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Finding Productivity in Your Routine

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At the beginning of 2020 I started a habit of organizing my weeks and days that was really working well for me. Sadly, Covid eventually interrupted my momentum and my new routine fell by the wayside as I focused on the struggle to simply put on real pants and juggle a spouse and kids all working from home! These things happened to many of us, but when you’re your own boss, you eventually realize that nobody is going to hold you accountable for accomplishing anything except yourself. I have come to the realization that, even though I might not feel like my daily tasks and goals are as numerous or lofty as they were pre-covid, simply having them and laying out a plan plays a big role in my overall well being, my family’s well being, and my business’s well being! SO, as I look forward to our post-covid future, I’ve decided to go back to what was working before! 

I’m going to share just this one piece of my organization and accountability process, in hopes that it might inspire you to create your own! Feel free to use my method, or twek it to make it more personal to you!

I use my phone and electronic reminders for everything, but I still like tactile things like paper. And stickers. And color coded tabs, markers and pencils! So I organize myself in an old school, 3-ring planner binder. But I start with an empty binder…not one with pre-made pages…so that I can truly make it MINE!

Here is a link to my exact binder!

The Repeated, Every Day Tasks

First I identified what things EVERY day needed. On top of every page I have a space for that day’s commitments, where I write in meetings, events, and other stuff going on that day. Then I have my “Do-NOW’s” which are tasks that are urgent and can’t wait for another day…such as packing up a customer’s online order, responding to quote requests, etc. On the bottom of every page I have personal tasks I want to remember to do every day. For me those are my devotions, and some sort of physical activity or workout. You can make these be anything you want! Time for yourself, time for rest, time to feed your own soul and body. I know I want to aim for exercise and devotions every day, so those are printed on every sheet, but I also have blank lines for non-daily personal tasks I want to do that day.

The Different, Changing-Daily Tasks

I have SO many to-do’s flying around my brain at any given time, but I know that the key to productivity is to FOCUS on single things at a time. For this reason I try to dedicate each day of the week to a particular “bucket.” When I think of a new to-do, I find whichever day of the week it fits best with, I add it to that day’s list of tasks, and then I can rest knowing it’ll get done that week. I like catchy alliteration, so I came up with some sort of theme for each day of the week. Here are my daily themes:

Media Monday

Mondays are my day to focus on my website, creating social media content, newsletters, etc.

Tackle it Tuesday

On Tuesdays I ask myself, what random tasks can I get crossed off my to-do list today? I start with quick, small things and work my way up so I can cross off a lot and feel accomplished. And yes, I’ve been known to write down things I already did just so I can mark down that super satisfying check mark, haha!

Weight Lift Wednesday

Wednesdays I focus on chipping away at a task that is heavily weighing on my  mind that week. It can be a huge project, a personal thing, or just something I really don’t want to do but want to quit thinking about!

Think Big Thursday

Thursdays I dedicate to big ideas and future goals and large projects. These might change from week to week, but I always have something that fits! The back of my planner has divider tabs dedicated to my big projects.

Financial Friday

Last year Fridays were “frazzled Fridays” where I tied up random loose ends. This year I decided I need to be more regular about keeping up with boring financial stuff (because I hated the pile of work that awaited me come tax season!), so Fridays my goal is to catch up on filing receipts, reconciling bank accounts, and checking in on the status of invoices. Which brings up a good point about all this…if you are going through your week or month or year and discover that a particular theme day doesn’t seem to be working for you, or like me, you find that there’s something you’re not getting done that you’d benefit from fitting into your regular routine, change it up! I designed these planner sheets on my computer so I can change them up easily. I also don’t print out an entire year at once…I print out maybe a couple months out, just in case I want to make a change.

Say-NO Saturday

What you DON’T put on your calendar is just as important, if not more important, than what you do! On Saturday I write down the things I said no to that week which would have drained me, and write down what else I was able to do with that time that filled me up instead!  Don’t feel bad about what you turn down…celebrate what saying “no” gave back to you! 

Start Again Sunday

Sunday is my day to reflect, restore and re-focus. I reflect on the past week, take time to rest, and look ahead at next week’s plan.

My Other Binder Accessories…

There are a few other little things I have in my binder to help organize things…

While I don’t print out daily pages for an entire year up front, I do still want to have a place to jot down gigs, conventions, and other events that are farther out into the future, and be able to see a month at a glance. So, I got these blank monthly planner refills. I put each month’s spread right into my daily pages, so they work as dividers for my daily pages as well.

I like to be able to quickly flip to TODAY in my planner, so I also purchased a pack of these little snap-in bookmarks. I labeled one “TODAY,” and each day I move it farther into my planner to mark the day I’m on.

I purchased these little pockets that are great for stuffing small bits of mail, to-do lists, receipts, etc that I want to put with a project or month or day, but don’t want to hole punch.

“But I don’t think like this!”

Many of you are probably thinking, “But I’m an artist! I don’t think like this…I live in an organized chaos and bounce around from task to task. I could never live this organized!” But I’ll tell you, I’m the same way! I can get SO easily distracted by shiny things (literally and figuratively), and am always bouncing from thing to thing. I love crossing things off my list, but after a while, that bouncing can get mentally exhausting. One minute I’m working on one thing, and the next I am distracted by a new idea, or I remember something else I need to do that day/week. Having this method to my madness has removed a lot of the madness from my methods!! Now when I’m working away and an idea or task comes to mind, I don’t have to worry about forgetting it or it not getting done. I simply stop, and think about the urgency first. Did an order just come in and it needs to ship asap? Then I write it down on my “Do-Now’s” for the day. Can it wait a few days? Then I figure out which theme day it fits within best, and write it on THAT day’s “Do-Now’s.” Is it a new appointment or a family activity to schedule? I write it down under the commitments on whatever day’s page it is. The act of writing these things down gets them OUT of my head, so that I can cut off the distraction without losing the task, and more quickly get back to what I was focusing on that day.

