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New art for Outlander Season 3

We love Outlander! Our newest drawing to celebrate Season 3 is now available. It’s been fun drawing an homage to the Outlander series written by Diana Gabaldon and adapted for TV by Ronald D. Moore for Starz. My latest artwork features a sea turtle diving from inside a compass circle. Other details include the palms of Jamaica, a sunset over the Caribbean, chains, a heart with prison bars, celtic knots, and standing stones. Of course, the Printshop sign is prominently displayed. The entire piece is capped off with an 18th century tall ship at full sail. This latest art is the third in a series of drawings in celebration of Outlander. Each is available as a signed, limited-edition 8 x 10-inch print on heavy-weight, premium, watercolor paper in full color. Matted prints are also available. 5 x 7 prints and cards are available upon request. Buy all three 8 x 10 prints for $65.00 and save! We hope you enjoy our homage to Outlander.

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Give A Fig Organizational Planners

We are very excited to announce that Give A Fig has partnered with Limelife Planners https://www.limelifeplanners.com to produce three unique monthly and weekly organizational planners. Each planner features our whimsical, hand-drawn art that we enjoy creating so much. These are not your typical planners!

Why are our planners different? They feature fresh, modern, uncluttered designs in bright colors to help you organize. Each planner celebrates the Give A Fig artwork you’ve grown to love from our line of Give A Fig cards and gifts. They are handmade locally in Pennsylvania.

The planners are created on beautiful paper, with laminated covers and spiral binding. Inside pages include inspirational quotes, calendars, note columns, list pages, ideas, organizing pages, and more.

These are very special! Currently you can choose from one of three designs: Flights of Fancy, Garden, or Cooking. More designs are also in the works!

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When Suzanne and Eileen first met Leslie, the owner of Limelife Planners at a local coffee shop, they were immediately impressed by Leslie’s attention to quality, detail, and her clean design style. Leslie, the owner at Limelife Planners says: “I co-founded Limelife Planners several years ago out of my love for planners, but not really finding designs I liked or the ability to be able to customize. I like uncluttered weekly and monthly pages, but still enjoy colorful designs. Limelife is the perfect balance of clean and fun.”

There are pages to track exercise routines and diet. Others for motivation and holiday planning. There are columns and boxes for lists and notes next to calendar pages so you can keep track of all the events and activities in your busy life.

Suzanne says, “I am simply thrilled with the various ideas that Leslie has introduced into her Limelife Planners. Our art and design with Limelife’s extraordinary style are a wonderful fit. I can’t wait until our customers see these in person!”

Are you into Bullet Journals? They are the Analog System for the Digital Age! Bullet journaling is a method for organization that is flexible to your style. Many of us are enjoying our Bullet Journals and now, these wonderful Give A Fig Limelife Planners give you the flexibility to organize by the week and month in a fun and beautiful way like your Bullet Journal.

Here’s a link to a video that shows you the various pages and features of a Limelife Planner: https://youtu.be/xQs0ZK1keNA

We’re so excited about these new planners and we’re sure you will be too.

Peace & Joy for the Holidays

gaf-peacejoy16-smWe are very excited to present our new Give A Fig™ card for 2016—Peace & Joy for the holidays! It was so much fun to research this concept, sketch out our approach, and create the final artwork.

I started with the idea of a partridge in a pear tree but it’s always important to me to explore a fresh approach—one that’s unexpected and incorporates other ideas and symbols. There are many things going on in this little frosty scene than appears at first glance!

Many of you know the English Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The song was published in 1780 but it’s thought to be a much older song of French origin. Some believe each cumulative gift represents aspects of Christianity and more specifically the Catholic faith. See Snopes: http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/music/12days.asp

Regardless of any secret meanings behind the lyrics, I’ve always loved the song and the imagery of a partridge in a pear tree. By the way, this is what a real partridge looks like! I also included four calling birds—the wee purple songbirds represent “joy.”

There are other meaningful symbols from pre-Christian celebrations at the Winter Solstice incorporated here. Many of these traditions were adopted by Christians in their celebrations of Christmas. http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-general/why-christmas-held-25th-december-001161

Deer and rabbits are shy animals. They’re widely hunted and need to hide to avoid becoming prey. In my artwork, they represent “peace.” It’s a quite, snowy day in an orchard, a pear has fallen from the tree and the birds are singing. A lovely stag with a jeweled collar sniffs the fallen fruit while a large, white hare admires the scene.

The hare wears a collar of holly sprigs. Along with the holly, I drew ivy growing on the tree, fir trees in the background, and small white berries to represent mistletoe. All of these plants had special meanings in ancient times, especially to the Druids of Celtic tribes. During the dark and barren days of winter, holly was prized for its green leaves and bright berries, signifying the green of growth and fertility and the red (or blood) of the renewal of springtime. The Romans used it in their winter celebrations known as the Saturnalia. http://www.druidry.org/library/trees/tree-lore-holly

Ivy has the ability to bind all things together. It can wander freely, linking tree to tree and providing shelter. The image of fir trees, prevalent this time of year, has many meanings. In some countries, it was believed that evergreens kept evil out of the home—evil spirits and illnesses. For this reason, evergreen boughs were often cut down and hung over doorways and inside the home. The green branches represented everlasting life.

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant associated with healing. http://www.theholidayspot.com/christmas/history/mistletoe.htm It was greatly venerated by the ancient Celts and Germans and used as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans. The Greeks and earlier peoples thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs. From the earliest times mistletoe was one of the most magical, mysterious, and sacred plants of European folklore. It was considered to bestow life and fertility; a protection against poison; and an aphrodisiac.

Our Give A Fig™ holiday card for 2016 features a richly meaningful scene with birds and animals in the snow and a central pear tree. During this festive time of year, we wish everyone “Peace & Joy.” Please enjoy your time with family and friends, spend time outdoors in the beauty and tranquility of nature, and don’t forget to put out food for the birds and wildlife, and hug your beloved pet friends.

New Give A Fig Partners!

To Give A Fig™ means to care and we have many new partners who love our cards and Give A Fig™ too! See this link for a complete list of partners: http://giveafig.net/partners

gaf-mushroom-smmushroom-capaKennett Square, Pennsylvania, is known as the mushroom capital of the world. A great store in town called “The Mushroom Cap,” has a variety of gifts, toys, and collectibles. Of course they also have a wide selection of fresh mushrooms including white, crimini, shiitake, oyster, portabello and more.  You can even see a video about how mushrooms are grown and harvested. http://themushroomcap.com. They are thrilled to offer one of our newest Give A Fig™ card designs, “Thanks a bunch” featuring mushrooms, of course!

ellaa In Guilford, Connecticut, there’s a very special boutique named “Ella Where She Shops.” http://ellawheresheshops.com If you need a personal stylist or the perfect option for what to where around town or to a fancy event, this is the place to go. From cashmere to leather, silver to jeans, you can find essentials that fit any mood and style. And now this unique shop features Give A Fig™ cards! If you’re shopping for a gift or something for yourself, you can pick up our cards there for any occasion.

We love “Le Beau Gardens” in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. le-beaua http://www.lebeaugardens.com You’ll find outstanding trees, shrubs, perennials, and flowers for planting, gardening, and gift-giving. They know there is something about flowers and plants that make them the most cherished gifts. But whether it is simply a spontaneous gesture of your appreciation or a special occasion like a birthday or holiday, the Gift & Holiday Shoppe also features lovely fine gifts to choose from including jewelry and now Give A Fig™ cards!

gaf-snowcard Celebrate the Season and visit these fine stores for your gifts and Give A Fig™ cards. I think you’ll love all these shops as much as we do. Check them out and let us know how much you like them too.

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Calendars and Notebooks

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New products that feature our distinctive designs.

People have been asking for other products from Give A Fig™. We are excited to present our new 2017 calendar with 12 months of our distinctive designs. It measures 11 x 7.5 inches tall on premium, heavy-weight paper. The top includes a hole punched and tied with hemp for hanging and to hold the pages together. If you like to jot down important notes on specific dates, there is room.

We are also thrilled to offer new small notebooks or mini-journals. They measure 5 x 7 inches, and include a heavy weight premium cover with 12 blank pages inside. The inside covers are printed in our signature purple fig color and include an area for personalization. These little notebooks are handy for making notes to store in your purse or backpack.

These new products are available here. We make orders easy with a cart, check out, and shipping figured out for you. You can pay by PayPal. If that is not convenient, contact Suzanne through the contacts page and we will be sure you get what you need.

New Celtic Dragonfly Card

gaf-dragonflyceltic-smEarlier this year, I created a limited edition print featuring a large central dragonfly amidst Celtic symbolism. I was inspired to create my art as an homage to “Outlander,” the beloved, bestselling books by Diana Gabaldon, now a hit TV series on Starz.

The second book in the series is entitled, “Dragonfly in Amber.” The “Outlander” story follows Claire, a WWII nurse who is mysteriously transported back in time to the early 18th century after falling through a circle of standing stones in the Scottish Highlands. She marries a Highlander outlaw, Jamie, and together they struggle to save themselves and the Highland way of life from British overlords.

