Dontcha just love a bunch of quick, easy and beautiful cards?

Of course, you do!

Last weekend I broke out my new Fall Flowers Designer Paper and Priceless stamps and got to work on a quick One Sheet Wonder set. These are great to have on hand, and I left most of them blank so I could quickly add a sentiment when needed.

These were specificially inspired by Cambria's take on Stampin' Up!'s template - see her fabulous SCS gallery for inspiration!

So what do you do with a boatload of cards?

Make a box for them, of course! I love making chipboard boxes for my cards (see this post and the great bloggers linked there) and I decided to make another one to match this set.

A couple of people, including my fabulouso sister-in-law, Kim, have asked how I made my particular take on the good old chipboard box, so here it is.... My First Tutorial! Hope you enjoy, and I would really love any comments or advice you have. Frankly, I don't anticipate making too many tutorials, as I am too busy trying to keep up with everyone else's fabulous ideas. But, should some rare moment of genius strike, I'd like to know what I could do better.

First, though, I need to set the scene. My workspace is a little too crowded to make one of these boxes and keep the area clean enough to take pictures, so I moved to the kitchen table. So that's where we are.

Let's get started.

Step 1. Gather your supplies.

Here's a list of things you'll need-

1. Chipboard: I got mine from A.C. Moore, but, sadly, they don't carry it anymore. I'm sure it's available somewhere online or maybe at another local store (check there first, of course!)

2. Patterned Paper

3. Glue: I used Tombow mono multi for attaching the paper to the chipboard and the Zipdry glue for holding the box together.

4. Guillotine-type paper cutter or very sharp craft knife and ruler.

5. Crop-a-dile or other hole punch.

6. Sanding blocks or other file (I used the Basic Grey file kit)

7. General stamping supplies for decorating your box (stamps, ink, etc....)

Step 2. Cut Chipboard Pieces

You will need 5 pieces - 4 sides and a bottom!

Here are the dimensions I used (in inches).

1. 5 1/4 x 4 5/8 - cut 2 pieces this size

2. 5 1/4 x 3 - cut 2 pieces this size

3. 4 5/8 x 3 - cut 1 piece this size

I designed the box to hold standard 4.25 x 5.5 cards and envelopes. Of course, the dimensions can be easily changed, but I really like this size. I make the box a little short so you can see the tops of the cards peeking out - so cute!

Also, the chipboard I used (like all chipboard, I guess) is really tough stuff. There is no way my regular fiskars cutter would do the job. So I used my Tonic Guillotine. If you're using a guillotine-style cutter, you'll really need to hold the chipboard firmly in place as you cut, as it will move around as the blade goes through it. Another option would be to use a craft knife (keep it sharp!) and make a couple of passes.

Step 3. Cut Patterned Paper Pieces

You will need 2 pieces of patterned paper for each chipboard piece - one for the outside and one for the inside.

Here are the dimensions again:

1. 5 1/4 x 4 5/8 - cut 2 pieces from outside pattern and 2 pieces from inside pattern.

2. 5 1/4 x 3 - cut 2 pieces from outside pattern and 2 pieces from inside pattern

3. 4 5/8 x 3 - cut 1 piece from outside pattern and one piece from inside pattern.

Step 4. Glue Patterned Paper to Chipboard

Pretty self explanatory here....

As mentioned above, I used my Tombow Mono Multi for this step, and I have also used my Zipdry glue for this as well. But any good glue or adhesive will do the trick!

If you use a wet glue, make sure it doesn't buckle the paper. You can use a brayer to smooth out the paper and remove any bumps or wrinkles and to ensure a good bond.

Now, wait. wait. wait for that glue to DRY! Don't be too impatient. If the glue is wet on the next step (sanding), it could be very messy and frustrating (trust me on this...).

This might be a good time to make any embellishments you're going to use on the box (you can see how I did mine below).

Step 5. Sand the Edges.

Sanding the edges is important for 2 reasons. First, it will remove any excess paper hanging over the edge of the chipboard. Second, it creates a nice clean finish. You can sand a little (as I did here) for a subtle effect, or a lot, for a more distressed look.

For sanding, I used my "emery board" type file from the Basic Grey file kit. Stampin' Up!'s sanding block will also work, as would a regular old emery board or sanding paper.

