Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Of Hiking and Manhole Covers ... Yep, That's My Life!!

From Millan.NetFirst things first ... I am NOT getting old(er) ... (-ish) ... at least in my MIND I like to think that I'm not!! However, today IS my birthday (yes, it's true ... I'm 27 ... again)! I feel like I am more adventurous and willing to try fun, new things than I have EVER been (activities, food, music, friends!)! Heck, how can ANYone who goes to a restaurant and tells the server to "surprise me" NOT be considered adventurous??? But ... sometimes ... I seem to get myself into a pickle ... but, I digress ... I'll come back to that and the reference to manhole covers in a minute ... READER WARNING ... this is loooonnng ... and EPIC ... and SOOO totally TRUE!! None of the names/events have been changed to protect the innocent ...

Scrapbooking myself is something I just don't do ... pretty much EVER!! However, having had to create a myriad of things in this past year for Stampin' Up has often pushed me out of my comfort zone (something ELSE to which I have easily adapted ... most of the time ... which ALSO proves I am NOT too old, right??). Anywho ... I did this layout to highlight a hiking adventure I went on with my family this past June. We did the West Rim Trail at Zions National Park. It is a beautiful and scenic 17-mile undertaking, which I was MORE than happy to tackle. I LOVE being outdoors ... I LOVE hiking ... and I LOVE my family, so it was a winning combination all around. (Not to mention the fact that I LOVELOVELOVE my Woodstock "Happy Camper" shirt!!)

Stamps:  Hello Lovely, Gorgeous Grunge
Paper:  Crumb Cake, Natural Composition DSP, Neutrals Patterned DSP, Brights Patterned DSP
Ink:  Pacific Point, Pear Pizzazz, Daffodil Delight
Accessories:  1/2" Circle Punch, 1 1/4" Square Punch, 3/4" Circle Punch, Brights Candy Dots, Sewing Machine

From Millan.Net

What on EARTH does ANY of this have to do with manholes, you ask? Well ... it seems that, lately (as in the past couple of months) I have apparently misplaced some small mount of finesse that I would like to think I HAVE had up until this point in my life. I run ... I run pretty much every day (and the odd fact is that I really don't LIKE to run ... but I DO love that I live in a place where I can be in a lovely canyon within minutes of my front door ... and the scenery distracts me from the fact that running is not always the MOST fun thing!). Many of my SU buddies KNOW that I run. And many of my SU buddies have asked if they could run WITH me while they were here for Convention in July!! No PROBLEM!! GREAT!! FANTASTIC!! What's NOT to love about having some of your BFF's along to run with ya?? Seriously, right?? So, at 4:45 AM (yes, you read that right!!) I went and picked up several of my stampin' buddies at their hotels to come and share my run with me (that's Mindy Backes, Marla Reed, ME and Bree Renwick in the photo). It was dark, but we watched the light come up over the mountains. AND ... just as we were coming out of the canyon something TOTALLY unexpected happened (while I was with my friendies ... of course ... because this has NEVER happened to me when I was ALONE!) ... I!! SPLAT!! Have absolutely NO clue what happened there!! One of those instances where you try to just "jump up" and pretend nothing happened ... and that you are TOTALLY fine and IN CONTROL (even though your hair is screaming and you've ripped the freckles CLEAN off about half of your arm!)!! "Yeah ... I MEANT to do that!" I needed a better story, though ... telling people I have the grace of a hippopotamus is kinda embarrassing. So my daughter's BFF (hey, Tiffy!) told me that I should just tell people when they asked (because my arm looked THAT pitiful that people WERE asking!) that I had saved a baby ... I was kinda thinking something along the lines of a Zombie Apocalypse ... so my story was that I had saved a baby FROM the Zombie Apocalypse ...

It's a long story, I know ... but I AM getting to the manhole cover!! Just the other day (barely more than a MONTH from my baby-savin'-Zombie-Apocalypse experience) I was walking about a BLOCK from our business to our church in order to attend the funeral of my brother-in-law's father. It was particularly windy and I decided that I needed to avoid walking through the sprinklers at the corner ... the wind was blowing the water SIDEways into a big, wet ol' misty cloud ... and of COURSE I didn't wanna get my dry-clean-only skirt wet, right??

