Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall Winter 2009 Idea Book is Here!

September 1...just a few minutes away! And you know what that means? The new Fall/Winter Idea Book goes LIVE! New scrapbook themes, accessories, stamps and so much more...this book is an amazing kick-off to a fun and exciting Fall. Three times a year the anticipation builds and you can relax, start shopping, and planning for a creative season of stamping and scrapbooking. With the release of the new Idea Book, you'll find a multitude of products for the seasons that await us...everything from Fall and Harvest products to Christmas. And as usual, you'll be amazed at how versatile the products are, especially the Background & Texture papers.

Don't forget that Studio J is just around the corner. You'll want to stay tuned for updates as to when the product will be available.

Gotta love classic color combinations like this one. Chocolate goes with just about any color...doesn't it look warm and inviting when pared with Dutch Blue? Your everyday can be more than an average day by creating beautiful card projects from our September special, Delight in the Everyday. There are a ton of terrific products in this kit. Visit my MyCTMH website, click on the image in the center that matches the one here on the left and you'll get all of the nitty-gritty details. Love, love, love our card kits! Oh, how they make my life simple when I most need it that way.

Let me send you one of our new catalogs. E-mail me for details.

See ya soon!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Got Beasty Boy!

Thought I'd post a quick update on the little beasty boy....we got him! I know, I's a heartless thing but do we really want a little mouse running amuck in the house? Not especially. My daughter even disposed of him properly...ewww! She has some gene that I surely don't have because I'd have 1) called Joe in or 2) dialed 911. I'm a wimp, yes, it's true.

Apparently my mom told Joe about some mouse stories and mice in the house when I was growing up. Supposedly I don't remember...or maybe I blocked it out. It goes like this...When I was growing up, we occasionally had mice in the house. We lived out on a ranch so although I don't specifically remember seeing a mouse in the house, I'm sure we had plenty. Mom had a heart like mine but rather than set a snap trap, she set a HavAHeart trap. They're named for a good reason, don't you think? However, once they were humanely caught, she flushed them down the toilet. Okay...gotta admit here.....Mom, I'm seriously confused! What's the diff?? You're gonna have to splain that one to me shortly. Okay, I don't think I want to talk about this anymore!

For a welcome change of pace, here are some lovely images of my daughter in her later pregnancy. She is a beautiful girl! We're having a boy...and we're so excited! If you have any clever games to play at baby showers, please post them here.

It's all a big bunch of Belly Love!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby Shower Invite & More

My daughter looked at the price of store-bought baby shower invitations and quickly decided to make her own. Kind of a no-brainer for us stampers! Simple and cute, she designed this invite with some classic background & texture paper from Close To My Heart days gone by. The title "It's A Baby Shower" was printed out on plain white copy paper using a Close To My Heart font, Dot Dash from our Expressive Font CD Volume 1. Some things are better left plain and simple...and this is a perfect example!

A little update on the leak in our house....the plumber was here this morning and able to use leak detection devices to isolate the leak. Once he jackhammered a nice 2 foot deep hole in the cement of the living room, he came to within 3 inches of the leak in the pipe. Pretty darn good, I'd say! Good, that is, until the insurance adjuster came by and gave me her "news".

We've been following everything by the's been a phone circus with different people from insurance calling to line up various people to take care of the problem. On Monday, one of the insurance guys I spoke to said any damage caused by the leak would be covered. Access to, repair of, and closure to the leak isn't covered. But, carpet would be covered since it was water damaged. Leak detection services would also be covered as would be the services for drying out the area. Great, I understand this. forward to today...some random adjuster lady drove 2 1/2 hours to stop in this morning, peer at the hole, whisper something to the plumber so that I couldn't hear, and got out her tape measure to measure for carpet. Then she excused herself to go to her car and make a phone call. She came back in a short time later and said she had bad news...nothing is covered. WHAT?????????? That was a complete contradictory statement to what I had been told!!! Now, if I used foul language, I might have cussed her out, given her a quick boot to the arse and a slammed door behind her. But instead, it all stayed in my head and I asked a few questions then told her to leave. Am I furious? You bet! Soooo, exactly why do we pay homeowners insurance?? I'm not quite sure other than to make someone else's life very, very comfortable. (If you're an insurance agent reading this...don't take it personally.) We'll see what our local agent has to say...he's a reasonable guy, right?

So, Jill, my darling neighbor, bailed me out again. I, I needed...a Diet Coke for lunch and the box was empty. Since everyone living here seems to have discovered all of my Diet Coke emergency hiding places, and the plumber was here, I phoned Jill up to ask if she had any extra Diet Cokes...(or hard liquor since I had just finished up with the adjustor lady)...and guess what? She did! (Diet Coke, that is.) Ah, at least I could drink to my frustrations with a cold soda. Thanks, Jill:) About the hiding places? I'll be finding some new ones as soon as I replenish the soda.

No news on the mouse front. Pierre, bless his passive little heart, slept all day yesterday in Karliann's room, where the mouse was last seen. Good grief dude...get up and hunt that beasty boy down! Maybe we should quit feeding the cats for a day or so and let them get good and hungry.

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Of Mice and Butterflies...

Doesn't really have much of a ring to it, does it? Each one is so opposite! I need to discuss both here so I figured I'd make the title a bit on the curious side...kinda like the mouse we can't seem to find.

Let's chat about the pretty card to begin's one that I featured recently in a monthly card making workshop and the ladies loved it! The butterfly is attached to the insert card along the body area. The wings are cut out and backed with a coordinating piece of cardstock. The paper is Close To My Heart's Amore, one of my favorite color schemes. The right side of the card insert with butterfly attached, slides out to reveal a message. Embellishments include brads, pearl paint, and ribbon. Really pretty and super easy to make!

Alright, do you want an update on beasty boy? This morning I woke up to a note on the kitchen counter that read..."will someone PLEEEEZE get a mouse trap today?" According to Karliann, she caught the silhouette of little beasty boy zipping across the windowsill behind a sheer curtain early this morning. (Kinda reminded her of a scene from a creepy movie.) She hollered for dad, who came running with a shoe. A shoe?? Karliann had a fit at the thought of a squished mouse on her windowsill so she suggested that her dad choose a more humane method of catching the speedy little about a box? A box?? What, are you gonna catch it with the box or smack it silly? Well, it was time for school and once again, the mouse is on the loose and not at the forefront of my mind today since I'm dealing with a very flooded living room and difficult insurance folks.

It's great to have friends who have got your back because my good friend and neighbor, Jill, had mine today. Remember, according to my kids, one must posses a hunting license in order to purchase a mouse trap so that was going to be a significant delay in my mouse hunting today. But, didn't turn out that way since Jill and Karliann chatted about the mouse "situation" on the way to school. Shortly thereafter, I went over to Jill's to borrow something and she was on her way to my house "bearing gifts." Ohhh, cool, I thought...a belated birthday present that would help fix the leak in the house! No such luck...but something way better...illegal mouse traps! Complete with peanut butter. The best part? By the time she left, they were all set. So far, no one has showed up at my door asking about possession of illegal mouse traps so we should be good, at least for the night.

If beasty boy ventures into this water-damaged room, he'll have cold feet, for sure. And maybe wet! The carpet is gone and the cememt is not real welcoming. There are holes to fall into, tack strips around the edges, and dangers lurking around every corner...that is, if you're a mouse. This photoshows the living room (and my workshop area) where the leak is. The carpet was the first to go and as long as we have water turned on, we're sucking it up with that wet/dry vacuum over there in the corner. Ahhh, it's just a minor inconvenience. It will all be sorted out soon enough and we'll be celebrating new carpet!

Maybe tomorrow I'll have good news about beasty boy...good news, that is if you're on my side. See ya soon!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Some days are diamonds...

...some days are stones...

And so the song goes. It's one of my favorites by John Denver and every time something really good and exciting happens, I think of the day being a diamond. On the few occasions when things go wrong, those days...well, they're the stones. The last few days seem to be stones. Want to be filled in? I don't think you'll want pictures for these it will be text only today!

Over a week ago, as 7 or 8 of us were sitting in the living room, most of us girls which doesn't help the impending situation. Silly me...I had left the screen door open slightly so the dog and cats could come in and out for a little while, and all of a sudden I saw our adorable, passive cat appropriately named (by my husband...not me), Pierre, come sauntering in the house with something in his mouth. It had a pointy nose and skinny tail so obviously I screached! Apparently Pierre did too and dropped the little beasty boy and off it ran...but not out the door. So, we spend a good while shaking the couch upside down, poking under other furniture with a yardstick but little beasty boy was gone. We sorta figured he come out of hiding when he got hungry or maybe we'd find the cats arguing over who was going to have him for dinner but so far that hasn't happened.

Fast forward now over a week later to today....we were on our way home from moving our daughter into the dorm room at the University of Reno (yes, emotional for me). "Home" showed up as calling my cellphone, wondering what happened to the mouse this morning. Huh?? What mouse? Who saw a mouse this morning?? Heck, I thought it had been eaten by now! Well, nope. Our daughter was getting ready for work in her bathroom and saw something small and grey with a pointy nose and long skinny tail scurry across the floor and hide in some towels. (Her fault that there are towels on the floor!) So, the question posed to me on the phone was "who's gonna trap the mouse?" I replied with "Beats me! How about whoever saw it last? Go get a mouse trap and set it, for heaven's sake! There's cheese in the fridge!"

Well, we just returned home after a long day of driving and there's no mouse trap set and no one to report they saw beasty boy direct himself outside so I'm supposing he's still making the best of a comfy house for a little while longer.

Okay, now you know where we stand on the mouse situation...I'll fill you in when (and if) it comes to an end...Ohh yeah, one other other daughter informed us of a California state law that goes something like this: In order to set a mouse trip, one must have a hunting license. My eyebrows are raised here and I have a bit of a crooked smirk on my face...guess I'll look that one up in the books.

We've had lots of company over the last couple of weeks, including two of our daughter's college roomies so there's been lots happening around here! Everything but cleaning, that is...

Yesterday morning I was up early preparing to leave around lunchtime to go photograph a lovely wedding up at Convict Lake, about 40 minutes from home. I stepped on the carpet in the front room (where I do all of my workshops) and the floor was soaked. Hmmm, I though...Charlie had better not have gone potty on the carpet. I looked more closely and no color, no smell but I took another step and squish went my foot. We now have an entire room with a soaked carpet and pad and can't find where the leak is coming in. It's tricky to access the water main in order to turn the water on and off, especially in the dark. For tonight, the carpet and pad are all removed and now we await the plummer and insurance folks.

So, it could have been worse and we could have hit a deer the other night AND tonight...but we missed both did temporarily get worse when I flattened a cute little skunk right smack in the middle of the road last night. I hope the little guy is in heaven for skunks...must be a pretty special place. And the wedding? IT DIDN'T RAIN on the outdoor ceremony! The rain waited for today. The light was ideal for a photographer and it was a wonderful group to photograph. Watch for some images.

So why haven't I posted anything cute and creative on here in the last week? #1, not much extra time, #2, too much chaos!, #3 room flooded, #4 had to move daughter out to college, #5 photographed a wedding, and the list could go on! But, I can't's just a few minor inconveniences.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

National Stamping Month - Celebrate Everyday

Wow! Just as one special closes out, Close To My Heart announces another irrestible offer. Card kits are one of my favorite products...I usually have several on hand. I can't wait to get my hands on this one, too! Oh, and the paper...I LOVE background and texture paper. (I'm a closet paper hoarder.) This pack has plenty to keep me (and you!) creating for hours.

So here's the skinny on how you can get it FREE:
1. Purchase a minimum of $60 in stamp sets (A, B, C, D, and E-size) between August 18 - September 30.
2. Host a home gathering or catalog party. If you live in Bishop, this includes a workshop or in-home gathering...if you live outside of Bishop, it includes a catalog party.
3. Sign up as a new Consultant between September 1 - 30.

*** OR ***

Purchase as many card kits as you'd like for just $39.95 per kit. It gets any order between September 1 - 30 and you'll be automatically entered in our daily drawing for a FREE card kit! Winners will be announced on my MyCTMH website.

Wondering what's included in the kit? Here you go...
1 - My Acrylix Everyday Celebration Stamp Set (D-size)
16 - 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" Colonial White Card Bases
16 - 4 1/4" x 51/2" Colonial White Envelopes
1 - 12" x 12" Dutch Blue Cardstock
1 - 12" x 12" Colonial White Cardstock
4 - 12" x 12" B&T Duos Paper
1 - Chocolate Distressing Ink
1 - Dutch Blue Distressing Ink
1 - Mini Medley Accents: Shades of Chocolate Collection
5 - Chocolate Ribbon with Colonial White Stitch
50 - 3D Foam Squares

...and my very favorite...
1 - Full Color Step - by - Step Instruction Brochure

Head on over to my MyCTMH website and place your order today! Be sure to add item # CC10006C because that will add on the kit FREE. Until next time~

Monday, August 17, 2009

Recipe Book Add On & Recipe!

Since I spent part of today preparing for a workshop, I thought I'd take this opportunity to show you a couple more pages for the recipe book I posted a few weeks back. I used this incredible stamp set, Bon Appetit from our Summer 09 Idea Book and let me tell you, it's simply a classic. We had a similar set years ago when Close To My Heart was D.O.T.S. and I've never parted with the wood stamps! The recipe book uses a few of my favorite colors from the Close To My Heart color palette: Smokey Plum, Hollyhock, and Olive. Topiary could be swapped in for Olive if you wish.

There are so many ways this little 3-ring binder can be stamped and decorated to steal the about a baby brag book? Or, a wedding shower gift ready for photographs from the shower itself? A collection of favorite recipes is always a welcome gift, too. It's easy to incorporate photographs or recipes on the backside of each tabbed page.

Speaking of recipes, oh my goodness...our daughter, Jessica, and her friend, Jessica, made us the most scrumptious dinner last night! You've gotta give this a try. Hmmm, now that I think of it, why haven't they been preparing dinner for the last 4 days while they're both home from college??

Chesapeake Chicken Imperial
6 ea. 6-ounce boneless whole chicken breast
6 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
Light Italian dressing
Flour to coat chicken
Pinch of paprika

Crab Imperial Ingredients
1 pound Phillips jumbo lump crabmeat
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 egg
1 teaspoon Phillips Seafood Seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 ounce capers (optional)
1 ounce finely diced red peppers (optional)
1 teaspoon melted butter

Imperial Sauce
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons half & half
1/2 teaspoon Phillips Seafood Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Marinate chicken with light Italian dressing, salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator while preparing the crab imperial and the imperial sauce.

2. Combine all crab imperial ingredients-except for the crabmeat-in a medium mixing bowl and whip until smooth.

3. In a separate mixing bowl, add crabmeat and pour imperial mixture over crabmeat. Blend all ingredients together by tossing gently in order to avoid breaking crab lump meat.

4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for imperial sauce and whip until smooth.

Cooking the chicken
1. Lightly dredge the chickens in flour, and remove any excess flour. Heat a large skillet with canola oil in a medium-high heat. Cook chicken for three minutes on each side.

2. Place the cooked chicken on a greased baking sheet pan. Put six tablespoons of the crabmeat mixture in the center of each chicken breast and bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
Top each stuffed chicken breast with imperial sauce, 1/2 ounce shredded cheese and a pinch of paprika. Place in broiler until golden brown.
Serve with your choice of vegetables or starch.

Trust me on this's restraurant taste in your own kitchen!
I'll see you soon with more tales of our hiking adventures!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hike - Day One

Honestly, I live in paradise. My town may be small and remote but check out my back yard. Well, not exactly my back yard but darn close...the drive to the trailhead for this hike was a mere 20 minutes. Cindy and Julianne were here this week from Arizona and rather than sit and scrapbook (like we had planned), we took off for the mountains. Remember my last post where I mentioned we could have used some M&M's? Well, this was the hike. We made it on our own fortitude and determination, even though we didn't know exactly how far our destination was (and we had no food). Here's some good old fashioned advice: Don't bother asking anyone on the trail how far the lake is...know it yourself! Ya see, one person will tell you it's just over the next hill and another person will tell you it's another hour. Neither were right on this hike. Then there's my husband who would tell you....."Ah, it's not about the's the journey." Hmmm, isn't that my motto for this blog? I sort of forgot about that on the trail.

Anyway, we had such a great time together. The scenery was unspeakably beautiful. Bishop is known for its spectacular mountains, hiking, fishing, and year-round outdoor recreation. I think you'll see why shortly.

It took us about an hour to hike to this lake, Long Lake. It's just one of the many beautiful lakes out of Bishop Creek. The trail was uphill all the way, but not as steep as our hike on Day Two. (Seriously, it really was uphill...I promise!) Stay tuned for Day Two...that hike was the bomb!

Do you see Julianne perched on the rock in the background? She and my daughter, Jessica, were pretty funny. Julianne didn't want to go but Jessica made her. What troopers!

Don't laugh at my hat, okay? It's floppy, I know, I keeps the sun off my face and out of my eyes. (Less wrinkles, I'm hoping!) In my August scrapbook classes, the theme of our layout is "No One Is Quite Like Me." My goofy, floppy hat is what makes

Can you tell we're excited to have made it?? (The girls made me remove my hat for the picture. They're no fun!)

I'll see you in the next post with a few more images from Day Two!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coulda Used Some of This Today!

A hike on a beautiful, sunny August day seemed like a good idea. So we got a little bit of a late start...what's the big deal? Well...turns out that I don't hike enough. Because if I did, I would have taken some chocolate...or peanuts...or a granola bar...or something to energize my weary legs trekking back down the trail. I'll write more about our hike later...for now, I have a Chocolate Lover's Survival Kit idea to show you! I could have used one of these today.

My friend (and upline), Karen, gave me a darling treat like this one last week when we were attending Leadership. It made me feel thought of and I had a late night treat to munch on. (Isn't it a great feeling to know someone is thinking of you? I need to do that more...)

The ladies in one of my monthly card classes LOVE, LOVE, LOVE chocolate so this little project was the perfect recipe for a fun, chocolate-filled evening this week. Here's the basic instructions to create your own Chocolate Lover's Survival Kit:

Cardstock: 2 1/2" x 12"
Coordinating B&T paper: 2 1/2" x 12"
Cardstock and/or B&T paper: 3" circle for collar

Cut each out and fold in half. Layer the B&T paper over cardstock. Insert package of M&M's. Staple to the top edge of layered cardstock/B&T paper (one of the open ends). Fold circle in half and attach to the back of cardstock/B&T paper with double stick tape or glue dot. Close the packet all together by folding the circle to the front. Secure with glue dot.

Of course, you'll want to add an extra touch of class by distressing the cardstock and/or B&T paper. The cute little poem on the front reads:

The Chocolate Lover's Survival Kit
At the first sign of anger, eat a RED one.
Eat a BLUE one to minimize depression.
To relieve stress, eat a GREEN one.
If you feel a headache coming on, eat an ORANGE one.
Eat a YELLOW one to cheer you up.
You can eat the BROWN ones at any time.
If all symptoms occur at the same time, EAT THE WHOLE BAG!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Favorite Things - Side 2

I have a brilliant friend! Artistic, too. I wish I could be just like her but that wouldn't make me......well, me. So, I have to be happy just being me and being inspired by her creativity. Like this darling is this! It's the second side to the My Favorite Things layout that we made in my monthly scrapbook group. You know those little leaflets that occasionally come in the mail, advertising different paper crafts? Well, her eye caught this one and she hung on to it for years. Kinda like all of those wonderful papers I hang on to, waiting for just the right photographs to use or journaling that will compliment the theme. Some things are just timeless!

I never cease to be amazed at how all of my wonderful ladies can take the same papers, the same inks, same design and turn it into a work of art. Ahh, so much fun to watch!

For this layout, we used Daydream Paper Pack (#X7108B), Homestead Alphabet (#E1007), and inks in Lilac Mist, Blush, and Sweet Leaf.

See you soon!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Favorite Things - Side 1

I mentioned in a previous post that my monthly scrapbook groups are scrapbooking about themselves this year. One of our themes was My Favorite Things. When I designed the pages, I remember walking through my yard thinking what some of my favorite things are...the smell of flowers, their bright colors, the pond we put in this year, great music while cleaning, naps on Sunday afternoon, our annual family vacation to Pismo Beach, scrapbooking and stamping with friends, and the list goes on and on. What was so neat was how the theme got me to thinking! I do have a lot of favorite things in my life. Here is the first side of the layout. There's lots of room in the lower left section for photos! Watch for the second side in the next day or two. It's the greatest.

I love photographing flowers! Can you guess where this photograph of sunflowers was taken? Hint: It's at an amusement park in California. Post your guess in the comment section of this post - I'd love to know your guess!

Another of my favorite things are the friendships I have with other consultants. Although we may not see each other but once or twice a year, they have a special place in my heart. Here's a fun photo of my friend, downline and sister-consultant, Kristina.

When I feel the need for inspiration, I enjoy watching the latest episodes of Close To My Heart TV. Take a few minutes and treat yourself to some incredible inspiration! Watch the current episode or any of the archived episodes. Whatever you choose, you'll be in for a treat.

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What A Trip! What A Conference!

Traveling is always so much fun! (Lots of work, too!) I love going to new places, seeing new things, and meeting new people. It can also be stressful so going with an attitude of gratitude makes it much more enjoyable. On my trip to Long Beach this past week for the annual Close To My Heart Leadership Conference, I spent oh, probably 3 1/2 to 4 hours in traffic on the LA freeways. Talk about trying my patience. I now know how easy it is to rear-end someone in that kind of traffic...the poor fellow in front of me made the mistake of glancing down at his cellphone and accelerating at the same time. Not a good idea...

I have some incredible announcements to share with you so grab something cool to drink, pull up a chair (and a friend!) and be prepared to be WOWED!

To begin with, check out this amazing layout. It's the beginning of something so big and wonderful that you'll pop with excitement!

Announcement 1: Studio J

The folks at Close To My Heart corporate office are absolutely brilliant. Beginning in early 2010, you will have the opportunity to scrapbook online in a digital environment. This, however, isn't any old digital is exclusively a Close To My Heart digital environment where, with a click of the mouse you can add your photographs to any of 40 exclusive Close To My Heart layouts, add embellishments such as My Stickease, change the color of your paper and ribbon or reposition your title. It's completely amazing...and that's just the beginning! With the look and feel of classic Close To My Heart scrapbooking, you're sure to grow your scrapbooks much quicker. I plan to incorporate both classic and studio designing in my scrapbooks. I hope you'll join me.

For a preview of what's to come, head on over to Close To My Heart's homepage and click on Studio J. The excitement begins now...!

Announcement 2: August Customer Special

Close To My Heart extends a big Thank You to its loyal customers this month by way of FREE products. With any $100 purchase, you will receive the August Stamp of the Month, It's Your Day, along with a FREE package of My Reflections Background & Texture paper AND free tax and shipping/handling. You won't want to put this off, though...the offer is effective from August 3 - 17. Take advantage of it by calling me (760)873-3994, e-mailing me, or placing your order online at my website.

One of the best things about being a Close To My Heart consultant is being able to spend time with my sister consultants. Over the years many of them have become my not only my friends but also my inspiration. I love these people! I'll post some photos of some of my friends tomorrow along with some highlights of the Director's dinner.

Until then!