It's strange not having to go to the Job Centre, the Chamber of Commerce or anywhere else they might want to shunt me. It feels like I've forgotten something and I'm going to be punished. But no, I really am getting the New Enterprise Allowance, it's gone into my bank at the first time of asking which is a rarity! It's creepy how institutionalised those couple of years of being unemployed has made me, without even realising it. It's a big leap in the mindset to get used to being totally responsible for my own fate from now on.
I'm progressing with updating the Café Press shops, I need a big push to get those finished in the next couple of days. That would still give me time to get a Christmas project started although I think I'll have to scale it back and do the full release next Christmas instead.
My priority for now is just to get people aware that I've got lots of great Christmas gifts for sale, so that means daily promotion on Twitter and Facebook plus trying to find places to promote this blog. I can't stress enough, I really need YOU to help me by sending my links to anyone who might want to buy from me. My Enterprise Allowance is just a little safety cushion and already it's been gobbled up by a sort-of unexpected £140 bill. (Sort-of in that they've had 6 months to chase me up for it but of course the obvious time to do it is 3 weeks before Christmas!)
So over on Café Press I've achieved my main aim of getting my 4 Christmas shops updated. This has been a massive job because nobody's going to look at them before November so they're not worth doing earlier in the year. Last Christmas, as you may recall if you've been following my story, I was totally without a computer so I couldn't have done it anyway. So that's 2 years' catching up I've had to do. It happens to have been the busiest year I've known on that site in terms of them adding new products, so I've had over 300 of them to install, then individually tweak the print sizes and retail prices.
I've also had a bit of a problem with one of my designs in particular. This guy...
Cheery and cuddly he may be but he was giving me a headache. You see, the Café Press graphics tool doesn't give you the option to scroll your image around the product. It's automatically centred. Which meant that on the women's shirts his twiggy hands ended up in a rather unfortunate position. Let's just say I ended up calling him Frosty The Snowperve. So I've had to tweak the old fella and now the women's tees have him with his hands firmly by his sides and out of trouble! (Click on the illustrations to see them in more detail.)
The category that's had the biggest overhaul this season has been the bags. You'll find a lovely range of 13 new bags, wallets and purses, including gadget sleeves for Kindles, iPads and Nooks. These bags are perfect for getting you in the mood for Christmas shopping, so much so that 4 of them...
...come with a little extra surprise...
This bonus image, printed on the reverse side, is ONLY available on these 4 products in the 4 Christmas shops and is bound to put a smile on everyone's face on a busy, cold December High Street.
The hundreds of little snowflakes in this design inspired the other 2 shops, which are variations on a theme depending on whether you'd prefer a British or American date format. Here they are on some more winter must-haves.
The best-dressed way to open presents, in special Christmas nightclothes.
When it's cold on the outside, keep warm on the inside with a range of Thermos products.
Also exclusive to the 4 Christmas shops are these special gift stockings. The one on the left is also available in green.
To shop for any of these products, which aren't available anywhere else, look to the left of this page and click on the design you like.
I'm currently in the process of getting the latest products into the other Café Press shops. Watch this space for more news and my pick of the goodies on offer. Better still, follow me on Twitter or send a Facebook friend request (mention that you found me via this blog) and you'll be the first to know.
Have a great week and happy shopping!