Monday, March 31, 2014

Why Join Close to My Heart?

I absolutely love the business I've created with Close to My Heart!  Personally, I enjoy seeing the correlation between my efforts and the results that come!  But initially when I joined CTMH, it was PURELY for the discount!!

I love to save money, and when I realized how many CTMH products I wanted to buy, it just made sense for me to sign up to get the discount (not to mention the kit full of products at a deep discount!)  Now, 11 years later, I look at the many reasons there are to join Close to My Heart and our Scrappin' Chatters team!

1.  The Discount Yes, all these years later, this is still high on my list for why anyone should join CTMH!  You begin with a 22% discount on all product orders.  So any order you place, you will instantly receive 22% off the retail total (excluding tax & s/h).  For example, if you sold and collected payments on items totaling $100, you would keep $22 for your compensation and pay only $78 to CTMH.  Each month, you have the ability to earn additional commissions and Select Product Credit (SPC)!

2.  Products!  I loved the products all those years ago and STILL DO!!  Close to My Heart stays up-to-date on all the trends and ensures our products are always on target!  As an added BONUS, Close to My Heart will now be releasing NEW products every 4 months beginning this Fall!  Talk about staying current on trends! 

3.  Innovation!  CTMH is the innovative leader in the industry!!  From the introduction of true 12"x12" albums, to My Acrylix stamps and our exclusive Cricut Collections, CTMH is constantly leading the industry in innovation and inspiring creativity worldwide!  Click here to read more on CTMH Innovation!

4.  Training!  Close to My Heart has a fully staffed training department that focuses on ensuring consultants have the most up-to-date training and information on new products, techniques and more!  CTMH is regularly releasing YouTube videos to make it easier for us to educate our customers, along with our online Training Site to give us detailed training on creativity, products and more!  The training is unsurpassed and is a valuable resource for new crafters looking to learn stamping, scrapbooking and paper crafting techniques!

5.  Community!  The Close to My Heart community is filled with fabulous members who share their artwork, ideas, tips and more to help every CTMH member succeed, whether in building a business or completing their projects…our community will provide you the warm support you need to accomplish any goal you set your sites on!

6.  FREE Resources!  Of course FREE is AWESOME!!
     a.  FREE Online Business Address (OBA):  Every CTMH consultant is given an Online Business Address (OBA) where customers can shop, view the idea book, watch videos, learn about products, explore the current specials, and even join your team.  The great thing about the OBAs is that CTMH maintains them, so there is no work on our part, but we enjoy all of the benefits and commissions.
     b.  FREE Newsletter Service:  We are provided with professionally designed, monthly newsletters to share with our friends and customers!  The newsletter is designed by the CTMH Marketing Department, which reduces the amount of work on our part, but we do have the option to personalize the first section of it to add our own personal touch and advertise our specials and events.
     c.  FREE Credit Card Processing:  CTMH allows us to accept credit cards both on our website and at gatherings and we pay NO processing fees!!  You get to keep YOUR COMMISSION!!
Can you believe CTMH provides ALL these resources free, allowing us to keep our COMMISSION and making it easy for us to be successful?!

7.  Travel!!  Each year Close to My Heart offers an incentive trip with airfare and accommodations for 2!  I've been blessed to participate in 7 of these trips and number 8 is on the horizon!  I've traveled to Alaska, the Mediterranean, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica!!  What makes this more exciting is that the goals you set to achieve these trips are also growing your business and your income!!

8.  Convention.  This is one of those events it is just too hard to put into words, it is so absolutely spectacular!  Like trying to describe everything you experienced during a Cirque Du Soleil show!  Absolutely amazing in it's entirety and so hard to describe every fabulous aspect!  I have friends from all over the United States and now in Australia and New Zealand thanks to the connections, training and inspiration we receive at our annual Convention!!

9.  Low startup costs!  Have you considered starting your own business?  With Close to My Heart, the startup costs are so very low!  Currently ONLY $99 to launch your own business, complete with website, advertising, samples, training and more!  The Consultant Kit comes with everything you need to host your first event and begin earning an income!!  Refer back to item 6…most businesses you have to pay for all of those resources…so for ONLY $99, you not only get the supplies needed, you also get the marketing resources to help you successfully launch your business!!

10.  Flexibility!  I joined for the discount all those years ago and of course have stayed with it…but one of the things I love about Close to My Heart is the flexibility to work my business the way that best suits my family and me!  You can choose to host gatherings, crops, or retreats; focus on social media and blogging; host workshops and clubs, or any combination of activities that work for you!  You decide what type of consultant you want to be and how you want to run your business!

11.  Monthly Specials!  Close to My Heart offers a monthly campaign that costs consultants nothing to offer to their customers!!  Additionally, we have our Stamp of the Month program to reward our customers purchases, along with the monthly constant campaign!!

12.  Gatherings and Workshops on the Go!  Years ago I can remember trying to design a make-and-take for my first home gathering.  To this day, I am grateful that the ladies enjoyed the project, although I think my children could have designed a better looking creation!  Fortunately, CTMH now provides us with a comprehensive collection of projects, instructions and even pricing so that we can offer gatherings and workshops to our customers in an economical, efficient and creative way!  We are provided with cutting guides, price breakdowns, supply lists and marketing materials to make running our business Faster, Simpler, and Easier than ever!

BONUS:  Scrappin' Chatters Team!!  Our Close to My Heart Scrappin' Chatters Team includes award-winning consultants who share their talents, creativity, and support with everyone on the team!  We have an active Facebook Group, allowing everyone to connect, ask questions, share artwork and inspire others!  Plus an annual team retreat where we spend a weekend creating, connecting, and of course eating, while learning more about each other and Close to My Heart!

If any of these reasons speaks to you, contact me today and give Close to My Heart a try!  There are no strings attached…you'll receive a fabulous kit loaded with products and supplies, your free shopping website, and tons of resources to make CTMH whatever you want it to be!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

CTMH Artbooking: My Happy Place

Some say “save the best for last”, but I have to admit in this case I would have preferred to have done this layout first!!  This was the final layout during our Album Retreat and it was an intense one!!  Placing all those little background pieces behind the overlay looks FABULOUS; however, it was painfully tedious!

If you opt to try your hand at a similar layout, here are a couple suggestions to make it less painful!

1. Use Cricut Craftroom!!  If you do this, you can cut the same overlay in 3 or 4 colors and “Hide Contour” some of the cuts, creating completed backgrounds for you!

2. Another option is to “trick” your cricut.  Cut your overlay at 11”, then cut it again in several colors at a larger size (tricking your cricut by telling it you’re cutting on a 12x24 mat so it will allow the larger size).  Then your “negatives” from the overlay will be slightly larger so you can glue them behind your primary overlay without them showing up behind the cuts in other spots.

The Cricut Craftroom version is by far the simplest way to do this, but option 2 works as well.  Either way, the final look is fabulous with all the background colors thrown in!  But after a full weekend of these detailed layouts, I did not have the energy or desire to finish this one…but I forced myself along, as I was determined to leave the CTMH Album Retreat with ALL of my pages completed!!!  (Way more than I can say for some of the layouts I created at my previous album retreat 6 years ago!! DOH!!)

Stamp Sets: E1027 Framework Alphabet, B1432 Love This,
                          D1559 Geometric Backgrounds, and D1574
                          Take Note (from Cricut Artbooking Collection)
Cardstock colors:  Colonial White, White Daisy, Juniper,
                                        Whisper, Lagoon, Ruby, Sky and
B&T Patterned Papers:  Sarita (Outdoor Denim dots),
                                                   Sparkle & Shine (Stripes/Dots)
                                                   and My Crush Best Day Ever

- Add a variety of paper behind overlays to create a detailed
- Stamp on Cricut® shapes for visual variety
- Use the filmstrip border to allow for additional photos on
- Use the negative space from the heart shape somewhere else
  on the layout
- Cut bracket shape in half and place behind photo to add
   focus to photo
- Use "Hide Contour" feature in Cricut® Craft Room to
   create a modified overlay
- Add a touch of sparkle to the page with Shimmer trim,
   which can be cut into strips, dovetailed, or used as is
- Layer the circles on top of each other using 3-D foam tape

Thursday, March 20, 2014

CTMH Artbooking: The Sweet Life

This layout is mostly cardstock with just one 2x6 piece of B&T (patterned paper).  So this layout can be easily recreated with any color scheme and for any theme!!

I used this layout to capture a fun piece of our 4th of July celebration!  Watching the cousins playing in the pool and around the water “bounce” area was so fun!  They had a blast together!! 

 Stamp Set:  E1027 Framework Alphabet
Cardstock colors:  White Daisy, Whisper, Lagoon, Ruby
                                        and Honey
B&T Patterned Papers:  ProPlayer (Hexagons)

-  Mix cuts from multiple keys to create a unique layout
-  Use the ruler border true to size, or as an accent to
    highlight a number or list
-  Use an overlay or border from a mini album and size it to
    fit a 12" x 12" page
-  Cut a Cricut® pocket to hold journaling
-  Shrink title to create a page accent
-  Use Crciut® Craft Room to create layered pieces by making
    a piece 1/4" bigger and using the "Hide Contour" feature
-  Cut "Life" title out of two different colors and adhere so
    that both colors show
-  Use Cricut® Craft Room to connect letters together to
    create one cut instead of individual letters
-  Use the blending pen to highlight stamped letters

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

CTMH Artbooking: 10 Things I Love

I love the possibilities with the 10 Things layout in Artbooking!  This layout I focused on 10 Things I Love, but imagine all the possibilities of 10 Things you could scrapbook on a page!!

10 Things:
Children say
To avoid
To do in my city
We did over the summer
I want to do
People Don’t know
I loved when I was 10

(okay, getting corny, but you get the gist!  Any “list” of layout possibilities, these Artbooking cuts will work beautifully for!!)

Using some of the alphabet stickers found in the My Crush Best Day Ever Assortment makes finishing this title a breeze!! 

We used an overlay to spritz a pattern onto our background page!  I love this as it provides a subtle look without being overdone!!  Some additional “touches:  using a basic journaling pen to “doodle” around some of the cuts really helps them pop!  Sanding the edges of the photo mats to give the layout a little more texture, and of course my beloved shimmer trim!!

Stamp Set: C1561 One-Way Borders
Cardstock colors:  White Daisy, Kraft, Whisper, Sorbet and Goldrush
B&T Patterned Papers:  Sarita (Outdoor Denim dots)

- Use a Cricut® overlay as a mask and spritz with re-inker for
   a background that doesn't overpower the page
- Stay with a theme from two specified keys to create an easy
  and beautiful layout
- Use a Cricut® photo mat as accent piece
- Offset a layered border for added dimension
- Add freehand borders to add detail
- Back number shape with different cardstock to personalize
   Use letter stickers from the My Crush Best Day Ever
   assortment for extra detail

Thursday, March 13, 2014

NEW Australian & New Zealand Stamps

Close to My Heart has created 6 stamp sets for our Australian and New Zealand customers and has made them available to us!  They are not presented in our current Idea Book, so I wanted to share them here!

C1585    Australian Salutations (Cricut Artiste coordinating set)
 C1586    Australian Thanks

D1596    Outback Adventure

D1597    Hoppy Birthday (Cricut Artiste coordinating set)
D1598    Aussie Praises  (Cricut Artiste coordinating set)

D1601    New Zealand Greetings

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

CTMH Happy Place

The March stamp of the month, Happy Place, has an adorable collection of Russian Nesting Dolls and some wonderful sentiments to create with!  This set is ONLY available during March 2014!  You can purchase this set for $17.95 or ONLY $5 when you place a qualifying $50 order!!

I decided to pair the stamp set with the Ariana Papers, Aqua Dots and Gold Polka Washi Tape.  Cute for a Mother's Day Card or a "Thinking of You" note for your daughter!
Next I played with our Ivy Lane paper to create this Happy Place card.
I used our new Chevron Embossing Folder with a scrap of Hollyhock cardstock and trimmed down to add a few embellishments to the card.  The Flamingo Dots add a little "bling" to spice it up!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

CTMH Artbooking: Hello World

On the Cricut Artbooking cartridge, we have 2 themed keys for Nursery Layouts.  These are the keys used for this layout, but notice how changing the colors can make use of these same cricut cuts without it necessarily giving a “baby” or “nursery” feel to the layout!

I am sooo in love with the Close to My Heart Shimmer Trim!!  We now have it available in 6 colors!!!  Red, Bronze, Black, Silver, Teal and Purple

Notice the scallops on the Bronze Shimmer Trim!  We used the CTMH Scallop Border Punch (Z1851) to punch the scallops on the shimmer trim!  Super easy to do!  Quick tip, place the shimmer side down when punching for a cleaner cut!

Also, to reduce the “white” and add a little dimension and color to a base page, add a little reinker with water in your Spritz Pen and spray the edge of your base page!  This, along with 3D Foam Tape, allowed the “white on white” title to pop on this layout!

I decided to go retro, and pulled out some "older" pics of me as a baby and little one!  I used our 3x3 Flip Flaps from the Small Assortment (Z1747) to allow me to incorporate a few extra pictures on the page!  (Guess this is my tribute to Throw-Back Thursday?!)

Stamp Set:  C1561 One-Way Borders
Cardstock colors:  White Daisy, Whisper, Lagoon and
B&T Patterned Papers:  Huntington (Hexagons)

- Create entire layout from two themed keys
- Look at themes in new ways; notice how this nursery layout
   uses colors not typically associated with babies
- Shrink overlay to use as an accent on a page
- Scallop Shimmer trim with scallop punch
- Create dovetailed tags with washi tape
- Stamp on cork pieces to add variety
- Leave white space for a cute and trendy look—less is more