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Originally posted on First Night Design in 2013.

The origin of this image is unknown, which suggests it is rare.  At a guess, it dates from the late 1910s or early 1920s and was possibly the cover of a ballet and theatre periodical.  It is an image I fell in love with  a couple of years ago when I was exploring Vintage Art Download, an exquisite site full of vintage images — some very rare — offered for sale by Mindy Sommers of Color Bakery.


Click here for all other products with this image.

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via Just Because I Love this Cushion | First Night Design.

One from the archive. Happy Saturday!

First Night Design

Photography Prints

‘Your work is visually stimulating and quite unique, Sarah. Beautiful!’

I was so overwhelmed by this comment made by artist David Bowman on my digital art piece, Walking the Dogs, that I had to share it.

Thank you, David.  You have made my day!  Below is a taster of David’s photography, which is exquisite.

Photography Prints

Take care and keep laughing!


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One from the archives.

First Night Design

Photography Prints

Today I’m sharing one of my artworks that has become popular on Pinterest.  The word is spreading!  I suspect that Pinterest might ultimately become the marketing choice above all else.

Unicorn Fresco is an early effort with Photoshop. Starting with a stencilled drawing, I used several of my own textures and handwriting, as well as various Photoshop brushes, to give the impression of a fresco that has not stood the test of time and has been used as an outlet for graffiti, albeit of a decorative nature! I was inspired by a Staffordshire Pottery unicorn which belonged to my mother.

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Did you know that the British Library has released a million images into the public domain? No, nor did I until I was checking their feed on my Facebook timeline just now. I was already following their stream on Flickr but had not realised that I could use the images.  It feels like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one delicious package!

I downloaded this vintage valentine.

I restored and enhanced the original image before framing it with a sumptuous texture from 2 ‘Lil Owls, part of a set sold by Design Cuts that was on special deal last week. I adjusted the texture to a deeper red, more reminiscent of theatre curtains or tabs to tone it in with the swag in the original illustration.

For more information, this is the blurb on the British Library website:

We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain.

The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of. Read more…

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I adore paper. I love the feel of it and the smell of it. Handmade or manufactured, paper in all its forms spells infinite magic.  It can be a book, a notepad, a sculpture.  It can be a print or a collage, labels or  craft paper, train tickets, paint sample strips, bookmarks or cardboard; even scrapbook  and school rough book paper give me the same emotions. Not loo paper, mind you, even if it does have a crossword printed on it or an insipid ‘pretty’ pattern.

If the paper is already marked in some form, whether with words or pictures or both, it’s the pleasure of looking and reading.  If the paper is blank, it’s the joy of creating something special.  Sadly, my days of scissors and paste are long since over (that pesky disability again) or I would be creating marvels in papier-mâché, or so I like to think. The last time I mentioned this, it was to write about the talented artists who craft everything from greeting cards to dolls houses. I designed a card and fully intended to cut it out and stick it together.  I lie. I was going to get Mr FND to do all the physical work.  Ultimately, it went by the wayside and became a digitally designed image only because I broke my hip. You can see it here.

In any event, Zazzle has just introduced what they call pocket journals.  The word ‘journal’ is a misnomer as I doubt they would serve as a repository for much scribbling.

Present Abstract Journal

Ballet and Theatre
Ballet and Theatre by FirstNightDesign
Shop for another bound journal online at

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Writer and Theatre Maker Stella Duffy makes very pertinent points in her post about the assumption that a paid piece of art has more ‘worth’ than one that is not. This and every other aspect she addresses is worth shouting about from the rooftops.

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Not Writing But Blogging

There’s been tons of attention for Bryony Kimmings’ You Show Me Yours blog, and hopefully there will be the same for Daniel Bye’s not-unrelated blog.

Not surprisingly I have some thought on this. Here they are, in no particular order :

I didn’t come into the arts to make money. I came into the arts to change the world.
I was 20 at the time, or maybe 18 (assuming the theatre I made while still studying counts), I was young, I forgive my young self that arrogance, the arrogance that believed that I – simply by my choice to make a difference – WOULD make a difference. I wasn’t totally wrong, but what I know now is that I have to make this difference with others. I have to make this difference with and for others. And sometimes the difference I want to make isn’t one that others…

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St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writin...

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writing: Sandro Botticelli’s St. Augustine in His Cell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I began writing Comfort in a Cotton Frock on 1st November for #NaNoWriMo in a burst of energy and determination. I already knew I was a Nano Rebel since I was  writing a memoir and not a novel but the challenge was just the kick in the butt I needed: 50,000 words in 30 days.  I suspected, and these suspicions were soon confirmed, that life would get in the way as it has done all my life.  And not just life but LIFE, situations that required major input to seek solutions and avoid disasters, as well as a great deal of love and support from friends. After three days of writing, my circumstances became so acute that I could not continue writing.

Yes, I have been able to add blog posts about my art because that has not required the same kind of energy and concentration as my writing. In the gaps I have re-blogged some marvellous posts by other artists and writers and what a boon that facility has been.

My LIFE is still requiring a deal of energy and the stress is all-encompassing but when it has passed, and it will, I shall continue writing until I have finished, whether it’s 50,000 words or more.

In the meantime, I hope that any of you reading this who have also taken part in the challenge are happy with what you have achieved. I’d say everyone is a winner, not just those who managed 50,000 words before the deadline.

Comfort in a Cotton Frock Day 1
Comfort in a Cotton Frock Day 2
Comfort in a Cotton Frock Day 3

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Re-Blogged from A Small Press Life

Dans la Bibliothèque by Auguste Toulmouche, 1872

Books in Art: Dans la Bibliothèque by Auguste Toulmouche

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© Stephen A. Wolfe with CCLicense

Reblogged from Synkroniciti

The fog was where I wanted to be. Halfway down the path you can’t see this house. You’d never know it was here. Or any of the other places down the avenue. I couldn’t see but a few feet ahead. I didn’t meet a soul. Everything looked and sounded unreal. Nothing was what it is. That’s what I wanted—to be alone with myself in another world where truth is untrue and life can hide from itself…

Read more…

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Vintage Actresses Calendar 2014 Vintage Actresses Calendar 2014

Vintage Actors Calendar 2014 Vintage Actors Calendar 2014

Vintage Song Girls Calendar 2014 (US & Canada) Vintage Song Girls Calendar 2014

Calendars for 2014

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