Monday, October 31, 2011

Remember the milk - a digital to-do list

I love making lists and having goals.  To-do lists, shopping lists, work priorities, monthly short-term goals.  And I think I've found the answer to my listmaking needs.  A digital to-do list, called "Remember the Milk."  Great business name!  I have to give a shout out to Rose (randomcreative); she's the one who got me thinking about a digital calendar, with her Saturday Link List about calendars and time.

Here's part of my main page of current things to do.  You can place three priority colors in the little boxes on the left, set due dates on the right side and create your own tag (the blue writing) for different line items.

Below are the lines that I tagged as "art journaling."  It only shows you the tagged items for the coming week.  There might be a way to expand this, but I haven't found it yet.      

In the morning, you will get reminders in your emails.  You can turn off this feature, but I kinda like it.

Every time you write a new task down, you'll have the chance to put in your information, such as your due date, tags, and a URL.

I really like being able to write a URL address.  For example, my art journaling teacher showed us how to use aluminum foil in our artwork, and I wanted to remember to try it out.  So I put the due date Nov 5th and where the tutorial was online.   If you want to update your information, all  you do is click on the line item and you can change or add things. 

Where's the milk is super easy to use and you'll learn more about it as you go along.  You can synchronize Remember the milk to your iPad and iPhone, to Google Calendar and much, much more.  And it's so smart!  I find myself using it all the time, and highly recommend it.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

3rd Annual Poochez Palooza - dog festival

Saturday was the third year of an afternoon event called Poochez Palooza, put on by the Museum in cooperation with the city's Animal Control Department.  It was a festival dedicated to dogs and dog lovers.  The day was beautiful; afternoon temperature were in the 60s.  There were lots of dog vendors, doggies and prizes.  I thought it was a bit unorganized, but there were many more people who attended this year than in previous years. Here are some of my favorite doggies pics I took:

Since it was so close to Halloween, both dogs and owners had a chance to dress up. 

All the booths gave candy away to the kids, and they were dressed up in their costumes too.  This one woman let me take a picture of her son; he was adorable! 
A grooming business got the best decorated booth.

They were all dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz: the lion, tin man, scarecrow, two witches, Dorothy, and of course Toto.  And props, like Dorothy's house.  They really went all out.  Here are some of them posing with Mike, the tree man.  Appropriate!

I found out that the tree man entertains at state fairs and festivals all over the counntry.  My boss saw him in Houston, I think it was, at an art festival he was in, and thought he would be a big hit.  He was!

Mike is on stilts inside his costume.  He walks around and talk real slow.  And he looked so authentic.  Because it is so hot inside his tree outfit, he can only wear it for about half an hour at a time.  Here are the pieces inside on some tables, before we went out.

And him moving around outside.  He made three or four rounds throughout the afternoon.  Everyone wanted their picture with him.   Really neat!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Art Journaling Page - Meet You at the Station

Challenge #4 for my art journaling class, "Falling For You," continues the week's theme of Adventure.  There were only two rules in our challenge: incorporate a map and a secret message.

Well, I love maps!  Looking at them, following them.  Especially in the car.  But if I'm not traveling, I'll follow a road with my finger and see where it leads.

My art journaling page includes a map from an old book (Hammond's Complete World Atlas), a train ticket, some washi tape, magazine images, my watercolors and ink.  Don't see the map?  It's folded underneath the ticket page, with a full view of my home state, Oklahoma.  Here it is:

The secret message (above the title) says:
"Travel south out of Kansas, pick up the St. Louis - San Francisco Railroad at the state capital, and get off the train before heading west."


Thursday, October 27, 2011

AlphabeThursday - Fall Break

We spend our weekends in the fall pruning the trees and shrubs on our property.  I've been thinking of trimming a juniper we planted in the backyard, but we've let it grow.  And now it's out of control.  

the baby juniper bush
 For you to understand where I'm coming from, let me take you back about 10 years, when we first planted the little bush.  DH built a deck onto the back of the house and we planted the juniper, never realizing it was going to get so big.  We can hardly see around it now!      

So last Thursday on my day off, I got out my trusty shears and handsaw.  
Here are my two little helpers.

And now, this is what the juniper looks like.

The poor thing was burnt over the summer, but hopefully it will come back nicely.  We'll water it, if we have to!  I think everyone will enjoy the bottom branches being gone, especially the doggies.  I've already seen Buster relaxing underneath in a newly dug hole.

This post was brought to you during my vacation from the AlphabeThursday class.  Next week, back to school and our fourth round through the alphabet.  See what everyone else was thinking about on their Fall Break, over at Ms. Jenny's blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Project Embrace - storybeader's cards for children

Project Embrace.  Isn't that a wonderful name for a creative venture?  Erika, over at artfulrising, is calling for artists "to follow your passion and to help others with your talent."  Back in September, she asked her website readers to create a card or postcard that a family could use while staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Texas, dealing with a devastating health crisis.  It's a wonderful thought and I'm up to the challenge.

I've had cute, cuddly elephants floating around in my head of late.  The one who started it all was for my art journaling class.  Then I made a mixed media piece for my Etsy shop.  I’ve been planning these cards (and elephants) for some time now, and it was so much fun to do.

My process?  I printed my elephants on 100% recycled construction paper.  Then got some envelopes and cut the paper down to fit.  Because I couldn’t just have pink elephants, I printed some blue elephants too.  I added washi tape, ink, and watercolors.

There’s still time to send Erika cards, but she needs them by November 4th.  Embrace the Project!  Read all about it on her website.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

wrapping beads, not packages

Italian paper
I've been working this week on getting some more paper beads ready for my Etsy shop.  This time around, I’m using some “wrap feather” that I bought at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.  The paper was made in Italy by San Lorenzo International, Inc. I fell in love when I saw it.  Isn't it beautiful?

Not sure how the finished beads will look, since they are not fully glazed.  But this a view of part of the process:

After rolling the paper, I stick the beads on toothpicks and rest them in Styrofoam (I’ve used the same piece of Styrofoam many times; it was packaged around something we bought).  Then I spray the beads 3-4 times with Crystal Clear Glossy Enamel.  You can also use fingernail polish or other non-aerosol resins if you want.  

I will probably sell all these beads together, in the same lot.  Most of them are 18 cm long, but they range in size from 8 cm to 20 cm.  Stay tuned {:-D

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn Colors at AlphabeThursday

When I think of Autumn colors, it reminds me of my childhood in New Jersey where I grew up and the fabulous display of leaves on the trees.  Where I live now, I don't see the vibrant colors anymore.  Except in artwork.

art journaling by DaisyYellow
DaisyYellow was one of the first art journalists I started to follow, about a year ago.  She has loads of information on her blog and offers creative prompts for journalers to follow. Tammy helped me get "out of my skin" artistically, and I thank her for that.

Artisyville prints on Etsy

Artsyville (Aimee) is another art journaler I started to follow early on.  She is a crazy doodler and it's so much fun to look at her artwork.  Here's her blog and etsy shop.  

I came to the decision to use bright colors in my art journaling.  Yellow just wasn't cutting it, but orange!  It became my new favorite color!  I wanted to show you all an example so I went back to photos of my Sketchbook Project 2010 to find some pages.  And I found something very interesting:  

storybeader art journaling page
The left side of this page I painted with my (old) favorite color - blue.  I had gathered a bunch of orange beads and put them in an envelope.  Then wrote on the right side of the page: "There is a big change of address in my mind - all the beads that once moved me are in the past and a new horizon is getting clearer."  

Not only was there a change of address, but a change of color!  Hadn't noticed that until today!  Oh, and there's orange leaves here too {:-D

This post was in response to our fall break from Ms. Jenny's AlphabeThursday class.  What fall colors are others thinking about?  Come and see here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Art Journaling Page - "Everyone's the Same"

Challenge #3 "Everyone's the Same"

Elephants.  I love them.  Especially when they're all soft and cuddly.  And pink!

The latest challenge in my art journaling class (Falling for You, by Moira Richardson) is called "Everyone's the Same."  All the students were given the same black and white photograph that they had to use in their page.

Moira says, "The challenge is based on the idea that any group of artists given the same materials to work with will create a wide variety of different works."  There were a few other stipulations for our page, such as using only two colors.  But I forgot about that!  Oops!  Here's the original photo, on the right:

My journal page had been stirring around in my head for quite some time.  I was just able to work on it this past weekend, and like usual, it grew into something larger than my original thought.  I wanted to put the young girl (is that Moira?) and her brother on an elephant with the umbrella.  The image actually came from a book I read by Hillary Clinton, where there is a photo of Hillary and Chelsea riding on top of an elephant in Nepal.  

So my page didn't follow all the rules for the Challenge.  But I love how it came out!  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Etsy's community activities

Last Monday I wrote about being a good team member, part of my short term goal evaluation for the month.  Now I want to look at ways sellers can stay involved with the Etsy community as a whole.  This is by no means everything available, but it's a place to start.   

There are a WHOLE SLEW of subscription services Etsy offers its membership (Settings/E-mails).  Newsletters as well as shopping advice are sent to you either daily, weekly, bi-monthly or seasonally.  If you live outside of the US, six international newsletters in four languages are available.  I receive all four newsletters offered in the U.S.  They include business and site announcements, news about teams, tips on selling, and crafting projects.  Etsy Success is my favorite.   

If you don't want to receive e-mails from Etsy, one alternative is to follow the Etsy Blog.  You can find the link on EVERY page, at the top left.  

Not only is there an Etsy Success newsletter; there's also an Etsy Success Team.
To join, all that's required is being a seller on Etsy and "ready to learn and participate".
Have you ever been in Boot Camp?  Etsy's Holiday Boot Camp is great fun!  Well, at least I had fun last year when I was involved.  To get anything out of it, you have to be an active participant.  Boot Camp gave me lots of things to do, including writing up a marketing plan.  There were also tips, such as organizing for the holidays, pricing and promotions, and how to engage your buyers.  This year's Holiday Boot Camp is already in Week 4.  You have to be on the Etsy Success mailing list to participate.  Sign up for it here.

A new service that's available for team members is the team digests.  This gives you a wrap-up of team conversations in a daily e-mail - very helpful for the team threads you don't visit often.  Just go to your team page, scroll down on the left and click where it says "Subscribe to email digest."  Easy!

Etsy offers many promotional services for sellers.  Look for them in "Your Account".  I haven't used the coupon codes or search ads, but here are three things I can "talk" about:

*Etsy Minis!  I love the little views of your shop!  You can also make Minis of  your favorites.  Use these on your blog.  If you don't have your own blog, them on Team Blogs and on your Facebook page.  Or just print them out as advertising.

*Google Product Search Syndication  If you want to make sure your products appear in Google Shopping (AKA Google Product Search), have  your shop syndicated.   

*Showcase  The Showcases are Etsy's own advertising program.  Personally, I think the improvements they made aren't worth the money.  The only way a buyer will see a showcased item is if they know where the Showcase page is  ( - not likely) or if they go to Buy/More Ways to Shop/Categories.  That's a lot of effort for a buyer.    

Treasuries are another way to be seen on Etsy and it doesn't cost a thing.  But you usually need to make your own treasuries first to get any recognition.  Etsy administration says that the "Treasury is not intended for self-promotion, but instead to acknowledge and share the many cool things for sale on Etsy."  Here's an article about treasuries.  

Have you wondered what the Etsy Labs is all about?   It's live streaming video!  I recommend that you check it out, and attend something you're interested in.  You can get there easily by going to Community, then click Online Labs.  I like using the Video Library that's available underneath the main window.  If there's something in particular you're looking for, you can probably find it here.  

The Etsy's Seller Handbook is a how-to guide for ALL things dealing with selling on Etsy.  It's a great read for newbies, and handy for all members.  Don't get too overwhelmed, though.  There's a lot of information.      

Finally, change your settings if you're not happy with the way you're receiving your e-mail or convos.  And remember to fill in your Profile, even if you're not a seller.  If you don't have a profile, people will consider you a "fly-by" and leave you in the dust!  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What I did on my Work Vacation

one last pic of the Blue Whale

Back in September, one of our assignment for my Falling For You course was to write about my summer vacation.  I didn't have a summer vacation!  But recently I went to the OMA (Oklahoma Museum Association) annual conference in Claremore.  That was sorta like a work vacation.  Meeting and greeting, talking to people, learning about new techniques and ideas.  And visiting sites, like the Blue Whale!

I must say thank you to Jim for pointing out the Blue Whale and thank you to John for stopping so we could take a better look.  It was the best activity of the whole trip!  There was also a geo-caching site there.  And I found the hidden "treasure".

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Z is for Zipper

I was wondering if the zipper was still alive and well, with all the velcro being used today.  But I see that it still is.  Some in the most unusual places.  In my search for zippers on Etsy (a handmade marketplace that I belong to), I found a bunch of artisans using zippers in their jewelry designs.

Here are a few examples:

These are my favorite: Brass Zipper Bracelets, by thehippychicksews.

Although I don't wear pins, toniandtree just might change my mind.  

Here's a lapel pin in their shop:

toniandtree have a lot of useful items for sale, like ID reels.  This retractable ID badge caught my eye right away:    

I'll admit it.  I had a hard time, stepping away from their shop.  Now this eyeglass holder is something I could definitely use, since I’m using reading glasses at work now.

So I guess zippers are not just for keeping things closed anymore...

This post was homework for my AlphabeThursday class with Ms. Jenny.  Come on by and see what the class is up to!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

art journaling page - singing in the rain

Last weekend I finally got my chance to get back to art journaling.  I’m taking an online course with Moira Richardson called Falling For You.  Every week, Moira gives us a video to watch, our Video Inspiration.  This week it was the famous clip of Gene Kelly, dancing and singing in the rain.

We received a digital stamp of a man "singing in the rain" with instructions to make an image transfer by tracing the image on top of a journal page and create our art journaling around it.  This felt so appropriate for me - we received the first hard rain in over a year this past weekend!

I didn’t realize how easy this was to do.  If you use a hard leaded pencil, the image will appear on the page underneath!  Good thing to know.  My DH showed me another way to copy an image from a sheet: you trace the outline of the image, place it on top of a second piece of paper, then score, or shade, the drawing.  And magically, the outline, where you drew, appears on your second piece of paper.

I traced the lines of this man into my junque journal.  My double-page spread includes the digital stamp, some sheet music, old paper, stamps and ink, stencils, and journaling.  My favorite part of the page is the “brick” sidewalk I made with some stencils I had around the house.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Etsy teams - are you a good member?

, an online marketplace to buy and sell handmade.

One of my short term goals for October was to reevaluate the storybeader's standing in Etsy.  One question I wanted to look closely at is “Am I a good team member?

Like organizations in a town, the teams on Etsy keep this business thriving.  It’s one reason I’m still involved.  If you are an Etsy seller or buyer, I'm sure you can understand my concerns about team membership.  Below are the six (yes count them, six!) teams I belong to.  I need to reevaluate my contributions and act accordingly.  Here goes:

The OKetsy team was the first team I joined.  My state team’s only rule is “to have fun and respect each other and each other's work!"  I’m not involved with this group, mainly because I don’t live near the activities. But because it represents my state, I plan to stay a member.

The Etsybloggers was the second team I joined, back in the spring of 2008, shortly after I started blogging.  My best friends belong to this team and I "talk" to them every day.  But lately, only a few members participate in the activities (many of them mandatory).  And many don’t even have their shops open anymore.  We have a membership count of 206, but I know that’s not accurate.  Nothing is being done to update the team and people are falling by the wayside.  Because of all this, I will discontinue my membership.     

The BBA team (Blogging Business Artisans) is a brand new team I've joined which is exactly what I'm looking for - artisans involved in blogging who are business oriented.  I hope to meet other artists with the same interests as myself in the near future.  The team is currently closed to new members while they iron out all the kinks.    

The Etsy Blog Team is another new blogging team, founded in Feb 2011.  As they state themselves, they are there to "Shamelessly promote” their own blogs!  I'm not sure how many people actually visit the links I leave on the team thread,  but a few members have come by my site.  I joined because there are 1614 members.  WOW!  Shameless!  No rules, except membership is open to bloggers and people who enjoy “reading cool blogs.”  That's about everyone on Etsy!  I'm staying for the moment.

I joined the AWE team (Art Walk on Etsy,) better known as First Friday Art Walk (FFAW) back in July 2010.  I enjoyed Art Walks and thought what a great idea, to have an art walk on Etsy.  The way I participate in this team is to make a treasury every First Friday.  There is a core membership who chat here regularly but I’m a mostly silent partner, which is ok with them.  I’ve enjoyed the friendships made here and believe it’s good team to keep.  I should be more involved and I will try harder in the future.    

The only requirement of the Handmade Harbor team is to be a friend to handmade artists.  And that’s me!  The team is not very active - I actually thought everyone had stopped posting comments a few weeks ago.  Their membership is more international than the other teams and I like that.  But I’ve been a bad member, not joining in on conversations and being friendly.  I haven’t even used the team tag (hahateam).  So I will start to join in on more conversations and see how it goes.  

So there‘s a good look at what my team participation on Etsy is.  It looks like the one team I’m the most interested in has most of my attention.  Which is a good thing.  I will work harder at being more involved in other teams and see how it goes.  Next week I’ll look at the other side of being an Etsy seller, the community activities that are available.
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