We are pulling out all the stops for this year’s National Scrapbooking Day! In fact, we’ve got so much planned that we need to spread the celebration out over two days! Join our fun-packed online event, April 30 and May 1, on the Close To My Heart Facebook page. We’ll spend our time completing five amazing creative projects, sharing art tips and techniques, and giving away $1,000 in product!
Viewing the event is free of charge and free of any sort of obligation. However, if you wish to take part in any of our giveaways, you must comment, like, or share during the live video feed (we need to know who’s watching in order to pick winners 😉). Throughout the event, winners will be randomly selected, and their names will be displayed on the screen.
If you haven’t ordered your workshop kits yet, you can still participate in the giveaways, even if your kits arrive after the live dates. Just tune-in when we’re live and let us know you’re there. Once your kits arrive, you will find the recording of the events our Facebook page to follow along at your own pace.
We will be scrapbooking, cardmaking, and so much more over the course of this can’t-miss event. Take a look at the projects we will be creating in the itinerary, below!
Use the materials in the More Than You’ll Ever Know scrapbooking workshop kit to create one single page and three two-page coordinating 12″ x 12″ layouts. The workshop kit comes with the exclusive D-size stamp set shown above, as well as exclusive die-cut overlays and stencils designed especially for these projects!
Download the cutting diagrams and assembly instructions below.
These little piggies are only available through this workshop kit, and they can’t wee-wee-wee-wee-wait for you to bring them all the way home! Using the materials in the These Little Piggies album workshop kit, create the adorable pages of this 4″ x 4″ album.
Download the cutting diagrams and assembly instructions below.
Feeling a little cheeky? The exclusive stamp set included in the Cheerful Humor cardmaking workshop kit is full of just the right amount of sass! Use the materials in this kit to create 20 standard size cards, two each of 10 designs, that will easily brighten anyone’s day!
Download the cutting diagrams and assembly instructions below.
This last workshop and its fun stamp set is for those girls who are just out celebrating life! With the materials in the Party Girl scrapbooking workshopkit, create one single page and three two-page coordinating 12″ x 12″ layouts that capture the festive essence of being you.
Download the cutting diagrams and assembly instructions below.
Follow along with us, today, as we give you an inside scoop into our creative process for designing and creating embellishment clusters of your own!
Embellishment clusters are large, sometimes intricate, paper accent pieces that are capable of standing on their own but can also be incorporated into larger projects, like scrapbook layouts, cards, or gift bags. We call these accents embellishment clusters because we are essentially putting several individual embellishments together, in a cluster.
While there are no set rules on where to begin creating these clusters, and there is no right or wrong way to proceed, we do have a few guidelines and tips to get you get you started on a successful creative experience!
1. Stick to a Color Scheme
When you first start designing an embellishment cluster, we recommend that you stick to a specific color scheme and spice it up with a complementary color or more neutral shade here and there. When you work off of a set color palette, it’s easier to focus your creative energy more effectively, and you’re more likely to end up with an embellishment cluster you really love!
This shaker window cluster is a great example of how to create around a color scheme. By focusing on cool shades of blue, throwing in a couple of green hues, and incorporating a few neutral tones, the elements of this embellishment cluster effectively harmonize with each other for a beautifully coordinated result!
2. Use a Variety of Paper and Cardstock Options
Incorporating different types of paper not only brings variety in patterns but in texture as well. Using our unique patterned papers next to our heavier, solid-colored cardstock helps to bring a nice variance to embellishment clusters.
If you’re looking to keep things a little simpler with the embellishment cluster itself, you can also consider saving more textured elements for the background.
With the card shown above, we kept things a little simpler overall and created exclusively with cardstock. Rather than featuring textured elements on the embellishment cluster itself, we used a large Thin Cuts die and two coordinating cardstock colors to create a gorgeous textured backdrop for this simple embellishment cluster!
3. Layer, Layer, Layer!
A great embellishment cluster often includes a few layers and dimension. Even a simple embellishment cluster should have at least one layered element to make sure it stands out from whatever background you may end up putting it on.
With this embellishment cluster, we made sure to create multiple layers so it will have some extra pop once it’s placed on a scrapbook page. (Using dimensional adhesives, like 3-D foam tape, are a great way to ensure that your embellishment clusters have added dimension, as well!)
4. Follow the Rule of Thirds
Incorporating this photography technique into your embellishment clusters is a great way to ensure that they remain balanced and can even help to simplify your design process. If you’re unfamiliar with what the rule of thirds entails, it’s basically the process of dividing your subject or scene into three distinct sections, making sure that each one is visually balanced with the others.
With this embellishment cluster, imagine that there’s a 3″ x 3″ grid over it. With this imaginary grid applied, you’ll notice that the butterfly and floral accents are fairly close to intersection points on the grid, while the stamped “Bloom & GROW” title occupies the center square. By distributing the butterfly accent, stamped title, and floral accent in this way, it ensures that the entire cluster remains balanced. (Check out our photo composition blog post for a more in-depth explanation about the rule of thirds.)
5. Be Flexible
When it comes to crafting, you don’t always have to use crafting materials for their intended purpose. Take a look at this cute little cluster, for instance:
The envelope you see here was actually created using a stitched hexagon Thin Cuts die, folding the sides of the cut hexagon shape into its center! Re-purposing die-cut shapes, incorporating paper scraps, and even trimming patterns or icons from other patterned papers for use in an embellishment cluster is an excellent way to make sure your work stays fresh, fun, and completely unique!
6. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Once you find a design, color combination, or shape pairing you love, stick with it for a few more embellishment clusters! This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to re-make the same identical embellishment cluster over and over again. Simply switching out a single element can make a huge difference!
If a single, simple change isn’t doing enough, you can do a more drastic re-design while retaining the overall shape and combination of elements. These two shaker window clusters are a prime example of how different colors, patterns, and stamped images can be incorporated into a pre-existing design for a beautiful, brand-new result!
Another way to work smarter is to think about future crafts and prepare for them while you’re in your creative zone! If you use a Thin Cuts metal die to cut an element for an embellishment cluster, cut a few more for future use! If you use a Cricut Design Space™ file to create your cluster, make sure to save it so you can return to it the next time you want to create a beautiful embellishment cluster!
There’s no hard-fast way to create embellishment clusters, but by holding yourself to a few basic guidelines like these, you can fast-track your creativity and make absolutely gorgeous embellishments that are completely unique to you!
How have you been using embellishment clusters? If this a brand-new concept to you, what’s the first thing you want to create with an embellishment cluster?
It’s no secret that we love color at Close To My Heart. Color breathes life and feeling into the world around us. With an unspoken language all its own, color has the power to calm, to energize, and to inspire. As spring slowly creeps its way into this year, the world is brightening up its color palette bringing with it a rejuvenation we all could use right about now—and we are all for it!
We are starting today’s color celebration with our Love of Color how-to series. Through its pages, the exclusive Close To My Heart color palette, made up of 44 unique colors, comes to life. Breathtaking artwork illustrates how to create perfectly balanced color combinations without any guesswork. Each spread in these volumes starts out with one exclusive color that is then combined with two, three, and four other exclusive colors, shown in beautifully crafted inspirational artwork.
Since we hope for sunny days in the upcoming season, let’s take a closer look at the color combinations offered for Sundance, one of our newer colors, in Love of Color Vol. 2, pages 26 and 27.
In this example, Sundance was paired with Avocado and Glacier. Sundance is the dominant color, and the others were used to complement it and to create accents throughout. (White is a neutral and doesn’t really count, so feel free to include as much or as little as you’d like!)
This perfectly spring-themed card was created by following another color combination featured in the guide, combining Sundance with Cinnamon, Blue Belle, New England Ivy, and Charcoal.
The third color mashup for Sundance in our Love of Color Vol. 2 includes pairing it with Peach, Desert Rose, and Peacock.
These inspirational color guides really make it so simple to combine colors that some of us probably wouldn’t even consider. Its pages explore the unique qualities of each color and help you see their beauty and versatility.
We’ve also talked about color theory on this blog, before. If you’re interested in creating your own color combinations, we encourage you to revisit those posts for a quick refresher on techniques for pairing colors. (Find links below.) Once you’ve got those basic rules down, we also encourage you to break them as you see fit!
To continue this colorful celebration, we’ve updated our Close To My Heart color wheel by removing the colors that retired from our palette just a few short months ago and adding the new colors that were introduced.
