Create Something New Every Day

…  because it’s good for the soul. And for the proliferation of happy vibes. (After all, who would turn down a chance to frolic in happy?)

And so today, I create: a new blog entry to put an end to my 2-year blogging drought, and a new concoction to spread “happy” in the home. Specifically, my bed, which is my favorite place in our house (which also happens to be my kids’ favorite place to loll around in. Come to think of it, perhaps there’s a connection there, because it always makes me happy to know my kids still think it’s cool to hang around their parents. So you bet I’m milking it for all it’s worth).

So anyway, back to the bed. It gets a lot of workout, with kids lying on it all the time… with their books, with their gadgets, with their zzz’s. And there’s nothing more awesome than lying on a fresh, clean-smelling, cool bed.

So today, I took out my new “toy” that I’ve been going slightly nuts over (read: Young Living Essential Oils)… and made this!


In case you want to try your hand at making your own mattress and pillow refresher, here’s how to do it:

What You’ll Need:

  • an empty glass bottle with a tin cap
  • tools for piercing holes into the cap
  • baking soda
  • vinegar (for cleaning a recycled bottle)
  • your choice of essential oils
  • a bowl to mix it all in
  • a fork to mix it with

I’ve been looking for a tin shaker can, but since I haven’t been successful searching for that in the right size—and also because I get a thrill out of recycling stuff that would otherwise just be thrown out—I found an old 8-oz bottle that looked like it could hold a cup of baking soda without trouble. Joy!

Now you’re going to want to get that bottle nice and clean as new, with no leftover smells from whatever food it contained, so this is the way to do that:

Recycling Old Bottles into New


  1. Wash the bottle thoroughly. (My glass bottle was clean to begin with, but I wanted it extra clean. Yes, I can be finicky that way, heh).
  2. Pour a tiny bit of vinegar into the bottle (about 2 tablespoons). Twist on the cap, shake for about 3 minutes, and then pour the vinegar out.
  3. Then fill about a third of the bottle with baking soda. Add tap water to the brim, put the cap back on, and shake the bottle again for another 3 minutes (or thereabouts).
  4. Pour the water with baking soda out, rinse thoroughly with water, and enjoy the clean new-bottle scent! Yay!

I needed to make holes in the metal cap, so I brought out my Making Memories kit (isn’t it so cool how those crafting supplies always come in handy?) and hammered in some holes on the metal lid.

Alrighty! With all that done, we’re now ready to make the mattress and pillow refresher (works on carpets and stuffies, too!).

Mixing Magic

Here’s what I used:


  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops Purification
  • 5 drops Thieves
  • 5 drops Lavender


Mix together thoroughly so that the oil is evenly absorbed into the baking soda.

(I know, the little yellow globs look kinda alien-like and maybe just a wee bit gross, but they could also look like cookie batter balls with a little imagination, so I went with the second option).

When the oils are thoroughly mixed, scoop the “oiled-up” powder into the bottle. (A cup of baking soda fit perfectly in my 8-oz bottle!).


Let the mixture sit for about half an hour, just to make sure that the oils have time to set nicely with the baking soda grains.

While you wait, work on creating a label for your newest creation!


I like to put the ingredients of what I make on my labels (just because my memory cells don’t always play nice when it comes to details like how many drops of which oil). I also like to put in the date when I created a concoction. There isn’t an expiration date for these things normally, but… it’s just a nice-to-know thing, you know?


For those who’d like to use my ready-made label for their own Mattress and Pillow Refresher concoction, you can click on the download link below to grab the label file. You can print it out on virtually any program that works with .jpeg files. The label measures 8 inches by 2.25 inches, and I’ve included two versions: one with the ingredients listed, and another without the ingredients listed (in case you want to make your own concoction).

Here’s what you get when you download:


And if you want to grab the labels for your own personal use (only), then go ahead and click on the download button right here:


How to use the mattress refresher:

It’s really easy!

  • Sprinkle the powder over your mattress / pillow / carpet / stuffed toy.
  • Allow the powder to settle for about 30 minutes. (And enjoy the delicious scent that spreads not only on your stuff but all throughout your room as well).
  • Vacuum the mattress / pillow / carpet / stuffed toy to get all the powder out.
  • And you’re done!

When I finished sprinkling the refresher powder liberally all over my mattresses, pillows, carpet and stuffies, my bottle was still practically full and my room smelled heavenly. (To give you an idea of how economical this concoction is, I used it on both a King and a Queen mattress, 16 pillows, 1 carpet, and 2 stuffies).  I had used only about a tenth of the powder… and it did the job really well!

