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Sunday, November 30, 2014

December Free Downloads


When I was a child, I loved the snow.
Which was a good thing because in Wallace, Idaho, where I was born, one could count on several months of snow each year.

Nowadays, I like the idea of snow.
I like my snow pristine white and confined to paper:)

Like this month's free download.

This is an unsigned Adolfo Busi postcard. Busi was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1891. He died in 1977. The Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York has a 4-line bio about Busi. Which is more than the Italian Wikipedia site has. It always saddens me when information about the artist's life is lost ... . Especially, when they have left behind an impressive body of work!

My card was produced by Degami, a Milan publishing house. Now, the Italian Wiki site does give some interesting info about this. Began in 1900 by two Italians, they produced postcard designs from many big name Italian artists, such as Nanni, Corbella, Bertiglia and Busi.

They liked to print the cards in series of 4 which would usually be 3 different designs and then one mirror image. So, if you flip this download in a photo editing program (Image Rotation/Flip Canvas Horizontal) and print it again, you'll have half the series:)

The other two designs feature one of the children with an armload of snowballs and in another scene, one throws a snowball that makes contact right in the derriere.

I don't have the rest in the series but ... maybe by next December!

Now before I feel guilty about featuring an Italian postcard for this month's FrenchKissed freebie, I'll defend myself by saying that I have seen versions with the French Happy New Year greeting "Bonne Annee" printed on the front, designed to be specifically marketed for areas outside Italy.

And my card is quite French after all. I'll share the messy looking back side to prove it:)
It was mailed in France to Mademoiselle Julia Rolin in Braux, France (Ardennes department or county).
"Meilleurs voeux pour 1931 de tous." Best wishes for 1931 to all.
Signed: Colette.
You can't get much Frenchier than Colette, oui?!



Now, to show my appreciation for your becoming a FrenchKissed affiliate [translation: helping me advertise and spread the word about my digitals]  I'm including this second freebie, which also has some snow -- but holds promise of spring with sweet blue flowers.
I like the design because it beckons you to fill in the blank space! What will you put in there? A message or another pretty something/someone to tell a story?


My card is scribbled on verso, but most of the message has been torn away. Still, I can tell that it had an undivided back, which dates this beauty to 1903 or early.

I thank you in advance for sharing this month's free downloads with friends and telling them about my shop. Send them a link to this blog post or pass the downloads on to them with the info attached, s'il vous plait.
FYI: the 25% discount code for this month as noted on the downloads is Neige25. Neige is French for snow.
Just click on the postcard images and they will open big and bold in a new window. Right click/copy and save to your computer.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Enigma of the Artist's Signature Solved!



Two posts ago I wrote about a mystery that was driving me nuts: an artist named Gottaro who I could find zilch information about on the Internet.
A special thanks to Debbie in Norway (aka Daqa Doodles) who brainstormed with me on Gottaro/Gottano/Cottano/Cez Ottaro/Etc. Etc. We were both thinking along the same lines trying to decipher the artist's signature.
Well, I'm so very pleased to announce that the mystery has been solved, sort of. 

I say sort of because there still is very little known about this artist but at least I found out what his name is: 
EMILE BOTTARO. 

Yeah, yeah, once you KNOW his name, then you can make out the E encircled by the very funky B:)

The only reason I'm not embarrassed by the egg on my face is because I found many other postcard sellers who have been calling him "Gottaro" also. Quite by happenstance, I came across the name Bottaro and that led me to my French postcard 'bible': Neudin's Les Meilleures Cartes Postales d'Illustrateurs. From Neudin's, I learned that Bottaro was Italian and most of his art work was produced around 1900-1913 before World War I. Now, online sources say he was born in 1892, no death date given. I don't think the 1892 is accurate unless Mr. Bottaro was an art prodigy.
Anyway, now I have a better idea of Mr. Bottaro's art style and I'm happy to discover that I have more of his postcards than I realized.



A bit of trivia: there is an artist named Bottaro who is famous as a Disney illustrator. I can't help but wonder if Emile could be his father or grandfather ... 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Is This Your Grandpa?!



I have a bit of a quandary. I recently spent the better part of a day colorizing what I thought to be a portrait of a Victorian/Edwardian gentleman.
Around 2 or 3 that afternoon when I thought I was ready to list the item on Etsy, I checked the back of my card in search of more information. I often like to post the date my original card was mailed. Well ... imagine my chagrin when I flipped the card over and saw this.
I say 'chagrin' because notice that the birth of Mr. Van Cauwelaert is listed as 1885 but there is no death date given. Thanks to Google I immediately learned that this Belgian poet died in 1945.
If this postcard was printed, say, in 1937 or earlier, then I suppose the copyright issue, my initial main concern, is moot. But the more I thought about this, the more I felt knee-deep in an ethical question.
Most sites about Mr. Van Cauwelaert are written in Dutch and what I have gleamed is that he married and had two daughters. I don't know about the family tree beyond that, but ... imagine ... that you are his granddaughter or grandson.
How would you feel if you were surfing the web and came across a greeting card or someone's art journal page or an assemblage collage and voila!: there was GRANDPA!
How would you feel? Honored? Proud? Perplexed? Mad? Ready to sue!?

I have a great photo postcard of my own grandfather with his brother-in-law. The story, as I recall, is that the photo was taken the night before my grandfather's wedding. They have huge handkerchiefs tied around their shoulders. They are feeling no pain, if you know what I mean. The scene is so candid and so rich in 'instant story' without even knowing the backstory that I have toyed with the idea of making it available as a digital scan. And then, quickly dropped said idea!


Maybe I am overthinking everything. A tendency that I have. I know how I feel about the images I work with. I have the highest respect for these people and they are not just faces to make a buck off of. I reverently think about them, what their life might have been like, what kind of personality they had, their joys and sorrows. In essence, for a few hours I feel that I resurrect them and give them life again. I know that they are one of billions among the mass of humanity who have lived and died through the eons. But out of this sea of anonymity, I like to think that I give renewed meaning to this long forgotten life ... and I wonder if anyone, a hundred years from now, will do the same with a photo of me.

So ... back to Mr. Van Cauwelaert. Public figures are used to being in the public and having their faces plastered everywhere. Perhaps that's why I've never given any thought to sharing images of the turn-of-the-century stars and celebrities like Cleo de Merode or Anna Held. I've never given their grandchildren or great grandchildren a second thought. Mr. Van Cauwelaert  is also a public figure, albeit not well known. So ... what is the difference? I'm not sure.
There could be some legal copyright technicality that is niggling the back of my mind. The fact that Mr. Van Cauwelaert died relatively recently: 1945? I'm not sure how old he is in the photo. If he is in the prime of his life, say 30-ish, then that still dates the photo to about 1915 and very Edwardian.

What are your thoughts on this?
If he were your grandpa, how would you feel about finding his face for sale on Etsy?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gottaro the Artist and Anonymity


This is my latest listing on Etsy.
I have lots of questions about it and thought I'd try putting some of those questions out in blogland, too.
I find it incredible that in our age of information overload there are still some things that one can't find an iota of info about:)
I would love to know more about the lady's costume, what part of France she represents and what century. But all the more, I'd love to know about the artist "Gottaro."
Google is almost synonymous with god when it comes to being all-knowing. If you can't get results in English, you can switch to another language and voila! Even more info at one's fingertips in a matter of seconds.
And yet ... when it comes to Gottaro, I mostly get info about an artist named Gottardo. After I've convinced Google that I really do know how to spell what I'm looking for, that all-knowing well of knowledge dries up.
When I do a Google search using the image itself, I am instantly cheered when it says "no other images like this show up." That's music to a collector's ears, of course! But still ... it seems such an insult for an artist to die in oblivion.
So, OK, Blogland. Anyone know anything about this artist or this image? Anyone?!




PS If you dropped in to grab this month's free download, it's the post before this one and there's actually two freebies.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

FrenchKissed November Freebies and Coupon Code


I'm offering two freebies this month. 
In honor of Veteran's Day -- or Remembrance Day -- as it's called in many other parts of the world, I wanted to share this vintage photo that, in my opinion, oozes with ambiance and character and, oh, what a story it can tell. 
On the back of my photo postcard, it is dated 1941, so this photo would actually be from the beginning of World War II. The chemicals in the paper have done what chemicals often do after many decades and you'll notice the strange coloring. It almost looks like rust or mud. Instant time machine that transports us back there ...

Think of this photo and the soldiers when you want to remember what this month's Boomerang Discount Code is. In French "Poilu" means soldier. Well, literally it means hairy! (??!!) But from what I can deduce, a new soldier in the army is called a poilu and perhaps it's not until after he's proven his merit is he called a 'soldat'?? Similar to in the US when men are referred to as "GIs."
[IF I get some clarity on this from my American-French friend in Paris, I'll post an update.]


The postcard below is one of those that I can say: I've seen literally hundreds of thousands of postcards in my decade-plus of collecting and I have never seen this one before. Of course, with all those red accents, I love it.

So remember how this works. I give you these and you go out and tell the world about that wonderful digital scrapbooking/graphic arts shop named  FrenchKissed:)
When you're shopping in my Etsy store, just before you get ready to click that Paypal button, you'll see blue words "apply shop coupon." Type in Poilu25 in place of those blue words and you'll get 25% off your order. All month long.
It's my way of saying Merci Beaucoup for being a loyal customer who comes back again and again.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Special Delivery: Chocolate and Flowers


My original postcard is an early 1900s advertisement for Bendsdorp Cocoa, a cocoa and chocolate factory established in Amsterdam in 1840. Since then, ownership has changed hands a few times and the company is now based in France.

I've removed most of company's text and now you have space to customize and add your own creative touch.  I say "most" of the company's text because if you look closely, you'll see that along with the bouquet, the little gentleman caller also has an item in his pocket labeled "Cacao Ben....." The original powder was likely in a can, but we're going to use our imaginations and think of this as a chocolate bar:)

The text on the scan is pretty self-explanatory. Yes, this is where I bribe you to help me advertise my business:) But hey, I'm making it pretty easy, n'est-ce pas?
It's also my way of saying "merci beaucoup" to my regular, loyal customers who keep coming back again and again.
I don't care for complicated sales or marketing gimmicks. I figure this is as about as simple as I can get it. Just check here or on my Facebook page for the monthly Boomerang Code.

CLARIFICATION: I use the word Boomerang "Code" and I realize now that perhaps I should be calling it "coupon." Look for the blue words "apply shop coupon" under the Paypal logo during checkout on Etsy. That's where you input the "cacao25" coupon/code.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

September "Thank You" Freebie Download

I am running a bit late this month with this freebie but I'll blame the Labor Day holiday weekend for the holdup.
Also, I hesitated, vacillating between offering the image mostly "as is" or if I wanted to alter it substantially. I love the shabby chic look with the writing, the stamp and the franking combined with the French text. 

But the cool silver-ish Art Nouveau border and blue-green stamp are not my favorites to compliment all those warm shades of brown/ecru/tan/beige. Unfortunately, to alter those things quickly are not in my capabilities. But ... perhaps with the help of my magical Pixies at PIXC I can get things changed in the near future and turn her into a greeting card. Stay tuned to see what I come up with:)


In the meantime, I hope you'll be inspired and have your own creative fun.


Besides the thick pigtail and the wide belt around the thin waspy waist, what I really like about this postcard is the woman's pose, holding a small New Testament Bible in her hand. Note that she even has an ever so handy leather pouch danging from her waist to carry the Bible in when she's not using it.


Now, forgive me if what I'm about to say sounds like blasphemy, but I can't help let my imagination run wild, thinking of all the things one could substitute for the Bible. Thinking anachronistically, my first idea is to put a cell phone there! And yes, I'd have to add the words "Call me maybe." Remember that 2012 song by Carly Rae Jepsen that was CONSTANTLY playing on the radio?


