Friday, January 30, 2009

A request from Tangie Baxter

Tangie would just like to remind everyone that the coupon for Challenge Four expires on Saturday, January 31st at 11:59 EST. If you don't visit the forum regularly, I've posted a link to Tangie's post over there. She is asking that you try to use the coupon today just in case there are any issues that need to be resolved, hopefully they can be addressed by tomorrow.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Moving right along!

I don't really have anything to say, but just updated the countdown timer in the left hand border, and noticed that Theresa has been making all of the blog posts lately. In the interest of fair representation, I am making a blog post too. Because I can.

But... as this is a short blog post, and I'm sure that you are in the reading mood, you can go to my blog and read my latest entry. Or you can just ignore me and go about the rest of your day!

The Grand Prizes - Digital Scrapbook Artisan Guild

The Digital Scrapbook Artisan Guild is dedicated to teaching and inspiring people in the craft of digital scrapbook design. Membership to the Guild entitles members to a monthly Guild kit and a subscription to our monthly on-line magazine The Artisan Notebook (tm). In affiliation with Natural Designs in Scrapbooking we offer a complete curriculum of design and program classes that teach how to use photo editing programs (Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro) to create digital scrapbook layouts. Additionally we have an extensive curriculum of design classes that help students grow in their artistic expression.

The Guild's online community is dedicated to creating an environment of learning and encouragement that helps advance the craft of digital scrapbooking. We invite you to come and be a part of this special place!

They have generously donated two 3-month month memberships to the first place team, two 2-month memberships for the first runners up and two 1-month memberships to the second runners up.

To give you an idea of what membership gets you, these are just examples of January's mega kit and the Artisan Notebook:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Grand Prizes - Jodie McNally

Jodie McNally is a Word Art Designer at Oscraps! She creates grungy, stampy word art and has recently started creating papers, too! In honor of Challenge #8 and its requirement of using the word dream on your layout, she put her "Sleepy Time Word Art" on sale for just $1.00! She also has a new newsletter and you get a gift for signing up! Check out her blog for details and to sign up!

I recently just discovered this heavenly word art designer myself and did a little shopping last night. I picked up just a few things, but have already used one in this layout.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Challenge #8

Is being hosted by none other than Oscraps and it's not only fun, it's relatively easy! You can find it here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Grand Prizes - Digi Web Studio

Digi Web Studio is offering up two $10 gift certificates.

Digi Web Studio offers clipart collections, digi scrap graphics (CU/S4H/S4O) and much more for immediate download - *and you don't have to pay any license fees*!

Here is just a sampling of some of the great products you'll find on this unique site:

Also be sure to check out the Whimsy Primsy collection for some other great artwork. And right now, there's a huge sale going on. So stop by and check out this fantastic site.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Challenge #7

Is right here at Sunshine Studios.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Grand Prizes Start to Roll In

Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing with you the wonderful designers and sites that are contributing to our grand prize pool. First up is the lovely and talented Kari Hentzelt. Kari is donating two $10 gift certificates to her Scrapbook-Bytes! store. Here is just a little bit about Kari:

Kari Hentzelt Digital Designs Scrapbook-Bytes!

Though I began designing in the Autumn of 2006, I still foremost consider myself a scrapbooker. I thrive upon knowing that I am preserving my family's important memories and every day events for years to come. The digital evolution has made this task even easier!

In my designs, you will find gorgeous color combinations and beautiful texture that I so much enjoy. There's something for everyone, whether you have sons or daughters, whether you like deep color or just a splash of softness or playfulness! I enjoy creating immensely, and even more, I enjoy seeing what fellow scrapbookers have done with my designs!

Remember, you really never know when you're making a memory, so enjoy each moment, always keep your camera close-by, and remember to include meaningful journalling so that you can re-live those special moments for a lifetime!

Happy Scrapping, everyone!

I did a little perusing in Kari's store and below are just a few of my favorite designs that I found there.

Go see what you can find to fal in love with! She's having a sale now too, so you can pick up some gorgeous goodness and save at the same time! Does it really get any better than that?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just some little tid-bits for you

Did you realize that when you get done with Challenge Six this week, you'll be halfway done with the race! Now that this steamroller got moving, it's going by pretty quickly, isn't it?

I often have things rattling around inside my head, and occasionally they just seem to fall out. (Sometimes they get stuck, which can really be painful...) But here are some of the things that fell out, so I thought that I'd pass them along.

