Bad things come in threes, right?

It’s been an eventful few weeks, and not necessarily in the best of ways. We got hit with a triple-whammy; a broken septic system, an annoying mosquito problem, and a head lice infestation.

…yeah.

I’m pretty sure the first two are related; backed up water in the pipes means breeding mosquitos, which meant a lot of me walking around and saying, “They’re coming from inside the house,” in a dramatic, grating whisper. We’ve been slapping ourselves silly; it’s like camping, but in our living room, and without all the fun parts that make camping worthwhile.

The septic system is no longer blocked, but it’s going to need a lot of work, involving local inspectors and possibly a new leech field. Thankfully my mom handled most of the back and forth with plumbers and contractors, because shortly after the septic system went on the fritz, the Great Head Lice Infestation of 2017 began.

The new showercap look, it’s all the rage.

We’ve never had lice before. It’s a milestone I’d hoped never to see, but Ellie kept complaining of an itchy head, until I brought her to the doctor and confirmed the presence of creepy crawly bugs. Of course, she has the thickest, most plentiful head of hair in the house, and de-lousing her has been an exercise in anger management. Many tears have been shed, not all of them hers.

After finding a stray louse in my own hair, I’m seriously contemplating a new hairstyle. Something involving a razor. I’m not going to rule it out just yet.

So, we washed all the bedding and towels and kids’ clothing (at the laundromat, because see the part about the broken septic system) and invested hundreds of dollars in lice removal shampoos and sprays and cremes and new hair brushes, and I think we nipped it in the bud. Half our bedding is still hanging out in quarantine aka garbage bags, and we’re still washing everything in hot water, but the last treatment seems to have worked.

Reliving our college years.Please let it have worked.

Beyond the less pleasant stuff, I’m trying to stay productive. I’m three weeks into the twelve-week sabbatical, and I’ve come to the point where this no longer feels like a summer vacation. I have nine weeks to go, which both seems like forever, and not nearly enough time to do all the things I want to do.

I’m drawing a lot. I’ve been studying French and meditating. I’ve done a few small organization projects around the house. I haven’t been as physically active as I’d like, but I’m spending some time outside, beating back the wilderness with a weed whacker and taking the dog for walks.

We’ve also trapped several squirrels that were wintering in our attic, and Tim has become quite adept at coaxing them out of the walls. Between the lice in our hair, the biting insects in our living room, and the rodents in the walls, I’ve had enough of nature’s pesky little wonders.

The kids are out of school as of today, so hopefully the rest of our summer is less exciting!

😃+

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to the guy who matched me diaper for diaper, bottle for bottle, and late night for late night. Now you’re the stay-at-home dad, coordinator of appointments, lessons, and lunch boxes. I couldn’t ask for a better partner, and our kids are lucky to have you as an example of what a great dad should be. <3 🙂

😃+

Redbubble, Society6, TeePublic, and Threadless

I’ve had a shop on Etsy since 2007, but I’m new to the print-on-demand thing. I’ve opened shops for my illustrations at each of the following services, and I wanted to do a brief review of my experiences so far.

None of these services require payment or fees upfront, which makes them low-risk endeavors; the only thing lost is time putting everything out there.

So here goes; a comparison of all four services in list format:

Redbubble

  • Average product selection; stickers are a big seller because they weren’t offered elsewhere until recently.
  • You set the price per product.
  • You set product defaults.
  • Easy tools for centering your art and repeating patterns. Fast editing experience overall.
  • Supports full-bleed, repeating patterns.
  • Upload different images for each product.
  • You can add some branding to your shop (avatar, banner image), but still includes Redbubble branding.
  • Supports Google Analytics and basic view counts, favorites, and comments.

Society6

  • Wide product selection (Floor pillows! Curtains!)
  • You set the price per product.
  • Can’t set product defaults; your shop displays products in your shop at random.
  • No tools for centering art on each product; you edit placement manually. Product editing is slow; each one has to be individually enabled and customized. The interface is slow and buggy in Chrome for Mac.
  • Supports full-bleed, repeating patterns (but you have to create them manually in a graphics program).
  • Upload different images for each product.
  • You can add some branding to your shop (avatar, banner image), but still includes Society6 branding.
  • Supports favorites and comments.

Teepublic

  • Narrower product selection, with a focus on t-shirts.
  • They set the price per product.
  • You set product defaults.
  • Easy tools for centering your art.
  • Full-bleed, repeating patterns for some products.
  • Upload one image for all products.
  • You can add some branding to your shop (avatar, banner image), but still includes TeePublic branding.
  • Supports Google Analytics and Disqus comments.

Threadless

  • Wide product selection, with a focus on clothing.
  • You set the price per product.
  • You set product defaults.
  • No editing art placement per product, but their algorithm is smart about it.
  • No full-bleed/repeating patterns.
  • Upload different images for each product.
  • Shop design is customizable (colors, fonts, layout) and branded for you.
  • Supports Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel.

So far, it seems Teepublic and Redbubble get the most traffic (and the most sales). They also do more to feature individual designs and artists on their front pages, whereas Society6 is a bit of a black hole unless you’re driving traffic to your shop. Threadless has design challenges alongside their artist shops, which makes for more community interaction (their shops feature is relatively new), but they also emphasize the need for self-promotion, and I haven’t made a huge effort there.

In terms of what sells, most of my sales on Redbubble are stickers (“Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down” is popular), and most of my sales on Teepublic are tees.

How much have I made? Let’s just say I’m not quitting my day job by far, but these services are helping save a little for a family vacation. I’ve also donated about 25% of my earnings to Planned Parenthood, and I’ve been inspired to make art, which in some ways is payment enough.

I hope this has been helpful to anyone looking to start up a print-on-demand shop of their own!

😃+