Today’s post is my recent interview with fellow blogger and collector” Julie” of The Old Design Shop. I frequently use her images across each of my blogs, and in my own Family History projects for family. Occasionally while writing a passage or making up a character card (see post “Not Playing with a Full Deck” ) I get brick-walled, writer’s blocked, and plain ‘ol stuck. For me, visuals are a really important and helpful trigger in my story writing.
When I found Julie’s blog http://www.theolddesignshop.com I was instantly hooked. Full of vintage “eye candy” her blog is a dazzling display of goodies. She has a collector’s eye and a historian’s heart. Julie has spent a lifetime collecting the most interesting, elegant, and marvelous “ephemera’ which she shares quite generously on her blog, and sells for tiny sums on her Etsy. Although I do not pretend to be her best or most clever customer, I do really enjoy the vintage sweetness and variety her collection lends to my typing
Who knows, maybe you’ll be moved to create a beautiful one of a kind Valentine for your sweety or maybe a hand made stationary set for a dear friend or grandchild. Many of the pieces are available “blank” as well as with the original imprint, so I have used them to sort of hybridize a family tree, story book and scrap book combo on some projects (see the “baby” pages, and the “wedding” items). Be careful though to give credit where credit is due. For one, it’s polite (and legally required) but secondly, these images are of such high quality, you don’t want your “made up” pretty wedding certificate to be mistaken as an original copy of Grandma and Grandpa’s marriage return.
Here’s my Julie Q&A ~ have a scribble pad handy, you’re gonna get inspired
Q. What got you interested in all this “pretty paper?”
A. I’ve been interested in antiques for as far back as I can remember. They take me back to the first seven years of my childhood. We lived on a farm and each day felt like a magical adventure. As a result, I collected antiques for several years in adulthood but since I don’t like a cluttered house, most of my collection sat, stored away neatly in boxes in my basement, collecting dust. I started selling my antiques a few years ago and only have a few items remaining. If I can use an item for its intended purpose (i.e., dishes) or as a part of a clutter-free decoration in my home, I’ve kept it. However, since antique books and vintage ephemera don’t take up a lot of space and can be neatly organized and kept on shelves in my home office, I’ve kept, and continue to add to, my collection of paper.
Q. If you had to choose, which piece would you call your all-time favorite-makes you smile just thinking about it- #1 treasure?
A. The art work from the late 1800s, early 1900s is exquisite and I have many favorites. I’m afraid it would be impossible to narrow it down to only one #1 treasure. I may even have a difficult time narrowing it down to my favorite 100 treasures!
Q. How do you find “fresh” old stuff?
A. My fresh old stuff is mainly from eBay, antiquarian online bookstores and antique shops in our city. If I discover something “new” that I love, I will search for that item or other art work or illustrated books from the same artist or author.
Q. How do you tell if it’s available for use (the copyright thing).
A. I did a lot of research before I began adding graphics to my Etsy shop and my blog. There is a helpful chart here http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm that sums up the basic rules I follow when determining whether an item is in the public domain. Also, a few years ago, while doing my research, I purchased Debra Conrad’s Treasure Hunter’s Survival Kit and found it extremely valuable in answering additional questions I had about copyright laws and the public domain. I am an now affiliate and have a link to her kit on my blog.
Q. Why do you offer so many for free?
A. The older I get the more I realize that one lifetime is not enough time to do everything I would like to do with my collection of vintage images. Once I began to realize that I would never have time to design all the items I wanted to with all the images I have collected, I decided it would be fun to share them so that others could have the same enjoyment as I do from the old treasures.
Q. What are some of the more creative ways you’ve heard about your customers using your images?
A. I love seeing what others create and design with the images I share and sell! I’ve seen some of the images used to make jewelry, handmade cards and invitations. I have a customer that prints images on rice paper using edible ink and decorates cookies with the printed images. Another customer makes fancy handmade soaps and has had some of my designs (from my Etsy shop) printed on box tops that contain the soaps. I’ve also seen my images used to design items that are sold as part of digital scrap-booking kits. It never ceases to amaze me to see the wide variety of creativity that is out there! Mom’s note: go to http://pinterest.com/julieannjj/your-crafts-and-designs/ to get a peek at some of the crazy creativity that happens with Julie’s treasures
Q. Would you call this a business or a way to justify your collection remember that a certified hoarder is asking the questions here
A. I would call this a hobby- business that offers a nice bit of extra money each month, some of which is used to add assets to the business.
Q. Tell us a little about your business and your blog.
Q. What are you holding out on / what’s next?
A. I only sell or give away images that I personally love and would work with in my own designs. Some of my absolute favorites are already in my Etsy shop for sale. Some of my other absolute favorites are free to download from my blog. I do have many more favorites that I will add as I have time to work on them. I never know what’s next as I basically I work on whatever I am in the mood for at the time. Mom note: yep, I can relate to that
Q. When you are copying these what’s the biggest challenge? Some look like they are embossed how do you make the copy look nice?
A. Photoshop is my friend! I’ve never uploaded an image to my blog or Etsy shop that I haven’t tweaked in one way or another. After scanning, I always adjust colors and contrast. If an image looks better old and worn, such as a grungy paper, I don’t do a whole lot to it; otherwise, I tend to do quite a bit of restoration work to the images I sell or share.
Q. What are you constantly on the hunt for?