One of Boffin Academy’sbest selling designs of all time is the EnGenius I design. This simple, monotone design blends the definition of engenius with line drawings of vintage locomotives. EnGenius 1 is part of a series of EnGenius designs that you can find in the ENGINEERING section of the store. While many people associate terms such as engineering, invention, and locomotion with males, it is interesting to note that this design doesn’t only sell to adult males. It’s a hot favorite for children’s t-shirts (and not only for the boys’ market), and is a top selection for teen and adult female shirts.
In case you are unfamiliar with the term, an engenius is simply defined as: a clever, original, inventive thinker focused on using moving parts to covert power into motion. The word is derived from the fusion of “engineer” and “genius”, and is used to describe individuals with a strong leaning towards creativity and innovation in the context of a mechanical environment.
If you are interested in being alerted when new designs are added to Boffin Academy, please subscribe to this blog. You will find a “subscribe” button alongside this post. By subscribing, you will automatically receive notification of new posts in your email inbox. If you want to learn more about what Boffin Academy is and who it is intended to serve, I recommend reading this post.
If it matters to you how your device is “dressed”, aHEAD may have something to offer you. And even if you are not device fashion savvy, but you are a little curious and tend to enjoy “the unusual”, aHEAD has your name all over it.
Originally inspired by the line art designs created for an upcoming book, aHEAD grew out the desire to give people a range of cell phone covers or cases that are as unique as the collection of data stored inside the device. Each person’s phone holds a reflection (perhaps a little distorted, but a reflection nonetheless) of that individual: it’s a collection of pictures of their favorite people, a library of conversations (the good, the bad, and even the ugly), it’s shopping lists, work emails, funny videos, phone numbers that are not written anywhere else, hundreds of apps once downloaded and then forgotten, and so much more. No two phones ever look the same inside, so why should everyone cover their phone in the same dull, generic cloaking? If it’s different on the inside, make it different on the outside.
The aHEAD designs always feature part of a face or the side of a head. While most heads are humanoid, some bear characteristic animal features, and others appear less earthly and a little more alien. The designs are predominantly monotone, giving a classic sophistication to the image. Most aHEAD designs are weighted to the right, leaving the left side of the design uncluttered. If you would like to purchase a phone case with a mirrored or reversed aHEAD design (i.e. with the image weighted to the left), use the contact form on this website to connect with us and tell us which design(s) you want to see in mirror mode.
Most of the aHEAD designs are available in cover sizes to fit the more recent iPhone and Samsung phone models. Other cases will be added to the inventory as they become available to us. Again, if you want to see any of the designs on a case size that is not already listed in the aHEAD store, use the contact form on this website to let us know. Cases are printed on demand and dispatched by CafePress. As new designs are added to the store, we will announce them here on this blog. Use the SUBSCRIBE button alongside this post to be added to our blogging distribution list, and you will receive an email when we add a new post to this blog.
Don’t be afraid to START SMALL. This is particularly true if you want to put a creative idea on paper. If you have limited time and resources to spend on your creative adventures, it makes sense to start a project that you can finish quickly without spending a small fortune. So what is a good way to START SMALL? ACEOs.
ACEOs are LITTLE artworks – literally. To qualify as an ACEO, the creative work must measure exactly 2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″. That’s the size of a poker (not bridge) playing card. The acronym “ACEO” stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. Although typically two-dimensional artworks, ACEOs may sometimes include elements that transition the piece into a three-dimensional artwork. Textured collages and sculptures are examples of this digression from the world of flat. ACEOs can be originals of any medium, but limited edition prints are also common amongst collectors.
If you like the idea of being an art collector, but don’t have the financial resources to purchase large gallery works, ACEOs are your ticket into the business. For just a few dollars, you can start your collection today. eBay is a great place to start your search for little pieces that match your tastes.
ACEOs have the added benefit of being well suited to the creation of an artwork series. If you have a few different ideas that share a common thread, you can use each idea as a theme for a new ACEO and string the cards together as a series. An example of this is the SAXOPHONE MAN ACEO series that I recently launched as part of a bigger “musician” ACEO collection. This original series features caricatured silhouettes of sax players in different lighting conditions. The pieces in this series are multi-media works including ink, marker, paint and colored pencil.
Boffin Academy is slowly growing. Boffin Academy is a CafePress store that caters to those looking for gifts for academics, teachers, researchers, and college or university students. The designs tend to be more ” cerebral” or “academic” than you would typically find on a t-shirt or coffee mug from your neighborhood gift shop. The “inside the discipline” phrases and images may tickle the funny bone of someone familiar with the discipline, but are unlikely to mean much to someone outside of that specific discipline of study. Boffin Academy is the place to shop for people who just can’t seem to appreciate average (and funny) silliness. Think “serious, dry, brainy, philosophical, academic, studious”, or even a bit dull by non-academic standards. Boffin Academy was created to take the pain out of shopping for your friends and family who actually enjoy reading textbooks, watching educational TV, spending hours in a laboratory, solving mathematics problems, and all those other brain-numbing things that the more studious inhabitants of this planet seem to enjoy. Boffin Academy is growing little by little, and currently boasts ten study disciplines. More will follow. If you are eager to see your discipline move to the top of the design agenda, drop us a message.
This week, we added new designs to the MEDICINE section of the store. The studio’s design theme was anatomy, with special attention given to the human brain as it was depicted hundreds of years ago. The designs feature vintage sketches from medical manuals, and provide a little insight into what medical students of yesteryear might have studied. Click on a design below to see product listings that feature the design in high resolution.
High school and early college Classical Physics is the best! There are all those amazing equations that make the whole universe (or at least the part of the universe that we are in touch with) seem easy to understand. On those days when clarity strikes extra hard, you can’t help but want to pat Mr Isaac Newton on the back, and let him know how much you appreciate him sharing his insight with the authors of your textbook.
Ahhh… the joys of studying Physics! Just when you think you have it all figured out, you discover that the equations you came to grips with are simplifications, and it’s going to get a lot more complicated before the mist clears and things start to make sense again. That’s when you realize that you need more than just coffee to make it. (Isaac Newton bringing you a pot of coffee and then sticking around to help with your homework would definitely make things easier.)
When it’s 3 am and you still haven’t finished your tutorial homework, and you know it’s due at 7:45 am… Yes, you know that you need your coffee served in a mug that can practically think for you. CafePress has it all figured out with the Physics Cheat Sheet mug. Just add coffee, and you will have those vector diagrams drawn and the problems solved in a jiffy.
Coloring is nice to do, but what do you do with your masterpiece when you have filled the page with a rainbow of color? Do you throw the page away? File it in some dark drawer never to be seen again? Keep it visible in the hopes that someone will notice your artistic genius and compliment you? You invested a lot of effort into filling the page with color, so it only seems right to do something creative with your masterpiece. But what?
Here are FOUR ideas that will work for using and/preserving any colored page, but are particularly well suited to Christmas themed paper such as the MERRY CHRISTMAS FAMILY COLORING PAGES from Zisubu Artique. Have fun celebrating the countdown to Christmas with these easy-to-implement ideas.
MAKE TABLE PLACE MATS
Many local office supply stores offer lamination as a service. Take your family’s masterpieces and have them laminated in the heaviest coating your budget will allow. (Don’t forget to ask each family member to sign and date the back of their page before you take the trip to the store. That way, next year when you pull out the placemats for December, you will be able to reminisce together about your masterpieces.) The laminated pages make unusual and festive place mats for your dining table throughout the year, but especially at Christmas.
MAKE CHRISTMAS GIFT WRAP
A letter-sized (or A4) page is just the right size for gift wrapping a tiny gift. If you are giving small items (e.g. plastic gift cards or small candy bars or toys), they can easily be wrapped in a colorful page. Turn the unwrapping session into a fun guessing game, by getting each gift recipient to guess who colored their wrapping paper. If you are only wrapping BIG BOXES this Christmas, consider wrapping the boxes in simple kraft or other monotone paper. Cut the undecorated border away from the colored region of the page. Glue the vibrantly colored part of the page onto each of the six sides of the plain-paper covered big box to produce unusually decorated gift wrap.
MAKE A STRING ART GALLERY
Remember those strings strung above the fireplace on which people would hang the Christmas greeting cards they received in the mail? Borrow from that idea and create a string gallery for your family’s Christmas greeting masterpieces. Use colored clothespins to hang the pages from a line, and create a festive “art gallery” in your living room.
CREATE A JUNK JOURNAL
Junk journals (also called dream diaries, keepsake albums, traveler notebook, etc.) are fun books that you can fill with all sorts of ephemera (that’s scrapbook talk for odds and ends that mean something to you e.g. newspaper cuttings, ticket to the first movie you ever watched with your husband-to-be, recipes, quotes you love, dreams you cherish, etc.). You can think of a junk journal as a scrapbook with none of the OCD rules of real scrapbooking. Create a junk journal to document this Christmas countdown and cover your journal with one of colored pages. Use other colored pages to make unusual interior pages for your journal.
Coloring is good for you, but it is also a time investment. Don’t toss your colored pages in the trash. Invest a couple extra minutes this festive season, and turn your coloring efforts into something useful that will start conversations and bring back memories in years to come.
Christmas is coming! Oh, don’t we know it! Looking at the calendar got me thinking about our family’s Christmas card list – not an email list, but an old fashioned list of names and addresses of people we like to bless with a paper Christmas card. It is astounding how quickly many people ditched this tradition in lieu of an email one-liner the night before Christmas. Yes, postage isn’t free (but you could trade one cup of Starbucks coffee this year for quite a few stamps). Yes, some places have unreliable postal services (and perhaps some of your greeting cards may not be delivered, but what is life without a wee bit of risk). No, you don’t have less time in the day than anyone else. Everyone everywhere is BUSY. (If you are not busy most of the time, take a moment to share your secret for extra hours in the day in the comment section below – I know we all need to find more time in the day.) But how about embracing a new thought this festive season? Consider this idea: This year I will spare a few minutes to send a physical greeting card to someone I care about.
For those creative folk who have a few extra minutes to invest (in others, and their own sense of well-being), buying ready-to-color cards should go on your “Christmas preparation list”. (Santa could use an efficient “list” person like you on his staff!) Ready-to-color Christmas cards are a lot like traditional greeting cards, except that the color in the feature illustration is applied by you and not a printing press. Technically, “colorize” refers to applying color by digital means, and with digital coloring cards you can certainly use software to color, and then print your finished work. Another method is to add paint, marker or pencil color to printed coloring cards.
Recently, I was busy working on a new range of coloring card designs when a customer approached me to ask for Christmas versions of the cards. I had not initially planned to release any coloring Christmas cards this year, but the customer’s request got me thinking about how Christmas coloring cards could be more than just greeting cards. I imagined how a Christmas card coloring activity could provide hours of fun for families, friends, church groups and more. So I put aside my planned designs for a while, and improvised some Christmas designs for cards. Zisubu Artique now stocks sets of coloring Christmas cards.
For those who like to do all their crafting from scratch, there are the “print and color” Christmas cards. You simply print the PDF card pages on cardstock – each page has two cards – and you are on your way to making hundreds of Christmas greeting cards (or just a few, if your Christmas list isn’t too long). Not everyone likes to wrestle with their home printer – I know mine is rather temperamental about processing cardstock. (Some days is plays nicely, and others it makes a big mess of the projects I try to print.) If you don’t want to waste time loading cardstock one page at a time, printing, cutting the cards, going shopping for envelopes, and then FINALLY sitting down to relax with a coloring activity, the “ready to color” Christmas cards are perfect for you. The price of the “ready to color” cards includes all the craft work, so all that is left for you is to open your box of crayons and start coloring.
Start a new trend in your family or business this year. Send Christmas cards that are colored by your family, your friends, or your business’ staff members. Or send an uncolored coloring card with a little note that encourages the recipient to sit back, relax, and enjoy coloring as they count down to Christmas Day.
Who buys a book without looking inside? I like to know what I am paying for, especially if I must place my order online. So it wouldn’t surprise me if you also prefer to know ahead of time what to expect when your order arrives in your mailbox. If you are one of those people who loves surprises, DON’T watch this video. Just go right ahead and order a bunch of these Christmas gifts, because they will make great stocking fillers for your family and friends. (Your family is probably tired of finding socks in their stockings – be different this year – try a new type of stocking filler that won’t be so easily forgotten.)
If you like a little more certainty in your life, there is now a video (see below) which will let you flip through the coloring book part of the #ColortheCarols COMBO. The video also includes a few clips from the Christmas carol album (Unadorned Trumpet Carols by Eddie Lewis) which forms the music part of the #ColortheCarols COMBO. Use the comment section below to let me know what you think of the coloring book and the music.
You can buy the COLOR the CAROLS COMBO (which includes the COLOR the TRUMPET CAROLS coloring book AND the UNADORNED TRUMPET CAROLS album on CD) from the online Tiger Music Store. This store offers a regular COMBO and a BIG COMBO, which includes all the things you need to get started with coloring – like a box of colored pencils, a pencil sharpener, a ready-to-color Christmas card/envelope.
FRACTONIA is a short novel for young readers that was intentionally created as an informal learning experience. This story takes a topic from mathematics (fractions, in this case) out of the classroom and into an imaginary world of exploration and discovery. The reader is encouraged to leave behind his or her mental image of what a fraction is, in order to consider a completely different image of what a fraction could be. Changing the way a student imagines a concept or topic can open the door to a “clean slate” relearning experience. When preconceived ideas are no longer posing as formidable obstacles to learning, the educator is given a second chance to lay a solid foundation in the fundamentals.
I wrote FRACTONIA in response to how some young students I know were experiencing fractions. In battling the fraction monster, some students had sadly come to believe that they were simply incapable of understanding fractions or how to work with them. Once a student is convinced they cannot have victory over the monster, there is little teachers and parents can do to change the student’s mind. Young learners with this view grow into older students that fear and hate mathematics. I set out to write a story that would help the readers repaint their mental image of the fraction monster. Fractions should not make anyone feel stupid. Most people have the capacity to understand and work with basic fractions. I wanted to share a story that would get the reader to be able to look past the intimidating numbers and mathematical operators, and allow them to see that mathematics is a language communicating ideas and describing images of the world we live in.
A short except from FRACTONIA(Chapter 4):
“Where is Miss Brady and the rest of my class?” Matthew decided it was time to outsmart Miss Brady’s hypnotist. Matthew was determined to show the crafty man that he was not entirely under his spell. Yes, he couldn’t explain why the man looked more like a giant mosquito than a man, but that didn’t mean he had to pretend that he had lost the ability to think.
“Miss Brady?” A small, silver plate about the size of a credit card suddenly appeared in the hand (or would it be the paw or the claw?) of Merc. The plate vibrated, buzzed a little, and then vanished. Merc looked up and confidently announced, “No “Brady” in the Royal Service Extraordinaire, and no “Miss” amongst the Numo Regulars, either.”
Matthew’s look of bewilderment elicited another hearty laugh from Merc. “This must be your first time in Fractonia. You don’t know what I am talking about, do you?” Merc asked.
Matthew sighed deeply, suddenly feeling overwhelmed and unsure of himself. He shook his head vigorously as he sensed the threat of tears. “No. No, I don’t have any idea what is happening to me. Are you a hypnotist? Am I dreaming or hallucinating?” Matthew felt torn between his mind’s interpretation of his experience and what his physical senses were telling him was real. What was Merc? Could someone make him imagine something as sophisticated and extraordinary as Merc?
“No, Math, you are not dreaming. You did not imagine me. I am not a hypnotist, although I did once give a speech that put a bunch of entities to sleep. You are not hallucinating. You have simply been translated.” Merc stopped for a moment to let his words sink in.
“Right now, you are in Fractonia. Judging by your appearance, I can guess that you are a human male from the Earth world. Juvenile. Perhaps somewhere between ten and fifteen Earth years in age. Am I right? I am quite the expert, you know. I can identify over fourteen trillion species from over eight million realms. By the way, I am the Communications Officer with the Inter-Realm Royal Service Extraordinaire. I have been working at the Fractonia Outpost for the past seven million three hundred and forty-nine thousand two hundred and fifteen yonkinots.” Merc smiled reassuringly. “Do you still feel as if you are dreaming?”
FRACTONIA is available in print and digital format. (Use the links on “print” or “digital” to buy the book directly from Lulu, or google the title to find it at your favorite online booksellers.) To create a special Fractonia gift set for a young reader, I recommend combining FRACTONIA with the accompanying paperback coloring book: COLOR the REALM of FRACTONIA. The coloring book includes many of the illustrations that you will see in the novel, plus some extra characters that are mentioned, but not illustrated, in FRACTONIA. Additional FRACTONIA goodies, such as t-shirts, hoodies, water bottles, stickers, stationery, and pillows (which are ideal as gifts or classroom prizes) are available from Café Press.
The Color the Carols BIG COMBO is a sensory experience that focuses on coloring and listening. This COMBO includes a colorable Christmas card, in addition to a Christmas-themed, adult-friendly coloring book. This post addresses some of the questions asked about the Christmas cards included in the BIG COMBO.
1. How many Christmas cards are in each BIG COMBO?
The BIG COMBO packs are created by including ONE A2-sized colorable card from a set of my Christmas designs. Although the theme is still Christmas, these designs are not repeats of what you will find in the COMBO’s COLOR the TRUMPET CAROLSChristmas coloring book. Each BIG COMBO has a randomly selected card design, so there is no way to guess which card is in your pack until you open your package.
Is there a message inside the card?
Each card design incorporates a Christmas-focused scripture on the front, and the card is left blank inside so you can add your own personal message. The designs are easy to color, so feel free to pass the coloring task on to one of the younger members of your household, if you don’t have time to fill the card with color. You might even twist the little someone’s arm to write the message inside for you. Seeing your child’s handwriting in a greeting card can make the experience of receiving a card in the mail an extra special experience for a loved one.
“What will the design on this mystery card look like?” I thought it best to let the set of six designs speak for themselves. Two of the six designs are in landscape format, and four are portrait styled designs. There are angels, Mary with the baby Jesus, word play abstract designs, the wise men, and a three-panel nativity scene. The COLOR the CAROLS BIG COMBO will only contain one randomly selected, colorable card. If you would like to purchase the complete set of cards, they are available from my ETSY store. (I packed six designs in the set, so the whole family could sit around the kitchen table and color together. If your family has more than six members, order a couple of packs, invite the neighbors, and turn it into a coloring party. Or cut costs by printing a set of colorable cards on your home printer. )