Monday, April 26, 2010

Studio J is HERE!

Do you have your calendar handy? How about a red pen? No? Well, I'll wait a minute while you grab one. Got one? I hope so because this is a RED LETTER in Letter "J." Studio J that is!

I am here to announce the customer release date of Close To My Heart’s AMAZING new digital scrapbooking program, Studio J. The 2 layouts you see here were made by little old me during our consultant testing period. Trust me, you're going to LOVE this! Our tagline is: Real life. Real scrapbooks. Real time.

You are going to want to carefully read this whole post. It will be worth every juicy little tidbit!

To answer a few commonly asked questions:

Q: Well, get on with it Kim. When is the dang release date?
A: TUESDAY, APRIL 27, 2010. 7 AM PST. Just go to my website ( and there will be a tab added that day for Studio J. Click there and you can begin playing...for FREE! You pay NOTHING unless you order some layouts. Putting them together is TOTALLY FREE! I love free! In the meantime, if you haven't watched the Studio J introductory video yet, click here to do it!

Q: I LOVE traditional scrapbooking. Will Studio J take away from that?
A: Absolutely NOT! There is room for both in your life. I am living proof. I love them both for totally different reasons. I love the artistic feel of hands on paper and embellishments. I love the speed and ease and professional look of Studio J. Plus, you can always order Studio layouts and then add a few traditional embellishments of your own once they come if you have a serious need to do the tactile thing.

Q: I am not a traditional kind of scrapbooker. I have been scrapbooking digitally for years. Is Studio J something that I will like?
A: No doubt about it! I have looked at and tried several different digital offerings out there, and in my opinion, NOTHING can compete with Studio J in quality, concept, cost or beauty!

Q: So seriously, how much does it cost?
A: There is NO COST to use the program. You have no software or hardware to purchase or download. Unless you make a layout (defined as a two page 12 x 12 layout) and decide to purchase it, there is absolutely no cost. Once you decide to purchase, each 2 page layout is introductory priced at $12.95. That is WAY below the industry average! And, if you purchase 5-9 two-page layouts at a time, CTMH will throw in 5 free page protectors. 10 or more and you get FREE SHIPPING, as well as a package of 5 page protectors for every 5 layouts in the order. Cool beans! Once ordered, Close To My Heart prints your layouts on high quality photo paper (I wish you could see the quality of my photographed layouts above in person) and sends them to you. Mine arrived within days of when I ordered them.

Q: What if I make a layout and want to save it and purchase it with a group of layouts at a later date?
A: No worries, girlfriend! That is actually the smart way to do it anyway. CTMH will save your projects for 90 days. And, every time you make a purchase your 90 days start over. So, say you make several layouts and then purchase them on day 80. Your 90 day clock starts over. They are saved again.  On top of all of that, CTMH even emails you periodically to remind you where your project clock is.

Q: In a nutshell, how does this "Studio J" thing work?
A: In a nutshell, these are the steps to creating an amazing 2 page layout:
• upload some of your favorite photos
• choose from one of the 54 awesome kits (including most of your faves from our Idea Books plus some that are exclusive to Studio J).
• choose a layout pattern. There are MANY to choose from. They are like the patterns you'll find in our wonderful "how to" books like Cherish, Imagine, Reflections. The possibilities are endless because all the patterns you can choose from can be rotated 3 ways and flip flopped.
• now personalize! You get to drop your photos in, add text, choose cardstock and background and texture papers from the kit, add accessories (just about every accessory item you can imagine!), distressing, titling, MyStickease, and so much more.
• save and/or buy your layout(s).
Q: If I'm not the techiest of techies, or even techie at all, will I be able to do this?
A: YES! This program is great for techies and non-techies alike. The program is VERY intuitive. I only had to refer to the user's guide/help document one time while I was creating my layouts.

I am SOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED about this program. I know you are going to love it too. So, take that red pen I made you run and get and mark Tuesday, April 27 at 7 am PST on the calendar. You won't want to miss it!

