Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Visits and Vexations - June Work in Progress

Planting them in November has really paid off -
not only flowering much earlier but longer stems as well!

June is usually one of my favourite months. 

View from my back bedroom window!

It's the time when my garden is at its best with climbing roses, lavender, mock orange, sweet peas and honeysuckle all giving off heady fragrances! And usually the summer is just beginning so it's not too swelteringly hot yet, just how I like it.

But of course, one of the best things for me is that my birthday is in June and that means being in touch with friends and family and, the highlight, my son coming down from York for a few days.

As well as helping me with some chores in the garden that would have been practically impossible for me to do by myself - yes, the Dog Rose hung down over the road at the front again, like a floral curtain! - when that was all tidied up, we went out for our usual walk. For once we remembered to pack a picnic lunch and we ate it in a beautiful, quiet spot in the Linda Vista gardens:

Wonderful Californian Poppies in Linda Vista Gardens

Then we set off across Castle Meadows, right up the lane that passes under the Heads of the Valleys road and comes out in Llanfoist, across the road that leads up to the Big Pit, and onwards and upwards to the Brecon and Monmouth Canal at Llanfoist Wharf! 

I was surprised I was able to walk that far because of the problem I've been having with nerve pain in one of my legs. But we had bought some Nordic Walking Poles as we came through town, as recommended by the physio who's been treating my back - and so on we went, up the steep, slippery, rocky path up through the wood on the side of the Blorenge!

The path ran alongside this little stream
so you can see that it was fairly steep!

This year I've been particularly lucky - my younger daughter has been over from Sweden for a few days, bringing two of her children, her eldest boy and my one and only granddaughter. As I haven't seen any of them for more than four years, that has been a special treat! 

They were only able to stay for a few days because her husband had bravely volunteered to look after the other four boys - aged from two to fifteen! And unfortunately the day we picked to go for a walk and to visit a few local 'sights' was the one and only wet and drizzly day we've had for weeks. 

The River Usk at Abergavenny, from the Castle Meadows

Looking towards the Brecon Beacons from Abergavenny Castle

And the historic Tithe Barn and Abergavenny Castle were both closed! 

But the two grandchildren had fun skimming stones in the River Usk and we visited the Tithe Barn the following day.

But sadly, this year, Zazzle have cast a shadow over my favourite month. They have decided to withhold 30% tax from any 'non-resident alien' designer - that's us! - who doesn't get an International Tax Identification Number from the IRS. And, quite apart from this being a lengthy, tedious and quite expensive process, the IRS has told us that we don't actually need this number to qualify for the Tax Treaties between our countries that would mean that we only pay taxes in our own countries. So that's an ongoing, time-consuming, stressful bone of contention.

On a more productive note, I had an interesting request from a physiotherapist who specialises in Mind-Body 'treatments', Georgie Oldfield. I've never met Georgie except online but I've been receiving her newsletters for about five years and she was kind enough to order some of my greeting cards back when I was printing my own. Georgie has decided to create an Adult Colouring Book to raise money for her 'Hardship Fund' and she wondered whether I could contribute some pages to colour. 

Of course I was glad to contribute and started to trace some of my designs - but had to send the scans to Georgie in their rather raw state to give myself time to prepare for my daughter's visit, which I didn't know about when I said 'yes' to Georgie! But she has assured me that she knows someone who will 'clean them up' and I'm looking forward to seeing the book when it is finally published!

Here are a couple of them with contrasting amounts of detail!

I actually wouldn't find trying to colour neatly inside the lines in the least bit relaxing - quite the opposite! I'm more of a 'broad brush', splosh-the-paint-about kind of person. But it's surprising what Photoshop can do with a messy, untidy scribble! 

So this month I'm going to show you how totally absent-minded, half-watching-television doodles can morph into a whole collection of patterns!

This is how it all started!

And with some help from Photoshop, these pencil-drawn motifs became the basis of this set of related patterns:

- which then enabled me to make a faux patchwork:

I've also been experimenting with adding scanned Broderie Anglaise - which I've always loved and often used when I made little dresses for my toddler daughters, many years ago:

The next thing I worked on was creating a border pattern from the original motifs - I've noticed to my delight that our local dress shops are full of border patterns, reminding me of a nightie I had in the Seventies that I wore as a dress to our house-warming party!

First the usual square border: 

 - and then just a single side to leave space for some text. Custom Indigo Blue Floral Border Lumbar Pillow

Next I challenged myself to create something that I've wanted to try for ages - a circular border!
With or without the monogram!

Finally I had plenty of choice when it came to make 'Indigo' greeting cards!

Custom Blue and White Floral Mother's Day Card
Custom Blue and White Floral Mother's Day Card by poshandpainterly
Find more Floral Cards at Zazzle

500+ gifts and cards from the
'Indigo' Collection

Yesterday, the final whole day before my daughter and her children started back home to Sweden, the weather started to really hot up. 

So we were able to relax in my little garden - after my tall, handsome grandson had helped with dead-heading the Alchemist rose, always a huge job and difficult for me to reach. 

And today the temperatures are soaring - quite unusual for June and much too hot for my liking. But it's perfect for drying the mound of towels, sheets, duvet covers etc in the open air that always result from having people to stay. I think the fourth load is in the machine at the moment and at least a couple more loads to go!

Once all the laundry's done and the house tidied, I should have a chance to get back into my work routine and hopefully make some inroads into my long list of ideas for designs and patterns  . . . maybe! (Much depends on Zazzle.)

Poppies by the roadside near Abergavenny Bus Station!