Thursday, February 27, 2014

Inspired by Magazine Style Photobooks: Whistler China Photobook

Last Easter holidays we travelled to Whistler and China. I had quite a lot of photos and late last year decided that I just needed to get the book done. Around this time I also saw this post about Magazine Style Photobooks. She writes "the success at getting these things made and printed was letting go of perfectionism". So true. So instead of making all her books in photoshop she began to use the pre made layouts in Blurb. I was after a simple book anyway so I decided to give it a go. I worked mostly with the predesigned layouts in bulb booksmart. I decided on a 13X11in landscape image wrap cover. The cover I designed in PSE.

The first pages. I love the look of text on photos so I dragged the text boxes onto the photos. All the layouts are editable, so you can add photos, or move things around if you want to.

The software also has what they call photo spread layouts so you can have a photo spanning two pages. Believe it or not this is a photo I took with my iPhone, this was as large as I could make it without having quality issues.

Pages with lots of photos. I selected no headers or page numbers for the book.

View of the Westlake at Hangzhou. I stitched several photos together in PSE to form the panorama at the top, then added in some more photos from other vantage points.

How gorgeous is this lady and her stall, and those huge balls of fairy floss! My favourite photos I included as full pages and put related photos on the facing page.

These are the photos from our factory visit. I had a lot of the opening ceremony and first pour so I picked a layout that had lots of smaller photos.

Another example of a full page photo.

Enjoying the book.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014



I pause, savouring the anticipation of sinking beneath the cool water ... but these tiles are burning ... I must jump soon.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

This week's links ...

This week's links ...

1. Since The Big Girl and I read the Hunger Games we have enjoyed reading our way through several YA dystopian series together. We both loved the Divergent series and this link offers up more choices ... Seven More Series for fans of Divergent. Or this 15 Book Series to Read if you Enjoyed the Hunger Games.

2. More reading suggestions: Ten Books You Need to Read in 2014.

3. 9 Ways to bring nature indoors for brown thumbs.

4. How to Capture Memories while Being Part of Them.

5. DIY Whiteboard wall.

Friday, February 21, 2014

List #3: Movies I want to see that are Now Showing and Coming Soon

1. Anchorman 2
3. The Book Thief
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
5. Divergent
6. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Christmas Gift


Forty-five minutes of pampering, buffing, filing and polishing. Even the nail deformed by an ill-fitting ski boot is made pretty. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The two most exciting things about starting year 5 ...


The two most exciting things about starting year 5 ... taking the iPad home and cricket whites for APS cricket games.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Simply a Moment: February


Date: 15.2.2014
Time: 11:20am
Location: Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre

We've been at the pool since 7:20am this morning. I'm currently waiting for The Little Girl to come back from her third and final race. We're on a bit of a tight schedule. She needs to get home, have lunch and a shower before Hubby drives her to join her youth group, 2.5hrs away from home at Mansfield.

She catches my eye as she walks down the steps to where I'm sitting, gives a quick smile. She's obviously pleased with herself, and she should be. Her time qualifies her for an Australian swimming JX award. We weren't sure she would make it this year after missing most of the long course season with a broken leg.

We chat about the race and what her coach thought while packing our bags. I reach for my drink bottle that rolled down under the chairs in front of us and as I straighten up a loud beep sounds throughout the stadium. It's followed by another and another.

I quickly put the drink bottle into my bag and hurry The Little Girl along, pushing our belongings into their bags. It's the pre-evacuation signal and I don't want to have to wait to get back into the centre to pick up our bags.

The bags packed and we start to move towards the stairs when the announcement to evacuate comes followed by the fire alarm. We make our way out into the foyer area. I can smell smoke. No one's too concerned as we walk down the steps and step outside.

A crowd from the recreational pool is already milling but we don't hang around, heading round the outside of the building to reach our car on the other side. Buckled in we leave the carpark. I sigh as we join the long queue of cars waiting to leave the Albert Park Sporting Precinct.

** I did not take the photo above while we were evacuating. This is what the pool looks like first thing in the morning.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Zoom In Zoom Out: Chinese New Year

We took the kids in to the Chinese New Year celebrations at the Crown Riverside. They set up street food stalls along the river.


We ate kebabs, dumplings and zooming in on Peking Duck.


... and just for fun here's a few more photos from the night.




  We crossed to the other side of the river to watch the fireworks.




I didn't take a tripod so just had to do my best to hold the camera still.

Zoom In and zoom out is hosted by Helena.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Project Life 2014: January

As promised the first month's worth of pages for this year's project life. This month took me longer than I expect to take in future. I changed my mind a couple of times before settling on a monthly format and design that I was happy with. It is unashamedly inspired by the style of Cathy Zielske although the journaling cards are all my own work.

Each month I will begin with a calendar overlaid on a photo. The calendar is by Jillian McClenahan and is available as a free download. The 6X4 white cards with the square photos are my 20 words entries, many of which I've posted on the blog. Hubby and I had a date at Burger Inc followed by the Anchorman2 and I included a selfie form the night and a promo image for the movie.

The second double page layout includes a "normal" or non-projectlife layout. I've modified it a little from the original so it "fits" with the other pages. I put it on the same white card stock (from One Little Bird's Jubilee) and reduced it down to 95% of the page so the white border matches the other pages and used a yellow stroke to tie it in with the designs on my project life pages. (Full credits and the original layout can be found here)

 The next page I did as a full double page spread. The top photo is stitched together using the panorama function in PSE. Still doesn't do the view justice, but it gets close. If you're interested it is looking across the bay from Jack Rabbit, a winery near Portarlington where we had lunch to celebrate Dad's birthday.The haze on the horizon is not rain but smoke from some bush fires that day.

This layout includes my discussion of the extreme weather from my MIN and also the text from January's Simply a Moment. We ate at Piknik a couple of times over the holidays so I combined the hptos from our various trips and replicated the cafe's branding for the journal card.

The final two pages include the rest of my MIN. The journaling about Hubbies projects I overlaid on the photo from the blog post and the rest of the numbers I included on the "by the numbers" card. The word art for this card is from For the Record by Paislee Press and One Little Bird which I recoloured to match the page. Next to this I included the cover of the book that Hubby is reading and a little of the story of why he is reading that book. The Australia Day journal card is from Australia Day by Kaye Winiecki. I paired it with photos of the kids in the pool and my first list for January: Things we did on Australia Day. Rounding out the month was my second list, Back to School Expenses, a bit of journaling about the kids first days of the school year and first day photos.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It's official ...


Name Badge. Red Hat. Our decisions are final. No pushing or shoving. Bottom hand wins. Let the beach flags begin!

20 words … begun by Abi. You can link your photo+twenty words here.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Zoom In Zoom Out #4

A huge excitement for The Boy over the holidays was helping Granddad build a car. He took the manual to bed at night to study, coming down one morning to tell Granddad that he'd put true suspension on the wrong way. There was a period with no work while they waited for parts to arrive, but then they both got stuck right back into it. I'm sure The Boy will be looking forward to our next trip to Pt. Lonsdale so he can keep helping.



Linking up with Helena.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nurture: How I'm going at the start of February.

My OLW for this year is nurture and my aim this year is to nurture various aspects of my life that were effectively put on hold last year due to crises while working on those bad habits that have crept into my days. My biggest concerns are probably having more energy, making sure I have margin and investing in relationships. Most of my goals this year will centre round these issues as well as completing some projects that are just fun ... because we all need plenty of fun, right?

I posted a starting list in January and this post is my place to look at what I did in January and look at what I'm going try.

Personal Organisation:

  • Daily Habit to Try: Digital fast from 8:30pm to 8:30am. With the stress of last year it was easy to withdraw into the digital world, procrastinating with the internet and iphone games. My sleep is also not that great so I am experimenting with a digital fast. This is one I began before Christmas and I am now up to 18 days.[Completed 11.01.2014. Observations: I had moments where this one was difficult but managed to resist the urge to turn on the phone first thing in the morning. I'm sure it is beneficial to my sleep to have a buffer before bed but it was not the magic bullet to reduce my digital procrastinating. Going forward I have decided to continue with no internet after 9pm. At this stage I am happy to include some digital time wasters in my day but will try to limit them. A big motivating factor in these digital goals is to set a good example for the kids]
  • Daily Habit to Try: Limit game playing on the iPhone to about 15mins which translates approximately to using my 5 lives in Candycrush. (I'm currently on 7 days but have false started a couple of times)
  • Work out a routine that minimises the choices I need to make during the day. Too many choices can be draining so I figure if I can reduce the mundane choices I need to make I'll have more emotional bandwidth left for the things that matter. How the routine will look in the end is anyone's guess but I will experiment to find something that works.
  • Daily Habit to Try: Flossing. I know sad isn't it, but I really, really let standards drop round here.[Completed 16/01/2013. This is going in the to keep pile.]
  • Daily Habit to Try: Cleanse and moisturise my face each night. (Currently on 27 days)


  • Lose the two kilos I put on last year. [Not yet. I actually put on 1.5kg over the Christmas period but have since lost that and hope to lose the other soon]
  • Daily habit to Try: walk Observations: This was fine over summer when I had plenty of time but I'm still working out my schedule now that school's back. Plus I want to include more variety in my exercise like swimming, tennis etc.
  • Weekly Habit to Try: Exercise for at least 30mins three times a week. (Currently I'm on two weeks in a row but have completed 4 weeks in total)


  • Pick a bible reading plan for the year. [I picked a 15 day plan called Margin. I've read through the bible in a year the last 5 years, except last year I didn't finish and I felt like a bit of a change.]
  • Finish Margin and pick another 
  • Daily Habit to Try: Read the bible. [I completed my 29th day today. Observations: I've been working through the bible reading plan and use the SOAP method to reflect. Once I've done that I work on my scripture memorisation. I make sure I do it first thing in the morning which I think will be crucial to continuing the habit, plus it's a good way to start the day. The first influence of my day is the Word instead of our culture]
  • Daily Habit to Try: Count 3 gifts. (currently on 26 days)
  • Memorise first set of verses in Scripture Memorisation for the Rest of Us: The Jesus project. (currently on 5 verses)


  • Enrol for first semester uni.


  • Monthly habit to try: Date night [January Hubby and I went to BurgerInc for dinner then saw The Anchorman2]
  • Monthly habit to try: Family Fun Date [January we took the kids to Frozen]


  • Support the kids with their daily habits. At the end of last year the dentist gave the two youngest a stern talking to, so over January I implemented the use of disclosing tablets at night to check their tooth brushing. The Big Girl and The Little Girl are now off daily checks a down to one surprise spot check a week, The Boy is still on nightly disclosing tablets and we may need to settle in for the long haul with that. I also printed out a list for each child with their morning and afternoon jobs that they can tick off to earn screen time. 
  • This month I aim to consolidate these routines, by consistently following through even when I don't feel up to it at the end of the day.
  • Help the kids work out their schedules. (Have done this for The Little Girl which had the added bonus of helping her realise that she has very little spare time so she can't take on any more activities).
  • Daily Habit to Try: Stop yelling ... because the truth is (despite what I've told myself) that letting off steam does not make me feel better, in fact I feel worse after my words have crushed another little piece of these precious little people that are in my care. I'll be referring to this and getting serious about it this month.
  • Do a bit more thinking about the kids technology use.


  • Make plans for the blog this year. [Completed ]
  • Settle on what to do for recording the everyday in 2014. [Completed]
  • Daily Habits to Try: write. I don't know what it's like for you but it's noisy in my head. Words seem to chase themselves round and round in there but once they're sorted out, made sense of and written down they stop making quite so much noise. (now at 24 days)
  • Weekly Habits to Try: Edit the photos and video from the previous week. Put into whatever format I eventually decide upon. I want to be able to have something finished not long after the end of the year. (now at 3 weeks)
  • Do the cover for the Whistler-China photo book. I've completed the pages in the booksmart software but I want ot design my own cover. [Completed and bonus I've got the book back from the printer now]
  • Put together a video of our Whistler-China trip.

House and Home:

  • Get the budget up to date [Completed 5/1/2014]
  • Put together our tax.

Habits to Keep:

  • Turn off internet at 9pm
  • Floss
  • Read the Bible

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Story of Us (2014)

... or Project Life.

That's the cover ... but before I get to the album I am also doing a video project this year. The kids love looking at the old videos so I decided this year to attempt a One Second a Day Video Project. My aim was to trial it for January and see how I went and it is going well so I am going to continue it for as long as I don't get bored.

As you can see I also put together a Project Life album. I haven't finished last year's and this year I want to finish it early in the New Year so I've made a few changes to my process.
  • I will still organise the album monthly instead of weekly.
  • I will still use my templates from last year.
  • But I will slot the photos in at the end of each week instead of the end of the month.
  • I will keep including the odd random digital layout.
  • I will also incorporate Simply a Moment, Twenty Words and Month in Numbers into my monthly layouts.
  • I will put words on photos.
  • I won't include much product.
  • I will include a calendar each month.
  • I will include a term schedule at the start of each term.
  • I will use Bariol and St Marie as my main fonts.
  • I will post my layouts here at the end of each month (suitably blurred for the sake of the kids.)
... meanwhile I keep working through last year's album.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Month in Numbers: January 2014

Month in Numbers is hosted by Julie at Notes on Paper you can join in here.

So, I dropped out of blogging these at the end of last year (but still did the page for our albums) and have decided to pick this up again this year, without the graphic format.

The Boy successfully completed U10 Nippers.

Hubby did 4 trips to Bunnings (for our overseas friends Bunnings is a large hardware chain) and 2 trips to the garden supply centre. 3 projects started and 2 finished. He finished oiling the decks, putting stones on the front garden and is partway through building a pergola.


The weather in January was one of extremes. The first two weeks only had one day over 30C and most Nipper days I spent shivering in jeans and a wind cheater. Coldest day was 19C. The Boy and I left the house that day to head to Nippers and it started to rain, luckily I was not on duty and pulled the plug. Then we had a week of scorching temperatures with the hottest day reaching 45.4C. At those temperatures we prefer to stay close to the air-conditioning and make use of the pool rather than the heading to the beach. While we were staying down at the beach there were 13 days under 25C and 4 days over 40C. No wonder I came home feeling like we'd had too few perfect beach days.


Hubby spent 7 days in China and Hong Kong for work.

The Little girl had her first swimming competition since sage broke her leg. Since she has missed most of the long course season her PB's were from March last year. She got four PB's.

We borrowed 20 books from the local library. For the first time Hubby even borrowed a book.

... and currently a block loaf at our local Brumby's costs $4.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

This week's links ...

1. Digital Project Life - Photobook Tips

2. DIY Sage infused vinegar - a natural antibacterial cleaner.

3. Organised kids bathroom - something I need to do ... organise the kids bathroom that is.

4. Love this scrapbook layout of all the books she read in 2013 ... all broken up into favourite, liked, loathed and meh.

5. I'm not doing a photo-a-day this year but photo-a-day lists can be helpful for getting out of a photography rut ... I might pick some of the ideas off this photo-a-day February list.