Guess who's turning 4!

That's right - the Quinn-man is officially all grown up... *sniff* ...

Well, this momentous occasion also brings with it that American rite of passage - some call it a vision quest - the birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese!! Hurrah!

There was lots of this:

Plus cake, and other sugary treats, of course.....

This one gave us a little trouble:

just kidding! (hi, A.J. , and Al, Natalie, Shanice... so glad you all were there!...)

Quinn certainly felt like a king for the day.

He was overwhelmed by the sincerity of his friends' affections and their generosity.

This morning, looking at the wonderful gifts he received, he asked if all his friends brought him a present. When I said yes, he just looked surprised and shocked and flattered. And when I told him I would get working on thank you cards right away, he said, "yeah. I want to help to, 'cause it was my party."

What a sweetie.

Well, it was a great time, but by the end, I think all of us felt kind of like this....

Especially little Cade. He had a fabulous time, too. Riding rides. Putting tickets in the "ticket chomper." Eating lots of pizza, and cake, and lollipops.... Yep. He had a lot of fun.

And then he threw up.


In the bed.

Once on Jason.

Ah.... so that's why it's Chuck E. Cheese.... ha ha!

Happy Birthday, Quinn! We love you, buddy!

No, we didn't have any wild nights out.... tee hee .... My poor hubby remains traumatized by the fact that someone at his work pointed out that he had glitter on his face! Just part of his sparkling personality... yeah, right! Actually, I'm not sure exactly where that glitter came from (who, me? no....), but I'll tell you what - there is some major sparklin' on the way, baby!

That's right, there was a massive Dazzling Diamond Disaster in the house last weekend. Tragic. Just tragic.

I can't really talk about, still too fresh - let's just say that it all happened at the end of the day in my office/studio. When it was over, I simply stood up. Walked out of the room. Shut the door behind me. Sat down on the couch in the living room. Looked at hubby and said, "I'll just deal with that tomorrow."

And I did (sort of)...ugh. That stuff does not go away.

BUT...Why, you may ask, was she playing with those fabulous Dazzling Diamonds? It must be something super gorgeous!

Well, I don't know about super-gorgeous, but I did have a lot of fun adding some sparkle to this card! Unfortunately the camera didn't quite pick up the little sparklies in the center of the flowers ... but they really do look sweet in person.

So, this is my new favorite card.... My upline is holding a demo meeting next week and we're doing a swap using the new stamps. Hope everyone likes it (this is my first demo meeting and swap - I'm so excited!)

Used the Garden Silhouette's hostess set - coming soon! - and the be-u-ti-ful new In Colors (again, I couldn't get the colors quite right on the screen . . . they are stunning together in person, though), plus Basic Black, to make this one. And....*sniff*... the soon-to-be retired organdy ribbon.

Why?!?! Why the organdy?!?! Oh, the despair... I LOVE organdy ribbon...

Oh well, I'm sure I'll forget all about that when my new catalog arrives!!!

Have a Happy Saturday, all!

Card Credits: Everything from Stampin' Up! - Cardstock: River Rock, Basic Black, Sky Blue; Ink: Sky Blue, Groovy Guava; Stamps: Garden Silhouettes, Much Appreciated; Extras: Dimensionals, White Organdy Ribbon, Dazzling Diamonds; 2-Way Glue Pen

Groovy Guava is SO Yummy!

I finally got to play with the new In Colors, and can I just say that they are so beautiful to work with.

I also loved the 2006-2007 In Colors. Loved them so much that they are still sitting on the shelf! You see, I loved to look at them, but never could create with them the way I wanted to. With the new In Colors, I wasn't enthused when I saw them, but have already used up all my River Rock and almost all of the Sky Blue. (I only got the variety pack, so it wasn't like 40 sheets.)

This is one of the first things I made with the new colors - an ATC for Mary's A Muse swap. I've had the idea for this ATC for a long time, but could never make it work - those poor little seedlings have been sparkled, glazed, masked.... But I think they look best simply in all their "natural" state. For some reason, these colors really spoke to me, and I love how it turned out.

I must say, though, that the cards look a lot better in person (or at least I like to think so!). I couldn't get the colors to come out quite right on the screen, but you get the idea.

Ah, life's simple pleasures...

like stamping.... :)

Enjoy what's left of this beautiful Wednesday!

Card Credits: Cardstock - Stampin' Up! (River Rock, Sky Blue, Bayou Blue); Ink - Stampin' Up! (Groovy Guava, Wild Wasabi); Stamps - A Muse Artstamps; Extras - Stampin' Up! (Dimensionals, Uni Ball pen, Paper Piercing Mat, White Organdi Ribbon, Word Window Punch).

Okay, trust me here... these two topics really are related....

First, I wanted to share with you this super-duper cute card I designed for my Retiring Party last Thursday. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to make it, but that's only because the ladies were chattin' it up and having such a nice time that we went a little slower than anticipated. But that's all right with me!

I am sad, however, that we will be saying goodbye to the underappreciated Super Squirrel.... I mean, look at this little guy! It just doesn't get much cuter! So he won't be making it into the new Catalog, but he'll always have a place in my home and in my heart.... *sniff*

Soooooo..... Quinn really loves this squirrel, too, so I was delighted when he asked me the other night if he could stamp a pink squirrel. Sure thing, dude! What could be more fun than a pink squirrel?!?!

Since I was working on a card swap (for my upline's demo meeting) using some of my preview stuff, I figured Groovy Guava was pink enough and let him use that. Well, he got to work! And made the cutest little Father's Day card. He was so very proud! (And of course, I was too). Hard to believe he's only three. And even harder to believe he'll be four in two weeks! Another *sniff* and a *sigh* . . . So here's his creation! The front:

And the inside (note the use of the words from the brand new, yet-to-be-released hostess set Garden Silhouettes... oh yeah, this little stamper is on the cutting edge...):

And the back (he saw my new A Muse stamps and had to use those, too. Hey, what's a Father's Day Card without a Super Dad and "My Hero" stamp? For real....):

Happy Father's Day to all you great dads out there (especially mine and my hubby) - love you guys!

PSA - Thomas Toy Trains Recall

For those of you that have wooden Thomas the Train toys, please read the following recall notice that was issued on June 13 and check your toys to see if you have any of the affected products. Certain trains and other pieces are being recalled due to high levels of lead in the paint. We had two of the affected trains in our stash - both of which had been chewed on!!!! Edited to add: make that four....

Click here for the recall notice, and click here for a picture of the affected pieces. Take them away from your children immediately!

Back With a Bang and a Tribute!

It's BAAAACK! I think I've got everything in order now... and I will not fool around with the Blog Gods again! Hope you like it like it is, 'cause it's not gonna change for a good long time. I, personally, LOVE my new banner - I created it using the Apron Strings 2 kit by Leora Sanford, available over at Designer Digitals. Was quick and easy, and I like it a little less busy than the other one.

Now for the real purpose of this post... in case you forgot (eek!) tomorrow is Father's Day! And I just want to share with you all a little something about the man in my life.... aka:

I'll let you in on a little secret - I'm definitely not a supermom.... But my dear, sweet, darling hubby is the epitome of SuperDad-ness! Here's the scoop - my first pregnancy (and the second, for that matter) was a big ole SURPRISE! A happy suprise, but unexpected nonetheless. We'd known each other for less than the socially-accepted period of time-you-should-know-someone-before-you-have-a-baby-together.

But did he run screaming? No. Did he cower under the weight of sudden responsibility? No. He stood like a rock, a fortress even, beside me and around me and with me. And I couldn't have asked for more.

More than stepping up to the plate, this man hits the ball out of the park every single day. He has changed infinitely more poopy diapers than me, mops floors, does the laundry, feeds and comforts crying babes in the night, cared for the kids while I finished law school and took the bar exam, vacuums, plays, reads.... He is truly a Super Dad. He is my hero. He is my kids' hero. And I adore him.

I adore you, Jason.

I respect you. I appreciate you.

I love you.

With all that I am.

Card Credits: Patterned Paper - American Crafts; Cardstock - Stampin' Up! (Whisper White, Real Red, Bashful Blue); Stamps - A Muse Artstamps; Ink - Stampin' Up (Black); Accessories and Tools: Scalloped and Oval Punches (Marvy); Colored Pencils (Koh-I-Nor); Gamsol; Stampin' Up Dimensionals

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

okay, so I know all my adoring fans are just going crazy since the blog has been "down" for a couple of days....

Here's the 411 (is that a totally outdated phrase now?... I think maybe so... but this is coming from a woman who calls both her children "dude" way too often....).

I'm fixin' ever-thang up nice an' purty (including a new blog banner designed by moi) and will post again when it's all up and running! So hang in there, 'cause it's going to knock your socks off! (actually, it'll be pretty much the same as before I lost my entire template...but one can hope, right?)

See you soon!

- Elizabeth

Technical Difficulties

okay, if you decide to take oh, say, 10 minutes or so to fiddle around with your blog at work, and you decide to see how some pre-fab template would look, and it says that you should save a back-up copy of your current template before uploading the new template, then you should save a back-up copy of your current template before uploading the new template.

all is lost. temporarily. please ignore the pic and wierd tab-links up there. will fix soon.

back to work!

It's Official

according to Quinn:

"Mommy is in charge of the stamps. Daddy is in charge of the family."

at least we know who wears the ink in this family (and who takes the kids to the park to run them ragged at 7:00 on Sunday nights - hey, I was making dinner....).

A Muse ATC

Hey, Amy R. posted a peek at the ATC's some of us made for her A Muse swap... click here to check it out if you've got a moment (to see the ATC's you have to click on the "May A Muse ATC Swap" link on the left of her blog under "Photo Albums" (mine's the one that says "A Charmed Life")). Check them all out; they're awesome!

Surf's Up, Dude!

Okay, I do have a card posted below, but first a public service announcement - you have to see Surf's Up (new animated movie, totally hidden in the shadows of Shrek 3 right now). Well, it may not be a movie for everyone, but Jason, Quinn and I just loved it. Cade tried to love it, but (we now know) he is not ready to sit through a movie.

Surf's Up is one of those kids' movies that is perfectly entertaining for the little ones and with so many hilarious asides and grown-up references that adults will find themselves giggling more than the kiddos. Now, if you don't really watch documentaries , you probably won't find this movie as funny as Jason and I did (in fact, there were many times we were the only ones laughing out loud) - it's done like a documentary of a penguin trying to win a surfing competition. <- that description alone should make you want to see it! But it is much more than that. And, best of all, there is no violence between the characters, the "message" is a good one, and it has a feel-good ending!

So here's Quinn, doing his best "surfing" move! (he's got a surfing shirt on, too).

Okay, so here's what I did this morning!

One of our favorite teachers at Quinn's daycare is leaving to continue her college education. Even though Quinn is no longer in her class, I am so sad to see her go. She's one of those one-in-a-million teachers - fun, kind, endlessly patient and always ready to greet the kids with a smile.

I wanted to give her a little something to say goodbye, to thank her for all she has done for Quinn and to wish her luck on her next adventure.

Jason and I decided we would give her a gift card for Staples to help out with all the mundane stuff she'll need when she gets back to school, so I made simple little gift card holder/card.

The base of the card is Au Chocolate designer paper. I used my In the Spotlight stamp set with Versamark Ink to create the background on the Certainly Celery panel, then stamped the flowers in Real Red on Very Vanilla paper and cut them out.

I made another of these gift card holder cards earlier, and I like the simplicity of the design - nothing like the ones Cambria Turnbow recently posted, which are uber-cool (see here, here, here, and her awesome tutorial here) but functional and easy. I just cut the card a little longer than normal, then scored at 4.25 and 8.5, cut a diagonal to the fold on the "extra" portion, folded it over and adhered it with a line of adhesive on the bottom and inside edge. A gift card will then fit nicely in the little pocket! I also used a Very Vanilla panel mounted on some Chocolate Chip for a space to write a message of thanks! Easy and functional!

Happy Sunday, everyone... we're off to enjoy our (brief) moment of sunshine!

Card Credits: Patterned Paper - Stampin' Up! (Au Chocolate from Spring Mini); Card Stock - Stampin' Up! (Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla); Stamps - Stampin' Up! (In the Spotlight), Kolette Hall (sentiment); Ink - Stampin' Up! (Real Red, VersaMark); Ribbon (unknown, from A.C. Moore).

and no one gets hurt.....

Okay, here's the story we all know and live and can tell a million times:

So I'm in A.C. Moore with Cade (he's the little one). Never a really good idea, since visiting the craft store with Mr. Grabby-Hands tends to warrant a few disapproving looks from the teenage salespeople and elderly shoppers. But all I needed was one set of baskets. Just one. I knew which ones I wanted. They were right by the cash registers. Just run in, grab the baskets, pay and go.

Then why, oh why was I standing in the scrapbook paper aisle? Just what was I doing there at all?

(You know where this is going, don't you?)

Why I was there - I can't rightly tell you. That entire portion of our visit is nothing but a blank for me.... But there I was. In the paper aisle. Mouth open, eyes wide - THEY HAVE NEW AUTUMN LEAVES PAPER PACKS FOR 50% OFF! That's just $10 for a pack of 100 12x12 sheets of those luxurious, beautiful, fun, colorful, wonderful Autum Leaves paper. "Cade!," I said, "they have Autum Leaves paper packs, and they're 50% off! .... Cade? .... Cade?...."

Aw, crap - so I lost the boy, but it was ONLY for a second. Trust me, Cade is not hard to find - just follow the pitter patter and the crash and there he is, just at the stamp display at the end of the aisle, climbing up the shelves to reach some stamp....

So... huge pack of patterned paper under one arm, toddler screaming about wanting a stamp tucked securely under the other, I managed to escape with nothing else except the pack of baskets (but only because the Cuttlebug embossing folders are actually locked up now... sheesh... how's a girl to grab and run with those?).

So, even though I do not, under any circumstances, need any more patterned paper (my vertical files are full....) - I got some. Lots. And I love, love, love it. It's so pretty and fun and not too heavy, so perfect for layering on cards.

And, this particular pack of paper has all these super-cute designs with little dots around some of the images. And guess what else happens to have some "dotty" images, too... the new In the Spotlight hostess stamp set I got for signing as an SU demo this month! Perfect!

There are definitely some things I'd change about these cards, but I like them, overall....

If you read this far, you're a champ!

Card Credits:
"Thoughts of You" card: Patterned Paper - Autumn Leaves Couture Pack; Cardstock - Stampin' Up! (Kraft, Very Vanilla); Stamps - Stampin' Up! (Flower from In the Spotlight), Kollette Hall (sentiment); Ink - Stampin' Up! (Barely Banana, Ballet Blue, Real Red, Mellow Moss, Brilliant Blue); eyelets - WE R Memory Keepers; Hemp Twine - Michaels
"Thank You" card: Patterned Paper - Autumn Leaves Couture Pack; Cardstock - Stampin' Up! (Kraft, Very Vanilla); Stamps - Stampin' Up! (Flower from In the Spotlight), Rubber Soul (Thank You); Ink - Stampin' Up! (Barely Banana, Real Red, Ballet Blue, Green Galore); Eyelets - WE R Memory Keepers (large), Making Memories (small); Hemp Twine - Michaels; Stickles (Fruit Punch)

My Little Camera Shy Guy

It's time for an introduction to my littlest one - Mister Cade! The other morning, after daddy got him dressed, he was so proud because he looked "really handsome," that I decided to take a couple of pictures of him in his "new" clothes. (Actually, they're some old summer clothes of Quinn's that we just got out of storage, but Cade was just happy that they were new to him!)

I hadn't had the camera out for a "photo shoot" of Cade in a while (he's a little too quick, usually), and had no idea he had suddenly gone camera-shy. He was laughing and giggling and talking up a storm until I pointed the lens at him and said, "Smile, Cade!"

This was the immediate reaction:

Oh my goodness, what a goof! He wouldn't look at me, just stared at the floor .... Eventually I did get him to warm up a bit:

And after a little coaxing, I even managed to get a half-smile ......

But, of course, the giggles and grins kicked in when he decided it would be fun to bum-rush the camera!

Quinn was sorely disappointed by his little brother's performance, so he just had to show Cade how it was done:

Cade had to follow big bro's lead, especially when the roaring began! Look at him looking at Quinn... They're such good buds sometimes...

Well, that's about it for now.... Wanted to post some pics of the boys before Nana started asking! LOL! Also, a couple days after these pictures, the boys both had haircuts, so here is a last peek at that end-of-winter shagg!

Happy Thursday!

Goodbye Nice and Narrow

July 1 is quickly approaching. While I'm excited about seeing all the new stamps, I am a little meloncholic over some of my favorite stamps that are retiring. I thought I'd post some cards I've been making with some of these sets over the next couple of days or so.

Here's the first one! I just love this sweet little baby carriage from the Nice and Narrow set. Love its whimsy and sweetness. And I love the way it challenges me to design cards around the unique shape!

For this card, I stamped the image on Naturals White cardstock in Timber Brown StazOn. Then I used my blender pen to apply Encore ink to the carriage (it's nice and sparkly in real life!). Then I used the blender pen with my Tempting Turquoise marker - just touched the blender pen tip to the brush end of the marker - to apply a light wash of turquoise ink. Mounted the image on some of the Petals and Paisleys designer paper from the Spring Mini (sanded the edges to soften the look), tied the celery ribbon and mounted with dimensionals on a piece of twill tape. I was hoping for a card that could be used whether the baby was a boy or a girl, and I think this worked out pretty well.

Keep your eyes peeled... I'll be posting some more cards using some retiring sets soon!

Happy Saturday!

Card Credits: All supplies from Stampin' Up! - Sahara Sand, Naturals White cardstock, Timber Brown Stazon, Encore, Real Red inks, Tempting Turquoise marker and blender pen, Petals and Paisleys Designer Series paper, Celery Grosgrain ribbon, Twill Tape. I know that this layout was inspired by a card I saw in the Idea Book & Catalog, but gosh darn if I can remember which card it was!