From Melissa Esplin: Intro to Penmanship

Today’s blog post comes from our friend and calligraphy expert, Melissa Esplin! Melissa has been teaching calligraphy for nearly a decade and is a recognized industry expert. In today’s post, Melissa will tell you all about our new collaborative how-to program: Penmanship with Melissa Esplin!

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Hey friends! It’s Melissa Esplin, from MelissaEsplin.com and Calligraphy.org. I’m so excited for the launch of my new collaboration program with Close To My Heart! As an introduction, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself: I am a calligrapher and artist, and I’ve been teaching calligraphy since 2010. I love empowering people with the ability to write beautifully, all while embracing the nuances that make their penmanship unique.

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The Penmanship with Melissa Esplin program is meant to get you excited about hand lettering and to help you build confidence in your own penmanship. No matter what it looks like, your penmanship is a beautiful and unique part of who you are, and far too many people are afraid to use their own handwriting in projects. This program provides exercises and instruction to help you get more comfortable with your own penmanship, and to educate you on how to use your own handwriting in specific projects. With instruction in both upper and lowercase print as well as upper and lowercase cursive, the Penmanship with Melissa Esplin program helps you learn not only how to embrace your own unique handwriting, but also when to use specific lettering styles to complement each project.

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This program doesn’t follow traditional penmanship methods. It isn’t conventional calligraphy either. By pulling bits and pieces from various methodologies, the program will guide you in increasing legibility, gracefulness, and consistency of your work, all while staying true to your own penmanship style. You’ll also learn more about the construction of each letter, which helps you to be aware of your personal preferences as you continue to develop your own style.

In addition to the how-to book, I’ve been working with Close To My Heart on a variety of materials to help support your own creativity! We have designed 4 stamp sets for journaling, scrapbooking, and cardmaking.

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While they are intended for traditional stamping, they can also be used as a great way to get more practice in. The sentiments can be stamped with a light pigment ink on practice paper and then traced using tracing paper. No matter how you use these stamps, I know you’re going to love them!

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We also have a set of multicolor small brush pens to accompany the Penmanship with Melissa Esplin how-to book. Each color in this set is designed to work well with the exclusive Close To My Heart color palette, and the tips are constructed to support both thin, light strokes, and strong, thick ones.

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The ink in these pens is water soluble and can be blended and mixed to create new colors as well. The Multicolor Small Brush Pen Set comes with 7 colors and 3 black pens.

I’m thrilled to have partnered with Close To My Heart to help inspire you to record your stories with confidence. Happy lettering, friends!

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Two New Catalogs, Hundreds of New Products!

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #cmthhawthorn #ctmheverylittething #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #ideabook #catalog #catalogue

With the launch of two new Close To My Heart catalogs this week, does anyone else feel like a kid on Christmas morning? Since September 1, hundreds of new Close To My Heart products, including stamp sets, patterned papers, embellishments, and much, much more, have been readily available at our fingertips!

In case you missed the exciting announcement after our North American Convention, we have moved to a new catalog release schedule. Close To My Heart will no longer only publish three catalogs a year, but SEVENan annual Core Products catalog and six, bi-monthly, supplemental catalogs. The goal is to get fresh designs and up-to-the-minute products into your hands when you need them and want them most!

Let’s take a closer look at some of the new goodies in our Core and September–October catalogs. (It may be time to make some room in your craft room—your stash may be getting a bit bigger! 🙂 )

Paper Packet + Sticker Sheets

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmheverylittething #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting

Each of our supplement catalogs will feature two paper suites. Within each suite you will have the choice between two paper packet options, one including a new 12″ x 12″ sticker sheet, and one without. The new sticker sheet will come with titles, accents, and more, that coordinate perfectly with the designs of its accompanying paper packet. Both paper packets will come with six sheets of three double-sided designs of patterned paper, rather than the 12 we’ve done in the recent past, so you only purchase what you need and avoid having too much left over!

Custom Cardstock Packs

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #cardstock #exclusivecolorpalette #exclusivecolourpalette

When you visit our cardstock menu on our website, you will find two very exciting additions. As a continuation of the theme of getting you just what you need, we now offer custom cardstock packs! Choose between a 12-sheet or 24-sheet pack and then decide which of our current exclusive colors you want in it. We’ll package up your selection and send your customized pack along with the rest of your order. It’s that simple!

Scrapbooking Workshop Kits

Our scrapbooking workshops got a makeover! Each workshop continues to come with easy-to-follow instructions to make six complete pages however only some are paired into layouts. Both, the Every Little Thing and Hawthorn scrapbooking workshops make two individual pages and two two-page layouts.

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmheverylittething #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #workshop #album

Even more exciting, we’ve trimmed a lot of the paper cutting right out of the workshops! Each new kit includes large, exclusive die-cut sheets and accessories that coordinate effortlessly with a handful of additional products for fast and seriously gorgeous pages. In the page above, the only thing you’ll cut when you make your own are the two photo mats. ❤ ❤ ❤ !

Everyday Life™ Albums

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #album #everydaylife #minialbum #photos

Our Everyday Life™ album line just got bigger…and smaller! Providing the greatest versatility in size (and color options), these are now available in 6″ x 6″, 6″ x 8″, 8½” x 11″, and 12″ x 12″. Perfect for preserving vacations, weddings, highlights from the football season, or backyard adventures, the Everyday Life™ line is designed to accommodate any occasion or memory!

Heat Transfer Vinyl & Digital Art

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #album #memorykeeping #svg #digitalart #heattransfervinyl #vinyl

You already take pride in filling your scrapbooks with beautiful artwork on the inside, so why not add some flair to their outsides? With our new line of heat transfer vinyl and digital SVG files designed specifically with album covers in mind, you can easily do just that!

After downloading the digital images, cut them out of the heat transfer vinyl using your favorite cutting machine, and then apply them to your album. For a complete list of available heat transfer vinyl colors and digital art designs, click here.

Penmanship with Melissa Esplin

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #handwriting #penmanship #memorykeeping #journaling #journalling

Renowned calligraphy and lettering expert Melissa Esplin joined forces with Close To My Heart to create an easy, step-by-step penmanship program. Penmanship with Melissa Esplin introduces stroke sequences, letter forms, and techniques to improve and develop your personal, individual style. Equipped with exercise worksheets and practice pages, as you see can see above, this program provides the necessary tools to share your stories through your own creative handwriting!

Journaling Pens

Get ready to pour your hearts out with our gorgeous new Close To My Heart journaling pens!

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #journaling #journalling #memorykeeping #pen #storytelling

These journaling pens are available in Black and Pewter inks and in .05, .03, and .01 tips. Easily take your handwriting up a notch by simply using the right tool!

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #journaling #journalling #pens #memorykeeping #storytelling

TriBlend™ Markers

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #marker

Color and blend like and expert with our new markers! Inside every TriBlend™ marker is a perfect gradation of colors, from light to dark, delivered through three separate fine bullet nibs. The alcohol-based ink blends seamlessly for mixing or layering colors.

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmheverylittething #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #markers

Stickles™ Glitter Gel

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #glittergel #stickles

Another newcomer to the Close To My Heart line-up are the Stickle™ glitter gels! Available in the ten colors you see here, use these fun gels to add dimension and a bit of sparkle to your projects.

