As many of you know, March is a special time of year around Close To My Heart: It’s my birthday month! Every year, as my birthday approaches, I can’t help but reflect on life. I like to reevaluate how and where I spend my time, and especially with whom. I’m not perfect, but I believe in making every moment count and living life to its fullest, and when I look at the wonderful people who have walked by my side over the past 35 plus years, I am blessed to know that I am doing just that!
Thank you for always asking about me and my family. Thank you for your dedication to this wonderful community that we have created, together. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for believing in me and my vision for Close To My Heart, and for making dreams come true day in and day out. You, my dear Consultants and readers, areMY people! I could not ask for a better group of women to share my life with. I am truly blessed to have you and love you all so much!
For my birthday, I want to celebrate you, the wonderful people in my life. One way I plan on doing this is through the special that we just launched on March 1st, These Are My People. One of my favorite products in this special is the These Are My People Cut Above® kit. (All of the pages that you are seeing today are from this kit, complete with pictures of our wonderful Close To My Heart Consultants! <3 )
This kit is designed to create a 6″ x 8″ album with an opening page, a closing page, and eight two-page layouts in between, each page aimed at celebrating special relationships. What better product could I ask for to say thank you to all of you?
The beautiful collection of products available through the These Are My People campaign, especially the workshops and the Cut Above® kit, are truly an embodiment of the Close To My Heart mission.
For the next three weeks, until my birthday on the 27th, we will keep track of everyone who purchases one of these Cut Above® kits. At noon (MST) on my birthday, I will pick 4 of you to receive a prize containing an Everyday Life™ album in the color of your choice, one of our journaling pens of your choice, and an additional These Are My People Cut Above®kit. A fifth winner will also be picked for a grand prize. This lucky person will receive the album, pen, and Cut Above kit, as well as a $50 (USD) credit to Persnickety Prints, and a Sticky Boy and Sticky Girl stamp (because they are some of my favorite people, too!)!
My sweet friends, I hope you know that I love you and cherish the moments we get to share together. I encourage you to do your best to live your best life with those who matter most and express your love and gratitude every day. And, if you’re searching for a community of crafters that are more of a family than anything else, you’ve come to the right place and are welcome here.
Preserving memories is my life’s work. It’s at the heart of everything I do, from my own personal scrapbooking to the vision I have for this company. The milestones, the every day routines, the light in a child’s eye as they discover the world—these are the moments, stories, and images I seek to capture. And when I do, I carefully place them in scrapbook albums for safekeeping. Though they may just look like pretty paper and photos to someone else, they are my most prized possessions. The stories they tell are my personal history and the history of my family.
It is because of my passion for memory keeping that I’m excited to launch a new series of blog posts called “Stories from the Heart.” I want you, my readers and dear friends, to look through your old scrapbooks, find a page or layout with a story you want to tell, and then share that story with the world through our blog.
Stories from the Heart is a celebration of memory keeping, a reminder of why we do what we do, an opportunity to share the beautiful stories that fill our scrapbooks.
To launch this series, I want to share the story behind one of my favorite scrapbook layouts. 🙂
We were doing a photos shoot for the 1998 September & October edition of I Love Remembering, a magazine subscription we published back in the day.
The photo shoot was in western Utah (basically in the middle of the desert!), and we were taking pictures of my daughters, Aubrey and Rachel, in an abandoned pioneer schoolhouse. They had on these adorable matching outfits, including hand-stamped sweaters and backpacks, which were back-to-school crafting projects we’d be featuring in the magazine article.
The two photos on the right page of my scrapbook layout are some additional photos taken from this photo shoot. I loved all the pictures we took that day, and I wanted to preserve some of them in my own scrapbook.
The photo of the girls hugging absolutely melts my heart. It perfectly captures the love these sisters have for each other to this day. No matter how different they may be, they always have each other’s back.
In contrast to these professionally staged photos, the big photo on the left page was completely unplanned! It was a scorching hot day, and after wearing those hand-stamped sweaters, Aubrey and Rachel were melting like popsicles! They went to find some shade in the schoolhouse, and when they came back out, they had taken off their little sweaters, and this beautiful scene appeared: The rustic blue door, the sunflowers Rachel was still holding from the shoot, the sweet, tired looks on their faces—it was such a perfect moment, so I had to take a picture.
I think part of the reason I loved this shot was because it captured their cute little personalities. Rachael is staring at the camera head-on with confidence, holding the bouquet of flowers like a professional model. My sweet Aubrey is more shy and subdued, and you can see that in this photo by the way she is holding herself, legs turned in, arms tucked behind her back. She is my gentle, darling girl.
It’s still amazing to me how grown up they look in this photo. I remember being there and thinking, “I can already picture what they will look like as young women…my goodness.”
Those are the stories behind these scrapbook photos, and I hope you enjoyed hearing them. I know I loved going down memory lane as I remembered the stories of how these photos came to be.
I want to hear your stories now. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I want to hear your thousand words! Your stories are beautiful and deserve to be shared. Help me celebrate memory keeping—and help others realize the full value of this art—by submitting your stories to us. Read the bottom of this post to find out how.
Before I sign off, I just want to take a moment to thank you all for your friendship. One of the beautiful things about memory keeping is that it brings people together, and I’m so grateful for all the wonderful stories and memories I have with you.
Wishing you my love as you tell your stories,
If you would like a chance to share your story on our blog, here’s what you’ll need to do:
Find one scrapbook page or layout (please just one!) that you’d like to share.
Tell us the story behind the photo. What was happening? Who is in the photo? Is there something funny that happened before or after the photo was taken? Why is this photo meaningful to you?
Take a high-resolution photo of yourself (you can even be holding the pages or your entire scrapbook!).
Take a high-resolution photo of the layout or page on a flat surface (use natural lighting to improve the quality, and take the pages out of the protectors so they don’t reflect in the flash).
Email the photos and story to us at email@example.com with the subject “Stories from the Heart.” If we decide to share your story on the blog, we will contact you!
We can’t wait to start reading all your stories! 🙂
One of the best parts of Close To My Heart Convention each year is the Q&A with founder and CEO Jeanette Lynton. To give our blog readers a little taste of this experience, we’re having our own mini Q&A here on the blog! You’ve submitted your questions (thank you for all the wonderful comments!), and we’ve chosen some of our favorites to ask Jeanette. Here are her responses!
Q. Jeanette, do you remember exactly where you were when the thought first came to your mind to create this business? And your first reaction to that thought?
A. I have shared with many of you my experience of the first time I saw a catalog with rubber stamps in it at the hair salon. I had to have the one that reminded me of doodles I made in eighth grade. My love for stamping evolved into creating the stamps myself. As I showed friends and saw their enthusiasm, the formulation evolved and became bigger and better as it grew into a full-fledged business.
Q. Jeanette, all those years ago when you were creating rubber stamps at your kitchen table, did you ever think D.O.T.S. would become the Close To My Heart of today? What did you dream for this company you started?
A. YES! I saw a great vision for the breadth and scope of this company and what we would have to offer. I am so happy with our company and our Consultants. We have built a legacy company here. I also feel we have just scratched the surface of what I envision and know we can accomplish together.
Q. If you could sit down with a brand new Consultant and a Consultant who has been with the company for 21 years, what advice would you give to each?
A. I hope they would both know and live their “WHY.” If you run with that passion and never forget how you felt at the beginning, you will succeed in whatever it is you are doing with your Close To My Heart business. That is why so many have stayed for 20 plus years—there is something for everyone, and the community and friendships are such a huge part of the business. Whether you are here because you are an avid crafter and you love the products or because you want to build a strong Team, you are welcome here.
Q. The next generation doesn’t seem to see the value in memory keeping. All their pictures are on phones. How can we help them understand those pictures need to be preserved for their families?
A. Technology is great and we should use it, but it is ever changing and we can’t completely rely on that to be our legacy. Will your grandchildren even know what these social media outlets are and will they even be around? How will they find your memories if those social media outlets are the only place they live? I think everyone, at every age, should make a goal of printing photos monthly. We also have been creating products to better involve this next generation: Picture My Life™, Instalife™, and My Crush® all appeal to this younger demographic who are looking for someone to show them how to document their photos and stories. It is important to get outside of our comfort zone and share what we have with everyone. They need us, and we need them.
Q. After two years of being with Close To My Heart, I have decided to make my craft passion a business. So when you plan a couple of workshops and almost everyone cancels, or you find a very keen customer that wants to join but then backs out, how do you not take it personally, and what would you do to bounce back?
A. It is all about perspective. If you work with people, there will always be things you cannot control—that is the nature of working with people. You can’t be offended that what you are offering doesn’t work for them. Everyone has their own daily lives and schedules, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out like we hope. You can always follow up with those who cancel. Maybe they just need to wait for the right time. Maybe they won’t be the right fit at any time—that’s okay, too. Just refocus and keep trying. I experienced this myself and found that more times than not, I was faced with rejection. I didn’t let it stop me though. I continued to share my passion until I found someone with a similar passion. They are out there! When I would have one successful Gathering, I would let that fuel me to the next, no matter what else happened. I stayed positive.
Q. What is your favorite way to relax and just unwind?
A. “I Love Lucy” reruns are my daily laughter fix. I watch an old episode every day, just for the therapy that good laughter brings. I listen to classical music to relax. It soothes me and helps clear my mind. To inspire me, I listen to great talks by spiritual leaders. And to learn new things, I listen to audiobooks. I also love to read a good cookbook. I am always dreaming up and planning ideas for parties at my home—all the details from the menu to the place settings to the decorations. I like dreaming them up even if they don’t always take place!
Q. Can you remember the very first scrapbook layout you made? And what were the photos on it?
A. The ones that stand out are the first years of high school, starting with my sophomore year. I did go back and scrapbook my younger years later, but when I started scrapbooking, I was a sophomore. My first layout didn’t have photos. I used my high school colors for papers and my school ID as my photo. The first layout I did that included photos showed me in costume when I played Minnie Fay in our school’s production of Hello, Dolly! I’ve even shared some of these first layouts on this blog before.
Q. Has there ever been a time when your creative side went blank? If so, what did you do to get the ideas back?
A. Everyone has creative blocks—it has happened many times to me over the years. I would be creating patterns for books and thinking of new products, and then I would get stuck and frustrated. So, I would force myself to walk away for a few days. That’s hard to do when you are addicted to your craft! Do it as long as it takes though, and you’ll find that you come back with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective.
Q. Do you find yourself taking fewer or more photos than 10 years ago?
A. I’ve always made sure to take enough photos for a two-page layout. Now it is easier because of the digital aspect. You can take a lot of photos and pick the best ones for your pages. You can also easily share photos with others and that gives you so many options.
Q. Will we see you at Convention this year?
A. I plan on attending and look forward to being with each of you!
Q. Jeanette, are you an animal lover? Do you prefer dogs, cats, or perhaps something more exotic? Do you own any pets?
A. I used to be an animal lover and had my share of them with little kids in the home, but now we don’t have any pets and I like it that way. Rachel, my daughter, has a crazy dog named Charlie. She thought she was getting a puppy, but she got a Velociraptor instead! He comes to visit every week and that gives me my animal fix.
Q. What are some specific dreams you have for your company in the future?
A. I know this company can expand throughout the world. We are taking it one day at a time, to see what is the best fit for Close To My Heart. We have so much still to offer the world. Like our mission statement says, “We show you how to celebrate relationships through discovering your creativity, to preserve and share the moments that matter most.” We need to share this beautiful vision with more people. We are working on it every day through our product selection and our beautiful Consultant base. We are making such a difference, especially as I think of all we continue to do for the children who are blessed through Operation Smile™. We are touching so many lives, and I want to thank you all for your support and generosity.
On behalf of Jeanette, we’d like to say thank you for the tremendous outpouring of love and birthday wishes we received from each of you! You knocked our socks off. It was definitely a very special birthday treat for Jeanette, so thank you! We’re so grateful to run in the same circles as you wonderful people. 🙂
And now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for, here are the 10 lucky winners of Jeanette’s special birthday bundle!
Blog Cheryl Bennett (March 30 at 1:16 pm) Marilyn McLeod (March 28 at 2:06 pm) Barbara Gentilcore (March 28 at 12:13 am) Jacki Ballantyne (March 27 at 4:53 pm)
Lynn Noyes (March 27 at 4:25 pm)
Julie Hughes (March 27 at 2:06 pm)
Tanja Cowdell (March 28 at 10:06 pm)
Instagram (winners listed by username) stefaniehaluk artsymargi msrshmallow2910
If you’re one of the lucky ones, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Jeanette’s birthday winner” in the subject line and your mailing address in the body copy.
Thank you for playing! And have a terrific Tuesday. You deserve it.
The fact that I get to do what I love for a living—and have been able to do it for the past 30 years—is one of the greatest blessings in my life.
It all started when I was a young mother, trying to support my family. Getting a “traditional job” meant being outside my home all day, and I was reluctant to leave my small children alone. I was looking for a company where I could be home, be creative, interact with other women, and also earn a living. Such a company didn’t exist . . . so I decided to create one. In the beginning stages, I entertained dreams of where this company could go, but there were many nights when I didn’t know if those dreams would ever come true. But, oh, how they did!
As 2014 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on not only the many blessings of these past 30 years, but also the many exciting Close To My Heart events and innovations that have come to pass during this one year alone.
We held two Conventions this year in order to meet the needs of our ever-expanding Consultant base. I had the pleasure of overseeing and attending our first Australasia Convention, where Consultants from far and wide came to experience their very own Artistic Adventure. And what an adventure it was! Opening the doors in Australasia takes me back to the year we expanded from the United States to Canada. I’ve seen incredible expansion within this company and we’re not done yet! Where will the next 30 years take us?
This year has also been a big one for change at Close To My Heart. We launched a new idea book program, starting with Annual Inspirations and rounding out with Seasonal Expressions. The look and feel of these books is trendy, colorful, and full of life. I hope you enjoy their beautiful artistry. It’s exciting to look back at years of similar publications—idea books, catalogs, how-to books, and many others—and see how they’ve morphed; both trends and technology advancements have practically given our publications complete makeovers! The idea books I hold in my hands today have come a long way from the hand-drawn and hand-pasted stamp designs I drew at my kitchen table 30 years ago.
But over the past 30 years my ability to communicate with the world—with you!—has expanded in ways far beyond print. This year I oversaw the creation of this blog, and I thoroughly enjoy having such direct communication with each of you. Thirty years ago I never dreamed I’d be able to address such a large audience in a matter of mere seconds, and in such a lovely way, at that. I truly hope you enjoy the community building and sharing of inspiration that goes on here. I hope you use this blog as a tool to reach out to one another and to lift and inspire your peers. It’s easier (and faster) than ever before to make a difference in someone’s day, even if they are thousands of miles away. Isn’t that incredible?
We’ve also introduced some fabulous products this past year, including the outstanding Cricut® Artfully Sent cartridge, designed completely by Close To My Heart! It is a stunning product, the best cardmaking cartridge on the market. Additionally, we’ve broadened our product selection for crafters of all skill levels and dispositions by introducing great products like Picture My Life™, Cut Above™, Designer Creations, and several others. Looking back on 30 years worth of innovative products, I see the rise and fall of trends, but always, ALWAYS the consistency and love from audiences far and wide for hand stamping.
Stamps are really where my business started, as you know. This year marks not only my thirtieth anniversary of being in the business, but also my tenth anniversary of introducing the My Acrylix® line of clear stamps and blocks to the world. Clear polymer stamps have completely transformed the way people stamp! As the first direct sales company to produce and carry clear stamps and blocks, we have true reason to celebrate a fabulous ten years of success.
It has been a fantastic year, and it ends on a positive note for me personally. I was recently honored to receive the Legacy Award from the Direct Sales Management Association of Utah. Given in honor of my longevity and innovation in this business, this award represents the challenges and achievements I’ve experienced over the past three decades. It honors not only the creativity and passion that have gone into this business, but also the good old-fashioned sacrifice and endurance. I was honored to receive the award, and, in part, credit the wonderful people who have long worked by my side in pursuit of this dream—both those at the corporate office, as well as all of you!
Indeed, 2014 has been the icing on a beautiful cake that has been in the making for thirty years. Thank you for everything you have contributed to this legacy. Here’s to the many years past and the many more to come!
Sticky Boy has made a big splash on his Facebook page debut, and so many people have been asking about his whereabouts and how they can get their OWN. But what do we really know about the mysterious fellow? To satisfy the public outcry, we managed to secure an exclusive interview with the enigmatic figure. We sat him down together with Close To My Heart Founder and CEO Jeanette Lynton to find out more about who he is, where he came from, and what he’ll be doing next.
Interviewer: We’re so delighted to have you both here with us for this interview. Sticky Boy, I think there are a lot of people that would like to get to know you better. Would you take a minute to introduce yourself?
Sticky Boy: Oh sure. But before I do that, there’s one thing I’d like to clear up first—even though I am celebrating my tenth birthday as a clear polymer stamp this month, I’ve actually been around quite a bit longer than that. You could say I’d already been “around the block” a few times before I really became the stamp I am today. You know what I mean?
Jeanette: What he means is that long before he became a polymer stamp, Sticky Boy started as a hand-drawn figure on a sketch pad. I doodled out this little figure in order to illustrate an idea I had to my husband, David, who also works for the company and has been in charge of stamp production all these years. We all liked it so much that we decided to turn him into a stamp.
Interviewer: And that is how Sticky Boy was born?
Jeanette: Well, not really. See, back then he was made into a wood and rubber stamp.
Sticky Boy: True, true. That earliest version was not exactly what you would call a “sticky” boy. If he had had a name it would probably be “stampy boy” or something much less catchy.
Jeanette: The name of the stamp was actually What’s Up, and I believe he was every bit as popular as you are now, Sticky Boy.
Sticky Boy: I don’t know about that. Did “What’s Up” have his own Facebook page?
Jeanette: No, but plenty of people were stamping him onto pages of their own making. It was fun to stamp a whole scene for him. People got really creative with him and some of his friends, like another popular stamp character, Frank.
The “What’s Up” stamp from the 2001–2002 Close To My Heart Catalog & Idea Book.
Sticky Boy: Please, let’s not change the subject. This is supposed to be about me.
Interviewer: True, true. So how did the name Sticky Boy come about?
Jeanette: Well, it was a little over ten years ago and we had made the decision to transition from wood and rubber stamps to the beautiful clear polymer stamps. We were trying to come up with a name for the new line of stamps. We were revolutionizing the industry as the first to bring this new stamp process to the direct sales market and they needed a catchy name. In a meeting, David, threw out the name “Sticky Boys.” We obviously didn’t agree on the name for our brand, but he didn’t want to let it go!
Sticky Boy: I think it’s a perfectly good name!
Jeanette: Of course you do, but we went with My Acrylix® instead. As part of that whole process, we were choosing which sets would make the transition and which ones would be retired. What’s Up was on the list of sets to retire because he didn’t really fit anywhere in the new collection.
Sticky Boy: What you mean is that you were worried I was going to show up all the other stamp designs and make them jealous.
Jeanette: Sure, we’ll say that. It was David who decided to use the What’s Up design as a prototype of the new My Acrylix® stamps. And that is really how Sticky Boy was born. David was able to keep his beloved stamp image AND his brilliant name for the new stamps.
Interview: That sounds like a great partnership.
Sticky Boy: Well, there are a few details she left out. See, I didn’t love being stuck to a wooden block all the time—it made it really inconvenient to go places, and one of the things I love most is traveling. I asked Jeanette for advice about what to do, and she came up with the idea for the polymer stamps. So you could almost say that I’m the one that gave her the idea. But now I can go pretty much anywhere!
Interviewer: While we’re on the subject, there has been some discussion about how difficult you can be to find. Can you tell us how this little game of yours got started?
Sticky Boy: Happy to. One of the great benefits of being a clear polymer stamp is that you can look right through me when you’re stamping an image. That is a really great feature, but it does make me a little harder to see. Back when I first made the switch, David got the idea that it would be fun to bring me to Convention to introduce the new stamps to our Consultants. So we put our heads together and came up with the idea of a hide-and-seek type game. It let me travel and it let our Consultants see the quality of the clear stamps, too, so it was really a win-win. And it was so much fun that we had to try it again the next year, and the next…
Interviewer: … and that’s how a tradition gets born. Jeanette, what did you think about this idea?
Jeanette: Well, I know how important it is to let David have his fun. I indulge the boys in their little game, though if I had my way, I’d let everyone take a Sticky Boy home with them!
Sticky Boy: Aww, but that takes all the fun out of it!
Celebration of Sticky Boy’s tenth birthday, complete with all of his favorite sticky treats.
Interviewer: Well, we are running short on time. Sticky Boy, what plans do you have for the future?
Sticky Boy: Well, I’m having a blast with my new Facebook page, and I have got some really fun ideas for what to do there, but other than that, the biggest thing I have planned is next year’s Close To My Heart Convention, of course.
Interviewer: That’s going to be at the Disneyland Hotel® in Anaheim, California, next July, right? How will you be dressing up this time?
Sticky Boy: I think I’m going to keep that a surprise for now. But yes, I am really looking forward to going back to the Disneyland® Hotel—there are so many fun hiding places there.
Interviewer: When will people be able to register for the event?
Sticky Boy: Our Consultants can register for Convention starting in January—so it’s coming right up! I hope everyone can come!
Interviewer: Is there anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up?
Sticky Boy: Oh yeah, just one last thing. I want to make sure everyone knows about the Deal of the Decade special that is going on. You can get C- & D-size stamp sets for just $10 each with a qualifying purchase. It’s a great deal going on for my tenth anniversary celebration, so I hope everyone takes the chance to get some great new stamps. I can vouch for them—they are every bit as fun to craft with as I am, even if they don’t enjoy the same level of celebrity.
Jeanette: Yeah, and they don’t have quite as much of an ego, either.
Interviewer: Well, thank you both very much for your time. It has been a pleasure! I look forward to seeing more of you both in the coming year.
Jeanette & Sticky Boy: Likewise.
There you have it! You heard it from Sticky Boy—December is a great time to get a deal on stamps, so get yours before it’s too late! Oh, and be sure to check out Sticky Boy’s Facebook page for more fun to come!
Sticky Boy visits Jeanette at Convention ten years ago.