Monday, October 9, 2017

Finding time to blog

It was recently brought to my attention that my blog was lacking in new posts. I know...I know...I am really slacking on the posting front this year...and it's October!!! 

To be honest, blogging isn't hard- it's just time consuming. How do regular bloggers do it? How do they post something new and relevant every month, or week...or even every day??? Every day!!!

I run a small art business- that keeps me busy. 
I have 2 kids, boys, under 13- keeps me busy.
I volunteer at my kids school PTA, all the time- keeps me so busy.

These are just 3 things- but you know, as everyone has 1000 things they do in a day- I do too. Things I can't list, because it's just stuff that has to get done. It's called life. So, in between all those little life tasks that have to get done I schedule time in to write- or post- or update my website- or take photos of my art, you get it..the list goes on and on. My blog is where it falls short. I always seem to push this to the back hoping that I'll get to it in a day or two. Then I talk to a friend one day and realize it's been 7 months since I posted anything. That's too long. 

I poked around on Google to see what kind of inspiration I could find for lackluster bloggers like myself, and here are a few articles I thought were written with me in mind! 

18 Blogging Tips to Create and Maintain a Successful Blog


How to Maintain a Blog AND a Full-Time Job

This was kind of nice- seeing that other people have to schedule in time, and then stick to it. I think I can sketch out a few ideas while drinking coffee in the am. 

How To Master Your Blog Publishing Frequency

This article brought home the real importance of frequent posts. I don't have oodles of followers, and that's fine. I started this originally to show off my artwork and have a voice about life. I guess the lesson is, if you don't write- how can anyone hear that voice? 


Points all taken. I am going to sit down right now and brainstorm for a new topic to write about. Wish me luck :) and thanks to the article writers above. You've inspired me to work a bit harder! And to my friend who motivated me to look at my blog and gasp at the time jump in posts...thanks :)


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Post Spring Break Crazy!

Spring Break was just a blip to us this year! As the kids get older it seems time really does fly by!

School is back in and FSA testing has begun! Yippee...can you hear the enthusiasm??? Me neither...

Our PTA has got their eyes on the ball though. With all of the end of the year things coming up fast, I decided to post a free template for other PTA moms and dads looking for ideas for their school too!

First up is a cute idea we are doing for Teacher Appreciation Week. We got these booklets of card stock online at CutCardStock in the sale section! Score!! Some of the booklets were less than $3.00 for 36 sheets. Great deal!

card stock for postcards
There are pages of travel themes, spring fruits and flowers, cool geometric shapes and patterns...lots of cute, happy designs to use as postcards. The PTA will cut each card stock in half- so they will be 3 x 6 postcards- not the typical, but still sweet and usable! We drew up this little instruction sheet for the Guidance Teachers to show the kids! When each class goes to their guidance special next month, they will get to make postcards for their teachers or staff members that mean something special to them!

postcard instruction sheet

 We will supply them with colored pencils and markers and let them be creative! Then, during teacher appreciation week, we will have a group of special delivery students hand out the mail :) I love it!!!

The free template I am posting though is for our actual PTA use. We have been toying with the idea of a newsletter just for PTA. Our school has a solid ...ahhh...maybe 5 volunteers. That's it! We have over 500 students but very little parent support. We are trying desperately to get everyone involved- and thought maybe a special note home to parents letting them know what is coming up, what we need volunteers for and how they can help- well, MAYBE that would spark some interest?

So, we googled newsletters and PTA letters and a slew of other things before we came up with...let's just make our own. So we did! Here is the link for the free template you see below. I left a little space open in two places for school logos. You'll see what I mean when you see the picture of our Belvedere Bees Updates. 
free template

I used GIMP and just made little text boxes and filled in what we wanted it to say. I added our little school Bee and tada....... Belvedere PTA Updates:  You could easily do this in Word also. Just insert your school logo and use text boxes like I did.

our Newsletter using the template above

So if you'd like a free template of the little boxes above click here and get creative!

What are you doing fun for teacher appreciation week???


Thursday, January 26, 2017

I'm feeling pretty proud!

So, one day later and I'm stoked to write that I did two pretty 'way to go you' things already! 

The first is just mechanical really. Our pool pump and vacuum has been acting weird. I have played with it for 2 weeks trying different things to see if I could get things working right again. Today I replaced some parts, cleaned everything possible and found a clog in the skim line. I cleared the clog and re-cleaned everything. Turned it on and Ta-Daaaaa pump is working great- vacuum is back flying across the pool floor. It took me a few hours but I am feeling pretty happy! I almost called one of my guy friends to help open one of the baskets. It was on sooooooo tight I nearly broke every stick and pipe I used to open it with. But, my trusty hammer and I made a good team! Girl power!!!

Second on my 'you go' accomplishment list is that LuckiiArts by Casey Virata is now in a local shop in Lake Park. It's a cute little shop called Coastal Market Place full of beachy ocean art and furniture. My work fits right in! Yay!!! I was brave and drove over with a box full of art and magnets and address tiles and signs- oh and postcards too. The shop wanted it all. Here's to hoping that lots of people come in and see my stuff and I'll get oodles of local business! It would be so neat to drive around town and see my address tiles on business and homes!! Yep...that's one of mine ­čść

What have you done today? Which step have you reached today? I am discovering that if you are brave and bold and just close your eyes and do it...most likely you can!

My new mantra...Yes, you can do it!!! 

 Go do something today. Go do something BRAVE, GENEROUS, HELPFUL or just something that makes you HAPPY. Life is too short to not do things that make you happy! YES, You can do it! 

See you soon

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Happy (almost February) 2017!

Happy 2017!!! Thank goodness 2016 is over- WORST YEAR EVER!!!  

New year- new goals- new relationship president (hrmmm) lots happening this year! 

So yes, 2016 sucked for me. My husband left our family- spontaneously and very mid-life crisis-y. Swell, but we are moving on :) New Year- New Possibilities. 

Just like this cute little cartoon says, 365 opportunities. I have tried to take that approach so far this year. Looking at each day as a "what can I accomplish today" attitude. I've done a lot actually, which surprises me. Have I succeeded every day? No, not every day. You can't be cheerful and happy and positive every day of your life can you? I can't, that's for sure. But for the most part I have truly put effort into saying yes to new opportunities. 

I am trying to take my LuckiiArts business to the next level. I am going door to door in little brick and mortar shops peddling my goods. It's scary! Walking blind into a shop and selling yourself and your art. But I'm getting bolder and what do they say, practice makes perfect! New goals!

I am also looking at selling wholesale. Also scary- but let's face it, I'm scared of everything these days. Not gonna lie. My life fell apart a year ago and I'm still picking up pieces of myself. The silver lining is that with the picking up comes an opportunity to create a new me. I actually started a pinterest board just for that reason. To remind myself that I have a clean, blank slate- shiny and ready to be drawn on with anything I want! If you are in need of a little pick me up to remind yourself you've got this...go look it up. It's called "The New Me"

I've been working a lot too. Making new wood burned pieces that I love!

Cute little mini pallets huh! So here it is: 

 New Goals for 2017

*make an edition of Art-o-mat blocks every month
*post a new blog piece every month 
*get my art in some stores locally   
*start to sell wholesale      
*spend the time I have with my kids really WITH them, doing
 fun stuff
*say yes when given an opportunity    
*travel more- even small in-state trips

That is a decent start right? I think it's doable for me! 

Here's to a prosperous new year filled with love and joy and good fortune! 

See you next month ;) 


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The making of an art-o-mat block edition

Every once in a while I get a lovely little green card in the mail from Art-o-mat saying "OUT - please send more." 

It's a great thing to open the mail and see that people love what I am making and would like more of it! So- this is my process of making an edition of 50 little wooden art blocks for Art-o-mat!

First, see those little brown blocks pictured above? That is a bunch of freshly cut wood blocks that I use for my little critters and trees. My super woodworking California Dad cuts them for me :) Thanks Dad! They are completely raw and need a coat of paint on all sides. This is generally accomplished as a group effort- meaning all hands on deck for a block painting party! Usually though, it's just my Mom and I drinking coffee and monotonously painting 20 of each color 200 at a time! It's a big job and I love her for helping me!!! Thanks Mom! Great family effort :)

Once they are all painted I have to put my art on them :) I do trees and animals with glasses, some cute birds and jellyfish and other critters. I hand sketch all of the images, then paint them in. Not one is ever identical- that would be boring!

 See- here are some cute Jelly's. I usually do 10 of an animal/tree at a time. I try to use really bright, happy colors- something that will pop and make you smile if you catch a peek of a little block sitting on a shelf or desk somewhere. 

 Happy and bright! See those two little blocks right there /\ the fox and owl? Those were done by my kids. Those little blocks sit on our book shelf in a spot of pride! I love that they like to create when I'm painting. 

The artwork has been painted on, detailed and signed on the back and finally spray sealer is added, to make sure they last and last. But I can't just ship them off like that...nooooo they need to be wrapped with a business card and my info attached. 

For this next step you need a giant roll of acetate. I cut little strips of it to wrap around the blocks...then they get wrapped up with a business card and a really sticky piece of tape.  

There are 50 of these little things, so it's a good bit of time before it's complete. I usually play music, Pandora- Octopus Project is one of my creating stations- and wrap away! 

Here they are- my little blocks of love. All wrapped and ready to ship out to  Art-o-mat central. From there they will be shipped all over the states, sometimes even over seas! Pretty cool huh!!!

That is the life of my little art-o-mat blocks from start to when they find a new home!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I have a middle schooler! Yikes!

Look at this sweet little face. This was taken the day my oldest 'little' was born. He was so tiny and pink. I was afraid to touch him, yet I couldn't keep my hands off of him. Those were the days. Late night snuggles, cute cooing noises, first smiles and laughs. Sure, there were a few months of colic, but how easily we all forget the rough stuff as your children grow.

Jump ahead 11 years and my 'little' isn't so little anymore. He's a graduating 5th grader- on to middle school...and I am terrified! What is middle school going to bring? I remember middle school- and honestly I don't wish 6, 7 or 8th grade on anyone, but it is a right of passage I suppose. We all have to go through those awkward years and start to grow up.

To commemorate this milestone I have created this mix of all ages of the boy. Not that anyone on the web cares about this particular kid but me...and perhaps my family :) but whatever! 

He's a bright kid and fearless, unless it's a roller coaster or putting medicine on a booboo. He has tackled snakes and all forms of lizards, a baby brother, K-5 school and now even a divorce.  He's growing up too fast, but is doing a great job at it! Love you the mostest D! xo

Thursday, March 10, 2016

How do you sell your art and how to make it better?

I work from my home studio. It's a nice little set up in the Florida room. It opens to a lush green backyard where I can watch my kids play, watch birds do their thing, and find some natural inspiration. It's great- and I honestly love what I do. The question is, how can I do it better?

I have been a seller on ETSY since 2011. It's been great, until 2 years ago, when they switched all the search methods around.  In 2014 I had 17,000 views of my shop. That's a lot of people looking at my art, which made me so very happy. But last year I only had 7,816 views. That is a terrible jump! It downright makes me angry!

In order to make up for all those lost views, people who could have been potential buyers, fans of LuckiiArts, I have been searching for other sites to sell my fine artworks on.  It's tough combing through all of the sites out there that promise customer reach, great exposure and low fees for artists.

They all kind of promise the same and all fall a little short. So, I have moved on to sites such as Redbubble and Society6 and Zazzle. These sites allow me to upload my artwork and place them on dozens of products. They are really a great alternative and I can scan my original pieces of art into the computer and use them even after I have sold the original pieces.

This little guy is one of my best sellers on Society6.  Blue Manatee can be found on techy things as well as T-shirts, housewares and totes.

 These super cool high-tops are a new product on Zazzle.  I am in the process of adding images to high and low tops on this site! It's really fun creating products with my art. I can't even imaging what I'd do if I ran into someone wearing one of my images!

I have been checking books out at the library too.  There is so much free information out there on how to make your business grow, organize and just be better! This has been a great book to read through, as it has info on pricing artwork, how to make a profit and how to handle taxes. All things I thought I knew, but have learned I really could improve on. I recommend taking a trip to your local library and just see what they might be pleasantly surprised!

My latest find is a blog called: by Regina. She has some great- and I mean great ideas on making your business successful. I particularly love that she has a creative action plan instead of your typical business plan. I don't know about you, but I have tried more than once to write an understandable business plan- and all I end up with is a bunch of terms and direction that has little to do with art. Regina has a nifty 10 page free download that is all about the creative side of to engage, and really draw possible customers in. I am on #3 and am having lots of good ideas and fun brainstorming and thinking of ways I can up my social game and improve clicks, customers and fans!

That's all I have for now. What places do you sell...and how do you find new venues? How do you plan on upping your social game? It's a good discussion to have with fellow online sellers don't cha think?