Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Changes Around Here and RootsTech

Around Here .... (changes edition)
Changes around here are mainly surrounding Ryan moving into hostel for this school year (gasp) He has moved in on 2 Jan and now comes home only every weekend. My firstborn is all grown up and independent! It is not easy to get use to this!

Around here.. we are getting used to almost daily skyping or phoning him on speaker mode to chat and say good night
Around here.. Jared is getting used to not having Ryan to play World of Tanks with. Now he plays with us!
Around here.. I am having nightly devotions and prayers with only Jared
Around here.. Jared is sharing more videos and interesting stuff with us 
Around here.. we are needing less food for breakfast and dinners, a loaf of bread lasts too long!
Around here.. we get to wake up later as Ryan used to have to leave the earliest in the morning
Around here.. I am sending more messages and images and links to my son through whats app just for fun and to keep connected
Around here.. weekends are more precious than ever

Roots Tech

Today I'd like to share with you the Rootstech 2014. Barb Groth who is one of the presenters at this convention wrote to me a few months ago telling me about it. I was so fascinated. They call it a 'Family History and Technology Conference' - how cool!   

Barb's presentation has to do with Preserving the findings of ones' genealogical research, in the form of such as, the digital photobook. And guess what, she will be using Yin templates to demonstrate how this can be done during her presentation!

Barb has even completed a 'Guide to Creating a Digital Genealogy Scrapbook' which I'm sure all of us are very interested in. I only wish I have even some good photos of my grandparents and great grand parents! So do go over and check out the Barb's Website!

You can also view her own amazing family album here

Wrapping Up

Yes I'm afraid while everyone is sharing their new year's goals, Project Life 2014 covers, and so on, I'm still busy wrapping up my 2013, memory-keeping-wise. I'm very happy that I was able to keep up my plans of completing my project life and P365 layouts once a month, it is very manageable for me to spend a few nights each month working on pulling the pages together.

Project Life

Because we flew off to UK on 29 Nov, I have not yet posted my Nov PL. There was only one spread. The main highlight being Jared receiving a national level science award - he does not think it is a big deal at all, but we are SO PROUD.

And the one spread I did for Christmas Celebrations, loads of food, love, warmth and laughter.

Note our Minimalist Christmas tree(s) - we had disposed of our old fake tree and ornaments when we moved and due to space constraints was aiming for a minimalistic look. That's all the Christmas decor we had! There was somewhat a loss of the sense of christmas mood, but it was so sweet and simple I kind of really like it! :)
After Christmas we spent a few days focused on getting Ryan ready for hostel living! There was shopping to be done for supplies, and casual cool clothes :)  We had to do quite a bit of cleaning and Jared came to help too. He even drew a 'poster' for Ryan's notice board (bottom right - it says 'Hang in there')

And the last page of 2013: I did a sort of 'Best of 2013' page - reflecting on the highlights of the year, how our words of the year played out, why I would sum it all up in one word - Blessed, and included this 'Blessed are the flexible' card I saw on Elise Blaha's blog. Excepts from journalling: "we found that as we accept more and practise having less, are 'flexible' about life and let God be the author, we see His blessings on us and we are truly blessed." (accept and less were our words for 2013)

Now I was completing the album at the dining table while Ryan was beside me doing homework. I was pointing out this photo and that journal card to him, and soon he took the album and looked through the whole year's PL and laughed and talked about various things with me. Now isn't this worth it all?

Project 365 pages
These are my photo a day month in review digital layouts:
November 1-15:
November 16-30:
December 17-31 (since the first half month spent in London had been documented in detail in my London Project Life Pages)

Now to get all my 12x12 P365 pages printed and slotted into the Project Life album. I'm happy to report it will fit nicely into one album for 2013 :)

Beijing Photobook
Happily, I've also just completed my Beijing album - two years after the trip.... 
Here's the first page with our itinerary:
An additional page I needed to go with another 12x12 page: 
And the last page: Impressions of our Trip
And two last double pages to cover our skiing lessons photos. The dh and boys took two days of lessons and it was so incredibly amazing and satisfying. Unfortunately I could not join them as I had fractured my toe two weeks before the trip. The templates for these layouts can be found in the STORE

And here's the Covers: Front
Back cover:
I was trying to create the effect of photos tucked into a binder. Used lots of red - it's China after all. I'm now waiting for the next Shutterfly 50% offer to print the book :) Yay!!
These covers following template guidelines for Shutterfly 12x12 photobooks. Download them HERE.
Additional note: Please see comments below from my friend Jenny who despite having followed the shutterfly guidelines found that her covers had a dark line near the spine. Thanks Jenny for the heads up. I will report back after I've printed. Please check back this space!


  1. Yin, I LOVE the photobook cover! The last couple of books I've had printed at Shutterfly come out with a dark line where the cover design and the spine design meet (usually right where the cover bends when you open it). Have you had that on any of your books? It's just happened on the last two books I've had printed and I used the Shutterfly templates to design the cover. The line should not be there, and doesn't show up in the preview, so I am not sure how to fix it. Anyway...

    Can't believe that Ryan is living away from home now! That has got to be so strange. I was thinking the other day about when my oldest goes to college, my youngest will still have four more years of school. I wonder if that will be really hard for him not to have his brother with him all the time anymore. :( Definitely a bittersweet time.

    1. Oh Jenny thanks for the feedback, I haven't printed a photobook for so long - now I'm wondering if I should expand the width of the spine jpeg instead of just following Shutterfly's template guidelines? I will go email Shutterfly and see.
      Yes, it is quite hard for the younger one while the older one starts going on his independent adventures! Definitely a bittersweet time, especially for mom! :)

  2. Thank you for the templates!

  3. Yin, you are great inspiration! I love how you document everything so nicely (and timely). I wish I can be as dedicated with my P365 and I dare not start PL because I don't want to start and then quit half way through the year!

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Yuki for the encouragement! I find that I've gotten into a nice routine, documenting my daily life by taking daily photos and scribbling notes on post it or Simple Note, then scrapping them all at one go at the end of the month. It helps that I resist doing too many PL pages :)

  4. Yin,
    I had no idea your oldest would be moving out this year! It made my heart hurt for you as I read about his new adventure. I pray the weekends seem extra long!!

    LOVE the rest of your post...I am working very, very hard to finish 2013..but I've also started 2014..with your templates, of course! :)
    AND...OH MY..the Beijing cover...AWESOME!


    1. Oh Tracey, you understand, cos your K1 is the same age as mine! I like that, that weekends seem extra long, thanks! Glad my templates are still helping you document your daily lives!

  5. Oh my heart goes out to you with Ryan moving out on his own. Both of my boys joined the military (many years ago) and left for boot camp within 6 months of one another. Then the daughter got married. So within a space of a year, all three of mine were gone. Skype is a blessing, and just think that even 10 years ago we would not have had that technology.

    Thank you for the heads up on the genealogy. I have been doing some work on mine with my sister for years and it will be interesting to see how we can incorporate it into scrapbooking.

    Stay well, and wish your family a blessed year from us.

    1. Thanks Tink! I can't imagine having all the children leaving the nest at the same time! I've known he is moving out this year for the last 4 years but no amount of anticipation can prepare for the real thing :)
      Hope you find a way to scrapbook your genealogy findings and stories!

  6. I have tried commenting the last few posts but for some reason couldn't get them to go. Will try again! You just don't know how much i admire you and your family. Such an example. I agree that change is hard. We moved 7 hours away from 2 of our young adult children to do church planting. Being away from family is the hardest. But God brings growth through change for all, our kids and us. SO glad we can trust God's might plans. Thanks for always sharing your heart (and templates too!)

    1. Hi Rhadonda, always so lovely to have you here. You really must not think so highly of our family - there are lots of frantic paddling below the water you don't see, haha. But of course God is mighty and He covers our mistakes, shortcomings and help us make beauty out of ashes, and on the blog I try to celebrate all the goodness. Thank you again, I so appreciate your comments and love!

  7. Ramie AhlstromJanuary 24, 2014

    Thank you so much! LOVE your templates and greatly appreciate all the hard work you put into them!

    1. Thank you Ramie, I really appreciate your appreciation! :)

  8. Thank you so much for the shutterfly covers, love them!

  9. Hi! After visiting your blog a lot of times for inspiration and your amazing templates I thought it was about time to say a big THANK YOU! I really love the stuff you make and write!

    1. That makes me so happy :) Thank you!

  10. Thanks for the cool album covers, Yin. Bet you're really missing your son now that he's away. That can be hard, but I bet he continues to make you proud with his achievements.

    1. You're right, we miss him a lot, but when I calm down and stop worrying, I'm actually so proud. :)

  11. Yin, thanks so much for the great gift of the album cover. I have made a ton of photo books over the years, and I am in the process of another one now. I am going to use your templates as I really like the effect (extending the spine to the front and back, etc.) and the layout is very different from what I have done in the past. I really appreciate them.

    I enjoyed reading about the changes in your daily routine now that Ryan is away at school.

    We were living in Turkey when we put our daughter on a plane headed for college in Texas. It was eleven months before we saw her again. This was in 1985, before the days of Skype, email, affordable phone calls. We talked to her twice that year, each time for less than five minutes. She was a very faithful letter writer, and that helped a lot. I can still remember, however, how I (who can be a worrier on occasion when it comes to my kids) had a perfect peace about her for those eleven months. (Now, I won't go into my tears of missing at Christmas; that's a different story.. I know that peace was a special gift from God because as soon as we were back on the same continent, although 1700 miles apart, I picked right up on occasional worrying. :)

    I know God can give you that same peace as He loves Ryan so much more than you ever could. That's hard to fathom, isn't it? And Ryan is in His strong, mighty, loving hands.

    Peace to your mama's heart, and thanks again for your generous gift.

    1. thank you, thank you, grannymike, I so need to hear those words. Thanks for sharing how you went through that first time with your daughter, I can be quite a worrier,on occasion, working myself into a frenzy even. Knowing he is in God's might hands, as you said, and receiving Peace as He gives, I am learning to tread this path with joy.

  12. Hi Yin,
    I just had to type a few words to thank you for your wonderful templates. I don't do a single layout without using them, because I so like the look of real photo's spread over an underground - so realistic you can almost touch them!
    It was interesting to read that your son moved out this year. My first daughter just did the same last autumn to study biology. It's just in the nearby town, but actually we only see her on sundays. We all have to get used to it. I miss her of course, but on the other hand that's what we've been trying to achieve all the time: to make her an independant, adult, competent young woman, able to live her life on her own terms. So, yes, I'm very proud of her. And 18 months from now we will undergo the same thing with my second daughter who will start her last year of school in summer. It will be quiet in here...
    Sending you greetings from the Dutch-German Border with all my good wishes for the New Year

    1. Thank you Grid! Lovely to hear your wonderful feedback!
      And you are a first-time sending off a kid mom too! Indeed isn't this what we are training them for all these years, and we are really proud and glad they can be happy and independently living out there. Thank you and blessings for your new year too!



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