Soooo ... I stepped onto the grass adjacent to the curb .... and proceeded to walk around THIS fire hydrant ... took just a few steps and my whole perspective on the world changed ... I suddenly found myself dangling with one leg down inside that freakin' manhole!! My very FIRST thought was, "Sinkhole??? Are ya KIDDIN' me??" Then I looked down and realized that this little manhole had tried to EAT ME!!! The dumb lid had NOT been secure and it flipped up when I stepped on it! And I was now doing a semi-split ... in a skirt ... in the mud ... and my SHOE had fallen off down into the abyss of the manhole. Sooooo ... as I dragged my bruised, bloody and muddy leg outta that dumb hole I was feeling kinda NON-FINESSE filled. Here I only had ONE shoe and I was a hot mess!! And the funeral was starting in about FIVE MINUTES!! One of the neighbors who lived close to the fire hydrant saw the whole event in all it's spectacular glory. She seemed VERY concerned and wanted me to knock on the door of her surgeon-neighbor's house. I declined, reassuring her that I was FINE (despite my somewhat pitiful - there's that word again! - appearance). I hobbled over to the church ... shoe in hand ... and somehow managed to get a bit cleaned up and sneak into the service without too much fanfare. The fanfare??? Oh yes!! There WAS fanfare! As soon as the services were over we all took our turns exiting the building. As I was hobbling out one of the funeral directors looked at me and my one pitiful shoe in hand ... and the mud on my skirt ... and the ROAD RASH and LUMPS on my leg and blurted out, "Oh!! Are YOU the woman who fell into the MANHOLE??" What.the.HECK??? Has THIS been on the NEWS already??? Holy COW!! Apparently, the woman who saw me fall in was a bit concerned and called 911 ... which prompted a FIRE TRUCK and AMBULANCE to show up at the funeral (unbeknownst to me!). They came into the back of the chapel and peered around looking for the (again) pitiful soul who needed help!! I HONESTLY would not EVEN have had ANY idea that they were there for ME even if I HAD seen them! And I canNOT believe I MISSED the opportunity to have HOT FIREMEN giving me their undivided attention!! Dang!!! (But they did, thankfully, rescue my shoe!) I need to call the city AGAIN and have them send someone over there to secure that dang thing ... it's still kinda skeewompus! And I would HATE to think that there is another non-finesse-filled pitiful soul who may wander into its path!! (Not to worry ... I will make sure ... TODAY ... that that thing is made safe for all the world!)

Sooo ... today I am going to spend my day in Disneyland with my BFF and sister-in-law, Diann!! And HOPEFULLY I will not save a single baby ... or encounter a SINGLE zombie ... and I will do my UTMOST BESTEST to avoid ALL manhole covers!!
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Monday Montage is Here!!

HooRAY for Monday!! Sooo ... what is Monday Montage, you ask??? Y'know how, last week, we just finished the blog hop for the 2013 Stampin' Up Design Team Finalists??? We had SOOOOOOO dang much fun hoppin' together that we decided to make a regular thing of it ... which is how we came up with the Monday Montage Blog Hop, where you will see a variety of fun styles and projects!! We will be doing the hop every other Monday, so be sure to keep your eye out and mark your calendars!!

This card just makes me happy ... on so stinkin' many levels. I have noticed (as I am sure many of you have!) that the "&" symbol is very "IT" right now ... and I'm one of those peeps who has a VERY hard time putting an "&" on something unless it is actually LINKING something AND something else ... so there ya go ... The "&" from "Hello Lovely" is nice and BIG! And it looked like the PERFECT partner for the letters from the Typeset Alphabet Bigz dies!! YAY!!

Stamps: Hello Lovely
Paper:  Real Red, Basic Black, Very Vanilla, Modern Medley DSP, Brights Patterned Paper
Ink:  Basic Black
Accessories:  Typeset Alphabet Bigz Dies, Hearts Framelits, Small Heart Punch, Scallop Trim Border Punch, 1 1/4" Square Punch, Essentials Hardware Clips, Real Red Stitched Grosgrain Ribbon, Silver Mini Brads

Click on the "back" button to check out the fabulousness that is Melissa Stout ... and the "Next" button to see the creative craftiness of Amy O'Neill!

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Fab Friday #25

WOOT!! WOOT!! It's Fab Friday, my friends!!! And this week we're doing a sketch challenge ...

I have been running around so MUCH lately that I don't know whether I'm coming or I'm going. The GOOD news is that, after next weekend, I have NOTHING MAJOR on my calendar!! You have NO IDEA how HAPPY this makes me!!! But I digress ...

I am holding on to the last vestiges of summer ... I'm not QUITE ready to jump into making fall/Halloween cards JUST YET ... which is why my card looks all summery!! I decided to turn the Elegant Stripes Textured Impressions Embossing Folder at an angle so that the stripes would be horizontal ... I kinda like how the stripes "quit" at different intervals with the thing turned on its side!!

Stamps: Flower Shop, Gorgeous Grunge, Kind and Cozy
Paper: Melon Mambo, Island Indigo, Pear Pizzazz, Whisper White
Ink: Island Indigo, Pear Pizzazz, Daffodil Delight
Accessories: Elegant Stripes Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, Gingham Garden Designer Washi Tape, Melon Mambo Taffeta Ribbon, Old Olive Taffeta Ribbon, Brights Candy Dots

Here's the actual sketch ...

And ... Here's a link to the Fab Friday Challenge Blog so you can play along:

Fab Friday Challenge Blog

Check out the Fab blogs of my fellow Fab Friends:

Mindy Backes
Cindy Beach
Justin Krieger
Amanda Mertz
Brenda Myers
Amy O'Neill
Marla Reed
Pam Steckman
Jan Tinklenberg

Have a FAB Friday ... and a FAB weekend!
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Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Artisan Finalist Blog Hop - Day 10

Could it POSSIBLY be Day 10??? ALREADY???? This Blog Hop with my Fellow Finalist Friendies (how's THAT for alliteration???) has been SOOO much fun!!! I have been amazed, inspired and BLOWN AWAY!!

My last project to share is probably my MOSTEST favorite!! For any of you who have followed me at ALL for any amount of time you will know that I LOVELOVELOVE Halloween!! My MOST favorite holiday (which probably makes me a little weird ... but it really IS my fave!)!!! I have been wanting to make an "countdown" calendar for Halloween for YEARS and YEARS ... and I FINALLY DID IT!!! (And then promptly gave it away ... go figure ...)  I made my own fabric using MDS and some iron-on transfer paper (added some spider-webby goodness and some creepy-crawly spiders!)  The only sad part is that I sewed one of the edges on BACKWARDS and had to caaarrrreeefuuullllyyy unpick it so that you wouldn't be able to see the holes poked by the sewing machine needle!!

The tree is an image from "Spooky Bingo Bits". I blew it up HUGE and printed it out (in reverse). Then, I pinned it down to some felt and hand-cut this baby out!!

Here's a close up of all the little "day" circles. I used a LOT of different images in My Digital Studio ... combined with a number paper punch download to make each day different and special. They were then printed out on Whisper White cardstock and glued to felt circles. I attached each "day" to my spooky tree with a safety pin from the Vintage Trinkets.

This was originally going to be a "pocket" to hold all of the little numbered circles ... but it was NO WAY gonna be big enough ... so I just made it into a little "Happy Halloween" signage instead!!

And here's another close-up from a different angle.

The whole thing is hanging off of a wooden dowel that I screwed some drawer pulls that I got from the hardware store into (on each end). This just made me sooo happy when I was done ... and I really DO think I'm gonna make another one (now that I have all the files done in MDS!!). Time consuming ... but worth it!!

