Feeling Good

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It’s been a good couple of weeks for me. I’ve been trying to make some pretty big changes in my life, including trying to be more fit and healthy. Of course, that goal also involves losing weight, but I’m trying (and learning) to not make it all about the number on the scale.

I signed up for Noom about a month ago, and it’s going okay. I’m not over the moon about the program, but I have seen results from the effort I’m putting in. My disappointment is that the effort from others, particularly the ‘support coach’ they have assigned me, is pretty lacking. The ‘cohort group’ they put me in doesn’t appear to have been made with any thought other than our date of sign up.

After I voiced my concerns to my coach, she asked how she could help – and then promptly went on vacation for 2 weeks. :/ So it’s been a bit disheartening to not have all the support that was promised when I signed up. However, I am going to see the program through (and not just because they’ve already hit my bank account for the fee). I do genuinely want to make changes in my lifestyle so that I can get where I want to be.

So far I’m exercising more, eating less, and feeling more energetic. Which is good, because I have a lot of plates spinning in the air right now. I have this blog, my Etsy shop, my YouTube channel, as well as my ‘real life’ tasks, like work and taking care of my home and family. I’ve also launched a second YouTube channel for my diamond painting addiction, and I am knee-deep in everything diamond painting whenever I have a spare moment. 😀

The school year is almost over, which means that hopefully I can devote more time to my other projects, including the last batch of miniatures I have left to paint. I’m looking forward to the summer and hopefully a move north sometime in the near future!

Hectic, But Good

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It’s been a hectic week for me. Work has been crazy because we had Parent-Teacher conferences this week. Which means I have to work several evenings, so my schedule gets thrown out of whack.

But it’s all good, and now it’s over. 😀 I’m still trying to make various changes in my life, including getting healthier and working on other projects. I did farm out my quilt/blanket projects to someone else, which lifted a huge weight off of me. The pieces for those projects have been languishing around my house forever, so getting them on track to be finished feels amazing, even if there is some slight guilt for not doing it myself. :/

Since I am having someone else complete those projects for me, I can focus on other things – like my baby YouTube channel where I draw mandalas real time on screen. Click the link and see what you think – maybe like and subscribe while you’re there? 🙂

There was also some good news this week. After completing our 2020 taxes, we are getting a refund. One that will allow us to finally pay off the last of our remaining credit card debt! Once that is done, our only remaining debt will be our mortgage and one car loan. It feels like it took forever to get here, but I am so excited to finally see that last credit card bill!

That means we can start taking the money that would have been applied to that debt every month and start doing other things with it – like investing and/or saving it. It’s taken years, but it definitely feels like we have rounded a corner with our debt. My oldest graduates college in May, so that is another huge load off of us. I’m extremely proud that there will be no student debt on her shoulders when she graduates.

I posted before about paying yourself first and since the beginning of 2021, I have been doing that. Once we get paid, I immediately take 10-15% of our pay and put it in savings. I get to feel better about watching that savings balance grow, and we are still able to pay all of our bills (including extra on debts). And since that money is gone immediately, we don’t miss it – which means we have been spending more than we should anyway.

It has also been really great to buy things and pay cash for them. A few months ago we were able to purchase a new smartphone for my husband and pay for it in full without having to do a payment plan with our phone provider. And when our dishwasher finally became so loud you couldn’t hear the TV over it, we were able to go to the store and pick out a newer, quieter model. (Confession – it did get put on the store credit card, but we have the cash and will be paying it off in full when I receive the bill – we saved 15% on the price by doing it that way.)

I’m excited about all of the changes in my life so far. I can’t wait to see what is waiting for me next!

More Dots!

In addition to the regular Monday Mandalas I draw, I also like to play around with dotted mandalas.

I first saw this technique on a YouTube channel, and she uses physical paints rather than making digital designs. However, the concepts are the same, and I’ve had a lot of fun playing around in Procreate with them.

I like the color palette of this one, though the middle of it does remind me of an old rotary phone dial. 😀 Using Procreate for these makes it really easy to make the dots all a uniform size – I’m sure there’s much more of a learning curve when doing these with paint.

It is relaxing to just play around with the colors and sizes and patterns when making these. Now that I think about it, it’s kind of reminiscent of diamond painting. Or maybe I just have diamond painting on the brain. 😛

It’s always amazing to me how differently these all turn out. This color palette reminds me of Dippin’ Dots – you know, that ice cream treat that’s made out of various flavors of dots mixed together? Not sure what flavor this would be – Neopolitan, maybe? In any case, it’s fun and relaxing to sit down and just doodle some of these into existence.

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

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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!

Colored Mandalas

I must confess that this new job of mine is taking more time than I thought it would. I’m enjoying it, mostly, so I can’t complain too much. It has, however, eaten into the time I normally have for blogging, drawing, etc.

I have lots of projects I need to get working on, so I just need to buckle down and force myself to be productive. We are planning to move to Canada next year, so I want to try and earn income from internet side hustles so that I can be working even while we are moving and traveling.

I’ve purchased some equipment that I hope will help me launch a YouTube channel, as well as working on more products for my Etsy shop. The Etsy shop has kind of languished once I went back to work, so I definitely need to get my rear in gear there.

I did spend some time doing some more experimenting with iColorama and coloring in some of the Monday mandalas.

I really liked the black and white original design of this mandala, but I’m not sure it worked well for me when I colored it in. Maybe I’m just not feeling the color scheme. Even though I wasn’t happy with it, I threw it into iColorama and played around a bit.

It turned out a bit odd, but kinda groovy looking, so I kept it. The blur around the edges is a little trippy. I do like how it draws your eye to the center, though perhaps the middle is a bit busy.

I was on a roll, so I continued coloring. This design is one of my favorites so far and I was curious to see how it worked for digital coloring.

I am happy with the way this one turned out just coloring it in Procreate. However, I couldn’t resist also playing around with it in iColorama. I couldn’t tell you exactly what I did in iColorama, but I think the final product turned out pretty well.

I still need to get more designs drawn and other things. I’m also debating whether to post some of the stuff I’m creating for work on TeachersPayTeachers. I’m already doing some of the work for my job, it would be nice to make a few extra bucks off my hard work. 😀

Playing with Color

I had some spare time a few days ago and I sat down with my iPad and did some digital coloring. It’s been a while since I’ve done that, and it felt good to just play around.

I took some of my mandalas and colored them in. I like doing that better than just coloring the lines themselves, like I’ve done with some previous designs. I picked out a few of the ones I thought would be fun and just went at it.

I really like how this one turned out. The colors are bright and vibrant and it makes the various layers stand out more than they do in the original black and white drawing. Of course, then I had to throw it into iColorama and see how I could play around with it in that.

I added a texture and a new color overlay. There’s also an embossing effect to make it look raised. I love how it has more dimension and texture. This could be an old tile design or part of a vintage textile pattern. Pretty cool.

I also had time to color in another mandala. I was curious to see how this one went, because I really liked how the original black and white turned out.

This one doesn’t have a lot of contrast, but I’m still happy with how it turned out. I may try coloring it again with a different color palette and see if I like it better. Or maybe throw it into iColorama too and see how I can transform it. I still don’t know all the ins and out of iColorama, but I’m having a ton of fun playing around with it. 🙂

I’m Going Dotty

I forced myself to sit down this weekend and spend some time drawing and coloring. I needed to relax after all the craziness of last week. As I was scrolling through my Procreate gallery, I realized I hadn’t created any dot mandalas in a while, so I opened a new canvas and started working.

I’m still struggling with color palettes, but I decided to just push all those worries aside and start creating.

I’m still also struggling with the new editor forced upon us here at WordPress. I finally have a handle on copying serial posts (like the Monday Mandala series), but it appears as I write this post, that the issues with images in the block editor are still there.

Argh.

Anyhoo, I like the colors in this one, although I think I should have made the outer layers more detailed. Also, the gray layer kind of disappears, which makes the overall effect a bit odd – it looks like there is something missing, until you look really closely. After struggling with background colors for a bit, I decided just to move on.

So I started this diamond shaped mandala. Although I didn’t know it would be diamond shaped until I was done. 😀

I like the blues of this one and I think the balance of detail is nice. Now if I could just start to feel more confident in my color choices . . . :/