Update: Snapmade! We Approve

I’m thrilled to write that Snapmade has exceeded my expectations, and proudly I will say it’s worth giving the site a chance, designers and customers both. Kat and I will try to help their business grow by creating a store, and a line of products.

Originally, I had my concerns that the business wasn’t legit, for several reasons:

  1. Maintenance problems halted me from navigating the website, which is an indication the server is slow, unresponsive, or the coding is wrong.
  2.  The site claimed to accept PayPal payments, but until a purchase is made, from start to finish, I don’t assume anything’s true. I had to make a purchase before promoting my store.
  3. Snapmade’s site has been up and running since 2001 which means they’ve had a lot of time to work out site kinks, yet they still do what amateurs do, like the funky customer reviews (my red flag went up), and broken links which take you to error pages in Chinese. I have no bias against Chinese manufacturers, in fact I love them, but the problems my English-speaking customers may have is worth noticing.
  4. Snapmade has no known credibility. There are only a few people who are Snapmade designers, as can be seen from their website – it’s full of empty pages, upon empty pages, where they simply have no products from a lack of designers.

On the contrary, the simple facts Snapmade had a guest checkout and such cheaper prices “ruffled my feathers” as the saying says. It made me interested enough to give them a chance. Their products are manufactured and shipped from China, so they take two weeks to be delivered to the door after the online purchase is made, which is fast considering the journey.

But now, I can proudly tell you! My trust for them has grown after seeing the jewelry I ordered. Look, aren’t they just gorgeous? The quality of the items, the chain, the pendents, and the design printed:

 

First Product Display July 2017 (IMG_2549, smaller)
The only thing I can see that some customers may not like, is the glossy look the design has when the light shines on it, but indoors it isn’t noticeable. It looks like the above picture.

When my package came, it came about 3 days after my Zazzle order arrived, which is fine. I ordered from Zazzle and from Snapmade the same night, to compare the shipping schedule. Ha, it’s funny, after it arrived I asked Kat, “is it old-fashioned to be OK with a package taking 2 weeks to arrive?” She bluntly said “Yes” and that was the end of that. Ha, ha. Yeah, I’m old-fashioned…. but you have got to give the big wide globe some slack! The little parcel soars and rides across 7000+ miles to get to where I am! It’s not like we have teleportation …yet! Ha, ha.

But it got me thinking. If the owners of Snapmade need anything to succeed, it is designers, which is what I know about them, because as Sannly Huang on Facebook asked me, at the beginning of this year, can I join them (me, a designer) to help their business grow. So… if what they need is designers, why wait? My talents are meant to help, not be hoarded. Let me seize this day and start trying the best I can to help this year be the year Snapmade finds success. If it doesn’t work out, that’s part of being compassionate and helpful; I can move on like I have before. No pain, no gain.

So we have started, but that’s all right now. If you’re interested in seeing it, our shop is titled “ChicAmi” and we only have a few products. So far, the shop looks kind of basic, the design, and a little lacking. However, I promise the charm bracelet is a steal (great quality for low price!), and the rose necklace is a romantic addition to your indoor formal attire. You can see that for yourself (from the pictures)! Plus, the star bracelet makes a good friendship gift. Their prices are affordable, and I get way more royalty than I do on Zazzle for my work, which is the upside for me.

The three products shown above are the only I’ve bought so far; if you want to buy them, too, please head over to the store at this link -http://www.snapmade.com/mystore/ChicAmi – and if you can, use the Microsoft Edge browser, or ask the support chat for help if you have any questions, because the store is a bit sensitive which browser you use. I used Chrome at first and had to ask the friendly customer support why I couldn’t load my order. The chat answered responsively, and was a cheerful service which I recommend.

So… yay! That means Snapmade gets our stamp of approval!!!

Stamp of Approval

 

Happy 1st Anniversary, Art and Learn

11:51 PM my time, and for 9 more minutes it is a Happy Anniversary to my blog’s 1st year up and running, or shall I say up and writing? Hmm. ^^ Above there is a slideshow Kat and I made for our parents’ 40th anniversary. Included are some beautiful pictures from their honeymoon on a Holy Lands cruise. I also arranged my song “Kind Words” on piano for the special occasion. Enjoy!

Kaleido Blast! 2.0

Hello again. I told you before that I would be comparing the original Kaleido Blast! game to the new one. Well, I’ve gotten a chance to see the new game, and I must say chap, it’s an improvement to the last one.  Here’s a video that shows off just a few of the changes.

I was watching a friend of mine play the game, and it’s a quite different game than it was before.  It’s got safe zones where you can’t get hit; danger zones in which you must defeat the enemies before they defeat you; the shields are different, and the meteors are new. The rules have been placed into a 3 page booklet, instead of the 8 pages that it had before. I do believe the game has stepped up its… game.  I’ve added a few pictures to help you see the differences.

The game is not only different, it’s difficult too. My friend played it many times in one afternoon, battling the arx and trying to win the game.  Her score… I’m sure you’re curious. She won 1 out of 5 times. So as you can imagine, the game is very hard!

After losing for so many times, she decided to give the Kaleido Ray a try. The rules boast that the game will be easier if you initiate the Kaleido Ray at the beginning of the game.  But my friend, bless her heart, she only won 1 out of 5 times again!  Either luck is not her ally or the odds of winning the game don’t change much, from one difficulty level to the next.

The final game she played, she had one Blu-arx left in row I. It was a final showdown, a dual to the end.  She could either roll a color blast and vanquish the arx, or she could roll a black and white blast and be sent back to hyperspace herself. It was such a close game, so exciting! She rolled a red, a green, a yellow and a purple or two before she rolled a blue; unfortunately the hit was against her own pawn. She lost the game!

Professor Marble plays Kaleido Blast!

Hello now.  How may I address you? Friend? Colleague? Chap? Ah yes, that will do nicely, I say.

Hello, my dear chap.  I am Professor Kat I. Marble.  I do enjoy a good game now and again, even when it’s a game of solitaire: Bullseye Mahjong and TriPeaks, Solitaire Scrabble, crosswords and word searches, Spider and Diplomat and Royal Rendezvous.

I always like a game that works my mind and makes me think.  Perhaps that’s why my friend the fox brought me this game: Kaleido Blast!  It’s a solitaire dice game, like Phase 10, D-Day Dice, and Escape: The Curse of the Temple. It’s not LIKE them, per se, but it is fairly similar.  I’ve included a few shots of me, enjoying the game, below.  Watch the slideshow to see how it played out.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But the thing is, chap, Kaleido Blast! has changed from the version that I played.  From what I’ve heard through the grapevine, there have been a number of changes made to the game. Here’s a breakdown of the alterations:

  • The enemy shapes are different, and the pieces are now plastic.
  • The shields are now asteroids to enhance the space experience.
  • The pawn has changed shapes, and is now plastic as well.
  • Life chips have been added to replace extra pawns.
  • The board- upgraded! Now better quality than it was.
  • The rules have been tweaked.
  • The box has been modified.
  • The storefront has been updated.
  • Website to Bookworm Games, coming soon.
  • The price has risen, but the game is better quality too!

Kaleido Blast! 2.0 will be available very soon. Keep in touch and stay tuned, my friend.

bannerpic

Lines Make a Difference (JW Update)

When Lacy’s not posting on Facebook or writing a blog, she can be found drawing.

Recently, she’s been working on the art for our Jabber Worthy card game; our art was drawn 7 years ago, and we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and our art since then. Lacy’s improved her art, so she’s working on updating it. You can watch the video below to see her at work.

At first it seems like she’s just tracing her work, but watch, and you’ll begin to see Pachelbel transform, as Lacy makes corrections to the picture, updating her work.

If you’re eager to see the finished picture of Pachelbel, you’ll have to wait and see him with the other crew members of the Phantom Acoustique, in our card game Jabber Worthy.

Melania: To Design or Not to Design

Shakespeare’s famous quote “To be or not to be, that is the question” seems to be the motto of designers lately, when it comes to America’s next First Lady, Melania Trump: to design dresses or not design, that is the question.

Sophie Theallet, the fashion designer who asked her fellow designers to protest Melania as First Lady with her, has designed dresses for Michelle Obama, so I can only think she feels a sense of loyalty; when other designers decide whether they should join her, they can remember, it may not apply to their career the way it does Sophie’s. Unless a designer has endorsed Michelle Obama at some point, they need not follow the trend, just to suddenly “fit in”. Until Mrs. Obama makes a public statement protesting Mrs. Trump herself, telling loyalists to do the same, even designers who are Democrat can keep their integrity, continue forward with stride, and be willing to design for Melania Trump.

