FREE VALENTINES DAY CARDS

Beard-card-free-download Bangs-card-free-download

mustache-card-free-download

 

A few years ago, when I first started making cards, I created the "I love you and your beard" card (shown first). It was a huge seller and even made the front page of Etsy!

At this moment, I no longer sell cards but wanted to share with you these 3 cards for free! Simply click the picture to download a pdf that you can print out, cut and fold to give to your valentine. Happy love day, enjoy!

I AM NOT SPECIAL

i-am-not-special I am not special. Yes of course, my mom, my family and my husband (I hope) think so. But really, I'm not. I'm just like you. I have fears, dream, goals, aspirations, victories, failures, good days and bad days.

When I read other people's stories - on how they got started and what got them to where they are today - I get inspired and feel like it's truly possible to achieve that same greatness. So today, I thought I share with you my story on how I got to where I am today. And that you too can achieve the same success.

Growing up, art was always what I favored - well, that and music. I remember getting a pair of large headphones and locking myself in my room to bliss out to music and draw or paint. This was my happy place.

When it came time to decide what I wanted to do before graduating high school I considered arts. Maybe graphic design or communication arts (whatever that means) - but really those jobs sounded terrible back then. The idea of sitting in front of a computer all day was not glamorous or dreamy at all. I also considered becoming an art teacher. But the idea of so many years of school killed me - I hated school (for reals guys, the only class I liked in school was art).

Because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do and the idea of going into debt to study something I didn't even know I liked, was not an option.

So I chose Cosmetology school. A left field decision, yes. But I great decision for sure. I grew up with two aunts that were both self-employed hairstylists. The idea of being able to make people feel beautiful and working for myself sounded very desirable. That's when I really knew I wanted to work for myself.

For thirteen years I worked as a hairstylist and for ten of those years I was extremely happy doing it. Then I started pursuing art in my free time, moved to a more cultural, art-supportive town and found myself exhibiting art at local restaurants, shops and galleries. I was always drawing, sketching or painting in my free time and finally did something about it. I was creating because I knew I wanted a change, I knew I didn't want to do hair forever. 

After a few exhibits and opening my first Etsy shop, I began to experience what it felt like to make money doing what I loved. It was pennies but a huge boost and confirmation that I could do this.

A few months later I got engaged and decided to design my own wedding invitations. I picked up a set of nibs and calligraphy tools I had from years ago and created our wedding announcements and stamps. I posted them on my Etsy shop just for fun and immediately I was being emailed by many for custom work.

I went with it. I started creating more calligraphy designs, receiving custom orders and posting more products. After my first month I was making more than just pennies.

After our wedding in August of 2011, I opened my second Etsy shop Hazel Wonderland. By April 2012 I was interviewed for the Etsy Featured Seller (for those of you who don't know, being asked to be an Etsy Featured Seller is a huge deal. The interview is opted on the Etsy homepage and viewed by millions).

A few months later, I quit my day job. 

Things were great. Better than great, I was on cloud nine. I was scheming ideas, daydreaming of what the future could look like, I was unstoppable.

Then a few months into designing wedding invitations and working with a couple that challenged me, I realized I was not doing what I was called to do. Yes, I was creating art and yes I was extremely grateful to have clients, to be making money and to be self-employed. But I was not passionate about working with wedding clients. Working with couples was fun and always beautiful to see how each project unfolded, but I was not happy, I was stressed. I still felt like there was more and this was not it.

I spent some time soul-searching and digging deep. Listening to the heart and imaging those moments when I felt the most alive, the most true to myself. I discovered I felt the most alive and heartfelt during conversations with other creatives, artists or friends. Conversations about how unhappy they were at their current job or position, how they dreamed of being more, accomplishing more but had no idea how to get there. They had a passion, a calling, a God-given talent, but no clue how to monetize it.

And that's when I knew what I really wanted to do, what I was called to do. I wanted to help others discover and grow their talents, personality and skills so they could make money and bring value to the world doing what they love, helping us find ultimate fulfillment. 

That meant working with people like me. Artists, musicians, woodworkers, designers, illustrators, photographers, printers, instructors, teachers... that wanted to leave their day job to make money doing what they really love.

When I realized I had to make the switch to start working with creatives and stop working with weddings, I came up with a plan. A plan to slowly phase out of weddings and into business coaching, branding and designing. This process took about eight months.

On October 15, 2013, I launched this blog (yep, the one your reading right now) and started talking more about what I was doing, why I was doing it and who I wanted to work with.

Fast forward to present day and here I am living my dream. I'm working with my dream clients, creating work I love and influencing others like I hoped I could. I create brands that tell others stories, I plan out strategies to help people get to where they want to go, I coach to help others find clarity and brainstorm new ideas, and most recently I teach to help inspire others to imagine, start and grow their business, expertise and craft.

I was put on this earth to help creatives like you. To help you imagine, create, find happiness and find ultimate fulfillment. What do you feel you were put on this earth to do?

