Friday, November 30, 2012

December's Stamp of the Month...."Year Round Cheer"

Welcome to the CTMH Stamp of the Month Blog Hop!
December 2012's Stamp of the Month is called.....
****Year Round Cheer****

The blog hop makes a circle so if you are starting here just continue until you make your way back and you will have made it through them all.  If you have already started and are coming from Maureen OSullivan's blog, "Let's Give 'em Something to Scrap About"then you are on the right track.

It's been a couple of months since I participated in the SOTM blog hop due to...what else? School (work).  Why couldn't I have been born a woman of leisure?  LOL  At any rate I missed it and decided to MAKE the time to play along.

This month's set is cute and I can think of a lot of ways that it could be used, as I'm sure you've seen throughout the hop.  However, since it certainly does scream calendar, I wanted to try and do something a little different.

My eye was immediately drawn to the adorable bird.  Besides, I love anything that says, "I love you".)  ;)  I then started thinking about using one of the 3D cuts on my Artiste Cricut cartridge. Purse? Matchbox? Box?  Then I saw a box that looked like a birdhouse!  Bird + Birdhouse = the cute little creation below (if I say so myself).

Supplies used (all CTMH unless otherwise noted):
Paper:  DakotaColonial White CSCocoa CS, Whisper CS, Olive CS
Stamps Used: Year Round Cheer 
Inks: CocoaPacifica, Olive, Barn Red
Other: Cricut Artiste, SpongeMicro-tip ScissorsPaper Trimmer, Bone Folder, Circle Punch (Fiskars), ATG Adhesive (Scotch)

Here's a look at the entire stamp set.

Remember, if you love what you've seen so far along your SOTM Blog Hop journey, and you want your own "Year Round Cheer" stamp set or want to get it for the amazingly low price of $5, be sure to contact your Close To My Heart Independent Consultant.  If you don't already have a consultant, I'd love to be yours.  You can find details on the "Stamp of the Month" by clicking on the "Promotions" tab at the top of the page or purchase your SOTM here.  Of course, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

If you have time, take a moment or two to check out the rest of my blog.  If you enjoy your visit, then please consider "Following Me", signing up to receive blog updates, and/or leaving a comment (we all love comments...the nice ones anyway), then be sure to continue along on the hop by heading over to Michelle John's blog, "My Flights of Fancy" and check out her project.

If for some reason you get lost along the way, you can always find a list of all this month's CTMH SOTM Blog Hop participants on Kathleen's blog.

Happy hopping!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

December Scrapbook Workshop

Here are the two layouts that we will be making at December's Scrapbooking Workshop using the La Belle Vie Workshop-on-the-Go.  (Complete details regarding the workshop date/time, supplies, costs, etc. can be found under the Calendar of Events tab at the top of this page, or click here.)

Layout #1 - Amour "Love"

Layout #2 - La Belle Vie "The Beautiful Life"

I made the following two layouts using the La Belle Vie coordinating stickers and left over paper and embellishments.
This layout was inspired by a layout from Scrapbook Generations.

This layout was based on this sketch.
Until next time...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Home Decor Project

I don't do a lot of altered or home decor projects.  I'm not sure why other than "time" for me is always, always, always an issue.  By the time I complete my layouts for my monthly scrapbooking club and any other obligations, like swaps and blog hops, I have very little time for other projects.  However, with the holiday break, I was finally able to complete a display tray project for an upcoming Creative Class.

A few months back a incredibly talented CTMH consultant, Lisa Stenz, posted this beautiful display tray using the Avonlea paper line.  Gorgeous, is it not?  As you will see in my project, I was definitely inspired by her project.  Particularly the way she didn't let the little 3x4 sections limit her...she just adhered a photo mat to the frame itself.  Simple, but brilliant!  I also loved the use of her title and monogram.  All of which I included in my creation.  

I did, however, change it up a bit, primarily with the paper pack.  I chose to use the La Belle Vie papers.  From there, I just let the theme of the paper pack lead me to the embellishment choices.  The Artiste Cricut cartridge has some beautiful, French-inspired shapes, as well as many, many others that worked really well.
The empty spaces and the large photo mat are reserved for my photos, which I don't have yet. 
"Family" is only adhered along the bottom of the photo mat, allowing the 4x6 photo to slip behind the title.
Strategic placement of foam tape and adhesive allows for the "flowing" nature of the banners.

Depending on how the tulle is pulled, the tray can be hung with the bow at the top of the tray or with it at the very top, where it is hung.
The Creative Class is scheduled for Sunday, December 2nd at 4 p.m.  The project fee is $35 and includes the tray and all the necessary paper and embellishments. If you would like to create this project, email me or call me right away (or both, since I've been having some cell phone problems lately), so I can have all the necessary supplies on hand.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pigment Inks vs. Dye Inks

I've included below the most recent video from Close To My Heart.  Monica and Kristine discuss the differences in how pigment inks and dye inks look on both cardstock and pattern papers....pigment is more opaque and vibrant, while dye ink is more translucent and less vibrant.  However, I would be lying if I didn't say I was left with the thought,  "There's so much more you could have shared".  So I thought, I'd share with you some more facts about pigment vs. dye inks.  Now keep in mind these facts are the basics about the kinds of inks that CTMH offers.  There are so many manufacturer's and so many specialty inks that some of these facts don't hold true.   For example, there are slow-drying dye inks.  If you are looking for more information, just do a simple Google search about inks.  You'll be amazed that the enormous amount of information available out there.
Particles suspended in a colorless binder, like water.
Particles dissolved with an aqueous solution. (i.e., water).
Because the particles tend to “stick together”, the ink sits on top of the paper (giving the more vibrant and opaque result than dye inks). 
Because the ink is dissolved in water, it absorbs into the paper (hence, the less vivid result). 
Works GREAT for dark papers.
Nearly impossible to see on dark papers.
Slow drying time
Fast drying time
Due to the slow dry time, pigment inks are ideal for heat embossing.
The quick drying time makes them impossible to heat emboss.
Because these are thicker, they are harder to clean off your stamp, so using a brush to gently scrub the stamp may be helpful.
Easy clean up with water.
Fade-resistant (which is why they can be stored with clear lids).
Will fade if exposed to light (which is why they are never stored in clear containers).
Waterproof…making it an ideal choice for coloring an image in with water-based colors.
Will run if water is applied (unless you're using a waterproof dye ink) This causes dye inks to be a poor choice for coloring in with water-based colors, as your stamped lines will smear.
May NEVER dry on surfaces, like glossy paper, unless you heat set or emboss it.
Will dry easily on non-porous surfaces, though it may need a few minutes.

Until next time....

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Monogram Magic

I'm so excited! I just purchased a couple of these cute little stamps a couple of days ago and can't wait to make some "cute litte" cards with them....or whatever else I can come up with...or the weekly calendar that Kristine and Monica show in this video full of great ideas for the Monogram letter stamps. 

If you like the embossed seal that Kristine points out, but you aren't sure how to do it, you can check out a video that I made at the beginning of my CTMH career.  So keep in mind that it was one of my very first....long...very long...videos. So if you want to get right to it, skip ahead to about 4 minutes into the video to see the embossing technique.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Paper Organization

I honestly have more paper than any one person should ever have. It's my favorite thing. In fact, I often try my hardest not to walk by paper when I'm the craft store. If I'm in a scrapbooking store, I intentionally try to focus on anything BUT paper, because if I see pretty paper, I'm done for. You may be wondering, "You're complaining, because....?" Well, I'm not really complaining, but my (pre-CTMH) collection of paper doesn't leave a lot of room for my CTMH paper.  And that's a problem, because what I have found since joining Close To My Heart, is that I rarely use paper that I buy elsewhere.  Not intentionally.  I'm not one of those people who say, "I won't use anything but brand X."  No, no, no.  I'm an equal opportunity paper buyer and if there was more time to scrap, an equal opportunity user (well, truthfully...probably not "equal").

The Close To My Heart cardstock that I own is stored in ten paper trays...a mere fraction of the shelves/drawers in which my other papers are stored.  Anyway, I've seen various ways that other CTMH consultants & customers store their cardstock and many have a space for each color.  Well, since I only have the trays to store my CTMH paper, I have to have several colors of cardstock within one tray.  So how do I know which paper is where?  Well, this is what I did a couple of years ago...soon after joining CTMH.
I cut out the color samples from the Idea Book, putting three on one side of the tray and the other three of the color family on the opposite side of the tray.  There used to be 60 colors, so I had 6 colors in each tray.  Once we learned of which colors were being discontinued this past summer, I wrote a D on the I couldn't forget as easily.

Due to the discontinuing of some colors, and the addition of others, I was in need of reorganizing my CTMH cardstock.  I finally got around to it this past weekend, which wasn't as easy as I thought.  The adhesive from my mini-xyron is some strong stuff!  I had to use quite a bit of elbow grease along with some Un-du and my Pampered Chef scraper to get it removed.  What fun!

Anyway, the color samples in the current Idea Book are now in columns with the names to the right.  At first, I wondered how I was ever going to get them to fit.  Then it dawned on me to write the names write on the color.  (I have a brilliant moment every couple of years or so.)  And here's what they look like now.
Now because there are only 40 colors (plus white daisy and colonial white), I have 5 colors in each of the 8 trays and all of my discontinued colors in one tray and my colonial white and white daisy in the last tray.

Now if I could only figure out how to part with...I mean organize...all of my other papers. ;)

Until next time...

Monday, November 05, 2012

A Little Bit Country

After all the busyness of the last few months, I've been feeling the affect of the lack of creativity in my life.  In other words, crafting = happiness.  There's a definite affect on my mood when I don't create and every time I say I won't let that happen...well, life happens.

I did manage to get a couple of layouts for my November scrapbooking workshop done last weekend.  Both layouts are featured in the Dakota workshop-on-the-go kit, with a few tweaks to the second layout.

The first layout features lots of Cricut Art Philosophy cuts and a cute barbed wire technique using black hemp.  The folding of the petals also makes for a great dimension to the layout.

Both of my layouts are missing titles, but I want to use the Urban Alphabet and discovered...shockingly...that I don't own that set!  Don't ask me how that happened.  Anyway, for now, I'm leaving the title off, but plan to use "Happy Trails" for the first layout and "Gone Country" or "A Little Bit Country" on the second.

The scanned pages don't convey the background cardstock color accurately.  The background cardstock is Whisper...a light grey.  You can see the color better in the photos below.

The foundation of the second layout is the same as shown in the WOTG kit guide.  However, I changed the embellishments, because I just had to use the burlap ribbon.  This layout also features an Art Philosophy Cricut cut...the star.  However, instead of using lots of stars on the layout, I chose to use the burlap ribbon.  I mean, what says country more than burlap?  I also added a little hidden journaling tag, using a piece of burlap ribbon and staples for the pull.

I stamped the flourish image (from the exclusive WOTG stamp set) directly on the page two times and then a third time on a piece of Whisper cardstock and trimmed it out. 

I have the perfect pictures for these layouts, but haven't put them on yet, because of one problem.  The colors in the photo are bright pink and a strong grassy green.  Not exactly coordinating colors, so I probably will have to do some photo editing to make it work. Once I get that done, I'll share the final layouts with you...and with titles.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Gone, but not forgotten.

Yeah...I know.  It's been awhile since I last posted.  As was with the last time I went MIA, work is partly responsible.  You would think after 9 years of teaching, it would get easier.  But thanks to politics and general societal issues, that's not happening. :(  In the last month, grades were due, parent conferences took place and my spare time was used writing my PGP (Professional Growth Plan).  I just wish I could actually teach more and talk/write about teaching less.

However, school isn't the main reason I've been absent.  Just about a month ago, my father-in law fell ill and was hospitalized.  He's been diabetic for the last 10 years or so, and it had taken it's toll.  Both his kidney's and liver were failing.  The medicine that they gave him for his liver, hurt his kidney's and vice versa.  After a couple of weeks of surgeries and various tests and procedures, he finally decided to stop fighting.  He was admitted into Hospice on the 10th of October and peacefully fell asleep in death on the 12th.  It's been very hard on the family, as it would be fair to say he was our center.  As heartbroken as I've been, and as hard as it's been to see my husband mourn, my heart especially aches for my mother-in-law.  They were together for 47 years and it's been really tough for her.  My mother-in-law is spending some of her nights with us and some with her father.  She finally went home about a week ago, but my daughter went with her to help her keep her mind off things.  Only problem with that?  I'm missing my girl.

Anyhoo...I have a couple of posts ready for the next couple of days, so hopefully the tide is turning (for awhile anyway) and I'll be able to find more time to create and blog.  Until tomorrow though, I want to leave you with this layout I did that featured my father-in-law spending time with my daughter when she was much younger.

These layouts just make me wish I had taken more pictures of him, especially pictures of him with my kids.  As I type this, it makes me think of other loved ones that I need to photograph more.  How about you?  Do you have loved ones that you could photograph more...before it's too late?

Until next time...

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