Friday, December 30, 2011

Paperweight Project

Joyce, my CTMH upline, had us create this project at our unit Christmas party a couple of weeks ago. We started with a 3 1/4 inch circle and created a 3D image. Of course I picked a purple flower! Everything was cut using the Close To My Heart Art Philosophy Cartridge! I added glitter to the elements and adhered the dome with liquid glass. I'm not sure where Joyce got the glass domes,but I found this place with a search. I think it's a great gift idea. Hmm, maybe for convention roomie gifts. I know you visit my blog! What do you think? Probably too heavy for airline luggage weight restrictions!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hi I'm Crystal and I'm a Kindleholic!

So the title of this blog is "Crafting with Crystal" a place to share my passion for paper crafting and other things. Today's post falls under other things! I have a number one passion isn't paper crafting, it's reading. I know scandalous! I blame this on my Kindle. It makes it so easy to get books. I purchased the Kindle DX in 2009 and now have over 500 books archived on it. On some blogs I visit I've seen posts recently about their top books of 2011. I thought I'd share mine here. I went back over the 150+ books I read this year and this is my top ten books or authors from the year that I highly recommend.

1. Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning: I couldn't believe my luck when the release date in January turned out to be a snow day! I spent it reading this 5th and final book of the Fever series. If you like urban fantasy then give this a try, but start with the first one obviously.

2. Anything by Marie Force: I discovered this author and have read everything that she has available. She writes contemporary romance and the "Fatal Series" which I categorize as a mystery / crime drama series. As far as I'm concerned Marie Force cannot write fast enough for me!

3. Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford:  I would place it in the literary fiction / chick lit category. It's different from most of the books I read, but I enjoyed it enough to read it twice!

4. Anything by Jill Mansell: She started my British chick lit phase this year! Miranda's Big Mistake was one of my favorites of hers. 

5. Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins: Chick lit / romance books that are set in New England, and I love how the characters are pet owners. I picked my favorite I read this year but really I have 8 of her books on my Kindle and gave them 5 stars!

6. Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella: A continuation of my British chick lit phase! After reading and rating Jill Mansell books Amazon suggested this author. I hadn't heard of her, but she is the author behind the popular Confessions of a Shopaholic series from which the movie is based. I've since read that series and her other books. Can You Keep a Secret is my favorite of hers and may very well be my favorite of the year. I just reread it again a few days ago and still laughed out loud!

7. Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost: When I was looking for a new vampire romance series this came suggested at a blog. I decided to try the first book and now I'm hooked. I just hope it doesn't get stale like my once loved Sookie Stackhouse series.

8. Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo by Heather Wardell: This is another author from the chick lit genre that had several books I read this year. There's one book of hers I haven't read because I know how it ends and I need to be in the right mood to read. :( They can't all be HEA.  

9. Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent: This author finished an urban fantasy series last year that I was sad to see go, but it was time. I'm glad she started a new series. If you like urban fantasy but are tired of vampires and shifters try this one.

10. Love You More by Lisa Gardner: This is another book in a favorite genre of  mystery / crime drama. I started reading this author in 2010. She had my favorite book from that year The Neighbor.

11. OK, I want 11 for 2011 but this book is actually my most anticipated book for 2012! Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed series is another take on vampire romance / urban fantasy. The 10th book in the series comes out on January 24. It's already pre ordered for my Kindle and I'm thinking about taking a personal day to read it on release day. Darker After Midnight centers around Chase Sterling, my favorite character.

I'd love for you to leave me a comment about your favorites. I'm looking for some new authors and books to tide me over until Darker After Midnight. I'm trying to get into the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy. I hear it's slow but I need to stick with it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Four Seasons Wall Hangings

At my upline's unit Christmas party this is the beautiful gift I received made by my sideline Stacey R. I  think I will be displaying them all at the same time in a grouping. They're too pretty to only have one at a time for 3 months!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Banner Christmas Tree

The My Creation Line of Close To My Heart products includes some of my favorite items. Last July at convention a consultant shared this project made from sets of the My Creation Banner. I put it on my list of holiday projects. This was my gift at my Close To My Heart unit Christmas party yesterday. Stacey will need to find a place to display it in her home!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 Christmas Card

Card Pattern: Sentiment Secured from the How-To Book Wishes

I had many Christmas cards from previous years and workshops to use this year. When those cards ran out this is the card that I decided to make and mail / hand out for this year. The Remarkable Wreath stamp set is a favorite of mine. It is also the stamp set that the Close To My Heart Corporate office used with their card!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ornament and Keepsake Box

I'm always looking for crafts to complete with my students. This past weekend I was browsing for an idea of something my students could make to give to their parents. I saw a this video for snowman hand print ornaments and knew this is what I would do. The class completed them today.

