Saturday, 17 November 2012

Making a Mug of Myself

So another 9 months pass between blog posts and what the heck have I been doing with my time, you may ask? I often ask myself that too.

Sheesh. 9 months. I could have had a baby quicker. (I didn't, by the way.)

Thankfully Mum's regained some of her mobility but there remains plenty she can't do any more. So although I don't have to follow her round the house all day I still have to be there to do the urgent housework, answer phone calls (or rather slam the phone down on call centres) and remind her what day it is. Oh yes and still empty the piss bucket of course.

Strangely enough this has a plus side. It means I'm eligible for Carer's Allowance so I no longer have to worry about finding work or running a business. There's a limit on how much I'm allowed to earn on top of my benefits and I was never anywhere near hitting that so I can now get on with the fun side of doing the artwork as more of a hobby. If I happen to sell something, great. If not, it doesn't matter so much any more.

Things have been helped no end by a successful appeal against mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance on my credit card. If you've never had your PPI checked it's well worth doing but make sure you approach your lenders direct and don't go through any of those blood-sucker companies that take up pretty much every advertising slot on TV. Start by filling in the Consumer Questionnaire from the Financial Ombudsman and send it to your lender. If you hear nothing back within 8 weeks, don't just assume you've failed. At this point you're entitled to enlist the Financial Ombudsman to chase the lender on your behalf, which is what I had to do and it certainly helped my lender get their backsides into gear! My refund was hardly a fortune and I'm sure it will soon get spent but it's been enough to cushion me against my bills for a few months, lift that terrible depression money worries always cause me and free my mind up to plan new projects, buy materials and enjoy my creative time. Which is exactly how life should be.

So now I'm pushing ahead towards Christmas and I'll be updating this blog with the latest news from my online shops. I've become a big advocate of supporting micro-businesses, who are people using their creative talents and their spare time to make something unique and meaningful, for little reward. I'd much rather support a talented mum stuck at home than throw my cash at big corporations and it would mean a heck of a lot if people took that attitude to me too. Every "You Made A Sale" Email is like winning the lottery!

The first thing I'm going to tell you about in these updates is that I recently added several new mugs to my Zazzle store, this time featuring the scribbly flags that are already available on T shirts, badges, keychains and magnets.

Click the caption below each picture to be taken to the shop and the products for that country:

There are 7 types of mug to choose from for each design, which you can compare by clicking the "7 styles" link below the thumbnails, as seen in the pictures above. That brings up a screen like this:

Choose from:
  • Classic White Mug - 1 colour, 2 sizes
  • Ringer Mug - 6 highlight colours, 2 sizes
  • Two-Tone Mug - 6 highlight colours, 2 sizes
  • Morphing Mug (print revealed when hot) - 2 highlight colours, 1 size
  • Stein - 2 highlight colours, 1 size
  • Travelling Mug - 2 body colours, 1 size
  • Frosted Glass Mug - 1 colour, 2 sizes
Your choices don't end there, though. As with most Zazzle products you can personalise them with your own text or even a photo to make a truly individual gift for a special loved one or a treat for yourself. Once you've picked your mug, here's what to do.

All the graphics are centred but you can move them to one side if you want to add something else or if you would prefer a left handed or right handed display.

The Add Image button allows you to include your own photo or other graphic (just remember not to pass my artwork off as anyone else's, thanks!) The Add Text button brings up this dialogue box to type in what you want to say. Use the Enter key if you want your message to run on more than one line, as in this example.

Click the ƒ symbol in the tool bar to make your selection from over 300 fonts and dingbats. I've chosen the charmingly named Horse Puke.

Choose your font size, colour and alignment and your one-of-a-kind mug is complete!

Prices start from £10.95 +P&P for a classic white mug, with discounts for bulk orders. Don't forget to check out my Font Island mugs too, which are screaming out to be personalised. Your special someone will love you for making a gift especially for them and, as you can see, it's so easy to do.

I'll be back very soon with some more wonderful ideas for gifts and greetings to make this Christmas extra special!