… Or Further Adventures in “Who’s wearing my t-shirts today?
There is something extremely satisfying in creating a thing and having people like the thing you have created. This is especially true for something as intimate as clothing. I mean, every morning, you wake up and decide who you want to be that day and then you don the costume that tells the world about your decision.
When I started making the t-shirts to sell on Cafepress and Zazzle around seven years ago, it was just a way to express a creative side that had been set away during graduate school. It later developed into a way to help pay down my student loans faster. And that part is working! I’ve paid off one private loan and will soon stick a fork in a second. Only $100,000 left to go between my federal loans, private loans, and Parent Plus loans, because student debt is now multi-generational.
Recently, I became curious as to where my designs were being worn splashed across the chest. I mapped the locations and found that not surprisingly, most of my sales where in North America. But I am tickled to no end to see just how far afield my snark extends. [insert evil laugh here] Seriously, someone in Ireland is probably drinking Guinness right NOW wearing something I designed!
So I began to dig a little and found sales to Australia (It figures that THEY get my sense of humor!), all over Europe, China, Tunisia (Really?), and the United Arab Emirates. Check out the Google map and see where fine and intelligent people have purchased my snarky designs for yourself.
Malarkey Pie truly is an international purveyor of fine snark for the discerning taste.
What to get some Malarkey Pie for yourself? Check out my shops!
Good morning safe drivers! Today’s driving tip from Auntie Thea is about “stopping”, as in the physical action of coming to a full rest, absence of motion, lack of forward momentum, as in “stop the hell right there”.
A “stop” does not mean “slow down and THEN blow through the red light”. A stop is a very simple concept. It means just…. fecking…. stop. Period.
Drive safe out there, boys and girls! I love you and want you to get to where you are going. Remember, kids, life is not about the destination, it’s about not killing a family of four on the journey.
My husband and I are beginning the process of buying a house. The last child is out of the home and we will no longer have her as a tax deduction. While I do acknowledge that children do have their uses other than as tax deductions, this is a really big deal. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind paying taxes as I feel it is important to have good roads and a populace that are not un-educated dolts, I just don’t like spending money I don’t really need to.
So, I naturally started looking on-line for information on buying houses. And went to Pinterest, as you do. And I found all sorts of really good information that prompted me to start my own Pinterest board on this subject that I so cleverly named “A home of my own”. And I began reading all of the really good tips, infographics, and blog articles. And I learned some useful stuff, but as I read, I realized that no one was addressing the role of natural hazards in home buying. And being an emergency manager who works in the world of natural hazards I thought that this needed to be rectified. So here is my blog post on taking natural hazards into consideration.
Because no matter where you live, you will have natural hazards to deal with. It’s not something we as humans like to think about. We live in a shiny happy bubble, right up until the earthquake shatters your chimney, the tornado rips your home off the foundation, or spring floods carry it away. It is something we need to think about and prepare for so that when it happens, we can back to normal life as soon as possible.
And you need to think about it especially when you buy a home. While bad things can happen at anytime, we want to have some reassurance that we will have a home to go to after the bad thing happens. So do your homework about natural hazards just like you would in vetting a realtor, or mortgage agent, or any other of the many things you need to think about in buying a home.
So let’s talk about natural hazards. The most common are flood, fire, weather-related, and earthquake. There are more fun games that Mother Nature can share with us, but we’ll concentrate on these.
Flooding happens when water rises high enough to reach normally dry land. It can happen because of rain, or tsunami, or hurricane. It can happen suddenly in a flash flood, or slowly as rivers rise in the spring thaw. But the flood zones are fairly well mapped so you can find out if the home you are interested in buying is in a flood zone.
If the home is in the flood plain, your mortgage company will likely require you to buy flood insurance. But thare is a lot that you can do to mitigate flood risk. Check out FloodSmart.gov to get more information.
Hurricane Storm Surge
Hurricane storm surge is ocean water that is pushed on land by the force of the wind. It can reach up to 30 feet high and run miles inland. Remember Hurricane Katrina? If you are buying property in the south and east anywhere near the shore, go to check out the NOAA interactive map on modeled storm surge.
Tsunamis are caused when there is a large earthquake under the ocean. It can be extremely hazardous to be near the shore when one of these occur. If you are near the beach, and you feel an earthquake, get to high ground immediately as a tsunami could come ashore in just a few minutes. But what does this mean for you folks looking to buy a house? Well, if you are looking at beachfront property, take some time to find out if it is in the tsunami evacuation zone.
If you are looking for land in Washington and Oregon, you can check out this interactive map to see if the property you are interested in purchasing is at risk from a tsunami.
Oh, and the FEMA flood insurance covers tsunami. Good thing, that.
So fires that can destroy a home come from two sources, an internal house fire and what is called “wildland fire”. I’m going to focus on wildland fire, for more information on house fires, go check out what the American Red Cross has to offer.
We love to live in the wild places of the world. To build our homes in the forests in order to be closer to nature. Well, Nature can be a bitch. One of her favorite toys is wild fire. And when we build our homes in or near the forests, we put ourselves in harm’s way. The National Fire Protection Association runs a program called Firewise. When you are looking at that gorgeous home in the trees, keep in mind that you may need to watch it go up in flames unless you mitigate the hazard.
Ok, I admit it, I love the movie Twister. There I said it. But I also know that the reality is that tornadoes are a dangerous hazard that are going to get worse as climate change really digs into our weather patterns. When you are looking at home in an area that can get tornados (which is anywhere, really), ask about if the gables have been braced and the connections between vertical walls and roof have been strengthened. FEMA has a FAQ on tornado safe rooms.
Hurricane pose probably one of the most destructive, and familiar, types of natural hazards. If you live in the south and the east, you probably have been through one, or know someone who has. We all remember Hurricane Katrina. I do. It was one of the events that changed my life path and brought me into emergency management. But what does that have to do with buying a home?
Well, as you are doing your house shopping, keep things hurricanes in mind, if the hazards exists in your area. MySafeFlorida.org has a great website with information on hurricanes.
Ok, here is my personal favorite, earthquakes. The focus of my job is to get Oregon prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis. So, naturally, I think about these things day and night, and certainly when I am looking for a house to buy. So I’ve ruled areas of town because of flood hazard and now I look at expected shaking from earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Service has seismic hazard maps that you can look at to get an idea of areas of higher hazard.
Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries has an online hazard viewer, HazVu, that you can check out to see expected shaking in the area you are looking at houses. You might check to see if your state agencies offer a similar mapping service. Using this service, I ruled out some of the lower areas of Salem and am now concentrating on the south side, which is up on hills.
Well, this blog post should feed your paranoia about buying a home pretty well, as if you needed ONE MORE BLOODY THING to worry about in this hot mess that is buying a home. But that is what it is right, a home, and not just a house. You put so much effort into choosing the paint colors and floor coverings. Protect that sweat and tears that you put into your home. Consider the natural hazards in your area and buy a home in a smart way.
I have been selling “print on demand” (POD) t-shirts at Cafepress.com and Zazzle.com for several years now with the goal to use the extra money to pay down my student loans faster. Up until this last year, it hasn’t been a very focused endeavor. I’d create few designs each month and post them with no clear strategy. Just doing it for fun really. To convince myself to do better this year, I developed the Design 365 Challenge and created printables that you can download. The goal is to make a new design every single day. Or at least have 365 new designs by the end of the year. Join the fun and play along at home and increase your own sales!
I started with Cafepress.com in 2005 to sell t-shirt and coffee mugs. I’d sell a few designs now and again, but not a lot. Then last year, I decided to really up my game and spent a great deal of time developing new designs and learning how to market them. All that time and hard work paid off! In fact, I made enough money last year from selling at these two places that I will actually have to pay taxes on the royalties. Um, Yay?
No, really it’s good, it’s progress. I have enough business-related deductions that it should offset things so the hit shouldn’t be too bad. (I like good roads and schools, so taxes are ok, too) Maybe future posts will be about taxes (I’m not an accountant but a procrastinating entrepreneur) and more about the business end of well, business. But today I wanted to talk more about something exciting that I am doing this year… the Design 365 Challenge.
In December I took a few weeks off to burn down comp time I had accumulated at work. I had a lot of free time to think about how to grow my t-shirt shops. One of the things I was working on was developing a set of planner pages to help organize the business side of things. And I came up with the Design 365 Challenge to keep myself honest and to help track where and when I post. I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my designs, keywords, and descriptions. But I hadn’t come up with a good way to track product development and social media posts.
Each Planner page has a free notes space at the top, a monthly calendar with places to show where I create products to sell and where I post to social media. It is has been very helpful to keep the design mojo flowing and it certainly has helped me to get higher on the search index of both Cafepress and Zazzle.
I use HootSuite to schedule social media posts and that has been a life saver. I can plan a whole week’s worth of posts before my husband even wakes up on Saturday morning. Woot!
Check out my other article on how I am using my t-shirt design business to pay down my student loan!
Get the Design 365 Challenge Printables! (Free.pdf files)
So on a recent work trip to Canada, I found out to my frustration that none of my viewing-pleasure subscriptions worked in the Great White North. I was being denied the joy of enjoying the new episodes of Miss Fischer’s Murder Mysteries. Are Doc Martin, or anything of value. It only took ten minutes of regular teevee viewing to remind me why we dumped cable all those many long years ago. So I worked on some work-stuff, worked on some t-shirt designs.
Then I got bored. While perusing my Facebook feed, someone mentioned how I am the Viscountess of Photobombing. While that may not be “technically” true, I do enjoy a good photobomb.
And you know what else I love?… the Doctor….
And then, all hell broke loose as it were….
I give you all a taste of how Althea runs amok (and frequently with scissors).
Althea photobombs the Muppets.
No one could show Althea how to get to Sesame Street.
See, Canada! See what happens when I can’t get my Netflix!
Cumberbatching the Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch may think he’s champion photobomber, but he’s got nothing on Althea.
Every family has one…
Mr. Bean may stumble around and fall into situations. Althea jumps onto planets and stumbles into state occasions.
Marvel finds a new talent
When asked about her superpower, she replied coquettishly that she has the best one ever… she can transfer the contents of her bladder into anyone with a one mile radius.
Hello! Summer is coming! And with the sunny days, I want to thank the wonderful people who have bought my designs at Cafepress. I’m a graphic designer who sells funny and snarky stuff at Cafepress. My customers rock and deserve something nice! I am holding a summer selfie contest for my awesome customers to thank them for their purchases.
All you have to do is take a selfie of you wearing or holding one of my designs and post it to the Malarkey Pie Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MalarkeyPie or tweet it to me @AltheaRizzo by June 21, 2014. On June 22, 2014, I will randomly pick one selfie poster to receive a t-shirt or coffee mug with their choice of design. Bought more than one thing? Then you can enter with each item!
Haven’t bought anything from me yet, but want to get in on the hot action? There is still time to order something and send in the selfie. Who knows, YOU might win something awesome!
If you want to see my new designs, check out http://www.cafepress.com/malarkeypie. The proceeds from Cafepress go to help me pay down my student loans faster. So with each t-shirt, coffee mug, or messenger bag I sell, I get out of student debt slavery all the faster! So thank you very much!!!
Read more about my struggle with student debt here:
And along comes summer with all the lazy days spent in pursuits to refresh the soul. The tradition of summer reading is long and for good reason. We spend our days rushing about tending to the need for food and shelter. Summer is time to take a breath, see the sky, and open the mind.
This post is all about summer reading, lounging on the beach, and finding just the right bag to tote those books around in. So toss in your sunscreen, big floppy hat and head into richly textured world of other worlds and lives…
1. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood
“Diana Gabaldon’s century-spanning Outlander series deserves its avid fanbase. It’s making the leap to TV on Starz this summer, so now’s the time to devour the whole steamy series–including book 8, out in June.” –Mari Malcolm
OK, Who out there ISN’T excited about the Outlander series coming to the teevee? Get your Diana Gabaldon fix right here!
And the perfect compliment for all that glorious Scottish scenery (wink wink, nudge nudge) is the Celtic Triskele in highland perfect greens and purples.
2. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
“Half a King has young adults in mind, but doesn’t leave adults behind. In this coming-of-age fantasy tale we follow a reluctant new king through betrayal, hardship, adventure, self-discovery, and some excellent twists.” –Robin Rothman
The perfect accompaniment to a summer romp through history, the “Chivalry isn’t dead” design.
3. The Lincoln Myth: A Novel by Steve Berry
New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry returns with his latest thriller, a Cotton Malone adventure involving a flaw in the United States Constitution, a mystery about Abraham Lincoln, and a political issue that’s as explosive as it is timely—not only in Malone’s world, but in ours.
And speaking of myths and Lincoln, don’t you just love a good internet meme? I mean, just take the one about Lincoln quotes on the internet …
4. Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth
I can hardly keep up with the teen sci-fi drama that moves from book to screen. But this series looks to be a universe that will keep us entertained until the next sexy dystopia comes along.
Science fiction, at least good science fiction, alway tells us more about being human. It informs us and asks many hard questions. The very best science fiction, also gives us the ability to laugh at our own foibles.
5. Hard Choices. by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Our next President has written a book. It seems to be the Thing to Do. Perhaps we should check it out and see what she has been up to.
Of course, we can expect that there will be some folks in the good ole U.S. of A. that will continue with the major freak out that has been going on since Barak Obama as first conceived…. as a viable candidate for President. At least she’s white, even if she does have lady-parts. She maybe she will only be half as irrationally hated.
So hat tip to all my feminist friends out there…
6. Euphoria by Lily King
“This historical novel–based on the life of Margaret Mead–is brainy, but sexier and more fun than you might think a book about an anthropologist might be.” –Sara Nelson
I have a soft spot in my heart for sexy anthropologists, although Margaret Mead isn’t usually the one that comes to mind. But she did have some very interesting things to say about sex.
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. — Dorothy Parker
7. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
“What happens when an ugly rumor takes on a life of its own? Multiple narrators expose how far people will go to be liked and how little the truth seems to matter.” –Seira Wilson
We’ve all been there. Rumors and gossip taking the joy out of the day. Well, let the chaos monkeys fly. Get out there and be yourself!
8. The Heist by Daniel Silva
“I’ve developed a man-crush on Silva’s brainy, brutal artist/assassin/spy, Gabriel Allon, who in The Heist is on the hunt for a stolen Caravaggio masterpiece.” –Neal Thompson
This is the token MAN book. So this calls for MAN food. BACON! Bacon! Bacon! Gimmee salty fatty pig parts and gimme now! I want Bacon!
9. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.
Sometimes reading a good book is the best reward. So we are shopping for a house now, and while $650,000 for a domicile is a wee bit out of our league, it did have a formal library. Want! I figure that if I sell about 1.5 million t-shirts, coffee mugs or tote bags, then I can buy that formal library. So get to it! Buy something! 😀
10. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I like stories where the Princess does her own damn rescuing. Prince Charming is nice and all, but a girl has gotta do what a girl has gotta do.
With all the stories in the news that has our elder sisters and mothers wondering why we continue to still fight the battle for equal rights , it is important to keep moving forward. Be strong, be powerful, be AMAZING!
11. Top Secret – Twenty One by Janet Evonovich
Ok, let me just say this….. SQUEE! I love the Stephanie Plum stories. I loved the movie, One for the Money
and want MOAR! This series (along with the Discworld series) are the go-to books on tape that we listen to on long road trips.
I think I need to make Stephanie her own cupcake tote bag, but until then, here, have a lemon drop!
12. Raising Steam by Sir Terry Pratchett
I am saving the best for last. I am a late comer to the Discworld series and regret every moment I missed knowing about the awesomeness of Sir Terry Pratchett. His books are funny, insightful, compelling, farcical and deeply moving. My personal favorite is Thud! .
The quote that Pratchett “borrows” from Juvenal is just as apt today as it was in the days of Rome’s glory. Who watches the watcher? Indeed. Who?
If you want to check out all of the bag and totes at Malarkey Pie, go here.
And before you rush out to get your books and tote bags, I want to let you in on the back story here. You may have heard of the student debt crisis that is facing the U.S. right now. Millions of students, eager to improve their lot in life, face the reality that unless your last name is Trump, you will likely graduate from college with sizable student debt. I am no exception
I finished graduate school in 2010 and have since then been working for the State of Oregon in a job that I love. I don’t really love the mounds of student debt that is keeping me from saving for retirement or saving to buy a home. So I started selling t-shirts and other gift items to pay down my loans faster. So when you purchase either on of these books from Amazon or tote bags from Cafepress, you are helping out.
If these designs aren’t your thing, check out these other posts…
Everyone has a story to tell and great teachers help us to learn how to tell that story. With the school year coming to an end, take some time to show your appreciation for everything that your teacher has done this last year. The late nights at events at school grading papers… the way they buy school supplies out of their own money… how they pour their hearts and souls into our precious offspring. You can find great gift ideas at my Cafepress t-shirt shop. And if you want to learn more about why I am selling these t-shirts, follow the link at the end of this post. But for now, I hope you like these clever designs!
1. My students have an awesome teacher!
This design looks great on a pink t-shirt for your favorite teacher. It also comes on coffee mugs and tote bags.
2. Cool Teacher!
Not everyone is lucky enough to be “Cool” but your teacher gots it! Don’t you think that they would look marvelous sporting this t-shirt?
3. Alphabet Elemenopee
Learning your alphabet is the start of the wonderful journey of becoming a reader which leads to creative and fruitful lives. But doesn’t make a sing-song out of saying the alphabet. This adorable design brings back that giggling fun of childhood.
Put this alphabet design on a tote bag so your favorite teacher can carry their supplies in style!
4. Education is the key to unlock the golden door of Freedom.
George Washington Carver was a great thinker. A quote of his gives rise to this Victorian inspired design perfect for the history geek in your life.
The teachers in our schools help to form the person our children will become. Let them know how important that job is by giving them this t-shirt.
5. World’s Best Teacher
While we could argue for hours who is the Best Teacher in the World, but you can show your preference by giving this design on a t-shirt or mug!
Bright red apples may have been the gift of choice in the past, but today we give t-shirts so we don’t have naked teachers running amok during summer break.
6. Teaching is a work of Heart
No one can doubt that teachers pour their heart on soul into educating the minds of the young. Honor that dedication and hard work by making sure they can stay reasonably caffeinated and hydrated. Because a dehydrated and de-caffeinated teacher is what we call in academic circles, a zombie. And we all know how THAT always ends.
7. I’m a science teacher. What’s your superpower?
Teachers are superheroes, plain and simple. The Avengers have nothing of the bravery and tenacity of those who join the ranks of educators. They may not always wear capes but they can wear an awesome t-shirt.
Teaching is not for the weak. It is for those who believe in the power of thought, of ideas, of honor, and hard work. Show your appreciation for your local educator super hero by giving them an end of the year gift!
So, here are some excellent ideas for you when you are shopping for something to give those excellent teachers in your life. I sell these designs on t-shirts and other gift items in order to pay down my student debt. I finished graduate school with significant debt, as many do. But this hurts the economic well-being of an entire generation of students who need higher education to achieve success. So help a girl out and make a teacher happy at the same time!
If you want to learn more about my journey to get clear of my student debt, check out these posts.
Does your mom go by the old adage that “she who dies with the most fabric wins”? ARe you likely to find piles of fabric in a vast rainbow of colors in her closets and sewing room? Are you looking for a unique gift to give your mom on this Mother’s Day? Then check out these top 5 t-shirt designs for your crafty maternal units!
1. It’s not a hobby. It’s a post-apocalyptic life skill.
2. Know your cuts of lamb
3. Yarned and Dangerous
4. I am not easily distracted. Oh, look! Yarn!
5. I sew, therefore, I rip!
My daughter is starting at Oregon State University in the fall. And gee, wouldn’t you know, I still have student loans of my own to pay off from graduate school. Let’s hear it for multi-generational student debt. I am selling this t-shirts and gifts to pay off my students which you can read about in other blog posts. (here and here). So, help a girl out and get an awesome t-shirt for your Mom at the same time. Or coffee mug. or messenger bag. or tote bag!