Thursday, 29 August 2013

New Designer Store Opening!

Today I have an important announcement!

I’m finally ready to open the doors of my new ‘Posh and Painterly’ Zazzle store!

‘Posh and Painterly’ aims to become your store of choice for stylish Homeware and Fashion, sophisticated Stationery and Designer Cases to customize.

You’ll find the store layout simple to navigate, allowing you to find what you’re looking for quickly and easily. 

It is arranged by Design Collection:

And within each Collection there are just three main categories, as follows:

Home & Fashion             Cases, Skins and Sleeves

Stationery and Paper Goods

Right now there are plenty of exciting gifts to choose from, whether you are looking for something feminine and floral or something for the men in your life! 

And you can look forward to an ever-growing choice of quality products in store as we move towards the festive season!

So what are you waiting for?

Dive right in and begin an enjoyable online shopping experience at 'Posh & Painterly' right now!

Click HERE to go to store

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Return of the '70s Psychedelic Colour Palette

We’ve had a remarkably good summer here in the UK! And there’s still plenty of sunshine, the school holidays aren’t over yet and people are still out in t-shirts and flip-flops. 

And yet, there’s beginning to be a distinctively autumnal feel to the evenings . . .

So I’ve been exploring ‘trends’ for Autumn/Winter 2013/14 -

  • Black and white is set to continue to feature large.
  • The homespun feel of checks and plaids, tweeds, Fair Isle and cable stitch knitting will still be popular, both for fashion and homewares.
  • By way of contrast, we’ll see the opulent silks and velvets associated with the ‘Geisha Girl’ style.
  • Patterns will still tend towards the Mid-Century Modern styles.
  • And - music to my ears! - we will be seeing plenty of ‘70s psychedelic colour palettes

The '70s was one of my favourite decades. Way back then, I owned a set of stylised floral table mats in very similar colours to the Fuchsia palette above. 

I don’t they would fit well in my current house but in a modern house, a combination of the three darker shades with the two lighter ones as accents could work very well. And I think this palette would be fabulous for clothes!

What do you think?

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Are you 'Creative'? Are you, maybe, a bit of a Dreamer?

People who know me have often commented that I’m ‘organised’, ‘tidy’ even, and more recently, they’ve tended to use the word ‘focused’. 

This puzzles me because I would just love to be any of those things but I know that I am not!

In fact, I probably berate myself at least once a day for wasting time being ‘disorganised, untidy and decidedly unfocused’, for being a bit of day-dreamer in fact!

Going away to boarding school at the age of 11 was a nightmare for me – I never seemed to be in the right place at the right time, I never seemed to remember to read the lists on the notice boards which would have helped me to be more ‘organised’ and I always felt that the little locker where we kept our personal possessions was in a state of chaos . . . it had been OK at home, with four much older sisters and two older brothers as well as my parents to keep me on track, to make sure I arrived at the bus stop on time and so on. Without them I was lost and as a result, I seemed often to be in trouble.

And so, in the end, I resolved to become ‘organised’. I made lists, I kept records, I made lists of lists and lists of lists of lists! Which is why I have a reputation for being ‘organised’ . . . and also why I feel slightly guilty when I catch my mind wandering apparently aimlessly, wasting time . . . or is it?

I'm coming to suspect that the wandering mind is a necessary pre-condition for creativity. 

Some years ago, a really, truly organised friend and her husband, who ran a business from home, asked me to design a change of address card for their business when they needed more space than their home could provide. When we were talking about payment, my friend insisted I should be paid for my ‘thinking time’ as well as the time I had spent on the drawing.

But I’m not at all sure that I would call it ‘thinking time’. Thinking, in that sense, is a left-brain activity. Allowing one’s mind the freedom to meander so that ideas can germinate is more often a function of the right side of the brain I believe.

Friends have also often commented on the fact that I tend to be an ‘ideas’ person and my school reports often mentioned that I had a ‘lot of imagination’ and it didn't always sound like a compliment. And as far as art and design is concerned, I’m never short of inspiration – just short of the time to carry out my ideas! Often, if you asked me where I get my ideas or my inspiration, I would have to reply that I don’t really know but that I think it’s something to do with my tendency to day-dream.

I've been toying with the idea that a certain amount of day-dreaming is vitally important for an artist or designer. Maybe it’s the means  whereby we can bring a little magic into our work? Perhaps it’s what enables us to step into the shoes of our potential customers and make work they can connect with?

I’ve been wondering whether there’s actually any proof to back up my theory. It could, after all, be just one of my ‘imaginings’! But a few minutes before I began to write this blog post, I read through some tips for designers from and this is what jumped out at me –

‘Everybody wants to live the dream: if a designer can sell someone just a little bit of the dream, they will go home happy.’

A friend and I were browsing through some old photos of me as a child one day. She picked out one that I had always hated; it was a studio portrait photo taken at a time when I was somewhat chubby, to say the least. To my horror, my friend told me she liked it, and worse still, the reason she liked it was because she could see from the photo that I was a dreamer. I was mortified! It seemed that all my efforts to become an efficient, organised, focused person had been in vain and my day-dreaming self was exposed for all to see!

So, of course, I just tried even harder to be tidy, organised and focused and that’s why I still tend to give myself a hard time when I catch myself letting my thoughts wander away from the task in hand!

Which is pretty stupid. Because I'm coming to believe that we all have that imaginative, day-dreaming, creative child inside us, full of wonder and curiosity and asking ‘what if . . . ?’ and that’s something we should value!  

Of course there are times when we need to be ‘organised’, ‘tidy’, ‘focused’ - but not all the time!

We all need to give our day-dreaming selves a chance to meander down unknown highways and by-ways, following our curiosity wherever it leads us, asking questions . . . and, like a four-year-old, asking even more questions!

That's the best way I know to generate those supremely magical ‘Aha!’ moments that we call 'Inspiration'. 

(Just make sure you don’t do it when you’re behind the wheel of a car!)

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Are you a sucker for scarves? Discover Glen Prince of Great Britain!

I'm an absolute sucker for scarves and shawls - so much so that I don't dare count how many I own!

So I was delighted to come across 'Glen Prince of Great Britain' on facebook! I hadn't heard of the company so I thought I would share some of their information and images here, partly for other scarf-addicts but also for anyone looking for ideas for really special Christmas Gifts.

Here's some information from Glen Prince:

"Glen Prince of Great Britain is a British family company set up by Mark
Lovell, Managing Director, in 1989 and was incorporated in January 1990.

The company’s headquarters are in Yeovil, South West England where a team of staff co-ordinate design, sales and deliveries to all Glen Prince’s markets."

"Glen Prince is one of the leading UK suppliers of High Quality accessories. We have been exceeding customer’s expectations since 1989. Based in the UK, we have continually sourced and designed scarves, stoles, shawls and rugs, using mainly natural fibres and specialized craftsmanship. 

By adhering to our principles of excellence in quality and service the Glen Prince brand is internationally recognized as one of high quality." 

"Our collection is based on high British tradition and values and our products are recognised all over the world as representing the best of British manufacturing."

"Our Cashmere range of scarves and stoles are the flagship products in the Glen Prince range and are made from the highest quality Cashmere. 

Hundreds of years of tradition and skill are incorporated into the production, down to the natural teases used to comb “Tease” the finished item, to its luxurious finish."

"Cashmere is the most exciting material to work with. It is difficult to get hold of and produced in a remote, primitive area of the world; it is complicated to process the fibre and it is very expensive. All the difficulties of dealing with cashmere remain the same and have remained the same for over a hundred and fifty years but it produces a wonderful product which Glen Prince is very happy to be associated with."

"As well as traditions we have branched out into our fashions here at Glen Prince with our lightweight 100% wools, cottons, silks and linens with trend inspired designs all of which are totally Glen Prince’s own. These designs are manufactured over in India to the highest standard and are hand-printed onto the fabric. 

As an extension to these fashion pieces we have the Glen Urban range which takes our fashion range down an edgy, streetwise direction which, incorporated with the Glen Prince range, means we can cater to every taste."

Here's where you can see more of Glen Prince's very special scarves and shawls - 

Glen Prince of Great Britain
(where you can also see the fascinating Cashmere process!)

You can also see us at the following Trade Shows:

Who's Next: Hall 7.2 Stand H104.  6th-9th July, Porte de Versailles, Paris
Mode France: Floor 28, Room #29. 17th-19th July, Tokyo Hilton, Shinjuku
Pure: Stand T238, 4th-6th August, Olympia, London
The Box: 27th - 30th September, Espace Cambon, Paris

to keep up with the latest news and new collections,
Follow Glen Prince on 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Working from Home: 12 Tried and Tested Stress-busters

My computer workspace up in my attic studio

The number of people working from home is on the up!

The internet has made that possible. And the economic crises of the past few years have made it an alternative to being employed or useful as a feasible means to bring in some extra income.

Add to that the rapidly increasing number of people who live alone, and we’ve got a whole army of people like me, who both work and live alone.

Working from home has so many obvious benefits that I would never want to work any other way. 

But there are drawbacks too. 

One is that sometimes, coping with the sheer volume of tasks alone can seem overwhelming; all the more so without anyone to remind you to stop for a cuppa or even to have a conversation that isn’t about work!

My painting table

So here are my 12 Tips for keeping your sanity!

1. Begin by making a time-line, with goals and dates by which you hope to accomplish them. This not only gives you a sense of satisfaction when you cross off what you’ve achieved. It also stops you setting yourself unrealistic amounts of work to do.

2. Once you’ve written your fairly detailed time-line, break it down into all its different task and make yourself a work schedule. This may take a few attempts as you gradually discover how long each task is likely to take. But once you’ve done it, you won’t seem to be working ‘all hours’!

3. Make sure you get enough sleep. That will provide you with a good, solid base from which to cope with whatever ups and downs your work throws at you.

4. As with #3, eat well. Eat small meals frequently. I find three main meals and two snack meals perfect for me – and make sure that at least a large proportion of what you eat is good for you – ie not junk food!

My attic studio - you can' just see the foot of my big old easel  to the left and the desk at the end is where I make collages.

5. Get as much fresh air and exercise as you can. If nothing else, try to fit in some walking whenever possible. I have a mini-bike that I pedal while I’m watching television in the evenings on days that I don’t go out. And I can feel it removing any tension or stress that has built up during the day. If things are really getting to you, try counting chimney pots while you’re out. (And come back here and tell us all how you felt afterwards!)

6. Keep a journal. ‘Research has shown’ that students who keep a journal are in better mental health than those who don’t. You don’t necessarily need to journal every day but it’s handy to have this outlet if you’re feeling under pressure. Write whatever comes into your head – totally uncensored!

7. Watch the birds: I was amazed to learn that there is a condition known as ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’! Spending time in the country can do wonders for your spirits but it’s not always easy if time is short and you live in a built up area. But even if you can’t see any wildlife from your windows, it’s worth taking a few minutes out to watch the constantly changing sky.

My trusty old laptop downstairs in my dining room, where most of my uploading, social networking and blogpost-writing gets done
8. Talk to someone: not always easy! When you’re busy working so many hours alone, you really need someone to share the ups and downs with – but how likely is it that friends will be free to chat, just at the moment that you are able to take a break from your work? 

Many’s the time that I’ve decided to make time to catch up with friends, only to be greeted by one voice-mail message after another. That’s when social networking comes to the rescue! As long as you don’t get sucked into spending all your time on facebook when there’s work to be done, there’s a good chance you can find someone to chat with online and that can really help you to keep things in perspective.

9. Music – if the particular task facing you seems like endless drudgery - and some of them often do - the right music can help you whip through it in what seems like no time at all!

10. Chocolate – when all else fails, I eat dark chocolate. It actually has a lot of health benefits, including lifting the spirits. Again, like social networking, know when enough is enough!

11. Make sure you watch some comedy programmes on TV or DVD – or failing that, there are a lot of hilarious video clips to be found on YouTube. Laughter is a great de-stressor, one of the best!

12. More chocolate!

This is where the doodling that leads to the design process invariably takes place - while watching  TV!

How do you find working from home? 

Is it all positive or have you found some drawbacks?

You are most welcome to leave your comments, queries or solutions in the comments box below!

(very sorry about the captcha!)