Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cowpie Creek

Tell me 5 things everyone should know about you

1. I'm not sure everyone would want to know 5 things about me, but here

I was an entertainer for many years and traveled the country playing clubs as one-half of a two-girl singing/comedy team. We also toured the Far East during the Viet Nam war, entertaining the troops, an experience I'll never forget. We were allowed to visit 5 countries while we were there: Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines, Japan, and Okinawa, but because the war was winding down and getting more dangerous for entertainers to travel within Viet Nam, weren't allowed to go there. I salute all the brave men and women who serve in the military and will always support them, mainly due to my experiences overseas. The guys in the hospitals were the most heart-breaking. I can still remember some of their faces and it's been almost 40 years.

My partner and I also wrote, directed, and starred in a Baltimore revue that had the distinction of being the longest-running entertainment event in Baltimore history at that time. We even beat out Mickey Rooney, who was starring in a show there. Sorry,

2. As stated earlier, I'm an avid animal lover, hence, a vegan. I couldn't stand eating my friends anymore, so I gave up meat almost 18 years ago, and have never looked back. The atrocities that animals have to endure are nothing short of barbaric, so if you're an animal lover and haven't switched to a vegan or vegetarian diet yet, the animals would be very grateful if you did.

3. I love the old sit-coms like Andy Griffith, Leave It To Beaver, I Love Lucy, better than the ones that came along later, with the exception of Roseanne (my favorite sit-com of all times), Home Improvement, and Everybody Loves Raymond. I know there are more, but they don't come to mind right now. Yes, I'm OLD and senility sets in sometimes, so if you see me on the forums and I ask the same question several times, please be gentle with me. I'm just having a "senior moment".

4. I hate cooking, but I love to bake, and contributed over 60 original recipes to my friend, Sarah Kramer, for her vegan book, "La Dolce Vegan", a few years ago. If you're vegan, please get a copy. It's a good book, and Sarah is a lovely person and a HOOT!

5. I worked as a parade float designer and executor for the Kentucky Derby parade for about 5 years, and had a ball. It was such a kick to see our designs "floating" down the street toward the parade route after we had worked so hard on them. The week before the parade was always filled with "all-nighters", so I never really got to see the parade "in person", because due to exhaustion, I usually went home and went to It was a lot of fun, though, and an experience I'll always hold close to my heart.

I was also a sign painter for several years, and I have to say that graphics programs sure make it easier than doing it by hand, albeit less personal. Computers make it more difficult to "manipulate" a design than if the design were created by hand.

What programs do you use to make your designs?

I use Paint Shop Pro 9. I come from the "rock and a stick" school of design, so when I first started designing, I'd never even seen a graphics program. The first graphics program I bought was Corel Draw 12 and I couldn't make heads nor tails out of it, so I figured I was doomed for sure. Eventually, I found Paint Shop Pro and was able to start designing immediately, so I've stuck with it. I've just started to explore Photoshop, but it's a more difficult program than Paint Shop.I'm forging ahead with it, though, because it has so many more features than PSP does and I need to expand my design capabilities.

How has zazzle changed your life/lifestyle?

I don't know that Zazzle has changed my lifestyle. I started with Cafe Press, like most of us did, and they definitely changed my lifestyle. I've been disabled for many years and have been unable to work at a "regular" job, so Cafe Press gave me the opportunity to work from home and bring money into the household. Of course we all know what happened with Cafe Press, so I'm extremely grateful that I found Zazzle and am able to continue making money to support myself. Without Zazzle, I don't know where I'd THANK YOU, ZAZZLE, for the opportunity! I'm very grateful.

If you could give every new shopkeeper 1 piece of advice what would you tell them?

Even though I've been working with POD's for about six years now, I'm not sure I'm qualified to give advice to new shopkeepers. A few things I have learned, though, are:

1. Never rely on the marketplace for sales, because it can be very fickle depending on where your designs fall within the marketplace at any given time. You have to generate your own traffic through blogs, social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc., and so on.

2. Keep adding designs. The more designs you have in your shops, the more choices customers have to choose from.

3. Keywords are invaluable, as that's one of the ways people find you. Add rich keywords and descriptions to your products to get the attention of the search engines. We're in a very competitive business, so the richer the descriptions and keywords the better...and even then, it can be a crapshoot.

4. Keep trying to improve your design skills. You can get stagnant very quickly, creating the same kind of designs over and over again. In fact, I find myself at that point right now, which is why I'm trying to learn Photoshop.

If you could have 1 design on a billboard in Times Square NYC for 1 hour what would it be & why?

When I first read this question, the design that immediately came to mind was this one:

I'm a firm believer in ecology and saving the planet and an avid animal lover, so this design emcompasses both. I feel sorry for the animals that are being forced from their habitats because of man's greed and indifference. Sadly, humans think that they're the only people who have to live on this planet and usually act accordingly without regard for all the other living things that are trying to survive here. Regardless of skeptics who think that global warming is nonsense, most of the research is pointing toward the destruction of our beautiful planet.

If you were shopping for a new T shirt and had to choose from someone else's zazzle shop which product would you buy and why?

Criminy....that's a hard question. There are so many amazing designers, myself excluded, that it would be difficult to choose one particular design, so I'll have to pass on that question.

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