About Me

My photo
I am a wife and mother of 2 very active, gorgeous boys. I have been scrapbooking for over 10 years and in 2015 signed up as an Independent Consultant for Close to My Heart (CTMH). I love to take photos of my family, especially my 2 boys, as they are growing up fast before my eyes. I believe it's important to document memories and have my photos printed and displayed in photo albums and not just stored on the computer. I want to be able to look back on our memories, photos and everyday life, and I want my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to be able to do the same.

Monday, September 21, 2015

September Projects - Zoe and Hello Life

Each month Close to My Heart has a feature paper collection which they encourage everyone to post projects on on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using a dedicated hashtag, and follow along with so you can see different ideas and ways to use the featured collection each month.  

The feature paper collection for September is Zoe (#ctmhzoe) but they are also spotlighting the National Stamping Month Hello Life (#ctmhhellolife) stamp sets. 

Zoe paper, Sorbet, Glacier, Whisper and White Daisy cardstocks
Stamps from the Hello Life stamp sets
Pattern from Make it from your Heart vol 1

The Zoe collection is one of my favourites in the new Ideas Book. It can be used for any type of scrapbooking, card making or paper crafting project. I have used it for scrapbooking photos of my boys, for making birthday cards and also Christmas cards, and even making Christmas decorations.  

Zoe Workshop Layout using Zoe paper, Slate, White Daisy and Glacier cardstock
Aqua shimmer trim and Hello Life Stamp sets

The colours that pair well with Zoe are Canary, Glacier, Slate, Sorbet, Sweet Leaf, Whisper and White Daisy. 

I tend to add more slate, glacier and sweet leaf for my boys' photos but would suggest maybe adding more sorbet and sweet leaf for girls.  For my Christmas projects, I added the colours poppy and sweet leaf. 
Zoe Workshop on the Go Layout
purchase the WOTG for all supplies and instructions to complete
2x double page layouts including this one
Christmas gift boxes made in Zoe paper

Christmas Card feat. Zoe paper, sweet leaf cardstock,
Green shimmer trim, Trim the Tree stamp,
Christmas Joy stamp, sweet leaf and poppy ink 

September is also National Stamping Month, and to celebrate, CTMH have released 3x exclusive stamp sets, Hello Life. Each of the stamp sets is intended for either cardmakingscrapbooking or pocket scrapbooking but they are all most definitely interchangeable and can be used on their own or together.  If you purchase all 3 sets, you will save $10. 

Greeting Cards made using Hello Life stamp sets.
Top 2 cards made using Zoe paper

I love the font used in these stamps - especially the Hello, Love and Happy.  Because each of the stamps within each stamp set is an individual acrylic stamp, you can mix and match the sentiments or phrases to suit whatever project you are working on. I was able to create Birthday cards, all occasion cards with the 'Hello Friend' sentiment, and I even made my own pocket scrapbooking cards for use in my albums.

Pocket scrapbooking cards made using Hello Life stamps
The Hello Life stamps are ONLY available in September, so if you would like to add them to your collection you have less than 10 days left to do so - place your order here by joining my current order, or contact me directly to save on postage. 

And don't forget, to celebrate the launch of the new Idea Books from September 1st, for all orders placed with me in September, over $50, you will go into the draw to win a $15 voucher. And ALL September orders will receive a Holiday Expressions book with loads of Christmas ideas for FREE

If you have created anything using the Zoe collection or Hello Life stamp sets, leave a comment with the link or post them on your social media using #ctmhzoe and #ctmhhellolife as I'd love to see them. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Back to Basics with Pocket (Picture My Life) Scrapbooking

A common response I get when I am talking to people about scrapbooking is that they don't have the time or money to do it, or that they have so many photos they just don't know where to start. But scrapbooking doesn't have to be time consuming, or expensive, take pocket style scrapbooking for instance. 

Pocket scrapbooking, often referred to as Project Life, and referred to at CTMH as 'Picture my Life' (PML), is how I have been scrapbooking for the last 12 months. 

After having my first child in 2011, I struggled to find the time to keep up with my scrapbooking and it took me about 3 years to scrapbook his first 12 months in traditional 12"x12" layouts. I also don't think my lack of time to scrapbook was helped by the fact that I had tons of photos because with the existence of iphones it's just so easy to swipe and click click click. 

