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How I Incorporate Creativity Into Everyday Life

Click through to learn how I keep my creative energy flowing each day. Maybe these will help your creative mojo , too!

I feel like I’m starting to make a comeback. When I had my sweet boy Marty a little over a year ago, my creative projects came to a screeching halt–my blog went unwritten, canvases were dry and emails went unanswered. I went into hibernation because I was alllll baby alllll the time, for a long time (being a first time mom,and all).

Although I was frustrated at some points because I just wanted to get back to creating stuff, I knew that I  needed that time to focus on other things.  And in a way it was a gift: coming out of any kind of hibernation is wonderful because you see with new eyes. That hiatus from creating was rejuvenating because it built up a yearning for me to get back to it. I can feel that urgency to create again and I’m excited.

But as I get back into the flow, I realize that I need to be flexible with how I’m expressing my creativity due to time+ life constraints.  It’s just not realistic for me to say I’m going to paint for 2 hours everyday–I don’t have the time or attention span (or cooperative baby!)  I’m a different person than I was, and my art is changing with me.

So I’m practicing new ways to be creative, and some of it isn’t painting either.  It’s ways to incorporate creativity into everyday life to keep that energy flowing.  Maybe you can try a few of these practices in your day, too:

Try a new medium

I moved from canvas to paper.  It’s a lot more portable and more forgiving too!  I can experiment easier and not worry about messing things up.  Also, it’s easy to pull it out really quick with minimum set-up.   Right now I’m using the Canson Mixed Media Pad (11×14) and I love it.  I’m also having a lot of fun playing on Canva (so much that I created a course on it!)  I create all of my blog images and online profile + post pictures there.

Use different supplies

I’m still using acrylics, but I’m using a lot more paint pens and these watercolor crayons.  The flexibility of these supplies is inspiring!  And it’s challenging to incorporate my usual style with new tools (which is good for me).

Dress with intention

Whenever I go out, I try to put on clothes that I love and that make me feel good.  I’ve been purging a lot of old outfits to make room for more ease.  Lord knows I wear the a lot of the same pieces over and over, but at least I really love them.  And at least I’m not bogged down with the clutter.

Take more pictures

I have a Samsung Galaxy phone and love to take pictures with it because the camera is awesome!  Not only can I use the images for blog post background images, but it creates a photo memory of my days and it’s fun to look back and see what interesting views I’ve captured.

Write Down Thoughts As They Come Up

My memory is short these days so when I think of a clever idea I have to write it down immediately.  And even when it’s not so clever, but I feel like there’s something more to explore, I write that down, too.  It’s along the lines of, “entertaining the muse when she shows up” and not judging my ideas right away.   Otherwise if I don’t write things down,  it escapes into the air never to be remembered again 🙂  These days, I’m loving google keep for this.

Look at art videos

I love looking at Flora’s work, I could watch her all day!  And she always gives me new ideas when I watch her paint.  I also love the artist video posts on Stampington, especially the ones about new supplies.  Painting videos really spark my creativity when I’m feeling a lull.

Connect online

I have a private Facebook Group and the sole intention of it is to create a space to share our creative projects.  It’s fun and low pressure to be a part of and gives just the right amount of inspiration and support.  I love popping in to see what everyone has been up to!  The community is growing, want to join?

So those are just a few ways I keep my creativity flowing everyday. I try to change it up/add new things periodically to keep it fresh and fun. Do you have a daily practice that keeps your creativity flowing?  Come over to the group and tell us about it.

Love, Steph

January 9, 2017|Art Stuff, Personal Development|

My Word Of The Year: Self-Care

Click through to see how I'm making my word of the year work for me.

This past year was wild.  It was amazingly beautiful and hard and exhausting and heart bursting and it showed me what it was like to truly care for someone. My baby boy Marty was only a month old when the year began, and oh boy was it an adventure!

I didn’t even make it to creating a word of the year last year because I was so in the weeds. So lost. I was nursing, not sleeping and wondering what I got myself into with a newborn.  After 42 years of doing what I wanted, I was now at the beck and call of a hungry, tiny tyrant.  And most of the time I was totally ok with that, but I will never take sleep for granted again. 🙂

And things changed (as they always do), life was marching on and I wasn’t keeping up with my basic spiritual maintenance.  I didn’t do a very good job of tending to myself + my needs which resulted in some PPD and many tearful days. I put everything I had at the time into my baby and it didn’t leave much for me personally or for my relationship.  I was winning as mommy, failing as Steph.

I realize now that I ignored that age-old saying about putting your life mask on first before you can help others put on theirs. I know that any other mom would say that it’s just how it is in the beginning, you have to lose yourself a bit with the baby for it to work and I agree with that, but at some point there has to be a boomerang back. And I didn’t do that.  Lesson learned.

And so for this reason, my word of the year is self-care.

To me, self care isn’t just about the physical–getting back to the gym or eating more than a PB&J sandwich–it’s also about creating time to do things I love. I know this will be a challenge for me in the beginning but I know when I take more time for myself, I show up for everyone else in such a stronger, more present way.

Navigating being a new parent is a tricky role to get used to: in some ways, it comes so naturally, in other ways I feel like I’m a stranger to myself.  I’m just trying to be patient + compassionate when I think of all of the ways I’m failing. Because in reality, I’m succeeding wildly in many ways, I just need to focus on those areas more.

SO.  These are some of the ways I’m going to express + practice self care:

  • More movies and popcorn.
  • Yoga classes that end with an awesome meditation.
  • Acupuncture that blisses me out.
  • A monthly pedicure (and foot massage!)
  • More pleasure reading and less  TV.
  • Painting, painting and more painting!
  • Conversations that go deep + provoke wild thoughts of expansion.
  • Writing more on the blog and reaching out to connect with others online.
  • Dates with my husband that aren’t always rushed.
  • Juicing more, eating for energy. Less sugar.

That’s just the beginning, but it already feels good just to have said it; I’m excited to get back to being more me.  Farewell 2016, you’ve been quite a learning experience. 2017, let’s see what you’ve got.

Love, Steph

PS Do you have a word of the year, too?  Come join my Facebook Group and tell me what it is.

January 2, 2017|Personal Development, Spirituality|

5 Ways To Use Pinterest For Business. (Especially If You’re A Creative Entrepreneur.)

The Business of Art: In this series, I share tips + tricks I've learned from running a creative shop + blog.

Click through to learn 5 ways to use Pinterest For Business, especially if you're a creative entrepreneur. Download your free worksheet!

Click through to learn 5 ways to use Pinterest For Business, especially if you're a creative entrepreneur. Download your free checklist!

If you’re a creative person online, no doubt you have at least heard of Pinterest, if not used it personally. When I started hearing more and more about how people are using Pinterest for business, I did some of my own investigating and found that it was the second largest search engine (with Google being the first).  Say what?!  I thought Pinterest was for collecting pretty pictures of DIY projects and recipes!  Whoa, Nelly was I wrong.

To say that Pinterest has the potential to be a business powerhouse is an understatement. Here are a few basic statistics:

  • Pinterest has 100 million active users, of which 85% are women.
  • 55% of US online shoppers pick Pinterest as their favorite platform.
  • 87% of pinners have purchased something because of Pinterest.
  • Top reason why Internet Millenials follow a brand or company on Pinterest: to share their interests/lifestyles with others. (Which makes it easy to appeal to a specific market)

So basically, a LOT of people are using Pinterest to shop and to connect with brands that resonate with them.  For this reason, Pinterest is a perfect way to promote your business because you can connect with viewers in a creative, visual way.

Ever since buckling down and getting serious about my own Pinterest strategy, my site visits have skyrocketed and my email list has grown steadily.  With just a few simple moves, you can get great results, too!  Here’s how to get started:

1. Sign up for a business profile if you haven’t already.

This will allow you to promote pins as well as create Rich Pins (which add extra details to Pins from your website that ‘normal’ pins don’t.) Right now, there are five types of Rich Pins: movie, recipe, article, product and place.  That product you’re trying to sell on Etsy?  You can easily promote it with a Rich Pin on Pinterest.

2. Create boards that are in line with your brand.

Include a mix of boards specifically geared to promoting your work as well as boards that compliment your work.  (You should make it a practice to pin a variety of others pins, not just your own.)

For example:  I have a board for my blog + a board for my art, both specifically promoting my work.  But, I also have a board called Inspirational Quotes  and another called Art That Inspires Me–these both promote content that someone who is following me would probably enjoy seeing.

People are looking to connect with you: Make sure you use keywords in your board descriptions that readers will use while searching for your items/posts.  Keywords are how they will find you, so give it some thought. You can see all of my boards here for keywords I use.

3. Make sure your blog or website is pin-able.

You want to make sure anyone who is visiting your home on the web can pin your content to their heart’s content.  That is how you will get seen–the more pins that are out there of your work, the more chance you have of someone clicking through to your store/site.  The best result (and hope) of this work?  A pin of yours could go viral (that means it is pinned by a lot of people, sometimes quite quickly. Yay!)

Most website themes include a unique set of social sharing buttons but if you need to add a save it button, here is how to do it.  There are also plenty of free ways outside of Pinterest to add them, Sumome is a popular one.

Click through to get access to my free library of helpful tools, including this worksheet on how to create a good graphic!

4. Join Group Boards.

Group boards are made up of a collection of people who pin common interest content to one board (for example: art techniques board or mixed media art board).  The power of the group board is that if a pin gets repinned, it will be seen by each pinner’s individual audience–one you might not have been exposed to if you hadn’t pinned it to the group.  It expands the amount of eyeballs on your work exponentially.

The catch to group boards is that you want to make sure the boards are popular enough, but not too popular.  What this means is, you want to join boards that people are pinning to consistently, and the pins have about 5+ repins each.  Otherwise, if you’re a part of a board where people only repin once in a while, it defeats the purpose.

Once you get the hang of Pinterest and have a good amount of pins, I would highly suggest using a pin promoter like Board Booster so that your pins don’t disappear into the feed.

5. Create good looking graphics.

Sometimes getting noticed is as simple as creating something people want to look at. #truestory Pinterest is loaded with beautiful images, so you want to be sure to stand out in the crowd.  The way to do that?  Catch the viewer’s eye with a great looking pin.

What you create will depend on your brand, style and the overall vibe you want to put out there, but creating a unique look will help others remember you.  It comes down to making a graphic that contains a mix of what you like, with the message you want to convey.

The goal is to design something that people will want to click through and explore further–whether it’s to a product in your shop, a creative technique to learn from your blog or to promote a new course.  The best practice I’ve found with graphics?  Keep it simple.

Need a little help getting started when it comes to creating graphics?  Download my free worksheet below: 5 Elements of a Good Graphic.

Click through to get access to my free library of helpful tools, including this worksheet on how to create a good graphic!

Alright friend, I hope these tips help you get started using Pinterest for business!  Don’t worry about getting everything perfect from the beginning, just get moving and you can adjust as you go.

Love, Steph

December 5, 2016|Canva, The Business of Art|

4 Easy Ways To Display Your Art Online (In 5 Minutes Or Less)

Want to know 4 easy ways to display your art online? Especially if you're a new artist, click through to read these helpful tips to get you started.

Even if you’re a multi-tasking master, there’s always more to do and let’s face it–we’re all crunched for time.  Especially if you are running a creative business/blog/website in addition to your everyday responsibilities or work!  So when you’re trying to get more eyes on your creative ventures,  it can mean working on it a little each day. And because of this, you need to make the most of your time.

I’m a huge fan of making small micro-movements towards a bigger goal to avoid overwhelm.  You too?  Great–here are some fantastic micro movements to make your creations more visible to others.  And some take less than five minutes!  Let’s get started, shall we?

Register for your own real estate

Social media is fantastic, but your know what else is fantastic?  Owning your own pictures + words.  Because when you post pictures or thoughts on social media, it’s no longer just yours. It’s Facebook’s or Instagram’s or whatever outlet you’re posting to, and they can take it for their own use or they can also just eliminate your profile altogether. #yikes So it’s important to have your own little corner of the world in the form of a website or blog to maintain your own intellectual property.  It’s as simple as buying a domain name and setting up a basic site.  Then you can post your work and your thoughts to your heart’s content without the fear of losing your information!

When you buy your name as a domain (or your company name) it’s yours forever until you let it expire or you sell it.  Even if you don’t have time to create a blog or website now, buy your name immediately so when you are ready, you have the address rarin’ to go.  Google Domains is an easy way to buy a domain and so is namecheap.  Give it a try!

Start collecting emails

When you have a list of emails, you can send your creations out to the exact audience that is interested in seeing it (otherwise, they wouldn’t sign up for your list!)  Your email can be as simple as sending a newsletter that includes images of your work, or pictures from behind the scenes of what you’re creating.  Because one of the great things about signing up for a newsletter, is learning more about the person behind it.  If your reader feels personally connected to you, they are that much more likely to share your work either on social media or in their own newsletter.

SO, in order to collect emails, you need to sign up with an Email Service Provider.  There are TONS to choose from, but I find Mad Mimi to be simple and easy to use.   They have a free option for up to 100 contacts, so you can try it out first before committing.  And you can literally create your first newsletter in under 5 minutes.

Pin your work

If you are not already on Pinterest, run don’t walk, and sign up immediately.  It’s not only a treasure trove of amazing imagery but it’s also a great way to be seen.  If you create an eye-catchy graphic and others pin it, you can boost your blog or shop views in a matter of hours.  And that can lead to more fans + sales. Hooray!

Click through to get access to my free library of helpful tools, including this worksheet on how to create a good graphic!

Join a Facebook Group

Facebook groups are having a moment right now (I have my own group for creatives if you want to check it out here).  They kind of feel like a continuous cocktail party–you can jump in and out of posting in the group when you have time and you can share your experience or opinion on topics that interest you.

There’s pretty much a Facebook group for every topic, you just need to do a little vetting to make sure it’s a community that is positive, fun and one you want to be a part of.  If you find the right group, it will not only connect you with like-minded people but it will inspire you to make more work that you can share with them on a regular basis.

So there you have it: a few easy ways to keep that sharing momentum going.  And if you’re just getting started, don’t worry about being found–just keep working on being seen.

Love, Steph

P.S. Not sure how to create those eye catchy graphics you see on Pinterest?  Download my worksheet: 5 Elements to a Good Graphic.

Click through to get access to my free library of helpful tools, including this worksheet on how to create a good graphic!

 

October 24, 2016|Art Stuff, How To|

Be Seen.

Click through to get this free inspirational printable PDF, Be Seen!

Here’s a free printable PDF for you, Be Seen.

Do you want an 8×10 hi resolution copy of this inspirational piece that you can print out and frame for yourself (or a friend)?  Just click here and you’ll get access to my resource library that includes this freebie and a bunch of other juicy stuff I know you’ll like.

Love, Steph

P.S. Want to learn how to create your own free printable?  Check out my course, Create In Canva

October 21, 2016|Printables, Quick Inspiration|

The 3 Best Places To Post Your Art Online

Click through and find out the 3 best places to post your art online to get more views!

The World Wide Web is one big crazy place, isn’t it?  It can be difficult to figure out where the best place is to post your art online because there are just so many options. There are so many new social media sites popping up everyday (I’m talking to you snap), that it can be a bit confusing.  And when it comes to promoting your work–you want to make sure you’re putting effort into the right channel, so others will see it.

I’ve played around with quite a few social media sites and learned that it’s impossible to be everywhere.  When I started out, I signed up for 5 of them at once (!) and trying to juggle all of them at the same time was exhausting.  There’s just too much work involved in keeping up with multiple profiles; I learned it’s better to focus on just a few to see more engagement.  That way I can actually enjoy posting my work and making connections with others along the way.

In my experience, these are the 3 best places to post your art online:

Pinterest

This is by far the best place to post your art online to be seen by others.  Are you surprised?  I was too.  I thought Pinterest was just for recipes and DIY posts.  #hellno.   Not only is the Pinterest world a feast for the eyes (which is a bonus when posting art), but it’s also an amazingly HUGE search engine that will direct people to your site like hotcakes.  Seriously.  All you need is to create an eye catchy graphic and throw that baby up there for everyone to see.

Not sure how to pin something?  I got you covered.  After signing into an account at pinterest.com, just follow the steps below:

Pinterest's instructions on how to post your art online to their site

If you need a little example of what I’m talking about, you can see my boards and pins on Pinterest here.

Sign up for my free resource library made for creatives like you!

Instagram

Instagram is my favorite of the three platforms because of it’s simple, visual nature.  Most people gravitate to Instagram because it’s basically nice to look at!  And there’s a short learning curve to getting your image seen which is a total win for beginners.  Instagram is used mostly as a mobile app so you can post when you’re in action which is great for a creative profile–you can show behind the scenes shots, works in progress and some of your favorite supplies.

The key to Instagram is to use a few hashtags in the comments of your post to attract your audience, since that’s how people search for what they’re interested in.  And I love my Instagram feed because it’s full of profiles that I personally choose so it’s exactly what I’m interested in seeing.

Here are the simple steps to post to Instagram.com after you sign up for an account:

Simple steps to post your art online to Instagram

You can check out my Instagram Profile here.

Personal Blog

When you have your own space on the web to display your work, it’s easy to connect to social media for increasing followers.  When I started thinking about creating this blog, I thought it sounded a lot more complicated than it actually is.  It was a matter of figuring out how involved I wanted to be–wordpress is a little more complicated to maintain than a site like Squarespace which is basically a site in a box.  (It all depends on how much control you want.)

Anyway, when you have a personal blog, you can post all of your work there and then link to social media to get more views.  For example, here are three ways I do this on the blog: Art in progress, Quick Inspiration and New Art.  Each of these categories show my work in different ways and I have total control of how my art is displayed so it’s a no brainer.

I hope this helped you get motivated to share your work, it’s important to get it out there!  What’s your favorite place to post your art online?  Come on over to the FB Group and tell us.

Love, Steph

P.S. Posting your art online can be as simple as creating an eye-catching graphic and posting it where your tribe hangs out.  Need help creating the graphic but not sure where to start?  My course, Create In Canva is just for you.

October 5, 2016|Art Stuff|