Art Supply Insiders Podcast

ASI 67 Pear Blossom Press - Amanda Stevens, Cardmaker & Paper Craft Supplier

June 05, 2023 Jeff Morrow
ASI 67 Pear Blossom Press - Amanda Stevens, Cardmaker & Paper Craft Supplier
Art Supply Insiders Podcast
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Art Supply Insiders Podcast
ASI 67 Pear Blossom Press - Amanda Stevens, Cardmaker & Paper Craft Supplier
Jun 05, 2023
Jeff Morrow

Pear Blossom Press, is your home for amazing handmade cards.

Pear Blossom aspire to make amazing, interactive cards simple and fun for everyone! Light-up cards have never been easier to create, with our EZ-Lights. (No circuit building required ;)

Their newest product is a fantastic Collapsible Marker Bag that features Kathy Racoosin’s TOP 10 COLORING TIPS. Kathy is the creator of The Daily Marker challenge.

On their blog and YouTube channel, you will find a variety of handmade cards and tutorials by our owner, Amanda Stevens. We occasionally have Guest Designers, extremely talented crafty people who have taken the time to showcase our products and help us light up the world, one card at a time!

Click here to go to the Pear Blossom Press website.

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Show Notes Transcript

Pear Blossom Press, is your home for amazing handmade cards.

Pear Blossom aspire to make amazing, interactive cards simple and fun for everyone! Light-up cards have never been easier to create, with our EZ-Lights. (No circuit building required ;)

Their newest product is a fantastic Collapsible Marker Bag that features Kathy Racoosin’s TOP 10 COLORING TIPS. Kathy is the creator of The Daily Marker challenge.

On their blog and YouTube channel, you will find a variety of handmade cards and tutorials by our owner, Amanda Stevens. We occasionally have Guest Designers, extremely talented crafty people who have taken the time to showcase our products and help us light up the world, one card at a time!

Click here to go to the Pear Blossom Press website.

Art Supply Insiders
Click here to subscribe & follow (and be notified of every new podcast): Subscribe & Follow
Please leave a comment (we love feedback!): Comments

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An exciting new travel podcast that explores towns in USA

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Jeff: 0:06

Welcome back to our Supply insiders.My name is Jeff Morrow,and today we get to talk with Amanda Stevens.And Amanda is the co-founder of a company called,Pear Blossom Press and it,we,we almost didn't have to do this,uh,the way we are on the computer because she's just a couple of cities over from us,so we could have yelled out the window to each other.But Amanda,how are you doing today?

Amanda: 0:32

I'm great.Thanks for having me on.

Jeff: 0:34

Well,golly,uh,we're really glad to have you.So tell us what,or who is a Pear Blossom Press?It's a cool name.W w what is it?

Amanda: 0:45

Uh,so Pair Blossom Press is,uh,the company that my husband and I started.Um,I actually,I've been a crafters mostly.A paper crafter for many,many years.Mm-hmm.I used to teach in person,um,when I lived,well actually I lived in Southern California,then I moved to Northern California.I taught in both places.And then when I moved back down to Southern California,I wanted to teach again.But,um,I.The internet had started.Yeah.Which is great because that meant,uh,I didn't,I didn't have a local store near me.Uh,so I decided to just go online.We,I started a blog.My husband helped me.Um,he's,I.Very big in,in tech.Um,he's a hardware and software engineer,so he helped me put my first website together and we happened to live on Pear Blossom Drive,so the name came from that.And also trying to find a domain that isn't already taken.That is,um,so if you go long like Pear blossom press,you'll be able to find.Well,

Jeff: 1:53

no kidding.And,and you're right.I,I,This is the second,um,business that my business partner and I have done.And the first one was a,a company called the the Brush Guys.And it took us forever to find the right combination of words and Art Supply insiders,um,actually was pretty easy to find.We just kind of fell into it over lunch one day.But it's a tough process.You keep coming up with good ideas and you go,oh man,somebody else has got that one.

