Thursday, June 17, 2021

Close To My Heart ~ Photos to Take This Summer

 Photos to Take This Summer, and What to Do with Them!

Pictures to Take This Summer #closetomyheart #ctmh #summerphotos #photoideas #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #summer

We will be rolling out those hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer real soon, and to prep we’ve compiled a list of photo ideas so they won’t be so “hazy” come fall (how “lazy” and “crazy” these next couple of months are is up to you! 😉)

Whether you’ll be going on a huge vacation or planning on sticking around locally, there is so much life to capture during the summertime. The best part, these moments don’t require extravagant locations or fancy dress. All you need is you and your people and, of course, your camera.

Before we jump into our list of photo ideas, let’s talk about what to do with all of these photos once you have them. The worst thing you can do is take hundreds of awesome photos and then loose them to the seemingly bottomless pit of a gallery that you have saved on your phone or on social media, to never be seen again. Let’s just not do that this year. We can do better, and here’s how.

The first step is to turn digital images into printed pictures. We all take multiple photos of the same thing to get that “perfect pic.” Choose your favorites, print these off, and then delete the rest (you can do it!).

The next step is deciding what you want to do with these printed pictures—do you want to scrapbook all of them or put a few on display?

If scrapbooking is not your thing, make it your thing! It is not an archaic medium, and it certainly is not obsolete. One of the wonderful things about scrapbooking is that it combines your creativity with your photos and memories in a way that is personal and unique to you. If you already journal this way, a scrapbook is not that different. In a scrapbook, however, your memories will be better preserved through the years because your pages are in clear plastic pockets we call Memory Protectors™.

Pictures to Take This Summer #closetomyheart #ctmh #summerphotos #photoideas #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #summer

Regardless of whether scrapbooking is or isn’t something you’re into, if you’ve got a lot of summer photos that you want to put in an album, pocket scrapbooking is a great solution to quickly scrap all of your photos (even those photos that you may have multiples of because you couldn’t pick just one as your favorite). Add journaling, a few pieces of paper here and there, and you’re done!

Pictures to Take This Summer #closetomyheart #ctmh #summerphotos #photoideas #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #summer

If you’ve got a lot of pictures of one particular subject, like a trip or a person, the Short Story approach by Story by Stacy™ may be the way to go. The instructional workbook walks you through the process of visual storytelling in a 6″ × 6″ album, using a large group of photos topped off with a personal story written at the very end.

Pictures to Take This Summer #closetomyheart #ctmh #summerphotos #photoideas #memorykeeping #scrapbooking #summer

Displaying your summertime fun is definitely something we encourage! You can frame individual photos or create collages of all shapes and sizes. Add stickers, patterned papers, journaling—whatever will fit with the feelings you’re hoping to capture and the story you want to tell.

Now, as promised, here’s a list of photo ideas to take this summer. Use them all, just a few, or maybe use these as a jumping off place to new ideas of your own. Whatever you do, find and capture moments during this summertime so you’ll not only have an answer to the “so, what did you do this summer?” question, but also a keepsake for yourself and your family for years to come.

SUMMER PHOTO IDEAS

  1. Wearing sunglasses
  2. Lounging in the sun
  3. Tan lines
  4. Enjoying a cool summer treat
  5. Summer beverage
  6. Summer reading
  7. Seashells
  8. Flowers
  9. Sunset
  10. Working on a summer craft

  11. Favorite summer footwear/“where I stand”
  12. Fireworks
  13. Summer bbq/cook-outs
  14. Water fight
  15. American flag/July 4th decorations
  16. Patriotic clothing
  17. Fireflies
  18. Sun flare
  19. Road tripping/vacation
  20. Beach landscape

  21. Feet in the sand
  22. Eating watermelon
  23. Bubbles
  24. Blue skies/summer clouds
  25. Family time
  26. Shopping
  27. Kites
  28. Summer dress/beach hat/go-to summer outfit
  29. Ducks
  30. Temperature (on a thermometer/screen)

  31. Mani/Pedi
  32. Attending a sporting event
  33. Deck chairs
  34. Riding bikes
  35. Silhouettes on a bright sunny day
  36. Fun in the yard
  37. Fun on the water (boating/paddle boarding, etc.)
  38. Car wash
  39. Local carnival/fair
  40. Enjoying the outdoors (nature walks/hiking/camping/bonfire)

  41. Summer garden (veggies/flowers)
  42. Sidewalk chalk
  43. Summer love
  44. Pets outside (on a walk/at a park)
  45. Kids taking photos
  46. Around the house
  47. Colorful fruit
  48. Golden hour lighting (about an hour before sunset or an hour after sunrise)
  49. Your front porch
  50. Nap time
From:  https://blog.closetomyheart.com/2021/06/16/photos-to-take-this-summer-and-what-to-do-with-them/

Monday, June 14, 2021

Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix


I read a lot of book reviews and think perhaps I should be writing my reviews more like them . . . you know a blurb about the book and then a blurb about the author and then finally my opinion . . .  but you can find all that easily enough if you decide you want to buy the book or get it from your local library . . .

I think I will just stick to writing about what I find interesting and hope that some of you will be interested to.

Tangled Ashes is a very interesting book.  I say that in the best possible sense.  It is full of very interesting and complex characters.  Some of them are pretty damaged but you will still root for them throughout the book in hopes they will find redemption, resolution or peace.  I particularly liked that every time I thought I had figured out all the mysteries Ms. Phoenix would throw in another angle.  Good going!  I had no choice but to keep reading just to figure everything out.  Some of the curve balls I definitely didn't see coming.

What's the book about?  Architect Marshall Becker arrives in France with the job of renovating an old castle after some serious pushing from his friend slash business partner who hopes that getting away would help Becker get a grip on his personal issues.  The book is also about the castle itself,  It was used for some rather nefarious purposes by the Germans in World War II and the results of this use have come back to haunt the castle, not in the ghostly sense but in the sense that this is where a resolution needs to be found for some of the victims.

There is a lot of drama and great characters and mysteries in this book and it is definitely a good read.  If I could find one flaw it would be that the writing lacks a sophistication which I am sure the author will develop with time and experience.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Book Review: The River

The River:  A Novel by Michael Neale is a good story with a heart-warming ending.


Gabriel Clark is traumatized as a child when he witnesses his father's death while trying to save someone drowning in the river.  The river he had always loved was now his enemy and he is happy to move away to live with his mother.  He grows up distant and timid, not quite fitting in.  Even though he does have some close relationships, he is never totally able to trust and share with anyone.

Excellent writing and easy to read.  For me, the best part about the writing was that Gabriel’s story came out gradually and in a realistic way.  You don’t learn about a person in a few minutes.  It takes time.  Neale takes that time.  

As an adult Gabriel goes on a camping trip and ends up back by the river.  He feels the pull of the river even as he fears it.  An opportunity is offered and he learns to love the river and forgive it.  He realizes he was made for the river . . .  

Monday, May 31, 2021

Book Review ~ Sammy, Where Are You? An Unconventional Memoir . . . Sort Of by Ira Spector



From the back cover of this outrageously funny book:

Author Ira Spector played poker for years with an artificial turkey inseminator, and had after-tennis "prayer meetings" with his pals where they screamed and shouted at each other and solved all the worlds problems in one hour. He was slowly infected with an itch to document the most memorable episodes in the jar of jelly beans that has been his life.
He chronicles his story in seventy-one essays and poems which are frank and at times outrageous. His eventful and unusual romps through six continents and eighty one countries, the diversity of his career and the characters he met are amply described in this rich narrative.
He talks about:
  • Losing his virginity in a whore house in pre-Castro Havana
  • Barely avoiding a mid-air collision when another airplane flew through his four plane formation.
  • An atheist says a Jewish prayer for the dead with his hand on one of the one hundred skulls wall mounted in a Cambodian prison.
  • The very first piece of art work he ever did-a 24' X 6' sand cast mural for a major department store.
This enticing memoir is a journey through the exciting highs and memorable adventures encountered in one hell of a lifetime.


Ira Spector grew up in Brooklyn and is now retired in the San Diego, California area.  He has met some very interesting characters in his life and traveled to many exciting and exotic locations.   I think his life has definitely been like a jar of jelly beans.  Apparently one day, at the ripe old age (his words, not mine . . . LOL) of 78, he decided to publish some of the more memorable moments in his life. I am so glad he did.

Spector has a really enjoyable writing style and I had trouble putting this book down. In fact, there was more than one occasion when I burst out laughing. Since I read late at night, you can imagine how startled Hal was.  If I had to pick a favourite story it would have to be about the adventures of Sammy.  If you want to know what happened to poor ol' Sammy you will have to buy this book.  The story that made me cry the most was about Spector's visit to a Cambodian prison.

Spector is great at bringing his characters to life, making them dimensional and real to the reader.  His stories show insight into the world and the people in it.   If I could think of criticism it would be the fact that Ira himself often remains enigmatic.

The author has won three honorable mention awards for some of the 66 stories in the memoir, two international contests, and had three stories and one poem published in online publications. His poem, A Senior's Tennis Lament, has been printed in Tennis View magazine.

This is a great read.



Thursday, May 27, 2021

Close To My Heart ~ Scrapbooking in Minutes!

Scrapbooking in Minutes!

Looking for a fast way to scrapbook your photos without jeopardizing the aesthetic of your pages? Craft with Heart™ might be just what you need! Receive scrapbooking kits designed to quickly make two beautiful 12″ x 12″ layouts delivered directly to your door! No more excuses—everyone can be a memory keeper!

Scrapbooking In Minutes #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #scrapbooking #ontheroad

Each kit included in the Craft with Heart™ program is part of our Cut Above® line, which means that all the artwork is pre-designed, including pre-printed base pages and complementary die-cuts and stickers. All you need to bring to the crafting table is a journaling pen, your favorite adhesive, and, of course, your photos!

Scrapbooking In Minutes #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #scrapbooking

Does this sound too good to be true? Follow along in the video below as we assemble one of the layouts from our May kit!

Cut Above® kits are an excellent balance of convenience, ease, and creativity, making them an ideal option for crafters of all ages and experience levels. While your pages do come pre-designed, you still reap the joy and benefits of creating something yourself and that comes together in just minutes with an easy-to-follow instructional guide (which you don’t have to follow if you don’t want to!).

Let’s take a closer look at the layouts currently available for May through August:

Scrapbooking In Minutes #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #scrapbooking

The designs for this year’s May layouts are a perfect example of how the intricate, pre-cut pieces come together in mere minutes for effortless crafting! Whether you’re an expert scrapbooker looking for a quick and easy project, or a newer crafter looking for a project more suited to your budding skills, these layouts are an excellent way to stretch your creative muscles!

Scrapbooking In Minutes #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #scrapbooking #ontheroad

Since there is absolutely no cutting involved, get younger crafters involved! These kits are so easy to work with, putting them together with the kids can turn into a beautiful bonding activity as you reminisce of the adventures had in the pictures you are scrapping.

Scrapbooking In Minutes #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #scrapbooking

Looking to document your vacation photos? The Craft with Heart™ July layouts offer an ideal backdrop! From snapshots of a weekend getaway to photos of an epic road trip, these layouts are a natural go-to as you document your unforgettable memories!

Scrapbooking In Minutes #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #scrapbooking #ontheroad

As you wind down your summer adventures, the August kit is just what you need to capture the feel of sunny, fun-filled days. With vibrant colors and eye-catching patterns, these layouts are a perfect way to display your favorite pictures!

There is a Craft with Heart™ scrapbooking subscription option for everyone! You can choose to sign up for a monthly, 4-month, or 12-month subscription. The longer period of time you choose, the better deal you’ll get! With a 12-month subscription, you’ll receive four layout kits, every four months at a 20% discount, AND you also get FREE shipping! To see more details about each subscription option—monthly, 4-month, and 12-month—just click here.

…AND just because we are celebrating all things scrapbooking this month, that does not mean we can’t still remember how much we love cardmaking! We have amazing Craft with Heart™ cardmaking subscription options, too! For more information about the card subscription kits, click here!

Scrapbooking In Minutes #closetomyheart #ctmh #craftwithheart #cutabove #scrapbooking #cardmaking #diycards

No matter the type of crafter you are, a Craft with Heart™ subscription makes preserving memories something that anyone can do. In a matter of minutes, you can have completed layouts for your photos and stories. Click here to sign up today, and your first delivery will arrive before you know it!

