February 25, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Pinterest Challenge

St. Patricks Day

Are you on Pinterest? I am. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows users to organize and share images that they find on the internet. You can create your own boards for any topic you can think of, pin images to those boards, and browse pinboards created by others. Once you create an account, you can add the Pin-It Button to your Bookmarks Bar which will allow you to easily "Pin" any image from any page on the web to one of your pinboards!

Zazzle just announced a challenge that involves Pinterest! You can win some prizes, yeah!

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, so show off that Irish pride (everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, right?) by joining in our Pinterest Challenge for your chance to win a $100 Zazzle Gift Certificate! Here is how it works:

1.Create a pinboard with the title "My Favorite St. Patrick's Day T-shirts".

2. Pin your favorite St. Patrick's Day T-shirt designs to your board! You can pin as many designs as you'd like, but make sure that at least 10 of them are from Zazzle! (You can definitely add more than 10.)

3. Send an email to pinterestchallenge@zazzle.com with the Subject Line: "St. Patrick's Day Pinterest Challenge" containing a link to your pinboard.

That's it! Have fun with it and feel free to browse other people's pinboards!

1 Grand Prize winner will receive a $100 Zazzle Gift Certificate and their pinboard featured on the Zazzle Blog.
4 additional winners will receive $25 Zazzle Gift Certificates.

February 22, 2012

Have you heard about Pixelmator?

I've been trying to make this blog more useful to my readers. So when I find a good tool that you can use to create graphics or promote your online business or blog I'll write a small post about it. I use an old version of Photoshop when I need to paint with my tablet or edit photographs. Photoshop is very good but very expensive. Many of us don't need to use all the tools, effects and possibilities of this Adobe Software. One of the most talked about and used alternatives is the free a and popular GIMP. But I found an excellent review about PIXELMATOR and PIXELMATOR tutorials also!! I can't try it because it's a MAC software only. But I am not selfish so here it is! Check this link to the PIXELMATOR fully functional 30 day trial. PIXELMATOR isn't free, it costs 30 USD. That's a bargain if it delivers what it promises. Try it and let me know what you think!

A suggestion that was left in the comments section - thank you so much! - is a link to a site that has more tutorials on PIXELMATOR ! Don't forget to check this one also!

Carnival at Figueira da Foz

Pedro Cruz is the author of these photos. He publishes his work in many newspapers and magazines. I asked his permission to post it for you. He's a local young man, a journalist who is also passionate about taking photos.I think he has a keen eye for photography. Want to see more? Check out this link to his Carnival 2012 album on Facebook.

Thousands came to Figueira da Foz to watch the Carnival parade on the Avenue of Brazil, near the beach, on Sunday. The weather was great, lot's of sunshine, no wind. This year the kings of the Carnival were a former football player, Paulo Futre, - I wrote about him before on a post about Licor Beirão advertising campaign - and a local female figure. In addition to several decorated floats that focused on the satire of national and international recent political events, many masked people, adults and children, and the samba schools filled the street with color and animation.

February 21, 2012

World Harmony Run starts at Figueira da Foz

On 23rd February 2012 Figueira da Foz - the city where I live - will play host to the opening ceremony for the European leg of the World Harmony Run, the world's largest torch relay for peace and international friendship. The international team of the World Harmony Run and local schoolchildren will start the Run, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, at 9 am at Cabo Mondego in Figueira da Foz after releasing white doves and proceed to the official opening ceremony at Centro de Artes e Espectáculos, which begins at 10 am. During the opening ceremony, 400 children from 13 schools will perform and an exhibition of paintings for peace from children will be launched.

From Figueira da Foz an international team of runners will carry a flaming torch as a symbol of harmony, passing it from hand to hand and heart to heart, eastwards through Coimbra, Viseu, Fornos de Algodes, Pinhel, and Almeida. The World Harmony Runners will leave Portugal on February 27th and travel on a 24,000 km journey through 45 European countries to finish in Vienna on 8 October. This  run is a non-profit event organized and financed entirely by volunteers inspired by Sri Chinmoy's initiative, which simply strives to encourage goodwill among peoples of all nations. Everyone can participate athletes and non-athletes, young and old alike. Carry the Torch a few steps, a few blocks or a few miles or just come out and cheer the runners as they pass.

To find out more about the World Harmony Run and the progress of the running teams, visit “Live from the road” at www.worldharmonyrun.org

February 18, 2012

Caretos de Podence, oldest Carnival in Portugal

The next days are dedicated to Carnival celebrations all over the world. So I bring you the oldest Portuguese Carnival. Its origins go back in time. It’s the Carnival of Podence a small village in northern Portugal. Men you’ll watch in this video are known as Caretos. They become superior beings, they are magical figures when they wear tin masks with a hooked nose, colored wool bangs, and a stick. Only men and boys can wear these masks and suits and they are like devils that chase women on the streets. They grab women, especially single women, and then they shake the body. The belt has cowbells – chocalhos - attached so the dance is quite noisy. The gesture of beating with chocalhos is related to the beating Pan priests gave women in the Spring festivals. They believed women would get pregnant with such a beating. Caretos has its origin in those fertility rituals and Spring announcing festivals.

Each year more people go to Macedo de Cavaleiros to watch Caretos’ flirting!! They flirt women on Sunday and Thursday. This is the tradition. I hope men and boys can prevent this tradition from disappearing. That region has lost most of its population. In the town, I live Carnival is a mere copy of what happens everywhere. A few years ago a samba school was founded in the city and now it joins the parade also. I have nothing against the school, of course, but our Carnival is more and more a small copy of what happens in Brazil. Even the music played is from Brazil. I don’t remember the last time I assisted the parade. It got silly. In February we still have low temperatures here. So imagine the poor girls dressing an only bikini, crowns, and feathers! They aren't moving and dancing all the time. The parade stops. One year the Queen of the Carnival, an invited star – actress, singer, public figure, I don’t remember who she was –got so cold that she demanded a jacket. The organization did not like it. But the woman must have suffered while standing on the top of the decorated vehicle just smiling and waving at the crowd!

I understand the growing curiosity that Podence's Carnival and Caretos are causing as people are getting tired of getting more of the same. Why not starting something new but with some local meaning? More and more we want to escape reality but to experience genuine and traditional festivities, not a poor sample of what Brazil is making. For that I rather stay at home.

Listen to this cool music inspired by Caretos. It's from Stealing Orchestra.Stealing Orchestra is a band from Porto, Portugal exploring music through sampling and real instruments since 1997.

February 9, 2012

The true house of Flintstones is in Portugal

Hello once more!

A friend of mine read the recent post I wrote about Monsanto's big rocks and houses and phone me saying that she once visited this house that has been built between four rocks in the hill of Fafe. It stands in the north of Portugal. I made a quick search. It seems everybody knew about it but me! This House of Stone - A Casa do Penedo - was built in 1972 when Rodrigues family discovered the rocks on the hill on a spring afternoon. They decided to build a house and bought the land. They had no phone or electricity or water but they spent their holidays in the House of Stone. It has a fireplace and pool, interior stairs, what a shame no one lives there anymore. A few years ago everybody was talking about it on the internet as someone took photos of it and called her The true Flintstones house. Because of vandalism, it has bulletproof windows and a steel door! Everyone is climbing the hill of Fafe to take a look at this peculiar house. No one lives there anymore and the house can be rented. Take a look at the video!

February 8, 2012

Free download Cupid Paper Toy

Hello Zazzlers and friends!

Today I bring you a free download for Valentine's Day - It's the very famous CUPID!

I used Scribd before to giveaway printable calendars. You must log to Scribd to download the file. All you have to do is Download the file - Print the file - Cut the parts - Glue it using the grey area - Fold it - G.I.V.E!!

I hope you like this small surprise from A Portuguese Love for Valentine's Day! Still a lot of time to play with paper and scissors!

An easy way to download it is via GOOGLE DOCS!

No need to sign in. Here's the link!


Cupid Paper Toy 2012


February 7, 2012

Monsanto - An historical portuguese village

A friend of mine, Lia Flora, - thank you Lia! - went to Monsanto and made a couple of nice photos. I asked her if I could share it with you and she said yes. I prefer to show you photos taken by Portuguese people on travel than to show you the ones I have from advertising sources. Sometimes these late are digital retouched. This way I give you what you could really see if you were on the spot.

Monsanto is a peculiar village. It belongs to Castelo Branco District. It's in mid-Portugal, nearby to the Spanish border. Look at the map. In the summer the temperature is very high in this region, in winter it can get very cold. I am sure you would love the local scenery where the houses are built only with granite stone, a local and natural resource. Some of them are build using the rocks as walls or ceilings and one of these big, huge rocks has a restaurant bellow in the basement. Monsanto really rocks! It's a remarkable village and at the top of maybe 1500 feet high hill there's an old fortress. From there you can get stunning views of the countryside. These rhymes about Monsanto are famous :

Nunca se sabe em Monsanto,
Que as águias roçam com a asa,
Se a casa nasce da rocha
Se a rocha nasce da casa.

This means:

You'll never know in Monsanto,
a place eagles touch with its wings,
if a house is born from a rock
or if a rock is born from a house!

No rhyme, no fun. But you got the idea!!

February 5, 2012

#5 Zazzle Stores: Mariana Ewa's Zazzle Store

Hello readers and friends! Today's Sunday and it's pretty cold for my likings. Mariana Ewa would laugh about it because yesterday she was facing -21º celsius outside her house. For me, anything below 10º is very cold! No kidding, nights here are terrible, terrible meaning -1º to -3º. I live by the sea where everything is warmer and my body really doesn't react well to low temperatures. My body and mind. I get restless, I can't think straight, I feel sick. I long for 20º up so I can go to the beach and be happy! Brrrr!

Mariana Ewa was born in Sweden. She has a daughter called Emmy and lives on a farm with her boyfriend. She's fortunate to have horses and cats around, I would like that for me too. She suffered an accident and as a result of it, she's disabled. I 'm sorry to read about that. She gave me some advice on the MAC computer. I am more convinced than ever that's what I need. But for now, I just have half the money for it. Zazzle keeps launching new products and I can't create any because my old PC isn't exporting big files anymore. I must be patient and wait a little longer. Mariana creates on her computer and also paints for family and friends.

Mariana Ewa has a great Zazzle store. Click on the flash panel and take a look around. I like what she does with national flags. Some countries have flags with little design appeal. Mariana found a way to deal with that. She plays with the design and offers you a great final product. I also find her use of fractals interesting. But the store has much more. She wrote: "Here you can find beautiful products for the wedding, for the birthday, for all the holidays. Products like business cards, posters, cards, shoes, invitations, and much more."

One thing that really stroke me is the way she presents her Zazzle products. Just look at the example above. She placed her new Valentine's products on a table. I found this awesome. Then I found more great products presentations on her Facebook page. You should visit and learn from her. Get inspired and find new ways of showing your stuff! I am convinced that to post a link with the product isn't enough anymore. You have to stand out from the crowd. We have to reach the client using other more appealing strategies. Of course, not everyone can do it. You need to master graphic software.*But, let me tell you one thing - if you want really hard you can learn it. I did. Till 2004 I knew nothing about graphics computer software. Today I use Corel Draw, Freehand, Illustrator, Photoshop and more. If you don't have the time or the interest on it or feel you'll never learn, you can ask someone to create the banners for you. There's always a way. Thank you Mariana Ewa for your inspiration! I hope you like this postage!

* But you can explore online tools like Photofunia! Check my previous posts here and here on it to see what I mean!

February 3, 2012

Valentine's Day on the street with Photofunia

Can you imagine your Valentine's Day Zazzle designs glued on streets and building walls? Photofunia helps us to picture it! Yes, I've been playing a bit more with this online tool. No, I am not earning anything from this promotion, I'm not in any affiliate program or anything like that! I am just wasting time PLAYING! Sometimes we need to unwind!

For several times I had advertising posters I made on the street but it has been a while since I had those moments of glory! Now I do mostly small formats. It was lots of fun to wake up and get on the streets and discover it glued, some in very big format.

February 2, 2012

Have fun editing your photos online!

Hello! Today I bring you a site where you can have some fun with your photos! It's PHOTOFUNIA. With this online tool, you just upload your file and easily play with it. You add cool photo effects and create funny face photo montages.You can put your face on a billboard, a stamp, or in a Warhol-like work of pop-art. Become the Mona Lisa or a bodybuilder. You get over 150 scenes to play with. You're not cutting and pasting; instead, the app "finds" the face in your photo and integrates it with the scene of your choice. Photofunia its lots of fun! I just tried to change one of my photos into a pencil drawing. Not bad and without any Photoshop, even kids can do it! Plus, you can save with resolution enough to print!

Then I uploaded one of my Zazzle drawings on to a mug full of steaming coffee! You can use it to advertise your Zazzle mugs. Unfortunately, there's only one background available...This is a .gif but it isn't working unless you double click the photo.

February 1, 2012

Featured product on Zazzle - A big heart!

Hello Zazzlers and friends! I think Zazzle gave me a birthday gift! This magnet is one of the 6 Valentine's Day featured magnets! Hurray! I think this is the first time for me. I really don't know if it has happened before because I don't check Zazzle that much.
There are so many cute Valentine's Day magnets on display. It's difficult to pick one, really. This magnet - A big heart photo magnet - is for Valentine's Day celebration or any other day you'll feel like celebrating love with a partner or family any time of the year. A daughter can give it to Mom on Mother's Day too. It's quite simple. But not so simple - the hearts around the big heart where you can upload your photo are made from tiny white hearts. So, lots of L-O-V-E to give! Thank you, Zazzle for picking this magnet! (This product is not available anymore.)

Today it's my birthday!

Yeah! Today it's my birthday and I had this silly idea of looking for famous people that are having a birthday celebration today also. I have a friend that is also having his birthday today. Yesterday I sent him some oldfashioned snail mail. I hope that someone remembers to send me some postcard too! I really like it! I just found some folks from movie and TV's universe. Two are already dead! So I guess the party will be complete with just this (famous) person and Michael!

The first famous person I found is Michael C. Hall who was born in 1971. He's a TV actor. He had a role at TV show Six Feet Under, which I liked. But where I think that he's really excellent is as the serial-killer and police blood analyst Dexter. Dexter is one of my favorite TV shows. I get bored easily with TV series. But so far Dexter has been keeping me wanting for more! Michael C.Hall won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for his role as Dexter. I can't agree more with those decisions. But the show itself is just wonderful. I started watching with many issues being the central character a serial killer. I ended up a real fan, in a good sense as I am not much into fan behavior. That said I watched all the seasons and I am waiting for the next one!

Found another actor that was born on 1st February, in 1901. He's already dead. He had the leading man role as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. His last movie was The Misfits. I liked The Misfits. Of, you've guessed already - it's Clark Gable. I never enjoyed his presence on the screen and he was leading role in so many movies - It happened one night, Mutiny on the Bounty, Mogambo! I saw Mogambo when I was very young (in my teens) and found it rather exotic. Ava Gardner was incredible and Grace Kelly very pretty...but I had to watch Gable doing his thing too, damn!

And found a director of classic westerns and war stories movies that was born on February 1st, his name was John Ford. He's also dead, of course. I watched maybe all of his movies - How Green was my Valley, The man who shot Liberty Valance, The grapes of wrath and many others, The quiet man...