Of course life happens, and many days the “theme” gets overridden by an event or something else more urgent. And that is totally fine! Remember, these theme days are just a guideline to help you get things done by focusing more each day on a particular task or bucket. You’ll always have “do-now’s” that jump in at a moment’s notice, and you’ll always have big ideas that you’d like to remember to work on someday. But I find that sorting my days by theme helps me to focus on one thing without fear of the others getting forgotten, and in turn, be more productive. In general I try to at least get all of my “Do-Now’s” done every day (the things that truly can’t wait), and the day’s commitments. Everything else I count as extra productivity. If I have to spend half the day running errands and don’t get to one task I had written down for one day, if it’s urgent I’ll move it to the next day’s “do-now’s,” but if it’s not super urgent, I’ll move it to that same theme day next week! Give yourself some grace and flexibility in the process!

I hope that you are able to find some method to the madness in 2021 that works for you!

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Turn Old Holiday Cards into Glittery Decor!

Christmas time is the perfect time of year to do messy, glittery projects around the house. You can always blame the lingering glitter on your aunt who sent you that glittery card, or whoever wrapped their gifts in glitter paper, haha!

It seems we all have just a little more time on our hands this year, thanks to Covid, so why not spend some time reducing holiday waste and making something sparkly out of all those holiday cards? I remember my mom making these decorative balls out of old Christmas cards, and had one of hers in my decorations, so I thought I’d deconstruct it and make a couple of my own with an old stack of cards from previous years! My soon-to-be teenager Sam even helped me out with cutting, scoring, folding and gluing. This is a great project to do with your kids at any age. Little ones can help cut or tear the fronts of the cards off and recycle the backs. They can also help with the tracing of the patterns, and if they’re good with scissors, cutting out circles! Here’s how to make them!

Tools & Supplies Needed:

  • Template (see next step!)
  • Pile of holiday cards – You’ll need to make 20 circles to create one ball.
  • Cardboard – any thick stock will do. You can even use a holiday card back, or a cereal box from your recycle bin!
  • Scissors
  • Ballpoint pen or nail – for scoring the cards to create crisp folds
  • Glue – Any ol’ white school glue works, though thicker tacky glue will drip less
  • String, yarn, etc to hang with
  • GLITTER! duh!!!

1. Make a template.

I’ve made this SUPER easy for you…simply download and print this template I’ve created for you, below!

Cut out the circle and the triangle, lay it on your piece of cardboard, and use them to trace a pattern on the cardboard. Cut those out so you have a cardboard circle and triangle, as shown in the photo above. This is scaled to create about a 7″ diameter ball. If you like, you can scale these up or down to change the size of your ball!

2.Cut circles out of holiday cards

Next, lay your cardboard circles on the front of your cards, trace them, and cut them out. You’ll need 20 circles to make one ball. This is a great place to involve kids. You can have them start by tearing the cards in half and saving the fronts. Photo cards don’t work well because of their glossy surface, so we only use the paper greeting cards for these!

3. Score the triangular folds

Take one of your card circles and flip it upside down. Now take your triangle template and position it so that all 3 points are touching the edge of the circle. Here’s where you’ll use the nail…but it doesn’t have to be a nail. A ballpoint pen works, a letter opener, a toothpick, a fork, whatever…just something strong and relatively pointy. What we’re doing here is scoring the card, so that you’ll get perfectly straight, crisp folds. Press and run your nail or whatever tool along the three edges of the triangle. Put a piece of cardboard or paper underneath so you don’t scratch or write on the table! This is my son doing this part…

4. Fold

Now, flip your circle back over and fold towards the printed sides. Notice how nice it folds after you’ve scored it!

5. Glue 5 Circles together to form the top.

Put some craft glue on one of the flaps.

Glue together 5 pieces to create a domed, round top for your ball. Clothespins or chip clips work great to hold the together while they dry! Before you totally glue them all together, loop a piece of string, yarn or ribbon through the center point to hang it with. You can tie a knot here to hold it in, or just use some glue and/or tape inside to hold your string.

6. Repeat to create the bottom, and make a strip for the middle.

Now that you have the top made, do the same thing again to create the bottom. You should have two domed pieces made of 5 cards each. Next, glue 10 more together in a straight row, as shown above. This will be the middle of your ball.

7. Assemble the Ball

Take your strip of 10 cards, shape it into a ring and glue as shown above. As you can see here, I am impatient so I used a little tape on the inside to hold these together while they dry!

Now, glue on your top (above) and your bottom (below)!

8. Add Glitter!

And now for the BEST PART….the GLITTER!! When I’m using loose glitter like this, I work over a folded piece of paper, poster board, etc. This project is small enough that a file folder worked great! That way, you can catch all the loose glitter in the folder or paper, and use the crease to dump it neatly back into your glitter jar, leaving not a speck to be found. Hehe…

Doing one seam at a time, apply glue to the edge. Here’s where a thicker tacky glue might be helpful as it will be less drippy. But, you’ll want to get your glue on, and then quickly pour glitter on it before it drips away on you, which is why I apply glue and then glitter to one “rib” at a time…

This part may require some breaks to let the glue dry. I start with the top ribs, then go around to the side strip. Then, I let it sit and dry before turning it over and doing the bottom ones.

Notice my orange file folder catching every single speck of glitter?! Amazing, huh? We don’t have ANY loose glitter specks around our house…nope, not a one! 😉

Done!

Once they dry, hang them wherever you wish! These are pretty and simple, a fun way to get your kids into recycling, and a great way to honor all those friends and family who have taken the time to send you cards. If you can find glue that will work well, you can even try making these with photo cards, and have all your friends and family’s faces on them! And, like I said, you can even shrink down the template to create smaller ornaments, which would also enable you to get several circles out of one card.

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How to Paint a Sweater Texture

Just in time for your ugly Christmas sweater paintings, I’ve put together a super quick video to show you how to create a cable knit sweater texture! It looks super detailed, but really it’s just a matter of finding the right sized tools to make the size knit you want, and then repeating a pattern of short strokes and “stamps” with a petal brush. Enjoy!!

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Christmas Window Painting

Yesterday I had the pleasure of painting some fun holiday windows for Lake Harriet Florist in Minneapolis! I was contacted on Monday for a quote, got them a price and sketches based on what they were looking for, and was already out there painting on Thursday! I moved pretty quickly with this one since Thursday was forecasted to be an unseasonably warm day, reaching the 50’s! It was a perfect day for painting, and such a beautiful storefront with nice windows. They were kind enough to remove the pretty planters and spruce tips that were in front of the windows so I’d have space to work…so I’ll have to get another photo with THEIR beautiful work once they put it all back! Lake Harriet Florist create STUNNING flower arrangements…if you’re looking for some really incredible flowers and live in the Twin Cities, I’d highly recommend supporting this talented small business who also supported my small business! Spread the local business love!

These were so much fun to paint! The client wanted to steer clear of being too cartoony, so I toned down the outlines with a dark gray instead of a black. That way I could still make the colors pop without dark outlines. It’s hard to tell in the photos here but this was the first time I experimented with metallic silver paint! I used metallic silver as the background of the holly ornament, and on all of the tops of each ornament. It turned out pretty cool!

Process photos…

I was there for about 6 hours, from the time I pulled up to the time I cleaned up. It took about an hour to get the windows all cleaned and prepped and sketch out the design. A little over an hour to do the white (since that included all the “dangles” above), and then the rest was painting! I brought a fan along and was able to paint pretty much non stop, moving the fan to dry as I went on to another section.

Here’s a time lapse video! My GoPro at one point decided to switch from time lapse mode to normal recording, so it either ran out of space or battery before the end, but this will show you some of the process.

Check out the website and fill out our request for quote form if you’re interested in having your business windows painted!

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Glitter Glamper Progress: Epoxy Resin Glitter Backsplash

Yesterday I finally started blogging about my process of turning my 1963 Shasta into THE Glitter Glamper! I shared some of the uglier work yesterday: removing a little rot, fixing a dent and sealing up holes. Today I thought I’d share one of the “prettier” projects: the glitter backsplash!

As I mentioned last time, the interior of this camper is so beautifully original that, while I need and want to transform it to scream “Glitter Glamper,” I still want to achieve this while preserving the original state underneath. I need to brighten it up overall so that I can get great lighting to work in, and also create an environment that feels unmistakably and unforgettably “Glitter Glamper” to my guests. Yes, this has created significantly more time and expense versus just painting over everything with white and coating it with glitter, however, I am enjoying the process so far and loving the results!

I knew that the area between the countertops and cabinets presented a great opportunity to inject some glitter, by way of a backsplash. I explored a few options, from glitter wallpaper to a gem mosaic and everything in between, but in my mind they all started with cut panels that could be put up and removed if I wanted to later. In order to achieve the ultimate in glittery-ness (yup, that’s a word I have full authority to create as a glitterologist, haha!), I decided to go with a poured resin and super chunky glitter. This would enable me to use big, sparkly glitter but still seal it up in a durable, wipe-able surface that can easily be kept clean without glitter constantly shedding!

I started by purchasing some pressed hardboard from Home Depot, and cut panels to fit above the counter, carefully measuring to make sure it fit around outlets, the window, etc. When going for a solid, uniform color coverage with glitter, just as I would paint the skin under one of my glitter “wannabeards” before applying the same color glitter, I want to lay down some paint as a background. This gives the illusion of full, opaque coverage of glitter, even if you may have spots here and there where glitter has fallen off or isn’t as thick. I went with a white base coat here, because I’m using silver glitter. A gray would work too, but my goal is brightness and silver reflects white as well, so it was perfect! Not only did the white paint give me a more even look, but it helps seal up the wood, so it took less glue and less resin in the end. I painted the back, front and edges of each piece and allowed them to dry. Then on to the fun part…

I bought a couple 1 lb jars of chunky glitter from the craft store. (Note: we do not EVER use metallic craft glitter on skin…only cosmetic grade glitter!) I laid each piece of wood on a large piece of tagboard that had been folded in the middle (or newspaper for the longer ones), and then coated the wood with Mod Podge. School glue would work too…but Mod Podge is already watered down glue, so it spreads farther and quicker, which was my goal. After a coating of Mod Podge, I then dumped plenty of glitter over the wet glue and allowed it to dry. Then I carefully lifted the panel and shook off the loose glitter, set it aside, folded the paper and funneled the extra back into the jar.

