Sunday, 15 December 2013

christmas decoration at the workplace

I'd originally wrote up this ranting entry on how I wish people would put up Christmas decoration properly in the office, about how nothing is sadder than tinsel randomly draped over dying office plants or sticky-taped to cubicle walls and falling down constantly through the month.

But then I thought it wasn't very Christmas-y of me to do that. So instead I just wanted to mention one little tip that would hopefully make decorating the office quicker, neater, and overall, more aesthetically pleasing.
(Now I know a lot of veteran decorators out there already know this, so please bear with me)

Instead of using sticky tape, that just looks messy, use these instead:

These things would save you heaps of headache.

Just stick these on your cubicle, on your walls or ceiling, and hang your decorations from them with thread or fishing wire. These hooks would stay fairly hidden (especially behind bunched up tinsel), strong enough so they won't fall in the middle of December, and is easy to remove in January without damaging the wall.

I don't even plan on removing mine. Instead I'll probably hang my Valentines decorations on those hooks in February!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

scrapbooking in asia

Recently I listened to Paperclipping’s episode 185: Scrapbooking in Asia and kudos to Noell for attempting the topic. The episode was very much from the point of Westerners-in-Asia though, so I thought I’d write a post on what my experiences had been with scrapbooking in Asia (or more specifically Hong Kong) as a local.1 2

Space in Hong Kong apartments is very limited, so even if early scrapbooking companies like Creative Memories did try to enter the Hong Kong market (which they did not), they would have found the reception to their space-eating-12x12 albums to be pretty cold.

Hobonichi notebook

So taking that into account, one would begin to realise that scrapbooking in Asia - or more accurately, memory keeping in Asia - would mean something quite different from the large 12x12 or 12x24 layouts that we’re used to seeing in Western cultures. Instead, try to think of memory keeping as something more like Amy Tangerine’s Daybooks, or K&Company’s Smashbooks and you’ll be close.

One of the guests on Paperclipping’s episode mentioned that no one wants to scrapbook with local products because they are just stationery from 40 years ago. Yes, it’s true, there are quite a number of generic stationery stores that have really old stock stashed away in some back corner of the store.

However there are also plenty of small stationery stores tucked away in shopping complexes3 like the Sino Centre or the CTMA centre, that sells cute Japanese or Korean stationery that can be and have been used as mini-scrapbooks.

Sino Centre

picture of Sino Centre
Image source: Princess Rose in CTMA

Big shopping centre franchises like Log-On is also a perfect place to pick up things like washi-tape, moleskine notebooks, or the Midori Traveller’s notebook. Again, think in terms of Daybooks, smashbooks or even travel mini-album.

There is no such thing as a scrapbooking community or scrapbooking industry for Asian scrappers as say, Two Peas. So scrapbooking is not so much a communal thing, but more an individual expression or record keeping. Kind of like art journaling. And because there is no central store of information sharing of what is the latest paper products or art supply, a lot of what memory keeping means depends on the latest technology, design idea or “fad”.

One of the things that would really affect the type of memory keeping would be photography. A few years back, Holga cameras were all the rage, and then there were the instax cameras. Even now the number of instax film styles available in Hong Kong are astounding. Sure some people stick their photos on the walls, but there are instax photo albums around that people fill in like Project Life.

Then most recently there are street photographers in Mongkok, Hong Kong that offers to take photos for you and print them instantly on the street for you.

It is not hard to imagine that services like these encourage people to "scrapbook". Although one thing that's interesting to note is that everything I've talked about so far is targeted towards a younger audience than is usual of the Western scrapbooking community. This is not an exercise that grandmothers or mothers undertake to record their children's lives. This is something that high school or university students do in their spare time.

Scrapbooking in Asia is hardly few and far between, but it is a completely different creature from what scrapbooking is like in Western countries. It is more like a diary or art journal. And it is because of the more personal nature of this type of memory keeping that you would not see blog posts or online galleries showcasing pages upon pages of pretty layouts.

Hopefully this shed some light on the topic. And to sign off on this entry, I want to leave you with this majorly cute video which showcases what Asian scrapbooking looks like. This is actually an ad for a popular brand of yearly planner in Japan.

(Watch the whole video, it's really cute!)

  1. I have attempted to leave a comment on the Paperclipping website, but I think the numerous links to shops and videos in my comment (as you’ll see in my own post) may have killed disqus and my post was completely gone. It wasn’t even in my disqus account when I logged in to see where it went… So that’s another reason why I’m doing the post in my own blog, to avoid that from happening again.
  2. I am not talking about scrapbookers living in Asia who follows the Western style of scrapbooking. I am sure there are some, whether they are expats living in Asia or locals who have found online sources of information like Two Peas. The original podcast topic was about Asian style scrapbooking - or at least it was, and that is what I'm trying to address here. 
  3. I say shopping complex because these buildings are more like a commercial building jam packed with small little stores that you need to navigate your way around. Most of these stores are small and stuffed full from floor to ceiling with merchandise of all shapes and sizes. There are a few Korean stationery stores in Sino Centre that I go visit each time I go back to Hong Kong.

testing out markdown

So the idea is to write a blog post entirely in Markdown and using the webapp stackedit.io1.

I have never written in Markdown before2 but have read a couple of articles online.

I have constantly heard mention of Markdown in productivity blogs, podcasts and even tumblr, but I have to admit that I have never really gotten into it.

I blame this on the official Markdown website. The layout was a bit dry for me and there was way too much text. Something like this primer worked much better for me3.

iOS apps like DayOne Journal supports Markdown (unfortunately it does not have a PC version) and it’ll be interesting to see how many of my current apps would recognise the syntax.

  1. Okay, I lied, I’m using the Notebooks iPhone app as well

  2. Another lie, whilst writing this blogpost I have since written another one about a Kickstarter project I recently backed.

  3. Can I just say, at this point of the article, I am finding Markdown’s simple way of adding URL links to text to be a major time-saver.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

orbitkey - the kickstarter project

If you never heard about kickstarter then I really do suggest checking them out.

Kickstarter is the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. The amount of cool gadgetry and innovative ideas there are astounding. Of course there are some projects there that can be a bit “less polished”, but if you use your common sense you’ll easily see which project is worth backing and which aren’t.

The project that I want to tell you guys about today is Orbitkey.

You wouldn’t know it, looking at the state of my room, but I like my daily carry bag to be quite neat and tidy (if only to make finding things easy). But one thing I could never really tidy up were my keys. Sure, I’ll have them on a keyring, but no matter which pocket in my bag I put them in, the keys always end up poking a hole in it. For men I’m assuming the same is true for your pants or jacket pocket.

Along comes Orbitkey.

make an impression

According to their website, the Orbitkey would keep your keys organised and away from your precious smartphone screens. So no more scratched screens or wallets.

no more scratched screens

And the way they store the keys means that the keys won’t rattle either. Sure, shaking my bag is the way I can quickly determine whether my keys are in the bag in the first place. But if the keys stay in the pocket I put them in (instead of breaking a hole in the lining and swimming in the inner lining of my bag), I wouldn’t need to go deep sea diving to find them.

no more deep sea diving

This project has already reached its monetary goal, so this is a definite go-ahead. There’s only 7 days to go, and for only $24 for the plastic (Active Elastomer) version or $29 for the leather, this would be a great Christmas present.

Leather or Active Elastomer?

The product isn’t due to ship till March but the Orbitkey team has provided a way to print out a Christmas card letting people know that you’ve purchased an Orbitkey for them and that it would be on the way soon.
I’ve personally got one for me and one for the Boy. Can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Images courtesy of kickstarter orbitkey page.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

nanowrimo 2013 - WINNER!!

Now to actually write the damn thing properly instead of just trying to finish my word count.

Friday, 1 November 2013

last words... nanowrimo

I'm barely back from my holidays and nanowrimo has started. So turning away from the piles of unopen kit club kits, I put my head down to begin my 50,000 word journey.

I do not expect to be back for the next month, if I am, you could all berate me for not writing my 1667 words for the day.

I hope to survive the month and see you all at the other end as a proud winner (emphasis on the hopefully).

Sunday, 6 October 2013

layout: Charming and Adorable

This is another layout that I took a photo of in the car. It was a fairly cloudy day, so the photo came out darker than I wanted.

The two photos in this layout span across 13 years. 
In case people get confused, these are not the same people (although I am in both). I just wanted to do a page showing the kind of changes that can happen in 13 years.

It's also interesting to note that when you're in Year 11, you try to dress like an adult, but 13 years later... we hold onto our youth with teeth and claw XD

This is actually quite a strange combination of colours, but I kind of like it.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

layout: this is not the london bridge

Winter months in Melbourne are horrible for taking photos in natural lighting. Even with Spring in full swing, I'm still not getting enough light. So I finally ended up taking my layouts to work with me so I can snag a couple of shots during lunchtime.

This is another layout for my Europe tour last year. I really like how this layout turned out, even though its fairly monochromatic. I thought the colour really reflected the kind of weather I got that first day in London.

This is a layout about how most people mistaken the Tower Bridge for the London Bridge. 

When we got off our tour bus at the London Bridge, people just rushed to snap photos of the Tower Bridge in the distance, missing the fact that they were actually standing on the London Bridge itself.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

life.paper.scrapbook september sketch: insta-mail love

The Camp Paper Scissors weekend has come and gone, so it's time to post up some of the layouts I finished.

Below is from one of the scrap challenges: we were to make a layout based on the Life.Paper.Scrapbook September Sketch.

I took the sketch and turned it on its side.

I always love messy layering, and it was a lot of fun tucking random bits of paper, doily and washi tape under each other.

It was only when I was nearly done that I decided to cut the kraft paper down and put it on an turquoise cardstock so I have small border. Of course now that I look at it, I wish I hadn't cut off so much of the kraft, but then that's a lesson for me.

My final touch was actually to stamp and then cut out the image of an envelope with a love heart seal. I actually won this stamp set during the Camp Paper Scissors raffle, and it's just so cute!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

layout: The Wandering Bear

This is the first layout I've created for an object: a bear shaped umbrella case.

Don't be fooled by its innocent looks, it is notorious for photobombing. It's not too obvious from the selection of photos on this layout, but there were more than a few photos where the pink bear popped up. But this layout isn't about that.

Our tour guide was small, tiny even by Asian standards, so the only way to see her above the crowds at, say, the Trevi Fountain or at the Venetian Square is by keeping an eye on the obtrusive pink bear on a stick. Where other tour guides might wave a stick with streamers or wave a tattered looking flag, our tour guide wave a skewered plushie.

Upon closer inspection however, you'll discover that the "plushie" is actually a very cute umbrella case. So cute in fact, that I wanted to buy one too. Unfortunately since it was a gift, our tour guide wasn't able to tell me more about where I could buy one expect that it was from Japan.

Of course then there's Google.

But the only ones I've found were rabbit-shaped rip off's made in China. Oh well, if I finally make a decision between a (potentially) heavy UV umbrella or a stifling hat for the Egypt trip this October, I might get the bear. Or perhaps a Senz (if they ever produce a UV one).

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

layout: Party Costume Dilemma

This is actually a layout I finished a few weeks back, but I completely forgot to blog about it. I was looking through my album the other day when I stumbled on the layout.

This will teach me to leave my layouts out of the albums until I have finished photographing (and perhaps even blogging about) it.
I might end up with a lot of loose layouts floating around my room, but that might give me more incentive to photograph them more quickly.

One can hope. 

The Story

This photo was taken at one of the many costume parties that friends of ours host at the Ondergrond, a supposedly Amsterdam-themed lounge and bar situated in the middle of the CBD.

The Boy had ordered his costume tailor-made from a website called FanPlusFriend, it matched with one of my Lolita dresses (Lolita, in this context, is referring to a type of Japanese fashion, and not the novel).

When his costume arrived, we found that the pants were too big. The only way he could keep the pants on was if he wore another pair of pants underneath. So that's what he did

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

layout: Square of Miracles

I've found that the only way I could get around to taking photos of layouts is if I take the layout to work with me and try to find the time during the day to take quick shots.

I actually took the photos below in the car during lunchtime. The light wasn't too bad, and there wasn't much glare.

