Wordy Weekend Links

Why Don’t You Matter? Why You Do Matter! This article had me nodding in agreement. Words -do- matter, despite the little ditty claiming the contrary (you know, “sticks and stones might hurt my bones but words will never hurt me”) and how we deploy them does affect how we see ourselves and the world around us. Also, if you’re an Etsy seller, I highly recommend following her blog: she puts out SEO recommendations for each holiday.

One thing I’m adding to my routine this year. If you make no other “resolution”, I recommend this one. The greatest leaps I’ve ever made that involve cogitating come after I ingest loads of information … and then walk away. I like to say my brain is “percolating” and I feel I’m accurate when I say that: my subconscious (or whatever, I’m not really up on brain functions) is collating information, making connections, etc, and then when I return to the source material I feel utterly brilliant because I have the best insights. The trick is, of course, to remember to incorporate those think sessions …

The X-Stitch for Bookbinders I’m a visual learner, so I usually look for either books (I find I retain information better if I read from an actual page) or videos. This one is absolutely fabulous, very clear instructions, easy to see what she’s doing … I probably need to go and see if she has any other instructional videos. And here’s how I applied this stitch:

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Beautiful.

So have a great weekend! We’re on a 3-day so I anticipate cleaning, prepping meals, maybe going for a run, and then stealing away to the studio to make pretties. Make sure you Art On as well!

Most Popular Color on the Internet, Etsy Tags,Turning a Hand Drawn Logo into a Vector, Skills vs. Talent.

I’ve been wanting Friday to arrive all week. I’m not sure why-we’re busier on the weekends-but it feels like vacation to me. And we need a vacation, but on the other hand we don’t. We’ve agreed that we’re far more productive when we’re juggling too much than when we have nothing to do. If only we could find that elusive balance, am I right?

On to the links.

The most popular color on the internet I won’t spoil it for you, but I don’t like the most popular color. I don’t use it in our home decor (if I can avoid it, it’s everywhere) and I typically don’t wear it. I do use it in my art pieces, because it feels less offensive there. I wonder why I have such a strong reaction to this particular color.

The Truth About Etsy Tags This is for you etsy peeps out there. Last week I felt like I was on top of things, SEO/etsy-wise, but I’m still learning (and since it’s always changing we can never truly be on top, a sobering yet encouraging thought). I switched up a few tags (just the order, mind you) and that resulted in a couple of sales. This article is good, especially if you want to bash things when you hear terms like “long tail” and “short tail”;)

How To Turn a Hand Drawn Logo Into a Vector I’ll occasionally joke that my method of doing things in Photoshop (I don’t have Illustrator yet) is google how to do the thing, google how to do the things in the article about how to do the things, and then google all the words I didn’t recognize in either article. I’m plodding along, having a lot of fun with effects, and one day, hopefully, I will be able to nod along as I read an article about how to do something in these programs. Rather than have multiple tabs open trying to figure out what the heck they’re talking about.

Skills vs Talents This is something I talk about -all- the time, at length (gird yourself). I know my kids have heard this lecture at least three times this semester. I’m blessed to be surrounded by people with talent, my family is practically oozing with it, but that talent wasn’t allowed to ever lay dormant-we treated it more like a skill set. I like to tell about my brother, who picked up the guitar at age 10 and annoyed everyone in the vicinity with his playing and singing (he actually was a good singer, but he imitated whomever he was listening to at the moment). 20 years later, after consistently playing, rocking the late-night bar scene, working early morning shifts, paying his way through college, expanding his skill set so he could afford to continue playing his music: he has an album and one of their songs reached #6 on the Christian Billboard Chart. (You can find the album here) I am incredibly proud, and looking at him now, you might not suspect the years of work that went into what he is today-but they happened.

My other brother is more like me, less flashy. We like to be in the background. I also thought, for a long time, that we weren’t blessed with the innate talents the other brother was blessed with, but I’m wondering if that’s actually true-we tend to pick things up pretty quickly, and our interests are wide and varied. But we both had to work at it: this brother has spent years perfecting his craft (video editing, audio stuff, photography-he’s willing to try anything that might occur in a video) and he’s now a successful freelancer. I spent my teenage years in their shadows, trying to figure out what my talent might be. I tried knitting, calligraphy, the flute (I actually was good at that), beading-and then life happened and I needed to bring in money so I put my crafts aside. I picked them back up and was pleasantly surprised to find that my teenage efforts had not been wasted: I’ve been drawing for a year and a half now, and have actually sold originals at prices I set. This tends to surprise the artists I know (“you learned how to draw last year!!!!“), and I hasten to add that I have a background in the arts with my calligraphy and learned dexterity with my beading. This calms them down;)

So my point, which may have gotten lost in there (I really do talk about this particular subject all the time), is that talent is nice, but you’re gonna have to treat it like a skill to be learned in order to do something with it. And the road is probably going to be hard, and not necessarily rewarding (at first). But knowing that you don’t actually have to have innate talent (I didn’t think I had any), you just need to work hard, -is- incredibly freeing. It means you can do it, whatever it is, if you’re willing to put in the work.

So Happy Friday, my friends. Art On-don’t ever stop.

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Wordy Weekend Links and a Mock Setup

We did a mockup of our setup for Saturday last night. Note the couch that has been pushed out of the way-our apartment is really small. Also note the ribbon my eldest festooned the tables with;)

And on to the links.

Entrepreneurship is a Mindset. I might buy this print-it’s an important reminder.

Do You Need To Learn Digital Painting? I need to learn-I’ve got some black and white scans that would look good in a variety of colors, so this is now on my ever-growing list of things to learn;)

The Myths and Realities of ‘Doing What You Love’ This rather messed me up as a young adult. I wasn’t very passionate about anything, except books, and so I had no clue what I should do. I ended up working at a bookstore (aha! I followed my passion;) and found that I’m very good at organizing and paperwork-so if I ever need a job again I’ll go that route. I’m telling my own kids that they need to get a day job, in order to pursue their night job/passion, and then if that passion pays off you quit your day job. I feel like this is a sensible course.

Art on, my friends. Pictures of the actual booth on Monday! (and a possible meltdown-we’ll have to see how it goes!)

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Wordy Weekend Links

Designing Apps for all your creative needs. 10 beautiful typography trends to try in 2016. Ok there you go buh-bye.

Not really;) There’s also the apology email issued by Etsy’s CEO for the recent payment processing problem:

Hi everyone,

I’d like to take a moment to address the recent payment processing issues Etsy experienced. From July 1st through July 24th, Etsy’s payments processor Worldpay experienced a long, frustrating service disruption. As a result of this outage, many Etsy sellers were unable to fulfill their obligations to buyers in a timely manner, leaving those buyers with a less than optimal shopping experience. We know that to our members, Etsy and our technology partners are one and the same, and simply put, we let our community down. Our community of sellers depend on Etsy’s platform to grow their businesses and build positive relationships with buyers, and this disruption stood in the way of building those relationships. For that, we deeply apologize and commit to doing better in the future.

We take our responsibilities to our community extremely seriously, and I want to take this time to be transparent about what happened, what we did to address the issue, and what we’re doing to prevent this from happening again.

On Friday, July 1st we started to see payments for new orders get stuck in a processing state. Our engineering team and payments operations team were alerted immediately to assess the situation. We quickly discovered that our third-party payments processor, Worldpay, was experiencing issues with one of their gateways which prevented transactions from completing. During the first few days of this outage, it appeared that resolution was just around the corner, as payments were intermittently completing. But what we thought would be resolved within a few hours, ultimately took 24 days.

While Worldpay attempted to identify and resolve the issue, our team determined that we could not wait for a fix, so we acted quickly to mitigate the issue. We architected a new payments process to allow for orders to complete even as Worldpay’s outage persisted, and implemented it within two days. While it doesn’t make things better for members who were impacted, I am thankful that we were able to limit a large majority of the user-facing issues that could have stemmed from this outage. Had we not proactively engineered a workaround leveraging the flexible infrastructure we have built over the past several years, what was for most members several days of processing delays would have been a 24-day ordeal of exponentially greater magnitude to us and our community. Our solution did not fix everything, however, and because Worldpay was still experiencing an outage, our community encountered residual issues, primarily with refund processing. (Because we ultimately do not control the last step in refunds, our technical solution did not resolve those delays).

As all of this was unfolding, we did our best to communicate proactively and transparently through daily and sometimes twice daily updates in our public forums and through direct emails to impacted members. Our communications were limited at times by the information we received from our partner, our dedication to convey accurate information, and the volume of inquiries we received. We dedicated a payments task force to be on call for any impacted buyer or seller to help them resolve their issues. We had teams working around the clock to serve our community. We read every one of your forums posts, tweets and emails.

On day 24 of the outage, we received confirmation that Worldpay had instituted a permanent fix for their gateway, and transactions began processing normally on their end. We have been closely monitoring the status since then and have been working through our backlog of refunds. We are now able to confidently say that all new payments are functioning normally. There are still some residual refund processing issues for a set of past orders. We are aware of each and every order affected, and, in partnership with Worldpay, we are committed to resolving these issues as quickly as possible.

We know the impacts this outage had. Generic apologies are insufficient, but I will say that we did not deliver for our buyers and sellers, we are deeply sorry for the difficulties our community endured, and we have not taken this lightly. Etsy lives and breathes its sellers and we feel it deeply when we let you down. We are committed to preventing this from happening again. We’ve already begun making our platform stronger by adding redundancy and resiliency. We’ll be making more changes over the next few months, devoting all of the resources it takes to ensure that checking out on Etsy is reliable, convenient and secure.

Thank you for bearing with us during this time and for being part of our community.

I dunno. After over a decade in retail I feel I can spot the ivory tower putting on the B.S., but this came close to being an actual apology. Would’ve been nicer if they have given all affected sellers some sort of credit, but that’s probably asking for too much.

In any case, this is why it’s important to have more than one selling platform. To not put all your eggs in one basket. I would come up with more aphorisms but I’ve been useless today, owing to an impromptu ER trip with one of my kids last night (everyone is now fine).

Have a great weekend, Art On, and be awesome.

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Don’t Forget to Take the Pictures, and Wordy Weekend Links.

First, some catching up: our house in Amarillo sold! That means we can now start looking for a bigger house, possibly with a studio area. You simply have no idea how I’ve been salivating over that idea. Or maybe you do, one never knows. But I’ve outgrown what we have and it’s incredibly distressing and not compatible at all with the creative process. At least mine.

So you know how many families have oodles of pictures of everyone except the picture-taker? I’m trying to fix that, and so lately I’ve taken a few selfies and hijacked other people to take pictures of me. I like me in black and white. And I’ll tell you, it’s practically an art form in itself, the taking of selfies. There were so many bad ones.

This is from last year, and it’s aimed at writers, but I think any creative could find Stephen King’s advice useful. I especially like #s 1 &2.

Seth Godin pointed out that nowadays we all use the same software, whether you’re just starting out or well-established (depending upon the industry, of course). This is powerful stuff-as an artist, you don’t necessarily need the professional-grade materials. You can start and progress and gain followers/admirers with just a regular pencil and piece of paper. And in fact that’s the advice I’ve received: don’t avoid something because you don’t have the materials. Do it with what you have. (It’s worth noting that I spend a rather large amount of money on professional-grade materials, but at this point I need to since I’m actively selling pieces)

Have a great weekend, my friends! And of course, art on.signature