I have always loved History, Literature and Art.........................................................................................................
beautiful things, the stuff of dreams..................................................

flowers, butterflies, fairy tales, embroidered fragments, Chinese blues, Botticelli angels, Blake's visions, Burne-Jones pictures............................................................................................

amongst many other hints and wisps of the past..........................

to catch in my net and weave into mydesigns..................

which I hope others might find as beautiful as their inspirations.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Hand drawn lace....

Re the previous post and hand painting lace.....I did draw two very detailed fragments of old lace for my vintage project. I did them by using a very sharp pointed parchment craft tool on parchment paper.I was pleased with them but they were very time consuming and I had lots of other ideas to develop. However, I did use them, printed on coloured paper, for one of my favourite designs, based on my version of a vintage dove and an embroidered card my Grandmother's fiance sent her from the trenches in WW1 , before he was killed (see Valentine's Day post for full explanation!).  I used this composition for  Valentine's Day/Wedding cards and a favours box.

(Please note, this image and all the other designs and photographs placed on my blog are meant for interest, information and possibly inspiration only and are my intellectual property/ copyright
. Please do not copy-thank you)

The lace drawing can be seen in the background.  The drawings were made from a vintage collar and cuff I was given by my other Grandmother-so in one card I have memories of both of them! The vintage dove has a lace body. I cut out the interior space with a scalpel. I then placed the outline over some real lace, which  was placed over a sheet of pink paper. My Grandmother's card is held in the doves beak, in minturised form and is also in the favours box along with miniture hearts (designed by me and dried pink rose petals- I'm such a romantic!!!!!

Isabelle de Borchgrave competition

Speaking of competition ( in my last post), I have actually entered one! Those who know me will be shocked!. The only other competition I have 'gone in' for was forced on me by my degree and I hated it, as wasn't happy with what I had to submit. Also,I usually hate the thought of anything competitive. However, one of my inspirational paper artists,  Isabelle de Borchgrave, advertised one and the first prize is a weeks experience in her studio.  Anyone who has followed this blog will know that, in the Autumn, I wrote that it would be a dream come true to do work experience with Isabelle (that is my most popular post, coincidentally:-)). Isabelle produces the most amazing paper replicas of fashions from the past.  My personal favourites are the Medici and fortuny collections.  She has just had an extrememly successful exhibition in America-Pulp Fashion.

So, I entered, with the paper copy of my childrens Christening gown.

I constructed the dress, after making a detailed fine liner drawing (I love fine liners!) out of hand mulberry paper and doilies- attached with glue (held together wi,th clips whilst it dried-looks like the poor dress is being tortured).  I then hand painted little emulsion paint flower copies of the original embroidery.( one of the things that fascinates me about Isabelle's work is how painted lace/ brocade/ can be made to look so realistic).

I can honestly say I never thought a competition could be so much fun or so rewarding! Since entering I have been able to view my own and other peoples entries as well as seeing comments from viewers and being sent messages etc by some of the lovely competitiors.  I was advised by one of the competitiors to put a link to my blog and so have also been very pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have visited it since doing so,as well as some very nice comments.

I don't for one minute think I could win, as there are some interesting entries. My favourite is a lovely dragonfly ring, based on old model aeroplane methodology. I also like a pretty blue headdress and a very clever folded paper Tudor influenced dress.

So, if all competitions were as much fun as this one I might consider entering another one....maybe......

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

a little gift too.........

I may consider putting in with a bought gift, for the new parents, one that I  designed for my minor project (along with the previous cards).

I made a pair of shoes,in a shoe box and garlands/wall hangings for a nursery or play room, out of a drawing of a pair Charlottes old shoes. These shoes were brand new BUT vintage when I bought them in a little brocante shop in Holland a couple of decades ago.  Charlotte actually wore them and looked adorable in them and her little smocked dresses and frilly socks (sorry Charlotte!!!!). They were lovely to draw and then produce as 3d by decoupage-think I used about 5 layers and it made the soles look just right. I was really proud of the shoes in the box because they were so like the originals even if I say so myself!!!!

I also produced cards to match, so may keep the Christening card for when the baby has its naming day and give a matching card instead....decisions decisions....

This board looks a little overcrowded to my eye now!! As a lovely lady ( and fellow student) Joy  always- said 'less is more'...and  she was always right....and her designs were always very successful in the Bradford Textile Competition......:-)

...and parents

I shall be selecting a new born/Christening design for the happy parents-when their new baby puts in his first appearance, as he seems happy to wait for a few more days before making an entrance into theworld! His poor mother , in this heat!!!

 These designs are also from my Vintage and lace Minor Project.  They were produced by printing copies of my drawings of both a long and short Christening dress that my children wore at their respective Christenings in England (Charlotte) and Celle, germany (James). I printed the images onto handmade mulberry paper and silk, for the first board.  the second boards cards were produced like the blue design of the previous post, by cutting out the interior space with a scalpel. this time I inserted antique lace and used a vintage edging to finish off. The photographs do not do the cards justice, in my opinion!

I really enjoyed this particular theme, as I have loved old things long before they were popular with everyone else.  I used to look in junk and antique shops etc. as a teenager and since then have built up an eclectic collection of old/vintage bits and pieces, that suited me and my home/s!!!!

I hope my neighbours like my cards.......

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

New Arrival

A neighbour is going  to have a little boy, at some point, over the next few days-due day today, but men are always late!!!! I have a little gift for her baby and her very sweet little girl, Grace. As a card and gift designer (!!!??!!!;-) ) I shall have no problems chosing a card for her two children..........

This is a board from my Minor project.

The little pink dress card was designed using a coloured drawing of a vintage dress -given to me by a friend, for my daughter Charlotte.  It had been her husnbands, when he was a baby in India, and has exquisite embroidered butterflies attached by the body (but with free wings). It is one of my favourite card designs (probably because I love butterflies). I printed the design on hand made paper and cut it and tiny individual butterflies  and flowers for added decoration

The blue card is drawn from a smocked traditional romper suit that I bought for my son James.  It was cream, but I cut into the picture with a scalpel and padded it out  with blue tissue paper to colour the image.

So, that's the children sorted....... 


Just realised it is five years this week since I moved from what was my dream house (but where I was the most unhappy I have ever been!) to my little 'Hope' cottage (where I have been very happy, generally, since the day my children gave up their last week at uni to help me move in)
I commerated both of my homes, lived in over the course of my Art odyssey, in stitich for one of my earlier projects, which concerned surface embellishment for fashion. As I love the willow pattern and blue and white china and the colours I drew an updated version and then stitiched it on shiny silk.  Unfortunately that has made the design difficult to photograph :-( sorry...

This picture is supposed to show my cottage,between the trees, but it is very faint! It is near heaven and is like the place the lovers escaped to.....!!!!

This picture shows my old house in the far right hand side again rather faint and lost amongst the embroidery and beads.

The bridge I walked my two old dogs/friends, Copper and Gunnar ( a golden retriever and flat coated retriever) over for many years is shown in the bottom shot. It is like the willow pattern bridge that the lovers escape over.

My little cottage has been a godsend-it ticked all the wish list boxes when I came to see it the Easter before I bought it. I have been so lucky................


Sunday, 26 June 2011


I love blue and so blue flowers are my favourites,as well as white! Blue iris are so wonderfully constructed and look lovely, however they are depicted !! The orientals (followed by Van Gogh , among others) loved them too. Here is one of my own attempts.

It was painted using watercolour crystals, called Brusho, that are dissolved in water but, due to variable solvency, give the lovely varied colours perfectly suited to an iris flower. These can be easily bleached and drawn into with pen, biro, crayon etc., so are more versatile than ordinary watercolour, it seems to me. This is one of my favourite studies, hope you like it too.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Good News- drawing being used by international cotton trader!!!!

I am very pleased because an international cotton company is using a drawing I produced for my Minor Project as part of it's client presentation powerpoint! :-)

This is just a sample of the A1 drawing  sheet I produced whilst trying to design a 'Cotton' Anniversay card! I also used different media on the sheet. The cards I produced, using the different kinds of imagery, included; straight forward prints of the image mounted on different backgroud papers, one that was printed on cotton fabric and the one I liked best that was printed , cut into with a scalpel and cotton wool inserted!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Chelsea Show bike look alike!!

Following an amusing comment about my 'cottage garden soft top', here's one I did earlier...Chelsea Garden, 2010 style!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


I love the magic that that phrase evokes .  It makes me think of fairies, dancing in toadstool rings, making wishes and when I was a child I believed in all those lovely, pretty things........ That's one of the reasons why I love little children for whom the magic still lives and whose eyes glisten with wonder, when they listen to fairy stories.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

....and blue/yellow !!!

Here's a picture of the rest of the flowers that I bought yesterday, which are more suitable for my main room! So pretty and cheerful, with one of my favourite flowers blue iris ( a very popular choice of subject for oriental pictures  in the past, as well as for a fellow oriental fan- van Gogh).

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

In the pink!!!!!

As a reward for final tutorial bought a mass of beautiful flowers that were reduced at Tesco, when I stopped to by storage boxes for all my craft materials!!!! Pink isn't really my colour now that I haven't got a pink and white spare bedroom any more.  However, I love peonies and lilies so at 75p couldn't resist!  They look beautiful in my cream/white/black and blue bedroom and smell wonderful too.

 Feel like a Queen....

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Final show Hartlepool Gallery Church Square

Thursday was preview night for our displays of selected designs from our FMP.  My design area  is card and gift. So, although I have embellishment/embroidery (like the fashion designs) and repeats (like interiors) due to the scale differences and use of product boards to show my designs, my area looked very different to all the other displays

I was, therefore VERY worried that it would not be liked and so wished I had opted out of this non-compulsory part of the degree, However, my sister and Mother, a lovely lady called Anrea who spoke to me at the end of the preview evening and all the lovely people (especially the lady from Texas) who came and talked to me when I was 'on duty' at the gallery today made me glad I hadn't chickened out!!!! THANK YOU  so much for making me feel so much better about my work and saying such lovely things. SO  MUCH APPRECIATED. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Leonardo da Vinci flowers and Henrik Simonson

One of the reasons I like the vintage/sepia painting by Henrik Simonson is because it reminds me of the Leonardo da Vinci's flowers. The pre-Raphaelites were very good at botanical detail in their paintings, as 'The Tree of Forgiveness' and 'Ophelia' show.  the latter was cited as being as good as a walk in the country by a Victorian Botany Professor!!!

One future option for myself is botanical drawing.  The Royal Botanical Society have produced a distance learning course.  However, as it is very expensive, like all education these days, I may just follow the course by myself, using the two course books available from Watersones etc.

Must say, can't wait now to 'move on'.....just a few more weeks left........

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Cottage garden corner

I have placed the flowers I bought the other day in the spaces left by plants that had  died (due to the severity of last winter).  They have formed an old fashioned floral corner in my tiny garden.  I think they look beautiful, especially as they are really very simple flowers that have retained their popularity over the centuries, but were most liked in my beloved Victorian times. I love old fashioned and wild flowers. The foxgloves look particularly pretty

Henrik Simonson uses wild flowers in his designs and has used pink foxgloves in the  Midnight Garden.

I think I need to 'rearrange' the evergreen clematis (that never flowers :-( ) and the brash pink rambler that was in the garden when I bought the cottage (and have kept because it has the most wonderful perfume and flowers prolifically).

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Henrik Simonsen

I love this artists work. Tthis one is particularly beautiful, although must admit some of his latest work is rather bright for me! He is a danish artist who trained in Denmark. America and at Exeter College of art U.K. He produces beautiful pictures related to Baroque, Chinoiserie etc. and uses wild flowers and butterflies in many of his works.  No wonder I love him!!!!

If you want to see more of his imagery follow the link below for Opus Gallery Newcastle, which is going to stage an exhibition of his work in the autumn.  Eyestorm, his agents, show more of his lovely artwork on their website.....enjoy!! :-)

Henrik Simonsen

Thursday, 2 June 2011

cottage garden soft top!!!!!

On the way back from a meeting about the final show I stopped off at a garden centre to buy some old fashioned flowers for my little garden-honeysuckle,hollyhocks, foxgloves,catmint,lupins, delephiniums and pansies.  It is just as well my little two seater has a fold down roof and that the sun was shining, so I could get everything in to transport back to my little cottage!!! I did receive a few surprised looks from people I passed in the village!!! :-)