Archive | October, 2007

It’s here!

26 Oct

And I’m so happy! The third set in the Swing Out Sistah kit, my friends!

{Click on image for larger view}

LivEdesigns SwingOutSistah Set3

It’s quite a simple set: just two solid papers (Morning Sky-the light blue one and Pigtails-the light pink one), textured with slightly grungy edges, and four circular wordart thingies (thingies because you can use them as frames, or as rubons, or as accents, or whatever you want! You can also put them on top of circular paper and create “stickers” out of them!). All of the items, of course, coordinate with the first two sets of the Swing Out Sistah kit! Download Set 3 here. Zip password is minime 😆 Oh, by the way, the wordart is shown at actual size. The largest is about six inches in diameter… but you can always resize them to make them bigger or smaller! 😉

ETA: Sorry, link is no longer available.

I have to confess that I have to get myself out of my creative lull and start working on at least two layouts that need to be completed this week! So in the meanwhile, have fun playing with these and I’ll be back with more soon! (Perhaps an intermission with a Halloween mini-kit! 😉 )

Serendipitous Delights

25 Oct

Okay, I need forgiveness from you for being absent again for quite a number of days. I promise to get a freebie up here in the next 24 hours. Life has been crazy hectic again, but FUN FUN FUN this time around! (Well, the other projects were fun, but I was itching to do digital scrapbooking, which is my P.A.S.S.I.O.N… and now my projects basically center around this, so… I’m having fun swimming around in things to do! 😆

Just passing by quickly, before I start working on more freebs for you (Fall / Halloween / Sistah… which one first???), to share something so wonderful! I was flipping through one of my old issues of Digital Scrapbooking magazine (which I totally loooove, along with Creating Keepsakes, that mother of all scrapbooking mags, and Simple Scrapbooks, which is my absolute fab go-to for inspiration and my personal no. 1 mag simply because it totally fits my style of scrapping)… I’m digressing here…

Anyway, so I was flipping through the mag while waiting for my son to be dismissed from his class, and I discovered in one of its pages a fantabulous way to get rounded corners on a photo!!!! WOOHOO!!! (Is there anyone in the house who doesn’t do digital scrapbooking? If you haven’t tried it out yet, let me just tell you, you NEED to discover this passion in you and you’ll cross over to the Dark Side quite quickly! heheheh… not to mention the community is the BEST I’ve ever seen on the worldwide web in my entire life!!!! Many of my best friends I met at Jessica’s playground!!!)… ah, but again I digress.

On to this serendipitous discovery I made in the pages of the mag. Here’s how to do it (oh, and it works for both Photoshop full versions and PSE!)

1. Start off with the photo you want to use. Do all the adjustments and tweaking that you want to do with it. (And always work with a duplicate of that photo, or save it under a different filename so that you don’t write over the original).

2. Select the Custom Shapes tool from the toolbar on the left (in PSE5, which I use, it’s the 20th from the top… or you can just hit the U-key and get it instantly. 😉

3. In the options menu of the Custom Shape tool at the top of your workspace, use the dropdown triangle beside “Shape” to choose the rounded rectangle shape. If it’s not immediately there, click on the tiny triangle on the right side to bring out the flyout menu, and click on Shapes. That will bring up the menu of shapes under Custom Shape tool and you can find the rounded rectangle shape there. Select it.

4. Next, click on the dropdown triangle of the icon that looks like a speech bubble (to the left of the “Shape” also on the options toolbar) and choose Fixed Size and enter the width and size of your photo. If you don’t know what the width and height of your photo is exactly, just make sure that when you draw out your custom shape, you are able to eyeball it so that it fits your photo size as closely as it can.

5. One more thing to do: Also on the options menu, in the box that says Radius, change the corner pixel size of your rounded rectangle to a value below 1pixel. The magazine recommends 0.25px.

6. Hold down CTRL and click on the rectangle layer so that you can select the rounded rectangle. Then up on the main menu, go to SELECT > INVERSE (or simply type in SHIFT-CTRL-I) and voila! That deletes the corners, leaving you with nice rounded corners!!!

