Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Artsy and Quirky London

A few weeks ago I started planning my next photobook - for our London holiday(oh yay!) I was scanning digital stores for British themed kits and told my husband that though i liked the red and blue color schemes I'm not sure I'd like it throughout an entire album. And the dear man said, "don't follow the stereotype, why not get out of the visual cliche!" Why not indeed. But what then? And he said, "Try quirky and interesting like the British are. Think eclectic, trendy, hipster, imperfect, artsy." I was intrigued. And so I did.
Sun from Quirky Heart's everyday bouquet, Paper from Chelle's Creations' ladybug hugs

I scanned pinterest and everywhere for ideas, looked through all of my stash, and decided I will pair artsy drawings and elements with black/white/grey striped/dotted/geometric backgrounds. And then I started making my layout backgrounds, and got completely carried away!

Look how many I came up with, it was so fun I could not stop., hehe. Sixty-nine pages to be exact! This is the first time I've made all the backgrounds before looking at the photos. I let myself play without worrying about how they will come together. I got to use stash that never gets used. I really enjoyed changing up the game, and just playing!

How will the pages turn out? How will the historical London pictures look in artsy quirky backgrounds? Here are the first four pages!

Portobello market was as colorful as this layout even on that first cold grey day when we arrived and visited, before we could even check into our rooms! So much to browse and see!
Credits: Allison Pennington_ChinUp_Birdy, Rachel Young_WishAlphabet, Sticker_Witch_Legs_GinaCabrera, Just Jaimee-paintybits, Lauren Grier-nummybuddies-paper9
Mommyish_theeveryday_gathered-ribbon

The next first morning in London we simply took a bus and got off at the Houses of Parliament, to breathe and take in the iconic and grand views. We are in London!!! Dh and I have been in London 20 years ago, but we were equally exhilarated as the boys at the thought of actually being there! I thought the striped background looked so hip and really showed off the historic architecture, don't you?
Credits: Vinnie Pearce_The_Rise_Elements, Amy Wolff_giddy_scribblecircles, Citrus&Mint_F_blackstripepaper, Kaye Winiecki_currently_hashtagwordstrip, little butterfly wings_messitupvl2_paint, SaraGleason_currently_triangles, 
Stolen Moments Designs_Currently_alpha

We then took a walk around the Westminster Abbey grounds and around Parliament Square where we saluted Churchill's statue and Nelson Mandela's, little guessing that the great man would pass away even whilst we were still in London two weeks later! Also got the guards at 10 Downing Street to take a photo for us! And to my surprise and delight, I really think the polka dotted background supported the beautiful architecture pictures beautifully and made the page modern and visually so interesting!
Credits:Paper_Booville_Dots_GinaCabrera, citrus&mint_blackpolkadotpaper, 
Dream Big Designs_craft_graffiti2_paint, pink reptile designs_rockingcool_alpha, Tangie Baxter _QuickitySplitsWorkshop_Gesso

We then made it to the 10am boat that cruises down the Thames to Greenwich. We sat on the upper deck and it was cold!! But the funny seaman turned 'guide' gave such a fun commentary with so many juicy stories the whole journey, we could not bear to go downstairs.
Credits: KimJensen_MeRightNow_alpha, background paper_Black_Chevron_GinaCabrera, Dream Big Designs_craft_graffiti2_paint, Little Butterfly Wings_messitupvl2_paint

As usual these pages are available as templates in the store.

And here is the first page. Chronicling the 20 hour flight including 6 hours transit at Doha, Qatar that was the way we got to London. Phew!!
Credits: Laura Banasiak_chevron_overlay, little butterfly wigns_fullofwonder_paint, 
Studio Rosey Posey-onemoment, Libby Pritchett-turn-red, Valorie Webber-currently-journaltsrips


And you can download the template here. Will you try something different on your pages? Will you play and have some fun? What do you think of my London 'style'? Love to hear!
And thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

How we do Birthdays and other Gifts

Happy DSD! How have you been spending this weekend?
I have happily collected The Lilypad Blog Hop Freebie kit, shopped the discounts at their Store, and picked up their free with purchase Collab. I'm a happy scrapper today!

And yes I also completed my October Project Life pages!
(2 hours on Friday at the computer, 1.5 hours on Sun writing and adding physical elements) Woo Hoo!

