Tuesday, July 31, 2018

creating with jules- resin necklace pendants

Every now and then I make a batch of resin pendants using various methods, and I’m sharing with you today how I’ve made these hand painted resin pendants.

You will need:

There are so many brands of resin to use. I’ve been using one called “Glass Coat”. They are sold as a two part epoxy kit that you mix together. The individual brands will state on the bottles whether they are suitable for coating. 
-Wide wooden stirrer
-Wooden craft disks (I used 1 1/2”)
-Acrylic Paint
-Sealer (I used a water based gloss varnish)
-Necklace or cord and closure of your choice
-Small propane torch
-E6000 glue

First, seal your wooden disks using gesso.

First, seal your wooden disks using gesso.

Once dry, paint them however you like. Glean some inspiration from Alisa Burke’s flowery painting projects here, or just doodle-paint like I did. I had no plan; I just started painting. If you don’t like anything you’ve done, just paint over it! There’s no pressure here, and that’s the beauty of acrylics :) 

Paint the backs of the pendants in solid colour.

Once my designs were dry, I sealed them using the gloss sealer front, back and sides. 

Leave to dry.

Now you can mix your resin. Pour the two parts of your resin into a disposable cup, and mix following the directions on the bottle of your particular brand using the wooden stirrer. 

Place your pendants on some paper (baking paper provides extra protection if you need it) to protect your working surface. Pour the resin on, or ‘spoon’ on like I have in the photo, and gently coax the resin up to the sides of the disk using the stirrer. The surface tension keeps the resin from dripping over the sides, although that sometimes happens.

Using the propane torch, quickly run over the resin close to the surface, but not touching the resin with the flame. This will pop any little air bubbles.

Leave in a dust free area to cure. I place a large lid over my work to keep dust off. You just have to make sure the lip is deep enough so it doesn’t touch the pendants.

Glue bails on the pendants using E6000 glue.

Once the glue is dry, thread your pendants onto cord or necklace, and enjoy!

Jules :)

You can find more of Jules here:

Friday, July 27, 2018

how I quit my job to work as an artist

Ten years ago I walked away from my day job and I never planned or imagined the evolution and growth that my tiny creative business would have. At the time, all I wanted was to earn enough income with my creativity to be able to quit my desk job. I spent years practicing, trying, failing and searching for a creative and fulfilling career as an artist. And if I am being honest, I spent a lot of time hoping for my "big break", drifting, jumping around and never fully committing to what it would really take to achieve my dream of being a working artist. But everything changed when I decided to get serious and disciplined about my dreams. I sat down and got really honest with myself and my goals and instead of waiting for something to happen, I decided to make a five year plan to quit my day job in order to work as a full time artist.

Now, five years is a long time but I was really conservative and careful about decisions at the time. Because I was working two jobs, I knew it was unrealistic to try and quit my job quickly. Instead I gave myself a lot of time to work within my life and schedule. Today I wanted to share a detailed look at what that plan looked like. My hope is that you will find a little inspiration and feel empowered to chase after your own big goals.

Identify the BIG Dream:
My giant dream was to quit my day job and work as a full time artist. At the time my husband was working his job but we also needed my income to survive. If I quit, I needed to make the same income as my day job which was $30K per year OR $2,500 per month OR about $83 per day. While this information TOTALLY overwhelmed me at the time, breaking it down into numbers is what helped me figure out a basic plan.

TIPS: Don't be afraid to talk to the people in your life about your big goal or dream. Often it is the people that know us best that can help with support, ideas, inspiration or act as a sounding board! 

Also, don't be afraid or overwhelmed by putting a price on that dream. For a good part of my life, while I was always making and selling art, I never sat down and made a budget or put a number on my goals. The day, I looked at my bills, my financial responsibilities and the income that I needed in order to quit my job, was the day that my entire plan caught fire!

Identify the things you can do to make it happen:
My goal was to work as a full time artist and create a sustainable creative business that would produce the income that I needed to survive. I knew that this goal would likely have a lot of trial and error and involve a lot of searching for the "right way" to earn that income.When I began brainstorming and planning, I discovered that I was really flexible. All I cared about was having a job or business where I was creative. Once I was grounded in this realization, I was able to make a plan that included all kinds of different options I could try. I was able to make a plan that included all kinds of different steps. Here are the big ones that I started with:
Grow and build my online shop to make more predictable revenue. 
Apply to craft/art shows during the holidays.Write a book. 
Look for paid opportunities to write articles for magazines. 
Apply to teach at art retreats. 
Look for local (paid) teaching opportunities. 
Teach my own classes and retreats. 
Teach classes online.

TIPS: Keep an open mind about the steps it takes to reach your goal! While it is great to figure them out, you can also infuse flexibility into that plan. And when (or if) things in life change, give yourself permission to change those steps and smaller goals.

I've found that writing it all down or keeping a journal really helps in the planning process. I think that we all tend to plan differently. I am not here to tell you how to go about documenting your plan. Instead I just want to encourage you to get it on paper and use it for reference. Often it's these brainstorms, outlines or written plans that can be the daily reminder that you need to stay focused on your plan.

Get realistic about the time frame it takes to reach that goal:
When I started planning, 30k per year felt like a lot of money that I needed to make as an artist in order to quit my day job! I was overwhelmed so it made sense to give myself lots of time to try different things, save money and develop my creative business into something that would be long term. This is why I settled on a five year plan for my big dream. I knew that more time meant more flexibility for trial and error and it meant having the ability to take risks. Here is what it looked like:

For my five year plan, I used year one and two as the time frame where I was experimenting, testing ideas, trying new things, creating new work, doing lots of research and "casting my net far and wide".

I used year three and four for growing and building upon the things that were working and were generating income. These are the years within my five year plan that I had the most growth because I had put in the hard work of really testing what would work for my dream.

Year five was the time when I began the process of walking away from my day job. By this time, I had exceeded my goal of generating $30k per year from my creative business. In fact, by this time I had run into the "good problem" of needing more time to put into my business which made quitting my day job a decision that made sense.

TIPS: Figuring out a time frame for your goal/dream is one of the most important things you can do when developing a plan. Having a clear understanding of the time it could take to reach a goal is going to help you get more realistic about what the steps involved in your plan.

Keep in mind that different dreams are all going to have a timeline that looks different. A five year plan for my dream made sense for my life but someone else may have only needed one year! Go easy on yourself when it comes to time. I've found that staying realistic and honest about my schedule, the amount of time I have and how much I do, has helped me become a better planner.

Thursday, July 26, 2018


I've got another giveaway today! I am giving three of my new pouches each will be filled with my favorite supplies!!!

To enter to win:
Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite supply.

I will randomly select 3 winners who will each receive a pouch. 

Giveaway ends at the end of the today 10pm PST and I will update this post with the winners!

****************UPDATE WITH WINNERS**********************

Email us at alisaburke@gmail.com and we will get you your pouches.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

watercolor flowers download for you!

Ok friends, I have a fun free download for you today. Ten pages of watercolor flowers! Print them out and use them in your planners, scrapbooks, paper, collage projects and more. 

Download HERE

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

let's have a GIVEAWAY!

Ok friends let's have a giveaway. Today I am giving away a $200 voucher for my shop!

Leave me a comment, tell me your favorite creative medium or process.

I will select 1 winner at the end of the day 10pm PST and I will update this post with the winner!

Good luck!

****************UPDATE WITH WINNER*******************

Congrats Jen! Email me at alisaburke@gmail.com and we will get you your voucher!

Monday, July 23, 2018

celebrate 10 years with me!

Ten years ago I walked away from my full time job in marketing at the University of San Diego to pursue my life long dream of working as a full time artist! On July 6th, 2009, I began my "first day on the job" as artist, teacher and blogger. I cannot tell you how excited I was! I had spent so many years working to turn my creative side hustle into a viable business and finally getting to work all day on art projects was surreal. During those first few weeks on my own, I had big dreams but I never could could have imagined how my business (and life) would explode in the best of ways. I never thought I would write books or create over 80 online classes. I never thought my DIY projects would go viral or I would write for magazines. I never thought I would be able to juggle being a mom and running a business. I never thought I would host my retreats. And I never, EVER in a million years thought I would be able to bring my husband home from his engineering job to work along side me. I never thought I would end up supporting our family with my messy, wild, creative business. But here I am thriving (and sometimes surviving) ten years of hard work, hustle, creativity, laughter and tears, opportunities, failures, success, growth, stress, joy, ups and downs and tons of amazing experiences. 

While I am not very good at pausing to celebrate (I tend to just keep moving forward), this one feels really big to me. And even bigger because so many of you out there were a huge part of my journey and your support has contributed to this crazy life that I live! I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing up here every day to read my blog, for buying my books and my classes and products. And most of all for your kindness, creativity and love. I wanted to do something fun to celebrate so all week I have giveaways and freebies for you and I will be sharing some insight and thoughts about running a this business over on my Instagram account.

Today I am kicking things off with some shop updates!

I have some really fun new products in the shop and more coming in the months ahead and we now OFFER INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING WAHHOOOO!!! 

I have also bundled up a bunch of online classes for super savings this week!

And I am giving away a free online class- Watercolor Doodles when you spend $30 or more in the shop!

For details or to register visit the shop HERE 

Visit the shop HERE

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

let's talk inspiration

Ok friends lets talk inspiration, influence and how to embrace your own style and creative voice. People, places, dreams, fears, relationships, hopes, all have the ability to inspire us in completely different ways. And there’s no doubt that inspiration can speak to us through others. But what makes YOU unique is knowing which influences to use and which to tune out. It’s an interesting life these days: TV, internet, email, texts, voicemail, trends, news, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, “like”, post, delete, upload, download . . . repeat AHHH!!! I don't know about you but this constant snowstorm of information clouds my brain. In the middle of this madness, when does inspiration, like real life inspiration get a chance to speak to us? Can our inspiration sing if its voice is drowned out by all of these digital voices and influences?

One thing I have learned is that true inspiration and authenticity often arrives quietly and in simple REAL LIFE moments. Inspiration doesn't always show up in my Instagram feed or on Pinterest but it shows up at the farmers market or on a walk around the neighborhood or during a conversation with a friend. As artists and creatives, we need to carve out moments to unplug and be present and aware of the beauty in our life. With one eye on your Instagram feed, the other eye on the news, and both ears divided between a husband, kid, and podcasts, how can the voice of inspiration be heard?!

Finding your inspiration doesn’t mean getting rid of your phone or ignoring the world or living in solitude. But one thing we can do is minimize the noise just a little bit. It has been my mission for a very long time to encourage anyone looking for inspiration to cut the wire. If we are constantly looking for inspiration from other sources it’s almost as if we become a of collector of other people's ideas. By doing this, we miss out on the totally unique ways we can find influence in the things in our lives that make each of us so unique! So here is my challenge to you- take a little time to unplug, get out into your world and start looking for inspiration off your device. 

Here are the failsafe ways that I make this happen in my own life and creative routine: 

I start by getting off the internet! When I am starting a new project or exploring new ideas, I make it a point to get off the computer and into my world.

Resist the temptation to copy or emulate other people's work. Copying can be a great way to learn and explore something new but it can also keep you from becoming that totally unique, fabulous, creative person with stand out style! 

Pay attention to the things you admire in other people's art, images and brand. Instead of emulating these things, try to use that admiration as a starting point. Then look for unique ways to put your own twist, style or ideas on concepts that inspire you. I like to pay attention to color, style, pop culture trends and then totally flicp the script and put my own twist on those trends.

Identify and take time to visit the places in your world that inspire you- these places don't have to be exotic- in fact the easier and more accessible they are, the better! My favorite places- my parent's back yard, the farmers market and Goodwill.

Look for creative inspiration OFF the internet! Look for unique color combos in your everyday routine. Get back to basics and sketch. Write down daily observations and ideas. Go on weekly photoshoots for unique images or inspiration to use in your art.

Experiment, play and explore some of your ideas without pressure to share them! I find that making art without any purpose is best way I can make discoveries.

Go hunting around the house or your everyday surroundings for interesting subject matter that can be used as inspiration in creative projects.

Take your sketchbook or notebook on your daily errands. Jot down what you see, what strikes you with appreciation, beauty, simplicity, etc.


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