Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Intense Shopping

Wow it has been a whirlwind twelve hours trying to get a couple of the add ons to the March Studio Calico kit. I am a subscriber to SC which means I automatically receive the main kit every month. There is a subscribers' early bird reveal and purchase of the add ons which come with the kit at 12 noon on the 27th of each month and a second release to the general public at midnight. New items also become available in the store - often other pieces of the most represented collections in the main and add on kits.  I hope that makes sense.

The times I mentioned above are EST which means the subber's reveal is 1 am Singapore time and the general public reveal is 1 pm . Now I love Studio Calico kits. For a beginner scrapbooker like myself they are a dream. I would never in a million years be able to put together such a great collection of items that work so well together. In addition they have papers and embellishments made specially for them that cannot be purchased anywhere else. They save me a ton of money buying bits and pieces that I cannot make work together. If you spend $99 as an international member your shipping is free too. This is awesome because paper is heavy and shipping from the US to Singapore is enough to make your hair curl.

Sadly I am not the only one who thinks SC is da bomb. Obviously member numbers are a closely guarded commercial secret but spend anytime on their online forum and you will see members literally from the four corners of the globe - Brazil to Iceland, Stockholm to San Diego. It is an amazing place!

Anyhoo I decided not to set my alarm and rely on myself to wake for one am (I can no longer sit up that late). Sadly I let myself down and by the time I woke at 1.45 am I was well and truly too late and all the things I wanted had sold out in the presale. I lay awake and fumed until about three thirty and resigned myself to trying again this afternoon.

I managed to get the Monkey happily watching Diego so that I could have a good run at getting the add ons I was after. I logged in bang on one and went straight for my first choice add on and processed the payment. Result! When I went back to try and buy the other two I was considering they were all sold out (within one minute!). I hung around a bit longer and a couple of times one of the other add ons would pop up as available but it was gone by the time I got through to my shopping cart. My patience paid off however, as I managed to nab it about ten minutes after reveal. The adrenalin rush with this form of shopping is something else. I know it is only paper and pretty fripperies but, especially for people based outside the US, they can be very hard to obtain. I know SC imports a great line of French paper that is not available anywhere else in the US and is only sold as part of their kits. 

I cannot say enough good things about SC. Their customer service is second to none. If you are thinking about a kit club I would totally recommend them - just train those typing fingers! And no I am not getting anything out of praising them to the skies. If you are interested in seeing what all the fuss is about have a look here.

On an entirely different note I have tried my hand at making mango salsa and my own hummus with really great success in the last week. Hummus is really expensive in Singapore for some reason . I found an online recipe for crockpot hummus which took forever to get the chickpeas ready (as opposed to opening a tin) but the flavour is better when you cook them from dried. It is so delicious - full of lemon and garlic and really healthy too.I can forward the recipes through to anyone who is interested. 

And as a pictureless post is a boring post here is a shot of the view from our apartment taken a wee while ago now. Happy Tuesday!


Monday, 27 February 2012

Kit Killing

Kit killing is very popular at Studio Calico. There are a number of scrappers there who use up all their kits each month and are waiting eagerly for their next one to arrive to start creating again. I am not that kind of crafter. I wish I was but I am slow, have very limited time in which to create and tend not to use huge amounts of patterned paper on my layouts. 

That said, today is a bit of a red letter day for me as my County Fair kit from January has only two pieces of patterned paper and two pieces of card stock remaining with some embellishments rattling round in the box. I cannot say I love all my layouts from this kit or that it was my favourite set of papers but by the end of the week this kit will be gone. I am working very hard to use up my older kits but have decided to use up my current kits as they come and then hit the older ones. It enables me to take some inspiration from the current member gallery at Studio Calico and to do something with the pictures I want to preserve.

This layout was another very quick effort completed while Scarlett napped. I wanted to use one of the chipboard prize ribbons but felt the patterns on them were not quite right so I covered one with washi tape. I may go back and redo this as it is a bit rough around the edges but I am happy to have tried something new with my chipboard. I think I saw this technique on one of the recent Glitter Girl episodes on Two Peas.

The journalling just states that this was my first time driving in Singapore and that Tet took the photo. This also reminds me I need to drive again soon as I have only driven a couple of times since!

