10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone

Today’s post is an extra special treat! We’ve asked the talented Chari Pack, founder & CEO of Persnickety Prints, to share with you some tips for taking better photos on your phone. Whether you’re promoting your Close To My Heart business, taking photos for your scrapbooking, or just posting to social media, these tips are sure to take your phone photography to the next level!
10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tips

The way you present yourself, your artwork, and the products you offer has a huge impact on your business. Online sales will increase with improved product images.

Here’s how to get the best shot every time…

1. Natural Light (no flash)

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tipsWhen shooting with flash, the subject can be blown out and shadows disappear. With product shots, a soft shadow adds depth. Keep your flash off and set products under a window using natural light.

2. Focus (tap screen)

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tipsOn iPhones (and some Androids), tap the screen to focus on the subject. With the new iPhone 7S, use the portrait mode to blur out the background. With a short focal length, you’ll get that fancy dSLR camera result without the fancy camera.

3. Hold Steady & Level

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tips“Camera shake” can cause your photo to be blurry. Use steady hands or prop up your phone and use the self-timer for best results.

4. Staging (simple & clean)

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tipsInvest in a white poster board—it’s the perfect solution for a DIY backdrop! Wrapping paper or other fun colors can be added for dimension. Be sure your CTMH projects, cards, and layouts stand out. “Busy” photos tend to get lost in the crowd.

5. Get up close and personal!

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tipsDon’t be afraid to get up close to show details of the project. Shoot from different angles to focus on specific elements.

6. Pay attention to shadows

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tipsBe sure the shadow of your hand or camera is not in the frame. When shooting scrapbooking layouts, take the pages or photos out of the Memory Protectors™ and set the pages or photos on top. Your reader won’t notice they’re not inside, but they’ll notice the plastic glare when they are.

7. Use negative space to add text

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tipsUse the rule of thirds and push the subject to one side, leaving empty space to add a text overlay. We love using Rhonna Designs (iPhone and Android) and Adobe Post (iPhone and Desktop) to add text or a message to your photos.

8. Scale size with objects or pretty hands

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tips

Use objects to show the actual size of your product so the viewer isn’t misled. Well manicured hands holding a product works, too!

9. Keep your phone/camera level

When shooting from above your product, be sure your camera is flat and level. Use the Snapseed App (free on iTunes and Android)  to adjust horizons if needed.

10. Take 1 minute to Edit & Enhance before sharing

Even a quick click of the enhance button in your native camera will give your photo just enough pop! We love Snapseed (free on iTunes and Android) for enhancements.

The Rhonna Designs App is not only great for text overlays: We also use it to journal and design prints for our scrapbooks!

10 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Phone #ctmh #closetomyheart #persnicketyprints #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photography #tips

We can’t wait to see you put these tools into action! Additional photo tips and tricks can be found on the Persnickety Prints blog.

XOXO,

Chari

Thanks, Chari, for the great tips! Let’s show her some love in the comments, folks! 

Also, remember that Persnickety Prints created a discount code for you, our readers! Aren’t they the best? 🙂 Use this discount code to save 20% on your entire Persnickety Prints order: CTMH20

This code expires August 30, cannot be combined with other discount codes, and is limited to one use per customer. 

Now go print those fabulous photos on your phone! 🙂

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How to Organize Years of Photos Without Getting Overwhelmed

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

When it comes to scrapbooking, one of the biggest hold-ups for people is feeling overwhelmed with organizing their photos. If you have years of photos piled up on your computer or photos spread between multiple devices, it can be easy to put off preserving your memories. The longer you wait to organize your photos, the more overwhelming it will become—so now is the time to start!

Because we believe in the importance of memory keeping, we want to help make the task easier, so today we’re going to walk you step-by-step through how to efficiently organize your digital photos for scrapbooking. It’s a process that may take some time, but which will be well worth it when your memories are all in order!

To give you an added incentive for getting started, we’ve teamed up with Persnickety Prints to get you a discount code for printing your photos so you can catch up AND save money! Continue reading for more details. 🙂

Step One: Consolidate Your Digital Photos

Upload all of your digital photos to one location on your computer. We recommend using a photo managing system, like Google Photos or iPhotos, to easily transfer photos from your phone onto your computer. If you haven’t transferred them already, go through the photos on your phone, your camera, and upload them all to this one location.

Step Two: Eliminate Unwanted Photos

Once you have all of your photos in one place, go through and eliminate any that aren’t worth keeping: repeats, photos with a blurry finger covering half the lens, photos of your to-do lists, etc.

Tip: Moving forward, make it a habit to do a Daily Delete—every day, go through the photos on your phone (or camera if you took pictures on it that day) and delete any of these types of photos. It will take you two seconds and save you tons of time down the road. You’ll be able to skip step two entirely in the future!

Another tip: Use the time traveling home from a vacation to do your deleting. That way when you get home, you’ll have already eliminated all the photos from your trip you don’t want to keep. Plus, it’s a fun way to relive those memories again while you’re heading home.

Step Three: Organize Your Digital Photos

In your photo managing system, create folders for each month and year. Then place the corresponding photos in these folders.

Step Four: Back Up Your Digital Photos

Back up all the photos in your photo managing system onto a CD or external hard drive. You can also look into online options, such as iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive.

Step Five: Create To-Print Folders

Once you have organized your photos in your photo managing system, you’re ready to start thinking about scrapbooking them—woohoo! Even though all the photos you have left are photos you have deemed worth keeping, you may not want to scrapbook all of them. A great way to figure out which photos you want to scrapbook is to copy and paste a given folder onto your desktop. Then go through and delete any photos you don’t want to print. You can also edit any of the photos you’re going to print if you want to take that extra step.

Step Six: Upload & Print Photos

Once you’ve gone through all the photos on your desktop folder, you’re ready to print! We recommend creating a table, like the one below, to track each folder’s progress. When you have printed your photos, you can delete the desktop folder you created (remember, you’ve already saved these photos elsewhere!).How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

Tip: Choose one day every month to do a print run. Some months you may be able to afford printing more photos than other months, but get in the habit of printing your photos on the same day each month.

PHOTO DISCOUNT: Now is a great time to catch up on printing your photos because Persnickety Prints has been kind enough to create a discount code for our readers! Use this discount code to save 20% on your entire order: CTMH20

This code expires August 30, cannot be combined with other discount codes, and is limited to one use per customer.

Step Seven: Organize Printed Photos

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

Option 1: Use our large organizers and tabbed dividers to organize your printed photos.

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

You can organize your photos by date, person, event…whatever you want! Think about the album you want to create with the photos, and organize them that way.

How to organize years of photos without getting overwhelmed #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #photos #organize #digital #persnicketyprints #organization

Option 2: Create a work-in-progress album. Use one of our D-ring albums and divided Memory Protectors™ to separate out all the photos you’ll want for an album. You can group like photos together so you know how to plan your layouts.

And that’s it! The next step is to start scrapbooking away! If the idea of scrapbooking itself overwhelms you, a great place to start is with our Workshops Your Way® scrapbooking kits. You can also talk to your Independent Consultant (or find one online!) to help you know where to start.

We hope this post helped you feel empowered to start organizing your photos for scrapbooking. We know that when you take that leap of faith, you’ll find so much joy and satisfaction in preserving your family’s memories and stories.


Have additional tips for organizing and printing your photos for scrapbooking? Share them in the comments below!

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9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention

With our Annual Convention drawing closer, we thought it’d be fun to share with you some amazing places to visit while you’re in Salt Lake City with us (you’ll want to take lots of photos!).

1. Family History Library

9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention #ctmh #closetomyheart #saltlakecity #convention #photos

via familysearch.org

The incredible collection of records at the Salt Lake City Family History Library include over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; over 4,500 periodicals and 3,725 electronic resources. These records span the globe, coming from the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. If you want to learn more about your family heritage or if you’re already an avid heritage scrapbooker, this is a great place to visit!

2. Temple Square & Visitors’ Center

9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention #ctmh #closetomyheart #saltlakecity #convention #photos

via thousandwonders.net

If you choose to visit the beautiful gardens and incredible architecture at Temple Square, take some time to check out the Visitors’ Center. It’s a great place to learn more about the area’s history and see beautiful original paintings. Plus, Temple Square is just about a block away from the Salt Palace where Convention will be taking place!

3. The McCune Mansion

9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention #ctmh #closetomyheart #saltlakecity #convention #photos

via mccunemansion.com

Completed by the renowned architect S. C. Dallas, the McCune Mansion was finished in 1901 at the price of $1,000,000. It features beautiful furnishings and materials from around the world, and some even say it features a few ghosts! If you want to take a look inside the world of the elite in the early 1900s, make sure to schedule a tour to see inside this amazing mansion.

4. The Beehive House

9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention #ctmh #closetomyheart #saltlakecity #convention #photos

via saltlakecitytours.org

Brigham Young was a Mormon prophet and leading founder of Salt Lake City, and the Beehive House is the older of his two Salt Lake City residences—and it is just two blocks away from the Salt Palace Convention center. Built in 1854, it stands today as a museum and offers tours of what life was like for the Young family back in 1855. If you’re all about free, you’ll love the free tours of this historic home, which take place Monday–Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. beginning every 10 minutes.

5. The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art

9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention #ctmh #closetomyheart #saltlakecity #convention #photos

via utahmoca.org

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is a five-time recipient of funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation and a 2015 and 2016 recipient of the Art Works Grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. It’s also located right next door to the Salt Palace!

6. The Roof Restaurant

9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention #ctmh #closetomyheart #saltlakecity #convention #photos

via onlyinyourstate.com

If you’re looking to experience some of the finest dining in Salt Lake, then The Roof Restaurant is the place for you! It’s located on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which means you get to enjoy breathtaking views of Temple Square and Downtown Salt Lake City while dining.

7. The Olympic Cauldron

9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention #ctmh #closetomyheart #saltlakecity #convention #photos

via visitsaltlake.com

This is the torch that burned bright during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. It’s located at the south end of Rice-Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you drive past it, you’ll definitely want to snap a picture of this 72 ft. tall work of art. You can even head to nearby Park City to experience some fun rides in the Olympic Park.

8. Red Butte Garden

9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention #ctmh #closetomyheart #saltlakecity #convention #photos

via expedia.com

Red Butte Garden, located on 100 acres in the foothills on the eastern edge of the University of Utah, is an official arboretum of the state of Utah. The garden is the largest botanical garden in the Intermountain West with over 21 acres of developed gardens and five miles of hiking trails winding through an extensive natural area. You’ll be taking tons of photos if you visit here!

9. Eagle Gate

9 Photo-Worthy Places to Visit During Convention #ctmh #closetomyheart #saltlakecity #convention #photos

via nikonites.com

You might pass right under this monument on your way to Convention! It was built in 1859 and commemorates the entrance to Brigham Young’s property at the mouth of City Creek Canyon. It was originally topped by a wooden eagle, which was eventually replaced by the current 4,000-pound, bronze eagle, with a wingspan of 20 feet. Carved by Ralph Ramsay, the original wooden eagle is on display at the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum located at 300 North Main Street.


If you haven’t registered yet for Convention, you still have time! Registration has been extended until May 15th, but sign up sooner to guarantee your spot!

Which place makes the top of your list? Utah locals, what photo-worthy places did we miss in Salt Lake City? Tell us in the comments below!

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Fun With Flip Flaps™

Have you ever given Flip Flaps™ a try? Are you wondering what we’re even talking about?

Flip Flaps are exactly what they sound like—flaps that you attach to a page that flip to reveal additional photos, sentiments, or designs—and they’re something you can only get with Close To My Heart! If you aren’t quite sure how to incorporate them into your scrapbooking, keep reading! We’re going to show you some fun ways to use them, and you’re sure to get inspired!

Fun ideas for using Close To My Heart's exclusive Flip Flaps™! #closetomyheart #ctmh #interactive #scrapbooking #photos #tips #tricks #hacks #flipflaps

If you’re the kind of person that loves taking photos, then Flip Flaps are for you! There’s only so much space on a scrapbook layout for photos, but when you add Flip Flaps to your pages, you can use more of your photos that you wouldn’t have room for otherwise. As you can see above, they come in several different sizes and can be positioned anywhere on a page using the adhesive strip—and they work great with pocket scrapbooking layouts, too! What a fun and easy way to include more photos in your scrapbooking without taking up more space!

Fun ideas for using Close To My Heart's exclusive Flip Flaps™! #closetomyheart #ctmh #interactive #scrapbooking #photos #tips #tricks #hacks #flipflaps

A charming way to share more of your photos is to stack your Flip Flaps and create “mini albums” right on your pages! You can stack them directly on top of each other or create a cascading effect, like we did here. Notice that we attached the Flip Flaps to the outside of the Memory Protectors™. This way, our page is interactive while keeping the artwork and photos protected.

Fun ideas for using Close To My Heart's exclusive Flip Flaps™! #closetomyheart #ctmh #interactive #scrapbooking #photos #tips #tricks #hacks #flipflaps

Get extra creative with your Flip Flaps by making cute accents out of them. Look at these little presents that double as tiny album jackets! It’s such a great way to add some personality to your pages. Another fun idea is to use Flip Flaps to preserve memorabilia, like postcards or letters, that have writing on both sides.

Try incorporating Flip Flaps into your scrapbooking to extend your creative options and have even more fun preserving your memories! We know you’ll love them, just like we do. 🙂

Recipes

12″ x 12″ Sun & Surf Pocket Scrapbooking Layout
B1548 My Acrylix® Journaling Prompts Stamp Set, C1619 My Acrylix® So Many Smiles Stamp Set, D1708 My Acrylix® Sending Smiles Stamp Set (part of a Cricut® bundle), Cc1219 Swirly Seashells Stamp + Thin Cuts, C1671 My Acrylix® Sugar Rush—Cardmaking Stamp Set, X7218B Dreamin’ Big Paper Packet, X7215B Sugar Rush Paper Packet, X7217B Some Kinda Wonderful Paper Packet, X7216B Hello Lovely Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2865 Juniper Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7215C Sugar Rush Complements, X7218C Dreamin’ Big Complements, Z3315 Dreamin’ Big Sequins, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3231 Memory Protectors™ Flip Flaps™ 4″ x 6″, Z3230 Memory Protectors™ Flip Flaps™ 3″ x 4″, Z1951 Memory Protectors™ Design 4, Z1950 Memory Protectors™ Design 3, Z3169 Cricut® Artbooking Collection, Z3285 Cricut® Flower Market Collection

Cricut® Shapes:
Artbooking
1 1/4″ Shift+Title<Vacation> (p. 62)

Flower Market
2 3/4″ Title <h> (p. 26)

12″ x 12″ Happy With You Page
C1671 My Acrylix® Sugar Rush—Cardmaking Stamp Set,C1619 My Acrylix® So Many Smiles Stamp Set, X7218B Dreamin’ Big Paper Packet, X7216B Hello Lovely Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2873 Slate Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2814 Cocoa Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2841 Glacier Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2865 Juniper Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2895 Lagoon Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2849 Peacock Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3314 Black & White Dots, Z3269 You & Me Complements, Z3267 All Together Complements, Z3234 Memory Protectors™ Flip Flaps™ 3″ x 3″, Z3169 Cricut® Artbooking Collection

Cricut® Shapes:
Artbooking
11 1/2″ Overlay <HeloWrld> (p. 84)

12″ x 12″ Let’s Celebrate Page
D1708 My Acrylix® Sending Smiles Stamp Set (part of a Cricut® bundle), X7215B Sugar Rush Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5789 Sea Glass Cardstock, Z2873 Slate Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7215C Sugar Rush Complements, Z3315 Dreamin’ Big Sequins, Z3216 White Twine, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3233 Memory Protectors™ Flip Flaps™ 2″ x 2″, Z3234 Memory Protectors™ Flip Flaps™ 3″ x 3″, Z3169 Cricut® Artbooking Collection, Thread

Cricut® Shapes:
Artbooking
11″ Overlay <Happy> (p. 86) (contoured to enlarge individual stars)
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Setting a St. Patrick’s Day Scene

This post was written by the talented Megan Hoeppner, who is the editor-in-chief for Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine, the weekly blogger and photographer for Gardner Village (a local shopping center), a writer for Brick Canvas (a local wellness center at Thanksgiving Point), a teacher for Creating Keepsakes Events, and contributor to Studio 5, a local lifestyle program in Utah. Give her some love in the comments, folks! 🙂

We have condensed the original blog post for brevity. To read the original, visit Megan’s blog

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

This year I received a box of goodies from Close To My Heart, including a gorgeous assortment of paper offering a full spectrum of color, so I set to making paper chains.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Once complete, I threaded them on a yardstick, which I hung above my table. My paper rainbow makes a nice St. Patrick’s Day decor element and also a fun photo backdrop for this year’s pics.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Since I was feeling lucky and had some pretty new Close To My Heart products on hand to play with, I continued to set the stage with some table fun.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

First, I covered my kitchen table in kraft packing paper. Then I set to decorating. I framed each spot at the table using Close To My Heart’s gold shimmer trim and stamped our names using their My Acrylix® Framework Alphabet stamp set.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Wanting our decorated table to serve two purposes—fun and memory keeping—I drew rainbows across each taped “place mat” so we could write what we feel lucky to have. I loved helping Maggie make her list. What a doll she is!

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Time for the fun! I gave Mags some colored pencils and let her color her rainbow in.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

I used Close To My Heart cardstock in three shades of green (Willow, Emerald, and Sweet Leaf) to create a little pop on my table. First, I cut cardstock hearts in small, medium, and large sizes, and folded the smaller two sizes in half to create a center crease.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

I then stitched along the crease to create the pieces of my clover. I pieced three heart stacks together to create a shamrock. A little stamping along the hand-drawn stem, and I was ready to welcome the luck o’ the Irish.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

I used the My Acrylix® Some Kinda Wonderful—Scrapbooking stamp set from Close To My Heart to create the #lucky tag.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

I love the end result. I will definitely snap pics to save it in my scrapbook.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Since our sweet Lulu is too young to create a rainbow, she stamped a clover with her bitty thumb.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Time to add our St. Patrick’s Day treats to make the table time complete.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Oh, and I’ve found another way to use the 3-D clovers when our table is cleared. I’ll send a little luck on to others. I used the same Close To My Heart #lucky stamp, masking the outer frame around it.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

I stitched a vellum bag on the inside, creating a pocket for some chocolate coins.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Speaking of gold coins, I created a few four leaf clover bowls from cardstock to hold my coins and other sweet treats.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

To create these, I first cut larger paper hearts, cut a slit, pulled the heart onto itself, and stapled it in place to create each clover petal.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

I then used a scrap of cardstock as a base and glued the petals in place.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Once all four petals were in place, my clover dish was ready for its pot o’ gold!

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

All in all, it was a fun crafternoon, making rainbows in our home. I look forward to pulling these pieces out year after year to make March a little more fun for my girls.

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

Setting a St. Patrick's Day Table #meganhoeppner #ctmh #closetomyheart #stpatricksday #kidscrafts #table #placesetting #crafting #decor

May the luck of the Irish be with YOU this spring.

Cheers!

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15 Photos You MUST Take This Holiday Season

It’s officially the holiday season! This magical time of year always has us pulling out our cameras and taking photos, but there are some special holiday moments you might not normally think to photograph! Here is a list of 15 things to be sure to capture with your camera this winter:15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas

1. Picking out the perfect tree

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas2. Opening your daily advent calendar15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas3. Little ones eating sticky candy canes

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas

4. Kiddos writing letters to Santa

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas5. Decorating the Christmas tree (and putting on the star!)

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas6. Each kid’s favorite Christmas ornament (after all, your photo can last forever, though the ornament may not!)

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas7. Family story or Bible time

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas8. Fur babies in their Christmas gear

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas9. Christmas shopping

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas10. Little hands helping with holiday baking

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas11. Kids wrapping presents all by themselves

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas12. Setting out Santa’s cookies

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas

13. Blowing or throwing snow in the air

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas

14. Warming up by the fire

15 Photos you MUST Take This Holiday Season #closetomyheart #ctmh #scrapbooking #memorykeeping #photos #Christmas

15. Hot chocolate mustaches

Also, be sure to check out our video on how to take high-quality photos with renowned photographer, Wendy Whitacre, of Blue Lily Photography.

What unique Christmas photos do YOU like to take? Tell us in the comments below!

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How to Throw an Award-Winning Oscars Party!

It’s almost time for the biggest movie awards night of the year: the Academy Awards, AKA the Oscars! You love watching the red carpet arrivals (those dresses!), you love guessing who will win each award, and you love doing it all with friends and family. Why not throw an official Oscars party, then? We’ve got a lineup of great ideas to help make your party worthy of a standing ovation!How to throw an award-winning Oscars party. #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhgiveaway #paperaddict #party #oscars

A central component of every good party is GOOD FOOD! Cakes are great at pulling double duty, serving as edible centerpieces to your spread. Make your cake the star of the show with a few simple star toppers cut from glitter paper! And what could be a better treat for a night celebrating the best films of the year than popcorn?How to throw an award-winning Oscars party. #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhgiveaway #paperaddict #party #oscars

Little popcorn boxes make it much easier for everyone to munch throughout the night without passing around a bowl, and they make your guests feel like they’re at a movie theater. Dressing up your boxes so they look like tuxedos is an easy way to give your party a definite Oscars flair, and our Cricut® collections make them so easy to throw together.How to throw an award-winning Oscars party. #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhgiveaway #paperaddict #party #oscars

Rather than going the plastic cup and permanent marker route to keep track of everyone’s drinks, add some sparkle to your sodas and create these personalized name tags! These stars are super simple to make, but they’re just the kind of detail that will make your guests feel like VIPs.

How to throw an award-winning Oscars party. #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhgiveaway #paperaddict #party #oscars

Okay, now on to activities. We love these free printable Oscars bingo cards from The House That Lars Built. Come up with a fun prize to give the person who gets bingo first.

Also, since the celebrities get their photos taken all night long, we think another way to have fun with your guests is by having a photo shoot of your own! You may have spotted those adorable prop sticks in a vase, playing the role of a simple décor piece in that first photo, but they are also great way to make everyone less camera shy, AND they can be sent home with your guests as souvenirs from your fun night. You can even create your own Polaroid-style frame. This activity is sure to get everyone laughing, and by the end of the night, you’ll have tons of great photos to share!

To add to the drama of the evening, we want to give away some awards of our own! In the comments below, make three guesses, one for each of these categories: Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, and Actress in a Leading Role. Make sure to have your guesses in before February 28, because after the Oscars, we’ll go through all the comments to see who guessed right and select 30 winners as follows:

The first 15 people to correctly guess the winner of ONE of the categories will receive the beautiful Everyday Life™ album.

The first 10 people to correctly guess the winner of TWO categories will receive the Everyday Life album, the My Crush® Everyday Life pages, and the Everyday Life washi tape.

The first 5 people to correctly guess the winner of all THREE categories will get the Everyday Life prize package, including the album, the My Crush Everyday Life pages, the Everyday Life washi tape, both the 4″ x 3″ and the 4″ x 6″ Memory Protectors™, and the Picture My Life™ Live Your Day cards—which are no longer available for purchase!

Start making your decorations, and submit your guesses here on the blog! It’s sure to be a night to remember!

Recipes

Star Cake Toppers
Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, Skewers

Cricut® Shapes:
Artiste
2½” Accent 3 <BdayBoy> (cut 4, p. 68)
 
Popcorn Holders
X7201B La Vie En Rose Paper Packet, 1386 Black Cardstock, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, Z3203 Treasured Puffies, Z1151 3-D Foam Tape

Cricut® Shapes:
Artiste
6¼” 3D Object <m> (cut several, p. 67)

Artistry
1″ Shift+Icon-1 <S> (cut several, p. 22)
 
Star Drink Tags
1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, Z3189 White & Gold Ribbon, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen

Cricut® Shapes:
Artiste
2 ½” Shift+3D Object <D> (cut several, p. 53)
 
Prop Sticks and Polaroid Frame
1386 Black Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, Skewers, Chalk

Cricut® Shapes:
Artiste
5 ½” Accent 4 <a> (cut 2, p. 51)
1½” Shift+Accent 2 <M> (cut 2, p. 67)
3½” Shift+Accent 4 <Mom> (cut 2, p. 74)

Artistry
5½” Icon-2 <1> (cut 2, p. 1)
2¼” Icon-1 <s> (cut 2, p. 22)
2¼” Shift+Icon-1 <S> (cut 2, p. 22)
11½” Background <x> (cut several, p. 32)
2½” Shift <Father> (cut 2, p. 40)
2 ½” <NewYears> (cut 2, p. 50)
2 ½” Shift <NewYears> (cut 2, p. 50)

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

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Everyday Inspiration

Sometimes it feels like you’ve maxed out your creativity. You might find yourself staring at your supplies with nothing but crickets chirping in your head. Or maybe you find yourself busily crafting away before realizing that you’ve made yet another variation of the same design.

When a case of “the blahs” strikes, it’s time to take a step back and observe the world around you. There is inspiration everywhere! Here are two ideas you can incorporate into your scrapbooking to freshen it up.

First, take time to smell the roses. No, really! Step into your backyard, walk to your local park, or take a drive up the canyon. Look at the simple yet beautiful objects around you—the veins in a leaf, the shine of an acorn, the shading of a flower petal. Find something that inspires you and take a picture of it, or better yet, arrange several items together. Our studio artists recently took a field trip to inspire themselves in just this way, and they photographed this beauty:

Everyday Inspiration

True to their poetic selves, our artists noticed just how beautifully each of these simple items enhanced the colors, shapes, and textures of the others. Once back at the studio, one artist created this scrapbook page from her photo inspiration:

What a Beautiful Day page

The greens, blues, browns, and reds from the photograph inspired the color scheme of the page. The vivid tones of the Brushed Complements flowers mimic the red cherry, and the leaf shading mirrors the multi-colored leaves in the photograph. The artist also took inspiration from the textures in the photograph: the organic, recycled look of the kraft cardstock resembles the bark.

Here’s a second idea for getting more inspiration: listen to your favorite song or playlist, then take the lyrics that suit your fancy most and incorporate them into your design. Here’s a page inspired by Colbie Caillat’s song, “Try.”

You page

In scrapbooking, there are only so many words you can put onto one page, but lyrics really pack a punch. They capture the emotions of a memorable day or the emotions you feel toward a loved one. You might also interpret the meaning of a song and then express your interpretation in your design through colors, shapes, or patterns. The possibilities are endless!

Now you have the remedy for your creative slump. Plug in those headphones, take a stroll, and get inspired!

Recipe

12″ x 12″ What a Beautiful Day Page

B1463 My Acrylix® Thankful Heart, Z2022 Picture My Life™ For Always Scrapbooking Program, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2032 Paper Fundamentals Adventure Assortment, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, Z2463 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Sap Green Marker, Z2454 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Leaf Green Marker, X7190C Brushed Complements, Z1853 Aqua Dots, Z3017 Cricut® Artfully Sent Collection

Cricut® Shapes:
Artfully Sent
9″ Shift+Scene (p. 34)

12″ x 12″ You Page

B1432 My Acrylix® Love This, E1029 My Acrylix® Marquee Uppercase, E1030 My Acrylix® Handwritten Alphabet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5772 Canary Cardstock, X5770 Glacier Cardstock, X5751 Sorbet Cardstock, 1386 Black Cardstock, Z2033 Paper Fundamentals Whimsy Assortment, Z1829 Black & Grey Glitter Paper, Z2105 Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2164 Sorbet Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3013 Brushed Assortment, Z3009 Chalk It Up Assortment, Z3010 Wanderful Assortment, Z1809 Black Shimmer Trim, Z1906 Cricut® Artbooking Collection, Thread

Cricut® Shapes:
Artbooking
1″ Shift+Border (p. 40)
½” Border (p. 79)

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Safe in the Arms of an Album

Last month, Monica came into my office with her arms full of two Ruby Floral albums filled with Memory Protectors™. Not knowing what those beautiful covers held within, I was intrigued as she set them in front of me. I opened them up and, to my surprise, found pages upon pages of well wishes from and photos of some of my dearest friends. Without me knowing about it, my executive team had started collecting these handwritten notes from Consultants starting back at Convention 2014, then added notes from Close To My Heart employees as well. With the final product ready at last, they presented to me one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever received!

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As I first flipped through the pages, I was speechless. I read every message, memory, and expression of love for hours on end. I adored the many pictures from Convention, complete with so many of your smiling faces! I was overwhelmed as I read the heartfelt messages that so many of you wrote to me, each one beautifully showcased on a Picture My Life™ card and slipped into a pocket Memory Protector™.

I promptly made a place for my new albums on a shelf in my office where I can access them easily throughout the day—and trust me, I’ve opened them almost every day since then! Thank you, my dear friends, for your love. Your words have really touched my heart.

I love my new albums for reasons deeper than just having pretty packages of sweet notes. Because a real friendship lives behind each card, these albums have become the protectors of dear relationships. Your handwritten words are symbols of the great influence you have had in my life, and I’d do anything to preserve them. While I hope that I will never forget them, willpower isn’t enough; I know I’ll eventually need a refresher. We all do! Albums are the guardians I trust to preserve my real, living, breathing relationships.

Once you’ve put your memories to paper, you can feel good about a job well started—but not quite done. Until your pages have a place to call home—a sturdy, attractive, well-balanced album—you haven’t finished the job. Would you ever plan, prepare, and serve an important meal and then leave it out to spoil? Definitely not! You’d immediately make sure it had a home in some hungry tummies, then promptly seal up whatever is left and refrigerate it to enjoy again later. Your memories need the same kind of tender, loving care.

Putting your moments that matter most into one of the new Close To My Heart albums will give you the satisfaction of a job well finished. You can be sure that your memories are safely at home within their sturdy (and incredibly cute) covers. Then all you have left to do is enjoy them for the many years to come!

I know I’ll be enjoying my new albums in exactly this way, and I know you’ll experience the same kind of joy with yours.

All my love,

Jeanette

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