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The Newest No-Apologies Nerdy Summer Thrill

18 Jun

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.
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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.

Scoring:
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…

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… 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!

No, I haven’t fallen off the earth…

17 May

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 JessicaSprague.com) so if you’re looking for more liv.edesigns digital deliciousness, that’s where you’ll find it now! 😉

It’s called SnapClickSupply.com, 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!
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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

24 Jun

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.

BOOtiful!

30 Oct

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 JessicaSprague.com 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!

Seriously Awesome

14 Sep

Once in a while you stumble across something so incredibly awesome, it would be almost sinful to not share the joy and the thrill of the discovery.

And so from my piano-loving home to yours (is there anyone who does not love music?), here’s a seriously awesome work of magic.

Great Ad, Powerful Message

15 Aug

If my silence around here has been any indication, it’s been an insane past couple of weeks, what with the Great Rains from the tropical storm that wasn’t really a storm (except it caused a Great Flood which was an eerily reminiscent of the Ondoy Disaster of 2009), helping out those who suffered most from the flood-caused devastation, deadlines, work, more deadlines, and generally everything else that falls under the heading called Real Life: Urgent To-Do List.

But every once in a while, despite the barrage of responsibilities and an ever-growing to-do list, you come upon a serendipitous discovery that’s just too good to just keep to yourself. So you stop for a few seconds and steal a few minutes of your time because this is just way too special to not share.

And so I am doing just that right now. Stopping the world’s quick-spin for a few moments so I can share this with you (and thank you, dear friend of mine—you know who you are—for piquing my curiosity which led to this exact discovery just this morning).

( I must mention this here: in a world where ads can be found everywhere, and not all of them great, the fact that today’s discovery is a great ad with a great message adds to the happy surprise!)

And so, my dear friends, I invite you to get off your speeding trains for just a moment and check this out:

My favorite line:

… to spend your precious time on the small things
because your time is your life
and the less of it you waste,
the more of it you live.

Never mind that it’s an ad for a phone. It’s nevertheless one with a great message for each one of us. One that I suspect we can all relate to. One with a lot of heart. A simple but profound invitation to Live More. Powerful, isn’t it?

And so, as we climb back on our speeding trains or our rushing boats or our spinning carriages on this quick merry-go-round of daily routines, I wish you many opportunities to find precious time to spend on the little things. Because, as Marian Wright Edelman said,

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences.

Here’s to our living more! 🙂

Round and Round We Go

7 Aug

Quick poll: how many of you smile and go skipping down memory lane when you hear this?

Ah, those days of youth. (Insert wistful sigh here). Dreams then, memories today: isn’t it amazing  how music brings both together in a seamless, wondrous mix?

Anyway (before I get carried away with memories of those days of big hair and rebellious teenage angst),  it was precisely Spandau Ballet singing in the background when I created this newest product in my shop:

{ Click on the image above to grab it in my shop: It’s 25%-off till midnight Eastern Standard Time today (Monday) }.

With my Roundabout Photo Masks & Labels, you can now blend your photos and even your paper accents beautifully and naturally with just one click (an alt-click on your clipping mask ;)).

There are 12 unique and individual circular masks with some yummy grunge. Each one has been hand-created and scanned, then lovingly extracted so that you get absolutely REAL grunge! The masks each measure between 3-5 inches (though as always, these are incredibly easy to resize to fit your specific needs) and come in black (transparent-background) .png files.

And because versatility and having options is a great thing, I’ve also included 12 pre-measured circular labels to go with your photo masks if you wish!

I’ve also included a few tips for use right on my product description page in my shop.

Here’s a little example of how these work for photos and for accents (love the quick and easy blending with the background, all with one click!):

And here are a couple of amazin’ layouts by the JessicaSprague.com Creative Team ladies!

This one, by Debra:

I just love Debra’s lovely showcase of her gorgeous grandkids! She also used my Brownbagger Vol.2 Paper Pack, Loopies Vol. 2-Loopy Love Rub-Ons & Brush Set, and Paint Swashes Vol.4 Rub-Ons & Brush Set on her super-fab layout above!

This one, by Chrissy:

Love how Chrissy’s very bright and colorful fun layout uses an enlarged version of Roundabout Photo Masks, and I love how that fab photo just blends into her background papers so naturally.

Et voila! I hope you had a fun time checking out the eye candy and probably bobbing your head to Spandau’s music, and perhaps even smiling at a suddenly-recalled memory or two of those 80s days. (If you feel the urge, please DO share those memories with me in the comments below. I’ll bet we’ll have a fun time remembering together!)

Beautiful Mess

24 Jul

If one looks deeply enough, one will find beauty—often the most profound kind, even—amidst what might otherwise seem to be, on the surface level, nothing more than clutter, disorder, chaos. And thank goodness that it is so, for in the middle of a mess—whether it’s something as small as spilled milk on the floor or the bigger mess of a broken heart —it is often that glimpse of beauty that provides the thread of hope that we cling to (the sweetly-whispered apology of the milk-spilling culprit or the slow smile that finally breaks through copiously-shed tears).

Yes, there is often beauty that can be found in the midst of dire straits. Plus, to be perfectly honest, in a home dominated by five rowdy boys, it really helps to think of any kind of mess as beautiful. Especially when you think about the clean-up that inevitably comes on its heels (heehee 😆 ).

