Happy Birthday CTMH Australia!!

Happy Birthday to The Creative Heart, The Creative Heart Team, to Close To My Heart Australaia  and all my  #ctmhaustralasia sisters!

It has been two years since I started with the awesome company Close To My Heart and I could not be happier! I am grateful Jeanette created this company with its central messages and that Brian went looking for a good company to take us into in 2013.

Would you believe two years ago I could not stamp to save myself? I even had to give myself permission to use stamping in my scrapbooking! Since then I have learned the joys of the Cricut, made flowers, and made use of my knowledge of painting and other mediums to make some pretty creative mixed media pieces and taught classes, workshops and more. I have been on trips away and found the rewards are much more than where the money is.

Most important to me is the new family I have.  I have met some awesome #ctmhsisters and had heaps of fun at conventions, retreats, crop events, my classes and launch events. Sisters are always there with help and support any time of day and my amazing Presidential Director visits our little country town during the year too! I have the Mantra ‘Everyone is welcome here’. I have grown a team of ‘sisters’ who watch out for each other and share and care for each other. I have done my best to be a good leader and while not being able to meet everyone’s needs I have done as good as I could at the time.  I could not be prouder of my team and how they have grown with me.  Just yesterday I had one very excited team member who made her first quarter work for her. I was like a proud mum. It warmed my heart to hear her excitement!

I could gush for ages about how awesome this company feels – but will let these photos do that work. Here are some snaps of where the Creative Heart Team has come over the last two years. If you would like to be part of the fun we have be sure to drop me a line. You can of course join any time right here.


I was just a bit excited about getting my box!

I was just a bit excited about getting my box!

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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.


My goal was to fill this workshop space.


To infinity and beyond

To infinity and beyond

If you want o know more please contact me. if you want to see more head to the video post about sticky boy!

If you want o know more please contact me. if you want to see more head to the video post about sticky boy!

Proud to wear the manager ribbon - it is real :)

Proud to wear the manager ribbon – it is real 🙂

Sarah Shipton our Senior Director, Sandra Boutlon and Amy Langford, members of my team and myself.

Sarah Shipton our Senior Director, Sandra Boutlon and Amy Langford, members of my team and myself.

Monica is an awesome powerhouse of a woman, a pocket rocket. She is an awesome working mum and advocate for the company. It was a pleasure to be in her company.

Monica is an amazing woman, a pocket rocket. She is an awesome working mum and advocate for the company. It was a pleasure to be in her company.

Be You

Be You

This is the finished page.

A mixed media page

Launch event 2014

Yay- we are reaching that goal!


classroom classes

In my home classes


Pink decoration, Pink Food, projects using pink and a goodie bag with the Pink Ribbon Motiff are all a feature of this event!

Pink decoration, Pink Food, projects using pink and a goodie bag with the Pink Ribbon Motiff are all a feature of this event!


OMG!!! We are full!


Leaders Conference


I LOVE teaching people to craft. Did you know that? lol

The Aussie Contingent

The Aussie Contingent in Disneyland 2014


Disney 2014


Disney 2014


Disney 2014







Disneyland CA 2014

Disneyland CA 2014



A Very Happy Mother and great savings for you!

mothers dayI love Mother’s Day. (not just because I was born on that day!) It is a time to celebrate the awsomeness that comes from being a Mum. Imagine the pleasure of Giving mum a hand made card? Or even better a lovely photo wallet? (stay tuned – that post is coming)   CTMH have this lovely stamp set we can use for Mothers day cards and mini photo albums to celebrate and thank our mums, or even give to someone who is a mum in spirit, or perhaps someone who we know is under-appreciated as a mum. A nice little old fashioned snail mail card could just make their day!

Mother’s Day Stamp Set C1577 Just $19

This stamp set is C1577 and you will find it on 86 of your idea book. ( Email nenifoofer@gmail.com if you would like to order one. ) You can take this link to get right to it online. The most difficult decision with this stamp set is which of the four silhouettes to use and what sentiment for inside – are we all likely to ‘quote our mother’s’? Are we like Dad’s only smarter? I love the elegance of this design and it teams well with  the lovely Ariana papers.


Ariana Paper Pack – Just $14


The card is simple and easy to make and I have FREE kits packed and ready to go. All you need to do is book a home class (if you are within cooee of Mildura), or include this stamp set in your order of $75 or more at  my online store and I will send you the kit free of charge. This offer is limited to April purchases only.

While placing your order make it worth your while to SAVE by getting the Balloon Talk Stamp of the Month and the Free to Be Me Paper packs, BOTH just $5 each with orders totalling $75. That is a saving of over $30 for your crafting pleasure! Through May I will be posting projects you can do with your Free to be me papers so watch out for those!

Balloon Talk April Stamp of the month.

