Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pondering and Planning..

Ah those lazy days between Christmas and New Years.  I've written before about how much I love them.  This year it feels like the dreaming and planning and reflecting that I usually do around now started way earlier.

On November 25th I felt compelled to write:

"Next year I will:
bake more
make more
write more
get back to taking "real" photos
take pleasure in the simple things
get outside more
go barefoot more
recognise that being me is enough
recognise that being me is more than okay
pick more flowers
smell more roses
do small, sweet things for my children
pick up the phone and call far-away friends more often
send cards for birthdays
send cards for no reason
recognise the good in people
learn to let go of "things"

Next year I plan to be happy just being in the moment.
Life is a gift.
It is messy, extraordinary, and wonderful."

As 2018 draws to a close I realise that although it has been a great year (with lots of terrific family memories and catching up with friends)  mentally it has been a really tough one.  Working long hours in a job that I love, but is rapidly changing to be not quite the right fit, knowing full well that through no fault of my own I wouldn't be there in 2019, and trying hard not to be bitter and twisted about that. I am trying to be kind to myself as I work through change, and trying hard to think positively about the year ahead (as scary as some of it may be)

I have not had a lot of time and energy for my Close to My Heart business for quite some time so I am looking forward to changing that next year and also hoping to be back to sharing ideas regularly here and participating in the Blog Hops.

I am also hopeful that more free time might mean more blog writing.  I miss this creative space and sharing recipes and crafting projects with you all.

Hannah and I both got cookbooks for Christmas so there may be some experimentation this holidays.
There is definitely going to be a whole heap of crafting as I try to get my stash under control! I have been reading "A Stash of One's Own" - fabulous and funny and thought provoking.

It is Indie Giftalong time over on Ravelry and I have thoroughly enjoyed not Opadooing this year - the plan was to make 8 items.  So far I have managed 2 hats (with a third on the needles) and 2 pairs of slippers, and half a pair of socks, and a pair of mitts.  The plan is to finish the Beeswax Hat, and another pair of slippers before midnight on New Years Eve and quickly finish a crocheted wash cloth and that will be my 8.

I did quite a lot of pre-Christmas gift knitting - finishing off a cardi for Tiana, and socks for Grandpa and school hats and mittens for the girls.  My little nephews requested earflap hats while I was home for Christmas so that will become a project for early 2019.

What about you?
What are your plans?
Do you make New Years Resolutions?
Are you big on list making at this time of year?

Where ever you are, who ever you are, I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas, and that you are using these quiet days wisely,

Keep smiling,

p.s. I had planned to pepper this post with photos but the camera and computer have decided not to talk to one another again - THAT will be a major focus for 2019 - getting photos and technology sorted and under control! If you really want to see photos - check out my projects on Ravelry, or my photos on instagram.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Taking Stock October 2018

It has been a while again hasn't it?
I was reminded by two friends quite recently that I do actually have readers here who like to hear from me. If you are lurking maybe you would like to leave me a message in the comments because you know, sometimes, blogging does feel a little like you are shouting into a void.
My friend Jill said she especially missed these "Taking Stock" posts and then Pip over at (who is a way more diligent and creative blogger than I am) obligingly put up her Taking Stock October list, and who am I to fight tradition?

Making : mitt and hat sets out of locally hand-dyed ethical merino (seriously like knitting a cloud)
Cooking : sweet potato chips out of Leah Itsine's "The Nourishing Cook" (thumbs up all around)
Drinking : coffee (but wondering if I could pretend it is Friday night and start on the red wine)
Listening to: the crackle and pop of the fire and Maddie with kids' cartoons on in the background
Reading: "Dancing on Broken Glass" recommended by one of my kindy mums, also "Yarnlandia" by Clara Parkes
Next read: "Frankenstein" as our last Ravelry Goth Reading group hurrah (start and end with Frankenstein)
Wanting: another week of holidays
Looking: at the Better Home and Gardens Christmas Special (a friend and I have a challenge to see who can buy it first each year - but I swear it is getting earlier and earlier and every year it is more disappointing than the last)
Daydreaming: in the garden - I've planted a lot of great stuff this holidays with more to go - the front garden is becoming a reality now - hedging plants in and Dan got water plants for the pond for his birthday. I have willegia and philadelphus and a flowering quince to go in and we have added a mandarin and a cumquat to our orchard.
Deciding: That life is pretty good right now, and that these holidays have been enough to sustain me for the next 9 crazy weeks
Wishing: The next 9 weeks weren't looking so gaga
Enjoying: Having all of my chicks home in the nest - even James has been home for the holidays
Waiting: For the spring weather to properly kick in - I am so cold
Liking: The way my garden looks and smells at this time of year (hello Lilac!)
Wondering: What next year will look like? Will it really be okay? Will I be able to rise to challenges? Can I find change liberating instead of scary?
Loving: Sleep-ins, and baths, and time spent with kiddos
Pondering: How amazing it is to be re-united with my pen friend after 14 years! Yay for a good use of social media!
Considering: those lovely yarn advent calendars I see popping up everywhere - a lot of money but how worth it for the excitement of a mini-skein every day
Buying: nothing - trying to curb spending
Watching:The Hunger Games movies with the two eldest - still seems bizarre to me that our Toy Story and Disney Princess Days are over
Next watch: Outlander season 4 - it has to be coming soon!
Hoping: next year holds more time for old-fashioned letters, long walks, gardening and crafting
Marvelling: at skills I didn't recognise in my children - Maddie's eye for putting a quilt together, Hannah's cake making skills, Dan finding his groove with a great group of friends
Cringing: at the list of jobs that didn't get done on the holidays (hello pantry clean out?)
Needing: faith in my own abilities, and a belief that it will be okay
Questioning: Whether I can maybe get myself into more of a blogging routine
Smelling: woodsmoke, and sweet potatoes cooking
Wearing: jeans, and my boots, and a long sleeve tee (wishing for dress weather)
Following: beautiful knitting projects on instagram
Worrying: about living on a reduced income next year
Noticing: my lilac is in bloom and my veggies are growing before my eyes
Knowing: Summer dress and flip flop weather will be here before I know it
Thinking: I have wonderful friends
Admiring: the delicate style of Alicia Paulson - she puts such beautiful colours and items together, many times I have oohed and ahhed over the photos of her home
Sorting: kids clothes, and clutter
Getting: frustrated at the lack of progress on the decluttering front
Bookmarking: healthy recipes on instagram
Coveting: a yarn advent calendar
Disliking: mean spirited people
Opening: packets of dried fruit and nuts
Giggling: at my children's sense of humour (all different, all developing their own style)
Feeling: optimistic, and terrified, and sad, all in equal measure
Snacking: on so many blueberries and mangoes - cheap and delicious this year
Mourning: the sudden loss of an acquaintance - a stark reminder not to take life for granted
Missing: my weekly walks with the school mums
Hoping: I can find a sudden passion for housework
Remembering: the fun we had with our secret Pimms group
Looking forward to: more fun with a Close to My Heart friend and her family tomorrow
Hoping: that you and yours are happy and well and enjoying this perfectly imperfect life!
I promise to be back with some crafty photos soon,
Keep smiling,

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Documented Blog Hop

Ah Documented how I love thee!
Welcome to our Australasian Blog Hop.  Did you arrive here from the crafty goodness of Lauren's Blog?
I hope you will click on each link to the very end and we would love it if you leave a comment (crafters need a bit of encouragement occasionally!)

Now this paper pack is an important one.  It celebrates all of those wonderful things that make life worth documenting - friends, special memories, moments you want to relive.  The sentiments in this one are just so sweet too (especially that Dr Seuss quote which I put with a photo of our recently departed dear old dog and then howled!)

Love, love, love it.  To me it screams album-making in my favourite scrappy, slightly off kilter kind of way and every page I've used it for I love. I hope you love it too!

Oh, and it teams AMAZINGLY with our retiring colour of the year - Bashful - if you are a Bashful fan then don't forget to get it before it is gone this month!

I love the sweet Picture My Life - Love Us cards that go so well with this pack.  That gorgeous green floral is just one little 3x4 card cut in half.  The zip strip at the bottom suits my sassy little girl perfectly!

The chipboard complements worked perfectly for 14th birthday photos - this is pretty much a modified layout from our Seasonal Expressions Catalogue.  Cutting a square into triangles is a great way to get extra mileage out of your feature papers.

This is the layout that we did at our Close to My Heart Convention this year.  I love it! It worked so well with these treasured photos.

Sometimes a little bit of product goes a long way.  This double page only used four 3/4inch strips of feature paper and a few (mostly leftover) compliments! And see what I mean about how beautiful it looks with the Bashful!

The world's quickest card.  Feature paper cut to 1/8th inch shorter than our value card base, a sentiment stamped in black on a scrap of White cardstock, tear the bottom. Add a couple of dots.  Call it done.

And just to prove it is not just for girls - a very quick page for my son's album.  Once again just a strip and a PML card put to good use.

What will you make with Documented?  Hop on over to Doreen's Blog to see what she has created!
Until next time,
Happy scrapping,

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Hitting Reset

I think this is quite possibly the longest blogging break I have had.  Things got a little hairy there for a while and I just couldn't find a work/life balance.  Thankfully I have an understanding boss who listened when I told her I just couldn't work fulltime.  I have supportive friends who listened to me, and helped me, and my lovely Australasian CTMH blog sisters let me bow out of our Blog hops until I felt ready to come back.

It feels like I have been able to hit "reset" and really get my life back the way I want it.  It has been a bit of a weird rollercoaster but also kind of liberating to really think about what I value and where my priorities are and how to make different parts of my world fit.  I feel like it is kind of crazy that I am still learning things about myself and who I am and who I want to be but I also feel like I have been able to accept some things about myself and let go of some emotional baggage too.

In no particular order I have worked out:
* I love working part-time - having a couple of days to myself to do "mum stuff" and indulge in craft time and gardening is vital to my well-being
* I have accepted that I am a true ludite.  I see technology as a means to an end. I need the skills to be able to do what I want to do, beyond that, I really don't care.  I am happy to opt out of any social media and/or online stuff that doesn't meet my needs.  I have let go of feeling like I need to be good at technology to be an effective teacher.  I am more than someone with computer challenges.
As a family, having some technology free time has been gold.  I love just spending time with my kiddos and my husband without screens.
*"dieting" will never work for me.  I need to make good lifestyle choices, if I lose a few kilos great, but I like food and I need a system that is sustainable for me.  August will be all about tweaking small things in our life to create a healthier us.
* I am totally replaceable.  I love my job, but at the end of the day I am not finding a cure for cancer or solving world peace.  I need to keep my work in perspective.
* Papercrafting gives me pleasure. I love my customers.  I do not want to be the world's best consultant or bust a gut to meet sales targets etc.  At this point in my life I am happy for my papercrafting to be about feeling good and making others feel good.
* Downtime is important to me. Time to knit, spin, garden, read, dream, write, create.  That doesn't make me lazy because when I get the balance right I am a better mother, wife, teacher and friend.

Today was one of my "free" days and I had such an awesome day. A beautiful Winter Swap parcel from a lovely ravelry friend this morning.  My hubby surprised me by calling in to have lunch with me.  I won a voucher for spinning the most yarn in this year's Tour de Fleece.  I picked up some of my favourite candles from one of my favourite local candlemakers.  I bought the latest Better Homes and Gardens magazine to read in the bath.  I ordered the Autumn trees and birches for our front garden. I delivered a small handmade thank you to someone I appreciated. I got totally caught up on our washing! Small things but so satisfying and cheery for a Winter's Day.  I feel like this Winter is just zooming and I am handling it much better than I have in previous years.  I really have only had one day where I felt like crawling into bed and howling.  The jonquils in my front garden are blooming - Spring will come!

Apologies that this is such a bitsy post.  I will be back mid month with our CTMH Documented Feature Paper Pack Blog hop.  Hopefully before then you may even see some crafty doings.

What about you? How do you survive the Winter? Have you got a work/life balance?  What small, simple things make you happy?

A random collection of things that have been making me happy lately:

Celebrating these two amazing people being earthside for 70 years! A glorious few days on a houseboat on the Murray with our UK Ward family.  So special to have all of us together in a truly spectacular part of the world.  I love the connections the cousins all made with each other this time around.  

A quiet moment captured with my girl and her bunny.  We lost our dear old dog recently so this beautiful bunny is helping to heal at the moment.  This is my current favourite photo!

Enjoying family time and the simple joy of a campfire. I loved being "offline" for a few days.

Catching up with dear friends recently has also had the unexpected joy of watching our kids connect.  We had a great day at the Port Winterwonderland - iceskating and lunch and park play with my highschool friend Kirsten and her son.

Presenting at the Ecta conference came with the added bonus of family time - so wonderful to see my Mum and Dad and 97 year old Gubby, and to hang out with my sis and her gorgeous girls.

Knitting that matches what I am wearing! I know it seems silly but one of the reasons I hate Winter most is feeling fat and frumpy and cold.  I took a little shopping trip to my favourite store recently and have been wearing this skirt and brown boots, and tunics and leggings and I feel so much happier about my winter wardrobe in dresses and skirts!

More time spent with friends - Karen and I went to the Age of Elegance costume exhibition at Ayres House and then on to the Impressionists Exhibition.  A gloriously fun afternoon!

Spoilt to spend time with both Lou and Ness just a few weeks apart.  Time spent with friends has certainly made this Winter shorter!

Anyhow, enough rambling,
Keep smiling,

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Postcard Perfect Memories (Australasian Blog Hop)

Well, for many of us this is the biggest month of the scrapbooking year. I hope you are able to join your consultant for National Scrapbooking Day celebrations this month? Did you arrive here from Kara's Blog?
Please be sure to follow along with the Blog hop by clicking on the link at the end of this post (and don't forget to leave us a comment!)

The Postcard Perfect Paper was "perfect" for a "postcard perfect" holiday we recently took to Fiji.  My husband and I honeymooned in Fiji, and 15 years to the day we took our children back to celebrate our anniversary.  It was a wonderful week of gorgeous family memories and this paper pack was made for us!  I have used a mix of the paper, the Cut Above layouts and the accompanying stamp for this album.  I do not tend to embellish heavily in my pages so I found that I had lots of leftovers after completing the Cut Above pages.  These worked perfectly as embellishments on other pages. I have also mixed in one of the stamp sets from the "Wish You Were Here" cricut cartridge.  As with any travel album, flip flaps were a great way of getting extra photos on the page without sacrificing the layout.  You will notice that I haven't yet journalled on my pages as this is a work in progress and I am trying to decide what stories I was to tell on my pages.  I can totally recommend buying the bundle (CC5191) for $81.95AUD/$93.95 NZD as that stamp set and coordinating cardstock will allow you to get extra mileage out of your paper and cut above kit.

My title page (using the bit leftover from punching out the circle shape in the Cut Above Kit - waste not want not!)

I hope you enjoy using Postcard Perfect too!
Now hop on over to Doreen's Blog to see her interpretation of Postcard Perfect;
and where ever you are, who ever you are, happy scrapping this month!
Keep smiling,

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Classic Summer Bash Stamp of the Month Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to our Australasian Blog Hop for May!  Did you arrive here from the lovely Doris?
May already! How did that happen?  If you are anything like me you are still scrapping Summer photos so this stamp will work perfectly for those occasions.  As is usual with Stamp of the Month this stamp can be yours for just $7.50 with a $75 purchase this month (and what a month to spend money with all of the glorious new products available in our Seasonal Expressions Catalogue!)  See your consultant for more details or if you don't have a consultant feel free to shop with me at

I think my favourite part of this stamp is that cute little banner.  I also think the jar will come in super handy to put floral stamps in as an informal vase.  

This super simple little card is just one of our bulk white daisy cards cut into a square and corner rounded.  I used a background texture stamp like the one from our "Colourful Texture"set (D1784) with glacier ink and then stamped an M sized sentiment on with memento black ink.  The little banners were in Twilight, Cranberry and Canary ink.
This card uses one of the PML cards from our new "Documented" Paper and then a scrap of blue behind it and black ink to stamp the jug and lemons and banner.  Then I just cut tiny triangles from scrap paper.  

This page is just waiting for some photos of my funny friends.  I am very lucky to be part of a "secret" Pimms group of like-minded, fun loving school mums who come and drink Pimms and eat cheese on my deck on nice afternoons.  It is a tradition that I love and we always laugh so hard that my stomach muscles hurt so I thought it was worth documenting these beautiful friends in my album.  Our albums should be a celebration of our relationships! Of course now I need to organise another Pimms afternoon to get some photos - the things we do for our scrapbooking!!!
I used Willow cardstock and ink, with the same Twilight, Cranberry and Canary combo for the lettering.  I know that the "Location", "Date" and "Time" stamp will be great for future birthday invites/social gatherings but it also works beautifully as a journalling prompt.

So that is it from me this month.  Hop on over to Wendy's Blog to keep sharing the great ideas!
Happy Scrapping,

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Colour Your Life SOM Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to the Close to My Heart Australasian Blog Hop for April's Stamp of the Month "Colour Your Life"

Did you arrive here from Maz's Blog?  Just read to the end of this post and then click on the link to go right around and see what we have all been up to.

As the title suggests this stamp set is perfect for playing with shinhan markers, watercolour pencils or watercolours but it also works beautifully just stamped in a single colour coordinated with your cardstock.

Over the past few months you may have noticed that Close to My Heart have been matching Stamp of the Months to the featured paper suite for that month.  April's SOM works perfectly with the April paper pack "Gimme Some Sugar" which we will be featuring on the Blog Hop on the 15th.

First up I have some super simple cards to show you.
Using white daisy cardstock, bashful shimmer paper and our heart diecuts, Gimme Some Sugar patterned paper and a little bit of penwork - I think this would be perfect for a kitchen tea or even an engagement or birthday for a friend who loves cooking?

Using the juniper patterned paper from Gimme Some Sugar and a flower cluster from the complements with some itty bitty sparkles to add a finishing touch.

Again using Juniper patterned paper from Gimme Some Sugar but mixing it up with a sweet little scallop border from our thincuts, a few peacock 1/2 inch strips and a couple of leftover stickers from my Star Gazer Complements.

I returned from this year's CTMH convention with a renewed passion for meaningful journalling.  My Mother In Law turns 70 later this year. This stamp was just perfect for honouring her in a layout.  I used a Glacier cricut cut background and added a bit of torn paper in the corner for a bit of texture.  The stamping was done onto Linen cardstock which is a great option if you need something not quite so stark as white but still nice and neutral.

And this is the page I will be teaching at our Hearts SA Consultant meeting this month.  Just cut a 3/4inch strip off each side of your Bashful paper and then centre the square on Pewter cardstock.  Trim the Gimme Some Sugar Feature paper to an  8 inch square (saving the flip side and zip strip for the bottom border)  Print your "be Kind" sentiment onto white daisy and colour with Shin han markers.  I mounted it on a bit of Tangerine card cut at 1 and a 1/4 inches by 6 inches then dovetailed.  A little bit of pen work and a few freehand cut banners out of the scraps complete the look.  If this layout looks familiar it is because it is the one I showed for Star Gazer last month here

As is always the way with our Stamp of the Months, this little beauty is yours to take home for just $7.50 with a $75 order this month.  See your consultant to order or if you don't have a consultant shop with me at my Close to My Heart website
So what do you think? Can you see how versatile this stamp set is? Feel free to leave a comment and then hop on over to Georgia's Blog for some more Colour Your Life fun!
Hoppy Easter!
Keep smiling,

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Star Gazer Australasian Blog Hop

Such a simple but effective layout for any 5x7 photo!
Oh I like this one! Welcome to our March Australasian Blog Hop featuring the bright and cheerful “Star Gazer” collection. Did you arrive here from Doris' Blog or just by chance? Either way, welcome! Please follow the links at the bottom of each post to see what we’ve all been creating. We would love it if you leave a comment too.