And with that thought in mind, I'll be my own broken record and repeat from last month what I wrote then: 

I usually ask that you don't give 'share' FrenchKissed downloads but direct a person here to my blog. However, I decided that if I'm depending upon your help to do my advertising and spread the word about my digital scans in my Etsy shop, I should make it easy on you:) I've even added the September "boomerang" discount code to entice you to come back again and again.

Merci beaucoup!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August Freebie Download



There are certain things that one can never have enough of, such as Eiffel Tower postcards and samples of French script.

I put roses in that category, too.

These roses are extra special in my opinion because they are handpainted by "PB" (or is that BP?) I started to say this is a one-of-a-kind rose design, but ... it could be that our Edwardian artist copied these from another established artist like Catherina Klein. That's how many self-taught artists learned how to paint.

Original or a copy cat, it's irrelevant. These are lovely and have such a refreshing, cool look about them -- perfect to contemplate on a hot August day.

As for Maligny, where our talented artist lived -- well, I'll be honest. I started to clone that out. It reminds me of the word "malignant." Pronounced "ma leen ne," Wikipedia gives a whopping one line description:

Maligny is a commune in the Yonne department in Burgundy in north-central France. It is the birthplace of mathematician Maurice René Fréchet.

The population of Maligny in 2006 was 754. Sounds like my kind of place! I wonder if any of PB's descendants still live there ... ? 

Notice the "bonne fete" greeting. That's a person's namesake day based on Catholic calendar of saints. In the traditional Catholic calendar, August 25 is dedicated to St. Louis, King of France.  However, this card was not mailed to a man, but to Mademoiselle Louise. Close enough, eh? (Why her namesake day isn't March 15 for Sainte Louise of Marillac I can't explain.:)

Louise lived in Chablis, 5 miles down the road.

Now, I usually ask that you don't give 'share' FrenchKissed downloads but direct a person here to my blog. However, I decided that if I'm depending upon your help to do my advertising and spread the word about my digital scans, I should make it easy on you:) I've even added the August "boomerang" discount code. Note that the first one is a Jpeg and the second one is a PNG. Grab one or both,whichever format you prefer to use.

OK. Whatcha waiting for. Get to work!:)
Merci beaucoup!

PS: What's your preference: original look or no French script/no yellowing album stains?


Monday, July 7, 2014

Nothing says Summer like BUGS!


Isn't it quirky how we humans consider some bugs 'cute' and others we just want to swat and kill  instantly? I particularly like beetles. This one is stephanorrhina guttata, commonly known as the Spotted Flower Beetle. Common, that is, if you live in Nigeria or Cameroon. It grows to be just under an inch long. My version is bigger: about 3 inches. The top picture is a JPEG and it will print with the white background. But if you hate cutting stuff out like I do, then I suggest you try the bottom digi which is a PNG. It will print out with a transparent background.*
By the way, I get all my PNG cutouts done by Holly and her magical Pixies at Pixc.

Now, if you love bugs and want more, do please check out my Etsy listing for a whole 8x10 inch page of lovely winged flying things and funky beetles created from little French 'chromos': full color prints given away as gifts inside chocolates at the turn of the century.


*Right click and the image will appear in a new window for you to copy and save to your computer.

If you want to share this FrenchKissed freebie with your friends, please don't pass on the digi itself but give them the link to my blog so they can download it directly from my site. (It's an ethical thing I have about crediting sources and educating folks that just because it's digital and on the web doesn't mean it's free to copy. Permission from the original poster is the higher road to take:)

Merci beaucoup!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Garden Party

We don't have fashion rules as strict as those in the 'old days' but I think you'll agree that nothing says 'summer' like ladies dressed in white.

Right click and the image will appear in a new window for you to copy and save to your computer.

If you want to share this FrenchKissed freebie with your friends, please don't pass on the digi itself but give them the link to my blog so they can download it directly from my site. (It's an ethical thing I have about crediting sources and educating folks that just because it's digital and on the web doesn't mean it's free to copy. Permission from the original poster is the higher road to take:)

Merci beaucoup!