Friday, 25 March 2011

Heart 2 Heart Challenge

My first Heart 2 Heart challenge! I'm a little nervous...

Now here is a card I love! This one blows the last ones I did out of the water. Thanks to my friend Shannon for being about to "pop" soon, I needed to make this card for her anyway (Shannon, if you're reading this stop right now and go away - you can see it later!) This card came easily and I don't really want to give it away...but it's alright as I know it's going to a good home and I could make another.

This card is a perfect example of the great benefit of CTMH's acrylic see-through stamps. Believe it or not, I realized I don't have one stamp with the word 'baby' on it. So I ended up using letters here and there from words on another set. This required a fair amount of being able to see which letter I was inking where, without adding unwanted extras. Don't you just love this cute little lion!? (Sorry Shannon, no giraffe).

All products CTMH unless otherwise noted.
Paper: Topstitch
Stamps: Life's A Jungle, Dainty Thoughts
Ink: Garnet
Ribbon from somewhere that I don't remember. If you read my previous post, you will realize I must have a lot of ribbon stashed up and you are correct!

To Wow or Not to Wow?

Well, I feel like I've been in a bit of a slump lately. Card production has been fine but there is something about these cards that just doesn't feel quite right... They just seem to be missing that WOW factor. This first one has been in my head for a long time and I've actually made it a couple of times. It just doesn't have the sparkle or fantasy element that it does in my imagination.

All products are CTMH unless otherwise noted.
Paper: Lucky
Stamps: Lucky Workshop, Shining Star, Enjoy Life
Ink: Denim
Ribbon from who the heck knows where as I've had it stashed away forever. :)

These next ones are the ones we did at my most recent gathering. There were some fun techniques and I had such a good time doing them! Again though, missing that wow factor for me...
I totally love the Shining Star stamp set as well as that little curlycue from Enjoy Life. I wanted to show the difference of changing just one colour can do to make a different look. At first I thought the blue one looked too "American" (no offense to any americans of course) but surprisingly enough, that's the one everyone chose to do!

All products are CTMH unless otherwise noted.
Paper: Lucky
Stamps: Shining Star, Enjoy Life, Rustic Alphabet
Ink: Smoothie, Denim, Olive
Ribbon again from who knows where as I've had both for a looong time.
CTMH's Glitz Glitter Gel to jazz up my stars.

This last one was the funnest to do. A little tricky for some to get the flower into a 3-D shape but I love how the stamp enables that to happen.

All products CTMH unless otherwise noted.
Paper: Mayberry
Stamps: Spring Up
Ink: Smoothie, Olive

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Hope for Japan

Jeanette Lynnton (CEO of Close To My Heart) and Close To My Heart are offering a deal full of heart! The stamp set shown below will soon be available with 100% of the profits being donated for relief efforts in Japan. Details taken from Jeanette's blog are shown below.

We've all been reeling with the images of tragedy and devastation in Japan. If you're looking for an easy, real, practical way to help relief efforts, then I invite you to contact your Close To My Heart Consultant!

Typically, our A-sized sets retail for $7.95/$8.95 CAN, but the "Hope for Japan" set will be available through April 30 for just $5 -- and Close To My Heart will be donating 100% of the profits to the American Red Cross to benefit relief efforts in Japan.

If we all do a little, together we can do a lot. Let's show our support and together, provide real HOPE for Japan!

Please contact me via phone, email or this blog if you wish to place an order for this stamp set. I will be placing an order in the next 2 weeks and HOPE you will help us to help those in Japan.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

More Than Cards

I wanted everyone to know that I do more than just making cards. When I became a Close To My Heart consultant I decided I better get my scrapbook a little more finished. I had a number of layouts already finished but they were lacking in pictures. Thank goodness for kids!! In adding my pictures, I again realized how awesome this hobby of mine is! I can't stop taking pictures now and keep imagining new layouts in my head to put them in. Here is one of the ones I recently finished.

I created this using all CTMH products. Love the layout (design not actually by me). Love the embellishments. Love it! One can never have enough love. Sorry about the flash from my camera.

If you're interested in keeping your memories safe, creative and beautiful like this one, give me a shout. I can do a workshop for you and some friends upon request. I am always excited to share my passion with others.

Monday, 14 March 2011

My First Love - Books


Anyone that knows me, knows this. I have a collection of 410 books (yes, I just counted them) not including my two shelves of nursing textbooks or my children's collection. I have not read all of the books on my shelves but something I have learned over the years is that there is a certain time and place for each book. For example, it took me three years and two previous attempts before I finally read Wuthering Heights front to back. Classics are a slow boil for me. Once I get into them I generally find them as enjoyable as most. Now you see, I am already begining to ramble. Back to business.

I am very particular about my books. I like them to be in good condition. A few examples of this are as follows:
1)  I try not to break the spine of the book. This means I only open it as far as I have to. I ONLY leave my book open face-down if it is for a very short period of time and sometimes not even then. People who fold their books all the way back in a magazine-type fashion make me sick.
2)  I NEVER write in my books. The closest I will ever come to doing this is to put my name in the front for lending purposes.
3)  I NEVER fold the corners. Doing so would probably hurt me more than the book. I usually just remember which page I am on but I am also known to use a bookmark on occassion. Any random slip of paper will do.
4)  I do eat and drink while reading but I am very cautious about not spilling.
5)  I do take my books in the bath with me but I am very careful to dry off my hands before touching them or I avoid getting my hands wet in the first place.

Please note, the above mentioned items four and five are off limits for those borrowing my books! Needless to say, as much as I enjoy sharing my passion for reading and books with anyone, I don't have too many borrowers. Those who have had the experience have shown me the stress it causes them by bringing the books back in a plastic bag. A great idea! :)

Ideally, I would borrow books from the library to read before deciding if they are buy-worthy so that they will each look pristine in their special place on my shelf, and because I really don't see the point of having a book I did not enjoy on my shelf. That being said, the library has time and selection constraints that I choose not to be hindered by. Luckily, there are not too many books I don't enjoy.

I have one book that I have read 10 times. It is called, A Handful of Time by Kit Pearson. I remember the day I got it - my 10th birthday from a friend. I never tire of this book and I really don't have a particular reason why. I used to open it to a random page if I couldn't sleep or woke up to a nightmare. This book looks very "well-read" and it's the only one I don't mind looking this way because I know it is from my personal extensive use of it only.

The thing I love about reading is the escape. I love entering another time, another place, another world. It is a way of leaving my life for a time and entering that of another. There is only so much one can experience in a lifetime and reading the stories of others assists in creating a virtual reality, if you will, of those things that I will not be experiencing myself. Reading is a comfort to me. There is not a whole lot out there for me better than a book that was so engaging and satisfying that I couldn't put it down and was incredibly disappointed when it was over.

And now, I have some reading to do!

Monday, 7 March 2011

My Views of Our Canadian Healthcare System

I realized I have a lot to say about certain things and this blog could be the perfect outlet! So here it is: a condensed version of a paper I had to write in nursing school on a subject I am rather passionate about. Happy reading and I would love to hear your comments!
           It is common knowledge that there are many forms of health practices in the world today. While western medicine is primarily dominant in Canada and the United States, many complementary and alternative therapies exist to aid in the healing and health promotion process.
Multiple sources* conclude that the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is greatly on the rise and is often utilized to treat a chronic medical condition. However, these practices are not conventional and the public is therefore forced to seek out information on such practices and finance them independently of government support. My contention is that if significant evidence is found to support the use of CAM, should it not then be considered a valuable form of health care and, furthermore, worthy of free public access, equal to that provided of western therapies? How can Canada truly boast a free health care system if it merely offers a one-way path to health? Seeing as multiple factors contribute to illness, it only makes sense that multiple interventions can work together to promote healing.
As a “rescue” medicine, the western approach to health is marvelous in that it is highly effective in emergencies, traumatic injuries, bacterial infections, and some exceedingly complicated surgeries, as well as for performing diagnostic testing and quickly relieving symptoms. Participants from a study done in New Zealand (2008) concurred with such benefits but also concluded that there were limitations to western therapy in that it provided a degree of relief but did not contribute to the improvement of overall health.
Conventional medicine is preoccupied with parts and symptoms and not with whole working systems of matter, energy, thoughts and feelings. It provides poorly for long-term systemic or chronic illnesses such as arthritis, heart disease, and hypertension. Another study showed that the number one reason for health professionals referring patients to CAM was due to patient request, and secondly, because of the ineffectiveness of conventional treatment. Change is therefore crucial to stop the unnecessary distress and create access to non-conventional therapies that have proven effective for people with chronic illnesses and degenerative diseases.
There are many research studies available showing evidence of the effectiveness of CAM. For those of you who are unaware, research studies have ethical guidelines that prevent the withholding of known beneficial treatments. In simpler terms, this essentially means that if there is a known treatment available, it is unethical to provide some participants with the treatment and some without. My point is that if it is not ethical to deny the provision of healing within a study, is it not also unethical to withhold alternative avenues of health care that are known to be advantageous? I am not so bold to suggest that CAM is being forcefully withheld, only identifying that there is limited availability of access to avenues of proven healing.
To explain the relevance of this to me as a nurse, one must know that nurses have long alleged that healing and caring must be approached in a holistic manner that includes the equally important aspects of biological, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and environmental health and illness. I believe nurses have the ability to be not only care takers but also healers for the sick and strong advocates for health promotion. Nurses are compelled to be loyal to patient needs above all else. This articulates to me that the wellbeing and choices of patients must be adhered to and any opportunity to provide an avenue for optimal health should be accessible in order to support such beliefs. Furthermore, with nursing being one of the largest occupations in health care, the potential for advocacy and support within the realms of integrating CAM and emphasizing the many dimensions of health is enormous.
The issue being discussed here is not one that is easily solved. It is a major, complex change that requires the collaboration of all members of health care in Canada, including the people that utilize that care. At this point in time there are only small organizations dedicated to the use and integration of CAM such as the Victoria Community Health Co-operative. This group is a community founded, owned and governed health care organization that offers integrative medicine education and services based on the needs of members. This is a prime example of the interest and lengths that the public will go to obtain their personal health needs. One might argue that there is no need for the entire health system to change if such services are already being accessed by the public. Unfortunately though, Statistics Canada shows that the majority of people accessing these services are those of higher income or education, or those with chronic conditions. One could then deduce that this proves the increased likelihood that one would take advantage of such benefits were the option available to them through means of decreased financial obligation, or an increased awareness and education of the benefits of CAM.
With an increased understanding and accessibility to CAM, I believe a greater number of people would choose the generally less invasive alternative therapies before heading to the nearest medical clinic where one will likely be swiftly prescribed a medication and sent on his or her way. Health promotion could truly be a thing of the present if people are able to access those modalities that support it. I certainly consider it a requirement that such complementary and alternative therapies become a part of modern mainstream medicine in order to increase and support the values of each individual’s health needs.

*All sources available upon request!

To see the extended, fully referenced format of this work, please notify me and I will email you a copy.


So the birthday card was a hit! I think it got the love across...
Now on to another piece of this stamp set 'Mayberry.' I admit I didn't really like this set at first. I didn't know what to do with it. But once I got started it became so versatile that I find myself using it so much! Here are a couple examples of what variety you can get out of one stamp set - keep in mind that the last card was from the same set as well.
I love the new Badge Buttons that you can stamp onto, creating the flower embellishment. I also used the new Colour-Ready Craft Borders to separate the patterened paper and solid cardstock (Mayberry paper pack). You'll just have to come to one of my classes if you want to know how I got the two different colours on my pear.
Here is the next variation of the same stamps.

I just love this one! The last card was more fun and this one more elegant. It didn't take very long to make at all and it could be used for so many occasions.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


It's Bailey's eighth birthday tomorrow and I wanted to make her a special card so she knows how much she is loved. This is what I came up with!

Using the beautiful Mayberry stamp set and patterned paper for this card, I cut out this scallop shape myself (can't wait to get the new scallop punch from CTMH). I inked all my edges as usual, using the Olive and Smoothie inks and I popped up both the apple on the right and the lettering to make it stand out a bit more. I used Glitz Glitter Gel on the center of each diamond of the patterned paper to give it a little extra sparkle. This card could be used for a birthday, Valentine's day, or just to tell someone they are special. We'll see if it passes the test tomorrow!  

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

My First "Gathering" Card Night

Last Saturday was my first night teaching five people to make one of my cards. I was nervous of course but I already had all the materials organized and ready. Besides wishing I had a bigger table, everyone did a beautiful job and I'm very proud of them. They learned a lot of techniques such as first and second generation stamping, inking, ripping, distressing, and adding embellishments. I think it went well and we even had time to do a mini card at the end. I hope everyone went home happy and satisfied. Here is the card we made:
We used the new Lucky patterned paper as well as the stamp sets from the Lucky workshop kit and Enjoy Life. We all have men in our life (for good or bad hehe) and I thought it would be nice to show a card that isn't covered in pink and flowers, making it more versatile for everyone. Enjoy!

My Hobby, My Business

Given that I am head over heels in love with my hobby right now and I'm not getting much "real" work, I decided to become a consultant for Close To My Heart scrapbook products. In this way, I can get friends and people with a shared interest of being creative and having a good time together for some fun AND I get to show off my love for the product and my creations. I can share my passion with others and show them how easy it is to do themselves. Thus far I am thoroughly enjoying myself! Here are a few of my creations:
There can never be enough birthday cards in this world and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the stamp set I used to make the bug and his little flying trails, called A Little Buzz. Unfortunately the paper I used is no longer available but not to worry for my next masterpiece using the same stamp is next!
"Faster. Simpler. Easier." is the Close To My Heart motto and this card is no exception. With the beautiful new Mayberry patterened paper, this card didn't take long to do at all once the bugs were carefully cut out. This card would suit all different occassions and people young or old. :)