Saturday, December 31, 2011

Short Term Goals for January

Many of you know that I like giving myself these monthly goals because it helps me finish projects.  And I can look back and evaluate what was done.  One task I had for December was to make more art journals.  I completed  three!  I also wanted to increase my inventory.  Well, let's just say I did that with the journals, even though I actually wanted to make some Valentine's Day cards.  But I’m not too interested in making cards, and I shouldn‘t force myself!  I wanted to spend some more time on Pinterest last month too, but leaned more towards Twitter and Entrecard.  But any social networking is good social networking.  

So many things happen at the beginning of the year that I always set certain goals.  Here are three goals that are important to me this year:
1) Get organize for the new year.

At the beginning of every year, I try to organize both personal and business records.  That means starting new digital files on Quicken (the home and office software I got back in 2008).  It still works fine and I give the information gathered from it to our CPA.  I didn't sell a lot of items in 2011, so I'm hoping that I can still keep my tax status.
What To Do:  Switch out hanging files for home and for office and start new Quicken files.  Also print out my business expenses from last year and try to find anything (like mortgage interest and medical bills) that we can use for tax write offs.    

2) Start my new art journaling class.
I signed up for a whole year of art journaling with Moira Richardson.  It's called Weekly Art Date, and it was less expensive if I signed up for the whole year instead of quarterly. I've learned so much from Moira, it's worth it.  She includes video tutorials, prompts, giveaways and stock photographs.  
What To Do: Get a new journal to use for class, and make time to visit her class (luckily it‘s weekly, not daily - like her last class!)

3) Continue with my exercise program.
Does that sound like going to the gym?  No, it's xbox!  We bought one just before Christmas, and I've gotten into the habit of exercising 3-4 times a week with the "YourShape: Fitness Evolved 2012."   I really like the kick boxing, and there are different levels for all the exercises.  I can also take Yoga and Zen classes.  For me, most of the different ethnic dance classes are still too difficult. I can try them out, but only when the doggies are watching.  Our whole family is going on vacation in May, so I'd like to loose weight and get into a bathing suit again this spring and summer.
What To Do:  Continue exercising at least two days during the week and 1-2 days on the weekend.  Try some of the African Rhythms "classes" and some of the running. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fun with my BBArtisans team - Secret Santa

I was so excited on Tuesday afternoon when my package arrived  from my Secret Santa, MysticWynd.  I tried to open it carefully, since all the packages inside the overstuffed envelope were individually wrapped.  How fun!

I knew this was going to be worth the wait!  Karen had to have read what I like, since I love everything here!  There's a book with techniques from 15 multi-media artists, clear stamps, a little package of vellum quotes (which I'll have to learn to use) and four free-standing Japanese chalk inks, which I know I'll adore.

I feel my Santa gifts were a little boring after all the excitement I  had!  I mailed off some handspun yarn to Nancy (nfall2rt), since it was on her list of "Likes" and something she could use.  I'm so utilitarian...  

This was a great experience for our BBArtisans team.  Thank you Sharla, for all the time you took to followed my poor package from Arizona to California and back to Oklahoma!  But I don't care that it was delivered after the holidays - it arrived early for me, since my family is not opening presents until New Years Eve!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Storybeader's year with art, 2011

 I went over the finances for my business (storybeader) this past weekend and was relieved to see that I didn't spend as much money on supplies as I had thought.  One big reason is the difference between the price of beads (that I bought last year) compared to the price of paper (this year).  The most expensive item I bought this year was a paper cutter.  And getting the virus removed from my computer -  that was an unforeseen expense!

I made some fabulous purchases from Etsy sellers this year.  Mostly materials for bookmaking and art journaling.  Washi tape is one of my favorite supplies - they are sold in a number of different shops.   

If you live in Oklahoma like I do, you know all about Hobby Lobby (the business was founded by David Green in 1972 and is headquartered in Oklahoma City).

We have a Hobby Lobby store in my town and it's close to home.  But I do have to plan my weekend shopping trips, since they're closed on Sundays.  I enjoy their coupons, especially the "40% off one regular price item".  If I'm going to buy Copic pens, I'll use this coupon, because they're so expensive and never on sale! 

In  July, I took my first class with Moira Richardson, called 30 Day Craft Cleanse.  We all pledged to spend the month making art without buying one single thing.  We learned to make new supplies with around-the-house materials and created inventories to keep track of the things we had.  

Moira also gave us downloadable PDFs.  It was a great exercise, to use supplies on hand - you should try this if you're feeling a little tight on money.  In the fall, I took another class with Moira, Falling for You.  

So what happened this year on Etsy?   I sold only 11 items; one was a necklace (back in January) and the rest were mainly journals and paper beads.  Currently, I have 27 items in my shop.  I had so much fun with my junque journals that I decided to make more for other artists to use.  It's hard to believe that the Blogging Business Artisans team has been together for less than 3 months.  Most of us have known each other for 3-4 years, but we've all gotten even closer with our new team.  Courtesy of Edi, we have a Weekly Chat Thread.  A few of my close friends (thanks Rose for starting the conversation) have suggested I place more items in my shop.  So that's the plan for this coming year - to double the amount of items in my shop and make twice as many sales!

 I think the most important thing that occurred in 2011 was that I started art journaling.  This all came about after reading Julia Cameron's The Artist Way, which I highly recommend to everyone.  I wasn't expecting her Workbook to change my life, but it certainly did.  My favorite journal that I've made has been the junque journal, which I started in the summer.  I've kept all my writing and  artwork in it.  It's a blast to look back and see what's been spinning around in my mind over the months.  And to see how my artwork has progressed.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Etsy Treasuries curated by BBArtisans

This past week, two BBArtisans picked something from my shop to put in their treasuries.  Erika (LittleAndalucia) must have been thinking about the new year, even though it sounds like a University of Oklahoma cheer to me!  Called "Go Red for the New Year," there are darling bright items including my framed Striped Petunia, featuring pieces of a puzzle.

Erika has two shops: one with patterns and children's clothing; the other with art journals and home decor.  Guess which one I'm always looking at?  You got it!

The other treasury with something of mine in it actually includes (48) pieces - a set of paper beads, that is.  It was curated by Rose (randomcreative) and is all about my new favorite color, orange.  She calls it "Who else loves orange?" and she's right: it’s one of the most underrated colors around!

 I thought I'd look around at the orange jewelry that Rose had in her shop.  And found 16 pieces!  WOW!  Here they are:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Twitter advice from a novice

Jenny from A Bird in the Hand Art wrote an article about using Hootsuite in your daily life for the BBArtisans team blog.  I’ve been trying to learn more about Twitter myself, and have been following Handmadeology’s “Twitter Blueprint,” a series of easy lessons about Twitter.  If you’re interested in following Tim’s tutorial, here’s day 1

These are a few things I didn’t know about and will start using, which may help you too:

1) The horizontal image (below) starting with Timeline is called the “mentions column"... though I'd call it a row myself!  It’s situated on your Twitter page and contains various tabs you should know about:

If you click on the @username (for me it’s @storybeader), you’ll bring up @mentions and more.  When you click on the little box to the right that says Shows mentions only , you’ll see when people have tweeted only to you.  One of the most important things to do on Twitter is to respond to others!  I have a hard time doing this because I don’t check my Twitter page regularly.  But now I know where to find what my followers are sending to me!  The Activity tab is where you can see "favorites, follows, retweets and more by the people you follow."

2)  Remember: when you reply to someone on Twitter, ALL your followers and ALL the followers of the person you are addressing will see the tweet.  If a user’s account is locked, only followers of that account can see the tweets, not your followers.  If you want to send a private message (called a Direct Message) that’s possible by clicking the Messages tab on the top black twitter line, next to Profile.  

