July 31, 2017

New Close to My Heart Annual Idea Book Sneak Peek - Part 4

Welcome to the final sneak peek no. 4 of the upcoming Close to My Heart Annual Idea Book 2017 - 2018.

Over the past three Mondays we peeked into some of the new and exciting products coming your way....starting tomorrow :-) You will be able to see the Annual Idea Book online on my website...click here on August 1st...!

I do have a few more little sneaks and this time let's talk about stamps and dies:

 There are multiple bundles of stamps with matching dies coming in August. From birds and elephants with balloons to flowers and more....while you can by the stamps individually, the these matching dies can only be bought with the stamps in a bundle. 

Here is a wonderful example of a new flower set with matching dies. Love the new layered stamping possibilities which makes your images really look like 3-d. This is only one of many examples and they will be available for the whole year.

Finally, more stamps in the category phrases and poetic quotes are coming back in the new book. From the standard "Thank You", "Birthday", "Condolences" to funny phrases and really versatile combos. Everything is covered.

"Hey y'all"....How about this little southern gem? Oh and did I mention a super funny crafting quotes set? We need a stamp for us too right? LOL

Background stamps, these are stamps you can never have enough off. 
No matter if you like to create your own background paper designs or if you just like to make accents or backgrounds for tags etc...these stamps always come in handy. 
So while browsing through the Idea Book, check out all the new background stamps big and small that are in it.

Finally, we can't miss out on those stamps that can be used all year round for so many occasions. 

Here is one for all the dog lovers in your live, but there are more.... one for the male side in your live and one for the female...yes it covers, dad, husband, brother, nephew, brother-in-law, father, mother, aunt, nice, sister etc....there are simply to many brand new stamps in the book so have fun browsing.

Last but not least, while a few well loved tools are gone, some new must haves are in.

This new trimmer from Fiskars is one of these must haves. I have the previous version and love it since it has the while cutting surface. Yes, all the way up to 6" without having to open the arm. So what is so much better about this one you ask?

This version uses a heavy duty reinforced aluminium cutting rail. This rail will not bend if you push a little to hard on your cutting blade, so your cuts are always straight. It is using a regular blade, not a rotary blade, but you need the cutting blades made for this trimmer. They have the blade on one side and a plastic piece that wraps around the metal rail. Both are in the annual book. On of my must haves form the new Idea Book.

Well, this is it for the sneak peeks. I hope you enjoyed the little excursion and have fun browsing through the Idea Book starting tomorrow. 

Please contact me if you have question regarding products, consultant sign up or other issues. I would love to hear from you. 

Thank you for joining me 
 look out for tomorrows post with the link to the 
new Close to My Heart Annual Idea Book 2017 - 2018


July 28, 2017

Technique: In a Bleach of a Moment - Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of my "In a Bleach of a Moment" series. We already covered some of the does and don'ts and what to look out for when you started. In case you missed the first part, CLICK HERE to see how to start.

Now let's talk about these two cards. For the blue card I started by stamping my flowers in VersaMark and embossed them in silver. 

I started by coloring in the flowers and leaves. Again I used my craft mat to pick up color instead of going direct to the paper. The more you use water with your colors, the light the color is. So you can create different shades with one color. For the green, I used a darker and lighter green color. After all colors were dry, I picked by blues for the background. Starting by putting plain water on the background around my flowers first. Not to much, just so the watercolor paper is a little damp. Next I dropped the color in with my brush and added water to make it flow and run around the flower. 

The bleach is applied around the flower and leaves and I added little sprinkles all over the background. Ones all is dry, I started assembling the card.

I used a regular card base 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". I cut a piece of dark-blue cardstock measuring 5 1/4" x 4", but before I adhered it to the base, I went on to add all other embellishments to it. First I placed my watercolor piece on an angle on the card. I cut off the corners that were hanging over the edges. I wrapped around some silver threat and fastened it with tape to the back. Now I adhered the cardstock in the center of the card. I stamped the phrase in VersaMark ink and heat-embossed it with white powder. A few rhinestones are finishing of the card. Beside the inside, that is ;-)

The second image was done the same way as the blue one. I used brown instead for the background and the bleach was only applied to some of the flower pedals and on the edge of the leaves.

When I looked for matching colors, I had the green design paper and some kraft cardstock picked for the blue flowers, when I noticed that this one would perfectly match with the colors :-) sometime you get lucky.

I liked the background and didn't want to size it down too much, but I also didn't want to repeat the design of that other two cards. So..... I though, why not cut a window and place the brown flower image on the inside?

I used a regular cardbase 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" and covered it on the front with a piece of kraft cardstock 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" while the inside piece was cut at 4"  5 1/4". Next I cut corresponding design papers in green and adhered them to the kraft pieces (in the center). Now I used a ruler and my craft knife to cut out the window from the front. The cut depends on your image size. I adhered the colored image to the inside of the card so the front window fits right around it. Next I stamped my phrase in the lower right corner and again on the inside (like a mirror image).

The front of the card looked a little blank, so I added two butterflies cut from Vellum to the front. I did cut the butterflies twice and layered them on top of each other. The bottom wings are adhered to the frame and the top layer is decorated with some rhinestones. You might ask, but were to you write your message on? Well, I used the backside for it.

I hope you liked out little excursion into the world of bleach and the images I created. Leave me a comment below what you think of this technique and the cards I made. Stay tuned for next months hop and don't forget to comment on the hop .... there are prizes waiting for a lucky winner :-) 

July 24, 2017

New Close to My Heart Annual Idea Book Sneak Peek - Part 3

Welcome to my sneak peek no.3 of the upcoming Close to My Heart Annual Idea Book 2017 - 2018.

Close to My Heart has published over the years many really awesome How-To-Books for scrapbook making and card creating crafty individuals. Many are still available and are a perfect go-to-guide for everyone, beginner and pro. 

In the past few years the new How-To-Book had been a combination of both, page and card making and they came in a small book version. These two books are named: "Make it from Your Heart - Volume 1 & 2". You can check them all out HERE

The newest member of our How-To-Book family is the brand new "Make it from Your Heart - Volume 3" edition.
It is, like the previous books, packed with scrapbook page ideas and instructions and card making layouts. It comes in a new format which will allow you to place the pages of the book in one of the "Everyday Life Albums". Why is this better you might ask? Well, there will be more books in the future and you can just add them to your album and always have them together in one place. It also makes it easier for you to add own ideas to proposed layouts, by simply adding the pages in between. 

Let's talk about Cricut, shall we?

I am a huge fan of our Close to My Heart exclusive Cricut cartridge "Flower Market". The company published many exclusive cartridges in the past few years, but the "Flower Market" is by far my favorite one. I love the different flowers you can cut and the way the layer. Many more items beside flowers are on this one and if you haven't seen it yet....click HERE to see the cartridge. (click HERE for a detailed PDF with all the content)

This cartridge is available as a physical cartridge or as digital only. But be aware, the digital version of any of the Close to My Heart cartridges only works with the new Cricut Explore or Cricut Explore Air!!!

Drum-roll please.... next week you will be able to order the brand new and exclusive Close to My Heart Cricut cartridge "You are Here". This cartridge if full of everything revolving around vacation, destination and adventure. The complete set includes the new cartridge with more than 700 items, including phrases, titles, words and letter. 

You will also get three full stamp sets coordinating with the cartridge and a full combo cardstock pack from the enchantment palette.  

This cartridge also comes in a physical form or a digital version (digital: ONLY for Cricut Explore), but both will come with the stamps and papers.

Next Cartridges are only available in Digital Form!

Also new is the Close to My Heart exclusive Cricut Country Collection, containing "Hello USA", "Hello Canada" and "Hello AU/NZ". All three are only available as digital versions!

They all contain multiple layered images, including shapes, overlays, names as well as local flowers, slogan and state specific icons including state flags.

So many new products coming your way and we aren't even half through the new Idea Book. What is your favorite item so far? Comment below and let me know or if you have question. You can always email me as well.

Stay tuned for one more exciting sneak peek before the official reveal of the new Close to My Heart Annual Idea Book 2017 - 2018.

See you soon


July 21, 2017

Technique: In a Bleach of a Moment - Part 1

Before you get started with your own "Moment of Bleach experience", let's start with some important information:


Using cardstock that is colored through works great with this technique. But you have to test your papers first, because not all papers will react to the bleach. Like the red paper seen here. This one didn't reacted to the bleach at all. Ones you apply the bleach, the color of the paper will fade and often a light shade will show up (you have to test your papers to find out what color will be reviled and which paper will work)

Using cardstock that has a white core (e.g. Close to My Heart,...) will not react to your bleach, BUT there is another way to use this cardstock. Apply some ink of your choice (CTMH, SU, Distress Inks,...) over the colored cardstock... now when you add the bleach, the applied ink will fade and the colored cardstock will show.....awesome isn't it?

