Fresh

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wow… 2020 was a doozy, am I right? A lot happened last year. I wasn’t really in a mindset to provide value in a blog format, so I did what I knew to do and that was to offer y’all a place to find some resources. It was weird, I’m sure. Shortly after this posts, I will edit the resources pages a bit [and add a couple more links back into the blog], before leaving them be for now. We need to get back to this blog’s intended purpose, which I’ll go over some below.

Intention

When I first started Re.Habit Crafted back in 2015, I was homeless. Inspired by ideas I was seeing about breaking bad habits and resetting better ones, I felt it was almost like recycling — or rather, upcycling a life. For example, eating isn’t a bad habit, but over-eating is. So we must do away with overeating, and reconstruct our eating habits. I’d hoped Re.Habit Crafted could be a log of my personal journey with “re-habiting” my life, as well as an inspiration and guide to others who found themselves in similar positions.

My Experience / Qualifications

  • I am a domestic adoptee, adopted at birth. I’ve never met any biological family. I am a moderator at a support server specifically for adoptees.
  • I struggled as a teen to find work; this struggle led me down a frustrating path, which ended in my deciding to create my own business[es]. Which… honestly, haven’t always worked.
  • My spouse served 4 years in the United States Navy; I’m a military spouse, now Veteran’s spouse.
  • In 2012, my husband and I became homeless. We survived 2 years in varying degrees of homelessness and joblessness, which has granted me further skill sets within household administration, research and writing talents.

What to Expect Going Forward

Because of my life experiences, it is important to me that this blog be a beacon to others. To teach and to learn with them as we all navigate changing and building lifestyles, personal growth, or even crises. To add value to others, and to share intentional and meaningful processes to succeed or find answers to whatever we’re looking for.

What About Arts & Crafts?

I am a creative artist and craftsperson. That will never end — speaking of which, you can find my work right here, or you can donate here; and I have a shop here. There was a time when I was a craft-blogger, and we had so much fun. I was so happy to share that with y’all. But this is a new chapter, and I hope you’ll stick with me. There will still be the occasional creative / crafts / arts post, but more along the lines of the blog’s intentions.

Thank you for reading and for being here today. Please share this post with friends and family.

Important Documents Packet

Homeless, Lifestyle, Military Family, Uncategorized

Everyone needs proper documentation to prove their identification — particularly during an emergency, or when applying for assistance. If you’ve lost your government-issued documents, there are links near the end of this post – I hope they help to replace them.

I recommend every family have a packet containing important documents. Military spouses often purchase extra copies of everything and put one in a safe place such as a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend / family member. My important documents folder has actually saved us a couple times. I recommend that if you’re in a family, one individual be in charge of the folder system. Each individual should have their own personal folder, but there is one keeper of all the documents. This keeper should have all the originals and guard them at [almost] all costs.

What do I need in my packet?
  • Birth certificates for every household member.
  • Marriage certificate – get it notarized.
  • Passports.
  • Social Security Cards.
  • Driver’s Licenses or State IDs.
  • Military / Military Spouse IDs / CAC Cards.
  • Proof of ownership of any high-dollar item [land, vehicle, house, boat, granny’s pearl earrings that are “too valuable to wear”].
  • Personal banking info IF you have no way of logging onto the internet to check on it [such as a smartphone].
  • If possible, notarized copies of any Identification. I would also recommend having access to up to $50 in the event that you find you need a copy notarized. It cost something like $25 to get a copy of my birth certificate notarized in 2009.
  • Military discharge forms, such as form DD-214 and any other forms pertinent to your service.
  • Medical forms — especially for military / prior military. Veterans should visit their local VA center for information on obtaining their records.
  • Copy of any prescriptions or the contact information for the medical professional who prescribed them.
  • ID or punch cards for your local food pantry.
  • Tickets for your local public transit, or the cash to acquire them or gas for your vehicle.
  • Gift cards to get your family through a couple meals.
  • Pet info including service animal identification [I’d fold a bandana with “SERVICE ANIMAL” or “DO NOT PET” etc. on it into the packet].
  • Powers of Attorney.

When we were homeless, I kept all our papers in a clear sheet protector which then fit perfectly into a bubble envelope.

