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 @ 

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.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Project Life Catch Up Week 29

This week is the final week we spent in New Zealand. There are slightly fewer photos to share than last week but it is still a pretty full on section in the album. As with the previous weeks, I have used the Dear Lizzy, Amy Tangerine and Maggie Holmes PL Mini Kits with a few embellishments from my stash.

As I mentioned last week, Miss Three loved the winter clothes. She was a huge fan of scarves, gloves and jackets as these are things she never gets to wear in Singapore. I love these photos as I think they give a good indication of her personality too.

One of our favourite memories from the trip was Miss Three and Aunty Anne making gyoza (Japanese dumplings) from scratch. Miss Three had a really good go at making the dumplings and while hers were not quite as perfect looking, they tasted just as good as Aunty Anne's. 

The bottom image in the spread is the view from the playground in Clyde. We loved being surrounded by mountains in this part of the country and we never tired of the fresh air and long views.

While we were down south we spent a wonderful day playing tourists in Queenstown. We absolutely love this town. There is so much to see and do and the food options are really great too. It was a stunning day weather wise which is always a bit of a lottery mid winter. After our adventures up the gondola and wandering around the lake we went to pick up a young friend of Aunty Anne's who came to stay. She and Miss Three got on really well and we stopped in at Arrowtown for an ice cream treat on our way back to Clyde.

We made another stop on the return journey to look at the massive hydroelectric dam just above Clyde. It is pretty impressive and generates a large chunk of the electricity used in the South Island. Sadly that was our last full day in the region and we headed back to Christchurch in one day. We were dreading the journey a little as it is about 6 hours of driving, but Miss Three slept most of the second half of the trip so all was well. 

The final photos in this spread are really special to me. The bottom left shot is of the children from our ante natal group. The group still gets together at least once a month and it was lovely to see Miss Three at play with these children. They got along pretty well and as they were all born within a month of each other (MT is the youngest) it was a fun morning. The other shot of MT with her Grandad is another favourite for obvious reasons.

The final spread for this week is some of the photos from the photo shoot we did with Alpine Image when we visited Wanaka. Tet's sister gave him the shoot and images for his 40th birthday present. It was a wonderful couple of hours spent in the bracing 2 degree temperatures. We got so many amazing shots that we have been a little overwhelmed when it comes to choosing which ones to put on canvas. 

It really was a wonderful break away from reality. It was very hard to leave this time and we have put a lot of thought into how we can get back to New Zealand to live. We don't really have any answers as yet as there is very little work in my husband's field in New Zealand any more. We have been contemplating starting our own business or franchise as a means to get back. Time will tell if we can manage it.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Project Life Week 28

Sleep training Miss 3 is resulting in insomnia for me so this will be an earlier post than usual. I am hoping all the hard yards will pay off on that front but based on last night's effort I can't say I am feeling positive.

Week 28 was the first full week of our trip to New Zealand and it is quite photo heavy. We spent the first half of the week in Christchurch with my Dad and the second half down in Central Otago where my sister and sister-in-law live.

We relished all the open space and blue skies. This spread was kept very simple. I loved the little labels from my Life Paper Scrapbook kit. They are so versatile. As you can see we did encounter some snow on our journey south which Miss Three was very taken with. The novelty of tights and warm clothes had not worn off at this stage of the trip either so she happily dressed for the weather.

I decided to include an insert in this week. This side is devoted to food. We really enjoyed the standard of food and especially coffee on this trip. Two weeks and not a bad or even average coffee in that time. Miss Three renewed her relationship with the fluffy on this trip. The one pictured above with sprinkles and chocolate sauce was her favourite and she requested a special second trip back to the cafe in Clyde to have another one.

The rather amazing looking dessert was hubby's Creme Brulee at a Japanese restaurant in Tekapo. We all fought over the candy floss (cotton candy) that came with it. We even managed to squeeze in the kiwi favourite takeaway of fish and chips. 

The reverse side of the insert shares a couple of our favourite activities in Christchurch. We made the trip to the Antarctic Centre and it was an excellent outing. Lots of interesting displays, penguins and best of all, the Haglund ride. This is an all terrain vehicle used in Antarctica that takes you on a short obstacle course style ride. We all, including my Dad and Miss Three, loved this part of the day.

The other highlight of Christchurch as far as Miss Three was concerned was the Chipmunks indoor playground. We ended up going three times in the eight days we were in Christchurch! It was a great spot to catch up with friends who have small children as it has a cafe attached. We have already had to promise that she can go again when we are back in April!

This page is all down in Central Otago. We stayed with my sister in the tiny town of Clyde. It is a beautiful part of the world and I am a bit sad that she is moving into Alexandra next year as we really enjoyed being in Clyde. On our arrival in Alexandra (where she works) we called into school where Anne had arranged for Scarlett to spend the afternoon with her class. She had a lovely time playing games and reading stories with the big kids. It was the last day of term so a perfect time to be there. We went over to Wanaka that weekend to see Tet's sister and her fiance. No rest for returning expats, that is for sure.

Spending time in Central Otago really made us rethink our future. We were quite impressed by the quality of life in that part of the world. Miss Three loved the fact that people had chickens in their gardens and plenty of space to run about and play. The slower pace of life and friendliness of the people we met also reminded us why New Zealand will always be home for us. The bottom photos here are of the main street of Clyde. The middle set is of Miss Three having a massage from her aunty. Anne used to be a massage therapist so knows what she is doing but overall, S was too ticklish to last long.

This last spread is all about Miss Three. She was lucky enough to be lent a running bike while we were in Clyde and she loved it and got pretty good on it by the time we left. She also met a gorgeous and incredibly tolerant Cavoodle who enjoyed being pushed around the pram and showered in kisses. The opportunities we had to get outside and run were frequent and it would be true to say that Miss Three struggled with the lack of play spaces when we returned to Singapore.

Congratulations if you have made it this far! It has been a bit of an epic post. I apologise for some of the bad reflections on some of these spreads - nothing seemed to improve them much. Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Project Life Catch Up : Week 27

Good morning and welcome to Project Life catch up fortnight. This is what happens when you get seriously behind and then have a massive catch up push in your Project Life album. These weeks have formed the beginning of album two of PL for 2013. I am confident I will only need two albums a year and I am comfortable with that amount of real estate dedicated to our daily lives. With me likely to start work again next year this will probably be a much more detailed album than future efforts.

Week 27 was a bit of a transitional week for us. The first half of the week was full of the usual, school, work housework activities. On the Friday night though, we hopped on the plane for a two week trip back to New Zealand to catch up with family and friends. It also happened to be the week that my husband turned forty.

The layouts for this half of the year are definitely very minimalist in terms of their presentation. I purchased the Dear Lizzy, Amy Tangerine and Maggie Holmes' mini kits and have used them almost exclusively with a few stickers and labels from my stash. I have found that the three collections mix and match really well and keeping my supplies limited has really made the process much faster. I cannot rave enough about the Persnickety Prints 3 x 4 rounded edges photos. Having the photos all cut to size and ready to go has saved me so much time. I am definitely going to be sending batches of photos off there in the future. The shipping cost is reasonable and definitely worth it in terms of the convenience.

The second half of the layout shows Scarlett helping our gardener at the building we live in. What it doesn't show is that both she and I were drenched from head to toe after she got a bit cheeky with the hose. My phone was lucky to survive that particular adventure. I have also included a shot of the playground at Changi Airport that we love for tiring S out just enough to sleep on the plane almost from take off. We have a couple of shots of family welcoming us to Christchurch Airport. Our plane had such terrific tail winds that we landed an hour early beating everyone to the arrivals hall. It was a nice chance to relax with an excellent cup of coffee and enjoy the sunshine. Fortunately my dad only lives ten minutes away! 

The first weekend home was flat tack. We had lunch with some good friends and their children. It was lovely to catch up and let the kids run wild in the playground afterwards. We had a great dinner with my Dad that night. Sunday included a much needed hair cut for me and celebrating Tet's birthday with a surprise party organised by some of our dearest friends. 

I am nearly totally caught up with Project Life (well to the end of September - I need to sort photos and place an order with Persnickety Prints) so I am hopeful that I will have some new layouts to share soon.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We had a 40 hour trip to Bintan  as a lovely break to the regular weekend routine. It was a really relaxing break and even though it was short we all feel so much better for it.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Born to be a Dad

I have been very patient about starting to scrap some of the photos from our photo session in New Zealand. I received a great set of new supplies recently and they included some beautiful Glitz Designs papers. I grabbed one of the black and white photos from the day and whipped up this very simple layout.

I knew with all the action in the patterned paper I needed to keep everything else pretty simple. I added a couple of additional heart embellishments in the form of a paper strip and some stickers to go with the paper I mounted the photo on.

Here is a close up with the journalling.

I love this photo and it was the last shot of the session, taken as we were heading back to the car. We had a wonderful time having the photos taken and there will be a number of the images appearing in layouts in the future.

It was a bit of avoidance working on this layout. I had received 14 weeks of Project Life photos and they were a little overwhelming. An unrelated layout seemed like a much better bet.

I should give fair warning that I am working hard to catch up Project Life. I have completed a couple of weeks worth already this week and this blog could be PL heavy over the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Life Paper Scrapbook Sketch: A Year Is A Long Time

I love seeing posts from the Life Paper Scrapbook blog come up in my Feedly stream. They always have interesting challenges and I have discovered some wonderful new to me scrapbookers for that extra pinch of inspiration.

I was quite excited about the October sketch. I had a couple of ideas and spent some time trying to make a trio of photos work to no avail. I left it for a couple of days and decided to work with just a single image instead.

Once I had decided on the story I wanted to tell it was easy to put the page together and I even found a pink pen so that the journalling worked with my monochromatic colour scheme.

The story behind this page is the sudden departure of one of Miss Three's best school friends. The two of them got on so well together and unfortunately they returned to Australia suddenly and unexpectedly while we were on holiday in New Zealand so Miss Three did not get to say good bye. It is a harsh reality of expat life that friends leave often but I wanted to record the changes in just a short time.

I used a mixture of old and new supplies including some Sassafrass letters and a new Dear Lizzy frame. Once I started with the very pink paper I decided to embrace the pink whole heartedly.

There is a new colour challenge due any day on the LPS blog and I am going to force myself to have a go. I really struggle with colour challenges so I am sure it will be good for me!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Coconut Muffins

Fear not, my blog is not going to turn into a recipe one. I do feel compelled to share these delicious coconut muffins that I discovered while browsing Pinterest recently. I have made them twice and they have turned out perfectly each time so I think it would be rude not to share the joy!

The recipe comes from a new to me blog called The Roasted Root. It is a gluten free recipe but I just subbed the gluten free flour for plain and we were good to go. This recipe is super easy and I have gussied it up a little with dried fruit. Initially I used dried strawberries and then today I added dried bing cherries. We bought these when we were home for the holidays and I am trying to use them up in delicious things before the climate does awful things to them. I just added half a cup of dried fruit. Craisins or dried apricots would be delicious in this recipe too.

We have a play date this afternoon so I decided to test the recipe in new to me cupcake tins. They were an impulse buy but now that I have tried them I will be buying them again. I have not had great luck with silicon baking pans in the past but greased with a little coconut oil these were fantastic.

We have a Halloween party at school for Miss Three later in the month so I can see what I will be bringing to share. With the cool faces on I don't think I will need to add icing or anything to them. I am really happy with how they have turned out.

I will be back tomorrow with a new layout, with a bit of luck. We have a public holiday here tomorrow so it will be nice to have the three of us together midweek.

Obviously, The Roasted Root have no idea who I am but I really wanted to share their (slightly modified) recipe as it is a great one. There are so many delicious things on the blog. I am pinning like mad! Do you have any favourite healthier food blogs you follow? I am always on the lookout for things that we can eat without feeling too guilty. 

Happy Monday, especially to those Mums who have sent their children back to school after the holidays today.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Listmania 35: Five of my favourite places

After bit of a hiatus, I am so pleased to be taking part in Listmania again. My blogging has been, at best, sporadic and at worst, non existent over the past few months but I am doing my best to get back to a place where I am regularly writing and creating.

I had a long think about this when I saw the topic. I have been in the very fortunate position of being both an expat brat and an expat adult and I have travelled quite widely as a result. I did find that three of my places were in my two home countries and the other two are favourite holiday destinations. I guess I am pretty lucky to have been able to live in places that I love.

1. The McKenzie Country region of New Zealand. I cannot get enough of this spot. Some of you will have driven through it on your way to Queenstown or Wanaka but I suggest that you stop and take the time to enjoy this spectacular part of the world. We have spent many happy times as a couple and a family in Twizel, Tekapo and Omarama. If we won Lotto and never had to work again we would seriously consider living here.

A selection of photos from our trips there over the last few years

2. Singapore  I have been fortunate to live here four times throughout my life and although it has its frustrations it is still a city that I am very happy to call home. My daughter was only four months old when we moved here and this is her only home. It is culturally vibrant, constantly changing and a very easy place to live.

A selection of Singapore images

3. Phuket, Thailand  I know it has a reputation  as a tourist trap and there are more remote beaches with fewer people on them in Thailand, but as a place to relax with young children it is hard to beat. We stay away from Patong with all the crazy nightlife and bunk in some of the quieter beaches further north on the coast. The food is incredible, the people are friendly and the beaches are fabulous. I have been visiting Phuket since I was 12 and I am so glad that my daughter loves it just as much as I do.


4.  London I love London even though it is over ten years since I was last there. I know I couldn't live there (the climate is just awful) but as a place to visit it is unparallelled. So much culture, history and excitement around every corner and one of my best friends lives there as well.

5. Christchurch, New Zealand This will always be my home even if I never live there again. The city I grew up in has been erased by the earthquakes but many of the people I love are there and it is a beautiful place.

So there are my favourite places. Sorry for the lack of photos for the latter two. I don't think I even had a camera the last time I was in London and my photos from Christchurch tend to be just family snaps rather than the greater city.

Have you got any favourite places to share? I am always looking for new adventures!