Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful for You.

Thanksgiving Day is coming to a close. The dishes are piled high in the drainer, dishwasher is humming softly, windows are open, feet are up. I'm about to watch a movie with my little family and relax after a long, lovely day.

I have many things to be grateful for. The typical things most of you hopefully share: A loving family, good friends, and good health.

I wish I could convey just how thankful I am for YOU, though. It's difficult with just words. If I could, I would send each and every person who visits my blog and leaves me a comment something made by hand, or a big tight hug. I'm so blessed to have so many followers and craft enthusiast friends of my blog, I think it would take me to the end of my days to do that.

So I would like you to do me a favor: Know in your heart that if you have stopped here at my blog, if you've ever left a comment, or if you have been inspired just one time by one of my creations and let me know, I am eternally grateful to you. I cherish every comment left. You always make my day.

Americans: Happy Thanksgiving.

Everyone: thank you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Welcome to my Holiday Open House

I had promised to share my Holiday Open House photos with you a few weeks ago and am finally getting the chance. It was another big turn-out and huge success. Everyone loved the new Close To My Heart holiday product line. This was how it played out…

Welcome! Please take a free Holiday Gift Guide and a "how to win raffle tickets" sheet. Feel free to browse around and let me know if you have any questions. I'll be giving away the new Magical Days stamp set and a 2 x 2 block today, so be sure to collect your raffle tickets at the end of your visit and drop them in the bucket. Oh, and don't forget your free goodie just for coming. A mini stamp set perfect for the holidays.

This is my 7th Annual Holiday Workshop coming up December 7th. Will you be joining us?

The new Sparkle & Shine Workshop on the Go scrapbooking kit. Don't you love this layout and the Sparkle & Shine Assortment and exclusive stamp set that comes in this kit?

Are you already a member of my Kit of the Month Club? This is our December kit featuring the new Sparkle & Shine papers and coordinating chipboard complements. Here are the details on my club…

This was my November kit to show an example. It features the new Frosted papers and card stock sticker collection in addition to a few Cricut cuts from the new Artbooking Cricut Cartridgesome silver brads and shimmer trim. Each month, kit club members receive materials to make four scrapbook pages. I design them, provide photos and instructions and all the supplies needed to create them. Members join for 12 months at $20 per month. (shipping charges additional). It's a great way to keep up on your scrapbooking, which is always a challenge. I make it super easy for you! Contact me today to join in 2014 by emailing me direct at  (note: this Frosted kit is no longer available.)

Now back to the Open House...

When you're ready, relax and enjoy a holiday snack while you ponder over the products you've seen so far.

So many great alterable items this season. The kraft container is a favorite and these cut gift bags are easy to adorn.

The My Creations Cubby is perfect for a holiday advent calendar. Especially when you use the Magical Days stamp set with it.

You can have all kinds of fun coloring in these whimsical holiday images from the Candyland stamp set. This is when those alcohol markers come in handy.

These circle spin cards are so unique and fun. (left) Combined with the Frosted papers, you can make a beautiful winter card for the season. Silver shimmer trim, silver glitter paper, and silver embossing powder make for a really pretty holiday card (right) too.

This Trim the Tree stamp set features the new coordinating Sparkle Holiday Shapes: holiday rhinestone shapes which are adhesive-backed and outline the stamped images perfectly. What a great idea!

These little cuties were fun to make with the new Sparkle & Shine papers. A little glitter adds a nice touch.

Before you go, please enjoy a quick and easy holiday tag make-n-take. For $1 donation to Operation Smile, you can enjoy crafting while feeling good about helping those in need. 

Here are two different ways you can create your tag using the same materials. Everything here was cut on the Cricut using the Art Philosophy and Artiste cartridges.

Thanks for visiting my open house. You can order anytime on my Close To My Heart website and click on the SHOP tab to get started. If you spend at least $100, you qualify for a free "star" item from the new Holiday Gift Guide! To view the entire gift guide online or any of our current Idea Books, simply go here.

My winner of the stamp set raffle was Melanie Williams. Congrats Melanie!

Friday, November 22, 2013

12 Tags of 2013 - November Journal Page

What fun this month's technique was for Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2013. An easy faux-chalkboard treatment using embossing powder and chalk. Be sure to check out Tim's tag here as he shows you his steps to create it.

Meanwhile I'm working on 6 x 8 inch journal pages inspired by Tim's tags and I'm so excited that the year is almost over so I can bind all my pages into a creative journal. While I didn't have some of the supplies Tim used, I managed to create a similar look with what I had on hand.

My pages are all Bristol vellum surface, 100 lb. by Strathmore and measure 6 x 8 inches as mentioned above.

Let me take you through the steps I took to create this page…

Scattered Straw Distress Ink first. Then an outer blending of Wild Honey.

Then some Vintage Photo.

Stamp background image with Potting Soil archival ink.

