Monday, April 30, 2012


"Kalayaan" is the Tagalog word for "freedom".

It is also the name of the freshman dorm in the university I attended. I guess it is symbolic of the new freedom we experience of living away from our parents for the first time (for most of us, at least). When I look back on all my years, I always remember my year of living in Kalayaan as one of the BEST. 

It was difficult to keep in touch with the friends I made there, but once every few years, all of us who are still in Manila manage to meet for dinner somewhere. 

The elements in this layout are from the Tender Moments kit by Lilas Digiscrap and this layout was submitted to Scrappity-Doo-Dah's Scrappin to the Music challenge for April.

New Kit by Kaklei Designs: Romantic Spring

Romantic Spring (PU/S4H) kit
exclusive for DigiDesignResort

Beautiful soft, romantic tones makes this Spring kit an eternal affair with nature, lovely and beautiful as your memories.
The kit includes 10 papers of 12x12 inches-JPG-300dpi and 40 unique, assorted elements at 300dpi-PNG format.

Available HERE

Here is a layout I made from this kit:

Babies are so so SO perfect subjects in digital scrapbooking. It seems like they fit every kit! This is a photo of my niece when she was only a few months old.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Precious Baby Bug

So many challenges... so little of April left!!

Squeezing in a few more layouts for my favorite forums' April challenges. They provided a really nice mini-kit at Scrappity-Doo-Dah for their Bird Cage challenge for April 16-30:

This is my layout:

Ok, rushing rushing now... I have a few more days of April left. On to my next challenge!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Smiles All Around

The past few days have been stressful... but the one thing I know that is guaranteed to cheer me up is coming home to this:

This layout was submitted to the Studio's Word Challenge for April. As part of the challenge, we were asked to incorporate any of these 3 words in our layout: SMILE, CELEBRATE, HAPPY. And what better kit to use than the Studio's Celebrate Good Times blog train kits?

I  used elements from the following designers:
 - Kimberkatt Studios
 - AimeeH
 - Digilicious Designs

Freebie: Quick Page - Citrus Fresh

I have another freebie for you guys. Another quick page I made as part of CSD's QP Contest for April

We were given this kit to work with:

Sun Sun Sun by butterflyDsigns
Pretty isn't it? I love all the yellows, greens and orange colors of spring and summer kits that are coming out lately.

And here is my quick page.

The download link is at the bottom of the preview:

Note: Please, please, PLEASE tell me if you are having problems downloading any of my freebies from 4shared so I can look into it. Thanks!

Another thing, if you like the kit, there are a whole lot of other free quick pages made by other members of Coolscrapsdigital. You can check them out at the forum here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Berry Sweet Scraps Challenges

As of today, I am done with all my CT work which gave me some free time to work on some challenges in my favorite forums. I'm about done with all my April challenges over at Coolscrapsdigital, except for the QP challenge. I'll post that tomorrow.

I recently joined Berry Sweet Scraps and I saw that they have some fun challenges over there. I was able to complete a couple of layouts and submitted them today:


We were given several quotes from Hans Christian Andersen to choose from and I picked this:

"Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale."

The elements are from The Sorcerer mini kit by Scrappily Me. It's a Disney-themed kit and I have this kit as part of another challenge I wanted to join over at but I decided it can work with the quote and the photo I chose. You see the photo was taken at Enchanted Kingdom, not Disneyland (we are not scheduled to go until next year probably), and the main character in Enchanted Kingdom is also a wizard.

Here he is! His name is "Eldar".

I took this photo on our trip to Avilon Zoo last January. It's a pygmy hippo. It's smaller than the hippos I am used to seeing at zoos and thought it was so cute!

The elements are from Happy kit by Meta Wulandari. It's free and you can grab it from the link.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Kit: Are We There Yet from Kaklei Designs

This is a gorgeous kit about traveling, going on the road, by plane, by train, with the family, friends, taking a cruise with your boyfriend, memories of your high school trips and everything you can imagine, a divine set to use for daily porpoises and make some magic...
The kit includes 18 papers of 12x12 inches-JPG-300dpi and 120 assorted, unique elements at PNG-300dpi.
Available at:

Here is a layout I made from this kit:

The photos are from our recent trip to Baguio. It was a 6-hour road trip to get there. And when we were there, we would leave the hotel in the morning after breakfast, drive around to different places we wanted to visit, and we would get back to the hotel in the evening after we've had dinner. That trip was tiring! It was a really good think Andrea is really good with road trips, no fussing, no tantrums. She can play by herself inside the van and watch DVDs on her DVD player without complaint. Good girl!

