Artbooking in August #1

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Artbooking in August Blog Badge

Welcome to Artbooking in August!

Are you ready to get creative with Artbooking in August? If you’ve just come from Katy Taylor’s blog, you are in the right place.  If this is your first stop on the Artbooking in August blog hop, please note that each Monday in August, close to 40 talented CTMH consultants will post artwork to our blogs using the Cricut Artbooking Collection and any CTMH paper pack (even those oldies-but-goodies just waiting for new life as an Artbooking project!).  Our challenge is to create 4 different Artbooking projects, including a 2 page layout, card, mini-book, and home decor or gift item.  You are going to get so many ideas for using the Cricut Artbooking Collection this month that you are going to want to follow all of our blogs and set reminders in your calendar so you don’t miss a single page along the Artbooking in August blog hop!  As you hop along, be sure to leave comments to let the artists know you were inspired by her work.

Pajama Party Inspiration

Join the BPC Pajama Party The day before the Cricut Artbooking Collection was released, Big Picture Classes held a Pajama Party where Stacy Julian previewed the collection.  She provided instructions for creating the layout on the left.  During the PJ party, I cut the pieces with every intention of recreating the sample layout.  Yet, my photos were screaming for some nautical flair, so I pulled out my Tommy kit and went to work.    I ended up with a bright layout that really showcases my focal photos.
Artbooking in August--Ulen01

Artbooking in August Blog Hop

If you keep reading below, I’ll share some tips for creating this layout.  Yet, if you are ready to move along the Artbooking in August blog hop, you’ll want to jump back to the beginning and check out Rebecca Altamirano‘s awesome project.

Layout Tips

Artbooking in August--Ulen02To create this double-page spread, I used the Friendship Layout on page 78.  Since I was down to my last sheet of the map paper in the Tommy kit, I cut out an 11″ square from the center of the paper so that it would fit perfectly behind the large overlay.  I used the remaining piece to frame the left side of the layout.  That’s one way to stretch your paper when you get down to the last full sheet in a kit!  You’ll also notice that I created the look of rope on my banner by putting knots in some Natural Hemp.  Love the way that little touch continues the nautical theme.
Artbooking in August--Ulen03To create the look of chipboard on my title, I cut the “You+Me” icon (page 58) from Outdoor Denim cardstock five times and layered each cut.
Artbooking in August--Ulen04I then placed the same cut in White Daisy.
Artbooking in August--Ulen05Finally, I offset the Cranberry piece on top of the stack to create a bit of shadow for the title.
Artbooking in August--Ulen06My last tip is to add dimension to your Artbooking cuts by inking the edges.  I used a sponge dauber and Desert Sand Ink to give my White Daisy overlay a little more character. If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading my first Artbooking in August post!  I hope you’ll leave a comment before heading on over to Rebecca Altamirano’s blog.  If you would like to order the Artbooking collection and you don’t have a consultant, please visit my online store.

Countdown to Artbooking in August

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Artbooking is here!

artbookingMiniAlbumToday is the launch of the Autumn/Winter 2013 Idea Book and of the Artbooking Cricut Collection.  There has been a ton of buzz online about this collection.  I’ve been playing with it for the past few weeks, and it is worthy of the hype!  Like the other CTMH cartridges, it has 700 images which is amazing in and of itself, but that’s not what makes this cartridge groundbreaking.  What is so revolutionary about it is that each themed layout is linked, so you only have to enter your size or set your dial once, and everything will cut to a perfect size for that layout or mini-album.  It is seriously fool proof!  So, it is perfect for the beginner, but advanced Cricut users will also love that you can unlink the images and cut them at any size you desire using the Real Dial key.

Artbooking in August

blog badge 2To show you how versatile this collection is, 40 CTMH consultants are banding together to bring you the Artbooking in August blog hop!  We will show you how to create layouts and mini-albums since that is the main purpose of Artbooking, but we are also going to share cards, home decor and gift items to show you that this collection is just for scrapbookers.  If you love papercrafting, then Artbooking is for you.

So, how do you participate?  Visit my website each Monday in August to view my project and tutorial.  Then you will simply click on the next link to start hopping from blog to blog.  Remember that we all work hard to bring you great artwork, so feel free to Pin and to leave comments along the way!

