Map Your Journey with a Paper Piecing Stamping Technique!

September is a very exciting month for us at Close To My Heart. Not only do we celebrate National Stamping Month, but it’s also the month that we launch our new annual catalog!

In this year’s Core Products Catalog, you will find lots of new and exciting products, among them a new series of stamps called Map Your Journey. With versions for all our current markets (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan), we thought these stamp sets would be a fun way to share with you yet another stamping technique, in addition to the 10+ techniques we shared last week. (If you missed it, make sure to check that post out: Stamping Techniques to Keep Up Your Crafty Sleeves!)

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.

Once you’ve chosen your color and pattern scheme, stamp your image onto all your chosen papers using the same ink color. We used White Daisy, Shortbread, Scarlet, and Papaya cardstock and the Exclusive Inks™ Mocha stamp pad.

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! ❤️

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Stamping Techniques to Keep Up Your Crafty Sleeves!

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!

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Tips for Using and Creating Your Own Stencils

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

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.

MATERIAL OPTIONS

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.

Vellum Paper. 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.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

5. Create stencils from stamp coordinating Thin Cuts, too! You can use these alone or to add dimension to a stamped image.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

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.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

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.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

8. Explore different media to use with your stencils.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

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

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

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.

10. Use inks from our Exclusive Inks™ re-inker bottles or ink squeezed out from our shimmer brushes with a sponge or dauber. Add the ink to an all-purpose mat and pick it up with a sponge (or dauber), then pounce the sponge on a scratch piece of paper to remove some of the excess ink before adding it to your project through the stencil.

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:

(Here’s the link for the Design Space file Karen mentions in the video!)

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!

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Back to School Teacher Gifts!

How is it the middle of August already? Bells will ring, announcing the start of a new school year, and students and teachers, alike, will be back in the thick of it all before we know it!

Our teachers give so much of themselves, year after year. As our children prepare to return to fill their classrooms, let’s add to their supply lists a small gift of appreciation and encouragement!

We’ve got three simple projects for you and your kiddos to work on and bring to your teachers on that momentous first day.

First, we have a fun twist on the traditional school apple.

Did you know that, back in the 1700s, some families would give teachers a basket full of apples as payment for their child’s education? Now-a-days, the gifting of apples (or an apple) shifted from attempted compensation to a kind gesture of appreciation.

We’ve got a delicious variation of this popular gift with these gorgeous paper apples.

You will need three different color/pattern papers for the body of the apples, another paper for the leaf, and another for the tag (if you choose to add a tag). You will also need a pencil (cut down to 6″), adhesive, and twine.

We used a combination of shapes from our Art Philosophy Cricut® collection and free shapes available through Cricut Design Space™ to cut the pieces you see here. (School Apple Cricut Design Space™ file.) If you don’t have a cutting machine, we kept the shapes fairly simple so they could be recreated by hand. We recommend making the apple shape first, on a scratch piece of paper, and then using this as a template to trace and hand trim the six apples needed for the 3-D apple shape.

Once you have all of your shapes cut, fold the apple pieces along the score lines and attach them to each other, as shown above. (For those of you who cut these shapes by hand, there should be two score lines in the middle of each, approx. ⅜” apart.) Before attaching the last two wedges together, closing the circle, glue the pencil inside the “core.”

Embellish the apple with a leaf and a tag and then it’s ready for school!

Dressed up sticky notes is another fun way to show your teachers a little love. You know they will use sticky notes throughout the school year, so why not add a little flair and present them as gift?

To make one of these, you will need a 3″ x 3″ sticky note pad, one sheet of cardstock for the base of the holder, hook and loop dots (aka velcro dots), adhesive, and any type of embellishment you wish to add to the inside or outside of the base.

Use this Design Space file to cut the long, scalloped and scored rectangle cardstock piece you see here. (If you are cutting it by hand, the rectangle is 3¼” x 8½” and has score lines at 2⅛”, 2⅝”, 5⅞”, 6⅜” from the bottom.) Once you’ve cut and scored the cardstock, this project is pretty intuitive. First, attach the note pad to the center of the cardstock. Next, fold the pieces up and around the note pad. Then, embellish the top of the holder however you’d like, and finish by adding a hook and loop pair for the closing.

The last diy gift of appreciation we’re showing you today is actually a gift box for you to make and then fill with small goodies.

To make one of these boxes you will need two sheets of cardstock or pattern paper (that’s if you’d like for the box insert and sleeve to be different colors or designs), adhesive, and embellishments of your choice.

Use this Design Space file to cut the necessary shapes. (If you don’t have a cutting machine and would like to make a gift box, use this link to learn how to make one similar to the one shown here.)

Fold the cut paper along the score lines and attach them with adhesive to create the sleeve and box insert. Decorate the top of the box with additional papers, the teacher’s name, and other embellishments, and then fill it with goodies you know your teacher would like (tissues, lotion, hand sanitizer, a gift card, candies, etc.). That’s it!

Now, let’s show our teachers some love and encouragement this upcoming school year by letting them know, even in small ways, that we see and recognize their hard work and dedication.

In the comments below, we’d love to hear what you’re doing to show your teachers how much you appreciate them. ❤️

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Stories I Love

As memory keepers, we love telling our favorite stories and expressing all the feeling behind the happy smiles in our most beloved photos. When it comes to storytelling through scrapbooking, it’s important to be able to capture all the layers of your story, delving deeper than the basic “where,” “when,” and “what” descriptions of your photos.

With the Story by Stacy™ program, memory keepers of all experience levels can practice the art of storytelling. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the Stacy’s Stories I Love program, showing just how easy it can be to record a meaningful and in-depth account of your favorite memories!

The workshop kit built around this program comes with its very own album, story and photo pages, title and closing pages, stickers, and a Stories I Love workbook. The Stories I Love workshop is available in two different kit options, the original Story by Stacy™ Stories I Love kit, and the Story by Stacy™ Holiday Stories I Love kit! (You can even get these kits at a 15% discount when you purchase them together in the Holiday Stories Bundle, available only through August 31!)

With a Stories I Love workshop kit, you start out by gathering between 5 and 10 of your favorite photos (preferably 4″ x 6″) to work with. These photos do not have to follow a specific theme; one of the key points of this storytelling exercise is to learn how to tell individual, stand-alone stories and get into the meaningful details of those memories. The closing page of your finished Stories I Love album spells it out beautifully,“These pictures belong together only because I love them.”

Your next step is to select or take a current photo of yourself. Identifying yourself as the storyteller can be very empowering, especially if you find that you don’t always make an appearance in the photos and memories you choose to scrapbook. This photo will be added to the closing page of your finished album.

As you continue on with the Stories I Love process, you’ll turn to your workbook to help you identify and uncover the various layers of the stories you want to capture. Select one photo to start your album, and then turn to your Stories I Love workbook to see an example of how you can delve deeply into your story and tell it in a way that really brings it to life.

Once you’ve had a chance to look at the provided example and familiarize yourself with the process, you’ll be able to follow it with your own photos and stories. We recommend writing out the entire story at least once before recording it on your Stories I Love story pages, although you may want to do this multiple times as you progress through the editing process. If you’re crafting with other people, consider reading your story aloud to them, or just to yourself if you’re creating your album alone. Good writing is also good reading, so reading your story aloud can be an invaluable step as you continue to craft your story!

After you’ve finished drafting your first story, it’s time to assemble your first story and photo pages! For the story pages, you’ll want to select either a grid-lined or blank side of the provided story pages. While using your personal penmanship to record your stories can add a nice touch to your album, there’s nothing wrong with typing and printing it out, especially for longer recollections.

Each of your photo pages should feature as single photo and can be embellished with the selection of stickers included in the Stories I Love workshop kit. Your kit also includes nine 5½” x 6″ White Daisy cardstock pieces to provide a layered background for your photos. Your Stories I Love workshop gives examples of various patterns you can follow as you assemble your photo pages, although you’re free to come up with your own patterns as well! If you find that your stories require more than a single photo, one fun idea is to incorporate Flip Flaps™ Memory Protectors™ to add more pictures and additional context to your story.

The last step of a Stories I Love workshop is to assemble your entire album, putting together your story and photo pages in the provided Memory Protectors and assembling your closing page. Once you’ve completed your album, it’s time to share your stories!

A Stories I Love album is a great start for new memory keepers who are just starting to discover scrapbooking, or for more experienced veterans who want a storytelling refresher. No matter what your experience with scrapbooking and memory keeping is, the Stories I Love workshop kit as an excellent exercise to help you find your inner storyteller!

As a special treat, we will be hosting a virtual Story by Stacy™ Stories I Love crafting event on August 17 at 2:00 pm (MDT)! The event will be taught by none other than the renowned storyteller who developed this wonderful program, Stacy Julian, herself!

For even more crafting fun, we’re giving away three Story by Stacy™ Holiday Stories I Love kits to three lucky readers! To qualify as a potential winner, you must be subscribed to this blog and leave a comment below telling us about a story you’d love to document with Stories I Love by no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, August 5 (MDT) . (Winners will be contacted via email, so make sure your email address is up to date!)

We can’t wait to see all the amazing stories you have to share!

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Thinking Beyond the Lines with Unique Thin Cuts!

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

One of the quickest and simplest ways to dress up your artwork is to add a unique Thin Cuts die-cut (or a few) to the mix! Our Thin Cuts metal dies are easy to use and produce gorgeous die-cuts time and time again. Let’s look at some of the more unique Thin Cuts from our July–August catalog and explore the various ways to use them to maximize creativity!

First up, we have our Isabella–Cardmaking Stamp + Thin Cuts set. This Thin Cuts set includes five metal dies and features the large “Love” and “You” and banner dies.

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

These dies make an impression all on their own, but when you pair them with the intricate patterns in the accompanying Isabella—Cardmaking stamps, it takes them to a whole new level! Combining these stamps and the larger dies results in dimension that literally bursts off the page. When you create with these dies and stamps, you can either stamp on the die-cut after it’s been cut out of the paper, or you can stamp on paper and then use the Thin Cuts to cut your image. It’s completely up to you!

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

Next, let’s take a look at the Isabella—Scrapbooking Stamp + Thin Cuts set. A few of the floral stamps and dies in this set have been specifically designed to layer over each other for greater dimension within these images. This results in more metal dies, but with our magnetic carrier sheets, you’ll never have to worry about losing a piece.

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

With these duplicated stamp images and die-cut outlines, you can easily combine them for a more dimensional image, larger image clusters, or you can use them separately for even more floral fun! To get the most out of these stamps and Thin Cuts, we recommend attaching them with 3-D foam tape.

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

The last die we’re looking at is the Butterfly Background Thin Cuts. This fun, stand-alone die yields an intricate image with a variety of delicate stitched butterflies and floral cut-outs. Because this die includes so many small or delicate pieces, you may find that you have a few left over at the end of your project, but don’t throw them out! You can always save the smaller pieces as accents to use in other projects whenever you’re looking for a unique embellishment.

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

One of our favorite ways to use this die is to cut several layers in various colors, patterns, or textures and allow them to peek through the cut-out portions, while leaving the larger stitched butterflies at the forefront. This die even allows for the butterflies to have lifted wings, bringing your artwork to life!

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

For a more in-depth look at how you can maximize the Thin Cuts and stamps showcased above, check out this video, where our Creative Arts manager, Karen Pedersen, takes you through her creative process with each of these dies and stamp sets!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this highlight of a few of our more unique Thin Cuts! If you like what you’ve seen here today or have some ideas of how you’d like to use the dies and stamps, leave us a comment below!


RECIPES

4¼” x 5½” Love You Card (Horizontal)
Z3969 Isabella—Cardmaking Stamp + Thin Cuts, X7270S Isabella Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet, X7270C Isabella Coordinating Cardstock, X6030 Evergreen Cardstock, Z6504 Sage Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z4191 Silver Glitter Gems, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine

8½” x 11″ Live Your Best Life Page
Z3963 Isabella—Scrapbooking Stamp + Thin Cuts, X7270S Isabella Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet, X6036 Ballerina Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2825 Mink Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7270E Isabella Acrylic Shapes, Z3132 Watercolor Paints, Z3224 Small Round Waterbrush, Z2089 Glue Dots® Micro Dots, Z1151 3-D Foam Tape, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine, Pencil

4¼” x 5½” Love You Card (Vertical)
A1243 My Acrylix® Teeny Tiny Type Stamp Set, X9030 Mix-in Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X6032 Wisteria Cardstock, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3274 Clear Sparkles, Z4213 Silver Embellishing Thread, Z3961 Butterfly Background Thin Cuts, Z3515 Black Journaling Pen (.01), Cricut® Basic Shapes, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine

Cricut® Shape:
Basic Shapes
#M369879

4¼” x 5½” Love You Card (Vertical)
C1900 Isabella—Cardmaking Stamp Set, X6036 Ballerina Cardstock, X6037 Bluebird Cardstock, X6039 Carolina Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2805 Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z4304 Silver Loose Sequins, Z3559 Waterfall Stickles™ Glitter Glue, Z3961 Butterfly Background Thin Cuts, Z2089 Glue Dots® Micro Dots, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine


4¼” x 5½” Thanks Card (Vertical)

A1243 My Acrylix® Teeny Tiny Type Stamp Set, X9030 Mix-in Paper Packet, X6048 Blue Belle Cardstock, X6054 Grape Cardstock, X6041 Lilac Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X6032 Wisteria Cardstock, Z891 VersaMark™ Ink Pad, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z3274 Clear Sparkles, Z3961 Butterfly Background Thin Cuts, Z2068 White Super Fine Embossing Powder, Z4220 Anti-static Pouch, Z4252 Heat Tool, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine

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Christmas in July!

Christmas in July #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhwhitepines #whitepines #christmasinjuly #leonparty #christmaspineapple #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting #santagarland #papercrafts #diy

It’s always a great time to celebrate all the things you love about Christmas, even in the middle of the year! The concept of a Christmas in July crafting party has been around for a while, and this year, we’re getting in on the fun! (Fun fact: Some crafters call their Christmas in July parties LEON parties—that’s NOEL spelled backward! 🤓🎄)

No matter how you choose to celebrate or what type of projects you feature at your soiree, a Christmas in July party is a fun excuse to get together with friends, family, and fellow crafters, and prepare for the upcoming holiday season, or catch up on your scrapbooking from the last year!

Christmas in July #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhwhitepines #whitepines #christmasinjuly #leonparty #christmaspineapple #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting #santagarland #papercrafts #diy
Christmas in July #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhwhitepines #whitepines #christmasinjuly #leonparty #christmaspineapple #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting #santagarland #papercrafts #diy

For our Christmas in July celebration, we’ve brought back one of our favorite paper suites from the past—White Pines—and given it a fresh look with an updated color scheme and a brand new 12″ x 12″ sticker sheet!

This gorgeous collection is accompanied by four stamp sets, two workshop kits, and a product bundle, which includes all the exclusive White Pines products! With so many adorable holiday designs and products, the refreshed White Pines suite is just what you need to get into the Christmas-in-July spirit!

To get your own Christmas in July party started off on the right foot, a few handmade decorations can be a great addition to the festivities. For a fun take on a Christmas tree, we’ve taken this awesome pineapple, given it its own pair of stylish sunglasses cut from our Cricut® Stars & Sparklers collection, and outfitted its crown with a few festive paper ornaments from our Artbooking collection! (Learn more about these Cricut® collections, here.)

Christmas in July #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhwhitepines #whitepines #christmasinjuly #leonparty #christmaspineapple #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting #santagarland #papercrafts #diy

You can also spruce up your backgrounds with a fun and simple garland. For this festive spread, we’ve repurposed the gnomes from our Chillin with My Gnomies Stamp + Thin Cuts for a more summery Santa Claus and fellow elves! Pair a few of these cut-outs with festive patterned stars, dress them up in red, white, and green stripes, and voila! You have a cute summer Santa garland!

Christmas in July #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhwhitepines #whitepines #christmasinjuly #leonparty #christmaspineapple #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting #santagarland #papercrafts #diy

With a few handmade decorations on hand, you’re all set for your very own Christmas in July, Leon party! Once you’re finished with your décor, it’s time to plan what you and your guests will make during the party itself. Popular choices for Christmas in July party crafts are scrapbook pages to document precious Christmas memories, or Christmas cards for the upcoming holiday season.

Christmas in July #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhwhitepines #whitepines #christmasinjuly #leonparty #christmaspineapple #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting #santagarland #papercrafts #diy

If you’re looking for project ideas to incorporate into a Christmas in July party, our White Pines scrapbooking and cardmaking workshop kits are a great way to keep your celebrations going. These workshops come with step-by-step instructions and are easy for crafters of many experience levels to complete.

The White Pines cardmaking workshop kit includes all the exclusive materials you’ll need to create 20 beautiful Christmas cards—4 each of 5 designs!

Christmas in July #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhwhitepines #whitepines #christmasinjuly #leonparty #christmaspineapple #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting #santagarland #papercrafts #diy

A handmade Christmas card for a close friend or family member can be the perfect addition to your holiday festivities and making these cards early on will leave you with more time for other festive traditions, all while helping you feel a little bit of Christmas magic, even when Christmas is half a year away!

Another way to keep your Christmas spirit strong year-round is to create holiday-themed scrapbooking pages! We all have treasured memories and traditions that we want to document, and many of these are centered around special occasions, like Christmas.

With our White Pines scrapbooking workshop kit, it’s a breeze to create gorgeous scrapbook pages for your favorite holiday memories! This workshop includes the White Pines materials you’ll need to create three two-page layouts and one single page.

Each of these layouts makes a beautiful background for your holiday photos and they’re sure to be pages you’ll adore for years to come!

We’re so excited to be able to provide a starting point for some Christmas in July creativity this year, and we can’t wait to see how you use the White Pines collection! Have you made your own Christmas in July crafts before? Leave a comment below and let us know about your experience!


RECIPES

Pineapple Sunglasses & Ornaments
CC72110 White Pines Paper Packet, X6047 Black Cardstock, X5950 Toffee Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z4213 Silver Embellishing Thread, Z3372 Adhesive Runner, Cricut® Artbooking Collection, Cricut® Stars & Sparklers Collection, Pineapple

Cricut® Shapes:
Artbooking

#M3D45C

Stars & Sparklers
#M22FC2524

Summer Santa & Elves Garland
Z3965 Chillin’ with My Gnomies Stamp + Thin Cuts, CC72110 White Pines Paper Packet, X7271B Wander Paper Packet, X6038 Candy Apple Cardstock, Z3555 Christmas Red Stickles™ Glitter Glue, Z3799 Carnation Red Liquid Pearls™, Z2475 Brown Grey TriBlend™ Marker, Z2484 Citrus Green TriBlend™ Marker, Z2497 Dark Red TriBlend™ Marker, Z2476 Fair Skin TriBlend™ Marker, Z1151 3-D Foam Tape, Cricut® Basic Shapes, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine, White Twine

Cricut® Shape:
Basic Shapes
#M36989A

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Mixing and Matching Cricut® and Paper Collections

Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #ctmhstarsandsparklers #goodtimes #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting

Great crafting from scratch is all about finding a cohesive way to incorporate various elements into a project. Adding a Cricut® shape to your artwork is a quick and simple way to elevate the aesthetic of your artwork, and to make this easier than ever, we’re going to show you a few ways to create a little mix and match Cricut action for your projects, using a handful of shapes from the Stars & Sparklers collection and the adorable papers, stickers, and shapes from the Hillside Cottage suite!

Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #ctmhstarsandsparklers #fourthofjuly #july4th #independenceday #firecrafker #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting
Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting

To supplement the paper collections in our bi-monthly catalogs, we’ve partnered with Cricut® to create a coordinating collection of shapes for each suite! These mini Cricut collections are designed to pair seamlessly with the patterns and designs in the papers, stickers, Picture My Life™ pocket cards, and stamp sets that make up the paper suite itself.

The Stars & Sparklers and Hillside Cottage paper collections are available now in our July–August catalog. Click here to check out all the amazing papers, stickers, stamps, and Cricut shapes included in these exclusive suites (along with all the other amazing products available in this catalog 😀).

Now, let’s take a look at a few fun combinations that we created through this fusion of Stars & Sparklers Cricut® shapes and various components of the Hillside Cottage suite!

To start things off, we took the “good TIMES” title and a handful of flowers from the Stars & Sparklers Cricut collection and cut them out of coordinating cardstock from the Hillside Cottage collection.

Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #ctmhstarsandsparklers #goodtimes #scrapbooking

When placed over a few of the Hillside Cottage pattern papers and placed alongside a few Hillside Cottage Shapes, these Cricut shapes are just what this page needs to really stand out!

Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #ctmhstarsandsparklers #goodtimes #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting

Similar to the scrapbook page above, this “We Are Family” layout also includes a few of the Stars & Sparklers flowers, and with these scattered throughout the pages alongside the Hillside Cottage patterns, stickers, and shapes, it’s easy to create beautiful artwork and make it unforgettable!

Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #ctmhstarsandsparklers #scrapbooking #family

For an absolute treat of a card, we paired the ice cream cone from the Stars & Sparkles Cricut collection with the few Hillside Cottage patterned papers and coordinating cardstock. This sweet card is a great example of how an everyday Cricut shape can be paired with a few papers for a gorgeous finished effect!

Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #ctmhstarsandsparklers #icecream #cardmaking #papercrafting #sosweet

Even a simple shape can be a great way to dress up your crafts—just check out the awesome texture on this cone!

Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #ctmhstarsandsparklers #sosweet #icecreamcone #papercrafting #cardmaking #scrapbooking

For this last card, we took the cute pick-up truck from the Stars & Sparklers Cricut collecion, layered all the pieces on top of a few strips of Hillside Cottage paper, and finished it off by filling the truck bed with a beautiful Hillside Cottage floral sticker! We’re left with a whimsically beautiful card that can be created in minutes!

Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #ctmhstarsandsparklers #cardmaking #papercrafting #flowertruck #happybirthday

With a little bit of time and some outside-the-box thinking, it’s easy to create gorgeous cards in minutes when you get creative with your Cricut® shapes! By mixing and matching the Stars & Sparklers Cricut truck shape with the Hillside Cottage suite, we ended up with a beautiful card, where the pieces pair so well, it looks like they were made for each other!

Cricut Shapes #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhcricut #cricut #ctmhhillsidecottage #ctmhstarsandsparklers #happybirthday #flowercard #cardmaking #papercrafting

Even though our kit-coordinated Cricut® collections are designed with specific paper collections in mind, they’re incredibly versatile and can be used with any paper suite! As you can see, the sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can do with Cricut shapes!

Do you have a favorite Cricut® collection? Leave a comment below to tell us which one, and how you love to use it!

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Photos to Take This Summer, and What to Do with Them!

Pictures to Take This Summer #closetomyheart #ctmh #summerphotos #photoideas #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #summer

We will be rolling out those hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer real soon, and to prep we’ve compiled a list of photo ideas so they won’t be so “hazy” come fall (how “lazy” and “crazy” these next couple of months are is up to you! 😉)

Whether you’ll be going on a huge vacation or planning on sticking around locally, there is so much life to capture during the summertime. The best part, these moments don’t require extravagant locations or fancy dress. All you need is you and your people and, of course, your camera.

Before we jump into our list of photo ideas, let’s talk about what to do with all of these photos once you have them. The worst thing you can do is take hundreds of awesome photos and then loose them to the seemingly bottomless pit of a gallery that you have saved on your phone or on social media, to never be seen again. Let’s just not do that this year. We can do better, and here’s how.

The first step is to turn digital images into printed pictures. We all take multiple photos of the same thing to get that “perfect pic.” Choose your favorites, print these off, and then delete the rest (you can do it!).

The next step is deciding what you want to do with these printed pictures—do you want to scrapbook all of them or put a few on display?

If scrapbooking is not your thing, make it your thing! It is not an archaic medium, and it certainly is not obsolete. One of the wonderful things about scrapbooking is that it combines your creativity with your photos and memories in a way that is personal and unique to you. If you already journal this way, a scrapbook is not that different. In a scrapbook, however, your memories will be better preserved through the years because your pages are in clear plastic pockets we call Memory Protectors™.

Pictures to Take This Summer #closetomyheart #ctmh #summerphotos #photoideas #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #summer

Regardless of whether scrapbooking is or isn’t something you’re into, if you’ve got a lot of summer photos that you want to put in an album, pocket scrapbooking is a great solution to quickly scrap all of your photos (even those photos that you may have multiples of because you couldn’t pick just one as your favorite). Add journaling, a few pieces of paper here and there, and you’re done!

Pictures to Take This Summer #closetomyheart #ctmh #summerphotos #photoideas #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #summer

If you’ve got a lot of pictures of one particular subject, like a trip or a person, the Short Story approach by Story by Stacy™ may be the way to go. The instructional workbook walks you through the process of visual storytelling in a 6″ × 6″ album, using a large group of photos topped off with a personal story written at the very end.

Pictures to Take This Summer #closetomyheart #ctmh #summerphotos #photoideas #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #summer

Displaying your summertime fun is definitely something we encourage! You can frame individual photos or create collages of all shapes and sizes. Add stickers, patterned papers, journaling—whatever will fit with the feelings you’re hoping to capture and the story you want to tell.

Now, as promised, here’s a list of photo ideas to take this summer. Use them all, just a few, or maybe use these as a jumping off place to new ideas of your own. Whatever you do, find and capture moments during this summertime so you’ll not only have an answer to the “so, what did you do this summer?” question, but also a keepsake for yourself and your family for years to come.

SUMMER PHOTO IDEAS

  1. Wearing sunglasses
  2. Lounging in the sun
  3. Tan lines
  4. Enjoying a cool summer treat
  5. Summer beverage
  6. Summer reading
  7. Seashells
  8. Flowers
  9. Sunset
  10. Working on a summer craft

  11. Favorite summer footwear/“where I stand”
  12. Fireworks
  13. Summer bbq/cook-outs
  14. Water fight
  15. American flag/July 4th decorations
  16. Patriotic clothing
  17. Fireflies
  18. Sun flare
  19. Road tripping/vacation
  20. Beach landscape

  21. Feet in the sand
  22. Eating watermelon
  23. Bubbles
  24. Blue skies/summer clouds
  25. Family time
  26. Shopping
  27. Kites
  28. Summer dress/beach hat/go-to summer outfit
  29. Ducks
  30. Temperature (on a thermometer/screen)

  31. Mani/Pedi
  32. Attending a sporting event
  33. Deck chairs
  34. Riding bikes
  35. Silhouettes on a bright sunny day
  36. Fun in the yard
  37. Fun on the water (boating/paddle boarding, etc.)
  38. Car wash
  39. Local carnival/fair
  40. Enjoying the outdoors (nature walks/hiking/camping/bonfire)

  41. Summer garden (veggies/flowers)
  42. Sidewalk chalk
  43. Summer love
  44. Pets outside (on a walk/at a park)
  45. Kids taking photos
  46. Around the house
  47. Colorful fruit
  48. Golden hour lighting (about an hour before sunset or an hour after sunrise)
  49. Your front porch
  50. Nap time

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