Free JUNE Desktop & Wallpaper

Hello Summer! Who is ready for lazy days and sunshine? Summer has started for us and we are already experimenting with homemade ice-pop recipes. Bright colored popsicles remind me so much of Summer, and served as the inspiration for this month's free desktop background and wallpaper. I hope you enjoy it!

 Get our FREE June Desktop & Wallpaper at pen-paint.com!
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To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet.

To download the desktop background you can go here and save the image. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

Our Favorite Podcasts

We are big fans of podcasts around here. Whether you are in need of laughs, inspiration, business ideas, wisdom, or just some good parenting advice, there are amazing podcasts out there to meet those needs. 

We are sharing a few of our favorite podcasts with you today.

 We're sharing our favorite podcasts over at pen-and-paint.com!

What Lindsay is listening to:

Podcasts have become a part of my daily routine in the studio. I listen to audiobooks and music, but I'm most happy when I have a new podcast to listen too.

Last summer I went through a rough season I seriously needed to laugh. Enter in The Popcast. Y'all. I'm talking laugh-crying. I started with their episode 202 'The No's of Weddings' and from there I was hooked. I'm not big on pop-culture and 80% of the time I have to look up the celebrity Knox and Jamie are referring to, but I love it nonetheless. Listening to the Popcast feels like I have two funny friends sitting in the studio with me talking about things that don't matter, and that is all that matters. 

Next in my podcast library is Arc Stories. This uplifting podcast is filled with people sharing their own stories in front of a live audience. You will laugh, cry, and be reminded there are wonderful people in the world.

So many times I have found myself feeling a little alone as a small business owner. It helps me to know that other business owners are going through the same thing, and I need to learn from them! For encouragement on the business front, I subscribe to How I Built This. It is so encouraging to hear how other businesses started and to hear about their successes and struggles. I am also really enjoying Women's Work. This newish podcast interviews women in the workplace from entrepreneurs to scientists to educators and everything in between. I truly enjoy 'meeting' the women Tsh (also host of The Simple Show which I subscribe to) interviews and hearing their stories.


What Andrea is listening to:

I love country music. Love it! I'm a big fan of The Bobby Bones Show, but I'm also really into hearing about what inspired songwriters to write certain songs, or how certain songs came to be, and Bobby Bones (maybe you saw him on the latest season of American Idol as the mentor to the top 24, then the top 3?!) has an extra podcast about all that behind-the-scenes goodness over on his podcast, the Bobbycast. It's sometimes serious, sometimes funny, always interesting. He's even included non-singers and songwriters in his podcast repertoire. My favorite podcast episode lately is his interview with Scott Hamilton

If you're an Etsy seller, hands down The Merriweather Council is a can't miss podcast! Danielle has so much Etsy wisdom and has so many wise friends that are willing to share their tips and tricks with the rest of us. 

Another favorite is Lewis Howes' podcasts. They are a mix of encouraging, challenging, motivating, and inspiring. You can always find some great stuff in his podcasts.

Whatever you're looking for in your latest podcast listening session, we hope you'll find just the right one for you! 

My Top 6 Party-Planning Tips

The word "party" doesn't exactly make me feel like sitting down and writing out lists and plans—I just want to get to the part where we have fun. Ha. But even the smallest parties require at least some sort of planning for basics like inviting people, drinks, and napkins. 

I've put together this list of 6 tips to make your next party easy peasy. 

1. Make a guest list

Pretty simple jumping off point, right? But seriously, it's important to know how many people to plan for, and with a list helps insure no one is left out.

2. Choose your date and time

Seems easy enough, and for some events, it's a no-brainer—A New Year's Eve party is obviously going to be on New Year's Eve, and will go until after that big ball drops. For other parties it's not as obvious, and you need to take your guest list into consideration.

For example, if you are throwing a toddler birthday party and planning to invite a small children, you need to keep naptime and bedtime in mind when you set your party time. If you plan on inviting some big sports fans to your party, but the party you're throwing isn't really a viewing party, you might want to plan around any big games. 

Also, if you are booking a venue, you will have to check with them for availability before you officially set your date and time. It would be a great idea to come up with a couple of options in case your first choice date/time are already booked. 

Once you have the date, time and location nailed down, get those invitations sent out! Try to have your invitations (physical or digital) sent out at least 2 weeks before your event so guests can plan accordingly and RSVP.

3. Pick a theme and/or color scheme

Party themes can be fun if you are up for it! Pinterest has all kinds of amazing ideas, but if a theme isn't your thing, you definitely don't have to have one! Pick 2-4 colors that you'd like to use. These colors will help you choose balloons, decorations, plates, cups, etc. 

When my boys were younger, we did a lot of themed birthdays—Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Minecraft... Now that they're older they just pick a couple of colors, and that's what we go with for their birthday parties. 

4. Decide on food 

I like to keep it simple. Simple = Less stress. We like to stick with pizza and chips around here. If you do decide that you want to serve something you make yourself, choose things that can be prepared in advance or things that don't require you to stand over them constantly. 

If your event includes having guests bring snacks/finger foods make sure to have a list of who is bringing what so you don't end up with 5 veggie trays and nothing else.

5. Make your supply list

And check it twice. It will save you from making multiple trips or from finding out right before the party starts that you forgot the cups because you never wrote them on your list.

Your needs will vary a little bit depending on your specific party, but here are some basics: 

  1. Plates
  2. Napkins
  3. Cups 
  4. Utensils (including serving spoons)
  5. Balloons/Decorations
  6. Crepe Paper/Banner
  7. Drinks, Ice
  8. Cake/Dessert
  9. Food items 
  10. Flowers/Centerpieces
  11. Party Favors
  12. Candles/Cake toppers
  13. Table Cloths

6. Set up

I like to put up all the decorations the night before the party, but it's up to you when you want to do it. Just make sure that you give yourself plenty of time. I find it always takes a little longer than I think it will to get everything set up how I want it.

Hopefully, these tips will help make your next party stress-free and fun! 

-Andrea

How to Get the Creative Juices Flowing

One question that people often ask is how do you stay creative all time? Most people probably assume artists, designers, and makers never have a problem with creativity. This is so not the case. I often struggle with creativity and not just in my work but in daily life. Remember, creativity isn't just about artwork or crafts, it's needed in every area of our lives. Creativity is essential for growth and forward movement - we all need new ideas and new ways of thinking. New ideas fuel hope, possibility, and growth. Without new ideas we'd all stay exactly where we are, doing the exact same thing forever, and nothing new would ever be created. Imagine if people hadn't been creative with ideas like air conditioning, cell phones, or pizza delivery. We'd all be sitting in our crazy hot houses, with no cell phones, without the possibility of having dinner arrive on our doorstep when we decide we just cannot handle cooking tonight. 😉

I know I feel most happy and energized when I can be creative in one way or another. Sometimes for me that means being creative with new ways to set up a website, being creative with various strategies for different responsibilities, or just being creative with dinner when I forgot two of the ingredients on my last grocery shopping trip. If I lose creativity and get stuck in routine and monotony for long periods of time without taking time to brainstorm new ideas, and to try new things, then I start to feel a little more like climbing back into bed, rather than being excited about possibilities, new ideas, and new goals. 

If you feel like you're feeling a little low on creativity, have no fear, I've put together a list of my favorite ways to get the creative juices flowing! 

 5 Tips to get your Creative Juices Flowing from Pen & Paint. pen-and-paint.com

1. Listen to music

My favorite way to boost my creativity is to put my earbuds in, turn the volume allllll the way up (I know, I know...), and play my favorite music. Sometimes I'll put on a station and just let it play, but sometimes I go straight to my favorite songs, and I may even sing them. Loudly. It works though! Music is my very favorite way to get the creative juices moving. 

2. Change up your routine

I work from home, so it's very easy for me to be home all week with my only outside-the-house things being taking my kids to and from school. If I occasionally take a morning or afternoon and actually leave the house and break up the daily routine, it helps so much. 

For you, your routine may look different but look for a little thing that you can change up sometimes. The change is good! 

3. Exercise 

I know there's some science to it. I'm sure it's endorphins or something like that 😁 I especially like to workout with my earbuds in. I feel like there's such a difference when the music is in my ears versus when I workout with just music playing somewhere in the background. The combo is a winning one. 

I also like taking walks. The fresh air is good for the soul and walks always get ideas flowing for me. 

4. Read something new and/or listen to new podcasts

Reading new things can really get some ideas moving. I know I can get stuck in my own head a lot. Reading opens you up to other ways of thinking and new ideas, and those new ideas can get your own creativity flowing. Same with podcasts. Sometimes just hearing someone say something different than you would say it yourself can spark creativity in you, and there are SO many great podcasts out there on so many different topics. Find what inspires you. 

5. Take a break

This one is a bit trickier than the others, because you are an adult, and can't just drop life to take a break, but breaks are so important for creativity. If you are always going, and never get to just stop the train, you will burn out, and creativity will disappear. 

A break could be a bigger thing like a week-long vacation, but it could also be simpler things like taking a day off work to give yourself a 3-day weekend. If you struggle with checking your email and working over the weekend, your break could be that you log out of your email for the weekend, put the phone and computer away and actually give yourself a weekend completely off. 

If you're a stay-at-home parent, your break could be a kid-free night out. Schedule a babysitter, and take the night off! If you're not comfortable being gone at night, then find a chunk of hours during the day to schedule a sitter, and do it then. I used to have a babysitter come over one time a week for 3-5 hours during the summer, and it was everything to me. Just having that time to be with my thoughts, doing my own thing without requests for snacks and band-aids for boo-boos allowed me to have the space to get my creativity charged up each week. 

What are your favorite ways to get your creative juices going? 

 

-Andrea

Free May Desktop & Wallpaper

Hello May! For us April showers certainly brought May flowers. I wanted to make something bright and feminine for this month's wallpaper and background and these pretty peonies seemed perfect. I hope you enjoy it!

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To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet.

To download the desktop background you can go here and save the image. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

Gift Ideas for Teachers and Grads

It seems like it was back-to-school time not very long ago, and here we are already talking summer and graduations, etc.! This part of the year always seems to get a little bit crazy for parents when you have kids in school. There's so much to do - kids have last minute projects, and school events. There's also figuring out gifts for Teacher Appreciation week (Next week! May 7-11) or end-of-the-year gifts, making plans for summer break, tying up loose ends before school gets out, and graduation gifts to plan for. It's so much!

To help you keep some of the end-of-the-year craziness to a minimum we have some easy gift ideas for the teachers and grads in your life!

Teacher Gifts: 

This note card + a gift card to a favorite store or restaurant.

This note card + a bouquet of flowers

This note card + this mini print set. You could also frame the prints and use each print as an individual gift, which is perfect if you have multiple teachers you're wanting to give gifts to. This frame is a great option.

Grad Gifts: 

This note card + a gift card to a favorite store or restaurant.

This note card + this mini print set + a photo display. This one is a great option!

Hopefully, these ideas will get a couple of to-do's crossed off your list! 

FREE April desktop background and phone lock-screen

Spring has sprung! Add some bright flowers to your phone lock-screen and desktop background with this month's Pen & Paint free download.

To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet.

To download the desktop background you can go here and save the image. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

 

March Free wallpaper and desktop background

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I have been drawing and painting flowers all day, every day for the past few weeks. Now that Spring is in sight there is no lack of inspiration, especially if you follow beautiful flower farms like 3 Porch Farm. A few weeks ago they posted an amazing anemone bouquet, and and I used it as inspiration for this month's free wallpaper and desktop background. I hope you'll enjoy these flowers all March long!

To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet. To download your free desktop you can go here. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

February Free lock screen & desktop background

Hello February! A new month means a new lock screen & desktop background for you to enjoy. I used a similar quote for last year's February download, but I like it so much that I had to do it again. It is inspired from Mother Teresa's words - “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” What wonderful words to live by this month and all year. 

pen and paint 2018 FEB.jpg

To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet. To download your free desktop you can go here. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

Galentine's Day

Before Leslie Knope even gave us the idea of Galentine's Day I loved the idea of doing something with my girlfriends for Valentine's Day. One year we booked a private room at a fun restaurant and everyone received flowers and dessert. Another year we all met at my apartment for drinks, pedicures, and facials. We wanted to celebrate one another and had fun doing it.

Thankfully Leslie, in all her wisdom, saw we needed an official holiday for 'ladies celebrating ladies', so now we have the best day of the year, February 13. With Galentine's Day three weeks away we have a few ideas for celebrating those wonderful ladies in your life.

Plan a brunch on the weekend with your favorite gal pals and treat everyone to Galentine's Day cards and chocolate. Taking the time to write out what you love about your friend is a gift she is sure to appreciate.

Host a girls-night-in with take-out, Netflix, pedicures, and cocktails/mocktails. I find the friends I can relax and stay home with are the best ones.

And for those ladies who are far away, send them a package with their favorite tea and this card

This card would go great with a spa day in a box (nail polish, a mask, and a candle). 

How are you celebrating Galentine's Day this year? 

FREE January lock-screen & desktop background

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Hello 2018! It's been a while since I've done a monthly lock-screen & desktop. The holiday season hit and we were busy, busy, busy in the Pen & Paint studio. After Christmas I took a much needed break to rest, dream, and refocus on the new year. 

During my break I realized how little I've allowed myself to create just for fun, so last night I found myself making this. I love the deep, bold colors for this cold January. My creative wheels are turning, and I'm so excited about all the new things to come.

I hope your 2018 is off to a good start, and I hope you'll enjoy this month's background.

To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet. To download your free desktop you can go here. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

October - Free desktop background + lock screen

October is such a wonderful month -- it actually starts to feel like Fall around here. I hope you'll enjoy this month's free desktop background & lock screen.

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To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet. 

To download your free desktop you can go here. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

Happy October!

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

 

August free lock screen & desktop background

It's almost time for school to start back and this month is full of projects and holiday prep. I'm soaking up the last days of summer, and hope you are too!

