Monday, August 11, 2014

A Unique Blog Hop!

I was asked a few weeks ago by Andrea of Savvy Handmade Cards to take part in this cool progressive blog hop. I really enjoy learning more about my fellow crafty buddies, and so it was a no-brainer to accept the challenge :)

I first met Andrea through playing along at Tuesday Morning Sketches - I was sponsoring one week with my crocheted mats & she was the lucky winner! Of course I had to follow her blog to see what she made with them. That was close to two years ago (I think) and since then she's begun hosting her own challenge  on her blog, as well as creating some amazing heartfelt cards. I love seeing what she gets up to in her crafty time!

So the idea behind this blog hop is to answer a few crafty questions - and to put your own spin on it - so here we go!

1. How did you get started?
I've been crafting with one medium or another since I can remember. In high school I used to decorate HUGE cards for my friends' birthdays - I did cross-stitch - I painted a zillion clay pots - I putzed around with salt dough. In 2003 I branched out into card making. I got brave & booked a table at a craft fair, and it's taken off from there. Since then, I've been a regular vendor at the Sackville Farmers Market.
In 2010 I started this blog - holy moly almost 4 years! - and entering challenges. That has definitely pushed my creativity in new directions, and helped me learn to take better photos. Crafts for me have served as a creative outlet AND as a break. When I was getting started, my boys were just beginning the process of being diagnosed with autism (Connor was diagnosed in March 2003 and Riley in December 2003). We'd just moved to a small town in Nova Scotia where I knew no one, and I was home all day with two very active & non-verbal kids. Finding friends through my kids hadn't worked in the past - in fact, we had been asked to not attend a church playgroup because Connor was disruptive. Without a diagnosis to explain his behaviour, I accepted that and honestly, I wasn't strong enough to continue pushing out into the community and risking that kind of judgement. Going to the farmers market gave me social time & a much-needed break, and it still does.

2. What are you working on?
I'm lucky enough to be on 4 challenge teams - so I keep a list at my desk of the upcoming challenges for the month. When I sit down to create, I have those themes in the back of my mind in case I come up with an idea I want to use. I also have a number of favourite challenges to play along with, so I jot down those as well, and bring my 'challenge sheet' back & forth between my crafty desk & the computer desk. It's rare for me to sit down & say "OK, I'm making a card for X challenge!" Generally I just start to play & see where it takes me.
I recently went to a Jamberry nail wrap party, and one of the wraps inspired this creation -

Supplies: Mr. Huey's White mist; Dylusions purple mist; Flourishes flower stamp; Paper Smooches sentiment; Memento Gray Flannel ink; Adirondack Purple Twilight ink; clear EP; vellum & button from stash

I'm not so sure the shadow stamping works on this one, but I have more of the painted background to play with. I mixed the two mists to paint with - although one is pigment & one is dye-based, it seemed to work. I also gave it a spritz of hair spray once it dried - after 3 days the white pigment was still coming off on my fingers. 

Being inspired by my nails is definitely a first!

3. How is your work different from others'?
This is always a tricky question, like trying to define your own style. I think one unique aspect of my work is that I am comfortable creating in lots of different styles - CAS, layered, shabby chic - and that I can't easily identify what my own *look* is.

4. What do you create?
Primarily cards - but also journals, crochet, frames, whatever happens to strike my fancy. I generally make about 20 cards per week, but my personal record (at Christmastime) was 76 cards. Creating with a deadline spurs my creativity! I don't photograph everything that I make. Besides sharing stuff here on my blog, I also have a crafty Facebook page, and I try to share different creations there. 

One of my recent journal creations

 Supplies: Sweet Pea stamps digital mermaid; Tim Holtz & Memory Box stencils; Dreamweaver embossing paste; hand-dyed Prima flowers; Spectrum Noir markers; all sorts of random goodies!

5. What does your crafty space look like?
Well, it's not pretty. Most 'studio tours' I see on blogs belong to people with lots of space and (it seems like) lots of money. I'm a stay at home mom in a small house crowded with people & pets. Even if I did have lots of space & money, I'd still be a slob when it comes to crafting! I debated whether or not to share the *real* crafty space, and then I thought hey - someone's sure to see this & feel good that they aren't the only ones without the big room & fancy storage!

The brutal full picture. The shelf to the left is the newest addition. Random stuff up there for the most part, but one of the copy paper boxes is full of out-of-season cards. Stereo with CDs, because I always listen to music while I create. Family photos, cards from pals - and my grandmother's birthday present, still waiting to be mailed. D'oh. Don't forget the uuuuuugly paneling!

The storage tour! Beginning on the left:
Top: quilling papers, odd card stock
Top drawer unit: 12x12 papers, specialty papers (vellum, etc)
Bottom drawer unit: safe drying space - where I keep quilled pieces until they're dry, clay embellies, etc.
(To the left of that, barely in the picture - a cardboard box with Thickers, stickers, that sort of thing)

Next tower - with the CDs on top
Top: 6x6 plain cardstock, in a container. The sheet of 12x12 on top keeps the dust out.
CDs (right now listening to a lot of Lorde & Passenger)
Circle punches
Top drawer unit: my plain white card stock
pre-cut/scored/stamped card bases (I have a stamp for the back of my cards)
Embossing powders & sponges for the Distress tool

Bottom drawer unit: mists & inks
embellishments (that drawer is a black hole)

And, skipping to the right - the tall tower, with boxes on top, holds all my Christmas crafty stuff. The pizza box is baby-themed stuff. There are more pizza boxes under the desk with all manner of stuff stuffed into them. I also keep a box of ribbon down there. 

I think this photo is probably pretty self-explanatory. Chaos. The plastic containers are for recycling & garbage, and I have a baggie there for 'compost' items (tissues, baby wipes). Cleaned stamps sit here waiting to be put away. The stack of paper pads are the ones I'm currently using a lot. The others live in a cloth grocery bag. 

The work surface. A stack of looseleaf & printer paper to use as scratch paper. My most-used tools are in that tray with the M. This is also the spot where I take photos - I have two sheets of 12x12 card stock that I place over the scratch pad. The card in progress will be a keepsake card if I ever decide where I'm going to glue those flowers.

The tower on the desk (at the very back here) is full of paperwork related to the kids, and flotsam & jetsam from around the house. It's what everyone regards as  the "safe place" to leave watches, etc. The pile of stamps, flowers, paper, etc. is all the things I've pulled out thinking OOH I should make something with that! Those items may be there a long time. There are two baskets - one with my most-used sentiment sets, and one with my dies. I have zero organization for dies other than that they go in the basket. There's a goldfish crackers box with sequins, stickers, chipboard, that sort of thing. In the desk drawer I keep my embossing folders & additional plates for the Cuttlebug, which is on the floor under the desk. 

For a rare moment in time, Abby is cuddled up in her crate - usually she sits at my feet when I'm at the desk, but I kept moving around. 

There you go - if only I could provide the soundtrack of the house to go with the photos, lol!

So, now that you made it this far, I get to tell you who I'm tagging to take part! I've chosen three of my Snarky Sisters:

We harbour deep suspicions that we were separated at birth, Chris and I. We are the Evil DoubleMint Twins, or EDMT for short. 

I've had the absolute pleasure of getting to meet Donna twice on her trips to the East Coast - including going to the zoo together this summer with our three boys! 

She is hi-freaking-larious - and being posted in Europe, is online at a decent time of day there while I'm up waaaayyyyy too early in the morning. I love our early-morning chats!

All three of these fabulous ladies came into my life via the Drunken Stampers - and they, with the rest of the Snarky Sisterhood, are an honest-to-goodness lifeline. Kids driving you nuts? Instant commiseration. Difficult or annoying family issue? Totally there for you. Just having a crap day? You get the idea. Go see them. You'll giggle, I promise. And then go see them again when they share their crafty stuff next Monday, August 18!!



~amy~ said...

Loved reading about you and your crafty space!

Annette Allen said...

what a fabulous post.. thanks for sharing..

Leslie Hanna said...

our space makes me happy. I'm always amazed at how creative people can be with less stuff and less space. I'm more spread out, but am way less productive than you are.

Leslie Hanna said...


Chris Dring said...

I just love to find out more shtuff about you! I knew that your craft space was small, but you crank out that many cards a month?! WOW! (Notice I did not mention how chaotic your space looks? LOL!) That's the mark of a true crafty genius, that is!

Thank you so much for the tag! I'll try very hard not to disappoint, my EDMT! ((HUGS!))

Dana said...

Amazing post!! I love reading about you, your crafting and your craft space!!

I'm a Little Teapot said...

That was a great read, Jessi! And your work space is quite organized. I can definitely see how you have it organized for ease of access.
Have a good day!

Andrea W said...

The purple card inspired by your nails is lovely! It was a lot of fun to learn more about you and your creative process. I knew you made a lot of cards but I'm shocked at how many cards you make a week. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to visiting your friends next Monday.

Donna said...

Awesome possum!! I love seeing your crafty space and getting a sneaky peeky into your creative process :)
Great idea to take pictures of your space (I am stealing that idea for my post) and NOW I know how you get all those great pictures of your cards!! Unlike me who is forever out in the front or back yard looking for a good spot LOL
Thanks for the tag, I hope I can make you proud next week!

Kris B said...

What a great post Jessi! Our crafting corner's look pretty much the same! I dream of a craft room one day, but for now I am content with my little corner! Your nails look awesome!!

Lindsey said...

That is one fabulous crafting space, Jessi. So much beauty comes out of it! Great post; thanks for sharing so much. :)

Greta said...

Love your blog, Jessi--fun post today!

lostinpaper said...

I'm so glad to see your fave little monster made it into your 'unique' style gallery I was getting worried for a minute there... also your room rocks! A basket for dies, my OCD would not cope lol!

Lee aka Violent Kittie said...

Love the nails!

Darnell said...

That was so you, Jessi, and so definitely enjoyable through and through!! I am just amazed that you can create the magic you create in that tiny area of available space! I admire that ability to create beauty in the presence of chaos. Even with a hamster with a whip living in my head, I'd be spending the entire time going through each of the piles, looking at whatever, putting it down, maybe moving it over here, and then, oh, hey, look, a paper clip! You ROCK!! Hugs, Darnell

Jocelyn Olson said...

What a fab post! I loved reading it and seeing your cards. Your space is awesome--it looks real and like you actually make cards in it. Big hugs!