TheAspenStand

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Popular Brand Name Products On Zazzle To Customize

Did you know that you can find popular brand stores on Zazzle? You read that correctly.

If you are a fan of popular brands or looking for products featuring Disney, Marvel or a number of other brands you should check Zazzle because you may be able to personalize a product for yourself or for a very special gift.

I'm a huge fan of Hallmark's Maxine cartoons. I even have the Maxine store listed in the Special Zazzle Store collection in the right column of this blog. Since she's a fav, I'll show you what you can do to personalize some of the products in these brand stores by using the blue  Customize  button on the product page.

I found a mug that will make a great personalized gift. The post is to show you how easy it is for you to make a custom gift with it.

Maxine Status Update Coffee Mug


When you click that Customize button a new window opens. This is where you will see what is part of the design and what might be additional text.  Here you see that this design is placed on both sides of the mug. 


You can add text by clicking the blue  Add Text  button along the top. I added "Maxine Rocks!" in black Yellowtail typeface under each image. You might consider adding a name or something appropriate to you or to the giftee. You can make the comment go along the top or bottom by simply moving the text block when it appears in the center of the design. Below the design element, you can change the typeface, size, and color.


I decided that I wanted to add additional color to the background on the white ceramic mug. You can see in the image below how you can click on the color slider to select a color you might not see on the block of colors. I did some sliding of the color picker to get a color as close to the design background as possible. 


When I finished all that and liked it, I clicked the blue  Done  button. Be sure to select your preference from the two sizes and the seven mug style options offered in the right column. Once you've done that you can add your personalized design to the Shopping Cart.

Before checking out be sure to check the top of the page to see if there are any coupon codes to add for a discount at checkout. 


I hope that was helpful. Leave me your feedback on the post. I love to read comments. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Do Awesome Textures Focus Attention on Your Photos?

Are you an aural or visual person?

I know that I've always been a visual person. I'll gravitate to a photograph and caption before I will look at a block of copy. That might be why I enjoyed newspaper layout and design rather than writing the material for the medium. I wrote a bit about this in my recent post about using your observation skills.

Something I take in on my observations is texture. I look at the nooks and crannies, consistencies and I'm not too shy to touch something when it's appropriate. That reminds me of one visit to an art gallery. I moved in toward a piece of work to get a closer look at the texture when the alarm reminded me (and everyone else) that I was too close.

I was able to brush my fingers along the subject of the image below. This was a concrete block mixed with shells. It was the setting for a plaque on a corner in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was fascinated by the texture.




We were in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona one day and I am always observing. I happened to see this segment of red paver stone around an old railroad building that had weeds growing between the stones. I must admit that I'm OCD about pulling weeds but I thought this was a great background and texture photograph. The rough, firm stone texture contrasting the living flexible weed was my draw. 

Recently, Zazzle added doormats to the line of products and I thought it would make a great design. I guessed right because that was the first sale of my growing selection of doormats. You too can greet guests with humor at the door when you lay out this Paving Stones and Weeds In The Walkway Photograph Door Mat.

Paving Stones and Weeds In The Walkway Photograph Doormat
Paving Stones and Weeds In The Walkway Photograph Doormat

We live near so many interesting little towns and communities in northern Arizona. It's nothing to head to one on weekends to walk the streets, check out the sights and grab a meal. The photograph below is Williams, Arizona which is also known as "The Gateway to the Grand Canyon". The exterior was recently renovated when I took this photograph. I loved the contrasting texture of the brick and stucco design.



I remember seeing something interesting from a distance while walking in a park near Lake Charles, Louisiana. I started heading out toward it and saw the textures and colors from afar. Apparently, there was a building or portion of a pier at that location and blocks of this concrete and brick were along the water. 


Being able to actually touch objects I find that have interesting textures is always a plus. While on a trip to Zion National Park, Utah, I got that opportunity. This is one close-up of the rock texture. Afar or close, the natural formations at Zion are amazing. 


Are there particular textures you've used as a photography subject or background for text block?

Are you one to get on the ground or to climb up to get a better view from above for a different angle of a photo subject?

Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts on the post and answer the questions. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Do Simple Subjects Trigger Your Greatest Creative Growth?

Variety is a wonderful thing. Of course, it's what makes life interesting. You've seen it written many ways but you know it because you are not like anyone else. You may have some similarities to others but that's probably minimal when you get into the depths of it. I love to look for what's different.

Just as some photographers favor humans over other subjects, I favor nature. I blame it on being an introvert but that's not a bad thing. And I do like to have a little fun with my subjects as you see Mr. Lego moving that large flat top white mushroom through the rugged pine straw and weed terrain.

Yes, mushrooms out in natural surroundings are one of my favorite photography subjects when I can find them in our high desert environment.


Several years after moving here I noticed the interesting variety of mushrooms while out walking during our rainy season, which we call monsoons here.

I've found quite a variety of mushrooms popping up out in the forest, meadows, and prairies where I walk the dogs. Some time back, I wrote a post titled "6 Captures Exposing The Low Down On Perspective" which shares photographs of a variety of mushrooms we saw that year during our walks.

I'm never one to shy away from crawling around on the ground to try for a better angle when getting a photograph. The dogs have a great time sniffing around and thankfully aren't interested in eating them which could become a problem.

I've walked the woods many years and never saw a true Amanita Muscaria mushroom. The photograph below was a chance finding. I happened to change direction after not seeing any mushrooms and caught a glimpse of the color from this one in the brown pine straw recently.

mushroom, amanita, amanita muscaria, orange, photography, fungus

The orange capped mushroom below was found on one of the first hikes many years ago when I started looking for mushrooms. I have this photograph framed and hanging as a print in our home. I also offer this photograph as a wrapped canvas seen below as one of the several products featuring this orange capped mushroom busting through rotted pine wood and pine straw in my online store. Click the image to check it out.
Colorful Mushroom Busting Through Canvas Print

Colorful Mushroom Busting Through Canvas Print

Several years ago we traveled through Alaska. There were so many mushrooms that I had to narrow down what I selected for this post. We live in a high desert so we don't see the lush green environment like we did there. This vibrant green moss covered tree stump with the mushrooms growing out of it was the top choice for this post.

moss, mushrooms, vegetation, green, nature, tree stump,

The last mushroom photograph I share because it turns out that I actually ate these. This is what I was told it was called and found in research as a Lobster mushroom. It's said to have that title since it looks like the color of a cooked lobster. We were at our neighbor's home once for dinner and she served these with a dipping sauce. They had the density of cauliflower without any crunch. I really worried about getting sick after trying them but there was no problem at all. Having been out mushroom hunting (for photographs only) I now know the areas where I'll find these popping out of the pine straw. 


What is your favorite photography subject?
Are you one to get on the ground or to climb up to get a better view from above for a different angle of a photo subject?

Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts on the post and answer the questions. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Is Learning to Notice What's Around You A Part of Your Photography?

people, dancer, belly dancer, woman, crowd, adults, children

I watched the video "Visual Exercise" by Sean Tucker several times and two points really hit on something I think about often. The first point, in life and in photography, is learning to really observe and understand your surroundings. In life, observation skills take on a safety and security aspect. As in photography, observation skills give you an appreciation of all that is around you.

The second point that stirred feelings for me is not being so focused on your camera gear.  He basically references that a paint brush alone does not make you an artist because there is so much more to it.

"Art is gonna come out of experimentation."  ~ Sean Tucker, photographer

Tucker reinforces that, "Owning a camera does not necessarily make you a good photographer. It's going to take more than that because, photography, at the end of the day, is still an art." He talks about using our phones and making mistakes but I'll let you watch the video to hear those points from him.


I often use my camera phone to get shots because my DSLR isn't available. Some photographers frown upon using them but it's my phone and photographs or nothing. I'll take some shots with my phone. The cameras on phones have improved tremendously over time. A friend was using her new Samsung on a recent visit to the Grand Canyon and the quality of the photographs was excellent. Just like a DSLR, we can also take as many photographs as we want. There's always the chance of getting something really good that would have been missed otherwise.

I don't carry my DSLR on most daily dog walks or hikes. Sunrise the morning of this shot had the makings of a beautiful start. I used my phone to capture the dew drops on the tall prairie grass as the sky was exploding with morning color. It was a nice share for our local community Facebook group page. It's not perfect but I was able to show off the beauty of that morning that others weren't able to witness.

grass, silhouettes, sky, sunrise, dawn, morning, orange, pink, yellow

I've always been a people watcher. I can sit in one location for long periods to observe the busy world around me. I think the interesting take on this trait is that I prefer to photograph objects, nature, and animals.

On the streets in the French Quarter of New Orleans, I can watch tourists all day but I'm more interested in the other aspects of my surroundings. I shot this yellow bicycle with the pink tires and a multi color seat on an overcast day. There weren't many people on the street and the bicycle was the brightest thing to catch my eye. The bicycle was also captured with my phone.

bicycle, pink tires, gray day, basket, colorful, NOLA, New Orleans, Louisiana

We should look at the world around us as children do. I've often said this in social media posts. We should have an intense curiosity. Looking under, around, and from above objects to get a different perspective. Looking closer than we would normally look reveals some interesting things too. 

The photograph below is of two tiny mushrooms I noticed on a piece of dead wood after a minor snowfall. It intrigued me that these two mushrooms were still attached. The forward, more shriveled up mushroom was about the size of a dime so you can estimate the size of the one in the back. That brown stick like item near the back mushroom is a tiny piece of wolf lichen. 

mushrooms, dried mushrooms, dead wood, photography, close-up, macro, snow

Two questions for you. 
1.  What was your take on the Sean Tucker video? 
2.  Whether you are a photographer or not, do you consider yourself a good observer? 

Leave a comment here to give me your thoughts on this post.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One Simple Way to 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?