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Marketplace: April 2017 Feline Sampler Box

 April 2017 Feline Sampler Box: Welcome Spring!
April 2017 Feline Sampler Box: Welcome Spring!

Yes, April, even though it’s now July. I took a break after the holidays and began my sampler boxes again in April, but the weather was not good for outside photos. I finally resorted to an indoor photo just to get a start on getting caught up on my Sampler Box posts.

My April 2017 Feline Sampler welcomes spring with warm and pastel colors that remind me of late winter sun and early flowers. I’ve included some art and photos created during that time too.


Click each photo to see an enlarged version.

I choose contents to give you the most variety in each item. I take into account not only item but style, medium, size, subject,—even a particular feline subject, color or coat pattern, or a particular anniversary with one of my feline family—as well as season, holiday, color palette and the message it sends, as with greeting cards. You’ll see a good sample of not only my work but also the beauty and inspiration of felines so that, whether you keep the contents for yourself or give them as gifts or donations, you’ll find something that fits nearly every occasion.

Below the list of contents you can read more about each of the items and why I chose them for this Sampler Box, and a link to the item on Portraits of Animals.


Featured print: “Two Cats After van Gogh”, oil pastel, 5” x 7″, double-matted for 8” x 10” frame

Counter print: “Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things”, photo, 8” x 10”




Hearts and Cats Frame: handpainted wooden frame


“Tabbies”, Primaries hand-printed wrapping paper.

About the contents

Featured Print: “Two Cats After van Gogh

Two Cats After van Gogh matted print
Two Cats After van Gogh matted print

It’s hard to believe five years have gone by since I painted this little oil pastel. It led the way to a whole new style of painting I’d never known was in my.

After seeing the “Van Gogh Up Close” exhibit I wanted to work the same energy and form I saw in his brush strokes choosing oil pastel to layer and blend the strokes. It’s Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine, just quietly hanging together on the landing, Giuseppe sitting upright, Sunshine loafing. Originally the sketch had only the two cats but I decided that if I was to truly create homage to van Gogh, I needed to have a background for these two to exist within, especially that lovely cerulean blue and turquoise van Gogh often used. I scraped my name into the oil pastel in the lower left as Vincent often did in his paint.

I am honored that this painting, and the series based on it, won the President’s Award in the Cat Writers’ Association 2013 Communications Contest.

The print is 5” x 7″ and I’ve matted it with russet and pale yellow, pulling colors from the art, to fit into an 8″ x 10″ frame. This matted version is only available in my sampler boxes, but you can request it if you’d like one.

You can also find “Two Cats After van Gogh” in my gallery of feline artwork.

Counter print: “Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things

cat with forget me nots and lace curtain
“Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things”

Whenever spring comes around I always remember Sophie peeking through the curtains, watching me leave the house as the light turned golden, and though I was late, as always, stopping and turning to take a photo. I will never regret that decision.

Sophie was always in one of the windows when I left and when I returned, and she always managed to use the curtains to dramatic advantage. This is one of my fondest memories of her, nestled in the creamy lace with the spring-blooming forget-me-nots in the windowbox.

Greeting and Note Cards

The sympathy card for this month features Cookie in “Cookie Looks at Me”, taken on an April morning as I worked at my desk. When I designed my sympathy cards and sorted through my photos to see which one would be good for tortie lovers and this somewhat somber tilted-head pose from Cookie chose to be a part of those cards.

The art card is “Are You Looking at Me?” even though the scene is from late winter because the light is still very much the same, and I’d missed including this image in a sampler box for the months I decided to skip, so you get to be charmed by Kublai.

Surprise!” is brand new! I’ve been wanting to design some square photo cards in part because some of my photos just lend themselves to the shape. Basil’s photo in the yellow basket is the photo card this month of it’s debut. For now the square cards will be 6″ x 6″ because…I bought a closeout of 6″ x 6″ square envelopes and I’m just going to use them up. After that they will be 5″ x 5″.

This month’s note card includes Sophie once again in In The Box, one of the “Feline Pencil Sketches” set. No particular reason, I just like the idea of including Sophie again.

This month’s non-feline card is Get Well Soon from my “Inspired by Flowers” all-purpose greeting cards collection because it’s got my neighbor’s spring tulips on it.

