October Stamp of the Month

Monday, October 5, 2015

It's never too early to start planning your Christmas cards and pages! The October Stamp of the Month, Twinkle, is now available to purchase on my website.

You can purchase this set for the retail price of $17.95, or get it for just $5 when you purchase $50 or more!

Images outlined in red coordinate with the Cricut Artiste collection.

Simple Stencil and DIY Script

Friday, September 18, 2015

I hope you enjoyed my last post on the new Close to My Heart watercolor paints, because I'm going to be sharing quite a few posts about using these awesome paints!

Since I created so many pieces of artwork for teaching at Extravaganza at the Close to My Heart convention in June, and we had to keep it all under wraps until the new catalog was released on Sept. 1, you're now going to see lots of artwork in the next few weeks here on my blog. That's the good news. The bad news is I don't have many step-by-step photos because I was creating like a madwoman, with no time for thoughtful photos along the way. So bear with me and read the text accompanying all these pretty pictures.

This 12x12 scrapbook page came together quickly because of one secret weapon: a large doily. It's so easy! The results are not only stunning, but each piece will be unique because of the amount of paint and water you use determines the final look.

I used a doily similar to this one. After misting your watercolor paper with a little water (don't make puddles!), plop the doily down on your page. You may need to hold it in place as you work, but the water helps keep it in place a bit, so use your judgement.

Paint splotches of color through the open spaces on the doily. I used a pretty strong mix of color on my brush, since the background is already slightly damp I didn't want the color to seep too much under the doily, so don't get your paints too watery. I found it was easier to work from the center out, because you'll spend more time working on the blend around the edges and onto the background. To create the splatter, dip your paintbrush and flick onto the page.

Perfectionists beware! Watercoloring through a doily is not a perfect science. It will run, it will seep, and you will NOT get a perfect image of the doily. See the lower left side of the doily image on my page? I thought I totally ruined it, paint everywhere. But now I love that part. Take a deep breath, embrace your inner artiste and get over the need for perfection, because that's what makes this technique so gorgeous.

When you're satisfied with your painting, remove the stencil and allow to dry.

After your page is dry, iron it flat and attach to a piece of cardstock using plenty of adhesive to help flatten it even more.

For the word "Beauty" on this page, I used a pencil and lightly wrote out my headline. Make sure it's light, because the pencil marks will show through watercolor paints. Using a round brush, I painted the word. Once it was completely dry, I cut out the title using an X-acto knife. Not perfect calligraphy, but it's my own writing and I love the casual look of it. Try it yourself and see what you come up with!

Watercolor Wow!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One of the hottest trends in papercrafting right now is watercolors. They are perfect for backgrounds or adding a quick splash of color on your cards, scrapbook pages and projects. Whether you want a bright, bold look, or a soft color wash, watercolors give you that "artsy" look that's so hot right now!

 Close to My Heart's new watercolor paints, brushes and watercolor paper let you jump onto this easy and affordable trend. I was lucky enough to get these new products last spring to prepare for teaching Extravaganza at the Close to My Heart national convention. I've experimented and played with our line of paints, papers and brushes to my heart's delight, and let me tell you... I love them!
Watercolor Paints
These paints are so easy to use, and the high concentration of pigments lets you create brightly colored washes without having to build layer after layer. The slightly chalky finish gives just enough opacity to let you paint over darker colored cardstocks (try it on Kraft cardstock!)

For the low price point of $11.95, these are some of the best watercolor paints you can get. There are similar products for slightly less, but in my opinion these less expensive paints lack the intense pigmentation found in the CTMH watercolors. More pigment = better value!

I am a total brush snob. I spend a lot on brushes, for my artwork and for my special effects makeup work. I am so impressed with the quality of the paintbrush set from Close to My Heart. When we receive our products for Extravaganza, we don't know the price that CTMH will be charging for some of the items, and I figured that these brushes would be too spendy for some of my customers who just want something fun to play with and not have to make a big investment. Imagine my surprise when I found out the brushes are less than two bucks each. Wha-what? Get these brushes. They are that good.

Watercolor Paper
I've had lots of questions coming my way about the new Close to My Heart Watercolor Paper, and I've tested and played with it plenty, so hopefully I can share my experiences.

First, it's smooth, not the pebbled texture you might expect for watercolor papers. The smooth paper is actually easier to work with, and matches the CTMH cardstocks, yet the special coating allows you more workable time with the watercolor paints. You can create blended colors and washes easily because the paint doesn't soak into the paper so quickly. This is the main reason I recommend using the watercolor paper if you are going to create large pieces (such as 12x12 pages or full card fronts), and when you want to work with multiple colors.

For just a few quick swipes of color, our White Daisy cardstock or any of our exclusive colors cardstocks will work just fine. But the intensity of your colors and the blends of colors will be much better when you choose to use watercolor paper.

New Catalogs Now Available

Saturday, August 29, 2015

It's almost time for Close to My Heart's new product releases on September, are you excited? I know I am!

On September 1st you'll be able to view the Annual Inspirations catalog online for free, or you can purchase a copy of the catalog here. Packed with papers, stamps, accessories and all your stamping and scrapbooking supplies, this 161 page catalog is just $3 plus S&H.

While supplies last, I'll also include the Close to My Heart Holiday Expressions supplement catalog for FREE when you order the Annual Inspirations catalog. That's two catalogs for the price of one!

Order your catalogs now!

You've Been Framed!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

 Just a few more days to purchase the August Stamp of the Month, Framed. This super versatile stamp set is a must-have for cardmakers. With nine sayings and three frames, you'll never run out of options for mixing and matching.

Each month Close to My Heart has one stamp set that is only available for that month. You can purchase it for full price at $17.95, or save over 70% and get it for just $5 when you place an order of $50 or more on my shopping website. Stamp of the Months are only available during their assigned month, once they're gone, they're gone! To find the current Stamp of the Month on my shopping website, go to the "promotions" tab in the top bar and pull down to Stamp of the Month.

Cricut Artistry Collection Now Available

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Time to celebrate! Close to My Heart's newest Cricut cartridge is now available to order on my shopping website!

This new cartridge is called Artistry, and it's packed with over 700 images (shapes, layers, banners, borders, backgrounds and a font). It's back to basics with updated and creative shapes and images that will fit your scrapbooking, cardmaking and crafting needs.

Check out all the images here.

Did you know? Close to My Heart Cricut collections are more than just a cartridge! You'll also receive three stamp sets designed specifically to coordinate with the cartridge, retail value $17.95 EACH. Plus you receive an Enchantment cardstock combo pack, with 20 sheets of cardstock (2 each of 10 colors), retail value $14.50. So add that up.... you get $68.35 in products PLUS the Cricut Artistry cartridge! All for just $99 for the Cartridge collection, or $79 for the digital collection.

The new Artistry collection is already my new favorite. I love the modern shapes, the funky font, and the variety of backgrounds, shapes and words. I like to use my Cricut cuts for embellishing my pages, cards and projects without relying too heavily on pre-made images. This cartridge fits the bill perfectly!

BONUS: Purchase any Cricut collection from my CTMH shopping website and receive two new catalogs for FREE!  Be one of the first to get your hands on the 2015/2016 Annual Inspirations and the Holiday Expressions 2015 when you order your Cricut collection. See all the new products set to unveil on September 1st!

Whatever Wednesday

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I feel like this post should be about balance. Something profound, about how we all need to strive for balance in our lives. In our hearts, in our homes, and in our artwork.

But guess what? I'm not going to go there. I struggle with achieving a balanced life, and I usually go with my gut. Which means sometimes I'm throwing myself into a new project without a clue as to how I'm going to get it all done, or other times I might take it slow and careful. Life can be chaotic in my house, but it's always interesting and there's always something new to learn.

So what's with the rocks?

I may lack balance in my everyday life, but I discovered I have a hidden talent. I can balance rocks, and I'm pretty good at it. (Although not as good as this guy).

I'd never tried it before, but last weekend our family was enjoying a lazy summer day at the river and I wasn't ready to get into the chilly water just yet. I was doing that "mom" thing, wading around up to my kneecaps, but not daring to go any deeper. I picked up a rock and tried balancing it on another rock that was protruding from the water.

Then I added another. And another.

It takes patience and focus, and I love the artistic side of choosing just the perfect rock to include in the stack. I'd search the shallows for a rock that would speak to me, one that had just the right contrast of color and shape to add to my sculpture. It's addicting and relaxing at the same time, and I spent the rest of the weekend gazing longingly at rocks that were just begging to be stacked.

Balance in my life? Probably never going to happen. But I CAN tell you - you'll never know what hidden talents you have until you try. So pick up that paintbrush, or take ballroom dancing lessons, or stack some rocks. Who knows, you might be the next rock whisperer!

Do you have a hidden talent? I'd love to hear about it! Leave me a comment and tell me what you can do, and how you discovered your secret ability. Was it hard work or are you a natural?