Today’s Best Award on Zazzle – my honeybee design necktie!

Whee-ha! I’ve posted before about zazzle, but it has been quite awhile since I wrote about it.  I put things up there once in awhile, when I have a new design I usually add a few things on zazzle — a card or print,

Zazzle orchid print

Zazzle orchid print

some funky sneakers, a bumper sticker with some hard-hitting message:

Zazzle bumper sticker

Zazzle bumper sticker

Back in 2008, shortly after I started posting my work on zazzle, I won a “Today’s Best Award” (TBA in zazzle lingo) for sneakers that I designed using my photo of a zebra’s stripes:

Zazzle zebra sneakers

Zazzle zebra sneakers

Now, zazzle doesn’t tell you when you get a TBA, you have to either check the TBA list every day (which I stopped doing long ago), or you may find out if some kind soul leaves you a “Congratulations for your TBA!” message.  Well, guess what? I got one of those today (thanks again JuJuGarden)!

So, first the story behind the piece that won. This is the photograph I started out with: I shot it  through the window of a top bar beehive, of some busy honey bees working hard:

Honey bees in hive

Honey bees in hive

I took an element of this photograph, and started making different kaleidoscopic designs using my favorite software program, Kaleider (I’ve written posts about Kaleider, just click on the tag at the right for Kaleider to bring them up, and you can check out the software at this link).  I made several designs that I really liked, and this was one of the ones I loved most:

Honeybee kaleidoscope

Honeybee kaleidoscope

Next, I did a repetition technique (I’m going to be teaching this on CraftEdu, so email me if you’re interested in that class).  I took the repetition design and uploaded it to zazzle.  The only thing I’ve had time to make so far from it was a necktie, and that won a TBA award!!

Zazzle TBA, honeybee design necktie

Zazzle TBA, honeybee design necktie

I’m donating 10% of everything sold on my zazzle shop through the end of July to the fund to help rebuild the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society after their fire, so if you’re thinking of buying anything — now’s the time!

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Zazzle

Recently I started a gallery on zazzle.com.  I have been trying to add a small panel to this blog showing some of the products, but haven’t been able to do that yet.  I think my web genius friend, Nadine, is going to solve this problem for me.  I know just enough about websites to know that there’s tons I don’t know.  Anyway, zazzle.com is a print on demand company that lets you put your own images and designs onto the products that they then print and ship.  I was won over to zazzle by the fact that you can make your own SNEAKERS!  In fact, I won a “Today’s Best Award” at zazzle for one of my sneaker designs that I made from a photograph of a zebra I took at the Oakland Zoo.

The other unique product you can make at zazzle is a tie.  I ordered one for George, and wasn’t ecstatic about the quality.  They’re polyester, and I’m used to my own perfect prints on silk or soft cotton, and I wasn’t impressed about the slight lack of sharpness they achieved with the polyester.  But I’ll probably order another to make sure.

Otherwise, you can get the normal products that other print on demand services offer, including custom postage, cards and prints, mugs, t-shirts, buttons, magnets, etc.  I’ve been very impressed with the quality of everything I’ve ordered other than the tie.  I have gotten several t-shirts, mugs and postcards.

For me, the strength of the zazzle website is in instantly seeing how my designs look on different products.  It’s incredible that you can just click the template for a product, upload your design, and see how it would work as a sneaker!  Getting a gallery is free, and you choose the amount of the royalty you want to get from anything that sells.   If you have a gallery and you order your own products you pay a basic rate.  They have a somewhat complicated discount program that I’m not even going to try to explain.

Their customer service is incredibly good.  I have called and emailed questions and get responses very quickly.  I bought some of my own things to sell and wanted to use my tax exempt status, since they’re in California.  They responded almost instantly with a clear and easy explanation of how I could do that.  I remember trying to use my tax exempt certificate with smugmug about a year ago and being told they weren’t set up to handle it.