A One Handed Update

I want to preface this update by telling you that it is being written with one hand. Do not worry! It’s nothing permanent. My hand has not been hacked off and fed to a crocodile. I do not have a shiny silver hook at the end of my arm. I do however have a tight wrist brace wrapped around my left hand that makes typing a bit difficult. I ask that you please ignore any typos you might find. The English major that I am makes me fix as many as I can, but I warn you, there might be a few.

As to the story behind the brace, sadly it is nothing exciting or glamorous. I wish I could say it happened during a sword fight with a dashing rapscalion, but alas, no such luck. After a week or two of occasional pain, it just gave out on me and now I have a brace to help keep it from moving around and causing more pain.

Now without further ado, the update…

700 Fan Milestone!

On March 25th, my Facebook Page reached the 700 Fan Milestone! I decided to celebrate in a manner similar to the 500 Fan Milestone I reached nearly two months ago… I decided to host a giveaway!

My 700 Fans Thank You Giveaway began last week and continues for the next five days. The winner will receive 70% off his or her ENTIRE* purchase of merchandise from SMARTdesigns!!

You can enter in a number of different ways daily for the remainder of the giveaway.

Enter Here: Giveaway

I am very anxious and excited to choose a winner for this giveaway and I really hope you all take a moment to enter! I really enjoy giveaways because I believe it is an excellent way to give back to the fans who have supported me along the way and have helped me get to where I am today! Plus, it’s fun!!

*Excludes custom business artwork (logos, banners, business cards etc.)

50 States Challenge!

In the excitement of reaching my next milestone, I decided to play a fun game on my Facebook Page. The game is called the 50 States Challenge and its goal is to see where my 700+ fans are located.

I started this game on March 27th with this image:

USA Fan MapWithin only an hour, I had filled 16 states! Now, a couple days later, I have 33 states accounted for!!

USA Fan Map 33

I have enjoyed this game so much that I plan to continue it with regional and world maps when I complete the 50 States Challenge! I will upload maps to my Facebook page for each region when I complete one, however, if you are anxious to participate, please comment on this blog post and tell me where you’re reading from!

Alright, that’s it for me today. When you only type a couple words a minute, a blog entry could end up taking all day! I’ll write more when I get my other hand back!

 

New Artwork: “Through The Seasons”

I’ve been on a roll artistically this week and am thrilled to have yet another new piece to share with you!

You may remember my piece, “Tree By The Creek,” created almost entirely from dots. This piece (pictured below) was the inspiration for my newest panel piece, “Through The Seasons.” Despite its inclusion in this series, “Tree By The Creek” is still available for sale independently.

Tree By The Creek


“Tree By The Creek” is available on Etsy or for sale directly through me.

This piece is one of my personal favorites. When a friend and fellow artist suggested that I create additional panels to accompany “Tree By The Creek” I was excited and inspired! I instantly got to work.

Panel Layout:

The first step was to decide how best to arrange the panels I planned to create. This part comes first because it helps me figure out how best to arrange the elements so that they are aesthetically pleasing.

I went through several different layouts. These are the ones I considered before I settled on the layout I used for the piece:

Layouts

While each layout had its own particular merits, each one had something missing or something that limited the design I wanted to create. The layout I chose allowed me to link all four seasons to one specific scene. This is what I chose:

Layout (final)

Creating the Piece:

After I chose the layout for the panels and did a considerable amount of planning, I worked on the fun part: The artwork itself. I don’t want to bore you with the details of each and every step of my process, so I thought instead I would show you a slideshow of the piece evolving and coming together.

I want to apologize for the jumps in this slideshow. I will admit that at times I was so focused on the piece that I forgot to take screenshots of my process. This mostly occurred at the beginning of the process. It will appear that a million things happened right off the bat and then progress slowed down considerably. That isn’t really how it happened, but it does add an interesting touch to the slideshow.

Slideshow: “Through The Seasons”

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As you can see, I didn’t work on one panel at a time the way I have with most of my other pieces. Instead, I found that it was much more helpful to the process to work on the piece as a whole and jump around from section to section as I got new ideas. I believe that doing so really helped create a cohesive piece.

