I am doing the happy dance because little by little my projects– Big, Small, Medium, Smaller, Smallest–they’re all beginning to come together and run towards completion, and that means more playtime!!! YEAH!!! I totally feel like a kid who just finished studying for the final exams. Oooh, thank God I’m light-years away from those days!
A quick run-down of the stuff that’s been accomplished, for those who care to hear:
The Big Project
- did final tweaks on the entire thing two dawns ago (yes, I count by dawn now, not by night ) and it’s on its way back to Hong Kong now. Hopefully it won’t be FedExed back to me with new work to be done on it. Keep your fingers crossed for me, will ya, honeys?Here is Mr. FedEx Box, as tall as my 5-year-old son’s study table in the background, where I embarrassingly dump all my design notes and books when he’s not using it. (The table is a wonderful ikea light-wood table with matching chairs and a bench… which you cannot appreciate since it’s totally being blocked by this humongous friend of mine. And PS. if you look real close, you’ll see one of my clearbooks behind with the title “Digital Design 2″ on its spine… there are about 6 of those filled with notes I’ve gathered and made so I can flip through them when I feel the need for some waking of the creative mojo. hehe).
What Mr. FedEx carried inside (didn’t bother to measure its width, but it was about 6 inches wide… standing up like that the box reached about halfway of my thigh, and no, I’m not a midget. ) were the blueprints and proofs of the Big Project, which I had run through oh about 6 times already… and on the flap in the plastic place was the DVD which contained the same files… I had to blur some surnames and the name of the studio as I don’t have clearance to release the names, but if you look closely you’ll see an envelope there with To: and From:, which we would repeatedly just jumble up as the box passed from my friend Tatum to me back to Tatum and back to me. (In case you don’t remember from the past post on the Big Project, Tatum is the layout artist I have been working with… love that she keeps the same ungodly hours as I do. We send each other text-messages on our cellphones and they invariable contain some reference to life: A sampling
Me: Are you still alive?
She: Yep, still awake.
Me: Good, so glad we share the same night-owl genes.
She: Still awake?
Me: You kidding? Coffee runs in my veins.
Me: T, it’s 5.30 AM and I just can’t do this any longer, my eyebags are large enough to cover my entire body like a blanket. Goodnight. Or good morning.
She: Yeah… goodnight. Tomorrow again…
The Medium Project aka The Brochure
- Done! My sisters asked me to make the brochure for their business, which involves supplying products for hotel gift shops in Asia. Did the design, layout, and photo editing (the last one was not part of the deal, but I just couldn’t stand not tweaking the photos to make them better ) for their brochure. This was loads of fun, and what made it more fun is that they gave me their logo, their swirls, and their logo colors which were all professionally made for them (read: paid for ). The brochure consists of about 40 cards inserted into a beautiful silk box with a band to keep the pages all together. I don’t have the sample of the box, but when it arrives, I’ll take a photo and post it to complete the experience. haha.
Here’s a sample page:
The Small Project aka The Blinkies
- Jess requested for blinkies for those who took her past Up & Running courses (ours was the beta June run, then there was the August run, and now we’re right at Week 1 of the October run–which I have the honor to moderate in again… fun, fun, fun!).
I had never done blinkies before, but I sooooo love dealing with never-before’s. The challenge of tackling the unknown and undiscovered gives me the same rush as it does a mountaineer who’s given the task of scaling K6 or Mt. Everest! I love the discovery and adventure and learning that always go hand in hand.
So anyway, thanks to the wonderful world wide web, I was able to gather some information on how to do it… and it took me roughly the better half of a day to do the first blinkie for Up & Running and roughly the better half of another night to do the second blinkie for the Now We’re Rockin’ course of Jess (a new one that opens in a week, and my playmates–most probably, you too!–and I are so excited about being all together on this course!). NOTE: If you want to see the blinkies I made, they’re blinking right on the bottom right side of the sidebar on the right of this page!
You know what’s amazing? Blinkies are basically animated designs, and making them is like making a moving cartoon. You have to be able to imagine how the next movement is going to happen, sort of like seeing the whole thing unfold in your mind like a muted movie in slow-mo. Cool! The first blinkie had 42 final layers (and I’m not even talking single layers, these are 42 merged layers… the single layers could easily be twice or thrice as many). The second blinkie had 78 layers. The tutorials I had chanced upon on the web had about 3 or 4 layers up to 12 layers… so if anyone thinks that it’s difficult to make blinkies, it’s totally not. It’s just time consuming. I’d be glad to help you out if you were interested.
Here’s the second wonderful thing about making the blinkies. All the tutorials I found were done using CS2. I am much more comfortable using PSE 5 at this point because, ahem, PSE 5 is my BFF. CS2 and CS3 are nice acquaintances. Not the first ones you think of running to when you need some friendly advice. And so I worked on the layers in PSE 5. But then… and here’s the real fun part for me… I needed to use Image Ready in CS2. There’s a way to do animation in PSE 5 which I had toyed around with once in the past, but it didn’t really excite me then. I was searching for a greater source of excitement. So I opened up CS2 and Image Ready, and voila! It was so EASY to use! (I should’ve probably prefaced this with letting you know that full-version Photoshop, though resting in the innards of my compy, still intimidate me with how GRAND they are. The learning curve just seems too steep to climb, especially if one is working round the clock and trying to beat a deadline, whether actual or personally set. With the blinkies, Jess was so wonderfully accommodating with the time I needed to work on it, so I know my wanting to produce it immediately was s self-inflicted deadline.
It was a load of fun. Lots of trials and errors all the way from beginning to end (best way to learn!) … and quite addictive too!
The Smaller Project
It’s that time of year again when the community’s newsletter, of which I am editor-in-chief, is due. Or I should say was due. Ideally, since it comes out quarterly, we prefer to release it to the community within the first week of the first month of each quarter. Well, this time all the deadlines were pulling at my hair, legs, arms… and so this was the first to get delegated to what Franklin Covey calls B-priorities. So yesterday I got that finished with just one little part missing: my regular column’s content. I have a regular column there called ParenTTalk, which is absolutely wonderful because it’s right up my alley of interests (I love families and kids!) and basically, I get to rant and rave to my heart’s delight about any topic under the sun. Mostly I rave. I don’t think I ever rant. Except when the moon is blue.
The Smallest Project
Smallest only because in the list of priorities, it’s a NICE-to-do, not a HAVE-to-do… this refers to my wanting to design the next FREEBIE KIT offering for all you wonderful friends of mine. I know what I want to do, I have images rolling about in my head as to what it will be… and now I will have the time to indulge! Whoooppeeee!!!
So I’m really very sorry, no freebies in this post… but SOON there will be! If I don’t run out on my fuel tonight (since the sun was rising by the time I jumped into bed last night) and my blurry eyes clear up (they get blurry everytime I lack sleep), by tomorrow hopefully I’ll have a freebie up for you, so do check back! I am so sorry for being a total dweeb at posting in my blog these past few days, and thank you for your patience with me!
And The Others
There are a load of other things that I’ve been wanting to do but which have invariably been pushed to the back because of the Bigger Projects demanding attention. Still, not having been able to do these things caused a lot of frustration in me that there weren’t 72 hours in a day!
Doing the Rounds in the October MB and Gallery
This is always so much fun for me. I love getting to know the new students; totally love being able to help them out; and absolutely love seeing their layouts come up. Some show immense growth as the days go by, and others are adept immediately from the start in an awesome way. I have a soft spot for the digital virgins / digital newbies because I know, from experience, how wonderful in a jump-up-and-down way it is to be able to discover and learn new things, and feel like “hey, I can actually do this!” That’s a totally great feeling. I make it a point to hop on over to the MB everyday, but the gallery I hadn’t had the time to go through yet. Well, today, I went through all of them and was delighted to see everything popping up there! These girls are really just so awesome.
Taking a Walk in the Playground Gallery
Another thing that frustrated me was not having the time to play around with my playmates in our General Forum playground. Well, I was able to do some hopping and skipping around the playground today for a longer time, and I loved going through all the layouts that had mushroomed in our gallery while I was busy “making a living,” (And I put that in quotes, because much of what I do is gratis, so one cannot really refer to it as making a living then, can right? hehehe). I am sooooo proud of the layouts that my girlfriends are coming up with! Jessica’s site is just bursting at the seams with wonderful, awesome talent! Amaaaaaazing.
Doing the Stand Up & Scrap Challenge
I have so far successfully avoided the booby traps of getting eliminated from the Stand Up & Scrap (SUNS, as I like to call it) challenges. I have said before that my only objective in joining the challenge was, in true Survivor fashion, just to finish the race without getting eliminated. Four weeks and four layouts after, with a fifth one due by next Tuesday, and then just one more… I’ve so far been able to hang on. The challenge is the first contest I’ve ever joined (give me a break, June was just roughly 3 months ago! ) and I’ve learned a lot because of it.
Since each week comes with both a Design Focus and an Inspirational Focus (like the theme of the layout, which also comes with a quote), I like that I’ve learned how to work within a tight box where limitations and lines are clearly drawn, at least in terms of the design and theme, and always with the tools you’re allowed to use (in this case, only kits and designs made by approved designer-sponsors). I also like that it comes with a deadline that will get you eliminated if you don’t meet it. Sometimes that kick in the butt is just what’s needed to get something going. (Oh yeah, a major procrastinator in many instances standing right in front of you here). It has also forced me to manage my time wisely, to really think out which one has to be done “yesterday” and which can be pushed for later. I also love that there are so many different layouts–numerous amazing and awesome ones–that are so inspiring. Eye candy is always so delicious!
Here are some other things I’ve been delighted to discover in the process (like bonus eureka moments ).
* Because there are so many different layouts, and many of which are of the collage and altered art type, I’ve learned more about my personal style. If before I only kind of thought so, I now clearly know that I like creating clean, graphic, simple layouts more. I know I like grunge, but only a touch of it. Not a whole lot of it. I know that I like scrapping about happy moments, precious moments. I know I most probably will never scrap about something disturbing, though I admire greatly those who have the courage to do so.
* Because there are hundreds and hundreds of participants in the challenge, I’ve found that I like love adore the close-knit warm family atmosphere of our playground at Jessica’s. Don’t get me wrong, there are many fabulous scrappers–all of them!–in the challenge. But perhaps because the contest is anonymous (for reasons I completely understand and agree with), it also makes one feel a bit disconnected. I don’t know how to explain it; I’m sure I’m failing somehow. I like the contestants, the moderators, the challenges, the forum, the designers, the judges… but you know how it is when you love someone but you don’t really understand to what extent, and then something happens so that it becomes crystal clear to you just how immmmmmmensely you love them that it’s hard to put into words? That’s exactly how I feel about my Jessica-family!
Doing the PSF Challenges
To keep us busy in the interim of our Up & Running and Now We’re Rockin’ courses at Jessica’s, the amazing Lisa took it upon herself to lead us in doing Photoshop Friday Challenges (also found at Jessica’s site… they’re free and awesome; ifyou haven’t tried them yet, go ahead and click on the link to Jessica’s site on my sidebar over to the right). These have been loads of fun, and I am totally amazed by the work that my JS-family has been coming up with in the gallery. Amaaaazing!!! I am so proud of them!
Unfortunately, because of the deluge of projects with deadlines that like sticking to each other, I have only been able to complete 2 of the 7 PSF challenges that Lisa has come up with. Actually, I have completed more… I used some of the PSF tutorials to do some of my SU&S contest entries… except that contest rules do not allow us to post our contest entries on any other galleries till the 6-week contest period is officially over. So right now I’m behind the boat in putting up layouts on my home gallery. But I’m hoping to get to that soon.
I have to say at this point that I am awed by some of my girlfriends, because quite a number of us are participating in the SU&S challenges and yet they are able to come up with layouts for the PSF challenges as well. I wish I had their energy and endless supply of creativity! I wish I had more time!
And speaking of time…
I’ve rambled long enough. There won’t be any time to create more freebies if I keep this up. And at this moment, other new projects have surfaced, calling for attention. So off I go, back to the salt mines! Do pass by soon: I will be putting up layouts by my wonderful friends who have used the freebies (if you have used my freebies and you will be so kind as to allow me to hang them on the walls of my blog, then please feel most welcome to send me a link to your wonderful creations!)
Toodle-oo for now! Sorry, there are no freebies in this post, but there soon will be!