If you have any questions, I am MORE than happy to answer them. Email me at If you have lots of friends who love digital, you might even want to consider signing up to be a Close To My Heart Consultant with your own website so that you can make money (cha-ching) while they fall in love with Studio J! You can do that right now while you are waiting for Tuesday. Just click here, then on "Your Opportunities" and then follow the prompts. You can become a Close To My Heart Consultant for as little as $99!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

8 months

Eight months ago, Kara headed off for her first year of college at BYU. She was so young - only 17 years old and I was so worried about her. All of you mom's know exactly that type of worry. It's almost like the first day of school all over again - only their not 5 heading off to Kindergarten! It's not that you don't think they can handle themselves, for you know as a parent just how very capable your child is. It's that worry of will she get along with her roommates? Will they be nice to her? Will she be able to get up in time for classes each day? Will she be able to handle shopping for & cooking her own food, doing her own laundry, while getting her homework done etc? It's the fear of will she meet someone and get engaged? (YIKES!) Lucky for us, I had instilled in Kara a deep fear of death if she got engaged her freshman year of college! ULTIMATELY it's the worry of once she's tasted life on her own will she ever want to come home again.

Of course, the year has had it's ups and downs. She did get along with her roommates... most of the time. Her actual roommate was great, just never home. It's the fact that they have 6 girls sharing a dorm - that can get tricky even with the best of friends at times. She was able to get up and make it to class... most of the time. She ablsolutely loved her Book of Mormon professor, struggled a bit with Economics, but hey that's to be expected eh? It's a hard class! She did find a way to shop for food & cook it... most of the time, even learned a few new recipes from roommates (which I am excited for her to share with us when she gets home! YUM!). She did get most of her homework done, not all of it, but we won't go there. She DIDN'T get engaged - so YEAH she gets to live yet another year! Best of all she WANTS to come home again! Kara joined the RHA (Resident Hall Association) at the beginning of the school year. From what I understand they are over all the clubs & on campus housing groups and organize functions & service projects for students. This was a volunter thing although she did get school credit for it. But this has turned into a fabulous on campus job that she will be able to keep for the rest of the time she is attending BYU! Such a HUGE blessing, that will help pay for her schooling. She also was called to teach the gospel doctrine class at church, which I think she absolutely enjoyed doing. It gave her a stronger understanding of the Old Testament and I think she learned a lot about herself as a teacher as well.

Eight months ago I sent my little girl off to school. She was a little scared and nervous of what awaited her, and yet extremely excited at the same time. What a difference eight months can make in our lives. How thankful I am for the experiences that she has had while away at BYU for they have molded her into the woman who will shortly be returning to my home for the summer. I am so proud of her, so thankful to my Heavenly Father for sending her, for intrusting me with her care. She is my daughter, but she is also my friend whom I've missed dearly. I look forward to days filled with laughter,and nights filled with deep conversations & quiet moments.

Eight months seemed like an eternity to send her off for but truly flew bye. My worrying of what will happen while she is away of course is ended, for now I will enjoy the summer we'll have together for before I can blink an eyelid she will be off again to college. Off on a new adventure and my worrying will start all over again.

My heart is full right now as I think of the woman who will be returning home in a few short hours. I love you my dear! Welcome home!

Monday, April 19, 2010

All I can say is....

Thank you for being my friends.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Recipe Card Box Workshop

May 1st from 9am - noon I'm hosting an EASY recipe box workshop - there is NO STAMPING for this project! This cute box features some of the NEW products in the 2010 Summer Idea Book that goes live May 1st for Close To My Heart.

The cost for this project is $25 and it includes the Cherry-O My Card Kit (contains: 32 recipe cards - 4 each of 8 designs, 6 - dividers, 3 - 6 x 12 sheets of stickease), My Recipe/Card Box, 2 sheets Cherry-O B&T paper, Buttons & Waxy Flax.

This cute box would make a great gift or if you’re like me and LOVE to collect recipes then you can make this cute recipe box all for yourself! AND because it's SO EASY you could easily sign up to do multiples if you want.

Sign-ups are fast for this one - I need pre-payment by April 22nd to hold your spot. Let me know if you are interested in attending this workshop as space is limited.

Here are a few more images of this box:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A new one to me...

Okay, so maybe I've been under a rock but I'd never heard of a "grandma shower" until I was invited to one back in November for the first time! My dear friend Sue was expecting her first grand baby and a mutual friend from church (waving to Kimmie!) invited me to attend a "grandma shower" she was throwing for her. What do you give the grandma-to-be? I actually googled it when I was invited to see if this was a "real" thing - and low & behold it is! Apparently I'm the only one on the face of the planet who hadn't heard of it!

Buying a gift is always tricky, even when you know the person you are giving the gift to. If you are like me - then you probably second guess yourself, "Will they like this?" "Will they use that?" This is one of the reasons why I like to make the gifts I give. First off, it will hopefully be enjoyed because you spent the time personally to make it and most people would NEVER dream of telling you "why the heck did you give me this?" or ask you where you bought it so they can return it. Hand made gifts are not returnable! Well, I guess that's not totally true - they could actually give it back but that would truly be weird!

I did one time make brownies for a gal (not as a shower gift mind you - but just because it was her birthday and I thought it would be a fun treat to pop over to her). Well it didn't go over very well for when I took them to her house she opened the door, she smiled and then after she held the plate in her hands she gave it back to me saying "OH! NO, NO we don't eat sugar" and then closed the door! It was truly the weirdest thing I'd ever beheld! I stood there for a few moments thinking - hum...why didn't she just smile, take them and then put them in the trash after I'd left rather than telling me to my face - "OH! NO, NO blah blah blah"? WEIRDO ALERT!Anyways, MOST people would NEVER dream of doing something like that - and I'm sure most of you have never and will never experience it either, but it does make me take back the words of "handmade gifts are not returnable" because you could encounter a freak like I did who just might return or reject your gift. Shame on them and it's their loss eh?

Anyways, I opted to make an ABC book for Grandma Sue to use with her new grand baby and the many grand babies to follow. It's small enough to tuck into a bag or purse and I love all the bright colors & pictures to keep the little kiddos busy if even for a few moments. Knowing Sue, I knew she wasn't a freak who would reject my gift and even if she chose not to use it - she would never tell me that she didn't like it. I've attached the pictures of the album for you to see - it's simple to make and I googled the pictures and printed them out myself.
While I didn't shop for the gift, I did give of my time and it is a gift that came from the heart. A gift that hopefully she will find fun and that she will take advantage of those small, quiet moments when her dear grand babies will climb in her lap to sit with grandma as they sing the ABC's, point at the pictures, count numbers or name colors.
It's those tender moments in time that will be the thing that they both will treasure in the years to come a head. Congratulations Grandma Sue! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's about time!

When we bought our house some 6 years ago - it was definitely a fixer-upper. It had been a foreclosure sale and the "homeowner" was not excited about having to move out! She gave away plants from the yard. She poured candle wax down sinks. She had locked her dog in the family room area and he had torn holes in the walls, pee'd on the carpet and torn up the window sills throughout the house. She had a bird which must have flown freely in the upstairs bedroom for there was evidence of bird everywhere! These are just a FEW of the things we encountered as we took possession of the house. Needless to say, we spent some 6 weeks working on the house to get it in shape to live in, and then decided to take a break.

Well, that break turned into 6 years of break - how does that happen? We did some little things along the way, we repainted the whole outside of the house one year, refinished the deck in the back (which unfortunately needs to be redone now - ugh!), we started a landscaping project - never completely finished that project though - note to self, put that back on the to do list!

I guess part of our long dry spell in fixing up the house was that we had to do so much work to it when we bought it. We truly had patched and mended so many spots that the thought of putting holes back into the walls wasn't very appealing. I loved the paint color we chose for the inside of the house, it's a tan shade but in certain lighting it looks green and in other lighting it looks grey. I have found it refreshing to just have a 'clean look' but truly it's needed to be "decorated" for a while and I've just not wanted to even tackle it.

As I mentioned a few posts back, I did tackle the kitchen cabinets a few months ago - sanded, painted, and put new hardware on etc. When I bought that paint for the cabinets I also bought a Barn Red colored paint to add a few accent walls in my house - so I've recently painted those.

When we purchased the house the windows had salmon pink colored window coverings with ruffles - they were putrid to say the least - we quickly tore those off the walls and put in hampton style blinds, but I have thought about adding curtains for a few years now. Recently I found some that I liked, but I now wonder if it's a little too much red with my red wall as well - but I like the warmth that the curtains offer to the room for sure, so they'll be staying for now. It just feels more "homey" if that's a word!?!

When Jeff & I were married we received a clock as a wedding gift. It's lasted all these years and still works just fine but it's a little dated if you get my drift so I set out to find a cute wall clock that could fit in the same space the other had been. At first I wanted a large clock but then felt it would overpower the small space I had for it. The spaces that would fit a large clock I already had large pieces in - like my star and window panes. I finally found this cute London Kensington Train Station clock - which I thought was fun since we'd ridden the trains in London a lot! I hung it over the top of this picture of the Sacred Grove which I absolutely love.

Many of you know that I have a thing for old windows - and that I've purchased a few which hang throughout my house. I also have a couple of old doors - one has been made into a headboard for my bed. The other has a cool handle & lock on it and I've just wanted to hang it on the wall somewhere as decoration. For YEARS it has leaned against a shelf in the garage - and if we've needed to get to something on that shelf we've pushed it to the side to try and get behind it. Doors are so dang heavy! It's sat there because it had a hole in it where the previous owners had their deadbolt. Now, I could have hung it up with the hole but I wanted to find a cool lock to put there or something that would fit the cool lock and handle on the door already.

Our anniversary is in November, Jeff and I took a trip out to Leavenworth this past November to celebrate (it was our first time out there since we've lived in Washington - I know how sad is that?!) - anyways, as "tradition" (which is a joke - poor Jeff knows that I love jewelery) he was going to buy me a necklace I'd seen while window shopping there but what I really wanted was this wrought iron wall art that was at the cute little french crepe cafe' we ate lunch at. Now to be honest, even though I loved the wrought iron I wasn't sure they would sell it as it was a piece of their decoration for the cafe' but I asked the manager anyways if we could purchase the piece that was hanging in the restaurant - the clerks were sure the owners would say no - but to my much happiness they said yes! Jeff thought I was nuts but said we could get it if I really wanted it - you should have seen the looks I got as I strolled down the walkway with my huge wall art piece & a grin on my face headed for the car!

Back to the door, so after Leavenworth Jeff & I set out for Snohomish in search of something that might work to filling the hole in the door. First we thought of getting a lock that would match but locks were nowhere to be found - at least nothing that would work - fit the hole or match the look of the door. I did however come home with a cool circular cover - that was for a doorknob - so it would make the hole smaller at least. It was actually a few days later that I found my big "score" - I'd been on a massive shopping trip - had hit WalMart, Costco and Albertsons and was just heading home when I spotted the old door outside of the antique shop there with a huge sign that said "free" on it! I quickly pulled over - rearranged my car and loaded in the old lead filled door so that I could nab the cool knob off of it! It was truly a find - cool old iron knob that looks amazing! The only thing I would change is to move the lock to the top portion and the knob down but for now - I'm just happy it's up and I can look at it! Maybe in another 6 years from now I'll get the knob moved to the correct placement.

We also got a new light fixture for the dining room. Now if you are like me and love to watch the Amazing Race then you know what a "candle-a-bra" is right?! I just absolutely fell in love with this scrolled fixture and knew I had to bring it home so I could have my very own "candle-a-bra"! Isn't it fun?!

When Kara was a baby we bought an oak dining room table set which I've refinished several times over the years. That table is in super shape still but the chairs had seen better days! I set out to find a new table set - not an easy feet to accomplish - but was pleased when I found this cute black set. Best of all it was VERY affordable and will look great as it gets banged up over the years. Nothing beats a great farmhouse table if you ask me. Anyways, Jeff asked what I wanted to do with the old farmhouse table we'd had - "put it in storage?" Quickly I told him to "cut the legs down so it could be a coffee table". You should have seen his face! I just love how the living room / dining room have turn out - it makes me happy to sit in there.

Now I just need to put the pictures into my window pane that hangs above my couch, oh and then I might need to get new couches...oh the list goes on and on doesn't it?