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.  😦

Financial Progress

One of my many goals this year is to pay down our debt as much as possible.  With two kids in college come this fall, we need every spare penny!  My husband is an essential worker, so even with all the current (and probably coming) craziness in the world right now, we’ve been able to depend on his income.

However, I am definitely planning ahead and trying to make sure if more strange things happen this year (murder hornets?!) that we are prepared financially – as much as we can be, anyway.

We refinanced our house earlier this year and were able to lower both our interest rate and our payment, which has helped a lot.  Our refinance also netted us some cash, so we were able to stick that into savings.

I think the last time I posted about our budget, we had the mortgage, a car loan, a bank loan, and 4 credit cards.  Yikes!  In March, we paid off one of the credit cards. 😀  We had some expenses that I thought were going to be on that card, but we ended up being able to pay those directly, so now that card is paid off.

In addition to that, we had been putting more money towards the bank loan, because it had one of the highest interest rates.  We used part of our tax refund and put it towards this loan.  Because of that, we were able to pay off that loan this month!

I am still tracking the rest of our debts on my snowball tracker, shown here:

IH Debt Snowball Tracker PNG

My next goal is to pay off two of the credit cards.  They are big box store cards that we used to get 12/18 months no interest and we are close to paying one of them off.  I’m hoping to have the money to do that this month as well.

If I can do that, it will leave us with just 1 credit card, the mortgage, and the car loan.  Which would be AMAZING!  Our house loan is only a 15-year loan and even though the payment was lowered with our refinance, I am still paying the old loan payment amount each month.  This will help us pay it off even faster.

Doing this would also let us put more money in savings every month.  We’ll see how we manage – my husband’s hours have been cut back and I won’t be getting a paycheck while I’m off for the summer.  So paying things off may be a bit trickier, but I’m still determined to get there.

What are your financial goals?

Still Learning

You’re never too old to learn.

That seems to be a lesson the universe keeps sending me lately.

I need to learn new things so that I can be better at the new job I hope to get.  That’s good, and I’m working on it.  I’ve already taken three classes and have at least three more I’d like to take over the summer.

I need to learn new things so I can be better at blogging.  This one is a bit harder – I’m trying to figure out how to set up the Google Analytics for the blog, and I’m struggling.  I need an Analytics ID, but to get that I have to set up a Google Property (whatever that is?) and when I follow the links they show, I get stuck.

The directions says to go to the admin section, but I don’t seem to have one.  😦  I’m sure I’m just missing a step somewhere, but after several failed attempts, I’m going to leave it for another day when I have more patience.

This weekend I also learned that I am forgetful.  I was so happy about all the progress I made with my mini painting (see here and here) and thought I had only 5 or 6 left besides my CR KS minis.

Until I went downstairs to put away the minis I had finished, and discovered this:

28mm miniatures dungeons and dragons

A whole tray of unpainted minis.  These are mostly minis we bought to use for our PCs, and then promptly forgot about.  Gah!  This isn’t even all of them, as I pulled some of them out of the tray.  I cleaned off mold lines and flashing and then washed them.

Cleaned 28mm miniatures

My initial reaction was just to ignore them, but then I thought I could use them for painting experience/experiments, if nothing else.  More learning!  And, since I will need to take photos of them as I go, even more learning!

I’m starting to finally consider myself on summer vacation, even though I’ve been off work since mid-March.  So, I will continue painting, photographing, and learning. I’m even trying my hand this year at gardening, so we’ll see how that goes.  😛