Pictures In Time

I’m always a little shocked to hear that one of our local scrapbook stores is closing.  I have many fond memories of late nights spent at crops making new friends at Scrapbooks/Crop Shoppe, Enchanted and Scrap N Stuff.  I loved being a part of the community of women who gathered to create in these spaces.  I always found that other croppers were more than willing to share ideas and even tools.  I tried new things and scraplifted new designs.

I’m just plain sad to know that Pictures In Time is going out of business.   I’m asking all of you who have been a part of the paper crafting community to continue to contribute in the spirit of sharing our talents, our successes and our friendships.  I hope you’ll adopt this little corner of the internet as our place to share inspiration and fellowship.

I hope you’ll share a memory of one of our LSS in the comments today.


12 Weeks of Christmas

How would you like to receive a free weekly dose of holiday inspiration in your email box?  Starting Wednesday, October 1st, I’ll be sending out a series of special emails with instructions to create holiday cards, gifts and gift wraps.  I’m excited to send you these projects and hope you will find just what you need for stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, and other holiday surprises.  Join my email list by October 1st to receive all twelve projects!  My 12 Weeks of Christmas campaign kicks off this Wednesday; join now!

Artbooking Mini Baby Album

In this week’s episode of Artbooking Made Easy, Monica shares an adorable 8 inch mini baby album made with the Cricut Artbooking cartridge.  She’s got some great tips for layering shapes as well as adding unique envelopes to your albums are included in this quick video.

I decided to give it a try with brighter colors.  I couldn’t wait to play with the overlays and cut the lion in  multiple colors to create dimension following the tips in the video.

Baby mini book page made with Artbooking

Baby mini book page made with Artbooking

Click here to purchase your  Artbooking Cricut collection today!

Playing Favorites

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

I’ve got lots of scrappy plans for this weekend, including a set of tags featuring stamped bird images. I’m so excited to create with our new paper collections and I would love to know which of our new themes is your absolute favorite!   Please post your response to my quick survey.

Reward Yourself with Hostess Benefits!

Now that you’ve seen the new Spring/Summer Idea Book, there is no better time to host a gathering or online event with me!  When you introduce your friends to our quality products, you earn hostess rewards including free and/or discounted merchandise, access to our Hostess Rewards stamp sets and access to our special value Hostess Collections.  The new Idea Book features three deeply discounted bundles of our exciting new products just for our hostesses!

Hostess Collection featuring Lollydoodle

Hostess Collection featuring Lollydoodle

Be sure to check out page five of the Idea Book for a detailed description of these terrific collections.  Each collection features one of the new paper themes as well as stamp sets, inks and accessories.

Our Hostess Rewards stamp sets are another great reason to host with me!  Take a look at the designs on pages six through nine of the new Idea Book.  These adorable stamp sets start at $4.00 and are exclusively available as a hostess benefit.  Here’s a card made with my favorite set, A Mother’s Love (see page 8).

A Mother's Love Hostess Rewards Stamp Set

A Mother’s Love Hostess Rewards Stamp Set

Contact me today to schedule your event and start enjoying the many benefits of being a hostess with Close To My Heart!

The Count Down Is On!

One of my favorite things about being a Close To My Heart consultant is getting advance copies of the bi-annual Idea Books.  Consultants enjoy a preview period to learn about new products and prepare samples for our workshops.  It’s so hard to keep all of our new and exciting scrapbook items and stamps sets a secret!  The Spring/Summer Idea Book goes live on my web site February 1st.  Until then, I can only tell you that this book is one of the best I’ve seen.  As always, there are exciting new pattern papers, each with a Workshop on the Go kit and several new coordinating stamps sets.  For those of you loving our jewelry looks, you’ll be pleased to see the Base & Bling offerings have expanded.  New colors are appearing in some of our favorite products including glitter paper, shimmer trim and dots.  Plus, there is a totally new offering that I think scrapbookers everywhere are going to love. I can’t wait to show it all to you!  Contact me to get your copy of the Spring/Summer Idea Book.

