Today I am offering some inspiration on how to make your own items, like getting your prints on a calendar, ornament or postcard. I have tried out Cafepress and will in short review that site here. But first and best; I have designed my own wall calendar! Love it!

Make Your own Creative Layouts at Cafť Press like this Creative Year Calendar by iHanna (copyright Hanna Andersson)

I call my calendar “A Creative Year 2009”, in kind memory of the blog book A Creative Year 2006 that I self published. I think this might become a yearly tradition from now on.

I scanned images from my Art Journal and then cropped and color corrected details in Photoshop. In Photoshop I have also added inspiring quotes to the layout. Each month has a special quote that will keep me inspired thoughout the year. I had lots of fun playing with layout, as you can see.

Here is a mosaic of all the pages I created;

Make Your own Creative Layouts at Cafť Press like this Creative Year Calendar by iHanna (copyright Hanna Andersson) (all the layouts)

I’m happy with the quality of my 2009 calendar and the other stuff I bought (like the cool notebook junkie magnets, but I don’t want to sell you anything through their site because I won’t make any money that way. You can get the magnets in my Etsy Shop though.

Art Calendar 2009 (copyright Hanna Andersson)
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so as Shakespeare said. One of the months in my A Creative Year Calendar 2009, and me with my fresh from the printer wall calendar.

Give love, be creative and enjoy the moment

I also made a pack of postcards with the text Give love, be creative and enjoy the moment. Kind of a good mantra, don’t you agree?
Postcard package - I made these (so copyright Hanna Andersson)
The print color came out nicely, but the paper is way to thin for postcard quality I think. I would not sell these as postcards, but you could use them as notecards if you send them in an envelope. I really really want to have my own line of postcards, so if you have any ideas let me know. At cafepress you can’t do much fun with postcards. There is no way to design the backside and you can’t get a pack with different designs. I bought my own postcards in a package of 6 cards, but I want to have 6 different designs next time. Hmm…

Give it away (copyright Hanna Andersson)
Give love, be creative and enjoy the moment… as iHanna always says. :-)

I wanted to make the calendar 2009 available for you in November 2008, but I was kind of late… as I always am. I need to be more business minded about these things. And then, even after I did this test order of stuff, I discovered that Cafepress has lots of crappy rules so I won’t sell through their site… They didn’t answer any questions via e-mail and if you are outside the US (like me) you should not use their services as they don’t send money your way! Expensive stuff, crazy rules, but nice calendar. Looove the calendar. And “designed by you” stuff makes great gifts to friends and family, right?

So, if you’re interested doing something “your own” also check out these links:

I made shirts too. One for mom and one for me!

Creativity is my religion (copyright Hanna Andersson)
Creativity is my religion on the front. And it says amen to that sister! on the back.

Mom’s shirt is white with long sleeves. Mine has pink sleeves:

Creativity... (copyright Hanna Andersson)
I think the quality of the shirts are okay, but not very fancy for that high price. Though making it your own is fun, and if you have a message I think you should let the world know. Make it your own! All you need is a text or an image that will look good on a shirt. Your own artwork, your kids drawing, your motto… Have fun with your own creative layout.

Just for fun I also did these Christmas ornaments…
Christmas Ornaments (copyright Hanna Andersson)
I don’t think I showed these to you back in December? Or did I?

Christmas Ornaments (copyright Hanna Andersson)One for my grandmother featuring her dog Jocke, and one for me with Smilla. These things are flat porcelain things to hang, called “ornaments” at the site. They are quite silly if you ask me, but my grandmother loved hers. I also made her a photo book of her children and grandchildren using my photos. It was my first published photo book and I made it through a Swedish service (Extrafilm). It’s a floppy little folder thing but she loved that too. I had fun making it the first time, then I had to re-make it because of their stupid time-out website and me not being logged in when I started. Yuck, no more online designing for me thank you. I’m going to try Blurb.com for my next project.

Publishing a photo book is next

I’m reading how to import your custom design into BookSmart, because I’m never satisfied with how the layout of the ready-to-go-pages looks (and that’s why it takes for ever for me to do anything…). (Check out full-bleed page specs if you are similar to me and want to do your designs in inDesign, Quark or Illustrator, adding your own text etc).

Photographer Kevin Kelly wrote a must-read article and review about Blurb * Lulu -it’s really great and thorough. He writes;

being able to print as few as one copy — instead of a minimum of a thousand — shifts the economics of bookmaking toward individuals with more passion than money

…which absolutely include never-enough-money-iHanna (me)! An artist called Tina posted in a forum at wetcanvas.com with the topic Self publishing: Lulu vs. Blurb. She writes that Blurb’s books overall just look more professional and polished. Another good read is Lessons Learned Self-Publishing With Lulu! Tips; if you’re not sure what service to go with just google “X vs. Y” and you’ll find interesting stuff!!!

Stay tuned girls!

Isn’t this a crazy long post!? It’s long overdue and I’m sick of my “short post, one topic” internal rule. It’s what makes me stressed, being late and irritated. I don’t really care if anyone reads this post right now. I just want to POST it away.

Anyway, lastly, here is the money rant below! If English were my first language I’d express this a bit better but I wanted to post it here in case someone else is looking for this kind of information… Bottom line, don’t accept US checks if you’re in Europe.

* Why I can’t sell at Cafepress site; because they only offer to pay with checks. Paper checks in the mail!? Ever heard about paypal or VISA or the cool new way to transfer money electronically? Hehe. It’s way cool. US checks does not work well over seas, just so you know. I’ve already been payed with a check sent from a publisher (another company in the US) and it was a hassle to get money from that one! I don’t know if I ever did… It might sound incredible, but they actually only send the paper but not the actual money. So it’s not really a payment that you can relay on!

During lunch break I had to run to the bank (that has stupid opening hours), and then stand in two lines to get to a banking lady who told me the rules. My bank will give me a loan for the amount, minus the cost for them to ask the paying company to send money to Sweden. Then it will take a few months (up until 6 months?) before it is confirmed if I will get to own the money. If they refuse to pay by then I will get nothing and the money that was sitting in my account will be taken back by my bank! I think the Swedish bank is being generous here, but the check is just crap (big hassle) to me for that amount of money! Checks are so old fashioned, what about direct transfers? Or paypal? Or at least a check that gives out money and not more work!

So check out how you will be payed before setting up an account with anyone online. Good examples; With Google Adsense that I use I get the money to my Swedish bank account and with Amazon Associates I get an e-mail with a gift certificate that I can use for books that I know I want to get. Selling via Etsy the money goes through paypal and I can use them directly, or transfer the money to my Swedish bank account if I don’t want to shop online. Easy, no hassle!