Free “All You Need is Love” Posters

To celebrate moving this website to better, more powerful hosting (in July 2019), I’ve created three free posters you can download and print.

They’re PDFs. Each is designed to print on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper, with a small margin around them for matting. (The photos show what they’ll look like, framed.)

Click on any image to download it from Google Drive. And yes, they’re free. It’s okay to share these with friends… just don’t use them commercially, okay?

All You Need is Love - red heart, black backgroundClick to download red heart poster.
(Photo courtesy of Designecologist.)

Click to download poster with greenery heart.

Click to download poster with wood background
(Photo courtesy of Brigitte Tohm)

And, if you like these (and want more like them), I hope you’ll leave a comment, so I create more for you.

Easter Egg Coloring Pages

As we trek through 2019, I’m continuing to redesign this website. I’d thought about making this a blog again – since that’s how this site started – but then I realized it’d shift the emphasis away from my main goal for this site: To put creative ideas, tips, and resources in the hands of more people, whether or not they consider themselves artists.

So, in the coming weeks, I’m hoping to restructure this site so it’s easier to find the kinds of information and resources you’re looking for.

Easter Egg 1 - 2019Expect more freebies here, as well.

Today, I’m sharing five different coloring pages. They’re 8.5″ x 11″ PDFs you can download and print.

All five are kind of hippie-style, as that’s what I enjoy drawing.

Here are the links at Google Drive: Easter Egg 1Easter Egg 2Easter Egg 3Easter Egg 4Easter Egg 5.

P.S. Want to share this link? Here’s an easy way to remember it: http://bit.ly/EasterEggs4u

 

Creativity – 2019 Ahead!

As I’m becoming more uneasy about Facebook, and – apparently – I have a lot to say about living a creative life, I’m returning to this blog.

Oh, not right away.

Creativity ahead 2019!Early in 2019, I have at least three big projects to complete before I overhaul this website so it’s more fun for readers.

I’m starting with ArtistsJournals.com.

I’d also like to spin-off my Mailartists and Wild Art Dolls articles.

Well… maybe. Both were separate sites, many years ago. I’m still deciding.

Also, I might merge ColoringGroup.com with this website, since it looks like I’m the only member still creating coloring books & pages. I’m not sure, but I think that will fit my plans for this site.

But… yes, you’ll see changes here, a little at a time. (Subtle ones have already started.)

Also, if you have thoughts about what you’d like me to include (or highlight) at this website in 2019, let me know.

I’m eager to hear from you, and comments (below) are the fastest way to reach me.

Enthusiasm is Contagious

Enthusiasm is contagious - posterThis has been a transformative week… in a year of “ah-HA!” transitions and cool discoveries.

I’m re-energized and planning very cool projects.

To celebrate, I’m sharing a door sign* that I created. It’s where my mind is, at the moment.

You have two options. Or you can choose both. (Why make decisions when both choices are fun…? )

  1. You can download & print the original, black-and-white copy, and color it yourself. (Btw, neither of the prints have the “Aisling.net” text on them.) Here’s the link to the printable, b&w PDF: https://drive.google.com/open?id=18tXNToRKW0w1z7k9Sup-gSJ8YJscu1OK
  2. You can download & print a copy of the one I colored (with colored pencils). Here’s the link to that PDF: https://drive.google.com/open?id=18tXNToRKW0w1z7k9Sup-gSJ8YJscu1OK

If you’d like to share this blog post with friends, use this URL: http://bit.ly/enthusiasm4u (On a PC, right-click on the link and choose “Copy link address.”)

Door hanger at Aisling's homeMore info…

*Starting at Earth Day 2018, I decided to spread some everyday happiness with my neighbors, the UPS guy, people dropping off Amazon stuff, etc. So, I began putting a daily, decorated motivational message on my front door.

To do that, I bought a clear plastic frame thingie at Amazon. I tied a ribbon through the two holes at the top, and made it long enough to use as a hanger.

(Changing the sign, daily, is super-easy. The frame is open on three sides, so swapping signs takes less than 30 seconds.)

Then I hung it from a 3M Command Outdoor Hook (which doesn’t damage the door). The illustration shows today’s door sign.

So, that’s one thing you can do with signs like this.

I also have them on my laundry room door, in my kitchen, in the bathroom, and in the bedroom. Because I can. And these bring smiles to everyone who sees them.

