Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Around Here

We are loving : our terraniums of cacti (so glad we are managing to keep them alive!)
We have been re-watching some of our top favorite Rom-Coms : When Harry met Sally, Sleepless in Seatle, Nottinghill, Love actually, You've got Mail, About Time (lovely evenings!)
We are catching up on adult responsibilities: reviewing our family's insurance coverage, refinancing our housing loan in view of interest rate situations, getting health checks for us and vaccinations for the boys (phew, no fun but so necessary!)
We are planning our nearby getaway in June : Thailand here we come! (looking forward!)
I have been reading: back issues of More magazine (enjoyable!)
I am really feeling the need for : a new pair of spectacles for near work (sigh)
J has developed a new response to our every question: "Don't Worry!" (you're right!) 
I am seriously considering putting good money : towards a lifetime gym membership (3 years worth of double the current rates gains me lifetime access - great if I'm going to continue pilates or yoga or zumba into my seventies don't you think? lol)
I am enjoying : crunching out more London pages (yay!)

London Pages
For these lot of London pages, I chose dark backgrounds to complement and bring out the bright light in the photos. I continue to use the backgrounds I had already created earlier (see this post on artsy and quirky london pages) so the process is super quick! 

St Paul's Cathedral
Our afternoon spent at St Paul's was so fascinating with so many stories! Journaling reads:
We paid the 39 pounds family ticket to see St Paul’s and did not regret it. So beautiful, stately, and full of stories. Of Sir Christopher Wren, who took 36 years to build the Cathedral and who finally saw his son put the cross on top of the dome. His tomb in the crypt is a simple plaque and slab that says, “ if you seek his monument, look around you.” Duke of Wellingtons’ monument on the other hand, was so giant his ‘horse’ had to ‘duck’ to fit in! Nelson has a beautiful Neoclassic tomb in the crypt, same size as Wellington’s. We looked for Churchill’s but was told he is Oxfordshire - there 
was just memorial gates here. So many tombs of people now mostly forgotten too. hhmm... 
(Credits: Paper from Studio Basic_AddictedtoLists, Crowns from ScrappilyMe's RockOn, by Gina Cabrera, from Valorie Weber's ForTheRecord, Captivated Visions'_breakingpoint, Libby Pritchett's beawesome, Michelle Godin's_sketchyscribblies, ReKneipp's Personality, and alpha from Pink Reptile Design's rockingcool)

And then when we climbed up the dome, experienced the whispering gallery and this is the view outside! Journaling reads:
We climbed to the top of the dome, and to the whispering gallery, and as we walked around and took photos of the beautiful dome, we suddenly heard “no photography!” Shocked, we looked around, who was talking to us? And found them on the opposite side of the dome!!! They sounded right NEXT to us! After the climb up to the dome, we emerged outside to this awesome view. we could see so far into London on all directions! Everything looked like the ‘miniature effect’ daddy talked about. It was especially beautiful with the golden tones all around. It is probably as Sir Christopher Wren would have it, so that all can see and worship God. He was an astronomy professor turned architect, and built it in simplicity and grandness as a place of worship. The ornateness was added in victorian times. 
(Credits: Balloon and Plane motifs by Aja Abney, paint from Digital Scrapbook Ingredients' ALittleBitQuirky, Paper from Britt-ish Designs' I am Yours)

I have wished to visit Stonehenge for like forever, so this day was super magical. And look at that fine winter day! Journaling reads:
What can we say? As the bus tour audio kept talking, we suddenly saw it in the distance, looking smaller than I imagined, but standing there, as it had for thousands of romantic, so grand, so mysterious, so unaffected by the generations come and gone since Roman times, who have also wondered at it and its creators. 
(credits: Alpha from Dunia's Saysomething, Paper, word strip and world by Kaye Winiecki (can't seem to find it in her store anymore)) 

