Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful for Thankfulness

Yesterday was Thanksgiving:  a time to stop and give thanks for the blessings in our life.  I, like most Americans, celebrated with my loved ones and feasted on turkey and a whole table full of homemade, delicious goodies.  I want to wish my readers a Happy Thanksgiving as well.  I considered posting the standard "This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for..." blah, blah, blah.  But have decided against it. For the record I have no issue with such described posts.  In fact I enjoy reading them.  I like to hear what others are thankful for.  I like seeing so many people dwelling on the positive (and sometimes not so positive) blessings in their lives.  I also feel these lists are sometimes redundant.  Family.  Friends.  Health. Etc.  In general it seems like when we as humans take the time to think about it, even just for a day, we tend to all agree that all these things are worth being thankful for.  I agree.  I am thankful for all these things too. 

But beyond those standards, I am also very Thankful for Thankfulness.

I am thankful to know that there is a reason everyday to be thankful.  I am not a person who anticipates.  Life goes by so quickly, and I like to live in the now.  I want to enjoy this day for all that it will bring.  I don't like to "count down" to the next "good thing" that will occur or a certain fun event that is happening.  I like to focus on what good thing is happening right now, even if its just a tiny, insignificant speck of the big picture.  And this is where the Thankful for Thankfulness comes to play.  Because, as I make my way through these less exciting but still so worthwhile and enjoyable days I try to be thankful in general for all those not so noticed things:  My house,s heater kicking on;  the scalding hot water from the sink that warms my frigid skin; the delicious leftovers I get for lunch; the sweet text message from my husband; the sunshine OR the clouds (because I love them both for each for the own uniqueness).  And I am thankful that I can recognize all these things and countless others and have the opportunity to be thankful for them!  It is that thankfulness that I am so thankful for.  Because let's face it.  For every "good thing" that happens today, there could be just as many "bummer moments", disappointing events, and things that let us down.  And I could just as easily focus on those.  But instead, I choose to dwell on the good.  I choose to be thankful.

That is my wish for you as well: that each and everyday you can see all the thankful moments around you.  And if you aren't already slowing down and noticing all those little things... well I hope that this post will inspire you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hello Spoonflower

Pretty Posies on sale in my Spoonflower shop
If you are follower of my Page on Facebook, then you may have heard that I am now selling gift wrap, fabrics, wall paper and decals in my new shop on Spoonflower. (And if you are not a follower yet, I highly recommend you check it out.). I am very excited about this new adventure since it gives me a chance to offer my designs in a fun new way AND because Spoonflower is such an awesome company.

So in case you are not familiar with Spoonflower, I wanted to share a few things I LOVE about this company and why I am so smitten with them!

Confused by this statement?  Well, here's the deal. Unlike some "sell your art on items" websites, that have everything from mugs to tee-shirts, Spoonflower only offers a small handful of products.  Fabric, wall paper, gift wrap and decals.  So there is a focus there on printing patterns on flat surfaces.  They are specialized, which I believe helps them stay focused.  But at the same time, they offer a lot of material and quantity options within those categories, especially fabric.  You can buy fabric by the fat quarter, yard, or even just an 8x8 sample.  They have about 10 +/- fabrics to choose from, including delicate and sturdy cottons and knits.  So for pretty much any project you can think of, they should have at least one fabric type that will fit your needs.  Beyond fabric, they sell two different finishes of wrapping paper (satin and matte) and three different sizes of decals.  And although I am still new to the site, it seems as though they are often coming up with more variety to add.  Since joining just a few months ago they have already added a new fabric type to their mix!

One of the things that attracted me to Spoonflower was the fact that I could design to my heart's content but not have PRODUCE any of the final products.  Instead of being a mini-factory, cutting paper and folding cards, I can focus on what I love the most, creating ART!  So my fabrics and papers are not physically produced by me but by the awesome folks at Spoonflower.  And where does this all go down?  In the good ole USA!  Which means even though my cards are not handcrafted they are home crafted (for me since I live in the US), and that is something I care about.

I may no longer be the producer of my finished product, but this does not mean that I do not have a hand in the creation of the final product.  All sellers on Spoonflower are required to order at least a sample of every design that they put up for sale in their shop.   This means that for any design I sell, I first have a physical print out sent to me, so that I can check it for scale, color, and print quality.  And if something is not to my liking, I have the chance to adjust it before I offer it to you.

Spoonflower handles it all! 
Unlike Etsy, (where I have been a seller for many years with my shop BdoodleZ ) when you order on Spoonflower you are not ordering from me personally, but from Spoonflower itself.  This has a few advantages. 
First, I do not have to be available to process your order.  I could be on vacation or fast asleep in dreamland.  You can come to my shop any time of the day or night and put your order in.  Now, Spoonflower might not start printing it right at that moment, but the point is, that the schedule of my life does not affect the schedule of your order.
Second, you can buy from multiple sellers all in one transaction!  So you can pick up a cute print from me for some new curtains and a roll of wrapping paper from another seller you might like.

Speaking of other sellers, there is an awesome collection of them on Spoonflower.  I have already begun to "meet" them, simply from the way Spoonflower operates their site.  One of the really awesome features is the ability to leave a comment about designs.  Go to any specific design's page in my shop and you'll find a place where you can leave a comment and read what other's have written.  You can also mark any of my designs as a favorite (giving it a heart!).  It is so much fun to not only ooh and ahh over another's work, but have an easy way to share your admiration with them.

