Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Papercrafting Fun

Looking for some last minute decorating tips for your New Years Eve party?? - then this cute Bunting may just do the trick!!...simply grab your Mini Stapler and
Designer Creation Paper Bags - easy peasy!!

I have created bunting for so many different occasions but this is the easiest and quickest I have ever produced it... and I have to confess that the bunting in this photo will not be adorning any party! Instead it will form a portion of the classroom decorations for my daughter's Grade 5/6 class of 2016. If you follow my "creativecapers" then you know I love crafting with my youngest daughter and she loves creating fun and inviting learning areas for her students ( if you click here you will see her jungle theme & classroom from this year ). Rather than follow a theme this time around, she has decided to design a brightly coloured pre-teen space with lots of bunting hanging from the ceiling. The fabulous chevron and trendy prints in the Designer Creations Paper Bags certainly complimented the look she wanted.

To create the bunting the paper bags were  laminated, just so they could uphold a whole year of "wear and tear" then a dovetail/wedge was cut into the end with the opening. Next, they were attached along a piece of ribbon with the Mini Stapler - being just a 1/4" in size they are very discrete...giving it a nice professional finish.  I am a huge fan of this stapler for just that reason! It is amongst my Top 10 most used tools, you can find it here in my online shop, along with packs 2000 refills.

Be sure to stay tuned for some more "sneak peeks" into my daughter's classroom we have some serious playtime happening in the craft room at the moment and I look forward to sharing our projects with you in the coming weeks.

Wishing you all the best as you celebrate the New Year - thank you for joining me here in my little world of creativity and supporting my Close To My Heart business....see you in 2016  - Chris xx


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge - #139

Once again I am joining the sketch fun over at the Atlantic Hearts Challenge Blog...

Although I have finished making my Christmas cards I used this sketch as inspiration for this cute little red and green creation. It is not your traditional type of Christmas card but came together in just the same way as a card I posted a little while back, ( you can see that here ) where all the left-over bits and pieces on my craft desk were combined together and resulted in a simple but cute card.

So many different pieces of paper scraps were used in this card - CranberryWhite Daisy and Kraft cardstock, Kaleidoscope papers,  Enchantment Paper Fundamentals. The sketch design brought them together beautifully and they co-ordinated so well with the stickers and kraft card die-cut shapes from the
White Pines Complements pack ...how cute is that little reindeer?! The "Hugs enclosed" sentiment was stamped in Cocoa Ink from the stamp set Packages, Boxes & Tags (D1664)... and if I am not too late for the Christmas mail??... this card will be making it's way to a special someone I know could use a BIG hug right around now. I love sending my handmade cards out as little acts of random kindness and I know the recipients love and appreciate that someone cares!

Don't forget to pop on over to the Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge and take a peek at all the inspiring ideas - play along with us and post your creations based on this sketch too... it is a lot of fun!


Friday, December 18, 2015

Planners Gonna Plan/Part 1 - Setting Up A New Planner

I am so excited to be sharing with you the new Everyday Life™ Planner from Close To My Heart - decorative planners are so on trend in the world of papercrafting and this one is very hard to resist...truly who could resist something as pretty and practical as this??!!??

- not ME!

Setting up and decorating a planner is a huge part of the fun for planner addicts and there is nothing quite so appealing as a bundle of blank pages - they not only represent  a new year but new beginnings and a whole lot of "new" crafting opportunities. However, if you are new to this form of practical crafting they can also be a little daunting and with this in mind, I thought I would share with you my tips for getting started and a peek at my pages.

My first tip is to gather together your supplies -  pens, roller/date stamps, washi tape, post-it notes, stickers, Picture My Life™ cards, etc and store them together in easy  reach. My supplies are all bundled together in the My Acrylix® Mini Stamp Organizer  - they all fit in nicely and this is the perfect container to leave sitting out on my desk. While some of these decorative items  are optional -  I personally think they make the whole process so much more fun! - and yes, the pic  you see below gives you a little look at some goodies being released 1st Jan... that are going to add even more fun to embellishing your planner!

While I am a self-proclaimed "stationery junkie" and I have a huge collection of pens ( mainly pink )... highlighters, gel, fineliners, texta, erasable, correction - Yep!... you name it, I've got it!! I do however, find a single black pen is all you really need. Some people like to colour code events in their planners and write in a variety of different colours (eg. personal appointments in pink, sporting events in blue, housekeeping tasks in green etc). I find this a little time consuming and not so easy to keep track of. I never know if I will have the correct pen colour on hand when I need to write something and if I wait until I do; I know I will ultimately forget what it was, I wanted to write down! It is simply easier for me to write with my Black Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen  - and use the stickers that are included in the Everyday Life™ 2016 Planner Pages as a form of colour coding for any events, I wish to highlight.

The next thing I like to do when setting up a new planner is to make time to sit down with my current planner and transfer across perpetual and annual events - such as Birthdays, Anniversaries, Public Holidays etc. Then I add those appointments and important events already scheduled for the new year  - eg. the 6 monthly visit to the dentist or the start of the school year, holidays etc. I also find another great way to stay organised is to start marking down reminders in my planner too. An example of this, is the annual medical appointment I have in October, that I can't schedule 12 months ahead. Often when I do remember to phone and make the appointment, most of the convenient times are already gone or I am so late the appointment gets pushed out until November or in the case of this year, December! I have learnt the best thing to do is to schedule a date a month or 2 months earlier in my planner as a reminder to phone and make the appointment. While I don't manage my husband's or my daughter's appointments I do want to add reminders in my planners for them as well - a reminder to remind them LOL! If you are a goal setter or have monthly or annual housekeeping tasks such as air-conditioner maintenance, pool cleaning etc add them to your planner at this stage too. Taking the time to sit down and include these things in your planner now... for the coming year, helps you keep on track and removes some of the organisational stress from your life.

This is a little preview into my month of January - I love that the Everyday Life™ 2016 Planner Pages come with both monthly and weekly views. I use the monthly view as a form of diary/calendar with everything I have scheduled for the month written beside the date. This is just so I can see at a glance where I may have a spare date to schedule appointments, workshops etc. I then use the weekly view to add in the actual appointment times and any extra details I might need listed, such as what I need to do to prepare, what to bring, goals etc. There is more space to write on the weekly view pages and this is where my real planning happens. You will see in my example below where I have colour coded events using the stickers that are included in the Everyday Life™ 2016 Planner Pages. I also like to add notes to the monthly view pages for events I would like to combine & schedule with family & friends for that particular month... this is so when we do get together to co-ordinate plans, I can see quickly where I have a day available. I do like things to be colour co-ordinated and as you can see any "decorating" I do does match the planner's colour scheme. I tend to store any unused stickers, papers and embellishments from my other projects into colour groups... and as you can see on these pages - I have used pixie and glacier stickers from the Fundamental Stickers Whimsy Pack and the Kaleidoscope Complements along with some gold stars from the Gold Fundamental Assortment. Planners are great place to use all your left-over or excess treasures! My stamped Happy New Year embellishment was created using images from November Stamp of the Month - called Cheers... I am so glad I collect each month's Stamp of the Month as each set is so universal they can be used over and over again. I make sure I never miss out on ordering these stamp sets!

One of my favourite additions to this Everyday Life™ planner system is the My Crush® Everyday Life Pages and pocket style Memory Protectors (they come in 2 sizes -  4" x 6" and 4" x 3"). I really admire the planner addicts that have the time to basically scrapbook their weekly diary spread but I am afraid for me to do this I would be spending way too much time making my planner look "pretty" than actually doing the things I have planned!! However, with the inclusion of the  My Crush® Everyday Life Pages and pocket style Memory Protectors I can incorporate a little creative scrapbooking, display my memorabilia and journal my thoughts, adventures and experiences - a perfect mix of everything I love to do! - photo below, courtesy of the Close To My Heart art department.

Right now! is the perfect time to get your hands on the Everyday Life Planner™ - not only are we getting ready to commence another new year of plans, events and appointments but Close To My Heart have an amazing bundle offer available until the 31st December - click HERE for more details -  you can save over 15% off the retail price and get your 2016 planning well underway!

Over the coming months I will share some of my "not so personal" planner pages with you and pass on more tips and tricks for bullet journaling, memory keeping and embellishing your Everyday Life™ Album... stay tuned for this creative journey - planning your year has never been more FUN!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Holiday Greetings

Like all Aussie's I dream of a White Christmas or least the opportunity to experience one...there is something very magical about snow scenes at Christmas time and I have created my own! Yes, yesterday as I was finishing the very last of my Christmas cards ( yay-me!! ) I decided to make a special little Holiday Greeting card depicting a snow scene and the cute little woodland critters from Close To My Heart's Miracle of Christmas Stamp Set.

I used a combination of different techniques to create the scene, sponging, colouring, random stamping, paper piecing and paper tearing. The background was sponged in Sapphire and Glacier Exclusive Inks™ and then in White Pigment Ink I randomly stamped an image from the Ink Blot Stamp Set to represent falling snow. I then hand tore strips of White Cardstock and layered them in the foreground. The cute fox and bear images were stamped in Cocoa Exclusive Ink™ onto white card stock and patterned papers found in the White Pines Paper Pack and the Picture My Life™ White Pines Scrapbooking Program multiple times then I fussy cut out features such as clothes and scarves. I used the ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Clay Marker and the ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Carmine Marker to add details to the noses, cheeks and ears. The scene was then matted onto some Kraft Cardstock before adhering to the card base. It was so much fun working on this card and using colours other than the traditional red and green.

I have really enjoyed creating cards with these little critters this holiday season and the Ink Blot Stamp Set is an all time favourite. Here is a little peek at some other cards I created using both these sets and similar techniques.

Both stamp sets are available to purchase in my Online Shop you can order online and have your goodies sent directly to your door or if you would like me to place your order and have it delivered to my workshop events simply email me at lotfam@iinet.net.au

 Off now to end out into a hot Summers day to post of my Christmas cards - check your letter box one may just end up your way!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge - #137

It is time to join in the sketch fun over at the Atlantic Hearts Challenge Blog...

I do have to admit that this sketch was a bit of a challenge for me - I am currently finishing off my Christmas cards, using the stamp set from the 
White Pines Cardmaking Workshop and at first glance I couldn't see any of the images (included in this set) working with this design. However, looking beyond the Christmas Tree & Wreath images  there are some sweet little flower images. It was the larger of these flowers, that I ended up using as my inspiration.

I rotated the sketch and stamped the images in Fern Ink into the centre 3/4" squares of White Cardstock that were then matted onto larger 1" squares of Cranberry Cardstock. The centre of each flower image was embellished with rhinestones shapes from the Sparkles Clear Assortment. The lower section of the card includes a selection of great crafting goodies from the Close To My Heart product range - Red Shimmer Trim, Fern Thick Twine and the floral paper was cut from a card found in the Picture My Life™ White Pines Scrapbooking Program. The sentiment was stamped in Cranberry Ink and comes from the Festive Trees Hostess Reward Stamp Set.

Don't forget to pop on over to the Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge and take a peek at all the inspiring ideas - play along with us and post your creations based on this sketch too... it is a lot of fun!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Creative Distraction

Two blog posts in less than a day is a bit of a first for me LOL!! It seems when the crafting mojo is in full force other priorities take a back seat!

Last night I finished off another floral card using the December Stamp of the Month. I am a bit addicted to this design and painting with Watercolours at the moment. This is the third card in the series and this time Canary Yellow was the feature colour along with a few slight variations. I used  different paper patterns from the La Vie En Rose Paper Pack, some Kraft Cardstock, Black Fundamental Assortment ( for flower centres ) and Kraft diecut shapes found in the La Vie En Rose & Zoe complement packs.

I also used a different sentiment from the Candlelight Garden stamp set - if you missed out on seeing the other cards?... you will find them by clicking here.

One of my tasks today was to tidy my craft room. My desk was buried under lots of pretty papers, embellishments and a barrage of tools. I started with really good intentions and as I was "slowly"  putting everything back where it belonged - I got distracted by all these goodies. This distraction resulted in another little card using the December Stamp of the Month!

If you are a regular visitor to my blog you will notice the design and papers used, are similar to cards I shared last week ( you can view them here ).

This time I used the candle image from the Candlelight Garden stamp set and placed it inside the mason jar image using the paper piecing technique. The candle was stamped onto the yellow paper from the Kaleidoscope Paper Packet and the flame section coloured with the ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ Golden Yellow Marker,  the lid of the jar was stamped onto Slate Cardstock. The fern coloured leaves were left-over pieces from one of the layouts I created for my Convention presentation...and if you missed that post you can see that too by clicking here. The other piece of green is a small piece cut from a White Pines Picture My Life™ card. The large heart and label embellishment can be found in the La Vie En Rose Complements and the scallop circle is from the Whimsy Fundamental Sticker Pack ,with a heart shape in the centre also from the Black Fundamental Assortment.

I love how this card came together from all the little bits and pieces left-over from my previous creations and while I didn't get to clear away everything on my desk... the few pieces that would have been thrown out (with the rubbish) have creatively turned into a special card for a friend... and tomorrow, I really should finish the tidy up I started!!

I know those of you who follow my Facebook page have seen all the wonderful bonus offers Close To My Heart have recently released, but have you seen the gorgeous new Planner... that has made me giddy with excitement?? I've ordered mine already and can't wait to have it delivered - you will love this 2016 diary that also gives you the experience of “memory keeping on the go”. In this planner/diary you can also track your weekly menus and shopping lists, decorate important reminders with stickers & stamps, and tuck away precious memories in especially designed pocket and My Crush® Everyday Life Pages. More details can be found in my Online Shop...simply click here.
Right up until the 31st December you can order a Everyday Life™ album, the accompanying Everyday Life 2016 planner pages, and the coordinating
Everyday Life Perfect Plan roller stamp in an exclusive product bundle for only $45.95 AUD. That’s over 15% off the retail price!

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Stamp of the Month - Candlelight Garden

WOW! - can you believe it?... today is the 1st December and the last month of 2015!! I know that means many of you are crafting away getting the last of your Christmas cards and gifts made, but I thought today we might change the pace a bit and celebrate  friendships.

As I reflect on 2015 I know Close To My Heart and the friendships it brings has played a huge part in my year and for that, I am very grateful -  these "friendships mean everything"... and this leads into the card I want to share with you using the December Stamp of the Month - Candlelight Garden.

This stamp set includes a fabulous Mason Jar image. Mason Jars are so on trend at the moment and offer so many creative options. I stamped the image in black
Memento Ink onto some Watercolour Paper, then using Close To My Heart's Watercolour Paints  painted a translucent wash of blue paint to represent water in the bottom of the jar.

I then used a portion of the stems from the floral image found in the stamp set to attach some 3D flowers. These flower were made from a variety of different sizes of floral shapes, found in the Cricut® Artistry Collection. These were also coloured with a wash of pink Watercolour Paints. I love the texture and depth this created and how different it made the shapes look...if you click here your will see a card I previously created with these same shapes using a totally different technique. The lovely sparkly centres of the flowers are from the Bling Gems Gold Assortment . The leaves were cut from the Cricut® Art Philosophy Collection in Sweet Leaf Cardstock.

I used Black and Pixie cardstock as the base for the card design and complimented it with black & white patterns from the La Vie En Rose Paper Pack. The sentiment can also be found in the Candlelight Garden Stamp Set and the splattered areas were created with the Ink Blot Stamp Set. The gold foil heart is a sticker from the Fundamental Stickers Basics Pack and the card was embellished with white gems from the Grey Enamel Gems pack.

I've also made a blue version of this card design using Lagoon Cardstock and
Glacier Extra Thick Twine. The heart sticker can also be found in the Fundamental Stickers Basics Pack and the Thank You sentiment is from the Stamp of the Month stamp set.

When you spend $75 you can purchase this Stamp of the Month set for just $7.50 - that is a saving of over 70%...  when ordering from my Online Shop  you will be prompted to add this set before you finalise your order and check out - and don't forget to browse our CyberWeek Sale... for five days only, a selection of 39 items from Close To My Heart’s current product inventory can be yours for 25% off retail price! Get supplies you’ll need to make handcrafted gifts and cards for the holidays, including our
Cricut® Artfully Sent Collection, at an amazing discount!

If you pop over to my Facebook Page - you will see the complete list of items available and some other Super Savings in my personal Daily Deals!! - how awesome is that...lots of great crafting specials for you to cash in on this holiday season!?

Happy Shopping!
Chris xx