Monday, August 20, 2012

Cat Keepsake Boxes By Cat Artist Deborah Julian-A Guest Blog By David Stone

It’s summer. Cody and Caren deserve a day off; so I’m filling in. I’m here to tell you about the artful style with which my favorite cat artist has re-invented wooden keepsake boxes.

"Billy" box top

It’s not just because Cody and Caren deserve a day at the beach. It’s also because there’s something new and different for cat lovers.

Deborah Julian isn’t your everyday cat artist. She’s a cat artist with a sense of humor and a gift for creativity. When I asked her to illustrate Travels With George: Paris (a book I wrote and Caren reviewed), she captured the spirit in my traveling cats story, but I also really liked how often she made her illustrations amusing.

Since then, adding to her cat art, she launched a unique series of Famous ArtistsCats in which she imagines painters from Van Gogh to Picasso and what their lives would be like if they had her cats “helping” with the artwork. It’s one of the most interesting – and funny –  collections of cat art you’ll see.

When she said she’d soon be using decoupage to decorate wooden keepsake boxes, I was eager to see the results. Her keepsake boxes, based on cat art already created for prints, cards and magnets, turned out better, more richly colorful and useful, than I imagined. Taking familiar household items and making them beautiful is an art in itself.

Caren Gittleman, who usually commands this space, became one of the first buyers. “I bought one and love it, “ she says of her Cat In Degas’ Hat Shop  decorated keepsake box.
Box that Caren bought

Caren's box on her desk

Caren's box is used for paper clips!

The wooden boxes come in a variety of sizes intended to fit uses from single treasured pairs of earrings to boxes big enough for letters, mementos or jewelry collections. Thinking decor, they can even be bought in matched sets.

In our home, decorated wooden keepsake boxes serve as simple accessories, nothing inside, and, also, as place to stash keys in addition to the expected uses.
"Cezanne" box

As a handmade artist, Deborah starts out each box by painting its unfinished surface with an accent designed to complement the cat art still to be added. In a tricky multi-phase process, she reworks existing artwork by reducing the image to a smaller size appropriate for the specific box.

Sometimes, this requires adjusting the image to make it fit the space available. Elements may be added or, more likely, deleted.
"City Cats" cube

The trickiest part, requiring many hours of training and practice involves applying decoupage to the image after mounting it on a box. Expert decoupage, which requires multiple steps and drying times is made more difficult by Deborah’s own curious cats, since they just have to know about that new smell, etc.
"Handle With Care"

A finished keepsake box is topped with art that seems embedded in the wood, not merely attached. It should look like it was painted in, and with hers, it does.

"Home Sweet Apartment"

Her cat art is great. I love it and am happy to see it reach cat and art lovers in an all new way. To see more of her cat art decorated wooden keepsake boxes and consider adding them to your home or delighting your friends with gifts, click here.  SPECIAL OFFER FOR CAT CHAT READERS!! Deborah is offering a 15% DISCOUNT JUST FOR YOU! Just enter the code  CatChat15 at checkout on either Deborah Julian Art or Deborah Julian Photography !

You’re going to love what you find.
(Thanks to my friends Caren and Cody for the space!)

From Caren & Cody: a special THANK YOU to David Stone and Deborah Julian for this most special guest post! We LOVE our box and admire and use it EVERY DAY! It was a pleasure to feature you!


  1. They look beautiful and I will check them out. I wonder could you get a customised box. Lovely post and nice to meet your friends.. Hugs GJ xx

  2. Really neat. Have a great Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Hello there David!!! Glad you've given lovely Caren and sweet Cody a day off at the beach! Yay!!

    Awww wow - these boxes are beautiful!!! Such little treasures of art!! Thank you for sharing them here! Take care

  4. I'm a big fan of Deborah Julian's art, and these boxes are beautiful!

  5. @GJ that is a great question and I am going to see if David can stop by and answer that! Thanks for the question! xoxoxo

    @Ingrid yep I know! I have been a fan since I first met David! The boxes are beautiful!

    @Old kitty shhhh...don't tell, I'm not really at the beach :)

  6. @Molly you have a great Monday too!

    @Rumblepurr/Diego they are sooo beautiful!!

  7. Thank you Caren and Cody for featuring my new line of keepsake boxes! I'm glad you are delighted with yours.

    Ginger Jasper, or anyone else who is interested in customized boxes. Just send an email to me at and we can can discuss what you have in mind.

    Thanks so much for all the kind comments!

  8. The boxes are sweet and beautiful! What a perfect gift for catty friends. ; )

  9. Hello David, how nice of you to give Caren a well deserved day off...she works very hard for her blog!!!! We think the boxes are beautiful, thank you for bringing them to our attention :-)

  10. Thanks for your sweet comment about my Cat on a Blue stairway piece. And of course I'll have to check out another cat artist! You had me at meow.

  11. Chubbs thinks that last cat looks like him - he wants to be famous too. He is jealous.
    I have some her cards - such fun artwork and photography!

  12. @Art and Sew forth you are lucky to have some of Deborah's cards her work is amazing! Oh and don't be jealous! lol

    @Sharon you are welcome but you know it is the truth! So glad that you and Deborah will connect with each other. You are both such talented women!

    @Cat are you ever sweet? Yep, we LOVE having guest bloggers...they do a MUCH better job than Mom does hehehe Love, Cody

    @Benny & Lily we do too!

    @Katie and Glogirly hmmmmmm....we're not gonna touch that one cause we might just travel down the wrong road....hehehe

    @Deborah I am THRILLED that you stopped by to answer GJ's question, that was super kind of you! Thanks so much and we are thrilled to feature you!

  13. Those are terrific boxes. They are so darn well done. Thanks for this great review. Have a super day.

  14. @Brian I love 'em too!

    @Layla they are, beautiful as well!

    @Speedy they are lovely. Well made also!

    @Marg thanks so much! You as well!

  15. To me they look like the purrfect gift!

  16. What beautiful and cat-tastic boxes! They look like purrfect gifts for all the cat lovers in our lives! :)

  17. WOW!!!!!Those boxes are fantastic!! We need to go to her site and look around :) Thanks David for this super post!
    Purrs Tillie and Georgia,
    Tiger,Treasure,JJ and Julie

    PeeEss: Julie is also happy her furs are growing back. It will mean no more trips to the Vet!!

  18. Those are amazing. They would make great gifts. We are going to go check out her site. Hugs and nose kisses

  19. Those boxes are such pretty little works of art!

  20. What wonderful boxes! I love them!

  21. Those boxes are Cattastic! We are going to go look around....Krissymouse is not too far away....!

  22. @Spitty these would make GREAT "Krissymouse" gifts!!

    @Nellie I knew that you would!

    @Daisy we sooo agree!

    @chancy they would because there are so many uses for them. I used mine for paper clips but they can be used for jewelry and so much more!

    @Tillie and Georgia so glad that you enjoyed the post! Yay again about Julie's fur!!!

    @meowmeowmans you got it!

    @CATachresis absolutely!

  23. Beautiful boxes! I can't draw or paint to save my life, so I admire the talent of those who can make such beautiful things :)

  24. The boxes are just lovely!

    Cats of wildcat woods

  25. Oooh! We're going shopping, because I must have one of those!

  26. Hi Miss Caren!! Where's Cody?? I miss him! ahem..koff, koff...I like you lots too...well, ya know! And those are really nice boxes...paw pats, Savannah

  27. These boxes are really beautiful. I love boxes. Of course these ones are too small for me. But my human loves boxes too to keep her toys (she calls them jewels).
    I'll have to send her the link! Thanks!