Peter Thiel said, “Every time we create something new, we go from zero to one.”

Well, here’s to score one today! Yay!

Update: And yes, we all had a great sleep that night!



The Newest No-Apologies Nerdy Summer Thrill

Back in the days when I was a kid, summers were spent climbing trees in the park, jumping from swings (without my parents’ knowledge, of course), sleeping over at my cousin’s house and reading Enid Blyton books way into dawn. We didn’t have computer games back then: no Minecraft, no Wii, no Wii U.

These days, it’s hard for trees and swings to compete with the lure of quick, flashy computer games. Sadly, there are hardly any trees to climb anyway, at least in the city where we live. Thank goodness there are still wide open grassy gardens where my boys can kick a soccer ball, lie on the grass, and point out dragons, monsters, and Greek gods floating as clouds in the sky.

Then when they get tired of the outdoor games, there are always books to read and arts and crafts activities to keep them busy.

Creating their own Harry Potter wands out of chopsticks and paint

Creating their own Harry Potter wands out of chopsticks and paint

But Minecraft, Super Mario, and Disney Infinity call to them continuously throughout the day, and I think, heck, it’s summer anyway; when else will they get to play these games? So, like a cool mom, I let them. And like a little-less-cool-mom, I put limits on the hours they can spend on computer games (four max in the afternoons, and only when they take breaks to rest their eyes after every hour of play. I got whines on the first day for that rule, but all it took was four days, and now they quit the monitor as soon as I call out, “Rest time!”).

The thing is, I truly believe summer should be filled with play and recreation and lots of fun, both indoors and outdoors. But I also want to balance that with enough brain stimulation so that by the time school rolls around, we won’t be struggling to wake their brains from summer slumber. The best thing, of course, would be to combine learning with fun, because then everybody wins, right?

Enter this summer’s nerdy thrill:

Inspired by a night spent covering the boys’ books for the coming school year, I looked at the 3 dictionaries (each) of my two littlest boys and this thought bubble popped in my head: Wouldn’t now be a great time for them to learn how to use these with speed and efficiency, so that when school comes around, they’ll be really savvy when they have to look up meanings or translations of words? (I know, I’m such a nerd. When I was their age, I spent one summer happily reading the two huge volumes of Webster’s Dictionary from A to Z… but that’s another story for another day. I only mention it because it just strikes me now how perhaps echoes of our childhood days are always going to be part of us).

And so, after a short instruction for my youngest (who hasn’t had as much practice as his older bro with the use of any dictionary) on using guide words at the top of the pages and mental alphabetizing skills, we launched our game.

The challenge:
Be the first to find the word I say (in English, in Filipino, and in Spanish, so all their dictionaries would get equal lovin’) and then read out the definition.

First one to find the word must declare “I found it!” and then read out the definition gets 2 points. The one who didn’t find it first still has to find the same word and read out the definition (to make sure that no one is left behind on the vocabulary-building skill) and gets 1 point. (If that one gives up and refuses to search for the word = 0 point. It’s always good to give the losing side a choice between continuing up to the end or giving up. And when one makes the right choice, there’s the added benefit of rewarding fortitude and perseverance).

The Prize (not that any prize is needed, but a cupcake is always sweeter when there’s a dollop of cream and sprinkles on top):
The winner gets to choose 2 snacks for them to share for the day, and the loser gets to choose 1. (Boys will never say no to a chance to fill their tummies).

So how did we fare?

The English Dictionary:

Searching for the meaning of "calamity"

Searching for the meaning of “calamity”

The Filipino-English Dictionary:

Looking for the translation of “game” in Filipino

The Spanish-English Dictionary:

Looking for the Spanish equivalent for

Looking for the Spanish equivalent for “foot”

I admit, it’s a pretty nerdy summer game to play. But believe it or not, we actually had fun! And so I make no apologies, because really, when this is the result of the game…


… how could it not be a good one, right? 🙂

Oh, and they got to share gummy worms and lollipops (winner’s choice) and  iced tea (runner-up’s choice) too. Burp!

I’d love to hear about your summer thrills too!

I’m back! { aka Breaking the (Blog)Fast }

No, it hasn’t been a year… thank heavens!

Still, it’s been way too long, and I’ve been flying full speed on that crazy speeding train called Real Life, barely hanging on as wifely-duties, mommy-duties, designer-duties, and photographer-duties all grab at me, screaming “Pay attention to me! Now!” (You know how it is, right?)

But there’s this saying in Latin:

Nunc coepi.

Begin now. Begin again.

And so I begin today. Because beginnings rock. And beginnings open a whole new vista of possibilities and chances and discoveries. And beginnings bring me back here with you, back to hellos instead of goodbyes.

Break your fast beautifully

So if you’re reading this today, sitting with me on my blog porch, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for being here, whether you’re coming back or visiting for the first time: I’m glad to have you here, right beside me, as I break my (blog)fast and begin again. I will be around more often and more regularly from now on. I promise.

So, I’ll see you around soon, okay? 🙂

No, I haven’t fallen off the earth…

I’ve just been caught up in that roller-coaster ride called Real Life. You know what it’s like when you’re whizzing past on the fastest ride and you’re just trying not to get blown away with the wind, right? (If you don’t know what that’s like, come sit with me and tell me your secret. 😀 ).

But I’m back, and I’m home, and boy does it feel good to be back on this porch with you!

New Shop!

Lots of things have remained the same (yes, I’m still ever grateful to be blessed with so much, top of which is my awesome hubby and our now-a-bit-older sons, and everything else that makes up that roller coaster ride) and there are lots of things too that have changed. For example, we now have a new shop (which is the sister-site to so if you’re looking for more liv.edesigns digital deliciousness, that’s where you’ll find it now! 😉

It’s called, and you’re absolutely welcome to check it out if you haven’t passed by yet.

The world's best place to shop for all your digital, photo-editing, and blogging supplies!

The world’s best place to shop for all your digital, photo-editing, and blogging supplies!

* Click on the image above to check out my shop *

New Product!

Another new thing: my newest product is now up in my shop and it’s 25% off all weekend!

A little note about my T+Mini Collection: this is probably one of my all-time favorite products to design (and use too!), because it’s a combination of a pre-made fully-layered template (there’s the T) and a goody-filled mini kit (and there’s the +Mini). It’s perfect for all-time use, both for days when we wish we had more time to spend documenting our precious moments before they slip away and yet find that the day is indeed slipping away (hello, template!)… and for those days when we actually do have the time to start from scratch and build up a page from a blank slate (hello, mini kit!).

The template is fully-layered and fully-adjustable, which means that it comes with everything you need to scrap on the go: just add your photos to the photo masks, type in your journaling, and bam! It’s done! OR you could add or take away from the template according to your whim… it’s really friendly and will do whatever you want.

The mini kit that comes with it is always chock-filled with goodies, complete with papers and elements that coordinate perfectly. You can use them on the template itself, and you can also use them separately on other layouts that you make… thereby building your goody-stash with wonderful additions!

My newest product belongs to the T+Mini collection, and it’s the 11th in the series.

liv.edesigns T+Mini Vol. 11-Story Circles

liv.edesigns T+Mini Vol. 11-Story Circles

Here’s the layout that I made with it, celebrating thirty years of friendship with one of my besties!

I used the template as it was, and just added a few more circle cut-outs from the mini kit as well as punched confetti to complete the whole thing.

New A+wesome Creative Team!

I also have been blessed with the most awesome ladies on my creative team this year! They’re super ladies, absolute darlings, and genius artists, every single one of them. I am truly honored to have them on my team and love them to little bits and pieces.

Check out the awesome eye-candy they’ve created with my T+Mini!

I love the soft, gentle feel of Miki’s beautiful layout!

This awesome layout was created by Miki Krueger.

This awesome layout was created by Miki Krueger.

Reneé’s layout is so touching and so heartwarming, don’t you think so?

This awesome layout was created by Reneé Dezember.

This awesome layout was created by Reneé Dezember.

Jana’s layout is super-fun and happy, perfect for the documenting fun times at the happiest place on Earth!

This awesome layout was created by Jana Holden.

This awesome layout was created by Jana Holden.

Can anyone resist sighing, hand on heart, when looking at Lisa’s darling mother’s day layout?

This awesome layout was created by Lisa Breuer.

This awesome layout was created by Lisa Breuer.

Summer opted to use the circle stitches alone, and I think it’s an awesome way to bring attention to her lovely photo!

This awesome layout was created by Summer Christiansen.

This awesome layout was created by Summer Christiansen.

Margje is having a lovely time vacationing, and she came up with this superb layout while on vacation… how awesome is that?

This awesome layout was created by Margje van Arnhem.

This awesome layout was created by Margje van Arnhem.

And Chrissy documented this awesome moment in her son’s life with this beautiful layout (I love how it shows how the mini kit can be used to fit personal style choices!)

