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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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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!


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

“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!


Photograph © Sarah Vernon. Flowers, 30-08-17. Processed in Topaz Impression with the Impasto filter and painterly touches added in Photoshop.

“I must have flowers, always and always.” Claude Monet

Spring Passion would be suitable for any occasion, not least Valentine’s Day. Sometimes the simplest image is the best.

Lots of other products available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!


I’m considering my version of ‘Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell’, as printed in The Spectator when the late journalist had been rather too drunk or hung over to write his Low Life column. Mine will have to be shorthand for truly being unwell rather than drunk (I say this while slurping a Bailey’s at ten past midnight)! In the meantime, nothing new has been diagnosed and no new art created to display. This is one from the past that I’m very fond of.

First Night Design

Garlic is for Heroes © First Night DesignGarlic is for Heroes © First Night Design

‘What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art.’
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, American sculptor [1848-1907]

It was seeing this quote in an iPhone app that inspired Garlic is for Heroes, which I created with a photograph from Wikimedia and a texture overlay from, yes, 2 Lil’ Owls. It was an interesting reversal of my usual method where a visual idea comes first. I was so taken with the quote, I had to do something with garlic!

Augustus Saint-Gaudens.jpg
Augustus Saint-Gaudens by De Witt C. Ward via Wikimedia Commons.

Saint-Gaudens, of whom I had not previously heard, was a sculptor of the Beaux-Arts generation who is said to have embodied the ideals of the ‘American Renaissance’. Wikipedia

I have taken my title from another quote, this time one by our old friend Anonymous who once said, “Shallots are for babies; onions are for men; garlic is for heroes.”

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Health update: Nothing new diagnosed.
Art update: Nothing new created.

But I sold one of these cushions!

Size: Throw Pillow 16″ x 16″
Accent your home with custom pillows from Zazzle and make yourself the envy of the neighborhood. Made from high-quality Simplex knit fabric, these 100% polyester pillows are soft and wrinkle-free. The heavyweight stretch material provides beautiful color definition for your design while also being the perfect complement to your couch!

Dimensions: 16″ x 16″ (square)
Simplex knit fabric; 100% polyester; wrinkle-free
Hidden zipper enclosure; synthetic-filled insert included
Machine washable

via Burlap Simple Dark Green Throw Pillow |

All I can say is that I’m very glad I can earn even when I’m in hospital, as I was again just before Christmas. No, don’t ask — I’m too bored with answering!

I hope you’ve had a glorious festive Christmas and will have a splendid New Year!

Source: At the Circus Poster | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!


‘Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.’ Khalil Gibran

I took this view from one of my favourite vantage points in Bembridge before I went into hospital on the August Bank Holiday. I used a Chiaroscuro effect in Topaz Impression before processing in Photoshop by adding a Cheryl Tarrant texture in Multiply mode.

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!


I’m back. I’m rested but a little hysterical since I have had two more conditions diagnosed; one requires surgery, the other is a second incurable autoimmune condition for which the only treatment will be medication, which might or might not make a difference. You couldn’t make it up!

This is one of my very early abstracts created out of some flower and leaf photographs.

via In the Garden Where the Faeries Go Mouse Pad |

Alice in Wonderland: Alice and the Flamingo Postcard |

To illustrate my Alice card, the following is a very satisfying interpretation, written by Gigi at Rethinking Life, of what Alice in Wonderland is really about.

Alice didn’t fall down the Rabbit Hole, she bloody well jumped.  She was tired of her pre-planned life and wasn’t looking forward to marriage and the rigid rules that went with it.  She ran after the rabbit, curious and terrified that she would lose sight of him and be forced to stay where she was.  She saw him jump and she dove in head first after him.  Because she was willing to risk everything, she drank, shrunk, grew, found a new world, went to a fabulous tea party, met a crazed hat maker, a door mouse and enjoyed herself immensely.

She got to see an amazing cat, one who could disappear but leave his smile behind, a drug-addicted caterpillar and twin boys named Tweedle who were strange, to say the least.  She got to hold a flamingo. She saw huge, brightly colored,  flora, fauna and she learned that everything she saw could not be trusted to be real.  She saw the Queen of Hearts and ate a tart.  She saw that life didn’t have to be dull and boring, it could be so much more. She didn’t have to to get married, live in a house and do as she was told.  She realized that she could be free to explore everything. Even the Jabberwocky was interesting.   The biggest thing she learned was that she had the courage to take whatever risks came her way.  She was brave and wild.  She wasn’t cut out for a ‘normal’ life, she was meant for something different…she wasn’t going to settle, she was going to fly.  And that is the true meaning of the Rabbit Hole. Source: Alice.. | Rethinking Life

Take care and keep laughing!


Health update: You may be aware that I spent two weeks in hospital with severe gastroenteritis followed by hospital-acquired pneumonia. It’s a wonderful life! I’m still not up to writing anything substantial, I’m afraid, so here’s another sale.

Paper Type: Poster Paper (Semi-Gloss)

Your walls are a reflection of your personality. So let them speak with your favorite quotes, art, or designs printed on our posters! Choose from up to 5 unique paper types and several sizes to create art that’s a perfect representation of you.

  • 53 lb., 7.9 point thick poster paper
  • Recommended for large-format posters
  • Semi-gloss finish
  • More paper types available under “Paper Options”
  • Add a premium quality frame as an essential accessory

Source: The Chinese Vase Poster | Zazzle


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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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