So – as I’m feeling like a slacker that Thursday is here and I haven’t posted yet…I read a post from Emily at Jones Design Company that could have come straight from my brain.  {Probably not as eloquently} And I thought…I’m right there with you.  To Emily – and everyone else feeling this way – I offer up this wonderful talk.  I listen to it when I feel inadequate or weary.  It is FABULOUS.  It is revitalizing.  It is TRUTH.  Enjoy.


If you’d like to see more inspiring videos click HERE.


Photo Booths Are All The Rage…

It is officially Birthday Season at my house!  A few weeks ago, my son celebrated his birthday – and the trend of birthdays continued with my birthday 2 weeks later, then my daughter’s 2 weeks after that and so on and on and on…

Every 2 weeks until June we celebrate every birthday in our 6 person family – AND our Wedding Anniversary. WHEW!!  I’m tired just telling you about it!

Because it’s Birthday Season – I thought it only appropriate that I share fun Birthday Ideas with you!

The first one being A Photo Booth.  It’s super easy, and super fun, and you get fun pictures in the end: {my funny hubby HATES cameras!!  this was just about his limit…}


What you’ll need:




– I found mine at kensie kate.  She offers 12 pages of free printable photo booth props. (I added rhinestones to the Cat’s Eye Glasses)

**just a note – you don’t need that many – people seemed to gravitate toward the same ones**

– You can buy them pre-cut from a few places, like Etsy.

– Or you can use REAL props.  Fake Mustache’s, Feather Boa’s, Vintage Eye Glasses, {visit good will – think goofy ties and hats}, or THESE GROUCHO MARX GLASSES.


A Cute Photo Booth Sign

You can make your own – but why?  I’ve made one for you…you can download it HERE. {sorry for the blurry photo – horrible lighting!!}

– Just print it off onto cardstock and stick it in a fabulous frame on an easel.

Taking the Photo’s

A few different options:

You can use a nice fancy camera

You can use a regular ol’ point and shoot (not gonna get the best results with this one because of the delay)

You can also just use an iphone {or other smart phone}

– Just sit the subjects on a chair {if there is more than one, picture the image square when you take the photo – leave lots of room on the edges – and make them get CLOSE!!}

– I just found a spot of wall with no decor – nothing fancy…you could hang some fabric if you’re looking for a specific color, though.

– Make sure to use the flash – because hey – photobooths are notorious for those cool washed out pictures. {I know – it hurts to even THINK about using a flash when you love photography}

To Make the Photo Strips:

You can do this a few different ways.

If you took the pictures with a smart phone:

To get the vintage photobooth look, you can process them using filters from apps like Instagram

Step 1. Process the photos

Here is my process for instagram:

Process it once using “earlybird”, then open the processed photo, and process it again using “Inkwell”

Step 2.  Send them to your lab and print them in wallet size.

**NOTE – Instagram will resize the photo to a square – this is great for a photo booth – but it will look funny when you print it in wallet size.  Just trim the edges off.**

Step 3. Attach your photos to a piece of card stock {make sure to leave a border} around and in between.

Step 4. Trim off excess.

If you have a nice fancy camera:

I’m going to assume that you also have Photoshop – so here’s what I did to the photos:

Steps for Processing in Photoshop

Step 1: To get the vintage look – I processed them using Pioneer Woman’s “Vintage” Action from Set 1.

Step 2: I also added a vignette around the edges {there is a “Vignette” action under “Default Actions” that comes with your copy of Photoshop}

Step 3: Mask the photos to this Photo Strip Layered Template and tell me how much you love me for doing it for you ;0)

{Don’t know a thing about Photoshop??  Then you need to take my class…I’m just sayin’…}


If you took the pictures with a digital camera – and don’t have a clue how to use photoshop {and for some crazy reason, you don’t want to take my class} then you can:

Hire it out:

Websites like photoboother will do all of the work for you!

– Just follow the sites instructions to upload your photos and they’ll do the rest!!

However you do it…you don’t want to miss out on the chance to do this with your friends, kiddos, or GRANDPARENTS!!  How fun to have these!!



For Starters | Meet Me Here


The idea for the Meet Me Here kit [still a work in progress] came from an image similar to this that I added to my “things to do”  folder in my Microsoft Office Portfolio about three years ago. I’m just a little obsessed with the possibilities contained in that simple phrase. Meet me here. Someday [when we’re both independently wealthy] I’m going to send this to Erin. We can wander the streets, shop, eat desserts, and basically do all the things our husbands wouldn’t want to do with us, all while we brainstorm ideas and call it a business meeting. A girl can dream, right?


arrowscolor |  wordsluggage |

Class is in Session {as soon as you join it!}

Do you love browsing pintrest and admiring all of the amazing word art prints {Follow this board HERE}

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 2.57.52 PM

Or the gift tags that people are giving away as freebies: {Follow this board HERE}

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 3.11.42 PM

Or would you love to document your life through Digital or Hybrid Scrapbooking? {Follow this board HERE}

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 3.33.04 PM

The list of what you can do goes on and on…

create your own christmas card

edit your photos to look professional

learn about actions



creating a chalkboard effect

Yep, these are all things that I know you wish that you could do.

Well – stop wishing you could do it – and let’s DO IT!


First session will begin May 1, 2013.  Upon payment you will receive an email to the address provided on the invoice form with more instructions.  If you have ANY questions – please email me: purdueavenue@yahoo.com

{Remember to put a valid email address, as this is how I will communicate with you for the class!!}

The cost is $20 for a 4 week class.  I will send you assignments via email and teach you the basics of Photoshop Elements 11 through easy to follow video tutorials.

To top it all off, not only will you receive the instruction, but you will also receive get lots of free digi-goodies included in the class – as well as links to thousands more!

Don’t have photoshop???  It’s okay – I will also walk you through getting a free 30 day trial of the program to make sure it’s something you enjoy before purchasing it.

If you know that you are going to purchase it – Amazon has a great price on Photoshop Elements 11 with free 2 day shipping for Prime Members. {It’s $99 through Adobe}

If this is something that you’ve always wanted to do – but felt like it was out of your skill range – let those crazy notions go!!  You can do it!!  And I’ll be right here to walk you through it!!

Can’t Wait!!



This year I really, really don’t want to dye Easter eggs. So we’re not going to. We’re going to decorate easter egg boxes. I made this lemon box last year for a friend and loved the possibilities. For this project I’ve simplified the process and put my handy-dandy cutter to use. I created a nesting box template and an egg shape for the top/bottom [think heart shaped boxes of chocolates]. Now, to all of those lacking in the electronic cutter department, please don’t tune me out quite yet. While it’s nice to have an electronic cutter for any project, it is, by no means, necessary for this one. The template is simple and straight forward, and the project is just as easily accomplished with the printed PDF template and a pair of scissors.

For the boxes I wanted a heavier material that would stand up to my kids, so I picked up some shirt boxes at Target. Unfortunately, the Silhouette doesn’t play well with such heavy materials. I fussed and tinkered and cursed before resigning myself to the fact that if I wanted the machine to do all of the cutting and scoring I would have to use standard cardstock. I shouldn’t whine about it. They turned out awesome anyway. If I do say so myself. Here’s how we did it…

Eggcellent Egg Box at Purdue Avenue

1.  Using the Egg-cellent Egg Box Template and heavy cardstock cut one each of the top + bottom and two of the egg shape. Also cut two egg shapes from your paper of choice for decorating. I liked using a second egg because it made the box feel more substantial. 