Henry demands equal time!

henornamentMeet Henry Dolce!  Darling Henry was very nearly named Stitch, but showed right from the start that he would never need to be asked “What’s your badness level?”.  This sweet boy came to me 9 years ago and truly completes my family.  Baby Henry is the most affectionate Pekingese I have ever known.  This little nuzzler is such a happy guy.

henryloveHenry and Disney are a match made in heaven.  Disney is a terrific big brother and faithful side kick Henry is the ultimate partner in crime.  Together I call them the Joy Boys!  They bring such happiness into my life.


The Other Disney

Disney Holiday 2010 004Named in honor of my love of all things Disney, my Pekingese Disney Baci, is my personal bodyguard.  At well under 20 pounds, this little guy still manages to be fierce and formidable!  When I brought him home 10 years ago, he fit in the palm of my hand.  While he’s more like Stitch than any other Disney character, Little Diz does have a softer side.  Baci means kisses in Italian, but don’t let Diz find out I told you!

046Disney loves to be photographed and has learned to come running at the sound of my camera shutter opening.  He is the star of many of my favorite scrapbook layouts!  Look for more on the story of how I came to adopt Diz in my new online class, Hidden Journaling.  I’ll share the story of how he earned the nickname Dr. Diz and became known as my favorite cardiologist as we explore ways to include deeply personal stories on your layouts.

actionStay tuned here on the blog and follow me on Facebook for exciting news on all my new online class offerings including brand new virtual clubs and the Disney layout club coming in January!


Remembering Pearl Harbor Day

History was always one of my favorite subjects in school.  I was blessed to have great teachers who brought the subject alive for me in fascinating ways.  I remember the entire staff of the history department showing up with black arm bands, a traditional sign of mourning, on December 7th.

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” - President Franklin D. Roosevelt

President Roosevelt spoke these words before Congress, beseeching them to declare war.  The United States entered World War II immediately, declaring war against Japan first and within days declaring war against Germany and Italy as well.  It is a time in American history which captures the imagination.  Lessons on the Homefront, the battlefield and the Holocaust were presented like nothing I had ever studied before.  I walked into a lecture on propaganda to find my professor dressed as Hitler, shouting in German with Wagner blaring in the background.

I read stories of the Blitz in London and found myself drawn to the iconic posters reminding the British to “Keep Calm and Carry On”.  I have a framed copy hanging in my living room today.  I learned the music of the war years from Glen Miller to the Andrews Sisters.  From Rosie the Riveter to Victory Gardens, I was captivated by stories of life on the Homefront.

Rosie-the-RiveterAre you lucky enough to have inherited a scrapbook from this period?  What does it mean to you to know what life was like for your family during the war years?  I encourage you to tell the story of everyday life in your scrapbook.  You just might bring history alive for a future generation!

A Jolly Holiday with Disney!

Disney Holiday 2010 053In honor of the anniversary of Walt Disney’s birthday, today’s blog is all about my happy holidays at Walt Disney World.  I visit the theme parks often but I especially like to go at Christmas.  Next week, I’ll be attending one of my favorite special events, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which features the famous holiday parade, snow on Main Street and a special fireworks show.  I’ll head over to Epcot for Holidays Around the World which explores the holiday celebrations of the countries featured in the World Showcase.  While I have to admit that my favorite is the story of le reveillon and the creche in France (that’s me with Pere Noel in the photo!)  I never miss that tricky troll and his funny story in Norway.

Disney Holiday 2010 060Over at the Disney Studios, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is another not-to-be missed holiday treat!  With over 5 million lights, this display is just awesome.  I know I will have a stack of great photos to add to my Disney album when I get home!

Speaking of Disney photos, I’ve been working on a brand new offering for those of you working on a Disney album.  As a Disney annual passholder, I get to visit the parks a great deal and I am never without my camera.  I’ve got hundreds of Disney photos!  Beginning in January, I’ll be offering a series of new online classes and virtual clubs including a monthly Disney layout club!  I’ll have more information coming very soon here on the blog, on Facebook and on my mailing list.  I am really excited to combine my love of scrapbooking with my love of Disney World!

Mom’s Legendary Cherry Cookies

In honor of National Cookie Day, I promised to post the recipe for my mother’s famous cherry cookies.  She only makes them at Christmas and they are a family favorite.  Mom hosts an annual cookie exchange party every year and I’m looking forward to this year’s event on Saturday.  I’ll be sure to share some photos and include this family tradition in my scrapbook!

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large mixer bowl, blend shortening, butter, sugar and egg on low speed.  Gradually add the dry ingredients then add the vanilla.  If dough does not come together up to 3 tablespoons of milk may be added.  Once dough has formed, use roughly one teaspoon of dough for each cookie.  Shape into a ball around a cherry.  Bake cookies 10-12 minutes and set aside to cool.

Glaze ingredients

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • water
  • food coloring
  • decorator sugars

Mix confectioners sugar with a small amount of water to form a thin glaze.  Divide into bowls and color as desired.  Dip top of cooled cookie into glaze.  While glaze is wet, roll top of cookie in decorator sugar.  Allow glaze to dry.  Makes 6 to 7 dozen cookies.


Get Maximum Impact with Quick & Easy Overlays!

tree-overlay-bestThis quick and simple layout was cut in just minutes using just two keys on my Close To My Heart Cricut Artbooking cartridge!  This is a 12×12 layout, so I cut my overlay at 11 inches.  Because this cartridge automatically sizes the other items on the keys to fit my layout, I cut the tree image and the title without changing my dial size!  Everything came out perfectly proportioned.  The tree was cut from our Clementine paper pack.  I inked the edges and added foam tape to each shape.  If you need a quick and easy layout, overlays provide terrific impact.  Don’t forget to explore overlay options for cards too.  I can’t wait to make this adorable card with our Wintry Wishes exclusive hostess rewards stamp set!

This card was made with one of the new exclusive Hostess Rewards stamp sets!

This card was made with one of the new exclusive Hostess Rewards stamp sets and an overlay cut with Artbooking

Remembrance Day

The eleventh hour, the eleventh day of the eleventh month an Armistice Agreement ended fighting in the “war to end all wars”.  While the Treaty of Versailles would not be finished and signed for months, Armistice Day, now known as Veteran’s Day, is celebrated on November 11th.  The first observance of Armistice Day in the United States was held in 1919.  President Woodrow Wilson said “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veteran’s Day proclamation acknowledging the holiday as a day of observance of the courage and sacrifice of all veterans.  Many communities honor our veterans with a moment of silence at 11am, military parades and the wearing of poppies.

The famous poem In Flanders Fields By John McCrae reminds us of the sacrifice behind the symbol of the poppy:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Consulting Services Now Available!

One of the reasons I fell in love with Close To My Heart is our motto, “Let me show you how!”.  I’ve been creating scrapbook pages and handmade cards for just over 20 years.  During that time, I’ve learned to use tools and techniques to make creating special designs quick and easy.  I love paper crafting because it gives me an outlet for artistic creations and because I love seeing the impression my cards make when a loved one sees the care I’ve put into creating something special just for them.

Count on me to provide you with both the inspiration and the instruction you need to create cards and scrapbook layouts that wow your friends and family.  Offering high quality products is not enough;  I want my customers to have fun and feel confident using them.   To that end, I have decided to offer one-on-one consulting services!  Do you need some extra help designing a one of a kind holiday card that will stand out on your friends’ mantle?  Would you like assistance creating a unique gift such as a mini album or framed layout?  Schedule a 30 minute consultation with me for just $47 and together we will complete your project design!

Consulting services are also available for Green Lotus Studios students and members.  I can help you design a hostess gift or the perfect token of friendship for the gang at the office.  Whether you prefer to design a soap, a set with soap and lotion, or a trio of lip balms I can help you with both your products and your gift presentation.

“Let me show you how!”  Contact me at  to schedule your consultation.


Last week I celebrated my birthday with a short trip to one of my favorite places, Walt Disney World!  I spent a few days in the parks enjoying the cooler weather and special events including Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  If you have a chance to do either, I highly recommend them.  If you make it to the Halloween party, I suggest you find a seat for the parade a little early.  Get your camera ready because the Headless Horseman rides just before the parade!

If you’re like me, taking photos revs up your creative mojo.  When I see I’ve got a great shot, I can’t wait to scrapbook it!  I’m excited to have some time devoted to scrapping this coming weekend so I can started.  I want to help you get your creative energy flowing too.  In celebration of my birthday, I’ve decided to offer a special gift to the first three people who place a Close To My Heart order with me today.  There is no minimum order required!  Just place your order on my shopping site Bewitched Crafts and I’ll mail you a special gift.  Feel free to post any questions here on the blog or for immediate assistance email

Back To School Cards

Back to school cardmakingBack to school; the words are music to the ears of parents everywhere.  The kids get into a routine of classes, sports, time with friends and homework.  They have exciting things to look forward to at every age from Show and Tell to the Homecoming Dance. It’s a great time to celebrate with a quick card to show your enthusiasm.  Why not tuck a colorful surprise in your student’s lunch box today?  I can show you quick techniques to turn basic pattern papers or journal blocks into three dimensional cards.  Make your child’s day with a cheerful reminder from home.

Back to school cardmaking

This time of year, Moms and Dads seem to find themselves running a taxi service from ballet lessons to cub scout meetings and everything in between. Don’t forget to take your camera along!  Photos of the first day of school, sporting events and recitals make terrific scrapbook pages.  Imagine how your child feels when she sees you’ve taken the time and energy to put together a book all about her!  I can help you make the task quick and easy too.

This summer, Close To My Heart introduced our newest Cricut collection, Artbooking.  The cartridge features a collection of themes perfect for traditional scrapbook pages or mini books.  Two of the keys are dedicated to the back to school theme and offer a variety of page overlays, photo mats, accents and journaling boxes.  Plus, you will find that the cartridge includes a number of shapes that make perfect outlines for our versatile stamps.  Every stamp in the Idea Book pictured with a red outline has a matching shape on one of our three Cricut cartridges.  Each one of our cartridges cuts 700 shapes!

In addition to the back to school layouts, you will find a number of holiday and special event themes as well as more general shapes.   Just wait until you see all of the Halloween themed items you can make!  From invitations and party decor to scrapbook pages, making unique items with your Cricut has never been easier.  Artbooking is the perfect solution for a brag book too.  You can easily create a mini book or calendar for grandparents.  How about a card to say thank you to a special teacher or coach?  I’m here to show you how creating with Artbooking is both easy and fun.  Contact me to schedule a workshop and learn about how you can get discounted and free products too.


Exciting and New



The brand new Close To My Heart Idea Book is now available!  Beginning August 1st, six new paper themes will be available with coordinating stamps and Workshop on the Go kits.  I’ll be posting sneak peeks of the papers over the next few days, but the fun doesn’t stop there.  Look for all sorts of treasures in the book from new stamp sets and washi tape to new colors of our Shimmer Trim and the latest in our exclusive Cricut® cartridge collection, Artbooking!


You will take your scrapbooking to new heights with the Cricut® Artbooking
collection!   Accents, borders, titles, overlays, and photo mats accompany each of
15 layout themes and 10 mini book themes so that you have all the pieces
you need to create beautiful artwork. With just one dial size and one key
you can create a complete themed layout or mini book. Or, select images
from both coordinating keys for even more options. Celebrate birthdays,
new baby, vacations, friends, sports, Halloween, Christmas and more.

The Cricut® Artbooking collection comes complete with three exclusive coordinating stamp sets and three sheets of Dimensional Elements that perfectly coordinate with Cricut® Artbooking shapes.

August is the perfect time to host a Close To My Heart gathering or online gathering.  You’ll introduce your friends to all of the fantastic new products in the Idea Book and have the opportunity to earn hostess rewards at the same time.  Contact me today to schedule your event!

Fired up!


I’m home from the annual Close To My Heart convention and I am fired up!  This year’s theme VIVA! was a giant celebration and we were lucky enough to have it hosted at the happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World.  Our home base was the Coronado Springs resort.

Among the many exciting announcements was the introduction of the Rediscover campaign.  Whether you’re looking at our products or our business opportunity for the first time or rediscovering Close to my Heart, I have so much to share with you from our awesome Cricut collection to new Workshops On The Go and beautiful stamps all from a solid, stable company with a 30 year legacy.  Contact me to find out more or join me for my next workshop Handmade Labels.  The workshop will be held Friday, July 12, 2013 at Green Lotus Studios from 6pm until 8pm.  Pre-registration is required as class kits are prepared in advance.  Workshop fee of $15.00 includes all supplies.