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First Night Design

I’m finally building up my collection of St Patrick’s Day designs.  First up is this humorous take on the ‘Keep Calm’ Ministry of Information posters from WWI, which is also available with a white background.

Below are a couple of my earlier designs.

Take care and keep laughing!


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Wangenheim wrote his final letter on September 19, 1937. ALL IMAGES: © OLIVIER ROLIN/ COUNTERPOINT PRESS.

Wangenheim wrote his final letter on September 19, 1937. ALL IMAGES: © OLIVIER ROLIN/ COUNTERPOINT PRESS.

Imprisoned for “false weather forecasts,” Alexey Wangenheim sent sketches to the family he’d never see again.

via The Poignant Gulag Art by Stalin’s Doomed Meteorologist – Atlas Obscura


Remind me to create something new with these original cigarette cards or, rather, playing cards. They were sold to me as cigarette cards but a recent conversation online and a search to complete the set made me realise they were playing cards!

Take care and keep laughing!





Take care and keep laughing!




Long before there was Paddington Bear, Shaun the Sheep and Peppa Pig, there was Winnie the Pooh. For over 90 years, the bear with very little brain and his friends Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Tigger, Kanga, Roo and Christopher Robin have entertained and enchanted both…

via Exhibition Review: Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic (V&A) | Enough of this Tomfoolery!


St Pancras & Kings Cross, 1956

St Pancras & Kings Cross, 1956

Today I can reveal the three lost murals by East End artist Cecil Osborne (1909-96) which once hung in St Pancras Town Hall in Euston Rd and have recently been rediscovered. Now the owner is seeking a permanent new home for these paintings where they can be seen publicly and I hope…

via Cecil Osborne’s Lost Murals Rediscovered | Spitalfields Life


Goose and Frog’s Easter Journey
The original vintage image advertising Palmer’s Cologne (The Graphics Fairy) is very appealing, but I was compelled to alter it. Of course.

I created a textured background by blending several flower photographs and one ready-made texture from  2 Lil’ Owls.

The egg is taken from a photograph at the…

via First Night Design | Goose and Frog’s Easter Journey | First Night Design


Valentine Blush © First Night Design/Sarah Vernon

I can’t bear it when I have nothing of my own to post because while I love finding other work on art, books, writing or photography to introduce you to, there’s always those niggling thoughts that run: “But you need to be promoting your own work to earn money!” or “Why aren’t you going back to writing your memoirs?” But it’s got to stop, as I’m sure you’ll tell me. Living is more important when push comes to ultimate shove and you’re not the twenty-eight-year-old you feel.

Quentin Crisp NYC 1992 Ross Bennett Lewis

Valentine Blush is new and I had every intention of uploading it to the galleries in time to catch the Valentine market. It didn’t happen and so it’s still not available to buy. I don’t care because I’ve become more embedded in the local community by making some new friends including writer Barbara Jane Mackie whose screenwriter father, Philip Mackie, adapted short stories by Saki in 1962 with a cast that just happened to include my father, Richard Vernon. Some of you might remember Mackie’s later work as he was responsible for the incomparable adaptation of The Naked Civil Servant [1975] with a never-to-be-forgotten performance by the late John Hurt as Quentin Crisp.

Take care and keep laughing!




61tX0YkrlbL._SL500_On the 14th of February 1890, Welsh artist, writer and bohemian party girl Nina Hamnett was born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Her emerging artistic skill helped her escape an unhappy childhood. She moved to London where she studied at Pelham Art School, then the London School of Art and in 1914 she went to Montparnasse, Paris, to study at Marie Wassilieff’s Academy. Her social life and artistic career rapidly took off.

“A natural rebel, with her tall, boyish figure, short hair, unconventional clothes, and flamboyant behaviour, Hamnett rapidly became a well-known bohemian personality. A self-appointed artistic ambassador between London and Paris, friends and mentors included Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Amedeo Modigliani, Walter Sickert, Roger Fry, and Augustus John. She benefited from her first-hand knowledge of the avant-garde in both cities to develop her own individual style and she made a significant contribution to the modern movement in London from about…

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Just add pictures

The Arnolfini Portrait (1434) by Jan Van Eyck (d.1441)Whilst it is the major, blockbuster exhibitions like the current Charles I, King and Collector at the Royal Academy which receive most of the public’s attention, there remains an important role for smaller, focused exhibitions like Reflections, now showing at the National Gallery.

Reflections focuses on the influence of one painting, the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck. Painted in 1434, the picture was acquired by the National Gallery in 1842. It was the first example in the gallery’s collection of early C15 low country painting. And as such it represented a marked contrast from the Southern European Renaissance and Mannerist painting which dominated the collection and were typically seen as the high point of the art of painting.

The Arnolfini Portrait is a very sophisticated painting, highly naturalistic in execution, And with a quality of the detailing, such as the two figures greeting the pair who can only be…

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All images courtesy the Norwegian Folk Museum.

Fredrik Carl Mülertz Størmer is known mostly as an accomplished mathematician and physicist from Norway, but as a side hobby, he was also an amateur photographer, taking to the streets of Oslo with a bulky camera secreted in his clothing to capture candid moments of unsuspecting passersby. Most of his photos were taken in the 1890s while Størmer was a 19-year-old student at the Royal Frederick University using a Stirn Concealed Vest Spy Camera, a secretive camera with a…

via A Norwegian University Student Used a Spy Camera in This Amazing Example of 19th Century Street Photography | Colossal


ruby-3tbagsSome of us may give our used tea bags a second life by squeezing an extra steep out of them, but Ruby Silvious takes things a step further by using the thin paper as a canvas for miniature paintings. Silvious mirrors the simple ritual of tea drinking in quiet paintings that show slices of everyday life, like laundry drying and cats looking out the window.

The artist began her initial…

via Miniature Paintings on Tea Bags by Ruby Silvious | Colossal


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.”  Mark Twain


My fellow blogger, writer Tina Frisco, recently published a moving article — Chronic Illness and Self-Acceptance — about coping with social media when you are beset by bad health, in our case, autoimmune conditions. She put into words many of my feelings and experiences, ones I have wanted to express for months so that you would understand how challenging it is and why my ability to sustain the blogs is peripatetic. Finding the right words was proving impossible so I am grateful to Tina.

“When I visit blogs, my ability to comment depends on my cognitive state at that moment,” Tina tells us. It is exactly the same for me and I’ve been horribly conscious of comments I’ve not made on other people’s blogs or the answers to comments on my blogs that have been impossible for me to dredge up from the brain fog.

“My biggest challenge is keeping up with social media,” writes Tina. “Writing can be accomplished when I’m feeling well enough, but maintaining an online presence can be demanding. I often find myself merely treading water. And when in a flare-up, I feel as if I’m trudging through neck-high water, pushing myself to complete the simplest of tasks.”

My experiences exactly!

I may not have the twenty years that Twain talks about if the latest results from the hospital are to be taken seriously. I question whether they can be regarded as sacrosanct because the news included the withdrawal of a recent diagnosis, namely the Ulcerative Colitis. Whatever is wrong with me (it’s a year and counting since they started to investigate), it ain’t UC. But who knows? That may change back again and it wouldn’t surprise me what with the state of our NHS and the medical staff at whatever level doing the job of four in most cases.

What I can tell you is that they saw, from the various, scans, X-rays and biopsies, something else and that something else has gone from ‘mild’ to ‘severe’. I’ll have to wait about eight weeks to be given a prognosis from the relevant department. I’m not going to go into it because I don’t want to talk about it and would ask you not to question me about it below or in an email. I know you care and I know that your first instinct will be to open your arms and embrace me with love and strength. I thank you for that.  This is not because I’m having trouble and feeling miserable but because I have better things to do with my time! You know me. I keep smiling and I’m rarely bored except by certain people, plays and films. Oh, and golf.

And so forgive me but I really don’t want to be on my deathbed saying, “Why on earth did I spend an unconscionable amount of time visiting, reading, and ‘liking’ those blog posts when I could have written all my books?”

I shall still post any art that I create as well as theatre and history on the other blogs but I will quite understand if you choose not to visit after this.

Have a lovely weekend!

Take care and keep laughing!



mellowplacematsI don’t think I’ve ever sold a set of placemats before so this is rather a treat.

Style: Placemats 20″ x 14″
Complete your dining table setting with custom place mats from Zazzle. These 100% woven cotton place mats are designed to complement any dining room theme.

Dimensions: 20″ x 14″
100% woven cotton
Printed in full color, with vibrant colors designed to pop
Fabric is made from natural fibers, which may result in some slight irregularities
Made in the USA
Dry or spot clean only

via Mellow Oak Placemat |

Take care and keep laughing!



Such fun! Zazzle have started producing candles. What could be better than to show you a candle that matches Spring Passion because you will, of course, be needing candles to go with that exquisite meal you will be conjuring up on Valentine’s Day for the person you adore.

“How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”
[Portia in The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare]

Take care and keep laughing!




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© Sarah Vernon and First Night Design 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Vernon and First Night Design with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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