68% of Women are Lonely, Are You?

Do you miss a place to scrapbook with others?Since the birth of social media, we are a much lonelier people. You may have hundreds of friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but while you watch your friends post about their lives, kids and such, we no longer “have time” to get together and it is causing more adult women to feel very alone.   In the case of new mothers, it also increases feelings of isolation as their activities now have to be worked about the baby’s schedule.

Now, if you use to go to scrapbook stores and use their craft room you have seen store after store close and now there is nowhere to go scrapbook with other like minded people.  I know how hard it is to scrapbook at home, alone. There is usually no space, and full of interruptions so much so that you decide it won’t work and give it up. This is why I have converted my basement into the “Creatively Carol Craft Room”.

The Craft Room seats 12-14 people with plenty of space to scrapbook, create cards or your favorite craft.  If you don’t currently scrapbook or make cards I am offering two introductory classes to introduce you to the craft and a semi-free monthly crop (bring $10 in canned food for the food bank).  There will be three monthly clubs, one will simply be a buying club where you spend a minimum of $25 a month with a 6 month commitment and receive $25 in your choice of papers, stamps and more.  There will also be a monthly scrapbook layout and a card class. You will find more information on these programs on my webpage Creatively Carol  in the next few days.

I am also offering a NapTime Open Crop.  There is a room of the classroom where children can take a nap and a room for babies as well. Your children will be within earshot in case they need you, but hopefully this will allow you to meet others and get in some much needed craft time. There is even a space where you can leave your project layed out in a box lid so it is just as you leave it the next time you come to play. There is a large TV in the kid’s space with a variety of cartoons etc for their entertainment.

So whether you want some time to yourself to craft with others or need to bring the kids so you can get that time to craft, there is a time for you!

You will also find the craft room stocked with papercrafting tools, a die-cut machine, a computer and printer for printing journaling as well as cardstock, printed papers and embellishments for sale.

Please share this post on your facebook page so others will know there is a place to go to scrapbook. Sign up for my mailing list to receive free projects and news of what is happening at the Creatively Carol Craft Room

Cutting Custom SVG Files

Learn to draw your own SVG filesDo you have a Cricut or a Silhouette?  If you are like me you don’t like to have your cutting be limited to a cartridge or things extra you have to buy. When I started with Close to my Heart we didn’t have any connection to a cutting machine.  When the Cricut first came out I bought one and a few cartridges to go with it.  Then Close to my Heart came out with a couple of font discs with fonts to match our stamp sets so you could type your journaling and have them match. I bought a Silhouette and sold my little Cricut.  Discs came out twice and a couple years later Close to my Heart announced they were going to produce exclusive Cricut Cartridges to go with certain stamp sets. I resisted for 2 years, then bought the Cricut Expressions.  Long story short… I now have a Cricut Expressions 2, Cricut Explore Air and a Silhouette!   Some days I think how ridiculous this sounds but I kept the Expressions so my customers here in Utah can use the Close to my Heart cartridges when here in Creatively Carol’s Craft Room.

I don’t like being limited but also don’t want to spend any more money on cartridges and designs than I have to, so I began researching programs to create my own .svg  patterns. The clear choice was Adobe Illustrator but I didn’t want to pay again for another program, after all, I didn’t now if I would even like doing it.

Here are some of the programs the New York Film Academy posted as alternatives to the Adobe Illustrator program.

