Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back to my blogging and designing in 2010

This will be my last post for the year 2010 and it's about time to refresh moments about what my blogging and designing have been through for the past 365 days.

It feels really good when you are refreshing those times which you think inspired you more to go through of what you are doing. If I look back to the very beginning of this year and describe my life @2010, the only thing I could say would be, “AWESOME!” Why? Because I had great feeling that all of my prayers have been heard, all of my wishes have been granted, and all good things that I was hoping for my family and kids have been taken into the right place and time.

I don’t have to put in detail those blessings and lessons that came along my way of 2010. But I want to remark some of them that stick to my blogging and designing for the past 365 days:

Got some digital stuff like Sony Cybershot 14MP digital camera, Lexmark 3-in-1 Printer/Scanner, and 500GB Transcend external drive (planning to switch to 640GB by 2011).

Won in Sulit’s Valentine Postcard Making Contest (February 2010)

Celebrated my 2nd year anniversary as Yola (my webhost for my digital scrapbooking website) member/user (October 2010)

Upgraded my Yola Bronze account to Yola Silver

Declared as one of the Yola Champs (a champion Yola member)

Joined several store collaborations at MissesBeeHaven

Started using Facebook and Twitter

Created my blogs, Grace in Creative Life and Dress Up Your Blogs and purchased domain names for each.

Started my blog designing services

Upgraded my Photobucket account to Pro (for monthly basis only).

Awarded as 2nd Place in Yola’s Christmas Webpage Designing Contest

Declared as Grand Winner of an Apple iMAC in Sulit’s Christmas Card Designing Contest

But got no luck in Sulit’s Blog Writing Contest, and in Sulit’s Testimonial Writing Contest (..not gifted in writing**LOL)

Started advertising my blogs at Adgitize and started to get hundreds/thousands of hits per day.

Met plenty of bloggers and gained more friends over online like Mhel (Just Another Pixel) who was just a stranger “yesterday” but now a real online friend (more hugs for you sis Mhel, looking forward to see you in person. Opps, sorry for grabbing your photo in FB, I like you pretty!).

Made total makeover of my Digital Retouching website for three times.

Personal events that happened to me within the same period would be listed differently. Can I instead keep them privately? **LOL…Okay let me mention some:

Celebrated our 10th year wedding anniversary

My youngest son, Charles had his First Communion

Got a chance to have a one vacation from work and went home in the Philippines to be with the kids

Celebrated my 31st birthday with family (..meaning I am turning 32 this 2011...waaahh..revealed!)

The only thing I can say is that my 2010 was a healthy, a blessed, and a good year for me, for my digital activities, and most especially for my family. The year 2011 is approaching (by tomorrow), I am now looking forward to what might best in life and correct those mistakes that I have been made in the past year. There is no better than learning from what you have done and from what you have failed to do.

Tomorrow is a new year already. Start your year right so that the rest of your year is right:)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My wish list for 2011.... in a jar???

Wish list? This is "in" in me...always. No need for me to wait for holiday season or new year to make my wish list. I have always a wish list. I keep it in my planner/organizer, sometimes I wrote them in a piece of paper and keep in my wallet, or in a post-it and display where I can see with my bare eyes. But this time, I make my wish list a little different. I put them in a jar....yes in a jar:) Here they are:

Actually what are inside that jar are my long time obsessions to have and until now they are still on my wish list. Are they visible to you? Let me tell you why I want these things. As a matter of fact they are all digital tools.

Credits for the photos: Thanks to Scrappin Cop for the jar, Amazon (camera), Photobucket (logo), 4Shared (logo), Vertus (Fluid Mask), Adobe (Photoshop CS5), iMAC (Apple), Transcend (external drive).

