Say Hello to Prickly Pear…

Good morning! As June is coming to a close, I am attending the CTMH Convention finding out about all the great new products coming your way soon. But we still have some fantastic featured papers from the Seasonal Expressions II Idea Book. July’s featured paper is Prickly Pear.

Paper Pack

Small confession here … when I first saw this paper, I wasn’t shall we say thrilled.  I grew up around big tress (hemlocks, maples & real oaks) – so cacti just weren’t doing anything for me. BUT – once I started playing with these papers – the beautiful colors and versatile patterns totally won me over.

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Designs for these cards came from Make It From Your Heart Volumes I & II, Wishes Card Confidence Program, Prickly Pear WYW Scrapbooking guide and Pinterest (cleanandsimplestamping.blogspot)

Here are my layouts using the Scrapbooking WYW. I mostly followed the guide except for the ‘Big Shoes’ layout.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look at my cards & layouts for July classes. You can find details for the classes on my Class Page or at Facebook.

As always…

Enjoy!

~Gerri

Products used for these projects can be found at gerri.closetomyheart.com

What to Scrapbook?!

Are you new to scrapbooking or a seasoned pro? Do you have a plan of which pictures to use or is this something you struggle with? Personally, I’m somewhat in the middle between having a plan and struggling with what to work on.

General Plan – My plan in general is to work chronologically (I’m currently in 2004) through my pictures.  I don’t feel pressured to ‘catch up’ mainly because I am enjoying the memories from these sweet years (my boys are 15  & 11 now – not so sweet/cute anymore!) My layouts are generally geared toward albums for my boys.  In 2004, my younger son hadn’t come along yet.

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Once we get to 2005 – I’ll start duplicating layouts and just flipping the perspective depending on whose album it will go into.

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For example, the duplicate for this layout will take the middle picture on the right and swap it with the bigger picture on the bottom left so my younger son is the focus (really the cat is the focus – I’m not kidding anyone!)

Exceptions to the plan – As a CTMH consultant, I work with the current featured paper pack. Sometimes the paper theme doesn’t fit into my picture flow, so I have to decide which pictures to use. In these cases, I start with the paper theme to see what pictures I have.

The No Worries paper packet was a good example of this. My boys haven’t been to any lush tropical locales/beaches and I’ve already created layouts of their first (and only so far beach trip – we’re just more mountain than beach people). So I looked back through my pictures for a trip my husband and I took to Hawaii in 1997.

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What do I do if I have themed papers that I don’t have pictures for (or just haven’t taken the time to find pictures for)? I have created the layouts anyway in hopes that one day I’ll figure out which pictures to add to them.  Some are in WIP albums and others are in a stack!

I’ve also created a list that I can refer to that identifies the paper, layout titles, and photo sizes needed.  This way, as I work through my photo library, I can look at my already created layouts and see what I can work with.

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I have other pictures that don’t quite fit into either of the above options. These will require more time/thought or special attention – maybe to find just the right paper or to be in the right mind set. Not sure how I’ll tackle these yet – I think I’ll know when I get there.

Do you have a plan for working your scrapbooking or are you more of an ‘in the moment’ kind of person? I’d love to hear how you set about to play!

Enjoy!

~Gerri

QUICK Homemade Spaghetti Sauce!

I try to pay attention to what my family eats. I would prefer all natural, no sugar, no junk – I do my best but don’t always win that battle.  I was surprised to find sugar in the list of ingredients when I started looking at spaghetti sauce in the grocery store.  I could make my own, but the thought of babysitting the pot while it simmered was not very appealing.  Enter the pressure cooker! I found this recipe when I purchased a stove top pressure cooker and grew to love it even more when I got an electric! It is literally set it & forget it! And it’s a very forgiving recipe so if you don’t have something on hand you can adapt, substitute or omit it (except of course for the tomatoes!)

  • 32 oz diced Tomatoes – sometimes I used canned, sometimes I use fresh, sometimes they’re frozen – and they aren’t always diced.
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper (or red, yellow, orange…)
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1 Tbsp of Italian seasoning (or 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp rosemary)
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 6 oz tomato paste

Add all ingredients except tomato paste to the pressure cooker pot. Seal & set on manual for 8 minutes. Use a quick pressure release. Stir in in the tomato paste.

Transfer to a blender (or use a stick blender) and blend on high for about a minute for a smoother texture. If desired, return to pot and saute on low to the desired thickness.

Enjoy!

~Gerri

No Worries with Thin Cuts

Have you tried any of our stamp/thin cuts bundles? These little gems are a great way to add dimension to your paper crafting projects.

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This set is the No Worries Cardmaking Stamp Set + Thin Cuts bundle (Z3337) … There’s also a Scrapbooking bundle (Z3336)! Using just a manual die cutting machine (I use a Cuttlebug) – you can cut these images from patterned paper or cardstock.

You might choose to stamp the image on plain cardstock and then place the die over the stamped image. Or stamp on the cut image. Add some extra flair by strategically placing the die cut on patterned paper to show a specific design or image within the cut.  These little pieces of metal are so versatile!

Here are a couple of cards I made for this month’s class –

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This card was provided as a Make & Take project at the Seasonal Expressions II Launch event back in March.  I love the support that the CTMH Home Office provides to consultants in the form of projects and inspiration!

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This card I lifted from the Seasonal Expressions II idea book (page 15) – so easy!

What a fun way to add to your cards or layouts. Don’t want the look of dimensional layering? You can get the stamp sets without Thin Cuts and stamp away!

Enjoy!

~Gerri

The products used for these cards can be found at gerri.closetomyheart.com

Watercolor Fun

 

I’ve been doing classes at a local Senior Center for a few months – I try to keep the projects simple and inexpensive ($1-2/ card). This month I decided to play with some quick and easy watercolored cards.

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Using CTMH Picture My Life™ Watercolor cards is one way to do this. These cards come in a pack of 24 (12 each of 3×4 and 4×6 cards). I started by putting a wash of clean water across the entire card. Since I prefer to work from the top down, I added color to my brush and diluted it so the color would be lighter starting off. As I worked my way down the card, I simply picked up a bit more color to darken it as I went. I’m guessing you could start with undiluted color and let the color get lighter as you use it up, but I liked the control of how light I started with and then adding more color as I wanted.

As the card dried, I tried to keep adjusting it so it would be curled up. After it was all dried, I simply attached it to a cardstock mat,  added the sentiment, and I’m done. I try to use a good amount of adhesive when I’m working with watercolors because they do tend to get a bit stiff and sometimes want to pull up at the edges.

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I used this technique on a birthday card for my Dad last year (A Rustic Birthday) and I really like the look. CTMH has several realistic line image stamp sets – Nature’s Wish (D1703), Homegrown (C1666), and the one used here Hooked on You (B1535). As I’ve mentioned before – I don’t have a lot of patience for coloring – so my solution for this is to add some mottled watercolors in the background, and stamp the image on top of that.

This technique also starts with a clear water wash across the paper. Then I add spots of very diluted color – I’m going for a muted look on the colors, so I try to keep my hand very light.  I like to use colors that hint at the environment – so for this one, I mainly used blue, with a touch of yellow towards the top (for the sunlight) and some green.

I tried to mold this piece as it dried to get it as straight/flat as possible. You can see on the bottom right edge where I didn’t get enough adhesive to keep it down (I’ll go back over this with a Bonding Memories Glue Pen because I can get the tip between the two pieces of paper to apply the glue).

Since I allowed the paper to dry completely before stamping, I was able to use regular ink without it bleeding. This is great if you want to use a dark brown ink to give the image a more aged look.

Since today is Father’s Day – this card will be for my boys to give my husband – he loves to fish.

There you go – Easy Watercolor cards (I won’t say they’re quick because you do need to let the watercolors dry – but the actual part of making the cards is pretty quick).

Enjoy!

~Gerri

Other products used (these can be found on my CTMH site – gerri.closetomyheart.com)

The Non-Sucky Parts of Autism (for my family, anyway)

I thought since I did a post a bit ago about how the effects of Autism can really be a downer (Autism Sucks) – I should also touch on those ‘non-sucky’ parts.  Since Autism is a spectrum with varying ranges of function and ability, this list applies to my family – particularly my son.  I hope that if you are a care giver or know someone on the Autism spectrum – that you too can take a moment and think about those things that are special

Passion – my son is so passionate about the things that really catch his attention. He throws himself into those things with all his heart. He will spend hours researching and planning to make something happen.

Intelligence – God gave this child an amazing brain! He gets concepts quickly and can apply those concepts and implement ideas.

A Thirst For Knowledge – This boy (both of my boys really) has always been a knowledge seeker! He wants to know what, how, why…. He reads, researches things on the internet … He’s even gone so far as to call NASA and Lego to ask questions! (I never would have thought to do something like that at his age – let alone have the courage to do it!)

Open Book (kind of) – you know exactly what he thinks. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. If you can’t figure it out – he’ll tell you – without beating around the bush.

He’s Great With Little Kids – If I’m volunteering in the nursery at church, I can count on my son to help out and entertain the little kids that are there. He loves to play with them and they all have a blast playing with cars or Legos or on the playground.

I Can Help – Based on my experiences with my sons – I’m sometimes able to help other moms who have questions about how to get help, what’s working (or not), how to handle situations. Obviously – all kids are different, but sometimes just an ear to listen can help another mom with the day to day struggles.

I realize I’m probably missing some positive traits, and this post isn’t near as long as the negative one – mainly because I had so many recent and strong emotions involved when I was writing the other post. Sometimes it seems harder to identify these positive things because they’re frequently overshadowed by the rough patches. But, I know that while the negative affects often tend to stand out – these positive attributes will be the ones that bring my son success.  I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with his future!

Find the Positive & Enjoy!!

~Gerri

 

No Worries Layouts

I’ve been using the Scrapbooking Workshops Your Way for over a year now and I really do enjoy the great layouts and how easy they make it to get great pages done quickly.  This month we’re working with the No Worries Scrapbooking Workshop Your Way kit. These papers have a beachy/boardwalk vacation theme & they were perfect for a trip my husband and I took to Hawaii many years ago.

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These kits come with the paper and great coordinating embellishments like the Complements (a mix of stickers and die cut images), Sequins, and Burlap Ribbon. You can download the guide from my CTMH website (while the product is current) or I keep copies on my FB VIP Page – just check out the files section and you can find retired guides.

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Sometimes I make a lot of changes because the layouts don’t really fit my photos.  But this month, I only adjusted the photo sizes/positioning.

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So how long did it take me for these layouts – about 2 hours! Seriously! I had everything cut in 30 minutes – the cutting guide is so well designed. The hardest part, for me, was figuring out how I wanted to arrange the pictures. So actually putting the layouts together took about an hour and a half.

These pictures were taken during the ‘non-digital’ era (as my boys would say – “Back in the 19’s”). They were also developed at  different locations so they had different sizes, and finishes. Working the 3×5 photos into ‘today’s’ 4×6 and 3×4 formats did take a little creativity. For example, the two 4×6 photos on the right hand page were scanned from 3x5s and then reprinted in 4×6 (thank goodness for home scanners/printers!)

So – if you’ve got some beach vacation pictures you want to scrapbook – check out this Workshop You Way and you’ll be finished in no time!

Enjoy!

~Gerri

You can find more details about this kit at gerri.closetomyheart.com

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