Saturday, December 24, 2011

The last "posh shop bulletin"

We have finally made it to Christmas Eve (all with sore throats and temperatures)... Just waiting now for the last customer, there is always one who comes in at 7.30pm and still has to buy a couple of pressies!

Now looking forward to three whole days of rest to try and get back to normal.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2012. XX

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snowman and friends

Only three days left and afraid to say I'm completely and utterly tired and fed up of "posh gift shop"! It happens every year, I start off full of good will and Christmas spirit. Then it sort of dwindles into a strained smile with a sigh of relief every evening when I can tick off another day on my calendar. I know it is because my feet are aching so much and my brain is in total confusion... can't wait until it is all over.

Our singing snowmen are almost sold out, there is only one left and I feel quite sorry for him. He is pictured here with friends (who I'm pleased to say "don't sing"). I hope he finds a buyer before we close our doors on Christmas eve, I can't bear to think of putting him back in his box until next year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas panic!

Only seven working days left until Christmas. The novelty of selling and wrapping gifts is beginning to wear off... we are now only counting the days left until the big day. Now working (rushing around!) from 8.00am until 8.00pm. No lunch hours because taken up with errands... like, replenishing dwindling wrapping paper supplies and such. It seems impossible but we have already got through 2 packs of 5 kilos... that is a lot of paper!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas News

Only 20 days left before the big day. We have finally finished all the window dressing and now just adding some last touches to the displays on the shelves. It is such hard work preparing the shop for the Christmas rush but everything looks really sparkly and I must say "quite fancy". We are although already working lots and have wrapped up loads and loads of lovely packages which is my favourite part of the job.

Today I noticed that the singing snowmen say Ho Ho Ho... I thought that was supposed to be Father Christmas!

P.S In last Spoonflower competition my Kite design came 39th out of 146 entries with 291 votes. ...umm, must try and do better next time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Marathon

Christmas in the Posh Gift Shop is really taking off. We are now 3 days into our Christmas Marathon with only 24 Working days to go! I already have aching feet and am fed up with singing snowmen. Trying to concentrate on important things, like not getting a sore throat and losing my voice (difficult to serve clients), and... to wrap up every gift as if it will be your last so they all come out wonderfully.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Spring Kites

The above repeat pattern is called Spring Kites and has been entered in the Spoonflower small print competition. This time my design was'nt excluded from the competition and voting has already begun. I find it quite difficult to do small and ditsy prints, I feel much more at home with large scale repeats. However, this has been an excellent exercise for me, I have even experimented with a white background and a spring colour palette.

I'm afraid this will be my last entry for 2011 in the Spoonflower competitions as we are now super busy in the "posh gift shop" and everything else takes second place... EVERYTHING!
I will still be posting news but I doubt if I will have a lot of time for designing.

P.S. My Owl Tea Towel Calendar was classified 39th with 291 votes out of 146 entries in the last Spoonflower competition.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Seeing as it is almost "that" time of year again. I find myself looking more and more at my favourite kind of internet sites, hunting for quirky pressies to give as Christmas gifts. You know... the ones where you can do a bit of "virtual shopping", get some great ideas, and, spend money if you really want to.

Howkapow - Design Shop is my latest find. It is full of strange, wonderful and curious gift ideas. Some useless, some "must haves", and some just to make you smile. I have chosen three to give you a taste.
I particularly love the light switch stickers and the sleeping bags. The boob cushion is not for me, but I know someone who would like it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Owl Tea towel - 2012 Calendar

This is my entry for the Spoonflower competition to design a tea towel calendar for 2012. I have developed my Owl kitchen theme to include a tea towel design. The competition is now closed and the voting has already started so not long to wait to learn who has won. I have seen lots of good entries so it will be difficult to get in the top ten but you never know? I will post results soon.

Click to see FLICKR version, to see SPOONFLOWER version.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank you cards

I have been enjoying myself making some one-off Thank you cards to send to friends and relatives who were so kind to send me presents for my Birthday.
Its just a shame that my Birthday was a month ago! Hang on in there folks I will be posting them soon. XX

Friday, October 28, 2011

More Teapots

My Teapot designs came 7th (out of 124 entrants) with a total of 462 votes in the latest Spoonflower Competition... and needless to say I am over the moon with the result. While I was asleep and dreaming of other designs I sold six fat quarters worth of my teapots! It is such a nice feeling to think that after all my hard work lots of people appreciate my designs.

Above you will find a photo of the fat quarter with all seven designs and some more examples of my teapots. They are available to buy directly from Spoonflower for only 11 dollars
(all seven) . In the meantime watch this space for more designs.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dear Santa...

This item will be first on my wish list for Christmas this year. I discovered it on one of my favourite sites, Third Drawer Down. It is called iWood and comes complete with chalks. I just love everything about it, even the pear sketched on the blackboard, such a lovely idea. There are lots of other interesting and curious things to buy on their site, go take a look here. I will be adding this link to my list of Web Niceties up on the top right had corner of my blog.

So if anyone was at odds as what to buy me for Christmas... hint, hint, now you know. It may be difficult to get hold of as you have to order it from
Fitzroy Victoria, Australia so I would make do with a "working facsimile" if you know what I mean?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Special Birthday

My good friend Tom will be enjoying a very Special Birthday today, so I decided to do a nice and fancy drawing for him and post it here. Some Birthdays you remember for ever... and this is one of them, even if it is only for the embarrassing drawings people put on their blog for you. A small price to pay for having "fancy" friends is you get sent "fancy" cards!

Still, make the most of it and have a great day. Twenty-one hugs XX

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Miniature Teapots

Just for a change I have sent in a design to the latest Spoonflower competition. It was to make a hanging ornament out of one of their swatches (8 inches by 8 inches). I had a few ideas but decided on Miniature Teapots. I designed 7 of them to fit on a fat quarter of fabric, see 3 of them above. The rest you can see here.
Hope you like them! (In a rush no time to write more)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ditsy Divine II

I was a bit miffed at finding my ditsy design excluded from the voting in the last Spoonflower competition as it was'nt considered ditsy enough. As you have to "live and learn" I decided to give it another go. The design you see above is my Ditsy Divine II and I asked Spoonflower if this would be considered a true ditsy design. One of the 100 (!!!) moderators kindly tweeted me to say "Yes, they would consider it ditsy"... I'm not bothered what the other 99 think, thats good enough for me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Terrible Twins

Hi, I came across these two very angry faces whilst walking around Turin with my camera. They are to be found in a walk through which leads to courtyard and (I think) someone's home - office - studio? The whole area is painted over, apart from the twins there are mobiles hanging from the ceiling and even the pavement is coloured with violent purple. Every time I have walked past the gates have been open as if to invite people to look at this work of "personal graffiti", so I quickly took some shots. I did'nt fancy hanging around to see if anyone was at home just in case they where as angry as these two fellows.

More on Flickr, the Terrible Twins have a friend who reminds me of "the Joker" and needs to see a dentist!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to me

I received this wonderful drawing from my friend Thomas as a present for my Birthday. I find it very beautiful and of course seeing as it is especially for me I find it very apt. I often say that I am a very busy bee and Thomas it seems has illustrated a typical "day in the life of". The only problem being bees work together and there are loads of them, however I am on my own doing millions of things at the same time.

Thomas Fummo is a freelance caricaturist, cartoonist, illustrator and animator, but above all he does all these things with extreme talent! Please take time to look at his blog HERE which is full of lovely illustrations and witty, quirky animations, and his new website HERE shows a wide range of his work (I particularly love the caricatures). ENJOY!

P.S. Thanks TF XX

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ditsy Divine

Ditsy definition -
"A ditsy print is quite small in scale, and the design motifs are usually scattered or random rather than being ordered in a definable pattern like rows or stripes."
So I've learnt something again, Spoonflower is doing me loads of favours by making me get on and do things which before I would'nt have bothered about or thought to do.

