It was good in the beginning…

but best now and growing even better each day. What am I talking about? ūüėÄ Well, love… love¬†between me and my gift from heaven aka my hubby. Also the multiplication of my kids: there was one, there were two, there were… five eventually (Love that they’re five rather than one or two or three or four, yeah!). ūüėÄ

Oh and yes, this too, this amazing song by Pete Yorn. I first saw it (long ago) on Cathy Zielske’s blog (link, as usual,¬†on the right side) and was completely floored. It was like watching a scrapbook in video form. I don’t know if it’s weird of me to be thinking that way, but everytime I need some inspiration, I watch this video and then the creative juices flow. There’s something about the swirl-like lights and the butterflies and the photo editing and all the effects that make me think “scrapbook! layout!” (Or maybe I’m just a hopeless digital addict? LOL! :D)… And then there’s the music too, of course. I like all kinds of music (except the screaming and the wailing that some people try to pass on as music…not!) I think music makes the world a better place to live in. I love everything from classical to opera to pop to rock… yes, love rock (Pete Yorn’s kind of rock), especially when I need a push…

which I’ve been looking for¬†lately. Or perhaps I should say I’ve been looking for a push in the right direction. I have a million and one things to do, all connected to art in one form or another (thank goodness!), and I need to stop playing and get down to business. Hence my resurrecting this song from my archives… and I am always amazed by it, so I wanted to share it with you, in case you haven’t seen it yet. (Gotta love a guy whose guitar carries the design of a violin, eh? I mean, how cool is that?)

So now, together with this “scrapbook! layout!”-screaming video comes the latest of the freebs: Lavender Porch elements!!! I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them (took quite some heavy playing around with these… not so easy to make, but fun, fun, fun… especially when creating with you, my dearest friends, in mind!) There are some jumbo elements there, I know (too big? I always prefer downsizing instead of upsizing… but then you knew that already, right? ūüėČ ) and the background of the preview is¬†a bonus paper thrown in there… don’t know if you’ll like it, but it’s a bonus, so I guess it can’t hurt, huh? ūüėÄ

Click on the image for a larger view.

LiveDesigns Lavender Porch Elements1

Thanks so much to my friends who take the time to leave such kind and encouraging comments. For those who hesitate, please don’t… :)… even if you have only a “TFS” to key in, that’s good enough for me! (and not too much to ask, I hope?) ūüėÄ

Download HERE. Zip password is buttonsup! (Kinda sounds like bottoms-up, eh? hahaha). Enjoy! More to come!

ETA: Sorry, link is no longer available.

Freebie Frenzy…

Or freebie friend-zy? ūüėõ

Here’s the latest in the Lavender Porch kit: 2 patterned papers and 1 solid paper with a chalky edge. (I had some comercial-use help from LPand3dogs Designs ūüėČ ) I had¬†been trying to put the link on my blog the entire (yes, that’s right, the ENTIRE) day yesterday¬†but it seems WordPress was having some technical problems as I kept getting logged off. I think something was wrong with their servers… but that’s okay because it’s all fine now! YEAH! ūüėÄ

These papers are totally¬†the result of¬†experimenting and playing…they’re very different from what I would normally make, but I’m playing “outside the sandbox” this time. ūüėÄ –so I have no idea if they’re the type you can use or that you would even like ūüėē This is why it is really really important to me to read your comments on this freebie release, as what you say will certainly help guide me in the sort of freebies I will be creating for you in the future. So please, pretty please, do leave me some comments in my blog? ūüėČ Thanks in advance!

Here are the papers then: 2 patterned papers and one solid one with chalked edges, all subtly textured.

LivEdesigns Lavender Porch Paper Pack 2

Download them HERE. Zip password is friend-zy (yes, with that hyphen ūüôā )

ETA: Sorry, link is no longer available.

Have fun! Oh and a little teaser here: I’m coming up with some elements in the next few days, so do visit again soon! ūüėČ

Eenie MINI Miney Moe!

(Is that even the way it’s spelled? :D)

Well, finally, I’ve begun the work on the latest offering! A mini kit! (though I’m not even sure I can call it mini, because more and more ideas for digi stuff keep filling my mind as I play and experiment with this kit!) Initially, I had intended for this to be a little kit, you know, a few papers here and there, mixed up with a few elements here and there… but so far, I’ve only begun playing with the¬†papers and already I have more than enough! ūüėÄ I guess¬†you could say¬†I’m just digitally decadent! LOL!

This mini kit is named Lavender Porch, in honor of all my friends who like walking out on their porch barefoot on a cool early morning, holding a cup of hot coffee to warm their hands while gazing contentedly at¬†the garden before them as they breathe the fresh air, and just smiling contentedly, thinking of how the most ordinary day can be such a miracle. Aaaah. That’s life. ūüôā

So here’s the first offering of Lavender Porch. As usual, all items are created at 300ppi, all papers are sized at 12×12. These are 3 stripey, subtly textured papers (thanks to LPand3dogs for the commercial use textures I purchased!)¬†Oh, and ¬†you’re looking at the basic color scheme of this kit, so I really hope you like the color combination! (Or I’m doomed! ūüėÄ )

Download the papers HERE. The zip password is aaah! (yes, that’s three small A’s and an exclamation at the end ūüėČ ). Thank you in advance for the comments that you leave… ūüėČ

ETA: Sorry, link is no longer available.

And since I’ve been experimenting a lot, I hope you will come back to pick up the results of all the playing I’ve been doing!

Threebie Freebie!!! :D

Freebie time, friends!!!

So sorry for being remiss in keeping my blog updated these past¬†few days… have been all tied up with design work (which is sort of related to scrapping but not really ūüėČ , if that makes any sense), trying to complete layouts challenges along with¬†my darling U&R playmates (thanks, Lisa, for leading the pack!!!), doing some moderating duties, and well… all the kazillion things wives and mothers do in their real lives. ūüėÄ

But you, my friends, are always on my mind! So here, to make up for lost time, are three freebies rolled into one! ūüėÄ

Threebie Freebie

The first is one that I actually made for my Photoshop Challenge layout. If you haven’t tried Jessica’s Photoshop Friday tutorials, you’re missing half of your life! Click on my link to her blog over there on the right —>>> and go to Photoshop Index and play, play, play!!!

The other two¬†I just made because… well, have I told you I love words? I have? Okay then. ūüôā

So here they are, all in black and white (as the comments I’ve received tell me that you prefer B&W wordart), 300 ppi, large-sized (about 6inches across) so that you can downsize as you wish. Here’s a tip that I tried with the thicker letters of the wordart… if you zoom in reeeal close, you can actually use the paint bucket tool to color the letters to your own liking. ūüėÄ That way, you can change the colors of the individual words! Pretty neat, huh? Note that the font letters must be thick though, or the paint bucket will fill up your whole layout. Eek. ūüėē

Download the threebie freebie HERE… Zip password is quoteme Hope you like it and have fun! Don’t forget to leave some love on my blog! Thanks in advance!

ETA: Sorry, link is no longer available.

PS. I’m preparing a nice little new kit for you… stay tuned!!! ūüėČ

PS. Couldn’t resist the play of words in the title “Quo(te) vadis” ūüėÄ It’s Latin for “whither thou goest?”

How much is it, really?

photo by brunosub at¬†stock.xchngToday was one of the days when I decided to open the papers instead of waiting for the news on TV or online… I have to say I was not¬†happy I made that decision today.

First I came upon¬†the news about a student¬†of the University of the Philippines (where I attended university eons ago), who died from suspected fraternity hazing rites. ūüė° I just don’t get it. What’s so great about risking your life to be counted among a group of so-called brothers who feel the need to hurt you before they welcome you into the family? There’s got to be something really, really twisted about that.

