Archive | Management RSS feed for this section

Birthday Bash at JessicaSprague.com!

24 Jun

We’re turning 2 years old this month at JessicaSprague.com, and we’re inviting everyone to the PAR-TAY!

Things are buzzing around the Spraground; we’ve got a week-long birthday bash going on! Lots of cookies (as can be expected from the Dark Side, hahaha! 😆 ) and cakes and ice cream, and boy have we got party hats in a big way! Come on over and check it out!

Also just doing a quick post to let you know (but you probably already do! 😉 ) that we have awesome party favors and giveaways!

Birthday FREE COURSE!

First off is Jessica’s uber-awesome, highly-anticipated, new FREE Photo-Editing: Special Effects & Frame-Ups course! (Did I say you get it for free?) Sign up period for this free course is strictly during our birthday week, so if you haven’t yet signed up (and let me tell ya, the response has been H-U-G-E, it is so EXCITING!), come and sign up for it! Registration ends on Sunday, along with our festivities, so you have till now and then to hop on our fun bus!

To sign up, you just need to be a registered member of the Spraground (registration is FREE too!)

Then follow these instructions:

Free Registration for Photo Editing: Frame-ups and Special Effects – Just log in to your account (or create one), then click here and enter the code: FREECLASS062009 to be automatically registered! Then check out the class introduction in your My Classes link in the main menu. Registration is free through June 28, and class begins July 6!

HUGE 20% OFF SITE-WIDE SALE!

It began yesterday, it’s going on right now, and it doesn’t end entil Sunday 11:59PM! We’ve got 20% off everything in our jessicasprague.com store! This includes self-paced classes, templates, products, EVERYTHING!

Plus we’re getting new stuff in the shop throughout the week, so keep checking back for more stuff!

BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAYS!

We’ve got 24-hour birthday freebies that we’re giving away every single day of this Birthday Bash week! You’ll find them up on our Spraground blog homepage, and you can download them from there from 10Am of the release day till 10AM of the next day, when a new freebie comes up and the previous one gets moved to our shop. So I hope you’ll take advantage of those 24 hours when these awesome goodies will be free for you! YAY!

I’m coming in a day late here (partying too hard on the Spraground, hahaha!) so the first freebie has gone up and down, and will now be available in the shop… BUT we’ve got the Day 2 freebie up, and this is why I’m running over to my porch to let you all know! There’s still time to snag it! 😀

Today’s freebie is my first template product in the shop (well, technically, it isn’t in the shop yet as it’s FREE right now, but tomorrow it’ll be moved to the shop shelves 😀 ). It’s also the template we’re using to play with today as we go about doing our Birth-Day 2 / June Create-a-Day:Day 23 challenge!

Here’s what it looks like:

01-LivE-EZPZT01-prevu

And here’s the layout that I created as a sample (featuring my very pretty niece):

w-LivEdesigns_EZPZT2-bea

And you can download it from our blog homepage till 10am tomorrow morning, Eastern Standard Time! After 10am it will go into our shop, and a new freebie will be up for grabs! YAY!

More coming soon, but right now I’ve got cookies waiting for me on the Spraground! Come skip and hop with me to the Spraground?

(((hugs)))

Beam me up, Scotty!

Feeling Creative? Join Us in June!

2 Jun

I’ve been multitasking 😉  in a big way these past few days  (Read: working with more than 10 Firefox tabs open, and we’re not even talking about the other windows I’ve got floating around on my PC monitor space). And I’ve been having the time of my life, because most of the windows and tabs that are open are all related to one thing: the passion for creating and challenges! YAY!

We just finished our first-ever Spragweek Challenge: 7 Days in May at our Spraground, and we had a great number of Spragbabes who showed up to participate in the layout-a-day challenges that we (my friends Janie, Linda, and I) cooked up. Our Challenge Gallery was a virtual eye-candy art exhibit, what with all the great layouts being uploaded by the hour!

And… because wishes do come true on our Spraground, in response to the request of our members to have a month-long daily-layout challenge session, we are holding Create-A-Day in June, where challenges and prompts will be provided every single day for this entire month! And as always, it’s open to everyone! (So if you haven’t joined us yet, consider yourself formally invited… by me! 😆 )

Here’s your invitation:

w-CADflyer

Credits: Painted Edges overlay  by Flergs@ScrapbookGraphics.com).

So hop on the challenge train, and if you’re seeing this after June 1st, it’s totally okay! We have the Challenge Archives for those who want to catch up, and if the thought of going back in time doesn’t appeal to you and you’d rather just jump right  in the middle of things, that’s totally fine too! Whichever day you decide is best,  you can still come and join us at any point (can you tell we just love company? 😆 )

Pssst. Just a little secret: you really may want to be around the Spraground on the week of June 22-27, which is when we celebrate our 2nd birthday! We’ve got loads of treats in store for you, and that includes surprises for those participating in our June Create-A-Day challenges! (Now, isn’t that a great incentive to come join us now? 😉 )

Wait for more exciting stuff coming up in future announcements about our Second Spraground Birthday! 😉

PS. If you need a map to get to the Spraground, click on the swings right up there on the top right and voila! Find yourself in the most magical place in the virtual world! 😉

My MayDay Three

I don’t normally have the time to create layouts along with leading the challenges, but the energy and excitement last week were so infectious that I just couldn’t help myself!  I was able to get layouts done up to Day 3, but couldn’t go further as I had to buckle down to work on the ongoing June challenges.

So here are the ones I made:

Day 1 was a template challenge, with a template made by… me! heehee!

This was the template we used:

folder

And here’s the layout I made:

w-LivE_7DiM-D1

{ Click image for a larger view }

Credits: Lorie Davison @ SBG: Flying Dreams: Background Paper, Moon / LivEdesigns: Layered Template, Grunge Brush / Font: Anivers

Day 2 was a challenge based on my dear friend (and our Spraground mama) Jessica’s Photoshop Friday tutorial on Burning an Image into a Colored Accent Block… with a twist! This one was really challenging for me, as I had no idea how to twist the tutorial! 😆 But hey, that’s what’s great about challenges, right? They stretch your horizons and give you reason to push your skills further and further! (Gotta love that!)

Here’s the layout I made:

w-LivE_7DiM-D2

Credits: Jofia Defoe-The Smell of Summer paper / Ziggle Designs-If Only in My Dreams paper (slightly recolored) / Katie Pertiet-ScriptedOverlay, WateryOverlay, MessedUpOverlays2, FilmedOverlays2, ScriptedType brush, GrungedUpAlpha1 brushes, StitchedChipStrips / Kellie Mize-PaintedLove brushes, PanosFX puzzle action, snf modtype

And Day 3’s challenge was to create a layout about an inanimate treasured object. This one also made me think… I have treasured friends and treasured family… but treasured objects? (I couldn’t do a layout on my computer or my camera because they’re not objects… they’re appendages to my body! hahaha!) So, after thinking and thinking, and at one point staring at my cabinet as I was deep in thought, I had a eureka moment and voila! Thus was born this layout celebrating my love affair with… tadah! My jeans!

w-LivE_7DiM-D3

{ Click image for larger view }

Credits: Natali Design: Swirl / Gunhild: FrayedFabric mask / Jen Wilson: LittleTags-Boys / Katie Pertiet: LilBitTags stitch, SewnStatements tag, WateryOverlay / Anna Aspnes: StitchedbyAnna stitches (recolored), TexturedOverlay / Amanda Rockwell: HomeSweetHome heart / FeiStuff-Pindated pin / Dana Zarling: Timeworn paper & Lynn Grieveson: Barcelona paper (blended) / Fonts: Artistamp & Lights Out

Back to the saltmines

Yep, gotta get off this blogporch swing and start marching back to the saltmines. Lots of work to do (but fun, fun, fun work!) Stay, make yourself at home, have all the iced tea you want, and I’ll see you around in a bit! ((((hugs)))))

Too Awesome for Words

23 Sep

There is no way to put into words what an immensely wonderful experience our recently-concluded Type+writer course has been. Funny how a writing course can leave one speechless… but that is exactly how I’ve been for a good part of the course. Speechless with awe and admiration and amazement at the incredible response from each one who took the Type+Writer ride with Jessica and me!

Every single Spragmate who took the course was incredibly terrific. Our class gallery is filled with precious layouts that tug at the heart, make you laugh, make you smile, make you weep. These are not just photos and words on pages, they’re hearts and souls laid bare on the pages. I am so honored to have been witness to this wonderful journey of heart and soul and photoshopping fingers!

I had the most awesome two weeks of my life working with my dear friend Jessica. Just when you think that she’s so awesome and that she can’t get any better than best, she just ups and surprises you by being even more awesome than the minute before! Gotta say, this lady is one of my most favorite people on earth! What a total gift it was to be able to work hand in hand with her on this course. This is certainly an experience that has carved itself on my heart forever.

To all my darling Spraggirls/Spragguys who’ve left love on the forum and in my inbox: Jessica and I love you guys. We really do. You are just incredibly awesome.