Isn’t that amaaaaazing??? Just wanted to share with you the happiness of discovery! Spread the digi love, people! 😆

Now back to work! See you in a bit! 🙂

Monday, Monday, Monday!!! :D

23 Oct

Happy, happy, joy, joy! Monday is here! Our Now We’re Rockin’ with Photoshop course over at our playground at Jessica’s has officially begun!!! How totally wonderful superb awesome fantabulous rockin’ly great!!!

Woohoo!!!!

Here’s another woohoo:

Conran Shop Magic GadgetFor dinner tonight, my sons and I had crabs. I hate eating crabs in a restaurant because… well, there’s just no refined way of eating crabs, right? I mean, you have to don those bibs and use your fingers, and then after eating you’ve got the crabby smell on your fingers and no matter how strong the soap you use to wash your hands is, that crabby smell still lingers faintly on your hands… and there is just no way to look refined given those circumstances! 😆 Thank goodness we can let it all hang out when we eat at home. hahaha.

But we were speaking about woohoos, not crabs.  😆  The woohoo part is… around 10 years ago, when hubby and I were in London, we went to this wonderful store called Conran Shop (my absolute favorite store in London), which belongs to Terence Conran, a furniture designer, restaurateur, and style maven, who began this shop to show off his home designs. Lovely place. I could spend an entire day there with all the goodies. Anyway, ten years ago, we picked up this amazing thing , which is a metal teardrop-shaped thingie that you use to wash with. You’re not supposed to use it with soap. Just wash with it like it were a soap bar (and it’s got this thin metal edge at one end which you can use to get to those things stuck in your nails, if needed)… and the smell is gone miraculously in a few seconds, leaving your hands smelling clean and fresh! Then you wash with soap… if you still want to. How cool is that, huh??? 😀

Ten years after, I still praise the heavens for finding this jewel of a gadget. I use it all the time for all kinds of stubborn smells (like garlic on your hands after you’ve cooked). Love it! So woohoo for the guy who invented that, and woohoo for the Conran Shop where we picked this up!

Third woohoo for today is… I have the second set of Swing Out Sistah!!! Yay! I have so many things I want to add to this kit, so it looks like this is going to go on for quite a number of sets. 😀 But in between I think I may insert a Halloween kit or a fall kit, or both (for you, Deb! and for all the rest who want it!) because if I wait till the SwingOut Sistah kit is done, Halloween and Fall might’ve been taken over by Christmas! 😆

So anyway… here’s the 2nd set of SOSistah!

LivEdesigns SwingOutSistah Set2

{Click on image for larger view}

There are four more papers in this set: Dusk (teal) and Citrus (orange) are slightly textured solid papers with slightly grunged edges. Sunshine is a slightly textured printed paper with very faint floral designs. And DuskSwing is a printed paper with several purple swings (for you, Jana!, and for all who like purple! 😀 ) I also made 10 plastic buttons… I decided to keep them simple so that they don’t “fight” for attention if you decide to use them along with the swing papers. There are 5 round buttons with stitches and 5 floral buttons also with stitches, all in playful colors! The preview shows the buttons at actual size (no drop shadows included so that you can apply them to your layout with your own personal drop shadow preference! 😀 ). You can download Set2 here. Zip password is woohoo! (yup, with the exclamation mark!)

ETA: Sorry, link is no longer available.

Just want to remind you to type in the zip password instead of simply copying and pasting it. In the past, some of my friends have experienced problems with the password when they copy/paste it: there’s a risk that stray spaces or letters get pulled along into the copied password  so then the zip refuses to open. When you type in the password instead, there’s less possibility of pulling in a stray item when you attempt to unzip the file.

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave some love, my dearies. All your comments give me the warm fuzzies always! And thank you too to those whom I don’t know personally, who come from the digi freebie search engines, who take the time to leave some love. I truly appreciate it. (My dream is that one day the number of comments will equal roughly the number of downloads made on a freebie. hahaha).

I am yawning like crazy now so I think I need to hit the bed before it hits me. 😀 Have fun now and I’ll see you soon for the next rounds of freebs!

Hugs to all! 😉

Will I be able to do this again?

