Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I love L.A.

It's good to be back in my second home here in Los Angeles. Driving around yesterday I was reminded of the things I didn't like and the things I loved about living here. The traffic is just as bad and the smog seems worse but oh, I love the city! There's always something going on, new restaurants I've never seen, movie billboards everywhere and the weather, well, it's just perfect and I know it's perfect nearly every day of the year. I will move back here one day but for now it's the site of Leadership Convention for Close to my Heart! I cannot wait for tomorrow to start so I can see the brand new products and catalog for the Fall/Winter collection. We're going to get to play with all the new goodies too and make some incredible layouts, cards and paper crafts. How fun is my job!!! I sure hope that some of you out there are considering how this kind of excitement could be yours too. There's only two days left for our wonderful special this month that will add five free products to your new consultant kit! This is the month to join us. Check out the sidebar for more info. While I have a minute here I'd like to welcome two new consultants to my team, Karen Noble and Alicia Olson, girls I'm so happy to have you!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Off to Leadership Convention

Hello everyone! I won't have as much computer access this week while I am enjoying Close to my Heart's Leadership Convention. I'll be getting to see all the new products and play with them plus a big sneak peek at our brand new catalog. I'm more excited than I can say but it will mean I'll be away from my blog for the most part and will have only the Stamp of the Month blog hop tutorial for you until I get back. I will try to post and share a bit though so I hope you'll keep tuning in.

Monday, July 27, 2009

August Constant Campaign!! Wowee!

Talk about a great special! This is something I know I've been waiting for! From August 3-17th if you order $100 worth of Close to my Heart products you will receive not only the August Stamp of the Month for free but ALSO a current My Reflections Level 2 paper packet! Not only that but Close to my Heart will charge you no shipping or tax on either item, whoo hoo! That's a $35.90 value for FREE! Now here's the fine print:

There is a limit of one free paper packet and Stamp of the Month per qualifying order. No shipping/handling or tax on free items, but shipping/handling and tax will still apply on the $100 US/$124.95 CAN qualifying purchase. The paper packet will be chosen for you by Close to my Heart but will be a current and popular paper packet!

Now take a look at your catalog (or the catalog online here) and start your wish list! Make sure that you check out our August Stamp of the Month blog hop on August 1st to see wall the wonderful things you can make with the stamp set too!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

July layout!

I've been watching the poll at the bottom of this blog and I see that people want to see some layout tutorials so I put one together. I'm very happy to have had this assignment because sometimes I get so busy making cards that I forget that scrapbooking is my first love. I had some brand new pictures that I wanted to use so I was eager to put together this tutorial and layout for you. I used the papers from the Moon Doggie Level Two paper pack because the reds and blues matched my pictures pretty well. If you are always looking for a perfect match, you're going to get frustrated, close enough is good enough! I always start layouts with a paper choice then go onto trimming my photos. I like to focus in on the people in pictures so I cut these three down smaller so they'd fit easily on a one page layout.

After staring at the papers and pictures for a few minutes and getting no inspiration I pulled out an old album I did and flipped through it for an idea. I turn to my former layouts or the Close to my Heart idea books whenever I get stuck like that, one or the other will spark an idea. I found a layout in my album that used paper to make a smaller space to work with on the page by layering papers. To do that first choose your base page. For me it was the Indian Corn Blue cardstock. Cut the Cranberry cardstock, 1 inch off from one side, 1 inch off the bottom. Cut the Indian Corn Blue patterned paper 2 inches off one side, 2 inches off the bottom.

If you like distressing go ahead and do that to the papers now with a sponge and the Indian Corn Blue or Desert Sand.

Glue the Cranberry cardstock in the middle of the Indian Corn Blue cardstock. Glue the Indian Corn Blue patterned paper in the middle of the Cranberry.

If you have Magic Mesh, attach a strip of it about an inch down on the patterned paper. If you don't have it, take a strip of the Indian Corn Blue cardstock 3 inches by 10 inches and glue it down instead. Mat your photos on the Cranberry cardstock leaving 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch border around your photos. (Your photos won't be the exact sizes of mine so I won't give you measurements on those, this pattern works for most sizes under 4" by 6"). Distress mats.

Fit your photos in this general placement. Leave room under the bottom right photo for a row of eyelets or brads. Put top right photo high enough to leave room for some journaling in between the top and bottom photo. Now this is the point where I usually get stuck and have to turn to my stamps to add an embellishment. I went to my monthly word puzzle stamp sets because they never let me down!

Put a row of brads across the bottom of the patterned paper about inch apart. Any color brads or eyelets you own that match the paper will work.

Using your cutting system, cut a 2 1/4" circle out of Colonial White paper, cut a 2 1/2" circle out of Cranberry cardstock and a 2 3/4" circle out of Indian Corn Blue cardstock.

Using the August Word Puzzle and July Word Puzzle stamp sets, stamp the sun with Cranberry ink and the word "July" with Indian Corn Blue on the Colonial White circle.

Distress the circles then attach together as shown below. P.S. The sun stamp doesn't always have to be yellow!

Stamp the long star border in Cranberry on some Colonial White cardstock, cut it out carefully.

Attach the star border down first right in the middle of the Magic Mesh on the left hand side of your page, center your circle embellishment in between the patterned paper edge and the photo.

Attach ric rac down at the bottom of your page in between the 2nd photo and the row of brads. I used Tombow actually on the back of the ricrac to glue it down.

Now cut a piece of Colonial White cardstock in a thin journaling block that will fit in between the first and the third pictures, journal on it and attach. Okay, you're done! An easy layout!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Creative minds are rarely tidy. - Anonymous

Okay, so I must have a very creative mind! After completing a card and a layout to post this next week for you, my scrapping area ended up looking like this! I have a bad habit of not putting anything away as I work as you can see!

My Top Ten Favorite Paper Sets

I'm a paper addict. I should show you the cratefuls of scrapbooking paper I own but it would take all day to get it all out and too much of my digital space to film it. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit but not much. I surely do love paper so the final top ten list has to be about my obsession.

Choosing ten favorite papers from all of the exceptional sets that Close to my Heart has wasn't easy but this is what I came up with in no particular order.

1) Back Country - If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know that I use this paper a lot. One of the reasons is that it's full of blues and greens, my favorite color combination. It's also a darker paper and I feel darker papers lend a real richness to my scrapbook pages.

2) Moon Doggie - First of all, the name, isn't it too cute? It reminds me of the seven years I lived in California. I even married a guy who surfs so I have a soft spot for any beachy paper. This one is special too because it has a really rustic look to it. It is wonderful for all your summer pages.

3) Bella - Are you a Twilight fan? I am, the books, not the movie. Anyway, the main character's name is Bella so I was really tickled when I saw that Close to my Heart had a Bella paper in their summer catalog. This paper is just plain pretty and I love, love, love the smokey plum of the flower design.

4) Emporium - This was my favorite paper from the last catalog. I remember that my mom ordered the Emporium set with the Stickease. I'd bought the paper but not the stickers but when I saw hers I had to have them too, they were so cool! Again, this is a set with lots of blues and greens so I've used a lot of it. It's my understanding it's Jeanette Lynton's (our founder's) favorite too.

5) Unforgettable - One of the reasons I fell in love with Unforgettable was because it went with the Aspiration set I adore. The second reason was that it had an Asian look to it. My daughter is all into anything Asian and so I knew I'd be doing a lot of her pictures with this paper.

6) Simple Pleasures - This paper is beautiful, it's beachy but goes with so many other pictures than beach ones. It's rich looking, deep blues and beige's, it truly enhances any photos you put on it. One of the first and most popular cards I ever taught were made with this paper.

7) Sarsaparilla - The Old West in intriguing, isn't it? A few years back my parents took all their kids and grandkids to a place called the Double J Ranch here in Michigan. It was a real ranch and for three days we got to mingle with real cowboys. All of my pictures from that vacation are going on this paper. Despite the western look, though, it doesn't have to be used just for cowboy pictures, it's one of the things I love about CTMH paper, even the themed paper is versatile.

8) Game On - How impossible is it to come up with a paper that works with any sport? Well, this is the one and I still don't get how Close to my Heart did it but this paper goes with any sports pictures, it's amazing! Might have something to do with the color scheme, browns, blacks and white.

9) Silhouette - And speaking of brown, black and white, here is what has to be the most popular Close to my Heart set. I don't know anyone who doesn't rave about this paper. It's stripes and polka dots and only three colors but it's just the right mix. This is the one for your black and white photos, that's for sure.

10) Life Delights - This is an old favorite, pinks and purples and blues, oh my! If you've got girls, this is the paper for you. It is just downright pretty and you can never go wrong using it to make a card.

Those are my favorites, what are yours? Comment and let me know! By the way, all this will probably change in a couple of days when I get the sneak peek of our new Fall/Winter catalog at the Leadership Convention I'm attending! I'm a bit fickle that way!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Top Ten ExcIusive Inks I can't live without!

Okay, yesterday I talked about my favorite stamp sets, today I want to give you my list of the 10 ink colors I can't do without. Of course, I have all of them because it's one of the perks of this job, free products!! I hardly paid for any of them but I know you are not all consultants as I am (although you could be!!!) so here are the ones I recommend if you can only have ten! Click on the color name and see a much better picture of the ink than I could have taken!

Number Ten...Smokey Plum. I believe you have to have at least one version of each of the six colors of the rainbow so this is the purple. It's a gorgeous color and makes perfect stamped flowers.

Number Nine...Outdoor Denim. Who doesn't love a pair of jeans, they always feel good and go with everything. Outdoor Denim is the same way!

Number Eight...Sweet Leaf. It's just the prettiest green ever and looks awesome on leaf stamps!

Number Seven...Creme Brulee. This is the yellow I love the most, along with Sorbet and Tulip it seems to be very popular in so many of our papers and you know, you want to match the papers!

Number Six...Sorbet. This is my favorite version of orange. I know, I know, it's nice to have a bright orange for Halloween but, believe me, you'll use Sorbet more.

Number Five...Tulip. Tulip is red but not too red. It is bright enough for kids stamps and papers but not too loud for flowers and hearts. You'll use it a lot.

Number Four...Blush. Pink isn't exactly one of the rainbow colors but we sure use it often, don't we? You need some soft colors in your palette and this is one of the best.

Number Three...White Daisy. It's a pigment ink which is different from the rest but it has to be, to work on dark colors. Remember when using it to either dry it with a heat gun, emboss it or let it set out for awhile to make sure it won't smear.

Number Two...Chocolate. You've got to have a brown, especially if you are big time into distressing like me. Chocolate is the most popular of our browns for good reason, it's wonderful!

Number One...Black. Now if you could only afford one ink pad, this is the one to get because you can always add color and decorations to your stamped image with other mediums such as markers, chalks, colored pencils, etc. once you've laid down the base in black. It can be used to distress too so make sure this is your number one ink purchase.

Okay, there's my list, do you agree? I'd love to hear your picks for the top ten ink colors so leave a comment!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

10 stamp sets I can't live without!

I know sometimes it can be overwhelming to look at all the stamp sets in our catalog (online or right in your hands) and wonder which one to buy. Which one will you use again and again to make the money you pay worth it? Well, I sat down this morning and went through my stamp sets (I own about 70) and decided on the ten I just couldn't live without (at least until the new catalog comes out in September).

First up is Extreme Happiness. I loved the name right off and I could see that it would look so great used with our Moon Doggie paper, but you know what? I've yet to use it with my Moon Doggie paper. Instead I've used it with so many other paper packs. I love the flowers in this set! It's so cool that I can make the center a different color than the petals and the stamin a different color than both of the other parts without having to use masking or coloring it in with markers or any other way to make a multi-colored image. It's so easy to put this together. Close to my Heart gives you the flower in two sizes and there's a floral border and great definition that looks fabulous on cards!

Next up is the Say it in Style stamp set. It started out as a stamp of the month and was extremely popular so CTMH made it available anytime. It has 36 word or word phrases on it that fit nearly any occasion. As you can see, I've used this set over and over and over again.

Card Commentary has four beautiful words that work both on cards and in scrapbooks to add that romantic touch. I love how drawn out the cursive is on these, they fit anywhere!

This Gratitude set seems an odd choice, I know, but the reason I can't live without it is because it's the best random stamping set and you know I love random stamping. These flowers mix together so well that I've made tons of cards the cheap way with just a few inks and this set. You have to have it if you are random stamper like me!

When I first started scrapbooking twelve years ago there was a company called Chatterbox that had these journaling templates where you would draw light pencil lines in the grooves so you could write straight on your paper. I never got over my need to write in straight lines so I have to have the Journaling Jots set just for that reason. It has a stamp that has long lines and one with short, just a perfect fit for wherever I need to do my journaling. A must have.

The Party Invitation set has been used constantly as you can tell below. Since I make the invitations for my hostesses this set has come in handy so many times, one quick way to make an invitation is to cut a 5 1/2 by 4 1/4 card, stamp the word "party" three times horizontally and one time vertically in different colors on the card and you have your invitation! The four words fill up the whole card, stamp the invitation block inside and you're finished.

Adorning Corners is self-describing, it really does adorn your corners. How many times have you completed a layout and you look at it and the corner is missing something? This is the perfect set to fill the corner of a card or layout OR you can also connect these designs together to make beautiful art patterns on your page. I find I use them the most on my accordian and flip albums with run 6" by 6", they fill those pages beautifully.

You need a holiday set. Nothing says Christmas like a handmade card. I like this Christmas Melodies set in particular because it has a lot of variety and I don't have to do much in the way of coloring in the images which many holiday stamps require. This set is also perfect for gift tags, stamp them, cut them, attach a ribbon and you have a very unique tag for your presents.

Another stamp set that every card-maker should have is one for birthday cards. I would say that birthday cards have to be the number one people make, don't you think so? I love the stamp of the month set for August (no link yet cause it's not available until then), It's Your Day. I'm not sure you know about our stamp of the month program. When you place an order in August you can get a discount on the stamp of the month, 25% off if you spend $25, 50% off if you spend $50, 75% off if you spend $75 and absolutely free if you spend $100. It's a special bargain for a special stamp. We have a stamp of the month every month, this month it's You've Got Flair. If you are interested in this or the August stamp of the month, contact me or order online!

This is the Field Trip alphabet set I just bought. If you are a scrapbooker you need an alphabet set and it doesn't have to be this one but certainly need one that is large enough to stamp titles on your layouts. This is a nice medium size so I can use it not only for large titles but also for sub-titles. What's great about stamping your alphabets instead of buying alphabet never run out of any letter!!

Well, there you have it, my top ten. Remember that you need our acrylic blocks for the stamp sets but again, you don't need all of them. I can help you with choosing the right sizes for the stamp sets you want, email me at if you need help. I'd love to hear about your favorite stamps too! Don't forget to take part in the poll at the bottom of the page and also check me out on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Time is running out!

This is the month that you want to sign up to be a Close to my Heart consultant! Why? Well, besides the extra money, the camadarie, the steady flow of free products, the cruises, getting a chance to get out of the house, and a thousand other reasons, this month only, you can choose five of these for FREE!!!

My Acrylix® Thank You Stamp Set (retail value $22.95)
Magic Moments Scrapbook Kit (retail value $34.95)
Basic Textured Cardstock Combo Pack (retail value $14.95)

Life Delights Memory Showcase (retail value $12.95)
My Originals® Hello Birdie Card Kit (retail value $12.95)

Creative Basics™ Silhouette Collection (retail value $8.95)
HeartFelt™ Whimsy Die-Cuts (retail value $9.95)
All-Out Adventure Rub-Ons (retail value $9.95)
Window Charms™ Squares (retail value $9.95)

Make sure you check out the "Are you not into mysteries?" post on the sidebar of this blog for more details on how you can get $315 worth of products for just $99 plus shipping and tax. I can tell you from personal experience that this is the most wonderful company to work for. I would love to have you on my team no matter where you live in the U.S. I will support you in every way and we'll have fun!!! You have until the end of July to take advantage of our Favorite Five extras! Contact me now and we'll start you off on a rewarding new career!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Interest Poll

I've attached a poll down at the bottom of the page. Please let me know what types of posts you'd like to see more of on my blog, thanks!!

One pattern - Three Looks - Card Three

Alright, this is the third card I made from the same pattern. This time I'm using random stamping. Cut a 6" by 6" card front using colonial white paper and cut a 6" by 12" piece of colonial white, score it at 6" and fold to make the card base.

I used the Gear Up set to randomly stamp the 5 3/4" by 5 3/4" paper but I haven't taken you through it step by step for a good reason. This very set and random stamping are taught on our Close to my Heart Art and Soul online tv show this month!! You can see exactly how to do it here!

Now that you've followed the random stamping tutorial on the Art and Soul program, attach it to a 6" by 6" piece of juniper cardstock.

We're using some of the Key to my Heart paper on this card again. Cut a piece of patterned paper from the set, 5 1/4" by 3". You will also need a piece of tulip cardstock cut 2 1/2" by 2 1/2" and three long strips of paper (sorbet) 11 1/2" by 2 1/4", (juniper) 11 1/2" by 1 1/2", and (tulip) 11 1/2" by 1/2". Cut a colonial white piece of cardstock 3 inches in diameter and a tulip piece of cardstock, 3 1/4 inches in diameter (not shown).

Take a border punch of any type and cut along the sorbet strip and distress all pieces.

Using your dry embossing tool and trimmer lay your juniper strip down so that you can press the paper down lightly into the groove on the trimmer, do it every half inch then turn the piece over and sand to make the white core of our cardstock show. Attach it to the sorbet paper letting the fancy edge show on the top.

Glue the tulip strip on the juniper on the opposite end of where you have the ruffle.

Put the larger patterned piece 1/4" from the left hand side and 1/4" from the top of your random stamped paper.

Glue the tulip paper square piece about and inch and a half from left side, two inches from the top of the random stamped paper.

Fold your long strip around the back of the card with the ends on the front (you'll notice I turned the card this time so the strip is vertical). Glue it about 1/2 inch from the right hand side. Glue your white circle to the tulip circle and stamp a set of the "gears" from the Gear Up stamp set in the middle, you can use any of the matching colors, tulip, juniper, creme brulee or sorbet. Attach circle where the strip meets in front of the card.

Add a window charm to the middle of your circle to really make it pop! Take the "gear up to party" stamp and stamp on the polka dot paper and you're finished. Now see how three cards can look so different even with the same pattern, it's really amazing and we even used the same color and paper set on all of them and they still each look unique. There is no excuse that you need to buy a ton of stamps, paper and inks to make great cards. A few stamp sets, a set of good ink colors, papers of your choice and the Wishes book are all you need. In the next few days I'm going to recommend my favorites if you are just beginning to make cards. Tomorrow I will give you the top ten stamps I can't live without to get you started!

One Card - Three Looks - Card Two

I am big into the monochromatic look which is something you can do easily if you distress the edges of your paper. That little bit of ink around the edges will make your cardstock and patterned papers stand out from each other despite the fact that they are all the same color. The paper you see here is Key to my Heart, not currently available but I'm crossing my fingers that it will be in an upcoming catalog. The color is twilight. I apologize for the darkness of these pictures.

Cut a 12" by 6" card base, score at 6" and fold in half. Cut a piece of your paper 6" by 6" for your card front. Cut another piece of paper (mixing these up between cardstock and patterned papers) 5 1/4" by 3". You will also need a piece cut 2 1/2" by 2 1/2" and three long strips of paper 11 1/2" by 2 1/4", 11 1/2" by 1 1/2", and 11 1/2" by 1/2".

Take your largest rectangle and put about 1/4" from the top and left hand side.

Take your square piece and put it about and inch and a half from left side, two inches from the top.

Attach the three strips together, smallest on top. Glue the center of the strip on the back of your card keeping it straight and even.

Fold around the front (you might want to score it with an embossing tool), and glue it to front making the sides even, they do not need to meet in the center of the card because you'll be covering them up with a flower anyway.

Layer two of our wonderful flowers together and attach with a glue dot or two. Tie some white waxy flax through your button and use a glue dot to attach to the center of the flower.

Stamp the word "thank you" on the paper in twilight, this particular phrase is from the Gratitude set. You're done, now compare this one with yesterday's card, see how different they look even though they are the same pattern!! Keep your life simple, card-making is really easy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

One Card - Three Looks - Card One

I'll be sharing three versions of one pattern this week. Here's card number one, directions are basically the same for this as for Card Two and Three that I'll be posting on Monday and Tuesday respectively but this is a sneak preview. You will be amazed at how one pattern, even using the same color palette, can look so different. Wishes is the magic book that can make that happen! See you tomorrow!!

Cardmaker in Paradise - Finishing the Unfinished

After a very busy few days it's nice to sit down and do some creating. I reached into my unfinished box again and found a bunch of dry embossed card fronts and 5 1/2" by 4 1/4" card bases. Since I love the dry embossed look so much I was immediately inspired to finish these cards. The colors were sorbet and tulip so I went to my handy dandy paper supply and grabbed my Key to my Heart paper which uses both of these colors.

To start off you will need some colonial white cardstock, cut it 8 1/2" by 5 1/2" and score it at the 4 1/4" mark and fold in half. Cut sorbet and tulip paper 5 1/2" by 4 1/4" and take your dry embossing tool and trimmer out. Lay your paper on your trimmer about an inch over, draw your dry embossing tool down the groove trimmer, not pushing down too hard, just making a line. Move the paper over an inch and do it again. Once you are finished with that side, rotate it and do it again. Sand the paper on the raised side so it looks like the picture below.

Take out some of the Key to my Heart pattern paper, cut it 3 1/2" by 3 3/4". Cut some juniper cardstock 3 3/4" by 4". Cut a piece of colonial white cardstock 1 1/2" by 1 1/2" and a piece of juniper paper 1 3/4" by 1 3/4." Cut another colonial white 3 3/4 by 1/2", and cut another piece of juniper 3 3/4 x 1 1/2". Distress everything with a foam tool and tulip ink.

You'll need these ink colors: tulip, creme brulee and sorbet. If you want to make your flowers different colors than I used, juniper also goes with this palette.

You'll also need the Extreme Happiness stamp set (oh, I love this set).

Take the 3 3/4" by 1 1/2" piece of juniper cardstock and punch a ruffled edge on it if you like. Distress the ruffle.

On the smallest piece of cardstock, stamp the "Paradise" saying.

Attach the saying to the ruffled paper with the ruffles facing up.

Glue the patterned paper on the large juniper cardstock.

Take the large flower stamp, ink it with creme brulee and then roll the edges of the flower in tulip, this makes the flower have a lot of depth. Stamp it on the square colonial white cardstock then glue it on the juniper square.

Take the center stamp, ink it in tulip then carefully put it in the middle of the flower, doesn't have to be perfect.

Finally use sorbet ink on the stamin stamp and center it in the middle of your flower.

Glue the large square in the middle of your card front.

Attach the flower embellishment on the left hand side about an inch down from the top and 1/4 inch from the left.

Add the ruffled strip just barely up from the bottom, 1/4" from the right.

Add three sparkles on the right hand side and you are done! Easy and pretty!

So there you go, another unfinished project done! How about you?