I’m inspired by art and nature, and here I was also intrigued by the author’s title, “Dragonfly in Amber.” The motif of a dragonfly has many meanings, but with the addition of the insect set in amber, it becomes even richer. Amber is known as the “memory stone” and is thought to contain magical properties. It locks thoughts and memories in place to keep them safe. Amber is seen as a window into the past. It is ground and used medicinally for soothing. This organic gemstone is formed over millennia from the hardened resin of ancient pine trees. It remains but transforms in time.

In the story, Jamie and Claire wonder if it is possible to change time, specifically to avoid the disastrous Battle of Culloden. The dragonfly is a universal symbol of “change.” But when “change” is trapped in amber, then the object that symbolizes change is frozen in time and cannot be transformed. Change becomes part of memory. In this case, the dragonfly may represent the Scots’ defeat on Culloden moor, which changed the Gaelic way of life in the Highlands forever.

There are many other interpretations of this title which makes it such a rich metaphor. Gabaldon has stated it symbolizes Jamie and Claire’s marriage. In my artwork, I incorporated many symbols from the story. The dragonfly glows within an amber sphere, along with other icons. Notice Claire’s two wedding rings, interwoven like an infinity symbol. There is a star-filled dome that refers to the King’s chamber at Versailles. The top ring doubles as a compass, alluding to “Voyager,” the next book in the series. The word “CHANGE” is inscribed there with the “N” pointing north on the Eiffel Tower—a nod to Claire’s time in Paris during the war. A fleur de lys of France sits at the south point. The silver ring contains two hearts for Jamie and Claire above the purple mountains of the Highlands. The curved lines on either side of the dragonfly create balance and harmony while honoring the Gaelic culture. The spirals may also represent horseshoes for good luck, clefs and musical notes, snakes, and the twisting storylines of plot and subplot.

This Celtic knotwork weaves in and out of the standing stones of Craigh na Dun to ground the entire design in Scotland, now incorporated into a new greeting card with a Celtic border. I hope you enjoy it! Look for two new designs coming soon for the first book, “Outlander,” and the third book, “Voyager!”

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S & L Services, our newest Give A Fig partner!

img_3487We are excited to announce that S & L Services is our newest Give A Fig™ partner! S & L Services provides professional design, printing, and copy services in Kennett Square PA. They also sell stationery, office supplies, and gift items.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer Suzanne’s line of premium, handcrafted greetings!” says Sandy Tapia, store owner along with her husband Luis. This family-owned business is also a valuable asset to the Spanish-speaking community.

“We’ve worked with Suzanne for a long time, providing quality printing and copying for her award-winning communication design business. It’s exciting to feature her beautiful cards to our local community.”

As you know, at Give A Fig™ we care and we give back to our community by donating a portion of profits to the arts and the environment. Our messages come from the heart. We are an American stationery company with a line of socially-responsible, eco-friendly, superior-quality greeting cards and stationery gifts. Give A Fig™ cards are produced on premium recycled, FSC-certified paper with soy-based inks. Renewable resources such as wind and solar provide 100% of the energy for our studio. Because Give A Fig™ is committed to giving back, a portion of every Give A Fig™ card sold helps support the arts and the environment in our community.

It means so much to find local partners who also Give A Fig like Sandy and Luis. Be sure to check out S & L Services for all your printing and copy services, and ask about our Give A Fig™ cards. Thank you!

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Our favorite fungi

gaf-mushroom-smHere’s a preview of our newest Give A Fig™ card, featuring our favorite fungi! In Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where our Give A Fig™ studio is located, it is known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World” because mushroom farming in the region produces over a million pounds of mushrooms a week. To celebrate this heritage, Kennett Square has an annual Mushroom Festival when the town hosts a parade, tours of mushroom farms, and artisans and food vendors sell all kinds of goodies. There is also a large, lighted mushroom that gets lowered from on high by a countdown on New Year’s Eve like in Times Square!

Here are a few unusual and interesting facts about mushrooms. (Thank you Fungi Perfecti for compiling these!)

1. Mushrooms are fungi. Fungi are as uniquely different from plants as plants are from animals. In fact, fungi and animals are now in the same super-kingdom, Opisthokonta.

2. Fungi recycle plants after they die and transform them into rich soil. If not for mushrooms and fungi, the Earth would be buried in several feet of debris and life on the planet would soon disappear.

3. The oldest mushroom found in amber is from 90 million years ago—a Cordyceps. Scientists recently discovered a fossil first uncovered in 1859 and named Prototaxites, dating back more than 420 million years, a time when the tallest plants were around 2 feet tall. Prototaxites was 3 feet tall laying down, but if standing was nearly 30 feet high. In either case it would be the tallest organism on land… and it was a giant fungus!

4. Some of the oldest living mushroom colonies are fairy rings growing around the famous Stonehenge ruins in England. The rings are so large that they can best be seen from airplanes.

5. You can make beautiful colors by boiling wild mushrooms and dipping cloth in the resulting broth. The book The Rainbow Beneath My Feet shows you how to make dyes with mushrooms.

6. Many mushrooms grow towards light, following the sun just like other plants. Unlike plants, scientists do not yet know how mushrooms use sunlight; only that they do.

7. The spores of mushrooms are made of chitin, the hardest naturally-made substance on Earth. Some scientists suspect that mushroom spores are capable of space travel; a few even believe that some fungi found on Earth originally came from outer space! (Others believe that people who think this must be from outer space themselves.)

8. Under the right conditions, some mushrooms’ spores can sit dormant for decades or even a century, and still grow!

9. Mushrooms are useful not only as food and medicine; some are also being used in bioremediation, to absorb and digest dangerous substances like oil, pesticides, and industrial waste in places where they threaten the environment.

At Give A Fig™, we care and we give back. When you choose a Give A Fig™ card, you show that you Give A Fig™ too. Thanks a bunch for choosing Give A Fig™ cards!

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Give A Fig™ cards can now be found at Sarafina Fiber Art

We are excited to announce that Give A Fig™ cards can now be found at our newest partner store, Sarafina Fiber Art in Elkton, Maryland.

Sarafina Fiber Art is a supplier of quality materials and the resources and friendly support to make fiber art fun and easy for anyone. We specialize in needle felting supplies, the perfect fibers for needle felted sculpture, instructional kits and original Sarafina tools. Each of our products is created, designed, and delivered with attention to detail and a sense of humor. Whether you are a hobby felter, professional fiber artist, or collector we have what you need for heart felt fun.

There are also decorative goods, jewelry, and other beautifully crafted artisan gifts available in the store. Take a look at this sampling of some of the gorgeous fiber art created at Sarafina:

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We think our Give A Fig™ cards, which are all carefully designed and produced with premium materials in the USA, perfectly compliment the beauty in this store. Sarafina Gives A Fig and we are proud to be a part of their creative vision. When you’re in the area, please stop by and say hi to Sara and her staff at Sarafina Fiber Art!

Our new sales partner, Eileen

Welcome Eileen, our new sales partner!

We’re excited to introduce our new sales partner, Eileen Butler. Eileen has joined the Give A Fig™ team because she cares about the environment and loves to support local artisans.

Suzanne has known Eileen for more than twelve years. They first met while Eileen was working with Suzanne’s husband, John, at a state nature society affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation renowned for its educational programming and advocacy. Eileen and staff provided the tools for communities to take action and protect the environment through land preservation and watershed stewardship. Today, the society manages more than 2,000 acres of land, including four nature preserves, and operates four educational centers.

Eileen is guided by her strong environmental ethic and dedication to nature, animals, and the land. She lives in rural Maryland with her son, Scott, and many lovable cats, surrounded by native plant gardens and a wildlife habitat for fox, deer, songbirds, and hawks.

“I love Give A Fig™ cards! They perfectly capture a sense of individual spirit and whimsy. Each design is beautifully conceived and comes from a place of joy.” Eileen said, adding, “it is vitally important to surround yourself, and especially your inner circle, with people who will challenge you to be a better person. Suzanne and John Gaadt are consummate professionals and quality people that strive to do their best in both their professional and personal life. Suzanne, the talented artist/owner of Give A Fig™ uses her talents to help others such as young kids in the community who are at risk. That is very attractive to me personally. The artistic designs are just so original, detailed and colorful. As an avid environmentalist I also appreciate that the cards are printed on recycled paper that is Forest Stewardship Council Certified so I know it is sustainably harvested. That is very important to me.”

Eileen grew up in New York and graduated from University of Delaware. Guided by strong beliefs, she lives what she proclaims, “with an entrepreneurial spirit, I believe in recycling, living in a small carbon footprint, and I strive to make decisions that will be beneficial to the environment, not just my wallet. I believe in supporting small businesses and look to do so whenever possible, and I believe in cultivating long-term relationships that are central to my personal and professional success.”

Look for her to stop by soon to say hello! She’s also planning some fun, new sales efforts. She’ll be reaching out to all of our existing customers in the next few weeks to check in, as well as visiting potentially new partners who Give A Fig™. Thank you, Eileen, and WELCOME!