The Blog

Sunday Musings & Reports

Submitted by diana on Sun, 03/31/2019 - 1:02pm

Afternoon all!

Reorganized the website, didn't take as long as I feared.  Top seller this quarter - wineglasses!  Bluebonnets "won" hands down, followed a close second by Mermaids, Sunflowers, and Red Poppies - too close to call!  ****************************Bluebonnet Time of Year!********************

Setting up stand to make "how to" videos for painting.  Exciting Times!  

See yall down the road next week = Thursday is delivery day & visiting my shops featuring my glasses!

Art is what you make it - even looking at discarded wood from a remodel, right outside my studio window!



Two Shows in One Week!

Submitted by diana on Sat, 07/07/2018 - 8:51pm

Participating in two shows in 4 days is exhausting - yet exhilarating!  

Stage West's annual M.A.D.E. Fund Raising Event, Sunday, July 1st, was a long day, starting at 9:30AM, headed home at 7:30 PM.  I "helped" raise quite a bit, thanks to my loyal customers and several new customers!  Even sold one of my Chinese symbols - Peace - coaster!  YAY!  

I need a "roadie" to help me unload the car to set up, and help load the car to leave.  Those 2 tasks are available!!! hint hint!!!!

Thursday evening - Fort Worth Fire Beats - 5:30PM-11:30Pm - HAD. A. BLAST!!!!  The folks at Shipping and Receiving Bar were VERY nice, even had a table ready for me to set up, close to the bar & in the cooler air.  Made a lot of good contacts, sold several wineglasses, and my little rocks. YAY!

Next show isn't until early October - giving me plenty of time to design new items just for you!  Working on roses on wineglasses, and coffee mugs, mermaids and unicorn ornaments and even Minions and Ladybugs!  YAY!  SHould be fun to paint & sell.  

See you here soon!

Remember - art is always around you - even a messy desk!

Computer Work isn't As Fun as Painting!

Submitted by diana on Tue, 07/03/2018 - 3:54pm

Computer work is a must, along with the seemingly endless paperwork that comes with having a business, even as small as mine!

Today I entered 45 email addresses, made a list of inquiries for products, logged in my expenses, miles, deposited a check (yay!), added a new show to the website, and new products.  And I thought Retirement would be boring....... LOVE it!  Especially those after lunch power naps! 

This little coffee mug design came to me as I watched the sun rise a few weeks ago.  The merry eyes on the sun peeking over the clouds - sets the tone for the day!  

On my work table are 15 rocks to be painted, 2 new wineglass designs, 3 red ceramic tiles for Chinese symbols, & my mini canvases of Love, Peace, Hope and Faith.

Tidying up my messy desk, listing tomorrow's tasks - getting ready for Fort Worth Fire Beats on Thursday!!!!

See you there And out and about soon!



Gift Cards!

Submitted by diana on Thu, 06/14/2018 - 3:04pm

Not Just Canvas now has the abilty to sell gift cards!!!!!

Instead of an actual "gift card", it is an E-gift card, allowing one to shop without having to keep track of an actual card!

No Expiration Date!

You may select your amount ranging from $10-$5000!

On the website "Shop", you will see E Gift Cards.  Click on it, and the prompts will guide you thru it.  You can even delay the delvery of the gift card, in time to send out an actual card, saying a Not Just Canvas Gift Card will be in your email inbox soon!!!  Surprise!

Easy Peasy!

Spread the word!!!!


"Tank" the Feisty Little Dog!

Submitted by diana on Mon, 12/14/2015 - 10:14am

Morning Y'all!

What a beautiful sunny day!  The studio is lite up like ten 100 watt bulbs!  Great for picture taking which I did!  Pix coming of the ceramic mugs finished, the ceramic tile finished, and soon the glasses, once I get another painted. 

Painting with acrylics is much easier than painting with enamel "cooking" paints.  Consistency is different and oh wow!  It's all good!

This week looks to be pretty busy with deliveries, parties, postings, and being creative which I LOVE!  Today a customer is taking delivery of Tank, this little fur baby.  Doesn't just look sooooo anxious to play catch with you!?!  I love his bugeyed look, like he's giving you the "eye".  That was fun to capture in my Van Gough type painting. 

Tomorrow is another 2 deliveries - one a set of ceramic mugs with a boot and name painted on, and the other (if I get it finished today, fingers crossed!) is a tile with OSU painted on it.  That is a challenge, keeping those lines straight.  Back to the drawing board to make the next two easier for me - templates! 

Wednesday hubby and I are going to shop for another Prius, trading in our old faithful friend, Cherry da '01 Honda.  She has just 120K miles on her.  Hubby wants to pay off a newer car before he retires in 3 years.  YAY!  Afternoon is packed with fun-filled events too - travel agency with BFFs to book our April trip to Italy - yay! And off to have a delicious supper. 

Thursday is our Book Klub Christmas party and gift exchange in the evening.  Coordinating with those who need/want a ride to the southside of town.

Friday is an at home day - I hope!  We all need those!  May see grandkids - such a busy time of year!

Saturday is wine tastings and eating out - Sunday is a Ladies Tea with Cookie Exchange - wonder when I'll make those cookies!?!  No worries! 

Best get back to painting that OSU tile!

Remember - art comes in many forms - the written word, spoken word, strummed strings, and gesters of hand and body.  Oh my!

Projects! Ideas! Oh my!

Submitted by diana on Sat, 12/12/2015 - 1:54pm

Afternoon all!

Yes, it is the busy time of year.  Today it's about 70 degrees here in North Texas, with the leaves finally being blown off the trees.  Not a good day to do yard work raking leaves - just blow back at ya!  Oh well!  Another season!

I painted the mug boots - slow going with the Glossies Liquitex paints.  Too fast and the paint I'm trying to paint over will lift off, leaving a hole - rats!  Patience!  Will post a pic manana - no sun today and the light is already fading at almost 2 pm!  Sent a pic of the boots to client - LOVE IT!  Now to tidy up the boot, paint the names on the other side, allow to dry 24 hours, then bake for 30 minutes, cool, allow to set another 24 hours.  THEN I'll package them for delivery, including a gift bag of a boot - LOL!  Just love doing these!

Painted a test wine glass - LOTS of interest this time.  Learning how to paint again with the Glossies Liquitex paints - it's pretty "watery", not runny but shows brushmarks ver well.  In the late '90s I painted a LOT of wine glasses, coasters to match and sold them for $25/set of 4.  No wonder they sold out quickly!  Will offer the same price now, inflation on the glasses hasn't increased, thank you Dollar Tree, but the paints - YES!

Tomorrow will be busy too - finishing up a ceramic tile, the boot mugs, and working on grapes for glasses AND going to dinner with step-daughter and grandkids - always fun!

Busy week next week - Monday, "Tank" will be delivered.  "Tank" is a beloved pup on a 6" ceramic tile.  I paint "Van Gough"-like, impressionist-like.  So, Tank doesn't lok exactly like his photo I used as a reference.  Client LOVES it!  As you will soon see, he has one "bug" eyeball which i captured!  Yay! 

Tuesday I deliver another 6" ceramic tile of an OSU emblem, to a friend I worked with at the Mission.  Quite the challenge painting this one!  Only 4 colors with FINE lines.  Perhaps I'll try taping off the initial lines but betcha it takes the paint off already there.  Oh well, it's isn't a stamp - hand painting isn't exact.  He wants it shipped, best hurry especially this time of year and pad it heavily!  Will be good to see everyone at the Mission.  I haven't been back since my accident 9/29.  Leg still hurts and tender.  Guess I'm a slow-poke healer!  Oh well!  Could be much worse!

Wednesday evening we have an appointment with our BFFs' travel agent to get our trip to Italy in April booked.  Just looking on line to book a series of flights online - worth the $50 the agent charges!  Will be a great trip - we travel very well together plus GOING TO ITALY!  Did I mention that!?!

Thursday - hair appointment, picking up item for granddaughter's Christmas, home to make ?? for Book Klub Christmas Party at 6:30 p.m.  Plus get their little "somethings" ready.  I made 9 quarts of chicken stock yesterday, gave away 3 quarts to BFF.  I thought I only had two 3-cup containers left in the freezer.  Imagine my surprise finding another 6 from the last batch.  Oh well, it keeps and is yummy made from a Costco chicken carcus!

Best get publish this blog, head to the kitchen to make pumpkin cinnamon muffins for the party tonight, shower and get dressed - we leave at 5:14.5 pm.  Or there abouts. 

Leave me a message on my facebook page about my blog - if you find it informative or annoying!  I love to write!

Remember - art is right beside you - look at that graceful ficus growing beside your desk - beauty!


Friday - I don't think anything is scheduled - good! 

Why the Price of Art is "So High"

Submitted by diana on Thu, 12/10/2015 - 5:10pm

Good afternoon all!

Busy day which is how I like it, most of the time!   Keep those orders coming, hopefully, filled from present stock!  I would like to share a few thoughts with you today as well!

When I started Not Just Canvas, again, I had a few items to purchase and restocking to do - computer, printer, ink cartridges, paper, website, paint supplies, brushes, ink pens, tiles, gift bags, bookmarks, ribbon, gift tags, business cards, concrete step stones, sealant, tile bumpers - just to name some "things" i needed to get started.  Plus I had to get a  Tax ID number and set up a Square Account.  Thank goodness the Facebook group pages are "free"!

Wow I'm tired just typing all of this and I KNOW I missed something!  Oh yes, packing and shipping supplies (free from the post office - yay!), stamps, envelopes - yikes!  Fortunately for me, between my social security and work pension, I bring home almost what I did before retirement so our bank account wasn't tooo depleted!  Hubby is very understanding and knows how much making a success of Not Just Canvas means to me....  Once the orders started coming in - I was happily busy once again - marketing, building inventory, designing, networking, taking orders and making deliveries, my favorite part of this adventure!

Speaking of orders, I received an order for coffee mugs, generated from the pix I posted earlier this week - yay!  Well, not so much a yay, as an "uh-oh! my Glossies paints dried completely up!"  So I looked to the internet, like most of us do, instead of shopping around, found what I wanted, placed the order - almost - the shipping was $8 for only 9 two ounce bottles of paint!  What?!?!?!?!  Uh- NO!  So off I went to my favorite art supply store here in Fort Worth, Asel Art.  Shopped there exclusively for many years, until I stopped painting in '11.  Well, let me tell ya - their prices were EXACTLY what another website had, without the shipping!!!  Go figure!  Me and my little Prius toddled on down past downtown Fort Worth, found a parking spot right by the door - good thing since my broken and healing leg has been hurting a lot of late.  I was in and out of there in less than 10 minutes!  They had all the colors i needed, except red but that's for after the first of the year which is a mere 3 weeks away.  I CAN wait that long!  Ahhhh - it was heaven being in that store!  My designing brain and thoughts were in full throttle - nothing held back, except my almost empty wallet!  Another day to buy and try oil pastels.  I bought some at a garage sale late summer and wanted to try.  U-Tube here I come!

Any who - next time you look at any kind of art work, think of his/her supplies, creativity, and talent that goes into his/her work.  Of course, one never gets their time spent back in any form.  Every design I come up with always takes about a day or so to refine and define.  However, at times, others are quick and surprise me!  When visiting a booth, don't pull a "flea market" price offer!  Pay what is posted and compliment the artist.  They worked hard to get their items into the market place.  Those times when I'm able to attend an art opening or craft show, I always look for that vendor that isn't very busy and buy something, words of encouragement and praise are always welcome!

It's "o-dark-thirty" as my sweet daddy used to say so I'll bid you good evening.  Will post the ceramic tile pet portrait I've worked on tomorrow with good light, work on another tile commission, the mugs, fine tune the proposal for local pet docs in my area for end of life memory tile.......................... uh-oh!  Best write this all down!

Tomorrow is another day!  Hugs!




Post Art Show and Sale News!

Submitted by diana on Mon, 12/07/2015 - 3:28pm

Hello all!  Enjoying this beautiful Fall day!  It's a little cool for me - the cool air affects the broken leg making it ache and hurt - but that's better than being in a cast forever!  More on that later!

My FIRST ANNUAL NOT JUST CANVAS NON-STRESS SHOPPING EVENT was held Sunday December 6th, 1-4 pm.  I had a good, steady crowd, busy enough to keep me on my toes.  Meet new folks, reacquainted myself with a friend from elementary and junior high school days - our 50th reunion comes up next year - when did that happen!?!  I digress!

Hubby was a jewel as always, helped me put up my banner in the front flowerbed.  Next year he will put nails around the dining room window frame and hang it much easier there.  The wind wasn't nice.  Learning as we go!

My plan of having a display just here in the studio kinda morphed into our living and dining room - one BIG room with lots of natural light.  It worked out great!  I'll download some pix to share soon.  Worked Friday and Saturday getting things set up, rearranged, and all. 

My friend Natalie of NKP Designs joined in and brought ceramic whistles of different sizes and tiny ceramic bowls she designed, glazed, and fired - think rings and earrings container.  I'm getting one!  She had a few sales and lots of inquiries - yay!

My son Daniel joined in as well - Recycled Mosiacs.  You will have to look at his website of the same name.  He "paints" with tiny silvers of candy wrappers, bottle labels, and such to create a painting.  He was selling his prints and one original design.  All of his flyers are gone and several of his business cards.  He sold 2 prints.

All in all, the sale is one I'm willing to have annually.  Now, to get hubby to allow me to keep it all set up in the dining and living room!  After all, we don't use that table very often......  Ok, I'll take it down after the first of the year and then start getting ready for Easter and Mother's Day and Father's Day and Graduation and weddings - oh my! 

Toying with the idea of registering for another show in April - Bedford Art Festival and Craft show.  The fee is only $50 if I take my tent, tables and chairs, $100 if they furnish the tent.  That's a lot of bookmarks, gift bags, and such to sell to make that booth rent.  Besides, it is OUTSIDE, so we are at the mercy of the elements. Life of a craft/vendor!

Gotta run but I promise to be more diligent in posting in my blog and reminding you to read it. 

Remember, art is everywhere - even in the beautiful Fall foliage we see all around us - waiting to be captured on tile, gift bags, bookmarks, coasters, and even concrete - Not Just Canvas!

The Journey of a Dragon Bookmark

Submitted by diana on Tue, 09/15/2015 - 4:39pm

Afternoon all!

Working on pumping up my inventory for the Arts Goggle October 10th - painting 50 more dragon bookmarks in anticipation of selling out!  Talk about optimistic!  That's me!  Here goes

1.  Trace outline of dragon from template

2.  Paint dragon head with large brush

3.  Fill in details with 00 brush

4.  Sketch 'claw prints"

5.  "Color" in claw prints with black sharpie

6.  Paint in gold "eyeball" and make small iris with )

7.  Paint red tongue

8.  Sign all

9.  Business name on back

10.  Ribbon and go to the next one!

It's quite the process and I'm seriously thinking of raising my price but I DO want to sell them, not keep in storage.  There is room for me to personalize it as well. 

I started another group - Not Just Canvas and More on Facebook - gotten a lot of interest and invited more folks.  One order, so far, but no $$ received.  No painting starts until the $$ is deposited. 

Gotta make pumpkin muffins for hubby!

Remember - art is best shown in natural light.  Beauty is where you find it. 



Jackson and Abby - two shipments delivered!

Submitted by diana on Thu, 09/10/2015 - 4:40pm

Hello everyone!  It's another hot and humid afternoon.  A "cold front" is on the way, having stalled out just south of us, to hopefully, trigger showers.  It gets cloudy and dark and then El Sol rules again. 

Received a wonderful compliment for Jackson's human, Linda.  She received the stone today and said just seeing his face brought tears to her eyes.  She really misses him!  Made me cry!  I had just emailed or messaged her the tracking numbers from Priority Mail.  Quick to Dallas - just over 24 hours - wow! 

Finished packaging up all 48 bookmarks to ship to Under the Stars in Ohio, the art gallery/shop I have mentioned in past posts.  Just gotta write a bio about me - always tuff because I'm a little wordy but just a simple statement will be great.  Yup!  I took a leap of faith and just decided to let it all go and the outcome is NOT in my control! 

Gearing up for Arts Goggle - taking inventory, lining up projects to paint aka more dragon bookmarks for sure and maybe a dragon tile or two. 

Working out in my head how to set up my table at Arts Goggle - Have examples of everything for sale, one of each item, and the rest in boxes under the table.  The tiles are the weighty ones in a box, and the palm size river rocks I always for the kiddos.  Will have a lamp to contend with - maybe a gooseneck for the table and a "garage clip" light for the tip of the canopy.  Pray the weather is fine for this event.  It would be a shame for all the working artists to have the event cancelled due to weather.  We can stand the cold, some what, but rain for one 12 hour shift is no bueno.  Hubby will help me set up then probably disappear for a while.  Oh well!  Taking the kitchen mat to stand on because it's comfy and eases the pain in my back and mostly hip.  Yay! 

It's been an off and on week for me.  Hubby likes my attention when he's home so we can spend time together.  It's approaching a year since his sweet momma left us, so he's wanting me close by.  Understand.....

Back to it.  Got an order for 10 labrador bookmarks - no money just yet however, she's really INTO labrador rescue and placing thorobread puppies for adoption.  Would be wonderful when I get orders from her friends too. 

Remember - art is out there, even in a storm caused traffic jam.  The rows of red lights is beautiful, unless you are in it!  :-)



Hummingbird Note Cards and "Stuff"

Submitted by diana on Mon, 09/07/2015 - 11:30am

Happy Labor Day all!

A volunteer at the Mission asked if I painted hummingbirds and promptly ordered a set of note cards.  I had to get busy since I had never painted the hummers on a note card. 

A little trial and error - part of the art world process I'm learning - I finished them up last night.  Now to get a pencil fixant to insure the pencil shading doesn't smear.  I can't wait to share this with hubby's 84 year old aunt whi loves the little birds.  She has several feeders hanging on her patio/deck.  I've never seen such a swarm or such aggression of territory of these beautiful creatures as apparent at her house!  Wow!  I feel good just watching one or two on our feeders.  Cool huh!

I decided to take a leap of faith and be a part of Under the Stars art gallery in Ohio!  She's ordered 48 bookmarks of dragons, owls, bookworms, and coneflowers.  "All" I have to do is get removable price tags, assemble the order, mail the signed contract with payment, wait for the check to clear and ship out my 'babies" to a land far far from Texas! 

I'm excited!!!!

Plus Arts Goggle is coming up October 10th - mark your calendars!

Off to paint more dragon bookmarks - only have 2 in inventory!





Expanding my horizons!

Submitted by diana on Fri, 09/04/2015 - 2:33pm

Afternoon all - this computer sure is a time bandit, especially Facebook!  No wonder!  Lots of informative ideas out there.  Fortunately for me a customer has helped me "expand my horizons" in a BIG way.  Taking a leap of faith never felt sooo good! 

I created a Facebook Group - Not Just Canvas and More - not a page, but an actual group where folks look at my new stuff.  No more posting on my timeline of new stuff.  They will have to go to my group page to see the new psotings AND to my website - YAY! to order!  Brillant! 

I had poo-pooed the idea of selling my bookmarks in Ohio - thinking it was too far away, $50 set up fee and no way to control where my bookmarks are displayed.  But after thinking about it, seeing her posts constantly - wake up and just do it!  So this evening I will write my letter to Under the Stars, send in my check for $50, getting 70% of my sales is pretty good actually I've discovered!  Mail it off with my bookmarks and just let it go! 

I'm working on notecards again - a hummingbird, set of 8 is $20.  Trying a hummingbird bookmark for a customer as well. 

Better discipline is order for sure!  Have a tendancy to spend silly time on the computer but then it's not so "silly" when you make friends, contacts, and get valuable info. 

Best get off this crazy computer and start painting/coloring with pencils, and fill those 3 pending orders.  Plus taking pix on Sunday and posting to the website AND to the Facebook group will take a while. 

When DID I have time to work????



Post Office Fun!

Submitted by diana on Wed, 09/02/2015 - 12:06pm

Morning all!

Another trip to the post office this morning to ship out a tile, Apache.  No long line due to the time 9 am!  YAY!  In talking to the clerk, I discovered I had been looking on the website to order Priorty Mail boxes I use to ship in the wrong place!  No wonder I couldn't find the Regional Mail Box A.  I ordered another batch of 10 today, with yesterdays, should be enough for a while.  At least it's no charge.  Besides, these boxes are much less to ship than the medium flate rate boxes.  Whew!  Thought I would have to go thru and change all my shipping prices - yuck!

Hubby is recovering nicely from his cold/bronchitis/deep voice thing - thankfully!  Nothing worse than a sick spouse, either one of us!  He's a peach and a keeper! 

The morning has completely disappeared so looks like this afternoon will be spent painting on a new commission - a dog, Charlie, on a ceramic tile.  An inquiry was made in July, we left for Oregon, so I tickled her again.  She said to go for it!  Cool beans!

I received a wonderful compliment from a member of GALT - I sent her 3 memory tiles for her beloved greyhounds who had crossed the rainbow bridge - Ally, Bugsy, and Phoenix.  She ordered another one as a gift for a friend.  YAY!

Off to paint and work on that dragon for a while. 

Remember - art is in the eye of the beholder, even a bunch of dead flowers with their end of life. 



Artist Who Paints and Wears Many Hats!

Submitted by diana on Mon, 08/31/2015 - 10:35am

Good morning all!  If you think I just paint and design most days, you are not quite right.  As most small business owners, I wear LOTS of hats.  I AM the shipping, receiving, accounts receivable, inventory control, inventory, PR, and marketing person.  It's quite the hat collection I own!  Here's a little story of how a recent visit to the post office was a real eye opener, which resulted in....... well, you can read the blog.

This morning, besides catching up on household chores, I had "paperwork' to complete; postal supplies to order, packages to ready for shipment, emails and messages to answer - oh my!  I did get another bookmark order! YAY!

I learned a valuable lesson about the post office last week.  I had 2 orders to ship - one packed in a Priority Mail box and the other in a previously received order in an Amazon box.  Both weighed about the same, one to Bend, OR, and the other to Dallas.  The Bend, OR box cost me $10.40 to mail - same size and weight as the Priority Mail box  - cost was $5.95!!!!!   It was NOT the location, just the packaging!

I was at a loss for words and dismayed as to the almost double cost for the Oregon shipment.  The clerk explained using a Priority Mail box does several things for the customer: 1) provides a tracking number, 2) automatically insured for $50, 3) standard size boxes, 4) delivery guaranteed within posted time.  The "old" way of shipping is more costly, and paying for insurance adds to the postage.  Plus, shipment twice as long, twice as much $$, and scrounging for a box isn't always practical or accepted by the post office criteria.  You have to blacken all SKU and bar codes.  Messy looking package.  Not what I want to have representing my business or me!

I had an account with the post office long ago, in 1995, since then I "misplaced" the info.  Instead of looking frantically, I made an "executive decision" and created a new account!  Getting boxes and labels in quanities while at the post office isn't fair to other customers since I use so many.  Last shipment I made, I inquired if I could have several labels and boxes to "stock up".  The clerk said to order free online!  YAY!  Who doesn't like FREE???? 

The process was very simple but time consuming, as always.  The first time setting up items always takes that precious and priceless commodity - time. 

I am happy to say it's all done, ordered, and I have a tracking number.  I ordered labels, boxes, and Fragile stickers.  Now I can package and get the 3 orders I have completed shipped out sooner than later!

So...... I'm now a better prepared customer of the post office and ordered my supplies online.  Just another step in continuing to improve my customer service. It's a win win situation for my customers and the post office.

Off to the post office to get boxes so I can ship out these orders, notify customers of shipment with tracking number, track the orders, and finally, get good news of the shipment arriving safely from my customer.

I'm tired now - time for a break!





Submitted by diana on Sun, 08/30/2015 - 2:40pm

Afternoon all!

I finally got around to painting a much requested dragon bookmark.  I showed it to a friend at her party last night and got several inquiries for price and "I want to buy one!!"

Next up is a simple hummingbird, by request.  A horse head with a horse shoe is completed, working on bigger items for tiles.  Oh to Just to have enough good hours in the day to get these completed would be nice.

You are wondering why I don't work 12 hr days - the light my friend, IS my friend.  Overhead lights casts shadows and falsify the colors.  Tried to work on a painting at night which I thought looked good.  Imagine my dismay seeing the painting in true natural light the next day!  Muddy colors, non complimentary, and just off.  Time wasted is time lost. 

Fortunately for me I have a wonderful studio in our home.  My studio faces east, two big windows I love, and a lovely large south window for full "art" exposure.  Unfortunately there are no windows on the North side of the house.  For centuries artists have loved a northern exposure for natural light.  Some times one has to go with what is available, in my case, where my studio is located!

From about 9-2pm the light is wonderful - no shadows or glares.  Over the winter I tried to paint with an Ott light - used by a lot of artists and such but the glare was, well, glaring.  A light box is what I really need.  A simple box with a soft light bulb under a frosted glass, enclosed in wood.  They are expensive - my goal is to get one before the days shorten. 

Back to the "drawing board" before the light leaves.  At least I can work on computer stuff when the light has left for the day.

Remember - art is where you find it, like love.  Stop looking and there it is - right before you!

Have a good un!


A Day in the Life of an Artist!

Submitted by diana on Tue, 08/25/2015 - 12:38pm

Morning all! 

Yesterday I painted and finished several items that have been hanging around a few weeks.  A new design is a ceramic tile titled, Coyote Howling at the Moon - new ones always take more time to get it right.  I "erased" aka washed off, this design several times before I was happy with it.  The other items are ceramic tiles for memorial of fur babies which are personalized, bookmarks of a labradoer, greyhound in black silhouettes, sketchy grapes for us wine lovers, and whimisical ladybugs. 

Since my back and hip were spasming BIG time, it was good to be in the studio and forget about my pain, at least try.  Funny how the mind works - not focusing on pain and getting distracted works, at least for me.

My website hours were way tooooo long to be "open" - wanted to change the hours to time I actually spend in the studio which is NOT 7 days a week.  Nope, just 3 days a week, off and on.  After all, there is other life "out there"!

Seraching for notes to make the change took me a while, plus an email to my web builder person, to figure out how to accomplish this simple task and such.   Ta Da!!!!  Its all on my Square site, under Account Settings, Business Info, and Business Profile - duh!  This time I wrote it down in my address book with all my Square info.  Growing older has caused my multi-tasking abilities to lessen just like everyone else.  Oh well, makes for better days doing things slower and not worrying about items running together.  The brain gets too cluttered with requests at times ya know!  My calendar and habit of writing down my goals for the week/month/year has helped a lot.  When did I have time to work outside of our home?

Mission Accomplished!!!!Hours were changed, my phone number removed, and this blog started.  On to other details of my "morning as an artist so far."

My ceramic tiles had to be sealed, so off to the garage to spray the sealant, making sure no dust was around.  Hard to do at times.  I get ahead of myself and rush. 

Had to set up the camera, haul everything outside on the front porch to my trusty porch chair (my Mimi's from the '50s I've moved around for decades), and set the "stage".

Thank goodness for the tripod!  Makes excellent balance and easy to manuever around.  Set up the tiles of Allie, Bugsy, and Phoenix (fur babies who have crossed the rainbow bridge), made group and individual shots - good!

Set up the Coyote Howling at the Moon - took several pix, including one with cactus in bloom.  Looking good and going well!

Bookmarks were last - I had hammered in a straight pin on the top slat of the chairback to hold the bookmarks steady.  It's been a while since I took bookmark pix so I had forgotten to use the ribbon to hold it straight instead of the ribbon hole.  The bookmarks were at odd angles then it hit me - duh!  Use the ribbon to anchor the bookmarks!  Pix turned out great - so I thought....

Back inside to download the camera and do editing.  Oh. My. Goodness!!!!  Glaring pieces of dust, unpainted areas, errors in placement, no signatures, and glare of light!  Have to take another set of pix after fixing errors, and such. You are thinking, "why didn't you see it on the camera?"  This camera doesn't show the errors until I get a BIG pic on the computer when editing AND a tiny 3"x2" screen is hard to see details.

It's after noon.  I've done no painting today, as planned.  The day isn't over - yay!  So far I have "just" worked on the website, sent emails for follow up on orders, and taken pix, downloaded, uploaded, edited, and such.

Off to have a little lunch and rest my back and hip.  Here 's the only pic I liked from the photo session - a bookmark for those who love to read while drinking wine but often have trouble with their last place.  ha! ha!

Later folks - remember art isn't always perfect - neither are we!






Submitted by diana on Thu, 08/20/2015 - 10:19am

Morning everyone!  It's nice to be back home after 2 weeks, almost 5000 miles and 7 states.  Hubby did all the driving - I was the navigator.  Only missed a couple of turns, and in my defense, Colorado has poor signage.  Vacations are wonderful but there is no place like home!

I've reduced the prices on several items on the website, just in time to start thinking of the holiday shopping.  While on the road, I made several contacts, one in Colorado with a shop owner who asked me to design ceramic tiles just for her - eagles, bison, bears, coyote howling at the moon - to name a few.  All will be in black silhouette with a few details picked out in color.  Will be making a shipment in the next few weeks.

Have several orders to fill - yay!  Received 3 step stone orders, 3 sets of bookmarks, and 2 ceramic tiles to paint!  Love being busy! 

Oh yes, the golden retriever Jackson, on a concrete step stone is complete - pic soon to be posted after delivery is made.  Don't wanna spoil the surprise for the customer!

Best get busy - tiles and bookmarks won't get painted by themselves! 

Remember - art is everywhere - even in a pile of Fall leaves or freshly mowed grass.



Back to Work after Granddaughter and Cousin Visit

Submitted by diana on Thu, 07/23/2015 - 9:36am

Morning all!  I haven't been on the computer since my last blog because I had my 13 year old granddaughter, who is a gifted artist, and her cousin staying with us for 3 days.  Event filled, laughter filled, busy, and all that comes with it.  The young Definately should have and care for the young!  This Nana is pretty tired!  Mountains of laundry await but art is calling.  Besides, what is more simple than to load the washer (takes less than 2 minutes), back inside in the cool to work on client's orders?!?  So my appliances are "working" while I work as well.  Sleep didn't come rapidly last night - my mind was busy packing for our trip next Friday morning for 2 weeks!  Oregon - here we come!

Today I'm working on Jackson, a champion golden retriever, on a step stone.  I HAD his head finished, working on his body and just didn't like it at all.  So I scrapped the entire step stones akak covered it with background paint, deciding to do a head shot instead.  My goal today, since it's soooooo hot and still out, is to almost complete Jackson.  Between laundry loads of towels and sheets, progress will be made.  Also, finish the last cat in the Cattitude order, ready it to mail tomorrow morning, paint the paws on the 3 ceramic tile Paws on Heart, and names, paint a white dog with black fur markings for Lori's late fur baby Muffin. 

The last two items are "free".  These ladies are long time customers who have lost their fur babies over the last year.  As time and funds permit, I paint either a bookmark or a ceramic tile for them.  Nice gesture of sympathy aka labor of love.

The ceramic tiles are for greyhounds that have crossed the rainbow bridge.  I have a contact to speak with regarding my website getting linked to the GALT, Greyhound Adoption League of North Texas, website!  YAY!  My contact works full time, so speaking with her is either weekends or evenings.  We've been playing phone tag.  Stay tuned!

Received payment for an order for a horse head, Apache, on a ceramic tile!  Must get it out of here before vacation. 

Five step stones are awaiting notification from clients for delivery - Golfer (tribute to my late golf fanatic cousin Don), Pot of Daisies, Leave Room for Angels to Dance, Ocean Waves, and a Bluebonnet.  All are paid in full and ready to go.  Summer is a tuff time to coordinate everything - vacations, heat, ozone, you name it!  At least all are ready.

Next week I deliver 81 Bookworm bookmarks to my client.  The order originally was 75, increased after a final head count and female/male ratio confirmation, to 81.  A new invoice was emailed to my client.  I posted a remark on Next Door Neighbor and promptly got a response from a teacher who knows other teachers at T.A.Sims Elementary - the final destination of the bookmarks to be a part of the Welcome Back to School package being assembled.  YAY!

Did my walk this morning, ready to get busy.  Today I'm meeting my BFFs for my belated birthday dinner, about 5ish.  Can't wait!  Next week will be busy packing, last minute details, errands, car serviced, laundry, shopping.  And painting!

Remember, art is right at your fingertips, just look beyond your hands and an entire "art museum" is there for the looking.




Sunday afternoon - Contract, Proposal, Orders, Oh My!!!!

Submitted by diana on Sun, 07/19/2015 - 6:11pm

Afternoon all!  Thank you for reading my blogs.  Today I decided to paint - well, that didn't happen right away.  The studio was looking shabby and well, disorderly.  You know me, I can't stand things a mess!  A local charity truck will be here Friday morning for a pick up of "gently used items".  What started out as just 2 bags of clothes has morphed into filling the hallway with odds and ends.  Any one need printer ink for an old HP?  Small cartridges in basic colors - charity gets them.  Finally getting the boxes the computer and printer came in OUT the door, no place to store them - unless I put the boxes in hubby's music room.  Hmmmm, wonder if I can get away with that?!  Nah. 

Commission Contract

After the "cat episode", I discovered I MUST have a written and signed contract when being commissioned for an art piece.  Only makes sense - and keeps us both safe, the Artist and the Collector.  Found one online, tweaked it to fit my needs and yay!  It's there!  No more pieces sitting here unpaid, no deposit and me out all that work, not to mention time.  Yay!  Got that done!  Now to share with another artist!


I have to prepare a proposal for two dog rescue organizations, to allow them to put my artwork on their website, while collecting a percentage of my sales for their rescue efforts.  Had my thinking cap on, well the back burner part, and come up with using the same as the Commission Contract basically.  Usually for fund raisers, the organization buys my art wholesale, pays me, then retails it for what they can get.  My website tells that policy and such.  I do charge a design fee ranging from $20-$100, depending on the complexity of the design and reproduction efforts.  Some designs for the bookmarks are made into a template for the basic outline, painted, then details added with ink.  Look at the Doggies in Waiting set and the Cattitude set on my website.  The only paint is the color part - the rest is ink.  As I'm getting older, my hands shake a little when I get tired, rendering a straight line is impossible, leaving blobs of paint and another bookmark for the "design" pile.  Rats!   I digress......  The proposal will allow the organizations to link my website to theirs, all orders coming thru my website and payment of course.  Commissions will have a contract signed.  Just have to figure out a way for the organization to get their money and me paid too.    Well, I may be putting the cart before the horse on this one.  A lady will call me tomorrow night and pitch her ideas.  Just being linked to another website is a great way for advertising and getting orders.  Maybe I'm just thinking too hard on this one!  A simple solution is out there!


I wrote up orders from the bookmarks, ceramic tiles, and step stones.  The bookworms will be delivered some time the next two weeks, waiting in a plastic box.  The bookmarks for both cat and dogs are waiting to be painted with the customer name and such.  Those bookmarks paid thru Square will be painted and shipped out by Tuesday - yay!  The ceramic tiles for departed fur babies (3) are going out next week - a memorial with no charge.  Good PR!

My calendar is full of business things to do - message/tickle customers reminding them of their request for a product, upload items on Pinterest and Etsy (not done yet - BIG job!), contact Marshall Grain for another order, mail off the bookmarks and contract to Under the Stars in Ohio, work on templates for the greyhounds and labradores to submit.  Plus get ready for vacation in 2 weeks.  Nah, I'll put the vacation stuff all together a few days before and not stress about it.  After all,,,,, it is vacation!  Not like we are going to a foreign country without stores or shops.  Sheesh!

That's all for now - checking my lists twice and making new ones.  Love love love my new printer - double sided! 

Remember - art is just outside your door, waiting to be seen, smelled, felt, tasted, and heard.  Art isn't just pieces, it's food, music, fabrics, and well, life!


Tail of Three Doggies

Submitted by diana on Fri, 07/17/2015 - 3:44pm

Afternoon all!  It's a hot one here in North Texas.  It's already getting close to 100 degrees and it's not even August - ugh!  Oh well, makes us appreciate that lovely invention - air conditioning!

I created the series of three dog bookmarks after a dear friend (who makes amazing ceramic beads, check out her website NKP Designs) suggested I paint cat and dog bookmarks.  I was searching, scratching my widdle head, to come up with "something different" other than floral.  Since there are TONS of fur baby lovers who also love to read, thought I would give it a try.  Here's the journey

Looked around on eBay for ideas, colors, and info.  I NEVER copy another artist's work.  Besides the copyright laws, that is downright stealing.  I look for reference, think on it a while, and boom!  The pen and paintbrush come to life under my humble hands.

I had a cat years ago, Puddy Tat, while I lived in California, not allergic then.  Dogs - always been afraid of dogs since being bit by a Saint Bernard mix when I was 12.  Pretty traumatized.  Friends have often said dogs can smell fear on anyone.  I believe it.  Thought I would give ya a little background.

Here's the journey of the dog bookmarks

1.  Used the same template as for the cat bookmarks, but made the "bottom" of the dog larger, moved the tail, made it "wag", changed the ears.

2.  Selected 3 basic colors - there are so many to choose from!  I wanted to keep it basic and simple for my customers, so I chose reddish brown, tan, and a gold color.

3.  Drew the dog template, cut it out and started experimenting.

4.  First is the paint color.  I mixed two shades of brown to give variety of color and shows movement.  Unfortunately, when I added the "fur", that disappeared.  Gonna work on that one!

5.  Next, I added what I thought dogs would have around - a ball, the newspaper, and of course, a bone or chew toy.  I wanted to keep it simple, and did!  Any suggestions for other items are welcome!

6.  A collar is a must for all pets!  I drew different ones - red, black, and a "spiked" type. 

7.  Last is inking in all the fur, highlighting the ears. 

Ta Daaaaaa!  Done! 

Today I took pix of the individual dogs, plus the group of 3, posted them on the website for your purchasing pleaseure.

I declined to have a face on the dogs - still a work in progress.  Putting a nose with eyes and a smile often looks like a pickle with two olives.  Plus I wanted to keep these simple.  After all, it's just a bookmark, not a pet portrait.  That's a whole 'nuther blog!

Have a wonderful afternoon, thank you for reading my blog of my artist journey. 

Remember, an artist can't eat from you merely looking at their work.  BUYING a work of art will allow the artist to eat, plus create More artwork! 



Cattitude, Printers and Pictures! Oh My!!!!

Submitted by diana on Wed, 07/15/2015 - 7:49pm

Evening all!  What a busy and product last few days! 

The new printer is installed and working beautifully.  Printed a letter double-sided instead of waste 6 pages of paper that could very well be 3.  Cool huh!?!  I'm not very computer literate - working on State issued computers for the last 18 years left me about 10 years behind everyone else.  But, I'm catching on and up! YAY!

As you have read, I'm a little slow when it comes to figuring out technical items, such as digital cameras, tripods, uploading and putting pix on the website!  Well, today I had a major brain fart - Leave the camera on the tripod to take pix, connect the cable to download to computer, delete pix as edited, eliminating those bad pix.  I took excellent pix of new bookmarks which I'll get to in a minute, custom sized them for the website, uploaded, edited, and downloaded to the website - yay me!  Then I LOOKED at the website - oh brother!  The pix were entire too big!  So, back to lug the camera and tripod outside, position and take pix again, back inside to download and edit, add to the website with all pertinent info, and look at the website - ta da!!!!  I doood it!  Slowing down is not my forte' but not slowing down and pacing myself sets me back more. 

Patience is a BIG virtue when it comes to learning how to run a website!  Lesson learned - now to Practice it!!!

Cat bookmarks are NOW on the website as Cattitudes.  All 3 cats have a 'tude, as it were, like most cats seem to have anyways.  Sold as a set of 3 or individually.  I have sold a set of 3 already and have others in the works. 

An artist's work is never done - kinda like being a housewife - it just keeps going on and on and on.  But I wouldn't have it any other way! 

I sold Angel Heart memorial canvas!  Got payment Monday, discovered the payment today.  Woo hoo!  I've looked at my gmail account almost every day since setting it up in February for the business, no orders posted.  Today..... I looked!  A deposit was made, I completed the order and will be shipping out tomorrow! 

Now I can fulfill my promise to the Mission completely!  And still have money left over to get supplies, and such.  Thank You Lord!!!!

Tomorrow is another day, filled with surprises and adventures.  I look forward to it. 

Remember, today is a gift, yesterday cannot be changed, and tomorrow is an adventure waiting just for you!




Catching Up!

Submitted by diana on Mon, 07/13/2015 - 12:02pm

Hello - welcome back to my blog.  My goals this week are to take it finish up pending orders, post the cat bookmarks I designed, work on my website, Etsy and Pinterest sites, create a proposal for a local animal hospital to offer the heart with paw print ceramic tile for a memory placque, publish new designs - gotta work on that!  Whew!  I'm tired just typing it!  Attempting to install another program for correcting photos, making them website ready, so to speak.  I used Picasa before which allows me to put my business name on each design, to prevent folks making a print of my original design.  Picked up my business cards last week from Velia - she reversed the hummingbird, made 200 for me - looks wonderful.  Now to get the photo from her so i can order more from Vista Print in time for the 2 big shows coming up in October and November.  We had to buy a new printer after all.  This HP Photosmart 2006 model finally bit the dust.  Now I have a new one which copies, scans, prints double sided - yay!  Just gotta install it and get rid of the old printer.  Found a place who takes old electronics - hopefully will get to drop them off before we leave on vacation in 2 weeks.  Have hubby's old Dell, the printer, a kindle, and a couple of cameras, plus cables and everything else.  Nice to get them out of the house/closets. 

This week it's hot hot hot here in Texas!  100 degrees isn't fun plus the ozone is doing it's thing as well.  It's a yellow day today & has been since last Thursday. I have breathing issues when the ozone is Orange, unhealthful for everyone one.  Last year, the Yellow warning which is for sensitive people started to affect me.  Long as I don't exert myself, do manual labor like walking in the cool morning air, work in the yard, clean the house, I'm ok.  As you have probably figured out, I have difficulity sitting still.  After my walk Saturday, I was feeling alarmingly tired, yawning, and couldn't get my breath.  Gues what!?!  It was a Yellow day and I walked = bad news!  Breathing treatments are devine! 

Ok - now for the artwork I'm doing.  I designed a cat bookmark - kinda cartoon like - cats with attitudes.  Posted it on Facebook and promptly got 3 orders!  Wow!  So now I'm working on designing a series of cat bookmarks.  Already got a request for a doxie dog bookmark.  Yay! 

As I told you quite a while ago, part of my earnings go to a local mission that helps the homeless.  Last week i was proud to make a large monetary donation, earmarked for winter coats for the homeless.  It should purchase about 70-80 coats (assistant director was able to find a site last year where the coats were about $10 each and VERY good coats!)  I was short about 20% but felt I could give that later in the form of backpacks which are like gold to a homeless person.  Garage sales this time of year are a great way to get gently used backpacks for a homeless person to have some dignity missing when using a plastic trashbag for belongings. 

Off to install picmonkey photoshop program!  Later!

Remember, a smile costs nothing.  Giving one to a stranger will make them smile back and lift up your heart!

Finishing Up A Stone

Submitted by diana on Tue, 06/30/2015 - 2:37pm

I'm pretty wordy today huh!?!  Feel so relieved about so many things that have fallen into place these past few weeks.  Ahhhh!

Today I'm finishing up the Angel in the Garden stone and perhaps the Ocean Waves stone.  Both are paid, awaiting completion and delivery. 

A friend painted a garden variety of a paver stone - the kind that folks use to build walls and such.  She painted it to look like a basket of flowers - cute!  Only downside is the durn things weigh about 20 lbs each, making the step stones feel like a piece of cake!  Oh well!  Intriguing, to say the least.  Can't imagine having to ship one though - LOL! 

Stay tuned!

Remember, you can't live your dream unless you keep on dreaming and working!

Surprise Call and Order!

Submitted by diana on Tue, 06/30/2015 - 2:30pm

Thought I would take a moment to share a wonderful surprise with you!  Saturday morning I got a call from a strange number, so I let it go to voice mail.  In this day and age, lots of random calls are being made, my take is that if the people want to talk to me they will leave a message.  This call did!

I called back after listening to the message - an order!!!  A lady was at Whiz Q Stone shopping for a painted garden stone with the saying "You Are My Rock" on it.  All they had were laser cut rocks, custom orders taking 6-8 weeks, and very expensive.  She wanted it Monday for her wedding anniversary.  Her inquiry inside the store led to her getting a copy of my business card, she called my number on the website and boom!  I was driving there to meet a customer!

The river rock was the size of a large person's entire hand - about 6" tall, and 5" across, very pretty.  She showed me what she wanted painted, we agreed on a price and delivery date, right then and there - yay!!!

Monday I delivered the rock.  She was VERY HAPPY and LOVED it!!!!  She works with teachers in a school district and was interested in my bookmarks as little gifts.  I gave her one of my bookworm bookmarks which she loved.  Stay tuned for this one!

A little marketing and PR goes a long way!  I was very happy and left 2 more cards with Norma at Whiz Q.  Ever so nice of her to remember me and give my customer the info! 

Doin da Happy Dance!!!!

The Journey of a Bookworm Bookmark

Submitted by diana on Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:09pm

Hello All!  Don't you just hate it when you computer "goes to sleep" and you hit the refresh button only for the computer to shut down and you lose the long blog you finished about 20 minutes ago???  Oh well!  Starting over again is the name of this game, apparently.  In the meantime I got another 14 bookworms started painting.  A few customers want to know how long it takes to paint a bookworm bookmark.  Saying only 10-15 minutes seems about right however, when I break it down, starting from scratch - yikes!  Once I get the templates nade and the prototype painted and approved, THEN it takes about 6 minutes from start to finish.  "WOW!" I hear - "only that long and you charge $6! That's $66/hour!  I don't make that much!"  Well folks, it's a little more complex than that!  I never paint one bookmark at a time - always always always paint at least two of each new design.  One is the "artist proof" and the other is the "finished saleable product".  Here's what I do to start any new design - this one is Mr. Bookworm, the Bookmark. 

1.  Get request for new design, something avid readers and/or teachers would like to buy/receive as a gift.  Sketching on my sketchpad for a few days until I get the design I like.

2.  Go to Clipart to find a suitable reference to print and make as a template.  I always use free clipart as to not infringe on copyrights! 

3.  Print out design desired, cut out and trace onto lightweight cardboard that will withstand mupltiple useage.

4.  Trace outline onto cardstock bookmark.  The bookworm is a two template outline - the worm and the book - two templates to create, cut and use.  I outline the head and neck and tail of the worm, leaving the book area clean.

5.  Select suitable paint color for client approval.  Once approved, I begin painting the "artist proof" for client review.

6.  Paint worm with acrylic lime green paint.

7.  Outline worm and book with super-fine black Sharpie pen.  Add eyes, hair, glasses, and scallopes to give the worm movement.

8.  "Color" in the hair and eyeballs with fine point black Sharpie.  The wider the tip, the better coverage of hair and eyeballs.

9.  Add red fine point Sharpie to create bookcover.

10.  Using super-fine black Sharpie pen, make 'pages' of the book to give more 2d effect.

11.  Add lettering using same pen type for lettering on bookcover.  In this instance, T.S. is one the left side and Sims is on the right side of the bookcover.  My signature, diana, with '15 will be under the 'tail'.

12.  Submit for client approval and confirmation in writing of order.

This process may take anywhere from 1-6 hours, and at times, more to perfect.  I have lots of "seconds" of bookmarks that didn't meet my approval, little imperfections. Yes, they are for sale!

Got it!!!!  Now that the order is secure, deposit received, I start assembling the blanks, paints, Sharpies, and start painting!  YAY! 

13.  Count out 80 bookmarks, begin outlining the 2 templates; the worm and the book.

14.  Cut ribbon for 80 bookmarks.  I have a large piece of sturdy cardboard where I have measured 12" for each ribbon.  I merely "wrap" the ribbon around until the spool is out.  Makes about 30 cuts at a time, if the spool measurement is true.

It will take about two weeks to finish up the bookmarks.  I paint in stages as not to burn myself out.  Now I have twenty-two 75% completed - need lettering on front, signature, and company name on back, plus ribbon. 

Remember, it only takes a moment to think up a "great idea/invention".  Then the long process begins of trial and error, research and development, design, rejection and approval.  Believe it or not, that process is what I love the most, besides the painting and seeing the satisfaction and look of delight on my client's face.