Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to Easily Import Your Etsy Items Into Shopify

How to Easily Import Your Etsy Items Into Shopify | MamaBleu.com

If you are an Etsy shop owner with at least a couple of pages of items, the thought of opening a Shopify shop and transferring all of your products over may feel like an overwhelming task. There is a much easier way to do this other than entering all the data one listing at a time. You can easily import them with just a few steps! 

Today I'll be walking you through the process, one step at a time. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

How I Became a Stitched Calligrapher

My story is much the same as most entrepreneurs and makers in that I didn’t start my journey with this place in mind. I never thought I’d be known for my stitched calligraphy! In fact, even though I know a lot about sewing and have years and years of experience, I didn’t know the first thing about free-motion stitching until 5 years ago. That’s the honest truth!!

stitched calligraphy | Mama Bleu Designs

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Things to Consider When Hiring Help for Your Small Business

Things to Consider When Hiring Help for Your Small Business | MamaBleu.com

I experienced a tremendous growth spurt in my business in 2013 and couldn’t see keeping up with my orders without hiring someone to help me. This was something I had never done before so I learned a lot as I went through that season.

When the year ended and things slowed down, I no longer needed extra help for a while but the experience was eye opening for me. There are parts of that process that I did well and there are other parts that I could have done better if I had known more going into it. I'm sure it would have at least helped my stress level through it all!

Today I'm sharing everything I learned.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Teaching the Next Generation

I have very fond memories of being taught to sew by my mom and my grandmother. When my granddaughter was 2 and showed interest in learning to sew I taught her how to handle a needle and thread.
Likewise, my husband, who is a 3rd generation carpenter and taught my son about woodworking, has begun his journey of teaching our 6 year old grandson about crafting things from wood.

Working from a drawing that Micah made of a birdhouse, they figured out the dimensions of each piece and began turning his picture into reality. It will be years before he will be able to handle power tools on his own but he learned that he could use his love of Math in grandpa’s wood shop. 

building a birdhouse with a 6 year old

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How an Instagram Post turned into a Stamp and Print Making Workshop

When my daughter started joining me in my studio back in April of this year, I suggested that we schedule a couple of artist dates each month. These days didn’t necessarily need to be an outing, but rather a set day or two when we’d put all our orders aside and play with new techniques for art making.

I’ve done a little bit of stamp making before and I wanted to explore this medium even more. We picked a day, in the middle of the week, in the middle of June, and played! I pulled out every possible tool and material we might want to use and we put ourselves in discovery mode.

It was a total blast!!

As usual, I took some photos, posted one on Instagram and kept working. This is when I learned how photos and hashtags can connect people out of the blue when you least expect it. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Studio Tour

Even when I have orders lined up across my wall I make it a priority to get out of my work routine and switch things up. As an entrepreneur working from home my job can take over every minute of my week if I let it. 

display of collection of art print cards in Mama Bleu Designs Studio

Monday, June 1, 2015

Making a Living as a Working Artist

I’m convinced that if you find something you are passionate about and are willing to work hard at it, you can definitely make a living as a working artist. It’s not easy but it IS possible.

My husband and I took a weekend trip to the Central Coast and I paid a visit to the "Shops at the Garden Shed" in Cambria which often fill me with inspiration. The Garden Shed itself used to be a single shop with beautiful garden decor and live plants. I watched them struggle through a few years of decline and wondered if they would shut their doors like several other businesses in the area.

To my delight they reinvented themselves and divided the property into multiple shopping areas where other small businesses can share the rent and have a place to sell their artistic creations!

JunkGirls is a new business there and it first caught my husband’s eye. He found me lagging behind him as I meandered slowly through the gardens and told me I needed to check them out because he knew I’d love their shop. Uh yeah…...I was awestruck with just about everything they had there!!

custom stamped pendant necklaces | MamaBleu.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Illustrated Faith Workshop

Several months ago I showed my illustrated faith bible to a few of my friends and they wanted to try it themselves. We set a date to meet a few weeks later and have been gathering for a workshop time every 2 - 3 weeks since then.

Some are highlighting or illustrating verses in their bible and others are using a journal. I spent the first week working alone in my journeling bible but decided to collaborate with my friends the following 2 workshops.

Illustrated faith workshop

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Art of Healthy Eating

They say you eat with your eyes first so when I put together a lunch salad last week, snapped a picture and posted it on Instagram, everyone commented on how pretty it was. Could that be the art of healthy eating? Maybe….but for me it’s more than food styling. It’s becoming a necessary way of life. 

Quinoa Pilaf and Avocado on Fresh Greens, Gluten Free Eating

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Creating a Neighborhood Gratitude Tree

During early Fall of 2013 I had an idea and put it into place. I established the large redwood tree in our front yard as a Gratitude Tree. Neighbors, friends, those who were walking or driving by were all invited to add their own note to our tree. I thought I’d just do it for a season, take it down a couple of months later and reestablish it for a few months each year after that. 

Creating a neighborhood Gratitude Tree

Monday, April 27, 2015

Illustrated Faith

I mentioned last month that I met Shanna Noel on line and she introduced me to a way of blending my faith with my art in a tangible way through Illustrated Faith. These are my latest watercolor journaling entries.

Illustrated Faith

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Coloring Easter Eggs with Watercolor

I had every intention of bringing out the dye kit for coloring our Easter eggs this year but I changed my mine at the last minute when I saw the beautiful colors of this set of watercolors I just got. The clincher was the resounding “yeah!!!” when I shared my idea with the grand kids. They were all in!

coloring Easter eggs with watercolor paints

Monday, March 16, 2015

Illustrated Faith

I love happy surprises and I received one a couple of weeks ago when I came across Shanna Noel’s website which is all about illustrating your faith in a journaling bible. Chatting with Shanna via email has been a delight and I love her story about how this artful way of capturing thoughts and scripture verses has turned into a passion of hers. 

illustrated faith

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cultivating Creativity in Kids

It has been a passion of mine to bring my grand kids into my studio and let them create right along side me. I let them experiment with various mediums and have fun cultivating their own creativity without any rules of how to do that. The reward for me is seeing their imagination grow organically because they know there’s no right or wrong way to make their art, create their project or tell their story.

I treasure the story my son and daughter-in-law told me about a parent-teacher conference they had with Micah’s preschool teacher a couple of years ago. She said that after putting a pile of art supplies on a classroom table, Micah dove in and started creating immediately while the other kids sat and waited for instructions. She was amazed at his excitement to create and fearlessness to do his own thing. She suggested that they get him into an art class and they replied, “he kinda already IS…. with his grandma”!

Being one who has spent years trying to shed the stigma that there are rules for making art and only art made within those rules has any value, I am determined to convince my kids, my grand kids and YOU that this is absolutely not true!!

A little back story for those of you who are new here. I’ve been watching my grand kids at least 2 days a week ever since they were 3 months old. Micah turns 6 in a week and Kyla will be 4 this Summer. So you can see, we have spent a lot of time together!

So how am I cultivating creativity in my grand kids?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Unexpected Solutions

Sometimes really good things happen by accident and it turns out to be an answer you’ve been looking for.

I used to plan my schedule to include a 3-mile walk at least 3 times a week. I can’t tell you when that changed but it did, and it’s been hard for me to re-establish that good habit again. My life looks much different now than it did then and I know that has a lot to do with it. The roadblock for me has been finding a regular time slot that I can devote to doing my preferred exercise - walking. 

finding unexpected solutions during an afternoon walk