  1. SVG-Edit  (any browser)
    • This can be used on any modern web browser. SVG-Edit is an editing suite that deals solely in SVG (scalable vector graphics) Six Free Alternatives to Adobe Illustrator which may sound like a restriction but is actually quite useful given the versatility of the format. If you’re scared of getting into SVG editing, you’re missing out, and this will break you in gently. Being a web browser platform also sounds limiting, but again, the speed at which it operates as a result is often superior to desktop counterparts.
  2. Inkscape  (Windows and Linux)
    • As with SVG-Edit, Inkscape is also geared towards those who want to work primarily in the SVG format. Featuring both a clean and intuitive user interface, but packed with advanced futures (such as alpha blending, object cloning and very accurate bitmap tracing), Inkscape comes as a highly recommended free alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
  3. Affinity Designer – for MAC
    • Affinity is a full rasterizing controls, layer management, multiple file format support, infinite zooming and every vector drawing tool you could ever hope for…Affinity Designer could quite possibly become a true illustrator killer. At the moment it’s only available to MAC users as a trial version for free. The full version comes with a price tag of $49.99 with free upgrades for two years, but the free trial is still a remarkably functional and worth a shot if you’re looking for a free editor. It’s even worth it just to play with the infinite zoom function (yes, infinite).
  4. GIMP – All browsers
    • This program works on all platforms, GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program.  GIMP is more of a substitution for Adobe Photoshop Elements rather than Illustrator since it’s vector options are limited but what it can do in terms of image manipulation is second to none. Entirely free, open source, and loved by thousands (which have formed a very active online community since its release).
      • Personally, I found GIMP confusing and downloaded the trial of Adobe Photoshop Elements 15. Last night I received the Costco sales for this next month, and they are offering $40 off so you can buy Elements for $39.99. I will be purchasing this program.
  5. OpenOffice Draw – Windows, Linux and MAC
    • While Apache’s flagship vector illustrator looks a little outdated these days, that’s purely a cosmetic concern. Its still packed with features and is especially geared towards diagram and object manipulation. It also comes with the very handy feature of being able to create Flash (.swf) files from your document.
  6. Serif DrawPlus – Windows
    • The started edition of Serif’s DrawPlus is aimed towards the amateur illustrator given that A) it’s free software, and B) it’s very much scaled-down version of the fuller release, but don’t let that put you off. It’s not limited in any way, there’s no pressure to shell out for the professional edition DrawPlus16, and it does a good job of emulating its heavy weight cousins.

The New York Film Academy says “you might find you need to use a combination of the above free alternatives to Adobe Illustrator to get the job done, but for many people it’ll be worth the cash it saves and you may even find a new favorite.

I will give these a try and let you know my opinion of the offerings, but hopefully in the meantime these may help you create your own cutting designs.


Capturing the Moments with your Phone

Taking great cell phone picturesI ran across this article in my monthly Costco magazine written by Marc Saltzburg and wanted to share it with you.

THE BEST CAMERA, as they say, is the one you have with you.

Oh sure, your digital-SLR-toting friends might get their lanyards all tied in a knot about you hoist­ing your iPhone or Android device. But smartphone cameras have some advantages when it comes to editing and sharing your work. To help you get more out of your summer “phone-ography:’ consider the following tips and tricks.

Turn the phone sideways. Unless you’re taking a picture of the Empire State Building, use the hori­zontal (“landscape”) orientation when taking a photo, as it will look much better on a computer or television later on (that is, no vertical black bars on each side of the photo). Besides, a landscape photo is better for group shots and scenery, as it gets more into the frame. Speaking of scenery, play around with your phone’s panoramic mode for ultra-wide photos.

Get up close and personal. Don’t be shy. Unless it’s a large, growling dog, there’s no reason to be 5 feet away from your subject. Fill the whole frame with your subjects. Going in closer also means you can capture more facial detail, such as light freckling, a charm­ing dimple or soft, pale blues of the iris. Don’t use your phone’s digital zoom, as it might make your photo look pixelated- get closer yourself. Play around with how close is too close, though, as that “macro” shot of a flower petal might look blurry when you look at it later on.

Use the light around you. Avoid using the flash wherever possible; instead, try to use the light that’s accessible, whether it’s overhead  lighting while indoors or, preferably, the sun outside. Cloudy days are great for photos, as they diffuse the sun.

If the sun is out, be sure your back-and not your subject’s-is to the sun or the subject will look like a blacked-out silhouette. The hour before and after sunset creates gorgeous light for photos.

