How to Make New Friends… Out of Paper!

Papercrafting is best when you’re with friends, but it can be tricky to work around conflicting schedules and long distances. If you find you aren’t able to see your friends quite as often as you’d like, here’s an idea: Make some new ones!

Paper Pals Stamp + Thin Cuts #ctmh #papercrafting #paperpals

…out of paper of course! While these fun paper dolls won’t be a complete substitute for real-life friends (you’ll want to keep those people around!), the Paper Pals collection gives you the tools to create a whole gang of perky, cheerful buddies who are always there for you and who would be glad to help in a variety of ways! They’ll help you accent a scrapbook layout, brighten a card with their smile, or just hang out and keep you company!

 

 

The collection includes four stamp sets with coordinating Thin Cuts shapes. Use the base set to start your Paper Pal, then decorate and accessorize using the boy and girl sets. Be sure to make your paper pal a pal of their own using the Paper Pal Pets set! Each of these sets is available individually, but can also be purchased together at a discount in the Paper Pal Bundle!

Paper Pals Stamps + Thin Cuts #ctmh #papercrafting #thincuts #paperdoll

While the clothing items and accessories are packaged into “girl” and “boy” sets, most of the items can used on pals of either gender! The overalls pictured above are included in the “boy” set, but look perfectly feminine in this example. You have total control over the clothes based on your paper and ink choices.

Also, note the difference between the boy and girl hair styles: While the “boy” hair style sits on top of the head like any other paper shape, the “girl” style die cuts a slit that allows you to slide it over the head, for a more lifelike look.

 

 

These Paper Pals are so much fun to play with that before long, we’re sure your other friends will be begging you to invite them over to play, too! We hope that you’ll be a good friend and share your new pals with them. And don’t worry, you can always take satisfaction knowing that these Paper Pals were your friends first. 😉

Paper Pals Stamp + Thin Cuts #ctmh #papercrafting #scrapbooking #thincuts #paperdoll


Recipe

12″ x 12″ Yay for a Field Trip Layout
Make It from Your Heart™ Vol. 3—Pattern 4 (p. 12)
C1749 My Acrylix® Something Fierce—Cardmaking Stamp Set, C1725 My Acrylix Simply Said Stamp Set, E1039 My Acrylix® Erin’s Hand Stamp Set, Z4269 Paper Pal Bundle, X7240B Something Fierce Paper Packet, X7241B So Much Happy Paper Packet, X7242B I Heart Us Paper Packet, X6027 White Daisy Cardstock, X6028 Black Cardstock, X5986 Mint Cardstock, X5998 Canary Cardstock, X6020 Saffron Cardstock, X6005 Goldrush Cardstock, X5997 Almond Cardstock, X6025 Toffee Cardstock, X6002 Espresso Cardstock, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z6509 Candy Apple Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2896 Smoothie Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z6502 Peach Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z6501 Ballerina Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2812 Raspberry Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z6508 Bluebird Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2848 Sapphire Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2895 Lagoon Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2843 Canary Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2851 Saffron Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2823 Goldrush Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2827 Almond Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2828 Toffee Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2829 Espresso Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2831 Charcoal Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7240E Picture My Life™ Cards—Something Fierce, X7241C So Much Happy Complements, X7240C Something Fierce Complements, Z4254 So Much Happy Puffy Stickers, Z4253 Something Fierce Puffy Stickers, Z4242 Watercolor Pencils, Z1151 3-D Foam Tape, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Z1979 Marcy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen

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Create Decorative Borders for All Kinds of Artwork

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If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss for how to transform plain, straight lines on your papers into sensational, artistic statements, the Decorative Borders Thin Cuts set is the answer! These dies give you so many options for adding fun effects to your artwork. Take a look at all the unique shapes you can get from this one set:

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This first photo shows the dies in this set made to cut away the edges of your papers, leaving the rest of the piece in tact. Here you’ll see papers we’ve cut with the small scallop, the fringe border, the large scallop, and the notebook paper dies. Notice that you can repeat these cuts to add the effects to a piece of paper larger than the die, as we did with the small scallop border. Accomplish this by repositioning the die after the first cut and sending it through your embossing machine a second time.  Also note the faux stitching detail on both of the scallop borders!

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These next two dies are a bit more traditional in that they cut shapes to be used as embellishments. These borders work especially well when layered with other paper strips and accents.

