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How to Style Your Photo Wall: Interior Designing Tips by Clover Buildcon

If you’re a visual person, you probably know that your environment can affect your mood and daily productivity levels. It is also likely that you place importance in using your home to channel your personality and individuality. If so, you don’t need a huge budget. This can be communicated through home decoration using your own family photos! Hanging pictures is a balancing act of spacing, colour, and proportion. The way a photo is displayed can be significant and transformative not only to the space it is in, but it can further express the feelings in the photograph itself.

Image by decorpad

Here are a few brilliant tips by our friends at Clover Buildcon Interior Design on how you can use personal photos or artwork to show off your most precious moments in a stylish way!

Which wall should you choose?

Choosing the right wall is essential. Not all walls can be used to display photographs. When we place photographs in the wrong place, it can look odd and confusing. So picking the right wall to feature is fundamental, don’t just pick one randomly. The wall you choose to highlight should ideally be a space where your eye is first drawn towards when you enter the room. Which wall is that?

Also, photographs look best when they are placed on a solid wall without doors or windows. Some common examples are the walls behind sofas and beds. Avoid placing your photographs on walls where there is too much competition for attention or walls that are too small. When we place photographs on the right walls, it creates an interior that adds excitement and importance to the space.

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Tips for Planning Children’s Parties

When I was growing up, I remember the most epic birthday party I had was when I was 8. Growing up in Malacca in the 80s, it wasn’t really common to have major parties for children my age, but my parents had organized my birthday at the new McDonald’s restaurant (the one and only in Malacca at that time!). It was totally memorable for me, especially since my mom baked a gorgeous cake for me, and my friends and I packed into the walk-in freezer to see how long we could stand the cold. I am grateful to my parents for organizing such a party for me.

Now that I have children of own and with the growing influence of Pinterest, DIY groups on Facebook etc, I feel a little ‘pressured’ to do something fun. So a few years ago when my daughter turned 5 and my son turned 3, I organised 2 parties – a unicorn party for my 5 year old and a fireman party for my 3 year old. It was quite fun doing some of the DIY stuff on my own, but unlike my mother, I can only bake instant cakes from those pre-mixes in the supermarket. (Needless to say, I didn’t bake these cakes).

It was a little stressful, but after all that organising, here are some tips to share with other mums who intend to plan their own child’s birthday parties.

1. If you are not good at something, hire someone to do it.

I realised that I was putting additional stress on myself in making some of the decorations myself. I went shopping for goody bags, was busy sorting out the guest list, planning food, AND thinking of how to keep everything under budget. Unless you are the kind of mum who truly enjoys this process, the best way to avoid unnecessary stress is to hire someone to do things for you. There are many great decorators / stylists who are great at what they do! (For my son’s 1st birthday, I had an Up themed party and hired Moments). For his 3rd year party, all I did was call the local fire station, do a site visit, and then let the firemen entertain the kids! (You need to give a donation to hold the party at the local fire station. Some fire stations do not allow parties)

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How To Make A DIY Notebook With Old Photos

Remember the days where you would print out all your photos – even the most random ones? Well, if they’re still around – don’t throw them! Use them to make a DIY notebook! And if you have tons of scrap paper lying around – especially the ones that were only used on one side – this DIY hack will help you save some trees.

Some people cut them in half to create a raw notepad like this:

But why not take it a step further, and personalise your notebook so it looks more like this one below?

Here’s what you need:

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How to Style Your Family for a Photo Shoot

Family gatherings are a perfect opportunity for a photoshoot, whether its a birthday party or festive gathering. However, getting a great family photo sometimes requires a little more than just smiling at the camera. There’s some prep work involved and it’s called “styling”. You don’t have to be a professional fashion consultant to do this. In fact, it’s quite easy! Here are four ways to start having better looking photos with just a little bit of styling done right.