2.  Glue the cardstock and paper eggs wrong sides together for thickness but don’t attach them to the box quite yet.


PurdueAve_Egg-cellent43.  Decorate the eggs in any way you would like. We tried a few different things: watercolor, colored pencils, patterned paper, solid paper with patterned paper polka-dots/zig-zags/stripes. We like it all. Please note that if you are using any 3-D objects do not attach them yet. This step is for flat paper application only. We just used glue sticks, but mod-podge would work as well.

4.  Assemble the box by folding along the score lines and gluing the tabs to the inside of the box. I tried this with a permanent glue stick and it worked fine, but I did have to use paper clips to hold the sides while the glue dried. In the end I used my hot glue gun. I much prefer the hot glue gun. I did not try my tape runner.



5.  Mark the desired position of the box on the back of the eggs and attach the egg shaped tops and bottoms to the corresponding piece of the box.

Eggcellent Egg Box at Purdue Avenue

6.  Attach any 3-D objects [optional].

7.  Fill the box with whatever your heart desires. Me? I love Cadbury Mini Eggs. And I’ve just been introduced to Laffy-Taffy jelly beans and, though I’m really a chocolate girl, I think they’re pretty good as well.

So that’s it. Awesome, gift-able eggs that are fun, easy to make, and 100% customizable.

The template kit includes Egg-cellent Egg Box Template in PDF/SVG/ PNG formats. The finished size of the box portion is 3 x 5. However, the template can be enlarged or shrunken as desired. We did some 3 x 5 and some 2 x 3. If you choose to adjust the sizes just be sure to adjust all the pieces accordingly.

ps. This week only the template kit is free. Get it here. Happy Easter!

pps. For those using the Silhouette and really wanting to use the heavier shirt box, it will work with a few alterations. For whatever reason, the machine had problems with the score lines. To bypass this problem simply un-group the lines on the box templates and  remove the score lines. Set the blade to 10 and the thickness to 33. It’s possible I need a new blade, but I had to go over it four times. To do this, make a copy of the template by holding down ctrl and clicking [cmd+click on a mac] on the portion of the template you want to duplicate. This will make a copy directly over the original and will tell the machine to cut it twice. In the cut settings choose the double cut option to make two more cuts, bringing the overall total to four cuts. And, like I said, it’s possible I just need a new blade, so I would do a test cut first to see if just two cuts will work. After cutting the box shape, score the fold lines with a bone folder or whatever tool you prefer. I used the edge of a spool of thread because it was right here. Anything will work. Assemble as instructed above.

Tomatillo Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice

A few years ago, my friend Elaine called me up and said she had just made the yummiest dinner and she was bringing me a taste!

She called it Tomatillo Chicken and had made it in the slow cooker.   She served hers street taco style with just the meat and cheese.  She folded it over and deep fried it.  It was delicious.

The meat was so incredibly tender – while the flavor of the meat was tangy, spicy and sweet all at the same time.  SOOOOO GOOD!!!

I’m not a member of the fry club {Don’t own a deep fryer} and greasy foods and I don’t get a long well.  So – I’ve adapted the way I serve it from hers – but didn’t stray at all from the recipe for the meat.  Because you really don’t want to mess with perfection.  I have since made it for several friends and family and have yet to find someone that doesn’t snarf it and then ask for the recipe.  It’s that good.

I serve mine with a Cilantro Lime Rice {recipe to follow} that is delicious on it’s own – but to die for when paired with this meat.

They were meant to be together, I believe.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the meal:


For the Meat:

15 Tomatillos {about the size shown above} – husks removed, rinsed and quartered

1 Small Onion – Roughly Chopped

1 Can of Chipotle Chile’s in Adobo Sauce – I only use about 3 or 4 chili’s from the can – but you can add them to how spicy you like it.

3 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed

1 C. Chicken Stock

2 Tbsp Dried Oregano

1/4 C. Brown Sugar

4 Chicken Breasts (I also like to use a small pork roast sometimes)

Toss all of the ingredients together in the crock pot and cook it on high for 4 hours, or on low for at least 6.

(The longer it cooks on low the more tender the meat will be.

**Since I’ve started making this – I have been introduced to this Cuisine Art Electric Pressure Cooker.


It cooks the meat from frozen to fall apart in 90 minutes.  Perfect for those days that I space out thawing my meat out and forgetting to make the dinner in the morning so it can slow cook all day.  Not to mention, you don’t lose the nutrients the way you do otherwise.  The flavors are more intense and the meat is WAY more tender.  Just so you know ;0) **

With about 30 minutes to dinner – I start making the rice:

Here is the recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice:

You will need:

2-4 Tbsp Butter

2 Green Onions, Sliced

2 C. Rice (I like Jasmine)

**Note – it’s equally good with brown rice – but you’ll have to refer to the package directions for cooking time**

Zest of 2 limes

Juice of 1 lime

2 Tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro

4 C. Chicken Stock

Salt and Pepper to taste


In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and add in the green onions and sauté.  Then add the rice and coat with the butter and toast it just a bit.

Then add the chicken stock, lime zest and juice, cilantro and salt and pepper.

Bring to a full boil, then cover and turn to low.

Let simmer on low without stirring or removing the lid for 20 minutes.

Then take the lid off and fluff the rice with a fork.

To Serve: 

Once the rice is finished – I shred the chicken with 2 forks right in the crock pot.

Then place a mesh strainer over your crock pot, and let some of the juices drain out.  You don’t have to do this step – but I hate leaky burritos.


While the juices are draining – start cooking up your tortillas

I like to use store bought, uncooked tortillas and then brown them on my cast iron griddle.


When they are nice and toasty, just assemble your burrito with the ingredients that you like: (we do it buffet style)


I like mine with:

Sour cream spread on the bottom, Cilantro Lime Rice, Tomatillo Chicken, Cheese, and Avocado Slices.  Just don’t add so much that you can’t fold it up.

You could just wrap it up burrito style and eat it at this point – but I like to toast all of the sides to give the burrito a nice crunch.

And my husband has this nifty little trick to seal up the burrito.

Fold it burrito style, and leave the last flap open a bit and sprinkle on some cheese:


Then fold it shut:


Place it seam side down on the cast iron griddle:


Then eat it and leave me a comment about how delicious it was!  Because you’ll love it!!


If you  aren’t a tortilla fan (like my son) he eats his rice bowl style:


If you want carb free – this meat makes a DELICIOUS salad…and if you don’t strain the meat – you don’t need a dressing.

I’ve also made a salad Cafe Rio style – with the lettuce, meat, black beans, and the cilantro lime rice.

A little sour cream and some avocado slices and you have a yummy and light meal.

However you eat it – this is one that gets requested a lot at my house…I’m sure the trend will continue.  Leave a comment if you try it!! I know future readers would love to know how delicious it is from more than just me ;0)




Good morning everyone! Mandi here. I am just about ready to begin this Scrap-along! It will start in a few minutes at 11:30 am MDT. I’m going to go ahead get the little man climbing on my back situated with PBS kids and a snack… and cross my fingers that he’ll cooperate!.

This is where I’ll post the steps. They’ll be in color for distinction. If you need an intro on the how-to of a Scrap-Along you can see those below.

Let me know if you have any questions as we go along. I’ll be here, chatting and playing along with you.

Here is how a Scrap-Along goes:

* I will post a new instruction every 10 minutes for the next hour for a total of 7 different “rules” for you to follow in creating your layout. I will update this post with each of the instructions.

* At the end of the hour, when all instructions have been given, you will then have until next Wednesday to complete, save, and upload to gallery of your choice [or e-mail me a screenshot/copy and let me know in the comments so I’ll know to watch for it… mandi_miles@hotmail.com].

Bubblegum Alley Meet Me Here kit teaser by Mandi Miles

* After you upload your layout to the gallery of your choice make sure to come back to this thread to let me know you’ve posted your layout with a direct link [ps. instructions on how to do that at end of post]… everyone who participates [determined by a finished layout linked up before next Wednesday] will receive a mini-kit courtesy of Bubblegum Alley Design Company [that’s me, Mandi].


Are you ready? Today we’ll be dreaming of places to meet. Here we go!

1. Choose 2 photos. One of a person and one of where you’d like to meet them OR of something than represents the message you’d like to convey [ie. could be a photo of yourself]. If the meet place is a dream there are some great photos on Wiki Commons. Also, keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily need to be a physical place, the place that keeps coming to my mind is in the middle.

2. Choose one background paper and any coordinating papers you think you’d like to use. Add your chosen background to your layout canvas.

3. Add your photos to your layout with any frames and/or techniques you’d like.

4. Make a connection between the photos in some way… i.e. overlap them, have an arrow from one to the other, lines/dots.

5. Using a favorite font write the words: MEET ME HERE. Use your favorite technique to jazz them up… i.e. embossed, stroke + shadows to make a sticker look, shadows + warp to make a paper cut look, grunged for a stampy/painty look… you choose. 

6. Choose and add up to three decorative elements of your choice. 

7. Complete your layout with journaling or a favorite quote. 


So that’s it. Send me your links and I’ll send out your freebie. Thanks for playing along!

Here’s mine:

Mandi Miles | Meet Me Here

ps. How to post links in comments:

1. Copy + past the code below into the comments

2. Replace the yellow section with your link

3. Replace the bolded portion with your words to identify the link

<a href=”http://www.location of image to link“>Here’s mine! Or other words of your choice here</a>.

Bring the Outdoors Inside This Spring by Forcing Bulbs Indoors

I live in Arizona – so spring began about a month ago…and I LOVE IT!!  I love Spring.  Easter for me rivals Christmas as one of my favorite holidays.  Everything about spring screams new life and the resurrection.  The bulbs that you planted last year and then they died away, come back to life just in time to remind us of the resurrection of our Savior.  So, as I see all of the bulbs and tubers that I’ve planted in the yard start to bloom at this time of year, I find myself wishing I could see more of it indoors.  This is why, when I decorate for Easter, I’m really just trying to bring my garden indoors.  It makes sense.  It reminds me of the reason we are celebrating Easter, much more than the Easter Bunny does.

So, I thought with this post that I would show you some of the ways that I bring the outdoors in as I decorate my home for this very important holiday….

Obviously, you’ll want to bring in pictures of Christ – I especially love this one – it shows his tender side.  The white tulips and ranunculus remind me of His perfection and eggs are definitely Easter friendly decor.  I just stuck the arrangements and nest formed out of dried grass into some milk glass vases that I found at goodwill.


My local grocery store sells these pots of adorable mini daffodils.


I can’t help but put them in my basket.  Last year I bought several pots of them.  Because they’re not cheap, I knew that I couldn’t do that EVERY YEAR…so after they died away last year, I saved the bulbs by wrapping them in newspaper, and storing them in the fridge.  (Much to my hubby’s dismay)  About a month ago – I pulled them out to force them to bloom indoors…

Enter my project for today:


You can use any bulbs – I just happened to use the ones that I’ve had in my fridge from last year…

So to make this fun project you will need:

Container of your choice.  I had this one hanging around…make sure that it’s cleaned and washed.


Fill it with potting soil to about 5 inches below the rim of the pot and water the soil well.  I poke holes in the soil before I water so that it absorbs below the top layer well.

Then layer in your bulbs or tubers – I pack mine in pretty tight. If you use different varieties they will bloom at different times, making the show last a little longer ;0)


Cover with another few inches of potting soil

Then top with grass seeds or moss


Add another thin layer of potting soil and water well.  Don’t flood it, just a nice slow watering (placing a bunch of ice cubes on top and letting them melt slowly is my method of choice)

Once you have it nice and wet, cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm, sunny spot in your house. (or take it outside until it blooms)

**Normally I use a plastic grocery bag, but this pot was a little too big for that…


Then wait about a week or 2 and your little indoor garden will start to grow.

If you feel like you don’t have much of a green thumb, and would like something like this for a centerpiece at your Easter dinner – you can do the same thing without the wait!  Just go to your local nursery (Lowe’s is my favorite because they guarantee their plants) and get some Moss {I used Irish Moss in this arrangement} and some bulbs that have already bloomed.  **Choose a plant that still has some buds ready to open to enjoy the arrangement longer.

Take the bulbs – roots and all (don’t worry about breaking them – they’ll recover) – out of the soil that they are packed in and place them randomly around the planter area.  Then fill in with the moss and soil from the pots.


Use a spray bottle to water this arrangement.  You’ll still want to keep them in a warm sunny place, or the flowers will wilt sooner.

Your kids will just love it if you hide some easter eggs in the scene as well…


or maybe a baby chick…


Then you can cut some of the flowers for smaller arrangements to use around the house.

I love these that I put into the antique bud vases I found last year:



Or use an egg cup…


If fresh flowers aren’t your thing…you can always get the same effect by creating a little outdoor garden scene in a basket using silk flowers like this:


I placed a piece of foam into the the pot to stick the stems into, and then covered it with moss.  Then add moss into the basket to fill around and a few tipped pots with a small nest and egg inside.

Then, of course, I had to give the whole scene a sprinkle of glitter…because everything should sparkle a little bit ;0)


However you choose to do it – bringing springtime indoors is a great way to decorate for Easter and giving some meaning to your decor with reminders of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For a great Easter Egg Hunt with some meaning – check out Mandi’s post from last year where she makes some Resurrection Eggs.


They have a free printable of the scriptures that you need to put inside the eggs!!




Meet Me Here

Purdue Avenue Scrap-Along Invite 20MAR2013


Next week [Wednesday, March 20th] I’ll be here leading a scrap-along. What is a scrap-along? Well, I’m glad you asked. A scrap-along is my remake of the speed scrap concept. I think speed scraps are loads of fun. I love that there are parameters to keep me from over thinking a page. I also get a kick out of chatting it up in the forum and getting to know people. But I know that sometimes it’s hard to be available at the specified hour. And to finish in the allotted time limit.  Well, the scrap-along will encompass the best and leave the rest.

For those who can make it, I’ll be blogging the instructions or “rules” for a specified hour beginning at 11:30 am  MDT on Wednesday March 20th [1:30 pm EST/ 6:30 pm GMT… here’s a handy-dandy time zone converter if the need arises]. I would love to have you join me. Blog comments will be used as a forum of sorts for questions and general gabbing/getting to know you stuff.

For those who won’t be able to make the time slot, the instructions will be available indefinitely and you can play along at your convenience.

For those who love a prize, I’ll be offering up Copy Cat Template #1 [that’s the preview there on the left side of the invite] + a handful of digital items [scribble, confetti sprinkles, word art, textured paper].

The freebie will be available for one week to those who complete and share their completed scrap-along layouts [via e-mail or a link in the comments to the gallery of their choice or blog post].

So mark your calendar and join me. Won’t you?

ps. The Copy Cat Templates are exactly what the name implies, templates made from images I’ve seen. I would love to link to the image, but I can’t seem to find it. I could have sworn it was in my Pinterest. Or Amy Tangerine’s Pinterest. Or Molly Irwin’s. I’ve looked for over an hour [longer than I would like, but I really think it’s only proper to give credit where credit is due], but alas, no luck. I will link it up when it turns up. As it most certainly will. Now that I’ve given up the search.

pps. Here’s the quick info:

Who? Everybody

What? Scrap-Along

Where? PurdueAvenue.com

When? Wednesday March 20, 2013 | 11:30 am MDT

Why? Because it’s fun. And there’s free stuff.