Happy New Year!

First post of the new year, now that January is over half gone… My how time flies! Last year, I managed to post a whole three times… maybe I’ll get better in 2022. I am getting a better start for sure.

My Beautiful Bella… I miss her so much!

Just before Thanksgiving we lost our Bella… Up until the end of June, she had been acting like a puppy most days. We had a wonderful 5 years with her… not long enough. She was 13 years old, and my constant companion indoors and out. Thumper, our cat, has now decided that he needs to take her place. He used to hang out with Ken most of the time, but now he is glued to me whenever I’m on the couch.

In 2021, I did a much better job of adding designs to my Spoonflower shop. My goal for the year was to add new designs regularly, and try to end up with 1000 designs available in my shop. I was able to hit and surpass that goal, with a total of over 1600 designs available by the end of the year! That meant I added over a thousand in a year. Many of the new designs were new colorways of some of my older ones, and lots of stripes, checks, polka dots, and other simpler coordinates. I also entered 19 Spoonflower Challenges. Those challenges usually sparked ideas for more new designs. I bought a new laptop last Spring, and that made a huge difference in how fast I could design. No more waiting forever while watching the little spinning wheel when saving or opening files. It’s amazing what I can do with the right tools.

A sampling of some of the designs created in 2021.

So far this year, I have made a pretty good start with new designs. Not many of the Spoonflower weekly challenges have fit with my style, but I am joining a group of Spoonflower designers in a collaboration of designs using a great, bright color palette for Spring. The colors we were to use are a bit brighter than I usually use, but I found them easy to play with. Here is a little sneak peek of some of what I have designed using the colors.

Spring Brights Collection at AndrusGardens on Spoonflower

The designs in the above mock-up are part of my Spring Brights Collection, but not in the collaborative collection. Those will be introduced formally at a future date.

Currently, I have been working with some flowers that I painted in watercolor this past year. Since it it too cold and snowy to play in the gardens, I can play indoors on the laptop with flowers.

Foxgloves and Roses WIP

In the above photo, the lower left corner shows the original watercolors I am playing with. After removing the backgrounds, I did some recoloring of the Foxgloves. The Roses were painted to resemble a Peony in full bloom, but while working with the flowers, I felt they looked a bit more like Roses. The flowers needed a bit of an accent, so I pulled out the watercolor paints and now I have some pretty butterflies to add. These should be available in my shop by mid February, depending on how long it takes to get proofs printed and delivered. I’ll be placing the order by the end of this week.

Again, there are no guarantees of regular posts here, but this year’s goal is to post at least once a month. Baby steps are all I can plan on. I still never know how I will be feeling from day to day. I have learned to go with the flow, doing as much as I can on my good days. Here’s to a great 2022!

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October is Here??

It’s only been a couple months since my last post… Getting better with posting… It’s hard to believe that October is here and almost gone already! September flew by in a blur. I accomplished nothing in the gardens, other than taking some photos of the blooms and weeds. I did accomplish a lot of pattern designing.

Vista Bubblegum Petunias, Zahara Double Raspberry Ripple, and Sweet Potato Marguerite

The center section of the Maple Tree Garden stayed full of blooms all summer, despite the deer and bunnies trying to eat everything. For some reason, the Vista Bubblegum Petunias didn’t seem to be tasty treats like the other Petunias I planted. There are only four Petunia plants in this area. I took this photo before the lime green leaved Sweet Potato vines were eaten down again. They must be like candy, as the deer have munched on these since I planted them. Various repellents helped some, but all the rain we had washed it off frequently.

Due to the constant loss of plants to the critters and too much water, gardening this year was quite frustrating. Tomatoes that I planted late didn’t like the excess water, so my crop was really small. The only plants that didn’t get eaten down were the ones in planters. We got only enough tomatoes to eat fresh, with not enough to can for later use. The Squash did a little better… It took three tries to get Zucchini to grow.

The Squash Patch in the Rock Garden with Rudbeckia Autumn Sun.

Above is a little group of Summer blooms from the gardens. It was a challenging growing season, but I did get some pretty flowers.

September brought a new large collection of designs that started with a Spoonflower Challenge. To promote their new dyed Petal Solids, the challenge was to use three of the new colors. Lagoon, Cotton Candy, and Mustard were the colors we were to include. A couple other colors and white and black were also allowed, so I added Peacock and Peony. My Teardrops Flowers Collection was born.

Teardrop Flowers Collection

All of the flowers in this collection began in a single sketch. I pulled all the little parts out of the sketched flower to make the different flower types. The photo below, shows the original sketch. It also shows stages of the flower pulled apart and the bits and pieces colored. Once I got the parts and pieces ready, I got carried away playing with the different coordinates.

Original Flower Sketch and Work in Progress

The next challenge was much more challenging for me. The colors were Mushroom, Pine and Sky Blue. For some reason, this color combination didn’t light up the creative juices like the previous one. We were allowed to use one, two or all three of the colors. Additional colors as well as black and white were also allowed. This time, I ended up using just the Pine green with white Paisleys. It was fun to play with the different Paisley designs, adding swirls and curls. I also had to add some little flowers in and around the Paisleys. The photo below, shows some of the process.

Paisleys on Pine Progress
Paisleys in White on Pine Texture

Here is the finished version of my Paisleys, shown as a table cloth on Spoonflower. It is available in many types of fabrics and Home Decor items. They are also available in more colors in my Paisleys Collection in my Spoonflower Shop. In the next post, I’ll show my newest Calendar Tea Towel/Wall Hanging made for another challenge.

Summer’s Almost Gone…

Spring weather finally arrived with all it’s colorful flowers! As the snow left, the Snowdrops started blooming, followed by a few Crocus, Snow Glories and Daffodils. I had lots of Daffodils, after buying a bunch f new bulbs in the Fall, and digging and dividing many clumps I’ve had growing for years.

Daffodil Fluffy Double

I was amazed how many bulbs I found in the clumps I divided. Some had 30 or more in each… it had been many years since I had divided them.

Daffodil Passionale showing color variations
Daffodil Ice Follies by Stone Wall

Summer arrived in a blur again after the Flower Tent Season was over. It seems I’m always trying to play catch-up in the gardens after “living” at the Tent for all of May and most of June. This year, we also had a LOT of rain, especially in July. One storm dumped enough water to wash a big pile of gravel from the driveway to the Mound garden, burying a big hunk of that garden. Below, is a group of photos from the gardens.

I finally got back to designing again between working in the gardens and mowing the swamp… er… lawn. I had been in a creative slump again (what else is new), and decided to work on a design for another Spoonflower Challenge. Pastel Halloween was the first theme I worked on. I’m not into the oranges and blacks of typical Halloween decorating, but love pastel colors. I thought I would do a design with pastel colored pumpkins, and Glass Gems corn. While working on my initial images, I got thinking about my grandkids who love playing with googly eyes. After that, I ended up making my silly, cute Jack-o-Lanterns in pastel colors with googly eyes. That then led to me finally doing my original idea of groups of pumpkins, corn and Maple leaves, followed by several versions with just Maple leaves.

Once started with the Maple leaves, I worked with different colors. The original leaves were pulled from images of sunprints I had done in the past. My first version used the pastel colors of the prints, then playing in Photoshop, I ended up finding some interesting color combinations. Below is a group of photos of the above mentioned designs.

The next challenge I decided to enter was Autumn Botanicals… perfect for my style of work. I began again with an image of a sunprint. This time, a fern I printed with black paint on a brightly colored fabric. I thought I would do a design including the fern along with Oak leaves and maybe other leaves, but it ended up with just the Fern sunprint and pieces of it.

Again, I played with colors in Photoshop, and ended up with some interesting colors. Not all were “Fall” colors. Unlike many people, I am not that fond of fall and it’s colors. To me Fall brings the death of my gardens. The leaves are pretty, but I hate that day of the first killing freeze. I created some versions in traditional oranges and more, but my entry was the first one I made with a textured white background.

The current challenge is Ice Crystals… I’m not ready for Winter at all, but it was fun playing with photos I took of snowflakes and ice crystals.

Scattered Snowflakes and Ice in Caribbean Blue

I might be playing with snowflakes in the computer, but there are hopefully many weeks left for the gardens to bloom. Also hoping to be back with a new post in less than 6 months or more…