Monday, August 31, 2015

Last day to get the GREAT Blossom and Jackson paper

Today is the last day to get the retiring products from the Season Expressions and the  2014-15 Annual Inspirations.

Among many of them, the Blossom paper packet is my favorite.  I've made countless projects with it, including this mini album from yesterday's post.

Jackson paper packet, on the other hand, is truly special to me.  Earlier this summer I made this layout to enter the layout contest in the Close to My Heart Convention (this picture was taken before I added the flip flaps):

It's my first Convention and I won the top ten!  So very excited!  I attribute my accomplishment to the great products.  I used the Jackson Workshop on the Go Scrapbooking kit, the Complements and the Assortments and the Picture My Life cards for my layout.  This series of products is perfectly coordinating for the pictures of my family vacation at Horseshoe Bend.  The great products did most of  the work for me.  I love them!

We are all excited about the new Annual Inspirations that will go live tomorrow.  But if you are on the fence for these products, you gotta act fast.  After today they won't be available anymore.

Speaking of retiring products, I will miss some Enchantment colors dearly.  As mentioned here, I love Olive and Outdoor Denim.  They are the perfect green and dark blue for masculine projects.  Together with these, Barn Red, Smokey Plum, Ponderosa Pine, Autumn Terracota, Indian Corn Blue will also retire.  If you like any of these colors or if you have any unfinished projects involving these colors, be sure to grab the ink pad and cardstock before they are gone!

Today also marks the last day to qualify for the Get Organized special.

Remember you'll get a Free stamp set Balloon Wishes for free if you buy the Marker Roll-up and you'll get the new Bling and Base sheets for free if you buy the Accessory Roll-up.  There's no limit as to the number of the free items, so the more you buy the more free items you'll get!

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Crafting!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Blossom Mini Album

I've promised that I will share the album I made with the retiring Blossom Paper and which was shared at the Close to My Heart Convention in July.

Thanks for your patience!  I am finally ready to share the highlights of the album.

Caveat:  Even though I'm only showing the highlights, it's a lengthy post that's picture-heavy!

Let's start with the cover:

I want to mention that I love the mini-album pages created by the Close to My Heart Artbooking cartridge and there are many pages in this album that were made using that cartridge (very few of them are included in this post though).  For me, however, I always prefer a sturdy cover for my albums and thus I've inserted my pages inside the Kraft 3-Ring Album.  I do not embellish the cover that much because I don't want the decorations to be crushed.  As seen in my album, I just have a sticker and a few rolled flowers from Close to My Heart Art Philosophy cartridge.  If I were not going to use this album, it would probably be very different.  But most of the albums I made will become gifts for family and friends, and I want them to be able to use them, thus functionality and purpose were always on my mind when I was making my albums.  Another advantage of the Kraft 3-Ring Album is that the user can re-arrange the pages as they please, which give them a lot of flexibility compared to a bound album.

Another note is that I love 4x6 prints.  I honestly do not have the time to sort photos then choose what size for which photo.  I normally upload hundreds of pictures and select 4x6 for all of them.  Again, I love those 3x8 pages made by the Artbooking cartridge but I don't see myself using them for holding photos.  I would normally use them for journaling.  Speaking of which, I am really itching to buy a photo printer.  If you have any recommendations, please let me know! :)

Now that you know why I prefer using the Kraft 3-Ring Album, let's look at some of the cute pages. Let's start with this one with a pocket and an accordion album:

The size of this page is 6x6.  I used a Memory Protectors Flip Flips 6x6 as the sleeve.  To make the spine sturdier, I stuck a half inch cardstock to the closure of the flip flap.  In fact, the cardstock also makes it easier to punch the holes to fit the album.  I decorated with two tags cut with the Art Philosophy cartridge (p.41 and p. 29) which were tied to the page by some Glacier extra thick twine and see the Smoothie flowers at the bottom?  They are negatives of a PML card cut from the Artfully Sent cartridge (p.31).  Oh the Sunset flowers on the cover of the accordion are the negatives from another PML card as shown on p. 17.  Let's just say I'm good at recycling, or better yet, upcycling. :)

Another favorite page of mine involves many "hidden pages".  The front looks like this:

The Glacier top is decorated with the Carnival Washi Tape pack and stamp images from the Blossom Workshop on the Go kit (sadly, it is out of order).  I've added a paper clip cut by Artfully Sent cartridge (p.45) and I've stamped a tiny floral image from Finding the Words on it.  And yes you can use the little clip to open the top page:

Then you'll see this when you turn this page over:

Again it is decorated with the Carnival Washi Tape Pack and I've stamped "DOCUMENTED" from Instalife stamp set.  This flap can be opened too:

The circles were stamped with the same tiny floral image from Finding the Words.  I have an overlay of circles from Artbooking (p.40) so I have to up-cycle the circle cut outs.  The page is tied to the page protector using a piece of Slate Diagonal Striped Ribbon.

An album isn't complete without tags, don't you agree?  This page is smaller that keeps two tag:

And the back of it:

I have been asked many times whether I have used the fuse tool to create the page protectors.  The answer is no.  Instead, just like everything else in this album, I either recycle or up-cycle the materials  For most pages, I started with one of the regular page protectors (except for some I started with a flip flap), cut it at 8" (because the album is that long) and I would use the rest of it for another page.  For example in this particular page, I have used Memory Protectors Design 5.  If you look at it closely, you'll recognize that this page is the left most column of the Memory Protectors Design 5.  But the top 4" were cut and I've turned it horizontally (counter-clockwise 90 degrees) and punched holes on the left to fit in the album.

Both tags are cut with the Art Philsophy cartridge (Smoothie tag on p. 70, Kraft tag on p.60).  The glacier butterflies on the Smoothie tag were also cut with the Art Philosophy cartridge (p.55) and the journaling lines came from Documenting Moments stamp set.  The back of the Kraft tag was decorated with some (leftover) Sweet Leaf cardstock punched with the Scallop Border Punch.  The front of it was filled with circles of various sizes.  I've also added pinked circles from Art Philosophy (p.61) and a circle stamped "Way Cute" from True to Life stamp set.

Now, how about a three dimension page?

The Smoothie page on the left was cut from p.48 of the Artbooking cartridge.  The bottom of the right page is a PML card cut from the Artfully Sent cartridge (p.19).  The Sweet Leaf on top is decorated with the cutout from another Artfully Sent PML card (p.11).  The label is an image from True to Life stamp set cut by Art Philosophy cartridge (p.25).  

Be patient.  The three dimensional portion is here:

The tag on the left was a Art Philosophy cut on p.48.  Simply shrink the card to become a tag, how fun is that?  So cute!  The three dimension part was made purely from cardstock and Blossom paper.  No Cricut cut was involved.  I have two 4"x8" pieces of Sweet Leaf cardstock folded in half, then put them in an "L" shape, stuck them together to create this flap.  

Let's take a look at another page with lots of flaps.  The front looks like this:

This page was made using the Memory Protectors Flip Flips 6x6.  I added a strip of Sunset cardstock punched with the Scallop Border Punch.  You could turn the page over with the Pear arrow (an image from Have a Happy Day).  

Inside this page, you'll see the sunset page stamped repeatedly with Botanical Backgrounds.  The label was a Artist cutout (p.66) stamped with the word "Love" from Finding the Words stamp set and you know you can turn this flap over, right? 

That's when another PML card from Artfully Sent (p.17) is fully exposed.  

The last page I'm sharing here is truly a favorite of mine.  It is fully of goodies:

This page made use of the Memory Protectors Design 5 again.  Did you see the top left one is titled "A Book"?  It is a mini book:

It was very easy to make.  Simple fold two sheets of cardstock in half, punch holes in the spine then thread the Glacier extra thick twine to tie them up.  

The top right journaling card is made with cardstock only, where a Art Philosophy tag (p.55) was used, matted with Smoothie cardstock.  The bottom part in Sunset was again stamped with Botanical Backgrounds.  

The tag on the bottom left is another favorite of mine.  I simple added the zip strip to the side, then added a few circles and a pinked circle stamped with images from the Blossom Workshop on the Go Kit, then top it off with a banner stamped with "Smile" from Documenting Moments stamp set.  The PML card on the bottom right was cut from Artfully Sent (p.32).

So these are the special pages in the album.  It was a lot of fun to create it and I'm sure I'll be making more and more albums.  They are great gifts for those who rarely craft but want one for a special event like graduation, wedding, etc.

Remember there are many other "rather ordinary" pages in my album, with the help of the Artbooking cartridge, Memory Protectors and different types of flip flaps.  I encourage you to use these tools to explore your creativity!  The possibilities are endless!  Further, even if you don't have "everything" it will still be fun to challenge yourself to be resourceful to complete a project.  I didn't have the fuse tool, for instance, but various types of Memory Protectors did the job just fine.  To tell you the truth, my Sweet Leaf ink pad was extremely dry, so I used Pear ink pad instead.  It's a shade darker than I wanted, but did you notice that?  Alright if you do please do not tell my recipient of this album, okay?

I had "functional" and "purpose" in mind when I created my album.  If you'd like full-blown embellishment, go for it!  Have fun and create whatever that makes your heart sing!

This is indeed a very lengthy post. Thanks for reading along.  Happy Crafting!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Zoe layout - One Happy Day

Happy Saturday!

I've finally finished my layout using the new Zoe paper and took a decent picture of it!

Like I've mentioned before, the layout didn't take me that long, but the photography part took me ages to complete.  I've tried various locations at my home and my conclusion is that it is a difficult and daunting task to photograph a layout.  Let me keep trying!

It is a one-page layout but despite the smaller real estate, I managed to use all six patterns featured in the paper pack:

Excuse the quality of the picture.  I promise I'll improve over time!

I'll admit that I made a mistake.  I thought I also ordered the cute Zoe complements but alas, I forgot that part!  Did I let that deter me from finishing the page?  No.  I thought I would get the complements later and make other pages.  For now, I'd just stick to the basic supplies that I have.  So to add interest to my page, I used all the patterns in the paper, and I used some Cricut Artistry shapes and stamps in the Workshop on the Go.  I've even cut one of them into various sizes of circles and scattered them around the page.  Oh, the Zoe Assortment faceted gems are so cute.  They perfectly complemented the other circles on my page.

I wish I had the Zoe complements.  But even without them I had fun putting the layout together.  I'll include them in my next order for sure!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Just a few days left

I'm sorry I still haven't posted my Zoe layout yet.  It was done, and I'm very happy with it.  The problem is that I haven't got a chance to take a decent picture of it!  It was too dark after I get home from work.  I tried taking a picture in the morning, but the overcast has not been helpful!  :( I actually took a picture using indoor lighting but the glare was not acceptable.  The colors were also distorted.  In short, I wish I could take the layout with me to work and take a picture of it during lunch.  LOL.

But I do want to remind you that we are approaching the end of August, meaning many of the good deals will be going away soon.

My favorite is the Get Organized campaign where you buy a marker organizer and you'll receive a free stamp set for FREE:

Yes I've got this one and am in love with it!  This organizer is not limited to ShinHan markers.  If you use Copic markers, the loops will fit them too. I was told that the loops will also fit the Spectrum markers.  What a great organization tool!  I'm going to get a couple more of this lovely marker roll-up.

If you are like me who likes to organize the chaos on my craft desk, this accessory roll-up will lend you a hand:

I never know what to do with the opened packages of embellishments - enamel dots, sparkles, gems, sequins........They are just all over my craft desk.  If I'm in a good mood, I shovel all of them in a drawer then they become invisible to me and forgotten.  Next thing I know I will order the same thing again!  With this accessory roll-up, I don't have to worry about where to put those small embellishments anymore!  The best thing about them is the transparent pouch to compartmentalize each type of embellishments.  I'm a visual person and seeing my products is the key to using them.  I also like zipper closure - much more secure than a snap button and of course, no bulk!

Do you save your cricut cuts?  I do.  But again, I shovel them into a box and they are meant to be forgotten. I'm going to get an additional accessory roll-up to save my small cricut cuts, stars, hearts and such.

These organizers will continue to be available throughout the life of the new Annual Inspirations but now is the time to get them because of the perks.  If you buy the marker roll-up this month, you'll get a FREE stamp set; if you buy the accessory roll-up you'll receive two newest Base & Bling style sheets for free.

I must also remind you that the August Stamp of the Month will go away soon.  It's a gorgeous set with different shapes and sizes of labels.  Great for all sorts of paper crafts!

I promise I'll share the Zoe layout very soon.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Zoe scrapbook layout (soon)......