Read more

Sketching Anne-Dieu-le-Veut

Through years of practice, Kat has learned how to adapt her penning and shading to match different periods in history. In this video, you can see her drawing like an old style, the artist, Domenico Ghirlandaio, having drawn the picture to the left. Although Ghirlandaio is a Italian Renaissance painter, pen and paper were used even in the 1600’s, during a time known as the Baroque period, with chalk and charcoal also popular. The Baroque period is where our Jabber Worthy story is set, the time when pirates lived.

The character in our video is Anne-Dieu-le-Veut, which in English means “Anne-God-Wills-It”. She was a female pirate living in history, born in the mid 1600’s, who has an awesome story to say the least; her personality is what makes it exciting; she requested to duel with a man to avenge her husband’s death, then fell in love with that man she wanted to duel! Yo ho ho, the complicated life of a pirate, I tell you, always willing to die quickly, always wanting to love passionately, staying loyal to those worth standing shoulder-to-shoulder with, while being redeemed or staying forever greedy. What’ll happen next! The pirate life is quite unpredictable.

Anne-Dieu-le-Veut will be in our Jabber Worthy stories and game. In fact, lots of pirates will be. It’s a blast! A cannon blast. Hardy haaar!

In the video, Kat adds shadow by drawing lines, some darker tones of mahogany brown, some lighter tones, and with different angles on the face then on the dress, etc. The lines are knit on top of each other, in different angles, to create the darkest shadows. Also, she used digital art brushes to replicate the paper texture. I’m really proud of her for all that she’s learned how to do.

Halloween Sweet

Are you looking forward to Halloween?  If you’re like me, then you’re eagerly waiting for (or already enjoying) the sweets that it brings.  Tootsie Rolls. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Hershey’s chocolate bars.  Bubble gum. Nerds. Twizzlers. Jolly Ranchers.  Skittles. M&Ms. Taffy. Lollipops and suckers.

When I was little, I didn’t like chocolate, unless it was white.  No chocolate cake, no chocolate candy, but there was one exception: Oreos, dipped in milk.  The white filled center made the chocolate worth it.  (The peanut butter filling for the Reese’s cup finally won me over to liking chocolate.)

I’ve grown into a love for the smooth rich candy.  Dark chocolate is my favorite, although I like any kind of chocolate.  Of course, you may not be looking forward to the Halloween candy as much as you’re eager for the costumes.  Wiches, zombies, superheroes, cowboys, pirates… maybe even a video game character or a movie star from the past.

As kids, Lacy and I would dress as Disney Characters (I was Esmerelda while she was Pocahontas), Power Rangers (I was pink, she was yellow), and my personal favorite was our angel costumes.  Our mother made our angel costumes made of lace, with little store-bought angel wings and halos that light up.  We had to wear 3 layers of coats and clothes to stay warm that autumn, but everyone on our block marveled that kids would choose to dress as angels instead of witches and ghouls.

Of course, then we moved to Germany and learned of St. Martin’s Day.  And of course, since Lacy’s birthday falls just a day after Halloween, we quickly got into the habit of celebrating her birthday by going out to eat instead of trick or treating.  (Although we did have fun with pumpkins well into our teen years.)  November 1, All Saint’s Day, a great day for a birthday, yes?

But whether you’re looking forward to candy or to costumes, I’m sure you’re excited to celebrate Halloween with parties.  Whether you’re getting together with friends, or you’re meeting at the office, or you’re throwing your own block party, you should definitely bring a batch of mouth-watering brownies or other sweet treats for your friends.

We’ve ordered a few of our own new products to test them out and see what kind of quality they are.  Here’s a video of Lacy showing off a few of our products.

If you’re attending someone else’s party or if you’re hosting your own, you can impress your friends with some totally awesome refreshments or grab bag gifts to give out.

Pirate Stripes Bandanas & Special Edition Pirate Stripe Bandanas

Me mateys! Would ‘ee b’wantin ta look like a pirate this Halloween? Why don’t y’try wearin’ tis pirate striped bandana? The special edition shows a skull on the forehead t’give yer look an “Arrg!” fierce scallywag pirate impression. Check t’shop fer over 50 colors!

bandanastripes       bandanastripescrossbones


cute-lanternbrowniesCute-O-Lanterns

Great brownies for a Halloween party. Surprise, amuse, and tickle your friends. Cute-O-Lantern is a member of a brownie family including: Wink-O-Lantern, Tongue-O-Lantern, Mask-O-Lantern, and 7 more! Check our store for a variety of treats. Oh… and trick or treat! =^_^=


candycorntissue

Candy Corn Halloween Party 10″ X 15″ Tissue Paper

Our Halloween tissue paper brings your gift bags to life, with WILD and VIVACIOUS rows of sweet candy corn.  Add a gift bag from Zazzle for only $2.00 or browse our store and find a designer style gift bag.

 


candycornribbon

Candy Corn Halloween Kid Crafts Satin Ribbon

Our Halloween pattern brings your crafting to life, with WILD and VIVACIOUS rows of sweet candy corn.

 

 


frogcandytinsPack of 10 Chocolate Frog Candy Tins

Rectangle     Big Round    Small Round

Are you a teacher? Give this simply adorable candy tin out to your class this Halloween! Your students will love the cute frog who is as sweet as the candy inside. You can change the quantity before purchasing.

 


piratepartyfavors

12 Skull and Crossbones Chewing Gum Party Favors

“Dead men tell no tales” SO THEY SAY… Har har! We know o’better. Don’t we? Whether yer theme be scary Halloween, Talk Like a Pirate Day, a haunted birthday party, or just horrifying entertainment, these chewing gums are the best. Pick yer flavor and be on with it! Yar, matey.

witchbrewWitch’s Brew: Hot Chocolate Drink Mix

A great Halloween treat, and a fun treat for kids and adults. The colorful drink mixes will seem like magic to the senses of your guests at the party you throw, but you know what it really is: it’s a witch’s cocktail, brewed right in your own kitchen.

 


pumpkinspicemugPumpkin Spice Mug

11 Oz     15 Oz

The Pumpkin Spice mug would be a truly “feel good” addition to your kitchen cabinet. It’s for that comforting time of year, when the air is chilly, during September through December. Whether you like coffee, hot cocoa, cider, or tea – even egg nog goes great in a mug! – it’s going to be SO good with the orange reminder of the season.

 

 

Developing the Character: Krymscona

Meet Princess Krymscona: a bright girl, smart, attractive, and kind. She’s been a royal her entire life, sheltered from the troubles that life can bring, but as she’s growing older, her parents are beginning to depend on her to take the responsibilities of the heir of the throne. If she is to one day rule the country, then she must begin early to gain the respect of neighboring countries as well as the trust and loyalty of her own people. 

As her parents -the king and queen- watch her grow, they see her maturity developing. She’s as humble as she is a princess, and her love for country also develops into a beautiful budding flower; rare in such a world of political lies and conceit, where dictators rule with iron fists and countrymen live for themselves. 

The small newly-formed kingdom of Belaedria is preyed upon by other, larger and much older countries who want the land’s resources for their own.  The people of the small kingdom depend on the safety that is negotiated through trading deals with their neighboring kingdom, Trikedom.  Queen Paryla, chieftain of her own tribe before meeting the King and marrying him, knows of the pressures on a young girl to meet with other kings much older than herself and demand their respect; but she also knows that a girl must start young to earn trust and gain confidence in herself.   And so she advises the Honorable King Aezon to entrust their daughter with an ambassador’s role: send her to Trikedom to work out a trading deal that will benefit both countries, one with the safety of an alliance, the other with rich minerals from the bountiful mines of Belaedria’s mountains. The king and queen both trust the knowledge imparted on their daughter by her personal tutor that they hand-picked from their own board of advisors. 

So with their country’s safety on their mind, but also the safety of their daughter, Krymscona’s parents carefully choose one of the king’s best knights to defend the princess from predators, the King’s own personal prayer guard to protect her spirit from dark and evil temptations, the princess’s trusted maid to help and guide her in the ways of a lady, and her wise and tactful tutor to help lead her in the politics that she must learn to harness first-hand.  Together, the five depart for Trikedom to meet with the king there…

___________

When we first wrote our short story Escaping the Lair for the anthology Worlds of Faith, we didn’t know anything about our heroine; she was just a girl lost in a dragon’s lair. But when we were given the chance to add an advert into the back of the book, we decided that we could turn her story into a card game that could engage the readers.  We thought the game would be easy to make: create the art for the cards and make a set of rules for them.  But as we began to work out the rules, the environment and the mood of our game, it grew into a much larger project. And as the project grew, so did our knowledge for the characters we were creating.  Krymscona became more than just a little girl trapped in a lair with a dragon, she became a princess, a daughter, a friend.

characterart-krymscona-colored