In Asian culture, the koi symbolizes prosperity and good fortune

koi

Before we had cats and dogs... in fact, before I had children, I had an aquarium. Like many first time aquarium owners, I started with gold fish. But they never lasted long despite my best efforts, and despite using only natural rocks and plants and no plastic or other artificial ornaments.The time came when constantly replacing the dead gold fish became an expensive … [Read more...]

A well-ventilated house and the folly of galvanized iron roofing

brick-house

If Speedy were to design our next house, it would look something like the one in the photo above. Well, probably not as large because that is the bishop's palace next to the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City. We don't have access to parishioner's donations to live so grandly so we'll settle for something we can afford and one that is sized just right for us. But the … [Read more...]

A heliconia flower and two Cordyline fruticosa rubra leaves

birds-of-paradise3

I made this flower arrangement last week but couldn't post the photos immediately because I had to find out first the name of the plant where I got those red leaves from. The flower is easy. It's from the Heliconia psittacorum plant, one of the hundreds of species of Heliconia that grow in the tropics. Along with sunflowers, Heliconia shrubs grow rather wildly in the … [Read more...]

Triple burst: sunflower and Chinese bamboo

sunflower-chinese-bamboo

When I decided on this flower arrangement thing, the whole idea was to use materials that I won't have to buy. You know, make use of what we have in the garden, and flowers and foliage growing wild in the neighborhood. For starters, at least. If this new hobby should progress to a more serious level, well, we'll see. For now, I'll just use whatever I can get my hands on. … [Read more...]

Passing it off as ikebana

ikebana-duh

Last Sunday, we went to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" wedding and the table centerpieces had me gaping. Wildflowers. Violet and white. No vase. The flowers and leaves were stuck in a block of molded sand covered with moss.Me gaping at a floral arrangement is a big thing. I'm not an ornament person. Even ornamental plants in the garden have given way to edible plants. … [Read more...]

Putting up the Christmas lights, one room at a time

christmas-lights

It surprised me, really, Speedy putting up Christmas lights. He's always been so watchful over our electricity bill and a recent letter from Meralco (which I'm presuming you all received too) explaining why power rates will go up this month couldn't have prepared me for his sudden itch to put up Christmas lights. Normally, it's the girls who itch to decorate but they're … [Read more...]

The third reincarnation of the room that overlooks the garden

family-room

When you move into a house, do you use every part according to how each was originally intended in the floor plan? We don't.In the original plan of this house, the room that overlooks the garden was designed as a bedroom. It used to be Speedy's and mine. Then, I moved my office / study from the second floor to the ground floor, Speedy and I occupied one of the … [Read more...]

How to dim the light with style

lamp-shade

We moved the furniture around again. What used to be the dining room which overlooks the garden is now the family room. Since it is adjacent to the kitchen, when the door of the room is ajar and the pendant lights over the kitchen island are on, the glare can be distracting if you're watching TV. Sam asked if we could hang a bead curtain on the door to block the glare. I … [Read more...]

Capiz window panes for Asian houses

capiz-windows-agoncillo-house-taal

Say capiz and the first thing that comes to most people's mind is the aswang -- that winged monster that eats fetuses in Philippine folklore. According to stories, there are many in Capiz, a province in Western Visayas. Capiz was named for the Placuna placenta, or windowpane oyster, that thrives in abundance in the area.Yes, the capiz used for making lamp shades and a … [Read more...]