Thursday, 16 June 2016

Water Lilies Birthday Cards and Gifts for a July Birthday

Keeper's Pond, Blorenge, South East Wales, with Sugarloaf in the distance

The Water Lily is the Birth Month Flower for July. 
So a Water Lily painting or design would make a very special Birthday Card or Gift for anyone with a July birthday.

I always think of Water Lilies as rather exotic, tropical flowers, floating like bright stars at night on deep, dark waters. In fact they are native to Asian countries and the white Water Lily is the national flower of Bangladesh and the state flower of Andhra Pradesh in India, while the blue Water Lily is the national flower of Sri Lanka.

But Water Lilies are also to be found in South America and the Gulf of Mexico states of North America.

And, since the 19th Century, some varieties have been bred
 to thrive  in more temperate climates like ours.

(If you'd like to know more about Water Lilies, please follow this link.) 

Even so, it came as a shock to me to catch sight of some Water Lilies on the Keeper's Pond, right up on top of the Blorenge Mountain that I can see from my upstairs windows, here in Abergavenny. 

Hardly the kind of 'flora' you'd associate with a Welsh Mountain, where gorse and blueberry (or wimberry) bushes are the norm!

But there they were and I was lucky to get a photo of them that has become one of my most popular greeting cards.

I painted the Water Lilies for my very first July Birthday Cards in gouache and I hope I've succeeded in capturing something of their distinctive 'glow'. 

You can see some of the birthday cards and gifts with these watercolour Water Lilies by scrolling down to the bottom of my "July Birthday" collection below. 

But you can find many more July Birthday Cards, including some for specific family and friends in my Zazzle store - and lots more gifts as well. 

More recently, I created pink Water Lilies in hand-painted paper collage and added blue Dragon Flies to make patterns for my Posh & Painterly "Lily Pond" collection.

In some of the patterns, I added a gold-effect outline as a hint of the rather exotic nature of Water Lilies!

Here are some of the July Birthday Cards and 'Lily Pond' gifts and gift wrapping papers that I've collected together, hoping to make your birthday shopping quicker and easier:

Click anywhere on the image below to see the whole collection -

And if you still can't find the Birthday Card or Gift you want for a July Birthday, you can find yet more choice HERE!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Roses for a June Birthday

Metanoia Climbing Rose - changes from Orange to Pink to Yellow!

I always look forward to June - and not just because my birthday is in June! - but because it's the month when the roses in my little garden are looking their best.

Albertine Old-fashioned Rambler
'Roses Round the Door!'

June is the month for roses as far as I'm concerned, even though my yellow 'Dreaming Spires' begins to bloom in May, or even late April. 

In June, all my climbing roses are out and filling my walled garden with their wonderful fragrance.

So it's perfectly appropriate that the Rose is the Birth Month Flower for June. 

And my Zazzle stores provide plenty of options when it comes to choosing a birthday card or gift for someone who celebrates their birthday in June. 
Here you'll find all sorts of roses, all painted by hand in watercolours - yellow roses, red roses, various pink roses and even little pink and white dog roses -

Click on the image below to see the whole collection:

But whether or not you are specifically looking for a birthday gift or birthday card, you'll find a great selection of home and fashion accessories, cases and sleeves for electronic devices, as well as matching giftwrap and greeting cards, in my 'Summer Days' collection.

And you can browse the whole of my 'Summer Days' collection by clicking HERE and scrolling down through the categories to find -

The bright pink roses on which I based this design are not in fact from my garden. 

A friend hosted a birthday picnic in the rose section of the beautiful but little known Linda Vista Gardens in Abergavenny. And once we'd finished eating, out came my camera and I 'snapped' a few of the roses, with painting them in mind.

Alchemist Roses
changing colour!

I nearly always work from photographs because flowers wilt so quickly when I try to paint them from a vase - not to mention the fact that I'd have been in big trouble if I'd tried to pick the roses in the Linda Vista gardens! 

But I take my photos with painting in mind so they are often not particularly good as photos!

When I paint flowers in watercolours I generally work on wet paper and drop the colour in to begin with and let it flow - so I have to work very quickly. 

The original painting of these 'Lipstick Pink' roses probably took me minutes rather than hours and I was quite pleased with the result. However, when I scanned it, the upper part of the painting was very faint so I abandoned it and added it to the pile of sheets of watercolour paper that I use for testing colours when I'm painting.

Then one day, it occurred to me that I could use the painting for a greeting card or invitation, placing the text in the area that was too washed out. 

That worked well and from there I went on to create a repeating pattern and some coordinating patterns to make a collection that eventually fixed itself in my mind as 'Summer Days'!

