The Journey…

A letter to my-3 years younger-self

Dear Amna,

This was 2013, July/August to be exact.
Wasnt it just amazing when you discovered there was a paper crafty circle in your own country? You so wanted to hug every single crafter just out of happiness (the only few that you had come across at that time) and tell them how amazing they were for making gorgeous stuff and for sharing it with everyone.

Wasnt it even more amazing when your eyes were wide open and your heart stood still when you saw those amazing craft supplies all in reach without spending a arm and a leg which you had done previously (through a firm) just to get hold of 2 punches and a speedball linoleum cutter! Which rock were you hiding under??? And then your eyes were watering and you were so sure it was tears of happiness and were jumping with joy (like once ages ago when your Islamiat teacher had commented ‘Maindak ki tarah chalaangain maar rahi hai koi saleeka nahin! haha if only she knew what it felt like :D); even though it was probably because you barely blinked in those 4-5 hours at a stretch till you had gone through every single product that was available at Firely, Artful Crafting (Many-Happy-Returns at that time), Flair Paper Creations, Scraps and at Craft Circus.

Wow! It was like heaven! AND then without a clue and out of sheer happiness and a not so full pocket ‘EVEN’ at that time – *pause* – (justification: thanks to the photography accessories that you had recently spent all your savings on, on a separate note thank God for that, or you would have never have been able to save money for them later!); you placed your first order *drumroll* ‘an embossing folder’ *bigger pause*. What were you thinking?? You were going to use a rolling pin to roll it out? was that your idea of a biceps workout?? Okay glad you figured it wasnt going to work out sooner than later.

Next stop – patterned paper, wasnt it so so beautiful?? why hadnt you come across this gorgeous world before right? wudnt life would have been so amazing?! Second order ’39 sheets of pattern paper’… BTW just so you know, you will still have those 39 sheets in 2016, amongst the hundreds of sheets that you would own. Third order – stickers, a few punches, a few stamp sets (you should have gotten an acrylic block to use them with you know), some flowers, binding rings (wow! you were planning to make an album then?? hahahaha), had to have a few washi too right? and OMGosh moment! got to get a paper pad! add a 6×6 pad to the list too! The paper pad was out of stock so no worries, glad you didnt think of ordering some other one, would have been lying untouched till 2016 as well. Oh well! and then you got the package, btw smart move on getting it delivered to your workplace, and your boss was just staring the whole time at the kid in you opening up a box of candy ignorant of the surrounding (didnt you realize you had a reputation to live up too?). Oh and then you though the ‘freebie’ diecuts were a mix up and wrote an email back just to make sure, thats the sharing happiness part remember? And then the fourth order – had to get some paper, some inks and of course an acrylic block. Oh and then the wonderful Shereen Aftab came to Isloo to conduct a stamping workshop and you could not attend because it was on a weekend?? You know what that was? A BAD Decision *period*.

AND then you heard of The Crafter’s Expo! Another OMG moment! wasnt that the best thing ever! An expo just for crafters?! You were over the moon! AND this was your chance to get to see craft supplies in person too?! NOW or NEVER! You decided to do what you could and sponsor the event and then signed up for a photography pass and planned an entire trip to Karachi just so you could be there. AND then the event that you had your whole trip planned around you could only attend for an hour and a half, you should have spent more time admiring work than zeroing your account balance, with no thought into what you were going to do with what you were purchasing, you just ‘needed’ everything didnt you??

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Left: Cant decide what to pick first ? – At the Scraps stall at TCE 2013
Right: Got to tired of shopping so decided to sit and shop in peace? – At the Craft Circus stall TCE 2013

Then came along the gorgeous Teal BigShot, you probably should have thanked Varah a lot more than you did, since that was probably one of your best purchases so far!


Then you decided to set up your own crafty page?! Umm you’re a graphic designer and used to come up with concepts for a few different logos in a day, and it took you a few months to come up with your own logo, which just so you know you will end up changing for the better later.

