Monday, August 30, 2010

A Fantastic Christmas Gift

Prairie MemoriesMy friend Clyde Bauman has a brand new cd out called Prairie Memories, and I've been really blessed to hear it already. I LOVE THIS CD, and I think you will too. If you know anyone that really enjoys this style of music, this will make a wonderful gift for them this Christmas, and at the same time you'll be supporting a wonderfully talented Christian brother. I highly recommend this cd!

Click the image to purchase or to hear some wonderful sound clips off the cd. Be careful though with Bed By The Window, it just may bring tears to your eyes.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

It's a Mom Thing

I Love My Mom MugI don't know how long ago it was, but many many years ago my oldest daughter wanted to get me something special for Mother's Day. That afternoon she presented me with this mug, and it's been my favorite coffee mug ever since. Practically every single day I use it for my morning coffee, it's held my tea when I was on a tea kick for many years, and every winter when I have my hot cocoa with the kids, this is the mug I use. It's just the cutest mug, and it came from someone I love with all my heart so it means the world to me.

Well... sort of. See, this isn't really the same mug at all. The mug I mentioned above, the one I got for Mother's Day so many years ago? It sadly met it's end the other day, on a slippery counter top with soapy-wet hands. After so many years of faithful service, the mug finally me the business end of the floor and ended up in pieces. As silly as it sounds, yes, I almost cried. However, Kevin rescued the pieces for me and suggested I recreate the design on a brand new mug. Of course that's not the same as it being the mug, but I thought it was really good idea. Instead of copying the old design exactly, I made quite a few changes and came up with a new design with the same basic design elements... heart, flowers, lines, and childlike handwriting. It may not be the same exact mug but it's really close and soon it will be in my kitchen to replace the first one, and hopefully to be around for many many years to come. Truthfully I created this just for me, but it would make a perfect gift for any Mom. She would certainly treasure it as much as I did mine.
You can order one here.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pithy Lingo Speak

This might sound petty and hair-splitty but it's one of those things that just gets under my skin and I'm not even really sure why.

Recently on twitter I read a tweet that said "you can't have a meaningful relationship with God without being relationally connected to a local church".

Now, to be clear, I agree 10 billion percent that to have a strong, growing, maturing, fostered relationship with God, you and I both need to be under the teaching and in the fellowship of a local church. No question about it, and no argument against it ever holds water. Ever.

However, as I read this tweet my eyes and my brain focused on 1 word.

"relationally"

Over and over I read that and thought "what in the world does that mean, "relationally"? I know this probably sounds just silly but I actually looked the word up. It means exactly what you'd think it would mean. It's an adverb that means "relating to" or having kinship or commonality with.

So, maybe it's just me but this seems like a horribly redundant thing to say since any Christian connected to a local church is already in kinship with and having commonality with the other members: that kinship being Christ as Lord. I can't imagine why else you'd be there if you had nothing in common with the other folks there. But maybe I'm totally wrong here and "relationally connected" means something different, better or deeper than just "connected". Is it possible that I'm not relationally connected myself and so I'm on the outside looking in to this kind of connectedness? I'm pretty sure I'm about as connected as I possibly can be to my local church, since I am in 100% agreement with the pastor and other members on our statement of faith, principles for godly living, godly parenting, service to the local church and community, etc.

I just have to wonder why people say things like this. In my own extremely subjective and limited experience, it seems this kind of language is fairly new among Christians, having first shown up among the wacky post-modernists calling themselves Christians and the extremist oddball emergent folks (and in some cases, the two were/are exactly the same). Hearing them speak and reading their writings always reminded me of the druggy beatnicks in the 50s who fancied themselves as these deep, philosophical thinkers when really... they just sounded like they were stoned and needed to sober up before they went off on another deep and profound tangent about spirituality, community and tangerine trees holding the mysteries of life. I would have been perfectly content to know that this kind of lingo was constrained among that crowd, but in the last few years I've heard and read more and more conservative, theologically solid people use it too.

I just wonder if folks that use this kind of language have this idea that using this flowery language conveys a message better. Or maybe they just think it sounds cool so they use it? Or maybe it makes them feel more spiritual to dress up a simple truth with flowers?

I wish I knew why it bothered me so much, but I really cannot put my finger on a definitive reason.



Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Team Apologian: New and Improved!

As my regular readers already know, I design the t-shirts and gifts for the Team Apologian shop that promotes Alpha and Omega Ministries. Over the last few years I've had more than a few people ask me why I do it. I do not profit financially from this venture at all, and that raises a few eyebrows from time to time. The short answer is: it's a labor of love.

The longer answer is:

This is a ministry that has quite literally changed my life. Were it not for Dr. White's book Drawn by the Father that I read back in 1998, who knows where I'd be theologically or doctrinally? Were it not for Dr. White's consistant emphasis on fellow brothers and sisters being able to give a defense for the hope that lies within, who knows what kind of lukewarm, wishy washy Christian I might be today? It's impossible to guess really, but the fact of the matter is God has used this ministry to change me, challenge me, and cause me to look to the Scriptures in a far more reverant and hopeful way than I ever did before. When I read The Forgotten Trinity I think I took more notes than the book is long. When I read The God Who Justifies my eyes were opened to justification in a brand new way and I actually enjoyed the book so much I sort of felt like a doctrinal geek as I'd settle in every night with my cheetos and coffee (I know, weird!) and slowly read through the next chapter and then spend the entire next day meditating on what I'd read. When I read Pulpit Crimes I was so relieved to read and know that there are others within the body that do in fact see the absolute nonsense being paraded to the world as Christianity. When I read Grieving: Our Path Back to Peace in more than a few places through the book my eyes welled with tears as I nodded and thought "yep, that's exactly how it is".

While Dr. White's focus has been more in ministry to the Muslims in the last few years, God has gifted this brother with very sharp discernment and the very comfortable ability to relate deep doctrinal and social issues (with a Biblical worldview) to the average person not sporting a seminary or college education. I've had the opportunity to meet Dr. White in person a couple of times and my hubby and I have had lunch with him, and he's quite honestly a rather fun person to spend time with. I'm honored to call him friend, and I just appreciate his dedication to ministry and serving the way he does. Even if he does tease me publicly on his webcast from time to time. :o)

The thing is, my expression of gratitude toward this ministry is not at all uncommon. I have met and spoken to so many people over the years that tell very similar stories about how this ministry has in fact changed their lives. Last year when the ministry celebrated it's 25th year, letters of thanks poured in from all around the world, from people who God saw fit to orchestrate their discovery of this ministry and have their lives altered forever, in a most wonderfully profound way. It was so good to read those letters and hear the things God was doing in the lives of others so far away and even locally.

Shop Team Apologian at it's NEW location!So that's part of the longer answer as to why I design for Team Apologian. It's my way of giving back and doing what I can to support the ministry. Every purchase made through the shop goes directly toward the financial support of aomin.org. Customers get a great product, aomin.org is blessed financially and everyone's happy. It's the ultimate win/win deal for all.

This past year however there have been a lot of changes with the fulfillment company (cafepress) that prints and ships the shirts and gifts and that's affected many other aspects of the shop. For that reason, I've decided to close that shop and reopen with zazzle with a limited number (for now) of designs, but a far greater selection of shirts, hoodies, tote bags, keychains, mugs and more!

The shop is now open, and as an added bonus there's a pretty cool sale on (ends Saturday) for 15% off mugs when you use the coupon code BTSRULE5MUGS at checkout! Now there's a great Christmas gift idea just waiting for you at the new Team Apologian store.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cling to the Cross

My friend James White posted this on his blog and titled it Cling to the Cross: A Gospel Message for Muslims. As I watched this brief video on why the cross of Christ is central to true peace with God, it occured to me that it is indeed not only Muslims who need to hear this. Very short video but very passionately explained why it is that we must put our trust in Christ and His finished work.


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Legion of Calvinists

You know how sometimes among friends you're joking around about something and then all of a sudden a brilliant and clever idea pops up as a result of that casual conversation?

Well, that's what happened today during the Dividing Line among those of us who are known as channel rats in #prosapologian.

And this is the result:

Legion of Calvinists shirt
Legion of Calvinists by reflectionstees
Personalize with your name and year of brainwashing conversion for a most unique Christian t-shirt. Makes the perfect gift for anyone in an Arminian school, too. :o)
Also available in white.


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweet Sixteen Cover Girl

I had so much fun creating this that I just had to show it off here :o)
Sweet Sixteen Magazine Cover Girl invitation
Sweet Sixteen Magazine Cover Girl by reflections06
Upload your own 8x10 photo and customize the text to make a super special sweet sixteen, custom party invitation.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Turn the Page

Today with the drizzly, gray skies and cool breeze blowing across the cornfield, was the first day this summer that I actually felt like summer was coming to a close and that fall really is right around the corner. I really dislike that feeling a great deal. If I could have it my way, it would be summer-like weather all year long. I love fall, but fall means old man winter is not far behind and he and I just do not get along. So instead of feeling melancholy and desperately sad that my BFF summer is leaving me once again I decided today to dwell on some of the really good things coming my way:

With the change of seasons just about here, I got to thinking today about what that means for me personally. One of the really nice benefits to my daily walk/jog after dinner is that it allows me some nice, quiet, uninterrupted thinking-time, and things like this come up during that time.

In the fall of my 45th year comes a brand new chapter, brand new page for me and in part I'm looking forward to them. I say "in part" because I'm not really sure how those changes will play out so I'm a little reluctant to get too excited about them. You see, for those who don't already know, this will be my first new school year as a former homeschooling mom. Well, the first new school year in 10 years, that is. It's been just long enough since I was a 100% public school mom that I honestly can't remember what it's like to not have any kids in the house during the day. I do remember that my house was much more tidy, but that's about all. I really don't have any idea what I did with my time for 6+ hours a day, but I sure know what I plan to do with it when school starts this year.

One of the things I'm really looking forward to? Cleaning my house. I know that may sound terribly boring but it's not at all boring for me. I've said for years that I am a Felix Unger living in a family of Oscar Madisons (and if you're under 30 you likely wont have a clue what that means) and it's the absolute truth. When all the kids were little and too short to make very big messes, my house was always neat and tidy and well cared for. That was a really long time ago, and as I began to homeschool and had my time taken up during the day with schooling, I didn't have a whole lot of time for housekeeping aside from the must-do's like dishes and laundry. I don't have any idea how long it will take me to de-clutter, de-mess, de-odorize my entire house, but the project has already begun and will be in full swing come September 7th. We're already clearing out dresser drawers and bagging up an insane amount of bags for Goodwill, and soon I'll be making a run to drop all those off. It's hard to focus on one room at a time, but that's the plan for when school begins in September.

One of the other things I'm really looking forward to is stepping up my efforts to get myself off my duff and into shape. On July 26th I began walking every evening after dinner, and that's been one of the best things I've done for myself in a really long time. I've recently pumped that up a little and now I walk part of the way and jog part of the way for a full mile. I think the last time I jogged anywhere was a few years ago when one of the kids screamed from upstairs and I bolted through the house and up the stairs to see what was wrong. The thing is, stay at home moms just don't have the opportunity to do a whole lot of jogging or running for any reason, and you really find out just how out of shape you are when you have to do it. I really do not want to be that mom, so I've taken matters into my own hands. The daily mile is great and I love it, and I'm going to be adding to that come September. I'll switch my walk to morning, add swimming for one hour twice a week at the local pool, as well as adding biking to my walk route twice a week (alternating days from the swimming) and back on my elliptical when the weather turns and prevents me from walking, jogging or biking. Yes indeed, I'm really looking forward to that!

Still another thing to look forward to is getting back into a weekly routine. As much as I love to stay up as late as I want (I'm 45, so why do I still feel like I'm 14 when I get to stay up until 2am?), I actually function much better when I'm locked into a routine as I am during the school year. Kev's on the worst possible rotating, continental shift and that does not help at all. One of the things that has suffered greatly this summer from this nutty routine/lack of routine/changing routine is our church attendance. As much as I try and get everything and everyone ready Saturday night, Sunday morning comes and I generally feel like a bus ran over me and have no energy to get dressed and out the door by 9:30 to make it to church on time. Once fall arrives and church service goes back to 11am and I'm back in my school routine it will be a great help for us in getting back to being in church. I love my church and I miss being there, and the kids do too.

There are lots of other things to look forward to as well, as fall is just around the corner. Like, no more flies and mosquitos. No more humidity that makes everything so horribly sticky and damp. Quiet time in my house that just might afford me the leisure of finally getting to that stack of unread books, when I'm done cleaning or working out for the day. The first whiff of wood smoke in the air, as someone fires up their woodstove or fireplace for the first time. The brilliant color change with all the maples in the area. And last but certainly not least, buying that awesome cookbook with a billion crockpot recipes and trying out some new and yummy and healthy cockpot dinners! I love my crockpot and when I put the Sunday roast in it this morning as silly as it sounds, I realized how much I have missed cooking with it over the summer. We tend to eat a lot of grilled foods, cold sandwiches, salads and finger foods in the summer, so there isn't much crockpot cooking (or oven, for that matter) going on for several months at a time.

So those are just a few of the things I'm looking forward to, Lord willing of course. I may miss summer, but each season has some pretty great things that come with it as well.


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chicks Rock

The other day while I was out running errands I saw something that both annoyed me and inspired me at the same time. What I saw was a graphic t-shirt that could have been really cute, but instead was quite skankish and nasty. Let's be honest here, our North American culture is quite literally filled with skankish and nasty graphic t-shirts.

Whenever someone asks me questions about what I do as far as designing t-shirt graphics, the most common question is "where do you get your ideas?" To be perfectly honest, while some of my stuff is entirely unique and original, much of it is inspired by something someone else has already done. Like the skankish and nasty stuff I just mentioned. There is a huge market out there for folks who love graphic t-shirts and the like, and there are A LOT of them that are just plain sick and tired of the skank-o-rama. This is where I come in.

Chicks Rock!This is where I got the idea to create this fun design the other day. I had already created this adorable little yellow chick for a fun line of barnyard babies in my birthday shop, so I just borrowed her and gave her some pretty little eyelashes for the new design. What started out originally as just a cute little design for little girls (and big girls) shirts, turned into a whole line of fun chick goodies... which then turned into a much larger line of chick tees.

As soon as the girls saw what I was doing they started suggesting more and more chick tees: sporty chick, Canadian chick, biker chick, skater chick, twitter chick and more. The more they suggested, the more I thought of and before long it was a veritable chickfest and we were having a blast writing down all the fun ideas :o) What started as one design has now turned into nearly 600 products in store and many more to come! I just couldn't leave well enough alone (how can I, this is such a cute chick!) and I'm currently in the process of adding State Chick shirts and gifts, and will be adding Canadian province chicks after that.

Chicks Rock custom US postage stampsI was delighted yesterday to learn that this Chicks Rock US postage stamp not only received a Today's Best award from the folks at zazzle, but it also received an award for ranking in the top 10 postage views on the zazzle site. Considering there are over ONE MILLION custom postage stamps there, that's pretty incredible. Based on those stats, I'd say it's a pretty good bet that "cute" is definitely in demand.

My 11 year old asked me this morning if I have City Chicks yet. I don't have any plans to add those just yet, but if you'd like a city chick shirt or gift, I'll be happy to create one for you.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I need one for myself. :o)



Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Friday, August 13, 2010

She Could Have Been Me

DATELINE: Greater Seattle Area - 1982

I was 17 years old at the time, living just a ferry ride away from downtown Seattle and for many years already the Pacific Northwest boogeyman was Ted Bundy. His was the name that carried horror with it, that no one really wanted to talk about, and that replaced the name of Charles Manson as the boogeyman, at least for folks living in northwest WA. Bundy was finally arrested for the last time in 1978 when I was 13 years old and in the 7th grade. Slowly, over the next few years some of the details of his crimes became public knowledge and there was every reason to give him the title of boogeyman. His crimes were every parents worst fear, come to life.

By 1982 Bundy was safely locked away in jail in Florida and going through multiple court trials that eventually led to his conviction and execution. But 1982 brought a new name to the Pacific Northwest that quickly replaced the name of Ted Bundy. Rather than a name, I should say a title: The Green River Killer. The public didn't know it was Gary Ridgeway for another 19 years, when he was arrested and the news broke that the monster responsible for killing all those girls and young women was finally caught.

At the time, he was just The Green River Killer. Even though he targetted prostitutes on the street, there was no such thing as thinking among my friends and myself that "we're safe" because no one really knew who he was, where he was, or if he'd target other girls too (or already had). Even though he was thought to be in the Seattle area, we all knew how easy it was to get on the ferry and be in our town, as we did it ourselves all the time going the opposite direction to see concerts in Seattle, go to Pike's Place Market, Seattle Center, etc. Almost none of us went out alone after dark, unless we had no other option. In the fall of 1982 at 17, I took night classes at the local college and the few times I had to walk home alone after dark, I carried my keychain in the palm of my hand with each key sticking out between my fingers. That was something I'd read in the local paper, on how to use whatever you had handy, to defend yourself.

At that age, knowing a serial killer was lurking around somewhere nearby was a pretty sickening feeling. My friends and I didn't dwell on it, and most of the time it never even came up, but it was something we all knew about and was always in the back of our minds. I can still recall how we used to speculate on who it was and if they'd ever catch him. Thankfully, they did indeed catch him, even though it took nearly 20 years.

If you're wondering why I shared all that with you it's because I watched a movie last night that literally tore at my heart and mind. Movies almost never do that to me but this one most certainly did. The name of the movie was The Capture of the Green River Killer which originally aired on Lifetime tv back in 2008, based on the book written by Dave Reichert, Chasing the Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer. Dave Reichert was with the King County Sheriff's Dept., and a leading member of the Green River Task Force. As I started watching the movie and heard his name it almost felt like it was the early 80s again as I remembered so many times on the evening news, that name being mentioned in association with reports of breaking news or updates on this case.

The reason the movie touched me the way it did was because of a fictional element written into it that the book didn't have. Throughout the true story of the investigation, the movie showed us a slice of life of a teenage girl from a desperately broken background that eventually found her way into the life of prostitution and ultimately, became one of the victims of Gary Ridgeway.

The reason that had such an impact on me was because of the conversations my friends and I used to have about that very thing, whenever it came up in conversation. As I said earlier, we didn't really talk about it much (it was too surreal, too scary, too real) but we did talk about it. We were the same ages of the girls the investigators kept finding dead, and we were so close - just a ferry ride away. I can't remember how many times we used to say or hear "man, that could have been one of us". While we were not living the same lifestyles they were, we still connected with them for the simple reason they were local girls our age. We always wondered how they got into that life and how they let themselves become victims of a serial killer. At the time, we didn't realize that lifestyle brought with it "getting into a car with a total stranger" an acceptable risk that they took every day, multiple times a day. The thing is, many of those girls were thinking about this every day as well since at least some of them actually asked Gary Ridgeway if he was the Green River Killer. Of course he laughed it off and likely changed the subject just to make them feel at ease.

From what I've read today, the reason that fictional element was written into the movie was to give viewers answers, and to sympathize with the victims in a way that is unfortunately not always the case when the victim of a crime is a street prostitute. At least for this viewer, the fictional element worked very well, as I watched the movie and fought back tears and write this today and still feel my nose tingling and my throat getting tight, and my eyes welling up.

I know in just about every community across the US there are programs such as Children of the Night that exist solely to help these girls get off the streets, and turn their lives around. I thank the Lord for the people who dedicate their lives to such a cause, and we'd all do well to support such efforts in every way possible. Through volunteering, financial support, daily prayer, or however the Lord leads you personally to step up and make a world of difference in someone's life.

Protecting our children from predators should include protecting our community's children as well so that cases like this one and movies and books on this subject will never happen again, or at the very least, happen less often.



Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Serious Question on Homosexuality

Question:

If homosexuality is defined as having a sexual attraction to persons of the same gender as yourself (and it is defined this way) then why...

Do so many homosexual men take on and exhibit extremely feminine traits (speech, body language, dress and overall personal appearance) and why do so many homosexual women take on extremely masculine traits in the same manner (boyish haircuts, no makeup, masculine clothing styles, etc.)?

This may sound like a horribly ignorant question, but it seems to me that doing this would effectively make these men and women UNattractive to homosexuals since they're going out of their way to look like the opposite gender. Which, is exactly what homosexuals are not attracted to.

I'd like to hear your thoughts.


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

So Thankful Thursday

Not too long ago I mentioned on twitter or facebook (I honestly don't recall which) that I'd love to have a graphic tablet. With what I do in design, I thought it would be a more natural feel for me to use a "pen" when I want to draw something instead of using a mouse. In fact, drawing is something I just don't do with the mouse since it's so unnatural for me.

Not long after I mentioned my desire to have such a toy, someone responded and essentially said "I have one, I don't need it, it's yours if you want it". I meant to blog about this sooner but I've just been so airheaded that I overlooked it. In any case, it was sent, I received it and just started using it today. It's SO cool I can't even begin to explain how cool it is. It's going to take me a bit to get used to using it and learning all the features, but I am just so thankful to that reader who donated the tablet to me.

I hope to use it for a new design very soon, as soon as I'm more comfortable with it.
:o)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Crafty Momstuff

This past June I surprised Kev with a family portait done of the kids. Before I gave it to him, I told him that we'd picked a day and they put on their cutest outfits and we went to the beach to have this portrait professionally done.

He was a little surprised about that since he had no idea we'd gone to the beach, but I told him it was on a day he was working and the kids had all been very good about keeping it a secret. He was very touched by that as he opened his gift, but imagine his surprise when he saw what was really inside. Granted, he doesn't really look very "surprised" here in this picture, but this was taken at the end of a really long day. Trust me, he absolutely loved it!

The kids and I conspired together to turn each of them into a Twiggy Tot just like the ones in my Birthday Sweeties store, and give that to him for Father's Day. They all giggled like crazy as each one of them were turned Twiggish, and the lady at the photo development place thought it was the cutest thing she'd seen in a very long time. This "professionally made" portrait is now hanging on our game room wall right above the tv.


I decided to use these twiggies today as I created a new set of Mommy Calling cards for myself. What in the world are Mommy Calling Cards, you wonder? Well, they're just awesome, that's what they are! Similar to business cards, these are great little contact cards with mom's contact info, and kid's names perfect for sharing with your kid's friend's parents, coaches, teachers, babysitters, etc. Instead of digging through your purse looking for a scrap of paper and an eyeliner or crayon to write with (or a real pen, if you're one of those moms who actually has a pen in her purse at all times), you can just pull out one of these super-cute little Mommy Calling cards and share it instead. Here's the one I did for myself today with my own kids (the ones still at home, anyway):


This is just a sample of course, since my name isn't Carol Rogers and it's been years since I lived in Ourtown (that entire section is all customizable, obviously). Once I finished creating the card it occured to me that other moms may love to have their kids Twiggied for their own cards. Personally, I'd love it if more moms had these, as the little scraps of paper with kid's friend's phone numbers are very easily lost! If the moms and dads of my kid's friends had these, they'd be right up on the bulletin board in the kitchen with all the other important stuff!

So today I began a new project and created what has already turned into a rather large line of brand new Twiggy Tots Mommy Calling cards. Boys, girls, curly hair, straight hair, blonde, brunette, babies and even twins! The more I created today the more fun it was, and the more I realized what a huge line this could be if I added every kid-combo (3 boys, 1 girl... 2 girls 1 boy?) to every card possibility. Instead of doing that, you may contact me here if you'd like a specific, custom Twiggy Tot gang of kids on a Mommy Calling card for yourself. Any custom Twiggies will be added to the catalog and I'll send you a direct link so that you can personalize the card with your own contact information.

With school starting up again in just a few weeks for many of us, and already back in session for many others, these are a great thing to have for exchanging contact info with other parents, teachers, etc. Every mom should have a set of these! :o)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Friday, August 6, 2010

Family Friendly POD

Family Friendly Print on DemandI wanted to bring your attention to a brand new blog I recently started. If you're reading from the blog (and not a reader) you may have already seen this cute little graphic in the left sidebar. This is Family Friendly Print on Demand, by the brilliant designers with shops at zazzle.com.

Why would I do this, you ask? Good question. Allow me to explain.

Let's start with the "family friendly" part. If you're a mom with kids between the ages of 6 months to 20 yrs., you already know how hard it can be to find appropriately clothes for them. It seems all the hot potato designers have it in mind that little 9 year old Emily should be dressed like a hootchie mama, and little 6 year old Tyler should resemble a gang banger. Well, many (not all, but many) of the designers at zazzle.com are stay at home moms just like me, and who knows better what G-rated clothing looks like, than us? EXACTLY! The t-shirts and gift items I'll be featuring at Family Friendly Print on Demand are entirely G-rated, and created by people like me, who love what they do. We're not hot potato clothing label, we're independant designers that sorta dig designing G-rated goodies for the whole family.

Why "print on demand"? Because it's awesome! It's a great way to shop for totally unique, and in many cases 100% customizable and personalizable t-shirts, mugs, eco-friendly totes, business cards, birthday invitations, and lots more really great items. But the prices are higher than Wal-Mart, you say. Yes, yes they are (sometimes!), but when was the last time you walked into your local Wal-Mart and found a completely unique t-shirt, set of wedding invitations, or awesomely cool tote bag that you could personalize for free? Never, that's when. Indeed, you can find those items at the local stores but you're not supporting independant artists when you shop there - they just run those things off the press by the kajillions, and you're wearing/using/buying the same thing millions of other people have. On the other hand, print on demand is exactly what it says, and when you order (for example) a custom, personalized soccer champ t-shirt it's custom printed just for you, with exactly what you wanted on there, and nothing you didn't want.

Why am I promoting these other artists? That's an easy one, they're brilliant! Just take a look at some of the designs you see there and you'll agree these are very talented people. Many of the designers on zazzle.com do what they do for a living (or at the very least to supplement their income) and I'm all about helping them do that in whatever way I can, by promoting their work. Exactly the same way when you buy a t-shirt or a tote bag from me it helps me pay the phone bill or put gas in my vehicle, when you buy from them it does the very same thing. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a zazzle.com affiliate and when you purchase someone else's awesome product through Family Friendly Print on Demand I receive a small commission for that sale. You get a great product, the artist makes a sale, and it's a total win/win for everyone.

So if you haven't already, click over there and take a look at what's being featured. I'll be highlighting a variety of products (seasonal goodies, sale items, etc.) once or twice a week so be sure to follow the blog to stay informed on what's new!

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Oh Snap?



She definitely speaks for me.

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Social Networking, anyone?

So there I was, minding my own business when one of my older daughters comes up with this idea to put one of her pet peeves about social networking, on a t-shirt. The more I thought about it the more I realized it might be one of those shirts A LOT of people would enjoy. I confess, it did make me laugh since I can relate, and it annoys me too:

GET YOURS HERE


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Country Roads

As much as I am truly done living in the country, I have to admit that it's truly beautiful where I am. Here are some shots I've taken this week on my daily 1.25 mile walk after dinner:

Whole grain fields

Forever sky

Thunderheads

Threat but no rain

Field work

Curious 4-legged neighbors


I've seen some rather breathtaking views this week, and some wonderful wildlife last week.  I take my camera every evening, so there's no telling what I'll see out there.  As long as it's not a startled skunk.  That would not be a good thing.



Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Friends Who Simply Rock

Do you know who this is? I suspect you probably do, but just in case you don't, this is my friend Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries.
Well, what's left of him anyway, after several months of intense biking, workouts and a big change to healthy eating. Doesn't he look incredible!?
He sent me this pic today to show me this awesome new t-shirt I custom designed for him! In Greek, this is 1Peter 3:15 which says always be ready to give an answer for your faith. This design is exclusively for sale at my Skreened shop, and you can grab yours here.
As an aside, Doc has been one of my primary inspirations for getting into shape, working out daily and changing my eating habits. After seeing this picture today, I'm even more encouraged.
Go Doc! :o)


Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh Kitty

Black Kitty Halloween Party Invitations
In Christian circles you will often hear about accountability.  I find this to be a very good and very helpful thing.  It's very easy to settle into the mindset of being a Lone Ranger type and not needing anyone's help, input, advice or even support.

What I have done from day 1 when I create a new design for sale, I take accountability with me into that field as well.  The way it works is pretty simple.  When I'm done with a new design, I call Kev and the kids to have a look at it for their input.  I strive to keep my designs family friendly, so I need to make sure my weird sense of humor never crosses the line and is actually family friendly.  My own family is my quality control panel that keeps me in line! I thank the Lord for them.

Recently when I created this fun party invitation I did what I always do and called them all over.  The kids all smiled and gave me their approval but Kevin had a little more to say about it.  I'll paraphrase:

"Now see, if I was a kid, and someone gave me that party invitation, I would want to go JUST to see that cat at the party.  He's a fine looking cat and he's obviously REALLY happy so apparently great things are happening at this party.  I'm definitely going!"

So there you have it.  Another design passed the Family Friendly Quality Control panel of experts. You can see the full line of fun Halloween Party invitations and other goodies, right here.
Graphic design by Carla Rolfe

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Random Stuffage

• Since I joined dailymile (as much as I don't like it, I purposely posted the fatty pic of me there to motivate myself.  I'll change it when I've hit the first 10 pound weight loss goal) last week, I've walked 7 miles. I know that's not a lot, but I plan to increase my distance and time each day (which is what I've done all week) and hopefully, finally get rid of the extra weight.  I need to get a good pair of walking shoes and would like to get a decent pedometer too, but that will have to come later. Yay, go me!

• While on vacation I'm very self-disciplined.  I'm in bed every night by 11, drink way less coffee, eat a good breakfast every day and engage in lots of physical activity from long hikes, frisbee and more. By contrast, when I'm at home I stay up till 2-3am, drink my weight in coffee every day, never eat breakfast and do a whole lotta sitting at my desk.  I have concluded then, I need to be on permanent vacation.

• I'm having a blast designing new goodies for the fall/winter holidays.  Lots of fun new stuff in the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas sections at Reflections zazzle, and hopefully lots more coming real soon. If you're planning a Halloween or a Christmas party, I sure hope you'll consider one of the fun, custom invitations there!

• This past week my sister and I both posted fun new photo albums of Bremerton, WA.  Hers are the now pics and mine are the then pics.  If you're from there and have moved away (maybe stationed there while in the Navy?), or if you're still there, go take a look.  I searched high and low and just could not find pics of the old Chateau Roller Rink on Marine Drive, the old East and West high schools, and the Koontz Junior High building (before it burned down).  I'd also love to find shots of downtown Bremerton in the 60s and 70s.  If you know where I can find those shots, I want to hear from you!

National Root Beer Float Day
• DESSERT! A family favorite in the summer: 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, topped with a spoonful of crushed pineapple and a generous drizzle of caramel sauce.  Everyone loves it and it's a very simple ice cream fix.  Speaking of ice cream, this coming Friday (August 6th) is NATIONAL ROOT BEER FLOAT DAY!  We'll be celebrating of course with root beer floats in the traditional way.  I've never tried it and always wanted to: orange soda floats, cream soda floats, grape soda floats.  Which is your favorite and what's the weirdest float you've ever had or heard of?

• Recently, I had several people come to me on two seperate issues and ask me to clarify my position.  The reason they needed this clarification was because the position I now hold is not the position I previously held and that naturally led to some confusion.  All I can really say about that is: praise God for the work He does in our minds and hearts through the work of sanctification and growing in grace.  I'd like to believe with age comes wisdom, sharper discernment, and a more balanced, Biblical view of things.  I'd like to believe that, and I can, because His word tells us that's exactly what He does with His people.  That's pretty awesome stuff, right there.

• This past movie night we rented Clash of the Titans.  I remember watching the first one at least a few hundred years ago, but I really didn't remember anything about it aside from the mythology aspect of it.  I am quite happy to say that not only did we LOVE this movie, we found it to be a great movie the kids could watch too.  That's a pretty rare combo these days, so when we come across one like this I really like to recommend it.  CAUTION: there are 2 cuss words in the movie. That's it.

• I had an inquiry today about a "Grandma Rocks" t-shirt.  I didn't have a design like that so I went ahead and created one. It's very basic and just for fun!  Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone, so now there are also shirts for grandpa, mom, dad, brothers, sisters, babies, aunts, uncles and lots more. What's more, the text is entirely customizable so you can create your very own IT rocks t-shirt for whatever your passion happens to be. Chocolate Rocks? Biking Rocks? Broccoli Rocks?  The choice is yours!
SEE THE FULL LINE HERE.

I can tell you, after having my youngest grand daughter over for a sleepover last night (even though she made me miss church today), being a grandma most defintely rocks. :o)

Graphic design by Carla Rolfe