Behind the scenes | Guest post by Jennifer Simmons

As you may already know, I had a baby boy on September 18th. As I take a mini maternity leave, I have a series of talented friends/guest posters who agreed to fill in for me throughout the rest of the month (and into October). I will try to pop in with random posts here and there, but we are just trying to enjoy our family time right now. Enjoy! Behind The Scenes - Collection Inspiration

Hi everyone, my name is Jennifer Simmons. I've been lucky enough to work with Amy on each of her collections with American Crafts. As a designer, I help Amy translate her ideas into art files and, eventually, the products you all know and love. I thought I'd share a bit of our process here for you today.

We kick off each new collection by spending several days meeting with Amy. This means she travels to the AC office in Orem, Utah. Sometimes Buster comes along too. As a dog lover, I absolutely adore the days when he joins us in the conference room. JenPhoto_1_JenBusterDuring these early meetings, all of the inspiration Amy has gathered is discussed and eventually narrowed down. Below is some of the inspiration we selected for Amy's most recent collections.JenPhoto_2_InspirationAs you can see, the inspiration for the collection includes hints of the trends, textures, patterns, icons, type and illustration styles we hope to achieve within the line. Our inspiration usually drives our font selection and sometimes requires a bit of hand lettering, which is always fun to do. We also sort through hundreds of color chips and cardstock colors to arrive at a color palette. Picking colors is not the easiest or most logical process, but I love it. Finally, when all is said and done we compile our efforts into a style sheet. With the style sheet completed, a new process can begin – creating the illustrations, patterns and phrases that will be used across the collection.

About Me: I've been a designer/art director at American Crafts since 2007. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah with my family. In May, I welcomed my second kiddo, a baby boy, and have been enjoying a summer away from the office on maternity leave.

You can find Jennifer on her Blog | Twitter | Instagram

#amytangerine | ready set go!

Seeing your Instagrams using our products just doesn't get old. I'm on tour through Australia at the moment for Spotlight, promoting my Ready Set Go collection. We've spotted so many creative and fun ways you all have been using it and our other products. As always, you can follow my adventures on Instagram. Thanks for sharing with the hashtag #amytangerine. #amytangerine | instagram

from top to bottom, left to right

1. @leslieashe | 2. @geekgalz | 3. @peppermint56 | 4. @mariaje98 | 5. @polkadotcreative | 6. @mariabi74 | 7. @itsmedana | 8. @danielledekonink | 9. @mercytiara

I Spy: 8.5x11" Edition

Amy Tangerine Products | 8.5x11 EditionBy MagnetteAmy Tangerine Products | 8.5x11 EditionBy PatriciaAmy Tangerine Products | 8.5x11 EditionBy Emily SpahnAmy Tangerine Products | 8.5×11 EditionBy Shanna NoelAmy Tangerine Products | 12x12 EditionBy Tegan Skwiat

Add this to the list of things we will never tire of...  seeing the amazing ways our products are being used. Here are some of the pages that caught our eye. You can get our products online at Two Peas In A Bucket and Simon Says Stamp.

what's in store

In November while in Chicago for Ahpo’s funeral, we stopped into a couple craft stores. Since finding out that Michaels had the Sketchbook collection pad under the Recollections label, I still had not yet seen it for myself in an actual store. The hotel was close to a Target and a Michaels (location location location) and as I walked down the aisle, I spotted it. chicagomichaelsThat's my tired but thrilled look. Which is utterly similar to this one, after spotting a section in the front window of Archiver's Niles location. chicagoarchiversIt's still pretty surreal. Loved seeing Sn@p! products across the way. Shot a little video on my phone. It's not polished at all, but still pretty neat.[vimeo clip_id="56574777" width="550" height=""]

sweet ride

2012 was full of adventure. And plane rides. DSC_0757To combat boredom on recent flights, I've taken my Ready Set Go Travel Kit with me. In a way, I feel like I have also taken all of you fellow blog readers as well. Thanks for allowing me to serve up a slice of all the random bits of life here and for commenting when you do. Looking forward to sharing more adventures with you in 2013! Thanks for coming along for the ride.