31 August 2009

I Scream for Ice Cream

Happy new week everybody!

I looked through my freezer this weekend and I found some neglected ice cream. Gasp! I know, I have no excuse for ignoring this heavenly dessert, but if sweets like lemon meringue pie, strawberry shortcake and banana pudding find their way to your fridge, you would forgive me if I allowed the ice cream to "chill" for a while.

So this week on my blog
, I'm serving up some icy treats that turn plain ice cream from blah to Tada!

Ice cream + cookies

Tada! Ice cream sandwich!

It's an easy snack that both adults & kids will love.

See you tomorrow for another icy cold idea!

28 August 2009

Punch & Bind

One lovely reader recently asked for help to transform her blah business card holder into a Tada!. And that's how the blah to Tada! challenge was born. If you need some Tada! solutions using everyday blah items, send me an e-mail and I'll try my best to help you out.

Maybe you also need help organizing your thick wad of business cards that you've collected recently? Here's a crafty idea:

Blah: Sheets of cardboard & an old J. Crew catalogue.

You'll need these materials, too: pencil, ruler, a pair of scissors,
puncher, glue, a computer/printer & a big binder ring.

Step 1: Measure the cardboard to the size of a standard business card and add a half-inch allowance to its height (portrait orientation).

Step 2: Cut the cardboard. Once cut, you must have a total of 26 cards corresponding to each letter of the alphabet.

Step 3: Punch a hole on the upper left side of each piece of cardboard.

Now the fun part!

Step 4: Decorate each piece of cardboard. I opted for a "summer" look using bathing suits cut out from a J. Crew catalogue. You can choose whatever theme you fancy -- shoes, bags, flowers, food, cartoon characters...

Step 5: Print out letters from the computer & stick one letter on each piece of cardboard.

Step 6: Take out your business cards and punch each at the top left corner (make sure not to punch out important details like phone numbers & e-mail addresses). Rotate the business card if necessary.

Step 7: Insert the decorated cardboard sheets and business cards (now organized alphabetically) onto the binder ring.

Tada! Not your usual business card holder
clean & compact just the same!

Note: You can easily add or remove a card by sliding the binder ring opening to the corresponding letter. Unlock the binder ring and attach or detach a card. Lock the binder ring once again.

Wishing you a Happy Tada! weekend!

27 August 2009

Cards in Jars

Well hello there! This week, I'm on my first ever blah to Tada! challenge. Marti sent me an e-mail requesting for ideas on how to better organize her business cards. It had to be easy and must be made of recycled goodies. I hope I haven't failed her so far!

Here's a new idea that makes use of old jelly jars & salsa bottles.

Sleek business card holders in three simple steps:

Step 1: Scrub the jars so they're squeaky clean & don't smell of food.
Dry them well.

Step 2: Label the bottles in alphabetical fashion: A to E, F to J, etc. or create categories based on the business cards you have: new acquaintances, business partners, favorite restaurants, etc.
Step 3: Add in your business cards and display the bottles on your desk or office shelf.

Tada! Clean, clear & no clutter!

26 August 2009

Box Up Your Business Cards

We're thinking of easy, eco-friendly solutions to organize business cards, and I've got another idea for you:

Not quite a blah because of the pretty print,
but if a
stationery box is all out of cards & envelopes
all that's left is a plain & empty box.

Unless you re-use it of course!

I put some dividers in the box (using cardboard covered with floral-print paper) that stay standing with the help of hot glue on the bottom & sides of the cardboard.

I labeled the dividers using my handwriting on pink paper. The groupings are based on the similarities of the business cards I have: old friends, new friends, food & drink, crafters (I frequent craft fairs!), medical & legal, and etc. for those cards that don't quite fit into a category.

If you're planning a wedding, you can have caterers, printers, musicians, photographers and guests as your categories. If you're looking for a job, I suggest these labels: headhunters, references, dream job and send thank yous to.

Go ahead and concoct your own categories.
Don't limit yourself to alphabetizing your business cards.

There you have it -- cute and organized.
Two of my favorite words!

See you tomorrow for another idea!

25 August 2009

Book of Cards

This week on blah to Tada, I'm helping Marti
organize her business cards.

Here's my second suggestion:

Get yourself a blank notebook or journal.

Divide the notebook pages for each letter of the alphabet and make a "cover page" for each letter. You can draw, paint or cover the page with printed paper and add the corresponding letter.

You may also put tabs (ex. tape flags) on the sides to make it easy to find the page you need, just like you would find on an address book.

Attach the calling card to the page with glue (if information is on one side of the card) or clear tape (if both sides of the card contains information).

This card organizer works well for business cards with odd shapes & shows off those cards with photos and cool graphics.

See you tomorrow for another idea!

24 August 2009

Mind Your Own Business Cards

Hello there Everyone! I hope the weekend was especially good to you.

This week, I've geared up for my very first blah to Tada! challenge
. Marti e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago to ask for some help: "Hi! I was curious if you have any thoughts on creating a business card holder from recycled products. I am currently using an old loose leaf note paper box that is falling apart."

Marti even sent a photo:

I must agree, it's looking quite blah so I have some suggestions that I hope Marti will like. Thankfully this challenge came along, because I realized that my own collection of business cards needs a home, too!

Here's my first suggestion:

Blah: Plastic tubs that once contained strawberries,
walnuts and grape tomatoes.

Tada!: An instant business card holder!

I did not spend anything, absolutely nothing, for this.

The dividers are old cardboard boxes (ex. cereal), measured to the size of a business card plus a half-inch added to the height. After cutting the cards, I covered these with colorful pages from a magazine and then glued on the letters (printed out from my home printer; calligraphy will also work). I also decorated the cover of the plastic box with a fun print I got from a school catalogue and a label "Business Cards" that I printed myself.