Then I read a front-page article on abortion in this country. I could’ve cried. I know this is a testy topic. But I’ve never kept silent on something that counts among my principles, and this is not going to be the first time I will speak out. Abortion is termination of life. Life. Life that does not belong to us, no matter it is transmitted through our humble bodies. We are not the Author of Life, God is. Only he has the right to give and the right to take away. He is generous enough to trust us with the soul of His child–His child! What do we do with that trust? It is a crime to murder children, men, and women on the street. What makes it acceptable to take the life of those who have no voice yet, who register their presence in this world with a tiny heartbeat hidden underneath their mother’s, who rely on their mothers to protect them until they can do so themselves? They have no fighting chance while they are hidden in the womb… does that mean that it is right for us to take over the reigns of their life, their future, their dreams, their mark on this world and puff it out, just like that? This is¬†as much as I will say. It hurts me to the very bottom of my soul.

What is the price of life? Has it become such a common commodity that it is so easy to throw it away, senselessly?

Needless to say, I closed the papers, completely devoid of any desire to read any more. Ugh. Bad news, so early in the morning.

Sad news.¬† Bleeech.¬† ūüė¶

I need Bert’s help

I have been wanting to do a layout for weeks… but somehow my scrapping creative muse keeps playing hide and seek with me. So I’m calling on Bert to help me. Hopefully by the time he and Ernie¬†finish singing, I’ll be in balloon-land. ūüėÄ

I love this song for its message and, even more, because it reminds me so much of my brother who’s 2 years older than me,¬†and who now lives with his family way across the ocean in North America. ¬†(Sometimes I just get wistful for those times when he would pass by my house unannounced and ask for a cuppa joe).¬†When we were kids, we would fight all the time, as siblings do when they are so close to each other in age. Then we grew up and fought less and supported each other more and shared secrets that only siblings do when they are so close to each other in age.

I can’t think of my brother without hearing this playing in the background (reminds me always of the time when, as kids, we would sing this together… I can’t remember though which of us was Ernie and which was Bert… I think I’d rather have been Ernie, hahaha ūüėÄ )

Here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I (always) do. And keep your fingers crossed that I find my muse real soon. ūüėõ

Spree Me! Freebie!

Temptation, quit¬†hounding me and spree me from thy clutches! ūüėÄ

Last night my darling friend J and I were having another one of our regular fun chats. For the life of me, I cannot remember how the topic¬†came¬†up (certainly it had a connection to Labor Day weekend and all the sales sprouting like wild mushrooms–the operative word here being WILD, hahaha) but we both decided¬†our¬†mantra for the night would be When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping! ūüėÄ

I should have recognized that portent and heeded its warning. Because today¬†as I was cruising the boards at Jessica’s playground¬†I happened upon a¬†thread where some¬†quickly-getting-digi-addicted¬†ladies (my kind of ladies, really!) listed wonderful digishops with special sales. Sound bite:¬†Oooh, get me away from those! Take my credit card and lock it up, quick! Threads like this are so dangerous to financial health! LOL! I mean, really, who doesn’t love shopping? (okay, you got me… groceries can be a real chore sometimes, but I’m not talking about groceries here, honeys, I’m talking DIGI-SCHTUFF!!!)

Yum, yum, yummy!

You know how it goes: you tell yourself oh, I’m just going to check out the stuff. I promise I won’t buy. This is just going to be a case of simple window-shopping. So you click on the link to the site (and yes, it just happens to be in your favorites). And you look, and you click on View larger, and you salivate, and after a while your “hmm, I could use these” magically turns into “man, I need these!” And then ka-ching! You wake up from your delusion not-a-few dollars poorer.

Empty wallet. But happy.

I don’t know about you, but I looooove digi schtuff!!! (Okay, admit it, sista, you do too ūüėÄ ).