I’ve begun including gift bags in each of my gift boxes as well so you can get a closer look a them. This bag is Holly on the Rocker, but each sampler box will get a different bag depending on my arbitrary choice. Sometimes it’s fun to just let it happen and not plan every little detail!

GIFT ITEM: Hearts and Cats Picture Frame

Hearts and Cats Wooden Frame
Hearts and Cats Wooden Frame

I purchase unfinished frames and add color and black cat silhouettes in acrylic paint. Your photo fits in the heart-shaped opening. Frames are 5.5 x 8.5 and are displayed using dowel pegs in the back of the frame. I add a hanging hook as well just in case you’d like to hang it on the wall.

The silhouette I used for these frames was adapted from a marker sketch of three cats called “Three Cat Shapes”, modeled by Giuseppe. I switched the tail to an angle that worked better with the layout of the frame. I also added the pawprints near the heart because it just needed a little something over there, just purrfect for a few little kitty paws.

Packaging the Sampler Box

Wrapping paper, "Tabbies", in primary colors.
Wrapping paper, “Tabbies”, in primary colors.

I’ve printed “Tabbies” as note cards and a few times on textiles, but this year I decided it would be a natural for wrapping paper. It is a linoleum block print which, when I cut the block, has all four designs on one block. Each sheet of paper is hand-printed on 100# Kraft paper, about 24″ x 30″. I cut a sheet in half to wrap each of this month’s sampler boxes.

I can tell you right now that I can finally justify getting a roll of white butcher paper to print on, and I have several other ideas for printing this design on paper, some of which you’ll see in upcoming sampler boxes.


Use the prints and cards for yourself, gifts or donations to help cats. Any of the prints, whether the main print or a framed note card, can be given as a gift to a family member or friend, or as a thank you to a veterinarian or veterinary technician, pet sitter, groomer or anyone else in your life who would enjoy a cat-themed gift. They can also help other cats by being donated to online auctions or shelter and rescue events to help raise much-needed funds.


I use as many environmentally friendly and fully non-toxic materials as possible in my packaging so I use as much recyclable paper as possible, which includes the glassine bag holding your cards. However, on the chance that you may donate or give one of your prints as gift, they are packed in a clear print bag or cellophane wrap depending on their size, and this is not recyclable but you may be able to reuse it. I both recycle any packaging I get that is clean and reusable, and use as many recyclable materials as possible. Read more here.


Read a review of my May Sampler Box from Melissa Lapierre of Melissa’s Mocha’s, Mysteries and Meows! Of course, my house panthers are all lying around here like, “of course!”

Read a review of my May Sampler Box from Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat! Yes, they are still applauding themselves!

Order your own Sampler Box

I’m offering a sampler box with a single box or a three month box subscription to each of the lists—visit this page to read about it and sign up for your box or sign up below. Each box will include the following items in a design appropriate to the audience, cats, nature, or specialty animal professionals or wholesale:

  • 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
  • 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

As mentioned above, 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.

[ss_product id=’c101d8ee-df8b-11e5-ba6a-0cc47a075d76′ ]Sampler Boxes[/ss_product]

April 2017 Feline Sampler Box: Welcome Spring!
April 2017 Feline Sampler Box: Welcome Spring!

Find other Gift Items.

Browse other feline-themed holiday cards and nature-themed holiday cards.

Read about other Feline Sampler Boxes on Portraits of Animals.

Order a Previously Distributed Sampler Box

You can purchase any prior Feline Sampler Box. When I send them originally I only put together as many as were ordered, but unless I am completely out of a special handmade item I usually have all the contents here in my studio. They cost a little more than the original because the extra time it takes to put one together, and when I ship several similar packages at once I get a discount.

You can purchase one here, or read more about them and see a gallery of sampler boxes. Choose the sampler box by month.

[ss_product id=’f5799b54-2056-11e7-9321-002590785994′ ]Purchase a Prior Feline Sampler Box[/ss_product]


Mimi helps me with cutting mats for the Sampler Box prints.
Mimi helps me with cutting mats for the Sampler Box prints.

Mimi helps me with cutting mats for the Sampler Box prints

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Marketplace is a feature on The Creative Cat to share the latest coming out of my studio with my readers. Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

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Subscribe to The Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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© 2022 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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