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Feature Friday: Katie Favors

Happy Feature Friday!  

Headshot2Today we’re bringing to you a fun interview with Katie Favors who makes an amazing assortment of handmade gifts! We love “just because” gifts and think her products would be the perfect thing to surprise your group of friends with! It’s so awesome that she creates everything herself and is also able to customize her favors to give them that personal touch! Katie is also an advocate for small businesses and has some great tips for those looking to get started on a creative endeavor of their own! Keep reading to hear what she has to say and if you’re looking for a party favor whether it be magnets, bottle openers, pocket mirrors and more – look no further than Katie Favors! Make sure to follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and check out her Etsy store while you’re at it!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 3.46.27 PMI live just outside DC with my headstrong puppy Bayleigh. I’m a planner, known for starting my Christmas shopping in February. If I’m not working on my small business, I’m exploring one of the many vineyards close by, planning weekenders with friends, or learning a new hobby. My passion aside from running my own small business has been helping empower other small businesses to tackle communication challenges. We’re all in this together and championing other creatives only strengthens our community!

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Feature Friday: Crafting Extraordinaire Amy Wanford

BY TARA & CAILIN BURKE

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unnamedCalling all crafters! If you love a good paper cutter, stamping, finding cute appliqués and just making beautiful things, this post is for you. We came upon Amy’s work on Instagram and loved her fun, carefully designed and sometimes quirky card creations. She has something to fit every occasion and design preference. Whether you are looking for something classically pretty or out of the ordinary she has a card for you. Crafting is all about trying new directions, medias and subjects. One day you can design a bag and on another you can paint wine glasses, which is why crafting is so great! You have room to experiment and find out what craft you’re best at. Amy has clearly honed her skills in card making and it shows in how professional her cards look. We could easily see any of her designs being printed and sold in major card retailers and we hope to see just that happen in her future! Check out her website, http://craftingconfessions.blogspot.co.uk, to see more of her work and see what products she uses to make her cards. Keep reading to learn more about Amy in our exclusive interview with the fabulous crafter!

What got you started?

I’ve always had a love for paper in various forms but I was hooked on card making in 2008. I visited a scrapbooking shop, (I’d never heard of scrapbooking before!) purchased a couple of stamps and inks and the rest, as they say, is history!

What are your inspirations?

It may sound cliché, but I find inspiration everywhere. I find it in trends, in advertising, in work, in people – the list goes on! I’ve been known to wake up in the middle of the night with inspiration striking! It’s good that I always have a little notebook on hand to scribble my ideas down.

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Who is your favorite professional in your field?

Oh you just can’t ask that question! I have so many! I’ll name a few, but there’s so much talent out there and so much to admire – that’s what I love about this creative community.

  • Cristina Kowalczyk wows me continually with her graphic designs.
  • Debby Hughes can make any media look amazing.
  • Iwona Palamountain has such a distinct style with so much attention to detail.
  • Jennifer McGuire teaches new things that have me saying “genius!”
  • Julie Ebersole not only has the most infection giggle, but such a wonderful style with a punch of humour.

What are your favorite medias to work with?

This is a bit of a toughie as it changes. I guess one media I always find myself working with is stamps. It’s what first hooked me into card making and there are so many different techniques you can play with by using stamps.

Apart from stamps, I’m often die cutting. I swear I must have one bicep bigger than the other given how much I do!

What is your aesthetic?

My comfort zone is clean-and-simple. I’m a sucker for graphic design and clever use of space.

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Name your favorite go-to creative spot?

I’m lucky. I get to share a room with my fiancé’s musical side so it’s great to sit at my desk and create with musical accompaniment. I always work at my desk as I’m surrounded by my supplies. It’s impossible for me to work elsewhere as I’d be running back and forth for materials – I very rarely create knowing exactly what I’ll require beforehand.

What are your future goals and biggest dreams?

Long-term I would love to make a living out of this industry. To create and earn a living would be a dream come true! Short-term I would love to find some time to sit and create some more clear stamp designs and actually learn more about digital designing. I’m a total self-taught novice and I often think that people must create in minutes what takes me hours!

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What is the hardest part about what you do?

One word: Time! There’s never enough of it! It’s hard balancing a full time job with hobbies other than papercrafting. I often find that I’m feeling more creative at night, (I’m a night-owl) yet that’s the time I need to be going to sleep for work the next morning!

How has your work changed over time? What have you learned in your creative process?

My work has changed so much! At first, I was one of those pile-it-on-high card makers with layers and embellishments galore. It makes me cringe a little to think about it, but it’s all part of the creative journey. I then found my love for the clean-and-simple style.

More recently I’ve been inspired by the mixed media/collage style and love experimenting with different products. I think you learn so much from your creative process: what works, what doesn’t work etc…

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What is the most memorable compliment you’ve received?

I don’t have a memorable compliment. However, I’m totally complimented by anyone who comments on my work, pins my work, or is inspired by my work in any way. I papercraft as a creative outlet and if it reaches anyone in a positive way then that’s a big bonus. 🙂

Tell us a little bit about who you are.

Although my name is Amy, most know me as Aimes and I’m a tea, toast and papercrafting addict. I work full time in education by day and papercraft by night. I currently live in Sheffield, England with my fiancé who is my resident technical support for everything!

Any tips?

Enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing then ask yourself why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for. Do what you love, love what you do!

I’d also suggest that it’s always worth trying something new every once in a while – it’s true when they say nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have to pinch myself sometimes to see my own creative journey and most of the fabulous opportunities come from taking chances.

Pasta Recipe & Girl’s Night Tips

BY TARA BURKE

Getting together with your best girlfriends is always so much fun. For a catch-up with our friend who goes to school nearby, we decided we wanted to cook and have a girl’s night in. Our friend found a pasta recipe on Pinterest that she had tried and loved, and she wanted to share it with us. When she arrived at our place we were so excited we hopped right into the car to hit the grocery store for the ingredients. Here’s what you will need:

#1) One Pound of Gemelli Pasta

#2) Salt and Pepper

#3) Six Slices of Bacon

#4) Four Leeks or Two Large Leeks

#5) Two Large Eggs

#6) 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan 

#7) Zest of One Lemon

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Here’s a link for how you mix all these ingredients together to make this delicious and easy pasta dish: http://www.alexandracooks.com/2011/11/28/pasta-carbonara-—-easiest-weeknight-dinner/

We all split up the cooking tasks. I cooked up the bacon, Cailin zested the lemon and our friend Katy took the lead and chopped the leeks and bacon. She also cooked them down and added the ingredients into the mixing bowl along with the eggs, lemon zest and drained pasta. It was done in no time. All that was left to do was sit down and enjoy!

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Our meal was delicious and it’s a perfect pasta dish if you tend to lean towards the creamier pasta recipes that are amazingly scrumptious, but not that healthy. The eggs and parmesan cheese give it a creamy flavour, without having to actually add heavy cream and the lemon vest balances all the flavors giving it a fresh zing.

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After lots of catching up, girl talk and literary discussions, yes, we can’t seem to escape our love of books when we’re together; we were ready for dessert. I tampered with the idea of making something from scratch, but after a big business law test had me beat from studying I opted for an easy favorite, brownie mix! However, the mix we used isn’t your ordinary fudge brownie mix, it is Ghirardelli Caramel Turtle brownie mix. We tried this mix for the first time after our family brought them to our Super Bowl party. They were too good and were a simple way to make a ooey gooey chocolate dessert.

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We had a great time, with great food and lots of laughs. If you ever find yourself in need of an easy, but put-together meal for a casual dinner party, try this dish!

Plan a Winning Super Bowl Party

BY CAILIN BURKE

T-minus one week until the Super Bowl and if you’re planning on hosting a Super Bowl party, there’s a lot you have to do before kickoff!

First, you have to decide who’s coming. For me, I generally stick with family because I know they’ll understand that I rather watch the game intently and not speak. In my Sports Media class the other day, we were talking about Super Bowl parties and how they generally involve friends trying to talk to you, ask you what’s happening, or who you think is going to win during the middle of something important.

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Courtesy of emotiongifs.com

In the Super Bowl, even commercials are important so there’s not much time to talk! If you own two TVs, a good solution is to have one area where the intense watchers can see every second of the game, and another area where the people that want to socialize can watch.

Now… how should you decorate?  Some people like it simple, but for those of you who want football decorations everywhere, you can get plenty of cool items to make your party stand out.

If you’re not a fan of either of the teams go for some decorations with the Super Bowl XLVIII logo on them. I love these balloons from Party City, but the balloon bouquet is definitely my favorite! Party City in general has a lot of great Super Bowl decorations so you can check them all out here.

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You can get NFL tablecloths, football shaped confetti, banners, or basically anything shaped like a football. If you want to save money, dollar stores often have football party supplies and Dollar Tree in particular has a football shaped chip and dip tray. If you want to spend a few more dollars though, you can get one at Party City too that’s a little fancier.

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 21.25.08 Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 21.26.02I’m also a fan of themed dinnerware and there are a ton of football paper plates and cups at dollar stores, party stores, and even some sports merchandise stores. The coolest thing I saw were these football shaped napkins:

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 21.45.20If one of your teams is in the Super Bowl, you can have even more fun with the decorations and supplies for your party! Again, balloons are great for any party, especially tied to the back of each chair, or placed in the corners of your house with balloon weights. Whether you’re a Broncos or Seahawks fan, these helmet shaped balloons from birthdaydirect.com are awesome!

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 21.55.07 Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 22.05.20Broncos and Seahawks fans would also both love these Party City “bottle jerseys” to spruce up any drink and represent your team. ‘Cause what’s better than you and your drink both wearing a jersey, right?

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Next, we can’t forget the food. You can go the classic route of store/restaurant bought pizza and wings, nachos, or chips and dip, but you can also try something a little different. You could cook up something yourself or to make it easier on you, give your guests a “serve yourself” option. With frozen yogurt and ice cream toppings bars becoming more popular, why not make a Super Bowl toppings bar! Whether your guests top their nachos with whatever they want from beans to jalapeños, or choose their own pizza toppings, this will definitely make your party more fun! As for dessert, I love this idea from domesticfits.com… Football chocolate covered strawberries!

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Another simple, but fun dessert you could have at your party, is a frosting decoration station for brownies and/or cookies. Your guests can design whatever they want on their desserts whether they choose to draw their team’s logo or Richard Sherman’s screaming face. There are so many options, everyone will have something cool to show, and you can even make a contest out of it.

Speaking of contests… if your Super Bowl party is going to be more social and interactive, why not add some party games?  You don’t need anything too fancy, but this inflatable ring toss game is a funny way to pass time if there’s a free moment during the game (you know… if a black out or anything else happened like that). If there are going to be any kids at your party, I’ve also seen football shaped pinatas which would keep them entertained for at least a part of the game.

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Last, but not least, what are you going to wear to this party of yours? If you own any Broncos or Seahawks apparel, definitely throw that on, but if not, there are ways you can root for a team without buying a $30 shirt. When the NY Giants were in the Super Bowl in 2011, my whole family bought the NFC Championship shirts and wore those, but we also got Giants face tattoos. If you’re rooting for a particular team, buy a $4 pack of tattoos, throw a few on, and you’re all set!

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You could also get team eyeblacks or draw a #18 on your face if you’re a Peyton Manning fan. If you’re not into either team, wear the apparel you own from your favorite team in spite of it. Not going to lie, I definitely wore a Giants shirt during last year’s Super Bowl and will probably wear my Peyton Manning Colts jersey this year. Whatever sporty clothes you have in your closet would probably do fine, but if you want to really represent, there’s nothing better to wear than an AFC or NFC Championship shirt or a team jersey.

As for those of you who want to just focus on the game and not deal with all of this party craziness? There’s no way you can go wrong with a room full of cheering family and friends, surrounded by a ton of delicious food.