Autumn Is A Season Of Change

I really love Autumn.  It’s the colours that get me.  Oranges, reds, greens, golds, all with a slight edge to them, a sort of burning richness that sometimes just make my heart sing!

It’s been a long time since I last posted some images of my illustrations.  Mostly because I haven’t been drawing for a few weeks!  This little sketch was something to get my watercolours going again, in preparation for a few more illustrations for Seymour’s Borders of Sleep stories.

Autumn is a season for change.  We looked at this in my church small group last night – how change affects us, and that it’s a good thing.  Anything or anyone that’s growing experiences change. Even now, I still work on an Academic calendar – September – September, and am expectant of change in the Autumn.  Well, things are different this year.  The wedding season rush is slowing (although happily there are still more weddings to come!) and the weather is changing.  The pattern of the working week changes as priorities change, and sadly, my family has changed too.

My wonderful Nan, (my naughty Nanny who smokes) passed away on Tuesday.  We will all miss her so much and we are so thankful for her in our lives.

We need to embrace changes, but be thankful for how things used to be.

A Couple of Recent Illustrations

I’ve been doing a lot of painting recently.  Some for upcoming childrens books (very exciting) some potential new card designs, Christmas card designs, figures, characters, postcards and scribbles.  I haven’t yet tried to paint Samuel the Spaniel, but I think I will soon.  How do you capture all the naughtiness and cuteness all in one?

Anyway, above pictured are a couple of random illustrations from the past week.  The first, similar to my New Year post, playing around with a bit of illustrated type.  The second is a picture of a sweet pea from my garden.  The baby plants were a birthday present from my Mummy back in April.

It’s been a tough old time recently, there has been some very sad family news.  I have and will be travelling a lot to visit family over the next few weeks, so I’ve cut down the amount I’m doing. Painting and sketching is a peaceful activity, and one in which I’m finding solace and a bit of space during an emotional time.  For those who are having a tough time too, pick up your pencil (it doesn’t matter if you can’t draw) and scribble away, you might find it helps.

Printing Perfect Postcards – Part II

And so they’ve arrived!  My lovely postcards are here.  I ordered from two different companies an hour apart – and they arrived an hour apart.  Freaky?
I ordered some art prints from, the firm ‘ol favourite in the artisan world, and I ordered a larger batch of “Jam Jar Posy” illustration postcards from, who prints eco-friendly products, and to be honest – I think I prefer the quality of their final product.  The only downside with A Local Printer in comparison to Moo is that I can’t get a small number of different designs printed for a good price.  I would have to get a large batch of one design – which isn’t always what you want.  All in all, I’d recommend both – the service and the quality is really very good.
If you like the look of some of the above postcards then you can view them properly on Flickr.  You can even find the Jam Jar Posy Step-by-Step Guide on Flickr.  It’s my new favourite.
Also, *Exciting News*
I will be selling these postcards on my online shop!  Soon you’ll be able to buy these postcards directly from me, via the Floral Footsteps Etsy shop.  Keep checking twitter and the blog for more details!
Perhaps, *even MORE Exciting News*
I will be selling these postcards and some real floral arrangements in REAL LIFE on Tuesday 28th June at Grainger Market in Newcastle.  Come and visit me on my Floral Footsteps stall, it would be really lovely to see and meet you.  Look for the gingham, and that’s where I’ll be…

One Man and His Bees

My Dad is an inspiring man. Having no degree, and few qualifications, he has worked hard at things he is good at, and really has done well. I don’t mean in monetary terms necessarily, but in that he consistently does a good job, and has made good decisions with good timing.
He also has a habit of gaining ‘almost obsessive’ hobbies. When Dad starts something, he keeps going until he finishes. Sometimes, this involves missing dinners, ignoring cuts and bruises and completely forgetting what time it is. This attitude filters into hobbies too.  Recently, one of my Dad’s hobbies has been beekeeping. It started when a hive of bees came to live in their conservatory. Dad was advised not to extinguish the bees, but to house them in a hive and collect their honey. He and my brother spent ages trying to coax the bees into the hive, involving my brother on a ladder in a tree, batting off bees with a stick, but the bees eventually buzzed away and never came back. Since Dad had already invested in the hive and equipment, he then bought some bees and they found their happy home in my parents hive. These bees absolutely thrived in my parents garden, feeding off all the beautiful plants and trees they have there. Now, two years later (I believe), my parents own four hives of bees and are selling the honey they produce.
My parents asked me to design their honey labels for them. Here’s what I came up with:

Dad loves his bees. He spends an abnormal amount of time in his beesuit and checks on them really regularly, probably too much. Recently he’s been learning about rearing queen cells (which is how bees create their new queens) and created a new colony. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm for checking on his new colony made his bees a little jumpy, and last week, they flew off in a huff and despite Dad’s best efforts, will probably never be seen again. Oops!

So Dad, thanks for being a great Father – for the wisdom, support, and for being thoroughly entertaining!
Happy Father’s Day

Printing Perfect Postcards

This week, I’ve been preparing some postcard designs which I’m getting printed at various companies, to check them out for future reference. Here are 3 old designs of mine which have been revamped for perfect postcards.
Getting the postcard proofs ready was surprisingly nervewracking. I always think I’ve missed something – some conversion to CMYK colour or the bleed or whatever the other fancy printing language is.  I hope they turn out alright.
I made some new designs too – I won’t reveal them just yet, I’ll wait ’til the postcards are delivered, or just keep you in suspense a little longer…
In the Floral Footsteps midweek news this week…
1) I made a friend at one of the printing companies I used.  He let me have something for free.  Thanks Andy!
2) I’ll be setting up an Etsy shop for the first time very soon, where I’ll be selling some of these wonderful postcard designs.
3) Me and my mates Seymour and Tim might be doing some home screen printing soon.  Now that’s exciting and will certainly command a post-event-blog-post.
4) Seymour called me “Phenomenally Gifted” in a blog post this week.  Wowee, thanks Seymour!

Delivery By Duck

This week has been a tricky one.  For some reason I’ve heard story after story of tragedy and heartache – of people unwell and dying at a young age.  Stories of such sadness.  It’s made the week feel heavy and low and I’ve felt I’ve shared in some of the sadness of these affected families.

Despite being a difficult week, the past few days have also been ones of little victories and joyful situations and of new life.  In our Church family, a baby boy, Caleb was born last Friday and entered the world a healthy 8lbs and 15oz.  I also went to my first ever baby shower on Tuesday, surrounded by Americans (obviously) and we played games and celebrated the soon-to-be birth of another good friend’s child.  I decided to paint her a picture for her nursery and drew a duck (above) delivering a baby boy.  However, I drew it – and then realised it didn’t match the frame I had, so kept that copy and drew a white duck and framed it, as you can see below.

The best bit about this illustration, however, is the conversation I had with my husband over text just after drawing it.  I’ll give you a snippet:

R (Me):  “Ahh I’m really pleased, I’ve just managed to do a good illustration for the new baby.  You’d love it!  It’s a baby being delivered by a duck! Xx”
P:  “What?!!  That sounds disgusting!”
P:  Oh I see, u meant different…

This Week’s Wish List

The Sun has come out today, so I thought I would share with you a current project/wish list for our garden. We’ve only a wee little garden, so finding space is tricky, particularly when there are two strong dogs that love to prance around, knock over your pots and trample on all your flowers. I saw the Wooden Plant Theatre on the NotOnTheHighStreet email last week and thought… yes, I would like me one of those.
In a spare few minutes earlier on in the week I decided to sketch myself one, just in case if I couldn’t justify affording one – I’d have an illustrated version I could pretend with…

My Love Affair with Echinacea

Today I’ve been working on the first of a series of illustrations of fields of medicinal flowers. It doesn’t sound very attractive, but it will be… I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for photos of fields of flowers, and have decided to start illustrating them in a simple style to form a series and chose to only paint medicinal herb flowers, for some reason.

(Also, I found some inspiring flower field photos on Pinterest)

I got married in September 2009 and went to my parents house (where I was married from) for a couple of weeks beforehand. When I arrived back in my old bedroom from living in Durham for the last time as a “single girl”, my Mum had cut some Echinacea from her garden and put it with some gypsophila. I’m not a big fan of gyp and previously wasn’t that much of a fan of Echinacea, but it looked so perfect and delicate in this vase in my bedroom and was such a lovely surprise. I vowed then that I would always love Echinacea, in sickness and in health, to have and to hold, for better, for worse from this day forward. So my medicinal flower sketched began with an Echinacea field.
Then came the Chamomile. Cornflower next.
Keep visiting as the series develops…

The Postlude to Jeanna & Ed Spencer (Should have been a Prelude)

Jeanna and Ed approached me a few months back to paint them a design for their wedding invitation, (which I meant to post about this yonks ago, but got distracted!)  
The brief was “something to do with a tree”, some favourite bible verses and the colour deep coral.  Above you see what I came up with.  The illustration featured on the front of their invitations, the tree roots on the back.  The design was printed on pearlescent card and tied with a burgundy ribbon and looked really lovely, very original, designed specifically for them.
I was surprised when I arrived at the wedding venue to set up the flowers to find the illustration on every name card, and inside every name card, on gift tags and on the main slide shown inside the church!  Wow!

I’ve Found My Groove

The past few days, after taking the self employment plunge I’ve been trying to sort out legal business issues and trying to pinpoint what I want Floral Footsteps to be, writing my business plan and scribbling designs and thoughts from my head onto paper.
I’ve found my groove.
Designing and undertaking a business myself is a daunting and liberating task.
And I’m getting it done.
You might notice there’s some new headings in the blog.  And there are more on the way.  Temporary measures until I learn how to write website code and can write a website for myself.  In the meantime, Blogger will do.  Unless there are any web-designers who would like to do me a favour for free.  Please?!
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