Painting Up A Storm!

Hey hey heyyyyyy!!!!!!

Yes, I’m still around, even if I’m hardly posting on any social media lately.

Life has gotten interesting around here, and I just haven’t been making my business a complete priority. I did take a couple hours this week to work on product photography:

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I’m hoping to get the pics edited and uploaded to Etsy this week sometime; my new work computer didn’t have a memory card reader, so we had to order one. Now that it’s here, I can get new and improved (and rebranded approved!) product pictures in my store. Woo hoo!

Trust me, I’m not lounging around, eating bonbons and watching mindless TV all day. I’ve actually been working on a lot of painting lately….and cleaning, and renovating, and decluttering…

Huh?

My husband and I have made a really hard decision and we’re getting our house ready to sell. We’re not moving far away, but with the kiddos going to an out of district school this year, life has gotten challenging. Too much time has been spent on the road, and we’ve decided to move into the district so the kids will be close to school.

So yes, I have been painting, but my brush has been more along these lines…

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Excuse the goon face. I didn’t realize until I was taking the picture that not only was my painting helper photobombing me, but he was turning me into a bunny as well!

With all of that being said, today is Back to the Drawing Board’s THIRD BIRTHDAY!!!! Whaaaat! I think that calls for a celebration! How should we celebrate? A giveaway? Sale? Something else? All of the above? Let me know in the comments below!

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Product Discontinuation: Wizard Jewelry

With my whole rebranding process and fine tuning my product line into one cohesive unit comes having to say good bye to some beloved products…

…including my Harry Potter inspired jewelry line.

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There are a couple reasons why they are the first to go. The main reason is that they don’t really match up with the whole landscape/nature feel I’m looking for now 😉

I’m also stopping them because I don’t want to get my Etsy store shut down. I’ve had to change all my keywords, descriptions and tags because a lot of companies are coming after small businesses who are using their licensed characters without permission, and Etsy is shutting down their shops. I don’t want to have to deal with that stress anymore, even if I’m not using brand names.

For the earrings, when they are gone, they are completely gone. The necklaces are a little more flexible; I do have more of the pendants available that I can restock again, but once my supplies and stock are fully gone, they’re gone for good.

Some of the pieces are already sold out; I think the red studs are already gone, but I think I do have some more dangles that are ready to be listed. I should have those up within the next couple days if I do in fact have any.

You can find the remaining product line in my Etsy store here.

 

I think I’ve asked this before, but which house do you belong to in the Harry Potter world? Hufflepuffs rule! There are three Hufflepuffs, one Gryffindor, and one Ravenclaw in my family 🙂

Rebranding: Display Progress!

One of my 2017 goals was to rebrand my business by changing up colors and making it feel more cohesive…and then a week later, I decided to rebrand the rebranding.

Confusing, I know.

I’m really loving the new direction the business is going in. I feel more confident with how it’s going to look, and I think the business as a whole will feel more cohesive. I tried to tailor most of the Drawing a Day challenge towards the landscape and natural feel, and honestly, the ones that fit that theme were my favorites and even lowered my stress levels while completing them!

I was excited to start making my vision a reality. The tablecloths and runners were already here, but the displays needed to be made. Here’s the look I was aiming for for my booth display:

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Waaaaay back in February we went to my in-law’s house and used my father-in-law’s saws to start cutting my displays. We live in Western New York, so February usually means feet of snow, blizzards, and very little sun. Not this particular day! It was upper 60’s/low 70’s and sunny! I wore flip flops and ended up barefoot outside. It was perfection.

We started the day out with a hamper full of random logs from around the yard. Some of them ended up not being cut as they were just too big for the saws we had available to us.

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My husband did most of the cutting, and my father-in-law helped as needed. My oldest son helped out where he could as well 🙂

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I love how not all of the logs look the same, and some are really unusual shapes and sizes! This guy was one of my favorites!

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By the end of the day, our hamper was full of smaller pieces, all ready to be put to work as displays.

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Although I was really excited about the new pieces, I was pretty bummed that I didn’t have any of the bigger slices that I really wanted as base pieces for the displays. I could buy some, but really, paying $15 or more for a piece of wood just felt kind of ridiculous to me. I just so happened to go on Facebook the following day and my neighbor had posted pictures of her step-daughter’s baby shower. And guess what was part of the displays?

Big wood slices!

I asked her where she got them, and her brother-in-law had made them. She said she’d either find the slices for me to have, or have him make some more for me. Score!!!!!

And let me just tell you, these slices are HUGE. And AMAZING!!!!!

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Putting the displays together has been so much fun! I’m loving the versatility of them, and they’re going to fit so much better with the business than the $3 plastic file organizers I had been using!

They’ll be used for displaying prints (with the assistance of book stands)….

and for stud earrings!

The wood for the necklace displays has been cut, but I still have to stain them and assemble them. New fabric and ribbon has been purchased to redo the dangle earring displays, and I still need to seal the logs and wood slices, too.

I can’t wait to start putting the whole look together! As soon as the weather starts being consistently warm and sunny, I’ll drag everything up and start playing with it outside. I’ll also be taking pictures for my banner here and on Etsy as well to complete the branding process.

 

What do you think of the new displays? Any suggestions or additions/changes I should make?

Drawing a Day Recap: How It Went, What I Learned

Whew. What a few weeks this was!

I had no idea what to expect going into the Drawing a Day Challenge. I figured it would be really hard and time consuming, taking away so much time from my family. I thought there would be a few days I just wouldn’t have time to get to drawing, and that I’d either extend the challenge to make up for it or double up on some days.

That wasn’t the case. Yes, it took some time away from the family on weekends and in the evening when I was writing the blog post, but most of that was done either during quiet times or after they’d go to bed. And missing a day? I’m very happy and surprised to announce I did not miss a day at all! There were days I didn’t have a chance to reveal, but I was able to get each drawing done on it’s day.

But anyway….here’s my recap!

What I Learned:

Making my art a priority CAN be done! And SHOULD be done! Yes, I’m going to some crazy days or hectic weekends, but I still managed to get a couple hours of work in, even if it was hard. I need to remember this often!

It’s okay to have hard days where the medium isn’t cooperating, my brain and hand aren’t communicating, or my head’s just not in it. However, pushing through isn’t horrible, either. Sometimes I just need to kick myself into gear and get it done, and sometimes I really just need to refocus on something else for a few minutes before I can tackle my work.

For Next Time:

Next time? Will there be a next time? Am I really that crazy?

Yes, I will probably be doing the challenge again next year; I’ve had a couple people request that I do it again, too! I’ve already started compiling a list of subjects to choose from 😉

Changes for next time: I either need to do just one drawing per weekend, or just take the weekends off. It is just too hard trying to do it plus run kids to parties/activities, help with projects, or just have down time with the family if I consistently need to take a couple hours away from them.

Products:

I think all of the pieces will become prints; I have most of the drawings scanned and ready to edit! A lot of them will become note cards as well, either in their own individual set or with others for an assorted set. I’m thinking about selling some cards individually as I’ve had people want a card, but not want to buy a whole box of them. We’ll see.

I have had some special requests for products! One suggestion was to do a large assorted note card set where you’d get one card of each design from the challenge for a total set of 25 cards, which I think is amazing! Another suggestion is turning the dragon into a get well card! Genius! I’ve also had a pre-order for a necklace featuring the barn image.

If there is anything you’d like to see, please don’t hesitate to contact me with your suggestion and I’d love to try and make it happen!

Overall Thoughts:

Favorite drawings: Koala, Mason, Falcon, Fox, Tiger….I guess I really liked the animals!

Least favorite: Cardinal

Ones that have grown on me: Sunflower. I really really disliked it, but hearing from various people about how it moves them, I’ve started having an appreciation for it!

Biggest challenges: Fitting it in on very busy days (Odyssey of the Mind Regionals, Crazy Sunday (church, party, swim banquet), Ryan’s birthday party). But I did it! Woo hoo!

Growth: Knowing I CAN make the time if I really want to. Having that accountability of revealing it that night really makes me push through; I don’t want to disappoint anyone, and I know there were some people who would look for the reveal each night.

Surprises: Comments in person, personal messages, people looking forward to the reveal every night. The fact that everyone loves Sunflower! I had no idea that this challenge would impact and touch so many people! I’m overwhelmed by the support, encouragement, and comments. It’s what got me through this!

FAQ:

Who suggested the challenge/where did you find the challenge/what group are you participating with?

I suggested it and kind of made up my own challenge. All the drawing challenges I found were more like prompts for little drawings than actual full blown finished pieces. I did this on my own; I’d love to have others participate next time, whether as a drawing challenge or create something every day.

Why are you doing this????

Yeah, I know, it’s kind of crazy. The purpose was two-fold: to improve my skill so my drawings were better and could be completed faster, and to increase (errr, create) my inventory of original drawings for sale. I’m happy to say that I definitely improved my skill; I’m more comfortable with drawing now, and have cut my drawing time in almost half! Depending on the difficulty, I can get a drawing done in 2-3 hours, some even under 2!

 

What was your favorite drawing from the challenge? What would you like to see next time? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Drawing a Day Challenge: DAY 25!!!!

Guys! I did it!!!! I was able to do 25 5×7 drawings in 25 days!

I’m a little shocked I was able to get to it some days. Like today. My husband had meetings all day, so it was just me and the three kiddos….and two of them were having a little bit of a rough time if they were together.

It was an “Is it bedtime yet?” kind of day.

But as I had been looking forward to this drawing ALL CHALLENGE, nothing was going to get in the way of my drawing!

It’s a good thing the playroom is the other half of my office, huh? Referee while I work!

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Title: If Boathouse Mouse Was Real

Medium: Graphite pencil and ink on acid free paper

Size: 5×7

This was the very first drawing to go on my list of things to do over this challenge! I’m not sure what exactly sparked the idea; I think I had gone through my binder that holds the text for whichever book I’m working on illustrating, and at the back I have my reference drawings for Boathouse as well as other design ideas. I have little sketches of realistic mice from when I was designing him, and I think that was what gave me this idea.

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Drawing a Day Challenge: Day #23

I had a real hard time concentrating on this drawing.

We’re planning on putting our house on the market within the next year, and I got bit by the decluttering bug. The more I think about moving, the less I want to pack everything up! It’s amazing how much things we’ve accumulated, and even though I’ve gone through our home many many times, I want to get rid of EVERYTHING.

I tried to go to my office and ignore everything, but just knowing that the cluttered unfinished basement was on the other side of my office wall was still so distracting. I ended up organizing my studio, and that was enough for me to be able to draw in peace…

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Title: The River

Medium: Graphite pencil on acid free paper

Size: 5×7

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Drawing a Day Challenge: Day #22

Today’s drawing was not what I was expecting. I even forgot this one was in the challenge!

Oops.

I was mentally prepared to do tomorrow’s drawing when I went to the office today, so when I saw the schedule, I was caught off guard. I guess I could have switched today’s drawing with tomorrow’s, but I stuck with the original plan, and it actually worked out pretty well!

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Title: Deer at the Lake

Medium: Graphite pencil on acid free paper

Size: 5×7

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Drawing a Day Challenge: Day #20

Yesterday got really crazy really fast. I knew the afternoon was going to be busy with a parent teacher conference, play practice, and errands, but the morning got ridiculous as well. I ended up only having one hour to get this drawing done, so I had to change up the composition and simplify it drastically…

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Title: Unicorn

Medium: Graphite pencil and ink on acid free paper

Size: 5×7

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