Thursday 24 November 2022

Free Gratitude Animated Gif

Animated Gif spelling out the hand-leeters of the word gratitude, each on a different colour of the rainbow in the background, in watercolour.
Gratitude animated gif-click, tap or double-click here to download

Well hello there. I know that many people who visit BoundingSquirrel are from the USA, so if that's you, and you celebrate it, hope you are enjoying that.

If you are, then you probably have lots else going on, so I'll be brief. This "Gratitude" animated gif is a freebie, there's nothing to buy. Please just download, use it as much as you want, for Thanksgiving and *any other time* you want to thank someone or be grateful. (For those who like this kind of thing, my terms of use are generous, and located here).

For the rest of us (and I know that also includes some people in the States, it's just that this isn't a political blog) then it still can't harm to spread and feel some gratitude in the world, can it? 

For what are you grateful, happy and thankful? And if that includes a person or group and you'd like to use this gratitude gif to say so, please do. 

(Or this image from a previous year, if you prefer...I'm British, but love the chance to express gratitude so overtly every year...and am aiming to be less bashful about it the rest of the time too).

Thank you so very much for being here, and for being you.

Have a lovely weekend, and more soon.

Thursday 17 November 2022

Driving Gnome for Christmas...

Hello there-hope you're having a great week.

It's definitely time for some silliness, whimsy, and quite possibly the worst pun I've ever inflicted upon anyone....In the form of the new "Driving Gnome for Christmas," design...

This Card in CHristmas red and white features a watercolour gnome who's driving, and the caption, "Driving Gnome for Christmas".
Buy and customise this card on Zazzle...

If you like the gnome but not the caption, you can customise it as much as you'd like by clicking here.

And if you'd like some red and white whimsy that's quite a lot more subtle, the gnome theme turns into red and white paisley-type patterns in my Redbubble shop.

To see what I mean, take a look at the pattern on:

Ever-popular cushions and pillows...

Christmas Gnome Cushion/Pillow

An apron that could really kick off some festivities...

Photo of a gnome-patterned apron
Christmas Gnome Apron

A nifty alternative to the Santa sack...

Photo of a gnome patterned drawstring bag

A great gift for any gnome-lover with an Iphone...
(What an interesting Venn diagram that would be...)

Photo of a gnome patterned iphone case.
Christmas gnome Iphone soft case

Or a stylish alternative to the Christmas jumper...

Photo of a smiling girl in a gnome patterned red and white top.
Christmas Gnome Sleeveless Top

Hope that these spark some ideas for you, or in any event, make you smile.

Onto something very different in the next post, I promise.

More soon.

Friday 11 November 2022

Why I'm Leaving Facebook and Instagram

Cartoon showing a woman texting her determination to leave a social media site.
"Social Media Break-Up," Cartoon by Clare Walker
Hello there

And you can probably tell from this cartoon what kind of a week it's been here.

It all started last Saturday, when I realised that had spent a huge amount of precious weekend time...Relaxing? Oh no, no such luck. In touch with friends...Nope, sadly.

No, I'd spent it wading through "communications" within BoundingSquirrel's Facebook and Instagram accounts, that whilst purporting to be from real people, were little more than spam,

Why on earth (for example, there were many more) would someone contact an *art* channel wanting to know if I would promote their sportswear for example? (Trust me, for anyone who *really* knows me, that's even more of a joke than you might think :-) ).

And those emails were about the best of it. Suspicious, scammy messages from strangers wanting to "wholesale," but strangely not mentioning which products were of interest? Yup, they were there.

And more that were yuckier and even more phishing in their intent than that.

Yet whatever I do, FB and Instagram keep prompting me to "reply" to this nonsense.


And the number of comments from real people, wanting to make a *real* point?

There was one, just one. (And if you're reading this, I suspect you know who you are...Thank you, and as you well know, if everyone sending messages were like you, this post wouldn't be happening).

And anyway, how could I blame anyone for being silent, when even getting BoundingSquirrel posts seen these days seems like a matter of pure chance?

Worse still, being seen in friends' posts (and thereby being able to be helpful/cheerful/ do some wider good, or whatever), seems just as unlikely these days as well.

Thinking the unthinkable...

My enormous frustration then led me to think the unthinkable. Could I "break-up" with these sites?

As an experiment, I tried going without both sites for the next five days.

And they were the most productive five days I've had for years. (Yes, there will be pics, am just addressing this topic first).

The upshot

The upshot is that I won't be posting on Facebook or Instagram for the foreseeable future. (I would say never, but trying to get rid of those accounts made breaking into Fort Knox look like a walk in the park).

But I'll still be posting here on BoundingSquirrel (and probably more often, now that a huge amount of stress around it has lifted).

If you want to keep following...

Sooo, if you want to keep following (and yes, of course, in fairness, this is a great opportunity for you to assess that as well) then please click on this link and sign-up

With luck, this blog will be back to the kind of, "peep into my sketchbook," calm that it always used to have.

Thanks so much for reading this

Take care, and more soon.

Friday 4 November 2022

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...A Great Debate?

Hello there. 

And as you an probably tell from the distinctly festive picture below, it's that time of year again.

No, not the time of year for Christmas itself, but the *contentious * time of year. That time of year in which the super-organised (I salute you, really I do) have all their lists under control, and are champing at the bit to begin, or even to finish, their Christmas shopping...And the rest of us...aren't.

So, you may be thinking, as someone who clearly identifies with the second group, why oh why would I be peppering this post with images of new Christmas card early November? Have I turned into an ultra-cynical marketer? (Before we go anywhere else on this, let me say to that last one, I so very much hope not).

I certainly always used to be the sort of person who never thought about Christmas at all until December 1st. That was, in part, a bid to keep things feeling seasonal special (if you know anything about me from the BoundingSquirrel Blog, it is, after all, that I love a bit of seasonally-appropriate art, and actually, historically anyway, have found it really difficult to create items which feel seasonally different to the prevailing vibe around me).

Am also very aware that lots of people celebrate wholly other festivals, or prefer to lead a celebratory life day-by-day, rather than one centred around any festivals at all.

Why think about Christmas now?

This though, is a distinct disadvantage to being a designer who puts Christmas off, in a world in which:

 a) The aforementioned wonderously-organised people also live,

 b)  The design industry routinely asks people to design for Christmas in July, if not earlier (there is documentary footage from a "How do they make that" type of TV programme that was on last year here in the UK,  showing the people in the Woodmansterne factory doing just that...I salute them, too), 

c) Department stores open their Christmas shops in September,

d) People may need to order by post (as with print-on-demand cards from Zazzle) and supply chains and postal services across the globe are are, shall we say, not as robust as they used to be, and

e) Anyone making cards to sell (which you can absolutely do if you print out the card sheets sold in my Craftsuprint shop, by the way) needs time to make and sell them before Christmas,

f) Shopping earlier can often be cheaper, 

g) I've experienced people saying, "I would love to have bought your cards, but they came out too late for this year," one too many times., and...

h) Above all, Christmas is supposed to be about peace, love and joy, and having any excuse to spread those around can never be a bad thing, can it?

A peaceful solution

So, in the interests of bringing some of that peace to this great debate (OK, I know it's a minor one really, but let's start somewhere, hey?) I propose a solution as follows.

I make this one post now, so that all you lovely, wonderously-organised people know that you can find all these cards to customise here, and to make from sheets you print out, here

And then...

Picture of the 14 illustrated watercolour Christmas card sheets, backgrounds, embellishment and verse sheets that make up this mix 'n match kit.
*Starry Christmas* Mix and Match Christmas Bumper Kit

And then, though I might reference the upcoming season or post some pics about new designs that happen to be on the drawing board (after all, it's good to share excitement and joy, right?) I'll do my best to ensure that the blog posts talk about lots of other lovely things instead.

Update November 10th 2022: It turns out that quite a lot of people who like it here are wanting Christmas designs right now. Which is something of a relief, as that's most of that which I'm working on at the memoment.

So, I'll be posting simply that which I've done and is there to be shared, from now on, if that's OK with you.

More soon.

PS. Thanks also for reading down this far!