Australasian Blog Hop Stamp Of The Month This Moment S1501

sotm blog hop


Welcome to the first blog hop of 2015 by the  Australasian Close to My Heart Blog Hop group. If you have arrived here from Shaunna’s Blog, Passionate About Pages then 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.


I am thrilled to share with you this mini album which features January Stamp of the Month S1501 This Moment.  S1501 available exclusively throughout January for $27 or for just $5 when you spend $75.

Love Notes Mini Journal

Ok I will fess up. I initially felt I had little use for this stamp set as I have no lover, no kids and my dogs can’t read a love note I might write. I did what I always do – I just stamped some of it out and an idea was born.


URok is a deliberate choice – This book is meant to be an affirmation not a question:)


A little back story may help with why I did this mini album. It is no secret among those close to me I suffer depression. I am OK right now because I have awesome things to do with my time, (teaching people how to be creative is awesome) and great family and great friends supporting me. But I am not always ok. I am a single 50 something living at home in an empty nest with 2 dogs. I battle the black dog daily. While I occasionally have the company of my girls and grandson, I am very much alone and that sense of isolation can exacerbate any feelings of depression coursing through my veins.

I created this project while completely alone between Christmas and New Year. It is a time in which we reflect on what we have done and achieved and what we might like to plan for the years to come. I have promised myself to take some everyday photos to fill the pages along with completing the all important journalling. Maybe one day one of my offspring will treat it as a treasure once I have done those pages. But its purpose for me is in this moment!

My mini album therefore is intended to be an antidote to feeling sad. It is a very big Love Note reminder to take care of and love myself by being in the moment and appreciating that.  It gives me great pleasure to share with you my empty Mini I put together in just one evening using a few fun, well priced CTMH products.

Get your stuff together including a selection for For Always PML cards that speak to you.

Get your stuff together including a selection for For Always PML cards that speak to you.

All you need is the Hip Pics Mini Album Z1956, A la Carte For Always Picture My Life CardsZ3065 , Black Arrow Washi Tape Z2003, Black Shimmer trim Z1809, Marvy Uchida LePen journalling pen Z1979, Sparkles Black and Grey Assortment Z1754, Scaredy Cat assortment (Black Stars)Z3011, and an assortment of Black, White and Kraft paper. I have used just two inks, Black Z2105 and White Daisy Z2163. I added a piece of Black Twill Z1988 ribbon to my spine too. Get set to do each page as you feel as all these products coordinate completely with the for Always cards. The stamp set could well have been created from the same designs. I had a ball bringing these pages together.

Get over creative block! 

To begin with I stamped some of the titles and icons on black, white and kraft paper. This gets my creative juices going and helps push me past creative block! Then I knew how and where I wanted to place things on the album cover. I flipped through my For Always cards and chose those that were actually very similar and even the same in style with this stamp set, and fitted my colour scheme of black, white and kraft, as well as my mood and the thoughts I was feeling. I made no definite decisions yet but I had a nice little pile of large and small cards. I flushed out a piece of Black Fundamentals paper from my stash to use as well as I loved the Zing of the black and white chevron.

I like the hip pics pages but feel the pockets need a bit of stabilising. Fill each one with a piece of card 6 x 4 1/4. I mixed these up from my colours. Then I added PML cards. NOW is the time to stamp directly on the white space of your pages if desired. If you wait it can become a little lumpy bumpy and complicated. You can always cover it up if you decide you do not like it:)If you do need to support a page from lumps elsewhere slip your Versamat in there to help.

To adhere the PML cards into the album I simply hinged them in with black arrow Washi tape and used some scraps from fussy cut cards as tabs where needed. Once it was all stuck down I came back to decorate with more faux washi (scraps from cards!) I also did pen outlines, and stuck down some shimmer trim and gems. This little album is now ready for some photos and some reflection about what makes me smile, and what matters to me so in a moment I can be reminded to be in the moment.Here is how mine came together.





Here Hello is stamped 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation.





White pigment ink looks great on our Kraft card stock. Give it a try.




I gorgot to do photos – the crds on the left fall down revealing my precious and grately appreciated first cuppa of the day.


Here the photo of the day title is fussy cut from the card and popped on top – over the same card I cut it from with the hip pics frame in between.



The love notes on the right included a little fold out note slipped into the pocket of the page. It is all set in place ready for me to write a nice love note.




Shopping list – If you have a stash – your only investment might be this cute album and the PML cards





I would love to hear from you if you decide to take this or a similar approach with this stamp set. Please let me know if I have inspired you.

This Moment is only available until January 31 from your CTMH consultant. I’d love you to leave a comment before heading off to the next stop,

Lauren Moore- CTMH Craftings

If you get lost along the way please visit  Mandy – Hall of Indulgence for a full list of hoppers.

Have a Fantastic New Year!

sig file black


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



Let your Light Shine with Illuminate

I love the Stamp of the Month Program with Close To My Heart and this month’s stamp brings with it lots of Vintage Chic appeal as well as positive messages of hope and love. ‘Faith Shine’s Bright’, ‘Let your light shine through’, ‘If there is light in the soul there will be beauty in the person’, Images of light abound in our life and our stories, and we can easily relate to the symbolism that goes with the word ‘light’. I have only just started on uses for this stamp set.

Illuminate! What a perfect name!

Illuminate Stamp of the month (SOTM) You can purchase this stampset for just $5 with every $75 purchase. Head to jenscreativeclassroom.ctmh.com.au now and place your order!

Illuminate Stamp of the month (SOTM) You can purchase this stampset for just $5 with every $75 purchase. Head to jenscreativeclassroom.ctmh.com.au now and place your order!

While this stamp set can be seen as for Christmassy pags and cards,  as a complement of the Sparkle and Shine  paper and stamp collection, I like to think it can be so much more! As a result I am pleased to give you some examples to get you thinking about what has brought, or is bringing light into your life!

I have often used light in reflections I have prepared. Light is a timeless symbol of faith, wisdom and joy. In this stamp set we have the Chic lamp base and a range of lanterns which is very trendy and quite ‘Parisienne‘; a string of lights that can highlight being centre stage, sentiments for a range of hope and gratitude moments and even the cutest little candle. Can you see it here?

Let Your Light Shine Artbook page

I celebrate the ‘light’ and excitement my first two team members give me on a regular basis. I am also very much into artbooking and invite you to follow along with the artbooking videos CTMH are producing in their series Artbooking Made Easy. For this page I have used the cricut and Artbooking Cartridge to cut photo mat 1on p44 at the recomended 8″ which is perfect for the My Creations Kraft 3 ring binder. From the same page I cut ‘inspire’ (title – shift)  I also cut the small overlay from page 50 (Overlay – shift) at 8 inches (it doesn’t turn out that big!) to create the lattice fence look. Everything else on this page is stamped using the stamps in the Illuminate set as well as the swirls around set,

First I random stamped some colonial white cardstock big enough to back the lattice piece with the little round radiant light stamp using Topiary. I then fixed the lattice to this and trimmed to fit. The word inspire was cut with the cricut when I did the page so I have coloured this up by smudging it with Hollyhock Pigment ink. Then I stamped the background on the page itself with the lamp base, a lamp, the lights across the top, the title, and on the tab I put the sentiment.  I trimmed my photo to fit within the lattice overlay shape. The lattice is adhered as a pocket using foam tape at sides and about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom so the photo slides in and out. I did this as behind the photo is my journalling! I like to create surprises in my artbooking!

Artbooking page using Illuminate stamp of the month set.

Artbooking page using Illuminate stamp of the month set.

Key Products Used – Cardstock Champagne, Colonial white, New England Ivy; Inks Slate, Topiary; Stamps S1311 Illuminate and D1551 Swirls around; Cricut Artbooking cartridge from the Artbooking Collection Z1906


In the second project I just happened to have some awesome photos of lights and the sentiments on the stamp set matched these photos perfectly. Not only is this page about the lights but about the awesome  mood of the evening I spent with fellow Close To My Heart consultants at dinner in the Spaghetti Tree in Melbourne while at Creative Kickoff .

I also like to step out of the box with papers and these are 100% from the Babycakes Workshop on the go kit! Yep, the page has nothing to do with babies, but the stripe, the orange and the yellow were all colours I needed to enhance the lampshades and the embellishments added an additional bit of fun light to the page!  The bronze shimmer trim did not go astray either! As to techniques, here I really really sanded the Sunset paper edge – using a foam sanding scrubber! I inked the edge of the orange stripe and the yellow print, and rolled up the edge on the striped piece before adhering it all down. The actual layout is based on one of the designs in that awesome book we all get in our kits ‘Reflections’ scrapbook program, p40.

Faith Shines bright was the perfect caption for this exciting evening of fellowship.

Faith Shines Bright was the perfect caption for this exciting evening of fellowship.

Key Products Used – Cardstock and B and T duos paper from Babycakes WOTG G1068  Inks –  Slate; Bling buttons – the assortment in Babycakes WOTG available separately Z1869 Stamps S1311 Illuminate and D1551 Swirls around; Bakers twine is from the Harvest Assortment Z1751; Reflections scrapbook program 9037


It is so easy to get hold of these  SOTM (stamp of the month stamp sets) for just $5 instead of the full price of $24. All you need to do is place an order to the value of $75 or more and it is yours for $75.  Don’t forget our Holidays from the Heart promotion continues with the addition of a FREE starred item with every order valued over $130. If you do not have Artbooking for your Cricut, grab that, get your $5 stamp of the month AND a free Holidays from the Heart item! That means awesome savings for you!  If you do not have a Cricut contact me for details on how you can get one at a very exclusive price with all Australian Warranty.

You can see these projects at upcoming workshops and events. If you would like to know more drop me a line and I will send you my latest newsletter. or subscribe online at my Facebook Page

I would love to have your feedback! Please feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to respond. I hope your creative brain has been ‘enlightened’ and you are inspired by this awesome stamp set. I can’t wait to see what others have done with it. Follow my pins for more ideas so graciously shared by other Close To My Heart Consultants and Customers.

Stay Tuned – part 2 of the Artbook Advent Calendar is coming!

Do you give yourself permission to play?

Creativity is not an optionHere are some sound reasons we need to play

  • to learn
  • to create
  • to feel challenged
  • to pass time
  • to calm and focus ourselves
  • for the fun of it
  • for the joy of it

If you need permission to play, I give it to you!

We can all get way too bogged down in our various life roles of work, parenting, caring and not spend enough time to nurture ourselves. So often when I meet people and tell them what I do I get the auto responder ‘ Oh I am not creative’ or ‘I am not clever’, or ‘I do not have time for that’.  However, what I do requires very little genius, very little artistic talent, and very little time. (I could however do it for hours more each day!)

Creative play is one way we can nurture ourselves and is an essential part of our well being. Creative play offers us  some very essential brain food, gives our emotional bucket a top up and enables us to do something that we can feel good about.












Let’s look at this a little more closely.

I recently held a girls night in. My guests were professional women. They teach, they lecture, they research. Their life is all academia when it is not family. Taking some time out for the girl’s night in these women all came with one really important thing. They were open to having a go at whatever I was about to put in front of them. They ended up fully engaged in creative play and had a lovely bit of time out for themselves.


Together we formed a little community – a gathering – of people with a common purpose.

What we did was make cards and chat, then make more cards. Since this had nothing to do with work or family responsibilities it was rejuvenating and fun. At the end the plans were made to gather again on a regular basis and repeat the processes of doing something mind blowingly simple, fun and creative.

They each produced a piece of artwork and that brings forth feelings of ‘look what I did’ that we lost somewhere back in our childhood. They copied from examples on the table and were able to add their own touch too.

For many people, the only time they do tactile activity is when they are doing their housework, or perhaps when they are cooking. In creative play we are stamping and cutting images, sticking down, and even colouring in. This is all hands on and everyone is engaged in the process.the more you use

Creative play inspirational in many ways. The flow of ideas begins as the possibilities are discovered and shared within the group doing the activity. Everyone has a different skill set and if the spirit of sharing is present it is not long before ideas flow like a river.

Steve Jobs

Some like it this way, some like it that, but everyone was making a card! Some have a disused stash of materials that can be used for card making at home already, others are just beginning and have made their first ever hand made card. You can bling it up, tone it down, try something new. That makes creative play with paper, stamp and ink versatile.

To be able to say ‘I did that’ or ‘I made this’ is awesome! We used to do it as children and I ask you to remember how exciting it was to discover we could do something and how we were open to showing others what we did! Now imagine feeling that excitement again. Yes! Feel it! It is possible to tap into those feelings and experience the joy and excitement your artwork once gave you as a child. This is the well being part of creative play therapy!

