Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2013 Calendar

My 2013 Calendar
it's Free.

Download it here.

Save it as your desktop wallpaper
or print it yourself...
my 'gift' to you
wishing you
"A Happy and Joyous New Year"!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Framing your print art...on a budget.

Over the years I have painted many
small OSWOA paintings...
and I often try to offer them
with a frame included.

The frame above was a very cool find
that I found at a yard sale
and it worked 'perfect'
for my original little painting...
it sold pretty fast too...
just with the frame included.

I do quite a few small paintings each year
on sheets of acrylic or watercolor paper...
or small pieces of unstretched primed canvas...
and as often as possible...
I do try to make sure I put these in a frame...
not always though.

 A lot of my art is created digitally,
which means that in order to display it...
a frame is needed.
My favorite frames are not the
pricey ones found in framing shops...but rather...
the little 'treasures' one can find
at yard sales or thrift stores.

I found an interesting tutorial about
framing with 'thrift store frames'

Monday, December 17, 2012

Prices lowered for some International Packages

As of December 17th...I am no longer
charging International Priority shipping rates on
standard sized or large limited edition prints.

I am now offering First Class prices, which are significantly
lower in price...
the shipping times on First class packages is usually
longer in duration...
just an FYI.

I will also offer First Class shipping on my smaller paintings...
the times are longer
so Priority shipping is an option for anyone
wanting to expedite shipping.

Originally my thoughts about charging priority shipping prices
was that I would be able to 'track' the packages through
to delivery...
such is not the case...
tracking updates cease once the package departs
the final US Sort Facility.

Also...I don't have a I couldn't make regular trips
to the Post Office to mail my International packages.
To solve this problem...
I will 'catch a ride' to the post office
once a week...
so the 'turn around' time on International packages will
be a couple days longer than the US packages.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Deadlines for Shipping

While I have been completely caught up
with my Shipping,
I thought
I would post a reminder that purchase
for shipping packages in the US is:
Tuesday - December 18th.
Both first class and Priority Mail can still be delivered 
by Christmas with this deadline.
Sorry...but all International Shipping
deadlines have passed.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Eight Years and Counting

I have been selling my art, online, since 2004.
I started with my own 'shop' on eBay...
and then joined forces with my husband, one of my sons,
my youngest daughter and her husband...
to become a Family Art Group...
and we listed our art as the
ZOA Group...
the Z.O.A stood
for "Zatloukal Original Art".

While on eBay...I painted everything from 'Tuscan Folk Art' to 
Modern 'statement' paintings to

Florals and Abstract Tree Art Paintings...

It was easier to manage the site as a group.  
The year following my husband's passing...eBay began to make changes that
directly affected the artists selling on eBay
and where we had been making a fairly comfortable living on eBay for three years...
our sales began to 'flatline' because of the changes.
And my art reflected how I was feeling...
we all went our separate ways.
Patrick decided to go back to school...
Jaime and Mike opened their own shop and...
I opened my Rustic Goth Shop on Etsy...

"Rustic Goth"?
Well...I was still dealing with the loss of my husband and kind of
'saw myself' as one of those 'tragic widows' from the
Gothic Novels I used to read in my teen-age years...
and Heaven knows I love anything 'rustic'...
and I just liked the name...
Rustic Goth.
To be honest...I didn't really associate the word 'goth' with the kids
who dress all in black, wear black eye makeup and lipstick...dye their hair black
and wear black fingernail polish. that sense of the word...I'm NOT 'goth'...
My 'melancholy girls' were a reflection of the stages I was
going through personally...
...though my Creepers were an even better reflection...

life goes on...
and I am finally moving on too!

I have recently opened two shops...
one on Artfire and one on Etsy...
which I've already talked I won't go into that...

and I've taken on the attitude...

...and I'm looking forward to, at least,
another 8 years of creating and selling my art online...
those are my plans, at this time, anyway!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

As the Year Draws to an End

It feels like 2012 just Flew by....
more often than not...
every year is beginning to feel that way
as I find myself getting older.

