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28 November 2011

Blog Gems!

Hey and welcome to Blog Gems! This is a new monthly post looking at great and inspirational creative blogs out there in blogland. Not only will you get a link to a fab blog but you'll also hear direct from the blogger's mouth! Yep, you heard right, with a few Q&As we'll all get an insight into their creative heads, spaces, what drives them, tips & advice and which creative tool they would take to a desert island if they could only take one! I'm wondering now if that question's going to be a tough one! Not sure I can answer it! ;-)

Right, lets kick off with a fab friend of mine, whose blog was the first I ever read on a regular basis. She got me hooked on blogs!! Who can blame me, when she produces such witty words and amazing card designs. Just look at this one...



Hey Crafting Confessions, welcome to Blog Gems! So who is the lady behind the blog?


Hey! I'm Amy Wanford but I'm known as Aimes. I'm addicted to tea, toast, paper, ink and stamps! I get a buzz from paper-crafts - especially stamping - and focus primarily on making cards in my spare time. Although that's when my spare time isn't eaten up by preparing resources for getting grumpy teenagers excited about literacy (that's my day job by the way!), playing football (when I'm not injured!) and being a secret geek with my openly geek-chic guy, Chris!

I'm originally from Wirksworth, Derbyshire but now I live with my guy, Chris on the outskirts of Sheffield. We're a stone's throw away from the Peak District - just the way I like it! :)



What's your design space/studio/work area like?

A mess! Ha! 

I share our spare room with my guy so it contains a mix of our hobbies. I have a fab, white Expedit unit and desk from IKEA which stores my crafty stash, whilst next to me sits Chris' guitars and amps. Very often you'll find me stamping away whilst listening to my guy play guitar, and although sometimes I can't resist the urge to pick up a guitar and play along too, I've never caught him wanting to play with my stamps! 





If you had to take only one of your crafts to a desert island, what would it be and why?

Seriously? Just one? Eeek! It would have to be my stamps and ink (oh and some card to stamp on too of course!) I love that a single stamp can be so versatile: you can use it as a singular focal point, create your own patterned paper with it, play with different inks to achieve different looks, experiment with embossing techniques - the possibilities are endless! 



How do you work and/or get inspired?

Designing is like playtime: it's no fun to go to the park and know exactly what you're going to go on and for how long for...so for designing it's no fun to head straight to my desk and know exactly what I'm going to do! I like to go on a creative adventure! 
Therefore, I tend to design as I go along; I often have a simple idea in my head of what I'd like to start with and then go from there - playing with colours, changing elements etc.... It's rare that I head to my desk knowing exactly what I'm going to create and then simply make it (unless I have a tight deadline!)

I get inspiration from everything! From walking past someone who wears something that catches my eye to a tub of pencil crayons at work! I carry my phone everywhere to note down and take pictures for future ideas and I'm even known to note down stuff in the middle of the night - sometimes it's hard to switch my brain off! 


One amazing source of online inspiration is Pinterest which contains pure inspiration collected from people around the world! I follow people on there and see what inspires them, as well as keeping my own boards of inspiration for when my creative mojo feels stuck in a rut.




What top tips would you give to any novice bloggers and/or those thinking of selling their designs/crafts?

WARNING: Blogging is addictive!!! :)

Firstly, don't be put off or dis-heartened if you feel like no-one is reading you! It takes a while to build up a following of readers and the only way you're going to do that is by continuing to share your thoughts/creations and by commenting on similar blogs. People aren't going to find you unless you show them where you are! 

I don't sell my cards unless I receive a request from someone. However, if you fancy selling your own designs and crafts I'd definitely recommend setting up an online shop using something like Etsy/Folksy. It's super easy to do and is already aimed primarily at your target market. Craft fairs are also a great way of getting your work out there as well as giving yourself a chance to network and meet like-wise folks too...

Is there a story behind the name 'Crafting Confessions'?

What can I say? I'm a sucker for alliteration! :)

I like the idea of having a confessional of what I've been up to - documenting what crafting capers (see, alliteration again!) I've been up to when I probably should have been ticking off jobs which have a higher priority! 

If you could be given an award for your designs by any person/fictional character (dead or alive), who would it be?

Hmmmm....there are so many talented people I'm inspired by so any nod of their head in my direction would be an honour! In the realm of stamping, my stamping heroine is Maile Belles: she ooozes a clean and simple style that I adore and really thinks outside the box when looking at her supplies. That type of style mixed with genius has my jaw hitting the floor on a regular basis!

And finally...book & tea or film & wine?

Most definitely book and tea! (Can't live without my tea and let's face it, the book is always better than the film!) Can I have toast with that tea too, please?! 

Ha ha, you certainly can have toast with your book and tea. In fact, I think I'll join you on that one! Thanks so much for being my first Blog Gem Aimes! It's been great getting an insight into what goes on behind the scenes of Crafting Confessions!


Stay tuned for my next Blog Gem and until then, keeeeeeeeeep blogging! ;-)



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All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Amy Wanford. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.


24 November 2011

Mr Yen

Aren't these designs wonderful! I particularly like the Robin card (being a fan of robins), the floral and tiny houses cards. If you have a favourite, then post up here. You could even win something, just for leaving a comment! Go for it! :-)

23 November 2011

Do you want to go to a craft fair this weekend?

Well, over at Mollie Makes blog, they've put together a list of craft fairs on this weekend and it's growing judging by all the comments. Isn't it fab that pretty much every weekend across the country there's a craft fair on!?! Loads of beautiful, handmade and unique designs. Much better than the high street! :-)

21 November 2011

New custom design in my shop!

My lovely friend Amy requested some custom made lavender bags recently. I've just added them to my Etsy shop and thought I would share a few pics with you all. The little birds have been hand embroidered using cotton threads and based on the same bird design you can find in my shop.



The blue polka dot fabric is soooooooo soft, I just love it! One of the main reasons I use this fabric in my handkerchief designs is that it's super kind on the ol' nozzle! That and polka dots are just so darn cute! :-)




I think this blue striped linen fabric is chic yet simple. Two of my favourite combinations in fabric.




Ahh, they can't be separated!




Oh polka dot, how I love thee! And buttons, how I loved choosing thee! ;-)




The lovely retro look of this striped linen makes me think of paper bags of sweets I use to get as a kid.





The lavender bags behaved so well in the photo shoot, that I reckon they could have a second career as models if all else fails in the lavender industry!?! ;-)

Have you made something for a friend recently? If so, I'd love to see the finished piece, so please feel free to post below!

Cheers and adios amigos,
x

16 November 2011

Giveaway!

Here's another great interview and giveaway  folks! Go enter, you never know, you might just be that lucky person! :-)

15 November 2011

And the winner is....

..... ME! I never win anything, so am totally chuffed to bits! I would recommend all of you giving one of hiphopsideproject's giveaways a go. You never know it could be your lucky day! :-)

30 new things - finished!!



Yay, I finished it and just in time too! Here are the last new things I did. Ok, so some of them are totally birthday related but why not!

No.22: Had champagne on a train at lunch time. Come on, it was my 30th we were celebrating and what better way to do it!

No.23: Went on a treasure hunt round Brighton. The prize? See number 24.

No.24: Treated to the most delicious surprise meal by Mike, in which I tried skate for the first time. It was absolutely gorgeous, mmm! For those that live in Brighton or fancy a day out, I recommend going to the Meadow Restaurant.

No.25: Despite loathing the stuff, I tried a coffee (allbeit with lots of sugar and milk in!), drank the lot and enjoyed it!

No.26: Had a stranger walk into our hotel room in the middle of the night!!! Apparently he had the wrong key! A little frightening to say the least! Has that ever happened to anyone before?!?

No.27: Hotel manager gave us a bottle of red wine to apologise for no.26. Hmmm? No, that doesn't really make up for it. Letter of complaint going their way? Yes indeedy! Maybe it's wrong to add this and no.26 as new things but they were, so on they go!

