What is a Focal Picture?

Can you determine the focal point?What are Focal Points?

Artists should understand  how to create a strong focal point in their photographs as well as their scrapbook pages.  Focal points refer to the areas of the artwork that command the viewer’s attention.  Intelligent placement of your main image  can positively affect the overall feel of the page.

In creating a good scrapbook page you need to create the place where your viewer’s eye naturally is guided. This is called your focal point. When you lay out all your photos for an event, choose which one you want everyone to notice. For instance: You are scrapbooking your child’s baptism. You will most likely have pictures of people who attended, the baptismal font or whatever body of water used, etc. Since this is your child’s baptism you may want to have the main focus on your child’s face the moment they come up out of the water. The joy of knowing that for the moment they are completely without sin. This can be done in a multitude of ways.


One way to create a focal point in art is through the use of contrast. Contrast refers to difference. Any type of difference in image will make the photo stand out and thus becoming a focal point. Difference or contrast can come in many different forms.  Color and shape, are just a couple of ways you can contrast.  By combining elements, you can increase the contrast that is created, thus strengthening the focal point. So having the focal picture larger than the other photos on the page, or changing up the matting options under the photo of your child discussed above.


Another way to create a focal point in artwork is through isolation. Whenever one object or element is separated from a group it becomes isolated and so it becomes a focal point. So for instance, If you have a set up photos as in the sketch posted here, by putting the picture you want people to notice in the center, away from the row of smaller pictures it becomes your focal point.


Photos that are placed in the center of the picture plane or near center, will naturally become a focal point. Most of the time, a focal point that is not exactly center is preferred. By placing your photo  just off center, you can create a focal point through placement without changing the feel of the page.


A fourth way to create a focal point  is to use implied lines to direct a viewer’s eye to an object or element. We talked about this when we talked about the Rule of Three.

The Unusual

Another way to create a focal point in scrapbooking your pages  is to introduce an object or element that is unusual to the scene. For instance, you attach your focal picture with 3D Tape so it jumps right off the page. This photo will stand out and demand attention thus creating a focal point.

2″ Square Photos Let You See the Full Picture

Using a scrapbook sketch helps creative blockSometimes when we scrap an event it is virtually impossible to limit yourself to 5-6 photos. Today’s scrapbook sketch will help you add lots of photos. This scrapbook sketch has room for 24 pictures.

If you don’t want to use a 5 x 7 as your left focus point you can use a smaller photo. I would double mat the photo so it stands to draw your eye.

After you finish your layout take a picture and text it to me at 801-597-4896 so I can post it here and enter you into the drawing for this month’s scrapbook Sketch.

20 Indicator Signs of a True Crafter

Does This Sound Like You?

Many years ago, when I had just started to scrapbook I would go everyHow can someone tell you are a crafter? Thursday night to the Scrapbook King Store in Medford, Oregon. I met some wonderful people who shared so much knowledge with me. This was the inspiration for Creatively Carol’s Craft Room. One night someone said to the owner “I sure wish you would put Safeway (it’s a grocery store) on the top of your receipts, that way when my husband saw them it wouldn’t even pay any attention to it!” So when Close to my Heart posted the picture below, my mind went back in time to that moment. Such wonderful memories there. It is because of this I thought you would enjoy this post.

20 Ways to Know Your a True Crafter

  1. You don’t particularly like to tell your husband how much you spend on craft supplies.
  2. You always keep the door to your crafting room shut because the craft room isn’t tidy.
  3. You believe embellishments are a girl’s best friend.
  4. Mistakes aren’t actually mistakes, they are embellishment opportunities.
  5. You subscribe to crafting and homemaking magazines…and may even scrapbook your favorite magazine pages… think cookbooks.
  6. You believe there is no such thing as too much glitter.
  7. At any given time, you’re working on 10+ projects simultaneously, But you WILL finish them all…one day.
  8. When someone asks “Where did you get that?” and you get to say “I made it” it’s basically the best.
  9. You don’t throw away ANY scrap paper. Honestly who would do that?
  10. Your heart melts when you stumble across members randomly looking through your scrapbooks.
  11. You lose track of time (and reality) when you’re crafting.
  12. You don’t understand anyone who thinks that storing their photos on their computer or on social media is “good enough”
  13. Martha is your Queen Bee.
  14. You frequently see things at the store and think “Sheesh I could make that myself at half the price!”
  15. You see something cute for a project “you might make one day” your willpower goes right out the door.
  16. Trying to clean your crafting room is basically impossible.
  17. The problem is always the size of your crafting room is never the size of your stash.
  18. Speaking of your stash…no one needs to know jut how much stuff you have.
  19. Using your favorite crafting materials to create a gift for a friend is like giving them a piece of your soul.
  20. You will make all the things forever and ever.

If this describes you, then welcome! You have found your people! We’re a company that loves crafting so much we make it possible for people to earn a living by crafting in their own homes!


After the Superbowl Party Muse Monday Sketch

Are You Ready to Scrapbook Your Superbowl Party?

I hope everyone enjoyed their Superbowl party yesterday. While I had no invested interest is the game so I cheered for the Atlanta Falcons because they haven’t won a Superbowl for 18 years.  No self-respecting Oakland Raider fan would cheer for the New England Patriots…ever. And while I was disappointed that New England won, I have to admire the tenacity of them in the second half of the game. I don’t know what speech Tom Brady gave during half-time but it motivated them to the win.

If you had a Superbowl party I hope you remembered to take pictures. Today’s sketch is perfect for your Superbowl layout. There is space for 9 3 x 5 inch photos, your title, a place for your menu as well as journaling.

Superbowl Party Scrapbook Sketch You can see how you can include lots of photos but if you don’t have as many or can’t cut them down to 3 x 5 inch without loosing important details you can cut out a few photos and increase the size to 4 x 6 photos. I left some room on the right side.  Where you can include the score either by vertical letters or by turning the score sideways on the page. If anything happened at the party you don’t want everyone to read but you want to remember (the words that came out of your guest’s mouth at the final score perhaps) Here is a link to help you with hiding your journaling.

The Contest

Remember to send me your finished layout either by e-mail. You can also text to 801-597-4896. What is your incentive to send it?  So I can post it here for inspiration. You can also link back to the photo to show it to others. I hold a drawing for anyone who has sent their finished layout to post here on the Creatively Carol blog. This month it is a D size stamp set. You will be able to choose between a few I have here in stock.

Leave  a comment below and tell me about your Superbowl party photos and how you will scrapbook your party photos.




Superbowl Sunday 2017 Creatively Carol Special

Want to see a catalog? just click the pictureAnyone who knows my family knows my husband and I are Oakland Raider fans, along with our youngest son; If you know this then you won’t be surprised to learn we are cheering for the Atlanta Falcons in this house.  This is why my BEST SUPERBOWL SUNDAY DISCOUNT is if the Falcons win the Superbowl. You can score a nice 18% discount between now and the end of the game on Sunday, February 5th, 20107. If it happens that the New England Patriots win, everyone that has placed an order during this special will receive a MYSTERY STAMP SET!  Don’t feel like I am punishing you if  the Patriots win,  the retail price of your stamp set will be $6.95 – $17.95 depending on the size of your order.

Are you hosting a Superbowl party?  Do you want some awesome decorating ideas to bring your team spirit out in the open? I will come back a bit later and post some great, last minute ideas for your Superbowl table.


What I’d Do With An Extra Six Weeks of Stamping!

Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadowHappy Groundhog Day! I don’t know whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yet or not but I know what I would do with six extra weeks of winter…stamp and create more beautiful cards and scrapbook pages! If you want to know more about Punxsutawney Phil just click his name for more information on him.

I never feel like I have enough time in the day to get everything done that I want to do, I am sure you have days like that too so if I could squeeze an extra six weeks of just creating my heart would sing but since Project Life is Pocket ScrapbookingI am unlikely to find 1008 extra crafting hours I want to share with you Pocket Scrapbooking. 

What could be easier than slipping your photos into the sleeves of your actual scrapbook? No experience required and these give you just the opportunity you need to write just a few words about the event as it happening or just after by keeping some journaling cards in your purse. It only takes a minute to write down a thought when it happens. Just imagine your child has pulled the flour from the counter which opened all over the floor. Taking a picture and writing down how funny they look even though you want to throttle them might even cool the temper flaring in your blood at the site! Just look at this picture of these two kids from Michigan ~ the kid’s faces look so innocent…a perfect pocket scrapbooking moment

If you would like to know more about Pocket Scrapbooking just drop me a note at Carol@CreativelyCarol.com. You can also sign up for my mailing list in the box to the right ~ where you will receive a list of interview questions for kids FREE.

How will you picture life if your computer crashes tomorrow? Get your pictures printed and into scrapbook albums now, before that day happens. Here is a link to the different types of pages you can get to hold your photos.

Picture My Life Pocket Scrapbooking is the perfect solution to quick and easy scrapbooking.

The Monday Muse – A Single Scrapbook Page Sketch

Good Morning!

Today I have a single page scrapbook sketch that has three photographs, a space for your title, journaling and a small spot for a focal embellishment. When creating this sketch I thought about how it was the perfect space for the tickets into somewhere – with the photos being of your kids in the place the tickets are for but you can really put any kind of embellishment there as I did with the tag for the example.  Here is your #MondayMuse scrapbook sketch:

Your Monday Muse Page MapScrapbook Sketches are really helpful whether you are just beginning to scrapbook or have been scrapbooking for years and years. Sketches can give you confidence and direction and when you are ready, a jumping off point.  As you put your page together you will think of other ways to do things. Perhaps your photos go in the opposite direction of the sketch for today – you can turn the entire sketch on it’s side or simple turn the pictures and put your title, journaling and embellishment wherever it will fit.  The important thing here is that you are completing a scrapbook page.  You have taken the time to write down the memories of the day before little details may be lost forever in your mind. Trust me, this does happen sooner than you think!

Looking at the page as I write this you could even add a 2″ x 2″ square photo under the first photo and where the tag is if you needed to accommodate more photos than 3. Creating this I chose 3 most likely because of the “Rule of 3” which I talked about last Friday.

When you have completed your scrapbook layout using this sketch e-mail or text me a picture so I can post your layout here to 801-597-4896. You will also be entered into my monthly prize drawing.

The Rule of Three

You may have heard about the Rule of Three as it pertains to writing : The rule of three or power of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader or audience of this form of text is also thereby more likely to remember the information. This is because having three entities combines both brevity and rhythm with having the smallest amount of information to create a pattern. It makes the author or speaker appear knowledgeable while being both simple and catchy this is known as the power of 3. This was taken from Wikipedia. What I wanted to share with you today is how the Rule of Three applies to the layout and design of your scrapbook pages and handmade cards.  The Latin language may help this make more sense in design; “omne trium perfectum” (everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete) conveys the same idea as the rule of three.

The Rule of Thirds divides your layout into imaginary vertical and horizontal lines, creating equal thirds each way. This principle applies whether you are a single page layout person or a double page scrapbook person. Whether it is a single photo being centered on the intersecting points of the grid or three embellishment groups spread across your layout the Rule of Thirds will give your scrapbook pages more balance and eye appeal.  

The reason we find this and the pleasing effect of  having 3 is that our eyes can always find the CENTER. This also applies to other odd numbers like 5 and even 7. When you get further on in odd numbers you tend to lose the middle of the grouping.

Using the Rule of Three when it comes to embellishments helps your eye to know where to start and end. In most places we read from left to right so placing embellishments across the page you are helping your brain to see the middle of the page and automatically jump to the left to begin “seeing in order”.  Look at these same diagrams with the embellishment placed across the layouts as shown in these photos to the right. I find it easier to see Rule of Thirds shown in single page layouthow your eyeRule of Thirds on two-page layout demonstrated follows along in the two-page layout.
Do you see it as well? What do you think about the Rule of Thirds and how it applies to your scrapbooking and cards?