What if I’ve lost my documents?
How can I prove my identity as a homeless individual without any proof of identification or address?

Start by checking to see if you have a bank account, the card or checks for it, and a method of accessing it. I recommend having at least online access to your account{s} because even homeless, you can log in, and phone or chat with your banking establishment to try to access and utilize your account. If this is not possible, let’s find a way around that:

  1. Panhandle – in NC, people can acquire a free panhandler ID which allows one to panhandle. The instruction here is “get cash”.
  2. Use a portion of funds received from panhandling to acquire a prepaid card with something like Western Union [be aware of any fees associated with the card you choose].
  3. Hop onto GoFundMe and Facebook. Inform your friends and followers of your circumstances. Make certain they are aware you are missing important identifying documentation and that you are attempting to replace them to improve upon your circumstances. As folks add cash to your prepaid card, you can then use that money to replace your IDs using the information provided earlier in this article.

Meanwhile, I would speak to EVERY service organization you can. I would open with that. “Hi. I’m homeless [and a veteran – if applicable] and I have no personal identification. Can you help, or connect me with someone who can?” Food pantries, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Red Cross, every charitable organization you find, shelters, hospitals… if no one is helping, find a church or a library and tell them. If that doesn’t work, take a day to rest and let the anger build. Then boldly go forth to the office of the mayor; I wish you all the best in your campaign.

Thank you for reading!

COVID19 Art Memorials

Art, Uncategorized

Social distancing is still in effect for many of us — probably most of us. And as I’ve watched from my home on the sidelines, the saddest news I’ve received has been the struggles of families who’ve suffered losses. Many of the stories I’ve heard or read in the media have involved inability to retrieve bodies of loved ones, or being states or countries away and having to video chat farewells or attend funerals / memorials / wakes via livestreams. Human culture seeks the solace of burial — a final celebration and ceremony of lives we were connected with. Closure. An opportunity to say our farewells properly or to just grieve.

Under normal circumstances, street memorials would be put in place or vigils held as friends gathered to remember. Flowers decorating a cross on the roadside… but this is COVID and we shouldn’t be gathering. Funerals are becoming something entirely different. There are articles about how coronavirus has and will likely continue to change mourning traditions.

Live while we can.
Laugh while we can.
Love.
While we can…

Things may seem bleak — and I’m sure social distancing and lockdowns aren’t really helping. Like many of you, I’ve been discouraged or even angered by local commentary which I sometimes can’t help but see. We see it all — from those upset by people not wearing masks to those who feel that wearing them is an encroachment on our human rights. It’s easy to feel caught in the middle of whatever arguments we’re seeing.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been reminded of a quote in the final episode of the first season of the TV show Army Wives. A Veteran’s spouse myself, I cannot help but draw comparisons between what the world is going through now and what many American military spouses go through daily. In the show, there’s an Army wife who works as a radio personality on Post. Her show is called, ‘Have At It’ with Pamela Moran. Here is the quote:

Pamela: [over the air on her show, ‘Have At It’] Ok, so in case you were wondering why it’s been so busy on Fort Marshall today, it’s because we’ve gone to FPCON Alpha Plus, and we know ‘Alpha’ relates to the global threat of terrorism. But…hell, we’ve been to Alpha Plus here before. We’ve bought the gas masks, we’ve stocked up on bottled water. But, there’s one thing we can never be prepared for, and that’s the fear. How do we handle the fear? My son Lucas once asked me if the ‘bad guys’ were going to blow us up. How do you answer that? How do you explain terrorism to your kid? How do you explain that at any time, any place, someone could just decide to take us all out? And that’s why terrorism works, because we can’t explain it, we can’t predict it, it can happen any time, anywhere, by anyone. So, all we can do is trust that the military has our backs, and then we let it go. Because the only way to stop the fear is by living. Just living, being with your family, your friends, your community. Look, there is nothing we can do about it – except to seize the day. We live while we can, laugh while we can, love while we can. And that, my friends, is how we beat terrorism. So, ‘Have At It.’

Pamela Moran, character on Army Wives, season 1 episode 13, Goodbye Stranger — Wikiquotes — underlining is my own.

How do you explain COVID to your kids — or to your own inner child? All we can do is trust. I put my trust, my faith, my hope — in God. But what if we don’t believe in Him? Or any god, for that matter? I would say to seek out healthy and fulfilling things in which to put your focus. Like yoga, meditation, eating healthier, growing a garden, taking more walks, or working to achieve a goal. Or even breathing. Breathing is awesome — I’ve briefly forgotten how a couple times since March, so I can assure you that air is gold… and not just because of pollen. The point is: Seize your day.

I’ve dedicated the cover art for this month’s bullet journal to the memory of those who’ve passed. If you would care to join me, feel free to use the hashtag #COVID19artmemorial.

Thank you Heroes!

For all that you have and will continue to endure on behalf of others. We love y’all! Stay well!

Thank you for reading.

How Are You?

Uncategorized

It has been a hot minute or five since I posted any blogs. I’ve missed blogging — but life, other things got in the way…

…and then COVID-19 happened. It’s been a difficult time for our global community. I see so many of us becoming discouraged, or dealing with so much right now… so, I don’t want to discuss COVID-19, the latest news, politics, or anything else “triggering” right now. We’ve been through enough, we need a break, so here’s your Kit Kat bar…

Drinking the Tea & Spilling it Too

Somehow over the last 3 years, I’ve managed to collect way more tea than I’ve been drinking. And when I’m done with it all, I’ll… order more online. While choosing my tea flavors, I’ve been reconnecting with a good friend via social media and video chat.

Add to Your Skillset

Follow this link for 2 free months of Skillshare. If you’re unfamiliar with Skillshare, it is an online learning platform with hundreds of courses taught online via video and downloadable content.

Youtube

There are so many amazing creatives on Youtube trying to make us smile right now. Just, uhm… make good viewing choices. Remember that the accepted official news sources regarding COVID-19 and related resources [here in the US] are: the Internal Revenue Service, Centers for Disease Control, and World Health Organization.

Personal Projects

I’m re-covering my sofa and 3 chairs with scraps of denim from jeans that wore out, crocheting things out of plarn [plastic yarn, made from recycled plastic bags]. My husband painted a kitchen hutch and a side table. We’ve so many projects to power through during this time. And I’m seeing that most of the projects I’m working on account for the bulk of clutter in the home, so it’ll be nice to get them done. If you need some inspiration, I encourage you to visit Pinterest.

Give Yourself a Spa

Order some Epsom salts; DIY a face mask and lip scrub — this means channeling your inner JVN. Pop on your favorite music, or some Lo-Fi on Spotify. Kick back. Relax. Do some reading.

Bored Games… Board Games…

Don’t forget about the board games, card games, games with your kids… Hey, it’s a great time to teach them Chess.

“Git Up” and DANCE!

This is a fantastic way to put a bit more time between you and your quarantine fridge-stash while also getting some much needed exercise. Just uh… don’t break grandma’s hip. Or yours.

Lonely?

One of my favorite activities when Drew was deployed in 2011 was getting in the truck and just going for a drive. Even without a friend, I felt less alone. Maybe it was the wind whipping my hair into a hopeless mass of tangles, or maybe the music, but I always felt better.

I hope you and your family are healthy and doing alright emotionally through this. Stay strong. Breathe. Have faith. If you do find you’re struggling, I do encourage you to reach out to the Crisis Text Line or similar service in your area.

Thank you for reading; stay safe, be well, wash those hands. Adopt the local wildlife… okay, maybe not, but you get the picture: TAKE CARE.

Holidays

Uncategorized

During the last 100 days, I allowed myself to be a bit off-kilter in my planning. It was a time of decluttering and preparation for further organization. I feel I’ve achieved a bit more mindfulness and intentionality as a result, and I’m looking forward to enjoying these in the future.

That said, something I’ve learned about myself over the years, but have never acted upon is that I really struggle to write / blog during big holiday months / the holiday season in general. Pretty much after Halloween, my internal / mental systems power down and check out for the remainder of the year. Doing so allows me to prepare for any socializing I may want to do during November – December, so I can put my best self forward going into the new year.

So, I’m taking a holiday from the blog, I hope it also grants my readers more time with their family and friends. My Instagram, previous posts and other social media are always available if you need a Re.Habit fix. Merry Christmas!

What the Shelves Hold

Personal, Uncategorized

My name is Laura Weiller. And I have somewhere around 5 incomplete projects in my craft closet. Some are big projects. Like really big. Like monumental. Like… why or how did I ever think I could achieve the end result without burning out?

As a creative artist, it can be difficult to part with any project. It’s challenging to admit that maybe this thingy isn’t going to get done — or at least not by me. Even tougher when I had high hopes for the finished product. Or worse, invested some cash into it.

In 2010, one of my husband’s Christmas gifts to me was embroidery floss and a few other craft-related items from Michael’s. We walked into the store, and I paced in front of the racks of colorful skeins. I used the floss for making hand-woven jewelry — this was a rare opportunity to acquire several skeins which should be carefully chosen or the colors wouldn’t complement and work well together. A complex decision had to be made despite the massive selection presented me.

Fully unaware of the havoc he was about to wreak, my well-intentioned spouse began picking up one skein of each color and dropping them into the basket. When he was done, he probably had over 200 skeins in the basket. He was to deploy a few months later and had no intention of my running out of craft materials while he was away. 8 years later, I’m still working through those 200+ skeins of embroidery floss…

…and I’ve learned some things…

  • I’m the same person I was as a 12 year old. There are 2 things I like the most: animals and creativity [crafts / art / writing]. I’m happy. This is what I’m supposed to be doing.
  • It’s not worth it to move with the added bulk of unfinished projects. It’s just going to gather dust on a different shelf.
  • Stark honesty goes a long way to clearing those shelves of incomplete things… I’m delighted by every creative goal I attempt. I can’t wait to see the finished piece. But if that process takes too long, or if I get bored halfway through… I will pick something else up before I go back to that. And soon, it’s forgotten. Left unvalued.
  • If I haven’t done it and don’t set aside the time to, it’s probably not something I value as much as other things — and that is okay.

So today, I want to encourage you to clear out some of the clutter of unfinished projects. Some suggested methods of ridding yourself of them are:

  • Take stock of your projects, and go through them one at a time. Set a reasonable date [2 weeks, a month from now] to have it finished by. If it’s not finished, it has to go.
  • Invite a friend / family member who enjoys this sort of thing to join in a “traveling project”. Each individual does a bit of work on it. Then the completed project is donated to someone in need.
  • Yarn / sewing projects [crochet / knitting, etc.] could be donated to assisted living facilities.
  • The materials used may be able to be sold or traded — here again, I would suggest setting a date. If it doesn’t sell by this date, it goes in the garbage or is freely given to someone who can use it.

Have you struggled to stay on point with a project? I’d love to hear more.

Thanks for reading,

FP

Raw Beginnings

Crafts, Uncategorized
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You may be surprised to see me DIYing literally everything about my business. My shop name is hand written on Kraft paper hangers for keychains and jewelry pieces. All artwork on the packaging is drawn by hand. Even my business cards are handcrafted, drawn onto index cards in my own, clear handwriting. I love offering this personal touch — but it seems society often demands an unnecessary ‘bells and whistles’ approach.

I’ve been creating some art since I was a pre-teen. People often asked if I sold my work – the answer was usually no – I had no idea how to start a business, much less, where I would find paying customers. I enjoyed making things for others just for the smiles on their faces — getting paid money was a rare and delightful bonus.

In 2009, I started working to build a business out of my arts and crafts. I quickly learned that the standards some communities hold their sellers to seemed almost unattainable for me as an unemployed newlywed trying to make just a few dollars in spending cash. I suddenly felt a great deal of pressure to have more things…

  • a cricut machine
  • a printer and printable address labels
  • a fancy-ass DSLR camera because according to some communities, only the most finite detail and quality photo will do
  • a paper-slicer thing-a-ma-jig
  • pretty ribbon and wrapping / boxes for packaging
  • VistaPrint business cards
  • paid advertising
  • more recently, I’ve been told repeatedly that my products “won’t sell” unless I have multiples of each item [it’s rare for me to make the exact same thing twice].
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For years, I’ve beat myself up a lot over lacking or unable to afford all this and more… I felt it could be a reason I wasn’t making sales. It could easily manifest as nameless, faceless voice firmly stating my apparently obvious failures. But I also argued with myself that these aren’t needs. These are extravagances. This is a thing I can do and it’s a large part of what makes me happy.

It’s 2018. For the first time in my life I’m being told new customers will “definitely be ordering again!” and “will be ordering Christmas gifts” from me. It’s truly an honor to be so appreciated. To know that my work has hit it’s mark.

But get this:

  • my product photos are staged, me holding the item, laying it across my personal
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    desk or hanging it from whatever pretty jar I have available from my kitchen
  • I take every photo using the 5-megapixel rear camera in my Samsung Galaxy J3 Prime. Maybe it doesn’t pick up all the finer details of a speck of dirt, but is that really necessary for this? I think not.
  • I don’t edit the photos. I check to be certain they’re not blurred and that the color isn’t off by much and that’s it. When photographing products for the purpose of selling, I try not to use a filter.
  • I wrap my products in Kraft paper. I got a huge roll at Walmart for just over $4. My spouse has also used it to make origami boxes for items to be hand-delivered in.
  • My advertising is completely free. I took the time to connect my Google Calendar to IFTTT applets which share each of my products at least once every two weeks.
  • My shop at Spreesy is also free. I still plan to use Etsy again, but for now, am delighting in the work having a customer base has added to my schedule.

What is all this telling me? We long for simplicity. There is a hunger for a real, personal touch when it comes to the products we purchase. People want to know that time was taken and care given to making them the most pleased patron in the county. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why this is my work.

Have you also felt pressured as a crafter / artist? To market your products in a specific, fanciful way? I’d love to hear about your experiences — comment below, or feel free to reach out to me in some other way.

Thank you for reading.

Signature
F

Media

Uncategorized

Whenever I think of ‘media’ in reference to art tools, I remember the I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy Becomes a Sculpturess” [Season 2, Episode 15] in which Leon Belasaco’s character eloquently asks, “Which of the media do you employ?” I’m just as clueless as Lucy, but I can safely say, I’ve yet to make a bust of myself.

I love making art, but it’s easy to look at what others are doing and think your own skills and tools inadequate. My spouse and I are by no means rich, so I sometimes struggle with a fear that my art isn’t legit because I didn’t do it a specific way that someone with better, more expensive resources might can. One day, I started doodling and fell back in love with it. When friends saw what I was up to, they gave me a lot of positive feedback [thanks guys!!] and well… here we are. Long story short, I had to give myself some positive feedback, too. I tell myself how cool it looks with just a #2 pencil — and it really does. There are times I almost fear it’ll look worse inked or colored in. Point is… don’t let that stuff get you down. If you want to art, go do it!! I bet you actually already have some of what I use, or something similar.

Let’s start with the basic tools. [If I know the price, or where I got it cheap, I’ll let you know.]–

  • Mars Lumograph pencil sharpener by Staedtler. I don’t remember where I found it, exactly, but I think it was about $5.
  • Hi-polymer eraser by Pentel; I’ve found these for about a dollar at Wal*Mart.
  • Sketchbook, XL Series by Canson. This is the Mix Media sketchbook for acrylic, watercolor and pen or pencil and it’s acid free. I don’t understand what the bulk of that means to say — painters — because I don’t paint [yet?] but there you have it. I got this one at Walmart for around $10-12, but…
  • …lately I’ve preferred to draw on blank index cards by Pen + Gear. Those pictured are 4×6; I’ve been using 3×5’s. I get 100 in a pack for less than $1, also at Wal*Mart. I rarely ever see bleed-through, etc.
  • I got this Flexi Ruler at WalMart so long ago, I no longer remember the price. It’s survived years of mildly abusive art, being rolled into backpacks, or smushed / bent by heavy books. Still works great. The ticks on the ruler haven’t faded a bit. Definitely a long-lasting purchase.

20180808_125306.jpg

Sample scribbles.

Bic Grip Rollers: I got this one from a bank and am delighted to report that such a simple pen [read: inexpensive, not super fancy] is so great with my art. I use it for Zentangles, and heavier lines. It does bleed through some papers if used too heavily, but this is the only drawback I’ve found.

Uni-Ball Signo (Micro 207): This is a ‘sometimes’ pen for me. I hardly ever use it for drawing, but it’s within reach when I draw, so, we’ll include it. I’ve found that there are times when these pens skip a little… but then I’ll find the one signo in the pack that’s completely okay with writing…

Pilot G-2 (0.5): This is probably one of my favorite pens to write or create lettering with [I usually sketch things out before inking them]. These pens write very clearly and I’ve never had any problem with them whatsoever [until they run out of ink, obviously]. Great control, because of the grip at the end. Just all-around awesome ball point pen, in my book. They’re excellent writers, too.

Dixon Ticonderoga (HB2): This is my pencil of choice. I’m on the hunt for a mechanical pencil, but am perfectly happy with these in the meantime. The erasers on these are fantastic and will usually get up most if not all the marks if mistakes are made. They’re reasonably priced at Wal*Mart and similar stores as well.

Marvy 1122 Le Plume II [No. 50, ultramarine | No. 55 iris purple | No. 83 butterscotch | No. 58 peacock green]: I usually use these for stamping [most of my stamping is done on letters to decorate the envelope, hence why it’s rarely seen in my art]. These are the 4 I chose when I realized I didn’t need as many as I had. Excuse any messy marking in the image — they’re quite old and some are starting to dry.

Staedtler FineLiners (0.3 mm): These are excellent for bold coloring. I love the smooth drawing and coloring abilities, as well as their lengthy life-span. I’ve had this pack since 2013, none of the pens have dried up. There is minimal damage to a few of the tips from overuse, but that’s about it. I could easily replace one or two pens at a time as needed and never have to purchase a full pack again. I’ll hold for the collective “oooh… ahhh”. Oh, and regarding the lifespan, it actually says “dry safe” right there on the packaging. This pack cost me about $20 at Target — but I think I got the holiday discount…

Crayola Colored Pencils: I love my Crayola. I doubt it’s really necessary to explain these. But what I will share is that about a year ago, I had a ton of colored pencils by another, cheaper brand. They were wooden and the wood around the lead kept breaking, making it nearly impossible to color with them at all. I finally decided to give them up in exchange for a more expensive box of 24 Crayolas and I’ve been so happy with them ever since.

Do you have a favorite media tool? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Thank you for reading!
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FP

GIMP / Threadless Tutorial

Art, Uncategorized

If you are designing / drawing for print on demand, you may have struggled [as I have] to find GIMP tutorials… One of the most frustrating aspects of searching for directions was time wasted on lengthy introductions to not-so helpful tips which focused largely on anything other than GIMP — so, let’s dive right into your work, shall we?

What you’ll need:

  • Your artwork
  • Scanner – I use the Notebloc app on my Android smartphone. I’ve used several scanner apps and this is the best I’ve found to date. I’ve also found it easiest to scan in my local library in front of large windows that let in plenty of natural light.
  • Device with GIMP loaded [I use GIMP 2].

Setting up GIMP:

  1. Projects like these need air. Open a window. Specifically the Layers window… assuming it’s not already open. You’ll need more windows open, so add the following tabs via Windows, Dockable Dialogs —
    1. Channels
    2. Colors
    3. Fonts
    4. Selection Editor
    5. Tool Options

They don’t have to be in this order — I simply found this order the easiest.

Let’s turn your art into a png I’m going to use this cupcake design. You’ll notice, the design is just black, penciled line-art. There is a different technique if this cupcake were colored in. Refer to image below as a brief guide as you progress through the instructions.

  1. With your line art open, go to the Layers tab; add a Transparency layer. Now click Adobe_Post_20180724_132753.jpgon the layer containing your artwork to select it.
  2. Switch to the Channels tab. Right-click the Blue Channel and Duplicate it. Turn the duplicate channel on by clicking the box to the left of “Blue Channel” — the box should have an eye in it. Turn off all other channels.
  3. Click the pink box in the lower right of the Channels tab. You should see marching ants around your image.
  4. Switch to Selection Editor tab. Invert the selection.
  5. Switch to Layers tab. Delete your art. Switch back to Selection Editor tab; click the red x near the bottom left to dismiss selection. You should see your drawing on a gray checkerboard background.

I’ve found I don’t always need steps 3-5 for line art.

If you need to darken the lines of your image, hop back into Layers tab and duplicate the art layer. Do not duplicate more than 3 times, or you may lose some of the integrity of the image. If it doesn’t darken enough, open a New document, transparent background. In your original document, be certain your art layer is selected, then click Edit, Copy Visible. In the new document, click Edit, Paste Into, then click the New Layer button and your image will appear. Duplicate the layer once or twice and you’re good to go.

Colored art is different than line drawings — I’m going to use the Waffle Cake design for this example. This one is a little tricky, but it can be done. Let’s say you have a piece of white paper, and you color in a square in the center of it. The goal is to remove the white background, making it transparent so that you can then place the image on whatever background you need. Refer to image below for a brief guide.

  1. Add a transparent “alpha” layer. Go to Layers — Add Alpha Channel [or right click Adobe_Post_20180724_141340.jpgon the layer, it should be in the drop down].
  2. Go to Tools — Selection — Fuzzy Select. In your dockable dialogs, click on the Tool Options tab. Click the Add To Selection box. [2nd pink square next to “Mode:”]. Click the background to check Threshold. The higher the threshold, the more background is selected by clicking.
  3. Now, press the Delete button on your keyboard and watch your background fall away.
  4. In your tabs, click on Selection Editor. You’ll see that a black copy of the image shows up in the Dockable Dialogs. Click the red X at the bottom of the Dialog and the marching ants surrounding your image will disappear.

Looking to take your colored art to the next level with further steps to accurately smooth and balance it for print? Check out this awesome tutorial from GIMP Tips.

For more information and tutorials, I recommend checking out Artist Shops tutorials on Threadless.

Thank you for reading, and if you’ve additional questions the above links don’t cover, please let me know in the comments below. Even if I don’t have the answer, perhaps we can find it together.

The Big Excuse

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

It seems each time I walk into a Barnes & Noble, I discover a dose of perspective. A couple weekends back, we visited our local store briefly to pick up birthday gifts for each of us; with mine in April and Drew’s in June, we usually end up doing our bulk-birthday shopping somewhere in the middle. Once Drew made our purchase, I spent a little time walking around the store.

Have you ever picked something ultra-specific and tried to find it while casually perusing the shelves? This is a regular thing for me — perhaps it’s an interest in whether or not I can find the thing, or maybe I’m just trying to kill time; it’s a game. My choice on

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Really BIG Special Snowflake Rabbit Hole.

this occasion was related to my Threadless shop — yet, I didn’t look for books about Threadless itself, graphics design or even art.

Took me a minute, but I soon realized I’d fallen down the Special Snowflake Rabbit Hole. Again. [And it’s a really BIG hole…]

It starts with wishing for back when people held our hands through everything. Back when our lessons all came in pre-packaged, pre planned curriculums which none of us liked, but overly romanticize because — let’s face it — special snowflake or not, adulting is hard.

Instead of practicing or working harder, we search incessantly for tutorials, permission, and time killers to distract from the thing for which we’ve already a solution. The thing we know that if we just sit down and get to it, we’ll get it right. If not now, then eventually [unless of course, we find we’re headed in the wrong direction]. We look for an easy way out — quick riches, faster learning and less time, work and money put into each.

What if we changed all of that, though? So I feel we should cover this bit:

If you’re feeling insecure about whatever you’re doing, consider taking a course or chatting with someone else who’s already involved or doing something similar. But guys — hear me on this — pay for the class [unless you’ve some benefit which grants you free courses; if you’re military / veteran or a military / veteran spouse, definitely start looking into that.]

If you’re stalling… QUIT THAT SHIT and GO GET YOURS. It may be time to invest further. Or maybe even bite a few dollars by donating. Extend yourself and your services or products just a little to help others in exchange for increased visibility.

Or… you could offer your own input, opinions, and experiences for free by commenting or continuing this discussion below. You don’t get paid, but I’ve a pretty good response rate and will do my best to make you feel heard.