Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Summer...the BEST ever!

I generally stick to posts about scrapbooking and what's new with Close to My Heart, but I am just so full of happiness that I have decided to share some of what my summer was all about. I hope you'll indulge me here, and get a peek at how my non-crafting parts of my life make up the crafting parts completely!

2011 was a rough year, to say the least. I separated from my husband and we lived apart from April onward. Our separation was contentious and is still full of tension even though we are now divorced. During this time I swore I would just be alone and raise my kids by myself and never date again. I'm sure you can guess where this is going!!

2012 started out pretty much like 2011--I just kept on going about my routine and really found a lot of solace and healing through my scrapping ladies--truly my club ladies saved me more than they know!

Here we are at our summer BBQ! Love these ladies!
With my club ladies I vented and cried and laughed and vented some more! With the gentle (well, maybe not so gentle!) push from my dear friend Monicarol (far right in the white shirt) I met someone. I had NO interest in dating but she said why not, it's just dating!!

And so I met this man. It was supposed to be just dating, and I told everyone that I am *JUST* dating!

Then he met my sister and her fiance....and we went out to dinner.....he met my parents and then...

These two love playing whiffle ball together!

he met my kids. This was HUGE for me! I swore he would never meet my kids, as we were *just* dating, but he just fits into my family so incredibly well!

They love him! And he is such a natural with them as well, so kind and patient, and we all just like being together!

 Even my cats love him!
So happy!

These two watch Animal Face Off and discuss which animal will win, so funny!

Funny how life works, isn't it?? I really believed I would be alone for the rest of my life, even though I am relatively young, and I was good with that. Then God threw me a curve ball and I hit a home run. I am SO GLAD that my dear friend Monicarol gave me that not-so-gentle push!  (I showed this post to Barry, and he read that line above that I believed I'd be alone for the rest of my life, and he said "You'll never be alone again, not for as long as I'm alive". Made me cry!!!)

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 Pumpkin Patch

Yesterday my family and I went to the pumpkin patch to ride a hayride and choose our pumpkins--a favorite annual tradition. This year, however, was a little different.

At our CTMH Convention in Dallas this past summer, we had the honor of listening to Stacy Julian speak to all of us, and one of the things she said made such an impact on me. She told a story about a woman who shared a scrapbook layout with Stacy and said it was about her grandmother at Thanksgiving--and Stacy noticed that there was a tiny photo of the grandmother in the corner of the layout--but no details about why that particular year was any more special than another year.

We all have those photos of the annual events-for me it's birthdays, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, Easter--the biggies. My Pumpkin Patch photos are very similar to other years, just like yours might be.  But this year we had a new family member join us.

My boyfriend Barry joined us for our patch adventure, and would you believe it was his FIRST pumpkin patch EVER??? He really didn't know what to expect but the kids were so super excited that he wanted to come with us. It was a gorgeous day, just a bit windy, which is why Maggie wore her sweatshirt over her hair, and why Natey has his face all squinty--plus he was so excited to get going!

 As soon as we got out off of the hayride, both kids took off in search of the perfect pumpkin.

Maggie quickly chose a pumpkin for Barry, although he did later switch it out for a darker colored one that the kids approved of.

 Back on the hayride with our treasures.
 We bumped into an old friend of mine while playing in the hay maze, and she took a couple of photos of our family (there was a tiny and pretty worn out hay bale to sit on and it was sort of crowded!). We offered to take a family photo for her as well, but her little boy, Jack, wouldn't leave the hay maze and she was happily resigned to spending all day watching him run around!
Barry said that he really enjoyed himself, much more than it appears in the photos! He is learning that I do take photos of everything and then document our adventures. When I do scrapbook these photos, much of my journaling is going to be about how our family as changed since April 2012 (when Barry and I met) and some of our plans for the future. Next year, we all agreed, we're going to a BIG pumpkin patch!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Discover the Possibilities of Cricut® Craft Room

