Thursday, 28 March 2013

Shimelle Sketch: Fort Cornwallis

I am struggling to keep up with my blog reader. I am one of the dinosaurs who loves Google Reader and I am really sad that it is disappearing later in the year. I still haven't decided where to transfer my blog list to - I have heard good things about Feedly but I have not had time to look into it any further. The reason that I mention this is that I am about five posts behind Shimelle Laine's blog at present. I thought this sketch was quite current but alas it isn't so. On the upside, I have a lot of great posts to look forward to if I ever get the chance to catch up.

The sketch I was drawn to was this one.
scrapbooking sketch by shimelle laine @
It is lovely and simple but with room to play. Just the way I like it!

Here is my take. I kept pretty much to the sketch although my photos were a bit smaller than 4 x 6. In lieu of patterned paper, I used a double strip of the gorgeous ombre washi that came with my Studio Calico February kit, Front Row. The colours from the tape blended so nicely with the patterned papers from the kits and helped showcase all the gorgeous tropical greenery at Fort Cornwallis. I love the AC Kitten Thickers on this layout too. It all just makes my heart happy. I suspect I may go back and outline the Penang at the very bottom of the layout as it is getting a little lost on the tape.

These photos are from our trip to Penang with my Dad last year. We visited Fort Cornwallis on the first day I felt halfway human. It was a nice little outing and it was good to see more of Penang than the beaches and great restaurants. There was a very sweet little cemetery there with graves of the early European settlers. The tropical climate was very hard on the women and children and it was really quite poignant.

By the time this post goes live I will be in Malaysia having a short break in Kuala Lumpur. For those who celebrate, have a wonderful holy season and for those who don't, enjoy your long weekend. We hope to.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hello World : March First Stuck Sketch

I have found sketches really useful lately. I have struggled more than a little to work with some of my SC kits of late and sketches have been a life saver. The Stuck site sketches have been a good starting point.

The first March sketch caught my eye for a number of reasons.

I have found I have a number of odd bits and pieces left over from cut apart sheets for Project Life or odd shaped boxes of patterned paper after I have finished with a kit. I knew I wouldn't use square images like those shown in the sketch but decided to use a standard 4 x 6 under the title wording.

Most of this project is from scraps and cut aparts included in the January Studio Calico kit, Block Party. I started off by misting the centre of the wood grain paper with some plum thumb Mister Huey just to carry the red throughout the layout. I replaced the photos from the sketch with pieces from a Carta Bella cut apart sheet in the kit. This photo makes everything look a little more washed out than it appears in reality. The cut aparts are not as far from the colour of the thickers as they appear.

I took my title from the piece of flair included beside the photo. I have a very confident daughter and she loves getting out into the world, seeing new places and meeting new people. This shot just seemed to fit with the theme.

If you think you would like to try this sketch there are prizes to be won until the end of the month so visit Stuck Sketches and have a go.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Project Life 2013 Week 10

This is a much more low key week than last week's birthday extravaganza. I have found I am taking fewer photos this month and have put that down to not taking part in Fat Mum Slim's Photo a Day. That encourages me to have my camera out every day and without following those prompts I have found that my camera and phone are sitting unused in my bag. I am looking forward to getting back with the program in April.

I went with the KISS philosophy this week and just used the back sides of last week's cards. I used some kraft Studio Calico letters for the title (sorry about the glare - this is the best of a very bad bunch) and hand wrote all my journalling. I added a few Crate Paper numbered tabs from their birthday party line and some random stickers from my stash.

I have included a photo from Indonesia where hubby spent part of his week, a piece of art on the wall of a local Starbucks, a selfie and a selection of Scarlett shots. My favourite would have to be the picture of her playing with Oscar and Brandy. Every school morning we have to rush down early so she gets in a few minutes of doggy time before she gets on the bus. On a really good day, Summer (a Siberian husky) joins in too. Scarlett adores dogs and we are fortunate that we have neighbours who have friendly dogs who love her too. We get all the fun stuff without any of the responsibility.

I took the opportunity to use up a brighter sheet of chevron and polka dot paper from one of my kits that I did not see me using on a layout. I liked the contrast of the blue against the pink from the previous page. 

