Sneak Peek Inside Our New Scrapbook Pattern Book

Sneak Peek Inside Our New Scrapbook Pattern Book! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbook #pattern #book #scrapbooking

Our new Annual Inspirations catalog goes live August 1, and we can’t wait to show you all the exciting things we’ve been working on for the past year. In fact, we’re SO excited that we’re going to give you a sneak peek at one of our favorite new products—another installment of our Make It from Your Heart™ pattern book series (and the crowd goes wild)!

Volume 3 of Make It from Your Heart is a real game changer. Why? Well for starters, it comes as a collection of loose, 3-ring hole-punched pages that fit inside any of our Everyday Life™ mini albums. You can rearrange or pull out pages anytime you want. Just think: you could pull out the page you need for an upcoming crop and insert it into your Everyday Life™ planner next to the day of the crop. How awesome is that? 🙂

Also, this pattern book features 36 two-page layout patterns that use standard photos sizes (no trimming down photos over here, folks!). The layouts are organized by how many photos they use, so if you are looking for a layout that uses four photos, you can simply turn to that section and look at all your options.

We also have not one, but TWO pieces of artwork inspiration for each pattern! This is a great way to show off the creative potential of a single pattern, as you can in these examples:

Pattern 14

Sneak Peek Inside Our New Scrapbook Pattern Book! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbook #pattern #book #scrapbooking

Sneak Peek Inside Our New Scrapbook Pattern Book! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbook #pattern #book #scrapbooking

Pattern 26

Sneak Peek Inside Our New Scrapbook Pattern Book! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbook #pattern #book #scrapbooking

Sneak Peek Inside Our New Scrapbook Pattern Book! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbook #pattern #book #scrapbooking

In addition to these 36 patterns, this book features artwork inspiration that demonstrates how to incorporate additional photos into your layouts using our Pocket Plus™ Memory Protectors™…

Sneak Peek Inside Our New Scrapbook Pattern Book! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbook #pattern #book #scrapbooking

Sneak Peek Inside Our New Scrapbook Pattern Book! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbook #pattern #book #scrapbooking…as well as our traditional pocket scrapbooking Memory Protectors.

Sneak Peek Inside Our New Scrapbook Pattern Book! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbook #pattern #book #scrapbooking

This exciting new pattern book will be available to order beginning August 1 (which is in 12 days, but who’s counting?). And there’s no need to camp out in a long line in anticipation of the launch date because you can order this great new book on your Consultant’s website or closetomyheart.com as soon as it is made available (along with more new products)!

So get ready to snap up your own copy of Make It from Your Heart Volume 3. Gotta love scrapbooking made easy. 🙂

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19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps

Think you know everything about our exclusive My Acrylix® stamps? Put your knowledge to the test by reading the list below! 🙂

1. We have French and Spanish stamp sets.

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp

2. If you see a stamp image outlined in red, that means it coordinates with one of the shapes from our Cricut® collections. If it’s outlined in blue, that means it coordinates with one of our Thin Cuts dies.

3. We put A LOT of thought and effort into making the best stamps for our customers. See the entire process in this infographic:

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp

4. After we design each paper packet, we create two coordinating stamp sets, one for scrapbooking and one for cardmaking, to be paired with that specific paper. These two stamp sets can be found in the idea book right behind the coordinating Workshops Your Way™ scrapbooking kits. 

5. Our stamps are made right here at the Home Office, in a top-secret room.

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp

6. It takes about one hour to make one sheet of stamps from start to finish.

7. New stamps work best when you “season” them. To do so, rub the stamp across a stamp pad, and then stamp onto scrap paper until the image is even.

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp

8. Our stamps can be used with all sorts of inks, including dye, pigment, solvent, and alcohol inks.

9. Rather than attaching your stamps to your blocks, try using your blocks to pick up your stamps from a flat surface. This way, the stamp will hold its natural shape.

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp

10. Our My Acrylix® blocks have a small white horizontal line on them to help you with stamp placement, which is especially helpful for keeping words and borders straight.

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp11. Some people cut apart their stamps in order to rearrange words in a sentiment when sticking them to their blocks.

12. Our stamps are flexible! Manipulate them so they fit inside shapes and banners, or just to get a different look!

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp13. If some of your ink doesn’t transfer when stamping, quickly breathe over the stamp to re-moisten the remaining ink and then stamp over the image again. The missing portion usually blends into the existing image if the ink isn’t too dry. This is called the Huffing or Stamp Over Technique.

14. Because our stamps and blocks are clear, you can easily stamp over the image again to get a richer, deeper image.

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp

15. If you’re looking to remove that stubborn pigment ink, try our Spritz Cleaner and Stamp Scrubber. It makes it easy!

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp

16. Our stamps don’t need to tan—they like being transparent, so keep them out of the sun!

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp
17. Our stamps come in handy envelopes, which fit into our My Acrylix® organizer. You can also use our large organizer and tabs to store even more stamps. We also have a mini organizer for those mini stamp envelopes.

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp18. If your stamps ever start to lose their stickiness, all you need to do is rinse them with warm water and soap, and the stickiness will come right back. You can also use StazOn™ cleaner on the smooth side of the stamp.

19. Some stamps make great friends, like our good ol’ friend, Sticky Boy!

19 Things You May Not Know About Our My Acrylix® Stamps! #closetomyheart #ctmh #stamping #clearstamps #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #stampinghelp #myacrylix #howtostamp

What things did you not know? Tell us in the comments! 🙂

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Finishing Touches for Your Layouts

You’ve picked the perfect pictures and chosen beautiful papers to pair them with. You’ve laid out your page and added your journaling, but there’s something missing . . . of course—embellishments! Putting those finishing touches on your layout is one of the best parts of the whole process, where you get to have fun playing with all kinds of different items to get just the right look.

If you’ve ever been stumped on the best way to embellish your pages, we’ve got some great ideas to share with you today, illustrated by amazing artwork—as always!Embellish to your heart's content with La Vie En Rose! #CloseToMyHeart #ctmh #LaVieEnRose #embellishYou’ve got to love the way the flowery Complements in the lower left corner of this page tie into the rosy paper strip, making you feel like you are standing in a fragrant flower garden. We planned it that way! What you see here is the perfect harmony between our La Vie En Rose papers, Complements, and assortments; it makes embellishing easy! Let’s take a closer look:Embellish to your heart's content with La Vie En Rose! #CloseToMyHeart #ctmh #LaVieEnRose #embellish

One key to getting a great embellishment cluster is variety. This cluster shows off a variety of materials and looks, between the photo-realistic badge buttons, and the printed die-cut shapes, and even a 1″ circle punched out of La Vie En Rose B&T paper. They go together like peas in a pod, but are different enough from one another to keep things interesting—such a beautiful bouquet!

Our 1″ circle punch came in handy for our next layout, too:Embellish to your heart's content with La Vie En Rose! #CloseToMyHeart #ctmh #LaVieEnRose #embellish

“Oh Darling” is right! You can see we put our circle punch to good use in creating the adorable polka-dot pattern on this page, but the real fun comes in our embellishment clusters. This cluster illustrates the same trick of putting embellishments of several different shapes and colors together:Embellish to your heart's content with La Vie En Rose! #CloseToMyHeart #ctmh #LaVieEnRose #embellish

Just like on our first page, we’re using the La Vie En Rose Complements and assortment, but we’ve also added the eye-catching Treasured Puffies and gold sequins. The touches of gold fit right in with the gold glitter paper bordering the page, and they just add that much more contrast to the cluster.

We’ve got one last layout to look at:Embellish to your heart's content with La Vie En Rose! #CloseToMyHeart #ctmh #LaVieEnRose #embellish

We’ve seen how well the La Vie En Rose Complements work with the coordinating paper packet, but in this example they’re teaming up with our Paper Fundamentals for a completely different effect.Embellish to your heart's content with La Vie En Rose! #CloseToMyHeart #ctmh #LaVieEnRose #embellish

Here, we’ve taken two similarly shaped Complements and stacked them one over the other. This time they are joined by a bow from our black Fundamental assortment, which is topped off by a precious heart sticker, which actually comes from the Penelope Complements. And we can’t forget the bitty sparkles! This layout is proof that embellishments from four different collections can coordinate amazingly well, so feel free to mix and match at will!

All this talk about embellishments has got you dying to pull out the stickers and die-cuts and get to work on your own pages, huh? 😉 Well, be our guest! Get creative with your embellishments and see what new dimensions you can add to your pages!

Recipes

12″ x 12″ Sweetest Smile Page
X7201B La Vie En Rose Paper Packet, X7201C La Vie En Rose Complements, Z3078 La Vie En Rose Assortment, Z1999 1″ Circle Punch

Cricut® Shapes:
Artiste
¾” Shift <Font> “SWEETEST SMILE”

12″ x 12″ Oh Darling Layout
X7201B  La Vie En Rose Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, 1386 Black Cardstock, X5773 Pixie Cardstock, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, X5780 Pomegranate Cardstock, X7201C La Vie En Rose Complements, Z3203 Treasured Puffies, Z2012 Sequins Gold Assortment

12″ x 12″ You Are My World Layout
1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3125 Paper Fundamentals Adventure, Z3126 Paper Fundamentals Enchantment, X7207C Penelope Complements, X7201C La Vie En Rose Complements, Z3104 Fundamental Assortment—Black, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z3132 Watercolor Paints

All these products are available through one of our Independent Consultants. To find a Consultant near you, visit closetomyheart.com and click on “Find a Consultant” in the top right corner of the page.

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Patterns on Patterns on Patterns

Behind every successful team, there’s a playbook. The same thing goes for artists. Lucky for us, the brains behind the beauty of Close To My Heart, our CEO, Jeanette Lynton, wrote a collection of how-to books overflowing with patterns for cards and layouts that will march you toward crafting victory time and time again.

These books are what you should turn to when you’re not sure where to start; they’re like the supportive coach waiting back on the sidelines. They never fail to kick off our artistic ideas and lay the foundation for a triumphant artistic production!

So what play did we use to pull off the lovely page shown below? The answer is the Reflections: Main Frame—Back Drop™ pattern. But that’s not the end of it.

The true secret behind the sauce is that we added a little twist to this pattern. Let’s head into the locker room and we’ll fill you in on the technique.Unknown-1
Ok, listen up. This technique is simple, yet powerful: We simply chose a piece from the how-to pattern and then filled it with a repeated shape instead of a block of cardstock. We used circles on this page, but you can use any shape you want.

Repetition is one of the fundamental characteristics of excellent design and including it in your artwork is equivalent to doing your sit-ups or eating your vegetables—it’s guaranteed to bring good things.
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With the help of the 1″ circle punch and the Jackson and Blossom paper packets, we were able to add variety without overwhelming the design, making this layout a graceful pileup of B&T patterns, repeated circle patterns, and how-to patterns. That’s a lot of patterns!

When you give this technique a try, you could mix it up by using a different pattern, a different shape (we think using hearts would be game-changing), or different papers. The combination potential of these pattern players is incredible!

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But that’s enough talk, folks. Now let’s get out there and craft like it’s game day.

Looking to add a few key players to your team of crafting supplies? Here’s the all-star lineup of the how-to books available through Close To My Heart:

  • 9035 Make It from Your Heart™ Volume 1
  • 9042 Make It from Your Heart™ Volume 2
  • 9038 Cherish™ Scrapbook Program
  • 9039 Imagine™ Scrapbook Program
  • 9040 Magic™ Scrapbook Program
  • 9037 Reflections™ Scrapbook Program
  • 9041 Wishes Card Confidence Program™
  • 9036 Originals Card Confidence Program™

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Photographers

So you want to learn how to take good photos, do you? You’re not alone. With technology these days, it seems like it would be pretty much impossible to take a bad picture, yet we all end up with our fair share of photos that make us cringe. The red eyes, the shadowy faces, the artwork shots that look like they were taken in a cave—we’ve all been there. But the good news is there’s hope! With a little knowledge, you can take your photos from blah to brilliant and upgrade your layouts and blog posts from meh to marvelous. Let’s get started.Learn the power behind the buttons.
All of the bells and whistles on your camera may seem overwhelming at first, but if you take a few moments to sit down, read the guidebook, and master a few key features, your pictures will reap the benefits. It won’t take any longer than scrolling through Facebook or watching an episode of your favorite sitcom. Plus, you will likely be able to find helpful tutorials through online outlets, like YouTube.

Be conscious of lighting.
When it comes to lighting amateur photos, the natural light of the sun is your best bet. But channel this power wisely. Always make sure the light is indirect. Try to take photos near a window, an open door, or even a covered porch. When possible, avoid using your flash—it can make things look flat and just plain unnatural.

Pay attention to backgrounds.
Hanging laundry? Bad. Cozy fireplaces? Good. Pay attention to what’s lurking in the background of your photos. Whatever it is, it’s more noticeable than you think.

Keep the props simple and meaningful.
Remember that the reason you’re taking the picture in the first place is to highlight your subject! Don’t lose track of the subject by overloading the photo with unnecessary props and clutter. A few simple and visually enticing props, such as a string of ribbon or a vase of flowers, are all you need to capture the right mood.

Get up close and personal.
Don’t be afraid to get cozy with your subject, whether it’s your artwork, your child, or the cat from next door. Let the subject take up the majority of the frame. If your subject is human, hold the camera at their eye level to capture the full force of their gaze.

Be patient enough to snap lots of photos.
Thanks to the advent of digital photography, we no longer live in a day when we have to fret about how many exposures we have left. Take advantage of this freedom and snap away! Have the patience to keep taking pictures and adjusting as you go until you capture just the right shot.

Edit your photos after you take them.
Photo editing software programs can perform visual wonders in mere seconds. If you don’t want to lay down the big bucks for programs like Adobe® Photoshop®, try free services like picmonkey.com. For smartphones, try apps like Snapseed or PicTapGo. Even just a few tweaks—like brightening and sharpening your photo—can make a world of difference.

With all that being said, always remember that you are the photographer so your photos should reflect your unique perspective. Keep these basic guidelines in mind, but don’t be afraid to follow a gut instinct or pursue a wild idea. Photos are their own special form of art, so get creative! Start from right where you are and remember that every professional was once an amateur.

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