Wishing You All A "Merry Merry" Christmas

>> Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My goodness, is it the 23rd already? Time just went by..zoom zoom zoom!! I have been very busy with several projects and a lot of sleepless nights and so have neglected to peek into my blog to say hi and leave you with the alpha to my Christmas kit "MerryMerry". So sorry....

Have you done all your Christmas wrapping, let alone shopping? I'm still wrapping my gifts! Eeeekk! Panic! I promise myself I'll be done wrapping by tonight, tomorrow is a busy day and I won't have time for any of that. I'll be off to the printers to pick up the scrapbook I had printed, it's always exciting to be able to see your work in print :) Then I'm off to my aunt's home for brunch because it's her birthday and every year, she gathers all family and close friends at a breakfast birthday celebration. The reason she celebrates her birthday at breakfast is because we will be celebrating Christmas in the evening (we Filipino's celebrate Christmas on the eve of the 25th, we wait until midnight and as the clock strikes 12AM, we gather together and have our feast and after the feast we gather round the tree for gift giving. This invariably ends at 3-4 A.M, with my aunt the last person opening presents because she not only gets to open her Christmas presents, she also opens her birthday gifts, LOL!

Oh and before I leave you with the Alpha freebie, I have great news! My sister just gave birth to her first and only child, a son she has be wanting and yearning for and I have to tell you, he is going to grow up and be such a cutie, girls will be after him, hahaha, what with half Filipino and half American blood, you always get the best of both worlds. Congratulations Yazzy, i'm so proud of you!! I made her a birth announcement which I scrap lifted from lch photography and design, her layouts are beautiful and simple and the exact sentiment I wanted to say.

I made 2 versions, one with the baby photos in color and one in black and white, which do you prefer?

Credits: Papers from LilyDesigns, Juno Designs-Winter Whites, Kit Stella di Natale by Miss13.

Isn't he the most adorable? These photos were taken in the hospital. My sister said his face is changing and he is even more captivating now (can't wait for her to send me more photos!) I had to make a template so I could scrap this and I'd like to share it with you :)

(Been trying to upload the preview but it seems to be difficult to upload to blogger at this time).....anyway, you may still download it here.

Now for what you've been waiting for, here are the alphas to go with the kit "MerryMerry", they're very versatile and are not just for Christmas themed pages. Hope you like them!

You can get them here.

I may not be able to blog in the next couple of days, so I'd like to wish you all a most blessed Christmas, may the true spirit of the season not be lost and may this time be a reflection of God's love for us. May your families keep safe and warm and joyous in the presence of another.


Oh Boy, What A day It Was

>> Thursday, December 11, 2008

yesterday...I came home stone ground tired, pooped, and oh so achy all over. Remember I said I'd be gone the whole day? Well I went with my aunt and her sister to this super bargain haunt in my country called "Divisoria" - how do I explain to those not from here what Divisoria is like? Most definitely, you will either love it or hate it, no in betweens, hahaha! This place can elicit squeals of utter joy or I could get scathing looks from you for taking you there.

Going there in December? Even worse. I get looks of horror when I say I braved Divisoria in December. Divisoria is a big big maze of streets filled with all sorts of goods, fruit, vegetables, fish, decor, clothing, shoes, toys, fancy jewelry, all sorts of sewing supplies, beads, lace, paper, cardboard, bottles..the list can go on and on. It's an assortment of stalls, alleys, backstreets and old and new buildings filled with just about anything, mostly goods sourced from China, Bangkok, and locally. For most Filipinos, Divisoria is the ultimate in bargain hunting and not one for the faint-hearted.

But despite the heat, the stench in some areas, the jampacked streets (I tell you, there was a point wherein we could not move from where we were standing for a good 5 minutes!), a trip to Divisoria is always a treat for me. Never mind that I get home so tired and dirty. How can one resist a good bargain? The melange of colors in the streets... I'm dizzy just looking at everything displayed... but I can't help it and try to go, I must! :)

Here are some photos of Divisoria from www.juonbox.multiply.com, don't you love how he captured the colors and the hustle and bustle of the street?

See what I mean?