Amanda: 2:22

Yep.And a lot of'em aren't doing anything with it,but they want like$5,000for the name.Oh.And

Jeff: 2:29

we can all afford that.Right.Yeah.You

Amanda: 2:31


Jeff: 2:32

so as I was kinda reading your bio here,you're,you're,you've been quite a crafter.I mean,it's not just in,in card making and,and,uh,go through some of the crafts that you are handy at

Amanda: 2:48

doing.Oh,let's see.Well,if there's a craft out there,I've probably dabbled,I may have purchased all of the supplies that go along with it.Um,let's see.Uh,as a,as a kid,I've always liked card making.I,I mean,even I.I remember making my own birthday cards and stuff.Somebody taught me how to draw a Snoopy when I was like in kindergarten.So everybody in the family got hand drawn Snoopy cards on notebook paper.And I had also put on the back,I put Hall Mandy cuz I didn't know what Big Mark infringement was.And I would put,then I saw American Greetings.So I did Amanda Greetings and I would draw a little rose.And so,you know,and all my cards were25cents,even though they were.Notebook paper,and they were only going to people in the,the family.But,um,I,I just loved to do it.And then somewhere along the way,as a teenager,well I learned to sew my mom and my grandmother both.Um,taught me how to sew.Uh,so I picked that up and I,I just love crafting.I love making things with my hands,and so I got into all of it.Costuming at one point.Um,I'm looking,

Jeff: 4:05

wait a minute.A couple things here.Glassblowing.Yes.Metalsmithing.

Amanda: 4:11

Yes.Really?Yes.So in,um,so I love glass.Um,in,yeah,in college I took metalsmithing.Um,and that was a lot of fun.So you c it's kind of like a jewelry making except you're,you're starting with raw metals and then soldering and.You know,pulling it,extruding the wire and all kinds of stuff.And then you want to incorporate the shiny,you know,gems and things like that.Uh,beads,things like that.So one of the suppliers that we would buy metal from,they were having a lamp work class,which is,um,I don't know if you've ever been to Disneyland,where they're kind of,they're str,you know,making the little swans and different things with like,rods of glass.Uh,that's lamp work,but you can do it onto rods and then you make beads.So I.Of course needed to do that.Of course,I took classes on that and then once you get into that,cuz that's,it's small and it's actually fairly inexpensive to get into like the torch and.The gas and the glass.I mean,you're$200and you're ready,you know,and then also you need to know how to do it.Um,so take the class.But,um,but it's not hard to get into.But then there's the glass blowing,which that's a big deal.So I've only ever done that at places where they can actually,you know,they have the kilns and they have the big forges and things like that.Um,and that's,it's a ton of fun.And

Jeff: 5:44

I,I saw,you know,actually I watch it on tv.There's some shows where you can see,you know,glassblowing competitions and mm-hmm.I mesmerized by it.I couldn't do it,but man,I'm sure impressed by those that can,yeah.Go take a class.No,I'm too old for that kind of stuff.I don't have enough breath left in me to blow all.Oh,



Amanda: 6:03

have a machine for that one.They just use air compressor.

Jeff: 6:06

Maybe I'll do it.So tell me,how did you transition from this crafter?And I'm sure you had a job full-time and all of a sudden decide,you know what?Let's just open up a business.How did that happen?

Amanda: 6:22

Uh,well,I've always,my dad's an entrepreneur and so I've always wanted to have my own business and I've done,you know,little things here and there.I did,uh,like a couple multi-level,uh,like party light.They sell candles and candle holders and stuff like that.And I did great.It was fun.Um,especially when my kids were little.It was,yeah,something that was easy to do.Um,you know,I would,I could do that at night and.But I mean,it,it was fine.So,but I enjoyed having my own business and I'm not afraid to talk to strangers,and that definitely helped.And then anytime you do any sort of multi-level,there's a huge focus on building yourself up and building your skills.So I took those skills and then I,I didn't really,I mean,I,you know,you get so far,I think I was making like a top a couple thousand dollars a month and that was great.And then we moved to Northern California and I had no circle up there.Mm-hmm.And my kids were,they were at the point where they,um,they,they were pretty young,like kindergarten and,um,preschool at that point.So I kind of,they were starting in school.My son needed a lot of extra help.Um,and so I kind of,kind of just let the,that go away.And then I started working at a scrapbook store.During the day while they were in school,so that I had my time free for them after school and I wasn't making as much money,but I had a ton of fun and I've always been a paper crafter no matter what.I try,I always come back to paper crafting and it,it's like my main,I don't know why it gives me so much joy,but it is,it's,it's the thing for me,um,and cards especially.I like scrapbooking,but I never want to invest.As much as it takes to do a whole book.So I've got,you know,like three or four page layouts here and there.But cards,they're simple.One is its own little canvas and then you're done.And then you can move on to the next thing and you don't have to come back.It doesn't have to be cohesive with the before and after projects.Um,and I know people.You know,they,they do it their own way and,and maybe their books are a mess,but I would want mine to kind of make sense as you flow from one page to the next.So,so I,I have always kind of shied away from a lot of scrapbooking and,uh,at the same time when I was up there,I was also working part-time for a theater and I was doing costuming,so building props and sewing,and I kind of got roped in and then,Once you get,once they get their hook and you,they,they got,you know,they got you for the whole nine yards.So I would do that and,but that was sort of like Feaster famine.The kids would come with me and we'd either be there80hours a week or we'd be there,like I'd go in for an hour when they were in school for one week,you know,between shows there wasn't a lot going on.Um,But it's,it's fun.And I've done so many different types of hobbies that you work with different tools,and as you're working with your main love,like for me,paper crafts,you think,oh,that tool from blah,blah blah would be really great for.For this in paper crafts or this tool for paper crafts is good,except it's really focused for something else.And I,if it were tweaked a little bit,it would be a perfect tool for my uses.Um,so kind of that's how we sort of started.I was,hmm.I wanted something that was a little bit better.Um,my husband,like I said,he's an engineer.Um,so he does her software,but he also is an entrepreneur at heart.So he said,well,I can build you that.And then we decided,let's,you know,we've got prototypes.We were going to create innovation anyhow cuz I,I tend to go anyhow.And so we took it,showed it around,launched our first product,and it's actually,it was designed to work with Conics,um,which I'm,if you're not familiar with Chibitronics,they make,um,l e d stickers and our main product.Is basically the guts for light up cards.So our first product was designed to work with theirs,and I went to Chibitronics first because I didn't want to step on their toes,you know?Right.Um,and they said,this is great.Our focus is stem.This.Is our product was more for crafters.So you didn't have to learn how to build a circuit.It was just sort of sticker.Sticker tape.Tape done.Yeah.Um,and so they said,you can take our products and make a kit with them and,and market it to crafters.That's perfect.But we don't wanna market this ourselves because it takes away from stem,the learning part.So we did that.And then we had a lot of people say,this is cool,except it still seems complicated.So we hardwired little flat flashlights and they really took off for us.Really.Which is great.Yeah.So now we have a couple other versions,but it's not,I mean,the,that's not the only thing that I enjoy doing.So there are other tools that we've,you know,developed and,um,you had kind of mentioned the marker bag before we started recording.Mm-hmm.That one.Has taken off as well.I wanted it,it was sort of modeled after a pencil bag.But I wanted one for markers and the pencil bags can only hold a handful of markers.They're not very tall.So we modified an existing,um,sort of design specifically for markers.I worked with my friend Kathy Reson,who,um,she has a website called The Daily Marker.She's,um,anybody who's paper crafting knows and loves Kathy.Um,and so we,we worked together and we put her top10coloring tips on the bags and people love them.Uh,so we,we've been very lucky there,but I,I like to either come up with a brand new design for something that I,as a paper crafter would use,and.Or,or tweak existing ones and make them specific to our field.And I know that our field is,is kind of a,a niche area.I know that card making is not the biggest market out there.No,I don't

Jeff: 12:38

know.It's getting bigger,it seems.Yeah,

Amanda: 12:40

it well,and I am happy that it is.Yeah.But I honestly,I don't care.I,I mean,I do care.I don't want everything to flop or anything like that,but,That's not why I make it.I make it on purpose for people like me.Um,and I'll,

Jeff: 12:58

so let's let,let me jump in real quick.Let,let's give,give them the,your web address Oh.So that they can go and look at what we're talking about.

Amanda: 13:07

Okay.Uh,you can find us,um,at pair blossom or on social media.It's at Pear Blossom Press everywhere.Facebook,YouTube,Instagram.Um,

Jeff: 13:19

yeah,you're it.When I looked at your website,it's,it's kind of twofold.It,it,it,you have,you have the product,but you also show them.How to do things through blogs,through YouTube,through Facebook.I mean,it really is kind of a one stop shop if you wanna learn how to do something and also get some of the tools that you offer.Right?

Amanda: 13:43

Sure,absolutely.Yeah.If you wanna make light up cards and you've been intimidated by it,or it seems tricky or hard to do,it's.One,we tried to make it very simple.We,we have several different kinds of lights now,and the whole point of them is to make it so easy that you can spend time on the fun part of card making.It,it's really,you just stick it down and cover it up,you know,and then you spend the time on the,the fun techniques,the things that you really enjoy.Um,if you're like me,you know,making cards,

Jeff: 14:16

And No,you're,you're ki you're killing me here because my wife has just recently found that,you know,she,she loves card making and she loves the cricket and the Gemini,and now she,cuz she listens to these,you c you told her about an easy way to use lights.So I think you just cost me some dollars.Thanks so much Amanda.Really appreciate that.

Amanda: 14:44

Yeah.So I mean,some of the things like,so one of the other things that we just came out with is our world's best foam tape.And I don't say that lightly.Mm-hmm.Because foam tape can be either really,really sticky.Mm-hmm.And once you put it down,it's stuck.And we've all done it.If we've,if we've used foam tape at all,we've all put something down and then it's wrong.Mm-hmm.And then you either have to.You know,you pull it up and you're gonna wreck either the top or the bottom of your card or your scrapbook page,whatever you're working on.One piece or the other tends to get ruined when you try to separate it.Um,so I wanted foam tape that is repositionable at first.I.But also becomes permanent.So we,we've been working on this and it's taken two years to get it to the market.Um,it's repositionable for30minutes and then it becomes permanent overnight.So if you stick it down and it's wrong,you have working time.And I,to me,that's important.

Jeff: 15:44

We all say,yeah.

Amanda: 15:46

And the other thing that was really important to me was release paper that actually.Releases because,okay,wait a minute.

Jeff: 15:52

Wait a minute.You're talking about a dummy here.What the heck is a release paper?

Amanda: 15:57

Uh,so release paper is,uh,on foam tape.You have it,it's all rolled up,and then there is a piece of like paper on top so that it keeps.Every layer from sticking to itself.Oh.Makes double

Jeff: 16:09

sensed shape.Oh,okay.That makes sense to me.

Amanda: 16:12

So,yeah,so,so the release paper a lot of times is really hard.You have to fight with it,you know,your fingernail or you're looking for some sort of pokey tool or something to,to get the paper to come up and ours,it,it comes up,comes up really,really easy.Cuz that was important to me.So it's,it's,it's kind of taking an existing product.And then making it,what would be better?You know,at least in my opinion,this would be great.If so,then I,I fill in the blanks on the if and work to make it so.

Jeff: 16:49

Well,you know,the cool thing that I'm hearing here is it's that your site and your company is not a me too site.You are finding products that are.Unique and different or existing products and making them better?Is that kind of what you're doing?

Amanda: 17:10

Yeah,absolutely.I,I,there are a lot of companies that sell great stuff,of course.And if it's already great and it's good to go,more power to'em and as many people wanna sell those,go for it.Uh,my focus is on things that.That are different,more,like you said,unique,just like how could it be better and then if I can make it better,I,I put it out there.The nice thing is that because we are so unique,a lot of companies are picking us up.So if you want to make a light up card,you can come by lights from us,or you can go to.Big stamp companies.Spell binders.My favorite things.Um,Trinity Stamps.A lot of companies carry our lights so you can buy your stamps and your dyes there and pick up lights while you're at it.So,you know.So

Jeff: 18:01

I know you've got some other products,so just kind of give us an overview of some of the other products that you have on your site.For me,it looked like you've got little,like a package of stamps that you can,