So at a time when I was thinking there was no way I was ever going to catch up with my scrapbooking, especially as I had also had another child, in October last year I was introduced to Pocket Scrapbooking by a lady at my craft group. 
Fast forward to today, and I have just about caught up on my scrapbooking (from the last 4 years since kids anyway - I'm still to complete my wedding album I started 11 years ago and my UK holiday album from 2007!). 

Think back to when you were growing up, and you (or your parents) used to display your photos in those slip in photo albums.... You would get your film developed, and 2 weeks later bring them home and straight away slip them into an album. Well pocket scrapbooking is exactly like that, you just slip your photos into 'pocket' divided memory protectors and away you go. The only difference between what we have now and what we had back then, is that albums and memory protectors these days are photo safe, that is, they are acid-free and lignin-free and not going to damage and fade your photos in years to come, plus they are much better looking and stylish. 

For Picture My Life scrapbooking, all you need to get started is an album, divided memory protectors, Picture My Life (PML) cards to make your albums a bit more personal and so you can document who/what/when etc, and your photos of course.  But you can literally put as much, or as little design effort in as you want. 


The best type of album to use is a 12"x 12" d-ring album - CTMH have them in 5 gorgeous designs, and they are great quality too- sturdy and solid. I have had "cheap" albums purchased from chain craft stores before and they haven't stayed in as good condition as my CTMH ones. 

The beauty of a d-ring album is that you easily insert or move around pages if you happen to come across more photos later on of a certain event or need to adjust the chronological dates  of your photos, if that's the way you organise them. 

Divided Memory Protectors

Next you will need some divided memory protectors.  These come in different designs and will be a personal preference as to which ones better suit your photos. Start with a variety pack and go from there. Personally, I use Design 4 the most, and they tend to be the most popular among my customers as 'generally' people take most of their photos in a horizontal orientation. 

PML Cards

Finally, you will need some PML cards to jazz up your albums and make them more personal. These cards are also used to journal on, to document your memories, or simply the "who, what, where, when" etc that your family and future generations will most appreciate and be glad you included in your albums.  They may tie in with a certain theme of your photos, e.g new baby, travel, kids, or just be used to add some extra colour, phrases and wow factor. 

Other than the above, any extra embellishments you choose to add are up to you and how much time you want to spend on your albums, and how much 'bling' you want to include. But really, the point of Picture My Life Scrapbooking is that it is easy, affordable and quick. 

One of the things I like best about this form of scrapbooking is that I can have my photos printed, and when I get them home I slip them straight into my divided memory protectors.  I then go back and add my cards and journaling when I get time, but at least this way I can be happy my photos are at least in an album and not lost in cyberspace or getting dusty in boxes under my bed. 

If you want to find out more about pocket scrapbooking I would be happy to help you get started. If you live local to me in the Blue Mountains, maybe you'd like to attend one of my workshops. I also have a basic starter kit which includes all you need to get you on your way. 

Or, if you are thinking about starting a scrapbook and don't know where to start or have some questions, feel free to leave a message below or contact me on my Facebook page.  You can shop for any of these items in my store katrinagabriel.ctmh.com.au 

The only other thing I will add, is that if you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of photos you have or you are really unsure where to start, I would recommend picking one event, e.g wedding, new baby, holiday, Christmas or important birthday, and starting there. Or, start with your most recent photos and work backwards. In my experience, it's much easier to keep your scrapbook going and up to date if you are doing recent photos as you feel you are actually making headway and accomplishing something, plus, your memories and information you want to document is more fresh in your mind. 

Thanks for reading.

Now go and get some photos printed! ;-)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Top Products from the New Idea Books

Hi there.

The new season Close To my Heart  Idea Books were launched on 1st September and gee there are some beautiful things. Lucky for me I have a birthday coming up in a couple of days so my credit card can have a bit of a rest while I use my birthday money :-)


The 2 Idea Books are the Holiday Expressions, and Annual Inspirations.  I will probably interchange between calling them idea books and catalogues as yes, they are a catalogue full of items you can buy, but they are so much more than that, and are packed full of inspiration and ideas on how you can use the products. What's even better is every project illustrated in the books can be changed and adapted to suit your taste and needs. If you find a design you love but prefer different paper then it's easy to change, or change the colours used, or the card sentiment to suit whatever occasion you need. The options really are endless. 

Holiday Expressions - Christmas 'White Pines' Collection

The Holiday Expressions book goes until 31st December 2015 and is focused on Halloween, Thanksgiving (it is an American company after all), and Christmas.  

