The contents of the May Sampler Box.

May 2016 Feline Sampler Box

Mimi approves of the May Sampler Box.

Mimi approves of the May Sampler Box.

If I was excited about my April Sampler Box, May has me on the edge of my seat waiting for recipients to receive them.  I chose the selected print and cards for the season according to theme, color and cats, and have a brand new product to introduce that I’ve been considering for months. Mimi spent late nights and early mornings and hot afternoons supervising the production, packing, and keeping me calm when the printer decided to do something expensive.

In addition

This month, and for all boxes to come, I’ve decided to make a few additions permanent to the original description.

I will always add a second unmatted print that “counters” the main print in style because I have so much art it gives you a better sample of my styles.

In addition to the second print, I will likely have two note cards because I will be featuring older designs as well as brand new ones, and in this also asking for your opinion sometimes. And because of readers’ response to other art and photos on The Creative Cat and on Facebook and other social networks, I will also include an art card, greeting card or note card with a theme of nature, flowers or wildlife.


Click the photo to see an enlarged version.


“Peaches and Peonies”, print of pastel portrait, 8” x 11”, double-matted for 11 x 14 frame

Counter print: “A Tangle of Cats at the Door”, pencil, 8” x 10”


I have a further explanation at the end for why I chose each of these cards.

  • Sympathy Card: “Kelly Twice”, The sweetest memories often come in quiet moments.
  • All-purpose Greeting Card: From the Feline Fine Art Cards collection, ” Buster Lookin’ at His Toes”
  • Photo Cards: From the Victoriana Cats collection, “Don’t You Wonder What They’re Thinking?”
  • Note cards: From My Cats in the Sun collection, “A Warm Bath”, From the Saturday Morning Cartoons collection, “Saturday Morning”
  • All-purpose greeting card: In the Garden, “Columbines”


Creative Cat Coloring Book, with watercolor pencils and art sponge

Creative Cat Coloring Book

"Creative Cat Coloring Book" with watercolor pencils and art sponge.

“Creative Cat Coloring Book” with watercolor pencils and art sponge.

I’ve wanted to do a coloring book, but wanted to use something that is unique to one of my styles that is very popular, that of the black outlines with brush pen or brush marker with color fill in marker, watercolor, colored pencil, or just an all over pattern. I chose a baker’s dozen of my brush pen sketches that easily lend themselves to either loose or tight coloring, or even adding to the sketch with your own brush pen.

The back cover that explains the premise.

The back cover that explains the premise.

And not a big book. One of the things that keeps me doing art is doing little things that don’t have to be a masterpiece and I find myself much more willing to experiment and innovate on a little thing than on a bigger finished piece. The book is 4.25″ x 5.5″ and only 12 pages plus covers.

The first spread with the list of sketches and the first sketch.

The first spread with the list of sketches and the first sketch.

I’ve added several ideas in the back of the book that list techniques and media you could experiment with. Because colored pencils are so popular with coloring books I thought I’d add a twist that people might want to experiment with just by adding a little swipe of water with the included brush, or even use the watercolors with the sponge to add a unique pattern. The colored pencils and sponge may vary depending on availability of the products I’ve chosen.

Some ideas for media and techniques to use in your book.

Some ideas for media and techniques to use in your book.

The book is printed on pure white 120# uncoated cover that can take a beating with colored pencils, oil pastels, markers, watercolors, even acrylic paint. You can also conveniently isolate one page of the book by flipping all the others above the coil so that you don’t get any media on other pages as you work.

One of the sketches places on the page so you can add to the action or experiment with a pattern or shading.

One of the sketches places on the page so you can add to the action or experiment with a pattern or shading.

Peaches and Peonies Print

"Peaches and Peonies", pastel, 23" x 17", 2008 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Peaches and Peonies”, pastel, 23″ x 17″, 2008 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

May always brings to mind Peaches and this special moment that so inspired me. Peaches came to me at 15 and lived to be 20, and was by her looks and personality such an inspiration. Along with sharing this simple beautiful moment, I like to encourage others to consider fostering or adopting senior cats. I had some cream parchment and ruby black core matboard left over from another project that completely complemented the print, and the deal was sealed. You can also find this in my feline artwork galleries and read more about Peaches and this painting.

Greeting and Note Cards

With as strong an image as Peaches and Peonies, the natural thing would have been to choose all Peaches-themed goods, and at first I did. But this Sampler Box is to give you a variety of items, images and styles, so instead each item has a cat with different colors and markings in a different style, and variety will be the from now on.

The cards include a sympathy card, general greeting card, photo card and a note card so recipients have a selection of cards they can either realistically use. We all have friends who have pets, and they are lost all too often so a monthly sympathy card is good to have on hand, and Kelly Twice. has one of my favorite early photos of my tortoiseshell kitty Kelly enjoying the sun coming in the basement door on a May morning, along with one of my most heartfelt sentiments on all my sympathy cards.

The greeting cards feature a watercolor painting of a tuxedo cat, “Buster Lookin’ at His Toes”, and a filtered photo of House panther Mewsette,“Don’t You Wonder What They’re Thinking?” and can work for family, friends, co-workers  as a friendship, sympathy, thank you, thinking of you card, or could be a whimsical little print on your wall.

Sometimes a big greeting card just isn’t what you want to send, so a smaller note card like “A Warm Bath” suits may purposes and can also be framed, and features my long-haired white cat Sally having a good bath on a May morning. Recently I shared my “Saturday Morning Cartoons” as note cards and decided to include one of that new set, “Saturday Morning”, and ink sketch on white paper.

Then just for more variety and to share other art and themes I’ve designed for, I will include a non-feline greeting card each month. This month I’ve shared “Columbines”, a long-ago watercolor I painted as a gift for my mother.

You can find all varieties of greeting and note cards on this page or visit the galleries listed in the menu.

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.

Packaging the Sampler Box

The face rub, the final seal of approval.

The face rub, the final seal of approval.

How to package this was a real conundrum, both for this month and all months going forward. Prints and gift items will be different sizes each month and in looking over boxes I couldn’t find one that would fit just about everything and which I could label. For now I decided to simply group everything and wrap it before I put it in the shipping box. That meant I could include another portion of what comes in the box: wrapping paper, of a sort! I used minimal tape and sheets of my art paper which are heavy enough to withstand a little taping, and that gives you two 11″ x 17″ sheets of cat-themed wrapping paper, which this month was naturally “Brush Kitties because of the coloring book.

Mimi rests after her modeling session.

Mimi rests after her modeling session.

Mimi rests after her modeling session.

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. 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.

The contents of the May Sampler Box.

The contents of the May Sampler Box.

What a wonderful 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!”

Order a Sampler Box or Subscription

Sampler boxes can be purchased singly or in subscriptions for three boxes. Shipping within the US is included.

$25.00 for one box

  • one matted print, regular value $25.00
  • three cards, regular value $7.50
  • one gift item, average value $15.00
  • regular total value about $47.50

$75.00 for a three box subscription

  • three matted prints, regular value $75.00
  • nine cards, regular value $22.50
  • three gift items, average value $45.00
  • regular total value about $142.50

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

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, though I do have to cut new mats for the artwork and print the wrapping paper. 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.

Choose the sampler box by month.

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



Mimi approves of the May Sampler Box.

Mimi approves of the May Sampler Box.

Mimi feels she and her children are adequately represented.

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!

See other feline artwork in My Cats gallery and in Feline Artwork gallery.


Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left.
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Sign up for e-newsletters

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Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter,
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© 2016 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

Friendship Friday

Friendship Friday

4 thoughts on “May 2016 Feline Sampler Box

  1. Pingback: New Items on Portraits of Animals ~ The Creative Cat

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