Ah is what it is...

I tried something 'different' this year...
get the funds needed for 
Steampunk Art Cards
and Jewelry.

I succeeded at reaching my goal...
spent the money on cards and jewelry supplies...
neither were the 'success' I thought they would be.
I am glad I 'went for it' though....
I also decided to 'go back to basics'
art designed especially for the 
'young and the young at heart'.
I have two shops dedicated to on Etsy
and one on Artfire.
While neither shop has been even minimally successful...yet...
I do have hopes for both of them.

Why two shops...when neither are doing well?
Well...I rank higher in Google for my
search terms
with my Artfire Shop...
and Etsy tends to draw it's own crowd...
so I am hoping to gain exposure from both avenues.

I decided to go this route...when Etsy made the changes 
within their site
that have greatly impacted my

I know it's going to take a lot of work on my part
to make all of my shops successful
and 2013..I guess I
have my work
cut out for me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Last day for Scrabble Tile Pendants

Today is the last day to get Scrabble Tile Pendants
in ANY of my Shops
this year.

These are all 'made to order'
this year
I do want to enjoy the holidays.

It seems every year since I started doing the scrabble tiles,
I am working like crazy to get these made
and to the buyers
in time for

Then...on Christmas Eve...I can start thinking about
my own holiday.

I really am just getting too old for the added stress...
so I've set December 5th as the deadline for these...
no exceptions.
(though I'm sure there will be one or two
who 'didn't see my announcement'
and talk me into doing some.)

Who knows...this might be the year...I
'stick to my guns'!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

In the Coming Year

I've been thinking A LOT about what to do with my life
and my shops
in 2013.

As of December 10th,
will go back to the Basic Shop
of only 50 items.
I really like the site, but unfortunately...
it does have some issues when buyers check out
that require me 'doing the math' and issuing
refunds for overpayments...usually on
They have announced improvements
and upgrades to their site,
but it hasn't happened yet so,
I decided to wait until they do to go back to premium.
I will not list any duplicates on the site though...
it will only be pieces I've 'retired' from my Etsy Shop
and some pieces 'exclusive' to the Zibbet Shop.
It is also the only places I will offer my
Steampunk Art Calendar and my
Creeper Calendar.
I have opened a new shop on Etsy...
it is art for kids rooms...
and is called
similar to my
Artfire Shop
I actually had this shop 'in progress' when
all the weirdness went down on Etsy...
I decided to wait to see what was going on before opening it...
and now that it appears to have straightened itself out...
I went ahead with it.

Why similar shops?
Well...basically because of what happened on
Etsy in October.
I don't plan to get 
"caught with my pants down"

Selling my art online is how I pay my bills...
and the unexplained closing (even for only 4 days) of my
Etsy Shop...
which I might add...
has never been this day...
I'm sure it was a 'glitch' as it coincided with the
'upgrade' to the entire site...
I still think it would only have been courteous
to respond to my emails
to say...
'whoops...our bad'
or something of the such.

I didn't much like just having my emails ignored
with no idea of what was going on or
what happened...and it's left me a bit 'gun shy'. a nutshell...I will be doing more
'happy' art...for the two newest shops...
fewer 'Creepers'.
Since I'm no 'spring chicken'
I also plan to concentrate on smaller paintings...
4" x 6" to 12" x 16" and 'in between' sizes.
I'll do an occasional 16x20
but not many.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Poll results

Well...I've closed the poll...
"Which Online Shopping Sites do  you prefer?"
and these are the results I've gotten.

Mind you it can't be considered a scientific poll by
any was for my own benefit
to help me decide on my options.
I was very surprised to see only 1 vote each for
ArtFire and Zazzle.

I included 'Brick and Mortar'...realizing that is not an online shopping site 
some folks just do not shop online
so I thought I needed to include it...
it too only got 1 vote.

So..Etsy wins out by far.
Guess I'll see what I need to do
to make Etsy work for me once again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Getting it all sorted out.

Apparently a job is not in my future...I don't know how many
applications I filled out online...since that is apparently how things
are 'done' now...
and I've only had 1 response...and that was a 'no'.

I have so many ideas 'floating around in my head' that I want
to commit to paintings (either digital or acrylic)
in the coming months...
perhaps I just need to get better at marketing.

I've got approximately 250+ pieces listed...between all of my shops...
but still making very few sales.
I know that I have relied so much on site driven traffic...
and that has pretty much gone away...
now I just need to figure out what I need to do
to drive my own traffic.

And...I'm working on it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you enjoy family, friends and 'feasting'...
have a very
"Happy Thanksgiving"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Art Business Update III

Well...once bitten, twice the saying goes...
still worried my Etsy Shop could close
at anytime.
In spite of all of my 'upset' with the recent
changes...I think I've decided I don't want to 'voluntarily' close this shop...
I've had it for five years and have built a loyal customer base...
But, I have come to realize that I need 
to expand my online art business to other sites.
I was under the mistaken impression that it was
necessary to devote all of my time and resources
to one shop and make it the best shop I could
possibly make it.

And while I have made some very nice sales and
built a loyal following on Etsy, I also put myself
and my business in the hands of a single site that I had
very little control of. I am, at what should be my busiest time of
year, starting once again...from scratch.

I am not complaining, mind you, it's just a "lesson
learned".  "Don't put ALL of your eggs in one 'basket'."
For one thing, I am having to learn a whole new set
of do's and don'ts...what works and what doesn't
on the new sites I have recently joined.
I plan on staying with all of the shops I currently have

as and, if, they are...until after the first of the year.

I know it is mostly duplicates offered on all three sites...
the reason being...
I wanted to see which site I thought would
best suite my needs.

All of the sites are now based on 'relevancy' rather than 'recency'...
which basically means...
I have to learn and implement a lot of SEO...and do a lot
of promoting to get any of my sites seen.

But..since all these sites are owned by someone else...
(I just basically 'rent' space there)
I made the ultimate decision to open expand my current website
to include a small 'shop'
in early 2013.
It's too late in the season to have to worry about trying to
bring customers to a brand new website...
and besides..
I need to concentrate on the shops  I currently have
if I have any kind of business this holiday season...
I want to 'CONTROL' my own online destiny
and I think the best place to do that would have to be
my OWN Shop on my own website.

So...decision made...hope everyone has a great holiday season...
especially my fellow online sellers!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Art Business Update II

With the changes on shops on Artfire and Zibbet...
it has become apparent that I am now left to
drive Most...if not ALL...traffic to my sites.

The biggest problem with this is...
How to do it...
without seeming spammy or repeating
myself over and over on the
social media sites I currently do most of
my marketing through?
I check my meager stats on Etsy and found that I had
one search term 'whimsical landscape' that
had come in through Google the day
after the election...
try as I might...
I tried that search term in Google
and never did find any of my art.
I've recently joined
and added new 'boards' on
and really need to update my
as these are all sites that
have posting buttons in one or more of my shops.

I'm not a stranger to social media or marketing
my own art...I just think that I'm not very good at it.
So...rather than work on new creations...
as I have a lot of new pieces that are getting much 'love'
at this time...
I've decided to learn much more than I know now
about social media and marketing.

So...while the job search still continues....
I will also be learning more about
how to increase my online presence and hopefully
grow my business to even more than
it was
when Etsy pulled the rug.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A very quick Poll

In helping me to make decisions concerning
my online Art business...
I would sooo appreciate it if you could
take a few seconds to answer this poll...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Art Business Update 1

Things have really taken a 'turn' with my online
art business.
Unfortunately the turn isn't a good one either.

Suffice it to say that I should have known better
than to place all of my 'eggs in one basket'.
Since I can't control what site owners do or don't do...
it was rather foolish of me to have only one
'real' online shop and promote only that shop., here I am, in what should be my
busiest time of year...
trying to grow 2 Brand New shops...
and it is more than a little time
and somewhat 'disheartening'...

