Be Better: Canva

Since I plan on starting to regularly post on multiple websites, such as facebook, instagram, and flickr (with mixed success as of yet).. I knew I needed something to help streamline image processing.  I had heard of Canva and am deciding to give them a try.  I went through all of their learning tutorials, because I figured I might as well know how to properly use the program, and because I thought I might learn a thing or two about design (the first is true the second is debatable).  But, I think that for someone without an art background, you probably would learn some fundamentals of good design, such as utilizing white space, or how to pair fonts.  But I personally recommend anyone using Canva to take the hour (I’m not even sure if it took me this long to take all 30 tutorials, but I suppose you should take long enough to actually learn what they’re teaching) and do all of them.  Each one has at least one good tip, or instructions on how to use the program, including short cuts to make it even faster!

Right now, I’m trying to design my wedding invitations, and it’s actually going really well.  I’m sure I’ll share them on here when they are done.  But things that I really like so far about Canva include the variety of fonts for free, and the shapes.  Oh man, do I love those shapes they provide!  Being able to upload my own photos, and quickly and easily turn them into Pinterest worthy blog photos is super exciting.  This is by no way endorsed by Canva by the way, I’m by no way at that kind of level.  I hope to be able to utilize Canva more often for photo editing and prepping, instead of using Photoshop.  I took about 10 minutes and managed to whip this image up.  So, this is my first official image I’ve put out that I designed using Canva.  Still my original photo though.

Does anyone else use Canva?  If so, do  you think it makes processing images faster than more traditional editing software?



What I’m Working On

So in my previous post, I mentioned that I was donating some of my creative wares to a charity silent auction at work.  Since I work at a craft store, I guess it shouldn’t be THAT surprising that many of my co-workers are also super crafty!  But the hand-bound books hanging out beside my doll I’ve already put some bids on.  Pretty!

I’ve donated a few older stock items, such as dino plushies and keychains, but also one of my new Pocket Rag Dolls.  I have sold two of these girls so far, and do plan on getting the rest of them up on Etsy in the near future.

I’m working on more Pocket Rag Dolls, with a bit more diversity.  But I’ve worked on the pattern for this doll for a long time, and despite how difficult they are to make (mainly turn), I don’t think I’m going to alter the pattern for the next batch!  I’m also really happy with my final packaging design for the dolls.  Packaging is something that I’ve been trying to improve on to make my pieces look for professional and finished.

Here you can see my little Rag Doll in amongst the crafty stuff.  Consider this a sneak peak, because I’ll be posting a bigger album with more Pocket Rag Dolls later this week!


Be Better: February Review

So after my first “month” of blogging, and trying to schedule and plan better, how have I done?

Obviously this is being posted on a Monday, and.. well I’m not supposed to be posting on a Monday.  This *should* have been posted last Thursday.  So, why didn’t it?  To be  honest, I think I need to work on my discipline.  It’s not that I don’t *want* to be posting, and writing.. it’s just that it is really easy not to.  So here I am, last day of the month, and lets just say I’m happy that this is a leap year.  The extra day will WILL mean that I will accomplish some of my goals this month.


  1. Finish Mermaid Doll – not done
  2. Complete Four Motivational Pages – two out of four
  3. Have rough copy sketched for four pages of comics – uhhh
  4. Update profile photos on various websites – okay to put off for now
  5. Create business colour scheme and start branding – yes!
  6. Donate hand-crafted items to Charity event at work – yes!
  7. Establish AND follow blog schedule – uhhh.. let’s talk about that

1: So where am I?  Well, I’m not finished the Mermaid Doll.. gah gah gah.  I still need to finish painting the box and I think that she needs a few details added too.  This is going to be my main project for tonight.

2: I’ve completed two motivational pages, and have a third sketched out.  I don’t think it’s reasonable to think I will finish this one AND complete a fourth one.  But, four was a bit ambitious (that would have made it one a week), and they are a bit more labour intensive than I had originally thought.. though drawing these I find very relaxing and when I’m not in the mood to create, but know I should, these are an easy way to get something done.  That being said, next month I may only put two on the goals list so I can make more time for other projects.

3: Comics.. ahh.  I really need to just DECIDE what comic I’m even working on.  One day it’s Thalia, the next it’s the Transit of Valari… obviously I can’t work on both at the same time.  That being said, this is probably my ONLY goal this month that I didn’t make any headway on.

4: Okay, so I haven’t updated my profile pictures yet.. but I have sorted and backed-up a tonne of photos on my computer.  I just ordered new glasses last night, so maybe I’ll wait for them to come to take some new photos.

5: Yay, something I can say I’ve actually done!  I’ve used Canva, an online tool that I will be talking about more next week (err later this week), to start creating my brand template.  I have a new colour scheme picked out, and fonts, and even some design elements.  So one thing I can proudly cross off my list for the month!

6: Where I work (Michaels Arts and Crafts), has an employee supported Charity called Michaels Cares.  The program is help associates in times of severe need, such as life threatening illness, death in the family, or your house burning down.  This year, I really wanted to support the program because I know a friend of mine had to use it last year.  While I haven’t talked much about Gaeten on my blog before, he was a true inspiration to me and his loss is something I still feel.. I’ve been seriously considering writing a post about him, so that’s all I’ll say for now…  But it’s been a big month of fundraising, and I’ve purchased a lot of cupcakes in support.  I’ve donated a few items into the silent arts and craft auction, the topic of my next What I’m Working On post.

7: The Big One.  Did I make a schedule I can actually follow?  Did I follow it?  Kind of and kind of.  I love my written schedule and it fits to nicely on a half page.  But, I also have to admit that last week I didn’t technically get two posts out (or even one), though this post is still within my week (since my schedule runs Tuesday to Monday).  What is working is picking specific things to write about in advance so I’m not racking my brain trying to remember what I’ve done recently.  Now I just need to dedicate myself to FOLLOWING the schedule to a T.  Just remember, Discipline not Motivation.

So, to keep my silly goals of posting, expect my next post later tonight.  After today, I *should* be returning to regular scheduling.

What I’m Working On

So my main project I’m trying to finish is my old Mermaid.  I’ve been finishing up the top coats of her skin, and I’ve been working on her hand-painted box.  This is my first fully painted box that I’ve created for a doll, I really like how it is turning out so far, plus it lets me add to the character of the dolls I’m creating.

I also finished a second motivational and floral drawing.  Tonight, I’m going to be starting a third.

I didn’t make any progress on Valari this week, so either that or my Thalia comic will be a focus for the coming few days.

Be Better 2016: Digital Scheduling

Okay, so week two of blogging schedule.  I mentioned last week that I had already adjusted my schedule, but have to admit that this week I’m going to follow last week’s (because I uh.. didn’t write my posts in time this week.  Honesty).  I’m going to use the excuse that I had a week off of work, so I’m allowed to relax once in a while… but relaxing so early into my Be Better 2016 Plan is probably not the best idea for me either.  Regardless, I’m still pushing forward and doing my best.  Last week I shared how I’m attempting to schedule blogging, and plan blogging ahead better so I don’t have to think of what to write about, or feel forced to create so that I can post about something I did that very same day.  I’ve introduced a highlighter to my blog plan, and the colour makes me happy.  Now I just need to figure out how to carry my blog schedule with me more consistently.

But, the blog schedule isn’t the only list I’ve been trying to maintain for the huge life goals I’ve started working towards.  I want to get more consistent cleaning done at home, healthier eating, plus all the little side projects and ideas (all on top of being an artist and working a full time job).  As many of you already know, balancing all of this is really hard, and it’s become apparent to me that trying to create hand-written lists and keep them all up is damn near impossible (for me at least, and I really like lists).  So, I have finally made the step into the 21st century, and last year I got a smartphone all of my own.  I have to admit, technology has gotten pretty cool.  As soon as I got the phone I started looking into time-management and scheduling apps, I tried out a few but decided on one that was king of them all: ColorNote.  I lets you make check-able checklists and test files.  It has a calendar view, and lets you re-new lists on a regular basis (such as daily, or every Tuesday).  I also just learned from looking on their website that you can also re-name the colours so that you stay organized with what each colour is for (nifty).  ColorNote is by far the most customize-able list and schedule app I can find (that’s free too of course), it just takes a bit of time to figure out how to use it.

So my calendar view is a sea of little yellow dots which are for daily tasks.  I’m trying to keep it simple, and not over-divide work or make lists that are a mile long, so I’ve decided that for each day of the week I only have my work schedule (or my usual work schedule), laundry, dishes, cat litter, 15min tidy, plus one room focus.  I think this is a good way to start, since it doesn’t load up any one day with cleaning.  I also have two checklists that stay on the first day of the month for monthly goals, one list for art and creative business goals, and one for house and personal goals.

Over the past week, I’m also thrilled that my partner fixed our internet, so my phone can finally connect to our WIFI at home!  This means I can re-work my morning routine, and hopefully come up with something that works better for me (waking up 20 minutes before I have to leave, and spending about 10 of those minutes laying on the couch has proven to not be the best approach).  I’m going to leave you today with a reminder that it is still winter in Ontario and a sneak peak to what I’ve been working on.



What I’m Working On.

So, if you were paying close attention to my last post, you may have saw some of my plans and directions for my art.  I have always had a hard time focusing with art, but that is what I plan on doing… if you can call two completely different types of art and mediums focusing.  But, for me, as someone that has literally worked on printmaking, sculpture, painting, illustration, handicrafts, and photography within a span of a single month… picking two is pretty good.  So what two you ask?  Well, it’s going to be comics, and dolls.  Out of everything I do, I know I most passionate about storytelling and creating characters.  So, I think these two choices make sense and compliment each other.  Plus it lets me work in very different ways, even on the same project, especially with doll making.

So, right now I’m working on my Transit of Valari story.  Some readers may remember these horn girls from old posts and sketches, and I’m pretty proud to say that they have taken on a lot of personality, and have really grown from my initial ideas for them.  But you will have to wait for me to have pages more finished before I tell you more about them.

For doll making, my main goals involve finishing a lot of projects that I’ve abandoned over the past few years.  The first is my mermaid doll, which I still haven’t settled on a name for (any suggestions are greatly appreciated).  Currently I’m working on her finished box, and deciding on any finishing touches to the doll herself.  I posted a WIP page for her on Behance in March 2014.  No I’m not joking, and that’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but now is better than never.. and at least I have worked on the doll since those photos were posted, right?  One step at a time, I need to remind myself.

Lastly, I’ve been interested in improving my graphic design skills with fonts.  So I’ve started creating these motivational pages, which I may or may not use in a project in the future.  But for now, they are just fun pages to get warmed up with illustration again, and good mental reminders to myself.

Be Better 2016: Blog Schedule

Alright, so this is my first post from my new blogging schedule.  As I previously mentioned, I’ve been working on making a proper blog and online schedule, and dedicating myself to finding the best ways to implement it.  You can’t obtain your goals unless you have a good plan.  Blogging and getting myself online is only one aspect of my New Years Resolution, but I’m trying to take things one step at a time, and really iron out each step so that I can actually reach my goals.

So I’ve spent a few weeks and have made a blog schedule.  It’s a completely different approach to blogging for me.. which is why I think it might work.  While I’m definitely using more digital means of keeping track and reaching other life goals (something I plan on talking about in my next Be Better post), I decided to do something more visual and hand-done for blogging.  I picked a cute notebook (one I already had), and divided the page in half.  I have a simple legend, and plan on seeing more and more highlighter throughout the book.  It’s weird but I realized that based on my schedule, it makes way more sense to make my blog week go from Tuesday-Monday.  Once I decided that, the schedule made a lot more sense to me, and just sort of fell into place.  I’ll be sure to update on the success and alterations I make the schedule and how I’m keeping track of it.  I’ve already slightly adjusted the lay-out of the weekly checklists for the coming week, which I’ll share next week.

Did I mention that I’ve finally joined Instagram?  I have to admit, I think me and Instagram are going to be friends.

So while I’m posting this a little late for my Thursday deadline, it’s still in before midnight and therefor a success for following my blogging schedule!  Tomorrow I will be posting an update on what current art I’m working on.