Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mouse Pads Can Add A Splash of Color To Any Workspace

Whether we use them to keep from scratching the surface of your work space or to steady the optical eye of the mouse, mouse pads are still used by many people. Depending on the design, they are also a way of adding a little bit of "you" to the workspace. They even make a nice sized coaster but keep that liquid away from the keyboard.

Mouse pads were one of the first Zazzle products that I originally started adding my photography and digital art. In the horizontal format, photographs are a fairly good fit right from an image source.

I have purchased several mouse pads from Zazzle and was very pleased with the manufacture and printing quality. When you initially open the package there is an overwhelming scent of either the paint on the cloth cover or the non-skid backing. Thankfully, the smell doesn't last long once it is out in the fresh air.

All mouse pads are 9.25" x 7.75". There is a durable, dust and stain resistant cover featuring the design over a non-slip backing which also offers cushion. They can easily be personalized just for you or as a special gift. Looking to make it personal with your photograph or art? That's easy too.

You'll find more than 150 of my digital art and photography designed mouse pads like the ones pictured below.
Clustered Sunflowers Close-Up Photograph Mouse Pad

On designs like this Sunflower cluster photograph, the text is offered in a template field that you can change. If you remove the text, you'll probably want to remove the color bar behind it so you would have to go into the customize option to remove that too. 

Raspberries and Almonds Watercolor Mouse Pad

On a design with no text like this digitally altered photograph of almonds and raspberries, you can go into the customize option to add your text. Nearly all of my products have that option available for you to do your thing. 

A Colorful Eclectic Collection

Eclectic Mouse Pad Display

Of the total 150+ designed mouse pads in TheAspenStand, you'll find quite the eclectic collection of both templates or simply a photograph and art without text.

Floral Mouse Pad Designs  

There is an abundant collection of colorful floral designed mouse pads like these lilies and sunflower photographs with or without text. 

  Digital Art Mouse Pad Display

You'll find a number of abstract and digitally altered photographs among the collection of digital art mousepads in the store. 

Share how you have you used mouse pads in an alternative manner in the comments below?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

3 Products Complete A Beautiful Gift for The Writer In Your Life

digital art, flowers, daisies, stationery, stickers, envelopes, gift set, roses

It's been quite a while since I took actual pen to paper but I know there are still a lot of people who do it quite often. I had those folks in mind when I designed this Terra Cotta Edge Flower Bouquet writing set. In this post, you'll find a stationery sheet design, a matching A2 envelope and a sticker to seal it.  

This design began as the photograph of a colorful flower bouquet of red and orange roses and yellow daisies. I'm sure if you follow my blog or my Chatter Corral blog you've seen that I enjoy trying out new photo editing techniques. I was quite pleased with this photo edit so I designed numerous products using it. The writing products that I mentioned above would collectively or singularly make a great gift.
If you plan now you might consider presenting some of these to a special teacher at some point during the school year or at the end of the school year. You could coordinate it with several parents so it's a very reasonable cost.  A nice practice at Zazzle is that you can purchase different designs and still earn a stationery volume discount which starts with a purchase of 25 sheets.  

Terra  Cotta Edged Bouquet Stationery

You'll find two stationery designs here.  The stationery sheet in the upper right has a diminished opacity use of the design and the sheet on the left has the design as a corner detail.  Both designs allow for personalizing by adding text in place of what is currently on the template. Although both have name text at the top and address information at the bottom, both can be easily changed or totally removed for an entirely blank sheet.  In my Zazzle store TheAspenStand, you will find another sheet design where the bouquet is on the bottom right corner and allows for the same personalizing.  

Terra  Cotta Edged Bouquet Envelope

 As I mentioned in the lead there are A2 sized envelopes using the same design. The envelope above features the entire design inside and outside. The outside design is at a diminished opacity so as not to interfere with address text. 

On this design, you can customize it by selecting a different envelope color. When you visit the Terra Cotta Edged Flower Bouquet category in the store, you will also see that envelope style with the bouquet in the lower right corner.  

Terra  Cotta Edged Bouquet Classic Round Sticker

Add round stickers to seal the matching envelopes. These 1.5" diameter stickers are available with the background you see above or a white background. If you simply like the sticker, you can also get a sheet of 6, 3" diameter stickers. 

To round out a very nice gift package, see the Terra Cotta Edged Flower Bouquet postage stamp that complements the envelope.  
You can find 40+ products with the Terra Cotta Edged Flower Bouquet design including greeting cards and aprons in TheAspenStand online store.

Before you head off to check out the products, leave a comment to let me know your thoughts on the design and post. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Gift Ideas to Surprise the Route 66 Fan

route66, route 66, americana, us history, historic, winslow, arizona, travel, destination

Have you heard of The Mother Road? Do you know it as the Main Street of America? Or maybe you've heard it referred to as Will Rogers Highway? However you may refer to it, that means you are familiar with US Route 66.

Some folks have read about it but have never been able to travel along the remaining saved segments like those in Arizona. This post will offer some information about the Arizona segment of The Mother Road and offer some gift ideas for you or a Route 66 fan.

I recall a woman in an online discussion sharing about loading up with family to head across country on US Route 66. The road was one of the original US highways built to connect Chicago to Los Angeles. The road was established in 1926 and decommissioned June 27, 1985. It headed from Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ending in California. 

I wasn't very familiar with the history of the road until moving to Arizona and particularly northern Arizona where you can now travel Interstate 40 to spots with historic stops along the still famous historic Route 66. 

As a matter of fact, a scenic stop off of now Interstate 40 is in the little community where we live. Two lengths of the route are annotated on a map. A fence and path lead you on 3/4 miles walk to the historic General Store in Parks, Arizona. the general store has been through a number of owners and is still operational.

Historic Route 66 Arizona General Store Watercolor T-Shirt

We have driven on segments of the route in Arizona that are still drivable. Arizona is one of the several states that designed the road a National Scenic Byway (NSB) giving it the name "Historic" Route 66. We've driven and stopped in a number of the historic locations such Oatman where wild donkeys walk the streets. We've made several trips to Hackberry, Seligman. Williams and Flagstaff are normal locations for shopping and eating since they are nearby. 

One of the well-known stops is Winslow. The Eagles song "Take It Easy" brought fame to the town and there is a designated corner with a building facade and "flatbed Ford". Tourists flow through there to get their photos taken on the corner and drop into the souvenirs shops. 

Up the road is the La Posada Hotel. The hotel website reads that it is "The Last Great Railroad Hotel built in 1929 by the Santa Fe Railway for the Fred Harvey Company." The restaurant and artwork are definitely worth a visit. 
Winslow Arizona Red Splash Photograph Jigsaw Puzzle

You can find Route 66 gift ideas featuring the traditional black and white sign and variations of it. I wanted to design something different. My oval sticker design is comprised of a photograph of the construction of a stone well-house along a walkable segment of the historic route in Parks, AZ as the background. The two emblems in the oval design are from a photograph of the Arizona Historic US Route 66 road sign.

I would love to read about your experiences if you have visited any of the segments of the old route? 

Leave a comment and let me know your experience or thoughts on the post. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

5 Filtered Photographs Conceived From a Challenge

Inspiration comes from a variety of places, things, and even people. I was a member of a once active social site that had a photograph group that inspired us to enter weekly challenges.

The idea of winning a challenge wasn't even tops in my mind. The thought of being challenged to do something new or different in photography or editing was what drew me into participating.

During some of those weekly challenges, I couldn't come up with piece of work to submit or wasn't happy with what I'd come up with so I enjoyed seeing the creativity of others who submitted their entries.Then there were weeks where I was very pleased with the work I had put into the photographs. These Filtered Reality challenges, as the group was known, were a great way to read constructive critiques.

I decided to start using some of the photographs that I had done during those Filtered Reality challenges as designs on Zazzle products where they fit most appropriately. This 20" square polyester throw pillow design with a color splash of goldfish plant flowers and a pink and peach butterfly ornament is one of my recent additions to the store using one of the challenge photographs. You can find other products featuring this color splash design under my Color Splash Butterfly Still Life Photograph.

Color Splash Butterfly Still Life Photograph Throw Pillow

One of my most favorite edits was of a photography I took along a segment of Old Route 66 on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. The town built a special corner after it became famous by the Eagles song "Take It Easy". The black and white photograph has a red color splash of items that were actually red in the original color photograph. You can find a variety of products featuring red color splash to include this trendy metal print below. 

Winslow Arizona Red Splash Photograph Metal Print

There is so much to see year-round where we live. Generally, I find at least one new and interesting item to photograph when I'm out walking the dogs. The next photograph was taken with my iPhone. I immediately could imagine this in sepia tone as you see it here. You can find other products including this mousepad at the Sepia Thistle Seed category in the store. 

Thistle Seed Close Up Photograph Mouse Pad

The photograph below was originally yellow and red Gerbera daisies that I had taken from a larger bouquet. I placed these two in a large black glass beer mug and shot from directly overhead. It may have been a week where the challenge was highlighting red so this was the alteration.  

Red Color Splash Gerber Daisy Photograph Card

The day our neighbors brought home an adorable Alaskan Malamute I was there to check her out. She's a BIG girl now so seeing the puppy photos is a fun reminder of her first days. I decided to isolate the tongue and rope chew toy with bone since they were the most colorful. I then decided to reduce the opacity of those two items so they aren't as brilliant as in the original color photo.  

Alaskan Malamute Puppy Color Splash Photograph Jigsaw Puzzle

Alaskan Malamute Puppy Color Splash Photograph Jigsaw Puzzle

So there you have it. Five of a number of photographs that I had fun altering then decided to add to my Zazzle products. I'd love to read your comments so get right to it. ;-)


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

3 Lessons I Learned From My First Community Craft Fair

I finally did it. I took part in physically selling my Zazzle products at an event.

I participated in our local historic General Store's community fair, yard, and bake sale. The historic store is located along historic Route 66 and I had one particular design of the store that I thought would be good to put out there. My assumption was it would be visited by locals from the community more so than travelers along the Route 66 segment. Either way, I thought this would appeal to some folks.

It has been quite enjoyable selling my photography and digital art in my Zazzle store online since the summer of 2009. I've purchased many products for gifts, donations, and just to write a review. As an introvert, I'd never considered setting up at a public event with my products. This was going to be a a first and a big deal.

When I arrived early that morning, there were tables with yard sale tables and flatbed trailers, several tables with crafts like goat milk soap and me staking out a spot along the road.

I was offering a few other select Zazzle products that I thought would be of interest to our little community along with my headliner watercolor of the General Store. The watercolor was a digitally altered photograph of the historic General Store which you can see in the frames on the table in the photograph below. 
My minimal set-up along Route 66 with yard sale tables and trailers behind me.
I began ordering a variety of Zazzle products featuring that particular design and a few other custom historic Route 66 products such as magnets and key chains right after I signed up to participate in the event. Having a stockpile of products for the event was a way to keep me from backing out. When it was all over that day, I learned at least these three lessons. 

Outdoor Events Can Quickly Be Affected By Weather

My first lesson was with our weather surprises. We set up my table and a camp chair to display the products I brought. I framed and matted several prints and set those up in plate holders like in the photo below. I had also framed a greeting card and postcard with the same image to show how they looked framed. I used the camp chair to display products including magnets, totes and luggage tags.

Historic General Store Framed & matted print
I had several leather bags and purses with straps draped over the back and arms of the chair to show off a variety of lightweight acrylic luggage tags affixed to them like the acrylic tag shown in the photograph below. I also had locally related greeting cards, postcards, stickers, key chains, magnets, bumper stickers and the laptop sleeve (seen below) among the offerings.

Historic Route 66 General Store Neoprene Laptop Sleeve
Initially the wind was calm.  Within a short time, we had sporadic gusts and I had to lay flat all the framed prints down on the table. It sure didn't look as nice with all those flat on the table. I also had to chase a few of the lightweight paper products that blew off the table during unexpected wind gusts. Rain wasn't in the forecast but I wasn't prepared for that either.

Expect the Unexpected

Lesson number two was differentiating what was for sale and what was for displaying those products. The identification tags looked great displayed on the purses and bags draped over the camp chair but several people asked if I was selling the bags. I had to assume that since there were a lot of yard sale items all around me, the bags looked like sale items too. If I had put price stickers on the products that would have been better so people knew exactly what was for sale. I assumed people would want to talk about the items so I could tell them prices at that time. In hindsight, I can see how the bags looked like they might be for sale. 

Aspen Leaves in Fall Colors Acrylic Luggage Tag

Everything Is A Learning Experience

I've always known that designs or photographs I might like aren't necessarily something others might like. So with that in mind it's not so easy to decide what I'd take to another public event.   As an introvert, talking to folks doesn't get any easier if I don't get out and get social more often especially when I'm talking about my Zazzle products. 

As I was tearing down my table, I stopped in to talk with the store owner about the consignment of some of the products I still had out there. I'm still working on gathering some of the specialty local designs and plan to see how the consignment works out. 

I didn't sell a lot of what I'd expected but I learned these three and a few more lessons related to publicly selling my products and small community living. 

What have been your experiences either as a seller or buyer at a craft fair style event? I'd love to read your experiences and learn from them.

Leave me a comment.