22 Oct

Last year I went all out and prepared the Halloween treats for my son’s schoolmates who came trick or treating at our place.

 Halloween Treats 2006

Went out and bought all the “healthy” goodies (if by that you mean chocolates and yoghurt milk and cookies 😛 ), printed out a couple of Halloween creatures, made some Happy Halloween tags personalized with each kid’s name, wrapped them up in orange Japanese tissue paper tied with happy plaid ribbons… and watched the kids munch away within two seconds of handing them their halloween pails.

Do I have the energy to do this again this year?

I think not. 😆 Hence my posting this photo here on my blog. As evidence that once upon a time, yes, I did actually make the goodies for my kids. 😆

I think I’ll just work on digitally capturing their Halloween experience on some layouts, is that a good deal? 😆 How ’bout if I just work on a Halloween freebie kit for you??? Can I pass treat-jury-duty this year?

How ’bout you? What are you doing for Halloween this year? (If you’re going to be all creative and amazing with your treats, you’re going to make me cry in guilt!) just kidding of course. I’ll stand up and clap for you till my hands are raw and numb!

Working on more of the Sistah kit, which is fast turning out to be pretty major. Will be back to post the links soon! 🙂

WOOHOO!!! Freebie At Last!

21 Oct

I am soooo happy!

I have finally begun the freebie kit that I’ve always wanted to work on, in celebration of the friendship and family I have found in Jessica’s awesome playground! This is for all my girlfriends at jessicasprague.com–my darling sistahs from the June class, and our ever-growing family now including our August and October little sistahs! WOOHOO!!! This is for you, my sweeties!!! (And for all those in our worldwide family of digiscrapping addicts as well! 😆 )

This kit is called Swing Out Sistah! and I’d like to thank my dearest friend Jana for saying that she fell in love with a paper-scrapping paper (ha! Is there such a word???) with swings that she saw. Naturally, the wheels in my head started turning. Thought process: hmmm, I’ve always wanted to make a kit in honor of our playground family, and I’ve always wanted to do one with swings ( we always sit and play on virtual ones, right, Deb? 😉 Mine’s the red one and kimi, is yours the yellow?)… so this must be the kick in the butt I need to just go ahead and do it!

I got kicked, and this is what came out of my playtime today:

LivEdesigns Swing Out Sistah Set1

{Click on image for larger view}

This first offering has 3 playful papers, all textured slightly. The blue one, Pond, is just a wee bit grungy on its edges. The green one, Grass, has some grass stains on its sides and a vine design (an image gift from my sis, a bonus for my work on their brochure). The swings you see on the green paper are not part of the paper; they’re actually part of the wordart that I placed on top of the paper. So you get a green medium-solid paper (because its pattern is limited to its perimeter). And the patterned paper below, Swing Out Loud, is a light blue textured paper filled with different colored swings!!! I was trying to decide between wooden swings or tire swings, but I kind of think tire swings, hanging from tree branches, are more reminiscent of those lazy afternoons when the breeze wafts through hair warmed a bit by sunshine… and many stories and secrets are shared among girlfriends amidst giggles and cool lemonade. Aaaah. Such wonderful happy days.

But I digress. Back to the other parts of this freebie. I included a wordart, just one quote, but in three versions: a black-and-white version, a colored version, and a bevelled colored version which you see in the preview. It’s about 6 inches wide but you can resize it easily. Special thanks to Cindy Doerksen and SweetMade for their commercial use items and to haloocyn of stockexchange for the photo inspiration.

This must be one of my absolute fave freebies, though I really can’t tell, because I just love making freebies… so I suppose I like all my freebs, but this one has special meaning–along with the pink ribbons (such touching comments I received for those, I loved reading them)! Download the first set in the SOSistah freebie here. Zip password is 4myGFs Please let me know what you think of it, as this is the first time I’ve ever come up with something so colorful and playful. Any comment you leave, whatever love you leave, on my blog is always, always so appreciated!

ETA: Sorry, download link is no longer available.

Have a great day! And I’ll be back soon with more freebs, so do visit soon!

