One-Buck Wednesday

When my kids were little, they had this nursery song that went:

Wednesday, today is Wednesday
Wednesday, Wednesday, what a happy day!

And so it is! Wednesday and a happy day, indeed! If you’re not familiar with One-Buck Wednesdays yet, it’s the day of the week (yes, that would be every week) when the designers at put a product (or two or three) on sale for a song! Well, actually, it’s a buck but wouldn’t that kind of glorious sale make you sing? 😉

There are an amazing number of products on sale this Wednesday, and in my shop, you’ll find my En Route {Traveling In Style} Paper Pack – Solids on sale!

En Route (Traveling in Style} Solid Paper Pack

Here’s both a full view of the papers and a closer look at the details. (I just love texture on paper and strive to create papers that are realistic enough for you to want to reach out and touch them 🙂 )

En Route Solid Papers - Full View and Details

I created these papers with a travel theme primarily in mind, but I love versatility in digital products, so these would work perfectly with any and all memories that you hold dear to your heart. And just in case you need a bit more of a nudge to convince you that you’re getting a steal with this (shameless promotion, I know… forgive me! :lol:), here are some absolutely awesome layouts created by the even more awesome Creative Team members (I just loooove these girls!)

Miki's Layout

Kelly's Layout

Joan's Layout

Miki's Layout

Chrissy's Layout

Kelly's Layout

Miki's Layout

Shell's Double-Page Layout

Carol's Layout

Chrissy's Layout

*Sigh* I just love seeing all these precious moments documented for posterity; it always wraps me up in warm fuzzies. 🙂

Hope you take a look at this paper pack if you have the time today! (Psst. The image above is clickable… it will bring you to my product page in a jiffy! :))

Now off to cook some dinner… but I’ll be back soon! xox

Resolutions, Resolutions

Have you made yours yet? 😀

I make daily resolutions (easier to do a check and balance that way, and there’s something very soothing when, if you find you’ve been unsuccessful with the day’s resolution, you know you have the option to say, “Well! Tomorrow’s another day!” a la Scarlett O’Hara 😉

Still there’s something quite auld-lang-syne-ish (okay, I just invented that adjective, haha ) about making the traditional New Year’s Resolutions.

So… what’s on your list?

Guess what’s at the top of mine.


Hehe… I’ve been oinking along since the middle of December, shame! (Well, I had to put the new weighing scale to good use, right? 😉 )

Seriously. Oinking. So this must be at the top of my list, most definitely.


And there’s more.

More walking, for one.

My 16-year-old son has been convincing me that I need exercise while respectfully omitting the “older people need all the exercise they can get” part, something I am grateful to him for. Bahaha!

Speaking of which, some days ago, my 13-year-old R –who’s a total movie buff–and I were talking about… surprise!… movies. He was telling me he didn’t want to watch some movie (I forget which one, but I think it was One Flies Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) because he couldn’t stand to see Jack Nicholson with hair (it was filmed in the 70s). He said it wouldn’t seem like Jack Nicholson if the guy had hair.  ???  (Don’t worry, I didn’t get it either >teehee< )

So I said, “Why? How old was he when they filmed that movie?”

He said, “I don’t know, but he certainly had more hair than he has now. He’s really old now. He’s ancient! He doesn’t have much hair left.”

“Really?” I said. “How old is he now?”

“I don’t know… Old! Forty?”

Ahem. 😯

So. I must walk if only to prove my youth to my growing sons. Aside from the fact that exercise is good, of course. Especially in this ooooold age of ours (*tongue in cheek*).

Okay, so I won’t kill you with all the details behind my resolutions.

But I will just mention this, because it has to do with the word for the month that my dear friend Jes blogged about here.

What was your word? Mine was… tada! PRAY! Hence my No. 3 resolution! PRAY more! Don’t get me wrong, I do pray everyday. But I figure it’s a wonderful thing to do more of, and one can never lose by doing it more.  I also truly believe that work done to the best of one’s abilities and offered up is prayer, so this is my way of reminding myself to turn everything I do into prayer. 😉

So. Five resolutions. Spiritual, health, personal aspects: check, check, check. I’m good. (I figured I’d stop at five. Five is do-able. Six? Seven? Eight? Too much room for me to fail. Haha! I’ll go the safe route and stick with five. )

What about you? What are your new year’s resolutions? If you share them with me, then we can encourage each other and cheer each other and support each other throughout the year! We’ve got… what, more than 300 days to make sure these things happen! Alright!

New year, new lessons: Stitching, anyone?

I have to say… I am totally a sucker for cheap thrills, and one of the biggest sources of thrills for me is learning a new thing! There are few things that make me feel more alive than discovering new things, no matter how tiny and little they are in the bigger scheme of things.

So… did I say I spent the latter half of the holidays (till New Year’s Day) in the southern mountains with my sisters and brothers? Did I mention that most of our time was spent exercising our jaws and stomach muscles? (READ: oink! oink!)

Anyway, we stayed at this fab fab fab place (and no, we don’t own it–we rented it 😀 ), with space huge enough to house 4 families (which we were), with an almost 180-degree view of the world’s smallest volcano and lake within a lake (it’s one of the places that author Patricia Schultz lists in her book 1000 Places to See Before You Die).

I was so awed by the place that I just had to take photos… so I took 8 photos of the view as you come down the stairs from the entry, knowing at the back of my mind that Photoshop would help me stitch them together. I’d never attempted to use Photomerge in the past; in the past I had always stitched photos by hand (Riiiight. That makes it sound a bit like doing a cross-stitch sampler, doesn’t it? 😛 ).

So I tried Photomerge for the first time last night, and oh, boy, I hafta say… it’s the *easiest* and most thrilling thing to do! Loooove how Photoshop takes all the hard work and does it for you! The only thing you need to do is (1) have enough RAM; and (2) know how to fill in the missing places once the photos have been stitched together (something that can be accomplished with the clone tool).

So. I began with 8 photos and ended up with this one:


(You can click on the image if you want a larger view. Originally, this photo was roughly 12+ inches by 36+ inches after stitching. I reduced it to about 8×26 in).

I promised some of my girlfriends that I’d share how I stitched this together (it’s really easy, and I so love sharing easy stuff!) Note: I use CS3, so am so sorry if you use PSE, but I’m totally in the dark as to whether Photoshop Elements 7 has this function as well or not. 😳

Here’s how to do it with CS3:

1. Open your photos that you want to stitch into a single panoramic photo.

2. Drag your photos onto a single document. Make sure that you hold down Shift as you drag in each photo so that it comes in centered on your document space. It doesn’t matter if on your layers palette you notice transparent spaces on some layers as a couple of photos end up in different areas of the total document size. As long as they’re centered when they come in, you’re good to go.

I used one of the photos as my base document and then saved it under a different name so that I don’t write over the original photo. It’s important to ensure that none of the photos save for the background layer is locked. Otherwise the photomerge function won’t work.

It might be good to note, too, that if you’re pulling photos straight out of your camera and you shoot in super fine mode  or whatever the highest quality of your images are in your camera, you’re going to end up hogging the memory of your compy… so ideally you’d want to ensure that you have enough RAM to work with (if your RAM is limited, you’ll probably want to close other open documents and programs while you’re stitching).

Since I shoot 98% of the time in RAW, I first saved all my photos (without post-processing them) as jpegs. I post-processed at the end, after the photos were stitched.

3. Once you have all your photos in the single document, shift-click on the top and bottom layers to select all of them (they should all show up highlighted on your layers palette).

4. Go to Edit > Auto-Align Layers > Auto. You’ll get four options (Auto, Perspective, Cylindrical, Reposition Only) in the popup menu… I chose Auto. Guess what. I ended up with a stitched photo that looked like the Cylindrical option icon. I guess Auto makes the best decisions for you, which is a great way to do away with all the guesswork!

5. Wait while Photoshop does all the work. Go get yourself a cup of cafe moccha, or maybe munch on some Royce Potato Chip Chocolates (ha! Now you know what I was doing)… because depending on the number of photos you’re stitching together and your RAM, and oh yes, your patience level as well, this is going to take a bit of time.

6. When you come back, munching and sipping, you’ll be delighted to see on your monitor that Photoshop has done all the hard work for you.

Initially I started out with 14 photos to stitch, actually. There were some similar views, so when my stitched panorama came out, some of it looked a bit wonky. Not a problem. I found the layers that those almost-duplicate photos were on and deleted them from the layers palette.

It also helps to know before you take the photo that you’ll want to take each series of photos from the same height, more or less, if you’re planning to stitch them. (So, ideally, if I wanted a shot of the entire window view, I should’ve used a tripod, moving from left to right as I shot the photos… then to get the roof area, I would’ve tilted my camera on my tripod,  again shooting from left to right. That way, I wouldn’t have ended up with huge gaps on my stitched photo and would have probably not needed to do any work with the clone stamp tool. But that’s in retrospect. For next time. 😉

Now you might find that your photos look a bit strange with different shades on them (assuming you didn’t do any post-processing beforehand); if this happens, worry not! Photoshop, our dear friend, will take care of that for you too! Here’s how:

7. With all your layers still highlighted on your layers palette, go to Edit > Auto-Blend Layers.

Wait patiently, knowing that this will take significantly less time than the stitching did a few minutes ago.

Blink your eyes a few times, and voila! MAGIC! The white balance and all the shades on your photos will be blended so they look … PERFECT! Or… sometimes, almost perfect, in case you end up with some transparent areas on the sides of your stitched photo.

Now what to do if you a less-than-perfect panoramic photo with some gaps on its sides on your monitor, same as the one I found on mine? (hehe. Don’t you just love experimenting? You learn a lot that way! LOL) Again, no worries! 😀 Paint in the missing parts with your clone stamp tool. That should take you longer than the stitching process… but since the stitching is the harder part of it, and Photoshop has done it all for you, what’s there to grumble about with the clone stamp tool at one’s disposal, right? heehee.

9. Do whatever post-processing you want to do with your photos, in case you shot in RAW, and voila! Perfect panoramic photo! YAY!

Now, for a bit more about the scene on my stitched photo:

This house was awesome (as you can probably tell, since I’m still raving about it a couple of paragraphs down this post.)