To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet. 

To download your free desktop you can go here. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

Happy August!

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

July Free Summer lock-screen and desktop

This month's fun and colorful free desktop background and lock-screen reminds me of a pool party. I hope you'll enjoy it!

To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet. 

To download your free desktop you can go here. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

I hope your July is full of fun!

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

June Free Summer desktop and lock screen

Can you believe Summer is here?! It's time for sunny days, splashing in the pool, and lots of lemonade. These fun summery lemons from a recent #penandpaintsketch seemed perfect for this month's free desktop background and lock-screen.

 Free Pen & Paint lock-screen

Free Pen & Paint lock-screen

To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet. 

To download your free desktop you can go here. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

I hope June is filled with lots of sunshine for you!

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

5 years of Pen & Paint

I opened an Etsy shop eight years ago in May of 2009 as a hobby and creative outlet. I left the workplace to stay at home with my first child. I loved to create, and I started painting for friends and family.  After two years of painting custom canvases and nursery art I chose to step back. I then had two small children and was no longer feasible to produce hand-painted originals. Then one day in and in 2012 I found a sketch pad and a set of drawing pens in a closet. To my surprise they worked, and I decided to draw something.

The first sketch I drew was “Encourage each other daily while it is still today”. It was a verse we had on our fridge. From that point I knew I wanted to create art with words to encourage others. Each day I would draw new things and share them on Instagram with my friends. It was clear the words combined with artwork resonated with others, and I wanted to do something with my work. 

I reopened my Etsy shop and Pen & Paint was born. I had no idea what I was doing. I simply knew I wanted to make art and share my it with others, and drawing gave me this chance. Thankfully I had wonderful friends to help me along the way, a supportive family, and a fire to learn and create as much as possible. As the shop grew, my husband and I realized in 2014 it was time to take Pen & Paint full time. This meant my shop would become our main source of income, and my husband resigned from teaching to help take care of our children and assist with the business. This was the biggest, scariest thing we’ve ever done. What if the shop didn’t bring in enough income? What if I failed? I had dreams and plans, but the fear of the unknown was really hard for me. I had to constantly remind myself giving up wasn’t an option.

One of my goals in taking Pen & Paint full time was to begin licensing my work. I had so many ideas and things I wanted to do with my artwork, but I was limited because I could not produce them on my own. I wanted the chance to create artwork for home décor, textiles, and so much more. I spent several months looking for an art agent to represent Pen & Paint. I knew I needed someone to handle the business side of licensing so I could focus on what I love – creating. I found Jewel Branding and knew it was the right fit. I was thrilled when they accepted me as one of their designers. Since 2015 I have been working to create patterns, greeting cards, wall art and other designs. These designs and pieces of artwork can now be licensed with companies for products (meaning can find Pen & Paint on a variety of items sold in stores)! I still love running my Etsy shop and the opportunity to share my artwork on a handmade and personal level with my customers. These past five years have been filled with amazing opportunities and some very big growing pains. I truly cannot believe I have the chance to create artwork and share it with the world. Thank you for your support in this journey. I’m still dreaming big. The best is yet to come!

Today through 5/25 you can save 25% off your Pen & Paint order with the code YAY25.

FREE March desktop and lock screen

Happy March! This month is filled with so many exciting things - birthdays to celebrate, my wedding anniversary, and a trip to Uganda (I'll share more soon). March is always one of my favorite months, and I hope you'll enjoy this month with Spring on the way.

To download the phone wallpaper simply save the above image to your phone/tablet.

To download the desktop background you can go here and save the image. Once you have saved the image you can set it as your background through your system preferences (desktop/screensaver)/control panel (appearance/personalizaiton).

*As with all my freebies, please remember these are for personal use only for you to enjoy. Please link back and credit. Thanks!*

Free Kid's Valentine Card Printable - You Make My Heart Spin

Valentine's Day at school was always so exciting when I was a younger. I loved filling out all my valentine cards for my classmates and decorating my valentine shoe box.

Now that I'm a parent, it's so fun to watch my boys' excitement as they work on their valentines for their friends and family. 

This year I wanted a card option for them that could incorporate a small candy-free valentine treat, so I made these free printable valentines

Just a few supplies, a little bit of time, and you will have some fun, and bright valentines! 

supplies:

Once you have all your pinwheels made, just add a little dab of hot glue to the backs of the pinwheels, and attach to a pencil. Add the printable cards, and you're all set!

Happy crafting!

Also, you can view last year's free valentine printable here.

Please remember this is free for personal use only. It may not be altered, sold, redistributed or used for any purpose other than a free valentine printable. Original Artwork by Lindsay Hopkins ©2012-present Pen & Paint - All rights reserved. Tag @pen_and_paint if you share and enjoy!