Missed the train…

by about 3 seconds. THREE. seconds.

So my LOAD layout didn’t quite make it to Day 12. 😳

But that’s okay. Today is a Sunday in my part of the world. And Sundays have always been family days. I normally work on my LOAD submissions in the last 6 hours before submission deadline (hehe… procrastination habits die hard), but this morning I couldn’t, because there was Mass to attend and then we had lunch out, and then a couple of other must-do stuff that we postponed (like getting photos taken for our passports and visas… ya hear me, GFs??? This is for you-know-what happening on you-know-where in June!!! 😛 )

Bottom-line is… Sundays are family days. And so I had to make a choice between uploading my LO for the contest or putting family first. That was a no-brainer. (Not that I didn’t wince and kick myself for not working on the LOAD Day 12 sooner, but there were no second-thoughts as to which I would give up today).

So anyway, here’s my LOAD for Day 12. And another one should be coming up soon for Day 13. ha. Two LOADS in one day. That should be a good way to repair my not meeting the Day 12 deadline.

Christmas in our Home

Journaling reads:

(Subheading in white): our home is decked with boughs of holly, falalalala lalala la

(Text): i love the extra warmth and coziness our home exudes at christmastime


Jessica Sprague’s Daily December template, Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush, Michelle Coleman’s Topper plus Miriam Lima’s papers, Lisa Warren’s cardinal (recolored and applied atomic cupcake actions on this one), Leora Sanford’s star border, Emily Merritt’s buttons (some recolored), Atomic Cupcake actions

More Playing Around with Photos

Okay, I was tickled pink by the feeling of doing “assignments”for the 2Peas 12-Week Photography Effect (throwback to my grade school days when I loved homework… didn’t I say I was an alien? 😆 ), so I did another take on the Aperture challenge.

Some things I did differently this time:

1.  I didn’t attach my SB800 external flash (if you’re playing around with aperture settings and you want to create the bokeh effect, the flash really minimizes the effect a lot. Which just means that you’ll see a lot less difference when playing around with your aperture settings in a flash-lit setup). Ergo, best to shoot in a setup that uses available light.

2. I also greatly decreased the distance between my lens and the subject I was taking (in this case a small vase of flowers): again, the bokeh effect is greatly enhanced by this simple act of moving closer. You also end up with a much wider range of f/stop values (but of course, you’re limited to the end-limits that your particular lens allows).

3. Knowing that I would not print out these photos, I changed my ISO setting to 800 (normally I set mine at 200 or, in darker conditions where I want to use available light, at 400). What this simply means is that there is much less blurring that can occur with a higher ISO setting because it allows you to get the same exposure setting with a much faster shutter speed. (Shooting at low aperture values slows down shutter speed; that is why there is a greater chance for blurring to occur… unless you prop your camera on a tripod, which I –of course– failed to use this time. 😛 ) Higher ISO’s, though, also mean more chance of your photos showing up as grainy if you’re printing them out. For viewing on the web, thankfully, the graininess is practically nil.

Things I kept the same:

Simple: My Nikon D40x and my Nikkor 18-200mm AF-S lens.

Here are the shots I took today (if you look at the wooden slats and the trees, you’ll see a more pronounced difference, compared to my shots of the bikers yesterday):

1. At f/4.6

Flowers in a Vase f/4.6

2. At f/8

Flowers in a Vase f/8

3. At f/32

Flowers in a Vase f/32

Cool, right? Aperture setting is a wonderful thing! (It’s the setting that I keep my camera on all the time, actually. That’s how much I love it!)

Okay, that’s enough playing around on my blog for today! I really need to get to work on my freebs for you, or I’ll be breaking one of my New Year’s resolutions too early in the game. 🙂

Freebs coming soon! (Give me 24 hours). Hang tight! 😀

Loading up on fun…

Got my LOAD for Day 11 done, so that I can work uninterruptedly on a freeb for you, my sweeties!

But first, while I get my creative muse all warmed up, let’s sit and chat a while, why don’t we?

LOAD Day 11 & Daily December Day 7

Little Boys in the Big School

Journaling reads:

you were so excited to visit your big brother’s school. you proudly declared to everyone you met: “we’re the little brothers of A!”


Jessica’s fab Daily December template, Michelle Coleman’s Topper, Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush PLUS Mindy Terasawa’s Groovy Boy Paper, Ribbon (recolored), Tab (recolored); Amber Clegg’s Postmarked Stamp (Explore); Sara Carling’s Aero Leather Tag & Pog

I now have 7 pages in my Daily December album (and to me, that’s an accomplishment, because note that it is now January… if not for the push that joining LOAD gave me, I would probably have completed my Daily December… uhhh… perhaps this coming December 2008. 😆 ) I’m hoping by the end of January I would’ve completed my Daily December album too! (Hey, dreaming is free! 😀 )

Playing Around with Photos

Remember a few posts ago (See Adventure: Word for the Month), I was talking about going for dinner at a restaurant with my hubby and our good friends Jun and Abby?

This was actually a delayed get-together for New Year’s, and a celebration of the completion of the article I wrote for a feature on Jun and Abby for a glossy magazine which features the who’s who in Asian society. It was the first time that Jun agreed to be featured at length in a magazine, and he had a whole set of conditions, one of which was that I do his write-up! Now how cool was that! 😉

On the other hand, it was extremely pressuring too–I mean, when someone believes in you that much, it’s scarier to slip on the tightrope, right? Even if you happened to slip because your foot was itchy, know what I mean? So anyway, the other thing that made it really difficult for me to complete the article (aside from my frustrating habit of self-editing) was the fact that the story of Jun and Abby is soooo rich, so wonderful to tell, so I had a really hard time trying to meet the 5000 character limit (and that was already increased from the original 4000).

But I was happy when I clicked SEND (roughly 24 hours after I had my eye surgery) and my article made its way to the mag editor’s inbox. I furnished a copy to Jun too. The very next morning, I received a basket of the most delicious rice cakes with coconut cream sauce, and a gold box filled with homemade polvoron (the best way I can describe this is milk-sugar powdery “cookies”)… and this note:


I have known Jun since I was 13 years old, and this is the first time I actually got a handwritten note from him. 😆

I must also qualify that I could never have written the article on my own: it was actually the product of a lot of prayer and divine grace. 🙂

So where does the subheading of this post “Playing Around with Photos” come in?

Well… I mentioned that hubby and I were a bit early for the dinner we were having with Jun & Abby, so we walked around, checking out the new mall… I wanted to take photos, but I had to settle for using my cellphone camera because I (kick self, kick self) foolishly resisted the urge to take Cameran along.

When I downloaded the photos, I was pretty shocked. Wait a minute, these aren’t too bad, considering I took them with a cellphone and with pure available light (which was actually not that available, as the skies were dark! 😆 )

Chateau 1771

This is the restaurant where we had dinner. The man on the right was using his cellphone for the right intention, while I was using mine to take photos. Crazy.

Chateau Take 2

We just opened this restaurant last December in the new mall (5th phase of a larger mall). One of the reasons Chateau is totally dear to our hearts is because when my hubby and I got married, we held our reception in the same restaurant (although it was in a different location then).

Since I already embarrassed my husband enough by taking photos >teeheehee< I decided to go all the way! I totally could not resist the play of lines and lights in the entire place!  Here’s more proof:

Don’t these lines remind you of the outline of a house?

I am totally tickled that this shot has been taken by a cellphone camera. C.E.L.L.P.H.O.N.E. camera. Amazing. I had no idea it would come out looking like this (so obvious that I haven’t been using the camera function on my cellphone, huh? 😆 )

The walkway that leads from the driveway and into the rest of the amazing complex (restaurant is on the left side of the photo) reminded me of the Getty Museum walkway with fountains. The long blocks in the middle are the beginnings of fountains (did I mention that the mall is new? So there’s still a lot that’s being done but it’s already looking awesome, even at this early stage).

The Walkway

More Photo Play

Over at 2peasinabucket, there’s a great photography course (free! couldn’t get better than that! 😀 ) given by Joanna Bolick, which promises 12 weeks to better photos. I thought it might be fun to try out their challenges. The one for this week involves using your camera in the Aperture priority mode (I loooove aperture priority mode: that’s the mode that I shoot in about 98% of the time. I only change when I need to do macros… so far). 🙂

The exercise involved shooting something, anything, using the lowest aperture setting that your lens has, then somewhere midway, then at the highest setting. Comparing the photos would reveal the change in the bokeh (that blurry look behind the subject that you’ve focused on).

I know that it would’ve been better if I used a lens more adapted to portrait photography (and therefore with a higher range of f/stop values–or aperture size, or quite simply, how wide the lens opens), but I was too lazy to change lenses. I use a Nikkor 18-200mm AF-S lens and love the range it affords me, so actually, I’ve never taken it off to change to another lens since I put it on. 😆

The downside of my laziness to change lenses is this: the lowest aperture setting I could get was a 4.5, and the highest was a 16. I should maybe try with a different lens to get a more dramatic look, but for now, I’m okay with what I got (Geez. Lazy!)

Here’s what I took (the change is most obvious if you look at the sofa and the pillows behind the bikers in each photo)

At f/ 4.5 :

Bikers f/4.5

At f/8 :

Bikers f/8

At f/16:

Bikers at f/16

I would have preferred to shoot outside in daylight, but it’s been raining (strange, for this time of the year), so the skies have been dark and cloudy (not nicely overcast, which would have been more preferable, really). Oh well.

Alrighty then, can you believe playing around has cost me almost all the daylight today? Gotta get working on those freebies for you!

Catch you later! (((((hugs))))))

Of Its and Tags

My good friend Jeanne tagged me!

I’ve been tagged once before (sorry, salve, i just didn’t get around to doing your tag long ago… but i have to admit i knew nothing about tags back then! ha! you learn a little everyday!)

And part of my new year’s resolutions is carpe diem! so here i am, seizing the day with jeanne’s tag!

Here’s what Jeanne says on her blog’s tag:

You’ve been tagged:The rules of the game:
• Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
• Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog, we all want to know them.
• Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
• Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Let’s see. Jeanne and I play on the same playground so I’ve got to do this real quick before the others finish tagging everyone else! 😆

Can’t tag Dawn/Dewnie, Veevs, LivE (woops! that’s me!), Carol, Susan, Jackie and Kari. (Were we random, Jeanne? LOL!)

Thank goodness my sistahs at Jessica’s playground got around to blogging big-time. That gives me more people to tag! hehehe 😈 So here we go!

7 RANDOM or WEIRD FACTS ABOUT ME: (You sure you want to know all this? Why not scroll to the bottom and hit the tags instead? 😆 )

1. My first name is of Dutch origin, my second name is from a French song during World War II meant to comfort the soldiers, my middle name is Asian in a huge way, and my last names (both maiden and married) are Spanish. My nickname, totally unintended, turns out to be Norwegian. I’ve got Filipino, Spanish, American, and Chinese blood coursing through my veins. I could be a poster child for United Nations! 😆 (But really, I’m just an alien deep inside). :mrgreen:

2. Besides blood, coffee courses through my veins pretty much. I love coffee. Fresh brewed, with beans ground right before brewing. My friends and relatives have christened my home a Starbucks branch. I cannot imagine life without coffee. 🙂

hmmm. I didn’t realize it was this hard to think of random facts about me. >teehee<

3. I used to make scrapbooks when I was 16. The kind where you stick photos on acid-FILLED (not acid-free) paper, cut up captions from magazines, crop your photos, and stick to your heart’s content! Decades later, I discovered paper scrapping stores and quickly hoarded two lifetimes’ supply… only to store them where they remain untouched up to this day. Last June I discovered Jessica and her fab U&R course, got into the beta class, got pulled into the Dark Side quicker than you can spell digi-addict, and have never looked back. The very first digital layout I made was thanks to Jessica. In fact, the very first legit scrapbooking I ever made was due to Jessica. 😆

4. I used to dance ballet. From the age of 3 till about 12. I got to pointes, and learned how to tape my toes and preserve my Capezio shoes. I used to dance in the park with my ballet troupe for the purpose of providing cultural entertainment to those who were unfortunate enough to hang out in the park and therefore be forced to watch our shows. 😆  Used to take promotions tests for the next level with Dame Margot Fonteyn (is she still alive?) from the Royal Academy of Dancing in London. (She came to our country; we didn’t go to hers 🙂 ) Then I stopped because I wanted to concentrate on other things, like studies, doing crazy school stuff, and generally fooling around with life. 😀 I also got into theater, taking a summer course with the Philippine Educational Theater Association, and in the end we did a play on life in our country in the 60s, which was held at Fort Santiago–in a mini theater where serious, legit plays used to be held.

