Monday, 23 December 2013

Armed Forces Christmas Poem (again!)

This is the same poem I posted earlier - but this time I've tarted it up a bit, hope you like it.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Lovely vintage Christmas poem for those serving in the Armed Forces

Vintage poem, especially for soldiers everywhere this Christmas.

This poem is so poignant and relevant for today although it was written back in 1917 by Tillie C. Jeroleman.

Feel free to share it as much as you like.

We have more Christmas poems to download in our Christmas Poems Graphics collection.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Another great Christmas poem

Here's another really cute Christmas poem by Tillie C. Jeroleman.....

Don't forget, we still have half price card-making CDs and DVDs on our website at  but the offer ends TODAY so order NOW!

Monday, 16 December 2013

FREE Christmas Poem with Holly border

I came across a lovely book of poetry at the weekend called Bits of Verse for Christmastide from 1917 by Tillie C. Jeroleman.

It's got a lot of Christmas poems that, for a change, I don't fall asleep in before I get to the end of the verse...

Don't get me wrong, I've come to love a good piece of poetry and have sobbed through many a poem I've read lately but as I have a low boredom threshold, it certainly takes a good one to keep me reading to the end!

Here's one for starters - I'll publish a few more from the same book over the coming days.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The best Christmas Day puzzle ever - FREE to print

We've put this out to our customers for the last few years and it never fails to please!

Our Santa and Reindeer puzzle is our own little design, adapted from the horse and rider puzzle which goes back to 1871.  It's something that my brother-in-law gave me when I was around 8 and it fascinated me so much that I kept it in my treasured possessions and still have the original tatty version to this day.

This is a little sneak-peak - to get the downloadable version go to

Every year we get frustrated customers telling us that it can't be done and that we've done it wrong..... we haven't!  

That's why it's so good.... and so annoying! 


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Countdown to Christmas with another FREE holly frame

Today I have another free holly frame for you from the 1912 printer's book.  This one's quite different from the last one, not sure which one I prefer.

The constituent parts are also included so that you can make up your own frame by chopping up the pieces in your graphics program.

By the way, if you haven't already ordered, we have a fantastic sale of our public domain discs on the website where you will find them all at HALF PRICE!!  If you weren't sure whether to buy or not, this is the time to go ahead and do it!  See all our titles at

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Countdown to Christmas with FREE Holly Frame

Still with the printer's book from 1912 today, might keep with it for a few days as there are a few nice Christmassy images in it.

This one's a holly frame which even features all the little constituent bits so that you can make up your own frame in whatever size you like.

I've included a cleaned up version of the frame which is ready for you to add your own words and also the frame pieces separately - chop these up in your graphics program to make up your own frame.

These images are all out of copyright so you can use them in whatever way you want to.

The frame could be used for place-cards on the Christmas table, for a lovely Christmas poem or sentiments for a card or to put a suitably sized picture in to give to a relative.  


For all your last minute Christmas makes, don't forget you can buy downloadable items from our website at and be making cards, gift boxes, crackers and loads more in just a few minutes' time!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas Countdown with FREE Santa image

Ah, it's nearly with us again - I always think I've got lots of time for shopping and then start to panic when I realise there's only a few more days and I've got nothing!  

Prepared I am not, ever!

Here's a cute little Santa that comes from a book of print-type styles from 1912.  You can use it for decorating cards, envelopes, your blog or whatever else you'd like to.  

Have fun!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Alice in Wonderland Anniversary with FREE images

On this day, 26th November 1865, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to just Alice in Wonderland) was published.  

The book, by Lewis Carroll (born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), has not been out of print since.

Although many artists have since illustrated Alice, the original illustrations were done by John Tenniel (1820-1914). 

For 50 lovely Alice in Wonderland images, take a look at our Alice Graphics collection at

Thursday, 21 November 2013

JFK blown away what else do I have to say?

.... in the words of Billy Joel.  For once it's not an illustration I'm posting but a photo, for tomorrow it's been 50 years since the untimely death of John F. Kennedy.

It was before I was born so I can't say where I was when it happened as many can, but I have been fascinated with all the conspiracy theories for as long as I can remember.

I did have loads of books on the subject before my ex claimed they were his and nabbed them all but that's another story......

He also had my Marilyn Monroe and J. Edgar Hoover books... not that I'm bitter!  

