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.

 

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

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.

Merging, Moving, and More

Quick update: By the end of February, this site will move to new hosting. To most visitors, nothing will look different. The site might appear to be offline for a few hours, during the move, but that’s all. (Site is now at new hosting. Whee!)

I’m also continuing to merge most of my art-related websites. All of them will become part of Aisling.net.

Update, 21 Feb 2016: Everything is here (except some of the really old articles). However, I need to fix the illustrations, recordings, & links in the articles that moved here from ArtistsJournals.com. (I’m keeping the old ArtistsJournals.com site online, until I fix these issues.)

At the start of March 2016, this site should be a one-stop resource for mixed media artists and artists who keep visual journals.

Meanwhile, if you’re on the updates list — receiving emails every time I add something to this website — I appreciate your patience. You may see a flurry of updates as lots (and lots) of articles are added to this site.

Coming Next – Mailart and More

moving boxesIn the continuing re-integration of articles from my original website (started around 1995, back in the GeoCities days), my next project is to restore mailart-related articles to this site.  Those (very dated) posts are still at my old, dusty, HTML site, and need to be revamped, rewritten, and moved here.

Meanwhile, yes, the coloring books continue. I’ve created 20 of them, so far. My top-selling coloring book is Bold and Easy Coloring Pages 1, with a new book being released about every two weeks.

I’m absolutely loving this. Most of my coloring books are hand-drawn (yep, ol’ fashioned pen & paper), so they take a lot of time… but the feedback from them has been very worthwhile.

In the immediate future: To improve navigation and load time at this site, I’ll be changing its design and some of its features… but only slightly. When that’s underway, this site may look rather untidy. If you land here during that time, I apologize; keep in mind that it’s a major milestone as I re-energize this site.

Thanks!

Wild Art Dolls Have Arrived!

As of this morning, all of the Wild Art Dolls articles have moved back to this website. Whew! That includes the free doll patterns.

(I will update the GIFs as full-size PDFs, later. Meanwhile, you can rescale GIFs to print, full-size. In most cases, my cloth doll patterns were designed to fill an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper.)

If you find any broken links, broken images, or text that doesn’t make sense, let me know in a comment at the broken page (or wherever things seemed to break).

I have temporarily removed the voice recordings from the doll art pages. They were in an old format that most computers can’t recognize. I plan to update those recordings, later.

I’ve restored the site’s Search form and the Categories list to the sidebar of this website. That should help you find anything you’re looking for.

Also, I’ve removed old “featured images.” That should resolve the problem where stray graphics were turning up in odd places.

Next, I’m planning to move all of my mailart-related articles back to Aisling.net.  Those articles were at Mailartists.com, and they’re even more outdated than the wild art dolls articles were. (It’s difficult to believe I’ve been online about 20 years…)

So, this next part of the “back to the garden” project (as I’m calling it… a Woodstock reference) may take considerably longer.

Meanwhile, I appreciate your patience as I shuffle files, fix broken code, and all that non-art technical stuff. It will be worth it, when this is completed! (<– That’s become my mantra. LOL )

And, one more thing… you can download free, printable coloring pages by Coloring Group members — including me — at the Free Coloring Pages page at ColoringGroup.com.

Construction – or reconstruction – in progress!

The site update project…? It’s now at the Totally Messy stage of things, and it may be like this all summer. I’m merging some of my other art sites with this one.

For the moment, SantaFlamingo.com is offline.

WildArtDolls.com is online for the moment, but I’ve just imported all of its articles. This means some of my categories are duplicated, garbled, or otherwise weird. A few articles may be, as well.

Update: The files have been moved and updated. If you see a broken link on any of my doll-related webpages, let me know in a comment. Thanks!

And, of course, I’m working on this (again) in the middle of major changes in my life… including a move. As of this morning, HT and I aren’t sure if we’re staying in Florida, heading back to New Hampshire, or doing something else altogether. (The marriage is fine. The question is about the best location for our respective careers… at least until winter.)

So, I appreciate your patience as I reorganize, restructure, and generally tweak this site (and others) and make Aisling.net a one-stop resource for mixed media art… and a whole lot more.

Disneyland Tribute for My Mom (Fantasyland game)

Disneyland is celebrating its 55th anniversary.  I’m commemorating it with an artistamp design featuring art by my mother, Muriel Joan Bernier (1919 – 2010).

The artwork at left, which was also on the Fantasyland board game, was based on my mother’s art.

She freelanced for Disney in the 1950s. I remember her drawing lots & lots of versions of the castle, for Walt Disney and Parker Brothers (the game manufacturer) to approve.  Some versions were tall & skinny. Others were very broad and sturdy, like castles in England and Wales.

My mother’s drawing style was distinctive. I’d recognize it anywhere. She’d start with very simple shapes — ovals, cylinders, squares, and circles — and then adjust the lines.

She did a lot with shading, to get the effects she wanted. She liked contrast in her work. (That wasn’t always possible when she freelanced for Rust Craft, creating greeting cards & wrapping paper designs.)

The next photo shows the final version of the game artwork. (Yes, Bugs Bunny was among the characters entering the castle. I’m not sure if Mum did that deliberately, or if it was a whim of hers, just for fun.)

Disney Fantasyland board game 1956 Muriel
Fantasyland board game (1956), artwork by Muriel Bernier

My mother passed away earlier this year, and — I’m not sure why — she didn’t want me to post her artwork online.  (My mother’s always been eccentric.  Once she decides something, she rarely changes her mind.  Questioning her was pointless.)

This, however, gets around that.  The images were already online… just not credited to her.

So, I created the artistamp at the top of this article, as a tribute.  Ordinarily, I add my artistamp postal name — Ballynafae — and a postage amount (usually 3p) to make my artistamps look more stamp-like.  In this case, it didn’t seem right, so I added the basic text and here it is, as-is.

You can download it as a stamp-sized image (PDF), either with a stamp-like edge (as a graphic), or as shown above.