Amanda: 18:11

so I don't make stamps and I'm not going into the stamp business,but I see a lot of those companies that I work with,they have.Stamp sets that say push,um,that kind of thing.And so we do carry some,um,some products that support the lights.So if you're gonna make a light up card,you'd want a,a stamp that says push so that you can,you know,indicate where the button is and,and let people know that it,you know,it's gonna light up.Um,and then we also have,like,we carry a lot of gems.Uh,like little plastic sequins and rhinestones Oh.And that sort of thing.But we carry the ones that lights will shine through because in a lot of the cards that I show samples for,I'll put like a,a red dot or a red gem on top of Rudolph's nose,and then when you push the button,his nose glows.But that,that gem under on top glows as well.So fun.Yeah.So like that's not something that I'm necessarily manufacturing,however,Um,we did have,so our,our gem guy,his name is Victor from h a I supply,and I said,Hey,Victor.I want some yellow raindrops.And he was like,why is that like yellow snow?I,

Jeff: 19:23

I,you said it,I was thinking it,but you said it.

Amanda: 19:27

But yellow raindrops on top of a candle look like a candle flame.Mm-hmm.So we're probably the only people on the planet who've asked him to make yellow raindrops,but he did.He made us special yellow raindrop gems.And so we call'em candle flame gems.And,and that's what they're there for.You would poke a hole,put our light behind it,and then glue one of the yellow.Gems on top,and if you've got that on top of a,a candle stamp,it looks perfect.So,yeah.I saw,

Jeff: 19:56

I saw on your,on,on your website there was a,a,a,a birthday cake with candles.Yeah.That lit up.And Yeah.Is,is it that easy to do with if you have the right tools?

Amanda: 20:10

Absolutely.Yeah.And,and we try to,it's tools that you would already have if you are a scrapbooker or a card maker.So you,you shouldn't need anything super special,just,I mean,the lights and foam tape.

Jeff: 20:24

Wow.Now,I saw a,a thing,uh,on your website that said Crafter noon.Yes.What is a,what is a craft?A noon,

Amanda: 20:33

so I used to host it in person here at a local coffee shop once a month.I would just,You know anybody who is a crafty person and wants to come hang out with other crafty people,bring your own supplies and.And we've got the,the basement of this coffee shop should just let us use it and,you know,grab coffee,chit chat with friends while you're coloring or whatever you're doing.And so that was always a lot of fun.But then when Covid hit,we took it online and as a result,we were able to open it up far bigger than Riverside.I,we have people from all over the country that join us sometimes.Oh.Different countries that join us.Um,And it's just on,on Sunday afternoons,we meet on Zoom and anybody who's wanting to craft is welcome to join us.There's a tab at the top of our website that says Craft Afternoon.Uh,the other nice thing is that because it's on camera,I'm on camera.Everybody else is on camera.If they happen to be working on a light up card and they're stuck,I can help them,you know,

Jeff: 21:35

so Well,that's a good idea.

Amanda: 21:37

Yeah.I,I just,I don't want anybody to get our stuff,get home.You put this stuff aside cuz you bought20other things and then you don't pull it out for a month and then you go,now what?You know?Yeah.So,so we have a ton of like videos and step-by-step blog posts,but then we also have craft afternoon.So that you're never alone,you know,you still have help.So

Jeff: 22:02

do you get,uh,people that reach out to you and call you there at your place of business and ask you questions?Is that something that you like,you encourage.

Amanda: 22:14

Uh,I don't get it a whole lot.I'll,a lot of times people reach out via email and I see.Then I see.Um,but,uh,video chat is often easier when we're talking about like,how do you do something?What,what's going on?Oh,you know,I can.It's easier to diagnose if there's an,an issue.Okay.Um,and then also offer suggestions cuz I can see the setup,you know,but a lot of times I'll,I'll steer them if it's in an email anyhow,I'll steer them to Sunday afternoon and then that way they meet new crafty friends and I can help them.

Jeff: 22:48

And,and you're on all the social media sites and,and everything

Amanda: 22:53

like that?Yeah,yeah.Facebook,YouTube.Instagram,Pinterest.I don't do Twitter or TikTok cuz I'm not12.

Jeff: 23:04

I can't spell Twitter or TikTok,so I can't go to anything that I can't spell.Yeah,

Amanda: 23:09

I'm sure I,I have friends that are doing a lot of TikTok now and it seems like there's,there's growth in the,um,in the craft sector of TikTok.Yeah.But I just.I'm busy with,you know what I'm already doing and I haven't made that

Jeff: 23:23

transition.But you can only take on so much and it's a step process.Right?Absolutely.Absolutely.And so where do you see,you have ideas for new products on the horizon?You got tons of things coming down that you can.Say,Hey,check back with us or anything,you can,

Amanda: 23:41

oh yeah,absolutely.We've got,so I,you know,people always say,so-and-so stole my idea,or,you know that that's a million dollar idea.And I don't believe in million dollar ideas because I.We've all seen really bad ideas become really big products or you know something,and then we've all seen cool things that just don't take off.You know?I do.So I really believe that it's the effort that you put behind it.So I'm never like afraid to tell people what I'm working on because they're not gonna steal my idea.It,it's the work that that counts.Um,so if you steal my idea and then put the work behind it,more power to you if you beat me to market,have at it,you know.But,um,let's see.So what I'm working on,uh,a heat gun that has con you can control the air pressure.So a lot of heat guns on the market right now.Um,they're either high pressure,like it blows a lot of air.Yeah.And it's noisy or it's very low pressure.And it,it,it's not designed to move your media around.It's just designed to,to dry it in place and those tend to be quieter.So I've got a gun in the works that is both you,you turn the knob and you decide how much air pressure,and you can also dial in the temperature to the.Exact degree.Um,so I,I think that's a fantastic product.It's in the works,but it's also like$80,000outta my pocket to,to start the first batch.So it's,it's,it's down the road.

Jeff: 25:16

It's a little pocket change.Don't worry about it.

Amanda: 25:18

Yeah.You know,um,I'm working on a ruler that's,uh,zero center specifically specifically for card makers.Um,there are,there are t squares on the market.And there are some that are,you know,they're12inches and they may or may not have a zero center.I don't make12inch cards.I want one that's specific for my card sizes so that my zero is in the middle.How cool.Yeah.So cool things,things like that.And I know that ruler won't be huge because.The,the card making market isn't huge,and I know that's why other ruler companies haven't made it because it's not a big enough sector necessarily for them.But I don't,I don't care.I want it for You're

Jeff: 26:01

not,you're not doing it.That's right.You're doing it for you.Yeah.Well,this,I can't believe that we've hit almost a half an hour already.This has gone by in like the blink of an eye.Um,I,is there anything I've forgotten to.Ask you that you wanted to talk about?

Amanda: 26:22

Mm.I think one of the things that people still ask me a lot is,um,you know,since I spent,I,I basically,I turned my hobby into a job and do I still craft or does it feel like a job to,to do that kind of stuff and.Um,and yes,I do still craft.In fact,um,at least once a week there,there's a,a live game show on YouTube.It's called Craft Roulette,and it's on Friday nights.And I make it a point as long as I'm,uh,you know,not specifically called away for family things or something else,I make a point to join in.It's a fun community.So in the,the chatter box,we're all,you know,Just catching up with each other and making jokes and,but then there's a challenge and you make a card and you have,you know,a few days to do it.So I make a point of doing that for me,cuz it's not for,it almost never has lights because it,that's not what it's about.And it,it's just a,it's so that I can stay.In the hobby that I love because if I let myself,I would be so busy and I would move away from what got me to start in the first place.

Jeff: 27:33

Your love,I and I,I think that I'm probably speaking for a lot of people out there.It sounds like you are a,a,a very,very,Good card maker,and I think all of us want to get to know you better so that we're on the Christmas list and we get to see one of your wonderful cards.So,so I,I,I'm,I'm first I said it first,so.Okay.Um,I expect to be on your Christmas list.Well,uh,Amanda,thank you very much for taking all of the time to,to talk with us and give us your website again,please.

Amanda: 28:05

It's Pear blossom

Jeff: 28:08

Pear Blossom,thank you

Amanda: 28:12

very much.Thank you.I had fun.I appreciate

Jeff: 28:15

it.You betcha you've been listening to the Art Supply Insiders.Check back with us often as we talk about the world of art and craft supplies.If you'd like to hear more of these podcasts,please hit the subscribe button on your preferred podcast platform and we really appreciate it.If you tell a friend.If you'd like to show your support,please consider going to our website and hitting the support go out and create something.