Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

Time for my annual treat for the few of you who ever bother looking at my blog!

This year I'm dedicating it to all those new friends we've made this year, especially those who we found in the most unusual places, who've brightened our lives up and made us look at the world in a new way.

The star of my cartoon is Miss Rosie Muhlbauer, one of several dogs rescued from an unethical back yard breeder in California this June. Despite having many congenital health problems caused by inbreeding, Rosie stole everyone's hearts thanks to her fighting spirit, happy personality and unconventional cuteness and now she has over 32,000 fans on Facebook.

So here's Rosie enjoying her first proper Christmas, being spoilt rotten as well she deserves!

So a big Happy Christmas to all of you I'd never heard of 12 months ago but now couldn't imagine living without.

• You can learn more about Rosie's story from her website and her Facebook page. Follow the progress of the dogs rescued alongside her at the Help Still Needed CA Hoarder Facebook page.

If you want to see my other Christmas cartoons, here's 2010 and 2011.

Join me back here very soon when I'll be kicking off 2013 with a MASSIVE new project launch!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Nice Shiny Dangly Things

December marches on apace and most of you have no doubt already bought your tree or got the artificial one out of its dusty box.

Sorting through the baubles is always one of the nicest parts of the festivities, I find, because the best ones last for years and evoke so many memories. This year I'm taking the opportunity to buy a few from some of my favourite crafters on Facebook because they've been such good friends and supporters. A couple of pounds seems a small price to pay in order to help their businesses out and have a little something to remember my friends by. Photos may follow providing my ancient old camera batteries behave (which they rarely do).

What's that you ask? Do I, amongst all the hundreds of products available in my Café Press stores, happen to have any Christmas decorations? Why yes indeed I do.

I have 4 Christmas designs: a snowman, a Christmas tree, I Love 25.12 and the American version I Love 12.25. They have already been made available on 2 ceramic ornaments and 2 Christmas stockings.

Now I'm delighted to announce that 5 more ornaments have been added to the range.

This group of decorations are made of hard wearing aluminium making them virtually indestructible. Meaning your tree can be dressed in something unique which you can treasure for many years to come and then pass down the generations.

I've already put my order in, well it wouldn't feel right for my own tree not to carry my handiwork!

If you're tempted, best order them NOW as it's pushing the deadline for Christmas ordering if you select standard delivery. Of course seeing as your tree will be up until after New Year you needn't panic too much about that! If you want other products from Café Press though, especially if you need them for gifts, don't delay, get those orders in TODAY (literally!)

(Please note that the standard delivery deadline from my other shop on Zazzle has already passed so please don't order Christmas stuff from there.)

Regular readers will know the drill by now - check on the left of the page for the design you like, click the button and you'll be transported to the shop. As you can see from the pictures above, the new decorations have automatically been loaded into the New Products section but will eventually be moved down to Seasonal to join their older counterparts.

Thanks everyone, now it's time for me to go and prepare my Christmas surprise for you...

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Warning - I'm About To Say The C Word

December's here again and the countdown begins to another Christmas (there, I said it). So, whether you love it or find it one big chore, now's the time to start getting everything ready so as to avoid the last minute rush.

Thankfully I'm here to help you shop from the comfort of your own armchair. I have hundreds of products available in my online stores, all custom printed with my original designs. Time's ticking away though and you have less than 1 week to guarantee standard delivery in time for Christmas. Please place your orders by Saturday 8th December to be on the safe side.

You'll find the buttons to take you to my Café Press stores on the left of this page, simply click on the design you like and you'll be able to see it on around 200 different items of clothing, homeware, gifts and novelties. Also on the left you'll see some sample products from my Zazzle store. You can also click on the words Come Shopping near the top of the screen. This will take you to all my online shop links on one page. Alternatively there's an album called Designs For Sale on my Facebook page Val Woodhouse Art & Design which shows a comprehensive list of what you can have printed on your choice of products. Each image contains the link to take you straight to where it's sold.

For this Christmas I have some new designs to share with you. When I was in the process of writing my business plan last year, a big part of it concerned designing greetings cards. It's a major ambition of mine to get a greetings range in the shops and, even though personal circumstances have got more difficult this year, I'd still love to pursue that.

For now I can experiment with ideas, put them in my online shops and, who knows, hopefully take them further and get them developed professionally in the future. My idea was for something with a simple, random, geometric inspiration but which would look very sophisticated. I wanted a design that men would enjoy receiving, because they're very under-served in the greetings card market but I know women would appreciate them too. I often play with geometric shapes, the basis for this work is a top secret master design which has almost limitless permutations and could keep me supplied with original patterns for the rest of my life! By adding a few festive shapes, I've come up with these 4 designs for my 2012 Christmas card range:

Why the boxes at the bottom? If you read my last blog post you'll remember me telling you how to customise a Zazzle mug. Well these cards have been designed especially for you to personalise in the same way. Write a special dedication to your loved one in the space I've left for you on the front cover. Then use the blank insides to add whatever kind of greeting you'd like, from a simple "Merry Christmas" to a festive outpouring of poetry. You can even put a photo on there if you like, these cards are yours to customise however you see fit. My Zazzle graphics are always there for you to experiment with and create something unique.

These cards cost £2.20 each + P&P, from http://www.zazzle.co.uk/valwoodhouse

I'll be back here very soon showing you some more Christmas must-haves!