What a year it has been! This has been a year of change. But through all that has happened, it has become clearer than ever just how vital this company is. I am so grateful to see Close To My Heart continue to make a difference in the lives of crafters all around the world.
How grateful I am, too, for my treasured family, for precious friends, and for my Savior, Jesus Christ. Together with this company, these are the greatest blessings and joys of my life. These are the things I am celebrating this holiday season.
I wish you a holiday filled with happiness and love. May it be a time filled with joyful connections and heart-warming traditions as we bring this year to a close and move into a new one.
One of the most satisfying parts of crafting is finding the perfect accents to polish things off. Even the simplest embellishments can go a long way but, because we like to take creativity just that extra step further, today we’re going to show you how we’ve heat embossed on acrylic shapes to open up even more embellishment possibilities!
Follow along with Karen, our Art Studio Director, in the video below and see how you, too, can effectively apply heat embossing to our acrylic shapes.
This technique is quite simple, taking only a few minutes, and adds a unique element to any project. In the video, Karen shows that you can change the color of the acrylic shapes by covering them with embossing ink and a colored embossing powder.
For a thicker, glossier finish, you can re-coat your shape in embossing powder while the first layer is still wet and re-heat it. (If you choose to re-coat your shape, be careful—it will be hot!)
There is another way to heat emboss acrylic shapes in order to make them coordinate with any Close To My Heart exclusive color scheme that you may we working with. Did you know that you can pair any of our Exclusive Inks™ pigment pads with clear embossing powder to achieve that exact same exclusive color of the ink? (Yes, really!) It works on paper and it works on our acrylic shapes!
Keep in mind that as you heat acrylic shapes with a heat tool, even our top-of-the-line acrylic, they may develop a tendency to warp or bend. While this can add a fun twist, if you plan for it intentionally, make sure to apply heat with your heat tool intermittently rather than continuously if you want to keep the original shape.
Give this embellishing technique a try with our beautiful Aurora Scrapbooking Workshop and enjoy the rest of this exciting National Scrapbooking Month!
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!
…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!
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. 😉
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:
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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:
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:
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.
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:
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!
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!
To 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.
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.
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.
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.
Photo Tip: Encourage your kids to “relax” so you don’t get stiff, unnatural poses.
Photo Tip: You don’t always need the whole kid; especially when you want to focus on other details, like new clothes, shoes, and that adorable stance!
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.
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!
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.
Photo Tip: Sometimes you don’t want your child to look at you and sometimes you do (next photo).
Photo Tip: Take a variety of posed and unposed shots and look for context. Getting to and from is part of school!
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 …
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
#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)
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.