Dear Future Self . . .

How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions for 2016? If you could use some motivation now or think you might before the year is up, one thing to try is writing a letter to your future self, talking about the things that you hope to have done by the date of the letter! Have a look at this one:Get inspired to accomplish your goals by writing a letter to yourself! #closetomyheart #ctmh #everydaylife #mycrush

Our My Crush® Everyday Life pages are perfect for this job. Along with encouraging phrases and bold illustrations, the pages also include subtle patterns and colors, making them easy to write on and decorate!

So how exactly do you go about writing a letter to yourself? We have a few ideas. Start by jotting down a few lists about yourself—strengths, weaknesses, worries, past successes. Think about your past year and some challenges you’re likely to face this year. Then write your current self a note as if you were a kind and wise mentor trying to encourage a friend. As the year progresses and the hard times hit, you’ll be able to look back and get the help you need from you!

Once you’ve finished writing out your letter, feel free to dress it up with a few embellishments—may we recommend the Everyday Life™ Perfect Plan roller stamp and washi tape? They pair wonderfully with the My Crush pages. Then add the page to the front of your planner so you can reference it whenever you need a boost.

Your goals are worth working for, and you’re most likely to accomplish them if you have faith in yourself. Preserve that faith with a letter to yourself and shoot for the stars!

Recipe

My Crush® Letter To Self
44751 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3208 Everyday Life™ Album—Black, Z3210 My Crush® Everyday Life Pages, Z3212 Everyday Life™ Perfect Plan Roller Stamp, Z3211 Everyday Life™ Washi Tape, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z2462 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Peony Purple Marker

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5 Tips for Achieving Your Goals This Year

It’s time to make New Year’s resolutions again! Are you making goals to spend more quality time crafting or to try new techniques? Maybe you’re already great at accomplishing the goals you set, but for those of us who could use a little extra help, here are five tips for goal-setting success:

1. Choose goals you can get excited about!

Accomplish your goals this year with our five tips! #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmh #closetomyheart #newyears #goals #tips

Choose goals you’ll enjoy, like dancing instead of running.

It’s hard to commit to something that doesn’t inspire your passion, so make goals to do things you love! Even goals about things you know you should do can be fun. For instance, if you want to exercise more but hate running, join a dance class or go walking with your friends instead. You’re much more likely to stick to a goal that you enjoy!

2.Tell someone else about your goals.

Accomplish your goals this year with our five tips! #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmh #closetomyheart #newyears #goals #tips

Share your goals with a friend who can help you succeed!

Whether it’s a spouse, parent, or friend, make sure someone else knows about the goals you’ve set. This will help you be accountable—you’ll want to be able to tell them how well you’re doing! Plus, your loved ones can also encourage you or even pitch in to help when the going gets tough. It’s also great to have someone who can congratulate you on your successes. That’s what friends and family are for!

3. Record your goals.

Accomplish your goals this year with our five tips! #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmh #closetomyheart #newyears #goals #tips

Create a mini book to record your goals!

You’ve heard it said that a goal not written is only a wish. So create a beautiful spot to record your New Year’s resolutions that you’ll want to look at again and again! For example, our next post will give you some ideas for creative ways to write down your goals in an adorable mini goal book you can keep with you and reference throughout the day or week. Stay tuned for that post!

4. Track your progress.

Accomplish your goals this year with our five tips! #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmh #closetomyheart #newyears #goals #tips

Use the Everyday Life™ planner system to track your progress!

It’s important to record your goals, but it’s also important to remind yourself each day to work toward them. That’s one reason we’ve created our planner system: to give you a place to track your goals and activities day by day! You’ll be able to use tools like our water goal stamp and bright stickers to see your progress. This will keep you focused and encourage you to stay hard at work!

5. Reward yourself for goal milestones!

Accomplish your goals this year with our five tips! #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmh #closetomyheart #newyears #goals #tips

When you reach a goal milestone, give yourself a reward like the January Stamp of the Month!

When you’re busy or discouraged, the spa trip you promised yourself for achieving your goal will feel very far away. Instead of planning one big reward for completing your entire goal, set up several smaller rewards—like a new stamp set or an extra hour of crafting—for hitting milestones along the way. They’ll keep you motivated all along your journey!

