6 Ways To Live A Creative Life Outside The Art Studio

By Nicole Tinkham


If your artwork is something you enjoy on the side of a completely different full time job or if you just have a lot of other things on your plate, it may be difficult to blend your creative side with everyday life. I know it’s difficult for me to think about my personal life while at the office and also the other way around (thinking about office work while at home). Sometimes this is a good thing! You certainly don’t want to bring the stresses of your full time work into the art studio. But what if you could bring your creative passion into what you do full time? Wouldn’t that make your day so much more enjoyable? Well I have good news because you CAN bring your creativity into every area of your life and I’ll show you how.

1.    Have a sketchbook with you at all times

You probably won’t realize this until you start really paying attention but you have so many windows of time scattered throughout the day that you most likely are wasting. It’s those 15 minute breaks at the office, the extra 5 minutes left over after you eat your lunch, the 2 minutes you arrive to work early, the 15 minutes while dinner is cooking, the 20 minute commute to and from work, and the extra 10 minutes of laying in bed in the morning that really add up. I’ve just rambled off over an hour of time throughout your day that could be spent on creative activities and I’m sure there’s even more you’ll discover.

Take these windows of time and either create art, think about art, or gain new creative inspiration. Take a walk on your 15 minute breaks and discover something inspiring. Jot down some creative ideas that you’ve been thinking of or practice quick sketches. You can even listen to art podcasts in the car for fresh new ideas.

You say you don’t have time for art but in reality, the time is there. We all have the same 24 hours a day, it just all depends on how you use it.

2.    Share your passions

Start talking about your passions to your co-workers and other people around you. You could end up being the go-to person for creative advice. Of course you don’t only want to talk about your artwork if it doesn’t seem like anyone is interested but give people helpful tips and tricks that they’ll really appreciate. You may make some new artsy friends along the way too. Never be ashamed of who you are and what you like to do. You have no idea who you could possibly help if you never open your mouth and share.

3.    Look for creative tasks

Whether it’s planning a theme for the office party or helping a friend decorate their home, you can bring your creative skills and talents into the mix. The trick is to just speak up! If you overhear someone mention needing help in an area you’re skilled in, jump on the opportunity. Even small things that you can give your opinion on will go a long way and help you enjoy the not so artsy tasks that come up.

4.    Keep learning

So maybe you can’t bust out the art tutorial YouTube videos you’ve been dying to watch in the middle of your day job. But you can strive to learn new things that do relate to your job. Any type of learning can trigger new creative ideas because your mind is working differently and taking new things in. This is where having your sketchbook on you becomes helpful. When a new idea strikes, write it down.

5.    Allow the not so fun tasks help you grow as an artist

If you don’t enjoy your day job, you could wind up feeling really down about the position you’re in and not fully enjoy what you do every day. But here’s a little secret: there are many things you can learn and apply from that full time job (or any other task you don’t like doing) to other areas of your life, like your art. For example, working with customers is a great way to learn how to deal with people in your own art business. Figure out ways you can apply your day to day work and tasks to the things you are passionate about.
Remember, you are where you’re at in life right now for a reason. There’s something to be learned in this season of your life so make the most of it and let that move you forward.

6.    Spend time with the right people

Once you start being open about your creative side, sharing what you’re doing and offering help to others you’ll probably start forming a tribe or a group of like-minded thinkers. Chat and get together with these artsy people often to get the creative ideas flowing. Be open to meeting new people and going to different art events. Spending time with others who just “get” you is so empowering.

Who says creativity has to stay in the art studio? Art is all around you in nature, buildings, packaging, clothing and more. Art makes people happy. I’ve seen it with my own eyes so I encourage you to spread the joy. Be yourself and always stay creative in every area of your life.

Tell us, how do you stay creative all day long?

18 Office Supplies Every Artist Needs

By Nicole Tinkham

Fun fact that you may not know about Keeton’s: We provide both office supplies and quality art supplies. Most people think we do one or the other but we’re actually very passionate about both areas. First of all, who says an office worker doesn’t have a creative side? And who says office supplies can’t be used by the artist?? To prove our point, we’ve created this list of 18 office supplies that every artist needs and how to use them in your next project.

1.    Tape

Masking tape works wonders for holding down your watercolor paper.

2.    Scissors

Every scrap booker knows that quality scissors are a must!

3.    Trimmers

These make life so much easier when working on paper art.

4.    Adhesives

Super glue, glue dots, glue sticks, rubber cement, spray adhesive, and hot glue can all be helpful in your art projects.

5.    Sharpies

With SO MANY colors, why are these even considered an office supply?? In the art world, they are solely for the purpose of creating 🙂

6.    Cardstock

A heavier paper is ideal for handmade cards.

7.    Colorful paper

Brightly colored paper makes any stamper or paper crafter happy.

8.    Pencils (& sharpeners and erasers)

You may not have as many options (HB is the standard) in office pencils but erasers and sharpeners are also a must!

9.    Bulletin board

Instead of office memos, use a bulletin board to post all of your creative ideas.

10.    Rolling storage crate

Business professionals use these to lug around catalogs and samples. You can use them to easily transport your supplies to workshops and art shows.

11.    Planner

Some artists love using a planner and others don’t. We think it’s a great way for anyone to keep track of their daily tasks and be more productive.

12.    Thumb drives

Whether you’re a computer artist or hands on, you’ll need at least one thumb drive. Use it to store creative inspiration and photos of your artwork.

13.    X-ACTO knife (& cutting mat)

If you’re cutting any type of heavier paper, an X-ACTO knife is essential.

14.    Notebook

Notebook, sketchbook, or journal.. No matter what it is you use, it’s important to get your ideas on paper.

15.    Packing supplies (boxes, tape and bubble wrap)

You may not think of these supplies but what happens when you sell a piece and have to ship it?? It never hurts to have packing supplies on hand.

16.    Sticky notes

We cannot stress how important it is for EVERYONE to use Post-it Notes! As ideas pop in your head, write down little reminders. Get assorted colors to make it fun.

17.    Photo paper

You can get quality prints with your home printer and quality photo paper makes all the difference.

18.    Ruler

A basic ruler is a must for every artist whether it’s used for measuring or for creating straight lines.

Here’s a little tip for you. Sometimes you’re better off getting certain supplies through an office supply store (like us) rather than a specialty art store. You’ll get a much better deal on masking tape through office supplies than if you were to get art specific tape that does the same thing. This is why we love having the best of both worlds. Are there any non traditional “art supplies” you use in your work? Let us know in the comments!

8 Simple Ways To Get An Energy Boost In The Afternoon

By Nicole Tinkham

If you tend to feel groggy in the afternoon hours shortly after lunch, you are not alone. We’re sure you’ve heard the “get more sleep” speech before but maybe that’s not the issue. Even those who get plenty of sleep still get the afternoon yawns. Of course everyone’s different so your tired times may vary but the point is, at some time during the day you may feel yourself nodding off and we can help you get that little extra boost of energy that you need.

1.    Take a walk

Moving around and getting the blood flowing will definitely help keep you from falling asleep at your desk or whatever it is that you’re working on. Step away from your project, walk around, and stretch it out.

2.    Do something easy

Finding it hard to focus on your big tasks at this time? Instead do something that takes little thinking like sending an email, organizing your space, or calling a friend. I guess we’re saying to be productively lazy. Work but not too hard.

3.    Fuel your body with healthy food

Nutrition plays a huge part in how you feel throughout the day. Eat a healthy breakfast, keep it light for lunch, and munch on a small snack in the afternoon (almonds are a great choice). Too many carbs is said to really put you to sleep in the afternoon so try to limit them at lunch.

4.    Plan your day around your sleepy hours

We mentioned that everyone’s different and could have different times throughout the day that they feel tired. If you’re able, plan your day around your sleepy times. Aim to get important work done before and after that time so you can take a break when you need it most.

5.    Power nap

A short 20 to 60 minute nap can go a long way. If you are able, get a little shut eye but not much more than an hour or you may feel even groggier than before. Set an alarm and you’ll be surprised how refreshed you’ll feel after a good nap.

6.    Use peppermint oil

Just a drop of peppermint oil rubbed into your hands and a little on your face (not near the eyes) is sure to wake you up when you start dozing off.

7.    Eat dark chocolate

This is our favorite one on the list!! Be careful though, milk chocolate is not the same and the sugar in that could make you even sleepier after your sugar rush. But just a little dark chocolate makes you feel good and the little bit of caffeine will help wake you up.

