Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Scrapbooking: Three Very Different Looks from One Packet of Paper

I love versatile products. I have three daughters and one son, so I'm always looking for scrapbook papers and embellishments that I can use for both masculine and feminine album pages.  The Skylark Workshop on the Go Scrapbooking Kit is perfect for that!  I will be sad to see it retire at the end of this month.  Quick reminder: if you like this paper and the embellishments in the kit, be sure to order quickly before they run out.  Once they're gone, they're gone and they're definitely not available as of August 1st.

Above is a page I made to showcase my eldest and youngest daughters' epic dance and lip sync to NSync's "Bye, Bye, Bye" for a friend's going away party in August 2000.  Holy smokes, has it really been almost 14 years already???  As you can see, this page is just about exploding with girliness -- flowers and birds and ribbons and... more flowers.

A quick side view of the resin flowers from the Skylark Assortment adorning the slate twist tie below the girls' picture.  These flowers are beautiful, and they come with the adhesive already on them.  Just peel and stick!

You can see in the photo above that I used a piece of 3-D Foam Tape to pop up this picture of the girls.  

Below is a page I made to celebrate my son's 8th grade promotion in 2002.  Same paper pack, but this page is very much a masculine page with its muted colors and grid background.  Before you start minutely comparing the two pages, you should know that the girls' page above is actually much more nicely subdued than my camera would have one believe.  

Check out the name of his middle school: Spratling Middle School.  We were tickled because my grandmother's last name was Spratling (no relation to the person for whom the school was named).  So naturally, I had to get a photo of Ricky with his great-grandma in front of the school sign!

Also, can you tell that I was once into Creative Memories scrapbooking? Yes, I cropped my son's photos years ago with the intent to scrapbook them back then. It's only taken me a dozen years to get to it.  All those pre-cropped ovals made assembling Ricky's page a bit challenging, but I like a good challenge!  

The oval picture in the upper left corner and the one above the "Epic Moment" stamped image (from a retired stamp set) are mounted on 3-D foam tape, as is the "Spread Your Wings" sentiment.  This gives the actual page a little more character and depth.  I trimmed down a small Slate Striped Twist Tie and added two pieces of it to the left of that sentiment block to make it pop a little.

The dark green strips of paper that run along the bottom of the page and accent a photo and the journaling block at the top are BONUS strips. Yes! Close to My Heart 12"x12" patterned papers have an additional 1/2" strip added to them to show the design title and other important information. The backside of that strip is patterned in a design that coordinates with the 12"x12" paper so that when you cut away that strip you get a bonus strip of patterned paper to use on your page.  Pretty nifty!

You'll notice on Ricky's page that the "Go Forth and Conquer" stamped image (shown above) is difficult to read. That's because I bought that stamp (as part of a set) from my local craft store and then excitedly used it only to find that no matter how much seasoning I did the stamp just wouldn't hold the ink.  Unfortunately, ALL of the stamps in that non-CTMH set have the same issue.  

Compare that image with the "Epic Moment" stamped image on the scrapbook page (shown below); both stamps were inked using the Desert Sand inkpad.  You can see that the "Epic Moment" image is much bolder and the ink coverage is far better.  There is definitely something to be said for buying Close to My Heart's My Acrylix stamp sets!

Lastly, here is a page featuring one of Kathi's hobbies.

The top trim strip is not really crooked on the page; that's just my funky camera work.  I leaned the page up on something to take the photo and couldn't quite get it straight.  To get the streaks on that little square on which the mini camera image is mounted, I simply took my Desert Sand ink pad and lightly brushed it across the cardstock all around the edges.  It's a fun look, and super easy to do.

I am really, really going to miss the Skylark Workshop on the Go when it retires at the end of this month!  Be sure to order yours through my website by July 31st, before this great kit is gone forever.  The kit includes the papers used in these layouts, slate twist ties, resin embellishments, and a gorgeous stamp set.

Happy crafting,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Bring Back Nice" Blog Hop

My longtime friend -- and CTMH upline -- Anita invited me to take part in a blog hop!  For those who are unfamiliar with the term, that's a fun event wherein you get to hop from blog to blog reading fun posts written by different bloggers, all on the same topic.

To follow today's "Bring Back Nice" blog hop, just click the link at the end of this post.  That will bring you to the next blog in the hop and from there you can go to the next, and so on.  Have fun!

The topic for today's hop is "Bring Back Nice".  All the bloggers in this hop want to encourage our readers to bring back the art of being nice to those we meet.  My post contribution is about sending greeting cards, which is right up my alley as a Close to My Heart independent consultant.

My youngest daughter, Kathi, has a rare (1 in 100,000 patients worldwide) brain disease called Intracranial Hypertension.  That's a neurological disorder in which the body produces cerebrospinal fluid more quickly than it can drain it.  Basically, the fluid that surrounds your brain is supposed to drain as steadily as it's replenished so that it's always in perfect balance.  In most people, that happens without a hitch.

In IH patients like Kathi, that balance is off so instead of cushioning her brain the fluid gets trapped in the immovable space of her solid skull and keeps accumulating, so it crushes and damages the brain that it's designed to protect.  The result is constant excruciating pain, dizziness, nausea, ringing in her ears, and -- in some cases -- blindness due to the pressure on the optic nerves.  Kathi is 22 years old, and has had this disease since she was 17.

As we have lived with this disease and learned to deal with its bundle of adventure, we've met many families who are going through many of the same experience we are.  This disease attacks men, women, and children of all ages and one of the more difficult aspects of this disease is that it's an "invisible" illness, meaning that IH sufferers don't often look sick.  So that means they suffer in silence a lot of the time and don't always get the care they need because they aren't always believed when they say that they're in pain.

Learning firsthand how important it is for an IH'er to have a lot of support, we decided to send cards of love and friendship to IH'ers when we hear that they're having an especially bad head day or have a surgery coming up, or if they're recovering from surgery or another procedure.

Sending a card through the mail isn't a difficult or expensive thing to do, but it sure brightens the recipient's day.  I know, because Kathi loves it when she gets an unexpected card in the mail, too.

Here is a card that I made for a little boy who doesn't want to say that his "head squeezes" are back because he knows that means he may have to go in for another painful Lumbar Puncture (aka Spinal Tap) to relieve the pressure.  I've been in the room when Kathi's had an LP, and I don't know how these IH'ers bear that pain again and again.  Their head pain must be terribly awful if they ask for a Spinal Tap to take the edge off of it.

I mounted the Lagoon balloon on a fun little adhesive spring to make it pop off the card when he opens it.  Just need to add the string now.  I hope this surprise brightens his day!

And here's the card with an IH awareness bracelet, a postcard, and an info card on Kathi's foundation.  All done and ready to mail!  But first, I have to remember to add that string to the balloon.

I encourage you to send a card to someone this week.  Send it snail mail.  Everyone loves to get personal cards and notes in the mail!  You don't even have to make the card (though I find that's part of the fun); you can buy one. Or just grab some paper and write a quick note (handwritten, if possible, for that extra personal touch) to let them know you're thinking of them.

Make a habit of sending a card or a note. Maybe do it once a week or once a month. I bet you'll find that brightening other people's days in this simple way will brighten yours, too.  I know it's enriched our lives.  And we can all use a little life enrichment, can't we?

I'd love to hear about your cards and letters in the comments below!

Ready for the next blog in the hop?  Here you go:  Heart Hugs Designs.

Happy crafting,

Monday, July 7, 2014

July Stamp of the Month: Circus Alphabet for Just $5.00

Here is the Stamp of the Month set for July.  It's a fun Circus Alphabet that includes both uppercase and lowercase letters along with numbers 0 through 9, and you can get it for just $5 with your minimum $50 Close to My Heart order.  Imagine, a versatile 68-piece stamp set for just $5!

Check out the whimsical style of this set, and all the neat ways you can use it on your cards and scrapbook pages.  I love how they used the letters to spell out a secret message as part of the background on one of the scrapbook pages.  How clever!  There are more ideas in the video at the top of this post, so be sure to take a few minutes to watch.

Not sure what you'd like to spend your $50 on? Visit the Retiring Items page and shop the variety of tools, stamps, embellishments, and papers that will be unavailable after July 31st. This is your last chance to get these items, so now is a great time to order them and get a wonderful alphabet stamp set for only $5 with your minimum $50 order.

Happy crafting,

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Thank You Cards with "Regular" Envelopes

The beauty and convenience of handcrafting your own cards is that you can make them any size you need or want and for any occasion you could possibly imagine.  I needed to send Thank You cards to a couple beautiful ladies who hosted me at an Intracranial Hypertension Awareness conference at the end of June.  

I had some lovely Workshop on the Go Skylark Scrapbooking Kit papers and embellishments that I wanted to use, but I had no card envelopes on hand. What to do? I just went over to my desk and grabbed a couple of "regular" envelopes!  I had two different sizes to choose from, letter size and check size, so I decided to make one of each size card.  

This first one shown here and at the top of this post is the smaller (check-size) card.  The 12"x12" background paper in the Skylark Paper Packet (included in the scrapbooking kit) is preprinted with a fabulous design, so I just used a piece of the upper right corner of the page.  This had the awesome striped ribbon as well as the top lacy border and the "Beautiful Memories" sentiment already there for me. I simply cut it to size and mounted it onto a piece of white cardstock the edges of which I inked with my Desert Sand inkpad.

Then I went back to my Skylark paper and cut out two small birds and one large one, which I adhered to the front of the card.  Two flower embellishments from the Skylark Assortment (included in the Skylark Scrapbooking Kit) got placed onto the left side of the card front, and my card was almost finished!

I carried the theme of the card through to the inside by stamping a little flower in the lower right corner in Desert Sand and then I finished it off by stamping an identical flower on the back where I signed my artwork. As you can see in the first photo of my post, I used the same flower stamp to decorate the front of the envelope.  This time, I stamped it in our Lagoon ink.  

That flower stamp is not included in the Skylark kit; but if you like it, I have three mini stamp sets left (each set includes that flower, a butterfly, a dragonfly, and a skylark on a branch) and will be glad to send you one as a Thank You for your $25 order through my website.  This offer is only available while supplies last, which means the first three people who take me up on it will get to have them.  

This next card was made to fit the larger, letter-size envelope.  I used the same Skylark Workshop on the Go Scrapbooking Kit as above, using the same techniques.

As I mentioned, the Skylark 12"x12" paper is preprinted with a fabulous design. So all I did for this card was cut a piece from the left side of the paper and adhere it to the white cardstock base -- the edges of which I had, like the other card, inked with my Desert Sand inkpad.  The beautiful bird, vertical ribbons, and foliage were already on the paper.  How cool is that!

I wanted to add a sentiment to the front of the card, so I used a stamp from one of my retired sets (you can use any sentiment that fits your own occasion) and stamped it in Lagoon ink.

My final flourish for the card front -- and only the second thing I added -- was a bit of Teal Shimmer Trim above the sentiment to give the card a little bling.

Once again, I carried the theme to the inside of the card.  This time, I used the skylark from the same mini set that contained the flower from the first card. That was stamped in Lagoon ink.  I stamped the skylark again on the back of the card for my signature spot using Desert Sand ink.

Finally, I stamped the large bird from the Believe in Yourself stamp set in Lagoon ink onto the front of the envelope and I was done!

Below is a photo of the two cards side by side along with their envelopes, so you can see the size difference.

There you have it: two lovely handcrafted cards made to fit two envelopes I already had on hand, and all in under an hour without having to run to the store!

If you like this paper design and the complementing Skylark Assortment of embellishments, please be sure to order them quickly because this scrapbooking kit is retiring at the end of July. 

For a complete list of retiring Close to My Heart products, CLICK HERE.  Remember, these items will retire at the end of July so if you see something you like please be sure to place your order right away.

Happy crafting,