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This last group we’ll call our “special effects” dies, for obvious reasons! Rather than cut a complete shape, these borders add patterns while leaving your paper intact. As we saw with the small scallop border, many of these can be repeated over large pieces of paper. Hopefully you also picked out the fun “pull tab” created by the far left die. Let’s get a closer look at what that looks like in artwork!

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The pull tab die is a great way to add an interactive element to cards and other artwork. The die is designed to leave tiny connection points down the length of the cut shape, resulting in a perforated paper shape that is easy to tear away, revealing a stamped message beneath. Because this is such a fun effect, we’ve put together a brief tutorial for adding a pull tab to a custom-made envelope.

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Start with a 5¾” x 7¾” piece of cardstock for your envelope base. Fold and score the envelope 3 3/8″ up from the bottom.

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Next, use a separate 3″ x 5¾” piece of cardstock for the envelope flap. Score the envelope flap 1″ from the top, but leave flat after scoring.

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Position the pull-tab die about 3/8″ from the right edge of the envelope flap, centered between the bottom edge and the score line. The die will extend beyond the left edge of the envelope flap, and that is just fine! Once you’ve made sure the die is parallel to the edge of the cardstock, secure it in place using washi tape. Then use your embossing machine to make the cut.

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To create the hidden sentiment that will be revealed by the pull tab, cut a 5¾” x ¾” cardstock strip and stamp the sentiment about 1″ from the right edge. For maximum effect, use a different color of cardstock for this strip of paper.

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Now attach the hidden sentiment piece to the envelope base as shown. Before gluing in place, check to make sure your sentiment will line up with the pull tab on the envelope flap and position accordingly!

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To assemble the envelope, you’ll need two more pieces of cardstock to form the sides of your envelope. Cut these both at 1″ x 3¼” and then score and fold both in half.

Attach the envelope sides and flap to your envelope base, then fold closed, gluing all pieces to the insides of your envelope.

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Next add your card and use adhesive to close the envelope flap. When adding adhesive to the inside of the envelope flap, be sure to avoid getting adhesive on the pull tab itself!

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There you have it! Have fun adding pull tabs, fringes, and lots of other decorative effects to your artwork using the Decorative Borders Thin Cuts!


Recipes:

4¼” x 5½” Merry Christmas Card (Vertical)
Z4240 My Acrylix® Oh What Fun—Cardmaking Stamp + Thin Cuts, X7238B Oh What Fun Paper Packet, X7238D Oh What Fun Coordinating Cardstock, Z2895 Lagoon Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z6503 Mint Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2805 Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z4216 Raspberry Baker’s Twine, Z4241 Thin Cuts—Decorative Borders

‘Tis the Season Envelope
C1746 My Acrylix® Oh What Fun—Cardmaking Stamp Set, X6027 White Daisy Cardstock, X5986 Mint Cardstock, Z6507 Clover Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z4241 Thin Cuts—Decorative Borders

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Treat Yourself to a Deluxe Scrapbooking Experience!

There are as many different approaches to memory keeping as there are memory keepers. We celebrate every approach and believe that whatever approach gets your stories told and your memories preserved is the best! For some that means pictures and pocket cards tucked into an Everyday Life™ album; for others it means putting together a pre-cut Cut Above® layout; for others, memory keeping also doubles as an artistic outlet incorporating different crafting techniques on a 12″ x 12″ paper canvas. Deluxe scrapbooking workshops provide this kind of creative experience for anyone who wants to add a little more “oomph” to the pages of their scrapbook.

Our Holiday Expressions idea book introduced the first two deluxe scrapbooking workshops, which featured the Boutique and ‘Tis the Season collection. Earlier this month we released a third workshop featuring the Hello Pumpkin papers used in decidedly non-Halloween artwork. Here, see for yourself:

A Deluxe Scrapbooking Experience #CTMH #CloseToMyHeart #CTMHHelloPumpkin #HelloPumpkin #scrapbooking #scrapbookingworkshop #papercraftingtechnique #scrapbook #memorykeeping #ThinCuts #diecuts

As you can see, this workshop guides you in the creation of two 2-page scrapbook layouts and two single-page scrapbook layouts, all in the 12″ x 12″ size. Each layout is made using a few papercrafting techniques, such as folding, angled cuts, and creative use of Thin Cuts dies to achieve unique effects. Take this scrapbook page, for example:

A Deluxe Scrapbooking Experience #CTMH #CloseToMyHeart #CTMHHelloPumpkin #HelloPumpkin #scrapbooking #scrapbookingworkshop #papercraftingtechnique #scrapbook #memorykeeping #ThinCuts #diecuts

There’s a lot happening on this page, but we’d like to draw your attention primarily to the circle and heart right in the center of the page. Here’s a quick look at the technique that went into creating this accent.

