artsy fartsy,  Bug

Q and R

Q is for Quetzal

I’m up a creek (or “crick” as my Aunt Marge would say). I broke my camera again. It’s that blasted sand. Every time I go to the beach I somehow manage to get sand in my camera. Toby says, “Why aren’t you more careful?” I say, “You take a nearly two-year-old to the beach and be more careful. Well see how long that lasts.”

What am I supposed to do? Let her run off into the surf while I carefully put my camera in it’s cover and then seal it in a plastic bag before I toss it into my purse? I guess I just can’t take my camera to the beach and that is sad sad sad because I am sick and tired of taking pictures of Baby Bug in the house and trying to rearrange my shot so that my myriad of carpet stains don’t show. Ugh.

I love the beach but I hate sand. It just gets in the little camera lens mechanism and click, crack, croak. No more pictures. So what does that mean? I’m going to be stuck uploading illustrations for a while, which is kind of a drag considering my latest paranoia regarding illos getting stolen. But you know… life goes on. If I add up all the positive things that this site has brought me and all the business it’s brought me for sharing my work, it far outweighs the damage that was done by one illo being stolen.

My illos get stolen all the time. I know this. It’s the nature of the web. People use them to litter up their myspace web pages. People paste them into forums. Even though I don’t love it, this doesn’t really bother me anymore. Every once in a while I go play myspace smackdown but it’s too much work. It’s not worth it. I know that people who steal will always have to steal while all I have to do if I want something new is close my eyes and imagine it.

The reason the whole momsbuzz thing got me was because that image belonged to someone. I should have never put it up on the web in the first place. It also burned me up that they might make a profit off it. But momsbuzz assured me that they didn’t make a penny off cafepress. I believe them too. The image was low res and would have looked terrible printed on a t-shirt. If they did sell anything they would have to refund that customer their money back. Seventy-two dot per inch images do NOT look good on press.

Besides nobody makes money off cafepress. They place the base price so high, you have to charge $20 a t-shirt in order to make two bucks. I charge a dollar or two on my cafepress and I think I’ve made $40 over the course of a year. Just enough to spend it right back on my own t-shirts.

I know I should address the fact that they probably made some change over all the traffic we sent that way but I’m tired. I’m not out to sue anybody. I don’t want a lawsuit. I’m happy it’s over. I most definitely don’t want to ever see any of my images stolen by that artist again but for now I am putting this issue to bed.

I do want to start some kind of awareness regarding theft on the internet. I want to help people protect themselves. I wish I could develop some kind of third party program that puts a watermark automatically on all your uploaded flickr pictures so you don’t have to re-upload but that’s way out of my league. I can barely create an action in photoshop let alone write a program. Who knows maybe one already exists.

Yikes! This post is getting long. All I really wanted to say was I’m uploading letters because my camera is broken and somehow I got way way way way down here on a tangent.

I’m over it! I promise! Over. Finito. Done.

R is for Robot

Get your letters here. Oh no! You missed the free letter download. Stay tuned. They will be released again for sale in my shop.


  • Bethany Actually

    Oh, no! Broken cameras make me sad. Is it fixable? Maybe you should get a cheapish point-and-shoot exclusively for beach photos–it would be better than no beach photos at all. You know, with all that extra cash you have from CafePress sales. Hahaha! Ahem. Sorry.

  • Skydiver50

    Would one of those plastic watertight gizmos work that you get from places like REI or surfing/watersports businesses. I took several to Hawaii recently to protect glasses, cell phones etc. So sorry. I love your pictures.

    SAJ says: Yep. That’s what I’m going to do. A cheap waterproof, bang-up-able camera that I can just toss in my purse. Because I can’t stop taking beach photos! That would just be wrong.

  • Jennifer

    You know what would be great? If you could make us all a nifty little badge that says, “don’t steal, it’s wrong!” Then we would have something to put up on our sites that might at least remind people that what we write and paint and sketch is ours.
    Just a thought. Since I know you have tons of time in between taking a toddler to the beach, writing for all of us, putting together illos for your customers, keeping up with your Flickr stuff, responding to all of us demanding readers, and doing all the mundane stuff required by a wee one and a husband. Uhhh…. I’ll stop.

    Sorry ’bout the camera. That’s just no fun.

    SAJ says: I am thinking of doing exactly that. That’s what I’ve been trying to come up with. I like your slogan. It might just be the winner. With little moving animated gif eyeballs… like we’re watching you sort of thing.

  • DeeJay

    Wanna borrow my Sony DSC F707? I’ll let ya!

    Are you going to have the letters printed somewhere so that we can purchase them as a bundle?

    That would be something I definitely would buy.


    SAJ says: Thanks DeeJay. I’ll figure something out. Thankfully, I’m married to a photographer so he’s already researching what camera would be best for me. I don’t deserve it though since I broke my last two. But we never really like the TX1. It’s great for movies but it was way too delicate for a throw-in-the-purse spy cam point-and-shoot. I think I need a cheapie waterproof camera and a really nice SLR that I keep at the house and only use for special occasions. I’m just saving up for it.

    Regarding the cards (and I should put this in a post somewhere…) Download them, print them, frame them… do whatever you want for your own use. These are your gift. The only thing I ask is that people don’t re-sell them. Eventually, when I find a good printer (which by the way I did get an email from a reader with a press who I still need to contact) I will print these as a whole package as well as sell them individually and customizable for people who want to spell names etc.

  • b*babbler

    Ooh, sorry about the camera. Don’t they make some sort of super-indestructible cheapy point-n-click that you could use just for the beach?

    Just a thought…

    Glad that the mombuzz thing is over. Hope it doesn’t happen again. And I love the letters!

  • Michelle

    The October mast head is sooooooo cute!!!!! Oh my gosh, it’s adorable! Really happy that the Moms Buzz ordeal is past you too. Is there a camera shop by you that can fix your camera? I’m looking into buying the Cannon like yours for Christmas – Yay :o)

    SAJ says: The TX1 is cool but talk to me before you buy it. I have some reservations about it.

  • Keely

    So, how do you find these people who steal your stuff? Is there an easy way? I’m all about the easy right now. :) I agree with DeeJay… I want to buy all your letters in a bundle on really cool card stock and frame them for Zoe’s room. I just love them and you should be making money off of them because they are fabulous.

    SAJ says: I don’t know an easy way to find people who’ve stolen your stuff. There is some niggling little memory in my head about a website that will look for your words if people have ripped off your writing but I don’t remember what it was. I found out about the momsbuzz because the company who bough the illustration from me found it. They were wondering why I would re-sell an image to someone else when they paid good money for it. The answer of course was, I wouldn’t! Thankfully, they have been very kind to me. I could have been in a heap of trouble over this because I didn’t take the necessary steps to protect the images they own. But I am now. I’ve been “schooled”. :)

  • Roz

    Good on ya for being able to move on from the stealing incident. That’s more than i could do!

    I know your myspace smackdown was over a year ago, but i read the post and it made me laugh and of course, now i’m curious of the image…is it too late to get an email? lol

    SAJ says: Yeah, I’ve long gotten rid of the image. But let me just say it was very distasteful and could have gotten some minors in big trouble.

  • MommyK

    Thank you! Thank you! Thnak you! You have taken so much time to make such cute letters for everyone. I look forward to every new one your put up… I know it takes a lot of your time to do something so nice for us bloggers. So thanks.

    Sorry about your camera. I just got a new Canon EOS Rebel for my bday and love it. I can’t imagine my life without it now. So good luck finding and getting a new one.

  • whoorl

    How funny! Quetzal, like the Eric Carle flashcards! (I just wrote about these.)

    SAJ says: I know! I almost didn’t want to do quetzal because we have those flash cards too. It feels like cheating but the alternatives, queen or quilt, just weren’t fun enough.

  • Diane

    Once of those “Toddler” cameras may be a great idea for you to use for the beach. They supposedly are made just for kids so they take a lot of abuse and take fairly decent pictures.

  • Lori

    i bought a little waterproof camera for about a hundred bucks — it’s a pentax optio — good for five feet underwater and it’s also safe against sand. it’s great for taking pictures in the pool, kayaking, at the beach, and i don’t have to risk my regular camera.

    the only downside is it doesn’t have a lens cover — i found it slips perfectly inside my iPod cover (the one that comes with the iPod initially).

  • Clownfish

    I’m having a blast with my little Canon SD 1000. No, it’s not my Nikon D70s (which I totally dig) but it’s a blast to grab-go and shoot with. I don’t see it as beach-friendly.

    I too am glad that MB dropped your art and were big enough to apologize.

    Good luck on the camera front!

  • The Chatty Housewife

    I keep my old camera for the beach/raining/snowboarding/dusty things and my new camera for everything else. I already had one scare where I was taking a lot of pictures and it was dusty. The lens stopped going in and out AT ALL, but thankfully it worked out it’s kinks and was back to normal after a little. Phew! Sorry about your camera… is there no easy way to fix it? When we used to get grit in our lens, my dad would know how to take the camera apart and fix it, but that was pre-digital in the old days. Also, I heard that sometimes you can fix them by banging them hard on the kitchen counter or something hard and it might just knock that offending piece of sand out of the lens.

  • ~moe~

    Thanks so much for these flashcards. I have a 11 month old niece who will truly benefit from these. I would also love to buy them as a set whenever you find the time (ha! who has that) to put that together. You rock, SAJ. Keep up the great work!

  • del4yo

    Quetzal? As in Quetzalcoalt, the animal that inspired the word

    Great! Oh Why didn’t I thought about it!

    You should totally sell these flashcards as a set. I would be the first one to buy!
    I was thinking of making flash cards with numbers from one to ten because I’m lazy …26 is a lot don’t you think? I planned to make all the alphabet with animals in French and in English and I thought my oh my 52 illos am I crazy or what?????

  • MommyK

    I just read my last comment… I need to learn how to spell and write a comment that makes sense. Since I have been pregnant I am just not the same… and since I am just counting days now until the baby arrives I am really not the same. I guess my late night – not getting any sleep so get on the computer to blog ideas are not so great. Sorry about that. I do THANK YOU for all of your time and effort you put into making these cards!!!!

  • aunt kathy

    Your flashcards are great! Quetzal is unusual (unless you live in South America!) and is perfect. Yes, quilt and queen are overused. Maybe you could offer your cards to the school system and sell them in case lots? If I were teaching pre-school or kindergarten I would use them.