Sunday, September 30, 2012

Very Merry Christmas (October SOTM Blog Hop)

Welcome to our Stamp of the Month Blog Hop which features the Very Merry Christmas stamp set from Close To My Heart.   This stamp set includes some great images for creating Christmas gift tags or cards, and all of the stamp images have corresponding shapes which can be cut using the Artiste cartridge for the Cricut.  

If you have come here from Jill's 'Scrap Wench' blog, you are on the right path!  With over 60 Close To My Heart Consultants sharing their creations, you will see many different uses for this stamp set.  Blog Hopping is simple to do - just click on the link at the end of the post on each blog to move to the next one!

Even though this stamp set is perfect for creating Christmas crafts, I decided to try something a little less traditional.  This fabulous little cupcake box is cut using gorgeous paper from the Avonlea kit and the Artiste cartridge.  The box, lid, cupcake wrapper, and tag for the stamped image from Very Merry Christmas were all cut using the Cricut.  My intention was to bake some cupcakes so there would be one to put in the box for the photo, but failed to get any baking done.  There is a piece of clear acetate adhered to the inside top of the lid so that the 'window' is covered, and you can still see the cupcake through it. 

As you can see in this photo, there is also a short 'shelf' inside the box to hold the cupcake securely in the center.  Using the front and back of the same patterned background & texture paper along with a coordinating color of cardstock creates a nice finished look for the entire cupcake box.

Now "Hop" on over to Laurie's 'Scraps from the Beach' blog to see her work!  Be sure to visit all the Consultants at their blogs to get some great crafting inspiration and other fun ideas!  Remember, the Very Merry Christmas stamp set is only available during the month of October 2012.  The regular price is $17.95, or you can purchase it for only $5 with a minimum order of $50 in other CTMH products.

If you get lost on the Blog Hop or find links that aren't working, there is a complete list of all participating blogs on Helen's 'Hooked on Stamping' blog.

post signature

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Express Collections from Studio J

Studio J from Close To My Heart is online design software that allows users to create custom-printed two-page layouts for 12"x12" albums.  There is no software to purchase and install; instead, simply log in to Studio J and start designing your layouts.  The cost for each two-page layout is only $6.95.  That includes the printing of the two 12"x12" pages and JPEG files for each of the separate pages, as well as a single JPEG showing both pages that can be shared online or via email.  The examples below are the single "web" image for easy online sharing.  The Studio J logo and text along the bottom is NOT printed on the actual pages.      

You can learn more about Studio J by visiting my website.  

In addition to creating your own custom layouts from scratch, CTMH has added Express Collections.  This includes six Express Collections you can use to quickly and easily create beautiful layouts.  Each themed Express Collection includes 10 two-page coordinating, fully embellished layouts, plus a front and back page for your album, that are professionally deigned and nearly complete - you simply drag in your photos and add your title and journaling!  You can choose to create all 10 layouts plus the covers, or create just a few of the layouts in the collection.  Express Collections makes getting your photos off your camera card or computer and into gorgeous layouts faster than ever!

It took about 10 minutes each to create these two-page layouts using the Express Collections.  It is so simple to upload your photos, drag them to a "photo well" where they are automatically resized to fit, add a title and some journaling, and your layout is complete.  

The Boys:  this layout shows my son, Aaron, with his son and his father as well as my grandfather - Avery's great-great grandfather.  Papa says that he is "double great."

Hands that Hold:  five generations of hands to support Avery.  

Beautiful:  Samantha dancing in her pointe shoes

Graduate:  Samantha's senior photos

Watch this short 3-minute video prepared by Close To My Heart which shows how easy it is to use the Express Collections from Studio J.  

post signature

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun Fall Workshop

There are so many fun shapes to cut using the new Artiste cartridge for the Cricut that sometimes it is difficult to decide where to start!  Join us for this Fun Fall Workshop featuring a variety of fun shapes.    

This fun, feminine card is so easy to create.  Simply cut the dress form and the dress using the Artiste cartridge and add it to the front of the card where some elegant paper from La Belle Vie kit is used along with the gorgeous new Slate Satin Polka-Dot Ribbon.   Add a few small Opaques Gems for a belt along with a Happy Birthday sentiment from the Casual Expressions stamp set.


The second card for the workshop is the one that I featured for this month's SOTM Blog Hop.  A 'puzzled' scarecrow from the Fall Favorites stamp set is featured on this 6"x6" card.  The fun puzzle pieces were cut using the Artiste cartridge for the Cricut machine and then mounted slightly apart from each other for a 'disjointed' look.   Just select portions of the image was colored using some of the new alcohol-based markers to coordinate with papers from the Clementine kit.  A small piece of Burlap Ribbon adds a rustic touch.       

Finish off the fun by creating these two adorable treat bags.  The bags and faces are both cut using the Artiste cartridge and paper from the Moonlight paper pack.  No stamping required!.     

The Fun Fall workshop will be offered next weekend - September 21 & 22.  On Friday at 7 pm, and on Saturday afternoon at 1 pm.  You will create two of each card plus the two treat bags for a workshop fee of $10.  Allow approximately two hours to complete your project.  Please be sure to bring your favorite adhesive.  All other supplies are provided with the workshop fee.  All stamps and papers used are from Close To My Heart (CTMH).

Everyone who attends will also receive a FREE copy of the Close To My Heart Autumn/Winter Idea Book & Catalog which features some fabulous new stamp sets, papers, and other great items.  As an added bonus, if you place a $30+ order, your workshop fee is waived. 

Please let me know if you would like to attend.  Contact me by sending an email to, or calling 913-485-4355.

post signature

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bend It, Curve It, Stamp It - Clearly the Best

Close To My Heart is excited to be working with My Craft Channel, an online craft TV network, to create a new video series called Clearly the Best.  If seeing is believing, then you will quickly see that when it comes to stamping, CTMH's My Acrylix stamps and blocks are truly the best.  Each video will show stamping techniques demonstrating the creative flexibility and perfect placement possible with our clear stamps.    

This first video, titled "Bend It, Curve It, Stamp It" shows innovative ways to use the flexibility of the clear stamps to create unique shapes for your projects.

post signature

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Beautiful Phone

"La Belle Vie" is French for "The Beautiful Life" and I decided to use the papers with that name to create 'The Beautiful Phone' case.  Remember, your pretty papers can be used for many different projects - not just for creating cards and scrapbook pages.  

A few months ago, I found this clear case for my phone on clearance for only $5.  Since that time, I have been intending to create something to decorate the back of my phone.  When I read the Heart 2 Heart Challenges blog this week, I thought it said to create something smaller than a standard 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card.  This would be the perfect project, so I created the insert for the case.  Unfortunately, when I came to post the photo and re-read the H2H post, it specifically says Mini Card Challenge - not just "mini anything" challenge.  Back to the craft table I went to create a mini card to go along with the phone case and participate in the challenge. 

The phone case is very simple, and I like the way it turned out.  A beautiful piece of paper from the La Belle Vie kit is cut to size and then I used the actual case to mark where the "hole" for the camera needed to be and cut that out with an Exacto knife.  To add a little 'sparkle' to the paper, there is Green Glitz Glitter Gel added to the green swirl on the paper.  The wording that you see in the lower right corner of the case is the name brand and is actually not normally very visible as it is just etched into the clear case.  Must just be the camera angle and lighting which cause it to be noticeable.

To comply with the challenge, this 3" card was cut using the Artiste cartridge for the Cricut machine.   Same paper is used along with some Whisper cardstock for the base of the card.  The sentiment is included in the Artiste - Kudos stamp set, which is one of three stamp sets received when you purchase the Artiste Collection.  

Best part about this card is that the Artiste cartridge also cuts two thumb notches inside to hold a gift card. 

All stamp images and papers used are from Close To My Heart (CTMH). 

post signature