Making the Soil Richer

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Fertilizers are used because soil nutrients get depleted over time.  Here’s how to turn your garden or farm soil nutrient-rich.

What You Need

■  plant waste such as leaves, straw, rice hull, grass

■  fresh animal manure from carabao, cow, horse, chicken, etc.

■  kerosene can or basket

■  eight pieces of ipil-ipil post, about 2 inches to 3 inches in diameter, 5 feet in height

■  bamboo

■  shovel, garden fork, bolo 

What You Will Do

  1. Choose an elevated, dry, and shady place in your yard to work in.
  2. Using ipil-ipil posts or similar material, enclose the area.  Allow space for air at the bottom.
  3. Cut the farm waste into 3-inche shreds.  Soak these in water for 5 minutes.  Mix an equal amount of animal manure.
  4. On the second day, check if the pile is getting warmer.  Add dissolved fresh manure if the pile is not heating up.  The heat will neutralize microbes and the seeds of weeds and grasses.  It is important that the pile heats up within two days.
  5. On the third day, reverse the pile and check if the bottom layer is heating up.  It not, add more dissolved manure.  Keep the pile moist but not wet.
  6. On the seventh day, reverse the pile and maintain heat and moisture.
  7. On the 10th day, check if the pile is cooling.  If so, then the compost is done.
  8. On the 14th day or so, the resulting compost should look like dark, coarse, and powdered soil.  As necessary, the compost can be stored up to 18 days.

The resulting compost is an effective fertilizer that will help rejuvenate the soil.

Tips:  Pure plant matter will take longer to decompose.  Adding manure will speed up decomposition.


► Making Compost in 14 Days.

Herbal Bath Salts

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Spas and wellness centers take the beauty business to high levels, but they also charge high for their services.  There are more practical ways to enhance our physical appearance without spending much.

One way of boosting our daily bath is by using bath salts.  Bath salts are easy to make, with most ingredients readily obtained from local grocery stores.  You can also cut the price of your total purchase by using homegrown herbs and products that are already in stock in your kitchen.

You will need

●  Measuring cups

●  Mixing bowl

●  Table salt

●  Ordinary food coloi8ng

●  Aromatherapy oils (for fragrance), herbs (dried or fresh)


What you will do:

  1. Pour a cup of table salt in a bowl.
  2. Stir in fragrance, starting with a few drops, and adding gradually until the desired strength of scent is reached.
  3. Stir in the dye, adding gradually until the color is even all the way through the salt crystals.
  4. Scoop the mixture into a packaging container.
  5. Seal, label, and decorate as you see fit.


Safety Precautions

●  People with high blood pressure or any heart condition should not use bath salts.  Pregnant women should also use bath salts with caution, as  well as elderly or frail people who can hardly move their joints without excruciating pain.

●  you may want to sample different herbs depending on your mood.  Here are some basic herbal bath salt ideas.

■  For oily skin:  calendula, sage, yarrow

■  For dry, sensitive skin:  borage, parsley, sorrel

■  For gentle cleansing:  rose petals, spearmint, lemon balm


► Hoffman, Didi. /

► Huston, Rachel.


Homemade Pearl Shake


“Pearl shake?”

Haven’t you tasted it yet?  Or may be you’ve just heard of it.

The latest craze in drink stuff, pearl shake is actually an ice-blended flavored powder with tapioca “pearl” at the bottom.  It comes in many flavors, like cherry, chocolate and buko pandan, and in various brands the more popular of which are Zagu, and Orbitz?  Pearl shakes are currently priced between 25 to 40 pesos per cup depending on te size and the flavor.  It’s quite affordable for most, but the more price-conscious might deem it still expensive.  So if you are practical enough, and saving money in your coin bank is your project for the summer, why not just concoct your own “pearl shake” at home?

It’s very easy.  Try it! 



Peal Shake

Peal Shake

Sago (tapioca)

½ kg powdered milk

¼ kg brown sugar

¼ kg white sugar

Any flavor of your choice

(chocolate powder, coffee, any fruit in season,

like banana, pawpaw (papaya), or mango)

Ice cubes



 Electric blender



Pitcher or any container

Plastic cups

Big-sized straws




  1. Put the sago and brown sugar in the casserole.  Add very little water.
  2. Simmer the mixture at low heat.
  3. Using the ladle, mix thoroughly until the sago absorbs the sugar syrup.
  4. Cool the sweetened “pearls” at room temperature.



  1. Put the ice cubes in the blender.
  2. Mix a flavor, white sugar, and powdered milk.  Add a little water.
  3. Blend at moderate speed until a smooth and homogenous mixture is achieved.



  1. Put sweetened pearls in plastic cups.
  2. Pour “shake” into cups until they are full


Oops! Don’t forget the straw.  So there, have a toast and take a sip. . .  homemade version of the latest craze call pearl shake.  – Alfie Vera Mella

Visual source:  pacificislandbubble

Eggshell Votives

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There’s a saying, “You can’t make an omelet without braking the eggs.”  That may be trued, but it did not specify what you should do with the broken shells.  Of course, you can always go by another maxim, “Waste not.  Want not.”  Instead of discarding those egg shells, you can turn them into decorative votives—perfect for tabletops and counters.   


