News

New Calendars on CafePress for 2010

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It’s only October, but already people are looking for Christmas gifts, big and small. So to that end I’ve created two calendars on CafePress for 2010. One showcases Toronto architecture with some stunning natural vistas to boot; the other is all about flowers and leaves that have been manipulated in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 and appeared originally on Flickr. Some use HDR, a hot technique among some photographers, some use textures, and some are outright manipulations that look nothing like the original. I hope you will check em out and even better buy a few for friends and family. And while you’re looking them over, please peruse the rest of my catalogue of T-shirts, mugs, and kitsch.

News

New SIGG Water Bottle on CafePress. New Water Design By Me.

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SIGG Water Bottle with Shireen's Water DesignIt’s been awhile since I created a new design for my CafePress shop, but this week CafePress.com announced a partnership with SIGG to provide eco-friendly 1L water bottles that shop owners can create designs for. These reusable bottles are BPA-free, have a lifetime warranty, and are made with a single-piece of aluminum and lined with non-toxic resin so as to avoid unwanted tastes and scents.

Well, that got me inspired to design something in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 (there really should be a short nickname for that program). The most obvious idea for me was to play with the word “water” and to play with images of water, like waterfalls. But I haven’t photographed waterfalls in awhile. I thought and thought, very tough you know, and then clicked onto a whole series I’d forgotten about of the fountains at Dundas Square. Lots of water shots! The handy dandy magic wand helped me cut out a fountain; I found a lovely piece of sky in another shot; I concentrated on figuring out how to make images appear in text; and then I got stuck on how to make font larger than 72 points. But as usually happens with me, I click enough and I stumbled onto a solution.

I’m very pleased with the results. And I hope you like it enough to (shameless request here) to buy it! And while you’re there, check out the matching his and hers organic T-shirts.

News

Changing, Updating, Adding Beauty to my CafePress Shop

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OK, I’ve been a bit slow in clearing out my Christmas stock in my CafePress shop: Points North Studio. But if I’d been timely, I wouldn’t have had my Iris photo to use on greeting cards. My subconscious obviously knew I had to wait for the right photo to come! I now have a nice selection of blank greeting and note cards, useful for any occasion, big or small or just because.


At last, CafePress has gotten the ceramic travel mug back in stock. It’s eye-catching and a workhorse both. What could be a better combination?

I’ve created an image just for this ceramic travel mug. There’s nothing so appealing as a bright red cardinal on a snow white background!

My calendars have been big hits, particularly the one featuring photos of Toronto. They’ll only be available for one more month. Get yours now while you still can!


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News

CafePress has gone Canuck

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CafePress has gone Canadian. Yup, they’ve launched a CafePress website “localized for the Canadian market.” When you surf to CafePress, you’ll see a little flag at the top of their website with an arrow beside it. If you mouse over that arrow, you can choose from Canada, Australia, UK, and US Worldwide. Sweet!

Canadians can now buy my products in Canadian currency and receive enhanced shipping plus my “designs will now take center stage.” In other words, my Canadian designs won’t be lost in the plethora of Obama and US Thanksgiving designs. So now you have no excuse not to buy! 🙂

Personal

A Week to Remember

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It’s been an up and down week these past many days. My brain has been healing rapidly, which is good, but has been throwing me into chaos as it drags me away from my routine in search of rediscovered abilities, not so good. I had to organize myself again to take into account my new activities, but discovered that was not so easy. Apparently, my Palm is obsolete, and I wasted two days trying to work around that. I managed a once-only sync with new calendar systems. But don’t know what I’m going to do in the future. I’ll deal with that later. Now if I had a Blackberry or iPhone, I’d be golden!

I’ve finally completed my series Going Ubuntu on Squidoo. Upgrading to Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex version may’ve been a pain, but it did get me to finish writing about switching from Windows to Ubuntu!

I continue to add products to CafePress, including one inspired by Judy Taylor, and I had a wonderful moment a few days ago when I realised that I could once again work with a graphics program beyond resizing and adding some copyright text. Yay for brain healing!

I’ve been looking for poppies for many days now, to no avail. I even actively looked today, but still no luck. However, I really don’t need a poppy on my lapel to remember. I immersed myself in Remembrance Day programming on Global last Sunday — tweeting my thoughts like mad — Twitter is so good for sharing those little thoughts you don’t want to do a full blog on — and today a good friend leant me her poppy photo so I could pay tribute to the day on Flickr. Plus the documentary Vimy Ridge: Heaven and Hell, inspired me to write a Remembrance Day piece on my main blog.

So that’s the kind of week it’s been.

Personal

CN Tower Over the Valley Inspires a CafePress Calendar

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CN Tower from across the Don Valley
The CN Tower from across the Don Valley

I’ve discovered two things this week: I really need an audiovisual entrainment session to get me writing on my blogs; and creating images for CafePress is awfully addictive.

I called up the ADD Centre a few days ago to catch them up on my brain’s healing — especially the recent jump in writing skills — and to get some advice on how to bring my chronic stress under control. The medical profession is about as effective in stress management as they are in weight loss. Here, take a pill and go away. The Director Dr. Lynda Thompson listened and suggested I come in for a session; the next thing I knew, I was hooked up to that familiar computer with a whack of sensors attached to me, undergoing a stress evaluation and then a reduce busy brain session. Busy brain is when your mind goes round and round and is not conducive to relaxed attention and can cause anxiety. And then we went over my little machine I use at home. They suggested a new session. I think I’d used it before, years ago (hard to believe I first went to the ADD Centre 3 years ago), but I had been using other sessions the last couple of years. Well, I tried it at home yesterday, and wow, what an effect. The neatest thing about some of these sessions is that you have instant visual improvement. Amazing how sharp everything looks when you take the shades off. I wrote an awful lot after that  26-minute session, which stimulated SMR brain waves (relaxed, focussed attention) in my right hemisphere and alpha and beta waves (creative and thinking waves) in my left hemisphere. I have a lot of problems with reading that are related to issues in the posterior area of the brain, the section near my left ear, and the left frontal cortex. Unfortunately, I don’t think this session did anything for my reading. On the bright side, my reading is much better than when I first attended brain biofeedback at the centre.

Anyway, that session also started a flurry of creating CafePress shop products from my photos. I just finished creating two very big ones: the wall calendar and the vertical wall calendar. It was lucky I hauled out my Nikon D80 early October as some of those shots came in very handy when creating these calendars.

I took this photo of the CN Tower just last week from the Viaduct with my D80. I’d tried this shot a year or two ago, but this time I was far more successful. I knew it would be perfect for the front cover of the vertical wall calendar. I invite you to check it out. I’ve also added other typical Christmas gifts — ornaments, greeting cards, T-Shirts, etc. — to my CafePress shop. I have lots more products to add, but I’m going to take a break for a day or two! I think I’ve earned it!!

Personal

Getting Acquainted with my CafePress Shop, Points North Studio

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Just under a week ago, I joined CafePress as a shopkeeper. I’d thought about doing it a few months ago, researched it and its competitors, sunk into a quagmire of indecision, and then the Olympics started. Last week, a friend of mine reminded me of CafePress, and I started up the shop.

It’s been an adventure figuring out the image requirements, how to use the templates, which photopaint software is the best one to use (still working on that one), discovering the plethora of products to create images for, and playing with which images work best on which products. I’m finally starting to feel like I know what I’m doing, and it’s getting rather addictive adding new products. And unlike writing, it’s a totally different and less effort-full thinking process. Populating my CafePress shop provides a nice break from writing and thinking about writing (half of writing is thinking, mulling, pondering ideas), yet it still makes me feel productive, so important after too many years of rehab being my “job.”

I started my shop with a bunch of dark T-shirts, added on Christmas greeting cards — my favourite is the beach photo with the dog in Lake Ontario. The kicker is that it’s February, there’s a thick dock of ice along the shoreline that I watched the dog carefully navigate when deciding where he’d enter the water, and his equally slow-moving human companion is standing on the snow-covered sand wrapped up in toque and winter coat. But I digress. CafePress helped me get my Flip Mino loaded into my shop. I have a CN Tower journal, and just added a variety of mugs. I’m currently mulling over which photo to use on the throw pillow. I’m leaning towards one of my zoo shots, but don’t think the Hippo Butt shot would make for a good pillow adornment, even though it’s my favourite. My CafePress adventure continues!

Marketing

My New CafePress Shop: Points North Studio

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I write to create, expose, think out loud, tell a story, keep me sane. But I photograph flowers, animals, cityscapes for fun. I see a scene, a flower, and as long as my camera is nearby, I shoot. No thinking involved, like with writing, well, usually not. I lost this hobby of mine for several years after my closed head injury. And then one day, almost three years ago, when I thought the hobby was gone for good, with the strong encouragement of a friend, I bought a digital point and shoot. I had been using SLRs (single lens reflex) cameras for 20 years at the time of my injury, complete with a supply of filters and lenses, and considered myself a decent photographer, one who wasn’t interested in point and shoots with their limited abilities. But by late 2005, I no longer cared about point and shoots’ limitations. Simply pointing at a flower and shooting was a big leap forward for me. A year and a bit later, fate intervened again, and I got my second lifetime SLR. This time it was a digital one; I exchanged in my old film one, the one that had remained idle for 6 years, at the same time. Me and my Nikon D80 are still learning about each other, and me and my Nikon Coolpix S2 are now old friends. Together, we’ve enjoyed the pleasure of a beautiful rose, the fun of following a butterfly, the impressiveness of Toronto’s buildings. But what I never expected was that my Nikon buddies would lead me to an income-earning opportunity.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the opening of my new CafePress.com shop at CafePress.com/ShireenJ. I call my shop Points North Studio, after my Flickr name. I’ve created a few products to begin with: T-shirts featuring my popular morning rose, a journal with the CN Tower soaring up its cover, and a birthday card featuring a jaunty yellow crocus. Other products and shop features will follow regularly as I familiarize myself with creating them. Also CafePress provides the ability to open up more than one shop; if, for example, people want to see more greeting cards, I’ll open up new shops to showcase new card designs.

I invite you to check it out, e-mail me your comments, and shop!