Remember the Happy Times

To celebrate National Scrapbooking Month, Close to my Heart designed a special paper and stamp set called Happy Times. These items are only available for the month of May, so hurry and snatch them while you can! Remember, with a qualifying purchase, you can get the paper packet for free!  For more Happy Times artwork inspiration, follow me on Facebook and Instagram.


It’s National Teacher Appreciation Day

Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day. Frankly I think as far as K-12, every day should be Teacher Appreciation Day.  I have many teachers in my family tree and some of the stories about the way kids talk to teachers, strike out, bully and so much more, I have come to the conclusion that you have to be EXTREMELY dedicated to making a difference in the lives of these children.

Teacher raise our leaders of tomorrow.



National Teacher Appreciation Day 2016 free food, beer from Chipotle, World of Beer |

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Day 2016, and for teachers across the country, that means a chance to score some sweet freebies and deals at a few generous chains.

This year, Chipotle is leading the pack with a buy one entree, get one free deal for teachers, pre-school faculty and staff, college professors and homeschooling parents who show a school or homeschool ID card. The promotion runs from 3 p.m. to closing time on Tuesday May 3.

Also in Upstate NY, World of Beer locations nationwide are offering a free Angry Orchard cider or Sam Adams beer to teachers on Tuesday, or $5 off their bill in lieu of a beer.

A number of other national retailers, including New York & Co. and Anne Taylor Loft, are offering teachers special discounts today and all week long. See the full list and check the offers from International Business Times.

National Teacher Day was originally declared on May 7 back in the 1980s, but was later extended to Teacher Appreciation Week (the first week if May) in 1985. The National Education Association later voted to make the Tuesday of that week National Teacher Day every year, according to WWBT-TV.

Last Day for Studio J

Studio J Digital Scrapbooking

We have known this day was coming, the day when Close to my Heart’s digital scrapbook program “Studio J” is leaving us. I have never been a “digital scrapbooker” or had the desire to do digital scrapbooking, I am a paper and ink kind of scrapper. There is nothing like the smell of a new paper pack or the feel of putting embellishments to paper. That being said, I love Studio J for printing pictures. I am not talking about your standard 4″ x 6″ photo, but the 2″ x 2″ – 4″ x 4″ and the 3″ x 4″ photos. Printing them this way preserves the entire picture and simply reduces it’s size to fit as best as can be done.  Why do I tell you this now, when it is on it’s last day?  I want you to go print all those pictures that are not your main focal picture but that you don’t want to leave out of the layout into these wonderfully small images. That is what I am doing today. Take a minute and crop what you want in the picture and then upload into the Studio J website.  Just choose the express collection that has 7 layouts with nothing but photo wells. Here is a previous post about using Studio J.  If you need help today, call me at 801-597-4896 as I will be doing the same thing. Don’t miss out on this last opportunity to get your pictures in this great size! Go to Studio J now!

Isn’t It Time to Be Your Own Boss?

Baby I'm Worth It Promotion

How is your Scrapbooking Going?

Good Morning!  Can you believe that Saturday this year will be a third over?  If you are like me, you are thinking we just got done with Christmas! Is your scrapbooking current? Ok stop laughing and get off the floor. Monday is Motivational Monday and this is when I post a sketch and you create the layout.  I am behind in my own scrapbooking, so I will also post my finished layout. I want YOU to send me a picture your finished layouts so I can show them off here and others can learn from what you have created.

Here is today’s sketch:Kaliediscope My Reflections Paper Pack

And if you happen to be a Prince fan, you can use this set of paper for your own Purple Rain layout.

Tired of Watching Basketball? Try this Sketch

You can use 4-7 photos on this layoutAre you about basketball’ed out?  I know I am. The nice thing is I am not drawn to the television when the games are on and can get some much needed scrapbooking chores done. I took all the pages out of my albums and photographed them, then began sorting them into piles by child. I have always struggled with whether to scrap chronologically or by theme. When I was just beginning it was easy, everything went into the same album but here it is 15 years later and I have 4 kids, 12 grand kids not to mention the adventures of my husband and I.. then there are the genealogy pages and all the relatives… I get dizzy just thinking about it. I finally made a definitive decision.  I separated the piles by our children and their families. Each of those albums begin with the engagement photo of the couple and is usually followed by their wedding picture unless college graduation happened in between. I really like the D-Ring Albums for albums that I will add to consistently.  I will move the pages to a standard post album when I know there is nothing more I will be adding. If you have liked my Facebook Page, you would have seen me working with pages and organizing them this past weekend.

It gets a bit trickier when the pages have more than one family – this is one of the reasons I photographed each layout. The other reason is to have a copy of the page in case (GASP) there is a fire, flood etc. I know what the odds are, but considering my husband had a Corsair jet fly into his apartment (with his practice wife) and level the place, losing everything, I have to be prepared. Since he has nothing from his growing up days, I want to make sure my kids at least have pictures of the memories they have made.  I will talk a bit more about the photographing tomorrow, but for now… here is your sketch for the week.


Sending a Thank You Note for an Interview.

Thank you cards for business leaves a lasting impression.The Power of a Simple Thank-You Note
By Peter Vogt, Monster Senior Contributing Writer

When my wife was hired for her first real job after graduating from college, she was remembered and saluted by her new supervisor for one seemingly small step she had taken during the interviewing process: She was the only applicant of several interviewed who had sent a thank-you note after her interview.

It seems amazing, but it’s true: A simple thank-you letter after an interview can wield considerable power and influence, and reflect very favorably on your candidacy for the position. Why? Several reasons:

1. By sending a thank-you note, you show your interviewer common courtesy and respect.

Unfortunately, in our busy and often impolite world, we simply don’t acknowledge each other’s time, efforts and commitments. So in sending a thank-you note after an interview, you tell your interviewer in no uncertain terms that you appreciate the time he has given you. After all, he had to give up part or all of the day to be with you, and expend effort learning more about you and what you have to offer.

2. So few job applicants send thank-you notes that you automatically stand out if you do.

It’s shocking, but the majority of job applicants fail to send post-interview thank-you notes. Why? Who knows? But the bottom line is that you wind up in a position to shine simply by putting forth the effort of sending a note. Strange, but true.

3. A thank-you note gives you an opportunity to reiterate points you made during your interview.

Have you ever left an interview wishing you’d more strongly emphasized a certain skill or experience the employer seemed to be looking for? An interview thank-you letter gives you the chance to do just that. After using the first paragraph of your note to thank your interviewer, you can use a brief second paragraph to touch again upon the key points you made in your interview. You can also use a similar strategy to clean up any interview rough spots you might have had — i.e., to expand upon or clarify responses you felt were weak or shaky.

4. A thank-you note lets you make points you forgot to make in your interview.

Sometimes after an interview, as you walk out to your car, you smack yourself on the forehead and say to yourself, “Why didn’t I talk about _____?” Frustrating? You bet. But you can take care of the problem to some degree in your thank-you letter. Again, perhaps in the second paragraph, you can say something to the effect of “After our discussion, it occurred to me that I forgot to tell you about _________.”

5. A thank-you note demonstrates your written communication skills.

In receiving and reading your interview thank-you note, your interviewer will see firsthand how you handle yourself on paper. You’ll be using similar skills every day with the company’s potential clients, customers and vendors — so the interviewer will be reading carefully to see how you come across in print.

Writing thank-you notes isn’t terribly difficult or time-consuming. Be sure to follow through, preferably the same day as your interview. It can make a much bigger difference than you might think — perhaps even the difference between the job going to you or someone else. Leave a comment below and tell us if you have ever sent an thank-you note after an interview.

Do You Like the New Workshops your Way Kits?

With the publishing of this current Idea Book we saw the old “Workshops on the GoClose to my Heart Workshops ” go away and the new “Workshops Your Way” kits introduced. This is the Workshops Your Way Penelope Kit.

Workshops Your Way™ Penelope Scrapbooking Kit Contents:

1 – Penelope Paper Packet (X7207B)
1 – Penelope Complements (X7207C)
2 – Cardstock Sheets (2 White Daisy)
1 – Limeade Washi Pack (Z3198)
1 – Playful Puffies (Z3205)
Featured Colors: Crystal Blue, Honey, Pear, Pixie, Thistle, White Daisy

Use the materials and the online guide to create three traditional layouts and one Picture My Life™ layout.

You will find the project instructions here.

Come back later today and I will show you the cards and scrapbook page you can make with this great Workshops Your Way  kit.

Nuclear accident at Three Mile Island

Three Mile Island MemorialIt happened 37 years ago, and if you don’t remember this by hearing it all over the news then you learned about it in history class. Still the worst accident in the U.S. nuclear power industry, Three Mile Island’s pressure valve doesn’t , cooling water contaminated with radiation begins to drain into everything around it and the core is dangerously begins to overheat.

This is not unlike ourselves if you have ever left an open soda or a simple glass of water on  your scrapbook table. You think it is safe, and out of the way and then it happens… either you spill the soda or you realize the sweat from your glass is running into that cardstock you set aside for a few minutes. Whatever the disaster we get dangerously close to our own overheating point.  What is the worst disaster that has happened on your own scrapbook table? Leave a comment below and tell me your disaster and if anything you were able to do to save your project. How do you prevent this from happening now?

It is Motivational Monday so I have your motivation for the week in the form of a single page sketch with 2 – 4″ x 6″ photos and a big arrow journal box. I look forward to seeing your layouts.

Scrapbook Map for two photosEvery month I offer a drawing for all those that have taken the time to do your take on the Motivational Monday Sketch for a free gift. Very few people take advantage of this contest so your odds are pretty good! Send your layout to or you can take a picture and text it to 801-597-4896.

If you have any questions about this scrapbook sketch or any crafting help, just drop me a note and I am happy to help you!

A Day Worthy of some Green!

Top of the Morning to Ya.


  I would like to wish all of you a very Happy St Patty’s Day!  I have some roots in Ireland which I can attribute my red hair and fiery temper so I thought it was only appropriate to offer you a bit of green today. Anyone who orders something green on my website today will receive a free gift. If your order is $50 or more, I will throw in FREE SHIPPING!  In order to receive free shipping however, you have to call me with your order so I can take it off immediately or place the order on my website and I will send you a check for the amount of shipping you paid. (doesn’t apply to expedited shipping).

Jackson Genealogy - Throwback ThursdaySince today is Throwback Thursday I thought I would choose my own “Patty” for today. This is my mother Patricia Anne Jackson.  In this layout the background was created with 3″ x 3″ squares with the corners clipped. This is still a relevant way to create a layout whether you use it as a background or in a form of journal boxes.  I wish I had dated the BACK of the scrapbook page so I could see just when I created this page. I want to say it was about 2010 and while I wouldn’t use the letter stickers today, I like the distressed look of the title.

This page also features hidden journaling under mom’s photograph. Contained within is a medical story about my mom that not everyone needs to know about, so hidden journaling works very well in this case.

Do you have an opinion about the elements on this page? What would you change to show your own style? Leave me a comment below and share your ideas!  I will take those ideas and create a new layout with a different photo.

Enjoy your St Patrick’s Day and remember today’s discount so you don’t get pinched!



Who Wants Pi for Motivational Monday?

Pi Day Picture 3.14Today I would be remiss if I didn’t write about National Pi Day.  As many of you know, I have 4 boys living in my home at the moment that are math whiz kids, so it is only natural that National Pi Day be celebrated in our home. The two older boys, James and Kyler made Kyler's Pie for Pi Daypudding pies to share with other kids at school doing the same thing.

Pi Day, the math holiday that is celebrated every March 14, is one of the newest holidays on the school year calendar, although pi as a mathematical figure has been around since the BC years, according to Hollywood Life. Pi Day got its start thanks to Larry Shaw, a man who worked in the electronics group at the Exploratorium in San Francisco in 1988.

This year, Pi Day is particularly unique, as the first few digits of pi round to 3.1416. As a result, there are several people who have dubbed today “Rounded Pi Day,” with several memes suggesting that celebrations should include a rounded pie of some shape or creation.

Hello Scrapbook Page 5 PhotosToday’s sketch used two White Daisy cardstock, two pieces B&T Patterned papers and two additional pieces of cardstock. If you choose a paper pack you like, will get 2 of 6 double sided papers that all coordinate so it takes the guesswork out of matching patterns and colors.  The solid colored cardstock is no longer included in the My Reflections Paper Packs as the trend moved toward using more pattern papers. You can deal with this in a couple of ways. You can buy a multi-pack of cardstock which includes 2 sheets of 10 colors in the color family that matches your chosen papers, or you can purchase the cardstock from me at $1 per sheet (plus postage if not local).

Take a 12″ x 12″ and cut 1″ off the top side.  Then cut 2″ off the 12″ side putting the 10″x 11″ on the left side and the 2″ strip on the right.  The green dot in this case is 8″ x 11″ on left and 4″ x 11″.  The blue peacock cardstock on the right is 8″ x 10″. Your mats are cut to fit your photos

When you complete your layout, send me a picture at either or text it to 801-597-4896. We can all use page maps, templates, or scrabook sketches, whatever you call them, they are very helpful to break through a design roadblock.


Room for Six

Here we are again on a Monday… I started my day by going with my daughter to the gym to walk the treadmill. We started this last week but got side tracked by Wednesday.   Do you ever get side tracked? Here is a layout that is sure to give you some motivation to start that layout you have been putting off. You can customize the papers any way you like to work with your picturScrapbook Page Mapes. I have some cute 1″ stamps to share with anyone who completes the layout AND sends me a picture either by e-mail or by texting to 801-597-4896. If you need help with this week’s scrapbook template and page idea, please post it below!


2016 Close to my Heart Retiring Stamp Sets Announced

CTMH Clear Acrylic StampsIt happens every year, stamp sets retire to make was for new ones. Sometimes we see stamp sets we loved, but were waiting to buy – the time is now! These stamp sets will be retired on April 30th of this year and with March’s Stampaganza going on it is the perfect time to get that stamp set! I have a list below of all the retiring stamp sets with links so you can easily see what they are.  To make things easier, I have even color coded them. You will find anything that is Cricut compatible that  you know right away.  So click some links and GO SHOPPING!!

Stamp Sets that are retiring on April 30th, 2016
Easter Cross - The Lord Reigns; Let the Earth RejoiceA1184 Rejoice 
A1185 Friendly Wishes
A1186 Pirate Birthday
B1507 To the Moon
B1508 Kiss It Better Cricut Compatible
B1509 My Mother
B1510 Sugar & Spice  Cricut Compatible
B1511 My Mother (Australian Edition)
B1512 Play Hard— Gymnastics Cricut Compatible
B1513 Block Uppercase
B1514 Play Hard—Diving Cricut Compatible
B1515 Play Hard—Cheer Cricut Compatible
B1516 Your Beautiful Self
C1635 Our Story Cricut Compatible
C1636 Live, Laugh, Love Cricut Compatible
C1637 Stamps of Approval Cricut Compatible
C1638 Spring Critters
C1639 Take Heart
C1640 Friend in Me
C1641 Springtime Wishes
C1642 My Anchor
C1643 Stuck on You
D1683 Woodland Romance Cricut Compatible
D1684 Beach Days Cricut Compatible
M1135 On the Plus Side
M1136 Patch of Sky
M1137 A Day for Mother

Chronologically or by Family Unit?


Using Studio J as a SketchI am in a quandary and hope you can help me. I have been scrapbooking for 15 years and  I have 4 children with children of their own. Last year I told you about a great service that I was sending my scrapbook pages to have them all scanned – this didn’t work out very well after all. I could never open the file they sent me. I did finally get all my pages back, and they have sat in the 12 x 12 bags ever since.  I have now indexed each page (so I know what I have already scrapped) but I can’t decide how to put the albums back together.  I have a couple of albums separated… like life before I met my husband, his before me album, genealogy, and my son’s sports & Army albums.  But now I have piles of each of my kids with their kids. This is where I get stuck.  I could do an album for each child/family – but then what about those pictures we are in them too?  Do I put those in the album with my husband and I starting with our marriage?  I just don’t know… what are your thoughts?  How do you keep your own scrapbooks? Please leave me a comment and share your thoughts about putting your scrapbook layouts together.

8 Way to Freshen Up Your Digital Photography

Creativity in Digital PhotographyCreatively is the root of photography today, as settings and props have developed in the 57 years since anyone began taking pictures of me growing up. These suggestions far beyond  reach far beyond the formal pictures of the 1950’s. Here are 8 ways to freshen up your photos.

1.Create a focal point in your pictures- Adjust the depth of your picture. Shoot your children in the foreground in full focus with a blurred picture of the parents in the background. While this adjustment can only be done with SLR cameras, you can achieve a similar effect with a point and shoot and a photo editing software. I use Photoshop Elements  and love it.

2. Take a new look at framing your subject – use the camera view finder and the photo grid, if your camera has one to “crop” the picture as you shoot. for example, instead of shooting the shot of everyone’s head, take a picture of everyone’s feet all lined up, or even shots of eyes… after all, it is said that eyes are the windows to our souls.

3. Get outside!  I know we have been hearing that a lot lately, but so we do our 60 minutes a day of exercise, but a favorite location of professional photographers is outside. Whether catching trees, a lake or even a brick building it lends great detail. Look for interesting color choices, or interesting textures found on sold stucco walls or brick.

4. Use props that show off your subject’s personality. Think of the infant resting on daddy’s arm, showing the contrast in the size of the arm/hand against the baby. Props add contrast and texture against your sleeping infant or child.

5. Tilt your camera! – Tilting your camera adds interest. Rather than shoot your picture strictly vertical or horizontally, tilt the camera slightly. It will take an ordinary picture to extraordinary heights.

6. Photojournalism Approach – Focus on the small details instead of the background shots, think a single blossom, a butterfly, a bow in the hair. If you can get your subjects to forget about the camera, you will get awesome pictures.

7. Focus on real life. – While we all want everything to go as planned, it doesn’t. So when a child starts to cry, or hide behind mom, shoot the picture anyway. Take pictures of your kids deep in concentration. I love those pictures of my grandkids… now if we could just KNOW what was in those little minds 🙂

8. Choose Familiar locations – When a subject is comfortable it shows, just as fear shows in pictures. Pictures next to water when your subject is deathly afraid of water will not give you the quality pictures you desire. Pick a spot they feel comfortable in for calm quality pictures.

What have you found helps when you use your digital camera?  Cell phones today have amazing cameras… tell me about your digital photography below.