What a gorgeous past couple of days! Yesterday, the kids spent most of the time playing outside, save for meals, Mass and a trip to the nearby monastery for the Divine Mercy chaplet. The beautiful weather made concentrating on indoor activities quite a challenge – made more so by all the would-be home projects awaiting our attention. Spring is definitely here!
To commemorate the arrival of spring, I thought I would share some Pinoy decorating ideas with you – ways of incorporating the Filipino touch to your home, including some that are not seemingly Pinoy at first glance.
One of my favorite books on interior design is this one on
Filipino Style. It is loaded with information and gorgeous photos of both old and new Filipino design ideas, indigenous materials and architecture. Though a truly inspiring book, its beautiful content is not so easily replicated in our homes.
Most of us are probably more familiar with those unmistakably Pinoy home accents that make some of us cringe as they silently scream “Pinoy!” to one and all – like oversized wooden spoons and forks on the wall, for one. But I like to think instead that these very same fixtures speak comfortingly to their owners, reminiscent of the good ol’ days back home.
For that, to me, is what décor is all about – the memories and happy contentment each piece of decor brings to mind and heart, be it furniture, accent pieces, framed photos or knickknacks. (Not that our home is decorated that way at all!)
What appeals to me the most are well-made pieces that look either rustic or deceptively “non-Pinoy”. It gives me no small pleasure when friends ask where I acquired such and such a piece and I proudly announce – It’s Pinoy-made! 😉
Two of my favorites happen to be framed 3D pieces of art.
The first set came from a mall in Cebu years ago – a set of floating frames-within-a-frame, with each small frame containing a different dried plant or flower. I’m no expert, but I’m sure these are local flora back home.
Its combination of neutral colors and clear glass match pretty much any wall color (pardon the poor lighting – these photos are old!), and the design is clean and modern. Stunning and very well made – a beautiful reminder of home!
The second set is quite rustic but no less eye-catching. Pieces of small pottery are mounted on framed handmade paper, mimicking bas relief sculptures. If you love miniatures, handmade paper, and wood as I do, this is the perfect combination! The colors too are neutral, matching almost any color palette.
These frames not only look great but contain a lot of memories as well. They started out in our childhood home, ended up in my college dorm room, and was eventually given to me by my parents decades later. My dad did a wonderful job replacing the handmade paper on each of these frames too, after they suffered some water damage (thanks Dad!). They came out good as new – no, even better. For even more memories are now contained within these frames.
Perhaps the surest way to acquire similar pieces of 3D art from home is to fly home, buy them, and lug them back here. You could also visit fair trade retailer online Ten Thousand Villages – Philippines and patronize our kababayan (fellow countryman) artisans’ handicrafts.
Barring all that, you could try some of these easy projects instead.
If you’ve been to any of the beaches back home, you’ve probably amassed quite a collection of different seashells by now. Our Pinoy shell collection used to be tucked away in a box just like the rest of our souvenirs, until the day we decided to transform our kids’ bathroom into a seaside theme – the butterfly theme no longer worked once the boys came along!
Fortunately, the walls were already light blue, so no further painting was needed. Using a few blank canvases from our art box, the box of seashells from home, and with a little help (from mom and a hotglue gun), the kids each created a unique piece of art that was not only inexpensive and great-looking, but also featured seashells from back home that we could all finally enjoy.
You can easily find similar shadowboxes at craft stores and mount your own shell or coral from back home inside them. Of course, real shells and corals are heavier than resin and require something stronger than hotglue guns to mount (possibly a nail or two for hanging on the back wall of the frame).
If all else fails or you’re still left with shells galore, you could opt to just bring out a capiz plate and dump a few shells on it. The plate I used here is from Marshall’s years ago – made in the Philippines, of course – and the “shells” are actually candles from home which we used as wedding favors. Very colorful and very realistic.
At the least, a shell-filled plate is pretty to look at and conjures up happy memories of beaches back home. If there are kids in the house, they’ll also have a blast arranging and rearranging the shells as they wish – 3D art at its best!
If you’re out of luck and either left or lost all your shells back home, no need to worry. You can use even non-Philippine shells for the projects above and still be reminded of home. Just visit any craft store like Michaels and you’re sure to find bags of real shells in the aisle for wedding favors. And if you look at the label, chances are you’ll find that these shells too, came from — where else? — the Philippines, of course! 😉
Happy spring and happy Pinoy decorating!