An untimely death, such a shame.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

FREE Public Domain Poppy pictures

As we're remembering all those who lost their lives for our country today, it seemed wholeheartedly appropriate to bring you some beautiful poppy images.

These two are by an author and artist called Mary Conroy who died in 1895, from a book simply entitled 'Poppies' from 1893.

These are well and truly out of copyright so feel free to use them for whatever you want to, commercial use included.

Lest we forget. x

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Cats & Dogs and Adolphe Birkenruth

In my research this week into new cat and dog images for our latest public domain image DVD, I came across some stunning pictures in the book simply entitled 'The Cat', a 1905 book by Violet Hunt.

The pictures are by Adolphe Birkenruth, a South African illustrator who was born in 1863 and died in 1940.

There are 12 of his sumptuous pictures in  the book, 3 are shown below:-


You can get the full-size versions of these images (and 497 other pooch & pussy images!) on our new Cats & Dogs public domain image DVD at

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

FREE Illuminated Bible quote

I've gone from 20th century magazines and advertising to illuminated books this week - I get to cover so much in this job!

This beautiful illuminated page is from a book entitled Guide to the Art of Illumination & Missal Painting from forever ago - 1861.

It's well and truly out of copyright so you can use this lovely, uncompressed page for card-making and it would look great in an old frame.  Make coordinating gifts and cards this year!


Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Santa & Coke myth dispelled

It seems to be a widely believed fact that the modern-day image of Santa, or more properly Father Christmas here in the UK, came about following adverts for Coca-cola in the 1930s.

My sister, for one, was refusing to believe me that this wasn't the case when the subject came up in the approach to Christmas last year.  But it's true, she said, I read it recently - Santa was depicted in other colours until Coke made him red in their advertising campaigns of the 30s.

This was the proof I offered her that this just isn't the case.  This picture is by one of my favourite Victorian artists, Lizzie Mack (nee Lawson) from a book called Old Father Christmas from 1888:-

He's looking pretty much like he does today here, doesn't he - but this is 40 years or so before Coke's advertising campaigns.  So what's the real story?

The colours of Santa Claus are widely thought to derive from the original Saint Nicholas, who was the Bishop of Myra in the 4th century.  Red and white were the hues of traditional bishops' robes, although some historians argue that he originally dressed in different colours.

There was little variation in the red outfit worn, although over time the bishop's cloak and mitre were replaced by the fur-trimmed suit.

There are records, and indeed vintage pictures, cards and postcards which depict Santa in other colours such as green and blue but by far the most popular was the red outfit we're familiar with today.

This is one of the 1930s Coke adverts:-

Between 1863 and 1886, Thomas Nast produced a series of engravings for Harper's weekly, developing an image very similar to the modern day one - and from these engravings the idea of Santa's workshop and writing letters to Santa developed.

This is one of Thomas Nast's coloured engravings from Harper's Weekly 1865:-

As you can see, Santa was Santa long before Coke came along!  Coca-Cola's involvement begins in the early 1930s when Swedish artist Haddon Sundblom started drawing ads for Coke showing a fat Santa in a red coat trimmed with fur, fastened with a large belt.  His drawings were used by Coke for the next 30 years, well and truly cementing the image as we know it.

You can get the uncompressed Lizzie Mack and Thomas Nast Santa images on our Vintage Christmas DVD at

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Another FREE House & Garden image...

There are lots of vintage ads for Kohler Bathrooms, another company that's been around for years - established 1873 and still going strong today.  This one's a typical example:-

I think it's signed C.O. or C.Q. Moran but I can't trace this artist at all, shame.  It's from a 1926 edition of the American House & Garden magazine.


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Beautiful FREE Pastel Cat Image

This fluffy feline is another delicious delight from a vintage magazine, American House & Garden, this time from 1929.

It comes from an advert for Thibaut wallpaper, an American company which was founded in 1886 and still exists today.

As far as I can establish, this picture is out of copyright - certainly in the States at least but most probably in the UK too (although it's not stated who the artist is).

There are more pictures in the same vein although this one's probably the best one.


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

FREE 1920s lady picture

I've spent the last few days trawling through old magazines, especially the American House & Garden magazine from the 1920s.  

There are lots of beautiful adverts in these old magazines, from a time when illustration was still the order of the day and photography hadn't taken over.

