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Interview with Crafter Aki Altuna
Kimberly Danielle 'Aki' Altuna
Kimberly Danielle 'Aki' Altuna

Do what you love, and your job will never feel like work, author Mark Twain once famously advised. Cat enthusiast, font fanatic and crafter Aki Altuna follows that maxim, combining her eclectic interests to create unique printables and other products.

Lilium Pixel, Minted Strawberry, TurtleCat Designs (Kingston, Ontario)

Type of Craft:
Graphics, printables, hand-lettered items (cards, gift tags, party invitations), DIY blogging

Years in Business: 2

Etsy - Lilium Pixel
Etsy - TurtleCat Designs

Don't hesitate. Just jump in, work hard and give it your best!
Q: How did you start crafting?

I love drawing, and I love designing unique, personal cards in Photoshop for my friends and family. You could say I have an unhealthy obsession with fonts. My degree is in interior design, and my day job is working as a freelance graphic designer and hand-letterer, so it wasn’t much of a leap for me to start creating printable items to sell online.

Q: What do you love about it?

I enjoy repurposing, coming up with ideas and making unique things. I love being challenged to push my creativity, then seeing the final product. I feel a deep sense of fulfillment when I know I’ve made something beautiful and of purpose.

Q: Where do you get ideas for your designs?

I find inspiration all over the place: current trends of the season, cute items that catch my eye, nature, even my husband. He provides a lot of inspiration in terms of well-thought-out suggestions for designs for me.

Q: How did you come up with your unusual Etsy shop and blog names?

I chose Lilium Pixel and Lilium Pixel SVG for my graphics and printables because I wanted something that would be memorable and that would have personal significance for me. I picked “Lilium,” the botanic word for lily, because the first time my husband ever gave me flowers, it was a bouquet of lilies. I added “Pixel” to reflect the digital nature of my shops.

I launched my craft blog later and chose Minted Strawberry because I love the color mint and I love strawberries. It was simple and silly, but I went with it.

Q: What’s your creative process like?

Honestly, it’s all over the place. I’m not good at focusing on just one task, so I do multiple things at the same time. It helps me stay interested. Since I work from home, I have the luxury of crafting while I do my freelance work. Whenever I get frustrated or hit a creative block with developing a design for a client, I take a break and work on designs for my shops.

Q: What advice do you wish you’d gotten when you started?

Don’t hesitate. Just jump in, work hard and give it your best!

Also, having the right tools is a must. Not only do they make your work easier, but without them, you can’t produce high-quality, finished-looking items. Compare prices, compare quality, then try to balance your choices. If you’re running a business, you need affordable supplies, but you can’t sacrifice quality.

Q: Are you expanding into any new crafts or projects?

Yes! My husband and I just started our latest business—fun, hand-lettered totes, tees and accessories at TurtleCat Designs on Etsy. We named it in honor of our fur babies and our reptilian baby. Did I mention that I love cats? We have two of them, and I spend most of my days with them. They like to distract me, whether I’m working or not.

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