Not all of you frequent the NDISB Forums to just hang out. (Shame on you!) If you do, you may have seen a reference to this already. Each month, NDISB puts together a huge mega-kit that most of our designers contribute to - typically a pretty good sized package that has some pretty cool stuff in it. A couple of days ago the January Customer Appreciation Kit was placed in the store. A $10.99 value, this mega-kit is available free to you with any $8.00 purchase. That's the equivalent of something better than 50% off! (I was never very good at math...)

And for those of you that said "Man... I wish I'd known about that before I went shopping yesterday", I've got something for you too!

If you go here, you will see all of the free products that are currently available from NDISB! Several designers are currently represented, with a variety of scrapping styles. I daresay, you might have been able to use some of them on some of the challenges that have been issued so far (and perhaps some still to come!). You might wish to bookmark that page of the store as these products will change and you might get to try out some of our other designers' products as well - you know - kind of like taking them for a test drive?

Oh... and one other thing that I was thinking about. We really need to do a better job next year of letting people know what the ADSR is not. Although it is called a Race, it is not a competition! It is a series of challenges, offered up by various digital scrapbooking sites that you may or may not be familiar with, hosted by Natural Designs in Scrapbooking (which you have already come to know and love!). And although we've talked about the Grand Prize, that conjures up the idea that it is a competition with a winner. That's not precisely correct.

What is correct, is that each team that completes all of the challenges by the proper deadlines, then has their name put into a hat. (Or more likely, one of our kids' sand buckets!). And we have a drawing for the Grand Prize. So I guess you could say that the "cost" of the entry into the Grand Prize drawing, is the completion of all of the challenges. No judging. No winners. No Losers. So whether you are a first time digi-scrapper (and we have at least one racer this year whose first layout ever published online was for Challenge One. So for Challenge Three, she had to re-do her Challenge One layout!) or whether you have been at it for years, we hope that you find something fun and inspiring about our little race. And even if your teams' name isn't pulled out of the hat at the end of the race, you will have received lots of scrapping experience, made some new friends, and collected some really cool gifts along the way (which many of you have taken advantage of already!).

So with that, good luck as we roll toward the second half of ADSR Season 4!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Challenge #6

Can be found here at Inspiration Lane!

Monday, January 19, 2009

About those Darn Rules

I know there is some frustration over the timing of the fifth challenge posting and I do understand it. I know everyone has gotten pretty used to challenges being posted closer to the midnight Saturday going into Sunday time frame. I also know that everyone understands that the rules merely state that it will be posted on Sunday.

We really are a very international site. We have designers, creative team members, scrappers and customers from all over the world, in nearly every conceivable time zone. But, for the sake of OUR convenience, being a pacific coast time zone company, we based our official days on the eastern time zone of the United States. So Sunday officially begins and ends, for the purposes of this race, at 12:00 AM EST and 11:59 PM respectively.

That said, I know and get the frustration over the timing of the posting of this particular challenge. Because of our international presence, we have sites participating from other parts of the world too. And they are aware of the Sunday posting requirement. They were not contractually obligated to post at midnight eastern US time, just between the hours of 12:00 AM and 11:59 PM EST.

With an international presence, this likely can and will happen again; where the challenge isn't posted exactly at midnight, or even by noon. But it will always be posted on Sunday. Just as you must have your layouts in by Sunday before midnight, we promise we will give you the full 24 hours on Sunday to do so!

And, as long as we're talking about international time zones, I thought I'd throw in a little trivia... Did you know that Australia only has three official time zones, but those time zones are offset by only 30 minutes instead of an hour? So if it's noon in the west, it's 11:30 in the central and 11:00 in the east. They also have some unofficial timezones that are offset by 15 minutes. Talk about trying to figure out what time it is somewhere else!

Now that we have the pesky rules out of the way, I wanted to address something else. I know some people feel that our staff haven't addressed their concerns in the most polite manner possible. Our staff are volunteers and working their tails off to help everyone, but we're also cognizant that the apparent tone of the written word can and does come across more harsh sometimes than intended. So, we're reminding everyone to take deep breaths after reading and before answering posts. Stressed out racers who have been scrapping their little hearts out and meeting deadlines while changing diapers, working two jobs and dealing with sick family members need a little extra TLC and that's what we're here for.

So, know we've heard you and understand your frustrations and we'll do what we can, within the rules of course. We can always reevaluate our rules for next season. We always take your suggestions into consideration. It's really helped shape our race so far and made it the best little digi race on the net!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Getting to Know Our Hosts - Elemental Scraps

Have you checked out ES lately? There have been lots of changed in the last couple months! New owner, new challenges, new designers, and more!

We've recently switched to having new releases only on Mondays - which makes it so much more exciting to see what new stuff shows up in the store. (And we post sneak peeks on the forums all weekend, just to stir up trouble ) But that's not all we do on Mondays - every Monday in the store we have something ELSE fun to do! Sometimes it's dollar day, sometimes it's Free With Purchase day, or Build Your Own Mega, or a storewide sale, you just never know what you'll find!

Our new challenge forum also struts its stuff on Mondays with brand new challenges every week. Complete a challenge, earn 5 points. Use current ES goodies, earn 5 more. What's more exciting is that at the end of the month, the points get added to your store account and can be spent! Check out the challenge forum rules for more info on that.

We have a great group of folks that are always willing to help with a layout, welcome you to the forum, or lend an ear if you need to vent! Stop by and say Hi sometime.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Challenge #4

Challenge #4 can be found here. Enjoy!!


Ever have one of those days!

Woke up this morning with kids crawling all over me. Pretty standard wake-up call.

Stumble into the office (short commute... just down the hall) to find PMs and emails and forum posts about the Team Links forum having gone missing.

Then, find out that the gallery has been hacked!


Theresa kindly brings me some coffee, as she is now aware of what's going on too.

Frantic exploration to discover the extent of the problem. Changing passwords everywhere. Consider possibility of having to restore from backup.


More coffee (which I made, and even made a second cup for T!).

OK... now that my heart is beating at something less than 1000 beats per minute, and my head is clearing, I start thinking a little more rationally. Well, as rationally as an Ogre ever can think.

Make my way into the innards of the site and discover that hackers have indeed modified the gallery, but it was an easy fix, so was able to take care of it myself.

Now, onto the disappearing forum.

Late last night, I created the prize forum that everyone has been so anxiously asking about (which will be viewable later today). Also created a new user group. In my tired state, I changed permissions on the wrong forum. Went in this morning and returned it to its rightful state.

Deep breath...

Now I am posting to the world the ineptitude of your NDISB webmaster - namely... me.

Thank you all for your understanding as we continue to provide you with an interesting ADSR experience!

btw, it was pointed out to me that the Time in New York clock is based on your computer time, so if your computer time is wrong, so will be the New York time. But... the "click here" link taking you to the countdown clock is still valid, as that does not reside on your computer. E

Monday, January 12, 2009

Getting to Know Our Hosts - Hummie's World

We wanted to provide you an opportunity, between challenges, to learn a little more about the generous sites that have offered to be stops on Season 4 of the ADSR. Your first destination was a little corner of the internet known as Hummie's World. Here is just a little bit about Hummie's World that you may or may not have already known. Be sure to stop by and poke around a bit more to see everything they have to offer:

Hummie’s World is a site focused on learning and inspiration.

1. Learning – Hummie teaches in Photoshop Elements. There are many free .pdf tutorials available for the beginner to advanced users. There are currently over 188 video tutorials, some free as samples and the rest in the Subscriber Area. Hummie continues to record videos each week, adding new content. Many more experienced PSE users have exclaimed how much they have learned even in the basic tutorials. To view the indexes of the tutorials, see this page:

2. Inspiration – The site is full of challenges. Most challenges are available for all in the main area of the forum. The gallery is an open gallery to all that are participating in the challenges and the community (in that you can use products from anywhere). Anyone may create a challenge and post it (not just Hummie). There is even an away section to share challenges found at other sites. Do you like designing and sharing what you make? The site also offers these challenges.

The Subscriber Area contains the technique challenges with videos. There will always be something new to learn and this is what keeps our hobby so addictive. Be motivated to scrap pages by trying new techniques on pages. The Subscriber Area also contains the template challenges with currently 50 available templates and more being made each month. Do a template a day!

Need help improving your layouts? Be sure to utilize the Layout Suggestion threads in the Subscriber Area where Hummie will share design principles with you. Others are welcome to help each other too.

Hidden away in the Resource threads of the forum is the Resource Jamboree, full of links to other sites and blogs sure to keep you busy for weeks. In addition, there is an extensive list of links to tutorials and resources at other sites on the link pages. Don’t miss them!

