Katie Colla: Some Thoughts on Giving

Katie Colla was the recipient of the Spirit of Close To My Heart award this year at Australasia Convention.
Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

I am humbled to have been asked to contribute to this month’s blog post, with a piece about the act of giving.

I have pondered over what to write for weeks, as I struggled to put into words what I’d like to think were acts of kindness that most people would undertake daily.

I really am no different from any other mum, wife, or daughter. I lead a busy life with three young children, I have my own Close To My Heart business, I work as the Community Liaison Officer at our school, and I’m employed casually as an Integration Aide. But all this doesn’t mean there isn’t time for giving back or helping others!

For me, helping others comes in many forms. It might be helping with major fundraisers for community groups, a special family friend, or Operation Smile. It might be dropping off a home-cooked meal for those who might need a break from hardship or just a busy time in their life. It might be a quick little card popped into a letterbox to brighten someone’s day or just a smile and friendly face as you go on your way.

We are all leading busy lives as we cram more and more into each day, but what I would really like to express is that helping others doesn’t have to take weeks to plan or cost you your life savings. Everyday kindness to all is so important. So hold that door open for the next person, smile at the people you pass in the shopping centre, practice patience and have grace in your everyday encounters. You’ll be as blessed by the feeling it leaves you as will the people you share these moments with.

When I joined Close To My Heart and learnt of the company’s connection with Operation Smile, I immediately felt eager to support the cause. Growing up, I had crooked teeth and a huge overbite and felt self-conscious about my smile. But unlike many, I was fortunate to have great dental care that Mum and Dad worked hard for, and I was grateful for it.

My experience was nothing in comparison to how the children and families that Operation Smile works with must feel after receiving their life-changing surgeries. These surgeries are not just cosmetic but are essential to the child’s survival and nutrition.

I am so proud that I have been able to convey this to my customers who purchase our exclusive stamps and regularly round up their orders so that they can contribute to Operation Smile and help make a difference.

In May this year, my team and I held a 12-hour “MAYKE-a-SMILE WORKSHOP” where we auctioned items we had crafted by hand and held a raffle. We also included a balloon pop activity in which someone could buy a numbered balloon for $15 and receive a prize corresponding to that number. We provided dinner, and everyone enjoyed a fabulous day, knowing that we were working towards something much more than just completing our pages and cards. Together we all made a difference, raising enough money for two life-changing operations that day alone.Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

Sometimes we have a bigger cause, and we can’t muster up the time, energy, or ideas to do it alone. Don’t let that deter you. Gather some like-minded, passionate friends and make a difference together.

A great example of this was the time my beautiful mum rang me, distressed that her work colleague was suffering with terminal cancer while trying to raise three children on her own. Together with a small team of ladies, I helped Mum coordinate a wonderful Ladies Night, where we raised $8,000. This wonderful outcome would never have been possible without a group of empowered women working to change another’s circumstances.Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #service

Be inspired to give back to you community— read this blog post by Katie Colla! #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #givingback #serviceSo as we all enjoy what many see as the giving time of the year, Christmas, I ask you to consider how you can give something throughout the year. Give a smile, give a random card, give yourself to a cause and help move a mountain. Give thought and actions to those who need compassion and help bring light to the world.

Much love to all,

Katie

If you would like to know more about Operation Smile , Close To My Heart’s involvement with Operation Smile, or how to donate,  please contact your Close To My Heart Consultant today.

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Gigantic Giveaway Winners

Wow! We are still absolutely amazed with how many comments we received on our Gigantic Giveaway post! And we’re so excited to announce the huge list of winners for this contest. Let’s do this!

Here are the 100 winners who will receive a package of side load Memory Protectors™:

  1. Michelle Loncar (posted on Aug. 31 at 10:05 am)
  2. Terrie Shortsleeve (posted on Aug. 31 at 10:07 am)
  3. Darcel Kirvan (posted on Aug. 31 at 10:16 am)
  4. Gretchen Boardman (posted on Aug. 31 at 10:17 am)
  5. Susan Williams (posted on Aug. 31 at 10:50 am)
  6. Chris Robertson (posted on Aug. 31 at 10:59 am)
  7. Danielle Edwards (posted on Aug. 31 at 11:26 am)
  8. Casandra B. (posted on Aug. 31 at 11:29 am)
  9. Jaime Llewellyn (posted on Aug. 31 at 12:12 pm)
  10. Nancy Stephan (posted on Aug. 31 at 12:27 pm)
  11. Sherri Derksen (posted on Aug. 31 at 12:54 pm)
  12. Judy (posted on Aug. 31 at 12:56 pm)
  13. Cassidy (posted on Aug. 31 at 1:36 pm)
  14. Tamara Sandwisch (posted on Aug. 31 at 1:49 pm)
  15. Esther Hollins (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:09 pm)
  16. Sherry Hawa (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:11 pm)
  17. Shana Sanregret (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:24 pm)
  18. Shelli West (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:26 pm)
  19. Janet Swann (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:28 pm)
  20. Lalia Harris (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:28 pm)
  21. Shelby Thistlewhite (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:32 pm)
  22. Beryl (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:50 pm)
  23. Vale (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:55 pm)
  24. Linda West (posted on Aug. 31 at 3:01 pm)
  25. Suzette Conrad (posted on Aug. 31 at 3:03 pm)
  26. Roxie Griffith (posted on Aug. 31 at 3:06 pm)
  27. Sherry Cook (posted on Aug. 31 at 3:06 pm)
  28. Angie Snyder (posted on Aug. 31 at 3:09 pm)
  29. Krista Bell (posted on Aug. 31 at 3:28 pm)
  30. Terry Holland (posted on Aug. 31 at 3:28 pm)
  31. Sassysocks (posted on Aug. 31 at 4:05 pm)
  32. Aleasha Coburn (posted on Aug. 31 at 4:19 pm)
  33. Elizabeth Heid (posted on Aug. 31 at 4:37 pm)
  34. rford097 (posted on Aug. 31 at 4:48 pm)
  35. Joy B (posted on Aug. 31 at 5:05 pm)
  36. Doris Whidden (posted on Aug. 31 at 5:19 pm)
  37. Dianne Caffet (posted on Aug. 31 at 5:25 pm)
  38. Lesley Gillman (posted on Aug. 31 at 5:47 pm)
  39. Stacy Stewart (posted on Aug. 31 at 5:59 pm)
  40. Linda Hendricksen (posted on Aug. 31 at 6:20 pm)
  41. Jill (posted on Aug. 31 at 6:39 pm)
  42. Jdtophd (posted on Aug. 31 at 7:18 pm)
  43. Shannonbone (posted on Aug. 31 at 7:18 pm)
  44. Jada (posted on Aug. 31 at 7:19 pm)
  45. Jennifer Kaye Wilson (posted on Aug. 31 at 7:24 pm)
  46. Jojo1979255 (posted on Aug. 31 at 8:01 pm)
  47. Virginia Oakford (posted on Aug. 31 at 8:37 pm)
  48. papercraftsbyali (posted on Aug. 31 at 8:53 pm)
  49. Luisa (posted on Aug. 31 at 8:56 pm)
  50. Tarina Holloway (posted on Aug. 31 at 9:35 pm)
  51. Rowena Smith (posted on Aug. 31 at 9:39 pm)
  52. Sarah Lambson (posted on Aug. 31 at 9:43 pm)
  53. Aileen Rutherford (posted on Aug. 31 at 9:47 pm)
  54. Karen Gerlach (posted on Aug. 31 at 11:05 pm)
  55. Kathy davis (posted on Aug. 31 at 11:15 pm)
  56. Jennifer Alderman (posted on Aug. 31 at 11:28 pm)
  57. crazyaboutcricut (posted on Aug. 31 at 11:29 pm)
  58. maureenannie (posted on Aug. 31 at 11:34 pm)
  59. Sandy Bundy (posted on Aug. 31 at 11:57 pm)
  60. colettestevens (posted on Sept. 1 at 12:47 am)
  61. Meg Byass (posted on Sept. 1 at 1:50 am)
  62. Carole Pike (posted on Sept. 1 at 2:24 am)
  63. Vicki (posted on Sept. 1 at 2:58 am)
  64. Cathy Redman (posted on Sept. 1 at 4:34 am)
  65. Joanne Craig (posted on Sept. 1 at 4:58 am)
  66. georgescreations (posted on Sept. 1 at 5:38 am)
  67. Sarah Boulton (posted on Sept. 1 at 5:44 am)
  68. Ruth (posted on Sept. 1 at 6:16 am)
  69. Livette Marshall (posted on Sept. 1 at 8:29 am)
  70. Jeannett Oswald (posted on Sept. 1 at 9:36 am)
  71. Tammy Stevenson (posted on Sept. 1 at 1:37 pm)
  72. Anna Marie Nelson (posted on Sept. 1 at 2:15 pm)
  73. Cindy Hillman (posted on Sept. 1 at 2:53 pm)
  74. Meredith Robbins (posted on Sept. 1 at 4:21 pm)
  75. Lauri rajnoha (posted on Sept. 1 at 4:29 pm)
  76. Elaine Clark (posted on Sept. 1 at 4:59 pm)
  77. Jennifer Sherrod (posted on Sept. 1 at 5:31 pm)
  78. Lisa Merrill (posted on Sept. 1 at 6:55 pm)
  79. Susan Mackay (posted on Sept. 1 at 7:43 pm)
  80. Nancy (posted on Sept. 1 at 7:46 pm)
  81. Shelly Holt (posted on Sept. 1 at 8:08 pm)
  82. bhpclark (posted on Sept. 1 at 8:15 pm)
  83. Yvonne Weaven (posted on Sept. 2 at 1:14 am)
  84. Heather Moyle (posted on Sept. 2 at 2:00 am)
  85. Caroline Balfe (posted on Sept. 2 at 6:58 am)
  86. Sharon m (posted on Sept. 2 at 8:19 am)
  87. Katrina De Villiers (posted on Sept. 2 at 8:22 am)
  88. Jessica Bethje (posted on Sept. 2 at 9:49 am)
  89. Heather Biltcliffe (posted on Sept. 2 at 9:55 am)
  90. Nancy Helmer (posted on Sept. 2 at 10:34 am)
  91. Melissa (posted on Sept. 2 at 5:20 pm)
  92. kzsupreme (posted on Sept. 2 at 5:29 pm)
  93. Cathleen Smith (posted on Sept. 2 at 9:09 pm)
  94. Ann Costa (posted on Sept. 2 at 10:23 pm)
  95. Anne Boss (posted on Sept. 3 at 3:34 am)
  96. Geraldine Johnstone (posted on Sept. 3 at 7:28 am)
  97. Valerie Greek (posted on Sept. 3 at 2:52 pm)
  98. Julie Leybourne (posted on Sept. 3 at 9:59 pm)
  99. Michelle (posted on Sept. 4 at 5:51 am)
  100. Lorraine Macko (posted on Sept. 4 at 10:25 am)