Putting it together

The layout is fairly simple; I felt the photo sizes were too irregular to do too much. If I had printed the Hipstamatic shots smaller, I would have tried a messier look.

I find myself really drawn to all these muted pastel colours - would definitely have to buy a few more of this colour scheme.

The Journaling

None of the photos do the place justice.

I think, of all the places I visited on this Europe trip - and I say this with the benefits of hindsight - the Piazza del Duomo was the grandest place I saw. And I'm not just talking about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but the whole plaza.

Perhaps it was the weather, when I walked through the archway in the wall and saw the plaza spread out before me... there were dark clouds in the sky behind the Baptistery but the sun was shining on the white buildings making them gleam, and the wide open space... It took my breath away.

I was disappointed that I only got to spend such a short time there. I would love to go there again, when it is empty of superfluous people and just sit and wonder at the wide open spaces and towering architecture.

Minor Details

I finally got my hands on the Freckled Fawn's "Star and Such" wood veneer and I'm totally in love with them!
Unfortunately FF has sold out on them, though I did find that SimonSaysStamp still seem to have some last I checked. I'm a little tempted to go buy another pack.

The tiny pearls are from KaiserCraft.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

layout: Hello Sunshine

I admit that I've fallen behind with my blogging, again. I can't help it. I have heaps of fun creating the layouts, but I'm finding it very hard to snag any daylight time to get around photographing the page. 

To put things into perspective, I slept till 5pm on Saturday, after a very very late Friday night/early Saturday morning.
I'm definitely not a morning person, and my yearly quota of Vitamin D/sunlight is usually reaped during Summer when the sun doesn't set till 9pm.

Anyway, I finally managed to drag myself out of bed on Sunday to quickly snap a couple of shots of my first ever 2-page spread. Yes, I know, it still took me four days to get something written... 

Putting it together

Since this is my first attempt at a 2-page spread, I scraplifted from Lisa-Jane Johnson's layout here.

Lisa's repeated use of 6x6 patterned paper allowed for coordinated pages to be quickly assembled. And by swapping the order the 6x6 pp were laid out, the two pages manage to coordinate without looking cloned.

I find that I really love the traditional photo stitching effect on a scrapbooking layout, but it proved hard to balance across the page. In an attempt to emphasize the diagonal line, I tried putting more embellishments on the bottom left and top right of the page. Now that I look at the layout in the picture (and not in real life), I find that I may need to go back and some non-paper embellishments. Perhaps some washi and wood veneer.

The Journaling

This is another layout about last year's Europe trip. 

We had just finished our tour of the Vatican and had made our way to the Colosseum. But the moment we stepped off the tour bus, dark clouds amassed above our heads, wind start picking up, and big fat drops of rain fell from the sky.
It was hardly a down pour by any standards, but umbrellas were quickly opened.
Our tour guided assured us that "it's just passing rain", but we were skeptical as rain only fell harder.
Ten minutes in however, the clouds moved on, the sun came out and we got beautiful shots of the Colosseum.

Supplies used

Except for the thickers, I think I used Amy Tangerine's Yes, Please collection exclusively. I forgot to write down the supplies list, but someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

two new free classes I'm currently involved in

To be truthful, one of the classes have already started and is in it's second week, but it's easy to just jump in now and go back to the previous weeks when you have time.

So the first class I've joined is Shimelle's Break It Down challenge, hosted on

I'm a complete fan of all things Shimelle, so when I found out on her page that she's hosting a new class, I completely jumped on board.

