Epic Fail

img_0087-1It’s not too often that I have one of these, but when I do, it’s a doozy.  In my family, it’s referred to as a ‘Grammy moment.’  Why?  Because my older sister, while watching the Grammy’s on TV a few years ago, suddenly realized that the award is, in fact, in the shape of a gramophone.  “So that’s why they call it a Grammy,” she mused aloud.

My Grammy moment was years in the making.  A few years ago, I wanted to try a standing desk (another fail, but that’s a separate blog post).  I also wanted a manual treadmill to place underneath it, but couldn’t find one that worked.  Instead, I found a standing elliptical.  It looks something like this:

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Image Credit: workwhilewalking.com

I could stand at my desk and walk at the same time.  Great, right?

Not really.

My balance is not always great and I would find myself leaning on the desk to keep my balance, which meant that working on the computer was difficult.  Using a mouse while using it?  Nope.

Now, I’m old, and I have bad knees.  So I prefer using an elliptical to a treadmill, because it’s easier on my joints.  But I spend a lot of time in front of the computer sitting and I wanted a way to get some activity at the same time.  I tried putting the machine under my desk, but I couldn’t use it, because my knees kept banging into the desk.  Sigh.  Another useless purchase.

So the machine sat in the floor of my office, near my analog work space, in the vain hopes that I could use it while doing analog work.  Just FYI – walking and writing don’t really mix well.

Fast forward a year or so.  A few days ago I saw an advertisement for an under-desk elliptical machine.  It mentioned that it’s a great way for people who spend a lot of time on their computers to get some activity in.  My husband had recently rearranged our living room and it left enough space that I thought I would drag the machine into the living room for use while watching TV.  I could use a kitchen chair or something, I thought, to get me high enough that it was comfortable to use.  I ended up on our large stepstool with a cushion.  It wasn’t exactly comfortable, but at least I felt I could get some use out of the machine.  My husband came home and saw it.  He had questions and I explained about the ad I saw and that I wanted to use this machine since it’s basically been a paperweight for several years.

I told him I really wanted to put it under my desk, but I couldn’t make it work because I kept banging my knees.  He looked at me and then said, “Why don’t you just turn it the other way?”

Umm, what?

He took the machine and rotated it 180 degrees.  Suddenly, it was the right height to use it with a chair, the couch, MY DESK.

Two years as a paperweight, because it never occurred to me to TURN. THE. MACHINE. AROUND.

That’s why they call it a Grammy, folks.

New Year, New Goals

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Credit: Pixabay

I can’t believe it’s 2020.  I remember when I was younger, thinking that the year 2000 seemed eons away.  20 years past that, I am starting to realize that I am old.  Sigh.

As the new year approached, I found myself thinking about what goals I wanted to achieve in 2020.  I don’t like to make ‘resolutions,’ because it’s too easy to forget about those as soon as you make them.

Over the last few weeks, I was thinking about what I want to accomplish this year – both personally and professionally.  I don’t want to set too many goals and overwhelm myself.  I want concrete, achievable goals – ones I can break into smaller goals so that I can measure my progress.

Goals for 2020

Professional Goals:

  • Launch sticker business officially
  • Create at least 10 products to sell
  • Upgrade WordPress to Premium to take advantage of Simple Payments

Personal Goals:

  • Save $
  • Get fit
  • Be brave

For my professional goals, I want to officially launch my sticker business here on the website.  By upgrading to the Premium plan, I can take advantage of the simple payments options and offer the products for sale via PayPal.  There are other things I will need to do to make this happen, but this will give me more control over my products and sales than I would have on Etsy.

I may still open an Etsy store, but the goal is to eventually have enough traffic to my own site that I won’t need Etsy.  It also lets me avoid the mountain of paperwork that would be required with an Etsy shop.

Before I launch, I want to create at least 10 different products to sell.  The last 3-4 months I’ve been setting up files and products that I can easily adapt for different options to minimize my production time when the products officially launch.

For my personal life, I want to budget more carefully in addition to hopefully bringing in more income with the business launch.  My husband’s parents live in another country and we would love to be able to visit them more often.  We will also be paying college tuition for our children, which will be another large expense.

In 2020, I want to improve my health.  My husband and I would like to travel quite a bit after our kids are done with school, and I want to be healthy enough to do that.  I am making some small changes to start, but I am hopeful that I will be able to stick with them.

Lastly, I want to be braver this year.  I am my own worst critic and I want to try and, if not silence, at least lower the volume on those critical thoughts.  If I fail, at least I tried.  And then I know what doesn’t work.

Happy New Year to you all, and may your year be full of love, light, and blessings.  ♥♥

Monday Mandala 23

Mandala_23This mandala ended up being quite a bit smaller than previous ones.  Not sure why, I didn’t intend it to be.  I do like the middle of this one, with the four-leaf clover sort of flower in the inner layer.

I don’t think I put enough different elements in this one, but I do like the ones that are there.  Perhaps I’ll try this one in iColorama and see how it turns out.

Failure to Launch

img_0087-1Well, here it is, almost the end of 2019, and I have yet to launch my sticker business.

I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much, but I am frustrated with myself.  I’ve been so productive in many other ways this year, but for whatever reason, I find myself unable to pull the trigger on this.

Every time I get close to launching, I find an excuse why I shouldn’t.  The biggest issue for me is the whole stumbling block over the excessive tax paperwork if I sell on Etsy.  I’ve even looked into hiring a bookkeeper/tax professional to handle it for me, but it’s just too cost-prohibitive at this point.

Over the holidays, I’m going to do some number crunching and see if it makes more sense to use Etsy, or if I want to try having my products available here.  If I upgrade to the Premium WordPress plan, I can do simple PayPal orders – without the added headache of sales tax, because I wouldn’t need to collect any as a small business owner selling on my own website.

If I did that, however, I’m not sure how I would set it up here for that.  A separate page for products, I think, so that I could keep them separate from the blog posts, yet easily accessible.

I also need to do some experimenting with PayPal – I’ve never used it before, so I’m not fully comfortable with all the ins and outs of it.

I’ve set up some social media accounts to try and increase my exposure – if I’m not going to go the Etsy route, I need to work on bringing customers in myself.  Honestly, that’s the only appeal of Etsy – the built-in traffic.  I’ve set up a Twitter account and I was already on Ello.  I’ve added Pinterest, because the planners and stickers are so visual, but I need to spend some time researching how to use Pinterest.  It’s not at all intuitive and I’m finding it more difficult to use than I had anticipated.

I’d also like to add YouTube into the mix, but until I get a better recording set up, that isn’t an option.  I need to shoot from overhead and it’s more complicated than I thought.  I tried using my smartphone, but the quality just isn’t what I want it to be.  I really want to use my Canon camera to record, but I need the right equipment to shoot from overhead with it.

So, as usual, lots of plans.  Here’s hoping I can follow through with them, instead of continuing to procrastinate.  Fingers crossed!

Top 10 Christmas Songs

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Credit: Pixabay

It’s Christmas Day!  If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you are spending quality time with your loved ones. 

In the spirit of the day, I thought I’d share a list of my top 10 favorite Christmas songs.  Christmas was my mom’s favorite holiday and I can remember many years spent singing and dancing around in our living room to these songs.  Mom made a cassette tape of her favorites – I still have it, even though I no longer own a cassette player. 

So here they are, in no particular order:

  1. The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
  2. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
  3. White Christmas by Bing Crosby
  4. Merry Christmas Darling by The Carpenters
  5. Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives
  6. Go Tell It On the Mountain by Jim Nabors
  7. We Three Kings by Ella Fitzgerald
  8. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Thurl Ravenscroft
  9. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams
  10. The Little Drummer Boy – tie between the Harry Simeone Chorale and the Bing Crosby/David Bowie duet

There are lots of other songs I’m partial to, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without these 10 on rotation.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. 🙂

Monday Mandala 22

Mandala_22I tried something different with this mandala.  I’ve been using a monoline brush in all the previous drawings, because I wanted the uniform look to the lines.  But I wanted to try drawing with a brush that would show the pressure sensitivity.  So I tried a different brush.

I think it turned out pretty well.  I was able to make the brush much smaller in size than I could with the monoline brush, which meant I could get much finer lines in the mandala.  So the inner circles of this mandala have some pretty intricate elements because I had more play with the size of the lines.

The outer layer seems kind of boring and plain, but I wanted to stay with the flower/leaf motif I had going on in the inner layers.  Definitely less uniform looking, but much more obvious that it is hand-drawn.

I’m Doing This All Wrong

img_0087-1I’ve been working for months on a planner sticker business.  I’ve been busily creating stickers and kits and all the things.

Yesterday I watched a video from a well-known Etsy planner sticker creator and after less than a minute, I was like, I’m doing this all wrong!

I’ve been creating my stickers in Procreate on my iPad and then using my cutting machine software to create the sticker sheets.  I’ve done the designing, cutting, layout – pretty much everything aside from drawing the stickers themselves – in my cutting software program.

This particular creator showed how they did all of that in Photoshop first, so all they had to do was drag and drop a couple of files and then everything was set up and ready to go.  I just sat there with my mouth open, thinking, Why?  Why would you do it that way?  How do you set up the cut lines if everything is one image?  A million questions suddenly flooded my brain and I immediately began to doubt everything I’ve accomplished so far.

Imposter syndrome is real, y’all.  :/

After freaking out for a few minutes, I had a little pep talk with myself.  It’s OK if I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.  That was the point of this whole blog, after all.  To let other people watch me fail and see that it’s OK – that’s how you learn.

I’m me, and how I accomplish something doesn’t matter as much as if I accomplish something.   And after watching the video, now I know a different way to accomplish the same thing I’ve already been doing.  Which is good – now I have options.

So I’m going to take what I have learned, and apply it to my future endeavors.  There’s probably a million and one things I’m currently doing that I could do faster and more efficiently.  But as long as they’re getting done, I’m going to call it a win.

 

 

Fighting FOMO

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Credit: Pixabay

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve probably heard of FOMO.  It’s a psychological quirk of humans that advertisers exploit to get us to buy ALL. THE. THINGS.

I mean, nobody wants to miss out on something cool, right?  Everyone wants the latest, greatest shiny.  How else can you assure yourself and everyone else that you’re cool and successful and beautiful?

I’ve never been one of those people.  Labels don’t matter to me, whether something works for me does.  Maybe it’s a side effect of growing up without much money.  My parents made sure my siblings and I always had what we needed, but there were lots of times when we didn’t get everything we wanted.

And guess what?  We survived.  I mean, sure, those fancy white Nikes with the red swoosh were awesome, but our Payless shoes did the job just as well.  Actually better, because once I could afford those white Nikes with my own money, I discovered the bright white didn’t last long and neither did the shoes.

Someone’s always trying to convince you that you need the latest this, that, or the other.  But I think people would be a lot happier if they would stop and think about what they actually need.  I mean, if you have unlimited funds and can buy whatever you want without worrying about the cost, then sure, avoid FOMO and buy all the things.

Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot of people (or any, really) who are in that situation.  Most of us only have a certain amount of money to spend on wants AND needs.  I want a new car, but I need water and electricity.  I want a new iPad Pro, but I need to pay tuition.  I want to travel to Europe, but I need a roof over my head.

I could let my FOMO rule my spending, but will I be any happier for doing so?  Probably not.  Don’t get me wrong, I certainly can fall victim to FOMO as easily as anyone.  Right now, my weakness is anything to do with planners.

Because I’m working on launching my sticker business, I’ve been trying out different things to see what I like, what works, and what doesn’t work for me.  So I currently have a basket full of stickers and other supplies I’ve purchased sitting around taking up space, because once I got them, I realized I either didn’t like them or they didn’t work for the way I plan.

I know that FOMO is hard to combat, but it can be done.  Honestly, you miss out on stuff every day.  There’s no way for everyone to experience/own everything.  And that’s OK.  Focus on what really matters to you, and forget everything else.