A handmade, heartfelt card can brighten anyone’s day no matter the occasion (or lack thereof 😉) and we’ve got three for you today, all made from the same pattern!
Making its original debut in our Laughing Lola Workshops on the Go® cardmaking guide years ago, we paired this timeless pattern with several different paper designs and stamp sets to create multiple unique cards, each with their own distinct look and flair!
For our last card, we paired the flat pattern with the Candid Moments paper packet and Cardmaking stamp and Thin Cuts to create an “any occasion,” “any time,” card that will still dazzle its recipient. This card uses the same flat pattern as the previous two, we just changed it up a bit by rotated it 90 degrees!
With most card patterns, it’s possible to get an entirely different look simply by rotating them. When you throw different paper designs and color palettes in the mix, the possibilities for creativity increase exponentially!
Cards made from this Laughing Lola pattern are incredibly easy to put together, come together quickly, and still look great! Not only is this card pattern easy to put together and customize, but it’s also a great pattern to use if you’re looking to make a lot of cards in one sitting.
For even more timeless cardmaking patterns, check out our cardmaking how-to book, Make It from Your Heart™ volume 4. If you love the free patterns on the blog, you’re sure to be blown away by the beautiful, one-of-a-kind, patterns in this book!
Whether it’s the tropical beach vacation of your dreams or a mini staycation, we all need a little getaway every once-in-a-while, even at Christmastime. With our newest Deck the Palms collection, we have cards and scrapbook layouts for you to create an island paradise of your own during your very next crafting session!
We have not one but TWO exclusive scrapbooking Deck the Palms workshops to share with you! Like a lot of our scrapbooking workshops, both workshops make one single page and three two-page coordinating 12″ x 12″ scrapbook layouts. The difference between them is that one is in a general tropical theme and the other is a tropical Christmas theme. The uniqueness about these workshops is that the pages between them are almost identical in design, only differing in which side of the pattern paper and embellishments you use. (Even the instruction guide is the same! Download the scrapbooking workshop guide, here.)
(Both sticker sheets have glossy UV-coated accents!)
All of these embellishments are available on their own or as part of their corresponding scrapbooking workshop, except for the tropical sticker sheet. This sticker sheet is only available for purchase with the Deck the Palms Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet. The paper packet patterned papers are also part of both Deck the Palms scrapbooking workshops. If you are not familiar with Close To My Heart pattern papers, they are each 12″ x 12″ plus an additional ½” accent paper along the top of each (we call those “zip strips”), and they all have double-sided designs, meaning there’s one design on one side and a different design on the reverse side of each sheet of patterned paper.
Our Deck the Palms Paper Packet is no different! One side of the pattern papers are tropical themed, and the reverse are tropical Christmas themed with beautiful accent zip strips, providing even more patterns to craft with!
Also part of this collection, and included in part in all three workshop kits, is the specially designed coordinating Deck the Palms cardstock. Each sheet has one of our exclusive colors in its usual cardstock texture on one side and on the reverse side we’ve added gorgeous UV-coated patterns to fit the collection’s theme! (Stock up on these fast because they will not last long!)
A couple of times on this blog we’ve shown you how to make the pages of an entire 6″ x 8″ album using the 3-2-1 paper strips formula. We don’t always have the time to design elaborate pages to keep up with all our photos and, as fellow scrappers, we get that! With this super speedy technique, you can create 10 two-page layouts in as little as two hours!
Since publishing these posts for the 6″ x 8″ pages, we have received several requests to adapt this formula for 12″ x 12″ pages—and we did!
The formula for the 12″ x 12″ pages isn’t as clean as “1-2-3,” so we don’t have as catchy a name for the bigger pages. For today, we’re simply referring to this technique as paper piecing, or paper strips, scrapping.
As we’ve implied, what we’re doing today is providing a simple formula for cutting your patterned papers and assembling 12″ x 12″ layouts. Even with this formula, you will continue to have a lot of creative freedom to add your own personal flair to each of your pages. No two layouts will look the same, unless you make them that way intentionally!
Here’s what you’ll need to make three 12″ x 12″ two-page layouts. (Make as many multiples of three as you’d like, this is just a starting point!)
6 sheets of patterned paper, 2 each of 3 designs (preferably in a variety of coordinating patterns)
Step 1: Base Pages. To keep things simple, we’ve suggested using White Daisy cardstock as the base pages for all the layouts using this formulaic technique. Once you’re familiar with the technique, or if you’re feeling confident from the get-go, switch up the color to make your pages even that much more unique!
Step 2: Cutting Patterned Paper. Before measuring and cutting anything, trim all the zip strips from each of the patterned paper sheets and set them aside. The zip strip is the extra ½” accent paper along the top of each Close To My Heart patterned paper sheet. Next, cut the remaining 12″ x 12″ paper into 5″, 3″, 1½”, and ½” strips. (There will be a 2″ strip leftover that we will not be using for these layouts.)
Step 3: Creating Photo Mats from Cardstock. For a more polished look, we like to add photo mats behind most, if not all, our photos. That is what we will be making with the 3 sheets of coordinating cardstock, using one sheet per layout**.
Cut each cardstock sheet into three 6¼” x 4½” and two 4¼” x 3¼” rectangles. The photos that you will be mounting on these mats will be three 4″ x 6″ and two 3″ x 4″.
**When we made our 6″ x 8″ albums, we cut the cardstock into 6″ x 4″ rectangles and then trimmed the photos down ¼” in both height and width to make them work. If you prefer, you can cut your cardstock into six 6″ x 4″ rectangles, then cut two of these down in half to 3″ x 4″. In the end, you will be using half as many cardstock sheets, but you will have to trim your photos down.
Step 4: Putting It All Together. You’re going to need some space for this part, so make sure to clear your table or a place on your living room rug or somewhere else you can keep your project safe. Lay out all 6 White Daisy cardstock base pages. Next, distribute the strips of patterned paper and cardstock photo mats. Each page should get three 4″ x 6″ mats and two 3″ x 4″ mats, and one pattern paper strip of each size, 5″, 3″, 1½”, and ½”. (For the ½” strip use the strips you cut from the patterns interchangeably with the zip strips you trimmed off the top.)
If you’d like for the pages that will be facing each other in your album to match, keep that in mind as you distribute your papers.
Lastly, decide how you want to attach these pieces to your pages and get to it! Move the components around until you are happy with your design. Experiment with different arrangements and consider whether you want to use exactly three 4″ x 6″ and two 3″ x 4″ photos per layout. Trade mats between layouts or cut a few extra if you’d like.
Step 5: Embellish! Using coordinating embellishments add your finishing touches!
To show you just how easily this technique can be applied to a variety of subjects, we’ve got three mismatched layouts that we made using this formulaic approach.
If you like our finished layouts and would like to recreate any of them using our same papers and embellishments, take a look at our “Recipes” section at the end of this post for a list of linked products. If you don’t, that’s okay, too! The beauty of this technique is that it can be applied using any coordinating papers you like!
Your pages and layouts can look very differently depending on how you choose to mix and match the various components of your pages. Have fun creating pages like these using the combinations that you love!
If there’s anything you want to learn more about or would like to see featured on this blog, make sure to let us know! We absolutely love publishing posts like today’s!
At Close To My Heart, we absolutely love color! A great palette is the foundation for great artwork, and has an unparalleled ability to inspire, energize, and soothe. We recently launched our new Core Products catalog and, with it, eight new colors that were added to our exclusive color palette, including Color of the Year, Wild Berry!
Today we’re going to show you how to create beautiful artwork using this statement color in three different color combinations. To get started, we’ve arranged the Close To My Heart color palette into a color wheel. Choosing colors for your artwork can be easy when you’re working with the right tools—and that includes the best color options!
***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. As you become more familiar with what makes colors work together visually, you’ll find that this color wheel is very flexible.***
The Wild Berry color combinations we’re sharing today are reminiscent of what you would see in our Love of Color how-to book series. Each two-page spread focuses on one exclusive color from our palette shown in three different pieces of artwork, each in a unique color scheme. You’ll never second-guess your color choices again with this inspirational guide!
In this first example, see how Wild Berry beautifully works together with Sapphire, Lagoon, Mint, and Sundance. With Wild Berry as the dominant color, the yellow-orange, blue, and blue-green shades create gorgeous complementary elements, tying the entire piece together.
In these next cards, we combined Wild Berry once again with Lagoon and Mint, and then with Nectarine and Scarlet. Wild Berry acts as an accent color in the standard size card and dominates in the slimline card. We can give you all the color combinations, but in the end it’s up to you to decide how much of each color you want to use and how to balance your artwork. You can use the same color combination to create several pieces of art but they do not have to look or feel the same! (Isn’t color amazing?!)
If you look at Wild Berry and Avocado on our color wheel, you’ll notice that these two colors are opposite each other, which means they are complementary! We incorporated the neutral tones of black and charcoal for accents, but this is really a complementary color scheme in disguise!
If you’d like to learn more about color theory, or if you’re in need of a simple refresher, revisit a few of our previous posts we’ve published on this blog:
Once you get these basics down, creating your own color combinations will be a breeze! In the meantime, or if color theory just isn’t your thing, look to our Love of Colorseries as your ultimate color guide for creating perfectly balanced color combinations!
Do you have a favorite Close To My Heart color? (Retired colors count!) Let us know in the comments below!
There are so many reasons to love fall, and one of our favorites is the release of our new annual Core Products Catalog! From day one of this beautiful catalog, hundreds of new Close To My Heart items and fresh ideas have been readily available and within your grasps!
We are as committed as ever to our promise of being there to “show you how,” including providing the right tools and products, whatever your crafting goals may be. So—let’s take a closer look at a few new things happening in our Core Products Catalog!
We have SEVEN new pattern paper collections themed and designed for year-round use!
As You Grow: Refresh your creative spirit with this bundle of joy! The soft, nostalgic colors and designs of the As You Grow collection are enough to bring back fond memories of simpler times.
Smarty Pants: Featuring patterns and designs most all of us recognize, the Smarty Pants collection captures the essence of school days past, present, and future.
Love Story: The elegant designs and romantic colors of the Love Story collection will help tell your story in the colors you wish to share it. Available in Toffee, Mink, and Black, these pattern papers and stickers are perfect for your special occasion!
(The As You Grow, Smarty Pants, and Love Story collections include an optional coordinating sticker sheet, a coordinating cardstock pack, Picture My Life™ pocket cards, and stamp sets with coordinating Thin Cuts!)
Textures: Add the textures of everyday items to your crafting palette with this collection of patterned papers!
Wood Grain: We can’t get enough of the natural look these realistic Wood Grain patterns have to offer!
Noteworthy: Make a permanent record with these noteworthy pattern papers! Each sheet features the pattern on a white background on one side and on an aged looking background on the other.
If die-cutting is your thing, then you will be pleasantly surprised by what we’ve got in store in the Core Products Catalog! We’ve got fun shaped cards, slimline card front designs, tabs, tags, dimensional flowers, and tons more!
No crafting project is complete without a few finishing touches, like shimmer trims, ribbons, loose gems, and acrylic shapes (to list a few 😉). Here’s a small sampling of what you’ll find in our Core Products Catalog:
We’ve got so many new stencils for you to try! Above is just a small sampling of what you can create with a few of the designs, if you rotate the stencil or flip it over. And, for the first time, we now have stencils especially designed to fit the front of standard size card!
We’ve added 16 new digital, downloadable SVG files, to our digital art library! View all fo these new digital designs, here.
Pickup Tool: Picking up small embellishments is now easier than ever with these handy, paper-covered wax sticks! Simply sharpen the ends to a point and use to pick up small accents of all sorts!
Quickie Glue™ Pen: Is it a pen? Is it glue? Why not both?! This literal glue pen is ideal for securely attaching all of those smaller pieces to your artwork.
Adhesive Tape: Use this double sided permanent tape to mount photos, documents, and all sorts of things to your projects. The red backing makes it easy to see on the paper, and get’s removed when you are ready to expose the adhesive on that side of the tape.
Adhesive Sheets: We carry 12″ x 12″, double-sided, adhesive sheets! There are so many uses for these sheets, one of which is to make die-cut stickers. Watch the video below to see how!
We’ve added several new colors to our exclusive color palette this month! Our favorite, and Color of the Year, is this beautiful berry hue, Wild Berry! Keep a sharp eye out for it throughout the coming year, and you’ll find hints of Wild Berry in a wide variety of our new products. (To see what other new colors we have in store, talk to your Close To My Heart Maker or take a look at our exclusive color palette in our Core Products Catalog.)
Each kit includes materials to make a set of 24 beautiful, handmade cards, that come together in minutes thanks to pre-printed card bases, die-cut shapes, and more. Each delivery also includes an exclusive My Acrylix® stamp set, complete with a stamping block and mini ink pad, so you’ll have the tools you need to create your cards just the way you want them. Keep up with all the occasions in your life with a Craft with Heart™ cardmaking subscription!
Friends, this is just a small sampling of our many, many new products. Make sure to visit with your Close To My Heart Maker to see all that we have in store for you this coming year, or explore our Core Products Catalog online, here.
Today’s post is an extra special treat! We’ve asked the talented Chari Pack, founder & CEO of Persnickety Prints, to share with you some tips for taking better photos on our phones. Whether we’re promoting our businesses, taking photos for our scrapbooks, or just posting to social media, these tips are sure to take our phone photography to the next level!
Whether you’re digitizing photos with your phone or snapping pictures of your latest project, these tips will make a big difference for taking lay-flat photos.
1. Find Natural Light (no flash)
Lighting is everything! Find natural light next to a window. Avoid direct light, and use curtains to soften the photo when necessary.
2. Avoid Distracting Backgrounds
Avoid wood tables with grain, do not use the carpet or a distracting counter top. Use a clean background to focus on the subject and make it pop! Use a plain white poster board or colorful paper as the background.
3. Take Advantage of Grid Mode
Use the grid tool on your smart phone to level a lay-flat photo! Align the cross hairs to level the phone, and snap!
For iPhone: settings > camera > grid > on
For Android: settings > varies by phone
A few more….
4. Remove Unwanted Glare Scrapbook pages in page protectors may result in a distracting glare. Remove the layout from the page protectors and set them on top to take the photo.
5. Do a Quick Edit! After taking a photo, take 30 seconds to edit it! A quick auto enhance makes all the difference.
6. Try Different Angles
Capture fine details by changing your angle. In this photo I focused on the butterfly to show the dimension of the page. Tap the screen to focus and slide up and down to adjust exposure.
Now, get your projects off the shelf and take photos of them to share and inspire others. You’re creating art, we want to see it!
Thanks, Chari, for the great tips!
Close To My Heart is proud to recommend Persnickety Prints as a trusted photo lab for quality photo prints.Our commitment to memory keeping means we strive to provide products of the highest quality that will last. Persnickety Prints shares that same mission with all their photo processing and with their new Persnickety Box app. Every order is assessed, optimized, hand-printed, and quality checked. You already use the best products to tell your story—be sure that you have the best quality photos, too!
Today we will take the imprint of a stamp that has many parts or lines to it, like a map 😉, and create a final image by piecing together a variety of papers, kind of like a mosaic. This technique is fittingly known as paper piecing. The technique is much harder to describe than it is to do, so let us show you and see for yourselves!
The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what colors or patterns you want incorporated into your final design. In our case, with the map, we thought it would be best, because of all the details that we are not cutting out, to use four solid cardstock colors.
This next step is also easy, but maybe a bit more time consuming, depending on the image you are working with. Cut out all the shapes from each of your papers, except one. The one you do not cut into pieces will act as your base later, when you put it all back together.
When you are cutting your shapes, make sure to cut them out exactly the same between papers. For example, our cutout of California should be the same shape and size in each of our cardstock colors. Essentially, we are creating a puzzle and its puzzle pieces. The pieces need to fit together for this technique to work.
The final step is to put those puzzling skills to use and assemble the paper pieced image on your base.
As a tip, we suggest playing around with the placement of your paper pieces, first, before attaching them.
And there you have it! Another stamping technique to add to your repertoire!
How are you spending your National Stamping Month? Let us know in the comments below, and, as always, happy stamping! ❤️
September is National Stamping Month, and if you know just one thing about Close To My Heart, it is that we absolutely love all things stamps!
We kicked off the month with a Slimline Celebration, made up of exclusive stamps and coordinating Thin Cuts designed especially for slimline cards. Make sure to join us on September 24 for a free virtual event where we will be putting together the cards from our Slimline Celebration workshop on our Facebook page. Find all the details, here. This is an event you will not want to miss!
As we continue our stamping celebration, we compiled 10 techniques to add to your stamping arsenal and have at the ready for your next crafting session!
1.a. FIRST-GENERATION This first one is technically not a technique, but we will put it on the list to have for comparison with the next one. You get a first-generation image when you ink your stamp and stamp it on your project. (In the video below, it is referred to as “solid stamping.”)
1.b. SECOND GENERATION A second-generation stamped image is achieved by inking your stamp, stamping it on a scratch piece of paper, and then, without re-inking, stamping your image on your project. The result is a lighter version of a “first-generation” image, because you are using the “second-generation” of ink that’s leftover on the stamp.
2. RANDOM STAMPING Use this technique to create patterned papers from our stamps and solid colored cardstock. You could take a “random” approach to this, but to insure a more visually balanced and pleasing pattern, take the random right out of the equation by using visual triangles.
Follow along with Close To My Heart President Monica Wihongi, below, as she illustrates all three of these first techniques, including how to create the visual triangles for not-so-random stamping.
3. ROCK & ROLL This technique is an oldie but a goodie! Ink your stamp in one color, then gently roll the edges, and only the edges, in another color to stamp a multicolored image! (You can also combine this technique with the second-generation technique if you want to use the same color, just in different opacities!)
4. OMBRÉ STAMPING Achieving an ombré effect, where you gradually blend one color into another, is a lot easier than you might think! Simply ink the top half of the stamp in one color and the bottom half in another color, overlapping the two colors in the middle. Then, you’re all set to stamp onto your project!
5. SHADOW STAMPING Create a shadow by stamping a second-generation version of the original image just slightly offset from the original.
6. BASE & SHADE Base and shade stamping is used to create realistic dimensions through color. There are specific stamp sets designed for this technique, where you stamp the base in a lighter color and then add the details, or the “shade,” with a darker color.
7. BACK SIDE STAMPING This technique sounds a little funny, but don’t let the name fool you! If you have a stamp that is symmetrical, or just close enough, mount the stamp on your block backwards, with the smooth side up. Ink the back of the stamp and use it to create a base before flipping the stamp over to the side with the details that you will stamp on top.
8. MASKING Place a scratch piece of paper, or a sticky note, as a mask over your project to cover the area that you don’t want stamped. Stamp your image on the project and mask, and then remove the mask.
9. TONE-ON-TONE The tone-on-tone technique is exactly what it sounds like. Use a darker tone of a color, or color family, to stamp onto your project. All of our exclusive colors can be found in Exclusive Inks™ stamp pads and our two-toned cardstock, allowing you to enjoy a full spectrum of color-coordinated products whenever creativity strikes!
10. KISSING TECHNIQUE For this technique you will need two stamps, one to act as the base image and the other to create an effect on the base image. First, ink the base stamp. Then, with both stamps mounted on blocks, press the two stamps together. The second stamp will not have ink on it and will remove some of the ink from the first stamp in its shape. After your stamps kiss, stamp your prepared base stamp on paper. Use this method to add textures and all kids of shapes or designs to your stamping! (Another way to use this method is to ink both stamps in two different colors and then have them kiss.)
BONUS** NO-LINE STAMPING This technique is great to use when you are coloring your stamped images with watercolor paints. You can easily achieve a “no-line” look by stamping your image in a light ink, like Linen. Then, use the soft color as a guide as you add the watercolor with your brush. The inked parts of the image will show up as a darker version of the paint color you are using. Move the paint around, and color in the other parts of the design, as well, and easily create beautiful watercolor images!
If you have yet to dabble in the world of stencil design, this is a great place to start! Even if you are a seasoned pro, maybe we’ll share something that you haven’t thought of yet. Either way, stick with us and then share with us some of your thoughts and ideas in the comment section that follows!
A stencil is a material with a cut-out design to which you apply your choice of pigment in order to transfer the design onto a separate surface. The benefits of using a stencil range from helping those of us who struggle with drawing a straight line ( ✋🏼 we’re all welcome here!) to those of us who like to create and duplicate intricate patterns, time and time again, quickly and with ease.
Stencils can be made of all sorts of materials and created in a myriad of ways. What we share here is just a sliver of the possibilities these multifaceted tools are capable of.
The very first step in stencil design is determining the product you want to use for your stencil. You can purchase ready-made stencils or create your own. If you are creating your own, consider the following information about these popular materials:
Stencil Sheets. Our stencil sheets are made from a medium weight stencil film. They can be machine cut, die cut, or paper punched and used with wet and dry applications. The see-through quality of stencil sheets, makes stencil placement easy—this is especially useful if you are layering images. Stencil sheets are the most durable way to go if you are hoping to reuse a stencil over and over again.
Cardstock. Stencils cut from cardstock have a limited use but are very economical. Placement can be tricky, however, since you can’t see through the stencil. Cardstock is great for edge stencils and positive shapes.
VellumPaper. Vellum stencils work a lot like those cut from stencil sheets, but with one major drawback. These can only be used for dry applications and cannot be washed off. They are also not as durable as stencil sheets.
TIPS FOR USING MACHINE-CUT STENCILS
1. Get the most out of machine-cut stencils by choosing layered shapes. Always keep all of the negative pieces and store them together with the stencil. You never know when you may want to use one of these pieces for additional texture, color, or dimension in your art.
2. Use the contour feature (in Cricut Design Space™) to make multiple stencils from a single image. Block out different parts of the image for each of the different stencils. This will allow you to create unique designs, but also to easily separate colors in different sections of the image if you want to use the stencils together, like we did with the two flower cards you see here.
3. Use basic shapes to weld images onto and to restructure shapes for easier stenciling. To create the cloud stencils, above, we welded cloud shapes (#M418DFA) onto a rectangle base. If your shapes don’t quite cover the size “base” you need or want, remember that you can easily duplicate and resize your shapes to make them work. When you are using a stencil like this one, move it around on the page as you add the color, or flip it over and use the back, to create variety from the one stencil pattern.
TIPS FOR USING DIE-CUT STENCILS
4. Just like we suggested for machine-cut stencils, keep both the positive and negative pieces that are made when you cut a stencil from a Thin Cuts die. They may be used for different looks and effects.
5. Create stencils from stamp coordinating Thin Cuts, too! You can use these alone or to add dimension to a stamped image.
The butterfly above was sponged with color then stamped. Use these sorts of stencils directly on your projects or cut them out, like we did here.
6. Make letter and word stencils out of stencil sheets. You want these to be as durable as possible because these generally get used a lot.
7. Keep the separate letters of favorite “words” together in a storage envelope for quick access. Make sure to keep the negative space pieces as well. Take a look at the letters “a,” “p,” and “o,” below. Easily attach these to your stencil with a small amount of adhesive tape to have ready to place and use when needed.
8. Explore different media to use with your stencils.
If you use alcohol markers, these can bleed slightly past your stencil image, as you see in the red Y. Metallic markers are another option. These work especially well on darker papers (see the Y on black cardstock). For a more textured look, consider heat embossing. Using embossing ink pens, like on the Y on the blue cardstock, you can have a more controlled inking experience, like you would with a marker. Use your stencils to create dimensional, shadow effects, too. In the case of the Y on the green cardstock above, we used the negative stencil shape to color in a black shadow with a journaling pen, then attached a die-cut paper Y on top, slightly offset.
TIPS FOR USING SPECIALTY INKS WITH STENCILS
9. Achieve a subtle shadow, watermark-type look by using embossing ink with your stencils. You can dab the VersaMark™ ink pad straight through your stencil and onto your art, or have a more controlled inking experience using embossing ink pens.
Of course, you can use a shimmer brush directly on your artwork, too, without squeezing out the ink, for a brushed on ink effect. It will look different than the pounced-with-a-sponge look. Similarly, you can also use a waterbrush to brush on the Exclusive Inks™.
Now that we’ve given you a few tips on how to make and use stencils, let’s explore a few ideas on how to store them. In the video below, our Creative Arts Manager, Karen, shares several tips:
Stencils are a great way to quickly and easily add dimensional elements and general pizzazz to artwork. Do you use stencils? Let us know in the comments below how you incorporate this versatile tool in your art!