Spring Summer 2011 Catalogue Sneak Peeks!

These are the eight, count 'em 8!, paper packs released in the Spring Summer 2011 Close to My Heart Catalogue! So Excited!!! Let me introduce you: BLISS




My Favourite CTMH product, hands down!

Hello One and All! Well, courtesy of Facebook, I'm entering another competition, albeit a smaller one. I need to blog about my favourite CTMH product. I like a lot of their products, but at the end of the day, it always comes back to the basics, specifically, the papers. Give me some pretty papers, a glue stick and a pair of scissors (though I'd miss my trimmer!) and I can create! Papers like this:

Tell me that's not beautiful. Go on. I dare you!


Help Me Win!

I've created a video for a Close to My Heart consultant competition and would love it if you took a look! Every hit gives me points towards winning! Thanks for your help!


ABCs of Me

Hi All! It's been a while, but I thought I'd throw this post up so you don't think I disappeared into the void. A little survey about yours truly! A - Age: 32 B - Bed size: Queen, though you wouldn't always know it with Mr. Bony Bum crossing over to MY SIDE! C - Chore you hate: I actually don't hate many chorse, even the yucky ones. I suppose the worst is cleaning the microwave since it's higher up than me and awkward... but even then it's not so bad. D - Dog's name(s): Right, like I want another peeing mess making creature in my life! E - Essential start your day item: breakfast! I usually am at breakfast within 10 minutes of waking up! F - Favorite color: Red! Any shade, though not into pink. G- Gold or Silver: Gold - I'm sensitive to anything not gold. H - Height: 5'3" (Though I usually lie and say 5'4") I - Instruments you play(ed): with some skill: piano, fiddle, guitar with limited skill: trumpet, trombone, french horn, euphonium, tuba, flute, bassoon, percussion with little to no skill: clarinet, saxamaphone, oboe, recorder, ukelele J - Job title: Mistress of the House, Keeper of the Zoo, SAHM, Teacher, Mummy K - Kid(s): 2 - Girl: almost 5, Boy: 3, Girl: 14 months L - Living arrangements: two story house with 3 bedrooms, far too many bathrooms (4!), and a meagerly landscaped yard that's far too hot or shady to enjoy much. M - Mom's name: Gerharda N - Nicknames: Mel - But I HATE being called Mel by any but a few select privileged people (which doesn't include my husband!) O - Overnight hospital stay(s): Mostly for hip and knee surgeries, and two of my deliveries (the other I went home that day by choice) P - Pet Peeve: Stupid people, tardiness, smoking near non smoking areas, people who say "orientate" when they mean "orient", excessive incorrect punctuation, ignorance, I should stop before you think I'm an intolerant jerk... Q - Quote from a movie: "My name is Inigo Montoyez. You killed my father. Prepare to die." R - Right or left handed: right S - Siblings: A younger sister and much younger half brother T - Time you wake up: when ever I hear the melodious cries of one of my lovely darlings, which is any time between 5 and 7 a.m. U- Underwear: nothing exciting. V - Vegetable you dislike: the bitter ones: parsnips, radishes, turnips. W - Ways you run late: when my husband sets the pace or when something is left behind at the house X - X-rays you've had: teeth, hips, collarbone, knee Y - Yummy food you make: homemade pizza, mediterranean vegetable pie, crepes. Z - Zoo favorite: otters when they slide, and monkeys when they swing.


Blog Candy... Go! Go! Go!

Hey everyone! Just a note to say go over to "A LITTLE SCRAPPY CREATION" and enter to win yummy blog candy... no, not the edible kind! Her site is awesome and uses lots of CTMH goodness... Check my links to the left <----- Caio!


New Releases from Close to My Heart!

The New Catalogue is online as of MAY 1!!! But here's a sneak preview of the paper packs coming out...
Moon Doggie
Animal Crackers


When Art Inspires Life

Stuff of Life
So instead of just watching the videos on Youtube, today we finally sat down and did a little life imitating art session, just me and Miriam! What fun! And since she already had seen the video, she kind of had an idea where we were going with the whole project! What do you think? Totally cute, or what? Later we adapted the design and made a similar card using layered flowers. Here's the Miriam and her final product, and the video by our heroine, Kristina Werner!