Download the updated Close To My Heart color wheel, here.
***Keep in mind that our exclusive colors are made up of much more complex tones, shades, and hues than how they are categorized on the simplified color wheel offered above. As you reference and use this source, know that it is not 100% confining. Especially as you become more familiar with what makes colors work together visually, you’ll find that this color wheel is very flexible.***
Lastly, we have a couple of bonus downloads for you today! Working with our amazing art studio, we put together two watercolor guides featuring techniques, tips, and all-around useful information—one for watercolor paints and another for watercolor pencils. In these guides you will find how to blend our exclusive colors using watercolor paints, the variety of ways a watercolor pencil can be used, and so much more! Enjoy exploring these watercolor guides, below!
Great artwork is built on the inclusion of many small elements, all coming together for a stunning end result! Watercolor is an incredibly easy and effective way to boost the overall aesthetic of your artwork, resulting in a truly professional appearance while still keeping it uniquely “you.”
When most people hear “watercolor,” they may picture intricate images painted free-hand by a skilled and experienced artist. Today, however, we’re going to show you a variety of different ways you can easily apply watercolor techniques to your artwork, some of which may even surprise you! Watercolor is a skill anyone can practice and use to up the ante in their own artwork, and the techniques we’re sharing with you are great for beginners and experts alike!
All of the artwork we’ll be showing you today was made using papers, stickers, and embellishments from our beautiful Daisy Meadows collection.
This bright paper suite lends itself well to watercolor and is a great starting point for anyone who may be new to this beautiful medium!
Artistic splattering is a great way to break up a plain background, and it’s incredibly quick and easy to add to any artistic project!
To create these fun splatters, take a wet waterbrush, pick up some paint from your watercolor paint palette, and gently tap the brush on top of your index finger, holding it over the general area where you’d like the splatters to land.
(Tip: Use a piece of scratch paper to cover any parts of the page you don’t want to be splattered.)
Here, we’ve combined the splattering technique with some light stamping and complemented it all with a few small stickers and Daisy Meadows Dots. When these elements are combined, you go from a plain white background to a multi-textured one!
Another way to incorporate watercolor into your artwork is to create a painted border around the perimeter of your scrapbook pages.
To create a painted border like this one, lightly make a few long strokes around the edges of the page, taking care to not let your hand wander toward the center. A simple watercolor element like this is a wonderful way to brighten up a modest background!
The next technique on our list shows you how to use watercolor paints to create eye-catching elements and accents in the foreground of your projects. In the page pictured below, we used watercolor paints to add soft color not only to the floral accents by the photos, but also for the bright swash in the title.
This vibrant addition draws the eye to the title, allowing for a natural, flowing progression as viewers take in the rest of the page.
(Tip: To achieve a flawless swash effect, add the watercolor paint and let it dry completely before stamping. This way, you can adjust the color to get it just right, and you’ll avoid smearing the ink on the stamped image.)
For the delicate floral accents, you can easily achieve a gentle fade by concentrating the paintbrush along the outer edges of the stamped image, creating an outline. Then, clean the brush, wet it, and softly brush the color toward the center of the image. If watercolor paints aren’t your preferred watercolor medium, this effect can also be achieved using watercolor pencils.
Another fun way to up your watercolor game is to play around with various color saturations and pigment shades.
For a more pigmented effect on your initial coat, consider using a dry brush to pick up your wet paint. Wet bristles will pick up less paint, resulting in a lighter pigment, so starting with a wet paint well and a dry brush will allow you to achieve a darker color right from the get-go!
You can also adjust the color saturation as needed, but this process takes a bit of patience. To get the best results, wait for the first layer of paint to dry fully before going in for a second coat.
For a more abstract approach to watercolor painting, consider using a smooshing technique!
Like you’d do with a swash, you’ll want to apply your watercolor pigments to the paper before stamping. To add a smushed watercolor element, apply your watercolor paint to the page or accent in a more abstract form.
Once you’ve applied your color, you’ll take a plastic bag and smoosh it on top of the paper where the paint has been applied, mixing the colors together. This results in a beautifully blended texture, which will be ready for you to stamp on top of once it’s fully dry.
(Tip: You can save the acetate wrapping from a new stamp pad, or any other new product, and use that for your smooshing!)
One last technique we’ll share with you today is stencil painting. This technique is one of the easiest things you can do to add watercolor to your scrapbooking pages or cards.
This technique is also a fantastic way to express your own unique creativity, as you can cut your own stencil patterns for this watercolor element! To create your own stencil, cut a design into cardstock using your favorite cutting machine. If you’d like to reuse your stencil, cut your design on Stencil Sheets, so you can design and create your own stencils and use them for multiple projects! (For pre-designed stencils, check these out!)
When you use a stencil to add watercolor to your artwork, use strips of washi tape to hold it in place while you paint over it. This will ensure a more uniform appearance with fewer unwanted smears.
Once your stencil is secured in place with washi tape, use your waterbrush to gently wash over the stencil. This technique may result in some light bleeding, rougher edges, or blotching, which gives it a beautiful, perfectly imperfect look!
Did you see any techniques today that you can’t wait to try? Leave a comment below to tell us about your favorite watercolor technique and how you incorporate it into your own artwork!
Are you the kind of person who loves taking photos? If you already know that you have more photos than you know what to do with for a traditional scrapbook layout (most of us are this person), take a look at these surprisingly easy ways to include all of them in your albums and tell your whole story!
Sometimes we have too many photos for one particular layout but, for whatever the reason—not enough time, not enough variety, not enough paper (heaven forbid!)—we can’t make a second layout from what we do have. If you’re anything like many of us, the thought of tossing any of these “extra” photos makes you cringe—😱! This is where we can help!
Pocket Plus protectors are exactly what they sound like—additional pockets to add to a layout, creating space for more photos, journaling, mementos, etc. You fill the pockets of these protectors with your memories, then slip them right into your layouts!
They’re fast and simple and add a fun interactive element to your layouts!
Pocket Plus is a great solution for adding those stowed away photos to your already existing albums. If you’re planning ahead, however, you can take your designing a step further and purposefully create your layouts so that the Pocket Plus protectors lay on top of the 12″ x 12″ pages in such a way that titles, photos, or other elements of the page aren’t partially covered.
Pocket Plus Memory Protectors come in two widths, 6″ and 4″. So, for instance, if you are planning on using a 6″ wide protector on top of your 12″ x 12″ page, design your base page with this in mind. Create a visual line at the 6″ mark that none of your photos, sentiments, journaling, or titles can straddle.
If you are planning on using a 4″ wide protector on top of your 12″ x 12″ page, design the base page with a visual line at 4″ from the inside margin.
This way, your Pocket Plus is working with the visual elements of your layout rather than interrupting them.
If you’ve only got a few additional photos or need just a small amount of extra room for some journaling, or whatever, then Flip Flaps™ are the way to go!
Flip Flaps are individual protective pockets that you attach to a page and flip to reveal additional photos, sentiments, or designs—and they’re something you can only get with Close To My Heart! Available in eight different size options, Flip Flaps can be attached to pretty much any size or style of scrapbook page!
If you haven’t already, today is also a good day to discover the simplicity of scrapbooking in pockets. Using Memory Protectors with multiple pockets is another great way to display all of those photos you have of that one birthday party, camping trip, or girls’ night out in a trendy blocked style. (See all of our different style and size options, here.)
Looking to fill those none-photo pockets? Picture My Life™ pocket cards are beautifully and purposefully designed for you to use for exactly that, and they effortlessly coordinate with our paper collections and products.
We are especially excited about two brand-new sets of Picture My Life pocket cards, Lovely and Party Time. These two sets were recently designed to coordinate with the Lovely and Party Time paper collections in our 2020–2021 Core Products Catalog, and are only available until March 31, while supplies last. (Snag these gorgeous cards for yourself, while you still can!)
With a wide assortment of pocket protectors and pocket cards at your disposal, you always have that extra space for all of your photos, journaling, and memories! Do you use any of these types of pockets in your scrapbooking? If so, please share with us how you do in the comments below!
Slimline cards are a fun change from the standard, 4¼” x 5½”, size cards. They’re long and narrow, typically measuring 3½” x 8½”, providing a much larger surface area on which to create a design.
One of our favorite Thin Cuts currently available from our January–February Catalog is the Diagonal Stripe Slimline die that cuts a beautiful diagonal stripe pattern, sized especially for the front of a slimline card. Paired with a few simple techniques, it’s easy to create a wide variety of looks with this eye-catching pattern.
We hope that once you’re done visiting with us today, you will leave here feeling inspired and ready to create some of these beauties of your own!
This first card has a gorgeous, somewhat fantastical galaxy, look to its background.
The card base was sponged with Distress Oxide™ inks and a Mini Ink Blending Tool, creating an exaggerated version of the colors that are most often associated with the northern lights (pink, green, yellow, blue, and violet). The small, star-like spots are the oxidizing effect of the ink when we splattered it with water. When we finally layered the die-cutmade using the Diagonal Stripe Slimline Thin Cuts, our out-of-this-world look was complete! The White Daisy lines from the die-cut look like a meteor shower!
The top card, even though it is more adorable than most store-bought cards, came together in a matter of minutes! We first covered the front of the card base with a solid piece of patterned paper, then layered the diagonal stripe die-cut, also cut from patterned paper, on top. From there, it was a simple matter of weaving in stickers (from our Sweet Safari collection) through the diagonal paper strips. Complete the card with a stamped sentiment on a solid color cardstock and embellish with more cardstock, gems, or stickers.
The background of this third, Congrats, card is a little more involved than the first two we’ve shown you so far, but it is still not difficult to achieve!
We decided to back 10 of the open spaces of the die-cut with patterned pieces of paper, leaving the remaining spaces free for stamping later. You know those scraps you just can’t seem to throw away? Well, pull them out because this is a great way to use them! All you need are strips of paper that are large enough to cover the gaps. We used 5″ long strips of patterned papers, between ¼” to a smidgen over a ½” wide, and attached them to the die-cut using adhesive only along the top and bottom border. Then, we just trimmed any excess that was hanging over and attached the prepared die-cut, front side up, to a blank card base.
This last card we are sharing with you today is a show-stopping, slimline shaker window card!
Follow along with our Creative Arts Manager, Karen Pedersen, in the video below to see how this endearing card comes together.
Several of the pieces, including the two top frames, were cut using our Cricut® Art Philosophy collection and Design Space’s Basic Shapes. If you do not have access to our Art Philosophy collection, contact your Close To My Heart Maker or find one near you, here, by clicking on “Find a Maker.”
We have an early Valentine for all our loyal readers—a free card pattern! Celebrate along with us and share the love this Valentine’s Day, and anytime, with a personalized handmade card!
Making its original debut in our Blossom Workshops on the Go® cardmaking guide years ago, we paired this timeless pattern with our lovely Perfect Match collection to create four cards, two that are romantic themed and two that are not.
This classic pattern can be used for every celebration and occasion with the right combination of papers, embellishments, and sentiments. If you’re not sure how to mix and match these products, we’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation for you! For effortless coordination, simply choose any one of our creative collections and stick to just those products within the suite. Another option is to pick a color combination from either of our Love of Color volumes, and to strictly work with products within that color palette. (Making cards can be that easy! 🥳)
The flower card above was made using one of the Ballerina color combinations: Ballerina, Pewter, Carolina, and Sugarplum. If you look closely, you’ll notice that even though we picked this combination, we left Sugarplum (one of our retired colors) off and added White Daisy. It still works!
The Hello card on the right was made from one of the Candy Apple combination options: Candy Apple, White Daisy, Lagoon, Sapphire, and Black.
Download the free pattern below and share some love this Valentine’s Day, and beyond, with a handmade card from the heart. ❤️
As we continue to celebrate National Papercrafting Month with our adorable Home Sweet Home frames, we want to share a few more ideas of how you can use elements of this versatile kit in other crafting projects! A top-notch accent or background can be the crowning jewel in a scrapbook page, card, or 3-D art piece, and we know you’ll love creating projects of your own with the beautiful pieces from our Home Sweet Home special!
Adding a pre-cut accent or background to a scrapbook page or card is an excellent way to simplify your crafts, while still yielding beautiful results. As you can see with this gorgeous layout, the inclusion of these vibrant floral die-cuts placed over the corner of a photo add dimension and pops of color, and when paired with other small embellishments, tie the whole thing together with a stylish flourish!
The Home Sweet Home die-cuts can also be placed partially behind photos to add some flare to your backgrounds. These sunflower and silver sprig accents are the perfect touch to not only complement the bright colors in the photograph, but also serve to dress up the background of the page.
It doesn’t matter which die-cut shape you decide to use—each one can produce fantastic results. Just look at how these rainbow and silver glitter die-cuts are placed over a piece of grey polka dot patterned paper for a simple, yet stunning card!
For this adorable get-well card, the scalloped piece at the center makes a perfect backdrop for the simple sentiment piece and is offset beautifully by the die-cut bow.
To help round out your inclusion of Home Sweet Home pieces in your own cards or layouts, you can include them alongside other embellishments, as you can see with this adorable slimline card. The cupcake die-cut and silver glitter stars are offset beautifully by the large, iridescent sequins and Thin Cuts border at the top!
Along with the die-cuts, the Home Sweet Home wood circles can also be used in scrapbook layouts. While the circles themselves are relatively flat, they can be used to add dimension and blend well into backgrounds, lending additional texture. Here, you can see how a wood circle has been covered with pinstripe patterned paper and offers an ideal platform for the journaling on this page!
As you can see, there’s a wealth of creative opportunity included in the Home Sweet Home special, far beyond the creation of a Home Sweet Home frame! Each piece is full of possibility and can be used to boost the aesthetic of any art project, from scrapbook pages, to cards, to 3-D pieces. No matter how you choose to repurpose these gorgeous pieces, they’re sure to dazzle wherever they’re placed. Have you used any of the Home Sweet Home die-cuts and wood circles for other art projects, or do you have some ideas? Leave a comment below to tell us what you’ve used them for, or how you’d like to!
We have the perfect project to help inspire and motivate us this new year as we strive to live intentionally—vision boards!
Our Maker community recently created 12″ × 12″ vision boards using our custom wood frames and we’re loving how each turned out so uniquely beautiful!
A vision board helps you clarify and stay focused on what truly matters to you. What inspires us most about this concept is that everyone chooses different images, photos, ephemera, etc., to help represent their goals. When you mix in beautiful patterned papers, stamps that provide inspiration, and photos you can print in any size, you have no limits to the creative expression of your vision.
Here are a few examples of what our team created. Each person was given the same collection of basic supplies, yet their boards are all so different, just like their creators.
This 12″ × 12″ framed vision was created using half of one of our scrapbook patterns (Make It from Your Heart Vol. 1, pattern 4) with a mix of stamping, handwriting, and, of course, bling—achieving that perfect blend of clean images and personal touches! The outer frame was stained using a stamp pad and sponge, adding color while still showing the wood grain.
This layout uses SVG cut files mixed with stamping and stickers to create a large title. Tags and polaroid-like frames help bring emphasis to the elements on the page. Remember, if you don’t have a photo of your aspirations, the internet is your friend! You can find any image and print them just as you would a photo to help you document your vision. This frame was covered with a light color of Distress Oxide™ ink to give a more solid coverage to the wood.
This board uses the awesome collage template found at Persnickety Prints. Paired with our Multi Circle Windows Thin Cuts, you can create a template of your photos and frame it with this versatile die-cut shape. Use the negative space circles from the die to create a banner for added detail. This concept lets you put small images as one focal point in your frame and create a reference list to support it. We colored the wood frame and a few wood embellishments with Gloss Spray, which added intense color as well as a little shimmer.
This next idea makes the pattern paper really shine! We love using the retro polaroid style to make photos pop off the page. This was done with an SVG file, but you can easily print from Pernsickety’s 3″ × 4″ retro prints for the perfect uniform display of your photos and goals. Mix in some stamped sentiments for inspiration, and make things happen!
This last idea uses four 12″ x 12″ frames to create one large wall display. This multi-frame approach allows you to focus each quadrant on a different subject. Here, we’ve set goals for family history, creativity, home, travel and fitness. Look at all the ways the various photo print sizes can be used to help you visualize your goals. These frames were painted with black acrylic paint.
We hope these creative displays we shared for our 2021 visions will inspire you to create one for yourself. Manifesting your vision through photos paired with written words truly help realize what is possible. Putting a beautiful collection together will undoubtedly inspire you to create the life you desire for the new year!