I usually don’t do anything on the 4th 😅 but this year we’re going to a BBQ at my friend’s. They’re grilling up some steaks and salmon, they said. So fancy ✨ We’re bringing a salad from our garden. A proper celebration!
(However, I guarantee you I’ll be in bed by the time fireworks start 😂 I got earplugs.)
My new art collection, Eat a Rainbow, will launch exactly two weeks from today on Sunday May 1!
Woo hoo! I’m very excited 🙂
By the way, if you’ve missed the previous behind the scenes sneak previews, you can check them out here and here.
Today, I want to introduce you to my new notecards!
Just like my new art prints, the notecards come in 4 new designs: Eat a Rainbow, Pepper, Tomato, and Summer Berry.
These are going to be available as single card or as a set. I mean how could you choose, right?
I love pretty notecards. Whenever I’m at a craft show or visiting a cute gift shop on vacation, I pick up a few. They’re like a tiny gift of art that is also practical.
But I also admit that I have piles of pretty notecards I have accumulated over the years.
If you’re thinking – what do I do with more notecards? Fear not.
I’ve compiled 6 creative ways you can use these watercolor art notecards this summer!
1. Start a new tradition and send your handwritten season’s greetings to your friends and family during the summer.
Do you send your family and friends greeting cards during the winter holidays? Well, it’s been almost 6 months, isn’t it?
How would they feel if they received an unexpected season’s greetings from you this summer?
I would think happy, delighted, and loved.
In Japan there is a custom to send a letter or a greeting card to friends and family during the summer months to wish them well – or more like “I hope you’re surviving the super hot and humid summer season OK.” If you ever lived or visited there in summer, you know how miserable it gets… 😀
I love traditions like that where it’s not related to any particular holidays. You simply reach out and say “I hope your summer is going well!”
Help them cool down with these refreshing watercolor art notecards!
2. It’s a perfect summer birthday card.
Each of the notecards feature my colorful and refreshing drawings of summer’s bounty and makes a perfect summer birthday card!
These cards are printed on a cotton savoy card stock and feel very soft and luxurious. It can totally be enjoyed as a framed mini-art after they read your thoughtful birthday message 🙂
Bonus if your birthday people are also into gardening, farmers’ markets, cooking, and, of course, eating good food ❤
3. Write a thank you note to your neighbor who brings you her homemade blueberry jam every summer.
Are you one of the lucky people who have that special neighbor who loves to make jam with fresh, seasonal berries AND share them with you?? Homemade blueberry jam is my favorite, by the way!
Write a thank you note in my Summer Berry notecard and tell her how much you appreciate the delicious gift!
(Hint: she’ll probably bring you more goodies if you do :))
4. Your tomatoes are doing a little too well and you don’t know what to do with all of your bounty?? Invite your friends over for a tomato canning party!
I have a friend who plants lots and lots (I mean LOTS) of tomato plants every year, and she turns them into delicious tomato sauce and cans them.
If you’re a canner, you know it is a “process.” You need to clean, peel, chop, measure, season, and cook your veggies or fruits. You prepare your jars and lids and can them in boiling water in a hot kitchen.
I love canning but it can be quite time consuming and labor intensive.
It’d be a lot more fun if you have your friends over and enjoy the process while catching up on your summer happenings.
Make it a special event by sending them my Tomato notecard as a handwritten invitation!
5. Send your family an illustrated report of what’s growing in your garden.
If you live in a similar climate to Seattle and have a vegetable garden, you’re probably growing many things (if not all!) that are illustrated on my Eat a Rainbow notecard.
Perhaps your parents are retired in Hawaii, or your brother lives in New Zealand. These everyday veggies we take for granted may be quite interesting to those who are not familiar.
Show and tell what you’re growing in your garden this summer with your loved ones living far away.
6. Invite your friends to a garden potluck party!
Are you planning an outdoor potluck, wedding, birthday, anniversary, or retirement party this summer? Get your guests excited about the fun you’re about to have by sending an invite with these notecards!
The colorful and fresh vegetables and berries on these notecards scream garden party.
Send your invitations early before everyone’s calendar starts filling up this summer 🙂
Invitations have already gone out? (You, organized you!) You can send your guests these notecards as a thank you card later for making your party special.
However you decide to use these notecards, you’re sure gonna make them (and you!) smile 🙂
I’m trying to focus more on my art products this year, and my goal is release a cohesive new product line every season.
And I’m excited to tell you that my Eat a Rainbow summer product line will launch on Sunday May 1!!
I love sharing my behind the scenes creative process with you, so I’m going to share bits and pieces of my new art product line in the coming month.
When I decided the art product was going to be my new goal this year, it was already mid-winter and was too late to produce and market anything for the spring. So I decided to start with creating new products for this summer.
My first step when I start something new is to educate myself on the subject matter as much as possible. So I read a bunch of articles and watched webinars about making successful product business.
You probably already know this, but starting a product business is expensive!! You have to make an up-front investment in inventory and supplies, and it can take a few years for you to actually profit from your sales. Yikes.
I don’t believe in debt and since I’m still learning, I decided to start small and invest in paper products (e.g. art prints and notecards) for the summer season. Prints and cards are not as expensive to produce as compared to other products like mugs and bags, and you can expect a higher profit margin.
I also learned that you need to be on top of your schedule for your product launch and promotion and you need to start designing and producing your products waaaay early. Like, I need to be thinking about fall and winter holidays now. But it’s not even summer yet!!!
That unseasonal aspect of the product business feels very awkward to me, but I gotta start somewhere and am willing to try! So I put the tentative dates and reminders for my product designs, promotion, and launch on my Google calendar for the rest of the year. I’m so patting myself on the back for that one!
Once I made a decision about what kinds of products to create, I worked on creating a cohesive theme for the products. I did some research to find out the visual trend for this summer, especially for stationery and surface design. Which I must say was not very easy to find for some reason.
I thought someone must’ve created a list of themes that are hot this summer, but I didn’t find anything that was so simple or easy. I guess nothing is easy when it comes to learning?
But one website I found based in the U.K. did mention urban gardening/homesteading theme is one of the more popular themes this year (hasn’t it been kind of popular for the past few years, though? Maybe it’s different for different counties…?), so I decided to tackle that theme for my summer art products.
I’m a gardener, and as you know, I love anything related to food 🙂 Summer is the time for abundant vegetable production, and why not celebrate it with art??
When I was designing for the summer product line, I had many ideas. Simple line drawings, fun veggie-related puns (though I’m bad at coming up with puns…), vintage seed packet designs etc. But I was particularly inspired by the beautiful food gradient art by Wright Kitchen.
I was introduced to her website a few months ago and have been following her beautiful food photography on Instagram. Her art is absolutely stunning!! Definitely follow her feed if you’re looking for delicious eye candy!!
So anyway, I started drawing and sketching some of my favorite summer vegetables in watercolor, gouache, and my favorite Micron pen.
And then I scanned my drawings in to create several fun compositions digitally in Photoshop.
I named the series Eat a Rainbow, and I imagined my colorful art prints hanging in someone’s kitchen or dining room, where they’re going to be cooking and enjoying the meals made with fresh vegetables with their family and friends 🙂
My Eat a Rainbow summer product line will launch on May 1, 2016 on my Etsy shop! I’ll be sharing more sneak previews in the coming month, so stay tuned!
It’s so nice to be back from my mini sabbatical week! For those of you who haven’t heard, I decided to take every 7th week off to step back from the day-to-day and recharge. I just had my very first sabbatical week the previous week, and it was really awesome!
As promised, I wanted to report back and share how I spent my week off. To me, this was not a vacation, per se, but an opportunity to breathe and do something I don’t normally get to do.
1) I created a new drawing tutorial.
Some of you may have seen it, but I participated in a blog hop with Kelly Johnson of Wings, Worms, and Wonder on Wednesday October 7 as a guest blogger! I had always wanted to do tutorials, so I was excited and honored when she approached me to join her.
She asked each participating artist to come up with a tutorial that inspires people to connect/re-connect with the nature. I thought about what I could teach people and decided to create this Fall Leaf Marker Drawing tutorial! I’ve received positive feedback from folks that it was very accessible and inspired them to try marker drawing. I really enjoyed the process, too, and hope to create more tutorials in the future!
2) I cooked more.
I might have mentioned this here before, but I’m not that into cooking. I don’t dislike it but just don’t enjoy spending a lot of time cooking up some gourmet meals (that’s more my husband’s thing, which I’m very grateful for!) I enjoy eating simple tasty meals that are quick to make.
But there is something about non-regular cooking, like making jams, baking, and making fermented foods that I like. It might be because the process is fairy simple, and you get to enjoy the products over time? Canning and fermentation make me feel very empowered, too. You can turn some fresh ingredients into things that last for a long, long time. Magical!
I used to do these things more often before I got serious about my art business. Even though I’m not juggling a day job and art any more, I’ve been plenty busy and was feeling like I didn’t have the energy to do much else.
My husband had been asking me to make more jam because we were out for a while. So I decided to tackle that during my sabbatical week!
We buy fresh fruits in bulk during the summer and freeze them. I prefer to make jam when the weather has cooled down because our apartment gets super hot during the summer, and it wouldn’t be fun to do water bath canning then… :p
I made three kinds of jams this time! Our all time favorite blueberry, apricot, and I made a new addition, spiced apricot with cinnamon and clove. YUM.
It’s kind of a long story, but I’ve been on an elimination diet of no grain flour for a while. But after making so much yummy jam, I really wanted to have something to eat it with. So I did some research and found this easy almond flour muffin recipe!
It was really quick to make and was delicious! It has a nutty, earthy flavor, and the texture is very similar to cornbread. It went really well with my jam too!
And I just generally spent more time cooking during the week. I love to eat and am happy when my creations turn out yummy!
3) I made art for fun.
I still make something every day, but nowadays I spend much less time making art just for fun. During the sabbatical week, I tried to turn off my work mode and doodled my little heart out.
Here are some of the drawings I made!
Aren’t these fun?? As I shared in this blog post, I always get new inspiration and fresh ideas for future work when I’m playing around.
4) More friend/family hang out time
I had a few dates planned with my friends but ended up having just one for one reason or another. It worked out fine because, well, I’m an introvert and I recharge by being alone 🙂 My husband was away for work for a few days too, so it was a good balance between having a nice quiet time alone and hanging out with him when he was home!
5) Veg out!
Don’t worry, I wasn’t being productive and doing things all the time, either. I did sleep in and just veg out too! In one afternoon, Dave and I just watched a whole bunch of Netflix shows on our couch. It was very nice 🙂
It took me a couple of days to turn off the work mode, but I really enjoyed the slow week. I totally feel more energized and calm this week. I’m really glad I decided to schedule regular time-off and can’t wait for my next mini sabbatical! I’m gonna need it 🙂