Monday, November 19, 2007

Vienna Third Day (1)

Layouts done with a mixture of Club Scrap Travel, Painted Desert and printed papers by Elsie. Chipboard alphabets, coloured brads, stickers & paper lace from my stash.

On the morning of our third day in Vienna, we met up at 8 am with our local guide, Irene, for a 2 hour walk through the city. She showed us some interesting spots including a few of Mozart’s many homes. In the 10 years he spent in Vienna, he changed residences 13 times. He died quite possibly of rheumatic fever at the age of 35.

At about 10:30 we took the bus from our hotel and drove 45 minutes to Festschloss Hof, the country home of the Hapsburg Dynasty, originally built by Prince Eugene of Savoy. This palace, on the border with Slovenia (we could see the suburbs of Bratislava from the castle) has been recently reopened to the public after many years where it was first ravaged by the military and then by time and neglect. Restoration work is still continuing and the Austrian Government is trying to locate and return many of the missing artwork from the palace.

The palace originally had just two floors. When Empress Maria Teresia came to live there she found it a bit small so she added a third floor. There is however a painting done of the palace as it was originally built by Prince Eugene and I took a photograph of that because it appears so much more elegant and graceful with just the two stories.

The children went off to make pottery while a lovely lady called Maria gave us a tour of the palace, explaining its sad history and the efforts being made now to restore it to its former glory. The gardens are almost complete and they are a sight to behold indeed! We had lunch on the palace grounds after which the children went to the petting zoo while we did went off for a Schnapps tasting. Later we all enjoyed a horse & buggy ride around the extensive palace grounds. We learned of the existence of blue eyed donkeys and European bison. In days gone by children in Austria kept donkeys as pets instead of dogs & cats. The horses pulling our buggy were of a special breed too, really big boned, tough and shaggy.

I got some very nice photos of Lily getting to know one of these horses. They are beautiful gentle creatures!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Do you You Tube?

I have not been able to scrap lately. But this information was too good to hold on to till I do my next page. So check this out ...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vienna Second Day (5)

First layout done with Club Scrap All that Glitters kit, a photo turn, Gelatins alpha stamps and ribbon from my stash. Second layout is done with a kit from Scrapologie. Again Gelatin alpha stamps and chipboard accents. Third layout done with Crate paper. All three layouts inspired by some lovely work in the current CK.

What a wonderful way to finish this very special day in Vienna. After we had rested for a few hours a bus picked us up from our hotel and took us back to Schonbrunn. We did not enter the palace grounds from the main entrance but from a side gate. It was the palace zoo. Founded by Franz Stephan in 1752, this is the oldest zoo in the world. We arrived there at 6 p.m. which was closing time. So we had the whole zoo to ourselves.

A couple of the zoo keepers gave us a tour of the animals. I was keen on seeing the lions but lazy beasts that they are, they were all sleeping inside. What we did see was a cheetah. I have never seen one in captivity before. Amazing how healthy it was. The zoo had all sorts of contraptions to help simulate a chase and kill so the cheetah would be able to get the exercise it needs. Unlike the tigers and lions, these cats are not the lazy kind! What was really scary was how the cheetah kept following the smallest child in our group. The barriers between the animals and people are see-through and to watch the cheetah focus on a little child and get ready to leap was definitely unnerving!

Later we all met up at the Emperor’s Pavilion which is a beautiful structure in the centre of the zoo. Emperor Franz Josef used to stroll from the palace to this pavilion every morning for breakfast. We had dinner instead. And a very nice dinner it was too.


A Modern day Da Vinci genius!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Vienna Second Day (4)

First layout made with Club Scrap Passage of Time kit from Jan 2001. Alphabet stamps and fresh cuts. Second layout is done with Carolee's papers. The swirl is handmade. Ribbon and a flower brad - not sure who makes these.

First layout is Ricky at the Authentic Austrian restaurant we had lunch at. In Austria Ricky was in food heaven! Meat, sausages and potatoes? He wishes he could eat these everyday - unfortunately his mother makes him eat other stuff like vegetables and pasta and rice. He stepped out of the restaurant to check out the surroundings. There was farm next to the restaurant. After lunch all the children went to pet the animals. Ricky preferred to stay outside and play his PSP.

Second layout are the Marionette Theatre photo for Lily's album. And a photo of what she seems to be doing perpetually these days - texting!


French Toast - Do you really know how to make it?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Vienna Second Day (3)

All layouts done with Club Scrap Travels kit. Also used chipboard accents, scenic Route rub-on alphabets, 7 Gypsies journalling tags, French Curves and other stickers and rub-ons from my stash. You can read about the Gloriette in last bit of the journalling for Vienna Day 2.

Who let the dogs out?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Vienna Second Day (2)

First layout done with Club Scrap Culinary Kit and some alpha stickers. Second layout uses paper from 7Gypsies and American Crafts. Both from a kit by Scrapologie.

The first layout is of Lily at the Imperial Bakery, helping to make the strudel. The second layout is of Ricky trying out a marionette. I had to journal what he did just after the photographs: He is not fond of puppets. But I really wanted him to see how they worked so I coaxed him into trying it. And just after I had finished taking the photographs, he threw the marionette on the floor and stomped off! Oh, the embarrassment! The lady was so angry! Try explaining to her what his problem was ... He did apologise later but I am only glad that nothing happened to the puppet except some very entangled strings!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Vienna - Second Day (1)

First layout done with Club Scrap Tuscany kit. Second layout done with Club Scrap Autumn Splendour kit. Third layout done with printed paper from 7 Gypsies. Also used rub-ons, various swirly stamps, acrylic paints, Stayz on inks, vellum, QK alphas, MM alpha stamps & MM metal moulded edging. I tried to follow the famous yellow of the Schonbrunn Palace on the layouts as well.

We left very early in the morning to see the Schonbrunn Palace and grounds. The children went off to try on some old fashioned costumes and have some fun while the adults got a guided tour of the Royal Apartments of Empress Maria Teresia. Now these are what I call ‘royal’ apartments. They were so … Regal! The ‘Blue or Porcelain Room’ was my favourite. And the ‘Million’ room with Indian paintings and gold leafing is exceptional. This particular room is now valued at 60 to 70 million dollars. No photography was allowed so I had to buy a guide book. This rule is good for palace business!

From there we went to see the Royal bakery to see how Apple Strudel was made with an age old recipe. Lily got to be an assistant and help out in doing strange things to the dough. We were then served a slice of strudel with coffee ~ a great mid morning snack.

Our next stop was the marionette theatre. This is so beautiful that one has to see it to believe the effects that can be achieved. One really is absorbed into a make believe fantasy world and when the show finished, exiting the theatre is something of a shock. We went back stage to see how it all worked. I was surprised at how small the puppets were. They looked life size when on stage. Some kind of optical illusion the theatre is very proud of.

We then got into a funny little yellow/green train called Der Schonbrunner. It took us all the way to near the Gloriette. We had lunch at a very Tyrolean style restaurant. Authentic Austrian they said but I did not like my Wiener Schintzel too much. After lunch we went to see some animals in the farm below the restaurant and try out some great cheese. The man selling the cheese was a very Authentic Tyrolean crusty old mountain farmer.

Next we walked to the Gloriette, which was 3 minutes from the restaurant. The views of the city from there are great. And if I heard our guide correctly (I just wish she has spoken louder or used a microphone ~ I had to strain to hear every word), the Gloriette sits on Maria Teresia’s huge refrigerator. The mountain under the Gloriette has been bored deep into and it is very cool in the caves there. The Empress used to take pleasure in serving delicacies made in her refrigerator ~ like sorbet in summer. I could just imagine her servants running from the Gloriette to the Palace with the sorbet before it melted completely. It is by no means a short distance!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Vienna - First day (2)

First layout done with CS World Travel kit. Second layout with CS Journeys kit. And third layout done with a Scrapologie kit. I have also used Art Warehouse stickers, some metallic stickers, Fresh Cuts, assorted stickers and that fancy stapler (forget the name).

Dinner was a buffet at a nice restaurant in the hotel itself. There were about forty people in the tour group. We played a fun little ‘getting to know everyone’ game where you had to ask people if they had done things like take a cruise or ridden a horse buggy etc. A well thought out list of everything related to the experiences we were going to have over the next few days. Then we went through the usual introductions and telling everyone why we had chosen this particular tour company and so on. And I wonder why every time I get picked to do the public speaking in our family!

Our two families were a bit rushed with our dinner because earlier in the day, while we were walking around the city, we bought tickets to an Operatic sampler of Viennese music & dance that started at eight. We did not want to miss it! Finding the place where our show was being held turned out to be quite an endeavour. We walked around a few blocks and finally ended up quite close to the hotel.

The place was Beethovenhaus and is one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen. It is now a school for the arts. The building has a courtyard on the inside with ivy growing all over. I just had to lean out of the window and snap a few photos of the ivy. This is on the third floor so imagine how long the ivy has been growing to get so thick so high up!
The show was geared to entertain tourists. I am sure true cognoscenti of Viennese opera would look down their noses at these shows. But we loved every minute of it! We were tourists after all. One singer was an amazing look-alike of Robert Redford. I am thinking that is why he got the job because his singing was mediocre at best. And Joe managed to catch the cork they threw into the audience so I got myself a free glass of champagne during intermission.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Vienna - Our first day

From today I am starting to scrap our summer holiday photos. I will be working 3 albums simultaneously. So I will be posting 3 layouts every time. The photos in the layouts will be mostly similar, with some differences depending on whose album it is. The journalling will be identical on all 3 layouts. And I am going to try and fit as many photos as I can on each layout! This is what you can expect from me over the next few weeks till I am finished with the holiday photographs.

First layout done with CS World Travel kit. Second layout with CS Journeys kit. And third layout done with a Scrapologie kit. I have also used Art Warehouse stickers, some metallic stickers, BG Rub ons, chipboard accents and iridescent acrylic paints.

2nd August 2007: After a really interesting and fun overnight train ride (sleeper coaches were a first for everyone except me), from Milano to Vienna Sudbanhof, we met up with the Singh family in the lobby of the Vienna Marriott. After unpacking we walked to the Opera House but were 4 minutes too late for the 11 am tour! If only Ricky had listened to Mini and not walked around the Opera House… so we continued towards the Hofburg Complex to try and kill one hour and make the next tour. We stopped on the way for a photo with Goethe's statue. At the Hofburg complex we went in to see the butterfly house. It is small but extremely pretty. If you like nature, it is definitely worth a visit.

We then returned to the Opera House and met up with the Singh’s for the 12 am tour. Some parts of the Opera House are very grand but other parts, destroyed during WWII and rebuilt later, are more modern and linear. I really liked how they took us back stage so we could see it from the perspective of the actors.

We had lunch at the Sacher Hotel with the mandatory Sacher Torte for dessert. Then we walked back to the Hofburg complex to see the Kaiser Apartments & the Sisi Museum. I was expecting more grandeur in the apartments but apparently neither Emperor Franz Josef nor his Empress Elizabeth (or Sisi, as she was affectionately called) had very flamboyant tastes. What was singular was the exercise room and equipment the Empress Sisi had. She was figure conscious and worked out daily to maintain her waistline. Quite unheard of in those days!

After seeing these two venues we were all so tired we could hardly drag our feet! So we left the Singh’s to see the Imperial Treasury and returned to the hotel. After naps and showers, we went down for our ‘Welcome’ dinner and to meet the other families joining us on this tour of the Imperial cities of Vienna, Salzburg & Prague.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

forced absence ....

It has happened ... my PC has crashed. It had been threatening for a while now. Some hardware that I installed a while back did not seem to work well and was making everything go wonky. And finally now it will not start up any more.

So I have to take a forced break from updating this blog.

Ahh ... grrrrr!! >:-(

Update: It seems to have revived itself somehow. The workings of this machine are beyond me ... LOL! Let us see how long it lasts this time.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Uncharted Territory

First layout done with a Club Scrap Retreat kit . Also swirly stamps, rub on title, 7 Gypsies gaffer tape, a square brad & a metal rimmed tag. This is Christmas of 1999 but these photographs remind me of a very difficult time we went through with Ricky. We had found out about his Autism and ADHD in mid 1998. 'Early Intervention' was the key word. Yet everywhere I turned, I found no immediate help. Special needs schools were all full. Therapists had waiting lists. It was extremely frustrating. And scary. So we decided that while we waited for an opening somewhere, we would not just sit around. The internet was a starting point. Then came books. We travelled to different parts of the globe to attend courses on how we could help Ricky. But mostly I think that everything we did this year helped us, as parents to adjust to and understand Ricky's special needs and be supportive of all the therapies and classes that would come later.

Layout copied from one in CK magazine. A little bit of stitching, some chipboard accents, Gel.a.tin alpha stamps & alpha stickers complete this simple layout. Ricky at a friends birthday. Curran's dad used to work in the F&B industry. So they were able to rent out a night club, but during lunch hour for the party. Everything was great except for the dark ambience and the bar with its flashing 'cocktail' sign. So I drew a moustache on Ricky and took a photo at the bar ... lol!

How's this for putting everything in perspective?

Friday, September 14, 2007


First layout done with Club Scrap Aromatherapy kit, rub-on alphas and little flower stickers. Design copied from a CK magazine. This is Lily's birthday but the layout is for my album. I worked my backside off organising this little tea party for DD & her friends. And all the little girls looked so sweet ~ just like little dolls. Usually they are always in jeans.

Second layout done with a kit from Scrapologie. Layout is for my BOM. These photos are from my grad school (I think that is the US term? Correct me if I am wrong) I was about 16 or 17 and we called it college. We used to have a lot of fun organising entertainment for the whole college. And invariably I would get picked to participate in the 'Fashion Show' Mind you we did not have any real clothes labels. We would beg & borrow clothes from everywhere and model what we could find ... lol! Which I think should be a good enough excuse for the outfit I am wearing in the lower photos!!! Now I cringe when I see the granny look but it all was so much fun back then!

Perfect pictures in an Imperfect World .....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

That thing you do

I have been taking time off from scrapbooking ... actually I was so caught up in a book that I simply could not put it down. After seeing a video about a lot of fuss about this book, I decided to read it. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I absolutely loved the book! I think it is very relevant too, especially when I see folks trying to ban books. Imagine: Banning a book that tells a story about the total banning of books! I am now reading the White Mughals by William Dalrymple - this will take a while since it is pretty thick. But I am already enjoying it so much! very different genre, of course.

Anyway, today the layout is done with cardstock from Club Scrap Nautical kit. The flower stamp is from another CS kit. The title is a rub on from DCWV. Rhinestone brads & swirly stamps. And vellum from my super old stash.

Lily was a sweet kid ~ most of the time. But she could be stubborn. And this is her 'stubborn' look - chin jutting out, eyes staring, almost glaring, and slightly crossed. When I saw this look I knew that my work would be cut out for me.


Waterbed Prank

Friday, September 07, 2007

Nonno & I

First layout done with Club Scrap Weather kit & a 7Gypsies sticker. Layout design copied from Ali Edwards LO in a CK magazine. This is Lily with her Grandfather ~ the last time she met him. We returned to Hong Kong in January and he passed away a few months later. She was such a favourite with her Nonno ~ he adored her. And she loved him too!

Second layout done with a kit from Scrapologie. And some rub-on doodles, a white pen & MM alpha rub-ons. Also Gelatins alpha stamps. Layout copied from one in a CK magazine. Ricky in an extremely colourful outfit, watching TV.

Nice effect ... slightly spooky.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Freeze Frame

First layout done with Club Scrap Evergreen kit, 7 Gypsies stickers, Art Warehouse stickers, CI Stickers & red heart brads. Second layout doen with Club Scrap Fossils kit, Art Warehouse stickers, CI stickers, a stamp, rub-ons, prisma flowers & French curves.

Both layouts, done for the albums of Lily & Ricky respectively, are about the same family. Good friends for a long time, they moved to the UK in 2000. Sadly we have lost touch with them but the photographs and memories remain.


Another 'Phony Photo Booth' video. These really crack me up!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

the Show must go on

First layout done with Club Scrap kit 'To you with Love' from Feb 2004. Some Prisma flowers, a heart rub-on by My Mind's Eye and a sticker by Art Warehouse. This layout is for my BOM. It is the first photograph of us as a couple. I love this photo because we both look happy - me in my way and Joe in his way. I love the look in his eyes, the expression on his face. I would like to think that this photo played an important part in convincing me that Joe was the one for me!

There was a very ugly & distracting painting on the wall behind us so I tried my best to get rid of it. But the touching up is evident.

Second layout done with papers & stickers from a Scrapologie kit.

P.S. I realise after posting here that both layouts look kinda wonky ... LOL! Not so evident IRL so I am not making any changes in the layouts.

And now for something fun! Magical fun!!

Monday, September 03, 2007


First layout done with Club Scrap Poetic kit. Swirly stamps and some printed word art downloaded from the internet. Lily with her cousins and close friends, all engrossed in some TV show. I like this photograph for 2 reasons: the expression on Lily's face and that I was able to get five extremely active children in a single frame!

Second layout uses mostly card stock. Not sure who makes the blue printed strip of paper. The white coaster is by Imagination Project. Stickers are by 7 Gypsies. Heidi Swapp chipboard alphas. Photograph from 1999. We took Ricky to Ocean Park for the day. He got to choose all the rides and games. I do believe that Joe had as much, if not more fun, than Ricky at the games! And I even let him have French fries and a coke. All this because he had been really good his first week in Kindergarten.


I have been contemplating another trip to India. This time I wish to go on a tiger safari - there are so few of these beautiful animals left - I wish to see at least one in the wild before the Chinese eat them all up! Who wants to join me? ROLF!!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Long Ago Friends

Club Scrap Friendship kit used for this layout. Also, Frances Meyer alpha stickers. 'Friends' drawn and cut freehand. A layout about two sisters, good friends of Lily who moved away from Hong Kong in 1998. Our families have lost touch since but it was a sweet friendship while it lasted.

This clip is from an Italian movie. What I liked about it is the way the 'laid back' life style is portrayed. Could not be more accurate!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Cutest lil Clown

First layout done with printed papers & flower from Sassafrass Lass. Flower brads from my stash - not sure who makes them. When my children were younger we used to live in a place where the neighbourhood was really stuck-up and unfriendly. So on days like Halloween it was really sad because there was nothing. This year I tried to organise a little something but as you can see only a handful of kids showed up. Lily still talks about how sad it all was!

Second layout is done with Club Scrap Caribbean kit, chipboard label and a rub on. Ribbons from my stash. Photos from one of our many many trips to Phuket. So I just wrote about how I love that little cap Lily is wearing and how it was almost impossible to get her keep anything on her head.

P.S. Both layout designs inspired from the current CK magazine. And since I am running late today, I'll skip the video. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New York 1999

All layouts done with Club Scrap Heritage III kit from June 2001. Other products are alpha stickers, liquid pearls and 7 Gypsies journalling tag. All layout designs inspired by layouts in various CK magazines.

