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Thursday, December 29, 2011

52 Weeks of Thank You's!

This year, I did mostly handmade gifts for my family. Here is what my mom received:
It's a book by John Kralik - a real live person, currently a judge in CA - who tells very candidly how he went from being the most miserable person with horrible circumstances to a life filled with purpose and blessing! I was so inspired by his story, I've decided to make this a project for my mom and I. While John took it upon himself to write 365 thank you (one each day for a year) I decided to put together 52 thank you notes (1 for each week of the year). Even with only 52 cards - it was quite a project. I wanted to offer it as a workshop, but I'm not sure how many people will want to participate. So, if you are interested, email me and I can put together a set for you to make or schedule a time for us to do it together!

There are 13 each of 4 different cards:

Also included are 52 envelopes stamped with the coordinating sentiments above that fit in the box along with a coordinating pen and chart to record the date you sent each card, to whom, and the purpose - so that you can look back on your chart, count your blessings and feel the gratitude rise in your heart all over again!

I used the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge for the sentiment shapes and frames on the cards as well as the flap and flower on the box. (LOVE my AP cartridge!)

Okay, so I made a slight miscalculation when creating this project. 52 cards/envelopes easily fit in our recipe/photo box above, however, after adding another layer of paper to each card and the double layer sentiment AND 3-D foam tape to each sentiment, they wouldn't all fit in the box. If you choose to make this project, I will incorporate an open box (from the AP cartridge) with 4 compartments for your cards, similar to this one made by Lisa Stenz.

So, to sum up, I recently read a statement on a blog that resonated with me. I carefully jotted down the quote and the person to give them credit and now I can't find it, (UGH!), but it goes something like this: 

"Positivity is a choice that is nurtured by gratitude."

Doesn't that make perfect sense? It does to me! 

Happy New Year to all my bloggin' friends! And may your positive perspective be enlarged and nurtured by constant gratitude in the year ahead. I am definitely grateful for YOU!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rock the Block Special!

Close To My Heart is offering a Rockin' Special Deal - now through the end of January - to celebrate National Paper Crafting Month in January! With a minimum order of $25 from the Autumn/Winter Idea Book (shown below), you can get this set of blocks plus a HUGE exclusive stamp set for only $15! With a retail value of $45 - that's a savings of $30!

(click on the idea book to view products if you don't have one of your own)

The E-sized stamp set is 8 1/2" x 11" with 22 different images to choose from!

This set is perfect for all of your papercrafting projects - not just the blocks!

So get your Rockin' Special Deal today - contact me to place an order or click on the cart to start shopping online! By shopping online, you also have access to our clearance items - but remember, to qualify for the Rock The Block special you must purchase $25 from the current items in addition to your clearance items.

Happy New Year! Happy Savings!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Believe Stocking for last minute gifts!

You've seen the little gift card stockings I've posted earlier here, well here is the same idea only I used the Fit To Page (FTP) key on my Cricut Expression to make it as large as possible!

I cut out two stockings - one for the front (pattern paper) and one for the back side (cardstock). Then using a sewing machine, I sewed around the outside edges to create a pocket inside just like a real stocking! Then I used the FTP feature for the coordinating layer images on the stocking.

I added some of our festive Liquid Applique to the top cuff and heat set it. Then I added holly leaves from the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge as well as it's coordinating layer - the berries! I scored and sanded the leaves and added our fun and easy Red Glitz Glitter Gel to the berries!

I scored the heel and toe in a checkered pattern and then lightly sanded to expose the white core for a little personality there too. Also used our Edge Distresser on the outside edges of the heel and toe. I used Liquid Glass to attach the heel and toe pieces and 3-D Foam Tape to add the cuff at the top. Then I crumpled some paper and stuffed it inside the stocking to get it to puff out! Or fill it with lots of goodies for the same effect. I added a piece of ribbon from our Designer Red Ribbon Collection to hang it - and it's done!

Wouldn't these be great at each place setting on your Christmas Dinner table? In any size! I just love my Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge! Do you have yours yet? If not, don't wait another minute! Click here to get yours now or contact me for information on how you can get yours at a great discount!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Believe CD Gift Box

Here is another gift idea using the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge. This box is the perfect size to hold a custom CD of your family's favorite Christmas tunes! (Or how about a giant cookie, or bundle of Pizzelles!) I used the flat box with a petal closure in the largest size possible using the Fit To Page feature. I made a paper bow using coordinating paper from the same kit.

I added another chipboard tag from the AP collection - covered in Prisma Glitter - topped with a card accented with glitter and sparkles!

How many AP packages are you giving this year?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Believe Heart Pocket Handbag

Here is another little project I made using our Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge! I made this heart pocket as large as possible using the Fit To Page key. I added flat heart images in various sizes to the front to give it some layers and character. I added some of our way-cool ribbon from our Red Ribbon Collection - attached with Cranberry Brads.

To the front I added another chipboard shape from the Art Philosophy Cricut Collection, covered in Prisma Glitter. I added another cricut shape on top of that using one of the coordinating stamps, and accented it with some of our red sparkles!

Gift giving is so easy with the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge and Close To My Heart!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to use the Center Point Feature on Cricut

Check out my latest video on how to make a peek-a-boo cut out for cards and other projects!

I just love my Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge! Do you have yours? If not, click here to get it ordered today or contact me to see how you can get it at a discount!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Believe Tiered Gifts

Here is another project I made to show at convention - it's a stack of 3 gift boxes, topped with a poinsettia flower! I used the gift bag template for each of the boxes (in 3 different sizes), from the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge, cut off the handles from the top and created a solid piece to seal the box closed!

On the top of the box, I added a flower using a flat flower template. I scored the petals and folded to create dimension, then added tiny flat flowers on the top center with a tiny 3-D flower.

I added Sweet Leaf branches to spill down the sides, adorned with Prisma Glitter.

Finally, I added an ornament tag using one of the chipboard pieces included in the AP Cricut collection, adorned with bitty branches and a cricut shape for the sentiment, accented with a bit of our Red Glitz Glitter!

Creating is SO easy and SO rewarding with the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge! Do you have yours yet? If not, contact me to find out how you can get yours at half price or even FREE!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Believe Coffee and Cookies

I made several Believe projects for our convention in July - I forgot I hadn't shared them with you here!

This is one of my favorites - especially because I LOVE coffee and cookies!

I used our Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge for this little goodie - I turned the Door Hanger package into a drink hanger! I enlarged the hole to fit over the Starbucks Frappuccino. 

I used one of the stamps that is included in the AP Cricut Collection to create a tag. The stamp has a coordinating shape on the Cricut Cartridge. I stamped in chocolate and added a dot of our Red Glitz Glitter Gel to mark the "friend". I also used one of the chipboard shapes included with the Cricut Collection which also has a coordinating Cricut shape. I added Sky cardstock covered with Prisma Glitter for festive sparkle! And tied it onto the bottle with some of our ribbon from our Red Ribbon Collection.

In the pocket, I put some Pepperidge Farm cookies along with some "filler" made with different branches and various sizes (from the AP cartridge) using Sweet Leaf, Sky, and White Daisy cardstock covered in Prisma Glitter! Add a couple of Dimensional Elements stars also covered with Prisma Glitter and my gift is ready to leave on the desk of a co-worker - or even to leave for Santa!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Candy Exchange

My Kit Club in Danville hosted a Christmas Candy Exchange on our Club Night. We each give a sample of candy along with a 6x6 recipe card for the candy!

I tested one candy first - Chocolate Mint Bark. Although it was good, I decided to do something different. So I found people to give it all way to and start over! Here is what I ended up making:

Pecan Pralines
Makes: 2 dozen 
Hands-on time: 30 min. - Total time: 1 hr. 8 min. 

Be sure to use a heavy Dutch oven and a candy thermometer, and make pralines on a day when the weather is dry—humidity can make them grainy. 

 2 cups pecan halves and pieces 
3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar 
1 cup whipping cream 
1/4 cup butter 
2 Tbsp light corn syrup 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
Wax paper 

Preheat oven to 350. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 min or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 15 min.). Meanwhile, bring brown sugar and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 min or until a candy thermometer registers 236 (soft ball stage). Remove sugar mixture from heat. Let sugar mixture stand until candy thermometer reaches 150 (20-25 min). Stir in vanilla and pecans using a wooden spoon’ stir constantly 1 to 2 min or just until mixture begins to lose its gloss. Quickly drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto wax paper; let stand until firm (10-15 min).

I used our Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge (of course!) to package the candy to give away! BUT, because of our MOUSE HUNT (see previous post) I didn't have time to really accessorize and make them pretty.  - (*Note: I made the candy and bagged it up BEFORE we found evidence of our mouse - so don't toss out the candy, girls! It's clean!)

Even plain and simple, they are still cute! That's what I love about the Art Philosophy boxes and packages - they are adorable on their own merit! How are you packaging your Christmas candy and cookies this year?

Monday, December 12, 2011

There's a Mouse in my House!

It's an adorable little book.......but unfortunately.......we don't have the book in our house.......we have the MOUSE!

Grab a cup of tea while I tell you the story.....Here's what I was making dinner last week, I noticed chunks of hamburger bun missing! RED FLAG! As I started looking around in the drawers and cabinets I found droppings! UGH!!!!

Fast forward to the next morning - our dryer stopped heating. So my husband took it apart to try and assess the problem and fix it. He found the dryer lint line clogged, with burn marks and melted parts inside. I'm glad it stopped working instead of catching on fire!

So he went down to the shed to get the shop vac to blow out the lint line and make sure it was clear all the way through. He set it down inside the family room, turned around to close the sliding door, and turned back to witness a mouse scurry out of the shop vac and under the entertainment center! And it was a BIG one!

As a child he was attacked by Kangaroo Rats and ever since then FREAKS out over mice! Needless to say, it was a creepy situation that involved moving furniture, a broom and screaming! However, he was a brave man and chased it outside! Whew!

Fast forward to the next morning.....he comes down stairs first thing to take Molly out (our Maltese), sets her down on the living room floor, then out from under the Christmas tree comes ANOTHER large field mouse! Just trotting right along, past the husband, past the dog, down the stairs to the front door. Everyone just stared at the mouse! The dog didn't even BARK! Sheesh! Again, he chases THIS one out the front door.

Five minutes later, we are on the phone with the pest control company! We obviously need a professional! We have no idea HOW MANY mice came out of that shop vac while his back was turned! Plus we have the tiny house mouse in the kitchen!

Fast forward to later that afternoon, after stuffing every crevice around pipes with steel wool, and signing a contract for pest control, we are on track to be rodent free! Ugh! Guess I got a pest control service for Christmas and my husband gets new dryer parts for Christmas! That's the way it goes! I guess I'd have to say being rodent free is on the top of my Wish List!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

River Ridge Women's Christmas Party

Every year the women of our church have a Christmas party and gift exchange. Angie Benson hosted once again in her beautiful home! Her home was beautifully decorated for Christmas inside and out!

 In the past we have done ornaments and jewelry - this year it was a scarf exchange! And it was one of those where you could take a new gift or steal one already opened! I LOVE THAT! Just makes it all the more exciting! 

This was my gift - forgot to photograph the scarf ahead of time.

And this is the scarf I ended up with! With gloves as a bonus! So soft, cozy and warm! (Thank you Tina!)

Everyone brought either an appetizer or dessert to share! I brought Feta Cheese Truffles. I can't remember if I've shared this recipe before, but it's super simple and reminds me of Christmas with the red, white and green!

Feta Cheese Truffles
Makes 6 appetizer servings
Prep: 20 min. Chill: 1 hour

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 (4 oz.) container crumbled feta cheese
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. finely chopped onion
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Cucumber slices
Grape tomatoes
Katamata olives
Whole almonds

1.       Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until well combined. Cover mixture tightly, and chill at least 1 hour or until firm (can chill up to 3 days).
2.       Roll cheese mixture into ¾ inch round balls. Roll each ball in parsley. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve. If chilled, let stand 30 minutes before serving. Serve with cucumber slices, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, and whole almonds.

Do you have any favorite party recipes? I've got more to share with you later...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spa Treat!

A couple of weeks ago, I went to West Chester, PA for a card workshop/kit club. While I was there, Renee took me to Joseph Anthony for a massage! It was a special gift - who wouldn't appreciate a massage, let alone at an award winning spa - but it was also the place where she and her mom went for a special spa day together. I was honored that she would invite me to go with her.

We put on our robes and waited in a holding room with soft light and calming music, while soaking our feet and sipping lemon water. After our massage, we were escorted to the Brine Light Inhalation Therapy Room, where we could relax on padded lounge chairs and snuggle with blankets while our bodies respond to the restorative nature of ocean breezes - blending fresh mist from the brine waterfall, energizing light therapy, and calming music. 

While we were sitting there relaxing, we began planning the Brine Room addition to Renee's house! It would make a GREAT time-out room! Can you see the restorative therapy in these crystals?

Thank you Renee - I needed the massage, I enjoyed the relaxation, and I loved spending time with you as always!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Everyday with Close To My Heart

Do you love scrapping, stamping, cardmaking, and paper crafting in general? Do you love sales and coupons? Why not ask Santa for a $99 kit that contains over $280 worth of product? Not only do you get a great deal on the product in the kit, you get a discount EVERYDAY by shopping from yourself! (Click on the excited girl with her gifts to get your very own kit today!)

As a CUSTOMER CONSULTANT, you will save LOTS by purchasing from yourself, have access to online training in products and techniques, and never run out of creative ideas!  To remain active and keep your full consultant status and discount you only need $300 in sales each quarter (of which you get back 22% instantly PLUS FREE PRODUCT)! Many of us have NO PROBLEM spending that much on product we love and use lots of!

But if you DO need help reaching that level, simply tap a handful of family or friends to help you stay active! Many of my HOBBYIST CONSULTANTS have full time jobs or commitments that don't allow them to work this opportunity as a business, but they love the hobby and get together with a group of friends each month to create, laugh, and get the sales they need to stay active. Keep the commission for yourself or invest in little gifts and freebies for your group OR pass on your discount to them. The choice is yours!

Are you looking for more than just a discount - like extra money or even long term income to replace a full time job or pay off debt or supplement college costs - gymnastics - sports - or other activities your kids are involved in? How about saving to treat your family to a vacation each year?  How about earning a trip for TWO - including airfare - to an exotic location each year? Now that's what I'm talkin' about! I have BUSNIESS BUILDER CONSULTANTS on my team that are stay at home moms, retired, single, and even some with full time jobs outside of the home! They come in all shapes and sizes and customize their business to suit their needs! I'd love to help you set up a plan to reach your goal, whatever it is, so you can experience the many wonderful perks of being a Close To My Heart consultant!

Are you not ready to sign up for a discount everyday, but you KNOW someone who would LOVE this? A daughter, niece,  friend, neighbor, YOU can give this gift to them, or tap their family to give this as a gift!

So you aren't ready to sign up for a discount everyday, but you'd LOVE for Santa to get you items you've been drooling over or you'd LOVE to get started in this hobby! I've got you covered too! 

I have an open letter to your loved ones that will help. Simply print out or copy/paste this letter and give it to them, either with or without your wish list (download wish list here)...

Dear Husbands, Boyfriends, Friends, and/or Family of Crafters,
Since you adore your crafty loved ones so much, I am here to make your holiday gift shopping experience as painless and easy as possible this year. (Plus, your loved one will appreciate your gift that much more and wonder how you knew exactly what they wanted!) There are three ways to place gift orders for your creative loved one... 

  1. Have your loved one contact me ahead of time with a list of all of the wonderful Close to my Heart products that are on their wish list this year. Then all you need to do is contact me via email or phone and let me know how much you would like to spend on your gift(s) and I will place the order from the items on her wish list. They will get shipped directly to you and all you will need to do is wrap them and put them under the tree! 
  2. Give your loved one this wish list and have them fill it out and give it back to you. Then contact me via email or phone and let me know what you would like to order for your crafty loved one. Or better yet, you can place the order yourself online right here and it will be drop shipped directly to you.
  3. Give your loved one a Close to my Heart gift certificate that she can spend it any way she likes. Contact me with your dollar amount and I will send you a special personalized gift card. 

Think about how quick and easy your shopping will be this year and how excited your loved one will be when she receives her gifts! (You will definitely score points with her this year! I guarantee it!)

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I am happy to help make your shopping experience as quick and painless as possible.

Your Sanity Saver,

Christine Adams
Close to my Heart Independent Consultant

* To ensure Christmas delivery, place your order by December 12th.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Countdown To Christmas

Don't you love the anticipation leading up to a special day or event? It's so exciting to check off each day as you countdown. Here is a little project I made using our Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge (of course) for an Advent Calendar or Countdown to Christmas Calendar.

I picked up the frame at Michael's - on sale of course. The open area measures 12" x 18". I removed the glass (for safety reasons) and adhered my project to the backboard! (If you adhere your project to another piece of paper or cardboard, you could interchange the inserts for other Countdown themes - like birthdays, vacations, Disney, Convention, etc!

I added the title using the font on the cartridge at 1" and 1 1/2". I added Liquid Applique and Prisma Glitter for a little fluffy frost! Then added some random glittered snowflakes for accents.

The boxes on the bottom are the flat box with a petal closure found on the first button on the top row, left side using the Font Layer creative function key and the shift key. I set the size at 5 1/4". You can modify your size based upon your frame size.

I chose 3 different cardstock colors (Sky, Crystal Blue, Twilight) and ink distressed them with a little White Daisy ink. Since this is a pigment based ink, you will want to heat set it to get it to dry quickly.

For each box color, I used a different glittered snowflake (love that Prisma Glitter!). I added a 1" circle in the same color as the box on top of the snowflake, and then a 3/4" number (also from the AP cartridge) with Liquid Applique and Prisma Glitter. I attached each snowflake combo to the top flap - allowing room to fold the box closed. I think an easier way would be to velcro the snowflakes on so that little hands could easily remove the snowflake before opening and closing the box.

Then, to make Christmas Day a special day, I used a white box - completely glittered - along with a star burst instead of a snowflake!

I chose to use our Wonderland Kit, but of course, you can use any color or theme that you want! The boxes easily open to reveal a task, a scripture, or whatever you want to convey to the participant. I like using it as a "to-do" list as well as a devotional. And of course there is room for a little trinket or candy if you choose! The closed box measures 2 1/4" square with a depth of about 3/8".

What other themes would you use this idea for? I'd love to hear!
Thanks to Lisa Stenz for hosting this Cricut Blog Hop! Let's continue the fun and see what everyone else has made! Why not post YOUR project too!