Okay, so perhaps the title of today’s post isn’t exactly accurate. After all, odds are all of you are familiar with Miss Jennifer McGuire already. She’s an amazing mama of four beautiful kiddos, a remarkable crafter, an awesome author, an outstanding teacher, and so much more!
If you’re one of the 5,118 people who follow her on Instagram (yes, you read that number correctly—wow!), you know she describes herself there as: “Christian, Mom, Mum, Wife and Inky Stamper.” Seems like a pretty perfect synopsis to me.
Yes, many are very well aware of Jennifer and the beautiful work she does in our pretty paper world. In fact, many of you stated in my “Hello” trend post that she is one person you’d love to sit down and craft with, so I know she has fans here. So, rather than call this “meet” Jennifer, why don’t we call this a “sit down” with Jennifer. We may not be living out that dream of crafting together *boo,* but we can shoot the breeze a bit and learn a bit more about her insights into trends, crafting, and even parenthood. Yay!
Let’s get started!
Megan: Of the many amazing trends on the scene at the moment (in the world of crafting or otherwise), what is your current fav and why?
Trend Friend: I am really enjoying the watercolor trend. I have honestly always wished I was a true artist – one that could sit down and paint something gorgeous. However, since I don’t have that talent, I am thankful I can “fake it” with my inks and papers for cardmaking. There are so very many techniques that give watercolor looks and they are all so very addicting!
Megan: From your trend-savvy vantage point, what would you say is the next big thing we can look forward to in the world of paper crafting?
Trend Friend: Honestly, I am not always up on the newest and biggest trends, so I am not sure that I can predict where we will be going next. However, I think with the popularity of watercolor paints and embossing pastes and stencils, we will be seeing more and more art mediums coming into play in paper crafting. There are so many great tools out there for traditional artists, so why not get them in the hands of paper craft artists? We can mix them together with products we already have for fun textured backgrounds and more.
Megan: Is it fair to say that doing what you do as well as you do it takes work and research? Would you mind taking us off the beaten path a bit and sharing some of your research gems? A couple of lesser known online avenues you may be aware of that you find inspiring when it comes to trends and staying ahead of the curve?
Trend Friend: My research comes from playing. I love to search “what’s new” in my favorite online stores and try to brainstorm fun ways to use the new products. I then play! I just get my inks and stamps and dies out and play. There is no better way to learn your products better… no better way to understand techniques.
That being said, I think it is important to figure out for themselves what inspires them – what their means of research is. For some it is learning from blogs and case-ing what they see. For others it is watching YouTube videos or taking online classes. Others get inspired by going to crops. Just spend some time thinking about it. It will pay off!
Megan: As you find yourself inspired to create, how do you translate that inspiration into projects? For example, do you have a notebook where you keep your trendy tidbits contained to pull from as you’re crafting?
Trend Friend: I have a planner where I keep all my crafty work info. I keep a list of techniques I want to try and ones that I plan to share in a video. This helps me to keep track. I find the more I play, the longer that list gets!
Megan: You’re known for your technique prowess. Are there any trends that are more technique-related right now? If so, what are they and what’s your favorite?
Trend Friend: As I mentioned before, watercolor is very popular right now and there are many techniques you can do to achieve a watercolor look. My favorite? Distress Inks. Distress Inks are a technique in and of themselves! Just add a touch of water and they react and do all the work for you. Amazing product. Even better techniques.
Megan: Jennifer, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get a little more personal here and off the trend topic for a moment. I’ve had the pleasure of working with you here and there for many years and one thing has always stood out to me above all else—your ability to put your beautiful family first. You’re a work-from-home mama with young kiddos. As a new(ish) mom, I now understand just what a challenging task it is to keep the family and home your priority when the home is also your place of work. Would you mind sharing a tip or two on how to do this successfully? I know you’re about as modest as they come, so you probably aren’t comfortable tooting your own horn in such a way, so I’ll toot it for you and say you’re a brilliant mama and I know many of us would love a tip or two on finding and maintaining that balance you seem to keep so well.
Trend Friend: Oh boy… I have you fooled. HA! I struggle just like everyone else. Big time! Everyone is searching for balance. I will be honest, I struggle with all the bloggers out there who talk about how to have a happy and balanced life and share only the happy moments. I feel this can be unfair to other women. We ALL have challenges and it is good to talk about them. That is how we grow and support each other! Therefore, I am always very honest about my struggles. It is important to share with each other our “normal days,” not just our “best days.”
That being said, I have a lot of support from my husband. Big time support! Also, my kids are good sleepers and I work really hard when they are napping or at school. Evenings are tough since we have an almost-2 year old, 8 year old and 16 year old (the oldest is away at college.) which means we have SO many activities! But I try to multi-task the best I can. We all get the same 24 hours in a day. While some people chose to read or watch tv, I chose to work. That way I can stay a full time mom, too. I am blessed to love both of my jobs… as a crafter and a mom!
Oh, and one other thing. I find staying organized (or trying to!) helps me in all aspects of my life. Big time.
Megan: Speaking of working from home, you’ve recently done some major work on your stunning studio. How about a peek inside?
Trend Friend: Yes, we did a pretty massive remodel and addition. And thankfully my husband encouraged me to build in an awesome studio for me to work in. I am thankful he did. It isn’t nearly as big as my old room that was in my basement but I have found that to be such a good thing. Too much product can be overwhelming!
I share a lot of organization tips and videos (and have lots coming up) on my YouTube channel and blog. Being organized with my crafting is KEY to me getting a lot done.
Megan: What’s next for you, Jennifer? Any secret projects you can let us in on?
Trend Friend: Honestly? Nope! I am so very happy and content where I am. I am not one who goes out looking for the next best thing or has desires for product lines, etc. I am so very comfortable doing my blog and online classes. A great place for me!
Megan: How can our SCT Trend Friends learn more about you and your style?
• Blog: http://www.jennifermcguireink.com/
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenmcguireink
• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-McGuire-Ink/102091309873569
• Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jenmcguireink/
• Instagram: http://instagram.com/jennifermcguireink/
Megan: Anything else? Feel free to share.
Trend Friend: A big thanks to you, Megan. You have always been such a positive and happy force in this industry. Love ya!
Thanks Jennifer for being so willing to share and take time out to play with us today. We know you’re an incredibly busy lady, and it means so much to all of us that you were able to work this little “sit down” in with us today! Having this glimpse inside your creative world is an absolute treat, and we appreciate you making it happen.
Questions for Jennifer?
Have questions for Jennifer or simply want to leave her a little love note? Now’s your chance! Simply leave a comment here. I know she’d love hearing from you!