Changes

The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Lots of changes for me now and in the future. The pandemic has made everything very fluid, so it’s hard to plan ahead without knowing what will change.

I have an interview for a new job next week. I’m less nervous than I thought I would be, but I’m afraid that will make it hurt more if I don’t get it. :/ My youngest has now had 3 tentative dates to reschedule graduation, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve decided to go ahead and send out the announcements with a note that explains we don’t know when/if it will happen. Even if it doesn’t, or people can’t attend, I at least want them to know how proud we are of his accomplishments.

The university that both children will attend in the fall has said they intend to hold in-person classes, but they will end those early right before Thanksgiving. Everything after that (the final two weeks of classes), will be done remotely. I have to wonder, then, why bother? Everyone has been doing remote classes for most of the year, so why go back just for 2 1/2 months? My oldest has all online classes anyway, and we can probably arrange my youngest’s classes to be all online as well, so we’ll see how it all shakes out. We still aren’t sure whether my job will reopen in August, but we are planning as if we will. The new health regulations are sure making things interesting.

In the meantime, I am continuing on with my own plans. I’ve opened my Etsy shop, I’m adding additional items this week, and I am taking steps to get back on track with what I want to do for my business. I’m trying to improve my health and fitness, and I’m continuing to work on various projects, like painting more minis. 😀

Hitting Publish

Credit: Pixabay

I did it! I finally listed some of my coloring mandalas on Etsy. After attempting to add things here and becoming frustrated, I finally decided to just go ahead and list the mandalas on Etsy.

They are similar to my Monday Mandalas, but they are more detailed, since I drew them specifically for people to color. It was (unsurprisingly) easy to list the items on Etsy, and adding the files for download was simple. I spent more time creating the images for the listings than I did the actual listings themselves.

I’ve listed 5 mandalas to start, and I plan to add to them this week. If you’d like to check them out, you can find them in my Etsy store here. It’s all kind of an experiment at this point, since I haven’t really done any social media or marketing – mostly because I decided on the spur of the moment to just do it. 😛

It should be an interesting week for me – I’ve opened my Etsy shop finally, I bought more contrast paints to experiment with painting minis, and I bought the iOrnament app for more drawing options. iOrnament reminds me of iColorama – lots and lots of options, but it’s a bit overwhelming at first. I’ve been watching some tutorials to make some sense of it. Lots of good information, but I have a feeling I may still stick with Procreate for the majority of my drawing. I haven’t found anything that has that same line smoothing ability as Procreate.

Lots of changes heading my way – new stuff to learn, a new shop to run, and now WordPress is moving everyone over to the new block editor. I’m using it to create this post – so far, so good, except I miss seeing my word count at the bottom of the post. After some Google-fu, you have to click the information button at the top of your post in the block editor to see how many words you’ve written. Not the end of the world, but an annoying additional click.

Le sigh.

Ah well, if that’s the worst of the changes, I’m doing okay, right? I do appreciate that the new editor has lots of options the old one didn’t, change is just hard. Either that, or I’m just old. 😀

Abandoning Amaziograph

Amaziograph 3I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with the Amaziograph app – especially since it’s made for making mandalas.  It has a lot more options than Procreate in its radial symmetry, but I just can’t get over the shakiness of the lines.

That’s not Amaziograph’s fault – it’s mine, because I have shaky hands.  And, unfortunately, the older I get, the worse the tremors get.  With Procreate, I can adjust the line smoothing to account for that – with Amaziograph, I can’t.

So for making my mandalas, I’m going to stick with Procreate.  I’ll still use Amaziograph now and then, but it won’t be the go-to tool that I thought it would be when I got it.

I do have my eye on another program I discovered the other day, called iOrnament.  I haven’t purchased it yet, but I will in the next week or so.  After I’ve had a chance to play around in it, I’ll post something here.  It looks a lot like Amaziograph, with the options to do tessellations and such.

I saw a coloring book at the grocery store today titled ‘Kaleidoscope Coloring.’  It was a bunch of animals with zentangle doodles for coloring.  Guess I’ll add ‘kaleidoscope’ to my Etsy tags, lol.

Mini Progress

I am still slowly working my way through all the unpainted miniatures I discovered in the basement.  I did visit my local game store and picked up both a painting handle and some of the Citadel contrast paints.

I gotta be honest, so far I don’t like them.  They are really runny, like ink, and even with thin coats, it took forever to get full coverage.  That said, I was painting on minis that were based black, so I’m going to blame it on that.

I have taken some of the minis and based them with white, so we’ll see how it turns out.  I am just playing and experimenting, since most of the minis likely won’t ever see the light of day, honestly.  A lot of them were purchased for use as a PC mini, but now that we can either 3D print our own or have them printed via something like Hero Forge, they’ll probably never get used.  Maybe I can use them as NPCs.  Dunno.

In any event, I finished some of them, so here they are, in no particular order.  First up is the battleguard golem.  I actually like the way he turned out.  The matte spray sealer made a huge difference in how he looked.

Battleguard Golem

Next is a weird doll with a knife, from a package of familiars.  She certainly is creepy, I’ll give her that.  She was hard to paint, because the model has almost no detail.  I wasn’t even sure what she was until I looked up the models online.

Doll Familiar

The last two are the pirate set.  The eyes on these gave me fits, because I have an intermittent hand tremor.  I finally gave up on the eyes.

Pirate Wench

They will only be NPCs, and since I have no idea when, or if, we will return to playing in-person, they’re good enough.  There seems to be a fine line for me between not enough detail and too much.  The pirate wench was ok.  This guy, however, waay too much:

Pirate

He was fun to paint, but man, my poor old eyes.  Also, I can’t seem to find a happy medium when I use the Citadel washes.  Everything seems to come out looking muddy or dirty, whether I use a lot or a little.  Hopefully I’ll figure it out.

Now that these are done, I can move on to the next pieces.  😀

Back to the Drawing Board

I’ve been working for the past week on figuring out how to sell items here on my WordPress site.  I upgraded to Premium for the Simple Payments options and started to slog through the process.

It’s been a long week.

man showing distress
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

You and me both, stock photo man.  :/

Things I’ve realized as I worked:

  • I didn’t need to upgrade to Premium – Simple Payments doesn’t let me provide automatic emails/links for downloading the digital products.
  • Inserting my own PayPal buttons on my site was waaaay more complicated than it should be.
  • iOS doesn’t play nice with anyone.
  • I do not like coding.  I can grasp the basics, but any more than that is just frustrating.
  • I still need to track buyer’s addresses for sales tax, in case I would go over any given state’s transaction limit for remote sellers.
  • No wonder people use Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, and the like – it’s sooo much easier.

So, after working diligently for a week and having little to show for it, I need to take a step back and rethink what I’m doing.

I’m going to give myself a mental break this weekend and have a good long think about how best to achieve what I want.  What advice would I give someone else in this situation?  And am I brave enough to take it?

Here’s hoping.

Money for Nothing

FailYesterday was frustrating.  Very frustrating.

I upgraded my site to premium so that I could use the simple payments option – something WordPress has been lauding as a way to use your site to make money.  Great! That was my eventual goal here – to start selling my mandalas and stickers, but on my own site, so that I wasn’t paying Amazon and Etsy lots of money in fees.

I’ve read so many people who say that they drive their own traffic to Etsy – so if I’m gonna do all that work, I might as well drive people to my own site, right?  Then I’m making the money off my hard work, instead of Etsy.

After upgrading to the Premium plan, I started researching how to use the Simple Payments buttons to sell my digital coloring mandalas.  Turns out, the Simple Payments just lets you collect payments for your products – there is no way to add a link or anything to the payment button.

So, essentially, a person would pay, then have to wait for me to receive the notification from PayPal that I’d been paid, and then wait for me to send an email with the link or file for what they purchased.  Which isn’t horrible, but isn’t at all what I was led to believe I could do with the simple payments.

After more research, I discovered a way to use Google Docs and PayPal to add things to my site for sale.  That was an experience in itself, because what I wanted was for buyers to be taken directly to a download link for the item after they paid.  Making a download link from a Google doc required even more research, because of course it’s not an option in Drive.

During the first test, I got to the document, but it didn’t appear that the file was downloading correctly.  (My husband was testing for me on his iPad.)  After getting the direct download link issue sorted, then I realized that for some reason (I’m assuming because he’s using his iPad and iOS never plays well with others), he isn’t being taken directly to the page with the download link from PayPal.  He has to ‘return to merchant’ inside PayPal and then he gets taken to the correct place for the download.

Soooo frustrating.  This is probably why so many people would rather just use Etsy or Amazon for this.  In fact, I’m debating if this is all worth it myself, particularly since I apparently upgraded my WordPress plan for nothing.  I could have inserted the PayPal buttons and configured it as it without upgrading, because all the payments take place on PayPal anyway.  I guess I could upgrade to the next tier on WordPress, where there are some actual e-commerce options, but after feeling like I’ve already spent some money for nothing, that doesn’t seem appealing.

Aaaaarrrrggghhh.  😦