Worthwhile goals are the path to self-improvement, and these tips will help you become your very best self. What do you hope to achieve in 2016? Share your goals in the comments so we can cheer for one another!

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Vision Boards: Organizing Your Creative Dreams

For even more vision board ideas, check out our recent Vision Boards 3 Ways blog post!

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 this month’s call to 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.

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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. 😉

We’d love to see how your vision boards turn out! Share your photos of your new creations, or even of boards you’ve created already, on the Close To My Heart Facebook page.

Now go create your vision!

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Choosing Paper Over Pixels: Why We Still Scrapbook

With the end of the old year and the dawn of the new year, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of “Year in Review” posts floating through your Facebook newsfeeds. Some people argue that things such as this have replaced scrapbooking layouts and albums. This is the new scrapbooking, they say. We no longer turn pages; we scroll them. So why then do some of us continue to use paper to preserve our memories? Is scrapbooking with paper still important? Well, let me tell you what I think.

The things that pop up in our newsfeeds often become irrelevant within mere hours of being born. Their permanence is as fleeting as dust in the wind. People will click through maybe once or twice, but after that, few will even remember they were there. When we upload pictures to Facebook, it fails to leave us with the same sense of satisfaction that comes from the whiz of a paper cutter or the stickiness of fingers spotted with adhesives. And when we type out our words, we lose the intimacy of handwriting and the beautiful way a personality dances its way through the shapes of the letters.

This is why I love National Papercrafting Month. It’s a wonderful reminder at the beginning of the year of why I fell in love with scrapbooking in the first place. It reminds me why we still spend time preserving memories with paper in a world that is slowly turning into pixels.

Working with paper will ground you in reality and in the beautiful subtleties of our physical world, which is why I think the Year >> Noted kit is so nicely suited to this month. In the rush of a new year and the memory of an old year, it not only keeps me grounded, but also gives me a place to tether my dreams, making my big goals seem so much more in reach!

Life is a continual cycling of beginnings and endings—don’t get lost in the whirlpool. Take the time to write down those things within your heart that will one day become the whispers of your past. Ground yourself in paper. Because when you hold a real, finished project in your hands, the rush and the hurry fades away and the only thing you feel is contentment.

And trust me, when this new year becomes old and the time comes to reflect, you’ll be happy you have something real to hold and to remember. Let this kit become a time capsule filled with little pieces of who you are in this moment. I promise you that when you take the time to remember, your heart will fill with gratitude for not only who you are, but also for who you are becoming.

Happy scrapbooking!

Jeanette

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Who’s up for a challenge?

Welcome to 2015! At Close To My Heart, we have some exciting things in the works for the upcoming year. Just as I do at the beginning of every year, I’ve set some new goals for myself and for our company. One goal I have for all of us is to find joy in creativity. As with any ongoing resolution, we all need a little extra motivation from time to time. So today I’m happy to announce Jeanette’s Creative Challenge! You’re invited to play along with me this year as we present weekly challenges to get your creative juices flowing.

Here’s how it’s going to go:

  1. Tune in to our Facebook and Instagram pages each Monday to learn what Jeanette’s Creative Challenge will be. Follow Close To My Heart on Facebook and Instagram so you can get the details pronto! When I announce the challenge, you’ll see a sample project as your inspiration and it will then be up to you to create and share your own creations.
  1. You have until the following Sunday at midnight to post a photo of your own interpretation of the challenge to either our Facebook page or your own Instagram feed. Be sure to use the hashtag #jrlcreativechallenge when you post. You can search this hashtag at any time to see what others have posted!
  1. What’s in it for you? This series is designed to inspire creative time and provide a place for unity and idea sharing each week. The challenge will give you a reason to get into your supplies on a regular basis for the sole purpose of having fun through crafting!
  1. Oh, and did I mention there will be prizes? We’ll choose one random winner each week to receive a prize for participating. I’ll announce the previous week’s winners every Monday on Facebook and Instagram, just before the new challenge announcement.
  1. Spread the word about this opportunity to anyone and everyone you know who loves creating, winning prizes, and a good challenge! The more people that get involved, the more fun it will be.

Sounds like a blast, right? Get those scissors sharpened for Monday, January 12, when I’ll post our first Weekly Creative Challenge!

Happy New Year!

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