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!

Meet the Maker: Stacie Grissom

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

Meet Stacie Grissom, 25, from New York City. She runs Stars for Streetlights, which also happens to be one of the very first blogs that I fell in love with when I got more involved with crafting and blogging last year. I have been following her for over a year now, and she never ceases to amaze me with all the cool stuff she is working on!

An Indiana girl at heart, Stacie moved to the big city over a year ago, after dreaming about the move throughout high school and college. She got a job at a start-up company called The BarkPost, and decided there was nothing holding her back from following her dreams.

“The fast pace, the hard work, the energy— there’s such a magical pull to this city.”

A testimony to the power of social media, Stacie found her job through Twitter. A friend of hers sent her a tweet that said “Looking for a job in New York? Must love dogs.” Her love of dogs and journalism got her the position of running The BarkPost for a dog-centric company BarkBox. She was the third employee at the company.

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

“It’s pretty cool to be with folks from the beginning and help work + build everything from scratch.”

Not only does Stacie love to write, she has also been a major fan of photography since she was a kid – using her mom’s film camera to capture photos of her dolls and pets (perhaps a little foreshadowing there). She then saved up her money and purchased her first DLSR in 2009 and got really into analogue photography after throwing herself into photography books.

It was around the same time that she started her blog, out of boredom from working her summer job as a lifeguard. With her blog, Stacie is able to combine her love for writing, photography and design. Her love for design stemmed from playing around with programs on her computer, and she agrees that design and writing are very much related.

From her first post. Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

From her first post. Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

“You have to get many things across with a few words or images. The principles can be the same across both platforms.

Her blog also allows her to express her love for DIY fashion and crafting, something she has been doing since she was a kid. Her mom gave her a sewing machine when she was at the ripe age of six and living in Indiana, she was in the 4-H club for 10 years.

“Those things definitely make you into a lifelong crafter.”

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

Stacie fits crafting in every day and is always working on something. She finds inspiration from books like Mark Montano’s  Big Ass Books of Crafts and the “Altered Couture” magazines from Stampington Co. and craft blogs like A Beautiful Mess, Craftgawker, Photojojo.

She also finds inspiration from walking around museums and being outside. Recently, she collected a bunch of rocks from every place she visited on a trip to the UK with her boyfriend, and she plans on making a statement necklace from her collection.

“If I’m not doing something with photos or blogging, then I am sewing or painting or Mod Podging.”

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

A glimpse at her apartment will show that she also has a serious passion for vintage items and last year, she wrote a post about all of her favorite antique shops and thrift stores from back home. Now in New York, she loves shopping at Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

An ode to both her past and present, she describes her personal style as “crafty, eclectic, earthy with a bit of glitter”  and says that while she loves both New York and Indiana, she needs the fast pace of New York to push her.

Stacie not only shares craft tutorials, interior decor tips and thrifting tips on her blog, she also shares tips for beginner photographers.

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

Image belongs to Stacie Grissom

“If I can help someone with a project in any way, I think that’s pretty cool.

Stacie would like to work on a craft book down the road, but right now she’s happy with writing at The BarkPost during the day and creating at night. Next, she hopes to learn more about sodering jewelry.

“I’m happy to work on my blog at night and create stuff all the time”

You can connect with Stacie through her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. If you would like to participate in the Meet the Maker series, please post in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #meethemaker or tag me in the post! You can find more Maker inspiration on my Pinterest!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

I love books. Big, old books that have that  old book smell to them. Any time I’m at a flea market, swap meet, thrift store or yard sale, I always go for the books. Not just any ol paperback, but the old books, with the hard covers. I always image a million things I can do with them, but they usually end up on the bookshelf, rarely touched. In fact, the only hard cover books I read are generally cookbooks. I was cruising Pinterest the other day, and found some pretty neat crafts you can do to reuse books, and I thought I would share!

The first three I found through Saved by Love Creations. She shared over 50 different tutorials, and I picked a few of my favorite. Her site is also a really good resource if you want to find creative ways to reuse discarded items.

Photo belongs to The Gilded Bee

Photo belongs to The Gilded Bee

Vintage book cover postcards from The Gilded Bee – Sasha used old book covers to create postcards and shared her process on her blog. As a crafter and collector, she also has an Etsy shop where she sells floral arrangements made out of paper. How neat!

Image belongs to Hello, ReFabulous

Image belongs to Hello, ReFabulous

Make your own paperback wallet from Hello, ReFabulous – I got this tutorial from another awesome site, Craftster. Since Craftster is a wonderful crafting community, it’s always good to click on the contributor’s website link. More likely than not, that person will share other awesome tutorials, and it’s good to see the crafter behind the craft! Don’t you think? I digress. Connie shares a step-by-step tutorial on her blog, complete with photos of her process. As a mother of nine, I have no idea how she has time to craft since I can barely find time with one baby, but I’m grateful that she does!

Image belongs to Ruffles and Stuff

Image belongs to Ruffles and Stuff

Book Art from Ruffles and Stuff – Disney (the creator of the blog and tutorial, not the cartoon giant) got her inspiration for this project from an Etsy store, Collage-O-Rama, and decided to make her own book art. We all see items we love on Etsy, but when you are strapped for cash, sometimes you just need to make your own. Collage-O-Rama is definitely worth checking out. So much rad stuff on there! Ruffles and Stuff is also good to check out, even if you don’t want to make book art. She has so many tutorials, they have categories: Ladies, Kids and Home.

Image belongs to Design*Sponge

Image belongs to Design*Sponge

Book Page Fabric from Design*Sponge – Everyone knows how much I love this site. This happens to be just one of the very, very many tutorials that Contributor Brenna from paper & ink shares with us. You can visit her page for more awesome tutorials, and if you are into paper crafting, some very beautiful eye candy.

Image belongs to Rook No. 17

Image belongs to Rook No. 17

Upcycled Book Journal from Rook. No. 17 – Jenn not only shares a step-by-step tutorial, including the amount of time it will take (which is good when time is always of the essence), but also the specific names of all the tools she uses. She spent about $5.50 per journal, which is awesome. This would be the perfect way to jot down all of my creative/crafty ideas and document my creative business journey. Wonderful!

I hope this inspires you to either make something from your vintage hard-cover books, or to go out and get some books and get to work! If you happen to find first-edition books, always make sure to check online for the worth. A collector may love you forever if you post the book online for them to purchase. And if you do go for cookbooks, make sure you don’t want the recipes, or jot them down to save somewhere!

Have a fun book craft idea you want to share? Post in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #bookcrafts. You can always get more thrifty inspiration on my Pinterest! Stay thrifty, my friends.

Yo Momma Monday: Linda Peterson

photoMeet Linda Peterson, 47, from Southern Missouri, who is the wonderfully creative mind behind Linda Peterson Designs, where she shares mixed media craft tutorials, how-to videos and polymer crafts. She is a mom, a grandma and a crafter from an early age.

My mom said I was always busy with my hands and if she gave me playdough, I’d play for hours so she could get her housework done.

She continued creating throughout her life, and did a lot of painting and sewing when she had little kids. Her creativity turned out to be a big help when her daughter Mariah was diagnosed with cancer, and Linda crafted in the hospital room to ease her anxiety.

At the time Mariah was born I was busy making rag jackets and when she was born, I was making onesies out of little boys t-shirts and decorating them on the front. This is what I took with me to the hospital when Mariah was little.  I crafted in her room – alot!

She never saw herself as professional artist or designer, but that all changed when she started selling her work to the nurses and Hospital staff. Linda says that necessity was the major push for starting her creative business, since Mariah was in out and out of the Hospital and they lived three hours away. It was at this time that a Nurse urged her to sell at craft shows.

I took literally the last $500 we had to our name, booked a show, bought supplies and did the show.  I made $1500 on that weekend and I was hooked into making and selling.  It was the perfect “job” for me at the time because it allowed me to be flexible and work on my own schedule which was very important considering Mariah’s frequent illnesses and hospital stays. 

Linda admits that starting her creative business was not easy in the beginning – she had a lot of self-doubt, and her first husband did not have faith in her business. She continued selling at trade shows for about five years and in 2001, she finally felt successful.

I empowered myself to not let anyone drag me down and I became ever more determined.  Once I did that, I found success in writing books, guest appearing on TV shows and traveling around to tradeshows for manufactures and teaching all over the world.

Image belongs to Linda Peterson Designs

Image belongs to Linda Peterson Designs

Linda saw that all of her creative friends were blogging, and she decided to give it a whirl. It started as an online journal where she wrote about what she was doing at the time. She started posting tutorials and things that she was interested in, and it evolved from there.

Linda credits Polymer clay artist Donna Kato as her first mentor. She worked with Donna at trade shows and soaked up a lot of her helpful advice. Donna then introduced her to Carol Duvall and Linda was on the The Carol Duvall Show on HGTV for several years. When Linda met Tiffany Windsor from Cool2Craft five years ago, they became instant friends.

Her knowledge of the craft industry, she really gave me the swift kick I really needed to boost my business.  I owe her alot!!!

Anything from something in a magazine to something on the side of the road can inspire Linda to create. She also gets inspiration from her favorite crafters and bloggers, like A Gilded Life, Where Women Create, Spellbinders, Cool2Craft and Funky Junk.

My personal style is vintage with a rustic edge – kinda funky junky and I have a fondness for rusted metal.  I try to follow a variety of styles to keep up with trends.

Linda is now focusing on her own line of products and consumer goods. She is working with a major paper craft company and producing how-to videos and product development. As if that’s not enough, she is also writing a couple books, too.

ART+LIFE BOOK

Image belongs to Cico Books

My work is very diverse, sometimes I’m producing how-to videos (being the producer, director, on camera host and the project creator), other times I’m in front of the computer all day in the video edit bay or writing project instructions.  I write books as well, so when those deadlines are approaching, I’m busy designing projects. A creative day is never the same, which is good, because I’d get bored!  I work just about every day of the year on something – it’s okay – I love it!

She also makes clothes for her granddaughter Carlee Jane, who is almost seven months old. But as we all know, babies grow fast and it’s hard to keep up! Linda says that she is just focusing on enjoying her, and being the best grandma she can be.

Linda says that she enjoys the flexibility of running her own business, but admits that it’s scary to constantly worry about whether or not you will have a job. “It’s feast of famine,” she says. When I asked her if she had any advice for people who are just starting their own businesses, she had this to say:

Do what you can to promote your business by way of a blog, social media and mailing lists.  Toot your own horn and share with others.  Celebrate one another’s triumphs.  It’s all about team work and generally the crafts industry is a pretty happy place to be.

And when it comes to taking advice?

Be willing to accept “CONSTRUCTIVE” criticism and learn from it.  (notice I said, constructive, not de-structive).  If you are creative you are always working – even if you’re not in the studio actually making something.  Stay on trend.  And be willing to accept a lot of NO’s before you get that one YES!  Don’t let anyone rain on your party!

Image belongs to Linda Peterson Designs

Image belongs to Cico Books

You can visit Linda on her website, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. If you know anyone who would be a good fit on Yo Momma Monday – including yourself – please post in the comments and share more on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #yomommamonday. Find more awesome maker mommas on my Pinterest!