Tuesday 9 March 2010


Well its about that time that I pick a winner from Michelle Sander's post.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2010-03-09 16:04:50 UTC

Dana, please email me at Thelittlestredsuitcase@hotmail.com so we can get that bangle set sent your way and thank you for reading The Little red suitcase!!

Thursday 4 March 2010

Life Love Paper

Tina of Life Love Paper creates beauty through paper and through the eye of a camera lens. Her blog is one of my daily go to for inspiration and posts about life in general.

1. When did you start having an interest for photography and why is it that you have such a passion for it? What does it add to your life?

I guess it all started pretty early on. I'd always be the one with the little 35mm camera at school functions or sleepovers with friends. It was always about freezing that moment so I could remember it whether good or bad. After purchasing my first digital, composition and lighting seemed to become more of a factor. It was all about teaching myself and it's the great satisfaction I feel when I do get that great shot. I don't feel complete when I don't take at least a few photos a day. It's the constant desire to learn and grow as a photographer. I believe no matter how good or how professional one is, there's always something new to learn or experience. It never gets boring.

2. What inspires you, what sparks your creative process in both photography and scrap booking.

Flickr, light, my niece, traveling, my will to try anything at least once...these things are what inspire me most in my photography. Photography is what inspires my scrap booking. I always base my layout on the photo. I also find a ton of inspiration through some of my favorite magazines. I'm a sucker for skater mags as well as design and digital mags.

3. Describe what makes a great photo, what kind of imagery or objects tend to call to you.

I like to focus on detail, expression and feeling no matter what the subject. I love a nice DOF, sunflare, and bokeh. My current muse is my 3 year old niece who rarely stands and smiles for me. I'm always getting goofy shots that, to me show the true essence of her character and that is what makes a great photograph for me.

4. Do you think over the years you have acquired a certain look in your scrap booking, is there a certain color or style you gravitate towards?

I'm not sure how to describe my look when it comes to scrapping. I'm told I have a simple style with lot's of details. I lean towards smaller pieces of paper rather than using a whole sheet, and I have this thing were I need to group things in multiples of 3. I find that I like to start with very neutral card stock then from there it's always blue, green, white, pink, yellow and/or woodgrain.

5. When it comes to photo editing, which photo editing software if you go to? Which one would you recommend.

I started with PSE7 but later upgraded to CS4 after downloading the free trial. I find it very user friendly although I still have a lot to learn on that particular program. PSE7 is great though, especially for the price. I would recommend that for the everyday scrapper. CS4 is great investment if you plan on doing some professional work.

6. When did scrap booking come into your life? Do you re-call the first layout or project you ever did?

My first scrapbook was a not so great one. I did it the year I graduated high school back in 96 when supplies were very limited in Alaska. I ruined a lot of old photographs by cutting them up with deco scissors. oh, the horror. I sort of put scrapping away and started rubber stamping, then later became involved in altered arts and collage. I started to get bored of using just stamps and ephemera and wanting to make my paper art more personal. I picked up scrapping again when worked for a magazine distribution center. I noticed all these newer scrap booking publications. I think it was Ali Edwards simple and graphic style that sparked the scrapbooker in me again.

7. How do you choose a photo for a layout: Are there times when you photograph something and have an idea in mind for that particular image? Do you choose a story first or pick an image first and move forward with that?

Well, with the Studio Calico kit, I'll pick and choose photos th
at coordinate some what with the theme. If I really want to use the photo but the colors are off, I'll change the photo to b&w and I always start with a photo. That's where the story begins.

8. What is your space that you use for creating like? What is one of your good organizing techniques, especially for someone with multiple art mediums.

I have a tiny square room which I shouldn't complain about being that a lot of scrapbookers don't have a designated area. I'm also the wrong person to give advice on organization. That's a constant battle for me. My room is a mess for the most part but I'm also in the process of purging A LOT. I'm working to just have my beloved huge solid wood desk I scored at a garage sale and everything else stacked neatly in the closet. I only keep the items that i use the most close to me. Everything else gets placed in a huge pile. I do like use these old relish trays my grandmother passed down to me to hold little bits of paper or chipboard.

9. For those out there that are just looking to get into photography, is there an entry level SLR you would recommend? Which camera was your first?

First SLR camera was a Canon XTi. I loved it, still do. I would highly recommend this one and although I have not used anything else such as a Nikon, the XTi is super reliable and affordable. I do have to ad that it will never be the camera who makes the photographer. Never.

