One of the reasons I picked this word is because I have had an alarm on my phone that has gone off at 10:30PM every night that says “get ready for bed” and I have just turned it off and NOT gotten ready for bed about 100% of the time! I realized I keep my promises and am true to my word on all other areas of my life except when it comes to myself. I make exceptions to stay up late for whatever reason, break habits, don’t follow schedules I set for myself, and I don’t want to do that anymore! Most importantly I want to have a morning and bedtime routine that I follow and stick to because I think it’ll have a positive affect on both my personal and professional life! It’s important to me that when I say to myself I’m gonna do something that I do it–so I’m putting this word up on my bulletin board (maybe I need to make copies for the bathroom mirror, fridge, and everywhere else I look everyday lol) and keeping it in my mind, front and center!
I also picked a phrase for the year–I have known about this quote and loved it for some time now, but I have been feeling a very strong connection with it lately. I just think it’s so true–the words we speak become the lives we live. This is a reminder to myself to choose my thoughts and words carefully so I create the positive and abundant life I want to live!
Do you have a word or phrase for the new year? I’d love to hear what it is and the story behind it!
I am so excited to be co-hosting a Holiday Snail Mail Card Swap with my good friend and fellow animal lover Jenna of Paper Wilderness! We created this swap as a way for us to get into the holiday spirit, encourage snail mail, support local artists and businesses, and to connect and have fun! :) Join us and receive a fun mix of holiday cards that you’ll be able to use this season! Below are all the details or you can find them on directly on the sign up page as well.
We welcome card designers, snail mail enthusiasts, makers and shop owners, card and stationery lovers, and everyone in between–if you would enjoy getting mail and some holiday cards to use this season, we would love to have you join us! It’s also a fun way to show your work and support the artists and designers you love!
International participants are welcome!
WHAT WILL I RECEIVE/WHAT DO I NEED TO SEND?
The idea is for you to receive a variety of holiday cards that you’ll be able to use this holiday season.
By joining the swap, you are agreeing to send 1 unused A2 (4.25″x5.5″) holiday card to EACH of your swap matches. (Do NOT write inside the card–the idea is for each person to get a brand new card that they will be able to use.)
You will be put into groups of 3-5 matches. You will be sending each of your matches 1 card and you will also receive a card from each of your matches as well.
We ask that the value of your card be $5 minimum. We encourage you to support small businesses and purchase from local artists or shops.
We also think it’d be nice (but not required) if you add a separate note to say hi to your swap match :)
Optional: If you’d like to send a bigger card or one of more value, feel free! You can also add a short note or extra goodies (stickers, gift tags, etc.) if you’d like.
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
Swap sign up ends on October 23rd. You will receive an email with your swap matches on October 27th. The deadline to send your cards out by is November 11th.
SHARE / SOCIAL MEDIA
The more the merrier! We’d love for you to spread the word about this swap and let everyone know you are participating!
After you sign up, you will receive an email with your swap matches on 10/27/19 that will also include helpful tips on sending out your cards. If you have any questions, feel free to email Olivia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you’ll join us and are as excited as we are about swapping holiday inspired mail!
I was so excited when Hannah invited me to be on Candidly Caffeinated! Her podcast is all about learning to thrive in our creativity and we met up last week to chat about my journey with Atiliay, expanding our comfort zones, and personal growth.
I really enjoyed our conversation and if you want to check it out, the episode came out today!
Here are the links to listen to Episode 57 of Candidly Caffeinated, “Finding Your Path with Olivia Lin of Atiliay”:
Hannah gave me such a wonderful opportunity to share about myself and Atiliay so I wanted to tell you a little more about her! Not only is she the creator and host of Candidly Caffeinated, Hannah is also a writer, speaker, and a consultant on content strategy as well as a coffee enthusiast and believer that EVERYONE is creative (I completely agree!)