In order according to my most like:

#1 New computer with excellent features
Last November 11, 2010 I published an article about my poor laptop. Because of desiring to have a bigger monitor size, i did transformed my laptop into a CPU-like use**LOL. I have been desiring for so long to have a computer unit with more excellent features in replace of my Acer laptop. But, this #1 is no longer in my list for I already have an Apple iMAC***weeeh! Some of you might know that I have won that iMAC in Sulit's Christmas card designing contest just recently. So, GRANTED!

#2 Canon EOS 550D
Let me tell you first that I am not a professional photographer. I never attended any photography class either, but I want this digital camera. For a year, I always keep watching the price of this DSLR camera in the store and keep reading reviews (in preparation**LOL). I want the brand new one so I have to save more $ (my husband, too because we both want it!).

#3 Transcend 640GB External Drive
There are lots of brand of external drive but I really want the Transcend. I want to upgrade my 500GB to 640GB for obviously reason...I have so many large files to store. This is not a priority but because I want to have this desperately that is why I put it in the 3rd slot.

#4 Upgraded version of Photoshop
I guess this sounds impossible for me to upgrade my Photoshop CS3 to CS5 (latest) but I am still looking forward to upgrade my recent version. Though I am happy and contended with CS3, the thought of upgrading is still on my wish list.

#5 Vertus Fluid Mask Plugin Software for Photoshop
If ever I get my desired Canon EOS 550D, I will definitely buy this plugin filter for Photoshop. Fluid Mask is the most excellent plugin software for image extraction. I have been downloaded its trial version and familiar with its function for 14 days. After that I told myself, this software is a must but like Photoshop, it is kinda expensive so better to be in my wish list for a while:)

#6 Photobucket account upgrade to Pro for a year
As a matter of fact my current account in Photobucket is already a Pro but in a monthly basis only, meaning I am paying my upgrade every month. I want to upgrade my account for a year at least. I am planning to pay for a year (to save more) next month.

#7 4Shared account upgrade to Premium
I use 4Shared in my file sharing with my digital freebies. Currently I am using the free account with maximum of 10GB storage space only. I want to upgrade to Premium to have more file storage space so that I can give more digital freebies in the future.

#8 More digital images, illustration graphics, and designer resources
I am collecting digital images and illustrations. From the start I always wanted to have more licensed images and resources for my digital scrapbooking and in my blog designing. So this #8 is one with "no end" on my wish list...I will keep wishing for them.

So far, these are the things which I want for 2011. If there are tools and things which come my way unexpectedly, that would be additional**LOL. I will try to open that wish list jar this coming year but I will not force myself.

It feels good to have wish list, right?... so what are yours? Where do you keep your wish list?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Bethlehem in the hospital

Before we attended the Christmas eve mass, I told my husband to go to the hospital first (only in front of the church) to check out the Bethlehem decoration because I know the hospital will surely make one beautiful and amazing Bethlehem like what they did in the previous Christmas. And like what I have expected, the hospital’s Bethlehem is a remarkable one, elegant yet so solemn.

This Bethlehem is a walk-in and the statues are like the human size. Here is the full view:

If you could only see the concept and the materials that the hospital staff made to this decoration you would be amazed. I love the color combination of blue and yellow that serve as the sky and rays. But what I attracted most to this holy image is the Baby Jesus. The face of the infant Jesus is so real and the time I went near and looked into His eyes, I felt something that He is talking to me in silence. Look at Him and tell me that He is indeed holy and innocent. He is in a crib with white cloth around and looks like He is glowing. As I was looking at the infant image, I was praying inside my heart that His holy innocence will reign and give me the peace that I am asking for in the long period of time.

My husband and I spent an hour looking at the Bethlehem while sitting in the corner where we saw it in full view. It was 9:30pm then but the hospital was still open and there were also some people who took picture on the decoration and spent time looking around.

At exactly 10pm we supposedly leave the hospital and go the church. But when we passed at the counter-teller section which was already closed then, in one corner there with stainless grills, we saw a very cute tabletop Bethlehem with a house made of carton and the images are made of finger-sized cute! As usual, I couldn't control myself to have a shot:

I let my one hand fit in the grills to get a closer capture. So after such successful capture, we left the hospital and proceeded to the church for the Christmas eve mass at 11pm. I had a feeling of being prepared and relief after such visit in the hospital.