Tomorrow is our last day of school before the holidays. So I brought the ornaments home to wrap them. Then I discovered this pattern I purchased awhile ago. I printed up the boxes on Close To My Heart's pattern paper from the Believe collection. I love the presentation almost as much as the students' ornaments. I'm sure their parents will love them.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gift Card Packaging

The school that I teach at held a fundraiser selling gift cards. So I took the easy road this year with Christmas gifts, but now I'm looking for clever ways to package them. I already posted a few on my blog in the past. Here is another one. It's a template from My Time Made Easy called Insert Card Here. I purchased the pdf document and printed it on a piece of paper from the Believe Paper Pack. I purchased a few packs of the Holiday Pockets and they make great gift tags for the top of the box. A quick, simple way to present a gift card as a gift!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I saw this tutorial on Splitcoast Stampers. I wanted to make the ornament but I don't own the Spellbinders 2011 Heirloom Ornament Die. Yesterday I had a day of crafting with friends and was so eager to make this project when I found out that Nancy did own the die! Now I went and purchased it so I can make more! My version doesn't follow the directions completely, but I'd like to make another one that shows the "honeycomb" effect once I get the die.

Mistletoe Paper (Close To My Heart - retired)
Seam Binding Ribbon (Stampin' Up)
jewel from Heirloom Assortment (Close To My Heart)

Spellbinders 2011 Heirloom Ornament Die

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gift Card Box

I made this project at my Close To My Heart team meeting today. I'm not sure where Joyce, my upline, got this idea, but I'm glad she shared it with me! I was planning to give a few gift cards this year for Christmas. These boxes will make a nice presentation.

I'm going to make a photo tutorial later this week. So check back if you'd like the instructions.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Wreath

I had a gift certificate to Michaels and used it to buy a wreath form. My vision was to make a wreath with the "chrysanthemum" flower on Close To My Heart's Art Philosophy cartridge. It's finally finished and hanging on my front door! Well maybe not finished, I may add a few more flowers to fill in, and I'm thinking about Opaque gems for the centers.

If you're in the area have fun watching the snow fall tomorrow! It's going to be a wet snow so I'm thinking about a snow jack o' lantern!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

For Trick or Treat Time

It's been several weeks since I posted artwork. Partly due to starting and not finishing projects! Also, I've become hooked on a few TV shows. Tonight is the season finale of my new favorite Against the Wall on Lifetime. Then later this week Project Runway concludes.

I just finished these pillow boxes. These were super easy to make. First I used the cut from the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge. Then I decorated them with the Mischief Complements Rub-Ons. We rarely get trick or treaters. Who wouldn't want to go to a neighboring development instead of our rural road? However, I know three boxes will be handed out (my niece and nephews)!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October Crafting

Last week I completed a project with the My Creations Memory Game. It was part of a swap. Now I'm anxiously awaiting for all of the consultants to finish. I'll post pictures as soon as I get it back! In the meantime here is artwork from Close To My Heart to get you thinking about crafting this month. This picture is of the Mischief paper. Usually, I don't make Halloween cards or layouts, but I'll be using this paper for trick or treat gift bags.

This picture shows artwork using the October Stamp of the Month, Holiday Magic. Christmas is 12 weeks away! I can see this as a stamp set I'll reach for a lot when working on Holiday cards and layouts.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Welcome Fall!

My post today is celebrating the first day of Autumn, which was yesterday. There are things I like about every season, but Autumn is my favorite! These cards use Dreamin', a great paper packet for the colors of Autumn. I'm not sure who created these cards but I received them as part of the Joyful Stars swap. The consultant had great stamped images for the cards, but I decided to change it up and use the Harvest Charms.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Christmas Card Extravaganza

Yesterday's Christmas Card Extravaganza was a blast! My upline, Joyce, organizes this event every year in September. There were nine projects total. We started out making a gift bag Stacy Stokes designed. It uses a paper bag as the base!

After the gift bag project we made these four cards before lunch!

Bright and Cheery!

Unique way to open for your sentiment!

Isn't this cozy? Makes me want to be sipping some hot chocolate while reading! Designed by my friend Jean.

Look it's Rudolph! Stacey Rogers designed this cards for our Consultant swap and Christmas Card Extravaganza.

My card!
Yum, I look forward to the Taco Soup every year! After lunch it was time for four more cards.

I love this stamp set used for this card and that the consultant used the Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge for the shaped card!
Nancy Brown designed this easel card. I'm considering making thirty of these for the cards I'll be handing out this year.
The card features a tag to pull.

Wendy designed this card.
A surprise pocket inside for a treat!

Stacy Stokes prepared this snowflake gift card holder. I love how Stacy shows us how to bedazzle our artwork!
A pocket for the gift card and more beautiful stamped images.

This is an event we do every year. If you missed it this year and you are local, keep it in mind for next year. If you have any questions about the projects leave a comment. I do have cutting directions for my card and for the gift card holder Stacy Stokes prepared.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Country Wreath Card

A few years ago Close To My Heart had a Christmas wreath stamp set. I saw a consultant layer paper to resemble a door and add the wreath stamped image. I thought that was so clever! Remarkable Wreath is a new stamp set in the current Idea Book and Catalog. I knew I had to bring back this design for the new stamp set. Using the Kraft paper really gives this a country chic vibe!  This could be an all occasion card, and the stamp set features a wreath for all seasons. I intend to use this card for a Christmas card,  and I will be teaching this design at the Christmas Card Extravaganza on Saturday. I hope to see you there!

9/16/11: After reading this post today, I needed to edit it to make sense! I must have been tired when I posted it. I also wanted to add that I used Glitz Gel to accent the wreath!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yes I'm Royalty!

Haven't blogged in a few days because I am swamped getting ready for the start of a new school year. My first day with the students is September 6, but there is a lot to do in my classroom before that day. I'm hoping to finish up tomorrow or Wednesday so I can have an extended Labor Day weekend to relax. I did get a chance to put this layout together. It was part of the Joyful Stars swap. This layout was put together by Stephanie. You can see her post here. The lighting is poor for these pictures but you can still see the awesome embellishments Stephanie provided like the darling Heirloom jewel on the crown. I also think the "Halloween" Mischief paper was cleverly used for a non Halloween layout! I'm loving the combination of purple, gray, and black too.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Swap Time!

My upline, Joyce organizes a swap with her team every few months. This is one of the things I like about being a consultant - the exchange of creative ideas! Each participant had to choose a paper packet and either cards or a two page layout to complete. We were to incorporate new stamps and accessories too. My choice was the new paper packet Wonderland, the stamp set Snowflakes, and the super cool Rhinestone Designer Brads. I used the Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge to cut all those beautiful snowflakes before I stamped and embellished them. I can't wait to see what my Close To My Heart friends created!   

Monday, August 15, 2011


My newest project I started today uses the special double stamp set, Pair-a-Phrase, that is available today. I intend to make a set of 12 note cards, one inspired by each month of the year. I want to decorate one of the new My Creations Card Box to store them. I may be using this as a door prize for an upcoming event. I decided to keep the cards simple (not much paper layering or embellishments). I want the cards to be easy for the recipient to use and mail. Plus Close To My Heart's new pattern paper is to pretty to cover up! I worked with Believe and Wonderland today. Here are the three I finished.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Teacher Survival Kit

I am teacher at Brookeside Montessori School and in a few weeks it is back to school time! This coming week is a staff meeting. I'm going to be surprising my coworkers with these Teacher Survival Kits!

I've been working on these the last couple of days. I started with the My Creations Recipe / Photo box and decorated it with the new Typeset Paper Packet. Then I added their names with the Color-Ready Cork Alphabets and finished it off by adding a Chocolate Striped Grosgrain Ribbon handle. I still need a few items for the kit. This is the contents label that I will be printing:

Brookeside Montessori Teacher Survival help you survive the 2011-2012 school year!

Contents: 100 Grand Candy Bar so you will be paid what you are worth, Matches for those days when you feel you need to light a fire under your students, Wiggly eyes for when you wish you really did have eyes in the back of your head, Toothpicks to help you pick out the good qualities in everyone, Rubber bands to remind you to be flexible, A binder clip to hold it all together, An eraser to remind you everyone makes mistakes, Band-Aids to heal hurt feelings, Tissues to remind you to dry some one's tears, Clothespin to help you hang in there, Marbles to replace the ones you lose, and A snowflake ornament for when all else fails, pray for a snow day!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Deepest Sympathy

Card Pattern: Button Trio from the How-To Book Originals

My dear friend and side-line Close To My Heart Consultant, Stephanie recently lost her grandfather. She made a lovely tribute album you can see here. I made this card using the new Kraft cards and envelopes.  I used the same paper that Stephanie used for her album, Sonoma and the since I will be mailing this I used the Sonoma Stickease buttons instead of real ones. The stamped image is from the set Treasure Life. I used the chalkboard technique. The inside of the card uses a sentiment from the stamp set Card Chatter - Sympathy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Stamp of the Month

Balance It Out from the How-To Book Originals

I'm just not in the Halloween mood so I haven't felt like creating with August's Stamp of the Month. However, recently I was inspired by other Close To My Heart consultants that were really thinking outside of the box. "Put Your Best Foot Forward" is the perfect card to give encouragement to my niece as she starts college in a few weeks.

August 2011 Stamp of the Month: Wicked

The Stamp of the Month is available until August 31, 2011 for $17.95 or with a $50.00 purchase you can earn it at an amazing price of $5.00. Also, the monthly special for August is a free stamp set when you qualify and order the Stamp of the Month at the $5.00 price. Visit my web site to take advantage of this deal.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Power to the Lawn Gnome People

Here is a 3 x 3 card featuring the new stamp set Gnome Garden. OK, this is one of those jokes where you had to be there. Several years ago I attended a youth group event / Christian concert. In between sets a comedian doing improve took stage. When he asked for ideas from the audience someone yelled lawn gnomes. I can't remember exactly how the comedian worked it in, all I remember is laughing hysterically every time he said "Power to the Lawn Gnome People". So that is why I think gnomes are funny (not creepy like some may think)! However after I colored this one in I'm thinking leprechaun. So this might wait to handed out until St. Patrick's Day. My favorite part of this project was grabbing the liquid applique to use for his eyebrows, beard, and moustache.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Cricut Card

I used Close To My Heart's Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge to make this card. The card base and decorative layer were cut at 4 inches. The spiral flowers are 2 inches and 2 3/4 inches. The paper is from the Mayberry Level 2 Paper Packet. The embellishments are Opaques Mocha Adhesive Gems for the flower centers and the new  Bronze Glitz Glitter Gel to create the detail of a stem. This card is going to Jean, a fellow Close To My Heart Consultant, and her husband as a thank you for driving us to the airport to catch the plane for convention!  Close To My Heart Corporation filmed a short video outlining the new Cricut cartridge. Check it out:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Creating Keepsakes Convention

I went to the Creating Keepsakes Convention in Valley Forge, PA today. I decided to take the classes offered by Clear and Simple Stamps on using Copic markers. The classes were fast paced and packed with good stuff! I'm still learning and with more practice I'm looking forward to amazing artwork in my future!

Some butterflies are outlined to add dimension. We were given a Copic Multiliner Pen to add crosshatching to letters and to draw a border. Then we used the trio method to color in the area around the sentiment.

Friend is colored in using the trio method.

I used the trio method on the flower and feathering  on the leaves.

The colorless blender marker was used for the polka dot effect. The white paper flower was colored using the air brush system. Look a NEW Close To My Heart bling button!

For this card we were given white ribbon. Two strips were colored directly on with markers and one was to try out the air brush system.

The background was air brushed using a paper doily.

It's hard to tell in photo but we airbrushed with a Spica pen to add sparkle to the cloud. This sample also shows how Copic markers look on kraft paper, nice!