For the first time in 8 years...I've had to
try to find a job...
and that is no easy task.

Every place I've applied wants the application
submitted online...and thus far...I've only heard back from
one of the dozens upon dozens of places I've applied...
to tell me I wasn't qualified for their position.

I've done a lot of  'soul-searching' this past month
I still haven't come to any firm decisions.

I really do NOT want to let my online art business go...
but the decision may not be mine.
Since I still have to pay my bills...
and they are beginning to pile up...
I may end up flipping burgers at McDonalds.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Farming and Art

I think I have new respect for farming...
even though I grew up in 'farming country'
I never thought much about
what a 'gamble' it really is
to do that for a living.

In comparing my own situation to farming..
I've prepared the soil
(my online shops)...

planted the seeds
(listed my artwork)

watered them
(regular new listings or renews)

and even fertilized them
(marketing and promotion)

'suddenly there was an eclipse of the sun'
that lasted much longer than usual
(Etsy changed the way they do things so my items
can no longer be found as they used to be...
and Zibbet just doesn't attract the traffic
Etsy does) the 'sun'...
my seeds won't grow and yield a harvest.
Not sure why Etsy chose the busiest time of the year for
most sellers on make such dramatic changes.. the farmer...
when I make the sales during my 'busy season'
I have to manage the funds
to get through the 'non-harvest' seasons...
...this year...
that's not looking so great.
Still have to pay the bills...

I'm not sure how much longer
my Etsy Shop will be
I just can't afford the fees
without some kind of
and I'm hoping that my
Zibbet Shop will be able to
'pay for itself'.

In the meantime...looks like I'll have no choice
going back to the 9 to 5 workforce...
if they'll have me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wondering 'if' a Job is in my Future

Horror of horrors....
I'm seriously considering the 'possibility' of re-joining
the workforce.

I haven't had to do the 9 to 5 since 2004 and the thought of it
makes me 'cringe' a bit...

after what Etsy has recently done to it's site...and subsequently
to my site...
Sales...visits...all of that is down by more than half.
Then..they 'mysteriously' closed my shop for
several days...and NEVER did give me an answer as to why...
so I am never sure from one day to the next
if my shop will be active there or not.

So...I went to Zibbet...LOVE the site...but
they don't get the traffic that Etsy does
(I'm assuming folks are still visiting Etsy anyway).
I can't tell where the Zibbet shop views are coming from
and I don't have the data I need to make
'informed' decisions...
as they don't offer google analytics.

I am going to try one or two more things...
as bills are piling up and I don't have
much time to play with here...
and if they don't work...
I guess it's 'hello' Work place...
Studio space!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Rustic Goth Shops

I am gradually getting everything moved from my Etsy Shop
to my Zibbet Shop.

While my shop is still up on Etsy...for the moment...
I don't know for how much longer.

It saddens me that Etsy has made all the sweeping changes
that have certainly has affected so many
sellers whose shops have become harder and harder to find.

I think the saddest thing is...that the 'powers that be' there
didn't give anyone a definite 'heads up'
to the changes...
they always just said it was being
'Beta Tested'.
Then was no longer a test.

If they had given folks some notification of what they would
need to do to retain their visibility...that seems to me
to have been the fairest thing for all.

While I do understand Etsy can do whatever they want...
without giving two s***s about their sellers...
and that's okay...
it's all made me a bit nervous.

After my site going down for four days..
and NEVER Ever have I heard a word in response to my
dozens of emails...
I find myself wondering...from one day to the next...
heck, sometimes from one hour to the next...
if my Etsy Shop is still 'up and operational'. for Etsy...right now I'm up...and still listing...
but who knows for how long???

Friday, October 5, 2012

This Week-End

This week-end I will be adding some new 
Steampunk Art and Goth Art prints to my
Etsy Shop.

Any items remaining in my Clearance Sale section
on Monday will be retired.

And...I'm having a SALE on Everything in my
including my new Steampunk Art pendants

Sale prices range from 10% to 50% Off
and prices have already been adjusted.

Have a great week-end!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Genesis of A Single Creation

A couple of years ago
my daughters and I decided to do
the arts and crafts show at
the State Fair.

10 days...from 9 am until 9 pm...except on the last day...
we closed at 6 pm...

we decided to bring..
small items
Art Dolls.

We wanted something that 'fit' into the crafts portion
of the 'Arts and Crafts' show...
I decided to do some 'goth' dolls and some fairytale dolls.

Needless to say..the fairytale dolls were most popular at a State Fair...
when the show ended and I went to do something with the photos I'd taken...
I liked the doll faces enough
they inspired me to create some original digital art creations
based on JUST the faces from my dolls.

The above photo is a good example of the
'Genesis' of a Single Creation...
my 'Alice in Wonderland' doll
became the girl in my
'All in the Moment' print
the girl from that print became...
'Steampunk Alchemy'.

You'll note that I use only a handful of the same girls over
and over...I like to be consistent I guess...
but then, we all wear 'different hats' from time to time...
don't we?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Made to Order

Only three days left for my Steampunk Art Project on Kickstarter
and I'm only just over the halfway mark.
I'm staying 'positive' that I will reach my goal...
but I decided to make a 
'judgement call'
 "just in case I don't".

If I don't....the Postcards and Greeting Cards
will not be available in my Etsy Shop
until sometime next year.

If I don't...Steampunk Art Jewelry 
may not be available in my Etsy Shop
during the Holiday Season....

I will make 'made to order' Steampunk Art Pendants
available in my
Zibbet Shop.

The reason for Zibbet and not Etsy...?

I only accept PayPal on Zibbet
and I will need the time to create each pendant
as it is ordered.

On that I offer Direct is set up
that I need to ship my items within 3 days and
this is not always possible with made to order jewelry items.
I am currently asking for 10 days from order
to shipping..though it may not take this long..
it will depend on how many orders I have.

If you don't wish to sign up for a Zibbet account...
just message me on Facebook
or email me
and let me know which design you prefer
and I will send an invoice to your email address in PayPal
with the $55.00 price Plus shipping.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

About the Rewards for My Steampunk Art Kickstarter Project

I am more than 25% of the way to
my Goal of $1,000 
on  my 

And...I still have 10 days left to reach that goal!

I'm really excited that I decided to do this project.
Even though it 'seems' like I am asking for money...
I'm really not!

Well..I am...but I'm not.
with the 'rewards' backers will get 'something' for
their pledges...but only if the project is successfully funded.
For a $1.00 get a 'thank you' and Shout Out
on my Facebook page.

But...with all the other amounts...
my backers will actually get rewards worth More than the pledge amount...
and Free Shipping to US backers.

Here's the breakdown...

Pledge -
$1.00 = My thank you on my Rustic Goth Facebook page.

$5.00 = One Steampunk Bookmark..One Steampunk Postcard and 
a 'Thank You' on my Facebook page. = (Value = $5.50)

$10.00 = One Steampunk Bookmark...Three Steampunk Postcards and 
a 'Thank You' on my
Facebook page = (Value = $11.50)

$20.00 = One Steampunk Bookmark ...Six Steampunk Postcards or 
Four Steampunk Greeting Cards..
and a Thank You on my Facebook page. 
(Value = $20.50/Postcards or $22.50 for the Greeting Cards.)

$40.00 = One Steampunk Bookmark ...
Four Steampunk Greeting Cards...
Four Steampunk Greeting Cards and 
a Thank You on my Facebook page. (Value = $40.50.)

$50.00 = One piece of Steampunk Art Jewelry 
and a Thank you on my Facebook page.
(Value up to $75.00 ...Backer's Choice.)

$100.00 = Twelve Steampunk Art Postcards...
Ten Greeting Cards..
One Piece of Steampunk Jewelry...
One Bookmark 
and a Thank You on my Facebook page 
and on my Website.
(Value...From $113.50 to $163.50 ... Backer's Choice.)

$250.00 = Twelve Postcards...
Ten Greeting Cards..One Bookmark...
TWO pieces of Steampunk Art Jewelry...
YOU as my newest Steampunk Art Character + 8"x10" Signed Steampunk Art Print 
with You as the Character.
(Value = From $258.00 to $318.00)

The biggest reason I decided to go with Kickstarter was the Rewards.
So I look at this as more of a
"Pre-Order" project.
I really do believe my project will succeed and those orders will
start being fulfilled mid to late October...
there is a delay on receiving the money and I'll have to wait
until I get that to be able to start ordering everything I will need...
thus the reason I only ran this project for 14 days...add another
10 days or so before funding is distributed .

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My 'Steampunk' Project on Kickstarter

There was a reason I did a 'survey' on Steampunk Postcards, Greeting Cards and
I wanted to get some feedback before I decided whether or not to
launch my
'Steampunk Art Cards and Jewelry'

I decided to go ahead and 
'go for it'.

I need your help!

I currently make 'almost' enough to pay my bills
with my Etsy Shop so, there really isn't anything
left order to be able to add anything new for the upcoming
Holiday Season.

I frequently get questions concerning postcards, greeting cards and Steampunk jewelry
but the bottom line is...
these things all take enough of an initial investment
that I can't really afford to pay for printing and get all of the
materials and supplies needed to offer enough of a
variety to give my customers and collectors 
something to 'choose' from.

So...anything from $1.00 and up would be greatly appreciated and
a 'plus' for you is...
if the project is not funded...
you won't be charged a penny.

I'm not one to 'ask for help'....I'm really not...
I do believe in this project
the rewards offered for the pledges
are actually a pretty good deal for those who are interested.

And...if you're not interested...
that really is okay too!
But...maybe you could help me out by
recommending the project to someone you think would
be interested in what I am offering.

Thank you so much for considering this project
and for any help
you might be able to offer:)

This is just a sample of what types of Steampunk pendants I would like to
in my Etsy Shop this fall.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Steampunk Postcards and Greeting Cards

I am considering adding 
Steampunk Art
Greeting Cards..
to my Etsy Shop.

The cards would be offered both as..
singles and packs.

The Steampunk Art Jewelry
would feature a small oval or round print
of one of my Steampunk girls
in an ornate setting with an assortment of
steampunk charms, works...etc.

I need your help...
would you purchase
Steampunk Art
greeting cards...
if they were offered?

Please weigh in on this for me...
as I am trying to decide whether or not to
fund these projects.

I'm not looking for a 'commitment to purchase'
but rather...
just an answer to my question.

If you would be SO KIND as to help me out
by answering a couple of questions for me
I promise it will take less than a minute:)


Oh yeah...I'll have a little 'gift' for everyone
who completes the survey for me
and sends me an email address to
Rustic Goth.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Zazzle v Etsy

I love creating art, whether it be a painting with acrylics
on stretched canvas,
or working layer upon layer in Photoshop...
I just LOVE creating art.

Over the past few months, I have posted
a LOT of new items in my

I think it is just too cool to see my art on such
a variety of merchandise.

Even though I don't make much money...
10% tops..
I think it is important to provide
the folks that like my art
with as many options as possible.

So..over the coming weeks...
especially as Etsy seems to be 'transforming'
into something quite 'unrecognizable'
I will be posting
more and more merchandise
in my Zazzle Shop.

I will also be 'shopping around' for
new sites...just in case
Etsy "goes South"
with all the changes that are being made.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Recently I had some 'time to kill'...which doesn't
happen often...and decided to go and
read some of the blogs I've been following.

I was floored at just how many of them
haven't updated their blogs in a year or more.
Perhaps Facebook has become their 'go-to' source for
as it has for me.

I didn't want to just give up on my blog though...
I'll continue to post something...
at least once a month...
more if I can...

guess you can call me