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 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 & 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! ;-)

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