Eggshell Votives

Eggshell Votives

You will need: 

●  fresh eggs (save the carton)

●  small bowl

●  sharp knife

●  1 block paraffin wax (available in grocery and specially stores)

●  glass measuring cup (microwave-safe)

●  crayons

●  4 to 8 birthday candles


What you will need to do: 

  1.  With a pin, make a small hole on the top of each egg.
  2. Carefully enlarge the holes, and pour out the yolks.  Save the raw eggs for cooking
  3. Wash the eggshells, let dry, and place them in the egg carton.
  4. Cit the paraffin block into 1-inch cubes.  Use a cutting board, and be careful while handling a sharp knife.
  5. In measuring cup, place all paraffin cubes and microwave for 2 to 6 minutes.  Make sure all the paraffin is melted.
  6. Make crayon shavings.  The shavings should be added a little at a time to the melted paraffin, until the desired hue is reached.
  7. Fill each eggshell with melted paraffin.  Before the paraffin hardens, cut birthday candles to fit the depth of the shells.
  8. Insert the candles into the cooling paraffin.



► Twinkling Eggshell Votives. 700,sLang%3Dus&iObj%3D633&iCatObj%3D7443,00.html

► Eggshell votives.

Faking the Green Thumb

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We love to surround ourselves with flowers, trees and virtually every plant we can think of.  However, caring an maintaining for them can be really difficult especially for people on the go.  Love plants need constant care and attention.  We need to water them, feed them, and make sure they get their sunshine, well at least for most varieties.  Artificial plants, on the other hand, do not demand so much from their owners.  They’re pretty, they liven up the space, and clean-up is a breeze.

To make your own artificial plant, you will need:

●  A clay pot

●  StyrofoamTM  balls that fit the pot

●  Green spray paint

●  A stick 2 inches longer than twice the height of the pot

●  Boxwood branches

●  Dried flowers (of your choice)

●  Ribbon (of any color)


 1.  Slice one of the StyrofoamTM balls in half.  place the ball flat side up in the pot.

 2.  Push the stick right down the middle of the ball.  You may use glue around the stick to help it stand straight up.

 3.  Using the green spray paint, spray the second StyrofoamTM ball and make a hole in the center.

 4.  Make small holes in the second all.

 5.  Glue the boxwood branches to the second ball and place them in the holes of the ball. Make sure you have enough branches to cover the whole ball.

 6.  Decorate to your heart’s content.  Add dried flowers, always using glue to keep them in place.

 7.  Stick the decorated ball onto the stick in the pot.

 8.  Use the ribbons to make a bow.  If you decided to keep it for yourself, try dusting the product once every two weeks.  Otherwise, five it to friends, teachers, classmates, relatives, etc.


► Make an Artificial Topiary Tree.

► Silk Palm Tree, Ficus, and Other Plants.

Rules for Making Sandwich On-the-Go

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Have you ever made a sandwich early in the morning then when you open it for lunch the bread is soggy and the filling is all over your lunchbox?  Well here are some rules in making sandwich on-the-go. 

  1. Make sure your containers and wrappers are clean.  It is also important to clean your hands vey well before preparing your sandwich.  A well-packed sandwich can quickly be spoiled and lose its attraction if these precautions are not taken.
  2. Spread both slices of bread, preferably with butter or margarine since mayonnaise will soak the bread.
  3. Keep the crusts on, the sandwich will keep its shape better and will not break and crumble so easily.
  4. The fillings should be moist but not runny.
  5. Spread the filling to the edge—but not over the edge of the slice of bread.
  6. Put lettuce, tomato, and other additions in a separate container.  They will taste much better and the sandwich will not become soggy.  Just put them in the sandwich when you are ready to eat it. – Chit Ricalde Bito 



Fleck, Henrietta, L. Fernandez and E. Munves, Exploring Home and Family Living.

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.  Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1959.

Watercolor Paint

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Here is a good way to make your own watercolor paint.  This will make a good substitute to commercially available watercolor paint.

What you need:

1 tablespoon (tbsp) white or cider vinegar

2 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp corn flour

½ tbsp glycerin

2 drops food coloring

1 teaspoon water


What you will do:
  1. Mix the vinegar and baking powder in a small bowl.
  2. Add the corn flour and glycerin when the baking powder stops foaming.
  3. Stir in the food coloring and add water if the solution seems to stiff.
  4. Store in a tightly covered jam jar or plastic container.



►Make your own homemade Watercolor paints.

The ‘Corn-y’ Way to Make Soap

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In Thailand, most corn farmers make soap out of ground corn.  According to Dr. Chutima Koshawatana, a researcher from the Nakhon Sawan Filed Crops Research Center in Thailand, when ground corn is mixed with other soap ingredients, the resulting product not only cleanses the body;  it also makes a good exfoliant, revealing smoother and softer skin.

You will need:

220 grams of coconut oil

20 grams of ground corn

100 grams of olive oil

2.5 grams of sesame seeds

80 gras of plam oil

25 grams of glycerin

73 grams of lye

140 grams of water

8 grams of perfume

Before you start: 
  1. Grind the flour until very fine.  Large granules can irritate the skin.
  2. Cut the sesame seeds into small pieces.
  3. Wear an apron, gloves and protective goggles when handling caustic solutions like lye.

This recipe can yield nine bars of soap, each weighing 60 grams. 

To make your corn soap:
  1. Pour the lye in water and mix well.  Set aside until the temperature of the mixture reaches 42°C.
  2. Mix the coconut, olive, and palm oils together in an enamel pot.  Heat until the temperature reaches 42°C.
  3. Slowly pour the lye solution into the oil mixture.  Make sure to maintain the temperature at 42°C.
  4. Stir for one hour until the solution becomes clear.  Add the glycerin, ground corn, and sesame seed.  Stir for 5 minutes, then add the perfume.
  5. Pour the soap into a mold.  Leave it for 6 hours or overnight.
  6. Remove the soap from the mold.