Friday, April 20, 2012

FB Fan Freebie: CU Brass Flowers

And as promised, here are the brass flower elements that are for both personal and commercial use. This freebie is exclusively available to my Facebook fans so don't forget to 'Like' me on Facebook to get it!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Kit: April Promise from AnnKa Studio

NEW: April Promise by AnnKa Studio (S4H)

The smell of hyacinths, a warm breeze, soft showers, spring bulbs peeking through the damp earth, April holds the promise of beautiful days ahead. This collaborative kit created by StarSongStudio and Kakleidesigns is filled with 24 papers and 93 elements that capture the beauty of that promise.

Kit includes:
24 textured papers, both plain and fancy, 12" x 12" in jpeg format, and
93 elements in png format including:
  • 26 flowers
  • 14 ribbons
  • 7 frames
  • 5 tags
  • 8 leaves
  • 1 button
  • 2 scatters
  • 1 heart
  • 2 pillows
  • 1 umbrella
  • 1 border
  • 2 vases
  • 2 books
  • 3 baskets
  • 6 word art
  • 2 arbors
  • 1 bench
  • 1 birdbath
  • 1 birdcage
  • 2 butterflies
  • 1 corner
  • 1 sprinkler
  • 2 swirls
  • 1 window

Available at:


Here is the layout I made with this kit:

Photo Blending Tutorial using Photoshop

I use photo blending on a lot of of my digital scrapbook layouts.

I admit that when I started doing this... I didn't know at the time that it was a common technique used in digital scrapbooking. For me then, I was just having a lazy day and didn't want to take the time to extract *wink*. 

I'm sure there are a lot of other techniques and tutorials out there on how to blend or merge 2 photos together. I like mine because it's faster... like done-in-a-minute faster.

What you need for this project:
  • Photoshop CS3 or higher (I'm using Photoshop CS3)
  • A good computer, one that can handle working with graphics (slower machines will die when working with large hi resolution files, which digital scrapbooking elements usually are)
  • Basic knowledge of Photoshop
  • A good, clear photo of the object or person you want to extract. 

Step 1: Open the photos you want to merge in Photoshop. For this tutorial, I will use 2 photos. When blending, one of the photos will be the background (the photo at the back), and the foreground (photo in front.

Step 2: Select the Polygonal Lasso Tool. You can check out my previous tutorial if you are not yet familiar with this tool on Photoshop.

Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, draw a random shape around your subject on your foreground photo. 

Step 3: Refine edges. Click the Refine Edge button. When the settings window appears, set a high value for Feather.

Feather refers to how wide the blur or fading will be at the edge of your selection. A higher value will give you a wider area of fading at the edges. For my work, I usually use a value between 90 to 100. As you adjust the value, you can see how it will look on the image so you can adjust the value to make sure that the faded area will not include the main subject of your photo. 

 When you're happy with the settings, click Ok.

Step 4. Copy your selection. You can do this by clicking Edit and then choosing Copy, OR using keyboard shortcut CTRL + C.

Step 5: Select your background photo and paste your copied selection. You can do this by clicking Edit and then choosing Paste, OR using keyboard shortcut CTRL + V.

 Step 6: (OPTIONAL) Erase more area from the foreground. If you are already happy with how your foreground photo blends with your background, there is no need for this step. However, if you still need to erase some parts of the foreground, this might help you.

Select the Erase tool. 

On the tool bar on top, look for the Brush button, and then click the small arrow beside the Brush button (see where red arrow is pointing on the image below). This will display the Eraser tool's Brush settings.

On the Brush settings, here are a few things to note to select the settings you need.
  • Master Diameter - refers to how big your Eraser's brush size will be. Higher value means a wider area can be erased.
  • Hardness - refers to how blurred/faded the edges of the erased area will be. A higher value means crisp edges of the remaining area after applying the Erase tool. For blending, I usually use a value of 0% or sometimes, a value between 0% - 40%.
  • Opacity - refers to how much of the erased area will still be visible. 100% means the erased area will not be visible. A lower value means that the erased area is still visible, but faded.
I usually play around with the settings using trial and error. But if I need to remove a wide area, I will apply this settings to the Eraser brush:
  • Master Diameter - 400 pixels (if my image is big like 3600 x 3600... smaller value if my image is smaller)
  • Hardness - 0%
  • Opacity 80%
Using these settings, I will erase the very edge of the portion of the foreground photo I want to remove. For example, see area highlighted in red.


The area highlighted in blue shows the entire area I wish to delete. After applying the erase tool to this area, adjust the settings to:

  • Master Diameter - 400 pixels (if my image is big like 3600 x 3600... smaller value if my image is smaller)
  • Hardness - 0%
  • Opacity - 50 % (the deleted portion will look transluscent... therefore achieving a fading effect on the edges)
Apply the Erase tool on the entire area highlighted in blue.

See the difference? The highlighted area on the second photo is a little more faded.

And there you have it. When you are already used to the Photoshop tools I  mentioned, this will not take you more than a couple of minutes to do. 

I hope this is helpful to you, especially those who are only beginning to use Photoshop. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email and I will try to answer you to the best of my limited Photoshop knowledge :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Make Believe

So many challenges... so little time!

I was browsing my favorite digital scrapbooking forums as well as the new forums I just joined. I saw a lot of challenges I would LOVE to participate in. But I have a full-time job, I have a husband, a house and a fairy-princess-mermaid toddler to attend to (not necessarily in that order), and I'm currently suffering from a really bad case of cough and colds so... I try to squeeze in what I can.

I stayed home yesterday so I was able to work on a few layouts in between naps (a whole lot of naps). One good thing about digital scrapbooking is that I don't have to talk to anyone while working on layouts. Which is a good thing because I lost the use of my voice since Monday. Yep, that's right... today is the 3rd day that I haven't been able to talk. Last Monday was the worst... I try to talk and nothing comes out. Today is a little bit better... I try to talk and a very hoarse voice comes out. Useless in attending meetings, but enough to get by.

Anyway, here's one of the layouts I finished for Coolscrapsdigital's Color Challenge for April

I used the photo of Andrea and her doll, Lizzie, wearing the matching dresses I made for them.

We were given this kit from Ems Arts to work with:

And this is the color scheme we had to follow:

by DesignSeeds
I had a rough start with this layout because I had no idea what to do. This bout of cold seems to have drained me of creativity. I just kept adding and moving elements around until I was happy with the result. 

I hope I get over this soon. Our company outing is this weekend :(

Lazy Friday (on a Wednesday!)

I'm thinking maybe I should have posted this on Friday... but anyway...

Elements from "Red Bayou" kit by Cocotounette (linked to free download)
I made this layout as part of Coolscrapsdigital's Scrap for a FREEBIE challenge for April. The kit for this month is this beautiful kit from Cocotounette:

Image is linked to free download.
The challenge is to create a layout using elements from this kit only. Who doesn't love full FREE kits???

I used a photo of my niece from our recent trip to Baguio. We were at this artsy gift shop at Tam-awan village and she was on a roll! She wanted to get her picture taken everywhere! She went into the shop with my mom and saw this carved bench shaped like a Tamaraw (i.e. carabao). She sat on it... but saw that her view of us was blocked by a shelf. She pulled the bench over to the shelf in front of the counter, posed, and then asked us to take her photo :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Photo Extraction Tutorial using Photoshop

Most of my digital scrapbooking layouts features made-up scenes using photos I extracted and other elements from digital scrapbooking kits. Though there are several ways to extract photos, let me share with you how I usually do it. 

Those who have been following me for a while might not have realized it but I already provided a tutorial on this before: Creating a Silhouette Image Using Photoshop.

I have tweaked the instructions a bit to make it easier (I hope... at least I now find it easier... I hope you do too). 


What you need for this project:
  • Photoshop CS3 or higher (I'm using Photoshop CS3)
  • A good computer, one that can handle working with graphics (slower machines will die when working with large hi resolution files, which digital scrapbooking elements usually are)
  • Basic knowledge of Photoshop
  • A good, clear photo of the object or person you want to extract.

STEP 1: Open your photo in Photoshop.

For this tutorial, I am using the photo of a flower that we saw at Burnham Park on our recent trip to Baguio.

Step 2: Zoom in and enlarge your photo. This makes seeing the edges of your photo that you need to trace later easier. 

I sometimes go as high as 200% photo enlargement, depending on the size of the photo I need to extract.

Step 3: Select the Polygonal Lasso Tool

To make sure you are using the correct Lasso tool, right click on the Lasso Tool icon. When the different types of available Lasso tools appear, select Polygonal Lasso Tool.

Step 4: Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, click along the edges of your subject. Click first on one point along the edge of your subject. And then move a little along the edge of your subject and click again. This will give you smoother curved lines.

Keep doing this until you reach a point close to where you started. Double click near that point to close your shape.

Don't worry if your tracing is not perfect. On my example above, I purposefully traced inside my object and then outside my object. I will show you how to correct this on the next step.

Step 5: To add more areas of the photo, in case you made a mistake or closed your shape by double clicking too soon, select the Polygonal Lasso Tool, and then on the tool's settings on the bar above, select the option that says "Add to selection" (see where the arrow is pointing below).

After selecting "Add to selection", you can then trace along the edges of the area that you wish to add to your selection. To correct the mistake I made in Step 4, I traced along the lines I highlighted in red. Double click when you reach the point near where you started to close your shape. After you close your shape, you will see that the area I initially missed is not included in the selected area of my object (see area encircled in the image below).

Now for that other area where I included a lot of space outside the flower, on the tools settings on the bar above, click the icon that says "Remove from selection" when you hover over it (see where arrow is pointing on the image above). After choosing this setting, I traced along the edges of the area that needs to be removed from my selection. I highlighted the path I traced in the image above.

Double click when you reach the point close to where you started to close your shape. After closing your shape, you will see that the extra area has been removed from your selection.

Step 6: (Optional) Refine your edge. I say this is optional because depending on the quality of your image and the smoothness of the lines you traced along the edges of the object you wish to extract, you might not need this. One way to check is to click Refine Edge (will only appear if your Lasso Tool is still selected). On the photo above, Refine Edge is on the right-most side of the icons for removing and adding to selection. 

Clicking Refine Edge will give you a closer look at what your extracted image now looks like. Check the edges. If they seem a little rough, increase the Feather value. Feather refers to the amount of blur on the edges of your image. I like my edges looking crisp so I try to use a lower value for Feather most of the time.

I usually only play with the Radius, Smooth and Feather values until I'm happy with how the edges of my object looks.

If you are already happy with how the edges of your object looks, click Ok.

Step 7: Copy your selected area. You can do this by going to Edit, and then choosing Copy, OR using keyboard shortcut CTRL + C.

Step 8: Open a new blank file. Go to File, then click New. After copying a selection, when you open a new file, the size will always be the exact same size of the area you just copied. On the Background Contents field, choose "Transparent".

Step 9: Paste your selected area. You can do this by either going to File, and then choosing Paste, OR using keyboard shortcut CTRL + V.

Step 10: Save your extracted image as a .PNG file.

And you have your extracted image which you can use for your digital projects. As an added bonus for checking out my tutorial, I will be giving away the image I extracted for this tutorial as commercial use items :)

I am including the extracted flower, and I'm throwing in a greyed out version which you can recolor and use for your projects.

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have fun trying this out!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Where are the flowers?

The arrival of a new month means... the arrival of new digital scrapbooking challenges :)

For the month of April, Coolscrapsdigital's motto for the Cool Motto Challenge is:

"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming." 
by Pablo Neruda

We were given this kit from Mariscrap to work with:

And here is my layout:

The photo of Andrea was taken last month, when we went to a theme park. She was riding a small mechanical car in the original photo.

The number of rides she was allowed on is limited due to her size, but for our entire time there, she only consented to riding the small train, and this car... and for this car, she didn't like it moving. She just wanted to play in it. Good thing there was no line for it and she was the only one who seemed to want to play here.

Anniversary Week!

I didn't think I'd be ready for this on time and was considering moving my 4th year anniversary celebration to next month, but here we are...

Monday, April 16        : Schedule of Activities

Tuesday, April 17        : Photo Extraction Tutorial using Photoshop

Thursday, April 19      : Photo Blending Tutorial using Photoshop

Friday, April 20           : Freebie - CU Pack exclusive to my FB Fans!

Since I'm having so much fun with digital scrapbooking, I decided to share some tips on the techniques I use. These activities are on top of my usual layout and other project posts. Hope to see you here again in the next few days!