Be a human tripod. If you can help it, don’t hold your phone at arm’s length when taking photos. You’ll probably shake the phone more than you think, which could result in blurry images. Instead, turn yourself into a human tripod by holding the camera with both hands and pulling your arms into

your chest or stomach. You might look a little silly, but you’ll see the difference with your sturdier grip. Position for composition. Instead of placing your subjects in the center of the frame all the time, move them to the left or right to make your photos instantly more powerful and beautiful. Better yet, go in on an angle to add extra energy to the shot. Also, try to match the height of the subject, such as by kneeling on the ground to snap a picture of a toddler, to ensure you’re at eye level instead of angling up or down.

Have fun with filters. Phone cameras usually include filters as part of the software, but there are numerous apps that can help you easily edit and share photos and videos. Some automatically tweak your shots for better color and brightness. Apps like Instagram can add fun filters, such as a sepia finish or a retro ’70s look. Snapchat adds fun animated effects to your pies. Literally thousands of apps are available, for all platforms, so experiment away.

Back up, back up, back up. There’s nothing worse than losing your smartphone and never hav­ing backed up all those photos on it. There are many ways to back them up. One is to plug your phone into your PC or Mac every night to charge it up, and check off the option to back up everything onto the hard drive.

Another option is to take advantage of a free password-protected “cloud” service like OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive or Google Photos­ and have it upload all of your phone’s photos when­ ever you snap them. To save cellular data, you can select to upload only over Wi-Fi.

Finally, some USB thumb drives are wireless and let you back up photos and videos from a phone. It’s worth safeguarding your memories.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and will try out some of the techniques talked about. Please leave a comment below and tell me what you struggle with.


Get Your Coloring Fix with Yuletide Joy

Happy October!  While our minds are on scary things like costumes and candy it is also time to start thinking about those handmade cards and gifts for Christmas.  I know, I said the “C” word, but I would say it now, than have you regret it later.

Christmas Coloring Stamp
Yuletide Joy Stamp Set

Yuletide Joy is October 2016 Stamp of the Month. For 30 days only, you can see this stamp set up close and even purchase this stamp set for either $17.95 or $5.00 by clicking here.

Check out my Facebook Page for the artwork done with this beautiful stamp set. I look forward to sharing more with you through out the month.

Leave me a comment below and tell me if you like to make Christmas Cards and if you are planning to this year.

Christmas Holidays are Around the Corner

Don't Miss the 12 weeks of Christmas Projects
How to make a handmade Christmas card Christmas gift with special bags, tags and wraps.

You can see it in almost every store you walk into, Christmas is just around the corner. Actually there is just over 12 weeks left before Christmas. October 5th starts my annual 12 Weeks of Christmas gift to you. This is only available to people ON MY MAILING LIST.  That is right, if you are not on my mailing list you will not get these weekly e-mails with Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, and bags, tags and wraps.  Every e-mail comes with a project and the directions to create it for yourself.

Do you have friends that like to craft? Now is the time to tell them about this so they can receive their own e-mails. This e-mail series would easily cost you $180 but if you are on my mailing list you receive it for free!

To sign up for my mailing list click here.

What type of scrapbook tape should I use?

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.

Help Your Kids Keep a Journal

I wanted to share with you some thoughts after receiving an e-mail from a friend about their weekend. Here is an excerpt –

Keeping memories foreverOn Saturday, my family attended the annual Gleason Gras.  Gleason Gras is a charity event supporting former New Orleans Saints Safety, Steve Gleason, who was diagnosed with ALS six years ago.  (That’s a picture of John and Steve from Saturday)
Drew Brees, quarterback for the Saints, is a teammate of Steve’s, and a big supporter of the cause.  
At some point, he was throwing footballs to the attendees.  He saw John waving his hands for a pass… threw a perfect spiral in his direction… and John caught it!
My son caught a pass from a Superbowl Champion quarterback (and his NFL hero)!
It’s a memory he will have for the rest of his life, but here’s the thing…who will tell John’s children or grandchildren. What if John looses his memory, this moment in his life with ‘his hero” ? 
There is a very easy way to catch those memories for future generations with minimal effort. It’s called Pocket Scrapbooking!  All you have to do is slide your picture in the protector and have your child journal a line or two about the event.  Here are a couple of the journal cards to give you an idea of how easy it is to just get your child to do a couple sentences for the Picture my Life Scrapbooking.

9/11 Fifteen Years Later

I don’t want to post old images of the twin towers or re-live that day through pictures, I am sure that the news will do plenty of that today – like we could EVER forget it.

I want to share one current bit of trivia – however not trivial at all.

Survivor of 9/11 The 9/11 Survivor Tree at the 9/11 Memorial in NYC: the little tree was found damaged and burned at Ground Zero. It was removed from the site and nursed back to health, then returned to the memorial later on. It now thrives as a tribute to healing, growth, and restoration

Have you take time to record where you were on this day in history?  In 50 or 60 years it will not be prominent on ever channel of the news like so many moments in history… Pearl Harbor, Vietnam War, the day the depression started. Kids will have to learn about it in school. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make it a more meaningful lesson since they only need look at your scrapbook to know where you were, your thoughts and feelings about that day?  I am challenging you to create that layout this week. I haven’t done it either, so I will complete the challenge with you.

Tomorrow is Motivational Monday and I will post a sketch geared toward the 2 page layout I will create. I will share it with you later in the week.

What do you think? Don’t wait until you can no longer remember. Please leave a comment below and share other days in our life history that should be remembered.  My prayers go out to all the families affected by this terrible act May you be comforted this 15th anniversary of the 9-11 attack.

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

October is National Stamping Month and Close to my Heart have a wonderful promotion for you.  Here is a little video:

I know what you are thinking… but this kit comes with pre-printed bases and all the pieces are already cut for you so even if you think you can’t…think again!  I will even do a video to show you how easy it is.  I know you can do this, but it is only available for the month of September so don’t wait.

Visit my website to get your own Create Kindness card kit. The kit comes with everything you need to create a set of 24 adorable cards, including 8 exclusive stamp sets, a block, the ink, pre-printed card bases ( you can even order extra of these)! Even the circles are already cut out for you.

Top everything off at a 15% discount over the retail price at $46.95.  You’re thinking you don’t need the ink or the block, but look how this breaks down if you buy everything separately.

24 card bases, circles and envelopes                         $9.95

2″ x 2″ Acrylic Block                                                     $6.95

Ink Pad                                                                            $2.50 (if you could buy it)

Mini-Stamp Box                                                            $12.95

For a total of   $55.95   now take away the block and ink and you are still paying $46.50! Toss in an alcoholic marker for $5.95 and you qualify for the Blessed Beyond Measure for just $5.

Now you have saved yourself $19.99 and received 27 stamps, 24 bases, envelopes and circles, a 2″ x 2″ acrylic block, an archival black ink pad, and a nice box to keep things in!  An excellent deal for sure and just think of the smiles you can bring to your friends and family!

Here’s the link for the entire Creating Kindness Card Kit.  Create a little more kindness in the world, because kindness changes everything.

Blessed Beyond Measure

Gratitude Faithful Blessed StampsBlessed Beyond Measure is a beautiful stamp set as you can see by thiClose to my Heart Stamp of the Months artwork. You can see the outline of the leaves that can be cut with the Cricut® Artbooking collection (Z3196).   I love the sayings in this stamp set and having them being individual stamps makes them interchangeable. Why not add some depth by embossing the leaves before stamping them. Watch my Facebook page for more artwork through out the month.

Spend $50 and get this Stamp of the Month set for just $5. Each month you can purchase a new D-size stamp set, available for one month only, for just $5. When you place an order of $50 or more in Close To My Heart products, you qualify for this special Stamp of the Month pricing.

S1609, set of 19. Recommended Blocks:
1″ × 1″ (Y1000)
1″ × 3½” (Y1002)
2″ × 2″ (Y1003)
2″ × 3½” (Y1009)

You can order your own set here.



I Survived Another Year at the Utah County Fair!

The Utah CouContact me if interested in the 2017 Fairnty Fair happens every year, the third week-end in August. I have 4 days of pure craziness trying to make everyone happy, and today I don’t have the think in “fair mode”. I am the Vendor Coordinator for the Utah County Fair and I try very hard to make this event a success for all the vendors that have chosen to join us.

While we did not have a carnival this year ( I contracted with a local carnival provider and they went under in April) I do believe it was another successful year.

Look for your Motivational Monday Sketch to be posted a bit later today.

Scrapbooking from a Husband’s View

Scrapbooking article for husbandsHere is a great story for the men in your life that do not understand your scrapbooking/cardmaking obsession. I think it was published many years ago in a scrapbook magazine…

Crack! “What was that?” screamed my wife, Kathy. I looked down to see the scrapbooking mess scattered all over the floor. Then I shook my head. Just my luck-out of all the places in the house, Kathy had decided to pile her things right in my
predetermined path. Didn’t she remember that I always head to the kitchen at night for a glass of milk? That I never turn on the light because I’ve walked that path so many times? Hmm. Kathy’s new “obstacle course” of scrap booking supplies has changed my life. Now I must turn on the light for survival.

Survival: The word may seem a little extreme, but so is my wife’s fury when I accidentally break one of her scrapbooking tools or set something on a page in process. I’ve learned through experience that adaptation is the key to survival when you have a scrapbooking spouse. Here’s how to live-and love- through the entire process.
Bargaining is a great way to show support. You simply allow your scrapbooker to purchase the supplies she says she needs. You make deals where both of you benefit. For example, Kathy and I have a deal that for every dollar she spends toward scrapbooking, I can put a dollar toward my hobby. I’ve already earned enough to buy a new hard drive for my computer! This technique creates a “win-win” situation and prevents confrontations about scrapbooking costs.

If you want to impress your scrapbooker, learn the lingo. Here are a few basic definitions-worded with the non-scrapbooker in mind-to get you started:

  • Acid: Bad, Bad, Bad (but actually refers to an abundance of hydrogen ions)
  • Acrylic Stamps:  Like Rubber Stamps except you can see through them
    Archival: Lasts forever
  • Cardstock: A heavier weight paper used often for bases – usually solid colors
  • Close to my Heart: the premier scrapbooking company  (gift certificates available thru www.CreativelyCarol.com)
    Creative lettering: Making letters fancy
  • Creatively Carol : The scrapbook lady who can help you pick things out for your wife. Carol@CreativelyCarol.com
    Cropping: Cutting out unnecessary parts of pictures
  • Cricut:  Not a bug, but a cutting machine to make stuff
  • Rubber Stamps: Have images on red rubber, can see through, hard to get straight
  • Silhouette: another cutting machine
  • Journaling: Writing descriptions to go along with photos

By learning the lingo you move up the evolutionary scale. You become a more attractive and educated mate.

Ever wondered how your wife can spend so much time on a page? Try it yourself. Create a page or two (see Figure 1), but be prepared for a dose of humility. Scrapbooking is a difficult task that takes time and talent. You’ll be much
more inclined to give lots of praise.


When your wife finishes a scrapbook page, praise specific things about it. This shows that you are actually looking at the page and noticing details. This is also a great time to practice the lingo


It is best NOT to ask why the page or card too so long to make…

Ladies, this is a great time of year to send this to your husbands. Start your wish list, and give him my information so I can call him and help him with your Christmas Gifts!

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.

Where Do You Find Card Inspiration?


Inspiration for your handmade cards

These days very few people take the time to send a card in the mail, thinking it is perfectly ok to just say what they want in an e-mail or online card… but you don’t get that excitement that going to the mailbox and finding something other than junk mail and bills. I have a step-mother that makes beautiful cards, and we all look forward to them at those special times. What is nice is that we both do very different types of cards. I have posted a couple of her cards before.

Here is the picture I took out of a catalog of which I have never purchased a thing! Catalog cards make great inspirationI get a lot of my inspiration by looking at cards posted in catalogs. Usually it is a color palette or just the basic design of the cards, but something draws me to the cards.    Above is the card I made from the picture.

And FYI – All the directions for this beautiful card were sent to everyone on my mailing list so if you are not signed up, click on the link to the right and sign up now!

Leave a comment and tell me where do you find your inspiration?