Dinner Is Served—In Style!

Maybe you volunteered for it because you enjoy making everybody comfortable. Maybe you were stuck with it because your dining room is actually big enough. For whatever reason, you’ve got it: Hostess Duty. The big dinner is already too close for comfort, and it’s only getting closer.

No fear! Whether you’re in charge of your family’s Thanksgiving gathering or another large dinner party, Close To My Heart will help you get prepared. We want you to be able to focus on the most important part of any party—the people! With that in mind, we’ve created printable thank you cards and conversation starter cards that will help you create wonderful memories as you gather around the table. Take a look at this Thanksgiving place setting:
Create beautiful Thanksgiving place settings! #closetomyheart #ctmh #thanksgiving #dinner #autumn #fall #gratitudeBeautiful, right? The thank you card and the conversation starter card add a personal touch to this elegant place setting. In this example, the thank you card was printed on kraft cardstock, trimmed out, matted on paper from the Urban paper packet, and topped off with a bow made from gold glitter paper—so simple!
And as you’ll notice at the bottom of the card, our printable thank you card includes a spot for you to type in your name or family name! This will make the cards personal yet ridiculously quick and easy to put together.

Now let’s take a closer look at the other piece of this place setting:
Create beautiful Thanksgiving place settings! #closetomyheart #ctmh #thanksgiving #dinner #autumn #fall #gratitudeConversation starter cards are a fun way to get people around the dinner table to put away their phones and enjoy the company right in front of them. We’ve created two different sets of conversation starters—one for children and one for adults. Simply print them out, cut them up, and attach them to a folded piece of paper as you see here. You could also cut them up and place them in a container to be passed around the table and have each person take their turn drawing a prompt.

Lend an autumn feel to your Thanksgiving place setting by attaching stamped images to your cards. This colorful leaf comes from the My Acrylix® Thankful Heart stamp set and has been colored with watercolor paints and attached the card with 3-D foam tape. Slightly curling the edges of the leaf upward makes it look ready to blow right off the card, doesn’t it?

Because we know you host special dinner parties throughout the year, we’ve designed both the thank you card and the conversation starters to work year-round—they’re not Thanksgiving-specific. Take a look at another place setting to see what we mean:
Create beautiful place settings for your next gathering! #closetomyheart #ctmh #dinner #dinnerparty #thankyou #gratitudeWhatever the reason is for holding your special dinner party, we hope you get to enjoy the food, people, and the feelings of gratitude. Your guests certainly will! And remember—snap some photos of those special memories!

Printables

Dinner Party Thank You Card
Dinner Party Children Conversation Starters
Dinner Party Adult Conversation Starters

Recipes

Thanksgiving Thank You Card
X7204B Urban Paper Packet, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, Z2027 Mini Stapler

Thanksgiving Conversation Starter Card
B1463 My Acrylix® Thankful Heart, 44751 Archival Black Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad, Z3132 Watercolor Paints, Z3188 Paintbrush Set, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape

Generic Thank You Card
X7200B White Pines Paper Packet, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, Z1997 Triangle Border Punch

Generic Conversation Card
1388 Colonial White Cardstock, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape

Leave a comment

Message from Jeanette: A Season for Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Next to the Fourth of July, this is truly one of my favorite holidays. I am excited to share with you today my gratitude for blessings I’ve received in both the past and the present.

At this season I am reminiscent of the way my family celebrated Thanksgiving when I was just a girl. I loved the fact that this holiday was so centered around food, and, boy, was this one meal that I could really look forward to: turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy! As a child I thought the excitement of the holiday lay in the delicious dishes placed before me, but as I grew older I came to realize that the real excitement was in the blessing of being with family.

Young Jeanette

I especially remember the good times that surrounded my wonderful Aunt Lola, who was always the life of the party. Her sense of humor had the rest of us rolling in our seats every Thanksgiving. She would tell story after story, making us laugh and laugh until our sides ached. At those Thanksgiving tables, surrounded by my mother and father, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins, I knew true happiness.

Those family-centered Thanksgivings are some of my fondest memories, and it’s now my privilege to be the one planning those parties for my own children and grandchildren. I have always loved to keep things simple, so I long ago established the tradition of having our Thanksgiving Day feast at a beautiful mountain resort instead of at home. With a fantastic menu from which we can eat all we want, plus the bonus of made-to-order goodies, the restaurant becomes the mouth-watering daydream of one and all during the days leading up to the holiday. My grandkids talk about it for weeks beforehand, repeatedly reviewing their anticipated menu choices. It’s a tradition we all cherish together!

This year I’ll be instigating another tradition for this special day. Using the gorgeous Picture My Life™ Avonlea cards, I’ll have each family member record what they’re thankful for. I’m going to compile their responses into our very own family gratitude mini album. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

On my own card I’ll be sure to add the names of each precious member of my family. I am so grateful to each one for their encouragement and love for me. They, more than anyone else, have been my ever-present strength. I cannot even hope to fully express how grateful I am for them.

I am also grateful today for those that have become my family—my Close To My Heart family! I extend a special thanks to my dear friends, Brian and Monica, who just also happen to be my Executive Team members. I am thankful to them for the support they are to me in every business venture we undertake.

Brian, Jeanette, and Monica

This year I have had many opportunities to mingle with the Consultants of this company, and for that I am extremely grateful. How I have loved being in your presence, hearing your stories, seeing your smiles, and feeling of your excitement. My relationship with you is what brings me the most joy in this business!

Consultants at Convention 2014

I express gratitude for the wonderful employees of Close To My Heart that work so hard to accomplish our company mission. Thank you for all your efforts this year.

Employees

I am mindful today, also, of the land I live in. I cherish the foundations that this land was built upon, and I am grateful for sacrifices made long ago by unselfish men and women. My own father was an Army man and I happily support those who continue to give everything to this country. I am grateful for people in every land who cherish the freedom of the human soul and give their lives to protect it.

I am grateful that I can worship as I please. I believe in a God in Heaven who watches down on all of us. I am grateful that He showers me with His love. I know He cares by the way He sends me loved ones—or even complete strangers—to reach out to me in my hours of need.

Year after year, I watch blessings being added to my trove, and today I thank you for what you have personally added to it. May you have a very happy Thanksgiving, and may it be an exciting beginning to a season devoted to looking outward to others.

Jeanette

Leave a comment

Bringing People into the Spotlight

It’s amazing what a major mood booster it is when we take the time to forget about our own troubles and appreciate the special people that surround us. When we express our gratitude for our lives and the people in it, everything gets a little brighter.

That’s the great thing about expressing gratitude—it not only helps others feel great, but it helps us feel great too. It’s like a boomerang of good vibes! What you give in this life always comes back to you in one way or another, so might as well give out good things, right?

So here’s our idea for a simple gift of gratitude that you can whip up for someone special: put together a mini book filled with positive vibes to send in their direction!

It’s a simple and beautiful way to show your gratitude for someone’s existence, and it will serve as a cherished reminder of your unwavering love and support when they hit the rough spots in life.

First, start with a Designer Creations Short Stack album. This album is equipped with 10 wire-bound 5″ x 7″ kraft pages and a beautifully designed printed hardcover that requires little to no embellishment, so your project can come together quickly without sacrificing style. Next, choose a certain someone in your life that you want to highlight and brainstorm reasons why you think they’re worth celebrating. Once you have a good collection of ideas, record them in the album through handwriting, typed notes, or photographs. Finish by embellishing with all your favorite trimmings, and you’re done! Easy, right?

Here are a few more ideas of things you might want to include:

So, who in your life deserves a little recognition? It’s time to bring them into the spotlight with a gift that will ultimately shed light on the both of you.

P.S. Did you love this album so much that now you want to make one exactly like it? We thought you would. 😉 Here’s the recipe!

Wishing You A Lifetime of Happiness Album
C1589 My Acrylix® Lifetime of Happiness, X7188B Snowhaven Paper Packet, X7190B Brushed Paper Packet, X5771 Flaxen Cardstock, Z2033 Paper Fundamentals Whimsy Assortment, Z2128 Hollyhock Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2123 Goldrush Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2162 Honey Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2643 Canary Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2642 Flaxen Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2641 Glacier Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2195 Lagoon Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2193 Cotton Candy Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z891 VersaMark™ Ink Pad, Z2465 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Turquoise Blue Marker, Z2028 Designer Creations Short Stack Album, Z2066 Ranger™ Princess Gold Embossing Powder, Z2013 Sequins Silver Assortment, Z1985 Gold Shimmer Trim, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen

Cricut® Shapes:
Artfully Sent

7″ <Env-13> (p. 49)
7″ <Liner-13> (p. 49)
7″ <Env-9> (p. 45)
7″ <Liner-9> (p. 45)

Leave a comment

Kristina Livingstone: My Thoughts on Gratitude

Thanks to our friend Senior Executive Manager Kristina Livingstone for contributing today’s post!

During this time of year, we’re reminded to take a pause from our busy lives, sit down with our family and friends, and give thanks for all we have. As I think about all I have to be thankful for, I don’t even know where to begin. I have incredible family and friends who are always there to support me in everything I do. I’m surrounded by amazing people, I’ve experienced incredible things, and I’ve made memories that will last me a lifetime. I try not to take even a second of it for granted.

One thing I’m grateful for all year long is the opportunity to be a Consultant for Close To My Heart, which I have been for almost 10 years now. This experience has afforded me the benefit of additional income as well as the opportunity to travel to places I never imagined I would visit. It has helped me learn and grow as a person and brought so much more to my life than just income and trips. It has brought people into my life that I would likely have never met otherwise. It has allowed me to be a part of their lives and them a part of mine, and that is what I am most grateful for.

Consultants

People ask me why I do this, and the reason is simple: I love it. It’s about so much more than the products offered by Close To My Heart. It’s about the relationships Close To My Heart has brought me and the things I’ve learned because of those relationships. I have learned that when we serve others, we receive so much more than we give. I have learned that the more we help empower and show gratitude toward each other, the better off we all become.

Kristina

Being a part of the Close To My Heart family has brought me to some of the people I cherish most in my life—they have become true family. I have learned from, laughed with, cried with, and grown with fellow Consultants whom I consider to be my closest friends and confidants. I have met customers who have welcomed me into some of the most intimate times of their lives and, in so doing, have shown me how much I have to be grateful for every day.

Kristina and Team

I recently held a weekend retreat for my customers, and as I was walking through the room looking at everyone working on their projects I felt very grateful that I was there to be a part of it all. I was in a room full of people who started as my customers, but whom I now count amongst my dearest friends. Through their scrapbook pages, I have watched their families grow each year, and I have grown with them. I have seen scrapbooks expand, spanning the entire childhood of countless children. Those scrapbooks have captured first teeth, first steps, first goals, marriages, graduations, and too many holidays to name! I have also seen scrapbooks made in memoriam of lives—some fully lived, and, unfortunately, some that were cut much too short.

Regardless of the scrapbook, each album seems to revolve around one thing: gratitude. We scrapbook the moments of our lives that we are most grateful for, the ones we cherish the most. When we create a scrapbook and record the lives of our loved ones, we create treasures that will tell our stories as they are passed on from generation to generation. To say that I am grateful to play even a small role in preserving these memories is an understatement.

Consultants

I feel that gratitude is a choice. It’s a conscious effort to wake up each day and choose to be thankful. I have found that serving others through what I do is something I’m eternally grateful for and something that brings me happiness. I have found that when you make serving others a priority in your life, you begin to want less and appreciate more. You also inevitably become the recipient of someone else’s gratitude, and that’s something that is truly priceless.

Leave a comment

Secret Acts of Service

Okay, friends. It’s November, so let’s get grateful! While we know you love sitting in a turkey stupor around the table after Thanksgiving dinner, listing off what you’re grateful for, there are more lasting (and more FUN) ways to express what’s in your heart. So many more! Why not say thank you with a few random acts of kindness, for example? What better way to pay a favor back than to pay a favor forward?

All you need to do is pull out your favorite Close To My Heart papers and tools and start crafting! With the Cricut® Art Philosophy cartridge, cute tags like these take no time at all. With a stamp here and a sparkle there, you’ve got adorable notes ready for use. You can deliver them as stand-alone notes or attach them to goodies.

When it comes to packaging those goodies, the Designer Creations paper bags do the job nicely. The bags come predesigned, so they take no prep time at all. Take them right out of the package, slip in some sweet treats—or just some sweet words—and get stealthy. Stash the goods into nooks and crannies when nobody’s watching.

