New Zazzle Dazzle

I haven’t written about Zazzle in a while. I told you back in 2008 that I was an instant convert to the new print-on-demand site when I heard that I could have sneakers made from my own artwork and designs. Sadly, they stopped making sneakers, though they recently added flip-flops to the lineup. So far I’ve only designed one flip-flop (they call them sandals) out of my Peacock Feather kaleidoscope design.

Peacock kaleidoscope flip-flops

For about a year I wasn’t paying much attention to my Zazzle shop, beyond adding a few items here and there when I’d create a photo that called out to be used in a design on one of Zazzle’s products.

But I got really excited when they added clocks to the lineup! They don’t offer a template with numbers on it, so you either have to go number-less, design your own, buy a template, or find a free one to download. For George’s birthday I ordered a clock that I designed with my photo of our hen Maureen, and was really impressed with the quality. (My watermark doesn’t appear on the products.)

Hen clock

The image is sharp and bright, completely true to my photo file, and the clock itself is sturdy and well-made.

And for more Zazzle dazzle, they just started making wrist watches! One of my favorite photos of a hummingbird hovering works great on this watch, don’t you think?

Hummingbird hovering wristwatch

Some of the watch styles have numbers on the dials, but for the ones that don’t, I discovered that my clock template works for the watches as well, which makes it more worthwhile to invest in buying a good template from an expert if you’ll be designing clocks and watches.

You know me, I’m incredibly happy when I can use my artwork to adorn useful things, so I’ve been going crazy designing watches. Here’s one of my favorite new photos, a monarch butterfly on a zinnia flower, on a wristwatch.

Monarch butterfly on flower on Zazzle

Click here to go to my Zazzle shop to see all of the products I’ve adorned with my artwork. Do you have a Zazzle shop? I’d love to check it out, please leave a link in the comments. And if you’re an artist and haven’t tried designing on Zazzle, it’s really fun (but addictive! )

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Garden Delights Arts and Crafts Open Studio!

I’ve been happily scrambling to get my messy workroom presentable for my holiday Open Studio and Gift Sale.  And amazingly, it was pretty much all in place by the time the first visitor showed up!  My friend Pam always comes on my first day, and gets her pick of the calendars that I print using my images.  She took most of the calendars I had made, I’ll need to do some printing tonight.  There was a lull after she left, so I kept busy taking photographs of the spruced-up studio.

This is the view when you come in the door:

The card rack is to the right.  You can see some of my framed mandala prints hanging to the left above.  The table to the left is in the middle of the room.  This is what’s on that table:

My mixed-media doll “Wings” is in the center.  Pet collars to the left (kitty collars hanging from the Lars stuffed animal).  My fabric-covered light switch plates are displayed in front of the doll.  This is a closeup of the pet collars display:

Just to your left inside the door is a shelving rack:

The top shelf has a night light, a transparency print in a frame and one of my fabric vases.  The second shelf down has a display of ornaments, including glass balls with mandalas and other designs printed on backlight film or transparencies, along with a dusting of glitter, some mandala sachet ornaments with pearl hangers, and my stuffed animal ornaments – some with squeaky toys inside!

In the photo above you can see what’s past the center table along the back wall — a hanging display with several of my purses, t-shirts, scarves, and baby onesies.  To the left, a rack with a fabric vase, my bowties, mixed-media handmade books, my Kaleidoscopes book, some coffee mugs I ordered from my Zazzle store, and a tile box.

Above is a closeup of that rack.  The piece at the bottom is an accordian of watercolor paper, with four of my abstract collages printed on lutradur and mounted.  I strung pearls across the top and bottom.  The bowties are jauntily hung just above that piece, on a jewelry bust.

The table above is to the right just past the card rack.  From left to right: purses, wooden postcards, fabric bowl, buttons, fabric vases, fabric postcards, and some night lights.  I love to use vintage pieces as displays.  On this table I’m using two old silverware boxes, sturdy wooden boxes lined with velvet.

To the back wall again, above is a display of the different kinds of boxes that I make.  First, the blue – I printed my mandala of a blue girl rose onto fabric,  quilted it and placed it into the recessed top of a wooden box.  The box to the left of that is one of my favorite tiles.  It’s a kaleidoscope design in rich deep browns, very craftsman style.  I make most of my own work, but some things I do have printed professionally.  This is one of the tiles that I have Tony at Changeyourart make to use as the tops of wooden boxes that I get at Aftosa.  The two small tiles in front of the blue girl rose box are ones that I made myself using lazertran on tumbled marble tile.  It’s a hard technique to master, and I often end up scrapping my creations, but I love how these mandalas turned out.  To the left of those tiles are some glass slide pins I made using my photos printed on velvet fine art paper or canvas, and encased in microscope slides that I outlined with copper tape.  Behind the brown tile box are two more boxes I made using lazertran.  The front one is a kaleidoscoped photo of a calla lily, and behind that is my kaleidoscope design of a fern arching.  For that box, I encased the top edges with copper metal.  To the left  is another tile box of my Lisianthus Flower design. Finally, the box at the far left is one of my favorite pieces.  I used the double exposure photograph that I took of myself and adhered it to the box using a heat transfer.  I embossed some copper and used the strips at the top and bottom edges.  I also made a dangle from pearls and glass beads, and with metal brads on mesh spelled out “treasure”.  Inside the box, I printed the same double exposure image onto silk and used batting to make it a soft pad on the inside top.

Past the boxes is more jewelry.  I have some hanging displays for earrings and bracelets.  Before I began my photo arts work, I used to make jewelry from pearls and beads, and I still love to do that.  The vintage jewelry box at the front right holds my lutradur butterfly earrings.  I take the photos of butterflies that my husband and I raise and release, and print my designs from the photos onto lutradur that I’ve coated with Digital Grounds.

Next a view of the other side of the middle table.  At left, a pile of my tote bags, which I make by printing my images onto fabric and sewing them onto the totes.  I used to make them with iron-ons, but I much prefer the fabric.  Most of them I back with batting and then do some free-motion quilting.  To the right is another vintage jewelry box that I’ve piled with my original design fabric jewelry.  There are fabric bracelets with snaps and buttons, sachet-lets, and my sculptural braided fabric bracelets.

Turn around to see a plush pile of my pillows:

Next, a view of my barely disguised supply shelves.  I don’t really try to turn it into a display, I usually just put some of my work in front of the supplies:

And finally, I covered our washing machine with a delightful vintage fabric, and used it to show off a variety of things:

The soaps that my husband George makes are displayed in front and in the basket at the top left.  He makes the most wonderful soap from natural ingredients using an assortment of molds.  His most popular is the mold of a curled-up sleeping kitty, and close favorites are a butterfly and hummingbird.   He makes a variety of soaps, both cold process and melted.  To the right is a basket of sachets that I make from my fabric, which I fill with heavenly lavender flower buds (and some with rose buds).  The backs of the sachets are gauze, so you can see the flowers.  Behind the sachets is a  basket with catnip bags.  I use the strongest catnip I’ve found, Cosmic brand, and put various fun animals photos printed onto fabric on the front.  When I do Open Studio the cats are forbidden from coming down here, because they’d make a beeline for the catnip bag display and wreck the merchandise (yes, I know this from experience).

Tomorrow if I get a lull I’ll take you on a tour of the art that’s hanging on the walls … Come on by to see it yourself if you’re in the Bay Area!

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!

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.