So you see, I’m no stranger to a little bit of mess. In fact, I think it belongs right at home in works of art too.

And so I’ve found a way to bring it to the digital world of creation while sparing you the discomfort of the post-creation clean-up! Awesome, right? 😉

These three new products are debuting in my shop today:

Splatters Vol. 1 Rub-Ons & Brush Set is a collection of large splatters:

Splatters Vol. 2 Rub-Ons & Brush Set  is a collection of single splatters and a few widespread splatters for those times when you want just a little bit to use as an accent, or when you want to combine a few splatters with the larger splatters

Splatters Vol. 3 Rub-Ons & Brush Set is  a collection of clustered splatters.

These are really fun to use, and you can choose one, two, or all splatters from each individual volume… or you can go have all-out fun, combine the splatters from all three volumes, and have a totally splatterrific time (hm! splatterrific is cute—i think that’ll be the name of my next splatter product! ;))!

Each product is linked to my shop (just click on the images above) … and have I mentioned that these are 25%-off today (Monday till midnight Eastern)? Woot! 🙂

To see these splatters at work, check out the absolutely magnificent artworks of our super-fab JessicaSprague.com creative team below! (Have I ever mentioned how much I just adore these ladies? To little bits and pieces, I tell ya).

This one is by Linda:

Linda is  my dear-designer friend (of In the Making Design) who is taking a hiatus from designing and has rejoined the best-ever JS creative team! She used Splatters Vol.1 on the layout above, along with my Beach Party freebie that I gave away during the recently-ended JessicaSprague.com Birthday Bloghop.

This one was created by Sarah:

Sarah created this super-fun layout by combining Splatters Vol. 1 and Splatters Vol. 3. She also used my Brownbagger Vol. 2 Paper Pack and my Freedom Is Good Paper Pack – The Solids.

This one was created by Miki:

Miki created this to document her lunch with another one of our CT members Julie (we love to get together in real life ;)), and she used Splatters Vol. 2 on this layout. She also used my Swirly Words Stamps & Brush Set, Storyteller Frames – The Bundle ,  Livin’ It Up Mini Kit , and Warm Wuv & Soft Hugs – The Elements.

This one was created by Margje:

Margje’s wonderful work of art was created with Splatters Vol. 1 and with my Nature’s Canvas Paper Pack too.

This one was created by Jen F:

Jen’s adorable Seussical layout was created with Splatters Vol. 1. She also used my Smudge It Vol. 1 Rub-Ons and Brush Set.

This one was created by Meg:

Meg created this super-summer-y layout (and wonderful documentation of her son’s perfect frisbee form) with Splatters Vol. 3. She also used papers from my Beach Party Birthday Bloghop freebie.

This was created by Amy:

Amy created this swimmingly wonderful layout with Splatters Vol. 3!

Here’s hoping you have a splatterrific week, my dear friends!

Perfect Imperfection

10 Jul

An oxymoron?

I think not.

There is a Chinese proverb that says:

A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections.

Though I do believe it is important to strive to work toward perfection (in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s called self-actualization—thank you, Psych101 ;)), I just as strongly believe that there are many beautiful, wonderful things that are amazing not in spite of but precisely with the little things that make them not-so-perfect. The sweet little freckles on your niece’s pretty face. The little twitch in the nose of my youngest son while he concentrates on a Math problem. Your best friend’s little personality quirks that can be both infuriating and endearing at the same time. Ah yes, there is perfection in imperfection (and doesn’t God’s perfection shine brightest in His children, greatly imperfect though each one of us is?).

I like the idea of imperfection in art, too. Which is the inspiration behind my latest product in my shop:

If you love the handmade, realistic look on your digital creations, you’ll love this easy way to get all that great texture and realism on your projects and layouts.

Smudge It Vol.1 Rub-Ons & Brush Set has 18 smudges that I created in real life with real art schtuff, then scanned and extracted lovingly so that all the little details are retained in each smudge. These are perfect for adding that handmade look with just a little messiness and a whole lot of goodness! Perfect imperfection! 😉

And here are some amazingly perfect layouts done by the awesome JessicaSprague.com Creative Team!

This one is by Jana:

Other liv.edesigns items used by Jana on her layout above are Brownbagger Paper Pack Vol.2, Doodle This Way Arrows, Scribbled Alpha, and Snippets Word Pack.

This one is by Amy:

Amy also used my Nature’s Canvas Paper Pack on her layout above.

This one is by Heather:

Heather also used these products of mine on her layout above: Doodle This Way Arrows, Click! Mini Kit, and Click! Paper Pack – The Solids.

This one is by Carol:

This one is by Jen P:

This one is by Jen F:

LOVE all that eye candy!

Oh, and did I mention that Smudge It Vol.1 is 25% off the entire Monday till 12:00 midnight Eastern? 😉

See you soon, my loveys! (((hugs)))

Happy Father’s Day

17 Jun

A father’s love is powerful beyond words.

Today I honor my dad who taught me all I needed to navigate through life with integrity and principle, and I honor my awesome husband whom my five sons are incredibly lucky to call Pop, and I thank once again our Heavenly Father who has blessed me with these two incredibly amazing men to love and call mine.

And I wish all of you, my dear friends, who are fathers in one way or another, and all of you who have been blessed with fathers to love: Happy Father’s Day, with much affection!

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