Free to Be Me National Scrapbook Month paper packet - just $5 with every order over $75. This is pretty and exclusive, available only for a short time.

Free to Be Me National Scrapbook Month paper packet – just $5 with every order over $75. This is pretty and exclusive, available only for a short time.

I am really looking forward to sharing this with you in upcoming classes or by post. I will show you the photo Wallet project in my next post. Stay tuned!





Everything ABC’s Blog Hop D is for DREAMER

abc bloghopWelcome to the Everything ABC’s Blog Hop!

For this hop we will be featuring the letter D. This may be the name of a paper, a stamp set or an embellishment. Whatever the crafter has chosen as their # element will be featured in their post.

If you have just hopped onto my blog, please start at the beginning at Linda’s blog ~ Scrappy Therapy

If you came from “Catherine Nowak ~ Catscrapbooking” then you’re on the right track!

CTMH have some awesome products that support projects related to encouraging those we clove and ourselves to embrace our dreams. We have a gorgeous new Dreamer Stamp set ( B1439) and our fabulous Dreamer style (Z1976) sheet that goes with the Base and Bling range (P 80-81 of the Feb-July 2014 Ideas book) So Imagine if we draw those two products together to create the perfect gift for a teenager with a lovely necklace to encourage dreaming and a card to go with it. This is what I have for you.

Dreamer Stamp set and Follow your Dreams Base and Bling - an awesome gift making combination.

Dreamer Stamp set and Follow your Dreams Base and Bling – an awesome gift making combination.

The Cards

Both cards are made on White Daisy die cut cards Z1473. I LOVE the quality of CTMH blank card bases!  To complete both of these cards i have used leftover papers from the Ivy Lane Card making kit. I have used the strips and scraps in a number of ways.


Card One

Card one- Pink Dream Diva

Card one- Pink Dream Diva

For card on I stamped the Dream Diva girl and the butterfly with Hollyhock ink and fussy cut the actual figure out. I added a light smudge of Desert sand and even a spot of black to some edges. I was a bit short on the left so I have daubed this in the colours I had out. I stamped in the Ivy Lane Green print background in with the dream Diva and the butterfly in Black ink. This allowed the sketchy shadow lines of the stamp to still be there underneath the fussy cut piece. The pink Diva and butterfly were then monted right on top of this background images. I used the Microtip scissors for all the cutting including following the bracket contour of the die cat front of the card, The gold shimmer trim adds the nice touch of bling. At the time of writing the ONLY place you can get this colour shimmer trim is through purchasing the Ivy Lane card making kit. Dream is stamped in Hollyhock and smudged with a little desert sand with a dauber. The curved edge of the card is finished off with a dauber and Desert Sand.

Card Two

Here I have focused on a plain background with Ivy Lane accents.

Here I have focused on a plain background with Ivy Lane accents.

The elbow of the Diva fits nicely into the point of the diecut. The sentiment fits just snuggly underneath. Careful placement of the images is what you need here. I did the butterfly by inking in hollyhock, stamping once, reinking in sweet leaf – this gave me a more muted soft green colour which matches the Ivy Lane Green. You could do this by kissing too. Ink up the butterfly and another stamp such as a solid heart or lacy stamp inked in Sweet leaf. Stamp off some of the hollyhock first so it isn’t too strong. Kiss the butterfly with your second stamped inked in sweet leaf. It should look different to mine – and will almost always be slightly different each time you do it depending on the amount of ink and the way you kiss the stamps together.

I simply cut some scraps to make some squares and held them together with gold shimmer trim. The dots here are from the mini medley accents rosewood collection Z1857 Dream is stamped in swet leaf and mounted on hollyhock and the Ivy Lane green print. The curved edge is highlighted with a dauber laded in sweet leaf.

Dreamer Base and Bling

Base and Bling is a totally new product range for Australia and it truly is the fastest, easiest way to make nice dress jewelry for anyone including yourself. Pictured here is what I have made for myself.


All you need is a chain, a square pendant, a matching glass,  one of the sticker style sheets, some Liquid Gloss and a baby wipe! If you like the charms you can add them too. Since I am crafty I have added the Craft Queen charms (z1958) to my necklace.


Pictured here is the Dreamer style sheet (Z7976) As you can see there are a LOT of designs to choose from and it would be very easy to make a few to add to my change depending on my mood and the message I wish to give myself for the day. Follow your dreams is the first one I made. I then made laughter is the best medicine. In the image below you can see how I can add them to a hanger and display them as part of my decoration on my dresser too!


OK…so is it easy? You bet. Square ones are a cinch.

Make  a Dream necklace to go with your card

Make a Dream necklace to go with your card


1. Peel sticker from the style sheet and place it into the square frame. Pres down firmly in the corners – use a stylus or similar for the corners. Put just 5 dots of liquid glass on the sticker – aim for near the 4 corners and the center. Grab your glass – try not to touch the back so a fingerprint does not become a problem and drop it into the square base. press firmly down. As you do this some liquid glass may escape – wipe this away immediately with a baby wipe. Your dots of liquid glass should have been big enough to spread and join with each other for an even coverage between the glass and the sticker.

Here is a way to test and try to see what you like and I have photographed how I made a round one for you step by step. If you have a desire for a round one you can trace and cut a circle as I have below, or you can use a 1 inch circle punch to get a nice circle. My hand cut circle is not all that ‘perfect’ but once the glass is in with its magnifying qualities the outside edge of the circle doesn’t matter.


Test out the glass over a design

Test out the glass over a design

Use the round glass to trace a circle

Use the round glass to trace a circle

Ready to stick

Ready to stick


Notice the 5 dobs of liquid glass

You can see the foru different desins and all the elements. The faux antiqued gold and silver in colour chain, the charms. and the styles sheets all on pages 90-91 of your Ideas book.

You can see the four different designs and all the elements. The faux antiqued gold and silver in colour chain, the charms. and the styles sheets are all on pages 90-91 of your Ideas book. If you do not have an Idea book you can check it online, or contact me to order one by post.

That’s it!   Thread it on your chain, add charms and wear it!! This is a very cost effective gift for anyone and takes very little of your time.

CTMH has given us a great video now too


You can purchase all of the products used in these projects to make a sweet gift for someone who needs a special birthday gift, or some words of encouragement and support.

Shopping List


Base and Bling Gift

Thank you for stopping by. I sure hope I have inspired a gift to your special friends and family with these ideas.

Thank you for stopping by



Your next stop on our Everything ABC’S blog Hop is Lisa Plummer – Flaunt Your Creativity

Here is the complete lineup in case you get lost along the way 🙂

**Find the lineup on the signup document**

1. Linda Norman- Scrappy Therapy 

2. Lauren Moore- CTMH Craftings

3. Michelle Battitori

4. Catherine Nowak ~ Catscrapbooking

5. Jenny Gilbert – Jen’s Creative Classroom

6.  Lisa Plummer – Flaunt Your Creativity

7. Cary Magnani – My Heart’s Design

8. Shalana Glass – Scrappin with Shalana

9. Pam Trostle – Pam’s Crafty Creations

10. Michele Pryor – Michele’s Ink It Stamp It 

11. Sharon Chapman – PaperFiesta

12 Anita Autore Cards and Coffee 

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

You are special! Have a gathering and find out how special!

Have you ever balked at the idea of hosting a direct selling anything? Be honest….I have! Especially when most of the products are priced upward of $50. It is out of the reach of most people I know to buy up big and even harder if you are the consultant trying to help the host get her rewards when they need 2 bookings to qualify, As the host you fear there may not be any friends kind enough to support you to achieve your $350 plus 2 host bookings in order to gain anything from making the effort to invite people, make supper and try and have a fun time.

Close to My Heart IS DIFFERENT. You are special. We want you to feel special and successful! They make us as consultants feel special too. Your host rewards begin with sales of $200 allowing you $30 to spend. The next step is $50 to spend plus a half price item for just a $300 total in sales. It goes up from there and you can see just how much you can be rewarded by looking at the Host reward guide on page 2 of the product launch guide . When you do look, you will notice the dreaded number of bookings is not there ! No need to con a friend into hosting a party they do not really want! You can succeed without extracting a promise from a friend to book forward for you!

The other thing you will notice is how generous the rewards become as sales go up! You are treated with great generosity for gathering with CTMH!

You are also a person of privilege when you host a CTMH gathering. You have access to exclusive stamp sets, which is perfect if you paper craft, scrapbook or make cards. You can see the full range on the 3rd and 4th pages of the product launch guide – and please note the pricing. Imagine getting these for half their usual price with your host reward money! It certainly does make your reward dollars go further!

My favourite is Washi Wonder. I do not need hundreds of rolls of washi tape – I can stamp a large number of tape designs in 40 different colours and even more with specific stamping techniques!

washi wonder

Washi Wonder – my favourite of the host rewards!

HostessRewards-C1568 HostessRewards-B1434 HostessRewards-B1433 HostessRewards-D1558























And there is more! As a gathering host you have the choice about what sort of gathering will suit you and your friends. I can accommodate you with a hands on scrapbook page, a card, or another project. Your friends won’t be sitting around listening to the consultant talk endlessly about the benfits, features and prices of a product and walk the catalogue – we get engaged and interact with the products. Hands On! We play with the products, explore the possibilities and have fun along the way!

If you prefer not to have anyone over, but wish to have a virtual or catalogue gathering and collect orders you can do this too! We have an EZ invite system that lets you take charge electronically inviting people to shop for your event! And the rewards are the same!

