Thursday, 25 February 2016

How to Mix and Match Fabrics for Crafts and Girls' Dresses

Sadly I don't think I shall see much blossom on my fruit trees this spring. 

As you can probably see from the photo above, they've just been subjected to a much overdue pruning this week!

But luckily I've taken lots of photos of the lovely, sweet-scented blossoms in years gone by, so I was able to use some of those photos to paint the motifs for my 'Apple Blossom' pattern collection in watercolour.

As usual, I've created a main pattern with three different background colours, plus three related 'leafy maze', hand-drawn patterns, a 'floral' Polka Dot, a colour-coordinated Check Gingham and two Faux Patchwork patterns -

You can see them all in my Posh & Painterly store.

There is always an essential practical element in designing, as opposed to creating Fine Art. And, as I work on a collection of pattern designs, part of my mind is always mulling over what my patterns can best be used for.

And last week, when I was shopping in town, I spotted a new shop, 'A Child's Boutique' (facebook page) and I immediately made the connection with the collection of patterns I was working on!

It was the window display that caught my eye because the little girls' dresses in the window were so similar to the ones I used to make for my daughters when they were little, back in the late '60s and '70s!

I've always loved the idea of mixing and matching fabrics and the boho/hippie style of that era was just right for the dresses I made. 

It's a style that has come and gone over the years and although it has never really gone out of fashion, it seems to be enjoying a resurgence at the moment!

Here's another (online) store, Lily and Sid, carrying frocks for little girls and the boys' outfits tend towards the mix'n'match as well.

The great thing about making dresses for little girls is that it can be quick - unless you go in for hand-smocking, that is! - and because they take so little fabric, they are not going to break the bank. 

The bonus is that you may have enough left over from one dress to make a frill, a yoke or at least some patch pockets on another one!

Trim with ric-rac braid and/or broderie anglaise for added cuteness! 

Here's a cushion I created for my Posh & Painterly store, just as an example - might give you some ideas for how to mix and match these 'Apple Blossom' fabrics!

The Faux Patchwork pattern would also look good with one of the other patterns used for the yoke or puffed sleeves - or underskirt, knickerbockers or frill! - for a pretty, nostalgic 'Holly Hobbie' look!

And here are three ladies' tank tops I've created to give you an idea of how the main 'Apple Blossom' pattern looks made up into a garment.

I'm gradually adding more home and fashion accessories to my Posh and Painterly store - I think some of my 'Apple Blossom' collection of home accessories would look great in a bedroom, particularly as so many of the patterns are based on the colour blue, which is restful and some say it makes for a good night's sleep.

By the way
my 'Apple Blossom' collection of fabrics is now also available for sale,
 along with many of my collections, 
on the 

(uk) website

And here are all my fabric collections so far, on Pinterest!

Fabric Collections

I hope I've inspired you who love to sew, to create some pretty little boho-chic dresses that will delight any little girl. 

I'd love to see your photos of them if you do!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Spring Sunshine Fabrics for all your Craft and Sewing Projects

Perhaps February is a little bit early in the year to introduce my 'Spring Sunshine' collection of coordinating fabrics? 

But after months of winter gloom, with one storm after another, I hope it might spread some much-needed 'sunshine' on grey and dreary days! And today is a lovely sunny day, at least here in Wales, with daffodils in the gardens and parks!

'Spring Sunshine'? - where did that name come from? 
I never decide on a name for a collection until well after I begin designing - and then, as often as not, the name just drops into my mind and refuses to budge. With this 'Spring Sunshine' collection, it was not only the watercolour daffodil paintings that I used as the main motif but the coming together of the yellow flowers, the fresh greens of the leaves and the sky blue background that seemed to speak of sunny days in early springtime.

(Without the brighter, more 'golden' yellow, the colour palette could have been rather bland.)

The main pattern in the collection is a floral 'mini-print' pattern of Daffodils on two background colours - sky blue and teal.

There are also customizable versions of the 'daffodils' patterned fabric available from my Posh & Painterly Zazzle store that invite the customer to easily choose their own background colour -

Then there is the pattern that combines the main 'daffodils' pattern with a stripe -

These fabrics could all sit very comfortably in a pretty, nostalgic setting - even adding a 'country cottage' look perhaps? 

I think they would be perfect for the soft furnishings in a little girl's bedroom too!

They would, of course, combine perfectly with any of the other fabrics in the 'Spring Sunshine' collection. But for a charmingly 'retro' effect, you could mix and match them with either or both of these Polka Dots patterns, secure in the knowledge that the colours will harmonise with the floral patterns -

These 'pin-striped' patterns continue the light, bright, sunshiny theme of springtime and as well as combining well with the Floral and Polka Dot patterns, they could be used alone in a more 'modern' decorating scheme -

The final patterns in this 'Spring Sunshine' collection, the chic chevrons, are altogether more 'modern' and trendy when used by themselves.

But even so, they combines well with the other patterns in the collection, as you can see in my 'Faux Patchwork' pattern -

I first started making patchworks more than forty years ago and at about that time - in the early 1970s, when boho/hippie-style was all the rage - I had a favourite dress made of a faux patchwork patterned fabric, in red, white and navy blue. 

It was a tent-shaped mini-dress and I was able to carry on wearing it as a maternity dress when my second daughter was on the way. I loved that dress so much that, even after hemlines dropped and it was no longer in fashion, I could put it on over my other clothes to wear as a painting overall! I think it may still be stowed away in a black sack in my garage . . .

So it's hardly surprising that, when shopping online for some new bedlinen more recently, I was immediately attracted to a faux patchwork duvet set! 

And that started me thinking about the possibility of making faux-patchwork patterns on my computer . . . 

I do this now with almost all of my pattern collections. 

And in my photo-editing program, it's very easy to make sure that the colours and 'lights and darks' are evenly distributed for the gentle, almost 'shabby chic' look that I love!

You could use this lay-out of the fabric pieces as a pattern for your own patchwork project. Or, if time is at a premium, you could even just quilt along the lines between the fabric shapes!

Here are all my 'Spring Sunshine' fabrics, together in one place, in my Posh and Painterly store on Zazzle -

Click on the image below to see the full Spring Sunshine collection.

If you like my 'Spring Sunshine' collection, you may also like to visit my Posh & Painterly store to see my Home and Fashion Accessories featuring these patterns, as well as some very pretty matching border patterns.

Spring Daffodils Border and Polka Dots Pillow
Spring Daffodils Border and Polka Dots Pillow by poshandpainterly

By the way
my 'Spring Sunshine' collection of fabrics is now also available for sale,
 along with many of my collections, 
on the 

The days are finally starting to lengthen and spring is not too far off. The birds are singing, reminding me that there's work to do out in the garden . . .

So I'll wish you 'Happy Sewing' - 
and see you next time!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Hearts and Roses Fabrics and Tips for Patchwork Quilters

Much as I love painting and illustrating and various crafts, in the past few years, I've discovered that I'm practically addicted to pattern-making! 

So, as I've also done a fair amount of patchwork and quilting over the years, I suppose it's almost inevitable that when I create a pattern collection, the idea of designing sets of coordinating fabrics that could be used for patchwork and quilts is somewhere at the back of my mind.

Today I'd like to present one of my collections, with the aim of demonstrating how easy it is to mix and match the fabrics successfully, if they all come from the same collection.

As we're coming up to Valentine's Day, it seemed appropriate to begin with my romantic 'Hearts and Roses' collection. 

The red roses were originally painted by hand but the collection as a whole involved considerable digital input.

Please click on the image below to see the full collection -

TIP! If you would prefer to buy your fabric from a UK company, my Hearts and Roses collection is also available from Woven Monkey, based in Derbyshire.

It's a while since I did any 'real' patchwork or quilting, due mostly to lack of time. But I've found an outlet for my love of patchwork by creating 'faux patchwork' for soft furnishings in my photo-editing program - and these may provide you with some ideas for your own patchwork products, whether you are a beginner or an experienced quilter looking for fresh inspiration.

Patchwork - sewing pieces of fabric together to make a cloth with a larger design - is an ancient art, going back 5,000 years in China and fragments of patchwork have even been found in Egyptian tombs. 

And patchwork is practised all over the world, though nowadays there are probably more people making patchwork and quilting in the USA than anywhere else. Having visited the American Museum in Bath, I was entranced by the Quilts and Textiles I saw there! 

But I should imagine that in the past, the art of patchwork often arose out of necessity - finding a use for scraps of fabric, rather than throwing them away. A kind of 'recycling' that really appeals to me!

That's how I went about my first ever attempt at patchwork; I cut up old summer dresses and skirts, both mine and my daughters', and made a cushion cover in my favourite colour - blue. It consisted of pieces of plain denim blue, lots of floral mini-prints in blue and white and the occasional 'putty-coloured' hexagon for balance.

At the time, I didn't have as many books on patchwork as I have today and it was well before the days of the internet. So I thought I'd take an 'easy' route and make a random design, just deciding on each hexagonal piece as I went along. 

Big mistake!!! I've since discovered that choosing the pieces one at a time as I went along was probably one of the hardest things to do and that it would all have gone much more smoothly if I'd worked to a plan. 

Soon after I started, I heard that I'd missed a series of tv programmes about patchwork as an antidote to stress. But that first venture of mine was anything but stress-free. However I eventually finished it and I was genuinely pleased with the result. Sadly, one of our cats took a liking to it too and it ended up rather shredded by his claws as he kneaded it - as they do! - before settling down for sleep.

But how on earth can you plan a 'random' patchwork pattern? Surely it's a contradiction in terms? Not quite. Here's a blog post from an experienced patchwork quilter that shows one good, stress-free way to plan a 'random' patchwork. 

Much as I admire the intricate block patterns I saw in the American Museum, for use in my home, I actually prefer a quilt with a more evenly spread choice of fabrics, with no one colour or pattern dominating.

And that's easy for me to plan as a 'faux-patchwork' on my computer, in my photo-editing program! I can easily move the patches around and get a good view of the overall effect without having to lay out all the pieces on a flat surface where they could easily blow away.

Here are the colours I've used, together with white - quite a limited palette. But it seems more varied because I've used the colours in different ways, as checks and polka dots that appear to 'dilute' the colours whilst still making sure they all coordinate well.

So here's a very simple but effective lay-out of squares of related fabric pieces, suitable for a beginner. You don't need to follow it exactly - it's always good to add your own, individual touch to your work. But it'll give you an idea from which to develop your own lay-out.

Idea! For a relatively quick and easy project, you could simply quilt this fabric, following the lines of the squares!

And here are some of my 'Hearts and Roses' patterns on home and fashion accessories in my Posh & Painterly store at Zazzle - 

- they might even give you some ideas for craft projects using these 'Hearts and Roses' fabrics!

I shall be showing you more of my coordinated Fabric Collections in future blog posts, as well as Home Decor tips - so please keep popping by to check what's new.

And your comments are always very welcome!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Mother's Day Greeting Cards and Gifts Ideas

Mother's Day - or Mothering Sunday, as it is traditionally known here in the UK - falls on different dates in different countries.

Here in the UK, Mothering Sunday is always celebrated on the third Sunday before Easter and as Easter is a 'movable feast' - and very early this year! - there is no fixed date for Mother's Day. (This year Mother's Day is on March 6th in the UK.)

But I realise that elsewhere Mother's Day is celebrated much later in the year, towards summer, so I hope I've included enough suitable floral designs for early summer as well as early spring!

You can read about the origins of 'Mothering Sunday' in this article, which also describes the kind of gifts that are often given to mothers in the UK, along with special greeting cards and flowers.

The article doesn't, however, mention that tradition has it that when girls were 'in service' walked home to visit their mothers, on their day off, often across fields and down lanes, they would pick a posy of wild flowers on the way, as a gift.

As you'll probably see from my collections below, I love flowers, even though I've become sensitive to many of the more highly scented blossoms in recent years. Nevertheless, I treasure my little garden and take photos or paint the flowers whenever I can.

Almost any mother will appreciate a bouquet of flowers on Mother's Day or even a pretty little posy of garden flowers! And breakfast in bed, a meal at a favourite restaurant or you might even like to bake her a cake yourself! (Simnel Cake is traditional for Mother's Day as well as Easter - recipe here)

But it gets a little more difficult if you no longer live close to your mother, too far away to visit in person - and that's becoming a lot more common as time goes on.

In any case, however much they're appreciated at the time, flowers will fade and die and edible treats, well, once they're eaten, all that remains is the fond memory of them! So with that in mind, I've created quite a wide selection of more lasting gifts for Mother's Day - most of them as inexpensive as a special Coffee Mug to personalize for your mother, and a few more expensive gifts, such as the pillows or cushions, some of which are also ready for you to personalize.

And of course, for that extra-special finishing touch, I've provided gift bags and wrapping paper to match many of the Mother's Day greeting cards and gifts!

Mother's Day Greeting Cards and Gifts with Photos -
Here are some very pretty Mother's Day Cards and matching Gifts - with photos of Bluebells, Tulips and brilliant pink Wild Roses. 

So take your pick and have fun personalizing them for Mother!

Just click on the image below to see the full photographic collection - 

Collage Mother's Day Gifts and Greeting Cards -
Such a pretty collection of Mother's Day Greeting Cards and matching gifts for your mother! There are Coffee Mugs - some of them to personalize and Pendant Necklaces, as well as Pillows/Cushions and even some matching Wrapping Paper to add the finishing touch! The charming floral designs are all made from hand-painted paper collage and are sure to be favourites!

Just click on the image below to see the full 'Collage' collection -

Mother's Day in Watercolours!
Watercolour is probably my favourite medium for capturing the essence of the more fragile-looking flowers, such as Sweet Peas, Poppies and Roses, with their almost translucent petals. 

These Mother's Day greeting cards could make a wonderful accompaniment to a bouquet or posy of flowers. And in this collection, there are flowers that will be in bloom from March onwards through into summer, so you'll probably be able to find them no matter what date Mother's Day is celebrated in your country. 

But if not, there are gifts here with many of the same flowers that you can be sure your mother will treasure!

Just click on the image below to see the full 'Watercolour' collection -

Patterns for Mother's Day -
One hundred gifts and greeting cards for Mother's Day - all with floral patterns, some painted in watercolours, others from hand-painted paper collage motifs!

All of the cards and many of the coffee mugs and pillows are ready for you to easily personalize. And there's even matching gift-wrapping paper and gift bags for many of the designs. 

What could better demonstrate your care and thoughtfulness on Mother's Day!

Just click on the image below to see the full 'Pattern' collection - 

Mother's Day Greeting Cards and Gifts with Floral Oil Pastels
If you're looking for something a bit different for Mother's Day, you've come to the right place! These Mother's Day greeting cards and coffee mugs feature my original oil pastel paintings of garden flowers. 

Mother's Day is celebrated on different dates in different countries but they are all in spring and early summer. So here are flowers that bloom in spring - daffodils and tulips - and early summer - wallflowers and poppies. 

All are ready for you to personalize with your own greeting.

Just click on the image below to see the full 'Oil Pastels'collection -

Just for fun - Mother's Day Medals!
Strike a special medal for a Very Special Mother! The medals on these brightly coloured Mother's Day greeting cards and gifts are all individually made from hand-painted paper collage and any mother would be proud to receive them. 

So go on, reward her for being the best mother in the world and see the smile on her face when she opens it! 

(Don't forget that you can choose from a wide range of Case-mate cases by clicking on the menu below Style Options - Device Type)

Just click on the image below to see the full 'Mother's Day Medals' collection -

Mother's Day Cards with Welsh Language Greetings
Here's a collection of pretty, floral Mother's Day Cards with the greeting in the Welsh Language. Sure to be a hit with any mother who speaks Welsh, they all feature the same attractive floral designs as English Language cards. 

You can personalize the inside message and the front cover greeting of some of them as well. Make Mother's Day special with one of these charming Welsh Language greeting cards for your mother!

Just click on the image below to see the full 'Welsh Language Greeting' collection -

Although the celebration of Mother's Day has some common features around the world - showing love and, particularly, gratitude to our mothers, or mother-figures in some cases - there are, as you would expect, a few small variations in the customs that are observed, which you can read about HERE.

Whereas at one time Mothering Sunday was celebrated by making the journey to visit one's 'Mother Church', rather than one's actual human mother, in many countries Mother's Day has become entirely secularised and heavily commercialised. Greeting Card stores and florists reap the financial benefits of children, young and old, wishing to show their gratitude for all that their mothers have done for them, raising them and caring for them with the kind of enduring love that, for the most part, only mothers (or mother-figures) know how to give.

But short of every child, of whatever age, making their own Mother's Day greeting card and picking a posy of wild flowers from the wayside for their mothers, this is probably inevitable! But as long as we all remember that it's not how much money we have to spend that counts, but rather, the care and thought that goes into our choice of Mother's Day Greeting Card and Gift.

I remember scraping together my pocket money, as a child, to buy my mother a tiny bottle of perfume that she liked. It wasn't a classy, expensive perfume but it did smell nice and the bottle was a very pretty colour and shape - and she was thrilled that I had noticed what she particularly liked so it gave pleasure to both of us when I saw the look of surprise and pleasure on her face.

So be sure to take some trouble with your choice of Mother's Day Card and gifts this year. 

It really is 'the thought that counts' - as long as the 'thought' is translated into action! A phonecall, a visit, a Mother's Day Greeting Card, flowers, a cake or gift - whatever seems most appropriate to you. 

Just don't let this special day go past unremembered!