Here's a version using the box that
once held grape tomatoes.

Just add your business cards in the corresponding slots!

If you have a growing collection, you can have several of these small boxes organized to your liking. For example, Box #1: letters A to M and Box #2: letters N to Z. You can also categorize by year or by "personal" and "business" contacts. You can easily stack these boxes on top of each other.

Or you can use a bigger box like this one
that once cradled strawberries.

Easy business card organization, right?
Please come back tomorrow for another idea!

21 August 2009

Tea Time

Hip-hip-hooray, it's Friday! This week on my blog, I suggested some ideas on how to take drinking water to the next level. Just by adding some fresh summer fruit, we can easily turn an everyday beverage from blah to Tada!.

A cold drink will always be appreciated on a sweltering day but something hot ain't bad at all. I'm not talking about coffee. I'm talking about mint tea! Moroccan Mint Tea to be exact.

The whole Moroccan tea ceremony is a spectacle! Tea is served in a beautiful silver teapot and small tea glasses with intricate, colorful designs. The tea is poured high (this aerates the tea for better flavor) and sugar is added to the tea -- a sweet and soothing drink that warms the belly. This is Morocco's national drink and this will be served to you inside a home, a restaurant and at the souks.

Moroccan Mint Tea served with almond macaroons
as a snack or at the end of a meal.

Here's an easy way to prepare mint tea right in your kitchen (recipe from The Food of Morocco cookbook):


1 bunch fresh spearmint

2 teaspoons Chinese gunpowder green tea
2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste


Cut the ends of the mint stalks leaving leafy sprigs. Wash well, shake dry and roll in a clean dish towel to absorb excess moisture. Alternatively, dry mint in a salad spinner.

Rinse a 1 litre (36 fl oz/4 cup) teapot with boiling water, add the tea and a little boiling water, swirl briefly, let it settle, then carefully pour out the water to remove any tea dust. Half-fill pot with boiling water. Take a handful of the spearmint sprigs, crush lightly in the hand and add to the pot. Add more crushed mint sprigs until the pot is three-quarters full. Add the sugar and fill the pot with boiling water. Let the tea brew for three minutes.

Pour out a glass of tea and pour back into the pot. Repeat, twice more to mix the tea and to dissolve the sugar. Serve the tea in tea glasses, pouring it from a height to aerate the tea. Add a mint sprig (not crushed) to each glass.

Have a great weekend Everyone!

20 August 2009

Berry Good!

When the summer season is at its peak and the weather is just too hot, an icy beverage is always a welcome treat.

But why settle for plain water when you can add
some of summer's sweetest fruits?

A berry nice blah to Tada! transformation!
Berry delicious, too.

19 August 2009

Aguas Frescas

We're adding some boost to everyday drinking water
here at blah to Tada!.

After all, a little variety makes drinking more fun & less of a chore.

Today, we're making Aguas Frescas. The literal translation: "fresh or cool waters". Refreshing they are indeed! I learned about them from this website and first tried them at Mijita Cocina Mexicana at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco. "Wow!" is all I can say and made a mental note to try making these at home.

This drink of Mexican origin makes use of fresh fruits. My pick -- these mighty-cool cantaloupes:

I simply cube up some cantaloupe flesh (about 2 cups) and add them to a blender. I place the scooped-out seeds in a strainer, put this on top of the blender pitcher and with a spoon, "squeeze" out the juice (producing about 1 tablespoon...we don't want to waste anything, right?). I then add 2 cups of water and blend away! You may add some sugar (before blending) if the fruit isn't that sweet.

Tada! My version of aguas frescas (agua de melon).

You may strain the liquid as you pour it into a pitcher or tall glass barrel-shaped punch bowls (as they are traditionally served). That way, the liquid will be lighter and clearer. I happen to like the pulp so I skipped this step.

Get ready to be refreshed on a hot & humid day!

18 August 2009

Pump Up Your Water

This week, we're giving some Tada! to blah, everyday drinking water.

Not that there's anything wrong with regular water.
But if you just add some citrus slices...

Tada! Instant color & flavor!

Ready to say Cheers?

17 August 2009

Flavored Water

Happy New Week Everyone! I hope you all had a restful Saturday & Sunday. This week on blah to Tada, we're giving everyday drinking water a little pick-me-up.

Nothing wrong with water, especially a glass with lots of ice cubes!

Why not add some oomph to the ice cubes?
Just add some mint leaves & orange slivers to the water
before freezing.

You'll have lovely-looking ice cubes, I promise.

These frosty cubes will subtly flavor your water as it melts.
don't you think?

14 August 2009

Fit for Evening

Hey, hey...it's Friday!

If you're going to a dressy event soon, today's blah to Tada! transformation will be right up your alley.

This week, it was all about empty tape rings and dispensers. We mustn't leave out that thick round of sealing tape, don't you agree?

It's still useful even after you've used up all the tape!

Okay, I'll reveal today's project -- we're making an evening bag!

We're using the empty tape ring as a handle.

I fashioned the bag using some thick cardboard.
No patterns, just free-form estimates with the help
of a ruler, pencil & eraser (I made many mistakes!).

Wrap the empty tape ring with your choice of fabric.
Secure with a glue gun.

Do the same for the entire bag.
Attach the handle & closures (button & ribbon)
with needle and thread.

Tada! Instant evening purse!
High style without the high price.

You can even slip the handle around your wrist
making it easy to hold a cocktail & plate of
hors d' oeuvres.

Leave the bag plain (if using a shiny or printed fabric)
or decorate with bling & beads!

Happy partying & have a Tada! weekend!