If you love your Cricut® machine, then you are going to adore all of the fabulous things you can do with Close To My Heart Cricut® cartridges in the Cricut® Craft Room. Create layers, cut negative space in the shape of your choice, make borders, and link elements together for a connected look. It’s easy! We’ll show you how.
Here is how to get started with Cricut® Craft Room:
  1. Create a FREE account in a few easy steps.
  2. Download and run the application for PC or MAC, depending on the type of computer you use.
  3. Connect your Cricut® machine to your computer using a Type B USB cable. (Note: For more info on this type of cable, see your Cricut® user’s guide or your local electronics store.) Once you have connected your computer to your Cricut® machine, the “Load Mat” button is the only button you will ever need to push on your machine in the entire process. Cricut® Craft Room will do everything else for you.
  4. Once inside the application, choose the type of Cricut® machine you own.
  5. Insert your Close To My Heart Art Philosophy or Artiste cartridge into your Cricut® machine.
  6. In the lower left portion of the application there is a tab that is labeled “Images/Cartridges.” Select “All Cartridges” from the dropdown menu. (Note: You must choose a cartridge that you own. You can also purchase individual images from the Cricut® store.)
  7. Scroll to find the Close To My Heart Art Philosophy or Close To My Heart Artiste cartridges you own.
  8. The virtual mat in Cricut® Craft Room is just like the mat you’ll load into your machine. And, it is oriented the same way that you will load your mat into the machine, with the arrow at the top.
  9. To drag an image to the mat, simply click on the image in the image selection tool box and move it to the mat.
  10. Once the image is on the virtual mat, you can adjust the placement by clicking on the image and moving it to any location on the mat.
  11. Now that you know the basics, you can start creating and exploring the possibilities!

Follow these steps to create the negative space on a card base, like you see on this Cheer Up card, featuring images from the Art Philosophy cartridge:
  1. Select the “Card” tab in the Art Philosophy images. Find the card base you prefer and drag it onto the mat. (We used Square 1 for the Cheer Up card.) The image will be cut in the exact direction and location that you place it on the virtual mat. At the top of the screen, or at the left under the “Shape Properties” tab, you’ll see size boxes. Enter the width and height for your shape. This is the size it will be cut on the machine, regardless of what size your machine indicates on the flip screen.

  1. Choose an image to cut out of your card front. We have chosen a butterfly by going to the Basics tab, clicking the “Show Shift/Lock Images” at the bottom, and then selecting the butterfly. Drag the image to the right side of the card base, position it, and alter the size, as desired. Once the image is in place, you will see a cut-out image in its place. This Weld feature is automatically on unless you disable it, and allows you to see how the card base will look with your images cut out.

  1. Select another image, drag it to the card base, and position it how you’d like it. Continue adding images to the card base, if desired.

  1. To cut your finished artwork, load the mat into your Cricut® machine and insert the corresponding cartridge. Next, press the green Cut button at the top of the computer screen and follow the prompts. The machine will cut the shapes as you have prepared them in Craft Room. If more than one cartridge shape has been added to the project, the machine and screen will prompt you with instructions.

Here are so more artwork examples that have been made using Cricut® Craft Room software. Follow the instructions below to learn some more fun tricks we used in creating this artwork.

Birthday Greetings card

Here’s how to create the bracket frame as shown in this Birthday Greetings card:
  1. Drag a card base from Art Philosophy cartridge and size it to be 9" wide and 4½" high.
  2. Add a 1½" bracket frame (from the Basic tab) to the center of the right side of the card. So far, all of the shapes have been placed in Layer 1. You can add additional layers using the Layer feature located toward the top of the screen, directly above the mat. Each Layer will be cut from a separate sheet of paper and is indicated by a different color on the screen. Using the Layer feature allows you to fully design your Cricut® shapes before cutting any pieces.
  3. Add a second Layer by clicking the plus sign. Click and hold the Layer 2 tab and drag the tab to the left so it is first in the row. This allows you to see the second Layer on top of the first so you can visualize your finished project. Drag a 3" bracket frame to the card base and position it over the 1½" frame. Then, still using Layer 2, add a 1½" bracket frame in the center of the 3" frame.
  4. Maneuver the Layer 2 frames so that they perfectly line up with the Layer 1 frame. Use your keyboard arrows for exactness.
  5. Cut the pieces following the prompts on the computer screen and Cricut® machine. Layer 2 will be cut first, so be sure to load that paper first. Then load a new sheet of paper for the Layer 1 pieces.
  6. Embellish the card as desired.

All Boy page

Want to create a border that spans the entire length of your 12" page? It’s easy!
  1. In Craft Room, change the mat size to 12" x 24" under Machine & Mat tab on the left of the screen.
  2. Drag your selected border to the mat and rotate it so it is vertical.
  3. Change the height of the border to 12". It will automatically change the width proportionally unless you click the aspect ratio button between the width and height measurements.
  4. Whether you have a 12" × 24" mat or a 12" × 12" mat, you can use this function with a 12" × 12" piece of paper. Simply place the border as close to the top of the Craft Room mat as possible, but not exactly flush with the top.

