Ink and Stylus
I'm not sure I've seen anything quite so lovely as this print from Ink & Stylus. Louise pointed me in the direction of it on Twitter at the beginning of December and my heart started beating a little faster the moment I saw it. Happily, my sister-in-law bought me a copy as a gift, but I haven't been able to tell you about it until now, as I also bought a copy to give to a friend for her birthday (which as she reads my blog sometimes necessitated secrecy here).
I was quite delighted to see that the two copies are actually different and that the gold inking that appears on many of the Ink & Stylus prints is actually done after printing, meaning that each is slightly unique. There were also discrepancies in the ink colours between the two prints.
I love how vibrant the fabric is in contrast to the quiet serenity of the rest of the scene.
Shortly after Christmas, my husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary (and sixteen years of being together). He completely surprised me by giving me this print of an embracing couple, also by Ink & Stylus - I love it when he secretly takes notes.
I especially love the butterflies flying through the open door of the golden cage. I have to admit that I always prefer the suggestion of facial features and wouldn't normal drawn to masked figures, but there's something so enchanting about the colours, detail and subject matter that this fades into the background and ceases to matter (although my children initially found it odd, the highly detailed drawing style is actually very similar to that which my daughter has loved ever since discovering Sally Gardner books as a small child, so I think that she too loves gazing at these prints).
I adore Tamara's work: all of it. Do go and have a look at her shop on Folksy (and for those not based in England, she does offer very reasonably priced international postage). The Dressmaker series of prints is particularly wonderful.
My dear Mama popped around with some anniversary gifts too - a wonderful paper cut card and a proper oil burner. It's intended for the garden, but we've been lighting it inside during January.
And these old print maker's stamps bearing our initials that she and my sister bought for us in Brighton. I'd never realised before that together we spell 'if', but I am quite pleased to find that we do - it feels like a hopeful word, full of possibilities.
This morning those possibilities found us getting out of bed at 4am when neither of us could sleep and creeping down to the kitchen to bake flapjack (my husband's idea: he is always thinking of food). It seemed just the right activity to send him straight back to sleep the moment they were out of oven, happy that there would be something tasty for him to eat mid-morning. I lay awake having to resist the urge to go back downstairs and sample one. Luckily, it was too cold to risk getting out of bed for a second time.