10. You create for a few design teams, one of them is Studio Calico. How do you get the creative juices going for a layout when you have a dead line espe
cially when you are feeling unmotivated?

Deadlines are actually motivating for me especially when it comes to the professionalism of Studio Calico. I don't ever want to let anyone there down by turning in work late. I do admit to have a few uninspired months where I've turned in work that does not make me happy but I'm sure we all have times where we don't like what we produce. My mind is usually cluttered with nonsense during those creative lows. I would definitely walk away if I'm feeling frustrated.

11. Last one, film or digital and why??

Both. I just can't choose one. Digital is forgiving and cheaper when it comes to film and processing being so darn expensive but film will always have
a special place in my heart. No matter how many actions there are out there to produce the look of film, it will never truly give one the satisfaction and excitement of the unexpected results. I'm very fond of my Polaroid SX70 Land camera and I hope to work more with some of my other film cameras this summer.

Thank you Tina! You can find Tina at her blog Life Love Paper, The Dares, as well as The Studio Calico Design Team. Also you can purchase her photographs on her Etsy shop also entitles Life Love Paper.

Sunday 28 February 2010

Thrifted Finds!

Well first of all I just want to say welcome back to The Little Red suitcase, I hope for this to be one of many more interviews and share entries of inspiration to come.

Michelle Sanders is one creative lady. I met her last year at a scrap booking event. Aside from her scrap booking skills, Michelle creates one of a kind, beautiful, vintage inspired jewelry pieces. I thought it would be fun to dig a little into the mind that conjures up all of these designs, so here it goes!

1. Aside from many other creative things you do, how did you start making jewelry?

Ok, funny story…I was about 13 or so and my parents had drug me along with them to a craft show (which they did often). I found a pair of earrings made out of wire wrapped marbles and asked my mom if she would get them for me. Knowing how kids are she told me if I didn’t ask for anything else the whole day she would come back and get them for me. At the end of the day that is the only thing I wanted. My mom asked why that? Why did I want THOSE earrings so badly? I told her because I thought I could make some like it. So she shelled out the $12 for them. I took them home and immediately dug through my brother’s old marbles and started making jewelry. Wow that was a LONG time ago!

2. Describe the process that goes into you deciding on a design, what goes with what and if its a keeper or a re-do.

Well I have sort of a strange process and I haven’t decided if having a touch of ADD is a good thing or a bad thing. I normally have any number of pieces going at the same time because I can’t focus on one thing at a time. My brain won’t let me. As I’m tying this right now I have a million ideas running through my head. It’s exhausting really! Normally I start with a pendant or a vintage item and I build from there. I like to go through my stuff and make little Ziploc bags of things that I want to go together in a piece and then I go back later and work on the piece. That helps keep me focused and helps make the most of my creative outbursts! LOL! As for it being a keeper or not, I don’t think about it too much…I just let it flow and if I make something that doesn’t sell or I don’t wanna keep it for myself, then I’ll rework it.

3. So your business is called Thrifted finds, do you have a favorite thrift shop in your area that you go to? What do you always keep an eye out for? What sort of pieces call out to you?

I have a couple thrift places that I go to locally but the south is not the best place to find good thrifted items. There are a few that I frequent for items for myself, like a groovy little vintage clothing place called “Time Warp” and it’s sister store “Honeymoon Bungalow” has great house wares. Normally my best thrifted finds come from estate sales and little old ladies cleaning out their jewelry boxes. My parents deal in antiques so I often go “shopping” at her house! It’s really a win, win…we get to spend time together and I get some great finds.

4. Now we all pretty much have spaces that we love to sit down and create at, whether it is in a corner in a huge room or even at your kitchen table. Describe your creative space and what you surround yourself with to help inspire you.

I’m embarrassed to say that I have a craft room and I don’t even use it. We live in a tiny house so it’s our only storage so it tends to get out of control. Plus it isolates me from my family so I prefer to work where I can be close to them. Normally I scrapbook at the coffee table in the living room and I make my jewelry pieces at the kitchen table. Yes…my house is a mess. But you would be crazy inspired if you sat down at my kitchen table! LOL!

5. Any other crafty hobbies peak your interest, and why?

Well I scrapbook and do paper crafts. I have ever since I was in grade school. I love paper crafts in general really. I’ve always collected stickers and loved making cards and putting pictures in a memory book. I just evolved with the industry I guess. I had some of the very first scrapbooking magazines ever printed. I also like to sew but I don’t sew very well! LOL! I just do little projects for myself. Actually I only bought my sewing machine to sew on my scrapbook pages but being the thrifty person I am I had to find other things to do with it to justify the purchase!

6. When you're in a creative rut, what sort of things do you do to pull yourself out of it to get back into creating again?

I look through my inspiration folder on my computer for pictures I’ve gathered while surfing the net. But I get most of my inspiration just by digging in my stash of vintage pretties. For me that is the best way to get the juices flowing again.

7. Ok, last one.............and it’s just a random fun one. Silver or gold?? And why? :)

Hmmmm…If it’s something I’m purchasing I get silver normally but lately I’ve been loving working with antique gold in my jewelry pieces. I think it’s because it’s very vintage…It wasn’t until the 90s that we all trended towards silver so I guess when you embrace vintage you sort of develop a love for gold again.

Be sure to check out Michelle's shop and enter "The Little Red Suitcase" in the comment section when checking out and you will receive 15% from your purchase!

Also leave a comment in the comment section of this post for your chance to win this beautiful bangle set from Michelle. You have until Monday, March 8th 12pm eastern time.

Thank you Michelle!

Wednesday 24 February 2010


This time The little red suitcase is really coming back! Look for an all new interview this weekend as well as tutorials starting in March. Cynthia will be bringing you weekly tutorials right here on The little red suitcase. See you all soon.

Monday 23 February 2009

Taking a break

The little red suitcase will be back in March. So dont forget to keep a lookout for upcoming interviews and tutorials!!!


Thursday 19 February 2009

Some of interest for all of you handmade people!

There is not much time left to get yourself a Product Showcase ad in our April/May issue, featuring the stunning Lily Allen on the cover!

This is our music issue, with juicy interviews, trend reports and fresh fashion so you can start the Spring in style! It would be a crying shame not to let almost half a million BUST readers know about you in print!
The Product Showcase is the least expensive form of print advertising out there. You get to submit an image of YOUR special product, as well as your website, your product name and the price. It’s like catalog shopping edited down to it’s best form! Our BUST readers love to peruse the showcase to find out where to get the most unique ring, or that special pair of earrings, or tote that no other gal has.

So don’t delay, there literally are only a few spaces left, and at only $150 bucks, they’re going fast!

Click here to get more info and sign up for this unique opportunity: http://www.bust.com/Info/BUST-Product-Showcase.html

Your product could be featured in the showcase just like the ones below!

Friday 13 February 2009

The Freckled Nest

My next interview is a fairly fun one. I came across Leigh-Ann's blog via the internet about a year or so ago. At the time I was just getting into the art of preserving memories, whether it be through scrap booking, or journaling, and Leah-Ann and her work were very inspiring to me. She has a wonderful personality, an awesome eye for album design, and she shares her life in wonderful images and great stories including inside jokes that she and her boyfriend exchange. I thought it only perfect to ask her to allow me to interview her for the little red suitcase, with so much going on in her life creatively, its just perfect timing. Be prepared to smile, giggle, and find out some more behind this Canadian chick and her wonderful part of the Internet called The Freckled Nest!

1.First lets get down and dirty, the nitty gritty. Who is Leigh-Ann? Give us a peek into your life!

Hiiii! :]
I'm 27 (and can't remember my age off the bat), people call me LA a lot, my sister is my best friend and my brother sends me hilarious texts through out the week. Keith is my super cute boyfriend and I love him so so much. Freckled Nest is my full time job and my dream come true. I used to live for the weekend... now I can't wait for Monday :]

Here's where I work..................

I collect buttons ,

old library cards and rocks shaped like hearts. I don't wear pants when I'm home alone. I love hoodies, old sour soothers candies, and tickle fights. I'm giggly, quiet in groups, full of energy and ideas, and lately, I looove yellow. Garage Sailing is my all time favorite hobby. Our family has an awesome cabin that we built together. It's an hour out of town and its the perfect getaway :) Lola loves running away to go swimming while we're there...and I'm guessing our new puppy Tom will probably copy her this summer ;)
My favorite shows are Project Runway, silly MTV reality shows and lately, reruns of 90210 :] My fave band ever is Tegan and Sara , second favorite, Metric/Emily Haines and I also I love listening to my dad Whistle. He sounds just like the songs and I can tell he's happy when he's whistling :] My Mom and Dad are awesome parents and the cutest grandparents to Olivia and Kennedy (my 2 year old twin nieces) . Keith's parents are really special too, and they treat me like a daughter :] Oh and last thing...I had my first cup of coffee a few weeks ago...and now I'm soooo hooked on Starbucks ;)

2. I am sure you have explained this next
one plenty of times, but for those who do not know the answer already, what is behind the name Freckled Nest? Why did you decide that this name represents you and what you do perfectly?

haha, ok!---This is how it happened... I was thinking of a name to represent me and not contain/categorize what I make (so I could expand in any direction and use the same name for everything). I took out my little green dictionary and looked up words that started with 'f' (because I like how the letter f looks in my handwriting). I found the word Freckle and knew that was a perfect start (i looooove when people have freckles; they're like human polka dots!). Then I was talking to my friend, and she was helping me expand on the name... and she was asking me what I like. I started listing things off... paper, books, sea glass, swimming, trees, turtles, birds... and then i told her "I like birds so much, I've let them nest in my roof for the last 3 years"...and it clicked together and I yelled out "FRECKLED NEST"! We were both like... "EEEEEEEEEE"... it was perfect! Nests totally feel like the way I create my art; I take found pieces from around my community, work them together and let my stories live there :)

3. When I first started visiting your blog about a year ago, I noticed you had quite the knack for album and mini book making. How did you get started in that whole craft? Did you take a class? Where you self taught? And possibly describe to us the first one you made, maybe even a little story of the making of that particular one!

I saw a picture in a book one time of a women's mini albums lined up in a shelf...and I thought it was the most beautiful thing. And I knew I only wanted to make little albums (rather than traditional scrap booking). I took one class at a local paper storeccordion album. Other than that, I'm self taught and I just like trying different things and having fun thru the journey of each album. This was my first original design .

These are some of my albums....................... And this is my very favorite mini album... ... because so much of my heart went into it. I made it after my Grandpa passed away, and it was how I "healed". I made the cover out of 2 corn cans my grandpa flattened (he was big into recycling & scrap metal). I was in his shop with him one day, and they caught my eye. He always teased me... "You make your can album yet Sweetpea?"....lol, he couldn't picture how they would be useful to me :) Wish he coulda saw this album.

4. For those who want to give it a go and make their own mini book, I see that you have some kits in your Etsy. How do you come up with these kits? If someone were to order one, what would they receive and on a scale of 1-10 what sort of experience would you need?

*Note: The Above "One hour kit" is a kit offered in the past from Freckled Nest, it is not the one that will be released next week
Most of my kits are an album I originally just made for myself. If I love my album like crazy, I make it into a Kit for my shop :) I recently decided to make a Mini Album Kit Club (New Kit will be released next week at FreckledNest.com, everyone welcome).
Hard to say the level of experience needed on a scale of 1-10... I do write very good instructions (literally step by step) and include example photos along the way. So as long as you can follow instructions and know how to use the tools needed for the project (ex. bone folder, paper cutter, glue, needle&thread, etc), you can make one of my kits. The kits include all the fun supplies to make the album plus great instructions. And once you've made the mini-album, you can use your instructions (which include the supply sizes & quantities) to make the same album again and again in your own style :]

5. Aside from your album making, your Etsy store has some other handmade items and supplies. Describe to us some of the ot
her things you like to make and sell. What has been your favorite item? And what has been the most popular seller?

My Etsy Shop holds lots of different things...but lately, I've had a lot of success with Custom Mini Albums, Photobooth Albums (i think I'm the only store that sells an album perfect for Photobooth Strips, so a lot of photobooth addicts get sent my way by their friends) and Custom Blog Banner Designs (see a selection of my designs here). I'm also well known for Custom Stitching, but I'm kinda enjoying a little break from that right now ;) Other things in my shop include Vintage Things, Button Dog Collars (Lola and Tom both have one and they're strong and adorable), a variety of small photo albums, and my favorite, Button Button ;)

6. I like to always try and ask a handmade seller the pros and cons of selling stuff you make. It gives others a little glimpse into the world of running a small cottage industry of sorts. Please do share!

