Monday, December 18, 2006

Winning in Canon Shoot and Run 2006

The LORD has been very good to us this year. So many things have happened, so many ups and downs but He has always been at our side. The blessings we've received this year abounds. I am happy to share with you my experiences and my winning entry in the recently concluded Canon Shoot and Run 2006. But before anything else, I would like to thank Ria Mojica for sharing the details of the contest in the e-group. I wouldn't have been aware of such competition if I haven't read her post. Thanks Ria! And of course, to all the members of Scrapbooks Exchange... the beautiful, generous, talented and gorgeous members of this e-group who continuously believe and give support to me and my wife... thank you very much to all of you!
December 16, 2006 - I woke up around 6 a.m. to prepare and leave the house as early as possible since Cavite is still quite far from Malate where the event will be held. It was a Saturday and it was still early so I wasn't expecting any traffic. But lo and behold! I got stucked in traffic for two hours!!! Registration was at 9:30 p.m. and where was I? I was still in Bacoor Cavite pulling my hair off my head! I asked myself... of all the days I could get stucked in traffic... why now? At around 10 a.m. I reached Palacio de Manila and was able to register for the contest. Whew! I made it! After the briefing, the first assignment which was "Splendor of Manila" was given by the organizers. Contestants were tasked to capture a scenic view of Manila and be back at the HQ to download the best shot before 2p.m. Photographers rushed to all directions... Meanwhile, I decided to go to Intramuros. I parked my car in an open street that doesn't have any sign that says no parking. After a few minutes, I got my shot and hurriedly went back where I was parked. Yup, you guessed it right! My car was missing! It got towed by the alligators and hoodlums working for Ronron Towing services. The same towing service that I think has been featured several times by Imbestigador and other news programs because of so many complaints from the public. I was forced to walk a few kilometers just to get to where these alligators brought my car. They wouldn't release my car till I pay P1,500.00! I argued that there wasn't any sign that says "no parking" from where I parked. But arrogance and rudeness were oozing even from the noses of these Ronron clowns. And since I was holding a camera, one of them even approached me telling me not to dare take pictures of them if I wouldn't want anything to happen to my camera! So I told him, why don't you just try?! Well, sorry for these alligators because after a few phone calls, I was able to get off their hook without having to pay even a single centavo!

After all the frustrations and headaches in the morning, I was able to get back to the event headquarters and download my entry. Here's my official entry for the first category, which was "Splendor of Manila". It earned me a spot in the Top 50 finalists.

By 2 p.m. the next assignment, "Faces of Manila" was given to the contestants. I must admit, capturing photographs of people is not an easy task. Specially those you don't even know. Again, I scoured the streets of Intramuros, then went to Rizal Park, and finally ended up at Baywalk with still no single shot for this second assignment. But as they say... if you're in the right place at the right time... and fast enough to press the shutter, then you'll get your perfect shot! I happened to be in front of the monument of former Manila Mayor Lacson when a group of kids, out of nowhere, crossed the street and flocked to the statue. There were a lot of photographers there, and to my surprise, these kids just striked a pose. A few clicks, and I got my shot! Here's the winning photograph that earned me a brand new Canon 30D camera worth around P75,000.00 (Thank you LORD!) and the title of First place winner for the second category: "Faces of Manila".

During the awards night, I would have to be honest to say that I was stunned and overwhelmed to have won. I was happy and contented being chosen in the Top 50 Finalists. But hearing my name being called on stage to receive a major prize... WOW ang saya! It's actually my first time to join a big competition. And with fellow photographers who are experts and have been shooting for a long time, it's already an honor just to shoot beside them. Winning is actually a big bonus and a blessing. To all my fellow photographers who have joined Canon Shoot and Run 2006, congratulations to all of us! We are all winners! And to my wife Pia and son Ethan, thank you very much! This achievement is for you! I love you!

I would also like to share the other photos I took during the competition:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Alisha's 1st Birthday Party

Last November 18, we had our very first client for the chocolate fountain! Ranch, a fellow n@wie hired us only a few days before her daughter's (Alisha) first birthday party! Being the "buena mano" that is, of course we gave her a good deal - a discount and some freebies! Oh and I forgot to mention that the venue of the party is sooo near our place!!! It didn't even take us 10 minutes to get there huh!
Ranch and Ruel are both very warm. It was my first meeting with Ranch but it was like we've been friends for years already. We have only been exchanging e-mails since the time I learned she's also from DasmariƱas, Cavite.

