WHAT’S INSIDE: My “House” Tool Box

I assembled a tool box for our lanai-playroom to save me from having to lug down all my supplies when I need to label (or relabel), organize, and repair the kids’ toys and toy bins. Now all I need to bring down is my label maker. Here’s what’s inside:

Scissors from Muji; Pilot pens, Sharpies, correction tape, and sticky pad from National Bookstore; small notepad from Papemelroti – for temporary labeling of bins, to jot down my to-do or to-get lists, and the scissors, for when we redo tags for our toy baskets

Tags from Common Room, crochet hook, string from Wilcon, masking tape from National Bookstore, and washi tape from Muji – we use the crochet hook to thread the tags for the toy baskets. I use the masking tape for a variety of things, and the washi tape with the sticky note for temporary labels. I find that Muji still makes the best (i.e. really sticks) washi tapes even though the designs are limited.

Measuring tape, small tool set, tiny screwdriver – all from Wilcon; plastic container with batteries – I need the different sized screwdrivers for when we replace batteries for battery-operated toys. I’m happy to report we are down to only 3 battery operated toys for this room so far. The measuring tape is because I always seem to be measuring stuff in that room, whether for window treatments or measuring console tops or shelves for trays or containers.

I got 3 pp containers from Muji to corral everything inside my house tool box:

As you can see, everything fits nicely inside. The blue plastic container for my extra batteries is old, from SM Department Store. I love that this tool box is tall enough so I can keep my pens and scissors upright.

My house tool box is from my fave, Anna Banana Rustics. It’s really such a happy find for me, since it’s decorative and functional at the same time.

(I often get so tempted to buy all these cute farmhouse decor for sale in IG, and I admit I’ve succumbed repeatedly in the past. Now I’ve learned to reign in buying knick knacks and keep remembering this tool box – trying to get something which not only sparks joy but is actually useful. It’s just more me).


A very simple DIY hanging bird house

Did a very simple DIY project for the kids’ lanai-playroom, since I’ve been assessing and reorganizing it a bit.   Now, Bo has a little mechanical bird that sings and parrots what you say.  He LOVES that thing.  Problem is, it comes in a sparkly pink plastic cage which is, well, not pretty.  So I made Bo a new hanging bird house (or “bed”?) – I’ve always meant to replace the pink cage and wanted something we could hang from the side of one of the corner bookshelves.  Here it is:

The little white wooden plant holder is from Daiso.  Used jute string from Common Room.  Repurposed one of our wooden Montessori rings.  (The husband helped me thread all the jute string through the teeny tiny holes I drilled into the planter).  We lined it with a simple green fabric from Expressions.  The cute black butterfly hook is from Wilcon.

You can’t tell from this photo, but the bird house is hung mid height – at child level, because we practice Montessori at home and I want everything to be accessible to my youngest.  He loves that little “bed” – he sometimes gets the fabric out, puts the bird on the coffee table, and covers him with the fabric – tucking him in for bed!  Haha.

I firmly believe kids’ hobbies and interests should become a part of your home – and your home decor.  So it’s also matter of integrating the toys they love to FIT our home, which hopefully we were able to do here.

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LANAI-PLAYROOM: Light and Air Solutions!

*Get Real Renovations

04.04.19 – Dealt with the ventilation, heat, and intense sunlight issues in this room at last!

I broke down and got blinds for the lanai-playroom! I shared the sneak peek here, and now I’m backing up a bit as to why I opted for blinds in the end. In this post, I shared my (then) happy discovery about our existing curtain rods having double rod provisions. I looked for a thin aluminum 2nd rod, and AGAIN tried to hunt down 96″ length white or cream-colored ready made curtains. Went to SM twice – the 2nd time after they said they were restocking. No 96″ long white or cream draperies. I wasn’t even looking for block out anymore – any thick neutral-colored curtain would do. Not only was I not able to find the ready made curtains I wanted and needed, but it also meant having to install not only the 2nd rod, but also support brackets so that the whole thing can bear the weight of two rods (and 2 layers of curtains).

Well, I got exhausted. Too much work to get everything and put it all together ourselves. I also didn’t have the energy anymore check other ready made options in other malls nearby.

So last Friday, after my unsuccessful trip to SM, I went straight to Showcase down the road from our village. Plopped down, gave my patio door measurements, picked out my blinds, paid – and done! They scheduled installment for Tuesday the following week – they even apologized for that supposed delay, but for me, compared to others, Showcase is already fast. Plus, they waived delivery and installation costs for being a return customer – hurray! (Showcase really waives installation costs if you’re getting blinds for at least 3 windows. The ones I ordered for the patio doors counted for 2 windows only – so yay for their awesome customer service and generosity).


03.26.19 – My younger boys, right after the new blinds were installed. I’m so happy to report that the 2 blinds fit perfectly.

Admittedly, custom blinds cost way more than what I would’ve spent on ready made curtains and double rods. I also again nixed having custom black out drapes made, because that still required getting (and installing) a 2nd curtain rod ourselves, plus the support brackets, and Larry’s where I want to get the custom drapes made is FAR from my house. Even with custom drapes I would need to put everything together on my own, Frankenstein style.  Again – I just didn’t want to deal with all that anymore since I am getting bigger and bigger every week!

The blinds I got from Showcase are roller blinds, dim-out (not block out), in a light beige/cream color. Dim-out blinds block out light – not entirely like black out blinds, but enough so as to give you privacy. Essentially, with dim-out blinds, you still get a bit of light seeping through – the fabric “glows” when the sun hits it, but the light doesn’t stream into the rest of the room. I read about that in this really useful article about “The Difference Between Voile, Dim-out and Blackout blinds” which explains things to noobs like me. Oh, and in case I get these patio doors trimmed in the future? Showcase can resize the blinds for me.  YAY!

Managing the sunlight that streams into this lanai-playroom is part of my objective to make this space COOLER for the kids, literally. I’ve mentioned countless times how hot this room gets – for a lanai! And recall, because of the dusty dirt garden outside, we haven’t been able to open the patio doors (also useless in the dead heat of our tropical summers when we don’t get a breeze whatsoever). Since my kids actually hang out and play in the lanai, I’ve been racking my brains trying to find ways to cool down the room without resorting to installing an A/C unit in there. Why the resistance to an aircon? Well, like I said in this post, I am not quite sure how we will end up using this room down the road, should we end up staying in this house beyond 3 years, or for another decade or so. Installing an A/C unit means I may have to redo electrical, installation and masonry work down the line – especially if we end up converting this space to our dining room.

Aside from the blinds, I got a ceiling fan from Wilcon, in addition to new pin lights, because I didn’t want to get a fan with built-in light. Mang Benjo, my dad’s electrician, came in yesterday to install the ceiling fan and 2 Philips pin lights, also from Wilcon. Since I got rid of the main overhead light to make way for the ceiling fan in the middle of the room, I had a small round pin light installed in one corner, and Mang Benjo suggested placing the slightly bigger one in front of the TV console/toy cabinet. I initially thought I’d need pin lights PLUS a table lamp so I’d have different light sources in this room (based on this post in DIY Playbook and this post by dyosa Emily Henderson), but with the new light right in front of the toy cabinet, it just seemed like overkill to put a table lamp on top of the console too. It’s such a small room after all. So deadma to all those “rules”, heh.

04.04.19 – See what I mean about those interior lanai doors being too dark?  Will be covering those with the same type of cream curtains eventually.  And we still need to retouch the paint for the electrical casing we removed in the corner – see that white line?  At least my light and ceiling fan look so clean!  Very happy about that.

The pin light by the console has built-in dimmers in 3 settings. For the corner pin light, the Philips lady in Wilcon helped me out (since I wanted something smaller), and I bought a neat (as in malinis) little round white pinlight and a separate dimmer bulb with 2 settings.

04.01.19 – It was important for me to have dimmers from a smaller light source for privacy. Since this room is all windows, with our old overhead light, you could see EVERYTHING inside at night.

04.04.19 – Daytime shot of the pin light – very unobtrusive in that corner, but so practical when we use it at night. Just the way I like it!

04.01.19 – The light by the console at dusk

For the fan, I went inexpensive and just got a white 3D model because it got the most consistently good reviews. It’s modern-looking, and has 36 cm long blades which are just right for this teeny space.  I’m very happy so far about the performance too.  We’ve had it for about a week now and, together with the blinds, that modest ceiling fan has really helped to cool down this room.

04.04.19 – I’m sorry, but I’m really just so happy about how clean it looks.  (Now, how to cover/disguise the light and fan switches?  I don’t need to hide them completely, but maybe hang something there to distract from those little boxes?)

Then I moved our dumb Dowell floor fan because it’s the Most Useless Fan in the World. Eventually, I plan to replace it with my favorite air circulator, Vornado, so the kids can have a cooling system they can manipulate without assistance. (The switch for the ceiling fan is above the toy cabinet – the younger boys can’t get to it). I’m still all about helping to promote independence for my sons.  Right now they’re using the stand fan and I do intend to keep it there, but I know an air circulator like Vornado will be more powerful.

04.01.19 – Hanging out at the lanai at dusk – and even early mornings! – is now very pleasant.  Praise God for the provisions!

That’s it! Light filter and cooling systems for the lanai – CHECK! I’m 90% done with my “Get Real Renovations” essentials for this space. Save for the new floor fan (which I’ll get next month because I like to space out our home renovation expenses), and the children’s stools I ordered from MetroFurne (they’re still doing it), we are essentially DONE. I feel confident now about moving on to the fun part – decorating it (and organizing and reorganizing to my heart’s content). When I say “decorate”, I of course mean DIYing what I can, and restyling or shopping my own home, because like I kept saying, I want to keep costs for these renovations as conservative as possible.

Literally all the light and air solutions I put into this lanai for our Get Real Renovations in one picture!

Upcycled Book Crate

Since I learned how to stain wood last year I’ve kind of been obsessed. I used a plain crate from Cut the Scrap (I love their crates; still the best quality in my opinion), then sanded, stained, sealed, and added casters. Here’s the final product:

I added the book plate with wood glue. Bought the plate and letters from Papemelroti. They can stick the letters for you, actually, but I prefer to do it myself. I got both the plate and letters last year but only recently got to use them!

Here’s a before shot of the crate:

As you can see, the crate is nice on its own, but I just wanted a darker finish to go with the rustic vibe I was after for our lanai-playroom. Oh, and adding casters for a newbie like me was the hardest thing, hahaha. I don’t think I’ll be tackling casters for a while for my next DIY projects!

For these crates, I always save up thick discarded bits of carton from delivery packages or balikbayan boxes, slap them together with wood glue and masking tape, and cover them with old posters (because it’s thicker) to line the bottoms. Keeps the kids’ small toys and what not from falling through the slats.

This ONE crate took me over a week to finish, FYI, hahahahaha, because I really wait for the drying time between stains and varnish coats. Now it’s a sturdy little thing, and I am just happy to contribute something I DIYed for the kids’ playroom. The best part is, I didn’t have to buy anything for this project – except for the casters! All the other materials, even the crate, I already had. The End. 😄


Just another tiny update on the Weekly To-Do List in my sidebar. I got the hooks I wanted for our cleaning supplies:


Rustic mango-wood hooks

These are the H&M Home hooks I wanted – they disappeared from the U.P. Town branch where I usually go, but they’re still available in the Robinsons’ Magnolia branch. The smaller hooks are for the kids’ cleaning supplies. I still haven’t made up my mind where I want to hang them – the bigger set of hooks will definitely go somewhere in the master bedroom for my broom, etc., haha.

I’ve shared the roadblocks I’m currently dealing with for my master bedroom Checklist. So while I’m stuck with the master bedroom, I’ve been working one my other mini projects – recall, I promised the H I’d work on only 4 projects at a time. I updated it here – and one day, I’ll share our very simple linen storage!