I started selling the stuff I make because I like to play store and I love 'the journey of making'...but I don't need a million blank journals. So I thought by selling things I make, I can use the money to restock my supplies and keep doing it :) Sometimes I feel a bit sad sending off the things I create because I get a bit attached (so I always take pictures so I can enjoy it still).
I think it's important to create things that 1) you love 2) are polished (people wonder if it came from "a store") 3) are different than whats out there. It's hard to sell what other people know how to make... so look for a niche that isn't tapped into, and try that out in your style :)
Running a small business full time (or any amount of time) takes a lot of work, time, drive and personal strength. If that's what you want, set goals, work really hard and don't give up!
I did Freckled Nest 4 years before I was ready to go Full Time. I tried a lot of different products along the way; some succeeded, some failed, and some still remain :) I worked a full time day job thru those 4 years, and did Freckled Nest full time evenings and weekends. (But I am not recommending that schedule...I should not have done so much work...a lot of my relationships suffered because of it). But I persisted thru, motivated myself most of the time, and developed a personal style, business plan, good reputation and strong customer base. I jumped the gun on doing it full time (with no other job), I think I should have waited about 6months more or went down to part time, but it worked out in the end. Now that I am doing it full time, I finally feel like I'm in a good grove. I've built structure into my days, the orders keep coming, I've started putting more attention to advertising, and I'm creating beautiful things that I'm in love with :) Nothing beats that!

7. Freckled Nest has truly evolved, and I'm sure this has been a very unique experience. What is in store for Freckled Nest and also in store for you personally especially when it comes to your creative life.

hmmm. Good question :) I have a lot of ideas, and a lot of great things coming! I am very excited to start the Mini Album Kit Club and see what other women build with Freckled Nest kits. I'm working on designing some clothing and "merch". My Advertizing Girl, Six Gun Annie and I are going to do cross promotions with different bands... thru fun T-Shirts I design (with FreckledNest.com on the backs). I can't wait to show you my first one, it's super cute and a bit naughty ;) These t-shirts will eventually be available in my store too :)
We're also going to be growing a Freckled Nest Street Team (FNST icon)...there will be special perks for Street Team Members who help advertise Freckled Nest around their world (we will provide advertizing tools) :) Starting in March, I'll be selling Photobooth Albums and Notebooks at Lune Vintage in Osborne Village, Winnipeg...and I'll be teaching some classes there too :) I'm also collaborating with Red Velvet Art and will be selling exclusive Freckled Nest items thru RVA, starting in May. I'm excited to be traveling to Missouri in April/May to help Elsie and Rachel at their store & RVA Convention and meeting some of my blog friends at the convention! :)
In my creative life, lots of things are on fire! I'm so amped and don't want to go to sleep at night! But the thing I most want to create these days...is a baby! Keith and I talk about it a lot...and we want to wait a bit longer.... but I'm ready to be a Mommy soon :) Shhhh ;)

8. I have to ask about Tom. I am in love with your dog, such a cutie. Mind telling us about him and throwing in a cute story:)

Tom and Lola are my LP and BP (Little Partner and Big Partner) and I love spending my days working with them :) They keep me laughing :) I saved this story just for you Patty:) Lately, Tom is jealous of me being on the computer and not paying allll my attention to him, lol. So he keeps laying in front of my face, and popping up in weird places to get my attention. Here he is,... my new web cam, between my legs under the laptop, and just one for extra cute measure :)

9. Tell us about your perfect work space, what you surround yourself with, what music you like to have playing in the background while creating.

already have my perfect workspace...I just like these things: Good light (love natural light), tv or ipod in the background and I love when Keith crafts with me (he builds models). The only thing missing...I really need a maid! lol! But really, I guess if someone wanted to give me a real dream studio, it would be this one in some part of my home :)

I love the idea of multiple tables (so I could have different projects ongoing and left out)...tons of shelving for display and supplies, tall ceilings, great lighting, cement floors, and a long wall of windows. (I took this photo at Brush Fire Studios where I go pottery painting sometimes.)
While I create, I usually have a tv show or Point Break or music on in the background. I like to listen to Tegan and Sara, The Brunettes, She & Him, Jeremy Larson, Metric, Emily Haines, Andrew Bird, Lisa Loeb (old school), soundtracks to movies I love, The Weakerthans, Feist, Coconut Records, City and Color. But then the funny thing is, I also really like this..................

10. 5 things that you Leigh-Ann, could not live without.

My family. My hands. Buttons. Tampons. Cheddar Cheese. Annnd Keith would add, My Laptop. lol.


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