I’m a Tita!

I’m Vera, and I’m a Tita!

Confessing to be a bonafide Tita is like owning up to your real age, right? Because Aunties are supposed to be old. Hahahaha. My eldest nieces already finished school and are working now, so whatever! 🙂

Stitches & Words | I’m a Tita!Stitches & Words | I’m a Tita!

I continue to be thankful for having the chance to witness my nephews and nieces grow up and become their own persons. I love being able to care for them, spoil them, teach them a lesson or two, and just to be able to be a part of their lives.

That is a gift I will always always treasure.

***Day 3 post for 30 Days of Thankful 2018 series.

22.6k km

I love driving. Looking at the odometer, you wouldn’t think my car is turning 3 years old in a few weeks.

If money weren’t an issue, I’d take long drives every weekend. Though going straight through EDSA tends to make me sleepy (unless I can go really fast), I actually do long for highways and the open road. To me, it represents freedom and possibilities.

But I also love byways because you always have to pay attention lest you get lost. Driving up, down, and around mountains are also something I like – the twists and turns, and looking forward to what’s waiting on the other side.

When driving with the hubby by my side, we like to sing, and snack. We have some really funny conversations in the car, sometimes we discuss serious matters too.

When alone, I find that driving gives me the opportunity to process my thoughts. Even with music blasting loudly from the speakers, it’s like finding a quiet space to just be with myself. Recently, I’ve also been tuning in to podcasts so that sitting through traffic doesn’t feel too much like a waste of time.

Yesterday, I drove hubby to the market. While I sat in the car waiting for him to come back, I realised what I was thankful for on Day 2 of 30 Days of Thankful 2018: 21 months of being accident-free.

Thank you, all my angels, for protecting me and all who ride with me. Thank you for not allowing me to cause harm to other motorists and pedestrians. Thank you for not letting me wreck my car, as well as any private or public property.

For keeping me safe, thank you.

And thank you, Self, for knowing better than to continue driving even when sleepy. Thank you for taking steps to address your health issues affecting sleep and wakefulness (still a work in progress!).

What are you thankful for today?

19th Street Halloween Shindig 2018

We didn’t prepare much for last night’s Halloween Party at 19th Street, yet I still think it went quite well.

The youngest (human) resident of #99 was the star of the show – in these photos she she was trying on the masks that the two competing teams made on-the-spot for her:

Stitches & Words | 19th Street Halloween Shindig 2018

Though she may not look like she’s having fun, I really think she was!

A major difference this year – we had no candy! Yup, no sweet treats for everyone though we still had sugar rush thanks to the drinks and donuts.

Today, I am kicking off 30 Days of Thankful 2018 with a big thank you to everyone for indulging me in keeping up with this wonderful tradition that I truly hope we continue for many many many years to come: our annual Halloween party.

Last night was all about coming together and having loads of fun. We didn’t have to proclaim a best in costume winner because it wasn’t about dressing up or putting on scary make-up. There was no prize for the winning team apart from the recognition for a job well done, because it wasn’t about bringing home a prize.

It’s an opportunity to spend time with family and laugh so hard. It’s a chance to play games and be silly. And yes, it also gives us a reason to dress the kids up and take photos that we can blackmail them with for when they grow up. Like this one, my favorite Halloween photo so far, from 10 years ago:

Stitches & Words | 19th Street Halloween Shindig 2018

And I already have an idea for next year’s party, one that I’m writing down now so we don’t forget: Favorites. And scavenger hunt.

How did you spend Halloween?

**30 Days of Thankful is an annual album project started by Cathy Zielske. I made an album for last year, and I decided to try to write a daily post for this year. I may also still decide to do a physical album because, why not?

The Good Trade Fair – October 2018

Just as we did back in July, we went all the way to Central Square at the Bonifacio Global City last week for The Good Trade fair. It’s a weekend pop-up of small businesses espousing a zero-waste and sustainable lifestyle.

I finally restocked on the first organic deodorant I’ve used that didn’t have me worrying about smelly pits after a long day – Zero Basics Deodorant is all natural, keeps you dry and smell-free for 24 hours (maybe more), and doesn’t leave chemical residue that darkens your pits. Believe me, I have tried deodorants from a couple other local organic brands and this is the best so far.

