From Monica: Sharing Smiles

It’s been almost a year since I went to Chiapas, Mexico with Operation Smile™, but it has been on my mind a great deal this month. As you are most likely aware, this month we are promoting a special stamp set called My Acrylix® Share the Love that is only available during the month of February. For each Share the Love stamp set sold, we are donating $7 USD of the proceeds to Operation Smile to help with their noble cause. Take a look at this adorable scrapbook page that our art studio made using the Share the Love stamp set along with a few photos from my mission trip and papers from our Charlotte paper packet:Monica shares her thoughts about her Operation Smile mission in Mexico. #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhcharlotte #sharethelove

Looking at those photos takes me right back to that little town, and to the precious children I got to see and spend time with there. I was only there for a few days, but my time in Chiapas really made a lasting impression on me, and this page is a beautiful way of preserving those memories.

I recently shared a little bit more about my experience on the Operation Smile mission in a video, which you can watch right here:

We have been talking a lot about the good that Operation Smile achieves in the world: A smile is a priceless gift, and yet for only $240 USD, Operation Smile can provide that gift for a child in need. I am so grateful that so many of you have joined us in playing a part in this awesome mission. Thank you!

To learn more about how you can help Operation Smile, talk to your Consultant today or find a Consultant by visiting closetomyheart.com and clicking on “Find a Consultant” in the top right corner of the page.

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From Jeanette: Share the Love through Operation Smile™

I consider my grandchildren to be among the greatest treasures in my life. I never could have imagined the joy that those precious smiles bring to me. I’m sure that those of you with children and grandchildren can relate! Even those without children of your own know just how priceless and special a child’s smile is. And that’s one of the reasons that Close To My Heart has been partnered with Operation Smile™ for so long.

Operation Smile is an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cleft palate, cleft lip, and other facial deformities receive lifesaving and life-changing surgeries. They are truly a special organization. At our last Convention, we shared a video of an Operation Smile mission, and I want to give you all a chance to see it now:

Watching this video brings tears to my eyes every time. The work this organization does is absolutely incredible, and I am determined to do what I can to help this incredible organization succeed.

Since February is the month of love, we thought it would be a wonderful time to really focus our efforts on expressing our love for Operation Smile and the dear families they serve. For this purpose, we’ve created the My Acrylix® Share the Love stamp set, and for every stamp set sold, we will donate $7 USD to Operation Smile*.Help a child by purchasing the Share the Love stamp set benefiting Operation Smile! #ctmh #CloseToMyHeart #OperationSmile #operationsmile #sharethelove #donate

This stamp set is only available during February, so be sure to get yours while you can. There are also many other ways you can help Operation Smile throughout the year. You can purchase the My Acrylix® Animal Greetings stamp set, which you can use to create this adorable children’s book and many other wonderful works of art. This stamp set is sure to bring smiles to many children’s faces!

We also have a selection of t-shirts to help promote the Operation Smile mission. For every t-shirt you purchase, we will donate $10 USD*.

Another way to help is to round up your order totals. When you do this, we will donate the difference. Each surgery is only $240 USD, so small donations can really add up to make a big impact.

Finally, if you or someone you know would like to make an outright donation to Operation Smile, simply talk to a Close To My Heart Consultant, who can walk you step by step through that process.

We’ll be sharing some more stories this month to show what some of our awesome Consultants have done to support Operation Smile, as well, so be sure to check back with us throughout the month.

My friends, you already add so much goodness to this world. Donating to Operation Smile is simply a way to extend the reach of your goodness. With all my heart, I thank you for all you have done, all you are doing, and all you will do for people, both around the corner and around the globe. Your selflessness inspires me.

All my love,

Jeanette

*Products purchased in US states AL and MA excluded from donation due to state registration requirements. 

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Feeling Cornered by Chronology?

Do you suffer from acute chronological scrapbook syndrome? You’re not alone.

Thousands like you have been printing photos and storing them away in shoeboxes for decades, assuring themselves that one day they’ll feel more motivated to scrapbook everything in the perfect order.

Full of good intentions, but dreading the task of organizing every photo, victims of this syndrome often find their passion tainted by a nagging voice that tells them they must start at the beginning (wherever that is) or not start at all.

It’s time to silence that voice and get back to doing what we love!

It may seem revolutionary, but scrapbooks don’t have to be done in chronological order. Remember that these memories are your stories, so you get to tell them however you wish. The only way you’re doing it “wrong” is if the method you’ve chosen feels like a task rather than a delight.

Free yourself and your creativity by trying these organizational methods of scrapbooking instead:

Life Milestones
Milestones happen at every stage of life. Create an album that showcases a variety of milestones from the lives of each family member. Pick a certain milestone and focus on that, or gather a bunch onto one layout. You can include things like graduations, church ceremonies, losing teeth, getting married, the first day of a new job, or learning to walk. This is a fun way to show your family’s progress over time.

Love is You layout in album

Classic Family Memories
Have a favorite memory that everyone in the family loves to talk about? Get it on paper. When your family comes over for Sunday dinner and starts to reminisce, write down the extra details they add to your story. Better yet, ask them to write their own version of the family memory. Include everyone’s version of the story as journaling on your layout. Even if you have no idea where the photos of that specific memory are, just start taking the first steps. You’ll find the photos in that notorious shoebox soon enough.

Someone You Love
Pick a person who’s important to you and create an album that’s all about them. The photos can come from any time or event. The important part is simply that they get remembered. This album will become something they will cherish for always.

Color Schemes
This artsy method is more wild and crazy, but definitely a lot of fun—and excellent for a creative boost! Choose photos and papers based on the similarity of their color schemes and then put them all on one page. Find out how fun it can be to see a collection of unrelated memories on one layout!

Random Reminiscing
Reach into that pile of photos and pull out a few. Scrapbook them any way you wish, whether that’s together on one page or each on their own layout. As you finish each layout, simply place them in your album in any order at all. This method is a lot of fun to look through afterward because you’ll always be surprised by which memory pops up next.

Purposeful Prompts
Type a list of prompts (e.g. your favorite words, themes, questions you think your posterity will ask about you), trim them into strips, and place them in a jar. Draw a new one every time you sit down to scrapbook. Whatever kind of information that prompt inspires you to document, do it!

It’s the Little Things
In addition to the big events of life, be sure to also emphasize the daily things that make you and your family who you are. Stepping outside of big events will paint a more realistic picture of your life as well as add some variety to your albums.

Likes and Dislikes
Focus on a person’s likes or dislikes, not worrying about their age or location at the time you took the photos. An overarching theme like this really helps to reveal who a person is in just a layout or two.

Favorite Activities
What activity does your family love to do? Find pictures of yourselves doing that activity across any number of years and group them together. Say you like to vacation together; make a layout just for vacations. They don’t even have to be from the same trip—just get the theme put into one place.

Travel layout in album

How do you feel now? Empowered? Liberated? Excited? The only thing to make this moment sweeter would be for us to remind you that the albums you’ll need to keep your long-awaited layouts safe in are available at a great deal this month. Take advantage of the February deal on albums to get your gorgeous, non-chronological layouts archived and on display. You only have a few days left to take advantage of this promotion. Your memories have waited a long time for this; now let them shine!

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Making Impressions: Upgrade Your Albums with Title Pages

The only thing more alluring than a new Close To My Heart canvas-coated album is a BOGO deal. Put them together, and what do you have? A recipe for amazing that just so happens to be available to you during the month of February!

To help you fill up these gorgeous albums, we’ll be sharing ideas throughout the month for the kinds of album-worthy artwork we swoon over.

Today we’ve got an idea to take your albums up a notch: album title pages! It’s a great way to turn what would otherwise be a scattered compilation of layouts into a finished and cohesive album.

Title page in album

What can a title page do for you? Your album’s title page is like the opening scene for the slideshow of your life, so you want to make sure it sends the right message.

Keep the following three things in mind and you’ll be able to create a title page that’s sure to leave an impression:

1) A clear focal point. One good photo surrounded by plenty of negative space will do the trick.

2) A defined title. Your title is a succinct description at the beginning of your album to make it easy for your audience to recognize what the album is about.

3) Connection. A title page can jive with the layouts of an album while still making a statement of its own. Aim for coordination, not a perfect match. You might choose to make your title page first and then borrow a few elements to develop other layouts in the album. Or, you might do the opposite and make your title page last, pulling elements from some of your layouts. Regardless of the method you choose, be sure to make it your own!

On this, our first two-page spread of the album, you see border stitching that is a variant of the hand-drawn stitching on our title page. What a great way to pull the two pieces together.

Two-page layout in album

We love title pages! What creative techniques have you used to create yours?

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