Monday, December 3, 2007

Store milestone

I'm very excited because sales have picked up for the holidays. It makes me wish I'd worked harder on new designs before now. I will make sure to be ready next year with lots of new stuff and an off-store website promoting it. My store did have a new milestone. I had my first repeat customer today. Someone actually ordered one of my shirts, got it and like it enough to order another one a week later. How freaking cool is that!?! This gives me hope that the store wasn't a dumb idea or a waste of time. My designs are better than I'm willing to give myself credit for. If I'd listened to my friend Rivercrow to start with I could've saved myself loads of self-doubt about my CafePress store.

On the writing front, as the meter on the side of the blog shows, I never got close to the 50k goal for NaNoWriMo. But the 13.5k I did get was at least two-thirds of first draft of my story. I won't stop writing just because the contest is over. I want to have the story finished to post on by the end of the year.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Long time gone

I've been so sidetracked by so much that Artist's Way has been impossible. But at least the biggest thing requiring my attention is an artistic endeavor. I signed on to participate in NaNoWriMo. It is much more work than I originally anticipated. Completely enjoyable work, but still work. For anyone wanting to keep up with my progress, small compared to others but good for a rookie author, my profile is here. Next month, I plan to get some new designs uploaded to my store and start work on the website I keep threatening to create to help boost sales. As far as next year, I have no idea what it holds in store for me.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

More new designs

Thanks to special requests from co-workers and a slight obsession with the show "Supernatural", I've added not just one but 3 (well, 4 as of tomorrow) new designs. I have several other requests that haven't made it to my Photoshop yet. I've been struggling to come up with ideas that might actually sell and my co-workers are all trying their best to help. The first design shown here was really just for me. I am such a Dean fangirl. The second, one of the special requests, is a birthday gift for someone who's turning 30 and understands the "Logan's Run" reference.

Ok, with that bit of guilt out of my system, I can go work on my fan fiction some more. I always feel a bit guilty when I let my store go without regular updates. I think the new designs make up for some of the lost time. And after the fan fiction, I will get my website up so my designs can be found on Google. My monitor has become a minefield of Post-it notes to keep me focused and on track. And so I don't lose the great ideas from my co-workers. I am a Post-it kinda girl. :D

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Finally some inspiration

It's been a while since I've been able to come up with a new design for my store. It took actually wearing one of them to help me with a new one. I think I might have to make a whole series. Check out how it looks on the shirts and let me know what you think. :D

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Getting my crap together

I've followed one piece of advice and ignored another. Too bad I got it backwards. I've recently been reading up on how to make a CafePress store successful. Almost everywhere I found information, the person said that the shopkeeper should always charge the premium mark-up. The reasoning behind it was the people shopping see the higher price and figure it is higher quality. That is a load of excrement. I was averaging at least one sale a week, sometimes even two. I know, not that much in the scheme of things, but it paid for the store. On the advice of the "experts", I changed the mark-up on all of my designs to premium. No sale for almost two weeks, also not a huge deal. But I changed my prices back to what I'd had before and the same day I made another sale. It could be a coincidence, but I see it as a sign. The "experts" are probably just other shopkeepers who figure the best way to get rid of competition is give lame advice. We newbies, trusting they know what they are talking about, follow like sheep. Well not anymore. Like I told my friend Rivercrow, I'd rather make $2 per shirt and sell 2 or 3 than make $4 a shirt and not sell any.

The first bit of advice still doesn't explain why my Pagan designs don't sell. I believe it's because I didn't follow the second, more helpful, information. I have several very nice designs. But no one sees them. That's because I added them to my store without bothering with a description. Having tags for each design is all well and good. But the description increases the number of times the target keywords appear on the page. Not only does it help in searches on CP, but searches on the major search engines as well. If we can get our designs to show up on Google, maybe we can reach the audience we are targeting. I posted this info on my main blog almost a month ago and blew it off. I plan to spend the next few days correcting that oversight. I will post here if it has any effect on my sales. :D

Friday, August 17, 2007


As of about two hours ago, and thanks to a few friends and even more total strangers, I've sold 30 items through my Cafe Press store. My Naruto design is still my best seller. I've let my store sit on the back burner the last few weeks. I still need to add descriptions to my current designs. I need to come up with some new stuff. And need to put content on the website I finally forked out web hosting money for. Though that will all have to wait a few days until I get my first fan fiction story beta read, edited and posted. I know it won't bring any income, but I'm excited to get feedback from other fanfic authors. I've never written before and didn't realize how fun it would be.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Here's a link to my squidoo lens, the first of many places I will request or create for free advertising for the Pagan designs in my (and Rivercrow's) Cafe Press store. I am determined to get people to see what great designs we've created. Until I can afford the web hosting for my own site, I will find whatever free options I can. If I have to create free accounts on every site available, I will. Pagans have to know there are quality design options available. No clip art and no tacky lines like "Want a taste of Religion? Lick a Witch." My most successful Pagan design so far is this one:

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Artist's Date 2

I know, I know. It's been much more than one week. But with real life always cutting in, I'll need to do as Rivercrow suggested. Don't start all over again and again. Pick up where I left, or I'll never finish. And I really NEED to finish this.

My artist's date this time didn't net any visible results. But it will have results in the long run. I've always been very hesitant about putting pencil to paper and just drawing. It has to be perfect. With as few erasures as possible. Which is very stupid. My logical brain understands that I can't create perfection every time I sketch. It's my right brain that freaks. And that very reaction is why I started AW in the first place. So this date, I got online and spent at least an hour going through basic lessons on drawing. I don't remember any of the art lessons I might have gotten as a kid. I feel like I'm trying to build an artist starting with the second floor. Like I skipped the foundation and the first floor completely. Things that are obvious for other artists, I can't quite wrap my mind around. The logic behind these things make sense. The actual execution is where my brain goes "My give up!" Putting in a foundation just might help me get past my fear of imperfection. That and dealing with loads of self-doubt.

In the next few days, I'll post the answers I got to from a few of the tasks, like naming 5 dream professions, from the first few weeks of the program.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A great feeling

For the first time in a long while, I didn't give up when things got hard. And my persistence paid off. I got past my block yet again and added a new design to my store. Even better, I sold my first shirt to someone I don't know. Not that I would ever complain about friends buying my stuff. It just felt like real validation that a total stranger bought one of my designs. I really need to figure out the best way to market designs and not just for my sake. For now, someone in Tennessee will be wearing my first anime inspired design. I did the happy dance. :)

Friday, May 25, 2007

More flowers

I seem to be partial to the little yellow one. Well, that and they are the ones I got the best pictures of. I don't have any new updates on AW, but I wanted to at least post some more of my photos from the first Artist's Date. The field I got these nice shots in is right behind my apartment complex sandwiched between the apts and a Costco. Behind it is a big dirt and gravel hill probably created when they built the Costco. And near it is a pond where several ducks live, but it's near a freeway. Too much trash made any nice photos impossible. This is why most of my shots are close-ups. Even a couple of my close-ups will have to be touched up due to random bits of trash I couldn't see when taking the picture, but were quite obvious in the photo.

Most the walk was overcast, but just at the end the sun came out to help me get the brighter shots. Everything I've posted so far didn't require color or brightness adjustments, just upping the resolution and cropping. For all my whining, I really do like my little Sony Cybershot. It seems to capture the real color very well. The only bad part of this photo trip was the mosquitoes. The spring has been fairly wet. They were out in full force and I was quite tasty. Next post will be an update on my AW progress and hopefully a new design at my store.

Friday, May 18, 2007

They finally arrived!!

I ordered manga pens, paper, and art boards ages ago from my local comic book shop. I'd given up actually getting them. But when I went to get my subservice (monthly comic subscriptions), there they were! The cool thing about the paper and art boards is that they come preprinted with rulers, print marks and cut marks in that light blue that won't show up when photocopied or scanned. It makes planning bleeds and multi-page images so much easier. Now all I need is to get the characters in my head on paper and get some story ideas for them. You know, the easy part. :D

Here's the company that makes the pens and paper. Their site also includes drawing tutorials and an online store. They have some great sets of colored pens that I would love to get.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Artist Date number one

Here's a small sampling of the pictures I took this evening on my artist's date for week one. I'll tell you a little more about it tomorrow. For tonight, I wanted to at least post some images.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I almost forget to mention...I started AW again Monday. And so far, so good. Three days in a row of not missing or blowing off the Morning Pages. I've discovered that doing the pages before going to sleep instead of just as I'm waking is more effective. It clears my brain of all the thoughts that would normally be running through my head when I'm trying to get to sleep. I wanted to use today as my artist's date, taking some pictures. There are at least three fields in walking distance that are overrun with beautiful wildflowers. I want to capture them before the killer summer heat comes and kills them all. Next week date, I guess. I did spend a little quality time with Illustrator tonight. I put a new design up at the store. It's pagan with an Asian flare. I debated about coming up with some text for it. I think I like it just the way it is. I think I'm also going to add a section for anime designs. Not just Pagan specific, but some stuff for anime fans in general. I have design idea in mind. I just have to get it on "paper" and uploaded.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


As usual, I've set a goal I can't meet. But this time I won't let it be the reason I give up. I planned to add at least one new design a week to my Cafe Press store. I now know that if I miss one week, it isn't the end of the world. Things will get in the way. Higher priorities will come up. And as is the case this time, a creative block will slow my progress. I'll work through it, not give up. Now off to play with Illustrator and hope it will get those creative juices flowing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A blessing for my new store

I'm celebrating the grand opening of my Cafe Press store with a virtual candle ritual. May Goddess bless Luna's Gathering Designs with prosperity and creativity. I hope my designs can brighten days and lift spirits. Brown for prosperity and yellow for intellect and creativity.
Happy Beltane!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Grand Opening

I've had my Cafe Press store up for about a week and a half now. I signed up for the trial of a premium store shortly afterwards. The trial ends after 14 days. My first day as an official premium store owner will be my grand opening. The most amazing thing is the day. My new store opens on May 1st. Beltane! How cool is that? What makes it even cooler is that it was totally unplanned

My store will have the beginnings of a polished new look and loads of positive vibes to help it succeed.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My first designs

I thought I'd share some of my Cafe Press designs here as I post them in my store. I'm thrilled at having finally done something productive and creative. I have to tell everyone I can. :D

Here's the first one I uploaded and the only one that's sold so far. OK, a friend placed the order, but I have to start somewhere.

This one is my favorite. It turned much better than I'd originally planned. I'm glad that Cafe Press accepts the PNG format. It kept the design clean. As you can see here, JPGs lose crispness.

Until I can get back on track for the Artist's Way, I will post news about my store. Well, and even after. This just seems like the logical place for creative endeavors.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I did it!

I finally took my first step in getting creative. I started a store at Cafe Press, Luna's Gathering Designs. I have two designs ready for sale on various products. Very soon, I will upgrade to a premium store and add a new design each week. It's the perfect way to get my creative juices flowing. From there, I'll start working on my cards again, the handmade ones. But I want to take it one step at a time, at a fairly slow pace, so I do it right.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Been away too long

Very soon, I'm taking my life in a direction that makes finishing the AW program a must. I've had family business to deal with and a house guest staying until the end of this week. With that out of the way, I'm finally ready to get my rear in gear.

The first chapter is about enemies to my creative self-worth. After spending time with my whole family, I think I can face that chapter honestly. Without that honesty, the program just won't work. The first two times I tried starting this, I wouldn't admit that my family contributed to my problems. I told myself it was me that was my problem. Silly, silly me. Now my list of "enemies" will be correct and not include myself.

Friday, March 9, 2007

I never could get my printer to work, but thank Goddess I have a good digital camera. The only bad thing about that is it's less forgiving with tracing paper. Even so, the drawings still show up just fine. And, omigod, I can't believe how much I missed my Photoshop. Even if it was just for brightness and contrast. The first three are more traces. The last one is my freehand version of the third trace. I had a lot of fun with these.

Technical difficulties

I'm finally back online. I haven't made anymore progress with the Artist's Way program at this time. But things are falling into to place so that I can focus more fully on it. In the meantime I was planning to post a couple more of my sketches. My scanner (actually an all-in-one printer, scanner copier, and fax) has decided to play hard to get. As it is late, I will attempt to get the thing working properly tomorrow and get my drawings posted. If the scanner refuses to work though, I can always take digital photos of them instead. One way or another I will post something tomorrow (well, today really.)