Sunday, December 11, 2011

Featured Musician Interview: Urban Exploration

Lace9: Tell us about Urban Exploration?

Urban Exploration: We're are a group of electronic musicians, DJ’s, multi-media artists and performers from Leeds, that come together to create music, visual art, put on parties and showcase events and explore and experiment with technology. We combine modular synthesis, analogue hardware, field recordings and live performance to bring you original, off-kilter, improvised electronica that seamlessly evolves between ambient atmospheres and banging, dancefloor stompers!

Lace9: How long have you been in the music business?

Urban Exploration: It varies among us; 15 years approx.

Lace9: What Genre is your music?

Urban Exploration: Urbex / Electronica

Lace9: Describe your musical style and inspirations.

Urban Exploration: We have no one style and will try to maintain this for as long as we can. The live element of Urban Exploration focuses heavily on improvisation, so we never know exactly where the music will end up. Inspiration comes from the act of Urban Exploring (Urbexing) and the photography that follows suit, taking field recordings from various locations and many past musicians/bands who use hardware synths and sequencers. We bring together the analogue and digital worlds, with a plethora of equipment all synced up together and specifically constructed visuals to accompany the music.

Lace9: Have you released an album?

Urban Exploration: We are currently working on our debut release. Please add us on Facebook to keep up to date with details.

Lace9: Where can we get your music?

Urban Exploration: You can stream our tracks on Sound Cloud or Reverb Nation

Lace9: Do you have any upcoming gigs? If so, where?

Urban Exploration: We are currently looking for bookings. If you wish Urban Exploration to play at your event, please email us at Urban Exploration

This is a clip from the Bridgnorth Music & Arts Festival, where we curated a whole day and night of electronic music, September 2011:

Lace9: Which of your songs is your favorite?

Urban Exploration: We like different tracks for different reasons.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Zazzle Featured Artist Interview

This week we're interviewing Zazzle Artist Tina:

Lace9: Tell us about your Zazzle Store:

Tina: Collie Love is a store for anyone who likes Collies, kittens, puppies with a sense of humor, floral images, landscapes, and wildlife.

Lace9: How long have you been Zazzling?

Tina: 4 years

Lace9: What do you like most about Zazzle?

Tina: It's a great way to share the beauty of Nature around us. I think the site is very easy to use and I have fun designing products. I get excited when I realize others enjoy my photography as well. I love reading my email "your Zazzle Product(s) has been purchased." It's a good feeling.

Lace9: What medium (graphic design on computer/paint/pencil, etc...) do you work in?

Tina: Mostly photography.

Lace9: What genre does your work mostly fall into?

Tina: Nature, animals and wildlife.

Lace9: What artist or art are you inspired by?

Tina: I'm only an amateur Photographer.. But I love checking out what the greats are doing, like the Zazzle seller TomPurse.. and wishing I was that good. :-)

Lace9: Where do you get your ideas from?

Tina: I just watch what's going on in my back yard. I have noticed I see thing differently now than I used to. I definitely do not leave home without my camera. I may be inspired anywhere. The Beauty is all around us.

Lace9: Is there a product in your store that you liked so much you’ve bought it yourself?

Tina: Yep. I loved this shot.

Lace9: Do you have a favourite Zazzle store that’s not yours?

Tina: As I mentioned above... Tom Purse is a favorite of mine.. I could look at the world through his eyes all day. You can find him here: Northwest Scenescapes Photography

Lace9: Do you have your art on other sites?

Tina: I have a blog but I don't get many views so I tend not to keep it updated as I should. Amazing iPhone and iPad Cases

Enter for a Chance to Win a Sheet of Hand Drawn Stickers and other great prizes!

Bri over at Bri's Bargain Blog is holding a "25 Days of Christmas" giveaway contest. Hand Drawn has donated a sheet of Full Colour Claddagh stickers. They're the large, 3" ones, so the details of the design come through great!

The Claddagh (Full Colour) sticker
There are also 29 other great prizes up for grabs, and entering couldn't be easier.
Here's the details on how...
Go to Bri's 25 Days of Christmas Giveaway

You'll find 29 one-time chances for entering, and they're super simple. Just like one of the Facebook pages of the sponsors, or follow them on Twitter. You can enter up to 29 times by completing one of the 29 different actions.

There are also three daily entry options that you can use every day. The more you enter, the more likely you are to win. There are 22 days left to enter.

Thanks to Bri for the opportunity to help sponsor this great contest. You can find her at Bri's Bargain Blog on Facebook as well.

Have a great holiday season and good luck with the giveaway!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Zazzle print from Hand-Drawn: Three Little Kittens Logo
Check it out!

Three Little Kittens Inspired by the classic nursery rhyme: Three Little Kittens This pencil sketch has been digitally coloured to give it a beautiful vintage look. Making it a great gift for children and adults alike.
Three Little Kittens
Three Little Kittens by Lace9lives
Find more at Zazzle.
Order This
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At Zazzle you can:
Shop billions of unique custom products.
Create t-shirts, business cards, invitations, custom gifts, and more.
Sell products and make $$$.

Top searches this week:
baby boy postage stamps, facebook like stickers zazzle, special ed t-shirt teachers do it in the least restrictive environment zazzle, tiger shoes, grandma aprons, chinese calligraphy jewelry, cystic fibrosis pin zazzle, clean and dirty dishwasher magnets zazzle, this bag contains a gun, custom picture mouse pads zazzle

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tiles and Gift Boxes! What will you make of them?

This top five is all about Zazzle's newly launched products – Ceramic Tiles and Two Types of Gift Boxes!

Like many zazzle artists I've been having great fun adding my work to these.
While vibrantly displaying photos or artwork, the 3.75 ounce ceramic tiles are great for use as trivets. Stand hot dinner, pots, or pans on them; saving table tops and other surfaces from heat damage. Alternatively you can select a frame in either cherry or pecan, and just like that: the tile of your choice becomes a beautiful decorative piece for hanging in the home.
Perhaps my favourite feature of these particular new Zazzle products is that you can have them added to a beautiful 100% wooden box of either: Golden Oak, Ebony Black, Emerald Green, or Red Mahogany - that’s perfect for storing keepsakes, jewelry and other trinkets. Both box styles come in two sizes & the Premium Jewelry Boxes even come with a magnetized lid!
As you would expect there are already thousands available for sale in the Zazzle marketplace and with Christmas on the way, and the abundance of customization features on offer, they're the perfect "personal touch" for upcoming holiday gifting.

As this was essentially a launch of three products at once I've decided showing only one type would not do them justice. So for this particular Top 5 I've chosen both 5 Tiles & 5 Gift Boxes, from some of the great artist working hard to create stunning original art on Zazzle.

First up - My Top 5 Zazzle tiles on the Market so far:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Featured Musician Interview

What is the name of your group?

Keyona Renee Ham

Your Website URL:!/keyonareneeham

How long have you been in the music business?

I've been officially in the music business for 2 years now.

What Genre is your music?

I'll probably be labeled as R&B/Soul but I'd preferred to be known as a great singer able to deliver great music across genres.

Describe your musical style and inspirations.

I love all kinds of music. My first love is R&B/Soul, but I love good Funk with a strong bass line and groove. I love when a lead guitar can come in and kill it and make you think the vocals were just the accompaniment. I do sing Gospel, Jazz and some Pop but I don't like my music to have a watered down feel. I think Gospel should hit hard like Hip Hop, Jazz should have strong instrumentation and Pop should have great lyrics and metaphors. As a trained dancer, I enjoy the intensity of a good Opera, the fun of Bollywood and I absolutely LOVE salsa too so I'm working on a Salsa song and I really hope it is well received.

Have you released an album? If so, provide some details.

I have released one single, "Lost and Found" written by Monty Wells who is now with Def Jam/Island Records.

Monty and I were at a meeting with The Collective, a group of singers that work together to promote each other's music and business ventures and Monty played the chorus for me on his acoustic guitar and I cried. I cried because it spoke to that part of life when you're standing there wondering, "What am I gonna do now? Let life just happen around me or make a move." And having took so long to really declare myself a performing and recording artist, the song just really hit me at my heart. It also reminded me of my friends that feel like their lives have been derailed and need the arrow to just tell them where to go.

Singing at the Capital Hill Premium Tobacco and Cigar Bar
— with Capitol Hill Premium Cigars.
I decided not to release an entire CD but instead release the singles one by one, as people don't buy entire CD's anymore unless its an established artist. Besides, that's the way we hear them on the radio even after a CD is released if you don't buy it on the release date; every month or few weeks, you hear a different single off the CD until you've been sucked in, right? I figure if I get you to like every single, you'll come to every show and not feel like you got jipped. It also requires me to make every song HOT instead of having a CD with a few good singles and then some fillers. I hate that!

Where can we get your music?

My first single is on iTunes,, Spotify, Napster, all the major digital music retailers. You can also check out some of my performances on my YouTube channel, username MissHam2001 or just search for Keyona Renee Ham. I love performing live; I think that is the true test of a good vocalist.

Do you have any upcoming gigs? If so, where?

I will be singing at the Pre-Reception for the Executive Leadership Council on Thursday, October 20th at the Gaylord National Hotel at the National Harbor in MD. The ceremony will also feature Diana Ross and Kool and the Gang. On November 18th, as a part of the closing ceremony for the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. 100 year anniversary, I will open for the Godfather of Go Go, Chuck Brown at Howard University in D.C. I am also working on finishing my CD project and raising money through kickstarter. The link is: The project will be up until November 1st. All donations receive a gift, either free download, copy of the CD with a specially designed T-shirt or at the highest level, copy of the CD, T-shirt and entry to one of my live shows after the CD is released.

Which of your songs is your favorite?

My favorite song hasn't been released yet; its a tie between the dance track and the rock and roll song, so hard to decide. But I do love "Lost and Found."

In your own words, why should people check out your music? Provide any other info you think we should have here.

I think music lovers will enjoy the choices I make in terms of releases. I will release a CD and it will be titled "Her Stories" as the songs will be the thread that runs through the life of every woman discovering how to love, live, be powerful, run her world and somehow not lose her mind. To hear a real voice instead of music that is loaded with autotune is what the music world needs. We need to stop accepting garbage.

I also have a slew of other things going on. I am a Licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor and love promoting a healthy life which is why I started my blog Pixie Dust Potent - One More Dress Size at The camera does not hide anything! And you can tell when a is gasping for air so I am determined to stay fit and healthy and try to be an example for those trying to life a healthy life and lose weight. It's title, Pixie Dust Potent from a label I was given by co-workers saying that I must have some kind of pixie dust that keeps people (especially men) intrigued by my presence. The first installments are about my journey to lose one more dress size. So far, I've gotten a good response especially from those that can relate to the struggle with weight and image. With my new body, I've discovered a love for modeling and styling so I am loving that! And, as if that wasn't enough, my wonderful make up artist, Evie Thompson and I will be launching a new Internet Radio show in the Fall called "Speak on That." We have begun taking responses to the topics on Facebook under Speak on That so anyone can join in on the discussions. They absolutely get heated. We'll be talking about everything and also feature indie artists and small businesses.

Keep up with Keyona on her facebook page or follow her on twitter @SweetMsHam

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Zazzle invitation from Lace9lives: Boneyard Mutt Halloween Invites Logo
Check it out!

As you can see Boneyard Mutt needs some feeding up, but don't worry he has a great appetite & will happily devour almost anything you put in front of him - as long as it's dripping with blood that is.
Boneyard Mutt Invites
Boneyard Mutt Invites by Lace9lives
Find more at Zazzle.
Order This
Share This! |  Facebook   Twitter   Wordpress   Blogger
At Zazzle you can:
Shop billions of unique custom products.
Create t-shirts, business cards, invitations, custom gifts, and more.
Sell products and make $$$.

Top searches this week:
make pin buttons, 2012 graduation pins zazzle, coffee cup design zazzle, super daddy tshirts, 40th wedding anniversary invites, honey do shower invites, miss me yet gifts, your what hurts zazzle, catholics vs convicts tshirts, 80's gifts

Zazzle, the Zazzle logo, Zazzle Custom Stamps, and Zazzle Profile Cards are registered trademarks or trademarks of Zazzle Inc. in the United States and other countries.
Your trust means the world to us. Check out our Privacy Policy and User Agreement. Forgot your password?
Need help or have any questions? Visit us at our Help Center
© 2011 Zazzle Inc. All Rights Reserved. Zazzle Inc, 1900 Seaport Blvd. Redwood City, CA 94063

Click to verify BBB accreditation and to see a BBB report. Paypal Logo DigiCert


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Zazzle Featured Artist Interview


How long have you been Zazzling?    

Started end of February 2011

What do you like most about zazzle?    

That all I have to invest is my time and work - one can make products without soending the money for printing and having the basement full of t-shirts to sell; also, the variety of available products is great.

What medium (graphic design on computer/paint/pencil, etc...) do you work in?    

I draw with a paintbrush and Indian ink and process the drawings in the computer. Then I use some magic powder made from a genuine speedy gonzalez whisker to bring them to life (only in moonless nights)

What genre does your work mostly fall into?   

Cartoon art more or less

What artist or art are you inspired by?    

I am into telling stories with my drawings, so I am inspired by comics as well as film and (most of all) books.

Where do you get your ideas from?    

All those animals live in my mood. I just have to ask them.

Is there a product in your store that you liked so much you’ve bought it yourself?

I didn’t buy anything yet, but I am still quite new.

Below is a fine example of greendeer's artwork on this 2012 calendar cool animals calendar.

Do you have a favourite zazzle store that’s not yours?

so many..

Do you have your art on other sites? (Blog, Website, other POD site)

I have a blog with little stories connected to drawings I use on zazzle products:
and a website with my work as a graphic designer and illustrator:
Some photos I do are shown on ipernity:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Top Five Sci-Fi Movies from the 90's

I wanted to do a sequel to my previous post Top Five 80s Fantasy Movies, this time about the nineties.  Only problem is that there weren't many true fantasy movies that decade.  Certainly very few in the style of Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, or Lord of the Rings, the kind of sword and sorcery fantasy that many of us grew up with.

The 90's was very much a sci-fi decade.  The technological advances which began revolutionizing life (Internet, email, the World Wide Web) may have had something to do with this sea change.  As it is, there were far too many ace Sci-Fi movies in the 90s to limit ourselves strictly to a top five, so I've got a few honorable mentions as well.

There are a few guiding principles that I used to narrow down the population of classic 90's sci-fi films.
  • Groundbreaking Special Effects
  • Intelligent Plot (Not a Michael Bay Movie explosion fest with poor acting and writing)
  • Rewatchability (Can a child of today watch this movie and enjoy it?)

5. eXistenZ - 1999
 David Cronenberg is one of my favorite directors, and this movie is no exception to his excellent reputation "mind-frack" movies.  This film questions the nature of reality and really keeps forcing you to revise your assessment of where it's going.  All the people who have watched this movie will understand when I say the restaurant scene is both very gross and rather awesome at the same time.  Sadly many people haven't even heard of this movie.  It had the misfortune to be released a month after The Matrix was released.

4. 12 Monkeys - 12 Monkeys - 1995

You wouldn't expect this convoluted movie to have come from one of the members of Monty Python.  Director Terry Gilliam keeps the audience guessing with a non-linear plot, hallucinations for the protagonist, and a disturbingly convincing Brad Pitt as a mental asylum patient in a decidedly non-pretty-boy role which presaged his success in Fight Club four years later.  You'll probably have to watch this one a few times, and make sure you're sober.  Probably the most philosophical film of the list, dealing with noetics, time travel, memory and future-self causation, this film was way before its time.

And now, the Top Three:
At this point the ranking system begins to break down.  Is it fair to compare the effects in The Matrix to those in T2, seeing as they're separated by almost a decade during a time when special effects were improving at an exponential rate?  I consider the top three films on the list to all be tied for first place.

3. The Matrix - 1999
Let's just point out that I grew up on Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (and Bogus Journey).  This is not the type of role you would have expected from him at the time.  The turn from goofy character actor to deadpan apathetic loner was surprising, even though he seems to have gotten stuck in that role since.

This film made such an impact on the world that it's hard to imagine it was over 12 years ago that it first hit the cinemas and blew us all away.  This was the first time I'd seen Keanu Reeves in a movie since Point Break. Whatever your opinion of the sequels, (I like them, but they don't have near the impact of the first one).  The effects were incredible.  Quickly count up the number of films that have used "bullet time" since 1999.  Yeah, you've probably run out of fingers already.  And The Matrix wasn't the first film to use the effect, being beaten by both Blade and several John Woo movies.  But mention "bullet time(Warner Bros Registered Trademark) and everyone immediately thinks of The Matrix.  That's how big of an impact this film had.  It's cyber punk, it had lots of tight leather (yum), awesome effects, and a kick-ass soundtrack.

2. Jurassic Park - 1993
I have always loved Dinosaurs.  As a kid I collected dinosaur magazines and tried to build those dinosaur models.  It was cool to see dinosaurs portrayed realistically and bloody terrifying on the big screen.  I was always destined to love Jurassic Park.  All that aside, it's a Stephen Spielberg film adapted from a Michael Crichton book... instant points, they're both genius!  The effects might not be perfect today, but I was 14 when this hit the cinemas, and it was EPIC.  I never, ever see a movie in the cinema twice.  I broke my own cardinal rule for this one.  Plus, the guy being eaten on the toilet was awesome, guaranteed laughs. 

1. Terminator 2 - Judgment Day - 1991

I fancied the pants off Edward Furlong, which makes me feel slightly wrong today, but at the time, when I was 12, he was a total BABE.
Moving on: This film breaks the rule that sequels always suck compared to the original. This film trumps the original Terminator in almost every way.
  • Less bad hair/80s clothing, 
  • Faster Pace because there's less exposition needed, they get right into it and start blowing stuff up
  • Being able to root for Arnie this time
  • Fast vehicles 
  • Big explosions

Watching the T-800 obliterate a bunch of cop cars without actually terminating anyone (because John Connor told him not to) was an awesome scene that will stick with me forever, even if John Connor was woefully naive to do so (but hey, it was the 90s, killing people was bad.)  Arnie has the same kill rate in this movie as the entire cast of the A-Team, ever (0).  And yet we love him for it.

T-800: "I swear I will not kill anyone...." (shoots guard in both knees) "He'll live"

Honorable Mentions

Dark City 1998
This film blends neo noir styling with a sci fi plot.  It's difficult to explain without giving away too much, but this film made black trenchcoats cool before The Matrix.  Kiefer Sutherland, John Hurt, Rufus Sewall (lately seen in Pillars of the Earth) and the brilliant Richard O'Brien (Rif-Raf from Rocky Horror Picture Show).

Stargate 1994
The precursor to the series beloved by geeks everywhere, this film plays into the classic trope that Aliens built the pyramids.  Plus it involves space travel without long, boring starship flights.  Despite the presence of James Spader, this one is worth a watch.

Men in Black 1997
With more of a campy, humorous tone than many of the other films on this list, Men in Black is great family fun, and it doesn't take itself too seriously.  It parodies and references many other alien themes, and the combination of wise-cracking Will Smith and stoic Tommy Lee Jones makes this one a winner.

Tank Girl 1995
This little known cult film, based on a British punk comic, is just hilarious and fun.  Don't take it too seriously, and you'll enjoy yourself.  Ice-T as a mutant kangaroo, Lori Petty as the eponymous main character: Wardrobe: A riot grrl version of Madonna, lots of one-liners, and a fully customized riot makes this one a guilty comedy pleasure.