Saturday, July 24, 2010

So, what is clean, elegant, and comes hidden a bag?

The answer would be this blog post. :D Okay, don't start booing just yet. I guess I ran out of ideas for blog titles. LOL

I've got a few layouts to show you today! I just spent a few hours resizing and getting the images ready for blogging and I couldn't help thinking that this is gonna be one of the best color-coordinated entries I ever make here! You'll see what I mean.

The first layout is created with Anita's mini kit Elegant and Beautiful (which totally lives up to its name!)

I used a picture of Neill when he was 2 months old, almost 7 years ago, for the layout. I just love this photo and his Mona Lisa smile. There are quite a few comments in the galleries where I posted this page noting how, as a baby, he already looked so much like his big-boy self now. What do you think? :)

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Now the other one is mysterious. I hate secrets and surprises but, my dear blog readers, my hands are tied. LOL!!! All I can tell you is Anita has a Grab Bag deal up at Two Little Pixels and it's fabulous!

Alright, alright! Anita lets me tell you that in the Grab Bag, you'll find one full kit, one word-art set that goes with the kit so perfectly, one very versatile set of frames, and one fantastic set of templates! During July 23-30 you can buy this bag for only $3. After the period each product (worth $14.15 combined) will be sold seperately. So hurry up!

I made a double pager with the items in the Grab Bag. Maybe it will give you some clues of what you'll find in the bag!

Journaling reads:
Ever since PaMam told us about the new salt-water pool not too far from both our houses, Neill was hooked. His private swimming lesson there is going very well although Mama suspects that what he likes best about it must be the fact that he can play with his close friends Prima and Sinat afterwards. It's always extremely hard to get those energized half-fish half-monkeys out of the pool at the end of the day!

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Freebie time! I made templates from my double-page layout above to share with you. No strings attached. This is not a part of any challenge. You don't have to make layouts to show me anywhere and I don't have any reward for it. But I do hope you like them, enjoy working with them, and I would always LOVE to see your pages using them!

Here's your download link or you can just click on the preview below. Comments are very welcome, appreciated, and encouraged as usual. :D

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"He who eats alone chokes alone"

*Warning* This blog entry might not be very coherent. LOL I started half of it and then found out that my son Neill was running quite a high fever and had to skip school for 2 days. So I just picked the blog up again 48 hours after I began. Sorry! Neill is better now though. :)

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Like my proverb of the day? "He who eats alone chokes alone." LOL I LOVE it! So true!!

I was going through a website with food-related quotes when I came across this one. The website doesn't show the proverb's origin but I think it's so clever! It tells something about human. It hilights the fact that we are social animals and that we are meant to share what we have and to help each other. What a deep meaning for such a short and fun sentence!

The social side of food and eating is what inspired me to make the 2 layouts that I'd like to show you today. These pages were made using the stories and pictures taken during our Lebanon trip from March to May this year. Both were created with kits by Rachelle of Rachness Designs.

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The first kit is A Cup of Kindness, a collab kit by Rachness and Lorie M. Designs. I have shown you the kit here a few posts ago but without the layout, because it wasn't ready yet.

Now the page is ready. So here's my page with A Cup of Kindness!

Journaling reads:

May 2, 2010 - We were invited to a lunch at a Lebanese friend's house one day and, after we all had too much of the tastiest Lebanese home-cooked meal, her mom offered to do 'coffee reading' for me. I was so excited. This was something I read about and saw in movies a thousand times before but never really experienced!

I was told to drink the thick and strong Turkish coffee until there's very little liquid left at the bottom, then swirl it around to make the sediments cover the cup's inside surface. We turned it upside down on a saucer and waited for the coffee grounds to settle and dry properly.

At first I thought the 'reading' will be full of ambiguous coded messages that require a lot of interpretation on my part. I was wrong. Although our friend's mother could barely speak English, she was very specific about my fortune (and misfortunes - LOL!) that she saw in the cup.

She mentioned health issues that I had, some deceitful friends, and described my precious close friend precisely down to how many children she has and their age. She could even tell from a symbol that I was from Thailand! (Honestly, I wouldn't be able to tell for the life of me that the smudge was an elephant!!)

In the end she told me to place my right thumb against the inside of the cup and turn it a little. She read the impression and concluded that I was satisfied with my life and had nothing serious to worry about. It's a relief to hear that and I was truly thankful for this amazing experience.

Okay I know that some of you might be thinking how unimaginative it is to create a page about a cup for a kit named a cup! Well, what can I say. The kit is just perfect for the picture and theme that I had in mind! It's also great for many other themes too, though, particularly friendship. Need more inspiration? See this entry in Rach's blog to enjoy all the CT pages from A Cup of Kindness!

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The second kit, just released Minda's Kitchen Retro Remix, was designed especially for cooking. It's filled with the nostalgic sense (or scents?) of our mom's home-cooked meals. This is actually a remix of Rach's old kit (and now retired) "Minda's Kitchen", and is packed with her own never seen before vector-drawn and digitally painted illustrations. The bundled pack contains 16 papers , more than 50 elements, and an alpha pack (lowercase a-z only).

I made this page about the Lebanese fabulously tasty treats with Minda's Kitchen Retro Remix!

My husband works in Lebanon so during our son's school break, we went to visit him there for 2 months. Before we got there, I was a little worried. Being a vegetarian is not always easy, and the last thing I want was to make life difficult for those around me. Well, I shouldn't have worried at all.

Journaling reads:
Lebanese cuisine must be one of the healthiest kind of food in the world. It has a wide range of dishes, cooked perfectly and creatively with tons of veggies and very little fat. I was in a vegetarian heaven!

Every labanese meal we had there was so delicious that it was always long gone before I even remembered to take pictures! That's why when we saw this miniature clay set of lebanese food in a souvenir shop, I had to snap it up right away. (Photographically, not physically though. LOL)

In this picture you could see all Lebanese delicacies such as Baba Ghanouj (char-grilled eggplant puree), Hummus (chickpeas dip), Tabbouleh (mint and parsley salad), Labneh (strained seasoned yogurt), Wara' Enab (stuffed vine leaves), Falafel (small deep-fried patties), and roasted nuts and olives.

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As always, Rach lets me turn my layout into a quickpage to share with you. Please click here or on the preview image below to download. Don't forget to leave a few words here too if you like it. :) Enjoy!

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My Template Challenge at Digital Scrap Cafe forum is still going until the last hour of Friday, July 23! You still have enough time to go get your free template and make a layout to participate. Hurry up and I'll see you there! :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Free layered template, anyone?

Hi!!! Ahh... another weekend with hundreds of things to do. So I'll just keep this short and sweet!

It's my turn again to host a template challenge at Digital Scrap Cafe forum, and I decided to try something different this time. :)

Before we get to the template itself, let's talk reward! This week's challenge winner will win a gift coupon from the loveliest Alison, aka messina33, who's the designer behind Milly Dee Designs. I used her fun kit Little Sailor for my sample layout for the challenge!

And here's my page:

Journaling reads:
Brave the Weather - 15 Oct 08
Our fun boat trip on a replica of ancient vessel in Phuket turned into a nightmare quickly when the storm swooped in. The rain was hard and the wind was throwing our small boat left and right then up and down with the waves. Quite a few people must have started praying silently.
Fortunately, the storm continued on past us eventually, as suddenly as when it came. The whole ordeal was over in less than 20 minutes but it felt much longer. We can laugh about it now but it was certainly no laughing matter then.

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Now, about the template. I know that the templates I gave away for my challenges are more of the Clean and Simple style. That's because it's something I'm more comfortable with. This time, I think it should be nice to try something outside my comfort zone. :)

Clustering, especially tight ones, is always my weakness. Everytime I make a page with clustering, I'm nervous and feel I have to concentrate a whole lot more than usual. So, I think this should be a nice challenge for you and me both! I told myself to be brave and create this template for the challenge. And you know what? I had so much fun! I love the page I made with it too!!!

So here's what your free template looks like! You may click on the preview image below or just click here to go to the challenge thread where you can find your download link.

That's it!! I hope you like the template and can find time to play with it! See you at the challenge!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Come ride the blog train to the beach!

The weather has been a bit crazy here in Bangkok. One minute it could be steamingly hot hot HOT then the sky would crack and you'd get a huge rain storm that paralyzes traffic everywhere. (But then again, when is Bangkok traffic not paralyzed? LOL!)

Officially, summer has come and gone here but we haven't got a chance to really go to the beach yet this year. The key word in the previous sentence is "really." :D It's kinda ironic that we did go to the beach many times when we were in Lebanon, from March to May, but it was still winter and the beach was super windy and freezing. We didn't do anything there other than walking on the sand clutching our thick scarf. So naturally that didn't count for "a trip to the beach", right?

Sorry for complaining. LOL! I just can't help it. Working for Digital Scrap Cafe's July blog train only made me long for the beach more. Have you seen the new DSC collab in the store? It's called Beachy-Keen. With its 112 elements and 67 papers, the kit is perfect for all of those beach/summer layouts!

And for the whole month of July, for every $10 purchase at DSC, you'll get this big set of quickpages made from Beachy-Keen (worth $5.99) for free!!

So, about the pages I made with Beachy-Keen, We went to the driving range the other day for Neill's golf practice. I didn't expect any photo opportunity but, as other Mama-razzi everywhere, the camera was in the bag with full battery. What can I say, the light was perfect, the model was in the mood, so I snapped a few pictures. LOL!!! Then I made some sunny brag book pages for them.

You can have these 4x6 brag book pages too! (*Warning* The photos of cute boy in preview are not included in the file. LOL!!) They are my gifts to you as part of Digital Scrap Cafe's July Blog Train. Click on the preview below or here to get your download!

Don't forget to visit all the stops on our little blog train to get all the 4x6 brag book pages that we have prepared for you. By the end of the summer, you will have a nice album to keep your memories of the sunny days!!

Here are our blog train participants!

Pom - --> That's me. :)
Di -
Mary -
Kristen -
Manuela -
Loni -
Doris -
And Åsa -

Please allow at least 24 hours for all the stops to be ready. You know, the time difference thing. Just check back at a later time to get your pages. Enjoy the ride!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Scrapping outside my comfort zone

Eventhough I've never done paper scrapping before (I've been all digi from the start), I still consider myself a paper-style scrapper. I love (relatively) clean & simple pages although I also love doing clustering every once in a while. But in every page I do, I'm sure my obsession with shadowing is obvious. I can't go to bed if I spot one wrong or unrealistic tiny shadow on a layout. LOL!

One thing I VERY rarely do is an "artsy" page. Perhaps not as rarely as a fantasy page (which I've never done before LOL) but I don't see myself as a very visually-artistic person so the thought of doing even remotely artsy layouts simply scares me.

Well, there were occasions when a kit is so inspiring that, despite my fear, I just have to try. Please don't laugh at my attempts but these are what happen when I scrap outside my comfort zone. :)

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The first time I laid eyes on this kit, Mademoiselle from Rio by Lilipruneau, I immediately thought of Andy Warhol. LOL! Must be the colors. From then on it was just so easy and fun. Ideas came pouring in and journaling kept pouring out. Lili's products always have that effect on me, make me eager to create!

And here's what I made with this wonderful kit.:

I can tell you, I had so much fun creating this double pager! The Pop Art effect was not done by any pre-made action in the graphic program. I "painted on" Neill's faces myself one by one. I think this is where the journaling came to be. He is my art. And my art is growing, evolving right before my eyes.

