Winter Illustrations from the 19th-20th Century

Winter illustrations from vintage christmas cards

More snow, please!

I’m so ready to cozy up with hot chocolate and new books. I also went a little crazy on eBay and can’t wait to rummage through my latest batch of illustrations en route.

And speaking of winter, here are five more vintage Christmas cards and winter illustrations for the season. These guys are from my collection of antique postcards and trading cards, and most were produced in Germany between the 19th and 20th century. A couple of illustrations featured here are from trade cards for tea and medicine, originally published in the 1880’s!

How to Use Winter Illustrations for Holiday Crafts

If you’re gonna be stuck inside all winter, you better get your glue gun out! The holiday season is all about crafting, DIY, and putting ideas on paper. Here are several project ideas and links to get keep you busy with your winter illustrations:

You can also use these vintage Christmas graphics to make your own gift wrap and scientific illustrations to create DIY gifts for geeks.

Free Things to Do This Winter

I’m a big fan of finding free things to do (shocked?)

Here are a few of my favorite free things to do in winter to help you save money:

  • Free museums days!!
  • Free concerts and movies in the park
  • Dig into your winter reading list
  • Make your own Christmas tree ornaments
  • Nature walks in state parks
  • Go ice skating for free
  • Have a documentary marathon for free
  • Make a snow lantern (I haven’t tried this but I want to!)

More Vintage Winter Illustrations

Need more illustrations for your winter projects? Check out the archives for a complete list of every post!

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Free Vintage Christmas Cards in the Public Domain

Hope everyone is having an awesome weekend! I sure am. Someone just scored a sweet deal on a bunch of vintage trading cards (those images to come soon!)

Now I’m in the Christmas spirit. And I hope you are too. Coming your way are eight vintage Christmas cards in the public domain, originally published in the early 20th century.

I edited these images a bit in Pixlr, but you can find the originals under ‘Christmas cards’ tag in the NYPL public domain collection online.

 

How to Print & Decorate Your Vintage Christmas Cards

Printing out your vintage Christmas cards is super easy, but decorating them is the fun part. Use card stock paper to print out your greeting cards and decorate them with puffy paint, glitter, or found objects like buttons, yarn, and dried flowers. You may even like them better as is.

Other crafty ideas to consider:

  • Resize them to create small note cards or magnets
  • Resize them even smaller for Christmas jewelry and pendants
  • Create your own Christmas wrapping paper
  • Make your own Christmas mugs
  • Change the image resolution in Photoshop to create Christmas posters
  • Use Photoshop to convert images into simple lined drawings for coloring books

For more free Christmas illustrations check out last year’s post on antique Xmas graphics and typography.

Editing Your Vintage Christmas Cards for Free

If you follow this website, then you know I don’t hide my love for Pixlr. Pixlr is Autodesk’s free online image editor. It’s the one I use the most, but there are other free editors as well.

In the mean time, here are 10 more free online photo editors to try, courtesy of The Balance:

  • Gimp
  • Paint.net
  • Inkscape
  • EasyComic
  • Pixia
  • Photo Pos
  • Artweaver Free
  • Photoscape
  • Krita
  • Photobie

The History of Vintage Christmas Cards

Ever stopped to think of how Christmas cards came to be?

Here are a few tid-bits on the history of Christmas cards from Smithsonian Magazine:

The most talked-about origin involved wealthy 19th-century arts patron, Sir Henry Cole, who wanted an easier way to send Christmas letters in bulk. So he contacted artist, J.C. Horsley, and took their illustration to a London printer to print 1,000 copies. These original vintage Christmas cards were printed on Cardstock and featured people celebrating around a holiday table or helping people in need.

These cards were produced in the late 1840’s, but Christmas cards themselves didn’t catch on till decades later.

*Henry Cole also played a significant role in developing London’s renowned Victoria and Albert Museum.

More Free Christmas Stuff

Before I wrap up this post, here are more free Christmas resources to check out. Enjoy!

Watch free Christmas movies

Free stock photos of Christmas trees

Christmas Gifs to share online

Twinkling Christmas lights graphics

Listen to free Christmas music online

More free Christmas music downloads

Free printable Christmas gift wrap

Big list of Christmas freebies

Get free Christmas catalogs

public domain vintage christmas cards with holly gift box

Fall Illustrations: 19th Century Autumn Leaves and Scenery

Vintage pumpkin illustration from a 19th century postcard in the public domain

Happy Sunday!

I just got back from Thacher park, and yep, the fall colors were definitely awesome.

The New York State Library also has some neat autumn images of their own. These fall illustrations come from the library’s public domain collection and span the 19th century.

I cleaned these images up in Pixlr but you can find the originals under the ‘autumn’ and ‘fall leaves’ tags in the NYPL database.

A 19th century fall illustration of a house on a lake in autumn - public domain

Why Do the Leaves Change in Fall?

Good question!

Here’s what National Geographic has to say about it:

Evergreen trees, for example, are coniferous, so they have a protective waxy coating on their leaves which protects them during winter. Deciduous trees like birch and maple don’t have that protective coating, so they shed their leaves in fall.

Fall illustrations of autumn leaves in the public domain

But What Makes Them Change Color?

Before deciduous trees shed their leaves, they have to pull whatever nutrients they can, like nitrogen.

During this time, leaves also slow down photosynthesis and chlorophyll production (which is responsible for that leafy green color.) This gives carotenoids their time to shine, as these are the natural warm-colored pigments hiding beneath chlorophyll.

The process of recouping more nitrogen and phosphorus, coupled with the slowing down of photosynthesis, is what creates the beautiful fall colors we know and love.

More Free Resources for Fall

Need ideas for fall? Check out the links below!

Vintage St. Patrick’s Day Postcards

Antique St. Patrick's Day Postcard Vintage St. Patty's Day Postcard

I realized I didn’t have too much stuff for Saint Patrick’s Day.

I wanted to expand my pool of resources anyway and found myself sifting through the public domain collection from the New York State Public Library.

Glad I did because I found these super festive St. Patrick’s Day Postcards.

I made a few brightness and contrast adjustments with Pixlr, but you can also find the originals right here

These vintage St. Patty’s Day postcards were produced sometime between the 1930s and 40s. The NYPL thoroughly reviewed their copyright status and found that you are “free to use [them] in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that [apply] to your use.”

Enjoy!

 

Fun Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

Curious about the history of St. Patrick’s Day?

Me too! So I did a little research and compiled these fun facts for your flashcards, blogs, etc.

  • St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
  • St. Patrick is credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland.
  • Scholars believe St. Patrick died in the year 461 on March 17th.
  • Shamrock connection: Legend says that St. Patrick would use shamrocks to describe the father, son, and the holy spirit.
  • Roughly 100 different St. Patrick’s Day parades on held in the U.S on March 17th.
  • The largest St. Patrick’s Day parades are in Boston and New York City.
  • The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in the United States, not Ireland, in 1962.
  • In 1962, Chicago dumped green dye into the Chicago River to trace and remove sewage. This started a tradition of Chicago dying their river green every St. Patrick’s Day.

Vintage Images for Mothers Day: Antique Rose Illustrations in the Public Domain

This is a free antique image of blue lace and roses for Mothers DayRoses are a Mothers Day classic! For this post, I sifted through the Library of Congress online and stumbled upon some really great vintage images from the 19th century, and I used Pixlr to clean them up a bit. For a quick and easy Mothers Day card, just print one out and you’re good to go! I personally love the light teal lace image because it brings a textured look to a greeting card.

Try using these free antique images to create napkins, invitations, greeting cards, decor, and other printed products for Mothers Day, weddings, engagement parties, bridal showers, or vintage themed birthdays. For more creative inspiration, I scoured the internet to find some truly clever and creative tutorials for rose-themed Mothers Day crafting too.

Rose Inspired Mothers Day Crafts

Vintage Pretty Chic Floral Rose Garden Collage Throw Pillow

Vintage Rose Pillow

Easy DIY Paper Roses

Paper Bouquet for Mothers Day

Origami Mothers Day Rose

Tye-Dye Roses for Mothers Day

DIY Chocolate Roses for Mom

Rose Petal and Salt Dough Crafts

Mothers Day Rose Corsage

 

 

Beautiful Vintage Children’s Book Illustrations of Country Flowers

Happy Monday, Everyone! I hope the Easter Bunny was good to you this year. I miss Easter already, but the next awesome craft holiday on the horizon is Mothers Day, so I really wanted to curate a special collection of free illustrations, fun facts, craft tips, and gift ideas this year.

This is a free vintage illustration of country flowers and lilies from an antique public domain childrens book from 1857

Nothing says Mothers Day more than flowers, so I searched the public domain to find some hidden gems buried away in antique books and was stoked to find the illustrated children’s book, A little Girl’s Visit to a Country Garden.

Published in 1857, this mid-19th-century children’s story follows a young city girl as she travels through the countryside and visits a beautiful flower garden with her Mother. Along with its charming story, this public domain book is packed with vibrant multicolored flowers. I used Pixlr to brighten up the images more and really bring out those lush colors.

I used Pixlr to brighten up the images more and really bring out those lush colors. These vintage flower graphics would make ideal craft and digital material for Mothers Day DIY gifts, Pinterest marketing campaigns, e-greetings, newsletters, postcards, and more!

 

Vintage Floral Teacup Card for Mothers Day

Mothers Day Teacup of Flowers Greeting Card

There are so many lovely vintage style Mothers Day gifts online. This is a great way to avoid the madness of the mall and still send a beautiful and personalized gift to your Mother. I went on a search to find some really great flower-inspired Mothers Day gifts and found this charming vintage teacup greeting card!

 

Free Religious Vintage Illustrations for Easter: Elaborate Victorian Crosses

This is a free vintage Easter illustration of an antique pink floral cross from a vintage greeting card.

I was rummaging through my treasure trove of Victorian postcards at home and found some really elaborate embossed postcards from the turn of the century. These antique postcards feature lovely pastel floral designs, making them ideal crafting material for religious Easter gifts, Easter Sunday greeting cards, Bible study coloring books, and church programs. They also make charming antique graphics for blog posts, email newsletters, and social media posts!

 

I selected and edited these antique cross images from my own personal collection of vintage postcards. You may use these images for your own personal and commercial projects for free and without permission. A link back is only required if you use an image for online purposes.