Monday Mandala 13

Mandala_13This mandala suffers a bit from my short attention span.  I did well with the inner layers, but couldn’t decide what to do for the outer layers of the design, so I think it ends up looking incomplete.

I was trying for a Southwest/Nazca/Native American feel, and I think I accomplished that with some of the layers.  Even though I don’t love every element of the design, I do feel my skills are getting better.

iPad Posting Fail

img_0087-1I’ve had many blogs over the years and one thing I always wanted was to be more mobile with my blogging.  I’m old and have terrible eyesight, so blogging on my phone has never been an option.  My eyes are too bad, my fingernails are too long, and my patience is too short to write posts on a dinky phone screen.

I’ve always been a PC kinda gal, so I am most comfortable writing that way.  A full-size keyboard is my friend, especially one with a great ‘feel.’  I learned to type on a manual typewriter (yep, I’m that old) and keyboards with no feel drive me batty.

However, over the last year or so, I’ve been using my iPad more and more.  Especially now that I am drawing on it, I tend to take it everywhere.  So I thought I would try out blogging on my iPad.  It couldn’t be that hard – even though I loathe the new ‘block’ editor (it’s not that new anymore, I suppose), I’ve been doing okay with it on the PC.

My thoughtful husband bought me a bluetooth keyboard that I could use with the iPad so that I could type with an actual keyboard rather than the on-screen one.  (I am active on some forums and let me tell you, trying to select text with the built-in keyboard is a freaking nightmare!)

I also had intentions of participating in Inktober (notice the past tense there) and had drawn up a mandala for the first prompt.  I drew it up, decided to post about it, and wrote up the post.  Simple, right?

As if.  :/

It took forever for the iOS WordPress app to load up my jpg image of the mandala.  I think it took about 5 tries before it finally loaded.  I finished up my post, proofed it, and published it.

I tried to, anyway.

After hitting publish, the app just sat there with the loading wheel spinning and spinning.  So I closed it and tried saving the post.

Nope.  Wouldn’t save either.

I tried publishing it again.  Again with the loading wheel.  I thought, well, I’ll just give it a few minutes and see if it worked.  I did a few chores around the house and came back.  Nope – still the spinning wheel.

Argh.

After about an hour of trying to post, I finally gave up.  I don’t know if WordPress hates Apple or Apple hates WordPress or they both hate me, but I was so frustrated I was ready to spit nails.  Oh, and during this whole process, I also discovered that posts I had saved to come back and read later in the app have also disappeared.

All of them.

Sigh.

So for now, I’ve resigned myself to drawing on the iPad and posting on the PC.  Not exactly what I wanted, but we can’t have everything, right?

Family Business?

I’ve been working for the past several months on designs for my mandalas.  I have decided that I also want to make stickers to sell on Etsy.  That was my original plan, but then I got sidetracked by how much fun I was having with the mandalas.

I spent some time recently using my Silhouette cutting machine to make some craft kits for a preschool classroom.  It was so much fun, I may have to find other kits to make and sell!

Here’s the craft kit I made – they were doing a monster design for ‘M’ week, so I used my machine to cut out all the circles and horns for the monsters.  Enough for 40+ kids done in about 15 minutes.  It would have taken me all weekend to cut these by hand, not to mention they wouldn’t have been true circles.

Monster Craft Kit 2

My husband is getting in on the action, too.  He is working with vinyl rather than paper, and he’s been making vinyl decals for cars.  He made some for his car and his colleagues saw the decals and asked if he could make some designs for them.

He’s spent the last two weekends working on the computer, designing decals, and having a blast.  He told me yesterday that he really wants to invest some time into seeing if he can turn it into a viable small business.

Crossing my fingers that he can and we can turn this into a family business. 🙂  Now to get busy working on my own designs!

Monday Mandala 12

Mandala_12A lot of lines in this mandala – I’m still experimenting with elements and motifs.  I call it experimenting, but really it’s getting lost in the zone when I’m drawing.

This isn’t one of my favorite designs, but looking at it closely, I might feel differently if I colored it in.  It does have a lot of nooks and crannies for coloring.

The pattern feels too repetitive to me, even though I did that on purpose.  Maybe that’s why it doesn’t appeal – too many similarities.

iColorama Experiment

I wrote before about buying the iColorama app for my iPad.  I haven’t had much time to learn its features, but I have spent a few moments here and there mucking about in it.

I know that many people color digitally, so I want to make my coloring mandala designs digitally friendly to appeal to as many customers as possible.

I took one of my Mandala Monday designs and colored it in with my Procreate app.

Mandala 10 Colored ProcreateHere’s what it looks like straight out of Procreate.  I just used the color bucket drag-n-drop feature to color in the various pieces.  I like the way it turned out, but I wanted to see if I could add to it using the iColorama app.

So I opened the colored mandala in iColorama and then started playing around with various options.  I had tried the paper texture previously and liked it, so I started with that.

Mandala 10 Paper Texture iColoramaI really like the paper texture – I can almost feel the ridges of the paper under my fingertips when I look at this image.  It still seemed kind of flat, though, so I kept trying other filters and options.

This is what I ended up with:

Mandala 10 Final iColoramaI wanted to share what filter I used, but I didn’t note it before I saved the image, and now I can’t remember. 😦  Getting older has its downsides. 😛

Even though I can’t remember what filter I used, I’m happy with the final result.  The image now pops and the paper texture I used makes it look like a photo of a physical art piece, which is pretty cool.

I’m definitely going to have to carve out some time to watch some tutorials on iColorama, because I think it will be an amazing tool to use with my designs.

Miniature Painting

With school starting back up and me going back to work, finding time for everything I want to do in my schedule has been nigh impossible.

I have a ton of miniatures waiting to be painted, including my Kickstarter set of all the Critical Role miniatures from Campaigns 1 and 2.

Right now I have about 10 minis base painted with black, waiting for me to sit down with a brush.  I have some zombies in a half-done state and a couple of Hero Forge 3D printed minis waiting as well.

The painting has kind of taken a back seat, not only due to lack of time, but because my regular D&D group has gone online, rather than meeting face-to-face.  I love the flexibility of playing online (who doesn’t want to play D&D in their comfy pjs?!), but I miss playing with minis and maps.

Perhaps I can find another face-to-face group – you know, in all that mythical free time I have! 😛

Here’s one mini I did manage to complete – a pack mule for our party.

Donkey Miniature PaintedHe’s a plain Jane mini, but it was fun to paint something other than a humanoid form for once.  Too bad we only got to use him once or twice before we went online. 😦  But he’s still cute!

Monday Mandala 11

Mandala_11I’m actually pretty pleased with the way this mandala turned out.  The Monday mandalas give me a way to try different things without worrying about whether it’s sellable (that’s not a word, but you get what I mean).  I like the play of all the circles and arcs in this one.

I’m currently in the process of trying to figure out what platforms I want to use to try and sell some of my designs.  I’m actually thinking of trying to put them together in a book to sell on Amazon.  Which seems kind of crazy, but what have I got to lose?

I’m looking at a few other platforms as well, including Etsy and some print-on-demand sites.

What are your preferred platforms for selling?

Reading for the Win!

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Image Source: Pixabay

For the last couple of years, I’ve set reading goals for myself.  I used to read all the time when I was younger, and then as life got busier, reading fell by the wayside.

When I was lamenting this fact, my husband thoughtfully gifted me a Kindle Unlimited subscription for Christmas one year.  Now, I know lots of people don’t like KU, but I have to say, I love it.

I read lots of books I probably would never have tried and have found lots of authors I truly enjoy and would never have discovered without KU.

Last year I set a goal of reading 300 books.  I actually didn’t set the goal until about halfway through the year, but I still made it.  I use a Goodreads account to keep track of what I read, because KU doesn’t.

I started out this year with a goal of 500 books.  Pretty ambitious, I thought.  I met that in June, so I upped the challenge to 600.  I met that in August, so I upped it to 700.

Today, I finished my 700th book this year!!!

Now, of course I’m going to up the challenge to 800.  And, technically, some of the books on the list are novellas rather than novels, but I’m still counting them.

I taught myself to speed-read when I was in high school, and I still tend to read pretty quickly.  Most of what I read is purely for enjoyment, not heavy reading classics, though I might throw a couple of those in here and there.  I only work part-time at the moment, so I have afternoons where I will curl up with my iPad and read.

We also do a lot of traveling since my youngest plays sports.  Reading is a great way to pass the time while my husband drives.

Still, it’s a goal that I set, and achieved, so – win!!

Mandala Monday 10

Mandala_10I’ve hit double digits! This mandala was a lot of fun to draw.  I keep saying that, I know, but being able to produce something creative like this feeds my soul in a way I’ve been missing.

I’m a bit OCD and the symmetry of the mandalas satisfies my need for organization and order.  Which is funny to say, because as I look at some of the mandalas I’ve drawn, some of them seem kind of chaotic.

But – there is order underneath the apparent chaos.

And that makes me happy. 😀