Pouring the Resin

Before pouring the resin, there is a bit of prep work to do. You have to prepare a very level surface to work on, as gravity will spread your resin out, and you want it to be an even thickness. I used my kitchen counter, and covered it with many layers of newspaper, to protect it if any resin spilled over. (For the next round I laid out painters’ plastic, which is better as it won’t soak up resin like newspaper!) Also, make sure that you have the ability to leave your pieces there for 24 hours to set, where it will remain stable, level, and free of floating particles of dust or whatever! Making dinner was tricky around this and made me a little nervous, but it worked out just fine.

Then, you have to create some sort of “fence” around whatever you are pouring resin onto, of course, to keep it from just pouring off the edge. I used painters tape and went around all edges, making sure to fold it under and rub it tightly against the underside of the wood to contain the resin while it was still liquid.

Here is what I used for my resin:

Whatever resin you use, make sure to carefully read and follow the directions! I got out some paper cups to pour each part into, and then a cool whip bowl to mix them together in. I also got out a couple plastic knives and a foam brush to help spread the resin. Different brands will have different amounts of time that the resin is work-abe, before it hardens. Pay attention to that, as you only have so much time to spread it before it sets up.

Pour out equal parts of resin into the paper cups to ensure you have an equal amount of both resin and hardener. Then, pour the two cups together in your larger container, and mix. Make sure to mix it well…epoxy resin is a chemical process that requires equal parts and thorough mixing! Once I had it well mixed, I slowly drizzled it over the glitter, trying to distribute it as evenly as I could. Then, I used the foam brush (and plastic knives for the tighter corners) to make sure that it was spread out and covering all of the glitter.

Get down low so you can catch a reflection in your resin. This will show you where you may need to add more, spread it out, etc. The act of mixing resin will undoubtedly fill it with lots of bubbles. When doing a smaller project, all you need to do is get down close and exhale over the surface, and you’ll see the bubbles rise and pop! For this I took a heat gun and ran it over all the surfaces. A hair dryer would probably also work, though a heat gun blows less and will disturb the surface less. The heat causes the bubbles to rise and pop. Be careful not to burn your project! With this particular project, air bubbles were virtually unnoticeable anyway because of all the light bouncing around inside from the glitter. However, removing them helps it to be smooth and strong.

There is one little ledge area above the fridge where I had a lip on the panels, to hold things in during transit. Since a couple inches of the back of my panels was visible here, I glued some fun fabric on that edge. When installing each panel, I first drilled pilot holes so as not to crack the resin when I screwed it in. Everything went up beautifully with minimal screws!

There were just a few edges that showed in the end, including this little ledge where I had the fabric backer, so I covered those with some bling-y trim and a glue gun.

Overall I LOVE how it turned out. Photos truly do NOT capture the amount of depth and sparkle in this! I love it so much, that I’m toying with the idea of an epoxy resin flooring as well. We shall see…that may be a project for spring! In the meantime, this turned out exactly as I had imagined, and consider it a big win in achieving my intense glittery-ness and remove-ability!

Thanks for stopping by…Stay tuned for more updates on the progress! 🙂

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Glitter Glamper Becomes a Reality!

The ONLY thing photoshopped here is the logo decal…I’ll likely order a decal like this for now (I already have them on my storage trailer), but hope to have a real neon sign made down the road that can be hung on the outside while “open,” and then stowed away when driving!

If you’re a fan and follower of our Glitter Glamper on social media, you’ll know that on September 25th I took a huge leap of faith and purchased the REAL, live Glitter Glamper! Why was this such a huge leap of faith, you ask? After all, the Glitter Glamper was a raging success it’s first year at the Minnesota State Fair, and my concept had been proven beyond my wildest dreams without even having a physical Glamper yet! Well, as we all know, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, which has put a screeching halt to the event industry, and in turn, nearly all of my income, making it a big financial risk to take on the hope that “someday soon” we’d be back to “somewhat normal” life! Here are some of the factors that nudged me just far enough to put what’s left of my money where my now slightly shaky confidence was:

  1. With virtually all of my events cancelled since March, I had a little more TIME on my hands to work on a big project.
  2. With no income stream in sight for most of 2020, this may be a good year to create tax deductions!
  3. We WILL eventually get past Covid. Events WILL eventually come back. But in the meantime, even if they don’t come back with the volume they once were for a long time, having the ability to go mobile and set up “shop” outdoors at an event, where I can easily control the number of people within that 6′ radius at a time and sanitize as needed, is a huge plus! People may not be able to book a large indoor gathering for a while, but being able to spread out outdoors opens up unique covid-friendly opportunities.
  4. My current space at the state fair is inside a “cage” type booth, but even if they don’t have an outdoor space for this trailer in the near future, it can still be utilized at events around the Twin Cities. And, it MIGHT actually fit INSIDE my current “cage” space…hmm…I’m exploring possibilities. 😉
  5. I can’t leave out the fact that my husband has a much more stable job than I, which sustains us and our cost of living even during a pandemic…so I fully realize that I am incredibly fortunate and privileged in that respect. If my business fails, we won’t be on the streets (or crammed in the Glamper), and that is the one thing that gives me the ability to do these crazy things!

Essentially, I had decided even while working in an awesome and successful state fair booth last year, that I didn’t come this far only to come this far.

