For the Love of…


So my son J loves scissors. He loves paste. He loves pens and papers.

I love that he loves these things, because when his older brothers were his age, they weren’t as deft and adept with scissors. (Just an aside: isn’t it funny how those two words–deft and adept– mean nearly the same thing, and how the F can easily sound like a P with a slip of the tongue? 😆 I know, I know, I think of the weirdest things).

So my 5 year old son J can busy himself with drawing anything that his imagination can conjure. And then he cuts up these drawings. And then he pastes them on a new piece of paper. Or he takes the box packaging of whatever toy he has, cuts up the little pieces and little photos (you know, the ones that the smart toy manufacturers show at the back of the boxes so that the kids can go to their parents and say “Next time, Mom, can we get this? And this? And this too?”) . And then he sticks those cut-outs onto a piece of paper and then calls out “Anyone who wants a surprise, raise your hand and say Yea! Anyone who doesn’t want, say Nay!”

Naturally, without missing a beat (and often with just a brief glance up from our monitors) his pop and I will raise our hands and say Yea! What can we say? We’re trainable.


So yes, I know my son is good with scissors.

But nothing prepared me for this:

 The Gang

Here, have a closer look:

Won’t you have a seat? :P

Okay, so they’re roughly cut and they’ve got these little charming crayola scribbles instead of a solid paint of color. But! But! But! He’s making his own toys! He’s making his own furniture for them! He’s making stuff!!! (And that means it’s possible, just possible, that if I give him some clay, he may make things, with the side benefit of us taking less trips to the toy store! Woohoo!)

Of course, the reason I am so amused and amazed that he’s into creating is because… ahem… his mom loves creating too. And there’s nothing store-bought that can ever come close to the value of a little hand-created homemade gift… scraggly cuts, scribbles and all. 😉

Mmmmmm! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Big Deal Update!

Here are the links, my sweeties! I’m so sorry that it’s taken so long. I had to break up the set into 4 parts to make it faster to upload. Still takes some time as the items are pretty detailed, so that means they’ve got bigger filesizes too. Didn’t want the quality to suffer by making the files smaller… does anyone know a way to do that without sacrificing quality? Let me know and we’ll all be thankful for your wisdom! 😉

Here’s the link to the first part of Christmas Lullaby Set 2. Zip password is joytotheworld

Yeah, joy, joy, joy that I have finally been able to post this first link! 😆

I’ll be coming back and forth to this post to upload the links for the next 3 parts as they become available on my 4shared site.

Thanks so much for your patience! Hope you find that this is worth it! And thank you for the love you leave as you download! 😉


Here’s the link to the second part of Christmas Lullaby Set2. Zip password is silentnight

Here’s the link to the third part of Christmas Lullaby Set2. Zip password is awayinamanger

And here, finally, is the link to the fourth and last part of Christmas Lullaby Set 2. Zip password is jinglebells

It’s a good thing there were only 4 parts to this upload, or I would’ve run out of Christmas song passwords. 😆

ETA: Sorry, download links are no longer available.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience in downloading! Hope you won’t be disappointed with what you get. Thank you for leaving love as you download (And PS? It’s easier to leave the comments here in my blog… hehehe). Have a happy day and don’t forget… this ISN’T the end of the Christmas Lullaby kit! There’s more coming! So do visit soon!

Big Deal.

Yup, this one is pretty big. Pretty big in size, I mean.

I’m uploading the files for the second set of Christmas Lullaby and it’s taking forever. I wonder if something’s up with 4shared, because lately it’s been taking a whole lotta time to upload even the small files.

So while I wait (and yawn), maybe I’ll work on the next Christmas kit, which I think will be a bit on the wintery side. That way you’ll have a warm Christmas kit and a cool Christmas kit.  😉

Here’s what Set 2 looks like:

{ Click on image for larger view }

LivEdesigns Christmas Lullaby Set2

This set has a complete set of alpha tags (the C-tag that you see is shown in actual size… relative to the size of the layout, that is), so you can go as big or as small as you want. Each tag has a sewn-on letter and a lightly-debossed word. I’ve included folded ribbon staples in three colors in case you need something to attach the labels with. The patterned paper you see in the background is included with this set as well.

This set actually comes in two parts (because the size is quite large. Since the items are highly textured and the tags are pretty large in size, this resulted in filesizes that are a bit larger than usual… add to that the fact that there are 26 letters in the alphabet, and you’ll see why I needed to divide the downloads into two parts.  😆  Please be patient as you download… grab a magazine, preferably the January issue of Creating Keepsakes (I just got mine today, woohoo!!!) which has a new look (this issue is kinda retro-looking to me)… the best part of the new CK for me is having a REGULAR COLUMN on Computer Tricks by my dear friend Jessica Sprague!!! Woohoo!!! Love love love that! 🙂

Okay, I think I need to go to sleep as it’s 3AM in my part of the world and 4shared isn’t anywhere near the end of uploading my files. You think maybe when I wake up my files would’ve been uploaded already? :rolling my eyes here:

Oh well. I think I may further divide the upload into 3 or even 4 parts so that you don’t end up waiting too long. I’ll be back tomorrow (that’s actually today… just give me about 4 hours to sleep) so I can post the links. Much as I’d love to be able to do that now, I need to be patient and wait for 4shared to do its work. Patience. Is. A. Virtue.

Auuuugh! Will be back tomorrow with the links, my sweeties! Will update this post once I have them.

Have a great day! And now I lay me down to sleep…

The Big Project, Launched

Last night we partied. And now that we have reached the end, we can finally say Amen. 😀

Our Father in the Making

After 19 years of dreaming of this photobook (not mine, but my dear friend’s), after childhood dreams of publishing a book (now that’s mine 😛 ); after about half a year’s worth of 2-hour sleeptimes and 4AM bedtimes, countless emails and cellphone text messages, flights across the country and in and out of the country (sometimes within the same day), trudging through the streets of Hong Kong trying to locate a nondescript building where our book was to come alive on paper…

After bonding over kazillions of cups of strong coffee and even stronger bonds of friendship (some old ones further strengthened and some new ones built); after innumerable edits, edits, re-edits, more edits; after learning to use Adobe InDesign in two hours so that we could beat the impending dawn deadline…

After meeting with 62 wonderful men and their families; after gaining serendipitous wisdom from what these men had to say about their experience of fatherhood; after hearing the warm, endearing stories of their children and gaining a glimpse of the private man that only each family sees and knows; after tons of laughter; after perusing countless photos spread on the studio floor as we decided on paging and layout…

We have the book. Our Father. 62 Fathers. 62 Lives. One Journey.

Here are the photos of that night. (There was an official photographer, so these are the only ones I was able to take):

Welcome to the launch!

The Launch

We had an exclusive song given to us by Martin Nievera (he wrote and sang it; we provided it on CDs attached to the book), who was one of the fathers we featured in the book. Gooselamps lit the black frame mounts from which hung the 62 jumbo portraits (3ft x 3ft) of the fathers. As the song of Martin began to play, the gooselamps turned on one by one, shining dimly first then brightening, one after the other until the entire room shone by the soft light of the 62 gooselamps. Then the doors were opened, more lights were turned on, and everyone came in to ooh and ahh at the portraits of the fathers. It was a dramatic experience (certainly more dramatic than I describe it here).


People milled about both inside and outside, freely moving from the airconditioned area of the Blue Leaf Pavilion to the beautiful garden outside where cocktails were served: lovely yummy food (one guest asked “Are these cocktails? This is real food!!!” as he surveyed the roast beef, the 3 choices of salad served in classy champagne glasses, the pasta, the multiple finger foods which included the most delectable crunchy potato skins (my personal favorite, so it gets special mention here 😛 ), and the merengue and chocolate mousse for dessert. 25 bottles of choice cabernet sauvignon were consumed, aside from ice cold water and iced tea for the non-alcoholic guzzlers.

This is where we hung out to get a breath of fresh air (and some relief for our tired feet 😛 ) There were 2 of these wonderful Ifugao-inspired huts.


And here is the evidence that I do NOT wear dresses, nope. Seriously. 😆

No dresses here

And that’s all, folks! 😀

Will upload the next set of the Christmas Lullaby kit within the next couple of hours so see you in a bit! 😉

What do you do when you only have one hour…

to create an apple tree hat?

