Shiny new Zazzle store

About a week ago, I finally started a store at Zazzle that’s dedicated to text-based designs. This was prompted by drivers being assholes toward cyclists in my hometown:

Side note, while I was making car-shaming stickers, I made another one because of a tweet I saw from an actor I follow on Twitter, in which he complained about assholes throwing garbage out their car windows in his hometown:

…and he retweeted it. Cool!

Anyway, I’ve also been making some stuff with quotes I like (that are out of copyright),

some store swag (which I think looks pretty awesome),

and latest, a bunch of quasi-Art Deco-style business & profile cards that might be my favorites.


I also set up a Pinterest account just for my various Zazzle stuff – check it out at!


Back to the Zazzle

At long last (half a year or so), I’m back to updating my Zazzle site. I’ve added a few dozen new items to my photography gallery, which are still in the process of going live; I have all the templates set up to play catch-up at Les Étoiles, as well. Since I was last there, Zazzle has retired a few product lines, brought one back (gel mousepads, which I now get to remake), and added quite a lot of new ones, some of them pretty strange. Like this:

Perspective Flask

…Yep, that’s a flask. I’m a bit surprised that they believe demand for flasks is high enough to warrant setting up the process & stocking them, but it’s providing me some comic relief, at any rate. 😀 The image is one I call “Perspective,” which was from a college photography assignment to find an alternative sort of ‘landscape.’ Now I’m re-purposing it as a pun…it is a bottle of ‘different perspective,’ you know. Weird image for a weird item. 😛

Zazzle has also added a really nice-looking pewter snowflake ornament, which would have been nice to notice before Christmas came and went, but oh well. Here’s one:

Elephant Leaf Ornament

They also finally have double-sided keychains (it always seemed strange to me that the only keychains they sold were one-sided, when every gift shop I’ve been in always has some kind of clear plastic ones with the image on both sides). And they have the greatest-looking pocket journals, which let you choose what style of page rule to use, including dot grid! And I can add design-y stuff to the inside covers! Favorite new item, definitely, even though I’ve not seen it personally.

Flight JournalFlight Journal
Flight Journal

Zazzlebook (notebook review)

Through a quirk of holiday sales that Zazzle may not have intended to turn out the way it did, I received a free copy of one of the notebooks I put up on my store this summer.* I picked one with a black and white image, so I can’t speak to the vibrancy of a color print; but I can complain that the black doesn’t seem quite black, in part because of the glossy cover reflecting light where black would just absorb it all. The glossy cover is also, of course, a wondrous fingerprint magnet.

The notebook advertises 60# or 90 gsm paper, which is the same weight as my Clairefontaine staple-bound notebook has. The paper is smooth, though not buttery like the CF (so it’s probably better for pencils than the CF would be). It’s white, but not blindingly so. It holds up to the pens I use – a variety of gel pens (Uniball Signo 207 0.5mm, Zebra Sarasa 0.7mm) and fineliners (Stabilo 88, 0.4mm). There’s a little shadowing on the back of the page I tested, but no bleed-through; the darker colors of the fineliners threatened to bleed if I wrote too slowly but never quite did. I even tried a silver Sakura Pentouch paint pen (0.7mm) with no bleed. Clairefontaine is better, but this is good.

The lines are dotted and a nice, narrow rule (maybe a hair over 6mm), but they are pitch black, which makes reading what you’ve written noticeably harder than if they were a nice middle gray. The margins (especially the gutter) are too wide, wasting quite a bit of writing area for the sake of white space. The pages are not perforated.

Binding closes at the first page instead of the last.

Binding closes at the first page instead of the last.

The Wire-o binding on my notebook was done the wrong way round, so it meets in front of the first page instead of after the last. I have a feeling that the early pages will get torn up by the wire, particularly from the cut-off wire ends at the top and bottom. Furthermore, the binding is uneven – nearly open in the middle and closed awkwardly at the ends (instead of a round “o” shape, it’s more of a football, as if it were done by hand and not very well).

The notebook has a soft cover, which was nowhere officially specified on the product page. It’s not just soft, either — it’s thinner than the covers on my Clairefontaine notebook, as well as a wire-bound Whitelines notebook. It doesn’t feel like the kind of cover that creases if you look at it wrong, but it does feel like the edges will be worn and beat to hell before I’ve used 1/4 of the pages.

At a minimum regular price of $13, the only reason to buy this notebook is the choice of custom cover designs. If you don’t care that much about the cover, Clairefontaine and Rhodia notebooks have somewhat better paper with much better rule lines and margins (among the ones I’ve tried, anyway). And Whitelines offers a style of rule that all but disappears as you write; their wire binding is much better done; and their pages are perforated (although the paper won’t hold up as well to inky pens). And they’re cheaper.

I really wish it were better, but on a generous day, the Zazzle notebook is worth half its minimum list price.

* Free is not quite accurate. In fact, they are paying me a dollar and change as a referral fee; yes, I referred myself.

This update seems to be in a silly mood

Arestelle, you’ve disappeared again! Are you there? where did you go? …helllooo? (crickets)

I hear you asking this, don’t try to hide it. The echoes are still ringing over here. 😉 I’ve been playing with websites and my camera; I’ll post a few photos soon enough–had a little fun with light trails and want to go try a few more shots soon. But first, a little update.

I’ve continued to work on my Zazzle gallery. Now, in addition to the newish Facebook page and Twitter account, I have a really brand-new photography blog (mainly for images and updates from my galleries–playtime/everyday photos will come here first, still, mostly). I think it looks pretty snazzy! (…though I will, being me, play with the design & header image some before I decide whether to keep it as is.) And I’m pretty excited about all the likes my Lightscape II got already!

On the gallery itself, I’ve published a line of those notebooks I was talking about. (Please post a link if you see a review of these from a pen geek – I’m really curious about them!) I have also created (drumroll) image-by-image navigation within the categories. So now, when you find yourself in a category, say, Animals, that has several photographs in it on many different products, you can easily look through previews of all the photos therein and click the one you like. You’ll be whisked off to see just the products that contain that photo! Go ahead, try it! Before, you found yourself facing a jumbled heap of everything on all the photos. yikes. much better now.

Whew, that’s all I can remember. The navigation thing took a lot of the time I’ve been MIA. I’m still on Twitter all the time, though (thanks, boring office job), so if you wanna see what I’m up to when I haven’t put a new post up here, look for me there. Faisez attention, cependant — the snark likes to run amok in the Twitterverse. 😉


Once again Zazzling

It’s been a long time since I seriously worked on updating my Zazzle galleries, but I am now. I posted a few notepads and notebooks to Les Étoiles (see), though I’ve still got shirts to make and many new Hubble images to add.

Mainly, I’m focusing on my photography gallery; I’ve tended to neglect it because there’s always been interest just automatically in the space gallery* that doesn’t exist yet for my original work. But ultimately, it’s my own photography that I want to put out there, that I want people to recognize and love and come looking for. Because photography is something I can’t not do–not without losing myself in some way–and I want to make it good and make it reach people.

For now, one thing I know I can do is to build up my Zazzle gallery; I’ve added a line of jigsaw puzzles already. (How cool is it that you can get custom-made jigsaw puzzles online now? 🙂 )

I can offer notebooks now, too; they use 90 gsm paper (same weight as Clairefontaine — I’d love to see a review from a fountain pen afficionado) and are 6.5 x 8.75″ – great size for a journal, just about 1 cm wider than A5 format. I have those ready to publish and will get them up this week.

Last but not least, I created a Facebook page for my photography. It combines updates from my Zazzle and RedBubble galleries, and I’m adding my photographs and designs to photo albums there – one per day – so that you can easily preview all of my images in one place. Which also means you get a pretty picture in your Facebook news feed each day if you “Like” the page (hint, hint!). I’m also adding the images I’ve made for screensavers on Nook and Kindle to their own album, in case you need another reason to check it out and “Like.” So what are you still doing here? 😉

* Actually, the interest isn’t automatic for HST/SST: NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute put a lot of effort into preparing those images in the first place, writing the stories that explain them, and promoting them across the web. People know those images, or at least that there are beautiful space images, before they ever click onto Zazzle, thanks to the work NASA has already put into them.