Oh. My. Goodness!!!

You will never believe what came in the mail today.

I got a package, I got a package, I got a package, woohoo!!! :mrgreen:

I received a notice from the post office this morning, telling me that I had a package waiting for me. I hoped against hope that it would be from my dear friend, Kari (I just received a couple of weeks back a beautiful Christmas card from our mutual friend, Laurie, that totally made my day too!!!).  So I immediately had the package picked up, and while I was chatting with some friends over at our playground, the package came.

I know I was probably a blabbering fool at the chat–I was so excited!!! I don’t even remember what I said; I just know it involved a lot of woohoo’s and jumping up and down and running around in circles and dancing like crazy. 😆

A little aside: when I got the box, it had been opened. And hastily put back together again. See, that’s the thing I don’t get about the post office in this country. Why do they do that? Doesn’t that constitute some deprivation of one’s right to privacy? (Not that there was anything private in there, but it IS nice to be the one who tears open the tape of your own package instead of having someone get there and do it before you.  And my friend Kari did such a great job of putting the box and the gift inside together so nicely… 😦 ) I suspect they open it because they want to check if there are $$ inside the package. After all, if it were to check the safety of what’s inside, there are Xray machines to do that, right? hmmmm. Very strange, Watson, very strange.

Here’s what it looked like when I got it:

The Best Surprise of the Year

BUTTTT!!! Even so, that didn’t dampen my excitement!

And here’s where it gets even MORE exciting!!! I opened the box and discovered a Christmas card from Kari 8) , and another card with a note, a long note, on it! WOOHOO BIG TIME!!! 😀

I love receiving letters!!! 😀

And wait. It gets even better. As I was happily freaking about the package with my girlfriends on the chat, it dawned on me that they knew about the package and its contents! Apparently they were all in on it, they all had something to do with getting the package to me… now how TERRIFICALLY COOL is that???? I looooooove my girlfriends at the playground, they are soooo sweet! Now THAT is what totally touched my heart!!! I have seen this book through the making but to have the real thing in my hands: wow. And to know that it got to me flying over the oceans on the wings of my sweet girlfriends’ love… that’s an infinitely bigger WOW!!!

I guess here is where I have to explain why this book is so special: this is a book that we, rockers at Jessica’s playground, came up with as a surprise for Jes (if you look at her blog and scroll to the end of December, you’ll find photos there of the same book). It was a collaborative effort of all the wonderful girls on our playground. Laurie came up with the idea seed, Kari pushed and pulled and took over the reigns (Kari’s da boss! 😆 ), Tori came up with the mosaic cover, and I came up with the dedication page and the two final pages at the end of the book. Every wonderful girlfriend on the book contributed her own masterpiece (without their pages, the book would be nothing) AND contributed time, effort, even finances, to get this book off the Shutterfly site and into Jessica’s hands! WOW! This is working together at its very best!

I guess I also have to explain that I could not, for one reason or another, upload any of my page files to Shutterfly (thank you Veevs and Project Posse for doing the uploading for me; where would I be without you?) So that meant that I also would not be able to order my own copy of the book! So that is why I am just sooooo awed by the book in my hands today. I can stare at it all day long, know what I mean? Rub my eyes, stare. Shake my head in quiet pleasure. Repeat: rub my eyes, stare…


Kari, you are amazing. Thank you, my dear friend, for organizing this whole thing!!! (Even if you did it behind my back. hahaha!!!) Tori and Laurie, you too! PP rocks! And everyone on my playground, THANK YOU!

I feel totally privileged, honored, and blessed to count ALL MY GIRLFRIENDS on our playground among my dearest, dearest friends. Actually, no, they’re more than just girlfriends and best friends. They’re SISTAHS in every sense of the word and more! (My ties of affection to you are so strong that they can build a bridge across the oceans and we won’t even need visas to visit each other! Ha!)

There are no words that can accurately express or even come close to my gratitude and overflowing affection for you, my sweeties, so here’s a “card” I made (they say a picture paints a thousand words… so here are my thousand words, and more–uh… keep your eyes on my message more than on my funny face, okay? 😆 )

Me and the Surprise

Thank you. Seriously. For making this the best day of the year ever. I can’t say it enough.

Oh and PS? My son will attest to the fact that since I got the book and the card, I have not let it out of my sight and reach for a single minute. WOOHOO!!! 😀

Oh, and of course, I had to take photos of the masterpiece that Jessica’s rockin’ girls put together for her, right? 😀 (And kari’s lovely handmade card too!)

Jes’ Book

And here’s my friend who put it all together:

Kari’s Page

I wish I could put the photos of all the pages of my darling friends’ pages over here… but that would mean that I would be putting the ENTIRE book on my blog! 🙂

Girls… I love ya! You know I do!

Almost Caught Up

Almost. Not quite, but I’m getting there.

Did three layouts yesterday in an attempt to get caught up with the LOAD requirements I had failed to post on time. I’m not giving up the goal though… I’m still working towards finishing 31 layouts by the 31st of January.

Here are the three I did:

10 More

Journaling reads:

wheeeee! only ten more days till christmas!!!


Jessica’s fab DD template, Michelle Coleman’s topper, Katie Pertiet’s grid brush AND Papers by Leora Sanford, Lisa Warren, and Heidi Larsen(slightly recolored); Emily Merritt’s button; Christina Renee’s doodled circles overlay

Journaling reads:

brrrr… ….break out the blankets and the jackets! we may live by the equator but that doesn’t stop jack frost from nipping at our noses and toesies!


Jessica’s fab Daily December template; Michelle Coleman’s Topper; Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush AND Angela Shetzer’s papers &, holly stamp from her Downhome Christmas kit; John’s Photoblast EZActions

Little Santa

Journaling reads:

more than the games, more than the chance to have your photo taken with santa, more than the yummy food laid out on the tables, what you loved most of all was giving your classmates christmas gifts. so wonderfully generous. so typically you.


Jessica’s fab Daily December template; Michelle Coleman’s Topper; Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush & doodled Christmas title AND Michelle Coleman’s MerryLittleXmas papers; MiriamLima’s flower; EvaKipler’s Artistic-Flourish sequins; Anna Aspnes’ quote; ScrappyPony’s Holiday Grunge Overlay

Balancing in White

Our lesson at 2peas for this week had to do with White Balance. Which is a big word for just making sure that your photos’ colors are “calibrated” according to the light source that you’re shooting in. So if you’re shooting indoors with incandescent lighting, you can get a better-looking photo by tinkering around with your camera’s WB, instead of coming up with a photo that looks like everyone ate much too much mangoes and papayas and therefore turned orange. 😆

Our challenge for this week was to take 3 or more indoor photos: one using the automatic white balance setting of the camera, one with the “tungsten” setting (or its equivalent), and another with White Balance set manually.

There were bonus points for trying out the different settings for white balance. WB settings vary from camera to camera. On my D40 I have an entire list: Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Cloudy, Shade, and Manuel. I tried them all with exactly the same item and without fiddling around with the fine-tuning knob (According to ken rockwell, this is something unique to Nikon, which Canon doesn’t have: the white balance settings on Nikon allow us to further refine the white balance settings, even if they’re “set,” so that we can come up with the best possible color calibration when we take a photo).

Here are the results of the experiment:

{ Click on images for larger views}

WB Auto Incandescent

Incandescent WB setting looks a little greenish, don’t you think?