I'm sharing with you the pictures of our chocolate fountain taken by the party photographer, Ken Go. It was lots of fun to serve chocolate to kids and adults. Everyone was very excited. The kids love it when they dip marshmallows, wafer sticks or fruits into the cascading chocolate! We had enough chocolate and dippings to last the whole party ... that was almost 3 hours!

I'm also sharing here what Ranch wrote in her supplier ratings:
Chocolate Fountain: Pia and Jeff Lopez

Savior ko ang chocolate fountain...di nainip ang guests and di na nila napansin na di pa nakaset up ang sound system etc etc because of the chocolate fountain:-) Pia gave me also a discount plus freebies na strawberries :-). Sobrang sipag ng wifey and hubby tandem na to they make sure na laging available ang mga dippings coz guest come and go talaga .... friendly rin cla sa mga guests akala nga ng iba relative ko cla Pia kc ang bait daw and laging nakasmile whenever guests approached the choco fountain :-) Buti na lang Pia was thoughtful and gave me a serving kung di .... di ko rin cguro natikman........the taste....superb!!!
To view other photos of the chocolate fountain, click here:
Thank you very much for getting our services, Ranch and Ruel!

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

If there's a favorite time of the year, that would be Christmas! Yup, you bet I'm still a child at heart. I always look forward to December because the atmosphere suddenly changes during this season. People are much nicer : D.

Christmas is still magical! I still believe in Santa Claus and I want Ethan to have a gift from him! I still look forward to decorating the house and the tree with ornaments. I still anticipate gifts and greeting cards ... and even though I have not attended the Simbang Gabi on a regular basis, I still look forward to it! Weird no?

But now that I'm a scrap addict, I also look forward to Christmas themed scrapbook papers and embellishments. And of course, I have to nag Jeff every now and then to take pics of the Christmas details in the house. What do you know as early as September I already made a Christmas layout! Oh well, it was Ethan's 1st Christmas pictures so I really have to scrap them because this 2006 is his 3rd already and I'm not done with last year's photos! Hay!

Anyway, I have made 4 layouts already. I'm sharing with you three of those since I already posted the other one (Naughty or Nice) months ago.

We have a new Christmas family tradition this year! We decided we'll write our Christmas wishes and see which of those written on the list would come true! =D I held Ethan's hand to guide him as he write his wish! I knew that he only wants one thing - cars! We wrote our wishes on tags. I used the patterned paper on the bottom as a pocket to hold our wishes! I used the Gin X coaster and made it like a wreath with Ethan's photo inside.

Title: Christmas Wish List

Materials used: cardstocks: Fabriano and Bazzill (title and the tags), patterned papers: DCWV, Gin X coaster, Lil Davis Glitter Glaze, ribbons and fibers, Karen Foster Loopy bards, Craft Express handmade xmas stickers, mesh, Sizzix die cuts: Alphabars Ransom and scallop tags

Do you experience problems with many photos? I'm sure you have tons of pictures to scrap this Holiday season but wouldn't know how to start. The December issue of Scrapbytes can help you. Click here and you'll sure to find helpful tips in preserving your Christmas memories.

On my article at Scrapbytes (Scrapping Lots of Photos), I shared this LO I made using Becky Higgins sketch. I chose the best pictures from the activities we've had during that season to include in my spread layout. I think this is the only layout I made with lots of pictures on it!

Title: Ethan's First Christmas (click here for larger view)

Materials: Bazzill and Fabriano cardstocks, DCWV and American Traditional Designs patterned papers, mesh, rickrack, Lil Davis Glitter Glaze, Sakura Aqualip pens, Sizzix die cuts: vowel play and Doodle dies Christmas, Editing software: Adobe Photoshop CS

A special thanks to my good friend Joanne Yap for letting me borrow her sizzix dies!

On the cover of the said e-zine, I made a layout with Ethan having his first taste of a mint flavored Christmas candy! After seeing the reaction on his face,
I'm pretty sure, di na niya ita-try ulit yun! ( he wouldn't try it again!) Hahaha! Well, I don't think he likes mint ... so guess who ate the candy? Me, of course!

Title: Christmas Candy

Materials: DCWV patterned papers, Craft Express handmade 3D stickers and borders, mesh, Lil Davis Glitter Glaze, photo anchor, Zig Writer pen, Colorbox Chalk ink, Sizzix die cuts: Ransom and circle frame

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Chocolate Fountain Package

P4,500.00 (150 pax)
1 unit chocolate fountain (13.4" excluding base height)
2.5 kilos of Premium Chocolate
5 Dippers
Marshmallows, Wafer Sticks, Banana, Pineapple and
one fruit in season (apple, grapes or melon)
Note: Strawberries are subject to availability.
*Additional charge for out of town events
* For indoor/covered location only
* Non-refundable Downpayment of P1,000 required for a confirmed booking

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

My Chipboard Recipe

In my article at Scrapbytes “Embellish Your Chipboard”, I wrote how to make your own chipboard embellishments. I am posting here the other layouts I made using my own embellished chipboard.

Sample 1: Summer Fun

I used chipboard for the title of this layout. I cut the letters using the Sizzix machine. I cut the chipboard separately from the cardstock before I adhered them together. I rubbed the edges of the letter with an emery board to make it even.

Supplies used: textured cardstocks and vellum: Bazzill; patterned papers: BasicGrey Lollipop Shoppe (Key Lime Pie) and Chloe’s Closet Dig It (Banana Seat Stripe); buttons, round dome stickers: Craft express; stamping ink: Colorbox; chipboard, letter diecuts: Sizzix vowel play; pen: Zig Writer; tools used: sanding paper, Sizzix machine, craft scissors and CM circle cutter

Sample 2: Naughty or Nice

I did the same thing here in this layout. But instead of cardstock, I used patterned papers. To make the title more fun to look at, I used both the negative and positive of the die cut letters.

Supplies used: Patterned papers: BasicGrey Blitzen (Holly, Cranberry, Dasher and Wonderland); letter dies: Sizzix vowel play; mesh; buttons; brads; photo anchors; rickrack; twill tape; slide mount; Santa Claus sticker: Craft Express; fibers; stamping ink; pen: Zig Writer; tools used: sanding paper, Sizzix machine and CM circle cutter; letter envelope: own design; Editing software: Adobe Photoshop CS

The idea of Santa’s letter came from Two Peas in Bucket. I knew I had to scraplift the idea! Journaling goes:

December 2005

Dear Mr. Ethan Kyle Lopez,

I had been watching you closely for the past year. My elves have been spying throughout the year to determine how you have been behaving before I’ll make my first visit this December 25th. I would like to share some of the items they have brought to my attention.


  • rolling over and kicking when your parents try to change your diaper --- numerous offenses

  • rolling over then crawling away during diaper changing --- multiple attempts

  • climbing out of your stroller (head first)

  • standing on your stroller --- numerous offenses

  • crying during bath time

  • refusing the feeding bottle whether it’s breastmilk or formula milk --- numerous offenses

  • crying when being put to sleep in the crib --- numerous offenses

  • cried out loud on a public vehicle on the way to school

  • insisted that you suck the tube while nebulizing

  • does not like confinement in the crib


  • always wakes up with a smile

  • learned to eat vegetables and fish

  • learned to love fruits…banana is an all time favorite!

  • learned to love bath

  • brought so much joy and purpose into your mommy and daddy’s lives

  • has a hearty appetite most of the time

  • been tagged as “the strongest baby” in your first play school!

  • always kept guests and relatives entertained with your funny antics!

  • tirelessly tried your best to blow the candle on your 1st birthday cake all throughout while guests were singing the birthday song, to everyone’s delight and amazement!

  • did not have any tantrums during your entire birthday party

  • did not cry once during your first haircut nor gave the barber a hard time

  • drinks water, milk or juice in a sippy cup then moved to a regular cup/glass

You obviously have tried to be a good boy and Santa appreciates what a happy and loving child you are. My elves think you are doing a great job! I look forward to seeing you in person. Continue to bless your parents with your good behavior and know that even Santa gets into a little mischief every now and then. Until next year, I’ll be watching!



Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I’m officially a Design Team member!

Me, Iris and Ria

Once I told my friend, Ria (Mojica) while we’re chatting with Valerie (Salmon) and Diane (Mirabelles) that I wanted to be part of a Design Team someday. We were actually chatting with Valerie about her being a DT of Creative Express that time. I knew it was wishful thinking then, considering that I am new in this hobby!

Nope, I didn’t want any fame for that matter, all I want is the “free” stuff DTs get so that I wouldn’t have to burden Jeff to buy me stuff (I’m a SAHM)! Ang babaw ko ba? (he-he-he)

But what a fortune, a scrapbook store owner offered me the dream I’ve always wanted! Sahrie Wenceslao of Scrapbukan asked me if I wanted to be a DT member for her store!!! I couldn’t believe my luck! She’s actually asking me to be part of her team?!? Wow, that was one of my happiest days! I’d be stupid if I’d say no!

