Introverted Hermit on YouTube

Getting a YouTube channel up and running has been a goal for a while now. However, I just never seemed to get it done. So instead of dreaming about this fictional channel and all the fancy (translation: expensive) equipment I’d need to do it, I decided to just get it done.

I sat down and filmed myself drawing with what I had – my phone, my iPad, and some ok lighting. Am I making mistakes?

Oh, yeah.

But I’m learning from them. And that’s the point, right? For instance, I’ve already learned that you can’t upload a video longer than 15 minutes unless you have ‘verified’ your YouTube account. I’m not sure why I have to do that, since really all they want is a phone number, which Google already has.

In any event, I haven’t taken that step. It doesn’t generally take me longer than 15 minutes to draw a mandala, so I don’t need to – yet. I have taken the step of ordering a soft box light to help with my lighting issues. I can’t seem to find a good/comfortable place to draw that doesn’t result in some kind of glare or reflection from the light.

I’ve also learned that dealing with music on YouTube is a pain. I don’t want my videos to be silent, but music ain’t cheap. I’ve looked at a couple of options for *gasp* subscription services for this, but I decided I want to wait for a bit. YouTube has free music options, although they are admittedly not great. But they are free. 😀

So right now I film, use iMovie to edit/remove the audio and then upload to YouTube. Then, I find free music to use and add it. Then I wait a million years for YouTube to process the videos with the added music. THEN I can schedule/post the video.

Finding songs longer than 2-3 minutes also took some searching. And, while I’m not thrilled with the music I found, it’s free and I don’t have to worry about downloading the same song EVERY TIME I want to use it with a video. (Some of the subscription services make you do this – which, to me, misses the whole point. I didn’t want to download a file every time I made a video, so for now, I’m making do with what I have – access to YouTube’s free (albeit not great) music library.)

Filming with my phone has also been an experience. I have an older phone, so there isn’t a lot of space on it for filming videos. I can film one video at a time – then I have to delete it before I can film another one. And then I had to learn how to really delete the videos, because Apple. :/

Luckily, my husband gifted me his old phone. The screen is cracked, but since I’m just using it to film, it doesn’t matter. And since no one is using it as a phone, there’s nothing on it, so there’s lots of storage space. 😀

Now I can film several videos at once when the creative mood strikes, rather than being forced to do everything one step at a time.

I’ve gotten several done and uploaded to YouTube, so if you want to head over and check them out, click here. These are different mandalas than the ones I do for Mandala Monday, so they won’t be repeats of what you see here.

I am debating whether I want to add the mandalas from the videos to my Etsy shop. They are not necessarily drawn with coloring in mind, but I think many of them would work nicely. Something to think about while I revamp my Etsy listings. 🙂

If you like what you see in the videos, don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Making a Plan

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

My thoughts are all over the place today, rushing full-spreed through my brain. I also have a migraine, so that makes it so much more fun. :/

Yesterday I was determined to be productive, and I was. I ‘adulted,’ as the kids call it, paying bills, organizing my office, and marking off things on my to-do list. I got so much done I gave myself a reward and diamond painted for a couple of hours.

Today, my motivation is nowhere to be found. I have a whole list of things I ‘should’ do and I don’t ‘feel like doin’ anything,’ as the song says. I do just wanna lay in my bed. Alas, the real world beckons. I have to go into work today. I am already prepping for classes in January, though I still don’t know whether they will be in person or remote. In any event, I need to get the prep done, so into work I will go.

I’ve also been trying to make myself some concrete goals for my online business ideas. I have so many ideas running around in my brain that I end up doing nothing because I can’t figure out where to start. So, I’m going to take some of the advice I give my students and break things up into smaller chunks. That way the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming. I try to set three goals a day for myself when my motivation takes a hike. If I get those three things done, then I can call the day a win. 😛

I’ve had some of my coloring mandalas listed on my Etsy shop. The other day I discovered that I should probably be calling them zendalas instead of mandalas, since I use a lot of zentangles as elements of my designs. I’ve also decided to add a .png and .jpg file to the listings, so that people can add them into Procreate or other apps for coloring. I may at some point sell them as SVG files as well.

I also want to finally add some of my planner stickers to the shop as well. I’m going to be sitting down and designing them for my own planner, so I might as well get double duty out of them and put them for sale as well. So there’s my to-do list for today – work, add files to the mandala listings, and design my monthly planner stickers. I probably won’t get it all done, but at least I have a plan. Even if I don’t get everything done, I will have at least gotten something done. 😀

And since today is Friday, I can look forward to some relaxing time this weekend working on my latest diamond painting project. I’ve only completed one small section so far, but I can already tell it’s going to be a challenge, as the painting is mostly shades of blue and white. If you’re interested, you can find the painting here.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

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Things have been kind of quiet around here because real life has been A LOT lately. I took on a new position at work, which has required more hours than I anticipated. I am enjoying it, so that’s good, but it’s been a bit overwhelming. And, since the one constant of 2020 has been that nothing remains the same for long, there are more changes coming my way.

Staff changes at work mean that I will likely be working even more hours. That means more money (yay!) but less time for other projects (boo!). So I am having to get organized to make sure that I have time to get everything I want to done.

Currently, I have work planned out through the holidays, so hopefully over the holidays I can get a jump on planning for next year. I still have to show up and work my hours, but the back end planning stuff is done. Whew!

I am working on a diamond painting (one of my newest obsessions) and am making a large canvas for my oldest as a Christmas gift. And I have actually started Christmas shopping – something I usually don’t start until December. My budget and my stress levels will thank me as Christmas creeps ever closer. 😛

Sadly, I have done almost no mini painting in the last month or so. I’m going to try and finish up some pieces at least over Thanksgiving, since I have about 5 ‘almost done’ pieces sitting on my painting table mocking me every time I walk by.

This week also marks the last enrollment for my oldest. She has one more semester to complete and she will graduate with her teaching degree AND have no student loan debt! She is making plans to move out when she graduates and I have no doubt that it will be a huge life change for both of us.

That won’t be the only big change – after my oldest graduates and leaves the nest, the rest of the family is planning to move east. Perhaps Maine, perhaps Canada, we’re not quite sure yet. (You can probably guess from the photo which one I’m rooting for!) I’m sure it will be a huge adjustment, as we have lived in the same place most of our lives. We’re also still debating whether we want to rent an apartment, buy a house, or buy an RV. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I want to continue working on having an online source of income so that I can work from anywhere with internet. To that end, I will be working on my Etsy shop, adding items and tweaking how I’m doing things there. I have ideas for additional products that I think will complement what I’ve already got for sale.

I’ve also decided to branch out and set up a TeachersPayTeachers store. After creating so many things for work, I’ve decided to try and make some money creating them for other people to use as well. So many ideas, so little time! I am also hoping to make some changes here on the blog. I received a notice from WordPress about fonts changing, and while it hasn’t made a huge difference in how my blog looks, it seems like a good time to do a refresh of it and make some updates.

So keep an eye out for changes and some milestones. In the next few weeks, I will hit 70 Monday Mandalas, which seems absolutely crazy to me – to think that I’ve been drawing them for over a year now. Wow!

Planning Ahead

Even though I use a planner and I like to think of myself as organized, I often find myself making my monthly sticker kit for my planner at the last minute. Sometimes the new month has begun before I start making the kit.

I wanted to get a jump on the next couple of months for a couple of reasons. One, because making both the kits for November and December puts me ahead. Two, because it means I can cross two things off my to-do list. 😀

I could buy sticker kits on Etsy for my planner, and I have before, but I like to make my own. I’ve shown you several of them before, but I don’t think I’ve shared them for a couple of months. Eventually I plan to sell them myself on Etsy, but until then, I have fun making them for my own planner.

For November, I wanted a nice, soft, autumn theme – not the usual turkeys and Thanksgiving theme. So I made this:

Ignore the payday and bill due stickers – I don’t generally use those myself, so I don’t bother changing the colors on them when I make my own kits. And it wasn’t until after I had printed it, cut it, and went to apply it that I realized I forgot to change the name of the month to November. Gah!

I do like the way it turned out, and I love that I can hop over to Pixabay and find all kinds of free art there. So I spent some time finding things to use on my December layout as well. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, so I found all kinds of goodies to use.

I really like how the December stickers turned out. I love the colors and I couldn’t resist the cute little plaid reindeer. The maple leaf is a nod to my Canadian husband. 😀 This kit was a little frustrating, because my cutting machine was being a jerk and not aligning properly when cutting. I printed and cut the stickers three times before finally deciding to close the software program and restart it. Voila! Suddenly it cut perfectly.

At least now those two months are done and I can move on to working on other things – like my budget planner. I do also need to order new planner to use for next year. The budget planner I use is undated and I accidentally ordered two the last time I needed one, so I’m set there. For my personal planning, I use a big Happy Planner. I’ve tried several different sizes, but I like the big one the best.

I’ve tried using the Erin Condren planner, and while I love the way the paper feels, the spiral binding makes it too difficult to add and remove pages for me. It’s so much easier to move things around with the Happy Planner disc system.

Now, on to the next project! 😀

Slow But Steady

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I still have tons of things to work on, but – as someone reminded me – even slow progress is better than no progress. In spite of all my dithering about, I did manage to get some things done the other day. I added items to my Etsy shop, I began working on additional items for the shop, and I did some back end work for opening a TeachersPayTeachers shop.

As I get older, I find that my motivation and focus are not what they used to be. However, I’m trying to remember that I need to be nicer to myself and that everything does not have to get done in a day. Even if I want it to. 😛

So, if I want to work on a diamond painting one day and paint some minis the next, that’s okay. The world won’t end if I don’t finish all the things at once. Slow but steady wins the race, right? That is how I’ve approached our financial goals, and even though it seems really slow some days, if I look back, I can see exactly how far we’ve come.

When I started working on paying off our bills, we had a mortgage, two car loans, a bank loan, and 4 credit cards. As of today, we are down to just our mortgage, one car loan, and 1 credit card. 😀 We’re still not where I want to be, but we are so much closer than we were to being debt free.

I’m hopeful that by the time we are ready to move, we will have paid off the last credit card. That means we will have more cash available for our move and associated expenses. We want to move so that we can be closer to my husband’s family. Lots of things are still up in the air (because nothing is normal in 2020), but at least we’re making progress towards our goals. So I’ll continue to try and remind myself that progress is progress, no matter how small it is. 😀

Feeling Like a Failure

I promised myself that I would spend time this week working on various things related to my (supposed) online business. I want to 1) add things to my Etsy store, 2) create products that I can sell on TeachersPayTeachers, 2) research how to increase my sales on Etsy (keywords, SEO, etc.), 3) research whether a Shopify store would be worth the time/effort/money, 4) set up my YouTube channel, and 5) upload videos to said channel.

Except after about 10 minutes of sitting here on the computer, I feel almost paralyzed. I have no idea what I’m doing. I know what I want, but there are so many things I need to learn I don’t know where to start. Do you ever get that? Overwhelmed because there are SO MANY choices?

It can’t be that hard. People start and run online businesses every day. And I’m not looking to become a millionaire overnight. I just want to have an online source of income so that I can be mobile and still be able to work.

I’ve been blogging here for over a year and have launched my Etsy business. I have a ton of ideas for products, many of which I’ve already created. I just can’t seem to buckle down and get anything done. I can’t seem to force myself into gear to be productive.

It’s easier for me to work with external deadlines, even if there are no real consequences for missing them. My own deadlines, however, I can ignore with apparent ease, even though I feel horribly guilty for doing so.

Sometimes there’s just no way but through, right? So I am going to force myself to get SOMETHING done today, even if it isn’t everything. I’ve already had my workout, done my cleaning, have laundry going, and I’m writing this blog. So SOMETHING has been done, even if it wasn’t what I intended. That’s better than nothing. It’s not even noon yet, so I have time to work.

How do you hold yourself accountable? Force yourself to be productive on those days when you’re overwhelmed?

Busy, Busy, Busy

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Credit: Pixabay

Life has suddenly gotten crazy busy.

I’m hip deep in lesson planning for school.  I’ve started a new diamond painting, this time with square drills instead of round ones.  I’m busily painting minis and trying to improve both my painting and photography skills.

I’m desperately hoping that my black thumb hasn’t killed all my garden plants, though I’ve yet to actually see any produce.  And my children are starting college, so I’m scrambling to pay tuition, buy books, and arrange schedules.

All while trying to get my Etsy business off the group, as well as launch a YouTube channel for my mandalas.  Speaking of, (insert shameless self-promotion here) if you haven’t checked out the mandalas on my Etsy store, you should!  They are larger and more intricate than my Monday mandalas.

Right now it’s just got coloring mandalas, but I’m debating putting some of my stickers up as well, maybe even some of my dot mandalas.  I’ve been hesitant to just jump in before now, but it’s amazing how having to pony up for college tuition can railroad right through your reservations about something!

I did manage to snap some photos of my most recent finished minis – I’ll try to post them later this week.  I think I’m learning how to use the contrast paints more effectively.  Now if I could just find the time to watch some tutorials on painting eyes.

Looking through my files, I found an old mandala I’d drawn using Amaziograph.  I can really see how shaky my hands are when looking at the lines here.

Amaziograph 3

I do like the flow of the design and that it’s fairly simple, but the shakiness of the lines bothers me.  Or does that make it seem more ‘authentic’?  Because it’s not perfect, so it’s clear it’s hand-drawn?  Do you consider it ‘hand-drawn’ if it’s drawn digitally rather than on a physical medium?

So many questions, so little time.  I’ve got to get back to work, so I hope you and yours are all doing well right now in this crazy world of ours.

More Dot Mandalas

First, let me say that I am NOT a fan of the “new” Gutenberg editor that WordPress has gone to. For some unknown reason, and unlike the “classic” editor, when I add an image to my post, it doesn’t show up. If I add all my images to my media library first, and then add them to a post, they show up fine. Not the end of the world, but certainly irritating.

Anyhoo.

I found myself with some free time the other evening and decided to try some more dot mandalas in Procreate. I love how easy it is to control the size of the dots and to erase my (many!) mistakes. For now, I’ve been sticking with pre-made color palettes.

I like the purples and blues in this one, though I think I started too small in the middle. Or maybe I should have stopped a few layers sooner? I’m debating whether I want to offer these for sale as prints in my Etsy shop.

I was still having fun playing around, so I made a second mandala.

This one reminds me of cat ears. 😛 I like the color scheme, but not sure I’m happy with the final design. I could go back and play around with it some more, but I usually end up feeling like I should have just left well enough alone. So for now, this is it.

If I do offer them as prints (digital downloads) in my Etsy shop, I’m wondering whether I should sell them as-is, with the background, or if I should delete the background and let people choose their own. Or maybe both?

We’ll see what happens. Right now, I’m in the middle of sanitizing and cleaning the classrooms I will be in charge of this year – assuming school opens on time. Problems for another day!

Dot Mandalas in Procreate

I’ve been busy this week working at my job. Everything has to be pulled out, cleaned, and sanitized so that if/when school resumes this fall, all the toys are ready for the children. It’s a huge job, but the satisfaction of making progress on it has done wonders for my mood this week.

Even though I’ve spent nearly every day working, I’ve still managed to find time to explore more mandala art. I’m still drawing new ones for the Monday Mandala series, and I’m working on additional ones for my Etsy store (shameless plug). My diamond painting mandalas finally arrived and I’ve now finished all of those. I’ve been avidly watching YouTube videos on making dot mandalas. Using simple tools like a pencil, a Qtip, and a toothpick, I’ve seen people create some amazing art.

A few days ago, one of the planning YouTubers I follow demonstrated her newfound obsession with dot mandalas and she created one in Procreate. And I thought, Duh! Why haven’t I tried that? So I did. 😀

My first attempt was so awful I didn’t even save it. However, the next attempt was good enough to encourage me to keep going. I’ve mentioned before that I am not good at picking color palettes, so I used some palettes I had stored from previous projects.

I like the color palette and I’m happy with how it all came out. It did take some fussing with settings in Procreate to get the effect I wanted with the dots, but it worked.

The next attempt I got a little carried away. I didn’t realize until I was about halfway through the mandala that I had zoomed in WAY too much at the beginning, so the final mandala is too busy in the middle. But I’m learning from my mistakes.

The last attempt is my absolute favorite of the three, and a lot of that is because I love the color scheme of the design. It has a retro/vintage feel to it that I love. I’m going to keep experimenting with these and perhaps even put some of them up for sale in my Etsy shop as printable art downloads.

I’m debating whether to keep the backgrounds or offer just the mandalas themselves, so people can print them on whatever background they wish. In any case, I’m having a ton of fun drawing them and I can’t wait to make more.