Announcing the start of a regular series here on my blog…

A new series…

American grunge flag

Image licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 BY

…where I announce the new designs appearing in my Zazzle Store.

Each time a post comes out it will have:

  • A large image of the new design (like the one to the right)
  • A bit of background on how the design came about (just below)
  • A few of my favorite products with the new design (just below that)

I’ll make these announcements when the first batch of products are ready for viewing.   Much later, months later, if I add a second batch of products using the same design, then I’ll make a second announcement for the same design.

Right now on my store I’m trying to get a LOT of new designs up fast because I need sales.

My 401k, which I’ve been living on since I lost my job last year is about to run out of money.  I have until Feb 1st, the date of the last 401k check to replace that income with something else.

Selling products on Zazzle is one of a dozen different things I’m trying.  So if you see something you like, then I really appreciate you buying the product.  If you don’t have the cash I would appreciate it if you hit those share and like buttons.  The more word gets spread about my store and the products there the more likely that someone will buy something.

Background on my latest design:
American Grunge Flag

Sleeveless T-shirt with American Grunge Flag available at TxCowboyDancer Designs

Sleeveless T-shirt with American Grunge Flag available at TxCowboyDancer Designs

The whole “grunge” thing seems to be a theme in T-shirt design right now.  It is the modern version of what Andy Warhol was doing with his “Pop Art” back in the day.

Some grunge art that I’ve seen is pretty good and a lot of it is just commercial wanna-be’s who are out to make a quick buck off of a trend.

I really like this design.  When I saw it after paging through literally hundreds of boring, mundane mind-numbing run-of-the-mill BLAH-ness on a graphics website..  (Is “blah-ness” a word?  If it isn’t it should be)

But I digress.  I do that you know…  So I’m looking through all these truly Snooze worthy images and  I hit the “next” button and went


Literally.  Aloud.  And then I went

YES! when I saw that the design was listed as CC 3.0.  (more about that later after the “more” button)

This design to me has a “rebel” feel while still being patriotic.  With the running drips of paint it is almost as if it is graffiti.  Think 1960’s and civil protest and civic involvement and well, it just rocks as a design on top of all that!  Woot!

My favorite products with the new design…

In complete honesty, when working on a new “design” for my Zazzle Store, I stick a new graphic on a lot of stuff and sometimes it looks, well, “ok,” in my humble opinion, (I delete the truly awful stuff) but let’s face it, the “just ok” stuff ain’t rockin’ my world.

But sometimes..  Wow!  it is awesome the design just “fits” the product and the result is kinda cool.  Those are the ones that I’m sharing here:


However… I also realize that there are a lot of different tastes out there on the Interwebz and one person’s “rockin it” is another person’s “ho hum.

So, these are the ones I like… but hey you may like some of the other stuff so click on one of the multitude of links in this article.  Didja catch that tongue in cheek humor?  I said “click on a link and conveniently provided the aforementioned link.  Ooopps!  I did it again.  *grin*  I crack myself up sometimes.

Ok, folks here is where the typical post in this series will end.  See, not too bad and the “typical post” will be even shorter because the format is now established.  Woot!  For those who want to read more on the whole Zazzle thing and copyright and other “behind the curtain” stuff, then clicky-clicky the More button.

All Designs in the store are available on:

  • TxCowboyDancer Designs Logo with shadow ©2012Mugs
  • Buttons
  • Magnets
  • Greeting Cards, notecards, invitations
  • Bags, from the very inexpensive canvas variety up to executive briefcases
  • T-shirts, Jackets, hoodies, scarves, sweatshirts, ties, and polos
  • 3 ring binders, postcards, stamps and other paper products
  • Canvas art for your walls
  • Posters and Wall Decals for your kid’s walls
  • Stickers
  • Cell phone, iPad, e-reader, game console & controler cases, sleeves and skins
  • Kitchen stuff like dishes, placemats, and towels
  • And… well lots more.  🙂

About Creative Commons and Public Domain

This is the fine print stuff that explains the “behind the scenes” stuff.  Skip it if you like but I think it is interesting.

I confess that I didn’t create the American Flag Grunge Image.  I found it on listed as having been released under Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution by the artist Mhatzapa.

First, I’m NOT a lawyer.  So take the following info for what it is worth.  I’m 99.99% certain that I understand how all this works and I *KNOW* that I’m acting in good faith and trying to stay on the correct side of the law.  Here is the brief explanation about copyright, Public Domain and Creative Commons:

Everything in a permanent form, physical, written, recorded, etc, has a copyright, even if you don’t “register” it with an official agency.

What I’m writing right now has a copyright.  I own it and I deserve to make a profit from the fruits of my labors which is writing this terrific text.  And you’re reading it for free.  Ain’t that cool?   Wanna buy me a coffee by donating through PayPal?  I’d actually use it to pay part of my truck insurance and truck payment but hey, it’s still a “coffee.”

So Copyright is there to protect the “rights” of creative people such as writers, artists, singers, etc from their work being “copied” by nasty folks who don’t give a hoot and ensure that the artist actually makes a living at doing their artistic thing.

