Friday, December 14, 2007

Where, Oh Where Have I Been?

Has it really been almost a month since I've posted??? How is that possible? Where has the time gone? Where have I been? Rest assured, I'm alive and kickin'! Just terribly busy with all the holiday crazies!

Emerson and I went home to Wisconsin so he could visit Papa, Mia and Auntie Cali for Thanksgiving. And since our return to Louisiana...well, work has been a madhouse, holiday shopping is a nightmare, and baking is a distant thought at this point! I've been trying to design and I know I need to post freebies for my alpha and first round of patterned papers, but with all the above and then my CT spot at Digital Freebies (loving it! and so excited to be a part of the CT there...wish I could stay on after my 3 month stint is over!!) I just have not had the time. Oh yeah, and I have a nasty cold that I just can't seem to shake.

Of course, these days I seem, to be full of excuses. It's much too easy to say, "You're not feeling well, Nicole. Just take it easy and veg in front of the TV tonight" instead of getting a head start on the weekend laundry. Or "You worked hard to get those 2 LOs done for your CT requirements. You need a break from the computer" instead of working on my son's baby album (20-months-old and his baby album is just now scrapped up to the day we brought him home from the hospital! I'll never finish it at this rate!)

As my hubby says, though, "It will get done when it gets done." Life is too short to stress about little things, and I try not too. I do regret not finding more time to design, however. And I'm still wondering how all these designers do it!! If anyone knows...please tell me their secret! I already go to bed and lie awake brainstorming layout designs, page kit ideas, etc. My problem is that I can't seem to find the time to execute my plans!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Finally! A Freebie!!

Well, well...what do we have here? A freebie! Finally!!!

Yes, I finally got my act together, joined 4shared, and prepared at least one thing to share with all of you. I don't know what took me so long! Here's the preview of what you're getting:

Download here.

If you use these papers, please e-mail me at because I'd love to see them! Also, please leave me a comment here. If I'm going to continue desigining, I'll need the encouragement. Plus, if there's something wrong with my work, I need to know so I don't continue to make the same mistakes and so I can fix what's wrong. THanks!

I almost have the alphabet/numbers/symbols ready for download too. Maybe tomorrow? Let's hope. I changed them a little from my original sneak peek (see older posts). I'm currently working on patterned papers, but I'm a long way off on those so it will be quite a while bfore you see that freebie!

I hope you all enjoy the download!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Taking TIme To Design and The Meaning Behind The Name

2 things I want to talk about today: taking (and making) the time to design and the meaning behind my designing names. Oh yeah...and reveal what my first series of kits is all about!

First of all, how do all those fabulous designers find time to actually DO the designing??? I just can't figure it out. Of course, I still have no idea how to do half the things I want to, and since I'm just starting it takes me twice as long to make something, but it's still taking me forever to get things done! I have to wait until my son is in bed (hubby goes to bed at the same time because he gets up at 3am for work) and after I've done all my chores and showered and all that, so it only leaves me about 1.5 hours (sometimes 2 if I stay up until 11pm) to participate in challenges, work on pages for Emerson's baby album, and design! There just aren't wnough hours during the day.

I was recently asked how I came up with the name for my designs--Green Elephant Designs by Nicolina. Well, it's fairly simple. I wanted something other than my name (Designs by Nicole Birdeau-Rabalais just didn't have the right ring to it), so I took my favorite color--green--my favorite animal--elephant--and the name my paternal grandmother called me by quite often as a young girl--Nicolina. And there you have it!

Finally, the BIG reveal. (OK...not so big since I have barely scratched the surface on it! lol) I have a plan for the kits I want to create.

I don't know if any of you have seen my blinkie or read the little description beneath my blog title, but I love a world where reality and fantasy overlap. A world where gods and godesses walk the earth, where fairies flit from grove to grove, where mermaids swim the oceans, and dragons fly through the skies. A world where witches cause havoc, where monsters hide in unlikely places, where giants becomefriends and where mythical creatures cause mischief.

