January 22, 2022

Highlights of 2021

We are already 22 days into the brand new year 2022 and here I am still trying to reflect on my past 12 months. It used to be my goal to post this before the year ends but the thought of sitting down and just reflecting during the holiday doesn’t feel good to me. I prefer to do something else since that is one of the few times my husband and son are on vacation. 


Time is flying by so fast and it’s just so sad to think that two years had already passed since this COVID19 virus happened and it seems that year 2021 is pretty much the same. The year 2021 seems like an extension of the year 2020 because when we are still not yet over with our pain; we lost again two immediate family members. It’s been four consecutive years of losing the people we love.


I know that we all have different journeys but as far as I can see, grief will never end. This post of @glitterandgrief explained that we all grieve differently. "It’s universal, an experience we all go through. Yet, it’s so unique. We all grieve differently. You can lose the same person but still grieve differently. You can go through the same type of grief but still grieve differently. You can experience multiple losses, but each loss will be different grief. Each experience will be unique because each relationship is unique. We cope differently. We grieve differently. And the takeaway here is that it is normal and no judge. What worked for someone else might now work for you. What worked in the past, might not work now. Grief is an experience we handle one day at a time.”

And because of what happened these past few years, the year 2021 taught me to be grateful, slow down and enjoy life. 

Be Grateful 

I’m grateful because, for the past two years, my family of three is safe from the COVID19 virus. I’m grateful that we are still alive and can still do the things that we wanted to do even the majority of the year we are confined at home. I’m grateful that my husband can work from home, though there are times that my husband needs to go out for work but at least, it is not every day. Lastly, I’m grateful for God’s provision when we needed to help our family and relatives in paying funeral and hospital expenses. 

“Life is hard but God provides. 
Life is unpredictable but God guides. 
Life is unfair but God cares. 
Life is always a challenge but God sustains.” 


Slow Down 

In the year 2020, I fear boredom because I don’t want the pain to fill my thoughts. I wanted to be busy so I have no time to feel the hurt of losing someone. It was the time when I was so preoccupied with designing graphics for clients but in the year 2021, I already slowed down. It is nice to work and earn money but I missed my old life where I can relax during the weekends and I don’t have to adjust to my client’s time. 

Although I’m still hurting, it is time to move on and live again. So I need to slow down because stress is not good for my health. I want a life where I feel good about my work without feeling burned out so, in the year 2021, I only designed graphics for my repeat clients. 

Enjoy Life 

I love to create a balanced life to have more free time to do the things that I love such as blogging, designing for myself, reading books, crafting, and even just watching drama series or movies. 

Books that I’ve Read in the Year 2021 

As cliche as it may sound, it is true that “Life is short” so I want to enjoy my life while I still have the energy to do the things that I wanted to do, while I still can walk, run and travel to different places, while I still can eat different foods without doctor’s restrictions, while I can still read books and watch movies or series and lastly while I still have time.

“If it makes you happy it doesn’t have to make sense to others.” 


January 

I started the year 2021 without a definite plan, it seems that my life is still on pause and I am just on a wait-and-see mode. Since I can’t travel yet, I just shifted my focus to online shopping, I tried to avoid online shopping before but now I’m thankful to Shopee, Lazada, and Amazon because I can shop in the comfort of my home. “Happiness is retail therapy” 


I also took advantage of Photobook promos so I ordered Photo Tiles, Canvas Air, Insta Prints 5x5, and Softcover and Hardcover Photobook. 

“If you don’t think photos are important, wait until they are all you have left.” 


February 

And because, I slowed down in designing graphics, now, I have more time to do my personal projects so I started buying craft materials, home stuff, and garden stuff. I also decluttered and organized our home. 


We’re missing the beach so my husband booked a trip for our wedding anniversary but unfortunately, it was canceled so we just stuffed ourselves with good foods from Alba Restaurante Espanol and Chef RV Manabat Cafe to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.

And last February, I just hit my tenth year in the blogging world.