A Deluxe Scrapbooking Experience #CTMH #CloseToMyHeart #CTMHHelloPumpkin #HelloPumpkin #scrapbooking #scrapbookingworkshop #papercraftingtechnique #scrapbook #memorykeeping #ThinCuts #diecut #cuttlebug

Starting with a 2¾” square of Peach cardstock, we used the 2¼” stitched circle die to cut only half of a circle. The trick to only cutting half of a shape is all about how you feed the die through your machine. As you can see in the photo above, only part of the circle is sandwiched between the plates, resulting in a partial cut like this:

Thanks to our beautiful two-toned cardstock, when you fold back the cut part, you get a lightly contrasting color. We then layered this piece over a piece of Ballerina cardstock to add another shade and topped it off with the adorable heart sticker. Neat, right? And that technique is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our deluxe scrapbooking. Take a closer look at the other layouts you’ll make as part of this workshop:

A Deluxe Scrapbooking Experience #CTMH #CloseToMyHeart #CTMHHelloPumpkin #HelloPumpkin #scrapbooking #scrapbookingworkshop #papercraftingtechnique #scrapbook #memorykeeping #ThinCuts #diecutshello-layoutmoments-layout

The helpful instructions that accompany the workshop show you how to replicate each technique, guiding you step-by-step through the creative process. If you’d like to try something new for your memory keeping, we invite you to check out the Hello Pumpkin Deluxe Scrapbooking Workshop, and see what deluxe scrapbooking is all about!

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31 Memories to Capture This December

From photos to journaling and everything in between, it’s no secret that at Close To My Heart we love and value all things to do with memory keeping. One approach that is especially popular this type of year is the photo-a-day method, where you take a photo every day based on a specific prompt for that day. With all of the magical moments that inevitably happen around the holidays, December is a perfect time to take on this style!

Days of December first page #ctmhdaysofdecember #minialbum #photoadayTo help you fully embrace this memory keeping method, we’ve had a beautiful 6″ x 8″ pocket-scrapbooking album designed especially for the upcoming season. With room for photos and journaling on every page, The Days of December album is specifically designed to capture each day of the month, from the first through the thirty-first.

Our goal with this album is to take the work out of memory keeping so that you are completely prepared to enjoy the memory making part of the season. In addition to providing instructions to create the entire album (check out all of the completed layouts here), we thought we could help you fill its pages as well! Here are 31 prompts we’ve come up with to inspire your journaling and photography this December.

Days of December photo prompts #ctmhdaysofdecember #31days #photoaday

Use these prompts in order, one per day, or switch them up to make the list work for you! Whatever you do, enjoy the moments, make your memories, and then look back on them in a beautiful album time and time again.

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School Photos. 3 Reasons we LOVE them!

Today’s blog post comes from our beloved friend, Stacy Julian! Stacy is a recognized leader in the scrapbooking industry. She is the founding editor of Simple Scrapbooks magazine and the visionary founder of Big Picture Scrapbooking. After getting her initial start into the papercrafting world through Close To My Heart, Stacy is coming “home” to combine her ideas and training into a product line that will launch with Close To My Heart in 2018! We could not be more thrilled about this partnership!

We love Stacy for her liberating philosophy and simple step-by-step thematic approach that unlocks a person’s creativity and helps them easily create stories out of life’s special moments.

school photos #ctmh #closetomyheart #schoolpohotos #backtoschool #chalkboard #firstday

Photo Tip: Sit kids down on the front steps or on a bench. This allows you to get ALL of them and still move in closer with your lens.

One of my FAVORITE things to do is scroll through Instagram beginning in late August through the 2nd week of September. Why? Pictures like this one. I know I’m not the only one who loves these because I see them posted from all corners of the globe. And, whether you’ve got the cute “Pinterest” sign or not, school pics are an almost universal way to celebrate life and the passage of time. As a scrapbooker, I’m what you call “way behind” in my efforts to officially and consistently document school-related memories, but as a mom, I dutifully take these photos and I treasure them. This, by the way, is the first step to successful documentation—so I passed that test, phew!

Today, I want to share THREE reasons why we love school photos so much. I’m also going to share some tips for taking them and keeping track of them.

ONE. Fresh Starts.

New clothes, new shoes, new lunch boxes and a shiny, new year full of possibilities. Kids like NEW and Moms like the chance to start fresh…

First day of school pictures are particularly FUN because kids tend to be all polished up and looking their best. They might have a new haircut, or a new backpack and they definitely feel a new and palpable sense of excitement for new teachers, new friends, new adventures and maybe even new subjects.

School Photos #ctmh #closetomyheart #schoolphotos

Photo Tip: Don’t let the weather or other unexpected circumstances get you down. This is real life we’re documenting, after all! Rain and overcast skies result in fantastic light for photo-taking!

School Photos #ctmh #closetomyheart #schoolphotos #naturalpose

Photo Tip: Look for interesting shadows or reflections and capture a few of the details that your child is most excited about! In this case, new VANS!

TWO. Marked Progression.

For me, the start of a new school year is also the chance to STOP and take notice of who my kids are and how they are growing and becoming. Each school year is a milestone of progression and personality that lends structure to the joy (and task) of looking back. I’m not sure when exactly my focus changed from anticipation of all the new milestones that lay ahead for my young family to a feeling of almost dread that those same milestones were moving by at an ever alarming rate. But, now as I look primarily back on my children’s childhoods, I’m SUPER grateful that I have these kinds of photos. AND … I’m super ok, that these photos are not perfect. We often have unrealistic expectations for rituals like back-to-school and we feel discouraged if and when we forget to take a specific photo or find our efforts lacking in some other way. Trust me. I am now an older (and wiser) mom, and I’m telling you … it does not matter! You will be grateful for any and all of the photos you have.

Note: To illustrate growth and progression, simply compare and contrast photos side by side. Look for photos taken a few years a part (or ten) to show what has changed and what has stayed the same! Here is my son, Taft. Getting off the Kindergarten bus (2007) and pulling out of the driveway (2017) on his first day of 10th grade. Time marches on, but the photos allow me push the pause button from time to time!

Before you know it, there’s a fourth-grade girl looking back at her first-grade self. Ack!!

THREE. Easy Connections.

Even as it evolves, school is one of those things that stays pretty much the same over the years. For this reason, school photos can help you illustrate great stories. I enjoy looking for opportunities to draw connections between children and the everyday realities of school.

Note: Here’s my oldest attempting to open his high school locker for the first time and my third posing in front of this middle-school locker on dress up day. And …

school photos #ctmh #closetomyheart #stacyjulian #schoolphotos #lockerswithfriends #schoollockers

Photo Tip: Half the photography battle is getting over yourself and your own embarrassment. If you want the photo, ask for it. I’ve found that kids now expect me to be there and to be taking pictures. They get used to it!

… my youngest, who got up extra early this year, so he could meet his friends and they could all be first in line to get lockers next to each other. What a clever way to make sure you run into your friends in the hall.

 

School, like life is in the details. Look for the little, everyday things that don’t feel particularly special that are a part of the bigger, “school life” story.

My final and best tip is to spend a little time each week with your digital photos. Create a “school” tag or keyword and add that to a few of your best photos each year. You don’t have to be perfect with this, before you are richly rewarded. When I searched for school photos I was able to pull up (almost) all of the images I’ve shared in this post. I LOVE that!

school photos #ctmh #closetomyheart #schoolphotos #math #everydaymoments

Photo Tip: Use the silent feature on your phone camera. They didn’t even know I took this!

Note: As I was finishing up this post, my son was at the kitchen table helping his friend with math. Don’t forget that life is constantly unfolding all around us and school-related photos happen all year, so the VERY best thing you can do is simply train yourself to be aware of the “nothing special here” moments and recognize an opportunity to freeze time!

Happy home-working and picture-taking to one and all!

 

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DIY Mini Album Ideas featuring Some Kinda Wonderful

We love seeing just how much spunk and charm the Some Kinda Wonderful collection adds to every project that we use it on. Today we’ve got a duo of fun and fresh mini albums that feature this collection.

The first mini album follows a simple formula: sheets of cardstock and Some Kinda Wonderful paper that we’ve cut down and then folded in half. After decorating our pages, it was a simple matter of stitching it down the center to hold the whole thing together. Page through the album to see how great the stickers and black glitter shapes from the Some Kinda Wonderful Complements work as titles and decorations. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a cameo appearance by our April Stamp of the Month!

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Our second mini album looks a little fancier, but it was just as simple to make—maybe even simpler! We cut the pages using our Cricut® Artbooking collection, which has all the shapes you need to create a coordinated mini album. The pages even come with the holes cut into them, making it easy to bind them together with ribbon.

1704-mifyh-some-kinda-wonderful-friends-book

These mini-album ideas are easy to replicate using any paper collection, but there are only a few days left to get the Some Kinda Wonderful collection! Head to Closetomyheart.com or talk to your Close To My Heart Consultant to get this great collection before it’s gone!

Recipes:

#Happy 2017 Mini Album

My Acrylix® Flock Together Stamp Set (S1704), Some Kinda Wonderful Paper Packet (X7217B), White Daisy Cardstock (1385), Lemon Cardstock (X5785), Raspberry Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad (Z2812), Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad (Z3271,) Some Kinda Wonderful Complements (X7217C), Black and White Dots (Z3314), White Twine (Z3216), Watercolor Paints (Z3132), Paintbrush Set (Z3188), 1″ Circle Punch (Z1999), Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen (Z1979)

Friends Mini Album

Some Kinda Wonderful Paper Packet (X7217B), Some Kinda Wonderful Complements (X7217C), Black and White Dots (Z3314), Black & Gold Ribbon (Z3197), Cricut® Artbooking Collection (Z3169)

Cricut Cuts
Artbooking
6 ½” Photo Mat-1 <3> (cut 12, p. 40)

From Jeanette: Thank You

Close To My Heart Consultants are a special bunch. I’ve always felt that this company attracts a special type of person, and this has been proven to me time and time again.

Last month we held our annual incentive trips for our North American and Australasian Consultants. Consultants who earn these trips are among the most dedicated and the hardest working Consultants in the company. This year’s trip rewarded our Australasian Consultants with a trip to Tahiti, while our North Americans went to the RIU Palace Pacifico hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I heard from many of the trip attendees that both destinations were spectacular and that each made for a wonderful incentive trip. I wish I could have attended with them!

Monica, who attended the Puerto Vallarta trip, came back to the office afterward with a lovely surprise—the incentive trip earners had gone in on a gift for me:

 

This exquisite bracelet was a generous gift from some very dear friends of mine. It is a gift that I will treasure. I certainly didn’t expect anything like it—after all, the incentive trip is my opportunity to express my appreciation for these hard-working Consultants, not vice-versa! But the gift served as a reminder of the caring, loyal, wonderful people that make the Close To My Heart community so unique.

To all who contributed to this gift, thank you for being so thoughtful and kind. To all of you incentive trip earners, thank you for striving for greatness; I hope you’re all working hard toward next year’s fabulous trips—our North American Consultants will be heading for Thailand, while our Australasians are taking a Mediterranean cruise; both trips are sure to be amazing!

To all of you Close To My Heart Consultants out there, thank you for the work you put into your business and for helping me to build up my dream. Finally, to everyone who is part of the Close To My Heart community, thank you for sharing in this passion of mine. I hope that you each find it to be as rewarding and fulfilling as I do.

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Valentine’s Day Ideas for School

Valentine’s Day holds a special place in our hearts because it’s a celebration of card-giving and gift-giving—two of our favorite things! Combine that with loads of sugary sweets, and we’re in heaven! 🙂

Since we love both sweets AND all things paper, we’ve whipped up a few fun ideas for your kids’ school valentines that combine the two—and of course, we’ve also got a cute gift idea for school teachers as well! For these Valentine’s projects, we turned to our treat-themed Sugar Rush papers and embellishments.

Kids emoji Valentine's Day cards for their school class #diy #handmade #cards #valentines #valentinesday #emojis #school #ctmh #closetomyheart

If you’re looking to make lots of cards for your kids’ classes, try making smaller 3″ x 3″ cards. Small cards will help make your paper stretch further, and you can decorate them much quicker! Attach a treat to the inside or back of each card, and you’re set!

We chose to use the Emojis stamp set because we wanted our cards to be playful—and what could be better for that than silly faces? 🙂 To round off the cards, we used some of our Sugar Rush Complements and dots, which perfectly match the papers. Easy peasy.

Have fun “testing” your kids’ candy while designing your own mini card designs—and maybe even let your kids get in on the fun!

School teacher Valentine's Day gift ideas #gifttag #giftideas #ValentinesDay #valentines #school #teachergift #ctmh #closetomyheart

Don’t forget to give those school teachers something sweet, too!  A little thoughtfulness can go a long way!

How about a cupcake with a cute tag? This tag uses our Sugar Rush—Cardmaking stamp set, which has sentiments that are perfect for pairing with desserts.

School teacher Valentine's Day gift ideas #gifttag #giftideas #ValentinesDay #valentines #school #teachergift #ctmh #closetomyheart

When you’re done using this stamp set for creating a school teacher gift, use it to create Valentine’s Day cards and gift tags for your sweetheart, kids, and friends. Then use it again and again for birthdays and other occasions all year long wherever a sweet dessert is involved. 😉


Recipes

3″ x 3″  Valentine’s Cards
C1669 My Acrylix® Emojis Stamp Set, X7215B Sugar Rush Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X7215C Sugar Rush Complements, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2810 Blossom Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2843 Canary Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3310 Sugar Rush Dots, Z3311 Sugar Rush Washi Pack

3 ¼” x 2″ Valentine’s Tags
C1671 My Acrylix® Sugar Rush—Cardmaking Stamp Set, X7215B Sugar Rush Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X7215C Sugar Rush Complements, Z2810 Blossom Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3310 Sugar Rush Dots, Z3216 White Twine, Z3286 Adventure Ribbon Pack, Z3169 Cricut® Artbooking Collection

Cricut® Shapes:
Artbooking
3″ Photo Mat 1 <AllStar> (cut 2, p.83)

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From Brian Holman: Making a Difference with Operation Smile™

Read Close To My Heart COO Brian Holman's story about going to the Philippines on an Operation Smile medical mission. #ctmhsharethelove

A few years ago, I found myself travelling to the Philippines with Close To My Heart Consultant Kelly Hammonds for a truly one-of-a-kind opportunity to be part of an Operation Smile™ medical mission. My trip coincided with Operation Smile’s 30th anniversary, and since their first mission was to the Philippines, it was somewhat of a special occasion for them. For me, it was an unforgettable experience that let me see up-close the huge difference that this organization makes.Read Close To My Heart COO Brian Holman's story about going to the Philippines on an Operation Smile medical mission. #ctmhsharethelove

One of the most impressive things about Operation Smile to me is the way they incorporate local professionals into their missions. They don’t just come in and do it all themselves, but they involve local people, educating them and building up the medical establishment itself through the work they do. I find this to be such an ennobling and empowering part of what they do all around the world.Read Close To My Heart COO Brian Holman's story about going to the Philippines on an Operation Smile medical mission. #ctmhsharethelove

Maybe it’s just the data geek in me talking, but I was also really impressed by the organization’s emphasis on record-keeping. When you think about the thousands of children who are being operated on every year, you can understand how important those records can be—especially when you consider that many of those children may require multiple surgeries. In the case of a child who has a cleft lip and a cleft palate, the cleft palate needs to be closed first, and then the cleft lip can be addressed in a subsequent surgery. Operation Smile’s commitment to methodical record-keeping really stood out to me as an indication of their trustworthiness and of their commitment to each individual.Read Close To My Heart COO Brian Holman's story about going to the Philippines on an Operation Smile medical mission. #ctmhsharethelove

Seeing all the people that came out in hopes of receiving medical care for their families gave me a new perspective on how big of a difference this organization makes. The level of sacrifice that the individuals made just to be there, travelling long distances, leaving family and jobs behind, really struck me. For many of these children, Operation Smile provides the only chance they may get to receive the medical attention that they need.Brian-Holman-Operation-Smile-Philippines-6

These twin brothers illustrate the level of sacrifice shown by these families. They were selected for surgery, but what you don’t see in the picture is that their mother also had a cleft lip. When the medical team offered to perform a surgery on her as well, she declined because she was the only one there to care for her boys. She was just one of many mothers who were there putting their children’s needs above their own.

Going on this mission taught me something else, too. I’m no medical professional, but even I was able to help in a small way, by helping take care of the children while they waited for their turn, and also after the surgeries. This baby’s mother was planning on staying there with her child all night without eating or resting, but since I was there, I was able to give her a break just by holding the baby while she went out to get something to eat. It was a small thing, but that’s what all of these missions come down to: small things that make a big difference.

You don’t have to be a surgeon or a nurse to help these children; you don’t have to fly around the world or even leave your house! Operation Smile takes care of those parts—all they need from us, from you and me, are donations to make it possible. Close To My Heart is committed to helping Operation Smile receive these donations. With each donation from you make, whether from rounding up your order or by purchasing this month’s special stamp set, My Acrylix® Share The Love, you are helping them, too. Thank you for helping us make a difference.Brian-Holman-Operation-Smile-Philippines-10

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