Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Stamp of the Month Blog Hop

"Cherish the Moment" is the name of Close To My Heart's May Stamp of the Month (D1421), and it includes eight great ticket/tag style images to make any card for any occasion or for a perfect little tag next to a photo on a scrapbook page.

If you're hopping along in the Stamp of the Month Blog Hop, you came here from Teri's blog. Make sure you keep on hopping to check out all the great ideas and inspiration!

For my card above I used papers from the new Splendor paper pack, a button, a new Splendor Designer Brad, some Spring Blossoms layered on each other, twill ribbon inked with Topiary, and a chipboard border. For the actual stamp, I did some paper piecing and used Topiary ink for most all of the stamping, and Goldrush on the word "Cheers."

For this simple little tag, I again used the Splendor papers and incorporated our new Cocoa ribbon then added some Colonial White Bitty Brads and Big Brads. I love how all the stamps in this set have small check boxes next to phrases so you can customize your sentiment. Fun!

Now hop on over to Jessica's blog to check out what she's created with this versatile stamp set.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Studio J is Here!

Studio J design software is online digital scrapbooking offered through Close To My Heart consultants' websites. It's been in the design phase for several years now and after some consultant testing and company tweaking, it is NOW available to you starting today, April 27th!

What's great about Studio J is you don't have to purchase any software. It's online! You simply go to my website and click on the "Studio J Online Scrapbooking" tab and it takes you through the super easy process of starting an account and creating scrapbook layouts.

Without having to purchase software, this means you can simply go online and play for FREE! Upload your photos, choose from the pre-designed layouts (yes, that means the layouts are already done for you!) and select the paper you like, then you can even select different combinations of the papers you've selected.

Then, when you really get into it, you can add stickers, customized titles, journaling, ink distressing, brads, flowers, you name it! And you can crop, rotate, zoom, and add effects to your photos. Check out some close-ups of my pages from our trip to Savannah...

I added these buttons, changed their colors, added some waxy flax and changed the color of that too. I added a sticker and I could even make it run off the edge of the page.

I added this "The Sweet Life" sticker right over the corner of this photo of my manly husband who is smoking a cigar and drinking whiskey. The Studio J software automatically adds a soft shadow when applying elements like buttons and stickers, so it really gives a dimensional look to the layout. Notice those three black brads? I feel like I could reach out and touch them.

This label is a sticker in Studio J, and what's great is I can enlarge or reduce the stickers to any size I like. I made it just big enough to type the word "Together" on it. I also used the alphabet stickers to make the word "Relaxing" above this label. So easy!

The journaling block can be altered from a velum background like mine, to a different color, or even to a clear background. There are many CTMH fonts to pick from for your journaling. And do you see that great distressing treatment on the edges of the papers? That's an option too! You can do all kinds of distresses or none at all.

When you are happy with your completed layouts, you add them to your shopping cart. (No rush, you have 90 days to play, decide & order.) The layouts are processed, not printed, using a silver-halide process considered the highest standard in the photo developing industry. This process yields "100 year + quality" that has long been tested and used by the top photo labs in the world.

I encourage you to give Studio J a try as soon as possible. You will absolutely love the ease and simplicity of it. If you have any questions once you get rolling, feel free to give me a call or e-mail me.

I have a special offer to those of you who purchase any quantity of Studio J layouts: In the month of May, purchase ANY amount of layouts through my website and receive FREE 12 x 12 page protectors for the amount of pages you purchase, plus your name will be entered into my drawing for a FREE 12 x 12 Linen Album! These items will come from me personally, so be sure to contact me once you've placed your Studio J order!

Studio J two-page layouts cost $12.95 plus shipping/handling.

For 5 - 9 layouts purchased, you will automatically receive 5 page protectors free from CTMH.

For 10 - 20 layouts purchased, you will get FREE SHIPPING/HANDLING plus 5 page protectors for every five layouts in your order.

Get Scrappin' Today with Studio J! (I just made that up.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Veranda Mini Album Instructions

The video is on hold until I get my new Mac next week, so for now I am supplying the cutting guides and directions on my blog as still shots. Many of you were wanting to make this as a Mother's Day gift, so I thought we'd better get to it so you'd have time to add photos and journaling for Mom.