This awesome layout was created by Chrissy Guido.

This awesome layout was created by Chrissy Guido.

New Awesome… Coupon!

Speaking of new stuff, I have something new especially for you!

I think weekends are awesome, and I thought it would be wonderful to give a little more “awesome” this weekend! To celebrate my newest product in our shiny new shop, I have a special coupon for 5% MORE off T+Mini Vol. 11 !

New products debut at SnapClickSupply each Friday, and for the entire weekend all those new products are on sale for 25% off. With this new coupon, you get a chance to add 5% MORE off, so that you get a total of 30% off! How awesome is that, right?

You can find the coupon code on my liv.edesigns Facebook page RIGHT HERE. It’s the most recent post on my timeline, and don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything else but visit in order to get the coupon code. Of course, if you’d like to click the LIKE button to like my liv.edesigns page as you grab the coupon, I wouldn’t stop you at all (I’d probably throw my arms around you and give you the biggest squeeze ever. 😀

Voila! That’s it for now… and thank you for checking me out despite my loooong absence from my porch. Have I ever told you how incredible I think you are? ❤


Monggo-Bean-Inspired Ruminations

Big things come in small packages, so the adage goes.

I’m no stranger to the truth of this. One of my best friends of many decades is barely five feet tall but she has the biggest heart and the most amazing ability to paint in watercolors. A little closer to home: I have five boys decades younger than me (and some small enough to still sit on my lap, although that’s rapidly changing…<sob>!) and they mean the entire world to me.

Then there are the many little things that happen each day that, sifted and sorted and blended together, make up that great marvelous thing called Life. And sometimes, when the stars align and the universe smiles, one of those little things can even be hugely profound in and of itself.

Even something as tiny and minute and seemingly inconsequential as a mung bean. (Or more accurately, five of them.) But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the very beginning.

Mung beans, which are more commonly called monggo in my part of the world, are tiny. In fact, the first word that Wikipedia uses to describe them is “small.” They make their appearance on the dinner table in many different forms: most often as a vegetable soup (stewed with onions and garlic and topped with bits of chicharon, or crunchy pork rind), or cooked and rolled in a thin rice wrapper as lumpia, or tucked into a Chinese bun known as hopia.

They also frequently make an appearance in grade school classrooms, thanks to Science teachers who know the value of the quick-sprouting seeds in teaching lessons that focus on plant parts and plant growth.

Well, that was exactly the kind of appearance demanded of the humble mung bean today in my little grader’s Science class. Except I didn’t know it beforehand. So there I was, bringing him to the door of his classroom, when we walked in on four or five little boys scrambling on the floor, laughing and chasing after tiny things that I couldn’t quite make out. They, of course, turned out to be mung beans, escapees from the plastic container that held about a thousand more of their kind.

And that’s when my son turns to me with a quiet gasp and says:

“Oh no, Mom. We were supposed to bring five pieces of monggo beans to school today for Science.”

Oh no, indeed. We live quite a distance from the school, and that would mean increasing the usual four-drives-to-and-from-school into six, if I were to deliver monggo beans in time for my son to use them for his class.

But a quick glance at the situation unfolding turns on the lightbulb in my head, and I smile and  calmly say to my boy, “Oh dear. You should have told me about that yesterday. But don’t worry. It looks like your classmate has quite a lot of them… why don’t you go to him and ask if he can share five of his beans with you?”

So he does as I suggest, with a sweet smile on his face. I turn my head to look away for about 30 seconds, and when I turn back, I find my son standing in front of me, trying his best not to look sad. He opens his mouth and tells me, “He said No.”

Momentarily stunned, I ask him, “What?”

Patiently, he repeats what he just said, word for word: “He said No.”

I promise, I’m usually quite quick at grasping things, but this morning I think I may have been experiencing a slow connection error, because I say, “What do you mean, he said No?”

“He said No, Mama.”

I can’t believe that he heard right. Five beans? Versus hundreds, heck perhaps even a thousand, in a plastic container? I bend to whisper to him, “You might have heard wrong. Or perhaps he heard you wrong.” You know, it’s possible, right? So I gently nudge him in the direction of the little boy who’s still in the process of scooping up the hundred wayward fallen mung beans and pouring them back into his container, and say to my son, “Ask him again, sweetie.”

My little boy goes to his classmate, whispers to him, comes back to me, and delivers the verdict: “I asked him again if he would share five monggo beans with me, and he said ‘No. This is all mine.’ ” He pauses to smile a little hopeful smile, and then says, “So can you just bring me monggo beans later, Mama? Please?”

