Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Marketplace: Feline Vintage Cigar Box Keepsakes


Keepsakes, votives and coasters on display.
Keepsakes, votives and coasters on display.

I had another stash of vintage cigar boxes in reserve and decided it was time to make some new keepsakes from them. Because I was preparing for Hearts and Paws last weekend, the first group of keepsakes were all feline designs and those are the ones I feature here. I’m working on the flower designs and will post them as soon as I have them finished.

Summer Living Keepsake
Summer Living Keepsake

About the boxes

These cigar boxes are the old-style cardboard type, the ones we probably all grew up with around the house, holding photos and hardware and handkerchiefs. These boxes are in varying states of wear and tear, written on, watermarked, with holes from thumbtacks and dinged up corners and warped lids, but usable for brand new works of creative whatever. A few needed the paper hinges on the lids repaired and a few corners reconstructed.

As I decorated the boxes I left some of the text and art for vintage’s sake, especially that on the inside, often embossed and very decorative, and on the back, which often showed where the cigars originated and with original handwriting ensuring their inventory and authenticity. I also incorporated some of the original exterior decoration and trim into my designs on a few boxes.

The artwork is printed on acid-free label stock and adhered to the top surface. The lids are a little warped but cover the contents, though they might flip open if the box is tipped.

Black and Light
Black and Light

Special: Two Keepsake Boxes for $25.00

Maybe you want a gift or it’s hard to choose just one, this special discount applies all the time on all designs of keepsake boxes for $15.00, nature and cats: buy two keepsake boxes for $25.00, use the discount code 25FORTWOKEEPSAKES. You get a $5.00 discount when you buy two. All tax, shipping and handling are included in that price. Buy one for yourself and one for a friend!

Here is a gallery of all of them with the name of each design. You can find them all on my Keepsakes page in my Handmade Gift Gallery.

Just remember that these boxes are unique, and when each box is sold it’s gone, so if you are interested in one, get it now.

A special keepsake

A friend purchased a keepsake from me at the Hearts & Paws event last year. It was to hold cremains and memories of a hospice cat she’d fostered and had to put to sleep. When I saw her prior to the event she mentioned she’d be looking for another box for another special kitty. I asked her what the kitty looked like and if I could I’d use art that would work for her memory.

The kitty was a long-haired tortie, and while I’ve fostered a number of long-haired torties I knew I didn’t have any artwork. The keepsakes usually feature a more fine art look, or a more finished look, not a sketch, but one image came to mind, “Kelly With Grapes and Apple”. I debated, it wasn’t a piece of artwork someone would consider pretty, especially since Kelly’s face is entirely in shadow and it’s all a little abstract. I actually decided against, then for, back and forth.

When I finally got to the keepsakes the day before the event I decided just to go with it. A square keepsake fit the image perfectly and even though I still had a shred of a doubt my inner voice said it was the right thing to do. It looked beautiful when finished.

Kelly Keepsake
Kelly Keepsake

When she came to my area we talked and I was actually uncertain about the keepsake again. Normally I’d pull it out of the display and hand it to the person, but I just wasn’t sure so I gestured where the cigar box keepsakes were displayed and let her decide. None of the others look at all like a tortie, and I decided to just suggest, pointing my hand at the keepsake, on the end of the row, and telling her I wasn’t sure if this art was good for her tortie but this was the keepsake I’d made if she liked it.

But she had already seen it, reached over and grabbed it and said, “That’s her, this is it.” I stuttered about how I wasn’t sure but I was glad, and it was such an emotional moment we both got a little teary-eyed.

Following your intuition, or possibly following one of those animal guides, is the best guidance. She obviously felt her tortie girl in the image, and I was so happy to let a little more of Kelly out in the world to secure her memory. Purrhaps she and the tortie even met somewhere off in the spirit world.



three black cats with cigar box keepsake boxesReally, how do I get anything done?

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!


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 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | 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!



Inspire Me Monday



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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