Monday, 17 November 2014

Islamic Patterns - a Selection of Gifts

. . . from my
Islamic Collection

Whether it's gifts for the home, fashion accessories or cases and sleeves to protect your electronic devices, you'll find plenty to choose from in my Posh & Painterly 'Islamic' collection - and most of them are equally suitable for 'him' or for 'her'.

Here are just a few of them -

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Ten iPhone 6 Cases Inspired by Traditional Folk Art Embroidery

Just a few weeks ago I made a hand-painted paper collage 'Folk Heart' - a heart shape composed of flowers, inspired by traditional Folk Art embroidery from Eastern Europe . . .

new post on

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Work in Progress: Best Laid Plans . . .

Tissue paper painted with acrylic - click HERE for tips about making collage

They say that 'Life is what happens when you'd planned something else' and that's certainly been the case for me lately!

Early last month I decided to take a break from my usual routine of uploading my designs to Zazzle and other PODstores to give myself time to catch up with the ever-growing number of designs and patterns in my 'pending' folder. I also wanted to take a step back to ponder the possibilities of a change of direction after Christmas.

So I quickly finished up my new October Birth Month Flower gifts and greeting cards and took myself up to my attic studio to paint and make collages, right away from my laptop where all the tedious uploading, titling, describing and tagging takes place.

Over the first weekend I painted some tissue for the collages and finished the mice for the cheeseboards that Zazzle had recently introduced - I'd been doodling them in the evenings but never seemed to have enough time to paint them.

And then, on the Monday, I made a start on quite an ambitious collage, inspired by the Folk Art Embroidery of Eastern Europe:

As you can see, although I was having fun cutting and sticking little flowers, I only made half of the heart shape because I wanted to be sure that the pattern was symmetrical.

Here's one of the finished 'Folk Heart' cushions -

And I've even got around to making one of my faux patchwork patterns - as I worked with this one, the colours seemed to suggest the Art Deco home furnishing colours of the 1920s and '30s.

I'm still adding to my Folk Heart Collection but you can see more than four hundred greeting cards and gifts that I've created from that one collage 

By now I was on a roll and on the Wednesday I moved on to making a collage from a hand-drawn Rangoli motif that had been sitting in my 'pending' folder for quite a while - 

The making of Rangoli patterns is part of the Diwali celebrations and you can read about them HERE.

When I drew the Rangoli design, months ago, I had based some of my motifs on traditional elements of Indian Design from my huge 'Grammar of Ornament'. 

And again, I worked out that I didn't need to make the whole pattern in hand-painted paper collage. 

Making just a segment of the pattern saved a lot of time but it also involved a lot of very accurate work in Photoshop afterwards to make sure the segments fitted together properly. Not being a perfectionist, I find this sort of thing very hard work - and tedious! But looking forward to seeing the finished pattern kept me going - and here it is!

And I think I like it even better with a black background!

But I'm afraid that's when my 'creativity break' ground  - or screeched! - to a sudden halt!

I came downstairs from putting the eight segments of the Rangoli together to boil the kettle for coffee and found an email from my neighbours telling me that they had a leak in their bedroom ceiling, close to the party wall that joins our pair of Edwardian houses. 

They asked me if I had a leak too and when I went to look in my guest bedroom (that I only use about once a week to do the ironing) to my horror, this is what confronted me:

It's not actually a leak in the ceiling, 'just' water seeped through from next door I imagine, from just below the picture rail. And I found out later that it had been 'seeping' ever since early on the Monday morning, while I was happily making my Folk Heart collage, in total ignorance of what was happening!

As if the damage to one of my favourite wallpapers, now unavailable, wasn't bad enough, a silly dispute has arisen about which builder to use. Apparently the leak was caused by the lead in the 'valley' between our two roofs being faulty and replacing that is a joint responsibility. Thanks to the internet there's now not much I don't know about repairing a 'valley' and what it should cost! 

But all this has taken up so much of my time and energy, that I abandoned my attempt to make a collage Christmas Angel because I just couldn't concentrate. 

I was becoming completely indecisive about it - which is unusual for me. So I've put her back into the 'pending' folder and gone back to the rather less demanding uploading - hence the hundreds of new 'Folk Heart' products in my Zazzle store! 

And I haven't even begun the November Birth Month flower, the Chrysanthemum.

But the repairs to the roof are due to begin on Tuesday so I hope the end is in sight. And meanwhile, I shall enjoy working with the Rangoli pattern to create lots of greeting cards and gifts. Too late for this year's Diwali but in plenty of time for next year!

(I keep looking at my wallpaper and hoping it's not my imagination that's making it appear slightly better. But I don't think I will ever get rid of the stains and all I can think of is to mix the two shades of green gouache and paint over all the tiny leaves in the pattern. Shouldn't be too difficult for a painter, should it? Watch this space!)

Close-up of an undamaged part of the wallpaper in my spare bedroom. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Marigold - #enjoythelittlethings

This image is hi-resolution A4 size if you want to save it and print it -
 or maybe you'd just like to 'pin' it to spread some encouragement?

I was really pleased to find this quote to go with the Marigold, the October Birth Month flower.

I love roses and lotus flowers but a vase of marigolds can give me every bit as much enjoyment as any of the more exotic flowers. 

Marigolds are easy to grow, seed themselves profusely and provide a welcome splash of colour in the flower beds - though October is far too late for them here in the UK! - so I think they are every bit as much to be cherished as any flower!

