Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Amazing YOU! It's National Scrapbooking Month

Happy National Scrapbooking Month!  

Now, you all know by now that I'm not much of a scrapbooker -- otherwise I'd be known as ScrapMonkey, right? -- but I DO love my cards, and I especially love finding creative ways to use papers and kits made for scrapbooking.

This month, Close To My Heart has a fabulous kit that includes designer two-sided paper, complementing cardstock, punched cut-outs and oooh-la-la, a stamp set. Check this out!
For me, this paper collection is the perfect picker-upper as we head into summer from what felt like a very long winter. Certainly, there aren't any palm trees in Pennsylvania but we do travel to tropical islands from time to time, and we can dream, right?

Let's take a closer look at the stamp set. It has several images that you can use independent of the kit, and even, independent of the tropics:

See those pretty flowers (hibiscus, I think)?  Many of my friends grow those in planters on their patios. There's also one stamp that says "amazing Family vacation". Cut it apart -- YES, you can do that with acrylic stamps, just use sharp scissors and care, and look at what you can make with this -- a congratulations card!

I stamped the larger hibiscus flower in Sapphire and Crystal Blue CTMH Exclusive Inks, the smaller flower in Smoothie ink, and the leaves in Fern ink. The "Amazing" part of the large stamp set was also stamped in Crystal Blue.  I also added "Congratulations" from an older, retired stamp set (C1673: Some Kinda Wonderful), stamped in Sapphire. 

The technique in cutting the word "YOU" from the center of the card and elevating it is called the "Eclipse" method.  There are many ways that crafters describe how they do this technique; I'm not sure there's a right way or a wrong way, as long as you get the same results. 

For me, I stamp my paper in the pattern that I want. I then cut the word out of the print I've made, using CTMH's Block Alphabet Thin Cuts.  Save every piece you cut out, including the center of the letter O.  

Next, create your "eclipse" by using Craft Foam. I purchased the foam I use at Michael's; it comes in a package of multi-colored foam that's about 1/32nd of an inch thick. Each sheet is 8.5"x11".  

Cut a piece that's wider than your letter die cuts are high. In the case of the CTMH Block Alphabet Thin Cuts, that's 1.5" high, so I cut a strip of foam that's 2" wide from the larger sheet.  

Next, cover that piece of foam with double-sided adhesive tape. I use 6" wide tape from Elizabeth Crafts.  Yes, it's expensive -- almost $50 for a large roll -- but believe me, it lasts forever and it's really worth it!  Cut your letters (YOU, here) from the foam with its adhesive, using a Cuttlebug or other die-cutting machine. 

You'll need to mount your stamped card (that now has the YOU cut out of the center) onto a background color. I used CTMH's Sapphire cardstock. Peel the adhesive backing off of your cut letters, and affix them in place of the missing letters on your stamped card. After that, peel the top of the adhesive paper off of the letters to expose the stickiness, and attach the letters that you've saved on top of that, like a foam sandwich. Don't forget to adhere (with glue) the center of your O.  All done!

Have a question on the Eclipse Method I used, or about any CTMH product?  Please don't hesitate to contact me at cardmonkey@comcast.net, or via a comment left here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tip of the Day: How to Resticky Your Cricut Mat

Cricut users:  Isn't it frustrating when you've designed or found your Cricut cut, lined up your paper, hit "load" on your Cricut then "start" and suddenly, your paper starts to drift over your mat, ruining your cut?  

Ahhhh, it's the dreaded mat that's grown fuzzy or unsticky over time.  I've got a quick and easy way to not only clean your mat, but also to apply some additional repositionable glue to the surface to make your mats as good as new.  

Here is a link to purchase the Bonding Memories Broad Tip Glue Pen  ($7.95 ea + tax/shipping):

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tri-Fold Shutter Card: Happy Mother's Day

Today, I'll be adding one of my favorite cards to the Tutorial Section of my blog (see sidebar, links). 

It's this simple but stand-out card called a Tri-Fold Shutter card.  The base for the card is cut from a little less than half of a sheet of 12" x 12" cardstock, and then decorated as you wish.  

Here, I've made a Mother's Day card for my beautiful mother, using "Gimme Some Sugar" and the softness of Pixie and Blush pink papers. 

My Mom ... If ever there was a woman for whom Mother's Day was meant, it's my Mom. She is the kindest, most patient, gracious, loving and caring person who was ever. Truly. She is creative, talented and so smart, made even more so because she makes everyone else around her feel smarter just for being in her company. 

Mom met Dad while she was in nursing school and Dad was a fraternity boy at University. They met on a blind date, and the rest, is history. They were married 65-1/2 years when Dad left for Heaven. Mom's love and dedication to my Dad, even when Alzheimer's robbed my Dad of his gentle spirit, was so very tender. 

She loved Dad endlessly, though toward his end, the disease made Dad more difficult to love. His passing in this horrid way robbed Mom of her "happily ever after," and honestly, it hurt in ways none of us could fathom. Rest in peace, Dad; we'll take good care of Mom for all the rest of her days, which we pray will be many. 

This is my favorite picture of Mom, taken at the wedding reception when my daughter, Emily was married in 2008.  Isn't she simply gorgeous??!  The jewelry she wore, she made, and she likely had a hand in modifying the gown she wore, too. That's my Dad photobombing in the background, such a handsome guy. 

I love making cards for my Mom ... she is definitely "cardworthy", as she appreciates each of my creations, much as she always aided and abetted my creativity throughout my life.  

Thank you, Mom, for your love and role modeling.

Here are directions on how to make your own Tri-Fold Shutter Cards:

Cut your background paper to suit your desire, or to match whatever paper you're using to decorate your card. In my sample, above, I have used Daisy White cardstock from Close To My Heart.

The base of the card is 5.5" high x 12" wide, with folds as shown on the red dashed lines. Cut in between the folds. Note which folds are "mountain" versus "valley" folds -- self-explanatory, I hope. 

Then, cut your decorative papers to these dimensions:

Decorate your card as you wish. For the right hand panel, I "fussy-cut" a Be-YOU-tiful Picture My Life (PML) Card from CTMH, which matches the Gimme Some Sugar paper line.  For this card, I stamped a plain white panel in the center, and stamped the sentiment and flowers, to match.

On the front panel, I elongated a Floral Wreath design from the Cricut Design Space, making it go from round to flat oval. I cut it twice, once in Pixie and once in Tangerine, and just trimmed off the extra Tangerine flowers that I wanted to use to highlight the wreath. I backed it with an oval I also cut in Design Space, as the custom size is larger than the Thin Cuts I have for ovals, from CTMH.

For those who use Cricut Design Space, here is a file to make the front floral wreath:  https://design.cricut.com/#/design/91249168

If you'd like to replicate my card, you'll need to HURRY and buy yourself some "Gimme Some Sugar" paper from my Close To My Heart shopping site.  The paper retires on April 30!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Join in April ... $75 becomes $339!

Today, I am mailing four of my friends these cards that I made last night. In them, I present an opportunity like none other.  It's an opportunity to invest $75 in herself, to join my Close To My Heart team in April. 

For that investment, she'll receive $339 in CTMH products, which includes a $50 shopping spree for the products of her choosing in either our current catalogs -- Annual Inspirations or Seasonal Expressions 1 -- OUR our newest catalog that will be released to the public on May 1.  That's right ... she'll get a sneak peek, as well as some of the brand new products. 

Would YOU like to join too?  I'd LOVE to have you join The Paper Jungle team. We're small and mighty, full of creative ideas and fun, as well as the BEST products in the paper crafting industry.

The cost to join is just $75. For that, you'll get:

... The fabulous New Consultant kit, valued at approx $200.

... $50 in CTMH Cash (formerly known as Select Product Credits), to use instantly to purchase the products* from our catalogs that you like best. (*includes Paper, Workshops Your Way, Stamp Sets, Inks, Acrylic Blocks, Markers, Picture My Life cards.)

... The Stamps of the Month for May, June, July and August -- each valued at $17.95, and even *I* can't get these in April! 

... A brand new CTMH Photo Trimmer, not available until May 1 to the public (it's a new catalog item).

Let's look a little more at the card I made last night:

For the background of this card, I used the beautiful "Gimme Some Sugar" current CTMH paper. I cut scalloped pieces in Bashful and Juniper, as well as a scalloped tag, both using my Cricut Maker and Cricut's Design Space software. 

Here is the file I created for the scalloped border:

I purchased the scalloped tag (Alphalicious Cartridge, Design Space) so it's not shareable online, sorry.

For the leaves attached to the tag, I fussy cut them from the Gimme Some Sugar paper.  For the sentiment, I stamped using Juniper ink on the White Daisy paper that I edged in Pixie ink; the sentiment is from the A1210 "Created to Create" stamp set, shown here...

Do you see it there ... "Creativity is a way of life" over on the right side. YES, did you know that you can carefully trim out the sentiments you want from a full-background text stamp like this?  All of CTMH's stamps are made from an acrylic polymer and are easy to cut using CTMH's sharp micro-tipped scissors.  I do it all the time!

In FACT, if you join my Paper Jungle team in April, mention this blog post, and I will send this stamp set -- uncut, brand new -- FREE.  

Here is a direct link to join CTMH's PAPER JUNGLE team, with little ol' me as its manager:


Please be in touch with me if I can answer any questions!
Ellen: cardmonkey@comcast.net.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Every Friday in April: Watch for Fab Faves Sales @ CTMH

Friends and Followers, I've got some good news to share!

On every Friday in April beginning TODAY, Close To My Heart will be holding FLASH SALES with 25% off your FAVORITE products. 

The sales are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Eastern, and are expected to last 24 hours or until items sell out. Be sure to visit my shopping site: www.cardmonkey.closetomyheart.com to check out these fantastic "Fab Faves" every Friday in April.

Thank you!

Monday, April 2, 2018

YAY! I'm Baaaack, with a fun card!

Hello, Friends.

Long time, no see!  So very much has happened since my last post too long ago. Without belaboring it too much, let me just say that in 2017, hubby John and I both survived life-threatening health issues, so social media had to take a backseat. 

Also sharing that backseat were my card classes. But we're baaaaack, and I am truly going to endeavor to make this blog better than ever.  Thank you for finding me again. Without further ado, let's get to the business of today's card!  

In April, I'm going to be making cards that feature some of my favorite things from the current Close To My Heart's (CTMH*) products. Many of these will be retiring in July, so please don't hesitate to buy those you'd like to use in the future. Yes, a new Annual Inspirations catalog will be introduced at the CTMH Convention, June 28-30 in Las Vegas!  

I made this card today to celebrate coming back and resuming this blog. I really missed it, and you!  And also, cardmaking, for it's my therapy. My mood is often reflected in my cards, and today, I'm feeling it. You know ... it!

So to make this card, I first created the lively background by first splashing Close To My Heart's (CTMH*) White Daisy cardstock with colors from the CTMH Watercolor Palette, using a CTMH Waterbrush (medium) and an old toothbrush.

Let the paper dry; you can hasten this by blowing it dry using a CTMH Craft Heater, or a hairdryer. Trim your paper down to fit an A2 card -- I cut it to 4.0" high x 5.25" wide.  

Next, line up the letters from CTMH's Alphabet Thin Cuts onto the paper, centering the letters and carefully lining them up to be straight. I tape the letters down using blue painter's tape from any home improvement store, in the paint section. Just tape lightly, and run it through your die cutting/embossing machine. (I used a Cuttlebug, and its A, B and C plates.)  

Now here's the fun part -- making this into a "Shaker Card," with sequins inside to add to the party!  

Using Cricut's Design Space software and cutting with my Cricut Maker, I made an A2 card frame that is 1/2" wide around the perimeter. For this card, I wanted the cardboard to be about 3 layers thick, so I made the file to have three copies of the frame. Here is the file for you to download and use as you wish: https://design.cricut.com/#/design/88985193.

I cut old cardboard that I recycle from cereal boxes.  So layer the frames, printed side down, and gluing them together to create a stack of three. Top the stack with a piece of acetate trimmed to fit/cover the opening. While you can purchase acetate (I buy at Amazon), I also use recycled acetate from packaging like bakery or salad bar boxes. :)

I covered the base of the card with the light side of CTMH's unique two-toned cardstock; I used Lagoon.  Next, add a layer of multi-colored sequins -- enough to be happy, not so much to suffocate, right?   Put a layer of glue all around the perimeter and affix the stacked layer of cardboard/acetate. Now, add your painted/cut piece with YAY! on it.  

I also added a CTMH Title Banner below the "YAY!" (optional) to balance the die cut.  You could also just stamp, "Congratulations," or more -- even "Happy Birthday", Happy Anniversary, etc.  

Don't you just love an all-purpose, fun card?  

See you back here soon!

Shop: www.cardmonkey.ctmh.com

Proud to be an Independent Consultant for Close To My Heart, and the Manager of its Paper Jungle Team.  Ask me how you too can join CTMH and my team, and earn discounts on the products you purchase.  I am also happy to come to your home to host a CTMH Gathering and personalized card class, for those local to me in southeastern Pennsylvania!  Contact me at cardmonkey@comcast.net.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

CTMH Stamp of the Month Blog Hop for August '17

Welcome to the Close To My Heart Stamp of the Month Blog Hop! Consultants across the globe will be featuring August's Stamp of the Month, which is called "School Year" (S1708), a set of 9 My Acrylix stamps.  

If you have come here from Gina's blog, you are on the right path! The blog hop is a circle, so you can start here and work your way all around.  If you get lost along the way, you’ll find the complete list of participating consultants on Melinda’s Blog.

This month, we have nearly two dozen (!!) Close To My Heart Consultant/Bloggers sharing their creations that feature this month's Stamp of the Month and other great CTMH products. To follow along, just click on the link at the end of the post on each blog to move to the next one.

Okay, here we go!

As a cardmaker, I found this month's Stamp of the Month a bit more challenging to incorporate into a card -- but I could think of a zillion ways I will eventually use it in my grandkids' scrapbooks. 

BUT ... there are certainly components I'll use in some cards henceforth. See that cute frame (upper left of the picture at right)?
That will definitely be useful, as will the cute hearts, and the quote bubble. 

This is the card I came up with; I'm planning on giving it to my granddaughter Charlotte when she starts Grade 1 later this month (!!!).

A little creativity and ingenuity went a long way to styling this card. I incorporated the pencil from the "School Year" stamp set as a fence.  The frames became, well, frames.  I used pieces of the school data stamp (upper right in the stamp set picture) to make the backdrop for the frame on the left, by cutting the stamp apart and using the lines as horizontal accents, and then I used the "Back to School" script text stamped repeatedly on the slant. 

Did you know:  You can cut apart any of the Close To My Heart stamps, using a sharp pair of scissors like our fine Micro-Tip Scissors?  Just be careful to cut along the recessed areas (not raised) and DO save the pieces you cut off, in case you want to use them for another project.

I used the Charlotte lookalike girl from the CTMH's "School Kids" stamp set, along with the school house picture and the apple on the frame at left. For the frame on the right side of the card, I heat-embossed the words "Have Fun!" on CTMH Black cardstock, using white detail powder to resemble chalk on a board. I cut the cute flowers using CTMH's Exclusive Cricut "Flower Market" cartridge.

The card itself employed a "Side Step" pattern to give extra dimension to the design.  I cut the card itself from CTMH Kraft paper that I lined in sections with matted pieces of CTMH cardstock for added stability. The card's finished dimensions are A2 (4.25"wide by 5.5"high). 

This card used the following CTMH products:

Cardstocks: Kraft, Daisy White, Ruby, Lemon, Black, Willow
Exclusive Inks: Black, Ruby
Stamp sets: School Year (S1708) and School Kids (D1706)
ShinHan TouchTwin markers: Carmine, Golden Yellow, Mahogany, Pastel Peach, Leaf Green
Cricut Cartridge: "Flower Market"
Supplies: Versamark Stamp Pad, White Embossing Powder, foam mounting tape, Tombow adhesive
Tools: Fiskar Paper Trimmer, Craft Heater, Micro-Tip Scissors
Non-CTMH: White accents pen, twine, brad

Remember, the August Stamp of the Month is only available through August 31, 2017.  Its normal price is $17.95, but during August, you can qualify to purchase it for only $5.00 when you place an order of $50 or more. Please contact your CTMH Independent Consultant, or if you don't have a Consultant and want to shop with me, you can do so by going to www.cardmonkey.ctmh.com.  

Now "Hop" on over to Krista's Blog to see her work.  Be sure to visit all the Consultants at their Blogs to get some great ways to use "School Year" in your cards, scrapbooks or other crafting projects.  

Thanks for visiting!