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It's well and truly pre-Christmas season here so there has been lots of catching up with friends and lots of gift buying and wrapping, which I really enjoy. It's also been a time of slowing down a bit for me and taking some more time for the family and myself which has been great.

We had our team Christmas dinner at Mamma Vittoria's in Fitzroy, which was noisy but nice!  It was lovely to catch up with lots of the girls in person over a lovely meal. Here's some of the team:

Small team dinner

I've been a little obsessed with Poinsettia's. I think I mentioned once before how much they reminded me of my Grandmother. My Mum bought me a beautiful one, and I've been busy making Poinsettia themed gift card holders for some family gifts. Love how they turned out. I am also working on some lovely Poinsettia themed gift bags so will show you these when I have finished.

Gift Card Holder

I've finished all my Christmas shopping and it's wrapped and under the tree, I made up the teachers and kinder helpers gifts, not forgetting the lollipop ladies who brighten our day with a cheery hello every morning (yes I cheated on these gift bags, but there were heaps!).

Teachers presents small

My Mum came over for a 5 day visit from Busselton in WA and we had a lovely time catching up and chatting and hanging out. She got to go to the boys swimming and school assembly and spoil them to bits. It was lovely for all of us as we hadn't seen her since we were in Perth last July.

Mum sam small

We've been visiting the Christmas light displays, and added a few to our own collection, including this 6ft Santa Paul came home with when I asked him to 'pop down the street for a loaf of bread' ! Good thing I didn't ask him to bring home something BIG!

Mum and boys with Santa 13 Dec 09 

I've been doing some reading. I finished 'The Slap' which is told from the viewpoint of eight different adults at a BBQ, where a child is slapped as supposed discipline by one of the adults (not their parent). It was very full on but a great read. Right now I am reading 'The Memory Keepers Daughter' by Kim Edwards which is awesome even though I am just 1/4 way through it (don't tell me what happens OK!). I would definitely recommend them. Check them out in my sidebar on the right.

I've received some lovely hand stamped cards which is very exciting. I love to see what others have done on their Christmas cards. They are all lovely to receive but I thought these two in particular were very cool ideas. This Plum Pudding one from my lovely customer Monica:

Plum pudding card

and these cute photo baubles from my clever downline Tanja Westwood:

Phpto bauble cards

As for my Christmas cards, I am hoping to get these written in tonight:

Home made cards small

Stampin' Up! has just announced a fabulous Inventory Clearance Sale - with up to 50% off some items (like one of my fave alpha sets, the Jumbo outline alphabet!). You can download a full list of what's on sale here: Download SU Inventory Sale Dec 09

Imventory Sale

Josh has just got half a day of school left. We'll be doing some Christmas baking next week and I am taking the boys into the city Monday to see the Christmas decorations. We are going to the beach house for a week in January, but other than that we will be home making our own fun and taking some day trips. We have a few fun day trips lined up, and they are excited about going to Paul's work on Christmas Eve too. Josh put on an impromptu Christmas concert for me a week or so ago, complete with entry ticket and intermission with snack bar! he has such an imagination.

Josh concert

I recently did this layout for our scrapbooking site Stampamemory. Tanja Westwood has taken over the running over the Stampamemory site and is doing an awesome job. Lots of fabulous stuff planned there for 2010 and I am really enjoying getting more scrapbooking done again! Here's a peek at my page. Pop on over to Stampamemory and have a look at the full page here, as well as the other great layouts the girls and guest scrappers are coming up with.

Meeting dora sneek 

Finally a quick word about Stampin' Up. You may have noticed a bit of a change of pace from me over the last half of this year, which has been a great fit for me and my family. I'm thoroughly enjoying mentoring and leading my team, and supporting my regular customers but I'm no longer doing workshops and classes since July this year. I welcome new customers who would like to be supported with extra emailed card ideas and tutorials through my customer newsletter and am able to quickly place your orders and support you by phone and email. I'll also continue to update my blog when I am able to as I LOVE sharing my creations and blog hopping, and continue to offer my marker clubs.

The amount of time to spend on Stampin' Up! hasn't changed though, so with my growing team and extra customer support, something else has to give for me to keep this balance which feels so right for me. I am no longer doing trade shows (These have been passed onto Sue Madex and Nikki Sadler), and I have passed the running of Stampamemory onto my downline Tanja. This has been a great move for me and has freed up lots of time and energy for my team and team forum, and my customers. At this stage I am not sure if I will continue to offer tutorials and my blog newsletter next year. Watch this space OK? 

This year has been a tough but fabulous year for me personally and I feel so much happier and in balance, and confident in my life direction than I did this time last year. It's been a challenging year with some issues my son Josh has had, but we have come through that with flying colours and he is doing great and I relish my role as his supporter and advocate. Life is good.

Thanks for your fantastic support in 2010, and for stopping by and leaving me messages. Thanks to my lovely friends who have met up with me for lunch, called me, sent me cards and gifts and chatted with me on various forums. You have reminded me of the greatest gift from my Stampin' Up! journey - relationships and sharing what we love.

I'll be popping in from time to time over the coming weeks. I'm looking forward to some holiday time to do some creating just for ME. Lots more scrapbooking and I'd love to do some more sketch challenges, and build up a supply of birthday cards for next year. It didn't sit well with me this year to be making so many cards, but being so busy that many didn't get sent!

I hope you have a fabulous Christmas and some precious family time. Here's a picture of my Christmas Tree, just because it makes me happy.

Our Christmas Tree 2009

Claire xx

Comments

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Marls

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and may your New Year be safe and happy too, Love Marls

Anissa

Merry Christmas Claire and may the Lord bless you and your family abundantly.

sharon

Merry Christmas Claire.....sounds like you are very settled....I did laugh though - I too have just started the same book as you....we'll have to compare notes afterwards LOL....

Kristine Thompson

Josh does indeed have a wonderful imagination. His rock garden was fantastic. When you finish that book, I recommend that you read a book called lovely bones. It is a beautiful story. They are bringing out the movie in a couple of weeks I think. But read it first. Merry, merry Christmas to you and you beautiful family Claire xx

JudyB

Merry Christmas Claire and you are correct, we all need balance in our life and families, particularly young children are so important. Take care and have fun with your lovely sons.

Karen Thomas

Hi Claire!

I'm so happy you've now found a lovely balance with your family and SU life! I too am no longer doing workshops, and that alone has made me so much happier and given me so much more time to do what I want/need to do with my family! Thank you for all your inspiration in 2009 and I wish you and your family a fantastic 2010! Cheers, beers and reindeers my friend!

Karen
x

Christine Blain

Phew, you could've warned us at the beginning of the post to make a cuppa and sit down! Lovely to catch up on all your 'news' (even though I knew most of it, I do like to see what you share on your blog!). Enjoy your family time over Christmas :)

Tracey Eaton

Love you so much Claire - and it's awesome to hear you so balanced and happy. I've been 'missing' for a while again, but am on the way back myself.
Merry Christmas to you and your gorgeous family, hope to see you soon into the New Year.
Love always
Trace

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