A few Scarlett shots in the larger pockets on this side, just for a change. She has taken to really posing for the camera and the top left shot is a typical one. I have no idea where she got this pose from but it is quite amusing. She is turning into a real little fashionista and insists on trying things on in every shop we go into. She really liked these adult sunnies.

I added some odds and ends to finish the week. I liked an instagram shot of all my sequins neatly stored in their container. So much sparkly goodness in one space. I also included some of the art going up in a new farmers market opening soon here. I loved the neon sign and the other shot is of part of a wall covered in vintage style food advertisements.

I am still playing catch up but as long as I am within a couple of weeks of where I should be I am okay with that.

ETA I am linking up with the Mom Creative weekly Project Life link up

The Mom Creative

Monday, 25 March 2013

Listmania 10 A-Z of Now

It is Monday and it is Listmania time again. This week's challenge is an A - Z of now which I so enjoyed thinking and writing about. It is such a perfect way to see where life is for us right now.

Post image for Listmania Ten: A to Z of now

A is for adventure, our word of 2013. It has felt like we have chosen the safe path a bit too often lately and this reminds us to take some risks.

B is for burr grinder - it seemed expensive at the time but this little gem has successfully kept me caffeinated for five years now without missing a beat

C is for Changi Airport. We are off on a little trip later in the week and this airport is truly one of our happy places. So many things to see and do there and the Gold Lounge is always good for fuelling Miss Three if it all gets too much.

D is for diet - not the losing weight kind but the adapting to life without dairy kind. I have found some great resources but it is still really hard to eat anything other than Asian food when we go out and I really miss baked goods that I haven't made myself.

E is for exercise. I need to start getting more of this. The monsoon made me lazy and it was a long one this year. April is going to be my month to walk every day. Just 30 minutes. I know my brain and my body will thank me.

F is for family - hokey maybe but our little family of three is generally a happy healthy little unit

G is for gratitude. We are starting a gratitude handbook in April. My kit has just arrived and we will sit down together and think of something we are each grateful for and record it with a photo or a drawing. It is a habit I want Miss Three to get into and if we use it as a positive family time then so much the better.

H is for the Happiness Project which is in the mail to me now. I have enjoyed following Gretchen Rubin on Facebook for a while and I now want to take a more focused approach to increasing my happiness quota.

I is for independent. Miss Three is increasingly independent and I want to encourage this all the time and not just when it suits me. I need to give her the time to do things herself even if it is slower. She will thank me in the long run.

J is for jewellery. I hardly ever wear any and I want to change that. Scarlett has more broken jewellery than I have jewellery full stop.

the current selection of broken jewellery

K is for Kuala Lumpur. We are off here for a few days and it is a city I haven't been to for years. We have good friends staying there so it will be a good chance to see them before they move to Bangkok.

L is for life coach. I am increasingly at the point where I think I need one - just to help me decide where to from here. I really am at a cross roads and I think someone outside my life might be better placed to help guide me through it.

M is for messy crafts. I need to let this happen more often. She does a lot of messy things at school but it is good to do them with me as well.

N is for nurturing both my self and my family relationships. Life has been busy lately but April is looking much less stressed and rushed for all of us. I want to take the time to spend meaningful moments with hubby and Miss Three, creating memories that we will look back on with fondness.

O is for organised. My craft supplies are semi organised thanks to my sister but there is definitely room for improvement. I want to know exactly what I have and where it is so I get the most use possible out of those supplies.

P is for Poppy, our gorgeous, slightly neglected, Maine Coon. She is becoming a much more affectionate cat in her middle age and our late night nuzzles are a blessing.

Q is for quiet. I often have noise from the tv on just to avoid the silences. I want to use those silent mornings to think more and give myself the relaxation that will enable me to make the most of my afternoons with Miss Three

R is for radio. We don't have the joys of pandora or similar in Singapore but I need to get more online radio and podcasts into my day. I particularly enjoy the National radio broadcasts from back home as it keeps me in the loop with politics and so on. The time difference does make it a little tricky though.

S is for schools and making a decision about where to send Miss Three next year. We have gone round and round on this topic but the time has come to book some school visits and make a decision.

