Goodbye 2017!!

Today I took down the ornaments on our Christmas tree and as I was packing away some of the ones my children had made in school, I had a thought to use a file I purchased in the Silhouette Design store called an ornament box. So as soon as the rest of the ornaments were packed up, I headed into the Studio to create these boxes.

Now, I will say these were probably designed with the idea of using them as a gift box and not to be used as a secure storage container.
However, for my purpose I think they will be great…..

Scalloped ornament box

Above is the Scallop Ornament box by Samantha Walker.

Now, what did I do….. I moved my design up a bit on my page & then go to my Send tab panel and select my Cut settings. That’s it – so simple!!!

Scalloped ornament box-cut settings

I chose Textured cardstock as my material (I cut almost all cardstock on this setting with great results), set my blade depth and click Test Cut.
Yes, Test Cut!…. this cuts a small square with a triangle out of the center of it and let me tell you, it will save you so much material!!! If it doesn’t cut correctly, you can make adjustments to your settings or blade depth before you cut the entire design.


After you have cut your design out, flip your mat over and peel your mat away from your material. This is a good practice to get in to for many reasons. I find that it helps my paper not to curl as bad and it also helps keep the adhesive on the mat longer. If you pull your paper or vinyl off the mat, it can bring up some of that adhesive with it.

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On my second box, shown on the left, I noticed that my blade was not getting a crisp cut. Normally, I would recut this, but since I’m cutting for the purpose of my own storage box, I left it. However, I knew exactly how to fix it. A new cutting mat! Yes, as easy as that. The mat I was using with the one on the left (green) was well used and even though it felt sticky enough, if that cardstock moves even just a little bit, it can make your blade tear the cardstock.
So when I went to cut my 3rd box, I pulled out a new mat and look at the difference on the right side (red). I changed nothing else, except using a new mat and it made such a better crisp cut. If you are having cutting issues and your mat is well used, even if you think it’s sticky enough, just try it – get a new mat out and see what the difference is.
I do de-stick my mat a bit when I first open it by applying it to a clean cotton t-shirt a time or two before I stick my cardstock down on it.

If you are looking for a new mat or other Silhouette supplies, check out the prices at Swing Design – I always price check there first and they usually have the best prices.
Plus, free shipping on orders over $35.


Above are all the pieces of this box….. 3 – yes 3! And do you know what is even better? There is only 1 tab that needs to be glued together. It’s so simple and a great project for a beginner.


I am a big fan of this liquid adhesive called Liquid Glass for any 3-D project. It is made by a company called Close to My Heart who is a papercraft & stamping company. I find just a little amount of the glue goes a long way and then I hold it together for the count of 10 and it’s stuck pretty good.
You can find it HERE on my website.


Now, I purchased both the Scalloped box and the Snowflake box and here are my completed boxes cut with the same double sided paper.
I used the Beary Christmas paper from the Close to My Heart Holiday Expressions catalog. This expired tonight at midnight, so grab it quick – available while supplies last!

Ornament box altered -cut settings

And then I needed a 3rd box, so I decided to ungroup the original design, draw a rectangle that was the same dimensions as the snowflake and put that in for my 3rd box. This could be done with any shape that you would like to use.
You can mix and match designs to your liking, but do keep in mind that it is the original creators file that you have used as your base.

And there you have it….. 1 cut, 1 tab glued and fold the box together. So simple!

There is a big sale going on in the Silhouette Design store right now, so pop on other there to grab this and so many others for 50% off.

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I hope you enjoy your last evening in 2017 and I look forward to bringing you lots of new things in 2018!



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ctmh-logo-nobox-clove-ic**This post may contain affiliate links. What that means is that I may receive compensation if you purchase through the links I have provided. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher but I may get compensated for sharing.

Sparkly Unicorn

September happens to be my Mom’s birthday month and I wanted to make her a special card.

I found this Unicorn Hug Gift Card holder from the Silhouette Design store that I had acquired at some time and I thought it would be perfect. I had purchased a couple pairs of earrings from Mags Bonham at our TJC Curio Intensive Retreat last weekend and thought I could slip them inside the gift card pocket.


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I created this card using the following supplies:
Unicorn Hug Gift Card Holder by Jennifer Rush from the Silhouette Design Store
CTMH Cardstock – White & Pixie
CTMH Pink Glitter Cardstock – retired (but they have other new colors)
CTMH Dual Action Glue Pen Z553
CTMH Stamp sets: Birthday Sparkles (B1537) and Happy Heart (A1192)
CTMH Bitty Sparkles Z1263
CTMH Archival Black Ink, Bashful Ink, Raspberry Ink, Blossom Ink
CTMH Clear Shimmer Brush Z3293
**All CTMH products can be found on my website HERE

This was a very simple card to cut & put together. You can read more of the instructions on how to put it together on the designer, Jennifer Rush’s blog HERE.

This is definitely a card that I could create again!


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For more information on Terri Johnson Creates (TJC) events, be sure to sign up for notifications from her website HERE.


Happy September!

Whew! What a month, it has been a busy one. Still trying to find that balance between creating crafty projects and getting them up on the blog and then you throw a Curio conference (more on that later) in there… time just gets away….. and I’m back….
I have my monthly card kit ready to order and want to put it up here before something else grabs my attention.

I created this using the Falling for You Paper pack and the Falling for You Cardmaking stamp set.

Falling For You collage

It has gotten cooler here and seems like Fall is upon us, so this was a fun set to put together.

There are 2 options to order this kit – with or without the Thin Cuts:
– $30 includes the stamp set only
– $44 includes the Stamp set & Thin Cut bundle
**Thin cuts can only be purchased in the bundle & not sold alone.


Please let me know by September 20th if you would like to order this kit.
Card Club members will receive their kits automatically, no need to order again. Please let me know if you would like more information on becoming a Card Club Member!!!

When you receive my monthly card kit, you get:
– Instructions to create 4 different card designs featuring Close to My Heart product
– Supplies to create 1 each of the 4 designs
– Supply list to re-create each design
– Stamp set (and thin cuts by choice) used to create monthly kit
– Flat rate priority shipping
Invoices will be sent to your email from
*CTMH consultants are welcome to purchase the monthly card kit instructions as well. Cost is $10.00 and a digital copy of the instructions will be emailed to you, no physical product will be sent.

I hope you have a chance to get crafty sometime this weekend.

Please let me know by September 20th if you would like to order a card kit!


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Love this No Worries paper

Just popping in to show you a card I created using several of the current products.

I am in love with this No Worries paper and feel a bit like hoarding it since it retires at the end of August. Who else is hoarding it?

It always seems like the beach/vacation paper packs are the most popular.


To create this card I used:
CTMH No Worries Paper Pack
CTMH No Worries Cardmaking Thin Cuts
CTMH Shells & Stars stamp set
CTMH Thank You stamp set
CTMH Burlap Ribbon
CTMH Archival Black ink
CTMH Desert Sand card stock
CTMH Desert Sand ink
CTMH Colonial White card base & envelope

No Worries card collage

The No Worries paper pack & card making stamp set & thin cuts bundle both expire on August 31st, so grab it them now for all your beach photos!


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Silhouette vs Cricut

That is the question and here is my answer…..

I see and hear this asked all the time and it’s been on my to do list to give you my recommendation.

Now please realize that this post is all my own opinion, no one has paid me to do it and I don’t get anything as reimbursement for this post. I am speaking only as a cutting machine user for many years. There are many, many posts out there comparing the two machines and you can read until your eyes cross, but only you can make the choice on which one is for you. I have many friends who are Cricut users and I have many other friends who are die-hard Silhouette users, like me.

Did you catch those few little words…. I have many friends who are from both sides. No matter what machine you use, you can still be friends. I promise!

Some people have a better time with a certain machine than others. All I can tell you is from my own experience.

So a bit of background on me, the owner behind Silhouette Secrets+. I purchased my very first machine many, many moons ago. It was the original Cricut machine, or commonly called the baby Cricut. It can cut 6″x 12″ and was perfect for a new beginner scrapbooker as myself. I thought it was great that I wouldn’t have to purchase letter stickers anymore for my layouts. I actually used this machine so much that I burned it up… literally, it started smoking & shorted out – it had a good life though & was well used. I then purchased a Cricut Create machine and had also purchased the Design Studio (the original Design Studio – an offline, on your computer software program), which I became very proficient at using and could do a lot in…. however, I felt the software was very limited and was frustrated that it just wouldn’t do as I wanted. I still kept on with it, because I am just that way. If I needed a bigger machine, I would borrow a friends and just kept plugging away with my cartridges.

The friend I borrowed the Expression from had once told me that I should really check out this new machine called a Silhouette and she could see me doing great things with it. I looked it up & at that time just couldn’t afford spending that much on my hobby as a Stay at Home mom. (ever wish you could go back and choose another path – I would have bought a Silhouette machine sooner – lol and she wouldn’t be able to tell me I told you so)

Now fast-forward a few years, we’ve moved to California, I’ve purchased my own Cricut Expression and I win a Silhouette Portrait in a digital scrapbooking contest. Let me tell you, I was over the moon. I fell in love at first use. And I immediately told my husband that this small Portrait wasn’t enough, I needed the bigger Cameo machine. And I did, I turned around and bought it, it was a must have.

That was 5 years ago. There was hardly a bit of information out there on how to use it, how to do this or that in the program. If it was out there, I found it & studied it. I played, I learned, I created…. I played more, I learned more and I created more….. I still love it.

Now, there is lots & lots of information on how to use your machine & how to make projects with your machine… Sometimes I feel there is too much, but that’s a post for another day.

Now we’ve moved to Virginia and I’ve had the opportunity to add several things to my resume. I’ve been able to attend a hands on retreat with Terri Johnson & was able to attend to the first ever TJC Licensing event. I felt that since I was now teaching people how to use their machines, as a Terri Johnson Licensed Instructor, that I should also be able to speak a bit on the other machine out there…. so I purchased a Cricut Air. And let me tell you, for months I regretted it…. actually being honest… I still do. It was money I could have spent on supplies to create with….. but, I’m here to tell you why I think that.

So here are my Pros and Cons on the Cricut Explore Air.



  • the Bluetooth connected quickly, very quickly – I learned the hard way that my computer was not equipped with a Bluetooth, so I did have to purchase a Dongle to get it to connect.
  • it is much quieter when it’s cutting
  • the purchased cut file I used worked beautifully
  • Close to My Heart has Exclusive Cricut cartridges and they are AMAZING! Over 700 images on one cartridge. Now that is a great value!!!


  • the cut file I used was 12 pages and it had no color designations by paper, so I had to eyeball it and get my papers in order to cut them
  • the software to design & create your own designs is more difficult, it’s not just like other basic programs that you can use shortcuts and copy & paste, etc.
  • it is only accessible online – did you get that? You have to have a high speed internet connection at all times to use the program. That means if you are at a retreat & the wifi is slow…. you won’t be able to use your Cricut machine. Hope you packed other stuff 🙂
  • It will use up your data – something to keep in mind if you are limited to a certain amount of data each month, especially with the latest release of the DS3 software, it uses even more data than before
  • they are doing away with physical cartridges, so you will have to access everything online through their software
  • you can only save your designs to the Cricut program and if they are lost, they could be gone forever
  • the Cricut freebies are only good for a limited time, then you have to purchase the file to use it – many don’t realize this until they try to cut something a week after it was a freebie
  • I found it odd that after you’ve loaded the paper & clicked Go in the software, you then have to push Go on the machine itself…. I mean, really what is the point of the Bluetooth connection if you have to be within arms reach to get the machine to start cutting by pushing the button?

and now the Pros and Cons to the Silhouette machines:



  • I can save my designs where ever I want them – my external hard drive is my safe place… but the point is… it’s my design, I can save it outside of the program – always remember to back up your files to an outside source as well
  • there is a weekly freebie from the Silhouette store & I get to keep it in my Silhouette library forever, it’s FREE and it’s mine – they don’t take it away or make me pay for it – once I’ve downloaded it, it’s mine
  • the software is very much like other software programs – Ctrl + C is copy & Ctrl +v is paste, hold down the Alt button and move an image and it copies it…. so many of the same software things I’m used to are the same in this program
  • I can create my own designs within the program and they are mine.
  • I can work OFFLINE – this is a BIG one for me. I can work anywhere I want that has electricity. If I plan to not have any internet access, I can plan ahead and download any designs that I might think I want. Or I can just work with what I have in my library, my external hard drive, or anything I can create. I love not being tied to the internet access because we all know that it can be unpredictable.
  • You can upgrade your software to unlock additional features within the program – while some would disagree with me that it’s a pro, this is how I think of it. The Basic software is free to download for anyone. It is designed so you can cut any design within the Silhouette Design store easily. However, if you want to use an outside file such as an .svg file type, you would need to upgrade the software to allow it to open it. Much like an upgrade in a vehicle…. for it to do fancier stuff, you need to pay a fee for that.
  • I only need to be connected to the internet if I want to download a design. I can work completely offline if I’d like to.


  • it is louder than the Cricut – but it’s a machine, it’s moving & working – I’m ok with that
  • the Bluetooth is still unreliable – I just find it’s much more efficient to plug it into my computer. While the idea of the Bluetooth is a nice feature, I can work around that.

So you are probably asking me “Why do you still have the Cricut? If you don’t like it, why keep it?”

