Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Easy Way To Share A Warm Welcome Right At Your Door

Does your main residence entryway share a welcoming message?

Do you have a seasonal ornament hanging from the door?

Do you have an interesting doormat at your main entry?

Well, I can't help you with the seasonal ornament hanging from your door but I can offer you some ideas for a welcoming message at an entryway for your home or business.

You might even consider some of my doormat designs as gifts for a new home, renovation or Christmas.

You know I love adding my photography and digital artwork to Zazzle products with the option for customers to personalize the product with text or their own photo. I recently started adding my work to doormats.

These mats feature 1/8" smooth fleece with a white edge binding. They have a sturdy latex backing that offers a non-slip grip. You have the option of 24" x 36" and 18" x 24" sizes to best match your entryway. These mats are approved for indoor and covered outdoor use. As a matter of fact, I'm awaiting the arrival of an order for one of these mats.

The doormats are printed with high-quality sublimation printing which allows for full rich color that won't fade. Sublimation printing uses heat sensitive inks that turn into gas which combines with the printed surface. This type printing doesn't fade or crack.

I am currently adding more designs to grow the collection including scenery photographs. The doormat below features a snowy rural barn scene that is also found on a variety of other products. The photograph was also featured in my 10+ Years of Local Travel Still Offers Interesting Finds
Snowy Rural Barn Scene Photograph Doormat

I've also added a few of my specialty photographs to the doormat like the two designs below for coffee lovers and pet lovers. 

Serpentine Purple Leash & Heart Chain Doormat

The pet design may be quite appealing at the entry of an animal related or animal-friendly business. You can even add the business name to the design in the template field or change typeface style, size, and color in the customize option. If you have any questions on how to do that don't hesitate to contact me because I'm happy to help.

Colorful Espresso Cup and Saucer Photograph Doormat

I'm a coffee lover so this design was a must in my store. It can look great at a cafe, coffee related business, or at the home of a coffee lover like me. As with the pet related doormat, you can add a business name in the template field on the product page or use the customize element which offers other options in typeface style, size, and color.

What's at your main entryway?

Would you consider purchasing a custom designed doormat for yourself or as a gift?

Let me know your thoughts on the custom doormat idea.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

To Work From Home or Not to Work From Home?

Have you ever wondered about working from/at home? Do you or do you know someone who works at home? Wonder what that type work environment is like?

Recently I saw a conversation on the Zazzle, Inc. Print on Demand forum about designers who decided to try co-working. Designers left their home offices or home workspaces to see what it would be like to work in public spaces. That forum discussion and a social media post that recommended sharing something about who I am prompted me to write this particular post. I'm sharing my thoughts on working at home and you learn a bit about me.

I travel for work when there is some, which is totally unrelated to photography or digital artwork. That leaves me ample home time to prepare my Zazzle store products in my cubby/home office. The room was a bedroom until we did a minor bit of renovation and now it serves as my space. I rearrange office elements when I feel the need which is generally with the summer and winter seasons. I have a habit of reorganizing the layout throughout the house though so it's nothing special for the office. 

Rearranging gives me a sense of renewal. I don't purchase new elements for the room, I simply rearrange. I may add something from another room like a houseplant or a small chair but generally not something large. Everything I need is right there. I may also remove an item as I have done with the tall standing computer desk on the far left in the photograph below. That computer desk now looks great with a variety of houseplants on all the levels in our sunroom. I also have a few of my photographs framed and on the wall. Both sides of the pocket doors have built in book shelves that give it a library feel when you walk in. 

Fisheye view of my home office.
I've spent time working in open and separate room office designs in my early years. In both scenarios, I often found it easy to be distracted by just about everything. People talking and movements would keep me from getting much done. Recently I've had to leave the home office with my laptop for public wifi due to an inadequate internet connection. It was nice getting out but I never got a lot done.

My office cubby is spacious and pet-friendly. We replaced a wall with glass pocket doors so the room has been a great way to acclimate new furbabies. New furbabies can be in with me and see out while the current fur babies outside the room can see in. That has worked quite well. Two huge windows on different walls illuminate the room with natural light. The windows also give me a glimpse of nature when I look out.

Currently, there is a corner with a feather-bed turned pet bed that the dogs and cats come to visit while I'm in there. The blue rocking chair visible in the right corner of the office photo above has a small quilt that one or two of the cats sleep on when I'm in there. I'm never alone and can talk to them all day. They are great listeners. I have musical accompaniment in the background and I'm good to go. 

Gavin is hard asleep in the feather bed.
I noticed two concerns when I started using this as an office. I found it distracting knowing that I can go do things around the house and initially I was working well beyond the normal hours one would spend in an office away from home.

Over time I've learned a few tricks. Walking away on short breaks that would be taken in an away office environment are necessary. During those times I might get minor tasks done in the house then return to the room. I've also spent late nights into early mornings working on specific designs or products. I learned that isn't always the best practice and I don't do it much anymore.

I have no problem not working around other people because I'm an introvert. I think some people can make a home office work and others will still need that companion atmosphere.

What are your thoughts about working at home compared to an office/group environment?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

10+ Years of Local Travel Still Offers Interesting Finds

It's been just over 10 years for us in northern Arizona and we still find new roads, new adventures, and interesting scenes. I remember so many of our adventures in the first year of life in northern Arizona. We spent time exploring well traveled and not so well-traveled dirt roads. The scenery was beautiful and there were constant surprises along the roads. I was also getting back into photography while learning how to use a digital camera so that was another reason to roam the countryside. 

This old barn and stockyard is one location we pass all year now. We love sitting along that road on summer evenings to see tens of elk gather in the field across the road. I have photographs of this barn area during our rainy "monsoon as we call it" season with beautiful cloud formations and lush green grass. I've even passed there to see other photographers out along the road. 

I was lucky enough to get out there for this photograph below after we had several feet of snow one winter. The storm weather hadn't moved out of the area as visible by the gray sky but the snow had stopped falling for the time being. I loved the color contrast of snow to structure during that light. 

 A recent weekend at Zazzle had several surprise sales for me. One of the sales included this print of a rural winter scene. It reminded me that Zazzle no longer offers framing options for prints/posters so I wasn't sure how that would affect print sales. 

I realize no frames won't bother some customers but for those who want a ready to mount on the wall product, it might. I also realize that folks who purchase a product as a gift might want a print that is immediately ready to mount on the wall.
Since Zazzle now offers acrylic HD and metal prints, I decided to add this photograph (and others) to one of the new options like this HD Acrylic print below. 

Snowy Rural Barn Scene Photograph Acrylic Print

You can add a visit by Mother Nature to any wall with this 20" x 16" HD Acrylic print of a rural winter scene of an old barn and stockyard.

This .025" thick high definition Grade-A acrylic style print can give any wall a contemporary look. According to Zazzle, they are art gallery quality. HD Acrylic prints are available in eight sizes. The print is fitted with french cleat backing for easy and secure hanging (shown below). All the work is done for Zazzle by Acrylic Idea Factory in Tucson, Arizona. 

Snowy Rural Barn Scene Photograph Acrylic Print

French cleat backing for easy and secure hanging.
You can find this Snowy Rural Barn Scene Photograph as a print, Acrylic Print or Metal Print at this page in TheAspenStand.

I would love to hear your thoughts on placing a frameless HD Acrylic print on your wall
so leave me a comment about the photograph and/or HD Acrylic print style. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

16 Distinctive Floral Photography and Art Night Lights

Are you looking for distinctive lighting for dark spots in your home? You'll find a colorful selection of Floral Photography and Digital Art designs in this growing collection. Floral Photography & Art Nightlights by Patricia AZ Phillips, Exit178
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Check this out!
Are you looking for distinctive lighting for dark spots in your home? You'll find a colorful selection of Floral Photography and Digital Art designs in this growing collection.
Floral Photography & Art Nightlights

Floral Photography & Art Nightlights

by Patricia AZ Phillips, Exit178
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

11 Product Ideas On How To Enjoy Chocolate In Your Bed and Bath Rooms

Did you ever want something so badly that you decided to take matters into your own hands? I bet if you think long and hard enough you'll come up with something similar to what I'm about to share.

I was on the lookout for a good trail mix that had a combination of healthy energy filled items that I liked. I went to a number of stores and there is quite a variety of mixes available. In all the ready made mixes I found there always seemed to be items that I preferred not to eat.

I much prefer dark or semi-sweet chocolate over any other and that's not an easy find in a mix. I used to carry a baggie of raw almonds and those were difficult to find in mixes too.

Since I was a fan of raw almonds and love dark or semi-sweet chocolate I decided to simply mix those two and be done with it. That worked really well since I didn't want much more and if I did, I'd add some raisins, dried apricots, or dates.

11 Product Bed & Bath Collection
I used to carry a container of dark chocolate chips and raw almond mix as a snack whenever I was out and about. That was a perfect mix for me and worked out well.

One day, I forgot to carry it with me when I left my vehicle. At the time, we lived on the outskirts of Phoenix so it was always warm enough to melt the chocolate. I found the chocolate contents of the zip lock bag completely melted. I placed it flat in the freezer when I arrived home. It was a great snack to break apart when I pulled it out of the freezer.

A Design Is Born

And so with those memories and that favorite treat, I decided to make a word cloud design featuring chocolate and almonds in a variety of fonts. I also decided to add the words in German and French.

The multi-lingual chocolate and almond word cloud design is available on a variety of products in my online Zazzle store. I decided to add it to some of the newer products and put together a collection of items that can become decor for a bedroom and/or bathroom.

Since it's bath collection, you can see three of the 11 products in the collection in the photograph above. The shower curtain is available in one size. The bathroom soap dispenser and toothbrush holder are sold together. Match that with a light switchplate and bathmat.

When you visit the collection page you'll see a duvet, pillow case, blanket, and other matching products.

Chocolate & Almond Word Cloud Design
I even added the design to make a unique nightlight for these rooms or even a kitchen addition.

Throw Pillow Available In Two Sizes, Styles and Fabrics
Add a throw pillow into the mix of the collection or simply add it to a living room design. 

Now you know the background story about this word cloud design.

Visit the product page and let me know what you think.