How to Make Sandpaper Last Longer

A way to extend the life of sandpaperDo you work with sandpaper? Do you get upset when the sandpaper breaks so easily and quickly when working on a project? ME TOO!    I hope you enjoyed your weekend, mine was busy as I decided I didn’t like the yellow chalk paint I had painted the dresser in what I call “Mom’s Room”.   I knew right after I painted it a few months ago I didn’t like it and had picked up a new color based on the comforter I bought for that room. The problem was, now that I had pulled it out, I thought it was too dark. So on my trip to Walmart to pick up allergy meds I wandered into the craft section – I had originally planned on a stop at JoAnn’s –  I picked up a really pretty chalk paint Waverly Pool. It was a baby blue with cool undertones, and some sandpaper.

I had started sandpapering the dresser on Friday and was really getting frustrated with the sandpaper. I kept thinking there had to be a way to increase the life of the sandpaper when an idea came to mind. I went and got the packing tape!  This wasn’t going to be an easy fix since I bought a sander that had holes so you can contain your dust. (I thought I would be using it more in the craft room than outside).  I punched the sandpaper with the plate included in the box so I knew where the holes were suppose to be, then put packing tape across the back of the sandpaper. then I used a phillips  head screwdriver and poked the hole markings through. It was a bit clumsy but the solution worked. My sandpaper lasted twice as long as without the tape.

Page maps to make scrapbooking easyToday is Motivational Monday and I know you are looking for the sketch to start your week. Today I designed a single page sketch for 1 – 3 photos. The two squares could also be places to put embellishments. There is hidden journaling behind the chevrons. If you need help with how to create the hidden journaling box behind so many pieces – stop back by tomorrow for a tutorial.  Add some extra depth and dimension by sanding each one of the arrow pieces going down. You can choose to sand either with a downward motion or a cross hatch motion, either way applying sanding on your page with add a great look.

Don’t forget to snap a picture and send to me at for your chance to win a stamp set no longer offered by Close to my Heart!

Happy Sanding,



8 Important Reasons You Should Journal

Journal your photosI have talked about journaling many times in the last several years and do you know why?  Behind every picture is a story, a reason you grabbed your camera at that very moment to snap the picture. So I thought today I would give you the Top 10 Reasons YOU Should Journal.

  1. We forget. At last report we are all human and as such, we have memory problems at some point in our lives. There is nothing to be ashamed about – it happens to the best of us. This is why writing down your story is so important.  Imagine that tomorrow you are out for your daily walk and you are struck by a car and get severe amnesia. Will anyone else know all that you remember about the pictures you too? Will people even know who the pictures are of?
  2. To pass on personal thoughts, insights and memories to future generations. This ties in with #1. You can be sure that your grandkids won’t know who is in the photo and will probably toss them out. (have you noticed the younger adults don’t keep much “stuff”?)
  3. To include special memories and even inside jokes that you simple cannot convey thru just paper and embellishments? Like the time my grandmother would tell “hairlip” jokes at Christmas. We KNOW they are politically incorrect, mean spirited and just not acceptable – but we sure did laugh when she did it. Ok, this memory you might want to put into hidden journaling. Grammy would never have said these outside her house to anyone, but I don’t think I will ever forget that night.
  4. To create vivid snapshots of the personalities of our treasured family members. Mary Ellen Ingram Ingraham As I go through my family history on Sundays I often look at the stern faces from the late 1800’s and wonder if the people were always grumpy or if this was just a bad picture day. I know life was a lot harder then, but what made them tick, and made them smile? As time passes, the people with the answers pass and no one is there to answer the question about Great Aunt Mary Ellen Ingraham.
  5. To capture your exact feelings, moods and emotions related to particular events. The photo might be of your son on the floor playing with his son. The photo alone you would think “oh that’s nice” but the photo doesn’t show you that while watching the two of them I had tears in my eyes because it reminded me of being on the floor playing with my own children.  Photos only begin to tell the story. The old saying “A picture says a thousand words” and while you might think it so, unless you tell, those words will be buried along with the photos.
  6. To leave a sampling of your handwriting. You might hate your handwriting and typing is easier, but you don’t know what sweet memories it may invoke in a loved one.  I can’t tell you how much I love to look at my grandmother’s recipes, in her own handwriting and cooking stains.
  7. To remember details. You might remember a friend from grade school, but do you remember how they became your friend? What you did together that was special?
  8. To give dimension to the story of your life and character to the people you know.  You want the people that come after you to know about you – go back to #6 as an example.

In short, journaling is important not only for you when you get forgetful, but the ones that follow you in the next life.

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.

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?

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 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.

Free Basic Scrapbooking Class

Learn how to Scrapbook

Learn how to ScrapbookHave you wanted to learn to scrapbook but wished you could give it a try before buying a bunch of stuff? Beginning November 29th I will be offering a Basic Scrapbooking Class here at the Creatively Carol Craftroom.  We will go over basic scrapbooking tools and techniques and everyone will make a scrapbook page.   The craft room will seat 12 at a time, so call to reserve your spot today.  I will be hosting the basic class once a month to accomodate anyone that would like to learn the art of scrapbooking. We will also talk about the different ways to scrapbook, including pocket scrapbooking ie: Picture my Life (similar to Project Life), mini-albums and more.

What type of scrapbook tape should I use?

Premium Scrapbook Adhesive both permanent and respositionable

Answering all your creative questionsWhat type of scrapbook tape should I use?
Brand new to scrapbooking. I want to make one for my SO. I don’t need it repositionable but I do need it to stick for 10+ years. Clear/cello tape fails eventually. I Thanks!

Hi Chuck,

Please don’t use cello tape on your scrapbooks, it has acid in it and can damage your pictures. My favorite is Bonding Memories Glue by Close to my Heart. It is both repositionable and permanent. I know you said you don’t care about it being repositionable but it can really help as you put your pictures in to be able to adjust them. The nice thing about Bonding Memories Glue is that the adhesion all depends on how long you let it dry before applying. This way you always have the choice and it comes it two sizes too. I prefer the smaller “pen” as it is easier for me to control. Premium Scrapbook Adhesive both permanent and respositionable

I am happy to assist you in your scrapbook if you need more help. You can visit my website for great ideas as well. I hope this helps, let me know if I can help you with anything further.

Ways to Make a Wedding Scrapbook

Answering all your creative questionsToday’s question comes from Shughaarshini Vasu and she asks:

How do I make a wedding scrapbook?

To quote Shakespeare “Let me count the ways”… you have a great many options these days. Think first about the time you want to spend on making the scrapbook as this will help determine whether you want to preserve your memories in a traditional scrapbooking or with pocket scrapbooking or a combination of both types.  This is how I would have done it 31 years ago. Today is my 31st anniversary and when I look at the commerical “wedding book” I bought way back then, I see sooo many things missing.

First you have to think about whether you want a scrapbook going back to when you met, the day he purposed or just your wedding day. As you can see, you can and most likely will have many things to scrapbook in your new life together.

The most common size scrapbook today is 12″ x 12″ and the perfect size whether you are scrapbooking one photograph or several. Have you decided your wedding colors? You might want to choose your scrapbook based on your choices, or perhaps you like things uniform, then choose something that is more traditional so you can buy the same color and style for each step in life you wish to scrapbook.

In this blog post about scrapbooking 101 I talk more about albums, sizes and steps to get started.

I do want to mention the pocket pages – Picture my Life. These are cards that slip into specially divided protective sheets you can record your thoughts, smaller pictures and so much more. Keep a stack of journaling cards with you and fill one out when something strikes you, or you remember something. Then slip it into a pocket with a photo that represents what your memory was.  Here are some examples of cards that are available today .

We will talk more about wedding scrapbooks soon, but if you have a question I can answer, or need more assistance, give me a call, I am happy to help.

Just don’t be afraid to do your own Wedding Scrapbook, you can do this!


An Interchangeable Shape Punch?

Today I received this question from Ute Seabauer and wanted to share it with all of you, 

Is theAnswering all your creative questionsre a shape punch for paper with interchangeable shapes, so you can buy numerous dies and place them into the punch for different shapes?

Hi Ute,

There isn’t a “punch” that you can interchange shapes with, but there are options. If you have power then a Cricut or Silhouette would let you cut anything you want basically. Without power you can try the Cuttlebug or a number of non-electric die. Ma=cutting machines. I ask what types of shapes are you wanting to cut?  Personally I have both a Cricut and a Silhouette because they both offer different abilities.

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.

A Funny Thing Happened When I Began to Shred

What to do before tossing taxes

What to do before tossing taxesWith the beginning of a new year comes that clean out bug… and so I decided I could use that spot in the garage that held past tax envelopes .. like 1995!  But a funny thing happened when I opened the envelope and started looking at all the supporting documents. I found dates!  I knew I was only going to scan the tax document itself – I can’t truly toss them from my life as there is something about the Ghost of IRS Passed that seems to linger in the back of my mind. Anyway as I was saying. I found dates.  I found a check for a trip to Gold Beach for my youngest son’s basketball camp. I remember doing a scrapbook page about his camp, but I had never dated the layout or journaling. Now I have a clue as to when the camp was held and can add that to the page.

You never know where you will find details to help your scrapbooking and memory keeping. . Keep an open mind and your eyes wide open for hints that will complete the story you are trying to tell. Another hint is to date the back of your scrapbook pages so you can see your progress and style over the years.


Organization in the New Year

Do your photos look like this?
Do your photos look like this?
Pile of old black and white family photographs on a table

If you are like me your computer is full of photos, maybe even 2 or 3 copies of the same photograph. I have a goal for this year that you might want to tag along with and that is to organize the photos in your computer (s). I have never been very dilligent when it comes to labeling my photos – thinking there is plenty of time to do that later. Well, since I just found and labeled Christmas 2010 I find that thinking flawed. So as I plan and begin to get all my photographs sorted, I thought I would take you along for the ride.  Please leave comments below if you think it is a good idea, have a suggestion about how I am doing it – I don’t think of everything, and if so inclined, work on yours along with me. I will set aside 15 minutes each day to sort photos. Life is busy and it is easy to get lost in old photographs. As you may know, I am a traditional scrapbooker, but I will also upload some pictures for Studio J Digital Photographs, which can simply be added to an album when printed.

I truly believe all photos should be backed up to the web, because of a failed external drive and not having a clue what pictures I may have lost. However, Cloud storage got me where I am today – lots of clouds with no sort of organization. Making sure your storage on your computer is available is really the first step. I found lots of unused storage on mine.  You will want to download all your photos from the various clouds you have them stored in. After we clean up the copies so there is just one of each, labeled and tagged, I will upload the entire lot to Amazon because as a Prime member, you have unlimited storage of photos.

Here are the first steps to an organized set of photos:First Steps to Organizing your Photos

  1. Write down all the clouds you have photos on – we will use this later
  2. Starting with the pictures that are currently stored on your computer.  (In my case, I have 2 computers and 3 external drives.) I am using my laptop as “home base” as it is the easiest to use while watching tv with the family or not just sitting at my desk.
  3. Create a few main files, Mine are listed as “People 1/1/2016,Misc Pics 1-1-2016 and Craft 1-1-2016.” These will be further sorted later, but this is my first step. Duplicates are easier to find if in the same folders.
  4. Spend 15 minutes to sort pictures on your computer into these files. I suggest setting a timer since it is easy to get lost in this process.
  5. After your 15 minutes are up, Take a look in each folder, do you see duplicates yet? If so, delete one of the photos after making sure your information like date picture taken, or tags have been added to the picture you are keeping. Also delete any blurry pictures if you can’t identify what it was you were trying to take a picture of.

This step will keep you busy until next Saturday morning when we will start dealing with the clouds. If your weather is really cold, this is a great way to still make good use of your time.

Scrapbooking 101 – Choosing an Album

Project Life 3 Ring Albumsvisit today!ALBUMS

One of the most important decisions you have to make when starting to scrapbook is what size your album is going to be. Here size does matter because it is based on this size that you will choose your cardstock and papers. Here are some options:

12” x 12” is the most common size these days.  This size gives you a good size area in which to mount your pictures. You can incorporate larger pictures if you like, and still have a place to journal about them.

81/2” x 11” use to be common and still is in some circles. Usually this size was chosen because the paper size works with any printer… I started with this size and am now re-mounting them on 12” x 12” paper so they will go in my current size albums.

There is also the decision to make regarding the binding style of your albums. There are post-bound albums and there are 3 ring albums.  I use both but for different reasons.  I use a 3 ring album as my “work in progress” album.  This is especially helpful if you finish a page but feel “something is missing.”  Having these in a ringed album make it easy to look through and put out the page when you have found the solution. Another good use of ringed albums is a temporary album while you complete the other pages you are putting in the album.  It is a real pain to have to insert a page in the middle of a post-bound album. Whether you choose to just move the pages themselves while leaving the inserts alone, or taking out the posts, putting the page where it belongs and then stacking the pages and re-inserting the posts.  Since I am not good at doing things chronologically, I find the 3 ring album makes more sense until I have all the pages that are going in a specific album done; then I transfer them to a post-bound album as their final resting place. 12″ x 12″ is best for larger photos and detailed pages.

Next, choose an album style.

  • Three-ring albums are easy to rearrange and affordable. Page protectors are needed. The rings can break up two-page spreads.
  •  Spiral-bound albums are simple to use. Pages are permanently attached and can’t be rearranged. These albums do not use page protectors.
  • Expandable-spine albums hold your pages in place with a strap-hinge or posts. Pages line up nicely side-by-side, which is great for double-page

Untitled event spreads. Many styles come with pages included but may require specialty page protectors. Pages can be removed and rearranged, but it requires more work than with three-ring binders.


Look for page protectors made from plastics that are PVC free to keep your photos safe. Most page protectors are top-loading, although there are side-loading and specialty styles as well.

Create Great Journaling in under Two Minutes

Close to my Heart Digital ScrapbookingSometimes journaling can be a stumbling block when doing your scrapbook pages, I know it is for me.  Here are some helpful hints for creating journaling for pages with your daughter.

  • What special place do you share with your daughter?
  • What colors, songs, activities and foods remind you of your daughter?
  • In what ways has your daughter surprised you?
  • What childhood memory with your daughter is most vivid in your mind?
  • What is your daughter’s most beautiful feature or trait?
  • What things does your daughter say or do that makes you laugh?
  • What do you most miss about your daughter when she s away?
  • What activities do you and your daughter enjoy together?
  • How does your daughter show her love for you?
  • What are you daughter’s special talents?

I hope these journaling prompts will make journaling your next scrapbook page with your daughter much easier.

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Leave a comment below and share your best idea for writer’s block in your journaling…

Creatively, Carol