Friday, 25 July 2014

My 'Lily Pond' Collection - 21 Gifts for the Home

My collage Water Lily and Dragonfly
 motifs have expanded into
 so many different patterns for my
'Lily Pond'

You can see them now, over on

(And be sure to check back often as I'm adding new products almost every day!)

Friday, 18 July 2014

From Traffic Hazard to Mini-print - my Rosy Posy Collection

Hidden amongst the many bushes and shrubs in my front garden is a Dog Rose. 

I didn't even know it was there because the rooms where I spend most of the daylight hours look out on my little back garden, so I tend to be largely unaware of what goes on at the front. 

And that's how I came to be taken by surprise when I realised that our record-breaking wet winter, followed by a warm April, had made everything grow like crazy, including a rampant Dog Rose, at the front!

It was hanging right over the pavement and into the road, a busy road with enough big lorries to make the overhanging greenery a potential danger to drivers!

So out came my tallest pair of steps, and, armed with secateurs, I was able to cut back the errant Dog Rose, just about succeeding in not dropping the cuttings (or myself!) onto the passing traffic.

Job done! 

But I really don't like throwing healthy blooms into the garden waste bag; so I cut off the flowers and filled all my smallest posy vases with them. 

At that point, I realised that I had never really looked at Wild Roses, even though they were the basis of those most English of symbols, the Red and White roses of the Mediaeval Houses of Lancaster and York and, of course, the Tudor Rose! 

(You can read about 'The Wars of the Roses', and see portraits of the colourful characters involved HERE!) 

The Red Rose of the House of Lancaster
The White Rose of the House of York

The Tudor rose, bringing the two warring Houses together

What I noticed when I looked more carefully, was that, compared to cultivated roses, the Dog Rose has a very simple petal arrangement.

And that's something that influences me strongly when I'm thinking of making a hand-painted paper collage! The painted tissue paper I use is still slightly transparent after painting so building layer on layer of petals for a more complicated flower could end up as a rather muddy-coloured papier mache! 

No such problem with the Dog Rose and once I had decided to try it as my 'model' for a new pattern, everything else on my To-Do list was swept aside in favour of what turned into my 'Rosy Posy' pattern collection!

I've made it with various background colours - Sky Blue, Moody Blue and Taupe, as well as the original, White -

And I teamed it with coordinating Polka Dots, Stripes and Check patterns to make a faux patchwork -

All this as the result of one wayward little Dog Rose!

Rosy Posy Collection

I hope you like my 'Rosy Posy' collection!

You can see more 'Rosy Posy' greeting cards and gifts

- and there will be lots more to come!!!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Roses, Thorns and a Way to Stay Grateful!

Dogrose Pattern by Posh & Painterly
Quote from Anne Bronte
It didn't surprise me that the internet provided me with so many 'rose' quotations, given that it's such a universally popular flower. 

But I had no hesitation in choosing this perhaps rather forbidding quote from Anne Bronte for this month's 'Garden/Flowers' illustration. 

There could hardly be a more accurate metaphor for Life than the bewitching beauty of the rose's blooms and their fragrance, in stark contrast to the sharpness of its thorns. I seem to have picked up a nasty scratch on my arm and I haven't even started any serious dead-heading yet!

As I write my little garden is still full of roses. 

They have been particularly glorious this year. But nearly two weeks of unusually hot, dry weather has meant that they haven't lasted long. And when I look at my scratched arm and the really high ones that are difficult to reach, the huge and tedious job of dead-heading them is almost enough to make me question whether it's all worth it. 

Almost but not quite!

Metanoia Climbing Rose

And that's because I find it impossible to think of anything we enjoy, any part of our lives, however pleasurable, that doesn't bring with it some less welcome aspect. (Those of us who are mothers know all about this - the pain of giving birth contrasted with the joy of welcoming  a new life into the world!) 

Unfortunately, it's a fact that if we insist on trying to avoid all pain, we'll surely miss out on a great many of Life's pleasures! 

But there is a more positive way of looking at Anne Bronte's observation. My internet search brought up another, similar but less stern, quotation that I like even better -

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; 
I am grateful that thorns have roses.” 

Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

Alphonse Karr has turned Anne Bronte's warning words on their head and interpreted them as reason to be grateful!

They say that 'gratitude' is a great antidote to depression and that remembering to be grateful will invariably lift our spirits. 

But I'd be the first to admit that there are days when it feel next to impossible to feel genuinely grateful. However, the internet has come to my rescue, in the form of a clever idea I found on Pinterest - the Gratitude Jar

Here's mine - not the prettiest of jars, maybe, but it does the job and maybe I'll find a more decorative one for next year! 

All sorts of things, on all sorts of topics, are being recorded in my Gratitude Jar and I know it will be really intriguing to open it up on December 31st and be reminded of all those times when I had reason to be grateful!

It's not too late, we're only half way through the year - why don't you give it a go?

Friday, 20 June 2014

A Last-minute Reprieve for my Lipstick Pink Roses!

June is the month for Roses!

Of course, roses start blooming long before June here in the UK and they continue on well into the autumn, with the occasional bloom as late as Christmas time. But still, June seems to be the month we associate with roses and that’s probably why the rose is the June Birth Month flower.

I actually photographed the rose I used for this set of patterns in July. 

I remember distinctly that a friend whose birthday falls in July invited all the members of the local walking group to a picnic in the Linda Vista gardens to celebrate and that’s where I took the photo.

As usual, I spent quite a long time looking at the photo, ‘getting to know’ the rose. But then I soaked some watercolour paper, spraying it with water and dropped in the colour whilst wet, in a matter of minutes. Any longer and the painting would have been ruined. As often with art, it’s a question of knowing when to stop!

I was quite pleased with the result. But, sadly, my scanner didn’t pick up the paler pinks and I abandoned this particular painting, adding it to my stash of watercolour paper that I use for trying out colours, rather than binning it – and there it sat for several months. 

Then, one day it occurred to me that maybe I could use the paler part of the painting to provide a background for the lettering on the front of a greeting card or invitation . . . and it all progressed from there!

Something about the sugary pink of this rose reminded me of lipstick; so in my mind, this series of patterns became, ‘Summer Days’, with the sub-title, ‘Lipstick Pink Roses’. It’s strange how so often a name for a painting or a pattern collection will come to me unbidden and refuse to go away.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with a painted motif that only narrowly escaped the bin to create this collection and I hope you’ll enjoy my ‘Lipstick Pink Roses’ too.

for the complete collection of
'Summer Days'
Greeting Cards and Gifts

Thursday, 5 June 2014

My Birthday Roses - an Annual Family Tradition

You can just see the window sill in the bottom right-hand corner!

The rose is the June Birth Month Flower.

And anyone who has been following my blog over the years may have noticed that I have a very special reason for wanting the pink roses to be blooming on my birthday.

I always hope that they will be out in time because on the day when I put in my very first appearance, 9th June, 1943, my mother was given a posy of pink roses, blue love-in-a-mist and white border carnations.

It was war-time and my family of eight had been bombed out of their home. They were re-housed in the only house available that was large enough for all of us. But it needed some repairs to windows and ceilings that had been affected by the bomb blasts. And it was the men who were working on those repairs who picked the posy from the garden and presented it to my mother on my arrival.

So it became a little family tradition that when I went away to boarding school, and later to university, my mother would send me a posy by post for my birthday.

Now I grow my own!

Usually, the Albertine is just about flowering by my birthday, though last year, after an unusually cold spring, it was a close-run thing. But I was able to pick a bud that was far enough advanced to open out in a vase indoors.

This year it hasn’t been in any doubt – and for the first time, I really can just about pick the Albertine Roses from the window of my back bedroom.

Even with the Internet at my disposal, I’ve never managed to identify the pink rose from the front garden of the house I grew up in. It was a very ‘cabbage-like’ rose and it was a much more of a 'candy pink' than the Albertine. 

But I think it was somewhat like the roses I painted in watercolour for these birthday cards –

You can see the full range of
'Summer Days', Pink Rose, Birthday Cards
as well as some matching Giftwrap and other stationery,