Well there are a couple reasons:

  1. I tried to resell it. I couldn’t sell it for anything close to what I had invested in it. I didn’t even have one person interested.
  2. I am a Close to My Heart consultant as well as a TJC Silhouette Instructor – remember me saying you can have friends on both sides – well, I love the fact that CTMH has Cricut cuts that match the stamp sets… I don’t like to fussy cut around images and this is great. Their Cricut exclusive cartridges have over 700 images on them and I use those when I create with my Close to My Heart products and in my monthly card kits. (shhh don’t tell anyone…. I use my Silhouette too)
  3. What is 1 more cutting machine? I’m sure I don’t win the prize but I know you might ask or be curious….. I own…..
    – an original Cricut (in craft heaven), a Cricut Create, an Expression, an Explore Air, a Silhouette Cameo 1, a Silhouette Cameo 3 and just recently (still in the box) a Silhouette Curio. So is 6 cutting machines too many? I guess that is up for each person to decide. Each one does serve a purpose and have some life left in them… I have 3 kids and someday I’ll let them use my older Cricuts when they have a project they need complete themselves.

Now, remember when I said I have Cricut friends and I have Silhouette friends….
well we can all still be crafty friends!!!
Tell me – which one are you? Team Cricut or Team Silhouette?

Whether you are Team Cricut or Team Silhouette, I encourage you to get that machine out and play with it. Create with it, cut with it, make projects with it. Learn one thing and then move on to the next. If you don’t like it, maybe you need to switch sides. You are investing in a machine & it should work for you. Have fun with your machine!!!

Again, please remember this is my own personal views on the machine as an owner & crafter for many years. I am sure that I didn’t mention several pros & cons of the machines & I’m sure that I will think of something as soon as I click on publish. If you think of one, just comment below – I would love to hear your thoughts.

I hope this post helps anyone who is wondering about the differences in the machines. Like I said before, each person is different and will have their reasons why they like a machine. If it works for you & you are using it, that is what matters.

Now, go enjoy your machine!

Get Crafty!

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**Want to find out more on Terri Johnson retreats, Licensing events or find a Licensed Instructor near you, check out her blog HERE!
**Want to find out more on the CTMH Exclusive Cricut Cartridges with over 700 images on them – click HERE!

NEW! New Annual Inspirations

Are you using the CTMH Annual Inspirations to the fullest potential?
Instead of just a catalog it is an Inspiration book as well & features lots of great ideas & artwork.

Each time I look through the book, I see something new & a new idea I want to try. You can view the new catalog HERE and see what great ideas you keep turning back to.

The We Are Makers stamp set on pg 66 of the Annual Inspirations book has been my favorite and I was able to sit down & play with it this past weekend.



We Are Makers D1732 $17.95

Not only do we have a whole new book loaded with fun exciting products, but we also have a new Stamp of the Month. The set this month is called School Year.

With any $50 purchase you can add this stamp set to your order for only $5.


As I look at this beautiful artwork done by CTMH, it reminds me that I should get working on books for my 3 kids with layouts for school like this one.
I switched to digital scrapbooking several years ago due to space, but I still love to work with paper & I could reasonably have 3 scrapbook albums with a double page layout for each school year for my children. It would still allow me to play with paper & create physical layouts and having a single book for each of them is do-able.
Why did I just tell you that? Well, down the road you can ask me how that’s coming and hopefully I will be able to say I’m caught up.

What is your new favorite product from the new Annual Inspirations catalog?

I hope you enjoy looking through it as much as I do!
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Prickly Pear Blog Hop

Welcome to our Prickly Pear Blog Hop!


We will be showcasing items from our Prickly Pear Paper Pack with various projects created by talented Close to my Heart consultants. If you are visiting from Diana’s blog then you are on the right track, if not please start at the CTMH Blog Challenge and Support Group Blog Hop Guidelines beginning with our hostess Carol.

The Prickly Pear paper pack was so fun to work with. This is such a bright, fun, and versatile kit that you should not feel limited to only using desert & cactus photos or cards. Along with the Prickly Pear papers, I used the Scripty Thank You stamp set that coordinates with the Thin Cuts – Basic Ovals available from Close to My Heart.



Check out these bright colors HERE!
Prickly Pear collage

These cards were part of my monthly card kit for August and you can find out more information HERE.


This is your final stop on this month’s Prickly Pear blog hop. If you did not start at the beginning, please hop to Carol’s blog next and start at the beginning.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all the fabulous ideas from these talented Close to My Heart consultants!

July is jam packed with specials including Stampganza (Buy 2 stamp sets get the 3rd FREE), Word Puzzle stamp sets, popular retired sets making a comeback & Stamp of the Month set – Storybook Alphabet – Find out all the great specials on this post HERE!