I asked Sahrie who else she’s been eyeing for her store’s Design Team. She said, Ria (Mojica) and Iris (Uy)! Boy, am I so lucky!?! Hahaha! I told Sahrie these two girls are my idols!

By the 2nd week of September, I am an official Design Team member of Scrapbukan as I signed the contract! Wooohoo!

Thank you Sahrie for trusting me! I am very much excited to work with you! I do fear a little and feel a bit pressured… but I know that this is a challenge I would like to conquer!

BasicGrey Challenge

“You did it again!” - wrote Nette Madero of My Little Attic in her newsletter to announce the 3 winners of the BG Challenge. But honestly, I really didn’t expect this! Really! I have my own faves and choices among the entries. That’s why when I opened the newsletter Nette sent that morning of September 9, 2006 and saw my layout, I was asking the same question when I won the Chatterbox Challenge, “What is my layout doing there?” I wasn’t convinced that I won 1st place. I was thinking that if I scroll the page down I’d see the 1st place winner. I saw Iris Uy’s layout, Flight and Airees Rondain’s 32 Random Facts about Me, 2nd and 3rd places respectively. So, I really won?! All the while there was a caption under my layout that I won, obviously I wasn’t even reading! It actually took some time for everything to sink in to me (he-he-he). I was soooo happy and so surprised! Then, as I scrolled down further, I saw another one of my layouts, “Fly High and Far” in the Honorable Mention. Now this was even more surprising for me!

Nette awarding my BG Challenge prize

Here’s an excerpt from the My Little Attic newsletter sent by Nette:

Congratulations to Pia Lopez for winning the BasicGrey Challenge!!! You did it again Pia!!! For those who didn’t know, Pia was one of the winners in our Chatterbox Challenge a couple of months ago and she did it again!!!

Amy Howe, style director of BasicGrey said,

“What a FUN layout! The pictures are so cute, and I love that she has the title encircling the main photo. I also love the washers – this layout really fits its theme
well. The paper combination is also perfect for these photos. An all around awesome layout!”
After that announcement, I received phone calls from two close friends of mine, Joanne and Ria greeting me for winning the challenge. I also received messages on my YM, e-mail and cellphone. These greetings really meant a lot to me! Thanks guys!

I’m so honored to be recognized by the likes of Amy Howe, Joy Uzarraga and Nely Fok. This year, I have received so many blessings already that I couldn’t even think if I deserve all of them. God has been so good to me and my family and I’m very thankful for that! I myself could not believe all the achievements that I have already accomplished only after a year of scrapping!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nette for coming up with the BasicGrey challenge. The challenge has brought out the best in all of those who participated, especially me. All those who joined are really good, all are winners too! I would like to thank the lovely and equally talented ladies of Scrapbooks Exchange! Have I not met these beautiful and wonderful people, I would not have started scrapping too! And of course, Jeff who has been very supportive of my passion!

I also posted my layouts below. For a larger view, click the layout in the slide located at the right corner.

MLA BG Challenge - 1st Place Winner

MLA BG Challenge - Honorable Mention

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Good finds in QUIAPO

I am a practical scrapper (maybe others will not agree with me though). But honestly, I am. My layouts will tell! I have a limited budget whenever I shop and I always see to it that I don’t go beyond! Could you believe that?

Practical as I am, I always find alternatives to expensive embellishments. I hop from toy stores, to fabric and embroidery stores, to specialty shops (not scrapbooking related, huh!), and even the hardware store to find stuff I could use for scrapping.

A couple of weeks ago, hubby and I went to Quiapo to buy camera lenses and accessories. While hubby shops for his stuff, I on the other hand did my own shopping too! I tried to find fabric stores in search of ribbons and buttons. As I hopped from one store to another, I chanced upon a store that really caught my attention – Welmanson. It was bigger than the other stores I’ve been through. I took a peek and found a number of girls shopping. I went inside and found myself surrounded by beads, charms, strings… all stuffs needed for making necklaces and bracelets! I told myself there’s no time to waste. I begun searching for items I can use for scrapping!

Here are my finds:

Scissor charms (I’ve been thinking if I would buy the one from Jolee’s, good thing I didn’t because it looks quite the same!)

Cute baby shoe charms - perfect embellishments for those pictures of Ethan’s baby shoes

Letter necklace pendant and small letter charms (I thought of painting them with acrylic paint or just put them away from the pictures for safety).

