Behind the Scenes Interview - A Creative Journey with Melissa

Today we have Melissa Mueller, Owner/Designer/Illustrator of A Creative Journey with Melissa!

One thing I LOVE about doing these Interviews is bringing BRAND NEW products to you all! Melissa has just started her own Stamp Line a few months back and I've worked with some them and simply LOVE them!
(You can see my projects below!)

Use Code HSE20 to enjoy 20% off your purchase at A Creative Journey with Melissa

You can find A Creative Journey with Melissa here:

How/Why did you get started designing your own Product? 
I have been creating since I was little. For example, when I was in Junior High, I had a bad case of bronchitis and had to be home for a week. In my boredom, I decided to create an outfit for my dog for Christmas out of felt, glue and glitter.  I have always been crafty but I really ventured into paper crafting around when my first son was born in 1997. I then began creating items for others a few years after that. With the encouragement of my 3 “boys” (my husband and sons) and friends in 2011, I started to create items for a business with great response. While doing so, I thought I would start designing my own stamps so that I could add designs that I was looking for and incorporate the items I was creating with the stamp designs. Sadly, I am only one person and my ideas are enough for 25! Fortunately, I am adding more resources to my company shortly to help me with this. 

Where can we find your products? 

What did you do before Designing Stamps? 
I was a SAHM since 1997. Before that I was a secretary and an optician.

I have an awesomely supportive, uber smart and wonderful husband that I admire, love and adore. In June we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary! We were set up by mutual friends and met on a “blind date.” We dated for 3 ½ years long distance as he lived in St. Louis and I lived in Chicago. He would drive the 4 ½ hours to see me or he would pay for me to fly to see him in St. Louis. So many people say that long distance relationships don’t work.. Well, DON’T BELIEVE THEM! It worked great for us! You HAVE to communicate or else you have nothing especially when you only see each other on weekends. It would never last. Trust is another huge factor. You have to trust each other, believe in each other and the relationship for it to work. I married my best friend and I fall in love with him over and over again especially watching him with our boys. He is an awesome and very PRESENT father to our sons. Not everyone has that blessing. We have two amazing boys that make me laugh and educate me every day. Well, they ARE teenagers… lol  They know MUCH MORE THAN I EVER WILL… (I can’t wait til they are 30 and realize how smart my hubby and I really are!) My “3 boys” are amazingly creative themselves and often help me with editing and give great product design ideas! 

Melissa's "3 boys"

Any Secrets or tempting tidbits you can give us about upcoming products? 

You are going to see some new designs coming that I haven’t seen in the market and hope they inspire you to create.

How did you feel when you made your first sale!? 

Excited and awestruck!!

Describe your design process?
I have a number of notebooks/sketchbooks that I have ideas in whether it is actual drawings, sentiments or an explanation of an idea I had. I look through the books to see what motivates me and get my laptop & Wacom Intuos 5 drawing tablet go from there. I also try to create sets that will work well together and will be versatile for various projects and uses-not just one so essentially you get more for your money and they will be your “Go to sets” for a long time to come. Typically, I either have the need for an element that I don’t have, haven’t seen or have envisioned a project I want to make before I create the stamp set. There are so many possibilities. Stamping and crafting have been in existence for decades upon decades. I don’t for a minute believe that I am doing something that hasn’t been done before-that would be foolish-as everyone has drawn a circle or a square before right? For me, that’s where it all begins! Hopefully my products inspire people to create in a different way than they are used to or have thought of. I try to think outside of the box when creating my designs and hopefully this encourages you to do the same. And of course there are my 3 boys! I have teenagers and a husband.. Lord knows there is enough inspiration RIGHT THERE!

When designing, how do you approach your projects? 

When I am creating a project for a stamp set, I usually have a design I had in mind when creating the set. I try to be sure that the creation I am making is highlighting the stamps effectively and in different ways to inspire creativity for my customers. When creating a card, scrapbook page or mixed media creation, etc., I usually start with the picture or focal point/item, pick out colors I want to use and then add patterned paper and embellishments. 

In addition to my creations, I am so blessed to have an AMAZING Design Team of twelve UBER TALENTED women that continue to amaze me with their creations, ideas, talent and support. They are always ready to jump in and create! They are also very helpful with ideas for future products.  I am very blessed and honored that they are part of the ACJwM Team. 

Design by DT Member Christy Graklanoff
Designed by DT Member Tracy Zahm

What type of style do you tend to lean towards?
Truthfully, it really depends on what I am doing and who I am doing it for. I tend to lean toward bright colors and clean projects. When doing a sympathy card or something that is not something one would want to use bright and vibrant colors, I would tend to use neutral colors. I try to let the project and subject lead my ideas appropriately.

Should we expect any surprises?? 
I have some giveaways coming up that are going to be exciting as well as some joint ventures with some awesome companies!

"Spooky" won first place at the Anaheim scrapbook expo for the layout contest!
What Product are you most proud of?

All of them! If I must pick, my favorite products would be the Awareness Ribbon Set 1 & 2. I designed them while my Uncle was undergoing radiation and chemo for cancer treatment (the inspiration for their creation) and I was so glad he was able to see the stamps and website launch. They were the first sets I had released. Unfortunately, my Uncle Herb passed away the day after my launch.

This is a picture of Melissa's Uncle Herb used in a creation using the Sign Language Alphabet stamp set.

What are your top 5 Paper Crafting Supplies/companies/products/tools? 
  • My stamp sets! (Sorry, I know this is obvious so I will give you six!)
  • 3M tape glider
  • Memento Ink made by Tsukineko  
  • QuicKutz QuickStik (I LOVE to use it for rhinestones and little things ALL OF THE TIME! I even have TWO )
  • Copic Markers and Spica pens
  • Twine & Floss (solid colored or variegated)
What do we not know about you? 
Well first, you may not know this but there is a hidden meaning behind the name of my business. I have had such amazing support from my husband Jon and my sons Christian and Austin. I really wanted to incorporate them into the business somehow and I figured out a way. My business name is A Creative Journey with Melissa. A(Austin) C(Christian)reative  J(Jon)ourney  with Melissa. So THAT is how the business name came to be. Had to include my “boys” as they are an important part of my success!
Deafness runs in my family which influenced the need for me to have a sign language alphabet stamp set "American Sign Language Alphabet" stamp set in addition to the "I Love you" sign in the "I Just Love You" stamp set.

Both of my Grandparents were deaf but this was caused by disease. My Grandfather’s sister was born deaf and they believe this is where the heredity comes in. My brother was also born deaf. I am fluent in sign language and have been since I was young.

What hobbies outside of Crafting do you have? 
I like to take pictures of my kids/husband, landscapes, vacations, etc. I have been known to take over 1000 pictures at one time… Thank goodness for digital photography now! LOL

3 truths and a Lie - tell us 4 things about you - 3 of them true and 1 a lie!
  • I wanted to be a beautician when I was younger.
  • I rebuilt my own carburetor.
  • I have to craft sitting down.
  • I have to have music on when I am creating (and driving and designing and..) and it’s LOUD. I LOVE MUSIC!!
Which is the Lie? Put your answers below and make sure to add it in the rafflecopter for an entry to the giveaway! 

Here are the projects that I created with A Creative Journey with Melissa's stamp sets! 

Melissa, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today! 

Now we have a Giveaway for you! Melissa is giving one lucky reader 2 stamps sets of their choice!

Remember to come back each day to get additional entries by sharing to Facebook and Twitter!!

Homespun Elegance Readers get a 20% Off Coupon! Use Code HSE20 on your purchase!

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