I find myself increasingly appreciating the amazing 'everyday', the awesome 'ordinary' - in preference to the 'extraordinary'. 

Especially on the internet, it's so easy to find ourselves being fed an over-rich diet of 'amazing'. On practically any webpage I open, even the weather forecast, there will be links to all sorts of astonishing things. Superlatives abound - the 50 fattest countries, the world's most enormous castles, 30 happiest cities, 50 weird and wonderful animal facts . . . 

After a while, I can feel my senses glazing over at all this amazing-ness! 

Better to ignore all these enticing headings than reach a point where 'amazing' ceases to amaze and, just like painkillers, we adapt and need ever higher levels of sensationalism to make any impression at all!

Give me a clump of self-seeded Marigolds any day, glowing against the green of the leaves and the blue of the nearby Mountain Cornflowers in the corner of my little back garden! In spite of my neglect, they'll keep flowering and creating a cheering picture. 

That's what I call truly amazing!

The garden of my childhood home was full of marigolds. My mother did most of the gardening but without the luxury of purchases from garden centres. Even if they had existed at that time, we couldn't have afforded it! It was a pretty little garden and I used to love to pick a posy that consisted of one each of all the flowers. Maybe that's where I learnt to appreciate the beautiful things that cost next to nothing?

So yes -

It does not matter if you are a rose or a lotus or a 
What matters is that you are flowering.

And I think it's time to 




(I think I'd quite like to be a Marigold!)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Spreading the idea of the Seasonal Door Wreath!

It all began with Pinterest last spring, when I was putting together boards to represent the four seasons!

That's when I discovered that hanging a decorated wreath on our front doors isn't restricted to Christmas-time. This discovery fired my imagination so much that I wanted to drop everything and make a spring wreath straight away. 

But where to get the base? Naturally, I did a google search for sources of bases - which led me to a website with lovely clear instructions for making my own and I plunged right in!

You'll find more about my Spring Wreath
and a link to the 'Modern Country' blog
where I found the instructions

In the summer I didn't have time to make another wreath base from scratch so I cheated and filled a pretty heart-shaped wire basket with (artificial) summer 

But with my honeysuckle hedge growing like a triffid this summer, sending out such long shoots that it's barely possible to get past it to refill my bird feeder, I was determined to take advantage of the fresher stems to make the base for my autumn wreath!

The honeysuckle threatening to strangle the climbing roses!

I somehow still didn't get around to having my wreath all ready in time for the 
first day of autumn. But we were still having unusually summery weather so my 
poppies, daisies and cornflowers didn't seem too out of place.

I finally found some time to cut back the honeysuckle last Sunday afternoon and the sun was still so warm in my garden that I decided to use the stems I cut off to make the wreath base outside in my garden, to save the mess in my kitchen. And all that bending and trimming the stems can result in quite a mess, especially if you haven't removed the leaves and berries!

During the week, I've begged or bought all sorts of bits and pieces for my Autumn Wreath and found some more in the park. 

A word of warning if you think of making something like this: try to use flowers 
with stems that are thin enough to slot into the wreath base - or at least thin 
enough to cut easily. I bought some lovely sprays of berries and so on from the local florist but the stems were far too long and almost too thick to cut. So I ended up having to use wire to keep them in place; not a disaster but not ideal either.

In most matters of design, I tend to prefer 'balance' to 'symmetry' because it's usually less formal; and I just followed my instinct when I created my Spring Wreath.  

But I thought it would be good to make a change and try to create a symmetrical Autumn Wreath - funny how that strong instinct of mine took over and ended up with 'balance' again!

So here it is, finally finished and hung on the door, just as the weather has finally turned chilly and damp, much more autumnal -

The seed-heads on the left are Granny's Bonnets (Aquilegia) from
my garden, the beech-masts and cone are from the park and
the dark seed heads at the top are from a neighbour's garden,
 Rudbeckia, or something like that, I think.
I'm not usually very enthusiastic about our British habit of frequently importing 
ideas from the other side of the pond. Maybe I'm old-fashioned but I don't like the idea that 'globalisation' can blur the (positive) differences between countries and their cultures too completely. 

But the idea of a seasonal door wreath is one idea I'll happily borrow from our American friends and I'd love to see the idea spread over here too!

My front door isn't easily visible from the pavement so the best way to promote the idea is through my blog.

So - all you clever and crafty Brits, 
what are you waiting for?

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Morning Glory Illustrated Quotation

Although I'm quite wary of a lot of the 'positive thinking' quotes that circulate on the social media, I think I am a generally a persistently optimistic person, which is not quite the same thing.

So I try to choose quotations to illustrate that convey a mood of optimism, as I hope this one does. I like the fact that it says 'some of Life's beautiful things . . .' - hinting at a possibility rather than claiming to know for a fact.

Please feel free to save and print this A4-sized,
high resolution image if you wish - or just 'pin' it!

Apart from being a quote from a book called 'Morning Glory', I felt this one was a very appropriate quotation for such a brilliantly coloured flower that can brighten up a dark corner of a garden, well into the autumn when the shade lingers longer. 

That's exactly how I think of Morning Glory flowers. 

I've only once succeeded in growing them; mine always seem to succumb to either the slugs or the frost, or possibly both. And that's why they gave me a lovely surprise the year when they did survive, blooming so brilliantly in a dark corner of my garden, well into September, after I'd given up hope of seeing them and forgotten I'd even planted them!

So this is for anyone who ever experiences 'dark moments' -
and I expect that includes almost everyone!