Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Sophisticated Thank You Card, in Sangria

The reasons for which I am eternally grateful, and thankful on a daily basis, are too many to count. While I try to always thank the person who holds the door open for me, who helps me with a retreat, or just makes my day better, I have not been as good about expressing thank in the way I do best: with a card.

I'm trying to better with that. So I've made a few of these cards to keep handy in my stash to send to those who just brighten my day in some way:

This card was mostly scrap-lifted from a design on Close To My Heart's Creative Insider, plans that help consultants come up with projects for their workshops. I made a few modifications to it -- really, not enough to call my own -- but let's talk about it.

First, using CTMH's "A Thousand Thanks" (C1625) stamp set and Eggplant Exclusive Ink Stamp pad (Z2647), I stamped the words "Thank You" at the top of my cut Daisy White card piece. 

Next, I lined up all of those itty-bitty lines of expressions for stamping. Here, I'll let you in on a secret discovery I recently made. You're going to hate me and love me at the same time for telling you about this tool:

I used a stamp positioning tool called a "MISTI", which stands for the Most Incredible Stamping Tool Invented. OK, not so humble, but maybe right. It's changed how I stamp and made my life so much easier!

This is what MISTI looks like: It is the size of your Galaxy Samsung Tablet, but it has a magnetic bottom, a layer of foam, positioning grids on the bottom and on the lid. To work a MISTI, you arrange your stamps (stamping side down, or exposed) along the lines of the grid so you can center the lines as well as keep them straight. 

What I do is put my A2 card onto the MISTI and decide where I want my stamps to be on the card, generally. I put the lid down on top of the stamps, and the lid will left up the acrylic to be generally where you want them. Then you can rearrange them to be straight/centered, etc.   You ink up the stamps right on the acrylic lid and fold (hinges) the lid down onto your paper. 

Miss a bit of inking? You can re-ink and re-strike, with nearly perfect alignment most of the time. Have several cards to make at a time of the same design?  Just insert a new A2 paper, reink and drop the lid. Easy-peasy. Here is a video that the makers of MISTI have on their website: 

MISTI is not inexpensive: $50 base price, and you'll need add-ons like magnets, grid paper, and cleaner. You can buy it from the inventor/manufacturer, My Sweet Petunia, at the link provided. Trust me on this one: This is my favorite tool of 2015 so far!

Back to the card:  I lined up the 3 sentiments on the MISTI and finished off the white card using Eggplant. Then I decided to stamp the word FRIEND using Versamark (glue) pad, and sprinkled the stamped word with Princess Gold embossing powder. I then heat set the embossed word, waving my warmed CTMH Craft Heater tool about 3/4" above the word until the embossing powder melted to a nice shine.

I used Bazzill Gold Foil paper ( to line the sentiment (white) paper, then layered that atop a banner-trimmed piece of Eggplant paper. I topped the Eggplant piece with a strip of CTMH Sangria paper that I love, and topped that with a piece of CTMH Gold Shimmer trim. The accents are Bling Assortment in Gold from CTMH as well.   

Voila! Done!  Such a sophisticated card, on trend and heartfelt. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Another Custom Order -- Pop-Up Wedding Card

How I do love making pop-up cards, and it seems that these are the cards that sell consistently the best, and for the most amount of money compared to the time it takes to make one. Also, customers love that pop-ups lend themselves to a lot of customization, whether in colors, names, and other accents.

Here is a custom order I received this week from customer Pam (who had ordered previously).  This is a military (Marine) dress wedding, so Pam's instructions to me were to make it "red, white and blue, of course."  

I used a white base for the box, and as I traditionally do in a wedding card, I decorated the back/inside of the box with a highly reflective silver foil cardstock by Bazzil. It's hard to see the detail on the groom's uniform here, but he has on the single epaulette of a First Lieutenant, royal blue jacket with gold buttons, white belt over it, and lighter blue slacks trimmed in a red stripe. 

I used Close To My Heart's new "La Vie En Rose" beautiful rose-filled paper for the outside of the box, trimmed in silver shimmer trim. On the inside of the box, I decided to accent in stars. The white overlays are embossed using CTMH's newest embossing folder called "Star Confetti". Each "arm" of the box was trimmed in a quote from the paper zip-strip. 

On the back of the card, I made a slide-in card/envelope for the giver's check to the wedding couple.  These cards truly pack a punch -- beautiful to give and a keepsake to receive. Have you tried making one yourself, yet?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

CTMH Consultants' NEVERMORE Blog Hop: September 1

It's my pleasure to participate in the Close To My Heart Consultants' NEVERMORE Blog Hop.  Nevermore is one of eight total papers being unveiled by CTMH today, September first.  Six of the papers are in the Annual Inspirations Idea Book, and two special holiday papers -- Nevermore and White Pines -- are included in the all-new Holiday Expressions Idea Book.

Here's the card I made for this Hop:

Nevermore has three double-sided Halloween-inspired designer papers.  The one that caught my eye in particular was this patterned pumpkin print shown in the background of this card that I made for the Hop.  Wondering how I got
those comical spiders for the card?  They're actually floral cuts (stamens) in the new Artistry Cricut cartridge, cut in black and turned on their heels, quite literally.  A circle cut to size tops for their heads.  I gave each arachnid a set of eyes -- two of the smaller have sparkly gems and the larger has watchful googly eyes. The EEK! sentiment -- also cut in the Artistry cartridge -- is inked and mounted on a CTMH Adhesive spring for a little more play.

Don't miss the other ghoulish projects made especially for this hop by five other CTMH Consultants from throughout the country.  Your next stop is with TONYA, whose project is sure to delight.  

UPDATE:  We have been very privileged to have this card and our September Hop featured on the Facebook page of our Corporate Home Office of Close To My Heart. What an honor!  But somehow during the month, Tonya's post got lost. So please skip ahead to Alexandria, using the link below -- and visit the others too with fantastic ways to use the Nevermore paper suite. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Ready to Get Your Scrap Life Organized?

Throughout the month of August, Close To My Heart is introducing two new products in their Organization line: a Marker Roll-Up (shown at left, bottom) and an Accessory Roll-Up. 

The Marker Roll-Up (which I just L-O-V-E) has 25 elastic loops -- perfect for holding your collection of 24 ShinHan Touch Twin markers and Blender Pen, available through CTMH separately.  These are bold alcohol markers that are terrific for coloring stamped images.  The Accessory Roll-Up is perfect for holding Base & Bling components (as shown), sticker gems, Pigment Inks (!!!) and even your make-up. 

With a purchase this month of the Marker Roll-Up (Z3120, $17.95), you'll receive the stamp set "Balloon Wishes" (D1667, $17.95) absolutely FREE!  When you purchase an Accessory Roll-Up (Z3121, $18.95), you'll receive two FREE Base & Bling Style Sheets -- perfect for making your own stylish necklaces or keychains.

Both of the Roll-Ups match Close To My Heart's terrific Rolling Tote, which is now back in stock and available to order. Please contact me at with questions, or shop at 

But WAIT, before you go -- I have a super-duper special that's exclusive to those who buy their rolling tote from my CTMH business address.

You see, I'm a packer ... an overloader ... a crazy gotta-have-it-all-with-me sort of cropper.  And that Rolling Tote is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, but if you load it as much as our Corporate office shows you can (in this picture, at left), you're going to need some assistance to lift that pretty bag. I've found the perfect solution, and it's called a Strap-A-Handle. I've bought them by the dozen, and I will send you one TOTALLY FREE if you buy your CTMH Rolling Tote through my website. Yup, I'll see that you've ordered it, and the next thing you know, you'll be getting a free strap in the mail to make your using the tote even easier.  How does that sound?  Great, ehhh?  

Check it out -- this handle (strapped either top to bottom or around the tote's middle) truly does help reduce strain on your back because YOU KNOW you pack as much as I do, and helps to lift this bag into the trunk of your car. And YES, it fits beautifully in the trunk of a sedan. I drive a Honda Accord (and when I go to a crop, I WISH I drove an SUV!), and this bag makes my life SOOOO much easier!  You need one. You know you do!

Here's the link to buy your Rolling Tote -- and you'll be getting the free Strap-A-Handle directly from me, in a separate mailing, a CardMonkey special!  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Make It A Party: Christening Decorations Done on Commission

Recently, I was contacted by the grandmother of Ari Michael to make these very special decorations for the celebration of her grandson's christening.  She had found similar decorations on Etsy, and had contacted the seller to do a rush order, but the seller was unable to do the project in time. I stepped in and was able to complete this project in just a few days.

I put a little bit of my own spin on the Etsy seller's designs to make this precious banner, flower inserts and door sign. 

Directions:  To make the banner, I cut chipboard pennants using a album scoreboard die by Sizzix and my Big Shot machine.  The background paper is by American Crafts from A.C. Moore; the light blue and white solid cardstock is A.C. Moore's open stock (on sale last week for just $1.00 for 8 sheets!)  I cut the flower inserts (they're like cupcake toppers, on lollipop sticks) and the sign's scalloped square background using my Cricut Explore.

I cut the letters in the inside of a white doily by "attaching" the letters to a Cricut Design Space doily file.  The crosses in the banner and on the top flower insert are cut using Sizzix dies. The other two are printed on my computer. 

If you have a special project that you need help executing -- with or without your own involvement in my craft room -- please don't hesitate to contact me.  I'm happy to help!  Let me help YOU make your next event a little extra special, by doing, brainstorming or helping you make your projects.  I can be reached by e-mailing me at

The Christening Party was a lovely event, and Ari's grandmom said that "everyone loved your decorations."  She shared this picture:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Introducing ZOE Blog Hop: Close To My Heart's Newest Designer Paper Suite

It is my pleasure to participate in this blog hop with several of my fellow Close To My Heart (CTMH) independent consultants. If you've come from Emily Evertz's super cute BLOG, you're in the right place.  Or, if you're just landing here and finding the Hop, I encourage you to go to the start at our Hostess Andrea Sherman's BLOG and see all the SWEEEEET projects we've come up with to Celebrate ZOE, and hop along!

We are excited that the day has finally come to release CTMH's newest paper suite, called "Zoe."

Zoe is fun, vibrant and colorful, with a sweet combination of cardstock colors such as Glacier, Whisper, Sorbet and Sweet Leaf. The paper is versatile for both scrapbookers and cardmakers alike.

I'm typically a cardmaker (otherwise I'd be known as "ScrapbookMonkey", I guess), but I have an upcoming papercrafting class in September* at the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts in Horsham, PA, and the students' wish is to have a scrapbooking class.  Here's what I'll be teaching:

One of my favorite classic "Flip Flap" layouts is the Birthday cake layout that several have done before -- but this may be the first one to use "Zoe."  A flip-flap is a mini-page protector; they are available in multi-packs in a variety of sizes from CTMH. The edge of the flip-flap is adhesive, and should be applied to the outside of your larger Memory Protector (page protector), to multiply the number of photographs your layout can hold. 

The cake (at far right) is a series of five 4"x6" stacked Flip Flaps. When each is opened, it reveals the finished page with "Make A Wish" underneath, like this:

I used several of the Close To My Heart/Cricut cartridges to cut the embellishments I used in this layout. I used "Artbooking" for the titles "celebrate" and "happy."  I used "Artfully Sent" for "Make a Wish". And I used "Artiste" to cut the banner at the top left. 

Speaking of Cricut (which has really been chirping a LOT here lately!), did you know that CTMH has issued a brand-new Cricut cartridge called "Artistry"??  With another 700 elements designed as icons, backgrounds and sentiments, Artistry is bound to be a crucial piece of my craft room arsenal. How about for you?  It would be my pleasure if you would purchase your Cricut "Artistry" from my site. The link, active starting in August, is HERE

"Zoe" has beautiful Complements and Accessories designed to match this bright new paper pack. All of the Zoe suite is available to purchase by our Customers in August -- one month ahead of our September release of the new "Annual Inspirations" and "Holiday Expressions" idea books.

You can shop for your Zoe by clicking HERE.

Hop on through this great blog hop to see the other fun projects consultants have made for you to show off Zoe's versatility.  Your next stop is with Julia Clendenen Hammond's blog (<< to "hop", CLICK JULIA's NAME) and her great blog "Create Teach Repeat". 

(* Stay tuned for more details on my scrapbooking class at SJCA.  For now, let me tease, that I'll be hosting monthly classes there on the third Tuesday of every month beginning in September, from 7 to 9 p.m.)

Thank you again for joining us today!
Now, go out and buy your own ZOE and party along.

If you've lost your way on the blog hop, or want to visit the posts after the day of the Hop (8/2/2015), here are links to the participants' posts:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Create Custom Pop-Up Cards for Ooohs and Aaahhhs

For those looking for a custom card, or a greeting card that never fails to draw the "oohs and aaahhs" from a recipient, I've specialized in pop-up cards. And while they look difficult to make, they're really quite easy and addictive. Scroll below and I'll enclose here a template that I use to make my cards.

I was hired by a woman named Pam to make this gorgeous card for her niece, Corin. Pam's direction to me was only that the bride's colors were soft beige and grey, and that I could use any accent colors I chose.  

I used Close To My Heart's Whisper (grey) cardstock as the base, and cut doilies from Close To My Heart's Champagne (soft beige) to cover the base of the box.  The rose/blue designer papers are also from Close To My Heart -- a line called "Heartstrings" (now retired).  I used both paper and sticker "Complements". I added to the center strut the silhouette of the dancing couple, cut using a Silhouette Online Store file, using my Silhouette Cameo.  The image is reflected in the Bazill silver metallic cardstock adhered to the back panel of the card. 