First I listed down the stories I wanted to tell in this months' project life pages (on the left), then roughly sketched the layouts (yup, messy works)


Then I chose the photos and arranged them into 4x6 photo sizes, added digital elements, and printed them at my local photo lab.

Finally I choose a few physical journal cards, then handwrite everything, including writing on the photos. I like the informal, personal look of handwritten journaling.

Nowadays I also have fun adding a few physical elements, like letter stickers, the wood veneer elements (I bought a Studio Calico set with a coupon), and these emoticon stickers from a local stationary store!

In October we were very happy to celebrate my mom in law's birthday, and my niece's pre-wedding ceremonies. A few weeks before the actually wedding, our chinese tradition is for both families to exchange gifts (in the past they were considered dowry) and various items to signify good wishes for the couple, and their future children. A very happy time!


How we do Birthdays 
October is also dh's birthday, and in recent years we have had more fun with each others' birthdays, planning surprises and the like (perks of having teens who don't need us so much now, ha!)

We have always felt that our modern lives are filled with too much 'stuff', and we generally don't give each other big gifts, nor do we do gifts for Valentines and Anniversaries. We do write each other long cards for each of these occasions, and sometimes go for a nice dinner:) There is of course the expensive bracelet dh got me for our twentieth anniversary, only to realise it was one year too early! It was a laugh, and so precious. On our actual twentieth anniversary I gave him the Twentieth Anniversary photobook :)

Similarly our boys are very good with not demanding or expecting presents. On their last two birthdays they have shared a present (their birthdays are 3 days apart), and many of their earlier presents were pre-owned Lego sets purchased over the internet! Still equally fun as new!

Also for Christmas, my husband's big family used to celebrate with every pair of aunts and uncles getting a present for each of the children. About ten years ago we all agreed it was too much, and a poor lesson to the children about wants, waste and indulgence, and now we only do a gift exchange for one family member each. We have the same arrangement with our friends, and we use the secret Santa online service like this one. Thank God for like-minded family and friends!

Better still, recently I've been inspired by the Non-Consumer Advocate's family tradition of doing a Birthday Day of Adventures where their family spends the entire day going from activity to activity that caters to the birthday person's specific tastes, all a surprise planned ahead of time! How cool is that?

So for dh this year, I planned a day of adventure - and how lucky is he that Singapore hosts it's first year of the WTA (Women's Tennis Association Tournament) the week of his birthday! DH loves tennis and the semi finals fell on his birthday! On top of that he received free tickets on the day before so we caught two matches. How cool to catch Serena Williams (including an episode of her smashing her racket) and Anna Ivanovic and Simona Halep fight it out on the court in person! Here is the page of the Birthday Day of Adventure :)
What are your thoughts and practices on Birthday and Christmas gift-giving and receiving?

Finally, as I almost always tend to include nowadays: a page of the anecdotes, fun moments, funny quotes, and the like, seen and heard in our family this month.
Thanks for visiting and Happy DSD!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our Travel Journals - How we record and scrapbook our travels Part 1


travel journals

I caught the travel bug on my first real overseas trip when I just graduated University, on a mission trip to Nepal. We spent 3 weeks visiting with christian doctors, engineers, agriculturists, who lived and worked amongst the local Nepalese, in their towns and villages. It was an amazing and powerful experience. I think I was changed on several levels somewhere inside. I might blog about that sometime :)

But today I want to share how we record and scrapbook our travels. I am excited to share how this has changed for us over the years. The format may have evolved, but the aim of capturing memories, images, moments is the same. And all of them equally wonderful and precious.

I dug into our boxes and found that we have these many journals, kept from our trips over the years!
how we scrapbook travels
Each of these are precious records of each of our journeys. We take our trips seriously, planning months ahead, researching and finding deals, Reading guidebooks, detailing our daily plans in these journals before we set off. While on the trip, we journal daily, also in the same notebook., usually lined, ring bound, not too heavy or bulky, as it will travel with us.

We usually take turns to write in it, every chance we get, while we are in the train, at meals, waiting for the bus. We capture where we went, what we saw and did, and also how we felt, thoughts and jokes shared, anything that impressed, surprised, awed us.

We even get illustrations (courtesy of Jared), record our spending, and get 'stamps' into these books.

Once we get home, in the early years (we are talking like twenty years ago), we did up these large 'sticky film' albums with our 'scrapbooking' of photos and cut-outs of brochures, and journaling! Nothing like what we have now, and the pages are turning yellow at the sides, yet still so precious and even charming - that was us backpacking across Europe, sleeping in trains, surviving on baguettes for meals, and queuing for hours for reduced same day tickets in London's West End...

Once we had children, the trips took on different focus. The early years we only traveled to nearby locations, mainly beach locations, and visiting playgrounds was the highlight!
But this is something I love a lot: Once the children could read and write, we got them to do the journaling on the trips! 
Capture the children's journaling
Se the pages below, we were in Phuket, Thailand, I got them to journal on note papers while on the trip, then I cut and paste these in our journal books when we got home. It's really in their own words, spelling mistakes and all, seeing things from their eyes and totally cute. These are our most precious journals. If you have children this age, try it! 
P.S. I can't get them to do it now if I tried, lol!

Or get them to draw!
In this next trip album, you can see that Ryan's (who was probably eight) writing, while Jared (six) did most of his 'journaling' by drawing instead! This was us in Perth, Australia. You can see Jared's drawings depicting Penguin Island, the Tree-Top Walk, and Rottnest Island. How precious is that?
I think then we just had our first digital cameras, and I home-printed the pictures and pasted them in large paper scrapbooks from the bookstore.

In 2005, I had discovered digital scrapbooking and photoshop 5. It was early days yet, and I did not have much digital scrapbook supplies as we know it today. 
For our trip to New Zealand, I did my own 'layouts'  in 8.5x11 'A4' pages, and printed them out on our home printer, and slot them into a regular clear folder file.

There, that was probably the early signs of my template-designing days to come! :)
From here on I designed all our travels into digital scrapbook pages, transferring journaling from our notebooks onto the pages. 
I had already started using each double page spread to capture a particular day or place, so that I had photos of the same colors and mood on the same page. Always giving it a bold title playing with fonts. Balancing large photos with some smaller ones. Somethings never change :)

Hope it was fun to see my older scrapbooks and journals, and that it provided an idea or two!

Hawaii Pages
And now we come back to my latest pages, which are the last 5 layouts for our Hawaii trip!
The templates for these layouts can be found in the Store 

At Hanauma Bay, where we spotted an Octopus while snorkelling and followed it for 15 minutes, totally amazing and magical! First time ever in our lives!

Taking a surfing class, what an experience for us, probably once in a lifetime!

Just enjoying our last evening in the beautiful Hawaii..

And having fun in the hotel room. Yes, even this deserves a double page layout in my album, haha, I just love these moments and it shows what a wonderful time we have as a family, how good it is to have the boys with us on these trips and just hang out and just have fun and make memories.

And a final double page to capture all the miscellaneous pictures that makes up or even sums up the trip. I only had space on the left to insert a tab and call it 'everything else'. Love the completely smothered page!
If you also like it as much as me, download it Here to play with!

Monday, October 06, 2014

Currently, and How I used the new Project Life App


background  from In Summery by Allison Pennington


Currently

recovering from the hectic craziness of September where our entire family was consecutively down with conjunctivitis (!); Jared had a dengue scare; I successfully made a 10k run (!); and we were all clocking long hours at work and for school, phew!

keeping up with the current craze in my office - carrying over from our 10k run, to stay active, and been going to gym classes 3 times a week, my old bones are beginning to feel young again :)

happily letting dh plan for our year end trip, I am the fussy and meticulous one, so I usually do it. We surprised ourselves that I can actually let go, and that he is actually as meticulous or more, once he gets into it! And this time we are booking all our accommodations through AirBnB - cheaper rates than hotels, more character, and we like meeting locals!

wasting too much time shopping online for jackets for the whole family suitable for the weather at the year end trip location, I usually try to score pre-owned stuff as we only use these warm weather clothing once a year or less, depending on where we go, but the Uniqlo ultra light down is on sale now, so we just might get it instead!

noticing and appreciating that my boys are totally not the 'chasing after the latest and greatest' type. I asked to 'safekeep' their phones during exam days recently so they won't be so distracted, and noticed that especially Jared's phone is so old that is is rusted at various corners! And they never once asked to have a new phone :)

loving the plethora of healthy food and salad bars sprouting all around - they have such interesting choices - been having salad for lunch everyday if I can help it - and inspired to concoct salad dinners on weekends

walking with a dear friend as she battles her 2nd year with cancer, and being so encouraged by her faith, courage, and our God's Lordship in her life. I'm learning the difference between trusting in the gift and trusting in the Giver. As F.B. Meyer (reading from Streams in the Desert) puts it, the gift may be good for a while, but the Giver is the Eternal Love.

thankful for a long weekend and appreciating the loveliness of peaceful and uneventful everyday life

How I used the new Project Life App

Have you tried it? the new Project Life App?

I thought about it for three days, then jumped in, haha! Mainly I was not sure if it would be useful for me, since I am very comfortable with doing my PL on photoshop, with digital supplies, then printing them and inserting them into my physical album.

This is what I did: Last month, I went with a group of friends to the Bali marathon, well to be specific we only did the 10k run, and between us we took hundreds of photos which we Whats-Apped to each other. With the App on my phone, I was able to sort through and select photos and cards while I am on the bus home from work, and completed this 'page' in 30 minutes, including adjusting the brightness and contrast on the photos, etc, which were all very easy to do on the app :)
After exporting the above page, I then went in and swapped some of the photo spots for other photos (see arrows below) to customize the page for each of my friends! Super Easy!

After I got home, I downloaded the exported pages from phone to computer, added bits and pieces of word art, recolored the 'Here we go' filler card, and each of the pages are done! I am sending it for printing at Persnickety and will slot it into a 12x12 protector. Also printing a page each for my friends!

By the way, I had never ever done any run in my forty something years of life, and doing this 10k was such a great experience! I decided I would walk the whole 10k, and trained about 4 times in the month before, listened to dh's advice about starting slow, warming up, keeping a comfortable pace and did it! The actual day, waking up at 3am, assembling at 5am with so many runners, the comaraderie and spirit in the air was palpable, then setting off and feeling being part of this great crowd (albeit a rather slow member of it), pressing on, encouraging each other on, being cheered by the locals and onlookers, just a very wonderful time! I might do it again!

I did another PL page on my way home another day, just pulling in photos and typing some journaling, see below - less than twenty minutes! I'm getting very productive on the bus!

All I had to do was add some word art and bits in photoshop and it's done! Because 99% of photos for my PL are taken on my phone, this works for me especially on the go. I still proceeded to 'cut up' this page into 4x6 photo sizes for printing, then inserted them into my PL as usual, so as to fit in with my other photos and protectors.

And this is the other PL page for September, done the 'traditional way' :) 
Jared had high fever for a few days and the doctors suspected he had dengue fever, giving us a scare; all of us were infected by a bad case of conjunctivitis one after the other, we were all stuck at home, none of us could really help the other, and it was the school holidays week !! And I really like the effect of writing on photos - though I need more practice with this - that looked like my arm was tattooed, haha!

And finally, just one 365 photo a day page to round up the month, and today is only the 6th of October, I love recording our daily lives in these simple easy ways!
I will be back with more double page layouts in a week or two!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Try something new

If you have not seen this video, check it out!



So cool, isn't it? Yes, try something new, even if it is going back to the real thing, the original back to basic could be the new thing now!

This month we are trying some new things. Instead of eating out at Japanese restaurants (it is very possible to eat out everyday in Singapore. Food choices are abundant and fairly cheap and very good), we tried making our own sushi. Makes for a great family time! Besides being yummy

Another new: for the first time in my life, I have signed up for a 10k! I've decided to walk all the way. Instead of training in the gym, DH and I have been doing walks at the beach. We walked and people watched and had great conversations. Who would have guessed how fun this can be. As you can see above, I've worked it up to 6k in an hour or so. Am hoping to do the 10k in an hour and half, thereabouts. But dh only wants me not to get injured, haha!


The Digi Files - a first podcast!
Yin Designs is being featured in The Digi Files this month! I'm super-honored to have been part of the files for the fourth time, I answered the interview questions as currently as I could, so do check it out at The Daily Digi. For my feature, I recorded a podcast with Steph, something totally new! It took me a while to pluck up the courage to listen to it, lol! I remembered being very excited and rambling on and on and giggling quite a bit. But so glad I did it! Not to mention I'm a few notches up the cool factor in my boys' books :)   

Steph and The Daily Digi has really expanded me over the years, given me opportunities, ideas, helped me with quality control, even started me on a newsletter. Thank you! And if you have not already signed up, this month's files includes kits from:
For my part of the contribution, you will get these four 12x12, and two 12x24 templates:
All for only $7.50. I am a member and find that most my layouts each month come from that month's Digi files! Click Here to sign up

And for the podcast, you can play it by clicking the play button right here, or by going to this link : http://traffic.libsyn.com/dailydigidigest/ddd_yin_designs.mp3 



Birthday thoughts: Trying new things certainly spices up life, but as I crossed another forty-something (wink) birthday in August, I find myself wondering, amidst much celebrating over meals with family and friends and cakes and all, if I'm too focused on enjoying my own frivolous life, and neglecting good that I could have been doing? 

On Sunday, our pastor said this in his sermon :So whether we eat or drink or do whatever, ask:
Can I do this for the Glory of God? Am I satisfied in Him today? Have I made my God too small?

And brought me back  to my favorite verse that I have always leaned on;  



And so I re-committed myself to this. Not new, but so important that this is my daily prayer and service. I want to go deeper into these words, to be less affected by my surroundings, and impulses and worries, to be more steadfast and faithful, even whilst I am doing all this living, trying new things, eating and drinking that He has graciously given me to enjoy. 


August Project Life Pages

This insert page is all from my birthday, we had an extended date visiting an area with quaint bookstores, shops and cafes, for the first time :). We also visited the Singapore Night Festival, again for the first time since it ran, and were surprised there were so many people who turned up at the street concerts, movie screenings, at the light shows, and more.I squeezed 4 photos and 2 photos into each 4x4 pocket, And the bottom left photo was printed by the Peranakan Museum immediately after we uploaded an instagram pic! I used hashtags for the first time :)

This next page was filled only with one photo, and another screenshot taken off the boys' facebook post, the rest were all stories, funny conversations, even a note from a teacher, I totally love snippets like that. They may not be important moments or sentiments per se, but evoke laughter and 'oh yeah!'s and trigger memories and shared moments when I show them to my family and that's what my PL is for!!

Our family and friends got together on many occasions this month too. It's nice all the photos happen to have have red and black tones in them.

At the back of the insert page are photos of my colleagues and I at our company dress up dinner. The golden hues were beautiful, we were dressing up as greeks :)

Project 365 Photos
As usual, I popped all 31 photos a day for August into two of my Half Monthly templates and sumarised the month in review
I have been using graph or note papers as backgrounds and this simplifies it a lot for me, I also limit myself to a handful of elements, culling them based on the color scheme for that page. In this way I keep it really simple and completes the month in reviews in a couple of hours.

Hawaii Pages (find the double page templates in the store)
A lot more pages have been completed! This month I was working around the idea of photos layered over shaped paper cuttings, then over 'wood' papers. More pics at the beach:
Visiting the For Derussy US Army Museum - filled with stories of patriotism and machines and tanks and copters the boys were so interested in.
Being beach bums on another afternoon spent at yet another beach on our beach hop :)
Hiking at Manua Falls - so much glorious flora and greenery even the muddy ground did not bother us.
And these are pages of which templates are in this months Digi Files:
Visiting the Justice Department building - we had seen it on Hawaii Five-O so much we were excited to visit, but enjoyed even more the rich history of the exhibits and learnt so much.
Doing what we love - visiting art at the Honolulu Museum of Art - always a treat!
These 12x12 pages are of special stories I wanted to scrap recently, I will be printing them to slot into my Project Life album. Here's Jared on his beloved guitar - love watching him play!
And we took the family with us to this fun concert at the Esplanade - it's wonderful we can now enjoy concerts together!
A layout of  Jared dressed up as one of the anime character he so resembles, he looks so cool don't you think?
And for a while we were all into mastermind again, Who do you think is the mastermind?
The template for this layout of us in transit in Korea was shared during my feature on Real Life Scrapped - in case you'd like it but missed it, here it is. We were on transit enroute to Hawaii. Had to bring winter gear just for that 13 hours of transit. But we got to wander the streets of Seoul, first time for us. We will be back one day!
Download here

And I put the rest of the brush script words I did into this second set for you to play with, enjoy!
Download these here

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