Friday, January 30, 2015

The Big Cat - Meet Fred

I wrote all about my crazy and adorable cats in this post, so I thought it was time to write a little something about my husband Fred, who I like to refer to as the "big cat" of the house.

I met Fred in the parking lot of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I was there as one of the field research assistants for his and his adviser's research. It was only through chance that I was there - I was going to school in Missouri and had found out about the project through a professor of mine who happened to know Fred's adviser. 

We spent five weeks in the middle of the deserts of New Mexico and Utah searching for fossils. It was one of the most awesome adventures of my life. 


 Fred and I started dating somewhere in the middle of all this. I figured if we could be attracted to each other while only taking one shower a week (yes, you read that right), we probably had a shot.

After the fossil hunting adventure ended, we went back to our respective schools and dated long distance. When I decided to move to New Mexico for grad school, he followed me. 

I studied caves for my thesis, and I got to return the field adventure favor - Fred helped me out with my caving excursions as I collected samples from deep within the earth. 

We were married in Las Cruces, New Mexico in 2004 and bought our first house there. As I finished my graduate degree, Fred started teaching at El Paso Community College as a biology instructor. 

We lived in New Mexico for over 5 years, then I decided I missed my family and friends back in Illinois, so we picked up and moved back to the Midwest. 


Fred became a professor of biology at Elgin Community College, and we settled into our house in South Elgin.  

Fred is the most calm person I know, which is probably why the cats not only like to sleep on him, but follow him around like he's their leader (hence the "big cat" nickname). 

Fred's favorite things to do are to watch (and play) hockey, drink really good beer (he somehow managed to turn me into a beer snob, and I don't even drink!) and go with me to fun local events and museums (we're both really big dorks who love learning about science and history :)

He also likes to run in marathons and take on Spartan Challenges. 

If you're ever at my house for a workshop, make sure to say hi to Fred. :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Year>>Noted Mini-Album - Pt. 2

This mini book is all about stepping out from behind the curtain and being the subject of one of my scrapbooks. I used the Year>>Noted kit to preserve some of my favorite photos and journal about my stories. My previous post was all about the photos; this post is all about the journaling. 

The stamp set that comes with the Year>>Noted kit has some wonderful prompts for journaling, and I found the pockets with two 3x4 protectors worked well for this. I started with my favorite - faves, of course. :)

I kept it simple so the writing would be the main focus. I have so many favorite books, though, that I just kept going on the back. I used the mini stapler to staple the stamped image to the journaling page so it can be pulled out and flipped to the back to see more.

I loved the dotted B&T paper and used it as my inspiration for this layout. I cut out a 2" circle and used stamped journaling lines to write about some of my current favorite things.  

I loved writing about my favorite moments from last year! I made my journaling pop by using Glacier ink and Sorbet ink as accents.

This album holds 20 pages, and I used 10 of them for my journaling prompts. I loved writing about my own stories and favorite moments. 

I'd love for you to create your own "All About Me" album. All of you who have purchased the Year>>Noted kit from me can get the instructions as my thank you gift to you - simply email me at to request yours.

Don't have the kit yet? There's still time! Simply go to my website and place a $50 order - the kit is yours for $5 (or for $10 if you add on the mini book). You'll be prompted to add on the kit when you check out.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Year>>Noted Mini-Album - Pt. 1

As memory keepers, we try to tell the stories of our families and friends; special moments and everyday occurrences; and all our wonderful adventures. However, often in the telling of these stories, we forget to say or show anything of ourselves. As the photographer is rarely seen in photographs, so the scrapbooker rarely tells her story. 

Thanks to my good friend Jean who pointed out this missing story, I decided to turn my Year>>Noted kit and mini book into a little snapshot of who I was, who I am now, and who I'd like to be. 

I decided to keep it simple and tell my story in two ways - one, with some of my favorite photos; and two, with fun journaling prompts. Here are some of my photo pages:

Here I am with my big brown eyes and chubby cheeks. All the black dashes and dots either come from the stamp set or were hand drawn. I stamped the banner in Black, Sorbet and Glacier ink, cut and used the mini stapler to adhere.

I wanted to see how many photos I could get onto a 4x6 page, and it turns out six 1.5 x 1.5" photos work perfectly!

I love these photos of me caving in the southwest! I thought using white cardstock to make them look like Polaroids added something fun.

A very simple design for our team photo - one 3x5 photo matted on white cardstock and backed with peachy B&T paper.

This album holds 20 pages, and I used 10 of them for my favorite photos. I loved going through all my pictures to find some of my favorite moments. 

I'd love for you to create your own "All About Me" album. All of you who have purchased the Year>>Noted kit from me can get the instructions as my thank you gift to you - simply email me at to request yours.

Don't have the kit yet? There's still time! Simply go to my website and place a $50 order - the kit is yours for $5 (or for $10 if you add on the mini book). You'll be prompted to add on the kit when you check out.

Check back on Wednesday for the journaling pages!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Combining Specials - January's Stamp of the Month and Year>>Noted Kit

I love being able to show different ways you can use stamp sets and paper kits, and there's nothing better than combining both in fun ways! Our two specials this month - January's Stamp of the Month (This Moment) and the National Papercrafting Month kit (Year>>Noted) go beautifully together:

This bag comes from the Artiste cartridge (pg. 79) and almost everything else can be found in the Year>>Noted kit and the January Stamp of the Month! All I added was some ink (Desert SandSorbet and Glacier), and I punched out those adorable triangles with the Triangle Border Punch.

Two specials, one great deal: Spend $50 and get both the Stamp of the Month and the Year>>Noted kit for $5 each!


There's still time to take advantage of both specials - but don't wait too long! Both are only available until January 31st!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

February Layouts Workshop - Confetti Wishes

Make your birthdays and celebrations sparkle with these fun, glittery layouts! We'll be using the Confetti Wishes collection along with Glitter Paper to create layouts that are perfect for showcasing your special events:

Take a closer look at the first layout:

Take a closer look at the second layout:

You'll make two 2-page layouts that shine with our Glitter Paper and that look sweet with cupcakes and layered cake you build out of stamped images and stickers! The layout kit is pre-cut and comes with instructions. Can't make the class? These kits are available for mail order (or local pick-up)!

Kit Information:

You can choose from three great kit options (includes tax). All three kits count towards the Stamp of the Month - if you want the Stamp of the Month, please email me at instead of of ordering here.

*Photos of Kit Contents Below*

Basic Kit - Confetti Wishes paper pack, Assortment, Complements, 1 Sheet Purple Glitter Paper and 4 extra sheets cardstock ($26.23)

Better Kit - Basic Kit + Silver Sequins and Build-A-Cake Stamp set ($50.21)

Best Kit - Better Kit + Thistle Ink Pad and 8 sheets Thistle Cardstock ($62.54)
*Qualifies for the Stamp of the Month and Year>>Noted kit!*

Class Dates:
South Elgin - Sunday, February 8th at 2pm
Woodridge - Thursday, February 12th at 6:30pm

If you would like the kit shipped, please add "Shipping" to your cart; an additional $5 shipping charge will be added. In addition, if you'd like the kit to be pre-stamped, please add "Pre-Stamped" to your cart; an additional $3 will be added.

Additional products needed to complete this project:
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive
  • Trimmer
  • 3-D Foam Tape
  • Liquid Glass or Tacky Glue
  • Ink: Black, Whisper, Thistle, Pacifica, Pear, Crystal Blue, Canary, Pixie (if you don't have these inks, you can substitute or have me pre-stamp)
  • Stamps: Build-A-Cake and December's Stamp of the Month (Cutie Pie) (if you don't have these stamp sets, you can substitute or have me pre-stamp)
  • Optional: Mini Stapler
You can pre-pay securely online with a credit card or your PayPal account by using the PayPal “Add to Cart” button below. Mail order kits purchased by January 26th will be mailed by February 10th.

February Layout Kits

Kit Contents

Monday, January 19, 2015

National Papercrafting Month: Year >> Noted Card

Close To My Heart's National Papercrafting Month kit (Year >>Noted) isn't just for layouts and mini-albums - you can use it to create awesome cards as well!

I love the paper patterns - especially because they're so soft, you can pair them with just about any color! I chose to go purple - I used Purple Shimmer Trim to make it sparkle and added a little Thistle ink for my sentiment. I also went a little crazy with the Gold Foil Stickers - I'll admit I didn't think I would like them, but now I can't stop using them!!

The only other supplies I added were Desert Sand cardstock and ink (Desert Sand, Glacier and Sorbet). What a fun way to congratulate someone!

You can get the Year >> Noted kit during January with a qualifying purchase of $50 for only $5 (retail value of over $24 - that’s over 80% off retail!) Or, for an additional $5, you can order the Year >> Noted paper kit with an accompanying My Creations™ kraft mini book (that's $34 worth of product for $10!)

Order your kit on my website today. You'll be prompted to add your kit before you check out.

Supply List

Friday, January 16, 2015

January Stamp of the Month - Right On Target Card

My inspiration for this card came from two places - retro sketches #146 (I love their card sketches!) and page 13 of the Seasonal Expressions mini catalog:

The January Stamp of the Month has so many fun images (I love those arrows and bull's eye!), and it looks so sweet with the Hopscotch collection colors. I thought this sketch really highlighted those images. Plus, using the Score Board to emboss a border really makes it pop. 

The scallop circle and circle come from the Art Philosophy cartridge, and I added some Blue Shimmer Trim, a Red Enamel Heart and some retired Bling Gems for my finishing touches.


Remember, January's SOTM is only available until January 31st! You can get this fun stamp set for only $5 with a $5o purchase on my website

Supply List