Monday, February 22, 2010

Cards I Love: Parthenia Handcrafted Notecards

Patricia Gaye Tapp, creative dreamer of the design and style blog Little Augury, is a most fascinating Southern interior designer with a passion for handcrafted cards. Escape to North Carolina with me for a visit and meet a very fabulous and mysterious blogger

Patricia Gaye Tapp is a Southern interior designer who dreams up and crafts and creates the most enchanting stationery.

P. Gaye Tapp is also the dreamy, poetic, and somewhat elusive founder and writer of the highly original design and style blog, Little Augury.

Her blog—which covers everything from pre-Raphaelite decorating, long-lost art, early photography and Oscar Wilde, to African fashion designers, Gloria Swanson, French style, obscure poetry and rare books—first caught my eye when I began researching the world of blogs in advance of founding my design blog. She’s a big favorite of many of my favorite bloggers, including Emily Evans Eerdmans, Joni Webb, and Jennifer Boles.

Reading Little Augury, I discovered that her style blog could be poetic, elusive, a bit eccentric, on a trajectory from factual, wildly romantic, and with highly-detailed text that seemed written long after midnight.

Little Augury writes with candor and wit and a whiff of stream-of-consciousness. And who was this mysterious ‘Little Augury’ who had such a vivid and insightful eye? There was once a portrait of her on the blog. It’s blurry and seems to be of a cheerfully blonde young woman circa 1978.

When I launched my blog, THE STYLE SALONISTE, last summer, Little Augury was one of the first of the top bloggers to find me and send me very encouraging messages. I eventually sleuthed out that she was a designer, lived somewhere in the South, and that her blog posts captured an out-of-time sensibility.

Then a package arrived, filled with her Parthenia cards. In the box were cards ruffled with velvet trim, fluttering with blue feathers, framed with gilt-edged ribbons, scented with a thousand Southern summers, and mottled with the air of decades and oceans crossed.

Parthenia cards by Little Augury, Patricia Gaye Tapp. Each is unique.

Patricia sent me some missives.

“The notecards are a little project of mine, and I got into them when I stumbled on a very old set of fine fashion illustration at a junk shop,” said Little Augury, aka Patricia Gaye Tapp. “All of a sudden I had a collection of more than one hundred, and I kept them on their shelf in a bookcase. I kept finding antique postcards and old etchings, and adding to the collection.”

P. Gaye Tapp has her own design firm, P. Gaye Tapp Interior Design, so she was too busy to notice that eventually she had a superb collection of drawings, French postcards, Italian art postcards, and reproductions of fine old paintings.

“I decided to take the originals and do them up in detailed and framed statement cards,” she recalled. “I must say it was exacting work but I enjoyed it. Some of my favorites include such beauties as etchings of Marie Antoinette, more of Napoleon, Boucher paintings, birds, dogs, and some wonderful Italian paintings of madonnas.”

P. Gaye Tapp called her company Parthenia.

“Parthenia was my great-great-great-great-grandmother’s lovely name,” she said.

Each card is unique.

“I suppose I would sell more if I made multiples, but I don't think I would enjoy the copying, as something is missing,” said the designer. “The canine cards feature fine reproductions of old photographs of dogs and their masters. Those I could not part with. Some of the cards feature the same image-but they are all laid out and embellished with ribbons and adorned very differently.”

Interior design has been Little Augury’s life work for over twenty-five years.

“I am very much inspired by a creative and talented GranMa and my mother,” she said. “I grew up in a small Southern town in North Carolina, like my grandmother and my mother. It is the place I have returned to after being away for those twenty-five years. Back to my roots as it were. My family is very tightly knit, and the old Southern style, family first, still resonates for me.”

P. Gaye Tapp, rummaging through flea markets and estate sales and her own secret sources has collected and gathered and amassed more than five hundred vintage and antique post cards, all dating far beyond the 1930's.

“Most of the post cards on the Parthenia cards are the original. There is one and only one card,” she said.. “The delight is in the bit of time it takes to marry all the elements of the cards. I never know where they might take me.”

Little Augury also makes custom cards.

“I designed a wonderful card with an old photograph of my grandfather and his friends, on which he had inscribed " on the road to the asylum," she said. “I created a story inside the card with bits of related things dear to him, including photographs of my grandmother during their courtship just before 1920.”

“My photograph collection continues to grow and I would love some day to offer these as limited edition works. I have terrific photographs of animals of all sorts dating from the 1940's and some beautiful photographs of horse and rider. We will see what comes of it all, meanwhile.”

DDS: Next plan?

PGT: I will see where the wind takes me. I continue on with my design work, traveling back in to Raleigh, an hour's drive, once or twice a week, for long-time clients. I have the makings of some interesting original vintage photographs in a collection that I can have custom framed,” she said. “I have such beautiful collections and rare images. Somewhere there is always another project for another day.”

Prices range from $6 to $27.


For purchasing inquiries and all other information please contact:

or write to:
209 Morgan Street
Roxboro, NC 27573


Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Wonderful, wonderful post. I knew Little Augury was multi-talented, but these cards go beyond my imaginings. They are each little works of art and because of that, precious beyond words. I always love finding out more about my favorite bloggers and your interview with her was delightfully revealing. DDS and PGT -- what a lovely collaboration!

soodie :: said...

this post is great. PGT is not only fabulous, gracious and with such a powerful and unique mind but i too am so struck by these cards. each one is an incredible creation. a lost art, yet revived in a completely new and different way. i'm stunned and elated at the same time. just love what she has done. thanks DDS for bringing these additional talents of hers to our attention.

pve design said...

I feel honored to have my very own. They are utterly priceless, romantic and so not your Mother's Hallmark.

Topsy Turvy said...

What an inspirational tribute, from one insanely talented and original woman to another.

Style Court said...

What I appreciate about Gaye is her originality and sincerity. Such a refreshing voice.


Thank you for this post, Style Saloniste, and some much-deserved recognition for this encouraging and talented lady! I've long been a fan of Little Augury...she was in fact one of my first readers. And your description of her blog is spot-on. Exquisite cards. Lauren

Dominique H. Vasseur said...

Quite by accident, I found Ms. Tapp's wonderful cards at her Parthenia website and immediately fell in love with her marvelous images, exquisite design sensibility, and use of handsome materials. I ordered two cards from her and now treasure them. I doubt I could ever send them unless to someone very, very special. Many thanks for featuring Ms. Tapp and her work.

home before dark said...

Lovely collaboration, indeed. LA and I "fuss on the playground" as she once described our conversations. While we differ on a few things, I have never once doubted her creativity infused with good old-fashioned Southerness kicked up more than than a notch or two. When I open her blog, it's always with a "what is she thinking about today?" In blog world, as in life, too many people sit on the fence, clad in neutrasl, chiming the same thing to each other agreeing their conversations are unique, creative or inspiring. LA is not a mugwamp. I say cheers and bring it on!

JMW said...

These cards are works of art. Simply beautiful.

Janet said...

Visiting Gaye's blog is like walking into a cabinet of curiosities...always a delight...and always intriguing. Thank you for introducing us to her art!

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Diane, I am honoured to have your admiration of my cards. When I sent them your way after your post on collecting old museum post cards and finding them harder to find-I just knew I wanted you to have them. Not thinking of them being a topic for your Style Saloniste- but i am honestly thrilled,Thank you and thank you to everyone for the comments about the cards and my blog. Gaye

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Diane, your words beautifully captured the elusive magic of little augury. I remember the first Parthenia card I received - it had a verse inside from Cecil Beaton's The Glass of Fashion (how did she divine my love for that book???) and was gloriously beautiful from the paper texture to the ribbon trim. This is one card I will always treasure. She is indeed a generous and gentle spirit with an eye for the wondrous. xoxo, EEE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Friends-

I was greeted with all your wonderful messages this morning--plus more comments on Facebook. Little Augury's fan club.
I am so grateful for your generous and insightful comments--and for praise for PGT!
We have all enjoyed her bounteous posts and her thoughtful and kind messages.
PGT: The moment I received your cards (sent in response to my 'vanishing postcards' feature) I knew I had to write about them. They are exquisitely original and fearlessly romantic. Each is a work of art, and each speaks volumes.
Thank you all for this orchestral praise for Patricia Gaye Tapp and her wonderful creations. And hosannahs to PGT for the beauty she creates--long after midnight.
Cheers, DIANE

gésbi said...

Hello Saloniste - I'm disappointed to see my comments don't seem to get through, but when at first you don't succeed...
I really enjoyed this post and the way you revealed another creative facette to favorite blogger, PGT. It's wonderful to make new with these elements of the past - many which are already loaded with sentiment. There seems to be a generous impulse in everything she does!

Rose C'est La Vie said...

One can't pay enough tributes to lovely little augury so thank you for this. Her fabulous cardwork showcases her brilliance at picking the perfect image, her archiving skills and her eye for pretty detail. What a great collaboration, Diane.

Beadboard UpCountry said...

Hi Diane!
Oneof my New Year's resoulutions was to take more time and look into more new blogs. Thanks for enlightening me about Little Augry's I will check it out. Always a pleasure.Maryanne :)

Victoria Thorne said...

Diane, you continually deposit little bits of heaven into our lives. It all adds up to one marvelous paradise. Gaye's work is divine, and it's thrilling to see more of it here. Another thousand thanks.

ceecee said...

Always something wonderful and surprising over here, Diane. Thanks.

I've been trying repeatedly to get an updated feed of your blog on my sidebar, but for some reason it has been stuck for two weeks. I will keep trying!



Unknown said...

First time here, clicked over from Little Augury's site. So glad I did! Fun learning a bit more about this mysterious blogger. Not to mention her lovely cards. I always seem to learn something on her site. Something tells me if I nosed around a bit more over here, the same would be true.

Philip Bewley said...

Dear Diane,

I have to read your posts many times.
Your elegant and insightful posts do inspire.
With this one, I appreciate the handwork to create something unique with a sensibility.
It was a pleasure to see the personal work of someone who has appreciated and discussed the fine arts. There is such a delight in that.
Thank you, Diane

Gwen Driscoll said...


Thank you for introducing me to this blog. There are so many great ones it's hard to keep up! I hope you are well. So glad you like Ragland Hill Social. I just love being part of the blog world.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Thank you for your wonderful messages regarding the great and elusive and mysterious PGT.
Patricia Gaye Tapp sent me some sample cards--and they are so beautiful and delicious.
I've had such lovely response to this feature. I am delighted. I hope you'll just send her a message, ask her to send you some cards (state our style and motive) --and then send to friends. They will me thrilled and delighted and happy beyond compare.
cheers to you all, DIANE

Angie Muresan said...

I first heard of her beautiful blog through Lisa's blog: A Bloomsbury Life. it is indeed a fascinating place, created by a fascinating woman.

Here via, Pamela from The House of Edward. Loved your comment there and had to see who it was that made it.

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

thank you Diane, You are a brilliant light for everyone to gather round. You elevate us all. Gaye

Nicky said...

So beautiful.

Elizabeth Avedon said...

Little Augury, one of my long time favorite blogs, was so beautifully described by you. PGT is inspirational, always bringing out the most interesting sophisticated images in her posts for all of us to aspire towards. With Parthenia, she continues to create dreams!

Elizabeth Avedon said...

Little Augury is one of my very favorite blogs; always full of amazingly unique images, always inspirational, and always creative. Once again I am inspired by your Interview with Ms Tapp and to view more of her Fabulous card collection! Her creativity is a gift to all of us!

fireplace surround said...

Nice tribute for a lady. xo
~ Herman Swan