Getting Ready for Christmas

Time flies! I’ve been holding off starting my gifts, until I realized Christmas is just around the corner. You see, since last year, I’ve been doing DIY (also known as labor of love) gifts for my family and friends. I’d like to think it’s more special that way, plus I’m not keen on squeezing into the malls of Metro Manila for my Christmas shopping. I’m a late bloomer, having discovered the perks of Pinterest and viewing the tutorials in YouTube just mid of last year. I was so excited to give them a try. So for 2017, my DIY gifts comprised of crochet coasters, linen sprays and roll on scents.

DIY gifts
Stuff for my DIY gifts

This year, I’ve experimented and practiced on bracelets (beads), foot soaks, and perfume. For the bracelets, I was inspired when my friend Pam made me one – that motivated me to study how to do them too. I sourced my materials from Quaipo in the heart of Manila – there’s a street there called Villalobos Street just outside the Quaipo church that is a crafter’s haven of beads, charms, and so much more. I’ve only been there twice – my mom brought me there for the first time and I was overwhelmed with the rows and stores of items, that I promised myself to go back, which I did, a week after. Sometimes I’d have to search for long because I’d get distracted by other beads that would give me an idea of a totally new designs, that I’d remind myself to stick to the plan. The best time to go is after the morning rush, and before 4 PM when the streets of Metro Manila will become more congested. Sundays and Fridays are the busiest days, I was told by the vendors, as people go to Quiapo church. Needless to say, those days are off my list too. I’m itching to go back this week because I ended up buying the wrong charms for a design I’m completing. But as holidays draw nearer, the more busy Quiapo gets to be, so I’m summoning all my EQ and opted to purchase online. Yep, I should have done that before, but then the thrill of hunting through hundreds of good (and very cheap) finds would have been lost. I was in a trance as I asked about the prices of the merchandise in Quaipo (example, for a string of crystal beads where I could make 3 bracelets, it would cost me P60, or a little over US $1). And then, there are the bottles and boxes for my packaging – my mom bought these cute little hanging car diffuser bottles for less than P18, and they cost P29 at a store near my home – I was shocked to see some online retailers sell them for thrice the price). I bought these really cute pens for such a bargain – and they sell four to five times more in the malls! I am currently working on a way to convince D to go with me to Quaipo after the holidays because I’d need an extra pair of hands next time I go back – to check out the wood handicraft and local souvenirs.

Church
Inside the Quiapo church

For foot soaks, I’ve been using my DIY versions for some months now and I wanted to give it to my girl friends to share the relaxing feeling (and the heavenly scent). I got the ingredients online for this one – epsom salt, sea salt and Himalayan salt. I am using my favorite blends from my stock of essential oils.

And lastly (and the one I’ve been holding off on from making) is the perfume. I stumbled upon a packaging outlet store at a nearby subdivision and that’s where I get my bottles and scents from. It so happened that for a minimum amount purchased, they provide perfume-making class. I attended this late December last year, and since then planned to use what I learned in making this year’s gifts. I held off because I couldn’t find the glass cylinder I purchased online – I needed those to measure the ingredients. I guess, I’d have to go find one now so I can get them started.

Making the gifts is my form of meditation because I focus on making them right. Just like how I feel when I’m focusing on my art. When I did the foot soaks and the bracelets, I didn’t notice the time. I just had so much fun!

 

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