That was one truly holy experience in the hospital. Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Silent and Solemn Saturday

Let us take a break and be silent for a while to feel the solemnity of this holy day!

Merry Christmas to all and I wish you and your family all the happiness and best in life in the coming year! May the Lord's peace be with you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I am prepared for His birthday!

Its three days to go before Christmas. For sure everybody is excited…for gifts, for surprises, for family gatherings. Most of us are preparing for something that can make our loved ones happy. But have you asked yourself, “What am I preparing for this holiday season?” “Am I prepared for the coming of our Lord?" Personally yes, I am ready and I am prepared. How did I prepare myself then?

Last November 27, the first Sunday of Advent season, I and my husband offered a thanksgiving mass not only for our blessings but also to give thanks in the beginning of the advent season. Then last December 5, the second Sunday of Advent, we attended an advent recollection held in our church presided by a Malaysian priest. The talk was very inspiring and was really awakening about preparing ourselves for the coming of our Lord. Of all advent recollections I have attended in the previous years, this was the best one. After the talk, I went into confession. I cleansed my soul and spirit. I preferred to have my confession in a face-to-face with the priest.

Last December 12, the third Sunday of Advent, we started talking about the Bethlehem decorations to be displayed in the church altar. This was the day I made a promise to Jesus. That night, I prayed and I promised to Jesus that I will do all my best to make His manger a beautiful one, that I will give my full effort and time in giving my helping hands to build his manger. A day after that promise, I received a gift from Him. I was awarded as 2nd Place in Yola’s Christmas Webpage Designing Contest. Then on the following day December 14th, I was declared as Grand Prize Winner of Apple iMAC in’s Christmas Card Designing Contest. Jesus indeed answered my prayers and He heard my promise.

By December 15, we started decorating the Bethlehem in the church. This was really sacrifice on our part because we came home late from work which enable us to start decorating around 9pm up to 12mn then we have work on the following day. We have been working on that decoration for almost three days despite of the very cold weather (because it’s already winter here in Taipei). It was very exhausting but as I have said in my previous post, there was still a smile in my heart after all.

Then last December 19th, the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Bethlehem’s first view. Everybody in the church is happy about the Bethlehem, so am I. And for sure, Baby Jesus would be excited about His crib. And even if I haven’t heard Jesus saying something, I know and I feel that He is happy about what we did to his manger. And after that 6pm mass, we practiced our caroling to be performed in the Christmas eve.

On the Christmas day itself, what shall I do? Of course, we will attend mass and we will stay online to be connected to our kids who are now in the Philippines. And on Sunday, December 26th, we will be having our party together with our friends in the church.

God is really good for making all these things possible in me despite how hard my time was in the past two months but I was able to have them in all in place. And for all my effort, I felt rewarded and given much more what I was asking for.

So for now I want to return the favor for all my blessings. Accept this Christmas e-card I have made and designed for all of you, provided with this music video from YouTube, The Power of Your Love:

The Power of Your Love

Lord I come to You
Let my heart be changed, renewed
Flowing from the grace
That I have found in You
And Lord I have come to know
The weaknesses I see in me
Will be stripped away
By the power of Your love

*Hold me close
And let Your love surround me
Bring me near
And draw me to Your side
And as I wait
I’ll rise up like the eagle
And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
By the power of Your love

Lord unveil my eyes
Let me see You face to face
The knowledge of Your love
As You live in me
And Lord renew my mind
As Your will unfolds in my life
In living every day
In the power of Your love

And I will soar with You
Your Spirit leads me on
In the power of Your love

Of all praise songs I have known and heard this one has the biggest impact on my life. And believe me, if you feel the song and its message, you will cry in realization. I always listen to this song everyday and it helps me relieve from worries and wanting to renew at once.

You can re-post this card or this video to your blogs as you celebrate the time He came to your life. You can also send this to your loved ones if you want. I did not include any watermark on the card. Just don’t sell this card or offer to others for a fee because I am giving you this for free, please. You can post your own favorite song like what I did and start spreading the love this holiday season.

Merry Christmas to all and be sure that you prepare yourself for His coming. Just remember that this day is His day. So let’s offer ourselves to Him.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Bethlehem

Last night I posted about the making of this Bethlehem. And as I have told you yesterday, today will be the first view of this Bethlehem. Today, a fourth Sunday of Advent, here it is now, a manger waiting for Jesus to come on 25th:

We were so happy to see this manger in front of the altar so with the rest of the people who attended the 6pm mass this evening. Everyone around is excited for the coming of baby Jesus, for sure I will post about this most awaited holy day.

We have just arrived home (10:30pm) because after the mass, we talked about our Christmas party this coming 26th. Tomorrow, it's another ordinary Monday and back to work as usual. But I feel so ready to face another miracle week because I feel I did something holy for our Lord.

Have a nice Sunday to all and hope everybody would have a wonderful weekdays ahead..

A smile in my heart

It is our third day now since we started the Bethlehem decoration in our church and we still not finish but tomorrow will be the last day to work for it. We were working on that holiday decoration in the church for three days now every after work and went home almost very late at night (mostly past 12mn).

While in our minute break, I let my friend to have a capture of me in the front of the bare Bethlehem inside the church. The rest were just just sitting resting for a while aside from me who tried to have a sweet smile over the camera. This was taken only two hours ago (..and now I am already blogging about it!).

My husband is much busy working on this than me. Well, it seems that I am more on moral help than of a physical help**LOL..just kidding! Of course I have my part.

My husband looks more busy than I do (very obvious!) but I am pretty sure that he is inspired...I'm always at his back no matter what**LOL. Anyway, we were doing this Bethlehem decoration in the church for almost three years now. We are doing this holiday contribution not just for an obligation but because we really want to help. Tomorrow we are 100% sure that it will be finally done. Me and my husband together with some of our friends gave full effort and contribution on this to make the Bethlehem looks even more holy and beautiful each year. I will update this post about the final look of this Bethlehem.

The weather now is very cold and we almost frozen to death when we went home riding in our bicycle. We were very exhausted for the past few days but we always ended our day with a smile. Can you believe that I am doing this post now at exactly 1:00 o'clock am here in my place. We have just arrived from the church but I still have the "power" to do all my online obligations. God always give a miracle and I am endlessly thankful for this.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Christmas Card Entry #71 won an Apple iMAC in

After a long period of Christmas Card Making Contest in, finally winners have been announced last night, December 14th. This time I want to introduce you to the Grand Prize winner of an Apple iMAC , my Entry #71:

All rights of use toward this image are given to Sulit as it is now an official property of

I want tell you my whole story behind this winning entry of mine. Just like other participants, I have given full effort, time, and prayers for my entries.

**Warning: This post is quite long. Prepare yourself first before start reading. Grab a tea, coffee , or something to eat. So, the story begins with:

The Contest. It was all started last October 26, 2010 when Sulit launched the holiday contest called “ Dares you to Create Your Own Christmas Card and Win Fabulous Prizes”. By instinct, I said to myself “I will join and I must join!”

Submission of my Entries. After such announcement about the contest, I was not able to create and submit entries immediately because of some commitments prior to such event. It was almost in the second week of November when I submitted my very first entry, my Entry #71. And before the deadline of submission is over, I managed to submit eight entries in all.

Calling for Viral Posters. This was one of the hardest and scary part of the contest for me. Why? Because this was my first time to call for help to support my entries and be posted in blogs. I was scared then not to get any viral posters since I posted my entries that late but I was so happy when some of my fellow bloggers responded to my call.

First Screening for TOP20. Can you imagine that 306 amazing entries have been submitted and declared as official entries? For the first screening, 20 entries would be chosen to be on TOP20 who will undergo for a week of voting among Sulit members for the People’s Choice Award. Last December 3, Sulit Admin announced the lucky TOP20 and guess what…I almost fell down to my chair in the office when I saw that not only one, not two, but five among my submitted entries have made it to be on that TOP20 slots. Inside of me I was screaming, butI could not shout because I was still at work when Sulit made the announcement. The only thing I remember which I kept on saying was “oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!” I immediately called my husband to bring the good news.

The Campaign and Voting Period. The announcement for TOP20 was only the beginning of such contest. All chosen entries were given one week to campaign for the members to vote. Me and my friend Mhel (blankpixel) had a little hard time talking which one would be the best one to endorse in the campaign since I have 5 entries to choose from. It tremendously brought a division of votes on the part of my entries. But in the end we have decided to push the Entry #71 for the reason it was very close to the theme, a very nice artwork, catchy animation, and in general it was really my favorite.

Again, I started to shout and post for help about supporting this Entry #71. Sis Mhel (blankpixel) did all her best to campaign for my entry. We posted the call of course in Sulit’s forum, in all our blogs, in our Pinoy Bloggers Group in Facebook, in Twitter, in our Adgitize network, and even posted a shout in the Yola forum (my webhost for my digital Scrapbooking website).

I even made some campaign banners and posted in the Sulit forum. I also managed to re-designed my card into a printable version and did sample prints. You can see my blog post here regarding this call.

(click the sample print image for larger view)

Moshpit (Grand Prize winner in the Banner Making) and of course sis Mhel (Grand Prize winner in the Blog Writing) also made some campaign materials for me. But still after such full effort we have made and done, at the end of the voting period my Entry #71 was in the 5th slot among the chosen 20 entries.

I felt sad about my votes but thinking that I got 455 votes for my Entry #71 plus the votes on the rest of my four entries, it gave me hope that these people who voted for my entries were hoping that for entries to win so why should I feel sad about it. Wake up, Grace! It was just votes and besides it was stated in the mechanics that the # of votes would not determine the overall winners. That was a pretty relief on my part.

Announcement of Winners. This was the moment, the moment that every participant was waiting for…the announcement of winners. It was only yesterday, around 7:00 o’clock in the evening when Sulit finally announced the winners. I was expecting that the winners will be announced on the following day since it was already off-hour work. I was at home that time and I immediately opened the computer (like I used to do) while preparing to cook for dinner. And when I saw that Admin finally posted the link to all the winners, the truth, I did not click that link right away. I felt nervous! My heart was beating very fast. My hands were sweating. What I did was, I sat down beside my bed and I prayed to please give the best result for my entry. I spent several minutes away from the monitor, taking a deep breath while praying for the good news that might come my way.

After one click, tada! (click the image for larger view)

I shouted. I screamed. I ran, I jumped. I refreshed my browser for almost several times. This was real and it is indeed real! After a long period of waiting, praying and hoping, all the efforts and tough time I had encountered during the contest, my Christmas Card Entry #71 managed to be on top in the final round. Until now I cannot imagine the success of my entry.

With this very quick idea on how I made my winning Entry #71:

1. I made the concept first before looking for graphics to use.
2. I used licensed graphic elements with full access to the original file.
3. The hopping Santa as you can see is also an illustration but I made him felted to have texture and add little shadow for variation.
4. I manipulated the graphics usingIllustrator CS3 and managed the design of the card itself in Photoshop CS3.
5. Animation was simply made in Photoshop CS3. This animated version consists of more than 50 timeframes with multiple layers (a little complicated).

If you want to know about what I am talking about timeframes, you can make a quick look in my tutorial about Making a Simple Blinking animation with Photoshop which was posted last year December 31, 2009.