This one's by an American artist called Pruett Carter:-

Through the little foibles of US copyright law, this one's out of copyright even though Pruett Carter didn't die until 1955 - so it's free to be used in whatever way you like.

I'll dig some more out over the next few days. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

FREE Vintage Halloween Image

Here's a rather nice Halloween image that's out of copyright so you're free to do with it whatever you want to!

This is from a cover of the Canadian Home Journal magazine 1922 is by an artist called Emily Hand.  

Our great Halloween DVD is now available at - more than 300 cardmaking sheets, spooky photos, vintage images and clipart.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Oscar Wilde & Aubrey Beardsley

Doh!  I've already blogged today and I've just seen that it's the anniversary of Oscar Wilde's birthday, which immediately led me to Aubrey Beardsley - and I can't miss an opportunity to show some of his work!

Wilde and Beardsley had somewhat of an antagonistic relationship - I'd always thought that they must have been lovers but I can't see any evidence of that.

I didn't realise that the Picture of Dorian Gray was Oscar Wilde's only novel.  I remember watching the black and white film when I was a child and I think it freaked me out a bit - its macabre story has certainly stayed with me over the years.

This last Aubrey Beardsley picture is for Oscar Wilde's play Salome.  Some of his pen and ink work is just as macabre as Oscar Wilde's plays!

American Illustrators - Coles Phillips

In the last week I've been looking at the work of American Illustrators including Coles Phillips - his work is, in my opinion, just fabulous!

Clarence Coles Phillips (1880-1927) originally signed his work C. Coles Phillips but after 1911, dropped the C. and started signing his work just Coles Phillips.

He is known for his stylish images of women and in particular for his use of negative space in the paintings he created for advertisements and the covers of magazines.

After leaving college in his native state of Ohio, Phillips moved to Manhattan, determined to make a living through his art.  He took night classes for just 3 months, his only formal artistic training, before establishing his own advertising agency.

Phillips was hired onto the staff of Life magazine in 1907, a magazine he would stay associated with for the rest of his life.  His work quickly became popular with Life readers and in 1908 his first 'fadeaway' girl cover appeared, a design where the figure's clothes matched, and disappeared into, the background.  This technique was subsequently developed and used for many covers.

From 1905 until his death, Phillips lived and worked in Rochelle, New York, where he also raised pigeons. He died of a long-standing kidney complaint in 1927.

You can get high-resolution versions of these images in our 50-image Coles Phillips graphics collection at  

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Kate Greenaway

We're well and truly back into work now after our late summer trip to Poland (if anyone guess from the last post).  Krakow was brilliant, lovely cheap meals and drinks.  We also went to Auschwitz, which was shocking to say the least.  So glad I went, but shocked at what went on there.  I've been shocked also at the Nairobi shopping mall shooting at the weekend but don't get me started - I'll never get off my soapbox.

I was stunned the other day, but not quite in the same way, when I was researching pictures for our new Kate Greenaway disc.  I'd grown up knowing the name Kate Greenaway, just as I was pretty familiar with the name Louis Wain, so we must have had books as children with pictures by both of these artists.

What surprised me though, was coming across this picture:-

My mum, just before she died in 1992, was working on an embroidery (her favourite pastime) for me. 

She showed me the picture, an embroidery that she really wanted to do because she said she thought of it as being my two sisters and I (I'd be the blonde one at the front on the left). I really liked the picture but told  her that blue didn't match our house (I had a nice purple velour three-piece suite at the time!) so I asked if she could do it with purple threads instead of blue, which she duly did.

When she died, she hadn't finished the embroidery so my step-dad got someone else to finish it and gave it to me as a wedding present later that year (first marriage, didn't last!).

The picture still hangs in our bedroom today, but I had no idea that it was from an original illustration or who that illustration was by.

I was therefore pretty taken aback to turn a page in a Kate Greenaway book and see this picture facing me!

Therefore as a little tribute to my mum, her brilliant embroidery skills and my two sisters Chris & Kim, you can use this picture in your own work for whatever you want to.  

It's uncompressed and ready to copy - and it's out of copyright.  Have fun with it!

You can buy our new Kate Greenaway public domain image DVD at

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Well-earned rest!

We're off for a few days, back Wednesday. Here's a bit of a pictorial clue as to where we're going...... 10 Brownie points for anyone who works it out!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Out of Copyright Poems

I've been researching poetry in the last few days, rather than my normal pictures, in order to put together some collections that are suitable for use on cards or at funerals etc.  I must say that some of the sympathy/bereavement-type poems have had me filling up at times and taken me to another place completely!

Although I've been really looking for either Christmas or death-related poetry, I've come across a few other nice pieces in my travels.

This one rather struck me - it's called 'While Cigarettes to Ashes Turn' by James Whitcomb Riley.  Now I hate smoking and everything smoking-related and it's all got pretty unfashionable these days, but there's something rather poetic and dramatic about this one.  See what you think (you'll probably have to click on it to be able to read the words).

I can just imagine a dramatic piece being performed to this, such as a part of a musical play or music video.  The words could even be song lyrics!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

FREE Christmas Nativity Image

Producing our new Christmas public domain DVD has been a real labour of love.  It was something I started before Christmas last year and it's taken this long to get it finished!

I'm sure it was worth it though - it's been our best and fastest selling DVD and it's only been out a few days!

This is one of the images that features on it:-

This lovely nativity image is by Marianne Stokes (1855-1927).  I do like her work - traditional but modern.  And this one's very Christmassy!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Hottest Day in the UK - FREE public domain beach picture

Despite the title of the post, it's not today - well not yet anyway.  It's a shame the weather wasn't a bit kinder to us last weekend when we went camping and our tent was starting to collapse under the strength of the wind...... But I digress........

Apparently the hottest day ever recorded in the UK was on this day, 10th August in 2003 in Gravesend, Kent.

Absolutely no relevance to this apart from as a pre-cursor to put up a nice beachy picture which, incidently, is in France and not Kent at all.....

Nice picture though - by William Horton (1865-1936).  As he died in 1936, the picture is therefore out of copyright and you can use it for anything you like!

It's taken from a French magazine, L'Art et les Artistes from 1909 - I had trouble with the picture title at first as it's 'Guignol sur la Plage' which translates as 'Horn on the Beach', slightly strange! Guignol, however, is Punch (of Punch & Judy), no doubt because of the shape of his hat.

You learn something new every day!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Kelloggs Cornflakes Advert

Did you know that this day in 1898 Will Kellogg came up with cornflakes?  Who''d have thought they were that old!

This advert featured in the Canadian Home Journal in 1920.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Whiskey for the lungs...... FREE image

Here's a public domain image from my ever-ballooning library..... in the best shape for use where a preparation for the lungs is needed..... The mind boggles!

This images is from 'Fine Whisky Facts' from 1892.  Did you know that whisky without an 'e' usually denotes Scotch whisky whilst whiskey with an 'e' refers to Irish and American types?

Well, that's according to Wikipedia anyway......  This image is from a Kentucky whisky distillers book and there's no 'e', so who's right?

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Charles Dickens Caricature

I just came across this great caricature of Charles Dickens and William Thackeray so I thought I'd share.

The book it's from is called the Amenities of Book-collecting which is by Alfred Newton, who died in 1940. The picture is possibly also by Mr. Newton - you can make out Alfred in the signature but the surname isn't clear.

Having recently been exposed to the virtues of Vanity Fair caricatures, this one jumped out at me.

Great isn't it! 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Montague Smyth & Lawrence Deller, a conscientious objector

In researching artists in order to add their pictures onto our public domain DVDs, I often get involved in the human side of things which takes me off somewhere else sometimes.......

I'm always happy to find that an artist has met an early demise which may well put their work into the public domain when it otherwise wouldn't have been.  That's awful, isn't it!  And I'm generally slightly annoyed when I find they lived a full and long life, as in the case of an artist I was researching Saturday, Walter Montague Smyth,  who had produced some lovely work for a book about Japan.  I was rather hoping to find that dates I initially found for him on the internet of 1863-1965 would prove to be wrong.  After a fairly long and perhaps slightly obsessive search of one of the family history sites (as his name was mis-spelled in the book and I didn't have his first name initially), it turned out that these dates were, in fact, correct.

Mr. Montague-Smyth died at the ripe old ages of 101 in 1965 and, sadly, I wouldn't be able to use his pictures.

I embarked on another, much quicker, search last night for someone called Lawrence Deller.  I came across a couple of his pictures in a book about London that I was fortunate enough to purchase a couple of weeks ago when my local (ish) antiquarian bookshop was having a half-price sale (me - like a child in a sweet-shop!).  Both of his pictures are lovely views of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Lawrence Deller was born in 1889 in Lichfield, Staffordshire and was the son of a law clark.  

He was called up to fight in WWI but objected on the grounds of religious principals.  The Kensington tribunal upheld his objection, being satisfied as to his claim as a conscientious objector and granted him exemption from combatant service only, which they considered to be adequate.  He appealed in order to get a fuller exemption but this appeal was rejected completely.

A number of witnesses were called to give evidence at his appeal including his wife and his head-teacher from his days at Lichfield Grammar School, but all to no avail.

You can read the appeal and ensuing discussion here:-

In fact, the appeal went one better - not only was it rejected but it over-ruled the previous decision that Mr. Deller be exempted from combatant service.

On this occasion it gave me very little pleasure to find that Lawrence Deller's death was recorded in December 1918, a month after the official end of World War I.

RIP Lawrence Deller, artist 1889-1918, age 29. 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Egypt and excuses........

I'm ashamed to say that I haven't blogged since January - and it's incredibly June already!

So many things have got in the way this year, so much so that I've only really had time to work and not to 'chat'.  

The biggest thing was no doubt the arrival, and then 'departure' of my father-in-law.  He moved in with us in January as ill-health was getting the better of him but, bless him, he was still working as a printer at the age of 84!  His first few weeks with us was fine - he was still cooking his own meals and more or less looking after himself but early February he was admitted to hospital with stomach pains, only to find that his cancer had spread to his liver.

After that he got progressively worse and needed much more care, the sort that only carers of the elderly will appreciate (!), until he finally passed away in April.

After our experiences, I admire and empathise with those who are long term carers, not an easy task at all.

Work on Printable Heaven continues though, we have to feed our ever-growing offspring somehow (that's height, not quantity of before anyone gets the wrong idea!).  

I've been loving compiling our Public Domain Image Library discs - the thrill of discovering old pictures that I know will be of interest to our customers is fabulous. Just last night I came across an old book of nearly 100 tartans that I can do so much with......

My latest completed compilations, however, have been on the subject of Egypt.  I think these will be such a great resource for primary-school teachers, the pictures are simply stunning.

This picture is by Howard Carter himself, who discovered Tutenkhamun's tomb in 1922.  I didn't know he was an artist too, I learn so much when I look for and find old pictures.

We have two new public domain image DVDs on the subject of Egypt (as I found so many pictures, they didn't fit onto one!).  Fascinating subject - take a look at

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year, DVDs and more FREE pictures

2013 is now with us and I have to say good riddance to 2012 which, for ourselves and quite a few of our friends, was not a good year.

April saw the end of our 10 year old business, Mad about Cards.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears had gone into the business, a lot of happy times and laughter - but the end and what led up to it was difficult and we're still dealing with the consequences of it.

For our good friends Jane & Rob, the loss of their daughter Zoe at the age of just 13 was, and will continue to be, unbearable.

For Pete & Sue, you've been through a terrible time this year - I think for you guys it will make you stronger.

Several other friends have had relationship problems, some of which are not yet resolved.  Love and hugs to those guys - hope the solutions will become clear.

For us, the end of Mad about Cards meant that we could, and had to, throw all our efforts into Printable Heaven.  I must say I love it and that's where my heart lay anyway but it's been hard work bringing it up to where we wanted it to be.

I've just started working on a few card-making items again for 2013 but I thought I'd post a few pictures here from our public domain image DVDs (

This first one makes me laugh - the little dog on the left definitely looks like he's working up to having his wicked way with the dog on the right!  This one's from our Animal DVD.

This is a lovely Chinese design from our Backgrounds & Designs DVD.

Having been doing an Art History course for a while, I've really enjoyed putting together our Fine Art DVD. This picture is by an artist I hadn't heard of before, Jean-Jacques Henner.  I think this is very much in the vein  of 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' don't you think?  Love it.

This one is by Cecil Aldin who is best-known for his pictures of dogs.  This cockatoo is simply lovely.

And finally, this one's from our Flower DVD.

I've featured pictures from a couple of our other DVDs before, Arthur Rackham and Jessie Willcox Smith, so please look at previous posts for those.

For our full range of DVDs see

A Happy New Year to everyone.  Let's hope that 2013 brings you happiness and health, with a little wealth thrown in too!