I love this holiday season! It is such a special time of year, when people all over the world join together in celebrating Christmas. For me, the most joyful part of Christmas is celebrating my Savior’s birth. That is what fills my soul with rejoicing at this time of year. His is the spirit that fuels all of the good will, festivities, and cheer that abound as part of the tradition of Christmas. Whether your celebrations include goodies, presents, carols, greeting cards, lights, trees, elves, stockings, wreaths, parties, mistletoe, volunteering, sweaters, shopping, gingerbread, or any other of a long list of things that have come to be traditional parts of Christmas, it is having Jesus at the heart of the season that adds so much joy to all the rest of it.
And of course, the joy of the season is magnified when we can share it with people that we love. Time spent with family and friends is truly a special part of any holiday celebration. I feel richly blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas with my cherished family members, and I am honored to be associated with you: the wonderful people that make up our Close To My Heart community. I am grateful to all of you and send you my sincerest wishes for a joyful Christmas this year.
When we talk about memory keeping, it’s natural to think of documenting the biggest moments or occasions—weddings, graduations, new babies, major milestones—but it’s just as important to chronicle the smaller, everyday moments that happen outside of the spotlight. After all, these moments make up the bulk of our lives, and looking back on them can often have as great an impact as memories of more momentous occasions. Holiday traditions, date nights, days at the park, quiet moments at home, and even just random moments that bring you joy, for any reason—these can be just as meaningful and just as worthy of being kept close to your heart.
We love providing crafters with the opportunities and resources to commemorate all their special moments, and a hand-crafted calendar or an album full of thoughtful scrapbook layouts can be just the way to catch the special occasions as well as the everyday happy memories! After all, every joyful moment we capture is a smile that can be saved and cherished later!
On display today as a vehicle for capturing those smiles is artwork featuring our These Are the Days calendar and layout kits, and trust us, there’s a lot to love here! The These Are the Days kits are created with our Cut Above® format, making them an ideal springboard for both beginners and more experienced crafters. All kits designed with this format come with all the pieces and die-cuts pre-cut, and even some pre-printed pieces as well! Having all the cutting and a good portion of the printing already done allows crafters to complete their projects in no time, so it’s possible to create even more in one sitting. (For those of you who are familiar with our Craft with Heart™ subscription program, the card and scrapbook kits available in each subscription box are all created with the Cut Above® format. Check out our current kits on the Close To My Heart website!)
The Cut Above® pages included in the These Are the Days kits were designed and created with paper patterns from the Four Seasons collections in our 2022–2023 Core Products Catalog. These seasonal papers are available in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter options. (To see the Autumn collection in the spotlight, check out our blog post from a couple of weeks ago!) The Four Seasons paper collections come with their own individual 6-sheet paper packets, sticker sheets, and coordinating cardstock packs. These mini collections are ideal for all sorts of seasonal creations, and it’s incredible to see how well they all fit together in the These Are the Days layout and calendar kits! By utilizing the Four Seasons collections in the These Are the Days kits, it was easy to design an entire year’s worth of pages, themed specifically for each month or change of season as the year progresses.
Rounding out the These Are the Days kits is an exclusive stamp set to help you tell your stories! This stamp set includes a whopping 35 stamps, all designed for use with a calendar page or a scrapbook page documenting your special occasions!
For those of you who want to create a memory keeping project with a twist, try out the These Are the Days calendar kit! This kit still allows you to create 13 12″ x 12″ scrapbook pages , but instead of putting them into an album, you get to incorporate them (along with your favorite photos) into a 12-month calendar, complete with its very own cover! Since the These Are the Days Cut Above® kits come with the materials to create 13 pages, you’re left with one for each month of a calendar year, and one left over to put on your calendar cover! This kit also includes a blank base calendar, so you can further personalize it by adding your own colorful reminders of important occasions or week-to-week happenings. It’s literally a blank canvas, just waiting for you to fill it in!
It takes no time at all to create a full calendar to commemorate all your important dates and capture some smaller, everyday treasures, too! It’s a beautiful way to celebrate the memorable occasions and fun impromptu ones alike, and it’s a project we know that any crafter will love!
If, however, you are a die-hard scrapbooker and creating albums is your jam, These Are the Days is still the perfect project for you! These Are the Days is unique in the fact that it can be used for a dual crafting purpose! Since these kits are designed as 12″ x 12″ Cut Above® pages, it’s easy to create a calendar, or to reserve the pages for a scrapbook album to document a whole year! Because the These Are the Days layout kit includes 13 stunning pages, the kit allows crafters to create an entire year’s worth of pages in a single crafting session.
Each page has spots for your favorite photos, making it easy to preserve the fun stories of your year. Filling an entire album is a breeze with These Are the Days, and whether you fill it with your own memories or choose to give it to a family member or friend to put their own photos in, it’s bound to be a wonderful memory keeping solution!
To further illustrate the scrapbooking potential of the These Are the Days kits, we’ve even created two additional pages to show off just how easy it is to create pieces that coordinate with the These Are the Days kits! Since we know the These Are the Days pages are designed using the Four Seasons patterns, we have an easy resource for creating seamlessly coordinating pages by using matching designs! This allows you to turn the These Are the Days kit pages into full 2-page layouts! Take a look at the extra pages we created as inspiration for creating your own!
For our springtime layout option, we’ve selected the April page and created this “Keep Blooming” page to coordinate with the “Hello Spring” one from the Cut Above® kit. This beautiful page sports a simple design, using a patterned Four Seasons—Spring paper for the base page. From there, we’ve attached a strategically torn piece of Avocado cardstock in the center of the page, about halfway down, with the torn section facing toward the bottom edge of the base page.
Once our torn piece was in place, we took a rectangular piece of White Daisy cardstock, positioned it over the Avocado piece, and added three Ballerina cardstock photo mats on top of that. From there, it was easy to select and attach our photos!
To finish this page off, we selected a few stickers from the Four Seasons—Spring sticker sheet to add our title, a small pennant line across the upper left-hand corner, and a small layered feature at the top right corner of our White Daisy piece. We love how quickly and easily this combination of simple elements completes a gorgeous coordinating page to complement the These Are the Days Cut Above® “Hello Spring” page!
Our second coordinating page on display today was created to pair with our December “Joy” page. Like our “Keep Blooming” page, this “Most Wonderful Time…” page is simple enough to replicate in a just few steps.
This page starts off with a matching base page from the Four Seasons—Winter paper collection, and incorporates a few ½” zip strips from this paper packet, attached horizontally across the middle of the page to match the Cut Above® page. From there, we layered a piece of Toffee cardstock, and a slightly smaller piece of the Four Seasons—Winter wood grain paper centered over it. From here, we mounted two 3″ x 4″ photos and one 4″ x 6″ photo on Pine photo mats and attached them to the base page, as you can see below.
For our title piece, we took a piece of Toffee cardstock, attached a Four Seasons—Winter border sticker, and dovetailed the ends. Our “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” title sticker was centered in the middle of this accent, and the whole thing was centered and attached to our base page.
To embellish this page, we’ve created a couple of layered sticker clusters to create additional interest around the photos and title section. As with the patterned papers and title sticker, these accents all came from the Four Seasons—Winter Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet and are a quick and easy way to add polished embellishments.
It’s incredible to see how simple it can be to design and create your own coordinating scrapbook pages to go with the These Are the Days Cut Above® options, and it’s a beautiful way not only to preserve your memories, but to look forward to making new ones!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at the possibilities available through the These Are the Days calendar and scrapbook layout kits, and we wish you a happy year to come as we approach the start of 2023 in just a few short weeks! What’s your favorite memory of a small, everyday moment you’ve preserved? What’s a more momentous occasion that you’ll never forget? How would you use the These Are the Days kit to document these memories? Tell us your stories and how you’d preserve them in the comments below!
The holidays are a time for fun, family, and tradition. One of the most anticipated activities of the year is decorating the house in its festive finest. From the Christmas tree to the lights outside, decorating for the holidays allows you to turn your home into your own piece of art! To help you in this artistic endeavor, we want to show you some fun ways to add a truly personal touch to your home décor with the Merry Little Christmas special!
The Merry Little Christmas special includes three wood ornament options and two wood tag options to bring some three-dimensional fun to your holiday decorations. These beautiful ornaments and tags are the perfect way to add your own festive touch to the boughs of your tree and the gifts under it!
These tags and ornaments are made of sturdy wood pieces, and they not only look fantastic, but are super easy and fun to make! Each ornament is constructed by fitting two interlocking pieces to form gorgeous 3-D decorations. Once they’ve been fitted together, they can be easily secured with a bit of glue and strung onto some decorative thread for a festive finishing touch.
Before you fit your ornament pieces together, you’ll want to think about how to decorate them. Each ornament and tag come with a coordinating digital file, so you can cut perfect paper overlays to complement your Christmas creations!
In addition to decorating with these digital art file cut-outs, you can also embrace the natural wood look and keep your embellishing to a minimum. This round wood ornament is lightly decorated with just a few dots of Liquid Pearls™, and the results are stunning!
For the Christmas tags that have small cut-outs, you can even put a piece of your favorite pattern or glitter paper behind it for a peek-a-boo effect, or two attach two tags together, back-to-back, for some added dimension. These wood pieces can also be stamped on, so add your own choice of patterns or sentiments!
No matter how you choose to decorate your ornaments and tags, or where you place them in your home, the Merry LittleChristmas special is a wonderful way to combine your Christmas cheer with your natural creativity! It also provides a great opportunity for you to craft with the people that you love! They’re incredibly easy to put together, and your loved ones will have a blast creating them with you! Who knows—this could even be start of a beautiful new Christmas crafting tradition!
You’re probably panicking right now. It’s like that moment of agony when a die-hard bookworm is asked to share with the class the title of their favorite book. Their heart demands that they share more than just one, but alas, the venue is wrong and the audience underprepared for their exquisite literary taste. Oh, the injustice!
But don’t worry—we’re a different kind of audience. We ask about your favorite set understanding your stamp obsession, knowing that what you say is your favorite may actually just be the first of many favorites. We agree wholeheartedly that sometimes it’s impossible to pick just one.
When we asked one of our studio artists about her favorite stamp set (with our “nobody can pick just one favorite” disclaimer in place), she told us about the set she’s going to use to count down to the big 2-5 in December: the My Acrylix® Magical Moment stamp set! Better yet, as a gracious accompaniment to her confession, our artist shared an adorable piece of home décor she made using the set.
Enjoy a peek for yourself:
If you search for this set in Annual Inspirations, you’ll find it sitting on page 154, right next to the My Crush™ Holiday Happenings book. Naturally, this set fits our holiday-centered book like a dream (seriously, better than a vision of sugarplums dancing in your head), but you’ll find that it’s also a good fit for other pieces, even non-holiday themed projects.
We love the way she used the numbers in the set to create her own countdown calendar here, but these numbers aren’t limited to just this holiday season. Use them for any kind of countdown—birthdays, graduations, new babies—and they’ll be just as fitting.
The way our artist has layered the sentiments on this Joy to the World card is clean and very cute. Using Olive ink, she first stamped the “Joy to the world” sentiment on a square of White Daisy cardstock. She then stamped the sentiment a second time in Archival Black ink on Glacier cardstock, trimmed it out, and attached it to the original Olive stamped piece. We love how it gives the stamp a new level of visual dimension!
Notice that the arrow stamp is used across more than one element of this piece: both on the Dec. 25 card and the Joy to the World card. Using the same stamp in more than one place is a great way to pull all elements of your project together.
The star and heart shapes you see on this piece also come from the stamp set. Don’t be fooled by their dimension; these are actually stamped pieces popped with 3D foam tape. You can use these versatile shapes on ANY project throughout the year.
Now it’s your turn to share. What is your favorite stamp set from Annual Inspirations 2014–2015? (Take a deep breath. You can do this!)
Please create a piece of artwork using that set and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “My favorite stamp set.” Include in your email a list of the materials you used. Entries must use Close To My Heart products exclusively. We’ll select a few to share here for all to enjoy in the coming weeks!
C1602 My Acrylix® Magical Moment, 1245 Olive Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5770 Glacier Cardstock, X5929 Whisper Cardstock, Z2033 Paper Fundamentals Whimsy Assortment, 44751 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2116 Cranberry Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z2137 Olive Exclusive Inks™ Pad, Z1880 Designed Décor Black Frame, Z1899 Hook Clips, Z2051 My Crush™ Holiday Happenings Badge Buttons, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z2027 Mini Stapler, Z2097 Mini Staples, Thread
Cricut® Shapes: Artfully Sent
4″ Shift+Pocket Card <Card-2> (p. 50)