Thursday, 13 December 2012

More Central High Layouts

The pressure is on. All three drawers in my 12 x 12 storage set up have kits in them. I need to finish off Central High so there will be room for my new kit that should be arriving any day. I have completed a couple of new layouts this week and I am hoping to do another couple by the weekend so I can call that kit done and put the remains into my stash and scraps pile. I still have two full pieces of PP and quite a lot of decent sized scraps left at this stage. Those whole pages' days are numbered.

This layout was a total scraplift of a layout by Susan Weinroth that appeared on the Studio Calico blog last week. I loved the way hers looked and took the papers that were available to me in my kit and added some washi , flair and those super versatile Amy Tangerine letters. I also finally cracked open the ribbon that came with the kit. I really loved the PP I have used as the background for this layout. I am so excited to have finally made use of those beautiful Indie Chic chevrons.

I feel a bit cheeky even including this layout as all I really did was cut down the photo, added a couple of pieces of chipboard from the new Dear Lizzy 5th and Frolic collection, added an Amy Tangerine lettering title and a spot of journalling. I liked this patterned paper such a lot that I decided not to ruin it by adding too much extra to it. Still, it tells a story I wanted to tell and that is really what it is all about.

Right I am off to buy a fish tank. My daughter came home from school today with almost a dozen baby fish from her field trip! I haven't the heart to let them die so I will have to go and buy the cheapest tank and pump I can find and give them a chance at life. Here's hoping we can keep the cat away from them! The things we mothers do!

Monday, 10 December 2012

A couple of unseen layouts

I will have some more JYC themed posts later this week but I came across a couple of layouts that I had not previously shared over the weekend and I though they deserved to see the light of day.

More Amy Tangerine goodies on this page - I simply cannot get enough of her Ready Set Go line. I even ordered one of the grab bags that recently came available in her store. I just find her papers especially, really usable. They never languish in my paper drawers like so many other designs! These photos were taken in Christchurch over the summer. Scarlett still talks about eating an ice cream sitting in the boot of Grandad's car! It really made an impression.

I was sure I had shared this layout but I cannot find it anywhere online. I must have been dreaming!

This is yet another Christmas holiday layout from 2011 using Studio Calico kits including some Amy Tangerine. This photo was taken after a very large Christmas lunch. We took Scarlett to play at a local park and to walk off some of the food. She loved hanging out with her aunt and soon to be uncle.

We had an amazingly busy weekend including a visit to Father Christmas, watching some ice skating and a Carols by Candlelight evening at the Australian School. I am worn out just thinking about all we got done!

Have a wonderful Monday and week ahead!

Friday, 7 December 2012

December Daily 2012 Progress

I have to admit that my plan to just use my Instax camera has not been that successful as I am so used to just grabbing my phone for that quick shot. I have taken a variety of Instax photos but I have taken a lot more on my phone and even on my point and shoot. After a major shopping expedition yesterday, we have ink for the printer so I am hoping to get some photos printed and to experiment on printing on vellum tonight and will get caught up on my pages.

I have completed my first two days. What you may notice is that I have added some extra pages in. I called into my new LSS and they had a buy 5 Christmas items and get 50% off promotion on. I picked up Crate Paper's Peppermint 6 x 6 pad and a variety of Christmas embellishments. Who could resist at half price?! I have also just sent off an order to Greatest View after being successfully enabled by Rosalie on Instagram. Lots of lovely flair at her the Greatest View Etsy shop and her international shipping rates are very low.

Day One - the construction of our tree and the dancing with happiness daughter

Decorating the tree - well the bottom half mainly

Finally got to use up some of these larger sequins!

I am pretty happy with things so far - I just wish I was a little further along. I will be playing catch up next week while Scarlett is at school.

I took Scarlett shopping for her Daddy's Christmas present today. I picked up a few clothes for her at H & M yesterday and she decided to wear the new dress today. The accessories are all her own choice! Scarlett definitely has her own sense of style. Now if I can just get her to stop showing off her Tinkerbell knickers now she is toilet trained we will be in business!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

JYC Best Present

I am more than a little embarrassed to say that I do not remember many specific presents from my childhood. I have a much greater memory of the feeling of anticipation as Christmas got closer and closer and the excitement of what would be waiting for us in our pillowcases on Christmas morning.

One memory that sticks in my mind was the Christmas I was nine. My sister and I went out to the lounge, unwrapped all the presents and then wrapped them all up again before heading back to bed. My parents never had any idea until years later when we told them.

I have to say Christmas is so much more exciting now we have a child to share it with. S is all about the presents and the food. Her first Christmas she was pretty confused about the whole experience. She was quite happy to rip paper off the presents but was not too sure about the contents.

Poppy can always be relied upon to assist

Opening presents in front of the gift giver on Skype

By last year Scarlett had a much better grasp of the whole process. We even managed to stop her from opening any presents until her aunties arrived at ten thirty.

Seeing what is inside her Santa Sack

Finally opening some presents with Daddy

Opening presents with Aunty Yaeh 2011
Scarlett is so thoroughly spoilt at Christmas by all the extended family. Fortunately, we only head home alternate years! However, Father Christmas has been shopping up a storm this year. I am hoping that Miss S will be suitably appreciative. Through the miracle of the internet, there are some toys coming that are unavailable in Singapore. I am most looking forward to the Little People Nativity set!

I am also taking part in the photo prompts for Journal Your Christmas via Instagram. The tag is #jyc2012 if you are interested in playing along. My Instagram name is clairetomonaga if you would like to see my contributions.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

JYC Planning Happiness

I need to start off by saying I just love the idea of planning happiness. When I actually stopped and thought about it I have been working hard to think of lots of  fun and memorable activities for Scarlett this month so I guess I am planning happiness of a sort.I cannot wait to take her to see the snow at one of the malls, get her photo taken with Father Christmas and enjoy a special hot chocolate date with her parents.

Scarlett's first visit to Father Christmas did not go well - she would not go closer and the screaming was something else!

Our Christmas is a little different up here. It is probably going to be 28 degrees on the day. No snow that is for sure. This year we will have my sister coming to spend the holidays with us which will be great fun. We never cook a big Christmas meal. Like most Singaporean apartments, mine came without an oven. I cannot see me cooking a turkey and roast veges in my convection microwave - maybe a skinny chicken! We have booked into a cafe for Christmas lunch. All the traditional favourites with no cleaning up afterwards.

Scarlett enjoying her first Christmas lunch at The Regent Hotel - she ate her own weight in ham

There has not really been any planning involved for the week with the exception of making a lunch reservation. I have bought all my presents except my husbands. He has given me very clear instructions as to what he would like. I just have to make my way to the correct store.

Our trip to Thailand on Boxing Day has probably required the most planning and hubby has been responsible for most of that. We are staying at an apartment rather than a hotel this time which should work really well with the needs of the adults and the toddler on the trip. I know that Phuket is our Asian happy place as a family and I cannot wait to get my feet on that white sand.

Relaxing on the beach

Dinner time Phuket style

I do miss the more traditional family lunch we would have if we were back in New Zealand but it will be way less drama filled! 

Are you responsible for planning your family get together this year? Is it an all singing all dancing production or a quieter more intimate celebration? I am very interested in the way the holidays are celebrated in different communities.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

JYC The First Sign of Christmas

I have to admit I was surprised at the first things that popped into my head when I read the Day 2 prompt. I feel like the season is here either when my feet hit the beach in Phuket, Thailand or when we go fruit and pea picking in New Zealand! Neither I suspect are the traditional answers to when you feel the festive season has begun.

I think I may need to take a few steps back to help put these two disparate options into some sort of context. I lived in New Zealand until I was 8 and then in Singapore until I was 15. When I lived in New Zealand going fruit (usually berry) picking before Christmas was a fun family activity before Christmas. When we lived in Singapore, if we did not go home for Christmas we spent the ten days before Christmas Eve in Phuket having a relaxing beach holiday. Both of these things totally scream Christmas to me!

I do not have access to my childhood photos as they are in NZ with my Dad but I do have photographic evidence of the way that we have embraced these traditions in our little family of three. 

We spent last Christmas back in New Zealand.

Grandad and Scarlett picking raspberries

It wasn't hard to find plenty of ripe ones

Taking instruction on the finer points of fruit picking

Scarlett picked all these herself

It was wonderful to see three generations picking together and enjoying the sunshine. The man who owns the place where we pick always tells us to eat at least as many as we buy so it is a pretty delicious way to spend an hour or two.

Christmas 2010 and 2012 will involve a few days in Phuket as we are spending Christmas Day in Singapore. This year will be great as my sister is coming from New Zealand to join us and Tet's brother and his girlfriend will meet us in Phuket too. Our trip in 2010 was much more low key as it was just Tet and Scarlett and me. We stayed at one of the quieter beaches and had a wonderful time. I was thrilled to see Scarlett enjoying just the same sort of childhood holiday that I loved so many years earlier.

It was a hard job spending time under these umbrellas and in the warm waters but we managed to survive

Scarlett loved playing in the sand

She was busy making sand castles at 10 months - she started walking a week after we got home from this trip

The beach air meant Scarlett had lots of great naps

Even though we now get to Phuket the day after Christmas it still feels like our holiday season starts with taking off our shoes and feeling the sand between our toes. I am much more excited this year about going to Phuket than I am about Christmas Day itself.

Do you have any rituals that signify the start of the season? Are they the traditional Black Friday shopping adventures or is there something a little more unique in your family. I would love to know what marks the beginning of your festive season.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Memories and the Beginning of Christmas

For once in my life I have actually got a little organised and prepared some page blanks to use for my December Daily. I was so thrilled to have a quiet child free morning and I managed to complete eight pages thinking about the sorts of things we are most likely to do. I am a little reluctant to go to much further ahead as I don't want to be forced to do my activities on set days so things fit in my album.

Here are the eight page bases.

I decided it needed a little introduction and I loved the word stickers from Cosmo Cricket's Tiny Type Christmas set.

I loved the mixture of paper and veneer Christmas trees. I still have not gotten over my love of those veneer stars. They need to make them forever!

I had to use some of my washi collection. The layering  is far from perfect but I love all the Christmas motifs and colours on this page.

I know that I am going to be in the line at the Post Office on Friday sending all our parcels back to NZ so I decided to use this label so I could record it. Yes, I will be taking my instax there!

When I first saw this paper I really did wonder how on earth I could I could use it in Singapore. Then I remembered there is a Snow City which has an indoor snow and skiing set up or we could visit the indoor ice skating rink at the Marina Bay Sands. Either way, we will be doing something cold weather that will help my daughter grasp what a northern hemisphere Christmas is all about.

I have mainly used my Simple Scrapper kit with some additional Studio Calico, October Afternoon and other odds and ends from my stash.

I am so super excited to be starting now. I am starting to realise that I am not going to be able to incorporate my Journal Your Christmas in this book but I am excited to blog about it and perhaps create a photo book or even some 12 x 12 pages to record these memories.

Is everyone else feeling excited about this season? What are you doing to record your Holiday season?

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Journal Your Christmas : My Christmas Manifesto

I have signed up for Shimelle Laine's Journal Your Christmas class this year and I intend to blog along with a number of the prompts and scrap them as and when I feel the urge. I will definitely be working a day behind at least as I generally do not receive the prompts until quite late in the day due to the time difference involved.

This December I intend to:

  • Believe in the magic
  • See the season through my daughter's eyes
  • Create special memories
  • Embrace the imperfection of the moment
  • Open my heart to the beauty of the season
  • Celebrate what may be our last Singapore Christmas
  • Give to those less fortunate than our family
  • Focus on the family we will be seeing this month rather than on absent friends and family
  • Enjoy a December to remember

Do you have a plan for this month. Please share it in the comments as I would love to see it!

We have been making some progress getting our tree up and decorated.

Someone is pretty excited about the tree!


Friday, 30 November 2012

Red Riding Hood Yarns

A little bit of something different today. As well as scrapbooking I also like to work the occasional cross stitch and have even been known to knit. Lately, I have come across a couple of women online who dye their own wool and sell it via Facebook. Now I love beautiful wool and I have been kinda cyber stalking these sites watching and waiting for wool.

A couple of months ago I was intrigued by a one off Spring Shawl Club run by Red Riding Hood Yarns so I took a leap of faith and ordered one. There was a choice of a Light or Night option so I went with night and waited to see what arrived.