1. Consider your location and backdrop

If your photoshoot coincides with an event such as a birthday party or a dinner, think about how the location will look like: What colour will the wall or backdrop be where your group will be standing? Here’s a good rule of thumb you can follow: 

  • Plain background – You can wear either plain or bright colours, and outfits with more patterns. However not everyone should be wearing prints or else the patterns might clash, making overall photo look too messy. 
  • Busy background – It’s best to wear outfits with plain colours (no patterns) that complement the background. Eg. A green leafy background can go with full white outfits or white and khaki colours.

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5 Business Lessons as a Creative Entrepreneur

At the beginning of May this year, I felt that I needed to take a short personal sabbatical from running my business that has been in operations for 11 years now. I thought I could use the extra time to learn new skills, spend time with my kids, catch up with people but in reality, I realized that I could never really disconnect from my work.

In the middle of May, I attended the National Achievers Congress and that event made me think about how I have been running my business all these years. As a result of conversations with so many other friends, family and entrepreneurs, I’ve written down some of my reflections regarding business as a creative entrepreneur.

1. Self-employed vs Business owner

Even though I have staff working with me, my mindset has not moved beyond a solo self-employed entrepreneur to a business owner. A self-employed person would dabble in everything, from marketing to sales to operations… the list goes on. Basically, in Malaysia, we say, “one leg kick all”. According to this website, it has the definition of “Perhaps a direct translation of the Cantonese phrase, yat kiok tek, it describes a job or situation where one has to do everything, and not usually by choice.” If everything in your business depends on you, you’re self-employed. To me, this is a sure-fire way to be trapped for a long time. To transition to a business owner, I need to have scalability. Part of this involves automations.

Part of my dream would be to have financial freedom within the next 5-10 years so that I can be free to make choices about how I would like to spend my time daily. Over the years, I’ve automated some of my processes, so that’s great, but I need to be more intentional about thinking how to work with amazing individuals so that they can take the business to a different level. Which brings me to another point.

2. Get the right person on the bus

I heard about this principle through Cavemen, a group of amazingly talented business coaches who dress in crazy outfits and run life changing programs. The principle runs around the idea that you need the right people on your bus (the business) that are going in the right direction as you and on the right seats. Unfortunately, you also have to get the wrong people off. As I discovered, some people are extremely talented, but they are not doing the right job. Some people, over time, decide that their direction is no longer the same direction as yours, and that’s ok because people change and they move on. But the most challenging and difficult of it all would be to identify people who are wrong for the business and politely showing them the door (no kicking involved!). Get the right people doing the right job and the bus will move efficiently.

3. Communicate your ‘why’

So how do you get the right people on board? You need to communicate your why – why are you doing what you do? Why should this person join alongside you in this journey? Learning to communicate this why took me years to perfect. I only wrote my vision and mission statement last year (after 10 years of running my business). As I did more self-reflection, the why became clearer and clearer. But sometimes I fail to share my thought process with the team. So I am running this business and I think everyone is running behind me, but in reality, they might be clueless.

4. Stop being a perfectionist and too ‘creative’

Years ago, I couldn’t bear the thought of hiring a digital artist to edit my photos because nobody could do it as well as I could (or so I thought). In my mind, I had to control the entire creative process and my way was really the ‘best’. But my practical husband told me that I had to change this mindset. After I released control, I realized that other people can do a better job and that I now had time to do other things! (look at point number 1 above). Naturally, I had to think of ways to ensure quality is maintained through the years even with different people on the team. When I opened my mind, I found that other people’s ideas added so much value to the company.

5. Always learn. Always innovate.

10 years ago, I could count the number of female photographers in one hand. Things change. Instagram became popular. The students I taught in college when I was a freelance lecturer suddenly grew up and became my new competitors. I could choose to be bitter or choose to collaborate. I could choose to moan about the economic situation and how it affects my business badly, or choose to think of ways to innovate. One of my values in life is being hardworking. It probably came from my mum who sold did direct sales of Pyrex during the day and baked cookies in the wee hours of the morning so that she could earn enough for our future. But working hard needs to be coupled with working smart. Keep moving. Keep learning. Keep implementing fresh ideas.

It’s still a journey. There’s so much to learn. But journalling my lessons down this way helps keep me on track. Onwards, to a better and greater future!