Mexico city brings the world to people!

20140525_173456 20140525_173507 20140525_173734Today I went out to see what the city had in store for me. I discovered they are in the middle of a three week long International Festival. . The world is here including Australia. The Aussies are dishing up crocodile nuggets and lamb pies. I asked where the beer was. They don’t have any. Meanwile I grabbed a nice French Merlot to sit back wth tonight. I have loads of photos both on my tabet and camera. Will see what I can share here.

I took a stroll down the main mall in the company of an American.  I lost her when she was taking a  block walk to her bank. All the internationals are here.Maccas KFC Starbucks Subway…. 7/11 will be my saviour if  I wake early again tomorrow.Hotel breakkie is 8 till 10. They didn’t tell me 8.30 on Sunday! And the coffee was the last thing brought out. It was brewed in a special pot uderr pressure.  I have ever seen anything like it. To top it off it would not pour so the waiter opened it up and dished it out by he mug full soup style. I was not the only patron waiting on that coffee! So, in my travels today I discovered7/11 right next door. They have coffee and never close:) Awesome!

I did what I  could to enjoy the expo but it was super crowded. Sometimes Rex (my walker) got me through a crowd, sometimes not. The pavement in he square is in appalling condition.  Rex needed 4×4 at times:) However there are signs around and building in progress with new pavement. If I come again it will all be fixed.


I tasted some chilli but it was the hottest of one f the Latin American Countries!  Not quite ready for That!  I was entertained by Japanese schoolchildren in a drum performance, ripped off when paying to get to a toilet. (But is was clean and had disability cubicle) . I made my way into the magnificent cathedral just in time for one of the mass services and lit a candle for a friend recently passed. He would appreciate the cultures I am encountering. It was very moving. I recall as a child how devout I found Mexicans to be and had that spiritual connection again.


Hungry I found cheap eats in a little alley. Chicken taco and quesadillas.  When they are authentic they are so much nicer than what we get at home! I took a break, my siesta time had come but 20 pesos was called consistently for the whole time by a street seller and he was sill at it as I headed out again.

The square was now jam packed. There were more drummers on stage. I was asked about where I got my dress from too! This set up a Spangles conversation! ! At  6 pm the military lowered the humongous fag in the centre of the square with military precision.  It is a huge flag as you will see from photos. Apparently it goes up again at  6 am.  After this I heard more drums and followed the sound to traditional Mayan dancing. Very colorful and fun to watch. Prowling their wares in the market led me to meet Aman, a very nice fellow who spoke to my  about Mayan and azteca cultures.  It was a lovely conversation and I purchased the Mayan symbol for wholeness from him. He made me the necklace and put it on for me. He taught me how to do a traditional Mayan greeting too.  I think this was the highlight of my day.


I found a restaurant for supper and slowly headed to the hotel,  my body declaring enough for today.

More Photos to come when I work out how to transfer from my camera. Hasta Luego



Leaving on a jet plane

So just what goes through ones head when you finally hit the tarmac. I could have given a huge woop woop in celebration but instead I broke down in tears. This was it. A dream almost. 35 years in the making coming True! ! Of course I was happy but I was also now away from the pressure of everyday life. My house is packed and in storage. My temp accommodation is manageable thanks to my daughter. I have the sciatica threatening each day to worsen and prevent travel, and an amazing group of friends and relatives supporting me for this trip.

I am grateful.  I am humbled. A certain few know just how hard it was to give myself permission and spend money on me. My Mexican family connections are excited. I was, sitting on the tarmac, overwhelmed by all of the Emotions! !,, Now if this back pain would just go away lol…..Arriba! Next flight finally gets me to Mexico.




One day I will go back!

On Vacation!

Dear reader

I am heading off soon on a long awaiting walk down memory lane! Those who know me personally know my story and reason for going. My guess is many of you don’t.

In 1979 this little 15 Year old country girl from Australia took an incredible adventure as an exchange student sponsored by Wentworth Rotary Club to Mexico! It was very difficult in my small town of Wentworth  to find information about this country! We didn’t have internet or google. My small home town library had 2 books I could borrow! Our Population in Australia at the time was around 16 Million in total. There was that many in Mexico city alone! I was bound for a culture shock.

I knew I had to learn Spanish and would be discovering that taste of chili and that was about it. I was supported in this journey by three host families and the family I grew closest to through a close bond and friendship with a rather cute Mexican guy. The experience left me very humbled as I discovered what a privilege it is to be born and raised in a first wold country and not have the issues of third world poverty, unstable politics and no healthcare system for the disabled and ill.

Really, while we might moan and groan at our current government (yes I am one of those) being in a country like Mexico reminds us to be grateful we have a system called medicare, we have social welfare and we do not have vigilantes running across the north of the country (with the governments blessing) trying to put a stop to illegal drug and sex slave trading. Puts it in perspective right? I was horrified in 79 to see police moving about our very peaceful town of Cordoba with machine guns for weapons! Really?? Yes – and I doubt that will have changed given the presence of issues like drugs and ongoing poverty.

What I loved was that in spite of the poverty, political unrest, poor health, Mexicans, privileged, middle class and poor were friendly, devout and made the most of what they had. They taught this 15 year old a lot of lessons about life. I also fell in love with the music, the dance, the language. I fell in love with Mexico, and upset my parents greatly when the first thing I said when stepping back on Australian soil ‘ when can I go back?’

It was a dream I came to believe would never come to reality. As I scrapped it 30 Years on I wondered if I really would get back.

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10 years ago I made more defintie plans to return. It became a goal –  one day. Fast forward a little and through Facebook I have reconnected with the one family that I connected with the most! I became even more sure a return to Mexico was needed.  I am now 51 and my ‘one day’ Day is just 2 days away! It has taken 36 years, and my one day opportunity came this year.

The Lima Rizardo Family

The Lima Rizardo Family


Close To My Heart celebrate 30 years in the business this year and this is the first year that they have expanded into Australia and New Zealand. This is the first big event with northern and southern hemisphere consultants! The invitation to join the US and Canadian consultants at convention celebrating 30 years  was irresistible! I had to go and then the idea struck me. This is it – the opportunity is now and I have to run with it! Mexico is a short hop over the border from LA!


I took ages to give myself permission to go. I mulled over the costs, the treat to myself, and fought the little voices in my head who argued with me about it but eventually I decided I could and should go. If you know the black dog of depression, you will know how hard even that step can be.

I am heading to Mexico for a month, spending a week in the town I am familiar with – Cordoba. Then I will revisit some of the places I have seen as a child, and go to places I didn’t get to. I am sure this trip will be very different, not because it is shorter but because now I will rediscover Mexico as an adult. I cannot wait for the sounds of Mariaches, spending time with families and people I knew, the beaches of Vera Cruz and Can Cun, and all the other flavours of Mexico. Then I have the excitement of the CTMH Convention in LA and Disneyland – a first for me. My dream trip is about to happen – watch this space. I will blog about it if I can. Here are some digital pages I did when I paper scrapped my first trip. Can’t wait to try and get the 30 years on photos side by side!

Reflections on Mexico

Reflections on Mexico



Till next time




Everything ABC’s Blog Hop Letter J

abc bloghop Welcome to the Everything ABC’s Blog Hop! For this hop we will be featuring the letter J. This may be the name of a paper, a stamp set or an embellishment. Whatever the crafter has chosen as their # element will be featured in their post. If you have just hopped onto my blog, please start at the beginning at Linda Norman – Scrappy Therapy   If you came from Catherine Nowak ~ Catscrapbooking you are in the right place. 

Japanese Blossom Greeting Card

I have had this little stamp set for a while and have been wanting to make cards with it. According to my Japanese speaking daughter the Kanji on the stamp speaks of peace, hope and love. The English greeting ‘Live for today, Dream for Tomorrow’ id a lovely sentiment you can apply to a number of card occasions so in the design I have left room at the top for an elegant hello, congratulations or happy birthday. The focus in this post is on how I coloured the Japanese blossom stamp.


Japanese Blossom A1155


I have coloured this with my Close To My Heart Water colour pencils. I have used Sorbet, Orange, Olive, Pink, Honey and some Autumn Terracotta.


I have stamped the image with Cocoa and Saddle Pigment inks. Allow these to dry well before working in the water colour. Pigment inks won’t run if you get them wet like our normal ink pads do. I inked the top right corners in the saddle and the left and bottom triangle in Cocoa. I have stamp onto colonial white card stock. This is not as stark as the white might have been.

Stamped images ready to colour.

Stamped images ready to colour.

Before we get to colouring the image here are some tips.

  • Always turn the work so you are comfortable with the direction of a stroke of the pencil or brush.
  • Follow the lines of the petals and leaves.
  • You do not need to colour the whole space – let the watercolour properties do this for you. Finally be sure to have paper towel handy so you do not get too much water on your work.

To make it easier to explain just how I did this I have made this video for you. Please excuse my um’s – I just talk you through it as I work!

Once I had coloured the blossom flower I mounted it on Cocoa, then sorbet cardstock. This is all put on a background from the Balloon Ride paper and supported by a strip of the apricot crackle paper in this collection. A couple of sparkles finish it off.

The following CTMH products are used in this project. All are available from my online store. Don’t forget to order you Free to Be Me Paper Pack and CStamp of the month, Just $5 each with orders over $75. 