HUGE hugs and squeezes to each of you!

And for those who missed the Type+Writer beta course, stay tuned… I hear it might be coming back early next year! 😉

So now that the course is over (and happy me, I still have a couple of weeks to marvel at each and every layout in our gallery!), I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms… I’ve been getting too much sleep since last night! 😆

Triathlon Update

Just when I thought the Olympics had all but covered the momentum of our excitement, our triathlon photos finally came out in the newspapers last September 9th. Woohoo! Because of the limited space, we each got only one photo of ours published instead of the original bunch that we were told the newspaper originally planned to publish… but hey, who’s complainin’? 😀

Our triathlon photos, published! Woohoo!

Our triathlon photos, published! Woohoo!

And the first paragraph of the article was about us, too! Cool!

Triathlon Writeup

Triathlon Writeup

One of these days, I’ll probably resurrect my Flickr account and upload the triathlon photos I took… I think if I were a triathlete, I’d love to get my hands on any photographic evidence that my body is still a lean, mean machine, eh? 😆

(Can you tell I’ve got time on my hands? 😆 )

I Want

I’m a firm believer in the saying, When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. 😉 (Shopping also keeps me awake and on my toes and totally inspired, so don’t ask me how much digi schtuff I bought in the last couple of weeks… ‘course I’d use any excuse to buy those yummies, right? hehe)

Bad habits are hard to break, so since I’ve been awake with not much to do these past couple of days, I’ve been surfing… Tsk, tsk. This is dangerous stuff, surfing. You see things that you never thought you needed, and suddenly you find yourself chanting (softly at first, then increasing in volume in tempo): I want, I want, I want!

Here’s my latest “I want”:

I want you, Bind-it-all 2.0!

I want you, Bind-it-all 2.0!

I’ve been resisting this for the longest time (and good thing, too, because they just came out with the 2.0 new improved version!). I have my beloved Cropadile, and I’ve been convincing myself that I really don’t need another gadget, since I can punch holes easily through most of the material (and more) that the Bind-It-All can… Sure, those wires are so cool, but surely there must be substitutes for those wires?

However. During one of our chats, I asked my dear friend and guru (and shoe-shopping enabler) Jes what the difference was between the Cropadile and the Bind-It-All (and yes, I kinda figured that the Cropadile is a glorified puncher and eyelet setter, but what a glory it has! 😆 ) and she gave me the link to Zutter’s vid that shows the BIA at work. I must confess I was a bit distracted by the vid (hehehe) but I did feel the rumble of a “want, want, want” chant beginning inside… And of course, it didn’t help in the dissuasion department that Jes herself has a BIA and says it works in the most awesome way!

So. This is the latest gadget(object) of my affection. The only annoying thing is that, since I need to have it shipped it over so many miles, I need to predict what supplies I’ll be needing so that it all comes in one big bulk. (Yum, don’t you love FedEx?).

Sooooo I need some advice from you sweeties. Tell me, do you have a Bind-It-All? Do you love it? Do you find that you buy less scrapbook albums off the shelf and instead spend time indulging in your creative manual labor with this delish machine and the accompanying wires and chipboard covers? And the million-dollar question: what O-wire rings do you use most often? (I can’t decide which ones to get!)

End my misery (by telling me) or enable me (by telling me)… either way, I’d love to hear from you! (And when you do drop me a line, I’d be most grateful for your assistance in turning this I want, I want, I want into I have, I have, I have !

More later…

I’m off to work on some more freebs for you sweeties, so I’ll see you later with more news! Till then, have a happy, scrappy day! 😀

BACK HOME! Yay!

6 Jul

Less than 24 hours with my feet firmly planted on homeground (okay, so maybe they’re firmly planted behind my butt as I sit on my chair, legs up, in front of my compy), and 3 hours of sleep after, and I’m so glad to be back home. I love traveling, but I love coming home more. 🙂

Chicago was awesome. If you go bloghopping, beginning with the Main Girlie’s blog (Read: Jessica, that Super-Awesome MegaWoman friend of mine) and going down the trail of blogs of my friends Shell, Veevs, Joan, Jana, Tori, Kari, Deb, Laurie, Jeanne, Susan, Amy, Lisa, Tall Lisa, and Janet who joined us for dinner on Friday evening, you should be pretty up to date with the am-AAA-zing weekend we all had last 27-29 June. We blew away the Windy City with all our cameras (the guy on the River cruise we took said “Wowza! I’ve never before seen such a group of women with such awesome cameras!” hehe. You tell em, dude! 😛 ), our laughter, our craziness, and our overflowing love for each other.

Lots of photos coming soon. As of last upload count, I had 2000 photos, so I will have to work on sorting through all of them and narrowing the count (lest this become a photo blog, lol!). Gotta love 8GB camera cards, huh? 🙂 Okay, so maybe those photos included NYC as well, but Chicago alone accounted for about 1500 of the total photo count… (Chicago GFs, are you ready to download these? ROFL!)

While sitting in the plane flying home, thousands of feet above sea level in the middle of dawn and morning, I grabbed a pen and paper and wrote this by hand, fully wishing I had a laptop instead, and fully intending to post it on my blog as soon as I arrived home. So here it is; bear with me:

How Gremlins Can Be a Good Thing

It’s a 28-hour-flight, more or less (or at least it feels like it), and we’re crossing time zones and three cities with layovers and de-planing and re-planing (I’m inventing words and I’m claiming jetlag insanity to excuse it 😛 ). Aaaand it just so happens that my little 2-year-old boy decides that THIS, the longest leg of the flight, from Detroit, USA to Nagoya, Japan, is the perfect opportunity to grab a nightmare out of nowhere and have a major meltdown in a plane filled to the brim with tired passengers trying desperately to get some shut-eye between cities.

So picture this: a large jet with every seat occupied by a tired, heavy-lidded passenger trying to find the most comfy sleeping position possible. Lights dimmed. Low hum of plane engines the perfect white noise to lull everyone to sleep. Perfect. And then…

NYEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHHHHAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

A piercing cry, shrill, high-pitched, breaks through the sleepy lull, like a mad banshee in a forest. Heaven help me, the sound is emanating from this little 2-year-old boy beside me, the one who just a few minutes ago was like a sleeping angel in my arms. I hug him, I hold him, I shush him. But the kicking, screaming, and blind punching continue. This nightmare my little one has had is so real, he can’t even wake up enough to realize that it’s just a dream (and my ego suffers a dip as I realize my most soothing motherly voice does nothing in the comfort department, lol!) The binky I offer gets hurled by angry little fists at least 2 rows down, to be fished by some elderly gentleman from the plane’s carpeted floor (thank you, my eyes tell him with extreme gratitude and apology combined).

“J touched me!!! He touched me!!!” my little one screams, pointing to his arm, punching the air, totally annoyed that his older brother “touched” him while he was sleeping. Of course this little older brother was seated a row ahead of him and two seats to the left… and unless this boy had morphed into the PlasticMan while I was asleep, there was absolutely no way that he could’ve touched this other sweetie of mine.

But even if I whisper “It was just a dream, honey” and “J is fast asleep; he couldn’t have touched you, dear,” my little one is unconvinced and is just a total mess of tears and wailing.

After about 24 hours (okay, in reality, it was less than an hour, but it certainly felt like 24), my dear hubby comes to the rescue, hobbling over legs from his seat 2 rows ahead of us where he had our 4-year-old sleeping the flight away curled like a nice little baby lamb on the seat next to his (Why, oh, why could we not have shifted kiddo assignments for this particular flight, I ask myself wistfully).

Three minutes after hubby squats beside our seats, which is now a tangled mess of airline pillows and blankets, my little one decides to quiet down. Still refusing to be held by anyone, he tucks his little binky’ed chin into his chest and faces the backrest of the chair to whimper and sniffle himself back to sleep. I watch with bated breath, fearful that any movement might rouse the gremlin that got into my kid and make him do a screaming banshee act again.

And then. Like the first rays of dawn beaking through the dark clouds of a long-winded nightmare, the little one reaches for me, bleary-eyed, with outstretched arms, and softly whispers…

“Mama.”

And I take that little monster of mine into the curve of my circled arms, rock him back and forth a bit, and when I am sure his breathing is relaxed and back to its peaceful cadence, I let out a long sigh of relief and more than a couple of teardrops of exhaustion.

Now what could be good about this major meltdown? (I am thinking of my friend Jes and her equally horrifying experience with her kids’ meltdown recently at a friend’s place. And I’m thinking, heck, this one beat theirs).

Count your blessings they say. Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.

Here’s the silver lining of this one: For one thing, I realize yet again that as parents you and I may want to control our children and their actions and reactions as much as we can (especially when that action causes an infinite reaction of shuffling and twisting and turning of disturbed passengers in their seats), and yet despite all our best efforts, we still aren’t able to do a single thing about it. Not because we lack anything, not because we did not foresee this, not because we are unprepared, but only because… sometimes, that’s just the way things are.

Acceptance.

This has taught me to accept with peace and calmness that certain things are just beyond one’s control.

And since we mentioned peace… this brings us to the second silver lining: This experience beats any eight-week class on Lamaze breathing exercises. This is the mother load of training in Inner Peace Maintenance. I’ve heard it said: Never try to put out a fire with a blaze. This meltdown certainly had enough heat of its own. So a couple of deep breaths and inner calming mechanisms later, I can now claim that I am a Master of the Zen of Deep Breathing.

Third silver lining: This drives home the truth in that old adage – This, too, shall pass. Good moments, freaky ones… they all pass. They’re all temporary, fleeting, here today gone tomorrow, popping like fragile bubbles of time. What a great reminder of how, truly, we are simply travelers in this world, passing through temporarily till we get to our final destination with peace, wits, and ability to appreciate all things intact.

Ah.

The profundity that lies behind Major Meltdowns. Where would we be without it?

Other Various Lessons I Learned from 10 Days Away from Home:

1. You can get *really* BIG hair in the Big Apple if you skip that crucial step of applying conditioner after you shampoo your hair at night. So make sure you either use conditioner at night or get up really early before the rest of your family does.

2. You can walk around and around in circles, map in hand, to get to Madame Tussaud’s in New York, and then lose the map at the 4-D show at M. Tussaud’s yet walk back to your hotel in four minutes flat, in a straight line. Nope, no circles, no map. Less time. Go figure.

3. You can meet, hug, stay up late, and walk the streets of Chicago with friends you’ve only actually held in your arms a matter of seconds ago in real life… and feel like you’ve known them all your life, and feel like you can talk and talk and talk forever, and miss them like crazy when the three days are over because these are people you love and who love you back… and know that this is phenomenal, that this is a gift, that this is something that doesn’t happen to many in even one lifetime. And you know in your heart. THIS is what connection is. Not as it is defined in any dictionary, but as it is etched forever in the grooves of your heart.

To all my Spragsistahs that I hugged in real life in Chicago, and to my most awesome, amazing friend Jes… THANK YOU. This is an experience I will always treasure in my heart. And remember, there are no goodbyes… only Till Next Spraguefest, right? 😉

And now, on to the growing list of to-do’s that are calling my name…

I’ve been working on the…

6 Jun

… railroad, all the live long day… 😆

Do any of you remember that preschool song?

It’s been a super-fabulously EXCITING couple of days, staying up round the clock and working, working, working, and waiting, waiting, waiting… for the FIRST BIRTHDAY of our beloved Spraground!!! 😀

Our Spraground, aka jessicasprague.com, just turned one year old on June 4th, and we’re having a week-long celebration (or likely longer, since we all have a tendency to party at all times over there! 😆 )! The site is new, with a MARVELOUS new look created by the awesome Jessica-and-Jared tandem, and lots of new things to celebrate! All of the great things, and then some more!!!

Jes is so wonderful: we now have MORE awesome courses offered right on our Spraground, so if you’ve happened to stumble onto my blog porch and haven’t visited our beloved Spraground, do come and join our celebration!

THE Candice Stringham will be offering a fabulous Photography course for beginners!

The expert on all things Shoebox and Mac, my friend Molly Schneider, will be offering a Shoebox class for digital organization… (Last month my sister was just sighing over the dearth of resources and support for Shoebox use, and I had told her “Go look for Molly because she’s awesome and she’ll be able to help you out!”… It’s truly amazing how you make a silent wish and then Jessica hears and makes it magically come true!).

Heidi Vanyo, of DigiScrapInfo fame (she and sister Connie are the ACDSee experts), will continue teaching the ACDSee course.

Then there are other self-paced courses and more instructor-led courses coming up (including one on journaling and typography which Jes and I will be team-teaching on… this is totally EXCITING for me, and have I said what an incredible honor it is to be teaming up with the VERY BEST instructor??? WOOOHOOOO!!! 😀 )

Our site is totally THE place to be, so if you haven’t registered and checked it out, and you have even just a tiny teeny weeny interest in digi-scrapping, run, run, run to jessicasprague.com!!!

An Exclusive Freebie

I’ve been working hard on a Spraground Exclusive Freebie for the past days… and am so happy to say that the first part is complete and uploaded on our Spraground! You have to be logged in to get it, so do sign up… not only for the freebie, but even more for the phenomenal learning going on in that awesome site, and for the fabulous friendships you’re surely going to develop as soon as you join our Spraground family!

Here’s the first part of the exclusive freebie (Note: Since this freebie is exclusive to the Spraground, having been created in celebration of our First Birthday, there won’t be any links to it on my blog. The links are on jessicasprague.com! )

Exclusive Spraground Birthday Celebration Freebie

 

There are 8 highly-textured papers in this first part of the freebie! Totally had fun creating these!

If you’re not yet playing with us on our Spraground, here’s hoping you come over and join us! There are enough swings and slides! 😆

Oops!

It’s again 5AM and here I am still sitting at my compy. I guess that means I should be going, huh? 😆

Have a happy day, sweeties!!!

Photo Catch-Up!

2 Jun

Uhhh…. probably more like Photo Avalanche coming up (consider yourself forewarned, my friend). 😛

Our May Photo-a-Day challenge at the Spraground has just ended, and I have to admit, I’m experiencing a bit of withdrawal symptoms… There’s just something magical about the Spraground activities that makes one keep hankering for more. Amazing.

I loved seeing all the photos of my Spragmates come up in the Photo-A-Day gallery… the eyecandy is just so astounding over there! Even greater than that, this gallery is yet another testament of just how much phenomenal talent there is in that special home on the web! (If you happened to stumble onto my porch today and haven’t joined us yet on our Spraground, dooooo come and join us! We’re celebrating our home’s birthday this June 4th, so come a register on that day–it’s free–and join us in all the wonderful celebrating, whooping and yeehaw-ing that we’re surely going to be having for about a week!)

OK, so now you can stop reading if you don’t want to get bombarded by photo phreakishness! 😆 I haven’t uploaded my photos since the last time, so here’s a whole avalanche of them!

May 11 ~ Traffic Lights

I so don’t like traffic, but I do get mesmerized by the red lines made by brake lights on the shiny, rain-kissed roads…

May 12 ~ Beacon

Turned off all the lights in my home except this set of 4 dinner lights that hang over our dining table. I thought the matte silver bars holding them up would show, but ended up with these seemingly-floating lamps instead. They kind of remind me of those biblical virgins with their lamps waiting in a line for the bridegroom… 😛

May 13 ~ Shell Cathedral

Couldn’t help thinking that this looked like a cathedral among the rest of the shell village. 🙂 (PS. i am nowhere near the beach… just had this bunch of shells for the longest time and decided they made a great photo-op, hehe)

May 14 ~ dare to be different

I have always been fascinated by smooth, dark river stones… or, for that matter, stones in general, including glass ones.

CREDIT: Used a texture by Voidix as overlay

May 15 ~ X marks the spot

Ha! Finally found another use for our metal and leather tic-tac-toe set on our coffee table in the living room.

Credit: Used a texture by Ghostbones as overlay

May 16 ~ El Burrito

Meet Burrito, one of the many donkeys in my home. 😀 I’ve always loved donkeys, mostly because there’s something so moving about the most lowly, most humble animal carrying the greatest King on his back… 🙂

May 17 ~ Mug Shot

Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun. Love my stainless steel coffee cups but not as much as i love what’s inside them. hahaha!

May 18 ~ Seek and you shall find.

My son has been very “into” Pink Panther lately, and decided to be Inspector Clouseau for the day. Totally funny. 😛

May 19 ~ Seek the light.

Could not help marvel at how this little plant remains verdant, fresh, and alive despite the bramble of thorns and darkness that surround it. I think it’s another one of Nature’s silent lessons to us: that in the depth of all the tribulations we may face at one point or another, we need to just keep our faces turned up to Heaven and things will work out…

May 20 ~ His & Hers

He has his marbles; I have my pearls. 😀 (The “he” is my 5 year old son, and the pearls are from the South China Sea, which happens to be very nicely located near the islands I call home 🙂 )

May 21 ~ Small Beginnings, Great Things

A very ordinary photo, but a testament to my belief that there is an artist in every child, and a child in every artist… here’s to the children in us! 🙂

May 22 ~ Ideal

I have ducks in almost every room of my house. They’re a good reminder of what I strive for: to be like a duck–calm on the surface but paddling like the dickens underneath (Michael Caine quote). 😀

May 23 ~ Haven
Is there any place more comforting, more safe, more serene, than the embrace of a mother? There is an indescribable warmth in her arms that we will always run to (or remember fondly, when she’s gone), whether we’re 6 or 60… I am always amazed by the softness and gentleness of the Madonna & Child, even when represented in hard brass sculpture. (This is one of the works in our home done by a Filipino artist called Michael Cacnio).

