End of the Year Memory Book is HERE! Plus Flowers & a Gift??

I recently finished my End of the Year Doodle Memory Coloring book and I just love how it turned out!! Every page is hand drawn and completely unique. Because the memory book is not "year" specific, you can purchase it only once and enjoy it year after year with your students or kids. I created this more for students who can write, however, younger students can easily illustrate the information with a little direction and help from an adult. 
What's Inside???

1. Inside Title Page (2 versions to choose from)

2. School Rocks 2-Page Spread (Image preview above): Allow students to complete two pages all about their school, teacher(s), and class or choose other things about school your students can save as memories using the alternate versions without text titles.  If you print the memory books on card stock, students can paint the pages with watercolor as well as illustrate the images using pencils, pens or even add real photos once the paint has dried. Using a mix of artistic mediums will really make this little memory book pop. Allow them to get as creative as possible!

3. About Me: This page includes one version with specific titles and one without titles

4. Several Writing/ Illustration Pages 

5. Beginning & Ending of the Year Work Sample Pages

6. Project Pride: Allow students to write, illustrate, and/or glue pictures of a special project, assignment or fundraiser they completed this year that they are especially proud of. You can also come up with something completely different to direct your students to focus on for this page or allow them to come up with their own ideas.

7. My Top Three: Students can choose three favorites to feature on this page. Anything from top three subjects, assignments, days, activities, etc.

8. Teachers Say the Darndest Things:
Probably my most favorite page. I decided to add this page because I have had previous students remind me of some of the quirky things I said while they were in my class and I thought it would be fun for students to write down some of their own favorite teacher quotes to remember.

9. Inspirational Quote Coloring Page: Allow students to color this and frame if if they choose to.

10. Best Friends (2-Page Spread) with one variation to choose from:

11. Things That Inspire Me: a Pinterest inspired 2-page layout that students can make their own.

12. Thoughts: A fun page for students to record their own thoughts about life, school, or other things. These will be fun pages for them to look back on as they grow and blossom over the years.

13. Summer Bucket List

14. 2-Page Signature Page: allow students to write words of encouragement and messages to one another on these pages.

15. Congratulations: A page to glue a graduation photo. This page does have a blue colored border and a blue graduation cap.

BONUS: Printing & Assembly Tips: I have included several pages with some helpful printing tips to eliminate white borders for those of you who prefer to print the full pages. That is what I did for the one I have in the preview images. I was still able to bind it without covering any of the important graphics or content on the pages.
Here is a picture of the Bucket List page that I colored using Crayola Washable Markers (the mini ones)...They weren't ideal for blending colors, so it is a little choppy.. haha
My completed About Me Page: I painted this one digitally.. I know.. I cheated..

Feel free to share pictures of your finished Doodle Memory Books on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the Hashtag  #3amteacherdoodlebook
You can find my new End of the Year Memory Coloring Book at my Website and my TpT Shop using the links below...

I also have a cute little flower heart set that includes separate pieces for you to grow your own combinations. Create a hand-painted love bouquet to a home-made Mother's Day Card. 
(Only $3.50 for 22 images)

AND... I am not even finished yet... I also have a free mini set of love flowers for all of you to enjoy!! Thank you so much for all of your support & feedback! I'd be lost without all of ya!

Thank you for stopping by! Let's get the conversations going by commenting below... 

On the Topic of Clip Art , Terms of Use, & Keeping it All Organized

This post is especially for TpT sellers who have acquired a great deal of clipart and want a way to keep each artists' terms of use up to date and easily accessible. But before I share what I created for all of you, I feel I owe it to all of you to get a little more serious after seeing a post on the TpT FB page by chance before going to bed last night. I really do not like being a downer, but I feel like it is so important that I help spread awareness to all of you who love buying and using clipart to create products.. (mostly because you are my favorite kind of peeps..haha). I would be doing all of you a disservice by not keeping you informed and knowledgeable about shops to watch out for. 

Sellers now have such a huge selection of unique and high quality images to choose from for the products they create and many have become clipart hoarders (which is completely fine by


It is truly important that you do a little research on sellers offering commercial use clipart BEFORE downloading the free or paid files and/or using the images in products you create & here's why...

I recently came across a fairly "new" shop (or it seemed new) offering free downloads of images that were copyrighted images she found on the web  and put into one free file to offer from her shop as her own creation. 

This is absolutely unacceptable and illegal by the way. 

Buyers who download the free images left comments to "thank" the seller for her generosity and showered her with complements,completely unaware that the images they just downloaded were stolen. This sort of unethical behavior just drives me crazy. For one, it harms both the seller's integrity AND it puts the buyers at risk of also being sued for copyright infringement for using images they do not have permission to use. 

This particular shop did not have any restrictions or specific terms listed in the description, other than to state that...and I quote,"Use these free images to create your own resources!" In a small line underneath that, she placed the following text:

"credit: clipartpanda"


For one, that site is a treasure trove of stolen images they have no right offering from their site... and I have had to battle with the site's domain host on several occasions to get my images removed. Take a peek at that site and they clearly state in their terms that they are NOT giving users permission to use the images and that they do not claim to own the rights to any and all of the images that can be found on the site. They steal images from many artists I know personally and the ONLY purpose they are doing this is to DRIVE traffic to their site to earn free ad revenue! In my opinion, the site should be taken down based on the amount of complaints they have against them, but it is going to take some serious cash and a legal team to really make a difference with sites doing like this. 

This TpT seller and her "super cute art" (according to the feedback left on her shop) seems to think it's alright to steal images from any site on the web, place those images in a downloadable file and offer them from her shop. One of the other bundled clipart sets she was offering did not include the small credit to the site she stole the images from. It seems strange to me that someone would not notice that every single image in the set was completely different style, resolution, and line styles. 

I was mostly amazed that not one of the comments in the ratings even mentioned or seemed to take note of the lack of terms for using the images she was giving away for free. Instead, they downloaded the freebie without thinking and thanked her for her generosity!!

BE WISE PEOPLE!!! Do your homework.. especially if you are planning on using images you download to create products to sell. You have a responsibility to your buyers and it is really important that you pay attention to the details and avoid feeding the egos of shops like this... 

This seller, without any hesitation, took the credit and thanks for offering the stolen images. 

Secondly, and probably even more important..... many of those shops that offer stolen clipart for free might be giving you a computer virus within the downloaded freebie... SURPRISE!!! Just because something is free does not mean you should download it onto your computer without doing a little research ahead of time. Read the description... it only takes a couple of minutes and if it seems peculiar or is lacking details, then you most likely should pass up the freebie with a NO THANK YOU!! 

Here are a few little tips from me to help you all to try to spot the shops to stay clear of...

1. If every image in the set is a completely different artistic style and appears to be drawn by several different artists, chances are... each image probably was drawn by a different artist. 

2. If some of the images look familiar, do a quick Google image search using some of the keywords or title words used by the seller. Chances are, you will quickly spot where those images came from if they were, in fact, stolen. 

3. If the product description does not clearly state the terms of use OR credit is given to another website or person... RUN far, far away. 

4. Ask a reputable and trusted artist what they think.... trust me, I never tell anyone who not to purchase clipart from, but I will honestly tell you to be careful. 

Now for a happier tip for TPT sellers using commercial use clipart in products you sell or plan to sell...

How do you keep track of each artists' terms of use when using art from various shops? How about using my terms of use checklist I just created for this very purpose?? 

Print out a terms of use checklist for each shop you purchase clipart from and keep the completed checklist in a binder as a quick reference when you are planning out your next product. This will help you know what images you can use for particular products and whether or not you have permission to use the images in your products. I have also left room for you to add notes for a particular shop just in case you need to contact an artist to request special permission or ask for permission about using the images in a way that is not defined in the artists' terms of use. 

I hope this little checklist comes in handy for all of you! Click the image below to grab my free clipart terms of use checklist... I promise, my freebies are legit!! haha

I will be booking my very last bunch of custom blog designs for the month of August and then I will be taking a long break from custom design work for a while. I look forward to working with all of you!!

Finding Balance to Prevent Burnout When Working from Home

One of the most difficult things to accomplish when running a business from home is finding a balance between client work, personal projects, and family that will allow you to get everything you need finished without crashing at the end of each day (or week). 

When I first started working from home, I really didn't have a set plan or clear direction as to what I "wanted" to do. I had worked myself tirelessly between raising kids, going to school, and teaching full time. It seemed that every time I got a chance to rest, my body would spiral into a catatonic state and I would always be the one who was sick over every holiday break. I mentally pushed my body to work 24/7 without pause or breaks, and not giving it a chance to even tell me if something was wrong. 

There was a period of about 3 years when I was working on my masters degree, teaching full time, helping my husband run his HVAC business, and trying to desperately find time for my kids and family. It was one of the most chaotic times of my life, but I have always been a workaholic. I thrive on being busy and I DO love it, but I wasn't paying attention to the toll this was taking on my own health and sanity. 

There were MANY nights (more than I'd like to admit) that I worked until about 3am in the morning and figured... "why stop now?". I would work through the night to get my papers done, grading and planning finished, and any other projects that piled up. At 6am, I would shower, get the kids up and ready, teach all day, come home for a quick dinner or head on over to ASU - not making it home most nights until about 11pm. At 11pm, my "work day" would begin all over again. I would do this for weeks and count down the days until break. Once those breaks came and I was finally able to give my mind and body a break, I would get really sick or so tired that I would just shut down completely for a couple of days. By the time I was feeling like myself again, it was time to start the cycle all over.  

No one was pushing me to do it all and no one forced me. I placed that pressure and schedule on myself. Even though I am a very creative person and messy at heart, I am also highly complex, organized, critical in my thinking, and driven to a fault. If I set goals or set out to accomplish something, I want to be the best at it . I refuse to give up and I do not like to fail.

This kind of determination can often have a negative impact on my work habits and my overall health. I have tried to set daily limits on my hours, but this often leads to me being overwhelmed and with too many unfinished projects piling up. 

I love working hard, but I also must force myself to plan for time in my day for family, my health, and personal projects between the custom blog designs, emails, social media, questions, and other daily requests or else it all becomes too much to handle. Some days I wake up and find myself not wanting to even look at a computer or think of what emails I might have that might need my immediate attention. Over the years, I have tried to come up with a system to help me to find a better balance to prevent me from burning out or crashing. 

I can't say that I am always effective at implementing the following suggestions, but I do know they work when I stick to each one. Here are a few tips I have learned that might help some of you who are struggling to find your daily balance between work and home.

One of the most important tips I can give you all is to learn to be organized and plan ahead! I have to plan everything - even family time and time for myself. I put my workouts on my daily schedule. I even have to remind myself to drink water... YES... this can be an issue for a creative person. I can find myself working 14 hours straight without stopping and then realize that my legs are swollen and my throat feels like I've been wandering the desert. PLAN. 

I prefer to use my own printed planner because I love having the "real" experience and the ability to highlight or cross things off. I also prefer to have my planner sitting next to me on my desk as a constant reminder of things I need to get done so I stay focused.  

Today, I did not complete my planned schedule and I have been working on a blog post that wasn't planned, nor did I have the time for... but it happened... haha

Try to use a planner that will cover everything all on one place. If there are too many pages to look at or separate planners for separate things, then you are less likely to get what you need completed during that day than if you had everything on one page or app to look at. 

I also love using Google Calendar to schedule in custom blog designs, major due dates, birthdays and other events. This sends my devices an alert and I can often plan far more in advance when using an app. I don;t care what you use, as long as you make it a goal and a habit to plan ahead for each and every day. I like to open my planner and go through my list before I go to bed. This way, I know exactly what I need to do the next morning without getting side-tracked or distracted. 

This is really important! I can honestly SIT in the same chair all day for hours at a time without moving my body (other than typing or re-positioning myself in the chair to get comfortable). This is terrible for your body and your digestive system. I like to use a little reading bookmark timer (one I used when I taught Kindergarten) and I set it to go off every 2 hours so I remember to stop, take a walk, or do a little reading or gardening outside. 

I have the hardest time sticking to this habit because when I get really involved in what I'm working on, I don't like to stop until I am finished. However, I am finding that when I do take those breaks and refresh my body, get the blood moving, and move around, I am far more focused and refreshed to finish whatever I was working on..and often quicker than if I had worked through the timer. 

Use this time to put in a load of laundry, take your dogs for a walk, read a book outside, or meditate. Whatever you need to do to refresh your mind and body that will help you be most effective during your work hours. 

Do not check emails, or browse through social media sites first thing in the morning!! This is also really important advice to consider. When you spend the most productive part of your day answering emails, sending messages, posting to social media sites and/or connecting with people, you could find yourself drained and tired before you even begin the work on your to-do lists. 

I am not saying that social media and answering emails is not an important part of running a successful business because it most certainly is. But going through 300-500 emails, and answering messages on Facebook and connecting through social media can be mentally draining. When your mind is at it's sharpest and most alert, you should be focusing on your to-do list and goals and not the next 300 emails. Set aside time after your most important projects have been completed, for emails and social media. This will also help you to respond to emails and messages without being rushed. 

This is one tip you will find that will be most important to your own sanity in the long run.I suggest that you all decide what hours will be your work hours throughout the day and stop when those hours are up. Be present for you family during your "off" hours. When working from home, many of use have a difficult time turning our work minds off  because we never technically leave the work place.  If you have little ones and you can;t set a specific time frame for work, space out your work hours throughout the day. Whatever works for you and your family. When you set aside specific hours that are dedicated just for working, you will work harder during those hours to get things completed and be able to turn it off when you need to spend time with your family.  This takes dedication, planning, and a lot of self- discipline to accomplish. Once you do begin to balance out your work hours, you will find that you are more present for your family when you need to be. Don't worry if something did not get completed on your list because your list will be there the next day. Life happens to the best of us and we don;t always get everything finished we would like to in one day, but don't kill yourself over it. Your clients will survive if you are a couple of days late on a deadline... but your body will not survive if you continue pushing yourself without a break. Your family will also suffer if you work too much too often. 

Also, find a place in your home that you can designate as your work space. Choose a space with the least number of distractions and a place where you know you will thrive. When you create a work space within your home, then you have the ability to walk away from that space and turn it off when you need to. 

If you need to take a break, take a break- but don't let this become your habit. Your business will only thrive as long as you are putting in the time to nurture and grow it. True success does not happen overnight...even though it might sometimes seem like this for others we see. True success takes hard work, sweat, and sometimes even tears. That's okay and it is completely normal!! Don't kill yourself because someone else has posted a billion new products in their shop in the same time frame that you have only added one thing. It doesn't matter!! What matters is consistency, quality, and your ability to keep going even when success seems to be taking too long. Figure out what is and what is not working and change things as you need to, but don't try to follow a trend that is popular.... if you are following a trend, you are already behind. Take however much time you need to create something you know your audience can really use. 

Copycats are NEVER as good as the original. It is truly annoying and it happens to me all of the time, but I strive to be so good that people can't ignore me. I suggest you do the same. Be so good at whatever it is that you do that people can't ignore the work you put into the products you provide. Copycats often post a similar product with a little twist and mark it down to half the price of the original work. If your fans respect and value your work and you continue to give your buyers the very best you can offer, then it will not matter if someone tries to come in a steal some of your success. The best work is always the original!!

After I had finally published my Hello Planner, I announced that I would be creating paper products and selling hard goods. I ended up being quite busy with custom work and before I knew it, many of my "friends" had copied my style, colors, and page formats in order to create and promote very similar things.  In fact, a few who copied my planner page layouts, colors and style, had actually purchased my Hello Planner from me. Before I had a chance to get out a printed line of products, a few others had ran with my idea and beat me to it. I got several emails and messages from buyers that told me that they would not purchase from these sellers because they felt that what they were doing was wrong. 

I have to admit that those emails always warmed my heart and lifted my spirits. I was not lifted because I felt special, but because I knew that there are people who respect and admire my work!! That is an incredibly good feeling. I have so many people who's work and business ethics I admire and it is always an honor when those same people tell me that they have admired my work as well. 

Whatever you do, make sure that you set time aside at least ONCE a week to learn and improve your own skills. My day is every Thursday. I take this day to focus on improving my skills or learning something new. And I don;t just randomly close my eyes over a bucket list and pick whatever my finger lands on. Each month, I make a list of things I need to improve on and then set a schedule to learn or improve on those skills throughout the month. The skills I choose are meant to help improve the quality of my skills, my own knowledge and my ability to grow as a business owner. 

I am currently working on my 5th year as a full time digital artist and my work continues to improve each year. I consider my custom blog design work and coding as digital art as well because I illustrate every element within each design I create. 

One bit of advice that I give to new artists just starting out is to never offer "old" art as a freebie. I once had a new digital artist tell me that she felt like she had learned so much more and she wanted to put her older set up for free because her new sets were so much better. As quickly as I could respond... I told her not to post her old art as freebies and here's why...

If you only offer your potential buyers your worst, then they may not want to spend their hard earned money for the sets posted for sale. Always put forth your very best work.. even in a free gift set to your fans and buyers. If your old set is worth updating in the future, then update the set using the skills you have learned and improved upon to make that set even better. Buyers who purchased that set will feel like they got a new clipart set for free and new buyers will be excited to invest in your work if they know that you are always putting forth your very best. If the set is not worth updating, then expire it and dump it from your shop. 

Your work will never improve if you do not take the time and effort each week to improve your skills and continue learning.

I would love to hear what some of the biggest challenges you have running a business from home... 

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