31 August 2013

Watch this space...

I will either be re-inventing Scoutaroo or starting something completely different come 2014. Probably a combination of the two. Anyway, you can expect to see more of me around these parts in the near future.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! And goodbye 2013 (and GOOD RIDDANCE I'M SO DONE WITH YOU).


30 August 2013

The Internet Manifesto Part V: The End

[If you read my last post and you're still interested in putting Sabbath into practice I recommend you go over to The Sabbath Manifesto and give that a try! It's a good starting point.]

I've been struggling with this decision for a few months and I've made a choice. I would like to announce that I'm letting go of Scoutaroo Paper Co. Not only did I have issues selling commodities in the first place, I thought I could justify my Internet use (and the consequences) for the sake of building a business. Alas, I could not. I can confidently say I gave it a fair shot, but it's just not a good situation for me and not worth the mental turmoil.

A Few Practicalities:

  • The Etsy shop will remain open until I sell out of my current stock
  • I won't be updating the blog or twitter
  • You'll see me around from time to time, commenting on various blogs and League of Extraordinary Penpals posts, among other things, because you guys are cool and I want to see what you're up to ♥

I love you guys and really do appreciate your part in this adventure! I'm always up to continue the conversation... I get my mail at this address if you want to keep it going:

5085 Wilder Drive Apt C
Soquel, CA 95073

Peace Amigos!

♥ Ciara Kay 

28 August 2013

And the winner is...


The fabulous Julie of LEP + Penpal of the Week fame gets the lovely grand prize!

Also... SURPRISE BONUS ROUND! TMC and Charmaine each win a Mystery Bag! In each bag is 6 random 5X7 sheets of original stationery with 6 matching Kraft envelopes, plus 2 greeting cards with 2 matching Kraft envelopes!

I'll be sending everyone their prizes tomorrow! ♥ There were 70+ entries from over 40 people... Thanks everyone for participating!

♥ Ciara Kay

Giveaway Ends TODAY!

It's a bit late to send a postcard (though if you want to say "hi" I would still love to receive one!) but you can still enter the other four ways for a chance to win 40 sheets of stationery! I'll be announcing the winner tonight after 12am EST!!

Click on the giveaway button for more details:

♥ Ciara Kay

26 August 2013

New Listings!

Hey all! New items in the shop this week:

Fancy Limited Edition Giclee prints of a colored pencil drawing of a Markhor I did a while back - $20 for 8X10, $50 for 16X20

And don't forget about the giveaway!

♥ Ciara Kay

21 August 2013

A Zine!

So, this guy Roli wrote this guide one day while his students were doing standardized testing, and I got to read it and it was hilarious, so I said to him, "hey, this would make a great zine, can I make it a zine?" and he said "sure!" And this is the cover I made for it.

San Francisco Zine Fest, here we come!

My hands smell like coffee.

♥Ciara Kay

20 August 2013

The Internet Manifesto Part IV: Thoughts on Sabbath

My habits regarding Internet usage have slowly, but surely, crept back into the “danger zone.” Here we go again: harried and filled with self-doubt, frantically checking stats and strategies and feeling completely inadequate and dissatisfied. I do have one victory to report! Though I’ve been sorely tempted for personal and business reasons, I have not gone crawling back to that evil, vacuous pit that is Pinterest! Also, miraculously, I have been more productive! Perhaps it’s because I am being more intentional about how I spend my time, but I have a sneaking suspicion that HabitRPG has something to do with it… I’ve long resisted, even joined and quit once or twice, but now I’m in. My character is Level 8 and has a desert lion for a companion. (I know am flirting with an unhealthy obsession and it’s all going to come crashing down on me and I really ought to know better, but for now it’s working, which makes sense, because the only way you can honestly play the game is to actually do the things you say you’re going to do. Clever bastards… they know how to manipulate me so well… just put a pixellated sprite in front of me and I’m powerless to resist).
I’m ready to admit that I can’t maintain the “no internet” goal of half an hour a day that I set back in June. I’ve come to terms with the fact that unless I’m to abandon any serious entrepreneurial endeavors (and many social or artistic ones) I’ll have to use the Internet for more than 30 minutes a day. Jamie and I were without it for five days during the move, and it was TERRIBLE! How did people find the nearest FedEx or Safeway when there was no Internet? Did they just wander around until they found what they were looking for? Oh geez… they didn’t have to ASK people for help, did they?? What a savage world it must have been!

Needless to say, it was an eye-opener to my dependence on the Internet and I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s so ingrained in daily life that we HAVE to deal with it, and its only going to get worse. Thus the question becomes not whether or not to use the Internet, but how to use the Internet. However, this too shall pass. Eventually it will be so deeply enmeshed in the framework of life that we won’t even be having these conversations, or it will be replaced by something else. What will remain, I guarantee you (barring the singularity) is our human nature.

This brings us back to what I said in my last Internet Manifesto post: my actual problem is with a lack of self-discipline, which has been a problem in many areas of my life and is not just the reason my use (and abuse) of the Internet has consistently produced negative results. I would totally suck at life less if I had more virtue of character. This is all well and good, and I intend to keep pursuing the idea, but, I was thinking more about it this week and I realized that I had missed a huge piece of the puzzle in identifying why the Internet kept on rotting me from the inside out: Sabbath Rest.
Why Sabbath? Well, let us begin with what it is, and before I go on let me say that I consider myself a Sabbath neophyte. Most of my knowledge and understanding about it is learned from others, especially my dad’s teachings on the subject, and I’m completely lost in the practice of it, but I want to share what I’ve learned with you if you’ll hear me out. If you aren’t religious, just bear with me; I promise this is for everyone.

Some Sabbath Factoids:

  • It’s in the Ten Commandments, which is the same list that the laws “do not murder” and “do not steal” are found in, and it’s pretty specific that everyone (including work animals and slaves) is supposed to take a full day off of their normal work once a week.
  • God took the first Sabbath at creation. On the seventh day, after He had finished making the world and Adam and Eve, He rested. Now, I think a disclaimer is appropriate here: I do not care how the world was physically made, or how long it actually took, or what day of the week the Sabbath is, (because the Bible says very little about all of that) lest we miss the crucial point that even God rested and He seems to think we should follow His example because He put it in the Ten Commandments for Pete’s sake.
  • Sabbath, which comes from the Hebrew word shabbat, literally means “to cease”

So… why is this ancient, biblical practice going to help us combat the negative effects of the Internet? I’m getting there, hold your horses.

One of the most debilitating effects on my well-being that I blame the Internet for is this sense that I can never keep up. My accomplishments are never sufficient. My success is never big enough. My abilities are never adequate. I am endlessly comparing myself, my home, my work, my LIFE to this impossible, made-up standard. I actually believe this lie that I CAN do everything, have everything, be everything (re: Pinterest is evil), and it is crippling. I read these blogs, see these beautiful products on Etsy, hear these success stories and wonder, “what am I doing wrong?”
With some perspective I can easily see how silly my self-doubt is and remember the good work I have accomplished. But when I don’t allow myself that perspective, when I let myself get bogged down and entrenched in that mire of perfectionism and sensationalism and greed and ambition, it’s impossible to see that. And here is where I can’t blame the Internet for this experience I have over and over again… if I’m not comparing myself to the things I see online, I compare myself to the artists who have displays at the local coffee houses, to the lovely families I’ve met who are living the homesteading dream, and to the people I pass on the street who wear super-rad fair trade organic hand-dyed clothes and accessories And I lust after the vintage items in the window after window of antique stores on Soquel Drive, and the fancy American-made furniture at the outlets on 41st, and the smells wafting from the roasters and breweries and restaurants by the wharf.

The Internet is not to blame for my dissatisfaction or for the frantic, anxious pace I try to keep in order to make my life the way I think it should be. I am.

This is why we need Sabbath: Sabbath is a sacred space to cease and regain that perspective. In Sabbath there is no work. No comparison. No getting ahead and no falling behind. Sabbath is allowing your self and your life to just be. It is stopping long enough to remember that no one is forcing you to stay in the rat race, that your best effort is all that is asked of you, and that you have done enough. Sabbath frees you to appreciate instead of to covet. Sabbath is a time to bask in the provision of God, and to take back your worth from the hands of men.

This is why we need Sabbath: our work, our responsibilities, even our loved ones are constantly pushing and pulling us in a million directions. We are fractured. We learn how to function at a pace that we can barely maintain, but we are not whole people. As a nation we are sleep deprived and plagued by chronic pain and mental illness and we mask most of these ailments with pills, believing the lie that we can still do it all. We need Sabbath. We need to force ourselves to say enough is enough, I am DONE. It’s usually the case that this point comes in the form of a breakdown, after we’ve run ourselves ragged (it is for me, anyway. My productivity is cyclical, and characterized by intense, obsessive bouts of high output and the inevitable and rapid burnout. I have always struggled with following through on new projects because of this). Sabbath is the preventative measure we require, the rest we need, to continue to face our daily lives, and it must be defended tooth and nail.

At this point I have a million questions and very few answers… I have no idea what it looks like to “cease.” I have no clue what to do with myself! Is it even possible to spend an entire day doing nothing? What “counts” as work? What if I only do the part of my work that I enjoy? Or do I just have to sit around meditating all day? The concept is so foreign to me that it seems like just an idealistic dream, impossible to achieve. But I have to believe that it is possible to practice Sabbath, and that a nation of workaholics desperately needs it.

