Thursday, December 6, 2012
Today, I celebrated the highlight of our Christmas season this year: our son's community stage debut in A Christmas Carol.  This was a very big deal for Sam and we were so proud of his performance and his attitude throughout the whole run.  He was dedicated and responsible, getting his schoolwork done before rehearsals, and dealing fairly well with late nights and not a lot of sleep.

The play was a "drama with music", so I used the line from "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" as the title.  And the Pear & Partridge paper pack has just the right feel for the Victorian times.  Then I spiced it up with P&P rub-ons, shimmering brads and CTMH ribbon.

A special thanks to Raph Nogal ( for the amazing photography, taken during the dress rehearsal.  Here's a close-up of my favourite shot:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
I was 12 years old when Bob Geldof made his ground-shattering, heartfelt appeal to one and all to help those victims of the Ethiopian famine.  His example of using his passion -- music -- to help others is one that touched me at a very fundamental level, and it's an example that I try to follow to this day.  I'm proud that I'm passing that lesson on to my kids too.

Bob did something that no one thought was possible -- he got a whole bunch of STARS together in the same room, at the same time, and got them to perform FOR FREE.  He got them to perform to help people half way around the world.

Back in 1984, my Dad bought my sister and I a video tape (yes, video tape -- VHS) of the "making of" documentary behind the revolutionary song.  We watched it over and over and over, pausing when our favourite stars (George Michael and Simon Le Bon) were on screen.  Maybe at the time, the message didn't quite sink in ... but I still remember almost every scene.  I still own that video tape and I still play it every Christmas.

Whenever I hear the song, I close my eyes and picture each singer singing the phrase or two they were assigned to sing.  When Bono cries out "Well tonight thank God it's them, instead of you", tears come to my eyes.

Because I DO thank God it's not me, it's not my family.  We are so very blessed and so very lucky.

So go and take a trip back to 1984.  And thank God it's not YOUR family that's suffering this Christmas.  Think about giving, even in some small way, to someone in need.  Just because you can.

Do They Know It's Christmas video on Youtube: 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
I love Christmas music.  As a child, I was a regular member of school choirs and for many years, I was also in the Mississauga Youth Choir.  And even though we didn't sing many kids' favourites like Frosty the Snowman or Jingle Bells, being in choir taught me many more Christmas songs to love.  My very favourite is Carol of the Bells.  I remember singing the soprano parts one year, then singing the alto parts the next year.  I still get misty whenever I hear that song and try to sing along.

Today, I listened to a lot of Christmas music.  Charlie and I sang Christmas Carols on our walk to school this morning.  Then, I left the radio on the station that is playing carols 24-7 at this time of year.  It was lovely and really put me in the Christmas mood.

How can you go wrong with a Christmas song in your heart?

One of my most favourite parts of Christmas is my tree.  It's 10' tall ... and it needs to be to hold all of the ornaments we've collected over the years.  My hubby hates it ... well, hates putting it up and taking it down, and hates the space it takes up in our smallish living room.  Every year, he tells me that next year, we're getting a smaller tree.  So far, we haven't yet.

So as I said, I love my Christmas tree. And when things get crazy, I like to sit in the dark with just the tree lights on and enjoy the quiet.  Things have been REALLY crazy lately, so last night was a perfect night to enjoy my lights.  There are no ornaments on the tree yet, but the lights really worked to soothe and calm me, and make me grateful for all the blessings that I have in my life.

Sunday, December 2, 2012
As you know, I'm a big supporter of SickKids Hospital and am a proud member of the Kards for Kids HSC Smiley Team.  I feel so good about using my creativity and passion to give back.  When I was in advertising, SickKids was one of my main clients -- one that meant so much because we really were saving babies with our work!  So donating cards to make a sick child smile just continues that connection and important work for me.  And I am so very proud that my son Charlie enjoys making cards for SickKids too. 

DECEMBER DAY 2: Making holiday cards for SickKids
So this afternoon, Charlie made a card (he was pretty pooped from a sleepover last night but still wanted to be creative!) and we tied it into a school project he is working on.  He has a "buddy" from school called Nobody.  Nobody is a denim blue, characterless stuffed doll who will spend a week with each child in Charlie's class.  The child has to do something special with Nobody that helps other people, animals or the environment.  So Charlie chose to make cards for SickKids with Nobody.

Here are some pics of Charlie and Nobody making an adorable card.

Charlie and Nobody colouring a stamped image

Nobody making sure Charlie puts the glue on properly.

Nobody, Charlie and their finished card.
I hope we will have time tomorrow to make some more cards before we take them to Anabela for delivery to SickKids on December. 16.  And we're going to check with Charlie's teacher to see if we can bring in supplies for the whole class to make a card for SickKids.  Charlie has to present his activity with Nobody to the class and this would be a great time for all the kids to get involved.

If you would like to make some cards to donate to SickKids, PLEASE DO!  They can be any size, shape or colour.  If you use snowmen, you'll be entered to win some special prizes.  Please put your name on the back of the cards you make.  Then call me and I'll come pick them up from you.  PLEASE NO BULKY EMBELLISHMENTS like brads or buttons as they are choking hazards.  The simpler the cards, the better.

Saturday, December 1, 2012
This year, I want to do something special to celebrate the Days of December leading up to Christmas.  I have lots of fun things planned, alone and with my family.  And I'm going to share it all with you hear.  Then doing a scrapbook layout when it's all done.

December Day 1: Christmas Show to End Breast Cancer

Today, I'm participating in the Christmas Show to End Breast Cancer in Oshawa.  What an amazing cause.  And I'm doing it in honour of my grandmother, who passed away from Breast Cancer before I had a chance to know her, and in honour of my mother, sister and all the special women in my life -- may they NEVER have to battle this horrible disease.

I'm in charge of the make 'n' take and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  But you'll have to come out to the show to see what it is!  Here are the details:

Christmas Show to End Breast Cancer
Saturday, December 1
12 noon until 4 pm
$2 entrance fee
1500 Coldstream Road, Oshawa
Near the Oshawa Cineplex

And here's a sneak peek of some of the things I'll have on hand ...

Thursday, November 15, 2012
Welcome to our second Cross Canada Blog Hop in November. This time, you will find that each CTMH consultant has created something to help us countdown to Christmas, using different materials and our creative inspiration!  The possibilities are endless, with help from some great Close to my Heart products.

If you have just hopped onto my blog from the marvelous Michelle's blog "My Creations with Michelle", you are in the right place.  You can continue from here, as this is a circular hop.  OR, if you want to follow us from coast to coast across Canada, then please start at the beginning with Darla in Nova Scotia.

While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
My countdown calendar, using the CTMH Display Tray, was inspired by "Twas the Night Before Christmas".  My kids and I watch the animated movie (with the Mr. Trundle, the mice and the singing clock) and read the story every Christmas Eve.  It's a well-loved tradition for us.  So that made it the perfect inspiration for this calendar.

I was also inspired by the many different shapes on the new CTMH Cricut Artiste cartridge.  And then I just let my imagination run.

Here are some shots of the individual squares:
Reindeer made using Carousel horse and "modifying" him.  Finished with glitter gel and a black bitty sparkle.
Personalized with a photo of my boys, and a wonderful quote from our favourite Christmas poem (from the Christmas Delights stamp set).

I put velcro dots on the back of the photo so I can switch it out each year.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

Waiting for the clock to strike midnight.  Waiting for Santa to come.

It wouldn't be Christmas without a beautiful tree.

Letter to Santa, created using a frame shape from the Cricut, rolling the edges and embellishing with stamps (Christmas Delights) and a Cricut turkey feather quill.

Presents under the tree.
The centerpiece of the display tray:  our new Chalkboard paper to help us countdown the days until Christmas.  And the stockings with Liquid Applique add the finishing touch!

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
All products used were Close to my Heart, including the Display Tray, Pear & Partridge paper and the Artiste and Art Philosophy Cricut cartridges.

Your next stop on the Cross Canada Hop is the other amazing Michelle of "Twirl in Time".

Thanks for hopping along with us - we hope we were able to inspire you to create your own Advent Calendar using some of the designs and products seen along the way. Join us again on December 15th when we showcase a 3D Christmas themed project from the New Artiste Cartridge.

Monday, November 5, 2012
Welcome to the first of 2 CTMH Cross Canada Blog Hops happening this month.

If you have just hopped onto my blog, you can start here as this is a circular hop, but if you want to follow us across Canada then please start at the beginning and join Deanne in NewFoundland . If you came from the crafty Carrie's blog  of "Scrappin' with Carrie" then you are in the right place!

November 5th Blog Hop: Christmas Cards with Non-Holiday paper
This time, you will find that each CTMH consultant in our group has created 3 Christmas Cards using non-Christmas paper! We were each given the challenge to create these 3 cards using either cardstock or another paper packet of their choice.  I was having so much fun, I created 4 cards!  Look and see.

I chose Dakota, in honour of my trip to the Calgary Stampede this summer.  And, it's one of my favourite paper packs!

Western Christmas with Dakota!

Card #1 "Tis the Season"

PAPER: Dakota paisley paper on a Whisper cardstock background.  
ORNAMENTS:  Sky and Barn Red cardstock -- Whisper ornament paper piecing
STRIPE:  Slate polka dot ribbon on Outdoor Denim cardstock
STAMPS:  December SOTM and Dakota WOTG stamp
INK:  Slate, Pacifica and Barn Red
OTHER:  Round studs, sparkle, Artiste Cricut cartridge

Card #2 "Stockings"

PAPER: Dakota print, houndstooth print, Pacifica cardstock, Whisper cardstock
STAMPS:  Christmas Delight and Dakota WOTG stamp
INK:  Slate, Pacifica and Barn Red
OTHER:  pewter brads, 3D Foam, Artiste Cricut cartridge, Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge

Card #3 "Ho Ho Choo Choo"

PAPER: Dakota print, stripe, Colonial White, Pacifica, Whisper, Slate and Sky cardstock
STAMPS:  Christmas Delight, Christmas Love and Perfect Fit -- Holidays
INK:  Slate and Pacifica
OTHER:  pewter photo hanger, pewter brads, Artiste Cricut cartridge

Card #4 "Warm Wreath"

PAPER: Dakota paisley and stripe, Whisper cardstock
STAMPS:  Remarkable Wreath and Perfect Fit -- Holidays
INK:  Barn Red and Pacifica
OTHER:  pewter brads, burlap ribbon, licorice pearl, almond glitter gel, 3D foam

Your next stop on the Cross Canada Hop is the fantastic Brae of "The Brae-er".

Thanks for hopping along with us - we hope we were able to inspire you to create your own Christmas cards using some of the designs and paper seen along the way. Join us again on November 15th when we showcase our versions of Advent Calendars.  I can't wait for this one!  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
A few weeks ago, some of us gathered to make some cards to donate to SickKids Hospital.  Since Halloween is just one sleep away, now's a perfect time to post the work we did!

Great thanks to Barb, Morgan, Sue, Sarah, Katie, Lisa, Linda, Annette, Sam and Charlie for helping out!  All in all, the Kards for Kids team donated over 200 cards.

Next challenge: Snowman cards!!!  If you have time to make even one card and send it to me, featuring a snowman (and no brads, buttons, or other "dangerous" embellies), you could really put a smile on a sick kids' face!  Visit Kards for Kids for more details.

Most days, I'm okay with having two boys.  In fact, if the truth be told, I prefer it that way.  No hair to brush and braid and fuss with every morning, no wardrobe dramas, no battles over too little clothing or too much makeup.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I'm envious of my friends with daughters.  I will never be Mother of the Bride (so I watch lots and lots of TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress").  And I don't have a built-in scrapping buddy.

Well, until now.  My youngest son Charlie, has really taken to cardmaking and colouring stamped images.  As you may have read in an earlier blog post, we like to make cards to donate to the Hospital for Sick Children here in Toronto.  And now, Charlie is asking to learn how to do scrapbooking pages too.  I LOVE IT!!  It may not last, but I'm going to enjoy it while it does.

Here's a picture of Charlie colouring some Magnolia images.  He's even keeping track of the colours he's using, like I do with my Copic markers.  What a sweetie.

Sunday, October 21, 2012
I volunteered to make the loot bags for my son Sam's Youth Group Halloween party.  I love how these little bags are so simple and yet so adorable.  And they are so easy, thanks to my Cricut and CTMH cartridges.  Making 40 of these little bags just took a few hours.

The loot bags themselves are cut from the CTMH Art Philosophy cartridge.

The pumpkin bag is made using Sunset cardstock and the face is stamped from a retired set "Frighten' Fun" using Black ink.

The ghost uses White Daisy cardstock and basic shapes cut from Art Philosophy in Black cardstock.

And Frankie Frankenstein uses a pointed border from Art Philosophy and the face is from the Artiste cartridge.  Pear and Black cardstock are used.

So cute, so simple ... I know the kids will love them.

Thursday, October 18, 2012
Last weekend, I got together with some great ladies to make some Halloween and Christmas cards to take to SickKids Hospital.  And I love this sweet little trick or treat witch card that I made.  I almost don't want to give it away ... I really hope it makes a special kid feel a little bit better.

It's a simple card, because for SickKids, we can't use a lot of embellishments -- they are choking hazards for the kids.  But sometimes simple is good.  The witch boot paper, the Kraftin' Kimmie witchy stamp, and the spiders and sentiment by Close to my Heart all work together perfectly.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, September 15, 2012
Welcome to our very first Cross Canada Blog Hop! This month, our project is the My Creations Bracket Frame. Here's what it looks like, undressed:

Find the Bracket Frame on page 132 of the 2012 FW Idea Book, only $8.95!

In this hop, you will see how our Crafty Canadian Consultants have decorated their Bracket Frames! We hope you enjoy our blog hop today!

If you came from the talented Krista's blog, then you are in the right place!  You can start here as this is a circular hop, or you can start in the East follow us across Canada, starting at Deanne in Newfoundland.  Then move on to the fabulous Brae's blog to keep hopping.

Here is my bracket frame all dressed up, 
and I think it's "outta this world".

I created this for my nephew and think it will look great in his bedroom.  I hope he wishes upon this star every night.

To create this, I cut the bracket frame shape out of White Daisy cardstock, using the CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge.  Just click "fit to page" and select the shape and your Cricut will cut it at the right size.

Then I stamped the starbursts in the corners, using a variety of stamps and inks:
  • STAMPS:  Canadian Celebration, Paper Lanterns and Love Life
  • INKS:  Pacifica, Sky, Pear, Sunset and Honey
The top left corner was embellished with a star (Sky ink stamped on Sky cardstock) and a little planet, cut from the new CTMH Artiste Cricut cartridge from Sunset and Pacifica cardstock.

The bottom right corner was embellished with a banner (Sky) and rocket (Pear), both from Artiste.  I stamped Daniel's name with the Polka Dot Alphabet and Pacifica ink.

At the center of it all is the large star.  I cut that using Artiste from Honey cardstock.  I stamped the tiny star in Honey ink, then scored the lines to make the star POP up and add dimension.  I cut another star for the back and attached it to the frame using White hemp cord.  Then I framed the entire thing with a Pacifica frame -- stamped with Sunset pigment ink stars -- and a Sunset background.

Lastly, I embellished the whole thing with clear sparkles and our new Green Glitter gel (I love this stuff!)

Thanks so much for looking!  Please leave a comment below, then hop to the next blog.
Your next stop on the Cross Canada Hop is the fabulous Brae Just look at the great frame she's created -- so fun!

Here is a complete list of the blog hop in case you get lost along the way:
  1. Deanne ~
  2. Stephanie ~
  3. Michelle S ~
  4. Suzette ~
  5. Joanne ~
  6. Krista ~
  7. Sheri ~
  8. Brae ~
  9. Michelle M ~
  10. Tara ~
  11. Kathy ~
  12. Nancy ~
Thanks for hopping along with us - we hope we were able to inspire you to create your own version of My Creations Bracket Frame. Join us again on October 15th when we showcase the My Creations Canvas Journal.

Friday, September 14, 2012
Hello everyone!  I'm very excited to be a part of a great group of girls who have come together to showcase some amazing artwork across our country.  This month, we're featuring the Bracket Frame.  This is a great product and once you dress it up, it would make for a wonderful gift this holiday season!  And all you have to do is spend some time hopping from blog to blog and being inspired!

So please join us TOMORROW, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15TH and hop across Canada to see what we've all created.  Just come here to my blog to get started.  Here's a sneak peek of my frame to whet your creative appetite!

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Tonight was Charlie's last soccer game of the season.  Which means it was the perfect opportunity to use my new "Game On" stamp set.  His team colours are black, red and white, so that's what I used for the cards to thank his coaches.  This card is clean and simple, but it looks great.

This stamp set has some great sporty stamps for soccer, baseball, football, tennis and basketball, so I know I'll get a lot of use out of it.  And I love how the soccer ball in Cranberry pigment ink pops off the black background!

Thanks Coach Scott and Coach Lawrence for a great season!

Sunday, August 19, 2012
One of my favourite parts of our team PowWows is the card swap.  I send out a sketch, taken or inspired by Close To My Heart's how-to books, like Originals or Wishes, and the gals create.  They can use any paper pack, stamp set and embellishments they want, it just has to be from the current Idea Book.  So take a look at these gorgeous cards and see what they came up with:

Cards created by the Designing Divas
It's so amazing to me how each person can start with the same sketch and come up with something so different.  Keep looking ...

Clementine papers and a cute bottle cap, by Leigh Ann.

Sweet cupcake, Clementine and burlap ribbon, by Krista.

Pemberley birthday and Nov. SOTM, by Shannon.

Pear & Partridge and some great embellishments, by Joanne.

Dakota Valentine using Jan. SOTM, by Heather.

Dakota Thanks, with a pop of black, by our other Heather.

Sparkly Avonlea with sanding, by Tara.

Clementine and Florentine with cameos, pearls and butterflies, by Sheri.

Do you know what one of the best things is about being a Close to my Heart consultants?  It's the friendships I've made and the wonderful people I've met over the years.  I am very blessed by the connections I have made.

Yesterday, the Designing Divas, my CTMH team, met for our PowWow (it's not a meeting, it's more fun than that -- but costumes aren't required!).  We meet twice a year to talk about the new Idea Book, to learn from each other, to create a fun project and to get to know each other.  And it was awesome!  Tara and Joanne spoke about their Convention experience -- it was a first time for both of them.  Krista, Shannon (via Skype) and I shared tips about e-tools that are at our disposal.  And Heather, Heather, Leigh Ann, Kathy and Laurie all joined in, asking questions, sharing experiences and really coming together.  I was so happy to see it.

I am really quite proud of the team we are all building together.  They are wonderful ladies who are willing to help each other out.  They are willing to share and teach.  They are comfortable enough to ask and learn.  While we each have our own businesses to run, we're not so selfish not to help a sister out.

Have you ever thought about becoming a CTMH consultant, but were afraid you'd be left on your own to figure it all out?  Not with the Designing Divas to help you out.  And there is no better time to join that RIGHT NOW!  If you sign up in August, you'll not only receive a GREAT starter kit of crafting and business goodies valued at $130 for only $49, you'll also get this gorgeous tote, absolutely free!

Simply email me at and let's talk about having you join the Designing Divas!

Friday, August 17, 2012
We all like to create something beautiful. And it doesn't hurt to have a little help.  That's what the "Make It from Your Heart" how-to book is all about.  It's about giving you a little help, a little inspiration, a little nudge to make something beautiful, from YOUR heart.

This useful, versatile and beautiful book, designed from the same inspiration of Jeanette Lynton's books Cherish, Imagine, Magic, Originals and Wishes, is a fabulous guide for creating stunning layouts and cards. 

Yes, I've used a lot of strong adjectives here -- and I mean every one.  I just know you're going to want one for yourself.

Why?  Because it has sketches for 18 layouts and 12 cards to inspire you.  It not only gives you the sketch, the measurements and the cutting guides to create the layout shown, it has gorgeous artwork to inspire you and give you ideas.

Why?  Because it's got great value!  At an affordable price of only $7.95, it's less expensive than most scrapbooking magazines out there.  And even though, throughout the year, each of these layouts will be showcased in the Workshops on the Go.  So you could get these layout sketches without buying this book.  But it would cost you almost $450.  That makes $7.95 sound like a great deal.

Why?  Because while we all like to think we have great creativity and can come up with designs on our own, we all need a little help now and then.  All you have to do is add the love that comes with making something from your heart.

Thursday, August 16, 2012
All Close to my Heart papers come with a little something extra that you can add you to your artwork:  a patterned zip strip on the top of the paper.  Trim it off and use it in so many different ways.

Here is one card where I used the zip strip as a border.  It adds a punch of colour and creates a great pattern for the card.

Thanks Haley Dyer, for the inspiration to use generational stamping with the bike!

And here's one that I used in a striped card and pleated it like a ribbon and anchored it with some bling.  I love how it turned out.

So the next time you're using your CTMH papers, don't forget to add a little ZIP to your creations.

Close to my Heart

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If you are inspired and would like to scraplift any of my work for your PERSONAL use, go ahead. We can all learn from each other. However, if you post somewhere, please give credit where it is due. Please DO NOT use or copy my ideas for contests, publication or selling purposes. All images are protected under Canadian Copyright.

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