Wishful thinking? Dream, Dare and Do

I am outside a mega crop! there are 100 scrappers inside!

I am outside a mega crop! there are 100 scrappers inside!

I have had some of the most wonderful days (or hours)  ‘out’ scrapbooking with other like minded scrappers who enjoy recording memorable moments, sharing their stories in scrapbooks, playing with paper and decoration and dealing with the internal negative voice that says our personal handwriting is not neat enough! Sometimes a nice intimate class of 3-4 people does the trick of bringing calm, colour and joy in our otherwise chaotic world and lots of laughs and giggles for good therapy too. Then there are those big events….I so want to see that happen again one day in Sunraysia and surrounding areas too!

Little workshops can work well in anyone’s home. A few friends getting together regularly to scrap, perhaps taking turns hosting is an unofficial ‘club’ . The women provide each other with very important therapy. They share tools, they encourage and support each other with ideas, maybe they swap papers, embellishments, and even show each other the latest technique spotted on a video seen online.

 

 

 

Our tables didn't stay this tidy but we had a lot of fun!

Our tables didn’t stay this tidy but we had a lot of fun!

Another look at our Robinvale group

Another look at our Robinvale group

They laugh, giggle and have fun. We do not do enough of this. Far too often i hear I would love to but I do not have time. Women who gather like this see value in the gathering – they make time for themselves and dare to do it. Of course they also share their secret stash secrets too (secret from partner that is)  because they are daring enough to have a secret stash!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myself and my first two team members - we get together regularly to crop and share ideas.

Myself and my first two team members – we get together regularly to crop and share ideas.

I have a little group like this – we are all dedicated scrappers and we also all have now joined Close To My Heart. Being a new business in Australia I am really looking forward to scrapping together and developing our understanding of our products and business model at the same time. We get together weekly if we can and just chill, share ideas and knowledge, and make each other cups of brew (tea or coffee). Sometimes we also take turns with my babysitting so my grandson’s mum can get her pages done too! The few hours we spend like this is fun and relaxing. It is even more fun because we are using new toys! (We have stamps now:) ) Someday soon we will also have a Cricut machine to play with.

We have a whole new range of papers, embellishments and page layouts to try, not to mention cards to make. AND…we need a team name! I am looking forward to a brainstorming sesh for that one! We have supported each other as a team and I look forward to doing this with our CTMH products and businesses. There is no doubt about it. Women need fellowship, an outlet to share, AND an outlet for creativity. Scrapbooking and papercraft provides a vehicle for this and sharing and camaraderie is central to fun in our little group. We  have had to make the ‘sacrifice’ of time out for ourselves to ensure ‘life’ doesn’t get in the way but it is very very worthwhile!

There are lots of goodies in the consultant kit!

There are lots of goodies in the consultant kit!

OK…so little workshops could work for you. Regular get togethers, your favourite snacks and beverages, and a consultant is all you need. Yes, consultant! You need a consultant so you get the goss  on what is coming and access to the latest products, information and rewards! You consultant is your guru and guide. She may not be expert, but she is your link to all the resources and ideas. If you have a group and don’t have a consultant consider inviting someone like me along. I can pop in and out quickly with the latest news and product samples, teach a technique and make plans for next visit. It will be easy, fun and one of the group can get the benefits of hosting!

So what about a BIG one?

I love that I can keep working at my scrapping and papercraft with my team, but my dream is the BIG Crop. This is my Dream, Dare and DO! ‘Why?’ you may wonder!  Well there is

  • lots of eye candy
  • lots of ideas shared
  • lots of freebies and give-aways if you happen to get one of the lucky door prizes
  • Lots of happiness and buzz (so good for the soul in a busy life)
  • lots of laughter and
  • occasionally even a few quick challenges just to spice up your approach to album making!
  • Chocolate….

Shouting yourself a Big Crop Day is like taking a day off just for you. Arrange the child care and focus on yourself and your project. You enter a whole new stress free world and go home having accomplished something to show those who care. Imagine getting among 50-100 people all doing what you do! Your world of papercraft becomes a whole lot more fun.