Here's what she has to say about her class:
Today I'm delighted to welcome you to Break it Down, a six week free class here at UKScrappers.
Break It Down includes thirty-six steps or prompts along the way to six completed layouts within the class time, but you will of course be able to take those steps forward to use on as many projects as you would like in the future. 
For six weeks, we'll follow a format that breaks down one layout over the course of a week. You can actively work on your layout a little each day or you can think about it each day and save the actual scrapping for one scrapping session - whatever works best for you. 
On Mondays, we'll start with a story we want to tell. Each Monday prompt will feature a different way to start your page with photos or words and the memories you want to record in your albums. 
On Tuesdays, we'll talk colour and products. Each Tuesday prompt will showcase a different way to choose and use those elements that determine the final look of our page. 
On Wednesdays, we'll try Techniques. Have a look at six different techniques you can try and how you can adapt them to your stash of supplies and your personal style.
On Thursdays, we'll decide the design. These prompts go back to core elements of solid graphic design that can be personalised in so many ways, so we can each follow the same principles yet have highly unique pages.
On Fridays, we'll build and embellish. Try six different methods for the actual construction of a page and see which inspires you creatively.
On Saturdays, we'll polish everything with some finishing touches. No room for anything lack-lustre: we'll make sure each of these six pages is treated to our full attention, and along the way we'll pick up some quick and easy ways to take a page from nice to wow. 
On Sundays, we take a day off! That might be your scrapping time, and it might be the time when you upload your page to share it with us in the gallery or chat to others taking part in Break it Down.
To find out more about the class, or to join in, just click on the picture above.

The second class I've just joined is Find Your Voice.

This workshop is about finding your storytelling voice. You are an awesome person with amazing stories, so this summer we're going to work together to find the most genuine and authentic way for you to tell those stories. 
This workshop is for everyone! You definitely don't need to be a scrapbooker or paper-crafter to play along. We'll be telling stories through pictures, photographs, social media, prose, and more. The only thing you need is a willingness to become the author of your own story and the courage to step outside of your comfort zone. 
I must admit that I've never taken any classes Kristin before, but it sounds interesting, so if you decide to join me, we would be discovering this class together.

Again, to join that class or to learn more about it, please click on the picture above.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

layout: dress up parties

The past two years has seen me in a lot of costume parties. I don't know, it was just the thing to do?

Anyway, I selected a few and made a layout showcase them.

Is the background paper too busy? Should I change it to plain cardstock?

Friday, 7 June 2013

time just flies by

In a matter of weeks, this happened...

May 2nd

June 1st

Happy Winter, Australia!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

scrapping three 4x6 photos

So no Project Life spread this week. I've been hooked by traditional 12x12 layouts and I've cranked out a few over past week.

Hopefully I'll feel as inspired to write out blog posts just as fast.

This series of photo is of my best friend while we were in London last year. It totally captures her quirky nature!

The layout itself was quite simple, with only paper embellishments, but since the focus was on the photos, I was fine with that.

There also wasn't a lot of journaling - I thought the photos spoke enough as it is. But there's plenty of room on the layout if I do think of something to add. I am not above adding to layout weeks after I'm "finished", why restrict yourself?

Monday, 3 June 2013

layout: Sydney Trip

I'm taking Shimelle's Scrapbooking Remix class - and although I'm running a bit late with the email prompts, I'm still plugging through them dodgedly.

I based this layout on a template that Shimelle used in one of her weekly prompts. I love the way this layout turned out!

Last May, a few of my friends and I went up to Sydney for a weekend to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. We mainly ate, and had fun wandering around the city. I even won a big soft plushie at a skill tester - which I think I will scrap on a separate page later.

The top photo is actually two photo strips that came out of a sticker photo booth. I think scrapbook pages are a great way of "storing" these miscellaneous bits and pieces. If left on their own, these photo strips would probably be lost in a drawer somewhere, forgotten until some unknown time.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

project life: week 19 - trying out smaller photos

This week I tried something different. Instead of printing out 4x6 photos, I decided to print smaller photos, nothing larger than 3x4.

This gave me a little bit more room to play with paper, in this case, the Maggie Holmes' Crate Paper Collection. I love the 6x6 paper pad that came in Citrus Twist's April PL Kit.

Each of the 4x6 pockets then became mini layouts in themselves - although I tried to keep the embellishment to a minimum.

I don't really know what to do with ribbon, so I asked on 2Peas and I was given multitudes of suggestions. The above picture was one suggestion.
If I had a sewing machine, I would sew right down the middle of it...

This was also the week I discovered geocaching, so there's plenty of photos of the caches I found during the week.

 A little sparse on the words today, but I tried to take more photos to make up for it.

Today I'm linking up with The Mom Creative's Project Life Tuesday. Click on the link for more PL inspiration.
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