You enter through a gate and drive down a relatively short path till you get to the front door and the rooftop deck where you can host parties and get-togethers (as long as there’s no slight drizzle) and have a 360º view of the landscape.

You enter through a massive wooden door and go down a couple of flights of stone steps and enter a huge place where you have a split-level living area connected to the dining area with an equally huge kitchen right beside the dining area.

There are four huge bedrooms with their own bath/washrooms (perfect to house my little family and my sisters’ families… we moved in for New Year’s Eve as we had been staying at our own place in the country club earlier).

Then there’s a nice little pool which the teenagers were the only ones brave enough to dip into (cold winds, cold water? No, thanks!). Beside the pool area, with its uber-lush pine trees on one side, is a viewing deck from which you can marvel at nature’s wonders… and if you fancy a warm adventure with water but without the biting wind, there’s a sauna/hot bath a few garden steps below (I wasn’t brave enough to try that either… because it involves getting out into the cold winds before you get back to the house, haha!)

Surrounded by nature on all fronts, thank goodness we only encountered this little fella in the garden:


Well, whaddayaknow? A visit from one of those leaf insects that you see on the pages of National Geographic. I normally don’t like bugs (hate, hate, hate cockroaches… you can’t even get me to squish one. Ugh, that awful crunch as you smack them–notice I say “you” smack them because I’ll be the one running in the other direction at 200mph. And they fly! And they bite! And they stink! Uggggh. Shudder.)

But this is no roach. So okay, I’m fine with this, and I can stick around long enough to take its photo. Since we were in the mountains, I only had one lens with me (my lucky brother brought his macro… I’d love to see how his photos turned out!). I wonder how the poor insect felt with all those lenses a million times larger than him, all aimed at his little body. My nephew “held” the insect on his old and tattered book, and it crawled onto the ledge long enough for us to shoot a few more frames till my sister said “Eeeek! Get it out now!” End of photo session. 😆

One more time, up close, sans macro:


Recalling the Resolutions (Do you feel the freebie coming? :D)

What was No. 4? Create weekly? Let’s take that resolution seriously today, and let’s see what we’ve got here:

Oooh! A freebie! 😆

But first, I want to say THANK YOU to all of you for your warm fuzzies and for sharing with me how you’ll be doing Project 365 (or some variation of it). The 12 on 12s is a great idea! I have to admit that I’m still sitting on the fence on this one, wondering if I’ll end up doing a daily (20% chance), weekly (40% chance), or a monthly (40% chance) project. I’m wondering: if I just upload my daily photos onto my blog, does that count? ROFL. (Oh man. I so feel like Charlie Brown right now, sitting on the playground bench, watching everyone play and wondering what to do next. bwahahaha)

So anyway. You know how there are ten million options open to everyone, and anyone can do what their heart desires, right? (That’s what I love about scrapbooking and art and creating! There are no hard and fast rules! Just create! And have fun!)

One of these many options I’ve heard about is this other easy approach to housing and documenting the photos, which involves using a 4×6 slip-in photo album and turning it into a scrapbook (think: you have the option to put in photos or journaling tags or digitally scrapbooked 4×6 pages, or whatever you fancy!). Have you heard about this?

Personally I love the square size of 8×8’s so I probably won’t be attempting this anytime soon (and need a reason to use all the Bind-It-All schtuff I ordered! :D). But I can imagine wanting to try this approach one day. So for those who are doing this approach now, and for those who are doing the regular 12×12 or 8.5×11 or 8×8 or whatever size pages, this freebie mini is for you and you and you! Anyone can use it!

I made this chipboard journaling tag, with rubbed-on designs, which you can use for Project 365 or anything else, really. (It just came in really handy for jotting my resolutions on, haha!) And it’s sized at 4×6, so if you want to go the hybrid route and print this out and write on it, and then slip it into your 4×6 album pocket-pages, or attach it to your cardstock, you can! Or if you want to digitally attach it to your purely digital layout, you can too! (I didn’t include shadows so that you have total freedom with how you want to position it on your layout and where you want the lighting effects to be).


Click on the image to download. And thank you so much for the love you leave as you download. 🙂

I’ll be back soon with more photos to share… for now, I have to get to tutoring the kids with their homework, and doing my own homework as well! 😉

(((hugs))) and see you soon, sweeties! 😀

Five Firsts!

What is it about first times that make them so special and memorable?

The first steps a baby takes has parents stumbling in their rush to reach for the camera to record the monumental event. The first grandchild. The first day of school (shiny shoes, new pencils, new bag… whee! nirvana for me and my siblings when we were kids!). The first visit from the tooth fairy. The first Christmas.

Then there’s the unforgettable first love (in nursery? mine was… uh, must I incriminate myself and let the world know that I was a late bloomer? heehee! I had my first crush in  Grade 2–and I think I was mesmerized by the thick beard around his face more than anything else. 😆 )

If you stopped right now and asked yourself, what are the latest first’s you’ve experienced lately, would you be able to list them down and answer right away? Or would you have to pause as you traipse down memory lane, brows knotted in deep thought, as you try to recall the events of the last five months?