The main goal of the day was to shop for material that could be used for a costume my cousin is to wear for her themed Christmas party - they had a draw and her group got Moulin Rouge and she was chosen to play Satine, much to her dismay LOL! Well, one of the numbers she will be performing requires her to wear this head piece:

Recognize that? From store to store, we went looking for something that could give us a semblance of that. We finally located some stores selling bridal gowns and stuff related to weddings. We found this really cute silver headband with rhinestones on it, some accents, beads and a chain of rhinestones. Now all I needed to do was put it all together, which I managed to do this morning. Am I so glad I kept some of my beads and accessory making materials because they surely came in handy.

Wanna take a look at it?

Not the exact replica but I think its pretty, don't you?

That's it for today. Let me leave you with a little gift from my "MerryMerry" Kit. A little Christmas Quick Page and some papers I made from some photos my cousin's boyfriend took.


You may get them here:
MerryMerry QP
MerryMerry Paper Pack Add-On

My dear Barb, Brenda, Jewel, Stacie, Laetitia, Chel, Jodie, Electra, Grannymike, Crane and those who gave their comments and thanks anonymously - my hugs go out to you, I can't get enough of reading the comments you have left, they warm my heart :) I'm happy to give when I receive much thanks. I hope you make use of the kit and do send me your layouts so I can proudly post them here!

Have a glorious day ahead of you!


Part 2 of "MerryMerry"

>> Monday, December 8, 2008

This will be really short, I will be out the whole day but I wanted to leave you with Part 2 of my Christmas Kit called "MerryMerry", included in this kit are 26 sheets, 29 elements, an alpha and 1 Quick Page.

You may download the Elements here:

If you missed the Paper Pack, please check my previous post for the link. I noticed that a lot of people just stopped at the Friendship WordArt freebie and did not bother to scroll down. If they did, they would have gotten the "MerryMerry" sheets.

While you're at the previous post, I do hope you take time to read the Christmas Charity letter and find it in your heart to click on the donate button, even $1 would help and will go a long way to purchasing more items to go into the gift bags for these street children.

I'd like to heartily thank those who took the time to give their thanks and to comment. It really is such a blessing to have people like you around. Thank you to those who have taken more time to click on the donate button, may you and your family be truly blessed for your generosity.

Do come back to get the QP and the alpha over the weekend!

Have a most pleasant day!!


A Friendship WordArt Freebie, Merry Merry Kit and a Christmas Charity

>> Thursday, December 4, 2008

Before anything else, I'd like to say thank you to those who have downloaded my freebie and taken the time to give thanks, your comments are sweet words of inspiration! Hugs!!!

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet up with a good friend I had not seen in months, almost a year in fact. She had just given birth to a baby boy on my birthday November 18 and named him Rafael, just like the baby I had lost to placenta abruptia almost four years ago. She even calls him Rafa, just the way I would have called my son, had he been born. What a coincidence huh? She's making me Godmother :) This friend of mine is that type of friend whom I don't see very often, but when we do get together it almost always is like we never left off and always end up having a great time talking and keeping each other updated on the events of our lives. It was fantastic seeing her again!

I have a lot of friends like these, we don't see each other a lot - maybe because of geography, sometimes because we now move in different circles or we are just too busy with our families and lives, but when we do see each other again, it always feels like coming home, like years apart do not matter at all. It is a good feeling to have and I feel grateful to still have them in my life. Each one of them have touched my life in countless different ways, each coming into our lives at a time when our lives call for them to be there. Not always present but altogether around. They are our sheltering trees and we should count ourselves lucky to have one or to be one.

In honor of friendship, here is a little WordArt Freebie for you to use with your friendship pages. I have also included my very own hand-drawn doodle tree so you may use it in your other layouts. PU/S4O/S4H only please. Do send me a copy of your layout, I want to see how you used it :)

You may get it here.

If you are still with me, I hope you would take time to read this flyer I created for our yearly family sponsored charity. The family has already come up with 6,000 bags to give away to the street children this Christmas (packing day was about 2 weeks ago, pictures posted below) My aunt Agnes who spearheads this project has done an awesome awesome job! Kudos to her for continuing to do this all throughout the years. I did not get to attend packing day this year because I had to watch shop but I'm hoping that by putting this out there I will be able to generate a little more something for the cause. There is still more that needs to be done and we are still soliciting funds and items to be given away.

