Category: Hobbies

Kissing Bow – Romantic Christmas

Kissing Bow – Romantic Christmas

Let’s make Christmas that extra more fun and I dare say romantic as well.  Forget mistletoe, let’s have a kissing bow.

Making one will bring out the artistic side in you.

Add anything you want like apples, grapes, garland of ivy, tinsels, etc.  You are only constraint by your imagination.  Hold these together with a wire coat hanger.

Blue Peter’s John Noakes with the Advent Crown

If you are familiar with Children BBC’s Blue Peter, then a kissing bow should be a doddle.

Making a kissing bow is pretty similar with building and creating the  Advent Crown.

Another thing to add to this kissing bow to highlight it are lights.  Thank goodness you can have a fire-proof battery operated Christmas lights now widely available in the market for a pound or two.

Project: Coffee Pot Cosy

Coffee Pot Cosy, Photo by PH MOrton

Coffee Pot Cosy, Photo by PH MOrton

Project: Coffee Pot Cosy

Peter has been brewing us delicious good quality coffee.  He told me that he is part of a coffee club at work with some good colleagues.  He has been regaling me with all the nuances of how to properly brew a good strong coffee.

Peter, the barrista, has this advice:

First, heat the pot with hot water.

Second, add a scoop of ground coffee per person and another scoop for the pot.

Third, heat the water to just about boiling and cover the ground coffee with the hot water and leave for a minute.

Fourth, add the remainder of the hot water to fill the pot.

Fifth, stir the pot by using an appropriate stirrer, i.e. wooden or plastic if using a glass pot.

Sixth, cover the pot and leave to steep for four minutes and then apply the plunger ever so slowly.

Ideally you should have a cosy to cover the sides of the pot to keep the coffee/pot hot/warm.

The coffee should be drunk neat: that is without milk or sugar/sweetener to fully appreciate the taste.  But addition of milk and sugar is according to your taste after all coffee is there to be enjoyed.

Since Peter put so much importance to the cosy I crocheted him one.  It took 40 minutes to make and finish at 2:00am whilst we were watching a Stephen King movie.

Have a lovely coffee time.


Christmas Decor: The Paper Balls

paper balls  Photo by JMorton

paper balls
Photo by JMorton

Christmas Decor: The Paper Balls

As soon as I saw these, I had to have to take a picture, more nostalgic want rather than admiration though they did look really pretty and dainty.

When I was a little girl, a very long time ago, in Marag, Philippines, we used to make these paper balls just before Christmas as part of art education in elementary or primary school.  I had to admit that I found it difficult at first.  Glue and my young hands and less than desterous little fingers were not compatible then.

However, after much patience and perseverance, I was able to make my first ball made from the delicate folds of tissue papers; I was so proud of myself that I immediately graduated with such alacrity into making the  paper bell shape.

Though I was very proud of my effort afterwards, my dearest Mother was even prouder.  With all her pride and enthusiam of my work, you would think my little bell was more of a Rodin or a Picasso rather than a good effort in basic gluing project! 😉

For years, my Mother would hang the bell in one of our windows on Christmas.

With that memory in mind, I will try to make a bell as a Christmas project!

Thank you, Mom, with all my heart!

Christmas Crafting: Christmas Sled


Christmas Crafting: Christmas Sled


This is so adorable.  I would make one for Nathan, my even more adorable grandson, who loves his candies as he calls his sweets.  He has gone all american!

A few candy sleds dotted around the house would be a fantastic Christmas decoration.

I think instead of using hot glue gun, I would just use double sided tapes or even small amount of blu-tack.

Anyway let’s get busy with Bizzy and Sherri L

Items needed:
Kit Kat regular sized bars
Candy Canes
Hershey Mini’s, (I used the Christmas Edition)
Ribbon and bows
Hot glue gun, two glue sticks

Mark two lines on the bottom of the Kit Kat bars, this is where you will attach the Candy Canes. Run a line of hot glue on your marks and attach the candy canes, do this one at a time and let them set up for a minute.

Put a drop of hot glue on the edges of the Hershey Mini’s wrappers and attach them to the sled bottom, you will stack them 4, then 3, then 2, then 1. Let this set up for a minute.

Tie a pretty piece of ribbon around the sled, and tape the ends to the bottom of the sled, (don’t use hot glue on the ribbon~~ don’t ask)
Add a ribbon to the top!! Viola~~ a cute and edible gift!!
made by Sherri L. ~~ Enjoy!!


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The Psychology of Facebooking

A recent study showed that Facebooking makes one unhappy.  I think there might be some truth in this because Facebook in your life in pictures, writing, news and friendship.

Inactivity in your Facebook could mean you are friendless, do not do anything exciting etc. hehehe

It also shows your popularity especially during birthdays, more wishers, the better.

I do like Facebook and I have started adding photographs of everything and anything every single day.

I supposed Facebook can make you lonely when you were already lonely when you joined.

But Facebook is also a lot of things.  I can see what my family and friends from across the globe are doing.  I could also talk to them instantaneously by messaging.

I think in that respect, there are more positive aspects to Facebook than negatives.





15 August 2013 Last updated at 14:11

Facebook use ‘makes people feel worse about themselves’

A man with a laptop is silhouetted against a screen with a Facebook logo in the background 14 August 2013
The study found people spent more time on Facebook when they were feeling lonely

Using Facebook can reduce young adults’ sense of well-being and satisfaction with life, a study has found.

Checking Facebook made people feel worse about both issues, and the more they browsed, the worse they felt, the University of Michigan research said.

The study, which tracked participants for two weeks, adds to a growing body of research saying Facebook can have negative psychological consequences.

Facebook has more than a billion members and half log in daily.

“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it,” said the researchers.

Internet psychologist Graham Jones of the British Psychological Society – who was not involved with the study – said: “It confirms what some other studies have found – there is a growing depth of research that suggests Facebook has negative consequences.”

But he added there was plenty of research showing Facebook had positive effects on its users.

Loneliness link

In the survey, participants answered questions about how they felt, how worried they were, how lonely they felt at that moment, and how much they had used Facebook since the last survey.

They received five text messages each day at random times between 10:00 and midnight, containing links to the surveys.

Researchers also wanted to know about how much direct interaction participants had with people – either face-to-face or by phone – between questionnaires.

Results showed that the more people used Facebook, the worse they felt afterwards. But it did not show whether people used Facebook more or less depending on how they felt, researchers said.

The team also found that the more the participants used the site, the more their life satisfaction levels declined.

The pattern appeared to contrast with interacting “directly” with people, which seemed to have no effect on well-being.

But researchers did find people spent more time on Facebook when they were feeling lonely – and not simply because they were alone at that precise moment.

“Would engaging in any solitary activity similarly predict declines in well-being? We suspect that they would not because people often derive pleasure from engaging in some solitary activities (e.g., exercising, reading),” the report said.

“Supporting this view, a number of recent studies indicate that people’s perceptions of social isolation (i.e. how lonely they feel) are a more powerful determinant of well-being than objective social isolation.”

Colloquially, this theory is known as FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – a side effect of seeing friends and family sitting on beaches or having fun at parties while you are on a computer.

Learning the rules

According to the study, almost all the participants said they used Facebook to stay in touch with friends, but only 23% said they used the social networking site to meet new people.

More than three-quarters said they shared good things with their communities on the site, while 36% said they would share bad things on Facebook as well.

Mr Jones warned that the study’s findings were probably most relevant to people who spent too much time on Facebook, and the study did not offer a full comparison with “direct” social contact.

He also said that since Facebook was such a recent phenomenon, society was still learning to use the platform.

“As a society as a whole we haven’t really learnt the rules that make us work well with Facebook,” he said, adding some people became unable to control their experience with it.

The researchers said their study was the first to examine the effect Facebook has on its users’ well-being over time.

Keeping Dementia at Bay

Peter, my husband, and I often talk about life spans.  He often said that even when he loses the function of his mobility as long as his brain is still in good full working order, he would not mind the dreaded old age.
I must admit Peter must be the most enthusiastic man to turn 60.  He had been looking forward to turning 60 for the past 25 years I have been with him.  He used to promise me with such fervent ardour that as soon as he retires, we are going to go places and do things that we dream about, ergo I just have to keep on dreaming for the moment.
His enthusiasm had half-persuaded me and I let him take me for granted while I dreamt my youth away.  We never do anything much on weekends,  we never go anywhere much on weekends  and the result was I became bitter whilst he pulled away from me.
It was a gradual process becoming strangers.
At that time he said that he was tired at work during the weekdays and needed the Saturdays and Sundays to rest by reading copious amounts of books and living a life in the internet.
I let him because I was tired too.  I was holding a full time job then and have to worry about the finance side and most of the household matters too.
But luckily we realised that what we have been doing was so wrong.   We have let life passed us by!  We are now more invigorated and closer and doing and going places on weekends.  We are sociable and loving it.
We do read and spend a lot of money on books which a hobby we both share.  We love talking at night, just before consciousness has a rest for the day,   we talk about books we are reading.
I hope reading really does help in keeping dementia away as retirement is looming for Peter; just 2 years and five months and counting!
4 July 2013 Last updated at 00:54

Active brain ‘keeps dementia at bay’

By Helen BriggsBBC News

Memory test
Can the brain build up a memory reserve?

Keeping mentally active by reading books or writing letters helps protect the brain in old age, a study suggests.

A lifetime of mental challenges leads to slower cognitive decline after factoring out dementia’s impact on the brain, US researchers say.

The study, published in Neurology, adds weight to the idea that dementia onset can be delayed by lifestyle factors.

An Alzheimer’s charity said the best way to lower dementia risk was to eat a balanced diet, exercise and stay slim.

In a US study, 294 people over the age of 55 were given tests that measured memory and thinking, every year for about six years until their deaths.


“The brain that we have in old age depends in part on what we habitually ask it to do in life”

– Dr Robert WilsonRush University Medical Center

They also answered a questionnaire about whether they read books, wrote letters and took part in other activities linked to mental stimulation during childhood, adolescence, middle age, and in later life.

After death, their brains were examined for evidence of the physical signs of dementia, such as brain lesions and plaques.

The study found that after factoring out the impact of those signs, those who had a record of keeping the brain busy had a rate of cognitive decline estimated at 15% slower than those who did not.

Dr Robert Wilson, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who led the study, said the research suggested exercising the brain across a lifetime was important for brain health in old age.

He told BBC News: “The brain that we have in old age depends in part on what we habitually ask it to do in life.

“What you do during your lifetime has a great impact on the likelihood these age-related diseases are going to be expressed.”

Cognitive reserveDementia exacts a heavy toll on society, with more than 820,000 people in the UK alone currently living with the condition.

Commenting on the study, Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said there was increasing evidence mental activity may help protect against cognitive decline. But the underlying reasons for this remained unclear.

“By examining donated brain tissue, this study has shed more light on this complex question, and the results lend weight to the theory that mental activity may provide a level of ‘cognitive reserve’, helping the brain resist some of the damage from diseases such as Alzheimer’s,” he said.

Dr James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, added: “More research and bigger studies are needed, but in the meantime reading more and doing crosswords can be enjoyable and certainly won’t do you any harm.

“The best way to reduce your risk of developing dementia is to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.”