Kork Nisses Discovered and Designed

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Every now and then I discover something that sparks a flurry of creativity. Perhaps “flurry” isn’t the word…more like a snowstorm! Over the Thanksgiving holiday I found these little cuties and rushed to click on the Free Pattern links.

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But when I did, there was no pattern to be found. Not even the website. For some reason, the pattern for knitting a Nisse had been removed and I could only find a paragraph written in Norwegian, which sadly I could not decipher.

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OK…so let’s try for a crochet version. Yes! A crochet pattern here indeed! But I wanted some changes…a slightly different single crochet fabric as well as a different shaped hat. So off I went in creating both a knitted pattern and a crocheted version of my very own!! I think my family thought I had fallen down a rabbit hole.

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Indeed it felt very much like being transported to another world. I eagerly looked up the definition of Nisse and this is what I found:

A tomte, nisse or tomtenisse (Sweden) (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈtɔ̀mːtɛ]), nisse (Norway and Denmark) (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈnìsːɛ] or Danish pronunciation: [ˈnesə], Danish plural nisser) or tonttu (Finland) is a mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore today typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season. It is generally described as being no taller than three feet, having a long white beard, and wearing a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright color.

They often have an appearance somewhat similar to that of a garden gnome.[1]

–Wikipedia

How delightful! These would be the perfect mystery make for my knit & crochet students when we resumed classes after the holidays. And yes…they have enjoyed them immensely and now I can share the love with you all!

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Feel free to download either the Kork Nisse Knit pattern OR the Kork Nisse Crochet pattern. Or if you are multi-stitchual, grab both!

And I hope you enjoy the fun of making your own little village of Nisses! Share them on Ravelry if you can! I’d LOVE to see them!

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice!

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“Three little pumpkins sitting on a rail…”

Well, that’s as far as my rhyming mind will take me today. I had thoughts of:

“One said, ‘Hey, won’t you go my bail?”

no, no, that won’t do! Or:

“One said, Hey, better check your e-mail!”

ugh. Not good.

So I’m just gonna leave it alone and offer you this FREE pattern to make a patch of pumpkins!

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You’ll need:

Chunky to Bulky weight yarn or several strands of yarn held together to create this bulk.

A Size J hook.

Some DK weight cotton and a size G hook.

Cinnamon Sticks and Stuffing.

That’s it!

Oh, and of course….my pattern! 

My students have been having fun with this, sending me pics of their  little pumpkins. Perhaps I’ll ask permission to share their photos with you. One gal added a leaf in with the Curly Cew! So fun!

So Click Here to download the PDF.

Or Click Here to access this pattern and all the other FREE patterns I offer.

Have a wonderful Fall day filled with Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice!

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Placemat Pattern for YOU!

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Some years ago, my mom gave me a couple of white cotton placemats that my Grandma Bowen had crocheted. She was an avid maker (artist, knitter, crocheter, embroiderer), as is my mom, and now me, and well… my girls are makers too!! It’s lovely to have a heritage of creativity, art and making!

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So for some time now I’ve wanted to figure out how Grandma made these placemats. Since I only have two of them, they are used as centerpiece “doilies” (you can see the white one under the wooden pedestal in my photos) and I’ve often wanted to have a set of them to use under plates.

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I’ve worked it out now in pattern form to share with you! It’s FREE for you to print off and enjoy! Do let others know about it if you like this pattern, but please give credit where it is due! I changed the edging a bit since I love the fan stitch and added the picots in keeping with Grandma’s version.

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I’m now working on a set of them in multiple colors! I have the Fiesta dishware so I thought it would be fun to crochet different colored placemats to mix and match with the plates. I can still use just one if I like for centerpiece decoration.

I hope you enjoy making a set of these for yourself or for a gift. They work up quite easily, round and round you go.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Jennifer 

P.S. You might enjoy these other Free Patterns as well, or browse the ones for purchase Here!

Sketchbook Chat #3

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I’m getting a bit better! This one is under 15 minutes! Woo! Hoo!

In this Sketchbook Chat I share a demonstration of adding watercolor to a drawing of a privacy fence. What I aim for in these videos is not to teach you exactly how to hold the brush or apply the paint, but ways to think about your subject, your medium, your intent in making the page in your sketchbook. To me, all of this is MUCH more important than merely how you hold your paint brush, or which colors to use where. I hope it inspires you to splash around with watercolor in the pages of your own sketchbook today.

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This is the finished page in my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook. The video gives you a tilted view of the page as I paint, so I wanted you to see it more close-up. 🙂

Thank you, as always, for spending your time with me in these videos! Subscribe to my You Tube channel so you don’t miss any of them!

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

Kollage Kick

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I’ve been on a kollage kick lately! I love getting out of my usual drawing mode for excursions in collage. Here’s a process you might like to try sometime:

1. Swipe some watercolor or acrylic around on a blank page in your sketchbook.

2. While that’s drying, choose papers in colors that echo the colors you used to paint with. I enjoy using papers I have leftover from other collage times, leaving edges the way they were cut, or shapes that are already cut a certain way. I save everything from small bits to long skinny pieces, knowing they will come in handy for future collage fun.

3. Assemble an image or just a random abstract composition of shapes as I did here.

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****If you want to add words, consider how they might be arranged on the page before gluing the picture pieces down. If you’re just wanting an image, then glue all elements onto the page. I just use Elmer’s glue.

4. This time I tried something that turned out really fun: I took a page from an article about jazz music. I just cut out random words I liked. Then I assembled them into a phrase I liked, adding in other letters from magazines to complete the sentence. This was much like the magnetic words we have on our fridge. We get to assemble them into any kind of poem, prose, joke or riddle we want to. Here’s the phrase I ended up with:

“The music itself is a response…an evolution of what jazzes us!”

This certainly was a page that evolved with all kinds of things that “jazz” me: color, papers, textures, words. It’s a true axiom for visual art as well as for music. We respond on paper, canvas, or instrument, allowing what we love to evolve.

May your day be filled with creative responses to what you love!

Sketch Journal Your Life in Yarn

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I have wanted to do this for a long time! Actually, I do it all the time, in separate journals, some for writing, some for drawing. But I have wanted them to be all in one sketchbook, instead of in and around all the other drawings I make on a daily basis.

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(Cover of newly begun SketchJournal for Yarn Projects)

Several months ago I attempted to designate one sketchbook for only drawings and writings about yarn projects, but then began adding in other sketches and drawings-landscapes, florals, home indoors, people and places I go. I’m determined to keep this sketchbook/journal reserved solely for drawings of my finished yarn works and write a bit around the drawings to describe each one.

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One of the things I love most about knitting is the story that gets knitted up into each piece. Things like: who is it for? why am I knitting/crocheting this? why are the specific colors chosen? Is there meaning in the stitch pattern, the color choices, the shape, the fiber, the overall piece being knitted?

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These are the things I want to preserve. Don’t you? Personally, I think every knitter should have a little book or binder somewhere to keep the patterns he/she has knitted, a bit of the actual yarn they used, any notes on how the pattern did or didn’t work, and best of all–a photograph or drawing of the finished item.

ColorFest

This shawl, knitted as a commission for a friend, is a variation on Paula Emmons Fuessle’s Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl. I love this pattern!!! This is my third of these shawls and I’m collecting sock yarns for another. This is quite possibly a fool-proof pattern!! No matter what leftover sock yarns (or other gauge yarns!) you have, somehow they always look super mixed and matched in one of these simple shawls.

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There’s really nothing difficult about it at all! It’s just the unbelievable amount of stitches you have by the time you get to the ruffle! But by then, you are so excited about all the color in your hands, you just keep going, high on color!!

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The final thing I want to do for this journal page is include some pieces of a few of the yarns used in it. Some of the yarns were leftovers of my socks and I used it all up. But I do have some left of the Zauberball yarn (used as the main base of colors, with the other leftovers mixed in here and there). I also have some of the shimmery yarns leftover, so I can add that on the page as well. I might punch two small holes and then thread the yarns through, tying them together. We shall see.

I’ll share more of these pages with you as I go along. There are several recently finished projects I want to add into my sketch journal…

Can’t wait!!

P.S. If you try this, PLEASE send me a pic or a leave a comment here to let me know if you are giving it a go! You can make it as simple or elaborate as you like! Just keep it fun!!

P.P.S. Did you get the word about my new FREE Knitterly Arts Newsletter?? My goal is to send it monthly (possibly more often:) to inspire you in your fiber journey…

Click Here to subscribe!

*Crochet Your Heart!

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(Last year’s Valentine’s Card. I’m working on this year’s!:)

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I think I might like Valentine’s Day even more than Christmas. Well no…maybe it’s a tie. What I like is that Valentine’s is simple. Or can be. Just a little gift to let someone know you “heart” them. And of course, the chocolate is pretty cool too! crochetheartpin Last year I designed this CROCHET HEART as I was wanting to teach a friend how to make a simple one. I searched the web for one I liked and couldn’t find just the right shape or find it simple enough for a beginning crocheter. So I designed this one, made several into pins last year, and have been wearing mine each day here lately. Feel free to use this little pattern (click on the link above) and share it with friends. Fronts&Backs

(Ugh. the color is ghastly here! So sorry!)

To make the pin, you simply crochet the heart using my pattern here, then single crochet around the edge with something sparkly. Add a pin back and a button or decorative brad to the center. Et Voila! But there are so many other things you could do with this pattern!! Since I may not have time to make all of these, I drew them for you! Working with various sizes of yarns and hooks, you can make this heart large or small!! So, big yarn and big hook = big heart! Small yarn and small hook = small heart! Garland&Flowers Small hearts make for great pins, attachments to cards and gift wrap, and even a lovely heart garland for your window or mantel. You could also make some heart “flowers”, hot gluing them to a stick and placing them down in a pot.:) HeartPurse Bigger hearts can be made into sachets and purses for little girls. Simply crochet TWO of them and stitch them together. For the purse, stitch it up only around the sides and bottom, leaving the top humps of the heart open. Crochet a chain as a handle onto the little purse, or just sew a ribbon on. You can even decorate it with buttons or beads if you like! heartSachet For the sachet,  just prior to sewing up the entire seam around the edge, stuff it with stuffing that has been spritzed with your favorite perfume or scent. Place one in a drawer to scent your clothing. Hang one from a clothes hanger for freshening the closet! Pin&Wands   Ooooh…and I saw on one of my favorite crochet blogs, Tangled Happy, a Crochet Heart Wand made with two hearts, stuffed a bit, with a sparkly pencil for the stick!! Add a few ribbons and what a cute valentine gift for a girl! IMG_3782 I also found online a wonderful pattern for KNITTING a heart! I was so tickled to see it was from a favorite blog I follow, called The Sitting Tree. Do check out her blog with a cup of tea in hand. You’ll enjoy every minute there! All of the above ideas could be made with these knitted hearts! I’m sure there is much much more you could do with them… CrochetYourHeart …Leave YOUR ideas in the comment section so we can all benefit! And HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!

*Patsy’s Perfect Tunic: Free Pattern!!

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STOP whatever you are doing/making right now and RUN like mad to your stash or your LYS to buy some Super Bulky yarn!!

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Now! Do not pass GO! Do not collect $200!

Well, if someone offers you $200, take it, so you can buy some yarn and make this tunic!

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That’s how I felt when I saw my mom wearing hers…immediately the questions began:

What pattern? Which yarn? Size needles? What stitch? etc. She has actually knitted two of them with different gauge yarns, one chunky, one super bulky. They are both to die for! So, of course, I had to make one for myself. After plying her with a zillion questions (because she had just “made it up”!), here’s how I made mine:

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Patsy’s Perfect Tunic

Design by Pat (Patsy) Pilkington

Pattern written by her daughter Jennifer:)

Written for sizes Small (Medium, Large, Extra Large)

Difficulty Level: Perfect for Beginners!

Materials:

4 hanks of Noro Iro (each hank has 132 yards)

Size 10 1/2 or 11 needles. (I used size 11)

Yarn Needle

Begin: (Make 2 of these Rectangles)

Cast On 50 (60, 70, 80) sts. (Mine pictured here is a Medium. Mom’s pictured below is a Small.)

Work 2 Rows Seed Stitch (Row 1: K1, P1; Row 2: Knit the Purls, Purl the Knits:)

Work 5 x 5 BasketWeave Stitch (*K5, P5 for 6 Rows; P5, K5 for 6 Rows; Rep. from *) until you have length desired. (I just knitted until I was near to finishing 2 hanks.)

Work 2 Rows Seed Stitch.

Bind Off in pattern.

Put Together:

Using Yarn Needle and Mattress Stitch, seam the top shoulders leaving a neck opening of approximately 9 (10, 11, 12) inches.

Then Seam the sides leaving arm openings of approximately 8 (9, 10, 11) inches (or however large you desire!). I began the side seams about 3 inches from the bottom to have a side slit for easier wear.

Block:

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Blocking really made this tunic “sing”! I dunked the finished tunic into my sink of sudsy water, rinsed it, and rolled it GENTLY between two towels to pat out as much water as I could. DO NOT WRING! Then I pinned the tunic to my blocking board so as to make the length and shape I wanted. I wanted the bottom part to be slightly larger than the shoulder area (to accommodate the hips, ahem…)

I could hardly wait for the thing to dry! I was invited to a Sarah Addison Allen book reading/signing and just HAD to wear this tunic, so I yanked it off the blocking board whilst it was still a teensy bit damp! It has grown a little bit as I’ve worn it and worn it and worn it. But I just like it even more! It’s the perfect thing to wear with jeans, over leggings, with boots, etc!!

I can’t wait to start my next one!!

Some alternative yarn choices:

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Mom has knitted hers with combinations of Noro’s Silk Garden Chunky and Silver Thaw. I think she has had to use smaller needles (like a 10?) for these and adjusted the amount of basketweave “squares” to fit. But they are gorgeous yarns!! (And isn’t my mom beautiful??!! She’s an amazing artist whose mediums are oils as well as fibers!)

In looking on line, I found this yarn and this one, in the Super Bulky range I love so much!! Personally it’s all about the COLORS that are self-striping and variegated which make this tunic so lovely!! But, of course, you could knit this with any solid or multi-colored yarn you like!!! Heck, even combine numerous individual yarns together for a fun, whimsical look to your tunic!

The point of it all is to HAVE FUN!!! To make something OH SO SIMPLE that is lovely to wear in the SAME SEASON  that you begin making it! Ha! Ha!

Enjoy!

Stashbuster Mixed Media Cowl

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Before my Art Show in November, I made several of these and they have been well received by many folks there buying them for gifts or for themselves. I wanted to type up a tutorial for any who might be interested in making one (or LOTS) also. It’s a great way to use up your existing stash. In fact, I made it my mission to ONLY use what I had on hand…little bits of this, leftovers of that.

M&MMakeCowl The first thing I do is gather up my yarns. Mortimer and Millicent wanted to oversee my photo tutorial efforts, giving invaluable (and sometimes annoying) suggestions and critiques along the way. 🙂 I like to put the yarns in a white bowl so I can see them sitting there together. I pull anything and everything that tickles my fancy: solid yarns, variegated yarns, fibers with a bit of bling, textured yarns, etc. I don’t worry too much at this point whether or not I’ll actually USE them all…this is the fun part of putting color together! There may be a yarn or two that just don’t make it into the finished cowl. Or I may just use them all!

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I choose a bulky yarn as a “base” or anchor. Since I’m using either a size 13 knitting needle or an N crochet hook, I want the stitches and yarns to be rather chunky. But this doesn’t mean I can’t use worsted, DK or even fingering weight yarns. I just have to combine the thinner yarns to approximate a chunky weight. I’ll demonstrate this a bit in the photos.

If I’m knitting a Mixed Media Cowl, I cast on 40-50 sts. This is a wide range that you will have to determine the number based on how thick your yarn choices are AND based on how generous you want your cowl to be. I’ve made them anywhere from neck huggers to cowls with a bit of drape. You choose! The knitted version is simply garter stitch all the way through.

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If I’m crocheting a Mixed Media Cowl, I chain 45-50. Again, this all depends on the above factors. This one is a 50 chain Cowl, which is a bit more generous than some I have made. I use single crochet stitches THROUGH THE BACK LOOP. This allows the crochet to have more drape to it than regular single crochet.

So, here we go:

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I began with the “base” yarn, a chunky yarn combined with a very slim shiny yarn just to add interest. Chain 50.

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Sc in the second chain from hook and in each chain across. I like to crochet into the “butt” of the chain thereby giving a nice edge that looks like bind off in knitting.

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Attach a new yarn or set of yarns. Here I’ve combined two different worsted weight yarns. Together they are somewhat close to the thickness of the “base” yarn. I attach the new yarns just before finishing off the last single crochet stitch. Then, with the new yarn(s), finish the sc, CHAIN 1, and turn your work, ready to go on the next row!

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I work single crochet THROUGH THE BACK LOOPS at the same time crocheting over the ends so that I don’t have to weave them in at the end.:)

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I work two rows of each color or set of yarns. This time there are THREE yarns held together:  a worsted, a textured, and a thin “bling” yarn. Continue working sc tbl, and crocheting over the ends.

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Continue working in this manner until you have the height you desire.

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I worked 7 groupings of yarn, giving me approx. 6″-7″ depending on how much you stretch the fabric out. This crochet stitch looks a bit like sideways ribbing and has a lovely ridge on both sides.

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I end with the “base” yarn again. This is certainly not necessary, but I think it finishes it off. This last time I held a different shiny yarn with it for variety.  I only work one row of this. Weave in all ends.

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The cool thing about this cowl is that you do not need button holes! Place your buttons where you like and you can button it up in two different ways:

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With the buttons vertical, straight up and down (as pictured in the selfie above:).

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Or with the buttons and cowl diagonal, hugging the neck a bit more. Either way is lovely I think!

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Of course, Mortimer and Millicent had to try it on too! They were so upset that it didn’t fit them! Then they thought perhaps I had made them a cozy blanket, only to be dashed again when I explained this was a Cowl for PEOPLE not mice! (I may need to go make a couple of cowls, mice size, for them as they are a pouting a bit.)

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Choosing the buttons is REALLY fun! Go to your button box, mix and match, or find inexpensive buttons in shops you frequent. They add just the right touch!

Wear, smile, and have a beautiful, artsy day!!

Follow Through


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Close on the heels of Majoring In One Thing At A Time, is the need to follow through with what you’ve determined to major on for that day, or series of days. I am the queen of creative ADD, an expert “waffler”, starting one thing and then switching to another mid-stream. Once the excitement of a “new project” wears off, I’m dreaming of other projects to begin. “Start-itis” can be a real issue.

In 2015 I’m wanting to continue to explore ways to follow through on creative projects, especially the ones that require a long term commitment…such as writing a knitting pattern or illustrating a children’s book. One of the projects I’m going to major on is the next Genevieve book! I’m really excited about it now! But I know, from experience, that many sketches and drawings into the developing of illustrations will find me looking for other projects to begin. Here’s how I plan on tackling that issue. It has helped me enormously in the past and I plan on employing it in the New Year as well:

1. Break down the long term project into bite sized pieces.

2. Designate small amounts of time daily to the project, allowing for time to be spent on other projects as well.

Approaching a larger creative endeavor in this manner has been hugely helpful in getting me to the finish line. Working this way, I hardly even realize how much I am actually accomplishing. One baby step at a time adds up to a finished project, sometimes sooner than I had expected. When I think of following through on the project as a whole, I can be tired before I’ve even begun! But facing just 30 minutes a day to work on said project, seems so do-able and exciting. Many times I find myself going past the 30 minutes, happily working for longer. But I do cut myself off, so that the freshness and excitement remains for the next day.

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The crazy thing is that I have several long-term projects I’d like to tackle. So I do have to limit myself. Be reasonable, for goodness sakes Jennifer!!

**Tomorrow, New Year’s Day, I’ll share with you the third and final way I want to move through 2015. I hope you all have a fun time ringing in the New Year!

See you in 2015!

***Please feel free to share ways you’ve found to follow through on your creative endeavors in the comments! We can all benefit from each other!

FYI:

My first children’s book, Genevieve and the Kite,

is available on Amazon and my Etsy shop for a signed copy.;)

A set of 6 cards with two images from the book

is available in my Etsy Shop too!