No, I haven’t fallen off the earth…

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

It’s called, 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!

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? ❤


Feeling Creative? Join Us in June!

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

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

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

Here’s your invitation:


Credits: Painted Edges overlay  by

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

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

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

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

My MayDay Three

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

So here are the ones I made:

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

This was the template we used:


And here’s the layout I made:


{ Click image for a larger view }

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

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

Here’s the layout I made:


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

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


{ Click image for larger view }

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

Back to the saltmines

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

Come on feel the noise…

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

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

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

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

May Photo-A-Day

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

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

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

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

01 May – Breakfast Sunshine

Breakfast Sunshine

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

02 May – Poetry in Bloom
Breakfast Sunshine

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

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

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

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

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


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

Of Heads and Hair

I’ve got a splitting headache. I think it might be because I spent the entire day yesterday sorting and fixing my paper file notes (in a sorry attempt to put off working on my LDD application kit, hehe)… and now I know I have no more excuse to procrastinate. 😆

Or it may be because these past two days I’ve been quite worried about my five-year-old son who has a terrible cough (I’ve taken him to the doctor who says that he’s most probably got a really bad viral infection, possibly a relapse from his cold virus that he had a week and a half ago). I really think it’s the shift between warm weather and rain these days. So he’s on antibiotics again, a whole bunch of medications, nebulizing around the clock, and antitussive lozenges thrown in for good measure when the coughing fits get really bad. Each time he coughs, I get really stressed with all the worrying that floods through every cell of my being. Makes me totally want to reach into his throat, pull out the cough germ, and stick it into mine; just so that he wouldn’t have to cough anymore. The other day, after a particularly drawn-out coughing fit, he said “Somebody please take me to heaven!” I think my heart dropped on the floor and broke into a million little pieces. My poor boy. So please, take a minute and say a prayer for him please? That he gets well real soon? Thanks, honeys.

So… yesterday I was looking at myself in the mirror and I saw FIVE strands of white hair staring back at me. Mind you, I didn’t even run my fingers through my hair to search for more. I’d seen enough. Adding to the possible headache culprits: I saw in the mirror not just the five offending white strands of hair, but even worse, looking back at me was a really groovy-looking girl with hair that was threatening to turn into a real 80s mullet. Ugh, ugh, ugh!

So I called my hairdresser and made an impassioned plea for a haircut appointment.

I’m happy to report that after 3 hours spent at my hairdresser this morning, I now look human again. Almost. 😆

Perfect Moment Take Two

So… given that my headache is threatening to take over my entire body, this post won’t be lengthy. I just wanted to share with you this long overdue Part 2 of the Perfect Moment Plopper Parts that I promised I’d give you a few days back.

{ Click on image for larger view }

LivEdesigns Perfect Moment Plopper Parts (Set3)

What you’re getting today is a grungy textured background paper, a .psd file of the trame with stapled tag (there are just 2 layers in the file: the frame and the photo mask), and a grungy lined journal tag with distressed edges. I decided to give the frame as a .psd file so that it would be easy for you to put the photo behind the frame. Just target the photo mask in your layers palette, pull in your photo (it should come up under the frame layer in your palette), and then do a CTRL-G if you’re using Photoshop Elements, or for any version of PSE or Photoshop CS, hover your mouse on the line that divides the photo and the mask, hold down ALT and when your cursor turns into a snowman-looking icon, click. Voila!

You can download the Perfect Moment Plopper Parts Set 2 here. Thank you to mexikids of stock.xchng for the stock photo of the adorable baby I used for this preview. Thank you’s for the CU-OK items I used can also be found in my TOU! I hope you can find some use for these plopper parts, and thank you in advance for the love you leave in my blog!

Orton Effect

Over at our Spraground playground, my girlfriends and I have been keeping ourselves busy by indulging in weekly challenges (Our official Spraground weekly challenges will begin in March, barely a week from now! WOOHOO!!! If you have ever lurked over at our playground, now is the time to come out and play! 😉 )

This week, we played with the Orton Effect which we took from our playground-mate kimi’s blog (Thank you, kimi!). The Orton Effect was first used by Michael Orton, and it’s a technique of sandwiching two images where one is in focus and the other is out of focus. Originally this was done with actual slide film, where the original (sharp) image was overexposed by two camera stops, and the second (out of focus) image was overexposed by one camera stop. What results from this technique is a wonderful glowing photo. With the amazing Photoshop, we can now do the same thing right on our computers!

I had a pretty difficult time with this challenge, not because the technique is hard to do: on the contrary, it’s unbelievably easy. The difficult part for me was finding the perfect photo to do the technique on (because I found that it fits some photos much better than others… ). Here’s what I finally ended up with:

{ Click on image for larger view }

LivE The Ungiving Tree


Jesse Edwards’ FallingAllOver paper (recolored) and Michelle Coleman’s GrungyBoy paper & Grungy Edges Overlay; Mindy Terasawa’s Little Explorer Notepaper (altered); Graphics-Illustrations brushes FONTS: Susie’s Hand (background text); RomanSerif

This is a photo I snapped around a month ago while we were on an out-of-town trip. Dh and I were sitting outside on the verandah of our unit when I looked out into the sea of green trees and saw this tree. I immediately thought of Shel Silverstein’s book The Giving Tree… except what popped in my mind was the opposite: The Ungiving Tree. 🙂

Did I ever share…

with you what I excitedly gathered (like one gleefully picks wildflowers in a huge field of flowers) from Annie Manning’s store? Remember the Oscraps Designer Spotlight Challenge that I joined and uhm, had the great luck of winning? Well, here’s what my prize was! (A coupon which allowed me to choose anything from the fabulous designwork of Annie Manning aka Paint the Moon)!  (Oh and did I already say how fabulous Annie is as a person? Totally sweet and adorable! The icing on the cake of my winning this challenge is getting to know her as a friend! Wonderful!!!)

{ Click on images for larger views }

This is Annie’s Charmes d’Antan Mega Kit:

AM PTM Charmes

Her Chloe’s Treasures Kit:


One of her Funky Flowers sets:


Her Smooth as Silk Ribbons In a Knot:


Her Really Random Ribbons:


and her Vintage Frames and Corners:


If I could buy her whole store, I would’ve (except I wanted to leave some for another shopping trip! Gotta space these things out, ya know? 😉 ) In fact, she has a new kit that I am sooooo lusting after: it’s called Boxed In Set One, and if I really want to push back what I need to be working on right now, I think I might just hop on over there and snag it! 😆 I am so hooked on Annie’s stuff (all that wonderful, delicious texture!) that I can’t stop wanting to make layouts with them! Go check her out at the Oscraps shoppe (link is also under Shop Till I Drop over there on the right side >>>)

Time’s Up!

Well, okay, I know, I’ve dilly-dallied too long. There’s just no more delaying what I really should be doing now; I really must get my mouse pointed in the direction of my design work! 😆

Speaking of my mouse (what’s the plural of a computer mouse: computer mouses? computer mice? And while we’re on that topic, if the plural of mouse is mice, why isn’t the plural of house, hice? Or spouse, spice? Hmmmm. Wait a minute. That could work too. 😆 )

Anyway, speaking of my mouse, mine is driving me crazy! It’s so sticky! Every now and then, I have to keep lifting it from the mousepad for it to move; otherwise the cursor just sits there, unmoving, daring me to shove it into place. What could be the reason for this, would you know? Is it time to replace my dear old mousie? (I love the scroll button, waaaaah!!)

Well then. Enough of my delaying tactics. I really must be off to work. 😆 Thanks for passing by, and do come around again soon! (Sssshhh… I’m working on an alpha freebie for you which I hope to finish soon! 😉  )

(((((hugs))))) , my sweeties!

I Caved…

DH came home last Saturday with the most sumptuous feast from the Italian resto by the corner… totally no consideration for wide-eyed, famished, spaced-out women. 😆 I could not resist.

