Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Week in the Life (Vacation Edition)

This is a scrapbook anatomy of our vacation.           
We went to Krabi in Thailand for five days for a getaway. It was one of those rest and relax trips, with no plans for much sightseeing, just time for 24x7 family bonding. I have not done week in the life for many years now that our family are all doing our own things everyday. So it struck me as I was planning that this would be a fun chance to record our vacation as it went, how we holiday, a week in the life, vacation edition

I journaled every few hours, focusing on the moment, what I'm seeing, experiencing, where we were, what we were doing. It was fun!! Everything was simply captured on my phone, using the SimpleNote app, in one long entry, adding the days and the time as we went along.

After we got home, I transferred the words onto selected photos, and planned them for my Project Life album. Didn't bother to use journal cards, our photos will be the perfect backdrop. Fast and easy!

Project Life
This is how my PL pages looked in the pockets! 
I cut up a Design A pocket into half, so I will get the spreads into two pages with a middle fold just nicely. 

Project life June 2015
Week in the Life (Vacation Edition)

I also played with my own handwriting while at Krabi, using the Japanese brush pen again (see here and here for earlier installments). Here I paired my brushed words with ones I wrote with Sharpie for this title. The turquoise color effect is from the watercolour photoshop style included from this font set I bought. 

There were more words which I intend to use in my photo book for this trip eventually. Sharing these with you. I have colored them in this preview with either a single color, or using styles included in th Bonjour font set. In the file each word is in its own layer, color them as it suits your project!

Next is one more last page of PL for the rest of June. We did lots of eating out and trying new places - a great pastime and excuse to get together!
Project 365
Here is a P365 half month layout for June. Only one page since much of June captured in PL pages already

London Pages
I'm back working on my London pages! 
Its great to take a bit of break in the middle of a long project like this one. I'm very excited and fresh and was able to roll out these four pages in three nights!
First two pages were of our day spent in Salisbury:

Journaling reads: We had our best hotel stay in Salisbury, only two nights in a beautiful serviced apartment, with rooms and separate bathrooms, kitchen, living and dining areas! We also strolled around the beautiful city - even the lanes around the canal was beautiful to us, we were amused by the ducks and fishes here! The shops were inviting but we only visited a model shop, and the Sainsbury’s for supplies!
Credits: Alpha by J.Larsen included in The Daily Digi's Life of Change, Floral pattern by Ange, 
Paper from RoyannaFritschmann's mylovemyLIFE

Journaling reads: First we saw a tall spire, thought that was it, how impressive, till we turned a corner, standing at a few blocks away, was the 13th century cathedral - looming tall and stately, quietly, powerfully, standing as it had for centuries, proclaiming God and mankind’s worship of Him. 123m tall, and built entirely in only 38 years, it is so beautiful!. The medieval sculptures and carvings adorn every part. Inside, it is even lovelier with the super tall vaulted roof. There were many tombs, of knights, it seems! We also visited the copy of the Magna Carta - and read some of the rules spelled out in it. So interesting. A lot about protecting the rights of widows, children and so on. They say it is the forerunner of human rights as we know it today. The cloisters was especially beautiful too, it was apparently never been part of a monastic foundation but were designed for processions and as a place for reading and relaxation.  
Credits: Background from KimJensen'a SeriouslyStoked, Awesome alpha from Kendra Fredricks 

The next two were from the day we spent in Cardiff, Wales, visiting with my friend Kate and her family. Kate and I got to know each other as pen pals when we were kids! It was the in thing then and I had pen pals from all over the world. I wrote and received many letters which I still keep in a box. How nostalgic I am for those days! 
Kate and I have kept in touch for thirty years now and met five times in that time. The last time was eight years ago when she was expecting her youngest so meeting them this time was so special!

Credits: wood veneer Happy by GinaCabrera, happy on tape in TDD's MyLifeOfHappiness, doodled curl from For the Record by Valorie Wibbens, Happy word art by VickiStegall, background paper by Ezane, Mumbo alpha by Kara Fredricks, painted house and owl by Michelle Godin in Blusteryday, arrows from this+that 2 by Valorie Wibbens

Cardiff Castle is actually a huge ground with a wall, made up of a collection of structures. The loveliest is a Norman Keep that still stands in the centre.  We could climb it and the view at the top is so great. Apparently the Lord’s folks did live in these tiny rooms up there once upon a time. There was even a ‘toilet seat’ in one corner! There were also remains of Roman fort still scattered somewhere on the grounds. All the forts tend to be re-used through various wars. Cool! The main building is more like a mansion which has been elaborately decorated by the rich Bute family - it was  cool to visit too!  We have made it to Wales (well a corner of it), had a great  time with our friends, visited a castle and a keep. A very good day indeed!
Credits: clownHat, crayonClouds, crayonHeart, paperHeart - (I'm afraid I can't identify where these are from anymore!), Background paper from Brittishdesigns's arewethereyet, Awesome alpha by Kara Fredricks 

As usual, these layouts are also templates in the store. Thank you for following our adventures!

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Thoughts on 9 Years of Blogging, a blog2print review, and a gift!

Yes, I checked - my first post was on 19 June 2006. This was the first layout I posted - look how tiny Jared was then! He was doodling in the sand on the ground, I remember, and was always creating even then, wherever he would be, oh how precious this layout is!

It's been nine years that I've been adding posts on this humble blog. I would never have guessed, that night when I caught onto this blogging bug that it would last this long, and that it will be a precious place I call home on the web. 

As I look back over the years, I find so many posts that are especially meaningful, or memorable for me. Some captured 'currently now' or thoughts and sentiments that are not anywhere else in my scrapbooks or journals. Some posts just make me happy! It's a good time to share some of 

my Favourite Posts 
(from the early years)

my Choice

I started a blog as a place to share my layouts and my designs, but it quickly became a place where I also shared my life though pictures, reflections, anecdotes, and stories. And through this place I have made so many wonderful online friends and even built a store. Blogging is a hobby unto itself, even a career for many, how cool that I've kept it going too!

In recent years, though, I have had to re-think this blog a lot, as the children became teenagers, when their privacy and feelings about that became a priority. I am very careful about what I share now, some pages are never posted online, though I think trip layouts and everyday life are usually okay to share, so that's what I do a lot of. That's why these days I tend to post about techniques or how-tos, anything to do with scrapbooking, of which I can never run out of things to share, :) It's a little sad to become more impersonal here, but it's a choice I am glad to make. I also want to focus more on my own scrapbooking, while posting on the blog and store takes a lot of time. So I'm re-thinking how I share here. As long as I'm still scrapbooking I don't think I will ever stop blogging but it may take on different formats or slow-down, we'll see!

my Blog Books

In any case a few months ago, I decided I will make a more permanent physical copy of my blog in the form of a blog book. For the longest time I have thought about using Blurb who I think has the most flexible and dynamic software for downloading and printing a blog into a book. But because I didn't have the luxury of time (think how much I will want to customise and beautify the layout of the book!) I went with a much simpler option of Blog2Print. Their software and options are limited, the advantage though is I could get a book uploaded and sent for print in an hour. 

my Blog2Print Review

I made three books! They cover my blog from 2006-2008, 2009-2011, 2012-2014 in 3 volumes. Okay I know, it felt over-indulgent, but also felt really great when I received them! 

At over 200 pages each, they were quite heavy, bound in hardcovers. The only option are 8.5"x11" books. The covers are glossy, and I chose the simple completely black option. You can only select from their covers, and insert a picture, but not able to completely customise your own covers. The pages are of good quality fairly thick white paper which feels good to the touch. The paper is not photo paper, but is matte and smooth in feel. I like it!
As you can see you can add your own titles on the front and spine of the books

For each book, you can also add a dedication, or introduction. And all your blog posts will be listed in a Contents page like they are chapters, with the pages listed accordingly. Quite cool! However, I just want to point out, as you can see, from the photo on the left of the dedication pages of my books, that the binding seemed tight, and the papers a little crumpled when I try to open that page. This is a minor issue though, as it does not affect the actual pages further on.

What I'm very happy with is how the colors were presented in the book! All my layouts were beautifully and accurately printed, in vibrant colors even though the paper was not photo-paper quality.

Because I had so many pages to print, (nine years!) I tried to reduce the size and pages to save costs. For my books, the printing options I chose were: 
  • No page breaks between posts (each post starts where the last post ends on the same page)
  • Medium sized images 
  • Not to show comments
The software will arrange the images and centralize them on the page, and put two images side by side because I chose 'medium' sized images. Every page has the post title and page number printed at the bottom corners. Just like a real book :)

The main issue I faced is that you can only select which posts to include or not, but are unable to edit anything within the post that you chose to include. So I could not edit out the 'view cart' button on this page. It was rather irritating, but a small problem that I could live with. 

Lastly, my books cost about US$90 each, after 15% discount, which is quite costly in my opinion, I'm not sure how much it would cost if printed with Blurb though. I went ahead and bit the bullet, over the course of a few months.

Most importantly, I've got my books in print in my hands, and I've been happily flipping through every now and then, it's so great to read some of the old posts and so to me, it's worth it! Hope this review helps anyone who is contemplating this.

my Layouts

Scrapbooking our memories will always be  my priority over the blog and the store, and here are my layouts for May Project 365.
Credits: ribbon by DisasterPiece Studios, blue tab from QuirkyHeart's Currently, blueplaid from TheDaily Digi's MylifeofHappines, paint, arrow, word circle, and alpha by DreamBigDesigns's Downtime and Surprise kits, wordart by LittleButtleflyWings, ribbon, arrows, twine, fabric tab from pink reptile designs' Its a Zoo, ink element by Rosey Posey Studios, Paper from At the market by Mari  Koegelenberg Creations, splatter from playful by Ninigoes Digi, and chip heart from StandTogether by Ponytails

Credits: Paints from ALittleBitQuirky's artsy bits and 
MayaddGroot's InTheGarden, and from TDP's Hello I Love You kit:
gold tag from StudioBasic, heart byAmanda Yi, tags by Mari
 Koegelenberg Creations, alpha by Scooty Gril Design.
Oh my button and Paper by Dream Big Designs, 
Heart and wordstrip by Kaye Winiecki's Electicmoments,
Banner by Mommyish, flower and wordart from Life's Good by RedIvy
and word art from SugarFancy's enjoylife

my Project Life 
May was fun with a lot of family and friend gatherings. We got to play at one of those escape from 'locked room through puzzle solving' games, I got to watch a pre-taped show at our local TV station, Our family celebrated Mothers' Day and received news from two new mothers-to-be, we will have two new grand nephews in November!

I also did up a page of 'Stories from the Weekend; using One Little Bird's At Week's End kit. We spent a lot of time on weekends at home and I loved capturing these routine moments.

Then there is this page which Ryan brought home one day! He had done this page in one of his school's after-school activities! He said he signed up for it since he thought he had seen so much of it at home he thought he would try it himself. I was thrilled!! Not bad huh? He chose all the cards himself, choosing colors of a similar theme, and used a photo of Jared he had snapped with his phone off the picture hanging on our walls. haha! 

my Taiwan Layouts
Journalling reads:  What can we say? Food is glorious in Taiwan! From live seafood selected by us, to market ‘small eats’, to the ‘ChiDaoBao’s, to the yum local shopfare, we were spoilt and fed beyond satisfied!

Journalling reads: We said we must have entered Touhouland! The highland resort park above the ULai water-falls were nostalgically quaint. That old-fashioned haunted ride, haha! the bumper cars, paintball shooting range that were aimed at cute wooded targets! Surreal! and such fun!!

Journalling reads: this quaint little town has the railway running right through it! There was a museum and the remains of a coal mine to explore, we sent a postcard to ourselves, had coffee in a ‘stone’ cafe, and discovered a church!

Journalling reads:  Shopping Anime, doodle for hotel, the LOOT!   More shopping, even at the night market! Digital book, Biffy, vending goodies! gum ball! drawing for girls, puffer fish! night at museum, LTK lookalike! Moulds! cup display, happy train-riding, accident! (note: that last photo was indeed a minor traffic accident we were in on our first day in Taiwan - thankfully no one was hurt, we got to see how the town and village leaders, traffic police and locals act in the situation)

Journalling reads: It was awesome that we found the lantern ‘shifu’ (master) and got him to teach us to make our own sky lanterns! He told us so much back-stories to how this tradition came about. The boys and us did a lantern each, we wrote blessings while they drew manga. Then we lit some sheets of joss paper, stuck them on the bottom, and they were off! What fun watching them lift off, swirling and flying so quickly up until we couldn’t see them anymore.  

my Gift

Nine years is something to celebrate, and I have bundled up these Taiwan page layouts into templates, as a gift for my newsletter subscribers. Find it in the newsletter I will send out soon! Thank you subscribers! It is a great way for me to reach out to you in case I am not posting so regularly, to keep you informed of happenings here :)

Not a subscriber? Go here (or click the image below) to sign up 
and receive the gift in the next newsletter

Or you can download this sample (posted last month) to try out this linear styled template (I've added the PNG and .PAGE files in this new link). 
Thank you!


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