Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Blessed Christmas!

Blessed Christmas from our family to yours!
And May the Love, Joy and Light of Jesus surround you this season!
P.S. We made it to the Bovington Tank Museum!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Twenty Years Ago Today

Well I'm posting this early as we are travelling in a few days, so it is actually: - a week from today - 
Twenty Years Ago -we were married and began this wonderful journey of blending two lives into one. We are lucky. We are blessed. We grow older and better as a couple as we faced life's trials and triumphs, all by God's Grace!

You might have seen the first twenty pages of my Anniversary Album here, I have a few more themed pages planned, and in this one I had in mind to capture about us. Didn't want it to be too serious or sappy, so thought up some prompts and had a lot of fun answering the questions!

(Credits: Fonts used: Remington Noiseless and Ever After, butterfly scatter from Laurie Anne HGD's Jump For Joy, journaling markers by Jackie Eckles)

Do you have other ideas for such prompts? I'm looking for more! Also I'd love to hear some of your answers, how will yours be like? Care to share some in the comments?
If you like to use the ideas in a layout of your own, scroll down for the template link.

Beijing Pages
Last few Beijing pages (finally) 

Here's one where (as for every trip), I took the random photos that did not make it to any layout, but added color to our trip, and gather them in one layout. 
This next one is where we spent time in the Song Qing Ling home and Museum. She was the wife of Sun Yat Sen and a very remarkable lady. I was so impressed and touched by all she did even after his early death, for the war efforts, for the country, always with grace and brilliance. It was a most rewarding visit.
This next one was much more up the boys' alley - the Military Museum - all the tanks and artillery of course. But also interesting for us how they portrayed their war heroes and how they utilised whatever they could get their hands onback then, using parts or whole from fallen enemy planes, tanks, etc.
And this one was of the amazingly shocking types of creatures or creature parts that the people of Beijing call food. Do not click to enlarge this layout if you are squeamish.

365 Pages for October
Here are my photo a day for October. I'm still loving using Templates from Set 290 and 317. 
The highlights of October was of course the baptism of my father in law, mom in law's birthday celebrations, dh going for a civil defence course, us preparing for a church BBQ for a 80 youths (!), our new house having a major electrical glitch (!), and Jared's 3D Printing adventure. October flew by!

And download this Anniversary template here. Link back if you use it!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Saving the Past

Are most scrapbookers like me? I am into history, biographies, people's lives, and on a personal level, it manifests as sentimentality and nostalgia for all things of our own history, memories and things included. Which makes for a potent combination when it comes to hoarding or keeping all sorts of things from our lives. But on a practical level, I very much want a minimalist lifestyle! I can see that all our stuff was bogging us down, it used up time and space we don't have the luxury for, we were buying extra shelves and cupboards yet things were always overflowing, and it was impossible to keep the home neat and clean without a lot of effort, not to mention not being able to find anything!

So over the last two to three years, as we entered different stages of our life (children becoming teens for example), moved homes, downsized, we decided to really cull all our things, ending with what we really need and use, and just a little of what we want to keep.

Through this process, I discovered what I could let go off, and what I still feel worthy of hanging onto. But more interestingly, I discovered what really mattered to us, how our perspective has changed over time, why certain things don't matter as much anymore in the long run.

So, what have we discarded?

A doll house I was halfway done constructing (started before I had the children, project abandoned when the boys came and were not interested in dolls). In fact, as you can see they called it a relic and used it for their transformer battles. hahaha
 All the doll house furniture I collected (given to an old friend with two daughters)
Furry friends from all our childhood, mine and dh's included. This was hard! Each of these held such memories!
The lovely dresser from my teen years which we painted and used as a nursery dresser for the boys - it lasted till about four years ago...

The boys' school projects, childish toys, memorabilia of my days training as a speech and drama teacher...

 Baby and childhood inhalers, toys and learning 'toys', blankets and all. Footnote: after the below was made, I changed my mind and saved the Mickey baby comforter set that I hand-made. It's still with me!
All of the boys' primary school artworks and projects. Layouts serve as memories!

This is a very old photo (I was pregnant with Ryan) but this is to remember all the Christmas decorations, ornaments, and even our 5 ft fake tree that has been with us more than ten years, they have all been let go. This was actually very hard (I had hand made the fake wreaths myself and some of the tree ornaments too), and as of right now we have no Christmas decor at all, I'm resisting buying again, and am thinking about how to have a minimalist Christmas. Maybe just one of these Muji wooden trees.

 All our old collections of candle sets, displays, even photo frames...

 And the box of clothing tags I saved over the last twenty years from all of our clothes. Yes, I'm crazy bag-lady-ish in that way. But it was fascinating and unbelievable to see how much just the four of us have purchased and clothed ourselves with!
Then there was all of the travel memorabilia. I only captured this picture of all our travel brochures that we have discarded, but all the rest are gone too. For the last few years we no longer buy souvenirs on our travels, instead we collect a fridge magnet from every location!

 All my craft supplies - I had cupboards full! These are just a few pictures. They went as I no longer work with them. I have digi-scrapping now! And my presents no longer come with bows, sorry folks!

The boys have been selling their old toys on eBay. Here they are photographing them for posting. They have made back more than $100 so far. Our motto to them is, if you want something, you need to get rid of something else first!

 All the christmas cards we received save a few, am still keeping our wedding cards and birthday cards though..

And what have we saved?

These were gifts from Dh to me during our earliest years, before we broke up and then got together again, so yes, these are precious!

Framed drawings by DH (he hasn't done anymore so these early ones are precious too)

All the travel memorabilia we have now - magnets from all the places we've visited over the last twenty years! Super compact souvenir central, don't you agree?

Hand-made by me toddler outfits

Each of the boys get a keepsake box where I saved some of their baby things, medals, kindergarten artwork, even primary 1 journal. Yes, they fit in one box each plus the two round hat boxes .

Books, board games, DVDs, photo albums, photo books, those toys (read - anime figurines, Lego LOTR Helm's Deep), all that we still find dear and still read or play, and can fit into these built in shelves!! 

Part of Living is Learning to Let Things Go
... as the caption on one of my layout says.

I look back at all that stuff we kept, and I understand they were important because they are a part of our history, of what makes us what we are today.

Of course, if we had the luxury of a large house with an attic where all of these could be stowed, I would have loved the idea of one day, when I'm much older, being able to have a wonderful time looking through all our keepsakes and letters and momentoes. But I think I have saved enough, my memories will survive. And ultimately what matters is stored in our hearts. (and our scrapbooks)

How about you? What do you do with all the keepsakes of your lives? Have you tried to simplify?

Project Life October

The first spread contains snapshots from my father-in-law's baptism, the best day of the year, definitely! I've completed a photobook to celebrate the occassion, 7 copies of it are on the way!
We also spent time with my mom and went out to town.
More pictures just of the boys and their daddy, I just love these moments and don't mind filling my PL with all of these photos. 
Jared had been doing these 3D modelling on his laptop (self-taught and using free program) and recently we stumbled on a professional 3D Printing shop where they were so impressed with what he did, they made a copy of his tank for him - for free! And invited him to hang out with them any time!

 I also love to add to my PL stories like this:
it was Dh's birthday, and Jared was found to have nine cavities on a recent dental visit. You have got to be kidding me!!!

Linking up at Jessica's The Mom Creative where there is lots of PL inspiration, including hers!

Beijing Layouts
I'm speeding up towards the last ten or so layouts for my Beijing album. 6 double page layouts completed this month!

Lots of amazing photos as we toured the 798 Dashnzi Art District, where a huge lot of ex-factory buildings are converted into art galleries and the whole space is dotted with outdoor sculptures, cafes, art shops, and more - a very wonderful place to visit - so unlike the rest of Beijing!!
Love the funky sculptures or installations! 
Sometimes the installations can get really weird like this one where some artist blew up a giant boulder and filmed it to simulate the Big Bang.... We love coming up with all sorts of clever interpretations of these art...
Then there is this Sony Exploration Centre where the most fun exhibit was where you sit on opposite sides of this screen and they 'amalgamate' your faces - R and his dad are definitely carbon copies! Me and J do not look so good amalgamated!
Next we spent a morning at the Capital Museum - lovely architecture and porcelains and a special exhibit of a young emperor - but the boys were not too interested.
One evening we went strolling and shopping down the area of old Beijing near the lakes, there are now funky shops and old and new mixed together - a most enjoyable walk!

I only had some blurred photos because we were on an overnight train between PingYao and Beijing - it was such fun! All four of us in a 1st class cabin with bunk beds. Very comfortable and we could lock the doors and had games and food and bonding in tight quarters!

You are welcome to download this template to create with HERE !!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


The best and most wonderful blessing this month is that my father-in-law has put his faith in our Lord Jesus and he was baptised in a beautiful and moving family service last week. Our family give thanks and praises to God for this awesome blessing!  Despite being hospitalised again for a few days in late September, he is steadily on the mend health-wise too. So thankful.
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 

 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 

 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

I will be making a photobook of this significant occasion and plan to give a copy to each of the seven families in the family. Hoping I can make the book as beautiful and meaningful as the occasion has been!

More Blessings of the Everyday

Daily life can be mundane or ordinary, but it is a glimpse of our lives at this point, and I love looking for the beauty and fun and funny and interesting, and recording them - I do love looking back, and maybe one day my children or grandchildren might too!

Project 365 for August
Daily life pictures include fresh fish at the market, solid colored T shirts that J insists on, household cleaning supplies (that iphone picture was for my shopping list), our new ikea battery-operated milk frother, visiting grandpa at the hospital, and more. I really liked the word art by Jen Wilson 'Open your arms and welcome the joy of today'!

A lot of days in the 2nd half of August was spent bringing home and sorting through boxes of stuff we had in storage, a lot of purging and reminiscing, I might blog about this some time. What does it mean for a hardcore memory keeper to purge, downsize and simplify? It was tough but necessary!

Project 365 for September
Are we in October already? Where has the time gone?
Well, it appears that in September we visited the Comic Convention, watched a movie, had friends over, visited grandma (my mom), caught some bollywood filming action near my office during lunch break, played games, enjoyed delicious mooncakes during the mid-autumn season, and played more games.
And won a recycling bin design contest, met friends to celebrate my belated birthday, enjoyed the Great outdoors, caught some of the Singapore F1 action (without tickets), spent time with grandpa at the hospital, chanced met Ryan at the bus stop on our way home, made a homemade Shogi chess board...So that's where our time went!

Project Life - September 
I selected the stories I wanted to tell, to amplify in Project Life for Sept - only 1 double page spread with an insert. First up, the Comic-Convention that the boys attended, that sparked off all things geeky at home, hehe

I spent a wonerful morning with R at his school boarding open house - he opened up and shared so much about school and friends with me, pure magic from mommy's point of view!

Just some random stories, a favorite photo taken on my morning commute, Our favourite coffee brews, and story of Ryan reading all the Harry Potter books in a week.(He never did want to read them in the past, and suddenly he starts and reads through in a week!)

More pictures of time spent with family and friends, all part of this months' many joys!
Linking up at The Mom Creative - head there for lots of inspiration!!

Beijing Pages
I continue to chug along on my Beijing album, it's now nearly two years from that trip  . The next few layouts were from days we spent in the vicinity of ancient PingYao, full of old city walls, buildings and estates, all grey and beige-y, so I used primarily black backgrounds. Very striking I must say!

We visited the House of Wang - a formidable homestead of a powerful and wealthy family, that started as a bean curd maker, and grew rich and eventually made it to become important officials in the Qing Court. The family lived here for like 14 generations, and built home after home as the family grew, all living together within this giant complex. The descendants lived here till the 90s when it was converted to heritage site. The homes were well preserved, most furniture and paintings were left as they were. We found out many stories, like the one where daughters when they turn 13 will be escorted to an upstairs bedroom, never to come out until they are married usually around 14 or 15!! We also saw the Royal Decree - a decree/instructions from the Emperor himself to the family, with his Emperor's Seal - in chinese tradition, the emperor's words are sacred law, it has been known that if the emperor asked you to kill yourself, you would. So to receive such a Decree was high honour, the family kept it for a couple centuries!
We also visited nearby Zhangbi village, a village with an underground fortress set up in the 14th century by invading Mongul armies, who later settled here with their families when the Yuan dynasty flourished. Our English speaking guide was a descendant from these Mongolian people and still lives in the village! They consider themselves chinese now and were very happy to see that we overseas chinese are still able to speak the language and are proud of our heritage. Incidentally I have been told that in my ancestry on my father's side, I had a Mongolian great, great, great grandmother! 
And finally a layout to remember almost totally authentically original guesthouse in the old city that we stayed in. Way cool!
This is now available as part of Template Pack 7 in the store. Thanks for your interest!


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