Friday, November 28, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas 4... Organisation

The best thing you can give a crafter who has it all is an organiser. After all, even if she has shelving and useful plastic wheelie boxes at home, how is she to transport it all to crops and workshops?
This post features some of the organisational solutions Close to My Heart offers the beginning or lifetime crafter.

The My Acrylix Organizer
1. The My Acrylix Organizer - $27.50. This sturdy, stackable case holds up to 15 My Acrylix stamps sets in their envelopes, or mix n match with a few stamp pads, scissors and basic tools. A great go-to box for a small selection of items when you know what you will need!

The Medium Organizer

2. The Small Organizer - $27.50. (14.5 x 10.5 x 2"). This stackable case is handy for daubers, pigment ink pads, and small items such as ribbon embellishments and pens.

3. The Medium Organizer - $35.50. (14.5 x 10.5 x 5"). This stackable case is a great size for most events. The height is perfect for eight stamp pads, ink bottles, spritz pens, stamp cleaners, etc.

The Large Organizer
4. The Large Organizer - $45.50. (14.5 x 10.5 x 7.5"). This case is great for EVERYTHING - the My Acrylix stamp sets fit standing up, and you can stack 11-12 stamp pads in the front sections, along with bone folder, stamp cleaner, etc.

5. To add to the small organizer, inserts can be bought for your daubers ($24), pigment ink pads ($24), craft boxes ($14.50) and blocks ($14.50).
In this picture you can see that Fancy Melissa has stacked two Small Organizers ontop of a Medium Organizer.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas 3... Home Decor

This is the third in my series of posts for Christmas gift ideas. Close to My Heart has many options for the crafty and not so crafty women in your life, at different prices to suit everyone's Christmas shopping list. Today I'm featuring DECOR... the options to make your home look stunning with little or no effort, but which can also be dressed up as much as the recipient desires to suit her personal taste.
1. Red magnetic Chalkboard - $54. Framed chalkboard with magnetic surface, sawtooth hangers on back. Interior dimensions 14.5 x 12". This board does not come with magnets... but yesterday's post features the most beautiful ideas for magnets from CTMH consultant, so if I were you I would be making my own!

2. Designed décor Shadowbox (Colonial White or Black) - $54. Wooden frame with hinged back that opens for easy loading. Sawtooth hangers on back. Interior dimensions 12x12", total depth when closed 1.25".

3. Designed Décor White Colonial Frame - $50. Wooden frame with honeycomb wire. Sawtooth hangers on back. Interior dimensions 12 x 14.5".

Click here to see the original post
4. Display tray (black) - $32.50. Wooden display for a favourite 12x12" scrapbook page, cut up, or 4x3" photos, or Picture My Life Cards. Includes hangers. Outside dimensions 13x13.25x1".

5. Event Calendar - $13.50. Many people don't realise that we sell good quality card calendars for your home - blank and ready to be adorned with your favourite photos and events! This one is 18x4".
Here you can see a page of the Event Calendar made up for April. See the original post by clicking here.

6. Monthly Calendar - $13. And finally, my favourite best-kept-secret-gift-idea from the entire catalogue - 12 blank calendar pages, 12x12". I get to decorate every page like a scrapbook (12" square) and stamp month names, and add special birthdays... I can't wait to make this gift for a few of my special family members! I have three to make (unless I keep adding recipients to the list) - I'd better get cracking...
The picture featured is of another of Jen Patrick's beautiful calendars, and you can see the original post by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas 2: Jewellery

This the second in my series of Christmas Gift Ideas posts. This post centres around the wearable craft range Close to My Heart have available.
There are many types of jewellery at different price margins. My favourite is the pendant necklace. I have been running Base n Bling Parties where each guest gets to make a pendant for $20, which is very affordable. It is a little cheaper if you buy the pieces in bulk. The components of the necklace are: chain ($10), pendant ($8 or $10 for a pack of three), clear glass cover ($3 or $5 for a pack of three), charms ($7 or $8 for a pack of six) and icon sticker ($7 for a sheet of 28-32). If you have many gifts to make, this is definitely the way to buy your supplies. Throw in a bottle of Liquid Glass ($12) and Christmas is SORTED!
Here is a picture from Hey Girl You can see the creator is ready to gift a lot of crafty friends with their own beautiful necklaces!
For a slightly different (and even quicker) handmade gift, you could choose to create a cuff. I have been running classes for these are $15 per person. The components you will need to complete a cuff are the oval cuff ($8, either gold or silver), the oval glass covers ($5 a pack of three), and an icon sticker ($7 for a sheet of 28-32).
I have seen some other beautiful ideas with our Base n Bling items too. Here is a photo of the beautiful fridge magnets created by a sister consultant - Angela Mansfield - in the USA. She has used our bases, icons, covers and charms, but added strong magnets to the back with Liquid Glass. What a beautiful idea!
I have also seen our charms used frequently on cards, as drawer pulls on 3D boxes, and as wine charms. They're actually very versatile wee items.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas 1: Mini Albums

This is the first in a series of posts to help you get sorted for Christmas. The topic of this post is MINI ALBUMS.

Close to My Heart have a selection of Mini Albums available, all with different themes and at different prices, so there will be something to suit everyone.

The Hip Pics Album is a gorgeous little book, white daisy cardstock pages inside which are spiral bound, with a solid Kraft outer sleeve. This book, at $14.50, is perfect to give as a gift to crafty teens, or to fill and gift already decorated. Below you can see a short video I made of a Hip Pics album created for mother's day. This can be easily adapted for any occasion, and at $14.50 it's the kind of album you could easily have a whole collection of.
The Short Stack Album is a similar size, but gives you more options on the inside. Again it is spiral bound for durability, but the pages here are all Kraft, with no pre-cut slots. Photographs and messages are not slipped into this album but rather adhered ontop of each page. Again at $17 it's something that would make an excellent gift as is, or as a finished project. Below is a video showing the Short Stack album I created as a snapshot of the kind of Christmas food which is special in our home.
The My Crush Holiday Happenings Book ($29) is one of many different styles we sell of My Crush books. These are fabulous little books for journaling and for photographs. The Holiday Happenings book is just over 6x8" and has 30 pages. There are also additional embellishments that can be purchased which co-ordinate perfectly with this book. A My Crush bundle makes a brilliant Christmas gift for a crafty friend or teen.
Here is a video of a consultant opening up her Holiday Happenings set, and showing us what is inside:
Watch below to see what American Consultant Pam Korte has done with her Holiday Happenings My Crush Book and Assortments.

There are two assortments that co-ordinate, The Badge Buttons and the wee Pockets, both priced at $10.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas Card Ideas... FAST CARDS!

If you are looking for some more Christmas card ideas and are running out of time, look no further than the current Close to My Heart Annual Inspirations book.

1. Buy a pack of Pear and Partridge Picture My Life Cards and stick them onto a plain card background. If you want to go crazy (and this does look beautiful), add a surround of Kraft cardstock and a bit of washi or some bling. There are 44 4x6" cards, and 78 3x4" cards in the set, which costs $24 - a very affordable way of making quick cards.
2. Buy the "Cut Above" Holiday Card Kit for $22. You will have enough product to make 10 beautiful cards with a completely fail-safe system. Add the Merriest Christmas stamp set to your order for $18 and you will have four very versatile Christmas sentiments which will look good on any card.
3. Buy the "Cut Above" Christmas Card Kit for $20. Again this is an absolutely fail-safe method of making 10 beautiful cards - so simple that you will have your children make their own cards this year - or even the ones for the whole family.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas Card Ideas... FAST CARDS!

This is the last in my series of posts about getting all your Christmas cards done quickly. I had a small group of ladies round and they each made twenty cards - five each of these four designs. As it happened, this class took a bit longer than the three hours I had given it, but still all the ladies completed all twenty cards and have a big stack ready to give out or send away.
Here are the cards, cutting patterns and brief directions follow:

Card 1: Noel
White Daisy Base (6x3”), Ruby panel (5¾ x 2¾”), White Daisy Squares (1x1”)
Dry emboss the ruby panel with a texture. Stamp the letters for “NOEL” on the four squares and daub with black ink. Create the bow and hold together with a white brad. Adhere ruby panel to card front and attach black strip to bottom third of card. Adhere squares and black bow on top.

Card 2: Polar Bears
White Daisy card base (5½ x 4¼”), White Daisy panel (5 x 3¾”)
Use a roll of washi tape to create an outer frame around the outside of the white daisy card base. On the white daisy panel, create the mountain scene by ripping a piece of scrap paper in half diagonally. Spritz the panel with only the bottom third hidden, then cover the bottom two thirds and spritz again. Stamp polar bears and sentiment in black. Stamp snowflakes in slate. Colour jersey and scarf, and attack panel to card.

Card 3: Santa's Sleigh
White Daisy Card base (5½ x 4¼”)
Mask bottom and sides of card with painters masking tape (comes away easily). Stamp trees in first, second and third generation black. On a scoreboard or using a scoring blade, score all around the card front ⅝” from the edge. Stamp Santa image. Add ruby washi tape around the outside edges. Create sentiment on a die cut white daisy piece and attach with foam tape.


Card 4: Scooter
White Daisy Card Base (5½ x 4¼”), White Daisy panel (5¼ x 4”)
Stamp scooter in black on white daisy panel. Also stamp onto scrap pieces of ruby cardstock. Cut only “body” from ruby and adhere ontop of card. Stamp presents in ruby on pannier. Stamp tree in green on scrap white card and cut out. Adhere ontop of seat. Add ruby shimmer trim to base (cut a curve for the back wheel) and sentiment in ruby. Add a doodled line around the outside. Sponge ruby ink around the card base before adhering panel to card front.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Card Ideas... FAST Cards!

Traditional Theme
These are four cards we recently completed for a fast cards class with a traditional Christmas theme. We completed 20 cards in three hours.
The dimensions for each follow:
Card 1 (Tree)
6x4 White Daisy Card Base, 6x4 Black panel, 2x3.5" White Daisy panel
Stamp tree on white cardstock panel, at the very bottom. Stamp Merry Christmas sentiment on scrap white paper and cut out. Adhere black base to white card front. Position tree in the centre of black and adhere. Cut silver shimmer trim in half and position around the outside of the white panel. Cut corners tidily or mitre. Adhere sentiment at top of the tree with foam tape.

Card 2 (Joy)
Colonial White Base (5½ x 4¼”), Yuletide Panel (5¼ x 4”), Kraft Panel (1¾ x 4¼”)
Stamp "Joy" onto Kraft panel, on the far left. Dovetail the right end with sharp scissors and daub the whole shape. Adhere the Yuletide and Kraft panels to the card base. Create the Cricut bow (Artiste cartridge). I cut it at 1" tall, and used liquid glass to create. I also made sure that I curved the ends with my bone folder, rather than creased them. Adhere to card.

Card 3 (Noel)
Colonial White Base (5½ x 4¼”), New England Ivy Panel (4 x 1¾"), Kraft panel (4 x 1¾"), Yuletide Panel (4 x 1¾"), Colonial white panel (2¾ x 1¼”).
Stamp New England Ivy piece with "Noel" in New England Ivy ink. Emboss Kraft piece with dots folder. Stamp holly embellishment onto Colonial white piece with Bamboo ink, then stamp sentiment over the top with New England Ivy. Daub around the edges of the Colonial White piece with New England Ivy ink. Adhere all items to card, daubing first if desired.

Card 4 (Wreath)
Colonial White Base (4x4"), New England Ivy Square (3¾ x 3¾"), Colonial White square (2¾ x 2¾").
Dry emboss New England Ivy square with dots. Stamp wreath on Colonial White square in desert sand ink, then stamp pinecones over the top in Cocoa. Corner round piece and daub with Desert Sand Ink. Stamp Sentiment onto scrap Colonial White and cut out with good scissors. Adhere layers to the card, raising sentiment up on foam squares.

I used three stamp sets when planning this class, all currently available. Please go to my website to purchase, or contact me directly.

Noel (C1598) $25

Always Grateful (C1559) $25

Merry, Merry (C1591) $25

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Christmas Card Ideas... FAST Cards!

Religious Theme
Here are four cards we recently created at a speed card class - we completed 20 cards each in three hours.
Dimensions for each follow.

Card 1 (Angel)
White Daisy Base (5½ x 4¼”), Glacier Panel (5¼x4”), White Daisy Panel (4¾ x 3½”)
Stamp lower third of glacier panel with glacier ink and a background stamp. Adhere to card. Stick strips of ruby shimmer trim to the edges. Stamp angel in glacier on the white panel, in the left upper corner. Stamp the sentiment in slate directly onto the panel. Stamp again with ruby ink on scrap white daisy cardstock. Trim and adhere the wording you would like in ruby. Adhere white panel to card.

Card 2 (Wise men)
White Daisy Base (5½ x 4¼”), Outdoor Denim Panel (5¼x4”), White Daisy Panel (5¼ x 2”)
Emboss Outdoor Denim layer. Spritz white daisy panel and stamp Wise Men with Outdoor Denim ink. Daub edges of white daisy with outdoor denim ink. Adhere White cardstock to embossed Outdoor Denim cardstock. Wrap ribbon along the base and adhere in place with three glue dots. Adhere this layer on the base. Stamp sentiment on Cricut die cut with Outdoor Denim ink, and star with Slate. Daub edges with Outdoor Denim. Adhere to card with foam tape.

Card 3 (Stable)
Colonial White Card Base (5½x4¼”), Colonial White panel (5¼x4”)
Create background with bamboo ink on Colonial White panel. Stamp stable, figures and sentiment with Desert Sand ink. Daub edges with Desert Sand ink. Adhere to card base.

Card 4 (Shepherd and Bethlehem)
White Daisy Card Base (3x6”)
Create sky by building up a deep blue background with Pacifica ink and the rounded part of a sponge. Keep the top darker and the bottom lighter. Create space for star by adding circles of increasing size at the upper left corner. Stamp Bethlehem, Star and Shepherd in black ink. You can use second (and third) generation stamping for the town to make it look busier.

 For this class, I used two stamp sets. The Hostess stamp set "Sing Glory" which is quite beautiful, and the "Glory to God" set which is unfortunately now no longer available. However, we do now have a replacement set which is just as stunning, "Reason for the Season", featured below.
 Reason for the Season - $33. D1614

Sing Glory - Hostess only $10. C1587

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Why you shouldn't ask for "likes" on Facebook

Along with many other Close to My Heart Consultants, I run a Facebook page for my business. It's really handy for keeping in touch with my customers to post news about current specials and upcoming events that I'm running. This post is aimed at my fellow consultants... and actually anyone who runs a Facebook page for their business.

Lots of likes is bad (sort of)
This might sound strange but having a lot of likes on Facebook is actually not necessarily good for your business. It all comes down to the reason why they liked your page in the first place. The only thing it gets you is kudos. What I mean is that if someone goes to your Facebook page and sees 700 likes, they might think, "Ooo, 700 likes, that's cool, this must be someone worth following." This is a good thing.

Other than that, the return for lots of likes is minimal, but as I said, the key is in how you got them.

When we first start up a Facebook page, we want lots of people to follow it, and most of us send out invitations to our friends and family, both near and far. Because they are our friends and family, and want to support us, they "like" our page.
The problem here is that whenever we send out news, photos, updates etc, it's only sent to a small proportion of our followers. And if a vast majority of these are friends and family hwo aren't actually interested in coming to our events and hearing about our specials, it does us little good. We're not actually getting the word out to who we want to reach.

If I have twenty followers who are all interested in coming to workshops and hearing about my news, Facebook will randomly select a percentage of these to receive my updates. (It may be as low as 10%, I couldn't find a definitive answer.) So that means maybe two of my followers hear about my events.
If I have twenty followers and sixteen of those are friends who live on the other side of the world or family who are keen to support my home business, it takes the likelihood of me getting my message out to those four remaining interested customers way down. Chances are that the two Facebook select to send out my messages to will not be those who are actively interested in my page.
If you upscale the numbers, the sinking feeling remains the same. With 100 followers, I might be lucky for my messages to be seen on 10-15 of their newsfeeds.

So how can I use my page?
I can't control who follows my page. I love finding that I have new followers. It's wonderful when someone new discovers my page and chooses to receive news from it because they're interested in what I post.
But I need to make sure that a high percentage of my followers are actually interested in the news I send out - whether it's for their own pages, their projects, or coming to my classes, etc. A like for like sake is worthless to me.
I invite ladies who I have met at gatherings to join my page.
I am also trying to more consistently send out status updates - that way, as Facebook cycles through my likers randomly, I hope that they continue to reach those who I want to reach.

Here are some really interesting articles:

And here is a video that tells you why you should NEVER choose to advertise on Facebook in order to gain more likes. It's based on the same theory as I've mentioned above.

Happy Facebooking, All!