Category Archives: gift bags

Follow Me! Portraits of Animals Has Moved

Portraits of Animals new website!

Portraits of Animals new website!

Several new followers have signed up recently, and I don’t want you to be disappointed—I don’t post on this site anymore because I’ve built a brand new website that includes a blog where I post all the inspirations from my felines, my backyard and garden and the beautiful world around me. Maintaining this blog plus my Etsy profile, Fine Art America account and a few other profiles where I displayed and sold my things and decided to invest the time to combine them all into one completely new site.

Please visit Portraits of Animals and follow!

Please visit Portraits of Animals! I moved all the posts from this site to that blog, so to be sure you see the latest I’ve created and have to offer you can go to Portraits of Animals and subscribe to “Notes and Stories” there.

May Feline Sampler Box from Portraits of Animals

May Feline Sampler Box from Portraits of Animals

That’s what you see above, a screen shot for the home page. Finally, this plan I’ve visualized for the past five years has been put into action. I found a template I liked, I’ve planned out my new products and I set up my Sampler Box Program and a free gift for those who register for an account on the site. I have features on the new site that I couldn’t have here, including setting up an account with a free gift when you do, member rewards programs and a sampler box program!

The New “Portraits of Animals”

January had originally been my deadline to have this website ready, but the holiday season doesn’t permit focus on too many things other than the holiday season, so I didn’t get too far. And then I ran off to Savannah to deliver a couple of kittens and visit family. But before I did I decided to stop building that site and decide which way to go: continue with the site or look for a template that better represented my work.

The new menu.

The new menu.

I found the perfect template, designed by an artist for artists. Next, I needed to find three or four days to set it up and get all the parts in there and start adding merchandise. Designing websites has always been a process of not only putting your visualization on a computer screen but also fixing all the little issues, bugs and conflicts that come up, and at this point in my life I like to stake out some time to just focus on it.

At left is what the new menu looks like, always accessible on the left, with drop-downs for extra pages to keep merchandise grouped and organized.

The site includes not only my feline inspirations but my nature and wildlife art as well. How wonderful it is to have it all in one place!

Below are some samples of what the merchandise looks like when you visit!

Handmade Feline-themed Gift Items from Portraits of Animals.

Handmade Feline-themed Gift Items from Portraits of Animals.

I love the way I can set up the galleries so that you can see a whole screen full of images and read the headlines, click on the item and read the details and order. Here is a sample section of animal sympathy cards.

The display of sympathy cards.

The display of sympathy cards.

And here is a detail page, what you see when you click on a product.

Detail page.

Detail page.

A signing bonus!

I like to thank each person who signs up for an account on Portraits of Animals. Each new member receives a thank-you gift not only as an honest thanks from me for signing up, but also so that you can see a sample of my art and the quality of my merchandise, even if you’ve been a customer already and purchased from me in other places.

You don’t need to purchase anything to get your thank you gift, you can just register an account and get your free print.

The thank you gifts always include matted digital prints of art and photos that I usually sell for between $20.00 and $40.00. The selection includes the current month’s featured artwork and several of the more popular images I sell. Sizes vary according to the size of the art itself—some of my more popular sketches are as small as 3″ x 5″—but they are always matted to fit a standard frame size so you can use a frame you have on hand or easily purchase one without the cost of custom framing. Below is the current selection of prints you can choose from. Visit Current New Member Gifts to read more about the size and matting for each print.

The current selection of new member gifts.

The current selection of new member gifts.

About that Sampler Box

November Feline Sampler Box Program from Portraits of Animals

November Feline Sampler Box Program from Portraits of Animals

I’m offering a sampler box with a single box or a three month box subscription which will include the following items:

  • a 5″ x 7″ or 8” x 10” print matted and ready to frame OR a small framed print, either an existing piece of artwork or a new one
  • an alternate print of any size, unmatted, different from the main print in media, style, subject, etc.
  • several greeting cards: a sympathy card, feline art card, feline photo card, non-feline greeting card and two or more note cards, current designs and new designs
  • a handmade or other gift item—a small keepsake box or a little art sampler book, a polymer clay or ceramic item, screen-printed dishtowel, tote bag, crocheted item or rubber stamp, new art paper, for instance—which is exclusive to box recipients and not shared with the public for a week or so after boxes are sent
  • the “boxes” are not boxes at all because they vary so much in content so they are carefully wrapped with wrapping paper made from my designs that you can reuse

These can be things your use for yourself or give as gifts or donation items to shelter or rescue or other fundraisers. Sometimes they’ll be little experiments and I’ll be asking for feedback. I’ll be happy that you get to see art you may have never noticed, and little handmade goods that work so much better in your hands than a photo on your computer.

You can order a single sampler box or a subscription of three boxes. Shipping within the US is included.

$25.00 for one box, value about $47.50

$75.00 for a three box subscription, value about $142.50

You can read more about the content in the gift boxes on the page on Portraits of Animals, and don’t forget to go and visit the rest of the site too! I add new items and post on the blog every day, and now that I have a comprehensive website I can spend much more time actually creating new things instead of maintaining four or five selling sites.

 

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Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog.
Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter,
for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter,
for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

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© 2017 | www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “Custom Orders” for availability and terms.


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Use Your Credit Card Directly on Etsy

After Dinner Nap, pastel painting

After Dinner Nap, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

As an artist it’s my business to follow my muse and create what life brings to me. Click the image above to find out why Stanley is the face of  Portraits of Animals, and why this painting was important to my career as an animal artist.

As a self-employed small business owner it is my business to give you as many options and opportunities as possible to find what I create and make a purchase once you’ve decided you want something I’ve created.

Etsy, the online handmade marketplace, has made this decidedly easier for many of us so that we can spend more time doing what we do best, making stuff with their attractive interface and easy setup of accounts, shops and product displays.

Now they’ve added a new feature which not only makes transactions easier for us, but it may make many customers happy as well—you can now purchase with a credit card directly through Etsy, no PayPal involved, no redirect to your PayPal account or extra steps, so it’s quicker for you as well.

For many years I accepted credit card transactions directly through my own bank, so any opportunities for sale were like any other online store. But even with a moderate level of sales, the costs and fees increased to the point where it often cost more to maintain the account in certain months than I received in sales so when I moved my business account and discovered it would cost even more through the new portal, I sent back my leased equipment and closed the account.

That left me with PayPal for credit card transactions. I had never cared for PayPal, but discovered by that time, 2007, it was quite different from the online portal I’d tried to use in 1999. And looking at its security record I’ve found that PayPal has never had a security breach and has a very clean record for customer service. It was also basically free with no monthly fees or membership fees or equipment leasing of any sort, just sitting there waiting for me until I had a sale. Selling fees were reasonable. And more recently Quicken and QuickBooks have added PayPal as one of the accounts you can manage with the program. So I’ve fully embraced PayPal and am happy with their service.

But I understand those customers who don’t like the intrusiveness of PayPal, and often the confusing complications—you really can pay with PayPal even if you don’t have an account, but I’m often walking people through that process if they don’t because PayPal doesn’t make it easy to follow that method for their own business reasons, which irks me because in this case, I’m the customer.

I am currently putting together a new gallery for Etsy, and have been preparing new artwork to begin posting in April, so this is right in time for a clearance, and the arrival of new things. March is my anniversary month on Etsy, and once an individual item has been on Etsy for one year I either remove it or reduce the price, so prices are reduced on any of the things you first saw posted last year.

In addition, from now through April 30, I have an extra 10% discount if you use your credit card directly through the Etsy direct checkout: use code ETSYCREDIT10. Click the link below to begin browsing, and be sure to check back now and then for new items!

Welcome to my Etsy shop!

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And be sure to visit my Etsy shop to see what’s currently available.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


St. Patrick’s Day Special on Things That Are Green

black cat looking in mirror

God, I'm Cute greeting card sets.

I may not be Irish, but while everyone knows my first name is “Bernadette”, you probably don’t know my middle name is “Eileen”. Following a name like “Bernadette Eileen” I’m sure a Polish surname like “Kazmarski” is the last thing you expect—perhaps something like O’Toole or McShane (two Irish families I grew up with). So for St. Patrick’s Day a friend has pronounced I am honorarily “Bernadette Eileen O’Kazmarski”. Goes along with my bright henna-red hair, yes? Let the celebration begin!

I love totally random sales, and looking at the gallery of things that are tagged as “green” in my Etsy shop it certainly looks that way—original artwork, greeting cards, gift bags—and not just feline-themed things but also wildlife and nature and flowers!

pepper in bowl

One Pepper, pastel © B E. Kazmarski

Just for St. Patrick’s Day I’ve got 10% off your entire order if you buy one of the things tagged with green in this gallery in my Etsy shop. Just use the code STPATRICKGREEN10 when you place your order.

pastel painting of small cat at big window

Winter Window, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

And as I mentioned, it’s not just 10% off your green item, it’s 10% OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER if you purchase one of the items in the green gallery.

crocheted cotton sunflower washcloths

Set of three cotton washcloths, designed and crocheted by me (and supervised by guess who).

Happy shopping! And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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And be sure to visit my Etsy shop to see what’s currently available.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Colorful Handprinted Kitty Gift Bags and Totes for Spring

Summery Colors Medium Gift Bags, Tabbies

Summery Colors Medium Gift Bags, Tabbies

When I printed gift bags last year, most were experiments with different styles of bags and especially inks/paints and other media to print the image onto the bag. Some worked, some really did not, but some fell in between. I held them back because they didn’t meet my specifications for printing, but I’ve learned to show others the items I’ve made that weren’t what I envisioned. I’ve found that often others see something entirely different in what I see are flaws, and that’s what happened with these bags.

kitty printed gift bag

Lime and Blue Medium Gift Bag, Kelly's Morning Bath

You may recognize the “Tabbies” designs from my Valentine cards, and  I also print “Kelly’s Morning Bath” block prints in whimsical colors and in various combinations. Using colored bags opened up the possibilities, printing tone on tone with a darker pink on a lighter pink, a darker blue on a lighter blue and a rich purple on violet, or contrast or complementary colors.

Like many of my hand-printed items, these were a one-of-a-kind project using styles of bags I had found in wholesale and retail shops. They inspired the ink colors which I mixed on the spot from acrylic paints and printed in an effort to get away from oil-based ink, which smells like tar, in printing in surfaces like this.

Houndstooth trim with turquoise

Houndstooth trim with turquoise, Kelly's Morning Bath.

Unfortunately, the gloss surface resisted the ink, causing puddling in some areas and striations in the coverage where it’s supposed to be solid. That’s what I thought was a failure, but I still liked the overall look of the bag.

But others, not concerned with the printing, liked the overall look.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

kitty printed gift bag

Shades of Violet, Large Gift Bag

That’s fine when printing on plain old flat paper, but when it comes to other surfaces, as I am fond of printing on, I always meet up with some challenges.

All these bags and more are available in various colors. You can find all of these bags in my Etsy shop under “Gift Bags”.

Tote Bags

I’ve been experimenting with various iron-ons to see how best to use favorite photographs and artwork featuring the Fantastic Four black cats and portraits of both cats and dogs on canvas bags.

The Natural Canvas Totes

For years I’ve been using several natural canvas bags with artwork printed on them, just picturing my own in its place, especially “After Dinner Nap” and “Peaches and Peonies”. I have two left of my last printing, including “After Dinner Nap”, below.

canvas tote bag with art

Canvas tote bag, "After Dinner Nap"

I decided to add some embellishments to these canvas bags, beginning with dimensional fabric paint and adding borders around the artwork, writing in the title below the piece and my signature, and adding a pattern to the edge of the bag opening. In the future I plan to add buttons and decorative trim, but only after I’ve tried them out to make sure they are washable, don’t catch on your clothing, or easily fall off!

canvas tote bag sophie keeps an eye on things

Canvas tote bag, "Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things"

Once I find a reliable source of canvas tote bags in a size and style I like, I’ll be printing more, including the black bags with black cats, but for now I still welcome spring with these two patterns. Soon enough I’ll include flowers as well!

You can find these printed canvas bags in my Etsy shop.


Colorful Kitty Gift Bags

Turquoise and Black, Medium Gift Bags, "Kelly's Morning Bath"

Turquoise and Black, Medium Gift Bags, "Kelly's Morning Bath"

When I printed gift bags last year, most were experiments with different styles of bags and especially inks/paints and other media to print the image onto the bag. Some worked, some really did not, but some fell in between. I held them back because they didn’t meet my specifications for printing, but I’ve learned to show others the items I’ve made that weren’t what I envisioned. I’ve found that often others see something entirely different in what I see are flaws, and that’s what happened with these bags.

Summery Colors Medium Gift Bags, Tabbies

Summery Colors Medium Gift Bags, Tabbies

I typically print my “Tabbies” and “Kelly’s Morning Bath” block prints in black or earth-tones, “kitty-tones” as I call them, but I’d long wanted to see them in whimsical colors and in various combinations. Using colored bags opened up the possibilities, printing tone on tone with a darker pink on a lighter pink, a darker blue on a lighter blue and a rich purple on violet, or contrast or complementary colors.

kitty printed gift bag

Lime and Blue Medium Gift Bag, Kelly's Morning Bath

Like many of my hand-printed items, these were a one-of-a-kind project using styles of bags I had found in wholesale and retail shops. They inspired the ink colors which I mixed on the spot from acrylic paints and printed in an effort to get away from oil-based ink, which smells like tar, in printing in surfaces like this.

Unfortunately, the gloss surface resisted the ink, causing puddling in some areas and striations in the coverage where it’s supposed to be solid. That’s what I thought was a failure, but I still liked the overall look of the bag.

kitty gift bag

Blue on Blue with Stripes, Medium Gift Bag, Kelly's Morning Bath

But others, not concerned with the printing, liked the overall look.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

That’s fine when printing on plain old flat paper, but when it comes to other surfaces, as I am fond of printing on, I always meet up with some challenges.

kitty printed gift bag

Shades of Violet, Large Gift Bag

But these bags are available. The six pictured above are uniques and I don’t think I could even find these any more! But I have six more in the style pictured at left, just a simple bag style in a solid color or white, printed with a “tone one tone” such as pink with red or blue with nave, or a color contrast, such as purple with black or white with purple.

You can find all of these bags in my Etsy shop under “Gift Bags”.


“Great Rescues” also available at my shop in Carnegie

 

great rescues calendar and gift book

I’ve set up a display of Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book at my shop in Carnegie Antiques, 423 West Main Street in Carnegie.

shop left corner

Colorful gift bags take center stage.

I am there from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every Wednesday, and I’ll soon plan an event there as well when I also bring in other new merchandise for fall.

In addition to my hours on Wednesday, the shop is open 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday.

If you live near me, please stop down for a visit! I have plenty of feline-themed merchandise to browse as well as wildlife, landscapes and other artwork, greeting cards, prints, photographs…oh, just stop down and see. I’ll be glad to sign your book with a dedication as well.

tortoiseshell cat on red velvet chair

This will do as a throne.

One of these days when the weather cools down and I don’t have so many errands before and after, Cookie will be able to assist me once again during shop hours. I really miss her!

 


Colorful Little Tabbies Gift Bags

three lilac gift bags

Set of three violet and purple Tabbies gift bags.

I just have a few left of last year’s printing of small pastel gift bags!

close up of lilac bag

Violet with purple, "Sunshine and Flowers"

I typically print my “Tabbies” in earth-tones or “kitty-tones” as I call them, but I’d long wanted to see them in whimsical colors and in various combinations. This was the pastel set, printing tone on tone with a darker pink on a lighter pink, a darker blue on a lighter blue and a rich purple on violet.

small blue gift bags

Cobalt on turqoise set.

The bag is 5.25″ x 7.75″ x 3″. The design is printed on both faces of the bag.

Like many of my hand-printed items, these were a one-of-a-kind project using a style of bags I had found in these three colors and decided to experiment. They inspired the ink colors which I mixed on the spot from acrylic paints, printed with, and tossed the small remainder. There will never be more bags like these!

Get a set to keep on hand for yourself, or give them as a spring gift to a friend who loves kitties.

red on pink bag

Red on pink, "Let Me Clean You Up"

Only one pink/red bag is left and a few turquoise/cobalt and violet/purple left. They are reduced in price from $3.00 per bag to $2.00, and $7.50 per set to $5.50 per set.

In addition, I’ve reduced shipping to $1.00 per bag and $3.00 per set of three since I can ship these first class in an oversized envelope instead of Priority Mail.

The stripes made me do it! The designs are in a four-part series of tabby cat block prints I call “Tabbies”. The clarity of tabby cat stripes as they outline a cat’s features and define its shape was the inspiration for the four designs in this series.

Two of the designs in this series of four were inspired by my cats: “Fawnball” is how Fawn always kept an eye on me, and “Wrinkled Pajamas” is how Stanley looked when he slept, like a pile of laundry. The other two designs, “Let Me Clean You Up” and “Sunshine and Flowers” are from friends’ photos.

Block printing is a technique wherein the artist carves the surface of a piece of linoleum, leaving raised areas which will become the image. Ink is rolled onto these raised areas, then a piece of paper is pressed against the block and when it’s lifted away the ink remains, leaving the image on the paper.

You can find all of these bags in my Etsy shop under “Gift Bags”.


See You at the Polish Hill Arts Festival, July 18!

the goddess t-shirt

"The Goddess" will be well represented on my table!

I don’t think there is one level spot anywhere in Polish Hill, but last year I managed to balance everything so that nothing slid off my table in this wonderful little one-day festival.

Still, that means I carry a lot of “soft” things, like crocheted washcloths, tote bags and greeting cards! Nearly everyone who visits has a cat or dog, and many dogs visit the festival with their people.

That obviously means I’ll have a lot of my animal-inspired merchandise! I love to show it off to an animal-loving population.

Join us July 18 from noon to 8 p.m. for a variety of vendors, local music all day long both ethnic and alternative (including a drum corps that will vibrate your very bones), lots of food made in the church basement and hopefully as nice a day as we had last year.

Read more about the festival in this flyer, and read more about Polish Hill, one of Pittsburgh’s traditional neighborhoods, on their website.


And finally, the e-newsletter!

black tote bag with five cats

"The Whole Family Gets Together"

It took a little longer than I had thought, but we finally got it done.

My quarterly e-newsletter encompasses not only what happens in my art studio and Portraits of Animals store, but also in my work as a graphic designer and web designer, a photographer and writer and other disciplines that utilize design, writing and promotion. It’s handy for people to know all the different things I do, and while I blog about it on a regular basis, there is really no better way to get the word out than to package everything together.

So please enjoy reading about not only the new animal-inspired merchandise, but also the environmental projects I’ve worked with, the performers I’ve had the pleasure of photographing and the newsletters I’ve designed.

And it’s good for me to stop once in a while and take a look at where I’ve been!

Now will you quit playing with that computer and play with us?!

I guess I’ve been a little bit preoccupied…

Read it here: http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/713503/c9fe8e1499/ARCHIVE


New Merchandise, Wow Am I Excited!

Gift Bag Display

Block-printed Gift Bag Display

I finishing up my latest e-newsletter, just as I’ve worked up the design and production of several new products. I recently featured cotton tote bags here, and I’ve expanded on that idea, and I’ve also designed a series of crocheted washcloths in addition to the pawprints.

close up of gift bags

A close-up of a few bags.

As you see above, I’ve also been working on ideas for gift bags. These are my “experiments” with block printing on bags, some of which worked fine, some of which did not. I purchased various styles of bags in various colors, then mixed various inks and paints to print. It was so much fun I had to stop myself before I had no more space to set them out to dry.

Studio with Cookie

Studio with Cookie.

The tricky part of it was finding a water-based ink or printing medium that would actually adhere to most bags without running when it got wet; normally I have to use oil-based ink for this, and that’s based on—guess what?—petroleum! YUK! We’ve all seen enough of that lately, it smells like tar balls and I have to use turpentine to clean it up. I don’t want me or my kitties to breathe that stuff any more.  So here’s my first venture into going petroleum-free in my studio. More on that later.

Cassie and Tyler Tote Bag--yes, dogs too!

Cassie and Tyler Tote Bag--yes, dogs too!

The cotton tote bags I featured last month were indeed pretty, but when put to the test by myself and others the lightweight cotton muslin just wasn’t strong enough; I usually load my bags, but I found myself being too careful about what I put in mine, which would result in not using it. I want you to have a product that you will use and will last for years, for your sake and for the sake that my kitties’ images are on them! I’ve been working with several canvas bags, and while I haven’t come up with the final bag I decided it was time to get the designs out there.

god i'm cute tote bag

"God, I'm Cute", one of the series of my black cats featured on black bags.

Really, part of designing products to sell is working out the materials and methods part of the idea, but the other part is audience response. I like these images, but I need to know what you think. While the gift bags and the tote bags are “not my final answer”, I’d love feedback on the designs. I always start out with images people have responded to generally, then find a product with which they are appropriate. Sometimes, though, I end up using things myself, so I value your opinion.

Flower Garden Wash Cloths

Flower Garden Wash Cloths, handmade from my own designs.

I’m creating my e-newsletter in Vertical Response this time; I’m trying out each one of the e-newsletter companies to see which one has the best deal for my usage level and design needs. I prefer to use these companies rather than setting up my own e-newsletter because they are a “safe send”, meaning your identity and contact information is kept in a database at Vertical Response and isn’t retrievable from the e-mail so it doesn’t lead any spam to you, plus I’m not using my own e-mail account and won’t be considered a spammer for sending too many messages. If you’d like to receive my e-newsletter, please e-mail me privately at bernadette@bernadette-k.com. I’ll enter it in the database for this first newsletter. You can opt out later if you decide you don’t want to receive it.

crocheted pawprint washcloths

Crocheted Pawprints, the "Brights" set.

My quarterly e-newsletter includes information about all of my work here in my studio, including my commercial art—graphic design, web design, illustration, writing, photography, etc., etc. It’s a way to let people who know me for one discipline learn about what I do in another and see all the influences in my life.

Thanks for looking at my new stuff! I’ll be back later…


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