No.28: Saw some new comedians at the Komedia and probably embarrassed those around me by laughing raucously! Excellent stuff! :-)

No.29: Bought myself a birthday present - a beautiful bright reddy orange coloured coat, complete with hood! I love it and now have the look of Little Red Riding Hood about me! :-)

No.30: Turned 30 years of age!!!

Yay! All done and my conclusions? It was fun, got me to be a little adventurous and I would totally recommend playing it! BUT next time, if there is indeed a next time, I might give myself just a little bit more time! ;-)

Adios Amigos!
x

10 November 2011

30 new things - No. 19, 20 and 21



Woohoo, 3 new things today!

No.19
I'm sorry to say this one's rather boring and unexpected but I'm grasping at straws here to get my 30 new things done before Sunday, eek! Anyway, the new thing being...I had to walk into, what I thought was a big scary meeting, to hand over some information (I'm a Legal Librarian for those of you that don't know already). It wasn't big or scary, in fact rather uneventful. BUT, in all my years as a Librarian I've never had to do that before, so it's one more to chalk up! Oh and yes, that's how dramatic it is being a Librarian ;-)

No.20
Entered a new blog giveaway! Ok, so technically I have entered a blog giveaway before but this is a new giveaway, so I'm counting that as a new thing!

No.21
Following on from entering the giveaway, I promptly blogged about it! Now I've never done that before and now I've gone and blogged about it twice, never done that either!

Ok, I think seeing as it's VERY close to the wire, I should do some calculations.

2 days and 4 hours left to complete 9 new things! Me thinks I'll have to be slightly creative with these ones! Stay tuned to see what I get up to! It might be a little special! ;-)

Adios Amigos,
x

Giveaway!

Hey everyone!

Check out Hiphopsideproject's great interview with Debbie of 'From the imagination of lady snail'.  Not only are her designs super cool and beautifully made but she's a Shaun Tan fan too!! I LOVE Shaun Tan!!  One of my favourite artists.  If you've never heard of him, I urge you to go check him out after you've checked out Debbie's designs first and entered her competition giveaway!
;-)

Adios Amigos,
x

8 November 2011

30 new things - No.16, 17 & 18

Ok, so it's a little close to the wire with 30 new things. In fact I have 15, yes 15, new things to do and I've got exactly 4 days and a matter of hours left. Eeek! Why have I left it so late? Well, I do have a good reason. I've been ill for over a week and I'm still recovering :-( . BUT! I won't be defeated!

Right, lets think about this. Have I done anything new whilst being ill? Yes! I watched the entire series 3 of Black Books in one sitting. Well, lets face it, I wasn't going to be watching Jeremy Kyle while off work, Gok Wan perhaps, not Jeremy!!

Ooh I have another one, I contacted one of my favourite bloggers, Hiphopsideproject. This is another new one for me. Yay!

One more, even if this is scraping the bottom of the barrel! I just learnt a new fact. Did you know that the dot above the letter "i" is called a tittle? I honestly never knew that!

Ok, lets chalk these beauties up!


Stay tuned for my mad dash to complete 30 new things before the 13th November!
Adios Amigos,
x

1 November 2011

30 new things - No.15

No.15: Pizza!


On Saturday me and Mike made our very first pizza, including the dough! Although the emphasis should totally be on Mike as I was pretty much sofa bound what with being greeted with a nasty sore throat, headache, and temperature, urgh. What I can claim is that I helped put a couple of toppings on, i.e. lifted some chopped pepper and placed on pizza. Pretty much all I was capable of this weekend.

Anyway, we were so proud we took a photo:



Yep, it's on a tray. It felt appropriate to eat our first home-made pizza off a tray in front of the tv! Plus, my 'contribution' (see above) to pizza making had pretty much worn me out! Cue violins please.

No. 15 means I'm exactly half way through the '30 new things' game and I've only got 12 days to go, eek! Going to have to get my thinking cap on if I want to complete it. Any ideas are warmly welcome!!!

Adios Amigos,
x

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