To finish off the elegant box card, I added a customized name plate encircled with a beautiful circle rhinestone from The Buckle Boutique. The edge of the box at the fold also has a line of resin rhinestones cut from a sheet of The Buckle Boutique's Dazzling Diamonds clear resin rhinestone sheets. The man wears a boutonniere of a mini-rosebud trimmed down from a flower I had in my stash from Wild Orchid Crafts.

Let's take a look at another, similar card:

This card used the same basic template, but used a more classic black/white motif to celebrate the wedding of Megan and Robert. The paper used was another retired paper from Close To My Heart, called "Forever Yours."  The same silhouette was cut, this time using black and white to represent the groom and bride. The decorations here are simpler: a trellis of free form roses (also by Wild Orchid Crafts) was affixed to the center strut. I used a slightly larger rhinestone ring from The Buckle Boutique to highlight the wedding couple's names. 

Don't hesitate to try your hand at a Pop-Up Box Card. I promise you that they're so easy, you'll be wondering what took you so long to make your first one!  Here is my template:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

"Christmas in July" Workshop Coming Soon - Sign Up Today!

In two weeks, I will kick off the Holiday Season with the first of several cardmaking classes. Here are the cards and "Box in a Bag" we'll be making on Saturday, July 25 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts:

The featured paper that we will be using is called "Yuletide Carol" from Close To My Heart. Participants will first make this "Box in a Bag" to hold all of the cards we'll be making. It has a Colonial White base/box, a neutral beige from Yuletide Carol for the wrap, and Ruby for the handles and top portion. All necessary cuts and instructions will be provided; all you'll have to do is glue/tape!

Then participants will choose five of the nine designed, pre-cut cards that they'd like to make in subsequent class time. Some are a bit more complex, and some are easy-peasy. All come with instructions and necessary cuts. I'll be providing the stamp sets and inks where stamping is required.  

Let's look at each of the cards:

 I've pre-cut the word "Believe" from CTMH's gold glitter stock using the Cricut/CTMH cartridge called "Artbooking.".  It is glued to a Colonial White panel,  under which you'll adhere five strips of Yuletide Carol paper. Top with a bow of red satin ribbon and a red pearl, all provided in your kit. The panel is then adhered to a vertical folded A-2 card to finish.

This card looks more complex than it is. Actually, it's cut from a corner of the Yuletide Carol paper. The sentiment is stamped with Versamark and gold embossed -- techniques you'll learn in class. Add some provided red seed pearls, mat on green, and on a card and voila, you're done!

For this cute card, the background is cut from some Yuletide Carol paper, and then the borders are inked with Cocoa ink and a sponge dauber. The center is three layered papers, topped with a wreath that you'll stamp and "fussy cut."  Color the beads on the wreath with marker, and affix the birdie.  The sentiment is stamped and fussy cut as a banner, under which you'll layer a piece of CTMH gold shimmer trim. 

This is one of the more complicated designs, but because the paper is all cut for you, I've taken the guess work out of the project. You'll need to stamp your sentiment in Versamark, heat set your gold embossing powder, and adhere.  The gold panels are metallic papers that you'll be running through an embossing machine that I'll provide. 

For this card, I'll provide the ornaments to be stamped; they have been cut from a Cricut/CTMH cartridge. Then, top the ornament with a bit of Topiary Chevron ribbon. Ink the edges of the provided paper and add the ornament. Easy!

This "Merry Christmas" card has a large stamped sentiment tied on a tag that has been layered on Yuletide Carol paper. The paper has been inked on all sides with Topiary ink. A bit of twine and glitter trim offer a seasonal juxtaposition that makes the card merry and fun!

This card will take a bit of patience to glue in place, but once you're done, you'll see just how elegant the holly die cut makes this card. I'll provide the pre-cut holly topper that you'll glue in place atop a musical note paper. The sentiment is stamped in Whisper Ink and topped with a bow cut using the Cricut/CTMH Artiste cartridge.

This pretty card is stamped with the angel using Desert Sand ink, and topped with the sentiment stamped in black. Add a few (provided) sequins and you're done! 

And last but not least is this easiest of cards. The design with the stockings is cut from a corner of the Yuletide Carol paper, and topped with a cut-out from the versatile Zip-strip at the top of all CTMH paper. Inked edges give this project some definition.

Sign-ups for this class are being handled by the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts. There is a $30 fee, which includes a donation to the nonprofit Scatter Joy Center and all materials.  To enroll, please click on this link, but hurry, because space is limited to 10 crafters: