Oh yes…shackles are loose – I am back!

I have to fess up – I have missed writing these blog posts!!!

I really just could not keep up with all I had on my plate these past two months but I am looking forward to getting right back into stamps of the month, project posts, the all new Seasonal Expressions II and loads loads more! I have had to rethink my approach to a few things and will hopefully cope better with the other job in the future. In the last two weeks I have had such awesome contact and support from CTMH sisters I really do feel in a happy place when I am with them. We really did feel special at the team builders event.

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If you have been following along with me on Facebook or Instagram you will have seen how we celebrated. Close To My Heart went out of their way to make sure we felt valued and special. #ilovesctmh Monica Rocked with us, teaching us how to not be afraid to hashtag and take selfies! You can see us all having some fun if you jump onto your favourite platform and search #ctmhteambuildersau  We also got to be informed and inspired, learned all about the value of popcorn, and of course we played with NEW product!

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April is going to be such an exciting month. Not only is it Easter and school holidays for us, we have the all new Seasonal Expressions II, we have National Scrapbooking Month in May, and some fabulous deals, stamps of the month and more. Only a few short evenings ago we hosted a very special launch of our new products in Mildura and I am pleased to share this photo with you. Our numbers continue to grow at these events and we continue to learn from the experiences so next time we can do it all better. What I loved about this event is to be in a room full of people who really do believe our pictures are worth preserving, a hand made card is worth making and even better, what we do is therapeutic for us!

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Everyone had a lovely time and two more awesome people have the Creative Hearts Team in the CTMH fanily since this event. I can’t wait to see them with their lovely new shoulder totes! If you would like to know more about joining in on the fun. laughter and camaraderie as well as getting yourself well on your way to owning and running a crafty business of your own let me know. You can also find out more right here.

We have an awesome shopping announcement starting tomorrow with our GRAB BAGS – you need to head to this site in the morning to find out more! Make sure you have created your online account at my online store at the creativeheart.ctmh.com.au  and follow us along in social media to find out what is in a grab bag for you! I do hope you get some awesome goodies. Remember to have your order included in a host rewards order! The more online orders there are the more opportunities to gain the Host rewards there will be. Of course if you would like to have a real gathering with a few of your friends over I am looking for you and I will drive to nearby towns within reason.  You deserve some special treats and I would love to help you and your friends make something special in time for Mother’s day! Contact me to find out about what is on offer for a free home class for you!

Be sure if you have Facebook that you follow me. I hope you have also spotted and followed Sticky Boy – if you are not sure just use hashtag #whereintheworldisstickyboy He is naughty and entertaining!  I am also on Pinterest and if you would like to be kept up to date subscribe so I get into your inbox!

Looking forward to a fabulous April with you – and my happy happy return to my blog. I have missed it. I hope you are happy to have me back!

Jen

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Sticky Boy Has Arrived in my Studio!

OMG I am so excited….if you are a CTMH sister who has been to a CTMH event you will get this. If not…imagine the fun! I am one of the many fully grown people who have looked and looked and looked…..on walls, on pillars, on tables, under tables, on railings, on mirrors, on glass, on pitchers, … in short…On IN or Under anything within cooee of a foyer or registration desk at one of our CTMH functions, looking for the elusive Sticky Boy.He comes in all sizes and loves to dress up! (my kind of guy 😉 )

Back in 2013 when my connection to the company started I was like many wondering ‘who or what is this sticky boy?’ Then I saw Him – elusive fellow he is,  and someone let me stamp him on my paper, but he wasn’t mine and I had only the stamped image to remember him by. Back then, I also watched the Sticky Boy Video, and learned the Sticky Boy Story. One thing is for sure, as far as acrylic stamps go I am in love with My Acrylix and truly appreciate the range by CTMH. Watch this video and you will see Sticky Boy at his best!

I did manage to get a teeny weeny Sticky Boy Dressed in Aussie slouch hat carrying a suitcase at convention but I am so afraid of losing him I keep him tucked in my convention attendance holder. Soon he will make an appearance on pages I scrapbook when I am up to convention USA in 2014. (I am working on it – up to week 3 of my trip!) So for this little cutie you will have to wait!

I am not going to repeat the whole sticky boy story here.  You can follow Sticky Boy yourself on Facebook or instagram – just look for the hashtag #whereintheworldisstickyboy and you are sure to find not only his story but some awesome artwork too.   I am very lucky to have an upline who was willing to share her stick boy with me. I am axcited to be able to share and pass on the legacy (or is that legend, cos Sticky Boy is a Leg (pronouncedd lej) ya know!)

So, this is where sticky boy is in my part of the world. #whereintheworldisstickyboy   Mildura, Australia. As soon as he arrived in my mailbox I started sharing my day with Sticky Boy. We went out to visit my parents.

The First artwork featuring my Sticky Boy –

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Make the most of your scraps – I love using them to make cards 🙂

 

 

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I used the scraps from my Year Noted paper I had cut Honeycomb style and the stamp set C1537 Honeycomb flair to make the card. It isn’t too late to get your Year Noted paper kit with qualifying orders. If you order online it can be sent right to your door (Australia Only) and you will be in the monthly host draw.

More artwork featuring Sticky Boy is to come since now I have that awesome task!

Have a great weekend Australia….

Close your eyes…imagine what you will be doing to celebrate being Australian! Stay tuned….

Jen

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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!

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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The Sisterhood

We have travelled awkwardly from Freaky Friday to Terrific Tuesday and we now can really hope for more!

I must admit, having faith in ‘administrators’ of a company I love and that (as far as I knew) was doing well economically was an extremely tough call. Especially when it was so sudden, so without warning, so devastating to 100’s of consultants and customers who had plans for their photos, parties and workshops.

What does it mean to be a scrapbooker?

What does it mean to be a scrapbooker?

My hesitation to stay rigidly hopeful came down to basic economic reasoning. A looming election and increased living costs aside, a business operates on demand and supply of a product or service. Until Freaky Friday we had a superb product and service to deliver to many who love and enjoy what we do. Our service as consultants, our lovely albums and embellishments, our signature tools, our software (my personal favourite) and our opportunities are the core ‘things’ we supply. The less tangible also matters (perhaps even more)  – our mission to ensure photos get out of boxes, off jump drives, phones, camera disks and computers and into beautiful albums to share. The Creative Memories brand is top of the range and our customers know and respect this.

With the parent company in America moving into Chapter 11 ( a course of action to deal with potential bankruptcy in America) and not being able to supply us here in Australia, in spite of ‘hope’ I was doing a mental battle over supply not meeting demand and what that would mean for us. This got worse when it became apparent the administrators in place had little care for the people that make Creative Memories Australia and New Zealand real, not just a cast of characters in a poorly performing play that can be closed down. Our top leaders were forced into a state of powerlessness and the administrator was (to me at least) not doing what they should – to work with us and help a company move forward and avoid the worst case scenarios. (I refuse to even label those)

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To read the statements, click on the image and you will see a more readable view.

In spite of all this economic logic I could still hang on to one very intangible element of this business. We are committed to our mission. We are Independent Consultants (aka sole traders) so this IS our business. We believe what we do is extremely important and have a set of belief statements that reflect this. We believe it so much all we could do was stay positive, have faith that those who could would and meanwhile adopt a whole new strategy. Keep Calm and Scrap.

So…I did, sometimes with tears of sadness, sometimes with gratitude for the opportunities no matter the future, and sometimes with the determination that has been clearly evident in others to not let this be taken away from us!

Virtual Crop has become a regular daily feature of my life as the numbers of the Facebook group grow and scrappers all over Downunder take up the challenges and share their work and their praise for others. Regular emails from CM directors kept us up to date with what they knew, and advice on how to proceed. Consultants, including myself revised our calendars, contacted customers, spread the word of hope that our mission still mattered most and we would find a way.

I stayed strong on the outside, consoled the consultants in my team, and only really broke down once myself, grieving selfishly over the loss of long term outcomes from all the travelling I had done. Many in our CM family could potentially lose much much more as their hard work and success in the business has become their family income. Bang..like that…taken away. No notice for them – no opportunity to find alternate income sources or take a redundancy – just nothing but hope that the administrator will be fair to the customers and consultants as well as other stakeholders. This wasn’t happening.

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Today I…a reminder to be grateful and have hope

Clearly the power of sisterhood has prevailed. Communications have been rife since Freaky Friday and the outcome of that is astounding. Consultants share stories of supportive customers, consultants supporting each other, reminding each other to stay calm, and hope things will stabilise, and dare we even – yes we will – hope that at the end of it all we will come out better at the other end.

24 hours before Tremendous Tuesday a flurry of emails, faxes, and original documents passed through the internet and Australia post. The power of a vote was at hand. Our leading directors and business manager were arming themselves to do battle with the administrators and remind them this was OUR business they were dealing with. Armed with the right information, and the required votes Leading sisters and support crew were able to vote the administrator out and send them packing. You could pretty well hear the cheers and congratulations that went around in electronic form after the announcement was made. Our sisterhood had rallied, our leaders went in on our behalf and took control back.

Similar but different. You may remember Shepparton SPC workers rallying to save the company that had employed them for so long – taking cuts in pay, leave and personally investing in what for them was their life blood. I recall how adamant they and the town were that the company had to be saved. So…it is with extreme gratitude and humility I say a resounding Thank You to all those who told me to hold tight, believe in the mission, believe in our leadership team, and trust that we are in good hands and will still have a business to be a part of . Thank you CM sisters! Keep networked, stay informed, use suggested strategies and above all else tell yourself and everyone else to just Keep Calm and scrap.

scrapbooking is

Another scrapbooking is page…it is so much I cannot say it all on just one page!

 

Our future is still foggy, but ironically and in spite of this it is very clear that the waters are calm, the compass has been correctly positioned towards a positive outcome for all of us and we still have the demand for our products and service. Plan B to supply his exists, it now has the opportunity to become a reality and we have absolutely no reason to think that it won’t happen. So go ahead – scrap your stash while we wait the future to arrive.

 

The power of the voice of the sisters in CM AU and NZ has regained control of the management of the company. At the other end of all this we may not look the same, we may not feel the same, but the mission will be just as it is now. WE believe that photos and memories need to be safely preserved, stories need to be told and we want to be the ones to help others achieves this.

Scrapbooking is...

Scrapbooking is…

Terrific Tuesday heralds a new chapter – or perhaps a new book in the CM story in Australia and New Zealand.  I want to be there – will you? If you do then stay in touch – consultant or customer. Read your emails, go to your consultant’s events and show them your support, go to team meetings if you are a consultant -we gather strength and unity- and join appropriate groups on social media such as the Summer Virtual crop group (open to everyone) and above all else ENJOY your photos and memories as you scrap your stash in the short interlude between what was and what is to be.

Go scrap sisters and say a cheer or three for our leadership team in control of our ship!

stay-calm-stay-scrappy

Stay Scrappy!