Creatively Crafting with Loes

Creatively Crafting with Loes

Crafting is something I’ve always respected. It takes focus, grit and endlessly thinking about creativity. There are some crafters who like to indulge in one media, and there are some who like to explore. Loes is definitely an avid explorer. She crochets, knits, paints, and so much more! I love the colourful and clean appeal of her work. And I’m happy to have her on the blog today answering some questions about her process and her outlook towards creativity.

Read on to hear what she has to say!

Creatively Crafting with Loes

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Loes van Dijck and I’m a 16-year-old schoolgirl from The Netherlands. I love crafting in my spare time and sharing my work on Instagram. I think making things is very relaxing. It eases my mind when I’m busy.

Creatively Crafting with Loes

What are some of your favourite art supplies and art media you use?

I really love working with yarn, paper and clay. These materials are all so versatile! Origami, watercolour, pottery, crochet, knitting, drawing, weaving. The list goes on! The amount of things that can be made with the first three supplies I mentioned is almost endless.

I also like to use unconventional, unexpected materials, like cotton buds, straws, a toy globe or an old plastic envelope. I think finding a new purpose for something is awesome! Plus: re-using materials is good for the environment.

Creatively Crafting with Loes

What sparked your interest in DIY and just art in general? How long have you been practicing?

I have liked doing creative things for as long as I can remember. The first ‘real’ craft technique I learnt was knitting. My grandmother taught me when I was seven. I liked it very much and I was so proud of my first (holey) scarf! Over the past nine years I’ve learnt many more techniques that I still like. When I went to secondary school four years ago and learnt to read English well, I started to read DIY blogs. This increased my interest in DIY even more!

I have absolutely no idea how long I have been practicing. I try and work on some creative project every day. Practice makes perfect!

Creatively Crafting with Loes

What do you enjoy the most in your creative process?

I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but I enjoy every moment in a creative process. The idea that pops up in my head, then visualising the final product, collecting tools and supplies and finally making the thing I have in mind. I genuinely like every step (except for weaving in a zillion loose ends of a crochet project).

Something I also enjoy about crafting in general is the freedom to make anything you want. If you’re a DIY’er, you don’t have to limit yourself to the products you can buy in a store. You can make your own!

 

What was the first art project/work of art you remember?

As a toddler, I used to carry a few strands of colourful yarn with me everywhere I went so I could braid. I’ve used many yards of yarn!

Creatively Crafting with Loes

Just for fun: what’s your favourite animal and flower and why?

My favourite animal is definitely the elephant. They are big and strong, but also tender and gentle. I love how they care for their families.

Choosing my favourite flower is more difficult. I really love forget-me-nots and peonies but I think lavender would be my favourite. It reminds me of holidays in France, those huge fields full of purple flowers in bloom, and the scent is so delicious.

Creatively Crafting with Loes

 

(I love the bright vibes in Loes’ room, especially the way she arranges her books! Also, that rug is just amazing.)

Do you plan on pursuing art as a career? Or is it just a hobby you love?

I don’t think so. I’ll take my final exams in two years and after that I’ll probably go to university. I think I’ll just keep doing it as my hobby and I don’t think I will ever have a real career in art. But who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind later!

Creatively Crafting with Loes

What are some themes/topics that are inspiring you nowadays?

This is a difficult question! In many of my projects you can spot my love for geometry. This is an infinite source of inspiration. I’ve spent hours searching Pinterest and Craftgawker for geometric DIY projects. Flowers are also very inspirational. I love the colours and the delicate shapes.

Creatively Crafting with Loes

Do you think an artist should explore different types of art or just practice one till they perfect it? How do you approach crafting a skill?

I really admire artists who turn their type of art into a successful business. They are absolute masters at what they love to do. They do what they’re good at and I think that’s fantastic!

On the other hand, I am  a ‘multidisciplinary’ crafter. I am not good enough to master one thing perfectly and I get bored quickly, so I just try to broaden my knowledge by learning something new (and failing at it sometimes) every now and then. I think everyone should do what suits him/her best!

Creatively Crafting with Loes

  Could you share some advice on making a good, satisfactory piece of art (which the artist feels happy about the end result)?

If you’re not satisfied with your project in the middle of the making process, don’t continue! Instead, redo a little bit of work, otherwise you may end up with a finished piece you don’t like. I think spending some more time is worthwhile.

And, in case you’re suffering from crafter’s block: focus on something else! The inspiration will come back soon, so you don’t have to search it. Sort out craft supplies or learn a new technique instead! The creativity will flow again in no time.

Thanks Loes, for a little gimpse in your creative process! Wishing you all the best for your future projects ahead!

Find Loes here: Instagram | Blog | Twitter | Pinterest

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Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

When it comes to jewellery, you can usually find a lot of predictable stuff in shops. Generic, cliched, pretty, but not with much thought behind it.

Which brings me to this feature in the O9 Inspiration series.

I came across Charlotte Filshie’s website one day, where she sells these really cute and amazing accessories- with different themes like dinosaurs and geometric shapes. Plenty of colour, too. And what’s really distinctive about her creations are- (more distinctive than a Brontosaurus brooch) she makes all of them with materials like vinyl, wall coverings, cork and more; which definitely fall in the unconventional category. I love that she basically changes the purpose of each material, and crafts with an alternative approach! Originality is key, always. I’m loving the cheerful vibes and creative thought behind Charlotte’s work.

Read on to hear what Charlotte has to say.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi! My name is Charlotte; I am from Australia and have lived in London for 2 years. I studied an Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology (Jewellery) in Melbourne, and since then, I have made all kinds of jewellery from all kinds of materials. When I was studying I did a subject called Hunter Gatherer where we had to use alternative materials to create jewellery. I loved the subject and began using old interior design samples to make my jewellery, I found the materials to often have very tactile qualities. I now use vinyl wall-covering and vinyl floor tiles to make my jewellery. I have recently started expanding my designs into coasters, tote bags, gift tags, postcards and bunting.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

I love your colourful and dinosaur themed jewellery! Do you plan themes or is the process more spontaneous?

It’s pretty spontaneous. I usually get an idea and just start designing and drawing in Illustrator, and then it all goes from there. I use Illustrator so I can resize and re-colour everything easily.
My new postcards and gift tags actually came from a joke between a friend and I. She ordered some coasters on my Etsy store and made some pretty funny requests for the dinosaurs, toilet trained, proficient in martial arts, cookie making and fetching slippers. She also requested a book about their family history. Naturally, I decided to make little books for each dinosaur and draw them doing all the things she requested. I ended up using some of the drawings and drew some new ones that now feature on the postcards and gift tags.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?

I started my business a long time ago in Australia, but it was always a part-time thing. In the beginning the hardest thing was finding the time as I was juggling full-time work. Now I am in London, the hardest part has been finding stockists and getting my name out. Being in a completely new place is tricky, but, the longer I am in London, the easier it’s getting.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What makes you the happiest in your creative process?

I love when I finish a design. Seeing the final product is always so gratifying. It’s so great to see the hard work and hours that go into making all the decisions that go into each piece.
Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day at work?

I usually get up and go for a 3 mile walk, then get home and begin my work day.
I always make sure I get any orders packed first, this gives me time to make anything that I don’t have stock of. I also make extra stock for shops and markets if I have some coming up.
My afternoons are spent doing new designs, uploading new product to online stores, answering emails and doing research. I also go to the Post Office in the afternoon. At 6 I watch the news and sit on my laptop looking things up, checking social media, and watching TV.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What qualities are needed to keep up and also enjoy running a creative business?

You need to love what you do. If you don’t love it, it will be boring and become like a chore.
You need to be adventurous. Trying new things can be scary, but you need to keep trying new things so it’s still fun and exciting (not only for you, but for your customers as well!).

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I imagine I will still be in London, making jewellery, accessories and homewares, but I will be much, much more successful! Haha! I would also love to have a store of my own, but that’s a long way off!

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What motivates/inspires you the most?

Seeing how people react to my work is such a great motivator. I get to meet people at markets and hearing their feedback is so great. It can be a bit crazy when someone says they recognize my work from a store or I see someone wearing one of my pieces on the street. The feeling is so great to see people who love something you love.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Can you list five things at the top of your head that interest you nowadays when it comes to design?
Geometric shapes & patterns
Dinosaurs
Art Deco
Bright vibrant colours
Spots

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What tools do you work with to create/ design your products?

To make my jewellery I use scissors and scalpels to cut all the wall covering and vinyl. I don’t use any laser cutters, it’s all hand cut. I file the edges of each piece with a Dremel so they are nice and smooth. I have also attached a tiny drill bit to the handle of a scalpel so I can drill holes in some of the tiny pieces, using an electric drill was dangerous so I had to improvise.

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Just for fun: What are your favourite flower, animal and book/movie?

My favorite flower is a snapdragon, animal is giraffe and movie is Dirty Dancing….I think. Ugh there are just too many!

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

What do you do in your free time?

I love to go to markets, have brunch, explore, travel, and generally just relax.

Could you share three tips for people starting a creative business like yours?

Be original, don’t give up and have fun!

Colourful Inspiration from Charlotte Filshie

Thank you, Charlotte, for a little glimpse into your creative process! Wishing you the very best ahead!

-Aaria

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Find Charlotte and shop her colourful creations here:

Website: charlottefilshie.com

Instagram: @charlottefilshie_jewellery

Twitter: @charlottefil

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#ohmywatercolour : Make Up & Beauty

#ohmywatercolour

Hey! So, I want to tell you guys something that is kind of cool and involves watercolours, a topic every week and a bit of effort from me. Got it? No..okay, I’ll explain. I always mean to practice watercolour. But it never happens. And only when I get a commission or I have to make a watercolour piece from scratch, I realize: why haven’t I touched watercolour for so long? And what happens is I end up doing a lot of trial and error, and just basically wasting a lot of time. Watercolour is all about instinct. And you can only get that instinct, that feel (you know what I’m talking about?) if you practice. And practice.

So. I’m taking one topic per week, and basically practicing my watercolourin’ skills.

The past week, I chose make up and beauty. I have no idea why I chose it. This was the week’s output:

#ohmywatercolour Makeup and Beauty Watercolour practice

Just a general look..

#ohmywatercolour Makeup and Beauty Watercolour practice

These are supposed to be Chanel lipsticks, but I totally forgot to add the logo with acrylic afterwards. And that’s okay with me.#ohmywatercolour Makeup and Beauty Watercolour practice

This girl actually started out as a silhouette. I was feeling pretty uninspired that day, and I just started messing about initially with pencil lines. I painted it in, then   after a second thought (inspiration and most importantly, interest seeped in) I started inking her features and later, the hair. I made it reverse ombre, on a whim and I’m pretty happy with it. Add to that a touch of Marsala-ugh, totally not feeling that name. Let’s go with burgundy. Or maroon, even.

#ohmywatercolour Makeup and Beauty Watercolour practice

I was a bit tired of drawing lipsticks and beauty products. It gets a little boring after a while. Then that got me thinking, so if not man-made products, why not something natural? It didn’t hurt that I was just thinking of buying some succulents. And this aloe vera model made her way to the day’s blank page. Added some crystals, because why not? And looking at the pink bow now..haha.

#ohmywatercolour Makeup and Beauty Watercolour practice

I think the natural aloe vera route got me thinking about a natural look with more nude and beige. Hence, I just doodled this (and added pretty blush rose pink lips and nothing else, just your regular green-eyed I’m-not-wearing-much-makeup-but-I-still-look-gorgeous  look) and yup, more crystals.

#ohmywatercolour Makeup and Beauty Watercolour practice

Just a five minute painting this time. Just before I was putting on some nail polish, actually. Added some blended cream and pink flowers to add to the page, for good measure.

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And I think I’m done with make up and beauty! Moving on to another topic..find out what it is on Instagram.

You can always see the round up of each #ohmywatercolour topic here, but if you would like to see it throughout the week, be sure to follow along on Instagram!

I’d love to know which one you liked the best in this week’s edition of #ohmywatercolour!

-Aaria 🙂

PS- Maybe you noticed a little ‘A’ in every illustration. Be on the lookout for my little signature in every drawing! 🙂

PPS- You’re also welcome to join in #ohmywatercolour! You can choose your own topic and everything! Let’s have a gala time practicing our watercolour skills!

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Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

The inspiration on Opinion9 is just overflowing this week! Today, we’re talking about the witty + gritty bits about running a colourful business. Melinda and Meredith work together, and they make some amazing cards, prints, cases and more..all with their statement colour and witty vibe.

I especially love the way they incorporate thoughts, their play on words and trends (Marble-ous?), and vibrant colours (especially watercolour! My fave!) in their work.

Aptly named..The Witty Gritty Paper Co. Let’s hear what they have to say!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! We’re Meredith & Melinda Preve, the mother/ daughter designers behind the stationery line: The Witty Gritty Paper Co. We are both self-taught artists, who run our business from our cozy studio in Buffalo, NY.

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

I love your witty and colourful work! How did The Witty Gritty Paper Co start?

Well, we’ve both always shared a mutual love for words, paper and humor… especially for humor! Last autumn, we were just chatting over a cup of coffee, both coming to a pass in our professional lives and all of these loves started to come up in conversation. Suddenly a major, fluorescent-level lightbulb went off in our heads. “Hey! Maybe we could make a living making people laugh!” Right from the beginning, we knew we wanted to be different than all of the other card and print companies out there; we wanted our products to be designed by hand, not by software. Being a colorful brand was also a must from the first, because let’s face it, bright colors just make people happy! The next few months following were kind of a blur. Even though we were a little gun-shy at first (neither of us had much experience with commercial printing,) we managed to design 24 original pieces for our debut collection, design our website, and begin to grow our social media, all within half a year. As they say, “The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately!”

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

What inspires you both the most in your creative process?

For me (Meredith, the daughter), inspiration primarily comes from my new experiences. Whenever I go to a museum, restaurant or even a state park, I always spend the car ride home wondering how many of the things I saw I would be able to paint with my watercolors. I imagine the different layers and washes it would take to recreate it and before long, a new piece is just bursting with urgency in my mind. Usually in my process, first comes the subject and then the witty words follow suit. For my mom, it’s the opposite. She starts with the clever quips that just pop into her head and then she molds them from lots of sketches to final product!

 Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

The fact that you are a mother-daughter duo working together is really inspiring. How does it feel working together as a team? Has it gotten you even closer?

Thank you! We sort of act as each other’s filter because we have so many complementary strengths and weaknesses. One of the things we enjoy most about creating our line is the difference in our generational perspectives that comes out in our products. We love the idea that we can appeal to a diverse type of market, filled with other mothers and daughters who have always been on the hunt for appropriate correspondences for all of the different people in their lives! There are definitely days where we struggle a bit with harmonizing our different styles, but overall I would say it has only made our relationship stronger!

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

(Love their cheery space!)

How do you balance your creative thought while maintaining a business approach when it comes to selling your art?

I think it’s always going to be a challenge for anyone who makes things to take the pure, right-brain joy of creating and try to keep it alive and healthy while they navigate through the pitfalls of small business. Being a pushy sales-person or staring blankly at market research all day just doesn’t come naturally to most creatives. We’ve found that the best way to stay balanced is to carve out time for  simple, yet special novelties. For example, we’ll take a drive together in the country with the music blasting, or visit a new farmer’s market and cook a meal together. Basically, we make sure to still do things together (and apart) that don’t revolve around our business. Some of our best ideas have come to us in the moments when we stopped trying to chase them down.

 Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

What are your favourite movie(s), book(s) and colour(s)? 

Mine would be “Titanic” (I won’t let go, Jack!,) the Matrix series (because I’m kind of a closet, science-fiction nerd,) and all romantic comedies involving Meg Ryan. For favorite book it’s got to be “The Catcher In The Rye”, and it changes all the time, but right now my fave color is soft peach. Mom’s picks: “Finding Nemo,” anything by Erma Bombeck and periwinkle blue.

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

I adore your yappy dog, Gizmo! In what doggy way does he contribute to your creative process :)? 

Well, actually he is a she, but you wouldn’t know it by her lack of ladylike manners! The constant barking keeps the mailman on his toes and on the days when the internet won’t cooperate, the envelopes are like 1,000 miles away stuck in Montana, and my favorite pen has run out of ink, it’s a blessing to have her adorable little face around!

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

(Gizmo actually looks pretty calm here! ^ Taking a break, maybe? )

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

The fact that you combined your different artistic talents- Melinda’s doodling and Meredith’s watercolour- is lovely to see. At that time, what were your initial thoughts about starting a business? 

Before Witty Gritty, we had never combined our artistic talents. But, when we started to realize that our different art mediums could be connected through words, a business to sell them through just seemed like a natural next step. Originally, I was only designing the art prints and my mom was only designing the greeting cards. By our second collection, we had discovered through trial and error that our brand was most cohesive when we both had a part in every product.

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

Where do you see yourselves in a few years?

That’s a loaded question! Part of us sees ourselves branching out into a brick & mortar location, and another part sees the company growing to have a big, more behind-the-scenes style wholesale domain. It’s my personal aspiration to develop our Instagram presence into one of the most entertaining and widely known accounts on the platform (one of my many lofty goals!) One thing’s for sure; we will continue to design more out-of-the-box paper products in the near future. Not to give too much away, but there will be hilarious Post-it notes involved.

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

How did you come up with your brand name?

This may sound uninspired, but it just came to me one day. And the second it popped into my head, I knew we had to do it, because that was too awesome of a name to not use for something!

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day on your life?

On account of pesky day-jobs and chores, most of our work gets done on nights and weekends. You will often find us starting out the day by discussing business over brunch. Then we split up for our individual tasks. I’m usually painting like a watercolor madwoman, answering e-mails, pitching to retailers and editors, and filming and shooting content for our social media channels. Meanwhile, mom will be busy balancing out the books, sketching new ideas, or tracking down leads on the marketing and production fronts. We break a lot for coffee. Also for C.S.I.