T is for tea. While coffee will always be my poison of choice, I am beginning to appreciate the joys of tea. I have discovered some lovely herb and spice blends and it is nice to have something I can drink at any time of the day.

U is for undecided. I just do not know where to for me next both location wise and job wise. See L is for life coach.

V is for variety. Life has been a bit formulaic of late so I am looking to shake things up.

W is for winter envy. I know most Northern Hemisphere folk are well and truly over their long and hard winter but I really miss cold weather.

X is for eXhaustion - a perennial problem with the parents of toddlers and pre schoolers. We are no exception. I would give a great deal for a few sleep ins.

Y is for yarn. My knitting project is well over half done and I am starting to look at beautiful yarns for my next one.

Z is for the zoo. Miss Three loves it and it has been way too long since we last visited. I am wondering if she might be old enough to try the Night Safari this year.

Head over to Home Life Simplified and see the other lists. It is such a fascinating insight into the lives of the contributors.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Just a random snap

I had a spare few minutes earlier this week so I grabbed a drawer of supplies and a photo from 2011 that I really wanted to get scrapped. I didn't really have a plan, I just wanted to spend some time creating.

This photo was from our trip home at the end of 2011. Scarlett and I had a lovely meet up with my old work mate and good friend, Natasha and her daughter Bethany. We met at a very child friendly cafe in New Brighton. Miss Three was very impressed with her first Children's Platter. Bethany was a star at looking after Miss Three (who was then nearly two) but I think she wore her out! It was so nice to catch up with Natasha and for Miss Three to have a big girl to play with.

I still love chevron paper as a background and this grey was no exception. I added  a few scraps from the December and January kits. The journalling card is an October Afternoon one from my stash. I used a few pieces from the new Amy Tangerine collection to embellish the page and another Pink Paislee star .

Sorry for the quiet patch this week. We are in the middle of a long travel stint for my husband and that drastically reduces my creative and free time. I am hoping to be back on top of things next week.

Have a wonderful weekend. I am solo parenting this weekend so I suspect I will need a holiday by Monday morning!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Project Life: The Birthday Week

You would be forgiven for thinking that Scarlett's birthday lasted a week rather than a day looking at the spread for this week. In truth it was a bit of a drawn out process. Her actual birthday was on Monday. We had her in school Montessori celebration on Friday and her party was on Sunday. Kudos to the small girl who made her third birthday last an entire seven days.

I was inspired by Danielle Higginbottom-Brown's use of some old MME papers on her Project Life. I decided to take a similar tack and pulled a bunch of old Crate Paper pieces from my stash along with one Little Yellow Bicycle butterfly print and I got started. This page is all Crate Paper with the exception of some cut outs from a sheet of Dear Lizzy paper from her previous collection and a Studio Calico month tag. The whole week has a lot of pieces from a cut apart sheet from the Crate Paper Party Day collection. It made the spread come together really well.

This page is all pictures from Miss Three's actual birthday. She and I were both under the weather so we had a very quiet day. She opened her presents, played with her new toys including some new Little People Disney Princesses and a carriage to get them to the ball on time and two baby dolls. She ended the day with her requested dinner of a home made hot dog and chips with lots of sauce.

There are two inserts this week to cover Miss Three's birthday party at Build A Bear. This page is more Crate Paper with some Hampton Arts paper (perfectly sized for the square pockets) and some more Dear Lizzy images. Oh and a little October Afternoon washi for some number interest.

The photos pretty much speak for themselves with the inserts. We had a great party with six of Scarlett's little friends and their parents. I can totally recommend a Build A Bear party as the women working there were really great with the children and they were all very engaged with the process of making their own toy. Best of all no goody bags to worry about as they take the bear home with them!

More of the same Crate Paper and Hampton Arts papers here with the addition of a Creative Bubble printable along side the picture of Miss Three and her new Rainbow Bear.

The inserts cover all the phases of the party right through to cake eating at the end. There were a couple of images I wanted in a larger size so I included those in our second standard page.

I loved the group shot (minus one camera shy guest) and the very serious looking Scarlett with her two best buds before she blew out her candles. Birthdays are quite serious when you are three.