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #glittergels #stickles

Stamp Shammy

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #stamping #myacrylix #stampshammy #shammy

This spongy soft, reusable sheet is just what you need for lint-free stamp cleaning. Just add water and watch the ink come right off your My Acrylix® stamps as you wipe them with a Stamp Shammy. Yes, the photo above is staged to look pretty, but we really did just wipe that stamp clean with the wet Stamp Shammy to the right of it. And, because you can’t really have too much of a good thing, these come in a two-pack. J

New Colors

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #cardmaking #papercrafting #julep #coloroftheyear #colouroftheyear

We’ve added several new colors to our exclusive color palate this week! Our favorite, and Color of the Year, is this beautiful trendy green hue, Julep! Keep a sharp eye out for it throughout the coming year, and you’ll find hints of Julep in a wide variety of our new products. (To see what other fun new colors we have in store, talk to your Consultant or take a look at our exclusive color palette in our Core Products catalog.)

Cricut® Complete Creativity Collection

Our newest Cricut® collection, Complete Creativity, provides you with all the pieces you need to create complete cards and scrapbook pages for a variety of themes and occasions.

New CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #cardmaking #papercrafting #cricut #completecreativityNew CTMH Products #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #papercrafting #cricut #completecreativity

This remarkable new collection is available for purchase on Cricut.com, through a special link you can get from your Close To My Heart Consultant. Ask your Consultant for more details about our extensive collection of Cricut® designs!

Rather than unwrapping all of the new goodies here for you this Christmas-like morning, take some time to carefully peruse both of our new catalogs on your own. The few items that we covered today are only just a sampling of the hundreds of new products available now!

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The Importance of Handwriting in Memory Keeping

There’s something to be said about the beauty of a handwritten memory. With so much technology readily available, the art of handwriting has faded in today’s instant world. Instead of writing letters and keeping journals, we tend to opt for a quick email or text and a social media update. These communication and storytelling mediums have their purpose, but memory keeping is not always one of them.


Part of Your Identity

Is there anything more personal than handwriting? We all have a unique way of writing that, in more ways than one, expresses our personality. The way we dot our i’s and cross our t’s, our spacing between letters and words, and even the pressure we apply with the pen tells us something about who we are or what we may be experiencing in that moment. There are expressions and impressions that can be read from the way we carve each word. Were we thoughtful, happy, sad, tense, or enthusiastic? Readers connect with the honesty and vulnerability of handwritten memories. As we preserve our memories in our scrapbooks, handwriting is also part of the story. Even if it feels imperfect, it is an extension of ourselves that is important to include in the stories we preserve and share with others.

Handwriting in Memory Keeping #ctmh #closetomyheart #memory #keeping #journal #journalling #journaling #scrapbooking #cardmaking #diy #handwriting #writing #write #memories #personal #identity #unique #kitchen #traditions #recipes #cutabove

Thoughtful and Intentional Journaling

Writing by hand tends to slow us down, forcing thoughtful and intentional words. Editing occurs less as we write, often making it a better reflection of our genuine self. Physically writing out a page of words takes more time and energy but it also engages our creativity. Handwritten journaling can show that we put more thought and effort into something that could easily be typed in less time, leaving a lasting impression on the reader. By writing our stories in our scrapbooks, we’re assigning greater meaning to our memories—moments that might otherwise get lost.


Keepsakes

Handwritten memories become keepsakes. Consider old letters exchanged between your grandparents and compare them to text messages we send today. Which is a keepsake truly worth saving? The same goes with writing in cards, letters, journals, and scrapbook pages. The stories and memories saved in handwriting are more likely to get passed down from generation to generation and held tightly and close by those who admire and love us. Texting, emails, and social media are all signs of the times. It could be fun to screenshot a text conversation and scrapbook it. It is part of our lives after all, but typed words don’t evoke our personality the same way that handwriting does. Including it in our scrapbooks enhances the story and the value of the keepsakes we create.

Perfectly imperfect, writing by hand is an investment we make to share a piece of ourselves in the stories we tell for others. Whether you love your handwriting or can barely stand it, we encourage you to share this piece of yourself in your memory keeping—everyone who looks through your scrapbooks will be glad you did.

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3 Creative Techniques to Spice Up Your Journaling

In the scrapbooking world, we spend a lot of time talking about the papers, the stamps, and the embellishments that go into making a layout great. Journaling is often an afterthought, a quiet feature scribbled in the margins. But isn’t journaling just as much a part of the story? We think so!

To give journaling the attention it deserves, we switched things up and put it in the spotlight for a change. Our clever artists came up with three breathtaking techniques for spicing up your journaling—the indispensable, storytelling counterpart to any successful layout.

1. Mark It Up
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We all knew the Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ journaling pen was a hero, but this layout takes its powers to new heights. And when you partner this pen with its trusty sidekicks, the ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ markers, the look becomes a genuine work of art.

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To achieve this artistic look, plan to put as much effort into designing the placement of the words as you do the placement of the photos and papers. Highlight some phrases in bright colors and occasionally change up the font to keep things visually interesting.

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Remember, the most beautiful thing about this kind of journaling is the warmth of your own handwriting! Embrace imperfections and let the markers draw where they may.

2. Say It with Stamps
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Have you ever thought of stamp sentiments as their own form of journaling? Well, they are! So why not try combining the two? Using sentiments along with your regular journaling blocks gives your words an extra punch of color and spunk. It also adds to the hodgepodge look that scrapbooking is all about.Unknown-9
Including stamps in your journaling will also weave it into the flow of the rest of the layout. With this technique, journaling will be an awkward outsider no more and words everywhere will rejoice.

3. Bursts of Blurbs
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Let your journaling float around the page inside bubbles of stamps! Find a stamp set that can accommodate journaling and fill up its stamped images with little blurbs that serve as commentators on your layout. It’s a simple and easy way to add embellishment and journaling all at once.Unknown-10
Journaling is a land that is widely unexplored in the scrapbooking world, so go forth and make some discoveries! Try out one of these techniques and see where the path leads you.

Recipes

12″ x 12″ Spring Page
Make It from Your Heart™ Vol. 1: Pattern 18
1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5929 Whisper Cardstock, X5770 Glacier Cardstock, Z2450 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Cherry Pink Marker, Z2455 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Light Orange Marker, Z2459 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Pastel Green Marker, Z2454 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Leaf Green Marker, Z2465 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Turquoise Blue Marker, Z2462 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Peony Purple Marker, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z1799 Silver Shimmer Trim, Z2013 Sequins Silver Assortment, Z2027 Mini Stapler

12″ x 12″ Great Adventure Page
B1461 My Acrylix® Happy Mail, C1592 My Acrylix® World Traveler, A1159 My Acrylix® LOL, B1442 My Acrylix® Belated Birthday, D1600 My Acrylix® Here We Go, C1595 My Acrylix® Hello Summer, D1627 My Acrylix® Your Own Kind of Wonderful, D1644 My Acrylix® The Authentic Life, C1611 My Acrylix® Campfire Lifestyle, E1029 My Acrylix® Marquee Uppercase, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5770 Glacier Cardstock, 1272 Cranberry Cardstock, X5762 Lagoon Cardstock, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, Z2195 Lagoon Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2116 Cranberry Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2118 Desert Sand Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z1853 Aqua Dots, Z1928 Durables Triangle Studs

12″ x 12″ Hello, My Name is Evie Page
D1555 My Acrylix® All the Details, D1560 My Acrylix® Holiday Tags, D1600 My Acrylix® Here We Go, A1170 My Acrylix® Doodled Designs, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, 1291 Smokey Plum Cardstock, X5771 Flaxen Cardstock, Z2033 Paper Fundamentals Whimsy Assortment, Z2165 Juniper Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2147 Smokey Plum Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2105 Black Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2642 Flaxen Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z891 VersaMark™ Ink Pad, Z2066 Ranger™ Princess Gold Embossing Powder, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen

Cricut® Shapes:
Artiste
1 ¾” <i> Card (p. 48)

Art Philosophy
1″ <banner2> (p. 29)
1 ¾” <Rctngle> (p.44)

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