Knitting Contrissmas DAY SEVEN, are you having fun so far?
Today I bring you the amazing, cheerful, incredibly talented and lovely Amy Powers. Amy is the force behind one of my favorite online magazines, Inspired Ideas. I just adore Amy and I know you will too! I look forward to each and every issue of Inspired Ideas, really– I just can’t wait! It’s a beautiful, idea packed magazine that never fails to make me pick up something and be crafty happy. If you haven’t tried an issue, do yourself a favor and pop on over to the website and pick up as many as you can. You can thank me later!
Amy is very graciously giving away a hardcopy of the latest Inspire Magazine—- the Christmas Edition. You know you want it! Comment by midnight CST December 12th and the random gen will choose a very lucky winner!
KC: Thanks so much Amy for hanging out with us in the middle of the crazy holiday season! I know things are super busy at your house!
AP: Have you ever heard of the book “Unplugging the Christmas Machine”? The subtitle is “A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season”…I have to admit, our house does get awfully busy this time of year but I try to remember to slow us down and enjoy the season…to not get too caught up in the hustle and bustle. Easier said than done, right? This book is a great reminder to slow down and focus on what’s important. We don’t have to make ourselves crazy…give yourself a break. If you’re too tired to make fudge this year, skip it! And is making your own gift wrap worth it when it’s just shoved in a garbage bag two minutes after it’s ripped into? Christmas will be just fine if you do a little less…I promise.
KC: I’ve read your blog for ages and have to say it is one of my favorites, along with your fabulous online magazine “Inspired Ideas”. I have every issue and still enjoy them today.
AP: Thank you so much, Tina. It’s a joy to share my life on my blog and I love working on the magazine. I hope it lives up to its name and inspires you. Thank you for reading my blog and magazine!
KC: One of the things I love most about you Amy is how you are so real, so transparent, so loving as you write your blog. Your story of your son Alfredo and how he came into your life along with the daily travails are warm spots in my heart. What can I say, along with your many blog followers I just adore you! It was a pleasure to have met you recently in Minneapolis and to see that in person you are as warm and caring as you seem in print.
AP: Thank you for the kind words. It was so great seeing your smile shining across the room. I’m so happy we were able to meet. And isn’t this love story with Alfredo an incredible one? I’ve learned so much from this sweet little boy. You know, three years ago this time of year, we were just heartbroken, thinking we’d never see him again. And now here we are, a happy family of 3. It’s just amazing.
KC: You are tremendously crafty! The projects you share in your blog and that you collate for “Inspired Ideas” are wonderful! Do you have a favorite creative thing to do?
AP: I think my favorite kind of crafting is just puttering around, feeling inspired, and putting things together in clever or unusual ways. I grew up in a very creative family…my mother was always sewing and making things and my father had a doll hospital. I used to sit right underneath him at his sewing machine. I was making things and he was making things. And before we knew it, I had a nest of thread in my hair from him tossing them aside as he sewed.
KC: All things vintage speak to you, how do you see old items and give them a new spin? Is this something that occurs naturally to you? That’s to say, are you an innately crafty person?
AP: I had a children’s crafting book when I was little called “Things to Make and Do”. I made nearly every thing in that whole book…from a real teepee to a dollhouse desk made of matchboxes! And if there were craft stores back then, I didn’t know about them. My crafting supplies consisted of pipecleaners, construction paper, and glue. My craftiness is steeped in me, born from those days of making stuff from that darling book, and cultivated by my very crafty parents.
KC: How did you decide to become the creator of “Inspired Ideas”?
AP: My husband is famous for telling me “You’re not a factory!”…sometimes when I am making stuff to sell, it’s easy for me to forget that. The magazine is a way for me to stay creative and create…but not in that crazy, frenetic way that I get when I’m making lots of things to sell.
KC: What does your creative process look like when you put together an issue?
AP: The magazine creation is really pretty organic. I work on the project articles separately but then once I start pulling them together, a flow and a look starts to form. I work closely with my friend Pam Keravuori to get the flow just right…maybe a particularly involved project will follow a simpler one…or maybe the colors of this project complement the ones in this other project. None of this is necessarily planned…the issues just seem to come together in this way. KC: Do you have a favorite issue or is that too much like asking which is your favorite child?
AP: You know, the last issue I do is always my favorite issue. I keep thinking that each issue is better than the last. Maybe when that stops happening, it’ll be time to throw in the towel.
KC: 2011 was an enormous year for you personally and professionally. From being awarded custody of your beloved Alfredo to being featured in national publications such as Matthew Mead’s Holiday series. What is coming in 2012?
AP: Who knows! But I do know it’ll be a great year. One thing I’m working on is an online workshop with video! I’m so excited about adding that dimension. Alfredo will be starting kindergarten in 2012. And Rich and I will be celebrating our 15th year of marriage. It seems like it’ll be an exciting year. KC: One of the things I believe we would all love to give ourselves in the coming year is the gift of joy. You fully embrace happiness and joy and have made a decision to BE HAPPY and enjoy the moment. Those of us who have read your blog know that you’ve faced adversity yet you remain optimistic and joyful— and are generous in sharing your joy. What do you think makes a difference in creating a life you choose, one of true joy and daily happiness. (Note: yeah, that was an easy question, wasn’t it???)
AP: This is a great question…and the way you posed it is right on. Happiness is a choice. When you hear all the terrible things in the world, it’s easy to get sucked down into it. Try to think of your JOY as the positive force to counter it. If you allow yourself to get sucked into the sadness, the dumps, the blahs, you are just adding to the negative forces of the world. Whatever is going on in your life, you can choose to believe that God will provide for you. If you can choose to live your life however you want…why would you choose to be anything but happy?
KC: How do you celebrate the holidays?
AP: It always goes by too fast, doesn’t it? We play lots of Christmas music (and sing along), put the lights on the tree from first thing in the morning until we go to bed, read lots of Christmas stories, and shop online!
KC: Your “Vintage Christmas” in Matthew Mead is lovely—- is your home decked out from door to door with handmade and vintage wonder?
AP: Oh, how I love pulling out all the Christmas things and rediscovering them! There are always ones that I forgot completely. The tree is full of ornaments that mean something to our family. Rich and I started a tradition about 10 years ago of going to Neiman Marcus and picking out one lovely ornament. What was so nice about it was that their ornaments always have a charm for the year dangling on it. The problem is that the last time we did it, in 2009, the ornament prices (which had been relatively reasonable…under $30) had tripled! The last ornament we bought was a tiny pink hippo that Alfredo picked out. It cost as much as the most wonderful handpainted ornament we’d bought the year before. Maybe this year, we should make an ornament together and be sure to include the year on it!
KC: Will you be giving handmade gifts this year? Can we peek into your gift list?
AP: We have a huge family and, even though we pick names for both sides, we still like to give a little something to everyone. But with a giving list 50 or so deep, that can add up in a hurry. For the little girls on our list, I am making the most adorable felt “paper” dolls…they are turning out so lovely! The youngest girls will get a little felt doll with a whole wardrobe of lovely clothes and shoes and even hair to switch. The older girls will get the felt doll with patterns and felt and tiny embellishments so they can create their own fashions! I have an idea for the ladies on my list…it will be an emergency kit to keep in your purse or glove compartment with things like needle and thread, tiny scissors, bandaids, advil, paper clips, rubber bands, safety pins…all packed sweetly in a little tin! Won’t this be a great gift for the teachers, too! And for the guys, I was thinking of making little felt handwarmers to go in their pockets. (also great for the volunteers at the carpool lane!)
KC: I am absolutely crazypants about the little felt handwarmer idea! I’m stealing it right now, how fabulous!!!!!
Thanks Amy for the wonderful chance to visit a little and get to know you better! I send you and your family the loveliest Christmas possible! *Remember to comment to win Amy’s giveaway, a print version of the Christmas Issue of Inspired Ideas!