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Drawing inspiration from the garden

I have been working on a new series of colouring sheets. They all offer something very different, but each directed to a niche market:

The 'Moon Gazing Hare' will have an actual moon pre printed on it,

'It's ok to be different' has been designed for a sense of completion and achievement,

and the third is a series of different sized squares comprising of fantasy and whimsical flora allowing for complete creativity and again a sense of completion.

As the garden explodes into colour I am eager to start my annual colour and structure studies of plants and flowers. I try new adventurous colour schemes and spend hours looking close up at the shapes used to form all manner of plants. The study of plants goes towards the drawing style I use for my colouring posters.

For the last few months I have been spending a lot of time working in the garden and all of a sudden June is upon us. Today is the wettest day in about six weeks, rain has been rare this Spring, and so I thought I would pen the latest goings on. As I've discussed in many previous blogs, my garden is the inspiration both in colour and plant formation for my crafted items and so year-on-year I divide my time equally between the garden and making. Above are pictures of my favourite roses which I check on and dead-head every few days. As with classic cottage gardens my roses are mixed in amidst the other plants and I have created some really great

colour schemes. Here on the tight are apricot roses, cerise foxgloves and burgundy sweet peas. With orange poppies and coffee coloured Geum the whole flower bed is really hot and exotic. Below is a photo of cool coloured flowers, lilac, purple and vintage pinks planted to match the 'hidden secret' decking. Due to the strange weather this Spring there are tulips out with lupins and aquilegia. It is as if everything is out all at once. It has been a busy time as I have been watering most days. Thankfully today's rain will turn the garden into a jungle of cottage flowers, the delphiniums are

already over six feet tall!

This year I am collecting petals to dry. I have 40kg of soy candle wax that I have had for a while so it is about time I did something with it, considering I also have a shed full of recycled glass jars, Looking at other candles on the market I have noticed the majority are quite small and scented 'safely'. I plan to use my flower petals collected from sweet peas, tulips and roses (so far) to add accents of colour in the white wax. On the outside of the jar I plan to draw black fine line wild flowers, using the petal colours for composition guidance.

I have divided the petals into two colours; hot/bright and cool/calm. Instead of keeping each type of flower separate I have chosen to mix them together, creating intriguing shape combinations and causing serious consideration on the scents. I have been pruning the roses before they drop their petals, (which is actually good rose husbandry) ensuring no damage or rot to the flowers. All around the kitchen are hanging bunches of sweet peas and roses naturally drying. I then

put them into bowls where I turn them regularly with a wooden stick until they are crispy and dry. I am then going to store them in brown bags somewhere cool and dry. By autumn I will have a great collection of dried petals ready for unusually scented, unique, huge candles.

'It's ok to be different' is a really lovely print, with the words interwoven into the plants. On first glance all of these colouring sheets look intimidating when in fact they are really easy to read and work out. They are specifically designed to create wonder as if walking around overgrown gardens and wild paths. Choosing a square suitable in size to be completed during the colouring session will create both an emotional and visual sense of finishing something which is always a great sensation. All of the shapes I have drawn come from my garden research.

As I am working on drawings at the moment I have had a big tidy-up in the 'Wool Woom' and made a huge shelf unit from an old wardrobe. Our cottage is too small for a wardrobe to be carried upstairs so it sat in my craft room for years. With all the new wool I now have I needed the extra space and so I took off the doors, halved the depth, used the off cuts for the shelves but

kept the draw at the bottom. Having an organised wool collection makes like so much easier now all the colours are visible at the same time. The empty basket sat on the draw is what I use to harvest roses and sweet peas.

As Spring rolls into early Summer I am looking towards designing new Christmas decorations, stocking up on robins and sorting out what Christmas cards I need to stock up on. I know it is crazy but in 12 weeks people will start to shop and as the weather today is November grey, thinking about robins isn't so crazy after all!

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