Sunday, 9 December 2012

Public Domain DVDs - FREE Arthur Rackham pictures

I've been 'missing' for the last couple of months - no blog.  I'll tell you why.....

I think it was back in August that we started selling La Pashe products on and this, fortunately, gave me a bit of breathing space.  It meant that I didn't have to design so much in the way of card-making products so I could get on with what I'd been waiting to get on with for ages - public domain DVDs.

The first one I started working on was Arthur Rackham ( - just love his illustrations.  As he died in 1939 his work is out of copyright, or in the 'public domain', for all countries that follow the rule of lifetime plus 70 years (which includes most countries except the US).

For the US the rules are, or were, a little different in that it's the date of the work that's taken into account rather than the death date of the author/artist.  For our DVD, however, it just means that there is one book on there (Wind in the Willows) that's out of copyright in the UK but not yet in the US (for that reason we have a US version of the DVD which has 12 less images on it at  As there are well over 600 images on both DVDs, I'm sure our US friends won't particularly miss those 12!

I will go on in future blogs to explain a little more about the copyright rules but I thought I'd tell you first how I discovered the concept of public domain.......

It was in September 2009 that my step-father went into residential care at the age of 82 and suffering from lung-cancer (having been a smoker for 70 years!).  His flat was going on the market and my sisters and I had the arduous task of clearing out his smoky-smelling, yellowed things.  We'd been running Printable Heaven for a while - I designed card-making decorations using a graphics programme which usually took some time.....

From a drawer my sister pulled a tatty book.  It perhaps hadn't been on the bookshelf as it was in quite a state but my mum (when she was alive) and my step-father didn't like to throw anything away.  She flicked through the book and handed it to me saying 'You're the arty one, you might like this'.  The book, which I still have, was a book from around 1960 about advertising posters.

We'd just converted our double garage at the time into a lovely workspace with gorgeous walnut flooring and I wanted to put some suitable pictures up.  Seemed sacrilege to break up the book so I looked on the internet to see if I could find some of the same pictures to print off and frame for the garage.

I don't remember what happened next..... somehow I fell into this magical world of public domain and realised that there was a whole treasure trove out there of pictures that could quite legitimately be scanned and used - and that we could make money from.

My first public domain book purchase was from a local shop in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex and I didn't even know if the pictures would be out of copyright when I bought it - I was fortunate that they were.  It was The Everyday Fairy book with illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith, whose pictures I love.

I now have a vast collection of out of copyright books, magazines and pictures - so many that I've regretfully had to start selling them on Ebay (to make room for more!)

The pictures here are all by Arthur Rackham from A Midsummer Night's Dream.  If you want to see our full (and growing) range of public domain DVDs, see

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Jessie Willcox Smith with FREE fantastic pictures!

Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935) was a lady determined to succeed in a male-dominated world.  She was originally training to be a kindergarten teacher but began painting after acting as chaperon in an art lesson given by her female cousin to a male pupil.  She took part in the lesson and discovered that she had a flair for it, so much so that she ended her teacher-training and enrolled in the School of Design for Women.  She soon realised that the school had little to offer her that would prepare her for an art career so she transferred to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from where she began her career as an illustrator.

She quickly established that she couldn't survive doing freelance work alone so she went to work in the advertising department of the Ladies' Home Journal.  The turning point in her career came following participation in the first ever illustration class offered by the Drexel Institute of Arts and Sciences in Philadelphia.  This class was being taught by the master of illustration, Howard Pyle.

Pyle impressed upon her the need to become involved in the story and characters that she was painting.  Jessie became his most successful female student.  In 1898 she quit her job at the Ladies' Home Journal to concentrate on her career as an illustrator.  She quickly began to work for some of the leading periodicals of the period such as Collier's, Scribner's Magazine and Century amongst others.

Although many of her pictures depict the joy of motherhood and childhood, Jessie never actually married.  Her lifelong goal was to be a successful artist.  Most of the big children's books of the time were illustrated by men - the work of women generally appeared in the lesser-known books that just couldn't compete with the very successful titles.  Time and time again the most prestigious assignments were given to men, so when a woman embarked on a career as an illustrator, her future was uncertain.

Jessie Willcox Smith was one woman who did break into this male-dominated world which was an immense accomplishment.  

Jessie's works include 15 years working for Good Housekeeping magazine, her work appearing on more than 180 covers (likely earning about a quarter of a million dollars for this work); Charles Kingsley's 'The Water Babies'; Joanna Spyri's 'Heidi'; Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women'; Clement C. Moore's 'Twas the Night before Christmas' and Charles Dickens's 'Dickens Children'.

You can see our card-making products that we've made using Jessie Willcox Smith images here:- and here

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Free Digital Stamps - Cricketers

It's a bit of a surreal day for me.  My son, who's 13, collapsed after school yesterday and we had to call an ambulance.  He was unconscious for about half an hour which was all very scary.  They kept him in last night and Andy's up there with him now. He seems to be fine and all tests have come back clear but it's a worry nonetheless.  No doubt he'll be back later and will return to the monosyllabic grunts as per usual - although this has made him quite chatty for a change!

Anyway, back to topic.  I have set myself the task of slowly scanning all of the pictures in my vast collection of old picture books and arranging them into files.  These images are from a 1930s/40s boys' annual and they would be good to use as digital stamps - just print and colour with Pro-markers, watercolours, coloured pencils etc.

Monday, 3 September 2012

La Pashe Christmas Crackers

We've got some lovely new decoupage sheets this week that will make humorous cards this Christmas.

These fab La Pashe sheets are available to download and use NOW - get yours and get started on your Christmas cards tonight at

Saturday, 1 September 2012

A trip to Amsterdam

We've been away in the last week to Amsterdam and a jolly nice time we had too!  We went with 8 of our neighbours so I must say more time was spent in bars than taking in the culture but we're back now to detox.

The things I liked best in Amsterdam were the lovely 17th century houses that line all the canals out there.  Elegantly tall and thin but crooked, leaning and skew-with - so interesting.

You can see some of the houses in the first picture here.  We're already planning to go back again, perhaps minus the neighbours so we can take in the culture a little more....

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Images of London

I've been listening to Jamie Cullum this morning while I've been working and his song 'London Skies' got me thinking of images of London.

I've blogged before about London, covering the beautiful pictures of Rose Barton and Herbert Marshall but this time they're by another artist called Nelson Dawson.

Nelson Ethelred Dawson (1859-1941) was a member of the Arts & Crafts movement who was born in Lincolnshire and later moved to London.  Here are some of his pictures from a book called A Wanderer in London from 1906.

It's funny, I worked in London for 12 years but it was all lost on me then.  Now I love the wonderful old buildings and the history of it all.  Must go for a visit soon.....

Thursday, 16 August 2012

More free digital stamps

I was just tidying up my PC and I saw that I had all those line drawings of children still open on my screen that I said I'd post, so here they are.

I like the girl in the checked pyjamas particularly as she has a very grown-up look about her.  Have fun with these!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Free Fairy Digital Stamps

After being really good at writing this blog for a while, it's now been several weeks since I've done it - shame on me!  The new website, school holidays and a legal wrangle have got in the way with a large sprinkle of real life and hard work.  I'll try and be better although it's still school holidays and my daughter still wanders around saying how bored she is, which either makes me feel guilty and unable to get on with work properly or I feel the need to go and do something with her for a while.  It's not easy being a working mother, as I'm sure other working mothers will testify to!

But anyway, back to what this blog is really meant to be about - pictures!  Here are some nice fairy illustrations I found which would make good digital stamps:-

I've got some nice children illustrations too - will include those next time.


Monday, 23 July 2012

New Baby Antics set at Printable Heaven

We have a new set at Printable Heaven - Baby Antics which contains lots of fab images for making new baby cards.  There are some sensational new miniatures to make too.

Take a look at

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Fab Brass Instrument Pictures

As I've said many a time before, the illustrations that appeared in old advertising catalogues and commercial material were so much better than they are now.  These pictures of brass musical instruments prove just that:-

They look so shiny yet they're illustrations - very clever!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Fantastic Mini Seed Packets and Garden Tools

Take a look at our new set which is now available at Printable Heaven.

Get your mini seed packets and make miniature carrots and garden tools now at

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Harry Clarke and FREE Digital Stamps

I've loved the illustrative work of Irish-born artist Harry Clarke for some time so I was thrilled to see a programme about him (Darkness in Light) on Sky Arts that I've just watched this morning.

Seems that Harry was more than the book illustrator that I knew him for but predominantly a stained glass artist with a love for the macabre and dark side of life and morality.  Makes him more interesting.......

These illustrations are from a couple of books, one containing fairy tales whilst the other is a poetry book.

Some of the faces in the line drawings give a clue as to his more macabre side which were very much evident in his stained glass work and other illustrations.  Only room for so much here...... if you Google his images, you will see some of his more grotesque work.

As he lived to a mere 41 years old, unfortunately dying of TB in 1931, Harry Clarke's work is out of copyright and can therefore be used freely.  Have fun!