While I moved very fast on this purchase as soon as I saw it on Facebook marketplace, it was not an impulse decision. I have been researching and searching steadily for probably over 2 years. I knew from the beginning that I wanted a Shasta Airflyte. This is evident by the business cards I created, and Photoshopped rendering of what I wanted my booth to look like for the State Fair’s application. I knew I wanted one that was manufactured between 1961 (the year that Shasta started their iconic “wings”) and 1964 (when they moved their body design from the classic “canned ham” shape to a more boxy design). At least 12′ long would be ideal, and under 20′ for ease of pulling and squeezing into festivals. A bathroom would probably be impossible, but would be a major plus if I ever were to sleep over in it at a weekend event. I had seen plenty of vintage trailers that “would have worked,” but held out for that elusive dream. I spent countless hours killing time, scrolling through Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. I knew what was out there, what they were going for, and how much work I’d be getting into.

I got a little more serious when Covid hit, but still was starting to get to the point where I didn’t think what I had in my mind’s eye would ever become available, at least in my state or budget. But, just as things always work out the way they should, the wrong deals fell through and along the way made it so that I knew this was THE one when it turned up. Just when I was ready to settle for something other than a Shasta which also fell through (no title), and then let the whole idea go entirely and move on, I found it! The day before I went to pick it up I even got a call from a prospective client who was wondering if I really had a real camper that I could park at their curb for a covid friendly party. Um…please hold for just one day, haha!

Yes, I’m wearing tiny earrings with tiny red & white campers. Hehe!

I have a LOT of catching up to do on the progress of this thing on my blog, so I’m starting with some of the bigger things I’ve worked on so far, and will be sharing a lot more in upcoming posts!

So, back in September I purchased this 1963 Shasta! It really had everything I was hoping for, even an elusive bathroom! The bathroom is suuuper teeny, but it was a wish list item in the event that I ever take this trailer to a weekend festival or fair somewhere and spend the night in it, enabling me to work at an event out of town and save money on lodging. The goal here is to have a camper that embodies my “Glitter Glamper” brand, that functions for the work I want to do in it, and still remains camp-able. Another huge plus with this one was that it wan’t totally falling apart, the floor wasn’t rotting and in need of total replacement (we already went through that with our family camper and I did NOT want to tackle a floor again), it was clean and cute and mostly original! The exterior does not match my imagined turquoise on my business graphics, however, I have decided to stick with red and white. Red is my favorite color, I love how much bolder and eye catching this combination is (which is important for a business), and it gives me future potential to rent it out as a photographer’s backdrop for holiday photos! Later on I’ll show you the history of layered paint jobs on this thing, but for now, here’s where I started…

Interior the day I bought it! The tiny bathroom is in the back right corner closet.
This is the front dinette, which will become my main work space.

After some research in my vintage Shasta Facebook groups I learned that what I have here is not actually an Airflyte, but a Shasta 16-SC. (Ariflytes apparently didn’t come with the bathroom!) The 16 I believe refers to the length, as it is 16 feet bumper to hitch. No worries though…I wasn’t married to the Airflyte model as much as I was married to those WINGS! (Which I don’t believe are original on mine…I’ll tackle that later!)

We had a family camping trip planned for the same day that I bought this, so it was tough to bring it home, park it, and then scramble to head out of town and leave it behind! Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get back home and get to work! The first thing I did was curtains! I know, probably the least important thing…but this is something I knew I could do quickly and make a big visual impact for very little money! I found the shiniest fancy fabric at a local fabric warehouse, and crocheted overly dramatic tiebacks using glittery yarn and hanging crystals! Do you expect anything less for the Glamper? I think not!

Crocheted tiebacks, as blingy as possible, haha!
New, shiny curtains that scream “Glitter Glamper!”
Of course I have my “Friends of the Fair” decal on the window!

Since September I’ve been working on it a little almost every day, racing against the clock and Minnesota’s impending winter to do as much as I can before it has to be put away for winter! The most immediate things that had to be done were really just sealing up cracks and crevices to keep mice out over winter, however, I really wanted to get it looking like the GLAMPER and not your average camper, as much as possible, so that it would be as ready as possible for events come spring. In order to actually physically WORK out of this camper though, I really needed to make space for a work station and chair space for customers.

We got a freak October snowfall this year…it’s gone now, but this shot was enough for me to agree that she must remain red & white…this is just SCREAMING to be set up for Christmas photo shoots!!

Time to start some of the dreaded DEMO!

I decided to remove the dinette to make my work area. While I originally figured I’d have to buy a camper in much worse shape and gut it, this one is really beautiful inside and original. SO, my goal has now become to make this camper be what I need it to be for my work and deliver the full Glitter Glamper experience, but still preserve as much of it’s original design as possible. For this reason I very carefully removed the dinette and have saved all of the original pieces, should I want to ever convert it back to a camper just for camping. (I currently have my state fair booth components tucked away in a storage trailer, so I was able to squeak these parts into the trailer for now)

Pulling out the dinette served another purpose though, to remove the front wood panel which had some rot to take care of, and access the front left corner where pervious owners had hit a deer. This corner was pretty beaten up…not too bad looking from outside but once I removed the booth I could see daylight through the floor, could crumble pieces of the framing with my fingers, and could actually reach my hand down to the ground if I wanted to. Not a hole I would want to leave open for winter! It also greatly compromised the structure itself.

These old Shastas were constructed surprisingly poorly back then. The framing is not one nice, solid, curved piece of wood, but rather, these are made with a bunch of little pieces of wood stapled together to form the curves. If you were to pull the siding off of the outside of a Shasta, what you’d see would look much like something pieced together from the scrap bin. I learned this, among many other things, from the vintage Shasta owner Facebook groups I’m in! So, between the rot and the deer damage, there was really nothing attaching the front left corner of the trailer to the walls or floor. The front panel of aluminum was actually flopping loose as well, once I took the booth out!

Removing the booth, piece by piece! I saved all the original wood facing, cushions, platform and tabletops in my Glamper storage trailer if I ever want to put it back.
After removing the whole booth and the front wood panel which had rot in the corners. Luckily the rot had not spread to anywhere else!
Removing the damaged and rotted wood. I didn’t even have to cut anything here…that is how long the original piece was.

Gah! This part is ugly! Time for a “pretty” break!!!

Okay, so far this is probably the ugliest piece of the whole project…and was a little daunting. I admit that to keep motivated and keep my eyes on the prize, I had to occasionally turn my gaze back to the other side of the camper, look at the parts that didn’t need replacing, and sprinkle in a few more creative mini-projects. I do this a lot in work and life in general…I often bounce from one thing to the next. It helps me get through the boring parts of business ownership like accounting and paperwork while still keeping motivated with the creative, artistic side! 😉

I painted and blinged out several small mirrors to hang in the Glamper!
Hanging mini LED lights, and setting up some fun accessories from my state fair booth! The afghan my grandma made and happens to match perfectly, and I found the mermaid sequin pillow at a thrift store!
I bought this wood sign at a thrift store years ago. It fit perfectly above the door (after removing a little spice rack that was not original to the camper), so I coated it in glitter and stuck it up there!

Okay, let’s go back to the dirty work….

So, I set to work pushing out the dent as much as I could, cutting new wood to replace the rotted and crumbling pieces that had broken in the collision, re-attaching the aluminum siding from the outside, re-attaching the framing to the floor itself, filling up any remaining cracks with rodent-resistent spray foam & caulk.

Removing old wood
Replacing with fresh wood
Closing up the wall after filling gaps and insulation

Removing the booth, of course, left me with a patch of unfinished floor. I’m still thinking about what I want to do with the final floor surface, but in the meantime I needed to at least bring the newly exposed floor up so it sits flush with the rest of the newer sub floor that the previous owner had put in. This involved scraping off the original tile to expose the original subfloor, and putting in a new piece.

Removing old, loose, curling tile with a chisel
After I cleaned the subfloor and cut a new piece, I laid down some construction adhesive.
New floor laid down and ready for screws! Now the floor matches up with the rest of the floor, so I can decide what to do with tile.
Now to find a fresh piece of birch paneling to close up the front wall!

Now that the deer hole/dent is fixed and everything is secure and stable, and the floor is all level, I just need to find some 1/8″ birch paneling or plywood (tougher to find than you’d think!) to close up that front wall, and can get to work finishing the floor and building a work station that will sit over the water tank! So this left corner is where my customer will sit in a tall chair, and the right corner is where my paint/glitter kit will sit!

Honestly I’m thankful that this was all I had to pull out…so many of these trailers seem to have a little rot, then when you pull off a panel it reveals a major problem requiring a complete frame-up rebuild! My husband is going to help re-attach the water pump and re-route the water, and we’ll do a bunch of electrical work. Now I just need to land on a flooring solution…fill in this space with the existing tile, or replace the whole camper with something…GLITTERY?

Okay, this was a long post with a bunch of things I’ve been working on earlier on in the process…next time I’ll share some more of the fun cosmetic things I’ve done! Stay tuned!!

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How much paint do I need?

One of my most frequently asked questions that I get from my customers is, “how many faces can I paint with this set?” or, “I’m painting [x number of] kids; how much paint do I need?”

Many other online retailers will give you a number of how many faces their palette will do.  I totally understand, as I know it helps you to estimate how much you need, and they would probably get this same question over and over if they did not assign some sort of number. However, realistically it is impossible to give a real solid estimate for many reasons.  There are many factors that affect how long your paint will stretch:

Size of the designs. 

Are you doing small “cheek art,” partial faces, or full face designs?  Smaller cheek art will make your paint last MUCH longer than full faces, for obvious reasons.  Covering an entire face with white will take up probably the same amount of paint that doing 15-20 unicorns or rainbow clouds on smaller cheek designs.  Even the size of your cheek art itself can make a huge difference.  Do you paint small, or do you make your designs as large as you can to fill the cheek?  Over hundreds of faces, that can make a big difference.  Here are some examples of the differences among these levels of designs:

Cheek Art
Partial Face
Full Face

Range of colors in your designs. 

Are you displaying a board of designs that use all colors of the rainbow?  Or are you doing a Christmas event where you’ll be using a lot more green and red than other colors?  If you’re using all colors relatively evenly, a rainbow palette should work great as a starting point for many events.  If you’re planning to use a lot more of certain colors, larger, individual cakes will ensure you don’t run out, or a few extra palette refills of the colors you’re using most.  And keep in mind, even if your design menu reflects a wide range of colors, you still can’t guarantee you’ll use them evenly.  I can’t tell you how many times I do one unicorn, and then every girl after that wants the same thing, making me use a lot more white than other colors.

How much water you use.  

Being that the paints are water based, you’ll be using water on your brushes and sponges to apply it.  The amount of water you use when you paint, coupled with the above factors, can mean the difference of your paints lasting through one gig or through a year’s worth of gigs.  More water will stretch your paints farther, but give you less vivid and opaque colors.  Less water can make your paints bright and bold, but run out quicker.  Every artist will have their own unique ratio that they like to work with.

What type of paint you use. 

With some brands, metallic and UV paints can require more water and more paint to get them to a good covering consistency than the regular standard colors, because they are made up of different ingredients. If you use these more sparingly as accents like I do, they will last you years.  But if you are trying to paint a tin man and make his entire face look like silver, you could easily use up most of a large cake, whereas the same size cake of a standard blue (maybe you’re dressing up as Blue Man Group for Halloween?), could cover several people’s faces, arms and hands.

How many artists are painting.  

It would logistically be very hard for more than two artists to share a palette.  You could theoretically have one artist on either side of a table with one palette, and then you’ll have your “subject” in front of each artist.  Having had to share paints in the past myself before, I’d prefer to have my own palette to work from.  But, at the bare minimum, if you’re doing a charity event with low budget and can’t spring for a palette for each artist, I’d suggest at least 1 palette per 2 artists.  Some artists may use more paint than others as well due to the other factors I mentioned, so increasing the amount of paint you have on hand will help ensure you have enough.  Every artist needs their own set of brushes as well…you do not want one artist sitting there painting nobody because he or she is waiting for the outline brush from another artist…otherwise there is no point in having more than one painter.

“So how do I estimate then?!”

So, you may be saying, now what?  How am I supposed to estimate what I need?!  Many other face paint supply websites will claim some number of faces you can paint with their sets, but the reality is now obvious, that it really depends on too many things to give an accurate number.  Just know that these numbers are only estimates, based on one person who is making an assumption about how and what you will be painting.

Here are my recommendations to help you decide whether you need a palette set, or the larger individual colors…

Get Refillable Palettes if:

• You are doing a one-time gig, helping out at your local school or church event. (I also put together a Smile Painter Set package for people in your situation, which includes instruction, a design sample sheet, and brushes)

• You already have a full professional kit but would like to play around with a bunch of new colors and affects before investing in the larger cakes.

• You just want to have a set of quality paints around to do your kids’ faces every year for Halloween or for their birthdays. Any of the palettes are a great option for you. I’d recommend starting with a set of the bright, standard colors in a 6 to 12 color set.  If you want to add more excitement to your selection, you can always try out the metallics or fluorescent makeup later.  You can even build your own set and mix and match, depending on the brand.  You can always purchase more refill cakes to replace any that run out down the road!

Get the large, individual cakes if:

• You are planning to paint at a very large event with hundreds of kids

• You are only going to be using a few colors on everyone (example: painting only with the school colors at a football game)

• You are a professional who goes through a lot of paint. (also check out our Business Starter Kit!”)

• You don’t need the palette packaging itself and you refill your own paint containers.

Get a mix of BOTH palettes and large cakes if:

• You are a professional who wants a small, portable set (palette boxes) but use enough that you’ll be refilling them a lot.  (You can buy the larger cakes of each color to keep at home, and refill your little palette box as needed out of that “stash,” saving money per ounce over the palette refills.)

• You are doing a small gig but plan on using more of certain colors, such as more red and green at a holiday event or school colors at a football game. (Get a multi-color palette, plus add larger cakes of the colors you expect to use a lot more of)

Add these other items if desired:

• Brushes: I’d recommend a set for each artist at minimum: a #5 and #2 round to cover both larger areas and outlining, for smaller designs and basic cheek art. Add in a 3/4″ flat brush if you are planning on using any one strokes, and a larger round brush for full faces.

• Sponges: If you plan to do full-face designs or do quick rainbows with a rainbow palette, a sponge will cover very large areas very quickly.

• Glitter: If you want to add some sparkle, the “multi” and “blue violet” work great on every color of paint, but there are many colors if you want to have a lot of fun with it!

• Books and Design MenusIf you’ve just started getting into face painting and need a little more instruction on how to paint and face painting specifically

Practice Head or board: A practice head or practice boards is great for practice, whether you’re just starting out or are a professional looking to perfect your designs on your own schedule without relying on a willing “subject!”

If you’re still left wondering after reading this post, feel free to comment here with your questions or shoot me an email…I love to help!

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Learning to Face Paint: Where Do I Start?


Need a little help getting started face painting? Been asked to face paint at your church or school event and you just don’t know where to begin? This blog post is for you. I’ve been face painting professionally for over 19 years and love helping others learn how too. 

What Supplies Do I Need to Get?

It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the products available on the market today.  The most important thing is to make sure you get quality paints that are specifically designed for skin.  For a really easy way to get started, check out our “Smile Painter Set” package deal, which includes quality makeup, brushes, a design sheet and a book full of tips and tricks! But if you’re interested in picking out all of the supplies yourself individually, read on for some suggestions and advice!

Paint:

A few things to consider when shopping for paint:

  • Safety should be your TOP deciding factor, not price. Stay away from cheap craft store paints made in China.
  • Never, EVER use craft paints or acrylic paints on skin! Here’s why. “Non-Toxic” does NOT mean safe for use on skin!
  • Use only professional makeup that is FDA approved for use on skin. (Kryolan, Wolfe, TAG, Paradise, Snazaroo, Cameleon, Mehron, etc…)

Check out this blog post for more information on how much paint is needed, and how long it will last.  For someone starting out or just doing a small event here and there, I would recommend a multi-color palette. These sets enable you to try a variety of colors without spending a fortune. When you run out of a color, simply purchase a refill and keep using your set for years to come! Or, if you plan on using a lot of certain colors, you can purchase larger cakes of colors individually that will last a LONG time!

Brushes:

A few things to consider when shopping for brushes:

Designs:

You will need some designs for the children to choose from that you are comfortable painting. I prefer to use a board or sign that is on display so that everyone in line can see it and have their design chosen when it’s their turn. Start by displaying only designs that you are comfortable painting. I have several heavily laminated design sheets available that work great…they are small enough to put in your tote bag of supplies, and sturdy enough to wash off at the end of your event!

 Never painted before? Then I’d recommend getting my companion book of full-color photos showing you how to paint every design on my Classic design sheets in 6 steps or less!

If you’d like to design your own menu and don’t want to tie yourself down to an exact image on a visual menu yet, we have a service just for you.  Choose the type of designs you’d like and we will create a custom word menu for you to print out!

Other Supplies:

  • Glitter: Not a requirement, but glitter sure does add a lot to a design! ONLY use glitter that is approved for cosmetic use by the FDA. Metallic craft glitters can scratch the cornea and are extremely dangerous!
  • Rhinestones & Adhesive: Definitely optional, but if you are doing a fancy princess party, they are a HIT!
  • Split Cakes: If you’re familiar with one-stroke painting, rainbow cakes can really add that WOW factor in little time! If you’re not familiar with this technique and want to learn, check out our book, “One Stroke Face Painting!”
  • Mirror: To show the kids the finished product. Bring an extra in case it breaks! Or better yet, get an unbreakable mirror.
  • Wet wipes: In case of mistakes and to clean your hands. Makeup remover wipes work especially well!
  • Water jar: To rinse your brushes and wet the paint.  We sell a variety of great brush tubs with ridges in the bottom, which really help get your brushes clean!  But to be honest, you can get by just fine with any old jar or cup of water!
  • Towels, Chairs, Hair Clips, etc…

How Do I Learn How to Face Paint?

We have many resources available at Paintertainment:

Feel free to email me any time as well! I love to help fellow artists!

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My Top 5 Favorite Brushes!

What’s your favorite brush? It’s a question that of course comes with as many answers as there are artists…it’s a super personal preference. However, I thought I’d share my own personal preference with you today! Here are 5 of my current favorite brushes…

Loew-Cornell Round brushes are what I use for most of my painting. Take good care of your tips and you can do main color areas AND linework with ONE brush. I love the 7000 series brushes…they have been replaced with the new 7000C series, which are the same bristles but now a wood handle instead of acrylic.  I loved the acrylic because it doesn’t expand and contract when wet, loosening the ferrule over time…but the bristles are really the most important thing. So I now use the 7000C series. A #0-#1 for outlining, and a #4-#5 is my main workhorse!! When I started out face painting I assumed sable bristles were the best, because they are real animal hair, and were the most expensive. However, with experience I learned that synthetic fibers work better for face painting…they hold up to the rigors of our work and they hold their shape the best!

TAG’s #12 3/4″ Flat Brush is my all time fave for one strokes!  The 3/4″ width is designed to fit perfectly in one stroke cakes, and their length holds just the right amount of paint, and gives me enough room to flex and really load up the brush well.

Loew-Cornell Rake Fan brush is great for applying festival glitter and pixie paint, and I love it for painting textures like fur! (as seen in my Realism book) Unfortunately Loew-Cornell has discontinued this brush too, since being bought out by Newell corp, so I am on the hunt for a good replacement. I like this one because the bristles are really stiff and spread out, and the stiffness enables me to use it for stippling effects too.

Cameleon Blending Brush I use ALL the time when I’m doing anything realistic…specifically the small one. When I first got it I thought, “woah this thing is way too small!” But it’s NOT! It’s perfect for those realistic drop shadows that I paint under jewelry designs, masks, etc. when I really need good control, but a fluffy, poofy brush. (You’ll see me using this in my Jewelry book) The larger one is great for blending too, and I use more in my larger body paintings.

Cameleon Petal Brush is awesome for those double dip flower petals!! I also use it to create any triangular or short teardrop shapes, water drops flying off of a shark, etc.

These are just a few of my faves…there are probably 5-10 others that I use often too, but these are probably my favorites to date. What are your favorite brushes? I may do another post with some of my others down the road! Thanks for stopping by, and happy painting! 🙂

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How to Make Unicorn Horns for Face Painting

Three-dimensional unicorn horns are a fun way to really up your game!

Horns made of air dry clay, set in gem clusters made of glitter fabric paint and acrylic rhinestones

We’ve just put together a video to show you how to create your own! Find all the supplies you need to make horns AND gem clusters right here in our shop! Watch the video below, or via our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on our next one!

 

Here are a few pro tips for applying unicorn horns that are listed in the video:

– For the best results, clean the skin first with alcohol. (especially in sweaty environments or oily skin)
– While the original Pros-Aide is great for glitter tattoos that we want to last for days, we recommend the new Pros-Aide II for horns and gems. It adheres just as well, but breaks down more easily when cleaning, which makes it easier for parents to remove the residue when the horn is taken off!
– Apply your Pros-Aide II to both the gem cluster AND the skin. Allow it to dry, becoming clear and tacky to the touch, before attaching the horn to the skin.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy painting!