Closer To My Heart

The countdown is on! 5 days to go! I am overwhelmed by the skills of the people who have implored us to scrap our stash and be patient – Plan B would come. I have heard one of them speak with true passion about finding a solution for those of us who are now all ex CM consultants in Australia. To suggest we are not excited would not be true – but I cannot speak for everyone – so I will speak for myself.

close to my heart buttonI am over the moon with JOY!

I can go into places I could not go with CM. I can still scrap classic scrapbook pages, I can still create digital ones – even easier now that we have Studio J © to use, AND I can stamp designs and use a Cricut and teach others how to do the same!!! I have seen the palettes and packs that coordinate to help tell a story, that make creating gorgeous gifts for those we love easy so I am really looking forward to working with this product, doing the projects and encouraging others.

I have changed the name of the blog to suit since this is not just about Digital Scrapping now – I have so much more to share. July 1 can’t come quick enough!

Why is it that Close To My Heart is closer to my heart? Because I believe we can all be creative. Anyone who claims they are not creative would be more accurate if they stated they do not have the time to nurture creativity in themselves by applying their knowledge, skills, talents and ability to learn to a craft. We were all kids once right?

Were we afraid then of a look, a criticism, a scoff at our creations? No…and for most of us we were well praised for our efforts (even if the grownup could not quite make out what it was!) Somewhere between childhood and now our pure joy in playing with creating got lost. It may have been a teacher who decided our attempt was not as good as another’s in class. An unthinking adult may have even asked us ‘What is that supposed to be?’ when we felt it was patently obvious it was a car, a house, a duck…so we started to feel insecure about our own innate desire to create. A demon voice grew, trying to convince us we can’t do creative, we can’t do art, we are not talented.

If you have a voice within you....

If you have a voice within you….

I was one of those people when it came to art. My yr 7 Art teacher told me I wasn’t ”creative”!  I would like him to look at my paintings, my scrapbooks, my quilts, my original designs and tell me now he was WRONG!

For many years any desire to explore art was gone. When I got married, stopped studying and started to look for something other than correction to do at home in the evening I bought myself some coloured pencils and intricate colouring pads…something in me wanted to create!  Actually, I have my mother and the growth of folk art as an industry for home made craft to thank for giving creativity back to me. There are tools, there are products to understand, and there are patterns and instructions. And there are instructors like me! If you can watch a demo, and have and learn how to use the right tools and equipment you can create! Anything is possible.

You know your human brain has a section specifically for creating. Those students who learn to develop something (a piece of writing, a speech, a project) from a range of sources using a number of skills are ‘creating’ not just regurgitating and this is the main aim of our education system. So, how did adults lose faith in themselves to be able to create? That art teacher, the judgmental peer,  or simply being so busy with other ‘more important’ things in daily life to have time to create would be the main perpetrators. It is time to get your creative back!

posters 3 - Page 006There are so many benefits to being creative. Take a moment to tell that little voice in your head that says you can’t do it to be quiet a minute and listen. You may not produce prize winning artwork, but you will switch on a piece of your brain that has been inactive for too long.  You will be able to tune out the noise of life (and the voice of the negative knocker who suffers from tall poppy syndrome) and become absorbed in something different. That will lead to less stress rather than more. Take a moment to pause and watch a knitter (Not our ex PM but just someone you know), a spinner, a weaver, a painter, a patchworker, a tinsmith (my dad is one of those and he turn out great pieces for restored stationary engines). What do you notice about their mood? Their demeanor? Unless something is not quite going right and causing them frustration, you will find they are generally relaxed, happy and even oblivious to the woes of th world around them. It is their escape, their time out.

You can choose to do simple projects or complex ones – depending on your skills, confidence and equipment available to you. You may also need coaching or mentoring – that is my job! Enroll in a class scrapbooking or card making workshop and give it a crack. There is nothing better than the feeling of achievement that you lost somewhere in your childhood and you will be overjoyed by the compliments you get when you share creative work that also tells a story, and includes photos and messages of love. Such an experience will also bring others closer to your heart and you to theirs.

With my coaching, Close To My Heart will enable you to achieve what you thought you could not- with product, workshops, hosted gatherings or even having a go at being a consultant yourself. All you need to do first is acknowledge you have been neglecting the creative piece of your brain and letting life and daily stress take over all your thinking. Then make a commitment to give that piece of your brain a little workout. You will finish up more relaxed and refreshed – AND likely to be praised or thanked for your efforts once again,

Go on…give it a try !

I am closer to my creative center when I am teaching people to connect with theirs. The journey I am about to embark on is closer to my heart when I see people producing artwork from their heart. Now I have the opportunity to move well beyond the scrapbook page so my creative buttons are all ready to go and I cannot wait to share the journey with you!

It all starts July 1!

For inquiries about hosting gatherings or business opportunities please drop me a line!

Cheers

Jen –  Creative Classroom Coach with CTMH

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Held together by a common cause.

Today sadly Creative Memories closes its doors in Australia. They are still madly packing orders in the warehouse but for consultants we have no CM branding after today. My website will close, my customer list is now safely on my computer and that could have been that. The end point is here – and it is not black, it is a little warm and fuzzy.

You can shut the doors on a business. You cannot shut the doors on a mission.

I found this among the many shared memes on Facebook - it is what our mission is all about.

I found this among the many shared memes on Facebook – it is what our mission is all about.

When Diane Lampert and Brian O’Laughlan started the Australian Creative Memories family they were full of hope that Australians would love both the mission and the product. I have heard Diane’s story. She is a very courageous business woman whose belief in the product and the mission was so profound she agreed to take the risk and come to Australia to test it out in our market. Brian was the support for building the company here and it did not take long before they had a team of consultants spreading the message and mission throughout the country. Australians came to love scrapbooking and this resulted in  a successful direct selling company giving many of us the opportunity to work for ourselves while promoting a priceless concept – to ensure the photos came out of boxes and into albums along with the story that goes with them.

In those days we still printed film from cameras and we were just starting to use digital photography. In a little more than a decade things have rapidly changed! The economy has been up and down, the were boom periods and downturns. And now every hand held devise appears to be capable of capturing a moment. We can also share them freely on the internet and include the story in many ways. Albums on shelves were rapidly being replaced by pictures on disks.

Combining digital and traditional

Combining digital and traditional

Creative Memories remained competitive during the period of a scrapping shop on every corner – and came through the other side thanks to the staying power of leaders, good business management and consultants who could handle the competition. We still had albums and workshops for ‘traditional’ scrapbooking. In an era when it seems everything is done by computer we still love to sit and do hand-craft and our albums are an expression of that.

Some consultants had to let go during this period. I was one of them. This though, I have learned, is normal in direct selling. If you want to get to the top you need to put in a few good years of hard work and sponsoring to get there. I could not do this and balance all the other pressures in my life. I stopped consulting but continued scrapping. I believed in the mission and still do.

Then Creative Memories invested in digital solutions…I was hooked again well and truly. I love my Storybook Creator software, Memory Manager and the beautiful books I can produce, Sure there are competitors here too but top of the list for quality and accessibility with creative flexibility is this product. This is my preferred way to scrap even though I have many clients who still like to do the hands on. I became a consultant again because of the digital options enabled me to have another crack at direct selling.

Scarpbooking pinsHowever I do not consult just to make money. I scrap and consult because

  • I want to make sure the story goes with the photos
  • I want to remember the best parts of my life
  • I want my children and their children to know their story
  • I love the time out of a busy life doing something for me
  • I love taking photos just so I can scrap them
  • I am a teacher and love teaching others that they too CAN do this
  • I am still and always will be creative and this is just one way of expressing that
  • and I love to challenge those who say they are not creative to kill that negative self belief and discover that they are – it just got lost somewhere in their busy lives.
  • And, I am not alone in any of this. we are a family of consultants and customers sharing the one mission.
Making paper flowers is fun!

Making paper flowers is fun!

CM Sisters all over the country will say similar to me. For some the company provided income, for others it funds a hobby, but for all of us the mission matters. We want to see photos scrapped and shared, preserved for lifetimes to come. And some…we can do all kinds of paper crafts and make anything you can think of that can be either printed or shared digitally! We run workshops and classes and teach others. For us this business is not just about selling a product – it is about the customer, the you,  your photos, your story, your way. We help people to do this – and that for me is far more rewarding than any fiscal benefit from being a consultant.

So…we are not going to turn our heads and sadly walk away from today’s closed door.

I need a new car, I am about to engage with a new business,,,.I was toying with ideas about what sort of car I can get as I travel throughout my country region helping people preserve their photos and stories.

I need a new car, I am about to engage with a new business,,,.I was toying with ideas about what sort of car I can get as I travel throughout my country region helping people preserve their photos and stories.

Those magnificent entrepreneurs Diane and Brian, and others, have been spending this month working on Plan B. Tomorrow just what that is we will find out. It is the new door. The CM family has stuck together with campaigns to scrap the stash and virtual crop all month long so we are still going to be here – but with a new brand. The one constant is the Mission.

So right now the mood is warm and fuzzy. The anticipation for tomorrow’s announcement is mounting – we will have the opportunity to continue the mission with a whole new look and I can’t wait.

Thank you Diane for making it all possible and keeping it all possble, and thank you Sarah for encouraging me to have another crack and more recently wait for tomorrow to come!

thankyou 2

Stash Scrapping brings Startling Revelations

I have already posted about the pending closure of Creative Memories Australia due to the  economic issues the parent company in America is facing. Our business manager and leading consultants have been busy keeping the CM family together through Facebook groups, the Virtual Crop, and emails. The final closure of the company we have loved and served is to close it’s doors on Monday June 9th. (Plan B will be announced Tuesday the 10th  and the excitement is mounting as we anticipate bigger and better)

The therapy for all of us who are consultants has come via the ‘Keep Calm and Scrap On’ campaign with the encouragement to ‘scrap your stash’. Engaging in  this has led me to a really interesting place, one I have not visited for a very long time and one that has helped me to look back on my past and laugh, and cry, and see a significant period of my life in a new light. Essentially, this is why I Scrapbook – it does enable me to celebrate and reflect on significant moments of my story – and more.