You get one of your kid’s caps, you pull out your storage box of odds and ends from projects past, and you do the best you can. 🙂

My son J has a book chat today, which involves a story about trees. He’s supposed to come in an apple tree hat, holding in his hands apples and apple juice. The apples were easy: we always have apples in our ref because the kids snack on them all the time. Apple juice was easy too: they take apple juice in tetra pack boxes to school for their snacktime. But an apple tree hat? With one hour to prepare?

Admission of guilt: Yes, I had last night to work on this; Queen Procrastinator didn’t really have to push it to one hour before departure time for the ride to school. 😛 But we had the book launch last night, which was extremely successful by the way 😉 and after that, our core group went to Larry’s Bar to eat our hearts out (there was extremely delicious food at the launch, but we of course could not eat as we were doing the rounds with the guests). In short, we got home pretty late, and I had a terrible headache after (too much eating after? 😆 ) so I went straight to bed with plans to make the hat this morning.

Now, I should say I have never seen an apple tree in real life. Mango trees, coconut trees, santol trees, starfruit trees, almost all tropical trees–yes. I’ve even climbed many of them in my childhood days. Apple trees, however, are not native to my part of the world. But… a tree is a tree is a tree. Especially when you have limited time and need to work with whatever resources you have on hand.

Thank goodness that last year my sister and I had a business project of providing gift basket packaging to the largest ex-pat grocery store in Malaysia. Because of that business (which involved loads of fun as we designed and handcrafted the packaging for the store’s gift baskets), I had leftover odds and ends–think leaves, branches, a little of this and a little of that.

Here’s what about half an hour of working resulted in (the other half hour spent rummaging for materials, haha!):

J’s Apple Tree Hat

Having finished that, and with a very happy little tree-hat-wearing little boy, I find out… classes are suspended today because of some disorder in the streets (politically speaking). But that’s a completely different story… and one that is still unfolding on my TV set as I watch the news now.

At least, as it turns out, we have the hat ready now, way ahead of time. 😀

Tonight’s the night!

It’s gonna be alright… Ain’t nobody gonna stop us now… Come on, everybody, sing along that Rod Stewart song along with me!!!

😆 How’s that for a flashback to the 70s huh? 😆

We’re finally launching the Big Project tonight. Here’s what the invite looks like:

Our Father ~ The Book Launch

Will post more stuff about it tomorrow. Just have to get through the launch tonight (and get through my closet as well: I have no idea what I’m going to wear, as I don’t own any dresses. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll go in my usual jeans. hehe) Can you tell I’m just a teeny weeny bit stressed about this? (I hate publicity; I like hiding in the background; I’m shy. Seriously! 😆  ).

Here’s part of the layout I made about this project (made the bigger layout as part of our Now We’re Rockin’ course lesson):

Journey of a Dream, Partial Layout Item

{ Credits: Circle Template by Jessica Sprague }

Okay, enough about that and on to our much-delayed freebie!

Lullaby and Goodnight…

The reason I call this much-delayed is because it took me approximately 6 hours to upload this to my 4shared site, a lot of fiddling around, a lot of waiting, a lot of harumphing, deleting, re-zipping, re-testing, some more harumphing, until I was able to get this uploaded. 😆 Turns out it was some kink in my zipped file, I think. It did okay with the extraction and password when I tested it, but for some reason it would take forever to upload!

So, phew!, at least it’s working now and I have the link for it! Yippee! You have no idea of how much I’ve been itching to get this to you (so I hope you like it, or … that would’ve been five hours gone to waste. hahahaha!!!)

Here’s what Christmas Lullaby looks like (This is Set 1):

{ Click on image for larger view }

LivEdesigns Christmas Lullaby Set1 Preview

I call it Christmas Lullaby because the colors are softer and more muted, sort of reminds me of a peaceful, quiet Christmas. There are 3 highly textured papers in this set, along with 5 different textured brads. (Loads of Thank You’s for the materials I used are listed in my TOU credits!) There’s more coming… I’m very excited to post the next set for tomorrow (alpha tags! woohoo! with enough space for a bit of journaling on them! ), so don’t forget to pass by for that one as well! 😉

Download Set 1 of Christmas Lullaby. Zip password is quietpeace

ETA: Sorry, download link is no longer available.

Oh… and one more thing… since I’m really getting into the Christmas spirit, I think I’m going to come up with two more separate Christmas kits. Keep passing by for those too!

Well. I spent the whole day trying to upload this and now I have to ~groan~ start getting ready for the Big Project’s Big Event. Anyone want to go in my place and pretend they’re me? You’re most welcome!!! 😆

Have a great day, my sweeties, and thank you for the love you leave in my blog as you download! Hope you like this!

This one looks like it’s going to last…

for some time, if not forever.

My boys (3 and 5 years old) have been singing this every single day, about 10 times a day at least.

It’s such a sad song, but they totally love it, and I don’t see anything wrong with it, actually. Except that it kind of nudges my heart in a way unknown to my kids, because I could’ve been singing this myself when I lost my mom at the age of eight.

My 5-year-old once said to me, after another round of this song: Mom, I am sooooo happy that you’re alive.

Yeah. Me too.

Because my kids don’t know this, but the one thing I have always asked from God, as far back as I can remember, is that when I have kids of my own,  He blesses me with enough time on earth to be there for them till they don’t need me anymore.

I have always told my husband that, at the end of the day, I don’t dream of castles in the sky. I could be sitting on the ladder of our nipa hut and planting vegetables in the garden all day, as long as we sit together holding hands and watching the sunset, still in love with each other, still loving and being loved by our sons, and loving God above all, then that would’ve been a full life for me.

Ah. Being a wife to my hubby. Being a mother to my five sons. I think in the whole wide world, these are the greatest blessings I have ever received.

What are the greatest blessings you have received? What is your definition of a full life?

I will join you in thanking Him for all that He has given you, me, us, everyone.

Have a great day! 😉

Oh my, oh me, oh why?

It’s been a crazy couple of days for me. But a happy crazy couple of days… spent in a total shopping frenzy. Did you get a load of all the sales at all the fab digi shoppes??? My biggest problem was not what to get, but what to remove from my shopping cart! 😆

You know how it is: you begin by swearing you’re just going to have a look around… And then you see a kit here, an element pack there, and you say hmmm… now that would be nice to have so you log in to your account, still swearing you’re just going to put it on your wishlist, just in case, you know, you never know… 😉

Pretty soon your wishlist is getting longer and longer and then you think geez, really, this 25/30/40/50% off is such a sweet deal, how could I say no? And it IS Thanksgiving/Black Friday… and the next time this is going to come around will be next year, so how bad could it be if I just spend a FEW dollars just this once?

Problem is, this process goes on for the five or six sites you have open on several windows on your compy.

And in the end your credit card is groaning. From the instant weight-loss it just experienced. In terms of gold.


So come on, out with it, what did you buy, where, and how big a damage did you do to your credit card? A dent? A bump? Or a bang of the huge insurance-claim size?


Here’s the perfect balm for those riddled with shoppers’ guilt: A FREEBIE! 😛

This is the last set (sniff! this has been fun, my friendly toof fairy) in the Toof Fairy Kit. And because it’s the curtain call, I decided to let it go with a bang! Here’s what you’re getting:

{ Click on image for larger view }

LivEdesigns Toof Fairy Set 4 Preview

Ahem. By now you can probably tell that I am partial to blues. hehehe.

There’s a lowercase toof alpha here (I’ve included an enlarged letter O so you can see the tooth detail… I like that you can make it not too obvious by downsizing the letters or make it stand out by upsizing… depending on the effect you want), and I totally love that it looks like my sons’ gel toothpaste. 😆

This also comes with a grungy solid blue paper (a bit lighter than the last one I sent out) and a blue version of the toof patterned paper. There’s also a journaling tag with lines.

And for those who really want to get into the toofy mood, I’ve included a psd file for the photo mask and stitches that you see in the preview (thanks to Zela of stock.xnchg for the photo of the fairy). Don’t forget to put your toofless child’s photo in the layer between the stitches and the mask, and then do a CTRL-G (or a Ctrl-Alt-G for full version Photoshop or … is it Command-G for macheads?)  to let your photo take on the shape of the mask. It works best with portrait-oriented photos, wher eyou don’t care much that the bottom part is split into two. (I can safely recommend that closeups are not used with this, as there will be part of a nose or mouth that will go missing… :D)

Download the last set in the Toof Fairy Kit. Zip password is bluetooftechnology (hehe, couldn’t resist that! 🙂 )

ETA: Sorry, download link is no longer available.

I hope you enjoyed this kit as much as I enjoyed playing around with it! And do feel most welcome to send me links to the layouts you’ve made with these freebs… so that I can put your masterpieces up on my blog! Love to hang wonderful work on the walls of my blog, you know! 😉

Now I’m off to work on new freebie kits for you!!!

PS. Thank you to all my maclovah friends who have written comments recommending mac. I’ll have you know I’m tempted, tempted, tempted. 😆

Another PS. Thank you to those who leave multiple thank you’s to make up for those who don’t. 😉 You are so sweet. I totally appreciate the kind gesture and the effort and the time you take. Makes the creating process much sweeter.



You know your kids aren’t kids anymore

when they start asking permission to leave at night and you have to give them a curfew to make sure they come back before it’s light outside. Boohoo. I have two boys growing up! Two weeks ago they went to the concert of Beyonce with their cousins and had a grand time. Last night they went to another cousin’s house and spent the evening playing and “hanging out.”

Gosh, makes me wonder… what did we do to hang out when we were their age? ( Geez, seems like so long ago) Oh, now I remember: I used to “hang out” with my favorite cousin, and we’d read books, occasionally dipping into cookies and sipping on milk… I seriously doubt, though, that that’s what my boys are doing 😆

Half of me is amused and proud to see them growing into fine boys (who, by the way, do not object to and actually do follow the curfews I set–what can I say, God is so kind to me); the other half of me wants to say “hey, no, don’t grow up too fast; stay and pull on my apron strings a bit longer.” But of course, I let them go. They are boys. I’ve always known the day would come when they would pack their bags and venture out on their own. But show me a mother who doesn’t feel the tug on her heart when that happens and I’ll give you roundtrip tickets to the moon and back. 😀

So those of you with children who still have temporary teeth falling, rejoice!!! You’ve got a couple of good years to go before they start “hanging out” literally out of the bounds of the yard and the home. 🙂 And you just might find some use for the freebs in this kit! 😆

Here’s what’s in Set 3 of the Toof Fairy kit: 3 papers, tamer and less grungified this time (except maybe for the yellow one which I call sweettoof :D) . There’s a yellow brush-striped one and a blue textured paper with green stitches. I think the solid yellow and the blue-stitched one will be useful for those who aren’t visited by the tooffairy anymore 😉

{Click on image for larger view}

LivEdesigns Toof Fairy Set 3 Preview

There’s a silver commemorative tooth plate; a transparent tooth-shaped thingie which you can use for anything (maybe put a title underneath it? Maybe use it as a frame?) And then there’s a stenciled tooth and a chalk-y tooth: if you layer them on top of each other, they work quite nicely. But in the download I kept them separate in case you would want to use the stencil on the darker papers and the chalk-y one on the lighter papers… or for whatever you want to use them for.

Download Set 3 of the ToofFairy Kit. Zip password is toofsieroll 😆

ETA: Sorry, download link is no longer available.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with the FINAL set in the Toof Fairy kit, and then we move on to new freebie kits! Woohoo!!! I’m so excited! Hope you are too!

Thank you for the love you leave!

What’s on your Christmas list?

So I was thinking… you think maybe I should get a mac?

Should I? LOL! 





Bwahahahahaha… This is purely for laughs. In the first place, I love my desktop and use my laptop only when there is absolutely no other choice but to crawl up the walls in desperation 😛 and in the second place, I love my Windows XP.  Okay, so I am open to a mac, but I am not open to the learning curve. And to the fact that there aren’t a lot of programs yet that work with it. Or maybe I’m just stubborn. Or maybe we should just stop analyzing this. 😆

I’ll shift to  mac the day my dear friend Jessica Sprague shifts to mac. Nuff said. 😛

My dear friend Jun de Leon (who also happens to be my brother-in-law and oh, yeah, he’s just been the top photographer in the Philippines for the past three decades or so…. hehehehe… of course I say that with sisterly pride–and gratitude for all the free family portraits we get! LOL!) has been trying to get me to shift to a mac.

So far… so good for me, not so good for him.

You think I should clone my face and put it on one of these people so he stops the mac-chant with me?