Supplies you'll need to make this album:
• X7119B Veranda Level 2 paper pack (You'll use only one quarter of the pack)
• X7119C Veranda Level 2 Stickease
• Z1098 Love Letters Rub-ons
• Z1131 Creme Brulee Ribbon Rounds Collection
• Chipboard Book • Cutting Mat • Craft Knife • Adhesive • Scissors • Foam Tape • Sanding block • Chocolate ink and a sponge or finger dauber • Chocolate marker
The album itself was a Mary Engelbreit chipboard book from Michael's for one dollar, but if you can't find one anymore here's a template you can import into any program on your computer and enlarge it to 6 x 6, cut it out and trace it onto thin cardboard to make as many pages as you like! The Veranda mini album has 5 physical pages to it.

I like to start with little Post-its of each page. This will help you keep the paper pieces organized as you cut them. Since there are 5 physical pages, there will be 10 total pages to cover. My post-its say: FC (for front cover), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and BC (back cover).

For the next several photos, the cutting directions are provided right in the photo. It's really easy! As you cut, make your piles under your Post-its. Here we go...

Now that all the cutting is done, you are ready to start assembling. Here are close-ups of each page with tips and directions below each photo. If you can't see a detail clearly enough, simply click on it and you'll get an enlarged view. I have used Chocolate ink for all ink distressing unless otherwise mentioned. Have fun!

FRONT COVER: Cut a piece of the Creme Brulee 1/4 inch grosgrain ribbon about 7 inches long. Lay it on a scrap sheet of paper and ink the ribbon with Chocolate ink on a finger dauber. You can leave the ribbon alone if you prefer. I just liked the muted look with the Chocolate. Put it aside to dry. Assemble the album cover as shown in this photo utilizing the Stickease, foam tape, sanding rough edges and ink distressing. I recommend applying the rub-ons before you stick down the label sticker. As a final touch, I used the brush tip of a Chocolate marker to create shadows behind the stem sticker so that it stood out a little better from the background paper.

PAGE 1: Did you remember to punch through the hole for the ring on the front cover? Do that now, before you start page 1. This page is really easy and requires little direction. Just remember to do the rub-on first on that piece of yellow paper. It's harder to do after you have it down since the front cover is so bumpy with embellishments. TIP: Cut the rub-on to the length you want it FIRST before rubbing it down. Use non-sticky scissors if you have them.

PAGE 2: Another easy page. See how I used a circle punch to clip away the corners on the Juniper photo mat? Those brads are actually stickers from the Stickease set. On this page, you're going to apply the rub-on AFTER the paper and ribbon is adhered to the page. Fold over the ribbon to the back side. It'll get covered up when you get to page 3. Don't forget to use your foam tape to pop up elements, but BEWARE, do not pop up elements on both of the facing pages. Choose one of the two. This will avoid any problems with the book opening, sticking, etc. I didn't know this was going to happen and I popped up stuff on both sides, and my book sticks together terribly!

PAGE 3: You might have discovered by now that it's helpful to use a cutting knife and mat to trim up any paper or stickers that hang off the edges. On this page I used a piece of a border sticker and added it a piece of Cocoa cardstock (that I failed to include in the cutting directions, sorry! You might be able to salvage that piece from your scraps.) The Cocoa piece is about 5/8 x 4 1/2 inches long. Then I added some ribbon and tied it in a bow. Obviously this has to be done before you stick it all down. The LOVE rub-on was easy to apply after the whole page was assembled.

PAGE 4: It's becoming pretty clear what to do on these pages, right? Just keep in mind on this page that if you are going to adhere the corner stickers, you'll want to be mindful that you'll need to slip a photo underneath. What I like to do is peel off the sticker's backing, cut the backing so where I don't want the sticker to stick and reapply it to the back of the sticker until I'm ready to put down my photo. Then I peel and stick that edge back down.

PAGE 5: Again, I used portions of one sticker border for the photo mat of this page. I popped up the circle with the sticker on it, but again didn't stick it completely down so that I can slip my photo under it a little.

PAGE 6: This page has another of those border stickers which has been cut in half, so that I have two six-inch long stickers to fit across the album. Although I used large Chocolate eyelets for the holes for my ribbon at the top, you can simply punch large holes with a Crop-a-dile tool. I feel like I wasted those eyelets since I can't see them very well behind the ribbon.

PAGE 7: This page has a lot of vertical action going on. Use nice sharp scissors to cut the ribbon, or you can cut your ribbon a little long and fold it under on itself for a cleaner look. To keep ribbon from fraying, I use a product called Fray Check that I purchase in the sewing department of WalMart.

PAGE 8: We're almost done! I cut the large headline sticker so that it just reads "Enjoy Life". I added some leftover swirly rub-ons here and there, and I cut a label sticker and added just the ends to the right and left of the "Enjoy Life" sticker. The ribbons on this page can be folded over to the back cover since you're going to cover them up later.

BACK COVER: Layers of paper, border stickers and those botanical square stickers pull this page together. Before I butted those Cocoa cardstock squares, I inked all the edges with Chocolate ink. When they butt together, they look nicer than if you had cut one long piece of cardstock, don't you think?

FINAL TOUCHES: Now you can have fun with all that leftover pretty ribbon and tie pieces to the ring for a pretty, feminine touch. Make sure to cut the ribbon ends on an angle and touch them with a little Fray Check so they don't fray over time and handling.

This was a long one! If you have any questions or are confused by anything, please don't hesitate to contact me via e-mail. I would love to hear how your album creating went, so please come back and make a comment!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Clearly Adorable

Consider this an official sneak peek into the Close To My Heart Summer product line! I have this thing for kitchen-fruity-foodie types of the images. Love the vintage style the best. So when CTMH came out with their Cherry-O line of papers and embellishments, I was excited. I wouldn't say it's necessarily vintage, but it certainly can be made to look so.

Take a look at this card I made for my buddy Lisa who is having a birthday today...

It was a little hard to photograph because the card is clear. CLEAR CARDS (Z1309) are going to be a new addition this summer! They come in a pack of eight with four of them being a round scallop like mine and four square ones with rounded corners. Also included in the package are eight clear envelopes, which make a really great presentation when handing this cute card to a friend.

Those great beaded stickers are called "Opaques" Cherry-O (Z1319). There is a variety of six to a pack and they are pearly and so pretty, don't you think? Such fun to play with. The papers are from a new Level 2 Paper Pack called "Cherry-O" as well. (X7123B) The ribbon is from the Sweet Leaf ribbon rounds. (Z1125)

I found it both challenging and fun to work with a clear card like this. It takes a little more time to plan things out, and to get the placement right, but it's worth it in the end. The stamp sets I used for this card are D1264 Angel Whispers (flowers and phrases) and the Happy Birthday is from the Happy Birthday set (C1257). I used Bonding Memories Glue (1512) to adhere everything and it worked very nicely on the clear acrylic card with hardly any show through.

This is the back of the card, and I hated to cover up those cute cherries, but I had to include her iTunes gift card somehow (she's hoping to get an iPad from her hubby. Lucky!) So I used my Revolution die "Library Pocket" and slipped the gift card inside and stuck the whole thing right to the back of the card. To finish it off, I just had to add another one of those little Cherry-O Opaques. Love those cuties.

Well, I better hurry and get this card over to her before she reads my blog. Thanks for looking and enjoy your day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Keeping up with Technology: Inevitable

Another beautiful Florida weekend. Fun with family and friends. And what a successful Clearance Sale I had on Saturday. It was also my four-year anniversary with Close To My Heart!

Saturday evening, I had the house to myself. (Well, to myself and Suki). Hubby had to work and daughter was at a sleepover, so Suki and I got busy with my Veranda Mini Album video. We got a new Canon FS31 Camcorder (rather than a new computer) and it is so easy to use. I created an 10-minute video for Part 1 of the album tutorial.

I was so proud and happy to have accomplished that! I celebrated with a glass of wine, and then excitedly prepared to transfer the video clips from the camera to my Mac. (iMac G5, six years old, but hanging in there) When I fished out the software CDs from the camera box, I discovered they were labeled for Windows users only. No bother, I went to the web and checked for the online software for Mac users. Canon and Apple have a very good relationship, so I knew there were no worries there.

I get to the appropriate download area of the Canon website and find that in order to use this particular camera, I must have the latest system software and processor. Ugh!! If you have been keeping up with my blog over the past few months, you already know that I have been trying very hard to avoid the expense of purchasing another computer, and thus was so happy when we thought the new camcorder was going to help save that cost.

Now my question is: Do I want to make videos so badly that I will bite the bullet and purchase a new Mac? (Not to mention that if we don't get a new Mac, we won't be able to use ANY videos we take on the new camcorder.) A six-year-old iMac is now considered an antique, sadly, so I know it's just a matter of time anyway. Hubby and I discussed it and have decided that it's time, so I am ordering my new iMac today.

The only downside to this is that it puts my plans of purchasing the iPad 3G on hold for a bit longer.

For those of you who were looking forward to my video tutorial for the Veranda Mini Album, I ask you to please be patient. In the meantime, I will provide visual still-shots of the instructions here on my blog if you were hoping to make the mini album in time for Mother's Day. You can look for that this week.

Thanks for your patience. I enjoyed making the video part 1, so I know there will be many more to come in the near future.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mini Mojo Surprise

While I was shopping at the Scrappy Boutique recently, I picked up a great Sizzix die I've never seen before. It's called "Box, Business Card" and it is recommended to use board thicknesses of at least .035" to .05" for best results.


Ideas immediately starting pinging around in my head, so I bought it and tried it out right away. It makes this cute little purse-like box and includes a little flower and handle strip in the die. (You'll see the photo later on in this post.)

Anyway, once I made the box, I thought "What now?" So I printed out today's Mojo Monday Blog Sketch and started in on a miniature card to fit into the box. A gift card fits perfectly inside the card itself, which also fits nicely into the box. It was kinda fun to make a teeny little card. Never done that before.

Here's the sketch (above) and then my card. Be sure to check out the other photos to see how the box turned out.

All papers, ribbon and stamps are from Close To My Heart. The box stays closed by affixing two thin craft magnets. One to the underside of the purse flap and the other is inside the box. For the board, I chose a pad of Strathmore Linen Canvas Acrylic Paper. 246 lb. It's nice and thick and the linen finish is also nice if you decide not to cover it with patterned paper like I did.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Miracle Kit Coming Soon

The April/May Constant Campaign for Close To My Heart is a beautiful kit that you will really love. The promotion starts on the 15th of April, next Thursday, but I thought I'd share my layouts with you and give you a sneak peek at what this kit contains. After all the photos and descriptions, keep scrolling down to see how you can qualify to get this gorgeous kit and view the list of all the kit contents.

This is the first two-page layout and I followed the kit instructions pretty closely, making small changes in the positioning of the embellishments.

I took these photos outside in the beautiful Florida sunshine, so there are some pretty hard shadows, but basically I wanted to show you the Flip-Flaps on this page. Flip Flaps are 4 x 6 photo protector flaps which have a peel and stick edge for hinging onto your layout for added photos. If I had taken more photos on Easter day, I could also put additional ones in the underside of the Flip Flap too, so that when you life the Flip Flap way up, you'd see not only the photo on the layout below it, but the photos on the inside of the Flip Flap. Make sense? (See promotion image along right edge of blog.)

Now here's layout number 2 in the kit. Again, I followed the kit fairly closely. Can you tell where the Flip Flap is on this layout?

Cool, right? The photo underneath features "The Guys" team playing Pictionary. (The Girls won, naturally.) It wasn't a fantastic shot, but I wanted to remember how much fun we had, so I wanted to make sure to include it. This is where those Flip Flaps are perfect. You could also do some hidden journaling under the Flip Flap if there was a personal message you wanted to document.

Now check this out. The chipboard that comes in this kit has a resist design on each piece. So you can take a finger dauber and some ink, and swirl it on there and it resists the ink in those places, making a very pretty design! The stickers in this kit tie in perfectly to the chipboard, and some stickers even fit directly over the chipboard as shown on the flower in the upper left in this photo. I love that! Don't you?

Here's how it looks close-up on the layout. So pretty!

So, here's what comes in the Miracle Kit and a number of options for qualifying to get it at a discount or even FREE:

• 2 Spring-inspired B&T Papers (one floral, one stripe)
• 5 sheets of Colonial White cardstock
• 1 sheet of Bamboo cardstock
• 1 Crystal Blue Circle B&T Die-Cut
• 1 Sweet Leaf Bracket B&T Die-Cut
• 1 6" x 12" sheet of My Stickease Assortment (stickers)
• 1 6" x 9" Irresistibles Chipboard Die-Cuts
• 1 Mini-Medley Colonial White Collection (embellishments)
• 12" Colonial White Waxy Flax
• 3 4 x 6 Flip Flaps Memory Protectors
• 2 Sponge wedges
• 1 Instruction Brochure (with photos & directions)

1. Purchase the kit outright for $19.95 (CC1009) starting April 15
2. Place a minimum order of $40 and purchase the kit for only $10 (CC1009A) starting April 15
3. Place a minimum order of $60 and purchase the kit for only $5 (CC1009B) starting April 15
4. Sign up as a new Consultant with me between May 1 - 31 and receive the kit FREE
5. Host a Home Gathering between April 15 and May 31 with minimum sales of $300 and receive a kit FREE!

(Tax and shipping apply. Available for a limited time while supplies last.)