Friday, February 26, 2010

Print Compare

I had been printing my layouts at Scrapbook Pictures for two or three years now. They have regular sales and the prices during the sales are really reasonable, and I've been extremely happy with the prints. Whether I printed 12x12 or 8x8, nothing was ever cut-off.

A couple of weeks ago, Scrapping Simply was having a print sale. I had heard other people in the digital scrapbooking community rave about Scrapping Simply's prints, so I thought I'd give it a try. Why not? The sale was pretty good.

When I got my prints back from Scrapping Simply, I was not happy. Six out of my 26 pages had things cut off the right side of the page. Upon further inspection, Scrapping Simply cuts off the right side of the pages more than the left side. So if you had some kind of border design that goes all the way around the edges, your print would look quite uneven.  Fortunately, the same week that I got the prints back from Scrapping Simply, I found out from my friend Tracey that Scrapbook Pictures was having their sale.  So I got those six layouts, plus a few newer layouts printed at Scrapbook Pictures.

Let's take a look at the six layouts and compare them.

This one I had a word border that went all the way around.  The bottom one is Scrapping Simply and the word border got cut off on the right side.  The top is the Scrapbook Pictures print.  The border looks even all the way around.

A closer look at the Scrapping Simply print.

The Scrapbook Pictures print.
I think the prints speak for themselves.

For this layout, I had a border and mat that was equal-distance from the left and right sides.  The top print is from Scrapping Simply and it totally cut off the sides and even part of the border/mat.  The bottom print is Scrapbook Pictures and the border/mat was not cut off.

For this layout, I had a red stitch border all the way around. The top print is Scrapping Simply and the stitching on the right side is cut off, and some on top too.  The bottom is Scrapbook Pictures, where the stitched border looks intact and is equal-distant from the edges.

For this layout, the top print is Scrapping Simply and the "S" at the end of "CHRISTMAS" is cut off the page.  The bottom one is Scrapbook Pictures and the "S" is intact.  Plus, I noticed the color difference on this one and I prefer the brighter Scrapbook Pictures one.

For this layout, the bottom print is Scrapping Simply and the end of my date stamp, the "9" is cut off, as is the journaling block and journaling. The top print is Scrapbook Pictures.

This photo isn't very clear, but the top print is Scrapping Simply and the journaling on the right side is cut off. The bottom is Scrapbook Pictures and the journaling is not cut off.

Now to be fair, Scrapping Simply guarantees their prints 100%, so if you're unhappy with your prints for any reason, they will reprint it for you or give you a refund. So I'll be sending these six prints back, unless it costs me more to send them back than to get the refund. They also included a slip of paper with my order that said the following:

"Oops! One or more of your files was designed very close to the edge! We try our hardest to make your pages look just how you design them! It is difficult for us to do this when small edges, borders, or important text are near the edge. This is an issue because a 1/16th trim on one edge and a 1/32 trim on another (caused by paper feed or print head alignment) make these borders look uneven. This can easily be fixed just by adjusting your border size. If you have larger 1/4" borders we can then adjust the print position (a small 1/16" edge is still trimmed), no visible cut is noticed. At, we pride ourselves in providing the best print on the market. We use the most archival paper and have the highest quality printer which we specifically optimize for scrapbook pages. If for any reason you are not happy with this order, please contact us at for a reprint."

I think this information should have been included somewhere prominently at their website. If I had seen this, I would not have ordered my prints from them.

Yes, they do guarantee their prints 100%, but so does Scrapbook Pictures. And I can scrap however I want design-wise and have my prints turn out fine with Scrapbook Pictures without having to adjust for the cutoffs. And with no real price difference during sales, why would I go with Scrapping Simply? If all places cropped some edges off, then I might think twice about the design of my scrapbook pages to avoid the edges. But I've never had any problems with the edges cut off at Scrapbook Pictures. They make me feel free to create my pages as I please, putting borders and journaling on the edges. So I will go with them from now on and not stray.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Silly Girlfriend Fun

On Monday night Sally and I decided to meet for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant halfway between her house and mine.  We hadn't seen each other since the ill-fated movie Avatar (the 3D made me puke) in mid-January.  We wanted to get together, just us girls, to chat and catch-up.

Sally insisted on a prankster of a photo in which she stuck food in between her teeth.

She made me laugh, which is a good thing nowadays. :)

Us, outside of the restaurant. She insisted we make merriment in front of the cow.

Even though we chatted about some very serious topics, we had such a great time together that it was good for the soul. I'll be honest and say that the last few weeks I've been in a funk. In fact, I've had a difficult time with 2010 so far. In January I worked my butt off at my full-time job, while working nights to get ready to open my store at Little Dreamer Designs. While that was very exciting, I did nothing else. It really wore me down. February did not get any better, as I was apprehensive about Valentine's weekend and the three year anniversary of my mom's death and visiting my dad and Shelly. Then the very next weekend we were out of town again in San Francisco for a family reunion. I just haven't had time to breathe and to process. Silly fun and a good chat with a good friend was exactly what I needed. Even then, I had to push myself out the door on a week night to go meet Sally for dinner. Earlier that day, I thought maybe I shouldn't go because it was a Monday and I had so much to do. But sometimes you just gotta drop some other things in order to do something that's good for you.

When I look back at my blog in January and February 2009, I did so much more stuff outside, with people too. This year I have felt so isolated, which is not a good thing. I really hope that I can make more time to be with friends and go outside and do fun things.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Love: Unconditional

I don't have any new products coming out tomorrow at my Listgirl Designs store or my Little Dreamer Designs store, because I was away this past weekend and did not have time to design. However, I'd like to show you a very worthwhile project that I took part in, a kit called "Love: Unconditional".

For $5, you get this beautiful kit

along with word art

quick pages

and these templates (four of which were designed by me)

Before I go any further to show you the templates and my layouts, I just want to tell you the story of how this kit came about. I had been a part of the Pixel Gypsy Designs creative team from Feb 2008 until Sept 2009, when I stepped down. The girls there are amazing people. I made friends with them and it was a place where I could go and everybody knew my name and they were always glad that I came (like the show "Cheers"). Sherrie Piegdon, the owner of PGD, sent each of us Gypsy Girls a custom-made bracelet as a gift for Christmas 2008. Whenever one of us was hurting or having a hard time; in the hospital or lost someone in our family, my Pixel Gypsy friends were always there. We would secretly get together some money from each of us and send flowers to hospitals where one of us was. We sent flowers twice, when two of the girls' fathers passed away. It was that kind of caring community of scrappy women that I was proud to be a part of.

So, when Cari Cruse(one of the designers at PGD) told us about the neurological difficulties that her husband Jim started experiencing last August, we all were concerned for him. To date, he still hasn't received a diagnosis, so he has not been able to receive social security disability, even though he has not been able to work as a Sheriff Deputy. You can read Cari and Jim's story here, and see a video here.

When Sherrie asked us in secret who would like to participate in a collaboration kit to benefit Cari and Jim Cruse, how could I say no?  Pixel Gypsy Designs has been my internet scrapping family.  Every penny generated from the sale of Love: Unconditional will go directly to Jim and Cari to help them in this time of need.

By looking at the previews above, I think that just the kit would be worth the $5, let alone the word art, the templates, and the quick pages come with it too!  This kit is only for sale in the month of February 2010, so please pick it up now if you want it, before you forget and it's March 1st.

Here is a closer look at the templates that I designed for the kit.

Template 1

My layout using the template and the kit.

Template 2

My layout using the template and the kit, plus my Krafty Hearty Alphabet.

Template 3

My layout using the template and Peppermint's Unconditionally kit at Catscrap.

Template 4

My layout using the template and Designs by Lili's items at The Lilypad.

And while you're shopping at Pixel Gypsy Designs, they are also having a storewide 50% off sale until the doors close on March 1st.  Yes, sadly, Pixel Gypsy Designs is closing its doors.  So if you see other items that you like, you can pick those up for 50% off at the same time as the Love:  Unconditional benefit kit.

Thanks for reading through this and for buying the benefit kit!  It means so much to me personally and to the girls at PGD. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Raining in San Francisco

Today it rained all day in San Francisco. We watched the first half of the Cleveland Cavaliers game on TV at the hotel, then we checked out and walked to Scoma's for lunch. We decided on Scoma's again because it was raining pretty hard and the restaurant was very close to the hotel, plus we loved it Friday night.

Todd had a steak sandwich.

I decided on a dungeness crab sandwich, because it is caught fresh locally and in season. Where else could I get such fresh crab?

After lunch we called a cab and went to the airport to come home. We didn't get home until about 5:30pm. As much fun as I had, the weekend was emotional for me. Everyone felt my mom's presence missing. (The last time the family got together was three years ago at my mom's funeral.) My mom is the fifth sibling out of six, but she was the first to pass away. I felt obligated to represent at the reunion, thus adding more stress to myself. I enjoyed seeing everyone, but I'm glad to be home now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


We didn't have any plans for before my uncle's surprise birthday luncheon at 1pm, so we just lazed around. Went to the Starbucks down the street and had some breakfast.

At about 12:40pm, we walked the 5-6 blocks down to Ana Mandara, the location of the party. We were to arrive early so that we could surprise my uncle Solomon. Boy was he surprised when he arrived. They had told him it was a Chinese New Year luncheon for the Asia Chef Association. He saw many family and friends travel there from afar. My other two uncles and their wives traveled from Taiwan and Phoenix. Some came from Hawaii.

The restaurant was so beautifully decorated.

The menu for the celebration, with my uncle's baby picture at the top.

The table of honor.

My cousins Eric and Erica had a lot of the hosting duties, telling stories of my uncle Sol.

Finally the man of the hour gave a short speech.

The luncheon was buffet style and the food was absolutely spectacular.

Uncle Sol's wife Aunt Rose with Executive Chef Khai Duong.

I didn't know until the chef spoke that this restaurant is in the Zagat Top 25 of San Francisco. (For being the capital of good eats, this is pretty darn awesome.) Chef Khai was trained in Cordon Bleu in Paris, and his partners in the restaurant are Don Johnson (yes, that Don Johnson of Miami Vice fame) and Cheech Marin.

The birthday cake.
Todd loved it so much he had two pieces at the restaurant, then a third piece at night at Uncle Sol's place.

Todd, me, and my cousin Bertha.
Bertha is a writer, producer, and director of movies. Her first indie movie Face went to Sundance Film Festival. Her next movie Fighting Fish, should be coming out this year. She's now in post-production on a romantic comedy called "Almost Perfect". 

A bunch of the family.

After lunch (which by that time was 4pm!), we walked around Ghirardelli Square, where the restaurant is located. Yes, almost this whole block of buildings is about the chocolate. Todd was super excited!




From there, we could see Alcatraz.

We rested for about an hour back at the hotel. Then we walked 35 minutes to my Uncle Sol's place to meet up with everyone again. Their condo had views of the Embarcadero, the Bay Bridge, and The Ferry Building. It was incredible. We then walked the five blocks to China Town and had dinner at Bund Shanhainese Restaurant.
It was all delicious. I tried some eels and it tasted fine, but the thought of them grossed me out.

After dinner, we walked back to Uncle Sol's condo and hung out until 10:30pm. Everyone was super-tired after a long day then, so we went back to the hotel. Thank goodness my cousin Eric gave us a ride back. I really didn't feel like walking another 35 minutes to get back!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekend in SF

We flew to San Francisco on Friday afternoon to spend the weekend there. We were there mainly for a surprise birthday party and reunion for my mom's oldest brother, Solomon.

Our flight was delayed by almost two hours, which really stunk, because it only takes an hour to fly to San Francisco from here. We left for the airport at 10:45am for our flight, and didn't get to the SF airport until 4pm. What a time suck. We could have almost driven there!

It was our very first experience flying on Virgin America.
They have beautiful new planes with psychedelic pink/purple lighting inside. Every seat has its own entertainment system with TV, movies, music, even video games and a remote control. It was pretty awesome. The plane also had wireless internet. I was going to try it out, but it wasn't free, so I refrained.

We took a cab from the airport to our hotel. Checked in and rested for about an hour, then went out to find some dinner. We stayed right at Fisherman's Wharf. We found an old family owned restaurant called Scoma's that was only a three minute walk from our hotel.

It was right on the dock at Pier 43 and they have their own fishing boats come in with fresh catches!
Come to find out, it is Dungeness Crab season in San Francisco. They catch the crab in the local waters there and serve them completely fresh.

Todd ate a local prized fish called petrale.

I had the famous Lazy Man's Cioppino, whereby they take out the crab meat from the shell and put it in the cioppino, so I don't have to do any work!  There were also a ton of fish, shrimp, and clams in there.
It could not have been yummier. But the portion was huge and I had to leave a bunch of it behind since we were staying at a hotel. I was sad.

After dinner, we retired to our room to read, watch TV, and relax after a long day of traveling.

Digi Dare #168

Wow, I came here to post and in my dashboard it says this is my 680th post on this blog.  I can't believe I have that many posts.  Of course, 365 of them are from 2009, when I did Project 365.  I haven't backed up the old bloggy in a couple of months.  I should do that!  I often tell people that if I don't have photos of it, then it didn't happen.  I wonder if it's the same with blogging... years from now, if it's not on the blog, it didn't happen, LOL.

I love Peppermint's cat Mo. Probably because he reminds me of my kitty Pepe, who went to kitty heaven in 2005. Pepe was orange too. Pepe had some cute habits that Todd and I still talk about to this day.

When I saw Darer Erin's digi dare for this week, I knew what I wanted to do with it. And I needed some good cat photos. So I begged Peppermint for some of Mo. I think this is my third page that I've made of Mo now. It helps that Peppermint takes super-awesome cat photos.

To see the Dare and lots of example layouts and inspiration, go to the Digi Dare blog post here.

Erin's (chickypow) Dare:

If you couldn't be a human....

Have you ever looked at an animal or plant and thought "what I wouldn't give to be that! They sure have it easy!" This week I want you to let us know what YOU would be if you couldn't be a human being (it can be animate or inanimate) and why! Be as goofy or serious as you want as long as you be creative!

Dare Flairs:

You must have a photo of the thing or animal that you would like to be.
Have some journaling telling us why that is what you'd be.
Use some sort of speech bubble and make your photo say a line or two!
Finally, I want to see a centered design. You can use as much as the page as you like but the center must be the focal point!

Here's my layout for the Dare.
Waiting for Spring by Designs by Lili, Emily Merritt, and Amy Sumrall @ The Lilypad (*new* and 20% off through Sunday).
Just Bee by BZB Designs @ Funky Playground Designs.

Really fun dare! Come join us and submit your layout by next Thursday night at 10pm Eastern time by linking your layout in the Dare blog post at the Dare site.. By the way, did you know that if you are selected the random winner, you get two $10 GC from two random Darer designers that week? That means you could win a $10 GC to my store at Little Dreamer Designs. Yea, come play!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunny Fun + Template Freebie

Before I start, look at this photo we took on Sunday on the way home from my dad's house.
Isn't that a weird sight? Snow on the mountains, while it was over 80 degrees outside with blue skies.

Anyways... back to my story.
For the first time in 2010, I took a vacation day on Monday. It was President's Day and Todd's company had the day off. Well, not mine. I had to take it as a vacation day. We decided to go out to the beach for a walk, because it was super sunny and warm, and because I really wanted to get out of the house and just get some fresh air, after a tough Sunday.

We walked about 2.5 miles in Encinitas. There were a ton of sunbathers out. We weren't sure if it was spring break already or what, but we sure saw a lot of teeny tiny bikinis, LOL.

The scenery was awesome.



After the walk, we went to Beach City Cafe for brunch. We were super-excited because some time last year, we had gone and seen the closed sign. We were under the impression that our favorite breakfast place was closed for good. Todd just found out a few weeks ago that they've reopened! Same food!

Todd had tacos because he doesn't eat breakfast food.


My favorite: Florentine Omelette (spinach and mushrooms) and fried potatoes.

Yea, Monday was a better day than the sadness of Sunday. :)

Peppermint has released a new kit, this time on a Tuesday. It is called Tranquil and it is a collab between her (One Little Bird) and Leora Sanford at Little Dreamer Designs! Two of my favorite designers, together!

Isn't it pretty?  And if you purchase the kit between now and 2/21 (for 20% off even!), you also get four templates designed by One Little Bird and Leora Sanford, free with purchase!  What a great deal!

I made this layout with Tranquil.
Full credits here.
It's more white-space than my usual style, but some people seemed to like it.

So then I thought, hey, maybe others might like it too, as a template!  So I have this freebie template for you.
Download here or here.

Also, it's my first offering for $1 Wednesday at Little Dreamer Designs! You can pick up Template Set #8: Artsy Fartsy for just a dollar!

Oh, I almost forgot... head on over to Todd's blog to see the most perfect chocolate chip cookies ever! Really!


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