My Open Sketchbook: Origins

This is a post I’ve had on my list for ages, and figured today is a good a day as any to chat about it. I love learning the meaning behind peoples blogs, so here’s my story!

The idea of starting a blog terrified me. I tend to keep myself in a pretty tight shell. I’m quite shy, and I’ll pretty much avoid starting a conversation with someone at all costs. When I realized that I definitely wanted to start my own blog, I knew that I wanted it to be a place where I can be open and transparent about myself, and both the good and bad parts of my life. Basically I wanted it to be like reading an open book about me.

The phrase ‘an open book’ stuck in my head, and I decided to give it a little artsy twist, being that I’m an artist, and chose ‘An Open Sketchbook’ which was the original title of my blog. Fitting, as I do share my are here, but just a little wordplay too, and that always makes me smile. Earlier this year, I realized that I wanted it to be just a bit more personal, and changed it to ‘My Open Sketchbook’. I’m so glad I did – now it seems to fit just right.

I still love the title of my blog. It encompasses all that I want my blog to be. A place to share my life. Which is scary, but also completely therapeutic. There are still things I am not 100% comfortable with sharing, but that’s okay. My blog will be here when I’m ready.

What’s the story behind your blog name?

October Goals: Life & Blog

I really, really loved making a goals post last month. It helped keep me organized, was a great motivator, and in general made me feel more productive. I’m certainly continuing the trend for October!

october goals

Life Goals:

  • Paint pumpkins for Halloween. I never really decorate too much for holidays, with the exception of Christmas. But Halloween is so much fun, and my little loved painting pumpkins last year so I definitely want to do it again!
  • Go to a fair. This is kind of a two-part goal, part one being ‘save the money to go to a fair’. But I must do at least ONE fair before the season ends!
  • Clean off our sun porch. We have a small sunporch with glass windows. It has the problem of being a greenhouse in the summer (completely suffocating heat) and frigid in the winter since it has no heat going out to it. This makes it hard to use as a ‘room’ so it has become a storage area. A completely messy, unorganized storage area. I really want to fix that before the cold sets in.
  • Complete a sketch-a-day challenge. I think this is going to be my hardest goal to complete. I have a hard enough time staying on track with a photo-a-day challenge, let alone one where I have to sit down and draw something! But, I’ve always wanted to do one, so this is the month I give it my first try!
  • Make 3 more Christmas presents. My list of presents to make is still pretty big, so I need to keep whittling away at it!

Blog Goals:

  • Purchase ad space on other blogs (for November). This goes with last months goal of finding blog I want to advertise on. I didn’t do that, so now I need to do both and be ready to go for November.
  • Continue my 3 ongoing series. I really like only have three regular series – WIP Wednesdays (on Wednesday, duh), Links to the Past (Fridays), and Life In Photos (Sundays). It leaves me plenty of free post days, but also gives me a fallback if for some reason I have nothing else for the week.
  • Look into/install Disqus. The reason for this is only because I have no idea if other people ever see the responses I write to their comments. I know that on blogs without Disqus, I generally never see the follow up from the blogger. I opt not to check the ’email me notices about follow-up comments’ button because I don’t like receiving an email about every other person who comments – I just want to see replies to my comments and that’s it! I’d love some reader feedback – do those of you not using WordPress see my responses? Do you prefer Disqus? Thanks in advance for any input!
  • Contact people about artist features. Sigh. I really have to do it. Send people emails! I don’t know why this makes me so nervous. Even if people say no it changes absolutely nothing in my life, but for some reason I can’t bring myself to hit send. I must overcome!
  • Promote my posts on Instagram. After over a year, I finally feel comfortable blogging. I’ve met some great people online, and finally feel like me when I write here. Therefore, I’d like to take little steps to promote my blog some! I love Instagram as a social media platform (what can I say, I love pictures!), so I’d like to start promoting my posts there and see if it brings in any new readers.

There you have it! I’ll check in at the end of the month and see how it all turns out.

Blogger Portrait #8: Meet Sonya!

This week, I’d like you to meet Sonya Cheney! Her blog is self titled, so just click the link to visit!


I really love this portrait. I love the serious expression, and those pink headphones of course! Originally I had planned on adding color to the headband as well, but the black and pink contrast was so great that I just left it as is.

Onto her blog! I love Sonya’s blog for the personal nature. I know I say that a lot, but that’s because it’s so true! Feeling like there is an actual person behind a blog is so important to me. Sonya blogs about her life, her writing, books, and other fabulous nerdy things I enjoy. From reading her blog, it seems like we’d get along really well in ‘real life’ and that connection is always something I find really special in a blog.

I also love Sonya’s honesty within her posts. She isn’t afraid to talk about times when she’s down, or just not happy about something. I find it inspiring, especially as I’m still too shy to talk about my own issues to an extent on my blog!

Almost every Friday she does a gratitude post called It’s Friday; I’m In Love summing up the little things she’s loved about the week. I think that is so great – to take the time to notice the good things, no matter how small, no matter how crappy the rest of the week has been is wonderful, and I think it’s something more people should do!

I think it’s so rad that Sonya writes a zine! Her blog is actually the first place I ever encountered the word zine, which of course led to the question What is a zine? They are actually pretty sweet – one of my goals this year is to purchase some and start a collection! She sells her in her shop – check it out for yourself, and pick up a copy!

Make sure you stop by Sonya’s blog and shop, say hi, and leave some love! See you next Monday with another portrait!

– Kayly

Playing Catch-Up

It’s Monday. Which I know is supposed to be Blogger Portrait day. But I am so behind! This past weekend was so crazy busy, and it was so full of joy, spectacular times, amazing things and more that I wouldn’t change it for the world. But unfortunately, it did put a damper on being caught up with blog posts. Normally I’ll spend time on Sunday writing up posts for the week, but by the time our daughter went to bed last night, I was ready to crash with her. My body is certainly suffering the fun weekend after effects – woke up with a headcold this morning!

What was so great about this weekend? Don’t you worry, I’ll have a post on it – I’m just waiting for some photos to be available online and then I can get on writing it up.

So today, I just wanted to pop in to say stay tuned next Monday for Blogger Portraits to resume, and that this week’s posts may be a little sporadic!

Until next time,



Blogger Portrait #1: Meet Alycia of Habitual Homebody

It’s launch day for a new series! This is most definitely my favorite series I’m starting on My Open Sketchbook. I wanted a way to feature other blogs I love that wasn’t just a post with a link to another blog on it. I wanted to feel more involved, and to incorporate my interests with the post. It’s no secret that I love drawing portraits. So I came up with The Blogger Portrait series. I emailed some of my favorite bloggers and asked if I could draw a portrait of them to go along with a feature of their blog. And thankfully, no one thought I was a weird stalker person for asking to use personal photos and then draw them – bonus! So without further ado, my first Blogger Portrait.

Meet Alycia, of Habitual Homebody.


I began following Habitual Homebody in the early months of 2013, back before I’d ever even made a WordPress account. Blogging was still just a terrifying endeavor in the back of my mind. Her blog covers a range of topics from daily life, to crochet projects, to funny things on the internet.

What do I like about her blog? This may sound cheesy, but my favorite part about Habitual Homebody is that Alycia is very real and honest. Her posts aren’t bullshit. There are blogs out there that you read, and you know they only cover the happy dapper things about the persons life, or they just don’t have much personality, and Habitual Homebody is the opposite of that. When things suck, she’ll say so. When things are awesome, she’ll say that too. I found (and still find) that not only refreshing, but inspiring as someone who was terrified to write a word on such a public forum! Hers was the first blog I ever found where I felt a real person was behind it, not some idealistic representation of life.

My favorite series she has is her Bookmark Dumps. Completely random things she finds online to share – I love that! Whether it’s quirky products, DIY, or funny videos there is always something I enjoy. I also love seeing her crochet projects. I don’t crochet myself, but I’m a lover of handmade and crafts, and I take joy in seeing what other people make!

A few posts I’ve thoroughly enjoyed:

This Bookmark Dump
Taking Stock
10 Things I Learned in 2013
Giant Subscription Box List

So pop by, leave some love, and hopefully start following along with Habitual Homebody!
Tune in next Monday for another blogger portrait!

New and Shiny!

Well, virtually shiny. My new format is here at last! I’m pretty excited about it. New header, new sidebars (go explore some awesome blogs off to your right there!), new pages (featuring info about portrait commissions *cough cough shameless plug*) and some other general page updates are the new big exciting things. An easy clean design, but now it incorporates everything I want.

Along with the new look, I’ll be starting a few new series here on My Open Sketchbook. Stay tuned for their debut posts!

For now, I am still working out a few kinks, updating some pages, adding and editing widgets, and generally badgering my hired coder with questions, but here it is! My Open Sketchbook 2.0. I’d love to hear what you think! Don’t be shy – constructive criticism is appreciated. 🙂


One Week In

Well, it’s almost a week into the new year and for once I don’t feel like time is getting away from me and I’m getting nothing accomplished. Just the opposite! I’ve been steadily working away on my first goal of 2014 – getting this blog revamped. I’ve hired a coder after making the decision to go big or go home with this. I’m at the point where if I’m going to put in the time and effort to make my blog feel more like me, I should put in the extra mile and make it EXACTLY what I want. Which needs a custom layout. Which I can’t do. Hence some hired help! So now I’m hard at work planning it all out, doing sketches galore, drawing up some illustrations I want incorporated (see above for planning/sketching/drawing shenanigans), and making mock-up page layouts in Photoshop.

Other than blog work, I have a new piece of artwork finished (but not photographed yet), and am re-opening commissioned portraits for 2014! My little miss had a sleepover at Mimi’s last night, so I have the whole day all by myself! You know you’re a mom when grocery shopping by yourself feels like a vacation. . .but it has been great to spend most of an entire day dedicated to my personal projects. I can get so much done!

I’ll still be posting while working on the blog revamp, but I’m really excited to start some new series once the new layout is launched. Hope your week treats you well!

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30 Days of Lists

Posting on a Saturday?! Rare for me, but I’ve got a lot of things to post about in December, so I think a Saturday post will become pretty regular for awhile. This one especially I wanted to get out before tomorrow.

I’m venturing a little further into the blogging world starting December 1st – I’ve registered to take part in 30 Days of Lists! What is that you ask? Well, to sum up, I’ll get list prompts in my email for every day in December, then I make a list from the prompt, then blog about it! I’m still learning about it, but honestly, I was hooked at LISTS. I live my life by lists. To-do lists. Grocery lists. Lists for each project I’m working on. At this time of year, gift lists. I would say on any given day, I have at least eight to ten lists going. Some are long term, some are just for the day. Needless to say, a blogging party involving lists is pretty much blog heaven for me.

Want to learn more about it? The 30 Days of Lists site can help you there.

I can’t wait to start listing!

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Launch Day!

I’ve finally made my first foray into the blogging world! And I’m pretty darn excited about it. Seeing’s how this is my first post on my brand spankin’ new blog I figured I’d give you a little taste of things to come. To get to know me personally a bit better, feel free to venture to the About Me section and take a look around!

I love art. Expect to see lots of artwork posted. Some will be my own – currently I’ve been hard at work on some commissioned pencil portraits. But in my free time I also enjoy oil painting. I love to browse other artist’s work too – I’m constantly printing out little images to tack onto the wall above my art desk. That’s why I’ve made my Pure Inspiration page. It’s nothing but art that I find inspiring in some way. Take a look, and get inspired!

sarah&braylon      Drogo

Two of my drawings. One of my friend and her son, and Drogo from Game of Thrones. Both graphite pencil.

Definitely don’t miss the Shop ‘Til You Drop page. It’s filled with amazing indie shops. One of my personal goals this year is to buy as many gifts (including gifts for myself!) as I can from indie vendors. There are SO many things to choose from, and who doesn’t love a unique, often customizable gift? As someone who is just venturing into an indie business I can really appreciate the importance of helping out other small businesses.

As for my post content, that’s going to cover a lot. Stories from my life, crafts I make, projects with my little miss, art I make, products I’ve bought and love. . .the list goes on! After I get the wheels greased and things are running smoothly for me, I will eventually be including a Monthly Feature page. This could be an artist, a shop, a blog, a product and have a page up and promoting it for a month. A great way to get the word out about things I find spectacular. Oh, and get used to this little face.


You’ll be seeing lots of her around here. I tend to be a photoholic when it comes to my daughter. What can I say, she just inspires me!

So thanks for stopping by my blog – stay tuned for some features of things that I love, some serious art inspiration, and I may just need to start up a Fun Fact Friday. Because who doesn’t love useless trivia? I’d be happy to hear any feedback on my blog, or any advice – I’m still learning about the blogging world! Thanks for reading!


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