If you saw our post about the days of the week clothing tags, then you've already met Amy. She's the brilliant mind behind these printables and the iPhone valentine we featured recently. And there's more where those came from: Amy's two blogs are chock-full of great design, ideas, and inspiration.
Living Locurto is Amy's main blog, and there she shares fantastic crafting, design, party-planning, parenting, and family menu ideas. As a graphic artist, she's constantly designing new things for her family, and she's generous to share them for free with her readers. Her morning routine and after school routine printables have helped keep her kids on task during these potentially chaotic moments, and you can download them to use for your own family. She's got a load of clever, creative party planning ideas that have printables to match, like her Barnyard Birthday Party or the Owl Birthday Party.
Lest you think Amy is a one-trick pony, she also has twenty weeks of family meal plans up on her site, each accompanied by a printable grocery list. She's an accomplished photographer, too, and on the site she co-founded, I Heart Faces, she helps host a weekly photo challenge, photography tutorials, and a special "Fix-It Friday" feature, where blog contributors and readers edit a photo and share their techniques and results.
We're wondering how she does it all, too. Here's what Amy had to say about her adventures.
1. When did you start blogging, and why?
In the summer of 2008, I began reading blogs and was wowed by so many talented, creative women. Even though I had no idea what blogging was or how to do it, I knew right away that was what I should be doing! I was no longer the weirdo going overboard with my children's birthday parties or making things for my home from scratch. There were other women out there just like me who needed to get out their creativity each day and were using their talents to inspire other women.
2. Your blog started as a place to record fun family projects, but it has grown exponentially into a wealth of information on menu planning, crafting, DIY, and design. How did your blog evolve?
Once I actually had people reading my blog, it took me a while to figure out what they enjoyed the best. Obviously the things that were more popular took over and that's how I ended up where I am now. It was great, because the things I liked to do best were what my readers liked the best too!
3. Where do you go for inspiration on the web? How about in real life?
I should look online to see what's trendy, but really I just end up designing what I like and what creative idea is in my head. I love browsing through Flickr and am especially inspired by Bakerella and her adorable food creations. In real life, my surroundings inspire me like my children, wild life in the yard and colors of the sky or fabrics I see.
4. How does your training as a visual artist, graphic artist, and photographer influence the way you run your home life?
I have an artistic eye and love pretty things, so my training has helped me when it comes to decorating my home and making projects on a budget. I also teach my children to think creative and to try to see beauty in places you would never think to look. We play and have a lot of fun at my house!
5. You have an amazing resource of weekly meal plans with printable grocery lists on your site. Do you still plan an entire week's meals at once? Do you ever return to previous weeks?
I love planning meals, but right now I'm so busy with design work and my web sites that it has taken a back seat. I'm so happy I have over 20 weeks of meal plans online to go back to! I fully plan to get back into the swing off creating new meal plans soon. You don't know how many emails I've received thanking me for them. I love helping other moms.
6. There are also amazing ideas for fun, at-home birthday parties on your blog. Which are your favorites? Have you ever had a party disaster?
My all time favorite was my daughter's Mermaid Party. She was so happy and it made my day!
Once I hosted a wedding shower and shortly before the guests arrived, I realized there was a pizza box in my oven! As I was pre-heating the oven, it caught on fire! It was crazy and there was cheap fire extinguisher dust everywhere. I had to go to a neighbor's house to finish cooking... luckily the party was outside. Then later a snake showed up! Yeah... that party was a disaster! Ha.
7. You also run a second blog, I Heart Faces. How do you manage your time between two blogs, a design business, and family?
I honestly don't know how I do it? Right now, my husband helps so much with the kids and their laundry. If it wasn't for him I would go a little nutty for sure. My mom also just retired and helps us when I have to travel. My clients know I work from home with small children. They are very understanding that I might not be able to get back to them right away.
Luckily, I have a fabulous partner on I Heart Faces. We also have an assistant, plus several helpers, along with 7 contributing photographers who write content.
I have always been a hard worker and used to working a lot of hours with tight deadlines. I've had to learn to say no, not take on as many clients and cut back on extra hobbies I used to do, but that's okay because I find so much joy in my work.
8. Finally, what is one great piece of parenting advice someone has shared with you?
Read to your kids. Reading promotes creativity and is also a special bonding time. Best advice I've ever received!
Thanks Amy! Read more about Amy, her crafts, design, and adventures over at Living Locurto.
(Images: Amy Locurto)
Since our inception, we have loved hearing from all of our readers as well as reaching out to several in the blog community. You are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands all writing about your families, style and what makes you tick. To continue fostering this great blogging community, we'll now begin featuring close-ups of our favorite family and design blogs as part of our "Big Blog Family".