Here are the fabric designs that made it into my 'Summer Days' collection, available on a wide range of fabric types - the white butterflies in the background were a later addition!

I do hope you've enjoyed this 
'Summer Days' post
 and that you'll have time to 
'stop and smell the roses!'

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Lily-of-the-Valley for May Birthday Gifts and Cards

May is generally a very 'in-between' month as far as my garden is concerned. 

The spring flowers, such as the crocuses, daffodils and tulips, are past their best and it's too early for most of the summer flowers and roses. But there's one flower in my garden that's at it's best in May, the Lily-of-the-Valley  - and that happens to be the Birth Month Flower for the month of May!

As I write this, in mid-April, the weather hardly feels like spring - snow is still being forecast on the mountains. So there's very little to suggest that  before long, my front garden, under the Magnolia tree, will be a mass of little white bells, giving off their distinctive heady fragrance that's impossible to miss as you walk up the path from my gate to the front door.

But a few days ago, I finally got around to raking up some of the leaves and twigs that the Magnolia had shed in the autumn. And today I spotted some deep red shoots pushing their way up through the exposed soil, letting me know that the Lilies-of-the-Valley are alive and well!

Until I came across this article, I had no idea that you could 'force' Lilies-of-the-Valley to provide some winter cheer. Maybe something to try for next winter?

In past years, I've written several 
blog posts about Lilies-of-the-Valley, 
which you might be interested to read -

And now, here's a Collection of 'Lilies-of-the-Valley' Cards and Gifts for a May birthday-

Click on the image to see the full collection of 60 items!

And here, below, are some more gift choices from my 'For the Love of Lilies' Bedroom and Bathroom collection; some of them could also be much appreciated as Wedding Gifts.

(Shown here with the chic black background, these products are also available with a blue or mauve background.)

 Click on the image to see the full collection -

The pretty little Lily-of-the-Valley flower makes such an adaptable motif! 

So below are some Fashion Accessories with the 'For the Love of Lilies' pattern collection! Maybe you'll find the perfect 'gift for her' amongst them?

Click on the image to see the full collection -

If you still can't find the perfect gift
for a May Birthday,
you might like to browse the full
in my
Zazzle store!


Thursday, 31 March 2016

Greeting Cards and Gifts for Gardeners . . .


. . . and for anyone who loves their garden!

View from my bedroom window in June

If you're stuck for a gift or greeting card for someone who loves their garden, you've come to the right place!

I love gardening and find it very therapeutic - it's not just about being close to Nature, although that's always good for us. It's also been discovered recently that there are microbes in the soil that act on our brains in the same way as anti-depressant pills! 

You can read all about it HERE

Daffs under the Magnolia
So no wonder so many of us enjoy our gardens, whether as active gardeners or simply appreciating the beauty of the flowers - or the taste of fresh, home-grown vegetables! 

I have a small patch, front and back. 

My front garden in dominated by a magnificent Magnolia tree that reaches up to the telephone wires. So I don't attempt to grow much other than spring bulbs around it - and was already full of lilies-of-the-valley and wild violets when I moved here so it has become a semi-wild garden.

On the other hand, although my back garden is small, its beds are crammed with flowering plants on the assumption that the more flowers there are the less room it leaves for the weeds to grow. So far, I've been proved more or less right about that! Weeding is not a favourite part of gardening, as far as I'm concerned!

Honeysuckle, Roses and Philadelphus

In spite of being so small, having high walls on each side allows the colours and fragrances to continue up and over the vertical surfaces with climbing roses, honeysuckle, clematis and jasmine.

If ever I had to move to a flat without my own garden, I would definitely need to have window-boxes to fill with flowers!

But a garden takes time and effort and as long as we're fit and well, it's a very healthy way to exercise. Yet another reason to love gardens! So chances are you have a family member or friend who is a keen gardener, who would appreciate a greeting card or gift with a gardening theme.

So here's a selection of specifically garden-themed gifts and greeting cards - many more in my Zazzle store, where you can use the 'search' button to find what you want!

Click on the image below to see the full collection.

Over the years, my love of flowers has led me paint them in watercolour and oil pastels. And I've used some of those paintings to create greeting cards and gifts, such as mugs and cushions/pillows.

Here are 100 floral pillows from my Posh & Painterly store!

Click on the image below to see the full collection -

But you can also find a great many more floral gifts, such as smartphone and iPad cases, as well as home and fashion accessories, giftwrap, gift bags and greeting cards in my Posh & Painterly store!

Flowers from my garden have also found their way onto many of the fabrics, in my Posh & Painterly store, as well as some that are for sale on the UK site, Woven Monkey.

Spring has been very much a stop-and-start affair this year, with lovely warm, sunny days followed by hail and storms and forecasts of snow on the hills! 

This makes the gardener's job somewhat tricky as whether plants and seeds thrive - or not! - is so dependent on the weather. And nobody enjoys doing the necessary spring gardening jobs, dressed up to the nines in waterproofs and fleeces on cold, wet days.

But the garden waits for no man and sometimes we just have to get on with it, in the fairly certain hope that we'll be rewarded at a later date, when 'everything in the garden is lovely!'

Dreaming Spires Roses in May, climbing up - and over! - the wall!
My neighbour has the best view of them!

Meanwhile, if you, too, are experiencing some of the less than clement spring weather, why not enjoy a browse of the very many floral gifts and greeting cards in my Zazzle stores!

It'll make a change from browsing seed catalogues!

(And you'll also find a great many blog posts about my garden, including posts about the Birth Month Flowers, in my other blog.)

Thursday, 17 March 2016

April Birthday Gift Ideas - Daisies and Sweet Peas

Here are some ideas that I hope will inspire you to make an April Birthday really special by incorporating one of the April Birth Month Flowers, either the Daisy or the Sweet Pea!

If you aren't yet familiar with the Birth Month Flowers
 for each calendar month, 
you can find them 

When I think of Daisies, the first thing that comes to my mind are the little wild daisies that dot my lawn, showing me that it's due for a mowing!

Of course there are many other types of Daisies and I have some of the tallest, largest, 'Marguerite' type daisies growing in my little back garden. 

Unfortunately, as they grow in a bed that gets very little sunshine because of the high garden wall behind them, they tend to try to grow up towards the light and end up flopping over, almost to ground level! 

Still, they make a bright spot or two late in the year when there's not much colour left in the garden.

But when I made the hand-painted collage Daisies for my April Birthday Cards and Gifts, it was the little wild daisies in my lawn that I used as my 'model'.

Some people call them weeds - and I suppose they do fit the definition of 'a plant growing in the wrong place' when they are in my lawn! 

Though if ever the summer weather is hot and dry enough to shrivel up the grass, the daisy leaves keep it looking nice and green so I'm actually quite fond of them.

The Daisy is said to represent Innocence, Loyal Love and Purity and it is also traditionally given as sign of Friendship, especially referring to the sharing and keeping of secrets between friends. 

So a Daisy Birthday Card or Gift is a great way to celebrate a close friendship!

I don't know what kind of daisy Shakespeare had in mind, but this poem certainly confirms that the Daisy is likely to put in an appearance on the grass in April! 

The other Birth Month Flower for April is the Sweet Pea.

In my experience, April is far too early to see Sweet Peas in flower but maybe there are countries with different climates where Sweet Peas flower as early as April? Tulips, Forget-me-nots and Wallflowers - and the last of the Daffodils - are the main flowers blooming in my garden in April.

Even though I sow my Sweet Peas in outdoor tubs in November to give them a good start, they are still a long way from flowering in April - though some warm weather at the end of the month, and throughout May, sometimes brings forth blooms by the beginning of June.

But I love Sweet Peas - they are one of my favourite flowers and the summer just wouldn't be the same without them. So even when I don't have time to sow many seeds for the garden, I try to make sure the Sweet Peas get sown.

Apart from their wonderful fragrance - the deep blue and purple ones in particular! - their colours are some of the prettiest and I find the fragility and translucence of their petals very appealing, especially for painting in watercolour.

Most of the flowers we are familiar with have some sort of special meaning attributed to them. HERE'S a website where you can read about the meanings of many of the flowers we all know and love.

The Sweet Pea signifies 'blissful pleasure' but can also mean 'good-bye'. So you might want to bear this in mind before choosing to send a Sweet Pea Birthday Card or Gift if you think the recipient will have knowledge of these things!

Here's a large selection of 
Greeting Cards and Gifts 
for someone with an 
April birthday.

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

Whichever you choose, you can be sure that the April Birthday Girl - of any age! - will be delighted to receive such a special Gift or Greeting Card! 

And there are lots more to choose from in my Zazzle stores.

Whether you are looking for a small gift, something as small as a pretty Daisy Hair Band or Sweet Pea Tote Bag, maybe, or a more expensive item such as Smartphone or iPad Case - or something in between, you'll find plenty to choose from.

And there's even Gift-wrapping Paper and Gift Bags to match the Birthday Cards and Gifts! Here's a Faux Patchwork Giftwrap combining all of the patterns in my "Daisy Chains" collection.

As ever, if you can't find the gift that you're looking for with the design of your choice, please contact me through one of my stores and I'll be pleased to create it for you at no extra cost.

I hope I've given you some useful ideas
for celebrating a 
Very Happy April Birthday!