Big crops happen regularly in the cities. They range in price for the day depending on your welcome gift, catering and venue costs. ALL the work is done for you. You can just sit, scrap, chat, eat, scrap and chat some more. Don’t forget the chocolate! Breakout sessions show you new ideas and techniques. Product displays give you creative inspiration and seeing walls filled with page layouts and tables covered in cards and off the page projects will get your creative juices going!

Wall of page layout ideas to inspire.

Wall of page layout ideas to inspire.

In crop events there are always bonus tips and techniques like these paper flowers! Everyone is willing to share how they do something!

In crop events there are always bonus tips and techniques like these paper flowers! Everyone is willing to share how they do something!

Newest products on display at the Adelaide Ideas Extravaganza crop

Newest products on display at the Adelaide Ideas Extravaganza crop

Lots of scrapbooking and chatter going on here!

Lots of scrapbooking and chatter going on here!

It is a fest of creative inspiration. But the BEST bit is being among like minded devotees of photos, memories, storytelling and papercraft. You don’t feel weird. You do not feel like the only woman whose partner scrutinises how much ‘stuff’ you have and if you happen to have a craft room or shed for ‘her’ you will be the envy of others. (Watch out they may invite themselves over for a visit and their partners will curse you for putting big ideas in their heads!)

I have fond memories of big events like this on various occasions as a consultant and more recently attended events in Adelaide that were attended by over 80 scrappers – consultants and their customers – and had a ball. Six hours goes way too fast! We have managed to have smaller versions of these with combined crops of local Mildura consultants and our customers go home grateful to have had a day out, to have learned new things, and have some fun, That photos of me playing in leaves comes from one of these events as we let mother nature provide us with the photo opportunity!

So… I dream of making these bigger! Imagine a really juicy creative play day!

Perhaps I should explain Juicy!

Juicy is a term I have learned from PLANET SARK. (Your Home for Dreaming, Daring, and Doing!)  I first read her work ‘Succulent Wild Women’ and while I have not been totally wild with a journal and coloured pens I have wanted to. I have found the answer for me has always been in my scrapbooking. It is good for the soul! Picking up from the SARK philosophy, Creativity is juicy; Journalling is juicy; Colour is juicy! Put all that juicy goodness into your memory keeping and you will have fun and one day your family will have juicy fun pouring over the pages you have made with fun and love.

P1020015 P1020014And Yes! I do want to see at least 50 attendees at a big CROP. I know there are many more than 50 scrapbookers in Sunraysia and surrounding areas so I dream of having a day where at least 50 of these delightful memory keepers are together for a day of fun and sharing. I dare to and I am going to do it. I have found a well lit venue with a perfect kitchen, plenty of no limit parking  and flat access for trolleys and wheeled bags. ( There are no steps or stairs to drag trolleys over! ) All I need are the juicy scrappers and their enthusiasm who will come along to play. We will have a ball! We will be like kids on a big play date! Maybe we will find some of our own lost in childhood creativity!

Wishful thinking? Too ambitious? That is my negative self talk talking. If the city girls can do it so can we country gals! How about it? If there were big Crops would you go? Have you been to one? What do you remember most about such events?

Please pop your comment below- I would love for you to share your experience with me!

Stash Scrapping

Updated!!

So…we are Stash Scrapping our way though the fog and it has turned out to be a great deal of FUN!!

I would not have made paper flowers if not prompted by Virtual crop!

I would not have made paper flowers if not prompted by Virtual crop!

Through the inspiration of a team of leaders our Facebook Summer Virtual Crop (now with almost 2.500 members!) has morphed into a regular weekly Friday Fun night! I have created interesting flowers, made several different interpretations of a page sketch and ….yep…even done traditional pages which is something I have not done in a very long time. In fact, the call to Scrap my Stash has led me to some startling revelations!

