The Little Picture that Could

My original has more color. You can see it on my Flickr. This is an image someone decided to lighten up for some reason. But I’m not going to post my original again.


Many of you who have been following me for a while know that I had ZERO confidence when it came to my card designs. I never thought they were anything that anyone would really like.  It never occurred to me to put a watermark on my image.  I freely shared them on my Flickr account, blog and Facebook because I thought only my friend’s were going to care. Even if they didn’t care, they would still be encouraging. I was in for a HUGE shock last night.

When I made the image above, I was working on a slow computer. It took about 6 minutes to even get the images into my Corell Draw program. It was slooooowwwwwww. I still didn’t have the knowledge of how to put the words on the luggage. I found the quote and had an idea. Poor Mr. Bernie had to come in and help me make the magic happen. He showed me how to manipulate the images on the luggage. It was a process. That was the first card I was pretty proud of. It didn’t use my usual vintage images of kids or woman. It had a fun message and presented in a fun way. It was one of the first times that I actually thought I was semi good at what I did. It also made me want to figure things out on my own, so Mr. Bernie didn’t have to hold my hand.

Apparently, my image has been getting around the internet without me.  My original posting on Flickr has been viewed  14,586 times as of this writing! I had a feeling the picture was getting around ,without me,  a few months ago. In June, Jenny’s sister, shared it. She shared it from someone else on Facebook. That picture Julie shared, had been shared 379 times! When I saw it in June I sent a note to the person who Julie shared from. I told her that I was the artist, and asked who had shared it with her. I got nothing back.

Last night I stumbled across my picture on Pintrest. It wasn’t my original share. It had been shared close to 500 times from this person’s pin. Then I went back a couple generations and found it had been shared hundreds of times. I finally figured out to look at the original source. Big shock that I wasn’t the original. Tumblr was listed as the original source. I put the picture into Google images to see where else my picture had been: Pages that include matching images  One post has my image in a black background with the words “True” under it and their website as the source. I will be emailing them today. I haven’t had a chance to go through them all, but skimming, only one blogger asked to let someone know if it was their image so she could give credit. One other person credited a friend’s Facebook account.

I was flattered as heck. Yet, a bit annoyed that this image is running around without me. As a new designer, I put a lot of work into it. Yet, I’m nowhere around. As if this wasn’t bad enough, some rocket scientist CHANGED my image. They cut off the top and put it on Instagram. That PISSED me off. Don’t do that. As much as I wanted to send a nasty note, I can’t be sure she was the one who did it. She could have found it from someone else like that. It’s flattering to have my stuff enjoyed and shared. It’s insulting and rude to change my image. Just cutting off the top and adding a filter to it doesn’t make it yours.

In my designs I’m very careful about using design elements that can only be used if one is going to re-sell the image. I don’t use Personal Use items. I give credit where credit is due. Heck, even if I post a vintage ad, I give credit. The person I credit may not be the person who originally posted it, but it was where I found it. I have emailed bloggers to ask to use their pictures. I have emailed designers the same thing. I feel one should give credit where credit is due.

Granted many of these folks can’t give credit back as the image fell down some rabbit hole and keeps popping up. This taught me a lesson that my designs are better than I think and I need to start using some sort of water mark. I have no clue what kind or how I will do that yet, but you can bet I’ll figure it out.




  1. Here’s one for you. A rural Minnesota weekly newspaper just republished an entire blog post (including photos) that I wrote about an old bakery being converted into a coffee shop. I don’t mind the republishing. But I do mind that the editor never contacted me to ask if he could republish the piece. Thankfully I was fully credited.

    I totally understand your frustration about the image. Did you, though (and please don’t take this the wrong way), credit the writer for the quote? When I sell my greeting card verses to Warner Press, I sign a document that these are my original verses. Warner then assumes copyright ownership of what I’ve written.

    You are a talented woman, Bernie, so keep creating.

    • Uggg! That is awful. No, I could never find who wrote the quote. Most of the ones I use, I do quote the original person if I know who they are.

  2. Hello bernie :):)

    I am Anna, whom you left a comment on! (: Upset to see that people aren’t crediting things that arent theirs! :( I will edit my post and credit you now! (:

    Merry Xmas and a happy new year! :D

  3. It’s so sad when this sort of thing happens. A talented woman I met through a writing class wrote a hilarious story about baptizing the cat. (Florence Fallert) I’ve since seen it reproduced elsewhere, with no credit given to the original author. As you said, perhaps the person who plagiarized didn’t know who to give credit to, but claiming to have written it themselves is the worst kind of thievery!
    I hope you’ll learn how to watermark your creations so that you can receive the kudos for your creations that you deserve.

    • Thank you. I plan on it. I know many folks didn’t know who to credit. However, to take it and turn it into something else annoyed me the most.

  4. Charlene Pitsch says:

    Bernie, I love your cards and posts!! I’m sorry they are being snitched and hope you can find out who changed your card. I would love to buy an original “Bernie”. The message in this one hits close to home and I would really like to give one to that special person that came into my life! You can msg. me on FB as to where I can buy one. Please!

  5. How frustrating, I know you meant for the message to have meaning but when people claim to be the creator that IS stealing. I also understand people sharing and not knowing where it came from, but it is a whole other animal when someone else says look what I made, it doesn’t matter how good the message is, it would be like me saying I wrote the Gettysburg Address and getting all the credit. Ya, the message is good and the word needs to get out, but I didn’t write it!

  6. Darla Glibbery says:

    You know what? You have BLESSED so many people with this message, that if I were You, I would just take this as a lesson learned, from now on watermark your stuff, and be happy that SO MANY people were touched by something that GOD put into Your heart and mind. I don’t think that people really realized they were stealing this when they shared this. I know that I didn’t.(I am guilty of sharing your photo at least twice, and I am sorry:( )You are DEFINITELY tanented:).

    • Oh, I know people didn’t steal it, per say. Its hard to find the real source once it gets out there. I am happy people find it a cool image. From some if the sites I found it on, it gave them a sense of comfort as well. That really makes me happy!! I am glad it was share. I just with that when it was shared, a source was listed, so everyone who shared after that can credit me for it. I just found it this morning being offered as an E-card on a site.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Feel free to share away. As far as this image, I didn’t water mark it. The source got lost in all the sharing. I understand that, but still had to be whiny.

      Thank you for taking the time to reply! It made my day.

  7. It is a wonderful thing that people like your artistic eye, but I will be linking it back to your Flickr account as soon as I find it!!

  8. If nothing else Bernie, I am glad this discovery gave you the validation you need to know you are talented!

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