For a more detailed video tutorial about copyright check out this awesome video on YouTube: 

So, copyright owners have that right which is automatic.  But some owners of works, for whatever reason, decide to “release their work” out into the wild, so to speak.  There are two ways commonly used to do this.

1. The owner of a copyrighted work can release it into the Public Domain where they give up all rights to the work.

Some works enter the Public Domain for other reasons, like in the US, where they are funded with tax payer dollars and thus are the “property” of well all US Citizens.

The other way things end up in the Public Domain is that they’ve been around so long that the owner of the copyright is a distant and dusty memory.  Like all those famous literary dudes: Shakespeare, Chaucer and a host of others.  There are complicated rules about when something goes into the Public Domain that way but basically anything in the “Public Domain” is fair game.

2. Another way that images and such can be used without money exchanging hands is through Creative Commons.  The copyright owner can release it through Creative Commons.  Creative Commons Licensing is this sliding scale.

Go to their webiste and read up if you’re interested but the two levels that are relevant to the discussion at hand, which is “why I can use someone’s works legally and not get in trouble for doing so..”

Hmm… where was I?  Oh yes, the two levels that I look for are “BY” and “BY-SA”  Both of those levels allow me, and anyone else for that matter to use the graphic, build upon it, edit it and put the result on products for sale.

BY — I am required to attribute and provide a link if possible back to the creator of the work.  Other than that I can do pretty much anything I want, even make commercial use of the work or sell the work itself.

BY-SA — I’m required to make the same “attribution” as above but I may not resell the work itself.  I can use it on products that I sell.  Example: the awesome graphic up above can be sold if it appears on a coffee mug or a t-shirt or a greeting card or a baby pacifier.  But I can NOT stick it on a website and charge people to download the image.  I can sell products *with* the image but I can’t sell the image.

Get it?  Don’t worry if you don’t.  I *think* I understand it.  At least I’m trying!   That’s why lawyers are rich, coming up with this stuff…

Internet Pirate-SMALLOne final bit about BY-SA.  Any derived work has to be shared alike so if I put a blue background on the American Grunge flag image, I can still sell stuff with the Flag with the blue background printed on it but I can NOT sell a file of the image all by itself.  If I post the image for download anywhere I have to do so under the same level of CC as the original image was posted.  That’s what the SA stands for “share alike.”  For me that’s not an issue because I don’t post the derived images.

Sometimes images are “grabbed” and listed as CC when they are not.  However, after spending hours and hours online it becomes pretty easy to spot the unscrupulous websites that do that.  I stick to Flickr, Public Domain, and other reputable sites where the owners of the artwork are identified and where I can actually email them and verify if need be that their work is actually legal to use.

Editing Found Images and Creating stuff on my own…

For the record, I do create stuff from scratch.  Not everything that I post on my Zazzle store is “found” images.

I’ll be posting some of my own stuff later.  I wanted to use an image I am using under Creative Commons Licensing first so I could do this “explaining how the whole thing works bit.  Long as it may be, I wanted everyone to know what was going on and be above board about it.  Can we say “transparency?”  🙂

Also, for the record  for most of the images I use under a Creative Commons License, I do a LOT of editing before an image can be used on products.  This is not just a case of grab a picture and slap it up and sit back and watch the cash roll in.

Even with a design like the American Grunge Flag I have to change the format of the image, clean up the image, remove the background, resize it, upload it, create a design description, select which products to add it to, go through and edit each of those products.  Like RuPaul, the girl is Workin!

Puzzled Confused Puppy (CC)This all adds up to hours of work.  Literally.  No exaggeration.  Oh GAWD now that song is stuck in my head… you better work….  LOL  If you haven’t heard the album you have to hear the interludes between songs.  The guy is a riot

But I digress…   where was I?  Oh yes..  I work, even on the images where I don’t make a lot of changes to the design.   The more I edit, the more time it takes.

And those I create from scratch, of course, take the longest.

Feeling sorry for me?  Wanna buy me a beer? or a coffee? or some Rhinestones?

Here… if I don’t sound pitiful enough just look at this cute puppy…  Awwwwww…

Why I’m doing this whole “Zazzle Design” thing…

TxCowboyDancer Designs Logo with shadow ©2012It’s a good question. It is only one of a dozen or more things I’m doing to “make money” on my own without punching a time clock.

I’m still “working.”  Believe me, I put hours and hours of time into these designs, editing them, uploading them, adding them to products on the store.  There are ways using the Zazzle Interface to create templates to automate parts of the process but when it boils down to it, those shortcuts just are not all that short.

But, if this, and other things pay off then it will be worth it.  It isn’t that I hate working for someone else, I jsut like working for myself more.  I like being my own boss; he’s a great guy to work for…  😉

I just hope that before my money runs out of my 401k (I get my last check from them in Feb 2014) that I’ll have replaced that money with money from my enterprises on the web, of which Zazzle sales is one part.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.  🙂

See ya on the dance floor…!


About TxCowboyDancer

Professional Dance Instructor teaching Country, Ballroom, Swing, Latin and Line Dance. Eleven time Country Dance World Champion.

Posted on Thu, Nov 7, 2013, in Misc and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

Join the discussion or just say "Howdy"

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: