Over the last few weeks the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped many of our lives. A lot of us are working from home, our children are dismissed from school, shops and stores we customarily frequent are either closed or understocked, and even a lot of outdoor venues, such as parks and playgrounds, are also off limits. As a society, we have had to pull ourselves together and come up with creative ways to continue doing the things that need to get done and to live life.
At Close To My Heart, we are committed to helping the storyteller in you share and preserve all of your new and unique experiences. Late last month, we created and released the Let’s Stay Home stamp set, which reflects these strange and unparalleled times.
In the video below, you will see how some of our Home Office friends used the Let’s Stay Home stamp set to create engaging scrapbook pages reflecting how the lives of their families have been impacted by our current events.
As this “alone together” journey continues, we’ve designed two Let’s Stay Home coordinating SVG images that you can download FREE for use with your favorite design software. (An SVG image is resolution independent and infinitely scalable, meaning it will look clear and crisp at any size.) Click on the images below and save them for your own personal use.
Seamlessly cut these timely titles out of cardstock to use on a scrapbook page, as shown below, along with the Let’s Stay Home stamp set.
These titles, when paired with vinyl, also make great album covers, providing a beautiful place to collect all of the memories you are making right now.
Keep documenting how life has changed for you and yours. Collect news stories, memes, photos, and, most importantly, collect your own personal experiences and stories. We wish you all love, joy, happiness, and health, today and every day. ❤️
We’ve all been there. No matter how much we enjoy creating, eventually there comes a time where we find that our creative juices are anything but flowing. It is nothing to feel bad about. Lulls come and go and are part of the creative process. However inevitable these ruts may be, we do at least have some control over how long we allow ourselves to stay in them. Below are five suggestions to get out of that brain-lock and find your muse.
Carve out a creative space.
Dedicate a physical place for your crafting and take the time to nest. Make it a place that reminds you of how much you love scrapbooking or cardmaking (or both!) and why. While craft rooms can be fabulous, this creative space doesn’t have to be an entire room. A desk or a table work just as well. Include quotes, photos, finished projects, supplies—whatever supports your creative energy. Once your place is all set up, don’t let it get stale. Keep wanting to spend time there by keeping it up with a cute new pillow, or quote, or photos, etc. Make this the place you physically go to, and want to go to, when you work on your art.
A physical place is just the beginning of a creative space. Before going to your place, make sure your mind is going with you, too! Clear your mind of stresses to make room for new ideas to sprout and grow. Everyone does this a little bit differently. For some, going on a walk or a drive does the trick. Others may require locking the door, turning on some music, and dancing without inhibitions. Whatever your process, do your best to clear your mind and stay present before you sit down to create.
You’ve carved out a creative space, both physically and mentally. Now, the next thing is to show up. Set time aside for the thing that you love and make it the thing to do at that time. Add it to your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. The important thing is that you include it in your routine and that you actually take the time to do it. Even if you don’t have a project that you are currently working on, feed your creativity. Sit down in your place and create something. Remove the pressure of creating for a specific reason. You create because you love to.
Try something new.
Enhance your creativity by doing things differently from time-to-time.
Michelangelo, one of the greatest artists of all time, always thought of himself as a sculptor and not a painter. When he was commissioned to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel he tried turning it down but was eventually persuaded otherwise. (Aren’t you glad?) Up until that commission, Michelangelo had never painted in fresco or even used color in any of his art.
Just like Michelangelo, you’ll never know what you are capable of if you stick to the same, habitual, never changing methods and ideas. Experiment with new media, new products, and new techniques. Even though you will fail occasionally, you will also have successes.
See what others are up to.
This is the point where we tell you to take your headphones off and connect with the world that is around you. Visit museums and art shows, attend concerts and live theater, flip through magazines, go shopping, eat at your favorite restaurants, and spend time with uplifting people. Allow all of this creative energy to rub off on you and reign it in to use on your art.
Keep an inspiration journal.
Keep a notebook or use your phone to gather and keep ideas that inspire you. You never know when you’ll see something that you just love to look at, for whatever reason—it could be a color combination, an arrangement, a theme, etc. Keep all of these ideas in one place to refer back to often, especially when you’re feeling creatively stuck.