I found my ‘Mexico’ album in a state of disarray! (I didn’t photograph it!) WOOPS…Yes I did – photos below!!   For all the years and all the pages of traditional scrapbooking I have done the Mexico album was the most difficult and unfortunately the most incomplete. *How shameful* It was incomplete after starting it about 10 years ago because most photos were on slides, and much of the content is hand written letters. I decided at the time to let technology catch up 😉 so I could digitize the slides. I have done that…but then I balked at the Memorabilia. All those tickets, postcards, and beautiful hand written letters from me to home and home to me. Those letters are not well dated, but if I were to take the time to read them they will guide me through the order of events of 1980 and include what was happening for me in Mexico as well as what was happening for family and friends at home. What a record!. In my mind it was only yesterday but also eons ago.

Page sketch using Vintage Chic Digital

Page sketch using Vintage Chic Digital

My interest in dragging it out of a cupboard initially came about because one of the family members contacted me through Facebook. I just had to go digging for photos of that family and rekindle the dream to go back and spend time with them again. Since then the whole family has connected and I have the offers of accommodation for a visit. meanwhile, the album and all the bits and pieces still sat on the shelf because I had discovered the delights of digital. Maybe I would not finish it traditionally….maybe I would convert it all to digital.

So…here I am in the midst of a Call to Scrap my Stash while waiting for our Leader Brian O’Callaghan and his team to finalise Plan B. The Mexico Album is mocking me, quietly, insistently, whispering to me ‘scrap me. scrap me’….I will have to give in! I have given in.

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

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

I have been hunting out stash to use – red papers, travel stickers, memorabilia pockets, mounting papers, putting the photos into Memory Manager ready to print, sorting and organising….and taking an incredible journey down memory lane while doing so. I have found a hand written letter to me from my little brother, and a little guy I used to babysit. Later in the year I will be attending his 40th birthday! He is going to get the gift of that letter back I think!

Digital still beckons – but there is time for page prints May 31…not much time, but time nonetheless), so my old album will reflect something of the new as I add digital pages into the traditional album. Why not? It has more of everything else besides photos (actually in short supply for this one) but has a very exciting story to tell. I am happy to hybrid scrap for now and use my stash!

We are still here and still scrapping - Come join us!

We are still here and still scrapping – Come join us!

They say something good comes from something bad, when one door closes, another opens. This is just life…but not as we know it. Being forced to think outside the square, being offered the inspiration from the sisterhood of consultants, and being a consultant who is driven to lead by example to my customers I am scrapping my stash and it includes Mexico. The only competition to this is my very desperate need to re-live my Red Wild and Wonderful 50th birthday by scrapping that album….so each time I sit to scrap these two albums will no doubt compete with each other for attention!

Celebrating the coming of age:) 50

Celebrating the coming of age:) 50

‘Stash Scrappin’ has me smiling! How about you? What have you found in your stash that you forgot you had, or had put far away on the back burner? Please post your comments below and tell us about the pages you are doing – and why!

Workshops: If you are local to Mildura, Robinvale. Broken Hill or the Riverland please contact me about stash scrapping workshops during June. For everyone, distance is no barrier – jump on in and join the Virtual Crop Friday Fun Night – you truly will be inspired!

Cheer – Jen

Added photos of the mess my album was in – pay attention to the box of stuff!!

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My Diary extracts – removed from the diary to make it easier to pack all those years ago. this will help with the journalling!

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top – the box, next postcards syill in yukky album covers. next documents, last a tour info book. Lot’s of memorabilia to deal with!

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Keep calm and scrap on…and on…

It is a fact our current economy is global. As we meander (or run) through each day we don’t stop to think about what would happen if the company that makes our favourite product ceased operation. We just assume it is there and always will be. We have faith in our relationship with it.

The reality is though, that at the simple click of a button, a pressure from outside which is out of our control and decisions that are made will always have the potential to send us tumbling like dominoes into a panic. Our human response to a crisis creates both good and bad behaviour. Some get angry and stay that way, some wander in the haze of the aftershock, confused and uncertain, while other’s snap into panic mode and enter into a frantic chaotic frenzy of one kind or another.