Joe and I were in NYC mid December 1999. It was an amazing experience ~ New York all decked out for Christmas. The lights, the festive air, the shopping, the biting cold ~ we loved it all! We spent three awesome days in this amazing city and came away with really special memories. Unfortunately we did not have a chance to go to see Lady Liberty so we made do with a replica in front of a shop ... LOL!

Coffee Art - it is all the rage these days. Now, I'd rather have my coffee plain and steaming hot, than fancy and cold, but this is still worth a look-see.
Coffee Art

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Visiting Friends

I am making puff pastry today for the first time - wish me luck! So I managed to do just this one layout. Club Scrap Old South kit. QK alphabets & Heidi Swapp chipboard alphas. 2 tiny white rub-ons.

Today's video is a favourite of mine - a slightly longer one to make up for just one layout ... LOL! And I know that you Jane Austen fans will love this one ... the best Mr. Darcy till date!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

2 Birthdays

First layout uses Club Scrap Fruit & Vine kit, rub ons, swirly stamps & some doodling. The big red oval was supposed to be a balloon but it now looks like an egg ... LOL! Layout design inspired by one in the current CK.

Second layout uses mostly card stock because of the large number of photographs. Alpha stamps by Art Warehouse and the numbers are those foam letters that look great but smell funny. I managed to fit in 14 photographs! And a pretty crazy party that was too!!


The Tonight Show by Jay Leno is something perhaps most of you watch. But there are some segments that are just worth watching again and again ... especially if they have such eye candy!! That's Josh Duhamel, BTW.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cutest Expressions!

First layout done with Club Scrap 'Key to my Heart' kit. I believe this has to be the most difficult CS kit I have used till date. And since I was doing 'double paper' subscription those days I have a lot of this kit!!

Second layout done with a kit from Scrapgoods. QK alphabets, Art Warehouse alpha & photo corner stamps. The black round thing is a rub on.

It is now just over a week that we got back from Europe. I am over my jet lag, cleaned out the house, attended to all the piled up mail and now am finally into my regular rhythm. It is wonderful to travel, but it sure is great to get back home!

We usually eat a continental breakfast - very light & quick. But on Sundays we indulge ourselves. Yesterday I made these scrambled eggs for breakfast. And everyone loved them! So I decided to share it for those of you who enjoy spending time in the kitchen :-)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Blogging Break

I will be taking a break from scrapping and blogging till the third week of August. I am off on my travels. Have a wonderful summer, everyone!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


First layout done with papers from Club Scrap. Not sure which kit the brown paper is from. The yellow is from the County Fair kit. Imagination Project rub-on alphabets, swirl stamps from Art Warehouse Limited Edition, 7 Gypsies journaling card and a chipboard flower, coloured & stamped with Brilliance inks. Ribbon is from my stash. Design copied from a layout in a CK magazine.

Second layout uses a Scrapgoods kit. Could not figure out who makes the papers because the little strips were removed by the Club - Daisy D's maybe a guess but I cannot be sure. Art Warehouse stickers, Thickers alphas, Swirly stamps (Rhonna Farrer I think) and a ribbon, again from my stash. One of Becky Higgins' sketches.

These wooden chairs, with their strange upholstery are very old and slightly out of the norm. The whole set ~ 2 arm chairs and a 3 seater, are rockers! They belong to my MIL from her trousseau ~ that is at least 50 years. And for many summers past all the kids have spent enjoyable evenings rocking on these. They used to occupy the pride of place in the main living room in front of the TV. But with a few compulsive rockers in the household we had to put up with continuous creaking while we tried to watch the news. So three years ago, when we redecorated the house, I changed the upholstery and moved them to the children's den. This way everyone is happy!!

Lily at the playground. And yes, back then I could really squat!


A Japanese prank ... I'll have to be careful the next time I visit there ... LOL! Been very lucky till now. They have all been perfectly behaved but this sort of thing is contagious, I believe :-)

Anyway here is the Japanese Rocket Chair ...