departure from the Philippines, when my family came to say goodbye. That was the very first time I saw my father cry. As I embraced him, he pushed me away (as though he did not wish me to see him so emotional) and he said to me, "You are doing the right thing for your children." Seven years on, I still find myself sobbing when I remember that night. Did we really make the right decision?

I ask that because till now, I still feel much guilt in my heart. I left my parents when I knew they were nearing their twilight years. While it is true that my children's future looks truly bright here in Australia, my conscience still tells me we made a selfish move. My parents are getting older and weaker by the day. Around May last year, my mom got seriously ill. She mir
aculously survived and is doing much better these days, but for how long she will still be around, God only knows. I could only wish I could physically be with her. But as it is, I could only offer her my prayers, thoughts and constant phone calls. Can those ever be enough? I feel so helpless.

I miss my family in the Philippines. Parting with them had created a hole in my soul. And that hole just gets bigger and deeper everytime I visit them, then depart again. I last saw them in October. I was there for my mom's 83rd birthday. I just couldn't let the opportunity pass to share that time with her. She is my miracle.

Tomorrow is Valentine's day...I don't really celebrate that but I will phone home.

Watch the video below before you leave this blog - it's been my favourite song for sometime now.

Home by Michael Buble

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shopping with a Joyful Heart

I frequent the supermarket for three reasons. Firstly, I am not a great menu planner. I usually come up with ideas for the day's meals on the day itself, so whatever ingredients I lack, I have to get from the supermarket immediately. Number two reason is that, having four growing kids, our snack cupboard empties real fast and I have to replenish the stock often. Lastly, it is simply because the supermarket is located halfway between our home and my kids' schools so it is really no big deal for me if I have to stop to buy something, even on a daily basis.

My shopping list is usually scribbled on any small piece of scratch paper I find around the house. So yesterday, when I found some cute and inexpensive 'Shopping List' notepads at a nearby local store, creative ideas started to flow in my mind. Which finally brings me to the whole reason I am doing this post...

Here's something I made late last night to hold my new notepad and pencil.

The procedure to make this was largely based on a tutorial found in One Red Robin. I, of course, adjusted the measurements to suit the size of the notepad. I added only one slot for a pencil and the pocket next to it was for anything else, like my orange post-it. I am absolutely not an experienced seamstress and I tend to rush when I am excited to finish a project so please excuse the bad sewing, uneven edges or whatever flaws you might come to notice.

I was again tempted to pass by the craft store this morning and I chanced upon the 'Joyful Heart' tag. Surely, I had to purchase it and attach it to my notepad holder. Just couldn't resist!

So there you go...I am quite happy with what I've made and would definitely make more of this to give as presents come Christmas.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

To Jesus thru Mary - My Handmade Rosaries

I have been making rosaries for sometime now. Through the years, my hobbies have shifted from sewing to cross-stitching to cooking and baking to collecting pottery, but this one remains to be my favourite. To date, I have already given out a lot of rosaries as presents to family and friends. I've also sold quite a number over eBay. The fact that I am able to reach people across the globe through something I had made still amazes me to this day. Very spiritually rewarding, I must say.

The slideshow I am sharing below contains photos of some of the rosaries I have recently made and sold. (I wish I could share more but we recently reformatted our hard drive and I couldn't be bothered to save my old files.) In case anyone gets interested in making rosaries and would like to learn how to, the Rosary Shop offers the best instructions.

For rosary parts supplies, my best choice is a Canada-based online shop called St. Joseph's Mail Order. Great stuff, prices and customer service.

For fancier rosary centers and crucifixes, go to Lewis & Company.

I believe these are all you need to get you started and a whole lot of patience and practice. Happy rosary-making!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Go Fabric!

I finished my new shopping bag this morning. It looks just like the plastic grocery bags we get in the supermarket, except that it's fabric and a lot prettier and durable.

I learned how to make this from this Craftster tutorial.

Actually , I've already made several bags over the school holidays but I thought of doing a variation with this one. Instead of including a pocket for the bag to fold into (as described in the tutorial), I added a strap with a snap fastener. When the bag is folded up and the snap in place, it looks just like a wallet and should easily fit into one's bag.

Isn't that neat? Why ask for plastic?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Why exactly am I starting this blog??

I am not sure how to answer that question. My kids went back to school today (after the long summer school holidays) and I was thinking of something new to do now that I am back to being peacefully alone around the house. Over the holidays, I had been contemplating on doing some new thing and in the course of my web searching, have come across a lot of blogs. I found them an entertaining read. Those with craft tutorials were really very useful. For one, I acquired some new sewing skills this summer and have started making a few bags. I reckon, with more practice, I will perfect this skill and make bags good enough to sell soon. Which brings to mind another thing I have been contemplating on....I need to get some sort of job and start earning some money of my own. I have been out of the work force for the longest time, concentrating on becoming the ultimate stay at home mum and relying solely on my husband's generosity. Except for a few dollars I've earned over the past couple of years selling stuff on eBay, I've never had real income since I quit my office job (seems like centuries ago). But it's not that simple (with four kids) I have to be creative and think of some other way to earn. Which brings me back to making bags...

Sewing has been real good therapy for me. And maybe, just maybe, blogging would be too.

Why 'Heart of Mary'? It's simply a variation of my real name. If you do eBay, you'll find me there with this name too. That will lead you to another aspect of me.