This pack features primary colours and works for a huge range of scrapbooking pages. I particularly love it for my Science mad son but it also worked great for go kart photos and our trip to the LEGO exhibition. Forgive the multiple pages of similar photos - these are double layouts for each of my children. Hopefully they show you there is always more than one way to skin a cat!

I love layouts that celebrate moments or traditions by pulling photos from different times together.  This page also uses faux stitching and pen work which I just love as a quick and easy way to add a little bit of extra oomph.
This pack works with so many different shades of cardstock - I particularly liked using it with Poppy, Honey, Pacifica and Slate
Do you like my "Awesome" title? Before you throw away your used sticker sheet check that there is not more potential to be gained by a bit of fussy cutting and matting onto coloured cardstock.  

Endless Summer PML cards are a great way to stretch your Stargazer supplies that little bit further and they work perfectly to celebrate our Aussie Summer days!

That is it for me this month.  Hop on over to Vandra's Virtual CTMH Craft-room to see some more ideas! And don't forget to join us early in April for our Stamp of the Month Hop!
Keep smiling,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Make Waves Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to our Australasian Feature Paper Blog Hop for February.  Did you arrive here from Doreen's lovely blog ?
"Make Waves" is perfect for beach and pool photos, and anyone with mermaid-mad little girls is going to love this one but with a bit of thought this paper pack works for just about anything.

It also plays really nicely with Chelsea Gardens and Stargazing - like this page:
Stickers from the Make Waves and Stargazer Complements, Green scale paper from Make Waves, grey and white spot from Chelsea Gardens

Zip strips and coordinating cardstock make quick easy pages! Bashful and Lagoon cardstock
Another simple zip strip and the February Stamp of the Month on a cricut cut sun (I used canary ink to dauber around the edges)

I love how many different colours this paper pack works with! And how cute are those mermaids?

Sweet and simple! The little Make Waves Flower sequins add a little disco bling.

This is the card I made out of Making Waves using our new Make it From Your Heart Vol 4 Pattern 4.  I wanted to use our Birthday Sparkles Stamp but couldn't find it in my messy craftroom - any sentiment would work!
So that is it for me.  Please hop onto Doris's Blog to continue the hop (and we would love for you to leave a comment)
Keep smiling,

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Sunny Thoughts February SOM Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to our February Stamp of the Month Australasian Blog Hop.  Hello to those that arrived from Denise's lovely blog and hello to all of you who found your way here by chance or accident.

The Sunny Thoughts SOM has a wonderful mix of sentiments and sweet floral motifs.

Fern ink and cardstock.  Sometimes I like to let great photos be the highlight of my page and keep the embellishments sweet and simple.
I particularly like the "Thank You" sentiment on this one - just the right size for quick easy cards.  Thank you cards are my favourite type of card to make and give.  We have so much to be thankful for in our lives and I hope that by having a stack of thank you cards on hand it makes it easy for my kids to show gratitude to others.  Even small kindnesses shouldn't go unacknowledged if it means we can brighten someone else's day.

Now, I initially thought this set would work beautifully with the Chelsea Gardens range (and it does!)  I can't get enough of the Sweetleaf and Glacier combination at the moment!)

Charcoal ink, Sweetleaf cardstock, Chelsea Gardens paper and complements
Sweet leaf and Glacier ink with a Charcoal sentiment.  I fussy cut the Glacier flowers and attached them with foam tape

The pale side of Glacier cardstock with some whisper twine and the Chelsea Garden's complements - I like to put some faux stitching with a journalling pen.

These cards were so quick and simple to make that I thought while I was on a roll I could use Make Waves:
Using Make Waves paper and complements

And then Stargazer!

I am certain that I have made more scrapbooking pages with this stamp but can't find them in the messy craft space (which is definitely above 40 degrees today - much too hot to play in!)

Make waves paper and complements

And Stargazer for a more masculine theme - I was so lazy with this one that I just used the two PML cards still joined together and then just put the sentiment over the top of the rocket.

Stargazer Complements with Charcoal ink

So that is it for me this month.  Thanks for all  of the lovely comments on our Chelsea Garden Blog Hop.  Now head over to our creative friend Doris to share the love!
Keep smiling,