The Final Piece:

Finished Piece


“Through The Seasons”

About This Piece:

To the many of you who have commented, “you really love trees,” yes, I really do. I love creating representations of trees in my own personal style and I especially love the fluid lines and bright colors I get the pleasure of using when I do. This piece was no exception.

Many have asked me, Why trees? Why seasons? And I have given this a lot of thought. I think there is just something magical about something that goes through so many changes every single year and always maintains its beauty. I really enjoy being able to show that progression and that evolution in my artwork. It is something that both challenges and inspires me.

I think in a weird way, these pieces are my self portrait. No, I’m not crazy and I don’t believe I am some mythical tree goddess or spirit. It’s more of a metaphoric thing. My life is very fluid right now and I am going through drastic changes with each new season. I have hardships and face challenges, but I always seem so come back from them and bloom into something new and exciting. My business, for example. Every time something upsets me in my personal life, it draws me back to SMARTdesigns, to creating. It is how I make sure to stay positive, even when every impulse screams to curl up in a ball and cry. And even when things are going wonderfully (as they are now) I still have my art to challenge me and keep me focused on what I want.

I guess you could say that my trees keep me sane.

The Panels:

Here’s a closer look at each panel:

Winter:

Winter

I had a lot of trouble with Winter. I wanted to create the silvery white sky that I have been seeing for what seems like forever (though my rational mind tells me it has only been a few months) but I didn’t want this piece to clash with the other panels. I finally decided to settle for a bluish silver that would accomplish both goals.

And yes, I did add a St. Louis Cardinal. Despite my personal apathy towards all things baseball related.

Spring:

Spring

Spring was the easiest panel to complete because I was working with a piece I had already created. That said, creating the initial piece, “Tree By The Creek” took weeks.

As you can see, this piece is not identical to “Tree By The Creek.” I added part of an additional tree so create a sense of flow between this panel and Fall. I also tweaked the background gradient a few times to match the other panels.

Summer:

Summer

Summer is probably my least favorite panel because I found that it was quite limiting. I wanted to create a panel that would tie in the sky and the bright yellow sun, but because of the layout, I wasn’t able to do much else. That said, I am pleased with the way it turned out.

Fall:

Fall

Fall was the most fun panel to create. As I have mentioned before, Fall is without a doubt my favorite season! I just love the bright colors!

Details:

I am still working out the details and pricing for “Through The Seasons.” If I priced the piece based on the time spent creating it, I would have to price it at a couple hundred dollars. Obviously that won’t do, so I need to figure out a reasonable price.

If you are interested in purchasing this piece, feel free to make me an offer! I make no promises, but I might be willing to discuss fees.

UPDATE: This piece is now available on Etsy! Click here to see it! Price: $80

Dimensions:

Fall and Winter: 12×18 inches
Spring and Summer: 18×12 inches

I recommend hanging the panels approximately 1.5 inches apart on all sides.

As I mentioned, I have created many other new pieces recently! To see the rest of my new pieces, visit my Etsy shop!

Getting Back on Track: New Artwork!

Let me just start by saying, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Gee, it’s been awhile since Stacey updated her blog… what’s that about?!”

And you’re exactly right. To fill you in on everything crazy that has kept me away from my blog for nearly a month would take hours, so I’ll just sum things up for you:

I got a new day job, I left my old job, and I’ve been attempting a plethora of spring cleaning tasks. I’ve also started a new “diet” for lack of a better word and have been trying to eat healthier and exercise (in all my free time).

Things have been pretty hectic, but I am finally starting to settle into a new routine that allows me to spend most mornings drinking coffee and working on new artwork. So, without further ado, here’s a look at my newest pieces:

Three Red Flowers:

A few weeks ago, I sat down at my computer to attempt floral artwork for the first time.

Two summers ago, I had the chance to backpack across Western Europe and one of my many souvenirs is a painting that I purchased from a street artist in Florence. I decided that I would attempt to mimic this painting as a way of teaching myself the technique of “painting” flowers. I propped this piece against my pencil holder beside my laptop and started studying the lines of each petal.

I did not end up copying this painting. What happened instead is something that I never expected: I saw something new in the shape of a petal and went with it. Instead of copying the painting, I created a new piece in my own style. By the time I finished, the only similarity between the two pieces is that both were pictures of red flowers.

This is what I came up with:

3 Red Flowers Pic w frame cropped

I love the way this piece turned out! The minimalism of it just feels so fresh to me! What do you think about this piece?

This piece is available for purchase on Etsy, or directly through me via PayPal: $10.00

Artwork for Your Kitchen or Bar:

After I created “Three Red Flowers,” I got caught up in everything and wasn’t able to work on anything new for a couple weeks, but yesterday, I started a new line of artwork!

I have been receiving a lot of suggestions from many of you on Facebook about creating artwork for coffee lovers and wine lovers. As I am both, I couldn’t refuse the request! I started a new line of art for kitchens and home bars, and this is what I came up with so far:

We Drink Wine:

We Drink Wine Pic (cropped)

I created this piece in minimalist style to add a sleek and polished look that would really pop. The simple style of minimalism is modern and fresh! The rich purples will bring out the natural color of wine and add something special to any decor!

This piece is available for purchase on Etsy, or directly through me via PayPal: $6.00

I Need Glasses:

After I created the first piece and got rave reviews, I decided I needed to create a couple more to match it! I created this next piece in the same shade of purple used for the text of the first piece:

Glasses Pic (cropped)

This piece is designed to be funny, yet the design itself is anything but! Like the first piece, I used simple lines to create a polished look for this piece. It is fun and fresh but also has a very classy feel to it.

Glasses Pic (multi) (cropped)

In case you’re looking for something a little more funky, I created “I Need Glasses” again as a multicolored piece. This one is brighter, but still conveys the minimalist style of the other two pieces.

Both versions of this piece are available for purchase on Etsy, or directly through me via PayPal: $8.00

What’s Next?

In the coming days and weeks, I plan to make several new pieces for kitchens and bars. I have a whole mental list of ideas (though I should probably transfer it to paper) that I am anxious to create and share with you!

That said, I always welcome ideas and suggestions from you! Is there something you’re looking for that I haven’t thought of yet? Leave me a comment on this post with your ideas! I’m anxious to hear them!

Who doesn’t love a GIVEAWAY?

Last night The All Handmade By ME Team reached a special milestone… only four and a half months since the birth of The All Handmade By ME Team, we have reached… drumroll please… 1500 Facebook Fans!!

1500 Fans Image

As this milestone grew closer, I started talking with a couple of the team leaders about how excited we were. We decided that we wanted to do something special to celebrate. That was when Stephanie had the idea to host a giveaway for the team. Several of the team leaders have hosted our own giveaways in the past and it seemed like a good idea. The difference here was that The All Handmade By ME Team itself does not have a specific product for us to giveaway. So we settled on a gift card and a few of us got together and pulled our own meager savings to purchase an Etsy gift card to give away to the winner of the contest.

Even though we are all short on cash, we thought that this giveaway would be an invaluable asset for the team. Giveaways boost traffic to a page in a way that little else does. They create an influx of new fans and stir up interest in the goings on of the page hosting the giveaway. So we decided it was worth it to us.

I really hope that you will all participate in this giveaway. As you all know, the All Handmade By ME Team is very near and dear to my heart. It is my baby and I want it to grow up and succeed. I want all of my team members to succeed. I want handmade to not only survive, but thrive!

Here’s how it works:

Go to the All Handmade By ME Facebook Page. If you are not already a fan, click LIKE. Liking our page is required in order to enter our contest. Then click on the blue GIVEAWAY tab beneath our cover photo. Then simply follow the instructions on how to enter. There are many different ways to enter and you will be able to enter daily for the duration of the giveaway. You can also CLICK HERE to go directly to our giveaway!

Why you should enter:

First and foremost, if you win, you will get a $25 Etsy gift card to spend on wonderful handmade treasures! But why else should you enter? Because this giveaway will promote this wonderful team. Entering will show us that you support handmade, that you want us to succeed and that you want to help us spread the word. Every entry will help boost our internet reach and spread our message further. Every time you like, comment, or share something from our Facebook page, more people learn about our team.

To sum it all up:

Enter now and enter often! Support handmade!

ENTER HERE: 1500 Fans Giveaway! 

A whole year already?!

Even as I sit down to write this post, I cannot believe what I am writing. SMARTdesigns is one-year-old today. Wow.

1st Anniversary

I’ve thought a lot about what I would write about in this anniversary edition of my blog. Should I talk about the journey that I have traveled? Should I talk about the people who have gotten me to where I am today? Should I update you on the progress I have made? In the end, I decided to focus on the future.

If you would like to read more about the journey SMARTdesigns has had this past year, read my Year in Review blog post. 

Year Number 1:

Before moving on to Year Number 2, I thought I would write a little summary of what I have accomplished with SMARTdesigns since this day last year. Just a little preface to talking about the future if you will. The English Major side of me refuses to jump right in without at least a short introduction to set the stage

As I write this, my Facebook Page has nearly 600 fans. 581 to be exact. I have met some absolutely incredible people through Facebook and Etsy who I have come to call friends. I have close to 200 Twitter followers, nearly 400 Etsy admirers, and… drumroll please… I have sold over 125 pieces of my artwork.

I have included these numbers, not for a display of vanity, but rather as a way of trying to quantify what I can only refer to with sheer bewilderment as success. And for all of this I have but one thing to say: Thank you.

Moving Forward:

I have already accomplished so much. At least ten times what I believed I was capable of accomplishing, not in one year, but in several. So now what? Where do I go from here? How do I top myself?

My biggest goal for SMARTdesigns is to start becoming more successful with the artwork I have for sale. I have had a lot of success with my custom designs for businesses, but to be completely honest, I’ve been a little discouraged by the low number of sales I have made for my artwork. Please don’t misunderstand! I absolutely love doing custom work! I enjoy the challenge that each piece brings and I love working closely with my customers to create something special just for them. That said, my real passion is in the pieces I make just for me, just because I feel inspired to do so. Pieces like A Life for All Seasons. In the coming year, I would like to create more artwork and try to market these pieces to the right audience.

I have recently started working on a whole new line of artwork for children. I wrote a couple days ago about my new line of Fairy Tale Artwork and have since started creating artwork with trains. I am anxious to continue making pieces like these for a couple reasons. First, they’re a lot of fun. I really truly enjoy making them. And second, there’s just something special about creating things that will brighten a child’s bedroom. These pieces combine two of my greatest loves: graphic design and children.

To see the complete line of artwork for girls, click here! To see what I have created for boys, click here! 

Another goal I have is to move the majority of my sales off of Etsy. While I love Etsy and owe them a great percentage of my success, I hope that one day I will outgrow them and their fees. I am already working with my talented cousin to improve this website and set up my own little e-commerce shop here so that future customers will be able to purchase artwork directly from me.

With that in mind, I have absolutely no intention of leaving the All Handmade By ME Team! I plan to continue on Etsy in my capacity as Team Captain for many years to come. I have applied and been accepted into Etsy’s Team Fellowship program where I will be working with the Etsy Admin to test new features available for the promotion of teams. I’m very excited about the program and can’t wait to tell you all what I’m working on for our team! It’s not ready yet, so no spoilers here, but I promise it’ll be worth the wait!

On the subject of the All Handmade By ME Team, another big goal I have is to really get this team out there in the general public! I want people to know who we are and what we stand for so that our handmade items can hope to stand a chance against the cheaper mass produced competition. But, with that said, this isn’t a goal that I can accomplish alone. I need your help. I need you to tell your friends and family about the benefits of buying handmade. I need you to share the All Handmade By ME Team on social media and help us advertise. I need you to talk about, post about, tweet about and blog about our team. You have all been wonderful so far so we just need to make sure we don’t lose momentum!

While my goals for the future are not monetary, I would be lying if I did not include this last one. My overall goal for the future is to one day be able to support myself on my artwork. I know that many (most actually) would say that this is a naive dream, one without the eye of reason, but I don’t care. When I look at everything I have accomplished in just one short year, I am optimistic for the future.

And here’s how I know that this is possible: One year ago, my father told me I was insane. He told me the same thing eleven months ago, and ten, and probably as recently as four months ago. But, in the past couple months, my father, the business man he is, told me that I have accomplished more than he ever imagined. He admitted to me that he was wrong. So dad, I say this to you now and I will say it again on the day I buy my first house with the money I have made as a graphic artist: I told you I could do it.

And now, I turn to the future. I am excited for the road ahead and I can’t wait to travel it with you. Here’s to Year Number 2!

Last night I built a castle…

For most of the country, last night was Super Bowl Sunday. I did leave the TV on in the background because I like the commercials, but I turned it off before halftime when nothing really wowed me. I opened my iTunes library and turned on some Disney music instead… For me, last night wasn’t about the Super Bowl, it was a night I spent at my desk working on new fairy tale themed artwork. Here’s what I came up with…

A Fairy Tale Castle: Step-By-Step

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And the finished product:

123

 Also available as a personalized piece for an additional fee


Also available as a personalized piece for an additional fee

When I finished that piece, I couldn’t just stop… so I made another one! It was quite a productive night for me!

If the shoe fits pic

So what spurred this desire to make fairy tale artwork? Well, to answer that I need to go back about 22 years to when my grandmother took me to see my first Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast. I guess you could say it’s all her fault. But I’d rather just thank her. Thank you Mama! For the past 22 years we have seen countless Disney Princess movies together, and we’ve seen each new one that came out, even after I “grew up.” We saw The Princess and the Frog, Tangled and most recently Frozen.

I guess you could say that I haven’t really grown up. In a lot of ways I’m still the little girl who believes in fairy tales. But hey, what’s wrong with that?

I was also inspired by my desire for the show, Once Upon A Time to come back from its hiatus. I am going into complete fairy tale withdrawal, so I thought maybe this would help. I’m glad to say that it did. Though I still cannot wait until the show comes back!

I have also been working as a nanny for three children as my day job. I have spent countless hours watching princesses on Netflix and playing dolls with the girls. Between the three children I see regularly and the many others I see less often, it makes sense that children have been on my mind a lot lately. We do arts and crafts and color in coloring books and do all the fun things that a person my age doesn’t normally get to do anymore. And I just have to say, toys have gotten so much cooler since I was a kid! And they never stopped creating new crayon colors either!

A couple weeks ago I decided that I wanted to teach myself to draw. I’m pretty good at drawing with my fingers on a track pad on my laptop, but when I have to sketch something free hand, I’m a mess. So I started looking for drawing tutorials online and have asked for advice on my Facebook Page (thanks to everyone who has shared tips!) and then there was nothing left to do but start drawing!

I decided to draw one day while Izzy and Maya were coloring. I needed something to use as my model and then I found a Disney Princess book and I knew I had found the perfect place to start! This is the drawing I did of Belle. Her eyes are a little off and her hands are horrible, but I have to say, I’m pretty proud of the attempt!

1549450_669471633104577_1408923547_n

As if that wasn’t enough to make me want to create artwork for children, this past week, I have been talking to my friend Stephanie about artwork for her daughter’s bedroom… I created this piece a while back and Stephanie told me she wanted one for her daughter too…

Custom Name and Initial Artwork

And then I created this one for Stephanie’s daughter April: (April picked the colors!)

A is for April picAs many of you know, I love working with dots. So naturally, these pieces were a lot of fun for me to make. And only slightly tedious at times. If you would like one for your child, or for yourself, I’d be more than happy to make one for you! I can customize the piece to any color scheme of your choice! For more information, click here! 

What’s next?

I have a lot of ideas for additional artwork for children! And yes, I will be doing some for boys as well as for girls! That said, I always love to hear your ideas! Do you have an idea for a new piece I should create? Do you want to see more fairy tale pieces? More dots? Please comment on my blog and share your ideas! I’m anxious to hear them!

So it begins

SMARTdesigns:

Once again I have used my influence to convince my best friend to do something amazing… She started her own blog! And she wrote about me in her first post. Read what she had to say and check out her blog!

Originally posted on The Lilac Lobster:

I feel like I can’t tell my story without first telling the story of my best friend. After all, I wouldn’t be here if not for her.

Stacey Soblelman, the aforementioned bestie, attended the University of Missouri-Columbia with me. Unfortunately, our paths didn’t cross until late in our college careers, but that’s neither here nor there. What matters is that we formed an instant and lasting friendship. And when I needed some fliers made for the bar I worked in, she was the first person I called. She has an eye for beauty and is very skilled on graphic design, so she was obviously the most logical choice. She did a wonderful job, and I lovingly convinced her to pursue graphic design as a career. And she has done incredible. She launched her own graphic design business, SMARTdesigns, less than a year ago and has accomplished a great many things…

View original 180 more words

Support LIVING Artists

I have seen an image circulating through Facebook that proclaims:

“Support living artists, the dead ones don’t need it.”

I found this statement really resonated with me but I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was about it that stuck in my mind. Maybe it’s the dry humor or maybe it’s the obvious nature of the statement, but I found that I kept coming back to it.

1507797_10151900873285875_636986059_n


I apologize for the lack of attribution, but I have seen this image from so many of my fellow artists that I wasn’t quite sure where it originated.

I have been thinking a lot about ways to help my fellow artists and All Handmade By ME Team members (and of course myself) get the message out there to the general public that there is a value to be gained from supporting artists and handmade sellers. What feels so obvious to the artistic community is often lost on the rest of the world. The sad truth is that we live in a world of commercialism and greed where the bottom line is often the only line people care to focus on.

I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to this cultural mindset. I’ll admit it… I’m cheap! Or rather, I have to be extremely money conscious to survive. I’m working several part time jobs just to make ends meet and I still don’t have a place of my own. I am the very definition of a starving artist. And I’m sure many of you are starving artists too.

So what can I do? What can any of us do?

I like to think that I do my part to help the handmade community through ways other than financially. I might not buy everything handmade, but I try to advertise for my friends and teammates so that hopefully others might. It doesn’t put money directly in their pockets, but it helps it find its way there over time.

SMARTdesigns is finally starting to get the kind of traffic that I believe will help me really begin to be successful as a graphic artist. You may ask, to what do I credit this change of events? I truly believe that I owe my growing customer base to the All Handmade By ME Team. When I spend time supporting their businesses, advertising their sales, sharing their items, I find that my items get shared much more frequently than when I focus only on my own business. I cannot stress enough how important I believe it is for artists to support each other.

And of course, when I can afford it, I buy from Etsians nine times out of ten.

Another thing I like to keep in mind is how to help the sellers I buy from avoid fees wherever possible. Did you know that you can wire money through PayPal with only a couple clicks? And yes, PayPal takes a small transaction fee, but it is nothing compared to the fees that Etsy takes out of every sale.

So when I can, I try to buy directly through the person selling the item I want. I don’t save any money by doing so, but it cuts out fees for that person and helps them collect what they really deserve. Just something to keep in mind when you’re shopping in the future!

If you are ever interested in purchasing something from me directly, just contact me! I always appreciate the chance to avoid Etsy fees!

So what then is the point of the quote I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Well to me, it means that we need to be conscious of the fact that “starving artist” is a stereotype for a reason… it’s all too often very true. Why should these talented people struggle to make ends meet? I really don’t know the answer to that. All I do know is that I want to do my part to change things so that one day they won’t have to struggle.

_________________________________________________________________________

Unrelated Announcement:

There is still time to enter my 500 Fans Thank You Giveaway! I hadn’t planned to host another giveaway right on the tail of the last one, but I reached 500 Facebook fans much faster than I anticipated!

You can enter daily for the next three days… CLICK HERE!

The prize is $10 off any* item currently in stock in my Etsy shop!

*excluding custom banners and business logos because of the amount of time required to create custom designs.

HIJACKED! (Friday Favorites #12)

Hello all, this is Nichole Archer from the Lilac Lobster. I’ve commandeered Stacey’s blog today as part of her birthday present from me. Everyone deserves to at least have their birthday off. So, without further ado: my Friday favorite: SMARTdesigns by Stacey.

Sorry, there’s some ado..

You all know about some of the amazing things Stacey has accomplished in the past year, she’s posted some details here and most of you know her from Etsy or Facebook. She’s come to know many fellow Etsians as friends, and it warms my heart to know that she’s found such great people that share her interests and passions. But some of you may not know how truly incredible Stacey is. She’s my best friend (so I’m a bit biased, sue me). We’ve had some great times. We bonded over Friends and Lisa Frank (and basically anything from the 90s) and cheered on the Tigers. When my husband and I eloped, she insisted that I have a bouquet, gave me a fondue party, supplied my something borrowed, and was next to me every step of the way. It hasn’t been all rainbows and glitter, though. Over the course of our friendship, we’ve both had our hearts broken, we’ve lost friends that we thought would be around forever, I’ve become a boring and responsible army wife, and now there’s 700 miles between us and we’ve spent way too much time apart. But in spite of all that, all the things that have ended other friendships, we’ve become closer. We’ve taught each other that nothing can replace true friends and that loving yourself and following your dreams is what’s important in life.

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So, who is Stacey to me? Apart from my best friend, my lobster, and the cheese to my wine? She’s a leader, an inspiration, and a motivator. A creative soul that is passionate about what she believes in.

You can see it in her shop. It’s absolutely full of unique digital art that you won’t find anywhere else. She finds inspiration in everything and hearing how excited she is about her next piece always makes me smile. One of my favorite pieces, A Life For All Seasons, was her first piece. It’s the first time she considered herself an artist and it was so nice to see she finally had some of the confidence that I had in her all along.

A Life for All Seasons

A Life for All Seasons — I have this piece proudly hanging in my dining room!

One of Stacey’s favorite pieces is Live, Laugh, Love: “It’s purple and it looks like glitter, you know me.”

Live Laugh Love

Live Laugh Love

You can see it in her custom work. My husband and I eloped, we haven’t had a wedding yet, but we will. A superhero themed wedding. Because we’re awesome, that’s why. And Stacey has done so much to make our graphics special and unique  and exactly what we wanted, because she’s awesome, too. She transformed my drawings and ideas into beautiful pieces that still fit my and my husband’s personalities, and she had some incredible ideas of her own!

“I had the most fun working on your wedding because it was for my best friend and I had someone to work really closely with. And now I’m becoming quite knowledgable about comic books.” I’m really proud of her for that last bit, too.

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You can see it in her efforts with the All Handmade By Me Team, which she founded  only a few short months ago (October 2, to be exact) and now has over 1,500 members. A team specially created with both the buyer and seller in mind. It’s a community of marvelously creative minds making one of a kind handmade artwork and forming lasting friendships.

Jill Brandt of Aksel Arts had this to say: “After the creation of the All Handmade by Me team, I got to know Stacey on a personal level and I can say that she is a wonderful and talented artist and I am so grateful that I get to call her a friend.” There’s not another team like it.

“My goal for the team is that we get people not on Etsy to know about it. I want the rest of the world to know about our team. At that point, the sky’s the limit.” For more information, visit the team page.

You can see it in my shop. Okay, maybe YOU can’t see it, but I sure can. She convinced me to open a shop on Etsy, made all the digital art for my shop and my Facebook page, and she’s always giving me tips and ideas and pointers. She also made my mascot, Lobby the Lobster. “I’m rather partial to Lobby. He’s one of my proudest creations and he gave me the confidence to try new things with SMARTdesigns.” To see all the incredible work Stacey has done for my page, visit my Facbook page and my Etsy shop (a bit of shameless self-promotion is ok, right?).

Stacey started all this because she loves it (and because a little birdy told her it was a brilliant idea; she’s seen my ‘I told ya so’ dance). She loves her customers, she loves her art, and she loves all the new friends she’s made along the way. She motivates me to create something new every day and is an inspiration to me, and I’m sure to everyone on the All Handmade By Me team.

Visit SMARTdesigns on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

POW! In The Making

Today I completed a new piece of artwork for my line of comic book inspired pieces. While I was creating this piece, I decided to take screenshots of my process, something I like to do so that I can go back and look at how a piece evolved. Today however, I decided to share that evolution with all of you.

Below is a slideshow of images that show each step in the creation process. I hope that you will enjoy seeing it!

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This piece is available for purchase on Etsy, or you can go directly through me and pay with PayPal.

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I also offer many other comic book themed prints, pictured below!

BOOM!

ZAP!

SPLAT!

KAPOW!

ZOINKS!

BAM pic

WHOOSH

Which comic book piece is your favorite? I think I like ZOINKS! the best, but I’m partial to all things purple… Is something missing? Do you have an idea for my next piece? Let me know!