It’s no secret that we love getting crafty around these parts, and Valentine’s day gives us an excellent excuse reason to spend a little extra time and energy creating pretty things because we’re doing it for other people!
Spreading kindness, especially during a time where we feel more disconnected and distant than usual, is contagious! Throughout this season of love, we challenge you to find ways to safely lift someone else’s spirit and let them know that you care.
One simple way to make someone’s day is with a small handmade gift from the heart. Since getting together isn’t an option for everyone right now, we thought we’d show you a few small gift boxes we created that can be dropped off in a mailbox or on a doorstep.
If you don’t have access to a Cricut® machine, don’t worry! You can still participate in the challenge of putting a little love into the world, as well. We’ve asked our Creative Arts Manager, Karen Pedersen, to show us how to make a box and small pocket envelope by hand. As always, she delivered! Take a look.
We hope you found some creative inspiration as you took a peek at these artwork examples today, and that you were able to see just how simple it is to make something beautiful with your own two hands! Let’s take care of each other this Valentine’s season and spread kindness and positivity. As you do, you’ll not only bring happiness to others, but you might just see a little added joy in your own life, too!
For a lot of us, September marks the beginning of one of the busier times of the year. The “-ber” months. With the start of a new and unique school year, followed by the most celebrated family centered seasonal time, including fall festivities, then Thanksgiving, and eventually Hanukah and Christmas, during which we try to cram as much jubilee as possible into our already busy lives—we all have so much going on, and it may feel like there is just no time to dedicate to preserving all of these fond, albeit sometimes somewhat hectic, memories.
What if we told you that scrapbooking can be fast, simple, and easy! It is a perfect time to discover, or rediscover, the simplicity of scrapbooking in pockets! By using Memory Protectors™ with multiple pockets, you can quickly catch up on your scrapbooking or just add photos, art, and journaling (and any other keepsake that you can fit into a pocket) to your albums.
From how to tell a story to the creating of the artwork that goes along with it, pocket scrapbooking is a memory keeping style all its own. If you are new to this style of scrapbooking or are simply looking for inspiration for your pages, we’ve compiled a list of artwork tips and ideas for you below!
Pocket Scrapbooking Tips & Ideas:
1. Fill no more than half your pockets on a page with non-photo elements.
2. Stick to a color palette, pulling color ideas from your photos.
3. Use Picture My Life™ pocket cards (designed to coordinate with each other in theme and color).
4. Design and make your own pocket cards from papers, Thin Cuts, stickers, and stamps. (This is a great way to use up some of your scraps, too!)
5. Fill pockets with other things, besides cards or photos (ticket stubs, loose Cricut® shapes, sequins, etc.). Tip: We sealed the sequins pocket you see in our example so the sequins wouldn’t fall out.
6. Make a statement and split large titles or photos into multiple squares. Tip: Consider printing a large 6 x 8 photo and split it up into several pockets!
7. Use the negative space of a Cricut® shape to create a pocket card. If the space is large enough, back it with a light color cardstock and use the space for journaling. If you are cutting several small shapes (like our 2019 below), back it with cardstock or any other paper that will add interest to your layout.
8. Add a sentiment to your photos by stamping directly on them Tip: If your photo has any sort of finish on them, we recommend you use StazOn™ ink. If it is a truly matte photo, Archival Black is a good choice.
9. Don’t want to stamp on your photos but want a similar effect? Stamp directly onto the pocket Memory Protector™ with StazOn™ ink, instead.
10. Add embellishments to the outside of the Memory Protectors™.
11. Use Flip Flaps™! If you have too many photos or things that you want to work into a page but not enough pockets (or enough to fill whole other page) add these stick on pockets that flip up (or in any direction that you attach them) to reveal whatever is underneath!
12. Similarly, if you have too many photos for a traditional scrapbook layout, and don’t want to create another layout with all of the remaining photos, use pocket pages to display these.
13. If you have a piece of memorabilia to display that is too small for a pocket, mount it onto a piece of paper that will fit.
14. Create a window to the next page in your album by partially filling a pocket (use a smaller photo, half a pocket card, etc.).
15. Number your photos to give your page or layout a more narrative direction. Take this a step further by adding numbered journaling to a pocket card that corresponds with the numbered photos.
16. Create color visual triangles. This means to purposefully place the same color in three different places that, when connected, form a triangle.
17. Don’t have time, or care for, writing in full paragraphs? Use bullet journaling to keep track of the details of a memory!
18. If one of your pockets is holding a card that you want to remember to pull out when you revisit the page, add a tab along the edge of the card on the open side of the pocket.
19. Easily add some visual interest to your photos by trimming them down ¼” and mounting them on a piece of paper that fits the pockets exactly, creating a border around your photos.
20. Sometimes things don’t fit in pockets—like notes, journal pages, your grandma’s favorite clock—take photos of these things to include them in your stories.
21. We said 20, so this one is a bonus: plan ahead. If you know you will be going on a tropical vacation, or camping, or pumpkin picking—there are activities that you know for certain you will be participating in (playing on the beach, sitting around a camp fire, walking through a pumpkin patch, etc.). When you are scrapbooking with pockets, it’s easy to lay out some pages really quickly for these types of events without having the photos yet. Once you have them, add them. If you don’t like the way it’s laid out, rearrange! Easy-peasy!
If you just went through our list and still find yourself at a loss for how to begin, or otherwise feel that your finished pocket layouts didn’t turn out quite right, try revisiting one of our previous posts, 5 Approaches to Pocket Scrapbooking, where we share additional ideas to get you thinking about how to create a pocket page or layout, and to get you up to speed on this popular style of scrapbooking.
Whether you’re cutting things up, attaching them to a pocket card, or creating a pocket for a group of items—there is no wrong way to tell your story. In the comments below, share with all of us how you are using pocket scrapbooking in your memory keeping.
We have a special treat in store today! Our Creative Arts Manager, Karen Pedersen, is showing us a few creative and easy watercolor techniques using our small round and medium round waterbrushes!
Unlike a traditional paintbrush, the handle of a waterbrush is made up of a water reservoir, eliminating the need for a water cup. The light colored bristles allow the painter to easily determine their color load and paint concentration, and the included cap protects the bristles and brush head while also sealing the water inside.
If you are accustomed to using traditional paintbrushes, you will notice that controlling a waterbrush is quite different. With a little practice, however, you too will find your groove and discovery why we love them!
Follow along with Karen, below, and pick up a few tips and tricks for making a waterbrush work for you!
Here’s a closer look at the artwork examples from the video:
The first watercolor technique you saw teaches how to create a colorful background like the one on this page. Using a medium round waterbrush, lay down watercolor paint onto an all-purpose mat. Then, lay the paper you want to add the color to facedown onto the paint and allow it to soak up for a few seconds. Turn your paper right side up and let it dry before continuing with your project.
If you look closely, you’ll see that in this Welcome card, we have two different watercolor techniques to talk through. The first, is the stenciled background. Using a stencil we created out of a stencil sheet and a Cricut® shape, we were able to paint a beautiful watercolor textured background with a medium round waterbrush. The second technique Karen talks through is how to achieve the detail and color variation seen in the plants of this card using the small round waterbrush.
The last technique we share can easily make any of us look like watercolor experts! Instead of ink, add watercolor paint to a raised stamp and use it to create the image on your artwork! Look how beautiful those leaves turned out on this card! Make sure not to add too much water to avoid ending up with a blobby image. (In the video above, Karen shows you how!)
If you’re a fan of waterbrushes, please leave us a comment below and tell us why! AND…if you’ve got any tips or tricks you’ve picked up along the way, please share those with all of us, too!
We are having too much fun with the new Card Front Spinner Thin Cuts and their coordinating stamp sets! With multiple, revolving sentiments, spinner cards are a great way to incorporate some interactive fun into your cardmaking, and definitely puts a new “spin” on the cards you know and love. 🙂
The Card Front Spinner Thin Cuts is a set of 3 metal dies that allows you to create an interactive spinning card front. As you spin the wheel on the side, part of a hidden message is revealed in the cutout window.
Because the I Chews You stamp set can be paired with its own set of coordinating Thin Cuts, in order to create a spinning candy machine card, you will have to cut a few additional pieces to layer on top of the Spinner Card Front die-cuts.
For the most part, you still follow the same process to build the spinning base. For an I Chews You spinner card, however, the window piece needs to be turned upside down, where you end up spinning the wheel from the left side instead of the right. This allows you to get the intended full candy machine effect as you turn the spinning mechanism.
So, what do you think? Are you loving these spinning cards as much as we are? If you have any comments, questions, or any fun ideas, please share with us all in the comments section below!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
With so many different black ink pads at our disposal, deciding which is the best option for a project can get a little confusing. Let’s shed some light into this black situation by examining each one of these inks individually and identify what their strengths and purposes are so you’ll never have to second-guess yourself again.
Before getting started, let’s identify all of the players.
All of the black Exclusive Inks™ stamp and pigment pads come in a sleek patented case. The innovative case features an in-lid stamp pad, keeping the ink at the surface and ready to use, as well as a convenient magnetic closure. The raised pads are approximately 3¾” x 2½”, making them larger than average and more versatile.
Although they are very similar in appearance, and are all technically black, each ink is formulated from scratch to produce unique stamping results. We discussed these inks and how to use them with our very talented Art Studio and came up with the following:
1. BLACK EXCLUSIVE INKS™ STAMP PAD
The Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad is a water-based dye ink. Our artists like using it for stamping sentiments and other images that will not be colored over with markers or watercolor. It is ideal for cardmaking, tags, and other everyday uses.
2. ARCHIVAL BLACK EXCLUSIVE INKS™ STAMP PAD
The Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad has the deepest black ink out of all our black inks. It is a solvent-based permanent ink. Waterproof, lightfast, fade-proof, and archival. We recommend using this ink for scrapbook pages and for stamping on vellum. Archival Black is ideal for stamping images and sentiments with staying power.
3. INTENSE BLACK EXCLUSIVE INKS™ STAMP PAD
The Intense Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad is intense not because of its color but because it is a non-smearing, fast-drying, solvent-based permanent ink. Like its Archival Black counterpart, the Intense Black ink is also waterproof and archival. If you want to add color with watercolor or alcohol markers, however, Intense Black is the way to go.
4. BLACK EXCLUSIVE INKS™ PIGMENT PAD
Next, there’s the Black Exclusive Inks™ Pigment Pad. The major difference between this ink and the others is that it is a pigment-based ink. Pigment inks dry permanently on porous surfaces after heat-setting. It takes a little more work to use a pigment ink, but the results are definitely worth it! We recommend adding clear embossing powder to your stamped images, and heat setting them with a Heat Tool, to create beautiful glossy raised images and sentiments.
5. BLACK STAYZON™ INK PAD
Last, and certainly not least, is the Black StazOn™ Ink Pad. This pad offers a fast-drying solvent-based ink designed specifically for use on plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, laminated paper, coated paper, leather, and other non-porous surfaces. Even though this ink is technically “fast-drying,” it can be wiped off a truly non-porous surface within minutes after it is applied, using a Stamp Shammy and StazOn™ Cleaner. This is great to keep in mind because the majority of non-porous surfaces tend to be slippery and can be difficult to stamp with accuracy. Once the ink completely sets, however, it will yield permanent results. (So, make sure to keep that Stamp Shammy nearby! 😉 )
We want you to be able to take all of this information with you wherever your stamping takes you, so we’ve created the following chart, including photos of our artwork examples, for you to download and print.
With this quick and simple breakdown, we hope you will make all of your future black ink decisions with clarity and confidence! Please let us know in the comments below if you found this blog post helpful today. Happy stamping! <3
Hello, friends! This week, we’re going to take a closer look at the Attach tool in Cricut Design Space™ and how it relates to other tools on the app. This feature is a fairly basic one, but once you get comfortable with it, you’ll be able to increase your creative possibilities ten-fold! We’ve covered certain aspects of Attach in a previous post, which showed many of the awesome features the Attach tool has to offer. In this post, we will focus more on Attach versus Slice. These tools have a lot of similarities and, while they’re both great, there are some differences between them; having this knowledge will help you decide which tool is right for you and your project.
In our example card above, we kept it simple by attaching a single elongated hexagon shape, pulled from the Cricut® Artistry collection. This collection has a wide variety of options to lend a bit of polish to each project. Be sure to check it out to boost your creativity!
As you follow along with this post, please keep in mind that the steps below show you how to use Design Space on a laptop or a desktop computer. If you are using the Design Space app on a mobile device, the tools and buttons will be in slightly different places on your screen. Most of these basic features are available on any device.
Attach v. Slice
As we mentioned in our earlier post, the Attach tool not only allows you to cut text or shapes, but it allows you to position them yourself. To save space in each cut, Design Space may automatically shuffle your cuts to use as little paper as possible. This is commonly seen when using the Slice tool.
While this is a handy feature in some instances, there are going to be times where you’ll want to keep your cut aligned the same way you laid it out on your Design Space canvas. By using Attach, your cut won’t be altered or shuffled around on the paper.