I didn’t think it was possible to be stunned twice in the span of five minutes, but there we go. I was flabbergasted.

You see, these things are tiny. Have you ever seen a mung bean? They’re so tiny that you could scoop a handful in your palm and you’d easily have, what, a hundred beans right there? Perhaps more?

Seriously. Check them out:

Ruminating on Mung Beans

And so, there I was, wondering how anyone could have an entire plastic container filled with at least a thousand beans, definitely more than five times the number of beans the entire class needed, and turn down one asking for a measly five beans. In my mind, I could see Mark Lester as Oliver Twist, holding his bowl and asking, “Please, Sir, may I have some more?”

Except my boy wasn’t asking for more. He was asking for five. mung. beans.

Granted, my son should have been responsible enough to bring his homework of five monggo beans. In his nine-year-old wisdom, I’m pretty sure the minute I reminded him that he should have prepared it the day before, he understood where he failed, and for me that was enough of a greater life-lesson learning experience for him.

Mind, I’m not excusing my son for his lapse in responsibility. But somehow I can’t help thinking: There also happens to be a classmate who has more than enough monggo beans to go around the entire class and still have hundreds more left over. Am I wrong in wanting to break out singing  “Oh, lucky day!” and encouraging my son to ask for a few? Isn’t it a great lesson in humility to beg for a few beans and to admit that one is asking because one happened to forget his?

My sons have often told me stories about their classmates or even they themselves forgetting a pencil or a sheet of pad paper or a sheet of Oslo paper and it’s so natural for them to say, “it wasn’t a big deal because we shared, because we had some left over.” The same spirit of sharing and give-and-take permeates their daily life at school, not just for materials or tools like pencil sharpeners but even food that a classmate wishes to have a taste of. Perhaps that’s why I am stunned: because I am so used to the great brotherhood that exists among the boys in my son’s school (or most of them, at least) that this is a first-time thing for me to actually witness.

When I arrive home about half an hour later, I tell my 20-year-old son this story over breakfast. He says to me, “Mom, why are you surprised? As sad as it is, there are people like that everywhere.”

And I reply, “But at that young age? Refusing to share when you have more than enough? That’s terribly sad.”

My husband looks up from his newspaper and says, “But isn’t it normal for very young kids to be selfish?”

I say, “For very young children, perhaps. Studies have shown that until two years of age, a child in a play group will focus on just his toy because his awareness of his surroundings is limited to himself and his toys. But children older than 2 begin to learn that there are others who exist in the world besides himself, so that same child when he gets older will focus on interacting with other children and their toys as well. And I don’t think that’s selfishness. It’s simply a matter of awareness-of-self expanding to include awareness-of-others as the child grows and develops after 2.”

My 20-year-old son looks at me and says, “Yeah. Well. It happens. In the real world, there are adults who are like that too.”

To which I reply, “And that’s exactly what makes me sad. If it’s difficult for a child to dole out five puny pieces of monggo seeds when he has hundreds to spare and only needs five himself… I don’t even want to imagine what the adult version of that child would be like.”

Okay, so there’s justice and fairness. The child was responsible enough to remember his homework; my child wasn’t. It’s perfectly logical to say, “Well, tough luck, kiddo, but you should have been more responsible. You should have remembered. I did, so I get to keep my mung beans. You didn’t, so you can’t come to me and ask me to bail you out just because I have more than I need.”

In the same way, an adult can perfectly say, “I work hard, day in and day out, no matter how tired I get, no matter how much I look forward to retirement, no matter how many times I wish I could have a day to rest and get my energy back… and so I deserve to reap the benefits of my hard work. Even if I have more than I need left over, why should I share what I have with the poor? Why don’t they work hard and reap the benefits of their hard work?”

Makes sense, right? Logical.  Fair. And just. And let me qualify: I’m all about justice. I am a big believer in fairness. But I am a bigger believer in mercy. You know? The kind that hopes that my sons will one day grow up to be men that give generously of what much or little they have, just because it’s good to do so. Just because we’re all in this life together, and we’re all part of the bigger picture, the Big Family of the world, and that’s what brothers do with each other. And if the roles this morning were reversed, I’d like to think that my kid would be the kind that says, “You should have been more responsible. Write it down on a post-it next time and stick it to your forehead if you need to, just so you remember. But for today, sure, here are five beans. I have more than enough, anyway, and you’re welcome to take what you need.”

And so, I pack a plastic container with about a hundred beans to bring to my son later. Just in case there are any other little boys who, like my son, might have forgotten to bring their own five seeds. (I happen to know that two of his friends forgot too, so definitely there would be at least a couple who will benefit from his plastic container of seeds).

And you know what? I didn’t bother to tuck in a note that says, “Share, honey, with those who don’t have.” Because I’m hoping and betting that my son’s experience today will further impress upon him the lessons that my husband and I try to impart to him and his brothers daily. Lessons that  include not only the importance of not forgetting one’s homework but much more, extending into Life Lessons that will make him a much better person and a much better man.

So thank you, Science teacher who required mung beans for today’s class. And thank you, mung beans, for not being in my son’s bag when you should have been. Because the ruminations you inspired today are far-reaching and of much greater value than simply identifying plant parts and plant growth. I dare to think today’s real lessons have more to do with growth of the heart. And that’s always a great lesson to learn.

Necessity and Invention

Necessity is the mother of invention,” so the proverb goes. (And by the way, did you know that the original author of this wise saying hasn’t been established yet?)

Well, in my line of work, I have to confess that I get excited by needs. And one fine day, I stumbled upon an urgent need of a very good friend of mine, Linda, who also happens to do a great job of creating layouts, designing, putting together wonderful table settings, taking stunning photographs, and… well, I digress. But yeah, she’s an amazing jack-of-all-trades, and she needed templates to put together a wedding album for friends (she took the photos, of course). And she needed it quick.

And just like that, my creative muse went on a thrill ride and this product is what is now sitting on my shelf, thanks to the inspiration from Linda.

My Foto Focus album templates are a huge collection of 26 fully-editable layered 12×12 templates for a complete album, including front and back covers. All templates come complete with a deliciously-textured paper to provide the perfect background to make your photos shine forth, as well as editable drop-shadows, photo masks, outline frames, and optional text paths. The design is deliberately kept clean and simple so that your photos and stories take center stage. The templates are so versatile that you can mix and match pages if you need more than a 24-page album, and you can even pull in your own papers and digital stash if that’s what rocks your boat!

Let’s have some amazing eye-candy, why don’t we?

Let’s start off with some stunning pages from Linda’s wedding album!

Adorable, right? When photos paint a thousand words, who needs more of the written stuff? (The text paths on the templates are optional, so here Linda has done away with text and simply lets her photos speak for themselves).

Here is a truly heart-warming and moving 2-page layout created by Chrissy. I love how it celebrates the generous spirit of her entire family in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

This wonderful layout by Lisa demonstrates how each template from the album also does a great job for single-page layouts!

On this awesome layout, Barbara does a marvelous job of taking the template and adding her own personal touch (and embellishments) to it!

Remember this wonderful Halloween layout by Rachael from some posts back? I love how the template she used totally puts the Focus on her marvelous Foto! 😉

Did I mention that this entire 26-template album set is on sale at 25% off till midnight Pacific time? Go grab it (click on the image of the product above, or click right HERE ) and you’ll never have any lonely photos suffering in the innards of your hard drives. Bring out those marvelous stories and lay them out with the help of these templates and watch with joy as your family and friends oooh and aaah over wonderful shots and equally wonderful memories!

Have an amazing first day of the week, my dear friends! I’ll see you soon! xoxo

The Joy of Playing

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” Why, indeed, it is, Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson. I quite agree with you.

I love playing with my kids, I love playing with my light and shadows on my camera, I love playing with Photoshop, and I love that in my line of work the lines that divide work and play are often blurred, making one spill over into the other and back again.

My latest product on my shelf, and the very first of my Digital Tools collection, is something that I think you’re going to have a load of fun playing with!

Creasers Vol.1 lets you bring the awesome folded and creased look to your papers (and more) in an instant and with absolutely no fuss: all you have to do is drag one, two, three or more of these digital creasers onto your paper (try photos too! :)) and change the blending mode to soft light, play with layer opacity, and voila! You have a wonderful creased version of your paper while still keeping the original flat version in your stash. What a way to play and increase your stash’s capabilities too! Cool, huh?

Did I mention that these debut at 25% off the regular price till midnight (Pacific time Monday)? Go grab ’em HERE if you like playing digitally!

Here are some amazing products of my super-artistic creative team friends as they played with Creasers!

This stunning work of art was created by Miki:

Miki also used my Joy of Childhood Paper Pack and Bubbling Over Stamps & Brush Set on her awesome layout above.

This wonderful layout of Summer just thrills with that amazing 70s vibe:

Summer also used my Circle of Life Frames on her layout above.

Rachael’s super-cute Halloween layout is right below:

Rachael also used my Brownbagger Paper Pack on her lovely layout above.

Linda used the creasers on the little journaling square beside that lovely photo of her darling:

Linda also used my Splatters Vol.1 Brushes and my This and That – Textured Stickers on her layout above.

This artistic, textured delight was created by Debra:

And last but certainly not, never, the least is Mindy’s lovely fall layout:

I have to mention here that I am particularly thrilled with the way Mindy used a whole arsenal of my products to create her awesome totally unified layout above. Aside from Creasers Vol.1, she also used my Brownbagger Paper Pack, Bubbling Over Stamps & Brush Set, Click Elements, Falling for You Leaves, Freedom Is Good Solids Paper Pack, Washi All About-Blush Tapes (recolored), Needs+Wants: Alpha Stampede, Needs+Wants: Stitchies Vol.1 – The Crayon Box Collection, and Needs+Wants: It’s a Date (Date Stamps).

Voila! Have a wonderful week and may it be filled with enormous opportunities to play!


It’s been incredibly busy these past weeks/months! In my part of the world, an insane flurry of activity is synonymous with the arrival of the “-ber” months (a play of words that refers to SeptemBER, OctoBER and so on as well as the “BRRRR” sounds that one makes along with the arrival of the colder season). We are a people who are really BIG on family (and let me tell ya, those family ties extend all the way to the sister of the best friend of the wife of your brother-in-law… well, you get the picture, and a pretty good idea of how huge and numerous the reunions and parties can be throughout the season).

So I’m incredibly sorry for being quite absent from here. Lots of activity going on in that thing called Real Life (and I have to confess I haven’t even begun checking that ol’ Christmas list, alack!). But I do have exciting news to bring to you today!

I haven’t made a kit in quite some time, and I am so excited to let you know about this newest one! I created the BOOtiful Kit to celebrate the beauty and magic of the colors of Fall as well as the fun of the season’s events (Halloween for the kiddos, Thanksgiving, the great big Pumpkin Patch, and just about any event that’s worth of documenting these coming months).

The BOOtiful Solid Papers and Patterned Papers are debuting today (and until midnight Eastern of October 29th Monday, they will be selling at 25% off). The BOOtiful Elements will be available beginning next Monday, Nov. 5th along with the entire BOOtiful Kit (solid papers, patterned papers, and elements all in one big bundle).

Here’s are the BOOtiful Solid Papers:

(Click on the image to get them at 25% off today till midnight, EST)

And here’s a full view of the solid papers:

Here are the BOOtiful Patterned Papers:

(Click on the image to get them at 25% off today till midnight, EST)

And here’s a full view of the patterned papers:

Here’s the BOOtiful Element Pack (Available only next Monday, November 5th)

And here’s a view of the entire BOOtiful Kit (also available only next Monday, November 5th).

The Yummiest, Most Wonderful Eye Candy!

from some of my uber-favorite peeps in the world:

This awesome layout was created by Miki:

Doesn’t this gorgeous layout just make you fall completely in love with Fall?

Miki used The BOOtiful Solid Papers on her beautiful layout above, as well as my Loopies Vol. 1 – Flutterby Brush Set, Bubbling Over Stamps & Brush Set, Splatters Vol. 1 and Splatters Vol. 3 and the challenge template that I gave for free over at a week or two ago (another incentive for you to join the Spraground challenges!).

This awesome layout was created by Jana:

This super-fun delish layout of Jana just makes me want to stuff myself with candy corn!

Jana used both The BOOtiful Solids and Patterned Paper packs on her layout above.

This awesome layout was created by Jana too:

Don’t you just LOVE the gorgeous photos and the butterflies, and how everything comes together so perfectly on this layout?

Jana used both The BOOtiful Solids and Patterned Papers on her layout above, as well as my Loopies Vol.1 – Flutterby Brush Set, my Snippets Word Pack, my Tape It Up-Krafty Tapes, and the same challenge template that Miki used above!

This awesome layout was created by Margje:

I can’t stop looking at the beautiful photo of Margje’s kitty and how those eyes just totally mesmerize! I love how Margje’s layout demonstrates how versatile the BOOtiful Kit is… you can use it not just for Halloween, not just for Fall, but really, for anything at all! (Ooh, that rhymes! teehee)

Margje used my entire BOOtiful Kit here… the Elements along with the Patterned Papers.

