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Stella’s Art School – Toy Theatre (Part 01)

January 30, 2016

Hi! I wanted to blog about a new thing I’ve started this year. I’ve enrolled in Stella’s Art School, an online art school run by a fabulous artist who I love, Stella Vine. I found out about it on twitter before Xmas and thought it sounded fun. There are two projects every month for a year. The theme of the first project is ‘Toy Theatre’ and the brief is very open. Stella works on the projects at the same time and posts her progress in a series of videos on the Art School blog. You can make the same thing or do your own thing. You can make stuff, paint, photograph, draw ….anything. There are no strict rules or deadlines, which is lucky for me actually as I’m not good with deadlines and am already behind!

Here are some artworks I love by Stella Vine.

'Bebe', Stella Vine

‘Bebe’, Stella Vine


'Pablo Baby Owl', Stella Vine

‘Pablo Baby Owl’, Stella Vine


'Diana Family Picnic', Stella Vine

‘Diana Family Picnic’, Stella Vine


'Kate Engagement', Stella VIne

‘Kate Engagement’, Stella Vine

For the 1st project, I googled toy theatres to get a few ideas. There are some very extravagant theatres out there if you check google images. I wasn’t sure how I wanted mine to look except I wanted it to be colourful.

When I was little I made a similar thing from a shoe box. It was covered with leftover sage green wallpaper which had been used to decorate my parent’s bedroom, and the curtains were made from blue floral material left from the PE kit bag my Mum made me. Inside were around 10 pictures I had drawn on coloured sugar paper, all sellotaped together in one continuous sequence to tell a story. They were rolled onto thin pieces of dowel, with help from my Mum, and the sticks turned to make the pictures roll and appear one by one. It was really good fun, I loved it.

Here are some progress pix of my new theatre…


Toy theatre - Brabantia box

Toy theatre – made from a Brabantia box


Luckily I had a good size box that I could use. It’s the one our kitchen waste recycle bin came in. Who knew when I was selecting that box from the shelf in John Lewis kitchenware department that it’d finish up as a toy theatre? Certainly not me. I cut three of the sides out and then reinforced the frame with extra cardboard and glue.



Making the proscenium and adding a stage


Cardboard cutting 01

Cardboard cutting 01


Cardboard cutting 02

Cardboard cutting 02


I wanted a nice proscenium with a fancy top and I copied the shape vaguely from a picture of a theatre I saw online – The Avalon New Regal Theatre in Chicago. I used more cardboard to create a stage which slots inside the bottom of the box.



More work to the proscenium and making the curtains.


I painted the inside black and made two flaps for the sides. Not sure if flaps are a real thing at theatres, but I thought they’d look good. I had a piece of red velvet material going spare which was ideal for the curtains. Unfortunately I’m not all that good at making curtains, and they haven’t turned out great. They need something inside the hem to weigh them down I think. They are attached using a piece of beading wire which was tricky to fix to the cardboard.


More work on the proscenium

Gluing! I love PVA, it’s one of my favourite things.


I painted the stage black and gold with lots of glitter, and decorated the sides of the proscenium with sparkly pipe cleaners. The sides were meant to be gold, but turned out sandy brown. Also I really should have attached the curtains after I’d done all the gluing, but for some reason I put them in first and had to keep dabbing spots of PVA off them! grr. There was lots of drying time involved. The orange piece above the stage was added first and left to dry overnight, then the pink top which had to be held in place using pegs!

This where I’m up to so far. Originally I wanted to make 2 or 3 different backdrops to slide in, but now I’m not sure if I’ll do this or not. The black background was meant to be hidden behind the backdrops but I quite like it as it is, so I’ll see.


So far

So far…


I still need to glue on the flaps, sort out the scruffy bit at the front of the stage and paint the sides. I don’t think the theatre will necessarily be used to act out a specific play. I had thought I’d make my own stop-motion film of something or other, which I might still do, or I might take a series of photographs with different characters inside. I’ll post more pics soon, but think it might be an ongoing project.

A toy theatre project from a Blue Peter annual I found in a charity shop, dated 1967…


Part one



Part 2


I’m very behind with the second project, which is history themed. I’ve decided to paint something as I haven’t painted for a few years. I’m thinking maybe local history, either Sheffield or Yeovil would be a good subject? I’m a bit worried how it will turn out as I’m better at making things and drawing than painting! I really like that I’m doing stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of though, and am looking forward to working on lots of different projects this year.

More info on Stella’s Art School








First Special Offer Ever

November 29, 2015

I’m running my first ever special offer in my Etsy shop right now. Trying to get in the Black Friday spirit ‘n’ all that. So yes, it’s 25% off anything, until Monday 30th November. Have a look! Dilys Treacle Treasures cards, vintage cards, bric-a-brac, the lot, all 25% off.

Black Friday

Special offer in my Etsy shop

Enter the code BLACKFRIDAYNOV2015 at the checkout, if you so desire.

Dilys Treacle Treasures Etsy shop – browse now!


Vinny Peculiar

October 30, 2015

We went to see the wonderful Vinny Peculiar at The Rocking Chair in Sheffield this week and he was bloody brilliant…

VP at the RC

VP at the RC

Vinny Peculiar

Vinny Peculiar

Here is a good tune…

New Album Out Now

Vinny Peculiar

The Root Mull Affect, Vinny Peculiar

The Root Mull Affect

Down The Bright Stream, Vinny Peculiar

Down The Bright Stream

Other People Like Me

Other People Like Me

My favourite VP tunes…

Vinny Peculiar


Go and see Vinny Peculiar live if you can, he is amazing, I love him!


Etsy Treasuries, part 01 – Halloween

October 20, 2015

I have decided to start curating some Treasuries on Etsy. One of my favourite things to do when I’m meant to be working, is to browse Etsy instead for things I like, so I thought a good way to gather them all together and show them off is to use the Treasury feature which allows you to choose a theme and add 16 different items, which people can browse and shop from. Here is my first one, it’s got a vintage Halloween theme. Click on the image below to visit Etsy and see each item individually. (If any of them are no longer featured, that means they’ve been sold). I think my favourite thing here is the orange witch pin with winking eyes, it’s very cool. I’d probably be scared to wear it though just incase it fell off!


Halloween Treasury on Etsy, by Dilys Treacle Treasures





September 16, 2015

Hi, welcome to my first blog entry in five months! It’s been so long since I logged into WordPress that I couldn’t even remember how to get on the dashboard bit to start a new post!

Helter Skelter in the Peace Gardens in Sheffield

Photo I took of the helter skelter that was in the Peace Gardens in Sheffield over the summer.

I haven’t been up to much – this has definitely not been my most productive year! I got disheartened with my card publishing stuff (as I think I mentioned before) after I did two largely unsuccessful trade shows. What with that, and the fact that I’m the least entrepreneurially gifted person in the world, I must confess that things seem to have ground to a complete halt while I decide what to do next. I have sometimes wondered whether to leave the card world behind as it’s become more and more obvious that the business side of things takes up far more time than the creative stuff. I don’t enjoy business/admin/sales and I’m not very good at it, I just like sewing and drawing.

It’s a shame that the shows didn’t go as well as I’d hoped as I loved doing them – I learned a lot and met loads of other people in the industry, which was great. I’ve found it difficult to stay positive about it though, as I spent a fortune and only ended up covering the cost of the train fare both times (if that)! I think if you can afford to keep attending them regularly throughout the year then it’s only a matter of time before the hard work starts paying off, however I can’t, so will have to start looking at other options instead and decide which road to take.

DIlys Treacle Treasures

Coming soon, a new look

Meanwhile, my Dilys Treacle Treasures Etsy shop which I mentioned back in March is now fully up and running and I’m happy to see it slowly gaining momentum, although I still have a mountain of items waiting to be listed. At the start of the year I decided to expand beyond selling just greeting cards, and there is now a random selection of bric-a-brac to choose from too (direct from my collection of stuff in the loft). I’ve always loved collecting random curios so it makes sense to start including a few things in the shop. Coming soon there will also be vintage cards, plus some original art and photos. I’m working on a brand new look for Etsy as we speak and will be reviving my Dilys Treacle social media too – the only one I’ve really kept going is Instagram. You can follow my Insta account here – @dilys_treacle_treasures


My Instagram…


Some pix

I have continued with creating special handmade cards for weddings and birthdays over the last few months (as and when I’ve been asked) and will share pix of my most recent commissions on here soon.

As for my Dilys Treacle Treasures greeting cards, IΒ will be designing some new ones next year, just not taking them to any trade shows for the forseeable future! This time I want to stick with doing the sort of thing that I want to do, rather than try to go down the more commercial route to appeal to buyers at shows. Although tbh the intentionally commercial designs I came up with before PG Live were the ones that actually sold (and the ones that still do best in my Etsy shop too) so I’ll probably be cutting off my nose to spite my face!

The one thing I do seem to have managed to do over the summer is take a lot of photos. I’ve been sticking them all on an external hard drive and now there are several thousand to sort out, which I will probably never get round to. Here are just ten of them from our trip to the East coast in August…

‘Til next time X


Arcade Carpet

Fishing boats coming in to the Coble Landing at Filey

Fishing boats coming in to the Coble Landing at Filey

View of Scarborough

View of Scarborough

Luna Park

Luna Park, Scarborough

Bridlington - I have never been to Bridington on a hot sunny day

Bridlington Beach

Bridlington Fun House

Bridlington Fun House


Bridlington Amusements

Minnie Mouse

Minnie Mouse


Sunny day in Filey

Ice Creams

Ice Creams

Mid Century Greetings

April 7, 2015

Last week I found a box of old greeting cards in a local antique shop. They were priced at 10p each and they’re my most favourite things I’ve found since those baubles I got at Christmas. They date from the mid 1940s to mid ’60s, and I think they probably all belonged to the same family. All have been written in and kept by the Mum. I don’t know how they’ve ended up in the antique shop, it’s a bit sad that they’ve survived all these years and then not been passed along to a relative. But anyway, once I started looking through them I wanted them all, and in fact I went back on two occasions to rescue more. They’re some of the best cards I’ve ever seen, I love everything about them.

There appears to have been three sons in the family (Michael, Stephen and John) and the majority of the cards are signed by them, and later by their wives too. A lot are also signed from ‘Avril & Eddie’, and I wonder if Avril was the only daughter. Who knows! Anyway, this first one is from 1946 and even the typeface inside the card is great.

Kindest Thoughts for Your Birthday

Kindest Thoughts for Your Birthday

Inside the card, dated 1946

Inside the card, dated 1946. It doesn’t have a publishers mark on the back – it’s just a blank sheet.

Inside it is dated 1946 and says 'To Mammy, from TeTe, xxxxxxx'

This one is dated 1946 and says ‘To Mammy, from TeTe, xxxxxxx’

Best Wishes for your Birthday, 1940s

Best Wishes for your Birthday, signed Stephen, 1940s

To Greet You on your Birthday

To Greet You on your Birthday ‘To Mam, from Steve’

Fondest Birthday Wishes

Fondest Birthday Wishes, ‘With Love from John ‘, 1950


Two cards from the same range, by Mia Cards, late 1940s. One from Stephen and one from John

To wish you joy, 1953

To wish you joy, dated 29th August 1953, from Stephen

Mother's Day, 1953

Mother’s Day, 1953, from Stephen

This next one has a silver foil insert behind the cut-out sections of the design…I think this kind of foiling must have been very popular as a few of the cards have it.

Greetings dear - on this your special day

Greetings dear Mother – on this your special day, from Avril & Eddie

Many of the cards are embellished with glitter – proper glitter! It looks like someone has taken some PVA glue and decorated every one by hand…although I am certain that is not the case!

To My Dear Mother With Love

To My Dear Mother With Love – plus sparkles!

The insides of the cards are not plain like modern cards, they are an extension of the main design…

To My Dear Mother With Love

To wish you Lifelong Happiness Mother dear


Another card from Avril & Eddie


Inside the card

I love the colours on this one. The roses on the front are embossed.

With Loving Thoughts to Mother

With Loving Thoughts to Mother

The card standing open

The card standing open

When you open the card the image of the roses has been cut so the roses pop out! It’s ace…the whole card is made from one large sheet, folded twice. It’s really simple but clever, and looks so impressive. I wonder how much a card like this would cost to buy these days?


Pop up roses


Birthday Happiness, from John – dated 1953

Bluebird card, from Avril & Eddie

Bluebird card, from Avril & Eddie. Published by AM Davis & Co, Quality Cards of London

Pop up card from 1957

Another embossed design with a pop-up centre, from 1957

Pop up flowers

Pop up flowers, from John & Kathleen

Vintage Greetings Cards - Dilys Treacle Treasures Blog

To Mother Dear! Another card from Avril and Eddie. The front flap folds out & underneath are the printed words ‘With Love & All Good Wishes’

Fold out card

Fold out card, from Stephen, dated 1952

Loving greetings Mother, 1952

Loving greetings Mother, from the same range as above, 1952. This one is from Michael.

Love from Doreen

Love from Doreen, with added sparkle (which you can’t see very well on the scan, but it’s very pretty in real life). Published by Maxam ‘The 5 Star Greeting Cards’

These next two are from the same range, made by Photo Production Ltd.


Inside it says ‘Lots of Birthday Cheer’, with love from Michael, 1957


Very many happy returns of the day, from Stephen, 1957

Happy Birthday to my dear Mother

Happy Birthday to my dear Mother

Glitter detail

The border of the card and the centre of the flowers are enhanced with clear glitter

Floral inner

Detail from inside the card. This one was published by Kardonia of London.

One of the largest cards of the group…


From Avril and Eddie – this one has a small cut out window with a gold foil insert.

With love and all the fondest hopes, for you my Mother dear

With love and all the fondest hopes for you, my Mother dear, from John, 1952

Birthday Greetings

Birthday Greetings, with embossed detail, very pretty

May the sun shine happily, On this glad day - for you

May the sun shine happily, On this glad day – for you. From Avril & Eddie.

Special Day

Special Day – from Avril – the floral pattern is repeated inside.

Scenic card

Scenic card, a Sharpe’s “Classic” – with a fold out front

From Michael, 1958

Here is the card, open. From Michael, 1958

Another embossed design, this one was published by Leo Greeting Cards…

To Mother

To Mother on her Birthday, from Stephen, 1958

The inside of the card is just as nice as the outside, with a cross-hatch design and pop-out roses.

The inside of the card is just as nice as the outside, with a cross-hatch design and pop-out roses.

This next one has an unusual cut out window on the front of the design, and the words ‘Dear Mother’ are embossed on a red fabric background.

Dear Mother

Dear Mother…from John, 1959. A design by Academy.

This one is embossed and embellished with gold glitter. It’s printed on quite thin paper and it’s so old fashioned! The design is by Greetings Ltd, London.

Birthday Card, 1964

Birthday Card, 1964, from Steve and Dot.




‘To Mother’ – an early 1960s Mother’s Day design, published by KG.

The card, open

The card, open

Pop out roses

More pop-out roses!

The roses up close

The roses up close. The card is dated 24th March ’63, and signed Mike and Jean

Many Happy Returns

‘Many Happy Returns’ – the window at the front has a flat pink satin panel with the wording printed on to the fabric. It’s from Avril and Eddie, early 60s.

Many Happy Returns of the Day

‘Many Happy Returns of the Day’, this card has a lilac fabric front with a satin cushion design in the centre. Published by Photo Production Ltd – ‘A Card of Distinction’

A Special Wish From Us, 1964

A Special Wish From Us, ‘from Michael & Jean’ on Mother’s Day, 8th March ’64 – this one was published by Hallmark.

I’m not sure if these next three belonged to the same family but they all date from the same period. I love this one, the design is great. It seems to have quite a masculine feel though to me, despite the floral decorations!

To the best WIFE in the World

To the best WIFE in the World

Georgie boy

Inside the card… To the joy of my life – from Georgie boy.Β  Aw!

This wedding anniversary card has a silver foil insert, and glitter at the centre of all the flowers.

Inside it says 'To my dearest darling Reg, With all my love & kisses, May God Bless You, Forever Yours, Bets xxx 19th July 1959

Inside it says ‘To my dearest darling Reg, With all my love & kisses, May God Bless You, Forever Yours, Bets xxx 19th July 1959’

One of my favourites in the group is this Easter card. The front is embossed and has with silver type and outlining. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a nicer card in my life!


The best Easter card


Inside the card – From Doreen, with love

At Easter

At Easter – from Avril & Eddie. It’s not dated inside but I can see the post stamp imprinted on the back of the card ’23 Mar 51′

This next card is only small. It’s a late 1940s one published by Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd.

Easter Wishes

Easter Wishes ‘To Mammy and Daddy, love from John’

There weren’t many Christmas cards in the box. This one seems quite unusual design. Inside it is signed ‘To Mummy and Daddy, With Love and Best Wishes, Betty’

Kindest Thoughts from the Christmas penguins

Kindest Thoughts from the Christmas penguins – a stitched design. Not dated and publisher unknown.

This is a great Christmas card with the central message displayed on a satin cushion…

Merry Christmas to my Wife

Merry Christmas to my Wife, from Stewart.


The publishers stamp on the back says ‘Satin Cushion’ by Kaye

This is the last one and it’s my joint favourite along with the Jesus Easter card… everything about it makes me happy – the snow scene, the colours, the cut-out window on the front flap, the style of the illustration, the holly decoration down the sides, the die-cut edges, the typeface…. it’s just the best card I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I could ever hope to receive a better Christmas card than this one.

Christmas 1951

The post mark has been imprinted on the back of the card – ’21 Dec 51′


‘To Greet You’ – The best Christmas card ever


Here is the card, folded out. The publisher’s stamp on the back says ‘Valentine’s Cloth of Gold Christmas Cards’

It’s worth noting that every single one of these cards was printed in England, or Great Britain. Also nearly all of them are created from one large sheet of paper folded twice to create a card – very different from the cards of today. It’s interesting to see how designs and wording have evolved over time, and of course the production processes have changed beyond all recognition since these cards were published too.

Here are some of the publisher’s logos from the card backs…


Greeting Card publishers


Greeting Card history

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all these cards and postcards I keep collecting, I think I’ll have to get an album of some sort to store them all.




Easter & Spring Cards

March 25, 2015

Hello! My Easter and Spring-themed cards are now listed in my Etsy shop. These four cards are some of the first I designed back in 2009. The Butterflies have been the most popular, but I think the Daffodils one is my favourite.


Butterflies Card

Click here to view the Butterflies card on Etsy



Click here to view the Chick card on Etsy



Click here to view the Snowdrops card on Etsy



Click here to view the Daffodils card on Etsy

The cards are priced at Β£2.25 each, or I have sets of all four available for Β£5.00.


Set of four


The cards come with coordinating kraft ribbed envelopes

Click here to view the set of four cards on Etsy



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