27 January, 2015

Choosing Paper Over Pixels: Why We Still Scrapbook


Originally posted on Make It from Your Heart: January 23, 2015
With the end of the old year and the dawn of the new year, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of “Year in Review” posts floating through your Facebook newsfeeds. Some people argue that things such as this have replaced scrapbooking layouts and albums. This is the new scrapbooking, they say. We no longer turn pages; we scroll them. So why then do some of us continue to use paper to preserve our memories? Is scrapbooking with paper still important? Well, let me tell what I think.
The things that pop up in our newsfeeds often become irrelevant within mere hours of being born. Their permanence is as fleeting as dust in the wind. People will click through maybe once or twice, but after that, few will even remember they were there. When we upload pictures to Facebook, it fails to leave us with the same sense of satisfaction that comes from the whiz of a paper cutter or the stickiness of fingers spotted with adhesives. And when we type out our words, we lose the intimacy of handwriting and the beautiful way a personality dances its way through the shapes of the letters.
This is why I love National Papercrafting Month. It’s a wonderful reminder at the beginning of the year of why I fell in love with scrapbooking in the first place. It reminds me why we still spend time preserving memories with paper in a world that is slowly turning into pixels.
Working with paper will ground you in reality and in the beautiful subtleties of our physical world, which is why I think the Year >> Noted kit is so nicely suited to this month. In the rush of a new year and the memory of an old year, it not only keeps me grounded, but also gives me a place to tether my dreams, making my big goals seem so much more in reach!
Life is a continual cycling of beginnings and endings—don’t get lost in the whirlpool. Take the time to write down those things within your heart that will one day become the whispers of your past. Ground yourself in paper. Because when you hold a real, finished project in your hands, the rush and the hurry fades away and the only thing you feel is contentment.
And trust me, when this new year becomes old and the time comes to reflect, you’ll be happy you have something real to hold and to remember. Let this kit become a time capsule filled with little pieces of who you are in this moment. I promise you that when you take the time to remember, your heart will fill with gratitude for not only who you are, but also for who you are becoming.
Happy scrapbooking!
from Jeanette Lynton

26 January, 2015

Cricut Artfully Sent: Pop-up Cards with Icons

Another card from the Artfully Sent cartridge, I was inspired by another card on Patricia Manhire's blog, she is a very talented consultant from New Zealand.   I just had to make it, the cage & insert layer are found on page 13 of the Artfully Sent cartridge, I just love birdcages & flowers so this was fun to do.
The cage is cut from a colour in the Paper Fundamentals Whimsy Assortment pack, the flowers from the It's the Little Things stamp set are stamped tone on tone & colour on white, they are cut out individually & placed on top of each other some with 3-D foam tape so I could layer them.  Inks I used are Canary, Pixie, Gypsy, Topiary (this is my favourite colour to use for leaves) & Glacier.  For some added texture I embossed the Glacier insert with the Woodgrain Embossing folder.  For the finishing touches I use Durables Artisan Studs on the feet of the cage & for some extra bling I used the Bling Gems Gold assortment & Bitty Sparkels on the flowers.

Take a look at some eye-popping cards made with the Pop-up and Icon functions of Close To My Heart’s Cricut® Artfully Sent collection.                           

23 January, 2015

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Photographers

 Originally posted on Make It from Your Heart: January 12, 2015

So you want to learn how to take good photos, do you? You’re not alone. With technology these days, it seems like it would be pretty much impossible to take a bad picture, yet we all end up with our fair share of photos that make us cringe. The red eyes, the shadowy faces, the artwork shots that look like they were taken in a cave—we’ve all been there. But the good news is there’s hope! With a little knowledge, you can take your photos from blah to brilliant and upgrade your layouts and blog posts from meh to marvelous. Let’s get started.

Learn the power behind the buttons.All of the bells and whistles on your camera may seem overwhelming at first, but if you take a few moments to sit down, read the guidebook, and master a few key features, your pictures will reap the benefits. It won’t take any longer than scrolling through Facebook or watching an episode of your favorite sitcom. Plus, you will likely be able to find helpful tutorials through online outlets, like YouTube.
Be conscious of lighting.
When it comes to lighting amateur photos, the natural light of the sun is your best bet. But channel this power wisely. Always make sure the light is indirect. Try to take photos near a window, an open door, or even a covered porch. When possible, avoid using your flash—it can make things look flat and just plain unnatural.
Pay attention to backgrounds.
Hanging laundry? Bad. Cozy fireplaces? Good. Pay attention to what’s lurking in the background of your photos. Whatever it is, it’s more noticeable than you think.
Keep the props simple and meaningful.
Remember that the reason you’re taking the picture in the first place is to highlight your subject! Don’t lose track of the subject by overloading the photo with unnecessary props and clutter. A few simple and visually enticing props, such as a string of ribbon or a vase of flowers, are all you need to capture the right mood.
Get up close and personal.
Don’t be afraid to get cozy with your subject, whether it’s your artwork, your child, or the cat from next door. Let the subject take up the majority of the frame. If your subject is human, hold the camera at their eye level to capture the full force of their gaze.
Be patient enough to snap lots of photos.
Thanks to the advent of digital photography, we no longer live in a day when we have to fret about how many exposures we have left. Take advantage of this freedom and snap away! Have the patience to keep taking pictures and adjusting as you go until you capture just the right shot.
Edit your photos after you take them.
Photo editing software programs can perform visual wonders in mere seconds. If you don’t want to lay down the big bucks for programs like Adobe® Photoshop®, try free services like picmonkey.com. For smartphones, try apps like Snapseed or PicTapGo. Even just a few tweaks—like brightening and sharpening your photo—can make a world of difference.
With all that being said, always remember that you are the photographer so your photos should reflect your unique perspective. Keep these basic guidelines in mind, but don’t be afraid to follow a gut instinct or pursue a wild idea. Photos are their own special form of art, so get creative! Start from right where you are and remember that every professional was once an amateur.

22 January, 2015

Christmas Tea Lite Card

I got the idea of this card at one of our consultant crop days last year I think, but can't remember who was the clever girl that made up a sample.
I thought it would look good as a Christmas Card.  I cut a piece of Colonial White cardstock 5.5" x 12" & scored at 3" & 6" folding both as mountain folds to form the base of your card.  I cut out a 2.5" circle in the top, then cut a a larger circle in vellum,  I used Whisper & then shadowed the White Daisy exclusive inks for the sentiment from the Merriest Christmas Stamp set.
I cut a 6" x 5.5" piece of B&T paper out from the Yuletide WOTG Kit for the base section, the Poinsettias are cut from the Cricut Artiste Cartridge - page 73 in various sizes to make the leaves & flowers.  I used Cranberry & Topiary cardstock, stamp random patterns all over the flowers, wet them, crunched them up & when dry shaped the flowers & glued together with Liquid Glass (my favourite thing to use).  The Reindeer is cut from the Cricut Artbooking cartridge in Black cardstock.  You can decorate rest of card as you wish with bling, I used the gold shimmer trim as a border & the Bling Gems Gold assortment on the flowers with a little red gem for his nose.
And of course finish off with the tea lite candle behind the vellum.  I was happy with how it turned out.

If you would like information about anything you see or would like to place an order or even become a consultant & join my team - please don't hesitate to send me a message at mtlamont52@gmail.com, I will be happy to help you in any way I can or purchase directly from my online shop & have it delivered right to your door.    I also offer scrapbooking, card making, base & bling & papercrafting classes......contact me to find out more.

21 January, 2015

Cricut® Artfully Sent: The Basics

 Learn to use Close To My Heart’s Cricut Artfully Sent Cartridge.  Pop on over to my online shop & take a look at this & many other handy tools to make your crafting life easier.


I haven't had the chance to play with the new Artfully Sent Cricut cartridge yet as much as I want to but I did manage to make 2 cards after being inspired by another crafty consultant Patricia Manhire.  There are so many ideas on Pinterest & other crafty blogs & websites to get motivated. This card is found on page 47 of the booklet & cut at the recommended sizing.  I used Glacier cardstock for the base of the card, White Daisy Cardstock for the insert.  I used Santa Claus C1567, Always Grateful C1559 & Merry & Bright (retired) stamp sets.  I'm still trying to master the sponging effect but am getting there, I used Glacier, Indian Corn Blue & Pacifica & Pixie ink pads for the backgrounds, Ponderosa Pine for the trees & Chocolate for Santa & Sleigh. To get the illusion of mountains I got a white piece of cardstock & ripped it into shapes I wanted & used them as a mask for stamping.  I used glitter under the snowflake cutout but CTMH Glitter sheets would look beautiful as well for that bit a bling that's needed.

I have finished off the card with a sentiment on the front & some White Enamel Stars.

My take on the card that was featured in the tutorial for using the All Purpose Mat & mixing inks together.  The Deer & Rabbit can be found on page on page 12 & the background on page 5 of the booklet.  I cut off some of the tree trunks & changed the sentiment.  
Go to the post dated 6th November 2014 to see original card.
Always add your own spin on cards & get inspired by everything & everyone.

  If you would like information about anything you see or would like to place an order or even become a consultant & join my team - please don't hesitate to send me a message at mtlamont52@gmail.com, I will be happy to help you in any way I can or purchase directly from my online shop & have it delivered right to your door.    I also offer scrapbooking, card making, base & bling & papercrafting classes......contact me to find out more.