Resurfacing (aka: The Struggle for the 3 S’s)

Well hello… it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I hope you’ll forgive my sudden drop from the face of the earth, but I’ve been on an adventure (one whose departure date I learned of only 3 days in advance, hence my inability to leave word that I wouldn’t be around for a bit).

And what an adventure it was. Amazing. Awesome.

From the very first day, a few hours after take-off, I knew exactly what this adventure would be all about: The Struggle for Silence, Solitude, and Serenity.

And yes, though I had no previous inkling that I might have needed to engage in this particular battle, it became apparent to me soon enough that it was one fight I needed to wage and that now was the best time to do it. Too long I had been chasing speeding trains (and you know how noisy, crowded and stressful real trains can be; my proverbial ones were just as bad). Too long I had been wading through a cacophony of voices, deadlines, everyday duties and responsibilities. Too long I had allowed myself to get caught up in all the myriad little things that make up that bigger thing called “Real Life” (when in fact all those little things can be dealt with easily if you just have the 3 S’s. But somehow I lost sight of that secret, and so my life had been for far too long one insanely noisy circus).

No wonder then that it had been quite a struggle to stay serene and calm and peaceful (I admit it, I had been struggling in a major way. Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling like you have 30 seconds to hit the ground running? Like you’re panting with your tongue hanging out even if you’ve barely taken off? Like your train just sped past you and you’ll have to grab that sandwich and chomp on it as you run furiously trying to catch up? Yeah. That was kinda what my mornings were like not too long ago).

And you know, when you’re constantly running and there’s noise all around and your hair’s flying all over your face, it’s just a hop, a skip and a jump away from turning into a bunch of nerves, flustered, impatient, and easily agitated. I felt like I was getting to that place real quickly, and I knew that when I did get to that point, it would make others like me less, and it would make me like me less.

So I changed direction, with the ticket provided at short notice for me by my wonderful friend J, and arrived at Station STOP.

And I stopped. Got off. Changed directions and went a different way.

And embarked on a retreat. Literally. πŸ™‚ A three-day spiritual journey in which the first order of the day was to find silence and solitude, and finding those (in prayer), perhaps discover serenity too.

And I’m oh so glad and oh so grateful to have been granted the grace to find all three with Him, who holds us in the palm of His hands and calls us to Him when He knows we need it most.

He says, “Hey, come to Me and rest a while. Just be with Me completely, totally, fully… and I’ll take care of everything else. You can count on Me always.” And if we hear His call and answer it, it’s just totally astounding how much He gives in return for the “little” that we offer to Him, as long as that “little” that we offer is our everything. πŸ™‚

And so I am back, fresh and refreshed, and ready to take on the world’s trains. And even if they rush at the speed of light on some days, I know I’ll be okay, as long as I remember to keep moments of silence, solitude and serenity in my daily life. (And because we’re friends, you’ll remind me when I’m in danger of forgetting, right? πŸ™‚ ).

Aaaaand it’s good to be back with you! What about you? How have you been these past days? Drop me a line because I’ve missed you so! And I promise I’ll be back on my blogporch regularly once more.

Big big (((hugs))) to you!

Stock photos by dolar, 13dede, and criswatk at Many thanks!

More In Store Monday ~ Paint the Town Blue!

It’s Monday, and you know what that means, right? New goodies in the store! Yay!

I’ve always loved painting. I love the feel of the brush swish-swashing across the canvas. Love splashing colors. (Hm. I guess you can tell that I generally like making a mess… with paper and art materials, that is. :)).

My preferred medium is oil (I like the slick texture of oil and the way you can apply it thinly or thickly to achieve different effects). Here’s one of my paintings (the hubby’s favorite! :D):

The Blues

I haven’t painted with oil in a long time, though, because I have such difficulty finding the time (with five kids, I find myself cleaning up messes more than creating them :lol:). Oil requires time-commitment (not the least of which involves the drying time and the time spent on cleaning and washing the brushes!)

So these days I find myself generally limited to messing around on a much smaller scale LOL!:

A Smaller Mess

Which brings us to this Monday’s new product in my shop πŸ˜‰

Singing the Blues

If you love the effect of paint but hate the clean-up after ;), now you can get that artsy goodness without having to worry about smeared paint on your tabletops or spilled water containers or paintbrushes to wash over the sink! πŸ™‚

My newest goodie in my shop lets you turn your layouts and projects into works of art with these 6 real swashes of paint!

liv.edesigns Paint Swashes Vol. 1

I’ve handpainted all these swashes and then lovingly extracted them so that they retain their awesome texture, in various sizes, with the largest one measuring about 10inches (Feel free to resize as you desire!). Each swash comes in its original blue color and in a greyscale version, so that you have maximum versatility. They come in .png format (transparent files) so you can use them with whatever program you create your magic with!

You can use these as photo masks or masks for paper or as artistic accents for your layouts and projects. (If you use these as photo masks and you work with Photoshop, I suggest clipping your photo to the greyscale version of the paint swash, merging it, then setting your blending mode to soft light and duplicating it a couple of times so you get the awesome texture and effect of paint. πŸ˜‰ ). Β  Really, there are no limits to these; let your creativity soar as you play with these!

Oh, and this set is Vol.1 … which means we’ve got more painting goodness coming up soon! πŸ˜‰

Guess what else? This baby is 25% off today, so if the painting without the mess rocks your boat, go row quickly to my shop and grab this off the shelf before it goes on regular price again! Β Click HERE or on the product image above to get some shopping therapy :).

The Best Messes

I just love-LOVE-L.O.V.E. the awesome masterpieces that our creative team members have come up with using my Paint Swashes. Prepare to feast on these stunning works of art!

Sarah used my paint swash both as an accent and a background for her journaling. I think it’s just A+wesome! (Pairing it up with the torn paper effect also works major wonders!)

Layout by Sarah

Monica turned my paint swashes white and used them to give her layout that awesome “messy” look, perfect for adding that “boyish” feel to her wonderful layout Β (“Messy” in quotes because as you can see, everything is really perfectly put together!)

Layout by Monica

I love how Jana incorporated the paint swash in her layout so that it looks like an extension of the water in her photo. I think it’s just simply amazing and maaahvelous!

Layout by Jana

And I love how Renee demonstrates on her layout that using the paint swash in its original greyscale version totally works wonders as well! (It also gives her layout a totally pulled-together unified look! Fab!).

Layout by Renee

So you see, you can really use these paint-y babies in a kajillion ways and in all the colors of the rainbow! Now excuse me a moment while I go searching for these creative ladies to give them humongous hugs for their amazing art :D.

Happy swish-swashing around, and go paint the town BLUE! (Or red or green or orange… you get my drift… :lol:)

Join the STAMPede on this marvelous Monday!

Every time I’m on vacation, I have a bit of a problem keeping track of what day it is; do you have that problem too? πŸ˜†

Good thing I remembered not too late that today is Monday, because Mondays aren’t manic around here… Mondays are Mahhhvelous! Because Mondays on the Spraground are More-In-Store Mondays! And what that means is: Mondays are when our shop comes alive with new schtuff! Yay!

STAMP your feet in joy!

Or… maybe let your fingers do the stamping? πŸ˜‰ My newest product in the shop, debuting today, will help you do just that, so that you get the real goodness of stamps but without the mess, without the smudges, without the clean-up! How awesome is that? πŸ˜€

Even more awesome, this baby is going into the shelves at 25% off just for today! Wheeee!


And if you haven’t used your coupon yet, you can get this baby at 25% off + 35% off = 60% off? Ohmygraciousgoodness, can this Monday be any more awesome or what? πŸ˜‰

With my Alpha Stampede 1, you’ll find yourself reaching again and again for this most basic and essential all-caps alphabet and number set. It comes in separate .png files for each letter and number, all of which are sized just a teeny bit larger than half an inch. They’re easy to resize too! And you can stamp in whatever size you want if you use the brushes (.abr files) included in the set! The possibilities are really limitless, my friend.

These were extracted lovingly from real stamped goodness, and I hope you take the time to check this baby out because I promise you these stamps will prove to be loads of fun to use!

Stampin’ Great Eye Candy!

Our creative team ladies did a super-fabulous job of using these brushes in the most creative ways!

I just love how Jen used the stamps to bring humor and reality (and create leading lines too) in her layout!

Layout by Jen P

Other liv.edesigns products used by Jen on her layout above: Tape It Up Frames, Needs + Wants: It’s a Date (Date Stamps), and Alpha Clips.

Below, I love how Monica used the stamps in different sizes to give her layout amazing title-work!

Layout by Monica

Monica also used my Needs + Wants: Stitchies Vol.1 (Crayon Box Collection) on her layout.

And right here, I love how Reeta used the stamps to add a subtle pattern-like beauty to her layout:

Layout by Reeta

Reeta also used my Brownbagger Paper Pack on her layout.

I love our awesome ladies on the creative team… they are just so out-of-this-world amazing!

Now doesn’t all that eye candy that make you want to play? By all means, let the Alpha STAMPede begin! πŸ˜€

Oh and before I forget… here’s more Monday awesome-ness!

FREE? Who doesn’t like FREE?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to dip your toes into digital scrapbooking? Wonder no more, because my dear friends, the great Jessica Sprague, is offering a wonderful FREE webinar on Friday, November 18th!

Wait. That’s not Monday. LOL! Yeah, the webinar isn’t today but registration for it IS! And because the slots are limited, you’ll want to rush over and get your name listed right away!

She’ll be holding two sessions (so if you can’t make it to the first schedule, you have a second option – isn’t that wonderful?). And she’ll walk you through the process of creating a digital layout using Photoshop Elements. (Don’t have Photoshop Elements? You can download a free trial version right HERE). She’ll even give you a free quickpage to play with (‘cos yeah, she’s awesome that way). And when you’re done, you’ll have a beautiful layout with your photos and your journaling that will wow not just YOU but your friends and your family and anyone who happens to lay eyes on your amazing creation.

Convinced that this is something you shouldn’t miss? Just click on the image below to find out more and get yourself enlisted for the webinar. (And have I mentioned it’s free? πŸ˜‰ )


Just look at my gorgeous dear friend there… doesn’t she just look super-friendly? That’s because she IS, all that and more! She’s a darling, she’s the original Awesome, and she’s one of the most hilarious people I’ve ever known (and have had the Β pleasure and honor of calling friend and sista).

So don’t wait… run to get yourself listed! You won’t regret it, I promise. πŸ™‚

And with that, I wish you a happy Marvelous aMazing Monday, dear buds! Mwah!

Last Few Hours to Grab My DSD Freebie!

Hi there! Just dropping by real quick to let you know that there are just a few more hours left to grab my DSD freebie, if you haven’t included it in your weekend loot yet πŸ˜‰

Click on the image below to get it!

GRAB NOW! Link Expires at 12 midnight Pacific time!

ETA: Link to my DSD freebie has expired. πŸ˜₯

My coupon is also still active (just in case you’re still raring for some shopping therapy):


And now to get back to working and maximizing my last day of the semestral school break. Tomorrow regular life begins again. 😐

You’re invited! Be deliciously, deliriously, digitally delighted!

Because today is Digital Scrapbooking Day! And all over the world wide web, there are amazing sales going on, blogtrains running at full speed, and loads of giveaways being handed out, and… well, I just couldn’t resist the temptation to join the celebration and come up with a little goodie to add to your digital stash! πŸ˜€

YAY! Freebie Time!

Inspired by my love for grids and large focal photos and by my belief that less is more, here’s what I’ve prepared for you:


ETA: So sorry, link has expired.

Here’s a little layout that I made real quick to show my digi-goodie in use πŸ™‚ :

My Little Piano Man

It’s called Simply Stylish, and it’s purposely designed to be basic and minimalist (yes, less is more indeed!) so that your words and your photos speak out from the silent white space. But if piling on embellishments rocks your boat, then you can definitely add on the goodies from your stash as well! This works really great that way too. πŸ™‚

To download, click RIGHT HERE (ETA: Link has expired) or on the product preview above (the first image, yes; not my piano man :)), and you’ll find yourself in my shop at where you can grab this sweet baby. Make sure you download it before 12 midnight Pacific time, Sunday, because after that the links will be disabled and the Template Pack will move into my shop’s shelves. πŸ™‚

Stroll along the Spraground and get the chance to grab a giveaway!

As with all the shops I’ve been to, you may have to register (if you don’t have an account yet) before you can download but it takes less than a minute and it’s absolutely free!

While you’re there, you might want to have a look around and say hello to the peeps in the forum and check out our Spraground Challenge, which my dear friend Linda is leading this week (she and I take turns managing the challenges, along with our darling Kari, who takes care of hybrid challenges every 4th Friday). Our challenges are open to everyone – newbies, cruisers, and advanced scrappers alike and we would all be so thrilled if you would come and join us! (After all, at, we take our “Grow Your Skills” motto to heart, and you know what they say about practice making perfect, right? At our Spraground, you could safely restate that as “Playing makes perfect” πŸ™‚ ).

Feel right at home as you stroll along: a more friendly, warmer, more welcoming community than this I have never ever found on the web, I tell ya. You can be sure everyone on the Spraground will be running to you with open arms to welcome you into our growing family and to help you out with even the simplest, smallest question (There’s only one rule on the Spraground, and it’s this: There is no such thing as a stupid question. So ask away if you need anything, even directions to the nearest swing that you can sit on, and maybe you’ll find you want to paint your name on it too! πŸ˜‰ )

But FIRST STOP has to be right on the homepage, where you’ll find the awesome giveaways from me and my designer-sistas at! Here’s my contribution to the giveaway loot:

Grab the chance to win liv.edesigns Click Mini Kit this weekend!

You can click on my Click Mini Kit image above and it will take you right to our Homepage!

I love me some eye-candy, don’t you? Here are some awesome layouts from our creative team ladies using my Click Mini Kit!

Layout by Lauren

Layout by Smitha

Layout by Nicole

Layout by Carol

Layout by Mindy

Layout by Linn

Layout by Meg

Layout by Miki

That’s not all! It’s coupon time!

Oh and wait! There’s more! I have prepared a special DSD coupon for you to use in my shop, if you happen to find anything there that catches your fancy!


It’s good for the entire Digital Scrapbooking Weekend… and a day πŸ˜‰ so just make sure you use it between today, Saturday, until right before midnight Pacific time on Monday, November 7th, when it expires.

Be awesome! Be heard!

I would love it, too, if you would take a couple of minutes to leave a comment or a hug (go on, hit that Comment button below, you know you wanna πŸ˜† ). And if you’d love to share with me some suggestions for a particular theme for a kit or element pack that you’d love to see in my shop, I’m totally open to hearing your requests… who knows, perhaps you’ll find it on my shop shelves some time in the future (and if you happen to be the stimulus that made my creative muse dance, then I promise I’ll send you the kit or pack for free! πŸ˜‰ ).

Voila! And with all these goodies, I wish you a super-duper thrilling Digital Scrapbooking Day weekend! May your arms be filled with goodies and may your digital delights overflow!

Big, warm hugs to you all!

One-Buck Wednesday: Spring Into Winter

I’m back from a 4-day vacation! (And boy, did I miss you… but up in the mountains, we were net-less so I had to sit on my fingers and wait till we got back to civilization πŸ™‚ ).

But what better time to come racing back to my blog porch than on a Wednesday, when a buck goes far in the quest for something awesome! πŸ˜‰

For this entire Wednesday (till 12:00 midnight Pacific time), you can grab this paper pack for just a buck instead of the usual $4.99! (What a steal, right? Β :D)

liv.edesigns Whispers of Spring Paper Pack

(If you don’t have this in your digi stash yet, and your fingers are itching to pick up this whole pack of 10 papers, a single click on the preview above will take you right to my shop where you can grab this for a buck! ;))

Here’s a full view of the papers included in this pack:

These solid and patterned 12×12 papers form a pack that I named Whispers of Spring, but you know how I love versatility, right? πŸ˜€ So don’tcha worry, even if spring is over, these are designed to work well throughout all the seasons; yep, even through winter!

And as proof that these will work for anything your heart desires: here are some uber-wonderful layouts from our awesome Creative Team members!

Layout by Creative Team Member Emily

Layout by Creative Team Member Miki

Layout by Creative Team Member Carol

Layout by Creative Team Member Lisa

Have an awesome Wednesday, and I’ll see you real soon! xoxox