Rss

Archives for : Risky Business

{Risky Business} June and July Accounting

I’m a slacker!

Things have been a little/lot not great for me on a personal level. Depression is a hell of a thing and there’s not much I can do about it since I’m always going to have it thanks to my TBI. Just have to work through it by taking time to do things that get my mind off of the stuff that’s been triggering the depression (still being unemployed, being denied financial help with my disabilities, not having the type of support system I need, still trying to come to grips with how I am now and not dwelling on how I used to be, etc). I’ve been doing the art for the Patreon supporters and working with the birds, lots of walks with Sy, Fin, and Mim or Arya and Toki, and working on a possible new element to add to my portfolio/shop.

I have been keeping track of the accounting, as I was an accounting technician for 5 years, I just haven’t had the mental energy to post it here in a timely manner. So! Here is the last two months so you know what money is coming into the “business” and where it is being used:

This was all the income from the A Flock Between Pastures business/Patreon for June and July. There were no purchases in any of the shops.

JUNE EXPENSES

  • Bird Expenses (where the funds from Patreon and Redbubble sales go to):
    Agfinity
    -Gamebird Starter (for the peachicks): $16.00
    -Medicated Chick Starter (for the Wild Bunch, the peackchicks): $17.00
  • Broomfield Veterinary Hospital (Mim’s emergency)
    -Avian Physical Exam: $63.00
    -Tylan Powder: $17.00
    -Prescription Compound: $18.00
  • Business Expenses (straight up out-of-pocket since the business isn’t making any money):
    Michaels
    -Scissors: $9.99
    -Drawing Pads: $17.98
  • Apple Online Store
    -iMac (my 10y/o iMac finally died on me): $1882.04

JULY EXPENSES

  • Bird Expenses (where the funds from Patreon and Redbubble sales go to):
    Harbor Freight Tools
    -8in Black Ties, 6 packs of 100 (for the aviary): $11.94
  • Tractor Supply Company
    -Flockraiser Crumbles (for mixed flocks of males and females): $17.99
    -Layer Pellets (for egg production in females): $13.99
    -Dried Mealworms (basically speed meth for poultry): $22.99
    -Garden Delight, 2 mixes (a snack mix of different seeds and dried veggies and fruits): $17.98
    -Scratch (snack mix of sunflower seeds and cracked corn): $12.59
    -Feeder (multiple feeder are needed for bigger flocks so the birds don’t fight each other to eat): $15.30
    -2 Drinkers (same thing as the feeders): $10.78
    -Wood Chip Flakes, 2 packages (this is bedding material for the coops and brooders): $10.42

Business Expenses (straight up out-of-pocket since the business isn’t making any money):
None

{Risky Business} May Accounting

{16MAY2017}

{16MAY2017}

This was all the income from the A Flock Between Pastures business/Patreon.

These are the expenses for A Flock Between Pastures. A total of $53.45 (not including the amount that was used for the larger Brinsea incubator for the peafowl eggs) was spent on the birds for the month of May.

Unfortunately, my art on Redbubble and Society6 hasn’t done much of anything. While I did make a few sales of Redbubble, I didn’t actually get much from those sales. I’m debating increasing the prices even though I’m not getting much traffic to either.

Hopefully, I’ll find somewhere that will hire me at least part-time soon so I’m not worried about how I’m going to cover the animals needs and my bills next month.

Despite this worry, I am incredibly grateful and thankful for the Patreon supports and the sales I did make on Redbubble.

{Risky Business} Patreon Account

Okay, things are going south in a hurry with the Day Job. HR decided not to go with my hostile environment grievance. They want me to start going out of my way to be eager to get these people who have harassed and discriminated me for almost a year now, while they themselves don’t have to make any changes. I am not okay with this. I filed a harassment/discrimination for being disabled grievance with the director of HR yesterday. I do not have any hope that they will do anything about this (so, thank goodness I have the lawyers), but after all of this I will not continue to work for and with bigots and I will not go out without a fight.

