Ticking off the to do list.

I’ve been working through quite a lot of tasks recently. There are more on the list, but at least a few have been sorted recently.

One bigger task was building a new website, which is now done and if you want to see it you can click on the link on the sidebar. I had a sense that the blog needed a declutter and a website offered a nice fresh start.

I also like putting websites together, but have my daughter Chloe to thank for pointing the domain name to the right place and sorting out some naughty links etc, you know, the techie stuff which actually makes the site visible…

I’ve also been working on some patterns for some zig zag books, which after making the pieces took some time to get together. Actually the patterns can be used for any piece of work, not just zig zag books, that was just the original idea.


This is the ‘Into the Trees’ piece/pattern. This is a Khadi zig zag book that measures 15 x 45 cm. Any support can be used, I just happen to like these books as I am lazy and they are ready made, and the paper is a joy to work with.


And this is the ‘Bright Birds’ zig zag book, above.


These chaps comprise the ‘Small Bright Birds’ book, as this zig zag book is smaller at 8 x 40 cm.

I’m also working on some patterns and instructions for two larger birds which can be used as patterns for pictures or made into pieces to hang on the wall, or in windows or on doors, in fact wherever you like, possibly within reason.

They are both works in progress.


This one is ready to stitch, and the chappie below is in his early stages.


They are 35 – 40 cm long, and I hope to have all the examples and patterns at the Embroidery, Fashion and Stitch show at the NEC, Birmingham in March.

To finish, a few frosty images taken last week in our garden, for those people who live in the warmer places on the planet.





Unfortunately the last image isn’t our garden, we don’t own parkland. It’s fairly local countryside, showing a good amount of fost and frog, as weather people are known to stutter on tv.

25 thoughts on “Ticking off the to do list.

  1. Love the crisp birds 🙂
    On a side note–the text on the website is quite difficult for old eyes–they’re already seeing fuzzy and that font doesn’t help!

    1. Hi Arlee, thanks for the complement and for looking at the website. I admit to liking an arty pale grey. I hesitate to say you could zoom to make the text bigger, if your computer has that ability; it also makes some of the images quite large and terrifying, so be prepared.

  2. Ooooh – those patterns … too totally yummy – get ready for a stampede at the NEC. Am amazed that you don’t own parkland – George has always maintained you do … xxxx

    1. Thanks Hils, jolly little chaps aren’t they. They were fun to do, nice to use bright colours for a change. George would love to charge around in that field, but we’d never get him back.

  3. Oh, your work so cheers me on a wet cold day! The red bird is like the sun bird I saw in the botanic gardens in Singapore. The birds in our own garden are all so hungry at the moment, they hang around the back door waiting for breakfast in the mornings. I love the way you make them stand so well too. Bird legs are difficult to draw I find.
    Thank you sharing Stephanie,

  4. Thanks Sue, I seem to be into red birds at the moment. Our birds love the fat balls we put out, when they can wrestle them off the squirrels that is. We are lucky to get a good variety of birds too.
    I admit to keeping the legs as simple lines on the birds, when they are so small. Larger birds need more work, and I always leave the legs to the end as it’s not my favourite job.

      1. I’m new to the blog-sphere so I’ll be collecting links like yours as time goes on to create a similar list! 🙂

  5. Hi Stephanie, love the zig zag books, especially Into the Woods. Inspirational as always. Congratulations on your new website – looking good. Did someone mention the NEC? I can’t wait, August is still a long way off though – musn’t wish time away I suppose.

  6. Hi Ali, thank you, glad you enjoyed the post and website. There is a textile show at the NEC before the Festival of Quilts in August, it’s called Sewing for Pleasure, Fashion Embroidery and Stitch and there’s a Hobbycrafts show there too, all on the same ticket. It’s a very good show, not as huge as FoQ, but lots to see. The dates are 19 – 22 March.

  7. It looks like you ticked a lot of things off that list of yours! Three books… and all of them fabulous. Very taken with ‘Into the Trees’, especially the page with Mr Fox trotting through it and those bright little birds are gorgeous. Was fiddling around with some bird ideas today in my book of birds by Edward Lear, and looked up to see a bullfinch nibbling away at the buds on my plum tree. I threw down the Lear and grabbed the camera to try and capture an image of the real thing. He was so beautiful that I forgave him his misdemeanours. Later this summer when there are no plums let’s hope I remember that generosity of spirit…. great stuff as always Steph. Crack on with those patterns.

  8. Bullfinches are a joy, we have them feeding in autumn on berries; no fruit trees to worry about fortunately. In winter they come to feed on seed, and they always amaze with those colours and that design don’t they?
    It’s just occurred to me that the fox and the badger in the Into the Trees book are there because that’s what we see around here, in the garden and on the driveway at the back. There’s a lot of fox activity in the garden, mainly foxes chasing squirrels at the moment, and then there’s the badger family, 3 of them, that come to feed every night. As we know there’s a lot of wildlife in cities now.
    So although the work looks very rural, it is in fact very suburban.
    Looking forward to seeing the results of the bird ideas too.

    1. We live in a small village surrounded by fields and woodland and we rarely see foxes or badgers, they’ve all moved into town! We do see a few squirrels, lots of hares and deer though, oh and pesky pheasants who wait until you have reached them in the car then decide to launch themselves headlong into the road, they are soooo stupid!

      1. Hi Catherine, we had a deer in the garden once, a muntjac. No pheasants though, although they are very welcome. Probably best if all the badgers came to live in the suburbs. Hope your works going well.

  9. Steph, picked up your comment about Jeremy Gardiner and recall that the exhibition is on in Bath until the middle of February. It is definitely worth a look to see it en masse and the monoprints would be right up your alley – huge long pieces of handmade paper in a narrow landscape format, with prints of his drawings overlaid with textures and map data. Made me want to get home and get out the rollers and inks. Wish I knew where he sourced the paper. Looked like it was roughly torn from long rolls of rag papers. Only fleetingly did I think ‘I don’t have a wall big enough to do this justice’ but realised he had to work in such large scale because of the places that inspire him. I looked at the monoprints for ages trying to dissect the layers. Knowing how you love that panoramic view I think you’d enjoy them too.

  10. Thanks Lesley, it sounds wonderful. I wish it was on longer, I’m not sure I can get there within the next couple of weeks unfortunately, but I will give it some thought. Hope you put the bullfinch photographs on your blog.

  11. Lovely to discover your blog, so much exciting inspiration. I loved those accordion moleskine books from your earlier post. Must try and find them. Your work is so full of colour and beauty.

  12. Thanks Morag, glad you enjoyed it. The Moleskines are usually available in art shops and book shops, but I got mine from sellers on the internet; I can’t remember who but it’s worth a search, that’s how I discovered the black one.

  13. In terms of my work, I am guilty of doing nothing for weeks and weeks. I wish I knew the secret to your motivation. What is it that keeps you focused to continue producing new work? I think we should have a discussion at the course on this, it’s such an interesting subject. A friend of mine who paints is attending a course that looks into what blocks artists and writers and how you can free yourself up to move forward with your work. I think guilt is a common problem, spending time ‘indulging ourselves’ instead of ‘earning a living’ or ‘keeping the family’s needs attended to’. Interesting for us ladies to examine!

  14. My very own pheasant, wonderful! I’ll get some pheasant food.

    That’s always an interesting question Catherine, and one that quite a few people over the years have talked about on my courses.

    Quite often when people have a regular job, that’s what takes up a lot of their time and energy, naturally. So actually any time spent doing their own thing is time well spent, not time indulged at all. Obviously I think art and creativity are paramount to human happiness, and more people should be ‘allowed’ to partake in these activities; but we do live in a larger society that, although enjoying the results of other peoples’ creativity, from tv, film and magazines to exhibitions, and public involvement for example, still seems to think these activities are indulgent and unnecessary. Very strange, and of course exhibiting a complete lack of connected thought processes. I won’t go on any more, or I’ll never shut up!

    When I was working before art college in a series of normal jobs, I wasn’t motivated to do as much art as I wanted to at all. After college art became my job, and how I earned my living, so you just basically work at it all the time, simply because it’s your job, and a good one at that, totally integrated into your life, but precarious, and not at all secure, but with teaching and other related activities I have been very lucky.
    So don’t beat yourself up about it, it’s all just circumstance, but your art work is never an indulgence.

    Looking forward to the course, see you there, it will get you going again, never fear.

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