We Sparkled and Shone!

Wow! How awesome is it to have a Founding Director visit your area to present a workshop! I was really excited to have Diane Lampert come to Mildura and help us launch the Holidays from the Heart products at our Sparkle and Shine event. We had many customers and consultants come along and get inky with trees and baubles and some great artwork was produced. I would like to share with you some photos from the event. I have written about my dream to fill the venue with scrapbookers and card makers and I am so glad to say that on this occasion we did achieve the highest numbers yet!

Holidays from the Heart on show

Note – I was busy running around helping with the event so I only have a few photos and none of me – I hope the photos by others will come through soon and I can add them in here.

Gathering Diane demonstrates gathering cards

 

As a consultant I learned a lot. Our customers had FUN! Many chose to join the CTMH family taking home the best deal we have. It was a fabulous day! Thank you so much to all customers, consultants and especially Diane for coming to visit us!

kits

 

As you can see the venue is well lit – it is also air conditioned. We have playdays here every month so if you are local to Mildura be sure to drop me a line and find out more about the next one. Playdays are also available in Wentworth, Merbein and Robinvale. I am happy to come to the Riverland and down to Ouyen too! To keep up to date with events follow my page on Facebook and sign up for my newsletter.  For more ideas using the products in the holidays from the heart guide and the sparkle and shine paper check out my Pinterest Board.   If you would like to know more about the best deal contact me now! I would love to tell you all about it! (Australian residents only)

Next Mildura Playday is October 26th

First Wentworth is November 9th

Next Robinvale is November 16

Next Merbein Nov 17

If you are local why not come along and join in the fun. It is so relaxing to ink it up and get photos and precious memories preserved in albums!

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 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)

BeliefStatement0712_20x30

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.

today

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!

 

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.

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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? 

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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! 

 

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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.