3) Tim suggests you make different lists of people you want to keep up with.  The List tab is also on the mentions column, all the way to the right.  I recently made a list of people I knew who are taking the Weekly Art Date class with me.  I clicked on Lists, then Create a List from the drop down menu, and typed in “weekly art date” and chose Private instead of Public.  Then I went and looked for all the people related to my class and added them onto my new List.   See the little person (below) besides the Following box for artcontests?  Inside this drop down menu is “Add to List” ; just put a check mark beside the list you want that follower to be in.  It’s that easy.

The major problem I have is, what should I tweet about?  I’m always feeling that I’m disturbing other people, with tweets about my new shop items and new blog posts.  Tim suggested that “people in the handmade world love to know about process and inspiration, so share yours.”

Great advice.

For those of us that have online shops, tweeting about how you made something, not just a link to a new item, is a good idea.  Someone might be interested enough to follow you!  Just finished a item?  What was the hardest part in completing it?  What was the most fun?  Ask others how they do a certain thing.  Maybe they can help!  Tim talks about Pinterest as a good way to tweet about inspiration.  If you have a Pinterest account, tweet about something you really like there.  And don’t forget to share interesting post you find with others.  We all need a little inspiration throughout our day!

4) I’ve heard that you can include photos in your tweets but never knew how it worked!  
You see that little icon on the right side of christiecottage’s tweets?  When you click on that, a photo will appear on the right side of your screen!  Thanks Tim, I didn’t know that!  Try it out on your Twitter account.  Have you ever added a photo to your tweet?  I haven't, but I might try  someday soon!

5) There are lots of Twitter apps, like Hootsuite and twitpic available online.  Tim recommended which I tried.  It will help you manage your followers.  There are two versions: free and premium.  I chose the free version, which has a lot of activities in my "dashboard".  One thing I liked was the chance to clean up my following list.  Some people haven't tweeted in over 2 years! But there's also a way to see who's following you and you're not following back.  Check it out or watch this neat YouTube video about Tweepi by smobrandon , to see what it's all about!

I'm going to stop there, my mind is overloaded! Good luck with Twitter.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kitty Treasure Necklace giveaway coming to a close

It's almost time for the 
Kitty Treasure Necklace 
giveaway to be over.  If you haven't commented on the BBArtisans team blog yet, here's your chance.  

The last day of the giveaway is December 20th, that's this Tuesday.  It won't be the proper timing for a holiday  gift... but it's so fun, you might just want to keep it yourself!

 Remember, there are matching earrings and a dozen extra kitty beads that come with the giveaway.  See how you enter by visiting the BBArtisans team blog ... and enter 3 separate times in all!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

BBArtisans Treasuries on Etsy

Handwrapped Paper Pumpkin Beads

Last Monday, I found myself in two treasuries curated by BBArtisans teammates.  Very different themes, but surprisingly with the same item, my handwrapped paper pumpkin beads!  One of the treasury was called "Foodies -- BBA Style!"     I didn't think I had anything that represented food.  But Sarah from MagnoliaSurprise found my pumpkin beads!  What a yummy treasury it  is - you can find it here  

Sarah has a great sense of humor, but sweet girl, she's been under the weather lately.  Let's go by her shop and treasury and make her feel better!  I was looking around in her shop this weekend and found some great crochet watermelons.  More food!  Here's a crocheted pot holder.  Isn't this adorable?  She also has a made-to-order 3 piece set of watermelons for the kitchen!      

Karen at Mystic Wynd created a passionate treasury called "You Can Feel the Warmth..."  And it's true; the items in this treasury have a warm glow to them.     

Karen is a handmade designer of jewelry, fashion accessories and gifts.  Just right for this season, though the holidays are getting closer and closer.  Shipping deadlines are almost upon us so you have to move fast!     Mystic Wynd has a vintage quality to many of her jewelry pieces, making them very unique.  I think my favorite is her choker shell necklace "Curled Up by the Sea" with aqua amazonite beads, shells and mother-of-pearls chips.   It's very lovely!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

AlphabeThursday - F is for Fishflowers

I didn't realize how many nice words began with the letter F, until I came upon this AlphabeThursday.


Those are two words that children would identify with and would be nice to add to my Children's Alphabet Book.

But which one should I draw?  That got me wondering what a fish in the shape of a flower would look like.  Or better yet, a flower in the shape of a fish.

Here's what I think it would like like!

Come see what other words our class chose
to write about for AlphabeThursday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a look into my workshop - making junque journals

my junque journal
If you've been watching my Etsy shop, 
you'll see that I have something new for sale.  
To me, a junk journal is like a diary, 
where you use everyday ephemera along with words and illustrations.  
I've enjoyed the junque journal I made for myself, 
so I thought others would enjoy them too.    

These are the two I finished last weekend:

What I did was take a composition notebook (it has 100 pages of lined sheets), and glued decorative paper on the covers and on some of the interior pages.  I added gesso to a few pages, so people could see that you can paint in the journal without any problems.  To give the journals their own flavor, I added ribbons and flowers in different ways.  I punched holes in the cover of the journal on the left and attached two flowers there.  With the journal on the right, I glued one flower to a long ribbon, for the owner to use as a bookmark.  I didn't know how much I loved ribbon until I started working with it!  

In the picture below are some supplies for the next junque journal I plan to make.  I've already glued paper to the cover - my theme.      

Do you have a favorite color or theme? 
Let me make you a journal for your everyday life.  
Writing and expressing yourself using art is a great release of pressure.  
And a nice memento for the future.  
Art journaling is loads of fun, and like my Ning group says, "It's all good!"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shopping with the BBArtisans

I wanted to share two Etsy treasuries that I was in this past wee,, curated by members of my BBArtisans team.  There are donations and drawings going on in these shops; come by and look around.  I've picked out on of my favorites from each shop!

Janet from Honey From the Bee is a jeweler from Seattle.  This month she is donating 20% of her jewelry sales to ACF International, an international humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger.
Janet has an amazing number of earrings to pick from.  These are my favorite - I love lampwork beads!

The second curator is Judy from JN Originals.  She's a busy Etsy seller, with a total of four shops!  You can read all about it in her shop announcement.  Her first shop, JN Originals, opened back in 2007 and has crocheted and felted accessories.  
Need a bag to put all your small gifts in?  Here's a great little bag that I adore.  BTW: this is the shop where you can earn a free entry in a random drawing for a scarf whenever you purchase something.  So go shop and good luck!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

AlphabeThursday - E is for Elephant

As light as air
There's something about elephants and balloons.  Maybe it's because elephants weigh so much and balloons are so light.  For me, elephants are a favorite art subject.  I made this mixed media piece (above) a few weeks ago, for my Etsy shop.  

DharmaKarmaArts is one of my favorite Etsy artists.  Here's a few watercolors from her yoga art elephant painting series.  I think you'll fall in love with her Indian folk art too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review - Louisa May Alcott

Every young girl from the late 19th century through to the present time has read at least one of Louisa May Alcott's books.  My book club just finished a biography about her by Harriet Reisen called Little Women: The Woman Behind Little Women.  I don't remember being an avid fan of Alcott when I was young, but I know a lot of women were.  I must say, I do have a better appreciation of Louisa after reading this book.  

Even if you aren't a big fan, I think you'll enjoy this biography like I did.  First of all, I hadn't realized that Louisa wrote Little Women in the 1870s; I thought she just used the Civil War as a backdrop for her story.  She actually led a very hard and depressing life.  She supported both parents and all her sisters, even before her award winning book was written.  Her father, Bronson Alcott, was a member of the transcendentalist movement and he was always starting schools and going on lecture tours... for free.  

portrait by George Healy.
The characters in Louisa May Alcott's books were from her everyday life.  But she added more love and happiness to her stories than what she actually experienced.  Loiusa was a prolific writer.  She wrote about a dozen children's books and her short stories are scattered throughout the literary magazines of the time, such as the Atlantic.  She also wrote books for adults - there were over 30 thrillers under the pseudonym of A.M. Barnard.  This was all a bit scandalous for her time!
"One of them, a novella called "A Long Fatal Love Chase," made the NYTimes best seller's list for four weeks in the mid 1990s, over a century after the author's death."
Reisen did a good job in researching the Alcotts and the literary scene of the day.  You'll find that the book reads very quickly.  There are many footnotes which give the reader additional history of the family and their lives in Massachusetts.  The Alcotts had close ties to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Thoreau, who helped support their household throughout Louisa's life.   At the end of the book, there is an in-depth index and Notes section.  I was pleased to add this volume to my bookcase of books by and about women.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Short Term Goals for December

This past month went by quickly, with lots of time spent away from work, visiting with doctors and being ill.  I made two sets of paper holiday beads, but nothing sold from my Etsy shop in November.  Renewing items didn't seem to help any, so I'm thinking I need another approach.  One of my goals from last month was to start a new weekly journal.  But after I tried it, I decided I didn't like the idea.  Another goal was to stay away from chocolate.  I did a great job until the end of the month, when DH made some fudge!

For December, I have three new goals:

Increase my shop inventory for the upcoming holidays.
It's a little late to put additional items in my shop, related to the December holidays.  So I decided to create products that people usually buy for New Years and Valentine's Day.
What to do:  Make a list and add new items to my Etsy shop with New Years and Valentine's Day in mind.   

 Make new art journals
Like I mentioned in my November Month of Photographs, I have about 20 pages left in my art journal (I began it back on July 9th).  This is perfect timing to make another journal for the new year.  I've enjoyed using this 9.75" x 7.5" composition book format.  When I make myself another one, I'll also put together one or two for my shop!  Market it as a Junque Journal for the new year!
What to do:  Buy composition books, ribbon and paper for 3 new Junque Journals.

Spend time each day visiting Pinterest pages and improving my page
Pinterest is a site that my art journaling instructor, Moira Richardson, introduced to me.  (Here's her new blog!)  I enjoy Pinterest more than other social media sites; it's fun, useful, and can be a good marketing tool.  But I should know more about how it works and how to use it.     
What to do:  Start reading the official Pinterest blog, find more friends and make some new boards. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

BBArtisans team treasuries

It's truly amazing what our BBArtisans team has accomplished! (all but one treasury was curated by a member of the team).   We decided one better way to market our Etsy products was to be involved in treasuries.  So please give a shout out to any and all of the curators to the TWELVE treasuries I am in this week. What can I say, but Thank You and WOW!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Month of Photographs - November

When I think about my art, three things come to mind:  Etsy, my blog, and art journaling.  For Etsy this month, I made some pretty paper beads (1) and something new - greeting cards (2).  Our new BBArtisans team blog is moving along nicely.  At this time, we have 71 members.  At the beginning of the month, Ms. Jenny started another round of our AlphabeThursday (5); this time I'm drawing illustrations for a children's book.  Sad to say, my two online classes just came to an end: they were my 11 week art journal course (6) "Falling For You",  and my 3-week "Mandala Art" (4) class at the Willowing & Artist Friends ning site.  If you want to expand your artwork, I recommend taking an online class.  Many are free and the ones you pay for are usually worth it! Even though my journal (3) looks almost complete, there's about 20 pages left.  I really like its size, and might just get another composition book to start all over again.  Another milestone: this month completes a whole year of "month of photographs."  If you're interested in looking what happened every month, there's a tab under my banner.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Don't miss the Cat Lover's Treasury!

Come on over to the BBArtisans blog and enter the International 
giveaway we're having this month.  I'm hosting!  

You can't miss it!  It's a treasure necklace and earring set!  

There are also 12 extra cat beads to play with.  
A cat lover and beader's delight!

 You can enter more than once!  
Just read through the post and 
Good Luck to All!
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