Free Writing Paper – Hippie-Style

This project started as my personal notepaper. Then… it sort of grew.

At first, I wrote my messages in the white rectangle in the middle. Then, I hand-colored the border design.

Last week, I realized I could print these for the children in my family, so they had an area to color, but also an area to draw in. (They’re at the age where they love coloring, but they also love to draw.)

And then, I decided to make these available to everyone, free.

Click on each image below, and the related PDF will open for you to download.  (These are 8 1/2″ x 11″ pages, and each graphic is linked to a different PDF.)

And then… I realized my other neighbors might enjoy this writing paper, too. So, I got an easy-to-remember Bit.ly URL, Free2Color.

After that, I created the following sign, colored it (by hand, of course), and taped it to our front door.

Free coloring pages and writing paper.

This goes along with another recent, hippie-style project for my neighbors:

Every morning during the week of Earth Day, I put a new message in one of my front windows. I printed the signs large enough so passers-by could read them when they’re on their way to work, or walking their dogs.

Most of the messages came from late 1960s’ and early 70s’ songs… things from Woodstock and the hippie era, in general. Others reflected similar attitudes.

Here were a few of them, stacked on my floor.

Window signs with happy quotes.

If you like this window-sign idea, the font is Elsie Swash Caps Black font, and the size should be at least 120 pts to be read by people passing by your home. (For other signs, I’ve used Placard GF at about 150 pts, and a few similar fonts.)

Generally, I printed them on two sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ paper, horizontal, and then I taped them together to make the window sign.

But then, I decided to create actual door signs, and color them. (They’re smaller and more fun to create. Generally, I design, print, and color them in one-week batches, in front of the TV.) You can download some of my door signs – already colored, or b&w copies you can color, yourself – at my Enthusiasm is Contagious post.

These projects come from my “still a hippie” soul, with the idea that doing nice things for other people – and putting more happiness into the world – is the right thing to do.

 

Yes, I Color in My Own Books…

Good Vibes - Aisling's coloring demonstration.Do I color my own coloring pages? Yes, I do.

As a coloring book artist, I think it’s important to color your own drawings, so you understand the experience.

It’s why I create lots of different kinds of coloring books. Some people want big, bold areas to color. They want to complete them in one sitting.

Others want tiny, detailed areas, and pages that take a long time to complete.

And some want a mix of both in every coloring book.

My “Good Vibes” coloring book is a mix. This video shows one of my more detailed designs, and how I colored it. (It was a stressful, not-enough-sleep week, and coloring this was a way for me to get the tension out.)

I’ll post more videos like this, as I color my own pages. They may give you some ideas for how you’d color them… or, hey, maybe how you wouldn’t! LOL

Also, I was using three brands of coloring pencils: Pluqis, Prismacolor, and Staedtler.

I was impressed with Pluqis. For the low price, I expected very hard leads that wouldn’t blend well.

Instead, I love them. They’re not as brilliant as Prismacolor colors, but I often use Pluqis first. Then, I add dazzle with Prismacolor coloring (lightly) over the Pluqis areas, or using Prismacolor for highlights & shadows.

Tip: Prismacolor leads can be just slippery/oily enough that it’s difficult to color over them… unless you’re using another Prismacolor pencil, that is.

So, I usually sketch in my color ideas with Pluqis, first. If I don’t bear down too heavily on the paper, I can usually color over Pluqis with Prismacolor… but not always vice versa.

Prismacolor Manga pencilsPrismacolor pencils are pretty much the top of the line for most coloring book enthusiasts. They’re soft, they blend well, and… yes, the price can be daunting. I bought their Manga set, which is priced fairly low at Amazon.com, and it includes some good, juicy brights and subtle darks.

I also use Staedtler’s bright colors (with soft leads), but – to be honest – they’re in third place. Where I used to use Staedtler, I now use Pluqis when I can.

However, I know people who consider Staedtler the absolute best among colored pencils. So, it’s probably a matter of taste. And, sometimes Staedtler is the only line with the exact color that I need.

I hope those tips help. I’ll share more creative ideas – and coloring videos – soon.

Meanwhile, I hope you’ll try my Good Vibes coloring book, and let me know what you’d like more of, in the future.

Planting a Kitchen Garden from Cuttings – Easy Green Onions & Mint

This Christmas – like last year – we started kitchen gardens for friends & family.

They’ve been a great success. (My own green onions have been thriving for over a year now. I just keep cutting them back – to use in recipes – and the plants regrow bigger & more flavorful every time.)

Today, we delivered four green onion plants (already started) as Boxing Day gifts to the four managers of the apartments where we live.

If this sounds interesting to you, here are links to the instruction sheets (PDFs) I created. They explain how to start your own kitchen garden, using items from the produce department at your grocery store.

Planting a kitchen garden from cuttings: Green onions

Planting a kitchen garden from cuttings: Mint

Old Site Pages – Removed

Preparing for a late-2018 overhaul of this website, I’ve deleted the old Aisling.net pages… the ones from 1999 – 2006 (or so).

There were hundreds of them, and many were duplicates of articles at this (far newer) version of the site.

Google wasn’t happy with the duplicates, as well as the many broken links on those old pages. Google planned to de-list this site altogether.

My reaction: No. No-no-no! I’ve put too much time into this site to let that happen.

I started to fix all the links. Then I realized: I’m going to change everything later in 2018, anyway. (Well, not everything. I’m just replacing all the old HTML pages with newer versions, here.)

So, yes, the old pages are now gone. Until the 2018 updates, you may run into some broken links and missing graphics. I apologize.

On the Appearance of Old Articles

If you’ve signed up for updates when this website is updated, you may have seen (or soon will) announcements of “new” articles… that aren’t, really. Or, you may receive so many of those announcements, they look like spam.

Here’s what’s going on: I’ve been restoring old, old articles from my original HTML site, to this (WordPress) website. And, I’m back-dating them, when I have a pretty good idea of when those articles first appeared. (A lot are from around 1996 – 2004.)

If that’s a problem (especially if it looks like spam), it’s okay to use the UNsubscribe link at the foot of the email, and sign up again for the announcements, later this year.

update key(This is a major project, so I don’t expect to complete the updates until around December. And even that may be optimistic. I mean, these are hundreds of articles, and some of them need far better illustrations. In 1996, I did my best to keep entire webpages below 35k. Today, a 35k image can look fuzzy, or it’s a ridiculously small size.)

Anyway, that’s what’s going on, if “new” articles have dates from y-e-a-r-s ago, and look old, too. It’s because they are. (But the info in them is still useful, so I’m restoring them, a little at a time.)

illustration courtesy GraphicStock.com

Notes on Tidying Up

Life-changing magic of tidying up - KonMariLike many people, I’m working my way through “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up…” by Marie Kondo, also called the “KonMari” process. It’s about decluttering, and surrounding yourself only with things that bring you joy.

The process has been astonishing, and I’m still early in the process.

The following is this morning’s observation, which I shared elsewhere (in social media), but… well, you may enjoy this, too.

Clearing out, I keep stumbling onto things I’ll like but I know I’ll never use.

Or, an item that’s long past its “use by” date in the real world, but I’ve had the idea that “I might need this someday.”

Or, the reason I bought it…? Now, it’s LIGHT YEARS off my current and projected creative trajectory.

But, I’ll be honest. Letting go of the item is, on a small scale, kinda-sorta like a divorce.

The breakup itself can be difficult (or not), but the REALLY excruciating part is: letting go of the original dream.

You know… that “ooh, shiny” moment when I acquired whatever-it-is. The idea that it would be the coolest thing EVER, when I used it for… something. Often, that was some specific event or project that was part of an even larger, future vision.

And then, my life swerved in a different direction. A direction that made more sense and turned out pretty darned cool, and I do NOT regret it.

But each new adventure on that path took me even further from the earlier vision.

So, a lot of the stuff I’m letting go of now… it was part of a rosy, “what if..?” dream. But that’s in the past.

Often, the swerve in my life happened for an external reason. It’s WAY too easy to blame it on someone who really DID stand as an obstacle in my path, at that point. And he or she really WAS a jerk.

But, jerk or not, my life went in a different direction. And I had fun anyway. Probably a LOT more fun than I might have had, on the previous path.

Still, some of this process is like a divorce. And it’s FAR to easy to want to hold onto that old dream (and that related, old grudge)… IF I let myself do that.

The process isn’t easy, but it’s healthy. And, by releasing those mini-anchors to the past, I’m allowing myself to move forward with less holding me back.

For me, THAT’s what this is about.