Planning for 2016

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Are you a planner? Or a memory keeper? Maybe a bit of both?
I'm so excited about the new Everyday Life line of products from Close to My Heart. I admit... I'm not the most organized person, but keeping everything written down in one place really helps me stay focused. I also like to be creative, so all those cute little planners with their bright colors and stickers really appeal to me, but I often find that they aren't flexible enough for my lifestyle. I want a system that can change and adapt, even after I've set up a "system", so I can continue to use it throughout the year, instead of abandoning the whole thing after the first month or two. 
I'm loving that the Everyday Life products let you set up the planner that works for YOU. Choose from calendar pages, to My Crush scrapbook pages, to Memory protectors that hold photos and Picture My Life cards. Dress it up with the roller stamp and washi tape. I can't wait to get started on my new planner, and I'm excited that it will become an end-of-year memento of everything that we did in 2016.
The entire line of Everyday Life products will be available beginning January 1, 2016, but you can get your hands on an exclusive, specially priced bundle this month, so you can get started right away!

During December, you can get your hands on the new, gorgeous Everyday Life™ album from Close To My Heart, the accompanying Everyday Life 2016 planner pages, and the coordinating Everyday Life Perfect Plan roller stamp in an exclusive product bundle for only $29.95. That’s over 15% off the retail price! 
This offer is only available while supplies last, so plan to place your order early in the month and start 2016 off right. Offer valid December 1, 2015 (9:00 am MDT)–December 31, 2015 (11:59 pm MDT).
Get your planner bundle now! Click Here!

New Workshop! White Pines Cards

Saturday, December 5, 2015

I just finished creating my Fabulously Artsy White Pines Christmas Card Workshop, hooray! It's a little late to the party, so I'm offering it at a can't miss price. Just $2.99 (reg. $9.99) for the guide to create DOUBLE the amount of cards in the regular White Pines Cardmaking Kit from Close to My Heart.

If you have a White Pines Cardmaking kit already, you'll be ready to start right away when you order my guide, since it will be emailed to you in PDF format and you can print or view it on your computer or tablet while you work.

If you don't have the card kit, there's still time to order from my Close to My Heart website or from your own CTMH rep. If you place an order of $10 or more on my shopping site, I'll even send you the workshop instructions for FREE!

Already done with this year's cards? Get a jump on next year and order the supplies and get the instructions, so you're all set to create when the mood hits you. Christmas cards in July? Yes, please!

For a full supply list and ordering information, please visit my website.


Visit my website to shop the new prices on my retired workshop guides. The papers and other supplies are retired and no longer available, but if you already have the supplies, you can get a great deal! You can also substitute other papers and embellishments for the ones listed in my workshops. Use your creativity, while saving time and supplies by using my guides!

One Card: Five Ways

Saturday, November 28, 2015

If you ever make Christmas cards, or do any kind of production stamping you know how it goes... 

"Oh, this card will be simple, I can put together 10 or 20 cards in no time at all."

"Wow, that was a lot of cutting, but now the fun part... I love stamping."

"My hand is cramping. Just 5 more to go, I can do this."

"I never want to see another piece of this background paper ever again."

Creating multiple cards starts out fun, but there is a point where it turns tedious. When every recipient is getting a single card, it's important to do your best work on every piece, but it can tend to wear on you when you have to duplicate the same item over and over.

I solve my problem by getting a little creative at the end, during the final assembly and embellishment steps. This allows me to work quickly in the initial cutting and stamping, when you have lots of energy. It also saves time so you don't have to make lots of decisions, just cut and stamp assembly line style.

But by the time I am ready to add adhesive and put the pieces together, I'm getting pretty burned out, and my creative mojo is demanding some variety. This is where I kick in the "alternate options." Using the same pieces, the same layout, I make small tweaks so I don't lose interest. It keeps my creative brain happy, but it doesn't take much more time.

Tak this gorgeous White Pines Cardmaking Kit from Close to My Heart. With everything you need but adhesive and inks, you can quickly cut, stamp and assemble 15 cards. The kit comes with paper, cards and envelopes, a stamp set, embellishments and easy to follow instructions. You will make 5 cards each of three designs. 

I decided to try my little trick on this kit, by following the exact directions until it came time to assemble and embellish. I chose not to alter the design by rearranging any of the pieces, or add any additional items. The cards still look similar, but the little tweaks were just enough to keep my creative brain happy. 

Here is the card as designed by Close to My Heart.

Super cute, right? If you are into hidden pictures and "Where's Waldo" type of games, don't read the text above each photo and see if you can spot the differences.


For the next card, I flipped the patterned paper piece, and wrapped Fern Thick Twine vertically.

For card #3, I added pen detailing around the red cardstock, and instead of using staples on the twine as directed, I tied knots at each end and attached with a glue dot.

Card #4 had some distressing with Desert Sand ink. I also used the back side of the patterned paper and wrapped the twine around the piece, securing at the back of the patterned paper before attaching it to the card front.

For card #5 I used sandpaper to "white distress" the colored cardstocks. I also used two staples instead of one to attach the twine, and skipped the knot.

How about you? Do you ever change up the design to keep things interesting? Leave me a comment and let me know how you make production stamping more fun. Also, let me know which one is your favorite version of my White Pines cards!

November Stamp of the Month

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Long time, no post! I seem to be having a hard time keeping up with my blog of late, I will try to get a little more on schedule soon. Thanks to all my readers who are hangin' in there and continuing to check in on my blog.

The November Stamp of the Month, Cheers 2016 is now available until the end of November. You can get it for the full retail price of $17.95. If you purchase $50 in CTMH products you will qualify to purchase this set for just $5!

Shop my website now for Close to My Heart products.

Doodle-y Dots

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Looking for a quick and simple patterned background? Just paint it!

I created this whimsical design with the Close to My Heart watercolor palette. To keep my circles in order, I used a spare template cut from my Cricut, it has lots of dots in rows, but you can also eyeball it, or paint your circles in a random pattern.

After the paint dried, I added some glitter on a few of the circles, and outlined a few others with a black pen. Fresh and funky, and ready in minutes!

Close to My Heart Products used:
Watercolor Paints
Hopscotch Alphabet stamp set
Jennifer's Hand stamp set

So Selfie Mini Album

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Have you seen the new InstaLife mini albums by Close to My Heart? If you love minis as much as I do, you've got to check these out!

Adorable and affordable (two words I love!), these 4"x4" minis are so quick to put together, when you use the coordinating page protectors and InstaLife cards. Need an album in one evening, you got it!

Of course, if you're looking for something to make on your own, and love to alter your projects, the InstaLife line is perfect for that too!

 I created an album for Close to My Heart's Operation Smile auction at convention, using an InstaLife album and cardstock pages. I altered the cover with carstock and a glitter paper spine, and embellished with the InstaLife Colorful Me cards.

 Instead of using page protectors, I used watercolors and watercolor paper for some of the pages, and added patterned papers from the Kaleidoscope paper pack, which coordinates perfectly with the watercolors.

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?

New Organization Products

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

During the month of August, get your hands on the latest and greatest in organization products from Close To My Heart—with a few perks thrown in!

Simply place an order for the new marker roll-up at full retail price and receive the new D-size stamp set My Acrylix® Balloon Wishes FREE! Or place an order for the new accessory roll-up at full retail price and receive two new Base & Bling style sheets FREE!

All of the items offered as part of this campaign are featured in the Annual Inspirations 2015–2016 idea book, but are available for early purchase during August only as part of this campaign.

The marker roll-up will be your new best friend, providing storage space for up to 25 ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ markers. The My Acrylix® Balloon Wishes stamp set (retail value $17.95) is perfect for coloring, making them a practical pairing.

The accessory roll-up is ideal for sorting and storing accessories, Base & Bling items, and embellishments, while the new Base & Bling style sheets, Lovely Blooms and Affirmations, are full of gorgeous floral designs and hip icons and sentiments perfectly suited for creating stunning jewelry pieces.

Place your order for one—or both—deals and get an exciting sneak peek at just a few of the many new products found within Annual Inspirations’ pages!

 Dates: Offer valid August 1, 2015 (9:00 am MDT)–August 31, 2015 (11:59 pm MDT).
Click here to shop my website!

Whatever Wednesday

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

stubborn men

Sounds about right.

Goodbye Old Favorites

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

retiring colors2015

With the new Close to My Heart catalog release approaching on September 1, it’s time to say goodbye to some old favorites to make room for new friends!

Seven colors from the Enchantment color palette are retiring and will be replaced by new cardstocks, stamp pads and re-inkers. The new colors will not be a color-for-color replacement (blue for a blue, green for a green) but it will refresh and modernize this rich color palette with a whole new look.

retiring INK colors2015

That means you still have time to snap up your faves before they go away forever. Stock up now while supplies last, because the won’t be around for long! Official date for retirement is August 31, but inventory on popular colors may run out much sooner.

The following colors from the Close to My Heart Enchantment color palette will be retired on August 31, 2015. Click on the links to shop.
Barn Red cardstock, stamp pad, re-inker
Indian Corn Blue cardstock, stamp pad
Olive cardstock, stamp pad
Outdoor Denim cardstock, stamp pad
Autumn Terracotta cardstock, stamp pad
Ponderosa Pine cardstock, stamp pad, re-inker
Smokey Plum cardstock, stamp pad

SAVE before September 1st!

stamp pad price increase

Prices on ALL inkpads and re-inkers will be going up by $1 each on September 1. The current price applies to all retiring products as well as those colors that are sticking around, so save a few bucks and stock up on your favorite colors now!