To this day there is nothing you can do, not even threaten me with a sword, to make me dance or act.

5. I used to climb trees as a child, and I loved going to the park and swinging from the swings till I reached the highest point, and right there I would jump off and soar into the wind and land on the ground. Luckily, I never broke any bones. If any of my sons did today what I did then, I think I’d have a heart attack.

6. I got my very first camera in the 6th grade. It was that elongated thing that used half of the 35mm film, black and white. If you got the colored film version, the photos came out really really really grainy. When I was in 2nd year high school, my dad upgraded my camera to a Minolta that used 35mm film. I felt BIG! 😆 I eventually graduated to a Canon Stylus, then to a Canon Powershot G7, and now I use a Nikon D40X. I love Nikon. I will always love my Nikon. I actually had it surgically attached to my body. (okay, so maybe I didn’t, but pretty close, the way it comes with me wherever I go.)

7. I was on the varsity volleyball team in high school, and when I was already working, I reached blue belt in Tae Kwon Do. I stopped when, in the promotions test for the next belt level, the girl I was sparring with was much larger than me, and her foot got caught in my dobuk (the white top and pants outfit for the sport). The referee at that time bellowed at me repeatedly, “Let go of her foot! Let go of her foot!” I stuck both my fists in his face and said. “I’m not holding her foot! She stuck it there herself!” 😆 I got my belt, but I quit after that. I loved the exercise, I loved the strength training, but I did not love the thought of losing teeth or breaking my nose while sparring (in fact, I did not enjoy sparring; I enjoyed the kicking and punching on my own).

Ha! That’s 7 facts that maybe you didn’t really want to know about me! (Can’t help wondering why anyone would even be interested in the slightest way in these, hahaha!)

So anyway, here’s who I tag now (sorry, sweeties, but this is how it goes! :D):

Noel , Tori, Laurie, Deb, Chrystal, Lisa, Lisa, Dawn, Janie, and Heather! (thanks soooooo much for playing along, girlfriends!) ***MWAH!!!***

PS. Ack! Noel and Deb have been tagged by Susan! You beat me to the draw, gf!

Okay, I didn’t realize tagging was so difficult! 😆

I originally wanted to post this along with a freebie, but the way it’s going, I guess I need to post this and THEN work on the freebie!

See you in a bit!

Running After Time

There’s so much I want to do, and not enough time in a day to do it all! How many of you have felt this way? How do you handle it? Is there some secret you can share with me?

LOAD Day 10 & Daily December No. 6

Got this done this morning.

One of the lovely advantages of having 5 sons is that as they grow older, they eventually take over the task of getting the Christmas decor up, so that I am free to sit and watch them with a smile on my face, wondering how I got so lucky to have such great guys (and related to me, too! 😆 )

Tree Trimmers

Journaling reads:

last year there were three; now there are four of you working together to put up the tree and trim it. next year j will be old enough to join the fun as well. each christmas, year after year, i can just sit and watch you for hours, filled with quiet pride and gratitude. i am so lucky to have such great tree trimmers!


Jessica Sprague’s Daily December template (altered); Michelle Coleman’s Topper & rivet (recolored); Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush, HolidayOrnaments Brush, PostmarkedHolidays Brush, Emily Merritt’s Jolly Jingle Sparkles (recolored), Miriam Lima’s HolidayMagic paper, Atomic Cupcake actions

Word for the Month

Over at her blog, my dear friend Jessica mentioned Ali Edwards’ Word for the Year (another amazing lady there!)… with a twist: Jess has decided she wanted a Word for a Month instead. Given my own love for words, I totally agree with her! (Also, nice to have 12 words to live by instead of just one for the year! 🙂 )

I decided my word for January would be ADVENTURE.

noun: an undertaking; an unusual or exciting experience

verb, tr.: to venture upon; undertake or try

verb, intr.: to take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome; dare

synonyms: (n)risky venture, escapade; (v) take a risk, take a chance / related words: (n) project, task, undertaking, labor; (v) chance, attempt, try, seek

I think this is a great word to start the year off with: I’ve always loved adventures, whether of the real kind (the kind that took me to places as a kid) or the vicarious kind (the kind that I take now that I’m older, which normally I gather from museum trips, reading books and magazines, surfing the net, and playing around).

I also like that the related words (project, task, undertaking, labor) are so closely related to WORK. I have such a great respect for the dignity of work. I think working to your best capacities and abilities, in the simplest thing (sure, even in tasks as simple as cleaning your bathroom or picking up that piece of tissue lying on the floor) and offering it up to our Lord, is one of the best prayers and one of the best ways to give back glory to Him who has given us all we have.

Who knows what adventures lay ahead this year? Just thinking about it is so exciting! Here are a few that come to mind:

Adventures in Design: I love learning. I love the adventure of discovery, of finding out new things, of learning something new everyday. I guess that’s why I love designing so much: every kit is an adventure into the unknown! I see something in my mind and I try to create it digitally. When the vision and what I see on my monitor match each other, it’s such a WOW moment for me that I can’t wait to share it with all my friends! (hence the freebies 😀 ) I want to learn a lot more and experiment a lot more with Photoshop and designing. I need to open those new/old software CDs that have sat in my drawer (was once too terrified to attempt them, am more adventurous now), among them: CS3 and Xarax.

Every class with Jess is an adventure: I am so looking forward to our next adventure in March, which is when our Digi: In Deep course will begin its maiden journey.

