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?", 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, 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 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 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.


Suzanne said...

Yet another great interview - loved this one! It makes me want to go and get crafting right NOW.
I just discovered her blog a short while ago and I am now addicted to it, especially since she's from my hometown!

Anonymous said...

Amazing interview! You are so original like your own works!
Congrats! :)

jen renee said...

awesomeness. LOVED reading through all the lovely details!

anne esquibel said...

Oh Ms. LA! I loved reading this. Tom Tooter is very handsome I might say. Can't wait for the shirts!!!!!!!!!!!

Six Gun Annie oxox

Anonymous said...

another great interview! I love reading them!
I LOVE the photobooth album...we go to the photobooth at least once a month, I have them on my walls and in a big stack-so smart!

Freckled Nest said...

Thanks for interviewing me Patty! You're so awesome :)

Thanks for the nice comments ladies :)

tay. said...

Ahhh Tegan and Sara are AMAZING. Call It Off and Back In Your Head are in my top 10 most played.

Louana said...

Very cool interview and I love the look of this blog, it's awesome!


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