Archive for #GiveAFig1

Calendars and Notebooks


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!”

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!

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!

Give A Fig™ cards now at Winterthur Museum

Give A Fig™ art cards are now available at Winterthur Museum bookstore! Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library is a world-reknowned institution nestled on 1,000 acres of rolling piedmont in northern Delaware. The estate museum houses one of the most important collections of American decorative arts including rare furnishings, antiques, and books in the United States of America.

Tour the house to see exquisite spaces in which founder Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) entertained family and friends in grand style. The 175 rooms, many of them with historical architecture, are furnished with his outstanding collection of antiques and selections from nearly 90,000 objects masterfully arranged.

Outdoor at Winterthur, enjoy rolling hills, streams, meadows, and forests. H. F. du Pont selected only the choicest plants from around the world to enhance the natural setting, arranging them in lyrical color combinations and carefully orchestrating a succession of bloom from late January to November. Du Pont translated his love of the land into a unified work of art that embodies a romantic vision of nature’s beauty.

At Give A Fig™, our love of beautiful natural spaces and historic cultures translates into unique designs that celebrate nature and the arts. Every card is produced on the best available premium paper that is environmentally responsible with an FSC-certified recycled paper, soy-based inks, and low-emission, alternative energy sources.

We think our Give A Fig™ art cards are a perfect fit with Winterthur’s dedication to the highest ideals of beauty, history, and nature. We’re excited for you to visit Winterthur and check out our cards for sale in the bookstore.

E-cards and paper greetings

I admit I sometimes send an E-card. It may seem crazy to write this on my PAPER GREETING CARD blog, but there are times when they make sense. And who knows, some day GIVE A FIG™ may even develop online greetings. In fact, friends have asked and we are looking into the technology.

Here’s a fun site for unusual (and sometimes “raunchy”) greetings, with the tagline: Free E-cards that don’t suck.

One reason we at GIVE A FIG™ believe so strongly in paper greetings (despite the cost of postage, the speed of “snail mail” and the environmental impact of paper and print production) is because people still LOVE to get a personal message on paper, even in this fast-paced electronic age. Or maybe because of it! Whether a card is mailed or is handed out, the recipient understands that the sender cared enough to search for, purchase, write a message, and seal their greeting in an envelope to be delivered to them. Birthday, holiday, and thank you cards are very popular. In fact, annual retail sales of paper cards are estimated at $7 billion.

Here’s an older article about the paper card vs. e-card debate. In summary, it suggests that the two complement each other.

What do you think?