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More Merch - Portuguese Elements

New designs based on Portuguese imagery for more hot merch! Newest design above!

Now that I have messed around with Zazzle a bit and understand the process more, I've dug into my Portugal 2005 photos and started manipulating. This process is helped by the fact that I have turned a bit of a corner with Gimp, the graphics editor I use. There is still much I can't do with it that I could easily do with Photoshop, but at least I have the basics going. So expect to see more of this in the future.

I'm focusing mostly on designing for women's leggings at the moment. The print-all-over aspect of them makes them a great canvas. Liking the tank tops, too. Taking a look at tote bags and scarves.

Here is how I'm going to manage announcing new merch for now. I will add new stuff to the top of this post until it sinks too far down the feed. Then I will start another one. In the meantime, I will have to figure out a dedicated merch page for this site. Going to take some organizing.

Finally, the design heading this post is Sintra Clamshell - Purple Plus. Above is a slightly tweaked version of the original photo. Using Gimp, I played around with it until I got something like this purplish image, the actual file applied to the leggings. That design can then be applied to anything that Zazzle sells. Again, this is an aspect I am figuring out.

The original photo was taken on the same day, I believe, as the one for my design, "Sintra Paint Motif" - available lower down the page.

These print-all-over totes are another good application of designs like this. They're significantly less cash than the leggings, so I think I will be ordering one soon to have a look at their quality.

I should be clear that, a) I am very new at this, and b) I doubt very much that many people are making much money on Zazzle. I'm definitely going to create a collection of "Why the Algarve" merchandise, with the priority on less expensive items (coffee mugs, masks, bags). But I'm also going to create other collections that have nothing to do with Portugal. I see it as a learning tool and a way to build a portfolio. It's a hell of a lot easier than making the t-shirt or leggings or whatever and hiring a model. Once I've done some market research and built a portfolio, I can learn what it takes to approach businesses that actually make this stuff and put it on shelves. Or at least put it on their virtual shelves - the issue of online shopping and who is getting business is another thing I will have to examine.

Here's what I know: I could happily spend the rest of my life doing this. I feel like many threads from my past are coming together and helping make that possible. My love of photography. My fascination with image manipulation. The distressed-surfaces resource book I had plans for and worked on for quite a while. The thousands of photos I took in Europe in 2005 as a part of that book project. My decades of scenic art and scenic paint work. And now my interest in Portugal and building this website. And the really crazy thing is that none of this would have happened if it wasn't for the Quarantine. I would have kept working my job and I wouldn't have had time for any of this.

Funny world.



During my last days in Lisbon, after Lisa left, I returned to the Lazy Crow, a fantastic hostel no longer in business. I asked one of the owners about abandoned industry and he directed me west along the shore of the Tagus. I didn't find the abandoned industry I wanted, but I did find this factory. Such tall windows. I'm very happy with the transition from original orange in the front to pixelated blues at the back. The oblique rows of windows make awesome lower leg stripes that read as just plain graphic elements. Also, the glimpse of structures inside the massive window extreme left make the thighs look framed, with stuff inside them. A touch mechanical. I have a few other versions of this design with no pixelization in sepia, blue, and no-tint.

Just for fun, I looked for this place on Google Earth. Of course, I found it. Click here to trigger Google Earth at this location:


I include the original photo that each design is based on. Some of the final products get pretty out there, enough that you might ask yourself, "What the heck does this have to do with Portugal?" That's a good question, and some day I might make further subcategories. For now, though, if a design is designated as from Portugal, that means that the "input" photo was taken in Portugal. Very occasionally, I might sneak in a photo from somewhere that isn't Portugal, but could be Portugal. Portuguese stylee.

At any rate, here is the photo that the above design is based on. It was taken during a visit that Lisa and I made to Palacio Nacional da Pena (Pena Palace), Sintra.


I took this photo upon my arrival in Lisbon, about a week before Lisa joined me. I found the hostel I was going to be staying in, the Lazy Crow (great place, no longer open), but I showed up in the afternoon outside of check-in times and there was nobody there to receive me. So I walked around the neighbourhood and took photos. I encountered this wall and loved the story it told.

The first castle we visited in Sintra was the Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors). What a stunning place to see. All that is left is the curtain wall, draped over a hilltop, but what is left is in great shape and is visually very entertaining and intriguing. Expect more designs based on images captured during this visit.

Below the Castelo de São Jorge (Lisbon castle), one finds Sé de Lisboa, the popular name for Lisbon Cathedral. Lisa and I spent a long time in the cathedral, checking out its many cloisters and also a large archeological dig. All very atmospheric and thought provoking. The building has survived many natural disasters, including the devastating earthquake of 1755. It was nice and cool in there, too, which also had appeal. :-)

We wandered around Sintra after visiting a couple of castles while we looked for a place to eat dinner. If memory serves, this wall was at the side of the road backing a public fountain, as in a source of public drinking water. In retrospect, I wish I had taken more pics like this. I took a jillion shots of surfaces in serious decay, but not so many of patterns and colours in better repair.

For the record, the designs below this are the first ones I created:

The photo that the following two designs are based off of was taken during a perfectly stunning day with Lisa in Sintra. You may have noticed that, currently, the background skin for all blog posts is from that same photo. I have a thing about surfaces and textures.

I'm going to get a lot of use out of this photo. You could say it has legs. Now, truth be told, this photo has taken in a large square in Toulouse, France. Not Portugal at all. But there are certainly street surfaces like this in Portugal, so I give myself a pass.

Here's another shot that wasn't taken in Portugal, but could have been. This is actually in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. I could have spent a week in there, and I did return to it many times. There's something really wonderful about walking through history, having it surround you on all sides.

This design should absolutely not be in this collection, as the source image is of the ceiling of St. Mungo Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland. The southern aisle is dedicated to Archbishop Robert Blackadder (1483-1508). That made me smile. :-)

Whew! Talk about being inspired. Creative juices flowing. I see a lot of possibilities.

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