We’re taking our month-long papercrafting celebration to the other corner of the world today—g’day Australia!!
Some of you may be unaware, but the Close To My Heart family is made up of quite a large group of Aussies, and today, 26 January (AEST), is Australia Day in the land down under! While the holiday has evolved over time and is celebrated differently than it has been in the past, and as we reflect on our love for our mates, we want to celebrate all things Australian with—drum roll please—another giveaway!
We’ll start by choosing six lucky winners, each of whom will win one of these Australian themed stamparoonies…
Love You Mum
This Is Paradise
AND, for our grand prize…
ONE lucky winner will win a Hello AU/NZ digital Cricut® collection! Featuring 20 layered images, this collection has shapes, overlays, and names for Australian (and New Zealand) states and territories, as well as a local flower, slogan, and coordinating icon for each. The collection also includes extra images about Australia (and New Zealand), including the country’s flag.
So how do you win? It takes 2 steps. One, make sure you are a subscriber of this blog, promising you’ll pop around. And two, leave a comment below telling us what you love about Straya (that’s Australia for our non Aussie-speak mates) or being a true blue Aussie. It’s that easy! Winners will be chosen randomly by 10 a.m. AEST on 27 January (that’s 4 p.m. MST on January 26). No worries, you do not have to be Australian to win!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The next stop of our global adventure is a country that’s especially close to our hearts. 😉 Welcome to the land down under, mates! We’re in Australia!
Just like Ayers Rock, today’s artistic tradition has very ancient origins. For centuries, Australian Aboriginals have painted their faces and bodies to designate social class and order, as well as to participate in religious rituals. As part of certain spiritual ceremonies, they would smooth an area of soil to create a canvas and draw sacred designs or ancestral beings. After the ceremony, they would wash off their body paint and smooth the soil to preserve the secret, sacred nature of these rituals.
In the 1970s and 1980s, some Aboriginals began taking these ancient designs and painting them on canvas, an art form that came to be know as Aboriginal dot painting—and the inspiration for today’s artwork! Aboriginal dot paintings still contain sacred meanings and designs, but the layering of dots and patterns conceal these sacred designs from untrained eyes. Such layering also causes very cool optical effects where shapes and images seem to move forward and backward on the canvas, creating unique, striking artwork.
These dot paintings became a way for Aboriginals to preserve their culture and perpetuate traditions while creating beautiful artwork for the modern world to see. It essentially became their own unique form of decorative memory keeping as they would preserve important stories and legends for future generations. How could we resist using this artistic tradition as inspiration for today’s artwork?
We are entranced by the intricate details of this page! Our artist expertly mirrored the layered effect of dot painting to create this mesmerizing feast for the eyes. In the background, she created shiny, black dots by stippling Liquid Glass on the black cardstock. On top of those dots she placed circles of colored cardstock. She then accented those dots with Flamingo Dots and Aqua Dots. What an amazing technique!
As you go about your crafting, remember that grandiose things, like this scrapbook page and Aboriginal dot paintings, are accomplished one dot at a time. Keep this in mind when you feel overwhelmed with your layouts or with preserving all your memories. Just take life one dot at a time! You may not feel up to the task of creating a masterpiece today, but you don’t have to! Today, just focus on adding one more dot to the mix.
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!
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!
It’s been a right party at the first-ever Australasia Convention in the land down under! The excitement of Sticky Boy, crafting sessions, and good friends combined with the reveal of the newest idea book has made for a lovely celebration of the joy that comes from being part of the Close To My Heart family.
Here’s a small glimpse into what it’s been like, brought to you by some of our wonderful Close To My Heart employees that are helping out with Convention down in Australia: