Kid Crafts with Maya!

CTMH Kids Crafts #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhkidscrafts #borntoshine #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #photoalbum #minialbum

As any avid scrapper knows, crafting can be a great way to learn more about yourself and embrace all the things that make you special. Sharing this opportunity for self-discovery with the kids in your life is a great way to show them how much you care about them, while also introducing them to the joys of paper crafting and scrapbooking!

We’re excited to announce a new series of virtual events, specifically geared toward a younger audience. Introducing…CTMH Kids Crafts! These special virtual events will be hosted by Close To My Heart President Monica Wihongi’s nine-year-old daughter, Maya. Kids will love crafting along with Maya as she shows them how to create fun, personalized projects, just for them!

CTMH Kids Crafts #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhkidscrafts #borntoshine #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #photoalbum #minialbum

During our first CTMH Kids Crafts event, Maya will take kids through each step of creating the fun Born to Shine album! With an adorable 4″ x 4″ mini album from the Story by Stacy™ collection and some too-cute Picture My Life™ pocket cards from the Summer Vibes collection, the Born to Shine album is a perfect starting point for any kid to begin their crafting journey!

This first CTMH Kids Crafts event is taking place on August 21, starting at 4:30 p.m. (MDT). If you are planning to create along with Maya, you will need a Born to Shine album kit, which comes with one 4″ x 4″ mini album, one pack of Summer Vibes Picture My Life™ pocket cards, 4″ x 4″ sheets of white cardstock, the exclusive My Acrylix® Born to Shine stamp set, and a 2″ x 3½” ¼” stamping block. Apart from this handy kit, all that you or your kids will need to complete the project are a paper trimmer, an ink pad, some adhesive, and a journaling pen!

CTMH Kids Crafts #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhkidscrafts #borntoshine #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #photoalbum #minialbum

This project can be a great way to introduce kids to stamping and crafting, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to introduce them to the art of memory keeping, as they’ll get to select their own photos  and decide what stories they want to tell.

The Born to Shine album is simple and fun to create, with some minimal cutting. Since paper trimmers or scissors will be involved, we recommend that any child who participates be supervised by an adult. (Each page in the Born to Shine album is made from trimmed down pocket cards and 4″ x 4″ cardstock.)

Every one of the layouts in this album your kiddos will make with Maya include fun, positive sentiments from the stamp set specially designed to celebrate their best qualities. At Close To My Heart, we want every kid to realize that they are special, and we’re so excited to help them embrace the things that make them great!

Just a few days ago, Maya and Monica went live on Facebook and they eagerly shared more about this brand-new series of events and the Born to Shine album. Take a look!

The CTMH Kids Crafts: Born to Shine virtual event is free to attend (watch), and as Maya says, this project is great for “every kind of kid!” Even if your kids aren’t little anymore, you can still share this event with grandkids, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, or any other kid in your life! To make things even more exciting, we’ll be doing some fun giveaways during the live event, with tons of opportunities to win! In order to be eligible to win any of these prizes, make sure to mark yourself as “GOING” on the Close To My Heart (Official) Facebook events page. We can’t wait for you and your kiddos to join us for our inaugural CTMH Kids Crafts event and the many more to come!

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Scrapbooking Kits Delivered Straight to Your Door!

For avid crafters and beginners alike, creating fun and meaningful scrapbook layouts is the perfect way to spice up a slow day! With the Craft with Heart™ subscription program, get beautiful scrapbooking kits designed to make two coordinating 12″ x 12″ layouts delivered directly to your door! (Talk about happy mail!)

Scrapbooking Box Subscription #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #memorykeeping

Each kit included in the Craft with Heart™ program is part of our Cut Above® line, which means that all the artwork is pre-designed, including pre-printed base pages and complementary die-cuts and stickers. All you need to bring to the crafting table is a journaling pen, your favorite adhesive, and, of course, your photos!

Cut Above® kits are a wonderful balance of ease and creativity. Each kit features two beautifully designed two-page layouts. While your pages come pre-designed, you still reap the joy and benefits of creating something yourself and that comes together in just minutes with an easy-to-follow instructional guide. If you’re just getting started as a scrapper, or would like to get started, Cut Above® layout kits are great place to begin! Even if you’re a more experienced memory keeper, these projects will keep your creativity flowing and maybe provide inspiration for your own designs!

Take a closer look at the layouts currently available for May–August:

 

Scrapbooking Box Subscription #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #memorykeeping

The designs for the May layouts might look intricate and complicated, but since everything is pre-printed and cut for you, they’re a cinch to put together! The fun patterns and vibrant colors are a perfect way to compliment photos of your favorite moments and will be a treasured keepsake for years to come.

Scrapbooking Box Subscription #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #memorykeeping

These kits are so easy to work with, they are a wonderful way to get your little ones excited about crafting and preserving memories. Help them pick out a few of their favorite photos and you’ll have the makings of a fun activity for the whole family! In a day and age where so many of our photos live on our phones or social media accounts, seeing a printed photo can be a real treat for a child, and a fun way to introduce them to memory keeping!

Scrapbooking Box Subscription #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #memorykeeping

With their versatile design and color palettes, these July layouts offer a perfect spot for some fun summer photos! These layout designs are the ideal complement for anything from fun family night photos to snapshots of a day at the beach. Summer is coming and these layouts are here for it!

Scrapbooking Box Subscription #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #memorykeeping

The layouts for August offer a simpler, more photo-focused approach to scrapbooking. However, they still showcase the polished designs and bright colors we love to see in a scrapbook.

There is a subscription option for everyone! You can choose to sign up for a monthly, 4-month, or 12-month subscription. The longer period of time you choose, the better deal you’ll get! With a 12-month subscription, you’ll receive four layout kits, every four months at a 20% discount, AND you’ll get FREE shipping! To see more details about each subscription option—monthly, 4-month, and 12-month—just click here.

Scrapbooking Box Subscription #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #memorykeeping

For those of you who aren’t quite sure if a Craft with Heart™ subscription is for you, throughout May, National Scrapbooking Month, we are offering the Blue Skies Cut Above® layout kit without any further commitments.

Scrapbooking Box Subscription #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #memorykeepingScrapbooking Box Subscription #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #memorykeeping

We hope you’re keeping up your creativity and, if you haven’t already, check out the Craft with Heart™ program! Click here to sign up today, and keep an eye out for your first delivery!

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Creating Unique Scrapbook Pages

UniUnique Scrapbook Pages #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #happydays #letthegoodtimesroll #pocketscrapbooking #pml #pocketcards #picturemylife #photoalbum #cricut #artbookingque Scrapbook Pages #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #happydays #letthegoodtimesroll #pocketscrapbooking #pml #pocketcards #picturemylife #photoalbum

Scrapbooking is more than just a hobby—it’s a way to preserve your legacy, memories, and personality. Each page you make is infused with your own creative identity and is a unique form of self-expression. From color selection, creative design choice, and the techniques you favor, your pages are a part of who you are. No matter your crafting preferences or experience level, your scrapbook pages are the perfect way to exercise your own creativity.

One way to really put your crafting prowess to use is to combine several different elements into a single layout.

Unique Scrapbook Pages #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #happydays #letthegoodtimesroll #pocketscrapbooking #pml #pocketcards #picturemylife #photoalbum #cricut #artbooking

One of the most striking elements displayed in this “Happy Days” 12″ x 12″ layout is the use of a large Cricut® shape as an overlay for an entire page. The sunburst effect on the left page was created by using a large sunbeam shape from the Cricut® Artbooking Collection with smaller pieces of cardstock and patterned papers behind it.

By using a large Cricut® shape as the primary element on this page, it was quick and easy to make it stand out. Finding new and innovative ways to use Cricut® shapes in your layouts is a great way to make your mark and create beautiful, unique pages. You can customize this type of background even more by stamping small patterns to peek through the overlay.

Unique Scrapbook Pages #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #happydays #letthegoodtimesroll #pocketscrapbooking #pml #pocketcards #picturemylife #photoalbum #cricut #artbooking

Another fun way to add to some distinction to your pages is to use die-cuts or hand-cut images to decorate your pages. Using these types of elements in your artwork allows you to exercise your creative freedom to a greater degree, as you can choose your own colors, how often they are used, etc.

Here, you can see how a simple die-cut and stamped sentiment create a beautifully simple accent that’s unique to this page.

Unique Scrapbook Pages #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #happydays #letthegoodtimesroll #pocketscrapbooking #pml #pocketcards #picturemylife #photoalbum #cricut #artbooking

One last way to set your layouts apart is to make your own pocket cards. Pocket cards are a great way to create a distinct, patchwork effect in your layouts, and making your own yields an even more striking result, like the page you see here.

Unique Scrapbook Pages #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #happydays #letthegoodtimesroll #pocketscrapbooking #pml #pocketcards #picturemylife #photoalbum #cricut #artbooking

By using small stamps, sequins, a few of the die-cut or hand-cut shapes we showed you earlier, or even a few small photos to craft your own pocket cards, you’ll be able to tailor the feel of your layout to be even more personal and unique. Just look at the striking effect this row of pink die-cut flowers adds to this custom pocket card!

Unique Scrapbook Pages #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #storytelling #happydays #letthegoodtimesroll #pocketscrapbooking #pml #pocketcards #picturemylife #photoalbum #cricut #artbooking

These are just a few ideas you can incorporate into your own scrapbook pages, and we hope you’ve been able to draw some inspiration. Leave us a comment and share with us what unique scrapbooking ideas you are incorporating in your own projects!


12″ x 12″ Happy Days Layout
Z3705 Let the Good Times Roll Stamp + Thin Cuts, X9013 Mix-in Paper Packet, X6047 Black Cardstock, X6037 Bluebird Cardstock, X5960 Fern Cardstock, X6043 Nectarine Cardstock, X5958 Peacock Cardstock, X5974 Raspberry Cardstock, X5980 Sweet Leaf Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z6510 Nectarine Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2844 Pixie Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2812 Raspberry Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2853 Sweet Leaf Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7255G Seas the Day Die-cuts, Z4304 Silver Loose Sequins, Z4221 Mink Twine, Z2495 Bright Pink TriBlend™ Marker, Z2475 Brown Grey TriBlend™ Marker, Z2482 Citrus TriBlend™ Marker, Z2486 Dull Green TriBlend™ Marker, Z2483 Light Yellow TriBlend™ Marker, Z2480 Orange TriBlend™ Marker, Z2491 True Blue TriBlend™ Marker, Z3561 Black Diamond Stickles™ Glitter Gel, Z3563 Diamond Stickles™ Glitter Gel, Z4181 Stitched Circles Thin Cuts, Z2089 Glue Dots™ Micro Dots, Z1950 12″ x 12″ Memory Protectors™ Design 3, Cricut® Artbooking Collection, Die-cutting Machine, Sewing Machine

Cricut Shape:
Artbooking
#M42499

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FREE Let’s Stay Home SVGs!

Let's Stay Home #ctmh #closetomyheart #alonetogether #free #svg #let'sstayhome #we'reallinthistogether #storytelling #journaling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #covid19

Over the last few weeks the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped many of our lives. A lot of us are working from home, our children are dismissed from school, shops and stores we customarily frequent are either closed or understocked, and even a lot of outdoor venues, such as parks and playgrounds, are also off limits. As a society, we have had to pull ourselves together and come up with creative ways to continue doing the things that need to get done and to live life.

At Close To My Heart, we are committed to helping the storyteller in you share and preserve all of your new and unique experiences. Late last month, we created and released the Let’s Stay Home stamp set, which reflects these strange and unparalleled times.

Let's Stay Home #ctmh #closetomyheart #alonetogether #free #svg #let'sstayhome #we'reallinthistogether #storytelling #journaling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #covid19

In the video below, you will see how some of our Home Office friends used the Let’s Stay Home stamp set to create engaging scrapbook pages reflecting how the lives of their families have been impacted by our current events.

As this “alone together” journey continues, we’ve designed two Let’s Stay Home coordinating SVG images that you can download FREE for use with your favorite design software. (An SVG image is resolution independent and infinitely scalable, meaning it will look clear and crisp at any size.) Click on the images below and save them for your own personal use.

Let's Stay Home #ctmh #closetomyheart #alonetogether #free #svg #let'sstayhome #we'reallinthistogether #storytelling #journaling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #covid19
Seamlessly cut these timely titles out of cardstock to use on a scrapbook page, as shown below, along with the Let’s Stay Home stamp set.

Let's Stay Home #ctmh #closetomyheart #alonetogether #free #svg #let'sstayhome #we'reallinthistogether #storytelling #journaling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #covid19

These titles, when paired with vinyl, also make great album covers, providing a beautiful place to collect all of the memories you are making right now.

Let's Stay Home #ctmh #closetomyheart #alonetogether #free #svg #let'sstayhome #we'reallinthistogether #storytelling #journaling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #covid19

Keep documenting how life has changed for you and yours. Collect news stories, memes, photos, and, most importantly, collect your own personal experiences and stories. We wish you all love, joy, happiness, and health, today and every day. ❤️


Recipes:

6″ x 8″ Let’s Stay Home Album Cover
Let’s Stay Home SVG, Z3571 White Heat Transfer Vinyl, Z3575 Metallic Rose Gold Heat Transfer Vinyl, Z4219 Black 6″ x 8″ Everyday Life™ Album

8½” x 11″ We’re All in This Together Album Cover
We’re All in This Together SVG, Z3577 Old Gold Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl, Z5310 Charcoal 8½” x 11″ Everyday Life™ Album

12″ x 12″ We’re All in This Together Page
We’re All in This Together SVG, CC3212 My Acrylix® Let’s Stay Home Stamp Set, X7255B Seas the Day Paper Packet, CC3202 These Are My People Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet, CC3204 These Are My People Coordinating Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z4244 Stencil Sheets, Z6502 Peach Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2848 Sapphire Peach Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3507 Julep Glitter Gems, Z4213 Silver Embellishing Thread, Z3515 Black Journaling Pen (.01), Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Z341 Glue Dots® Mini Dots, Cricut® Artistry Collection

Cricut Shape:
Artistry
#M4188DF

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Photo-a-Day Album for December

Days of December #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhhollyjolly #daysofdecember #photoaday #decemberdaily #christmas #christmasalbum #holidayscrapbook #christmasscrapbook #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photoprompts

Scrapbooking is more than just a hobby. It is the preservation of memories, a way to pass on a precious legacy to all you hold dear. Even the smallest, most simple moments can turn into powerful memories that can bring joy to you and your family for years to come. Whether you put it together for yourself or as a special gift for a loved one, the Days of December album is a must-have!

Days-of-December-pages11-12

To help capture all the precious memories that the month of December has to offer, we recreated last year’s popular Days of December photo-a-day album with our new Holly Jolly paper packet and Holly Jolly—Scrapbooking stamp set!

The idea behind a photo-a-day project is to go about your regular activities and to then take a photo of what you consider is the highlight of your day. This 6″ x 8″ album is simply bursting with festive cheer! Each page provides plenty of room to tell your stories through your own photos and words.

Days-of-December-pages16-17Get ready to have some fun this Christmas season as you document your most treasured holiday moments each and every day in December! In case you need a little help getting started on this beautiful Days of December album, below you’ll find a list of 31 photo prompts and ideas, one for each day. For those of you who did this with us last year, you’ll remember that we provided a similar list of photo prompts then, too. (Click here to see last year’s list.) We intentionally made this list different from last year’s so that we can have both to reference—that’s a total of 62 photo ideas to pull from!

December-photo-prompts

Download printable version, here. (Here for AU/NZ.)

Use these prompts in chronological order, switch them up, or pick and choose your favorites to use in conjunction with some of your own ideas. The important thing is to enjoy the moments, capture the memories as you make them, and then preserve them to treasure for years to come. We are memory keepers, after all!

Days-of-December-pages23-24

The Days of December album kit is only available through the end of November, while supplies last. Make sure to grab yours while there is still time! <3

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10 Simple Composition Rules to Take Better Photos

Photo Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping

Do you want to be a better memory keeper but  struggle with taking “good” photos? If your answer is yes, then today’s message is for you! Photography is both an art form and a skill. As a form of self-expression, sometimes we’re not quite sure how to express what we really want to—at least not in a pretty way. Luckily, the skill part of capturing a great photo can be taught! Today we are reviewing a few basic rules of photography composition so that you can capture all of those picture-perfect moments life throws your way in photos you will be proud to scrapbook!

1. The Rule of ThirdsPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #ruleofthirdsPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #ruleofthirds

The Rule of Thirds is a fairly standard rule most photographers try to follow. Imagine that your shot has a 3 x 3 grid over it, then line up the main focus of your photograph at one of the intersection points on the grid. In these photos, the photographer has applied the Rule of Thirds by placing the cat’s nose and the people’s heads in the right-middle square of this imaginary grid. This way, the main focus of the photo isn’t dead center in the middle of the shot, which helps to visually expand the space.

2. Leading LinesPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #leadinglinesPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #leadinglines2

When you line up your shot, you may want to look for a leading line. Leading lines are visual lines that lead to the main subject of an image. Leading lines can extend through your photo and create depth. In these examples, you can see how the photographer used the pathway and trail to direct attention from the edges of the photographs to their main subject.

3. Natural FramingPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #naturalframingPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #ruleofthirds

Framing doesn’t have to be something that happens only after your pictures have been developed or printed. Finding a natural frame and positioning your subject inside it is a great way to draw the shot together and add a more professional feel to your photography. Here, you can see how the woman’s hands and the wall provide a frame for the most important parts of the photos.

4. PerspectivePhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #perspectivePhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #perspective

Photography is largely about perspective. Slight changes in perspective can make or break a photo. If you aren’t happy with the way your photo is looking, try switching up your position to alter the perspective of the shot. Whether you shoot your photo from above or below, as you can see in these examples, switching up your angle to get a different perspective can help you take your photography to all new heights.

5. ExposurePhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #exposurePhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #exposure

Exposure is a vital part of any photograph. If a photo is over-exposed, everything will be washed out in bright light, making the subject nearly invisible. On the other hand, if a photo is under-exposed, everything in your shot will appear shadowy and dark. By finding a good balance, you can highlight your subject while preserving the beauty of your background. For this tip, we’ve provided an example of bad exposure with excess light to show you what you don’t want to happen. We’ve also provided a good example with a balance of light and shadow. Finding this balance may take some practice, but it’s definitely worth it to add greater polish to your photos.

6. Check Your Background!Photo Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #backgroundPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #background

From telephone poles, wires, and cars, to animals, and stealthy photobombers, nothing is more distracting than something you don’t want in the background of your photo. Since many cameras nowadays allow us to look back at our shots instantly, it’s easier than ever to deal with this, but it’s always a good idea to double and triple-check the background of each photo to make sure you haven’t accidentally captured a distraction.

7. Symmetry and PatternsPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #symmetry #patternsPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #symmetry #patterns

Most people have a thing for symmetry and patterns. Sometimes, we can’t quite put our finger on why we prefer certain photos to others, but chances are, symmetry and patterns (or the lack thereof) have something to do with it. Even if we aren’t aware of it consciously, we still notice. If you’re able to find a pattern or some beautiful symmetry in your shot, take advantage of it! In these shots, the photographer utilized the symmetry in the architecture of the cathedral and the natural pattern created by the flowering trees to appeal to that sub-conscious love of regularity we all share.

8. ForegroundPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #foregroundPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #foreground

When you have a clear subject in your photograph, it may seem counterintuitive to focus on anything but that subject in your photo. However, if you are able to create some interest in the foreground of your shot, you’ll be able to create the illusion of additional depth. In these examples, the cup of coffee and the look-out binoculars serve as additional interest points, which also create depth in both photos.

9. TrianglesPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #trianglesPhoto Composition #ctmh #closetomyheart #photography #photos #photocomposition #camera #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #triangles

This “rule” is related to the patterns and symmetry guideline. If you look closely, you can find triangles in nearly everything you see. If you can integrate triangles into the background, foreground, or leading lines of your photo, it will instantly enhance the quality of your photo. These triangles don’t necessarily need to be overt or obvious. Basically, you just need to be able to draw a triangle using points in the photograph. Whether the triangles are created by an architectural element or by people’s arms, they will add greatly to the aesthetic value of your photos.

10. Rules Are Made to Be Broken!

Once you have a good grasp of the first nine photography rules we just shared, you will be ready to explore your creativity and learn when and how to break them. If you want to achieve an effect that follows one rule while breaking another, go for it! Don’t be afraid to branch out and experiment on your own terms to find your niche.

Do you guys have any tricks or techniques that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

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Making a Connected Story

Our most interesting and compelling stories often involve some kind of connection, where what we have experienced is compared and contrasted with another person, place, or time. This type of story is what our storytelling and memory keeping friend, Stacy Julian, calls a Connected Story.

When a grandmother’s love of theater manifests in her grandson’s ability to light up the stage or a young girl’s delight in animals stems from her grandpa’s life work as a veterinarian, you have the makings of a connected story.

Connected Stories don’t have to be about significant generational influence or interests steeped in tradition. The best stories stem from your own experience and celebrate simple things, like the love of watermelon, hiking, jigsaw puzzles or violin music. When we back up and look at the past through the lens of one particular thing, it will reveal unique aspects of our lives, things we certainly want to document in our scrapbooks!

Learn more about the Connected Story process from Stacy Julian herself as she shares one of her personal favorites, below:

When you’re scrapbooking, how often do you find yourself running out of room because you have more photos and words than easily fit in one or two 12″ × 12″ pages? In short, you have more story to tell!

Stacy scrapbooked her watermelon Connected Story in a stack of multiple styles and sizes of Memory Protectors™. The result invites us on a journey where details unfold as we turn each page of the story.

Making an Extended Story #ctmh #closetomyheart #storybystacyxctmh #storyteller #storytelling #scrapbooking #extendedstory #connectedstory #watermelon #stacyjulianMaking an Extended Story #ctmh #closetomyheart #storybystacyxctmh #storyteller #storytelling #scrapbooking #extendedstory #connectedstory #watermelon #stacyjulianMaking an Extended Story #ctmh #closetomyheart #storybystacyxctmh #storyteller #storytelling #scrapbooking #extendedstory #connectedstory #watermelon #stacyjulianMaking an Extended Story #ctmh #closetomyheart #storybystacyxctmh #storyteller #storytelling #scrapbooking #extendedstory #connectedstory #watermelon #stacyjulianMaking an Extended Story #ctmh #closetomyheart #storybystacyxctmh #storyteller #storytelling #scrapbooking #extendedstory #connectedstory #watermelon #stacyjulian

The idea is to design a multi-layer layout, starting with a 12″ × 12″ base, that coordinates visually so that you can document a bigger experience or theme. This takes a little bit of planning, but the great thing is that no two layouts of this sort have to be arranged the same. The number of layers and styles of protectors will depend on the story you have to tell.

For additional storytelling tools and examples of this kind, make sure to check out our Story by Stacy™ how-to book, Storyteller.

Remember, the most compelling stories come from your own experience of ordinary life—from the things with which you already have an emotional connection. When you recount something that’s happened to you, you’ll recall not just the events but also the feelings associated with them. Those feelings and sensory details color your stories and bring them to life so they can be experienced again and again—retold by the people you love and the people who will someday want to know you.

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Memory Keeping with a Theme

Do you ever look at all your photos and wonder where to even begin? Do you go chronologically, starting at the beginning? Do you try to scrapbook the most recent ones? Do you stick to special events? It can be hard to choose, and that’s why we are loving the newest Story by Stacy™ workshop kit, Stories I Love. Stories I Love encourages all of us to focus on the photos and stories we treasure the most. Using just one photo and story at a time, the workbook included in the kit walks you through how to write a personal story exploring all of the layers behind that single photo. With this kit, you’ll have nine photos and stories documented in one special place.

Memory Keeping with a Theme #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhstorybystacy #storybystacy #ctmhstoriesilove #storytelling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #themescrapbook

Choosing just nine of your most favorite photos for a Stories I Love album might still seem like a daunting task. You definitely don’t have to choose your top nine all at once. You can give yourself time to consider which photos you want to include, but we also have another approach to share with you today. You can use this approach with Stories I Love or apply it to any memory keeping project. Here’s the secret… choose a theme to help you get started. Instead of looking at all your thousands of photos (we’re confident you have that many), help yourself narrow it down by sticking to one theme or subject. Having a few parameters will make it easier to get started.

We asked three of the artists from our art studio to consider a Stories I Love album theme that they’d like to use to document stories and photos that are meaningful to them. You can use their ideas below to try this on your own! Remember, these themes are great for a Stories I Love album or you can use them in any size format. Even a 12″ x 12″ themed album can help you narrow your focus and get your memories in a scrapbook.

#1 Travel Adventures

Memory Keeping with a Theme #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhstorybystacy #storybystacy #ctmhstoriesilove #storytelling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #themescrapbook

In this type of album, you can gather the stories and photos you love the most from places you’ve been, or you can choose your favorite photos from just one trip. For her travel album, our artist used the pages and stickers included in the Stories I Love workshop kit to document a treasured moment from a study abroad adventure in Italy. The layouts in her album include special photos from other places that she’s traveled, near or far, and the stories that go with them.

Memory Keeping with a Theme #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhstorybystacy #storybystacy #ctmhstoriesilove #storytelling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #themescrapbook

You can see how she’s used the process outlined in the workbook to draft and even edit her story. This is part of what makes each Story by Stacy™ kit so usable. It takes you through the steps of both writing and creating. It’s ok if your workbook gets messy. It’s there to give you the space you need to draft and adjust the story before you write it on your album page.

#2 Family Traditions

Memory Keeping with a Theme #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhstorybystacy #storybystacy #ctmhstoriesilove #storytelling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #themescrapbook

Another approach is to focus on family traditions. With this Stories I Love layout, our artist has highlighted a photo she loves of her family at Easter, and her story explores some of her favorite family traditions during Easter time. This artist kept her pages simple, letting the story and the black and white photo remain the most important parts of the layout, with stickers and just a few added silver glitter gems. You could use a Stories I Love album for photos about family holiday traditions or even things your family likes to do together. Do you go camping every summer? Do you have special family events that happen at Christmas time? Odds are that for these moments you also have photos of them that are particularly meaningful to you. Use this type of themed album to gather them all in one place.

#3 Relationships

Memory Keeping with a Theme #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhstorybystacy #storybystacy #ctmhstoriesilove #storytelling #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #themescrapbook

A different way you can theme your album is by focusing on a particular relationship. It could be with a parent, sibling, friend, or child. The photos in the album could highlight fun moments together or things you especially love about that person. For this album, our artist decided to work with photos just of her granddaughters. In her layout, she described one of her favorite things she does with her granddaughters and the special moments she gets to share with them. You can see how she’s added some other paper and embellishments to her pages. They don’t distract from the story and photo but do give her layout a different look.

It’s exciting to see how these stories and photos from our artists can come together to create a uniquely themed album for their memories. Just in case you need a few more ideas, here’s a handful of others you can try.

  • Baby album: Haven’t had time to finish your child’s baby album? That’s ok! Choose nine favorite baby photos and use the Stories I Love approach to tell those stories. This is an easy way to create a baby book that includes the best moments and stories in your own words.
  • Childhood album: Choose a few stories and photos from your own childhood. You may not have time to go back and scrapbook every photo, but this way you can gather the stories and photos that you love the most in one place. You’ll be able to write your favorite stories from your growing up years and share them with your family. This is something you could also do with your own kids. Have them choose their favorite photos and help them write the story behind one photo at a time. Not only is this a fun project to do together, but you’ll have a story told from their “kid” perspective.
  • Graduation album: Graduation season will be here soon. A Stories I Love album can be a great way to celebrate your graduate. Share a handful of stories and photos about that person over time. You can highlight moments from their life, big events, or simply what you love about the person they are becoming. This type of album is great to give as a gift to commemorate their special moment. You could do the same type of album for someone that’s retiring or reaching a milestone birthday or anniversary.
  • Pet album: Many of us have a furry friend in our lives. Use a themed album to gather photos of your pets and the stories that go with them. This could be an album you leave in process. Add some stories and photos in a Stories I Love album and then leave a few pages empty. This way you have space to include a few more the next time your pet does something new, silly, or even naughty that you want to remember with a story and photo. 🙂

The most important thing you can do is tell the stories and share the photos that you love. Those are stories that only you can tell, and starting with a theme can help you get rid of distractions or even scrapbook guilt (the guilt that memory keepers sometimes feel when they don’t have time to scrapbook EVERY SINGLE PHOTO). Give yourself permission to start with the ones that are the most important to you. That’s exactly what a Stories I Love album is for. We hope you’re inspired today to give the themed album approach a try, and we’d love to hear what theme you plan to use. Share them with us in the comments below!


Recipes:

6″ x 8″ Italy Layout
C1758 My Acrylix® Details I Love Stamp Set, Z4256 Story by Stacy™ Stories I Love Workshop Kit, Z2831 Charcoal Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen

6″ x 8″ Easter Layout
C1758 My Acrylix® Details I Love Stamp Set, Z4256 Story by Stacy™ Stories I Love Workshop Kit, Z2844 Pixie Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z4191 Silver Glitter Gems, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen

6″ x 8″ Granddaughters Layout
Z4256 Story by Stacy™ Stories I Love Workshop Kit, Z4217 Story by Stacy™ Short Story Workshop Kit—Black & White, X7242 I Heart Us Paper Packet, X6028 Black Cardstock, X7241C So Much Happy Complements, Z4254 So Much Happy Puffy Stickers, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape

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Feeling Heart Happy After Valentine’s Day with a Free Mini Album How-to Guide

It’s been a week since Valentine’s Day. Some of us celebrated with chocolates, flowers, dinners out, or even a sweet new color wheel ( 😉 ). Now what? There’s still some February leftover. Well, just because it’s no longer Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate what everyday life has to offer—that is why we are sharing instructions as a free download to create an Everyday Life™ sized album that does just that!

Heart Happy After Valentine's Day #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhhearthappy #everydaylife #minialbum #diyalbum #albuminstructions #free #freeguide #valentinesday #love #howto #scrapbooking #scrapbook #storytelling #everyday

Download your free Heart Happy Everyday Life™ album instructions, here.

Pretty much all of us are equipped to take photos wherever we go, of whatever we want, and whenever we feel like it. As a result, so many of life’s special moments end up stored in a “cloud” somewhere, rarely visited or seen again. Raise your hand if you’ve taken an indefinite number of photos of your cute children, grandchildren, fur babies, or even your food. What do you do with all of these photos? Are they still sitting in your phone? As one of our Consultants so eloquently put it, “don’t let your kids grow up as JPEGs!”

Our message to you today is simple: review the photos that you’ve taken and print them off! Don’t have a place to put them? Use the layouts in this Everyday Life™ album to get started and store your photos along with any stories that go with them.

Photos evoke emotions, capture moods, and remind us of things we long to hold on to. By putting our photos in an album, not only do you get to revisit these feelings, but then we get to share them with others and even allow them to have their own emotional responses. What does that mean? Simply put, it’s important to create albums for your family members and friends to look through. People love seeing pictures of themselves! (You know it’s true!) Children, especially. Create a place for the people you love to look at photos that you love, of whatever you love, through beautiful album pages that share your everyday journey.

Our Heart Happy Everyday Life™ album workshop is a great place to get started, and it will truly make your heart happy. If you’d like to make your very own Heart Happy album, we have a few different bundles of product offered at a reduced price to help you get going. Click on the links below to see which best fits your needs:

My Acrylix® A Piece of My Heart Stamp Set
Heart Happy Sticker Sheet
Heart Happy Paper Packet
Heart Happy Coordinating Cardstock
Heart Happy Everyday Life™ Workshop Kit
Heart Happy Everyday Life™ Workshop Kit without Stamp Set

One of the great things about the contents of this kit are the versatile words, icons, and shapes found throughout its stamp set, patterned papers, and stickers. Last month, we showed you these very same products used to create some really fun Valentine’s Day cards (click here to download those card instructions). Above, we showed you an album to showcase the everyday moments. Now, we want to show you even more!

Take a look at this 12″ x 12″ layout we came up with using the same stamp set and Heart Happy paper packet combined with a few other products:

Heart Happy After Valentine's Day #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhhearthappy #everydaylife #minialbum #diyalbum #albuminstructions #free #freeguide #valentinesday #love #howto #scrapbooking #scrapbook #storytelling #everyday #food #foodie #apieceofmyheart

Heart Happy After Valentine's Day #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhhearthappy #everydaylife #minialbum #diyalbum #albuminstructions #free #freeguide #valentinesday #love #howto #scrapbooking #scrapbook #storytelling #everyday #food #foodie #apieceofmyheartHeart Happy After Valentine's Day #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhhearthappy #everydaylife #minialbum #diyalbum #albuminstructions #free #freeguide #valentinesday #love #howto #scrapbooking #scrapbook #storytelling #everyday #food #foodie #apieceofmyheart

(Love never looked so tasty! 🙂 )

We hope today’s post inspires you to do something with all of those memories that you are storing up. Print your photos, write your stories, and create something with them to celebrate the way life looks today. Take the time to make your heart happy!


Recipe:

12″ x 12″ Yum Yum Layout
CC2191 My Acrylix® A Piece of My Heart Stamp Set, CC2193 Heart Happy Paper Packet, X7242B I Heart Us Paper Packet, X9003 Mix-in Paper Packet, X6005 Goldrush Cardstock, X6007 Lagoon Cardstock, X6027 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2823 Goldrush Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2895 Lagoon Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z6503 Mint Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2851 Saffron Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7242C I Heart Us Complements, X7241C So Much Happy Complements, Z4270 I Heart Us Sequins, X7242E Picture My Life™ Cards—I Heart Us, X7241E Picture My Life™ Cards—So Much Happy, Z4181 Thin Cuts—Stitched Circles, Z3386 Thin Cuts—Block Alphabet, Z3132 Watercolor Paints, Z3225 Waterbrush—Medium Round, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Sewing Machine

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