Journaling reads:
We have heard time and time again how our children are non other than blank canvasses or immaculate pieces of whilte cloth, waiting for their parents to paint on, ready to absorb whatever colors in their environment. I think it is true up to a point.

In the end, no matter how much paint we use or how solid the colors we provide, they'd just take their own shades and hues, and all we can do is sit encouragingly, and watch their true colors shine as bright as they can be.

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Last week I helped Åsa made this template for Digital Scrap Cafe's June 25 - July 2, 2010 Template Challenge, so naturally I wanted to use it, and I wanted to rock it! :D Alas, I realised quickly how challenging the template is (and many challenge participants seem to agree with me LOL!!!!) I was totally lost and blocked for a while until I discovered the right kit for it!

Dani Salles (DSDesign Studio) is one of the new designers joining Digital Scrap Cafe store from the beginning of July. Her shop is full of impressively creative kits, and this one, Ink-Me, caught my eyes right away! Suddenly I knew which direction I wanted to go with the challenge and the template.

Here's my page with the kit, for the template challenge.:

Lately I have more and more photos of Neill with this little smirk, and his smugness just amuses me to no end. I'm sure he's gonna be pretty embarrassed with himself when he grows up to see them. So, for now, I think I should do my best at documenting these moments just so I can tease and blackmail him later. LOL!!

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No freebies today. I hope you still love me. :D More layouts later in the week!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dear Darling and a little something for you!

Okay, before I take you to the Darling stuff, I'd like to answer this first. :)

Indy (who has just opened a new artsy website, -- let's go check out her wonderful mixed-media artwork!) left a comment on this blog a few posts back asking how I made my double-page spread (like this one) look like it comes from a real book. Well, I'll try to explain but please forgive me if I'm not making any sense. LOL

I got the idea when I saw a friend (this would be you, ViVre) did that to her DP at DSC forum and I just had to have it. But she used a commercial overlay and I was too cheap for it. :D So I did my own version with a little shadow trick. You know - just regular drop shadow from one side (with a little larger offset and blur radius than usual), then I copy only the part of the shadow that spills over to the other side, paste it on another layer, flip it and move it to meet the other shadow in the middle of the spread. There you have it.

So deceptively simple, right? I'm sure it's pretty crude comparing to the commercial overlay but it works well enough for me. Hope this helps! :)

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Let's move on to Dear Darling!!! I'm just in love with this new kit by Rachelle (Rachness Designs). It's not just your regular cute kit. All elements and papers are uniquely designed and well thought out. I love how it seems to invite you to sit down and make something pretty for your loved one(s) and write a special message to them.

Included in the full kit, you will find a great handwritten set of alphas as well. Or if you prefer, you may also purchase the alpha set (or the element set) seperately.

Speaking of alpha, Rach also has another set out and I think this one, Crayon Edge Alpha, is absolutely FAB!!! It's a basic alpha that you can use over and over, but with a fun twist that you can apply to spice up your pages.

Here is my page using Dear Darling. I also used a template that Rach gave away as freebie some time ago as an inspiration for the journaling cluster. I call the page "Through a Child's Eyes." :)

The day I made this page, my son Neill and I fought. After both of us cooled down, he came and apologised. I gave myself some time, then sat down, scrapped the page, and wrote this message to him.

Journaling reads:
You always ask what it was like when I was at your age. Was my homework as difficult or my school bag as heavy as yours? I just realised that it might be your way of telling me to cut you some slack. Yes, sometimes you forgot to send in your homework and lost your belongings. But you are young and I have made all the same mistakes before. Thanks for reminding me that it helps to look through a child's eyes to be a better mother. I love you!

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So, I've got a little something for you too. You can have the journaling cluster I made for my layout above as a gift from me and Rach! Click on the preview or here to download. Leave me a few words here if you like it, will ya? Thanks! :)

Check out Rachelle's blog to check out other CT pages using Dear Darling ! And don't forget to give Indy's and Tammy's blogs a visit as well. They both also have something cute the kit waiting to share with you. :)