Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

So awesomely cool...

I am so very proud of myself!  I am in a tag swap with a group of friends from a yahoo group, and I really wanted to step outside of my creative box.  I have been so incredibly inspired by Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas on his blog ( and although I usually think they are very cool, they are not normally my style.  He uses a lot of alcohol inks, and my son is very sensitive to smells like that, so I don't use them.  This year, however, he went wild with Sizzix dies!  Of course, he just released his new Vagabond and many new Alterations dies that are really my speed.  I have had a Big Kick forever and never use.  This week it got a workout!  I got a couple of Tim's dies and got cranking!
I followed Tim's tutorial on his blog and made the poinsettia flower out of the Tattered Flowers die of Tim's.  All you do is die cut a couple of the flowers, then cut them all apart.  The center of the flower becomes the points of the poinsettia!  I crumpled them and inked them, and once they were attached to a small punched circle with glue dots, I added the Crystal stickles.  Really cool!  The flourishes are from Tim's grungeboard line, and I painted them with CTMH pearl pain mixed with new england ivy re-inker.  They have a slight shimmer that's super fun.  The tag that says Merry Christmas is another of Tim's dies. I die cut the whole length of tags, then tore one off to use as a single tag on this.  The brads are pewter bigger brads from CTMH, which I dented with my piercing tool for a fun twist.  The base tag itself was embossed with (you guessed it!) another Tim product, one of his texture fades!  I inked the edges to bring some of the embossing up.  LOVE IT!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holy Schmoley! Check this out!

I posted a bit ago about making paper roses, and linked to a video by uber-talented Tracey Mason.  Did you check it out?  Well, if you didn't, you have GOT to look at this on her blog.  Out of control amazing.  I  thought it was REAL until I read the post.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our 2010 Christmas Tree

Here's our 2010 Christmas Tree!  Can you tell how humongous it is?  It's taller than the star up on the wall, it reaches higher than the ceiling fan, and it was really hard to decorate the upper reaches!  The kids and I got the ornaments on, while Ronnie did the lights himself on Sunday when we were all out of the house.  We love spindly, uneven, tall, and skinny trees with strong branches.  We got this one from an old tree farm in New Gretna-there aren't many trees left on the farm but last year's tree was super awesome and so we went back this year.  The kids really like going to a farm as opposed to a roadside stand.  Those trees are always too short, too fat, too bushy, and too soft for us.

Remember Christmas Vacation, the Chevy Chase movie?  Their tree?  It felt darn close trying to bring this one in!  We were a little worried there might be some critters living in it, but nope, we were in the clear!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fed Ex man was here today!

I was cleaning up my mess in the living room and happened to look out my front window (my living room is in the back of my house, so I never know what's going on out front) and who did my wondering eyes see?  The Fed Ex man!  I ran right out onto the porch in my bare feet to collect not one, not two, but THREE boxes full of NEW GOODIES!  New 2011 products became available to consultants on December 1, giving us time to prep projects for January.  I was so excited to order it that I was clicking and submitting without really making a plan first, hence the three boxes!  LOL!

Here's just a little sneak peek at the new paper that will be available in January.  It is GORGEOUS!  So are the new stamp sets (of course I sniffed each one because they smell so good!) and some other new goodies that I am not going to talk about...yet!  I am going to start playing TODAY!!!!

If you are not on my mailing list, you should be!  Click on the side to add yourself.  If you are on my mailing list then you already know that I am offering a GREAT deal to anyone and everyone who attends NO RULES Scrapbooking CLub this month (Dec. 16th at 10 am and Dec. 17th at 7 pm).  We are working with Magnifique (my favorite paper) and creating a fabulous Magic layout that includes a mini album right on the page.  Not only will you receive all the full sheets of paper like always, you will also receive a page protector so that you can cut it to allow for the mini album.  AND the first three people to arrive on the 16th and the first three to arrive on the 17th will receive a FREE Lagoon Mini Medleys embellishment pack!  AND all attendees will receive a FREE mini Idea Book (Inspirations) plus all the details about the fantastic deals coming your way in January. YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tracey Mason's Paper Roses

This is a great tutorial from a fellow CTMH consultant named Tracey Mason. If you love those paper flowers that are EVERYWHERE right now, here is a super simple way to make them!

Plenty for Twenty!!!

Hooray for December!! This month's special is for everyone!  Simply place a $20 order on my website ( ) and CTMH will add a FREE D-sized stamp set that has been retired...and they are sending out the most popular of the retired sets!  FREE FREE FREE!!!  No tax or shipping will be assessed on that set, so it is really free.  Whoo HOO!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More STUDIO J layouts!

 Our pumpkin picking layout above.

First day of school for the kids below.

 Father/Daugher Luau below!
I adore Studio J!  I never EVER thought I would use digital scrapping in my albums.  I have blogged about this before, and I'll blog it again:  I do NOT like how digital pages look...but Studio J pages look so much like my regular CTMH pages that I LOVE how fast, easy, and simple it is to scrap with Studio J!!

I love Close to My Heart's philosophy of scrapbooking:  faster, simpler, easier.  So to use a tradtional digital scapping program, first you have to buy it (and hope hope hope you like it!).  Then install it on your computer. And, if your computer is old like mine, purchase new memory so that it will work and not crash your system.  Ok, then you have to sit and read the manual or invest hours to the learning curve of the porgram.  Digital scrapping is so different from traditional scrapping that it takes a while to learn how to do it efficiently.  There are SO many tips and tricks and shortcuts that it really takes a while to "get good" at it.

In comparison, here's how to use Studio J.  Go to my website ( and click on Studio J.  Upload pictures now, and do so later.  Choose a kit to work with from an extensive library of current and retired paper packs from CTMH (Studio J members getr exclusive online only paper kits to choose from as well!).  Choose a layout design from our fabulous How-To Books:  Magic, Imagine, and Cherish (Studio J members can get exclusive layouts too!).  Choose a kit mix, which is your layout design presented with different papers...all can be changed later.  Then the layout appears, and you can drag over your photos, resize them, correct them, etc!  The layouts come with pre-loaded embellishments such as ribbons, buttons, brads, etc., but they can be removed with one click if you want to do that yourself, or just colorize them like I do.  You can add My Stickease and resize them (FABULOUS feature!), add custom titles with My Stickease or with text boxes, add more embellies, add paper distressing, choose new papers, change colors of papers to fit your photos, rotate pages, and so much more!  And all that for FREE!!!!  There is NO charge, NO downloading necessary.  You don't pay a thing until you decide to buy your creations. 

Becoming a Studio J member is even better value!  All layouts are half priced and membership opens all the exclusive paper packs and layout designs too.  Click on the Studio J membership tab above to read all about the terrific benefits to becoming a member!! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dozin' With Chuck! Studio J layout

Here is one of my Studio J layouts that is being printed and will ship to me soon!  One afternoon in early fall my in-laws let me know that they were having some work done in their backyard.  Some small size excavators were going to be there so off we went!  I think you can click on the layout to see it larger and read the journaling.  LOVE this layout and LOVE LOVE LOVE Studio J!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Updated my calendar

Please check my calendar tab here on my blog (called the upcoming classes/workshops) to see where I am for December and January.  I have many crops coming up and if you are interested in attending a crop, let me know and I will put you in touch with the organizers.  These are not my crops, but I am a vendor at all of them.

I am working on updating my website calendar at but there seems to be some sort of glitch going on.  I will post a link when it gets resolved!  Thanks!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Super Simple Holiday Gift Idea

Did you score big with Black Friday deals?  I have never gone Black Friday shopping, the middle of the night kind!  I did a little shopping later in the day when the insanity was over, and although the store was busy, it was not knock-down-drag-out busy. 

I thought you might like to see a great holiday gift idea that costs very little to buy but makes a BIG impression!  The adorable ornaments on the tree above are made from CTMH's Dimensional Elements Ornaments!  That's right, they are basically chipboard covered in festive holiday Background & Texture paper (B&T is CTMH's patterned paper).  You could also cover the chipboard in glitter, or heat emboss them in silver or gold for an awesome look!

Dimensional Elements Ornaments are found on page 95 of the current Idea Book.  My recommendations for glitter to cover them would be either Prisma Glitter (z134, $4.25, page 98), or even easier would be the Winter Cheer glitter rub-ons (z1222, $13.95, page 93).  For the Glitter Rub Ons, you can use the sheet of glitter to apply glitter mess-free to the chip board.  Silver and gold embossing powders are found on page 96 (silver is z669, $3.95; gold is z668, $3.95), and make a gorgeous metallic sheen to the ornaments.

On page 21 of the Idea Book is a quick tutorial on how to apply a photo to the ornament, then page 20 shows some finished ornaments for some ideas for you.  I think these would just be wonderful presents for the special people in your life!  Quick and easy is the key!

Click HERE to shop for your ornaments today!

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's been CRAZY!!!

Hello!  I'm so sorry that I haven't updated in a while.  My laptop that I do everything on is on the fritz again-this time not the keyboard but the display.  Arrgghh!!  So I am back on the desktop computer that I have nothing saved on.  All my photos are on the laptop. 

Anyway, I just wanted to post quickly and say HI!  I have been working my CTMH business like crazy lately-which is awesome!  I have had back to back weekends of crops, parties, and club, so very little time for creating for my own pleasure.

I did get to go see the new Harry Potter movie last night at the Imax theater in Atlantic City!  It was AWESOME!  I have to put the movies into a separate part of my brain and try not to compare to the book-of course the book is SO much better!  In my opinion, this was the best HP movie thus far.  And I really loved movie 6 because they kept so much of the humor from the book.  If you get a chance, go check it out! 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Calendar Updates

November is a busy month for most of us-you might be traveling for Thanksgiving, or everyone might be coming to you.  We are hosting the family for the big bird this year, which will be lots of FUN!

I updated my website's calendar, so head on over there and take a peek.  Maybe something will match up with your schedule and you can sneak out of your house and come to mine!  This month's Club Kit is OLIVIA and we're tackling two stamping techniques-puddle pads and tissue stamping.  Both are super easy and will add lots of POP and PIZZAZZ to your layouts!

Click HERE to go see my calendar, and don't forget to place an order this month of $100 or more so you can get TWO FREE STAMP SETS!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Some artwork with November's SOTM

Any types of purchases will count for this campaign.  Individual, club, online, party, etc!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little MORE Thanks!

November's Constant Campaign:  A Little MORE Thanks!
In November, when you place an order of $100, you not only earn the Stamp of the Month stamp set (shown below) for free, but you can also choose a second stamp set (sizes A-D) FOR FREE!!!!  Any stamp set in the Idea Book!  Yours FREE!!  Two stamp sets for free = nearly $50 in FREE stamp sets!  Some of my favorite stamp sets in the current book are D1438 Circle of Love, C1422 Unity, D1436 The Present, C1424 Nature's Gift, D1448 Father Christmas, and C1429 Party Pennants.  You can take advantage of this offer through any order-at club, at a workshop, online through my website , at a gathering, or email me with your order and I'll place it for you.
A Little More Thanks SOTM

Saturday, October 30, 2010

If you go to crops...

What do you want to see at your vendors' tables?

I have several large crops coming up in the very near future, and I'd like to pick your brain!  If you have been to a crop, whether it was all day or a full weekend, what do you hope to find on your vendors' tables?  Kits?  Paper packs?  Stamps, inks, blocks?  Accessories?  Tools?  Single sheets of paper and card stock?  Stickers?

Please leave a comment about what you want to see, and it'll be a HUGE help to me!  Oh, and by the way, one lucky commenter will WIN A PRIZE FROM ME!!!  What could it be?  Well, leave a comment and you just might find out!  Thanks so much!!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Holiday Tag Tutorial

This is a step by step photo tutorial of how to create a tag using the ink blending/layering technique.  For this tag, I used bamboo , desert sand , and chocolate inks for the base of the tag.  I used both new england ivy and cranberry inks to stamp the images with.  The tool I love to use for layering inks is the sponge tool from the Texture Tool set-it does a superior job!  The white tag is just from a big box store, although you could easily make your own tags out of cardstock.  The stamp set is called Share the Magic , and it is October's Stamp of the Month!

Begin with bamboo ink--always work lighter ink to darker ink.  Simply rub the sponge tool over the ink pad.

Then rub the tool over the tag, lighter in the center and darker around the edges.  There is no wrong way to do this.  Apply ink until it looks good to you.

Here's the tag just with bamboo ink.
Repeat with desert sand ink, concentrating more on the edges and corners of the tag than the center.  If you make the center too dark, it will be harder to stamp over the ink.

I like to make the corners pretty dark.

Here's after bamboo and desert sand inks have been applied.

Then add chocolate ink, but really stay just on the edges and the corners.  If this is your first time doing this technique, use a light touch until you get the hang of it.  You can always add more ink, but you can't remove it!

See how I'm doing the edges and corners?  Makes it look very vintage-like it's been in your family for eons!

Okay, here it is after all three brown inks have been sponged on.

I wanted to use the Sharing the Magic sentiment with new england ivy ink.

To get a good image every time, ink your stamp with the tap-tap, twist-twist technique!  No need to "smoosh" the stamp into the ink.  I always end on a tap too-so the ink is not smeared on the stamp.  If you rock your block back and forth or press really hard, you will get ink all over your block which will then get on your project.  Just firm pressure, tap-tap, twist-twist.

Decide where you want your image and press firmly onto the tag, straight down.  Use your fingers on both the edges of the block as well as the center-I don't have my fingers there in this photo  because I am right-handed, and to take the picture I had to hold the block with my left hand!  LOL!  So to stamp I really press both holding the block and in the center.

There we are, a nice image.

Then I wanted to add a border and some mittens, so I used this cute set, called Just for the Holidays .

Long borders are sometimes tricky to get on your block so they're straight-especially thin border stamps or curly ones.  A great trick is to lay the stamp on your table or work area, sort of let it drop so it keeps its natural shape.  Make sure the flat surface that sticks to the block is facing up.

Take your appropriately sized block and press it to the back of the stamp, picking it up.  Works like a champ every time!

I inked this border in cranberry ink, a favorite red especially for the holidays.

I centered the border on the end of my tag, and made sure there was scrap paper under my tag to catch the overhanging ink.

Here's a little mitten, so cute.

Twice in the corner.

I added cranberry grosgrain ribbon --to make it look pretty thread the ribbon from the back to the front of the tag, then tuck the ends back through the loop in the back.  Play with the knot a bit to get it how you want it.


This tag needed some bling, so I used the cranberry sparkles from our new Red, Pink, and Purple sparkle pack.

Small and tiny sparkles are hard to transfer from the plastic sheet to your project, so I use the piercing tool to lift them up and adhere them where I want them.  SOOO much easier!

A quick, simple tag that only took a few minutes to make!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ink Blending Technique

This is one of Close to My Heart's most popular new stamp sets!  It's called Circle of Love
and is $22.95.  A really cool technique for stamping with this large peacock (goes so well with Magnifique, shown in the previous post!) is to use sponge daubers and three ink colors.  

Let's get started.

Here is what the finished peacock looks like:
 Start with your stamp set:
 I usually place the 6x6 piece of foam that comes with each stamp set under my paper to help give a really good impression.
 I used the largest block for the peacock and a pack of sponge daubers .
 I chose three coordinating inks that represented three levels of color:  Sky for lightest, Lagoon for medium, and Pacifica for the darkest.
 I flipped the Sky ink pad over and inked the entire peacock with it.
 It's hard to see, but he's covered with Sky blue!
 Then I used a sponge dauber and Lagoon ink to pounce some of the medium blue onto the peacock.  This blends it a bit with the Sky (makes a lovely color) and will help define the peacock.  Notice the glitter on my ink pad?  That's from the Holiday Tag workshop Glitter Explosion!
 Pounce the sponge dauber where you want the darker colors on the peacock, just don't cover up all the Sky blue.  
 This is after I sponged some Pacifica blue onto the stamp as well.
 BEFORE YOU STAMP:  you will need to "huff" on the stamp to remoisten the ink-just breathe out onto the stamp to do this.  Then stamp, making sure you press firmly (see my fingers in the center of the block?) and do not rock the block back and forth!  This does not help!  Firm pressure straight down is what you need.
And voila!  A gorgeous variegated peacock!  Cut him out, pop him up on some foam tape, and add to your project!