A little tip: since you will be sanding both sides of your pieces, begin by sanding the inside first. That way, you finish by sanding the outside and can better control how it will look.

Step 6. Mark Hole Placement with Pencil Lines

Draw a light pencil line on the inside of each panel. This line will mark how far in from the edge your ribbon hole will be. For my box, I drew a vertical line 3/8 inch from the edge.

If you're using a Crop-a-dile to punch your holes, this is the only line you'll need to mark. If you're using another hole punch, i.e., the kind you need a hammer for, you will need to also draw two cross lines - one on the top and one on the bottom - to mark how far you want your holes from the top and bottom of the box, too.

You will only need to punch holes on the Four Side Panels, and not the bottom panel of the box. However, if you're paying attention, you will notice that I accidently punched holes in the bottom of my box, too. (got a little rambunctious, I guess). I just left them, since they can't be seen when the box is standing up. But I'm not using them for anything, so don't bother drawing your lines on the bottom panel.

Step 7. Punch Four Holes on each panel.

You should punch two holes at the top and two at the bottom of each panel.

With the Crop-a-dile, I set the depth for the largest hole punch (3/16 size hole) at 1/2 inch, so my hole would always be that far from the top and bottom edges of the box. Simply line up the large hole punch over the line. Looking through the little hole on the side of the Crop-a-dile, make sure your pencil line is in the middle and squeeze the handle.

If you're using the hole punch + hammer thingy, you will need to line up the hole punch in each corner where your lines cross.

After punching the holes, erase the pencil lines.

You can also use a small round file to sand the hole edges, too, but that's really not necessary.

Step 7 . . . again. Glue the First Side Panel to the Box Bottom.

Yes, yes... I have two step sevens... whoops...

Okay, now it's time to put it all together. Start by putting your bottom piece flat on your work surface, with the inside edge facing up. (Now you can see my accidental holes on the bottom panel. Remember, you don't need them). Grab one of your Side Panels to work with; it doesn't matter which one you start with.

This is where I switched to using my Zipdry Glue. Zipdry is a great paper glue that is clear, very fast drying and extremely strong. I use it for these boxes because the only place the box is actually glued is at the very bottom edge, and I know that Zipdry will do the job and hold everything together while the box is being assembled. I'm not sure how the Tombow Mono Multi would work here, and it would probably be just fine, I just haven't tried it. If you use something else that works, let me know!

Apply glue to the outside edge of the bottom panel and the very bottom edge of your side panel.

Step 8. Place First Edge and Support it While it Dries

Place the side panel (with the glue on the bottom) firmly against the edge of the bottom panel (the edge with the glue on it, of course) and make sure it is lined up.

You could just sit there and hold it while it dries, but that's a pain the patoot. I use something to hold the edge propped up in place while the glue dries (here, you can see I used a jar of mosaic tiles... another craft that had to be set aside temporarily while the boys are young and prone to put things in their mouths...).

Step 9. Glue Remaining Edges to Bottom of Box

Repeat Step 8 for the other three edges. Here you can see that the glue is holding strong and I no longer needed the jar to prop up the edges. The panels may, however, start tipping inward or outward. If so, make sure you keep each edge propped upright so the glue bond doesn't break.

This is the most tedious part of the process, but really doesn't take too long. Have patience and work carefully.

Step 10. Have a Chuckle at Elizabeth for having 2 Step 7's and forgetting Step 10.

Step 11. Add Ribbon and Embellishments.

Once all the sides are attached, they will usually sort of "rest" on each other while you thread the ribbon through.

I find that it is easiest to work on one corner at a time, both the top and bottom pieces of the ribbon. I thread the top and bottom pieces of ribbon through one corner and tie loosely (you know, the over/under thing you do before you make the loops on your shoe lace... what's that called anyway? It's like half a knot...). Gently tighten your "half-knots." This will add stability as you move on. Don't tighten all the way yet, though, because it is easy at this stage to pull too tight and make the box a little wonky. So what I do is thread the ribbon through the next corner and tighten and tie those knots. Then tie my first ribbon into knots and repeat the process on the other side.

The ribbon will really "pull" it all together and hold your box in place.

I have also seen boxes where the ribbon was "threaded," through the holes, which is also pretty, but I like to just tie a knot and cut off the ends, 'cause I'm a little lazy like that.

Finally, add your embellishments and you're good to go!

I added the next couple of pictures to show you how I go about covering my raw chipboard pieces. I'm not sure if this is the best way to do it, but it works for me. Leave a comment if you have any other ideas or something that might work better!

First, I stamp my images on the cardstock I want and then roughly cut it into the shape of the chipboard piece. I suppose I could first trace the chipboard shape on the paper and then stamp inside the outline, but, again, I picked the "lazy" way.

I glue the rough-cut paper piece onto the chipboard, then use my paper snips to roughly cut close to the edge of the chipboard piece.

(Note the design change.... :) ... Last minute change of plans....)

Then I just sand the edges so that everything is smooth and flat and pretty.


A Chipboard Box!!!

Complete with a pretty set of cards!

And, yes, the envelopes will fit in there, too, but mine were still back in the office and by this time, my boys had gotten home and I needed to take this one last picture and finish before everything was destroyed .... (notice the slight blur to the picture... Cade was pulling at my arms and clothes, trying to tell me something that just couldn't wait. LOL!)

If you read this whole thing, thanks for following along. And don't forget to leave any comments with tips, suggestions, etc... They're always appreciated!

Have a Happy Tuesday, everyone!

CASE-ING the New Catty!

Just a quick post to share a couple of new catalog "CASE's."

*(here is where I wish I could put a footnote, but blogger doesn't have that option.... "CASE", for those of you who don't know, means "copy and share everything" or, if you're a glass-is-half-empty kinda person, "copy and steal everything." Basically, it means you took someone else's basic design and used it to make your own card - either actually copying all the elements, colors, etc..., or just using a whole lot of it. Now, in my time in the digi-scrappin' world, we used to call it "lifting." As in, here's my layout... I "scraplifted" (<-- funny little word, huh?) from so-and-so. I kinda like the whole "lift" thing better, but I guess it sounds wierd to say "card-lifted"....) *end footnote*

This is the very first card I made with my new catty stuff. As soon as I saw the card on page 19 of the catalog, I knew I had to have the Sidekick Sayings hostess set, and I had to make that card! Supereasy design and I think it's easily adaptable to all kinds of cards. This particular one was for my dear father, who recently took on a little consulting work after enjoying the retired life for a couple of years. I wanted something simple and somewhat "masculine" (or how 'bout, "not girly"), and this did the trick!

Card Credits: Everything from Stampin' Up! Cardstock - Kraft, Bayou Blue, Whisper White; Designer Series Paper - Fall Flowers; Ink - Bayou Blue, Wild Wasabi, Stamp - Sidekick Sayings (hostess set), Extras - Photo corner from On Board Blossoms & Basics, Soft Sky double-stitched ribbon, aquapainter, dimensionals, sanding block.

I was having so much fun with the Sidekick Sayings set that I had to make another card, and really loved the sweet and simple layout on page 107 of the catty.

Now this layout was tricky! I thought it looked so easy, but gosh darnit, getting those little rectangles cut to the right size was a challenge to say the least, and I'm not sure I got it all quite right... ah, well, it looks pretty close! Actually, this picture is a little odd... the card was turned at a wierd angle and it looks a little wonky, but you get the idea.

And how excited was I to discover that Martha Stewart's Bakers' Twine comes in... GROOVY GUAVA! Yes, it's true! I had grabbed a multi-pack of the twine last time I was in Michaels, 'cause I love that stuff.... and when I was digging around in the "twine" area of my ribbon box, lo and behold, there it was! Too cool!

Card Credits: Everything Stampin' Up! (except bakers' twine) - Cardstock - Sahara Sand, Bayou Blue, Old Olive, Chocolate Chip, Groovy Guava, Whisper White; Ink - Staz-on Timber Brown, Groovy Guava, Old Olive; Extras - Martha Stewart Bakers' Twine, Stampin' Up! rhinestone brad, dimensionals.

Have (another) happy Monday!

A Morning With Cade

Okay, I know my usual sense of humor leaks through in my posts (okay, at least I hope it does... otherwise you might think I'm just wierd...), but I'm going to warn you that I'm feeling a little sappy about this one....

