Collection: Just Gotta Run

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Designing and Marketing New Products

It's great when new products come out, especially at the beginning of a new season. New products can inspire and get the creative juices flowing again after a busy summer. 

Zazzle has brought in stylish tank tops and leggings to be creatively designed. It's great when we get products that are items that people are interested in buying and wearing. Clothes that are made of good quality fabric and provide comfort as well as great style.  

The tank tops are an all over print in a versatile style that can be printed on front and back.

  • Unisex sizing- fits both Men and Women.
  • Material: 100% white spun polyester that's soft and comfortable.
  • Superior sweat-wicking material.
  • Custom designs printed in vibrant prints are soft and touchable. 
The women's leggings are a full length style made of  a high spandex content that hugs and fits the body in all the right places. They are also made in Canada. 

  • Material: Ultra-stretch ecopolyester spandex blend (88% polyester, 12% spandex)
  • High spandex composition means compression fit won't lose shape
  • Machine wash cold, lay flat to dry
  • Vibrant print won't fade after washing
Leggings are a wardrobe staple for most women these days as they are a versatile piece to have in your closet. Whether you wear them to the gym to do your workout in or layer them under a tunic or cozy sweater you'll look great and love the comfort and ease of these. Teenagers especially tend to love these leggings with cute patterns and bright colors that show off their personality. Personally I think these would make great gifts this Christmas season for a teen in your life.  

Here are a few examples of the tanks and leggings with some cute patterns. Check by the shop to see more as I'll be busy creating new patterns for these over the next couple of months. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Paint Programs That Can Help You Get Started

So you're new to designing, perhaps you're just in the throws of wanting to start an online business where you create images or graphics for products that you sell.  I thought I'd share some of the digital paint programs that can help make the design process easier for you. Over the years as I have developed my design style and methods that I like to use to create I have tried several different paint programs. Now first I'll say that I have not spend a great deal of money on  any of the programs I've tried. For instance,  I know Photoshop is great, complicated for beginners and it does cost a few bucks for that one, so it depends how much you're willing to invest and learn. Today, I'll share a couple of the the free ones as well as a low-cost paint program that are great for a beginner and intermediate artists. 

Paint.Net - This program runs on Windows and is free image and photo editing software. Has a 4 star rating. Offers an intuitive in inter-face with layering, special effects and lots of useful tools. Provides help, tutorials and plugins. (The tutorials are great for beginners) 

MyPaint - A painting program that is designed in a simple format making it easy to find your way around. Includes lots of great features with a toolbar and menu bar across the top of the interface. A large variety of brushes to choose like pencils, markers and paintbrushes. An easy to use color selector and this program supports layers.   If you're a beginner you'll have fun with this one and more advanced users will appreciate some of the more technical features. 

SumoPaint - This is a free online image editing and free paint program. Aside from being a great tool Sumo also has an online art community of users from around the world. The community is for sharing, commenting, exploring other's art. You can choose to use it for this or just use it as the paint/image editing tool. This is the program I have mainly been using the last couple of years. One thing I love about Sumo is that if you purchase the Pro Version (only $20) then you can download Sumo to your computer and work offline. They have added some really cool features and filters that can really enhance your artwork. This program allows you to edit pixels too! Lots of great tools to use in your designs. Sometimes I create things that I had no idea that I had the skills to do! lol I find SumoPaint really simple to use,  it just takes a little practice and soon you'll know your way around too! 

If you're just starting out in this arena check out one of these free programs, you might be surprised at what you can create. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Taking a Look At Your Goals

September begins tomorrow, so sad summer is pretty well over but I do love the the fall season.  Now the daylight gets shorter and the dark of night gets a little longer. The fall is often referred to as a time of new beginnings, perhaps returning to routines for many after a busy and full summer. For some it's the start of a new school year, perhaps a new job or the return to a gym or an educational class or two. I so enjoy the Fall season as it is the time the leaves begin to change to brilliant shades of orange, red and yellow and being out doors is always calling. God has given us such beautiful scenery to enjoy. On the weekends getting out for trail walks with my husband and maybe enjoying special coffees as we stroll or hike, this is the perfect fall comfort for me! 

September can also be a time of revisiting your work routines and a time to re set your goals. I hope as you read this it will inspire you to look at your goals whether for your business or for your daily life and see what you might want to change. If things seem stale and boring it might be time to rethink how you're doing things. Whatever you decide to do I hope you do something new and see great progress this month. I’ve been working diligently on my websites and my store as there is always so much to do with designing, marketing and finding new ways to get my designs and sites in front of the right eyes. Right now I'm also working on new Christmas designs for my shop, keeping things fresh! Stop by my store or visit one of my websites, you can find them in the side bar of my blog.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Take a Hike, It's Rejuvenating

No really, I mean 'take a hike'! Seriously though, hiking is like a good medicine it rejuvenates, energizes and makes you appreciative of the amazing outdoors. I know that not everyone is suited for certain outdoor adventures but even a short hike on a gentle trail can do wonders for the soul. As you do more walks and hikes and increase your stamina you'll want to explore a little more ground, finding a variety of hiking trails to visit. Some people like to hike alone and enjoy the solitude of the great outdoors that way. Others like to hike with a buddy or some prefer to hike with a group.  

I love that hiking is not only good for the physical body but also is uplifting and inspiring for your mental and emotional health. This summer my husband and I have been doing lots of hiking trails and enjoying many bike rides too! 

In the last few days we did a bike ride that turned out to be a 60 km ride. We stopped for lunch at a quaint cafe and enjoyed some country road riding along with a few back roads. We just finished a combined cycling and hiking ride yesterday! 8 km bike ride including some good hills and an 8 km hike to a beautiful viewpoint on the ocean. I love that we live in a fabulous area of B. C. so close to nature trails, walks, bike paths and mountain hikes that we can explore whenever we like. 

If you can you should get out at every opportunity you have to explore, have amazing adventures and rejuvenate your soul.  It will make you more productive in your business too! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Fresh Perspective

Sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective. Think about  how a fresh coat of paint can change the atmosphere of a room. When you add a new or different piece of furniture it can change the way you feel about a space. A fresh coat of paint can liven up an older item that isn't looking as well as it could. I had an old little side table that just simply needed to be sanded down and given a new stain or coat of paint as the base (the legs) were still in great shape. It had a few coffee cup circles on the surface and it was just sitting in a corner downstairs not really being utilized. So to save it from going to the landfill or second hand shop I thought I'd spruce it up a little.  

I gave it a  quick sanding with a sand block then dusted if off and chose to to give it a coat of black paint. The paint was an acrylic paint with a little bit of gloss in it. After a second coat I decided to paint it with a glossy varnish to add a little extra shine. The legs were already a black metal as you can see. I think it came out quite nice and makes a great useful little side table. 

Perhaps you have some things in your home that you can freshen up. I was thinking the same principle could be applied to a website. I have a few different websites and have been thinking that I should freshen them up with a new look. The front page of your website is like your front door or your entrance, it's the first thing people see. A new design or an interesting title can bring more attention and make your site more appealing  attracting returning visitors and customers.  Keep your website up to date with regular tweaks and new things to keep customers coming back too! Make it easy for people to maneuver around your site, items and new categories should be easy to find. Always be creative and keep trying to better what you're doing. It will pay off in the long run! 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nature and its Benefits on the Mind and Body

Research and many studies have proven how the effects of being in nature for even a few minutes a day can have a remarkable effect on one's health. Taking time to be outdoors has been said to stimulate areas of our brains that can give us a mental and physical boost in energy.  I know when I take even a 15 minute break to go for a walk or hop on my bike for a ride I feel so much better and re-energized and am then able to focus so much better on my work. Exercising outdoors is reported to provide us with more health benefits than performing exercise in a gym or indoor fitness facility. Spending time outdoors can not only increase our energy but may quite likely impact our happiness. Nature can revitalize us and have a positive impact on our brains. 

A book called  'Your Brain On Nature' has been an interesting read.  The authors have gathered some great information and statistics on this subject.  Some quotes from authors Eva M. Selhub MD and Alan C. Logan ND stated "In a large study done on residents of Shanghai, researchers reported that neighborhoods with a higher proportion of parks, gardens, and other green areas were associated with a reduced risk of mortality. "  Another U.S. study from the University of West Florida, showed that researchers found after examining 5 years worth of data on stroke mortality they found that those living in areas with a high geographic green space offered significant protection while areas with low green space were associated with a very high risk of stroke mortality."  Very interesting, I'm glad we have a lot of green space around our neighborhood and easy access to amazing outdoor walking trails, hiking, biking as well as lakes and oceans not too far away. 

Let's face it working in an office, staring and screens and walls doesn't do a whole lot for one's health. We need to stimulated to do our best work and the effects of nature can surely help us improve our health, lower stress and improve our immune system. Not to mention increase your longevity. I don't know about you but I'm in! As far as work, time spent in nature can help increase your focus, creativity and production.  Eva M. Selhub co-author of  'Your Brain on Nature' says " a drop of nature is like a drop of morphine to the brain, since it stimulates reward neurons in your brain." It turns off the stress response, lowering cortisol levels, lowers heart rate and blood pressure and improves immune response. 

I know it's not possible for everyone to get outside during the business day but when you can incorporate a few minutes of nature into your day, even a walk to the coffee shop can give you a boost of energy and help you refocus on your tasks. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Defining Walking Styles

If you are a walker you've probably already adopted or fallen into a certain style that you enjoy and that works for you. Perhaps you are very in tune with your walking style or maybe you don't give it much thought at all and just head out the door. I was thinking about different fitness walking styles recently as I watched people walking through my neighborhood, it is quite interesting to see the different gaits, arm movements and step sizes that people use. 

I consider myself a very fast walker, my husband finds it hard to walk the pace that I go. I  take deliberate quick strides throughout my entire walk which is usually 25 to 35 minutes depending on the route I take. I prefer shorter quick walks that get my heart rate up and engage my muscles. I guess you could call it power walking! 

In European countries and growing in popularity around the world is Nordic Pole walking. This is a style of walking where you use poles in somewhat of a ski technique. It makes your walking stride easier and smoother. It is said to engage approx. 90% of your muscles as you move. 

There are those that walk in more of a meditative way. Sometimes with their heads down, at a slow pace as if contemplating or in deep thought. 

Race walking similar to Power walking is another popular style. In race walking one foot is always in contact with the ground. If done correctly is said to put less stress on your joints and burns more calories per mile. 

Strolling is just a slow kind of lazy day walking style. Not being in a hurry just ambling along while taking in the fresh air and scenery. 

Whatever your walking style is, it is important to just get outdoors and walk whenever the opportunity presents itself. Everyone has to find the correct balance for their own gait, speed, step length and frequency. With each walk you do and the more steps you take you will notice increased health benefits. Sitting too much can be damaging to our health so I say come on' just get out and walk, you'll be glad you did!