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)))

Monday Madness + 1 More Magnificent Week

26 Jun

Shucks. Times like this, I wish the word “week” began with a letter M—then my blog title would’ve been perfectly alliterative and the little word-geek in me would’ve been floating in bliss. 😆

But it’s a magnificent Monday nevertheless! And Mondays around here mostly mean new goodies in the shop!

Here’s what I have on the fresh-out-of-the-oven shelf this week: the second volume of my Brownbagger Paper Packs!

{ Click on the image to grab this at my shop … and read on to know why it’s a steal this week!)

Here’s a closer look at the papers in full view:

This has a lighter shade than my first Brownbagger Paper Pack, and more crinkles too. And this collection comes with little folded corners and a stapled corner too! (It’s the more playful little sister of Brownbagger Vol.1).

I am so thrilled to share the awesome art done by our JessicaSprague.com Creative Team members with it!

This one is by Kelly:

Kelly also used my Click! – The Elements, Click! – The Patterned Papers, Color Me Rub-ons & Brush Set, EZ-PZ Template 07 – I Heart MoMA, Livin’ It Up Paper Pack, Mask Me Photo Masks and Needs+Wants: It’s a Date (Date Stamps) on her layout above. Woohoo! 🙂

This one is by Miki:

Miki also used my Loopies Vol.1 – Flutterby Rub-ons & Brushes and my Snippets Word Pack – Rub-Ons & Brushes on her layout.

This one is by Keri:

This one is by Lisa B:

Lisa says that my Brownbagger Paper Packs are part of her go-to essentials, and guess what? My Brownbagger Paper Packs love her right back! 🙂

This one is by Renee:

This one is by Becky:

And here’s another one by Becky (gotta love both!)

* If you want some more serious eye-candy, please don’t hesitate to visit these great artists’ blogs… their links are right there on my right sidebar menu under JessicaSprague.com Creative Team.

I mentioned earlier that if this paper pack rocks your boat and you don’t have it yet, this week would be the best time to

Grab It!

because… guess what? Because you’ve all been so awesome, and because we truly love that you’ve celebrated our fifth birthday along with us last week, and because you’ve been so generous with leaving heartwarming, inspiring comments, we’ve decided to extend our JessicaSprague.com birthday sale for another week!

Yep! That means all our goodies in our shops are still 40% off (huge savings, right?) this entire week! So YAY! It’s shopping therapy time! 😀

PS. We only have a storewide sale like this twice a year, so now’s the perfect time to get the best schtuff at the best prices! Not that you need another justification for going on a shopping spree, right? Just sayin’… 😉 ~tee hee~

Happy Marvelous Monday, my dear friends!

Oh, and if you’re searching for my WordPress Photo of the Week entries, I have to confess I’m running 3 challenges behind. Have you ever experienced Real Life grabbing you by the collar and not letting go till you get the Priority NOW list checked? That’s exactly the culprit of my 3-challenges-pending state. But I will get to that, I promise! Real soon!

We’re 5 Years OId This Month!

20 Jun

Yeah, well, not me me, but we at JessicaSprague.com! Man, how time flies!

But birthdays are always fun, aren’t they? And they’re especially fun at the Spraground, because we love giving away birthday goodies every year!

This year, the JessicaSprague.com designers have teamed up to bring you a wonderful summer-y collaboration kit, and here’s my part of it:

My mini kit has five 12×12 papers and 5 elements:

  • tied chipboard accent (in plain and pre-shadowed versions)
  • a buttoned and lifted string (pre-shadowed for that oh-so-realistic look)
  • a 12×12 puffy-sticker popsicle border
  • a stapled, paint-swiped frame (in plain, pre-shadowed, and lifted versions)
  • a set of summer and beach label wordart (in plain and pre-shadowed versions)

And if you find that my little kit rocks your boat, you can click on the button below to download the file directly:

If you’ve arrived here first, you’ll want to go to the start of the whole bloghop so you can collect all the goodies along the way.

Click HERE to go to the first stop (none other than our dear Jessica Sprague’s blog!)

And to collect the next part of this fabulous collab kit, click HERE to go to Lori Whitlock’s blog!

Our bloghop will be active all week long till right before midnight of Sunday, June 24th Eastern Standard Time. This means that you and your friends can download our goodies any time this week till right before midnight.

Oh, and because you’re awesome, I know I can count on you to leave a few words as you grab my freebie, right? 😀 (Scroll down and click on the Comments button… don’t be shy! 😉 ).

Don’t forget that as part of our Birthday Week celebrations, we’re also having a 40%-0ff sale this entire week! Click HERE to go to my shop and fill your cart with goodies that you might not be part of your collection yet :).

And here’s a little poster to remind you of all our birthday activities this week:

Thanks for passing by, and don’t forget to grab a cupcake and a balloon on your way out! (((big happy birthday hugs))) to you!

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!

Wonderful Wednesday, It Is!

14 Jun

I think Yoda would agree. 😆

One-Buck Wednesday

If you love the look of textures on your photos, you’ll love playing with my Photo Play Texture Pack, which happens to be on sale for just a buck today (till midnight of Wednesday Pacific time)!

{Click on the image above to grab this texture pack for just a buck!}

Here’s a sample of how these textures can bring that oomph and bang to your photos:

You can combine different textures to get totally different looks each time…

Or you can use one particular texture and play with blending modes, which is what I did here:

Original (Unedited) Photo:

I used Photo Play Texture 6P on the photo and came up with this:

(I used a layer mask and with a low brush opacity, I erased a bit of the texture from the little girl so that the texture was retained but did not overpower the subject).

I used Photo Play Bonus Texture #2 and this is what I came up with:

Here’s the recipe I used above, in case you’re interested (though the textures work differently depending on your images… and that’s a wonderful thing, because it means that you can play and experiment with different textures, different blending modes, different opacities, and the possibilities are just mind-boggling!)

As always, you can click on the images to view them at larger sizes. 🙂

Wonderful (Half-Off) Wednesday

I also have this wonderful element pack at half the regular price today (again, till midnight Pacific time)… and these are perfect not just for taping photos or elements or tags, but also for adding realism and texture to your creations (you can even put text on them!). These are real tapes that I have painstakingly and lovingly extracted for you so that all their rough, torn edges and crumpled areas have been preserved. Yummy, right? 🙂

{Click on the image above to grab this at 50%-off}

You knew I’d be sharing some fabulous layouts with you, right?

This one was created by Sarah:

This one was created by Margje:

This one was created by Reeta:

And here’s another one that Reeta created:

Five Essential Things… Photoshop Class for Free!

Ever wanted to learn Photoshop? Want to learn it in the most wonderful way, with video instruction and with the most supportive community plus the sweetest, funniest, most awesome instructor holding your hand (virtually) as she guides you through the Top 5 Photoshop Techniques that everyone should know?

You’re in luck because my dear friend Jessica (yeah, she of JessicaSprague.com 😉 ) is giving a FREE online class which is open to everyone!

Click on the image above to find out which specific techniques will be covered and how to get yourself enlisted for the Online Class which starts next week (but you can totally do it on your own time… as long as you register and sign up for the class, it’s yours forever. Yeah, you read that right. All our classes at JessicaSprague.com that you sign up for (free and purchased) are and have always been yours forever so that any time 5 or 10 years from now you want a refresher, it’ll still be right there waiting for you :D).

Alrighty then! Go have a most wonderful Wednesday, my dearies, and I’ll see you soon! xoxo

Framed!

12 Jun

Hello, new week! It’s a mad, mad Monday today, and you know why? I’ve got not one, not two, but five brand-new products on sale for 25%-off today (till midnight Pacific time)!

If you love frames, you’re in luck, because that’s the bulk of my new products… plus the latest addition to the EZ-PZ Template Collection!

“A picture paints a thousand words,” so the song goes. And sometimes images do speak louder than words. Now you can let your pictures paint a thousand words with my Storyteller Frames. Each Frame Pack has 30 textured storyteller stapled frames with 5 pencilled labels per pack and in 3 different versions (simple with no drop-shadows, pre-shadowed, and lifted), with both portrait (vertical) and landscape (horizontal) orientation. The labels per pack are specific to each pack, so you get a whole collection of labeled frames from each of the three packs!

Storyteller Frames – Solos

Storyteller Frames – Duos

Storyteller Frames – Trios

These are super versatile and you’ll find that you can use them in endless ways – you can line up several frames or arrange them in clusters. Or you can use one set alone, or use different sets together. You can use each opening on the frame to house your photos, or you can use some openings to hold your journaling or patterned paper or elements. Really, it’s amazing how these will serve you in so many ways!

And just in case you find yourself falling in love with all three packs, I’ve included the option of grabbing the entire collection at a huge discount of 40% (and if you get them today, that discount increases even more!)

Storyteller Frames – Bundle

{ Clicking on the images above will take you to my shop where you can load them into your goodies cart! }

And now for some awesome Storyteller eye-candy from the JessicaSprague.com Creative Team (and not only do these works of art give great inspiration but they also offer amazing proof of the frames’ versatility!)

This layout is by Keri:

This one is by Lisa B:

This one is by Kelly:

This one is by Jenn M:

This one is by Lorrie:

This one is by Tronesia:

This one is by Jana:

This is another one by Lisa B:

This one is by Miki:

This one is by Margje:

And this one is by my designer-on-hiatus buddy Linda:

But that’s not all! For those of us who feel the need to document our precious moments but don’t have much time, my EZ-PZ template collection do the job neatly… plus offer a wonderful array of items that can be used over and over again on other creations!

Here’s the latest in the collection:

EZ-PZ Template 10 – The Story of Two

EZ-PZ Template 10 – The Story of Two  is especially suited for those times when two photos tell a more complete story than just one photo. (Ever heard of diptychs? This is the best way to house those awesome twin-story-photos!)

Here’s what you’ll get, aside from a fully-layered .psd template:

  • a fully layered 12×12 .psd template
  • a plain textured and slightly-grungy two-photo tied-with-twine frame (so you can add your own drop shadow)
  • a pre-shadowed textured and slightly-grungy two-photo tied-with-twine frame (so you don’t need to bother with adding your own drop shadow)
  • a lifted textured and slightly-grungy two-photo tied-with-twine frame (for that delicious dimensional look)
  • two photo masks to clip your photos to
  • two textured and blended 12×12 background papers (one is clean and the other has sanded edges)
  • one optional text path
  • one penciled rub-on
  • one stamped rub-on
  • one ink-and-text overlay

Isn’t that awesome? 😀

{ Clicking on the image above will take you to my shop where you can grab this little baby! }

Of course you knew some delish artwork would be coming up, right?

This one is by Sarah:

This one, by Deb:

This one, by Lisa B:

And this one is by Kim K:

I hope these brought lots of inspiration and cheer to you today, my dear friends! May your Monday be full of stories worth telling, and may you find the time to capture them in photos!

Seize Today

8 Jun

Carpe diem and all that. Because tempus fugit.

And because, as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said,

Every second is of infinite value.

So gather ye rosebuds whilst ye may. Grab today by its neck and dive into all that you’ve always wanted to do. Have you always wanted to learn to  paint? Go to the bookstore today and get yourself a box of paints, some paintbrushes, and indulge even if you haven’t the slightest idea what you’re doing… yet. That’ll come in time. What matters is that you’ve started on the road that leads to your dream. (And it works whether what you want is learning to paint, or reading that book, or figuring out how to work the new vacuum cleaner).

And because what we sow today is a very accurate predictor of what we’ll reap tomorrow, it makes a lot of sense to make sure that the journeys we embark on today, short-lived or long-winded, are those that lead to a good place.

For me, there is no greater reassurance that my daily journeys will be fruitful than to begin it (and yes, end too) with prayer. It’s the one great thing that gives me energy, cheer, and yes, during those inevitable times of human frailty and trial, hope. And the knowledge that, even if in the eyes of the world—and perhaps even in my own sight—it may sometimes seem that I have failed at this or that today, what really matters is the struggle that has been offered up with love.

And so… in a very roundabout way, what I am trying to say is that I have been totally amazed by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week because it merged those two things—today and prayer—in a very serendipitous way:

TODAY. I love that this is the theme this week. Especially because I have long subscribed to the belief that there is beauty, happiness, awesomeness, indeed miracles a-plenty, in each and every day—wonderful gifts just waiting there quietly for us to take the time to stop and discover them.

This was my little awesome gift today:

The Backstory That Explains Why:

His 10-year-old brother and I had just finished reading this little booklet which explains the benefits of praying three Hail Mary’s daily, upon waking and before sleeping. I was in the middle of teaching the older one to say a little prayer in between the three Hail Mary’s, asking for the gift of purity of body and soul. This sweet 6-year-old was playing with his Lego, oblivious (or so I thought) to my conversation with his brother. Suddenly he looked up, folded his hands in prayer, and said, “Mama, teach me also that other prayer.”

I am certain the angels in heaven smiled on him at that very moment. As I did (and then reached for my camera to capture the moment 😀 ).

Ah, the gift of today. And the joys of being mama. And the gift of being asked by a little child to join him in prayer.

Precious beyond words.

And I end this with a prayer that today may be filled with gifts and blessings for you, my dear friends!

It’s One Wonderful Wednesday!

6 Jun

Guess what? Remember that total hit some time back called One-Buck Wednesday, when goodies from designers at JessicaSprague.com would go for just a buck? Remember Wonderful Wednesdays, the one that replaced One-Buck Wednesday, when other goodies that might never go into the One-Buck Wednesday shelf would go for 50% off?

Well, those twain doth meet, and now we have both One-Buck Wednesdays and Wonderful Wednesdays merged into One Wonderful Wednesday!

Just a Buck: Scribbled Alpha 

Today, in my shop, this alpha pack is going for just a buck:

A fun scribbled alpha to add a whimsical touch to your creations, this pack features a complete alphabet (uppercase and lowercase letters) plus basic punctuation and special symbols. Each letter is approximately 1.5 inches tall and comes in its own separate .png file. Full-page .png files are also included.

{Click on the image to get it at my shop for a buck!}

Some amazin’ eye-candy using my Scribbled Alpha, all by our awesome JessicaSprague.com creative team!

This one is by Chrissy:

This one is by Jana:

This one, by Jenn M:

This one, by Roshni:

This one is by Sarah:

And this one is also by Sarah:

Half-Off: Scribbles Rub-Ons & Brush Set

And this rub-ons and brush set one is going for half the price at 50% off today too:

Scribbles features 15 delightfully-whimsical oh-so-big hand-scribbled rub-ons and a brush set for you to stamp in your own colors! These are perfect for adding lovely accents to your layouts and projects!

{Click on the image above to get it at my shop for half the price today}

And again, some amazing layouts to feast our eyes on!

This one, by Jenn M:

This one is by Miki:

This one is by Monica:

This one is by Margje:

And this one is also by Margje!

Remember, these goodies are on sale for a buck and 50-off only today, Wednesday, till midnight Pacific time! Go grab ’em and have a wonderful time creating! (((hugs)))

Season of Heat

26 May

Summer. Sun. Sand. Shakes—mango, coconut, watermelon (not all together, though :P). And sweat.

I could do without the last, actually. 😆

But how apt that in this sweltering heat, Summer is the theme of this week’s WordPress Photo of the Week Challenge!

Here’s my take on it:

Summer: Sunny haze, Soccer field, Stick in hand, and all the time in the world to Seek adventures. AweSome!

Travel Theme: Summer

But wait, we haven’t had enough of summer yet; there’s more!

How funny is it that my new WordPress-friend, Ailsa, invited me just last week to participate in her own photo challenge on her blog, and her theme was… surprise, surprise:  Summer! I promised her that I’d join in, and I always keep my promises. 😉 So here we go—Summer, Too:

{Click on the image for a larger view}

Now let’s see how many S words I can come up with for this one: Summer = Sun, Sand, Sea, a Sprinkling of Seawater, and a lovely fruit Shake.

Ssssweet! 😀

Oh, and let’s not forget… the Summer Song (perfect for those long drives to the beach)!

Hope you have a super day today, my dear friends! Sssee you sssoon!

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