Doodles at the Beach

by Emily on June 27, 2015

Taking a family vacation soon after school ends is a great way to kick off summer! No more alarms, no more homework and no more school lunches to pack. But – and there’s always a but — the tradeoff is that it’s now over. It’s not even July and all that anticipation is done. And we have 2 more months of summer.

But that’s ok. Even though I’m already getting tired of applying sunscreen to squirmy kids (will someone please invent the once-per-season sunscreen that you apply and it lasts for 3 months) I do love summer.

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Our big family vacay was a road trip to Destin, FL. We lucked out with the weather – while Tropical Storm Bill threatened Texas we didn’t see a drop of rain in Florida. We stayed in New Orleans on the way there to see family then headed to the beach. We had a blast making sandcastles, burying each other in the sand, snorkeling and boogie boarding in the ocean.

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We’ve also worked in a couple VBSs for the kids so far, and in between shuffling the kids around I’ve been busy writing and doodling. I’ve had the opportunity to do some really cool ones lately – but since many are gifts or surprises I haven’t shared the finished products. But I loved creating some special Father’s Day presents and going-away gifts for people. Also, it’s hard to beat doodling with a view of the ocean in the background. I worked on a custom order flamingo while little E drew a picture of our family at the beach. ♥

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Actually, I guess we were all inspired because Allie drew this one of her surfing with a dolphin:

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Meanwhile, Molly was turning cartwheels on the sand…

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We love the beach!! Happy summer!

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KickSTOPPER Campaign

by Emily on May 28, 2015

I love this video of a local entrepreneur that has been making the rounds. In her “kickstopper” campaign, Laura Beck hilariously explains that she is throwing in the towel of her failed business Stripedshirt.com and liquidating her excess inventory.

If you haven’t seen it take a couple minutes to watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP_KBl9sWmk

Obviously it’s not he fact that Laura’s closing down shop that makes me smile. No, that part is never fun. But it’s the way she goes about it and her attitude that I love. I have a feeling that even though this venture didn’t pan out that she’ll succeed in a future endeavor. With that kind of energy and enthusiasm she’s bound to!

I briefly met Laura at a MomCom conference here in Austin a couple years ago. I remember her because her business cards – in the shape of a striped red and white t-shirt – were so stinkin cute! And I really loved her idea – simple but cool. Now, I have to admit that I never followed up and ordered one. Until now.

After watching this video I decided I needed a red and green one to wear at Christmas. I mean, why not? So I placed an order with the half price code! Can’t wait to get my prize in the mail.

She Took A Risk

I guess what most about the Striped Shirt story is that fact that Laura took a risk. She invested her time, money and resources into a passion. She involved friends and family, learned and made mistakes along the way. She had some successes, but at the end of the day realized it wasn’t meant to be a long-term business. And you know what? She lived to tell about it. She didn’t die of embarrassment or crumble under the weight of defeat. She stood up, proudly announced that she took a chance and admitted it was a flop. Sense of humor goes a long way.

It’s timely for me, as it’s a little scary to put myself and my doodles out there. What if I fail spectacularly? Watching this video made me realize that’s ok. People do it all the time. You hear about start-ups all the time, but what about shut-downs? There are almost as many of those.

This video provided reassurance that it’s ok to take risks, and even if you DO fail (as many many small businesses do) you’re going to live to tell about it. You may have some battle scars and some financial repercussions, but you’ll learn along the way. Failure isn’t really so scary. What is? Not trying at all.

So thanks for the inspiration, Laura! Who knows, maybe the 2nd KickStopper video will be from me. And if it is, you can bet I’ll be wearing my red and green striped shirt while I liquidate my doodles.

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Live With What You Love

by Emily on May 28, 2015

Oops — I posted this blog last week but had some technical difficulties and it disappeared. I realized that being a small business owner is about as much fun as being a homeowner. It’s wonderful and rewarding most of the time but my goodness it can be stressful! The same day we learned we needed to replace our roof due to a hail storm I found out my website had been hacked. Fun stuff!  But neither is something that can’t be fixed — thanks to some help a techie friend my site is back up and running and eventually we’ll have a brand new roof over our head. I just need to sell a LOT of doodles to cover that pesky deductible. Anybody want one?

Anyway, here’s last week’s post once again…. 

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I love to create custom doodles that have special meaning. Often it’s a state with a heart symbolizing a special place (hometown, college, special vacation, etc.) but I’ve done animals, guitars, food, even a lucky number. It thrills me when people have such a passion for something that they want a unique piece of art to symbolize it. I met a fella at SpringFest who asked if I could do a roadrunner, because that was his favorite animal. He went on to tell me the interesting story behind it. I assured him I could do one, but alas — he hasn’t called (so if you know a guy in the Austin area that loves roadrunners remind him that Lucky Doodles can hook him up…). Beep. Beep.

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One of my daughters is on a unicorn kick lately, so I doodled one for her. She loved it and it made me happy that she appreciated it (mom is rarely cool, ya know).

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Around Easter I did a doodle of a bunny. It was one of my personal favorites – probably because of our sweet Clover – and I took it to SpringFest. It caught a lady’s eye and she stopped. She told me about her bunny that died and that she had a few other art pieces of bunnies in her home. She loved it and decided to buy it right then. She smiled, “I always say, when you see something you love and that makes you happy, you just better get it.” I loved that quote, because it’s not about having “stuff” to fill up your walls. It’s about surrounding yourself with meaningful things. Whether it’s a child’s drawing or a museum quality painting, if it makes you happy it’s beautiful art.

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Tusks & Tucson

by Emily on May 13, 2015

Yesterday I finished up the doodles for the two SpringFest crayon contest winners. These were so much fun to draw!

The first winner, Dylan, chose an Arizona doodle. His family recently relocated to Austin from Tucson. They are the sweetest family and I was thrilled to create this little reminder of home for them.

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The second winner was from the kids category. Lilly had the choice of a custom 5 x 7” doodle or a gift card to a store of her choice of store in the Hill Country Galleria. I was sure she’d pick the gift card – I know my kids would. I mean, Justice? Claire’s? Bath & Body? Would be tough to beat any of those for a tween. So I was surprise but thrilled when she asked for an elephant in a pink mat. How cool is that?! I enjoyed working on it and love that she chose a drawing.

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I also recently did a special request Chicago. Like the way this one turned out….

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I have some other fun projects in the pipeline, and this rainy weather is perfect for settling in with my coffee, pen and paper. As long as Nugget doesn’t bump into me as she tries to hide. She’s not a fan of the thunder.

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The Incredible Shrinking Woman

by Emily on May 9, 2015

I have to share this hilarious pic from earlier this week. Three days later and I’m still laughing.

Noelle and I stopped by to visit Alana on her LAST DAY OF CHEMO. Her husband was there and snapped a picture to mark the occasion, but the first shot you couldn’t read our shirts. And our shirts are kind of key, seeing as how it was the last time for us to officially wear them (Wednesday is chemo day – how did Target know?). So we asked Wade to take one more, and this time Noelle and I planted ourselves front and center.

I swear this isn’t photoshopped or edited in any way. Not even a filter. Imagine our surprise when we looked at the photo and saw teeny tiny Alana!! She had shrunk to the size of Tinkerbell and we looked like Amazon women.

IMG_0939Maybe it was the combo of emotions, being the last chemo and all, but we thought this the most hilarious thing ever. You know those deep belly laughs, where your stomach literally hurts from laughing so hard? And you try to stop because my goodness you’re at chemo and chemo isn’t supposed to be funny? But then someone snorts and we lose it all over again? Yep, that was us.

Soon the nurse came to see what we were laughing about, and she laughed, too. Fortunately we were the only other people in the room. Which was amazing in itself, because typically there’s several others there and we always try to be quiet and respectful.  Not sure how Alana got the private suite on her last chemo day, but I’m glad she did because I’m not sure I could have held it together.

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Normal size — but abnormal faces.

As I left the hospital – still smiling and laughing to myself – I realized how much I love that feeling. You can’t really plan them, but when those uncontrollable belly laughs come – usually because of something ridiculous – it’s a beautiful thing.

Now Alana is on to the next step in her journey – radiation. She does have mixed emotions about ending chemo, but she’s choosing to live intentionally and not in fear. She’s plowing ahead and doing so awesome.

IMG_0955I feel so lucky to have grown closer to these amazing women over the last few months (missing one, though!). Cancer sucks, but there are some beautiful things that come out of it.

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Lucky Doodles Crayon Contest Winners

by Emily on May 5, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Today is a doubly great day! Not only do I get to announce the winners of my “guess the crayons in the jar” contest from SpringFest, but it’s Cinco de Mayo and I get to break out my fav dress. Olé!

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Um… wait. I better point out that this is me wearing it LAST Cinco de Mayo. Don’t worry – I haven’t broken out the cocktails just yet. I’ll wait ’til at least noon…

Crayon Contest Winners from SpringFest

And now the news we’ve all been waiting to hear!

Saturday at SpringFest I had a large jar of crayons and invited people to guess the total number. The jar was in the sun for a while and the crayons started to melt, but it looked sort of cool so I just let them. I called it “accidental art.” But just to be clear, I assured people we were going with the number of crayons at the BEGINNING of the day. Otherwise the correct answer might have been 1, because it was morphing into one big blob. We got numbers all over the board, and it was fun to watch people break out their calculators to try and figure it out.

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Family members were not eligible, but Allie was a great helper with the contest.

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Anyway, enough suspense. The actual number of crayons in this jar was

263

Out of 72 total guesses the winners in each category are (drumroll please)….

Age 13 and Older Division Winner:

(wins a custom 8”x10” state doodle of his choice)

Dylan B with a guess of 256!

Under 13 Division Winner:

(wins either a 5”x7” custom doodle OR a $25 gift card to a store of her choice in the Hill Country Galleria).

Lilly F. with a guess of 226!!

I’ve contacted both of these winners by phone and shared the good news. Congrats Dylan and Lilly!!

And for the rest of you, don’t be sad. It’s Cinco de Mayo!

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SpringFest Recap

by Emily on May 3, 2015

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Wow, what a day! I had such a fun experience as a vendor at my first show, SpringFest in the Hill Country Galleria. I loved meeting and talking to different people, and it didn’t hurt that the weather was gorgeous. Awesome way to launch Lucky Doodles!

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I owe some huge thank-you’s…. First to Ryan who helped me unload, setup, spend the day with the kids and then and came back to help tear down. No doubt he worked harder than I did!

I’m also grateful for my sweet friends who came to visit! It made me smile to see so many familiar faces. And I’m so grateful my booth was right next to my friend Brittany’s space, Trinkets & Butterflies. She is a pro at these shows and had done a gazillions selling her beautiful jewelry, so was a great mentor and comforting to have next door.

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Visitors!

And of course, I’m super appreciative of everyone who took time to stop by my booth. I met all types of folks and got some great feedback. I’m excited for the opportunity to create custom doodles for these cool people.

I learned so much from doing this show and although I have ideas of what I’ll do differently next time, overall it went smoothly and better than I could have hoped.  SpringFest was well run and they even had volunteers on hand to help with setup and tear down. I left inspired with plenty of ideas.

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The girls came for a visit!

It was a full day and I’m exhausted now. My car is still chock full but I’m too tired to unload it. For now I may just pour a glass of wine and relax. I’ll deal with that mess tomorrow.

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Fun w/Brittany @ Trinkets and Butterflies

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Lucky Doodles Launching Soon!

by Emily on April 28, 2015

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

-Pablo Picasso

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately, and I think it’s fitting to use in conjunction with my announcement.

Today I’m excited to share the opening of my new business, Lucky Doodles. I’ll sell original hand-drawn pen and ink artwork.

Lucky Doodles will officially launch May 2nd, where I’ll have a vendor booth at SpringFest in the Hill Country Galleria. I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. To borrow a word from my friend Alana, “Nervocited.”

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Why now?

I’ve doodled for as long as I can remember. Anyone who has ever sat next to me in a classroom, conference room or church pew may have noticed my paper covered in little designs. I love it, and try as I might I simply can’t make my pen stop if there’s paper nearby. It just happens.

People often make positive comments and ask if I sell them. I have occasionally over the years, and have given pieces as gifts and even donated to silent auctions, but I’ve never truly focused on it. My path took me elsewhere, as often happens in life. I sometimes wonder “what if I had started earlier?” But that’s silly. The “what if’s” can eat at you if you let them. I prefer the “what nows?”

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I call this my “Jesus Loves Me” collection — all doodled on the back of offering envelopes during church. I promise I listen, Dr. Haney!

Clearly I’m not getting any younger, and I guess the older I get the more my priorities shift.  And watching a dear friend battle cancer over the last nine months has had a tremendous impact on me. I’ve learned a lot from Alana, and one of those is to live intentionally. None of us are promised tomorrow, so we should make the most of today.  She’s not living in fear. She’s out making her dreams come true and using her talents to positively impact people everywhere. What’s my excuse? Fear of failure? Lack of time? Blah, blah.

So with the encouragement of wonderful friends and the support of my rock Ryan I’m going to try to make a go of this. Off to join the ranks of starving artists! But — as they say — guess I better not quit my day job just yet..

I’m in the process of setting up an Etsy shop and will have plenty examples. I’ll also take custom orders, so stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, if you’re in Austin come visit me at SpringFest in the Hill Country Galleria on Saturday from 11am – 9pm.

Oh and this is what my “studio” (aka converted dining room) looks like now. We’ve been overrun with drawings, mats and frames!!!

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The Great Lunchbox Swap

by Emily on April 27, 2015

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has inadvertently sent their kid to school with the previous day’s leftovers in her lunchbox.

I am?

Oh, crap.

Well that’s what happened to poor Elizabeth this week, but thanks to Ryan it has a happy ending. Elizabeth has a couple lunchboxes she likes to rotate (the vintage Strawberry Shortcake being my fav). Friday morning we made her lunch together and set the Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox in the fridge. 30 minutes later we rushed out the door (I don’t care what time we get up we’re still running out the door before school) and did our usual check: Backpack? Check! Water bottle? Check! Lunchbox? Check! GO!

I dropped her off at preschool as normal and watched her put her things away. All good. Back home and fast forward to just before noon. Ryan, who works from home, looks in the fridge and says, “Uh oh. Looks like you forgot Elizabeth’s lunch” as he pulls out Strawberry Shortcake. Oops.

So I rush to the school, picturing Elizabeth’s distraught face when she opens her lunchbox to nothing. But as luck would have it I got to school with 2 minutes to spare. The kids were on the playground and I did a lunchbox swap in the nick of time. She was none the wiser!

But the lunchbox I took did feel like there was something in it. So I opened it and sure enough – yesterday’s leftovers. Guess we forgot to clean it out on Thursday. Ah, well. What do you do?

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In reality I realize we’re just lucky to have lunches and even if I hadn’t made it in time that doesn’t constitute a crisis. Honestly Elizabeth probably would have eaten it and been just fine. Or she would have waited an hour and ate at home. Whatever. The teachers might have glanced at each other like, “What the???” but then would have laughed when I told them the story.

But I thought I’d share in case anyone else had one of those moments recently. And if you haven’t, well congrats. You’re winning!!

P.S. We had a major hailstorm this week and when we got our roof inspected the roofer found a muddy flip flop in the gutters. Rock on. I bet the other one is buried underneath a seat in my minivan.

P.P.S. Speaking of winning, I did have one good score this week. I found this cool vintage Rand McNally globe lamp at Goodwill for $3.99. I loved it and brought it home not knowing if it even worked and was pleasantly surprised when it did. I didn’t even have to change the lightbulb! And then was happier still when I found the exact same one on Etsy for $125. For a second I thought about reselling it, but like Bevo I’m already too attached. It looks awesome when lit up, so it stays.

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It’s Easy Being Gruene

by Emily on April 21, 2015

One of the benefits of living in Austin is its proximity to tons of  awesome little towns. Day trips to places like Fredericksburg, Boerne, Dripping Springs, Wimberly, Marble Falls, Bastrop and one of my favs, Gruene, are entirely doable on a whim.

Gruene is a charming little town near New Braunfels right on the Guadalupe River. Home to Gruene Hall (“Texas’ oldest dance hall”), fun shops and restaurant, it’s a lovely place to spend the day.

Never one to miss an opportunity, we made the trip yesterday to meet Uncle Earl while he’s in San Antonio for work. We met at the Gristmill, one of our all time favorite restaurants. The weather couldn’t have been better and we sat outside overlooking the river. Afterwards, the guys took the girls to get ice cream while I popped in a couple little shops. I couldn’t resist a vintage metal Lone Star sign as a souvenir. It was on super sale and I have the perfect spot picked out on the patio.

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After dropping the new prize off in the car we decided to take a quick walk down to the river. There were a couple guys fishing nearby, and as we admired the scenery and stuck our feet in the water we we couldn’t help but notice them spring into action. The younger guy, who was around high school (maybe college?) age, frantically began to reel in his line. The older one, who turned out to be his dad, jumped up and started recording it on his cell phone. Once the fish came out of the water the fisherman turned to the phone and said a few lines about how fishing with his dad is one of his favorite things to do. The girls were so excited – other than a teeny tiny fish in a pond I don’t think they’ve ever seen anyone catch a real fish. They were mesmerized. The guy was so proud and made sure everyone had a good look before he released the fish back to the river.

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Saying bye to the fishie.

We chatted with them for a bit and turns out he was making a video as part of a job interview for Schlitterbahn. He had already had one interview, and the second part was to submit a short video highlighting something he loves to do. Apparently they had been at the river earlier that day with no luck. The dad explained how the son was very discouraged, so he told him to pray about it. So they “prayed we’d catch a fish” and came back. Sure enough, they did! It was pretty cool to be there in that moment when the fish bit because it was pure joy for the father and son. And as luck would have it, not 10 seconds after he got the video the dad’s phone battery died. Can you imagine if they’d waited all day to catch a fish only to realize the phone was dead? Phew!

Anyway, it was sort of heartwarming to see, and I hope that guy gets the job. As we left the girls said, “We’ll see you this summer when we come to Schlitterbahn!” I hope we do.

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