Adventures learning about life, art, and entrepreneurship.

Painting. Lots and lots of painting! 🙂

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I have had an Etsy store for a while now (BeautifulEverydayArt). However, most of my art, pottery, and quilt sales thus far have been made to family, friends, and coworkers. So I figure if I am going to commit to making art, I definitely need to get that art seen more.

A small step in that direction happened last night when I posted my first business Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/beautifuleverydayart/). I am very excited about it, and it will keep me from clogging up my friends’ personal Facebook feeds with pictures! 🙂 On it will be my pieces listed for sale, as well as posts related to arts and crafts of all kinds. Check it out, if you have a minute. There’s not a lot there yet, but it will be growing soon!

Happy Monday, and have a great week!

Lately, I have been trying to figure out how to best increase my online presence, while spending the least amount of money. It’s not that I am being cheap or anything, but I do need to be careful. Since I am not a full-time artist, and this is basically my side-gig right now, the disposable income I have to put towards marketing my arts and crafts is small for the time being.

I have had an Etsy page for quite a while. There are not many items posted, and the photographs for them are mediocre at best. Quilts are not the easiest things to photograph with sharp detail, and of all my many talents, photography is definitely not one of them! I *do* have a friend who is a wonderful photographer – she could be professional if she wanted to! At one point, I offered to make her a quilt in trade for taking some photographs for me. However, she is extremely busy, and travels frequently, so finding a time to get together is nearly impossible.

The newer items I have been creating are lightweight and easily shippable. So those will be prepped, photographed, and posted on Etsy as well. I am seriously wondering if it is worthwhile to pay a professional to photograph these items for me (including the quilts). The person I have been looking at does have reasonable rates and an excellent online portfolio. I guess I need to figure out how much doing so would ultimately raise the prices of my pieces, if at all.

My business Facebook page is in the works and will be published within the next week or two. Bugging my friends with sale-related posts on my personal page is generally not cool, I know! I try to do it infrequently, so as not to annoy those I hold dear, but I really should have created a separate page a long time ago! 🙂 Upon launching, I plan to do a giveaway for new followers.

I have Instagram and Twitter accounts, but up until now, they have been rarely used. I am not terribly savvy when it comes to them, so if anyone has tips on how to effectively use those platforms, please share!

Also, I will soon have a new laptop, which will make doing all this much easier. Newer technology may also make podcasting and YouTube videos a possibility in the future.

There’s a world of exciting possibilities opening up for me! Hope your world is full of exciting possibilities as well. As usual, make today a great one! 🙂

So it is summer again, and with more sunshine and longer days, I get the itch to make things. Since I have not posted in quite a while, I figured I would share some of my fairly recent creations with you.

I am still quilting, but have now begun also fluid painting. The partially random aspect of it is pretty addicting. It’s like each painting is an exciting mini-adventure! Now that these paintings are dry, the process of resin-coating and framing them begins. I am so very thankful my husband is so tolerant of my creative messes all over the house! And, once again, I apologize for the poor quality of my photos! The colors really are much more vibrant in person 🙂

Have a fantastic day, and a great week, everyone!

We The People?

I keep seeing these things going around Facebook. You know what they are, because you’ve seen them too. Stuff like:

– “If you’re an American and a Christian, you’ll do/believe/say X.”
– “The Democrats are fools because of such-and-such.”
– “Republicans are idiots because fill-in-the-blank.”
– “Liberals are the devil’s spawn because…”
– “Conservatives are bigoted blah-de-blahs…”

So, I am here to say this:

Stop it. All of you. Those of you that are creating these Memes, GIFs, and Posts, AND those of you who are re-posting them. I include in this request our Elected Officials who are posting rude, obnoxious, and vitriolic Tweets.

KNOCK. IT. OFF. Seriously.

Creating and perpetuating stereotypes like these is unhelpful, inaccurate, and only worsens the division that is tearing apart our country on every level.

Throwing around insults is not something done in the spirit of cooperation. So, to those of you on Facebook and Twitter I know and love, I’m telling you this behavior is beneath you. And from our elected officials who are acting this way, it’s not only appalling and hugely unprofessional, but should not be tolerated by those of us they supposedly serve.

Whether I am Christian or Jewish, Muslim or Sikh, Buddhist or Atheist is NOT the sole indicator that I am or am not a compassionate and loving person.

Whether I am a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, or Socialist is not the sole indicator that I do or do not care deeply about the well-being of our society, healthcare, children, abortion, poverty, social security, LGBQT rights, global warming, or any other important current issues.

What I AM is a Human Being, living on this planet, in this country, with other real, live, Human Beings. People who breathe, and live, and work, and struggle, and love, and raise families, just like I do.

– Having compassion for others is how I was raised. It is what a large majority of us are taught from infancy.
– Being proud of my country is what I was taught.
– Living in harmony with my community is what I was taught.
– Having RATIONAL discourse with others who may or may not agree with me is what I was taught.