This is because we are human, we operate at some level on instinct and will do battle to save ourselves. Sometimes, unfortunately, that leads straight to greed and no care whatsoever for others. But this is not, for me at least, the norm.

The normal response to a crisis in my experience is to ask how I can help. Right here, right now – and worry about the why of it all later. We see this often in Australia. There is a house fire – the community rallies to support the family. There is a diagnosis of Cancer or other terminal illness and both the immediate and extended network of that person jumps right into action to support the patient and assist them to fight back. A nation that is struggling with financial distress, a population experiencing poverty and/or persecution, or a natural disaster such as those we have seen of late in Australia all illustrate the ‘action’ in the human response to crisis. ‘What can I do to help? ‘ is the iconic mateship we see in this country.

Of course it isn’t always like this. Unfortunately there is an opposite.

Some only care for themselves and point fingers of blame at a scapegoat and expect that entity to fix it. Some people pillage and loot, taking what they can for themselves. They find some way to take advantage of the crisis with callous disregard for the wellbeing of fellow human beings. Some just freeze, unable to get beyond shock, anger and fear for the future. I have little regard for the first of these and while I empathise with the latter.

I am a CAN DO girl. We may not have caused it, but we can certainly act in response to any crisis in a positive way. We are all capable of the more positive response to a crisis in any form and on a moral level that is what we ought to do.

By now you may be wondering why I am waffling on about this. In the last 48 hours I have faced a sudden crisis that for some is really devastating on an emotional or financial level.  I have witnessed all of the above human behaviours in varying degrees in response to it. ‘ It’ was not a flood. It was not a fire. It was not a war. Nonetheless, it is disempowering because it is caused by decisions and actions not in our control.

The company I represent when I go out into communities and run market stalls and workshops, Creative Memories Australia New Zealand, has gone into voluntary administration.

Keep_Calm_sign_blue

It suffers economic illness that has the potential to be terminal. And the resounding response from those of us connected to it, I am pleased to say, is Keep calm and Scrap on. 

What is a voluntary administration?  Voluntary administration is an insolvency procedure where the directors of a financially troubled company or a secured creditor with a charge over most of the company’s assets appoint an external administrator called a ‘voluntary administrator’. The role of the voluntary administrator is to investigate the company’s affairs, to report to creditors and to recommend to creditors whether the company should enter into a deed of company arrangement, go into liquidation or be returned to the directors.  (ATSIC) 

What Happened?

In April, the parent company of Creative Memories AU NZ, Creative Memories USA entered into a bankruptcy state known as Chapter 11.

Chapter 11 is a chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States.

Creative Memories USA is in financial crisis and downunder we were not expecting to become part of the solution for them. Last week, Creative Memories Australia New Zealand was put into the hands of an Administrator. Our parent company can no longer supply us with our primary goods. Its reorganization includes the cutting off of the Australian arm of its business and therefore our company is unable to function.

There is no choice. Economic surgery in is required. Voluntary Administration is not bankruptcy, but it is emergency economic surgery. This is our crisis. Employees, consultants at all levels, and customers are affected.

We can be angry and lash out, or respond with a lot of patience and hope that the surgeon (Administrator) can achieve the best outcomes for Creative Memories AU NZ to carry on.
Our company will no doubt look and feel different when it comes out of surgery.

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The leaders, who are 100% reliant on the success of the company for their livelihood, are in fight back mode. They are brainstorming, planning and seeking solutions. They are not responsible for decisions made by the administrator. They have to ride the waves. All that they worked hard for has been pulled from underneath them in the actioning of Chapter 11 in the USA.

The same can be said for Australian and New Zealand consultants at all levels. We were in the business of scrapbooking with Creative Memories for many reasons and we do not want to lose it. Similarly, the same can be said for our customers who have trusted the Consultants and the Company to deliver them top quality products and services. One other stakeholder, not to be forgotten, are the employees of the company – the pickers and packers in the warehouse, the technicians, the office girls, the trainers in the field and perhaps even the cleaners who all have families and need their job.