Take a look at these two examples:
You’re out shopping for new linens one day when you realize that you can’t stop looking at the arrangement of the wall display. There is something comforting about how neat and organized everything is, so you snap a photo and move on with your errand. Later that week when you sit down in your creative space, you pull out the photo you took and then create the following page for your scrapbook, using the lines created by the shelves as your inspiration:
On another occasion, you’re flipping through a magazine and see this photo:
You clip the photo (or take a photo of it with your phone) and save it in your inspiration journal. Pulling from the heavy pattern on the wall and smaller items offset to the side, you create a card.
The card is based on the same compositional elements as the photo. There is a heavy pattern in the background, a large sentiment in the front (like the chair), with smaller complements next to it.
We hope that this new year brings lots of creative ideas to you all. And if ever in a rut, review our list above to help you find your inspiration.
What are some things you do to feed your creative energy?
Summer adventures are coming to a close as school bells begin to ring, generating much excitement and anticipation for a new academic year. We’ve prepared our children’s wardrobes, collected supplies, and arranged for healthy lunches in hopes of ensuring as much success as can be planned for. Just as we’re about to send these kiddos into the seemingly unknown, we prop them in our porches, getting on a school bus, or standing with their teacher and make them smile for the camera. Click!
And they’re off! School is back in session. Before you know it, you’re knee deep in artwork, certificates of excellence, report cards, and all kinds of treasures that you just don’t know what to do with. You most certainly don’t need to keep everything your child scribbles on, but there are and will be some things that you will cherish and value for a long time, if not forever. This happens year, after year, after year.
Because we are committed to memory keeping, we had to come up with a system that works to preserve these wonderful and prized memories. With some thoughtful consideration, we were able to put together a project that comes together quickly and easily to create a scrapbook album for all of these formative school years. Dear non-scrapbooker reading this post, please hear us out for a sec. before you assume this no longer applies to you. 😉
With the materials and instructions included in the You’ve Got Class workshop kit you create an entire album with one page for each school year. What makes this workshop unique to other scrapbooking workshops are our True Fit Folios. True Fit Folios are white cardstock folders that fit perfectly inside 12″ x 12″ Memory Protectors™. The workshop is designed so that each scrapbook page is assembled on a side of one of the folders. After you complete all of your pages, or folder sides, you insert them into the Memory Protectors™ inside an album. With this completed album, you are all set and ready to start adding your keepsakes and mementos inside the pockets, where they will be securely and safely stored for years to come!
If you’ve got any kids in your life—children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors—this workshop is for you. Even if these “kids” are old and grown, chances are their school day relics are collecting dust “in a box somewhere.” (Well-preserved memories make a wonderful gift!)
If you’ve been looking for a way to store school memories with easy access, this is it. If scrapbooking is “not your thing,” this is the time to reconsider, even if it’s just this once. You want this album on your shelf, and so do your kids—cross our hearts!
And for those of us who are constantly click, click, clicking with our cameras, there are likely a few additional photos to include on the folio pages. We thought of that, too!
Preserve the best of your child’s school years with the You’ve Got Class collection of products. This special features a paper collection, exclusive stamp set, and workshop kit specifically designed to commemorate the passage of these school years. But act quickly, these products are only available through September 30 while supplies last! (And they are moving fast!)
Let’s face it—we don’t all approach scrapbooking in the same way. From the way we take our pictures, to the way we talk about them, we each have our own personal flair and style of doing things. While some of us may prefer pocket scrapbooking to a traditional 12″ x 12″ layout, others may favor heavy embellishments and lots of extra trimmings—or both, or none of the above. The point is, it doesn’t really matter what your style is so long as it’s functional for you and you are getting your scrapping on.
We’ve got three examples for you today of the same story, using the exact same pictures and journaling on each, and even using the same paper collection and embellishments to show you that no matter what your preferences are, there is a method of scrapbooking out there that is right for you, and we have the tools to help you realize your vision! There really are so many other ways to preserve your memories, too, so if none of these apply to you, reach out to your Close To My Heart Consultant for even more ideas. (If you don’t have a Consultant, find one in your area by clicking on Find a Consultant under the What We Do tab on our website, here.)
Let’s start things off by taking a closer look at what a “traditional” scrapbooking page may look like.
One secret to this style of scrapbooking is starting with a pattern! Our patterns are easy to follow, thanks to paper cutting diagrams and exact measurements for paper and photo placement. Once you’ve got your page designed, whether you created it from scratch or used a pattern, it’s up to you to add your personal touches in the details.
One of the hallmarks of this style of scrapbooking is the detail work! There are a lot of embellishments and small details on this page subtly hidden in plain sight.
Bitty Sparkles were added to the center of flower stickers, other stickers were laid behind and on top of photos, papers are layered, the photos are slightly overlapping, a beautiful wood word accents the title while adding weight and texture to the page, and splatters of paint add character throughout—just to name a few 🙂 .
If you still like the idea of a 12″ x 12″ page but aren’t as interested in all the extra flourishes, take a look at this second variation.
This page follows a cleaner and simpler approach compared to the first, and still offers the same information. The photos are the same as is the journaling.
We still added some embellishments, including a different wood title, which stands alone in this example, but everything conforms with the cleaner “millennial” style that we’ve talked about in a previous post (Millennial-style Scrapbooking).
Our photos are once again square, but this time they are evenly spaced and arranged in a grid along with the journaling, which is also formatted in a square (very user friendly for all of those social media photos!). Other than the paper used to mat the white cardstock and journaling, there is very little use of additional patterns. The result is yet another beautiful page in a very different style.
Finally, we can’t talk about scrapbooking methods without talking about pockets. Our third example shows what this layout would look like in a pocket scrapbooker’s album. Rather than a single 12″ x 12″ empty canvas, with pocket scrapbooking you have as many blank canvases as you have pockets! You can get as creative and embellishment-heavy as you’d like, or keep things simple and fill most of your pockets with photos and readymade pocket cards with little to no embellishment.Our example is a bit more embellished than the average pocket scrapbooking page. Instead of using Picture My Life™ pocket cards, each pocket card is made from regular size patterned paper trimmed down to fit the pockets. Making your own pocket cards, or embellishing existing ones, is one place where you can add your personal touches to your scrapbooking.
Another place to showcase your personality is in your journaling. Instead of typing them up, create a more intimate setting for your memories by spelling them out in your own handwriting.
If you’re short on time and still want to scrapbook (which everyone should 😉 ) pocket scrapbooking also gives you the flexibility to add your photos first and fill in the empty pockets later. There’s less pressure to complete one page at a time as there is with the more “traditional” approaches.
Whatever your scrapbooking style is, we’re here to support it! Experiment with any or all of our examples above or come up with your own. In the comments below, we’d love to hear what has (and hasn’t) worked for you as you work on preserving your memories!
It’s that time of year again, when we are getting all of the feels as we prepare to part ways with our Annual Inspirations catalog on September 1 and make way for a new Holiday Expressions idea book. We are so excited for the launch of the brand new catalog, filled to the brim with amazing new tools and products, and at the same time, we’re getting a little misty-eyed over having to say goodbye to others.
Luckily, we still have a little over two weeks left before our Annual Inspirations, and so many of the products featured inside it, retire. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite goodies for you below. Make sure you and your friends snatch these up before they’re gone for good!
Basic Banners Thin Cuts
Several of the Thin Cuts metal dies in Annual Inspirations are retiring, including the Basic Banners Thin Cuts! This set includes four sizes of the same banner shape, ideal for creating timeless accents for both cardmaking and scrapbooking.
Picture My Life™ Tabbed Journaling Cards
We love these trendy grid journaling cards! Use them to add journaling to any of your scrapbooking projects.
Small Organizer and Coordinating Foam Inserts
This organizer has served us well over the years, but it is time to bid him farewell! The small organizer and foam inserts that nestle inside are great for organizing various tools and small accessories. Be sure to snatch up a few before they’re gone!
Girls just wanna have sun…at least this girl does! The Summer Fun Paper Doll stamp set is only available bundled with it’s coordinating Thin Cuts so you can be sure that each dress and accessory will fit just right!
Get your fill of this soft pink hue while you still can!
Our Punny Pals have been on a mission this year—to create as many smiles as possible! With every purchase of a My Acrylix® Punny Pals stamp set, $7 (USD) of the proceeds are donated to Operation Smile™, a non-profit organization that provides surgeries to repair cleft left lips and palates in children around the world.
These little guys’ mission isn’t over yet! With just a couple of weeks left, let’s make sure we don’t forget about them and give them a proper send off!
These products (and so many others!) are only available through the end of August, while supplies last, so hurry and grab your favorites before they are all gone!
Which products are you going to miss most from Annual Inspirations? Tell us in the comments below!
We often talk about the meaty parts of scrapbooking here, from visual storytelling to journaling prompts and everything in between. Today, instead of what comes in between, let’s discuss the very beginning, or at least front, of a complete scrapbook album—the title page!
The title page of an album is that very first page you see when you flip open the cover. It is there to provide a quick visual summary of the stories and memories beautifully documented inside. Regardless of your scrapping style, the title page is something that we all have in common. Without it, our albums look and feel incomplete.
So you know you need a title page for your album. How do you start? The very first, and probably biggest, “secret” to a good title page, is to create it last. After the inside of your album is done, then is when you should begin to think about designing your title page. There are several reasons for this. Creating the title page last allows you to pull from visual elements and themes illustrated throughout your pages and layouts, including topics, color schemes, and designs.
Waiting until the end to make your title page will also allow you flexibility in your story telling. If you make a title page first, especially one that includes photos and journaling, you run the risk of not highlighting something that you add in later.
A title page can also work as a sort of “table of contents.” If you choose to go this route, use some of your extra photos to map out what someone can expect to see as they flip through your album. You can arrange them in order, number them, and add short blurbs, like in our example, or create a collage without any words.
Or you can create a title page without any photos. Add a title and journaling that corresponds with the photos you include on the following pages. If the “table of contents” approach isn’t your thing, a quick name referencing the topic of your album, like “Disney Vacation 2018” or “Grandma Gigi” or “My Favorite Things,” can also do the trick.
As you’re designing your title page, keep in mind that it is an extension of your album, your memories, and you. However you choose to make it, match the storytelling style you use inside, and most importantly make it your own.
When it comes to memory keeping, especially if you’ve never done it before, the biggest obstacle for most people is knowing where to get started. With moments happening and getting captured quicker than they can be documented, memory keeping can easily become an overwhelming task that, as the memories pile up, we tend to ignore and simply feel anxious and guilty about.
Today we’re going to alleviate some of those feelings and help you navigate through the heaps of memories you are making. It is never too late to tell your story, so let’s get started!
Why is memory keeping important to you?
The very first thing you need to consider before pulling out old photos or any scrapbooking supplies is what is memory keeping and why is it important to you? There is no right or wrong answer here, and everyone’s motivation will be different, but motivation it will be. Really think about the why of your memory keeping.
Why do you take so many photos and videos with that fancy smart phone?
Who and what are you taking photos of?
Do you keep a journal? What do you write about?
Do you collect things because of their association with certain people or events?
Our current social climate is very instant and in the moment. You can take a photo, caption it, and quickly share it with friends across the world by posting to Facebook or Instagram. For some people, this is all the memory keeping they need. The downside is that if you only post to social media and never do anything else with those stories, you are only documenting your story in a format where it only lives for a moment. And then, what happens to your story?
The question again is: why is memory keeping important to you?
Sorting Through Memories
Once you’ve figured out why you want to preserve your memories, you can begin sorting through them and decide which ones to preserve. Chances are you’ve got a hard-drive, or perhaps several boxes, full of photos from the years past that you want to put into albums but just aren’t quite sure where to begin. If your photos aren’t organized, check out our post on How to Organize Years of Photos without Getting Overwhelmed for some great tips and ideas.
The truth is, not all of our moments carry the same weight, so not every single second of our lives is worth documenting. This is the step where you decide which memories you want to (and will!) preserve. And remember, it’s okay to let some things go!
Make a list of past stories and stories to come that you want to keep in an album. Some possible ideas may include:
Milestones in the life of a baby or child
A specific year
Choose a Format
Whatever you choose to preserve, choose to do it your way. Decide on a format of memory keeping that works best for you and your memories. If you’re new to the scrapbooking scene and the thought of memory keeping is overwhelming, we’ve got a few products for you to explore.
If you like the look of complete scrapbook albums but don’t think you have the time or know-how to make them happen for you, the Cut Above® layout kits are a great solution! These kits come complete with pre-printed base pages, stickers, and die-cuts (cut paper shapes) ready to make coordinating 2-page scrapbook layouts. All you need to bring to the table, aside from your kit, is photos, adhesive, and a journaling pen!
The Story Begins layout kit shown above (also available for baby boys) is one of our many Cut Above® scrapbooking options. This particular kit comes with enough materials to make 10 coordinating 2-page scrapbook layouts. That’s an entire baby book! And if you have more photos that you want to include than the kits allow for, you can add coordinating pages with Picture My Life™ cards and pocket scrapbookingMemory Protectors™. Always make the room to tell your whole story.
With the help of easy-to-follow instructions, trimming tools, and adhesive, you can use any of our Workshop Your Way® kits to create three coordinating scrapbook layouts. Unlike the Cut Above® kits, in Workshops Your Way® you trim your own paper and are given extras like, ribbons and sequins, to embellish your pages.
The last example of memory keeping we’re going to share is with pocket scrapbooking in a smaller, Everyday Life™, album.
Maybe this type of memory keeping is more your style. Less patterned paper and more memorabilia turned into accents and pocket cards to enhance the memories of your experiences. Whether you’re cutting things up, attaching them on a pocket card, or creating a pocket for a group of items—there is no wrong way to tell your story.
Making the Time
This last part of the memory keeping process is the most crucial because without it memory keeping will not happen. You need to decide how much time you will invest into preserving your memories. If memory keeping isn’t already part of your routine, make the conscious decision to include it. (A half-an-hour a week is better than doing nothing at all.)
To be a successful memory keeper you must be honest with yourself about your creative habits. Take an approach that works for you and your memories, and that you will actually do. Once you get started you will find so much joy and satisfaction in knowing that your memories are safely documented and preserved.
Because we whole heartedly believe in getting your creative dreams in order, here’s a rerun of one of our favorite organization posts. Enjoy!
Typically when we decide it’s time to organize our lives, we think about things like paper stashes, overflowing closets, garages, or the plastic containers stacked precariously in the kitchen. But are all of these things really life? Sure, they play roles in our life, but they’re hopefully not what drives us to get up in the morning.
In the spirit of organization, we decided to tackle a project that’s a little more elusive than cupboards and drawers: organizing your creative intentions through a vision board!
So, what’s a vision board? It’s a place to display images, words, or objects that represent what you want to be and do with your life in one beautiful, central location. Our hope is that this fun project will help you design your vision for your art and your life, all while keeping your thoughts and actions organized enough to accomplish it.
Your vision board can become your light at the end of the tunnel during creative blocks. It will keep you motivated to continue heading toward your personal creative oasis!
Now let’s dive into what you’ll need to do to create your vision board! As with all art projects on this blog, we encourage you to use this example as a jumping off point to inspire you in your own creative pursuits. With this project in particular it is especially important for you to take your own, individual spin.
Start by spending some time seriously considering what you want this vision board to accomplish. What do you need to remember most in your life? Find a few words or phrases that speak to where you are in life right now. Once you’ve decided what these are, use stamps, Cricut® cuts, Picture My Life™ cards, or simply your own handwriting to express them.
Include lists of your creative dreams and goals. Whether that includes a list of techniques you want to learn, albums you want to finish, places you want to visit, or dreams you have for your family, writing it down and reading it every day will help you make the choices necessary to bring it from your imagination into reality.
Always stay on the lookout for bits and pieces of your life to add to your vision board. Surrounding yourself with bits and pieces of what you love in this world will be your sunlight on cloudy days. One simple way to do this is through your regular crafting routine. Keep your eyes open for scraps of embellishments such as ribbon, washi tape, or Complements. Cut a little more Shimmer Trim than you ended up needing for your layout? Save it and recycle it for your vision board!
Remember that this board is an organization tool. When your to-do list looks as cute as this, you won’t be able to resist taking care of everything on it. Even weekly schedules take on a new light when you dress them up. It’s also a great place to include other items you need to attend to, such as invitations to weddings that you’re planning on making cards or gifts for.
Make sure the things you include on your vision board are what you’re naturally drawn to, not what you think you should be drawn to. Remember this process needs to be fun! Let your creativity get playful and choose things out of the ordinary. Dare to do things like stamp and emboss a photo or include random scraps of doodling. The most important thing is not to overthink it; just follow your creative heart!
There you have it: the beginner’s guide to streamlining your creative life. Although our craft rooms may never stay organized, at least our creative visions can stay on track. 😉
For even more vision boards ideas, check out these other blog posts: