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)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A New Beginning

I can't believe it is already February! Memory keeping through Project Life highlights the passing days more than anything for me. Every month as I sit down to look at that month's pictures, planning the pages, thinking what to capture, what are of note, the highlights, the interesting, and how to summarize the days in my PL, I become acutely aware of the days passing. Do you feel the same?

How did we spend an entire month? Did we achieve what we wanted to? Did we love enough, celebrate each other, had some fun, seek the Lord, serve someone, live fully? I am not striving nor expecting perfect answers, but I do love that I get to reflect, recollect and review each month. A mini version of what we do at the beginning of each year.

2015 Title Page
This is my Title Page for 2015. 
We enter the new year on His lovingkindness and compassion which are new every morning.
Great is His Faithfulness!

My word for this year is Turn. It's an unusual word and I only found it in early January. After last year's word - Center - I feel the call to move from my comfort zone, take hold of things that can be better dealt with, take actions of service I have been ignoring, without worry or fear, now that I have practiced having my center in God and His Word. Actually I found the word Turn after reading this beautiful post - Turn My Heart by Janet. You must go read it at her blog Preparing the Soil. Thank you so much Janet, for your faith and words that so inspires!

For my family, we have so warmed up to practicing Warmth last year, we have decided to adopt the same word for 2015. It has been wonderful practicing a listening ear, less unnecessary expectations and nagging, more connecting and playing together, for our family of stressed parents and angsty teenagers :)  

So how did January go for us?
We started the new school year, both kids are in their last year at their schools, we also celebrated both of their birthdays - they turned 16 and 18 (it's truly hard to believe), and then a routine hospital visit for my father in law turned critical when he suffered an acute heart attack. Miraculously he survived and recovered quickly, spending only two critical days in ICU, and is already back home after eleven days. SO amazing! SO thankful! He was well enough that we were able to attend the wedding of a dear friend's daughter and a young man who is youth leader to my son's cell. A very special day.
What a month! 
Great is His Faithfulness!

With all the planner-rage, I too played with making this 'Month title card' PL insert at the beginning of last month, and was able to add labels for the significant dates of January. I really like it and think I will be using it every month. If you do a monthly format too, and want to use this, scroll down for the links to download it. 

January PL Pages:
These are my pages, here are two of the digital versions, I work on each digitally first, then print each out as physical photos, and add journaling and sometimes embellishments. The digital version looks better on the blog! :)
Besides weddings and birthdays, we also had beach outings with our church youth ministry, and loads of fun and beautiful sunsets.
And one more PL page printed and in the pockets, focused on our word of the year and the story of my father-in-law's hostpilization and amazing recovery. 

January 365 Photo a Day Pages
You may have seen my past Year in Review posts. Using the same half monthly templates, the first two pages of the year are completed!
(Credits: WishAlphabet by Rachel Young, Paper by citrus&mint_HF freebie, Erica Zane's paint from sweetonyou, washi tape by justjaimee, paint from currently by kaye winiecki, wordstrips from sayyesto by paislee press, doodle bracket from superstitious by pink reptile designs, heart from this&thats by The Tattered Pear, heart from queen of hearts, and word phrase from happy thoughts, both by valorie webber)

(Credits: Paper from Studio Basic's AddictedtoLists, blackstripe_flower by Snips&Snails designs from TDD's Life of Change, paint art from Jenn Barrette's perfectfit, washi by JustJaime in 'year in review', Banners, wordstrips, camera, heart from Kaye Winiecki's  eclecticmoments, alpha from pink reptile designs's  chunkycrochet, XOXO from helloiloveyou by Shawna Clingerman)

These half monthly templates are available in the store

I love Marilee Stujenske's layouts using Yin templates! Her brilliant photos and great choice of colors and background highlight her brilliant photos and you can tell she had a great time on these trips! Thank you Marilee for sharing these with us!
I love to see your layouts using Yin templates. If you would like to share, leave a link to your blog or gallery in the comments, or email them to me at yindgs (at) yahoo (dot) com (dot) sg. Thanks! 

Free Download

Download these HERE.
Because I'm always sharing what I made for myself, there's only Jan and Feb templates in this download. :)  Do check back for future months!

And since it is Valentines' Day, just want to remind that I have this oldie but goldie heart shaped template that is my all-time fav:
Download Here

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