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

Leave a comment

Join Us in Thailand!

Earn an all-inclusive trip for two to Thailand, courtesy of Close To My Heart! #ctmh #closetomyheart #workfromhome #scrapbooking #crafting #thailandAs many of you know, Monica and Tiffany from the Home Office recently traveled to Thailand to make sure everything will be absolutely perfect for the 2018 Close To My Heart incentive trip for North America. They loved this beautiful country and can’t wait to share it with you!

Close To My Heart incentive trips are unlike any other incentive trips. We know our Consultants go above and beyond to serve their customers and communities, so we go above and beyond to provide them with trips they will remember for a lifetime.

For example, many companies give you an all-inclusive trip for one—but we know that you want to share such an incredible experience with a loved one! We’re all about creating and preserving memories AND celebrating relationships, so it just makes sense. 🙂

Earn an all-inclusive trip for two to Thailand, courtesy of Close To My Heart! #ctmh #closetomyheart #workfromhome #scrapbooking #crafting #thailand

Here’s everything the 2018 Thailand trip includes:

—Round trip airfare for two from a major airport to Bangkok, Thailand

—Accommodations for three nights at the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa in Bangkok

—Accommodations for three nights at the five-star JW Marriott Resort in Phuket

—Airfare for two from Bangkok to Phuket

—Transfers between airports and hotels, including meet & greet services

Thailand is sure to be the adventure of a lifetime! You’ll get to immerse yourself in an entirely different culture, see beautiful historic landscapes, eat authentic cuisine, all while staying in the finest resorts and spas!

Whether you’re a Consultant or someone considering becoming a Consultant, this trip is within your reach! There are still 327 days to earn this trip, and with thoughtful planning, goal-setting, and fully investing yourself into what you love, you can really reap the rewards!

We’ll be in Thailand in 2018, and we really hope you join us. After all, once-in-a-lifetime experiences are the best when shared with friends. ❤️

Leave a comment

 

Consultant Spotlight: Tonya Sheridan

Here’s the last 2016 incentive trip earner we interviewed! Tonya shares her approach to earning this year’s cruise and her thoughts on memory keeping.

Tonya Sheridan, Executive Manager
Time as a Consultant: 10 years
6th incentive tripTonya Sheridan shares her thoughts about memory keeping and running a successful business on the blog! #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #Consultant

How did you earn the incentive trip?

I do a lot of different things.  My business is focused not on a single avenue, but many avenues that make it well-rounded.  I assist my Upline, and several of my sister sidelines, with their expos.  I hope to have my own in the future, which makes this not only a great learning experience for myself, but helps them achieve their goals and dreams.  Additionally, I am a vendor at some larger crops of typically 100+ people along the East Coast. I have traveled with these groups and established myself with them. I also run my own crops. I have three weekend-long crops per year and then a monthly crop at my church or a local hotel. I also do fundraisers for different organizations, one Workshops Your Way™ event once per month, and sometimes specialty classes for flair, depending on what’s new or what I’m excited about!

Outside of these scrapbooking events, I also teach a card club once a month (two during the fall) that keeps me grounded. I love all of my events. They are each very unique, but this card one brings me “home” every month—most of the ladies are retired and have become like grandmothers to me. Such a blessing!!! Online, I do online sales, offer kits by mail, and maintain a blog. I blog, not as often as I’d like to, but I do try to keep it semi inspirational and keep a balance of talking about work, event, specials, and also some of my personal life. I’m not really shy about posting pictures of my children—I think they’re pretty cute and many of my customers have developed relationships with my children so they love to see what’s new with them. Tonya Sheridan shares her thoughts about memory keeping and running a successful business on the blog! #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #Consultant

My business is indeed a family effort—they play a large role in my successes. My daughter is the best Bingo caller ever and can do the little twist-twist-tap-tap-tap dance to teach stamping skills better than any adult. My boys help my croppers load, and unload their vehicles and love to help make up kits. My mom and husband help whenever needed, and my dad babysits during my events. Having their help and support has become a true blessing. Tonya Sheridan shares her thoughts about memory keeping and running a successful business on the blog! #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #Consultant

What was your favorite part of the trip?

I think it’s just getting to see friends and acquaintances. A lot of us follow each other on Facebook but haven’t been able to sit down and have a full conversation; here I can sit down at breakfast and ask Brandy how her child is doing in school because I have established a relationship with her on Facebook. And I have found that most people are really open about sharing ideas and sharing business, so we kind mix both together in conversation.Tonya Sheridan shares her thoughts about memory keeping and running a successful business on the blog! #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #Consultant

Why is memory keeping so important to you?

Well, for me it’s the journey; it’s not just keeping the particular memories. I enjoy scrapbooking with my kids. They get to journal along with me. My scrapbooks are not ones that stay on the shelf. We go through them all the time because it’s important to us. If I leave our photos on a digital card, then that’s where they’re going to stay. Our family has unfortunately had a flood and we lost lots and lots of pictures—that in itself made the memory keeping all the more important to me. I also see memory keeping as a healing tool. We have many family members and friends who have dementia, and our scrapbooks have been an invaluable tool to revisit memories with them.

Leave a comment

Consultant Spotlight: Casey Spinks

Here’s another one of our 2016 incentive trip earners! Casey shares her approach to earning this year’s cruise and her unique perspective on memory keeping.

Casey Spinks, Director
Dacula, Georgia
Time as a Consultant: 12 years
9th incentive trip

Learn more about Casey and her unique perspective on scrapbooking! #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #Consultants #scrapbooking

How did you earn the incentive trip?

I tried to expand my business and do some different things. I often host weekend-long retreats where I have product for cash & carry, and my guests work at their own pace on all kinds of crafting projects. Working toward earning the incentive trip, I decided to offer more instruction-led events. I called them Boot Camps! They featured “intense training” or specific projects that used some of the latest techniques.  Those have worked very well for me.  People really do love the fact that we can show them how to use our products, and that we really are the “Let Me Show You How” company!

Learn more about Casey and her unique perspective on scrapbooking! #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #Consultants #scrapbooking

What was your favorite part of the trip?

To pick just one thing is hard, but it was probably the time with my friends because we rarely get to see one another.  Convention is AMAZING, but it’s definitely a jam-packed event, so you see people but you don’t really have time to sit down and talk with them. I’ve certainly enjoyed “treating” my husband to this trip.  To earn an all-expenses-paid vacation for the two of us to cruise on the newest, largest, most amazing ship has been absolutely fabulous!

Learn more about Casey and her unique perspective on scrapbooking! #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #Consultants #scrapbooking

One of my ALL TIME FAVORITE “old” photos of my family

Learn more about Casey and her unique perspective on scrapbooking! #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #Consultants #scrapbooking

My parents’ 50th wedding anniversary

Why is memory keeping important to you?

I might seem a little bit selfish with my memory keeping, because I am preserving my memories for ME.  People used to ask me ALL of the time, “Since you don’t have children, what do you scrapbook?” Even though I don’t have children, I still have a FABULOUS, FUN-filled life FULL of opportunities to scrapbook.  I’m not as concerned about preserving my memories to pass on to future generations as I am about preserving the many memories I have from my childhood and my precious time with my parents, brother, cousins, and grandparents.  So, that’s what my memory keeping is about!  I enjoy documenting and preserving all of our family milestones, time with my friends, the terrific places I have visited, life with my new husband, and having a large “fur family.”  We have A LOT of fun with our pets!  No matter how you look at it, I have PLENTY of things to scrapbook!  I’m really just preserving my many blessings and having a really great time doing it!

Learn more about Casey and her unique perspective on scrapbooking! #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #Consultants #scrapbooking

Hawaii 2015 Incentive Trip: Brian and I were literally on our honeymoon!

Leave a comment

Consultant Spotlight: Megan Elizabeth Gravener

As you know from Monica’s post last week, we recently returned from our Eastern Carribean Cruise incentive trip. On the cruise, we pulled aside four of our awesome earners and asked them a few questions. We want to share these pearls of wisdom with all of you. Up first is Megan!

Megan Elizabeth Gravener, Executive Manager
Time as a Consultant: 2 years
2nd incentive trip

Read Megan's touching story about why memory keeping matters to her. #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #cricut

How did you earn this trip?

