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New Years Vlog: How to stay inspired in 2018

Happy New Year!

A little advice for your creative new year – and a tidbit of news! Scroll down past the video to see some other changes coming for 2018. Watch the vlog below, or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

For Bible Journalers

In the video I mentioned the Bible Journaling channel – scattered throughout this year, I’ll be doing some videos based on sketches from my #nwc40days sketches.- and the notion also has me thinking of an idea for an upcoming class on how to develop visual ideas for Scriptures, so stay tuned for that if I figure out how to teach it. I might try it as a workshop at my church first to test out some ideas.

For supporters of my work

Many of you may already know about Patreon – it’s a small community of followers who have become my dear friends and advisers! They kick in a few bucks, and I give them a few rewards, but – it really means the world to me to have people who I know are supportive that I can get good feedback from. I ask them questions about business things (like the Design Team announcement in today’s video). I get their opinions and feedback on changes to make, and what I can do to do my job better. Since I work alone, and the dogs aren’t so good at performance evaluations (“Not enough TREATS”), I need humans around who follow enough of my work to give me solid input!

Recently we had a chat about why they actually support me at the levels they do. I had given them bonus videos, but that wasn’t what they chose to get involved for. (Coz yeah, I put out a lot of video already!) So rather than offering extra video at a particular level, I’m changing things up a little bit. One plan I have (ha, God laughs when I tell Him I have a plan!) is to focus this year on what my watercolor style is. My Copic style is recognizable – you scroll through Instagram or Facebook, and often you know it’s my work before even looking at the name. But so far, my watercolor style is alllll over the place. One day I’m loose and washy, other days really tight and painting every feather on a bird. To develop this will take a lot of ongoing trial and error….which I haven’t put in yet. But will be doing so. That also means I’ll have a ton of extra paintings and watercolor sketches adding to my already-abundant stash! eeep. So instead of giving extra videos, it’ll be sharing some of those paintings.

Here’s how it’ll go based on monthly contributions; note that if a credit card payment fails, rewards do cease til that’s restored.

$1+ Reward
  • Access to my patron only stream. 
  • I’ll follow you on Twitter and Instagram.
  • A chance at getting a card in the mail once a year. (Random draw of names).
$5+ Reward
  • Access to my patron only stream. 
  • I’ll follow you on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Quarterly coupon code for my site
  • One card from me in the mail per year.
$10+ Reward
  • Everything from the lower levels!
  • Two cards in the mail per year.
  • Additional stream of more of my watercolor paintings, so you’ll see some of the rejects too.
$20+ Reward
  • Everything from the lower levels!
  • A chance at a 5×7 watercolor painting…will draw random names to receive one. No frame or mat, and might be a practice piece!
$35+ Reward
  • Everything from the lower levels!
  • An 11×15 watercolor painting – no frame or mat, and might be a practice piece!
$50+ Reward
  • Everything from the lower levels!
  • An 11×15 watercolor painting – matted. Not a practice piece!

So for those who’ve been trying to buy my practice paintings – this is a way you might get one. I don’t feel like they’re worth selling at this point, so pricing them is pretty impossible for me. Giving them away to these supporters feels more appropriate. And maybe this will also cut down on the avalanche of watercolor paintings that are overwhelming my studio!

Happy New Year, everyone!

25 thoughts on “New Years Vlog: How to stay inspired in 2018

  1. Well I made approx 63 cards and received 30 cards. Most of them were no photos or newsleters. I’m sad that many do not send cards now. I like getting cards in the mail knowing so done took the time to think of me. My sister said why should she waste the money and she knows the expense and time I put into mine.

    1. I agree with you. I made almost 100 cards and spent a fortune mailing them. Got about 30 – 40 cards back ( they’re still trickling in) and most of them were photo cards without newsletters or anything else really. I also love getting cards and it is a bit disheartening, but I’ll keep sending cards because I love making them!

  2. thank you for this great video and all advice!

  3. Blessed New Year to you. You are an inspiration and a breath of fresh air!
    As to Christmas cards, based on mine from the past month, there are absolutely just as many photo and newsletter formats. Actually even heavier on the photos where people want me to see what’s happening but don’t need to spend time composing or even signing. They get the print, address the envelope and drop it in the mail.
    I don’t have a large group of crafters on my list. That makes my cards more fun for them, but I only received a couple handmade cards. However, the more I showcase my work, the more crafters I am uncovering!
    Great question!

  4. HAPPY NEW YEAR, Sandy. May God bless you abundantly!
    I am looking forward to see more of you Bible Journaling videos in 2018.

  5. Happy New Year Sandy, it looks like you had a very good start already. Congratulations on being on a DT on your terms! If you are thinking of topics for future clogs, I would really love to know what stamps have made it in the 1st category and why, I am sure we would learn a lot from that.
    As to Christmas cards, I live in the UK, we send and receive a lot of cards at Christmas, none of them photos, all of them bought, apart from my own which are handmade( I am the only crafter in my circle of friends).
    I look forward to hearing details of your book. I always learn something from you( just purchased the drawing class but haven’t started it yet), so also look forward to your tips from the journey with watercolours.

  6. Happy 2018, Sandy! Looks like it’s going to be another banner year for you. Can’t wait to see what all you have in store for us this year. All the best. 🙂

  7. I agree with you about the Christmas card newsletter card being a thing of the past, it’s due to our lives being on display on Facebook. As for the photo card, I think you don’t get many because of your creativity. I’d be uncomfortable sending you anything less than my best handmade creation. I wish you a very Happy New Year! I enjoy following and learning from you and will continue to do so in 2018.
    DIna C.

  8. Great video, Sandy! I really wish I could take a class from you this year – -maybe I will! I love your copic marker style! I noticed that I received fewer newsletter cards, and fewer photo cards too! I really hope they ARE changing, because I’d rather see more creative cards other than the posed family portrait. Maybe it’s because so many people are posting every detail of their life on FB now, that there are fewer and fewer “news” items to report! I hope you have an AMAZING 2018 and I can’t wait to read your new book!
    Take Care!

  9. I also got very few photo cards and newsletters this year. My own newsletter was a half sheet instead of a full sheet since aside from another surgery my husband and I spent 2017 doing landscape and home improvement projects and I didn’t need to go into detail about any of them.

    I always enjoy your videos and learn so much. Happy 2018.

  10. Happy New Year! Something about a ‘fresh page’ always makes me smile.
    I, too, noticed less newsletters along with less cards received. I share the belief that Facebook has a lot to do with that. Also, as friends age, there is less to write about. I always enjoyed newsletters. I would brew a cup of coffee and enjoy my ‘visit’ with them, catching up on the news of their lives.
    All the cards I sent out were hand made, each one different and I received hand made cards from my friends who craft (3) and one photo card. It has been a steady decline in the number received. Sad, but guess that’s ‘progress’. The proliferation of electronic means to communicate make the handwritten note obsolete for many. But it will not change my habit of reaching out by mail when I want someone to know they are in my thoughts.

  11. Happy New Year, dear Sandy! I really enjoyed today’s vlog. I’m very much looking forward to your book and can’t wait to learn more about it! Congratulations on your decision to accept this special design team position! Your teaching is exquisite and always so inspiring, Sandy!
    This year, we received more photo cards than regular Christmas cards. I’ve noticed a change in the past few years as my friends (mostly retirees) continue to send photo cards sharing their travel adventures, since their families are grown now. Their adult children and grandchildren aren’t always a part of their photos these days. Although I tucked away all of our Christmas treasures this weekend, I always leave all the Christmas cards displayed on ribbons for a few extra weeks. Each time I walk by, they truly feel like ‘paper hugs’ from loved ones, near and far! ♡

  12. Hi Sandy, hope you had a great holiday season and all the best in 2018! I don’t get many cards probably because I don’t send many. I tend to make homemade cards for family and friends who I see over the holiday season. It is now $1 per stamp to mail in Canada so it is getting expensive to mail!

  13. I don’t think we received as many cards this year–many people we get cards from are NOT on FB, so it’s not that. I did still get a fair number of photo cards. I’m noticing younger folks don’t tend to send card, but people we’ve been sending to for years and years, who are older still do. Many people I have sent to are now living in heaven, so only love and happy memories shared with them. I was saddened to read somewhere (magazine I think?) that a “green” recommendation is to send email greetings instead of physical cards–which of course, as a card maker I found appalling. Making and giving cards is my personal therapy and way to share some love. Great video and Happy New Year!

  14. Mostly photo cards. Most photo cards are without a newsletter or personal message. One handmade card (which was awesome!) A few printed cards, but with a personal message or newsletter.

  15. Sandy, I can’t believe how many Shutterfly photo cards I received this year. It was more than half of my total. For you, I think it might have been the nature of what you do. People are more apt to send you handmade cards. Just my thought. And, FYI, I just up my Patreon donation.I appreciate all you do
    PS: love the cards I receive from you. They are all on display in my craft room. Thank you!

  16. Happy New Year, Sandy! I love to watch your videos and feel I am learning so much. Thanks for all you do!

    I received about the same number of photos and letters this year. However, the number of cards is dwindling.

  17. Hi, Sandy!
    Thank you so much for the continuing education & tips to improve my cardmaking. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your blog posts this year and hope to implement many of your suggestions in 2018. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead filled with many blessings and reasons to celebrate.

  18. Hmmm, I responded on Patreon yesterday, but reading this post another thought hit me just now. You mention a goal of defining your watercolor style (loose and washy vs. painting every feather on a bird). But you do it all so well I don’t know how you will decide! I was just looking at Society 6 to purchase more of your note cards before their sale ends today, and just want to say it hit me that I love how well you paint any technique. I love the loose and washy look of your “Soft Bouquet” as much as any detailed painting you’ve done! Love the “Biltmore Estate” too. Watercolor is a fave of mine, and I look forward to your upcoming watercolor practice in addition to your drawings and extraordinary Copic creations.

  19. Just had to let you know and say thanks – my art date with a 10 yo girl was wonderful. She enjoyed getting the pink bible that I ordered when you showed it and playing with the colored pencils. Together we made a page and I showed her the other 5 pages I had already done for her. That way she wasn’t too concerned about coloring in a new bible. Some of her relatives made comments about how it was wrong to color in the bible and I thought how hard it is to understand reading and coloring in a bible is a FANTASTIC thing to honor God. It isn’t the book but the words that are important. I hope she will continue and I pray that nothing I say ever slows anyone from absorbing God’s words. I had so much fun we plan to do it again. She also made slime with my granddaughter and ate cookies and milk. It’s hard to compete that those activities. LOL Happy New Year, Sandy and thanks again for a wonderful day with a new friend.

  20. Happy New Year to you, your family and your two “fur-babies” ! And thank you for all the work behind all the video, they are very useful for the beginner I am and all your tips are very valuable.

  21. Love your vlog and all the news in it, thanks. I wish you and your loved ones a very healthy, happy and creative 2018!
    In answere to your question about the changing of Christmas cards: It seems to me that less cards are sending and less cards are made bij hand, that’s what I see in the Netherlands. I got less than half
    the amound of cards I got 5/10 years ago. Of course in the years your group of family, friends and acquaintance is changing but also the cost of sending postcards and the “I don’t do that any more” and “me first” mentality is one of the things that is in my opinion the cause of this.

  22. Sandy – thanks for the news, tips on getting inspired, and general support for all of us who struggle to learn new stuff from you! Please, please – keep doing what you’re doing so well!
    Congratulations on joining the Ellen Hutson team. For many years, that’s been my favorite website for ordering stamps and supplies, as well as the great Classroom projects she, Julie Ebersole and the team share weekly. I’m also gonna say – if I need anything fast, that’s the place to go. Often an order ships on the same day, which is almost unheard of. ( I was already a fan when they did their first release, and I won the whole enchilada! I was SO excited!) And thank you for being as selective as you have always been about design teams and not “selling yourself” for free stamps.
    Congrats also on having a book published! Can’t wait to see what that’s all about…
    And finally, Christmas cards: The cards I receive have remained about the same – a couple of annual diaries, which I always pitch without reading, a few photo postcard things, but mostly, nice cards, some with a short, handwritten message. Of course, I’m older, as are my friends & some of my relatives – maybe that’s why nothing changes much from year to year.
    Sorry to be so long-winded – and as always, THANKS for all you do!

  23. Happy New Year!

    Christmas cards have changed. I’m finding I’m receiving fewer each year. Most of it is now on FaceBook, which is sad. As it’s not as personal anymore.

    However, this year I received a card that really surprised me. Many years ago I was making gift packs of blank cards as Christmas presents. The cards ranged in a variety of themes. Well, one of those cards made it’s way back to me this Christmas. I sat there and admired it for the longest time. As it was beautiful.

    A lot has happened in the past couple of years with my health, and I’ve had to pack away all the crafting supplies. Yet when I received that card It’s giving me the inspiration to do what I once loved to do… make blank handmade cards for others.

    May 2018 be a fantastic year!

    1. I got fewer photo cards and fewer newsletters also. Each year seems to bring fewer cards overall. For some, it is the expense, others just don’t enjoy the tradition and consider it a chore.
      I try to limit handmade cards that will require extra postage in order to avoid lines at the post office in December.
      Facebook definitely is part of the reason. Facebook is convenient but is not at all personal unless the sender is the type of person who only signs their name on purchased cards. I’m not knocking that, but I enjoy everything about a greeting. I look at the handwriting. I look at the postage stamp. I have postage for Christmas, some that say Celebrate (for birthdays and anniversary cards), florals and superheroes. Whether the card is made or purchased, I look at that as a reflection of the sender. I’m pretty sure non-crafters don’t look at things this closely but that is their loss, right?

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