Meet the Maker: Amy Cluck-McAlister of Amy is the Party

meet the maker amyAmy Cluck-McAlister, whom I met two years ago when she donated some wonderful handmade jewelry to a fundraiser I was organizing, is a creative force to be reckoned with in the Sacramento indie community. She runs Amy is the Party, where she shares party styling ideas, DIY projects and the places and people she loves in Sacramento. She is also the founder of IndieSacramento – an online gathering of local creatives. She also happens to be doing all the behind-the-scenes design work on my new blog platform, which will be launched next week!

Today, I’m so pleased and honored to share a little more about her!

First, tell us a little about yourself!

Hello there, I’m Amy! I am a web designer with a passion for parties, decor, and desserts.

Some might say I was born in the wrong era. I believe in home cooked meals – in thank you cards – in baking from scratch. I strive to be the “hostess with the mostess”. I couldn’t agree more with Julia Child when she said “A party without cake is just a meeting” – although I think it’s perfectly fine to substitute cake with cupcakes or pie (or whatever dessert you find fitting). I also believe in creating memories – special moments of time that your friends and family will carry with them, long after the celebration is over. I believe in celebrating everyday with the little bits of joy that living creatively can bring.

As a blogger, entrepreneur, and web designer, I have been involved with both the online and local crafting community for several years.  A socially awkward socialite, I spend my free time supporting small businesses and events in my hometown of Sacramento, CA. I also enjoy searching for vintage treasures and indulging in the shenanigans of my husband and two cats.

Image Credit: Amy Cluck McCallister. DIY Tassel Necklace and Bohemian Bracelet. Click the photo for the full tutorial.

Image Credit: Amy Cluck McCallister / DIY Tassel Necklace and Bohemian Bracelet / Click the photo for the full tutorial!

How did you get into graphic/web design?

I took a commercial art class in high school. We mostly made posters and learned calligraphy but I knew that I wanted to use my artistic skills for advertising or something along those lines. I took a few graphic design and beginning web classes at American River (Community College) while getting my general ed out of the way. By the time I graduated, I knew I was specifically interested in designing for on-screen (computers). The closest degree program that Sac State offered was Graphic Design so I stuck with that for a year until I saw that a new Multimedia program was being added. I quickly changed majors! The Multimedia program sort of focused on making interactive CDs, which isn’t a really a thing nowadays. It’s hard to predict the direction technology will take us! When you get into something like graphic and web design, you have to be flexible and you have to continually educate yourself on new techniques.

What about entertaining and DIY’ing?

Both my parents and my grandmas on both sides were into DIYing different things. I grew up making handmade Christmas gifts and baking dozens of cookies for the neighbors. I lived for holidays and family get-togethers. I didn’t think about it much, plus I don’t think it was considered cool to be into domestic stuff when I was younger. After graduating college, I started to get back into crafting a bit. Then I started finding all these people online who were into making items that were actually trendy and I felt really inspired. This was about 10 years ago when sites like Craftster and GetCrafty were just starting.  I jumped right in and started making and selling jewelry. I gradually started to gravitate towards party planning since it incorporates all of my loves: baking, dessert styling, decorating, DIY, and graphic design.

What pushed you to start your blog?

Finding other people who were making crafts and selling them really inspired me. It seemed like a lot of those people were starting blogs and I wanted to be a part of it too, not just to show off what I was making but to show off what other people were making as well.

Photo Credit: Amy Cluck-McCallister / DIY Hostess Gift Tags / Click the Photo for the full tutorial

Photo Credit: Amy Cluck-McCallister / DIY Hostess Gift Tags / Click the Photo for the full tutorial!

What is your creative process like?

I come up with ideas, scribble them on post-it notes, lose the post-it notes, forget some of the ideas, and don’t have anywhere near enough time to follow through with all the ideas that I don’t forget about! Occasionally, I actually get to follow through on something. I’m an impatient crafter but I’m also a perfectionist. Sometimes I forget to enjoy the creating process because I’m so excited to get to the end result.

What inspired you to start Indie Sacramento?

A couple national craft shows (Bazaar Bizarre and Renegade) popped up that were different from any craft show I had been to before (“not your gramdma’s craft fair” as they would say). The vendors made trendy items that I would actually wear or display in my home. Both shows were located in San Francisco (as well as other cities) but not Sacramento. I had started networking with local crafters and I knew we had enough local talent to put a show like that on here so I started IndieSacramento.

I felt like IndieSacramento was a pretty successful event, but it was also A LOT of work and a lot of stress. I decided that an online collective of local crafters was the way to go so I quit holding craft shows and choose to expand the website instead. Of course, now I have other ideas of what I’d like to do with the site but there never seems to be enough time!

How do you feel about the creative community in Sacramento?

I’m really proud of how our creative community has grown in recent years. It wasn’t so long ago when we were in need of a venue for “alternative” crafters and artists to sell their goods at. Now we’ve got all kinds of events like the Indie Craft Fair and GOOD, just to name a couple. I’m also really impressed with the amount of networking I’ve noticed among talented individuals in different industries – we’ve got bloggers and crafters, boutique owners, restaurateurs, photographers, event planners, etc. all working together to promote each other to put on awesome events together.

Photo Credit: Amy Cluck - McCallister / Amy's DIY Wedding / Click the photo for the full details

Photo Credit: Amy Cluck – McCallister / Amy’s DIY Wedding / Click the photo for all the details!

Favorite places to get your supplies (craft, party, etc) in town?

Wrapped All Up is a really fun warehouse type place that carries every kind of ribbon or wrapping you could want. The Paper Garden is a great place to get inspiration for paper crafting – plus they also carry some fun washi tapes and baker’s twine that you can’t get anywhere else locally.

If somebody wanted to start working on DIY projects, where would you tell them to go first?

There are so many resources, it’s hard to say! Brit.co is one of my recent favorites because they feature a variety of trendy and easy projects. I would also suggest joining a crafty forum or two. Cut Out + Keep is one of my favorites. You can check out other peoples projects and tutorials, network with people, and upload your own projects.

My husband and I just bought our first home (yay!) so I’m sure amy is the party will start featuring more home decorating projects (just like I started featuring more wedding related content before we got married). I think my blog will always branch out to fit my current interests, as long as it’s still related to entertaining and creative living.

Click the photo for the full DIY

Click the photo for the full DIY!

My plan is for IndieSacramento to include small businesses of all types, not just crafters. It will be kind of a directory for people to shop local and to find unique and fun businesses to support.

You can find out more about Amy and all the awesome things she’s doing at Amy is the Party. Want to be featured in Meet the Maker or know a special someone who should be featured? Leave a comment here and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest!

Local love: Farm to Glass – A preview

On September 9th, Beers in Sac will premiere Farm to Glass, a short film brewed up by Ted Rozalski, Scott Scoville of Beers in Sac, Victoria Suan of Brew Wave and Mike Brennan of Brew Ferment Distill to bring awareness and exposure to bringing hops back to California.

Prior to prohibition, California was a major producer of hops, specifically the greater Sacramento region. Now, however, the demand for craft beer is far greater than the supply and craft brewers are sourcing their hops from outside California.

Julien of New Glory Brewing and Chris Powell of Jackrabbit Brewing, both craft brewers, brought the hop shortage issue to Rohit Nayar of RoCo Wine, a bottle shop in West Sacramento. Rohit talked with his longtime friend Jaspaul Bains, who works at his family’s 200 acre peach farm in Yuba City, and United Hop Farm was born.

Photo Credit: Nzube Okemiri / Beers in Sac

Photo Credit: Nzube Okemiri / Beers in Sac

In talking about what inspired the documentary, Scott says “we wanted to be a part of reestablishing this region as a major hops producer, bringing locally sourced ingredients back to the Sacramento Valley and into the hands of our brewers. We wanted to highlight the local breweries quest for hops from local farms, and follow their journey from farm to glass.”

Filming started in July and just finished in late August. Scott says that Rohit opened their eyes to hops growing in this region and was the biggest influence in making the documentary.

“Likewise, Victoria Suan of Brew Wave is an incredible videographer, and without her dedication and hard work, this would never have seen the light of day,” Scott adds.

Photo Credit: Nzube Okemiri

Photo Credit: Nzube Okemiri

There are under 100 total acres of hops farming in California right now, and Scott says they are hoping that this will bring more exposure to breweries and farms alike – sourcing locally, pushing demand and delivering on what has become a consumer request.

“People want local, people want fresh, and Sacramento can be the leaders on producing the best hops, not just in California, but anywhere,” he says.

The film also features New Helvetia Brewing, Ruhstaller Beer and Oak Park Brewing, River Delta Hop Farm and Putah Creek Hop Farm. The premier starts at 6 pm at New Glory Brewing and tickets are $25 in advance. Visit http://beersinsac.com/premier/ to purchase your tickets and use promo code “10off” to get 10% off your tickets. The price of admission includes:

-Premier viewing of “Farm to Glass” Short Film Documentary

-Dinner from CaliLove Food Truck – Burger & a Side

-Commemorative Pint Glass

-16 Ounce Pour of Special Release Beer

-Beer Infused Caramels from Rebel Confectionery & Jams

-1 Raffle Ticket for Prize Giveaways

Photo Credit: Nzube Okemiri / Beers in Sac

Photo Credit: Nzube Okemiri / Beers in Sac

There will also be multiple screenings throughout Sacramento’s Farm to Fork Celebration (Sept 13 – 28), dates and times are yet to be determined. They are also working on an informative Farm to Glass CA website and any questions regarding sponsoring land, hops for home brewers, visiting farms, or farm events can be directed to info@beersinsac.com

Share the original post on the Beers in Sac website using #beersinsac for a chance to win 2 VIP tickets! Winners will be picked at random.

Check out the Facebook page for Farm to Glass and join the movement! What’s your favorite craft beer? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest!