Zazzle.com Collection: Christmas and Holiday Magnets

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Don't Miss the Window

It's a busy time of year for designers, marketer's and shop keepers. This is the time when many people are making a list and beginning their Christmas shopping. You won't want to miss out on this window of opportunity for your own business.  I hope you've got your marketing plans and strategy for the busy shopping season underway. If not it's definitely time to get started. The days go by so quickly, really it is a short but usually very busy season for shop keepers. I’m sure you know that the stores in the malls all have their Christmas stock out and are creating ways to bring in the shoppers. They are setting up holiday displays to attract as many customers as possible. Many of the big box stores started in October with putting their Christmas and holiday products out. 

As an online small business owner I realize the importance of getting on board early and be prepared with my websites for those early shoppers. People are starting their shopping earlier and earlier every year. I know several people who do a little shopping all year long.  Research shows that more and more people are doing their shopping online and this is a trend that will only increase as time goes on. So basically, the key is to have a plan and make it happen. Take a look at your inventory and assess what you want to add to your inventory. Ways that you can spruce up your sites, like adding a festive banner for the holiday season. Look at the trends and items that will attract customers to your store front. We all know there is lots of competition for online store owners that's why it's so important to make our products and shops look the best that they can. It takes great marketing effort and consistency everyday to draw the customers in. 

Promotion is big, market, market, market. It's the only way to get those customers eyes on your shop. Use all available social media platforms that you are active in. I suggest doing this subtly, nobody wants to be bombarded with a ton of your items, so add something of value when you can. When using Twitter, remember to include appropriate hash tags, like #sales, #deals, #blackfriday and so forth. This will help when people who are searching for products and deals. Pinterest is another great marketing site, you'll want to highlight your holiday boards that feature your products. Create unique boards like Christmas Ideas,  Outdoor Christmas Decor, Tree Trimming Gifts, you get the idea. Pinterest lets you add prices too. Well that's it, hope you are on your way to a fabulous sales season. Don’t procrastinate too long or you might miss your window of opportunity. 


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Reaching For Healthy Snacks

Everyone knows that it's better to get your vitamins and minerals from natural foods when possible. Although I do agree that supplements are beneficial and go hand in hand with a healthy diet and exercise.  

I wanted to share my new favorite healthy snack food with you. If you enjoy things like peanuts, crunchy snacks like those bags of chips that we all crave at times you will most likely love this snack as much as I do. 

Ready it's ... Chic Peas, yup, Oven Roasted Chic Peas to be exact. Also known as garbanzo beans! Personally I don't like chic peas any other way but this way! 

This recipe is so simple you almost don't need it and it can be changed by the spices that you add or don't add to them. 

Open a can of Chic Peas and drain them. I recently heard that the juice of these can be used as a thickener but don't quote me on that one. I just drained them. Place in a dish and pat dry to remove moisture with a paper towel. In a bowl add some olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, about a half a tsp. of cayenne pepper and garlic salt or powder as desired. Mix this up and stir into chic peas making sure to coat them all. Pour them onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. You can flip them over half way through the cooking time if desired.  Once baked take them out and cool for a few moments before indulging.  So good and healthy. These are now my favorite snack to munch on while watching a movie. 





Chic peas are high in protein and fiber content. They also contain iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K.  Medical News Today, says, they have many health benefits and may help ward off inflammation as well as prevent disease in the body.  

This post is a little different from my usual topics but it's good to interject with new and interesting topics occasionally. Do you have a favorite healthy snack, do share! 


Monday, October 10, 2016

Creating a Video Is Really That Simple

Do you create videos for fun or for business purposes? I have recently been reading and looking into using different platforms where I could make a simple video to showcase some of my products and put together some Christmas craft video clips to share on Youtube.  My son recommended I try the new Windows 12 Movie Maker as this is one that he had recently used and said it was pretty straight forward to use. Thus began another learning journey for me!  Once Windows Movie Maker was downloaded to my computer I opened it up and started adding uploading my pictures that I wanted to put in my video. The order you upload them in doesn't matter as you have the ability to move them around or delete them if they are not the ones you want. You can add a title page if you desire. I then added a name to my project and saved it.  After getting all my pictures in the order I wanted them, I added captions to several of them. Super easy, click on the caption link to do this. I choose the method that I wanted the pictures to change frames, I believe it was the Contemporary view that I choose. If you want to have narration in your video there is a button to add that too! I didn't use that in mine but perhaps in the future! Next I wanted to add some music to play along as the pictures change. For this I joined Vimeo, there you can choose from free or low cost music clips to add to your video. Piece of cake!  Look for the genre and browse the list to find a song that works for you. After adding a slide for the credits and soundtrack I was pretty much happy with it. Publish it and share it wherever you like. Here's where you can add it to Youtube or share it on social media sites as desired. So if you've been wanting to try making a simple video for sometime now, you should give it a go! 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Simple Yet Elegant Christmas Decorating Ideas

 

A little early for Christmas but this was my first experience using Movie Maker! It was fun and simple to use!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Designing and Marketing New Products

It's great when new products come out, especially at the beginning of a new season. New products can inspire and get the creative juices flowing again after a busy summer. 

Zazzle has brought in stylish tank tops and leggings to be creatively designed. It's great when we get products that are items that people are interested in buying and wearing. Clothes that are made of good quality fabric and provide comfort as well as great style.  

The tank tops are an all over print in a versatile style that can be printed on front and back.

  • Unisex sizing- fits both Men and Women.
  • Material: 100% white spun polyester that's soft and comfortable.
  • Superior sweat-wicking material.
  • Custom designs printed in vibrant prints are soft and touchable. 
The women's leggings are a full length style made of  a high spandex content that hugs and fits the body in all the right places. They are also made in Canada. 

  • Material: Ultra-stretch ecopolyester spandex blend (88% polyester, 12% spandex)
  • High spandex composition means compression fit won't lose shape
  • Machine wash cold, lay flat to dry
  • Vibrant print won't fade after washing
Leggings are a wardrobe staple for most women these days as they are a versatile piece to have in your closet. Whether you wear them to the gym to do your workout in or layer them under a tunic or cozy sweater you'll look great and love the comfort and ease of these. Teenagers especially tend to love these leggings with cute patterns and bright colors that show off their personality. Personally I think these would make great gifts this Christmas season for a teen in your life.  

Here are a few examples of the tanks and leggings with some cute patterns. Check by the shop to see more as I'll be busy creating new patterns for these over the next couple of months. 












Monday, September 12, 2016

Paint Programs That Can Help You Get Started

So you're new to designing, perhaps you're just in the throws of wanting to start an online business where you create images or graphics for products that you sell.  I thought I'd share some of the digital paint programs that can help make the design process easier for you. Over the years as I have developed my design style and methods that I like to use to create I have tried several different paint programs. Now first I'll say that I have not spend a great deal of money on  any of the programs I've tried. For instance,  I know Photoshop is great, complicated for beginners and it does cost a few bucks for that one, so it depends how much you're willing to invest and learn. Today, I'll share a couple of the the free ones as well as a low-cost paint program that are great for a beginner and intermediate artists. 

Paint.Net - This program runs on Windows and is free image and photo editing software. Has a 4 star rating. Offers an intuitive in inter-face with layering, special effects and lots of useful tools. Provides help, tutorials and plugins. (The tutorials are great for beginners) 

MyPaint - A painting program that is designed in a simple format making it easy to find your way around. Includes lots of great features with a toolbar and menu bar across the top of the interface. A large variety of brushes to choose like pencils, markers and paintbrushes. An easy to use color selector and this program supports layers.   If you're a beginner you'll have fun with this one and more advanced users will appreciate some of the more technical features. 

SumoPaint - This is a free online image editing and free paint program. Aside from being a great tool Sumo also has an online art community of users from around the world. The community is for sharing, commenting, exploring other's art. You can choose to use it for this or just use it as the paint/image editing tool. This is the program I have mainly been using the last couple of years. One thing I love about Sumo is that if you purchase the Pro Version (only $20) then you can download Sumo to your computer and work offline. They have added some really cool features and filters that can really enhance your artwork. This program allows you to edit pixels too! Lots of great tools to use in your designs. Sometimes I create things that I had no idea that I had the skills to do! lol I find SumoPaint really simple to use,  it just takes a little practice and soon you'll know your way around too! 




If you're just starting out in this arena check out one of these free programs, you might be surprised at what you can create. 


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Taking a Look At Your Goals

September begins tomorrow, so sad summer is pretty well over but I do love the the fall season.  Now the daylight gets shorter and the dark of night gets a little longer. The fall is often referred to as a time of new beginnings, perhaps returning to routines for many after a busy and full summer. For some it's the start of a new school year, perhaps a new job or the return to a gym or an educational class or two. I so enjoy the Fall season as it is the time the leaves begin to change to brilliant shades of orange, red and yellow and being out doors is always calling. God has given us such beautiful scenery to enjoy. On the weekends getting out for trail walks with my husband and maybe enjoying special coffees as we stroll or hike, this is the perfect fall comfort for me! 

September can also be a time of revisiting your work routines and a time to re set your goals. I hope as you read this it will inspire you to look at your goals whether for your business or for your daily life and see what you might want to change. If things seem stale and boring it might be time to rethink how you're doing things. Whatever you decide to do I hope you do something new and see great progress this month. I’ve been working diligently on my websites and my store as there is always so much to do with designing, marketing and finding new ways to get my designs and sites in front of the right eyes. Right now I'm also working on new Christmas designs for my shop, keeping things fresh! Stop by my store or visit one of my websites, you can find them in the side bar of my blog.