Inspiration from The Witty Gritty Paper Co via ww.opinion9.com

Do you have any advice for people starting their own business and making it work?

Work hard. Work really, really hard. Don’t be discouraged by any expectation that wasn’t fulfilled when you thought it would be.

Some things will work, others won’t. Success belongs to the people who see the value in both outcomes. There will be a lot of things that won’t make sense to you; a lot of things that will make you reconsider your worth (and your sanity.) But the great part is, if you can make it through the not-so-glamorous moments, you will be part of the small group of people in the world that get to do what they love more than anything else for a living, and that, my friends, is priceless.

Thanks Melinda + Meredith for this little glimpse into The Witty Gritty Paper Co! Here’s to your witty + gritty success!

You can find more on The Witty Gritty Paper Co here:

Website: www.thewittygrittypaperco.com

Instagram: @thewittygrittypaperco

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A Paper Flower Journey with Julie

A Paper Flower Journey with Julie via www..opinion9.com

I’m happy to write this: another wonderful feature right here, on Opinion9! Today, it’s about paper floristry, as Julie herself puts it.  I always have had a high regard for multi-taskers, and Julie sure is one of them-she makes beautiful paper flowers, and she also writes a blog with her two sisters!

It’s lovely to see that she makes time for herself by crafting flowers, and she also works with family on her blog A Life Curated.

Read on to hear what she has to say.

A Paper Flower Journey with Julie via www..opinion9.com

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi there, this is Julie! I’ve always loved arts and craft, but it was only this year that I started spending more time on my creative interests. My creative milestones this year are launching a blog with my sisters called A Life Curated (@alifecuratedofficial) and starting an Instagram account Paper Play Design (@paperplay_design) where I document my paper flower journey.

Aside from my creative interests, I love my coffee, travelling and diving.

What is your creative process like?

I wish I could say I’m very methodical in my creative process but what really happens is that I wake up each day and think…”Okay, what flower am I going to make today?”

A Paper Flower Journey with Julie via www..opinion9.com

What are the things that inspire you the most?

Seeing other creatives turn their talents into a career inspires me. It reminds me that everyone is different and that this world needs creative people!

How did you get started with crafting flowers? What keeps you motivated?

I remember my very first flower was when I was 12 years old. My childhood friend and I used to spend school holidays making all sorts of arts and craft things. One day, we made a bunch of flowers for my mum from toilet paper! It wasn’t until this year (19 years later!) that I decided to make paper flowers again for my mum for Mother’s day. That’s really when it started and I was hooked!

My family and friends keep me motivated. Everyone has been very encouraging of my creative pursuits and it really keeps me going.

A Paper Flower Journey with Julie via www..opinion9.com

(Julie’s desk where she makes her beautiful floral creations!)

What would your ideal day be like?

I love my morning routines so every day I wake up, swirl my coconut oil for 20 minutes (yes, this actually works!) while I potter around the house and clean up. Then I drink my warm lemon water, eat breakfast, buy my morning coffee, turn on my music and then I sit down to start crafting.

How good my day is often depends on how good my flowers end up looking. I’m extra happy if I can manage to take a good photo of my end product so that I can share it with my fellow Instagrammers!

Wednesdays are one of my favourite days of the week because that’s when my sisters and I chat over skype about our blog (amongst other silly things which usually ends in hysterical laughter).

A Paper Flower Journey with Julie via www..opinion9.com

In the midst of creativity and life, how do you keep yourself focused?

I’ve got some key milestones this year related to Paper Play Design which I’m very excited about. I’ll share more on my Instagram account in the next couple of months, so stay tuned! So working towards these goals keep me focused.

What’s the part in your creative process that makes you the happiest?

I try really hard at coming up with my own flower templates so I am extra proud when I can work it out!

Just for fun: what’s your favourite animal and flower and why?

I love French bulldogs! I especially love Stella, the French bulldog from Modern Family.

As for favourite flower, this changes nearly every two days because I constantly feel like I’m discovering new flowers when I’m going through Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration. Today, I love poppies.

A Paper Flower Journey with Julie via www..opinion9.com

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Thank you, Julie, for showing us a glimpse in your creative process! Wishing you all the best in all your future endeavours!

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Find Julie here:

Follow Julie’s instagram to keep up to date with her paper flower journey: (@paperplay_design)

Read her blog: www.alifecurated.com.au

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