I'll be putting a donate button on my sidebar for the month of December and hope you will be able to spare a dollar or so, all proceeds will go to the cause and will help make countless street children happy this Holiday season.

Here is the Christmas letter:

I can't seem to figure out why the resolution is so blurry when I have saved it to the highest Jpeg, anyway, you may download the PDF version of the letter here so you can read it: Christmas Charity Letter

Here are the photos from the packing day:

Awesome right? Please don't forget to click on the Donate button below or on the sidebar for whatever little you may want to give to this cause. Just picture those little children's faces receiving something they least expect, isn't that enough to make you smile too?

Just click here to donate for the drive

Wow, you've read this far down? Thank you for looking at the photos (and maybe clicking on the donate button?) LOL! I'm shameless aren't I? But its all for a good cause, and I don't mind being shameless for this cause :)

Because you have come this far, you deserve another Freebie! I'm giving away the paper pack for my Christmas Kit called "Merry Merry"!

Merry Merry Preview

Paper Pack Preview

You may download them here:
Patterned Sheets 1
Patterned Sheets 2
Patterned Sheets 3
Grungy Solids

I will be giving away the elements and alphas over the next few days, so stick around! Have a gorgeous day ahead of you.


Quick Hello and A WordArt Freebie

>> Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A quick note to let you know I'm back! I've got a million things to do today but I'd like to take a few minutes to leave you with a small wordart freebie, YUP, a freebie, woohoo! There is more coming in the next several days. So do keep coming back to check.

It has been quiet on my blog front lately, and that's because I have been having one crisis after another, it's far from over but things are better...with unconditional love from my family, guidance on learning how to focus (that's a biggie for me), and of course by accepting God back into my life -

Without further ado, here is my little freebie, some wordart I made and used in my layouts. I'd be happy if you would be able to use it :)

You can get it here.

That's not all, got more coming your way in the next couple of days. It started out with trying to make some Alphas, I've been trying to experiment and keep wondering how all these designers came up with such gorgeous kits, I have been feeling frustrated because all I seem to be able to do is make Papers/Sheets, but I want to make elements, alphas! The works! LOL!
My first alphas (with no actions used) will be part of a kit I'm developing which I will give away for free in this site. I've been toiling over these in bits and pieces, you can say it's a growing work in progress.

Here is my first preview of the kit (uhm..not too keen on my preview, I may change some things around) - its called "Merry Merry" and my very first Christmas Kit, a kit I feel moderately satisfied with and proud to have made, haha!

Its got loads of papers/sheets, elements, and an alpha! Don't forget to come back to get it okay?

By the way, I've got one more thing for you today...that's for reading this far down. :)

You can get it here.

Gotta go now, please leave some love if you download!


Best of Friends QP Gift

>> Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Time flies so fast, here we are in the "BER" months again, where did the rest of the year go?

This is going to be really short, I've got some deadlines I need to meet (Ack!). Before I let you off, I have a little something to share. I made a gift for my dear friend Mabelle, whose blog I always read. It's my way of showing her I'm there for her, even if we seldom communicate with each other, or have not even met yet! (LOL!) The Quick Page gift used items from her Crossroads Kit, a paper I designed myself, some elements from Pineapple Plantation Designs and the WordArt I chose and made to comfort her because a dear, dear friend of hers was leaving the country. Mabelle has asked me to post this here in my blog so I can share it with YOU.

You can get it HERE. If you download, please read the TOU and don't forget to thank Mabelle for sharing her gift.

Password is: formabelle


Artist's Block

>> Thursday, August 14, 2008

I haven't been able to post any freebies or new stuff I'm creating, they have been sitting on my desktop for the past few weeks. What does one call it? Artist's block? I have this idea and concept in my mind that I'm trying to work on but I'm having a hard time executing it and it frustrates me no end. So it just sits inside my file waiting for my muse to come. I've scrapped quite a few pages and practiced with a photo or so but certain stuff just leaves me with a blank at the moment.

And in the meantime, I have been trying to organize my brushes directory and font directory. I've been having a difficult time choosing the fonts and brushes from the drag down menu. I have so many already that it is so time consuming trying to look for it so I thought to myself why not print out samples of all the fonts and brushes I have and make a catalogue out of it. So that is what I've been trying to do when I have time and don't feel too tired in the evenings. So far I have completed most of the fonts and printed them all out and bound them together, I just need to add some new fonts I downloaded. My brushes printout still has a long way to go, and to think I've printed out more than 100 pages already! But I'm really pleased because now, I can just go though the catalogue and it will be easier for me to visualize, not to mention easier to find.

The other day I came across this cool tutorial of how to give your picture a retro cartoon book effect. Although my mac already has a comic book feature and I've got lots of photoshop actions to do it, I loved the way this one was particularly made - enough to try to learn how to do it from scratch. I'm glad I did, because I learned a few things I did not know could be done!

Here is the photo I converted:

Till next time. Now off to find my muse.....


"Do Schools Kill Creativity?" A talk from Sir Ken Robinson

>> Saturday, August 9, 2008

I've got this video to share, it's from a site called TED, which means Technology, Entertainment, Design. This site started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). Very interesting site!

This a talk from Sir Ken Robinson, a creativity expert who challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Click on his name to get to his site. I'm very visual and just love the look of the site! His books seem very interesting, I want to read his books "Out of Our Minds- Learning to be Creative"

As described in his site: There is a paradox. Most children think they're highly creative: most adults think they're not. What happens to them as they grow up? Throughout the world, companies and organizations are trying to compete in a world of economic and technological change that is moving faster than ever. They urgently need people who are creative, innovative and flexible. Too often they can't find them. Why not, and what should be done about it? Out of Our Minds addresses three vital questions for everyone who has a serious interest in creativity and innovation.
1) Why is it essential to promote creativity? Organizations everywhere are concerned as never before with promoting creativity and innovation. Why is this so important?
2) What's the problem? Why do so many adults think they're not very creative (and not very intelligent)? How do we lose the confidence to be creative?
3) What should be done? Is everyone creative or just a select few? Can creativity be developed? If so, how?

This groundbreaking and inspirational book argues that organizations everywhere are trying to fix a problem that originates in schools and universities. Many people leave education with no idea what their real creative abilities are. In a powerful and original way, he says why this is and what organizations and individuals can do immediately to recover their creative talents. He argues too for radical changes in how we should think about our own intelligence and creativity- and in how we should educate our children and each other to meet the extraordinary challenges of living and working in the 21st century.

His new book The Element, A New View of Human Capacity which will be published January 2009. Here is a description of the book from his site: The Element is the place where passion and skill meet. People find The Element when they engage in the thing that they love that they are also especially good at doing. This leads to more than just a sense of personal satisfaction. Being in The Element insulates people against unpredictable changes and leads to a more flexible and productive society. The new paradigm of The Element has a profound impact on education, corporations, organizations, and, especially individuals. It is available to every person who knows how to find it. The Element is an enlightening tour through this new paradigm. Illustrated by stories, many based on exclusive interviews, of celebrities, entrepreneurs, scientists, and other highly accomplished people who have found The Element, it is as entertaining as it is profound.

Great talk and great fun watching it!

I've been trying to embed the video but copying the code given from the site does not seem to be accepted by blogger, so I'll just link you to it directly and it will open on the video at the site. Please click here.

P.S. Thanks Martine for sharing the video link!


Learning Can Be Fun

I'm a firm believer in allowing a child to exercise their creative right, although at times I have to stop myself from telling the kids what to do when given a project, something brought on by habit I guess? I do catch myself in time and just allow myself to give suggestions, show that things can be done many different ways and then leave them to their devices.

Projects that involve artwork or anything that has to do with writing or drawing is really easier for Enzo as opposed to Teo, Enzo being the one who likes expressing himself by drawing. Teo just freezes if he has to do anything that involves drawing, he still struggles with his penmanship which looks like my grandfathers "chickenscratch" writing as we would call it then. Though I'm not too bothered because Teo excels in other arenas, like I discovered that because he is a voracious reader, his vocabulary is more extensive than his brothers. He can in fact best his brother in spelling. He remembers anecdotes and conversations in books read and always explains a word or phrase his brother might ask me about.

This of course sometimes leads so some brotherly competition and I constantly remind them when one feels and vocalizes that the other is better than the other, that they both have their strengths and weaknesses. I try to show them the value of what they are good at doing as opposed to making them feel bad because they cannot do a certain thing. I find that it helps to give them teams projects, allowing them to share their ideas, resolve their conflicts, find their niche, learn to cooperate and work as a unit.

As an example, one day we were watching some videos at brainpop.com, we were learning about the musculature system, skeletal system, and about cells. They were particularly drawn to a video about cells and the immune system which portrayed cells as different cartoon characters, very entertaining and educational, even I was educated. Tee hee! Anyway, the kids kept commenting that it would be nice to make a video game using the different cells as characters and battling the viruses and what have you that invades our bodies. I was amazed, what a great idea, fun and educational at the same time! So we decided on a project, sort of my way of rehashing what they learned. They were to translate what they learned and make it a game, not a video game though because not one of us knew how to do that but to use whatever materials we had on-hand like cartolina, paint, crayons, markers, scissors etc. After several attempts at drawing and coloring, they finally came up the outline of a human body - with the heart, liver etc in place and made it out to look like a board game and as game markers drew pictures of what would represent the different kinds of cells. It was agreed by both that Enzo would draw and Teo would help cut everything up and color. It was fun to watch them, best of all, it was great knowing that they did learn things and not only that, expressed what they learned in Science through Art. Bonus points, what a cool, cool game it is!

Oh by the way, we sat through the whole "Live Satellite Broadcast" of the recent solar eclipse in China at Exploratorium and what a wonderful experience that was, wish we could have been there to see it in actuality. Teo was so excited to see the moment of the full eclipse where the corona would be fully visible, he said "Mom my heart is pounding." I can imagine! We waited with baited breath and we were not disappointed, it was quite beautiful. I'm sure that though we did not physically see the actual eclipse, this experience will not be lost on them, we waited along with the thousands of people who journeyed to China just to witness this, felt their anticipation and got quite caught up in their moment making it our own. Along the way, we learned quite a few things too...

I highly encourage you to visit the site Exploratorium, loads of interesting stuff and resources. They've got a microscope imaging station and lots of after school or at home activities. We even discovered a video on a cow's eye dissection (I warn you, if you or your kids are squeamish don't watch it!) which was way way cool and helped us learn about the eyes.

Don't you wish learning was this fun when we were kids? I do!


Trying Something New

>> Saturday, August 2, 2008

Look at what I've been busy with:

This was created with a photograph my cousin took during dinner at "Oh My Gulay", a really cool artist's haunt on the 5th floor of the La Azotea building along Session Road in Baguio. Who would have thought such a place existed on the rooftop, it feels like you are inside Peter Pan's digs at Neverland. We found out it was owned by the artist Kidlat Tahimik.

I wanted to try out the fonts Sidewalk, Astonished, Disgusting Behavior and create a poster using the photograph. Background papers and Alpha from Retro Diva- Film Star Freebie Kit and Raspberry Road Designs Grungy Grub Paper. Brushes by found at Brusheezy.

I put them all together to create an 8.5 x 11 sized Poster called, Next Generation of Y.

How do you like it?


A Pleasant Surprise!

>> Friday, August 1, 2008

I have been given the Brillante Weblog Award by my favorite blogger and friend Mabelle, I feel honored that she has chosen to give this to me. It's no secret, I love her blog and I'm amazed at her talent. This is one woman who can draw you in and make you want to share. Thank you Mabelle, your faith in my skill is what pushes me to keep going. I highly encourage you to visit Mabelle's blog, MyDigistyle, you won't regret it!

Rules for those who get the “award”:

1. The winner can put the logo on her blog (right-click the image and save to your drive for uploading to your blog).

2. Link the person you received your award from.

3. Nominate at least 3 other blogs.

4. Put links of those blogs on yours.

5. Leave a message on the blogs of the girls you’ve nominated.

I'm passing the Brillante Weblog Award back to Mabelle (I know, I know, but really I have to pass it back to you!), Aprilmouse and to Trina who does her homeschool blog so well!