 The first three smaller photos on this page are from her school celebration. It was such a moving way of celebrating the way Scarlett has grown and changed in the last three years. I was very touched by it and the lovely way her classmates took part. It was totally worth putting together the 23 goody bags the night before!

I have included a couple of other photos to show that we did do a little bit of non birthday related stuff. One of the local malls celebrated the Japanese holiday Girls' Day and we went to see the celebrations and S and T had their photos taken. We also had a trip out to West Coast Park where S showed off her climbing skills on a lovely sunny day.

These pages were all backed on Little Yellow Bicycle butterflies or Crate Paper polka dots with very minimal embellishment. I was a little bit worn out by the end of this week!

I still love Project Life and am all ready to share the next week's pages too. It is such a fun way to record the details that might otherwise be forgotten.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Listmania 9: The Things That Make Me Happy At Home

I had mixed feelings about this list. I love our little house back in New Zealand. It was decorated to our taste with furniture we had chosen ourselves. Some lucky family is enjoying our wee house currently.

We have lived for the past 33 months in a furnished apartment. The location is fantastic. It is a good size by Singapore standards and it is a perfectly fine place to live. It just isn't us. The furniture is not what we would choose. We haven't really put much up on the walls as we don't know how long we are going to be here. While it feels like home because the people and animals I love are here, it will always feel temporary. The expat life is a transient one and it is tricky to put down too many roots, knowing how hard it will be when the inevitable move comes.

It was a great exercise though, in looking at the things I do like about my home. Funnily enough almost all of those things were outside our actual apartment and more to do with the views and neighbourhood. It has certainly made me think.

 Without question, the thing I love most about my house are the night views. Singapore is a beautiful city during the day but it is just stunning at night. There are so many amazing vistas and we are fortunate enough to look out towards Orchard Road (the main shopping area) from our apartment.

The views looking into the neighbouring buildings aren't too shabby either.

The large tree to the left of this photo is a protected banyan tree and people in the neighbourhood regularly leave offerings for the spirits who live in it.

We do not live in a super flash condo but we do have a nice pool that hardly any of the residents use. I took these photos yesterday afternoon on a warm slightly overcast Sunday afternoon. We had the pool to ourselves for over an hour.

Miss Three loves the pool and is becoming quite a good wee swimmer. It is so nice to just pull on our togs, hop in the lift and be at the pool.

One of the things we love is the falling down old 30's mansion over the fence from us. It is on a hugely valuable piece of land and could have a couple of blocks of apartments on it easily. Given that apartments in this area sell for amazing sums of money it never ceases to amaze me that it remains a jungly plot.

You can see how much greenery we have kept with the dilapidated old house in front of us. We will be very sad when it is eventually bulldozed and replaced with something new.

This is the view of our building from down below at the pool. We live half way up it on the ninth floor. We get great views but I imagine those on the top floors are even better. 

It is a bit tricky to get a photo in my room without disclosing the usual state of chaos. I do love my bed if not the bed itself. It really is not our style but it is comfortable and very occasionally I get a good night's sleep in there.

Part of the reason it is hard to take a photo is the new addition of Miss Three's Big Girl Bed to our bedroom. We have had ongoing sagas with her sleep which has meant that no one is sleeping very well. We are going to try her in her bed in our room this week. Hubby is away for work until next Wednesday so it seems a good time to try something different. I will love this part of the house if it means better sleep for us all!

 I always love the place where my current crafting project is located. With Project Life it would be fair to say it is often the lounge floor as I seem to need to spread out.

My Ikea cart is another fave. It has all my Project Life supplies as well as odds and sods from various knitting and scrapbooking projects too. It is not very well organised but one day it will be!

My coffee machine must get a mention again. I love it so! It does keep our lives running more smoothly. I had kicked my coffee addiction and was no longer suffering from headaches if I went without a coffee but unfortunately they are back so a daily espresso based drink is a must.

This is a representative photo of the more wide ranging clutter that goes with Miss Three. She does have a big box in which to store her shoes but she loves to tip them all out and arrange them. These are just her school options that she sorted out the other day. She really does like her shoes.

I am not entirely sure that I have a list that is quite what was intended but it is a list of what I like at home right now. It has made me think a bit more about making this place our own but as we might only be here for a couple more months it is hard to get too comfortable!

I would love to see your happy places.

Please link up here at Home Life Simplified and let me know in the comments if you take part. I love to see the spaces that make people happy. Deb has a cracker list prompt up for next week too.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Rest is best

The ongoing twin sagas that rule my life converged yesterday in unexpected ways. I had a very bad reaction to lactose yesterday afternoon and worst of all I have no idea where I came into contact with it. I was rendered completely non functioning with a blinding headache, upset stomach, nausea... it was not pretty. Fortunately, I was home and once I managed to order in some dinner for S and T I was able to hit the bed. Of course, hubby was held up at work and I had to stagger out to collect the dinner delivery and get S set up. Food smells do not make me feel any better so it was fairly unpleasant for all concerned. Once hubby got home I slept, but not before suggesting that he and S share the spare room and let me have the bed to myself.

I had no expectation that I would actually have the bed to myself. S has long since claimed that she is unable to sleep without Mummy. Even when she was still sleeping in her own room she would end up in our bed every night. In recent times she has been sleeping with me and T has been relegated to a mattress on the floor or the spare room as she will fight for space too much with all three of us there. I was astounded to wake up at 5:40 am, alone and feeling much better. S finally surfaced at 6.30 am which was quite a decent sleep in. Daddy even had his bed to himself until about five when she got cold and moved in with him for a cuddle. A great night for everyone and very unexpected.

We will take advantage of this in a couple of weeks after we have had a long weekend away and hubby has been away for 10 days or so for work. We are encouraging a few changes with the idea that S is a big girl now that she is three and she is quite receptive to this logic. Fingers crossed we might actually get our bed back by the end of March.

I had high hopes of having some Project Life to share today but after over two hours, birthday week is still a work in progress. Fingers crossed I will have something to share early next week. It could be the two inserts that are slowing it down!

I do have a new layout to share.

I could not believe the change in Scarlett in these two pictures that were only taken a few months apart. So I thought it best to record them. The layout is based on the latest Inspired Blueprints Sketch.
I stuck quite closely to it with the exception of swapping two photos in for the one shown. It was a great sketch for using up some odd pieces in my December Studio Calico kit.

Scarlett loved this little whale so I promised I would share a picture of it on the blog.

I hope you all have a great weekend. We are in preparation mode for hubby being away for the next week and a bit. I see a big grocery shop and some serious meal planning in my future.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Scrapping the tough stuff

There has been a bit of discussion both on the Studio Calico boards and elsewhere lately, on the difficulty of scrapping the tough parts of life. Much of this discussion has been in relation to Project Life but I think it is equally applicable in the broader context of layouts.

I think as scrapbookers we are often guilty of selective memory keeping. It is easier to scrap the good and fun times. Perhaps we are doing ourselves and our families a disservice by painting a much rosier picture of our lives than is really the case. I am absolutely guilty of this. In part, I think it is because I tend not to take photos of the tough times. There are not many photos of the tears that accompanied our journey to have my daughter, or the days after the February quake in Christchurch when we waited for news of missing loved ones. Those events are important and I have not really scrapped them and I need to.

The second anniversary of the quake and tsunami in Japan gave me a push to start recording some of the tougher moments in our lives. We were in Tokyo by chance on the day of the quake. We knew it had been a major event but had no idea of the extent of the damage and destruction further north. We had a fairly intense 24 hours with missing family members, no power or food and our hotel completely over run with refugees. I have quite a few photos from that day and so I have finally started to do something with them.

For me the hardest part was keeping calm so that Scarlett wasn't alarmed. She did not get too upset by the frequent aftershocks. I have to say possibly the worst moment of my life was during a very powerful aftershock when we were in a double decker tunnel sort of road. I felt sure the top layer was going to come down on top of us on the bottom level and we would be buried alive. I was very relieved to get onto Odaiba where we were staying just before they shut all access to the island.

This photo was taken by the famous pedestrian crossing in central Tokyo that is beloved of film makers and music video directors everywhere. All public transport had just been shut down as all roads and rail lines had to be checked for safety. This meant hundreds of thousands of people were stranded in the central city unable to reach their homes. People were just starting to realise that this was a major event and news was filtering through that people had died in Tokyo as well as further afield. We were very fortunate to have a car. We had intended to use the train but Tet's brother was running very late so he drove into the city. If he had not, we would have had to spend the night at a school or community hall as there was no way to get to where we were staying.

I used the Layout A Week prompt for week 3 on Studio Calico's site for this layout. It was a recipe using a piece of cardstock and three patterned paper sheets and up to 10 embellies. We also could include our word for the year if we had one. Our word this year is adventure and it sat well with the story here.

Have you scrapped any of the less rosy aspects of life lately? Please link up in the comments and I am definitely looking for inspiration in this area. There are some big stories that need telling even if it will be hard to do so.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Lanterns : A Shimelle Sketch

Sometimes you see a sketch and you think that will be a good creative prompt and it is, for that one layout. Other times you see a sketch and you know you will use it over and over again. This is one such sketch.

People get into scrapbooking for many reasons and for me it was a combination of the old favourite, just having had a baby, and a love of all the pretty patterned paper. I adored all the pretty patterned paper but I also found it totally overwhelming when I first started. As a result, I have some seriously unusable paper stashed away in drawers and I joined Studio Calico to save me from making too many expensive mistakes.

Here is the wonderful Shimelle sketch : 

scrapbook page sketch by shimelle laine @ 

Here is my take on it:

I really loved this scripty neutral paper and I didn't want to hide it and this sketch is designed for those occasions when you want to let a paper sing. The photo is a very bright one so it needed a little toning down and again this paper was perfect. All the other bits were scraps from My Summer of 69 kit and my Christmas add on that I had been working on previously. I loved the pop of colour from the ombre washi here too.

This photo is just a random single image of a float we saw being prepared along the Singapore River for the Lantern Festival. I loved it too much not to scrap but it doesn't really have any bigger story. I am happy it now has a home in an album!

I have linked my layout up to Shimelle's page. There are some lovely takes on this sketch if you are hunting for some inspiration.

There is a bit of school based excitement here this week. Miss Three received her first Scholastic Book Club pamphlet which filled my book loving heart with joy. The two of us are off to a performance of the Little Red Hen at a theatre tomorrow with the rest of her school friends. It is her first proper play so I hope she enjoys it.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

Well not really, but my second layout for Christmas 2012 has a decidedly non Christmas colour theme.

I never really intended this pink paper to be part of a Christmas layout but Miss Three's favourite present by far this year was her Little People palace which is a cacophony of pink and purple plastic. I am working hard to kill my December Studio Calico kit before my March one arrives and this picture made sense with the pink paper.

I based this layout on Inspired Blueprints Sketch #82.
Sketch #82

I stuck to it pretty closely. I replaced all the floral embellies with arrows and bypassed the twine altogether. I loved the way the Pink Paislee glittery Christmas labels finally got a chance to be used. Add in some Christmassy journalling cards and the North Pole paper which I think is from Crate Paper and the not terribly Christmassy looking layout is complete.

Have you scrapbooked your Christmas photos yet? I really need to finish my December Daily and then make some layouts to finish telling the story.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Listmania 8: Reverse Bucket List

I have to admit I was not entirely sure how to go about this post. I have not had the most exciting life ever. I am quite widely travelled I guess and have lived in a few interesting places but I still feel there is just so much more I would like to achieve.

Post image for Listmania eight: Reverse bucket list 

Overseas Experiences

  • My parents, who had never been further than Australia, moved our family to Singapore when I was 8. What was supposed to be a 2 year  experience turned into a nearly 20 year love affair with Singapore for my parents and an enduring second home for all members of my family.
  • Travelling all around South East Asia on dodgy buses, no name airlines and cockroachy trains in the 80s. One trip we went on consisted of 24 hours on a bus to reach a city in Southern Thailand that turned out to be the red light capital of the region. Eek! Did I mention we had our 80 something year old Nana on this trip too?
  • Travelling to the UK and France as a 15 year old on my own. I had a great 5 week trip visiting York, Bath, London, Derbyshire and Paris. I spent some of the time staying with friends but much of it I was on my own staying in B and Bs and hostels. 
  • Finding a great travel companion in a work colleague when I lived in Singapore as a teacher at an international school. We went all over the place and it was great to go with someone who was happy to do their own thing and not bothered if you had a pool day or went off to a market without them while they had a massage. I have especially fond memories of a trip to Vietnam with her.
  • Our babymoon to the US. It was just supposed to be a holiday but we found out we were expecting shortly after we booked the trip (to take our minds off nearly 4 years of trying for baby). I was 18 - 20 weeks pregnant and we drove from LA up to San Fran through Yosemite National Park and Death Valley down to Vegas and back across to LA. Amazing trip that I would do again in a heartbeat although I am not so sure that Miss Three would cope with all the driving. Oh and we did a day trip to the Grand Canyon (self driven) too. We saw a lot of the country and got to see the Killer live in Vegas. It was magic.
  • Family holidays to Phuket around Christmas with my family on the years we didn't go back to NZ. We have introduced the same thing with my family now and I love seeing Miss Three enjoying the same food, clear water and amazing hospitality that was part of my childhood.
  • Living in Singapore for the third time with my family (ie hubby, daughter and me) and experiencing a very different Singapore from that I had experienced in the past. Singapore as a SAHM is a very different kettle of fish from Singapore as a single woman or a child/teen. It was always the dream for my imaginary children to get to have a similar childhood to myself and circumstances have conspired to make it a reality. I am very blessed.
  • Visiting Japan - a country I had no interest in (in spite of having a Japanese husband) and falling in love with it.


  •  Getting to attend an international school for a big chunk of my education. The best part is the acceptance of different cultures it gave my siblings and I from a young age. I am still in touch with lots of friends from this period of my life and see someone from my old school at least once a year either on our travels or theirs.
  • Going to boarding school. I loathed every second of it but I have some amazing friends to this day as a result of the 13 months I lasted there.
  • Being able to discover what I really enjoyed at Uni. Fees were low enough that when I discovered I really did not like law I was able to change and complete a history degree without it being a hugely expensive mistake.
  • Teacher training in spite of having said (as the daughter of two teachers ) that I would never do it. It is a skill that is so useful and transferable and now that I am thinking about working again is something that offers enough flexibility to be able to work and spend time with my family.
  • Insurance qualifications. It sounds like the driest topic ever but I loved getting my quals. I miss insurance way more than teaching but it does not work well with a family.

Real Life

  • Going way out of my comfort zone for one day and meeting my husband.
  • Throwing caution to the wind and getting engaged after having spent less than five weeks in the same place as my husband
  •  Changing careers so we could live together - it seemed like such a huge step but I found a career I loved just as much and we were in the same place!
  • Overcoming significant family traumas including the deaths of three of our parents, being in Japan during the big quake 2 years ago and losing friends in the Christchurch quakes and becoming even stronger as a couple as a result.
  • Thriving after the shock diagnosis of a life threatening chronic health condition when we thought hubby was just a bit run down. It has certainly made us take more chances and live our lives more fully.
  • Giving up on the idea of having children after 4 years of unexplained infertility only to conceive the week before we went back to the specialist to see what else could be done. Miss Three was so worth the wait.
This has been such a great exercise in gratitude. I have had so many extraordinary opportunities in my life and more than a little bit of luck. I would love to see you take part in this week's link up at Home Life Simplified

Have a super week!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Sweet Treats - a Shimelle sketch

I love Shimelle Laine's sketches and starting points. Once again she made this layout a fun and simple process. I think perhaps I took it a little more literally than she intended but it is all good.

scrapbooking sketch by Shimelle Laine @ 

I can see this is a sketch I will work with again as it is super versatile and I would like to try it turned on its side.

This is a very ordinary picture of Miss Three eating ice cream which is a fairly regular scenario. There is just something about this image that I liked as I flicked through my photos. It also meant that I was able to use some of my Christmas papers on a non Christmas layout.

I decided to run with the using the same embellishment in all three spots. In this case I used the word love and sequins.

I was really excited to try the Amy Tangerine embroidery templates on this layout. It was a bit crooked but I love the look and the colour of thread included was perfect.

More sequins and sparkle. Can you have too much of this? I think not.

I was really pleased to include some little words from the new MME collections. I am obsessed with those word sheets.

Does this sketch spark your interest? I would love to see any of your takes on it.