Next page journaling reads:
The day was gorgeous. Sunlight coming strong then behind clouds. We had to go round the stones at a distance - they are probably a lot larger than they seemed. Some have fallen, some stand resolutely, being in the presence of something so ancient feels surreal. Wish we could go nearer, but only the birds could, they perch on the stones ignoring all rules and humans. In fact a few large black ones followed us when we were trying to have some lunch, scary! Stonehenge is really a highlight of our trip.Everything we thought it would be, mysterious, majestic, historic, and more. What you can’t see in the pictures are however, other tourists, of which we spotted several Singaporeans, in their twenties, making a lot of noise jumping and posing for jump shots. We were embarassed, but then, they are young, who knows, Stonehenge has seen all generations of young, it may not mind.:)
(credits: paint from Messy by Weeds & Wildflowers, Paper by Britt-ish Designs from AreWeThereYet, Alpha by Dawn by Designs)

These templates are available in the store at 20% off through to this weekend!

Free Download
Also one more layout from the day we visited the Historic Dockyards - it's a huge place! Journaling reads:
“For myself, individually, I commit my life to Him who made me and may His blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my Country faithfully. To Him I resign myself and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen, Amen, Amen.“ This was the prayer of Lord Nelson the morning
of the battle of Trafalgar. His faith, his leadership, his love story, and a lot about this great man was found in the museum. Even that message he sent (below) to ‘amuse’ his men as the battle looms. We also got to see the Mary Rose, or at least the restoration of it, most haunting and amazing, to see this 500 year old warship of Henry VIII assembled before our eyes.A very worthwhile visit to the Historic Dockyards!
(credits: Paper from Jenn Barrette's-perfectfit, anchor and wheel from by the seaside by 
Karen Lewis designs)

And this PSD template is for your free download to play with,
Download the PNG and .PAGE versions here. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

A Nation Mourns

A week ago, our nation lost our founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, he was 91. 
He was our first Prime Minister, that led our country to independence nearly 50 years ago. Singapore was a tiny nation with not much resources at all, and he, together with his team, gave themselves to the building of this country, and brought us to where we are today. To me personally, amongst all the many accolades, his contributions are most outstanding and long-lasting in that he gave us an incorrupt government, a very safe home to grow and thrive, where many races live in harmony in a modern cosmopolitan society, where nationhood has been forged, and we are proud to be called Singaporeans.

It was a time of profound sadness and grief. It was also amazing how it bonded Singaporeans together. My family were very involved too. So I had to capture it in my PL album. I took the photos of Mr Lee off the internet, and the rest are photos taken by us, when we queued with everyone to pay our last respects. 
The journaling on the yellow card reads:
Saying goodbye to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. This week was amazing in the life of Singaporeans. We all know what he did for our country, but until he passed away, had not experienced such a unity in outpouring of national grief before. It was almost surreal, the more we heard and read, the more we felt we must personally pay respect to this founding father of our nation. So did hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans. Over the week, half a million piled into the Parliament House where he laid in state. The queues were 5 to 10 hours long, snaking everywhere, extending 24 hours overnight. We joined in too, on Thursday evening, and felt such commaraderie and unity, with young and old, from all walks of life, as everyone quietly waited, with little grumbling and a sense of determination. Which prompted Daddy to say "there is hope for Singapore!". The boys could not join us but managed to go to the Bedok tribute centre to sign the condolence book too. 

We all hope for our children to know our history and how much the founding fathers did for us, and that all of us will remember and do not forget.

The journaling on the beige card reads:
Thank you, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
It was the human side of Lee Kuan Yew, revealed this week of mourning, that most touched a lot of us. Besides his hard-core policy, hard-nosed style (that we know and not all can agree with), we glimpsed a man sold-out for his country, given everything for his convictions only to ensure Singapore and Singaporeans thrive. The story of the Red Box, his home that remained unchanged over 60 years while Singapore transformed and advanced, his love story with his wife of 63 years, those made us realise he is human too, but one who forsook personal gain, and self interest, to make a country where we will be safe, prosperous, have equality and peace. He made us all his children and we felt like we were sending off our father or grandfather today...

Thank you for letting me share these words and thoughts as I know many of you who come to my blog are not from my part of the world. I am glad I can share about the founding father of our country with you. 

How have you scrapbooked national events? I am glad I incorporated it into our family album. I also intend to make a page or two of excepts of speeches, photos, news, eulogies that our family discussed and were moved by. Our views and feelings will be captured and that feels very satisfying and meaningful :)

In the weeks before the week of mourning,in March, life went on as usual, we did a lot in fact, especially because there was a one week school break. :)

I'm continuing to use these Monthly starting cards with circles for each day of the month, which can be decorated. I had so many photos of our outings so you will notice that I used a lot of collages in this month's pages. I used templates from Designs by Lili (4x6 photo collages No 1) and Tracy Larsen (Simply white).

I first saw the workshop for making Terraniums on Leena's blog Findingnana. Managed to 'make' the boys go with us for a family outing at this cute local shop Make Your Own. We made a terranium each, of little succulents of our own choice. We could choose our own rocks, soil, stones and decorations, so much fun! Now to keep them alive :) Here is a close up view.

On two consecutive weekends, we visited University Open Houses. R has been receiving these invites because he is due to apply by the end of this year. It was wonderful to visit as a family. J actually found that there is such a thing as a Design and Technology University that is right up his alley. Something to look forward to, maybe! R also has been completing school counselling questionnaires etc that ask him questions about what he is interested in, what kind of career he might be hoping for, and what course of study, we have been having meaningful conversations together. And much praying too. It was also fun for me and dh to visit our alma mater, we wanted to show the boys our old haunts, but things have changed so much! It felt less nostalgic and far more foreign than we anticipated. It's their world now!

My 365 photo - half monthly layouts for March are also completed.

The second half month of March is on a more sombre note, so I used more black tones to complete the layout.

And here are the Monthly starting cards for January to June. If you had donwloaded the earlier Jan and Feb ones, please note that there was a mistake in the February month, where the days was wrongly placed. Sorry!! In this download they have been fixed. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

My Photo Wall

Pinterest. Ah... The never ending inspiration. So wonderful for so many reasons, yet also so easily distracting and time-consuming. I love to browse for ideas, but try to only pin stuff I might actually use. I don't come away with Pinterest-fatigue that way!

As I was documenting the month of Feb, where I had made a flower display inspired by Pinterest, I decided it would be fun to see how much Pinterest inspiration made it to my real life!

For Chinese New Year, a friend gifted me a bunch of silk flowers, and this was what I created based on this Pin (inset picture)
I made our own 'chicken coop wire' using a roll of old wires to tuck into the base of the tin box. Then taped the opening with criss-crossed washi tape. Then simply snipped the fake stems short and arranged them in. So easy and pretty! Thanks Pinterest!

Now I showed this Pin to the then 13 year old J, and he fashioned these paper clay holders for our little cactus collection. Adorable right?

Here I made these little scrapbook paper ornaments from this Pin, for our little Christmas tree village. 

We try quite a lot of Pinterest recipes, always the easy yet yummy ones like this Pin for cheese stuffed mushrooms!

This was an easy winner we served during Christmas based on this Pin. Instead of whipped cream cheese we replacedi it with vanilla ice cream, since it is still warm weather here during Christmas. :)

And we made this birthday banner for the boys based on this Pin (out of many similar ones). We have used it two years in a row now!

Photo Wall

When we moved into our new place two years ago and was thinking of a picture wall, I pinned so many awesome picture wall ideas (see page here). In the end, this Pin of a layout by Design Editor inspired this whole wall - yeah!! See this post from 2013 when the first two canvas prints were completed. In December 2014 I added the rest and I think the wall is complete (for now!).

Some tips if you want to do a photo wall like this. I designed everything in photoshop. 
1. First I created a file in photoshop that was the actual size of the wall I wanted to cover. Into this I placed squares and rectangles of the planned canvases in the document, resized and arranged them until they were pleasing to the eye. 
2. Then I made separate photoshop files for each of the canvases, in the respective sizes. As I completed each one, I copied the jpeg of that canvas and arranged them back in the first file, which when completed looked like this:
3. When the canvases were ordered and had arrived, I printed out this jpeg (sized to an A4) and calculated the spacings and wrote down all the measurements - then used pencil to outline the corners on the wall before hanging them up. We used 3M Command hooks and they worked great!
4. If you want to have an idea of the dimensions, the largest horizontal canvas measured 34.5 in x 17.25in, the large vertical canvas is 22.2 x 30 inches. the canvases on the left are 13.2 x 13.2 each.
5. I ordered my canvases through a local online shop in Singapore - Print on Canvas - it's about the best price I can get here, not cheap still, but the quality and service is good. 
6. I just realised that this particular canvas can easily be a cool layout, so I've converted it into a 12x12 template :)

What have you made or done that is inspired by Pinterest?

February 365 Photo a Day Layouts
This is the first half of Feb, when my father in law was discharged from the hospital, we are so glad and amazed at his recovery. More spring cleaning and buying new gear (once a year affair for my three men) like clothes and shoes. They don't like shopping at all ! Sometimes I have to buy and bring home to let them try, and return for a different size or color... and repeat..., thankful for good store return policies! 

Then it's onto two weeks of Chinese New Year celebrations - festivities and visiting with family, relatives and friends. It's the one time each year when I get to catch up with my aunts and many cousins and their families so it's a precious time for us. Lots of feasting too as you can see!

February Project Life pocket scrapping pages
This month I will not share the completed pages for privacy reasons. Instead let me share just some of the pockets.

My favourite photo this month is this one that captured the boys walking ahead of us, with our shadow in the bottom left corner. So much an image of these days where we find them flying ahead, while we support in the background (my fellow mums with older teenage children will know what I mean) :)

I like to capture various Feb memories like this one recording my early morning routine shared with my boys. Precious. 

Then there is our Valentines photos we just had chocolates and a homemade card (also from links on Pinterest!) that is so us :)

And more pictures from Chinese New Year. My cousins had unearthed some old family photos from the early sixties   We had a grand time trying to identify who is who in there and shared a few stories of our parents which I'm going to document in my Project Life. I always wanted to capture these heritage photos and stories but it is too big a project and too daunting to start. So I might as well get them captured in bite sized bits as and when, like now. 

London Pages and templates
Four more layouts completed - continuing in the artsy quirky style that is so Britain. Happy that they work for all kinds of photos - outdoors, historical sites, museums..

This is at the Historical Dockyards in Portsmouth, where the HMS Victory in which Nelson sailed and fought and won at Trafalgar and died is docked. So historical and so beautiful. Can't say enough.

At Portsmouth we also visited Fort Nelson - the museum of the Royal Armories. I told you our trip to Britain was a 'war' tour, no shopping for this mama here! But honestly the tour was good, the fort is an eye opener for me, we got to see live firing too - very loud!

From the Fort we went onto the D-Day museum, which really touched a chord, I had no idea so much planning and preparation went into it, and that it was still so fraught with risks, but something that had to happen. So many lives were lost that one day, so much bravery and sacrifice. And the Overlord Embroidery just summed it all up in one awesome giant display - so so beautiful.

This layout was from the tour we took inside the HMS Victory. So fascinating, how they fought navy battles in the 18th century! So quaint looking, all wood and all, yet it carried hundreds of canons on 3 decks, unbelievable. The living quarters were so cramped, and their meals was mainly porridge from this giant gallery kitchen giant boiler. This is the kind of tour I like, even if it is of a warship :)

Layout Inspiration
I have more lovely layouts from Hannah Hurey, always love her simplicity and letting the awesome photos take centre stage, thanks Hannah for sharing!

And this sweet layout is from Fenny Koens from Netherlands, these are her grand daughters, and 'working' in the garden, one of the first sunny days in March, Spring! Thanks Fenny for sharing it with us.