I am in the midst of a massive laundry drive here as we are off to Japan on Friday. I have been looking out all our winter clothes, many of which have not been worn since we went to Japan last year. My new coat has arrived from Lands End so I will not freeze like I did last year. Scarlett has outgrown all her winter clothes from last trip but I have been gradually topping up her winter wardrobe so we should be good. Tet bought our Tokyo Disney tickets last night so we are all set!

I am a little worried about going overseas  while in the early stages of Weightwatchers but at least most Japanese food is pretty healthy. Points counting will be out the window but I am hopeful that I will be doing plenty of walking. My aim is to come home within a kilo of the weight I leave. I will let you know how I get on. I am nearly at the end of my fourth week on the pro points system and have lost 3.4 kg or 7.5 pounds as at last Wednesday. I am stoked with that. 

I hope everyone is having a gentle start to their week. It has rained here most of the day so we have had a quiet day at home.


Friday, 24 February 2012

Wow that has really snuck up on me!

I have been doing a bit of crafting. I finally got my 8.5 by 11 inch albums and inserts from Scrapbook.com so I am up to date with Cathy Zielske's Move More Eat Well class. I am loving this class. It is making me really focus on moving more and eating better. There is still plenty of room for improvement but small steps over the year should add up to big changes. I have also signed up for Ali Edward's One Little Word class but without the album and inserts I have been putting it off. My plan is to complete the January portion this weekend and try and be up to date by the first of March. Neither of these albums are ones I intend to share at this stage.

These plans may all be derailed of course by the fact that my wee dot, Scarlett, is turning two tomorrow. I am still in a bit of denial about the whole thing really. It does not seem that long ago that she was born. I thought I might just add a few of my favourite pictures of her from the last two years. 

We have a fun day planned for tomorrow. She has gym in the morning. We are then going to Build A Bear for her to build her birthday stuffed animal. Last year it was a monkey and she told me the other day that she thinks she wants a fox this time. We will see when we get there. After a sushi lunch we are going to head to the zoo for some animal watching and water play. She really wants to see the wolves this time (for reasons that remain unclear to her father and me). I told her she could have a special dinner of her choice. She wants stir fry noodles with meat and baby corn. It is nice to have a child that is easily pleased.

I hope you are all enjoying a relaxing Friday.

About 30 seconds after delivery. Scarlett was furious about being born. We didn't hear her cry like that again until her first lot of vaccinations.

Meeting Grandad on the day she was born. She is the first and only grandchild on both sides of the family.

Farewelling her Great Grandad a few days before we left for Singapore. She was nearly four months old.

Five months old in Singapore.

Eight months old.

Walking at eleven months and constantly on the move!

Opening presents on her first birthday.

On holiday aged 18 months. She has already filled eleven pages of her passport!

Enjoying her Valentine's day treat.

Wow she really has changed over the last year. I should do a review of her pictures more often - probably in the comfort of my own home rather than inflicting it on my long suffering readers.

Congratulations if you have reached the end of this rather self indulgent post. I intend to be back to usual programming next week.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Year On

Kia Kaha (Be Strong) my friends and family. Although our city was broken one year ago today I know that our spirit is strong. We miss you Matty B.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

5 Things That Make Me Happy

Kate at Katetakes5 has started a blog hop this week asking what five things make us happy. I stumbled across this on 21stcenturymummy.com and decided to have a go. 

(As a quick aside, I wish I knew how to make those fancy one word links but I don't. If anyone knows a quick tute for doing this please send me the link and I will be eternally grateful!)

My five things right now are:

1. My daughter Scarlett. Even when she is driving me mad with her current love of throwing things and shouting "No!" in response to any request these days she melts my heart. She makes me try and do better... be a better parent and set a better example.

2. My morning flat white. Sad but true. I am a coffee addict and am really appreciating the kilo of coffee beans from New Zealand that my sister gave me for Christmas.

3. Our upcoming trip to Japan. We had a wonderful time when we went last year even if we had to experience the 9 mag quake. I am hoping this trip will be even better.

4. Completing crafty projects. I always feel happy if I am working on a scrapbook layout, a mini album or some other crafty endeavour. A little bit of me time is always good for all of us.

5. My lovely husband. He works so hard to enable me to be a SAHM for Scarlett's first two years. He treats me like a queen and is the best Dad I could ever have wished for to our daughter. He makes me laugh everyday. 

You can join in the listography here.

I would love for you to let me know what is making you happy today. I love reading your comments!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Sometimes you can go back

Yesterday I did something that I always tell other people not to do. I went back.

I always say that you should never go back to places that you loved after a long time away as they invariably disappoint. I tend to believe the same is true of people too but that is a whole different post.

Last night we met friends for dinner at The Westlake on Queens Road. I started going to the Westlake in 1984 (oh that makes me sound so old)! My Mum taught one of the chefs there and he invited her to try the restaurant. We loved it and the rest is part of our family history.

I had not been back to the Westlake in about 10 years and I was a bit apprehensive that it might have changed or deteriorated. Those fears were groundless. The food was really good - just as good as I remembered. We shared among four adults and three toddlers Mah Bo Tofu, Sweet and Sour Pork, Hotplate Fish, Beef Hor Fun and the speciality of Chinese buns served with big chunks of braised pork to eat as a kind of sandwich. It is now that I should be providing you with photos of the delicious food but wrangling the three smaller diners meant that my camera did not leave the bag. That was the other good thing about the restaurant. There is heaps of safe open space where the children can run around. 

We are looking forward to heading back there soon.

Friday, 17 February 2012

A quick layout and some project progress

There has already been some very heavy rain this afternoon but the sky has blackened again and thunder is echoing around the neighbourhood. I love storms - which is probably just as well as we get a load of them here.

While Monkey had her nap this afternoon I finally put together a simple layout that has been occupying my thoughts the last couple of days. This is my fourth layout from my January Studio Calico kit which must be some kind of record. I have a couple of ideas for more too. I cannot tell you how pleased my husband is to see me making a dent in one of my kits. Only six or so more to go...

I really like the Pebbles paper but was a bit unsure about the whole sheet of it. I am pretty happy with it as a background though as I kept the layout very simple.

My evening project while Tet has been away with work this week is the envelope album from Lizzy Kartchener's Something Splendid website. I have really enjoyed the process so far. It is far from perfect but it is going to be a great way to store some of my favourite photos of Scarlett during her first year. I have a couple of photos of the project so far:

Only eight more pages to go! I have not strayed too far from the ideas suggested by Lizzie. I have to admit anything I do after Scarlett goes to bed needs to be very straight forward as I am usually exhausted.

I am so glad it is Friday - not the least because my husband has been away all week and it will be lovely to spend some decent time with him. Sadly part of that time will be spent going to H and M to get them to remove an ink tag that they left on when I bought a new cardi for Scarlett. I guess it is just as well it is only ten minutes walk from home but annoying nonetheless.

Have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are and whatever your plans. I fully intend to!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Pre School Sorted!

I was beginning to give up all hope of ever finding a Pre School for the Monkey. We wanted something play based, the option of a second language and close to home if possible. You would not think this was a difficult list of requirements but it was turning into a huge drama.

A few weeks ago we had a flyer drop into our letter box. It was advertising an open day at a Montessori based Pre School called The House on the Hill. We put it up on the calendar and thought that we would have things well and truly sorted by the time the open day rocked around. This was not the case and my lovely husband changed his flights (from Singapore Airlines to Jetstar poor darling) so he could get back to Singapore in time to attend. 

We headed there after gym on Saturday morning. We talked to Monkey most of the way there but she still managed to fall asleep in the last two minutes of the seven minute drive. Tet and I took turns to be shown round the school and we were both really impressed. Small class sizes, lovely 1892 villa with high ceilings and great breezes because of the hill location, really lovely staff. We were sold but could not make a firm decision until Miss S had seen and approved.

We drove around for a while and then headed to one of our favourite sushi spots for lunch. Miss Muffet woke up just as we arrived. (Loving that I can go out and have a really decent feed of sushi and still be well within my Weightwatchers' points btw). I actually took a few photos of us at lunch.

Miss Monkey eating her favourite "bubbles" sushi. It is actually some sort of roe. Not my thing but she loves them!

Mr T and Miss S. Miss S is clearly making her views known on the subject at hand. 

Finally, my favourite sushi in the world is the pair at the bottom of the plate. They may not look much but it is prime tuna barely seared on the outside. It is smokey and tender and totally delicious. I could eat them all day!

After our sustaining lunch, we drove back to the Pre School for Scarlett to go in and have a look. She loved it from the moment she walked in. She met the two teachers at her year level and played with one of them for nearly an hour. We had a real struggle to get her to leave after Tet and I had signed all the paperwork and filled out all the forms. She is beyond excited to be starting school and even more excited that she will be going on the school bus! The fact that they give her lunch before they send her home is probably my favourite part. So on March 19, my wee dot becomes a school girl. She will be on the bus at 8 am for an 8.30 start and finishes at school at 1 pm and will be home to me about quarter of an hour later. Just three days a week at this stage. I suspect that will be all either of us can handle.

I hope you all had a lovely V Day yesterday. Tet and I met 9 years ago today. Sadly he is still in Bangkok so no celebrating for me. Still there is always the weekend for celebrating!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

On a Creative Roll

I have been flat out crafting this past week. Whenever my wee dot's head hits the pillow, I am dragging out my scissors and paper and getting stuck in. I am still a very slow crafter but I am feeling really good about all that I am getting done.

I am still really enjoying the Amy Tan class on at Studio Calico this month. I have completed a second layout for the class and pulled the papers and photo out for a third. It is really exciting to see the kit slowly disappearing. Sadly, most of the photos I have ready printed are of Scarlett, so my "rule" about trying to alternate layouts of Scarlett and either the family as a whole or Tet and me has fallen by the wayside a little.

The skill I decided to attempt in the second layout was using a mask.  I have been meaning to buy the Studio Calico ampersand mask for a while but still have not managed to get around to it. I decided to use a pack of Thickers as my mask. I am a pretty beginner level mist user but I am fairly pleased with how this turned out. I have wanted to scrap these pictures of Scarlett for ages so I am doubly pleased that I have this properly recorded.

Sad to say, Monkey and I had a bit of a wrestling match over the main photo so it is a little creased. I am hoping it does not detract from the rest of the layout too much! Scarlett was eight months old in these photos and these are some of my favourite pictures of her. They just seem to catch her personality perfectly.

I have also made an effort to use up some of my older bits and pieces cluttering up my desk. I ordered a Something Splendid Envelope Book class from Lizzy Kartchener ages ago. I had a few issues with it going missing in the mail and it ended up getting overlooked. I decided to break it out of its  box and I am loving working on it. It is mainly based on the Crate Paper Emma's Shoppe line which I just loved. I have finished making the covers and decorating the front cover. Tonight's job is to add all the pages and start decorating them too.

Project Life weeks 2 and 3 are underway and will be finished,  hopefully before we reach the end of week 4. I am waiting to add more photos from my husband's work trips. He has been very good about taking photos on his travels.

On a happy note I won a beautiful mini album kit from Lisa Dickinson on her blog Gettin' By. It is a JBS project kit called Paper Kisses. It is designed to document a Valentine's Day or a love story. Sadly my Valentine is working in Bangkok this week so there won't be any photos here. I have plans to use it to scrap some of our wedding pictures. True confession time - I have been married seven years and not one of my photos has been scrapped and none are on the wall either. The worst part is most of our photos are gorgeous! Hopefully this situation will be rectified soon.

Sorry for such a novel of a post.

Have a very Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Project Life Title Page and Week One

I know, I know! It is nearly the end of week 3 already and I am only just posting now. In my defence I have been sick and Tet has been away a lot the last few weeks. This means any free time is squeezed in when Scarlett naps or is asleep for the night. Let's put it this way - week 2 of Project Life is well and truly a work in progress.

I have to say that photographing the sleeves with all the reflections is a bit tricky but hopefully it will give you an idea of how my pages have been set out.

I have definitely gone with the KISS approach with the title page. I have partially followed the suggested layout in the Clementine kit and just augmented it with photos. I took an instax of Tet, Scarlett and our Maine Coon, Poppy. My delightful husband took one instax of me when I was just out of the shower. Thanks love!

The first of three pages for week one covers Scarlett's first ever hair cut, a trip to a first birthday party and a trip to a local park. I mainly used kit inserts and added a few Sassafrass stickers to personalise it. Week One is a mixture of A and B inserts.

This page is a continuation of the park trip and our trip to the zoo. I mainly used plain journalling cards and made them a little more exciting using mist, washi and some stickers from my stash. I also included a zoo admission ticket and filled one gap with some old SEI paper I found that went well with the colours used. I have started a Project Life box and have put in a bunch of stuff from my stash that I can see will work well.

This page is just a couple of family outings and a section completed by my hubby while he was on a work trip to Jakarta. He has been in Thailand and Taiwan the last couple of weeks so I am looking forward to more input from him.

I am loving doing this and I love the fact that we are printing lots of current photos and using them. Best of all both my husband and daughter are really enthusiastic about the project. Scarlett asks to look at "the orange folder" at least once a day! Bottom line I am recording our lives, pasting and cutting and having fun with it. I will leave you with an image of why I love this project.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Gone too soon

I had another post planned today but I heard that a former workmate of mine died from cancer today. Bex was the most lively, effervescent character you could ever meet. I was not aware she was sick and I am totally shocked and saddened by her loss.

I am giving Scarlett extra cuddles today. Travel well Bex. The world has lost a lovely woman.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Slowly back to normal

We had a bit of a nothing week last week. Monkey and I both had bad colds which meant more than one day where we just stayed home. I still have a pretty revolting cough and the wee girl is still quite snorky.

Thursday provided some drama.We opened the maid's room (all apartments here have one - think small broom cupboard that just fits a single bed and you will be on the money) to find water dripping through the light fitting onto the floor. Our dryer lives in this room and the laundry area is just adjacent so I thought it probably meant that our upstairs neighbour had had a flood. I headed out into the foyer on our floor to find water also coming from the light fitting there. Mmmm... maybe something more serious. Hubby was still home so he watched Scarlett while I went up to introduce myself to the neighbour above ( we only know one person in the whole building... and he was not the one).

I rang the bell and a man in his boxers answered the door clearly having been woken up by me...ooops! He had only just flown in from overseas the previous night and had not used the washing machine. I ushered me in to see if we could find the source of the leak. No sign of anything.

I headed downstairs and water continued to drip from the ceiling for the rest of the day. No longer just from the light fitting but the ceiling generally.

The building management were onto it but it wasn't until Saturday afternoon that the leak was finally fixed.It turned out to be under the floor of the apartment upstairs. The ceiling is slowly drying out but there are a couple of spots where I could easily put my fingers through the plaster is so soft. Waiting for our landlord to decide what she wants to do about things now.

No dramas at all this week. Tet is away until tonight - Bangkok - and then off to Taiwan first thing Thursday morning. We are like ships in the night! Made worse by the fact that I have book club tomorrow night... oh well at least I can go.

Have a spectacular Tuesday!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Red Letter Day

I have just realised that I have had more than 500 page views on my little blog. The thing that amazes me is no one I know in real life even knows I have a blog so all my readers are online friends or strangers. It is very humbling. I know there are blogs out there that get thousands of hits a day but I think this is amazing! I am going to organise a giveaway when I get to one thousand.

I have started Amy Tan's Stretch Your Kit class on Studio Calico and I am really enjoying it. The first thing I took away from it should not be a revelation but was. Use your favourite papers first. So true. I tend to save them for some unknown future special project and they just gather dust. So yesterday I took the bull by the horns and grabbed a few old photos and my January kit and pulled out a few favourite papers. I had a look on Page Maps for a sketch and less than an hour later I had a layout complete. It is my first one for a while so I am relieved that I have got started again. I am excited about the next PDF.

The funniest thing was when I showed this layout to Scarlett the first thing she said to me was "Moving!" Either she is a very early reader or I do know my daughter quite well...

The other great thing is that my December Daily is finally complete. Well all but one early day when I cannot for the life of me work out what we did. Never mind - the page is pretty. I am not sharing it as it is hugely text dense and not full of photos and decorative bits like most I have seen. I do not want it to feel inferior!

Onto Month Two of One Little Word and Move More Eat Well. Fortunately, I have managed to finally get the WRMK page protectors and album that I needed. Well they are on their way from the US. So hopefully by month's end I will have my album set up and complete for these classes.

Today is day five of my first week back at Weightwatchers. It has gone well although I have been sick all week so exercise has been pretty much nil. I am actually struggling to eat enough food. As my weight is high I get a lot of points to eat each day and I have had points left over every day - oops. Strictly speaking I should be on the breastfeeding plan as Monkey still has a couple of feeds a day but that would have almost doubled my points. I would have been eating non stop all day!

Hope everyone is enjoying a great weekend. There seem to be a lot of colds and so forth doing the rounds in Singapore at the moment. I am on day 10 currently and would really like it to just disappear!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Elephant Wordless Wednesday

A selection of the hundreds of elephants on display for an elephant fundraising auction. Can you tell Scarlett loves elephants?

Have a happy Wednesday!