Here is a closer look at the three samples I tried. First off is this red paper. I think it was a Bazzil one. I stamped the flowers and embossed them with gold embossing powder (pic. top left). The picture on the top right and the bottom one shows you the paper after I used the bleach on it. As you can see, this paper didn't react to the bleach at all. I really applied a lot of bleach, but nothing. All that was shown at the end were some stains from the bleach....so this one didn't quite work.

 The blue paper I used here is one from my leftover stack. I don't know the maker of this paper (it's not CTMH). I stamped the paper with some butterflies and flowers and embossed them. I used white embossing powder for one piece and green powder for a second piece. (pic. top left is before the bleach). I applied a bleach solution around the area of the white embossed butterflies and it reacted right away. I used my older bleach on the second (green embossed) piece and applied it this time to the inside of the butterflies. Interesting result, since it seems to be more green than on the other example. This could be do my older bleach or the green embossing powder makes is look like more green. In any event, both blue papers are the same!

Last but not least our own Close to My Heart paper with the white core. To make sure the bleach would work on it, I applied distress ink over the whole sample. The red has a light pink cardstock as a base and the blue one has a light turquoise color as a base.
First I used a swirl stamp on both items (pic top left and bottom left) with my old bleach. The red one showed up after quite a long drying period, while the blue one didn't show at all. So now I tried a flower stamp and my new bleach on the blue again and this time it shows really good. 

Summary for me, test test test before you start a project and stamping with the bleach not so my cup of tea. Coloring with bleach on the other hand is quite interesting to work with.


You can pretty much use all stamps with the bleach, BUT you have to clean them immediately after stamping with water and some stamp cleaner. Give them a good scrub, rinse thoroughly with water and let them dry.

Alternative, if you don't like to use your stamps with the bleach directly, stamp the image and emboss it, then use a brush to apply the bleach to the areas. Especially when you think about using a more delicate stamped image. 

I stamped my little cardinal and leaves in black ink and embossed it with clear embossing powder. You need a black ink that will not dry quickly to use it with the powder. You could also use VersaMark and black embossing powder. The flowers were stamped in VersaMark ink and the embossed with silver powder.


You can use any kind of household bleach. Most common is the liquid form or you can even get it these days in form of a gel. No matter which one you use, make sure it is not exposed to light and air for a long period of time. The bleach comes in a milky container to keep it "fresh". Small amounts go a long way.....DON'T FORGET... when working with bleach make sure you are in a very well ventilated room and keep your kids and pets away from the project!

My first project was the cardinal. For some reason, thinking of bleach made me think of snowflakes. Even so we have like 90 F right now outside and the humidity is awful, so snow is a good thing to think about right?

I started with a piece of watercolor paper. I stamped my images in black ink and embossed it with clear embossing powder. This way I made sure the bleach wouldn't compromise my outlines.

I used my Spectrum Noir Aqua markers to color the images in. These markers sometime don't blend well on the watercolor paper, so I used my handy craft mat instead. I placed some color on the mat and used a brush and water to applied the color to the image. I colored the bird in with different shades of red. I used two greens for the leaves and a little brown for the branch. After the image was dry, I picked three blue markers and did the same with the background. I added water to the background first and then dropped in some color. Don't worry about watermark lines, they are perfect for the background.

After everything was dry I used my bleach mixture and a small brush to add the bleach. I started with the little dots for snowflakes. Next I went on to brush the bleach on the leaves and a little on the top of the bird. Be careful with the bleach, because it will spread really fast, especially on the watercolor paper.

I cut the image down to a 3 1/2" square. For the card itself, I used a regular card base 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" and covered it with a piece of 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" darkblue cardstock. I put my Cricut to use and cut out a frame at 4" x 4". I adhered the colored image to the frame and placed a piece of silver foiled cardstock behind it. The foiled cardstock was sticking out pass the corners which I cut back with my scissors. I adhered the piece raised with foam dots to the card front. 

I then stamped my phrase in VersaMark and embossed it with white embossing powder.

 A little red bow and a few sequins finishing of this card. Well, almost... I added the cut out from the frame to the inside of my card and added a little phrase to it. 

Well, this is the first project I did with my bleach adventure. What do you think? I actually was super pleased with the outcome, even so the process wasn't so great.

While I don't like to stamp with the bleach, I do like the application with a brush. If I find a quite moment, I might have to try the stamping again, now that I have a fresh bleach pen in my house :-) Yes, don't even start with your old bleach. Get yourself a bleach gel pen for about $3 and have fun the first time you try this technique.

I would love to hear from you, so leave me a comment and check back next Friday for the last two project I did.

Thank you for turning in. I hope you enjoyed this little excursion into the world of bleach.

See you next Friday with part 2.....

July 19, 2017

Z-Gate-Fold Card with Double-Sided Paper

Here is another example of a Z-Gate-Fold card. This card was created after a card I made for our June "Year of Card Making Techniques Hop Blog". All the detailed instruction and cutting measurements can be found on Fridays post or you can click HERE.

The only difference is that I used just the colored cardstock and the cream cardstock piece for the inside and no third layer like in the original one.

The "closure" is also a little bit different. I had my Cricut cut out an ornate frame from black cardstock which I adhered with foam dots to the left side of my card. The phrase was stamped on another frame cut out with the Cricut. A few little flowers cut from matching cardstock are adhered and decorated with some rhinestones.

For the inside I used a small flower stamp and second generation stamping to get a lighter inked image. 

Well, what do you think? Is this a folding technique you would like to try? Let me know how it went.....and don't forget... the most important thing to look out for is to make sure your double-sided paper is working together on both sides. 

See you on Friday here at my blog :-)

July 17, 2017

New Close to My Heart Annual Idea Book Sneak Peek - Part 2

Welcome to my sneak peek no.2 of the upcoming Close to My Heart Annual Idea Book 2017 - 2018.

Let's talk a little about the Close to My Heart cardstock and the different colors that are offered. The cardstock is divided into 4 categories, basic, whimsy, adventure and enchantment. It has a white core and is of superb quality. So what has changed you might ask? Well, only more good things were added :-)

The basic colors have been update so you will have more varieties of grey and brown in it. Black and white have been taken out of the sets and will be available for as separate sets for purchase.

But the best NEW feature is the two hues of color on each sheet. One side has the normal dark ton of the color and the other side has a lighter version of the same color. Two for the price of one, we like that right? Sometime you work with a color and you wish you could have it a little lighter, well now you can choose. This will give you 10 colors per category plus and extra 10 for the back side of each paper....so the color palette grew from 40 to 80....awesome.

The annual Idea Book also contains 4 specialty fundamental paper packs based on the 4 cardstock color categories. These papers come with different colors and designs all based on the 4 categories.

Basic Fundamental Pack:
The colors are your neutrals (grays, browns, beige) and the designs varies from dots & strips, flowers & letters/ writing to some really cool texture designs. 

This is an awesome paper pack to have. If you need a good basic design paper pack, get this one for sure.

Whimsy Fundamental Pack:
The colors here are you lighter, pastel colors.
The design contains dots and strips, flowers and more graphic designs like chevron.

This pack is a perfect companion for the "Whimsy Combo Cardstock" pack. If these are your colors get the cardstock and match it with this neutral design paper pack and you can create pages and cards galore.

Adventure Fundamental Pack:
The colors are your brights. I call them the summer palette. The design of this fundamental package contain flowers & hearts, strips & ombre backgrounds and some marbled design. Many look like watercolor images with makes them really interesting. Love how the this set plays off the bright card-stocks that match this set.
This is another of my favorites, lots of potential :-)

Enchantment Fundamental Pack:
These colors are matching your darks from the cardstock palette. I call them my fall colors since they contain the deep greens, red and blues as well as the darker yellows. The design is bold on some of the papers and more settled on others. You will get strips, dots and letters on one part and really light background designs with strips and geometric items on the rest. A wonderful pallet of colors for the boys and men in you life.

While the current cardstock supplies are already running out, Close to My Heart has decided to make those colors that are gone for good available in the new version. You will also be able to order all four combo cardstock sets right away, even so the new Idea Book isn't life yet.

Isn't this exciting? :-) Have a look at the brand new colors by clicking HERE to see them online.

So, what else is new? All these packages come with corresponding ribbon sets, where you get 4 different kinds in one set matching your paper pack. Great value and lots of different possibilities. 
There are also matching embellishment kits with stickers, glitter items etc available.

Overall, the new annual Idea Book has a lot of brand new fundamental paper packs and cardstock combos for you available. These are the basic for any crafter. The current and upcoming designer paper packs will work in combination of both of the pack groups here shown. I don't think the fundamental papers have been given enough credit in the past, but I think these ones will change your mind :-) I think they are a great opportunity and if you live in my area, you can always drop by and see samplers of each paper.

Well, I hope you enjoy these little sneak peek and use them as a guide to brows through the upcoming new Idea Book. Sometimes things get lost and I hope this will give you some more ideas to see what possibilities are coming your way. Email me if you have questions or comment below. Like to become a consultant yourself, I will be more than happy to help you get started in my team....email me.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks to come. Next Mondays will be ??? Hm??? I just say Cricut ;-)

See you soon


July 14, 2017

A Year of Card Techniques ~ July Blog Hop ~ In a Bleach of a Moment!

Welcome to A Year of Card Techniques Blog Hop where each month we feature a different card technique. We’ve assembled a team of card makers who range from new to advanced, so you’ll see a great variety of cards and ideas.

From laundry, to disinfectant, to fashion, bleach is a staple in many households; but did you know you can use bleach in your card making and paper crafting? Yup, from stamping, to painting, and several techniques in between, we’re going to share our experiments with you. And if you would like to check out our past technique hops, you can do that here:

Our amazing sponsor this month is Debbie Bonczek of Close to My Heart.

Please take a moment to check out the great products Close to My Heart has to offer. To visit Debbie's blog, click here.

And the awesome prize this month is (lucky you, there are actually two to win):

We really appreciate feedback, so please leave a comment on each of the blogs in the hop today. While you are encouraged to comment at any time, only comments received by Friday, July 21, 2017 at 8:00pm (EST) will be eligible to win. The winner will be announced on Sunday, July 23, 2017 on A Piece of (my) Heart’s blog, so be sure to check her blog on Sunday the 23rd to see if you are the lucky winner.

You should have arrived here from the lovely Sharon your first stop on this hop. If you're visiting here first, you might want to start at the beginning so you don't miss out on increasing your chance of winning by commenting on each blog.

But now let's get going with the projects...In a Bleach of a Moment

Before you get started with your own "Moment of Bleach experience", let's start with some important information:
  1. Pick the right paper that will work with this technique (very important!)
  2. Make sure your bleach is new/ fresh and not sitting on the shelf for a while (new bleach minimizes stress!)
  3. You can use any stamps for this technique, just make sure you clean them really good right away after using bleach on them (don't forget!)
This all been said, there are a few more things to know while working with bleach. I don't want to make this post to longs, so please check back next Friday for Part 1 of my follow up with this technique to see more information about what papers to use or don't use, etc.

My random thoughts about this technique:

I have to admit I love a challenge and this one was one! But that's what this hop is all about right? Challenging yourself with techniques you maybe not have picked. So this been said, bleach is not my favorite medium to work with... (that's what I have found out this month)

Lot's of struggle with finding the right paper. As you can see in the image on the left. These papers would not react with the bleach at all. 

Then I struggled with my bleach (sitting on my shelf too long ;-) ). Ones I bought a simple bleach gel pen, things were working out a bit better. Tones of stamps on hand, but never the right one to work with the project.....but I didn't gave up :-)
During the month while we are preparing for the next challenge, we are posting little sneak peeks for the members of this hop and one of the pictures that a fellow hopper posted was a waste basket full of trial and error pieces....LOL.... exactly what my basket looked like. (more detail about the errors next Friday).

At the end, I did finished three projects and it was fun to work with bleach after all. Sometimes even if things don't turn out the way you like them to turn out, there is still a silver-lining you take a way form it. Mine is, bleach is a powerful medium that has some very interesting side-effect. E.g. You need snow on a card and don't have a white pen, try bleach (WAIT! Try it on a scrap piece first before you go to your main creation right away) 

Another thing I learn, if you ever spill color on a white piece of paper (as if that ever happens LOL) before discarding this piece, try bleach to get rid of the stain... it's worth it. :-) Well two of the samples show above here will still be made into cards, but the rest will make a trip to the paper basket. 

So what did I end up using here? 

All three images were created in the same manner. I used watercolor paper, stamped my images either with ink or VersaMark ink and heat embossed them. 

Next I used my Spectrum Noir Aqua watercolor markers and a brush to color the images and the backgrounds in. 

Now the "fun" part....I used my bleach gel pen and put a little bit on a plastic plate. I used a fine brush and water to thin out the gel a bit and to dilute the bleach. I then applied my bleach solution with the fine brush to the images. 

I added a little bleach with the brush around the one flower while I used the bleach solution on the pedals and leave of the other image. 

For the cardinal I thought snowflakes would be perfect match. So I added little dots to the cardinal image and used more bleach on the top of the leaves and the bird to create the impression of snow on them. I am pretty good in shading with color and water, but handling the bleach is more tricky. 

I hope you still enjoyed the projects and stay tuned for the next two Fridays to see more images of the cards I made, to learn more about this technique and the does and don'ts.

Please don't forget to comment below, because I would love to hear from you :-)
Now you’re off to visit with my friend Kim. Hope you had fun and thanks for stopping by. See you next month with another technique!

Always remember:
"Art comes from the heart.
So there is never a right way or a wrong way;
there is only Your Way."

Here’s the full line-up in case you get lost: