Thursday, November 18, 2010

Family Room

We moved into our apartment 11 years ago when Ryan was one and a half, and Jared just 6 months old. Needless to say we were too busy with the babies to have much energy to deal with home improvements and decorating. In fact, we did not even paint the place, just did some built in storage cupboards and in we went! As our family grew, we find ourselves outgrowing the space, especially where books, toys, and study area are concerned. And did I mention boys are not very neat creatures (lego is a huge culprit)!

With very tiny bedrooms, everything spilled into our living room. Of late we had been thinking about moving but a larger place would be out of the question with the current sky high property prices. Alternatively we looked at apartments that had an additional small room for use as a study/playroom. Finally dh sat me down and asked "how do we want to live?","how do we want our home life to be like"?","what are our objectives for our home?"

The answer surprised me! We came to the conclusion that even though our living room is constantly messy and cramped, we like that everyone congregates here, because the toys and board games are kept here, all our books and bookcases are here, the TV, computers and internet connection are here, so is the dining table, study table, and even the piano! This is where family life happens for us! It wasn't planned, it just evolved that way.

There are some deliberate decisions, like not subscribing to wireless, and keeping the only internet connection in the living room, so that the boys can only surf the net where we can see them. And some enforced impact, for eg, when one or both of the boys are doing homework or studying for exams, nobody else can watch TV and usually some classical music goes on and all of us sit down to read/have bible study, etc. Love that!

We decided this kind of family time is what we want to keep at all cost (especially as they enter teenage years and the impending leaving the nest that follows!). The Family Room is here to stay! We will simply make improvements to make the Family Room more able to accomodate our needs.

So we have decided to renovate! Last two weeks we had been pouring over home magazines, design books (titled along the lines of Living in Small Spaces, Compact Living, etc, lol) meeting contractors, interior designers to get quotes,... it's very exciting and I'll try to document the process in layouts and post them too. We are likely to end up with floor to ceiling book shelves, two work tops to accomodate the two computers and two laptops, cupboards for toys, displays for toys (completed exorforce, lego star wars sets, etc), a more streamlined dining area that doubles up as study table, and finally, a new coat of paint :)

Well with all that happening, you can imagine not much scrapping was done, but I have this layout done in May, following Ali Edward's A Week in The Life of project - documenting one week in our lives in 2010! I was happy to do this since I took a break from last year's 365 project - you should really consider this if you find 365 for a whole year too daunting!
                                     (click on image to see larger image)
You may recognise that this layout is from a template set I made for the Everyday Life Kit that is being given away by The Daily Digi as part of their subscription gift for subscribing to The Digi Game!
Here's my contribution:
And here's the entire kit!
Get Your Digi Game On
I love The Daily Digi for featuring both well-known and new or relatively unknown designers, and they gave me a huge opportunity last year which was a great honor. Love the monthly Digi Files too, always a great bargain and a chance to try out many designers that we would not otherwise have a chance to!

Now to some great stuff! I've always admired Tawn's creativity, eye for color and balance, and fantastic photography, and this time she's topped herself. She said she did close to 60 layouts in two weeks, I am officially GREEN WITH ENVY, I mean, look at these layouts!!!

How do you do it, Tawn?? Love them all. For more creative goodness, check out her blog - Homemakin' Girl

You know, I really want to catch up on my scrapping (I am one of those who scrap ALL of my photos). And Tawn has inspired me. I am seriously going to start USING my own templates for my layouts, instead of creating every one of them from scratch. Unless I hate the process, I will stick with this plan for a while, it should help me catch up! That would mean a lot less new templates will be created, but I'll make sure one or two is shared at least every month with you here, and we'll see how the plan goes.

Finally, one last created from scratch layout/template to share, here's us snow-mobiling in Sapporo, Hokkaido!!
This template is now available as a set in the store HERE


  1. Thank you so much for dropping by my blog and leaving such a sweet note. It made my day!
    Thank you, too, for another of your wonderful templates.
    When we remodeled, we greatly appreciated Sarah Susanka's books about living large and smartly in a small house. And, the GREAT thing about doing any work like this is that you must clean out all the accumulated clutter that you didn't even realize you had!

  2. Thank you so much for another great template!

  3. Thanks again for the sale!!! now i need to make a "inventory" of what templates i not have to buy !!!
    i made a pretty gift for a xmas ..
    now is at shuterfly and using your templates!! THANKS!!!
    ahh sometimes we want "more things" , "more space" and then realize the treasure we had... your room is a place to share .. to keep eyes on the kids!... imagen each one in their rooms .. it will be not so warm as you have!! a big hug from Colombia and hope your smas time will be great


  4. You and your husband come across as *very wise* parents, who work hard at being good parents, instead of coasting. I find your blog very inspirational. The templates are icing on the cake, but I love reading about you and your family. Have a wonderful holiday season (I realize you're not in the US, but still! *grins*). And now I'm going to have to check out your store-can't let a good sale like this pass me by.


  5. Thanks so much for the lovely template! :)

    I like all the layouts along the side of your blog. Very fun! :)

  6. I really enjoy reading your blog - and I even come away with some parenting ideas sometimes and not just scrapping ideas! :) Thanks! Your thoughts about living in a small house remind me of a song I used to like called, "Love Grows Best in Little Houses." :) Sounds like your family has really made that true for you. I love that your living room is a gathering place and that you are being deliberate about keeping it that way. Hope things go well. :)

    Thank you, too, for the template. I REALLY like your templates and the simplicity of your layouts. Lots of room for pics, and the pics and journaling are the focus rather than the elements - and yet they always look so classy. Thanks for sharing!

    If you're interested, here is a page I made with one of your templates. (It's my blog link, as I wasn't sure how else to send to you. )

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing and enough babbling from me! :)

    p.s. Grand idea to start using your templates - they are great, after all! ;) :) I need to stop shopping for supplies and browsing for other things and just go with what I have!!!

  7. I saw you came by to see the Halloween pics. Yep, Pan loves Halloween and we go all out every year. Now it is spilling into the house as well, LOL. I intended on emailing and realized... I don't have your email address. (I do have the one where you send links for purchases. Is that the one you wanted me to use?)

    Sometimes I think the process of renovation is more fun than finding a new house. We have been here for over 20 years and are just now starting. I just bought a new 28 cubic foot stainless steel fridge last night. At least my kitchen now coordinates, :)

    Am looking forward to seeing the improvements you make in the next year or so. Maybe I'll even pick up so pointers.

  8. Thank you so much for the great template!

  9. Yin,

    Good luck with your renovations! I know you and your family are excited. You use your family room much the same as my family! ISn't it great having that central 'fun' space for everyone! Thank you again for sharing your wonderful templates with all of us!



  10. I can't wait to see the renovations! :) My husband's parents lived in a small apartment while their current house was being built, and I actually liked visiting them there better than I do in their new (bigger) house. It was cozy, and fostered more conversation. So, I totally get the "family room" plan. :) Thanks for yet another great template! I'm excited to see your new layouts with your old templates! Now if only I could find time to use some of them as well! :)

  11. I love your blog & your pages and layouts are AMAZING! I love how you are able to have several pictures on a page {which I love-because I take a million pictures at each event} but then you still create pages that look clean and simplistic. Thanks for your hard work in creating the templates and then sharing them with us! I will definitely share your site with others!

  12. Thank you for sharing yet another fabulous template!

  13. I love your templates. Thank you so much for sharing them.

  14. I very much admire your family. I love it when i hear young families focused on Christ and family. I pray God greatly blesses you and your family as you train them up in the way they should go! As a mom with 3 in college now i really miss those living room times. They will all be home for the week of Thanksgiving and i can't wait for the noise and the food and the fun. Thanks for the template too.

  15. Yin,

    I loved the template so much. I used it to scarp Peekaboo pics of my DD and DH. I you like you can see you template in action here

    Thank you again for sharing!

  16. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 10 post on Nov. 19, 2010. Thanks again.

  17. Thank you for sharing your template - and thank you for sharing your life with us - floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are a good thing!!!

  18. YIN!! Wow - THANK YOU for the kind words ... and you wonder how I did all 60+layouts??? YOUR templates, girl! So - thank you so much ... love love love love love them.

    Did you get that?

    I love them!! *grin*

    ~ Tawn

  19. Thank you. The template is just wonderful.

  20. Thanks for sharing your heart and talent.

  21. Great layouts! Thanks for the templates. God bless.

  22. Thanks so much for your wonderful Templates

  23. Hi Yin!
    Can't wait to see the before and after renovation pictures!

    You must use your templates!! They are time savers and create the most fabulous pages. :D

    I talked about your family during our Thanksgiving feast today. My friends that spent 2 years in Singapore were over to share the meal with us.

    Thanks for the super cool template..I'm off to create a page! (It's my reward for cooking for 2 days and serving 12 folks loads of food!)


  24. I love your templates!!! I just used a few to finish a photobook for my mom for Christmas!! I love having LOTS of pictures on a page! You are awesome! Good luck on renovating!

  25. Love these templates!!! I recommend them all the time when people are looking for double page templates!

  26. Thanks so much!

  27. awesome template, thanks so much

  28. Thank you!

  29. Thank you for your continued generosity Jenny! Your story re. apartment size reminded me to appreciate our own close quarters, thank you for that as well. Merry Christmas!

  30. Thank you so much for the template and beautiful inspiration.

  31. I just found your site today and feel like it is Christmas again! Your templates and pages are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us. I appreciate all you do!

  32. As usual, your templates are brilliant. Thank you for these new free ones, but also all the ones in your store. Last time I looked, I think I bought them all.

  33. Thank you for the awesome template!

    How cool that you renovated your home!

  34. Thanks so much for your templates. I love your layouts! You inspire me to get more of mine printed into books!

  35. this looks great! Thank you



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