Altered Christmas Album for Operation Smile

Thursday, July 17, 2014

December daily
Each year at our national convention, Close to My Heart raises thousands of dollars for Operation Smile. As an extravaganza teacher, I was honored to be able to donate something for the silent auction, which is held on the last day of our festivities.

december daily side
I’m happy to report that my December Daily altered mini album received a winning bid of $400!
I had so much fun making this album using new products from the upcoming Close to My Heart annual inspirations catalog, which you can purchase on my blog soon, or spend $50 in July and receive one free!
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I used the My Crush book, Holiday Happenings to create the altered mini. I started by removing the spiral binding inside the book, and covering the front and inside covers.

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I punched holes in the cover and added three large book rings to hold the variety of pages I created for the inside.
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The existing pages that came in the book were already hole-punched for the wire binding (above, right), so I used these as a template to mark the location to punch the holes for my book rings. This way I didn’t have to punch new holes on the pre-punched pages, they just slipped right onto the new rings!
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I made loads of additional pages using everything from flip-flaps (above, left), to envelopes (above, right). If I could punch it, it went into the book!
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I adore interactive pages, so I had to add some fold-outs and pockets.
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I even managed to add a few of the CTMH treat bags as pocket pages! (red polka dot above, red chevron below)  
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I hope to make a few more of these altered albums using more of my Close to My Heart stash soon. They are so fun and eclectic, I just love them!

Stretching Paper and Hiding Seams

Thursday, July 10, 2014

hideous or adorable LO

My job as an extravaganza teacher at convention is to explore new ways to use a product, especially when a product is often seen in just one way.

The My Crush books are fun and fast scrapbooking at its best. Stick it, write it, bling it, crush it, done. These chunky 7” x 10” albums are awesome.

But what about 12 x 12 scrappers with traditional albums? Why not remove the paper and use it just like any patterned paper?

I can hear you now. “But it’s not 12” long, I need big sheets.” My answer to you is to remember that you will cut up most of your sheets of paper on a scrapbook page, and you really only need the base page to be 12” x 12”. You get 30 double sided heavy cardstock pages in a My Crush book, that’s 60 printed choices for you to work with.

And if you need the paper to be just a bit larger, here’s a little design tip:

You can “stretch” the paper by cutting it apart and hiding the split behind one of your page elements. You can also merge two pieces of matching paper together and hide the seam behind an embellishment.

You’d never guess that the strips on right side of the layout above are not 11” long, or that the large blue square behind the photos is not one but two sheets of patterned paper. A little magic of concealment is all it takes to fool the viewer into seeing what you want them to see!

Take a look at the page without the concealing elements.

hideous or adorable SB LO

Pretty clever, eh? Use this technique when you have small pieces of leftover cardstock or when you’re working with My Crush book pages on a standard 12” x 12” layout. They’ll never know!

Whatever Wednesday

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Using Every Bit

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Geek is chic card

I love getting lots of mileage from my crafty supplies!

While working with the My Crush books for my Close to My Heart extravaganza class at convention, I tried to utilize all of the elements that make the My Crush book unique. The pages in the books are 7” x 10” in a spiral bound book. You can remove the pages easily by bending the wire apart, or you can rip the pages out.

Geek is chic card sideI’m loving how these layered hole punched edges look a bit like ruffles.

I chose four different patterns in a similar color family, but in varying shades, then layered them from light to dark. This keeps these “ruffles” from distracting from the main focal point, and adds plenty of texture. 

This paper is found in the Wildwood My Crush book, available on my shopping website beginning August 1, 2014.

Happy Flash Mob at Convention

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Crossing off my bucket list: participate in a flash mob.

dance lesson

I love seeing videos of flash mobs, and I thought that it would be a great idea to have one at Close to My Heart’s annual convention. After a few years of talking with corporate staff, I finally took the plunge and decided someone better step forward and arrange one. That would be me.

On May 1st of this year I created a facebook group and a website and began spreading the word to ask consultants to join in the surprise. I choreographed a simple dance with just a few moves, designed to be performed by any skill level, even seated dancers could participate.

It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun in the weeks leading up to convention. We had to spread the word yet still keep it a secret. I was working with one of the staff at corporate, so that we could surprise the CTMH executive team and support staff at convention.

happy button collage

Before convention, we created badges to identify ourselves, but did not give away what the badges were for. Seeing so many badges on consultants as we attended classes and events at convention was thrilling, knowing that we would all be surprising everyone else with our big dance.