I was fascinated by the thought of First Anything today… and here are my five of my latest first’s!!! (Okay, you can accuse me of shameless–or shameful?–tooting, but hey, as we chanted in Chicago: we are worth it, right? 😉 )

First Time to Be Featured in a Graphic Design Blog!

What a thrill! What a pleasant surprise! What a COOL thing to discover! This little humble blog porch of mine was featured in two graphic design blogs last June 14th! The post that was featured was Photo Phun!

I almost fell off my chair in utter delight when I saw this:

Graphic Identity Blog Link

Graphic Identity Blog Link

And this!
Estetica Design Forum Blog Link

Estetica Design Forum Blog Link

A huge, happy THANK YOU to Estetica Design Forum and Graphic Identity!

First Time to Visit Chicago & New York

Totally awesome places! Loved The Bean at Chicago, eating deep dish pizza at Giordanos, walking and walking and walking around The Loop, dinner at Fultons by the River, and taking the Riverboat tour!

Chicago - Walking Along The Loop

Chicago - Walking Along The Loop

Chicago Buildings from the Riverboat

Chicago Buildings from the Riverboat

View from the Riverboat

View from the Riverboat

New York Times Square - the view from our hotel room window

New York Times Square - the view from our hotel room window

The Ubiquitous NYC Taxis

The Ubiquitous NYC Taxis

More photos coming in the future… there are just thousands and thousands of them! 😀

First Time to Hug My Dearest Spraground Sistahs!

In person! What a thrill! This has got to be one of the most memorable and special experiences in my entire life! What a connection!
One of my favorite photos of Jes and me - taken by Susan

One of my favorite photos of Jes and me - taken by Susan

Love this photo taken by Jes!

Love this photo taken by Jes!

Some of my absolute favorite people in the world! - Photo taken by Lisa

Some of my absolute favorite people in the world! - Photo taken by Lisa

The Spraground Sistahs Take Over Windy City!

The Spraground Sistahs Take Over Windy City!

The only downside to this is that I end up missing them so much more now, and wish that the oceans were less wide and the lands were more spread out so that we could literally walk over to each other’s houses and give each other hugs in person anyday!

First Time to Do an Actual Hybrid Project

Ah… this one I was totally not sure about… but with a little modge podge, a little advice from my dear friend Lisa J (who won’t admit to being a creative crafter, but she is!), a little help from a carpenter friend who made the wooden box for me according to my specs, and a little help from my two sons who fixed the goodies/doggies inside it when it was done, I was able to play around with hybrid (yeah, so it was an adventure I’d been longing to do!) *and* use my heretofore unused-but-hoarded paper scrapping materials (and thus feel less guilty about the hoarding, haha) *and* come up with a birthday gift for my MIL who loves doggies!
This is what I started out with: a wooden shelf with partitions, made according to my specs, with 4 rows of 6 little box-houses. The entire thing was about 12in x 24in.
D )

Step 1 - Begin with a wooden shelf painted in colors you love (I didn't love the color on this one, hence the decision to decoupage the entire thing! 😀 )

Step 2 - Modge-podge (yes, I've turned it into a verb!) patterned paper onto the sides of the shelf.

Step 2 - Modge-podge (yes, I've turned it into a verb!) patterned paper onto the sides of the shelf.

Step 3 - Cut patterned paper into vertical strips and modge-podge them onto vertical divisions of the shelf.

Step 3 - Cut patterned paper into vertical strips and modge-podge them onto vertical divisions of the shelf.

Step 4 - Do the same for the horizontal divisions of the shelf.

Step 4 - Do the same for the horizontal divisions of the shelf.

Step 5 - Cover top of shelf with patterned paper. Wash modge-podge off your hands in between applications in case you happen to be munching on chips. ;)

Step 5 - Cover top of shelf with patterned paper. Wash modge-podge off your hands in between applications in case you happen to be munching on chips. 😉


Step 6 - Cover the back of the shelf with patterned paper to complete the shelf's clothing. 🙂

Step 7 - Attach eyelets to chipboard flowers using the ever-reliable, handy-dandy Cropadile!

Step 7 - Attach eyelets to chipboard flowers using the ever-reliable, handy-dandy Cropadile!

Step 8 - Attach other embellishments to the top of the shelf to complete the look.

Step 8 - Attach other embellishments to the top of the shelf to complete the look.

Step 9 - Make it a family project (and allow yourself to take a break!) - Let kids take care of arranging the doggies on the shelf.

Step 9 - Make it a family project (and allow yourself to take a break!) - Let kids take care of arranging the doggies on the shelf.

Step 10 - Voila! Stand back and clap your hands as you survey your first hybrid project... because you've finally put some of your paperscrappin' hoard of goodies to use!

Step 10 - Voila! Stand back and clap your hands as you survey your first hybrid project... because you've finally put some of your paperscrappin' hoard of goodies to use!

Hee! This was fun while I did it… I’ve always loved crafts, and nothing beats the doubled fun of working on projects with kids… but… what can I say? I love digi first and always. 😆

And now… to continue the alliteration started with the Five First’s… let’s talk about First FREEBIES!

And yes, I know, I’ve been giving out freebies for almost as long as this blog porch came into existence, but  it’s my…

First Time to Come Up with an Album Template Mini Freebie!

Woohoo! I am so happy about this, and even happier to share these with you!

Here’s how this all ties in with my first First up there and my fifth First down here. Remember the Photo Phun post (the one featured in the graphic design blogs up there)? Well, that all came about because we at the Spraground were having the most fun adventure, led by the awesome Jessica, of coming up with a photo a day for the month of May! And since I’d been wanting to print out those photos and put them in an album instead of keeping them hidden inside a folder in my compy, I decided to create an album for them.

When I make layouts, more often than not, I sketch in my trusty little graph notebook (Moleskine graph notebooks ROCK!) how I want the layout to look. And then I translate that pencil sketch onto my computer with Photoshop! So I made a cover page sketch for the album and a few inside page sketches.

While I was working on moving that sketch onto my compy via Photoshop, I decided… hey, since I’m making a multi-photo page for the month of May (which has 31 days and therefore 31 places for photos), why don’t I make a similar template for 30 days? That way, if any of us decides to resume the Photo A Day adventure on any other month, we’d have a ready template for those months with less than 31 days?

And then, since my brain is known to dive into this sort of territorial waters–haha, I decided to go full-speed ahead and include February as well (both 29 and 28 days), to complete the entire range of possibilities!

So here are the different cover pages I made for my Photo A Day Album… and I’m sharing them with you, as always!

LivEdesigns Extraordinary Days Cover Page Templates
LivEdesigns Extraordinary Days Cover Page Templates

When you use these templates, just type in the month that applies to your album where the ellipses are (I’ve left the text editable; feel free to change it!). I’ve also included a phrase to show where the journaling can fit in… and below there is an area for you to include a quote if you wish.

These templates come to you in .psd format. Use clipping masks to get your photos and digi paper onto the mats and photo masks. 🙂

Note: If you’re into making regular layout pages that feature months-in-review, I figure these should come in real handy as well!

Click here to get the mini album cover page templates.

ETA: Link removed. See post of September 24 for new link.

Now, I can’t just give you the cover and not give you the inside pages as well, right? 😉

Sooo… I created 3 inside page templates, each one of which is a single-photo template. There are two different portrait-oriented / vertical  photo templates for the left and the right side of the album, depending on how your pages turn out; and there’s a single-photo template as well for landscape-oriented / horizontal photos.

I only made three templates because that’s all that I needed… and by using each one of them within the album, you can get an album that’s both pulled-together and unified!

Oh, and there’s a bonus inside as well! I created two black glass accents for use on the album pages… one is a black glass swirl and the other is a black glass circle cluster. I’m including them inside the .psd template files, but they are created on transparent backgrounds, so if you wish to use them in your other layouts as separate elements, feel absolutely free to do so (just read my TOU and don’t forget the credits! 😉 ).

I’m presently working on zipping up the inside page templates, but since it feels like forever since I last released a freebie (and I’m uber-excited to share these with you 😀 ) I decided to release these cover pages now and come back and post the inside page templates in a separate download, once I’m done zipping them up! So don’t forget to check back for them!

I’m going to be working on my Photo A Day album in the next 24 hours (after I get the inside pages zipped up and on their way to you!), and when I’ve got my layouts done, I’ll upload them to share with you. If you use these and create pages or even an album of your own, do link me up! I’d looove to see how you use these and I would love even more the chance to marvel at the marvelous creations you come up with!

Alrighty then! Back to the worktable! 🙂

Ready? Set? Action!

Ha. Totally corny title, I apologize. 😛

But am totally thrilled… just did my first action, which is really really simple, but which arose out of the necessity of uploading loads of photos from our Chicago Spraguefest onto the gallery which Jessica so kindly created for us on our Spraground! I just finished sorting through almost a hundred plus photos from the *first* day of our Spraguefest, and I was scratching my head, thinking, oh wow… if I have to resize all of these to websized files so I can upload them to the gallery, how long is that going to take me? There must be an easier way to do this!

Yep that’s me. Ever since I can remember, I would always think in terms of “What’s the most efficient way of doing this or that?” I guess it’s the latent problem solver in me (just wish this skill extended to a lot of real-life problems, haha!)

So, I did a bit of googling here and there, a bit of fiddling around here and there, and came up with 2 actions!

The first is called Batch Resize for Web, and what it does is reduce the width of your image to 600 pixels (the height automatically adjusts proportionally based on your original image’s height). It brings down resolution from 300ppi or higher to 72ppi, and it interpolates using bicubic sharper.

The second is called Batch Resize Original2Web, and what it does is just bring down the resolution to 72ppi and interpolates using bicubic sharper, but does not change the pixel size of your photo to a given measure. This would necessarily result in a larger physical photo than the first action, but still give you something that can be uploaded to galleries or emails where you are not constrained by small size limits.

I’ve created the action using CS3, so I’m sorry but I have no idea if it will work in Elements. :/

I created the action for doing batch resizing, but it can also be used to resize individual images (photos, layouts, etc) one at a time.

To use it to resize individual images, just load the action in your action palette, open your original image, and click on the Play button.

To use it to resize batch photos, just load the action in your action palette, and then:

1. Start by creating two folders anywhere on your compy. Name one folder “Originals” and the other folder “Resized” (or whatever you want to call it, as long as you know which folder the originals are in and which folder you want the resized photos to go into). Dump all the images you want to resize in the Originals Folder. You can also resize them directly from the existing folder that your photos are in, but in case you have chosen only a specific set of files to resize from a folder that contains more images, the Originals folder would be a better option.

2. Go to File > Automate > Batch.

3. In the Batch dialog box, under Play – locate the name of the action in the actions dropdown list.

4. In the Source area, select Folder in the dropdown list and select Choose. Navigate to the place on your hard drive where you placed the Originals folder. Don’t forget to check the two last boxes that allow you to suppress warnings and options.

5. In the Destination area, select Folder in the dropdown list and select Choose (exactly like the previous step). Navigate to the Resized folder that you just created.

6. In the File Naming area, you can input the names of your files, if you wish to change their filenames. What I did was to choose “2-Digit Serial Number” and keep the extension specified (in my case, jpeg).

7. Don’t forget to check all the boxes in the Compatibility area so that everyone, regardless of what platform they’re using, can view the photos.

8. Click OK.

Once you click OK, Photoshop will open each photo you’ve placed in the Originals folder, resize it, and save it to the Resized folder. Sometimes you might get prompts that ask you to select save settings (mine did for some); when this happens, just click OK and the process of saving the image will continue with the next photos in the batch.

I learned how to do this from Wired How To Wiki, a pretty cool place I just discovered. 🙂

So… for my Chicago Spragsistahs and for all of you, my friends, who’ve come to visit and sit with me on my blog porch, here’s my action set. Hope you find some use for it! 🙂 (And thanks so much in advance for the love you leave on my blog! 🙂 )

ETA: If the 4shared link doesn’t work above (as I think some gremlins have been playing with the link), here’s another place where you can get my action set too.

Oh, and here’s a photo of that lovely time we had… more coming soon!


Flatties and Realies by the River

Flatties and Realies by the River

Alrighty! Back to the barracks to do more work! See you soon, my sweeties! 😀

London Calling…

Interrupting freebie work and LOAD scrapping to post a few photos for my friend, Verona, who has a collection of Diana the Princess stuff. And for my friend Veevs, who continues to deny that she’s undercover British royalty (from the Peruvian branch of it). 😆

Dh and I happened to be in London around the time that the accident happened… give or take a few days, can’t remember now. We didn’t time it that way; we just happened to be there. I may not remember the exact number of days but I do remember the cab we were riding in from the airport stopped when we passed by the Buckingham Palace (as a sign of respect and sympathy). I also remember the tons and tons and tons of flowers left by everyone who happened to pass by.

I guess I must admit (geez, and I thought I could keep this hidden from my 7 random facts tag) that when I was in grade school, two of my friends and I were very much up-to-date with the goings-on in the British royal family’s lives. We knew who was related to whom, and where they had castle residences. Funny, because the interest had its roots in a simple fooling around with the British accent. “Oh, what a quaint idea, deahhh” we would say to tease each other. Silly stuff like that.

Anyway. I know nothing much about the royal family anymore. Can’t remember much either. So don’t go asking me any trivia questions because I will most certainly fail your test. 😆

Verona and Veevs, these are for you! (Will remove these photos once you’ve seen them so that I don’t make you suffer by plastering my face all  over my blog. 😆 )

London, September 97

London, September 97

Diana and Me… hehehe

Alright then. Enough fooling around. Freebs and LOAD will have to wait till tomorrow as it’s 4AM.

Bed, not London, is calling.


Running After Time

There’s so much I want to do, and not enough time in a day to do it all! How many of you have felt this way? How do you handle it? Is there some secret you can share with me?

LOAD Day 10 & Daily December No. 6

Got this done this morning.

One of the lovely advantages of having 5 sons is that as they grow older, they eventually take over the task of getting the Christmas decor up, so that I am free to sit and watch them with a smile on my face, wondering how I got so lucky to have such great guys (and related to me, too! 😆 )

Tree Trimmers

Journaling reads:

last year there were three; now there are four of you working together to put up the tree and trim it. next year j will be old enough to join the fun as well. each christmas, year after year, i can just sit and watch you for hours, filled with quiet pride and gratitude. i am so lucky to have such great tree trimmers!


Jessica Sprague’s Daily December template (altered); Michelle Coleman’s Topper & rivet (recolored); Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush, HolidayOrnaments Brush, PostmarkedHolidays Brush, Emily Merritt’s Jolly Jingle Sparkles (recolored), Miriam Lima’s HolidayMagic paper, Atomic Cupcake actions

Word for the Month

Over at her blog, my dear friend Jessica mentioned Ali Edwards’ Word for the Year (another amazing lady there!)… with a twist: Jess has decided she wanted a Word for a Month instead. Given my own love for words, I totally agree with her! (Also, nice to have 12 words to live by instead of just one for the year! 🙂 )

I decided my word for January would be ADVENTURE.

noun: an undertaking; an unusual or exciting experience

verb, tr.: to venture upon; undertake or try

verb, intr.: to take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome; dare

synonyms: (n)risky venture, escapade; (v) take a risk, take a chance / related words: (n) project, task, undertaking, labor; (v) chance, attempt, try, seek

I think this is a great word to start the year off with: I’ve always loved adventures, whether of the real kind (the kind that took me to places as a kid) or the vicarious kind (the kind that I take now that I’m older, which normally I gather from museum trips, reading books and magazines, surfing the net, and playing around).