I have a few ideas that I’ll share in my next post. Until that time, I wonder what your thoughts are? Have you set up boundaries for your work and commitments that help keep you sane? Do you practice Sabbath in some form? I would love to hear your answers and thoughts. Let’s grow!

♥Ciara Kay

19 August 2013

HabitRPG is helping me stay on track! A letter a day...


To Germany
To Malaysia
To Texas
To Vegas
Birthday card to my mother-in-law. Got the idea from The Snail Mailer!
I thought it looked like a box of chocolates, which is what we got her. ♥
Fun "Emergency Letter Swap" with the LEP! What would you rescue from your house in an emergency?
Emergency Swap to Canada


From Kelsey in New York
From J. Tills in Wisconsin via SendSomething.net
From Anke in Germany [CAMELS ♥] 
From Tony in Georgia via Sendsomething.net
Wishing all of you a full mailbox this Monday!

♥ Ciara Kay

17 August 2013

I don't have much to show for this Saturday's Sketchdump because I expended most of my creative juices on purple buffalo this week! I do have one page of completely random doodles:

august 12
Today is one of those days... the kind where no matter how hard you try you just aren't going to get anything done? There comes a point during those days where you just gotta give up and do nothing instead. I have reached that point. Here's to nothing! A bit of an early Sabbath! I guess I need it. ♥

Man, I'm going to miss having no day job. But maybe if my secret project is a smashing success I won't have to get a real job! I can dream, can't I?

♥ Ciara Kay

16 August 2013

Purple Buffalo

I met with a local print shop on Monday about my Secret Project, which I will be revealing in September hopefully! I'm super excited to work with them, and I'm looking forward to offering all of you much better quality products in the near future (I was never quite satisfied with the work at my other print shop... past buyers will notice a marked difference in quality and consistency after I get some stuff printed up with my new shop, I hope)! Also, the girl who helped me is on the Santa Cruz Derby Girls board, and wants to go outdoor skating with me sometime! ♥ Yay for new friends!

Other than keeping house and walking to the beach and applying for jobs, I've been drawing and painting up a purple storm of buffalo! I am so excited about this new line that I wanted to give you guys a little preview of it... It will be the flagship of my Secret Project and will hopefully be available for purchase in mid-September!

You might be wondering what my obsession has been lately with purple buffalo. I have a few reasons for it:

#1 PURPLE. BUFFALO. I could just end there, but...

#2 I've been working with Dave Simcox for the last six months, whose Etsy shop I also manage (he's on haitus at the moment, sadly, but will hopefully be back soon. Seriously worth taking a look at). Dave has this contagious fascination with the prairie, which I've picked up by osmosis. One of my newest favorite quotes, which he shared with me, is this:
"…the joy of prairie lies in its subtlety. It is so easy—too easy—to be swept away by mountain and ocean vistas. A prairie, on the other hand, requests the favor of your closer attention. It does not divulge itself to mere passersby." - Suzanne Winckler
I find it haunting and beautiful that North America's largest land mammal resides in the prairie. In my mind, buffalo have always been intimidating and mysterious beasts, of almost mythical proportions. And they used to live and roam in these vast herds through these oceans of grass and sky until they were nearly wiped out along with all the other romantic things about the New World... It's all very otherworldly and magical and tragic and foreign and wonderful.

#3 HOWEVER. My obsession with purple buffalo is mostly due to the fact that this one album by *shels called "Plains of the Purple Buffalo" has struck a chord deep in my very SOUL... Everything about this project of theirs just kills me... the sweeping, dreamlike, mournful epic of the music, the artwork, not to mention the fact that it was inspired by "The Neverending Story." I just love it so much I could burst!! So, this stationery line is a tribute to *shels' genius work, which captures all of these things in the most sublime way I can imagine.

If you'd like to listen to the album (which I HIGHLY recommend), it's best done under headphones, uninterrupted, and during an activity that will allow you to listen to the awesomeness that you're hearing... Don't waste it. This is ART, people, DO IT RIGHT.

You're welcome ♥

♥ Ciara Kay

14 August 2013

100th Sale Stationery GIVEAWAY!!

It's happened!! Only 8 months after setting this goal, Scoutaroo has made 100 sales! Thank you so so much for being awesome fans and supporting my Etsy shop! ♥

Because I want to celebrate and give back to you, my loyal customers, I'm hosting a...

And it's about time... this is the first giveaway in Scoutaroo Paper Co. history! One winner will receive 40 sheets of my remaining first run stationery designs plus 20 cute little Kraft paper envelopes. I will no longer be selling stationery sets in this size once my current inventory is sold out, so these are limited edition, oh la la!

This oughta last a while for even the most avid snail mailers!

How to Enter

There are five ways to enter this giveaway for 40 sheets of stationery and 20 kraft envelopes. Feel free to do one or two or all five!!

2. Retweet the giveaway
3. Like Scoutaroo on Facebook (leave a second comment if you're already a fan)
4. Sign up for my new monthly newsletter (first issue is in September!)
5. Send a postcard to me at:
5085 Wilder Drive Apt C
Soquel, CA 95073


Oh, also, here is a free stationery printable of our new little jellyfish friend! ♥

You guys are great, and I'm super excited about what's in store for Scoutaroo!!

♥ Ciara Kay

12 August 2013


Ok, I have failed to keep up the "mail blog" part of this blog as well. So! Here is some of my recent mail!

From Helena in Japan (and my reply on top)
From Amy in LA (and my reply)
From Juli in Florida (and my reply)
From TARAdactyl
...and my reply to Tara. 
From Lena in Germany
From Kelly in Malaysia
From Sara in Texas
First piece of mail in our new place from Meredith in Nevada
From Patricia in Ohio! Love the derby theme!
♥ Ciara Kay

10 August 2013

Sketchdump • August 4-9

As promised! Technically the second installment of the Saturday Sketchdump series... I'll also be posting these daily on my instagram in case anyone does that.

august 4

Inspired by Mariee Sioux's song "Wild Eyes"

august 5

the beach + wharf at Capitola
 I missed August 6, and August 7 is here!

august 8


august 9

Stuff for the secret project... buffalo studies! Buffalo are like bear-cows. They kind of scare me.
Now I'm off to check in on job applications and pick up some dining room chairs that I got from freecycle!

♥ Ciara Kay

09 August 2013

Looking Forward

Look, I made a planner out of a Dollar Tree notebook! I have way too much time on my hands...
Now that my home is in order, I feel like I can move forward. I've applied to five different places for work and have a few more on the list to try if those don't pan out. We're a bit anxious about money, it's pretty expensive down here, and most positions are for part-time work... In the meantime, I'm trying to focus on Scoutaroo, which has been neglected the last few months. I have a few ideas I'm excited about, some new goals, and a clearer direction!

So, you can expect more activity around here, a resurrection of the "Saturday Sketchdumps," regular postings of my incoming and outgoing mail starting on Monday, and lots more Scoutaroo stationery for you to enjoy!! During the next few months I'm really seeking to improve on what I have... any and all suggestions are appreciated! What can Scoutaroo do for you? What would you like to see that other stationers haven't provided? And on that sneaky secret project... I've just begun writing to some of my penpals about it, but it's still very much in the beginning stages and not yet ready for the light of day...

Lastly, a note on the No Internet thing: obviously (I am ashamed to admit), I have gone back to my old ways! Glued to the screen, nothing to show for it but guilt and discontent. This ends tomorrow... back on the horse! I do think that 15 minutes is a bit impossible when I'm trying to run an online business. It served a purpose for a time and I'm glad I limited myself so much, but it's a bit needless and unrealistic for what I'm trying to accomplish. However, I still have the same problems, and I'm still not well equipped to deal with them. It's a work in progress.

I'm looking forward to your ideas and input on current Scoutaroo products and what you hope to see in the future!

♥ Ciara Kay

P.S. Oh, here's a coupon code for $5 off your purchase of $20 or more in the shop: MOVING5. Out with the old, in with the new! :) And don't forget, I have a surprise planned for the 100th sale!

08 August 2013

The Grand Tour!

I unpacked everything last Saturday, but haven't gotten around to uploading + drawing all over the photos yet... I've been quite productive today (despite having the electricity out in our room for most of the day thus forcing me to move myself and my computer and a pile of blankets and pillows to a corner of the living room by the heater... I felt like a hobo). And here it is! Doodles are a mixture of things to come and explanation of things that are there. Hope that makes sense...

Ok, here we go... LOTS of pictures ahead!!

The Closet


 AFTER (plus suggestions for improvement!) ;)

The Kitchen

Cabinets BEFORE
The most horrid contact paper I have ever seen...
Cabinets AFTER
...luckily it came off pretty quickly.
Inside the drawers...
I discovered this cute paper underneath circa the 1970s! ♥ Much preferred...
The Kitchen!
There really was no "before" because it was the same but with no stuff in it...

The Bedroom

Our room... we got two old dorm desks and a couple of wooden chairs at Goodwill!

Desktop wallpaper by Geninne!

The Living Room



There you have it, folks. The gist of our new apartment. I would like to fill it with plants and rugs and blankets and cozy things like that, but first we have to have MONEY... I've applied for three different positions around town and will keep on applying till I have a source of steady income! In the meantime, I'm cooking up some fun stuff for Scoutaroo. Hoping I can pull it off, still doing research, but you can expect a thing to happen that will be different than before... with that cryptic message, I bid you adieu!

♥ Ciara Kay