Now, off to work on my layout for this week’s challenge at Stand Up & Scrap. Have not done a single bit of work on that one. hehe.

PS. My 5-year-old son looked at the preview as he was passing by and said “mom, those look like doughnuts! Or cereal loops!” Yum. Good enough for me. 😆

Life Lessons from a Little Man

20 Oct

I hastily scribbled down this experience in a little notebook that I keep in my bag. Though I have to admit that sharing this with you might make me look “not so good”, I want to share it with you today. Because a-ha moments like this are too good to be kept to oneself. Hope you like it. 😉

 

The sun rose that morning without a hint that it would bring with it an extraordinary day, one that I would want to remember for a very long time.

 

It was a very ordinary weekday in June, filled with regular routines and more of the common stuff that makes up everyday life. My son and I were riding in our car on the way home from his school. We were going through the familiar route with nothing unusual, our car temporarily waiting out a red stoplight in one of the busy junctions that we normally pass.

There was a greasy hobo with a skullcap on his head, sporting a five o’clock shadow and unkempt clothes, leaning against the cement post under the flyover where our car happened to be idling a few feet away. I wouldn’t have noticed him, really, except that he happened to fancy throwing hand signals our way. Looking straight into the window of our car from about 5 feet away, he gestured animatedly with his hands. What his motions meant, I could not tell.

Life Lessons from a Little ManI chose to ignore his signals. I suspected he might be loony, perhaps more than a little bit off. I looked away, inwardly afraid and anxious for the light to turn green.

He fixed his gaze directly on my precious five-year-old son. A flicker of a smile crossed the rough terrain of his weathered face as he put a crooked finger on his lips, as though he was sharing a secret between just the two of them. Without missing a beat, my son waved and cheerfully called through the closed car window, “Hi!”

As though that was the only invitation he needed, the man limped closer to our car (only then did I notice the crutches supporting him beneath his armpits). Simultaneously, in perfect timing with every stride he made, I pulled my son closer to me, like a mother hen tucking her chick under her protective wing as she watches a wolf lumber close by. Our driver, an old man himself, motioned to the man with the usual hand gesture that drivers in our country automatically give to vagrants on the street knocking on car windows, that hand-signal that tells them No, please, go on your way… It is a sign which is, paradoxically, both respectful and uninviting, both accepting and cold, at the same time. It is a motion so commonly used and accepted in this third-world country of ours that no one even stops to consider how such a gesture can be both kind and mean at the same instant.

As the man turned and ambled back toward the spot that he came from, the palpable fear in me thudded a bit less strongly, relief quietly creeping back to the place once occupied by thunderous heartbeats. From under my arm, my son’s hand slowly crept up and tentatively waved at the sullen figure. Back at his post, the man waved back at my son and then looked away. There seemed to be a hint of sadness in his eyes.

And then it hit me.

What if this hobo was just being kind? Sure, he was a beggar, illegally strolling along the highway, breaking jaywalking laws as he asked for alms from passing vehicles. But he was also a man. A human. Perhaps he had a grandson just like my son? Perhaps it wasn’t a grandson, perhaps it was a son. Perhaps the last time he saw his son was decades ago when his little boy was the same age as mine? Perhaps—and it was entirely possible—I was romanticizing this incident too much?

But as our car moved away from its static spot, I felt a bite of guilt for being unkind and wary, if not in my outward demeanor then at least in some small part of my suspicious thoughts. I was ashamed of myself. For judging that this man was either dangerous or cuckoo, or both, because of the way he looked.

I shot a glance at my son, who had turned around in the car seat to face the back. He was trying to catch a last glimpse of that strange man on the street. I was tempted to tell him, “Don’t be too friendly, son. Be careful with strangers. Be wary about whom you trust. People who may seem nice may not always really be nice.”

But I kept silent. There’s the rest of his life to learn those equally valuable lessons.

That day it was I, more than three decades older, who had to learn from the pure heart of a five-year-old boy. This is probably what the Great Teacher meant when He said, “Unless you become like a little child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” To see others with the eyes of the heart—to fine-tune one’s vision so that it goes far beyond outward appearances and sees what lies behind, whether these are realities or mere possibilities—this is what gives the world its hope.

