A simple design but mine own! It started life in the ’90s as a handmade card at a time when such a thing was still possible for me. I’m very fond of its simplicity.

O Little Town of Bethlehem Stamp
Stamps @ Zazzle

O Little Town of Bethlehem
Envelopes @ Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!


Take care and keep laughing!


Stay, little cheerful Robin!
Stay, little cheerful Robin Throw Pillows (US)

30% off all pillows + 20% off everything else @ Zazzle US or @ Zazzle UK

Stay, little cheerful Robin!
Stay, little cheerful Robin Pillows! (UK)

Take care and keep laughing!


I recently sold a couple of Birdcage Blossom postcards. Which was nice! And I thought I’d show you some of the other products with the design as suggestions for Christmas.

Birdcage Blossom 
Birdcage Blossom Hip Flasks

Birdcage Blossom
Birdcage Blossom Wrapping Paper

Take care and keep laughing!


First Night Design:

Special thanks are due to Sally of Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life. Sally has been an incredible supporter of my work this year and deserves innumerable gold stars!

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

Buying a gift for Christmas for those we love can become more difficult the older we get. We probably have enough ornaments to dust, soap and socks. Finding something that is a little more inventive can be tough but if you enter Sarah Vernon’s online shopping sites there is no problem at all in finding just the right piece to delight everyone on your present list.


An actress for over 30 years on screen and stage, Sarah Vernon is also a very talented artist and writer. As a blogger Sarah has delighted with her websites including Rogues&Vagabonds founded in 2001, provided a wonderful look behind the scenes of British Theatre and from time to time further afield with some additional features on television and the big screen.

For those of us lucky enough to have discovered her blog and websites, we have been treated to her original and elegant First…

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Loss by Wendy Cope

The day he moved out was terrible –
That evening she went through hell.
His absence wasn’t a problem
But the corkscrew had gone as well.

from Serious Concerns pub. 1993

Take care and keep laughing!


Michael Rosen, Writer

This article by the British children’s author, Michael Rosen, is marginally off-topic but I believe it should be read by everyone in light of what’s happening in the UK and around the planet. If I’m reading it correctly, it’s a ‘call-to-arms’ for us to think in different ways about the world around us in the hope that we can change the limiting structures and hierarchies that have been in place for centuries, and by doing so, enable better, happier and more satisfying lives for every person. Something has to give, that’s for sure, or we will be wedged forever in a universe where the poor become poorer and the rich richer, surrounded by a landscape devoid of meaningful culture.

Incidentally, if you haven’t already read and shared Michael Rosen’s books with  your children, you’re missing a trick. My favourite is You’re Thinking About Doughnuts.

1. In the place that gets called ‘left-of-Labour’ or the ‘radical left’ or the ‘alternative left’, there have been all sorts of shifts and realignments. This is not as new as it looks. They happen all the time. The big ones happen when the most vociferous, most successful of the groupings goes through a crisis.

2. The real crisis for the ‘radical left’ is that we have failed to dent the politicians-media agreement about how to present the economic crisis. This agreement runs something like this: some bankers did some silly things…the result was a lot of debt and a credit squeeze…Labour did some silly things…the only way out of it is for government to spend less…this means that we must all agree that to save our skins, we must cut public spending…and we must freeze or cut wages…the only people who can be trusted to do this are the Tories.

3. We know that this is a hoax. Even quite right-wing politicians like Alan Johnson call it a ‘fat lie’. In fact, there are several lies. The bankers (and all the other financiers) weren’t just naughty. They smashed up big sections of the system that enables capitalism to operate. Through our governments’  actions all over the world, we have been taxed to keep that system solvent. Through our governments’ actions we have lost large sections of our welfare, education and cultural institutions – hospitals, schools, social services, benefits. Through our governments’ actions, people’s wages have been cut and/or people put out of work.

4. While this has been going on, the super-rich, the hyper-rich have got richer. The main reason why they have got richer is because the ‘cost’ of employing people has gone down. I say ‘cost’ in inverted commas, because it’s only a ‘cost’ from the point of view of those who employ. For everyone else it’s their ‘income’ or ‘spending power’. People don’t see themselves as a ‘cost’ nor should they!

5. So, ‘austerity’ is in fact, a realignment, a shuffling. It’s the means by which the poor stay poor (or are made poorer) and the rich to stay rich (or get richer). It’s nothing to do with the money that Labour did or did not borrow during its time in power. It’s entirely to do with the decisions that are made by financiers, finance ministers and giant corporations. Having taken risks that failed (on a massive scale, involving all sorts of gigantic fiddles and cons), they are trying to claw back solvency through making the mass of people work for less money and have much less by way of public services and benefits.

6. The ‘radical left’ has been saying this throughout the time of the crisis. However, we haven’t dented the consensus. This argument is hardly ever heard. Or, when it’s heard, very little happens. There are of course sporadic and brave efforts by people to defend jobs, wages and services. But, if we are ruthless and honest with ourselves, what has happened is that this hasn’t spread far and wide. It hasn’t become ‘generalised’, as the jargon has it.

7. And, just as importantly, it hasn’t enabled us all to see clearly that ‘wealth’ isn’t really what turns up in the figures on bankers’ computer screens. It isn’t even really ‘money’. Wealth is what we make and do with our minds and bodies. We work in places made with the past effort of the minds and bodies of our forbears. All the machines and infrastructure that enable goods and services to be produced and pass between us are made through…

Take care and keep laughing!


Magda and Joseph Goebbels with children, Photo Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1987-0724-503 / CC-BY-SA

On the 29th of October 1897,  Joseph Goebbels was born in Rheydt, Germany. He was one of the closest associates of Adolf Hitler and a zealously devoted propagandist of National Socialism in Nazi Germany. Between 1933 and 1945 he held the position of Reich Minister of Propaganda and contributed significantly to the initial success of the Nazi Party.

Goebbels was a weak and frail child. Suffering from many illnesses he eventually ended up with one of his feet paralyzed. This experience had a big impact on young Joseph and contributed to developing a rather introverted nature. In his diaries he recalls his childhood as painful and solitary. His inner need to be heard and seen would later manifest itself in great speeches, which in their oratorical skill and theatricality were not far from those of Hitler himself. Before entering the path of political activism, Goebbels went on to study literature and philosophy and writing a doctoral thesis on a 19th century romantic dramatist, Wilhelm von Schultz. His major ambition, though, was to become a writer. At the beginning of the 1920s, in his semi-autobiographical novel Michael, he wrote: “A statesman is also an artist. For him, the people is merely what stone is for a sculptor. The Führer with the masses poses no more of a problem than does a painter with colour”. Even though his literary career went astray, these words became…

via Goebbels, Reich and Art | A R T L▼R K.

Created with a vintage lady from The Graphics Fairy and overlays from my texture collection.

Dance, Little Lady

‘Tho’ you’re only seventeen,
Far too much of life you’ve seen,
Syncopated child.
Maybe if you only knew
Where your path is leading to
You’d become less wild
But I know it’s vain
Trying to explain
While there’s this insane
Music in your brain

Dance, dance, dance little lady
Youth is pleasing to the rhythm
Beating in your mind
Dance, dance, dance little lady
So obsessed with second best
No rest you’ll ever find
Time and tide and trouble
Never, never wait
Let the cauldron bubble
Justify your fate
Dance, dance, dance little lady
Dance, dance, dance little lady
Leave tomorrow behind.

Time and tide and trouble
Never, never wait
Let the cauldron bubble
Justify your fate
Dance, dance, dance little lady
Dance, dance, dance little lady
Leave tomorrow behind.

—Noël Coward, from This Year of Grace, his musical revue from 1928. And below is the man himself singing the number.

Available to buy @
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!


First Night Design:

A moving poem for Remembrance Day by Seumas Gallacher published on my history blog.

Originally posted on First Night History:

Tell Me, John, Let Me Hear it Once

by Seumas Gallacher

Tell me, John, let me hear it once

From beyond the grave wherein you lie.

Tell me once, that I may know

Why the Hell did you have to die?

Now that I myself am growing old

As you were not allowed to do,

When your country went to War,

Killing them, and us, and you.

Is Humanity so bereft

Of sense and sensibility?

That murder dressed as War

Is the tip of Man’s ability?

Yes, my dear, I understand

There’s times to right the wrong

When Nation pits at Nation

To prove which one is strong.

But feel each mother’s loss

The angst, the grief, the pain

It’s no use telling them,

‘Let them not have died in vain’.

For every priceless child that’s gone,

Every precious…

View original 86 more words

Originally posted on MY LAST POST:

Part one

artistpaintingamusiciangerardMarguerite Gérard, Artist Painting a Portrait of a Musician, c. 1803. Oil on panel.
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg. Image source: WGA

One autumn long ago, while Britain was at war with France, and the people at home were rejoicing at the Royal Navy’s victory under Nelson at the Battle of the Nile that stopped Napoleon from conquering the Middle East as he had done mainland Europe, while Irish rebels were fighting their English oppressors with the help of the French, while Jenner’s findings on vaccination against the mass killer small-pox were newly in print, while Haydn completed Die Schöpfung, inspired by hearing Handel’s oratorio’s in England, and Beethoven, gripped by fears of deafness, composed his ‘Pathétique’ Piano Sonata, while readers were being introduced to a new kind of poetry in Coleridge and Wordsworth’s collection of Lyrical Ballads, and to a new kind of…

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First Night Design:

Thank you, Cynthia, for including my work. It was a lovely surprise.

Originally posted on Cynthia Reyes:

My blogging community is brimming with ultra-creative people.

They’re remarkable. They make beautiful things with their hands, hearts and minds.

Or support projects that help talented artisans to make a living.

Blog Photo - Lotus Wonders Clutch

So today I’m celebrating these creative types and highlighting some of their products/projects that would make great gifts for loved ones.

  1. LOTUS WONDERS, made by women in a Cambodian village, in partnership with other women in Canada.  Order products and read their story at: http://www.lotuswonders.com/collections/all

Blog Photo - Great Gifts Lotus Wonders Products

Thanks to consultant Stephanie MacKendrick,  former head of Canadian Women in Communications, for bringing Lotus Wonders to my attention.

   2. MICHAEL’S WOODCRAFT. Michael lives on a mountainside in S. Carolina. He carefully chooses the wood and makes each beautiful object himself: cutting boards, ice cream scoops, and other useful items.  

Blog Photo - Great Gifts Michaels birdseye-maple-cheese-boardgif

 Visit his blog and online shop at:  http://michaelswoodcraft.wordpress.com/shop/

Blog Photo - Great Gifts Michaels wood-cheese-boards

 3. JEAN LONG AND JESSICA CHARNOCK’S CREATIONS.  In their gorgeous log cabin east…

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Captain Noman Austin Taylor © Sarah Vernon

‘Five foot ten of a beautiful young Englishman under French soil. Never a joke, never a look, never a word more to add to my store of memories. The book is shut up forever and as the years pass I shall remember less and less, till he becomes a vague personality; a stereotyped photograph.’

Read more: Great Uncle Norman: ‘shot by a single sniper’ | First Night Design.

“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out-of-doors by somebody I do not know.”
― John Keats

Let joy be unconfined! I have sold a cushion at Redbubble with the Vins Spiritueux design. Do you want to see the tote bag as well? Oh, well, if you insist!


“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”
― W.C. Fields

Design available to buy @

Fine Art America
Fine Art England

Take care and keep laughing!


This is a digital collage from 2012 in which I used a vintage theatre poster for the musical comedy The Earl and the Girl as my starting point and layered it with several pieces of ephemera in my theatre collection, including a black & white postcard of the actor-manager Sir Seymour Hicks.

The above is not the postcard I used but another one for sale at my First Night Vintage store on Zazzle. Why? Because I don’t seem to have uploaded the other one for sale!

The Earl and the Girl was produced by William Greet and first staged in 1903 at the Adelphi Theatre, London, before transferring to the Lyric Theatre in 1904. The show was also produced on Broadway in 1905 with Eddie Foy in the lead. The book was by Hicks, with music by Ivan Caryll and lyrics by Percy Greenbank.

Available to buy @
Fine Art America
Fine Art England

Take care and keep laughing!


Award-Free Blog


Sarah Vernon

Sarah Vernon

Artist, Actress, Writer

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