You might enjoy some of these ideas as you go incognito (but you didn’t hear it from us):

  • Leave inspiring notes for your unsuspecting targets around the house. Try the bathroom mirror, the novel your spouse is reading, or even inside the refrigerator. Yes, we said inside. Most viewed appliance in the home, wouldn’t you agree?
  • Leave some goodies on a doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run! Your new neighbors will feel welcome and your old neighbors will feel loved all over again.
  • Do a chore for someone and leave a note saying why serving them brings you joy.
  • Hide a note under a coworker’s mouse.
  • Write down words of advice for a new mother, a new couple, or someone else starting on a path you’ve tread before.
  • Leave change in the vending machine with a note encouraging the lucky finder to buy a snack.
  • Thank the custodian by leaving a note on their cart while they’re busy scrubbing away.
  • Leave your waiter a nice note along with the tip.
  • Hang a note from the car mirror for your spouse to stumble upon when they leave for work in the morning.
  • Reflect on your blessings, write them down, and then dangle them from a Designed Décor frame or an indoor plant. All of your newly unleashed gratitude will be heavy, so we highly suggest you use the frame. 😉
  • Take time to sit down with your parents, grandparents, or other relatives and write down their favorite sayings and wisdom on your tags. Hang the tags in a prominent place in your home to remember both your relatives and their wisdom. (This act can’t be done in secret, but hopefully you can trust your relatives not to betray your identity when pressured by the authorities.)

Get in the groove of gratitude today, and then express yourself! No matter how you go about it, you’ll feel like a million bucks . . . and who doesn’t want to be a millionaire? Serve, baby, serve!

Think of something sneaky that we didn’t? Tell us your idea in the comments!

Leave a comment

A Creative Attitude of Gratitude

We’ve all done it: dwelt on the thought of that thing we just don’t have. But how often do we think about that thing that we do have—or, let’s be honest, the MANY, even innumerable, things?

There are blessings in our lives we cannot count in the typical sense of the word. It wouldn’t be possible to assign a number to all of the miracles we see on a daily basis! But we can “count” our blessings in so many other ways. In our words, and especially in our attitudes, the world can see our grateful hearts.

Throughout this month, we at Close To My Heart want to celebrate the joy of gratitude—both of feeling it and of showing it, because, as William Arthur Ward once said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Whether or not you celebrate your gratitude with a turkey this month, you can join us as we experiment with creative ways to say thank you.

First off, a simple and beautiful way to display your gratitude: the Designed Décor Colonial White frame! With the help of the Pathfinding and Wanderful paper packets, delicate golden embossing, and several fun stamp sets, this frame is a showcase of gratitude.

Gratitude Frame

The beauty of a display such as this is its accessibility and versatility—you can swap out photos  as often as you like! If you want to focus on a certain family member every week (or every day, if you’re feeling ambitious!), fill it with pictures of only them. If you want to focus on a different aspect of your life every few days, group your pictures beforehand and have them ready to swap out: family, pets, nature, neighbors, friends, specific life events.

They’re so easy to rearrange, and just a few themed shapes cut from your Cricut® machine will accent your photos nicely. Use a mini clothespin, hook clips, 3-D foam tape, or Glue Dots™ to attach your photos and artwork.

Gratitude Frame close-up

What a wonderful way to jumpstart your gratitude for the series of fortunate events that is your life.

Tell us, in what ways do you display your gratitude?

Recipe:
Today I’m Grateful Frame
B1463 My Acrylix® Thankful Heart, D1604 My Acrylix® Season of Thanks, C1589 My Acrylix® Lifetime of Happiness, C1504 My Acrylix® Fall Harvest, X7191B Wanderful Paper Packet, X7186B Pathfinding Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5637 Barn Red Cardstock, 1276 Ponderosa Pine Cardstock, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, Z2114 Cocoa Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2118 Desert Sand Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2145 Ponderosa Pine Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2123 Goldrush Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2104 Barn Red Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2642 Flaxen Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z891 VersaMark™ Ink Pad, Z2457 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Marigold Marker, Z1865 Designed Décor Colonial White Frame, Z2023 Bling Gems Gold Assortment, Z1790 Cricut® Artiste Collection

Cricut® Shapes:
Artiste
4″ Shift+Border <4> (p. 41)
2½” Icon <b> (p. 72)
2 ½” Shift+Icon <B> (p. 72)
2″ Border <b> (p. 72)

Leave a comment