So. That means I will most likely be without a job very soon, and while I have been researching unemployment, SSI, and applying to every job I even half qualify for I am worried about making sure the animals of A Flock Between Pastures. Any situation, right now, that involves my not being able to work for the state government anymore is not a good situation for me to be in even if I find another day job (I’m referring to the salary I currently make and the health coverage I currently have). I can figure something out to take care of myself, but I am most concerned with taking care of the animals. To help make sure I’ve got them covered, I’ve set up a Patreon account.

I’ve set the Patreon to take care of the animals first, myself second, and all the rewards are things I can manage even with my disabilities. The support amounts range from $1 to $100 – there are only 2 spots each for the $50 and $100 levels of support due to the type of rewards they offer. I’m hoping to get videos and “podcasts” up as rewards, along with the other rewards of sneak peeks at work that will be available for purchase, access to monthly discounts for merchandise, and possibly even eggs in the future for a select support amount. I’m starting small right now since I still have a few weeks left in this semester at school and the cognitive fatigue and depression dealing with everything at the day job.

If you would like to do a one-time purchase to help, you can always check out the stores I’ve got merchandise and original artwork in:

Storenvy
RedBubble
Society6

If you are so inclined to help, spreading the story and link around will help just as much as signing up to support. Odysseus, Damien, and the rest of the animals (and I) thank you for your continued support.

{Risky Business} Preparing For The Future

When I started this post last month, I didn’t think I was going to be out of a job later this month. Or maybe next week. It’s going to happen soon, unfortunately. I have been applying for jobs for about 4-5 months, but the job market around here isn’t the best and having disabilities adds an extra hurdle to that search. I started this post thinking that I would be able to use my small art business (SIDE NOTE: I did register the name A Flock Between Pastures as a business, currently working on the tax license, still thinking about being an official rescue/sanctuary) to help pay for my animals and the house my mom wants me to build on my parents’ property, along with my steady monthly paycheck.

Most of the time, things end up not going the way I plan them to.

So, I started up a Redbubble store to put the animals on stuff! Honestly, I really just wanted to buy a bunch of throw pillows with chibi versions of all the animals on them because I think it’s adorable, but it turned out that Redbubble had other products that I thought the animals looked pretty good on.

For reals, I want to make a cephalopod design for a duvet even though I try not to have a duvet on my bed because of Toki and Arya. I just really like the idea of being able to design what I want instead of trying to find someone else selling something similar but not exactly to it. I wanted to stick to just the animals of A Flock Between Pastures and other flora/fauna that can be found in Colorado (surprisingly, cephalopods are not found naturally here in CO), but I kinda want to expand beyond that now that I will definitely not be continuing to work for the state government. It has be difficult finding time to get all the designs I’ve suddenly been hit with, thanks to my speech pathologist giving me exercises in visualizing again, but between the massive cognitive fatigue and concussion migraines from working in a hostile environment, school work, and my right hand and forearm going painfully numb if I hold a pencil or my Wacom pen for more than 5 minutes, it’s been slow goings.

Right now, Ronan, Sparta, Mercury, and Memnoch have been made into chibis and are in the Redbubble store:

Originally, the chibis were going to be sent to Zap! Creatives to be made into charms and lapel pins after being put on throw pillows, but sending my designs there and getting products back is going to cost me some money. I had planned on making a whole line of charms with “generic” chickens of different breeds for a Build A Flock line, also.

When/if I get those made, I’ll have them up on Gnossiene with my original drawings and giclĂ©e prints.

For now, all the earnings from the Redbubble store will go to paying for the monthly expenses of the animals and any vet visits that may come up for whatever reason. I’ll keep a monthly running account on the blog of what was bought, how much each cost, what the store pulled in, and how much of those earnings are left to rollover.

Who knows. Maybe finally getting tired of being treated like dirt will be the best thing that could have happened this year.

{Risky Business} The DIY Chicken AC

I saw this idea on a BYC thread last month. It was simple & cheap & I thought I had enough DIY skills to pull it off.

image

image

image

It was actually really easy to build. I bought a styrofoam cool from 7-11, a fan & AC curved ducts from Home Depot & froze a couple of 2-litre soda bottles of water. I took a pocket knife & cut the holes for the fan & the AC ducts. Once the ducts were fitted into place, I put the frozen bottles in, place the unit on the outside of the pen, put the fan in place on the lid & turned it on.

And it was less than brilliant in action. I figured it was because there was too much open space in the pen for it to do much good, so the next day I tried it in the Big House.

image

Again, it did very little to cool the area it was in. And I was extremely discouraged.

Right now, I’m just using the fan by itself in the Big House because we’re on day 2 of 90+ & little to no air movement & the flock is miserable. I actually had to being in Sparta because she looked like she was playing a losing game of chess with Death (this was the first time I was glad I had a debilitating migraine & had stayed home from work – I don’t want to think what would have happened if she had stayed out there all day).

When not attached to the cooler, the fan does a decent job of circulating air. Attached to the cooler, I don’t think the fan is powerful enough to push enough air out through the 2 ducts to do anything helpful. I also don’t think the ducts curved enough to direct the airflow where I wanted it to go.

The originator of the idea used it on the outside of their chicken pen so the chickens wouldn’t eat the styrofoam (which they will totally do once they get used to the sound of the fan). So, it should have worked where I initially put it. However, the ducts didn’t do a 90deg angle & pointed just enough out away from the cooler (instead of straight in front of the cooler) that the little bit of airflow that was being directed out was sort of going into the pen & sort of going out into the wild.

This is why I tried putting it in the Big House yesterday morning. I even closed 1 window to try & keep the cool air mostly inside & down the breezeway. Didn’t matter because the fan definitely doesn’t have a strong enough motor to generate strong airflow. It was only $10, so I got what I paid for.

I’m going to go back to Home Depot to buy some more ducts & a stronger fan to try this again. August into September are the most unbarable here as far as heat goes & I need to have something effective at cooling the flock down in place for during the week while I’m wasting my time at my Day Job. If I’m not here to check on them, no one else will do it for me.

{Risky Business} What To Do With All These Eggs

I’m not much for eating eggs. Which is really something I probably should have thought of before ordering those chicks that are supposed to be good egg layers. I honestly didn’t expect my Golden Laced Polish hens to be laying as many eggs as they have been. I kind of thought they’d be more ornamental. And yet, here I am with more eggs than I would ever need. I finally did get my family to start eating them, but they are used to the gigantic eggs from the grocery store so I don’t know how well my smaller eggs will go over. I know my grandparents really liked them.

Beyond learning multiple recipes for egg salads & deviled eggs, I decided to try decorating them. This is what I came up with.

image

image

The Kraken’s Gift

image

image

Let The Good Times Roll

image

image

Dead Men Tell No Tales

image

image

A Distinguished Lady

image

image

First step is to “blow out” the egg. Make a hole in the shell at opposite ends of each other (usually done top & bottom of the egg but you don’t have to put the holes there exclusively). Make one hole larger than the other. Blow through the smaller hole to get the whites & yolks out of the eggs. It helps if you use something to break up the white & yolk before trying to blow it out.

image

After everything is out, you can either use water or a bleach bath to clean the inside of the shell out. I used a bleach bath to try & get rid of the membrane (unsuccessfully so – I don’t think I let them sit in the bath long enough for the bleach to dissolve the membrane). Then, either let it dry over night or put them in the oven at a low temp for a few minutes. I went with the oven method since I needed to cure the polymer clay tentacle to the shape of the egg. I used Fimo brand clay, so the temp was 230degF for 30 minutes.

To finish, I just used acrylic paints & scrapbook embellishments in conjunction with the polymer clap pieces & then filled 2 eggs with glitter & 1 egg with a note. I didn’t really have a design for any of these, just made it up as I worked, so for the next round I will have a better plan. I want to make some very decorative & some with the purpose of breaking them open as glitter bombs & fortune eggs since I’m thinking about adding them as a product to my brand.

{Risky Business} Branding Your Product

I was contacted through BYC by a local mini-farmer, Flaming Arrow Farm, to design a logo for them to use on their eggs & canned goods. Normally, I hate when people ask me to do this. I’m not a graphic designer & the general public usually doesn’t understand that there are specialties within the art industry. Also, the last person to ask me to design him a logo treated me very rudely once I got started on the work & I found out later it was because he thought I was too fat & ugly to be worth his time. People are super awesome.

image

Anyhow, the reason I did take up this commission was because she pretty much had done all the hard work for me & she also knew exactly what she wanted. You wouldn’t believe how many people try to commission art from me without even the slightest concept of what they want. I’m sure that’s ideal for some artists, but I can’t work that way. She even had a sketch of her idea already done for me to work off of! The back & forth was easy & I always felt comfortable asking her for more input or clarification before proceeding. Like I said, I’m not trained as a graphic artist so, to me, it is extremely important to create exactly what the client wants to convey with their logo. I mean, that’s their brand, that’s the image they want to associate with their product with potential/established customers. I think that’s pretty important to get it right, you know?

It took me awhile to get it finished due to the TBI & only being able to work on it after the day job & weekends since I was working on it 100% digitally for the final product & I unfortunately had to use my Cintiq Companion Hybrid fund for various car accident related bills. But when I finally got it done, I was pretty happy with how it turned out!

image

image

Basically, the process here was the same process I’ve worked out since the end of 2013 when I got Manga Studio 5 as a Christmas present from my grandparents. Work out the ideas as thumbnails, sketch the one the client likes best out, scan it, ink/colour it in MS5. I was a little worried about trying to add colour just because I haven’t really worked in it that much since the accident, but I think it came out pretty well. Better still, the client & her husband loved it!

That’s always a major plus, when the client likes it. I was doing this for free for her, which is something I also don’t do (unless you’re a complete turd blossom to me & I just want to be done trying to do you a solid by drawing stuff for you). In this case, I needed practice coming back from the accident & art has been a good form of therapy as well as a distraction for me through this post-trauma process. So, no pricing was done & I figured that once I got the files over to her, that would be that.

She surprised me & offered to give me 2 chicks from an order she has coming in soon as payment for my work! I’ll be getting a Belgian D’Anver & a Porcelain D’Uccle!

Belgian D'Anver

Belgian D’Anver

Porcelain D'Uccles

Porcelain D’Uccles

Look how adorable the breed is! The D’Anvers have those funny feathers on their faces that make them look like they have chipmunk cheeks & the D’Uccles have feathered feet! Both breeds are bantam breeds, so they’ll stay small like Odysseus. I also won’t know what sex they are when I get them as her orders were for what they call “straight runs” (groups of chicks that haven’t been sexed). I’m excited to add them to my mixed flock & have been narrowing down potential names for them already. So far, I’ve got Ares, Apollo, Hermes & Helios in case I get a cockerel & Nike, Nyx, Artemis & Demeter in case I get a pullet.

screenshot1

The other great thing about doing this logo was that it got me to draw my own logo! This was all done straight on the computer in MS5, no thumbnails, no sketches. I am very happy with how this turned out. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been this pleased with something I’ve done. I just love that, “Hold My Earrings” look he has, which is what made me change my initial feeling to go all silhouette. Going back to thinking about how you’re branding you business with this image, I liked that little bit of moxie on his face in conjunction with the name “Trumspringa: A Flock Between Pastures”.

Even better still, I found someone that said they could make the image into a stamp for me! I’m very excited about all this & am actually considering making the chickens a little side business. The plan was just trying to establish breeds here in Colorado that I’ve been having a hard time finding, but since that will take a lot of time to do I wasn’t trying to think about making it a business. Now, I’m thinking of selling eggs as well as chicks & decorated eggs & making it a legit business. I’ll have to get my certifications & business license once I actually have a product to offer.

Looks like if I just focus on moving forward, this delay in starting my coops & breeding flocks will just be a planning phase for me.