Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Patron for House Work

"A lighted lamp  tells the story of Dora del Hoyo,  a woman who entered domestic service in the 1940s as a servant in a private home. She came to see that God was calling her to follow Him in her chosen profession, and she asked to join Opus Dei as a numerary assistant. She thus became the first of many women who would, by means of their work, spread the idea of the sanctification of ordinary work around the world and to every level of society." (doradelhoyo.org). The book is written by Javier Medina Bayo, based on the testimony of Dora's family and those who lived with her. 
All the testimonies about her life affirm that Dora carried out her domestic work with the competence of a first-class professional. She mastered every aspect of that work and exercised it at the highest level. Below is a favor granted through her intercession.

 I have four children who are 8, 6, 5, and 3 years old. For two months I had been looking for someone to help me with the housework and the children. Discouraged, I told my mother-in-law that the next morning I was going to call a girl without any references. She gave me the prayer card and she told me, “Ask Dora and she will help you.”  Not very convinced, I did pray to her that night. The girl turned out to be an excellent worker, educated, willing, cheerful, patience and affectionate with the children. I am very grateful.
P.S. In my city it is very difficult to find someone who can care for a home responsibly and, above all and most importantly, who is good with children. Many thanks!    L.S.F.  Argentina


I myself received a favor from Dora. I prayed through her intercession for my Visa application to be approved and be released in time for my flight. I lodged my visa application at the last minute due to completion of required documents. I was told that processing time will take a month, which meant it won't be out before my flight booking!! (I grabbed the airine Chinese new year sale and booked my flight ahead). Three days before the flight schedule, I called the Visa center and was told that my application was still being processed. I asked Dora to help expedite it since I am going to study to become a professional butler which was her profession. I also promised her that I will disseminate her prayercard. The next morning, I got a call from the embassy that my visa application has been approved;  and was delivered on the same day!! I love Dora and I believe she should be canonized as patron saint for all who work and care for the home!!

Home Renaissance Foundation International Conference: Renewing the culture of home

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fluffing Couch Cushions

Cozy sofas are so loved that at end of day they get really tired and look this way! If only they can talk, by end of day they must want to retire already.

So i always recommend that at the end of day, we allow these to rest and retire as shown below.

After a good night rest, we are assured that the cushions are alert and ready for another days' hugging and resting for kids and adults alike.. Do not forget to make sure that the zippers are not exposed when the cushions are replaced back into position..

Friday, February 17, 2012


Grey Water Recycling System Drawing

Grey water room housing the filtration System. The green grass coers the underground system.  The cistern has a manhole for emergency trouble shooting.
Shown are the activated granular carbon filter (to remove contaminants and impurities) and the multi media filter (to Reduce the level of turbidity and suspended particles)

A glance at the opened cistern of grey water

One of my clients wants a green house. Initial plans were incorporation of solar roof, green roof, and recycled water, lots of ventillation, sun, etc.. With the cooperation of the Architect and experts,  we were able to execute everything xcept for the solar roof which turned out to be not feasible. (See  Our Rooftop farm and Vertical Garden )

Grey waste water recycling seemed too technical when I first heard about it. I though it would be too complicated to include in the renovation works in my client's home that I was skeptical - sanitary plans, multi media filter tanks, cisterns, alternate pipes etc. It all sounded complicated on paper but turned out very simple after the installation.

Our grey water source are  from the laundry, bathroom and rain water from downspouts (we have lots of rains throughout the year) and the backwash water coming from the main filtration system of the house - all of which have low level contaminants ( Note: we didn't include the sewer pipes). These pipes go to an underground cistern measuring 3x6x3 meters. The cistern has an overflow pipe in case we have too much grey water. Water then is pumped through a multimedia filter, then a carbon filter that purifies it from the contaminants. The resulting recycled water is used to water the garden and cleaning of outdoor areas. This filtration type does not make this water potable. (NOTE: some references do not recommend use of recycled grey water for some type of vegetable gardens due to possible contamination of laundry detergents or chlorine).

The grey water collected in the cistern must be consummed within 24 hours to 2 days to prevent putrefaction which can really smell bad. Maintenance requires two times a week backwashing, twice a month disinfection and replacement of filter every two months. These maintenance procedures must be strictly followed or the known complaint of developing foul smell of the resulting recycled water.
Maintenance Checklist posted inside grey water room

Maintenance Guidelines posted in grey water room
Benefits are lower water bills due to reduced fresh water use, healthier garden due to added natural nutrients in the recycled water, and of course responsible contribution to the environment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Rooftop farm and Vertical Garden

My favorite part of the house is the rooftop farm. We initially planned to have a rooftop garden in order to save energy, cool the house, and contribute in our own small way to the greening of our earth. However, botanist introduced the idea of making it a functional garden - a vegetable garden at the rooftop! We have never grown vegestable and couldnt even imagine it in the rooftop.  Here are photos of our newly installed vertical rooftop garden. It was installed in December and we are now harvesting from it. 
Botanist Drawing of rooftop garden

Staircase to the rooftop garden

Facing the street, deorative plants grow, but inside the roof garden is an herb garden and on flat beds are mixture of salad greens, hot peppers, carrots and fiesta variety.

Our botanist used his own soil composition

Carrots, hot pepper, lolo rossa and green lettuce will later sprout from the flat beds 

Choco Mint

Spearmint.. i love this

Manual Drip irrigation coming from our recycled water tank \
(See grey water recycling  in my blog)

Sweet Basil

Rectangular flat bar structure holds the plant basket made of jute material that served as container for the soil medium


I have always seen amazing gardens in magazines. i never thought, I will enjoy one myself. Come and see!!

How to Treat Library Molds

We found molds in the basement library!!  My first instinct was to wipe them clean with rag moistened with anti molds cleaner. After a week or two, we found them again and upon closer examination, I found the molds had attacked our library books collection!! The solution I thought of was to install a dehumidifier to control to moisture inside the library. But then, we thought better and and dug deeper to solve this problem:
1. Find out what is causing the molds growth and eradicate it
a. Molds experts we consulted found there was more moisture content in the library than in the other rooms in the basement. Upon check up, the plumber found a leaking pipe supplying water in an adjacent bath. 
b. They also found rubbish inside the ceiling of library that was left by a contractor that reapired the ceiling several months ago. 
The excessive moisture content in the environment plus the rubbish served as growing medium for the molds to flourish in the area. See pictures below.



2.  Treat the affected areas and items
 After the repairs were completed and the rubbish cleaned, we sprayed the mold affected surfaces- inside the ceiling, library shelves, walls - with TIMBOR. Solution formula is written in the label. It is important that staff performing treatment wear protective outfit - mask and gloves- to protect from molds exposure. Note that the chemical leaves white spots on the sprayed on surface. Don't worry because they can be wiped off once dry.
Next we treated the books, one by one, dabbing the molds treatment solution on the affected areas carefully, so as not to spread them any further. Wear the protective gear just the same. 
This was a huge task that requires a lot of patience and carefulness because we had to check hundreds of books one by one, carefully checking the cover and pages of each book. It was nooticeable that molds like the bookprint copies more than the glossy pages. We had to carefully apply chemical to the spine, inside covers and each page affected. Afterwhich we let it dry indirectly under the sun. The weather was even unfortunately uncooperative that there were days of intermittent rains so we had to delay the job and work only when the sun is out. The whole job lasted one month.
Used for books                               
3. Control Humidity
Next, we installed dehumidifiers since the library is located in the basement and was not provided with any window for ventillation, there is a danger that molds can recur. These dehumidifiers now collect about 2-3 liters of water twice daily, that is how much moisture there is in the room. One of the staff is assigned to dispose collected water two times per day. The room is noticeably warmer as the air blown into the room by the unit is warmer.
4. Optional: Protect the books
This time, we have learned to place books at least a few inches away from the shelf wall to allow air to circulate within the shelves. But as an added protection, we wrapped each book in clear plastic case to prevent moisture from setting in and molds from recurring.

I haven't noticed any recurrence of molds after a month of treatment. Hopefully, with better awareness, we may be able to prevent recurrence and save the precious investment.