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Confessions of a Hybrid Wannabe

14 Jan

First confession: I actually have just one. One confession, and it’s simply this: I am a hybrid wannabe. HAHAHAHA! 😆

It helps to think this way every time my kids have some school project that requires “parental involvement” (which basically means you roll up your sleeves and go splashing in the mud with the kiddo).

Friday afternoon when I picked up J from school, I walked into what looked like a cloud (of thinly-veiled stress) hovering over my co-mothers. The reason: we just got a letter which basically said our kids would be having a mask-or-hat parade first thing on Monday morning, and the kids had to make their own masks “with help from their parents.” It would be graded as Homework. This meant only two things: (1) “make masks” = don’t even think of making a trip to the shops to buy a pre-made mask; and (2) “with help from parents” = goodbye, relaxing weekend.

The mask had to be a storybook character, and the kids had to be able to act in their character. Hmm. Wonder what the easiest mask to make would be? Mickey Mouse, right? (I mean, really, how hard can it be to trace one big circle and two smaller circles, stick them together, and paint them black and red? 😀 ).

But my son wanted to be Optimus Prime. I tried to convince him to explore other characters but he really wanted to be the Transformers chief. So I thought to myself, oh why the heck not? Let’s just go with what he wants; after all, it’s he who has to wear the mask and act in character. 😉

So Sunday afternoon my son J and I set to work with leftover pizza carton boxes (good thing Son No. 2 had some school friends over on Friday evening, and lemme tell ya, those boys can eat a whole truck of pizza if you dared them). We gathered toilet paper and old newspapers and PVA glue (paper machie ingredients), foil, poster paint, colored popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and whatever else we thought we’d be needing to make the mask. And just so you know? We ended up using about 10% of the loot that we collected. 🙄

Just in case your kid happens to come home one of these days with the same homework, I decided to share the mask-making process with you (heehee).

First order of the day: Trim the box to a more manageable size. (Also, resist the urge to order another box of pizza to eat while working 😆 )

Then, roll box around the head of your kid and mark where the eyes, nose and mouth areas should be. This is to ensure that your kid doesn’t go bump in the night while he walks around with the mask, and that he doesn’t get dizzy from the leftover-pizza-smell on the box.

Cut out eye area from the carton and fit. (Be prepared to fit a lot during the process. Better to stop and fit rather than go from beginning to end without interruption, only to get into a fit when you realize the eye area is just the right fit for the… nostrils!)

Cut out the portion that will go over the nose and mouth area.

Don’t omit this most important part: Stay awake with coffee (or Diet Mountain Dew or Pepsi, if you rock that way 😉 ). Because, my dear friend, at this point we’re not even halfway there 😛

Fueled by cafe, cut out the breathing area…

… and (behind the scenes) stick all the rest of the materials you have: more cut-up pizza carton, crumpled and squished newspaper, bottle caps from Florida Naturals juice, a couple of pipe cleaners to hold the mask in place over the head, and tape: lots and lots and lots of tape to hold it all together.

Oh, and I did say don’t forget to fit, right? 😉

Next, check the time and decide NOT to do paper machie because your mask will never dry in the next 6 hours. So decide to take the mask outside under the stars (yes, the moon had risen by the time I got the entire thing modeled to go) and spray-paint it entirely with silver paint in a can. (It totally helps if your paint says “dries in 10-15 minutes”). Try not to sweat the small details (like when you realize that there’s a slight difference in the texture of the paint on carton versus paint on tape, just let it go… 😆 ).

Then paint in details with acrylic paint. (I tried poster paint at first and almost freaked out when I realized the poster paint wouldn’t stick to the silver paint! It was doing its own kind of “crayon-resist” performance. Thank heavens for craft rooms filled with paper scrapping stuff that has been hoarded–and hardly used–over the years, mwahaha. Those things come in handy at exact times like this.)

Do a final fit to make sure everything’s fine (and make sure the tape at the back of the mask is patted down without any areas peeling off because you definitely don’t want parts of your kid’s eyebrows to come off together with the mask 😆 ).

Let mask dry overnight, and reassure your kid that you both did a great job together, and it doesn’t really matter whether you win the mask contest or not because you had a lot of fun creating it together anyway, and that is what matters. 😉

Then go do some work on the Spraground (if you live there like I do, lol!) and then force yourself to sleep at 3am because you’ve got a big day tomorrow watching your kid in his mask parade.

D-Day:

Optimus Prime meets Captain Hook meets Bugs Bunny meets two Cats in the Hat and…

A hop, a skip, and a jump…

And we’re done! 😀

PS. The kids in the primary grades voted for the winner. Guess who won?

