The Lost Art of the New Year’s Card

A hundred years ago and more, people sent each other cards wishing good fortune and prosperity in the coming new year. Often these cards were postcards, and contained various elements meant to represent luck and wealth. Commonly used items include: four leafed clovers or shamrocks; bags of money; ladybugs; red-spotted mushrooms (Amanita muscaria); angels, fairies, or gnomes; pigs; and of course, champagne.

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A New Year’s Day card originally published in Belgium, from which I have made a reproduction card

In the US we seem to have lost the habit of sending cards for New Year’s Day, but those in Europe continue to do so. My cousin C., who spent part of his childhood in France and who travels there as often as he can, has a whole group of friends to whom he sends cards for New Year’s.

The French, in particular are still fond of sending cards for New Year’s Day, and many of the vintage postcards I have in my collection are from France, although the Scandinavian countries come a close second behind the French in this regard.

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A dual-purpose card by Einar Nerman, of Sweden, circa the ’20s.

Often cards from Sweden or Denmark are combination Christmas and New Year’s Day cards. They are the ones most likely to have pigs in them, for some reason it seems a popular tradition.

The Victorian English had their New Year’s cards too, and they were often some of the oddest. Several bloggers have posted about them, and are well worth the reading and viewing. Margaret Buffie has a wonderful collection of them on her blog (mostly Christmas, but some dual holiday.) She and I have several of the same cards in our collections.

One of my personal favorites in the whimsical/odd categories is this one, with a group of owls wishing us the compliments of the season as they dance under a full moon, accompanied by a frog footman who is carrying a roast mouse for their holiday supper.

WMNew Year Owls 200

There really seems no end to the wonderful images that are found on vintage New Year’s cards, and I hope to expand my offerings of reproduction cards for that holiday soon. For those of you who still send cards for holidays, (or enjoy them as prints and other items), do stop by and check out my Etsy store, where I have hundreds of wonderful reproductions of vintage images available.

Fun With Stickers!

My mom and her sister have always collected stickers, along with greeting cards (and other things, of course.)

Recently I’ve branched out into creating stickers with the vintage images I use in my Etsy store, and I’m having so much fun with it!

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It took a while to get the right sticker stock, and program to make them. Usually I use InDesign, but this time went with a program by Avery, who makes the sticker stock I’m using.

Right now I’m staying with a simple 1.5″ round sticker for my designs, but at some point might branch out to do kiss-cut stickers, which will require the purchase of something like a Cricut machine. I need to evaluate how they do in my market before making that leap.

But for now, I’m really enjoying the process of putting my images on sticker stock, and the only problem is deciding which ones to do first!

Valentine’s Day Cards – Show Your Love!

Last year my Aunt D (my biggest fan and supporter) grumbled that I didn’t have enough depth and breadth in my Valentine’s Day cards in my Etsy shop. So for about the past month I’ve been working hard to get some new items in there for her to buy.

Greeting Card from Vintage PostcardOne of my favorites is a card I made from a vintage French real photo postcard. It shows a studio shot of a little girl posed as if she’s sitting in a chimney on a rooftop during a snowstorm. The photographer dressed her in a set of adorable wings, and then after printing the photo, hand colored it to add bits of gold and color to her outfit. As an image I find it simply wonderful, especially with the expression on her face.

1920s Owl Card

My Aunt D is also very fond of Valentines from the 1920s or so, and I’ve been working on some of those for her as well. As I went through my collection of same, I found one that had been my mom’s before she died, and which was clearly intended for my aunt and uncle (they all share a love of owls, long family story.) So I cleaned it up in Photoshop and listed it as a card for her, so cute!

I hope you’ll all send your loved ones a real paper card for Valentine’s Day. Email cards are all very well and good, but nothing shows your love like a real card, hand inscribed, and dropped in the mail. See my store for lots more cards for Valentine’s Day and any other reason you can think of!

Margaret Tarrant Fairies

I’ve added some adorable cards and fabric blocks to my Etsy stores by artist Margaret Tarrant this week. She was a wonderful illustrator who is most well-known for her Flower Fairies, but she also did a whole series of fairy books, including Forest Fairies, House Fairies, and Seashore Fairies.

The items I added this week are from the Forest Fairies book, and include two images with fairies and mushrooms. The first shows a Forest Fairy holding an elf cup mushroom up to a small spider, offering it a drink.WP Elf Cup 1b

The second shows a pair of Forest Fairies and two Elves who are painting a large red mushroom. One of the elves is taking a nap, and is getting paint dripped on him!

WP Paint Pots 1b

Both of these can be seen as greeting cards in my Etsy store KatyDids Cards, and as fabric blocks in my Etsy store KatyDids Fabrics.

I look forward to adding more of Tarrant’s work to my stores soon, be sure to stop by and check for them.

Rackham in Wonderland

Over about the past year or so in my Etsy shops, I’ve expanded my reach a bit from reproductions of the original postcards and Victorian trade cards I was using, and am now including items made from vintage book illustrations from the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Of course I’m including some of the classics: Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Charles Robinson and the like, as well as some lesser-known artists including Félix Lorioux, Milo Winter, and Willy Pogany. 

Lately I’ve been focusing on Rackham. Ever since childhood I’ve been a fan of Rackham’s illustrations, due to the collection of antique books my parents had. One of my favorites was the Alice in Wonderland book, for which he did the illustrations in 1907. So for the past several weeks I’ve been working on a suite of Wonderland cards and fabric blocks in my Etsy stores. 

His work is so distinctive, and will always be the Alice I see in my mind when I think of her:

The Mad Hatter's Tea PartyAlthough I’ve loved the various Alice movies over the years (and especially liked Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter), Rackham’s rendering of Wonderland will always be my favorite.

Stop by my Etsy card store, KatyDids Cards or fabric shop KatyDids Fabrics to see more Rackham Alice in Wonderland items I have available. 

Facebook and Privacy Issues with Images

I had a disturbing incident this past weekend with a picture I uploaded to my Facebook account, and it took me a full day to determine exactly what had happened.

Now, bear in mind, I have my privacy settings set up very stringently, so that only my Friends can see my posts, and I have to approve things in which I am tagged, and so on.

So it was very troubling to have a notification pop up telling me that someone I didn’t even know was able to Share one of my pictures.

Beg pardon?

Here’s how it went, (which took me a while to figure out): I uploaded a picture which I used as my profile pic. One of my Friends saw it as it came across her News Feed, and clicked on the Like button. Once she did that, one of her Friends was able to see my picture on her Timeline. Which then allowed her Friend, who was not Friends with me, to Share my picture, despite me having all my privacy settings set to the most stringent of standards.

I cry Bullshit on that, big time Facebook.

What if that were a photo of one of my children? And what if one of my relatives Liked it, and one of their Friends Shared it, and off it went around Facebook world. I give no one I don’t know permission to Share my photos, I most assuredly do not.

I am, among other things, a professional photographer, and someone whose business relies on the images I use. I have hundreds of photos and pictures uploaded to my Facebook account. And if Facebook thinks that they can allow just anyone to Share my images willy-nilly, well, then I will be removing all my images from their website soonest.

I seem to recall a recent kerfuffle with Instagram, where imprecise language in their Terms Of Service had everyone upset, as it seemed as if Instagram was saying we no longer owned our images. And now, here’s this sneaky thing that Facebook is doing, allowing any Tom, Dick, or Harry to Share our images without so much as a by your leave.

I don’t know if this is a bug, or an undisclosed “feature”, but either way, it would seem to me to be a very simple thing for the programmers at Facebook to implement a simple checkbox that one had to select when one was uploading a photo that said “Do you wish to allow other users to be able to Share your photo, yes or no?” which would let us decide if we wanted to let folks Share funny meme pics (which no doubt we would), or pictures of our babbies (which no doubt we wouldn’t) and other things.

I know I want a choice. And until such time as Facebook gives me one, I’ll be seriously considering taking all my hundreds of pictures and photos off their site.

I have several friends who are serious photographers, some of whom make their living with their photography, who may not be aware of this bug/feature, and I’ll be alerting them to this issue. As well, I’ll be letting others know, in the hopes that I can get this issue some traction/publicity, and perhaps some changes will be made to make this go away. But for now folks, you need to know that whatever images you upload to Facebook can be Shared by anyone who is a Friend of any of your Friends, just with a simple click of the Like button.

It really shouldn’t have to be so complicated. And it should be fixed, asap.

Edited to add – I posted about this on Facebook, and someone replied to me with this: “I spoke to someone who works at Facebook, and this is how he explained the picture problem: There’s a difference between profile pictures and Photo Album pictures. All Profile pictures have a privacy setting of “public”, to help people find each other on FB. Pictures in Photo Albums can have the privacy settings you want. But —you can go to the photo of yours that someone has re-shared and ask them to take it down — there’s a button/selector on the photo that will do this.”

My response to that is, well, I don’t give a damn if Facebook wants people to be able to find me using my Profile pictures, I don’t want them to have a privacy setting of “public.” They are still my photos, and in most cases I still retain copyright to them. I don’t want to have to ask someone to take my photos down, and in that instance, pay a dollar in order to send the message to their regular mailbox to do so (rather than have it sent to the wasteland that is the “Other” mailbox, which most people don’t even know exists.)

Bottom line Facebook, you do not get to choose which photos of mine are to be made public, I do. They are my photos. And I will be systematically removing all my photos from my Profile picture folder that are anything other than silly or memes or paintings I like by famous artists.

This also begs the question of whether or not facial recognition software is being put into play here. Isn’t that a paranoid thing to think about, eh? But just because we’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get us…

The Horsey Set

Tonight my husband and I are attending a meeting at the Kentucky Horse Council, so I’ve been working pulling together a group of horse themed greeting cards to donate to the door prizes. One of my favorites of these is a lovely card by artist Aleardo Terzi, from a vintage postcard, circa 1918. In it we can see a young woman holding the bridle of a white horse. It’s available as a card, print, bookplate, or fabric block in my Etsy store now:
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