When we stereotype and sling insults generalizing a portion of the population, what we are doing (intentionally or unintentionally) is dehumanizing OTHER REAL PEOPLE. This makes it easier for us, because “they” become a faceless mass to spew our anger and frustration on. We cease to look at those we target as other people, who may also be angry or hurting. The Internet has been fantastic for helping us do this. We never have to face anyone we bully and dump on anymore and can remain oblivious. Safe in our anonymity behind computer screens.

What we seem to have forgotten is that the way we carry and present ourselves sets the example for our children. THEY see us all the time – there’s no hiding who we really are. How will future generations act, and what methods will they use to problem-solve in the future, based on the poor examples we are giving them now?

We are not solving anything using current methods, and potentially causing vast amounts of hurt and damage to our people, our government, and to our country as a whole. Your actions MATTER, on a daily basis, whether you realize it or not. So please, think long and hard about what you are putting out into the world.

Because what goes on the Internet lasts forever.

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess…

Yes, that is one kind of story. But that is not what I mean by the title of this post.

Stories are everywhere. On television and movie screens, in books and magazines, and told by parents and grandparents to children all over the world. They flow around us as we walk down the street, ride the bus, or sit with friends in coffee shops. Snatches of conversation or bits on the radio that catch our attention, books on a long commute, or amusing anecdotes shared among friends and coworkers.

But stories are much more than amusement, or a way to get our kids to fall asleep each night. They make up the very fabric of our lives. They can spark imagination, connect us with our ancestors and neighbors, teach lessons and values, inform who we are, and have a large part in shaping our identities.  Stories are how we relive memories,  and how we fit ourselves into the context of the world around us.

They are wonderful, awesome, and powerful things.

So, if the stories we tell are so wonderful, why do I say beware? Because we build our truth around them.

If you tell your children bedtime stories each night, would you rather read them books about wonderful adventures with confident heroes, and happy endings, or books about scary monsters who terrify sad, scared, and powerless victims? If you are smart, you’d choose the wonderful adventures! Young children have especially vivid imaginations. Your child is going to picture himself in the hero’s place. He will think about the story, role play with it, and most likely dream about it. With the scary book, he will also think about it, role play with it, and dream about it. But those dreams will come in the form of anxious nightmares, and who needs that? Nobody wants their kid waking up at 2am in tears!

We still operate very much like this as adults. We imagine what things would be like “if…”. We dream and role play. And we internalize the stories that our parents and people close to us have told us all our lives. Those stories could be “you are caring, you are loving, you are intelligent”. Or, they could be “you are so stupid, you never get anything right! How could anybody possibly love you?”.  As a storyteller, you have great power in your hands – to either build people up or break them down. You have the potential to foster kindness and tolerance, or hatred and malice. And you both consciously and unconsciously choose these things continuously on a daily basis. In what you do, what you say, and even what you think.

Yes, you are your own storyteller. The stories you tell yourself are just as important as the ones you tell others. They can work to your benefit, or they can sabotage you. You can tell yourself lies until you believe they are truths, or twist truths so far out of proportion you believe they must be lies.

Beware the stories you tell. Weigh their truth and measure their potential impact. Choose wisely. Your stories have more influence than you realize.

Purpose on Purpose

 

In my last post, I talked about intention versus attention. So, let’s further the discussion, and talk about purpose. We’ve all thought about it. Usually, as a young teenager or when going off to college, the question is “What’s my purpose in life?”. Or, if you have been reading self-help books for a while, it’s “Am I living my life on purpose?”.  But what exactly does that mean? According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of purpose is:

          1a: something set up as an object or end to be attained: intention

             b: resolution, determination

          2: a subject under discussion or an action in course of execution

Reading this may make you wonder about the definition of on purpose, which is:

            by intent: intentionally

Which leads to looking up intentional:

            done by intention or design

And then, intention:

          1: a determination to act in a certain way: resolve

          2: import, significance

          3a: what one intends to do or bring about

             b: the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered

          4: a process or manner of healing of incised wounds

          5: concept; especially: a concept considered as the product of attention directed to  an object of knowledge

We could go on looking up definitions all day, which might or might not lead to greater clarity. Judging from above, it seems purpose as a concept has different meanings to different people.  Questions reflecting this may be:

  •      What is the end result that I want to obtain for my life, either in the short- or long-term?
  •      What is the course of action I must take to execute my goals?
  •      What things and goals are most important or significant in my life?
  •      Where do I want to direct my attention, and what knowledge do I wish to obtain in doing so?
  •      What has God called me to do so I may be of service to others?

All of these questions are perfectly valid. And with self-reflection, any or all of them serve as a sound compass to guide one’s life by. So, why do we find it so difficult to figure out? Why all the angst?

Personally, I think we get so stressed because we only expect there to be one answer – one purpose. In reality, as we change and grow, shouldn’t our purpose change also? Isn’t there always more knowledge to gain, more people to serve, more goals to reach, and more actions to take? If life were totally figured out, and our paths set in stone by the time we reached eighteen, most of us would have many years of boredom and stagnation before reaching the end of our lives.

Figuring out our purpose is not is not a one-and-done. If we can get ourselves to the point of realizing periodic reevaluation is necessary, welcome it, and even relax into the process, most of us would be much better off. In other words, rinse, lather, repeat, then breathe!

Have a great week!