Logo old   Logo revised

Left: Original Logo
Right: Updated and much more ‘mature’ version

I dont think you need to be reminded of the craziness that followed, you do have pretty good memory and you certainly werent dumb. Dont you think you should have researched what you were buying? But seriously like 3 sets of the same paper pad and for a dozen designs??? Like what on earth were you thinking? The world would run out of them and you wouldnt have enough to stare at all your life? or these were the only designs that would ever come out? Okay probably not, what were you planning to do then??? Make one album design and then copy it what 3 times and sell it off and become miss richie rich??? HAHAHAHA

Just so you feel a little better, they’re still not amongst your ‘stash’ 3 years later, you did end up selling most of them in the following years, probably have one or two lying around still, and you did sell them at a loss of course so you’re not any richer than you started infact its the other way around!

DSC_0069  DSC_0071

The first album you started working on……only saw these two work in progress photos and never the light of day!

OKAY so you had all this gorgeous stuff and you could not find time to craft?


Brainwave – QUIT THE JOB. Freelance + crafting + be your own boss = dream come true = eternal bliss.
Bravo! Bravo! Have to hand it to you there! Probably the worst decision of your life!! How on earth did you expect to maintain your shopping pace with no regular pay and a few years of saving?? You knew freelance takes time and effort (the amount which you didnt put in) and doesnt kick in from day one right??

Then what follows is an analysis of every item and reflection on why you purchased it, decision to sell some stuff off, cant handle so much of ‘cant use stuff’, seeing it everyday gives you a creative block. Then you carefully research all the products online, decide what to purchase and what not too, make a smart wishlist with of course ‘a few’ must own items and cant resist the gorgeous paper collections, while all the time trying to land more work to get more money to spend on more supplies.

AND the never ending cycle which will follow to date: received payment for design assignment/craft order > match which of the 1000 items from wishlist can you get > place order > relaxation + happiness for the next few days > check emails + store account for dispatch info > try to be patient for a week > when on earth will it come? > ‘ab aa bhi jaiy’ > packet arrives > OMG OMG *big grin* > remove packaging > pack neatly in ziplock baggies/organize > admire > forget you have to use it too > next payment > *turn repeat on*…

Wish you werent so overexcited back when you started and had made smarter choices and had bought stuff for their utility and actually used what you purchased, you would have been happier, more content and not so broke…

Anyway, ‘I’ need to get back to working on that crafty order where im actually going to use the newest papers and the newest stamps and dies I purchased and add pictures to my facebook page (The Creative Element) and on my Instagram Profile (@thecreativeelement) and add it to an online challenge too, in the ‘hope’ that I can get another order soon or win a gift certificate so I can cross off some more items on my never-ending wishlist.


The journey ahead will be smoother if God wills…

Yours always,
Amna – in 2016


AND for my wonderful Readers:

Amna is a paper crafter and loves craft supplies.
She reflects and researches before buying anything/everything.
Hence ends up making ‘some’ smart choices.
She is using her supplies more often.
Amna is working on being a good girl now.

Be like Amna.

(Adapted from a version made up by the wonderful Amina and totally inspired by the “Be like Basheer” series :D)

My apologies for the awfully long letter, hope you all enjoyed and had a few laughs along the way :P Everyone makes mistakes and I hope all the newbie crafters dont make the ones I did and trust me im certainly not dumb or anything, even though now sure does seem like I was back then lol. Im a perfectionist by nature and most of the time am too critical of myself. If you possess this trait my advice to you would be, let go, experiment lots, dont think too much on it, just get to it and then create some more and more and more. The first 5 or maybe 10 or maybe 20 projects wont make you proud but you will certainly find that your next project leaves you happy. AND most importantly, find your own style. No one is perfect and if you try to take ‘too much’ of inspiration from other crafters, you will either never discover your own style or will end up discovering much later than you could…

Amina follows tomorrow with her post and then Jaihan, who will be followed by Saba.

Those of you who have subscribed to my blog, need to have subscribed to the other 4 blogs as well or you wont qualify for winning for anyone of the 5 vouchers to the wonderful Artful Crafting store. Yes thats right, we will be handing out 5 of them, one from each of us :D Now who wudnt love to cross off a few items from their wishlists, and just for subscribing to 5 blogs and leaving a bit of comment love?

xx Amna

Graphic designer, Paper Crafter, avid Photographer and a Foodie.
Loves all things handmade and things with clean, bold, graphic & minimalist styles. Lives in a beautiful valley north of Islamabad, Pakistan.

