Stories from the Heart: Amy McGrew

A few weeks ago, Jeanette invited you, our blog readers, to share your scrapbook stories with us as part our new “Stories from the Heart” blog series. We are delighted to share a story that was sent to us by Amy McGrew, one of our Close To My Heart Consultants from South Carolina:

The theme of this layout is “MUSIC,” specifically, my favorite music. I love many music genres, but there are three specific songs that I hold very close to my heart because they are tied to three very special men in my life.

The right page of this layout shows two photos of my father and I dancing at my wedding to “Wind Beneath My Wings.” My father is the most important man in my life. I cannot express enough the love and admiration I have for this man. He truly is my hero. He gave me wings and let me soar in everything I ever got involved in. His heart is HUGE! Growing up I was always the “one with all the glory” and he was “the one with all the strength.”

As soon as the father-daughter dance ended, I remember my dad leaving the dance floor and walking out to the screened-in patio that was right off the reception area. He didn’t cry while we were dancing (I certainly did!) but, as I looked out at him past our guests, he got out to that quiet spot and the tears started coming down. That mental picture is forever embedded in my memory. “I will always be your little girl,” I told him. He wasn’t losing a daughter that day, he was gaining a son. To this day, my relationship with my father is strong. He is very much a part of my husband’s life and mine, as well as our children’s. I am grateful that despite the 800 miles separating us, we still manage to see each other at least two to four times a year.

The next important man in my life is my husband, Stan. “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” is our song. It’s the perfect song because I really do fall more and more in love with him each and every day! The pictures on the left page of this layout show us dancing to this beautiful song at our wedding. I knew Stan was the man I would marry when, on our second date, he was giving me directions and then said, “repeat them back to me.” When Stan said those five words, he reminded me so much of my father. As soon as he said them I knew he was my future husband!

Stan and my dad are best friends. He treats me the way my dad treats my mom, always putting my needs first and supporting me in all of my crazy endeavors. As a father, Stan is top-notch. Our three children are so blessed to have such an awesome dad! He is my rock, my soul mate, and my best friend.

My son, Tucker James, is my “Piano Man” and the third important man in my life. The photos of him on this layout were taken when he was in 8th grade at a piano recital in New York City. At the time, he was attending a middle school designated for the arts that required an audition in order to get in and, even though he plays several other instruments, he was accepted for his piano abilities. That spring, his daily piano class traveled by bus to New York City and visited for three days. They were able to sight see, attend an off Broadway musical and perform in a recital at a church in the Bronx. My husband Stan, our daughters, and I were fortunate enough to travel to New York and attend the recital. My parents also attended. It was exciting for all of us to see Tucker perform in this recital setting.

The “Piano Man” is most definitely the song I associate with my Tucker, especially ever since he learned to play it and played it for me one Mother’s Day several years ago. He simply is my piano man. Now that he is a freshman in college (majoring in music of course!), we can’t wait for him to come home and visit. Within minutes upon his arrival, Tucker will sit at the piano and start playing. Our family will gather around and just listen. I tend to lose myself in thought and happy tears.

So many memories! Music most certainly brings my family closer together. We enjoy each other in the moment and also reminisce together about the moments and memories that are brought back by each familiar song. It is quality time at its finest!

If you would like a chance to share your story on our blog, like Amy, here’s what 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 ctmhblog@closetomyheart.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 read your stories!

 

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11 Reasons Your Children Will Want to Have Baby Books

11 Reasons Your Children Will Want to Have Baby Books #babyscrapbook #babybook #baby #memories #crafting #scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart

In a day and age that makes taking and printing photos so easy, you would think that more and more parents would preserve these photos in books and scrapbooks. However, it seems that most photos nowadays don’t leave our computers or social media accounts—and at times, even our cameras!

The art of printing our family photos, writing down our stories, and placing them all together in the safe arms of an album seems to be a dying art—and it’s something that our kids are going to miss someday. When they want to see what they were like as babies and toddlers, the years they will remember very least, they will have nowhere to turn.

Here are 11 reasons why your children will want to have baby books:

1. They will know where to find photos of their childhood.

You may know where your favorite pictures of your babies are on your computer or on Facebook, but in 10 years will your kids know where to look? Not so much, unless they can grab their baby album off of the bookshelf.

2. A baby book is tangible evidence of your love.

When your kids go through the emotional highs and lows of the teenage years, the baby books you made for them will remind them—and you—that, despite what it might seem like at times, you love them with all your heart. 🙂

11 Reasons Your Children Will Want to Have Baby Books #babyscrapbook #babybook #baby #memories #crafting #scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart

3. Your toddlers will love to look through their baby books.

Though you may think your kids won’t value their baby books until they are older, chances are they will actually love them as toddlers. Toddlers love to see pictures of themselves as babies; it’s part of a phase where they begin to discover their own identity. Also, baby books make some of the best bedtime stories!