My ditsy print has butterflies, "kind of" japanese flowers and leaves, and I've thrown a few hearts in because all the ditsy prints I looked up as reference were very pretty... so I made my design pretty as well. To see the repeat go to my shop on Spoonflower, hope you like it? Wish me good luck in the Ditsy Print Competion... well I must do better than 114th this time!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My very own fabric

My "Hiding from the Fisherman" fabric finally arrived from the US, and I love it. As it was ordered over a month ago I was pretty excited to get my hands on it. I am now busy with plans to make two different items from the fabric but am keeping them a secret for a while longer in case I change my mind. Don't want to build your hopes up to much do I?
I have uploaded a detailed photograph of the fabric on FLICKR mainly for the benefit of Spoonflower members but please feel free to have a look. However I seem to remember that I mentioned the items that I want to make with the fabric in the caption!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Autumn Forest by Dennis the Badger

Congratulations to Dennis the Badger from Frankfurt who was the winner of this weeks fabric contest on Spoonflower. I really love this design and of course it is one of the ones I voted for. The design is so simple and graphic but also very intricate at the same time. I find the colour palette lovely, subtle yet effective. I'm not in the habit of posting the winners on my blog but I really love this design. Please take time to look at his work, all available to buy from Spoonflower. Yummy yummy yum. (His nickname isn't bad either.)

You wondering why I am writing this so so SO small, I came 114th with 128 votes in the same contest as Dennis the Badger. Serves myself right for taking the contest so lightly this time round. Look out for my "Root Vegetables" entry in the next competition. I intend to do a lot better.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Autumn Circles

"Autumn" was the theme for this weeks Spoonflower Fabric Competition, with only three colours allowed plus white. In my design Autumn Circles I have chosen to leave white as the background colour because it makes the other colours stand out more. I have also chosen three colours that clash a little to create a bright autumn glow. It may seem a bit obvious to choose leaves as a design element but it was all I could come up with at the time. The voting has started already and I am getting zero feedback so I think this entry may lower my average?
As promised this is a four way repeat pattern (I think).

For the next competition I will be trying my luck at designing a DITSY print, no colour restrictions. So look out for my Disty print design soon, in the meantime I have to find out what one is first!

P.S I sometimes am a bit slow on the uptake but have found out that I can access the final voting results on the Spoonflower blog. So here are my results so far.
Hiding from the fisherman: 34th place with 238 votes,
Coffee beans and flowers: 23rd place with 295 votes,
Birds of a feather: 12th place with 397 votes!!!!
My aim is to get into the Top Ten, just once.

P.P.S. Have just joined Twitter so will be setting up a widget on my blog soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Upside down garden

Over the last few days I have been doing a bit of sightseeing with Flowerlady. We went to see the Palace Gardens in Turin (well what else would a Flowerlady want to see?) and then went for a stroll around the cobbled streets outside the Palace Gates. I came across this strange upside down garden (Il giardino capovolto) on the ceiling of a passageway which leads to a Bed and Breakfast situated in the courtyard. It is really quite well done and very effective, it certainly makes you look twice. The lettering is super (see detail) and the flowers are real "plastic" ones stuck to the ceiling. Very nice indeed!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Birds of a feather

These are a few design details from my entry to the latest Spoonflower Fabric of the Week competition with the theme birds and using a restricted colour palette. My idea is to make the leaves of the tree into feathers so the birds will feel even more at home! I am very pleased with the result as this is my very first "acceptable" design which is a real repeat pattern. It is still however only a one way repeat, next time round I will be trying a two way repeat... or something else even more complicated!

Hope you like it?

You can see the whole repeat on Spoonflower or enjoy some details on Flickr.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gobino Chocolate Factory

The front of the building you see here is the Gobino Chocolate Laboratory . Exquisite chocolates are made here and prepared before being distributed to the two retail outlets they also own in Turin. So by all means this building can be considered a true "Chocolate Factory", and the painted mural on the side of the building illustrates just that. It is a really wonderful illustration, done in a style which depicts the chocolate making process in a fairytale way. The quality to detail is great, and outside elements such as windows, air-conditioning boxes and even the iron gates have all been painted and included in the design so that nothing gets in the way of the overall effect.

It is the work of an extremely talented bunch called Truly Design. They are all artists who began by doing street art and graffiti. Their internet site is really worth a LONG look. There are lots of challenging projects all with very original end products, using many different styles and interpretations, from bodypainting in Turin to an unusual exhibition layout in Brussels. These are works of ture artists, even more incredible the fact that they have known how to create a market for themselves and are enjoying success on such a large scale. Their art is a refreshing way of bringing "street art" into commercial light. I hope they can continue to produce such unusual and different pieces.

You might like to look at these photos in more detail on my NEW FLICKR account!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wonderful enormous fig tree

We have an enormous fig tree in our garden and for 11 months of the year it is my favourite of all the trees we have. It creates perfect shade and is very well behaved, when other trees take two months to loose all their leaves (and that means two months of collecting them for us! ) our very intelligent fig tree at the first sign of cold weather turns yellow and then all the leaves fall off THE SAME DAY... fantastic. However, our lovely tree is a pain for one month of the year, being so big it manages to produce loads and loads and LOADS of figs. I keep saying that one year I will weigh all the friuts we pick but I still haven't got round to it yet. If we don't pick the figs they rot and fall off and have to be scooped off the lawn, and they attract big hornet type wasps which are not very friendly. So we pass about three and half weeks picking figs everyday, that may sound nice but it can become monotonous after the first few days. I like to give them away because we don't like fig jam and although I haven't tried bottling or freezing them I think that at the end of the day they are just figs, and figs are so yummy when they are freshly picked off the tree. So this week we are busy collecting figs and I would just like to say publicly a big "Thanks" to our wonderful enormous fig tree for being such a pain again this year.

P.S this post is dedicated to Flowerlady, who I know if she had a fig tree like ours would do it more justice, by making lots of yummy things to eat, and, by using up every single fig on the tree!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Milvia - Vintage Tea Towel

This latest tea towel came to light whilst searching for something completely different. Thats how things happen in my house, you have to look for something you don't really need to come across what you're looking for (if you get what I mean).

Anyway thats beside the piont, I consider it a lucky and interesting find to add to my 3 tea towels already posted some time back (September 2010).
Since my last post I have also found out that the towels were produced by Zucchi which is an Italian household linen manufacturing company. However Milvia remains a mystery to me I guess that Milvia is the artist and that the artist might be a lady but still no nearer to an answer.

For now enjoy this lovely find with me. It is Mercoledì/Wednesday - Stirare/Ironing.
As before the illustration and colouring are wonderful. I particulaly like the iron, the plug, shoes, face and that gorgeous loopy handwritten typeface. So I now have 4 days of the week, I think its going to be pretty hard to find them all.

P.S I find myself more and more interested in the humble old tea towel, I keep doing searches on Ebay and Etsy for vintage stock. There is a lot of interesting examples out there to buy and at reasonable prices. Please don't let me start collecting tea towels... I collect enough stuff as it is!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Coffee break - reverse

I have been an extra Busy Bee today. I have done loads of things and got back up to date with mails and stuff. I ordered yet more fabric from Spoonflower as I am preparing the launch of my new project... what? Sorry but I have to keep it a secret a while longer and can't tell you yet.
Anyway in the meantime of being Mrs Busy Bee I added a new Coffee Break swatch to my Spoonflower shop (I was missing one to complete my batch of five). I had originally liked the design in reverse/negative form but had put it to one side. However, back from my hols and in a new frame of mind I looked at it again and liked it, it is totally different with a dark background and for now I really love the pink!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Glamorous Mermaid

Hi, I am now back in Italy and ready to begin work again. I had a wonderful time in Lincolnshire taking lots of photographs and walking along beautiful beaches. As usual have come back with more work ideas than I can ever hope to produce.

During the LAST ten minutes of my LAST walk on the LAST day of my holiday I came across this lovely little lady. She has won my private competition to become my favourite picture of the hols, the important prize being of course a mention on my blog! She was painted on the door of a beach hut by a budding artist and I had never noticed her before. As a Mermaid she has all the qualities needed to lure any unwitting male under her spell... full of glamour, charming and fascinatingly attractive... just fantastic.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Owls in the kitchen

No this is not the Spoonflower web site but my blog. It seems to be the only thing I write about lately! I have uploaded a new design which I hope to be selling on Spoonflower pretty soon. I have already ordered swatches so when they arrive the fabrics will be up for sale immediately. They feature my owl designs which I have themed in with a kitchen atmosphere. The design will be available in 3 colour ways to start off with. You can obviously get a closer look here at my new shop on Spoonflower.

P.S I am off to sunny England for 10 days so I don't know if this blog will suffer. If I'm honest when I am at home and have 30 miles of Lincolshire beaches at the end of my road I don't usually think about much else!