How easy it is to be rewarded and gain those favourite items at half price. I am betting every one of you who own a Cricut Cutting machine would be wanting to get that Cricut collection with your 50% off item credit!

One final note about the advantages of being a host – if you become a consultant – you get ALL THESE ADVANTAGES and you also get the consultant price on all the goodies you order! If you do not yet have a Cricut you can also get that at a very special low price too! That my friends makes being a consultant AWESOME for crafters like me.

I was hopeful CTMH would be a great company for us when we lost what was. I am stunned at how generous this company is with both Hosts and Consultants and invite you to contact me now to get your gathering orgainsed or your consultant kit ordered!



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!

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!

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)


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 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 Scrappy!


No matter the story, tell it anyway.

I came across this article ‘When family Stories Are Difficult’  shared on Facebook and feel the need to confess that telling the difficult stories is one of those things I have avoided. I love to journal as truthfully as I can not just what happened but how I felt, so leaving out the bad stuff enables me to celebrate good times and ignore the bad. The problem with that will be my world will appear to have been completely joyful and there won’t be an explanation for my life as a single woman about to turn 50.

I am now divorced from the father of my children. Since then I have had another relationship that I thought would be my happy ever after one that turned into a bitter battle caused by alcohol and lies that I struggled more than twelve months to recover from and even now wistfully at times wonder if it could or would be worth trying again I loved him so much. (But I do know better – it is he that needs to come to terms with his behaviour and lies, not me). Then there are a few months of one or another boyfriend or date that has not quite worked out. What should I do with these photos?

As a scrapbooking mum I find these and other stories hard to tell. I don’t struggle with reflecting on them, and some of them I do not have a problem talking about, but when it comes to including photos AND journalling the truth from my world view I do come to a striking halt. I have no problem including photos of my ex husband with images of our grandson – he does belong to both of us. The ex partner on the other hand is cropped out or left out of any event we attended in our brief 3 years together. I am not sure that it is my pain, or my shame that causes me to do this. I feel I was hoodwinked. But the bottom line is we did have many good moments too and he was an important part of my own growth journey. So…should I include my alcoholic ex partner, and if I do, what do I write?

This article talks about another kind of family issue – an adopted child. The excerpt suggests we need to journal all our stories, the good and the bad. In reference to adopted children Dr. Jane Aronson says:

Tell them with as much humor and openness as you can, she said. “Children deserve to be playful about who they are,” she said, “and to be proud, and to interpret their own stories into their own ideas.” And if a story brings up strong emotions for a child, let it. “Ask yourself if you’re the one who is uncomfortable,” she told me, and if I am, I need to either address it, or hide it, and let the children tell their stories.


I want my children to know that a story can be happy and sad at the same time, and maybe that’s exactly what the best stories are. We don’t even always have to feel the same way about our stories. One night, my younger daughter might be thrilled to talk about her foster family at dinner, and might even want to describe, again, the moment when she was handed over to strangers. At another time the introduction of the same topic by a sibling telling some other version of that time might bother her (and “bother” doesn’t fully encompass the available range of emotional reactions).


I know both my daughters will have different feelings about stories to do with their dad, and stories to do with my ex partner. But maybe I should scrap them anyway, with humour and honesty so they in turn can share these family stories with their own children.  I can do pages on people that had an impact on my life – good or bad. After all  scrapbooking is all about recording our story and we are perfectly imperfect in an imperfect world.

If I do not include the good with the bad or uncomfortable, what message about resilience and recovery am I leaving my Grandchildren? I want them to know that depression can be managed, and resilience is an important life skill. I guess I better illustrate that in my scrapbooks too!

The value of a simple page that is journalled.

I did a presentation last night and one of the customers showed us and talked about a page she had made for her children’s baby photos. Her first child was very premature so she does not have those gorgeous birth photos we all try to capture on the arrival of our full term bundle of joy. She even shared that people had asked ‘why’ she had kept photos like that. Her answer is simply because that is how it was. She explained her approach to putting the photos on show in an album was to make them beautiful with the journalling.

The page she had made had the ‘ugly’ shots – a first photo of each child. Both are precious to her because her babies were alive and made it through being premature. For that she is grateful. This page includes a verse she has written journalling how she felt at the time. When the children grow and look over their albums they will feel special and precious, just as she felt about them. The fact there is no *oooh gorgeous baby* kind of photo is replaced by words of the heart from mum. This page gives the reader insight into the power of love of mother to child, regardless of the birth circumstances. There is nothing exciting in the photo or the layout. It is the power of the journalling that makes this page priceless. I was so pleased to see how creating the page had empowered her to feel pride in her children and share that with them when they are old enough to read it.

How about you? Do you have photos that illustrate the fearful or traumatic times of your life that with the right words in a journal box can make the page more special than a page of gorgeous photos? Please comment and share!