Floral Wreath for National Papercrafting Month

Order your Welcome Home Wreath Today!Every January, we celebrate National Papercrafting Month as a way of acknowledging the pure joy of playing with paper! We scrapbook with it, we make cards with it, we decorate with it—in short, we craft with it!

This year, we’re celebrating the joys of paper-crafted home décor with the beautiful Welcome Home wreath kit. This kit comes with pre-cut pieces you can simply pop out and attach to the sturdy chipboard wreath base, making a welcoming décor piece for your home.

There are four ways you can get the wreath kit:

  1. Buy it for $18.95—no qualifying purchase required!
  2. Get it for free with a qualifying $60 purchase!*
  3. Get it for free by hosting a party that reaches the second level of Hostess Rewards.
  4. Get it for free when you sign up to be a Consultant!

No matter how you get your Welcome Home wreath kit—or how many you get—you are going to love how easy this kit makes it to add a little more papercrafted beauty to your life.

*$60 qualifying purchase must be full-priced retail product not including tax and shipping.
Offer valid January 1 – January 31, 2017 while supplies last. Normal shipping/handling & tax apply.

Tips and Techniques with ShinHan Alcohol Markers

The ShinHan™ Touch Twin™ markers can take your artwork to a whole new level. Close To My Heart offers a selection of 24 colors with everything from versatile neutrals to vibrant brights. Follow along to see how you can transform your projects with these markers.

So what do you think of these markers? I really think they are the best Close to my Heart has ever had in the 12 years with Close to my Heart.  Do you like to color? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think about these markers.

The Monday Muse – Do You Do Single Page or Double Page Layouts?

Scrapbook Page Map for 3-7 photos

Single page layouts or double page layouts, that is the question.  As I think about the sketch I want to put up today (and attempt to get done today as well) I started wondering how many people use one page layouts.  I find myself rarely doing single page layouts. I think it is because when the scrapbook is open it just seems natural to have both sides be cohesive and a continuation of each other.  I am going to challenge myself this year, and thus, challenge you to create some single page layouts and if you only so single page layouts, I am challenging you to do more two-page layouts.

Scrapbook Page Map for 3-7 photosSo today we are starting with a single scrapbook page where you can have anywhere from 3-7 photos. On the right are three 4″ x 6″ photos. Thinking about this page, is it your thought that all the pictures have to be 4″ x 6″ to work? You can actually divide the photo sizes up so that one is narrower than the others; for instance, use 6 inches across on all your photos, but change the height to 3.5″ followed by 4.5 ” by 6″. You are still achieving the same total surface used in the sketch which is 6″ x 12″ but giving a new viewpoint. If you are working with a the children doing an activity you could take one shot further away, then when you print your main subject is in the lower portion of the photograph enabling the 3.5″ height of the picture to contain the majority of your subject matter.

As for the boxes to the left of the photos, use your imagination to design this section. Maybe you use coordinating papers as decoration, or fill in with extra photos, the lines – third box on the right side is where I will put the journaling first, then size the other boxes accordingly.

Just a reminder, each month I hold a contest for all those who have completed the scrapbook and card challenges and send me a photo so I can share your ideas with others.  Please either text your photo to 801-597-4896 or via e-mail here.  I look forward to seeing how your layout turns out for the Monday Muse Scrapbook Page Challenge.

Welcome 2017

Happy New Year to YOU

Can yoHappy New Year to YOUu believe it is already 2017? It doesn’t seem that long ago we were worried about Y2K (For those too young to know what that is… when we went from 1999 to 2000 many thought the computers would come crashing but very little happened at all.)  I am excited to bring you lots of new things this year as well as the regular features such as The Monday Muse and Throwback Thursday.

Today however I will be watching our beloved Oakland Raiders and praying the back up quarterbacks can make things happen since our regular quarterback got hurt last week.  Have a wonderful and safe New Years Day, and I will be back with your Monday Muse Scrapbook Sketch tomorrow morning.

Don’t Limit Yourself to One Color

One stamp but many colors

One stamp but many colorsDon’t you just love this card!  This Sea Glass color of the year is so popular and lends itself well to the winter feeling. In this card the Sea Glass cardstock in layered with Chocolate cardstock and 1/4″ spacing which really makes the image stand out. This stamp set is called Snow Shadows (A1194) and is from the Holiday Expressions Catalog. There are 5 stamps in the set, the trees, the boy, girl dog and dots used as snow here. I think the twine ribbon from the Rustic Home Ribbon Pack finishes the card off nicely. Leave a comment below and tell me what you think!

The Perfect Gift for Mom, Friends and CoWorkers

The perfect gift for any occasion!

The perfect gift for any occasion!Whether you need a gift for your mom, your bestie or even your co-workers Close to my Heart has put together the perfect package because you know… it’s the little things that tug at your heart.

This month only, we are offering the Mini-Album Package and it is LESS THAN $20 bucks and you have options too! Whether you’re looking for a meaningful gift idea or a treasured keepsake, these mini albums are fast and easy . You can choose to fill it with pictures, or leave that to your recipient either way they are sure to be a winner.  I told you that this offer came with choices so let me tell you about them!

Blue Jean Mini-Album Bundle comes with Perfect for the Guys in your life!

  • 1 – Instalife™ Blue Jean Album
    1 – pack of #Life™ Enjoy cards (40 cards total)
    1 – pack of #Life™ Black overlays(16 overlays total)
    1 – pack of mini 4″ × 4″ Memory Protectors™ (10 protectors)
    1 – pack of mini 2″ × 2″ Memory Protectors™ (10 protectors)

This would normally cost you $27.75, but since that is over that $20 limit you set for yourself, we have reduced the price  to $18.95 through Dec 31, 2016.


Blush Mini Album BundlePerfect For the Girly Girls

1– Instalife™ Blush album
1 – pack of #Life™ Hello Gorgeous cards (40 cards total)
1 – pack of #Life™ gold overlays(16 overlays total)
1 – pack of mini 4″ × 4″ Memory Protectors™ (10 protectors)
1 – pack of mini  2″ × 2″ Memory Protectors™ (10 protectors)


Available in 3 sizesAdventure Mini Album Bundle (6″ × 8″ Memory Protectors™)

  • 1 – Everyday Life™ stripes mini album
  • 1 – pack of My Crush® Adventure Calls 3-ring hole-punched decorative pages (30 total)
  • 1 – pack of 6″ × 8″ mini Memory Protectors™ (10 total)

Adventure Mini Album Bundle (4″ × 6″ Memory Protectors™)

  • 1 – Everyday Life™ stripes mini album
  • 1 – pack of My Crush® Adventure Calls 3-ring hole-punched decorative pages (30 total)
  • 1 – pack of 4″ × 6″ mini Memory Protectors™ (10 total)

Adventure Mini Album Bundle (3″ × 4″ Memory Protectors™) works in all size mini-albums

  • 1 – Everyday Life™ stripes mini album
  • 1 – pack of My Crush® Adventure Calls 3-ring hole-punched decorative pages (30 total)
  • 1 – pack of 3″ × 4″ mini Memory Protectors™ (10 total)

****This size is perfect to put all the kids school pictures for grandma****

And to top off this great deal, Close to my Heart has found the perfect place to get your perfectly sized photos. Come back tomorrow and read all about Persnickety Prints.



The Most Important Scrapbook Tool

You have to have a good Paper Trimmer!

You have to have a good Paper Trimmer!If I can share with you one tip above all others, invest in a good paper trimmer! I am talking about a full 12 x 12 minimum size. Not something that only trims papers, or a paper cutter, but a normal paper trimmer like Fiskers SureCut Paper Trimmer (Z1783). While it seems like a hefty price at 34.95, you can take a craft store coupon and get one for less. You will find this tool indispensable. Did you know you can also use it to score your cardstock?
There are two ways to accomplish this, purchase the scoring blade (Z1785) or remove the blade and place your cardstock in as you would if you were cutting, then using your bone folder or a dry embossing tip, gently run down the cut line. This is a great tip when you want to score the entire 12 x 12 piece of cardstock.