You can find all these amazing products and more on my website HERE!

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August card kit by EllyMae

This months featured paper pack is Prickly Pear and I chose to use it to make Thank You cards. I used the Scripty Thank You stamp from the current Seasonal Expression 2 catalog and it coordinates perfectly with the Thin Cut Basic Ovals set.


When I first saw this paper pack at the release of the Seasonal catalog, I did not know what I would do with it. You see cacti and more cacti and think desert and sand only…. but it has bright colors and was so easy to work with.

Prickly Pear collage

When you receive my monthly card kit, you get:

  • Instructions to create 4 different card designs featuring current Close to My Heart product
  • Pre-cut supplies to create 1 each of the 4 designs
  • a supply list to re-create each design
  • the featured stamp set used to create the monthly kit (retail value of $6.95-$13.95)
  • Flat rate priority shipping

Invoices will be sent to your email from

*CTMH consultants are welcome to purchase the monthly card kit instructions as well. The cost is $10.00 and a digital copy of the instructions will be emailed to you along with a release to use with your business. No physical product will be sent.

There are two ways to get this monthly card kit:

  1. Each month you can contact me at to order the kit that has been created by the 20th of the month.
  2. You can join in the group of Card club members that sign up for a 6 month commitment and get extra benefits along the way.

Are you interested in being a Card Club Member? What do you get?

Card club members commit to a 6 month term and get more benefits for their commitment.

Members will automatically be sent the card kit I have created each month for the 6 month term. No more missing a Facebook post or email with the monthly announcement.

What you get as a member:

  • Monthly card kit will be a base price of $30* or less each month.
  • Your kit will include a CTMH stamp set (typical retail value of $9.95-$13.95)**
    You can choose to have the Thin Cuts bundle (if available) included with your kit for the cost of the bundle – see below.
  • Supplies to make 1 each of the 4 card designs created by EllyMae
  • Instructions to duplicate the card designs
  • Priority flat rate shipping
  • Special goodies will be given out to club members during the term
  • (ex. Free sequins, sparkles, extra goodies, small stamps, etc.)
  • At the end of the 6 months, those that fulfill the term will receive a free gift from me
  • (1) FREE Annual catalog included in your card kit (new catalogs come out August 2017)
  • (1) FREE of each Seasonal or Holiday Expression that is released during your term

    Each month I feature a new paper pack & stamp set to use in my monthly kits.

    Please let me know if you would like to order this month’s card kit at

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*Monthly kits are priced at $30 or below depending on the stamp set used in the kit.

**Some stamp sets have coordinating Thin Cuts available, but they are only available as a bundle and cannot be ordered separately. If this stamp set is used, each person has the option to order the Thin Cuts to be included with your kit. The monthly kit cost is only increased to include the cost of the Thin Cuts.

July specials from CTMH

July is an awesome month from Close to My Heart, with many specials going on.

The Annual catalog is retiring at the end of July and if you have your eye on products in the current annual catalog, you better grab them now. It’s a great month to grab stamp sets as the special for July is Stampaganza and that means it’s Buy 2 stamp sets and get a 3rd for FREE*.

In addition to Stampganza, they have brought back several of the most popular stamp sets that were previously retired. These are also included in the Buy 2 get the 3rd for FREE*.

And…. if that wasn’t enough, they also brought back this month are the very popular Word puzzle sets. Which are also included in the Stampganza Buy 2 get the 3rd for FREE*.

And there is more, they also have the Stamp of the month that you can add for only $5 when you order reaches $50. This month it is called Storybook Alphabet.

What a great month of July!

Grab these specials now as they will all expire on July 31st on my website HERE.

*Free stamp set is off the lowest priced stamp set in your cart.

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No Worries Blog Hop

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Welcome to our No Worries Blog Hop! We will be showcasing items from our new Seasonal Expressions II catalog with various projects created by talented Close to my Heart consultants. If you are visiting from Haley’s blog then you are on the right track, if not please start at the CTMH Blog Challenge and Support Group Blog Hop Guidelines beginning with our hostess Carol. Next check out Diana’s blog.

Here is one of the cards that I have created using the No Worries paper pack and Card making stamp set.


This is such a fun collection for summer and one of my favorites!


I have created my July monthly card kit featuring this No Worries paper pack and the No Worries card making stamp set & Thin cuts.


You can find more information on my monthly card kits HERE.

Your next stop on the blog hop is Diane’s blog.

I hope you enjoy seeing all the neat ideas created using this fabulous No Worries collection by Close to My Heart.

You can find all of these amazing products on my website HERE.

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