I was thrilled when I checked the letterbox today to find my parcel. It smelt incredible. I ran upstairs and being a good blogger took photos of the contents.

Inside the bubble bag were two intriguingly shaped parcels and the fragrance was even stronger! I decided to open the soft one first.

The second photo gives a better idea of the colour of the wool. It is a variegated purple and just beautiful in real life. Please excuse a small set of toes in the second picture. Someone was very curious about the red parcels. The vial attached is full of tiny purple beads to adorn the edge of the shawl.

Once I finished oohing and aahing over the first parcel, I opened the second.

It included a sweet treat in the form of some Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a Phoenix Rising Bath Bomb from Lush. What Mum could resist chocolate and a relaxing bath? I think Hannah really knows her market. 

If you like to knit or crochet, Hannah has regular stockings on her Facebook page and her rainbow skeins have to be seen to be believed. I have had a pretty ordinary day and this delivery has really brightened it.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Busy Days

December is nearly upon us and life is getting a little more frantic. There is a lot of change being signalled at hubby's work early next year and with that comes uncertainty about where we will be living by the middle of next year. We would love to remain in Singapore but odds are we will be elsewhere in South East Asia or perhaps we may even have to return to New Zealand. It makes for a challenging time. Thank goodness for blogging and scrapbooking where I can get some of that stress out in the open!

We have a surprise for Scarlett this afternoon. Hubby is taking a half day and we are off to see a Disney Live Performance at the Marina Bay Sands this afternoon. She is a great fan of all things Disney so we hope it will cheer her up. She is still sick but definitely brighter than yesterday. Mean Mummy made her rest most of the day yesterday and it appears to have paid off.

I have another simple layout to share. It used my favourite paper of the last year. I am a big fan of MME but this muted chevron paper really captured my heart. I kept the layout pretty minimal so the paper could sing.

I am still a big fan of the MME enamel dots and maybe went just a little overboard with them! Can you have too much of a good thing? The photo is from Tet's work's family day. I love the way it captures how he holds Scarlett and the lovely location  the event was held at.

Right I had better sort out some lunch and we need to be all ready so we can snatch one of the booster seats at the theatre, otherwise Scarlett will be on our knees all afternoon! Enjoy your Thursday!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Garden City

We really enjoy living in Singapore and now that there is some uncertainty about how much longer we will be here we are trying to make the most of our time here.

One of the things we love is how green it is here. Even though the island is really tiny, huge amounts of space are given over to plants and trees and the city feels exceptionally verdant. We spend a lot of time exploring parks and playgrounds trying to burn off lots of toddler energy. 

By this time of year there is far less outdoor activity as the monsoon has arrived. Some days we barely see any rain but others it buckets down for most of the day. On these sort of days we resort to indoor playgrounds and such in the malls. Scarlett also has weekly gym and ballet classes to keep her active whatever the weather.

One of our favourite malls is on the other end of the island near the airport. Whenever we visit Changi City Point we wonder why we don't go more often. There is a great water play area, an indoor playground and a wonderful amphitheatre which is the subject of today's layout.

The amphitheatre is decorated like a field of sunflowers and Scarlett loves running up and down the stairs and generally burning off steam. The clouds painted above the sunflowers are lovely too.  This is another Roller Rink special with a lot of Amy Tangerine papers and some Echo Park borders and letters. 

We have a sick wee girl here today... another school day missed. Her parent conference went really well last night. Her teachers are really pleased with her and are going to arrange some testing for her as they believe she may need some more structured extension in her learning. It sounds like she is pretty well behaved at school too which was a relief!

I am planning a night of prepping my December Daily album tonight. My kit from Simple Scrappers arrived today and it is lovely. I have some beautiful bits and pieces from Studio Calico's Wonderland and Crate Paper's Sleigh Ride to jazz it up a bit. I have also signed up for Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas for the  first time. I am starting to get really excited about it all!

Have a great rest of your week!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Garden Days

Busy, exciting days here at present. The most exciting thing is that Scarlett got up on Monday and said "I am not wearing nappies anymore Mum. Get me my knickers!" We were not going to argue with her and she has done super well so far. She had a little accident yesterday at home and one outside at school but otherwise used the toilet or potty all day. We braved a trip to the mall today and that went really well too. I always figured we would have to let her lead the way and it has been worth waiting. She is exactly 2 and three quarters so it isn't too late in the piece.

We are off to school later today for Scarlett's first Parent Teacher conference. We are really fortunate in Scarlett's school as they keep us well up to date with how she is progressing but it is nice to go in and talk to her teachers and get a good overview of her progress. 

I am continuing to plug away at my photos from last year's Christmas trip and my SC Roller Rink kit. Both are definitely nearing an end! These photos came from a couple of different outings, showing how much Scarlett enjoyed being in the outdoors when we were back in New Zealand.


I really was not too sure about such a vibrant background pattern but I found putting a white frame around the floral made it a little less striking. All the greenery in the photos works well with the bolder colours too.

I hope your week is going well. I had my first soy coffee today and while it wasn't as nice as with normal milk it wasn't poisonous either so I guess I will get used to the no milk approach.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Cupcakes and Results

I cannot believe how quickly the weekend went! One minute it was Friday night and the next thing here we are on Monday morning. We had a great weekend. My rapidly improving health meant we spent lots of time out and about. We have also had some good uninterrupted nights of sleep. Scarlett is no longer having an afternoon nap which means she is generally out for the count by 7 pm and not appearing in our room until around six. I cannot tell you how happy that is making everyone.

I got an unexpected call from my specialist this morning. It turns out that all the testing I had done last week was worthwhile. I have no markers for coeliac or gluten intolerance but I have developed lactose intolerance as a result of food poisoning. Those who know me in real life will realise this is not good news. My favourite food in the world is cheese. I love cream and ice cream and milky drinks. At least it does mean that I may be able to drastically reduce my symptoms and even reduce or stop taking medication all together. I am still not sure if giving up cheese will be worth it!

A foody layout to finish today's post. My daughter loves cupcakes. We have a number of good bakeries in our neighbourhood. Scarlett's favourites is called Swirls and they only make cupcakes. 

They have a few tables and chairs outside where you can enjoy their beautiful cupcakes and this photo was taken at one. Scarlett enjoys walking along the river and a big part of that enjoyment is stopping at Swirls for a cupcake on the way home. 

I used papers from Roller Rink and the add ons for this layout. I love the MME background paper and just added a little dimension to the pre printed elements on the page. I hand cut some pennants behind the photo to echo the printed ones in the bottom corner. The grid background made it easy to keep my journalling neat and orderly!

Have a wonderful Monday and I fully recommend the cupcake solution if the day is less than perfect. It always improves my mood, if not my waistline.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Blossoming Relationship

One of the things I have loved about becoming a parent is watching the relationship between my daughter and my Dad develop. He was the first to admit that babies are not really his thing but as Scarlett has grown older and become more capable the two of them love spending time together.

I kept this layout very simple. I wish there were sounds available with this photo as the shrieking from Scarlett as Grandad tickled her was off the scale! This is another photo that I love as it shows the living room at my Dad's house. We spend a lot of time in this room and it is nice to have it recorded, at least in part.

The layout is made almost entirely from the Roller Rink kit and add ons. I am still in love with the little lettering from Basic Grey ad the Studio Calico veneer stars. I don't know what I will do when they run out! 

I have had a really good couple of days on new medication and I am feeling almost like my old self. It is amazing the difference feeling well makes to my state of mind. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for at the moment.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Hospitals, Specialists and Sleep

It has been an interesting few weeks. I have gone from having IBS which was mildly disruptive to my life to not being able to leave the house or indeed my bedroom as it was making me so unwell. I have no idea what has caused the escalation and nor does my Gastroenterologist. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of blood tests, allergy testing and new medications in an attempt to bring me something approaching normal quality of life. IBS may not have any link to serious diseases but my goodness it can ruin your life!

This week I have been to the hospital twice. First to see my specialist and the second time to undertake Lactose Intolerance testing. I am the dairy queen. If it is made from milk I love it so I am seriously praying that the results come back negative as I really do not know what I would do if I can no longer eat dairy. I am back at the hospital again this afternoon to meet with a dietician in the hope of finding a way of eating which is going to minimise or eliminate my symptoms. We are also waiting for the results of a blood test to see if I may have a gluten intolerance. We would also be testing for fructose intolerance but the test is not available in Singapore so we just have to wing it on that.

I have become a spectator rather than a participant in family activities. I am not eating very much as my appetite has completely left the building. As a result I have no energy. I tried to go out with my husband and daughter twice on the weekend but only managed to be out for an hour before I needed to go home and rest. On Saturday I slept for five hours to recover from being out watching my daughter at her gym class. My daughter has been crying at school because she is worried about me and she wants my tummy to get better. She does not want to go to school any longer because she needs to look after me (this equates to watching lots of Disney movies while I am in the same room apparently). It breaks my heart.

At least this week I have managed to be up during the day. Last week I spent most days in bed and sleeping when I wasn't spending hours in the bathroom. I am eternally grateful that my husband has no work trips until the new year as I could not manage without him. He has been a total star but even he is starting to wonder if this is ever going to get any better. If it doesn't we will have to get a helper as I cannot be relied upon to be able to get Scarlett to school every day or even be able to cook her dinner. I just want my life back.

I have managed to do a little bit of creating on the couch in the last few days. It has been nice to do something approaching normal. I have been wondering about scrapping what is going on at the moment but I think it is too immediate and, to be honest, too depressing to write about.

 I wanted to focus on something positive and I love this picture of Scarlett and me out for brunch. Amy Tangerine papers also make me happy so I used those all over the layout. Even the border strip on the bottom is a branding strip from one of the 12 x 12 pages. I added a handful of sequins and some diecuts to embellish the layout. I am so in love with the little Basic Grey alphas. They are the perfect size for everything.

The Freckled Fawn washi is featuring on a lot of layouts currently. Those arrows and the colour combination just seems to work with everything.

I have quite a large collection of sequins now after discovering a lady selling them on Etsy. She is based in South Africa and I got thousands of sequins for about $10 and her postage was super reasonable. Her store is Ruby Supply and sells all kinds of haberdashery treasures. Crafting really is a universal language!

I have really missed my blog and my readers. I don't want to be a real Debbie Downer on here but I also cannot paint everything as sunshine and roses during a pretty difficult time for me. Let's hope all these tests give me some answers and that I can join my family on our Christmas holiday. At this point my health won't allow it.

Friday, 9 November 2012

A very special elephant

This layout came together really quickly. I pulled the photo out of my stack of photos to scrap and the elephant jumped out at me. I knew I had an elephant or two floating around from the most recent Amy Tangerine collection and everything fell into place.

This layout is another Roller Rink plus add ons effort with the addition of some Tim and Beck alphas, MME word stickers and the yellow airmail washi. The journalling card is from OA's Sidewalks collection and it just seemed to fit the theme perfectly.

I totally got my Shimelle on with the repeating elements in my embellishment clusters. I am so in love with the MME enamel dots. I hope they remain part of future lines as they are so versatile.

The playground shown in the layout was a real part of my childhood and I am so excited it has become part of Scarlett's. We lived on the other side of town from my grandparents when I was little and it always seemed to take forever to get to their house. We always knew when we saw the elephant slide that we were nearly there. My grandparents have moved a couple of blocks since then and the playground is now just around the corner from them. We always stopped and played with Scarlett there when we visited my grandparents. She talks fondly about the elephant slide... elephants are most definitely one of her things.

We have had a few Internet issues this week and so I am very excited to get back online and blog. Our laptop couldn't see our wireless feed and would not connect to the Internet. So while we could still get online on the Ipad and phones it made accessing photos impossible. Suddenly it started working again late yesterday for no apparent reason. 

We have been having a bad run with appliances this week. The bulb blew in our extractor fan and the bulb shattered and cut the wires causing the whole hood to become live. I got a nasty shock off it and then my husband managed to trip power to the entire apartment trying to discover what was going on. Nothing like some unexpected drama.

We have a public holiday here on Tuesday. Hubby has taken Monday off so I think we are off to try out the new Legoland that opened just over the border in Malaysia on Monday. I am hoping that there will be enough rides for Scarlett to go on that she will enjoy it. Although I think she is tiny, (well she is in the bottom 25% for height in New Zealand) most locals tell me how tall she is! Fingers crossed she will be tall enough to have fun.

Have a super weekend!