WB Shade & Direct Sunlight

I think the Shade setting looks too orange… Ken Rockwell says that this setting is best for shooting in the shade, which produces colors which are normally bluish (hence the orange balances the blue). It also works, he says, for shooting on cloudy days when light from the clouds casts a bluish tint, or when you have a subject that’s backlit. Nice to know, right? 😉

WB Cloudy & Fluorescent

Cloudy WB casts a warm tone and is better, Ken says, for outdoor shots in direct sunlight. The fluorescent WB setting I know I do not like. 😛

Manual White Balance

CREDITS: Jason Gaylor’s brushes, Papers by Petit Moineux

I find that when I set white balance manually, it was closest to the auto setting, which brings me to something that I learned:

Nikon’s Auto White Balance totally rocks. 😀 I think I’ll keep my white balance setting on Auto, though it’s terrific knowing how to manipulate the different manual settings, just in case I find myself in a situation that requires it.

Alright! All for now! Must get working on the next freebie for you, my sweeties!

Catch you later! 😉

19 thoughts on “Oh. My. Goodness!!!

  1. Well it’s about time you got it!!! It was just as much a joy and pleasure to contribute to your book and it was to contribute to Jess’ book. I love the photo of you holding the book. It makes my heart sing to look at it. You are such an important part of my life now and visiting your blog each day always brightens my day. Love you sistah!!!


  2. So glad that you received the book and are enjoying it. The LO is priceless of you the book and the card. These are good times in our lives and you just constantly add to them each and every day. I thank you my friend from the bottom of my heart for sharing with us. You are a true treasure! Hugs!!


  3. Liv…it’s such a treat to see your smiling face. You are the cutest! I’m so glad your book arrived safely. Your blog is always filled with so much information and I always learn something new (so thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge)!!!


  4. So glad you finally got your special gift Liv! Great photo of you with the book! We were all waiting like kids waiting for Santa! Even if the box was not completely intact, I’m sure glad the book was in perfect condition!Enjoy GF!We love ya!


  5. Ohhhh its so good to know you finally got it and so lovely to see a layout with you as the main character!! You look amazing! You cant imagine how had its been to keep my gob shut about this secret lol! I wish I could have been in chat when you got it! You deserve all the love from all of us!! TQM!


  6. Liv;
    I was so thrilled to be on the chat when you got the package. I wasn’t kiddin’ when I said you are like the glue for the playground… even better than the icing on the cake!! Thank you always being a happy silly fun face for us to see playing on the playground. You are a dear!


  7. boy you have me crying again. remember on my 7 random facts where i cry at everything??? I’m so glad you liked the surprise. i was really excited to be chatting with you when it came!!




  8. I was really starting to get worried that someone out there was enjoying the book we so lovingly sent to you!! Sounds like someone at least took a peek 😉 You have no idea how happy it made me to see your gorgeous pictures holding that book!!! Just as I pictured you with it! Wish I could have delivered it by hand but the timing just didn’t work out with the holidays and all. I give all hail to Laurie for this amazing feat – she’s a genius, no?! It was an honor to work with such an amazing posse to produce such a treasure … that you can now hold in your hands!!! All the love and hugs to you that I can throw your way – and then just a few more! I love ya, sistah (more than anyone else … no matter what they say)!!


  9. You are the stinkin cutest thing ever, Liv! I just love you to a million little pieces. I am so glad that your book FINALLY got there. I love you my friend and I love your LOs. Your little boys are just as cute as their momma. 🙂 Rock on PP! 🙂


  10. Liv it is so great to see you smiling with your book (and it is not a goofy smile by the way, it is gorgeous).
    You really deserve to have a book and it is an honor to be a part of the book and getting to you.

    Yeah more dd pages!
    Carol 🙂


  11. I love seeing your smiling face with your book. And it is not a goofy smile by the way, it is gorgeous. You totally deserve the book and I am honored to be part of the book you have.

    Yeah more DD pages, they are great!

    Carol 🙂


  12. YEAH! I’m so glad it made it to you intact, even if it was opened. The best part of all this…to see your pretty smiling face! Thank you for being such a great person and a great friend. I love you! {{{{{HUGS}}}}}


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