Whoopee-doo! Whodathunk, huh? 😆

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Buzzzzzz!

6 Dec

Yep. Lotsa buzz going on around here. Starting to feel like a real bee (not a queen, though… that’s wishful thinking. I’m more like the worker type or the drone 😆 )

BUT! It’s all good, right? There is always so much to be thankful for! And on that note, before I forget, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! Hope you had an awesome time celebrating all that’s warm and wonderful in your life (and hope you had a great Black Friday shopping spree, too! 😀 )

We’ve got a lot to catch up on, so I hope you’ve got your shopping for the day done (at least for today 😛 ). So get comfy, sit back, grab that cold drink (or warm, if the snow outside is starting to freeze you), and put your feet up… and here we go!

The Gift that Lasts Forever

Have you gone Christmas shopping yet? You have? No fair… you can do mine. 🙂

I haven’t done any Christmas shopping, but that’s okay… there’s time to freak. Let’s see… I have exactly 19 days to go on a wild race to the stores. (And believe me, given the Christmas traffic in my part of the world, that’s not a lot of days to shop in. It’s not surprising to spend a quarter of each day sitting in traffic–and that’s if you’re lucky. *sigh* Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating. It’s just that I like traffic–any kind of traffic, any length of traffic–as much as I like … hmmm… bitter gourd. 😛 Each holiday season, I tell myself I’m going to shop the entire year next year, so that by December I would have no one left to shop for–you know, that dream of sitting contentedly, all gifts wrapped and ready to be delivered way before the 20th day of December–and of course, every year December rolls around and I wonder where that shop-early resolution got shelved during the past 11 months. What can I say? It’s an elusive dream. 😆 )

But hey, guess what? There’s a gift you can give which doesn’t require you to lock arms with the rest of the country as they run around the malls, looking at their lists and checking them twice. Better yet, this gift is truly special, the kind that doesn’t make you fat, that doesn’t collect dust on a shelf, that doesn’t get broken if dropped. This is the gift that lives on, long after the wrapper has been turned into recycled paper… (the season allows me to be cheesy, right?). It’s  gift of learning, of discovery, of creating, of celebrating.

So yeah! Give the gift of digi-goodness to those you love this season! (Yes, that includes you! You can give yourself this gift too!)

There’s a huge, first-time-ever, crazy-generous gift over at our Spraground, and it’s called the Holiday Sale! Jessica has taken the best-selling digital courses and slapped on a huge discount on them, and there are even bundled offers (where you get a really, really great class 😉 for free if you take the bundle of 3 courses).

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It’s so awesome that you can even divide the bundle gift between you and your friends! (You can give the entire bundle, lock stock and barrel, to your BFF 😀 or you can give one or two courses to your friend and keep the third and the free one for yourself. Oooor you can even give the four courses to yourself if you just joined us on our Spraground recently for our super-successful Stories In Hand free course and decided you like our Spraground enough to paint your name on a swing. 😉

The sale goes on till Christmas Day, so you can totally do your last-minute shopping on the web as well. You can send the gift either with a print-able card (we’ve got them on the Spraground–you just need to download them and type or write the coupon code before you give them to your loved ones), or you can send the gift via email.  See? Isn’t Jes awesome? She thought of everything to make life in the fast-season lane easy for you! 🙂

(Alright, you may run to the Spraground and grab those courses now… I’ll wait right here for you to come back. >heehee< )

(Oh and PS. the image is click-able… it’ll take you right over to our Spraground! 😉 )

PAD makes a Comeback

Remember the photo-a-day we had last May, where we took a photo each day of the month, and at the end we have an entire day-by-day account of the extraordinary found in the ordinary days? We have that going on again over at our Spraground, upon the suggestion of one of my dearest friends, Lindsan. We’re taking a photo a day for each day of December (especially tricky, if you’re wrapped up in a million things to do this month, or especially exciting, if you’re one of the more organized people who’ve got their decor up and the gifts all wrapped and are just waiting for the 25th to roll around. If you’re the latter, I wanna be you. 😀 )

It’s only Day 4 and over at the special December 2008 Photo-A-Day gallery that Jes put up for all those who want to join (yes, that would be you, too, if you haven’t yet joined… COME!), there are soooo many wonderful photos and layouts coming up! I wish I had the time to leave love on all of them (yep, that’s on my to-do list too)… one of these days, I’m going to be successful at catching up with this! (There were 24 pages of photos/layouts last time I checked. )

If you want to take a photo a day and collect warm fuzzies from the awesome folks over at our Spraground but just found out about it now, come and join us anyway! (You can always post the previous days, a few days late! 🙂 )

And in case you’re thinking twice… there’s another special treat that Jes has cooked up to make our Photo-A-Day adventures more fun! Go read about it on her blog HERE.