32 thoughts on “The Journey…

  1. Sharooq says:

    Be like Amna!
    A great read, and wonderful to know some crafters are still connected to their roots. They know where they started from and worked their way up Ma sha’a Allah.
    An inspiring story telling session indeed.:)

  2. Amina Ishfaq says:

    OMG Amna … I loved reading your post!! and lolling :-P
    Its Hilarious and I enjoyed the anecdotal style…. I can relate to so many things you mentioned… buying paper in bulk which I never used properly… I have had moments of mad shopping for craft supplies :-P like I will never get a chance again…. and then not using them like they should be used.
    Loved the Be like Amna bit and maindak ke terha wala part :-D Haha … the buying cycle is so true..
    Thanks for this awesome post :-D Inspires and challenges me to sue my crafty stuff
    Love and Hugs your way

  3. Ayesha says:

    Time to do lots of giveaways xxx sharing is caring ;) err… scratch that just remembered you don’t use them must be awful :P
    It was a lovely refreshing post … i admit i intended to run and get myself a cuppa .. but then got lost in your journey ………….. must i add.. i am like bashir *i am a bashir ! you won’t get it lol lol lol
    I started shopping sensibly pretty early in my journey to wasting money .. cough** in my creative journey .. ok not completely i did end up selling my craft supplies that were sitting for ages wanting to be used……….ONLY………………………….right after i needed quite a few of them so i had to re-purchase ..dohhh!
    did any of it make sense? not to me ;) …
    keep blogging keep creating love your posts …………………..
    might come back for a more “make sense” kinda post right now im too sleepy …..but guess what i won’t sleep… i refuse to sleep i must make something instead off to crochet… ! …take care ^_^

    • Ayesha says:

      PS: Your first few paper stacks are with you means they’re way better than what i bought ! mine were such an eye sore i let me daughter doodle on them :D

      • Amna says:

        Haha im sure they werent that bad! :D im a diehard Prima fan, had 3 stacks each of Optimist, Songbird, Almanac, Stationers desk and many more :P

        • Ayesha says:

          wow ! you even had great taste when you started ! .. i had a very basic one from first edition xx … i used to struggle with my card stock . the guilt wouldn’t allow me to throw them lol .. would make items out of them but was never satisfied. And then one day i realized and started to put the basic elements away for my daughter she’s always very grateful .. so it’s a win win ! :D lol *im such a meanie haha
          ps: we’re all waiting to see more view of your lovely surroundings xx i get a feeling you love photography too
          Best regardsx

          • Amna says:

            haha atleast they didnt go to waste and werent a loss! :D
            I do love photography but since i started crafting ive not been able to do much, will add some more pictures xx

    • Amna says:

      Haha sure is about time for a giveaway! :P inbox me your addy too :)
      LOL are you? :P I was wondering who the Bashir was ;P
      Oh yes sure made sense, and i am so happy to know you shopped sensibly, I wish i had too and i can totally relate to the selling and then repurchasing the same thing for myself again too lol…
      Oooh do share a picture of what you crocheted :D xx

      • Ayesha says:

        Yeah .. looking forward to your lovely giveaways ;) … will surely give them a loving home hehehe … Bashir my father’s name bless him ** :) you probably figured it out..
        aww ii would love to share my makes how do i do that … link of facebook or something? ^_^
        best regards

  4. Sobia Ali says:

    So I opened FB to write a concern to my regional lead. the concern which kept me awake all night and gave me horrible jitters that just a day before the mega project launch, I came across a SOP that the way you have written the project’s name is not acceptable *yikes*. with badges made, letters in print, launch video almost complete and the launch presentation sent to the department rolling the show – hitting the message button in FB should be THE FIRST THING I must have done, but NO NO NO.
    What caught my eye, was so many stamps and stick ons hanging so well and I could imagine the craft room you own, everything kept in a civilized manner. Then I began reading the post – ohhhhhhhhhhhhh I guess all crafters begin like this and yes I am honestly telling you that soon I will share my beginning too, though its a year passed only but the kind of friends I have made and the king of experience I have gained is irreplaceable to my ten years of corporate career. There I still struggle with the fear that any good moment, just to gain that extra point, my own colleague will do anything and here I stand in my crafter league where AMY from Flair Paper Creation will immediately grab a piece of paper and make a video from cell phone telling how to scarp the edge of paper, where Erum from Scraps will open her pandora box the moment you leave a post of ISO, Varah, the Firefly will lead you to so many opportunities where you can share your expertise *sigh* (I cant even participate in more than one due to routine), Sabahat -ohhhhhhhhhh my santa throughout the year, Sharooq, a pleasant sister always there to say, lago raho ho jaye ga and so so so many more. Man I am glad to be part of you all :)
    and soory for such a long comment, couldnt hold my jazbati crafter being from writing and befpr emy project gets shut I should better be heading back to the tensions again *hahaha which gives me teh bucks to spend on my craft supplies*
    I love you Amna and I am sure WE ALL LOVE YOU :*

    • Amna says:

      Haha we’re glad you’re part of the crafter community too Sobia! :D and hoping to see lots more from your side. lots of love xx

  5. Khadija says:

    Haha what a realistic story you have right there. I can relate to so many points, laughed along. My first purchases were so fuzool (pearls, papers, and small stamps). I dont use those stamps anymore. Papers were all consumed, Alhamdulillah.
    Now I try to calculate what I want and what I need before placing an order. But obviously it never worked. I always end up buying too many things.

    • Amna says:

      Real life events, nothing added this is exactly what i did and thought :P We all end up buying too many things and splurge but its about knowing what to get rather than just get whatever looks cute/pretty.

  6. Jaihan says:

    Amazing read Amna. I agree to so many points. But love the last paragraph.

    I’m guilty if hoarding at so many points, things I bought without thinking and they’ve been lying around since then. Every time a new Crafting phase starts, I start off thinking that I’ll use the stuff this time but that never happens. But I believe we learn from our mistakes- I got to know the type of things I like working with and this entire process of hoarding defined my style at the end. I however, love the idea of selling them off to make space for new!

    • Amna says:

      Im so glad you liked it! and im even more glad a lot of people related to it, I thought i was one of the few. You’re right trying out different things does help you narrow down what works for you or not and definitely yes on the selling to make space for new especially after you’ve used it maximum number of times :)

  7. shereen aftab says:

    A more apt title might be ‘THe NEVER ending journey’.
    Loved your letter. Perhaps I’ll write one to myself. Warning: My journey started in year 2000!

  8. Injela Jamshaid says:

    Okay this amazing story of yours reminded me how I started my life as a paper crafter! Really feel the urge to write something about myself too! :D
    Glad to know you more! And in all this crafty madness, I really like the picture of the place where you live. I always wished of living in such beautiful and peaceful place. Please share a few more pics. :)

    • Amna says:

      Im so glad you could relate and yes please go ahead and write about yourself, opening up and writing is something that really helps too :)
      I will definitely share more pictures soon for sure :)

  9. Mamoona Mehwish says:

    Your story is so relatable. The first time I watched a youtube video for a waterfall card, It was a eureka moment for me (I also thought i was the first one in pakistan to have discovered this world LOL)
    Then I met all of you fabulous people!
    with crafting-therapy & such cool people in my friends circle – the monotonous life of a desi house wife changed to an energetic, looking-forward-to-what-the-next-day-might-bring kind of life. I have found happiness.
    Oh & the freebies that come with our parcels are a treat ! (Thanks Varah, Sabahat & Shireen apa)

    PS: I’ll always remember you as the quiet, smiling neighbour at my first craft fair. Lots of love

    • Amna says:

      Thank you so much Mamoona! Means a lot and im so glad you could relate! I guess all of us have had similar crafty beginnings :) xx

  10. Tehreem says:

    Oh how much I love this post ! Almost describes my situation nowadays many a times when i am looking at my screen with my mouth open and my mom wonders must be clothes but it is actually some craft supply ! and when I have to explain to everybody what does each one of these things does and then everybody wants me to sell them but I am not so confident I just say I have so little amount of cards I cant make it into a business ! and this is so Amazing your whole crafting story It is something so relate-able! The excitement and the wish list and the projects u make ! So, true to the core and I know u say u shouldn’t have done that but the only reason u succeeded in this is by doing all those little and big things ! Amazing <3 loved it :)

    • Amna says:

      The mouth open and staring at the screen for hours yes! :D Im so glad you could relate to the post! the funny thing was when i was writing it, i felt like i might look stupid in the end for all the choices I made but im so happy for having written it. And yes one learns faster from the mistakes one makes! thank you! ❤

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