Another great feature of the Attach tool is the single cut. When you use the Slice tool, it will often cut your shape multiple times. This not only uses up more paper, but it may also mess up your project with unnecessary cuts. There are some projects where you may want multiple cuts of the same shape, but for instances where only one cut is necessary, Attach is a much simpler way to get the single cut you want.
In these examples, you can see the single cut of the Attach tool in the photo on the top, and the multiple cuts made by using the Slice tool in the photo on the bottom.
Once you’re familiar with how Attach works and how it relates to other features in Design Space, you’re ready to start using it yourself. The Attach tool is located at the bottom of the Layers panel, next to the Slice and Weld tools.
To use this tool, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got all the shapes and other components of your project displayed on your Design Space canvas. It’s a lot easier to use Attach if you’ve already inserted all the shapes and text you want to use.
Once you have all your project pieces in place, you’ll need to group the pieces that you want to attach. You can do this by clicking, holding, and dragging your mouse over the pieces you want to group. You’ll see a grey box appear behind your cursor when you do so. The pieces you intend to group should be inside this box.
When you let the mouse go, right-click your mouse in the same spot and select the “Group” option from your right-click menu. To make sure that you’ve grouped your images, click on one of the images and try moving it around on your Design Space canvas. If the images you wanted to group move together, you’ve got your group!
Once your images are grouped, use the Attach tool to cut your shapes or text. You won’t be able to move the attached shape as long as it’s still attached and grouped, but it will still cut when you click “Make It.”
If you want to change the placement of your text or shape, or if you even want to scrap that part of your project and use a different shape instead, you can Detach your shape to be able to move or alter various parts of your project. To Detach your shapes, go back to the same place where you found the Attach button. It should say Detach if you have any shapes that are grouped and attached. By clicking this button, you will basically undo the Attach action.
Put It Together
Follow the steps below to recreate the adorable llama card we showed you today!
1) Search for image #M369896 and insert it on your Design Space canvas. Unlock and resize it to 4″ x 5.25″ (W x H).
Tip: All measurements in this post are W x H.
2) Search for image #M41340E from the [insert collection name here] and insert it on your canvas. Leaving the image locked, resize the height to 2.75″.
3) Ungroup shape #M41340E and hide the overlay cut, leaving the solid background.
4) Position shape #M4130E over your 4″ x 5.25″ rectangle and group the images together.
5) Select Attach from the tools at the bottom of the Layers panel and click “Make It” to cut your new card overlay.
6) Cut this card overlay out of Carolina stripe patterned paper from the Craft On Paper Packet.
7) Cut a 4″ x 1″ rectangle out of Bluebird cardstock and draw a border around the edges with a journaling pen.
8) Using the My Acrylix® Wild & Punny Stamp + Thin Cuts set, stamp and cut a llama on White Daisy cardstock with Intense Black ink.
Tip: Whenever you are using watercolor pencils or a waterbrush over a stamped image or sentiment, make sure you allow the ink to dry fully.
9) Color your llama as shown with watercolor pencils and a small round waterbrush and set it to the side.
10) Carefully position the Carolina stripe card overlay over a plain White Daisy card base and attach it using an adhesive runner. Do the same with your prepared Bluebird cardstock rectangle, as shown.
11) Using the My Acrylix® Wild & Punny stamp set, stamp “Llama just say you ROCK!” with Intense Black Ink in the center of the card overlay cutout. Paint a color swash over the sentiment and color in “ROCK” with watercolor pencils and a small round waterbrush.
12) Attach your llama to the card using thin 3-D foam tape, as shown.
13) Embellish with sequins and white ribbon.
Whether you’re making an awesome card or a gorgeous scrapbook layout, the Attach feature is a great way to tailor your project to your creative vision. What have you created using Attach? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below to spread the word!
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to scrapbook that stack of photos that you keep meaning to get to, then you’ve come to the right place! We are going to be making 10 6″ x 8″ two-page layouts using a super speedy scrapbooking technique known as the 3-2-1 Formula.
As the name implies, this is a formulaic project. That means that you will follow a simple formula to cut all of your patterned paper and then assemble your layouts. As you will see, you will continue to have a lot of creative freedom to add your own flair to each of your pages. No two albums will look the same, unless you make them that way intentionally.
Here’s what you’ll need:
5 sheets of patterned paper* (in a variety of coordinating patterns)
4 cardstock sheets* in coordinating colors (coordinate with your patterned paper)
10 White Daisy cardstock sheets*
*For those of you not familiar with Close To My Heart products, all of our cardstock and patterned papers come in a 12″ x 12″ format, and that is what we will be using to make this project.
Step 1: Creating Base Pages. The very first thing we cut are your base pages from the White Daisy cardstock. From 10 sheets, you should be able to get 20 6″ x 8″ pieces.
Step 2: Cutting Patterned Paper. Before measuring and cutting anything, trim all the zip strips from each of the patterned paper sheets. The zip strip is the extra ½” accent paper along the top of each Close To My Heart patterned paper sheet. Cut each of these in half and set them aside. Next, cut the remaining 12″ x 12″ paper in half, to 6″ x 12″. Here’s where the 3-2-1 comes into play. Cut these two half sheets of patterned paper into strips of 3″ x 6″, 2″ x 6″, and 1″ x 6″.
(Half of this example paper is showing what the pattern is on the back side of this sheet. Each one of our patterned papers has a double-sided coordinating design, for additional creative flexibility.)
Step 3: Creating Photo Mats from Cardstock. For a more polished look, we like to add photo mats behind most, if not all, of our photos. That is what we will be making with the 4 sheets of coordinating cardstock.
Cut each cardstock sheet into 6 6″ x 4″ rectangles. You should have a total of 24 when you are done. If you’d like to have a few 3″ x 4″ mats, simply cut these in half. Please note that the photos you will be mounting on these mats will have to be trimmed down a ¼” in both height and width to fit.
Step 4: Putting It All Together. You’re going to need a bit of space for this, so make sure to clear your table or a place on your living room rug or somewhere else you can keep your project safe. We are going to lay out all 20 White Daisy cardstock base pages. Next, let’s distribute the strips of patterned paper and cardstock mats. Each page should get one 4″ x 6″ photo mat, or two 3″ x 4″ mats, and one strip of each size, 3″, 2″, and 1″. If you’d like for the pages that will be facing each other in your album to match, keep that in mind as you distribute your papers. Lastly, decide how you want to attach these pieces to your pages and get to it! Move the components around until you are happy with your pages. Experiment with different arrangements and consider whether you want 3″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″ photo mats on the layouts, or a combination of both.
Step 5: Embellish! Using coordinating embellishments add your finishing touches!
Here’s an album that we came up with using this method:
(Click on the individual images to enlarge.)
If you like our finished album and would like to recreate it using our same papers and embellishments, we’ve put together the Craft On Everyday Life™ Album Workshop Kit to help you do just that. If you don’t, that’s okay, too! The beauty of the 3-2-1 technique is that it can be applied using any coordinating papers you like!
Your pages and layouts can look very differently depending on how you choose to mix and match the various components on your pages. Have fun creating pages using the combinations that you love and that best suit your photos and memories!
We just wrapped up our 2019 North American Convention in Provo, Utah, a few days ago and IT. WAS. A. BLAST! A BIG THANK YOU to all of you who participated and traveled from not just all across the U.S. but from all over the world (Canada, Australia, JAPAN!) to come and see us. What an invigorating opportunity it is for us to get together and feed off of each other’s energy! All of us at the Home Office were so happy to visit with you and get to know so many of you personally, too. We spent days crafting, business planning, building and strengthening relationships, and searching high and low for our sticky friends, Sticky Boy and Sticky Girl. (If you’re not familiar with the Sticky’s and their story, visit them on their Facebook page to join in on the fun!)
To get you going on scrapping all of your new stories and photos from this energizing event, we are sharing a fun, and FREE, downloadable scrapbook pattern, complete with cutting diagrams and all!
Some of you may remember this pattern from its original debut with our Aspen paper packet many years ago. As you can see, our patterns truly are timeless and can be used at any time and for any occasion with the right combination of papers, Complements, and a little ingenuity!
You’ll notice in our example artwork that we replaced pattern pieces B and C with a circle, the large photo on the right page with patterned papers and stamping, and that we included trimmed down die-cuts made using our Multi Circle Windows die (from the Share the Joy Thin Cuts Bundle that is currently on sale). Use the pattern exactly as shown or make a few minor alterations to make it more your own. Either way, you’re sure to have great results.
Now download the pattern below, and enjoy a little scrappin’ time! <3
For even more scrapbook patterns, check out our Make It from Your Heart™ collection. If you love the free scrapbook patterns we share on our blog, you’re sure to be blown away by all the patterns in our how-to books!