Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Shimelle Starting Point: Time For Tea

Long time readers of my blog will be aware of my love of Shimelle's starting points. They are such a fun way to start a layout. I tend to keep my additions to the starting point relatively minimal and today was really no exception.

The original starting point was all the layers of paper and (in my case) washi in the top third of the page. I do not really have any punches so I desided to use washi in place of the punched strip of paper suggested. I added a date label, an additional strip of washi and a brad to the top section.  My journalling and title work clustered in the bottom right quafrant, leaving a good chunk of white (or indeed aqua) space. Once again this is a Summer of 69 kit layout with some additional OA Woodland Park labels.

The photo is from Christmas morning. Scarlett received a beautiful tin tea set from her "uncles" in KL. She spent most of Christmas morning making us all cups of tea. It was one of her favourite presents.

Thanks for the kind words from readers with regards to my health. My procedure went well and I was given a clean bill of structural digestive health. I have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome which is much more common than I realised and we have started a couple of medications which, to be honest, do not appear to be helping. I am very interested in alternative medicine though so I am hopeful I may find some other treatments that do work. If anyone out there has had some good experiences I would love to hear of them.

Friday, 21 September 2012

White Space and a Specialist

This post is a bit of a grab bag of the good, scary and a layout.

I had a wonderful morning tea out with a fellow blogger on Monday! In true hopeless style, I did not take a single picture! I had been following Britney's blog for a while and then she announced she was moving to Singapore. We have kept in online touch since she arrived and finally we managed to meet in real life! It was really great to meet her and her gorgeous children. I love the fact that our blogs have enabled us to meet someone we would never normally come into contact with. We had some lovely pastries at my favourite Tiong Bahru Bakery and a little look around a new neighbourhood for them. I am really looking forward to meeting up with them again soon.

You may have noticed that there have been a few gaps in blogging over the last few weeks. Over the past few months I have really been struggling with stomach issues. I am not going to share too much information but suffice to say that Imodium is my best friend at present. I have seen two doctors and a specialist in the past week or so and we are now at the point of having a colonoscopy. I am all booked in for Monday morning. At the very least I might get some answers about what is going wrong with my whole digestive system. I am trying not to get too worried about it all but I must confess to being more than a little nervous.

Crafting time has been more than a little limited with illness and hubby being away a lot with work of late. I have one new layout to share today.

This layout was inspired by a question Britney asked me when we met up about what I liked about Singapore. This led to me thinking about what I really missed and that is space. Space to run and play for Scarlett and room to breathe for me. I don't usually go monochromatic with my layouts but it just felt right for this topic. I used a little of the Hambly overlay from one of the Summer of 69 add ons and the corrugated letters came from there too. All the pictures are from December last year.

We are already entering the weekend here and it is a very exciting one as the Formula One Night Race happens here this weekend. There is a real buzz around town at this time of year! I am not going but I will enjoy the buzz. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Kinda Wordless Wednesday : 17 hours

We had the pleasure of my husband's company for 17 hours in between work trips. We made the most of it... a trip to the doctor for me and then a delicious lunch together. He had the beer battered fish and chips and I devoured the Shepherds Pie. It really was delicious.

We picked the Monkey up from school and took her to Ben & Jerry's for a wee treat before Daddy headed to the airport again. I love that my hubby has a great job that he loves but sometimes I wish he was home a little more often.

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Don't Forget Your Hat

I can never remember wearing a hat as a child. In a single generation it has gone from something unusual to something automatic. I would never dream of having Scarlett out in the sun without a sunhat on, especially not in New Zealand where the hole in the ozone layer means the sun is super intense. She often reminds me to pack a hat for her and she has a collection of about half a dozen to choose from.

When I was looking through our NZ holiday snaps her apple hat appeared in many of the photos so I decided to scrap it!

I had fun with this layout. I tried to use all the papers I had left from my Summer of 69 kits that had a circular motif. I added in a banner cut from some OA Cakewalk paper (which included some polka dots) and even used sequins to anchor the banner to the page. I found a great sheet of Jenni Bowlin letters and flash card stickers to add along with some MME buttons and brads and a Greatest View flair. A little contrasting washi with the angular chevrons helped tie everything together colour wise.

Once again I used a new sketch from Susan Stringfellow's Sketch Savvy blog. I find a lot of great 4 x 6 photo ideas on her blog. Here is the original sketch and as you can see I have not deviated from it a great deal.

We have a busy week here this week. We have visitors arriving tonight for just over 24 hours on their way to Europe. We are hoping to squeeze in a trip to the zoo tomorrow before they head off tomorrow night. Hubby is in Taiwan until late tomorrow, home for most of Wednesday before flying to India on Wednesday night and we have visitors arriving for the Singapore Grand Prix over the weekend. My washing machine is taking a beating with all the laundry! I just hope they are not expecting a show home level of tidiness as they will be very disappointed!

I hope your week is a little less laundry centred than mine!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Toddlers in the Sun Shine

One of the most memorable mornings of my trip home was spent with my former manager, Jo. I have known her for nearly ten years now and consider her a friend rather than a former colleague. She was the person who took a punt on offering a teacher an insurance job and I hope I never caused her to regret her decision.

I met some wonderful friends in the insurance business. When we all first met none of us had children and only Jo was married. Jo now has three children, Fidelia two and Caroline and I one each! We arranged to all meet up and meet our various new arrivals while I was home. We had a lovely morning tea (home made scones!) and our children ran or crawled around and enjoyed the sunshine!

 Jo's husband kindly took the photo in this layout of us all enjoying the sun on Jo's deck. 

This layout is my entry for the Blow Out Your Stash #6 challenge on at Studio Calico currently. This challenge is a recipe challenge. The layout needs to include brads, ribbon, chipboard, stickers and an unused stamp. I thought the shine stamp was perfect for this blue sky background and yellow was the obvious colour for the ink. All the papers are from the Summer of 69 kit and the ribbon and stamp are from my Pop off the Page class kit. The brads are MME Nostalgia and the sticker journal spot is OA.

I think this may be the first recipe challenge I have ever tried and I really enjoyed it. What sort of challenges do you take part in most often?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Gardens of one sort and another

Scarlett, Grandad and I spent a lovely morning at the Botanic Gardens. They have an excellent children's garden and we enjoyed the water play, climbing in the tree house with enormous slides and watching the corn, chilies and tapioca grow.

It reminded me of a layout I completed earlier in the week celebrating Scarlett's love of the garden and her Grandad's one in particular.

Scarlett spent lots of time helping Gwandad (she is still mastering her r's) in his garden. She especially liked anything involving the watering can and the hose. Grandad had the bright idea of running her around in his wheel barrow and that was a very popular way to while away the hours.

This layout is another Summer of 69 kit special with the addition of some gorgeous OA Woodland Park lettering. I have really been enjoying this kit. The colourways have been working well with my green filled New Zealand holiday snaps.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Scrap Friends Sketch

I am not entirely sure how I came across the Scrap Friends Blog but I am really glad that I did. They have some interesting sketches and a really international range of participants in their regular challenges.

I decided to have a crack at their Sketch Challenge #5. I was a bit intimidated at first by the giant photo but one of their DT, Lizzy Hill, had used three smaller photos instead so I thought with that approach it might be something I would enjoy.

Here is the sketch : 

And here is my take on it :

I used the pops of pink from Scarlett's clothes to guide my colour choices. All these pictures were taken during our trip home. 

The MME Indie Chic paper made a surprisingly neurtral background. Most of the embellies came from the Summer of 69 kit by Studio Calico. I also added in some Freckled Fawn washi, label and stickers from October Afternoon and a chevron bag and flair from GreatestView.

I am really looking forward to the next challenge on this site. Are you thinking about joining in?

Monday, 10 September 2012

Letting Scarlett Be Herself

It is unlikely that anyone who knows me well would be caught saying that I am not stubborn. I am a Taurus by birth and by nature. I have a few fixed ideas and some of them are pretty deeply ingrained. One of those areas of life is dancing and particularly ballet.

In my experience, the girls that did ballet when I was growing up were the nastiest, cattiest bunch of creatures in the school. I do not say this lightly. This was the case at three schools on two different continents. There was something about the art that attracted those girls or perhaps the art cultivated these traits. I was never able to decide. What I did know was that no child of mine was going to be one of those stuck up little madams!

Time passed. I met and married my husband and eventually Miss Scarlett arrived and we became our little family of three. From the moment she could walk our daughter has danced and pranced. She does not walk anywhere but rather twirls and skips. It soon became clear that my child was likely to become one of those ballet girls.

We found a lovely dance school quite close to where we live and they let us know that Scarlett would have to be two and a half before she could start classes. This wait seemed like forever for Scarlett and she would ask every time she saw a little girl in her ballet clothes or had spent some time prancing in the lounge if she could start ballet yet. This weekend her wait was finally over.

On Saturday we went in to see if they had any places. They agreed to Scarlett having a trial class the following morning. She was beyond excited. She put on her tutu leggings and could not wait to meet her teacher. 

Sunday morning arrived and we took Scarlett into the dance school a little early so that she could meet her teacher and find out about everything. She went straight into the studio with her teacher and after a few minutes of watching her make friends with a couple of the other little dancers we suggested it was time for us to go. She turned to us and said a quick bye before turning back to her new friends. We loitered in the reception area for a short while before Scarlett popped her head out to demand "Why aren't you leaving yet?" We had our marching orders and spent the bulk of her class at Starbucks.

She was quiet when she came out from her class but very firm in her conviction that she would love to come back to ballet next week. She tried on her new ballet uniform and we signed her up for ten weeks. Did I mention that my petite daughter's feet are too small for the smallest slipper? She needs them tied very tightly on until her feet grow a little bigger!

Showing Grandad her new Ballet clothes
My only pictures are from instagram and for some reason they are very grainy out of that app so I am only going to inflict one upon you.

Each night after the lights are out, Scarlett lies in bed and I sit beside her on the floor and we talk about her day. Last night, I asked her what was the best part of her day. We had just listed all the things she had done including ballet class, a river cruise, a special lunch, visiting the Kite Festival and being with Grandad. She smiled to herself in the darkness and whispered  "Ballet class Mummy. I got to be a princess and a prancing pony."

This Mummy is going to have to get over herself and help Scarlett embrace all the things she can be. Although, be very sure, if I see any of those nasty ballet traits appearing, they will be dealt with swiftly and severely.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Big Shoes To Fill

I am slowly working my way through my New Zealand holiday photos. Generally I am not doing anything with the celebratory photos but more with the activities we enjoyed or the less themed Christmas Day photos.

The layout today was my first from the Main kit Summer of 69 from Studio Calico. I spotted a fab sketch on Susan Stringfellow's wonderful Sketch Savvy blog. The number 97 sketch had some lovely large pieces of patterned paper. Perfect for a new kit full of beautiful papers!

Here is my take.

I kept fairly closely to the sketch. I modified the pinwheel with some diecuts, moved the title slightly because of my paper choices and added a little misting in the top left as the plain kraft just looked a little empty. I also added in some washi for a little added colour.

I love this photo taken on Christmas Day last year. Monkey had had enough of her party clothes and was stomping around the place in her new Elmo shirt from Father Christmas and her Daddy's shoes. I am looking forward to her enjoyment of Christmas this year. She really gets it now!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Listography: 5 Songs I grew up to

I am so pleased to see Listography back and what a wonderful topic. I do not mention it much on my blog but I love music. Pre Scarlett almost all my vacations were arranged around seeing bands live in various exotic and not so exotic locations. 

I loved music from a young age and I have very fond memories of watching Ready to Roll and Shazam as I was growing up in New Zealand.

Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come on Eileen  

This is the first song I can remember being number one. I thought their dungarees were so fashionable. I can still get a decent score on the Wii singing along to this one!

Aha - Take On Me

Unlike all my friends I was in love with Mags, the keybord player, rather than the dishy singer. The video is what sold me on this song and I still think it stands up quite well as a video even now. I really loved Aha and had all their tapes!

Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf 

 I loved this band around the time I was into Aha. I had about four albums on vinyl no less and lots of 7 inch singles. This is not a favourite of mine now but I listened to this song so often that I practically wore the record out - the groove was significantly deeper!

Depeche Mode -  Never Let Me Down Again

If you asked me what my favourite band was growing up my answer would always be Depeche Mode. I still love them. One of the best moments of my life was seeing them live at Wembley Arena with my best mate (who had put up with listening to them when we shared a room at boarding school). It was fantastic! I love this song and video. Dave Gahan could sing the phone book and I would quite happily buy a copy.

New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle

A misspent youth dancing and drinking underage in Singapore was accompanied by a New Order soundtrack. Hearing one of their songs takes me straight back to the Warehouse Night Club where my 13 year old self used to spend her Friday nights. Gotta love growing up at a time when they never age checked the expats!

Thanks so much for posting this prompt Kate. It has been a lovely trip down memory lane. I cannot wait to go and see everyone else's lists now!

Road Trip Album Part Two

I have really enjoyed watching my daughter enjoy this album. It is  helping her remember the names of places and people we visited on our road trip. Even my husband has flicked through it a few times. I think I will make a lot more of this type of mini. I hope Amy Tan is going to keep on making them!

We stayed with Tet's sister Yaeh and her Fiance Henry for two nights in the resort town of Wanaka. They have such a lovely home. I was so excited to finally be able to use the Potty People stickers from the original Amy Tangerine collection on this spread.

Scarlett loved sitting on the deck at Yaeh's. I framed this photo with some Smash Washi tape.

Wanaka is a mountain town with great skiing in the winter and wonderful hot summer days by the lake. Scarlett really enjoyed running around on the town beach.

Wanaka has a permanent population of around 5000 people but this can swell to triple that during the ski season. Scarlett enjoyed visiting her namesake cafe The Cheeky Monkey. They had a lovely garden adjacent that she ran around and burnt off some of that excess energy all toddlers seem to have.

Enjoying the freedom down the long drive to Aunty Yaeh's

I love the pages with lots of journalling space. The pocket has a wee story about Scarlett's first crush.

It was so hard to leave Wanaka behind but our next destination, Tekapo was just as lovely. To top it off Yaeh and Henry drove across to spend an extra day with us!

There is one more section of this mini album to share. I hope you are enjoying this little insight into our trip home.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Giardia and International Travel Don't Play Nicely Together

I am so sorry for the long gap between posts. I was all set to have some pre written posts ready for our trip away when I was taken ill. I had yet another attack of stomach upset which kept me bed and bathroom ridden for three and a half days. Unfortunately, one and a half of those days I was supposed to be travelling and holidaying in Penang. Yes, I missed half my holiday.

Tet, Miss S and my Dad flew up to Penang on Friday as planned while I stayed in bed trying to recover from my mystery stomach ailment. It was my first ever night away from Scarlett and to add salt to the wound, she did not even ask for me until the next morning! I guess she was having too great a time with her daddy and Grandad.

The next day after much Imodium and no food I managed to stagger to the airport and fly up to Penang. I got to the hotel and had a little look around before having to take a very long nap to recover. I was so annoyed that I did not really feel well enough to enjoy the luxury of travelling alone and having a chance to look at the great shops at Changi Airport. It was a lovely quiet time of day that I flew and it was lovely to see the airport without being overwhelmed by thousands of busy travellers.

Waiting for my flight
I spent my first evening sleeping and hearing all about the exciting trip to the Butterfly Farm that they had taken before I arrived. Scarlett was also very excited by the horses that were on the beach. I did manage to catch a photo of the sunsetting after my long nap while the others went to dinner.

The beach is nothing to write home about in Penang but the hotel had a lovely pool and friendly staff. We moved closer into the city the following day as we wanted to enjoy the great food that Penang has to offer. The second hotel, The Gurney, was a paradise for Scarlett. They had a wonderful kids pool with slides and water play, beach football and volleyball (all on the 7th floor of the hotel), giant checker sets, pool tables, birds and bunnies to play with... what more could a toddler ask for?

Children's Pool

The adult's infinity pool was quite pleasant too

By Monday, on a strict diet of crackers, I was able to tackle a little sightseeing. The Georgetown area of Penang is home to some of the old British buildings left over from the time of colonial rule and some wonderful temples - both Chinese and Indian, along with some important mosques. It really is an area that reflects the multicultural nature of Penang.

Finally on the Monday night I was able to eat a proper meal and it had to be at Bali Hai, a great seafood restaurant along Gurney Drive. We had the most delicious Chili Crab along with wonderful soft Chinese buns. My mouth waters just thinking about it. 

We headed home Tuesday afternoon and the trip was to short (especially for me) but we were all ready for a night back in our own beds. My stomach has continued to be a bit precious and my GP has decided that I have most likely contracted Giardia somewhere in the last three months. As a result I have these ongoing issues. We are waiting to see if my tests confirm this but even if they do not I will have some treatment for it as it is the most likely condition. I have my fingers firmly crossed that it is Giardia as I am sick of being sick!

I have some crafty posts lined up for the rest of the week, even though I have barely picked up a pair of scissors in the past few weeks. Having visitors is a definite impediment to regular crafting. I have promised myself I will complete a layout a day this week so with luck I should have a good arsenal of craft to share next week too! 

Happy Monday!