Close To My Heart: Create an Entire Album in Less than 2 Hours!

Create an Entire Album in Less than 2 Hours!

Scrapbooking Made Quick #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhyouareenough #youareenough #nsmyouarenough #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #scrapbook #scrapbookingtechnique

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and beautiful way to scrapbook your photos, then we’ve got just the thing to make that happen!

A little while back, we shared a speedy scrapbooking technique that we called the 3-2-1 Formula to make 10 6″ x 8″ two-page layouts. Since it’s national scrapbooking month, we decided to pair this speedy scrapbooking method with the exclusive You Are Enough collection and share with you our gorgeous results!

Scrapbooking Made Quick #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhyouareenough #youareenough #nsmyouarenough #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #scrapbook #scrapbookingtechnique

(Click on the individual images to enlarge.)

Now, let’s revisit the steps to making this album! As the name implies, this is a formulaic project. That means that you will follow a simple formula to cut all of your patterned paper and then assemble your layouts. As you will see, you will continue to have a lot of creative freedom to add your own flair to each of your pages. No two albums will look the same, unless you make them that way intentionally.

Here’s what you’ll need:

*If you are not familiar with Close To My Heart products, all of our cardstock and patterned papers come in a 12″ x 12″ format, and that is what we will be using to make this project.

Step 1: Creating Base Pages. The very first thing we cut are base pages, from the White Daisy cardstock. From 10 sheets, you should be able to get 20 6″ x 8″ pieces.

Step 2: Cutting Patterned Paper. Before measuring and cutting anything, trim all the zip strips from each of the patterned paper sheets. The zip strip is the extra ½” accent paper along the top of each Close To My Heart patterned paper sheet. Cut each of these in half and set them aside. Next, cut the remaining 12″ x 12″ paper in half, to 6″ x 12″. Here’s where the 3-2-1 comes into play. Cut these two half sheets of patterned paper into strips of 3″ x 6″, 2″ x 6″, and 1″ x 6″.

Scrapbooking Made Quick #closetomyheart #ctmh #ctmhyouareenough #youareenough #nsmyouarenough #nationalscrapbookingmonth #nsm #scrapbooking #scrapbook #scrapbookingtechnique

(Half of this example is showing what the pattern is on the back side of this sheet. Each one of our patterned papers has a double-sided coordinating design, for additional creative flexibility.)

Step 3: Creating Photo Mats from Cardstock. For a more polished look, we like to add photo mats behind most, if not all, of our photos. That is what we make with the four sheets of coordinating cardstock.

Cut each cardstock sheet into six 6″ x 4″ rectangles. You should have a total of 24 when you are done. If you’d like to have a few 3″ x 4″ mats, simply cut these in half. Please note that the photos you will be mounting on these mats will have to be trimmed down a ¼” in both height and width to fit.

Step 4: Putting It All Together. You’re going to need a bit of space for this part, so make sure to clear your table or a place on your living room rug or somewhere else you can keep your project safe. Lay out all 20 White Daisy cardstock base pages. Next, distribute the strips of patterned paper and cardstock mats. Each page should get one 4″ x 6″ photo mat, or two 3″ x 4″ mats, and one strip of each size, 3″, 2″, and 1″. If you’d like for the pages that will be facing each other in your album to match, keep that in mind as you distribute your papers. Lastly, decide how you want to attach these pieces to your pages and get to it! Move the components around until you are happy with your pages. Experiment with different arrangements and consider whether you want 3″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″ photo mats on your layouts, or a combination of both.

Step 5: Embellish! Using coordinating embellishments, add your finishing touches!

If you like our finished album and would like to recreate it using our same papers and embellishments, make sure to get your You Are Enough paperscardstock, and butterfly sequins while you still can! This collection is only available while supplies last and it has been flying off our shelves, fast! If you want to make an album like this using other papers and embellishments, that’s completely okay, too! The beauty of the 3-2-1 technique is that it can be used with any coordinating papers and embellishments you like.

As we begin to wrap up another National Scrapbooking month, we hope you enjoy creating scrapbook pages that you love and that best suit your photos and memories!


From:  https://blog.closetomyheart.com/2021/05/26/create-an-entire-album-in-less-than-2-hours/