8.    Do what you love

You will be more energetic and excited about working on a project you love than something that puts you to sleep even more. Get the not so fun tasks done first so you have something to look forward to in the afternoons.

When you just can’t seem to stay awake, you get absolutely nothing done. Then since you didn’t get anything done in the afternoon, you may have to stay later at work or stay up all night completing your project. The cycle starts again when you don’t get enough sleep and find yourself even more tired the next day. First thing’s first, get done what you can in the morning while you have the energy. Focus on the important things and get them done so you don’t push them aside later. Then play around with some of the ideas on this list and see which one works best for you.

Tell us, how do you boost your energy in the afternoon? Leave you tips in the comments below!

Design a Custom Office Chair in 10 Minutes or Less!

By Nicole Tinkham

True or False: There is nothing in the world that is better than a great office chair. If you share in our enthusiasm for beautiful office chairs, you would probably agree with us when we say that statement is TRUE :). Many of your favorite office supplies reflect your personality (colorful Post-it Notes, a unique tape dispenser, a fun calendar, etc.), so we think it only makes sense that you would have a chair to do the same. The ChairBuilder program from Sit On It allows you to do just that with numerous options including color, seat adjustments, arms, base, and more. The whole process is fun and easy (trust us, we’ve tried it!) so read on to see how you can start creating your dream chair.

1. Go to sitonit.net.


Once you’re on the website, there will be a scrolling banner. Click on the slide featuring the ChairBuilder.
2. Choose the category, or type of chair.


You’ll have three options here: Task Chair (your ordinary office chair), Stool (for higher counters/desks), and Multipurpose Chairs.
3. Select a style.


Upon selecting the category, you’ll also have to choose the style of the chair. We like the fact that you aren’t redirected to a new page here, making easy to go back and change your mind.
4. Select a specific chair.


You now have a few more options within the style chosen. As you can see, these options refer to the back of the chair. If you’d like to change the style at this point, you can click the “Back to Category” button in the upper right.
5. Choose your chair.


From here, you can select a chair that suites your needs or you can select “Design Your Own” for further customization. We’re going to take it a step further and design our own.
6. Choose your specs.




If you choose to design your own chair, you’ll be given several different options. Don’t feel overwhelmed though as all options are categorized (back, mechanism, arms, base, material, and even packaging) making it easy to scroll though and make your selections. The image of your custom chair (above) updates with every change you make. You can zoom in, view different angles, and either email or save the image. When you’re in love with your custom chair, click the “Finalize Spec” button under the chair preview.
7. Finalize.


Here’s where you can review your chair creation. If you need to change anything, click the “Edit Spec” or “Start Over” button in the top right of the page. If you’re happy with your chair, you can download a PDF of the product sheet. And that’s it! Your custom design is done and you’re ready to place the order. From here, you can email our furniture specialist Carole (carolel@keetonsonline.com) and she’ll make your beautiful creation become a reality!

Remember, a great office chair is the key to a happy and healthy work environment! So have fun, get crazy with your design, and spice your workspace up with a beautiful chair! If you explore the site and decide to create your own chair (even if it’s just for fun), we’d love to see it. Head on over to our Facebook page and post a picture of your design!

How to show love and get along with others

By Nicole Tinkham


The holiday of love is right around the corner and there’s no better time to start building relationships with those around you, especially with those whom you don’t particularly get along with. We know you’ve heard it all before but life’s too short to hold grudges. It’s true! We must learn how to get along and be around each other peacefully. Sure, we may have our differences but we’re all in this together. We all have our happy moments and we all go through our own struggles. It’s time to treat each other with respect. Let’s start showing more love and start getting along with others. Here’s how!

Don’t talk badly about another person, no matter if they’re in the room or not.

Negativity spreads like wildfire. Before you know it, the whole office is in a bad mood because you complained that someone made a mess of the microwave. Not only does this put the people around you in a bad mood but word can get out to that person you’re bad mouthing regardless if they’re in the room or not. People love to gossip. Good news is that positive words can go far too. Instead of pointing out the flaws in others, point out their strengths. Thank someone for helping you out. Pay a compliment. Or simply smile. Soon everyone around you will be much more cheerful too.

Avoid exaggerations like “never” and “always”.

Sometimes the words “never” and “always” can come off as negative. For example “you never do your job” or “you’re always distracted”. Be careful with these words. You don’t want to start any unnecessary drama. However, if you use them the right way, they’re positive and uplifting. For example, “You’re always doing an excellent job”. Just be careful with your wording and be sure to have a positive tone. Even if you don’t mean it to come out sounding a certain way, other people may hear it differently.

Talk about your feelings and clear the air.

If there’s tension between you and someone you work closely with, you may want to clear the air so you can move on. Share your feelings and discuss the issues the two of you have, being careful not to start an argument. Speak honestly and also listen to what the other person has to say. Do your best to solve any problems and remember that you don’t have to become best friends in the end. The goal is to just keep the peace.

Just be nice.

Sometimes it seems like there is always one person in your life that you just don’t get along with. There may not be a clear reason why but there’s tension between you. That’s ok! You don’t have to engage in long conversations or go out of your way to compliment them. But, remember what we said above, complimenting or encouraging them can go a long way in establishing a healthy relationship and break down any walls you may have. If you learn to see them for their value, you will notice a big difference in the way you treat them! It doesn’t take much to be nice!

Find inner peace.

Before you work on your relationships with others, it’s important to work on yourself. Do something you enjoy every single day. Spend time focusing on yourself. Clear your mind with some meditation or music that calms you. Read a good book or do some writing. Whatever it is, make sure you focus on growing as a person.

Don’t take things personally.

It’s easy to take things the wrong way especially at work. When someone else makes a suggestion, they aren’t trying to put you down although it can seem that way at times. Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t take things too personally.

Always look for positives in every situation.

Positive thoughts = a positive outcome. What you think about becomes your reality. If you have a more positive attitude, so will others around you. If you’re friendly and go into to office with a big smile on your face, your co-workers will start doing the same.

Know when to not say anything.

Sometimes things are better left unsaid even when you’re just trying to help. If you think it could be interpreted the wrong way or hurt feelings, it’s probably better to keep your mouth shut.

Figure out their communication style.

If you’re not meshing well with someone else, maybe it lies in your communication style. Remember, we are all very different people. Observe how others interact with that person and try to pinpoint where you’re going wrong. The goal of conversation is to understand others, not agree with them.

Take a whiff of lavender.

It’s said that the smell of lavender promotes a calmer state of mind. It enhances relaxation putting you and those around you in a better mood. Keeping your cool also helps you get along better with others.

You shouldn’t dread stepping foot in the office for fear of conflict and not getting along with co-workers. Most of the time, any drama that you’re experiencing is silly anyway. Two things you need to remember: Don’t take part in the gossip and don’t let the little things bother you. Instead, focus on spreading more LOVE! Tell us, how do you keep things cheery in the office? Comment your strategy below!

Stop wasting your time! More productive meetings start here

By Nicole Tinkham

Stop wasting your time!

Ever have a meeting drag on and on and nothing ever seems to get accomplished? If this sounds like a typical meeting at your office, you’re not alone. About 62 meetings are attended each month by the average employee. Half of those meetings are considered a waste of time. That’s 31 hours of wasted time each month! It seems silly to keep having these pointless meetings, right? It’s time to STOP wasting your time and start having more productive meetings. Here’s how.

Set an agenda
Too often do meetings get planned with only a general topic and a start time. Meetings should not be left open ended like that. Setting an agenda ahead of time will keep everyone focused and on task. Send the agenda out to everyone attending the meeting so they can come prepared.

Set a clear time to start
Never say a meeting starts at 9:30-ish or “in the afternoon”. Set a clear start to the meeting and actually begin on time. Don’t wait around for people to show up. One way to ensure that everyone’s on time is to set the meeting to start at an odd time, like 9:23 AM. Being specific will draw attention to the start time and help employees remember it.

Host standing meetings
If everyone’s nice and comfy sitting in chairs around a big conference table, it’s easy to lose track of time and go off topic. Standing meetings on the other hand run super quick. You tend to get right to the point, discuss everything planned, and end the meeting so everyone can get back to work at their desks. As long as there’s no paperwork involved, take standing meetings outside for some fresh air!

Keep them short and simple
Most meetings tend to default to an hour long or don’t have an ending time in place at all. This is a huge mistake as that extra time can easily be eaten up by topics not on the agenda. Look at the agenda and honestly consider how much time it will take to complete everything. Don’t leave any extra cushion room. If everyone knows there’s a time limit, things should be covered more quickly. We recommend 15 minute meetings. To ensure they don’t go past the allotted time, set a timer.

Consider who needs to be in the meeting
Sit down and think about who absolutely needs to be in each meeting. You may be tempted to invite just about everyone in case they can benefit from it. However, doing this only takes that person away from their daily job duties. Plus the more people there are, the more the conversation can get out of control. We recommend hosting small meetings with only 5 to 7 people.

No computers allowed
Have everyone go old school and jot down notes with a pen on paper. Remember those tools?? It’s proven that those who take written notes understand the concept more clearly than those who type notes on a computer. Why does this matter? If everyone clearly understands the topics discussed, there’s no need to go over it again and waste more time. Oh and leave cell phones behind too. They’re just another distraction.

End with action steps
It should be clear what each meeting attendee is responsible for moving forward. Wrap up each meeting with a to-do list so everyone is on the same page.

Make dreaded office meetings a thing of the past! It’s typically not the meeting itself that’s the problem rather the chunk of time it takes out of one’s day. The science behind a good meeting is simple. Keep it short and organized with a clear start and end time. Set an agenda and only invite those directly involved. Just doing these few things will save you and employees a ton of time and frustration.

Think you host excellent meetings? Tell us, what’s your secret?

How to get your office ready for the New Year

By Nicole Tinkham

How to get your office ready for the New Year

Besides the obvious new calendar for the year, there are a few other things you should do around the office to prepare for the year ahead. Organization is a huge one. You’ll want to get rid of any old files that you no longer need so they don’t clutter up your work area. You also want to have the supplies you need to work effectively. You may even want to rearrange your workspace so you can be more productive and get those New Year’s resolutions accomplished. It sounds like a lot of work but we’re here to walk you through the process. You know how they say “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content?” We believe this is true for the entire year. Get your office ready for the New Year with these 4 tips.

The first thing we recommend doing is going through your paperwork. Sift through your documents and ditch anything you no longer need. The second step in this process is sorting. We recommend creating 3 different piles:

•    Recycling
•    To be completed in the short term
•    To be completed in the long term

We find this system works well but feel free to categorize your piles differently depending on the types of documents you have. You should be doing this to your computer files as well!

File & Label
Once you have your piles sorted out, it’s time to file and label them. This is an important step! Everything should have a place and should be put back in that same place after use. Don’t be afraid to label like crazy, file folders, desk drawers, file trays and all. You can never be too organized. Color coding where you can is a great way to organize. Create your own system and whenever you see that particular color, you’ll know exactly what it is and where to find it.

Again, do the same thing with your computer files, even your emails! Our favorite trick for organizing your inbox is to create various folders within your email to sort unread messages. Having an “urgent” file may be a good idea. This will contain all of your most important tasks that need to be completed ASAP.

Work smarter, not harder in the New Year! That means it’s time to reassess your work area. Rule #1: Have all important supplies that you use DAILY within arm’s reach. Think Post-it Notes, pens, stapler, etc. Your desktop needs to be the least cluttered area of your space. This will hopefully keep you stress-free. Any supplies you don’t use often need to go in a drawer. But don’t just throw them in there. Remember, everything needs a place.

While we’re at it, let’s talk about desk ergonomics. Here are just some adjustments you can make for a more comfortable work environment: Are you using your wrist rest wrong?

You’ve taken a look at what you currently have at your desk and we bet you’re missing some essentials that can help keep you organized throughout the year. Take a look at the list below to see what you may need.

•    Calendar/Planner
•   Post-it Notes
•    Legal pads
•    Pens
•    Highlighters
•   Stapler
•    File folders
•   Labels
•    Desk sorters
•   Page flags
•   Binders
•    Index dividers
•    Correction tape
•    Binder clips
•    Paper clips
•    Rubber bands

Having the right tools will help you get more done. Check your supplies often to make sure you have everything you need to get the job done.

We spend time getting our personal lives organized for the New Year (click here for tips on writing your New Year’s resolutions) but we often neglect our work life. Spending a few hours organizing doesn’t sound very exciting but you’ll feel so good coming in every morning to a nice clean desk. You’ll be able to get much more done and reduce your stress. We bet it’ll even put you in a better mood. Start the New Year off right by getting your desk in order! Let us know how you’re organizing by leaving a comment below or over on our Facebook page.