And just to show you what a win-win situation we have here, at the end of December not only will you have had the chance to win a great prize, not only will you have experienced the special brand of Spraground warmth in our community, not only will you have had something exciting to do with your camera for every single day of an entire month, but–best of all–you’ll have 31 photos worth of wonderful memories, preserved forever either in photographs or in layouts!

How awesome is that?

Totally! Here now are my first four days of December PAD (with stories interspersed):

Day 1: Bread for Breakfast

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A few weeks ago, some close friends of dh and mine invited us to a joint-birthday celebration at this little deli where they sell the yummiest and freshest French bread ever! Since then, I’ve filled our table with all the different types of French bread (and yes, with the cheese and the sausages to go with it! Mmmmm!)

Warm bread and Christmas warmth… it’s a perfect fit!

Day2:  Igloo, Southeast-Asian Style

When I was a kid, I wanted to have my own playhouse. I had a nipa hut in our backyard, complete with ladder and windows that you kept open with sticks (authentic!), but I didn’t really like spending time in there because it was hot and it made me itchy (and between me and the teddy bear family I kept in it, there just wasn’t enough space). And to my little mind, it wasn’t cool. hehe. What was cool for me and my brother, 2 years older, was having our own treehouse. There was just one tiny problem: though our backyard was full of trees, they weren’t members of the treehouse-strong-branch family. The closest we ever got to making our treehouse back then was hanging a floral blanket over the branch of the aratilis* tree. It probably looked pathetic to the adults, but for us, it was treehouse-teepee heaven. 😀

(*aratilis – For those with green thumbs: I did a google search for aratilis, and found out that it belongs to the genus Muntingia, and is a close relative of the Jamaican cherry. It’s tinier than the first joint of your pinky finger; it’s green and hard when it isn’t ripe, and red and squishy when it’s ripe. Never enjoyed eating it, though my sister loved it. 😆 )

So… this yearning for a playhouse–is it genetic, you think? Is it something that all kids pass through? Because all my kids passed through a stage of trying to build their own playhouses (never mind that there are Little Tykes ready-built playhouses; there must be a primal urge to build a cave with one’s own hands).

My fifth son just built his a few days ago. Right in the comfort of our living room.

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Yep. I knew those huge floor throw pillows had to be good for sumthin’. 😆

Day3: Oh Happy Day!

Oh happy day! Oh happy day! My package finally came in! My long-awaited Bind-It-All, accessories, space bar, acrylic and chipboard covers, and o-rings, finally in my home! Yabba-yabba-yeah-YEAH!

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Okay, so maybe I kind of went overboard with all those o-rings… shhhhh. ( Wouldn’t you, if it took about a month for the supplies to get to you? 😆 Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m justifying it. heehee).

Of course, since I happen to be a gadget queen, it should come as no surprise that I totally love this tool?

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A corner rounder that can cut through chipboard and other thick stuff! Mmmmm! It’s like a long-lost relative of my beloved Cropadile! 😆

Now, all I have to do is learn how to use these. Unlock the Power of the Tools! Indulge in the Gadget Love Affair! Let the hybrid games begin! bahahahaha!

Oh! Along with the BIA, I also got a bunch of books (to read during the Christmas break–yay!), ordered from both Amazon and ideabooks4u.

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Love these two stores, amazon & ideabooks4u. The best part? Great customer service. I ran into a snag with Amazon (Ali’s book was listed as available, and then not), and they fixed it up as best as they could. Gotta love that. This was the first time I ordered from ideabooks4u (to get that Ali book which wasn’t available in Amazon), and they did an awesome job of delivering quickly and shipping the items wonderfully.

I am a sucker for great customer service. The product, whatever it is, has to be fabulous–of course, or else, why buy it, right? But even if I’ve got an excellent product staring me in my face, if it isn’t accompanied by excellent customer service, I can easily turn around and march right out, empty-handed and wallet-full, without an iota of regret.