Well, I’m so thankful and blessed.  I spent the last several years building my blog, which was very Cricut® focused. When Close To My Heart came out with these amazing Cricut® cartridges, those cartridges just captured my heart. Melanie Brown, who is now my Upline, was like, “Megan, come on, you can’t not do this!” So I joined! My big focus in the past two years has been on doing social media and YouTube tutorials and just really working on building relationships online. It’s not easy to connect when you’re not one-on-one with people, but it’s a lot of fun to try to figure out how to do it and watching the trends that are going on, since it is kind of a newer niche within the business. It has been amazing to see people from all over the country say, “Yes, we want to join your Team.” Team building has been one of my biggest strengths. I don’t know any one of my Team members face-to-face, not one.  Read Megan's touching story about why memory keeping matters to her. #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #cricut

What’s been your favorite part of this trip?

My favorite part of this trip has just been connecting, I think. I have felt that because I’m so “virtual,” I haven’t put faces with names, so I got to spend time with Krista and Michelle and people in my line, and just giving them a hug face-to-face has been awesome! And Close To My Heart does so much to spoil you, I actually cried! Alex & Ani is such a huge thing, and when I got the Alex & Ani bracelet on my bed, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. So, every part of it I’m just so thankful for. I feel so blessed!Read Megan's touching story about why memory keeping matters to her. #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #cricut

Why is memory keeping so important to you?

You know, it actually started for me when I was experiencing post-partum depression. I had several miscarriages and was put on bed rest with my second child, and I thought, “Okay, I need to do something with my time.” I could kind of just lay in bed and start journaling and putting pictures together, and that is where it started. I realized, “Hey, there is this whole other world of scrapbooking.” The Cricut® machine is what really pulled me in because it doesn’t matter if you’re a very beginner who has no crafting abilities whatsoever to, you know, a super expert designer. And that’s why I got really excited about Close To My Heart because they capture every aspect of that and really make it easy to help anybody at any stage and any level, and I think that’s what it’s all about. It’s about the personal journey, the personal story. My tagline is “enjoy the moments” and there’s no better way to enjoy the moments than by capturing them!Read Megan's touching story about why memory keeping matters to her. #ctmh #closetomyheart #memorykeepingmatters #scrapbooking #cricut

Leave a comment

From Monica: Fun in the Sun

The 2016 Close To My Heart Eastern Caribbean Incentire Trip was a blast! Read all about it on the blog. #ctmh #ctmhescape #closetomyheart #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #vacationI’m back from paradise! Last week was the Eastern Caribbean cruise incentive trip, and boy was it a good one! We climbed aboard the Norwegian Escape®, and sailed off on a grand adventure.The 2016 Close To My Heart Eastern Caribbean Incentire Trip was a blast! Read all about it on the blog. #ctmh #ctmhescape #closetomyheart #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #vacation

This ship was the most luxurious ship we’ve ever been on. I definitely felt like royalty! We had a ton of fun taking photos with props at a photo op. We held fun beach items and blown-up versions of some of our stamps. Everyone just kept taking pictures and laughing. It reminded me why photos are so important to preserve.The 2016 Close To My Heart Eastern Caribbean Incentire Trip was a blast! Read all about it on the blog. #ctmh #ctmhescape #closetomyheart #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #vacation

People loved the Create & Take we did on the ship, which gave them a sneak peek at new paper. There’s nothing like a little crafting to help you fully relax while you’re on vacation! 🙂 In our business meeting, we talked about the recent changes to the compensation plan and gave a sneak peek at upcoming promotions and changes to the New Consultant Kit. These announcements were met with cheers and applause! I sure love our Consultants!The 2016 Close To My Heart Eastern Caribbean Incentire Trip was a blast! Read all about it on the blog. #ctmh #ctmhescape #closetomyheart #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #vacation

Many of our Consultants took advantage of the opportunity to go on excursions. One especially memorable excursion was a trip to Devil’s Bay in Tortola. We crawled through a cave and walked through water to reach this beautiful secluded beach that was pure heaven! It was absolutely beautiful!The 2016 Close To My Heart Eastern Caribbean Incentire Trip was a blast! Read all about it on the blog. #ctmh #ctmhescape #closetomyheart #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #vacation

It’s wonderful being surrounded by good friends while you soak up the sunshine, relax, and talk together. We kept chatting about business too because when you’re passionate about your job, you just can’t help it!The 2016 Close To My Heart Eastern Caribbean Incentire Trip was a blast! Read all about it on the blog. #ctmh #ctmhescape #closetomyheart #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #vacation

One thing that made this trip very special for me was that I got to bring my mom along. She was able to meet many our wonderful Consultants and better understand why I love my job so much. Sharing special memories with her on this trip is something I will always treasure.The 2016 Close To My Heart Eastern Caribbean Incentire Trip was a blast! Read all about it on the blog. #ctmh #ctmhescape #closetomyheart #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #vacationI know each of the Consultants who earned this incentive trip would tell you it’s totally worth all the hard work. I hope each one of you makes earning next year’s incentive trip a priority—I want to share this one-of-a-kind experience with you!The 2016 Close To My Heart Eastern Caribbean Incentire Trip was a blast! Read all about it on the blog. #ctmh #ctmhescape #closetomyheart #crafting #scrapbooking #cardmaking #vacationTo see more photos from the incentive trip, visit our Eastern Caribbean Incentive Trip 2016 album on Facebook or search #ctmhescape on social media.

Sincerely,

Monica

Leave a comment

Mission to Mexico: Monica’s Journey with Operation Smile™

DSC_0047

A few weeks ago, I participated in a life-changing Operation Smile™ mission. The opportunity arose at the last second, and even though it meant some schedule swapping, Brian Holman suggested that I should be the one to go, and Jeanette agreed. A huge thanks to Jeanette for sending me and to Brian, who dropped everything on his full plate to take over the Making Connections events I had been scheduled to run. So, with that change to my travel plans, I headed to San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

DSC_0028

This little girl, Daisy, was the recipient of a surgery during a 2010 medical mission.

daisy before 2010

This is Daisy before her surgery in 2010.

I had no idea just how uplifting this would be. There was so much joy and heartbreak. I was amazed by the love of these families, some of whom traveled as many as 100 miles to give their child the opportunity to have a surgery. Though at first I felt overwhelmed by the needs of those who came, I knew that my place was to be a comforting presence, reassuring the children and their families. I felt blessed that, thanks to my Mexican father, I was able to speak their language and understand their culture, which helped me to serve them more completely.

DSC_0051

It moved me to see volunteers from all over the world going to such lengths to help these special children. I love the quote from Operation Smile™ founder Dr. Bill Magee, “Love by definition is self-sacrifice. Love is a decision to make someone else’s problem your own.” And that is exactly what I saw these wonderful people doing.

IMG_2535

Among the volunteers on the trip were medical team members from Italy, Canada, Spain, Russia, Paraguay, the United States, and Mexico. These talented individuals took time away from their own practices and jobs to donate their skills to the mission. The gorgeous and talented Kate Walsh, who is now an official spokesperson for Operation Smile, was also in attendance. She was so loving and sweet with the babies and families, and when she dressed in her scrubs, I felt like I was in the operating room with Dr. Addison Montgomery from Private Practice. 🙂

IMG_2458

It was a privilege to be on the mission along with Kathy Magee, co-founder of Operation Smile. Kathy is truly an inspired person, and I can see God working through her. What she and Dr. Magee have created is truly life-changing, and I am so grateful that Close To My Heart is able to partner with her and her organization in making a difference.

DSC_0012

This trip was an amazing experience for me, but there is just too much to share in a single blog post. I will be sharing more details of my story at our 2015 Close To My Heart Convention in Anaheim, California, as well as at our Australasia Convention in Brisbane, Australia. I hope that by doing so, I can help our Consultants feel some part of the motivation and commitment I feel to this amazing organization.

Until then, keep on blessing the lives of these children who need it so much! It only takes $240 to perform a single surgery, and it will change the life of a child. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a difference. To quote Dr. Bill Magee again: “These children may never know your name, but they will never forget your kindness.”

DSC_0021

You can support the mission of Operation Smile by purchasing the Happy Everything stamp set pictured on the back of the Seasonal Expressions 2 idea book. For each set sold, we make a $3 donation to Operation Smile. You can also include a round-up donation each time you place an order with your Consultant. Thank you for helping us support Operation Smile’s life-changing mission.

Leave a comment