I have to admit. That day, my son and I took a ride, and along the way, for just a moment, he was a much bigger man than I was. I am in awe of the beauty and purity of his heart, so big for the little body that it rests within. And in overflowing gratitude for this eye-opening experience, I pledge to make a greater effort to view the world and its citizens—every single one of them—with the pure, innocent, loving eyes of a five-year-old child. My five-year-old little man.

Don’t they worry?

19 Oct

about their future? about where they’re going at the end of time? about where they will spend eternity? Don’t they think about what God thinks of them? Of how greatly they offend Him, the Author of Life, the Prince of Peace?

These people who have the temerity to indulge in terrorist activities, without regard nor respect for the dignity of human life: do they wonder how they would feel if it were their mom, their spouse, their son or daughter, hurt, maimed for life, or killed by the work of their hands?

Are they so numb to what is morally right that they can just throw away what they have no right to even touch, human life?

A bomb went off today in a mall in the business district. 8 people have been identified as casualties, up from the initial news reports of 4 casualties, and there are 86 reported injured. I wonder how those numbers are going to go up as the investigation goes on.

The worried mom in me kicks into high gear at times like this. I can’t help thinking, my gosh, what kind of world will my kids live in? Will they be safe? What kind of country, instead of cradling its citizens in a cocoon of security, makes its children feel unsafe and insecure?

Here are some photos from the website of inquirer.net, which one of the bigger Philippine news agencies.

Glorietta Bomb 1Glorietta Bombing 2

Depressing.

I wonder how some people can go about doing evil (yes, I’ll say it again, evil: anything that involves taking away human life is evil) without worrying about eternal life. There is peace, and there is justice, and there is a God who sees all this and is hurt by the abuse of freedom that some of His children do. And one day, these people will have to answer to Him, whether they blind themselves to that reality or not.

😥

Oh yeah!!! YEAH!!! { Of Projects and Contests }

18 Oct

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, DeliveredThe 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.

OR:

She: Still awake?
Me: You kidding? Coffee runs in my veins.

OR:

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:

Medium Project Sample

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! 😉

Playing Outside the Sandbox…

11 Oct

this time… I never thought I would ever make a kit like this, but it was a total joy and I love what I ended up with, if I may say so. hahaha. 😆 Thank you, pooja, for requesting for something, anything, with elephants. It made me extend my horizons and explore areas I wouldn’t have without your request. Hope you like this! 😉

Took a break from working on the Small Project so that I could indulge in creating (always more enjoyable than the “required” stuff…  maybe there’s a rebellious little brat in me that never grew up, you think? 😀 ). What I thought would be a small minikit grew (as usual) beyond the proportions I originally planned.

LivEdesigns TajMajic Mini Kit

This kit is called Taj Majic. 🙂 (Special thanks to Kim Broedelet, Mesokee, escrapper, themiz and just4you at stock.xchnge). There are 5 papers, all textured, in this kit: Forest Skin is a green elephant-skin textured one; Indian Sunrise is a yellow paintbrush-washed solid with faint tinges of orange, Follow Mom is an orange solid with a mom-and-baby-elephants brushed at the bottom; Morning Walk is a teal-and-green paper with a mom and baby elephant following her; and Elephant Block is actually the collection of the papers that I was putting together for the preview (what you see if you take off the tag and the screws and the brads and my own LivEdesigns tag). Here’s how that last paper came into being: My dh passed by, looked at the preview I was preparing on my monitor and said “Wow, that’s so nice!” (yeah, I know, he loves me, doesn’t he? It accounts for his lack of objectivity sometimes, hahaha). So I figured, hey, why not throw it in as a paper as well, in case you want a colorblocked quickpage! Just add your photos and frames and you’re done. Or fade your photos into the papers. Or do with it whatever you want. 😉

Then there are 4 X-screws and 3 brads with elephants on them. I also threw in a tag which I brushed around with the flower brush I made. I had to stop at that point, because if I continued, not only would this have become a mega-kit, I would also be in mega-trouble for not completing my Small Project (whose deadline, by the way, is tomorrow). Oh and I also just received a FedEx package a few seconds ago which contains the latest installment of work that I’m supposed to do for the Big Project. Hmmm. And I thought Hong Kong signalled the last leg of the work. Not. Now THIS is really the last part. After this, there’s just the launch and the event planning to worry about.

But wait, I’ve been babbling instead of giving you the link to the kit! Forgive me! Download the kit here. Zip password is pooja . Hope you all find some use for it! And if I may make a teeny request, do please leave me a note to let me know what you think… or even some love would be appreciated… even just a teeny tiny thanks? 😛

ETA: Sorry, download link is no longer available.

Have fun and see you with the next freebie soon!

Ahhh! Home at last!!!

9 Oct

It feels so good to be home! Just came back from a three-day work weekend in Hong Kong, which was a load of fun combined with a load of work (on the Big Project) too! We brought the kids with us; while hubby went around taking care of the Toys R Us trips and the five mouths to feed, I was busy walking with my 4 friends (the Main Man, the layout artist, a co-publisher/friend, and his brother/soon-to-be-part-of-our-other-projects friend) all over Hong Kong. Well, actually we walked and took the metro and a cab to get from the Kowloon side of Hong Kong to the Hong Kong side, where we had to search for the specific place we needed to do our work in (not very easy to locate when the signs on the buildings are not always in characters we normally see in daily life :D).

I don’t think I ever walked so much in my life. And in such sweltering heat. I don’t know if this is accurate; after all, I live only an hour and a half away from this country, but it was just so freaking hot walking in the streets that the blast of the airconditioning systems of nearby stores with open doors truly felt like oases in a long and winding desert!

This is the last phase of the Big Project. Still doing some last minute work, back here at home (Murphy’s Law: Just when you think it’s all done, there’s more)… but the end is near in sight, with the launch of the Big Project scheduled for the end of November. Wow, can’t wait for that time! It is so exciting! This is something that’s been 19 years in the making, so to see it come to fruition finally is really a much-awaited event! More about this soon, when the coast is clear to remove the tape from my mouth! 😆

So anyway, since I was gone for 3 days (spent either imbibing more caffeine, or feverishly working on the Big Project, or yawning), I was not able to connect to my playground or to my regular haunts (sob!) So I know there’s a lot of catching up to do. That’s the one thing that I hate about traveling: it always steals so much of my regular routines that it takes me forever to play catch-up when I get back. But the trips are always fun, so that’s fine. 😀

I finally have the last piece/set of Pinky Promise up… so sorry for the delay (if you haven’t forgiven me yet, read the entire post above again and again till you feel the stress and rush and hectic pace of my 3-day-work-week last week… which by the way just ended late last night as our flight was delayed by a good 8 hours. Which may have been a good thing as it allowed me to go to Toys R Us with my kiddos and let them indulge in those coin-treat machines, which my kids and I are total suckers for. Hahaha). With luck on my side, you may start to feel empathetic or, even better 😉 sympathetic, and forgive me for being absent for a few days! 😀

So without further ado, here is the latest (and last set) of the Pinky Promise kit.

{ Click on the image for larger view }

LivEdesigns PinkyPromise Set6 preview

There are 2 textured, striped papers with inked edges… plus an alpha (all lowercase letters only with a few basic punctuation marks)–if you’ll notice, it’s exactly the same as the first Pinky Promise alpha I released, except for the style. The first one was chipboard and grungy; this one is cleaner and has a metal-carved look. I hope you find some use for it. I also threw in a tag as well, because I wanted to experiment using a brush that I made with more than a few days’ worth of blood, sweat, and tears. Hahaha. Hope you like it. Download it here. Zip password is pinkdrawer

ETA: Sorry, download link is no longer available.

Please note: drop shadows and the safety pin were added only for preview purposes. The set doesn’t come with them. J Also, Pooja, if you’re reading this, your request is next on my to-do list of mini-kits! And Deb, I’ve already taken some photos of the kids’ teddy bears… now I just have to think of what to do with them. LOL!!!

Good day, everyone! I’m off to doing more work again! Till next! Stay happy!!! And thanks for dropping by!

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