CDA2009_Tommy07Are you ready for a sneak peek at my first project?!  I can’t wait to share the rest of this layout with you on Monday!

While you wait, I encourage you to read my newsletter, browse the new Idea Book online, and contact me if you would like to attend my launch party on Saturday, August 3.  This is a must attend event as I’m having lots of giveaways and huge sales on retired product!

To Blog Me or Not To Blog Me

Posted on in Random Thoughts 12 Comments

Myth Tickle by Justin ThompsonI’ve been debating the age old question “To Blog Me or Not To Blog Me” as of late.  When Studio Scrapping was over at Blogger, it made sense to keep it a scrapbooking only blog.  I was using it for my Close To My Heart business, so I wanted to keep the focus on scrapbooking.  Yet, once I made the decision to purchase the amyulen domain, something happened in my mind.  I am so much more than a Close To My Heart Consultant.  My life’s focus isn’t being a business person.  I’m a teacher.  Period.  Honestly, that’s it.  I’m a teacher!  I love teaching people about the art of memory keeping.  I love to show them fun stamping techniques.  Yet, that’s not all.  I love teaching students, teachers, and other interested adults about Shakespeare!  I love incorporating technology into everything I do.  I love teaching online and am developing a new course over at Curious.  I love talking about young adult literature, Star Trek, scrapbooking, and Shakespeare.  Oh, have I mentioned those two already?  I have a scrapbook about how much I love ShakespeareNerd alert–I also have a scrapbook about all the Star Trek stars I’ve met and experiences I’ve had!  Did you know I was on an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise?

To Blog Me

That’s my answer.  I don’t have many followers, so if you come across this post, I would love to read your thoughts about it.  I’m totally okay with talking to myself as this is going to be my one-stop-memory-keeping-spot, but it is far more fun when it is a conversation.

Coming Soon To a Blog Near You

I’m going to start a list of the things I want to update/change/add:

  • Add more categories to the blog to better represent my interests.
  • Blog more frequently about topics that interest me.
  • Update the My Story section to add information about me as a teacher, Shakespeare enthusiast, and Star Trek geek.
  • Convert Shakespeare High to a WordPress and add it to this site (I’ll still keep the Shakespeare High domain name!).
  • I’m sure I’ll think of more later, but this is plenty to get me started.  I only have a few weeks of summer left, so I better not waste time!

Free Photo Editing Class!

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Free Photo Editing ClassJessica Sprague is offering another free photo editing class that starts next week.  Even better than a free week long class is that she will add another week if she reaches her enrollment goal.  Not going to be in town that week?  Not a problem!  As a Close To My Heart consultant, I’ll be at convention next week, but I’ll be able to access the content when I get home.  That’s the beauty of Jessica’s classes, once you purchase (or sign up in this case) a class, you have forever access to the videos, handouts, and supplies.

Not a scrapbooker?  Not a problem!  Much of what Jessica teaches us about Photoshop and photo editing has nothing to do with scrapbooking.  If photos are a part of your life, you will love to learn some creative editing techniques.

Don’t have Photoshop?  What’s wrong with you?!  LOL!  Just kidding!  Seriously, you can download the full version of Photoshop Elements for a 30-day free trial.

Still not interested?  That’s okay.  I hope you will still sign up for the free class to help the rest of us get another 6 days for FREE!

More Online Classes

I’m truly a life-long learner!  In addition to taking classes at, I’m also a huge Big Picture Classes fan.  One of the great things about Big Picture Classes is that they have a rewards program.  If you sign up for the site using this link, we will both be rewarded with a 10% coupon for our next class after you make your first purchase.  It’s a win-win for both of us!

My Current Classes

Right now I’m taking two online classes.

Leave a comment below if you sign up for the class.  Also, let me know about your favorite online classes.

Creative Memories Australia Lives!

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Creative Memories Australia LivesI’m so excited for all the Creative Memories Australia Consultants, because Close To My Heart recently announced that they are expanding in the Australia and New Zealand markets.  This is fantastic news for all those Creative Memories Australia consultants who thought their businesses were gone after CM closed the doors in Australia and New Zealand.  I can’t even imagine how frustrating that must have been for them…especially for the real business builders who made it their livelihood!

Close To My Heart is working with “long-time in-country expert Brian O’Callaghan, former General Manager of Creative Memories Australasia, as well as Susan Wilmot and Diane Lampert, both successful former Senior Directors of Creative Memories Australia. Together, the US-based Close To My Heart team and Australia-based team have begun collaboration on product mix, pricing, compensation plans and anticipate offering a unique opportunity for former Creative Memories Consultants and their entire teams as well as others interested in a ground-floor business opportunity in scrapbooking and stamping.”

What that says to me is that the Creative Memories Australia consultants are going to be able to keep their teams intact.  That’s fantastic news for them!  Close To My Heart is holding events just for the Creative Memories Australia consultants in July.  Existing consultants are allowed to bring two of their very best customers to these events where they will get to work with the products and learn more about the business opportunity.  I have a feeling that Close To My Hear Australia will grow like crazy in July!  If you live in Australia or New Zealand, visit the Events page for more information.

The New Zealand market will open up a month or two after Australia.  For more information as it becomes available, or to review frequently asked questions, visit

I can’t wait to see what all our crafty cousins Down Under create with their new Close To My Heart products!

Canvas Art Leftovers

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Canvas Art WOTG LayoutAfter finishing the Canvas Art Workshop on the Go, I realized I had a ton of product left over, so I set to work on creating this layout.  I had extra photos from our trip to Greece, but I didn’t feel the need to make another layout about the trip.  Since I created this layout on our 23rd wedding anniversary, I decided to focus on that event using the photos I had on hand.  It’s a good thing I didn’t try to use pictures from our date that night…we went to Taco Time!  LOL!  Now, it isn’t as unromantic as it sounds…we did go to Taco Time on our first date.  It was one of the main hangouts for kids in Moscow, so we spent a lot of time there.  Since I try to avoid food like that now, Neal usually goes during the week with a buddy from work, but this was a special occasion.

Layout_CanvasWOTG2013_4Because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on this–it was our anniversary after all–I stuck as close to the original design as possible.  I did have to break out some Kraft cardstock for the base and Sparkles Flourishes (Z1708) since the original Canvas Art kit only came with one.  Other than that, I had plenty of Canvas Art leftovers to work with.  In fact, I still have 11 pieces of chipboard to use on cards or other projects!  I also elected to use the Trinity Alphabet (E1021) for Neal’s name since I already used the “Love” from the Canvas Art Workshop on the Go stamp set.  I broke out my other favorite set from the Spring/Summer 2013 Idea Book, Sightseer (C1534), to use the arrow stamps.  I think they add the perfect finishing touch to my embellishment clusters.  I used the retired set, Noteworthy (D1329), for the journaling lines.  Whenever I want to save time on a layout, I always use my own handwriting for the journaling.

Layout_CanvasWOTG2013_2Canvas Art Leftovers Bloopers

If you want to recreate my layout, I hope you will learn from my mistakes:

  • I used a Smash brand date stamp and it was terrible!  I love my Smash books and bought this stamp ages ago since it had cute phrases such as “I love this” and “Oh, snap!” There are two problems with it, so I doubt I’ll use it again.  (1) It isn’t self inking, so my ink got all over the stamp.  (2)  It was difficult to get a clear image from the excess ink on the stamp and the varying heights of the letters.  Talk about frustrating!  I stamped it on 4 sides of cardstock and finally gave up.  Pretty sure that I’m getting rid of that stamp at my next garage sale.
  • Layout_CanvasWOTG2013_3The Cocoa pigment ink is not nearly as dark as my Canvas Art project.  I should have had extra Cocoa pigment ink squares for my club members as there wasn’t enough ink in that little square for all of us.  Just a reminder when using pigment ink…you don’t need to press it hard.  Lightly pounce the ink over your image until you have even coverage.  A little goes a long way since the ink is so vibrant.
  • Be sure to cut your flourish so that part of it hangs out below the small yellow frame.  I didn’t do that with the Canvas Art project, and I really wish I would have.