Your blogs not only showcase creativity but teach lessons as well. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences, you have made a difference in my life!


Posers, Hams and Nerds!

What a week it has been and what a week it is turning out to be. The whole family was off to Baguio last week, what a cold, rainy weekend it was, perfect for lazing around and snuggling under the bedcovers. But of course there was not much laying around (unless you count the day we arrived and I was in bed with a migraine, yuck!) because we were off to our favorite Baguio haunt – the U2, LOL!!!!

Look what I scored for the kiddos in a shop that sold books, great titles like Boy by Roald Dahl

Backyard Dragon by Betsy and Samuel Sterman,

The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander

and Dragonwings by Lawrence Yep, which is a Newbery Honor Book.

All these books for only 35 pesos each! I also found this MacMilllan book called Tapestries for only 80 pesos.

This is part of the Connections Reading Program and is for Level 12, a quick search in the web told me this was a Grade 6 book which suited Enzo so very well. Those books I consider my most exciting finds (whatta NERD, hahaha!).

My kids (the mom and Aunts/Uncles included) are such posers and love to ham it up anytime a camera is whipped out, check out the photographs below:

Do you see now what I mean about being "posers and hams"? I can hear my two Uncles saying something about HAMS (rolling eyes! LOL!).

This week, Enzo and I read the first story in Tapestries which is an excerpt from “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit”, which is based on the author Judith Kerr’s own life. The excerpt is about 2 German children who had to flee with their parents because it was too dangerous for them to stay in Germany. They became refugees and ended up in Paris, France where the two children had to learn to live a new life and a new language (French). It was a great topic, bringing forth questions about Hitler and the Holocaust, and teaching the kids about resiliency, adapting to new situations, learning to be bold, having a curiosity for learning a new language. Teaching them about the Holocaust is especially important to me. Have you seen this email circulating around about how some schools have stopped teaching this very important part of World History because some people view it as NOT HAVING HAPPENED. How ABSURD that is! How can anyone ever deny it ever happened? Just because the whole generation of persons who lived during these time are now gone or will be soon gone, we cannot pretend that this whole incident never happened.

Teo and I dove into the new book “Dragonwings” this week, we are still reading it slowly because I’d like him to understand the story which is based on historical events and inspired by the account of a Chinese immigrant who made a flying machine in 1909 and the story portrays the rich traditions of the Chinese community making its way in a hostile new world. The book is very interesting from what we have read so far, a story of a boy of 8 who sailed from China to San Francisco to be with his father whom he had never met. I particularly like it because it opens your eyes to another world, another culture, their rich histories all in an engaging story format.

Oh and today, while surfing the web, I discovered that there is a Total Solar Eclipse set to happen August 1, 2008, 10:30 UT. Check out this fantastic site: Exploratorium

They’ll be having a live webcast from 10:30 to 11:30 UT. I was trying to figure out what UT stood for, excuse my ignorance. I’m very bad when it comes to time zones, I discovered ( from World Clock) that UT (or UTC) meant Coordinated Universal Time which is the international basis for other time zones. This is the same time for GMT (Greenwich Mean Time and Zulu Time (which is Military Time Zone). So to get our time here in Manila would be UTC + 8 hours, which would be 6:30 PM later.

The kids and I can’t wait to view the live webcast later! Actually exploring this site is quite an educational experience in itself…go ahead look it up!

Happy Sun Viewing, and wherever you are and whatever you do, take precaution not to look into the sun directly, even during an eclipse!

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About This Blog

All about me, my musings, ramblings, fancies, quirks and dreams; the blessings in my life - the kids and their growing years; and my love for digital scrapbooking/design and graphic arts; and my eternal quest to keep learning something new each day and give back in my little way.

This blog used to be 3 blogs which I decided to merge together, my scrapping blog (Pandoras Box of Thought), the blog about my kids (Beyond the Four Walls) and my cooking/recipe blog (Cooking Mama) - all the old posts are still up but I've decided to just post everything in the future in one forum, with all the things I'm doing, I'd like to keep everything in one neat container :)

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