Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Different Season

Yes our family has without a doubt entered a different season of life and it shows. Our boys are now older teens, no longer children and it sure was hard for me to get with the new program. :)  I was just telling J the other day, "you used to call 'mommy, mommy' all the time to ask for help, so how about let me give you some advice about (something)". "Nope" came the answer immediately (at least he said that with a grin). R is already living in hostel, and they both have their own friends and interests and so little time for us, and now we connect with them through sharing videos, interesting news or posts, movies, online and phone games, over ice-cream suppers..... who knew?

We love being parents. As parents we were always very involved, desiring to share and shape our boys as much as we can. And how wonderful that now they share our love for books, movies, travel, the beach, creating, share our sense of humour, our faith in God. Some things did not catch on though, like dh's love of sports, and their taste of music is so different from ours. Of course they are their own person too, with their love of anime, anything quirky (like World Order), and they are continually evolving (J asked for and started folk guitar lessons last week)

What a journey - from their complete dependence on us, to directing their lives in those preschool years, to planning everything, to merely influencing, to learning to take a back seat and let them find their paths, trying to be a friend, hoping and praying simply that they will thrive in what they love and want to do. If you had been reading my blog over the years you would know it was a learning journey for me to let them be who they want to be, and not make them be or do what I think is best for them. Confessions of the over-bearing mom!

I have learnt the hard way that what I think, what I know (even), cannot be pushed down (especially not nagged) to them anymore, but must be experienced and learnt by themselves from now on. Only what we have imparted in those earlier years, and our continued example will speak to them now. And most importantly I am learning to release them into God's Hands for they are His people, as the words of the verse hanging over our dining table says: "will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians - Exodus 6:7" Now that I'm finding myself more comfortably in that backseat (and keeping my backseat driving thoughts to myself) it is more and more fun and exciting to get to know who they are becoming. I'm evolving too!

And so it shows in our Annual Birthday Prayer to them - we write a letter and Prayer to them every year on their birthdays. This year dh wrote them both, handwritten into a journal that he gave to them each at the beginning of the year. I've made most of them into layouts and you can see the past years' ones here, here, here, here, and here. It's a wonderful tradition and one of my most precious scrapbook pages.

This year I decided to try doing it in a more mixed media style, mixing and blending a lot of papers and brushes and paints. It is not my usual style and took very long but I do love the results! Also, I just started using through listening to The Daily Digi Podcast to use the Supply Tracker script by Christy Vanderwall, which automatically uploads to Flickr so you can see how many layers and supplies I used! Click on the supplies list link and you will be taken to Flickr image with the supplies list.

And click on the images below if you want to see 30 second videos of how the layers add and blend up. So fun!

And here are the 8.5x11 templates for you to try out. :)

Project Life - Feb and March

This season in our life shows in our pages too. Our PL contains family gatherings, more of what dh and I have been up to, and rarely do I have photos of what the boys are up to in their own lives. So I've taken to include this month, a page about what we are 'Currently - playing, watching, talking about'. Each month I may take a different focus. Next up I'm planning a page on 'Currently - Loving, pursuing, dabbling'. My PL is evolving too, haha! Still loving this record of our lives, or slices of our lives right now. Are you in similar stage of your life as me? How did it change the way you scrapbook or memory - keep? 

Project 365 - Daily 'Half Monthly' layouts for Feb and March

Still loving my quick and great half months in review templates! This is my third year!

Hawaii Pages

Finally more Hawaii Pages - that you can find in the store too.
I've simplified my process for this album by sticking to only wood backgrounds. I went through my stash and copied all the wood backgrounds to a folder - so that I will cut down on this usually most time-consuming part of my scrapping. Then I just add an alpha for title (my favorites are by Kaye Winiecki and Karah Fredericks) , add a paint or brush, plus an element or two (I limit myself) and call it done!!

Pinterest Galleries for Yin Templates Inspiration

Now the other day I saw a Pinterest link to my blog, did a few clicks and searches, and found to my huge surprise and was so stoked that I found a few Pinterest boards dedicated to Yin Template Inspiration!! I mean, how cool is that? 

I could not find a way to contact these ladies, but since these are public boards I think they wouldn't mind me providing a link to their boards, in case others would like to follow them. Thank you so much to J Austen, Lisa Kelly, and Linda, I'm very very honored!

I myself have tried to keep such a board, to which I have only pinned less than 30 layouts, mainly from my super talented friend Tawn of Homemakingirl - if you like to send me links to your layouts, I will try to pin them here too

Guide to Creating a Digital Genealogy Scrapbook

I'm super excited for Barb Growth, who was one of the presenters at RootTech 2014, and presented on how to preserve genealogy and family history using a digital scrapbook. Her book, Creating a Digital Genealogy Scrapbook is now available for purchase for Kindle on Amazon!!  It has lovely reviews and I'm honored she mentions my templates in the guide :) Do check it out. And thanks Barb for bringing the possibility of creating a digital genealogy scrapbook to so many out there!

Friday, March 14, 2014

All about Printing and Photobooks

I've got my 365 pages and Beijing book printed, so this post will be all about printing and photobooks!

365 Half-Monthly Pages for 2014
These were printed at Persnickety, and I loved them! I bought a pre-paid package and it was so worth it, much more affordable than I can get them here in Singapore, even including postage.

The photos don't do them justice, the colors were beautiful, and the clarity and details were fantastic!

Here's how they looked added to my Project Life album in 12x12 pockets.

The size of the half-monthly photos are just right, not too small and big enough to see the details!

And finally, my entire 2014 in one album binder - just perfect!!
Actually earlier I thought a lot about what I would do for 2014's memory keeping. My main concern was that my storage space is limited in my smaller new home, and may not be able to accommodate even one PL album binder each year in the long run. But I love my current process and can't think of any other way I would want to go about it, so I'm continuing with it for this year! :)

Lined/Graph papers used:
Rebecca asked me in the comments what are the background papers I used in these pages: Well a lot of designers include such papers in their kits nowadays, so I use various, but I especially love Allison Pennington's 'Patterns & Backs' and 'Ledgered' packs, and Digital Design Essentials' 'Noteables' and 'Notebook Essentials' packs.

Anniversary Photobook 
I've finally completed my 20th Anniversary Photobook. The first 19 years' pages were posted earlier in this post, and here is finally the 20th year:
I've also added a few more themed pages to the album, this one is about us being Beach lovers, or beach bums :)
About the institution of our date nights over the years
About our families
and life long friends too
and finally a last page - some of our hair and fashion misses in the past - what were we thinking??
So this is love :)
Re-hashed my valentines heart shape template for the cover
Here's the back cover

You can see the entire set of my layouts for my Anniversary Album here!

Beijing Photo Book
I received my Beijing Photobook back from Shutterfly!
As usual, it is lovely and the colors are brilliant. I'm so used to Shutterfly and have not been disppointed, so have stuck to them though so many other printers are out there. I guess I'm just lazy to try to figure out how another printer's program works!

Having said that, my friend Jenny had highlighted that when she printed recently, even though she followed Shutterfly's guidelines on dimensions, when her book was printed, there was a dark line near the spine on the cover. With her warning, I tried increasing the width of the spine jpeg to 1.573 inches (shutterfly's guideline is 1.437 inches). This is the result:
If you look carefully, you will see there is indeed a very thin dark line where the cover bends when you open it (where the cover design and the spine design meet). It is not obvious, but is there. I'm not sure how to solve this either. I might try increasing the width even more on my Anniversary Album when I get it printed and see how it turns out.

There is no such dark line on the back cover though.

Overall, the book looks just great, exactly how I imagined it would when I was designing the cover!

Here are some of the inside pages so you can see how the double pages show up. I'm still using the method I've always used, of allowing about 3/8 ths of an inch overlap on the left and right side jpegs that I upload (see more explanations here and here) and it has so far worked for me. Bear in mind though that my album is 98 pages!

In this page below, as you can see, if you have text running across the page, it gets quite tricky to be able to get the words lines up and be able to read them. Mine turned out okay, but there was some slight overlap - I was prepared for it and did not mind. But if you are particular, it would be best not to journal across the the page!

One more album added to my lot. This sight makes me so happy!

Hawaii Pages
And I've gotten started on my Hawaii trip photos! Always a thrill to start a new project.

For this photobook, to simplify and to unify, I've decided to use only background papers that are wood themed. So before I started, I searched through my hard disks and copied all the wood-themed papers to a folder on my computer named 'Hawaii papers and embellishment's. Similarly searched all my stash for beach/hiking/hawaii themed kits and copied them to the same folder. Now I'm ready to roll!

1st page is on the evening right after arrival in Honolulu, where we went for the free Kuhio beach hula show. It was December and the weather was fantastic, not to mention the sunset, the music, the performances and the amazing feeling that we are in Hawaii!
The next morning we went to hike Diamondhead
At the peak - oh the views! And when we came back down, we tried the shaved ice - interesting as back home we have a local traditional Singapore version called ice kachang that we thought was original to us!
Then we spent the afternoon on a more isolated section of the beach - on the sand again - but on the other side of the earth! - how amazing
These templates can be found in the store at 20% off for 3 days only!

Also on this trip we transited in Korea, and spent 13 hours in Seoul - our first time - it was fascinating - we must visit one day!

Download this template Here!
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