But the best thing that I found looks like buttons (I don’t even know what they are). One thing that caught my attention was that these buttons only have one hole and are even textured!

Oftentimes, we complain that we have a limited choice of scrapbook stuff here. But think again, aren’t we even lucky that we could find cheap alternatives to expensive embellishments? Think about the rick racks, ribbons and fibers we can buy by the yard at Divisoria, Carolina’s and Quiapo? Think about the buttons and charms we can buy by the dozen or by the piece? So why not try those non related scrapbook items you find, they might as well be the right embellishments you are looking for!

Here are the layouts I made using these finds...

You Got Mommy's Smile

Supplies: Patterned Papers: BasicGrey Lucky (Sweet Lavender, Wish, Chance, Sunkissed & Cornsilk) and Fusion (Chartreuse); Stamping ink: Colorbox; Pen: Zig Writer; Charmed words and acrylic paint: Making Memories; Embroidery floss: DMC; Others: chipboard, sun charm, fibers, buttons & sanding paper


Supplies: Textured cardstocks: Bazzill; Patterned papers: BasicGrey Fusion (Spoiled, Mesmerize & Solar Ray), Lucky (Cornsilk), Lollipop Shoppe (Pink Lemonade); vellum; chipboards ; letter dies: Sizzix; pen: Zig Writer; stamping ink; embroidery floss: DMC; ribbons; charms; necklace pendant: source unknown


Monday, September 11, 2006


I know most mommies would agree that the best photos to scrap are none other than their children’s photographs. With the advent of digital cameras, computer hard drives are now clogged with gigabytes of photos waiting to be printed and scrapped. CDs of photographs pile up month-by-month as mommy and daddy trigger-happily shoot all those cute smiles and candid expressions. But at the end of the day, when mommy sits down on her desktop and starts viewing these loads of photographs… mommy finds out that a lot of the photos taken ended up with blur images, unfocused subjects; some even had faces of subjects washed out because of the flash. Then mommy begins to ask… why can’t I get good shots? Why can’t my photographs come out the way I want them to come out? For a mom and I mean a scrapping mom, this indeed is very frustrating.

Now wait! Before you despair and think of throwing that point-and-shoot digital camera out of the window, read on and you might just find these simple mommy photography tips helpful.

First tip: Know your gear. If you just recently bought a camera, spend a few minutes in reading the manual. You’ll be surprised what other features you might just discover on your camera besides turning it on and pressing the shutter.

Ok, so you’ve read the manual and you’re itching to
press the shutter button and start capturing those precious giggles and smiles. Here’s my second most important tip: If you can do away with the flash, do so. Well I’m not saying you don’t use the flash, but as much as possible, avoid using it. The automatic flash that comes built-in with your cameras are actually the culprit for those “red eyes”, the “shadow outlines” produced in the background and the “washed-out faces” of your subjects. Why not try using natural light? Turn off the automatic flash function in your camera and try shooting in well lit places like beside a window or a door where natural light is available. Or if possible, try shooting outdoors. So remember, use natural light… use the sunlight, it’s free!

Alright, so you got the children to play outdoors and here you are shouting: “Smile! Smile! Look at mommy! Smile!” Well, there’s actually nothing wrong taking pictures this way. Point a camera to a child and they will instinctively strike a pose and a smile. But wouldn’t it be great to capture your child’s expressions and movements when they’re not even aware of the camera? The best way to do this is to get involved! Have fun and play with your kids until they forget that you’re even carrying a camera, then go ahead and snap some shots! Another tip to get their attention off your camera is to keep them busy. Give them activities they will enjoy doing. Like drawing, sports, or just let them play with their favorite toy. It’s amazing when you get to capture children’s facial expressions when they’re fully absorbed doing something.

So now you got their attention off your camera and focused on something else; and you’re ready to take the shot. Then you ask yourself, how do I take the shot? What angle is best? Or what composition would work? Well, there’s actually no strict rule on how you must take the shot. Though you may consider shooting at your child’s level. Most people take pictures from their own eye level, thus, looking down on the kids.

I suggest you try getting down to your child’s level. Bend down if you need to. Just try it! This will give your photos a whole new perspective. And if you’re using a digital camera, be as trigger-happy as you could be. Take lots and lots of shots! Don’t limit yourself to just one shot. Taking lots of shots increases your choices as well as chances of getting that great photo you really want.

Happy Shooting!

- jeff -