3. Products – Hummie’s World does not have a shop. All products are shared as free downloads in the Subscriber Area, including full kits, templates, and small items used in tutorials, all shared to help those who are learning. There are currently over 125 downloadable folders in the Subscriber Area.

Although advertising is not welcome on the site, there is a forum area for enabling. In this area you may share great finds at other sites for purchase. There is also an area for sharing freebies available at other sites. The site is supportive of all other sites, but without the motive to advertise.

The Subscriber Area is only $5.50 a month. I suppose one could subscribe for one month, grab all the templates and freebies, and unsubscribe. However, I do hope that those that subscribe become active participants in the lessons, technique challenges, and template challenges. For more information on Subscribing, read here:

Hummie just wants to get people excited to always learn new things and to just get some pages done to preserve our memories. She stresses journaling to create treasures that are sure to be there for a lifetime to come.

Can you say crazy?!

That pretty much describes week one of ADSR4!

Challenge One, brought to us by Hummies World, was a nice easy warm-up to the race, with only two real requirements. Tear a photo into three pieces, and include some journaling. Sounds simple enough, right? Who knew that everyone has their own idea of what journaling is?! Isn't it amazing how seemingly simple things aren't so simple once they are looked at a little more closely?

And then came Challenge Two! (Thank you Elemental Scraps!)

Challenge Two was certainly an exercise in interpretation! While a photo and journaling is one thing, the definition of an element is in the eye of the beholder! LOL

Which brings me to my next point. Please remember that Natural Designs is hosting the race, but we are not the creators of the challenges. Why is this information important? Because we don't necessarily know what the challenge creator had in mind when the challenge was written. So when you have a challenge specific question, please ask it at the challenge host site. While we can certainly help with guidance and assistance in completing the challenge, and we will do everything we can to help you, any question regarding interpretation of a challenge guideline will be referred back to the challenge host. I understand that we did answer questions on Challenge Two, but in the future, please refer questions to the challenge host. Also, we are reviewing future challenges to try to clear up any possibly confusing interpretations before the challenge is posted. While this will certainly not resolve every question, we hope to reduce some of the avalanche!

Finally, we are drawn, once again, to the countdown clock link. As late posted layouts were always a concern in previous races, and the question always came down to not knowing if a racer was converting time properly we took three steps to resolve this as an issue. The countdown clock link exists so that all racers know exactly how much time is left until the deadline. Also, right above the link is the time in New York. In addition, we have set the time of the gallery to properly reflect when a layout is uploaded, based on Eastern Standard Time. If a layout was uploaded by the deadline for week one, underneath the layout in the gallery it will say Sunday, January 11, 2009. If it was uploaded after the deadline it will say Monday, January 12, 2009. Certain layouts may have been uploaded prior to the deadline, but may have not met the challenge requirements. We do understand that the world does not revolve around ADSR (although we're not really sure why not...), so in that instance, they were given a chance to correct the layout and re-upload the corrected layout. If they were not notified by our staff until Sunday that a correction was required, the deadline was extended to Monday for that layout only. We are keeping track on our spreadsheet of all of this information.

Also, it appears that at least one of our racers has already lost her partner! If any of you find yourselves in this situation by Sunday, you can join her and both continue on and still be eligible for the Grand Prize.

Good luck!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Challenge #3

This one sounds like so much fun!

You can find it here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Challenge #2

Can be found right here. Have fun!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Goodness!

I don't know where to start!

The race gets started... the Chargers beat the Colts... I took the kids to the Car Show... so much to talk about and so little time! :)

First, I can see by all of the activity in the NDISB forum that you all have found the challenge and are off and racing. Congratulations! Let the fun begin!

Just a couple things that I wanted to mention. Of all the tips that I've seen from veteran racers, the one that seems to pop up most often is "Don't procrastinate". Since they've done this before, I'd say you might want to listen to them!

All teams should have found their thread in this forum, to post links to their challenge layouts. You have all been assigned a volunteer who will be checking with you on the completion of your layouts. They should be dropping in to introduce themselves shortly. Please feel free to ask them any questions also. You might also see me every once in a while!