My dear friend Joan doesn’t like talk about diets 😉 but I will say this: there are a lot of things that I’ve learned in the past few days from this attempt to diet: Two, to wit:

1. Three hours of sleep and an empty stomach do not mix well. Nope. I was feeling quite spacey and ditzy, and had trouble focusing. At one point, dh said “do you realize you’ve been sitting there staring at your compy for the past X hours?”… I was “working” on a layout and here I use the term working very loosely because I have a sneaky suspicion that what I was really doing was sleeping with my eyes wide-open. 😆

2. Maybe I need to spoil myself less and deprive myself more. I mean, really, how bad is it to limit your intake? A very dear wise friend of mine, who was also my confessor for a good part of my life (and he baptized the last 3 of my children), once told me: “If you feel completely satiated and stuffed after a meal, then you know you’ve eaten like a pig.” Ouch. I need to learn to eat like a bird.

Thing is, I realize, this applies to a whole lot of other things in life also. We don’t really have to have everything to the maximum limit. In most cases, it must be good for the soul to restrain oneself for greater strength in the things that really matter. Balance is a good thing. A very good thing.

Now, Joanie, I will quit this talk and move on. 😀

Tagged! Again!

I’ve been meaning to do this tag from my dear friend Jackie, and while I was thinking of what to put in my tag, my friend Jeanne tagged me as well! So there I go: tag times two! Sorry, my dear friends who may not be fond of tags but are about to be tagged anyway by me 😆

Jackie’s Tag

These are the rules: You must post the rules before you give your answers.You must list one fact about yourself for each letter of your middle name. Each fact must begin with that letter. If you don’t have a middle name, just use your maiden name. After you’ve been tagged, you need to up-date your blog with your middle name and answers. At the end of your post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged and need to read your blog for details.

(Jackie is lucky: she has 2 letters to her middle name. I have SEVEN. But one letter repeats so I’m going to count that as one. There’s nothing in the rules that doesn’t allow that, right? hehe)

M – Mom. This is half of a huge part of what defines me (the other is Wife). For me there is no greater gift than being able to be mother five times over to the most adorable sons (even when they’re not being that adorable, I am ever thankful for them). Of course I can’t be mom without being wife, so that kind of works itself out pretty well in the gratitude department, doesn’t it? 🙂

A – Addict. I am addicted to digital design, digital scrapbooking, photography. I can sit for hours and play, play, play. Can’t help it. I’ve been pulled over to the Dark Side and have absolutely no regrets! Thank you Jes! 🙂

R – Rebel. The good kind though (I think). This must be the after-effect of being the youngest kid of 6 for 15 years (the only weapon of the designated siblings’ slave is rebellion). I know for a fact that if you want me to do something, you need to let me feel that it’s my choice; otherwise, I rebel. (Okay, so maybe I should have said Brat instead, but there’s no B in my middle name). Maybe R should also refer to Relent–yeah, yeah, after I rebel, I relent. hohoho. Does that make me a fake rebel? 😆

L – Lover of Life. Oh yeah. Love life and all there is to it, peaks and valleys (though I prefer peaks, thank you very much). I will always be grateful for my life and the lives that have touched mine, and grateful to have been granted the grace to see, and therefore be grateful for, all the bountiful blessings that have been given me and the people I love. I really don’t get it when some people complain about having a rotten life: I think there are always two sides to the coin, and one can choose to see the dark side of things and be frustrated, or seek the lighter side of things (no matter how difficult this may be at times) and be happier.

E – Explorer. I love learning. I love dissecting things, trying to understand what makes things work, trying to find a better way of doing something so that it’s more efficient and makes better sense. I love discovering the world. I think I would just die if a day passed where I didn’t learn something new. This is the reason I totally adore books, and why I can spend hours playing with Adobe. There is just such a wealth of information to be bitten, chewed, mashed, swished around, and digested. Mmmmm. Burp!

N – Night Owl. I can function on 3 to 4 hours of sleep (well, as long as I don’t have an empty stomach). I love the quiet time and the darkness around; so conducive to thinking and creating art. Maybe this has something to do with having a buzzing household with five rambunctious boys when it’s daylight… or maybe I just like burning the midnight oil. Or maybe I just love my playground friends so much that I make it a point to be awake when they’re awake on their side of the world. 😆

E – (okay fine, I’ll be fair and do the other E as well 😆 ) Everything-that-happens-is-good Believer. (Is this really pushing it? 😆 ) Did you ever notice my blog header? Take a look above: Right over there, at the top right side, you’ll see my mantra: “It’s all good.” It really is! Sure there are some really yucky things in life, can’t avoid that. (After all, will one know the sweet joy of laughter without having tasted the saltiness of tears?). But I really believe that behind every cloud there is a silver lining. I guess it all stems from faith, that precious gift: I truly believe that my father God loves me with a personal love (just as He loves you with a personal love), and that He will allow unfortunate events to happen to His beloved ONLY if there is a greater, better good that can come out of it. It is our task, therefore, to find what that greater, better good is.

Alright! Jackie, you would be proud of me! Got all seven facts done! Now I tag my dear friends (who I hope will still love me after I’ve tagged them 😆 ) Veevs, Linda, Laurie, Heather, Ann, Dawn, and Kelleigh (welcome to the playground tag game, kel!!! 😛 )

Jeanne’s Tag

Jeanne’s tag is a different kind, a very heart-warming one:

The idea behind this tag game is different from other tag games. Rather than look inwardly, we look outside ourselves and bless, praise and pray for three blog friends. By participating in this endeavour we not only make the recipient of the blessing feel valued and appreciated, but we are having some fun too. We’re going to see how far the bloggin’ blessings can travel around the world and how many people can be blessed! Recipients of a bloggin’ blessing may upload the above image to their sidebar if they choose to do so. In addition, be sure to go to the blog of those you are blessing and leave a comment on their blog to be sure they check yours!

Okay, this is really hard to do, limiting the number of people to three, because there are truly just too many people who need to be counted on this list (and a good number of them don’t even have a blog). Maybe the tag limits us to three so that we can remain in the blessings of those whom we haven’t tagged? 😆 just kidding. Couldn’t resist that. >heehee<

Seriously though, Jeanne, thank you for your oh, so kind comments on your blog. It is always a GREAT thing to receive warm fuzzies unexpectedly, and you gave me warm fuzzies enough to last an entire year and then some. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart too.

Alright, my three people (and those whom I’ve left out… you’re in my heart, you know that).

Lisa. Lisa is a darling friend, whose latest venture has been taking up the cudgels of providing the playground challenges. Lisa is my personal hero, because despite her battle with trying to keep from losing weight (what I would give to be able to donate my excess to her), she is nonchalant about her health battles, never drawing attention to herself, and manages to maintain a great sense of humor and a matching concern for others. Where others would’ve withdrawn and buried themselves in concern and worry that could be justified, Lisa is amazingly brave and continues to live life to the fullest. She is awesome.

Deb. Deb is just a fountain of never-ending warm fuzzies and is my most constant blog-bench visitor, there from the very start when there were just a handful who would come sit on my blog-bench. She is so generous with her kind thoughts and her kind comments, and she never has a negative thing to say. I love positive people! Deb, like me, has a houseful of children (well, okay, she has more than me), and counts them all as blessings. I love that about her. She has had more than her fair share of trials and tribulations, and has just been through so much these past months… yet she continues to struggle against the raging winds. This aint no weak woman here. She’s a wonderful girlfriend, and she knows she’s going to get humongous hugs from me the moment we meet. She is awesome.

Kari. Kari is The Boss. Man, can this woman get things done! (Okay, actually by tagging Kari I need to tag Laurie and Tori as well, because they complete our PP group, but I’m so generous, I’m going to leave Laurie and Tori for Kari to tag, hehe). She is way organized (OCAR Queens, unite!) and takes it upon herself to make things happen. I love that. Way back when she took the U&R course and I was moderating, I already knew she had The Boss in her. She’d also most likely win Mom of the Year award, the way she takes on 15 children in her home at one time (and not for a birthday party of her child, noooo, just a regular generous thing to do, you know?), the way she bakes cookies for everyone, and continues to do her one million and one motherly things to do. Seeing her photos of her Christmas tree up on her blog inspired me to get my butt into action putting ours up as well. 😆 Kari is amazingly thoughtful, and she’s quiet when she does her generous acts: love that too! She is terrific.

Note now that I would tag everyone on my playground if I could, including my two dear friends who flat-out refuse to have blogs except the virtual ones (Joan and Jana, you know who you are) and darling Veevs (except I already tagged her above, so it would be cruel to do it again, hahaha!). I would tag every single one of you who have taken the time and effort to leave such kind words on my blog and on my 4shared site. I would tag every single one who has deemed my freebies worth working with; it is a true honor that you choose to download them. I would tag every single person who has crossed the path of my life, because I truly believe there are no accidental meetings, that everyone you meet even for a split second changes your life and adds to it in ways you cannot even dare to dream of. But because we are limited to three, I hope the rest of you realize that you are dear, dear, dear to me and I love you to little pieces.

The Latest

Here are the latest layouts I’ve come up with. Not very productive compared to my LOAD January days, hahaha! But you don’t want me to go on and on with why… so without further ado, here they are:

J’s School Page

NOTE: My son’s school required mom-and-child collaboration to do a page of his Artwork for their school yearbook (he graduates this year from Senior Kinder… man, does time fly!!!). It was easy scanning in his artwork, but extracting each letter of his penmanship was not. (And yes, Kari, send me your kids’ penmanship and I’ll extract them for you… in exchange for Jessica’s new book. LOL!!! just kidding. I’d do it in a blink for a song, you know that).


Kim Christensen’s Spelling101 Papers, Overlay, Stitching; Katie Pertiet’s Folder Frame, Special Tag, On the Edge Flourish; Andrea Victoria’s LoveFrame freebie (heart extracted); Amber Clegg’s Postage Date Stamp; Lisa Warren’s Staple; Sara Carling’s Aero Leather Tags

DD Scraplift Challenge

Journaling reads:

high five, n. slang … 1. a gesture of greeting, elation, or victory, in which one person slaps an upraised palm against that of another person; 2. a group of five adorable boys with the uncanny ability to make their mother’s heart soar high up in the sky every single moment of every single day


Amy Teets’  Whity Tighties paper; Katie Pertiet’s Ledger Grid; SnapFrameEdgers; StampedMoments (Loved); JenniferAdams Donelly’s accessories (recorder buttons) – recolored; Deanna Patterson’s Stitched Ribbon; Raechel Knight’s Black Friday Stitching (recolored); Michelle Coleman’s AntiquatedSwirl; Pattie Knox’s BasicFeltAlpha; Andrea Victoria’s Nutrition stamp; Atomic Cupcake

NOTE: This was done as Lisa’s first PSF challenge, which was a scraplift challenge from Designer Digitals (one of my top favorite sites and shoppes!)

No Place Like Home

{ You can click on the image for a larger view in case you want to read the journaling… }

CREDITS: Multi-photo Template, PerfectMoment Frame by me; Everything else from Paint-the-Moon aka Annie Manning’s Chloe’s Treasures kit. Many of the photos of my country are stock photos from various sites, including gettyimages, wayfarer, lonelyplanet and corbis.


This layout was my answer to Lisa’s other challenge to do a layout on our hometown (amazing layouts on our playground gallery!) Just wanted to put in a few details about the photos, for the benefit of all my playground friends who want to come visit (you’re welcome, and it’s an invitation that has no expiration date, remember!)

Top Row:

1st photo – cobbled streets of Vigan, Ilocos (northern part of the archipelago)

2nd photo – Banaue Rice Terraces, which has been called the 8th wonder of the world (sorta in the same league as the pyramids?)

3rd photo – the famous Manila sunset

4th photo – a wonderful expanse of beach in Palawan

Second Row:

1st photo – Tagaytay, southern getaway about 45 minutes from the city, with great mountain air and lots and lots of greenery; love this place!

2nd photo, top: Taal Volcano, in Batangas, known as the world’s smallest volcano (it also is a volcano in a lake with another lake in its crater, and yes, it is active)

2nd photo, below: Intramuros, once called the Walled City, which is like the fort used to defend Manila during the 300 years when we were a colony of Spain

3rd photo, top:  diver with a pawikan, or sea turtle (great, great marine life in our country!)

3rd photo, below: map

4th photo: Manila Cathedral at night (one of the biggest and oldest churches in the city, standing there since the time of the Spanish occupation)

5th photo, top: Bibingka, one of the most delicious Filipino delicacies (I could make a whole layout and then some on Filipino food!) – this is a sweet rice cake which you eat piping hot, with butter generously spread (and immediately melting around it), with lots of melted cheese, including kesong puti ( or “white cheese,” made from the milk of carabaos… extra special around here), and salted red eggs, and with ground fresh coconut meat on top to complete the gustatory experience. Mmmmm!!!

5th photo, below: “Dinagyang Festival” in Iloilo (I initially thought this was the Ati-Atihan festival… but with all the feasts and festivals around here, the constant is the beautiful colors and merry spirit that fills the town).

Third Row:

1st photo – Mayon Volcano, known for its perfect cone (well it used to be completely perfect; now some eruptions have made it not so perfect, but it’s still the closest to a perfect cone in the entire world)

2nd photo: Palawan huts by the sea

Fourth Row:

1st photo: city lights at night showing the Makati skyline

2nd photo: Boat on its way to Boracay, a famous tourist spot known for its talcum-powder-like grains of white sand and long stretches of calm blue waters… it’s not as private and unoccupied as it used to be more than 20years ago when I visited it as a newly-out-of-college kid, but it’s still awesome anyway

And because of this…

layout, I made a multi-photo template that I want to share with you! (Thank you to all those who have left comments on the items that they normally use; I hear ya!!! So here’s one for those who said they like templates! 😉 )

{ Click on image for larger view }

LivEdesigns Multi-photo Template No. 1

I tried to make it as versatile as possible, so it’s a really simple template: has the grid and the photo blocks which you can clip your photos to so that you can crop-without-cutting (hit CTRL-G to form a clipping mask if you’re using PSE; hover your mouse between the mask and the photo layer and ALT-click if you’re using full version).

I’ve also included the text path in the freebie… just double-click on the text, CTRL-A to highlight the entire text and type in your own text. You can change the font size, the font color, and the font type as you wish, using the usual way.

Oh, and of course it’s a layered template, so you can shift things around to make it work for you as you want it to. (Just remember to give credit! 😉 ) Don’t worry about the black background layer; just pull in your own paper and turn off the eyeball icon on my background layer so that it’s just your paper that shows through.

Hope you like it!!! Here’s where you can download the template. Thank you in advance for the love you leave on my blog.

Now… this has been another looooooong post, so I need to get back to doing the stuff of real life. 😉

Have a happy day, my sweeties! (((hugs)))

Yippee!!! (First Freebie for 2008!)

Woohoo, turning cartwheels here! I finally have something to share with you, my sweeties!

I am both excited and a bit uncertain about this kit that I’m doing, because it’s a bit of a departure from the colors I normally play with.

I have to admit: I am not much of a pastel person. Way back in the 80s (yeah, that time of mullet hairstyles, eek!), there was this curious book that supposedly would tell you which colors best suited you, based on your skin color. Does anyone recall that?

They divided the fashion color palette into seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. If I remember right (caveat: I don’t always remember right 😆 ), the Winter color scheme was supposed to be best for those with very fair skin and blonde hair, blue eyes, that sort of thing; and the colors were icy blue, icy green, shimmery sorts of colors. I remember Winter because one of my sisters qualified as that. She was born with blonde hair, and she recalls worrying–when she was little–that she was adopted, because the rest of us were all born with dark brown hair… that is, until my brother was born 4 years after and he was blonde too. 😆

Oh… they’ve lost the blond and are now dark haired like the rest of us. Go figure. 😯

Anyway, I remember being a Fall, and that suited me just fine as I’ve always been partial to oranges, browns, beiges, creams, neutrals (except for that brief phase in university when I wore nothing but black and white… thankfully, that was brief. >teehee< ).

This whole off-tangent story of mine is meant to explain why I am not really a pastel person. I like seeing them; they look absolutely fresh and soft, but I don’t feel like I know them, know what I mean? (Okay, I’m strange: I’m talking like colors were people. 😀 )

Buuuuut. It’s nice to stretch one’s wings and discover new horizons. After all, my word for January is ADVENTURE. (Have you thought of your word for the month / year yet?) And this certainly qualifies as an adventure for me!

Let me know what you think about this freeb, please? (Be honest. But be nice. 😆 )

So here’s the first set of the first freebie for 2008! (ha! alliteration there!)

{Click on image for larger view}

LivEdesigns Pasteleria Set 1

I’ve called the set Pasteleria, which is Spanish for a bakeshop or a place where you get pastries and sweet stuff (pastel + sweet = pasteleria in my twisted little mind, hahaha!) You can snag Set 1 here!

What you’ll be downloading is three papers, all slightly textured: LimeLight has a scrolly thing on its corners, Baby’s Breath has scratchy wisps of white on its edges, and Lullaby has stars and a moon surrounding it. There’s also a ribbon with a heart charm, which you can resize as you wish. Thanks to atomic cupcake, CindyDoerksen, and scrapNtag for some commercial-use items I used to make this!

By the way, pastels were supposed to be Spring (on the 80s fashion palette). If I remember right. 😉

Thank you in advance for the love you leave and please do take the time to let me know what you think (so that I know if I should quit this pastel adventure and go a different route or not…  hahaha!)

And it’s back to the DDs, folks!

After a brief and very wonderful playtime spent making a layout that belongs in my generic album (which I call Viewpoint… I’ll try to get a photo of it and upload it here), I’m back to making Daily December layouts with Jessica’s fab template!

Here’s my Daily December No. 9 (“The Gift of Christmas”) and LOAD Day 14.

The Gift of Christmas (Daily December 9)

Journaling reads:

One night centuries ago, a Child was born, God’s most precious Gift to the world. Thirty-three years later, that Child would give His life so that we could share in His forever. I hope that this inspires you, my dearest son, to keep giving and sharing, especially with those who have less than you, whether you are 5 or 33 or 105 years old.


Jessica Sprague’s fab Daily December template *You won’t believe how many people love this template!* plus Katie Pertiet’s grid brush, Michelle Coleman’s Topper & Christmas papers from her Merry Little Christmas kit (recolored);  Nancie Rowe Janitz’s stamps (from her contribution to the Stand Up & Scrap Mega Kit (recolored all to fit Christmas theme); Angela Barton’s postage stamp, also from her contribution to the Stand Up & Scrap Mega Kit; and the world embellie, I made using these items: Michelle Coleman’s painted heart, Shabby Miss Jenn’s knotted ribbon (recolored), and Lisa Warren’s mini globe (Lisa’s and SMJenn’s items were also from the SU&S mega kit). Also used John’s Photoblast actions on the the photo of the children below and the one of my son with his two friends. (John has the most fab, user-friendly actions; if you use Photoshop full version or Elements and you don’t have these yet, you should check them out here! 😀 )

I was so glad that the preschool that my son attends arranged a get-together last December with a large group of less privileged children, and in so doing, they were able to give my son and his schoolmates the opportunity to really know the joy of giving and sharing time, laughter, and gifts. This joy which comes from a spirit of generosity is one which I hope my son will always know, no matter how old he becomes.

Other stuff I’ve been up to

Have you signed up for the 12-Week Photography lesson at 2peas yet? It’s so much fun to play, whether you already know the basics or not. (ha! I love any excuse to play. My mental age is probably 7. 😆 )

This week’s lesson lets you play around with the shutter priority mode in your camera. If you’re using a point-and-shoot type of camera, the equivalent would be playing around with the different auto modes, sports setting plus whatever else you want to play around with to see the differences.

And it’s a two-part lesson (not supposed to peek at Part 2 without doing Part 1), how fun is that! 😀 If you haven’t checked out the 2peas course yet, do! It’s really fun. (And you’re welcome, Jeanne. Love ya).

I’m going to check the kitchen sink photos I took and, if they’re not too embarrassing, I’m going to be back in a bit to post them here!

More adventure stories later! (((hugs)))

Finally, here it is!

the original version of the shutters page plopper using Jason Gaylor’s awesome brushes!!! For those who downloaded the version I released earlier, this one has different brushwork AND it also has a slightly different, more sunshiny hue to it.

Again, many thanks to Adam Lambert-Gorwyn for his windows photo, and Jason Gaylor for giving me the go-signal to release the plopper using his brushes!

Here’s the preview (I’ve updated the photo of my dear friends, the mother-and-daughter team who were the inspiration behind this creation). Hey, Jackie, does this photo now beat the other preview in terms of cuteness? 😆

{Click on image for larger view}

LivEdesigns Shutters Plopper JGVersion Preview

Download this plopper version here.

Of DDs and LOADs

Don’t you love acronyms? teeheehee.

I missed out on posting my latest LOADs and DDs, so here they are.

Daily December No. 3 & LOAD Day 5:

I wanted to do a page that shows the culture of my country, because Christmas is such a huge event in this part of the world. (Christmas carols begin playing in September–can you imagine the pressure? 😆 –and the food! the glorious food that abounds! Every home, big and small, mansion and hut, has happy lights. We are a happy people, what can I say? 🙂

The Parol’s Light {Christmas Star - Philippine-Style}

Journaling reads:

i love it when the parols begin to hang from trees and eaves. to me, nothing more warmly signals the advent of this season of joy and peace as the light shining from this truly filipino symbol of the star that shone above the manger on that first christmas night.


Jessica Sprague’s lovely Daily December template PLUS Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush, Michelle Coleman’s Topper, Monika69 – Christmas paper1, pillowgirl/E.Blust – RichXmas paper (both blended); photo of nativity scene:; Flickr: Large Lit parol photo; nbk – grungy paper

LOAD Day 6:

Lately I’ve been getting into wanting to do full-photo-bleed layouts. This is what I came up with. This is my MIL. Pretty gorgeous for one who is beyond 70 years, eh?


Journaling (Quote) reads:

Beauty… when you look into a woman’s eyes and see what’s in her heart. ~ Nate Dircks

CREDITS: Jason Gaylor’s Brushes

Daily December Day 4 & LOAD Day 7:

Cool Weather = Cool Dude

Journaling Reads:

you said:

mom, can you gel my hair? i’m going to wear my jacket and my shades, and when my classmates see me, they’re going to say, wow, you’re sooo cool!

i said:

sure, honey, let’s do that. but you know what? it’s not your hair nor your jacket nor your shades that make you cool.

you’re cool because you’re a good boy. that’s what makes you cool, my little dude.


Jessica Sprague’s fab DailyDecember Template PLUS Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush & Stitched Chip Strip; Michelle Coleman’s Topper; the Little Dreamer Designs Jolly Jingle Collaborative Kit, from which I used Michelle’s and Misty Mareda’s papers, Jackie Eckles’ star, Emily Merritt’s sparkles (recolored), Lori Barnhurst’s brad fibers

Daily December Day 5 & LOAD Day 8:

Rudolph Minus the Nose

Journaling reads:

checking out the decor in our neighborhood:

hey, mom, where’s rudolph’s red nose?


Jessica Sprague’s wonderful Daily December template, Katie Pertiet’s Grid Brush, Michelle Coleman’s Topper PLUS Michelle Coleman’s Merry Little Christmas Kit items (papers & flower) and Reindeer Brush by me! 🙂

Whew! All caught up with posting my layouts this January so far! 🙂

Lookie! What a surprise!

I am so delighted! There have been 469 downloads of the Shutters Plopper (the one I released a few days ago) from the last time I checked. Will those who have used it allow me to post their layouts on my blog? Do leave me a note if you don’t allow me… silence means YES! 😆 (But if you leave me a line and say, yes, please do, I’d be even more delighted!)

Also, look what I just found on the web today? SLKozul used part of my Jolly Hollydays kit to make a birth announcement for her friends!

SLKozul uses Jolly Hollydays

She did a great job, didn’t she?

So many stories, so wish to share!

There are so many stories that I wish to share, but I have to stop myself before my post runs page after page after page! I’ll be back soon, though!

Thank you so much, my dearest friends, all of you who offered prayers, well wishes, and words of advice for my Lasik operation. More stories about that soon!

In the meantime, need to work on my LOAD for Day 9 … it gets difficult as I have to put my alien act to rest for a few days (meaning, I can’t stay up till 4AM as the eyes give up and force me to lie down. Those of you who’ve worn contacts: you know how it is when you’ve kept them on for too long, and your eyes feel dry and they sting a bit? That’s how my eyes feel after a while, except this time, I can’t remove the lenses and go aaaaahhhhh! The only recourse is to sleep.

But I figure… that’s fine. Give or take a month, and I’ll be back to burning the midnight oil! 😆

Have a happy day, my sweeties! (((hugs)))