Saving memories one photograph at a time

Friday, January 13, 2012

Unique Joy

I am not one for New Year's resolutions, but I always think about it when the New Year rolls around. The last 9 years of my life have been filled with many health issues and when the New Year comes again one thing I hope for is less pain, more energy. Sometimes when you don't feel well you get caught up in your own head, see less of what is good around you. As the end of last December approached I decided to think differently about the New Year. Health wise, chances are, things will be about the same but I can get back to finding the little things that bring me joy every day. Now, as you are reading this you are probably thinking, "Wow, she must be a real downer to live with", not true (I hope). Years ago I made a mental decision to not let my health problems effect my positive attitude. Sure, I have plenty of 'Pity-Party' days but overall I am a 'the glass is half full' type of girl. Just because I don't feel well everyone else around me doesn't have to suffer.

Finding joy in my everyday life is not a new concept. It has been rolling around inside my brain for quite a while. I have always found such incredible joy in my beautiful - sweet girls, my husband, my animals, and my family and friends. No the joy I have been seeking craving goes even deeper. It is a unique joy that is just for me. A joy that fills my spirit, a joy no one else has to get, or approve of. Too much of my life has been spent worrying about what others will think, full of too much approval seeking. Don't get me wrong I am not going to run out and get a tattoo and join the circus, I am just going to find ME again.

So, I started thinking about what do I enjoy, what is it that makes me, me? As I mulled over all the things I like to do, photography kept bubbling to the top. Taking pictures makes me giddy! Photography has been a huge part of my life since I was little, developing pictures in our darkroom, with my dad. This is one thing that brings that essential joy I am looking for, let's me share my joy, and helps capture the things in my everyday life that brings me joy.

Taking 'A Picture a Day' in January came out of not so much a New Year's resolution as a determination to help me find that unique joy my soul craves. Buckle up, keep your hands and legs inside the car at all times, and enjoy this beautiful ride that is joy!

January 1, 2012
 Wilted Spider Mums. Sometimes wilted is more beautiful than fresh.

January 2, 2012
 Mexican pasta, a family favorite. There is nothing like preparing and eating food together!

January 3, 2012
 Yes, that is me sewing. If you know me, you know I DON'T sew. Sewing intimidates me and truthfully makes me a little nauseous! My daughter Taylor gave me the courage, instruction, and yes, supervision to sew a new pillow for my bed. Thank, you Taylor!

January 4, 2012
 I hate, hate, hate pictures of myself! My thought was, "maybe this will make it easier to have other pictures taken of me". Nope didn't work. Maybe, it will get easier one day, cross my fingers.

January 5, 2012
 My beautiful boy, Bob, who loves me enough to take on the dog so he can sit next to me.

January 6, 2012
I forgot my camera when we took this trek to the "Up House". So this is taken with my iPhone just as it was getting dark. Pictures not so great, but the memories made with my girls, priceless! This picture show my daughter Cheyanne in the red jacket and her sweet friend Jori in the blue jacket.

January 6, 2012 #2
This is my oldest daughter, Taylor (isn't she cute!).

January 7, 2012
This is the pattern on my new comforter. I love walking in my room and seeing my bed, it makes me feel like I am on vacation.

January 8, 2012
A slice of my heaven, my scrapbook/craft room. When I walk into this room I have a noticeable drop in stress and tension levels. This room is filled with things I love. Many childhood and adult memories are tucked away in this room.

January 9, 2012
My daughter, Cheyanne. It is not often that I can catch her unawares. Watching her makes my heart expand. It is a privilege to call her my daughter. It is hard to put into words my feelings for this bright, beautiful, stubborn baby of mine.

January 10, 2012
This is Joji, my baby girl. Not because she is the youngest of our animals,it is because she is
so sweet. Recently she had to have her left eye removed (she was shy and didn't want it to show on camera). Her resilience and lack of feeling sorry for herself has been an inspiration to me. She has taught me to take what you have been given and make the most of it. Get over yourself and move on.

January 11, 2012
This is part of a flock of Chickadees waiting for the feeders in my backyard. I am so bird obsessed that I have bird books on my kitchen table at all times so I can identify and read about birds at anytime.

January 12, 2012
I have 5 orchids and love everything about them. All but this one pictured above are at least 10 years old (this one is about 2 years old). They have moved from house to house, city to city, state to state with me. They are like old friends that get more beautiful with age. Just a few more weeks and I will have a kitchen window full of beautiful blooms. I can't wait.

This month I am focusing on how photography can help me to find my own unique joy. It isn't about technique it's about content. It's about showing my joy through and with photography. I feel like if I can fill my soul with who I am, I will be better able to share and help grow my daughter's own unique joy. I would be a failure if I didn't help my girls reach their full potential as incredible daughters of God.

If I can recognize that sweet joy that is mine I can thank my Heavenly Father for all that I am and all I have been given. For you dear reader, I hope to plant a seed, a notion, a belief, that you are also worthy of your own unique joy, a joy unto yourself.

More pictures to follow - I hope your still along for the ride!

Monday, November 28, 2011

There is still two days left to order the fantastic November Stamp of the Month - Cherish the Day. This is a versatile stamp that can be used for calendars, cards, or layouts.

I love Subway art and used this set to create my own piece of Subway art.

I stamped a 4"x6" piece of black cardstock with White Daisy ink (to dry your ink quicker use your heat gun), put it in a black frame and finished it off with sparkles on the top of the glass. Simple and easy! My kind of project.

This inventive card was made by my fellow consultant Kimberly Deines. I love the squares on the side. I definitely gravitate to fall colors.


This is a Kris Keys creation. She is one of the most talented consultants I know. I am so lucky to get one of her cards. This card is staying with me, I don't think I can part with it.

To get one of your own stamp sets call, email, or even shop in your p.j.'s on my website


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Studio J

Did you know Close to My Heart has an online Scrapbooking program called Studio J. Or did you know already and you thought about trying it but it sounded too overwhelming, too expensive, too time consuming, or you just don't want to buy all the add-ons. Well you are in luck (which is a very lucky thing to be)! Let's break it down; sounds like a lyric to a song I can't remember, oh well, let me get back on track.

Did you know that you can create a layout with Studio J in a matter of minutes, or even do a whole album with 20 layouts in a matter of a few hours. How do I know this you ask, well (drum roll please) I have done it (I know hard to believe), yes me! I had a very dear Aunt pass away and wanted to share her amazing pictures memories with the small family I have left. I created an album that documented her life growing up; including parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, nieces and nephews. In a sense, a history of the Allen family and a tribute to my smart, gracious, and incredibly loving Aunt Dona. After I had designed the album I printed one for everyone left in my family. I didn't have to even leave my house and it was all done in my jammies with a box of Kleenex by my side.

The hardest part of the entire process was scanning in old family photographs. And now everyone has an album to treasure and also a cd with all of the photographs.

Here are some Studio J facts:
  • There is no software to purchase and install other than an Internet-connected computer.; instead, simply log in to and click on Studio J and start designing your layouts. You can create and immediately purchase your layouts, or you can save them for later completion and purchase.
  • Studio layouts can be created quickly for the time-challenged and have many flexible options for artists who want a custom look. Plus, Studio J makes it easy and affordable to print multiple copies of the same layout, perfect for giving to friends and family.
  • Studio J lets you choose from many of your favorite current and retired classic kits as well as kits exclusive to Studio J. However, in contrast to classic papers, studio papers give you the option to change the color of the monochromatic sides of the paper to any color in our 60-color palette. The software allows you to add distressing and embellishments as well as edit your photos, allowing you to adjust the photo’s brightness and contrast, saturation, sharpness, etc. Studio J even has tools to brighten teeth, erase wrinkles, soften blemishes, remove red eye, and more.
  • You’ll find all of the latest pricing and shipping information, including shipping options, at 
  • Becoming a Studio J member is the perfect way to get our best pricing of 50% off retail—that works out to be approximately $3.25 per page!
I am sorry for so much information at one time, I was just so darn exited to share this exciting program with you. I promise over the coming weeks and month to go into more detail so it doesn't seem so overwhelming and in the mean time please email me at or call me with any questions.

The following video will walk you through creating a layout from start to finish in Studio J. ENJOY!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April Specials

MY REFLECTIONS LEVEL 1 SCRAPBOOKING KITS are great for beginners to seasoned pros. The preprinted pages make preserving your fondest memories a breeze. Get a FREE Level 1 kit of your choice when you order $100 or more on my website April 1–30, 2011 (limit of one free
kit per qualifying order). Now’s the time to let everyone know you’re Lovin’ Level 1!

(Click on the Studio J picture on the right side of my blog for more information)

Members save more, do more,
get more!

• Exclusive patterns
• 50% off layouts
• Free JPG files
• Free monthly shipment
• Members-only promotions like this one!

ADD DELIGHTFUL DETAILS TO YOUR BEAUTIFUL STUDIO J LAYOUTS. Self-adhesive clear Sparkles and Opaques Pearl adhesive gems make it easy to get your shine on, and now you can get these adorable accessories FREE!

Throughout April, Studio J members get one free package each of clear Sparkles and Opaques Pearl gems, a retail value of $5.90, for every 10 custom-printed layouts purchased in a single order. It's another way CTMH makes scrapbooking faster, simpler, easier—and more sparkly! Go to my website and click on Studio J online scrapbooking  to start creating!

OUR HEARTS GO OUT TO THE VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE AND tsunami in Japan, and like so many of you, we’re eager to help. And helping has never been easier!
Give a little hope to Japan by purchasing an exclusive stamp set for just $5

During April, purchase the exclusive “Hope for Japan” A-size stamp set for the special price of only $5 (retail value $7.95) and Close To My Heart will donate 100% of the profits to the American Red Cross efforts in Japan. This beautifully designed stamp set reminds us of how our hearts are hopeful for those who are in need.

Contact me today to get involved in this heart-worthy cause.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My take on the Sophia Card Workshop

I love this paper, but I am absolutely addicted to the stamp set that comes with the Sophia Workshop Kit. I love anything birds. As long as I can remember I have loved birds. My true love affair began with my first bird, a beautiful, sassy parakeet. How I loved that bird. Now I share my life with two incredible, funny, silly, and sometimes just crazy birds.
This is our bird Sam
and this is Tweety (she is just a baby)

Even if you don't have your own crazy bird, you can join the bird craze by getting this stamp set available only in the Sophia Workshop Kit (G1019). Call or email me to get your kit, or better yet shop anytime from my website

Friday, March 18, 2011

Magnifique Layout #2

Here is another layout using the beautiful Magnifique level 2 paper. I love how the blue perfectly compliments Taylor's eyes. What makes this paper Magnifique is the versatile colors and patterns. I have three ways to get the products shown; call or email me, or better yet shop in your jammies on my website

Supply List
Magnifique Level 2 paper pack - X7127B
Magnifique Stickease - X7127C
Basic Assortment Brads - Z1365
Miracle Irresistibles (chipboard that has a resist pattern that shows through when covered with ink, chalk, markers, or watercolors) - Z1354
*Beautiful daughter not included

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Discounted Products

Remember to check my website;
to find discounted and retired products at phenomenal prices. Check back often to take advantage of these products that are offered while supplies last!

Right now prices are up to 90% off and items are going quickly. Don't miss out!