My first series of kits, my first collection I guess you'd say, is going to be called "The Goddess Within Collection" and each kit in the collection will feature a different goddess from a different culture. I have the basic ideas in my head for at least 5 kits. SInce I can't really scrap an entire goddess (much too complex!), each kit will focus on some aspect of that goddess.

For example, the kit I'm starting out with, and the ones I've provided previews for, is Hera from Greek mythology. Remember how I said I hoped the colors of my solid papers reminded some of you of a peacock? Well, that's because the peacock is one of Hera's sacred animals. So the kit will feature the colors of the peacock, some peaock images and peacock inspired patterns, and gold accents because Hera was a queen.

Look for my first freebie for this kit tomorrow! It will be the solid papers!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I love recruiting newbies into digital scrapbooking. I always send my new pages to friends and family after I post them into my gallery (see link below), and I recently had a friend write and tell me she wanted to start digi scrapping! I immediately sent her a message with all ym favorite did sites, advised her on which ones had the best freebies to help her get started until she could build up an inventory of products, and a list of some of the blogs out there that I visit pretty regularly. I'm so excited to think I might have a scrapping buddy close by! It would be great to get together and scrap.

Now, if only we could find a way to afford a laptop and a Wacom tablet for me, I'd be set! Where did I put my Santa list???....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Love Digital Freebies!

Have I told you all how much I loooooove I love that site! Maybe it's because it's one of the first digital scrapbooking site I visited and joined, maybe it's the awesome products in the boutique, maybe it's the fabulous designers or the wonderful members, but it feels like "home." If you haven't been there have to stop and visit. And, while you're there, check out my gallery. make sure to check out some of the other galleries as well. There are some really amazing layouts in there!

Extra love goes out to Digital Freebies today because I was one of the winners in their "Why I Scrap" contest!I received 2nd place in the 12x12 category and Grand Prize in the Hybrid category! Hooray for me!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Look What I Did!! I'm not so good at this blog thing. I get busy, I forget to log in and write. I also, you'll notice, fail to share any freebies. But enough of my shortcomings. Let me show you what I did tonight:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
This was inspired by a layout that gavins mom (Tiffany) did at Digital Freebies. I had never thought about doing an animated layout before, but it's pretty cool, huh? Check out Tiffany's LO here. Thanks for the inspiration!!

[Credits for the kit I used go to Knetfeder's Kits "Recycling the Rainbow", which you can see here. The font for the title is Painty Paint, which can be found on]

Not bad for my first try, if I do say so myself!! I'd love to hear what you all think, so please leave a comment!

Hope you'll all leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Self-Proclaimed Procrastinator

For years I've been trying to figure out just what exactly my problem is with putting things off! Am I lazy? Do I foolishly believe that I have all the time in the world? Am I the world's most forgetful 32-yr-old? The answer is a respounding yes. Yes to all 3 questions. So what do I do with my time...the time I'm supposed to be spending designing, doing the monthly finances, planning next week's menu (which I really never HAVE actually done.I always SAY I will and I really do intend to do it...someday!), catching up on my son's journal (I am now closing in on 7 months behind on it!), and completing his baby album? Well, no one really knows for sure what I do with that time. I have a sneaky suspicion that I spend a great deal of it surfing the web and completing layouts for challenges. While I love to do the challenges and receive the posting prizes, I really do need to focus more on other things--chores, hobbies, family. My husband is getting fed up with all the time I spend on the computer. I keep telling him that once I get this designing thing off the ground and going, he'll be glad I'm spending so much time on it. Just wait until that extra cash comes rolling in! Ha ha...OK maybe "rolling" is not the term to use, but it really would be nice to make a little extra on something I spend so much time doing anyway!

With all that said, I'm close to getting a few more patterned papers and a couple elements ready. Since I'm pretty much caught up with the challenges, I should be able to post previews by next weekend! Unless, of course, I get caught up in another project!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

First Set of Patterned Papers

So, I'm sure you've noticed that I failed to get anything ready to share as freebies. Are you surprised? Because I'm not. But it's actually not because I've been procrastinating; it's because I've been incredibly busy. First of all, Digital Scrapbooking Day!! There were WAY too many fun challenges and awesome sales to worry about anything else! And I've been focusing a lot on playing with my son lately and I've put in a few extra hours at work, as well. I did mange, however, to produce some patterned papers for my kit. Now, I don't know if I'll offer ALL of these if I ever get a chance to start selling my kits, but I wanted to try all sorts of colors so I had plenty to choose from once I get around to assembling my final pieces. Here's the preview:

Once again, I'm going to promise you that I will at least think about preparing all these items for freebies. LOL Sooner or later, you know it's gonna get done!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Solid Papers

Well, I've finally settled (I think) on a color scheme for my first digital kit, and I've created some solid papers to get me going. Here's the preview:

I hope the colors remind some of you (at least one of you!??) of a peacock. They're not supposed to be just like a peacock...just reminiscent of one. Did I succeed in that? I hope so!

I'm still not giving away too much about the future completed kit because who knows? it might change as I go along. But now you know it's loosely based on the colors of a peacock. I still have the patterned papers to ponder and the elements to worry over. I think for my first kit, I might have to do real simple elements. Either that or I'll have to finally break down and purchase some Commercial Use products and templates. I'm stubborn, though! I want to do it all on my own!!

Please leave me some comments and let me know whether or not I'm still on the right track here. I think this weekend, in honor of Digital Scrapbooking Day tomorrow, I'll finally get these papers and the alpha ready for a zip file that I can then share with all of you. So check back soon to see if I've really done what I said or if I'm still procrastinating!! lol

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! We had such a nice time trick-or-treating with Emerson--much better than I had hoped. He was a lion this year and the first time we put the costume on him, he cried--kicking and screaming, of course--until I took the thing off. I thought, oh Lord, this should make Halloween night real fun! But guess what? I started putting it on him and all he said was "roar, roar." The only fussing he did was when i was trying to hold him still to draw his nose and whiskers on (with Mama's eyeliner because I forgot to buy face paint!)

He really enjoyed going out trick-or-treating. Actually, what I think he enjoyed was running around waving the little pumpkin flashlight my co-worker gave him. He wasn't afraid of any of the other Halloweeners--even the ones in the scary masks! We only stayed out for about an hour and a half, but we really enjoyed ourselves.

Emerson also had his Halloween party at daycare today. I was even able to leave work to attend. It was a hoot watching all those kids go nuts about their snacks (ever see what unlimited cookies, cupcakes, Cheetos and juice does to 17 toddlers?) He was a mess! And forget dinner! he was definitely NOT interested in eating again that night!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Poor Baby

You all need to feel sorry for my poor little boy today. Why? I'll tell you...

Emerson had his 18-month well-baby check-up this morning. After the check up, the doctor told me we had to go to the hospital and have lab work done to check for iron definciency and lead content in he blood. I had no idea that we had to have this done at this visit--she hadn't mentioned a word of it at his 15-month check-up--so I hadn't brought any Tylenol or Motrin with me. I thought I was doing good by remembering an extra diaper, some snacks, and a few of his books. (Our doctor is notorious for keeping her appointments waiting. We were her first appointment of the day, and she was 15 minutes late for that! How can you be behind before you've even had any appointments???!!)

Anyway, off to the hospital we went. We got called into a room where they had me hold Emerson's body still by laying my chest over him, while a nurse held his arm out and another nurse took the blood. To get to the point (because I'm known for rambling and I can see already that that's where I'm headed), he was stronger than they expected, and he twisted his arm when they stuck the needle in. They ended up tearing his arm a little where the needle had entered. Picture blood streaming down his arm ad onto the nurse's glove and then onto the table; Emerson screaming so much that his eyeballs are rolling back into his skull because he's about to pass out (he holds his breath when he's really upset and we haven't found anything to make him breath again until he's ready); a bruise forming where the blood from the damaged vein is pooling under his skin; Mama crying because her baby is crying so hard....oh my friends, it was not fun at all. After it was all over, one of the nurse's tried to give him a little treat, but he just threw it at her (rude, yes, but he's 18 months old...what do you expect?) He was fine by the time I got him back to daycare and had gone to buy some Motrin to give him. Thank God toddler's don't have very long memories!

In other news, I totally forgot to carve the pumpkin for Halloween tomorrow and I didn't especially feel like doing it tonight. Instead, I took Emerson's finger paints and a sponge brush and painted a little Halloween scene on it. We're not even going to be home, so I guess it doesn't matter except that I want pics of him with his Halloween pumpkin.

I also got his little goody bags ready for his daycare party tomorrow. We signed up to bring treat bags, and I did simple ones for that, but Emerson also wanted to give his little friends a treat. We bought special bags, some individual boxes of raisins, stickers, and I created fridge magnets by scrapping with some Halloween kits I had, printing them, gluing them onto some magnetic material, and cutting out holes to put a pic behind. They're 4x6" and the picture openings will fit a wallet sized pic. Each one has the child's name and "Halloween 2007" on it. I think they're cute. Here's the one I did for Emerson and a few of his little friends:

Monday, October 29, 2007

It didn't take me long to forget to post, did it? LOL Actually, we had quite a busy weekend. It was a wonderful weekend! Emerson and I had a playdate on Saturday with a friend who lives in the country. Oh, it was so nice and quiet! We rode around and saw some horses, a bull, lots of dogs and a pong complete with turtles. Emerson was quite impressed with all the trees and kept pointing them out to me. It was a beautiful day. Sunday we went to the park, and Emerson had lots of fun going down the slides, running around like a mad thing, and watching the ducks in the duck pond. (He called all the white ducks, "Fix-It Duck" because he has a book with the same name. Too cute) He only threw one fit--when I wouldn't let him continure running back and forth over the bridge--but considering his fits consist of lying silently on the ground looking up at me, well, have at it kiddo!

Needless to say, I did not have any time for designing. Well, I didn't have time to complete anything, anyway. I'm currently trying to figure out how to make gems in Photoshop. I found a tutorial, but I'm not real happy with the results. I got so frustrated with it that I gave up doing any computer work at all. Hopefully, I'll either figure out how to do a gem I can be satisfied with or I'll move on to something else! Either way, I'll try to get something posted for you all to look at and comment on soon. Oh yeah, and I think I'll look into the 4Share website to see if I can figure out how to start sharing some freebies. I don't know what kinds of freebies, but I've gotten so many great ones that I'd like to offer something back. Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Very First Alpha

Wow!! Two posts in one day! I can see where this is going to get addictive! If I'm not careful, I'll spend all my time posting and let all my other hobbies fall by the wayside!

I started this site with the purpose of asking others to preview my design attempts as I start in my quest to learn digiscrap kit designing. So, without further ado, below is an image of the first piece to my first very first alpha! I have a name picked out for the kit already--but I"m gonna keep you hanging for a while--and I have ideas for a color scheme, most of the elements, and the solid papers (still brainstorming on patterned papers). Unfortunately, I have precious little time on my hands, and I get distracted WAY too easily, so it might take me a while to get my first digi kit completed. Not to mention the fact that I'm still learning and experimenting with how to create everything! Anyway, here's a sneak peak at the alpha, which also includes numbers and a few symbols:
Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I'd hate to get the entire kit finised only to find out that's people think it's not any good!! Thanks a bunch!

Little Man

My son is 18 months old today! In honor of the occasion, I've decided to write a bit about him and even squeeze in a little bragging (as is my right as a mother!)

My little man's name is Emerson. I wanted a name that reflected my first great love (literature), but one that wasn't too off-the-wall. So we came up with Emerson (as in Ralph Waldo Emerson). The clerk at the doctor's office keeps referring to him as "she" when I call to make an appointment, but I understand that it's because the name--although traditionally a boy's name--is being used as a girl's name more often of late, so I try not to get upset!

My son is simply amazing (warning: here comes the bragging). He surprises me every day with what he's learning. He's in daycare from about 7am-5pm (I know, I know...I hate to have him there so long), and they really teach him a lot. Much more han I think I could teach him at home. Of course, we reinforce at home everything that daycare is teaching him, which really helps with the learning process. We even bought some color crayon decals to put on the wall as well as different shapes in bright patterns. Emerson loves to go up to them and have us ask him what each shape or color is as we point to them in turn.

And the words he knows!! He knows way more than I think an average 18 month old does, so we made a list of all the ones we have heard him say (not the ones he parrots when we say it, but the ones he uses on his own) and came up with 241!! Is that normal? Or is my child exceptionally bright? (Guess which one I'm rootin' for?!! LOL) He just picks up new info so easily, it seems. Kids are amazing.

Emerson likes to clean. Let me put that another way--Emerson likes to pick-up. If I tell him "It's time to pick up!" he does it right away, saying the whole time "nee up, nee up, nee up" (translation: clean up). This past weekend we were playing with blocks, but I needed to run to the grocery store real quick, so I told him, "Let's go bye-bye." He looked at me standing by the door and then down at the blocks scattered around the floor. He started picking them up and putting them back in their travel bag, saying "Nee up, nee up" and wouldn't leave until the floor was clean! How many 18 month old toddlers do that? It's a trait he definitely gets from his daddy!

OK...I won't pretend that Emerson is perfect. He has started hitting recently. He especially likes to hit the little girls at daycare. Bully!! When I catch him at it, I make him look me in the face and I tell him, "No hitting. It's not nice. It hurts ______" (fill in blank with child's name). He just looks away, runs over, and hits the poor kid again. Hmmm...have to work on that, I guess.

All in all, he's an awesome kid. With his big blue eyes and his ready smile, he wins over everyone's hearts. My one lament is that he seems to have inherited the same fine, thin hair my mother and sister have whereas I was hoping he'd get my thick, brown curly hair. But he's still young, there's still time for it to start curling...and then look out ladies!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Brand New Day! I guess introductions come first, right? My name is Nicole and I'm 32 years old. I'm starting this blog because I have become obsessed (really...just ask my husband) with digital scrapbooking, and I hope to get into the designing aspect of it. Hopefully, this blog will give me the chance to let people check out and comment on my works in progress, and I'll even offer some freebies from time to time!

I want to warn you now that I will NOT be a frequent blogger! Sure, I'll post every other day or so at first, but then I'll get busy or I'll forget or I'll realize that no one is reading the thing, so why bother?!! LOL

Back to introductions. I am a wife and mother. My husband and I have been together for 7 years--married for 3-1/2. My adorable son will be 18 months old tomorrow! (How can time slip by so quickly?) I graduated with a degree in English, but I'm working as a secretary (never did like the term administrative assistant. Secretary is much easier and faster to say) for a company that sells municipal traffic signs and worksite safety products, flags and banners, commercial Christmas decorations, and advertising specialty items. I mainly take care of invoicing, accounts payable, and call-in sales, but I DO get a chance to design every so often (which is good because otherwise I'd go mad!).

I love to read, but rarely find the time anymore, and I love to do digital scrapbooking. I enjoy spending time with my son, of course. He is a constant source of amazement. In the future, I hope to do a lot of international traveling and explore the world, finish my ever-increasing need-to-read book list, sell my digiscrap designs online, learn another language (preferably Italian or Spanish), lose 20 pounds, get my Masters or PhD, and buy a bigger house! Sounds like I'll be busy for quite a while, and that's only PART of my "To DO" list!!!

So...that's me. I hope you all come back from time to time to check out what's going on in my world and to see whether or not I've managed to post any freebies! I'm new to this whole blogging thing, so I have lots to learn. It's a brand new day and I'm ready!