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A big Christmas thank you to Carolina of Yesterday After for featuring First Night Design. This is a lovely and unexpected Christmas present!
And today FEATURED is…. Sarah Vernon  she would be on my sidebar widget for this week!

I always love to Meet and Greet new Artists sharing their work of art and their beautiful words!

It is getting very difficult every week to choose just one of you! But I am doing it from over 40 weeks! When I made my first Feature post I was thinking to do this only “Once a month”, and since that first time I did this every single weekend!

Note: I just want you to know that I don’t pick random Blogs to Feature here, when I do my pick I am looking at specific things that I admire and are Inspiring and motivational to me and…

Source: And FEATURED is…. | YesterdayAfter

The inestimable Sally Cronin has made three people, including me, very happy this weekend by having us for Saturday morning coffee and praising us to the hilt. Much thanks, dear Sally.

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!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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…

View original post 198 more words

When I prepared this post last night, the title of the artwork was Marmalade Peacock. Marmalade Peacock? It’s the first phrase that came to mind because of the background. And I’m thinking Frank Cooper’s Original Oxford Coarse Marmalade! It was my father’s favourite but what he didn’t realise was that my mother used to get a cheaper equivalent and transfer it into a Cooper’s jar. Of course.

When I woke up this morning, a song from Sandy Wilson’s musical, Valmouth, sung by Cleo Laine, was playing on an endless loop in my head and I knew I would change the title to The Cry of the Peacock. Valmouth was based on Valmouth and Other Stories by Ronald Firbank, which was about an imaginary spa resort frequented by those of a certain age. It was not well-received with ‘reactions ranging from outrage to derision’ when it opened in Liverpool in 1958. This was doubtless because the satire covered subjects like homosexual as well as heterosexual love and sex, not to mention religion. Nevertheless, it did transfer to London with loud murmurings about what the Lord Chamberlain was doing giving it a licence.

Valmouth and Other Stories by Ronald Firbank

I was far too young to see it at the time but I was brought up on the music, which I love. It was revived at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2000, a production that included one original cast member, Fenella Fielding. In the original, Fielding and Laine had starred alongside the likes of Doris Hare, Peter Gilmore and Aubrey Woods. The All Music website describes it as ahead of its time and prefiguring the work of Stephen Sondheim and I agree there are similarities.

In terms of creation, I blended the handwritten document from my Mallards and Swan Collage with a friend’s photo of a Sri Lankan cave painting. The peacock, which long-term visitors will know I’ve used before, is from The Graphics Fairy.

Photography Prints

Sadly, YouTube does not have the great Cleo Laine singing Cry of the Peacock so here she is singing another number from Valmouth called Big Best Shoes.

Take care and keep laughing!


From the archive.

First Night Design

Ever since I set up my wares online I have been delighted, surprised and enchanted by the treasury of fellow artists.  There is so much talent out there to be discovered and who would know when relying only on traditional art galleries or high street greeting card shops?  There are one or two galleries in my local area and I almost never see work that appeals to me.  Today’s post, then, is my tribute to the artists on Zazzle and RedBubble that I have discovered whose work has inspired me and whose comments have encouraged my own endeavours.
Susan Payne-Trutna is a traditional artist from California who works mostly in oils, although the example I have chosen is actually beautifully executed in charcoal.
Mindy Somers runs Color Bakery, an outlet selling art on high-end…

View original post 347 more words

Thank you to each of you for your marvellous support throughout 2013.  The journey would not have been half as much fun without it.  I hope you have a wonderful New Year and a fabulous 2014!

First Night Design 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,400 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report

Take care and keep laughing!


I have yet to find exactly the right words to describe how I feel when someone likes my work. As for when they like it enough to blog about it, I’m almost speechless, which is rare!  Cassie Peters of Angel and Spot has done just that on her blog, A Day in the Life of Angel and Spot.  You are an angel in disguise, Cassie.

Today’s Store Showcase

Today I will share a few products from First Night Design.  This store is not mine but belongs to a friend of mine that I met through Zazzle.  There are so many beautiful products to choose from in this store that it is going to be difficult to select just a few of them to show you in this blog posting.

Read more

Cassie has some rather delicious designs of her own at Zazzle, including the pretty collage below, and several different stores. I recommend a visit.  Look out for her enchanting Iowa barns of which I’m particularly fond.

Take care and keep laughing!


Here is a last-minute plug for my favourite Christmas design, one that I created this time last year when I was laid up in bed waiting for that dratted hip replacement operation and needed a laugh.  Here it is on a coffee mug.  The mug is a little too big for a stocking filler but makes a good present for someone in your circle.  Mind you, you could always try using a very, very big sock and stuff the mug into the toe!  Then again…

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Take care and keep laughing!



I’m delighted that from 7th August until 3rd September there will be five of my works showing on a digital slideshow at the Union Gallery during the Edinburgh Festival.  This is courtesy of the enterprising Canadian-born, Scotland-based artist Trevor Jones who set up this project so that artists worldwide could show their work.


Here are the five pictures I decided upon and what a difficult choice it was!  I asked friends, some of them artists, some not, to give me their favourites and then made my selection.


Romance in Stone

Romance in Stone © Sarah Vernon


Through a Glass Darkly

Through a Glass Darkly © Sarah Vernon


The Crane

The Crane © Sarah Vernon


Cubist Shutters, Doors & Windows

Cubist Shutters, Doors & Windows © Sarah Vernon



Lucia © Sarah Vernon


To see all the artists exhibiting at the Union Gallery via the digital slideshow visit Mark of Beauty.


Take care and keep laughing.




You may have wondered why I have been absent from this blog since Christmas.  Well, I broke my hip at the beginning of the year and had a femur replacement operation.   This was followed by its dislocation and a further operation to put it back into place.  Then I fell over three times, the third time damaging the other leg but not, I hasten to add, breaking anything!

All this has left me with very little energy and sustained concentration, and since the anaesthetic from the first operation had an adverse effect on the old synapses of the brain, I could not read or write properly for the first two or three months.  I’m still not back to normal and only now able to walk without a Zimmer frame and only very slowly.  Oh, it’s an interesting life!

Let’s hope I am able to give you a proper post sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, take care and keep laughing.


Do you have a favourite colour?  And if so, is it a colour that works for you in all areas of your life?   The answer is probably no.  For instance, there are yellow paints on walls that uplift my spirits but wear the same yellow in a dress and I look dreadful.  I didn’t realise this disparity until I went to a cousin’s wedding some years ago and was appalled when I saw the photographs!  However, you will  notice that I use a fair amount of yellow shades in my art work and these are often the best sellers.

Anyone for Tea?

Anyone for Tea?

It is easy to go wrong when it comes to colour and what a lot of people don’t realise is just how important an effect it has on our lives.

One lady who does know this is Karen Haller, a colour expert who was born and brought up in Australia but lives and works in London.  Some refer to her as a ‘colour guru’ and I’m inclined to agree for while I’ve not had personal experience of her services, I am constantly captivated by the knowledge, advice and plain common sense apparent in her blog posts.  Whether you need help with interiors, branding your business or refreshing your wardrobe, Karen has the answers.  “For me, working with colour is a magical process,” she says.  “It is about taking the personality of an individual or a business, and drawing out the colours that represent their true self. When I combine this with creating beautiful interiors, I feel blessed to be doing something I love.”

Karen kindly agreed to let me publish a recent post from her blog concerning her experience of being interviewed for Dream Corner radio station.  Thank you, Karen!

Karen Haller

Karen Haller ©

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting and being interviewed by Viv Oyolu, the creator and radio presenter of Dream CornerDream Corner is focused on women, and Viv’s goal is to spark or rekindle a dream or passion that any woman has had, and inspire them to do something about it.

Viv brings together a wealth of inspiring women who share their stories and experiences of realising their dreams. She interviews women from different walks of life, to talk about their journey to where they are now – self employed or in paid employment; with the aim that something will encourage a woman listening to think seriously about taking the first steps to realise their dream.

Viv’s warm personality and relaxed conversational style put me quickly at ease which was great given it was my very first radio interview.

During the interview, Viv asked me how I got started, what made me take the big step from corporate life to setting up my own colour & design consultancy with my top tips for anyone wanting to follow their dream.

We discussed all things colour, how I take the personality of an individual or a business, and draw out the colours that represent their true self. I focus on finding the authentic personality and bring it to life through employing colour psychology and holistic interior design.

Colour elicits emotions, it portrays how we are feeling and how we want others to interact with us. Usually subconsciously. We discuss how the big brands use colour psychology to get noticed and increase sales.  We also talk about the process taken by trend forecasters so the manufacturing of the next season’s trend colours hit the stores at the same time.

I have a couple of exciting projects being made public over the next 6 months and sparking Viv’s curiosity she’s asked me back, which I’m already looking forward to!

“Gosh! I can’t believe how much I learnt from Karen! It is not only what you wear, but the colours that can affect not only our business but personal relationships.  I see things so differently now, and willing to make changes to get the desired response I want.” – Viv Oyolu

This is the link to the interview with Karen Haller.  The interview is one hour.

Dream Corner airs every Thursday between 11.00-13.00 on ONFM 101.4 or  you can download from

Link to original post on Karen Haller’s blog here.

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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