Archive for May, 2014

Top Gifts for Father’s Day

May 31, 2014

Take a look at the top gifts for this Father’s Day.

A manly monogram lets Dad have his personal stamp on handy accessories.

 

Let the gifts do the talking with a bold statement of fatherly perfection.

 

 

 

Get Father’s Day started right with a meaningful mug or give a gift for a personalized dad’s night out.

 

 

The best-ever brunch: more eggs, please!

May 29, 2014

Morning! How do we typically feel on a Sunday? Ooh, it’s a bit bright outside. Might need to stay in bed an extra minute. What time is it? No. The girls are coming in half an hour! Where’s my towel, slippers — everything?!

 

That’s a pretty typical start to Sunday (for us). There’s nothing like a clan of friends coming over super soon, expecting a two-meal equivalent — and a showered host — to kick you into high gear on the laziest day of the week.

 

The checklist is always the same: Eggs? Got a dozen. Bread? Two kinds. Orange juice — making it. Champagne? Not that kind of Sunday (this time). Smoked salmon? Check, and it’s wild.  Muffins? Fruit salad?  We’re on it!

 

It’s not just about the food, though. OK, a lot of it is about the food, and the group, but the little touches are what make the difference. That’s why they keep coming back, instead of just staying in bed with a bagel. OK, a lot of it is about the food, but the extra touches are a big deal!  If you want to be the best host ever, here are some fun items that will truly impress your guests.

 

First, the juice comes out with a flourish on the Shabby Chic Roses Pink Food Tray, as the aroma of salt and cinnamon and toast wafts through the kitchen and every mouth waters:

http://www.zazzle.com/shabby_chic_roses_polka_dots_pink_food_trays-256280958949186820

 

The poached eggs cover the Engraved Swirly Daffodils Plate, in pale green and cream, soothing and calm like that first cup of coffee:

http://www.zazzle.com/engraved_swirly_daffodils_plate-115712216199393710

 

And propping up the crucial muffins is the Yellow Confetti Glass Cutting Board, perky with polka dots and equally handy for a cheese course or fruit:

http://www.zazzle.com/confetti_cake_yellow_buttercream_frosting_ipad_sleeve-205537882529775463?pt=cutting_board-256573773617485841

More coffee, anyone? Yeah, we thought so.

Introducing the Show Off Your Skills Design Challenge

May 26, 2014

Calling all Zazzlers! It’s time to put your creativity to the test, and show us your best. Introducing: the “Show Off Your Skills” Design Challenge!

 

Design_Contest_Banner

 

Here’s how it works: we’re looking for your brand new, never-before-seen, amazing invitation designs that show off your skills as well as showing off one of our new die-cut invitation styles. You can choose any of our new die-cut shapes: ticket, bracket, rounded corners, scallop, or tag – whichever showcases your design best.

You get the chance to win one of three $500 prizes – and your winning design featured on our lovely home page!

Check out our official submission page here for all of the details.

Who’s ready to show off their skills? Happy designing!

Fabulous Father’s Day Cards

May 24, 2014

Show your dad how much you love him this Father’s Day with the perfect card! 

Tell him with a funny card!

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Surprise  him with a cute card!

Or customize a “you” card!

 

 

 

 

Featured Designer Interview with Christine Britten

May 23, 2014

Today we’re catching up with Christine Britten, the marketing-savvy creator behind Zazzle store stineshop and the blog Zizzling Zazzle to talk about her store and how her blog and promotional efforts have helped make her a Zazzle success.

Zazzle: Tell us about you! Where are you from?

Christine: Hi, I’m Christine. I’m 31, and I live near Cologne, Germany with my husband. I just love Zazzle!

Zazzle: What is your background in art and design?

Christine: Actually, most of the photographs I use in my Zazzle store are shot by my husband! I’m not very talented with actually taking the photos, but it’s his favorite hobby. I’m more of the editor and product designer. I enjoy looking at his photos and making edits to them, and then using them to create products on Zazzle.

What I absolutely love is online marketing. So, our two hobbies are a great combination. He takes the photos, and I help us earn money with them! He has been able to buy a new camera, and we even funded a small vacation with our earnings. We make a good team.

Zazzle: How did you get started with your Zazzle store?

Christine: An online friend from the US actually told me about it, and I’m so glad she did. We met online, and she always said that our photos were so beautiful that we should sell them on Zazzle. She tried to convince me for months, until I finally opened an account (I think back in 2011). I designed a few products and totally forgot about Zazzle until about 9 months later when I got an email that said “Hooray! You’ve sold something”. I will never forget it, it was an iPhone case! I thought, “hey, this works!”, and I started to design a lot of products. I have almost 40,000 now. That was some hard work! It started with just one or two sales per month, then gradually grew to a few more sales per month, then several sales per week. It’s grown so much, it’s just wonderful.

Zazzle: What is your favorite Zazzle product to design?

Christine: I love to design postcards. It sounds a little boring, but I love them, and they make up a large part of the products I sell. I also have another hobby that I’m passionate about, which is Postcrossing. It’s a group where you can exchange postcards all around the world. I love to design postcards for Postcrossing. I’ve even ordered a lot of my own postcards, just to mail them around the world to others participating in Postcrossing!

I also really like to design smart phone cases, because smart phones by themselves are pretty boring! If I could, I would love to have a different phone case for every day so I could change it and make my phone more exciting. Unfortunately, that would get just a little bit expensive!

Zazzle: Have you noticed any products in your store that seem to be best sellers?

Christine: Yes! About 4 years ago, we took a typical West Coast vacation in the US, and we have one especially great photo of the Santa Monica pier. I have done so many different photo edits and filters on just this one photo. I have about 100 variations of the Santa Monica pier in all kinds of colors and shapes. I don’t have them all online yet, but it’s definitely the bestselling design, in any color variation: pink sparkles, orange. Sometimes the worst color combinations are the best selling items! It’s amazing, it’s the same photo, but after a little bit of editing I suddenly have a totally different picture.

Zazzle: We love your blog! How did you get started with blogging?

Christine: For over ten years I’ve had some kind of blog, about anything! I’ve also had a German blog for about 15 years now; it’s not very successful but I just love blogging. When I started to realize that I was generating sales on Zazzle, I thought that adding in my blog would be a great marketing opportunity to help generate even more sales. It’s fun, too! You can present your products, you can blog about certain topics, or showcase your ideas – it’s a great way to show your products to the world. I once read that there are over 1 billion products on Zazzle so you have to do something to sell your stuff. A blog definitely helps a lot.

Zazzle: We noticed you like to show off other Zazzler’s products on your blog as well. What has your experience been with being a Zazzle Associate?

Christine: I have a few online friends who are also Zazzlers. We have an active Facebook group about print on demand sites like Zazzle, and we like to help promote each other. I also try to help my friend who introduced me to Zazzle, since she did so much for me! On the other hand, I also try to promote things about a certain topic. For example, I might get a silly idea like “geek wedding invitations”. I searched for “geek wedding” on Zazzle and found some beautiful invitations, and thought “hey, that’s worth a blog post!” The chance to earn a referral is a plus, too.

There are so many pretty designs on Zazzle – if I had the money, I would buy so many different products from Zazzle. If I ever win the lottery, I might end up buying those 365 phone cases!

Zazzle: Speaking of promoting, are you involved with any other marketing strategies like social media?

Christine: Oh yes, I do a lot of that! I have a job during the week, so on the weekends, I work even more on Zazzle. I’m usually busy creating products, writing on my blog, and marketing online. I use Pinterest, I use Twitter, I use Facebook, Google+, Wanelo – everything! It’s so much work, but it’s fun ad I love to do it. It’s a great hobby.

Zazzle: Do you have any advice for designers who are just starting out on Zazzle?

Christine: Promote and use social media. Don’t just use one site to promote, use as many websites as you can handle to spread the word about your products. You need to be persistent, and never give up. My first sale was after about 9 months, and now the sales are only increasing! You don’t have to have as many products as some other stores might have, but you do have to know how to spread the word.

 

Turning the page on graduation with the best photo gifts

May 22, 2014

Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;

The World was all before them, where to choose

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.

 

Surprisingly fitting, isn’t it? Perhaps our erudite college graduates might recognize this excerpt from Paradise Lost having read it during a late-night study session for English Literature 101? This stanza marks the end of Paradise Lost by John Milton, written 350 years ago. Milton captures it all here: the sadness, excitement, freedom, fumbling, fear and loneliness of endings – which are also beginnings.

 

We have great works of literature to help us honor the endings, beginnings and major moments of life. We also have photos: candid ones, portraits, selfies, all testaments to what we’ve done (and with whom). We need them to help us remember.

 

So as your beloved young adult (OMG) emerges from college, weathered and matured, sad and excited and nervous for everything that’s to come, a personal photo gift could be the best reminder that it’s not over — that in their wandering steps and slow, their treasured loved ones are always with them.

 

Mornings will be brighter and calmer with the Instagram Photo Collage Mug, customizable with their monogram and any photos you choose:

 

http://www.zazzle.com/aqua_monogram_instagram_photo_collage_mug-168522046342243992

 

For their new fridge (hopefully cleaner than the one in their dorm room — onward and upward!), the Instagram Friend Photo Magnet is a touch of college, without the smell or clutter:

 

http://www.zazzle.com/instagram_friend_photo_magnet-147881603152257114

 

And for everywhere in between, the Instagram Collage iPhone 5 Case lets them take their best buds out with them every day, whether that’s the fam, the BF or GF, the BFFs or the pup:

 

http://www.zazzle.com/instagram_collage_4_photos_blue_background_case-179275430625546661

 

Congratulations. Happy graduation. And here’s to four more years of memories, many times over.

 

A pillow for every mood, and every masterpiece of art

May 21, 2014

As you lie back on your couch tonight, watching your top TV show of the season, what’s going to prop you up? Something bold, something blue, something natural, something totally new?

 

A pillow isn’t just a cushion. Sure, it keeps you comfy, but it also says something to the room and everyone in it. Maybe you’re feeling sassy, romantic, edgy, chill? What vibe do you want, and how are you going to get it?

 

Masterpieces of art can never steer you wrong. They’ve wowed us for hundreds of years, in museums and galleries and (very lucky) homes. And they can keep wowing you chez toi.

 

Maybe you’re craving some nature, ordered and tamed? Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are a study of texture and life, so yellow and vivid and detailed you could almost stroke their soft petals and stems. He created four of these paintings in the late-1880s, and wrote to his brother Theo: “I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won’t surprise you when you know that what I’m at is the painting of some sunflowers. [...] it gives a singular effect.” Imagine feeling that effect every day, with the gusto of a bouillabaisse eater:

http://www.zazzle.com/sunflowers_by_vincent_van_gogh_throw_pillow-189380921834700967

 

Perhaps you have a flair for the dramatic? The magic of theater, the drama of the stage (and the wings), the scandals, accidents, flourishes, surprise. And of course, the performers. Take ballerinas, whose discipline and commitment shine through in Degas’ paintings. Blue Dancers is a prime example, soft and reverential, with three ballerinas preparing to step into the light:

http://www.zazzle.com/blue_dancers_by_edgar_degas_vintage_impressionism_pillow-189450509845966858

 

If you like a bold statement, it’s got to be The Kiss. Ecstasy, bliss, jubilation in an instant, with big bright colors and yet a stillness, a moment frozen in time. From the peak of Klimt’s “Golden Period,” it’s a masterpiece of the early-20th century. Imagine the greatness that will come from having its company:

http://www.zazzle.com/the_kiss_by_gustav_klimt_vintage_art_nouveau_pillow-189319984054922746

The main question is: how to choose? Or, do you keep a pillow for every mood?

Paper Napkins for a Perfect Party

May 19, 2014

There are so many fun little details that go into a special occasion: the invitations, the decorations, the favors…not to mention the food! Luckily, one of our newest – and very popular – product lines are perfectly customizable for coordinating an event that’s memorable as well as crumb-free.

Our new paper napkins bring a one of a kind finishing touch to any special day!

Maybe a new addition to a family is on the way:

A graduation get-together is a great place to add a celebratory touch:

Of course we can’t forget our best-selling celebration for paper napkins, a happy couple’s special day:

What birthday party would be complete without cake (and some napkins for frosting-free fingers)?

 

You never know when a fun and personalized napkin might come in handy!

Let the poets speak: our favorite Father’s Day cards (and poems about fathers)

May 15, 2014

Behold the awesome dad. He loves, he toils, he sleeps when he can, picks up, drops off, runs unending errands, soothes, hugs, kisses, pays, and does it all again. Every day. Full-time. For decades.

We repay him with the love he shows us. And one day a year, we show it big-time. (We mean Father’s Day, by the way, which is on June 15th.)  But sometimes, it’s hard to tell him exactly what we mean. Sometimes a photo captures it, and sometimes, so does a poem.

 

Seamus Heaney, a father, husband and Nobel laureate whom we lost last year, expressed in Follower how insignificant we can feel in the presence of a truly great dad:

 

I stumbled in his hobnailed wake,

Fell sometimes on the polished sod;

Sometimes he rode me on his back

Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,

To close one eye, stiffen my arm.

All I ever did was follow

In his broad shadow around the farm.

 

Like Follower, the World’s Best Dad Photo Template Card says to him, no one can compare (or, “We’re not worthy!”):

http://www.zazzle.com/world_best_dad_photo_template_card-137242837055836351

 

Only a Dad by Edgar Albert Guest gives thanks for the daily, noble sacrifices fathers make for their kids, generation after generation, with humbleness and devotion:

 

Only a dad, but he gives his all

To smooth the way for his children small,

Doing, with courage stern and grim,

The deeds that his father did for him.

This is the line that for him I pen,

Only a dad, but the best of men.

 

The Special Dad Father’s Day Card, also, shares the love that your dad shares with you:

http://www.zazzle.com/special_dad_fathers_day_card-137445770077756954

 

With irony and wit, This Be the Verse by Philip Larkin toys with the dysfunction that our parents pass on to us:

 

They mess you up, your mum and dad.   

They may not mean to, but they do.   

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.

 

The Love You Daddy Happy Father’s Day Card has a similar exuberance, but much more affection:

http://www.zazzle.com/love_you_daddy_photo_happy_fathers_day_card-161009269643978476

Don’t take our word for it: take it from the cards and the verse. Every dad deserves his day. Make his as great as he is.

Four years in an instant: graduation announcements

May 14, 2014

There’s no way it’s already happening. No. The calendar’s wrong. We just dropped her off. She was just back home for Thanksgiving. She’s fighting with her new roommate. Her classes have been really hard. She still doesn’t have summer plans. She has four years there. It’s only been –

 

Wait. OK. Apparently it has been four … whole … years. So she’s actually graduating. Wow. That’s what her new job is all about. That’s why we bought flights for this month. I need a hat.

 

I guess we need to tell people? We should throw a party. Tell everyone, bring her back home with a big bash, celebrate her accomplishment! She’s graduating! She did it, she made it, we all did: let’s eat.

 

We could go bold and triumphant, use a photo of her looking proud and exuberant and thrilled. Maybe the Shining Moment Graduation Announcement is the one:

 

http://www.zazzle.com/shining_moment_graduation_announcement-161976723742949459

Or we could go elaborate, a little ornate, with cursive writing and a border, very dignified. We’d need three photos, but between our cameras and phones we have hundreds. The Chalkboard Graduation Photo Invite could be it:

 

http://www.zazzle.com/class_of_2014_chalkboard_graduation_photo_invite-161907298577228564

 

Or, we go clean and simple — a beautiful photo portrait, “2014 Graduate” on the bottom, no doubts about what or who it’s for. The Retro Graduation Invitation might be it:

 

http://www.zazzle.com/retro_grad_2014_graduation_invitation-161241428463351505

 

You know what: we can’t choose just one. She’s going to have to get a Master’s.


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