Thursday, February 28, 2008

why i love epson printers

i have been hooked to Epson printers since maybe the mid-90's. before that, i used Canon printers. but because i am always after the best resolution for photo printing, i like Epson over other printers. they are usually always the first one to invent the industry standard for the highest resolution. then the other brands play catch-up to them.

the only time i chose Canon over Epson was maybe in the early 90's because it was Canon who first invented separate ink cartridges per color (which is therefore more economical), then they invented the first wide format desktop printer. but since Epson caught up to that too, i never went back to Canon. i am not really saying that Epson is always the best brand or has the best models. the market and the industry is too fluid to ever presume so. i am just saying this according to and with relevance to my experience so you have to take this advice with a grain of salt. besides, i will not get a red centavo to promote Epson's brand.

i have friends who have asked me several times which brand i would recommend so i decided to blog about it. this is always my FIRST advice to them. Whatever brand you may want to buy, IF photo printing is your main purpose, get a printer that has at least 6-color inks ( therefore it would have 6 ink cartridges) . this means it should have the usual 4: cyan, magenta, yellow and black, plus 2 more cartridges for light cyan and light magenta. why? because this will provide the photo print that has the closest approximation to a photo lab print. if you have big bucks, there are also printers that has 8-color inks which is even better.

my Epson is the R230. it has a resolution of 1440 dpi x 5760 dpi. i got it about 2 years ago for about PHP6,500.00. however, the better choice these days in the economical photo printer range is the R290 (which Cabbie says retails for PHP9,000) because it now has what Epson labels Claria inks. this means the ink formulation is acceptably archival (which Epson claims would last 100-200 years before it starts to fade depending on light exposure and other factors). remember, these are tests are done via controlled simulated lab conditions since Epson has not been around that long to really test in actual chronology. but i will take their word for it.

another thing you might want to look into when purchasing your printer is the ink droplet size which Epson measures in picoliters (pl). the smaller the droplet size, the finer your photos will look. for example, my R230 has a minimum droplet size of 3 pl. Cabbie's R290 will go as small as 1.5 pl. so the droplets are almost half the size of mine meaning this is definitely better. however, unless you have a killer eye for this detail, it is almost undetectable--almost.

if you ask me what my dream printer is, it is still the Epson R1800. this is a wide format printer that will print your 12 by 12 digi-layouts in full size because it is actually 13 in. wide. it also has what Epson labels UltraChrome Hi-Gloss® archival inks which is even glossier than Claria and is water resistant. this is also the model that has 8-color cartridges. what is stopping me from getting it is the price. it retails for about PHP39,000.00. another printer model locally available that prints wide is the R1290. it is a lot cheaper but it does not have archival inks if that matters to you that much.

TIP: you may have noticed by now that the Epson series that are made for photos usually start with the letter "R". those models that start with a "C" are office printers. they can print photos too but the quality is not as good as those that start with "R".

On Epson INKS:
Ria brought up that her Epson clogged. i had experience with that, too. there are only 2 reasons why that happens. the FIRST is: ink refills. don't get me wrong. i LIKE ink refills. i had the Epson C59 which i outfitted with a refillable ink system. it saved me a whole lot on ink costs especially since i have 3 kids that has lots of assignments that need printing. i bought the C59 for PHP 2,300.00. it eventually clogged because of the refills. when using refills, KNOW that after a while, you will have to throw the printer out and get a new one. but for the low price of the printer and the low cost of the refills, it was worth the savings on original cartridges. i have already printed hundreds of documents before it died.

the SECOND reason is: fake inks. these are the ones you buy thinking that they are originals but they are not. i once bought some from a reputable store in Megamall. i did not know they were fakes because they LOOKED like originals, complete with seals and holographic stickers. the only time i discovered they were fake was when i brought my printer to the service center. they proved it to me by simply putting in original ones and running a couple of print head cleaning cycles. the printer worked perfectly from then on. so if you bought fake inks, no amount of head cleaning will unclog it. as a matter of fact, it could even damage the printer more.

which bring me to the next topic--print heads. with Epson, the ink cartridge is less expensive. than HPs. this is because everytime you buy an HP cartridge, you are also buying a new print head. Epson's print head comes with the printer instead of the ink cartridge. if you ask me, i prefer it this way. the head will last long enough if you do not abuse the printer (such as inserting too thick or too rough paper OR using refills). another common mistake is thinking not using the printer too much will make it last longer. actually, if you do not use the printer for too long, the print heads will clog also. so you have to make sure you use the printer or run a cleaning cycle maybe at least once a week.

savings tip: if you want to use your printer for office docs only, go ahead and get a cheap printer and use refills. then throw out the printer when it eventually clogs up. but NEVER use refills for your photo printer if you want the best color output and want it to last longer.

what is a chip resetter?

this is a hot, HOT tip for Epson users. and i think this is one of the best reasons to get an Epson photo printer--chip resetters! you see, Epson has gotten wise (and maybe a little greedy) with regards to the ink refills. they know you save a lot even if it will eventually damage your printer and you do not get the best looking output. so they outfitted their ink cartridges with a microchip. what does this do?

long ago, the computer "senses" ink levels because they are timed. the computer actually just approximates ink level by tracking how many pages you have printed and reports a certain ink level amount. when the ink level reaches empty, it tells you to change cartridges. however, this is inaccurate. usually, there is still some ink in the cartridge even if the computer says it is empty. i used to circumvent this by simply reinserting the cartridge back and pushing the button that indicates i have changed it. with the new microchipped inks, this does not work anymore. even if you reinsert the cartridge, the computer will know it is still the old one and will refuse to print.

this is where the chip resetter is useful. it works by touching the cartridge chip to the resetter. a red light will blink and when it turns green, the cartridges microchip is reset. this means that when you reinsert the "run out" cartridge, the printer will "think" that it is new and will start a cleaning cycle and then show up on the printer as a FULL ink cartridge. in my experience, the cartridge is actually still half full to one fourth full when it reports it has run out. this actually translates to many, many more pages. so you can imagine how much savings you will gain. the R230 cartridge costs PHP 585.00 would you like to throw out even one fourth of that? probably not.

chip resetters may be bought from some stores in Greenhills. it would cost maybe around PHP500.00. just remember that these are NOT from Epson so don't look for them in the big Epson dealer stores. look for them in the smaller general computer stores. ask for the one specific to your printer model because they are cartridge-specific.

minor setback to using chip resetters: once the cartridge is reset, the printer "thinks" that it is full when it is really not. you have to expect that at some point in time, it WILL run out while the printer reports to you otherwise. you will know so because the latest photo you are printing suddenly looks off-color. it is at this time that you change to a fresh cartridge. also, it is a good idea to keep track of the cartridges you have reset already by marking them (maybe with a permanent pen on the actual cartridge) so you do not lose track (like me!) of which ones are already reset. anyway, once you replace the run out (yet wrongly-reported-to-be-half-full cartridge) one, the printer will report it to be full again.

that's it!...i hope that helps with the decision-making. happy printer hunting!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

the rose

every valentine's day, since maybe 15 or so years ago, we hardly ever go out to celebrate on the day itself. traffic is usually horrible on this day specially in the vicinities of restaurants and nightspots such as Timog Ave. or Makati Ave. and waiting out a long queues at restaurants is not our idea of romance. so we would either go out on the day before or the day after valentine's or--heaven forbid, for new lovers out there--not even go out at all. but it's always a great idea to have some lovin' fun, valentine's day or no...and so we do.

i hit this bright idea courtesy of Joyleen and Cabbie. i was hitching a ride in Joy's car with, Nita, and Zabeth a couple of days before Valentine's. We had just come from scrapshopping at Helen's. Joy pulled out this intriguing rose Cabbie bought from her for hubby Ro. my eyes widened as i made out the details of the big white flower. it was no rose! the flower head was a bundled up brief (or boxers?) and i burst out laughing. i thought that was pretty ingenious so i planned to make one. but if you don't have the time or the inclination to make one, just buy from Joy's friend here. it definitely looks better than mine does.

anyways, the next day, i bought a long stemmed fake rose at Crossings for P80 something and a pair of Jockeys for P150. i was looking for a red one but they didn't have it. i found a white one with a red garter and settled for that. i experimented with the ingenious folding to make the rose head but i just couldn't get it right! finally, i just rolled it up the best way i could and tied a ribbon around it to stop it from unrolling. Yep, it would have been really easier to just buy it.

had fun fiddling with it though (at least at the beginning) and i seemed to have made hubby happy with it as you can see here. did i get anything for valentine's? no mam i didn't! but that's ok, he's getting the credit card bills soon and i'd have to maybe duck...or, hopefully, he would remember i was sweet enough to give him this on valentine's day so i wouldn't have to.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

circle scallop punch

got this tool from Ella H. when she visited the Philippines a few weeks ago. Ella is a Stampin Up demonstrator and i wish i could've met her personally. unfortunately, (or fortunately, since that might have meant more damage to the wallet) i was not available on the day she met up with Nita. anyways, i was so happy with my purchase such that i immediately found use for it. since this thingy is not exactly cheap, i thought it would be great to use it for more than just scallop circles. a quick search of the net showed this. it's called tea bag folding. this is my resulting card with the technique.

i thought that was pretty cool technique and good use for the scallop punch. of course, a regular circle punch is also usable for the same project, too. as long as it is big enough to fold. i have two more toys i got from Ella: the embossing pad (which one uses so there are less stray embossing powder on the paper surface) and the color spritzer. took me a while to decide on buying that one but i finally gave in. i knew i'd be kicking myself if i didn't get it and wanted it later when Ella is not around anymore. so till next order, Ella. i hope you had as much fun in the Philippines as i had using my new toys from you. will post projects on them the soonest.

cabbie tagged me

A: The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.

B: Each player answers the questions about themselves.

C: At the end of the post, the player then tag 3 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

10 years ago: i was a graphic designer and had my own little graphic design company.

Things on my to-do list today: finish layouts for a museum in ayala, type quotations for a design company client, make deposits for helen and nette :-D

What I would do if I were suddenly made a billionaire:
probably live the same way i am living right now (with a few minor upgrades people wouldn't even notice) and just be an anonymous philantropist (since i won't have to work my ass off anymore). also, maybe travel just a bit more with the family.

3 of my bad habits:
forgetting to burp silently in public, late night TV, compulsive scrapshopping

3 places I have lived:
manila and qc only e...

5 jobs that I have had:
aerobics instructor in the early 80's (ok, don't laugh!), mcdonald's crew person as a student in college and then when i graduated became one of those supervisors in blue there, training supervisor for a music instrument company, insurance agent, graphic designer

5 Things people don't know about me:
gosh, this is hard...i'm an open book! let's see...
- i like trying (almost!)anything at least once...even if it scares me.
- if pushed too hard, i can fly off the handle (spectacular fireworks...road rage style) though this is rare.
- i wanted five kids when i was yet unmarried, changed my mind when i was, but still got the five kids...mostly accidentally!
- i can smell out a rat...i pride myself for being an excellent judge of character (most of the time, at least) especially of men...thus far, i've distinguished which are the good ones...and this includes the one i married.
- i'm a sucker for people with a great sense of humor and people who can play musical instruments.

so there, now i tag COOKIE, JOYLEEN and PIA

Friday, February 15, 2008


i still needed to do one more Studio Azul project but i was just too excited. so i emailed these to Tin and Mia and i was happy they liked it. these projects are not my usual stuff because the papers were...well...different! in a good way that is. but it was nonetheless a challenge. it reminded me of my BG Obscure papers which i excitedly bought as soon as they came out but have never touched yet. i'm that way when i like the papers a lot. i'm too afraid to use them lest i ruin them.

but since this is a DT project, i can hardly put it off, of course. i just had to be brave enough to cut. one of the papers that i like a lot but didn't know what to do with is this Andy Warhol-ish print. i simply couldn't get myself to cut it. so i decided to play it up instead. and this is the result.

materials used: Quickutz Metro SkinniMini and Studio Classic, Provocraft Rolling Stamp Circa 18pts, Luxe Designs Bustier Bowie from the Studio Azul kit

being this colorful, it reminded me of the Cyndi Lauper song. if i were to dedicate it to anyone, it would be my best friend Nita. and since i met her in 1978, come June of this year, we would be 30 years together. i pretty much know her inside out and she knows me as well. so yes, this song fits the bill on how i feel about her. and it's also totally worth the 3 nights i worked on cutting sticking all those letters...geeez, and i thought it would be a simple LO!

the next project was totally a fluke. i didn't exactly know it would turn out this well. i wanted to do a project with no pictures so i thought it would be a great time to break out that clock i bought (more like ambushed) from Cookie at the last PS EB where she did a demo on altering clocks. for this one i used just one back-to-back patterned paper. i thought the rub-on from the kit would be perfect for the center of the clock to set-off the hands. i was also happy to ffinally find use for my Making Memories grommet tool. the big eyelets were a perfect accessory to make the number markers.

materials used: Tinkering Ink Spin paper and Luxe Designs There's the Rub rubons from the Studio Azul kit, bling and buttons also from the kit, Making Memories grommets and grommet tool, Quickutz Metro SkinniMini

one thing i can really say about kits is that they are soooo much fun to use. kits make you go out of your comfort zone and try out new things. couple that with the surprise of getting a package every month gives me the exciting, tingly feeling of opening a Christmas present everytime.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

20 years and still lovestruck

here's the complete page of my layout for Visual Creations using the Marah Johnson papers Lovestruck line which i totally adore. it is currently the cover LO for the February issue of Scrapbytes e-zine.

i was totally lucky to find a half decent picture of us together especially with hubby's penchant for goofing up in photos. it wasn't perfect because this was just taken as a quickie pose while we were dining with the family at a chinese restaurant in Roxas Blvd. good thing a little Photoshop magic fixes it all. yup, we have just celebrated 20 years of married bliss (or at least as close to bliss as it gets :-D) just late last year. i'm looking forward to 120 more. if you ask hubby, he will always say the contract expires by the 25th year. hehehe. he started quipping this when we attended my brother's 25th wedding ceremonies and noticed that the couple signed a contract in front of the priest after the mass. "ay...puede palang hindi pumirma ulit!" he whispered to me. hah! i know him too well though, he can't live without me {wink}...

other materials used: MJ suede flower, MJ flying heart brad, MJ naked chipboard painted with Making Memories acrylic paint, MJ chipboard sticker (fate), Prima flowers, lace and buttons from Divisoria, Making Memories Jersey foam stamp, AC Thickers sprayed with Radiant Rain shimmer mist, QK Sophisticate dies, Adobe Photoshop, chalks for colorizing the photo

Friday, February 8, 2008

dream vacation

who wouldn't be dreaming of seeing Europe (particularly Spain) one day? i know i do. i'd love to see their amazing architecture, immerse myself in the richly archaic culture, and get a taste of authentic Catalonian cuisine that i can only glimpse from the limited restaurants serving such here in Manila. With names of places like Costa Brava, Alicante and Barcelona Las Ramblas, it is enough to evoke emotions of lovely Spanish senoritas and dashing, handsome hombres.

looking through the multitude of tourist options of a Spanish vacation, i learned that they not only have sundrenched coastal beaches but also an interesting mix of medieval districts and Modernism architectures by Gaudi and Domenech which have been declared World Heritage sites all in an urban and cosmopolitan setting.

this is why it is great to find out that the dream vacation is not necessarily expensive. there are websites now with a collection of cheap hotels that can help the traveller choose and book just from where he/she sits. One such site is where one can choose package tours that are inclusive of cheap airline fares and inexpensive hotels such as Costa Brava Hotels, Benidorm Hotels, Costa del Sol Hotels, Alicante Hotels, and Barcelona La Ramblas Hotels. browsing through this site shows a dizzying array of choices for the budgeted traveller. even if my own dream vacation might still take a long time coming because of spending too much on paper and scrapper tools, i should start browsing through these so i can start savin' up for it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Marah Johnson...and a sneakie...

this layout was made using the lovely, edgy Marah Johnson papers' Lovestruck line from Visual Creations. i soooooo adore those papers--and the designer! i think everytime she comes out with a new line, i drool. too bad her Intentions line was never carried here in the Philippines by any scrapbook store. i think the store owners are a bit overwhelmed by her edginess and get a tad worried that people might not like it. but Marah J. is actually one or two seasons ahead of her time. she is the first designer i saw who came out with the rock kind of design. then a couple of seasons later, DCWV came up with a similar kind of design, Rockstar.

this season, she is doing Asian Fusion. totally hot! i hope the scrap suppliers here bring them in. and please, oh please, if any one is reading, i STILL want the Live with Passion line even if they are from 2 seasons ago.

here's my sneakie, by the way. 'love those new Prima flowers. i scored them from Mitch's store, too. the dotted one and the newprint one came in a beautiful tin can you can alter or use as is. of course, since the tin is deep, the flowers are actually padded up and doesn't contain as many as it looks. but i'm not complaining 'cause i love the pretty tin.

another product i'm currently crazy about it Radiant Rain Shimmer spray. they have the same colors as Twinkling H20s because they are from the same company. i think i use them lately on every other layout! it just adds pizzazz to whatever. here, i used it on the letters. they look like goldleafing! i just love the effect.

will post the full LO as soon as Scrapbytes Feb is up. it is the cover layout (LO) for this month's issue.

Monday, February 4, 2008

lovin' Elsie

i have always liked Elsie Flannigan's style so when her paper line, Love Elsie, came out, i wanted to get some. but i did not. somehow, it didn't move me enough to pick some up. or maybe i just busted all my money on the Basic Greys that came out about the same time so i didn't have any more dough to get some Elsies.

when the Zoe line came out and Mitch at Visual Creations started a challenge on it, i just couldn't hold out on myself anymore. especially since the rules stated that the LO had to be entirely made of the Zoe line. it's probably just as well. this is one of the fastest LOs i've ever done because i couldn't put too much on it. the only thing that took longer here were the diecut letters which i painted with Making Memories acrylics and the embossed dog which were all cut from Love Elsie cardstock. i was totally itching to load some more on it! boy, i really regretted not getting some of those pretty Love Elsie ribbons!

the theme for the challenge is scrapbooking plan for 2008, so i have officially committed to myself on this LO, my target number of projects this year. let's just see now if i can stick with the plan, Stan.

Friday, February 1, 2008

thermoplastic coolness

saw this tumbler at Starbucks. there were many designs but of course, i will always take the one i can customize. P395.00 each. not really cheap but not too bad. it is made of clear plastic and the bottom screws off. the paper inside comes off and serves as a template for something you can make yourself. i thought i'd give this to hubby for a birthday gift. he needs one to hold his coffee at the office, but being plastic, i hesitated. so i asked the cashier if it can hold hot drinks. and his response was that it was thermoplastic, it would keep hot drinks warm for 2 hours. cool!...or i should say, hot!...

it so happened i just scored some Chatterbox papers from Mia for cheapskate prices. she was unloading her overstuffed stash baskets and i was looking for cheap papers i can make into cards. those were perfect for this project. i barely had time to make something so thishad to be a quickie-hour-project. i needed something i could cut with out being stressed. the photos i used were in my excess-photo basket. cut-cut, glue, stick! voila! here's the finished project.

it's leakproof and totally washable. nice. hmmm...i think i'm gonna go get some more. one for myself and some to make more cool gifts with.


after some deliberation, i have finally taken the plunge. it would be great to get paid for blogging. what prompted me? Paypal!

i recently bought some Quickutz dies (Beauty Queen alphas! wishlist item come true!) on Ebay and as i made the payment, i noticed a new Paypal banner, they make payouts in Philippine pesos! how cool. and recently, i had been toying with the idea of earning via something i would be glad to do anyway (and that is blogging) but i have always thought that payout is a hassle. however, i thought...hmmm...paypal money for ebay - not a bad reason to blog for pay, even if in dollars. so when i saw the peso payout, i took that as a sign. so i went googling for what options i have that may make me earn a bit on the side via the ol' blog.

Blogsvertise was among the top of the list for being a good venue to get paid via blogging. and it was so easy to get in and register as a blogger. i just clicked on the link from the website with the reviews and that was that. i am awaiting approval of this blog for the moment.

so what does one need to do to start potential earnings? simply write reviews of assigned advertisers. i thought it was great that one does not have to do an "all praises" write-up. one can review, compliment or even complain about their advertiser. i think that feature is important to me. i have to be honest in whatever i am reviewing even if i am getting paid to do it. perhaps even more importantly so. and then, one has to have at least 3 links to their website -- just as i am doing here now.

so there, i hope you read up what i would be reviewing here should i be approved. and hopefully too, i get more ammunition to do even more ebaying :-D
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