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A.I. Paper Design

As a creative kid, April found herself always making something. Soon came April’s Ideas and from that kid started business blossomed an amazing career. “Stylish and savvy handmade paper goods” is how April and Steve McCrumb now define their marvelous works of art. Frames, books, photo albums and functional wall art full of color and fun make a.i. paper design an extraordinary choice for gift giving. 

April shares her story, "I was always busy creating something to sell or give as a gift. My Mom always encouraged me to make things instead of buy them. I peddled pot holders to the neighbors, surf bracelets to the kids on the schoolbus and hand painted pins to all of my relatives. In October I would begin planning out what I was going to make for all my aunts and uncles for Christmas. One year, I hand drew each of them a calendar with seasonal pictures for every month. Most of my gifts and cards always had my "hallmark" on the back that read April's Ideas. I would never have dreamed that name would be relevant today.

I also loved doing art projects in school. My aunt Tami worked as a designer for Hallmark and I thought that was such a cool job. I took a lot of art classes in high school, but decided to go to college to be a special education teacher. My parents agreed that would be the sensible thing to do.

During my studies at Eastern Michigan University, I had the opportunity to work at an after school child care program in the Ann Arbor school district. It was a very fun job because we did crazy craft projects everyday with kids. Whenever we had left over colorful paper scraps from projects, I would collect them for my paper making hobby. Pretty soon, I gathered old bulletin board paper backgrounds from the teachers and started making large batches of bright handmade colored paper.

 As my inventory of handmade paper grew, I started making cards, frames and books out of it for gifts. My friend and co-worker, Dena suggested we should do a craft show together and that lit the spark of my childhood peddling days. Before I knew it, I was signing up for a 6 ft. table space at the Ann Arbor Artisan Market for a mere $8 a Sunday. My boyfriend, Steve would come and visit me on the weekends from Grand Rapids and help me sell my wares. We were both feeling rich after making $80 in an afternoon. April's Ideas was back in business.

With the help of Becky (sister-in-law) and Karen (assistant), Steve and I participated in 34 art fairs during 1999. It was fun traveling around to a new town every weekend, but after a while it became tiresome. Every once in awhile, local store owners in the art fair towns would ask me if I would wholesale any of my items. At the time, I could hardly keep up making enough inventory for the next show so I had to decline. Steve and I knew if we wanted to wholesale, he would have to quit his teaching job, we'd have to hire a small staff and probably move the business out of our house. It was an exciting, yet scary step of faith, but we took it.

Steve and I have been so blessed throughout this amazing journey. I couldn't have imagined a better way to live my life. I love what I do. I am passionate about my job. I enjoy working, laughing and even arguing with my husband. I am inspired by everyday simple pleasures. I believe that great faith in God can and will lead you to wonderful things. I am grateful for all the incredible experiences I have been a part of and continue to encounter." 

April's design ability and her commitment to an ever changing collection make her a real favorite with our customers. Any choice from a.i. paper design makes for a gift that is sure to please. 

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