Wednesday, June 29, 2016

5x5 Mini Book Review

Persnickety 5x5 mini book
5x5 Mini Book by Persnickety Prints

When Persnickety Prints ran a special for their 5x5 Instagram Mini book, I had just completed my fourth round of 30 Days of Lists and thought it would be great way to give this size a try!

The books specs are: as detailed on their website (here)
  • Custom Luxe Mowhawk 120# Textured Eggshell Cover
  • PUR Binding Technology
  • 60 Pages
  • 48 hour turnaround
What's not to love about that? I do like the feel and texture of the actual book. The cover and inside pages are all smooth creamy matte paper, and of good weight. My only worry is that we might leave finger prints or smudges since my cover is all white, Matte is beautiful but it does seem more 'fragile' than the hardcover glossy covers of my other shutterfly books. But at the $10 I paid for them, I'd say they are a great deal!

I will talk about the binding a little later on, 

As for the 48 hour turnaround, I'm afraid my book went into some blackhole and it was nearly two months later when I received it in Singapore. I'm not sure what happened but I only checked in almost a month after my order and the status was still 'sent for printing'. After several emails that took more than a week, I'm relieved that the Persnickety team offered to send another copy to print, and I duly received it last week! 

I have printed lots of 12x12 layouts with Persnickety and they were always easy to upload and order, this was my first time trying out their photobook software.

I had first resized my images to 5x5, Uploading was easy as usual,  
The photobook software was quite easy to understand, there were about ten layout options per page and you just drag your images onto the page. There are some basic text,background and photo editing options, but you should best edit your photos/images with photoshop or other software before loading it on.

Now let's take a look inside my book!
persnickety 5x5 mini book
About the binding, as the book is small, and the pages do not open flat, after I flip them open for too many times, when I lay the book down like above, the cover will not lie flat anymore, that's why I used a clip for this photo. Not a problem at all, but just thought you might want to know :)

persnickety 5x5 mini book
The colors are true to what I see on my screen and very pretty, as can be expected from Persnickety Prints. 
I chose the full page image layout which adds a white border to your images throughout the book. I think instagram photos will look very pretty in this format, with the white border.
I have to clip the book to a board to take these picture, as the book really does not open flat, but is fine for flipping through.
For the pages above, I had made my lists on my phone with apps like Over or Wordswag, and the words are perfectly sized in the 5x5 book.
For these pages where I had made my lists into layouts on my computer, because they were meant to be 8x8 layouts, I found that the words were a tad too small for my aging eyes to read comfortably! Point to note!
Because my layouts already had white backgrounds, these pages look seamless as the white border does not show up at all.
I had many different formats of lists as these were made at different times over a few years, but it didn't matter, I added divider pages indicating which month/year they were from, so in future I will be able to know the time context in which I made these lists/
The book is a fun size, would be great for a casual book of maybe selfies, or instagrams or a book abuot me for a child, makes a fun gift!
Even the black page below turned out beautifully
You have an option to add a picture to the back cover too, but I did not want to. The logo can't be removed from the back page as far as I can tell.
Here's a closer look at the binding and how the book opens.

persnickety 5x5 mini book

Of course I must give a shout out for 30 days of lists, a journalling challenge organized by Kam and Amy a few times a year. I love their list prompts and the community, and have found them a wonderful way to capture some 'stories' about me. 

persnickety 5x5 mini book
Hope you have found this review useful! Any questions just put them into comments below.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Our March and April Stories

Hi everyone! I have given myself the permission not to post regularly so I can live more and scrap more. And I have! I have a new approach to Project life that I want to share today.

Having been so inspired by Ali Edwards' Craft The Story Facebook group, I went completely with the Story as my Project Life approach these last months. 

So instead of looking at my photos first when planning my monthly spreads, this time I whipped out my stash of journaling cards, checked my Evernote where I had been capturing the months' stories, and wrote away! This produced 18 cards for March:
I used a combination of script pens, sharpie, and gel pens to get the titling and stories down. Look! It was so satisfying, I kept counting the stack as I went along (smile)!

Then I looked for pictures and filler cards to lay the page out. Noticeably less photos but who cares! With teenage sons it's hard to get many photos, but I had a lot of conversations, anecdotes, shared jokes, STORIES worth capturing!

Notice how I'm calling it March Stories!
Stories of night out with my son, pep talk by their dad, text messages with one son who was out too late (!)
Written note from a teacher, music video made by Jared, Instagram twins that have been won our hearts, our gluten free quest due to allergies.
April Stories:
Chance meeting with old friends, Funny 'bickering' between brothers,
Our Goddaughters' graduation performance, Jared's winning music video,
An afternoon out art-jamming (painting) with my besties, story of (How to) grow old gracefully,
Ryan's treat fro his first paycheck, parents-in-law attending church service for the first time since dad's need for dialysis,...
all these precious stories captured, plus, I'm using up my PL stash, can't be happier.
Have you tried starting with the story first? 

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Changes and Choices

Life is full around here. So full, in fact, that some changes and choices need to be made. You may have noticed that I've not produced many layouts or templates recently. One of the main changes is that since last January, I have moved back to full time work after 11 hours on part-time basis. Those 11 years are a great blessing, allowing me to keep up my career, bring in some income, yet have time with the boys as they were growing up. The last few years my work responsibilities had increased greatly and the boys need me around less, so I agreed to switch back. It is stressful, but so far so good. He has sustained me.

Of course this leaves me with significantly less spare time for everything I want to do. 

Also, my word for 2016 is Deeper. I decided prayerfully that I want to devote more time towards deepening relationships. Deeper relationship with my God, with my family, my mom, my parents-in-laws, and friends and people I meet too. I am glad to report that so far I'm pretty on track. Been accepting more social engagements, and intentionally planning my lunch breaks to catch up with folks. Also am back attending BSF (bible study fellowship) and being really blessed. 

Thirdly, for many years I found it so fun and rewarding sharing about our family's adventures, the cute things the boys were up to, and so on. But as they have grown up, it became important to respect their wish for privacy. 

So I have decided I will cut down on blogging, and will not be keeping up any schedule of putting out templates in the store. Whatever I do get done will be up on the store whenever!  

Be sure I will still be scrapbooking my life and travels, so some of it will still make it here! I'm in my tenth year of blogging, and I do love it, my own space on the world wide web to share and say what I want. I guess I won't completely go away, I am just giving myself permission to not be obligated to keep posting regularly. 

I greatly appreciate anyone who is still reading here, and to all of you wonderful readers who have been following me, thank you so much! I hope to still come back here with interesting stuff now and then. Like when I get my 30 Lists printed as 5x5 Persnickety books (wink) (in the works!)

If you wish to be notified of any posts here and in the store, you can follow me on Bloglovin', or you can sign up for my email newsletter. In fact, I have put together a gift for subscribers, further down this post. It's my way of keeping in touch :)

And I might sometimes post on my Yin_Dgs Instagram account. Right now I'm listing my 30 lists there! Very welcome to follow me there too.

And with all that said and done, I do have some latest layouts for February to share, hope they inspire you some :)

February Half-Monthly layouts

February Project Life

I always like to add fun stories - like how we set up our family group chat :)

and how family games help encourage great conversations

And family means a lot to me!

12x12 Layouts
A date night outing to our National Gallery that was so wonderful, and had so many photos I decided to make into a layout. Played with lots of paints and art journaling suplies!
And these are photos from our recent staycation, it was a great excuse to get the boys out with us for a bit, again too many photos so a layout it is, with plenty of messy art embellishing. Seems I'm in for this style lately!

I don't have enough done to put up a set in the store, so I've decided to wrap these two new templates, along with the Little Boys 'train' template that I contributed to The Digi Files (Jan 2016), into a new set of Subscribers' gift. As a thank you to subscribers and a hello to new subscribers! Sign up here
I will post the link to this in the next newsletter (couple days' time) and also in the next few months' newsletters. Look out for it!
And thank you for reading this far and for your understanding and love!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Then and Now

We are just back from a staycation in Sentosa. I remembered I had photos and layouts from the same Luge ride years ago and when I found them I had to share!

Then and Now

This is from Then:
Jared was seven!
You can read my blog post from 2006 where I posted these layouts!

This is from today:

Amazing! How much my family has grown! How cool we still get to do this together as a family (once in a while - this time courtesy or with the excuse of a free staycation). And how wonderful that I have those layouts from ten years ago! 

Peek into my Work in Progress
Since I am making a quick post today, I thought it will be fun to show you all the work in progress I have as of today - on my computer and PL.

I have two 12x12 layouts going on:
Valentines' Date Night at our National Gallery - nearly done!

Yesterday's Staycation - yep, I couldn't wait to get it scrapped!

I have two Half Monthly in Review pages started:
photos selected and lots of potential embellishments too
 1st Half of Feb

2nd Half of Feb

Project Life for Feb

Photos printed!

London Pages
This is just one of the many started but still hanging on there. Less priority than scrapping my current life and PL, but I will get back to them. Only about 10 more layouts to completing the entire album!!

Now you know how much of a multi-tasker I am!

30 Days of Lists
Finally, just a reminder that the March 30 Days of Lists Challenge is starting on 1 March! I'm not a sponsor this time, (so no affiliate links), just a happy participant, my 5th round I believe. It's fun! 
You can sign up here at 30 Days of Lists
Hope you join me, if you do, do join in the Facebook group, I like to hangout there and the ladies are wonderful there.
You can also follow me on Instagram at yin_dgs I will usually post my lists daily.

Oh and you might like to know I have set up digital backgrounds from my supplies just for this challenge! I am ready to list!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Why I am a Current Scrapbooker

I am a Current Scrapbooker
Yep, that's what I'm calling myself. Recently I was prompted to ask myself if the fuss and worry about being 'caught up' affects me. The answer is no.(Yay!) So please don't let my being 'caught up' affect you too. Because fact is, everyone is different, and we must know our own objectives in Scrapbooking. 

Though I scrapbook chronologically, that's not really my objective. The fact that I have completed scrapbooks from 2007 when I started to now (2008 to 2011 were digital books, 2012 to 2015 are PL format) - SUPER YAY!!  - is just the outcome of being a Current Scrapbooker.

My scrapbooks are my Journals of life. Through them I reflect and savor life so I scrapbook currently. I capture my life as it happens, fill in my thoughts, record daily as well as bigger moments. As I scrapbook I plan and think about our lives, pray and give thanks. So I Scrapbook Currently

I don't bother much about going back if I missed something. I just keep going on with whatever captures me, that I feel like talking about in my books. There isn't any fixed format, or must-have no of pages, sometimes a month came up to only 1 page in the PL, sometimes 8. I also don't bother too much about how it looks, if I have more time to play, then I can be more creative. Mostly, it goes by how much a memory or thought or worry or prayer gets me, By capturing the 'Currently' currently, I capture what I want to remember in my books. And it brings me joy! 

Gifts for our Future Selves
Having said all that, I constantly reevaluate my objective and process, to make sure that even as I enjoy and capture our lives I also keep an eye on the memories and books I'm gifting to myself and my family in the future. 

My life and priorities and stories are changing, so the objectives of my scrapbooking must evolve too. When I have clear objectives I am motivated and can scrapbook clearly and swiftly, without wasting time on unimportant 'details'.

Our family travel books get special place in our home. These are our amazing shared memories and very precious to us! But I do think travel memories are mainly of value to those of us on the trip together, so I'm glad my travel albums are digital books that take up little place :)

Actually much of my scrapbooking is for myself, memories I want to keep so in my own older years, they will be a joy to look back and to be shared with my husband, children, and maybe grandchildren(!). But I am wary of ending up with books and books that will be an information overload for future generations. So I am getting selective, bearing in mind to capture the glimpses of us and our lives now that will be interesting and memory-rich for ourselves and future people. Anyone out there having thoughts like this?

For 2016, I have decided to continue with the Physical PL format, because I have one more previously bought album, But I'm running out of space for them in our small apartment (and I'm a minilist-wannabe) so in 2017 I will have a chance to re-think a reduced format if I want! At the moment KsharonK's and Cathy Zielske's  super sleek and simple photobook formats are calling me. We'll see!

A New Year of Memories
Is it already February? Are we already 1/12th into our new year?!
I'm glad I took time in early January to reflect, pray and think about this new year, as I created my 2016 Project Life cover page. 

This is the verse we chose (along with our church) for our family for 2016. We want to commit to seek and submit to the Lord, and can't wait to see what He will unfold for us this year. It may not be what we have expected, but by faith we know it will be a great and marvelous year!

We are facing a lot of changes mainly on the education front for our kids. A lot of options and choices also mean opportunities and uncertainty.
That's how I scrapbook 'currently', currently. :)

January Project Life
Here are the stories I captured of January. Jared is at a crossroad - choosing between staying in a more academic course in junior college or pursuing his love of game art & design in polytechnic. On this page his graduation party photos, our visits to the polytechnic open houses, and also a record of his allergies and the Doctors' orders on restricted foods. What have you chosen to capture in your scrapbooks?

January is also the boys' seventeenth and nineteenth birthdays! Two day's of friends over at our home for their birthdays are compiled into one PL spread.
And that's it for January! Not over-thinking it. The rest of the month are captured in my half monthly in reviews, with a summary review of the month, so January has been scrapbooked as we lived it!

January in Review
Birthdays, spring-cleaning, family game-times, visiting Open Houses made up most of the first half of January...
And the second half was filled with School Orientations, another birthday, two new grand nephews, 3 of us taking turns to fall sick, and old friend get-togethers. All good!

Love Themed Templates
Happy Valentine's! My hubby and I had a wonderful date night last night visiting our new National Gallery - it was so special and I will scrapbook it in February album maybe using one of these Love-Themed templates. The XOXO template was included as part of January's Digi Files. The other three are original new templates and they can be found in the store here

My Mom's birthday is on the 11th February and I adapted this layout and printed it into a card for her. Can you spot the photo of me when I was young? 
She really loved it!

Project Life Album Labels
Back to my album labels. Because I bought the albums at various times during half price and other sales, they are all colors, haha! So I made the 'numerical' years in black, and added colored wording below. The numericals are from the free font : Return to Sender. If you like them, you an download my photoshop file here. Change the color or font, or add backgrounds to customize your own! The file is 4x6 and I print them out on 4x6 photo paper at home before cutting them out.


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