This past Saturday morning, Cade and I had one of those rare excursions where it was just me and him off on a little adventure: to the park, of course! (where else would you take a little monkey?).

It was a brilliant, beautiful morning - 70+ degrees, sunny and breezy (or, according to Cade every so often "too cold, mommy!" "to winny!" - that definitely got the "whatever" glance from Mommy; it was just perfect and I let him know that in no uncertain terms...)

Anyway, to the park we go. And, can you believe it? We were the only ones there!

After recovering from the initial shock that he had the whole place to himself (and mommy was most certainly not going over the "wobberly bridge"), he had a grand time. Running up and down and all over doing a continuous loop (his modus operandi) between the stairs, the "wobberly bridge" and the slide. Over. and over. and over.

It was so sweet to watch him laughing and jabbering and singing to himself as he climbed and ran like a wild man.

And then it hit me.

He doesn't need me. He really doesn't need me anymore. No more hovering at the edge of the landing, ready to catch should he tumble over the edge. No more waiting at the bottom of the slide to help him down. No more hand-holding up the stairs. No more boosts on the bum to get up the climber...

whoa! what happened?

He can't.


He can't be growing up, can he?

Okay, okay. Enough already.

I did enjoy sitting on the bench peacefully by myself, feeling the cool breeze and hearing the echoes of his laughter among the surrounding trees.

And watching the old men playing bocci ball. That was pretty cool.

One of the things I really love about our area is the mix of people. Whenever we go to the park, we are sure to hear at least 2 other languages being spoken by old and young alike. And it's so neat to watch the boys play alongside anyone without a care as to whether they can actually communicate. It's kind of fun to watch them work it out. Laughing together. Taking turns at the slide. Smiling. Well, I guess they do communicate, huh?

Anyway, these old men had out their lawnchairs and their water bottles and were playing bocci ball like it was the Greek Olympics. I'm not sure if they were Greek or Italian; I could plainly tell that they were not speaking English, but couldn't make out what language it was from that far away. So they're throwing the balls, and measuring with their feet and their hands, and yelling at each other constantly, in the way that only good friends can do.

It was great.

Then Cade and I sauntered over to the little "farm" inside the park. All the animals were busily munching away at breakfast, but they would scoot closer to the fence as we came by. Saying "hi" in their sweet little animal ways.

Here's a real sweetie we visited:

And this one was such a stinky little cutie. Kept shoving his nose through the fence. I was a little afraid that Cade would lick him on the nose, 'cause he's had this wierd licking thing lately (comes with being two-and-a-half, I guess), but we made it away safely with no pig juice on the tongue.

Now this old girl really made my morning. As soon as we approached, she stopped grazing, picked up the pace and headed straight toward us.

I was happily snapping away with the camera and saying excitedly to Cade, "Look, buddy, she's going to come right over. Right next to us. Isn't she sweet? Maybe she'll let you pet her on the head! Look, Cade. .... Cade?"

Desperate whine coming from the lower right.

"Aw, Cade!"

He had his head stuck between the slats in the fence.

And I mean stuck. You know how it is - how in the world do they get the noggin' in there, when they clearly do not have enough room to pull it out? He started to panic a little as the pony stuck it's nose right next to his red little cheeks. And, I'll admit, I was a little worried, too. Not so much about the stuck head. I figured we'd squeeze it out eventually, but I do know that ponies have sharp teeth. And what with Cade's (by now louder) half-cries and panicky squeals, I was afraid the pony would startle and give him a kick or a nibble.

Luckily, though, Miss Pony was having none of that raucous, and made her way to graze elsewhere. Meanwhile, I got Cade to sort of slide over to an area where the space looked a little wider, pulled up a little on the rickety fence slat, and he managed to squeeze his little blonde peanut through with only a minor scratch.

That pretty much ended our trip to the farm.

So back to the playground we went.

Man, he's getting so big, isn't he....?

How Do I Love Thee?

I cannot count the ways.... (okay, maybe I could, but that would be pretty boring, and would ruin the cliche)

I am so very, very in love with this year's In Colors (have I said that before...?)

Groovy Guava is so.... groovy.

Soft Sky is so .... soft.

Wild Wasabi is so... wild.

River Rock is so .... river?

And the delicious double stitched ribbon... oh, be still my beating heart! And who can forget the fabulous new chipboard! So easy to add a delightful accent...

okay, stop me, I'm sounding like a really lame infomercial now....

Anyway . . .

Here's one of my first cards I've made with the new catalog stuff. Isn't that birdie just the cutest thing you ever have seen? Part of me is chiding myself for spending $30 on a stamp set just for this lil' cutie. Okay, okay, I know I'll use the rest, but honestly, this is the image that took the cake for me. (well, that and Beate's fabulous cards she was making with this set - see this card, and this one, and this one. . . oh, you enabler, you...)

First I rolled the new Doodle Jumbo Wheel (love it!) on the card front with Groovy Guava ink. Stamped the birdie with Timber Brown Staz-on onto Naturals White cardstock and colored with my In Color classic inks and aquapainter. Glued the image onto the chipboard piece from Blossom and Basics, attached one of the super-fun sparkly new brads (thanks to my fabulouso Crop-a-dile) and sanded the edges for a polished look. The Soft Sky panel was pierced and stamped with a sentiment from the So Many Sayings hostess set. Added the ribbon, glued on the chipboard and done! It was actually really quick and easy... a card I will definitely make more of!

Happy Monday (groan), everyone...!

Card Credits: Everything Stampin' Up! Cardstock - Groovy Guava, Soft Sky, Naturals White; Ink - Groovy Guava, Staz-on Timber Brown, Soft Sky; Stamps - Fun & Fast Notes, So Many Sayings (hostess), Doodle Jumbo Wheel; Accessories - Rhinestone Brad (fire circles), River Rock double-stitched ribbon, Blossoms & Basics Chipboard.

Rock On, Stampin' Bloggers!

Lookie here what I gots! A Rockin' lil' picture for the blog post! Simone, over at Daily Dose of Spazz, nominated me for a Rockin' Girl Blogger after she was nominated by another blogger... and didn't that just make my day! (BTW - you've got to check out her blog... seriously funny stuff re: life and such and awesome cards and scrapbook pages).

So, I've gotta share 5 blogs with you that I read daily - actually, with my Bloglines reader, it's a heck of a lot more than that - check out my links on the left, and you'll see what I mean.

So here goes - Y'all consider yourself nominated, too, 'k?:

1. Erika over at Erika Designs - FABULOUS CARD MAKER! Gotta check her out.
2. Elena at The Stampin' Shac - A brand-spankin' new member of the A Muse design team! Her cards are A-Muse-a-licious!
3. Sarah at Sarah and the Stampstars - she is one busy lady! great cards, info, craft stuff and fun insights into her life and family... love it!
4. Kristina at kwernerdesignblog - What can I say other than her work really takes my breath away. Really. really.
5. Cambria at Stamp a Little Love, Baby! - Fabulous stamper, awesome tutorials, and the most SUPER-FUN personality, ever!

Check these ladies out, they truely do ROCK!

One more thing to share with you...

Last night was class one of a series of "techniques" classes I am holding. Everyone I know is a beginning stamper, so this class focused on what you can do with just good old stamps, ink and paper - that's right... no ribbon, no doodads, no nothin'!

First, we talked about using layers and dimension to create extra interest on a card.

I had so much fun designing this card, and I really love how it turned out.

Card Credits: (everything Stampin' Up!) - River Rock, Soft Sky, Very Vanilla cardstock, River Rock, Purely Pomegranate Classic Ink.

The second card we made was CASED from my upline who CASED it from SCS, so I decided not to post it... but it was a super-fun Pick-a-Petal, easy peasy, uber-cute card!

Thanks for tuning in!

Blog Candy Winner! says #12, so ....

Sabena! come on down!

send me an email with your address and the goodies will be on their way!

thanks for stopping by everybody (y'all come back now, hear?)

Mother of the Year Award

I'm so up for it.

That's right. Coolest mom evah!

Let's just say that if you are four years old and feeling really crappy, you want me around.

Why am I feeling so very cool right now? Because I actually made Quinn happy - that's right, Mr. "I'm-sick-and-bored-and-I-don't-want-to-watch-any-more-T.V.-or-read-a-book-and-I-don't-like-you-right-now,-mommy!-cranky-pants" himself! By about 4:00 this afternoon we were sick of each other and sick of watching cartoons and sick of reading and certainly not going to take another nap, so I decided it was time to go sit outside and get some fresh air. Quinn and I sat outside by the blueberry bushes and I was doing some weeding when he discovered that the little space between the two bushes made a perfect little sitting spot.

Then he decided it would make a perfect hideout.

Only trouble was that he had no idea how to cover up all the spaces between the branches and leaves....

Which is where I come in.

(sorry for the blurry pictures)

Using some pine branches (ouch... always forget how prickly they really are) and walnut tree branches...

I built up some "walls" around him

and left a little place to get in and out.

He was pleased as punch.

Then he ate everything at dinner (salmon, yellow rice, watermelon...yum!). Was that directly related to my making him so very happy? Why yes, yes it was...or I'd like to think so!

So he's on his way to recovery! Whoo hoo!

Thanks to me.

Mother of the Year.

Epilogue: While I would have loved to re-take the pictures so that they weren't so blurry, I'm sorry to report that the blueberry bush/tree branch "hut" is no more. Quinn was very excited to show Cade when he got home. And Cade was very excited about the tree hut. And, well, if you know Cade, you'll understand that the delicately balanced branches and leaves just could not withstand the ensuing hullabaloo. Quinn took it well, though, with my promises that it could be rebuilt... we'll see... I'm still scrubbing pine sap off my knuckles and knees....

Another Color Challenge

Well, I'm home today with Mr. Quinn, who's got some nasty little virus, poor thing. Ah well, we decided that when life gives you lemons, you must stamp!

Actually, he wanted to watch his Peter Rabbit DVD (by the way, have you read the Beatrix Potter stories lately? They're a classic, don't get me wrong, but man, you won't find any kids books like those nowadays. Definitely no life-affirming touchy-feely stuff there. Just some good old-fashioned death, violence and naughtiness softened by the polite elegance of English-esque tastefulness and subtle humor....).

So I decided to stamp! This is for today's color challenge over at SCS - to use Bordering Blue, Mellow Moss, Not Quite Navy and (optional) Always Artichoke.

I was so excited that I had an idea for the card right away that I got to it... and then realized that I forgot to include Not Quite Navy. So I guess I failed this challenge... oh well. I still like how it turned out!

Card Credits: Everything from Stampin' Up! Cardstock - Bordering Blue, Mellow Moss, Naturals Ivory; Ink - Mellow Moss, Always Artichoke (marker), Bordering Blue (marker); Stamps - Garden Silhouettes (hostess), Small Script (retired), Hodgepodge Hardware, Stampin' Dimensionals, Always Artichoke Ribbon, Circle Punch

P.S. If you're looking for the blog candy, it's the post right before this one! ;)

You're Out of This World!!!

I know I'm no blogging superstar, but gosh darn it, I'm just tickled pink that my counter says I've had over 1000 hits!

(okay, I'm not sure how many of those are actually me, but hey, I still think it's pretty cool)

Since it seems to be a bit of a tradition in the stampin' blog community, I'm announcing the first of my BLOG CANDY giveaways!

I've got an idea of what it's gonna be, but haven't taken a picture yet. I promise that I'll post the prize soon. ETA: PICTURES ARE NOW POSTED.... SCROLL DOWN TO SEE!

So here's the deal - leave a comment on this post before midnight (Eastern Standard Time over here in Massachusetts) ETA: that's midnight on Tuesday, July 17, and I'll pick a random number on WEDNESDAY, JULY 18 for the giveaway. If you want to, let me know where you're from - I love that we can all visit and share our ideas and creations from across the country and the world!

Thanks for stopping by!

Card Credits: Stamps - Rubber Soul; Cardstock - Stampin' Up! (Kraft, Bashful Blue, Whisper White); Patterned Paper - American Crafts; Ink - Versacraft Black, Stampin' Up! Markers for coloring; Accessories and Extras - Stampin' Dimensionals, Moss Gingham Ribbon, Sakura Glaze Pen (clear), Marvy Scalloped punch, Oval punch, Clear Embossing Powder

Without further ado, here's what's in store for the lucky winner:

Envelope seals from Martha Stewart and some ribbon with lots of yummy texture!

Two sheets of Scenic Route alphabet stickers and some clear stamps!

Wait... there's more...

Some awesome chipboard pieces from We R Memory Keepers!

Okay, that's it.....

Tag... I'm It.

Okay, so I've been "tagged" for the first time since I started blogging. What fun! The super-fabulous Vicki C. did the honors. You MUST go see her blog. She does absolutely fantastic stuff - gorgeous albums, altered items... all kinds of cool projects. Really, extraordinary work. (Can you tell I totally love her? So flattered that she tagged me.)

So here goes - I'm supposed to post 7 random things about myself then tag 7 other bloggers:

Random Things About Me:

1. I love to get up early and drink coffee for hours before actually doing anything.
2. Chicago is my very favorite place, and I dream of living there someday.
3. I also dream of living on a farm with alpacas and chickens.
4. One of my biggest fears for a long time was having an airplane land on/crash into me.
5. I'm not a water person - no beach babe here!
6. I think cats are the neatest animals ever. (I have four).
7. My fingernails are a mess and my toenails are always painted.

Okay, here's who I'm tagging:
Erika M.
Erika H.

Y'all can play if you want to!

I'll be back to post some pictures of projects I've been working on as soon as I can. I've gotten so much done this weekend, but still haven't gotten the pictures ready for uploading. Will do soon!

and write this. I'm dying. Dying!

Heard at the table in the last 5 minutes:

Quinn (looking at Mommy and Daddy): You know why you guys are so great? 'Cause you made a freakin' good dinner!

That is too much.

Good times. Good times.

(Also heard: "Daddy. You make freakin' good corn. I'm gonna call you the corn master.")

Oh Baby! (Secrets Revealed)

NO, I'M NOT HAVING ANOTHER BABY! (yet... <- did I say that outloud??? ;)

Well, it's nice to be back home with the boys (yes, I really do mean it!).

But I wanted to share something fun I made while I had the house to myself -

I have to admit something... my first little crafty secret... I'm not very good at altering things! Seriously! I always seem to get lost about a third of the way through an altering project - never enough embellishments, or things don't "connect".. I don't know.
More practice needed I guess.

That said, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, although the ribbons on top kind of look like a funky mop-top hairdo... oh well....

In case it's not obvious, it's just a little bucket that will be stuffed with onsies and towels and other baby things for someone special (I'm not saying who... ;)

The paper and the "design" were inspired by the "matching" card -

I kept most of the bucket's silver finish showing because I actually thought it was pretty, and it jived with the silver buttons I used on the card.

Now for the second secret - I bought the 120 box of prismacolors.... (But I used a coupon!). This is one of my first tries at coloring with them and some gamsol, and I had so much fun!

The stamp is one I got on sale at Michaels a loooong time ago, and then just shoved it in a drawer and forgot about it, but it was uber-fun to color.

Hope this makes the special someone smile!

Card credits: Cardstock - Stampin' Up! (Purely Pomegranite, Wild Wasabi), Patterned Paper - My Mind's Eye; Ink - Stampin' Up! (Basic Black); Accessories - Prismacolor pencils, gamsol, Stampin' Up! ribbon, Button Brads and Safety Pin - Making Memories

Twenty One Miles Later.....

I'm sunburned. My butt is bruised. And I think I pulled a muscle in my leg.

But oh man, it was worth it!

For our end of the week bang before the boys return, we decided to take a couple of days to explore beautiful Vermont. Yesterday, we rented bikes and headed out to bike the trail along Lake Chamberlain in and around Burlington, Vermont.

Mind you, I haven't ridden a bike in a long, long time (I'm talking years... and I've never ridden a bike with gears...).

But I was geared up and ready to go!

It was an absolutely gorgeous ride. Breathtaking. The lake on one side. Surrounded by trees and grass and wildflowers along the path.

A brief thunderstorm popped up, but we waited it out in this crazy little store/bait shop/boat dock - a kind of creepy/kind of kitchy time-warp of a place. We shared a water and a payday candy bar and chatted with the old lady behind the counter... great fun!

Then we hit the trail again!

After passing out of Burlington, the bike trail is no longer paved. It's just a gravel path along a causeway out in the middle of nowhere.

It was an amazing little strip of an oasis. A tiny little path in the middle of the water. Some trees and plants along the side - replete with raucus, dive-bombing birds whizzing past our heads and the constant drone of wheels on loose gravel.

And then we hit the end.


The path stops suddenly just a little way from another island in the middle of the lake. A local organization is working to have a ferry running regularly so that bikers can cross back and forth, but, alas... no ferry that day.

It was kind of wierd.

But I was happy. And exhilerated. And proud of myself (and Jason) for riding that far (10.5 miles from our starting point, 3 miles on gravel road).

And very, very tired.

But so ready to do it all again!

My First SCS Challenge Card!

The obvious solution to my missing mojo problem - today's Color Challenge over at Splitcoast Stampers! (duh...) SCS has such awesome challenges, and I rarely have time to participate. I've done a couple, but this is the first one I'm sharing. Today's challenge was to use Pretty in Pink, Old Olive and Chocolate Chip. Luckily, some of the odds and ends lying around my desk fit the color scheme perfectly!

Pretty easy card! And I love how cute the little birdie is... :)

Card Credits: Paper - Stampin' Up! (Chocolate Chip, Pretty in Pink, Old Olive); Ink - Stampin' Up! (Staz-on Timber Brown, Old Olive), Stamps - Stampin' Up! (In the Spotlight), Savvy Stamps (sentiment), Inky Antics (birdie feet), Accessories - Stampin' Up! (white organdy ribbon), Jenni Bowlin Studios scrap kit (Felt Birdie and Flowers, Brad), random button from a bottle on the shelf....

Aaaack! My mojo .... it's gone... and I think I know who took it....

It all started a couple of months ago with a phone call from my mother - "Liz ..." [my mom calls me that, and other immediate family members, but don't you try it... nicknames are off limits with me]... "Liz, I wanted to let you guys know that your father and I can take the boys for the week of the fourth of July if you and Jason would like to have a week to yourselves."

HECK, YEAH! A week? A whole blessed week alone? It's every parent-of-a-toddler-and-preschooler's dream come true!

So... after a wonderful weekend celebrating Quinn's (official) birthday, they're gone. Both of them. At the same time!

Oh, the creating! The card-making! The pure, unadultered paper and stamping fun!

But wait! Where's my mojo? I know I had it somewhere around here - usually under the pile of dirty laundry, or stuck the bottom of a muddy shoe. Sometimes I find it in the grubby ring around the tub after an especially energetic bath... or at the bottom of my coffee cup. But, no. It's missing. I cleaned the whole house - but couldn't find it anywhere....

I must have stuck it in one of the boy's suitcases, 'cause it just ain't here. And I know I had it before they left...

Ah, well, I'll share something a little old with you instead:

I made this card a few days ago or so (while the boys were frantically trying to grab my stamps and getting ink all over them... so I know I had my mojo then...). Used my new Pick a Petal from my preview order.

I really like these adorable petals, but I do think they'll be easier to use and arrange if I cut them out. But I had an idea for this one... and it's pretty much how I envisioned. Actually, this started out as a 3" x 6" card - I had a pack of white ones plus envelopes from Stampendous that I got a while back. After I stamped the flower petals on the edge, though, it didn't quite look right, so I chopped off the back of the card and trimmed it down into a panel. Then I wheeled the craft cardstock with the new See You Around jumbo wheel in Versamark - although it doesn't really show since the panel and matting ended up larger than anticipated. I also stamped the circle outline from Pick a Petal in versamark to add some interest to the white and added the sentiment from Hugs and Wishes! Pretty easy and I think it's pretty cute, too!

Well, this card was/is on its way to a fellow blogger - I'm not gonna say who, 'cause I don't know if she got it yet! *wink* But I hope it makes her smile!

Okay... gotta get off here before hubby comes back with the sushi! MMMMM... sushi... and a little Tuaca (anyone else drink that stuff?... it's so beautifully smooth and yummy....) and a few crazy rounds of dominos!


Card Credits: Cardstock - Stampin' Up! (Kraft, Groovy Guava), Stampendous; Ink - Stampin' Up! (Groovy Guava, Sage Shadow, Apricot Appeal, Bashful Blue), Versamark; Stamps - Stampin' Up! (Hugs & Wishes, Pick a Petal, See You Around jumbo wheel); Ribbon - Stampin' Up! (moss gingham)