Going Soon!

It’s that time of year again, when we are getting all of the feels as we prepare to part ways with our Annual Inspirations catalog on September 1 and make way for a new Holiday Expressions idea book. We are so excited for the launch of the brand new catalog, filled to the brim with amazing new tools and products, and at the same time, we’re getting a little misty-eyed over having to say goodbye to others.

Luckily, we still have a little over two weeks left before our Annual Inspirations, and so many of the products featured inside it, retire. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite goodies for you below. Make sure you and your friends snatch these up before they’re gone for good!

Basic Banners Thin Cuts

Several of the Thin Cuts metal dies in Annual Inspirations are retiring, including the Basic Banners Thin Cuts! This set includes four sizes of the same banner shape, ideal for creating timeless accents for both cardmaking and scrapbooking.

Picture My Life™ Tabbed Journaling Cards

We love these trendy grid journaling cards! Use them to add journaling to any of your scrapbooking projects.

Small Organizer and Coordinating Foam Inserts

This organizer has served us well over the years, but it is time to bid him farewell! The small organizer and foam inserts that nestle inside are great for organizing various tools and small accessories. Be sure to snatch up a few before they’re gone!

19 Helpful Tips for Using Close To My Heart’s Stamp Pads #infographic #stamping #ink #howto #dye #pigment #coloring #stamp

Small Organizer and Daubers Foam Insert. Securely holds 60 sponge daubers. (Daubers not included.)

pigment-inks-foam-insert

Small Organizer and Pigment Inks Foam Insert. Securely holds 40 pigment ink pads. (Pigment inks not included.)

craft-boxes-foam-insert

Small Organizer and Craft Boxes Foam Insert. Securely holds 12 craft boxes. (Craft boxes not included.)

blocks-foam-insert

Small Organizer and My Acrylix® Blocks Foam Insert. (Blocks not included.)

Summer Fun Paper Doll Stamp and Thin Cuts

Going Soon #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhannualinspirations #ctmhideabook #ctmhcatalog #ctmhcatalogue #retiring #goingsoon #ideabook #catalog #catalogue #magazine #scrapbooking #cardmaking #summerfun #summerfunpaperdoll #paperdoll #summer

Girls just wanna have sun…at least this girl does! The Summer Fun Paper Doll stamp set is only available bundled with it’s coordinating Thin Cuts so you can be sure that each dress and accessory will fit just right!

Family Ties Cut Above® Layout Kit

Going Soon #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhannualinspirations #ctmhideabook #ctmhcatalog #ctmhcatalogue #retiring #goingsoon #ideabook #catalog #catalogue #magazine #scrapbooking #familyties #cutabovekit #cutabovelayoutkit #cutabove #cutabove® #family #workofheart

With pre-printed base pages and die-cut paper pieces, the Family Ties Cut Above® layout kit makes it easier than ever to tell your family’s story.

Going Soon #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhannualinspirations #ctmhideabook #ctmhcatalog #ctmhcatalogue #retiring #goingsoon #ideabook #catalog #catalogue #magazine #scrapbooking #familyties #cutabovekit #cutabovelayoutkit #cutabove #cutabove® #family #cherishedmemoriesGoing Soon #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhannualinspirations #ctmhideabook #ctmhcatalog #ctmhcatalogue #retiring #goingsoon #ideabook #catalog #catalogue #magazine #scrapbooking #familyties #cutabovekit #cutabovelayoutkit #cutabove #cutabove® #family #pedigree #familytree

These elegant pages make a beautiful gift, too, in case you’ve got any more weddings or anniversaries coming up. If not, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays! 😉

Everything Bashful!

Going Soon #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhannualinspirations #ctmhideabook #ctmhcatalog #ctmhcatalogue #retiring #goingsoon #ideabook #catalog #catalogue #magazine #scrapbooking #cardmaking #bashful #pink #coloroftheyear #ctmhbashful #colouroftheyear

Our color of the year, Bashful, is retiring on September 1 to make way for a new color of the year. This means that the Bashful cardstock, stamp pad, re-inker, mini pigment pad, glitter paper, and shimmer brush will be gone in just a few days!

Going Soon #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhannualinspirations #ctmhideabook #ctmhcatalog #ctmhcatalogue #retiring #goingsoon #ideabook #catalog #catalogue #magazine #scrapbooking #cardmaking #bashful #pink #coloroftheyear #ctmhbashful #colouroftheyear #shimmerbrush

Get your fill of this soft pink hue while you still can!

Punny Pals

Going Soon #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhannualinspirations #ctmhideabook #ctmhcatalog #ctmhcatalogue #retiring #goingsoon #ideabook #catalog #catalogue #magazine #scrapbooking #cardmaking #punnypals #punnypalsstampset #oeprationsmile

Our Punny Pals have been on a mission this year—to create as many smiles as possible! With every purchase of a My Acrylix® Punny Pals stamp set, $7 (USD) of the proceeds are donated to Operation Smile™, a non-profit organization that provides surgeries to repair cleft left lips and palates in children around the world.
Going Soon #ctmh #closetomyheart #ctmhannualinspirations #ctmhideabook #ctmhcatalog #ctmhcatalogue #retiring #goingsoon #ideabook #catalog #catalogue #magazine #scrapbooking #cardmaking #punnypals #punnypalsstampset #oeprationsmile

These little guys’ mission isn’t over yet! With just a couple of weeks left, let’s make sure we don’t forget about them and give them a proper send off!

These products (and so many others!) are only available through the end of August, while supplies last, so hurry and grab your favorites before they are all gone!


Which products are you going to miss most from Annual Inspirations? Tell us in the comments below!

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Operation Smile™ for the Win!

For the last ten years, Close To My Heart has partnered with Operation Smile™ in an effort to bring children around the world healthy smiles. Operation Smile™ is an international medical charity that provides free surgeries to children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other dental and facial conditions. It is one of the oldest and largest volunteer-based organizations dedicated to improving the health and lives of children worldwide through access to surgical care.

 

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexctmh #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #ctmhoperationsmile

 

Last October, we kicked off the Share a Smile Challenge that promised to reward three Close To My Heart Consultants a spot as a volunteer on an Operation Smile™ medical mission. Unless you are a medical doctor, these non-medical volunteer positions are hard to come by and highly sought after. It is an opportunity of a lifetime, to witness first hand how our contributions and efforts can change the lives of children and the families they come from. The winners of our contest were announced at our North American Convention just this last week. So who are they?

In order to win, two of these amazing people had to submit the highest total in donations between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. The third winner was drawn at random on stage among all Consultants who submitted donations of at least $1,000 in the same time period.

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #medicalmission #charity #donation #charitable #winner #cleftpalette #cleftlip #lifechanging

In first place, with over $14,000 raised and donated to this wonderful cause, is our friend Avis Latimer, from Glenn Dale Maryland! Taking second in our Share a Smile Challenge, with donations adding up to $10,000, is Holly Veselenak from Macomb Michigan. And, our third winner, drawn at random from a set of 25 names (which means that’s at least another $25,000 raised for Operation Smile™!) is Brenda Rose from East Bethel, Minnesota.

Congratulations to these incredible women! And sincere heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in this challenge and does their part to contribute to this never-ending need.

But there is more!

Every year, as many of you know, we also raise funds for Operation Smile™ during our Convention by accepting donations and auctioning off artwork (albums, layouts, home décor, etc.) created and donated by a handful of our most talented Consultants. This year, one of these Consultants had the idea to not only auction off the completed album, but also to provide instructions for recreating the album to anyone who made a $50 donation to Operation Smile. By the end of the day, this initiative of hers had raised an incredible $19,200!! We got on the phone with Operation Smile™ right away and told them of this amazing feat. They responded by opening up another spot for her to attend a mission as a non-medical volunteer!

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #medicalmission #charity #donation #charitable #winner #cleftpalette #cleftlip #lifechanging

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when none other than Jennifer Smith, hailing from Alberta, Canada was brought to the stage and announced as the FOURTH medical mission participant winner! (You go girl!)

 

Operation Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #operationsmilexctmh #operationsmilexclosetomyheart #ctmhoperationsmile

 

We so appreciate everyone’s support of Operation Smile™, and want to continue to give you new reasons to talk to your customers about this donation opportunity. Starting with our new catalog coming August 1, we will be updating our Operation Smile™ stamp set with each idea book (instead of once a year), giving you three new stamp sets per year that will benefit their organization. Additionally, make sure to keep an eye out for a new Operation Smile™ t-shirt that will be available in the coming weeks—just another fun way to support Operation Smile™ so that this important work can continue.

Until then, let’s keep blessing the lives of these children who need it so much! It only takes $240 to perform a single life-saving reconstructive cleft surgery. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a difference.

Share a Smile #closetomyheart #ctmh #operationsmile #charity #nonprofit #shareasmile #stamping #stamps #punnypals

My Acrylix® Punny Pals Stamp Set

You don’t have to be a surgeon or a nurse to help these children; you don’t have to fly around the world or even leave your house! Operation Smile™ takes care of those parts—all they need from us, from you and me, are donations to make it possible. Close To My Heart is committed to helping Operation Smile™ receive these donations. With each donation from you, whether from rounding up your order or by purchasing this year’s special stamp set, My Acrylix® Punny Pals, you are helping them, too. To learn more about how you can help Operation Smile™, talk to your Consultant today or find a Consultant in your area by visiting closetomyheart.com and clicking Find a Consultant under the What We Do tab.

Thank you for helping us make a difference!

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Scrapbooking with Punny Pals

Our Punny Pals are at it again! This time we used the stamp set and their coordinating Thin Cuts in scrapbooking pages and layouts to show you just how versatile these furry friends can be!

Punny Pals in Scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #punnypals #thincuts #watercolor #watercolour #perfectday #perfect #animals #zoo #layout #lion #tiger #monkey #koala #stamp #operationsmile

Taking a trip to the zoo? Add a little artistry to your memory keeping with your own customized paper made from these wild animals! Stamp, color, repeat.

Punny Pals in Scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #punnypals #thincuts #watercolor #watercolour #cat #kitty #dog #doggie #sweet #life #layout #operationsmile

Punny Pals in Scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #punnypals #thincuts #watercolor #watercolour #cat #kitty #dog #doggie #operationsmile

Use the Punny Pals Thin Cuts to create 3-D accents to embellish pet-themed layouts. Cut, stamp, color, and adhere with 3-D foam tape.

Punny Pals in Scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #punnypals #thincuts #watercolor #watercolour #bear #sweet #dream #baby #boy #operationsmile

Punny Pals in Scrapbooking #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #punnypals #thincuts #watercolor #watercolour #operationsmile #waving #bear #stamp #sweet #dreams #baby #boy

What makes these playful Punny Pals so adaptable is that you can really use them anywhere.

Remember, for every Punny Pals stamp set purchased Close To My Heart will donate $7 of the proceeds to Operation Smile™, a non-profit organization that provides safe surgeries to repair cleft lips and palates for children around the world. And, for this month only, we are offering a coordinating set of Thin Cuts and the Share a Smile card kit, featuring our Punny Pals stamp set!

Create a layout. Make a card. Make a difference. Share a smile.


Recipes:

12″ x 12″ Zoo Layout
D1751 My Acrylix® Punny Pals Stamp Set, Z3351 Adventure Fundamental Paper Packet, X7224B Cats & Bats Paper Packet, X7226B Silver & Gold Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3355 Happy Moments Complements, Z3312 Gold Glitter Gems, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z3274 Clear Sparkles, Z3216 White Twine, Z3132 Watercolor Paints, Z3224 Waterbrush—Small Round, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape

12″ x 12″ Sweet Life Page
D1751 My Acrylix® Punny Pals Stamps Set, CC1340 Thin Cuts—Punny Pals, Z3350 Whimsy Fundamental Paper Packet, X7225B Beary Christmas Paper Packet, X7226B Silver & Gold Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5979 Juniper Cardstock, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3355 Happy Moments Complements, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z3274 Clear Sparkles, Z3132 Watercolor Paints, Z3224 Waterbrush—Small Round, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape

12″ x 12″ Dream Page
D1751 My Acrylix® Punny Pals Stamps Set, CC1340 Thin Cuts—Punny Pals, Z3350 Whimsy Fundamental Paper Packet, Z3353 Basics Fundamental Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5979 Juniper Cardstock, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3354 Inspire Complements, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z3274 Clear Sparkles, Z3189 White & Gold Ribbon, Z3132 Watercolor Paints, Z3224 Waterbrush—Small Round, Z1979 Marvy® Uchida® LePen™ Journaling Pen, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape

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15 Ways to Share a Smile

Share a Smile #closetomyheart #ctmh #operationsmile #charity #nonprofit #shareasmile #stamping #stamps #punnypals

Our Punny Pals are fun, spunky, and on a mission—to share as many smiles as possible! To help you continue spreading smiles this month, we came up with a list of small acts of kindness to keep you going. As you perform these, or any acts of service, consider leaving a card from the Share a Smile card kit behind. This small sentiment will be a reminder of the kindness you shared and will continue to bring joy (and smiles!) for days to come.

15-ways-to-share-a-smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #shareasmile #smile #share #operationsmile #punnypals #leaves #fall #raking #family

  1. Rake a neighbor’s yard
  2. Mail a note to a long-distance family member
  3. Pay for the person behind you in a drive-thru.
  4. Take flowers to the nurses’ station at your local hospital
  5. Leave a plate of cookies with a thank-you note for the cleaning staff at your office
  6. Put change in an expired parking meter15-ways-to-share-a-smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #shareasmile #smile #share #operationsmile #punnypals #chrysanthemum #flowers #hospital
  7. Drop off cupcakes to your local fire or police department
  8. Tape cash or a gift card on a random gas pump
  9. Leave positive messages in public places
  10. Offer to return someone’s shopping cart to the store
  11. Hide a favorite book in a public place with a note that it’s free for the taking
  12. Hold the elevator for someone else15-ways-to-share-a-smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #shareasmile #smile #share #operationsmile #punnypals #friends #group
  13. Invite an elderly neighbor to dinner
  14. Leave a generous tip at a restaurant
  15. Put a Share a Smile card in the mailbox for your mail carrier

Isn’t it amazing how little things can brighten our day? A compliment, a thank you, any small gesture of gratitude or compassion can spread joy. Sharing a smile with friends, neighbors, and even strangers is uplifting. Everyone feels good!

At Close To My Heart, we are celebrating Operation Smile™ and the non-profit work they do to help people everywhere have beautiful healthy smiles through safe cleft lip and palate surgeries. With every purchase of the Punny Pals stamp set, Close To My Heart donates $7 USD to this wonderful organization. You, too, can help change someone’s life and at the same time create cute and delightful cards to spread kindness to your family, friends, and community.

And don’t forget—the Share a Smile card kit and Punny Pals Thin Cuts are only available through the end of the month!

We’d love to hear how you are sharing smiles with our Punny Pals! Tell us what you’ve been up to in the comments below.

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Share a Smile

What would you do if you had the power to change someone’s life by simply sharing a smile?

Born with a cleft lip or palate, there are billions of people worldwide who suffer from the inability to simply smile due to a lack of access to any surgical care. Every three minutes another child is born with this condition, resulting in malnourishment, speech impediments, and social stigma.

For nearly a decade, Close To My Heart has partnered with Operation Smile™, a non-profit organization that provides safe surgeries repairing cleft lips and palates in children around the world. In an effort to collect funds for this charitable group, we annually dedicate the proceeds of one of our stamp sets to their efforts. This year is no different.

With the purchase of every Punny Pals stamp set, Close To My Heart is donating $7 USD of the proceeds to Operation Smile. And, for this month only, you can get a coordinating set of Thin Cuts for the delightful animal shapes.

We’ve also put together the Share a Smile Card Kit, also available this month only, that includes the Thin Cuts along with card bases, envelopes, paper pieces, and instructions that you can use to create these endearing cards.

Operation Smile™ T-Shirts

In addition to the Punny Pals stamp set, coordinating thin cuts, and Share a Smile card kit, we have t-shirts available all year round whose proceeds also go toward Operation Smile.

And, if you place an order with us you have the option to round your order up to the nearest dollar, giving the extra as a donation to Operation Smile. During October, your round-up donation will go even further, because Close To My Heart will match all round-up donations, up to $10,000 USD!

We are so grateful to our generous Consultants for all of their efforts and continued support for this great cause. At this year’s convention alone, they pulled together over $50,000 in donations to make a difference in the lives of children they will never meet.

Share a Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #smile #charity #nonprofit #shareasmile

With your help, we can continue to remove financial, geographic, and cultural barriers that are impeding access to safe and well-timed surgeries. Purchase these items, encourage others to do so, or simply get on our site and make a straight donation to Operation Smile.

Share a Smile #ctmh #closetomyheart #shareasmile #operationsmile #charity #nonprofit

We are on a mission to change the lives of as many children as possible by restoring something that no child should be without—their smile.

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From Monica: Sharing Smiles

It’s been almost a year since I went to Chiapas, Mexico with Operation Smile™, but it has been on my mind a great deal this month. As you are most likely aware, this month we are promoting a special stamp set called My Acrylix® Share the Love that is only available during the month of February. For each Share the Love stamp set sold, we are donating $7 USD of the proceeds to Operation Smile to help with their noble cause. Take a look at this adorable scrapbook page that our art studio made using the Share the Love stamp set along with a few photos from my mission trip and papers from our Charlotte paper packet:Monica shares her thoughts about her Operation Smile mission in Mexico. #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhcharlotte #sharethelove

Looking at those photos takes me right back to that little town, and to the precious children I got to see and spend time with there. I was only there for a few days, but my time in Chiapas really made a lasting impression on me, and this page is a beautiful way of preserving those memories.

I recently shared a little bit more about my experience on the Operation Smile mission in a video, which you can watch right here:

We have been talking a lot about the good that Operation Smile achieves in the world: A smile is a priceless gift, and yet for only $240 USD, Operation Smile can provide that gift for a child in need. I am so grateful that so many of you have joined us in playing a part in this awesome mission. Thank you!

To learn more about how you can help Operation Smile, talk to your Consultant today or find a Consultant by visiting closetomyheart.com and clicking on “Find a Consultant” in the top right corner of the page.

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Sharing the Love and Sharing Inspiration: Ideas for Helping Operation Smile

Today, we’ve got an extra special post. We’ve asked three Consultants who have been successful in raising money for Operation Smile™ to share a little bit about how they do it. We know that each of you can make a difference (you already do more than you think!), and we want these three incredible women to help you know that you can do it! Holly Veselenak, Kimberly Deines, and Kelly Hammonds have been kind enough to share these thoughts with us:

Holly Veselenak, Senior Director from Macomb, MichiganLearn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

At the 2008 Convention, I was one of a handful of Consultants that won a special luncheon with Dr. Magee and his wife, Kathy, the founders of Operation Smile.  That day I made a personal commitment to do whatever I could, locally, to help raise money and awareness for Operation Smile.

As a mom of four children, it’s heart-wrenching to imagine one of my children not being able to eat or drink due to a facial deformity and possibly even losing their life. My twin boys had TTTS (Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome), so I know what it’s like to have a doctor look you in the eyes and tell you there’s no hope for your babies. Just thinking about this brings tears to my eyes. Knowing that it only costs $240 and takes 45 minutes to perform this life-changing surgery, how can you not want to help?

I’m blessed to know some of the most generous crafters in Macomb County and the surrounding counties of Michigan. It’s through their generosity that my Operation Smile crops have been able to raise over 125 smiles (as we call it). I’m merely the facilitator—they are the true heroes!Learn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

This will be my seventh year holding all-day crops to benefit Operation Smile. My best advice for where to start is this: Just do it, and they will come! My very first event I had two people show up. I’m not kidding! If I had let that discourage me, I would have never continued on. Tell everyone about your event even if they don’t craft, because chances are they know someone who does.

I keep my events very simple. A hall with great lighting and space for everyone to spread out is key. Plus, it’s all about the food. Trust me. 🙂 I have raffles and a grand prize showcasing the latest Close To My Heart products. I’m there to inspire, share tips on how to use Close To My Heart products, and foster a sense of community. Holding a fundraiser is great because everyone leaves filled with joy.

I wish everyone much success with their events. No matter what happens, whether you have two or two-hundred people show up, you are helping to make a difference in the life of a child!

Kimberly Deines, Director from Hudson, Colorado

Every time I watch a video about Operation Smile, it hits me way deep down inside. I’m always so taken aback, and I wish no child ever had to experience any facial deformities. But then again, it is uplifting to know that there is something that can be done to help!

I recently organized a weekend retreat at the Embassy Suites in town. I was also blessed to have seven wonderful Downline help organize the event and bring their friends. We had a total of 52 people for the weekend! Not only was this a great Team-building event, but we went to work and raised $1,408 for Operation Smile! That is almost six smiles!Learn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

My Team members and I each donated at least $50 of Close To My Heart product to give away throughout the weekend. We sold raffle tickets for $1 each to give away these goodies. Then we all created artwork masterpieces, too, donating 21 items between the seven of us to hold a silent auction. The last thing we did was to give away a $150 gift card for the next Embassy Suites retreat we will be having later this year in November. We sold tickets for this giveaway for $10 each.

I think one thing that had a huge impact on how much generosity we saw throughout the weekend was sharing an Operation Smile video near the beginning of the event. It is easy to share what Operation Smile is verbally, but actually seeing what a child goes through by watching one of these videos is powerful.operation-smile-scrapbooking-fundraiser-kimberly-deines

To help kick things off on a fun note, I also wrote my very own left right game and personalized it for our event (this game is very popular within Close To My Heart!). Everyone loved this, and it started our weekend off with laughs and high spirits. It all added up to a very successful event for me and my wonderful Team, Heart To Heart Memories!

Kelly Hammonds, Senior Executive Manager, Phoenix, Arizona

When I made it a goal to raise funds for Operation Smile four years ago, I was actively involved in Networking Groups to promote my Close To My Heart business. For three months, I changed my focus from my business to the mission of Operation Smile. I’ve found a lot of success getting donations by talking about Operation Smile in a way that reaches people’s hearts.

Learn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

I had the opportunity to go on an Operation Smile mission to the Philippines with Brian Holman. It was an incredible experience. This is me in the pre-operation play room.

First I talk about how a mother views their child as the most beautiful child in the world. I explain that mothers who have children with facial deformities still feel this way, but other people in their community may not: Children born with cleft lips and cleft palates in third world countries are typically shunned by their neighbors, their villages, and even by other children. Many do not go to school, cannot find work as an adult, and do not get married.

I point out that cleft lips and palates are not as prevalent in the US because our level of medical care addresses them almost immediately. I make it a point to mention famous people who had facial deformities as children—such as Stacy Keatch, Tom Brokaw, and Peyton Manning—who would not have been successful or maybe even alive if they hadn’t received medical care.

I have my guests visualize themselves as parents of an affected child, and ask how much they’d be willing to pay for their child to receive this life-saving surgery, before telling them that it only takes $240 USD to provide a surgery for a child in need. I explain that this money not only helps save their life but also helps them so they are no longer socially shunned.

Learn about the amazing efforts these women have made to help Operation Smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #scrapbooking #operationsmile

This little girl is Angelique. I was with her from when she was evaluated to when she was able to go home after surgery.

I always wrap up with this story: My husband and I worked very hard to have the two children we have. We are so blessed that they have beautiful smiles—I don’t always like what comes out of their mouths, but I LOVE their smiles! 🙂 Because we are so thankful for our two healthy children, we donate two smiles each year so that another parent can show off their most beautiful child in the world as much as we show off ours.

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From Jeanette: Share the Love through Operation Smile™

I consider my grandchildren to be among the greatest treasures in my life. I never could have imagined the joy that those precious smiles bring to me. I’m sure that those of you with children and grandchildren can relate! Even those without children of your own know just how priceless and special a child’s smile is. And that’s one of the reasons that Close To My Heart has been partnered with Operation Smile™ for so long.

Operation Smile is an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cleft palate, cleft lip, and other facial deformities receive lifesaving and life-changing surgeries. They are truly a special organization. At our last Convention, we shared a video of an Operation Smile mission, and I want to give you all a chance to see it now:

Watching this video brings tears to my eyes every time. The work this organization does is absolutely incredible, and I am determined to do what I can to help this incredible organization succeed.

Since February is the month of love, we thought it would be a wonderful time to really focus our efforts on expressing our love for Operation Smile and the dear families they serve. For this purpose, we’ve created the My Acrylix® Share the Love stamp set, and for every stamp set sold, we will donate $7 USD to Operation Smile*.Help a child by purchasing the Share the Love stamp set benefiting Operation Smile! #ctmh #CloseToMyHeart #OperationSmile #operationsmile #sharethelove #donate

This stamp set is only available during February, so be sure to get yours while you can. There are also many other ways you can help Operation Smile throughout the year. You can purchase the My Acrylix® Animal Greetings stamp set, which you can use to create this adorable children’s book and many other wonderful works of art. This stamp set is sure to bring smiles to many children’s faces!

We also have a selection of t-shirts to help promote the Operation Smile mission. For every t-shirt you purchase, we will donate $10 USD*.

Another way to help is to round up your order totals. When you do this, we will donate the difference. Each surgery is only $240 USD, so small donations can really add up to make a big impact.

Finally, if you or someone you know would like to make an outright donation to Operation Smile, simply talk to a Close To My Heart Consultant, who can walk you step by step through that process.

We’ll be sharing some more stories this month to show what some of our awesome Consultants have done to support Operation Smile, as well, so be sure to check back with us throughout the month.

My friends, you already add so much goodness to this world. Donating to Operation Smile is simply a way to extend the reach of your goodness. With all my heart, I thank you for all you have done, all you are doing, and all you will do for people, both around the corner and around the globe. Your selflessness inspires me.

All my love,

Jeanette

*Products purchased in US states AL and MA excluded from donation due to state registration requirements. 

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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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