Canvas Art Workshop on the Go

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Croppin' Cuties May 2013 ~ Canvas Art WOTGI had such a great time creating the Close To My Heart Canvas Art Workshop on the Go with the Croppin’ Cuties this morning!  I really hope that Close To My Heart continues to come out with home décor projects like this.  I also hope that they start offering this 12×12 canvas as a stand-alone item in the new Idea Book!  I would love a whole series of these on my wall.

Amy's Canvas Art WOTGOne of the great things about this kit is that it comes with two sheets of Dimensional Elements that coordinate with each other.  That gave us all a lot of flexibility in choosing the shapes we would use on our projects.  I’m hanging this is my family room which is yellow and green, so the blue/green/brown color combo worked best for me.  I now have all the left over red and yellow Dimensional Elements shapes to add to a scapbook layout or cards.

Maya's Canvas Art WOTGIn addition to being really easy to put together, we found that the kit worked for a variety of photos.  We had themes as varied as travel, children (including fur babies), and spouses (including Then & Now photos).

Melanie's Canvas Art WOTGThe other thing that I love, love, LOVE about this kit is the stamp set!  It is absolutely perfect for scrapbooking!  I made a box of Project Life style journaling cards as soon as I got this stamp set.  Now I use it on almost all of my layouts because I love the way the arrows draw attention to my journaling.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted my Project Life cards on the blog…I know I have posted photos on my Instagram.  The Croppin’ Cuties are doing Project Life cards next month, so I’ll get them posted before then.

Kristy's Canvas Art WOTGProject Tips:

  1. Use Finishing Files to remove the little “nubbies” from the Dimensional Elements before stamping.
  2. Stamp immediately as pigment ink takes a little time to dry.
  3. Place some Bonding Memories Glue on the inside edge of the back of the DE frames and then lay the frames down on the photo for perfect placement.  Although I didn’t need it, I added a couple pieces of regular tape on the back of my photos just to be safe.
  4. The kit comes with a little Cashmere Baker’s Twine, but it also looks really good with the Chocolate Baker’s Twine from the Neutral collection.
  5. When placing the sparkle flourish, release the bottom from the carrier sheet first and work your way up.  It also looks good to cut the flourish in 1/2 so that the bottom can stick out below the small frame.

Order Your Canvas Art Kit Today!

This kit is really easy to put together on your own.  You just want to make sure that you have a Cocoa pigment ink and some Liquid Glass.  When you place your order, be sure to join my monthly Mystery Hostess gathering.  If the sales for that month total $150 or more, you will be entered into a drawing for free Hostess Rewards!

Join a Club!

Crafting is so much more fun with friends, so let me know if you would like to start your own or join one of my clubs.  Every time we meet, one of our Cuties is the hostess.  She brings snacks and earns the Hostess Rewards!  The clubs also get the benefit of my instruction during the workshops.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Relief for Oklahoma Campaign

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oklahoma-tornado-may2013As I sat glued to my television earlier this week fearing for the lives of those caught in the path of the tornado, the Close To My Heart team jumped into action and planned the Relief for Oklahoma Campaign.  This is a company that truly cares, and I’m so proud to be part of the Close To My Heart family.  I hope you will help support the Relief for Oklahoma Campaign by purchasing the A True Thank You ($2.95 retail) stamp set—100% of the profits will be donated to the American Red Cross!

Relief for OklahomaIn addition to Close To My Heart’s financial generosity in supporting the relief efforts in Oklahoma, they are giving us all a little gift by releasing A True Thank You early!  This stamp comes from the Autumn/Winter 2013 Idea Book which won’t be released until August 1.   The sneak peek leads me to believe that we are going to get many more M-size stamp sets!  Like the monogram stamps released last year, A True Thank You calls for a 2”x2” block, so it is the perfect size for cards.  I also envision using the “you” portion of the stamp as journaling or a small title on a scrapbook layout.

What also excites me about this stamp is the style of line art on the word “you.”  I hope this is a new series of sentiment stamps!  I have a feeling that I’m also going to get a lot of use out of my alcohol markers and watercolor pencils/waterbrush with this stamp.  If you are into fussy cutting, it might be fun to cut the letters out on the inside line and then layer them over the fully stamped image.  I’m sure I’ll do that at least once to see how it looks.  So many ideas are floating around my head…I can’t wait to get this stamp set!  Yet, as much as I’m looking forward to the creativity this stamp inspires, I know that it will become a fast favorite because it will always remind me of the small part I did to help CTMH support the Relief for Oklahoma Campaign.  I really hope you will join me by placing your order today!

So, here is how you can help support the American Red Cross efforts in Oklahoma.

  1. Visit
  2. Click on “Special Promotions,” choose the quantity of stamps you would like to buy, and hit the “Add to Cart” button.
  3. If you are purchasing these stamps as a gift for the crafty friends in your life, you may also want to pick up the 2” x 2” (Y1003) block.  If they are new to stamping, you may also want to get them the Spritz Cleaner (1778) and Stamp Scrubber (Z1782).
  4. Since the minimum amount of shipping you will pay is $4.95, I would also use this as an opportunity to stock up on some other products.  The “While Supplies Last” section has some great deals.  I’m super fond of the My Legacy Writers® Black Pen set.
  5. Don’t forget the great deal that is already going on this month—if your purchase totals $35, you can get the Dream Pop kit for only $10.  Bump your total up to $50, and you can add the Stamp of the Month on for only $5 more.  When you purchase the Dream Pop kit, I’ll supply cutting instructions for two double-page spreads, three cards, and some treat tubes!

Because I really want this campaign to be a success, I’m going to give away any hostess rewards this party earns.  If you use the link above and our party totals $150 or more, I’ll select at least one winner from everyone who makes a purchase to earn the FREE hostess rewards. 

Thank you in advance for helping support Relief for Oklahoma!

Scrapbooking with Cricut and Dream Pop

Posted on in Cricut, CTMH, Scrapbooking 1 Comment

hy have I been neglecting my blog as of late you may ask?  It’s because I’ve been busy celebrating National Scrapbooking Month with Cricut and the May CTMH specials, Dream Pop & Pinwheel Stamp of the Month.  I can’t get over how excited I am about this kit!  Here is a quick video about the special from CTMH:

Dream Pop Kit & Cricut ShapesDream Pop

Now, I will be the first to admit that I’m surprised by how much I love this kit.  The colors are far brighter than what I would typically choose for myself.  Even so, I found the perfect photos to match the papers for the Dream Kit Workshop on the Go from a Disney cruise!

Use the Artiste Cricut cartridge to cut these cute pinwheel shapes!Cricut & the May Pinwheels Stamp of the Month

What is even sweeter is that CTMH provided a Workshop on the Go for us this month using this kit and the May Pinwheels Stamp of the Month.  I used the Artiste cartridge to cut the journaling tag and large pinwheel shapes.  Stamping on the Cricut shapes is a snap, but I still had to cut out the smaller shapes for layering.  It’s totally worth the time I spent on this layout, because it makes me happy!

I’ll share more of my Dream Pop layouts this week.  Contact me if you want your own kit and Workshop on the Go directions.



Dress Up Cricut Shapes

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youreTweet02There is so much to love about being a CTMH Consultant. The thing I love the most is feeling like I’m part of a huge family. For instance, consultants have a private discussion board where we share ideas and seek feedback on artwork. Recently, the fantastic Adeline Brill requested testers for her new Cricut class. I was more than happy to help.

youreTweet01Her instructions were designed for the original Expression, but I have the E2. As an intermediate Cricut user, I like the challenge of figuring out the E2 menu system as it definitely differs from the dials and buttons on the Expression. I’m looking forward to blogging about some of the tips and tricks I learned. I may even try to shoot a video using the Cricut pens since those were new to me!

D1540Until then, I want to share a quick tip for dressing up your Cricut shapes. Often a shape cut out of cardstock can lack the texture needed to make it pop on a patterned piece of paper. To add a bit of dimension to the borders cut with Artiste and Art Philosophy, I stamped them in a coordinating ink using the In the Background stamp set. I love how the subtle color variation adds depth to the border.

April2013-CC-JoinMyTeamThe “You’re Tweet” sentiment comes from this month’s Stamp of the Month, My Sunshine. You can get it (and three others) for FREE by joining my fantastic team and the wonderful CTMH family this month!

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