Thoughts on Keeping Cards…

 

Hi friends! I like making cards. I see it as a positive hobby where the fruits of your labor can be enjoyed twice: You get enjoyment making it and then you get joy sending it and another person get’s joy receiving it. I guess that’s 3 times! Many of us have expectations for our cards beyond those 3 joys and that’s what I am talking about today. BTW if you ever get a card from me you have my blessing to discard it whenever you like;)

Don’t let your {or others) expectations dim your light or tarnish your hobby. Make and send cards because that’s why you bought the supplies to begin with and til next time happy crafting!

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Have you ever got sick of your hobby?

Hi friends! I apologise for not having a sketchbook Sunday for you today. We celebrate Christmas and we are hosting Christmas Eve this year and traveling on Christmas Day so we have a lot of prep to do today. In addition to store-bought gifts I have been working on secret handmade things as well so even though I am creating like crazy I can’t share the results yet;) This video was made in response too an epiphany while I was working on my yearly scrapbook calendar I make for my parents each year. I used to scrapbook all the time and I really enjoyed it. As I was fighting with my printer that decided to no longer accept heavyweight photo paper and searching the far corners of my computer and phone (my kids phones and facebook friends photos) for enough 2018 photos to fill the 12 page calendar scrapbook I longed for the day when we had one device that took pictures and then we picked up the stack of photos, such as they were, at the photo lab. There wasn’t the endless amount of options for taking photos, editing, enlarging, and printing. What we had was “good enough” and it was certainly a lot more efficient and fun!

As I was working on selecting, resizing and editing my photos I was listening to a “best products” of 2018 video and they were talking about a new tool that was just the same as another tool we all have and have been using for years but it had a different grip and color so it was so worth adding to out hoard and it hit me! This is what has been bugging me about cardmaking!

  • The same tools and products rebranded as “new”
  • Super specific “life changing” tools and supplies that do only 1 thing (non-versatile) that you need to store, find and remember what you bought it for. These items take up space and take longer to find and use than any time they are theoretically supposed to save.
  • Constant churn of supply releases. New stamps released every month only to be discontinued the next moth so people feel like you need to get it while you can. I reminds me of fast fashion. Rubber stamps are designed to pretty much last forever but many people (myself included) have stamps that have only been used once and some that have never met an ink pad!
  • Slightly different versions of the same thing such as nesting frame dies with stitching, double stitching, wavy stitching, (stitching holes) changes up year upon year so you never quite feel “on trend” and the collector aspect of the hobby makes you feel like you should add each new version to your stash. There is also “full set syndrome” where you feel the need to own every color in a product line or every peice of a collection.

The #1 thing that annoys me though is the planned obsolescence of items that can theoretically last forever. If I buy a stamp (I really like stamps!) and use it on a project to share with you and then you can’t find it because it has been discontinued you might get upset with me that you can’t find it so I feel bad using the older stuff but on the other hand I like the stuff I already have more than many of the new things and I also think you can substitute images and supplies for what you have and prefer, otherwise all our cards will look the same and what fun is that?  I will discuss that and more in today’s video.

What do you think? Have you been feeling the same thing? I have to admit I also felt a bit horrified that I could be contributing to this feeling in others by reviewing products and in my tutorials. If I have made you feel overwhelmed instead of inspired I apologise. Please know that the work you make is enough. You are enough. Sometimes I feel that companies market on the premise that you are missing out and who you are and what you have is not good enough but let me set the record straight. You are enough. No stamp, die or watercolor set will make you a better artist. It is within you and anyone who makes you doubt that is wrong. Hobbies are meant to enjoy, art is there to inspire and taking part in these activities should foster a sense of growth and challenge yourself to improve and gain mastery and satisfaction. Shopping and collecting can be fun, no doubt, and as makers we see the potential in everything. In an age where it is so easy to add to our stash we must be vigilant to make sure it does not subtract from out creativity. Did any of this make sense to you? Maybe I am the only one who has had these feelings lately and if so it’s probably good because I don’t want others to be overwhelmed but if you were feeling like this I hope it helped. Happy crafting!

Can Reviews Really Be Unbiased?

Hi friends! I was listening to a TED talk a couple of months ago and the presenter was talking about how food can taste better when we are on vacation or having a good time. He said you can order the same food or take home a bottle of wine that you enjoyed on vacation but it just doesn’t taste as good as it did when you first tried it. It seems that the mood we are in when we are trying something for the first time can heavily influence how good we perceive it to be. I think we can perceive art supplies to be good or poor depending on our mood as well. That is just one of the ways we can be biased in our product reviews. I will go more into that as well as other ways product reviews might be biased in today’s video!

So we discussed unintentional bias as well as intentional bias or I should say a conflict of interest but there’s more…

Another reason that I didn’t mention in the video is the rise and popularity of hate/rant videos. Honestly it didn’t even cross my mind when I recorded this because I don’t think it’s fun or funny to destroy someone’s business for clicks, views and entertainment but unfortunately many on YouTube do. Titles like “I hate these paints” or “this product’s is a rip-off” or “I got scammed”  get lots of views. Often I see reviewers try a product knowing full well that they are not going to like it just so they can rant and rave about it or they try a complex product for the first time on camera and get frustrated and deem the product worthless. I read comments like “I’m so glad I didn’t spend the money on that!” or “I was going to buy that but not now” and if the product truly is bad that’s fine but more often than not the reviewer has not taken the time to learn about it. These “salty” reviews are so popular and I don’t think the youtubers making them think about the consequences of their actions. I think honesty is the best policy and if there are problems with a product let people know but only after making sure you are using it correctly.

There have been times where I have had a company ask me to try a product and see what I think and when I noticed a problem with it they changed the product and improved it. If I was to rant online about what I didn’t like a fledgling company could go under and we would never see how a good idea could flourish into a great one.

Unfortunately honesty and integrity doesn’t always get the views. It’s not as fun to listen to facts as it is to see someone get all wound up. This makes me sad. On the bright side there are still many talented artists on YouTube that do very unbiased reviews: Steve from The Mind of Watercolor, Marty from Owings Art, Denise from In Liquid Color, Teoh from Parka Blogs and so many more! I say this because I want to be sure you can ascertain whether a reviewer has been serious about testing a product and reviewing it or has a different agenda. The rise of the “drama channel” has infiltrated the art world and lots of people enjoy those videos. Just think about facts vs entertainment. I try to do both but not at the expense of the education and information I am trying to convey.  Nobody can be completely unbiased when we all have preferences and opinions as well as fluctuating moods when trying out products but we can avoid being willfully misleading. I love to watch reviews, I love learning about new products and seeing if what I have already is similar to the new thing on the market. I actually look for reviews on products I own to get excited about using them again!

Why do you watch reviews?  Information, entertainment or both? I think as long as you take them with a grain of salt and maybe look at the past reviews of a person before trusting them completely (so many drama-rant channels) you can figure out what’s what. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

No time for art?

Hi friends! The other day I got an interesting comment on a video and it was food for thought. I discuss it in today’s video!

If I waited for the perfect time to create…

  • I wouldn’t have a blog.
  • I would never have uploaded a YouTube video, much less have 1900+ videos in my archive.
  • I wouldn’t have volunteered to teach art in schools.
  • I wouldn’t have been published in art and painting magazines.
  • I wouldn’t have illustrated two children’s books.
  • I wouldn’t be making my living as an artist.

I would be unhappy, anxious, and full of regret. While all of my projects may not be perfect the time spend making them enriches my life and hopefully others. It is a crazy proud feeling to see work that someone has done from one of your tutorials. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you inspired someone else to take action and create something. There is no perfect time for art, in fact often if I get a whole day to create what I want I a struggle with “analysis paralysis” because I have too many options on what I can do. If I only have 30 minutes I jump in and pick something. Fun fact: That’s what I start my drawing course with 30 second timed sketches-no time to worry about perfect!

If I worried about having enough time to do everything perfectly I wouldn’t exercise, clean, volunteer, have friends over or make art. I don’t want to live like that, do you? …are you?

You can get so much done if you abandon perfect and take back those scraps of time and spend them intentionally.

And while we are at it let’s stop comparing our art with other people’s art (or judging other peoples art because when you point the finger you have 3 pointing back at you.) We can be inspired by scrolling through social media and looking at the lovely things others have created and that’s great but if you find yourself feeling bad or jealous and down on yourself because you haven’t made anything in a while (ot because their craft room is prettier than yours) it’s time for a break. I get it though, it’s easy to pick up your phone and scroll when you are not feeling like you have enough time to get anything done, but before you know it 20 minutes is gone in a flash and you have nothing to show for it. It seems like we have less time because it is so easily snatched away from us without us realizing it. We need to take back those scraps of time! I remember back when if you wanted to be social and share art you packed up your supplies in a rolling tote and met at a local scrapbook store and created together. All of out supplies fit in one bag and we got so much more done! How about a little more social and a lot less media?

I didn’t intend to go on a rant today and I don’t want to take up any more of your precious time my dear friends:) Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and let me know what you are going to work on the next time you have 20 minutes. I bet you have some good ideas! I want to wrap this up saying that you should spend YOUR time however you want, it’s yours. Be intentional because you only get one chance on this crazy planet so make it a good one! Have a great night and til next time happy crafting!

1 Year Konmari Update & My Personal Rules!

Hi Friends! Last year I decluttered my home (and most notably my over stuffed art studio/craft room) using the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo as a guide. I ended up with a tidy home but there were other unexpected benefits to and that is what I am going to talk about today.

What I appreciate the most about going through this process was the mental clarity, reduction of anxiety and increased self-confidence it gave me. I now have more time because I have less stuff to manage. I have more creativity because the supplies I kept fueled my creativity where as before the excess dampened it. I learned to let go of “fantasy Lindsay” and just be me. I got to admit that just because I wished I liked something didn’t mean I had to like it and just because someone else likes something it doesn’t mean I will. The fact that we are all different is what makes life fun!

The decluttering of my stuff (and my schedule) helped me clarify personal rules which guide how I live my daily life. There is nothing profound here but often it is the small things you do everyday (and not the big things you do once in a while) that have the most impact on your life. As they say how you do anything is how you do everything.
Lindsay’s Rules:
1. Wear shoes (this rule comes from my dad who would often tell his lazy child to “get your feet dressed!” LOL I never feel ready for the day without proper shoes on. The FlyLady echos this rule)

2. Put first things first (This is credited to Stephen Covey from his book the 7 habits of highly effective people. You need to set your priority and focus on it before you get bogged down or distracted by non important tasks)

3. If it’s not a “heck yes!” it’s a no. (I have said yes to projects out of obligation or fear that I would miss out on opportunities if I declined anything but now I say “no” unless I am super excited about another person’s project.)

4. Don’t leave a room empty-handed. (Whenever I leave a room or an area I scan the room to see if anything there belongs where I am going…there is always something LOL!)

5. If it takes less than 5 minutes do it now. (Reply to that email, write that check, mail a birthday card, return a quick phone call. If it needs to be done and takes less than 5 minutes I just do it. This is for actually important things, not for checking Pinterest real quick:)

6. Begin with the end in mind. (Another Stephen Covey gem, before beginning any project visualise the outcome to stay focused and also to determine if the juice is worth the squeeze.)

7. Do something creative each day. (Nuff said.)

8.Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. (Lack of sleep will leave anyone irritable, sad and not at their best plus people who get more sleep live longer.)

9. Sharpen the saw. (S. Covey again here:) Spend some time each week challenging yourself to improve a skill)

1o. Be Lindsay. (This advice come from Gretchen Rubin. Don’t compare yourself to others, you don’t have to like what other people do, you don’t have to do what other people do and you don’t have to want what other people want.)

Here are the books I referenced in the video. I really found value in them and they are popular enough you can probably check them out from your library. In case you want to purchase them I have included amazon affiliate links.

Thanks for spending some time with me today and til next time happy crafting!

Get Unstuck!

Hi friends! Given the fact that we are on the internet right now there is a good chance we are procrastinating. I totally get putting off an unpleasant task but what about when we put off something that we love to do, like creating? Today we are going to talk about creative block, perfectionism, getting stuck and getting started so hopefully by the end of the video you will be ready to jump into your next creative project!

Did any of those points resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below and if you want to hear what John Cleese has to say about creativity you can watch his talk here. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Why I Closed My Booth and Built a Website

Hi friends! Sometimes I think that we do things out of habit or because it’s easy to keep the status quo. Today I’m going to tell you about a decision I have been postponing for quite sometime: Weather or not to keep selling my cards, paintings and jewelry in the booth I rent in a local antiques mall.

Antique store owner

The booth made a little money but to be honest I did not have the time to maintain it as well as I should. And if I want to be really honest one of my big motivations in opening it a few years ago was to get this finished art out of my house! I loved that I had a place to store my art where people could buy it. I could keep depositing new art there so it didn’t take over my house. Also I had become burnt out on the craft fair scene and I didn’t like schlepping art around in the cold and giving up my weekends. It seems odd that I had not made an online shop before this because it would be cheaper than renting space and more convenient as I could work from home. Sometimes it just seems easier to keep doing what you’ve always done. But I am a believer of doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t have a clue how to do it.  I needed a website where I could have an online store and the best way to learn how to do something is to do it! Watch the video to see how!

This video is sponsored by Wix You can build your website for free using beautiful templates quickly and easily. Their in-house design tools make is easy for someone with little computer experience to create a stunning online store, blog or other website.

Check out my NEW website!

I decided I needed a website for 2 reasons:
1. I am closing the local retail space I sell my paintings, cards and jewelry at because honestly I didn’t have the time to maintain it and it had turned into a glorified storage space. And the retail space I have was not reaching my potential customers like a website would.

2. I want to have a piece of the internet I can control no matter what happens to the social media platforms I am on. My blog fulfills that need to an extent but I don’t have an e-commerce (store) option there. I have heard of so many creators having their social media accounts terminated or the platforms that they are active on disappearing. Remember Vine? Also social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and even YouTube can dictate who sees your content (even among your subscribers) so if you want to be able to control the space you are creating for you need your own website. You don’t have to worry about a site shutting down or deleting everything you worked so hard for.

We plan to have the online shop up and running in February. My hubby is joining my business full-time mid January and I am so excited about the opportunities this will open up. I have had to turn down so many interesting projects just because I couldn’t pile one more thing on my plate. I have other big plans for my website in the new year and I can’t wait to share them with you. Here’s to trying new things! I’m glad I did. I hope you found this helpful or inspiring and it goes to show you that if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone you can do some pretty great things! Happy crafting!

 

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