I also like that the related words (project, task, undertaking, labor) are so closely related to WORK. I have such a great respect for the dignity of work. I think working to your best capacities and abilities, in the simplest thing (sure, even in tasks as simple as cleaning your bathroom or picking up that piece of tissue lying on the floor) and offering it up to our Lord, is one of the best prayers and one of the best ways to give back glory to Him who has given us all we have.

Who knows what adventures lay ahead this year? Just thinking about it is so exciting! Here are a few that come to mind:

Adventures in Design: I love learning. I love the adventure of discovery, of finding out new things, of learning something new everyday. I guess that’s why I love designing so much: every kit is an adventure into the unknown! I see something in my mind and I try to create it digitally. When the vision and what I see on my monitor match each other, it’s such a WOW moment for me that I can’t wait to share it with all my friends! (hence the freebies 😀 ) I want to learn a lot more and experiment a lot more with Photoshop and designing. I need to open those new/old software CDs that have sat in my drawer (was once too terrified to attempt them, am more adventurous now), among them: CS3 and Xarax.

Every class with Jess is an adventure: I am so looking forward to our next adventure in March, which is when our Digi: In Deep course will begin its maiden journey.

Doing something I would not normally do: take a risk = adventure. I am normally what my people would call segurista. One who does not like taking wild chances; one who finds much sense in the saying, “better safe than sorry.” But nothing big has been accomplished by staying on safe ground when you could be sailing the high seas (with WISDOM, of course). So I think it’s a good time to attempt to go back to those days of abandoning fears and just jumping in with both eyes closed and fingers crossed (uhhh. I really think my Lasik adventure last Monday is a good case in point). 😆

Another case in point:

I am normally a shy person (I kid you not; even if it may seem unlikely. 😆 ) When I see friends I haven’t seen in ages, I vacillate between saying hello and re-introducing myself and staying away so that I don’t subject that person to a blast from the past that they may or may not welcome.

Last night, as hubby and I were walking (killing time while waiting for our dear friends Jun and Abby to arrive–we were having dinner together), I happened to see a guy who was very good friend of mine back when we were in university… but we happened to lose touch over the years (I distinctly remember the exact time we last spoke: it was when he invited me to his wedding to this sweet girl, who just happened to be a Philippine actress… and I do get really shy [almost reticent] around showbiz personalities, so I stayed away. And we lost touch after). Anyway, hubby said to me, “Well, why don’t you go over there and say hi?” So, very uncharacteristically, I walked up to A., said hello using the petname we in our group of friends used to call him back then, briefly saw a look of non-recognition pass in his eyes, and right after I gave my name. My maiden name, of course (we lost touch even before I got married). And with the mention of my name, there was recognition. It was quite funny, actually: watching his eyes was like watching the aperture opening of a camera, first small then becoming larger and larger. He said “Hiiiiiiii!!!!” and turned to the lady friend he was with, introduced me, and said “We’ve known each other since she was like ten years old!” I said “Yeah, we go waaaay back.” We exchanged cellphone numbers, and voila!

Fun. Always good to reconnect.

And as if that wasn’t enough: after dinner, on the way to our cars, Jun, Abby, hubby and I were walking and we chanced upon J.M., who was overseeing the opening of the Paul Smith store at this new mall. He said hello to Jun and Abby, and when Jun turned to introduce me and hubby, he looked at me and said “Hey, I know you!” to which I answered, “yup, we were at the beach together years back, with C., T. and L.”

Another blast from the past. That makes two in one night!

And then… not five minutes after… as we were standing by the driveway of the center of the mall, the car in front of us drove up, and who was about to get into it? Another friend from college days, now married to another showbiz personality. I had briefly spoken with him at the launch of the Our Father book, and reintroduced myself then… (one of those rare bold moments I had, but I was extraordinarily courageous then… after all, that was OUR launch. haha!). Anyway, he and his sweet wife were about to get into the car, and I said hello. And this time, I didn’t have to reintroduce myself!

And that, folks, completes Round Three. Three amazing blasts from the pasts. Hey, I should’ve been in Vegas. Maybe the slot machines would’ve made me rich tonight, given the three hits at adventure I got in just one night! 😆

Connections. We are all connected to each other in various ways. I think it’s amazing when events like this happen one after the other; makes you really consider what a small, small world this is.

Capturing images is an adventure: I want to play a lot with my camera and learn a lot more about what I can do with it. I drive my hubby crazy when I attempt to lug my Lowepro slingback wherever I go. The few times I am successful at resisting the urge to pick it up before I go out the front door, I end up regretting it (“Oh wow, do you see the lines that those eaves make? Geez! Wish I had my camera with me! See the pattern of the leaves’ shadows on the pavement! Geez! Wish I could take that, if I had my camera with me!” ). Yesterday, of course, was one of the few times I left Cameran at home (and regretted it), and so I was demoted to taking photos of lines and lights that amazed me with my cellular phone. Oh, the humiliation! 😆 But, it was the best I could do at the moment!