  1. Cut the piece following the prompts on the computer screen and Cricut® machine.
To create the title with the letters joined together to form one piece instead of individually cut letters…
  1. Drag your letters to the mat
  2. Overlap portions of each letter to connect them
  3. Use the Weld feature to join the letters together seamlessly.
  4. Cut the piece following the prompts on the computer screen and Cricut® machine.
There are so many possibilities to explore in the Cricut® Craft Room using the versatile Art Philosophy and Artiste cartridges from Close To My Heart! If you have any questions about using Cricut® Craft Room, visit where a Cricut® employee will be glad to help you. Be sure to get your Art Philosophy and Artiste Cricut® cartridges today in order to create with them in this new and exciting environment!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Clementine layouts, Moonlight club layouts, and some Smash pages!

First up:  our three 2-page layouts for club in October. The second layout is intentionally plain, as once I get the Moonlight Complements, I will dress it up.

Then, some Clementine! These layouts were given to us as part of our Convention create and takes. I decided to use my photos of my roommate Penny and me and some of our adventures!

And finally, some new Smash book pages! My book is very nearly filled up! The first one is a page without photos--sometimes I really wish I had an iPhone so I could take photos all the time instead of my big camera. But instead I used the receipts from our weekend and journaled about what we did. The second page is one of my favorites--from our date night at Wildwood, NJ< riding the roller coaster! And of course, a photo booth strip that is also my favorite. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Clearly the Best: Dauber Dynamite (S01E05)

Studio J tricks--these are SO cool!

Studio J® Tricks to Add Flair to Your Layouts

Even though Studio J® is fast and easy to use, it is helpful to know some great tricks that can make customizing your layouts even more exciting. Here are some Studio J tricks straight from our professional Close To My Heart artists:
1. Customize your background and texture paper. You can change the color and intensity of the background and texture paper included in whichever kit you choose. Simply select the piece of background and texture paper, change the color in the color selection tool, and increase or decrease the intensity of the color in that same popup box.
2. Crop My Stickease® quotes, titles, and tags. The cropping feature on the My Stickease images allows you to select a section of a quote, title, or tag to use as a border or other embellishment.
3. Create a customized My Stickease image. If you have a specific image in mind to use as an embellishment on your page, you can create a customized My Stickease to fit your theme perfectly. Simply add a text box, photo hanger, ribbon, ribbon slides, and Stickease to create the little suitcase! So easy! Be sure to crop or send elements behind other elements when necessary, and add several elements together for a unique look!

4. Select more than one element at a time. If you want to move several elements of your layout at once, simply click and drag your mouse around the elements you would like to select. Let’s take buttons, for example. After the buttons have been selected, you can click the icons in the popup box to choose to align the buttons vertically or horizontally if you desire.
5. Make faux washi tape with vellum text boxes. To create the look of a piece of clear washi tape, make a small rectangular text box, filled with vellum background (this is the default color for text boxes). You can make the tape strips as large or small as you want, or even layer them for more emphasis.

6. Stretch one photo across multiple photo wells. If you have fewer photos than photo wells, instead of deleting the excess wells, try scaling the picture to a larger size and then copying the picture to other photo wells and matching the photos up until they align with an almost seamless image. This trick works best with photo wells that are adjacent to each other.
7. Create ruffled ribbon. Select “Ribbons” in the drop-down menu under the Embellishments toolset. Choose ribbon tab and rotate the tab so that it is vertical on the page. Then layer several tabs on top of one another, sending every other one to the back to create a ruffled look.

8. Create a jagged border with text boxes. You can create a jagged border simply by rotating multiple text boxes about 45 degrees and making them the same color as the background. Put these boxes on top of a long, rectangular box of another color, and you’ve got a jagged border!

9. Change the background of your layout. Sometimes you may like the photo and journal arrangement in a layout, and yet want to change the background colors. Because photos sit on top of everything else, this is easy to do. Simply pull a journaling box over the space you want for a different background and fill it with a color from the color selection tool or a patterned paper from the Papers toolset. Then, send it backwards until the photo wells are on top of your new background.
Bonus Trick! Use keyboard keys to make embellishments. Did you know that some of the best tools for creating custom embellishments are the basic keys on your keyboard? It’s as simple as typing into a journaling box with no background color. Use periods to make a polka dot pattern, angle brackets to create a trendy Chevron look, overlapping pound signs to make burlap, question marks to make rope, and so much more!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CTMH October Stamp of the Month: Very Merry Christmas

This stamp set is AWESOME! Most of the shapes are Cricut compatible and that makes it a snap to create adorable tags or even some tree ornaments! You can get this set by purchasing it by itself for $17.95, or adding it to your order of $50 or more for just $5. Such a great value! Shop now!