March 

It is my goal to explore my Cricut Maker so every month, I’ve been creating projects so for the month of March, I’ve made cards and envelopes for my friend who will migrate and a cake topper for my father-in-law’s birthday

April 

Two years ago, I’ve never guessed that my life would be the way it is now. We’re supposed to go back to Norway but unfortunately, leisure travel is far from reality. So I started ordering foods online, foods that I usually buy for pasalubong if ever we are traveling.


One year had passed since my sister left and I made this pillowcase for her. 

May 

Since I find comfort in online shopping, I finally took a risk and ordered at Amazon USA. Going international na tayo. Hehehe! 


Another Quarantined Mother’s Day celebration, I did not order food but I prepared steak and mashed potato. 

June 

A graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime event so I was a little bit disappointed because we only had virtual graduation and my son doesn’t even have a graduation picture. I envy those schools na nag-effort na magkaroon pa rin ng graduation picture. Ayaw ko naman magpunta ng mall para lang magpapicture. But we still celebrated my son’s graduation at home. He graduated with Gold Eagle Certificate. 

We also celebrated my husband’s birthday and father’s day at home.  

After staying at home for more than a year, we finally had a chance to travel and it was indeed a breath of fresh air. We stayed at Gina’s Garden which is located in Quezon. 


It was school vacation so puro gadget na naman ang anak ko so before June ends, we enrolled my son in different online classes like 

Web Development Foundations Python 1 & 2 
Drawing and Sketching 
Creative Illustration 

July 

The first week of July, my uncle-in-law passed away and since this is not a COVID19 case, we were able to attend wake and interment. 


When we learned that kids can go out na, we went to Surugin Ramen House for a food trip, unfortunately, bawal pa kids mag dine-in sa restaurant. We also dropped by at Sonya’s Panederia before we went home.

August 

After one month, my aunt-in-law passed away, I can’t imagine the pain of my cousins-in-law na in a span of one month nawala parents nila. She was fighting breast cancer since 2018 but unfortunately, she lost her battle. 

At last, my husband and I got our first jab of the COVID19 vaccines

It was another lockdown birthday, I did not want to cook so we just order food at Illo’s Party Trays

September 

We had our second dose of COVID19 vaccines. 

October 

My son is officially a QUARANTEEN so I’ve prepared a simple Gamer Birthday Party.  

After two years, my dentist removed my braces already. I am wearing retainers so no more monthly visits to the dentist. 

We are fully vaccinated already but my son doesn’t have COVID vaccine so I scheduled a Pneumonococcal Vaccine for us. And after that, we finally had an eye check-up.  

November 

My son finally had his COVID19 vaccine too. 


My mother-in-law celebrated her 62nd birthday so I’ve made a cake topper and ordered food at Illo’s Party Tray again. After the party, we went straight to Mandaue Foam Sta Rosa.  

December 

As always, December is a busy month so I was preoccupied with my holiday preparations, my son’s Confirmation, and end of the year errands. 

And because of the unexpected hospital expenses last October, I already expected that our budget will be tight so a travel trip is a punch to the moon. But God moves in mysterious ways, for the first time in history, my husband’s company had a team celebration with family. Yehey, we were blessed to revisit The Farm at San Benito and we stayed at The Narra Villa. I will share more about this in a separate post. 


Despite the pandemic, we were able to continue our Christmas tradition so we’re back to Tagaytay and ate our breakfast at Napa at Crosswinds.


I am glad that my year 2021 is not just another year of staying at home. I am delighted that I’m back to blogging, reading, and crafting. This year, we had our chance to accomplish some errands that we are delaying because we’re afraid to go out. And lastly, we were able to eat out and travel again.



Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living. - Rachel Marie Martin

January 21, 2022

DIY Christmas Gift Tags

For the past several years, I used to search for free printable gift tags on Pinterest, buy ready-made gift tags, or order personalized gift tags. Actually, I still have a few stocks of personalized gift tags that I ordered before but for a change, I started designing and creating my own gift tags for the past two years.

Since 2019, I’ve been purchasing a lot of digital files, dito yata nauubos kinikita ko so why not use those files. So two years ago, I used this Watercolor Christmas Forest II for my Christmas Gift Tags. Aside from the different graphic elements that you can play around with, there are ready-made gift tags too that are ready for printing. You can add text or change the text. I printed my design on cardstock and sticker paper. 


Then last year, I wanted to try foiling but when I checked, I need a laser printer and foil applicator for this project. But I don’t want to spend money on that, so what I did was, use whatever craft supplies I have at home. 


Since craft supplies are not cheap, I try to maximize them so if you remember the Graduation Banner that I’ve made for my son, I used the leftover cardstocks to make gift tags using this Gift Tags Template. I just uploaded the files on Cricut Design Space and cut. 



For the name, I used gold metallic and regular vinyl stickers using the font “Festive”. Again, I just cut the name and transfer it to my blank gift tags. You can also use these as bookmarks or gift tags on other special occasions. 




January 18, 2022

Holiday 2021

January is already more than half over but I am still not yet finished with my holiday posts. But I’m getting there, in fact, I’ve been super productive for the past few weeks of this brand year of 2022. Well, it just so happened that we’re back to living under a rock because of the increasing COVID19 cases. I canceled some of my “things to do” because I don’t want to go out yet so I am spending more time blogging. 

As always, the last quarter of the year is overwhelming because of the endless-to-do list and fully-booked schedules. But now I'm ready to blog after a BUSY December month. So let me start reflecting on what happened last holiday or should I say last month. Aside from doing bank errands and paying the due dates, naging fruitful naman ang December namin.


1st Week of December 

I miss traveling but because of the COVID19 virus, I was hesitant to plan so I was grateful when my husband’s company planned for a team celebration including the family. Normally, employees lang naman ang kasama sa mga ganyan so this was the first time na pwede kasama ang family. 


Yey, after six months we were able to travel again and we’re back to The Farm at San Benito. Would you believe that our last out of town was at The Farm at San Benito too? We stayed here way back in November 2019 and I did not expect that we will return because the rate is not cheap. Anyway, we were fortunate to stay at The Narra Villa, I will blog about this in a separate post but you can read my old posts about this holistic resort. 


2nd Week of December 

It was my son’s Confirmation, I was not able to attend because only one parent and one godparent are allowed inside the church. My husband just fetched me after the Confirmation and we went to the mall to celebrate. 


3rd Week of December 

Third week of December is the Second Periodical Test of my son and tumapat pa yung brownout and no internet sa bahay. But I’m thankful that my son was able to take all his exams even we have no electricity and internet connection at home. We went to my in-laws when we had no electricity and we just used mobile data when we had no internet connection.

4th Week of December 

I’ve been waiting for the school break so we can apply for National ID and I am so happy na walang mahabang pila and wala din kaming kasabay na iba. And dahil pwede na bata sa labas, we went to Landers after that. It was my son’s first trip to the grocery ever since the community quarantine started.

No face-to-face get-together so my college friends and I had a virtual get-together for the second time around. 

We always have a family reunion every December 24 so my husband filed a vacation leave because it is no longer a holiday. I prepared mashed potato, buttered vegetables, gravy, and wagyu steak (grill your own) for our potluck. 





For our own celebration, we had DIY Seafood Hotpot. 


The following day, we spent our Christmas Morning at Napa at Crosswinds


5th Week of December 

Going to Valenzuela no longer excites me because it always reminds me that my sister is not here but of course, I have to visit my family there. I know for a fact that time won’t heal my pain, I just need to try my best to move forward and live again. Before we went home, we had lunch at Samgyupsalan together with my late sister’s children. 


“God is the place our hearts can go on the hard days and the happy ones, in the highs and lows.” - Holly Gerth 

I was planning a charcuterie board for our New Year’s dinner but I learned that it is also my sister-in-law’s potluck. Waah! I don’t have time to cook na so thanks to Purefoods Squid Rings, Tail on Shrimp and Shrimp Tempura, may nadala ko. I also brought cheese, nuts, grapes, and roast chicken. 



My husband has been planning for our holiday getaway kaso puro fully booked na sa date na gusto niya. Thank God, he was able to book at “Acuaverde Resort” before the year ends for our extended holiday. This is our second time visiting the resort and for a change, we stayed for three days.



And of course, for our New Year’s Eve, we’re supposed to eat baby back ribs with fries and corn, dinner roll and chocolate cake pero tinamad na kami magprepare kasi wala na din gustong kumain so naging New Year lunch na lang namin. Hehehe! This is the perks of having a family of three, walang hirap sa pagprepare. We only prepare what we can consume. 

Michi Photostory is Back

Several days ago, my website views were decreasing which is odd because even I am not blogging, I still have blog traffic. But I did not mind it because I am not really after the page views because I just want to blog. And I am in the mood of finishing my backlogs and all of a sudden, I can no longer view my website. 

In year “2013” I experienced the “I Was Blocked” error and I cannot access my blog. This time I’m getting an error of “DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN”. I can still access my blog but I cannot view my website or blog posts. I am not a techy person so I really don’t know what to do. It was Sunday so I don’t want to stress myself so I just closed my desktop and hoped that everything will be back to normal the following day. 

The following morning, I am still getting an error so I searched the internet and I did some troubleshooting, there are 8 options and I did some of the steps. Yung kaya lang ng powers ko then lastly I checked my own DNS Console and I was shocked when I saw the Server Error in the Application. “An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host”. 

I renewed my domain last month so I don’t know why I can’t view my blog. I checked my stats and I have ZERO views so it means something is really wrong so I emailed the contact support and hopefully everything will be fixed soon. I did not receive any reply but thank God, today my blog is back. I was feeling down for the last few days because I have had this blog for almost 11 years and I don’t want to lose this. 


"I'm back doing everything I used to do, loving life as ever." Donna Mills

Update: 

I got a reply after two days and this is the answer to my email "We’ve implemented a system-wide solution for customers’ domains (such as your domain) that have been affected by our DNS resolution issues. Existing domains should be resolving normally, and your website should be live."

January 14, 2022

DIY Personalized Christmas Ornaments

Two years ago, I made my first holiday ornaments using acrylic blanks and vinyl stickers. I wanted to give them to my family and friends for Christmas but I was not able to do it because I don’t have enough acrylic blanks. So last year, I made sure to buy my supplies as early as possible. 

I’ve been making different holiday ornaments since the start of November and this is the last ornaments that I made “Personalized Christmas Ornaments”. I tried a lot of designs first and it was trial and error. I’ve been wasting a lot of materials so I stopped experimenting and I settled for the ready-made SVG files just like my first holiday ornaments. But for a change, I personalized it by adding names or family names. I used again the following digital files for my ornaments. 



I cut almost all the Christmas Letterings using different colors of vinyl stickers but I ended up with these two colors; copper and silver. 

Christmas Letterings 

Merry & Bright 
Love, Peace, Joy 
Jingle Bells 
Believe in the Magic of Christmas 
Merry Christmas 
Joy to the World 
Christmas Blessings 



After finishing these ornaments, I finally, had the courage to try a new design, though it also took me a lot of tries, I did not give up. But I’m already pressed for time so I only used one design and just changed the name and used different colors. I used six colors; copper, silver, green, blue, red, and frosted vinyl stickers. But it was a challenge to weed the frosted glitter so I only made one for my son. 



I also shipped the ornaments to my mom and I was glad that she was able to receive them before New Year, so at least naisabit pa rin sa Christmas tree. Buti pa ang ornaments ko nakatravel na sa Norway. Hehehe! It took me a lot of time to finish these ornaments but I felt happy when my family and friends sent me pictures of my ornaments on their Christmas trees.




“Christmas is a box of tree ornaments that have become part of the family.” - Charles M. Schulz

January 13, 2022

DIY Christmas Cardinal Ornaments Using Acrylic

Christmas is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year” but for some of us, this season only highlights our pains. Last year, we lost my uncle-in-law and aunt-in-law and I can’t imagine the pain of my cousins-in-law who lost their parents in a span of one month. I have no idea that I will make another memorial ornament and it is just so sad to think that since year 2018, we are losing someone we love. You can really feel their absence, especially during our reunions. Just like that our lives are never the same. 

In memory of those who left us too soon, I made another Memorial Christmas Ornament and I also upgraded my first memorial ornaments. Two years ago, I used sticker paper and wooden blanks but I know that the sticker won’t last so I decided to change it and add phototop. 

Materials: 
Acrylic Ornament Blanks 
Vinyl Sticker Paper 
Phototop
Ribbons 


The process is the same with the Acrylic Holiday Ornaments that I shared in my previous post. I always work smart not hard so I used ready-made graphics and I just tweak the designs so there would be space for the name and date. I used the following digital files for my Memorial Ornaments. 



After editing the files, I uploaded them to Cricut Design Space for printing and cutting. Then layered everything on my acrylic blanks and add ribbons. I made few pieces of these ornaments so I shipped some to my mom. Even though our loved ones can’t be with us anymore, at least kahit sa ornaments man lang maging part sila ng Christmas. 



By the way, I always hear “When cardinals are here, angels are near” so I made some research. As per my research, cardinal birds hold a special meaning. They are messengers from heaven to let you know that your loved ones are watching over you. They are signs that those we’ve lost will live forever if we keep their memory in our hearts. 


"You’re still so alive in our hearts that sometimes my brain forgets you’ve left this earth." 

"It’s okay not to be okay, even on the holidays." 

"The grief doesn’t get less, my dear, you just get stronger." - Zoe Clark Coates 

"I cry for the life you lived and the one you didn’t". 

"Each day within me I fight a silent battle of surviving yet another day without you." - Narin Grewal

January 12, 2022

DIY Acrylic Holiday Ornaments

It is already January but I’m still blogging about my holiday ornaments. And expect that this is just the start of my ornament series because I’ve made different ornaments last year. I wanted to blog about this last year but I can’t because this is my husband’s gift for his colleagues. Wala ng surprise if ever may makakita ng post ko. #feelingmaynagbabasa hehehe! 

Anyway, I only need 5 Holiday Ornaments so initially, I planned to make Stained Glass Ornaments but I changed my mind because it took me few days in creating my personal ornaments. I didn’t have a lot of time because my husband’s company outing was near. I need an easy project that I can finish within the day. 

Then I remembered the Memorial Ornaments that I’ve made before so I used them as my inspiration for this project. First, I created the design using the Chill Out Christmas Illustration Collection, Hand Drawn Christmas Lettering, and Tropical Hand Drawn Font


Almost two years ago, I just print and manually cut stickers but last year I already knew how to use the print and cut feature of my Cricut Maker so I used the machine to make my life easier. I also cut round phototop to make the stickers water-resistant. Then I layered the stickers and photo top on my acrylic blanks then add a metallic cord. 




After finishing my holiday ornaments, I don’t know how will I package them, I was contemplating if I will use a box or plastic but I ended up using plastic. I remembered the ready-made graphics that I purchased before. The ornament frame from the Holiday Season Collection is perfect for my backing card. I just changed the color that so it will match the color of the ornaments and add some text.

January 11, 2022

Cricut Project: Christmas Insert Card Designs

In my previous blog post, I shared about the Christmas Greeting Cards that I made using my Cricut Maker. I was satisfied with the result so I decided to try another SVG file that I purchased last Black Friday Sale. The Christmas Insert Card Bundle has 7 card designs that are suitable for Cricut Joy, Cricut, Silhouette, and more. I bought the bundle but you can buy per design. 



The digital file includes the card, insert card, and even envelope designs so all you have to do is upload the files on Cricut Design Space and start creating your project. I was so excited o make this project because I thought I just need to cut the files. I already finished cutting all the cards before I realized that I forgot the “Pen Feature”. Waah! 


There are 3 steps in making this card so don’t forget to change the setting to Pen, Score, and Cut. For this project, you need Cricut Pen, Scoring Wheel, or Scoring Stylus and Premium Fine Point Blade. It’s been more than a year since I got my machine but it was my first time to use my Cricut Pen. The setting is Cardstock Intricate. 

And because of my mistake, I have to start all over again so I repeat the Christmas Bauble and Christmas Tree designs. Based on the example, they used glitter cardstock for the insert card but I decided to use my leftover glitter cardstock to make it more colorful. Then plain cardstock for the insert card to hide the imperfections. 





After finishing the two designs, I decided to reuse the cards that I already cut. It was a challenge to draw the designs so there are some flaws but I still finished all the cards. It will be part of my crafting memories.