("I am not special" was inspired by the talented illustrator Molly Jaques and her Instagram post here

THE WILDERNESS PROJECT

the-wilderness-project A photographer and previous branding client of mine contacting me recently with an idea. She explained that her vision was to start a project that gave children the opportunity to explore and experience the wilderness in an artful way. Providing each child with a Holga or other film camera, she hopes to encourage a way for the children to express themselves, feel free and find solace.

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the-wilderness-project-1

Helping all children including ones that have lost a family member, suffer from chronic or terminal illness, or face anxiety which inhibits their learning and relationships is her mission. So that one day when life throws them a challenge, they will be more able to face it with success if they know the power of being awake in the wild.

It's like art and nature therapy for children. 

I grew up in very small town surrounded by woods, creeks and cornfields. My siblings and I would spend hours outside, exploring the wild, skipping rocks, jumping creeks, hiding in the cornfields and hiking up a creek to find that waterfall. So I too have experienced first hand how healing and inspirational nature can be.

Heather McKay Bowes asked for my collaboration in this project to create artwork that will be interwoven with photographs taken by the children and of the children and arranged in a book.

In order to get The Wilderness Project going Heather has launched a kickstarted campaign HERE.

To learn a little more about Heather, read an interview I had with her HERE, she's a pretty wonderful and down-to-earth lady that's extremely talented. Seriously, you need to check out her work HERE.

Have an idea you want to collaborate on? Or one you want to share? Have you ever used Kickstarter to raise money for your idea? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below or via email: meredithcbullock@gmail.com

(All photos by Heather McKay Bowes)

ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

acknowledging-your-accomplishments I was catching up with a friend the other night and she asked me how business was, more specifically, what I was currently working on. So, I answered.

I started off with the one project that I thought was most exciting and notable. Then I continued with another project that was also very exciting, then I started to share the next project and again, equally a very exciting project. At that very moment, I realized something. I realized that all of the projects I was currently working on were all equally notable, exciting and exactly what I wanted to be doing. I was working with my dream clients (other creatives and entrepreneurs) on projects that fill my mission, heart and soul.

After we said our goodbyes I felt like I was on top of the world - my world. I was doing what I love and loving every moment of it. Later that night when I shared this realization with my husband, I reflected on the conversation my friend and I shared and found and an abundant amount of gratitude, contentment, accomplishment and most importantly I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Yep, I was proud of myself and ok with admitting it.

I enjoyed that moment so much, that I had to share what I learned with you. So, my challenge to you is to write your accomplishments down in your notebook, journal, blog or even here in the comments below…anywhere. Just make sure you write them down and give yourself some credit for all of the amazing victories you've tackled.

Tell me, what accomplishments you've had lately? What projects are you working on that excite you? What goals have you reached?

- - -

Ever since I was a teenager, I wanted to travel the West Coast. I recall several films that captured breathtaking views of the land feeding my desire to go see it for myself. It wasn't until this summer that I finally saw it in person. My husband and I took 2 weeks to explore and drive up the entire West Coast to fulfill this dream of mine. We started in San Diego and drove all the way to Seattle, WA. One of those days we camped just off the beach near Big Sur, California where this picture was taken. Moments after I snapped this image, we saw a whale pass by. 

HOW MAY I HELP YOU?

how-may-i-help-you As I begin to hash out and mold my vision for my blog, a million ideas of what to write about and how it should look and feel come to mind. Like how I want to talk about the music industry, living as a full-time artist, learning how to find balance with work and life, my creative hurdles, the best brainstorming session ever, films and artwork that inspire me, how to stay focused, and how I don't know if I love my logo yet … etc, etc.

But you see, my mission for this blog was not only to find clarity within my own journey, my mission is to also connect with you and help in anyway I can to solve problems, share and grow. That's right, this blog is here for you too.

I want to hear from you, hear about what you're doing, what struggles you're facing or what victories you're accomplishing.

So, I ask you this: How may I help you?

Here are just a few ideas:

  • What have you accomplished lately that you want to share?
  • What struggles are you facing that you need direction and clarity around?
  • What topics would you like to see here on my blog?

Ask me anything in the comments below, on Facebook or Instagram or email me at meredithcbullock@gmail.com

(ART)

WANDERLUST AKA I WANT TO TRAVEL & CHANGE THE WORLD

wanderlust-aka-i-want-to-change-and-travel-the-world I dream about traveling the world. I imagine my husband and I with backpacks, hopping trains, shaking hands with natives, eating food, wandering streets, experiencing culture and a beauty that we've never seen before.

Not only do I imagine traveling the world, I also imagine changing the world. Like a TOMS's-Shoes-kind of change the world - a one-for-one. I want to give my time and efforts to those who need it. I want to provide for my family while providing for others too. I imagine meeting people from across the United States to all over the world. I imagine getting my hands dirty and experiencing tough realities. I imagine laughing, loving and crying. Most of all, I imagine my heart happy.

For so long I've imagined this dream but never took any serious steps to make it happen. When I have a dream or idea for my business, I write it down.

SO... I'm writing it down and setting some goals. I'm announcing to you today that this is my calling and that I believe I was put on this earth to help others find beauty and strength within themselves and to help guide them to the life of their dreams.

Now that I've shared my big dream, what's yours? Do you have any trips planned? I am a novice to traveling abroad, any tips, recommendations or ideas?

BLOGGING 101 + A FREE BLOG CALENDAR

blogging-101-plus-a-free-blog-calendar
Do you have a blog and find yourself scrambling for a topic, content or images the day of your post? This was me up until just a few months ago. The ideas were there, but when it came time to write them down and create a blog article that was clear, effective and captured my style - I was failing.
Then somewhere I read about a blog or editorial calendar. At first I had never heard of this concept - so I searched around blogs here and here and found some really incredible tips, free downloads and more.
Planning everything out beforehand has been such a positive monumental shift for me and my blog. I now feel prepared, focused and accomplished.
In the incubation stage of blogging, before I start writing, I consider the following:
  • Who: Will I be writing solo or will the blog feature work or writing from other artists or creatives? Will I be interviewing anyone for this blog post? If I plan to feature anyone's work, words or ideas, do I have the proper credit, permission and criteria? Have I emailed the creative yet to get their take on the subject?
  •  What: What exactly do I want to write about? What kind of images, artwork or typography will I use to capture the essence of my story? What do I want to say? [Side note: A majority of my blog ideas come to me while I'm in shower, meditating, in nature or when I'm running. It makes sense, these locations are quiet, independent and therapeutic - allowing me to relax, listen and imagine. For a long time I thought I would just recall these ideas the moment I sat down at my computer to blog, but quite the opposite was happening. So now when an idea comes up, I try to write it down asap or make a very serious mental note.] 
  •  Why: This is sometimes a question I forget to ask myself, but have found when I remind myself of 'why' I am sharing this on my blog, I find clarity in the direction of my writing. So why I am writing this?
  • When: When do you want to share your topic? Take it or leave it, but I once read that Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to be the days that people are more likely going to read blogs. What time of day do you want to blog? My sweet spot (after my morning routine and just before I dive into work) is between 11am and 1pm. In the future I'd like to have my blog posts pre-written the night before, so all I have to do is press "publish" in the morning. Baby steps.
Now that I have the ideas, I need to write them down. I have attached a 2 page editorial/blog calendar that I created that has been helpful at organizing what I want to say and when I want to say it. You can download if for free by clicking HERE and HERE. 

The calendar has 2 parts:
  1. The Ideas (Step 1/Page 1): Here you will be asked to define the title, overview and style/images. I have found these are the most important things for me to focus on when I am jotting down my ideas. I recommend printing off several of these guys. Once I get brainstorming, I find filling out 3 pages is easy smeazy. [Note: when I say style/images - I mean what images, artwork, lettering, typography, photo filters, etc are you going to use that's unique to your style and brand and that capture your story the best.]
  2. The Dates (Step 2/Page 2): This page is a basic calendar template that you can fill out the month and date yourself. That way when you have all of your ideas written down on the fist page, you can start plugging in which ideas fit best on which date.

Ok, now that you have your blog or editorial calendar, what are you going to write about today? Because I am new at this whole 'planning my blog' thing, what tips or tools have you found that are helpful for you?

ALONE TIME

alone-time-self-love-1 I like my alone time. And lately I found myself depleted, forgetting how important it is to make time for myself.

It energizes me, gives me strength and inspires creative thought. My husband heard that introverts find contentment and inspiration when alone and extroverts find the same but when they're socializing. I don't like to label myself as an introvert, but I do love to be home and find relevancy in that statement.

I remember when I was younger my family used to call me the "cellar dweller" because my bedroom was in the basement of our house and I spent most of time there.

The past few weeks have been full of long work days preparing for this blog to go live (yay, it's finally live!) and working on completing several projects with other creatives. Seriously, I had 3 or 4 projects all finishing up at the same time as my blog launch. It was crazy and a bit insane, but wow what awesome work we created!

With both my husband and I being self-employed and working from home - I find it hard to easily find time alone. Staying home (when he goes out) is sometimes the only "alone time" I get. Often I choose to stay home but in reality, by the time he leaves the house, it's 8 or 9pm at night and I am too tired to be creative or read.

So today I'm taking the day off from work and making it an official "alone time day". I automatically feel 10lbs lighter and full of wonder - daydreaming about what my perfect alone time day would look like. It would definitely include drinking lots of tea, reading, spending time outside, writing, drawing, brainstorming and sending letters of gratitude. Maybe even donating blood, roasting veggies, making herbal tinctures, reading the local paper, going to the library...the list goes on.

What are you doing for yourself today? What does your perfect alone time day look like?

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READY SET LAUNCH

Ready-set-launchToday my website is officially live! Building my blog by hand was challenging yet a fruitful experience - learning how to code, build and design a website will come in handy. There are some minor edits here and there that need to be made, but for now on this is where I will write and share my story. What do you think?

[PHOTO]