Archive | Miscellany

Somehow I took the summer off!

Sometimes, the time just gets away from you! Now that September is well underway, I’ve come back to working on again. Of course, I was working on my Zazzle stores and another project I’ll tell you about later, but the best part was playing with a box! (I really did not spend my time sitting on a dock, lovely as that idea is!)dock

doorsI spent a lot of the summer building a pirate ship for two little girls. It turned into a giant coloring book with artistic spurts broken up by screaming and laughing through the portholes. I found little girls are only interested in swords for about 30 seconds, hats for about two minutes and eye patches for about five minutes.

But cardboard and crayons and markers are good for hours and hours.

pirate ship



If you have the chance to play pirate with a beautiful two year old, turn off your computer and go play! The computer will always be there, but the children will grow up and move on.




Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


One summer, I was the one feeding the turkeys every day and making sure the silly things were locked up at night. Truthfully, I was a little intimidated to have two turkeys run straight at me because they heard the rattle of corn in their feed bucket. Not everyone is anxious to have animals eating out of their hand when they first meet! If you’re not careful and fast with their food, turkeys will nip you!

Something you may not know about turkeys if you have never seen one out in the grass under the sunshine – their feathers are absolutely gorgeous! They are iridescent with rainbow colors, not plain dark brown at all.

woman with quill

Madeline Breckinridge, full-length portrait, seated at desk, facing slightly left, with quill pen in hand. George Grantham Bain Collection at the Library of Congress

Can you imagine if you were writing or drawing with a turkey feather quill and ink? Your feather pen may have been beautiful and not ordinary at all!

On this day of Thanksgiving in the United States, I’d like express my gratitude for a world of beauty and color.

Not just blue skies and rainbows, but turkey feathers, too.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving with many delicious and colorful blessings!



Zazzle’s New Design Tool 2013

shirt with new Zazzle design tool

Shirt shows new design tool on Chrome browser.

Has it happened to you yet?

You open a product on your  store – or you go to buy one on someone else’s store and. . . it happens. You are not in Oz anymore and Toto has left town.

Actually, maybe you are in Oz now, because things got weird. Instead of clicking your heels, however, you are pounding your head on the desk.

Zazzle has a new design tool

You know how this works. Zazzle cooks up new stuff and then lets guinea pigs various storekeepers and customers sample the brews on random browser tests. The new design might appear on one browser and not another. Clearing your cache and cookies may get you out of it, or may not.

So, what is the latest version of the design tool? And is it going to be something to look forward to?

Hint: they’ve apparently hired video game designers and people who like secret codes. And Twister.

So, you know you have the new tool when. . .

Appearance of puppet warp "pins"

Appearance of puppet warp “pins”

Messages are popping up and down and jumping out from all over the screen. Familiar actions are gone, new ones are in their place. The strangest is the unlabeled pins stuck on the products and the unlabeled circles you will encounter in the design view. Maybe these have a code name, but I’m calling them pins. They look like the pins from the Adobe Photoshop’s Puppet Warp tool. Or from Lightroom’s spot removal pins.

The messages stop popping up after a few seconds and stay gone. In order to determine what to do, you have to test everything. Nothing is labeled until and unless you mouse over it.

It’s like a treasure hunt, but you don’t see little jewels and hats and vials of poison, you see pins that all look alike. There are a lot of opportunities to put objects in position. You’ll see.

The new tool was initially implemented on mugs and then t-shirts and is being fine-tuned along the way. There may be differences, therefore, when you encounter it! I found out today that Rickshaw messenger bags show it when I decided to share the sale of one on my Pinterest board. Yikes!

Tropical Turquoise Ocean Blue & Seaweed Green Messenger Bags

The screen immediately began tossing random info at me as you can see by the overlay info in the image below. You can see another of the pop-ups in the t-shirt image at the top of this page.

Zazzle design tool

Watch the use of this tool on video

If you want a peek at how the tool works and it’s not showing on your browser yet, below you will find a long video of me fumbling my way through it. And mind you, I had already seen this tool on t-shirts, so I was not totally new to it! I don’t know how customers will like customizing with this new method, but it adds many steps to the process for designers. I do point out the new way to post a product for sale. You could say it’s hidden.

Zazzle tests all these permutations, so presumably they will get it right in the end.

My feelings will not be hurt if you don’t watch all twenty minutes of this video. Unless you’re from Zazzle – you SHOULD watch it. I believe I constrained myself to one actual swear word (pats self on back).

Note: this screencast is not only long, but also done on software new to me, so it doesn’t have a pretty cover or fancy ending. Oh well.

Was this helpful? Please comment below or share!

Great deal on webhosting today only!

Can I get a good web host at a great price?

The question of where to host a WordPress website – or any blog or site – comes up a lot. People ask about web hosting in the Zazzle forums all the time. They ask on Facebook all the time. Everyone you turn, new wannabe website owners and dis-satisfied website owners are looking for recommendations about web hosts.

One of my favorite webhosts, HostGator out of Houston, Texas, is having a fantastic sale today!

51% off new hosting packages!

I’ve tried several other website hosts, but have been quite happy with HostGator. The cPanel makes it easy to use and it comes with free email. I use them for most of my WordPress websites. And I’ve called them at 1 o’clock in the morning and gotten just the help I needed, too.

Check them out and save a lot today!


When you go to the HostGator site, click on the blue sign the alligator is holding to be taken to the three packages available. I recommend the Baby Plan if you think you’ll want two or more websites – you can have an umlimited number!

Here’s a partial comparison of the difference between HostGator’s webhosting packages:
Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 4.19.37 PM

The 51% off webhosting at HostGator applies to your first invoice and is on new or additional hosting accounts. See the HostGator page for all the details.

This deal expires at midnight Central time!

The Power of Art

Art – visual and verbal – mixed in a creative brew of motion and emotion has the power to sear feelings, add wings to messages and transform lives. It can start to heal open wounds, flay whips and send ripples across complacent waters. Want to see a fresh example for yourself? Watch this video about bullying by Shane Koyzan, a spoken word poet.

It just might revise your idea of poetry as well. 🙂

Has the power of art ever affected you? There has to be a reason why so many motivational (and de-motivational!) posters are sold. We can relate to others and enjoy the way a concept is presented to us.

Myself, I had changed schools twelve times in six towns and two States by the time I graduated high school and I don’t think I ever saw the kind of bullying described here – thank God – nor the hateful torments that make headlines in our newspapers today. When I moved from one side of the Mason-Dixie line to the other as a thirteen-year-old, the culture difference was black and white. In more ways than one. My accent, interrupting the class in the middle of the school year, was discordant in a town centered around the battlefield of a bloody Civil War fight. The kids there weren’t interested in being friendly with an outsider.

In the cafeteria, I sent messages with my eyes that more than balanced the discomfort level. Previously, a tongue as sharp as a scalpel had been my weapon. Isn’t it funny how we arm ourselves in one way or another?

But, lucky me.

Our neighborhood was a border one, so we had the choice of my mom driving us to the snotty school in town or taking a bus to a friendly school up in the hills. It sounds so stereotypical, doesn’t it? My experience regarding kids who were different in some way was more that they were ignored. I never saw anyone beaten up for their lunch money or overtly made fun of for their appearance. That was decades ago and maybe I was oblivious. Or I’ve forgotten. Maybe lucky. Maybe I never stayed around long enough to see what was really going on.

But I think things have changed for the worse. I can’t imagine the trouble I would have gotten in at home if I had bullied someone.

I see plenty of rudeness and just plain meanness in online forums. Just reading the comment section after a newspaper article can make me shake my head in disbelief.

Hurtful words and actions can do more damage than sticks and stones, of course.

Leo Buscaglia, a writer and professor wrote about the reverse to meanness.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

There’s an art to spreading lasting kindness, too. Do you want to see a caring person?

Go, look in the mirror!

You wouldn’t be still reading if you weren’t a sensitive person.

Now, go use your power of art to spread kindness in the world. 🙂

Leave a comment and tell us what you’ve done, if you want.