Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's here! It's here! What we've all been asking for.....

I can't even tell you how super-excited I am that Close To My Heart has partnered with Provo Craft and Cricut to bring us a new, exclusive Cricut cartridge!!!!!  It's called Art Philosophy, and will only be available through a Close To My Heart consultant, beginning August 1st (that's only 6 days away, people!!).  Here is a quick video to give you an idea of what this must-have cartridge has to offer:

Get out of town!!  Matching chipboard pieces AND stamps?!!!  I tell you, I am truly in heaven.  CTMH has given us everything a paper crafter can want.  I ordered my Art Philosophy collection as soon as I was able to, and it arrives today!  The anticipation is nearly killing me.  :-)

If you too, would like to share in the Cricut excitement, please give me a jingle, or shoot me an email.  I'd love to show you how to maximize this amazing tool, and bring your paper crafting to a brand new level of awesomeness.  :-) 

Monday, July 25, 2011

H2H Challenges...a sketch!

This week over at Heart2Heart Challenges, we were challenged to create a project based on this sketch:

This challenge was perfect fabulous upline, Traci Pasqualone, won the prestigious Rising Star Award with CTMH this year (YAY!!!!!!!), and I couldn't be prouder of her!  I wanted to make a card to congratulate her, so I decided to use this sketch as my starting point.  I followed the sketch pretty closely, and ended up with this:

Now, this may not look like a CTMH card, but it is....I made it with all -new product from the Fall/Winter Idea Book.  Our very generous company gave Convention attendees a ton of new product, and I couldn't wait to bust in to it and create something.  This was the perfect opportunity! The papers are from the Roxie collection.  And here are some close-ups of some new items:

You know how I love my bling!  CTMH has introduced a new Bling Assortment.  This includes two sizes of bling buttons, as well as some really cool stick pins (see next picture).  Awesome!

These stamped images are made with a new set called Blue Ribbon.  See the scalloped circle, and the star at the top....they coordinate with the new Art Philosophy Cricut caridge!  Woot woot!  And you can see the little stick pin from the Bling Assortment up at the top.....

One of the best announcements at Convention was the introduction of "Zip Strips".  These little strips of paper are on the edge of the 12x12 patterned paper, and are meant to be used as decoration.  One side identifies the paper pack, the other side is decorative.  I can't tell you how thrilled I am to get the little "CTMH" logo off the actual patterned paper!!  There are only so many creative ways you can cover that little guy up!  :-)  "You're My Inspiration" is from one of the papers in the new Roxie collection.  I simply cut off the words, and matted it to a piece of black cardstock.

Thanks for stopping by!  I can't wait to see what you create this week!  Make sure you link it up over at for a chance to win some awesome give-aways this month.  :-)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Heart2Heart challenge: Doilies and Lace

This post is going to be short and sweet this week.  I just returned from Close To My Heart's annual Convention in Disneyworld, and while I had the time of my life, this chick is TIRED!  :-)  But I am beyond excited about what CTMH has to offer in the new Idea Book (which goes live 2 weeks from today, by the way!!!!).  More on that in the upcoming days.  :-)

This week's challenge over at Heart2Heart is to create artwork using doilies and/or lace, real, stamped or die cut.  This challenge comes a few weeks too soon, as CTMH  revealed this week that we have partnered with Cricut to produce an exclusive Cricut cartridge, and there are EASILY at least 50 images on the cartridge that are doilies or lacy!!!  But in the meantime, I have a really adorable doily die-cut that I recently purchased at a scrapbook expo.  I was so excited to have an opportunity to try it out!  But I was very disappointed...the die did not cut cleanly, and was way too intricate to try to clean up with my scissors.  Luckily, I had some little Martha Stewart doilies on hand.  They are paper, so I was able to stamp on them to give them a little more visual interest.

 I had some spare pieces from a Mix-n-Mingle album left from another project, so I used those to create a little mini-notebook to bring with me to Convention. 

I simply adhered some B&T paper to the front and back, and adhered some notebook paper to the inside (I used a red-line tape to attach this).  I actually cut up a notepad to make the paper, but I later realized that I could have just as easily placed some Post-It Notes inside.  :-)

Here is a picture of the inside:

 Add a flower (see this post to learn how to make this flower) and a cute little button from the Pink and Red assortment, and Voila!  Adorableness!  :-)

Thanks for looking!  Leave a little love if you feel like it, but be sure to come back soon!

Material used (all products are CTMH, except where noted):
base: Mix-n-Mingle Album
paper:  Sophia B&T, Pear cs
stamps: Universal Backgrounds, Boutique Borders
ink:  Pear
Embellishments: Martha Stewart paper doilies, Red and Pink button assortment, white floss, white ric-rac, pink ribbon (from my scrap stash), generic notebook tablet from Staples

Monday, July 11, 2011

H2H challenge: Something that Inspires You

Last week's challenge over at Heart2Heart Challenges was to take inspiration from a given photo, and create something from that inpiration.  It was so fun to see how different the projects were, even though everyone started with the exact same photo!  This week is a similar challenge, but with a little twist....use your own picture or object that inspires you, and create a project from that.  Here is my inspiration picture:

And a picture of what I created:

This is a long post, so if want to, you can skip down to the bottom, where I talk about how I made the journal.  But if you want to know how these two pictures relate to each other, read on.  :-0)

Now, I know, you're thinking...."Ummm, Michelle, that second picture in no way resembles the first!!".  :-)  LOL!  You're right.  But the challenge was to take a picture of something that inspires you, and use that as the beginning point of our artwork.  The first picture is a photo of my mom and me.  It's somewhat of a miracle, in and of itself.  We are both notorious for shutting our eyes in pictures, or having them half-way shut and looking like we're drugged up.  Seriously, it's a huge problem!!  My eyes were shut in my prom picture my Junior year.  Not a good look.  So the fact that we have both of our eyes open at the same time is a major feat!  But I digress.

My mom is probably one of the most Godly, faithful women I know.  It's a very quiet, but steadfast faith, and through the years I have watched her exemplify her Christian beliefs time after time, in her own special way.  She is a three-time cancer survivor, something I know would shake the faith of almost anyone.  But she simply keeps plugging on, believing that God has a plan for her.  Even in the darkest moments, I've never heard her say "why me?", even though I'm sure she must have been thinking it.  This attitude is something that I struggle with from time to time, and I have a hard time letting God be in control.  It's hard for us type-A peronalities to let go of control!!  :-)  But it's something that I see my mother doing over and over, and she most certainly inspires me to be more like her.

One of the things that is near and dear to my mom's heart is the Prayer Chain through her church.   I'm sure many churches have this, and it's not something unique, but I think it's a very powerful thing.  I remember many nights when I was growing up, listening to mom get a phone call, asking that someone be put on the prayer chain for a specific request.  The phone tree would be initiated, and phone calls would pass from household to household, asking that a special prayer be said for whoever needed it.  I got to see firsthand the power of prayer, through this prayer chain.

For a long time, I've wanted to start my own prayer journal.  Like my mom's prayer chain, I often come across friends on Facebook, or in blogland, or in my everyday life who are asking for a little extra prayer.  I usually say a quick prayer right then and there, but by the time I go to bed, I've forgotten the prayer request.  So I made this book to write down the prayer requests.  Now I can go back, and actually remember the prayer requests.

I used CTMH's My Creations Journal as my base.  The journal comes with a 7" x 5" clear pocket on the front, so you can decorate it any way you'd like, and switch it out later.  I decided I wanted to decorate the entire front page, so I tore off the pocket.  I then opened up the binding coils, and took the front page off the journal.  Now, the way the binding is on the journals, you need to also take the back cover off, before you can take off the front cover.  Be sure and pay attention to which way they go, so you can put them back on in the same order.  :-)
 <--------opening the binding

 <-------putting the pages back together.  notice that the front page goes on first, and the back page goes on top of that.  Once the binding is closed back up, the front cover will swing around to the front of the journal.

The middle image of my journal was created using of my favorite "fancy" techniques....cracked glass.  I first stamped the butterfly image on Colonial White cardsock.  I then took my Versamark pad, and swiped it over the cardstock several times, covering it completely. 

This left a sticky layer of clear ink over the entire piece of paper.  I poured clear embossing powder over the whole thing, making sure there was embossing powder from edge to edge.  Return the excess powder back to the jar.

Using a heat gun, I melted the embossing powder, making the cardstock glossy-looking.  I repeated these steps (cover with Versamark, pour embossing powder, melt embossing powder) 5 or 6 times, until there was a fairly thick layer of embossing powder melted on top of the image.

Once I did all the layers of embossing powder, I put the cardstock piece in the freezer.  Yes, you read that right, the freezer!!  This hardens the melted embossing powder.  I typically leave it in there for 5-10 minutes.  When you take it out, immediately bend the cardstock in several directions.  This will "break" the melted embossing powder, leaving small cracks that look like broken glass.

If there are any pieces that tear off of the cardstock, you can use your heat gun to give it a quick burst of heat and melt it back together.  Take a dauber and rub some brown ink (I used Chocolate here) over the entire piece.  The ink will sink in to the cracks, giving a vintage look.  It's so pretty!!

Whew!  That was a long post!  Thanks for sticking with me, and thanks for looking!!  I can't wait to see what everyone else makes for this week's H2H challenge!!

Materials (all items CTMH, unless noted otherwise):
-paper:  Miracle level 2, Colonial White cs, Crystal Blue cs
-stamps:  January 2011 stamp of the month
-inks:  Bamboo, Crystal Blue, Chocolate
-embellishments:  blue buttons from Blue Assortment, Hemp, ribbon (unknown... from my scrap pile), Basic Grey cardstock sticker letters (inked with Crystal Blue)
-other:  My Creations Journal, Nestabilities Scalloped Square, Clear embossing powder

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More Bang for Your Buck!!

I know I've been a bad, bad blogger this week....I am getting ready to leave for Close To My Heart's annual Convention, and I've been pulling my hair out trying to get ready to leave.  It's in Anaheim, CA this year, at Disneyland, and this will be my first year attending.  I'm so stinkin' excited I'm about to burst!!  So, just to warn you in advance, next week will be a bit thin as far as blog posts go, too.  But I promise I'll have some SUPER cool stuff to share when I get back!!!!

For now, let me tell you about an awesome special CTMH has for the month of July.  We all like to get more bang for our buck, right??  Well, during the month of July, simply order $50 of product from our current catalogue, and receive your choice of 5 featured items for just $1!! 

The 5 items you can choose from are:

-Creative Basics Mistletoe Collection
-Creative Basics Animal Cookies collection
-My Originals Bits and Pieces Card Kit
-My Originals It's Your Day Card Kit
-My Originals Around the Holidays Card Kit

Contact me if you'd like to know specifics about what is in each kit.  Remember, this special is only good through July 31, so don't wait!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Heart2Heart Challenge: Inspiration Photo

First of all, Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans!!  I hope everyone takes a moment today to stop and reflect on the freedoms we have and the sacrifices that have been made to preserve our liberty.  I hope you see some pretty fantastic fireworks, too!  :-)

This week is my first week as a member of the Design Team for Heart2Heart Challenges, and I had so much fun with it!   There are some awesome things happening over at H2H in July.  We have some great prize sponsors this month....Sandra Van Woerden (click here to see her blog) and Tonya Whitehurst  (click here to see her blog).  Be sure to check out their blogs and leave them a little love!  They're offering some great prize packages this month.  Winners are randomly selected from all of the entries for the month, so you definitely want to play along for a chance to grab those goodies!  :-)  And, in addition to the new DT members starting this month, Tracy Oleksak is joining us as a guest DT member for the month of July.  Her blog is here. I'm looking forward to seeing her beautiful artwork in the next few weeks!

So let's get down to business.....Take a look at the photo below - what inspires you? The shapes? Colors? Layout?  The challenge this week is to create a project using this picture as an inspiration:

When I saw this picture, two things immediately jumped out at me...the two colors that reminded me of Lagoon and Smoothie, and the way the picture is arranged like a filmstrip.  So I decided to use those two elements as my starting point.  Here is what I ended up with:

I loved the color combination in the picture, so I used Lagoon and Smoothie cardstock to make this card.  I cut out the three squares to create a filmstrip effect , much like the inspiration picture (well, I actually used my Cricut to cut them out!).

It's hard to see in the picture (darn lighting!...I really need to figure out how to make a lightbox!), but this card is blinged out with Bitty Sparkles, which I adore (I even have a tiny sparkle that looks just like a bitty sparkle on my big toes right now, to go with my pedicure!).  Here's a closer picture.  If you click on it, it should enlarge so you can see details better:

Can you tell that the panel with the squares cut out is popped up with dimensional tape? 
About an inch and a half of the front panel has been cut off the bottom, and the sentiment is actually stamped on the inside of the card, so when you open it, it looks like this:

I can't wait to see what everyone else creates this week!  Make sure you post your entry over at H2H challenges (click here).  The only stipulation is that Close To My Heart products must be used in your artwork (but it does not have to be 100% CTMH).  If you use other products, please let us know what you used.  Good luck, and thanks for taking a peek at my blog today!

Materials list (all items are CTMH, except where noted):
-paper:  Lagoon cs, Smoothie cs, White Daisy cs
-stamp sets:  Circle Together (flower), Flower Pot (sentiment), Friendship Alphabet Small (dot between the words)
-inks: Lagoon, Smoothie
Embellishments:  Bitty Sparkles
Other: Cricut (George cartridge...squares), Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder, sanding block, Martha Stewart Doily Lace border punch, Dimensional Tape

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ready for the 4th!!

This is picture of a layout I made in June, for my "Use Your Stash" class.  It is based on a sketch in the newest addition to the Close To My Heart "how-to" books, Magic.  I think it's one of the first times I've created a layout in advance of the event. LOL!   :-) 

(click on the photo to enlarge the picture)

There will be a vertical photo on the left page, centered over the red circle, but my little place marker fell of as I was bringing the layout downstairs to photograph, and I was just too lazy to go back upstairs to get it.  :-)  I used the Fanfare paper pack, which I'm thrilled to announce will be carried over in to the new Idea Book.  I did some tone-on-tone stamping with the Cranberry strips, and some Clear Sparkles add a bit of pizzazz.  There is some dimension on the page too, with the Dimensional Elements stars and letters.  I simply inked them up, using a dauber (the letters in JULY), and I stamped on the stars.

Thanks for looking!!

Materials list (all products CTMH, except where noted):
-paper:  White Daisy cs, Cranberry cs, Fanfare level 2 paper pack
-ink:  Pacifica
-Stamps: Friendship Alphabet Large, Boom!, Friendship Alphabet Small
-Embellishments:  Clear Sparkles, Dimensional Elements Stars, Dimensional Elements Simple Alphabet Uppercase (discontinued)