business, tips, typewriter

new endeavors

My newest passion, addiction, and endeavor is refurbishing typewriters.  I have had a vintage typewriter for years, but I bought it already serviced.  I found a typewriter at the flea market that was such a reasonable price I decided to get it and figure out how it all worked.  And I did.  There were some problems with it that were unrepairable, at least for my current skill set, but it opened the flood gates to buying many (MANY) vintage machines and begin bringing them back to life.

I have and will continue to refurbish a bunch of these and then list them for sale in my Etsy shop.  It does take time.  It also take uninterrupted time, which is the kind of time I don’t find much of these days.

One of the machines from my personal collection that I am trying to work all the kinks out of is an Everest K3 with script typeface.  It would be considered an ultraportable and the serial number indicates that it was one of last ones produced by this manufacturer.

When it arrived it was a mess.  I will post some before and after shots of it.  The exterior hasn’t changed much, although I have throughly cleaned it.  The mechanics, however, are another story.  It had a lot of problems.  When I post the before and after shots I will list all the repairs I had to do on the machine.  I still have one nagging shift issue to resolve, but today I did some of the final touches.

The one I wanted to document was a tip I have never come across, but worked great.  The rubber or felt pieces that pad the space bar are often deteriorated on these old machines.  I decided to try using felt furniture pads cut to size (and trimmed in width) to replace these.  That worked so great.  They have a self-adhesive backing that allows for easy placement and ultimately easy replacement if they need to be changed out in the future.

razor thin felt pads

Now I just have to solve this shifting dilemma and she will be completely revived!

art, inspiration, tips

Daily Photographer

A new year, a new 365.

Back in 2013 I attempted my first 365.  The goal was a photo a day for every day of the year.  I got 108 in and then failed.  Since then I have (almost!) completed 2 years.  In 2016 I only missed one shot, but there were also 366 days, so technically…  and I will complete 2017 in 3 days.  If you want to step up your photography, do a 365.  Every art, activity, job you do must be worked on daily, if you want to progress.

During my time doing daily photos, I have tried all kinds of themes, but every year I stop the themes because they are, at times, restricting.  However, prompts are inspiring.  They promote you to take photos you otherwise wouldn’t, as well as think outside the box.

But I need flexibility.  The reason I fell from themes was I felt tied into an idea.  Many times that idea didn’t fit into what would best remind me of that day.  For example the theme would be architecture, but one of my boys may have a concert.  The concert is what I really will and want to remember about that day.

I found a list from The Narrative Society that was ingenious.  Instead of subjects, their prompts were technique driven.  But they didn’t have an entire year’s worth of these. I decided to create my own list of prompts.  I aimed to leave it open for a variety of subject matter, but instead focused on photographic elements and techniques.  Many of the prompts will repeat throughout the year.  This was purposeful.  It will allow for progression and practice.  Doing something once hardly makes you proficient.  I also have some linked days where you pick something one day and the next day follows with one tweak.

Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you the monthly prompts about a week prior to the next month.


art, inspiration, Motivation Monday, tips

Monday Motivation – Everyday Inspiration

This Monday’s motivation tip is easy… step back and look at your every day life.  Like the eggs you crack open every morning or the waffle iron that makes breakfast (No exaggeration, my 7 year old has waffles every day).


These are the things (or people) that are so close, we sometimes overlook them as subjects.  But we know them intimately and, often, love them more than most other people or things.  Where there is love, there is the potential for great work.  Next time you’re looking for something to draw, write about or paint… step back, look around, take notice of something you love and use every day.  It just might crack open a whole new world.

art, Motivation Monday, tips

Motivation Monday – Thrifty

I love vintage.

It can be trendy and all that, but I love that each item has a story, a history. You can feel it when you hold it in your hand. I imagine all the things it saw, people that loved it before, and world in which it resided.

This week I visited Idaho Youth Ranch, a local thrift store. It was fun to walk around and check out all of people’s “trash” and see if I found a treasure. I found a few, including that creamer and sugar bowl set. It was handmade from England.

My favorite place to find these treasures is the Treasure Valley Flea Market. Once a month, through the winter months, they hold a flea market at our fairgrounds. I have gotten the best things there. This last weekend was the first weekend.  I left with a bowl of inspiration…


Maybe a trip to your local thrift store or flea market can inspire you. Without breaking the bank, you can find that perfect item, that holds a history waiting to be told.

art, business, Motivation Monday, tips

Monday Motivation – Vision Board

Friday’s favorites were art mags.  They are great teaching tools and idea givers.  However, when you are standing at the magazine rack, they aren’t the only inspiration you can draw from.  Currently, I am all about food.  Eating it, yes, but painting it.  At the bookstore I searched out food magazines for more inspiration.

One thing I do with my magazines after I’m ready to recycle them, is rip out the photos I may draw from later.  Sometimes it’s filed away for the future and other times it is for the current series I am working on.

I use these giant clips above my desk as my vision board.

Art Magazines

I cut out photos, write down ideas, or even just colors. Sometimes when I go to the home improvement store I will collect a few paint chips that reflect the color palette I want to stick to for the next few paintings. Pick out things that are just speaking to you. It doesn’t have to be photos you plan to paint. I sometimes choose photos of home decorating or baking or fashion. They just spark something that gets you mind moving. Anything to keep the flow flowing.

art, Motivation Monday, tips

Motivation Monday – Let Love Be Your Guide

They say, do what you love.

I do.

I also know I should follow this same advice when I’m in a creative drought.  If I can’t write, I start with what I love to read.  If the brush won’t move, I think of the things, activities, and places I love.

It really does work. I made a list of my favorite things.  From there, I came up with an entire series of cards in a week of sketching. Two things I love are running and riding my bike. After sketching out designs, I started on them today. Still a work in progress, but I was pumped to get into the studio today and sad when I had to turn off the light.

cards in progress

Make a list of things you love. Things that have nothing to do with art. Then think of how you can make that art. Love gardening? Draw flowers. Foodie? Still life may be your next painting. Are you a romantic? Love stories and poems could be calling.

The passion you have for all those things you love will shine in your work.

art, business, tips

Christmas in October

Now I get it.  When I would roll by stores and see Santa waving at me in October, I would have all these questions popping into my head.  Now they are all answered.

The advice for small businesses is “prepare for Christmas early“.  People start looking and shopping for home decor and Christmas cards WAY before December comes around.  Now I understand why the stores have Frosty out before Halloween ends.

As a small business, competing with the big boys selling printed cards and the well loved online photo card, I have to show my stuff early too.  I set the goal to list a line of Christmas cards by October 1st.

Goal met. And a day early to boot.

warm wishes

Visit my etsy shop for more Christmas cards

business, Motivation Monday, tips

Motivation Monday – 5 Easy Ways to Get Inspired

Everyone gets blocked.  Every artist throughout the history of time runs dry on ideas.  The pen doesn’t move, the paint doesn’t flow, and the ideas don’t seem to come.  Here’s 5 easy things to do to spark some new inspiration.

  1. Reorganize your stuff.

studio seating

This past weekend I was forced, by a small mouse, to finish off my studio closet (preventing my little friend from coming back).  This resulted in an entire room re organization and make over.  It is nice to have a clean space and know where everything is, but even more so, I found stuff.  When you reorganize you come across things you had shoved into small spaces and forgot about.  I lost a mouse and gained a few treasures I know I will use in some upcoming work.

2. Find a hero

Mine is this guy … Jackson Bezzant  When I ready this story I started immediately coming up with ideas of cards I could send to him.  It was like instant inspiration.   Inspiring individuals, well… they inspire.  Keeping your eyes open for people and stories that inspire you will start the ideas flowing.

3. Buy yourself a treat

new stuff

It doesn’t have to be anything too expensive, but buy yourself something new.  A brush, a paint color, new pen… something you have never used before.  And then just start playing with it.  See where it takes you.

4. Reconnect to nature

With the seasons changing, there is so much to grab from our surroundings.  Jump on your bike, go for a run, or grab your stuff on your back and hike into the unknown.  Sit in quiet.  And then grab your pen or brush and start creating.  Take some pics along the way with your phone for later.  Nature is a constant moving entity and proven across centuries to be beautiful source for art.

5. Just keep creating

Force yourself if you have to, but create every day.  Practice and push through the blocks.  Throw away every painting or writing piece if you must.  Take the couple tidbits of love you birthed into the world that day and toss the rest.  It will all pay off in the end.