One bottle will go a long way, unfortunately for me, I dropped my first bottle which is why I needed to restock so soon. Sa totoo lang, ikinalungkot ko yun. The bottle was still more than half full, and I just really had such a good product experience. My deo of choice used to be Dove Original. I love its powdery smell. I was quite happy with it except that the container ends up in a landfill and will probably exist longer than I will. So I made the switch. 

This one comes in an amber glass bottle with a spray nozzle and is refillable at a discount. Zero-waste, and cost-effective. 

I also got a pair of bamboo toothbrushes from the Zero Waste Hub, and filled a bottle that I brought with me with peppermint hand soap from Ritual.Ph. I love that there were a number of brands there that allowed for package-free, buy-what-you-need purchases. It does feel a little weird to already be lugging a shopping bag of empty containers BEFORE you do any actual shopping, but it really wasn’t all that bad, and not an inconvenience.  

It was also great to see Anthill Fabric weaves up close and personal. I didn’t buy any this time because sizes do tend to be for the average Pinay (translation: maliit para sa’kin), and they do cost considerably more than fast-fashion options.  I have my eye on a couple of pieces that I might save up for a custom order though. 

It was also great to dialogue with some of the shop owners and learn a little bit more of their products and advocacies. I was really trying to be intentional with my shopping and didn’t want to just purchase whatever I fancied – but there are definitely new-to-me brands that are now on my radar ?

What these fairs do, really, is make us more aware of the small changes we can do that can have great impact in reducing plastic waste, and leading a sustainable lifestyle that will be friendlier to Mother Earth. I was really looking for an alternative to dishwashing sponges. We go through one of those every couple of weeks and I know there’s a better alternative out there. I was hoping to find wood brushes or those abaca scrubs that weekend. Sadly, whatever stocks were available had already been sold out.  

Luckily, the Daily Convos Shop had these:

I didn’t buy any. But the lady who makes them was nice enough to talk to me about her products. I mentioned that I’m a yarn hoarder and could probably make one for myself. She recommended using cotton thread and even told me about how to keep these scrubbies clean and sanitized so they can be used for a long time.

SO I made a couple of squares to try. I actually still have a few sponges for backup but so far, the scrubbies are holding up and doing the job just fine. We have a silicone pot scrubber that we got from Taiwan for the tougher stains so I’m hoping that this is a switch we can do without any hassles. I just have to convincethe hubby to use the scrubbies instead of the sponge. 

I made a couple more to give to a friend to test-drive too. Friends and family out there who would love to switch too, I can make a couple for you as Christmas presents, just let me know!

Secret Paths Shawl

The truth is, I was not feeling too well on Sunday. I didn’t exactly have a headache, but it kind of feel’s like I was walking around with one. My hips too felt sore while the rest of my body was screaming for a massage.

Hello, monthly period.

But I still decided to show up. I wouldn’t waste the day lying in bed.

With my husband, we made it to a friend’s mom’s 70th birthday celebration. While my friend was faciliating a trivia game, and as we listened to messages of love for the birthday girl, I kept working on my second Secret Paths shawl (designed by Johanna Lindahl).

Yep, I was crocheting at a party. I just needed to finish one row, plus the edging. And I was determined to do it so I can give it to Tita.

It turned out beautifully, if I may say so myself.

Stitches & Words | Secret Paths Shawl http://verabear.net/2018/10/secret-paths-shawl/Stitches & Words | Secret Paths Shawl http://verabear.net/2018/10/secret-paths-shawl/Stitches & Words | Secret Paths Shawl http://verabear.net/2018/10/secret-paths-shawl/

I’ve had my husband’s full support on this project. Aside from modeling the finished work, he also helped me pick the colors. I used three different kinds of yarns including a Bernat Satin but I didn’t take note exactly which kinds. The darker shades are worsted weight, and the light ones are fingering. I used a size 4 hook all the way.

Since this is my second go at this pattern, it went on without a hitch. I didn’t have to concentrate on the pattern so it meant being able to watch Grey’s Anatomy while hooking.

I love trying out different patterns because that’s how I learn new stitches and techniques, but I feel like Secret Paths will be my go-to pattern for a quick and easy shawl. It’s uncomplicated, and Johanna Lindahl’s pattern is so easy to follow.

Here’s the link to MijoCrochet for the Secret Paths shawl pattern, if you want to give it a try. Be sure to let me know if you do and share your WIPs and finished projects! 🙂

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