Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Blog Your Heart January 2014

Life is a funny thing. I have been really feeling like it is Groundhog Day around here. I haven't been getting much crafting done and I just haven't felt the need to blog. I was very pleased to see Stephanie Howell's post.

BYH // via www.stephaniehowell.com 
I love reading the contributions to this thread and an honest reflection of how life is going for us all out there. Please read her post for an outline of the rules. I warn you this post may be more than a little down sounding but that is my reality right now. Life isn't always rainbows and unicorns.

Life is rough at the moment. I feel like our lives are on hold and that we cannot do anything because so much of our future is uncertain. I do know that my lovely husband has been moved to a new department and I have never known him to be so unhappy in the 12 years we have known each other. My husband who is never without a smile is sad and exhausted and frustrated and there are no smiles...sometimes for days at a time. We knew the change would be a challenge but it was not supposed to be this hard. I miss my happy husband.

How he used to look


Miss Three starts full day pre school in a week or so. This is so that I can look for work. The logical job for me to take would be a return to teaching, but it is over ten years since I was last in a classroom and so much has changed. I loved teaching when I did it but I was pretty burnt out when I stopped. Our family can not manage if I am working the 60 hour weeks that are the norm for teachers now. So if I teach it will have to be relief work until  MT is at school and settled. We could really do with the income and having holidays that match MT's makes a lot of sense. In honesty, my heart sinks at the thought of the assessment and planning and dealing with all the new standards that have come into play. If I could just teach, I would love it! In the meantime, I am looking for something in the insurance line, preferably part time. I am lucky that I have a choice of two industries but really in the long term I have no choice at all and I hate that.

This is what we need more of - not so much the food but the happiness

The countdown is on to my sister-in-law's wedding. MT and I are going back to New Zealand for nearly a month which we are both really looking forward to. Hubby is only back for about 9 days so his trip will be a whirlwind of long drives, wedding preparations and catching up with friends and family. I am hoping that MT and I will have a much more relaxed time staying with my Dad for two and a half weeks before wedding madness begins. MT is beyond excited about being the flower girl at the wedding and now that we all have our outfits bought we can relax and look forward to the day.

The wedding will be by this lake but in a vineyard in early Autumn



I have made a real effort to eat better and exercise more this year. So far, the results have not been what I had hoped for. I know I have to push through and not give up but it is so frustrating when you have watched everything that has gone into your mouth and exercised and the weight loss is almost non existent. I have signed up for an online challenge and some of the women have made tremendous losses (e.g. 5 kg in a week). It is supposed to be motivating but it really makes me want to throw in the towel and eat cake.

A big part of me really wants to return to New Zealand at the moment. I know I could easily get a job there and it would be so nice to have more time with friends and family. The reality of my life here is that I do not have a single good friend. I realised if I went into hospital while Tet was away, there is not a single person I could call to look after MT. It is a horrifying thought. I just cannot seem to meet people that I really click with. I am at a loss as to how to meet people as I really do not venture far from home. My hobbies do not lend themselves to meeting people - both scrapbooking and reading are pretty solitary pursuits. I joined a Zumba class but that has ended and I didn't make any friends there anyway. I don't need dozens of friends but it would be nice to have someone who I could call up for coffee and a chat.

I have not been crafting (always a sign I am feeling pretty low) but I have taken up reading again and have remembered how much I love a good book. I have signed up to Good Reads and have been working my way through an enormous list of books. The library is my new best mate and I am reading three or four books a week which is great. Probably my favourites so far have been Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (NZ author who won the Booker Prize with this novel) and Divergent by Veronica Roth. I know I am a bit late to the Divergent train but I did really enjoy it. I don't generally enjoy sci-fi or fantasy but I found this story compelling.

It is the Year of the Horse starting on Friday.

Thanks for reading if you have made it this far. I could do with a lot more unicorns and rainbows but life is sometimes not all that happy. Fortunately, it is Chinese New Year this weekend so we have a 3 and a half day weekend together which I am really looking forward to. 

Not so many unicorns but we did manage reindeer


I would love to read your heart. I encourage you to link up to Stephanie's blog post and share the link here if you feel so inclined. Please check out the other links on Stephanie's blog. It is so therapeutic to get out some of the stuff that is hidden so much of the time.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Project Life Weeks 32 and 33

Some weeks there is just not much going on or the phone stays in your bag or illness strikes. Whatever the reason, you just end up with very few photos. These two weeks are great examples of that happening at our house.


Week 32 was a combination of all three. I was sick for much of the week and didn't take any photos of me lying in bed. Hubby took Miss Three on a couple of fun outings over the weekend and by Sunday I managed to get out and about for a short while.

MT and Hubby went for a big walk around the Singapore River and took in the preparations for the National Day Parade. Scarlett was super excited to see that one of the tanks was being "driven by a girl!" and even more thrilled when the soldiers waved to her and talked to her. The NDP is a major event here and we watch the air force rehearsing over our house in the months leading up to the parade. There are some perks to living in the city!


My favourite story of the week is the photo of Miss Three in the guard house with our night guard, Mr Aziz. He is so kind to our daughter and encourages her to sit in the guard's seat and surprise the people coming in and out of our building. He doesn't speak much English but the two of them get on like a house on fire. He is definitely part of our family!

Week 33 really gives you some indication that we are living in the right country. The two national pass times in Singapore are eating and shopping and this week's small spread is devoted to the former.



I love the top photo taken by my husband as I took the shot below with MT and her gingerbread man. Both members of my family are very patient and remind me to take pictures of our food adventures if I forget to have my phone out!. I love these smaller style Becky Higgins sleeves. I have the multi pack with all the smaller sizes and it is perfect for both weeks with an abundance of photos and those weeks where not much happened.

How is Project Life going for you? Are you planning to do it again in 2014? I am, but I may move to a monthly format if I start working as I just cannot see me taking as many photos or having as much time as I do now.

Happy Hump Day!





Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Stuck Sketches: Driving

I carried on with the same supplies after yesterday's post and continued working backwards through my saved sketches and my July kit. I found a Stuck! Sketches sketch and got to work.





I initially intended to use this sketch with a portrait photo per the sketch but found I didn't have any in my box of printed photos so I adapted the sketch to use a couple of 3 x 4 shots instead.


This is another very aqua layout. The beautiful geometric background paper is from Pebbles Lakeside collection. I also added in a couple of pages from my 6 x 6 paper pads to stretch my supplies. The pink doily print is from Crate Paper and Maggie Holmes and the fussy cut map pieces are from an older Studio Calico travel line.

I finally got to use one of those gorgeous cars from the October Afternoon Travel Girl line. I added a framed image from the Miscellany from the same collection. I had a couple of the grab bags from Freckled Fawn out so I added the geotag paper clips that came in one of them as well.


I love the idea of paper strips for journalling but I never type my journalling so I decided to swap my title into that spot and set it up per the sketch. I am not entirely happy with this and may make it a bit more square. Chances are that it will go in my album as is though as I am all about getting things done at present.

The photos were taken on our trip to New Zealand in July. We popped into the Cookie Time store while we were there and Miss Three was very taken with the decorated mini in the centre of the store. We really had a hard time getting her to leave - not even a cookie bribe was successful!

I feel really good about getting these layouts done. I have used most of the kit and what isn't used is going back in my stash. I am going to open the next bag from the pile of shame and work on the next saved sketch. I have some wedding photos printed and seeing it is my wedding anniversary on Thursday I am thinking I might just try and scrap one of those. I can always reprint the photos if I don't love the outcome!





Monday, 16 December 2013

Practical Scrappers December Sketch : Our Favourite Pitstop





I have been saving a number of sketches over the past month through my Feedly blog reader. I have also been studiously not scrapping or blogging during this time. I have a metre high pile of unused kits in my lounge where they were exposed when we rearranged the room for our Christmas tree. They are an eye sore and a reminder that I need to get stuck in. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion I need to stop my sub at Citrus Twist until I get control of my stash again.

With today being Monday and the start of a new week I decided it was a very good time to start scrapping again so I opened up my saved folder on Feedly and committed to completing the most recent sketch I had saved. It turned out to be the new one from Practical Scrappers.
 

I have a number of 3 x 4 pictures that didn't make it into Project Life that I thought would be perfect for this sketch. As I looked at the examples shared by the design team, the layout by Krissy Clark McKee caught my eye. She rotated the sketch and it really appealed to me.


Here is my take on the sketch, having worked on it rotated 90 degrees. I challenged myself to only use supplies from one partially used Citrus Twist kit and pieces that were lying around my workspace. It came together surprisingly quickly!

I had the July Travel kit add on out and it was perfect for our holiday themed layout. Sadly it is now sold out.

 


 By limiting my supplies it really made the layout come together super fast. The October Afternoon Miscellany Pack was full of useful buttons and bits and pieces. I added the geometric print paper on the right of the layout from my scraps but otherwise everything came from the kit.

I loved using the flair from the October Afternoon line as the colours tied in with the main paper (it is the reverse of the gorgeous car print from this line). The colours are not quite right on my screen but they do look great together in real life!


I kept the title and subtitle in the same Basic Grey font. I love the size and font style with this range of letter stickers so much. It is so versatile, especially in the grey colour way. The enamel dots are from Teresa Collins.

I hope you have been managing to get more crafting done than I have of late. I am not working on a December Daily this year so I do not even have that as an excuse. I am still finding it hard to believe that we are over halfway through December. Miss Three is in school until Christmas Eve but we are having a family break from Christmas through to early January. We are not going anywhere but really looking forward to a bit of quiet time together.

If you decide to have a go at this sketch I would love to see what you have created. Have a great week!






Monday, 2 December 2013

Sketch to Scrapbook Page : The Only Home She Knows

I have really missed Shimelle's Sketch to Scrapbook pages lately so was thrilled to see a new example pop up in my Feedly screen. This week's offering was a simple sketch and I had a photo that I really wanted saved just the right size.

scrapbooking sketch by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com 

As you can see it is a really versatile sketch and really good if you have a bit more to say. I swapped my journalling location around, in part because I like the ombre effect in the lower part of the patterned paper. Otherwise I kept pretty faithfully to the sketch.


This photo was taken on a Daddy/daughter outing that Miss Three and hubby went on a few months back. I love MT's outfit and expression in the photo as well as the location of the shot so I knew I wanted it in my album. The paper choice was driven by the colours in the photo and everything else fell into place pretty quickly. 

I had avoided the temptation of the Freckled Fawn embellishment kits until the November offering. I just adore the scout badges and the little wooden houses that I ordered at the same time all worked in with the theme of the story.


I wonder if typed journalling would have perhaps looked a little better but I really like the immediacy of handwritten  words even if they are not always as beautiful.



We have started to embrace the Christmas season. Our tree is up and we did some Christmas crafting last week. Such fun! Now we just need to finish ordering our presents for the folks back home and we can relax and enjoy the season. I am not doing anymore than Fat Mum Slim's photo prompts and reading the prompts from Shimelle's JYC this year. We are not travelling over the holiday period and it is just the three of us for Christmas Day so I don't think there will be enough going on.

I am hoping to take MT to see Frozen on Wednesday as a Christmassy treat. The reviews I have seen have been excellent and she is really looking forward to it.

How are you celebrating the season? Are you doing any major Christmas crafting projects? I would love you to link them up so I can check them out.

 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Project Life Catch Up Week 31

I have a few light weeks coming up in my Project Life. Sometimes there are just not enough photos and stories to justify a double page spread. Week 31 was one of these weeks.



There were a few exciting things that happened but some we were not permitted to take any photographs which was a bit frustrating.

The Hi 5 bubble mix photo may appear a bit random but this was part of a goody bag that Miss Three received for working on the show. A few girls from her ballet class were selected to film some of the filler spots on the show. She and her friends, danced and jumped and shouted Hi 5 repeatedly over a 90 minute session. The new series of the show is due to be aired here shortly so we will be keeping our eyes peeled for her.

The crowd shot was a snapshot I took of the grocery line at the supermarket that week. They only had two counters open and it took over thirty minutes to pay for my groceries. If I hadn't had a full trolley I would have left the store! I emailed a complaint to the company while standing in line and attached the photo! Gotta love technology!

The final photo (see what I mean about it being a light week) was of Miss Three eating chicken rice at one of our local restaurants. We have been eating there since we first moved to Singapore and all the staff there spoil her rotten and tell her about when she was a baby whenever we visit. The food is delicious and cheap. Who knew steamed chicken and rice cooked in chicken stock could be so delicious?

Regular readers will be pleased to know I have two sketches that I really want to have a go at on screen so I may interrupt the deluge of PL with some normal scrapbooking.

Happy Tuesday.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Project Life Week 30

Welcome back to Project Life catch up. If you are still hanging in here I really appreciate it!

Week Thirty really was a return to reality. We were back in Singapore and back to the daily grind.


It really was a back to reality week as Tet headed away to Thailand for work for three days. Miss Three was very happy to be back at school and ballet. The top ballet shot shows her enjoying playing with the Swiss balls before class starts. I am so glad we caught this image as we cannot take photos of classes and now she has moved up to the next class she goes in straight after the toddler class and doesn't get a chance to play with the Swiss balls anymore.

The journalling really focused on our flight home. No pictures but we really loved flying out via Auckland and leaving near midnight. Even with the hassle of changing planes and going between the domestic and international terminals it was so much better flying back at night. Miss Three slept from before we got on the plane and for seven hours on the plane. We also got to see Neil Finn in the Koru Lounge so that was a nice surprise.


We also made an effort to keep up with spending time outdoors upon our return with a trip to West Coast Park. One of my favourite things that I saw on that trip was the Bose speakers outside at the McDonalds there. I imagine they would last less than 24 hours in New Zealand before someone would pinch them. I love living in a low crime nation!

Miss Three has completely mastered using chopsticks for eating over the last few weeks. She can eat noodles, rice and pretty much anything with them. It isn't a perfect technique and can be messy but it makes her so happy to be eating like the adults.

We had a pretty quiet week. We were a little jetlagged and Miss Three had a few naps which is not the usual run of things. Poppy also received a new house/scratching post after the demolition of her old ones by a certain small girl. We thought Poppy might be too big for the house portion of the post but she proved us wrong!

I am glad the weekend is nearly upon us. We do not have anything exciting planned but I am just looking forward to our regular library visit, ballet and football sessions. I hope you have a relaxing weekend and that the arrival of the silly season is not too stressful.