Before I finally end up my very long post for this day, I want to give thanks again to all my fellow bloggers and fellow sulitizens who supported my Entry #71. Aside from them, I have one certain person who made a great effort as much as I did and without her, my entry would never come this far. Everybody knows her; everybody loves her for being witty, smart, supportive, and fabulous young lady….the blankpixel herself, sis Mhel! Yey! Sis how could I ever replay you for all your knowledge, effort, time, money, etc. I also offer this success to you. You have guided me so well. You have directed me to the right path. You have given me everything what you could give just to support me all through the way. Oh my gosh, you are really one of a kind. Although we have known each other for not that long, I have a sense of feeling that I have known you for veryyyyy long time.

Whew! Hope you did not get bored reading this endless post. So, the bottom line for the success of my Entry #71 is this big "thank you". I will bring all your support and appreciation for the rest of my life. And I will never get tired of showing how much I give thanks to for making my dream come true. Even in my wildest dream I don’t have any chance of having an iMAC, even iPhone or iPAD I am not capable of owning any of these latest gadgets. Only with Sulit that made it into reality. (Photo from Sulit)

I have never seen any online community who offered such opportunity to members. For Sulit, with your awesome generosity you bring happiness to most Filipinos who are just hoping for something big and different in life. More power to all people behind and more contests to come. To all my co-participants who were unable to be awarded, just remember that you are all winners already. Before Sulit announced the final winners, we are already declared as winners since everybody made effort to participate in this event. Don't feel sad and don't feel bad either. Everyone has its own time, it's just happened that this time is my time.

Merry Christmas to all and give love on this holiday season! Thank you again,

P.S. A day before I declared as the Grand Prize winner for this contest, I was awarded as the 2nd Place winner in Yola's Christmas Webpage Designing Contest. Read the details here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I want to bring you the good news!!!!!!

This is just a very quick post. I want to inform you about the latest news.

1. I won the First Place in Christmas Card Making Contest. I won for an iMAC. Winners were announced a few hours ago.

2. I won the Second Place in Yola's Christmas Website Designing Contest. I won for a Domain Name (renewal of my existing one for my Digital Retouching), making it extended until March 2013. Winners were announced last night.

I will make a separate thanksgiving posts about these blessings that came my way. I will prepare them now and bring you the whole story behind each event. So please watch out for my blog posts about these events. I just drop by here to bring the latest update.

Thank you again for all the support. I will be back for the details.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Are you feeling blue this Christmas?

How do you describe a blue Christmas? If you define a blue Christmas as lonely and sad, well that is an opposite for me. Why should I feel blue (if you define it as sad) if my blessings are overflowing:

1. I have a very healthy and happy family.
2. We have good jobs.
3. We have something to eat and a house to shed.
4. We have lots of friends whom we can turn to.
5. And most specially, we are given a miracle each day that we have air to breathe.

Now tell me, is there a reason for me to be blue? But I tell you I am blue. I am absolutely feeling blue, not because I am sad, not because I feel is because of this blue. Tada! My Blue Christmas digital kit:

This kit makes my Christmas a true blue. Last December 6, I released this kit in my digital scrapbooking. I rushed to finish this otherwise I will not be able to looks blue. Why blue? I don't know. I just want to be blue. This kit is available for purchase in my store at MissesBeeHaven in a 50% off but you can get this kit for free if you purchase $5 worth of my items in the store with a provided coupon code. You can visit my post about this kit in my digital scrapbooking blog..and there is a sample cluster waiting for you there for free download.

Here is my sample layout using the freebie cluster. I used pictures of my sister-in-law Marivic and her three lovely daughters (my nieces: Nica, Mae and baby RR):

I will try to make more sample layouts in the next coming days because as of now I am quite busy for some blog design orders. Aside from that, perhaps you know that I am also busy campaigning my Christmas card entry for The final judging for this designing contest will be on December 13th (this coming Monday). So please wish me luck (to the max!) to at least make it to the top3 in the final. You can read the updates for my entries here.

Thank you for dropping by here and for reading my post. Happy Thursday to all!