A Separate Niche? And how specific?

First I drink the coffee, then I do the things wall art with blue mug of steamy coffee and coffee beans.

I’m new in this Etsy world, and as such, I’m still learning with each passing week. One of the ideas I’m trying to grasp is this idea of niche-ing down. I guess it’s supposed to help me with my SEO (another learning curve to be sure!) All that to say, “everyone” seems to encourage separate shops for separate types of product (since I wrote that, I did find one person who says it isn’t necessary, which is good since it’s super hard to do it all the way). I’ll be playing with this some in coming months (I’m a slow learner and, as I said in my last post, this is my busy season.) I suppose I’ll move some of the things I already listed in my shop to another shop that is more “niche-d down”, but in the mean time, I have indeed started a new shop.

I’ll be honest with you all. I’m figuring all this out as I go… or not. (Probably not!) I’m not one of those “made $2000 my first month on Etsy” types. (Wouldn’t that have been cool?!?) I’m excited that I’ve sold anything! Really, that some of you actually like some of what I do is very exciting to me! So in this first step of choosing a niche and sticking with it, I’m doing something “they” say not to do at the same time. I’m trying to sell wall art on Etsy.

Let's meet over Coffee Print

minimal, black and white line art, Bible and Coffee, word art, wall art

Apparently it’s very competitive. I understand this concept. If there are thousands of other artists trying to share what they make on Etsy, how will I ever stand out? That’s the trick, though, isn’t it? Finding my niche in the wall art world. This new shop will focus on the decorating side of what I do. My first shop is off to a good start in the functional and practical side of my illustrating — like my Egg Counting Sheets, Bible Journal, and Bullet Journal Pages (more to come). This second shop will be the online presence of the decor side of mamasbrush. (As relavent listings in my first first shop expire, I’ll move them to this new shop.)

Do Hard things like Esther Wall Print

Crown, pink, word art, minimal

I have a small handful of items already listed with plans for many more. This is also the shop where I will sell my seasonal and holiday decor. (Christmas in July anyone?) If only there were more hours in the day. 🙂 But as it is, I’ll just keep picking away at them and add what I can when I can.

To celebrate the opening of my new shop, I’m having a sale through June 8th. Come on over and check it out!

You can find me gathering here.

Dog Stuff Pattern for Fabric, Scrapbook Paper, Wallpaper, etc.

Dog Stuff Pattern for Fabric, Scrapbook Paper, etc.

I created this dog print with my sister in mind. I thought it may be cute to make a bag or a doggie bandana or a whatever. I’ll be honest, a dog person I am not, but I know that people love their dogs and I now have a new love for dog stuff. It was super fun to doodle these little dog things!

I didn’t just decide one day to doodle dog toys, food and beds. Spoonflower is at it again, pushing me out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. This time the theme is Dog Days (may as well add “of summer”, right? Maybe I should have gone a different direction with this theme?)

Dog Stuff Pattern for Fabric, Scrapbook Paper, etc.

Dog days? As a non-dog-person, I’ve never really spent a lot of time illustrating dogs. I thought about it for about a half second before disregarding the whole idea. Living things are hard, People! But their stuff… now that’s another animal all together. (See what I did there?)

So here it is, my entry for the Dog Days Design Challenge over at Spoonflower. It’s open for voting between July 18-23, 2019. Click over and check out the compitition. Oh, and vote for mine too if you like it. 🙂

Pin it Button from mamasbrush
Dog Stuff Pattern for Fabric, Scrapbook Paper, etc.

Gathering here.

How to Style Patriotic Shelves for Cheap!

Today I’d like to share the patriotic shelf decor in my kitchen. Last fall my sweet husband made me these great shelves out of beams he removed from our old farmhouse fixer upper. I really LOVE them! They are American Chestnut… just beautiful! And it has been such a joy to play at decorating them for the seasons. (Check out how I styled them for Valentine’s Day.)

I styled them easily for fall and Christmas because I have a lot of decorations for those (though apparently I didn’t blog them. Sorry! I’ll try to do better this year.) But I’ve found that I don’t have much in the way of decor for the patriotic part of summer. While I’d love to go out and get everything I “need” for an amazingly decorated patriotic house, it’s just not practical. In reality, most of my house isn’t far beyond demolition and begs more for tidiness than for decoration. These shelves are a cute little space where I can bring in some seasonal fun. And I try to do it for as little money as possible.

My picks

Starting from left to right, I found that medal, lacy looking bucket at Joann Fabrics in the spring collection 50+% off during a big Easter sale this spring. I’ve had something similar on my list for a while, so I spent the last of a gift card on it. I picked white over the mint green or pink so that I can use it throughout the year and not worry about storing it. It will probably travel around the house for various seasons and holidays.

Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

The artwork in the middle is one I created this year. (Head over here to grab up your own free copy!) I’m really happy with how it brings a summery feel to the kitchen.

The little jar with flowers in it I “stole” from my mom’s stash of little jars she keeps “just ’cause they are cute and we may want them for something.” And the flowers my 11 year old grows in our garden. Whenever they get tired looking, we just pick some new ones and bring them in. The colors are perfect! Forgive the pollen around them on the shelf… we can’t see it from where we stand. Apparently the shelves need a dusting. 🙂

And that cute star is another new purchase ($3ish). Our favorite grocery store, Wegmans, is selling them this spring for the summer season. It’s melamine, which I don’t usually use, but I just bought the one for putting on my shelf. (One or two little new things each year isn’t too bad on the budget.)

Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

Negative Space is okay

I’ll admit, I was starting to fret over not having “enough” to put on my shelves. Once I brought out everything I had for the Memorial Day/ Independence Day season, I was left with a sparse feel. What I wanted was a little layering. Instead of just laying everything out in a line to fill the space, I put some things behind and others in front. And wala, I didn’t have anything on the bottom shelf. So I did one more look around my kitchen.

Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

There was that single red check napkin and a couple of little dessert bowls from my new “fancy” dish set. I put them by themselves on the bottom shelf and the negative space beside it has really grown on me. I think it gives it a clean de-cluttered feel without feeling naked or bare.

The take away

When I begin styling, I start by gathering anything I have (however little or much) that may fit the theme. For the patriotic theme, I pulled together anything in red, white and blue. Different textures, heights, and thicknesses help. You don’t have to use it all, but just seeing things together may inspire you. If something doesn’t fit, put it away again.

Begin by putting the biggest items up first, then the middle sized things, and finish out with the smaller ones. Keep moving them around until it makes you smile. Sometimes this may take a couple days of playing with it. That’s okay too.

How do you style your favorite seasonal space for summer?

Pin it Button from mamasbrush
Patriotic Shelf Decor for my summer kitchen and 4th of July

Gathering here.

Nautical Repeating Pattern – Sailboats, anchors and life preservers in watercolor

Nautical Repeating Pattern - Sailboats, anchors and life preservers in watercolor

March has been a busy month with birthdays, leaving very little time for painting. I’ve been dabbling here and there on a few projects, but they always take longer to complete that way.

This one has been in the works, from idea to completion, most of the month, maybe more. It all started when Spoonflower announced their March Design Challenge Themes. This week’s theme, Nautical.

I’ve been working on the sketches and imagining the outcome in my head for weeks, but the deadline sneaked up on me. It isn’t what I had in my head (rarely does that work out), but I think it turned out cute. I didn’t have “boy nursery” in my head from the inception, but it works. I can see this on gift wrap or bedding for the crib.

What would you use it for?

Click here to vote (between 3/28/19 and 4/2/2019) or here to see my shop.

Gathering here.

Repeating Star Pattern with Limited Color Palette

Limited Color Palette Stars - mamasbrush

We interrupt this Valentine’s streak, to bring you stars.

Yes, I know, I’m kinda on a roll with all the Valentine’s posts, and don’t worry (or I’m sorry, depending on who you are), there will be more. In the mean time, I wanted to share this repeating pattern I’ve entered in the Spoonflower Limited Palette Design Challenge.

That’s it… short and sweet today. Voting closes Tuesday, February 5th, if you’re into that kind of thing, or let me know what you think in the comments.


Gathering here.

Tandem Bicycle with Baby Trailer Ornaments for Baby’s First Christmas

Am I the only one still finishing up Christmas presents?

No? Oh good.

Yes? Oh well. I had 4 weeks of sick kids, 2 surgeries (on kids), 2 birthdays, Thanksgiving and a slew of local Christmas related deadlines all squeezed into the 6 weeks before Christmas actually got here. Then there’s Christmas itself. Do I feel bad that 3-4 Christmas presents still need to be shipped/given/finished? Maybe a little, but I’m trying to just roll with it (Get it? Bikes… rolling? No? Okay, sorry. We’ll just say “pun un-intended”.)

That means that there are still a couple Christmas-ish posts left in the year. Not counting yesterdays. Though… they aren’t all Chrsitmas-y, so maybe we’re still okay.

The first is this set of ornaments I made. A new baby was born in the family (I mentioned it yesterday), and we wanted to do something special. First a little background…

He proposed on a picnic/tandem bike ride, so I embroidered/quilted them a tandem bike table runner for a wedding gift (I will have to look for the pic). Turns out, the decor at the wedding was also bikes.

Last year I made them an “expecting” ornament, because I love gingerbread… and she was. Totally unrelated to the whole bike theme.

So this year, I wanted to do something special and I thought I’d return to the original theme. But first, they needed an anniversary ornament to go along with it.

Then I could make the baby trailer to go along with it. I made them separate, designed to hang next to each other. This also makes it easier to add on more trailers if more babies should come down the road (haha… again, so appropriate for the biking theme! I just love surprise puns!)

By the way, I learned how to make those fun frames over here on YouTube.

Gathering here.

First I Drink the Coffee – Hand lettered quote

First I Drink the Coffee -- Hand Lettering

This is the last painting/ hand lettered piece for our cafe themed centerpieces.  I am making centerpieces for 8 tables for the Women’s Retreat at out church and each one has a different framed art.

First I Drink the Coffee - Hand Lettering

“First I drink the coffee, then I do the things.”

I saw this quote on Pinterest and couldn’t not make one.  It’s too funny.  I want to make a note pad with it (I found a tutorial for how to do that)… it’s on my list of things to make this year.  I just think it lends itself to a “to do” list.   What do you think?

First I Drink the Coffee - Hand Lettering

Painted and hand lettered on 140 lb. watercolor paper with watercolor and ink.

Something Warm and Cozy


Here… now I have something to share that is appropriate for January.  Especially since it’s the coldest it’s been for a long while.  Negative 10 windchill here this morning.  Not normal for here.  Surely the coldest I’ve been in, had I gone out in it.

Anyway, back to the point.  I made this card during the fall of 2016 for a friend I don’t get to see or talk to often.  It just seemed appropriate… if only I’d ever sent it.  🙁

I’m not great at that part. 🙂

Original artwork done on watercolor paper in watercolor and ink.