My sad little blog could use some attention.  I know, I really do know.

Recently I am working non-stop on a big project at work.  Our group will have a large-scale presentation next month and thus we are working on the contents of the presentation and all sorts of details.  The presentation will be recorded and so everything will have to be flawless.  How stressful is that!

To relieve stress I'd like to hide in my craft corner but this presentation is really consuming me.  I have since taken on more and more responsibilities.  To be fair, those tasks were not anticipated and no one meant to throw more things at me.  In fact, my additional tasks may be fewer than those taken by others. :P

I must be working too hard, or it could be stress that led my right eye feel funny again.  After three painful surgeries last year I learned that this funny feeling is a sign that my body tells me that it needs rest.  So last night, I decided to take my eyes off my laptop screen and turned to my craft corner.

I started to work on a layout using the new paper pack Zoe from Close to My Heart.

I've the background pieces all cut an aligned.  Tonight I'll finish up with the fun embellishments!  When it's done I'll share on my blog here!

Want some great scrapbooking tips?  I've learned quite a few from Jeanette's blog here.  It describes the four basic design principles Pattern, Unity, Variety and Balance.  The explanation was detailed and easy to understand.  For me, I have always found layouts more challenging than cards.  Now that I got these tips I would pay attention to these design principles and improve the aesthetics of my layouts.  Again, you may want her blog post here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Stamped Pattern Background

I've mentioned here that some colors from the Close to My Heart palette will be retiring.  Some of them are my favorite and before I put the ink pads and cardstock away I'd like to make a couple of cards.

On the last day of the Background Check class at Online Card Classes, Jennifer McGuire showed how to make a beautiful background using stamping and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to use my ink pads and cardstock.

The retiring ink colors I'm using remind me of fall and so I'm using these stamp sets Lifetime of Happiness and Always Grateful:

I did nothing but stamping, and put it on Olive cardstock as the card base.  The sentiment was stamped with Versamark ink and embossed with Ranger Princess Gold embossing powder.  The ink pads used are: Olive, Smokey Plum, Ponderosa Pine, Barn Red and Autumn Terracota.
You know I can't just stop here.  I pulled out an extremely old stamp set called Many Thanks and made this card:
I had so much fun playing with these colors and it will be hard for me not to miss them.  But I think it's time to put them away and create some new space for the new colors! 
If you like any of these colors, snag them before they are gone!  My favorite is Olive and Barn Red.  Another one that's not used in these cards is Outdoor Denim.  That's my go-to color for masculine cards.
Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Extremely Simple Thank You card

I'm sharing an extremely simple Thank You card today.  I think it will be great for mass production, but I'll make them in various colors and stack them up, put a big pretty bow on top and give it away as a gift:

Kristina Werner shared this idea of creating an embossed background over at Online Card Classes Background Check and I immediately wanted to use my stash to make one.

I used the Stripe Embossing Folder to emboss the top and bottom part of the card front, leaving about 1.5" space.  Then I cut out the "thanks" from Artiste cartridge and added two skinny strips of the same cardstock to outline that sentiment area.  Easy Peasy.  Isn't that what we sometimes want?  A quick and easy card that looks great and satisfies our creative needs.  :)

This card is entering the following challenges:
Through the Craft Room Door - Anything Goes
Creative Moments - Anything Goes
Fab 'n' Funky Challenge - no patterned paper
Inspiration Destination - Anything Goes

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Convention Recap Part IV

Welcome to the last part of the series of Convention Recap.  This part focuses on my last day at Convention.

This is also the part that is near and dear to my heart.  I have been thinking and planning the best way to share my memories but I decided, after consideration, that it is not necessary to polish anything because what actually happened was just beautiful.

Since the beginning of the Convention, I have been asking around when Jeanette Lynton would appear.  I have watched countless CTMH videos featuring her, and have read numerous blog posts on her blog.  It would be nice to see her in person, even at a distance, right?  I was looking forward to seeing her at the opening but she wasn't there.   When I learned that she would appear at the general session, I was on Cloud 9! 

She looked great on stage:

Chief Communications Officer Monica was with her while she was on stage:

You can tell from this photo that every one of us was excited to see Jeanette. 
I heard that her health issues prevented her from actively participating on stage.  Yet she was brave and strong to be there and share her wisdom with us.

No kidding.  I took far more notes in this session than any other session in the entire Convention.  She wasn't giving a speech but I kept on jotting down what she said.  I felt her sincerity, warmth and kindness and I can't even explain how she truly touched my heart.  She shared that her perspective has changed since she has been facing her health challenges.  She became more empathetic, patient, forgiving and strong because she felt that she could let Him guide her and feel closer to Him.  She was proud of becoming more patient.  She even encouraged us to acquire this virtue by telling us that it will be the greatest gift we can give ourselves.

Three lucky consultants won the prize to meet with her one on one.  The consultants were nervous but Jeanette calmed them down.  They were actually all nervous:  consultants didn't know what proper conversation to be had with Jeanette while Jeanette worried that her health might not let her stay with them for long.  Jeanette shared her experience with all of us and said that real love is not to be afraid of showing vulnerability.  We all have some sort of weakness but if we are not afraid of sharing that with others, the barrier between us is immediately gone. 

She continued to encourage us to touch others' hearts and change others' lives.  How nice and kind of her to say that everyone at Close to My Heart was a special person.  She said that we all love to connect with others, give joy to friends and family and help others achieve their goals.  I am not sure if I  possess all these virtues but I agree that connection with others is magical and who doesn't love that magic? 

Jeanette also shared her vision for Close to My Heart and how she struggled with work life balance.  Her priority was her family and taking care of the kids.  She suggested bringing a crib to the office.  She then shared with us the latest stories of her grandchildren and how they made her laugh.  The pictures and videos she shared cracked us up.

It was a beautiful meeting with Jeanette.  She has touched my heart and I hope that by sharing here you'll feel the same.

Towards the end of the Convention all CTMH staff members went on stage.  The applause for them never ended.  They put on a good show and we are all grateful for that:

After dinner (which for me was a snack because I am an owl) we went to the Closing Crop:

It was fun to work on our projects in upbeat music and dimmed night.  My very first "crop in a night club setting"!  The dance floor was open:

Did I mention that I found a sticky boy?  Another highlight of the event indeed:

This was my first Convention and I wanted to experience it all - Creativity Showcase, Layout Contest, getting my hands on a Sticky Boy, etc.  I had experienced all that I wanted and that just means I want to go to Convention again!  I think it's addicting. 

It was a wonderful event and I look forward to experiencing it all again soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cricut Artistry is here!

Hello everyone and Happy August 1!

What's special about August 1?  The Cricut Artistry cartridge is available!  I have been playing with this and having tons of fun with it!  I've made two cards and wanted to share but then realized that I couldn't do so before August 1.  So I waited and waited........

I'm very excited that this cartridge is available in digital format.  Yes, You will get everything including the 3 stamp sets and cardstock combo pack but you'll not get a cartridge in the digital collection.  Instead you'll access the images using an online code.  This digital collection costs $20 less, great deal!  If you have a Cricut Explore or a Cricut Explore Air, this will help save a bit for other products!

I've made two simple birthday cards with this cartridge:

If you buy the Cricut Artistry Collection or the Cricut Artistry Digital Collection you'll qualify to buy the August Stamp of the Month with just $5, which is really a must have for all cardmakers.  You can see all the images here.

You know the great deal doesn't end here, right?

It's time to get organized!  In this month, if you buy the new marker roll-up at full retail price you'll receive the new D-size stamp set My Acrylix® Balloon Wishes FREE!

Or place an order for the new accessory roll-up at full retail price and receive two new Base & Bling style sheets, Affirmations and Lovely Blooms, FREE!

The Balloon Wishes stamp set and the two Base & Bling style sheets will be available for purchase throughout the life of the new Annual Inspirations but if you want to get them sooner, here's your opportunity!

Finally, if you play around on the website, you'll find that there is a new paper pack called Zoe that's available for purchase.

Be it a sneak peek of the new Annual Inspirations which will go live on September 1, or we just can't wait to show you what's in store, this paper pack, which is part of the Annual Inspirations, is available for order now!  I love the soft colors of this pack and it is so versatile that you can use it on ANY projects.  This paper has graphic designs and small repeating patterns, but not theme specific.  It will help you make pretty projects whether it is a layout, a card or a home d├ęcor item.
Enjoy the new goodies!  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to let me know.
Thanks for stopping by!