I'm sorry this post is one giant mishmash of everything, What with travelling for work and lots of commitments, I blogged every now and then, adding to this post when I can, and now I will hit publish - haha - not very organised, but everything I want to share this month is here! Thanks for coming and reading and sharing my memory keeping world!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Birthday Prayers

art journaling

art journaling

We write Birthday Prayers every year to pray over the boys on their birthdays. It's a 'tradition' we started several years ago. Sometimes hubby writes, sometimes me, this year we each wrote one. They are a meaningful and precious record which I scrapbook every year. Each year's prayers are like our letters to them, and as we look back we can see their growth and changes in prayers, hopes, concerns and dreams. It's wonderful! It is worthwhile to consider doing this for your children! You can see our past year's prayers here, herehere, herehere, and here  

I'm so proud of them, they are becoming adults who are interesting, articulate, funny, so much smarter than me, and kind,... so much that I have not imagined. How to believe that my babies are 18 and 16? It is unbelievable but no denying the fact. . In fact, take a look at my current to-do list and you will see these items:
  1. Start thinking about R's college application 
  2. Visit Universities' Open House with boys
  3. Set up personal bank accounts for boys
  4. Set up investment account
# 1 is prompted by R's school - who sent us a 4 page checklist of things to do starting now(!) even though Uni/College is more than a year away  #2 is to give them an idea of what the Universities offer, maybe excite them with areas which are related to what they like or are leaning towards. # 3 and #4 are part of my plans to start them on their financial education, to manage their own savings and maybe learn a little about investments, prompted by this post - teaching-kids-stocks-investing/  They are quickly becoming adults, and we are busy equipping them. Oh how I miss those days when they simply needed me to wipe their noses, read them stories, rock them to sleep, hold their hands, .... :)

Well at least I have all my scrapbooks and Project life albums capturing these teenage years! That's why I feel terribly motivated to capture moments, daily life, events, everything. You may have read how difficult this can be and how I deal with it in How to scrapbook your life with teens. Any other ideas are welcome!

I really had fun making these Birthday Prayers layouts too! It's a chance to do something art-journal style, This time I used my own doodle frames, paint elements from Mess it up by Little Butterfly wings and only a few other elements (see supply list below). I used the same main paint element duplicated a few times around each layout - it was so quick and simple, but the effect so cohesive and quick! I also spent some time adjusting and coloring the photos and paints to achieve the same tones on each page.You can download the template to try too, links below the image, enjoy!
Supply list credits: 
Ryan's layout: FreeToFly word art by CD Murkovsky, Cool wordart by Sugar Fancy, Paint from Little Butterfly Wings' Mess it Up vol 2
Jared's layout: Word art from Word & Paint {add on} - M3 September2014  by Little Butterfly Wings, and Paint from Little Butterfly Wings' Mess it Up vol 2

London Pages

I also completed four more London pages!

First one is all about our time at the Museum of London - an amazing history of London from the time it was Londinium under Roman rule to present times. Fun and fascinating!! I was most smitten by the dolls and dollhouse of Queen Victoria! And the exhibits of the Suffragettes and the Roman artifacts reqlly made quite an impression on us.
(Credit: bellagypsy_makemistakes_Alpha, EMerritt-msatogether_paper, mommyish_freebie-stamped_Alpha, nrj-sweetlove-doodled border, TangieBaxter_QuickitySplitsWorkshop_Gesso)

Here we are at the very awesome British Museum. We were overwhelmed by how huge it was and much there was to see! We did the important bits and touched some interesting exhibits such as the clocks and the enlightenment gallery. 
(Credits: TDD_LOC_KatieScrapbooklady_paper, alb_acrosstheboard_border
justjaime-paintybits, pink reptile designs_rockingcool_alpha, vr_ItsAboutTime_paint)

After the Museum we wandered the roads and area around this Intersection, visited the boys' favorite comic store - Forbidden Planet, as well as quaint and superb second hand book stores where we picked up a few wonderful books on world war and tanks! 
(Credits: AllisonPennington_WAFD_Paint, PP_modern_diamond, Just Jaime-paintybits, kb-FortheLoveOf_arrow, kate hadfield_raspberrysorbet_Alpha, TangieBaxter_QuickitySplitsWorkshop_Gesso)

Finally we went to Trafalgar Square which was beautiful. Now understanding what the Square was named for, and that Ad Nelson's statue is facing the direction of Trafalgar in which battle he was killed, made us appreciate it more. We are following in the footsteps of this great man on this trip!
(Credits: AllisonPennington_Capturing Fall_Paper, TDD_MLP_fayette_border, Paulakesselring_artinthebox alpha, Sarah Gleason_coconut_paint, tangie_QuickitySplitsWorkshop_Gesso)
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