Every week Spoonflower runs a contest based on a different theme.  Often the themes are seasonal or use limited color palettes (so that all the final designs sort of match).  Sometimes it is just a simple print design challenge, sometimes it is for a cut and sew project (so that all the buyer needs to do is cut along the lines indicated on the fabric and sew. No pattern required!).  Each contest runs for one week and anyone can vote!  The winner gets an awesome prize and all of the top ten are featured in a special fabric bundle that you can buy for a discount bulk price.
I love the contests because it is fun to have a specific theme to design for and also to see which style designs are more popular than others.  It gives me chance to learn what buyers like.  And I LOVE seeing how a group of artists can have the same exact theme and create such different designs.

The current contest is a wrapping paper challenge with the theme of mittens.  I have a design in the contest and would love your vote!  My design is called Missing Mittens.  You'll see that title and my name under the image, which is actually a mock up of a what a package would look like with the print on it.  To vote, click the check box in the top left corner AND then you must scroll to find the submit button to lock the vote in.  Click HERE to vote.  You have until Wed. Nov. 27th.  Here is my entry:

And here is one last link to my Shop.  I look forward to you stopping by!

So that about wraps it up!  (Pun intended).  I am excited about this new Spoonflower adventure and look forward to sharing my new creations with you.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I'm just a girl who loves paper!

A few weeks ago I was ordering some paper and print samples from a few online printers and it got me thinking:  I really do love paper.  But my love is discerning. I am not talking about newsprint or standard home printer white (though they do have their uses).  I mean beautiful papers with fine textures or an ultra smooth feel and a nice weight.  And then there are the colorful papers: solids, patterns, maybe something with a nifty colored fleck.  And let's not forget beautiful stationary with artful embellishments!  I am a creator of greeting and note cards and still I am tempted to buy other pre-made goodies... simply because they are SO PRETTY!  My love goes beyond the paper itself too.  Think of the countless possibilities for creativity and creation that a clean piece of paper can offer!

My love began really when I was a young girl.  I was definitely an artistic young lady, who loved to gather up all sorts of arts and crafts supplies.  Naturally I would be drawn to paper.  I get a lot of my artistic "genes" from my dad, a very creative fellow.  As a child, Dad would often take us to this awesome paper warehouse in a place "far, far, away".  Ok, maybe I am being a little dreamy here, but the store was about an hours drive away from home in the middle of pretty much nowhere.  I am not sure how he even found out about it.  It was WONDERFUL.  A huge, no frills, mini warehouse of all sorts of paper and envelopes in every style and color you could imagine.  The store has no real design to it, just a mishmash of big and small rooms that make it perfect for exploring and discovering.  We would get paper and envelopes to make homemade stationary and cards.  Dad had built a silk screen and we would print original Christmas card designs.  My sister and I would use our rubber stamps and create our own stationary for letters and such!  (You know, back in the day when people wrote letters with real pen and ink).  A favorite purchase would be the big bag of random paper pads!  It was exactly as you could imagine, just a big plastic bag filled with pads of paper, of all sizes, colors, and textures.  And it was dirt cheap!  Another favorite of mine were the mini pads of paper: 3 x 5, 1.5 x 6... or even smaller, like the size of a business card, they were perfect for homemade tickets or clue cards for homemade board games (yeah, we pretty much created everything as kids).  I still make treks to that store today.  It is just as far away, but not in the middle of nowhere any longer.  New businesses have been built up all along way, yet my beloved paper warehouse hasn't changed much.  Family owned, and looking pretty much the same, I still rely on it for my stationary and paper needs. 

I have amassed quite a stash: A whole closet full of boxes upon boxes of envelopes, various types of card stock and paper in a huge variety of sizes, and a TON of patterned scrapbook papers.  (Yes I, of course, whole heartily embraced that paper-pushing hobby).  My paper makes me happy.  I like to organize it.  I loved my neatly stacked card stock piles in my special cabinet, sitting there just waiting for me to slice and print and fold into cards.  Paper is so simple, so clean, and yet can be altered into something so spectacular and complex! 

We live in an increasingly paperless world these days and I am cool with that.  I own an e-reader and a tablet.  I love email.  And I certainly think there are advantages to less paper (like way less clutter!).  But there is still a place for the tangible, especially when it is a beautiful smooth and speckled card stock, just waiting to be printed with a doodled design! 

I hope this post inspires you to stop and admire the paper in your life!

Boxes of colorful envelopes from my favorite paper warehouse

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The world of Facebook has a new Page!


My illustrator self now has her own little page dedicated to what else:  My art!  Well, more specifically as a place to keep the world up to date with all the art, illustration and design happenings in my world.  I hope for it to be a place to share my creations, my artistic musings, and any other fun tidbits I come across. 

Of course, a Facebook page needs some great fans to "Like" it. 

Want to keep even better up to date with my day to day?  Then join the fun and give my page a link!  I would love to have you as a part of my conversation!  Simply click HERE!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What I am working on this week

This week the focus has been completing the design of the front side of my business card.  Sometimes a blank slate can be tough to tackle, but I have finally arrived at a design that I feel can well represent me as an artist and my unique style.  The card design features my new BZ logo and some of my signature doodle and poche styles. 

In addition to the business card I have been working on a new piece for my portfolio and I created this blog!  I hope you enjoy following me!  Thanks for stopping by!