Monday, 8 December 2014

Lots of Work in Progress in spite of Domestic Distractions

Last month I wrote about how my planned fortnight of relaxed creativity was blown off course by the leak in my neighbour's roof that soaked through to the wallpaper in my guest bedroom and threatened to ruin it.

I'm pleased to say that eight weeks later, it doesn't look too bad - at least in daylight the stains are hardly visible unless you know what you're looking for. Not so good in artificial light but still better than I ever thought it would be. 

But November hasn't seen much relaxation or creativity because of the wrangling over which builders to use, a problem with my garage electrics that plunged me into darkness one very wet night, no power, no light, no phone, no internet. And, as luck would have it, my mobile's battery was telling me it needed to be plugged into a charger - as if I had any sockets working to plug it into!

So with the roofing work only finishing on Thanksgiving Day and the noise that has entailed, followed by my central heating boiler malfunctioning and a blocked drain, I've been thankful for the little bit of collage I managed to complete before all these domestic interruptions stopped me in my tracks.

The Rangoli patterns have led to so many coordinating patterns that I've created about 800 products and cards for my Posh & Painterly store - and there are still some more to come. With this pattern more than any other I've made so far, I think, it's been a question of knowing when to stop and move onto something else before I get bored!

First there was the whole Rangoli, on different coloured backgrounds: that went well on cushions/pillows, as well as cloth napkins, ceramic tiles, clocks and coasters -

Then I took the centre of the Rangoli and one of the flowers and made them into a new pattern in its own right -

Next I took the floral stems and made these repeating 'mini-print' patterns:

And here's another, slightly different, one created from individual flowers from the original pattern.

Then the fun really began! 

I love discovering which patterns Mix and Match well together, to make more complex cushion designs - 

- and Smartphone Cases, many of them ready to personalize:

As if that wasn't enough playing around with my original Rangoli, I still had the border pattern to explore. I'm getting a bit faster with practice and this time, I made two alternative borders, a single row and a double one:

Here's a link to all the Rangoli gifts and greeting cards in my Posh & Painterly Zazzle store. 

But it hasn't been all about the Rangoli pattern this month. 

I made this Penguin collage a few years ago but I only used it for Christmas Cards. When I found that penguins seem to be popping up everywhere - even on the John Lewis Christmas commercial - it occurred to me that my skating penguins could extend their reach and adorn other Christmas-y clothing and gifts. So I used the Photoshop feathering tool to soften the edges and here they are, with a new lease of life:

As far as actual, away-from-the-computer art and design goes, it hasn't been easy with hammering immediately above my head in my attic studio. But I did manage to make a start on something I've wanted to do for a long while - a collage fish! Well, when it comes to sticking tiny pieces of painted tissue paper onto card, you can get a bit tired of flower petals and I thought I'd give fish scales a go instead.

Not quite finished yet, Finnegan the Fish!

I'm not sure whether I'll make other fish and sea creatures and use him as part of a repeating pattern - for shower curtains and beach-bags maybe? Or he may have possibilities as a stand-alone design; Pisces birthday cards spring to mind - or greeting cards for the Persian New Year, Nowruz.

Maybe that's something to think about for early next year? I certainly have plenty to keep me busy this side of Christmas!

So, although this has been yet another month when too many Domestic Distractions kept me from creating as many new designs as I'd planned, it has still managed to be quite productive time for me. 

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!)