May 24 ~ For Sale

My 6yr-old son spent the entire morning of the 24th making this, and then declared that he was going to put up a toy shop and sell his creations “so we can have enough money to spend (when we go on our vacation).” ROFL. I thought it was incredibly cute and certainly a moment to remember so I can remind him about it when he’s older.

May 25 ~ Nurture the sillies.

I think a sense of humor is definitely one of the essentials needed to get through Life, don’t you? 🙂

May 26 ~ Ssssshhhh…oes!

Promise you won’t tell anyone about this sssshhhoe secret? I really do not have many obsessions in life besides shoes (uh, there’s digiscrapping, and hard drives, and photography stuff, and… hehehe). Oh… and don’t tell my hubby: he hasn’t opened my shoe cabinet since we got married. hehehe.

May 27 ~ Serious Business

Sssh. This is a really important earth-changing board meeting going on; maintain silence and no comments from the peanut gallery. LOL! I am so amused by how serious these two look, when in reality their conversation revolved around what each had drawn on their own papers. Gotta love kids! 😀

May 28 ~ Simple Pleasures  Ahhh… once in a while you taste wine so delicious, you just have to sing… it’s just one of those simple things that make life a joy to live. 😀

May 29 ~ Succor

We all have those days, when darkness falls and we grope our way through, hoping for a hand to hold onto… it always helps to know that there’s a warm and safe place to run to, where we can count on a friend waiting there for us with a ready embrace. My light, my home, my arms are open to every single one of you both here on my blog porch and in my Spraground family. 🙂

PS. I wish the front door of my real home were as romantic as this; however, this is the back door of a restaurant where hubby and I had dinner. 😛

May 30 ~ Order in Chaos

This is the plant that I see when I look out of one of my dining-room windows… Today I was amazed that as the wind blew the soft stems of the plant every which way, the individual leaves nevertheless looked calm and in place… Again, Mother Nature gives us an amazing lesson: no matter how confused and confusing everything is around us, if we hold on steadily to our principles and values, we will get through the chaos with our serenity and certainty intact. 🙂

May 31 ~ Believe in magic.

I think that one of our greatest challenges in this journey called Life is the struggle to see the world with the freshness, the innocence, the purity of the eyes of a child. My children have taught me a very important lesson: that no matter where one looks, if one believes in magic, there will be miracles to be witnessed in the most ordinary of places. Here’s to the miracle of our friendships, our Spraground, and our lives!

Phew! Wake up! The show is done! 😆

Am presently working on freebies; will be back with them soon!

Have a happy day!

Freebie Fun!

21 May

Just a quick one, as I’ve been through a whirlwind 2 weeks of real life and digi life and everything in between…

Just wanted to leave a quick gift for everyone who passes by my porch (and there’s iced tea and cookies and freshly brewed coffee too over here too! 😀 ).

Thank you for all the prayers and all the kind words that you’ve left in my comments. Your friendship is so precious to me, your words such a balm. You are totally awesome. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am about 7 layouts delayed… 4 for our April challenges (was too busy wrapping up the previous run of the Up&Running course, and then attending to our Digi: In Deep course that followed on its heels 🙂 ) and 3 layouts for the templates that I created for our Digi: In Deep creative challenges.

I hit two birds with one stone by combining this week’s Spraground Weekly Challenge-Designer Spotlight with my template-layout requirement (yay!) plus I got to restore and scrap with old photos. So yay, this was a great case of getting many things on my to-do list checked at one go! 🙂

The designer we spotlighted on our Spraground this week was Anna Aspnes from DesignerDigitals, who–like every single designer in that fab shoppe–has the most amazing work and best of all, they are ultra-generous with their freebies! This past Sunday she gave out the most WONDERFUL plume freebies! So that’s what we played with for our challenge!

Here’s what I made:

DIDIt-03 Template

CREDITS:

LivEdesigns DIDIt-03 Template; Anna Aspnes – DD 18MayFreebie Plumes; MeredithFenwick-AfternoonSerenadePapers ; GrungyBabyPapers; WarmHeartAlpha; DawnWilson-BlackFridayTab;
Fonts: BeautifulES; BabelSans; Times&Times; subway photo from statravel.co.nw; AtomicCupcake & Wow actions

And here’s the template that I used:

It comes with the drop shadows to make the three blocks look dimensional (but you can always disable the shadows), and you can use it either as a 3-photo template with journaling spaces; or a 6-photo template.

Hope you find some use for it! You can snag the template HERE, and thanks for the love you leave on my blog as you download it!

Well, gotta rush back to the one million one things I need to attend to.

Oh, and PS. Just a little request for prayers:

1. for my dear, precious friend Lisa who has just lost her husband and best friend (we are all grieving with her and we keep her in our thoughts and prayers, and would love to have you join us in lifting our prayers to Heaven); and

2. for my special intentions (which have to do with V-day… will let you know all about that soon!)

Thank you so much in advance, and do visit again soon!

(((((((((hugs)))))))))

Come on feel the noise…

5 May

…girls, rock your boys… we’re going wild, wild, wild… wild, wild, wild…!!!! 😆

I totally went wild over the weekend at the digiscrapping shoppes; did you, too??? OMG. The joy, the absolute joy, of finally being able to grab those items you’d been longing for, at the best prices too! YAY for (Inter)National Scrapbooking Day!!!

I went crazy at three places: ScrapbookGraphics (where one of my absolute favorite designers, Meredith Fenwick, has her shoppe), DesignerDigitals (yeah, DD rocks!!!), and ScrapArtist. Where did you go, and how crazy did you get? 😉

Now I’m totally stoked to begin working on my backlogged work for the Digi:In Deep course that we just finished last week at the Spraground. I still owe 3 templates and 3 layouts… and I also owe 4 layouts for our Spraground challenges. And I’m dying to create new stuff for you too!!! So look out for that this coming week! 😀

May Photo-A-Day

The fun never ends on our Spraground. Jessica is soooo awesome at keeping us all entertained!

If you haven’t yet checked out her blog, you should run there right now, believe me! Her latest Photoshop Friday tutorial is wonderful! (And if you haven’t signed up for her blog newsletter yet, carpe diem!!! 😀 )

Jes has also begun a challenge for May, for everyone! Called Photo-a-Day in May, we just take a photo a day –uhm, you absolutely guessed that, didn’t you? heehee–for each day in May. Then we post our photos on the special gallery that Jes created just for this challenge… and everyone comes to look at your photos and leave love on them! It’s a great Spraground we play in! (So if you’re just stumbling upon my little blog porch today and you’re interested in joining, please do feel most welcome!!! You need to be registered on the Spraground in order to post your photo on our special Photo-A-Day gallery, but no worries!–registration is free! And if you just want to look around… well, you’re welcome too! You’ll be awed my the masterpieces my Spraground sistahs have been hanging on the walls of the Photo-a-Day gallery… and in all the other galleries, too, for that matter! )

So here are my photos that I took for the first four days of May.

01 May – Breakfast Sunshine

Breakfast Sunshine

Description: Took a photo of my breakfast to bring a taste (pun!) of my country to our galleries, haha! This is called suman sa latik. Suman is glutinous rice cake, wrapped and steamed in banana leaves, and latik is a kind of sweet sauce made from freshly squeezed coconut milk and sugar. Taken with sweet, juicy mangoes, this is virtual breakfast heaven!

02 May – Poetry in Bloom
Breakfast Sunshine

Description: went walking around our homegrounds with 2 of my sons, looking for some photo-ops, and saw this beautiful flower (one among many) gently moving in the breeze… sometimes little things like this make you stop and catch your breath and remind you that God writes poetry with his Creation. Sigh. What beauty and perfection. 🙂

 03May – Symphony in Ebony & IvorySymphony in Ebony & Ivory

This is a pretty straightforward photo, but one that carries meaning for me. I grew up in a home where the piano played a great big role: I still remember my mom playing for us, and even much later on, when our mom had gone, my brothers and sisters and i would continue to spend many nights gathered round the piano singing and bonding with each other. I knew I would only find my home complete if I had a piano in it; so when dh and I moved to our present home, I spent all my life-savings-as-a-single-woman on this beloved piano (with additional help from dh 😛 ). Hubby and I both grew up with pianos in our homes, so it amuses and delights me to know our sons cannot imagine a home without a piano as well. (And yes, we do play music on it all the time!)
04May – That LookThat Look
Bright eyes shining with purity and innocence, an expression brimming over with earnestness and trust: this is the look I see on my son’s face each time he talks with me (which is like, uhm, the entire day 🙂 ). The eyes of a child: what a precious thing to behold!

CREDITS: I used Mike Brewer’s Frame Action to frame my photos. I take my photos in RAW format, so I definitely do some tweaking to them, most specifically in terms of White Balance and Curves. Other than that, the photos I take are pretty much how they are at the click of the shutter. 🙂

PS. I’m also attaching the gallery descriptions for the photos.
 
 

 

Okay! I guess that’s all for today, folks! Need to get some backlogged layouts done… Will be back again soon, so I hope to sit with you in a couple of days! Have a great day, my friends! (((hugs))))

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. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: