Yes, I am a shop owner now (sounds of trumpets, please). Umm, not really, of course. Not of a brick and mortar shop somewhere in Kreuzberg, but of a virtual shop somewhere in the wide world of Zazzle where I am offering some nice products with some very nice photo shots on it. (I would not dare to brag about them if I hadn’t got some very encouraging and motivating feedback on them)
She who owns a shop hasn’t only to create products, she also wants to sell them. That’s the difficult part, at least for me.
Creating products – that means selecting my best photos and deciding which would look good on a mug, a mousepad, a card or a sticker. I ask myself if I would buy the product myself, and if the answer is yes, I create it and put it up for sale.
For sale, yes, and here comes the difficult part. I have to promote it. I have to convince other people that they should buy it. (have to buy it!) This is somewhat difficult for a person who has been fighting to gain self-confidence for most of her life. I have been brought up with “One does not talk about herself,” or “modesty is good for a girl”.
It took years for me to believe other people when they complimented me on something I did. The internet played a big part to make me change my mind and to get confidence – my photos on Flickr, and most of all this blog here and the community around it – kudos to you, my readers!
But in spite of all that I still am not good in promoting myself. However, I keep on trying and learning. And so (sounds of trumpets again) I present to you my Squidoo page with a selection of my Zazzle products: First steps into the Zazzle World
If you follow the get things done principle you have to empty everything which is in your head on a piece of paper (or on the screen, if you are going digital). In my case this results in very long to-do-lists (do the dishes, empty trash can, write blog post, clean bath tub and so on and so forth).
Some say there’s nothing more fulfilling than crossing out the items you got done. Well, there’s nothing worse than looking at the items you still have to do, either. Do this, do that. Of course there are activities I like to do (writing blog posts, for one thing), but fact is I get those done pretty well. No problem with writing blog posts. But filing papers away or writing letters to my department of human resources is something I don’t enjoy doing. Writing those activities down on a to-do-list doesn’t help much.
On the other side I feel kind of proud when I finally get done those nasty tasks. No papers on my desktop and other spaces. No open problems waiting to be tended to. In such situations, after I did all the things I hated to do, I feel as if I could breathe more easily, and deeper. I feel good. I love to feel good.
So I decided to try something new (at least for me): I write down the result of the activity and not the activity itself. I want uncovered, empty spaces in my studio. I want a sink without dishes in it. I want a shiny bath tub.
I don’t have to-do-lists anymore – I have got-done-lists.
Does this make any sense to you? How are you dealing with your to-do-lists?
“Barbara Allan” is a folk song about three centuries old. It is a song about unrequited love and death.
It is said that this song is of Scottish origins. It is sung by many folk singers – Joan Baez, Art Garfunkle and Pete Seeger, to only name a few -. I picked Judy Collins, because I think she has a wonderful voice.
More and more trees are in blossoms now – white, light pink, dark pink. It is such a pleasure to the eye!
You can find those colors everywhere in the big city, and once again I am reminded that Berlin is a green city, with lots of trees and lots of green spaces.
Today is the day. Today I take my heart into my hands and present to you – my Zazzle store! I don’t know if you know Zazzle – it is a print on demand platform where you can sell different items with your design on it.
I had registered with Zazzle last year, but it took me until November 2009 till I dared to put the first item online. It was a greeting card with a winter theme. I ordered it myself in order to send it to members of my family and some friends. I was quite nervous when I opened the packet from Zazzle – how would my cards look like? They looked quite alright.
After this first step my courage left me. Other people’s stores looked beautiful, with all kinds of creative designs. I would never be as good as them. My inner resistance told me to leave the store alone, and I did not touch it until -
until I bought Photoshop Elements 8 and played around with it. Doing this I opened a lot of image files and got the impression that some of my photos were really good. Why not put them on mugs, mousepads, keychains, greeting cards, postcards, magnets and stickers? Not for the sake of making money quick and easy with them (if anybody tells me that you can earn money on the internet quick and easy I get a kind of allergic attack), but for the sake of creating pretty things, things I would order for myself.
So here it is *sound of trombones playing*: Ulla Hennig’s Zazzle Store! Come in and enjoy yourself! And I would be awfully glad if you came back for a second, or – gosh – third time!
Last weekend I had to deal with a rather heavy attack of feeling guilty. My two week long holidays were coming to an end, and I felt guilty because I thought that I had not used the free time as productively, efficiently, what ever you may call it, as I should have done.
Of course I had put up several to-do-lists: write blog posts, create squidoo pages, take photos, process photos, create zazzle products, help friends with their website, meet friends, clean flat, make long walks, have appointments with dentist, try out new pastels, take photos of drawings with new pastels. In short: I treated those days as empty containers in which I had to squeeze as many things as possible.
And now, after those 2 weeks, I had to realize that I had not managed to do that. There were still many items on my list. And I felt GUILTY, lazy, unproductive, miserable, although my inner cheeky me (a very tiny one at the beginning) was telling me that I had had HOLIDAYS. “Do you know what holidays are for, you silly woman”, he said, “holidays are for regeneration, not for getting things off your to-do-lists”. “And, by the way,” he added, “you were pretty creative, weren’t you?” He’d actually grown at least 10 centimeters while he had been talking to me. My inner guilty me had shrunk and was looking rather daft. “Think of what you’ve managed to do in that time and not of these things still on your lists.” My inner cheeky me waved his hand and disappeared, and obviously my inner guilty me had left, too, because I felt much, much better. I was able to begin my work week rather energized and willing to meet new challenges.
It is the time of the pansies. People are buying them for their flower boxes, and they can now be seen on graves as well. For me they are a sign that we are in mid spring.
Pansies were first introduced and became popular in Europe in 1812. In Germany we call them “Stiefmütterchen”, which means “little stepmother”. Did you know that the name “pansy” comes from the French word “pensée” meaning “thought”? Wikipedia just told me so – and whenever I’ll see pansies now I will be reminded of faces in thought.
I took this photo quite some days ago, and the reason why I took it, was that I was so happy to see nature becoming green again. We had a very long winter in Berlin this year, and it was not only a cold, icy winter, it was a grey and dreary winter as well. I’ve got nothing against a cold winter with snow and ice and a blue sky – lovely! But those weeks without sun were a bit too much,
So I was longing for spring. I took a close look at the shrubs and noticed the first green buds. I searched for the first aments and welcomed them, although I knew that they make my nose suffer (I am allergic). And I noticed those green patches, fighting their way through the soil. I tried to capture as much early spring as possible with my camera, knowing that in a few days we will all take green for granted.
Forsythias are in full bloom now in Berlin. Their yellow, the green of the bushes and shrubs and the blue sky make a wonderful mixture. I’ve read somewhere that yellow is the color of creative and intellectual energy (that’s why those post-its are yellow!)
Yellow is also the color of daffodils, and when I think of daffodils, I think of Wordsworth and his beautiful poetry.