Happy Vernal Equinox!

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Yesterday…

On this end of the planet, it is Spring, at least on the calendar. We have had such crazy weather, a few days of sunny and warm and then yesterday as if to say “I’m not finished with you yet!” Winter gave us thunder, lightning, hail and a sprinkle of rain.

I have decided I am just going to pretend it’s Spring and make it so! I love to garden and in the Spring every year I think about actually planting stuff. It grows till mid Summer and the 117F temps and high winds kill it off. So far it has not mattered what I try to do to keep things protected, I have not been successful. But I am a die-hard gardener, farming is in my blood, albeit not desert farming. It’s hard here. There are people who make it happen, and I have been getting tips and ideas and I am ready to give it a go again this year. This year I decided to plant seeds, and I will be planting in containers I can move if necessary. Yesterday just prior to the crazy storm, in the nice and sunny afternoon, I planted lettuce and radishes which I hope will have enough time produce before the heat. However, I think it’s kind of like washing your car, I tempted Mother Nature, and when the winds came up and others in the valley were shouting Hail!! I was moving my newly planted containers into the potting shed. I may be on to something here and we shall just have to wait and see how the season progresses.

I planted flowers too, I have been painting sweet peas from a photo I took a couple of years ago and it really made me want to plant my own. All I can say is we shall see. I am hopeful, Spring always brings that out in me, however, there seems to be lot’s of new possibilities in the air and some of it is also letting go of things that don’t work for me anymore. Less baggage, more room to grow. So I am planting seeds in my garden and seeds in my heart and soul. Hurray for Spring and new beginnings. The cycle of life continues.

Have a happy day.

Cheryl

How Does One Connect with Customers in the Online World?

How Does One Connect with Customers in the Online World?

I spent most of the day painting yesterday. I was working on more Spring cards and I started a larger painting as well. The nice thing about watercolor, at least for me, is that you have lots of time between layers to get other things done. It’s not like acrylic where you can just pile color after color on top of each other. Watercolor has to dry or the colors mix and you get that color called mud. So I did feel like I had a very productive day.

I will have a booth at our local farmers market on Saturday and I will take these new cards to sell. Right now it is my only outlet to connect with my customers. This is one of the things I miss most about not having a gallery or being part of a cooperative gallery. We don’t have these things here. I would love to start one but I am not a director type person, I have figured that much out about myself. So I go to the farmers market fairly often and I get to greet and chat with the people who stop by my booth. To me, this is the best way to build long lasting relationships with my customers. We become friends, and they look forward to seeing all the new things I am up to.

Facebook is sort of like that. If I post regularly I build relationships with those who comment on my work and sometimes people who are on Facebook come to my booth and I get to meet them in person.

I am wondering how one builds those relationships on a website or like my Etsy shop, is it being pushy to reach out and thank the people who have come and liked my shop or items? I don’t know.

How do you build relationships when your main outlet is online? Would love to hear your techniques.

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Here are some of the new cards I made this week, they are $12 each and they are not on my website. If you’re interested let me know before Saturday and we will make a plan to get it to you. I may put them on Etsy, and if these sell I can do one that is similar. Because they are hand painted, each one will be different.

Thanks for reading and have a happy day!

Dancing Sunflowers Make Me Happy

Dancing Sunflowers Make Me Happy

I wasn’t going to write today, but I got excited about my finished painting and just had to share it. My first watercolor painting in 2 years, using layered washes and in a 9″x12″ size (bigger than a notecard). It seems after a drought of this kind in my creative process what I want to paint are flowers.

sunflowersPhoto

I took this photo of these sunflowers probably a year ago, printed it several months ago, and started dreaming about painting it at least a month ago. I finally did it this week.

Since it had been so long since I had done any real watercolors I wasn’t sure how the process would go. I did a lot of testing colors on scratch paper to find the right combo for the transparent layers. I had forgotten that watercolors are not a hurry-up thing, well I knew it, but I didn’t remember just how long one can wait between layers. Each layer needs to dry before you add another layer and so there is lots of time to work on other projects while I wait. I tried using a blow dryer in the past, however, you run the risk of spreading paint where you don’t want it and it’s not worth the risk. So patience is a virtue when it comes to this process.  And I am willing to wait because the layering of color with transparent watercolors is magical and I love creating this way.

So I finished it yesterday and I am pretty happy with it. It reminds me of Spring and warmer days, and a friend said it looks like the flowers are dancing. I love that! So I have called it Dancing Sunflowers. I think I will stick with flowers for a while, they make me happy and people enjoy them. Spreading some cheer is a good niche to fall into.

Have a Happy Day

Cheryl

It’s Tuesday, Thank you, Abe and George, for Monday off!

It’s Tuesday, Thank you, Abe and George, for Monday off!

When I headed for the mountains with friends there were reports of probable snow and cold weather. So the 3 of us were all bundled up and in a Jeep, ready for anything! When we got up to the 5000 ft level, there were a few spots of snow on the ground and ominous clouds all around. We were on our way to Kernville for the annual Whiskey Flats Western celebration. I had not been in a very long time and had no idea what to expect.

Well, we had a really relaxed and fun day. Yes, there were snow clouds on all the mountains all around us, however, it was sunny and cool but very comfortable. We walked around town and over by the river where the authentic western encampment was set up. That was the only place I took pictures really, beautiful clouds and blue sky, just made everything beautiful.

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We had some lunch at a great Italian restaurant and wandered back home late afternoon. At one point on our way home we had to stop for pictures, the mountains were covered with new snow and there were teeny tiny snowflakes falling on the windshield! We got so excited you would have thought we had never seen snow before. I can tell you that folks who live in the desert get very excited about any kind of precipitation! It is rare and wonderful.

It was a great day and I felt rejuvenated and ready to start a new project on Sunday.

I have been wanting to paint my kitchen pantry with chalk paint for a couple of years now. Had the paint already, just needed to get on with it. So Sunday morning bright and early, I got started. I got 2 coats on fairly easily and then I had to wait for the paint to cure overnight so I could apply the wax. Monday was Wax Day. A coat of clear and a coat of dark and it is rubbed on and then off, just like in the Karate Kid. It was way more work than the painting part! Anyway, I did get it done, added some new hardware and I am very excited to have finally completed this. Now I just need new flooring, but that is for another day!

So now it’s Tuesday and I am back to work on art and design projects. Feeling more relaxed and motivated. Getting out and seeing new scenery and laughing with friends is really the best medicine for clearing my head and lightening my heart.

Hope you had a great weekend. Have a happy week.

Cheryl

Wiggle Your Toes!

Wiggle Your Toes!

It’s the 2nd week of August already, and the calendar says today is “Wiggle Your Toes Day”.

So I had some time so I decided to do an image to represent this day. It is Summer and most of us are in sandals so it is not a difficult instruction to just thoughtfully or unthoughtfully just wiggle those toes!

My life’s work is about telling stories and I can do that with images and words and often times both. As I say on my website, “Your business is Unique, and You have a story to tell.” and if you take that a little farther, we are all unique and have a story to tell.

Every single one of us. And your story colors your perspective and your behavior in our world.

Have you ever thought about the story you tell? Everything about you is part of that story from the way you comb your hair to the way you drive on the freeway, to the work you do, and the way you play. Every move you make is an expression of your story and how you interact with people you love as well as people you don’t is defined by what has happened in your life in your past. We can choose how much we allow our past to color our future and that is really the good news. The negative experiences from our past are in the past and we can start fresh every day. There is not much I can do to change what’s going on in the world or even just with the people or things in my life. I only have control of me and what I know is that if I send out a positive vibe I feel better and those that choose to receive that vibe also feel better. Joy is a learned response it is something you can change. No it’s not always easy and I don’t always feel it, however, the more I try to cultivate it, the more it grows.

Wiggling your toes feels good, and if you can’t wiggle your toes, wiggle your fingers, or wiggle your arms, legs, or even your nose. It’s a silly little thing, but it made me smile today, maybe it will make you smile too.

Have a happy day!

If you want to know what other silly and interesting holidays happen every month you can subscribe to my newsletter or follow my facebook page. I create a calendar page for your computer or even just to print out and hang on the wall, every month with a beautiful image with a calendar of all the events. Here is a link to the August calendar. It is all free!