4. They will love to look at their baby pictures when they have their own kids someday.

When your kids start to have kids of their own, it will be so much fun for them to look through their baby books and see how their traits and mannerisms were passed down to their own kids.

11 Reasons Your Children Will Want to Have Baby Books #babyscrapbook #babybook #baby #memories #crafting #scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart

5. They will want to look through their siblings’ baby books.

Nothing bonds siblings together quite like looking through each other’s baby books. They will laugh at silly pictures of each other. And even though they may not have memories of their siblings because of age differences, they will get to see those memories through your eyes.

6. They will love to show relatives who come to visit their baby books.

Your in-laws or grandparents might live far away, but you can help them feel more connected to your children by showing them the baby books you’ve been working on when they are in town visiting—and once your kids are old enough, they will love to be the ones to pull out their baby books and talk your visitors through each page. 🙂

11 Reasons Your Children Will Want to Have Baby Books #babyscrapbook #babybook #baby #memories #crafting #scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart

7. Life goes by lightning fast, and baby books make it easy to stroll down memory lane anytime they want.

Childhood flies by, so your kids will want to revisit their old memories. And if you’re a young mom, just trust us. You will want to revisit those baby pictures over and over again. Especially once puberty hits. 😉

8. You will forget the stories, even if you preserve the photos.

Though you may save all your photos in one way or another, the stories that go along with those photos will be lost unless you document them in a book. And moments from those sweet baby years are moments both you and your children will want to remember forever, even the small ones.

11 Reasons Your Children Will Want to Have Baby Books #babyscrapbook #babybook #baby #memories #crafting #scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart

9. They will love to see your perspective.

You may think baby books are all about your babies, but they’re also a time capsule of you as a mom. As your babies grow into parents themselves, they will love to look back on your perspective as a new mother. Even seeing your handwriting will bring back good memories.

10. They will cherish their baby books more and more with time.

A baby book is something that increases in value with age. Just imagine how much that book will mean to your kids when they have grandkids and great grandkids! It’ll be a family treasure!

11 Reasons Your Children Will Want to Have Baby Books #babyscrapbook #babybook #baby #memories #crafting #scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart

11. They will turn to their baby books in difficult times.

When life gets your kids down, they will turn to their baby books for comfort, to reminisce about the good old days, and to gain some perspective (though you may not see them doing this as teenagers because that would be so embarrassing! 🙂 )

Recipes 

12″ x 12″ Baby Girl Page
Z3255 Whimsy Fundamentals, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3272 Baby Girl Complements, Z1151 3-D Foam Tape

6″ x 8″ 5 Months Layout
C1675 My Acrylix® Twins Rule Stamp Set, Z3294 Memo Fundamentals, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2865 Juniper Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3273 Baby Boy Complements, Z9979 Everyday Life™ Album—Stripes, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3252 Memory Protectors™ 6″ x 8″

12″ x 12″ The Best Day Page
Z3255 Whimsy Fundamentals, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3273 Baby Boy Complements, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3167 Cricut® Artistry Collection

Cricut® Shapes:
Artistry
2″ Banner (cut 16, p. 1)

6″ x 8″ Pocket Scrapbooking Layout
Z3221 Picture My Life™ Watercolor Cards—Clear, Z3144 Pictures My Life™ Overlays—Gold & Silver, Z9979 Everyday Life™ Album—Stripes, Z3132 Watercolor Paints, Z3226 Waterbrush—Medium Flat, Z3192 Memory Protectors™ 4″ x 6″, Z3191 Memory Protectors™ 3″ x 4″
 
12″ x 12″ Cut Above™ Little One Layout
Z3320 Cut Above™ Layout Kit—Little One, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z5206 My Legacy™ D-ring Album—White

6″ x 8″ Beautiful Life Story Layout
B1548 My Acrylix® Journaling Prompts Stamp Set, Z3294 Memo Fundamentals, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5770 Glacier Cardstock, Z2872 Whisper Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2841 Glacier Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3273 Baby Boy Complements, Z9979 Everyday Life™ Album—Stripes, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z3252 Memory Protectors™ 6″ x 8″

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From Jeanette: Stories from the Heart

jeanette-lynton

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. 🙂

Founder & CEO Jeanette Lynton explains why the stories behind our scrapbook pages are so important. #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #jeanettelyntonWe were doing a photos shoot for the 1998 September & October edition of I Love Remembering, a magazine subscription we published back in the day.

Founder & CEO Jeanette Lynton explains why the stories behind our scrapbook pages are so important. #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #jeanettelyntonThe 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.

Founder & CEO Jeanette Lynton explains why the stories behind our scrapbook pages are so important. #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #jeanettelynton

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,

Jeanette


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 ctmhblog@closetomyheart.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! 🙂

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It’s Tradition!

December at Close To My Heart means celebrations that come in all kinds of wrappings. Following tradition, we celebrated our annual company Christmas party this week, and with a delicious feast catered by Tucanos Brazilian Grill and gifts aplenty, there wasn’t a Scrooge to be found.

Employees

As part of the festivities, we surveyed some of our Yule-enthused employees to gather some of their personal favorite holiday traditions. Here’s what they had to say about this, the most wonderful time of the year:

What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?
For Christmas Eve I go with my husband and girls to my sister’s place and we have fondue, eat until we explode, play lots of games, and laugh. The family has gotten quite large with nieces and nephews, so it is exciting. Throw in a bunch of dogs, and you can officially call it crazy. After doing that, my husband and daughters go to the Cathedral of The Madeleine for midnight mass. We love enjoying the religious side of Christmas. Sometimes we go to other churches to see how they celebrate the season. That is really one of our favorite things to do, sharing the season with every denomination. – Roxanne B.

We put a lot of emphasis on Christmas Eve as a family. We get together, open one of our presents (frequently pajamas), and we watch a Christmas movie while snacking on holiday treats. We also have a contest to see who can make mom cry (in a good way!) with the presents we give her. I like my chances this year! –Jen P.

We don’t do presents for Christmas. Instead we go on a mini vacation as a family. We also get “Christmas Dollars,” usually twenty $1 bills that are crisp and brand new from the bank! –Katelyn J.

Awards presentation

What is one of your favorite holiday childhood memories?
My dad was really into Christmas and he always tried to do something to make it extra special every year. One year he put a red bulb in a flashlight, hooked it to a fishing rod and bobbed it by my bedroom window. The next morning, he asked if I was awake when Rudolph pranced around the house. But my favorite Christmas memory happened when I was about 7. The house I grew up in had super steep gables and I was really worried that Santa wasn’t going to come because he wouldn’t have any place to park his sleigh on the roof. My dad reassured me that Santa would just park his sleigh on the front lawn, but I wasn’t too sure. In the morning, though, when I woke up, there were sleigh tracks, reindeer hoof prints, and boot prints leading to and from the house. I remember being so excited that Santa found a way to make it work. As an adult, I asked my dad how he did it, and he told me that he carried a ski and a crutch (compliments of my sister’s broken ankle) out to the lawn wearing his boots. He used the ski to make the sleigh tracks and the crutch to make the indentations for the hoof prints. –Carlie R.

My parents surprising us Christmas morning with a trip to Disneyland. We left that afternoon. –Yvonne D.

When I was very young we had “elves” that started leaving gifts for each member of the family on the doorstep on Christmas Eve. They had gifts for everyone, hand-addressed to us from Twinkles, Beardsley, and Stardust. We kids were ecstatic, and my parents were completely clueless as to who it was. They’ve returned every Christmas Eve for the past twenty years, leaving gifts for whoever still lives at home. It’s not Christmas until the elves have come. –Mimi W.

Catered meal

What is the best present you ever gave?
The Christmas after my father passed away, I made a scrapbook for each of my siblings of pictures of my mom and dad when they were young, along with copies of a series of love letters that they wrote to each other during a few month period of time that they were separated before they got married. It was sentimental and loved by all. –Lorraine T.

I took a picture of the house my dad grew up in and created a poem to go along with it. Then I put it all together on a canvas for Christmas. –Gina C.

I made everyone in my family write inside jokes and reasons we love my mom on papers and then I put them in a book for her. She cried. It was awesome. –Erin N.

When I was pregnant I started making my daughter a family quilt. I made my brothers, sisters, including in-laws, embroider an animal to put on the quilt. Each of them also had to come up with a saying that could help her get through challenges. Oh, how fun it was to see grown men trying to make little crisscross stitches. The blanket hangs on her wall today. –Kami W.

IMG_1411

What is the best present you ever received?
A handmade velveteen rabbit. –John Y.

Drawings from kids. –Travis B.

One time my daughter spelled out M-O-M out of Legos and gave it to me. It was awesome. –Jen S.

A quilt made by my grandmother the Christmas before I graduated from high school. I still have that quilt. –Lorraine T.

My husband wound 375 skeins of embroidery floss on plastic bobbins for me—amazing, right? –Cindee L.

Employees

What New Year’s resolutions will you make this year?
I don’t usually have that figured out until about March. –John Y.

I want to eliminate or simplify. There are so many things in my life that make it way too busy and hectic. I spend my time on some things that are pointless. So I want to eliminate things that are a waste of time or energy and focus on more important things. –Lindsie H.

Document more! –Katelyn J.

The same I make every year: lose weight, get healthy, watch less T.V. This year it will be different, right? –Becky L.

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I make goals on my birthday that I know will help me stay well-rounded. I do, however, pick a word of the year and find ways to focus on it throughout the entire year. It’s a great practice on intentional living and for me has evolved into a really meaningful and important exercise. –Laura B.

Employees

Whatever your own holiday traditions may be, we hope you have a season full of very happy memories made with those you love!

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