Sunday, 27 November 2016

Christmas fabric, cards and giftwrap for 2016 + free printables!

Well, it's almost that time!  The most bustling, stressful, and wonderful time of the year!  Christmas can mean so many things to so many people, but for most of us who recognise this holiday, it means that we're going to be really busy!  Shopping, socialising, planning and celebrating take a lot of effort and energy, not to mention time.  And no matter how hard you try, you always end up forgetting something, or worse, someone!

Liliflora Pretty has the solution to instant, coordinated greeting and gifting!  Over on my Etsy shop, you'll find my collection of rustic floral Christmas cards and gift tags.  They're digital downloads that are made available to you the instant your payment it received.  Print them out as many times as you need to have all the cards and tags covered for your loved ones.  The four cards and a sheet of tags together are only $5.00AUD!

The 2016 Christmas Fabric collection over on Spoonflower coordinates with the cards and tags.  The Christmas imagery is subtle, the most 'Christmasy' coordinate is the bauble repeat.  Because of this, these fabrics can be used for projects all year round that require a boldly beautiful floral touch.  With Spoonflowers' faster shipping options, there's still plenty of time to get these fabrics if you want to make your gifts or help a friends' stash this festive season!  Oh yeah, and all the designs are on Spoonflowers' high quality gift wrap as well!  They haven't been optimised for wallpaper, but if you think you'd like them to be, just drop me an email or a message on Spoonflower!

To give you a taste of the designs in this collection, you can download free samples of 4 of the designs right here:

Christmas Flowers
Floral Mint
Floral Pink
Starry Rustic

The pdf files are designed at A4 size and the patterns go right to the edge, so there'll be a little bit of clipping when you print them based on your printer settings.  I'm especially happy with the tessellated floral patterns!  Here's some ideas for what to use your papers for and how they coordinate with the cards, tags and fabrics.

The papers are being used here to give lovely presentation to a food gift in a cardboard server,
as well as a doily and a napkin ring with tag as a place name.

Another doily and presentation on the side of a cardboard food server featured with
washi tape and one of the cards you can purchase as a digital print from Etsy!

This was a very yummy photoshoot!

May your Christmas and New Year be safe, charitable, fun and healing.

Gather friends and family near and enjoy your holiday season filled with warmth and laughter.  Don't forget to bring others in from the cold.  Now, more than ever, a season of love, understanding, togetherness and acceptance is so needed by the world.

Take care,


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Crayola Marker Graffiti Style Lettering Tutorial

It's tutorial time! I've been sharing some of my hand lettering practise on my Instagram lately (follow me @liliflorapretty), and I'm always surprised by how many likes and new followers it scores. People genuinely love lettering and type, and no wonder! It's such a wonderfully direct way of expressing yourself, combining communication, inspiration and art to do so.

typography, how to, lettering, handlettering, tutorial, graffiti, markers, calligraphy

Today I'm going to share a technique that uses inexpensive materials to give a fun result reminiscent of graffiti. It's casual and versatile. You could use it to decorate cards and scrapbooking pages for teens, to decorate canvas shoes and bags or to create great edgy home décor prints and transfers.

So let's go!

To produce the lettering in this tutorial, you will need:
  • Kraft Paper Crayola Markers (I'm using the Super Tips)
  • A metallic gold paint pen or Crayola marker
  • A white gel pen (I'm using Uniball Signo)
  • A dark brown pencil (I'm using Faber Castell classic colour no.376)
Crayola markers, metallic markers, kraft paper, markers, gel pen

This is a pretty basic tutorial, with the idea being that by changing up the colours, shaping the letters slightly differently and even experimenting with different papers and shadow techniques, you'll be able to create your own signature version.

I recommend that you start by practising holding the marker and making the different letter forms until you feel comfortable with it. The style here is very casual and also very forgiving of errors. Hold the marker on it's side, so that as much of the marker as possible is touching the paper, and form your letters with sharp slashing strokes, mostly downward, to get the thicker line at the top, and the pointy line at the bottom. The exception to this is when you're making the crossbars of letters like "A" and "H" where you make the motion going upwards.

 We're also going to be padding out the letters by making strokes alongside the original ones. You'll notice that Crayola markers don't blend like alcohol one's do, but the extra layers you will make to colour it consistently will make the colour bolder on the kraft paper, so it still works out well.

When you feel ready, (and hey even if you don't!), write out a short phrase or a word on a fresh sheet of kraft paper using a pink marker. Don't worry about padding out the first pass, you're just laying down the basic shape of the letters, looking at the spacing and layout, and making sure you're happy with the basic structure before you get too committed. When you're happy with it, do the second pass where you are putting on an extra stroke next to the ones you've already done, overlapping them slightly, and then going over both strokes again to make sure you have an even colour. Give it all a moment to make sure it's dried before adding the next colour.

For this example, I'm using metallic gold  Crayola markers layer dark over light quite well (see the title as an example with dark green layered over light green), try experimenting with different colours on a scrap of paper for your own creations. While I'm using the Crayola Metallic Marker in gold, you could always use a gold Sharpie or similar gold paint pen to get the same effect.
 Colour the bottom third of each letter and punctuation mark in your phrase, trying to maintain the shape of the letter. Once this has dried, apply small dots at the top of the part you just coloured gold, putting more dots at the bottom and fewer as you go up. Don't extend this more than a little bit above the metallic part. Its supposed to look like the gold is fading out as it gets further up, to transition nicely between it and the background colour.

You could leave the colouring at that, but just to introduce a bit more interest, I've gone ahead and used a purple marker to colour just the very tops of the characters, also adding the dots to make it fade down nicely.

Now it's time to make the lettering stand out and refine the shapes of your letterforms. Grab your white gel pen and draw outlines around your letters. Make them as thin or thick as you like, and take your time to make sure these lines are fairly neat and solid.

Finally, to make your letters really pop out of the page, we're going to apply a drop shadow in dark brown pencil. Draw a strong, narrow, dark line of brown on the left side and the bottom of each of your strokes. Go back through and draw a wider, slightly less bold line of brown that starts to blend the shadow out. Finally, go back and apply a very broad, very light area of brown that blends back into the darker browns.

Blend it in with light passes of your pencil or a blender pencil.

You did it! And I'd love to see it! Please share your results on Instagram and remember to tag me in @liliflorapretty.  I hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful. If there's anything I could explain better, anything else you'd like me to make a tutorial on, or if I've missed something here, please comment below to let me know!

Take care until next time!


Saturday, 9 July 2016

How to Easily Organise your Art and 3 Powerful Reasons why you want to!

In this post, I'm going to share a way of using bullet journaling techniques to build a comprehensive index of your sketchbooks, journals, inspiration and finished works whether they are digital or physical.  In doing so, you'll create a powerful resource you can draw on for inspiration and motivation anytime.

artistic resources, inspiration, sketchbooks, organisation, artist, creative, bullet journaling

Whether you use sketchbooks and visual journals or you sketch on loose pages or even create your work digitally, this simple organisation method will work.  All you need is a notebook and a pen!

If you're already familiar with bullet journaling, you're going to recognise the concept and the symbols we'll be using.  If you're not, and you love to keep lists and make plans and want to do so more effectively and in a way that makes you more productive, I recommend checking out to learn the basics.  It's not necessary for what I'm about to show you, but it's a great concept and it's best to start at the source if you want to explore it more fully.

We're just going to use two of the principals of bullet journaling: creating an index as you go, and using simple symbols to give your entries more meaning.

Index pages filling up with pages numbers and headings
Number the pages as you go

Open your notebook to the first double spread and mark the pages with the heading "Index."  You'll want to repeat this on the next double spread to give yourself enough lines.  On these index pages you'll enter the page numbers and simple headings for the information you're going to put on the other pages to make it easy to find later.

Now open the next double spread and number the pages at the bottom.  Give a heading to the first page to describe the sketchbook, file, folder or device you're going to catalogue on that page.  If, like me, you have multiple sketchbooks that all look the same from the outside, mark them or decorate them to make them unique.  I simply numbered them on the spine with a white paint pen.  You can also add extra information such as the dates it was started and finished.  On the page in your notebook, start listing the contents of the book or file.  List everything in the book or file, even if it doesn't seem immediately important or useful.  Use the following symbols to assist you when you look through it later:

* - an asterisk denotes something important.   It could mean a resource that you find useful or that you need to refer back to regularly.

! - an exclamation point means 'Inspiration!'  While you'll find lots of it amongst your work, you can use this symbol to note something of particular interest or something you think can help you in a current project.

Draw a little symbol of an eye next to any entry you feel deserves further investigation and development, whether immediately or in the future.

If none of the above applies to the item, just list it as a bullet point.

When you've listed each item, go back to the index and write in the page number or numbers the entry covers and then give it the same heading as you did in the book.

Entering the contents of a sketchbook as it's filled is easy!

Keep working through your collected sketchbooks, notebooks, files, folders, binders, boxes, drawers, computer, laptop, hard drive, thumb drives, phone, tablet, etc.

You could include other things as well, such as a brief catalogue of the titles and genres of books you have in your collection that you draw artistic inspiration from, a list of websites or blogs you find useful or helpful.  You can also make note of your favourite motivational quotes, personal mantras and artistic goals.  Don't forget to keep lists of effective strategies for combating creative blocks or recapturing your creative drive after a setback or hiatus.

Just make sure to keep the index updated as you go, and number the pages as you make each new entry and the resources you need will be right at your fingertips!

A couple of years worth of sketchbooks, numbered on the spines for easy reference

Now, I must admit, if you've been a creative for years, you're going to find it daunting to think about going through all the material you would have created, collected and compiled over the years.  Even with a simple and straightforward method of cataloguing it, it's still going to be a time consuming exercise.  So, why do it?

Well I have 3 seriously powerful reasons, and one really fun one, for why you want to invest the time to do this.

The first is that this will be a wonderful resource all by itself, and the more you put into it, the better it will be.  This is an index to your creative life!  Refer back to it whenever you're stuck for ideas, need reaffirming your goals and motivation or if you need to easily track down a piece or body of work that may suit a potential client.

The second is that it gives you an opportunity to go back through work you may not have laid eyes on or thought about for years!  It's amazing to see how far your art has developed over time and to pick out the patterns emerging in your subjects and style.  It's also great to revisit ideas that you may not have had time to fully explore when you had them, but that can contribute to a new project or inspire a future one.

Recording the contents of a binder where I keep the samples of my fabric designs.
The third reason is that any excuse to buy gorgeous new stationary is always a worthwhile pursuit!  Ok, I admit, that's the fun reason.  It's worth some serious consideration, however, as you're going to want a sturdy hard backed notebook that will stand up to a lot of use over time.  And yes, I recommend a physical notebook over a digital one, although you can always create one of those as well and save it to your cloud to prevent it being lost.  There's just something so much more accessible and flexible about a physical book.  Because I couldn't wait to try out this idea when I had it, I went out and bought a notebook (a Buffalo notebook from Typo, in rose gold glitter!  Squeee!), but given I have some designs available on Redbubble hardbacked journals, I'd be truly honoured and grateful if you found one of them compelling enough to purchase!
Oriental Paisley
Autumn Macabre
Sinister Shabby

Ok, so here's the real third serious reason why it's worth the effort of cataloguing your artistic journey: CONFIDENCE!  By having a resource like this, you have the confidence of knowing that if you have a creative block you can always find a way to smash it.  If you ever need to refer back to a particular piece or body of work, you don't have to go hunting for it, you can easily find it in your index.  If the worst should happen and someone copies your work or questions your intellectual property, you can quickly track down the original sketches and where the idea developed from to prove that something is yours.

Just the process of putting the index together is beneficial in itself.  Revisiting my previous work has given me lots of fresh ideas to take forward, along with some great Throwback Thursday material for social media (follow me on Instagram @liliflorapretty)!
It's also been fascinating to see how my style and skills have developed over time, as well as the sorts of things I draw inspiration from.

I hope you find this idea useful and motivating.  It's well worth the time you'll spend creating this invaluable and very personal resource. It will also encourage you to keep referring back to past work as you move forward, which is a great way to stay in touch with your style and remind yourself of how far you've come over time.

Comment below with your ideas for what you might include in your index or other ideas you have for cataloguing your art.

Take care until next time,


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

How to add a simple image gallery to Blogger

This tutorial is going to be a little bit different. Rather than a craft project, I'd like to share how I'm creating the new galleries here on my blog (check them out in the tabs above!). This will also be my first video tutorial! Don't worry, I'll spare you my ugly mug and stick to narration only! Please comment below with any comments, constructive feedback, questions or suggestions. I apologise in advance for the sound quality, the built-in microphone on my laptop isn't the best!

Here are the written instructions in case there's any issues with the video.  They also contain the HTML coding mentioned in the video.

The link to the original video that I got the idea from is here.

Let's get started!

I'm going to assume that you're looking at this post because you already have a Blogger blog and have started posting, but you'd like to add a picture gallery to your posts or to a separate page. I'm going to give you some extremely simple html coding to help with creating a basic picture gallery. Firstly, I suggest that you prepare your images and try to use square ones if you can. Three small images fit neatly across a blogger page. Don't worry if you have large images, we're going to use blogger to display smaller ones on the page, and then when your visitors click on them, they'll come up larger in a light box effect. Log into your blogger account and start a new page or post in your blog. Change from the Compose mode to the HTML mode using the buttons on the top left.  Copy and paste the following HTML code into your post:

<table style="width:100%">
<td> </td>
<td> </td>
<td> </td>

It should look like this:

This sets up a table with just one row of 3 images.  For each additional row of images you would like to add, insert just this html between the </tr> and </table> tags:

<td> </td>
<td> </td>
<td> </td>

The coding for a table with 2 rows of 3 columns would then look like this:

All good so far? Great!  Let's get some images in here!

Still in the HTML composer, make sure your cursor is between the first pair of <td> </td> tags.  Click on the 'Insert image' icon to bring up the picture uploader. Upload or import your pictures from where ever you have them saved. Select just one image and click "add selected."  Another dialogue box will pop up.  Choose "None" for alignment and "Small" for image size and click ok.  The HTML coding for this image will be inserted in its place in the table.  Put the cursor between the next <td> </td> tags and repeat the process to insert the next picture. All the pictures you uploaded should be in the "From this blog" tab in the add image dialogue box.  The HTML will look something like this when you're done:

Now preview your post so you can see how it will look.  Here's mine:

Now, the only problem with the preview mode of Blogger is that it doesn't let you click on anything, so you won't be able to see the lightbox effect until you publish.  Go ahead and do that, you can always revert it back to draft as soon as you're sure it's working if you need to edit further.

Now when you view your page or post you'll be able to click on the images in your gallery and you'll get something like this:

Neat! Now you have a gallery that you can keep adding more rows of images to. You could easily use this to make the images all links to somewhere else either on your blog or to other sites. If you'd like to know how, let me know in the comments and I can make another tutorial to show you! I hope this was useful. Once again, please leave any constructive feedback, suggestions or questions in the comments and I'll get back to you as quick as I can.

Cheers, Emma.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Competitive Spirit

Since the launch of the Sinister Shabby and Dark Sinister Shabby collections on Spoonflower and Redbubble, I'm happy to say they've gathered some interest.  I've been working on some cut and sew patterns and look forward to receiving samples of these soon to make sure they're perfect before going on sale in my Spoonflower shop.

spoonflower repeat pattern roses wasps skulls paisley
Dark Sinister Shabby fabric collection.

shabby chic, roses, baroque, paisley, fabric, repeat pattern, spoonflower
Sinister Shabby fabric collection

Speaking of Spoonflower, you may already be aware of the big changes in their contests, going from weekly to monthly with more significant prizes and recognition for the winner.  The first of these contests was to create a fabric design to go with a new kimono style Sprout pattern.  The theme of the contest was Japanese Garden and below is my entry.  Voting is now open to the public and will be /until 6pm EDT (That's New York time) on 27/04/2016.  The equivalent for Australian Eastern Standard Time will be 8am on 28/04/2016.  There are just over 700 entries to peruse and vote for and some seriously stunning entries among them.  The winners will be announced once the voting is over.  Follow this link to cast your vote, and click here to see more information and how to purchase my design Green Tea Garden.

spoonflower repeat pattern teapots lotus peony lantern fan butterfly
Green Tea Garden fabric design

This is just one of 5 contests I'm entering this month!  The second is an exciting challenge and opportunity being offered by Zara Martina and DiaNoche Designs, to win the chance to be one of their newest licenced artists and have my work appear on all sorts of gorgeous homewares and gifts!  The themes for entries to this contest were South Western style and Woodland.  Below are my entries for this contest, running mostly with the South Western style.  The designs were created with pen, Derwent Inktense pencils and watercolours and white gel pen for the background.  Entries will be open until May 15th, so it will be a few weeks before I'll hear back on this one.  Check out the hashtags #dianocheartlicensing #dianochedesigns and #zaramartina to see work being shared by other entrants.

antlers dreamcatcher native american feather boho torquise
South Western Style design

owl roses dreamcatcher stars galaxy native american
South Western style design

wolf dreamcatcher roses feathers torquise night sky stars native american
South Western Style design

The third contest is another one that you can vote, like and even purchase for to show support for your favourite designs.  Wraptious is having a cushion design contest.  The entries are being shared via their facebook page, and are available for liking there and via their Instagram (1 point) and to purchase on their website (20 points) until Wednesday May 4th.  Artists receive a 25% commission on all sales.  The points will determine the 20 most popular designs and the winner will then be decided on by a panel of industry judges.  The winner gets the opportunity to have their designs featured on Wraptious' range of homewares, giftwrap and cards.  Below are my entries, and you can go here to give me a like, and here to purchase my cushions (made from vegan-suede apparently, sounds plushy!).  My entries are on the second page.  Again, these images feature a pen and ink style using Faber Castell PITT pens and Derwent Inktense pencils.

handlettering typography affirmation motivational roses handlettered font
Cushion design

art nouveau woman fairy fey princess butterfly wings peony flower tiara emerald
Butterfly Nymph Cushion design

taeguk taeguki korea korean flag phoenix mythological yin yang
Taeguk Phoenix cushion design

The fourth contest will be the Etsy Design Awards for Australia.  Closing date for this one is 29th April.  Etsy has been make a lot of changes to the appearance and customization options for their shops.  I'm still trying to get on top of it and update some sections, but I expect to have this done in the next day or two, just in time to enter the Design Awards in the art and illustration category with my art, which is available as digital downloads, ready to print and frame.  I'll be adding some new items as well, to enhance my store, which is looking a bit bare with only a few items for sale at the moment!

And finally, I've entered a contest with a slight difference, the Brother Australia Mother's day contest.  Entrants have the choice of creating a toy, a bookmark or an item of clothing  I was most inspired by the toy making, so repurposed a teddy bear pattern to make a koala.  Her name is Kwalala!  I made her with faux fur and leather, with buttons for attaching the arms and legs, and beads for her eyes.  She took half a day to hand-sew. Check out their facebook page for more details, and search the hashtag #brothermakesmemories on Instagram to see more entries.  Closing date for entries to this competition is 3rd May and the prizes include some great Brother products.

brother sewing machines koala australia marsupial
Kwalala the handsewn koala!

Stay tuned for the results of these contests and more about the Sinister Shabby cut and sew patterns.  Follow my Instagram @liliflorapretty and like my facebook page for more updates.  Thanks for your support and take care!


Saturday, 27 February 2016

Sinister Shabby

Launching March 1st, Sinister Shabby will be my first full design collection for 2016.  The main collection features recognisably Shabby Chic florals and palettes with a subtle hint of something creepy.  Winged insects such as bees and wasps, and bird and human skulls lurk in the background of the main designs.

There is also a dark side to Sinister Shabby, a second colourway that's far more moody and far less subtle.

Both collections are available in full as fabrics, and some of the designs are also available as wrapping paper in my Spoonflower shop.
A selection of both the normal and dark collections are also available on select items in my Redbubble shop.
Over the coming month, additional products and projects will become available in these patterns, so stay tuned to my instagram (@liliflorapretty) and Facebook (come and give me a like!) to find out more.
Let me know in the comments on any of  my social media what you think you would do with some Sinister Shabby fabric!
Take care,