Ahh. All that delicious eye candy has me sitting her smiling so contentedly, just like the cat that got the mouse and the milk and the fish. 😀 They are just so beautiful, no? 🙂

Have a wonderful, amazing, fun-filled Halloween and I’ll see you soon!

Eye Candy on a Wonderful Wednesday

Have you ever had month after busy month of never-ending to-do lists and deadlines and demands-of-life to attend to? If you have, then you probably know exactly how I’m feeling (bedraggled and beat up, lol) and will hopefully forgive me for being woefully lacking in making an appearance here lately.

During times like this, I find that it’s always such a wonderful comfort to sit back and feast my eyes on beauty and awesomeness, so I decided that today’s post will be all about amazing Eye Candy done by some of my most favorite peeps in the entire world (and they’re the some of the best creative artists ever too!)

And because it’s a Wonderful Wednesday today, that also means that I’ve got two products on sale at my shop till midnight Pacific time today (so you’ve got about 14+ hours to grab these in case you don’t have them in your stash yet and you find yourself needing and wanting them. ;)).

Grab for just a Buck! Maskerade Photo Masks

{ Click on the image above to grab this at half the price today! }

Did I mention that I just LOVE the preview above because it has the beautiful face of my gorgeous friend Tori? 🙂

And now, for our delicious eye-candy, brought to you by the awesome Creative Team!

This awesome layout was created by Heather:

This awesome layout was created by Jenn M:

This awesome layout was created by Joanne:

This awesome layout was created by Amy:

This awesome layout was created by Nic:

This awesome layout was created by Monica:

This awesome layout was created by Reeta:

This awesome layout was created by Jenn M too!

This awesome 2-page layout was created by Bren:

This awesome layout was created by Miki:

This awesome layout was also created by Reeta:

This awesome layout was created by Lisa:

Yet another awesome layout created by Reeta:

This awesome layout was created by Chris:

This awesome layout was created by Heather using the Maskerade tape strip:

This awesome layout was created by Jenn M using the Maskerade tape strip:

Are you swooning with all that creative artistry and beauty yet? 🙂

Go 50-off with Proud to Be Square – The Basics

The Proud to Be Square Template Pack Collection has everything you need to create your album in a flash!

This Basics Pack coordinates perfectly with other sets in the collection, allowing you to create either sets of mini albums or one great big album!  You can even use each template to create individual layouts. So versatile, this collection gives you so much freedom and variety to work with. Among the multitude of options for use: Either use the 12×12 textured paper that comes with the pack or replace with your own favorite papers. Clip your photos and type in your text. Leave it simple and clean or add on the embellishments, whichever suits your style!

{ Click on the image above to grab this at half the price today! }

And now to continue the eye candy treats!

Here’s a sample of an album created with the Proud to Be Square Template Collection:

Here’s a sample of an album created with the Proud to Be Square – Basics Pack:

The album cover:

The title page:

An inside page (I used this for the “Dedication” area of the album):

Another inside page of the album:

And here’s an awesome layout created by Linda with Proud to Be Square – The Basics:

Ahhh yes, now that I’ve had my eye-candy fix for the day, I am feeling all revved up to get back to that miles-long to-do list! Hope you’re having an awesome amazing week filled with beauty and wonder! I’ll see you soon. (((hugs)))

Swirdles and Arrows

Hey there, my sweet friends! I am jumping off the rushing bus called Real Life to quickly wave a reminder in the air that it’s a Wonderful Wednesday (till about 3 hours from now when midnight comes, Pacific Time), and that means you can still grab these two items that are on sale in my shop today!

live.designs Swirdles Stamps and Brush Set

Add the perfect finishing touch to your lovely creations with this pack of 17 extra-large swirly doodle stamps and brushes!

{Click on the image to grab them at my shop}

liv.edesigns Points of View Vol. 1 – Arrows 

Point the way to the best parts of your layouts with this mega-pack of 48 arrow rub-ons in bold and pencil-thin versions, in both black and white rub-ons that are easy to recolor and in two complete brush sets that you can stamp in any color you wish!

{Click on the image to grab them at my shop}

And here is just a little sampling of the awesome layouts created with these two products by the awesome creative team!

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* Layouts created by the Creative Team: Monica, Meg, Sarah, Jana, Lauren, Erica, Erin S,  Jenn M, Joanne A, Lisa C, Margje, Miki, and I inserted one by me in there too :D.

Click HERE to see more awesome layouts!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, folks! And if any of you happen to find where the extra 24-hours-to-a-day are hiding, do share with me! 😀