The challenge prize forums are private forums. You cannot see them yet. All layouts need to be verified before you will be given access to these forums. Each challenge will have its own prize forum, so if one team drops out part way through for whatever reason, they will not have access to future challenge prizes. When your team successfully completes the challenges, and when all layouts are verified for all teams, you will be granted access. This is generally by Wednesday of the week following the challenges. (So for example: this weeks challenges (1 and 2) are due by Sunday at midnight. Prize forums for challenge 1 and challenge 2 will be made available to you by Wednesday of next week.) Also, each team will be granted access individually. You will be notified (probably both via this blog, and the NDISB ADSR4 forum) when access is made available.

The ADSR4 FAQ thread is continually being updated as new questions are asked. New questions are added to the top of the questions list. Please take a look at this list to see if your question has been asked. Speaking of questions - we are still getting many questions that are answered in the rules. Please read the rules if you haven't done so yet. With over 230 teams racing, that is over 450 individuals running the race. That's a lot of repeat questions. Your cooperation really is appreciated!

We have updated the rules to clarify the challenge qualifications. All challenges are for both team mates unless otherwise specified. So, for challenge 1, both of you do your own version of the challenge, and each team mate would post a link to their layout in your thread.

You will notice that if you click the "click here" link under the clock in the upper left hand corner of the blog, it now reflects how much time you have until midnight next Sunday night (EST). We will reset this every week. Also, the Natural Designs forum and gallery time zone may not accurately reflect the time that you make a post. This is intentional. Because of the physical location of the server, we have the timing of the forum/gallery such that when you upload a layout, the date of the upload accurately reflects Eastern Standard Time. Why is this important? Because if you really do upload your layout by Sunday night at midnight, your layout will say Sunday, January 11, 2009 under it. So you see... we have learned a few things from previous races!

Oh yeah... the Chargers beat the Colts, and I took the kids to the car show!

Good Luck!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

We're Officially Off!

You can find the first challenge here.

And congratulations to the Pixel Packin' Mamas from the Ogre for, in his view, selecting the most clever name for Season 4. Each team member will receive a $15 gift certificate to the NDISB store. Congratulations!

More About the Chat

I know the chat room was full last night. We were there for nearly two hours to try and accommodate everyone, but know that still might not have worked in some cases. If you tried to get in last night and were unable to, send an e-mail to RaceHost with your team number and the time you tried to get into the chat room and I'll get you the code. But please be patient. We're on our way to the playoffs (Chargers vs. Colts) so I may not get back to you until tomorrow.

Go BOLTS!!!!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Chat Kit

Those who were able to attend the chat were given a code to get this kit for free. Just click on the image to go to the kit in the store:

The coupon is only good through January 10. If you haven't had a chance to get it by then, e-mail me and I'll get you a new code.

The Kickoff Chat

Okay... here's the deal.

If you click on the "academy" link at the top of the forum, under the header, that will take you to the host of the chat. Roll your mouse over "Community" and click "chat". One of two things will happen, it will allow you to log in (as guest), or it will say something about Max Sessions Exceeded. It seems like the limit is actually 50 people, not 200.

Theresa is going to ask early arrivers to leave by the top of the hour. And... the chat will continue beyond the top of the hour. Apparently Theresa forgot that the rules (that she wrote ) said 10PM Eastern. Anyway, anyone that wants to participate should get to participate. If you still can't get in, please post to this forum by 10:45PM EST tonight, and we will ensure that you get the chat prize. Thanks!

(Posted by Ernie while logged in as Theresa!)

Try This Link Instead!!

For some reason, when I linked directly to the chat room, it gives an error, chatroom full. So try this link instead:

then, click on Community/Chat from the academy page to get to the chat room. Sign in as a guest. The chat room allows 200 guests, and right now we have less than 50. So that should work.

Also, the rules stated the chat would kick off at 10:00 but after a week on vacation, my brain is mush and I forgot. So I'll be hanging out until at least 10:30 EST with the coupon code.

A link to the kit in the store that the coupon code will work towards will be posted on this blog as well.

Kick off Chat Tonight!!

The race kicks off tonight with a chat in the DSAG chat room. The chat begins at 9:00 PM EST and everyone in attendance will receive a free kit. The first challenge will be posted on Sunday, January 4.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Theresa has taken the boys to see Bolt 3D, our little girl is taking a nap as she didn't get to bed until after midnight last night (several hours past her bedtime!) and I think that I am about to follow suit.

But I couldn't let the day pass without wishing well to everyone for this new year. Take a moment to take stock of how fortunate we are, to be able to do what we do (whatever that might be).

I'll be back tomorrow with more race news!