Finally, the big day. After a long day of teaching extravaganza, I was tired to the bone, but excited about our big performance. All of the attendees gathered in the ballroom for our final general session. CTMH founder and CEO Jeanette Lynton came onstage for an emotional Q&A session and touching tribute to her 30 years in the papercrafting industry.

I had been given the information that our music would start sometime after the Q&A onstage, but we did not know exactly when it would begin. There was more news for CTMH to share with us onstage, and I have to admit that I don’t remember much of anything that was said, since I was perched on the edge of my seat waiting for our cue!

Finally, our music began, interrupting the three Close to My Heart Vice Presidents onstage. Time to get happy….

I have a Crush on the My Crush books

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I’ve been holding back. Close to My Heart introduced the My Crush books one year ago, and I promptly purchased two for my own… then set them aside for “some day.”

My Crush books are 10” x 7” scrapbooks with 60 full-color pages in a wire-bound, hardcover book. They are a quick and simple solution to scrapbooking. With no rules or requirements, they’re an “anything goes” type of scrapbook. Just attach your photos, ticket stubs, lists and any other ephemera you collect, add your journaling and you’re done!

My confession: last year’s books sat in my to-do pile and collected dust. I thought I was saving them for the right time, for when I might need a quick book, or when I had a subject that would fit them perfectly.

Fast forward to this year, when I was selected to teach at Close to My Heart’s national convention. My assigned subject: the newest My Crush books.

Bad news: I hadn’t used the books I bought from last year.

Good news: I finally had a reason to really explore the possibilities the CTMH My Crush books.

Even better news: permission to destroy the books in pursuit of as many creative ideas to use the entire contents of the My Crush collections.

Oh boy, did I have fun.

This month I’ll be sharing my artwork from my extravaganza presentation, plus some great ideas that will help you fall in love with the My Crush books too!

Wildwood crush book

First project I wanted to do was a more traditional use of the book (but with my own fabulously artsy spin), so I decided to create a scrapbook of the Caribbean cruise my husband and I took in March. I had a lot of photos, and not all were really “scrapbook worthy” but I wanted to put them all in one place.

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I chose the new Wildwood book with the blue, green and kraft color scheme, and its nature inspired designs. You’ll be able to purchase this book beginning August 1st on my website, along with the other newest My Crush book, In the Pink.

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Along with over one hundred photos, I had a lot of journaling in the form of a daily diary, plus lists and maps of our trip. I was able to easily fit all this into my book with just a few clever alterations that I made.

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I added pocket pages to hold my journal pages, plus fold outs, flip ups, and several more types of interactive scrapbooking elements.

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The book came together so quickly, even with the additional alterations. All of the interactive elements make it fun to flip through, and I used very simple techniques that anyone can duplicate.

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If you’d like to see some tutorials on some of the interactive techniques so you can alter your own My Crush book, make sure to check back here on my blog soon.

I’ll also be sharing much more from my extravaganza class all this month, including scrapbook pages, mini albums, cards and more, all using CTMH My Crush books!

My Crush wildwood open

Off to Convention!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Close to My Heart national convention is the party of the year for consultants. I’m leaving today for a week at Disneyland resort, where I get to mingle with over 1,000 excited consultants as we learn about new products, play with the newest stamps, papers and tools, and have a great time!

Close to My Heart loves Disney, so this isn’t the first time we have attended convention at a Disney resort. Last year we had a fabulous time at Disneyworld in Florida, this year we’re at Disneyland in California. I love that we are so close to all the excitement by staying at a resort hotel, right next to Downtown Disney so it’s easy to walk over and get a quick bite to eat or do some shopping.

One of the highlights of convention is Extravaganza. This is a big showcase of creativity, where consultant teachers create and share their artwork using brand new products.

I am one of 12 extravaganza teachers this year, and I’ve been busy as a bee creating artwork for my class. I’d love to show you what I’ve made, but you’ll have to wait until next week. The new products are all waiting for a big reveal at convention, so it’s all hush-hush before it’s released.

TopSecret (1)

I’ve been lucky enough to have been chosen to teach at convention many times. This year there are only 12 teachers, so I’m honored and a wee bit nervous. The class sizes will be very large, and the pressure is on!

Since I can’t share my newest artwork, I can at least give you some lovely examples of past convention items.

burlap cherish LO