Saturday, July 19, 2014

Thoughts and Snippets from Bali

Our family spent a week in Bali in the last week of June. What a complete change of pace and surroundings and just wonderful days hanging as a family!  With time to do nothing or anything if we so choose, so liberating! Through the week I jotted down these thoughts and feelings and just snippets from Bali:

Sounds of Nature. We stayed in a lovely place in Ubud where we were completely enveloped in the tropical forest. In the evening the symphony of crickets, frogs, countless we-don't-know-what creatures amazed us city folks no end. That day I read this verse which took on a new meaning for me: "For my determined purpose is that I may ... progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly. (Philippians 3:10 AMP) ... Here we saw Him as Awesome Almighty Creator. We soaked in His beautiful creation.

Eat, Pray, Love - Haha not quite for us. (Actually we had not read the book nor seen the movie, but heard all the hype. Lonely Planet actually had directions to find the spiritual guru or similar gurus the author went to! We are not into that though.) For us this would sum it up. Aaahhhh....

Wake Up Call - I was trying to get the kids into another photo. J was grumbling and then R said to him, "The purpose of this trip is to take photos, accept it". Wake-Up-Call!! Sorry guys! My bad! The purpose of this trip is to have a great time together!
After that I took photos at less often intervals, took them discreetly and tried hard to have long pockets of time where I'm not thinking about photo opportunities!! It is hard! I am constantly torn between trying to be in the moment vs thinking of best ways of capturing the moment. The first is of utmost importance so the latter has to be swift, oportunistic and not worried about perfection. How do you deal with this as avid scrapbookers?

We must travel while we can. Our bodies aren't the same as they used to be. After climbing 400 steps down to the river then 300 steps back up the valley for white-water rafting (we loved it), both dh and my legs ached for 5 full days after. Thankfully Bali abounds with very affordable spas (massages are about S$10 for an hour!)

Happy Family. Mid-week, I said to dh, "J is happy and well, R is happy and well, that makes me so happy and thankful". Dh said "and you are happy and well, which makes me happy and thankful." And of course it is the same for me - my heart swelled up, and I count my blessings and praise God. (I used to have all kinds of expectations but now I know really not that much is required for a happy family)

We can create Bali at home! It's amazing how much reading for an hour on a beach chair with the waves crashing nearby can relax me. And how enjoyable a simple card game over drinks is and how much we laughed together. The boys and I were chatting and decided we can easily and will do the 'Bali' experience at home! We just have to plan it in!

Choosing being and experiencing over sightseeing. We have nothing against sightseeing, but on this trip we really wanted a rest and relax holiday. So we decided to skip most sightseeing and simply planted ourselves in Ubud (hill area) and then on one beach (Sanur). That gave us so much down time and instead we got to have new experiences. Like white water rafting n sailing. So good.

Who knew J is such a daredevil? He got on a jet ski for the first time and promptly sped off flying. Good thing we arranged a guide who sat behind him, shouting instructions so he will steer clear of the reef and other jet skiers! According to him though, the guide was also shouting 'faster, faster!'

Who does'nt love a good love story? This was the old home of Le Mayeur, a Belgian artist who came to Bali in his fifties, was fascinated with andstarted painting the Balinese culture and life, then fell in love with his model, married her and lived here and painted her till his death. His wife upon her death bequeathed the home and his art to Bali as a museum. It is right on the beach! We loved the art, which is Impressionist in style, but the subject is Balinese, what a combination and so beautiful!

Travelling expands us. It makes us come alive. Even in Bali, only 2 hours away by flight, and a culture we are not entirely unfamiliar with, had so much that awoken our senses, curiosity, makes us want to get to know the people, observe their daily life, ponder how much their world is entwined in the tourism business, discover alleys, figure out the stages of growth of the padi in each field, discover new canned drinks, roof tiles, myriad of beautiful wood surfaces, and so much more! That's why we choose to save on most other spending so as to travel as much as we can. Besides making awesome family memories of course!

Bali Photobook
As you can see, I have completed a photobook of our trip! Yes somehow this linear 'patchwork' style came to me somewhere on the trip, and I was sketching away. When we came back I had to try it immediately and there you go, it was easy and fun and a change from my usual travel book style. Actually in 2009 I did this linear style for my 365 album, you can find the link to those templates in the right side bar. And this set is in the store here:

Project Life June
For June, two pages are taken up with June stories and happenings, and the rest are filled with Bali (!)
June is school holidays for us and this time we only had one idea for our holiday manifesto - that is to make tank cakes. And we did it! The idea came about when we saw on the Girls Un Panzer anime a Tank cafe where they served 'tank cakes'. It satisfied both the mom in me (when can you get boys to bake with you?) and the tank aficionado in them (anything tank is cool!)

Then there was my brother's birthday, and the 'felt' hairpiece J made for miffy to 'cosplay' as Yui.
I also included two lists I made (with 30 days of lists) but had not scrapbooked on My Family's Quirks (Meal times are just an excuse for a movie, a book or a game) and Weekend Essentials (pancakes). I really love that I'm including a lot of journaling and handwriting into my PL, I do feel it is more 'me'!

Bali PL pages:
As is my usual practice now, I bring PL cards on this trip, and journalled everyday on them. When we got home, I simply selected pictures, printed them, add some filler cards and I'm done! 
I also cut up one of the page protectors in BH's variety pack 6 (I bought it at 40% off from Spotlight!) to make an insert to fit the number of cards I had for the trip. This is the front of the insert
And this is the back of the insert
and the final page. 

First and Last Pages
And these are the first and last pages for my photobook! I have packed them in a template for your to download and play with - can be joined together to form a 12x24 double page too! Have included both in the download. Have fun!

Friday, June 27, 2014

And the Giveaway Goes To

Thank you to everyone who left a comment and every wonderful message - I am so very blessed! It is nothing short of amazing to hear so many who also scrap the way I do, like to tell the story through the pictures, appreciate how I lay them out then takes it from there in creative and versatile ways! I've read every comment twice or more in the last week (we were on holiday in Bali - more on that soon) and found that I recognise and know so many of you for many years already - this community and all of you are amazing! Thank you so, so much.

On of my boys helped me generate two random numbers on his scientific calculator (he assured me it is truly random), and the Giveaway goes to:

I love your templates as most are double. I usually do double layout and will keep your thumbnails as reference. Thanks for the chance.mmikrd

and Fenny!
I used your templates for several photobooks! Thank you!
And now they are great with the pictures of our grandchildren

Please email me at yindgs at yahoo dot com dot sg and I'll contact you with the details!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Backstories and a Giveaway!

Two (2) people will each win $40 worth of Yin Templates of your choice!

It's my first ever Giveaway! See below for details!!


My kids taught me the term Backstory. They fill me in on the backstory behind each X-Men, Marvel hero, Star Trek, Godzilla etc movie (so mom won't be asking us so many questions during the show). But recently I've found Backstories apply to scrapbooking too! I was looking through my past project life albums (yes I do that a lot :) ) and thought 'there's a backstory to that!'. A story behind the story, or a story behind the photo, that I wanted to tell! It was this one:

This was last year's PL, it was a letter dh wrote to me on my birthday, not too mushy, just sweet and funny and joyful, which is fine for future generations to read so it went into the PL pocket. But the backstory? 

Well that blue letter paper, and the old fashioned airmail envelope (those with the red and blue stripes along the edges) that it came in, was exactly the same ones as those he wrote me on when we were dating long ago! I was so surprised and how they brought back memories! Somehow he had found exact replica stationery! We still have those twenty-something year old letters, both his and mine, in a keepsake box. And when I tell this to young people these days they are so surprised. I always explain that back in those days, dh was in the army and I was in the university hostel, and this was before the days of mobile phones and internet - we could only call each other on payphones, which usually had queues of people waiting their turn to call respective boyfriends/girlfriends/and family too of course, so we chose to write. The best thing was to come back to the hostel after classes and find a blue airmail envelop waiting for me in the mail 'box' (a shelve of cubbie holes). Now isn't that a backstory worth telling?

But the PL page is already done, there's no more space in the pockets, so the only way is to squeeze the story behind the pocket. And so I did this:
Made some tabs with words on photoshop and printed them out on thicker white paper
and folded them before cutting around the rounded edges
and then simply stapled them onto the card. 
add backstory journalling (mine spilled over to the back of the card too)
Slot it in. Looks neat right?

But I also realised a problem using these tabs, they will only work on the front of the PL pocket inserts, where the pockets open towards you. So for cards or photos that are at the back of the inserts, there is no opening on that side to insert the journal card such that the tab stands up. Bummer! I may consider cutting a small slit on the back of the insert for this. Hhmmm

Here are the tabs I made in case anyone wants to try. The photoshop file is included with the jpeg in case you want to change the colors or type in other wordings. By the way I used the font 'hammer keys'. 

 Have you thought of any backstories you want to go back and tell?

Project Life Pages

These are the stories I wanted told in PL for May. I decided that after mostly printing digital journal cards for PL that I miss the physical cards and handwritten look and feel, so this month really let it go!
Our friends who now live in NZ came back for a visit and it was so GOOD catching up. Also tecorded the fun the boys are having parodying Let It Go. Lol
This page is all about the stuff J is into. Which is a lot. He does stop motion movies, digitally animated movies, loves jamming on his guitar, designs stuff for 3D printing, which got him a mention in the local newspaper!
This insert page is all about Mothers' a Day which we celebrated with both grandmothers.  
These are the cards I received!
And the last two spreads are all about my parents in law's 60th Anniversary celebrations. This was such a precious occasion, and all the family were present to celebrate with them. Their lives and example of long lasting marriage through sickness and health is a testament of great blessing for the family. 
For the celebration the family gathered a lot of old family photos through the years which we put together in a slideshow. I've been tasked to make photobooks based on these photos one for each family so that's an upcoming project!

May P365 Half-Monthly Month in Review pages

The rest of the month gets captured in these pages. 
Frozen made it to the page, and so did a picture of a brand of hair dye - it was the subject of an engaging conversation between me and two girl friends. We were sharing tips on covering greys. If you find this as exciting as we did you know how old I am. 

Sunrise, walking in the rain, a lot more than two boys in our home on many afternoons after exams, wedding dinner, fire fighting displays, concert at the Esplanade, more everyday moments - we live a simple but rich life!

Hawaii Pages
More pages completed for the album:

We took a 'road trip' around Oahu to check out trails and beaches and these layouts are all from that day! 

Amazingly when we were at the top of the Maka pu'u trail, someone shouted and we saw humpback whales right there in the waters below! They looked tiny from that height but it was still awesome. There was a large adult and another family of probably a mother and two younger whales. The large one breached and the rest of the time they flapped and turned and it was just amazing! 

Shangri-La was the name Doris Duke gave her mansion and it definitely lived up to its name. We had to make a reservation for the tour a month before leaving home and I'm so glad we did!

And these layouts are now templates 396 to 400 in the store. Which brings me to the Giveaway! When I was numbering these latest templates and realised I am actually hitting number 400, I thought I should do something to celebrate, to mark this milestone and to thank everyone for your support over the years. Since I just had a sale, I thought a Giveaway will fit the bill! 

I could not have imagined when I started sharing templates in 2007 it will lead me to 400 templates. It means I have made at least 400 layouts in that time too! Mostly the store and the blog has been so enjoyable for me, it gives me a chance to be a small online business owner, which is so fun, gives me a place on the world wide web that I 'own' and can share my love for memory keeping, and has let me get to know so many like-minded friends from so far away! Certainly I love scrapbooking and likely will still make layouts and pages for years to come, but without all of you who come and read, comment, download, purchase, share and use the templates, I will certainly not have been as motivated or inspired. So here's a really big THANK YOU! I greatly appreciate you!

Two (2) people will each win $40 worth of Yin Templates of your choice!

To enter, please leave a comment on this post. Just share with me how you will use (or have used) Yin templates, any feedback, ideas for the blog or store is welcome too! Leave your comment before 10pm on 26 June, Singapore time. Singapore, or 10 am EST on 26 June.
My blog comments is set such that your comment will appear only after blog owners' approval, and I will be away with reduced internet connection so don't worry if your comments don't appear until a day or so later. I will pick two random winners and announce them on this blog on 27 June. Thank you for participating!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Yin Designs is being featured at Real Life Scrapped!

I'm very excited and honored to be featured in the Designer Focus post at Real Life Scrapped! I had a fun time with the interview by Doralisa, do head over there to check it out. For RLS readers I have also put out a 25% off coupon code for my store, and a free template you can download.

You will love the clean look and easy navigation at Real Life Scrapped, and their blog and gallery is full of interesting posts and inspiration. The RLS team dedicates their site to be 'by scrappers, for scrappers', and you might like it there! Thank you so much  to Doralisa and the RLS team for this opportunity!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

How to scrapbook your life with teens

Do you have teens who do not like to be in photos? Do you have teens who are spending a large part of their lives away from you and home? Do you still desire to capture your everyday family life? Do you still want to tell the stories of these years, of their stories, and of the family's? Well I do, and have been finding more and more creative ways to do so, so thought I will make a post based on these :)
  • Focus on a day or two spent together

For April's project life, I did a page focused on the Anatomy of two great days. These were two days we were able to spend together as a family, so definitely worth capturing!
Digital PL template by Scrap Anges
  • Choose a theme based on what we do, love, like, want... That does not require photos of the said teens if these are not available (smile)
Last month I I did a page with the theme: Currently Playing, Watching, Talking About

This month's theme is Currently Loving, Pursuing, Dabbling...
Digital PL template by Scrap Anges
  • Capture conversations, both serious and funny, especially those which only your family will know the inside joke!Like this page I did - I love it!
Digital PL template by Scrap Anges
  • Capture everyday moments that occur frequently in your home, like my boys playing computer games, chatting over breakfast, walking to the bus stop, waiting at the bus stop - nevermind that these are very commonplace photos - that's what our lives are made up of! Which is what I did for my P365 (a photo a day) pages for April

(Credits: SimpleGirlScraps_WITL2012, VickiStegall-Beatrice-Words-Hello, VickiStegall-Beatrice-flag, aprilisa_TheView_alpha, amywolff_giddy_ampersand_doodle, amywolff_giddy_stamp_lovethis, jbarrette-everydaymoments_papertab, justjaimee_lyttmab_together, kaye winiecki_halfthere_paper, valorie webber-queenofhearts)

(Credits: TDD_MLAH_WZ_Cluster4, TDD_MLAH_ehansen_Paper2Grid, Tracy Martin-MissingYou-confetti, Yin Template 380d, lauren grier-always-doodleframelines, lauren grier-always-glitterdots, 
lauren grier-always-thisiswhereiwanttobe, pink reptile designs_chunkycrochet alpha)

  • Pick a current photo and let it lead you - throwback to the past, look to the future, same time or place across the years - anyway it goes!

I realised lately that I have more and more photos of the boys from the back, and that spurred a page reminiscing...

Journaling reads: We have so many pictures of you where we only have your back views. It's because you are now always walking or running ahead of us. In those early years you used to walk behind or with us, now you are taller and faster, and we know it is just how it is, you are about to spread your wings and take off! Off you go then, into the Lord’s arms we trust you, and into this great adventure of life. Know that we are always behind you!

(Credits: journal carsd from Amy Tan's Plus One, HAPPY by Vickie Stegall, heart doodles from playful by Pink Reptile designs, Digital PL template by Scrap Anges)
  • If there was a special occasion or an outing then of course scrapbook it - like this day we spent at the Aquarium - Believe me, the boys were there with us! See they are in the second photo from the bottom right - we managed to snap them without them knowing, haha!

How do you scrapbook your life with teens? Do share!

Digital verus Physical Project Life
You probably noticed this month's PL pages were all digital. I had been concerned that I will soon run out of space in my small home apartment to store the physical PL albums (even though mine fit in one album a year), and also have been attracted to beautiful digital PL pages especially of my friend Jenny (see her pages at Family Bees), and kept wondering if I would like it, so Jenny suggested I try it. Well I found it quick and easy to pull together, and I could use all my digital stash, but I do miss handwriting on journal cards, and will also miss being able to insert physical memorabilia, but the final verdict will be when I see how they look printed out. So, no taking the plunge yet!
Hawaii Pages
These Hawaii pages are all from our day at the Pearl Harbour Historic Sites. The boys know a lot about the Pearl Harbour attack, and Ryan especially is a buff at WWII history, so this was a really awesome day for us. We spent the entire day there, and it was coincidentally also the 71st anniversary of the attack on Dec 7 when we visited. So there were veterans, ceremony and much to make it so memorial!

(Credits: Paper_Woodland_GinaCabrera,,chain_mdl_laboheme, alpha_paulakesselring_schoolalpha)

(Credits: ViVa_SaldeMar_paper, amy wolff_goseedo_solid paper, michelin martin scribblenewsalpha)

(Credits: jkneipp_trulymadlydeeply_paper, alpha by karah fredricks, wheel by
Studio rosey posey-lifetime)

(Credits: Paper_Black_Wood_GinaCabrera, elledesigns_pink paint splatter, michellin martin_artsybitsvday_metal, sahlinstudio_subtlestampalpha)

Templates : The respective templates are found in the store. 

More Inspiration
I have lots more inspiration to share!
Lovely, precious layouts from Hannah Hurey:
Thanks Hannah for sharing your beautiful layouts and family photos, you scrap with minimal embellishments like me, focus on the photos!

And the amazing travel layouts of Christie Stearns:
Remember Christie with her out of this world travel layouts? Well she outdid herself again with these Venice layouts. She is the one who inspires me to blow up a photo and use it as the background! Thanks Christie!

And of course I have a template to share. It's based on the Aquarium layout.
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