Let me digress a bit and mention that (based on my experience) all digi shoppes are awesome and I have not yet met a designer who wasn’t a really, really nice, generous, sweet person. But I need to give a shout-out to my friend, Becky, who handles customer service at Scrapbook-Graphics.com. Each and every time I have run to her for help, whether it’s a tiny issue or a huge concern, she has always treated my pleas for help with much gentleness, concern, kindness, and immediate action. If there was an award given for excellent customer service in a digi shoppe, I’d vote for Becky any day. She’s definitely one of the reasons why SBG is among my favorite digi-shoppes! 🙂

I think it’s totally great to take an ordinary day and make it special by celebrating people who do their jobs with much heart and dedication. Just appreciating them is enough to put a smile of gratitude and quiet contentment on my face! (Among these people would be the three security guards who serve at my sons’ school. They are such a joy to meet every morning! Everyday when I take my kids to school, I’m greeted with big smiles and warm “Good morning!” greetings… every. single. day. Rain or shine. No fail. I love that, you know? That cheerfulness in the morning that lasts all the way till later on in the day when I come over to pick up my kids–it’s so precious! They’re definitely one of the best things I love about my sons’ school! 🙂 What about you–whom would you like to celebrate today? 😉

Day4: Belen on a Deadline

Ever tried crafting on a deadline?

Last Wednesday afternoon, my son R came home with news:

“Mom, my teacher wants me to submit a belen for extra credit.”

Belen is the Filipino term for the nativity scene, which can be found at Christmastime in every Filipino home (that, and the ubiquitous parol, or Christmas star). 😀

I noted the information and… promptly forgot about it, thinking there’d be the weekend to deal with it.

Well. Yesterday afternoon, R came home with news again: “The belen is due tomorrow.”

And: “It has to be artistic.”

Whaaaaa? You need this is less than 24 hours?

Zoom. Off we rushed to the malls to look for a nativity scene that could be bought off the shelves. Shouldn’t be a problem, right? After all, this is standard Christmas decor fare.

Wrong. Six stores and two pairs of tired legs after, I decided to buy a nativity scene figure and some raw materials and c.r.e.a.t.e. the nativity scene. I had absolutely no idea how it would come out; I only knew that it was our only option, since the bookstores we went to had absolutely no books with a nativity scene of the paper-doll kind; and none of the toy stores had any toy nativity scenes.

Here’s what the preliminary stages of the nativity-scene-creative process looked like:

The bare naked facts:

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The backside:
(jumble of rice lights peeping on the right side)
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The front:
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And let’s not forget the recipe:

Ingredients:

extra thick chipboard, leftover unused chopsticks from Japanese-food takeout, some strapping tape, glue sticks, PVC glue, brown crepe paper, glittery fronds, a set of tiny rice lights, leftover animal toys borrowed from children’s toy box, and one store-bought Holy Family figure

Tools Needed:

glue gun, cutter, cutting mat, and yer good old trusty Cropadile 😉

Procedure:

Mix together, pulling cobwebby strands of glue from the glue gun (which manage to find their way all over the stuff). Cut some, measure some, laugh a lot. Plug in the lights when done, and voila!

The finished product, and my Day 4 Photo-a-Day accomplished as well! 😆

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Freebie Mini

And since you made it this far, I thought it would be really nice if I could reward you with a little freebie, right?

This is just a tiny one… I have found that if I wait till I’ve got a fuller set to give away, I end up not blogging for days while working away on my designs. Then I end up torturing you with these long, long, looooong posts! 😆

So I decided to try a different route and give off little freebies now and then… that way I get to see you more often, and you get to download more (albeit smaller) freebies! Does that work for you? 🙂

So here’s what we have for today:

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This is a 6×6 chipboard journaling block… just type (or write, if you’re doing hybrid 😉 ) your journaling on the lines, and voila!

Click on the image to download the journaling block (or should I say journaling circle?) 😀

PS. 4shared no longer allows comments on the download page unless you have an account with them and are logged in… so I would totally embrace you if you took the time to leave love on my blog as you download. 🙂

And before I go (it’s mid-dawn once again!), I have a little riddle for you:

Question: What could a 14-year-old teenage girl and her middle-aged aunt possibly have in common?

Answer: A love for Jason Mraz! Well… more specifically, absolute adoration for the boy by the teenage girl, and absolute love for the music (not the boy, LOL) by the aunt.

And because my niece is in Paris, this one is especially for her, in hopes that she manages to bump into the boy of her dreams while he walks along the streets again, someday in the future. 🙂

Enjoy, and I’ll see you soon, my sweeties!

PS. I can’t believe the guy just chased those pigeons down! Ooogy! I remember the first time I was in Paris, and dh wanted to take a photo with all the pigeons on the street… and I love birds. NOT. I think you can tell from my hunched up shoulders and the body-tilt (away from the birds, far far away) in the photo below. bwahahaha! 😆

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Surprise!!! It’s freebie time!!! :D

18 Aug

749003_beach.jpgCome jump with me! I am so excited to finally unwrap this gift I have for you!

Happy happy day! I’ve been working on a surprise gift for all my friends at Jessica’s playground, and now I can present the first box!!!

