Archive | March, 2008

She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountains..

18 Mar

when she comes… 😆

Hello from the mountains!!! I’ve been stuck here (happily, I must admit–mostly. I’d be in heaven if I had my desktop here with my CS3 and my dsl connection) for almost a week, spending vacation time with family. I’m writing now from my dinosaur laptop, which doesn’t even have 1GB of RAM (yeah, yeah, sorry isn’t it?)… so, much as I’ve been dying to design and scrap some layouts, I just don’t have those options open to me right now. But you know what? I’ve been scribbling on my notebooks my ideas for more designed freebies, and I promise you when I get back down to civilized lowlands, I will have a lot of gifties waiting to be created and shared with you! Woohoo!!!

I am posting here though on quick notice, upon request from my friend and fellow Spraggirl, Susan. She referenced me on her blog (bless her!) regarding how I keep track of my layout credits, and she has requested me to repeat the instructions for those who have been wanting to know more.

So… here they are, my dear Susan, and many thanks once more!

The Importance of Credits

I really believe that listing credits is a hugely important habit to form, especially in the world of digital scrapbooking where we often share our layouts on galleries, on our blogs, or even in magazines if we’re lucky enough to get published. I have never yet come across a TOU (Terms of Use) from a designer who says “Please, whatever you do, don’t give me credit and don’t say that I’m the one who created this item you’re using to create your layouts!” 😆 Some do say “credit is not necessary” but they’ll also tell you that if you do decide to give credit, they will certainly be appreciative and grateful.

Considering that it only takes a minute to list these credits down, why not take that extra step to express our gratitude and appreciation for the hard work that designers put into making these designs that we happily use to display our fondest memories with, right? (Because it really is not easy to design stuff… fun, definitely–I love it!–but it is a lot of hard work that goes into the littlest thing that is created… and a lot of love! So it’s always nice to give love back when it’s given to us in the form of the digital schtuff that we’re using).

So… credits. Love ’em. Keep them. Announce them. You know the saying, “Give credit where credit is due” ? Lot of wisdom in that one. 😉

So how do I do it?

I’d like to believe that everyone in the scrapping world would love to give credit (scrappers are an amazing bunch of loving people)… the problem, I think, comes in when we have used items, changed our minds, replaced those items, and then at the end of it all, we forget from which folder we pulled out this paper and that element… 😆

So I think the easiest way is to keep track of the credits as soon as we pull in the background paper (which I assume is always the first thing we get onto a new document) and then keep adding to that… and editing the credits to reflect changed items either as we go or at the end when our layout is complete.

There are a million ways to do this–and I think this ability to do the same thing in different ways is what makes digital scrapbooking rock! It’s simply a matter of finding which way works best for you! Some people keep a notepad open where they list the items; other people make a new layer and write all the info there; etc. I’ve tried several ways as well (including making an Excel file to keep track of everything), and through trial and error, I’ve found the best way that works for me is to use the File Info option in Photoshop. (I’m sure also that I’m not the only one who has discovered this, so I can’t take credit for thinking up this process! 😀 )

Both Elements and full-version Photoshop have this File Info option.

This is how I keep track of credits:

1. Go to File (on Photoshop main menu)) > File Info. Bear in mind that we need to have a document open in order to have this option open to us. Otherwise, with nothing open on our workspace, we won’t see this option open to us).

File Info

2. In the dialog box that opens, we can put in the title of our document or layout, we can put our name as the creator, and in the Description box, we can also type in all the materials we’ve used, together with the designers who’ve made them.

File Info Dialog Box

NOTE: Screen shots are from PSE5 since that is the only program I have loaded on my dino laptop. 😉

The great thing about this is as I work, I input the information in the File Info box instead of having to open another document or file to keep track of the credits. And when I save my layout, the File Info gets saved along with the document. YAY! No more having to save and store together two different files referring to the same layout!

Then, when we need to put in the credits (say, if we upload our layout into a gallery or onto our blog), all we have to do is click on File > File Info, highlight the content in the Description box that contains our credits list… then copy/paste the information onto the Description area on our gallery upload dialog box, and voila! It’s all there!

What I love about this is that it’s kept separate from the LO itself, but in the same “drawer”– if you will– so that it never gets “lost”. Also, if midway I decide that I want to replace a particular item that I’ve used on my layout and inputted into my File Info, all I have to do is delete that item from the list in my File Info box and add in the replacement details. Then when I hit Save to save the file, everything is replaced as well with the updated credits list. Awesome, isn’t it?

Hope this is of help to anyone who can use the info! (By the way, the File Info of your photo files already contains all the EXIF details pertaining to your photo–isn’t that marvelous?)

Alrighty then, back to the mountains! Catch you again soon!

Back to Life…

14 Mar

… as I knew it before the past two weeks. But much better. Much, much better now.

By now you’re all probably aware (unless you haven’t been to the Spraground) that I’m out of the apprentice program. I won’t say much about it except that I believe everything happens for a good reason, and when you do your best and still what you worked on slips through your fingers, it can only mean that there’s an even better opportunity out there, waiting in the wings.

And so there is. 😉

I’ve gotten so much more than I ever could’ve had I gone farther than the second week. And what I have received is worth infinitely more than anything in the world. I have been overwhelmed again and again by the overflowing love, affection, loyalty, and support of my sistahs on my playground… and when you have that, how can you not feel that you have won so much more? I do. I have treasures beyond compare, and they have names. I play with them everyday on the playground. They are my friends. They are my family. I may not have had the opportunity (yet) to hug them in person… but they know that I’ve sent a kajillion hugs over the oceans and clouds, a kajillion hugs for each one of them.

I am so blessed. So happy. So contented.

And THIS, this is the life I have wanted. I went on this adventure and learned a lot. But my most important gains were not in the area of design. They were in the book called Life. I have never, ever waivered in my devotion to my home-away-from-home aka Spraground. And I was not happy being away from my friends there, which was what happened while I was working on my entry kits.

This is probably where I have to say that I am still and always will be grateful for the opportunity I was given by Little Dreamer Designs. I am not bitter nor sad nor angry about the elimination because I know that I gave my best and I made decisions that I thought of thoroughly. I could’ve opted to make really simple designs and thus ensure that I could go on to the next round, but I chose to be experimental and to push my limits, and to not take the easy way out for me. I made judgment calls, and those judgment calls were part of what got me eliminated… but it’s fine! Because I made those judgment calls myself! They were my decisions. And I stand by them. So I’m happy! 😀

And because I know I’ve been true to myself, there is nothing that I can possibly be bitter about. Besides bitterness only zaps energy, and that’s never a good thing. I truly believe, too, that we get what we give out, so I only want to give out good vibes. Good juju is good. 😆

And really, if you have the Spraground sistahs in your corner, how can anything go wrong? How can anyone be sad? The only tears I’ve shed are those that have quietly rolled down my cheeks as I’ve read messages of love, support, and affection from the girlies (and guy-ie :D) who mean the world to me.

A very very good friend of mine–one of the most awesome people I have ever met–sent me an email with this quote, right after I had told her that I had been eliminated. This email of hers was what brought to my eyes the very first tears–I cannot even begin to describe how she totally touched my heart. I want to share the quote part of it with you here:

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knowcking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that hHe is building quite a different house from the one you thought of–throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Beautiful quote. Beautiful email. Beautiful person.

And beautiful messages and beautiful cards from beautiful people! (And I mean beauty of the heart!) ~ God is so good. He has blessed me with so many gifts. You. My friends. Precious, precious gifts.

So now I’m back, and I’m extremely glad to be right where I belong, surrounded by all your beautiful hearts. Ahhh. Always so good to be back home.

Soooo… thank you, thank you all for all the affection and the support (and the really funny things you were saying: you really made me laugh! And I loved that too!)

And the Creative Muse Plods On! 😀

And because I love creating, here is what my muse has come up with for you. (There’s more bursting to come out, inspired by all of you whom I love more than I can ever express in words… so expect a whole lot of freebie gifts coming up for you soon!)

I promised the paper I used for the preview of the ElementaLove kit, but I didn’t want to give just one piece, so I created more stuff… My creative muse is still in that experimental mode, so I have a torn and curled rough paper border, four grungy & textured papers (three solids and one patterned), a grungy photomask (pull in your photo onto the layer above it, hover your mouse on the dividing line between the photo layer and the mask layer till you see a snowman-looking icon, then click and you have your clipping mask!), a fabric mat with built-in buttons to attach it to your layout (can be used for journaling or as a photo mat), and a simple ribbon strip.

PS. The arrow on the photo mask in the preview is only there to show that it’s the mask I used with my photo… 😀

Here’s what the additional stuff looks like:

{Click on image for larger view}

w-livedesigns_elementaloveaddon-preview.jpg

And here’s where you can snag the ElementaLove Add-on Kit!

Okay, I’ve got to do some rounds on the galleries to leave love, because I’ve been away for so long and I am just soooo excited to see all the masterpieces my friends at the Spraground have come up with!!!

I’ll see you soon! Have a great day, my sweeties! ((((((((hugs))))))))

Layouts of Love

12 Mar

I need not say more. These masterpieces speak for themselves.

Thank you for the love. Know that you are loved immensely in return. 🙂

Coming Up for Air…

10 Mar

… after being on a self-imposed exile for the past few days, working feverishly on getting my Round 2 Challenge submission for the Apprentice Program at Little Dreamer Designs done. Thank goodness for a very understanding hubby: “Shhh, J,” he tells our son, “Mama’s working hard…” Priceless man! 😆

And thank God for not letting me come down with the virus that hit my 5-year-old dearie 3 weeks ago and that, hopefully, is on its way out our door 2 weeks after hitting my 2-year-old honey. I lost my voice for a day and felt really sick for about three, but other than that, I’ve just been sooo grateful that I haven’t had to lie down and nurse the illies. (Totally helps that I’m also downing really strong vitamins like an addict, just to make sure I can function well enough to do all that has to be done).

Actually, I kind of feel like I could give the Energizer Bunny a run for its money. 😆

So… I just finished uploading my kit and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I make it through the next round. I’m just counting on making it through each round alive. 🙂 This sorta reminds me of the relationships I had when I was young: unlike so many of my friends who used to count (and celebrate!) anniversaries with their boyfriends by the month 😆 I always used to just look forward to just celebrating the days till they eventually turned into years. Call it crazy, but I like living each day fully, and then having the option to look back one day and say, “Wow!!! Those were some ultra-fabulous 365 days!” instead of “That was a great year!” 365 days sounds so much more than a year, right? Hmmmm. (If you haven’t noticed it in the past, by now you should be fairly certain that I have some strange ideas. 😆 )

So… anyway… it’s been an awesome week. Crazy-busy, more than ever before, with the 3rd run of my dear friend Jessica’s fab beginners’ class, Up & Running… (on the 3rd day of the course, there were 400 layouts I needed to go and leave love on… I can imagine how many masterpieces are waiting for me to marvel at!) The galleries at our Spraground are seriously ROCKIN’ too, with all the great great creations of all my Spraguemates… and WOW! Have you seen the LDD Apprentice Gallery??? Man, all (and I’m not exaggerating here, but I mean ALL) my friends who uploaded their layouts there really ROCKED the kit and the gallery!!! And I was soooo happy and proud to find that one of us, dear, dear Carol, was the very first one who won the very first $10 coupon given out by Michelle at Little Dreamer Designs (if you haven’t yet uploaded a layout using any of the apprentice freebies–hopefully, mine! 😆 — in the gallery there, go run! Michelle is giving out two $10 coupons each week for the four weeks that the apprentice program is running, and the only thing you have to do is (1) be a registered member there (it’s free!), and (2) upload a layout into the Apprentice gallery using any of the kits that are there for exclusive download.

Then there are our wonderful Spraground Weekly Challenges, which are really so much fun, especially now that everyone is playing excitedly. I can’t even begin to tell you how RICH our galleries are with inspirational materials! These girlfriends of mine are ROCKIN!!!! I AM SO PROUD OF THEM!!!! (Okay, I had to shout that out, because … the words just aren’t enough, you know??? My heart is bursting with pride and affection for each and every one of them!!!)

It’s also the end of the school year where I live, so you know what that means? Oh, just tons of final exams for each of my 3 kids who are in school. It also means that all the schools schedule as much parental-involvement activities as they can in these last few weeks (probably cramming what they can fit into the remaining few breaths of the school year)… I almost think it’s a conspiracy. 😆 End-of-the-school-year also means entrance exams for kids to enter the next level (my 3-year-old S had to take an entrance exam to enter Kinder, and my 5-year-old J has yet to take the entrance exam for Prep… and then my first two sons have to take summer review programs to prepare for the entrance exams for university and high school)… SIGH! Exams, exams, exams. Thank goodness I’m done and over with schooling! 😆

And then… summer. Kids with me, beside me, around me, by my head, by my feet, by my hips, on my lap… 24/7. Love it. I need to find some worthy activities to keep them busy so that they aren’t tempted to speak the Unspeakable: in our home, the three words that are among the most forbidden are “Mom, I’m bored.” 😆

Then there are a number of other projects as well, which I’ll surely let you know about as they come closer… and … the long-awaited DIGI IN DEEP at our Spraground in a few weeks!!! WOOHOO!!!

But so that I don’t let you suffer further with all my blah blah blah, please tell me that you forgive me for being absent for most of this past week… on the Spraground, on my porch swing here… I do peep in once in a while to say hello, but haven’t had much time to really sit and talk (and regret that GREATLY… if only I could find 48 hours in a day to do all that I want to do!) 🙂

So anyway, forgive me? Please? And let me give you all a HUGE HUG for all the warm fuzzies and the awesome layouts and the wonderful support that you’ve given to me while I am embarking on this huge design adventure of my life! I promise you I will never ever forget this incredible show of support and love: it’s written on my heart forever. And even beyond that. 😉

Speaking of design adventures, here’s the latest!

This is my submission for Little Dreamer Designs’ Apprentice Program Round 2 Challenge:

I can’t say much because it’s all private and propriety information that we get, but this much I can say: I have truly enjoyed slaving away at the challenges… it’s playing, learning, creating, sharing all in one blow… really, how much better can it get?

So here now comes the sharing part!

What you’re getting: a mini-kit of elements in what I called my ElementaLove (the love is there for you, you know. 😉 )

1 glitter foliage accent – in two versions: one without shadows and one with its own shadow… I chose to apply the preshadowing to this element because I felt it was the hardest to do a shadow on… the other elements are easier, but with this one, I did my best to apply a drop shadow so that various parts of the wildflower seem to be at different heights from the paper base

1 shiny chrome / metal photo corner – there’s one png file, but you can use it to put two on either sides of your photo or journaling block, or you can use all four, or… 😉 Just flip and rotate and have fun!

1 stitched border – a little trivia: this took me the longest to create, because I made my own new stitches and stitch holes from scratch, experimenting a bit here and there and playing around with Photoshop… I worked on the first set for roughly 48 hours. I went to sleep at 6AM, with the sun just about to rise, last night/this morning… and when I opened my kit on my compy to get ready to upload it at LDD… I took a look at the stitches and decided I didn’t like them much. So it was on to creating a new set of stitches and stitch holes from square one… experimenting some more… and this time I came up with something that I really liked. So I hope you like them too. And you know what? I have even greater appreciation for all the designers who put stitches in their kits: let me tell you, these little bits of thread are not easy to make. 😆

1 metal and glass triple-frame – I’ve included instructions in the download folder on how to work with this in the easiest way. If you’ve downloaded and used my pocket page from the first Apprentice Round Freebie submission, it’s pretty much the same technique you use… easy-peasy! 😉

All items have no shadows (except for the pre-shadowed version of the foliage accent, but you also get the shadow-free one, in case you want to apply your own)… so that you have absolute freedom in deciding where and how you put it on your layouts.

Here’s the preview, in case you haven’t seen it yet on Little Dreamer Designs (click on Apprentice Gallery Round 2 if you want to leave love… there are some awesome kits over there! Have you seen the company I’m in? Man, seasoned designers and newbies, all in one room! It’s a GREAT mini community we have going there for these next few weeks!)

Okay, enough talking! (See what happens when I don’t see you for ages? I’m unstoppable! 😆

Here’s the preview:

{ Click on image for larger view }

LivEdesigns ElementaLove LDD-AP-Wk2

And you can download it HERE.

PS. The preview paper isn’t included in this mini kit, since our challenge for the week was all about elements… but if you want it, leave me a note in the comments, and I’ll upload it here for you in the next few days. Just give me a few hours to get my lost hours of sleep back, hahaha! 😉

Thanks for passing by, and thanks for your continued support, thanks for all your warm fuzzies, thanks for keeping your fingers, toes, arms, legs, and eyes crossed that I get as far as possible in this adventure… and just, wow, a million kajillion bazillion THANKS. From. The. Bottom of my bottomless heart.

Have I told you that I love ya? I have? I’ll say it again. I do. 😉

Up to my eyeballs….

7 Mar

with stuff to do, so I’m so sorry that I’ve been absent for quite a bit.

I do have a freebie for you to download, but it’s at Little Dreamer Designs (had to verify first if it was fine to put up the link here)… and it’s in the Apprentice Freebies gallery. Mine is called AdVenture by LivEdesigns, and it’s on the 3rd page of the freebies. You’ll find it HERE.

PS. You have to be logged in / registered in order to download the freebie as the apprentice kits are exclusive to LDD. It’s one of my most favorite sites… so if you haven’t registered, please do… there are mounds and mounds of wonderful digi stuff in their shoppe too! 😉

Thanks for coming by… and HUGE HUGE HUGE THANK YOU HUGS to all my GFs (that’s girlfriends and guyfriends 😆 ) at Spragueland who’ve been incredibly supportive and a huge source of inspiration to me! I can’t even begin to tell you how much you mean to me; words will never be enough.

I’ll catch you again soon, as I have to beat some deadlines here… back to the saltmines! 😆

Love ya, my sweeties! 😉

YEAHHHHHHHHH!!!!

3 Mar

868882_jump.jpgIf you will allow me this one little toot…

I made it! 😀

I made it to the first round of the LDD apprentice program!!! WOOHOO!!! So so so happy!

In the acceptance email that I received from The Dream Team, they informed us that there accepted 40 out of the  “over 130 applicants”… so I am truly glad that I was lucky enough to make it through the first round!

I need to give a huge SHOUT OUT to all my sistahs at the Spraground –and all of YOU who left such kind words of support… I can’t even begin to describe how MUCH you mean to me. You inspire me, my dear friends. Truly. THANK YOU.

The freebies are exclusively available for download at Little Dreamer Designs… so if you’re interested (and I hope you are, fingers crossed!), you can hop on over to Little Dreamer Designs; click on Freebies in the top menu. Scroll down and at the bottom right you’ll see the Quick Jump dropdown menu. Click on the triangle beside it and choose the category Apprentice Round 1 Freebies and click Go. The submitted kits are arranged alphabetically, so if you’re interested in mine, please scroll to the 3rd page and you’ll find it there. 😉

Also, Michelle left a note on the forum that they would love to have you upload any layouts that you’ve created with the apprentice freebies on their gallery, with the added sugar cube of being able to qualify for a $10 coupon to their shoppe, which they will raffle off to those who’ve uploaded their layouts. (They will be giving two $10 coupons for each week that the apprentice program is running).  I would LOVE to see what you create with my kit, if you use it!

To upload your layouts, choose the Apprentice Layout Gallery.

To those of you, my sweet, sweet friends, who have been asking me how the program goes, here’s the way I understand it:

There will be four weeks of challenges, with the first one beginning this week. At the end of the 4-week program, 5 finalists will be chosen by the Dream Team to submit a full-size kit to sell in the shoppe. Each kit sold is equivalent to one vote for the designer. The sales generated by the kits will count for a little over half of the final score of each applicant. The person with the highest score wins the coveted option of selling kits in the LDD shoppe.

Or something like that. 😆

Wish me luck, my sweeties! It’s your support that carries me through!!! 🙂

CREDITS: stock photo from stock.xchng

It’s Done!

1 Mar

Finally! Got my LDD application kit uploaded, got the confirmation, and now I’m playing the waiting game… 🙂

After spending 2-3 weeks conceptualizing my kit in my head, deciding on color schemes, and then 24 straight hours of trying to translate that imagined concept onto my compy monitor, it does bring a huge sense of accomplishment to be done with it. The only problem now is I’ve got so much energy, I’m searching for more stuff to do! 😆 (Like I don’t already have my plate full… hahaha!)

My Spraground friends Dawn and Lisa have also submitted their application kits so we’re all keeping our fingers crossed… I think it’s totally awesome that we’re taking this adventure together!

Rockin Spraground Playground!

We had awesome results flowing in for our Spraground Weekly Challenge this week (remember the template?) I love every single thing that these wonderful playground-friends of mine have created… there’s an amazing amount of creative talent on our playground, and that makes me awfully proud of our sweeties! (Oh and our sweetball… we have one really fun guy playing with us now too! 😉 )

Here was my take on the template challenge. I wanted to keep it simple and straightforward… and here’s what came out of that:

SWC Febo8Wk4

Journaling:

countless and immeasurable: the grains of sand that you cup in the palms of your little hands… infinite ~ everlasting ~ just like my love for you.

CREDITS:

Kim Christensen’s Cardstock Alpha black paper. Gemstones and Template by me!

And yes, there is!

A freebie, I mean! Right over here!

Another template… because I promised my friend Di, who’s on a CT, that I’d create a template for her to make her job of creating loads of layouts easier. 😀 The advantage is… we all get to use the template as well! hahaha!

So here’s what I came up with:

LivEdesigns Multiphoto Template 02

I know it’s a very very simple template, but then I think that’s when one can draw the most varied uses out of it… when it’s simple and adaptable to one’s needs. You can resize this, you can flip it, you can remove some of the masks if you wish… the sky’s the limit when you play with templates, right?

This is a psd file, so that means that you can use clipping masks to get your papers or photos onto your layout with a simple CTRL-G for PSE users and a simple mouse-hover-between-layers+ALT-CLICK for CS. The masks come with built-in drop shadows, but you can always clear the layer style if it doesn’t suit your needs.

You can download the multiphoto template no. 2 HERE.

Whoa! Gotta go. Dinnertime! I really just wanted to post a freebie up for you… hope you find some use for it, and thank you in advance for the love you leave on my blog!

(((((((((hugs))))))))) to you, my sweeties, and I’ll see you again soon, okay? 😉

PS. Some of my playground friends asked for the gemstones that I used on my template challenge layout… they may be coming soon! 😉

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