Black card stock piece is cut 3 1/2 x 6 1/4 then stamped with Versamark and sprinkled with detail white embossing powder. (I didn't have the frosted stuff Tim used, but the technique worked well.)

After the embossing powder is heated and cool to the touch, then I scrubbed a piece of white chalk over everything and smeared it in with my finger.

I cut four pieces of medium brown card stock. Two pieces are 1/2 x 4 inches and the other two are 1/2 x 7 inches. These will serve as my chalkboard faux wood frame.

Dip a dry stipple brush into Walnut Stain re-inker and brush most of it off onto a scrap of paper or a paper towel. You want the brush to be lightly coated, not saturated for the next step.

Lightly sweep the stipple brush over each card stock strip to give the illusion of woodgrain.

Miter the corners and ink the edges with Black Soot Distress Ink.

Assemble the frame with tape on the backside to hold it together.

Then adhere the frame over the chalkboard piece and adhere this unit to the page.

Stamp images onto cream card stock with Black archival ink and let dry. Then sweep a stroke of Distress Stain in fall colors as desired. Don't over-saturate the image. Just a sweep will do.

Once the images are dry, cut them out, ink the edges with Walnut Stain and adhere to journal page or tag. I used foam tape to pop up the acorn...

…and this leaf.

So what do you think? It was so quick and easy, yet looks complicated. Are you making the 12 Tags this year? I'd love to hear if you're doing anything unique to yours.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ooh la la. Couture is here!

I couldn't help it. I just had to dig into my recent Graphic 45 Design Team box I received earlier this week. Can you blame me really? Check it out…

The box was filled with the two newest collections from Graphic 45: Couture and Sweet Sentiments. Plus a few extra goodies not in the photo.

While I know I should wait and plan my designs for CHA (Winter Craft & Hobby Association, January 2014) I just couldn't stand it and had to make SOMEthing, ANYthing with some of these beauties. I chose Couture today and can't wait to do something with Sweet Sentiments soon.

Just a quick card...

I'm telling you, if you can't see it here, the colors in this collection are absolutely delicious. Deep yet bright colors, and ever-so-fabulousl vintage imagery. Graphic 45 simply cannot go wrong.

The deep coral along with the ocean blue is such a striking combination. If you know your color wheel, you know these are opposing, complementary colors. Brilliant!

The cut-aparts in the papers serve as wonderful embellishments. 

And we can't forget the inside of the card. A few strips of paper on the left and a stamped sentiment finish it off nicely. Did you know this is a Graphic 45/Hampton Art stamp set and matching die, available from Sizzix?

I got this at my local Hobby Lobby and I've also seen it in Joann's. I absolutely love it!

Well, just a quick post for me today. Hope you're having a great Wednesday. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Graphic 45 Tags & Bows for the Holidays

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you had a wonderful weekend wherever you are. Today, I'm happy to share a fun and easy holiday craft idea you can enjoy with friends or family. Gorgeous holiday tags and a fun bow-making tutorial using Graphic 45's "Twelve Days of Christmas" collection. I'm featured over on the Graphic 45 blog today with my project, so be sure to hop over there and leave a comment so you can be entered to win their fabulous prize package this week. And while you're there, don't miss Denise Hahn's beautiful ballet slippers she created. She shares a video tutorial as well.

Here's a look at my tags. They were so fun and simple to make. All I used was Twelve Days of Christmas chipboard, flowers, and some pattern paper.

Here's my video that includes a bow-making tutorial toward the end. 

I'll be happy to send you the PDF template for the bows. Just e-mail me at
or you can grab the attached PDF off the Graphic 45 blog.

Let me know if you try out the bows. I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gift Box Idea for Dad

Today I'm featured alongside the talented Denise Hahn on the Graphic 45 blog as we both share some memory box gift ideas for Dad (or any man in your life). I've supplied a tutorial on my project over there so be sure to check it out. And I'll warn you now, grab a tissue before you read about Denise's heartfelt tribute to her late father. It's very touching to say the least.

My project started with a Graphic 45 12 x 12 inch Matchbook Box and Birdsong paper and embellishments. Full supply list has been provided on the G45 blog.

This is more of a tribute to my husband, Paul, who is a great dad to our teenage daughter. Birdsong was the perfect choice for him because he is half-Japanese. 

I created a hinged panel to the top of the box to showcase this layout of them together on the left, and the actual gifts are tucked inside the box on the right. All instructions are on the G45 blog, as I've mentioned.

Perfect gifts for a guy like Paul: Cigars, matches, golf balls, whiskey, boxers, and chocolate. LOL!

This really says it all about Paul. He's a strict father, not a mushy one by any means, but he gives of himself so selflessly all the time. That's where his love comes from. (Plus, he's funny as hell which we both really love about him.)

Be sure to hop over to the Graphic 45 blog, check out my tutorial, and leave a comment there. You may just WIN something!

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you enjoyed the project. Have a wonderful day!