Australian’s are excellent at rallying in a crisis. I recall how much we admired Queensland’s Premier Blair at the time of the Queensland floods. She was calm, practical but caring, She prioritised, and called the people of the state and nation to action – and action she got. Our faith in human nature was boosted.

06_dreambig-7531Our crisis is not as ‘big’, not as pertinent to the future of our country, but it is important to us at a deeply personal level and it matters to the future of our families. We (consultants) need to act in positive ways, have some faith in the skills of the Administrator and those who are reimagining the future of the company, our leaders. We need to do as they ask us to help restructure the company to one that is economically viable so we can deliver on our statement of beliefs and restore faith in our customers.

What Now?

The majority of consultants have rallied already. It is fantastic to see.
Most of us, myself included will not sit back and wait for things to happen. Let’s face it, if we have had success in this business it is because we acted in a way to ‘make it happen’ using the tools, training and tenacity required. Our current situation is no different. Our tools are more limited at present, but our determination has already grown, our planned sharing of the mission has incredible new energy and we are fighting back any negative ‘self’ talk by staying positive and keeping calm.

108096We LOVE what we do. We believe in the power of scrapbooks and their role in the lives of people. One only needs to watch the end of the movie ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ or observe a child absorbed in a photo album, ( I recall just last week a consultant photogaphed her child who had fallen asleep with albums on his knee) or as it is in my case see the light in the eyes of my fragile and feeble mum who shares the storybook celebrating her 50 years of marriage I made her with everyone who comes through her door, to know that scrapbooking matters.

Nationwide (and further south in New Zealand) we are vowing to continue to deliver our message and support our customers to make priceless scrapbooks of their precious photos and memories. We believe in ourselves and our leaders. Our workshops are not only still on as scheduled many of us are adding more workshops for the interim while we wait for the company to recover from the crisis and be able to supply the goods we need.

Consultants are supporting each other to source products that have disappeared from the shelves in the warehouse in a frenzy of panic purchasing of our most precious product lines, the scrapbook pages and protectors and the signature tools.

Customers are rallying, supporting us by coming to workshops and even bringing in new customers in excited anticipation of what the future for their consultant might look like. By supporting us, they support their own commitment to personal scrapbooking as well as their consultant who inspires them. We thank you sincerely for your words of support and encouragement and your loyalty to our product and service.

keepcalm

Consultants are being creative, finding ways to continue in this wonderful business, working for ourselves with all that direct selling offers us while we wait for what the company will evolve into. We are staying positive. We expect it might get a bit rocky (perhaps very rocky at times) but it is also very exciting to imagine the possibilities of the future for our company under the leadership of our business manager and Senior Directors.

What about my response? 

Keep calm umbrella

Watch this space! More workshops, more ideas, lots of positive thinking, and lots of scrapbooking. This crisis is bringing out the best in us. Hope, journey, and fun. While we might not have all we want or think we need right now let’s make the most of what we do have.

For information about workshops, new scheduled events, ordering supplies and more please head to my website events list.  I anticipate my CM site will at some point become unavailable but in the mean time you can however go there now, browse currently available products, place an order and pay online, or message me with your order and I will endeavour to fill it. If postage is required you will need to include that cost.The next events of significance – Memoranza. May 18 Robinvale. May 19 Mildura. Bookings are essential so we can be sure you have all you need. Use the site link or email me. I already have the ‘goodies’, but the quantity is limited.

Meanwhile…dig through your stash, book into a workshop, follow me on facebook, twitter, or pinterest and most of all Keep calm and scrap on! 

 

stay-calm-stay-scrappy

Jen

Relaying for life

I have always wanted to pull an all nighter doing scrapbooking but never have. My desire to sleep is strong (whose isn’t when you get to my age?) and it really does save me being miserable the next day. However, in the words of the MC at the recent Mildura Relay for Life Event – Cancer patients cannot ‘take a break’ so to be supportive our teams had to be sure there was someone on the track  at all times. And so we did.

Being up all night, staying focussed on the task

Being up all night, staying focussed on the task

Team leader Sandra scraps while not walking by torchlight

Team leader Sandra scraps while not walking by torchlight

Darkness brought a whole new look to displaying how we remember.

Darkness brought a whole new look to displaying how we remember.

There was life in our tent all night for anyone who cared to to stop and say hello and chat about how we preserve and share our photos and stories.

Physically I am a partial wreck with an arthritic knee and degenerating spine so walking lots of track laps is beyond me.  I am glad no-one was comparing lap times! Steady and slow got me around plenty of times.  There was a short nap in there as we also relayed through our sleeping tent but I put in my share of laps for the team and spent most of the rest of my time encouraging relayers to come to our tent and see what we do.

One of our customers is a survivor, proudly completing the laps she could, enjoying the scrapbooking and showing us the courage and hope needed.

One of our customers is a survivor, proudly completing the laps she could, enjoying the scrapbooking and showing us the courage and hope needed.

People who suffer cancer are everyday heroes  They show the rest of us the meaning of the phrase ‘fight back’ and for there families ‘Remember’ is significant. The keyword for our Mildura event was ‘celebrate’.

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Relay for life - Celebrate

Relay for life – Celebrate

Celebrate your life, your story, your way adorned our home

Celebrate your life, your story, your way adorned our home

As a scrapbooker I completely relate to remember and celebrate. I am grateful fightback has (touch wood) not been necessary for any of my family. However, we all have something worth remembering and celebrating and being hopeful about Storybooks (traditional or digital) allow us to do that through sharing the story of a patient, survivor or carer.

Cancer patients, their carers, and those who have been lost to the disease all deserve the recognition that comes with hope for recovery, remembering the fight back and celebrating what we love about the individual. Emotionally it may be difficult to remember, to take photos, but journalling helps to celebrate the heroes and creates an outlet for personal emotional wellbeing when cancer becomes part of your life.

Our team was made up of  consultants and scrapbookers.

Customers joined us to both walk and scrap. We are grateful for their contribution.

Even consultants and their babies joined us to both walk and scrap. We are grateful for everyone’s contribution.

A customer is over the moon with the place and punch tool!

A customer is over the moon with the place and punch tool!

I would love to be celebrating meeting  our fund raising goal. In that area we lagged – but I hope we are forgiven having been first timers.We all sought sponsorship and attempted to raise funds through a raffle and hope bag decorating.

A central message of the event - Hope and remember via the candle lit track

A central message of the event – Hope and remember via the candle lit track

Visitors came to our tent to use out tools and embellishments to decorate their hope bags

Visitors came to our tent to use out tools and embellishments to decorate their hope bags

We also offered 10% of income on sales from the event. Our approach needs a little rethinking as we didn’t raise as much money as we would have liked and we discovered we do need to start earlier on this important task.

Most people at the event were walking, remembering, honoring, or sleeping. Purchasing the materials with which to remember or exploring the healing value of recording and celebrating the stories through scrapbooking was not on their mind. I get that 🙂

We did perhaps go about it in not quite the right way. However, now we have done this event the first time we learned a lot. Our core message – to celebrate your life, your story, your way has a great deal of meaning for those dealing with cancer in their lives, be they sufferer, carer or family and friends. I still believe we have something to offer this event.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the event not because of the walking or scrapbooking by gaslight (which by the way was fun!)  but because the act of celebrating, remembering, and being hopeful are central to the reason for doing what I do. It was very humbling to be among those whose lives have been seriously affected by cancer.

I believe in the healing powers of story and journal, in hoping for recovery or dealing with grief and sincerely hope all those affected by cancer take the time to record the stories of the heroes in their lives.  I hope that at least for some the idea of scrapping the story of the journey will be remembered and they know they can turn to us for help with this task as it can be quite emotional.

The team carry our team banner for the final laps of the event

The team carry our team banner for the final laps of the event

I would like to finish with resounding applause for the organisers of the Mildura event. It was hugely successful and we had a wonderful time doing some good for the community.