Creative play in the world of stamping and papercraft is also personal. You might make a thank you card, or create a scrapbook page of a favourite moment. You may even begin an artbook or journal. Either way you will be giving it your personal purpose and style.

way of life

Laughter is the best medicine and I am yet to come across anyone who would disagree with this maxim. Creative play brings laughter. It could simply be what you are chatting about and sharing, laughing at yourself, or even enjoying the company of someone who makes you laugh. Getting together to do something that takes you away from the everyday opens you to the possibility of the good medicine of fun and laughter.

How often do we browse magazines or spend time on Pinterest? Pinterest is a veritable gold mine of ideas you can replicate. But looking at eye candy is not going to bring about the good feelings. That is just desire. Doing is putting it into action. Stop just looking at Pinterest and start replicating those things that have inspired you by actually making them!

Creative play is all about you. What do you need, what would you like to make, who would you like to make it for? How will you benefit? If you engage in creative play you will lift your spirits and rest your brain from the hard stuff of day to day thinking.

inner child

Every time you turn on your creative button in your brain you will find yourself refreshed. It is enjoyable, fun, and you do not need to feel as if you are creative – you need to be creative which means getting the goodies and doing it! It is possible to learn a few basic skills, gather a few essential supplies and let loose with your creativity.

Next time you are invited to a gathering to make cards or create a scrapbook page, consider it as an opportunity to relax and tap into a piece of yourself that far too often is neglected. Check out workshop and gathering schedules in your area or even organise to host a gathering yourself. In the Sunraysia Region we have many play days. To get a schedule join my mailing list, check my Facebook events page, or join a gathering via my website. You can even host your own gathering, even if you do not live near me I can help you have an awesome event of playful fun! Your creative self will appreciate the effort!

Pass it on

Continue reading

It explodes!

I have really enjoyed the freedom to be creative with my scrapbooking with many thanks to Close To My Heart products and How To Program books. I have taken ideas for this page from Magic – which is all about interactive pages and Reflections which came in the consultant kit. The following page makes use of techniques explained in Magic for slicing openings in the Memory Protectors so the pages truly can be interactive. I love the quality of these memory protectors!

Double page layout with a hidden tag and an explosion box

Double page layout with a hidden tag and an explosion box

As you can see there are two places for interactivity here. One is a little tag and the other is what is a variation of an explosion box. It has no lid, but it does open up

The tag gave me the opportunity to slip in the surprise photo – a second bottle of Moet! The photo didn’t quite fit on the layout about the wonderful presents I got so this was a good way to include it. I do have way too many photos to pick from and it is difficult to choose just a few. I hope i am not alone in this!

A second photo attached to a tag hidden behind the first

A second photo attached to a tag hidden behind the first

The right hand page is the really fun one – it looks like a gift on the page. When you unwind the string holding it closed you get a whole lot more – and plenty of journalling space too. There clearly was a story to tell here as I had 3 parcels to unwrap and two very eager nephews ensuring I got all the help I needed.


So let’s unwind this and take a peek inside!

An Introduction as the first gift was opened - yes there was an order :)

An Introduction as the first gift was opened – yes there was an order 🙂

A little more story as that flap is turned

A little more story as that flap is turned

The fully exploded box allowing 5 photos to the page where only one might have been

The fully exploded box allowing 5 photos to the page where only one might have been

So there you have the exploding gift. This was the easy bit – the tricky bit is getting the pages into Memory Protectors in such a way your reader can interact with them. The quality of CTMH Memory Protectors allows for a very precise cut and the strength in them means they won’t give way in a hurry. By following the instructions for piercing and slicing in Magic I have an excellent reult.  Here is how the pages look inserted into the sleeves.

All sleeved up

All sleeved up

I created the exploding box with a piece of 12 x 12 Ruby card stock. I scored it twice at 4 and 8 inches both horizontally and vertically then trimmed out the corners. Using my bone folder I made sure the folds were crisp. the photos were cut to fit at 3.5 inches square, as was the journalling card. Given the layout is bright red and uses For Always paper, plain white was too stark for the journaling. To bring it into line with the colours I sponged the edges and a little more with Desert Sand ink. This colour is present on the black and white prints giving them the look of antiquity so the Desert Sand worked well. The titles were cut with my Cricut machine and Artiste Cricut cartridge using CTMH Giltter paper.

Cricut Tip! I have learned that with glitter paper you need to have either a nice new blade, just for this job – and then keep it only for the glitter paper. Use a depth of 6 and after a few sheets you may find the need to cut 2-3 times before getting through – or replacing the blade. Fortunately I will not need to bling up each page I do as I would be hard pressed to keep up with blades. Cutting Glitter paper with the Cricut will be a sometimes thing for me!

The little red rose and yellow hat pins come in the For Always Workshop on the go kit.

If you would like any of these products please hop on over to my online store. You can order any time for direct delivery to you if you are in Australia. If you live in my region (Sunraysia and Malle) why not come along to a play day and learn how to make a page like this yourself or come along to one of my paper crafting nights. We can make and exploding box like this as a card, or even make one with a lid and several layers. (A truly exploding box!)  Contact me for more details about my classes nenifoofer@gmail.com

I would love your feedback on this and other pages I share with you. What would you like to see explored and shred here on the blog? Your comments are very welcome! I would love to hear from you.



What is in the box?

There is nothing like the excitement of opening that first deliivery from Close To My Heart and I was very lucky that team member Sandra, who was the first in my team to get her box, brought it to my place to share the grand opening!

Here is ‘the box’ – we all got one eventually!

Getting a box like this one is very exciting!

Getting a box like this one is very exciting!

I was just a bit excited about getting my box!

I was just a bit excited about getting my box

So Now we get to peek inside….nope…group photo!

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.


Of course the bubbles are out! We are about to discover stamps, new papers, new embellishments, new design books and a whole new way of doing business!

Sandra reads her CTMH welcome letter

Sandra reads her CTMH welcome letter

There are lots of goodies in the consultant kit!

There are lots of goodies in the consultant kit!

There are new things to learn, new language to get used to and smashbooking to do:)

My first Crushbook page

My first Crushbook page

My second Crushbook page - just waiting for a photo

My second Crushbook page – just waiting for a photo

Workshop on the go kit page layout from Laughing Lola

Workshop on the go kit page layout from Laughing Lola


Another double from Laughing Lola. I have plenty left fr more pages and cards!

Another double from Laughing Lola. I have plenty left fr more pages and cards!

Page layout for boy using Chantilly

Page layout for boy using Chantilly

Cards made with Chantilly, inspired by the cardmaking program book that came in my kit

Cards made with Chantilly, inspired by the cardmaking program book that came in my kit

Since receiving my kit three more wonderful people have joined my team! I am very excited to have them aboard and can’t wit till they have the opportunity to feel the excitement that goes with opening their box. It is currently such extraordinary value I would love to tell you more! You can visit my website Jen’s Creative Classroom to become a consultant,  contact me below or me direct on email nenifoofer@gmail.com to find out more about our opportunity, my crops, workshops and gatherings.


Mystery creative workshop

I had a fantastic play date today with my long time friend, patchwork teacher and fellow CTMH consultant Sandra Boutlon. She had been planning this little treat for us ‘creative’ girls for some time and her effort stands out in the crowd for the personal touch. We arrived to find we each had a very large box and a glue stick. The box was gorgeous and  full of goodies. I was excited to see I now have my very own Paris Box!

My smashbox and clean workspace

My smashbox and clean workspace

Now I tend to tell the truth and here is no different. Sandra had told me about all the bits and pieces she was collecting and this phrase smashbooking first entered my lexicon at a market about 6 weeks ago when a customer sifted through my baggies and found a couple of scrap bags, a few card kits and some leftover  ST Pat’s dies cuts I had made with my Silhouette cutting machine. I asked if she was a cardmaker. ‘No’ she said. ‘I do smashbooks. They are like scrapbooks but also very different’.

I mulled this over, asked Sandra if that is what we were doing and got ‘kind of but don’t go looking’ or I would ‘spoil it’. Hmmmm…..Curiosity never killed my cat! So I had a poke around, joined a couple of facebook groups but avoided You Tube. There is a group for smashaholics on FB and now I know why!

If you have been following me you would also no I am now a Close To My Heart consultant eagerly awaiting the arrival of the precious first kit. In that kit is the My Crush™ Modville Book and My Crush™ Besties Assortment. This has all us Aussie consultants scratching our heads a bit. We are so used to our ‘normal’ scrapbook albums just for photos and photosafe embellishments that consist of CM brand pages, protectors and strap bound cover we have no idea about the lumpy bumpy stuff. As a consultant we all stood by the flat scrapping that was CM with only a slight third dimension from a foam square or a little bling with an epoxy gem or pearl here or there – a ‘smash’ book was foreign to many of us and many have wondered what they were. Some are even a little uneasy about all the new ‘creative’ stuff we are going to get. I am not…I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this!

Sandra is demonstrating a basic Manilla folder smashbook

Sandra is demonstrating a basic Manilla folder smashbook

I tried to help some sisters on discussion boards but words do fail to really describe these pieces of art in any kind of quick post in a discussion forum. Off I went to You Tube to find out more…(yes Sandra…I bowed to temptation and went to do some research!)

Smashbooks vary a lot. Variations are sometimes called art journals, or junk journals. They include much more than paper! I won’t define them here…but will direct you to my video list on you tube that has the videos I have liked (and will) and listed under smashbooking so far. Take a look from here.

Back to my fun day! My box of goodies contained:

Scrapbook paper, paper scraps, bits of exercise book paper, a sheet of postcodes, an empty box, some envelopes, some old CM workshop vouchers, my original invitation to Sandra to my birthday party, some punchies, tiles and phrases cut from nagazines

Fabric scraps in red, red hat print, ribbons and lace to coordinate, a red artificial rose, pipe cleaners, a bag of buttons, some lovely red silk….

Some really stiff board, an empty box, and empty pillow shaped chocolate box printed with red roses on a silver background…

A funny little tupperware ruler corner maker thingy from when Sandra was a Tupperware rep. (You learn something new every day. I didn’t know this about my friend!) This came in handy for spreading glue and flattening folds.

What is in the box?

What is in the box?

Red Hat!

Red Hat!

Can you see where this was all headed? I have just become a Red Hatter, and Sandra has given me a whole box of goodies to celebrate both that and my milestone 50th birthday.

So…I had a lot of….red and purple….junk!

Most of it was scrap something. The kind of stuff we often hoard and then in a moment of clean up and downsize frenzy turf out to the garbage, ready to be recycled. We all got similar things in our boxes but Sandra focussed on that personal theme- the end result being we had very different looking products at the end.

Just as well there were only 3

Just as well there were only 3

But, there was more, and it wasn’t steak knives. I secretly harbour just a little envy for Sandra’s Shed. It is a tin shed, fully lined, airconditioned and chocablock with goodies. Most of this is sewing related, but there were loads of ribbon and trim, scrapbook paper, bits cut from magazines, old notebooks, paper labels from haberdashery and a few wall paper sample books. These were my favourite of the day!  All of this ‘junk’ was made available to us along with old manilla folders (recycled from the days of needing to keep office for a patchwork shop many moons ago) that were the base of our smashbook pages.

On the initially very clean and tidy table were trays. One had some ink pads, one had some printed duct tape (a recent find), one had rulers, pencils and other tools. There was a sewing machine set up and several cutting boards. We were given a jar with some PVA glue in it and a brush with a recycled Jenny Craig food tray with a bit cut out for a brush rest…we had almost all we needed for our very first smashbooks!!! The final touch was baby wipes. Top tip of the day – these are great for wiping PVA glue off your hands!

So off I went deciding to do bigger pages. It was to be about red hat and turning 50 all at once. I knew I would need big pockets for my favourite cards. After showing us examples and illustrating possibilities and the ease with which we could throw together a little note book, make a funky tag, recycle something we never thought of recycling before, and being innovative with design and free to embellish as we pleased Sandra let us loose.

Creativity is messy

Creativity is messy

The room smelled deliciously of PVA glue, fresh apple cinnamon cake, and coffee. There was the sound of happy chatter, the sewing machine and a constant input of tips and ideas from Sandra. We were like little kids on craft day at school! The table became an unwieldy mess of junk as pieces of art were made. And after those few hours quickly went by I HAD to pull mine out when I got home and add  my from my own scrap stash – my red hat stickers, my bling (all good Queens need bling) my cards, and I was even tempted to break out the paint brushes! I had all these creative juices going I did not want to stop.

Clearly I have stopped now – my journal is all done bar the finishing touches. I would like to finish off some edges and for that I will need to go do a little shopping. Or I can just wait till my Washi Tape arrives in my kit! Then I need to put one final binding on it to hold it all together and it will be done.

There has never been a better time...

There has never been a better time…

Age doesn't matter; Be rewarded

Age doesn’t matter; Be rewarded

Mini Journal

Mini Journal

So…I have smashed today and had a ball. And yes I have journalled in it. There is some sentiment and record in it but not as much as I would like to do. For now it is big enough and I am pleased with my first efforts at this artform. All I need to do is open up an inserted notebook and do some more journalling for it to be just right and worthy of reading.

When my My Crush Book by CTMH arrives  (a premade, predesigned journal by Close To My Heart)  I am more likely to have less lumps and bumps and more artwork in the form of stamps, drawing and I may even dabble in some watercolour pieces to put into it. I can’t wait to see if it is all I imagine it will be! I am so excited to be moving beyond the scrapbook page and into other areas of creativity! Lot’s of people say they are not creative – I have news for you…You are! If you don’t have time that is different, but I believe it is important to let your inner child go get creative at least once a month to keep that bit of your brain nourished 🙂

If I leave my stuff right where it is right now all around my workspace I may just start another one! Tomorrow is Sunday…I think I will!

More decoration in the mini journal

More decoration in the mini journal

The Happiness graph

The Happiness graph

Be rewarded reflection

Be rewarded reflection

What happened to good old letters?

What happened to good old letters?

Play in the leaves

Play in the leaves

Bling it up

Bling it up

It is about Hattitude

It is about Hattitude

Birthday pockets

Birthday pockets

It's Fat!

It’s Fat!

PS I will learn how to get these photos better grouped one day!

A new year, a new beginning!

What an exciting day! The beginning of the financial year has never been an exciting time for me but today is different! Today I officially joined Close To My Heart as an independent consultant AND I got new old wheels which are not as old as the adventure bus!

The Bus!

The Bus!

Let me explain!

Around the same time as Freaky Friday when we lost CM, I also had to give up my car. Since then I have been in ‘Keep Calm and Scrap on’ mode and “”Yep you can borrow the bus until you buy more wheels” mode to get around. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the ”Adventure before Dementia” bus that belongs to my dad but it did make nicking down to the supermarket for two litres of milk a chore after a while. With my arthritic right knee, clambering up into the driver’s seat became more than a bit of a chore!

Adventuring in the bus between cars

Adventuring in the bus between cars

However, the BUS, as I now fondly call it, got me around, took me safely to Adelaide and back and for a few nights even became my home away from home. After all, it is built for camping in right? Maggie and Macey didn’t like it much – I ended up putting the leads on them to coach them up into the bus rather than chase them and pick them up!!! It was cosy enough to sleep in and while I didn’t use the shower, the porta loo was handy.

Well today, July 1, the beginning of the financial year in Austalia, I thankfully was able to bid the bus goodbye – for now. I am sure to holiday in it sometime . That will be fun. I have gladly embraced my new regular vehicle to get around in! I am not sure how well I will fit my new CTMH goodies into it but that problem is for another day.

A New Year, a new beginning.

A New Year, a new beginning.

The other piece of magic that happened today was an end to the waiting for Plan B, the Wigwam. I signed as a consultant with Close To My Heart and as in previous posts clearly I am excited to begin the financial year with a new business along with hundreds of other ex CMC’s who have been waiting with me while the super leadership team went to work. Now there will be another long wait…for my Kit! But I am ok about that. I  have a lot to do to get my customers connected and my team organised. I have workshop dates, bookings to check on, flights to make sure are ok and and and….I need a list!

I am busy, but thankfully so. I now have a clear direction and some good wheels to help me travel the path. I am on my way in the CTMH family and I anticipate it will be a lot of fun. I am looking forward to adding stamping and crush books to my repertoire,  playing with washi tape, using a Cricut machine and meeting lots and lots of new people and rekindling connections with previous customers and new consultants. If you would like to join me on my journey please drop me a line.

The new year has begun – not with the bands and fireworks of a traditional new year but plenty of joy in my heart as I would have if there was a big party and lots of fireworks!

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!


Jen –  Creative Classroom Coach with CTMH

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!