So while I was reading this enabler thread with my left hand struggling to¬†block my right hand¬†from¬†getting anywhere near the sites’ links on my favorites,¬†this song kept playing in my head: (it’s not a favorite song of mine, so I have no idea why it was¬†lodged in my subconscious… maybe something to do with the beat and a vision of my friends and me on a shopping frenzy, snagging all the goodies¬†we could get¬†our hands on? LOL!!!¬† ūüėÄ )

[ Warning: This is unabashedly sooooo eighties!¬†Kim Wilde’s¬†hair, her dance moves… man!!! Be prepared for a total blast from the past! ]

Now what happens when you get engrossed in all this talk¬†about shopping and sales and great prices¬†of digital goodies? Your adrenaline starts flowing. Well. Mine did.¬†I had two choices: go crazy shopping or distract myself by doing¬†something that didn’t involve¬†opening my wallet.

Guess my choice? (Hint: it was a wise, albeit difficult, one :D)

Here’s the answer:¬†( I’m delighted to announce that I¬†still have a modicum of self-control left. :D)

Click for larger view

web_barcode-bonanza-prevu.jpg

Bar code labels, girlfriends!!! You can download them¬†HERE. (They’re quite big, at 4×2 inches… but I like big elements because you can always downsize them without sacrificing the quality). They’re PNG files, so they’ll take on the background of whatever you’re putting them on.

ETA: Sorry, link is no longer available.

Hope you like them! Oh and the zip password is… what else? shoppingspree

Enjoy! and have a great Labor Day weekend, girlfriends in the US! ūüėõ

This Is Why

chaticons by alexmathers at¬†stock.xchngThere’s a nice lady over at BlogHer who wants to know why we do what we do: scrapbook, that is. Frankly, I’ve never¬†asked myself that question–perhaps because, to me, that would be like asking myself why I breathe, why I eat, why I sleep. It doesn’t get more basic than that.

But it’s an interesting question, now that it’s been asked. And my good friend Jessica Sprague has encouraged us, her devoted playground inhabitants, to make our voices heard. So here’s my one little¬†voice among thousands.

Why do I scrapbook?

Why do musicians put down into melodies what they can¬†easily say in plain words?¬†Because it’s a much happier way to express what you need to say. (If you have a fretful sleepy child, try saying “Lullaby and good night” and then try singing it, and then tell me which was more effective in getting those eyes to droop contentedly). I scrapbook because it makes me happy. I scrapbook because it’s a much nicer way for me to express what I want to say, even if what I celebrate on a layout is actually¬†the most mundane event of the day. It helps me to see the world with a singing heart.

Why do historians write history?¬†Everyone wants to understand what happens around them.¬†And having understood, they want to pass on the¬†insights they’ve gained. Scrapbooking allows me to do that for my children, to leave them with a lasting legacy of¬†my view of¬†our lives as well as lessons learned. Scrapbooking allows me to write my own history, to record what is important to me, for myself and for the generations that will come after me. Others may easily say But who’s going to care in a million years? My answer:¬†who¬†can tell¬†that they wouldn’t? We can convince ourselves that it’s a silly and sentimental trip, but really,¬†if Anne Frank had said Who would care¬†whether I put my thoughts down¬†in this little tattered but highly¬†treasured notebook?, would we have had a wonderful glimpse¬†into the poignant life of¬†this little girl living in the midst of a very real and terrifying war?¬†

Why do authors write?¬†Everyone¬†likes to listen to stories. Everyone likes to tell stories. I ¬†scrapbook to tell stories. My scrapbooks are my way of passing on to my children (and perhaps they will want to pass on to their children) my life, their lives, our family’s lives, the little ordinary things that, taken altogether, make up a genuine uniqueness that can never be duplicated elsewhere. It is my way of making sure my story and their stories get told. It is my way of ensuring that they will always have visual evidence of how much those¬†whom I love¬†mean to me. My mother passed away when I was eight, and though I know instinctively that she loved me as any mother would her child, I had nothing written down, no letter, no note, nothing visual that I could go back on during those times when memory just failed and there was a need to at least read that she loved me, since I could no longer hear it. I want to make sure when my kids have to go through that, they will have something to hold in their hands, a powerful visual message made of photos and my own words, to tell them over and over again, as often as they care to look at the pages, how much I truly love them.

Why do poets write verse instead of prose? I love to write, always have and always will. It is, to me, as essential as living. Writing allows me to tell my story in my own words; and who of us has no story to tell? Every day is a journey, and every journey is rife with stories waiting to be told. The cavemen passed on their stories by mouth–they too had that need. It’s primitive yet real. I scrapbook because I want to satisfy that same need that has existed since time began.

Why do photographers take photos, when every split second the scene changes and then it’s gone?¬†Ah, but see, that is precisely why. Photographers and I,¬†we love taking photos.¬†We like to hold in our hands the power to¬†capture a moment from our own viewpoint¬†and preserve it forever on¬†tangible paper.¬†It’s freezing a moment in time so that you can come back to it again and again. It’s sort of like being able to bottle up happiness and being able to¬†sniff a little of it every now and then, whether it’s because you need some upliftment or because¬†you just want to float in its overflow.

Why do painters paint? Every artist wants to share with others¬†his view of the world as he sees it.¬†Painters¬†have their own choices of media: brushes or fingers or palette knives, oil or water color,¬†¬†canvass or paper or walls. Scrapbookers have their choices: digital or paper, sweet or grungy: we all have different styles. And we all choose what fits us best in our quest to record our view of life. I scrapbook because I¬†am an artist at heart. I love drawing, I love painting, I love creating. I love taking something and making something more out of it. It’s pretty much like my desire to¬†leave¬†this world¬†a better place than when I came into it. It’s leaving my mark, my individual contribution to what is already there. Scrapbooking allows me to express myself and release my creative juices using brushes, paper, photos, my computer, my printer (oh yeah, technology works for me big-time!).

Why did Alexander Graham Bell invent the telephone? Why do we write letters or emails or telegrams? Our makeup as human beings dictates the need to reach out and touch someone instead of living on an island separate from the rest of creation. Scrapbookers are a wonderful community to move with. There is real support and¬†real friendship, none of which requires parental consent and all only of the positive, clean, uplifting kind. To be sure, this can be found anywhere; it is not exclusive to this large group of people who go crazy about the latest brushes or papers or wordart or screws and brads. But it is wonderful to be a part of a larger, worldwide community whose bridges are built strong, transcending¬†differences in race, color, creed and geography, because of a shared love and appreciation for what each of us holds dearest to our hearts, because of a certain courage that allows us to put our heart out on a piece of paper and trust that no one will trample over what we’ve just shared from the deepest recesses of our very being.

Why do I scrapbook?¬†I have a¬†passionate desire¬†to express myself in a combination of words, art,¬†and photos. I want to¬†record my world the way I see it. It’s really a matter of self-expression.¬† I am a living being and I want to celebrate life, mine as much as the lives that belong to those around me.¬†I am a wife and a mother¬†of five sons, and I treasure the look on¬†my boys’¬†faces when they see me celebrate them through my¬†scrapbook creations.¬†I have struggles and triumphs and pains and joys, and putting them down in my choice of art form allows me to taste and savor these experiences over and over again, and perhaps learn a bit more each time.

Without  scrapbooking, my life would be sorely lacking the beauty of art, the celebration of joy, the declarations of love, the amazement with the ordinary, the wisdom and insight gained as one gazes at past events, the poignant recall of memories, the release of pent-up emotions and creative rushes, the friendships that transcend all boundaries.

I scrapbook because I like to live, laugh, and love fully… and then be able to experience all that over and over again, alone or with those who matter,¬†as we leaf through the pages of my creation.

This is why I scrapbook.