She made this interview so fun and comfortable and I appreciate her support very much—thank you Hannah for having me on! PS: Anytime I hear my recorded voice I’m like, that’s what I sound like!? Lol Maybe one day I’ll get used to it!
This is Part 5 of the Meet The Maker series!
To learn more and start at Part 1, please click here.
Links to all other parts of this series can be found at the bottom of this post.
DAY 25 | HOW IT’S MADE: Every card starts with brush lettering that I do by hand with a brush pen on paper—it’s not a font! But to keep my fingers from falling off and to be able to mass produce, I digitize and vectorize the lettering so that I can print it out. Here’s an example of what the process looks like at each stage:
1) This is an image of the original lettering I did. I took a photo of it, cleaned it up in Photoshop by removing the background and saved it as a PNG file.
2) This image shows what the lettering looks like after I open it in Illustrator and turn it into vector art. I use the Live Trace – Make and Expand function in Illustrator (swipe to see a photo where you can see all the vector points) to do this. I then go in and adjust all the points until the lettering is smooth. There are tools in the program to help with this like the Smooth Tool but I find that nothing gets it as good as going in manually to adjust. Yes, this part of the process can be tedious! But I’ll usually put music/a podcast on or catch up on The Voice or a TV show I can just listen to while I do this.
3) This last image shows the final lettering that I use on the card–everything is smoothed out and I can resize it and create the layout with it now!
DAY 26 | SELF CARE: Going to Bounce Society’s trampoline workout classes has been my form of self care the past few years! I never thought I’d say that in a million years bc I worked out zero before going and after my very first class was over, I felt a mix of wanting to throw up and feeling like I was going to die—it is hardcore! But the more I went the more I realized how much better I felt, physically and mentally, after each class and I love going now! Every time I step up on a tramp is a chance to get better and stronger.
It can definitely be hard to find an activity that works for you and then find the time and motivation to go do it, but I think it’s something we need to make a priority because we have to take care of ourselves too!
I have also felt that staying active is important, especially since I’m no spring chicken anymore lol Instead of dreading getting older, I want to look forward to it and be the strongest I’ve ever been at 35, at 40, at 45, etc! What does your form of self care look like?
PS: Local friends, classes are in Costa Mesa if you’d like to join me
DAY 27 | ANYTHING GOES: I’m excited to share that a box of Atiliay’s card for a cause are headed to Boston to the More Than Words Bookstore!
MTW is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business. I love what they are doing and am very happy to a part of their bookstore!
Their order provides 40 meals for The EEC and will help to find a micro-loans for a mom entrepreneur! Check them out at @mtwyouth and friends in the area, stop by!
PS: If you’re interested in having Atiliay cards in your shop or space, please email me and I’ll send you wholesale info!
DAY 28 | PACKAGING: I mentioned in the reducing waste post that I like to keep it simple when it comes to packaging. Cards are put into clear sleeves and sealed (I’m excited to be switching to a compostable version soon) and packed in a non-bendable mailer with an info/thank you postcard. I finish each package with washi tape around the mailing label and they are ready to be sent off!
DAY 29 | MOST DIFFICULT MAKE: And most difficult to photograph! One of the hardest parts was seeing the reflection of the letters and also freaking myself out with my own reflection a few times lol Honored to have been able to create this for a lovely bride and check mirror seating chart off my to do list—although this might’ve been my first and last time doing a project like this! Big props to the mirror sign makers out there!
DAY 30 | SUPPORT: I feel super lucky to have had years of support from my friends as well as finding an awesome community of letterers and makers here on IG who have become real life friends too! My journey would’ve been so much more difficult and lonely if I didn’t have them in my life! Here are some of these special people:
Top left: My very first workshop ever! Made possible by my friend Kristen, who I’ve known since 6th grade and who also helped me at one of my very first craft shows, and her sis-in-law Nikki! This was the push and encouragement I needed to start teaching and I am very grateful!
Top right: Me and Susan–we’ve taught together, did this pop up together, I’ve bounced so many ideas off of her, and she’s been such a good listener and given me great advice. She’s also subjected to tons of long rambling texts from me whether it’s about work or reality TV. I’m always thinking, where have you been all my life!?
Bottom left: Some of my favorite makers and all around awesome women I’m so glad to know: Andrea of Luna Reece Ceramics, Jenna of The Paper Wilderness, Jackie of 3x3Inspire, and Meredith of LB Love Organics.
Bottom right: Lauree of LG Collective was the first to host my public workshops! This was one of the first ones I taught together with Susan!
DAY 31 | PRODUCT IN THE WILD: Here are some of my favorite shots of Atiliay’s cards for a cause and lettering out in the wild—and that’s a wrap! Thank you for reading these Meet The Maker posts and I hope it helped you get to know Atiliay and myself a little better :)
This is Part 4 of the Meet The Maker series!
To learn more and see Part 1, please click here.
Links to all other parts of this series can be found at the bottom of this post.
DAY 19 | DREAM MASH UP: I used to make custom cakes and I think it’d be so fun—and messy—to have my lettering and cake worlds collide! My favorite part about making cakes was the decorating and I think it’d be pretty yummy to letter with frosting or paint with food coloring! Might be something I’ll have to try in the near future! (Top left is a cake I made for my friend’s husband of his tattoo and bottom right is an Up inspired cake—one of my favorite movies!)
DAY 20 | DESIGN PROCESS: Here’s a little bit more on how I created this card!
* I had been wanting to add more teacher appreciation cards to my line. I thought this phrase would be perfect to gift with plants or flowers! (Anytime I get an idea I jot it down in Evernote!)
* I start off every card design with quick thumbnail sketches to figure out the layout and finalize which words will be lettered and which will be printed. Sometimes I know exactly what I want but other times it takes a lot more to get the configuration right!
* Next, I get busy lettering! I usually do this on scrap paper with pencil until I am happy with it—if I get lucky I like what I letter in a few tries but normally I’ll do at least 15 or more versions before picking one! Then I go over it with a brush pen.
* After that, I take a picture of it, email it to myself, and use Photoshop to clean it up and Illustrator to vectorize it.
* Once it’s in vector form, I’ll go in and adjust as many of those little dots as I need to! It’s time consuming and can get tedious but I think this creates a really clean finished product!
* With the lettering done, I’ll size it and combine it with the print and layout the card in Illustrator and add the blurb for the back—and it’s done!
* The last part is to print, cut, pair it with an envelope, take photos, and share it with the world!
DAY 21 | THROWBACK: Some of the first cards for a cause I ever listed on Etsy were these stamped and stitched cards! They were truly a labor of love—each was hand stamped and hand stitched and I eventually phased them out because they were time consuming to create and I was focusing more on being able to mass produce. But as I’ve learned more about what I want from Atiliay and what kind of business I want to be, I’ve realized how much I love these cards and really miss making them…so I’ve decided to bring them back! I’ll be giving the designs a little update and will produce them in limited quantity batches throughout the year. Stay tuned or if you’re on my mailing list, you’ll be the first to know!
DAY 22 | PROUD OF: I am proud of myself for doing this (Atiliay) and I am proud of the people I know and follow here on IG who have shared their work—even if they are scared that it’s not good enough, started or are starting their biz or Etsy shop, are trying a new hobby, or are doing whatever it may be that they feel in their heart they should do without letting fear, circumstances, or negative vibes from others get in the way! I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for taking that leap and starting, for the small wins, for the big accomplishments, and for everything in between. Let’s do that today!
DAY 23 | TOP TIP OR ADVICE: If I could go back and tell myself something when I first started, it’d be to focus on what’s pushing my goals, dreams, and biz forward and these numbers $$ rather than focusing on social media vanity numbers. Sure, it might look great to have 1000s of followers but that doesn’t automatically mean your business is successful and on the flip side you can have 100 followers and be killing it! I think it’s more important to prioritize your limited time and when it comes to social media to ignore the numbers and keep showing up and connecting with the people who are already there supporting you!
DAY 24 | CUSTOMERS/FEEDBACK: I am SO appreciative of every customer who has taken the time to leave a review, write an email, or my favorite–send me pics of the products they purchased next to human and furbabies! (“Grand dog”?? These are def my people!) It seriously makes my day to know that something I created has made someone happy or helped to express love and gratitude. It is also really special when people share that they connect with the cause and giving back! These are the reasons why I love doing what I do and makes all the late nights and tough times worth it!
DAY 13 | PHOTOGRAPHY: This is where I take my photos—behind the couch in the corner of the living room that gets a lot of natural light (luckily the couch hides this so I can leave my set up there)! My background is a white foam board sitting on top of a short wood side table with extra boards to reflect light with. And I usually take pics with my iPhone. Here’s a pic of set up, final photo, and the table (it’s one of my favorite Craigslist finds from years ago!)
DAY 14 | HOW I LEARNED: Here’s a sample of my work from when I first started learning how to letter—the page from the journal is one of my very first attempts at it! I also found an old “learn” that I lettered and it’s next to one I lettered in pencil not too long ago!
I am self taught and started by following lettering IG accounts/blogs that had tutorials and guides about 4 ish years ago. It was difficult in the beginning because I had no idea what kind of pen to use or how to hold it or what any of the rules were and it was discouraging. But I started to make progress when I:
1) Joined the #handletteredabcs challenge and practiced one letter a day.
2) Found the Zebra brush pen at Daiso and realized smaller/stiffer brush pens are more beginner friendly!
After that it was a TON of practicing, refining, and studying letters.
There’s still so much I want to learn which I think is one of the cool things about lettering or any art form—there’s always room to progress and grow and I’m looking forward to it!
PS: If lettering is something you’ve been wanting to try or you’ve dabbled but feel discouraged like how I did, I’d love for you to join me at a workshop if you’re in the So Cal area! I wanted to teach because I wanted to share the things I *wish* I knew when I first started and I feel like it’s one of those things that’s easier to learn face to face. (I’m also working on a workbook and videos for those of you who are not in the area!) To view workshop dates, click here for the Workshop Calendar.
DAY 15 | MOTIVATION AND GOALS: Atiliay started out as a fundraiser and the foundation of what I do is still built on that idea—I love the thought of creating products/workshops that enable customers and attendees to easily join me in giving back! This is what motivates me and my goal is for us to continue to give back together!
One of the ways Atiliay’s cards for a cause help is by funding micro loans for mom and dad entrepreneurs around the world through Kiva.org. Because of Father’s Day cards, Atiliay was able to lend to Denis! This is his story and a photo of him with his business.
To date Atiliay has funded over 80 micro loans in over 36 countries with your help!
DAY 16 | WORKSPACE: Here’s an old photo of my workspace at its best—see my post for Day 7 for how it actually looks most of the time! There’s also a cameo below of my two assistants, Valentine and Bernard :)
DAY 17 | WHAT I’M WORKING ON: I’ve been working on getting wrapping paper made! It’s taken quite awhile to find a printer who will print on kraft paper and recreate the design below but I have found one and am excited to move forward in the process! Stay tuned!
DAY 18 | MISTAKE OR LESSON: Strive for progress, not perfection–this is something I’ve learned throughout my journey and something I continue to work on. It’s easy for me to get caught up in making things “perfect” which is impossible and holds me back from getting things done! I love this quote and it reminds me to focus on progressing by finishing projects, putting my work and myself out there, and continuing to move forward!
All work featured on Atiliay is copyright Olivia Lin and created by me unless otherwise noted. Feel free to use any of the photos or excerpts from this blog but please give proper credit and link back accordingly. It'd also be great if you'd email me and let me know what you've shared, I'd love to meet you, say thanks, and check out your space!