Stuff of Life
I'm it!

I found this photo in the fourth folder, fourth picture. My boy Finnegan watering our rand new garden last summer. Believe it or now, by the end of the summer you couldn't see the dirt through the plants. My garden makes me happy! (Oh, except the clematis in the back there which I'm pretty sure up and died on us). Aren't the lilies soooo beautiful?! And there is one little plant in there that got to be about 3 feet tall and about 3 feet in diameter too, much to my surprise! There will be some shuffling of plants this spring! Oh, I can't wait for spring!


Reflections on Idiocy: an essay in one part.

Stuff of Life
Am I crazy? No, seriously. Am I? That's what I've been asking myself for the past few weeks as I've realized the immensity of the task before me in my Master's Degree. What kind of an idiot was I to think I could finish a Masters, including a thesis might I add, while raising three children four and under? That's what I've been wondering for the past while.
Needless to say, as evidenced above, the stress might finally be getting to me. You see, it was all fine and dandy before when I was taking courses where the professors said "Here. Read this and respond in 300 words by Friday." That was okay. They told me what to read, how to respond, and gave me a hard timeline to do it in. I'm good at external motivation.
Now I have to 1) figure out what articles to read by deciding if they a) address my topic, b) are quality research, and c) are important enough to include in a literature review, then 2) read the articles and reflect on them in some undefined way to be decided on by your truly, and 3) amass a number of related articles into some sort of coherent written format known as a "Literature Review". The ONLY external motivation i really have is a due date. 9 days from today. Rough draft "just to see what you've got so far" we've been told, but in my mind if it isn't essentially finished I'm going to look like the big turd who bribed someone to let her into grad studies.
And, to complain just a wee bit more, the other people in my course are all full time students. FULL TIME! None of them have small children at home. All of them sleep when they want, eat when they want, study when they want. Okay, I'm not bitter. They were smart. They thought "I should a) get this done before I start having kids or b) wait till the kids are out of the house before I start." But I am a little bit miffed that they have a bit of an advantage. And you know I can't handle being anything but the best, so this is just extra stress, because how can I possibly be better than people who have all day to immerse themselves in their learning.
I know, you're probably thinking "Hey dumb-dumb, if you weren't blogging you'd probably be better off than you are now." Okay. Point taken. I just had to let it all out. I'm off to find another highly engaging topically relevant article with which to woo my readers (all five of them - 3 committee, Jim and my mother.) Wish me luck. Or better yet, "say a little prayer for me."
Over and most definitely out!


On This Day...

Stuff of Life
I took only 3 pictures today because I wanted to mark a momentous occasion and show who you were on this day.
You have no idea of the changes happening in our world today. You have no idea that 50 years ago, the inauguration of an African American President was unfathomable; that 100 years ago it was impossible. So much change in what is really so little time. You will grow up seeing a different world than the world I saw when I was growing up. When I was growing up, the women's rights movement was still fighting for equality of treatment. When I was growing up, the environmentalists were just getting revved up with emphasis on recycling programs and the 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) which are now 5 Rs (recover and the last I forget). When I was growing up I knew of the U.S.S.R and the iron curtain. When I was growing up, my world was different than the world is today.
Your world will be the same in some ways. There will still be groups fighting for fair treatment. The environment will still be a concern. There will be causes and movements. But today, on this day, your world changed. Your future changed. Because on this day your future changed to embrace a history that now includes diversity at the highest levels of government. I don't know if this government will be better than the last, if it will be very different at all. But on this day I felt hope and joy and pride in the American people, even though I am proudly Canadian. Listening to Barack Obama's speech, my eyes welled with tears of emotion for the great accomplishment this day represents.
Today is a new day sweeties.
Barack Obama's Inauguration Address
My fellow citizens,
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.
Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them— that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence— the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive ... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.