Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Artsy and Quirky London

A few weeks ago I started planning my next photobook - for our London holiday(oh yay!) I was scanning digital stores for British themed kits and told my husband that though i liked the red and blue color schemes I'm not sure I'd like it throughout an entire album. And the dear man said, "don't follow the stereotype, why not get out of the visual cliche!" Why not indeed. But what then? And he said, "Try quirky and interesting like the British are. Think eclectic, trendy, hipster, imperfect, artsy." I was intrigued. And so I did.
Sun from Quirky Heart's everyday bouquet, Paper from Chelle's Creations' ladybug hugs

I scanned pinterest and everywhere for ideas, looked through all of my stash, and decided I will pair artsy drawings and elements with black/white/grey striped/dotted/geometric backgrounds. And then I started making my layout backgrounds, and got completely carried away!

Look how many I came up with, it was so fun I could not stop., hehe. Sixty-nine pages to be exact! This is the first time I've made all the backgrounds before looking at the photos. I let myself play without worrying about how they will come together. I got to use stash that never gets used. I really enjoyed changing up the game, and just playing!

How will the pages turn out? How will the historical London pictures look in artsy quirky backgrounds? Here are the first four pages!

Portobello market was as colorful as this layout even on that first cold grey day when we arrived and visited, before we could even check into our rooms! So much to browse and see!
Credits: Allison Pennington_ChinUp_Birdy, Rachel Young_WishAlphabet, Sticker_Witch_Legs_GinaCabrera, Just Jaimee-paintybits, Lauren Grier-nummybuddies-paper9

The next first morning in London we simply took a bus and got off at the Houses of Parliament, to breathe and take in the iconic and grand views. We are in London!!! Dh and I have been in London 20 years ago, but we were equally exhilarated as the boys at the thought of actually being there! I thought the striped background looked so hip and really showed off the historic architecture, don't you?
Credits: Vinnie Pearce_The_Rise_Elements, Amy Wolff_giddy_scribblecircles, Citrus&Mint_F_blackstripepaper, Kaye Winiecki_currently_hashtagwordstrip, little butterfly wings_messitupvl2_paint, SaraGleason_currently_triangles, 
Stolen Moments Designs_Currently_alpha

We then took a walk around the Westminster Abbey grounds and around Parliament Square where we saluted Churchill's statue and Nelson Mandela's, little guessing that the great man would pass away even whilst we were still in London two weeks later! Also got the guards at 10 Downing Street to take a photo for us! And to my surprise and delight, I really think the polka dotted background supported the beautiful architecture pictures beautifully and made the page modern and visually so interesting!
Credits:Paper_Booville_Dots_GinaCabrera, citrus&mint_blackpolkadotpaper, 
Dream Big Designs_craft_graffiti2_paint, pink reptile designs_rockingcool_alpha, Tangie Baxter _QuickitySplitsWorkshop_Gesso

We then made it to the 10am boat that cruises down the Thames to Greenwich. We sat on the upper deck and it was cold!! But the funny seaman turned 'guide' gave such a fun commentary with so many juicy stories the whole journey, we could not bear to go downstairs.
Credits: KimJensen_MeRightNow_alpha, background paper_Black_Chevron_GinaCabrera, Dream Big Designs_craft_graffiti2_paint, Little Butterfly Wings_messitupvl2_paint

As usual these pages are available as templates in the store.

And here is the first page. Chronicling the 20 hour flight including 6 hours transit at Doha, Qatar that was the way we got to London. Phew!!
Credits: Laura Banasiak_chevron_overlay, little butterfly wigns_fullofwonder_paint, 
Studio Rosey Posey-onemoment, Libby Pritchett-turn-red, Valorie Webber-currently-journaltsrips

And you can download the template here. Will you try something different on your pages? Will you play and have some fun? What do you think of my London 'style'? Love to hear!
And thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

How we do Birthdays and other Gifts

Happy DSD! How have you been spending this weekend?
I have happily collected The Lilypad Blog Hop Freebie kit, shopped the discounts at their Store, and picked up their free with purchase Collab. I'm a happy scrapper today!

And yes I also completed my October Project Life pages!
(2 hours on Friday at the computer, 1.5 hours on Sun writing and adding physical elements) Woo Hoo!

First I listed down the stories I wanted to tell in this months' project life pages (on the left), then roughly sketched the layouts (yup, messy works)

Then I chose the photos and arranged them into 4x6 photo sizes, added digital elements, and printed them at my local photo lab.

Finally I choose a few physical journal cards, then handwrite everything, including writing on the photos. I like the informal, personal look of handwritten journaling.

Nowadays I also have fun adding a few physical elements, like letter stickers, the wood veneer elements (I bought a Studio Calico set with a coupon), and these emoticon stickers from a local stationary store!

In October we were very happy to celebrate my mom in law's birthday, and my niece's pre-wedding ceremonies. A few weeks before the actually wedding, our chinese tradition is for both families to exchange gifts (in the past they were considered dowry) and various items to signify good wishes for the couple, and their future children. A very happy time!

How we do Birthdays 
October is also dh's birthday, and in recent years we have had more fun with each others' birthdays, planning surprises and the like (perks of having teens who don't need us so much now, ha!)

We have always felt that our modern lives are filled with too much 'stuff', and we generally don't give each other big gifts, nor do we do gifts for Valentines and Anniversaries. We do write each other long cards for each of these occasions, and sometimes go for a nice dinner:) There is of course the expensive bracelet dh got me for our twentieth anniversary, only to realise it was one year too early! It was a laugh, and so precious. On our actual twentieth anniversary I gave him the Twentieth Anniversary photobook :)

Similarly our boys are very good with not demanding or expecting presents. On their last two birthdays they have shared a present (their birthdays are 3 days apart), and many of their earlier presents were pre-owned Lego sets purchased over the internet! Still equally fun as new!

Also for Christmas, my husband's big family used to celebrate with every pair of aunts and uncles getting a present for each of the children. About ten years ago we all agreed it was too much, and a poor lesson to the children about wants, waste and indulgence, and now we only do a gift exchange for one family member each. We have the same arrangement with our friends, and we use the secret Santa online service like this one. Thank God for like-minded family and friends!

Better still, recently I've been inspired by the Non-Consumer Advocate's family tradition of doing a Birthday Day of Adventures where their family spends the entire day going from activity to activity that caters to the birthday person's specific tastes, all a surprise planned ahead of time! How cool is that?

So for dh this year, I planned a day of adventure - and how lucky is he that Singapore hosts it's first year of the WTA (Women's Tennis Association Tournament) the week of his birthday! DH loves tennis and the semi finals fell on his birthday! On top of that he received free tickets on the day before so we caught two matches. How cool to catch Serena Williams (including an episode of her smashing her racket) and Anna Ivanovic and Simona Halep fight it out on the court in person! Here is the page of the Birthday Day of Adventure :)
What are your thoughts and practices on Birthday and Christmas gift-giving and receiving?

Finally, as I almost always tend to include nowadays: a page of the anecdotes, fun moments, funny quotes, and the like, seen and heard in our family this month.
Thanks for visiting and Happy DSD!


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