Speaking of Photography…

Have you seen this take of Annie Leibovitz’ shoot with the Queen of England? I found it very interesting, mostly because it IS the famed Annie Leibovitz, amazing woman photographer, best known for her photo of a very pregnant Demi Moore in her birthday suit on the cover of Vanity Fair way back. Another reason for my interest: it took me back to the time when I was in the fifth grade and knew all the trivia there was to know about the Royal Family (this coincided with the engagement of then-Lady Diana to Prince Charles, and with my first attempt at a short hairstyle a la Diana… eeeeuw! how embarrassing! 😆 )

Oh… have I introduced you to the royal fam? That’s Anne, Charles, The Queen, Prince Philip, Andrew, and the Queen Mum… and me, in front, with my very proper, English, royal smile. (Long hair tied at the back will tell you this was way back in ’97)

Meet the Royal Family

Okay… so maybe the photo was taken at Madame Tussaud’s. Makes for some great laughs though, doesn’t it? 😆

Hey, you think my friend Veevs, royal relation to this family, would approve?


Enough playing around for now… I’m off to attempt some freebies! woohoo!

See you in a bit, my sweeties! (((hugs)))

Welcome to my homeland…

And I’m proud to say I love it.

You know how, when you visit a friend’s house for the first time, you are drawn to explore every room, every nook and cranny, so that you can ooh and ahh in amazement and wonder at the beauty and love that resides in there?

My girlfriends and I have been barely able to contain our excitement at the prospect of getting together as one big group of scrapping gals in Chicago next summer. I’ve been to some places, but never to Chicago, so it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to (though even more than the city, it is the thought of seeing my friends that totally excites me!)

When all this talk about getting together began, I issued a standing invitation to everyone to come see my homeland. It’s an offer without an expiration date. 🙂 And to provide everyone of them with a sneak preview of what they could be looking forward to, I found an excellent “brochure.” It’s right here, below.

A few words, though, before you view it:

1. Photos are never really the same as the real thing, are they? In the same way, I personally feel that, though this is the best showcase (so far) of what my motherland has, there is still no substitute for seeing, tasting, smelling, and experiencing the Real Thing. And the fact that many of the best Filipino artists (including world-class Florante and Lea Salonga) are doing the story-telling is no small thing! 🙂

2. This is best appreciated in the native language, as there is no substitute for the beauty and color and expressiveness of a language in its original form; its flavor and nuances are often lost in translation. I wish I could tell you more about all the wonderful places and food that are mentioned here (like how Taal Volcano happens to be the smallest volcano in the whole world, and Mayon Volcano is known for its near-perfect cone), but it would take pages and pages and pages of writing and still I would not have scratched the surface. So I’ve just provided a link to more information–click on the “beauty of the Philippines” line in the translation below… (just put any place or item in the search box and it’ll take you to a wonderful source of information).

Enjoy the visual and auditory treat, and I hope one day to be able to enjoy all these with you, my friends, beside me. 🙂

Here’s my very rough and very humble translation of the song:

Are you feeling sad, bored, exhausted?

Are you tired, slaving away night and day?

Has your life lost meaning, devoid of spark and color?

Is everyday the same, like nothing ever changes?

Let’s go! Let’s travel together with our family,

Our closest friends, and the whole ensemble

So that we can truly have a great time.

Come on, let’s travel so that we can see

The beauty of the Philippines,

The greatness of the Filipino

Have you been to Intramuros and Luneta?

Palawan, Vigan and Batanes

Subic, Baguio, and Rice Terraces?

Have you seen the vintas of Zamboanga

Taal Volcano, Mayon Volcano

The beaches of Boracay and La Union?

Let’s go! Let’s travel from Basco all the way to Jolo

So that we can truly get to know

All our fellow Filipinos

Come on, let’s travel so that we can see

The beauty of the Philippines,

The greatness of the Filipino

From city to city

Seven thousand and one hundred plus islands

In my beloved Philippines

Let’s go to Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao

Don’t be a foreigner in your own land

Have you tried shooting the rapids in Pagsanjan?

Have you gone diving in Anilao

Or surfing in Siargao?

Have you tasted the sisig of Pampanga,

Durian of Davao, Milkfish of Dagupan,

Bicol Express and Balayan Lechon?

Let’s go, let’s travel

Then we’ll be able to help somehow

In improving the lives of all our countrymen

Come on, let’s travel so that we can see

The beauty of the Philippines,

The greatness of the Filipino

Have you joined the fun of the Pahiyas and Masskara,

Moriones and Ati-atihan,

Sinulog and Kadayawan?

Have you attended the fiesta at Peñafrancia in Naga?

Gone up to Antipolo?

Danced in Obando?

Let’s go, let’s travel so that we can attain

Happiness and friendship,

Progress and peace

Come on, let’s travel so that we can see

The beauty of the Philippines,

The greatness of the Filipino

Come on, let’s travel…

Wow, Philippines

Come on, let’s travel!