It is finally on the table again

It is finally on the table again

So in living memory, without delving into anything that is drawn from primary sources, I remember my Rotary Exchange year to Mexico with a great deal of fondness. I have happy memories of families – Comacho Junco, De La Pen~a, and Zavala who were my hosts and a particlarly emotional connection with the Lima Rizado family. In fact I communicate with the latter now on Facebook thanks to one of them looking for me. I had looked for them several times too! Who would have thought in 1980 that in 2012 we could communicate so easily all these years later!

 

 

hopefully still in date order....Yep pretty much!

hopefully still in date order….Yep pretty much!

Digging into my stash I came across my unfinished album of this fabulous year of my life. I have pondered why it was unfinished. Perhaps some of the memories were just too painful to bare, as I reconnect emotionally with so much. Perhaps it was the huge wad of letters and documents that both my mother and myself saved from that year. I have every letter written to me – and every letter I wrote home.  If I am to do do a good job of this photo album – traditional or digital –  I would need to dig into dates, times and places – and these are recorded in the letters. I knew I would have to read them. maybe that is why it has taken so long.

I also got a bit stuck considering layouts for pages. Mexico is not a country well reflected by our traditional scrapping supplies here and finding just the right paper or sticker has been an issue for me. However I have learned to make do – and have been focussed more on colour than sticker to this point in time. I had stopped at the folkloric dancing I saw in Fortin De las Flores. These pages had followed scrapped pages of 2 of the 3 homes I lived in. I clearly had reached an emotional point and packed it into a box. I have since been doing other things while the project sat in a cupboard and got carted through to or three house moves before it saw the light of day again on my craft table – years after it had been started.

What page and photos to do next?

What page and photos to do next?

In the last few nights I have pulled it out. I recently ordered prints of the slides I had digitised, and now I have kind of sorted photos. It was such a long time ago I could not necessarily place all photos in a specific place or timeline. Not that for this project timeline matters – but I got stumped after doing the pages on my dear third host family and the family of my Mexican Muchacho. I told myself to ‘Feel the pain and do

My 4th Family and the one I grew closest to.

My 4th Family and the one I grew closest to.

it anyway’. Once I got past the emotional response, I did those pages and came to another halt.

 

 

 

I ran out of pages, I had no memorabilia pockets and I had no idea what kind of order to put the photos into. With CM Australia about to close its doors getting this project finished would depend on the support of the CM family for the pages and pockets and encouragement to finish a traditional project. All I had to do was ask and magic happened!

I found the perfect paper - and upcycled a page from my old demonstration and teaching album

I found the perfect paper – and upcycled a page from my old demonstration and teaching album

My girlfriend and fellow consultant visited tonight with 3 memorabilia pages, and 3 sheets of scrapbook paper she thought might be good. One was simply perfect. In Cordoba Veracruz, La Jarocha is a traditional dance form and has with it a specific style of costume. A couple of my most favourite photos are of me wearing this costume and performing in a dance troupe with the dance school I attended. When in Mexico I needed something outside of school to do, I loved the dancing and I needed to exercise. Learning this kind of dancing was the answer – and my cultural life in Mexico benefited greatly from this. I really wanted to scrap this one particular photo. Armed with that perfect paper from old creative memories stock, and additional old size pages I found buried in a box that were from my Scrapbook techniques album in 2002, I was set…but I got stuck again. When was it taken? Where was I? Which performance was it?

Tonight I am very glad I kept every letter written. I have been reading them and can now place the photo on a timeline of events and use the letters to help create the necessary journalling. Photos alone cannot tell this story – I needed the information. While doing so I came across a lot of information I had quite clearly forgotton – the names of people, the importance of places, and was able to observe – as no doubt my parents did – some changes in my behaviour that may have raised an eyebrow or two! My poor mum and dad! My letters also had some very common phrases…’Sorry this letter is short but I am too busy…just a quick note to say,.. I really have now news….I am studying hard for exams (I hated zoo-ology!),  thanks for your cheque…can I have some money for… I love you muchisisimo xoxoxox’ .

My letters remind me of my own daughter who went to Japan on exchange, who was frantically was studying to pass basic Japanese, and had little time to write, who struggled emotionally at times, had some basic observations of the country and culture to report and such. She might well have been me…our letters and notes are so similar…..so sixteen!

Well…I got one page done…the rest of the time was spent reading through many of the letters and I was startled by the revelations the 16 year old me left for the 50 year old one!

Scrapping the stash not only makes use of what I have to make room for the new to come, it also gave me an opportunity to get back to work on a project that I think should be done.

Try stash scrapping – you will be surprised what you find!

 

PS I have already started the digital version and now realise I will have more text than photos when I am done! Plan B will hopefully provide me the opportunity to have the same lovely page prints I am accustomed to!

Digital MEXICO page that will end up in my traditional album!

Digital MEXICO page that will end up in my traditional album!