How its all done... 

Well, hello there peeps. So sorry I haven't been blogging lately. It's one of those jobs which you really can only do when your feeling a) inspired - or b) guilty.. 
No its not because I've been glued to Strictly or because Downton has started again... (well perhaps a little of the latter). I really have been lazy and for that I'm sorry.

I'm not going to feel bad about it, because I've recently got a new iphone, (well a cast off from himself) and I know I'm not the only one who wakes up and immediately looks at stuff and then gets distracted, then goes with all good intentions to do blog, then gets distracted again.. it really is very anoying. You see I'm not a very disciplined person, (as he will quite readily point out) but I can get down to some serious work when induced to do so.

(see I'm digressing again... stop it)

Anyway the point of todays post, that sounds like I post daily - well, no people I don't.   I thought it might be interesting to show you a bit about my creative process. 
My disclaimer at this point is that I'm sorry if I do it wrong, but I'm still learning, so all those professionals out there - please don't jump down the computer at me.. 

Well here goes.. 

The pattern at the top is one I made from scratch - and here is how it was done.. 

Take a trip out to National trust property because the kids are bouncing off the sofa and take camera.. I'm fortunate that I have a good camera (Cannon Eos 600D) which never really takes a bad picture - I mean at least in the digital age you don't have to go with your mum to town any longer to Supersnaps and wait 1 week to see them, only to find there really are no heads on folk and you have camera shakes... gosh that was annoying... imagine how much money we've waisted on crap pictures...??

Here are my pictures from the lovely Barrington Court in Somerset.. I'm quite drawn to the dead bits on flowers. - (lets not go there)

So now I've got a couple of good pictures - all I have to do now is draw them.  This bit I find the easiest because, well I've always drawn things.. (I'm not very good at drawing anything with pulse, animals, people etc) Unless they are three miles in the distance..!

As you can see - I've hand drawn the flower based on the photographs. Of course they are not exact, because I've cut the bottom off one and well the other I've adjusted to fit the paper size. But it sort of represents the photo a bit.

The next job - is to scan the picture into Photoshop - I'm not going to explain much about this - because I'm not YET a fan of Photoshop. It never really does what I think it should be doing and sometimes I really do loose the plot and just start all over again. I then saved the image as a jpeg file - after a little clean up. 

Once I'm happy with this its then imported into Illustrator. (please note from this point on I'm on a wing and prayer, because, well, basically these systems are so powerful and complex it will take me another - what - year ? - to become Adobe 'confident' - but I do my best as they say.. 

So I'm thinking about colours, do I want it to be natural or mixed, or seasonal etc... 
I'm using an app called Kuler - it's great for looking at colour combinations etc and often taken from photos from nature - which I always think look best for colours, because I don't think we can replicate them. The best bit is that you can download colour combos and then upload them into Illustrator right there, like 'voila' it's done. 
I also try to be disciplined in them - stick to what you want and keep it simple.

So after all that I'm pretty much done. Not entirely sure what I'm going to do with them yet, possibly stationary although I've yet to find a printer of wrapping paper who doesn't charge you fortune.. 

Hopefully one day I'll have an agent who can help, but in the mean time, I must keep tapping, undoing, drawing, filling, saving, and photographing. 

Good luck to all my fellow ABSPD students.. Module 2 starts soon people... eyes down.. 

Thanks for looking
p.s. I need another few likes on my Facebook page - so be a love and I'll do the same.


p.s Went onto my Facebook page and my little boy (2) had not only tweeted on my behalf but it had gone on my Facebook page and Web.. so if you see a thing about a game to feed a horse - its not me, its him.... (how rude is that?)

Church Flowers - what to do

So there I am about a year ago - in the Church yard standing being neighbourly saying Hello and other pleasantries - what happens, I soon find myself quickly asked 'can you do a few Church flowers?' - what do you say, yes, of course I can 'do a few flowers'.

Shortly after I find myself on the Church rota for flowers... not to be sniffed at because I don't make jam, (I'm rubbish at everything in the kitchen actually) and I'm not on the school governors and I don't do WI - so for my money being on the church rota is doing my bit without having to extend the arm of cakes and bible in hand... I'm not worried I have a whole year to get used to the idea and boom here we are one year later... now what?
(I don't do church either by the way)

Anyway having not bothered to look at anyone else's efforts, thats my fear of failure quashed, I decide to resort to my trusty friend Facebook and happened across a lovely site called Windmill Farm Flowers... 
For those of you who don't yet know - home grown is in gals.... the more Vintage the better. Have you noticed how the modern wedding no longer has a ten tier cake or false nails - its more about Granny s tea cup and wild flowers... and I love it.

So back to this post...

I went along to my local grower - Windmill Farm flowers in Langport Somerset and met the lovely Kate Gibbons. Her house is a typical Somerset farmhouse which they have lovingly restored over the last few years. Kate grows her own mix of cut flowers is four extremely large beds and a to die for polytunnen. My friend Leanne and I were impressed and not to say extremely envious of her whole plot..
I'm sorry I have not pictures of her home, because it was raining all the time we were there and probably better to get permission before posting anyway..

So I gather my lovely local, low carbon footprint flowers and toddle off back to High Ham Church.. I won't dwell on it, suffice to say we did two lovely sprays and missed the big one at the back which prompted a bit of shuffle but we did it.. and below are the results. I hope you like them as much as we did.
(note to self, always check with Churchy person which ones you are supposed to be doing before hand)

Kate from Windmill farm flowers can be found on Facebook and is planning a few Christmas workshops if you fancy - details below - perhaps a work day out for Christmas lunch instead of straight to the pub...

Christmas Workshops

Would you and your friends like to make your own door wreaths, table centres or candle rings for Christmas and pick up some new ideas for Christmas decorations? Get in the Christmas spirit with a fun relaxed workshop with people you know, perhaps you could even follow up with lunch nearby.
Enjoy a morning or afternoon at Windmill Farm where you will have all the materials and tuition you need to make a gorgeous decoration to adorn your home!
All the materials used are locally sourced or from the farm to create a natural and lasting arrangement.
You can book workshops on the following dates for a minimum of two people and a maximum of six at a cost of £25 each, this includes refreshments and all materials
Please call Kate on 07767 310833 or email kate.gibbins@sky.com to discuss your requirements.

Tuesday 4th Dec              10-12.30 or 2.00-4.30
Friday 7th Dec            10-12.30 or 2.00-4.30
Saturday 8th Dec            10-12.30
Tuesday 11th Dec            10-12.30 or 2.00-4.30
Monday 17th Dec            10-12.30 or 2.00-4.30

Times can be altered to suit your needs.

Hopefully I'll be able to pop back in the future and take some more pictures of Kate cutting patch to show you soon. In the mean time please check out her Facebook page and a 'Like' would be fantastical...

Thanks and see you soon


Images - all Lilly and Sage and Windmill farm flowers except the tea cup with flowers which belongs to The Sweetest Occasion and jennifer dery

Well that's the end of Part one..

Hello all,

Well, where to start... my lovely Surface pattern course has now ended for a five week break between modules..... :( feeling like I've really learnt a lot every week. Sorry for not blogging earlier, but I got quite far behind at one point - and sometimes life just takes over.. anyway, here is a little idea of what I've been up to.

So Pattens, where do they come from?  what types are our there? which do you like etc... its a big learning curve, but I did really enjoy it...
Earlier on in the course, we were making up pattern books.. collecting photos, mag clips, cuttings etc and gathering them all in a pattern book.. seems a very basic exercise but its well worth it. It really gets you to notice what you are drawn to and what you find appealing... Obviously there is no point is trying to make patterns you wouldn't put on your own wall is there...

At this point I'm starting to miss the odd exercise, but one I did manage was to complete a mood board, either on paper in the traditional manor or in Photoshop. I chose the computer option - this is me in board form...
I picked up pictures from all over the internet and resized them to fit.. It was great fun and well worth the effort because you really can tell at a glance what you like and don't like.. interesting..
I think it would be beneficial to redo it in the future just to see if my tastes are changing..

So the next thing I find myself induced by colour - I've always noticed colours, but now I really do look at them. Part of the course is to engage with colours more, so how do they make you feel. Personally I hate lilac with a vengence, I think it came from that time when everyone painted their bedroom Lilac and purple with a moave border. Pink I love, Red, I love, Lilac I hate..

What do you do when you hate something.. hit is hard and try to work with it.. so I find a purple flower and get painting... now I'm back in my comfort zone...

Here's a bit more purple just so you know I was trying..

So - now the course is moving into Pattern creation.. This is where I started to fall behind with the excersises. Fortunately the classroom remains open for some time, so in the next five weeks break between modules I should have plenty of time to catch up. 

One of the briefs was to make Mock ups of rooms with 'your' wallpaper design or cushions. This is my next task when I've mastered Photoshop.  I did however manage to complete a presentation of my designs. This shows how it might be changed slightly to compliment a range or just simplified to show how the design was created.

So I now have lots and lots of things to catch up on. I'm reassured by the other students that I'm not the only one catching up during the break. 

Well here are few pictures I've been playing with  - and the placement print I made with them. Unfortunately when your using your own paintings it does take up quite a lot of computer power.. but I'll worry about that later.. 

So thats it.. Module one of The Art and Business of Surface pattern design completed..

Thanks for following and please like my Facebook page above, because that would be fabulous.

See you soon 


Hello followers... 

Well I seems to be getting slightly more confident at the pattern making process.
I've just got to try and learn to have a plan before I start.. problem is if this was a motorway, there are literally thousands of roads which you can take, no right or wrong.. so you just keep clicking until something more important comes up.. 
Usually a child needs feeding, driving or changing.. 

Below are a few efforts from today.. 

Hope you like them.. are at least are noticing a bit of an improvement... 


Surface pattern designing

Well hello again peeps.. 

Sorry for not blogging for a week or so, but I have been genuinely busy busy busy...

Firstly I've been racing through my Surface pattern course - its fab..
Each morning you receive a new 'lesson' on the virtual classroom, sometimes with links, comments, things to look at later. Interviews, tips, and workshop pdf files. Then I've got to be creative amongst all that work and come up with something I like .. not an easy feat when your putting your work out there for all to see... A bit like showing everyone your pants, you just don't know how its going to go... 

Last week was all about drawing and mark making.. so having a go at finding new ways to make marks on things. 


Well, it could be using paint and your finger and drawing random stuff, or different pens or paints and just blobbing away or rolling a rag with ink on or even using the sewing machine to sew patterns or shapes, never heard of it before?, well neither had I but its actually quite liberating just throwing yourself into things and seeing what comes out the other end... 

Anyway a few examples are my leaves below which I gathered and just painted onto and stuck down and drew round, land splurged over and stuff.. The idea being that I can use this later for a background to a design or even a card, picture etc..

Hopefully that gives you some idea where I'm coming from...

Amongst all of this we were drawing things we might want to use... so here are my Poppies from pictures in the garden
(sorry its on its side, but I am still learning)

Well if I wasn't too distracted watching kids and doing crappy jobs like housework,  that  keeps me on my toes, this week has been all about colour. It has taught me loads about what I'm drawn to in colour. I like red, and not because its always 'on sale' but it shows urgency and perhaps that fact that I have no patience at all... 
(note to self, slow down, take some time over what I'm trying to achieve and think about it.)

Anyway we've been searching and taking photos of things and coming up with the colour charts for them... I took mine from a website I love called Flowerona which I love. It's about all things flowery and girly and colourful.. Here is mine..
I used a website called Kuler which then allows you to make a file which you can upload right away into Illustrator... cool or what? It shows the colours off the picture which might spark an idea or inspire me later..

Below of a couple of the efforts of this weeks work. I like them, but they are just not quite right somehow... I defiantly need to introduce more colour, more background, and perhaps move away from flowers for a bit to get a bit of variety and see where I'm coming from.
The course is also about finding your own style, why that's your style and how your going to keep going with that or move over time... I really can feel myself changing my tastes along the way.. 
Below is part of the result of the Poppies drawing above... 

This is Clematis I drew from outside the backdoor... 

 More poppies

Colour combinations

(note to self, have far too much pink stuff in this house, perhaps 3 girls against 2 boys doesn't help..)

On another note, had a lovely day out in Bath the other day.. I love Bath, (I'm going to live there one day) and took the oportunity to take some pics of patterns and colours there... I mean I took flippen loads, but here is a few for you.. 

So right now I'm struggling a bit with Illustrator - I mean there are loads of free tutorials on the internet, but really they do assume quite a lot and its bloody annoying going through them all to see which is relevant etc.. so today I joined an on-line site called Linda.com. It's a monthly payment which gives you access to all the tutorials you will ever need.. problem is some of them are 50 hours long...

On that note I'll leave you with a few pics of whats happening in my very neglected garden right now and hopefully be back soon... not within 50 hours of course.

Bye. Bye.

Gathering Inspiration

Well Hello

I've started my scrummy yummy course this week about Surface Pattern design..
Its been pretty low key I think so far, although I suspect this is to lead us in gently - because from what I can see some of the other students are preeeeettyyy damn good and they are going to need quite a bit to keep them stimulated.!!

It's really nice though to see other peoples work and 'be nosy' - our national hobby.
I've seen some great stuff and I'm really enjoying it. I think it is going to be really great.

So basically to give you some idea - this week we have been working on getting things together, gathering inspiration, recording it, and getting creative. I must say its all very informative and encouraging.

One of the tasks was to go out and photograph shapes. I chose circles and squares - and later we could use these photos to make drawings and let the creativity flow..

I should point out at this stage, that in comparison to some of the work, which is accurate, detailed and follows the brief, mine looks like I'm about 1 hr away from cutting my ear off. (is that true I don't know) Maybe that will be the case if the kids don't go back to school soon... pleeeaasse..

There are students on the course from everywhere - from Uk, Hong Kong to Australia. Also not everyone on the course is as novice as me, a few are already 'practicing' designers and have their e-shop and are up and running. I think this is good, because it sets the pace a bit and keeps it competitive in a nice way..

Here are some of my drawing efforts this week..

And finally .... after scanning into Photoshop and then Illustrator  - get yourself a pattern...
I haven't coloured it in yet, that comes later - but just need to practice, practice, practice...

Well - will post again soon

bye for now. x

If you want to check out the course here is the Link