Water Colour Pencils (Currently not in stock)

Colonial White cards and envelopes x1410

Balloon Ride Paper Packet x7180B

Basics Mini Pigment  Ink Pads Z2503

Japanese Blossom Stamp Set A1155

Sparkles Clear Assortment X1752

Your next stop on our Everything ABC’S blog Hop is Cary Magnani – My Heart’s Design In case you get lost along the way…go to Scrappy Therapy


Everything ABC’s Blog Hop Letter I

abc bloghop


Welcome to the Everything ABC’s Blog Hop!

For this hop we will be featuring the letter I. This may be the name of a paper, a stamp set or an embellishment. Whatever the crafter has chosen as their I element will be featured in their post. If you have just hopped onto my blog, please start at the beginning at Linda’s blog ~ Scrappy Therapy

If you came from “Joy McHargue- Studiowow” right track!

Ivy Lane Card Collection

Collection of 12 cards all made with Ivy Lane Card Making kit and extra papers and stamp sets

Collection of 12 cards all made with Ivy Lane Card Making kit and extra papers and stamp sets

With mother’s day coming up for the mother who has everything consider making her a box of cards. These cards are all making use of the Ivy Lane Card Making kit, additional Ivy Lane papers and various other stamps sets and tools. The card box is also decorated with Ivy Lane papers, the Ivy Lane Assortment, Ivy Lane Complements and the stamp of the month we had earlier in the year called Happy Place. This project is one which should have you diving through your stamp sets!

Ivy Lane Card Making Kit – The ONLY way you can get that awesome gold Shimmer trim at present.


Aside from three of the cards being exactly as they are in the kit I made additional cards, first varying the card making kit deigns, then diving into my stamp stash and using my scraps and leftovers. All card are on Colonial white cards and since having these in my possession I have fallen in love with the quality of these cards, and the price.


This is another that follows the designs in the card making kit but makes use of a different sentiment. Once again you can see the soft flourishes stamped in the background.


In this card I have followed the same design that is in the card kit but used an alternative sentiment.

The following two cards focused on using up some zip strip and chipboard pieces.


The Chipboard piece came with Art Philosophy Cricut Collection. Sentiment is from Joyful Birthday. I glued the Ivy Lane Green to the chipboard first.


The banner is one of the colour ready pieces that comes with the Art Philosophy Cartridge. Sentiment is from Joyful birthday. I used the zip strip from the papers to trim this card.

Emboss any scrap and trim it to fit!


For this card I used the Damask Embossing folder and then sanded. The Sentiment is in the Flourishes stamp set.

Make specific design choices with stamp sets from your stash.


Background stamp the Flourishes from the inspiration flourishes stamp set, and stamp the hearts from the dreamer stamp set once on the card and once on scrap card to cut and mount on top. Sentiment is secondary stamped in chocolate and then stamped in hollyhock. The end result is a very pretty card.


The Cup Cake is Cut with the Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge and layered up. The sentiment is from Joyful Birthday B1419


Joyful Birthday B1419 Flourishes from Inspiration Flourishes C1581 in Bamboo and Hollyhock. Damask Embossing folder has also been used.


I used the cuts suggested in the Ivy Lane Card making kit and gold shimmer trim. The title and chipboard piece came with the Artiste Cricut cartridge, background stamped with Inspiration Flourishes in Bamboo Ink. The edge distressing is in Hollyhock and the sentiment is stamped in Cocoa ink

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down Ivy Lane! Now Hop on over and see what Pam Trostle has in store for you


Product list – All products available online at my Close to My Heart Online store– Don’t forget it is National Scrapbook month so you can get the Free to be me paper pack with every $75 order!

Ivy Lane Card Making Kit G1079

Ivy Lane Paper pack X7178B

Ivy Lane Complements X7178C

Ivy Lane Assortment Z3001

Colonial white cards and envelopes value pack X1410

My Creations Card Box z1647

Cricut Collection Art Philosophy Z1686

Cricut Collection Artiste z1790

Damask Embossing Folder Z1927

Exclusive Inks – Bamboo, Chocolate, Hollyhock and Cocoa

Additional Stamp sets

Joyful Birthday B1419

Dreamer B1439



May Stamp of the Month S1405 You’ve Got a Freind

sotm blog hop

Welcome to the Australasian May Stamp of the Month You’ve got a Friend Blog Hop.

If you have arrived here from  Monika – A Sprinkle of Glitter  you are in the right place. If you landed here by accident, no problem, please join in by following the link at the end of this post.

Today I would like to share with you a collection of Love Notes which features the May Stamp of the Month S1405 You’ve got a friend, available exclusively throughout May  for $24 or for just $5 when you spend $75.

love notes

I see this stamp set as the opportunity giving you some new stamping techniques so let’s get started!

Background stamping is a technique where we first stamp the flat back of the stamp in a colour before stamping the detail. pop your stamp on your block upside down. It will look like this. Being new, you will need to season this side – give it a good rub on your arm. Note this technique works best with asymetrical designs, but a little leafy green on the wrong die adds a quirkiness to this finished tag.


Ink it up in one or more colours. On this item I have used Pear and Cranberry pigment inks. These are going on Sweet Leaf Cardstock. I have cut the apple shape from the Artboking Cartridge on page 69 at 2.75 inches. This shape is just right for an apple shaped tag.

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Now flip the stamp the right way up and stamp the sentiment.


Add a hole with a hole punch and if you like trim a little of the extra green shape away. There is a cute little tag to stick in a lunch box or put with a gift.

Just to practice the technique let’s do it again! ???????? ????????


To use a precut tag, cut tags with Art Philosphy Tag page 40 at 3 inches. I have used Crystal blue cardstock for this tag. Finish the edge with one of the ink colours you have used in the stamping. I have used Outdoor denim, Whisper, and black for this sample. Punch a hole and thread with bakers twine or ribbon from your stash.  You can also do this design directly on card stock and fussy cut the shape with your awesome Microtip scissors.


Masking with paper. This is a great opportunity to use up some scraps. Stamp the image on scrap paper. Cut out the word you wish to stamp in a different colour. Keep both pieces! So I cut the mustache away but also kept the thank you section intact,


I background stamped this the same as the first two samples  but this time used the same colour as the card stock – whisper for a more subtle look. The shape is from p 46 in Art Philosophy. Using Cricut Craftroom I unlocked the aspect ratio and made the shape 3.5 x3 inches for the sentiment. Fist put the mustache scrap in place and stamp the sentiment in your first colour – in this case Slate,


Then swap out the scrap pieces – and stamp the mustache section in a second colour. I chose black. Be sure to line up the mask nicely so you maintain the whole.


Our clear cling stamps allow us to line things up easily. Stand up and look directly down through your stamp block to place exactly where you want it.

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Finish with edges distressing and some bakers twine. Add a stud too!


Here is the same stamp this time instead of masking I am layering. I stamped the image on the card,in cocoa  and on some scrap in black. I fussy cut the mustache and then added this to the card with foam tape. There is no background stamp on this sample.



I have also used layering for ‘You’re the best’. The base is a card from Art Philosophy p 48 cut at 5.25 wide x 3.5 high. (Cricut craft room allows you to unclock the aspect ratio! )


Stamp the image in pigment ink on the UV coated card (this is from the Free to be me collection). Stamp again on the lagoon, and on the back of the UV coated red to get 2 more layers. The thick black lines make fussy cutting a breeze if each layer is stamped in the same colour – black. Use foam tape to mount these pieces on.

Masking with Washi Tape

Finally let’s do masking with washi tape! Any washi tape will do. Mask out the bit you do not wish to ink, Ink up the stamp, REMOVE THE WASHI. (Yes I have forgotten to do this sometimes!) Stamp the image, Repeat the process covering what is already stamped and ink up in your second colour, Remove the washi – look through the block carefully for placement and stamp you second word.

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You end up with this colourful result.


Finish with Flamingo dots and a bow and you have a cute card. I cut this card from Art philosophy p 52 at 2.5 inches. It is only just big enough. I would recommend trying 2.75 inches just so the design is not right at the edges. I have used Pear and Smoothie as colours for this sample.


Once I had all my love notes done I went through and added sparkle, triangle studs and even washi tape to put a little bling into the finished pieces.

I was experimenting when making these. I am more pleased with some than others and that is largely through colour and shape choices. Don’t be afraid to play because the sentiments on this months stamp of the month are very suitable for lunchbox love notes and your family is sure to appreciate you popping one in as a surprise ‘Just ‘cos’ one day!

Remember Stamp of the Month is available for $24 in May ONLY, or you can purchase it for $5 with every $75 from your consultants online store – Jen’s Creative Classroom at Close To My Heart. (AU only) I love to have comments and feedback so please leave a comment before moving on!  Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little venture into stamping techniques and you can produce some cute little love notes for your family.  Your next place on the hop is Patricia Manhire She is sure to have come up with something special for you!

Supplies used in the love notes: Available from Jen’s Creative Classroom. 

Arbooking Cricut collection Z1906

Art Philosophy Cricut Collection Z1686

Natural Metallic Bakers Twine z1921

Micro Tip Scissors z1836

Durables Triangle Studs z1928

3d Foam Tape z1151

Washi Tape 

Flamingo Dots z1934

Exclusive Inks – Pigment inks –  Cranberry, Pear, Outdoor Denim, Whisper, Black, Cocoa, Pear, Smoothie, Slate,

Cardstock – Sweet leaf x5639; Crystal Blue 1292; White, Whisper

Free to Be Me Paper Collection – National Scrapbook Month Offer