Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Photobook Craze

Hey there peeps! Seems like I am on a roll right now. Memanglah banyak nak cerita, am just finally putting it down. Like finally, right?

This morning, I wanted to share this other craze that I have been working on a lot, a lot, a lot! I started fiddling with Photobook quite a while back. When I thought I had to finish 5 books in 2 weeks, quite frankly. That was sometime in March 2011. Turned out I didn't have to and the expiry was really a year away. Duhh!!!

But it did force me to start using the downloaded application and make our very first Photobook. I made two albums circa April 2011 - one on our family photoshoot back in 2006 and the other one was our first stay in Hard Rock Hotel, Penang. I call these two my First Generation photobooks. :) Once we ordered the albums, it really only took about 4 days for the books to arrive. Of course, Khaleeda was the most excited. (Siapa lagi, ya tak? )

For me, when ordering the Imagewrap books (the one I was working on are called Imagewrap Medium Landscape books) , the cover is important as it gives the reader the first impression. Does it attract your audience or doesn't it? Then, the layout and flow of the whole book. How do you want to organize your pictures. Next is the first and last page. How do you start and end your story telling?

Gen 1: Photoshoot 2006

Cover: Three selected pictures on a black background. with a caption "Azlul Clan Photoshoot 2006". Simple and classic. The back is a picture of Khadra and Khaleeq walking hand-in-hand. Agak comel.
Flow: I divided the book into two. First half is the indoor family photoshoot we had commemorating our graduation from MBA. The other half is the outdoor photoshoot by the poolside.
Layout: I used patterned backgrounds to give it a more scrapbook-y feel. Frames. Lots of frames. When I have a certain picture that I wanted to highlight, I let it take the whole page.
First and last pages: A picture of me and Azrul on the first page and a nice picture of Khadra during the outdoor shoot for the last page.

Gen 1: Hard Rock Hotel 2009

Cover: Full picture of HRH on the front cover. For the back cover, I put on a cool Elvis quotation I got at the lobby entrance that says "Welcome back my friends, the show that never ends". I also included a picture of the three kids playing sandcastle by the beach.
Flow: It started with pictures of our roadtrip - the drive all the way up to Penang. Then the hotel ambiance, the awesome pizzas at the pizzeria, Lil Rock, kids having fun in the pool - basically all thhe stuff we could do there.
Layout: For this album, I stuck to just plain white background with black frames. Had a few captions here and there. I still highlighted a few pictures that I really liked - those ones take a whole page. We also had the view of the sea from our room. Two beautiful views captured at different times of the day next to each other. <3 <3 <3 I also liked a spread I made on the food we got from breakfast at the King's Club. I even added the breakfast menu there. :)
First and last pages: First page says "December.2009 roadtrip! Roadtrip!" Last page is a picture of the kids sleeping in their car seats on our way home with a caption "'till next time!"

Come early October 2011, two more vouchers were due. I got a real deal from Groupon Malaysia, something like RM54 for an RM256 worth of Photobook. Sangat berbaloi-baloi. The only thing is the expiry comes around a few months after. OK la, just have to organize your time a little better and get it done in time. That's all. Anyhoots, for this Generation 2 albums I have upgraded a little of my skills and decided to finish up the Melbourne trip and start on the Hong Kong Disneyland album. It has some obvious improvements from Gen 1, I think. So I really do recommend that you only work on a few (one or two) Photobook(s) at a time as your designing skills will improve over time. :)

Gen 2: Melbourne 2004

Cover: I chose the best two pictures that depicted the trip and made it as cover. The compulsory pose by the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles.
Flow: Very much like the earlier HRH album, it's a story of our short stay there. As the page progresses, it showcased the things we saw and did.
Layout: This time I used plain black background with white frames and text. I started experimenting on opacity, whereby the pictures become slightly blurry and transparent. It makes other pictures layered in front of it pop out more if they are in full colour.
First and last pages: A made a little narration as the first page. A little summary of what the album is about. Last page was a picture of my mom and all her grandchildren in Melbourne at the time, Khadra, Nelysa and Naqib.

Gen 2 : Hong Kong Disneyland 2011

Cover: Picture of the whole family in front of a Mickey Mouse statue. Back cover is a smaller picture of me and the kids walking out of the theme park with a visible "Thank you for coming" on the arch.
Flow: Divided the album into two halves. First part is on our activities and pictures from Hong Kong Disneyland while the other half was on the hotel.
Layout: More opacity techniques applied. I experimented with different patterned backgrounds, frames with captions and scrapbook items sprinkled sparringly throughout the album. I played around a lot on the layout - trying to squeeze in as many pictures i possibly could in one page. :)
First and last pages: It's like a Table of Contents (ToC) kinda thing, 3 pictures of us at hong Kong Disneyland and 3 pictures of us at the HK Disneyland Hotel. I especially liked the last page as I simply dumped layers upon layers of pictures in different orientation. Looks like a snapshot of many photographs of the holiday being spread on the floor. Very nice.

I'm currently working on my Gen 3 photobook. Will share the resources, my inspirations etc when I'm done, ok?