The Christmas collection is 'White Pines' and features a gorgeous paper pack, picture my life (PML) cards, a card making  AND a scrapbooking workshop on the go.

All these products team perfectly with the Fern, Cranberry and Cashmere inks and cardstock, and our red, green and gold shimmer trim, fern or poppy thick twine and the NEW red or green enamel gems.

If you like the idea of making your own Christmas Cards but don't want to design your own - we offer 2 types of card making kits - the White Pines Cardmaking Workshop on the Go provides all materials (except ink) and instructions for making 15 cards (5 each of 3 designs). The workshop on the go kits are great value as they include a paper packet, stamp set and embellishments, plus design and instructions.  It you want something even easier than that, the Cut Above card making kits include everything (except the stamp which you can get for $5) PRECUT for you to make 10 cards. It doesn't get much easier than that.

Boughs & Berries Cut Above Card Marking Kit
White Pines Cardmaking Workshop on the Go

Christmas cards made using Christmas stamp set available in the Holiday expressions
If you are looking for Christmas gift ideas, you can find these also in the Holiday Expressions. Personally, I love the Designer Creations Mini Frames. This set of 3 mini frames fits a 2"x3" photo and is the perfect gift to either yourself to hang on your tree, or for giving to family and friends.  The Designer Creations Ruby Paper Bags are also great for giving small Christmas gifts to work colleagues, friends, or teachers. They also come in 3 other (non Christmas colours) and would make great treat bags for any celebration. Personalise them with a some thick twine and a hand made gift tag and they will be the talk of any party or celebration. 

 And finally, the Holiday Expressions features the limited edition Christmas base and bling style sheets and charms. For those new to CTMH, base and bling is the exclusive jewellery range which includes chains, pendants and charms in faux silver and faux gold, and style sheets allowing you to make your own personalised jewellery, great for yourself or for gifts. 

Annual Inspirations 2015/16

The new 2015/16 Annual inspiration book goes for 12 months through to August next year and is the larger of the 2 books at 164 pages as it includes 6 new paper collections (Zoe, Sangria, Kaleidoscope, La Vie En Rose, Urban and Georgie), 7 new PML collections including GOLD FOIL AND OVERLAYS (YES!!!), the new fundamentals range including cardstock packs, stickers and assortment packs with GLITTER PAPER (LOVE!!!) , the new Instalife range (MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE), all our tools and adhesives, storage solutions, base and bling range, ink pads, markers, watercolour pencils, new watercolour paints (yes, that's right!!!), albums, memory protectors, stamp sets, 3D gifts and decor.

Whatever the occasion you want to celebrate, moment you want to remember, or gift you want to give, there are stamp sets, paper packets, ideas and projects  for ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING in the Annual Inspirations - new baby, wedding, teacher appreciation, everyday life, travel, kids, thank you, school, birthday, and the list goes on. 

Here are some of my favourite items and collections in the new Annual: 

Instalife range - yep my absolute favourite from the new Idea Books. 
These albums are square 4"x4" and perfect for housing your square photos from Instagram or any photos really as long as you print them square. I have just finished my first one which I did for my Mum with photos from her 60th Birthday earlier in the year.

The instalife range includes 2 different styles of Albums, memory protectors to fit the albums, cards to personalise your albums, and there are also 2 different roller stamps perfect for date stamping and stamping expressions, phrases or borders to personalise your albums even more.

This new range is already one of my more popular sellers with people ordering them to give as completed album gifts for friends to document holidays together and other special occasions, and to teenagers and young children who have an interest in photography and scrapbooking, to get them started on documenting their own memories.

Picture My Life (PML) / Pocket Scrapbooking collections

Pocket scrapbooking is my preferred form of scrapbooking as it is quick, easy and allows me to use heaps of photos on a double page layout. I love the new PML cards - they are versatile, come in smaller pack sizes than the previous collection meaning they are more affordable, meaning you can get more packs ;-)  They also feature the same design on both sides of the cards, one in vertical landscape and the other side in horizontal, so you can match them to the photos you want to use and aren't limited by which orientation the card design is in.

Georgie PML is perfect for baby photos. It coordinates with the Georgie paper collection, assortments and complements.

Childhood PML features black chalkboard like cards with all the letters of the alphabet, icecreams, robots and sunshine. It is perfect for your kids photos or every day life.

Going Places PML is perfect for holidays and travel photos.

Through the Year PML features a beautiful water colour design. Each of the months of the year are written on a card, and is perfect for complementing your photos all year round.

And best of all, there are OVERLAYS (black and gold/silver) and a gorgeous collection called Beautiful You (below middle) which features a number of gold foil cards.

Fundamentals range

The new Fundamentals range includes patterned cardstock combo packs in each of the colour palettes (basics, whimsy, adventure and enchantment), as well as sticker packs to match and assortment packs in 8 different colours. These sticker and assortment packs are perfect for any papercraft project, and what I love about the assortment packs is the GLITTER. Who doesn't LOVE a bit of glitter in their craft projects?!

12'x12' Albums

Our 12'x12" d-ring canvas albums are perfect for traditional scrapbooking, pocket scrapbooking or for displaying your children's artwork.

They are excellent quality and come in 5 designs.  You can get Memory Protectors in a variety of styles to suit which ever type of project you are looking to display in your albums.

Base & Bling Collection

The Base & Bling collection consists of square, oval and round pendants in faux gold and faux silver - team them with a chain to match, or some thick twine for a more casual look.  You can then choose charms and designs from the style sheets to suit your tastes and mood.  The options are endless.

CTMH have 4 colour palettes to choose from when selecting your cardstock and inks - Basics, Whimsy, Adventure and Enchantment. Each colour palette has 10 colours in it and for 2015/16 the Enchantment palette has been redesigned with 7 brand new colours.

I have to say, I think Enchantment has taken over from Whimsy to be my new favourite with colours like Eggplant, Pomegranate, Sapphire, Peacock and Poppy.

CTMH have also written an article on the official CTMH blog on the 11 "must haves" from the Idea books. 

If you see something you like and would like to order supplies, let me know. Delivery can be arranged anywhere across Australia if you shop on my website katrinagabriel.ctmh.com.au - if you need help navigating the site just let me know.

If you live local to me in the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney) then come to one of my workshops and we can create or recreate something together- my workshop dates can be found on my facebook page facebook.com/katrinagabrielctmh

Did you know I also do custom orders and can make you cards, invitations, announcements, gift bags, albums or framed layouts for any occasion you like. Contact me at katrina.gabriel@yahoo.com.au for details and prices.

Thanks for reading. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Yep, so I've decided to start blogging. I'm not a very good writer so hopefully I will get better with time.

I have started this blog for a couple of reasons. First, to show off my Papercraft creations and to try and promote the products I sell through Close to My Heart, but mostly I think I started it to show you how easy scrapbooking can be, and why I think memory keeping is important, to hopefully inspire you to think the same and get started on your memory keeping journey.

For the purpose of this blog, when I refer to scrapbooking I actually mean any type of memory keeping, whether it's traditional scrapbooking layouts, pocket style / project life scrapbooking, digital (online) scrapbooking, mini albums, photo displays etc so don't think I just mean the traditional form of 12"x12" page layouts.

I have been scrapbooking for over 10 years and in 2015 signed up as an Independent Consultant for Close to My Heart (CTMH) to basically fund my scrapbooking hobby. I quickly realised though, that yes, I love to scrapbook my photos, and document our lives through scrapbooking, and hoard scrapbooking supplies of course, but I am actually also quite passionate about telling others about how important memory keeping is and in getting others to realise how important, and easy, it is for them to document their lives, print photos, get them in albums, and not just store them on a phone or computer hard drive. I want to be able to look back on my families memories, photos and everyday life, and I want my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to be able to look back on them as well. And, I want you and your family to be able to do the same.

Often when people hear the word scrapbooking, they think time consuming, expensive, and an overwhelming sense of anxiety cause they don't know where to start. But there are many quick and inexpensive ways you can Scrapbook your photos, like pocket style ( project life) scrapbooking which is something I have started focusing more on in the last 12 months after falling so far behind in my albums due to having no time (busy mum of 2) and too many photos (thanks iPhones), so stay tuned for more blog posts on that, but pocket style scrapbooking is quick, easy and relatively inexpensive as allows me to get a large number of photos in an album with little time spent doing it.


My next blog post I will showcase some of the products I sell as a consultant for Close to My Heart, as I do love the products and their quality. There are 2 new Idea Books that have launched from 1st September with lots of beautiful new products. I will go through some 'must have' items, as sometimes looking through the large Idea Books can be overwhelming when you don't know what you need to get started. In the meantime, you can check me out on Facebook or you can look at the catalogues/Idea Books on my shop website.

If there's anything you would like featured or showcased on my new blog, leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading. Until next time.