Doing something I would not normally do: take a risk = adventure. I am normally what my people would call segurista. One who does not like taking wild chances; one who finds much sense in the saying, “better safe than sorry.” But nothing big has been accomplished by staying on safe ground when you could be sailing the high seas (with WISDOM, of course). So I think it’s a good time to attempt to go back to those days of abandoning fears and just jumping in with both eyes closed and fingers crossed (uhhh. I really think my Lasik adventure last Monday is a good case in point). 😆

Another case in point:

I am normally a shy person (I kid you not; even if it may seem unlikely. 😆 ) When I see friends I haven’t seen in ages, I vacillate between saying hello and re-introducing myself and staying away so that I don’t subject that person to a blast from the past that they may or may not welcome.

Last night, as hubby and I were walking (killing time while waiting for our dear friends Jun and Abby to arrive–we were having dinner together), I happened to see a guy who was very good friend of mine back when we were in university… but we happened to lose touch over the years (I distinctly remember the exact time we last spoke: it was when he invited me to his wedding to this sweet girl, who just happened to be a Philippine actress… and I do get really shy [almost reticent] around showbiz personalities, so I stayed away. And we lost touch after). Anyway, hubby said to me, “Well, why don’t you go over there and say hi?” So, very uncharacteristically, I walked up to A., said hello using the petname we in our group of friends used to call him back then, briefly saw a look of non-recognition pass in his eyes, and right after I gave my name. My maiden name, of course (we lost touch even before I got married). And with the mention of my name, there was recognition. It was quite funny, actually: watching his eyes was like watching the aperture opening of a camera, first small then becoming larger and larger. He said “Hiiiiiiii!!!!” and turned to the lady friend he was with, introduced me, and said “We’ve known each other since she was like ten years old!” I said “Yeah, we go waaaay back.” We exchanged cellphone numbers, and voila!

Fun. Always good to reconnect.

And as if that wasn’t enough: after dinner, on the way to our cars, Jun, Abby, hubby and I were walking and we chanced upon J.M., who was overseeing the opening of the Paul Smith store at this new mall. He said hello to Jun and Abby, and when Jun turned to introduce me and hubby, he looked at me and said “Hey, I know you!” to which I answered, “yup, we were at the beach together years back, with C., T. and L.”

Another blast from the past. That makes two in one night!

And then… not five minutes after… as we were standing by the driveway of the center of the mall, the car in front of us drove up, and who was about to get into it? Another friend from college days, now married to another showbiz personality. I had briefly spoken with him at the launch of the Our Father book, and reintroduced myself then… (one of those rare bold moments I had, but I was extraordinarily courageous then… after all, that was OUR launch. haha!). Anyway, he and his sweet wife were about to get into the car, and I said hello. And this time, I didn’t have to reintroduce myself!

And that, folks, completes Round Three. Three amazing blasts from the pasts. Hey, I should’ve been in Vegas. Maybe the slot machines would’ve made me rich tonight, given the three hits at adventure I got in just one night! 😆

Connections. We are all connected to each other in various ways. I think it’s amazing when events like this happen one after the other; makes you really consider what a small, small world this is.

Capturing images is an adventure: I want to play a lot with my camera and learn a lot more about what I can do with it. I drive my hubby crazy when I attempt to lug my Lowepro slingback wherever I go. The few times I am successful at resisting the urge to pick it up before I go out the front door, I end up regretting it (“Oh wow, do you see the lines that those eaves make? Geez! Wish I had my camera with me! See the pattern of the leaves’ shadows on the pavement! Geez! Wish I could take that, if I had my camera with me!” ). Yesterday, of course, was one of the few times I left Cameran at home (and regretted it), and so I was demoted to taking photos of lines and lights that amazed me with my cellular phone. Oh, the humiliation! 😆 But, it was the best I could do at the moment!

Speaking of Photography…

Have you seen this take of Annie Leibovitz’ shoot with the Queen of England? I found it very interesting, mostly because it IS the famed Annie Leibovitz, amazing woman photographer, best known for her photo of a very pregnant Demi Moore in her birthday suit on the cover of Vanity Fair way back. Another reason for my interest: it took me back to the time when I was in the fifth grade and knew all the trivia there was to know about the Royal Family (this coincided with the engagement of then-Lady Diana to Prince Charles, and with my first attempt at a short hairstyle a la Diana… eeeeuw! how embarrassing! 😆 )

Oh… have I introduced you to the royal fam? That’s Anne, Charles, The Queen, Prince Philip, Andrew, and the Queen Mum… and me, in front, with my very proper, English, royal smile. (Long hair tied at the back will tell you this was way back in ’97)

Meet the Royal Family

Okay… so maybe the photo was taken at Madame Tussaud’s. Makes for some great laughs though, doesn’t it? 😆

Hey, you think my friend Veevs, royal relation to this family, would approve?


Enough playing around for now… I’m off to attempt some freebies! woohoo!

See you in a bit, my sweeties! (((hugs)))

Finally, here it is!

the original version of the shutters page plopper using Jason Gaylor’s awesome brushes!!! For those who downloaded the version I released earlier, this one has different brushwork AND it also has a slightly different, more sunshiny hue to it.

Again, many thanks to Adam Lambert-Gorwyn for his windows photo, and Jason Gaylor for giving me the go-signal to release the plopper using his brushes!

Here’s the preview (I’ve updated the photo of my dear friends, the mother-and-daughter team who were the inspiration behind this creation). Hey, Jackie, does this photo now beat the other preview in terms of cuteness? 😆

{Click on image for larger view}

LivEdesigns Shutters Plopper JGVersion Preview

Download this plopper version here.

Of DDs and LOADs

Don’t you love acronyms? teeheehee.

I missed out on posting my latest LOADs and DDs, so here they are.

Daily December No. 3 & LOAD Day 5:

I wanted to do a page that shows the culture of my country, because Christmas is such a huge event in this part of the world. (Christmas carols begin playing in September–can you imagine the pressure? 😆 –and the food! the glorious food that abounds! Every home, big and small, mansion and hut, has happy lights. We are a happy people, what can I say? 🙂

The Parol’s Light {Christmas Star - Philippine-Style}

Journaling reads:

i love it when the parols begin to hang from trees and eaves. to me, nothing more warmly signals the advent of this season of joy and peace as the light shining from this truly filipino symbol of the star that shone above the manger on that first christmas night.


Jessica Sprague’s lovely Daily December template PLUS Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush, Michelle Coleman’s Topper, Monika69 – Christmas paper1, pillowgirl/E.Blust – RichXmas paper (both blended); photo of nativity scene: www.seasite.niu.edu; Flickr: Large Lit parol photo; nbk – grungy paper

LOAD Day 6:

Lately I’ve been getting into wanting to do full-photo-bleed layouts. This is what I came up with. This is my MIL. Pretty gorgeous for one who is beyond 70 years, eh?


Journaling (Quote) reads:

Beauty… when you look into a woman’s eyes and see what’s in her heart. ~ Nate Dircks

CREDITS: Jason Gaylor’s Brushes

Daily December Day 4 & LOAD Day 7:

Cool Weather = Cool Dude

Journaling Reads:

you said:

mom, can you gel my hair? i’m going to wear my jacket and my shades, and when my classmates see me, they’re going to say, wow, you’re sooo cool!

i said:

sure, honey, let’s do that. but you know what? it’s not your hair nor your jacket nor your shades that make you cool.

you’re cool because you’re a good boy. that’s what makes you cool, my little dude.


Jessica Sprague’s fab DailyDecember Template PLUS Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush & Stitched Chip Strip; Michelle Coleman’s Topper; the Little Dreamer Designs Jolly Jingle Collaborative Kit, from which I used Michelle’s and Misty Mareda’s papers, Jackie Eckles’ star, Emily Merritt’s sparkles (recolored), Lori Barnhurst’s brad fibers

Daily December Day 5 & LOAD Day 8:

Rudolph Minus the Nose

Journaling reads:

checking out the decor in our neighborhood:

hey, mom, where’s rudolph’s red nose?


Jessica Sprague’s wonderful Daily December template, Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush, Michelle Coleman’s Topper PLUS Michelle Coleman’s Merry Little Christmas Kit items (papers & flower) and Reindeer Brush by me! 🙂

Whew! All caught up with posting my layouts this January so far! 🙂

Lookie! What a surprise!

I am so delighted! There have been 469 downloads of the Shutters Plopper (the one I released a few days ago) from the last time I checked. Will those who have used it allow me to post their layouts on my blog? Do leave me a note if you don’t allow me… silence means YES! 😆 (But if you leave me a line and say, yes, please do, I’d be even more delighted!)

Also, look what I just found on the web today? SLKozul used part of my Jolly Hollydays kit to make a birth announcement for her friends!

SLKozul uses Jolly Hollydays

She did a great job, didn’t she?

So many stories, so wish to share!

There are so many stories that I wish to share, but I have to stop myself before my post runs page after page after page! I’ll be back soon, though!

Thank you so much, my dearest friends, all of you who offered prayers, well wishes, and words of advice for my Lasik operation. More stories about that soon!

In the meantime, need to work on my LOAD for Day 9 … it gets difficult as I have to put my alien act to rest for a few days (meaning, I can’t stay up till 4AM as the eyes give up and force me to lie down. Those of you who’ve worn contacts: you know how it is when you’ve kept them on for too long, and your eyes feel dry and they sting a bit? That’s how my eyes feel after a while, except this time, I can’t remove the lenses and go aaaaahhhhh! The only recourse is to sleep.

But I figure… that’s fine. Give or take a month, and I’ll be back to burning the midnight oil! 😆

Have a happy day, my sweeties! (((hugs)))

24 Hours After…

and doing good. The eyes, I mean. There’s a bit of dryness, a fair amount of glare, but other than that, it’s amazing to be able to see without the glasses perched on my nose. Also a bit strange, after 34 years of wearing glasses, to suddenly not have those lenses in front of your eyes. I’m a bit afraid that I’m going to reach out to push up the glasses on the bridge of my nose (watch anyone wearing glasses for a certain period of time and you’re bound to see that almost-kneejerk habit)… except this time, I won’t have any, and I’ll end up scratching the tip of my nose just to provide some alibi for why my hand is hovering in that area in the first place.


I went in today for my first post-op checkup. The verdict? 20-20 vision in the left eye, 20-15 in the right eye. (Yeah! Better than perfect!) I’m adjusting a bit due to the difference in grade, and I’m told it should stabilize, as should the glare, in about a month’s time. Yeah! So it is a bit of an effort to do work on the compy (and a bit more of a greater effort to read anything)… bless my hubby for his insight in getting me a widescreen monitor last year, not that he had any idea I’d up and get an operation within an hour of inquiring about it. 😆

So anyway, I was playing around on youtube, rewarding myself with some mindless playtime because I finally finished that article I needed to write for a big magazine (’twas so hard to trim down what I wrote as the subjects of the article were such rich material, I wanted to write down every little detail! 😀 ). And here’s what I found!

I like the melody of this song, I love Dr. McDreamy (Laurie and Tori, you hear me? 😆 ), and best of all, when I saw the beginning part of this video, I said to myself, “hey! that’s exactly how everything looked to me right after the Lasik operation!” (That view lasted the entire evening, by the way; that’s why I slept off what was left of the day and retired waaaaay earlier than my 4AM bedtime).

Oh and here’s another something I came across quite by accident, and I thought it was really really amusing. And amazing. Watch the entire thing, and see if you can guess which song it is. I’ll be pretty impressed if you guess it right before you get to the middle. 😉

Okay, I’ll be back with more in a little bit!

Groping in the Glare

Just a quick note, my sweeties, to say… I have not abandoned my porch swing… remember my last post? Well…

I just had Lasik eye surgery yesterday (on a spur of the moment, jump in with two feet and don’t look back–crazy, I know). I can’t see very well now, there’s quite a lot of glare, but just wanted to let you know that the reason I haven’t posted lately is not by choice. hahaha! (so please forgive any typos as I’m struggling here. 😀 )

I went in to inquire and do the pre-operation procedures–my younger brother was having his operation that day, so I went with him to do my inquiries. Turns out that the top Lasik surgeon in the country, whom I requested, was available right there and then to do my surgery that same day. So of course I took the plunge. I inquired at 11AM, started the pre-op procedures at 12, and by 5:30 I was walking out of the clinic with these clear lab shades (like the protective goggles you use when you do experiments), holding on to my niece’s arm like a blind person. 😀

So anyway, I won’t stay long now as I have to squint to see my monitor, but I’ll be back soon, I promise! (I have to complete my LOAD for Day 8… don’t know how I’m going to grope my way through this, but I’ll do what I can! 😆 )


Busy Busy Busy Bee

Wow! This has been a really full day!

I had to attend to real life stuff–cleaning out storage rooms, entertaining guests, taking care of nephew and nieces who came over to play with their cousins (my boys), and other blah blah blah stuff that would probably bore you to tears so I won’t even mention it. Regular stuff that, now and then, requires us to pull ourselves away from our beloved compy, difficult though it may be. 😆

BUT! Two interesting things, before I go back to my other deadlines.

Layout Of the Day Number 4

Am so delighted that I was finally able to finish my second Daily December page layout. Thank you, LOAD, for that proverbial kick in the butt that I needed. I don’t think I would’ve been able to finish this without the challenge to spur me on and push me down the path that didn’t have the Procrastination Street sign on it. 🙂

Thank you also, my dear Noel, for nudging me to post my LOAD layout here already… I would’ve forgotten to post it here if not for your comment! {I can almost hear you saying: What would you do without me? 😆 }

So here’s my Daily December 2, my LOAD No. 4:

Journaling reads:

ah yes, how absolutely wonderful it is to wake up to the aroma of coffee brewing on these cool christmas mornings. the precious bonding moments in between sips bring far greater warmth to the heart than the heat that rises from our mugs.


Jessica Sprague – Daily December Template + Katie Pertiet’s Topper, Mindy Armour’s Christmas papers, and Mindy Terasawa’s Merry & Bright Accent overlay (recolored slightly).

I am totally dependent on my Solis coffee making machine. I love that it cleans itself each time you turn it on and then again when you turn it off (loooove that I don’t have to clean it manually!!!). I love that you have the option to put in ground coffee or pour in beans (it has a built-in grinder that grinds just enough beans for a cup right before it starts brewing–I never use the ground coffee options as I prefer freshly ground beans). I love that it has a hotplate above where I can keep little espresso cups warm, so that I don’t have to drink hot coffee from a cold cup. I love that I can make myself a regular brew, an espresso, or a capuccino at the touch of a button.

Another thing I love are the two cups that my dear hubby got for us some Christmases ago. We inevitably end up teasing each other about which cup should belong to whom. I of course lay claim to the Nice with the halo and always assign the Naughty with the horns to my hubby. He is convinced it should be the other way around. In the interest of keeping peace, I will allow him his conviction. After all, being naughty adds a hint of spice to my personality, doesn’t it? (Ha! Though seriously, he really is much nicer than I am, and I probably am much naughtier than he is). 😉

I’m hoping that at the end of LOAD I would also have completed the Daily December album (and it will be my first theme album ever! Woohoo!)

I up and ran, I rocked, and I’m going to dig in deep!

With Jessica’s newest advanced course, Digi: In Deep, coming in March! Am so looking forward to this, because I looooove taking journeys with Jessica and my playground family. One always comes out of the class gaining sooooo much more than one could have dreamed possible. (Ask any of my playground sisters and they will easily attest to this).

I am also very excited about the upcoming Up & Running course (on its third run) that will be offered in January for digital scrapbooking beginners, and the advanced Now We’re Rockin’ course (on its second run) that will be offered in February. Read more about it in Jessica’s blog and on our playground! And for my friends hopping over here who have not taken either or both of those classes, take note of the sign-up period, set reminders on your calendars, join the throngs waiting for sign-up day, and come join us! It’s a journey you will take that will change your life in more ways than you can ever imagine–I kid you not. Everyone on our playground will attest to this.

Jason Gaylor rocks!

Just heard from Jason and he has allowed me to use his brushes for the shutters plopper that I created. So if you aren’t sick of the plopper yet, head on over for the original version (I’m thinking of giving it in a different shade so that it won’t be too much like the one you downloaded yesterday). That is, unless you’re sick of the plopper already? 😆

Thank you, Jason. You rock.

Resolutions, resolutions

New year, new resolutions.

In the past couple of years, I have not really attached importance to making resolutions on New Year’s Day, since I make resolutions daily. I believe in making daily resolutions because they’re easier to remember on a daily basis (have a little notebook to remind me throughout the day). Daily resolutions also make it easier for me to check my progress (did I fulfill them or did I fail today?), and it’s less of a letdown when I fall short of achieving them (hey, didn’t do too well on this one today; I’ll try again tomorrow).

But this year, I decided to experiment with having BOTH: New Year’s Resolutions and Daily Resolutions, for no other reason than to spice things up a bit (and also… because I may have masochistic tendencies that push me to keep loading my plate, even when it’s already full, if you know what I mean. 😆 )

Here are my New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Make a layout a day (LOAD has inspired me to do this. I may not succeed at it everyday, but I’d like to think that it’s the effort is what counts 😛 )

2. Lose 10-20 pounds. (I need to unload all that holiday sweetness that stayed a minute on my lips and took up residence forever on my hips). By the way… my sisters just reminded me–trust me to forget this–that my skipping meals (oops) was actually the worst thing I could do in an effort to lose weight. Apparently, when you skip a meal, your body goes into starvation mode; it says “woops, we don’t know when she’s going to shovel food into her mouth next, so let’s store all the fat we can to help her survive.” So what happens is, instead of burning calories, your body actually stores your fat to keep you warm and comfy even when you’re starving… which you are, only because you’re skipping meals.

Notice how I’m using “your body, your stored fats”… could it be an attempt for me to escape the fact that it’s my body and it’s my stored fats? 😆

3. Give out at least one freebie a week. Maybe more. (Love creating, love sharing what I create with you. Need I say more?)

4. Seriously consider finally getting that Lasik operation done on my eyes. This month. Go see the top specialist in the country on Monday. (I have always been deathly afraid of having this operation, despite the fact that two of my sisters have had it successfully, and my brother is going to have his on Monday. I am totally dependent on my sense of sight, myopic it may be, and I can imagine surviving with the loss of all the other four senses, but not the sense of sight. I would absolutely go insane without sight: how will I read? how will I scrap? how will I take photos? No eyes = No life. So I’ve stayed away from Lasik as much as I can. But… if I don’t do it now, when? When I’m too old for it to be successful? Besides, I’m thinking of how cool it would be to open my eyes in the morning without having to grope around for my glasses, no matter how cool and chic they are. 😆 Also, my sister tells me, 10 minutes after the operation, I can go back to my compy and play. How bad could that be, huh?) Cheer me on, my friends. I’ve got the resolve now, but I may not be so resolute come Monday. hehe

5. Clean and organize all the stuff in all the other storage areas. (Discard what must go and donate what is good but not used: clean out and make space… so I can hoard more stuff. 😆 ) Seriously, though: today I started with cleaning out one of the 4 storage rooms we have… and had the pure pleasure of donating and discarding. How liberating to keep only what you know must be kept, and sharing the rest, whether with the garbage collector or with needy ones!

6. Clean and organize my compy. ACDSee, we really must make friends with each other. I truly must go beyond the 10 kits I’ve organized since June. (And must delete all the useless stuff on my compy as well). This is totally daunting, considering that I have 1,100,000 GB of stuff to deal with (does that make 1.1 Tetrabytes?). SIGH. This is not going to be easy, folks. Already I’m exhausted, just thinking about it.

7. Learn some more, play some more, pray some more. (In reverse order).

8. Stop pushing things to the last minute and try doing them in advance.

I should stop here. 8 resolutions for 2008. Sounds good. Hope the results are just as good. hehe.

Okay, now I need to go… got an article to write for a big magazine that was due a week ago. Hey, that’s New Year’s Resolution No. 8 about to be fulfilled right now! Woohoo!

I’ll be back tomorrow with the other-version plopper freebie. Today, all I can offer you is some coffee. But it’s wonderful coffee (decaf for those who need it, and hot chocolate for those who don’t want caffeine), with whipped cream on top. I’ll even serve it to you in the Nice cup. 😉

Enjoy today, my sweeties! (((hugs)))

PS. Noel… the cups you want: I got them from Starbucks some years back. 😉

PS. For those who asked where they could get the awesome Scrappin’ Shoes that I wrote about yesterday: They’re adidas. I wish I could say you can find them at Target or Amazon, but… fact is, I got these from the adidas store at the mall. 🙂

Get a LOAD of this again…

where LOAD refers to LayOut A Day! 🙂

At Stacy Julian’s Big Picture Scrapbooking, Lain is holding a Get a LOAD of This!, a January Layout-A-Day Challenge class (did I mention that it’s free? 🙂 ) which basically entails creating and uploading a layout a day for each day in January. So you end up with 31 layouts at the end of the month: not a bad start on the Creation Road right on the first month of the new year, eh? Best of all, there are no borders, no restrictions: as long as you create a layout–digital, hybrid, or paper–and you upload it every single day, you’re eligible for daily prize draws (if you upload daily) and for the grand prize draw (if you upload the entire January without missing a single day).

I know, I know. I must be masochistic, adding to an already full plate that’s overflowing. But I figured it’s the best way to stay sane while waiting for Jess to come back from her super-fabulously restful trip back home (wonder if she’s not a bit wistful for her laid-back non-techie time when she thinks about jumping back into the digital frenzy once again, haha… after all, we on her playground are like hungry little fishes waiting for the next feeding).

It’s also a fantastic way to kick my old procrastinating butt into action. Love, love, love creating layouts, but frankly, sometimes I need a shove to get going. Are you all super efficient, super prolific creators, or are you like the lesser mortals (that would be the group where I belong 😉 )?

But see, here’s the problem. While I need that shove, it has to be a real gentle shove because I’m a bit of a rebel too. Push too hard and I’ll stand my ground stubbornly. (I know. I’m trying to correct it. Must be the youngest-child syndrome, which I was for 15 years till my not-so-little-now brother came along. We’re seven kids, by the way: so I was the sixth for a pretty long time. And when there are 5 older siblings to push you around, you kind of learn how to keep your feet firmly planted in the same spot. I was a bit of a late learner, so there’s some debris left in me. 😆 )

And this is where I should say I jumped for joy when I listened to the audio welcome of Lain’s challenge-class. There is absolutely no restriction for size of layout (you want to do 6×6, fine. You want to do 8×8, fine too. 12×12, 8½x11? Fine and fine too). There’s no prompt you have to follow (no: “okay, everyone, scrap using your favorite song as journaling!”), no specific materials you need to use, no grading or ranking (prizes are given as a result of random drawing, so you don’t need to nurse any budding insecurities about your creations 😆 ) … I loooove that! Not to say that prompts don’t help, because they are awesome in terms of pushing you down a path you otherwise would not have taken, but… it’s really a personal thing for me: no stress please on the first month of the year. 🙂 hehe

Psst. If you’re interested and you haven’t signed up yet, you have till January 15th to sign up! Come join the fun! 😉

So anyway. Just to prove how weird I could be, with all this freedom, when did I create my layout for Day 2? Two hours before the posting deadline. SIGH. Slow learner. Or maybe procrastination is just a bad habit that’s hard to break. But hey, at least I got my paper passed before the bell rang, huh? 😀

Here’s what I did for the second day of January:

(Oh and you know what else is so wonderful? Doing this layout also allowed me to finally do one of Jessica’s PSF challenges that we have going on in our little playground. Lisa (who does a fab job of thinking up the next PSF for all of us to learn with) will be so proud of me! 😀  )


Journaling reads:

i look at the two of you and see my childhood come rushing back–all those languid days spent in the wonderful company of books. i think it’s totally cool that my best friends have become your best friends too.


Mindy Terasawa – Lil Troublemaker paper, cardboard border (recolored), sticker, wordsticker, notecircle, frame (altered) / Katie Pertiet – Vintage Text paper / Fonts: Jane Austen, Cheltenhm BT / Photo of books: singhajay (altered)

Check Out Those Shoes

of my son… those yellow shoes. Looooove them.

He chose them himself for his 12th birthday last month, and they totally rock. They’re what I call the Scrappin’ Shoes (okay, so their real name is Adicolor by Adidas–best of all they were 50% off!)… because they remind me so much of a layout!

See, they come in this super playful sunshine-y color, and they’re made of velcro material. They come with these super fun colorful insoles, three different pairs of shoelaces that you can change according to your mood, and there are about a dozen circular “patches” that you stick on the velcro in any way you want (hence my association with scrapping… it’s like having a layout on your feet that you can change everyday!). Really: how cool is that?

Scrappin’ Shoes

And you thought there would be no freeb… 😉

Here, finally, is the Shutters Page Plopper that I promised I’d share with you. 🙂

I think it’s totally awesome that Jason Gaylor left a note on my blog to resend him the email I wrote to him, asking him if he was fine with my releasing the plopper which I used his fab brushes on. I resent the email to him, but I am still waiting for a response… as soon as he gets back to me, assuming it’s a yes 😉 , then I’ll put up the original shutters plopper that I created using his brushes.

By the time I got Jason’s note, though, I had already done some new work on the shutters plopper using hawksmont’s brushes. He’s amazing too! (I just looooove how the whole creative community is so generous and so giving!) So for now, I’m releasing the plopper that I used hawkmont’s brushes on.

Here’s what the “new” plopper looks like:

{Click on image for larger view}

LivE ShuttersPlopper Preview

PS. Don’t laugh. That’s me in the photo. Waaaay back. Ssshhhh. Let’s pretend it’s a stock photo, okay? 😉

And here’s the link to the “new” plopper that I made using hawksmont’s brushes! Hope you like it just as much as the first one! It’s a .png file, so just put your photo on the layer beneath it, add some embellishment if you wish, and voila! 😉 A quickie! 😆

Oh and PS… guess what. Since this preview is basically a layout which I completed on January 3, it has also turned into my LOAD layout for Day 3! How cool is that? 😛

Have a great day, my sweeties! More stories and more freebies coming soon!

It’s Been a While…

a pretty loooong while! I looked at the date of my last post here… December 20th… that was LAST YEAR, for crying out loud! 😆 Geez, I didn’t realize it’s actually been that long!

Guess holidays really can make things so hectic that everything else not related to food and partying and food … and did I say food?… seems to fall behind. 😛

But! I’ve missed you, my dear friends! And I’m back with a vengeance so strong, you’ll probably be hoping that I stayed away longer when you see the multiple posts a day come up! hahaha.

First, the good news:

I have heard from wonderful, wonderful Adam J. Lambert-Gorwyn aka stoneraven, whose photo I used to make the shutters plopper… and he has given me permission to go ahead and release the freebie I’ve created!!! WOOHOO!!!

I have not heard from jason gaylor, though, whose japanese foliage brushes I used also on the plopper, so I may have to re-do the plopper with other brushes before I can upload it as a freebie. It will be on for a limited number of downloads, though, so be sure to check back soon! 😉

My first layout for the year!

Something funny happened today. I visited my friend Noel’s blog and I saw her layout for Lain’s L.O.A.D. class at bigpicturescrapbooking.com, which begins January 1st. It’s January 2nd in my part of the world, and I was out of town and up in the mountains for the better part of post-Christmas till New Year (so you will, I hope, find it in your hearts to forgive me for slacking off on my blog these past 10 days or so)… so I had completely forgotten about this! The funny thing is, I had mentioned to Noel that I had signed up for the LOAD class in one of our fun, fun chats between Christmas and New Year… but I had completely forgotten about it till I saw her blog! So with just a couple of hours left till the PST clock matched my time in this part of the world, I was able to complete a layout! YEAH!

Thanks, Noel, my friend, for posting your layout on your blog and mentioning the LOAD class. I would have completely forgotten about it if not for you.

And here is my very first layout for the new year!

 Boys in the Hoods

Journaling below reads:

so funny that my boys have inherited my love for hoodies, but when they’re this cool, who’s complainin’?


FONTS: Stoned Wash 6; SubPear / Mindy Terasawa – Groovy Boy Papers (Recolored), WordSticker & Staple / Katie Pertiet – On the Edge Flourish, WordSeal / Kim Christensen – DirtyShirt Brad & Eyelet – recolored; Spelling101- Black Inked Overlay / Jen Caputo – PaperTear Template / Brushes: smoke brush by ca-pris; Dot-Round brushes by GoGetADesign

And now… for a few mountain photos!

Love trees… I may not love the lack of dsl speed connections in the mountains, but I certainly loooove the scent of pine trees, the cool blast of wind in the face, and the trees all around!

View from Below

Here’s a macro shot of the pine trees… such wonderful texture (and such fun playing with my camera!) 
 Pine Up Close

Speaking of macro, here’s a bug on the glass door of our villa. Looks kinda like an alien to me… my kids had a blast looking through the camera viewfinder and seeing it UP CLOSE in a big way! (Grossed them out too! Ha! Beats actual holding and handling of the bug for me! 😉 )

Close Encounters with the UFO

Loved taking texture photos, like this wooden bench here.


The wind was blowing so hard, you could actually watch the clouds move across the sky faster than an airplane would.

Puffs of Cotton

Here is one of the cabins… to give you a feel of the place 😛

Cabin Fever

Here’s the spa and lodge, where we check in and check out.

Spa & Lodge

And for my golfing friend Joan, here’s one for you! The view of the golf course–or, more accurately, part of it. (It was really foggy and windy that day, so this is the best I could do with the photos!) 😀

Golf Course

I took the view of the golf course with my lens fully extended to its 200mm length… amazing! I was on top of the mountain by the spa when I took this! Gotta love my beloved lens!!! (AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm DX… the VR is great for those windy days too!)

Par for the Course!

And that’s the end of today’s film show! 😆

PS. I used Jay Arraich’s matted frames for the photos. You can get them free at his site!

I’m off to do some work on the shutters freebie… and if I don’t run out of energy, I’ll do more freebs for you! Yep, I’ve suffered from my mountain-imposed freebie-creation-diet and can’t wait to get back into feasting on design… all because I want to share more stuff with you, my sweeties!

Have a happy day, and I’ll be back soon! 😉

Happy New Year, and humongous hugs to you, my sweeties!