-dillz blogging out-

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rumahku Syurgaku - Part 2

Rumahku Syurgaku series | Part 1 | Part 2 |

One of the things that have kept me busy the past couple of weeks have been the furnishing of our home. If you can recall earlier, we bought the condo unit next door to ours and the major infrastructure works (complete rewiring, plaster ceiling, lighting, kitchen, toilets etc) has been completed sometime in February 2011. Come October 2011, the furnishing is still not done. hahahahahaha... But we have, however, made some very very significant progress. So, housewarming is not in the calender as yet sebab forevernya Work-in-Progress. Makanya kawan-kawan if you wanna, just drop me a BB message, sms or call ibefore you come visit. Amatlah dialu-alukan. :)

It has to be stressed that I am one who tries to find a "home" to everything that we have. For example, the heaps of stationeries need to be sorted and housed into a specific container / drawer. I need to know where to find them and I can be quite anal about it. So, it has taken me long-er than most to complete the furnishing. Plus, no Bibik in the world can help me with that. The "Mem" has to decide and carry it out. Darn it!

Also, we have applied the "don't buy anything until you are sure of it" and "mix and match furnishing". Maka, it is not as easy as buying the 3+2+1 sofa set for us. Hasilnya, there has been a number of rights and misses along the way, but it's OK. We do learn along the way.. :)

Anyways, the main objective of this post is to share with you what we have added to the house since. So far, I have not shared any "after" pictures here, so I can very well start anywhere, right? hihihihihi


The new "wing" now constitutes of the new Master Bedroom, Khaleeq's room, library, my "dry" / show kitchen and laundry area. We also redid the two toilets. The living area (with no TV) and main dining are in this wing too.

So, where to start, where to start? How about I start from the library? I love that room. I love the fact that we even decided to have one to begin with.

We decided that a book shelf is key! Therefore we custom built one complete with a ladder and the switches for the lights, air-conditioner and fan embedded at the side. When it first came, the space for the books resembled more like tempat baju, too deep, if you get what I mean. And it made the entrance too cramped and the room much smaller than it is. So the builders took it off once again and cut them to the size that I was happy with. The other end of the room opens up to a little balcony ala Juliet's. We decided to paint the doors white and up till now we have not decided on what to do to that area as yet. I probably want to have my pots of herbs there. We'll see..

When I started putting my books in, I realized that they were not all the same size. The novels were smaller, while the illustrated encyclopedia types were much larger. So it didn't quite make sense that all the shelves were the same size, right? Some words with the builders later, I was given a better organization for my books. It could fit much more without having to "make do" with stacking two lines of novels in one shelving. The ladder itself was a genius idea. It made reaching to high places a breeze. The construction is quite sturdy, it glides from one end to another by lifting the ladder a little before sliding it. My kids have tried climbing up and down the ladder but I try to keep their books within the lower portion of the book shelf. So, I'm quite happy with how it turned out in the end.

The wall that opens up to the balcony? Well, we decided to drape it all with patterned curtains and sheers to give that feel that it's larger than it is. (Curtains adalah one-stop solution from Macy's, Sungai Besi.) We decided on a simple wall light and a clock piece we found in a quaint shop in Solaris Mont Kiara. It worked well with the 4 white downlights and T-5 lights on the ceiling.

To finish it all up, we have only just installed the wall paper treatment some 2 weeks ago. The motive is the outline of skyscrapers with white background. It gives it a clean, coffee shop feel to the room. To complete the look, I moved my 2 arm chairs over (kidnapped from the living room). I think it now needs a little coffee table and maybe a stand lamp yang cantik to complete my reading experience. :) I'll be on a look out for that. On the other wall, I have the kids' schoolbooks and worksheets, our stationery cupboard and a doodle drawer . I have yet to finalize the arrangement and feel. As of now, we are just using what we already have in the house. Can lah.

Pictures a through d are the arrangement of the stationery cupboard. While e and f is of the doodle drawer.

a is where you can find the normal stationery stuff - pencils, erasers, rulers, highlighters, markers in one drawer and adhesives, tapes, stickers, stapler bullets in the other.

Warning: These items are chargeable to my kids. I find it a very effective learning tool. Kalau tak asyik hilangggg aje pensil, rubber and pembaris. Acik dah tak tahan. So, every lost stationery is charged at 50sen per item. Itu pun dah kira subsidi tau. My rulers cost RM1.80 each. hihihihi So far, even Khaleeda has to pay. It's so cute, she'll come with her tabung to buy a pencil. Tu la, lain kali, jaga elok-elok sikit..

b keeps all the colours. Pencil colour, crayons and magic colours.

is all that you need to paint - smocks, aprons, old cloth, pastel colours, water colours, brushes and pallettes.

is my A4 - sized printer paper and coloured paper. As well as the place where I stash the loot I got from the Big Bad Wolf sale. Shhh....

is of course my favourite. We have googly eyes - small/medium/large, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, ice-cream sticks, feathers (small/large), stickers, scrapbooking stuff, laces, remnants, plasticine, tools like glue gun, styrofoam cutter, leather puncher, cutters, cutting board, etc. Basically, all that you might need for arts and crafts. We call it our Doodle Drawer (ambik feel Art Attack sikit)

f is where I keep the arty papers - crepe papers, manilla cards, wrapping papers...

The work is not done, however, I still have to sort out the mess that is pictured above. Old mails, recycleable items etc. Good to see that the pile has lessened from a mountain to a hill and hopefully soon to a mole. Entah bila lagi la nak buat tu, but I shall trudge along and keep at it. :)

Here's another project that we have been at. I bought three pieces from #apebarang by the very talented @stoodlerist. We fell right in love with the I LOVE series and commissioned 6 more! hihihihi.. So, we now have 9 to be framed and displayed in the library later. I am looking for a frame shop as I type this. So, when the space is all ready, I'll update it here lah, ya. :)

That's all we have so far from the library. Next Friday cerita pasal bilik lain pulak. :P

-dillz blogging out-

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Back and Moving On

This would have been our 15th or 16th week. Second trimester? Yes, I think that should be about right. I stopped counting a while back already. I had my D&C procedure last 18th of September 2011. My third miscarriage in the span of 1 year and 2 months. Taking quite a toll on my body and also my heart...

I THINK I have moved on. Sudah redha dan sudah move on. Insya Allah..

When it first dawned on me that it was not meant to be (again) this time, I felt more confused than anything else. So, here's the story.. (I just had to pen it down for myself. So bear with me, ya)

I spotted some bleeding that Thursday night of 15th September 2011. Multiple small spots of bloody stains. I was just glad I got to complete my Puasa Enam. Was supposed to beraya sakan thereafter. I started to get an uneasy seeing the similarities in my previous experience. Talked it over with my husband, spoke over the phone with Lily. We decided that it's best that I rest and get it checked as soon as I could.

We had the MASiF rehearsals that night, kids were supposed to be at KLCC concourse area by 10pm. After the rehearsals were over, we headed back to Ziezi's house for a sleepover. I didn't feel quite right about it. So, Ziezi and Zurin took me to Gleneagle's A&E at around 1am. The MO told me to rest, to take it slow. I asked if there were anything that they could give me to stop the bleeding for sure, which by that time wasn't that much anyways. She said that there are some things that could be prescribed, but she'd rather if I waited for my OB/GYN's advice. In any case, they can't really tell that much until an ultrasound is done to see the current condition of the fetus. So, OK lah. We went home.

The next day, the bleeding seemed to stop, it reduced to brown discharges and I went about my business as usual. Kids had a lot of fun during the MASiF festival but unfortunately, around Maghrib time that day, I noticed that the bleeding was back with a vengeance. We headed to Pantai A&E and the MO consulted my OB/GYN - I was administered an injection to the butt and was admitted for the night.

Next morning, Dr Hamid came to see me. He said to be sure, we need to do an ultrasound and the next course of action will depend on the results. It the embryo was stable, then he would suggest a week's worth of bed rest. Which means - stay at home, on the bed, leaving only if you need to pee and such.

I was wheeled for Ultrasound in my pajamas. Alone this time. Hubs was still at home and making his way to the hospital. Wah! Masa tu, perasaan memang tak keruan. I was, obviously, fearing the worst. When the radiologist was taking more time than I thought she should, I knew for sure, my nightmare had turned into a reality.

Dillz: "You tak jumpa ke?"
Radiologist: "Why do you say that?"
Dillz: "My uterus is retroverted, so it's quite hard to locate it"
She smiled and said, "Let me check for a while"
Jantung aku dah dup.dap.dup.dap. kencang gila.
She went about taking multiple positions, stopping and scanning and moving the probe around my belly once again. The silence was deafening.
Radiologist: "I'm sorry, but I can't seem to find the fetus. The sac is empty."
Dillz: "Blighted ovum, ya?"
Radiologist: "Seems that way. I'm sorry"
"It's OK" was what I heard I say out loud, but it really was NOT OK...

I BBMed my husband straight away. I appeared OK; I guess, but the emotions that was really bottled in me was really intense and confusing. Rasa nak menangis, but not even one tear materialized. I guess it was just waiting for Azrul to get there and hug me and tell me that it will all be OK.

Wheeled back to my room, to my waiting adik bongsu who kept me company for the night. Just told her that it was not meant to be and I patiently waited. He was there within a few minutes, but it really felt like eternity. As soon as he hugged me, whispering that "It's OK, dah tak ada rezeki", the tears came pouring down like I just turned on the tap. I was crying and sobbing, finally letting me feel my loss.

So, itulah ceritanya. Blighted ovum.

What that means in layman terms is that the fetus did not develop at all. I only had a growing sac in my uterus, with nothing inside. Not a blob, no heartbeat, nothing. It's one of the common reasons for early-term miscarriages. Dah memang tak ada rezeki. So, saya pun redha lah.

Buat masa ni, I am on a break. My uterus obviously needs it. Only time can tell whether temporary mahupun permanent. ;)

-dillz blogging out-