And here are the 10 grand prize winners who will be receiving 4 packs of Memory Protectors AND the My Legacy™ album of their choice:

Drumroll please!

  1. Amy Gerlich (posted on Aug. 31 at 1:13 pm)
  2. Ann (posted on Aug. 31 at 2:40 pm)
  3. Sue Emerton (posted on Aug. 31 at 4:12 pm)
  4. Anoesjka Connolly (posted on Aug. 31 at 4:38 pm)
  5. Clare Johnston (posted on Aug. 31 at 8:12pm)
  6. Amber (posted on Sept. 1 at 6:30am)
  7. Danielle Dungan (posted on Sept. 1 at 1:17pm)
  8. Mary Copas (posted on Sept. 1 at 1:49pm)
  9. Teresa Marquis (posted on Sept. 1 at 4:48pm)
  10. Stella Naeger (posted on Sept. 1 at 5:41pm)

Congratulations to all our winners! We know you will love these products as much as we do. 🙂

If you are one of our 100 winners, please email your name and mailing address to ctmhblog@closetomyheart.com. Send the email from the same email address you used to comment, and put “Memory Protectors winner” as your subject.

If you are one of our 10 grand prize winners, please email your name, mailing address, and album of your choice to ctmhblog@closetomyheart.com. Specify Lagoon Chevron, Ruby Floral, Cocoa Damask, Slate Circles, or Black and either the D-ring or post-bound style. Send the email from the same email address you used to comment, and put “Gigantic Giveaway grand prize winner” as your subject.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this contest. Your comments inspired and touched us, and we hope you continue to share your thoughts on our blog in the future.

 

 

 

A Gigantic Giveaway You Won’t Believe!

Here at Close To My Heart, we’re all about celebrating relationships. Today we’re especially excited to announce a gigantic giveaway in honor of a very special relationship. With whom, you ask? Australasia! Close To My Heart has now had a direct sales presence in Australia and New Zealand for just over two years! We simply adore our Australasia Consultants and customers, and we can’t wait to celebrate their contributions to Close To My Heart for many more years to come!

Exactly how happy are we? Happy enough to give away heaps of free products! And by heaps, we mean HEAPS! To celebrate our dear Australasian friends, 100 lucky winners will receive a package of side load Memory Protectors™! Yes, 100! And there’s more! 10 grand prize winners will receive a My Legacy™ album of their choice and 4 packs of Memory Protectors™!

Incredible, right? We’re thrilled to give away our wonderful Memory Protectors™ and My Legacy™ albums because we’re passionate about these products— these are the tools we trust to safely and beautifully preserve our most cherished memories. Because we understand that everyone preserves their memories in a different way, we offer both D-Ring and Post Bound Albums, along with a wide variety of Memory Protectors™, to meet each and every scrapbooker’s needs.

How do you enter to win these amazing products? Simply leave a comment in response to the question below. Everyone is welcome to enter, even if this is your first time hearing about Close To My Heart! The contest will run from August 31–September 4, after which we’ll randomly select our 110 winners. One comment per person will be counted.

And now for the magical question: If you are a grand prize winner, what memories will you preserve in your brand new My Legacy™ album?

We’ll announce our gigantic list of winners on the blog September 8, so be sure to tune in! And don’t forget—you can follow this blog to receive notifications of new posts via email. Simply enter your email address under “Follow Blog via Email” on the right-hand side of the blog.

Good luck! We can’t wait to read your comments!

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Around the World AGAIN: Monica in Australia and New Zealand

Fitting right in with this month’s travel theme, Close To My Heart CCO Monica Wihongi would like to share some travel adventures of her own after presenting at the Product Premiere Roadshow events in Australia and New Zealand earlier this month:

The timing of my trip to Australasia worked out just perfectly because I was able to fly with my daughter to Hawaii to drop her off at her dorm room for her first semester of college. It was hard to say goodbye, and I already miss her so much!BYU-Hawaii

On my flight from Honolulu, I struck up a conversation with the gentlemen seated next to me. As I talked about my work at Close To My Heart, he mentioned that his sister is an avid scrapbooker. After a bit more conversation and a quick search on Facebook, we discovered that his sister is in fact one of our Close To My Heart Consultants! So of course I had to take a picture with him!IMG_7484

This chance encounter filled me with pride for the great company that I work for and the wonderful people I had come to Australasia to see. I had a full and somewhat daunting schedule ahead of me, but I felt encouraged by our simple conversation, and it helped me see the wonderful progress that Close To My Heart has been making throughout Australasia over the past two years.IMG_7252

My trip began with Product Premiere Roadshow events in Christchurch and Auckland, New Zealand. My husband, Jody, was raised in New Zealand, and I was happy to have him accompany me on these early stops. I am always amazed by the natural beauty of that country but even more so by the beautiful people that live there. Our New Zealand Consultants are an incredible crew, and it was an honor to spend time with them at these events.

These events were our venue for showing off the brand new products we unveiled last month at our North American Convention. There’s so much to be said for seeing products and artwork first-hand, and, even better, getting to create with them! Event attendees at all our stops got to make this beautiful layout using a new paper packet that I absolutely love called Kaleidoscope. This is my example featuring my youngest daughter, Maya.
maya creative insider
From New Zealand, we flew to Perth in Western Australia. Through all my stops, I was accompanied by our incredible Australasia corporate staffers, Australasia Managing Director, Brian O’Callaghan and Events Manager, Meredith Blakemoore. We were also joined by Anna Williamson from Consultant Services for the last few stops. Working alongside these individuals over the course of these events, I was so impressed by how much they care about the Consultants and how much heart they put into everything that they do. They are truly remarkable individuals, and I am grateful to have them as part of our Close To My Heart family.
IMG_8004
From Perth, to Adelaide, to Hobart, Tasmania; then on to Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney—everywhere we went, we were greeted by groups of enthusiastic and joyful Consultants who were incredibly excited for our new products and eager to learn as much as they could. There was such a positive energy at every event that I felt rejuvenated after each one, despite the rigorous travel schedule!

And boy was the schedule rigorous! We put on 8 different events across New Zealand and Australia in less than two weeks! But we still somehow managed to squeeze in some site-seeing opportunities. I just felt that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy the rare beauty of this incredible part of the world. So what if I missed out on a few precious opportunities to take naps—it was so worth it!

And then, before I knew it, the Product Premiere Roadshow was all over and I was flying back home. I was exhausted, but invigorated at the same time. I just have to say this: I am proud of how strong Close To My Heart has become in Australasia, I am proud of the people that we have working with us, and I am proud of the difference we have been able to make in the lives of so many people in this part of the world. I look forward to going back for our Australasia Convention, which is only a month and a half away! It is going to be a wonderful occasion for us to celebrate the two years we’ve had together so far and the many years that lie ahead of us.IMG_7914

In honor of our first two years in Australasia, we actually have something special lined up for next week—I don’t want to give it away, but I promise you’ll want to be sure to check the blog early next week for a new contest open to all of our readers.

Thank you to everyone who helps to make the Close To My Heart family the amazing community that it is!

With love,

Monica

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Here’s to 30!

The fact that I get to do what I love for a living—and have been able to do it for the past 30 years—is one of the greatest blessings in my life.

It all started when I was a young mother, trying to support my family. Getting a “traditional job” meant being outside my home all day, and I was reluctant to leave my small children alone. I was looking for a company where I could be home, be creative, interact with other women, and also earn a living. Such a company didn’t exist . . . so I decided to create one. In the beginning stages, I entertained dreams of where this company could go, but there were many nights when I didn’t know if those dreams would ever come true. But, oh, how they did!

As 2014 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on not only the many blessings of these past 30 years, but also the many exciting Close To My Heart events and innovations that have come to pass during this one year alone.

We held two Conventions this year in order to meet the needs of our ever-expanding Consultant base. I had the pleasure of overseeing and attending our first Australasia Convention, where Consultants from far and wide came to experience their very own Artistic Adventure. And what an adventure it was! Opening the doors in Australasia takes me back to the year we expanded from the United States to Canada. I’ve seen incredible expansion within this company and we’re not done yet! Where will the next 30 years take us?

This year has also been a big one for change at Close To My Heart. We launched a new idea book program, starting with Annual Inspirations and rounding out with Seasonal Expressions. The look and feel of these books is trendy, colorful, and full of life. I hope you enjoy their beautiful artistry. It’s exciting to look back at years of similar publications—idea books, catalogs, how-to books, and many others—and see how they’ve morphed; both trends and technology advancements have practically given our publications complete makeovers! The idea books I hold in my hands today have come a long way from the hand-drawn and hand-pasted stamp designs I drew at my kitchen table 30 years ago.

But over the past 30 years my ability to communicate with the world—with you!—has expanded in ways far beyond print. This year I oversaw the creation of this blog, and I thoroughly enjoy having such direct communication with each of you. Thirty years ago I never dreamed I’d be able to address such a large audience in a matter of mere seconds, and in such a lovely way, at that. I truly hope you enjoy the community building and sharing of inspiration that goes on here. I hope you use this blog as a tool to reach out to one another and to lift and inspire your peers. It’s easier (and faster) than ever before to make a difference in someone’s day, even if they are thousands of miles away. Isn’t that incredible?

We’ve also introduced some fabulous products this past year, including the outstanding Cricut® Artfully Sent cartridge, designed completely by Close To My Heart! It is a stunning product, the best cardmaking cartridge on the market. Additionally, we’ve broadened our product selection for crafters of all skill levels and dispositions by introducing great products like Picture My Life™, Cut Above™, Designer Creations, and several others. Looking back on 30 years worth of innovative products, I see the rise and fall of trends, but always, ALWAYS the consistency and love from audiences far and wide for hand stamping.

Stamps are really where my business started, as you know. This year marks not only my thirtieth anniversary of being in the business, but also my tenth anniversary of introducing the My Acrylix® line of clear stamps and blocks to the world. Clear polymer stamps have completely transformed the way people stamp! As the first direct sales company to produce and carry clear stamps and blocks, we have true reason to celebrate a fabulous ten years of success.

It has been a fantastic year, and it ends on a positive note for me personally. I was recently honored to receive the Legacy Award from the Direct Sales Management Association of Utah. Given in honor of my longevity and innovation in this business, this award represents the challenges and achievements I’ve experienced over the past three decades. It honors not only the creativity and passion that have gone into this business, but also the good old-fashioned sacrifice and endurance. I was honored to receive the award, and, in part, credit the wonderful people who have long worked by my side in pursuit of this dream—both those at the corporate office, as well as all of you!

DSMA Award

Indeed, 2014 has been the icing on a beautiful cake that has been in the making for thirty years. Thank you for everything you have contributed to this legacy. Here’s to the many years past and the many more to come!

Jeanette

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