Category: Home Sweet Home

Walis Tambo (Whisk Broom)

Walis tambo, photo by JMorton

Walis Tambo (Whisk Broom)

Walis tambo is a cultural icon of the Philippines.  The tambo is more than just a broom.  It is part of everyday life for Filipinos. It makes for shiny and clean floor. 🙂  It is handy and can be used anywhere in the house (but not the bathroom as a mop  or a walis tingting might be more useful).

it is known as walis tambo because the soft bristles are made from the phragmites reed called tambo in the Philippines.  The reeds flower in December and the blooms are gathered together to make the walis tambo, much beloved by Filipinos.

Like most Asian countries, many in the Philippines still sleep on bare floors over a thin covering of mats and blankets, therefore there is a need for clean floors.

The walis tambo, is so portable and noiseless that it is more useful than a  vacuum cleaner to sweep and clean shiny wooden and tile floorings at any given time.

Marilou, my sister bought a couple of walis tambo to take back to Los Angeles, CA. She insisted to buy the broom from Baguio.  Apparently the Baguio made are thicker, thus sweeps better, and last longer.  You learn something everyday.


Sewing Kit Essentials

Sewing kit, photo by PH Morton

Sewing kit, photo by PH Morton

Sewing kit, photo by PH Morton

Sewing kit, photo by PH Morton

We have forgotten the art of mending through sewing.  If it is ripped, we throw.  If the seams had unravelled, we go to a professional tailor.  But why?  Sewing is the easiest to do.

Many shops providing mending and alterations are springing up left right and centre; they have cornered the market, knowing people have no desire to mend their own clothes if it can be helped. Aware of this, tailorshops sometimes charge a small fortune for their services.

Surely basic sewing was part of Home Economics (HE) lessons at school?  I used to be rather indifferent to the lessons but I found out now how relevant it is to go about your everyday life, no matter what your station in life. 🙂

It is therefore convenient and money efficient to have a sewing kit at hand, so that you can make a favourite dress, skirt or trousers last that much longer.  Darn minor wear and tear.  You could also start a new sewing project.  It could be a start of small cottage industry 😉

What should be in the sewing kit?

Sewing Kit Essentials:

Set of needles in various sizes, i.e. thickness

A pair of sharp scissors

Threads of various colours, especially white, black, beige and brown

A needle threader, even if the eyes are still sharp, a needle threader is still very useful.

A thimble – some materials are thick and hard to sew.  They can be a pain to your digits.  This is when a  thimble come into their own.

Dressmaker’s pin.  They are so useful, especially when you need to shorten a skirt, dress or a pair of jeans or trousers.

A tape measure.

Button collections


More Household Tips

I am currently reading a book called Life Hacks and I have to report that it is full of good, sensible advice on a lot of things.

More Household Tips

For example, to sharpen a pair of scissors, try cutting a folded sandpaper, the coarser and rougher the sandpaper, the better .  Before you know it, you have a sharp pair of scissors.


Washing Machine

washing machinehelpful tips
I bet you do not clean your washing machine regularly. Some of you might have not even thought of cleaning it, even once. But then again, why would you clean a washing machine when its function is to wash and of course, clean.

But actually a washing machine should be cleaned regularly of soap scums that get accumulated, so that it will function better.

Washing Machine

It is very easy to clean and disinfect a washing machine. Just pour in 2 cups of distilled white vinegar into the soap compartment and then run the machine on a full cycle without adding any other detergent or clothes to wash.

It is as easy as that.

Psychology of Colours – The Homefront

Once upon a time, it was customary to paint colours according to the activity that went on in the rooms.

Psychology of Colours – The Homefront


The colour red was normally painted to the dining area as red stimulates conversation and the brain as well as energy and passion. Red is hot and emotional colour. It is linked with blood, war and danger.

Be aware that painting rooms in red where you want to rest, relaxation and hope for peace can be rather tricky. Red can be dramatic and therefore can promote anxiety and restlessness.

whiteWhite is clarity, purity and symbolises sincerity.





downloadGreen is painted in the quiet rooms of the house such as the library area to promote concentration and calmness.






download (1)Yellow, the paler the better, was painted in bedrooms. It is a calming and restful colour.







imagesThe pinks and terracotta were used in living areas. Both these colours were deemed elegant.








Blue is calming and soothing, perfect anywhere in the house, but in lightest of blue,

If you are thinking of redecorating why not look into the past for some inspiration.









Feng Shui

The Methodology of Feng Shui


Hampstead Heath Viaduct Photo by PH Morton

Feng Shui had become popular in the UK in the early 90s.  Many have started looking into it in view of applying to homes, gardens, offices and businesses.

Feng Shui literally means wind and water.  This allows for the flow of chi, the essential energy of Feng Shui.

Though Feng Shui is Chinese,  it is not purely from China.  It actually originated and can be traced back from the ancient world of Egypt, India and then China.

Feng Shui was there in the making of the Egyptian pyramids, the great Aztec temples and even UK’s Stonehenge.

It was in China that the core  principle of Feng Shui was carefully formulated and established for the modern world.

It says that the careful arrangement of furnitures can have a telling effect on your life may sound a bit like a mambo jumbo and yet when you think about it,  it does make a lot of sense.  A house carefully furnished where everything is in it right place, is airy, bright and with an organised scatter of green aerating houseplants, where the size of furnitures are proportional to the size of each room, then it can only be good for your health, happiness, peace and contentment.

Plants carefully placed in areas that hide or showcase  a particular niche can only be great for the aesthetic of your surrounding.  There are also plants that aeriate the living space.  They give off plentiful of oxygen while taking in the carbon dioxide off the immediate area.

Businesses have also adopted Feng shui; business owners are hiring Feng Shui experts to oversee arrangement of the work place in order to  maximise the performance and output from employees.

I remember an employer choosing to move our offices in a location that overlook a crematorium .  He said that he read somewhere that cemetery is a place of peace and quiet.  It has a great chi.

Well he did make a lot of money and sold the business  afterwards and we had to move on, great for him, not so great for us. 🙁

Cleaning Mould and Mildew

How to clean mould and mildew

It is easy enough to get rid and clean mould and mildew without resorting to anti-bacterial agents and bleach which are harmful to the environment.

Moisten a cloth with vinegar and rub it to the moldy parts and the tiles. To clean the grout, scrub with an old toothbrush dip in vinegar.


Removing Ink Stain


We should all do our bit for our environment.  As such, we must take particular care that we do not reach for chemically manufactured products at the first instance when faced with some things that can be remedied by a more enviromentally friendly solution.

Removing Ink Stain

If some ink got to your clothes, do not use ammonia-based cleaner but instead soak the item in milk for a few hours.

Then wash as normal.


If you get ink into your white shirt, rub the ink stain with toothpaste,  live for a couple of minutes.

Then wash as normal.


Best Friends

As part of our little family Jean & I have our precious pets.

Over the last year Diesel the dog and Bert the budgie have become best buddies.

When Jean and & are out, or at work, they keep each other company. Both have their own unique character. Bert can be a little stand-offish/aloof with us, sometimes, however, when Diesel gets near his bird-cage, Bert will leap to or climb the bars to meet him. Bert likes to gently pull at some of Diesel’s fur around his face. Diesel allows him too and likes it, he will try to lick Bert. Bert can even mimic Diesel’s whine. 😉

We smile when we see them ‘buddying up’. 🙂

Bert & Diesel

Bert & Diesel



O (Old) Christmas Tree

As we all know come end of  September, shops and retailers start thinking of Christmas. Decorations appear double quick as do festive lights. This happens in the UK too. When it comes to Christmas decorating our own homes, we tend to be more conservative here! Decorations start to appear in the first week of December with most homes complete a week before the Day! If we live in a house, it is the age old chore of parents, particularly fathers of going upto the loft/attic rooting/sorting through all the paraphernalia stored there until we come upon the cardboard boxes marked  ‘Xmas Decs‘  in felt tip pen ;).

The boxes are carefully carried down and opened. We sort the decorations and check that the plugs & electric lights work. We find decorations that are many years old and have lasted well. Nostalgia is nurtured.  I have a small 27 inch (69 cms) tall artificial Christmas tree that is 40+ years old, the lights on it are a little younger!

The tree looks a little threadbare now but not too bad. The Xmas lights cover up it’s wrinkles and baldness 😉 It stood in our living room and my bedroom when my parents were alive and I grew up. My own son had it in his bedroom as he grew up. I have other decorations as old too! The tree now looks good in our kitchen by the window.

Our old Xmas tree still going after 40+ years

Our old Xmas tree still going after 40+ years

O (Old) Christmas Tree

We actually have another smaller plastic tree that is older. We bought this tree still in it’s original box at our local church charity ‘Christmas Fayre’. When we assembled the fine looking 20 inch (50cm) tree for this Christmas, we saw the date of manufacture was 1961! For an age of 52 the tree looks new! Plastic then was a fairly new and exotic material!

52 year old Xmas tree with 2013 decorations

52 year old Xmas tree with 2013 decorations

Whilst not trees the three decorations in the photo below are among our oldest decorations the tiny porcelain santa and nativity crib scene are approximately 55 years old. The cat in a box bought when our son was one year old is 26 years old:)

Whilst not trees the three decorations in the photo below are among our oldest decorations the tiny porcelain santa and nativity crib scene are approximately 55 years old. The cat in a box bought when our son was one year old is 26 years old:)



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