My Etsy Shop & New Product Ideas ~ Sunray Sister

Hello,

I’ve got an exciting little update to share today: I got a fancy printer!!! Now I can take my original illustrations and turn them into lots of cute products, which I will be selling in my Etsy shop and Gallery Twenty very soon.

Let’s look at a few of my ideas…

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My Etsy shop – soon to be updated!

Ok, so… I have a LOT of ideas, but don’t worry I won’t try to create them ALL at once…let’s just say I have a bit of a weakness for shiny new projects!

But I would love to eventually produce prints, notebooks, colouring books, zines, letter-writing sets, postcards, greetings cards, stickers, earrings, brooches, necklaces, tote bags, tea towels and more, all with my own illustrations on them!

For now, I have chosen just a few that I think I will be able to produce most easily and immediately; they might work, they might not, they might need a few developments and adjustments… I will soon find out!

Of course art prints are the most obvious and simple product for me to make. So I will definitely be offering lots of print versions of my original work! Alongside prints, I could also make greetings cards and postcards, which require a similar process.

Notebooks are another option. I would simply print the cover on an A4, (and possibly A5 too) sheet, then fold it in half. The inside of the notebooks would be single signatures with plain paper, and be either stapled or machine stitched to hold everything together.

For all of these new product ideas, I will also need additional packaging ideas and consistent branding. I actually quite enjoy this part of the process, and I can’t wait to print out some fancy Sunray Sister packaging! You can see some of my plans specific to each item in my handwritten notes above and below.

Still in the category of stationery, I would absolutely love to have my own stickers!!! These would require a bit more arranging and designing on the computer, but once I work it out I think they could be a great addition to my Sunray Sister merchandise!

I’ve heard that other people get terrible hand cramp from hand-cutting stickers for their shops, so I’ve decided to use a circle paper-punch. This means all my stickers would be in one shape, but I quite like that restriction.

For something a little bit different, Fraz suggested I try shrink-plastic (or ‘Shrinky Dinks’). You may have tried these out as a silly children’s craft, but you can actually get shrink plastic to print onto. This means I could print out my paintings, and turn them into little charms to attach to earrings, necklaces and brooches.

Overall I think I may like to create ranges or lines for Sunray Sister, where I use one theme/design, and apply it to multiple products. This doesn’t mean just copying and pasting, but thoughtfully considering what works best for each product, and how all the items could work together.

These new products will be available in a couple of weeks online, and even sooner at Gallery Twenty here in Leek. In the meantime you can still find portrait commissions available in my Etsy shop! Stay up to date with all things Sunray Sister by joining my brand new monthly newsletter.

I would also love to know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to create? Please let me know and send any feedback you might have!

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Live portrait drawing examples

This weekend you can meet me at ‘Art in the Yard’, a pop-up market taking place in Getliffe’s Yard, Leek. I will be drawing live portraits outside Gallery Twenty, where you can also find my work for sale inside! Have you read my post about joining the gallery?

Remember to sign-up for my very first email newsletter if you would like to stay in-the-know about all my new work, inspirations, events, behind-the-scenes snapshots and more. The first monthly letter launches TOMORROW! Eek I’m excited. Speak soon sisters, stay creative!

Peace and love,

Rachel x

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January 2018 Happy Highlights and February’s 365 theme ~ Sunray Sister

Hello,

The first month of 2018 has come and gone, and at this time I like to look back on the past few weeks and consider what made me smile and what I achieved; my happy highlights!

In January I…

  1. Took part in Yoga with Adriene’s 30 day yoga challenge ‘True’ on YouTube. She is the best!
  2. Went to see Star Wars at the cinema with Fraz, followed by delicious vegan pizza at Klay in Hanley.
  3. Enjoyed a video call to my mum & dad! The first of many I hope!
  4. Went on some quick walks up to Lowe Hill for fresh air; trying to make this a daily habit.
  5. Started making a junk journal from a vintage book and some random, pretty, scrap papers. When it’s finished I will use it as a visual diary/journal/experiment space, and will share a YouTube tutorial for it too!
  6. Created and uploaded THREE videos: an ‘Inspiration Wall’ tutorial, a two month sketchbook tour and my portrait service announcement! Watch them all on my YouTube channel.
  7. Started volunteering at a local charity shop – whilst I continue my part-time job hunt – to interact with other human beings and show that I am doing ‘something’.
  8. Observed the snow falling again! It is so peaceful and magical.
  9. Ate delicious homemade vegan pizza. Thanks Alison!
  10. Went on a family day out to Carsington Water – my first time there.
  11. Launched my portrait commission service on my Etsy shop.
  12. Submitted an illustration to the open call for Flow magazine’s 2019 calendar! Fingers and toes crossed!!!
  13. Completed another month of my 365 day art challenge – possibly the best so far!? I loved using watercolour, and feel like my work developed/improved a lot.

 

Below is my new visual for the fourth month of my 365 day art challenge! The new theme for February is patterns. After enjoying watercolours in January, I plan to focus on using this medium by going back to basics and turning some key techniques into fun and colourful patterns.

Follow my daily progress on Instagram and Facebook.

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Stay creative sisters!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Custom Portrait Announcement! ~ Sunray Sister

Hello, 

Today I’m launching my official custom portrait service. I’m looking forward to painting some lovely faces and cute pets. Find out more in my latest YouTube video, and head to my Etsy shop for further details!

Text as shown in video description on YouTube:

☆ Order a custom portrait of your partner, family, pets, or other loved ones from my Etsy shop now! ☆ Perfect for Valentine’s day! ♥︎
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Today I have a super quick video sharing the details of my new custom portrait service which I am launching in my Etsy shop! Find further details under each listing on my shop, linked below.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SunraySister

Thanks for watching, feel free to ask any questions in the comments or just say hi! I have lots of other videos on my channel to do with art, crafts, adventures and pen-pals! ☺︎

Peace and love,
Rachel x
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☆ My links ☆

♥︎ Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SunraySister
♥︎ Portfolio & blog: https://sunraysister.wordpress.com/
♥︎ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunraysister/
♥︎ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunraysister/
……………………………………………………………………….

☆ Music ☆

♥︎ ‘Zen Valley’ by Josh Kirsch/Media Right Productions
From YouTube Audio Library: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music
……………………………………………………………………….

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Shop News and December 365 Theme ~ Dear Diary #12

Dear diary,

Goodness, have I been busy in the past few weeks!

First up, I got some of my handmade products stocked in a local shop!!! The adorable shop and café called ‘Tea Cake’ is also new to town. But they are already jam-packed with gorgeous products from local artists and crafters. I feel so proud and grateful to be included in such a wonderful shop, in a magical Victorian side street called Getliffes Yard in Leek.

Then, I re-launched my much neglected Etsy shop, and kicked things off with a seasonal sale, which continues until 20th of December. I have Christmas cards and handmade textile gifts for sale at the moment.

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To promote this sale, I also made a new YouTube video, after a couple of months without uploading. It felt so good to be making a video again, and I already have a few more videos lined up for the following weeks, and hope to stick to a weekly upload schedule.

Next up, I am doing a Christmas fair again this year! My first ever market was a Christmas fair last year in Bristol. This will be my second market, and I will be taking a slightly different approach by doing live portrait drawing/painting, whilst also promoting my portrait commission service (which will be launched officially in the new year), selling Christmas cards, and possibly some textile gifts.

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Speaking of portraits, I have been spending every day of November drawing faces for the first month of my 365 day art challenge. It has been brilliant! I am making progress, discovering how to get work done every day, and realising what tools and mediums I prefer to use. Below are my four favourites from the month so far, with just a few days left.

Now I have a new theme for December: ‘what I ate today’. I was originally going to write out separate food related prompts for each day, but I think the one negative point from November was feeling too restrained by the words I chose. This way, having an open theme for the month, all I have to do is draw/paint some or all of what I eat each day. Sounds fun!

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(I am working on improving the quality of my scanned images! Sorry for the slight fuzziness here).

That’s all for today!

 

Peace & love,

Rachel x

Etsy and YouTube Relaunch! ~ special Sunray Sister update!

Hello!

I have some exciting news!!! My Etsy shop is back in business, and I’m kicking things off with a crazy festive sale. From now until the 20th of December 2017, you can enjoy 50% off my entire shop! You will find unique Christmas cards based on my original artwork, and handmade, embroidered textile gifts.

Check it out now, and support independent small businesses this holiday season!

But wait, the fun doesn’t stop yet; there’s more…!

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Not only have I relaunched my Etsy shop, I have also got a brand new video on my YouTube channel, showing all of the products in my shop, so that you can learn more about them and get a closer look. Watch the video below, or over on my channel.

My enthusiasm for producing videos has been revived, and I will be returning to my weekly uploading schedule from now on.


Of course, I will continue to share my 365 day art challenge here, and over on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I am enjoying the project so far! Read more about what’s to come in this Sunday’s Dear Diary blog post, along with even more exciting news!

Have a wonderful weekend sisters 🙂

 

Peace & love,

Rachel x

100th Post! Plans for the Near Future // Dear Diary #9

Dear diary,

This is my 100th post on this blog! Wow!!! Thank you for being here and letting me share my creative journey.

I have been on so many little wild adventures recently, and can’t wait to share some stories, photos and artwork here soon. For today though, since it’s a milestone post, I just want to reflect and consider my plans for the near future.

This week I’ve started working on my own website, via Squarespace which is an extremely affordable and user-friendly website-building platform. It basically has all the building blocks to create a sleek and professional website to showcase all your work, add a shop, include a blog, all the usual information pages and more! So it’s pretty brilliant.

My main reason for wanting to create a dedicated website (rather than sticking with social media and a blog), is to start building a professional art portfolio. Since moving north I have been reconnecting with my love of painting and drawing, and exploring nature. I have also been feeling a renewed confidence in myself and my ability to become a full-time artist… one day. Of course that one day won’t get any closer if I don’t start working TODAY, and keep showing up EVERYday!

From this professional portfolio I would love to eventually show more work in galleries, get private commissions and possibly even editorial jobs and work in published books! Who knows!

At the moment I’m doing a lot of sketchbook work, but next I want to get out onto loose paper and other surfaces, and create finished pieces of art, to sell as originals, prints and merchandise. I’m also interested in rediscovering linocut and hand-carved stamps (which I have briefly explored in the past), to either use as stand-alone designs, or combine with paint, pen and collage for a truly mixed-media approach. Or a bit of both.

With regards to ‘merchandise’, I’m thinking of greetings cards, postcards, gift tags & wrap, letter-writing sets, notebooks… as well as digital downloads and ‘printables’ such as colouring pages from my line drawings and computer desktop wallpapers. So many possibilities!

Of course all of this means that I will also be re-launching my Etsy shop (which is a little empty at the moment!) and researching local art markets, plus I have already contacted some local art shops. And my Squarespace website will also enable me to create my own online shop.

Alongside all of this I also have a renewed enthusiasm for my YouTube channel, which has been steadily growing all by itself over the past couple of months, despite my lack of new content! I now have more than 100 subscribers, and almost 5,000 total views across my 13 videos, coming mostly from my very popular pen-pal video. That’s already half way to the minimum views needed to become ‘monitized’. So I will keep working at creating videos, especially focusing on art related content.

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A recent piece for a collaboration I’m working on!

So, to summarise:

  • I’m going to create some finished artwork to sell…
  • …and build a professional art portfolio
  • …which I will showcase on my own website
  • …with a view to show in galleries, get commissions, possibly editorial work!?
  • I would like to create merchandise and prints from my artwork…
  • …to sell via Etsy/local shops/markets/my own website.
  • I’m planning to continue working on YouTube videos.

 

That’s all for now. I’ll be back next week, sharing some recent adventures and art to go along with them! Until then, stay creative!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Retreat, Reflect, Refocus // How To Not Give-up

Hello!

Before we get into today’s extremely introspective post, let’s first have a little re-cap of this month’s content, in case you missed anything:

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So that was then. Now things are changing….. 

I am an ever evolving creature. I go through many seasons. And as these seasons come around again, I recognise patterns. Then gradually, very gradually, I can begin to see what I need and what I want. At times like this, when the season is changing, I often miss the signs, and start giving up. That’s how I feel now. Distracted, discouraged, depressed. Ready to give up.

Or maybe just ready to change.

I think, in these bright and beautiful Spring blossoms lies something good. I want to draw again. I want to explore paint, and digital art, stories, new universes and strange and complex characters and their adventures. Maybe in six more months when the heat has become too much, I will long for the autumn when I can shed my leaves and I’ll sing songs again. I just don’t know.

I want to help others. Yet maybe all my tutorials, and ‘here’s how to do this’, and ‘you should really be doing this’, is too much ‘tell’, and not enough ‘show’. I often feel like I’ve missed out and I’m not as good as I could be in one area, because I’ve spent so much time going back and forth. And all this time, here I am.

I need to express myself, and often don’t know how, and then I just don’t at all, and everything gets blocked up. Maybe this blog could be more of a diary. Less of a telling you to do this and that, and more of a here’s how I’m feeling, and here’s something creative that I’ve been working on.

The people who know me have seen me as a musician. And to them I have now given up on music. They want me to be a musician. And I am sure they want me to be happy. I want them to be happy; happy on their own. I don’t want to have to be a musician to make people happy. Besides, I am still and always will be a musician, and I am extremely proud of the skills and passion I have, but at this present time, I do not feel a need to share it.

I’m just in a new season now. I don’t think things can truly be given up. Music has such an irreversible grip on my soul that I don’t think it could ever disconnect from me. It is also such an emotional experience for me; every time I hear or perform music, it is often overwhelming. So as a new season came last September those leaves fell, but they are rotting back into my roots, and continue to feed me every day. Some of them have blown away, but that’s fine.

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So, enough of all the metaphors. Here’s the deal. Things are going to be changing in the next few months, and I don’t know what that will look like. It’s hard to enjoy the present when the future is so hazy, but I am trying.

I think I may stop the ‘regular feature’ type posts, and get a bit more honest and real with you all. I don’t get that many views on my blog yet, so I feel at liberty to be a little inconsistent, and not meet all my promises.

I constantly set up these things that I need to follow through on, such as my Love Lessons, Creative Alternatives, Happy Highlights, Random Round-up, Playtime, Idol Eyes, Artist Dates… and that’s just on my blog. I’ve had songwriting projects, drawing projects, and most recently my doll project which is what sparked ‘Sunray Sister’. I have endless little ‘project’ ideas that I variously stick to and then abandon. Once something is created, that is not enough to me. It needs to connect to something, to lead to something, to continue without end. I often don’t know when to stop; I run over deadlines and arrive late, maybe because I don’t like leaving or finishing… I’m always analysing and perfecting and finding faults.

And here I am typing all this, as Fraz tells me about how the universe was created from one single-molecule element; that I’ve seen more of the surface of the moon than I have the surface of the earth; that we live closer to t-rex, than the t-rex lived to the stegosaurs; and we never truly touch anything due to the distance between atoms.

None of this makes me sad. It actually makes me feel enlightened, because all of my overwhelming worries don’t matter anymore. That’s why I want to help others, to get out of my own troubles. But then all these global troubles – plastic pollution, homelessness, deluded politicians, murdering innocent beings – sit on my shoulders and weigh me down. So even if I am just a minute speck in this universal existence, I could at least be the brightest spark of a speck.

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So that’s now, but where next?

The plan of action for Sunray Sister:

  • Retreat = Step back from all my Sunray Sister online accounts, go offline for a bit.
  • Reflect = Look at everything I’ve done, and ask what I truly want.
  • Refocus = Come back to Sunray Sister online with a new, clearer view.

The goals for this blog:

  • Less tell, more show.
  • Honest, true and personal.
  • Be organised and have posts ready in advance.
  • Fewer ‘series’ posts, but more real projects to share progress and behind-the-scenes on: characters, stories, paintings, dolls, drawings. Real work to build up a proper art portfolio.

Well, as you might expect in a long, rambling post like this, I send you thanks and congratulations for reading this far! What are your thoughts? Have you had similar struggles in your creative career? I’d love to hear how you are working through it! Let me know in the comments or on social media.

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Coming this week…

  • A new YouTube video on Wednesday, find my latest one below.
  • The last week of my Etsy sale!!!
  • A post on Friday to let you know about my digital detox, and how long I’ll be offline for!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

My Reading List: Non-fiction Edition // Sunray Sister

Hello lovely sisters! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Today I have a short, sweet and simple post to share with you: all the books on my current reading list! They are all non-fiction, as I’m so obsessed with learning new things about myself, other people, nature and the universe, that I don’t have much time left for fiction. I prefer to get that from films and cartoons (which I may share in another list-post soon)!

Currently I’ve almost finished ’21 rituals to change your life’ by Theresa Cheung…

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…and below are all the books I will be reading next, along with links to further information. There are quite a few so I split them into three categories: business/creative, personal and spiritual. The books are mostly on my Kindle, a few are on my shelf, and others I will loan from the lovely library! Have you read any of these? Are any of them on your reading list too?

…and that’s it!

I’d love to know what you’re currently reading, and what books are on your reading list! Comment down below or find me on social media.


Coming up this Wednesday I will have a new YouTube video! In the meantime please subscribe to my channel and watch my latest video below. Your support and feedback means the world to me, especially during these first baby steps of my creative career!

Right now I also have a sale on in my Etsy shop! Get 30% off everything from now until the 8th of May!

Spring sale now on

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

 

Celebrate Spring Instead of Easter // Sunray Sister

Happy Sunday sisters! It is super sunny and lovely here, what’s the weather like where you are? I’ve been shedding my layers and rising from my winter hibernation, discovering new places to explore outside.

Now, time for a short but serious discussion…

Next Sunday is the religious Christian celebration called Easter. It is also the commercial chocolate event called Easter. Today I want to talk about why I will be celebrating neither, and prefer to celebrate nature and the cycles of life instead.

I will not be celebrating Easter for two reasons, the first is that I am not Christian. For a while I was agnostic, but recently I have been researching Buddhism and spirituality, and I feel a connection to them. So it makes absolutely no sense to me to celebrate Easter. The only reason that I have recognised it in the past is because supermarkets sell chocolate eggs and we all give them to each other, because…chocolate? This holds no meaning for me, so I see no logic in taking part in it.

The second motive for not celebrating Easter is a recent change in my diet. At the end of 2016, I made the sudden decision to become Vegetarian. In January 2017 I discovered Veganuary, and tried out being Vegan. Throughout February I swung back and forth between being Vegan, and then eating pizza with cheese, and various things which contained milk or eggs. By mid-March I had finally made up my mind that I wanted to become a vegan, and right now, bar a few trace ingredients, I can happily say I am vegan!

On my vegan journey I have found a few things very easy to stop eating, including dairy chocolate. To me a Vegan diet is more than saying no to animal products, and discovering all the ethical, environmental and health benefits. It is a sudden realisation that food already exists for us to eat, and is ready in its pure and raw form, without the need for processing and sugar and flavourings and any other unnatural elements. Chocolate is supposed to be enjoyed as pure dark chocolate, without any dairy. So that’s how I like it, and I don’t need it shaped in an egg. Just pure and simple, how things are meant to be.

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Next Sunday I will not be thinking of a man rising from the dead, and I will not be eating dairy chocolate eggs, (although I may coincidentally be eating pure dark chocolate, which I do a lot anyway). I will however, be thinking of Spring, and rebirth, and death, and life. I will especially be marvelling at the incredible blossoms which I have been watching emerge over the last few weeks. They are so stunning! The wonderful cycles of the universes!!! That is something worth celebrating, and I encourage you to do the same.


Coming up…

This week is filling up fast, since I now have two day-jobs, plus the sun is out so I want to get out and explore! I’m not sure if I will be able to fit in a YouTube video, so it looks like once a fortnight will work better for me from now on.

I have, however, had a chance to add a few new things to my Etsy shop, go check it out and get yourself or a loved one a cute Spring gift!

 

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Bring Smiles

Have a joyful week!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x