This is an ongoing process of discovery… So far I have 5 solids and 16 patterned papers. These are all 12×12 and made at 300ppi. I will be uploading them in packs, so that downloading is easier to handle for you (and uploading is easier to handle for me! ) )

Besides, I think it’s always nice to get little packages delivered to your door for an extended number of days rather than having one huge overwhelming box dropped in your living room, don’t you think? D

This is my very first attempt to make a mini kit, and I’m so glad that you’re walking right beside me as I take this journey. Renee Pearson’s book has been invaluable in teaching me how to go about designing, so I am so grateful to her for that. Even more, I am overflowing with affection and gratitude for my favorite digi-diva of all time, Jessica Sprague, because without her, I wouldn’t be exploring this creative landscape and feeding my addiction to digital scrapbooking. She taught me how to get up and run, and for that I will always, always be grateful. It is also on her playground where I met some of the very best friends this world has to offer, and that has been a totally unexpected and utterly amazing gift.

Our next official journey with Jessica (the intermediate class) is supposed to start sometime in October, and I am sooo looking forward to that! Jessica’s classes are always sooo thrilling and enthralling, and my playground friends and I miss the buzz that we used to get every single day of our U&R course. So we try to wait as patiently as we can, and we try to amuse ourselves with organizing our digi stashes (in my vocabulary, ACDSee is now a verb!) and with coming up with Photoshop Friday challenges to attempt together. Since I’m bursting with energy, I’ve added this adventure of creating digi schtuff to my repertoire of Things to Do to Keep Myself Amused Till Jessica’s Next Class comes around. D

So that’s why this kit is called Play With Me. I made it in honor of Jess and all my playmates on her playground. I love them all!I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it. Again, it’s very simple, nothing grand… but it comes with a kazillion hugs and a whole load of affection. )

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Here’s the first of the series: You can download it HERE. Please don’t forget to leave a comment if you do snag it (and even if you don’t). Your comments are like gas in my creative tank: always good when it’s fully loaded. ETA: Sorry, link is no longer available.

Oh and after you download the zip file, when you unzip it, it will ask you for a password. The password is digilove. All small letters, no caps, no period. Just “digilove” )

If you have friends who want to snag the freebie as well, feel most welcome to send them over to my blog for the links, please. That’s all I ask: no hotlinking please. Okay, so that’s two I ask 🙂 :

– download from my blog directly, and

– do please leave a comment.

Now that’s not asking for much, right? 8)

One last thing… if you do use it on a layout, could you give me a link to your LO? I would be so honored to be able to see the wonderful works of art you created! Thanks so much!

Okay, then… off to work on more stuff for you! Happy downloading, my friends! ) And don’t forget to come back to my blog every now and then to check out the the rest of the kit!

Hope to see you soon! 😀

Drumroll… my very first freebie! Yippee!

10 Aug

Share the love for words; share the digi-love!

Here’s my very first wordart and my very first freebie. I made 2 versions: the first is with color and the second is in black and white, so that you can recolor it to fit your layout if you wish. Both are made at 300ppi and are about 3 inches high, I think… although you can easily resize it using the transform handles of your scrapping software. They are also .png files (don’t you just love transparent backgrounds?).

My TERMS OF USE are simple (haven’t had time to study how to include it in the file download, and I’ve been so excited to just share with you… so for the meantime I’ll put the terms of use right over here and later on in a page that you can click on at the top… 🙂 ) – For personal use only. Please give credit to me, LivE, or LivEdesigns @ https://livestories.wordpress.com when you use it on a public gallery or for a submitted layout. And of course, use only for what is good, just, and refined. 😀

Please, please, please leave me a comment, even if you decide not to download it… it would help me so much in my desire to share with you what you really want or need.

Please remember, these are PNG files; the backgrounds are only there for your viewing pleasure. 😀

livedesigns-wordart0701c-we.jpg Download the colored version here.

WordArt 0701C Words… Download the black and white version here. ETA: Sorry, links are no longer available.

Yippee! I just tried it and it works!

Now… would you like me to create specific wordart for you? Leave me a comment and I’ll do what I can! 🙂

Another tree in my forest

23 Jul

Individuality

Earlier I spoke of missing the forest for the trees (that is, stressing over how to make this blog work instead of just getting right down to it!) Now I feel like I’m swinging from tree to tree with all the posts I’ve been making today! 😀

So okay, my tree this time: I’m going to attempt to upload an image.

Be patient with me, guys. I’m just a little baby learning to walk in blogland. 😀

This is one of the first oil paintings I made. Its title is Individuality. Kind of makes me hear “One of these things is not like the other…” playing in the background. 😀

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