the haps: the ups and downs


This “the haps” post is going to address a question I’ve been asked a lot recently:
“How is your business doing?”

This question is about Robo Roku, and to be honest, Robo Roku is not getting the love it deserves. Aside from Robo Roku, I work for Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, do client work for my business Travel Bear Bureau (formerly known as Lil’ Pancake), and am board chair for Chula League. I do have a lot on my plate, but generally everything I do is timed out nicely. Client work is usually only accepted during the beginning of the year before we get on the selling show circuit. This year Robo Roku did Printsource, and then things started to go wrong. New Robo Roku goodies were designed and made in the spring, but many have yet to make it online and to stores. Since we were unable to do the shows we were going to do, I took on client work to make up the income. Client work (as far as web design goes) is normally wrapped up in September, it has not wrapped up, yet. I only work 15 hrs/wk for Armadillo (Aug-Oct up to 30hrs/wk) depending on my workload. Other client work I do is social media consulting, and managing of social media accounts and blogging. Between Armadillo and client work that’s not web design related, that’s 30 hrs/wk. EEP! That’s almost a full time job! At least most of it is done on my own time from my home. Starting next month my hours at Armadillo will dip so I can focus on holiday season time for Robo Roku. We have upped our portfolio for our licensing agents, and participated in an art show in NYC, but our site and social media has been barren. Sad to say, especially since one client sent a thank you letter about my social media efforts on their behalf paying off. Now if only I could give Robo Roku the love it needs.

A day in the life for me right now looks like this:
Respond to emails from Armadillo and/or Chula League
Armadillo work
Client work
(repeat the above until I call it a day)
Respond to personal emails
Maybe some drawing

Client work, Armadillo work, holiday show season planning

Nov. 15th. I’m hoping to lounge around all day that day.

Halloween. I’m hoping to go to Fiesta Texas (so long as it doesn’t rain).

John Hughes playlist on Apple Music

Super nice clients, licensees, and stores that have been patient with me not having stock ready for them.

This will probably not be changing for the rest of the year: Holiday season, and licensing shows next year.

Not as much as I normally do this time of year. I normally watch almost everything! I seriously watch a lot of tv, but it’s the only way I can decompress. I haven’t watched Netflix much recently because of the fall shows being back. Doctor Who, House of DVF (LOVE!), The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, Scandal, Nashville, The British Baking Show, and Project Runway (my fave!) — lots of tv.

PS – my calendar in the photo is not up-to-date. I noticed this Thursday was empty, while I have two meetings that day. Oops! Good thing I use my phone and planner to keep track. 🙂


meet my TARDIS

TARDIS front
This is my new car TARDIS. When they first came back I looked at them, but didn’t get one because I was the one always driving my friends around and I needed a car that would be easy for that. This time around I could be more selfish in what I was looking for in a car. My dream car is a car I already owned, which was a VW cabrio. I loved that car. They don’t make them anymore. I was looking for something small, with good gas mileage, bluetooth, and ideally a convertible. This car was close enough with a sunroof. How could I pass up this cute car in almost a TARDIS blue?!? With that in mind, this is what came next….

Wobbly Keys
The keychain was originally a pendant I ordered awhile back, but it was too big for my taste. I now had the perfect use for it! And for the big finally….

(license plate hidden for privacy concerns)

When I did roller derby my derby name was Bad Wolf. I chose that name because it’s a cool storyline from Doctor Who, and the story arc covered more than one Doctor. I’ve also always wanted to be the Doctor. I’m getting closer, no? 😉

cloud view from the sunroof
The view from the sunroof on the way home. I think this car suits me perfectly, and I’m loving the zip-zoom of it.

Daiso in Texas!

daiso in texas
WARNING: This post is photo heavy (loaded with cuteness).

Whenever I go to the West Coast (which is usually at least once a year) a trip to Daiso is always on the itinerary. Finding out one was FINALLY coming to Texas was a dream come true! Especially since I will not be making a trip to L.A. this year. I need to get my cute fix! With August being my birthday month, Josh agreed to drive me to the Dallas area to have a “pretend we’re in L.A. trip”. He drove my new car (post on that coming soon) so I could “play” with my planner on the drive there. When we got there for their grand opening, we found ourselves in quite the line. I was happy that it had such a turnout, but was a little worried we wouldn’t get in!

The line was outside wrapped into a neighboring empty business, then back outside again! Thankfully the line moved fairly quickly. We were in line for around 30 minutes, but it wasn’t so bad, the staff passed out water to everyone, and there was music playing, so everything was upbeat. This was just what was in front of me, the whole line was over double what you see here!
daiso line

Daiso is a Japanese $1.50 value store. Think dollar store, but with loads of cuteness!
daiso end capdaiso end cap 2 copy

lucky cat daiso
cute umbrellas daiso

I tried to convince this employee to give me his Pocky jacket. I did get a Pocky file folder. YAY!
pocky jacket

Here’s a peek at a tiny portion of some of the goodies I picked up there:
bunny plate daiso

pocky daiso haul

After the Daiso trip we went to Sprinkles (another L.A. fave) for some cupcakes.
2015-08-01 19.34.19

I’m so glad we were there for the grand opening, there was so much excitement in the store. I can’t wait to go back next month! Here’s a tip for artist/maker friends that do shows, you can find super cute items here for your booth displays. Lots of mine come from Daiso. 🙂


wednesday wisdom: teamwork

When people cooperate to achieve a common goal, amazing things can happen. Even for those of us who prefer solitude to being around others much of the time, the benefits of connecting with fellow humans — both in personal and professional contexts — affect not only the group, but also the individual in positive ways. (Of course, if you are an introvert, this may require a little creativity and a pretty thorough understanding of your boundaries, but there are tons of innovative digital resources these days that make it easy to collaborate with a team on your own terms.)

Working together, at home as well as work, boosts morale and yields higher efficiency when each person focuses on his or her contribution to the whole by offering their respective strengths. Even better? Practice makes perfect, so practicing a specific task diligently (as opposed to handling a whole project on your own, spreading your attention thin) will ideally create new, stronger strengths for you. Practicing teamwork also teaches improved conflict resolution and communication skills. According to research, cooperation can even make you more intelligent!

Together. It’s a powerful concept. We are stronger together than apart, and history has proven the power of organized groups of people passionate about the same causes.


In my personal life, I’ve begun implementing team-building practices into our household routines, and am continuing to seek solutions that seem fun for the kids and easy for me to maintain. The goal is to encourage generosity, solid work ethic, social skills, and balance. We’re still attempting to design the perfect chore chart for my family’s lifestyle, one that makes it easy to keep track of goals and how/when/how much each member acts in the interest of achieving them.

When it comes to art and business, I find myself doing my best work with a team, despite not considering myself much of a “people person.” I’ve found many ways to create awesome things that are integral to their projects without being confined to an environment in which I’m not comfortable enough to thrive. I paint theatrical set pieces in solitude, usually while rocking out to 80s-90s music and getting quite a workout, which are then combined with the fruits of the actors’ and theatre staff’s labor to produce wonderfully entertaining shows. I make custom accessories at my desk at home for clients who are overseeing team-powered projects and events of all kinds, and am always thrilled to see the finished product, once it’s all pieced together. Being an important little part of an awesome bigger picture is exhilarating and inspiring to me, so there’s an effect on my momentum going forward as well.

Even for this blog, Renée and I each contribute posts that highlight our individual interests and areas of expertise. We both have busy daily lives, and have each experienced our share of significant family and personal obstacles that serve as setbacks on the path to some of our professional ideals. If one of us is overwhelmed when life gets in the way, the other always tries to make certain the ship stays afloat.

Knowing we have a caring support system helps soften life’s blows. Having a cohort who shares your vision is an invaluable resource, making it more likely that we’ll get back on track after we stumble. I know there are areas in my life wherein I’d like to be a better teammate, and wherein I’d love to influence those around me to do the same.

Do you manage a team or a busy family? If so, what tips and insights would you say have been particularly motivational or helpful? Leave us a comment below!


2014 was like whoa!

And we’re back! 2014 was insane… in a good way. This year Robo Roku dived into licensing shows and the licensing world. I tried to prepare for that by not restocking stores we were in and not doing as many selling shows, but between online sales, the few selling shows we did and adding the licensing shows and design work we had to do for those shows (plus life changes here and there) it was quite a lot. 2014 was certainly a learning/practice year. 2013 was all about art licensing classes and learning and 2014 was about implementing what I had learned, licensing shows, and taking more classes. It was hard to try to balance everything, and I know I failed – I was behind on deadlines, didn’t post on social media enough, had a blogging break, many things suffered. Even today, I am scrambling to finish things I’m behind on because I am determined to not have anything hanging over my head as we go into the new year….except maybe this…
Too Many Leaves
Raking will be done tomorrow. Sorry neighbors! It really sucks because we’re the corner house. I’m sure our neighbors are not happy with us.

I don’t want you to think 2014 was a bad year, because it was quite an exciting year. We did new shows, I made new friends, our artwork has improved, our online sales improved, we got two agents, everything seemed to be on an upswing. I call 2014 a “practice” year even though everything we did was “live”. I didn’t expect much from the licensing shows we did, but good things came from them. I’ll be going into 2015 having a better understanding of the time, energy, and work it will take to bulk up our portfolio for the licensing shows; I have sales data of what sold best at shows and online, and what our customers want more of, which will help us streamline and order supplies more smartly. 2015 will be about spending my energy and time more wisely. I can’t be all the things all the time, but I can continue to grow my dream biz without exhausting myself into a ball on my sofa.

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar went well. From December 16 – 24th our booth was open 11am-11pm. It was a very long 9 days. This pic was on the last day, as you can see we don’t have as big of a selection; load out was not so bad, as we had sold out of quite a lot. See the kids clothes on the wall? Those were made by our guest vendor Petite Pensieri. We love doing this show and can’t wait to do it again next year.

I only asked for one thing for Christmas, and it is the best thing ever. I’ve been snuggling up in this on the sofa. The sleeves are very wide, so I sorta feel like Renée the Pink, Wizard of Cute!

I’m not going out tonight. I’ll probably be in my Hello Kitty Snuggie most of the night to tell the truth. The cool thing about the Snuggie is I can still work in it! It may seem rather boring to be working on the designated party night of the year, but I want to start 2015 off ready. Tonight I will be organizing my goals by assigning deadlines and timelines for everything. I work better when most of my days are planned out. This is why most of my friends know we need to make plans a month in advance. Booking my time keeps me sane and better on top of things. You know I don’t really make NYE resolutions, I feel like a lot of resolutions don’t work out because they tend to just be wishes. I’m a planner. By breaking up my big dreams into tiny goals I can plug into my planner I’m able to reach my goals without freaking out over them. Maybe that tactic will work out for you? Let me know what you’re looking to accomplish in 2015, and if there’s anything I can do to help, reach out!

Sending you wishes of love, prosperity, (and safety if you’re going out tonight) – let’s own 2015, and not just float through it.

the haps: holiday crunch time is coming

I’m happy that we will be returning this necklace to the This Creative Life shop soon. With one small change, our wood necklaces are going to be hand-painted again. This one was printed for us. We’re working on re-launching the This Creative Life line soon.

Our new project, This Creative Life online shop, getting caught up for holiday crunch time, blog posts, design portfolio for our agents and Printsource.

How to survive the next three months.

Finishing up the site for our new project, redoing the blog layout (seriously, I have it planned out, just no time to make this happen! sigh.), the holiday season rush, and Printsource.

Taxes and Pompeii (more about that tomorrow).

1. Sierra — she’s going to work my booth at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar the night of The Hobbit release, so Josh and I can go.
2. That things have been falling into place here. Josh’s last day at the print shop is on the 24th. Soon he will have more time to work on Robo Roku stuff, which is so great, because we are quite behind.

This will probably not be changing for the rest of the year: Holiday season, and licensing shows next year.

ALL THE SHOWS! Ha ha! I seriously watch a lot of tv, but it’s the only way I can decompress. I haven’t watched Netflix much recently because of the fall shows being back. Doctor Who, Revenge, The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, Selfie, Madam Secretary, Scandal, Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow, Gotham, Cutthroat Kitchen, Gracepoint, Nashville, How to Get Away With Murder, Franklin and Bash, and Project Runway (my fave!) — lots of tv. This list is kind of embarrassing, but seriously, without a way to veg out, I’d probably lose my mind. The normal things other people do to relax make my brain go into hyper-drive. Truth be told, I work on my computer blogging or emailing while watching a lot of these.

Are you getting ready for holiday crunch time, too? Anything you’d love to see return to the shop? Back to work I go!


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