Stamps: NONE
Paper:  Whisper White (for "day" circles)
Ink:  NONE
Accessories:  1 1/4" Circle Punch, Vintage Trinkets, Early Espresso 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon, Basic Black 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon, Pumpkin Pie 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon, Felt (Black, White and Gray), Orange Fabric, Iron-On Transfer Paper, Burlap, Dowel, Drawer Pulls (2), Sewing Machine
MDS:  Spooky Bingo Bits, Jack of All Trades, Calendar Basics, Eat, Drink & Be Scary, Spooky Things, Lauren's Letters Alphabet (Numbers), Holiday Blitz, Number One DSP, Corner Rounder Punch, Circle Punch

A little teaser here ... keep your EYES PEELED for this lovely logo on August 26 ... we are NOT DONE playing "blog hop" together ... stay tuned!!

Click on the "Next" button to see another Work of Brilliance from Amy O'Neill ... and the "Back" button to check out the Masterpiece down by Melissa Stout!!
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Fall into Fall ... Freaky Style!!

It's that time again ... Freaky Fall Time!!! If you've been following the hop around, you just came from the incomparably-AMAZING Patty Bennett!!! LOVE her creations!! (Heck, I love HER, too!)

We're sharing some treasures we've made from the crafty goodies in the new Holiday Mini Catalog. First off, I am IN LOVE with these little Thinlits swing-card dies (okay, to be FAIR, they are not actually IN the Holiday Mini ... but the stamp set I used IS). And we were only able to start ordering these fun dies ... which cut this whole swing-card shape out FOR ya ... on August 1. I.Am.Happy!!

Here's the "inside" ...

Stamps:  Truly Grateful
Paper:  Baked Brown Sugar, Crumb Cake, Early Espresso, Very Vanilla
Ink:  Baked Brown Sugar, Crumb Cake, Early Espresso
Accessories:  Thinlits Circle Card Dies, Linen Thread, Naturals Designer Buttons, Woodgrain Textured Impressions Embossing Folder

Next up ... ANOTHER new fave of mine ... isn't this giant ol' freaky bow just AWESOME??? The new Bigz Bow Tie die is SOOOOO fab! I know what you're thinkin' ... that is gonna be too THICK to mail ... yeah-yeah-yeah ... but WHO CARES!! It's super ADORBS!!

Stamps:  Notable Notions
Paper:  Chocolate Chip, Soft Sky, Crumb Cake, Sweater Weather DSP
Ink:  Chocolate Chip
Accessories: 1 1/4" Circle Punch, Bigs Bow Tie Die, Burlap Ribbon, Soft Subtles Candy Dot, Stylish Stripes Embossing Folder, Victorian Lace Trim

Now hop on over and see some MORE lovely things made from another one of my LOVELY friends ... Connie Babbert!!
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

2013 Artisan Finalist Blog Hop - Day 9

We are getting close to the end of Artisan Finalist Blog Hop. WOWZA!!! Each day has held SO many treasures for us to peruse ... I have been loving EVERYTHING!

I am sharing the first of my two 3D items with you. To be honest, I have had this triple-frame thing FOREVER (I bought it years ago ... thinking I was going to make something fabulous ... which I never got around to.) This helped inspire me to make this fun family frame of my niece and nephew's adorable little family.  Due to space constraints, it wasn't actually hanging on the board during Convention (it was propped on a shelf).  Now y'all can see the little braided rope from which it was hanging at the top, and the fun little flag/button banner on the bottom!

Here are Marc and Eliza on their wedding day ...

And the girls!! Whom I love to DEATH!! (And I'm happy to announce that they are expecting daughter #4 during the winter!! Which means this frame is ALREADY obsolete!)

The whole stinkin' darling family!! I had SO much fun making the little banner on the bottom, too (AFTER I realized I had used some buttons that were ALREADY RETIRED ... and had to come up with a suitable alternative!!)

Stamps:  Hearts a Flutter
Paper:  Crumb Cake, Very Vanilla
Ink:  Crumb Cake
Accessories:  Hearts a Flutter Framelits Dies, Antique Brads, Naturals Trim Ribbon, Comfort Cafe Fabric (for braid at top for hanging)
MDS:  Fan Fair (corner stitching), Downtown Grunge (frame2, frame3, frame4 and frame5; paper ), Soft Blooms (Very Vanilla), Basic Pearls, Bakers Twine (Whisper Whiter recolored Very Vanilla), Smitten Alphabet Punch, Night of Navy Button, Lots of Tags, Night of Navy Taffeta Ribbon
Font: Bayern Handschrif

Click on the "Next" arrow to check out another WONDERFUL creation from Amy O'Neill ... or "Back" to see another EXQUISITE creation from Melissa Stout.
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

2013 Artisan Finalist Blog Hop - Day 8

Welcome to Day 8 everybody!!! I canNOT believe how quickly these past 8 days have FLOWN by!!! And I am STILL in AWE of all of the wonderful things my Finalist Friendies have been sharing (I know, I know ... I've said that BEFORE ... but it's TRUE!)!! So, let's get to it!!!

Another family-treasured photo! We took this photo of my daughter WAAAYYYY back in the day!! My husband had JUST taught her how to fish the day before this photo was taken ... and she got up VERY early the next morning, grabbed a fishin' pole and dangled it over the side of the boat ... NO BAIT!!! Then she started yellin', "Daddy!!! Come quick!! I caught a FISH!!" How's THAT for expert fishermanship???? She was SOOOOO pleased with herself!! And this picture is framed in our house (has been since the day we had it developed. HAPPYHAPPYHAPPY!!

See?? Isn't she stinkin' ADORABLE??? (and that bluegill looks MASSIVE, doesn't it?? I think it was more of the photo angle than anything ... but it's FAB!!)!

I used the yardstick image that I snatched out of MDS ... printed it out, then tore and crumpled it all up ... then added the fishes on the line with a little help from some linen thread and mini safety pins from the Vintage Trinkets!

I used the Canvas Creations to make the little "fringe" under these letters (which I ALSO created in MDS). I just pulled the threads on the side of the canvas to make it fray ... VOILA!!

This is one of those pages I wish I could get back ... which means I should probably make another one just like it, right???

Stamps: By the Tide
Paper:  Naturals Composition DSP, Early Espresso, Very Vanilla, This and That Epic Day DSP, Crumb Cake
Ink: Island Indigo
Accessories:  Canvas Creations, Naturals Trim Ribbon, Vintage Trinkets, Linen Thread
MDS:  A to Z Wordpress Letters, Fan Fair (ruler)
Font:  2Peas Ditzy

Choosing the "Next" button will take you to a FABULOUS project by Amy O"Neill ... and choosing the "Back" button will take you to something EQUALLY as wonderful from Melissa Stout!!
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Friday, August 16, 2013

2013 Artisan Finalist Blog Hop - Day 7

Welcome to Day 7 of the Artisan Finalist Blog Hop!! I have been sooo inspired and amazed at EVERYTHING that has been posted every.stinkin'.day!! (I've mentioned that, right???) So much to see and so much to learn ... so let's get started again!!

I'm sharing the last of the cards I made. I had made some of these little ribbon "rosettes" quite a while back ... and I decided I NEEDED to add them on at least ONE of my Artisan entries!! Sadly, this ribbon is now retired (it was so handy because of the holes that went down both edges ... just thread your needle/thread through the holes and pull into a tight circle). Easy and fun!!

The little border strip on the left side was also made with the Rosette Die ... I just cut it to the right length and laid it out flat!

Click on the "Next" button to take a peek at Awesome-Amy O'Neill and what she had created ... and the "Back" button to see the Magnificent-Melissa Stout to see what she has been up to.
Stamps:  Sweet Essentials
Paper:  Early Espresso, Daffodil Delight, Pool Party, Whisper White, International Bazaar DSP
Ink:  Early Espresso
Accessories:  Bigz Rosette Die, Argyle Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, Stripes Textured Impressions Embossing Folders, Circles Framelits Dies, Word Window Punch, Bird Builder Punch (branch), Chocolate Chip Scallop Polka Dot Ribbon, Early Espresso Stitched Grosgrain Ribbon, Large Pearl Basics, Paper Piercing Essentials Mat/Piercing Tool

Click on the "Next" arrow to hop on over to Awesome-Amy O'Neill ... or on the "Back" button for the Marvelous-Melissa Stout!!
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